Provident Living

November 09, 2011
After the Storm--Surviving Without Power
Hello, Sisters,
I was reading the blog post of a new friend who lives in Massachusetts.  You may have heard about the huge snowstorm that blasted the East Coast recently.  Many trees still covered in leaves crashed to the ground taking out power lines and damaging homes.  Linda’s blog talked about the aftermath of the storm at her home.  They were without power for four days!  I was very impressed and asked her if I could share some of her account.

Linda wrote, “We live in a small town and many people, especially those away from the downtown area have things such as chainsaws, generators, wood stoves or fireplaces.  We don’t have any of that.  What we did have that helped us out was our camping gear.  Our camp stove with coffee maker was a lifesaver…

“The power company was good about getting emergency buildings reconnected quickly.  The police station and the middle school which was used as a shelter, serving meals, offering shower facilities and heat were up by early Monday.  The crews from across the country have now headed home and the local crews are finishing up wherever necessary.

“I found it interesting that during the power outage my son, Ryan, was most bothered by the lack of light.  I was most bothered by the lack of information available; while my husband was most concerned about staying warm.  It really affects everyone differently.  My dad, though cold at their house, just looked at it as a minor inconvenience.  That’s my dad!  But I think it’s the right attitude.  If everyone is safe and you have food and a source of heat, then just sit tight and wait.  It is possible to live without electricity if you are prepared.

“You know I said my son was most bothered by the lack of light.  Well, a couple of nights ago he asked if we could turn off the dining room lights and play a board game by lantern light…I guess he may be able to remember this past week as mostly a good time.  I’m glad he can get past the night of the storm when he stayed awake listening to the trees and branches crack and crash all around our house.  He must have been so scared.

“I had said my prayers, asking God to keep us safe, and went to sleep, knowing that it was out of my hands.  I was glad to find the next morning that my husband had gotten up very early and kept watch with Ryan.”

Linda’s Advice
I asked Linda what advice she would give you to help you prepare.  She said that her husband and son were writing up a list of what they would need should this happen again.  Luckily, she had thought about preparing for an emergency and knew that they had most everything they would need for at least a couple of days.  She said, “Two things we needed were cash and more gasoline (for generators).  These were not available for the first couple of days.  And many stores and gas stations that opened on generator power were accepting only cash payments.  Remember, those ATM machines require electricity.  Please remind them about being safe during a power outage.  Most all the deaths associated with this storm were caused when people misused generators and cooking or heating elements such as gas grills and propane heaters.  These things are not meant to be used indoors.”

Linda also spoke about how much hard work it was just to prepare meals and keep warm during those four days.  She said it is so much easier if you are prepared.  I really appreciate that Linda was willing to share her experience with us.  Now I know to have plenty of cash and gasoline on hand for the generator.

Digging Out!

October 02, 2011--Provident Living Newsletter
At a recent meeting of the Emergency Preparedness Committee, I learned that the Bishopric wants us to focus on certain aspects of preparedness: 
  1. A three month supply of food.   This is the food your family eats every day and is apart from your long term storage.
  2. 72 hour kits for each member of your family.
  3. Emergency water storage.
  4. Emergency cash savings accounts.   This is usually enough money to tide you over for 6 months to a year.  Right now, the goal is 1 to 6 months.
We talked about water during the month of September.   Let’s make October “Three Month Supply” month.   It’s been 2 years since I sent out the Three Month Supply List from Everyday Food Storage, so I have decided to attach it to this email.  It is an adobe file.  It is an extremely helpful shopping list.   With all the case lot sales going on right now, you should be able to stock up on many items on the list.
How many of you are canning this year?  I wonder if it is more than last year.  The cold spring set a lot of things back.  Everything seems like it is a month behind.  My tomatoes are only now starting to produce enough to can.  It will freeze soon, so if you are unable to quickly make use of your produce, please call a neighbor and share.   I was especially happy when Judy Draper shared some of her peaches and Asian pears with me.   I wasn’t planning to can peaches, but I got 14 pints (small family).  
Crystal from has a list of great reasons why you should have nylons in your kits:
Did you know an old pair of nylons could be a great addition to your 72 hour kit? Here’s why…
  1. They are a great way to add extra warmth (simply put on under your pants) without adding bulk or weight to your 72 hour kit.
  2. Need an extra-large rubber band to help you carry items in an emergency? Cut around the elastic top of an old pair of pantyhose. Two of these, crisscrossed, work fine when bundling newspapers or magazines. Use one to hold a bag in place in a garbage container, too.
  3. In an emergency they can be tied together and used for rope.
  4. To make the soap in your 72 hour kit more efficient place some soap in an old nylon and tie it around faucets or near your water supply.
  5. You can also use nylons as a very basic filter for your water.  Bet you never knew nylons could be so handy-now you do!
Did you all receive the “Personal and Family Preparedness” guide from Be Ready Utah?  It has a lot of great information.  The four main tenets of Be Ready Utah are:
1.      Make a plan.
2.      Get a kit.
3.      Be informed.
4.      Get involved.
They advise taking baby steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.  If you didn’t receive one, the whole thing has been published online at Be Ready Utah:
Please email me with any questions you may have and I will do my best to provide you with the best information I can find.

