Saturday, April 30, 2011

2011 Emergency Preparedness Fair

Looking for news about this year's Fair? is the new home of all Fair fun and information. Click over for everything you need and we'll see you at the Fair!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Salvage Groceries

Ready to save some good groceries from their death?
Visit a salvage grocery store!

Renee did some online research and then visited Denny's Grocery today in Otisville. Here's a tour of what she found.

Part of the store is "regular" grocery shopping, but this half of the store is "salvage."

Duncan Hines cupcake mix 2 for $1

Nice deal on dipping sauce, which expired on December 10th. Just 40 days ago. Still edible and cheap!

These granola bars expired 5 days ago. I bet they don't last 5 more days in Renee's house!

$63.67 for this load of salvaged groceries from Denny's. Yeah, Renee - she save these good foods from certain doom and saved herself some money.
Thanks so much for sharing your adventure and teaching us a new way to shop, Renee!

Pepper Barrels Available NOW

We have come across a great opportunity to increase our preparedness for a very small outlay and hope you will act quickly to take advantage.

These are used, 50 gallon, food grade barrels in good condition.
Some of them have pop off lids with a metal clamp like the one pictured. Some have a smaller, screw off lid, approximately half the size of the lid pictured here. You could fit a pitcher down inside either one and eliminate the need for a pump when storing water.

They are not clean. (This one still has a pepper in the bottom of it.)

They have previously stored Greek peppers - the "banana pepper" or pepperocini that is served in a salad at a Greek or Italian restaurant.

Each barrel is only $10, delivered to the Lapeer Ward building.
We will take orders at until February 15th.
Our minimum total order must be at least 100 barrels; 300 barrels are available.
Barrels must be picked up at the Lapeer Ward Building on a date to be announced after the order is filled. Orders must be paid in full WHEN PLACED.
When you send your email to with the number of barrels you desire, you will receive a response telling you where to send your check and to whom it should be made out.
Any questions you have may be submitted to the same email address.

The barrels may be used for water storage or any other need you may have. We recommend cleaning with fresh water and a bit of bleach. There is no guarantee that you can remove the pepper smell from the barrels, but they could also be aired out over the summer months as well. For $10 per barrel, you could try a lot of things and if they still smelled like peppers, they would still be worth every penny you saved.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Virtual Storage Tour

Living the commandment to have a years worth of food and supplies to sustain your family is great fun. Sometimes, it's a great challenge. After you've assessed your needs and created a plan, you budget and, over a bit of time, bring home everything you need.
The question now is, "Where do you put it?"
We've assembled a variety of storage ideas from around the country and now invite you on a virtual storage tour. We hope this inspires the quest for more space in your own humble abode.

A narrow passageway in your castle can be turned into beautiful space with inexpensive shelving units. January is the time to look for deals on shelves, cabinets and bins. Retailers market everything for organizing your life this month so take advantage of their sales.

There really is no "dead space," just unused storage possibilities!

Always turn your dead end into a literal storage corner by adding a shelf across the end.

Show it off!

This antique pie pantry in Dallas, Texas is used to store and display - how beautiful. If I had snazzy green buckets, they'd be on display too.

Long walls behind doors on Lake Alatoona, Georgia mean space to store. Check behind your doors for valuable, unused space. You can find shelving to fit almost any space.

Ah, we love the unfinished basement!

Creative solution for small spaces in an Atlanta apartment - a bookshelf with a tension rod and curtain. Genius.

Another ingenious use of furniture. I'm pretty sure that's an old coffee table. Even if it's not, it should be! Never hold another garage sale, just put your water storage under it.

Who invented the 5 gallon bucket? Nothing short of brilliant, I say.
We love the bucket inventor.

Plastic bins - stacks and stacks of 'em. They're stack-able, rodent-proof and some of them are see-through too. Boxes from the grocery store fit nicely and those crazy Mylar bags snuggle right down in there perfectly.

Look up! Is there a place there for a shelf? Remember to anchor them properly - or get them right into the studs for the best weight-bearing options.

