Monday, September 20, 2010

Self-Reliant Challenges - 2010 to 2011

September – I Dare You to Build It
  • 72-Hour Kit Challenge: Find or buy a container for your 72-hour kit. (Backpacks on sale this month)
  • H2O Challenge: Purchase one case or gallon of water for your storage. Rotate and revaluate current storage.
  • Document Challenge: Photocopy your family’s birth certificates. Laminate them or place them in a zip-loc bag.
October – I Dare You to Eat It
  • 72-Hour Kit Challenge: Purchase three small cans of food or three 1200-Calorie energy bars. (May be purchased at: be
  • Cook wheat berries in your crock pot overnight
    • Eat with milk & sugar for breakfast.
    • Prepare spaghetti or sloppy Joes. Substitute half of your ground beef with wheat berries.
    • Prepare blender pancakes.
  • Document Challenge: Photocopy social security cards and immunization records. Laminate them or place them in a zip-loc bag.
  • Visit the Provident Living website. Select the “New: Family Home Storage Pamphlet,” and read about each of the four categories.
November – I Dare You to Pack It
  • 72-Hour Kit Challenge: Having money on hand is very important in case of an emergency. Place five dollars or a roll of quarters ($10) in your kit.
  • Add one item to your 72-hour kits from the “72-hour Top Ten List”.
  • Document Challenge: Visit and download or create your own “Family Emergency Plan”. This should include meeting places and contact numbers. Great idea for family night! Remember to laminate or place in a zip-loc bag.
  • Practice your emergency plan in Family Home Evening.
December - I Dare You to Milk It/Fake It
  • Recipe Challenge: Select & prepare a recipe using powdered milk or an egg substitute.
  • Accept one of the following challenges for your Christmas gift giving:
    • Give a gift from the heart that you have created. Examples: Family recipe book, quilt, family history, food storage, etc….
    • Change a family gift giving tradition that will save money and create memories.
January – I Dare You to Bag It
  • Plan & purchase 4 recipes your family will enjoy that can be made from pantry items.
  • Purchase 5 lbs. of your family’s favorite pasta.
  • Recipe Challenge: Prepare 1 meal using only pantry items.
  • Document Challenge: Take a snapshot of each family member and one family photo. Laminate them or place them in a zip-loc bag.
February – I Dare You To Grind It
  • Call one of the following sisters and arrange a time to grind wheat. (Rachelle, Amy, Holly, Melanie & Robyn)
  • Bake whole wheat bread using a recipe on the blog or a family favorite.
  • 72-Hour Kit Challenge: Add one additional item to your 72-hour kits from the “72-Hour Top Ten List “.
  • Document Challenge: Document each family member’s medical history. This should include: prescriptions, allergies, blood type, medical and insurance cards, and doctor & hospital information. Remember to laminate or place in a zip-loc bag.
March – I Dare You to Buy It
  • Check out the Self-Reliant Sisters website. Select an area for your family to focus on.
  • Price match one item using another store’s ads at Wal-Mart.
  • Recipe Challenge: Use the item purchased above to plan your dinner.
  • Document Challenge: Gather the information for your credit cards, bank, brokerage, mortgage, and savings account. Jot down all of the account numbers, the branch locations, the websites, the phone numbers, and the passwords (kept secure).
April – I Dare You to Grow It/Dry It
  • Dehydrate a food item or prepare a meal using a dehydrated item. (Example: potato flakes)
  • Recipe Challenge: Sprout the item of your choice in a bottle. Use your sprouts in a meal.
  • Document Challenge: Compile all of your Insurance/recovery information. Include homeowners’, auto, life, and disability policies and cards; blank claim forms and contact information; and a list of local adjusters.
In addition to the monthly challenges listed above you must complete a "Prepare & Share Challenge". Prepare & Share Challenge is: Once during the next eight months, take a recipe from the basket. Prepare and share it in our monthly class. For those of you wanting to complete these challenges that live out of state, take a recipe listed on our blog and share it with your friend or family to pass off this challenge.

Click here to download the yearly schedule of challenges. All challenges must be completed by April 30th!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Introduction to Challenges

"Orange you glad you're Certified Self Reliant!"

For the past 3 years Rachelle has been challenging us in different areas of self-reliance, such as emergency preparedness, 3 month pantry and getting important documents in order.

Last year we had 8 people become "Self-Reliant Certified"! It isn't an easy goal, but it's very rewarding and brings piece of mind. This year we are issuing the same challenge. Each month Rachelle will issue a new set of challenges. For those who want to work ahead, the year has already been planned and can be downloaded here.