August 31, 2011 Newsletter
 Water Storage
Are you working on your water storage?  I have been picking up some packs of 1/2 liter bottles, because they are easy to store on my pantry shelves.  I mark them with the date I purchased them, so I can rotate them.  You can use recycled juice bottles and other empty plastic containers.  Just remember to wash them thoroughly before filling and keep out of direct sunlight to discourage algae growth.  Could your family live off your water storage for 24 hours?  The following challenge is from Emergency Essentials

 The Challenge
Consider living at least 24 hours with only one gallon of water per family member per day. For example: a family of four would need to live off of 4 gallons of water for a 24 hour period.
You may be thinking this would be easy.  Anyone can go without cooking or extensive cleaning for 24 hours.  You can expect that your children will have no problem drinking less that a gallon of water per day.  However, consider average usage in a non-emergency situation.
 Average Water Usage For:
  • Brushing Teeth              1 gallon
  • Washing Hands              1 quart
  • Taking a Bath                35-40 gallons
  • Taking a Shower            5 gallons per minute
  • Laundry                          19-45 gallons
  • Washing Dishes             10-15 gallons
When you begin to consider sanitation, cooking, and washing clothes you'll notice that one gallon of water is an absolute minimum.

After completing this challenge you may want to take some time to evaluate what occurred and re-evaluate you family's preparedness plans.  Were the proper tools available to cope with limited water use?  Would one gallon of water per person per day be sufficient for your family?  Most recommendations are for 2-5 gallons of water per person per day in an emergency.  Discuss the results with your family and adjust your plans accordingly.

