House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eggs Benedict

Super yum, super easy. This usually takes me about 10 to 15 minutes to make. Including boiling the water. I know this is not a food storage recipe, but still, it's yummy!

3 English muffins, toasted and lightly buttered.
6 eggs (for poaching)
Ham or bacon, enough for bottom of each half of muffin

3 eggs, separated (put whites in fridge to make cake or macaroons later)(for sauce)

3 egg yolks
3 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup cold butter (8 tablespoons)
boiling water (not from boiling eggs!)

Bring splash of vinegar and some water to boil in double boiler. You don't want water touching bottom of double boiler. Lower heat to low simmer.
In top part of double boiler, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice. Add, 1/4 cup of butter. Whisk constantly, when butter has melted, gradually add the rest, one tablespoon at a time. This allows the yolks to cooks slowly so they don't curdle. It should thicken. Take off the bottom part of the boiler.

Keep water simmering. Break each egg, one at a time, into a custard cup, and gently slip it into the simmering water. Do this with all 6 eggs. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until whites are cooked.
While eggs cook, toast muffins and warm ham. Place ham on buttered muffin halves.
Yoke will be between runny to gelled. Pull out of water with slotted spoon and place on top of ham.

Using a few drops of boiling water, whisk into sauce. Spoon sauce over eggs, and sprinkle lightly with paprika... Enjoy while hot.. Oh yum, I want more. 

Winco prices 2.26.10

FINALLY!!!  Yup, I finally got to go grocery shopping, so here it is.... Well, not everything but, some things, so you can see the price differences between where you normally shop, and Winco. And yes, prices change!!  Last time I was at Winco, 25# of oats was $9.99 but it went up $2 since then.. But the prices vary. When shopping at winco, you'd think the green tab is the lower price.. WATCH IT, not always true. We really do check cost per ounce.. and yes I am a HUGE penny pincher, so I really do this. Amazing how the 28-oz peanut butter was cheaper than the giant one.. odd, but it happens. You really have to watch prices, and take a calculator with you, we do. 

Braeburn Apples $0.78/#
Carrots 2-pound bag $0.98
Lettuce head $0.98
Garlic, Christopher ranch (about 10 heads) 1-pound  $1.98
Avocado, small $0.68 each
Onions, yellow $0.65/#
Bananas $0.58/#
D'anjou pears $0.98/#
Dole Classic Salad mixes (12-oz) $0.98
Yams $0.78/#
Sweet Potatoes $0.98/#
Red Potatoes 5-pound bag $1.98
Red Onions $0.68/#
Sweet Onions $0.68/#
Squashes $0.88 - 0.98/#
Leaf Lettuce, red or green $1.48 each
Broccoli crowns $0.78/#

Cascade Pride English Muffins (12-ct) $1.17

Bar S Bologna 12-oz  $0.88
Hillshire Farm Beef smoked sausage or kielbasa (14-oz) $2.98
Petite Sirloin $3.48/#
Beef brisket $2.98/#
Bottom Round Roast $2.28/#
Bacon End pieces (3-pounds or 48-oz) $3.98

Peppercorns $4.62/#
Allspice $5.24/#
Paprika $3.82/#
Cloves, ground $6.13/#
Italian Seasoning $4.35/#
Bay Leaves $4.00/#
Triticale berries $0.66/#
Dutch Baking Cocoa $2.82/#
Gluten Flour $2.41/#
Quinoa, organic $3.82/#
Millet $0.43/#
Flax seed, red $0.56/#
Flax seed, golden $0.98/#
Oats, regular or quick (25#) $11.99

SAF yeast (16-oz) $3.09
Gold Medal Flour all-purpose (10 #) $3.98
Niko Niko Calrose Rice (5#) $5.64  (10#) $11.95
Jasmine Rice (5#) $4.48
Homai Calrose Rice (5#) $3.92  (10#) $7.95  (20#) $14.70
Hytop Long Grain rice (20#) $7.48
Crescent Mapleline $2.88
Sunmaid Raisins (2-lb) $4.48
Ocean Spray craisins (12-oz) $2.98
Mauruchen Instant Lunch (like cup o'noodles) $0.33
Mauruchen Ramen $0.33
Ragu' Pasta Sauce (select varieties) (26-oz) $1.48
Hunt's Pasta Sauce (26.5-oz) $0.98
Rosarita refried beans (16-oz) $0.88
Nalley's Chili (15-oz) $0.88

PERO (7-oz) $6.83
JiF creamy (28-oz) $2.98
Adams creamy (26-oz) $3.84
Crisco shortening (6 #) $9.57
Lard (4#) $5.25
Farman's Genuine Dill Pickles (46-oz) $4.19
Jell-O (3-oz) $0.78  (6-oz) $1.23
Jell-O Pudding (3.4-oz) $0.94  (5.1-oz) $1.23
Hytop gelatin flavors (3-oz) $0.40
Hytop pudding (3.4-oz) $0.47
Kraft Mac & cheese (small box) $0.68
Malt O Meal Sugar coated Shredded wheat GIANT SIZE (50-oz)  $2.98  (holy cow!!! AWESOME)

Tillamook Cheese 2-pound: cheddar, colby jack, pepper jack & mozzarella $5.98
Frigo Mozzarella (1-pound) $4.87
Precious Mozzarella (1-pound) $3.48
Philadelphia Cream Cheese (8-oz brick) $1.48
Eggs, dozen $1.35
Nancy's yogurt (32-oz)  $2.59
Daisy Sour Cream (16-oz)  $1.98
Tillamook Sour Cream (16-oz) $1.38
Home Cottage cheese (pink and white package) $1.98

MD Toilet Paper (12-ct) $4.78
Fels Naptha Bar $1.06
Borax (skinny box) $3.49
Arm & Hammer Washing soda $2.67
Cutrite Wax Paper $1.32

Food Storage 2.28-3.6.10

What to add to your storage this week??? Lamp Oil.... Now if you don't have a lamp this doesn't make sense. So you could get a lamp and oil. Or wicks.. Not good to go to light your lamp only to find out you only have 1/4-inch of a wick left. Where can you get such supplies???  Ace hardware, Big lots, walmart, True Value hardware.  One of my favorite True Value Hardware stores is in ... Snoqualmie!  They have lots of  things you can't find in other places. I am not talking about kerosene lamps, these are stinky and actually cause us headaches, I mean the ones that use lamp oil.. so be careful while shopping.. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Solo Survival in a Societal Collapse??