Challenges must be completed by April 30th! Awards and prizes will be presented during our last meeting in May. The picture above was our prize last year for completing all the challenges.

For those of you who are already certified, you can become 2nd or 3rd year certified as well. There is also an advanced set of challenges in the works for those who are already certified and want a higher goal to work towards! Details coming soon!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thank You Legacy Ward!

Thank you so much for having us speak in your ward. You are a wonderful group of sisters and we enjoyed spending our evening with you.

Here are links to the things we spoke with you on Thursday night. This is the extended version. The newsletter that we passed out can be downloaded here. A special thanks to Hope and Chelsa (and anyone I might have missed) for making bread. For their specific recipes please contact them. Here are recipes we've used for Artisan Bread and Holly's Famous Whole Wheat Bread. Downloadable recipes pages are found below under the "Use It" category.

Store It:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Provident Living (How to Save Money to Purchase Your Food Storage)

Here are some ways to save money that you may be able to implement in your daily lives. Use that saved money to start building your food storage!

Food Storage

by Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone

1. Decide as a family this year that 25 or 50 percent of your Christmas will be spent on a year’s supply. Many families in the Church spend considerable sums of money for Christmas. Half or part of these Christmas monies will go a long way toward purchasing the basics.

2. When you desire new clothes, don’t buy them. Repair and mend and make your present wardrobe last a few months longer. Use that money for the food basics. Make all of your nonfood necessities that you feasibly can, such as furniture and clothing.

3. Cut the amount of money you spend on recreation by 50 percent. Do fun things that do not require money outlay but make more lasting impressions on your children....

The rest of Bishop Featherstones talk (along with his ideas #4 - #7) can be found here on I know his talk was written in 1976, but his ideas still apply today.

The Prudent Homemaker

Brandy has some great ideas to save money! Please check out her site here for ways to shop wisely and save money. She has some serious ways to save money as well as some smaller ways to save money. I have used many of them, they are great ideas!

More Ideas on Saving & Earning Money

Here are some of the things that I have personally done (and currently do) to save in our budget.

#1. Shop smart at the Grocery store - I now plan my meals for the week. This way I only have to shop once a week and I only buy the things that I need. I also use coupons, price match & shop sales. With the money I save I use towards food storage. When something goes on sale for a huge savings, I stock up on that one item. We have been able to accumulate our 3 months supply by doing this.

#2. Have a Garage Sale - I sell all the clothes that my children no longer fit and the toys they no longer play with at garage sales, on craigslist or ebay. When I was younger and our family still growing, I saved all these things to use for our next child. I also shopped garage sales a lot to buy the things we needed at a great price.

#3. Make Home Lunch - I make my husbands lunch every day for him to take to work. He loves it and we save a lot by doing this.

#4. Shop Around - When we are purchasing large items, we always research the item to find which one (style/model/brand) will be right one for our family. We don't always buy the cheapest, but we look for quality as well.

Our hot water tank went out and we had to use our emergency savings to purchase a new one. We found the one we wanted, however our local Lowes was out of it. They called another Lowes who had it in stock. When we arrived at Lowes, we found the exact same model on clearance because it had a scratch on it and the faceplate was missing. We were able to buy it for half price and I had a coupon to use at Lowes. When we got home I called the manufacture, and they sent me a new face plate for free. It might take a little work, but it was well worth it!

#5. Attend Free Activities - We attend a lot of free activities in Henderson. There are many to pick from such as, Storytime at the Library, Summer Reading Programs, Lowes & Home Depot activities for the Kids, Lakeshore Learning Craft Time & Free Summer Movies.

Hopefully some of these ideas will work for you, so that you can start saving and purchasing your Home Storage.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Self-Reliant in all Things - Computer & Internet Safety

We want to keep ourselves and our family safe while at the computer. Here are a few easy (and free) ways to do that.
Many other devices can access the internet… iPods, Phones and Gaming devices such as the DS, PSP, Wii. All these have parental controls, which don’t come preset. Make sure you set those today!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Water Storage - Your MUST Have!

Our Bishop has given us a challenge to purchase our 2 week supply of water! This is an essential storage item, and the first thing you should have in an emergency. Here is a PDF file with a shopping comparison of water prices for you. Prices are as of September 2009.

