Friday, September 5, 2014

Financial Preparedness: Building an Emergency Fund


Building an emergency fund is vital if you want to become financially prepared. You never know when you'll need a repair on your home or car or face a medical emergency or job loss which all drain money in a flash.  Just this week, we registered my daughter's car and realized she needs major repairs in order for it to pass the state inspection.  It's a blessing to know that we have money set aside for emergencies.  Need help finding ways to stockpile money for such events?  Check out this link for some great ones:


Source:  www.livingwellspendingless.com

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cooking with Food Storage: An Eggless, Butterless, Milkless Yummy Cake


During World War I, eggs, milk and butter were in scarce supply.  This recipe provided a sweet treat without requiring those ingredients.  This cake is also a delicious dessert for people with allergies.  Enjoy!

Ingredients



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Emergency Preparedness: Prepare for flooding



A few days ago, my hometown was hit with a microburst storm followed by unusual flooding.  Teenagers were canoeing and wakeboarding down their streets while others were frantically bailing out basements.  I recently moved from Pennsylvania where flooding is extremely common and most homes have sump pumps in their basements.  Even when flooding is unexpected or uncommon, preparation brings peace of mind and can make an enormous difference in the unlikely event that a flood arrives.  One of my friends whose basement flooded was so grateful that she had just boxed up her storage items in the basement and placed them on shelves so nothing was on the ground to be ruined.  Here are some ideas to prepare for flooding:
1. Safeguard your possessions.
Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:
  • A copy of your insurance policies with your agents contact information.
  • A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims. For more information visit www.knowyourstuff.org.
  • Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.
2. Prepare your house.
  • First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement. (If you have one)
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home's projected flood elevation.
  • Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.
3. Develop a family emergency plan.
  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.
  • Have a plan to protect your pets.
For more information on emergency preparation, talk to your insurance agent or visit Ready.gov.

Source: floodsmart.gov 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Frugal Meals: Make Your Own Frozen Burritos

If you're like me and need convenience foods in the freezer for those days on the go, you'll be as thrilled as I was to find this economical alternative to store-bought frozen burritos.  



Freezer Bean and Cheese Burritos
  •  (10-count) package of tortillas (or homemade tortillas)
  • 1 16-oz. can of refried beans (or two cups homemade refried beans)
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 6 to 8 oz. of cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix refried beans and salsa together (you can add chopped cooked chicken or browned ground beef, if you’d like). Spread bean mixture down the middle of tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and roll up.

To freeze: Wrap in plastic wrap or a sandwich baggie and stick in a gallon ziptop freezer bag. When freezer bag is full, seal until airtight and freeze for up to two months.

To serve: Thaw for a few hours and warm in the microwave or oven. Can be eaten cold, though warm would be better.

Makes 10 burritos.

Cost: Approximately $3 if using groceries from Aldi = $0.30 per burrito. Approximately $0.15 to $0.20 each if using homemade tortillas and homemade refried beans.

Source:  moneysavingmom.com

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Frugality: Pantry, Refrigerator and Freezer Essentials



We all know that planning menus and preparing food from scratch is the best way to frugally feed a family.  Stocking your pantry, refrigerator and freezer allow you to have the things on hand that you need to prepare healthy and delicious meals.  These are the basics that every pantry, refrigerator and freezer should have, but customize your list to items that you like and will use.

PANTRY

BAKING
Baking powder
Cornstarch
Flour-Wheat and White
Sugar-granulated, powdered and brown
Chocolate-Cocoa, semi-sweet, chocolate chips
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Shortening
Corn Syrup
Molasses

CANNED FOODS
Beans-Black, pork and beans, kidney, garbanzo, white
Broth-Beef, chicken
Fruit-Fruit cocktail, peaches, pears
Meat-Beef, chicken, tuna, salmon
Soups-Cream of chicken, Mushroom, Tomato, Vegetable Beef, Chicken Noodle
Tomatoes and Tomato Sauce
Vegetables-Corn, green beans, mushrooms

CONDIMENTS
Gelatin
Maple Syrup
Vinegar-Balsamic, white, apple cider
Honey
Peanut Butter

DRIED FOODS
Dried Beans-black, pinto, red, white
Dried Fruits-raisins, craisins, miscellaneous