Please check out this article.  Please remember not to share with everyone how much food storage you have, where you store your guns, ammo etc.. opportune people will take what they want or need in rough times. Know who you can trust, and KNOW that most likely it's a small number.

Scary but TRUE!!!  I have a friend who saw this happen during the power outage two years ago. The roads were closed to due rivers over the roadways.  People were walking around outside, they didn't know what to do. There were several fights.. Many didn't have enough food in their houses for a month, let alone the week they were with out power, with out the ability to get to town. It was scary.

People don't think they will ever want.. the grocery is just down the road a little.... WAKE UP!!
Don't for one minute think you are safe. If you have anything someone else wants, they will come to get it, and use force to get it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Powdered milk, instant or non-instant??

Honestly, I am soo very thankful for Angela, she is an amazing woman!!  I really do look up to her. Anyway here is a link to her post on Powdered milks. Great info with a reconstitution chart.


Bread.. during power outage???

I found this site and love it.. All the info I want to share with you, that I know, has already been written down!!  I am so very thankful for this. So please, check it out, print it out.. use it.. practice it!!  What good is having the tools if you don't know how to use them???



Sharpies and how they are a blessing

Check out this post from a great Lady.


Trust me.. You want to read this. This is much needed info on dating and rotating.. now that sounds odd.. LOL  They are also good to have for writing on plastic bags for your kits.

Food Storage 2.24-3.2.10

What to add to your food storage this week???   JUICES... Ya know how nice it is to have the comfort of a favorite kool-aid flavor juice, or other shelf stable juice when you are low on funds, have ill ones or what not. They are also good to have on hand when someone is sick at your home. Clear fluids are great to keep sick ones hydrated.  Citrus juices don't seem to last as long on the shelf as grape, apple or even cranberry. But if you like citrus juices, just remember to rotate them and use them before their dates. IF you happen to have electricity, they also make it possible to make ... POPSICLES.  Or even slushies. ...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bisphenol-A (BPA)... nasty stuff

This info was emailed to me by a Doctor. She is also a member of my church, and the sweet person who taught me how to pressure can, and is continually teaching me more stuff. This is her email to me, so when she talks about going up north to get corningware (I have no idea why as north bend is so much closer), but it is not from me.  Although, I quit using plastic stuff in my house a long time ago. Yes I have 4 tupperware items, 2 one-gallon pitchers, 2 midgies (for snacks for the littles). YES, I do have the plastic ball canning jar lids, I use these to put leftovers in my jars and put into the fridge. YES I do wait to put the lid on until the food is cold.
I do have some plastic plates from ikea and bowls too, but those will be getting switched out very very soon. And yes, my water bottles from Costco (3-pk for $18.99) are BPA free (that's why I bought them) and we use those for field trips, and the kids that are in public school use them for water there (so they don't have to drink city water .. yuck.. gag).

Bisphenol A ( aka BPA) Part I: Canning Lids and Food Grade Plastics

 This is such a large issue that I’m writing about it in two parts and providing links throughout. I realize that we all are burdened with time demands so I am summarizing throughout as I write:
Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is a difunctional building block of several important plastics and plastic additives. (detailed information contained on Wikipedia).
Suspected of being hazardous to humans since the 1930s, concerns about the use of Bisphenol-A  in consumer products were regularly reported in the news media in 2008 after several governments issued reports questioning its safety, and some retailers have removed products made of it from their shelves. A 2010 report from the FDA raised further concerns regarding exposure of fetuses, infants, and young children.[1](See Wikipedia citations)
 Bisphenol- A (BPA)
was first synthesized in  1891 in England. Health concerns surfaced in the 1930s. The
health effects of BPA on children was first widely recognized throughout the international manufacturing industry in about 1963. So…the manufacturers of our enameled cans, all our food grade plastics and water bottles have known for a very long time that this element, BPA, can have long-term health effects on us.  The reason that these effects have not been widely publicized until the last 18 months is because the formulas used by manufacturers like Rubbermaid, Sterlite and Kerr-Ball-Benardin canning lids are “proprietary” and not subject to disclosure. Some of you might be thinking, “the FDA has enabled these manufacturers throughout time.”

The most important thing for us to know is that BPA, when leached into our food and water, can cause endocrine disruption. The endocrine system is responsible for lots of important bodily systems and to overall immune system function. The most important function of the endocrine system is its vital role in human reproduction.  The most recent health concerns center about the fact that our children’s endocrine systems are in a continually developing state and the early introduction of BPA in their diets has an “unknown” effect on their future state of health and on the development of their brains, digestive systems and their ability to reproduce when they reach
child-bearing age. Although there are deep concerns expressed for the overall safety of all adults when consuming BPA, the effects on children spurred the Canadian government to remove all BPA-laden baby bottles, Sippy cups, and baby water bottles from the free market about 10 months ago. Studies are ongoing.

Yes, BPA is present in ALL mass manufactured canning lids like Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, Bernardin, Jardin and the list goes on and on. Our generic lids that we get from the Mennonite general store in Iowa also have clear BPA on the inside of the canning lid and in the rubber seal. I’ve presented the two options to these standard canning lids below. However, the risk of BPA to our families through canning lids is VERY SMALL. It’s so small, except in baby food jars, that I will continue to purchase generic lids until another alternative and affordable system has presented itself on the free market.

At this point, the FDA (if you still have any faith in their judgment) has not pulled any of our food grade containers off the shelves. However, we know not to heat any food in plastic containers because this leached BPA and other harmful chemicals into our food. As far as water bottles are concerned, a reminder: When you leave those water bottles in the hot car, the chemicals leach into your water. Also, newer research shows that the water molecule is able to absorb BPA WITHOUT BEING HEATED so finding a good quality reusable water
bottle is very important for each member of your family. In the next edition, I’ll pass along how you can find a non-BPA water bottle with the research that’s available.

The Risk of BPA Absorption in your Standard Canning Lids:

If you are following safe canning procedures, there is a prescribed head space called for when canning. In jam making, it’s about ¼ inch. Some foods are ½ inch and others can be even a bit more, like ¾ inch.  Some of your food, while water bath or pressure canning, will splash against the jar lid where the BPA coats the inside of the lid. Risk is small.