1. What is the #1 emergency storage item? Water

  • According to Scientific American we lose water not only by sweating and urination, but also by way of stress and exhaling (air is water saturated when it leaves the lungs).
  • That fact combined with hot weather conditions means that one could dehydrate or overheat within a very short period of time.
  • Taking sips is not recommended either, as that does not get water to your brain and vital organs quickly enough – taking a good drink when you need it is recommended.
  • Usually, we obtain some of our daily intake of water from food, but with most long-term storage foods in dehydrated form, that is not possible.
2. How much water do I need?
  • Adults need to drink at least 2 quarts of water each day. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people may need more.
  • Additional water is needed for cooking, pets, hygiene and auto maintenance – for a total of one gallon per adult per day.
  • The Church recommends storing a two-week supply as a minimum – for an adult, that’s 14 gallons (53 L).
3. How can I store water?
  • On the chart are a few storage options to consider – think about the size of the space you have in your home to store these items – water should be stored in carefully cleaned, non-corrosive, break resistant, air-tight containers in a cool, dark place.
  • Since many containers are clear, and light can permeate them, you may want to cover them or store them in dark plastic bags. DO NOT store in direct sunlight.
  • Food grade containers labeled PET, PETE and HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene) plastic coded with the recycle symbol and a “2” inside are recommended.
  • NEVER use a container that has held toxic substances or non-food items. Soft drink bottles work well, but milk & fruit juice containers are undesirable due to difficulty in cleaning.
  • Prepackaged water bottles are somewhat permeable to hydrocarbon vapors, so keep away from stored gasoline, kerosene, pesticides or similar substances.
  • Clearly label “drinking water” along with the date.
  • If not using commercially bottled water, replace water every six months. Check pull date on containers when you purchase them to be sure they haven’t been sitting on the store shelf for a year already.
4. How do I prepare containers for water storage?
  • First clean containers and lids with hot, soapy water and rinse.
  • Then sanitize them by rinsing them with a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach (no scents or additives) per gallon of water. Leave wet for 2 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with water.
5. How do I treat the water for storage?
  • There are many ways to treat water, although none is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods.
  • If the water has been treated with chlorine by a water utility, you do not need to add anything before storing it.
  • Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.
  • Boiling is the safest method of treating water – bring to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking or storing.
  • If the water is not chlorinated and is clear, add eight drops or about ¼ teaspoon of household bleach (without additives like scents, thickeners – with 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite) per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.
  • If the water is not chlorinated and is cloudy, add 16 drops of chlorine bleach per gallon.
6. What are other emergency water sources?
  • Do you know the location of your incoming water valve? You’ll need to shut it off to stop contaminated water from entering your home if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines.
  • You can use the water in your hot-water tank – be sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve and turning on a hot-water faucet. Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty. See a professional when you are ready to have it turned back on.
  • You can use the water in your pipes – let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet in your house at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from the lowest faucet in the house.
  • In the even of contamination, water from either sources would need to be purified – which is why ready, potable water is so important.
  • Swimming pool water is not suitable for drinking.
Thank you Stephanie for preparing this!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Storage Containers

Here are some brief descriptions of the different types of storage containers. Click on the link to view the entire handout from Provident Living

#10 Cans: #10 cans and oxygen absorbers are for sale to Church members at home storage centers. Canning sealers are available for use in the centers. #10 cans may be used to store foods that are dry (about 10% moisture or less), shelf-stable, and low in oil content.

5 or 6 Gallon Plastic Buckets: Plastic buckets may be used to store food commodities that are dry (about 10 percent moisture or less) and low in oil content. Only buckets made of food-grade plastic with gaskets in the lid seals should be used. Buckets that have held nonfood items should not be used.

Foil Pouches: The pouches are made of multilayer laminated plastic and aluminum. The material is 7 mils thick (178 microns) and protects food against moisture and insects.

PETE Bottles: Bottles made of PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic can be used with oxygen absorbers to store products such as wheat, corn, and dry beans. PETE bottles are identified on the container with the letters PETE or PET under the recycle symbol #1. Moisture content of stored foods should be about 10% or less. PETE bottles can also be used for shorter-term storage (up to 5 years) of other shelf-stable dry foods such as white rice.

Storage life can be significantly impacted by the following conditions:

• Temperature: Store products at a temperature of 75°F/24°C or lower whenever possible. If storage temperatures are higher, rotate products as needed to maintain quality.

• Moisture: Keep storage areas dry. It is best to keep containers off of the floor to allow for air circulation.

• Light: Protect cooking oil and products stored in PETE bottles from light.

