Preparedness

Imagine if you didn’t have any power for several days. And you had to still had to keep cleaning your house. You wouldn’t want to stick to rags and washcloths if there were no way to clean these things in the laundry, right? If you were in this situation you might prefer paper towels, correct?  So that’s what we’re working on this week. Paper towels. I prefer to buy a giant case of them at Costco and check it off my list, but you’re welcome to buy any kind you like. I’d just recommend getting a couple of rolls per person in your family.

And the extra-nice thing is that paper towels don’t go bad so you have plenty of time to use them up. They’re such a great item to have on hand!

Whoa. Weird. Bleach and duct tape??? Just to clear up any confusion, these two items don’t go together. They’re both just really great things to have on hand in an emergency situation.

Bleach is not just for clothes, you know. It’s the best disinfectant there is. If you’ve got water that needs some purifying, or a table that has all sorts of cooties on it, bleach is your poison.  It’s nice and cheap so make sure you get a couple of bottles.

Duct tape is one of those things that comes in handy a million times.  You might think you’ve got a roll kicking around, but get another one anyway. I know you might be tempted to get the cute kind with rainbows or Hello Kitty, but splurge on the giant roll of silver stuff. You’ll be glad in the long run.

This is an easy week and you can get these items anywhere!

Man cannot live by bread alone (Cookies, yes).  That’s where we need meat. Meat is my favorite form of protein and it’s going to be a long, dull pandemic/apocalypse/hurricane if you haven’t got any.  There are a jillion choices out there but most meat options are going to be available in a can. There’s everything from Spam to roast beef to tuna fish (why do we not just call it tuna? Is there some other kind of tuna I’m not aware of? Tuna milk? Tuna cake?)  You can pick what you like.

I know what some of you are thinking: “there is no way i’m eating meat from a can!”  Settle down, sister; it’s not as bad as you think.  You might not want to empty a can of canned beef onto a plate and hand it to your kids, but canned meat tastes just fine in soups and casseroles and things like that.  And just in case your freezer goes out, the stores are empty and you’re still hungry, canned turkey breast is going to sound like a gift from Heaven.

I was at Costco a couple of months ago and they were making quesadillas with canned roast beef and you know, it was really, really good. Not just edible but delicious. So I bought a 4-pack.  Costco remains my favorite and most affordable place to buy canned meat because this stuff ain’t cheap anywhere.  But if you rarely–or never–go to Costco, then just pick some up at Satan’s Store Walmart or your local grocery place.

The point here is to get stuff that is shelf-stable. If you want to throw in a big bag of frozen chicken breasts, then be my guest. But you want to have a supply of food that doesn’t need refrigeration and can be easily thrown in a backpack in case you need to get out of Dodge in a hurry. We’ve all been in a situation where the power has been out for quite a while. It’s stressful. And starving, whining kids aren’t going to help anyone feel better. Get some meat!

I’m not going to tell you how much to buy because these packs won’t take up a ton of room (especially those pouches of tuna), but they will take a bite out of your grocery budget. So buy a little more than you feel comfortable with. Yeah, if you aren’t feeling slightly weird then you aren’t getting enough meat.

As the summer drifts to a close it’s a good time to take stock of your water supplies. If you’re like us you’ve been going through water bottles like crazycakes. Summer outings and thirsty people have depleted our supply.  And we all know water is the most important thing you can store.

So get yourselves to the store and stock up on water bottles. A couple of  gallons per person if you like the big jugs, or a flat of water bottles per person if you like the 16-20 oz. bottles.  Water is CHEAP so there’s no reason to scrimp, folks. Keep some in the back of your car and the rest you just need to stash wherever you can.

JUST BUY SOME!  There’s no such thing as having too much water!

Hey, school’s back in and I’m ready to get going with my preparedness plans. How about you? Did you work on your preparedness over the summer? I stocked up on freeze-dried goods but I am running low on the basics. This week let’s work on sugar. It’s my best friend and my worst enemy. Either way, I need some in my food storage. The thought of not being able to make cookies if the world is on the fritz is just too overwhelming.

I would suggest a mixture of brown sugar and regular granulated sugar. I would suggest 3-5 lbs of sugar per person. You can split that up amongst the various sugars however you like.*

The nice thing about sugar is that bugs pretty much leave it alone. Which is weird. It’s sugar! Why wouldn’t bugs like it??? But they seem to prefer things made of flour, at least in my neck of the woods. So you don’t need to go to extreme measures to preserve your sugar. I leave mine in those paper sacks they come in and everything is hunky-dory.

See you next week after you’ve gotten your sugar! Remember, the point is to get it done’ this isn’t about driving across town to the cheapest store and trying to clip coupons. It’s about getting it done. So throw a bunch of sugar in your shopping cart next time you’re at the grocery store. If the cashier looks at you strangely just shrug and tell her you’ve got PMS.

 

*But not honey. We’re saving that for its own week.

Have you ever thought about people from the Middle Ages and how gross and disgusting their teeth must have been? Ew. As an American I have vowed to always have beautiful teeth. It says something about having good teeth on our money, doesn’t it?  Well, you can’t have good teeth without toothbrushes and toothpaste.  That’s kind of a no-brainer.

So this week we’re going to stock up on dental supplies. Buy a tube of toothpaste for each person in the family and a couple of toothbrushes per person too.  If you’re feeling particularly valiant you might want to throw in some dental floss as well.

Don’t blow this one off, guys. Do it for the people around you who don’t want to smell your bad breath!