In baby food jars, the jar goes into diaper bags, purses, daddy’s pocket and gets turned upside down, sloshed around and comes into more contact with the jar lids. Also, babies and children under the age of 16 are more susceptible to disruption of their developing endocrine system so…..find some small containers that are safe alternatives. Might have a few suggestions for you next time I write after speaking to a few moms who are on top of this.

Food Containers:
Follow the reasoning carefully. When storing your whole grains, beans, legumes and oatmeal in food grade containers (yes, they have BPA too), you are taking a relatively small risk when storing this way. Please do not panic about this. We are all just doing the best we can with what we have available.
I am working with a representative of a Canadian firm that has developed a line of non-BPA plastics. I do not know the cost and whether or not their products will be cost-effective or functional for us. This line, however, will be available for commercial food establishments. So we have that to look forward to in the future.

When taking food for lunch that must be heated, we switched to glass Pyrex/Corning Ware containers about 6 years ago. The lid is plastic and removed when reheating. The glass containers are great in the fridge for leftovers, for the freezer, the oven and for reheating in the microwave for lunch. We took a leisurely drive to the Corning Ware Outlet Store near Burlington, WA and were able to purchase 8
Glass containers in the medium size and 4 Glass containers in the larger size. We’ve been very happy
 with them. HINT: If you drop one of these on the cement garage floor, it will break (LOL).

Water Barrels: The water barrels we’ve been getting are still FDA approved. For our long term water storage we will continue to use them until the investigative reports are released to the public. Then we read, study  and
decide again what to do to protect our precious resources.

The article below was published on Fake Plastic Fish a site developed by a mom who decided not to use plastics, whenever possible, in her home for 2 reasons:  (1)has unknown effects on our health and (2) it contributed to excess packaging that litters our landfills.

January 13, 2009

Bisphenol-A (aka BPA): What is it? Where is it? Why do we care?

Last week, I posted a little video tour of my kitchen in which I made some remarks about BPA in canned foods. I’ve been receiving all kinds of comments and questions about this issue, so I thought I’d address it directly.
Bisphenol-A, commonly known as BPA, is a component of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It’s been the subject of much recent concern as studies have shown it to be an endocrine disruptor that builds up in our bodies over time. Low doses may cause chronic toxicity in humans, posing the highest risk to pregant women, infants, and young children.
Bisphenol-A only poses a risk if it leaches out of the resin and into our bodies. While much focus has been on polycarbonate water and baby bottles, there is a greater danger from the epoxy linings of canned foods because of the high heats at which they are processed.
BPA in Cans
NEARLY ALL CANNED FOODS CONTAIN BPA. This fact came as a surprise to some Fake Plastic Fish readers. To date, I am only aware of three brands of canned foods that have specifically found alternatives to BPA linings (thanks to FPF reader Christy B.) These brands are:
  1. Eden Organics beans. Note: Eden’s canned tomatoes do contain BPA.
3.      Vital Choice
A December 26, 2008 article from Natural News confirms that as of this writing, these are the only BPA-free brands of canned foods.
There has been some misunderstanding about whether or not Trader Joe’s uses BPA in its cans because of some faulty information provided by its customer service reps. Please check out the discussion in the comments of this Mama Knows Breast blog post for some enlightenment about trusting the statements of customer service reps. Trader Joe’s cans do, in fact, contain BPA.
And what about Whole Foods? They have eliminated BPA-containing bottles from their stores, but Whole Foods’ Statement on BPA does not mention cans. The writer of the Family Health & Safety blog published a response from Whole Foods about a year ago stating that there is BPA in their cans. I personally left a phone message on January 9 with Whole Foods corporate office about BPA lining in 365 Brand cans. (512) 477-5566 x20020. I have not heard back yet. I believe we can safely assume that until Whole Foods publishes otherwise, their 365 Organics canned foods do contain BPA.!
BPA in plastic bottles & containers
BPA is a monomer in polycarbonate plastics, including hard plastic water bottles, baby bottles, the large bottles on the top of water coolers, and the container found on your Cuisinart and other plastic food processor, blender, and juicer containers. (In April 2008, Vita-Mix announced a new BPA-free model, but previous models do contain BPA.) This is why I have mostly stopped using my food processor and opt instead to use my blender with glass pitcher. (I do wonder what kind of plastic is in the bottom.) Other possible items made from polycarbonate are hard plastic drinking cups, plates, and bowls.
Brita pitchers, by the way, are not made from polycarbonate and do not contain BPA.
CDs and DVDs are also made from polycarbonate, as are eye glasses and other hard plastic items. However, since we don’t eat many of these, I think we’re safe. They do carry the pollution hazards of all plastics, of course.
Polycarbonate plastic carries the #7 recycling symbol. But not all #7s are polycarbonate, unfortunately. #7 is a catch-all for plastics that don’t fit into the first 6 categories, including bio-based plastics. The suggestion from consumer groups is if you are trying to avoid BPA, it’s best to avoid all hard #7 plastics unless they specifically state they are BPA-free. Still, you won’t know what else could be leaching from them, will you? My personal suggestion is to opt for glass whenever possible.
If you do choose to use polycarbonate, you can minimize your risk in several ways: don’t fill them with hot foods, don’t wash them in the dishwasher, and don’t scratch them or use harsh detergents or abrasives on them. Rough handling breaks down the plastic and can cause the BPA to leach more than it otherwise might have.
(end of Fake Plastic Fish blog entry)

Alternatives to Standard Canning Lids that contain BPA:

The Weck Canning System consists of beautiful glass jars with rubbers and lids. No BPA is present in the rubber seals. The link to see the jars and read a bit about the canning system is

The downside of the system is that the jars are very expensive, not readily accessible and must be shipped at a large expense to you. The rubber seals are proprietary and are difficult if not possible to obtain locally.
Furthermore, we do not know how long the seals will store safely. Standard canning lids store safely for 5 years and often much longer if stored properly. We don’t know if these rubber seals in the Weck system break down in heat etc.