• Insects and rodents: Protect products stored in foil pouches and PETE bottles from rodent and insect damage.


Friday, September 10, 2010

SR Newsletter - "I Dare You to Build It"

Building Your (Food Storage) Foundation

Helaman 5:12 speaks of building “a sure foundation”. Our goal in Self-Reliant Sisters is to help you build a sure foundation for your food storage.

Our theme this year is “I Dare You...”, based on the wonderful book “I Dare You to Eat It” by Liesa Card. Each month we will be daring or challenging you in a different area of food storage, from wheat grinding to sprouting. We want each of you to gain your own testimony of food storage and what it can do for your family now, not just in times of emergency.

Remember that we are here for you anytime, not just the first Thursday of the month. If you have any questions or concerns, please call or email us. We will help you in any way possible.

SR Newsletter - "I Dare You to Build it"

Where do I Store it?

There are many places to store food storage even when space is tight. It may take some ingenuity but it can be done. Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Under beds: One sister replaced her bed frame with number 10 tin cans. She said the bed frame was easier to collapse and store somewhere else.
  2. In a closet: Build and extra shelving if possible or extend shelving that is already there. Place water/ food storage under your coats in your coat closets.
  3. Decorative ledges: If you have high vaulted ceiling with decorative ledges that is another source of storage.
  4. Food Storage Furniture: Make end tables out of food storage and cover with a decorative cloth.
  5. Garages or Decks: Caution make sure you don’t put you heat sensitive material out there. We do live in a hot desert.
Remember to label your food storage with content and dates. It will save time in the future and make it easier to find and use.

Here is a video that was done a couple years ago. Here are various ways and places to store your food storage.

Kim lives in an apartment and has found great ways to maximize her space!

Rachelle and Holly both use their guest rooms as the housing place for their food storage.

There is nothing really special about how or where I (Lisa) store my food storage (it's just in a closet), however... last year I had NO food storage or 72 hour kits. I started coming to the Self-Reliant meetings that Tonya, Holly and Rachelle started, and it got me inspired AND smart about shopping. All the food storage that I have is from shopping smarter during my weekly shopping trips (and once a month Cannery). My grocery bill has actually gone down AND I have food storage!

This is my updated 2009 video with more food storage

Tonya uses the unique spaces in her house for food storage.

Amy converted part of her 3rd car garage into a food storage room.

Price Matching and Grocery Deals of the Week

I would just like to remind everyone about why I post the "Grocery Deals of the Week". This post is to help you price match at Wal-Mart. What is Price Matching? Price matching is when one retail outlet (in this case Wal-Mart) offers to sell something for the same price you'd purchase it for somewhere else. I do not receive all the grocery ads in my mail, but I can print them from the internet! Click here for a list of stores that are online. By Price Matching you do not need to run all over town getting the best prices on groceries!

Price Matching Rules
  • Walmart is the only grocery store (currently) that will Price Match.
  • You must have your ads with you.
  • Walmart will price match grocery ads & Sunday newspaper ads (Best Buy, Walgreens, CVS, Office Max, etc).
  • Item must be identical to the sale item in the ad (meaning same brand, size, type, etc).
  • Walmart WILL price match Store Brands. For example - Walmart will match Kroger/Smiths bread on sale for Walmarts "Great Value" Bread.
  • Walmart will only price match printed (not online) ads.
  • Walmart will take manufacturers coupons, but not other stores coupons.
  • If a printed ad says (limit 2), then you will only be able to price match 2 of that item. Of course you can always buy 2 more the next day...
  • Walmart will not price match "Buy one get one Free" or any other type of BOGO sales.
  • Walmart will not price match items that come with an instant rebate/savings, or other such item.
  • Walmart will not price match meats and chicken if it comes from the Smiths/Albertsons butcher shop. Well, sometimes (very rarely) they will, but I wouldn't count on it!
  • Each Walmart manager sets the limits on which stores they will price match from. Walmarts will NOT price match ads from stores that are MILES away. So don't expect to bring an ad from Utah (to Nevada) and get those prices :)
Price Matching Guidelines