August 16, 2011 Newsletter

Provident Living Q & A
Have you ever had a chore that was so daunting that you didn’t know where to begin?  Cleaning the garage or organizing the store room are some examples that come to mind.  For me, it’s my responsibility to teach and share what I’ve learned about Provident Living.  As I’ve been working on my own food storage and financial preparedness, I’ve accumulated a lot of information along the way.  My dilemma now is…there is so much information that I can’t seem to focus on ways to share it.  It came to me that I am going to need your help. 
What questions do you have?  In which areas do you need information and instruction?  If you can tell me what you want to know, then I can do the research and prepare the lessons in the newsletter to focus on your concerns.  Please sisters, how can I help you?  Send me an email with your questions and requests and I will get to work.  Also I will share any tips and recipes you may want to submit. 
A few sample questions might be as follows:
How much yeast does an envelope (or packet) contain?
One envelope of packet of Active Dry Yeast, Rapid Rise Yeast, Fast Rising Yeast or Bread Machine Yeast weighs ¼ ounce or 7 grams which equals 2 ¼ teaspoons.
Does baking soda get old?
Baking soda does lose potency over time.   If you let it get too old, your next cake or biscuit recipe may emerge from the oven as hard as a brick.  Stored in a dry air-tight container baking soda should last for up to 18 months.  A simple test:  Combine ½ cup hot water with a splash of vinegar, then stir in ¼ teaspoon of soda.  If it bubbles, it’s still good.   I’ve never had soda go bad, but it’s a good idea to rotate the boxes in your long-term storage.
I’m sure you have some questions about things like this, even questions like “Help!  How do I get started?”  There are folks in our ward and community who are “specialists” in certain topics.  I’m hoping I will be able to be in contact with and utilize the knowledge they possess.  And please, share your tips and other info with me.
April, 13, 2010 Newsletter
I just knew that if I didn’t find some new and interesting ways to use my powdered milk storage, it would just sit on the shelf gathering dust and losing nutrients.  So I decided to learn how to make my own yogurt.  The best instructions that I came across are in the cute little handbook called “The Family Storehouse” put out by Highland Stake. 
What could be simpler, I wondered, than a recipe with only three ingredients:  water, powdered milk, and a small container of plain yogurt?  I decided to try it out and…only if I liked it…pass it on to you.  The recipe specified non-instant nonfat milk, not whey-based varieties such as Morning Moos.   I only had instant in my storage, so I went all over trying to find the non-instant.  I finally tracked some down at the “hippie-organic-wheatgrass store” in American Fork and set to work.  The finished product was creamy and yummy, especially with strawberry fruit preserves stirred in.  I was pleased with the result, but didn’t feel I’d saved any money because I had to pay $10 for the milk and almost $3 for the Greek yogurt I used because of its live cultures and higher protein content. 
For my second attempt, I used instant milk, only I doubled the amount called for in the recipe.  And it came to pass (lol) that it worked out even better.   So go ahead and substitute the instant if that’s what you have…but not Morning Moos.  For those who don’t have “The Family Storehouse,” the recipe is as follows:
YOGURT RECIPE—(makes 4 pints—can be doubled for quarts)
2 ¼ cups warm water
2 cups dry powdered milk (or 4 cups instant)
4 ½ cups cold tap water
2/3 cup plain yogurt (no gelatin) this is your start—you will use your own home-made yogurt hereafter.
Mix dry milk and warm water in blender or mixer.  Pour into kettle, foam and all.  Slowly heat to 180 degrees, stirring often to prevent scorching.  Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl containing the cold water, bringing temperature down to below 110.  Spoon off foam and mix in the yogurt start. 
Pour into jars. (I used ½ pint jam jars because they are cute)  Place filled (uncovered) jars in warm oven that has been preheated to about 170 degrees.  Turn off oven, but leave oven light on, it will keep the oven warm.  You can use the “proofing” function or a warming drawer if desired.  Do not allow jars to be jiggled or moved.  It should set up in 8-12 hours, so leaving it overnight to set would be ideal.  When set, put lids on jars and put in the refrigerator.  Keep 6-8 ounces to start your next batch.
You can pre-flavor your yogurt by mixing in 2 ½ T of dry Jell-o and 2 T of sugar into 2 cups of the mixture before pouring it into the jars.  I made one pint of vanilla yogurt by mixing in 3 T sugar and ½ tsp. Vanilla.  Be sure to keep enough plain yogurt for your start.
Hope you have fun trying this easy recipe.  It will make you feel all provident and virtuous. =D If you can figure out a way to get it into Gogurt tubes let me know.

January 13, 2010 Newsletter
Like me, I’m sure many of you made resolutions to finally get organized this year.  Many of my organization goals had to do with my food storage and 72 hour kit.  I made it my goal last week to update the food and clothing in the 72 hour kit, since food items get old and sizes can change (not always for the better).  Once that was taken care of, I took another three days to do my yearly food storage inventory.  I compared the numbers with last year and made a shopping list to replenish the pantry items.  I noticed that there were a few foods that we just didn’t use because nobody liked them.   These items will go into the next food drive bag while they are still usable.  I feel I’m getting better at judging what we will need.
Cleaning always seems to be on my goals list.  I can be quite lazy so I have to think of little games to trick myself into working.  One such trick is the “15-minute-my-visiting-teachers-are-coming-hustle.”  Starting at the front door and working in 15 minute-per-area intervals, I can have the house pretty presentable in about an hour.  This does not, however, include windows and mirrors, which I really hate.  Today I did mirrors and windows and did not hate it so much.  Why?  My daughter, Missy the little homemaker, sent me her recipe for window cleaner…and it worked!  They were practically streakless.
¼ tsp liquid dish soap
¼ cup vinegar
2 cups water
Mix in a spray bottle.  Missy’s girls don’t like the smell of vinegar.  I don’t either, so I made my own lavender vinegar. Don’t I sound like Martha? (Yikes!)  Lavender makes it smell fresh and hardly vinegar-y at all.  I got the instructions from the Young Living Farms website.
Lavender Vinegar Recipe
10-17 lavender sprigs
1 pint white vinegar (boil for 2-5 minutes)

Cut lavender sprigs to fit inside a glass bottle or jar. (Sterilize jar if using lavender vinegar for cooking.) Rinse flowers in cold water to remove dirt. Put lavender (flowers down, stems up) into jar and pour vinegar to the top of the bottle. Seal and let sit for 2-6 weeks before using. (I let it sit 2 days)