Tattler makes reusable canning lids out of a non-BPA polymer. I have never seen or sued them but the inventor’s testimony and product information is contained at

The polymer Vita-Mix container DOES contain BPA. has developed a new carafe for your Vita-Mix that is BPA-free. You can view their video about how to change out the Vita-Mix container blades for the BPA-free version on this 3 minute video:


Instead of ruining copyright stuff.. I will just tell ya where we found a recipe for Bagels and made them. :)  We made ours with the whole wheat recipe provided by the Better Homes and gardens cookbook (we call it the checkerboard cookbook) as it is red and white plaid.  It's in the breads section, and well, we won't ever buy bagels again! super easy!  BUT instead of having one batch making 12 we use it to make 8 otherwise they were small. ANY BHG cookbook should have the recipe as it has been in there since the 70's. Here are some pics:

bagels rising

bagels broiling on the first side

boiling bagels on the first side

bagels draining after boiling for 7 minutes

bagels after baking

Now because bagels do NOT have fat in them, it's a good idea to use them with in a day or so.  They were very yummy and I used our first batch this morning to make bread pudding, yumm!!  My first time making bagels I made 5 batches!!  Kids had the first 2 for lunch!.. the second 2 for dinner and the last batch was used for bread pudding.   These really are easy, and my kids LOVE them!

Creamy Italian CP Chicken

I got this recipe from Gloria, and I'll tell you I had kids go back for more!!  Super yum.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
1 pkg Italian dressing mix
1 package cream cheese (8-oz)
1 can cream of mushroom soup*
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 bag frozen peas
1 cup milk
4 TBS butter

Turn Crock-Pot (CP) on. Let butter melt in it. Place chicken over butter & turn to coat. Sprinkle Italian dressing over all. Cook on high 4 hours. Combine soup, milk, cream cheese & chopped onion; heat up seperate and then pour over chicken.
Cook another 40 minutes or so until blended. Add peas before serving.
Meanwhile, boil egg noodles. Serve hot chicken over noodles.
8 Large portions
*I don't use cream of soups from the store, so this is what I did. I made homemade cream of chicken soup, I browned the onions for the recipe in some butter for the soup. I also didn't add the cup of milk, as I had already thinned out my cream of chicken soup when making it. Also, I didn't have any peas so we went with out those. Super YUM!

Fred Meyer 2.21 - 2.27.10

Good Monday to you all!  I hope you all had a wonderful Sabbath. We had a wonderful potluck with my family yesterday after church, and enjoyed celebrating our birthdays. Good food, good company, good fun. 

While writing this up, I can't help but apologize for not posting prices for comfort foods. I know during hard times sometimes that bag of chips, can of rootbeer, or even a cake mix can really make the difference. Now because of several allergies I do not stock a lot of things, but if you find a good price on something, please pick it up IF it is something your family will eat. Also, I don't buy a lot of  processed foods due to allergies, but also because when we were eating them we noticed our health went down hill, rather quickly. So no, we do not buy cold cereal, first off it is very expensive, second full of corn and preservatives and third, it makes my family very sick very fast. We do eat a lot of farm eggs, pancakes (whole grain.. that's a whole other article), waffles, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and more.. Comfort food for me usually comes right from my food storage in the form of Split pea soup!  Such an easy thing to make. OR oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (again, from food storage).. Basically any food you buy and put unto your freezer or cupboards or pantry  is food storage. 

Remember to make sure to make a menu planner, then make your grocery list from this. Then you will shop more wisely, spend less money, and eat better. It is such a relief for us to be able to look at the calendar and know that dinner is already planned. 

Fred Meyer:
Foster Farms whole fryers $0.79/#  FIRST 3
Fred Meyer canned veggies  2/$1.00  FIRST 8
Beef loin petite sirloin steaks $2.99/#  
Pork ribs (bone-in) $1.99/#

Vitamin D, 1%, 2% or Non Fat Milk. Participating items include ALL: * Kellogg's cereal * Kellogg's bars (Nutri*Grain, Special K or Fiber Plus) * Keebler cookies (Sandies, Chips Deluxe or Fudge Shoppe) * Keebler crackers (Club or Town House) * Cheez-It crackers * Rice Krispies Treats
when you buy 4 Kellogg's or Keebler participating items Your First 2 * With This Coupon Additional at Everyday Low Price Customer: Limit one coupon per purchase. Valid for in-store purchases only. Valid Sunday, February 21 through Saturday, February 27, 2010.

What to add to your storage this week???  Candles and Matches... Light is so important. It lifts the mood, quiets frightened littles when the power is out, and is a source of comfort. I know ikea has these packages of unscented tea lights in a hundred pack. We get those as it makes it easier for kids to have in the bathroom, also you can get tea light holders that look like little lanterns.  Michael's is having a sale on the big scented kind as well. I get my matches at Wal-mart. They come in a three pack of quite a few. Usually found in the kitchen section. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Seed Sale at Fred Meyer!!

I was just informed that Fred Meyer has Ed Hume seeds for 50% off!

Cutting the grocery bill down by half! 10 tips for saving BIG TIME!

I am not posting this to upset anyone, but to let you know how we do it here, in our tiny house with our big family. 