Holly is the queen of price matching. Here she shares her tips on price matching.
  • Go when the lines are not busy and without children if possible.
  • Shop on the same day and try to go to the same cashier.
  • Price match at the end of the order & let the cashier know you will be price matching. Separate them with a bar or a space on the grocery belt.
  • Tell the person behind you that you will be price matching. This way they won't get irritated if you take a little longer than normal. (hopefully)
  • Many Walmarts are MUCH friendlier at price matching than other Walmarts. Know your stores. The neighborhood Walmart at Stephanie/American Pacific & Warm Springs/Eastern are great to price match at. The Super Walmart is much stricter (and not as friendly).
  • Bring your ads & have them ready!! Holly circles the items that she is price matching, so she is able to show the checker quickly if needed.
  • Be Organized! On my grocery list I circle the items that I am price matching in green. That way, when the checker asks me what the price of milk is, I can quickly check my list for the correct price. I'm sure Holly doesn't need to do this, she has all prices memorize :)
  • Be courteous! Don't demand that an item be price matched. If they say no, you can either buy it at regular price or try again at a different Walmart or another day with a different cashier.
  • Know what dates the ads start and end.

Nevada's Grocery Ads run:

  • Albertsons, Food 4 Less, Fresh & Easy, Kmart, Smiths & Vons: Wednesday - Tuesday
  • Kings Ranch: Tuesday - Monday
  • Sunflower Market: Wednesday - Wednesday

Price Matching Prices

Each week I feature our "Grocery Deals of the Week". These are a basic price guideline to follow on things like chicken, ground beef, fruits and vegetables. It is not a complete list of all the good deals that week, although I wish I was grocery savvy enough to do that for you. SO, here are some guidelines for YOU to follow in order to get the best deals with price matching.

  • Know your prices. Sometimes the "Everyday Low Price" at Walmart is cheaper than the sale price at other stores.
  • Know your price point. Holly will not pay more than .50 for fruit, .08 oz for cereal and $1.50 for boneless skinless chicken breasts & ground beef. My price point is higher than that, so set your price point and watch for your items to hit that price.
  • Stock up when the items you regularly use hits it's lowest price. I usually buy 20 lbs of chicken/ground beef when it goes on sale. For dry/canned goods, I will buy as much I think we'll use before it hits the expiration date.
  • Sales usually run in a 12 Week Cycle. So about every 12 weeks chicken/meat/etc. will be on sale again. If you can't afford to buy a ton of a sale item, try to buy enough to last you for 12 weeks.
  • Seasonal Items. There are certain times of the year that items will hit their lowest price. Thanksgiving - turkey & baking items, August - back to school items, etc. For a more detailed list click here.
  • Don't buy something just because it's on sale. At one of the Smiths sales I bought 45 cans of Campbell's Chunky Soup because it was on sale for .66 cents a can. We don't even eat Campbell's soup, so I ended up donating it to the food bank.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Recipe Preview for the 2010-2011 Year

For our first meeting we had a sampler of items that we will be talking about this year! Such as Whole Wheat Bread for our Wheat Grinding class and Sloppy Wheat Joes for our Wheat Berry class.

Perfect Whole Wheat Bread

1 TBSP instant yeast
2 ½ cups hot water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey or raw sugar
1 TBSP salt
6-7 cups whole wheat flour

Combine all ingredients. Kneed for 10 minutes. Form into loaves. Place in prepared bread pans and let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Sloppy Wheat Joes

1 lb cooked ground beef
2 cups cooked wheat berries
1 can Manwich

Mix together and heat through. Serve on buns and add cheese if desired.

Granola Bars
by Alton Brown

8 oz old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 oz raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
3 oz sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 oz wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 oz honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 oz dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
1 oz unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
6 1/2 oz chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies
by Betty Crocker

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 36 heart-shaped milk chocolate candies, or chocolate kisses

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir milk and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in Bisquick mix and vanilla. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Roll tops in sugar. Place sugar side up 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown. Immediately press chocolate candy into top of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

My notes: With no eggs & no fresh milk, these are perfect for a panty cookie. I made these today and although I would prefer cookies from scratch with eggs and milk, these cookies are very good and VERY sweet! You can always make these without the chocolate candies, just flatten each cookie with a criss-cross fork pattern before baking.

Black Bean Brownies
by I Dare You to Eat It

1 (19 oz) box brownie mix
1 (15 oz) can black beans

Rinse and drain the black beans. Then spoon the beans back into their can and fill the can with fresh water. Pour beans and water into a blender and puree until smooth. Add puree to the brownie mix and stir. Pour into a sprayed cake pan and follow the directions for baking as printed on the back of the brownie mix box.

Only 2 points per brownie for Weight Watchers!

FHE Idea - Provident Living

Provident Living (using your money and resources wisely) is a key step in becoming Self-Reliant. This months FHE idea is from LDS Living Magazine.

Provident Living by Shauna Gibby