We'll pause here for a story: See the pink rectangle holding up the pink-painted particle board? When I was a child, the pink was orange (circa 1976, right?). My parents stored pinto beans in those rectangular cans. One day I inherited them and papier mached them with flower photos. The cans were filled with flour at that time and the particle board shelves painted green. When Alex was about two years old, I painted it all pink and made book shelves for her room. The cans stored bottled water. That water has been changed a couple of times since then and now the shelves hold laundry detergent, but how is that for storage? Three generations of it now. (A side note: about 9 bags of baking soda will fit under a utility sink. Cool, hu?)

Tower of plastic milk crates (from any box store at about $6 each). These four were purchased in St. Louis 15 years ago and now hold laundry supplies in Michigan.

This is a corner cabinet in a bathroom - great "hidden" space - that holds toiletries. Take advantage of coupons and sales to stock up on toiletries (or Sam's Club!). They don't take up much space and people often forget them in their storage plan. (You'll want your teeth, especially in an emergency.)

Under the basement bathroom sink hides a mess of cleaning supplies. Bleach is vital and easy to stock up.

The floor is a great place for non-perishables & non-edibles like paper towels. Keep the Oreos off the floor.

Tilt your head to the are looking at a pull-out shelf in a bathroom and about a year's supply of bar soap and deodorant. It's only 18 inches of shelf space, but it can hold so much!

Is that a nook or a cranny I see? Stick something in it! Movable shelves are great since they can always go with you, but building your own shelves is a pretty simple carpentry task.

Bathroom cleaning supplies can go under the bathroom sink (might as well keep it where you will use it).

Closets. Is there a better place in all the world? Just make sure it's accessible since you'll need to use your storage to rotate it.

The middle of the road is a terrific place for your stuff, labeled, dated and ready to use.

These folks used an entire linen closet for toilet paper -

and then some.

Hey, that's handy. And honestly, there could be wasted space in your home where you could build a toilet paper closet. Look around and see what's possible.

Take time this month to assess your space. Grab a friend and walk through your home. Ask yourself...

  • Where could things be shifted or stored in a different configuration to provide you more options?
  • Are items accessible for use (rotation)?
  • Is there wasted space between items?
  • Can you store items in (or near) the room where they are used?
  • Are items stored safely? Nothing near a heat source; nothing stacked too high (a filled 5 gallon bucket will crush a child and is dangerous for you to bring down when it's above your head).
  • Is all the food in bug/rodent proof containers?
  • Check your pantry, drawers and cabinets for wasted space; hold a "clean out" to make more room.

Remember that preparedness is an on-going project. It's never "done" so don't limit yourself. Anything is possible.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Musings

It's Monday, but just barely. This week I've had to keep a running list of things to share with you, which is great. That means there are many of us living the principles of preparedness daily and sharing what we learn and do.

First, some findings on oxygen absorbers. If you've been to the cannery you are familiar with the little white squares we drop into cans right before they are sealed. These magic packets ensure the shelf life of foods and it takes two or three of them per #10 can. Contrary to what I'd been taught, it takes 12 of them when you are filling 5 gallon buckets with food. 12 - wow!

Sorbent Systems is a company that sells oxygen absorbers and their site details the math behind the science of absorbing oxygen. This site is a great resource to have on hand. Print their page and put it with your preserving supplies. For your reference, 1 ml = 1 cc and the absorbers we purchase at the Church Cannery are 1500 ml each. (Disclaimer: Always double check my math.)

It's good to remember too that some foods, due to their shape and size, will allow for more oxygen to remain in a container. Think of rice and oats. There's plenty of room between pieces, unlike flour, for instance. Make sure you use adequate oxygen absorbers for your product and your packaging.

Second, I've noticed a couple of things lately in the grocery store that are worth sharing. Maybe they are common knowledge to everyone else, but just in case you live like I do (several things on your plate...) I'll share. As a result of my coupon clipping experiment this year I have noticed that grocery stores have good sales in the first and third weeks of the month - when most people get paid. However, on the second and fourth weeks, when you don't have as much money, they lure you in with sales on things you absolutely must have. Milk and cereal are usually on sale the second and fourth weeks. You go in for milk and wham! You have a cart full of stuff you didn't plan on, for more than you wanted to spend.