Posted in Frugal Mama
Large families, like mine really have felt the rising costs of food lately. We have 7 children ages 17 down to 4 yrs old and they all are blessed with a hearty appetite!
I thought I would share with you all some things we have done around here that has literally cut my grocery bill down by half.  These are simple things that have made a huge difference , and my husband and I are thrilled and we are also a bit frustrated that we had not done this before! 
For some of you , this may not be anything new to you. Kuddos to you for your frugality!
Our family has gone from spending approximately $600 to 800 for food items!!
Here are 10 easy "tips" for cutting back on the food bill without really sacrificing the quality of meals or your health and nutrition.
1. PLAN YOUR MENU!!!    I can not emphasize how this has helped!!!  I plan my menu for the week and print it down and then keep a copy in the kitchen.  This has been a help not only for saving so much on  $$ but it helps with being more organized with meal time prep. I don't feel as stressed around the dinner making hour anymore. My menu is planned and my ingredients are purchased and ready to go!
2. MAKE A MASTER GROCERY LIST FOR THE WEEK. Some of you may do a master list for the week or 2 weeks or even month or more. I place all my needed ingredients on the list and take that with me to the grocery store.
3. CUT BACK ON MEAT AND MAKE MEATLESS MAIN DISHES!!  Not only is this good for your body's health but great on your pocket book too!! There are so many meatless dishes out there that are delicious and healthy too! One of my families favorite is rice & bean burritos,  or baked potatoes. Healthy & yummy! With spring coming more fresh foods will be available, but with cooler weather coming around the corner (back and forth), legumes, soups & chilis will also be on the menu.
4. GO TO THE GROCERY ONCE AND DO NOT RETURN!!  Even if I forget an item I do not return to the grocery store -- reason being is I will usually end up purchasing more than the "one item" I went for!! Going to the grocery just once a week has also helped cut back on the gas bill for my burb.
5. GIVE UP EATING OUT !!  Nothing destroys the budget faster than eating out!! That includes fast foods and drive thrus.  Send your husband a packed lunch from home -- or prepare him a plate of leftovers from dinner to send with him.  It will be better for his health overall and save you so much $$!! If you do eat out -- PLAN IT - into your budget. We purposely choose to eat out on nights where kids can eat free out our favorite restraunt or we don't take the kids, and really we don't eat out hardly at all. It is a SPLURGE to eat out - so we really do it sparingly.
6. Consider GIVING  UP shopping at Sam's Club or Costco -- I for years shopped costco and Sam's club. I would average spending about $300-400 a month there and then I would need to go to the local grocery store as well!  I have successfully given up shopping at Sam's club! I didn't think I could do it -- but we are doing it and saving hundreds of $$ each month!  It is hard to shop Sam's and Costco and not spend a bundle. It is tempting to purchase things that are not needed. I do still get peanut butter and gas at Costco.
7. GO NO NAME BRAND on cleaning products and canned goods:   I Purchase all my cleaning products and paper products from the dollar store and save $$ each month.  I do not calculate cleaning products into the monthly grocery/food bill. It is seperate.   When I purchase canned goods like honey or canned veggies I look for no name brands or what is on sale.
8. CHECK YOUR PAPER AND SEE WHAT YOUR GROCERY HAS ON SALE AND BUILD YOUR MENU AROUND SALE ITEMS : You will save so much $$ by doing this!! If hamburger is on sale -- purchase hamburger or if chicken is on sale go for that! Sticking to sale items and building your weekly menu around that will save you $$!!
9. USE WHOLE GRAINS VS. REFINED GRAINS:  Reason being if your family consumes whole grains, like brown rice, or whole wheat breads vs. white they will be satisfied and not go hungry away from the table!   Consider making your own breads and baked goods , if you are not doing so already.
10. AVOID PACKAGED FOODS LIKE COLD CEREALS, FROZEN FOODS, ETC. :  Not only are they not healthy for you or your family, they do not fill your kid's tummy up like a pot of hot oats or creamy wheat cereal! Consider making your own granola and save  $$$ .  We eat oats and wheat cereals. It is rare to see cold cereals around here. Frozen foods are not only hazerdous for your health, they are $$ and usually do not include large portions or servings.
I hope this is helpful to some of you struggling with getting a grip on your grocery bill!
We got to the point in our family where we were "forced" to take a good hard look at what we were doing and make some major changes and adjustments.  We are so pleased with the results, we only wish we would have done this sooner!
Like I shared earlier, many of you may already be doing this , but it's new to me because we have not had to do this before, financially speaking.
We are down to feeding a family of 9 for $300 a month and I am thrilled!
I hope this helps someone else who is struggling with keeping a lid on the food budget!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

7 Major Mistakes in Food Storage

by Vicki Tate

If you are going to store food, make sure that the food you store is adequate for the need you and your family anticipate. This may not be as easy as to achieve as many people think, because the facts are that most people make serious errors when storing food—errors that will come back to haunt them when the food they’ve stored is the only thing that stands between them and their empty, dissatisfied, bellies.
There are seven common mistakes people make when storing food. They are:

1. Variety
Most people don’t have enough variety in their storage. 95% of the people I’ve worked with have only stored four basic items: wheat, milk, honey, and salt. Statistics show most of us won’t survive on such a diet for several reasons. a) Many people are allergic to wheat and may not be aware of it until they are eating it meal after meal. b) Wheat is too harsh for young children. They can tolerate it in small amounts but not as their main staple. c) We get tired of eating the same foods over and over and many times prefer to not eat, then to sample that particular food again. This is called appetite fatigue. Young children and older people are particularly susceptible to it. Store less wheat than is generally suggested and put the difference into a variety of other grains, particularly ones your family likes to eat. Also store a variety of beans, as this will add color, texture, and flavor. Variety is the key to a successful storage program. It is essential that you store flavorings such as tomato, bouillon, cheese, and onion.
Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. One of the best suggestions I can give you is buy a good food storage cookbook, go through it, and see what your family would really eat. Notice the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.

2. Extended staples
Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze dried foods as well as home canned and “store bought” canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast, and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items.

3. Vitamins
Vitamins are important, especially if you have children, since children do not store body reserves of nutrients as adults do. A good quality multi-vitamin and vitamin C are the most vital. Others might be added as your budget permits.

4. Quick and easy and “psychological foods”
Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. “No cook” foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation, MREs (Meal Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. “Psychological foods” are the goodies—Jello, pudding, candy, etc.—you should add to your storage. These may sound frivolous, but through the years I've talked with many people who have lived entirely on their storage for extended periods of time. Nearly all of them say these were the most helpful items in their storage to “normalize” their situations and make it more bearable. These are especially important if you have children.

5. Balance
Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two or three items.

6. Containers
Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers. I have seen literally tons and tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they became highly susceptible to moisture, insects, and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don’t stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most preparedness companies use when they package their foods.

7. Use your storage
In all the years I’ve worked with preparedness one of the biggest problems I’ve seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It’s vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to have to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a good food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods! It’s better to find out the mistakes you’ll make now while there’s still time to make corrections.
It’s easy to take basic food storage and add the essentials that make it tasty, and it needs to be done. As I did the research for my cookbook, Cooking with Home Storage, I wanted to include recipes that gave help to families no matter what they had stored. As I put the material together it was fascinating to discover what the pioneers ate compared to the types of things we store. If you have stored only the basics, there’s very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things, it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of your family surviving on it. As I studied how the pioneers lived and ate, my whole feeling for food storage changed. I realized our storage is what most of the world has always lived on. If it’s put together the right way we are returning to good basic food with a few goodies thrown in.

