Prepare Every Needful Thing

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

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Equipment and Supplies–May 2015

Manual Can Opener

can openerWhen I was a college student, my food storage consisted of a (very) few cans of food and packets of dried soup mix stashed on the top shelf of my dorm room closet. While they could never get me through any extended period, I felt security in knowing that I had a few meals up there in case I missed cafeteria hours. Apparently, I went through the dried soup first because I remember being hungry and having nothing left except my cans and realizing, horribly, that I had no can opener.

Whether you are a poor college student without a car or a parent with a houseful of hungry kids during a power outage, a reliable manual can opener is essential equipment for being able to use all those canned goods that you have amassed. Can openers are available in just a few different designs. My favorite style is the one above. You can pick up one that looks like this from the grocery store, but, unfortunately, the widely available Made in China models do not last long. Instead, spend the time and find one that is American-made. The price is the same, but the quality and durability are completely different. Search online for EZ-DUZ-IT, Made in USA Can Opener or Neaty Made in America Can Opener or check country of manufacture labels if you’re purchasing at a brick-and-mortar store.

Other options include a “church key” or pierce-style can opener, a military/pocket can opener or a side can opener that leaves a less knife-like edge. Apparently, you can also open a can by rubbing the top rim of the can for about a minute on a sidewalk or other flat concrete surface. Or you could to what I did: use a hammer and flat-head screwdriver to tediously (and messily) cut around the rim of the lid until you can pry it up and remove the contents. This exercise had the good effect of helping me to remember to purchase a can opener when I got home and to appreciate this humble mechanical wonder ever since.


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Home Production and Gardening–May 2015

Homemade Laundry Aids

Washing_MachineLiquid Laundry Soap

Grate one bar of soap—Zote, Fels Naptha or unscented Ivory are all good choices. Place grated soap in a pan with 2 quarts of water and heat slowly, stirring constantly until soap is completely dissolved. Put 4 ½ gallons of very hot water into a 5-gallon bucket and stir in 1 cup each of borax and washing soda until completely dissolved. Add soap mixture to the 5-gallon bucket and stir well. Cover and let sit several hours or overnight. Stir until smooth. Pour into dispenser. Use ½-1 cup per full load.


 Dry Laundry Soap from BLISSFUL 55 (appears at

1 (4 lb 12 oz) box of Borax–found in the detergent aisle

1 (3 lb 7 oz) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda–found in the detergent aisle

1 (3 lb) container of OxyClean– Found in the detergent aisle. (optional but highly recommended)

2 (14.1 oz) bars of Zote Soap–found in the detergent aisle (you can also use Fels Naptha)

1 (4 lb) box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda–found in the cooking aisle

1-2 (55 oz) bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener–found in the detergent aisle

 Grate soap with cheese grater or food processor. Mix all ingredients together in a large bucket.  Use 2-4 Tablespoons per laundry load.


DIY Stain Remover

1 part original blue Dawn

2 parts hydrogen peroxide

 Mix well and treat stains directly before washing. Test an inconspicuous spot first and do not leave on for more than about 15 minutes at a time


Homemade fabric softener

2 cups hair conditioner

3 cups white vinegar

6 cups hot water

 Mix well and use according to washer instructions.


Other options:

I have a friend who washed her laundry with salt alone for a time. Salt is a fairly good stain and grease remover and is often used both to set and brighten colors. Use ½-1 cup per full washer load.

Another option is soap nuts. These are the fruit of a tree (Sapindus mukorossi) that grows in Asia. They are naturally high in saponins and can be used in washing clothes, dishes and bodies. They have the added benefit of being mildly insecticidal and helpful in the treatment of eczema.


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Cooking With Food Storage–May 2015

India Chicken Curry

India ckn curry½ cup diced celery (¼ cup freeze-dried + ¾ cup water)

¼ chopped onion (1-2 Tablespoons dried + ½ cup water)

2 Tablespoons butter or oil

1/3 cup flour

2 cups chicken stock (2 cups water + 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes)

1 15-oz cans tomato sauce

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¾ teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger

4 cups diced cooked chicken (2-3 12.5-oz cans)


Rehydrate celery and onion for 20 minutes and then drain. Saute briefly in butter or oil until tender. Whisk in flour and let bubble over medium low heat for 3 minutes. Add stock and cook till thickened, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly.

Serve over rice.


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Emergency and Disaster Response–May 2015

Protecting Your Supplies in a Natural Disaster

I recently read an account of a woman who had spent a great deal of time, energy and money to build up her supply of food and other essential supplies only to have a large percentage of her things destroyed in a plumbing-caused basement flood. It was not that she was careless, but her situation revealed weaknesses in her storage systems that she had not anticipated. Fortunately, her disaster was very localized—she saved what she could save, worked on rebuilding what was lost and learned from the experience—but in the case of a widespread natural disaster, we may not have the same luxury of a do-over. Below are some steps you can take now to preserve your preparedness investments.

  • Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Divide your food storage and supplies and cache them in various places around your property. This decreases the likelihood that everything will be lost. It might not even be a bad idea to store some things offsite in a storage unit, cabin or even at a friend or family member’s house if, particularly if you have arranged to evacuate there in case of an emergency.
  • Use wooden bars, straps or bungees to keep items on shelving units. Many of this woman’s losses could have been prevented if items had not fallen from the shelves. Also, use non-slip liners on shelves and baby locks to keep cabinet doors closed.
  • Anchor free-standing shelving units into wall studs.
  • Package items to withstand both water infiltration, falls and abrading and crushing forces. For instance, vacuum sealing is great waterproofing but it is quickly compromised by a run-in with a sharp or rough object. Placing several vacuum-sealed items together in a five-gallon bucket or large plastic tote will provide more reliable protection. Filling the empty spaces with newspaper or packing peanuts will provide even better protection. Other tactics to consider include clear-coating metal cans to improve water resistance and purchasing plastic JarBoxes to contain and cushion your canning jars.
  • Consider below-ground or safe-room storage if you live in a tornado or hurricane prone area. Underground storage may also be a good option for wildfires.

If you have flood-damaged food storage items:

  • Throw out any opened packages; any permeable packaging (even if it appears dry); any metal cans that are rusted, bulging or have dents along the seams. Also, throw out any item with one-piece screw on lid that does not have a sturdy interior metalized vacuum seal—mayonnaise, salad dressing, and peanut butter are often packaged this way. Dirty water will seep up into the threads and cannot be decontaminated.
  • Thoroughly check home-canned food with two piece lids. If seal is good—decontaminate, if broken—discard.

Decontamination after flood:

Products properly sealed in cans or foil pouches can be used after the container is rinsed with clean water and immersed for 15 minutes in a freshly made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of clean drinking water.  The containers should be completely air-dried before opening or storing.  If you lack bleach, you can submerge the cans in boiling water. (from

For more information, see:

Dealing with food storage post-flood

Earthquakes and food storage

Fire and food storage


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Spiritual Preparedness–May 2015

Keep a Journal

journalPresident Wilford Woodruff had a great testimony of keeping a journal. He first began keeping a regular journal when he was 28 years old and wrote his final entry 63 years later, just two days before his death. His insights and testimony of this principle follow.

“It may be considered by some not important to write or keep a record of our work or the work of God, but I believe it is. Otherwise the prophets would not have been moved upon to exhort us to faithfulness upon this subject. The Lord has told us that what we seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven and what we record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and what is not sealed or recorded on earth is not sealed or recorded in heaven [see D&C 128:7–8]. Therefore it appears to be very important that we do keep a true and faithful record in all things.”

“Should we not have respect enough to God to make a record of those blessings which He pours out upon us and our official acts which we do in His name upon the face of the earth? I think we should.”

“If there was no other motive in view [except] to have the privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent in writing it.”

“While walking in a rapid stream we cannot tread twice in the same water. Neither can we spend twice the same time. When we pass out of that door, the work of this meeting will be closed to us forever. We shall never spend the time of this evening again. Then should we not keep a record of our work, teachings, and counsel which we give in this meeting? We should.”


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Financial Preparedness–May 2015

Pay Tithing and Track your Spending


  1. The Lord has promised great blessings to those who pay a full and honest tithe and so any financial preparedness program should begin there.  By returning a tenth to the Lord, we exercise our faith, show gratitude for His blessings and open the windows of heaven to receive help and guidance as we work to become better prepared.  Please contact the bishop if you have questions or concerns.
  1. The second goal for the month is to keep track of what you spend.  Hang on to all receipts, bills and invoices.  Record these amounts regularly.  Most find recording either daily or weekly works best, as the transactions are still fresh in one’s mind and the quantity of work is very manageable. The record-keeping can take place in a notebook, in a spreadsheet or on a computer budgeting program.  Some banks and credit unions even offer such tools as part of their services.  Just find a method that works for you and begin.  This is an important preliminary step for setting up a budget, which we will do next month!

Basic budget sheet from

Sample budget worksheet

“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”   D&C 64:33

The Lord’s guidance for keeping our financial houses in order is very basic. This section will repeat annually.

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Food Storage–May 2015

Month One


Food Storage plans are intended to feed one person for one year:

Here are the year’s totals for all of the plans:

The Bare Minimum      $480 for the year, with monthly purchases averaging $40

Expanded Storage     $1870 for the year, with monthly purchases averaging $155

Gluten-Free Storage       $1017 for the year, with monthly purchases averaging $85

We hope this is helpful!

The Bare Minimum

5 quarts oil $8.66 (Walmart gallon + 48 oz)

8 lbs salt $8 (grocery store)

14 gallons water $14 (grocery store)

TOTAL $30.66

Expanded Storage

1 case (12) canned fruit   $24 (grocery store-generic)

2 cans dry potatoes   $8.50 (LDS Cannery)

6 cans powdered milk $28.50 (LDS Cannery)

9 cans wheat (49.5 lbs)   $26.55 (LDS cannery)

9 lbs yeast $18 (Costco)

TOTAL  $109.95

Gluten-Free Storage

50 lbs white rice   $20 (Costco)

7 5-gallon buckets   $49 (Lowes)

8 lbs salt   $8 (grocery store)

14 gallons water $14 (grocery store)

TOTAL  $91



Store names provided when I thought they might be helpful in keeping costs down.  If you are having a hard time finding items for the price listed, leave a comment by clicking on the link at the top of the left sidebar and I will give you my pricing info. Pricing is subject to change…as anyone shopping these days can testify!