The other thing I've noticed is that containers are getting smaller while prices are rising. In doing our food storage inventory I was counting quarts of mayo and Miracle Whip. Kraft has reduced those jars to 30 ounces, when they used to be 32. The store brands I've checked remain 32 oz jars. Every penny counts so you really have to watch these guys!

Third, there was a little discussion this week about Home Depot buckets and lids. A few of us needed lids to fit our food grade buckets and they were found at HD. These are not food grade plastic because HD doesn't deal in food. (By not dealing in food, they avoid a relationship with the FDA.) They will always tell you their goods are not food grade. They are correct. Will we die from using them? I have no idea. I hope not. The only reason I bring this up is to encourage you to use wisdom in storing your foods. Any container can be lined with a food grade Mylar bag to alleviate any concern you might have.

Finally, I happened upon a phenomenal opportunity this week. I needed a new filter for my wheat grinder and called the company to order it. Something made me ask if they might have a group deal on grinders? Yes, they do! This is the mill I purchased from BlendTec six years ago. I love it. I have no complaints and no problems to report. Here are the details on a group purchase:
1-4 Grinders $159.95 each
5-9 Grinders $149.95 each
10 or more Grinders $139.95 each
There is an $18 per mill shipping charge and a one time $4 residential delivery fee for the entire order. All mills must be purchased in a single transaction with one credit card and delivered to a single address.
Idea: If you need a grain mill, why don't you take 6 months to save up and we'll buy them next year? A grain mill is an investment. No one needs to break the bank to buy one, but if you store grains it's a must-have in your home. If you are interested, let me know. You are welcome to come over and see mine at work. I grind up a bucket of grain every few weeks so just call me. I am happy to facilitate this just like we do all the other group deals.

The pressure cooker with quarts of chicken has just finished processing in my kitchen so I'm off to bed now. Whew - finished my musings before Tuesday this week.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We seek after these things

I love technology. From really old technology, like the remote control, to surfing the web on a cell phone, I think it's incredible that we can do what we do. That being said, there is less stress when I am away from it all and have my hands in the Earth. There is great value in Heavenly Father's creations without any accoutrements or touch screens. I loved Sister B's talk on Sunday...the pioneers didn't have Satan's attacks delivered via pop up while they emailed their mom. We live in tough times.

But we know that. And that is why we live the way we do. We seek after good things. We seek after knowledge and learning. We seek to provide for ourselves and prepare for what is unknown, but not unforeseen.

Today, knowledge came to me through technology. I thought it worth sharing. The Old Farmer's Almanac (link to story here) shared recipes for making many household products like soap and toothpaste. Technology has been kind enough to provide us with bottles of everything we need, but they sometimes come with a hefty price tag and lots of ingredients we don't necessary need (or know how to pronounce). I found it a comforting reminder that Proctor and Gamble is not the only - or original - source for cleanliness. It is, after all, next to godliness. With knowledge, I can use Heavenly Father's creations to take care of my family. Knowledge is good.

- Anne Burns

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Strawberry Season

I feel like strawberries mark the beginning of summer - the first fruits, if you will. Their arrival brings hope and sunshine and... strawberry jam!

This post is just a nudge of encouragement for you to try something new. If you think of food storage as buying and storing, you might be missing some of the fun. Making your own foods and storing them is one of life's little pleasures. There is something about opening a jar of food you've preserved yourself that really boosts your confidence. Strawberry jam is a great place to start. It's pretty easy to do, with very simple directions inside the box of pectin. The window of opportunity is small with strawberries as the season lasts only 3 to 4 weeks, but it just began so you've got time!

Bigelow's Berry Farm in North Branch began picking on Monday, June 7th. If that's your neck of the woods, you can reach them at 810-688-2181. (Trust me, if you live a little further away, it's worth the drive.) There are lots of berry farms here in Michigan so ask around for one near you.

Take the plunge. Next November when the toast is warm and you pop open your very own jam, you'll be glad you did.

- Anne Burns