96-Hour Emergency Kit

96-Hour Kit List

 Personal Emergency Plan
 Contact List / Phone Numbers


 Gallon / person / day = 8.35 lb / gal
 Poly canteens, 1 quart
 Sierra cup
 Water purification tablets
 Water purifier & extra filters
 Water bag, nylon
 Water bag liners, plastic
 Solar still
 Rubber surgical tubing


 Foam pad, closed cell
 Sleeping bag - temp rating your area.
 Air pillow


 Personal daily rations
 Energy bars, tablets
 Trail snacks
 Freeze dried packs (Mtn. House, etc.)
 MRE's
 Your Own Food List


 Scouring pads, soap filled
 Sanitary tablets & dunking bag
 Dish towel - black dries fastest in sun


 Hiking boots - broken in
 Trail sneakers
 Socks
 Underclothing
 Thermal underwear
 Shirts, short sleeve
 Shirts, long sleeve
 Shorts, hiking
 Sturdy trousers, long
 Sweat pants - can cut off if hot
 Belt and buckle
 Sweater
 Down vest
 Down jacket
 Parka
 Poncho
 Gloves, leather and snowboarder
 Mittens, wool
 Scarf
 Balaclava
 Bandanna, large
 Hat - brimmed -
 Swimsuit

Cooking Equipment

 Frying pan, folding
 Cook set, nesting
 Can opener, P-38
 Eating utensil set
 Book matches, water proof
 Pack stove
 Windscreen
 Fuel bottles - w / fuel
 Condiments
 Salt & Pepper
 Sugar
 Flour
 Honey
 Milk, dry, instant
 Aluminum foil


 Tent - test assemble it before buying
 Tent fly
 Tent poles
 Tent pegs
 Ground cloth
 Ultra light weight tarp
 Tarp clamps
 Paracord (550), 50 ft. 2 ea

Personal Hygiene & Sanitation

 Toilet trowel or small shovel
 Toilet tissue, biodegradable
 Feminine hygiene items
 Shampoo
 Comb and brush
 Eye drops
 Tooth brush & tooth paste
 Shaving gear
 Deodorant
 Soap & soap dish
 Bath towel - black - dries faster in sun
 Plastic bags dbl wall - w/ties for waste
 Mirror - small - non-breakable
 Moist towelettes
 Sewing kit
 Paper towels

First Aid

 Personal First Aid Kit
 Family First Aid Kit
 Build own kit(s) to fit your family
 Prescription medicines you need
 Thyroid blocker - potassium iodide

Preventative Aids

 Foot powder
 Body powder, medicated
 Moleskins
 Chigger powder
 Mosquito repellent
 Lip balm
 Sun block
 Body powder, medicated
 Corn starch
 Hand lotion

Emergency Gear

 Signal flares, night
 Signal smoke, day
 Signal die, water
 Signal mirror
 Strobe light
 Whistle
 Space blankets or bags
 Hand warmers
 Headlamp - LED "AA" batteries
 CERT kit if trained
 Whistle
 Dust masks - N95 valved
 Vinyl gloves

Personal Items

 Camera, lenses, flash and film
 Binoculars
 Swiss Pocket knife
 Sharpening stones and oil
 Wallet - Cash $100 - $200 in small bills
 Extra house and car keys
 Copy of important papers, ie. titles, bank statement, drivers license, etc.
 Put docs in waterproof bag - hide in kit
 Change $10 / $20 - quarters for phone
 Handkerchief
 Watch
 Sun & prescription glasses
 Pencil and note pad
 Scriptures
 Photos - Self - Family - names on back
 Photo I.D., Copy of HAM license

Light, Heat, Fire Making

 Pack lantern
 Spare lantern mantles
 Flash light w / L.E.D. light
 Spare bulb, batteries
 Candle lantern
 Spare plumbers candles
 Glow sticks
 Match safe & matches
 Magnesium block
 Magnifying glass
 Lighter
 Spare flints
 Fire starting kit

Fishing Equipment

 Pack rod case
 Pack rod, spin -fly combination
 Ultra lite spinning reel
 Ultra lite fly reel
 15 lb test Spiderwire monofilament
 7DTF fly line
 Fly line leaders, various lb test
 Tackle boxes, small double sided (2)
 Hooks, size 8, 10, 12
 Fly assortment
 Sinkers, split shot
 Spinners
 Spoons
 Small plugs, poppers, bugs
 Fanny pack.
 Copper wire - spool


 Map case
 Maps
 Map measure
 Pedometer
 Compass
 Altimeter
 Global positioning system (GPS)

Pack - Pack Frame

 Pack or rolling duffle bag
 Frame
 Clevis pins
 Stuff bags
 Compression straps
 Plastic garbage bags
 Twist ties


 Pocket radio, battery/solar power
 Cell phone ... and / or
 Two way radio: HAM, CB, GMRS, FRS
 Spare batteries - know your equip.
 Solar battery charger

Clothing Maintenance and Repair

 Sewing Kit
 Spare shoelaces
 Biodegradable detergent
 Woolite
 Small scrub brush
 Clothes pins

Tools and Repair Kits

 Leatherman.or Gerber tool
 Doc Allen Versatool
 Sven saw
 Hatchet/Boys axe w/sheath
 8-inch mill file
 Spare parts: pack, stove, lantern
 Tent/ Pack patch kit: ripstop tape
 Small shovel
 Needle nose pliers - small wrench
 Duct tape


 Pistol - Concealed carry & training
 Extra ammo
 Knife - Emerson CQC-7
 Leather belt - bidirectional dbl layered
 Personal protection training
 NLP - neuro-linguistic programming

Modify kit list to fit your needs. Use your kit 2 or 3 times a year. If you can't use the contents instinctually before an emergency, you'll be in serious trouble when one hits.

Test all equipment in mock disaster scenarios in backyard or camping activities. Run tests on the coldest day / night of year and then tweak your kits to match your needs.

Remember, you'll be carrying the kit so pay attention to weight. You may have to put some of your kits including water in wheeled bags. Even little folks can maneuver rolling luggage.

Excerpts from Northmountain blog

30 Tips for Emergency Preparedness

Here are 30 tips to help you and your family become better prepared for an emergency. [From]

Preparedness Tip #1

Take a moment to imagine that there is an emergency, like a fire in your home, and you need to leave quickly. What are the best escape routes from your home? Find at least two ways out of each room. Now, write it down — you’ve got the beginning of a plan.

Preparedness Tip #2

Pick a place to meet after a disaster. Designate two meeting places. Choose one right outside your home, in case of a sudden household emergency, such as a fire. The second place you choose needs to be outside your neighborhood, in the event that it is not safe to stay near or return to your home.