Meat. What is there to say about meat except life is very sad without it. Maybe you’re a vegetarian and you live a happy meat-free life. I don’t understand that. Let’s just pretend that we all love meat and need some every day. Some people eat lots of beef. Some prefer tuna (gah! Again, no comprende). Some are happiest with chicken. Whichever you prefer, we’re going to concentrate mainly on canned meat. Certainly buy some frozen as well, but the idea is to get meat that is shelf-stable. You want meat that you don’t have to worry about if your fridge and freezer suddenly have no power. This means canned meat. Or meat in pouches.

I stock up on this stuff at Costco because it comes in larger cans (for our larger family) and is a little cheaper. But as I say every week, the point is to get this done, not to be a super-bargain coupon lady. Build up your supply and think of it as insurance. Spend the big bucks on meat because it could be the difference between keeping your sweet kids alive and, well, not.

I had someone ask a while ago if we are supposed to be eating this food that we buy every week. Yes!!! Yes, absolutely. That’s the whole point behind buying these foods rather than #10 cans full of wheat and barley. You will eventually use up this supply of food you’re building up. So really this endeavor is a habit to get into for your whole life. It’s not a one-shot thing that you can check off of your to-do list once and for all.

Some things, like canned Salmon, are not going to go as quickly as peanut butter. That’s OK. You might end up throwing some food out. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they don’t store up food because they would always forget to use it and it would go bad before they could eat it. First of all, you can eat canned food long after the expiration date. Just make sure the cans aren’t swollen or opened and you should be fine (it may not taste all that great, though, if it’s been several years).

But as I said before, consider your canned food as insurance. How much money do you waste every month on car insurance? Home insurance? Health insurance? A lot of times it’s just money flushed down the drain. But we have insurance anyway because we are supposed to be prudent and prepared. Think of a pantry full of food storage as just another type of insurance. You may not need it. And you probably won’t have your house burn down either. But just in case! Just in case there is a famine/trucking strike/zombie apocalypse/massive economic turmoil you will much better off. You will have that peace of mind that your family will be OK for at least a little while.

This is just a smart thing to do. And you’re smart, aren’t you? Then go out and throw a whole bunch of cans of spam in your shopping cart and pat yourself of the back!

(try for 5-10 cans of meat per person. It’s one of the more expensive items we’ll be buying but do the best you can! Hey, how about you give your husband a bunch of canned meat for Father’s Day. He’ll love that!)

Sorry about missing the last week. I’m going to Europe tomorrow and I’ve been planning and packing madly. Yes, I actually started packing several days in advance. This is a first for me. Usually I’m tossing stuff in my suitcase as Mister yells at me to hurry-up-because-we-need-to-be-at-the-airport-right-this-second-I-cant-believe-you-haven’t-done-this-already. But that’s because I’m in charge of packing seven people and he’s in charge of packing one. But he always forgets that teensy detail. So anyway, I love planning trips. And I’ve been planning all the fun things for us to do in London and Paris. (All six kids are not going along, by the way.)

So I won’t be doing a preparedness item next week. Instead we’re going to be working on buying medicine for the next week and a half. Medicine can be kind of spendy so it’s nice to break it up into a couple of smaller chunks.

Here are things to buy that anybody would need:

band-aids, gauze and tape (gauze and tape are pretty cheap)

Neosporin

alcohol

pain relievers (Advil or Tylenol. Pills and/or liquid)

Anti-diarrheal medicine (you can die of the runs if they get bad enough)

Cold or allergy medicine

Now think of specialized medications that your family may need:

Diabetes supplies

Stomach medications (Prilosec, Tums, Gas-X)

Contact lens supplies

Cough drops

Really think about what you would need if you couldn’t get to a pharmacy or doctor for a couple of weeks.  The nice thing about medicine and pharmaceutical supplies is that you will probably use them at some point. This isn’t like cans of dried beans!

Remember that health is your family’s number one priority. This isn’t the time to skimp!

 

We’re getting back to the basics with our item this week: flour. Hopefully you’re not totally clueless when it comes to baking. If you plan on having any sort of bread/biscuits/cookies/cake during the zombie apocalypse, you’re going to need flour. (If you are one of my gluten-free friends then plan on stocking up on gluten-free “flour”. Or a bunch of box mixes. Whichever you’re more likely to use.)      Flour is kind of a no-brainer. If worst comes to worst you can always throw together some tortillas. This is an item that should be pretty easy for you to rotate through on a regular basis.

I recommend at least five pounds per person. If you live in a place like Texas that tends to be a bit heavy on the pantry critters, pack your flour up well. I’ve found that Jumbo ziploc bags are perfect for keeping my flour weevil-free. I can get two five-pound bags of flour in one Jumbo ziploc.

Man, am I a flake. I didn’t even realize I missed posting my preparedness item! Sorry about that. Although for all I know, I’m standing at the side of the Grand Canyon with my voice echoing and nobody around to hear. But maybe there are a bunch of lurkers who are very quietly stocking up when I tell them to.

Anyhoo, our items this week are paper plates, cups and utensils. Imagine if the water supply were interrupted. What would you use to eat off of? It’s kind of hard to keep dishes clean if there’s no water. Plus you’d be too stressed wot worry about cleaning anyway. Thus I have issued my decree for disposable dishes and silverware.

I’d suggest getting big old piles of this stuff. You can always use it for a BBQ or something if the world doesn’t end. It’s never going to go bad or need to be thrown away so you might as well buy a whole bunch of these items.