GRAINS/PASTA
Spaghetti
Egg Noodles
Oatmeal-Quick Rolled Oats
Rice-White, brown, wild
Whole Grain Cereals-Ready to eat
Split Peas
Lasagna Noodles

HERBS/SPICES/EXTRACTS
Basil leaves
Cilantro
Cumin powder
Dill weed
Onion powder
Pepper
Rosemary
Salt
Chili Powder
Coriander
Curry powder
Garlic Powder
Oregano
Poppy Seeds
Sage
Thyme
Cinnamon
Cloves
Ground Allspice
Ground Ginger
Ground Cardamon
Ground Nutmeg
Almond Extract
Vanilla Extract

OILS
Olive Oil-Food Preparation
Non-stick Vegetable Oil Spray
Safflower or peanut oil-for high temperature cooking

REFRIGERATOR

CONDIMENTS
Ketchup
Mustard-Regular and Dijon
Salad Dressings
Soy Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce
Mayonnaise
Pickles-Dill, sweet, relish
Salsa
Teriyaki Sauce

DAIRY
Cheese-Cottage, cream, mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan
Butter, margarine
Milk
Yogurt
Eggs
Sour Cream
Cream Cheese

FRESH FRUIT
Apples
Lemons
Avocados
Oranges

FRESH VEGETABLES
Lettuce
Carrots
Garlic
Peppers-green, red
Sweet Potatoes
Celery
Onions
Potatoes
Tomatoes

FREEZER

JUICE
Apple
Orange
Grape

FROZEN VEGETABLES
Peas
Beans
Broccoli
Mixed Vegetables

MEAT
Beef-Ground beef, roast, steak
Fish-Cod, Tilapia, Salmon
Poultry-Chicken, Turkey
Pork-Pork Chops, roast, Canadian Bacon
Shellfish-shrimp, scallops, imitation crab

Sources: eHow.com, flyer from BYU 3rd Stake Stake Relief Society Meeting

 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Black Beans With Rice


This is a quick pantry meal, perfect for those days that you don't have time to go to the store for ingredients.  You can also used dried beans from your food storage if you plan ahead. The equivalent to a 15-ounce can is about 1 2/3 cups of beans. Just soak beans overnight, cook 1 cup of dried and measure out 1 2/3 cups. You will have a little extra.

Black Beans and Rice
3/4 cup uncooked white rice

2 cups water

1 (15 ounce) can black beans; drain and reserve liquid

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro (fresh is even better if you have it on hand.)

Directions

1.Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil, add rice. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Let rice simmer 15-20 minutes, until tender.

2.Place beans and rice in a medium size saucepan. Heat over a medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir in reserved bean liquid as needed. Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice, garlic powder and cilantro. Let sit a moment, and stir in fresh oregano. Serve immediately.

Yield:  2 servings

Source:  allrecipes.com


Friday, May 27, 2011

Disaster Preparedness: How to Prepare for and Respond to a Tornado Warning



On Monday night, our family hunkered down in our basement storage room during an extremely rare tornado warning in our area.  After the devastating tornadoes that have been pummeling the U.S. this spring, we made sure to follow the directions of the weather service and seek shelter.  Thankfully, although a funnel cloud was spotted nearby, a tornado didn't touch down in our area and we experienced no damage but we did realize we should be better prepared for the next time.  The kids had a great time building a "base camp" out of blankets and eating crunchy chow mein noodles from food storage so hopefully they'll have a positive memory of our experience.  This event did make us realize that everyone everywhere should be prepared for a tornado.  With that in mind, I found this information on the FEMA website and thought I'd share it with you. 

 
What are Tornadoes?

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard.
Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible.
Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
The following are facts about tornadoes:
•They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.

•They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.

•The average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.

•The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 MPH, but may vary from stationary to 70 MPH.

•Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.

•Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.

•Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.

•Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May; in the northern states, it is late spring through early summer.

•Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.

What to do Before a Tornado


Be alert to changing weather conditions.

•Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.

•Look for approaching storms

•Look for the following danger signs:

◦Dark, often greenish sky

◦Large hail

◦A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)

◦Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

What to do during a tornado warning

If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!  Do the following depending upon where you are: 
In a structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building):   

Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.

A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home:

Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

The outside with no shelter:

Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Source:  http://www.fema.gov/hazard/tornado/index.shtm

Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball


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