Preparedness Tip #3

Choose an emergency contact person outside your area because it may be easier to call long distance than locally after a local/regional disaster. Take a minute now to call or e-mail an out-of-town friend or family member to ask him or her to be your family’s designated contact in the event of an emergency. Be sure to share the contact’s phone number with everyone in the family. During an emergency, you can call your contact who can share with other family members where you are; how you are doing; and how to get in contact with you.

Preparedness Tip #4

Complete an emergency contact card and make copies for each member of your family to carry with them. Be sure to include an out-of-town contact on your contact card. It may be easier to reach someone out of town if local phone lines are out of service or overloaded. You should also have at least one traditionally wired landline phone, as cordless or cellular phones may not work in an emergency. Visit or for sample emergency contact cards.
Preparedness Tip #5

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but due to health regulations, most emergency shelters cannot house animals. Find out in advance how to care for your pets and working animals when disaster strikes. Pets should not be left behind, but could be taken to a veterinary office, family member’s home or animal shelter during an emergency. Also be sure to store extra food and water for pets. For more information, visit the Animal Safety section on or visit the Humane Society Web site at

Preparedness Tip #6

Go through your calendar now, and put a reminder on it — every six months — to review your plan, update numbers, and check supplies to be sure nothing has expired, spoiled, or changed. Also remember to practice your tornado, fire escape or other disaster plans.

Preparedness Tip #7

Check your child’s school Web site or call the school office to request a copy of the school’s emergency plan. Keep a copy at home and work or other places where you spend a lot of your time and make sure the school’s plan is incorporated into your family’s emergency plan. Also, learn about the disaster plans at your workplace or other places where you and your family spend time.

Preparedness Tip #8

Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for help. Post these and other emergency telephone numbers by telephones.

Preparedness Tip #9

Practice. Conduct fire drills and practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are blocked or gridlocked. Practice earthquake and tornado drills at home, school and work. Commit a weekend to update telephone numbers, emergency supplies and review your plan with everyone.

Preparedness Tip #10

A community working together during an emergency makes sense.

  • Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together during an emergency.
  • Find out if anyone has specialized equipment like a power generator, or expertise such as medical knowledge, that might help in a crisis.
  • Decide who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
  • Make back-up plans for children in case you can’t get home in an emergency.
Sharing plans and communicating in advance is a good strategy

Preparedness Tip #11

What if disaster strikes while you’re at work? Do you know the emergency preparedness plan for your workplace? While many companies have been more alert and pro-active in preparing for disasters of all types since the September 11, 2001 attacks, a national survey indicates that many employees still don’t know what their workplace plan is for major or minor disasters. If you don’t know yours, make a point to ask. Know multiple ways to exit your building, participate in workplace evacuation drills, and consider keeping some emergency supplies at the office. Visit and click on Ready Business for more information about business preparedness.

Preparedness Tip #12

You should keep enough supplies in your home to meet the needs of you and your family for at least three days. Build an emergency supply kit to take with you in an evacuation. The basics to stock in your portable kit include: water, food, battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries, first aid supplies, change of clothing, blanket or sleeping bag, wrench or pliers, whistle, dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape, trash bags, map, a manual can opener for canned food and special items for infants, elderly, the sick or people with disabilities. Keep these items in an easy to carry container such as a covered trash container, a large backpack, or a duffle bag.

Preparedness Tip #13

Preparing for emergencies needn’t be expensive if you’re thinking ahead and buying small quantities at a time. Make a list of some foods that:
  • Have a long shelf-life and will not spoil (non-perishable).
  • You and your family like.
  • Do not require cooking.
  • Can be easily stored.
  • Have a low salt content as salty foods will make you more thirsty.
Keep the list in your purse or wallet and pick up a few items each time you’re shopping and/or see a sale until you have built up a well-stocked supply that can sustain each member of your family for at least three days following an emergency.

Preparedness Tip #14

Take a minute to check your family’s first aid kit, and note any depleted items — then, add them to your shopping list. Don’t have a first aid kit? Add that to the list or build a kit yourself. Just add the following items to your shopping list and assemble a first aid kit. Consider creating a kit for each vehicle as well:

First Aid Kits – Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.

  • (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes
  • (1) 5″ x 9″ sterile dressing
  • (1) conforming roller gauze bandage
  • (2) triangular bandages
  • (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads
  • (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads
  • (1) roll 3″ cohesive bandage
  • (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • (6) antiseptic wipes
  • (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves
  • Adhesive tape, 2″ width
  • Anti-bacterial ointment
  • Cold pack
  • Scissors (small, personal)
  • Tweezers
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
  • First Aid Manual
Non-Prescription and Prescription Drugs
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Prescription drugs, as recommended by your physician, and copies of the prescriptions in case they need to be replaced
For more information about first aid kits, visit

Preparedness Tip #15

Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person. Store a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation and sanitation). Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and strenuous activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and people who are sick will also need more.

Preparedness Tip #16

One of the easiest ways you can prepare for emergencies is to keep some supplies readily available. Every kit is unique and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your family, but below is a general list of supplies you may want to consider:
Tools and Supplies (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *)
  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
  • Emergency preparedness manual and a copy of your disaster plan, including your emergency contacts list
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
  • Flashlight and extra batteries*
  • Cash or traveler’s checks, change*
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
  • Fire extinguisher: small ABC type stored near where fires are likely to occur such as a kitchen, or near a fireplace. It should not be kept in the disaster supplies kit.
  • Tube tent
  • Duct Tape*
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil*
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench or pliers, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle*
  • Plastic sheeting*
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters and evacuation routes)
(Continued in the next tip)

Preparedness Tip #17

Also include items for sanitation in your emergency supply kit. Consider the following:
Sanitation (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *)
  • Toilet paper, towelettes*
  • Soap, liquid detergent*
  • Feminine supplies*
  • Personal hygiene items*
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)*
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach
(Continued in the next tip)

Preparedness Tip #18

Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person in your emergency supply kit. We suggest long pants and long sleeves for additional protection after a disaster.
Clothing and Bedding (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *
  • Sturdy shoes or work boots*
  • Rain gear*
  • Blankets or sleeping bags*
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Ear Plugs (trust me, if you end up in a shelter you will be thankful!)
Preparedness Tip #19

You should also keep a smaller version of your emergency supply kit in your vehicle, in case you are commuting or traveling when disaster strikes.
Emergency Kit For Your Vehicle
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Blanket
  • Booster cables
  • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Maps
  • Shovel
  • Tire repair kit and pump
  • Flares or other emergency marking devices
Preparedness Tip #20

Teach children how to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. Review emergency action steps with all family members:
  • Check the scene and the victim
  • Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number posted by the telephone
  • Care for the victim
Help your children learn more about emergencies by visiting Red Cross’ “Masters of Disaster.”

Preparedness Tip #21

Read the information on your city, county and/or state government Web sites as well as the “Be Prepared” section or and print emergency preparedness information. Be sure to keep a copy with your disaster supplies kit. It can provide telephone numbers, addresses and other information you need when electronic connections are not available options for obtaining the information.

Preparedness Tip #22

When water is of questionable purity, it is easiest to use bottled water for drinking and cooking if it is available. When it’s not available, it is important to know how to treat contaminated water. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, water from questionable sources may be contaminated by a variety of microorganisms, including, bacteria and parasites that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis. All water of uncertain purity should be treated before use. Use one or a combination of these treatments:
  • Filter: Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.
  • Boil: Bring it to a rolling boil for about one full minute. Cool it and pour it back and forth between two clean containers to improve its taste before drinking it.
  • Chlorinate:
  • Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health risk for water treatment.
  • Let stand 30 minutes.
  • If it smells of chlorine. You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops (1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach per gallon of water, let stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
Flood water can also be contaminated by toxic chemicals. Do NOT try to treat flood water.

Preparedness Tip #23

In some emergencies you may be required to turn off your utilities. To prepare for this type of event:
  • Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.
  • Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves
  • Teach adult family members how to turn off utilities.
If you turn off the gas, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

Preparedness Tip #24

Understand that during an emergency you may be asked to “shelter-in-place” or evacuate. Plan for both possibilities and be prepared to listen to instructions from your local emergency management officials. Visit for more information on sheltering-in-place.

Preparedness Tip #25

A disaster can cause significant financial loss. Your apartment or home may be severely damaged or destroyed. You may be forced to live in temporary housing. Income may be cut off or significantly reduced. Important financial records could be destroyed. Take the time now to assess your situation and ask questions.

To help you, consider using the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a tool developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps or contact your local Red Cross chapter for Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness.

Preparedness Tip #26

Learn if earthquakes are a risk in your area by contacting your local emergency management office, local American Red Cross chapter, or state geological survey or department of natural resources. Information about earthquake risk is also available from the U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazards project.

Preparedness Tip #27

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. As much as 90 percent of the damage related to all natural disasters (excluding draught) is caused by floods and associated debris flow. Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding. Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring or summer; or hurricanes can bring intense rainfall to coastal and inland states in the summer and fall. Regardless of how a flood occurs, the rule for being safe is simple: head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. You can protect yourself by being prepared and having time to act. Local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio are the best sources of information in a flood situation.

Preparedness Tip #28

When there is concern about a potential exposure to a chemical or other airborne hazard, local officials may advise you to “shelter-in-place “ and “seal the room.” This is different from taking shelter on the lowest level of your home in case of a natural disaster like a tornado. If you believe the air may be badly contaminated or if you are instructed by local officials, follow the instructions below to create a temporary barrier between you and the contaminated air outside.
To shelter-in-place and seal-the-room:
  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Close the fireplace damper.
  • Get your disaster supplies kit and turn on your battery-powered radio.
  • Go to an interior room that is above ground level and without windows, if possible. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.
  • If directed by local authorities on the radio, use duct tape to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. Tape plastic sheeting, such as heavy-duty plastic garbage bags, over any windows.
  • Listen to your radio or television for further instructions. Local officials will tell you when you can leave the room in which you are sheltering, or they may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community
Preparedness Tip #29

If there is an explosion:
  • Take shelter against your desk or a sturdy table.
  • Exit the building immediately.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Check for fire and other hazards.
  • Take your emergency supply kit if time allows.
If there is a fire:
  • Exit the building immediately.
  • If there is smoke, crawl under the smoke to the nearest exit and use a cloth, if possible, to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Use the back of your hand to feel the upper, lower, and middle parts of closed doors.
  • If the door is not hot, brace yourself against it and open slowly.
  • If the door is hot, do not open it. Look for another way out.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, stop-drop-and-roll to put out the fire. Do not run.
  • If you are at home, go to your previously designated outside meeting place.
  • Account for your family members and carefully supervise small children.
  • GET OUT and STAY OUT. Never go back into a burning building.
  • Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
Preparedness Tip #30

Unlike an explosion, a biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious. Most likely local health care workers will report a pattern of unusual illness or a wave of sick people seeking medical attention. The best source of information will be radio or television reports.

Understand that some biological agents, such as anthrax, do not cause contagious diseases. Others, like the smallpox virus, can result in diseases you can catch from other people.

In the event of a biological attack, public health officials may not immediately be able to provide information on what you should do. It will take time to determine exactly what the illness is, how it should be treated, and who may have been exposed. You should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news including the following:
  • Are you in the group or area authorities believe may have been exposed?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
  • Are medications or vaccines being distributed?
  • Where? Who should get them and how?
  • Where should you seek emergency medical care if you become sick?
During a declared biological emergency:
  • If a family member becomes sick, it is important to be suspicious.
  • Do not assume, however, that you should go to a hospital emergency room or that any illness is the result of the biological attack. Symptoms of many common illnesses may overlap.
  • Use common sense, practice good hygiene and cleanliness to avoid spreading germs, and seek medical advice.
  • Consider if you are in the group or area authorities believe to be in danger.
  • If your symptoms match those described and you are in the group considered at risk, immediately seek emergency medical attention.
If you are potentially exposed:
  • Follow instructions of doctors and other public health officials.
  • If the disease is contagious expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment. You may be advised to stay away from others or even deliberately quarantined.
  • For non-contagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment.
If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious substance nearby:
  • Quickly get away.
  • Protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing. Examples include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. Otherwise, several layers of tissue or paper towels may help.
  • Wash with soap and water.
  • Contact authorities.
  • Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news and information including what the signs and symptoms of the disease are, if medications or vaccinations are being distributed and where you should seek medical attention if you become sick.
  • If you become sick seek emergency medical attention.