Wheat Watchers

Preparedness and Planning Group

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    Wheat Watchers meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday at 7:00 pm at Kathy's house.

    We've talked the talk, now it's time to walk the walk. I'm letting the blog, newsletter and e-mail do most of the talking and leaving the meetings open for much more DOING!

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Archive for March, 2009

Meal Planning 101

Posted by imawheatwatcher on March 18, 2009

Did you just cringe? wince? get a headache?
I used to (and sometimes still do) when I think of meal planning.  Meal planning can be as simple as (and as stressful as) the 5:00 “what’s for dinner?” rush or writing down what you might eat during one week or as organized as (and more complicated as?) planning an entire month’s worth of meal menus.
In order to build an accurate one-month supply (or more) of pantry items that your family will actually EAT, you will need to work to a menu planning system (not of the 5:00 “what’s for dinner?” type.)  Please know that any system you choose will take some time to put together, especially if you’re “starting from scratch” by going from the 5:00 panic system to a well planned, able to build a pantry from system.  But once it’s together it will simplify your grocery shopping, daily dinnertime and food storage planning.

Creating a Well Stocked Pantry

Menu Planning for a 3-month supply

All systems have four basic steps

  1. MEALS. Create a list of meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) that your family usually eats

  2. INGREDIENTS. From those meals, create a list of ingredients needed.

  3. MULTIPLY. Make your ‘short’ list last longer by multiplying meals, ingredients or entire menus.

  4. INVENTORY. You’ll need a system to track what you have and what you need to buy to stock your pantry and keep it FULL!

Choose from the plan summaries below to find one YOU like and could work for YOUR family. OR use parts you like from each to create your own system. We will discuss the details at Wheat Watchers.

24 to go – Follow the Basics

Make a menu list of 12 dinners, 6 breakfasts and 6 lunches that your family enjoys (24 menus total.) Make a list of ingredients needed for each meal. Multiply those ingredients by 3 (1 month), 5 (2 months) or 8 (3 months) Use basic have/need inventory tracking. Pros: Provides plan for breakfasts, lunch and dinner, Simple & Flexible. Cons: Least variety

Marilyns’ Plan – A month of menus

Create a comprehensive list of meals your family enjoys. Decide how frequently to use each meal during one month. Create ingredient list multiplied by frequency of meal per month. Multiply ingredients by one, two or three for your pantry stocking Use basic have/need inventory tracking. Pros: Most variety, most accommodating to tastes. Cons: More initial time to organize. From Marilyn Call

Safely Gathered In – Weekly Rotation

Start with dinners only, add breakfasts and lunches as you grow. From a list of meals your family enjoys often (family favorites) Create 2 or 3 weekly menu plans for rotation. Create ingredient lists for each weekly menu plan. To plan 13 weeks of meals, you will rotate your weekly menu plans 6 or 4 times (plus one) so you will also need to multiply your ingredient lists by the same rotation number. Use basic have/need inventory tracking. Pros: Simple to get started, easy to build on to. Cons: less variety. www.safelygatheredin.blogspot.com – how to (top) (Forms useful for this method found at lds.about.com)

Food Storage Made Easy

Calculating & Tracking Spreadsheet

Food Storage Made Easy has built an Excel spread sheet that will calculate your needed quantities as you enter data about your menu plan, ingredients and frequency. You may want to use one of the above systems to plan your menus, then plug your information into their spreadsheet for the calculations. Pros: Calculations complete after entering little data. Built-in inventory & price tracking. Cons: Some may find overwhelming and/or complicated. www.foodstoragemadeeasy.net – baby step 3

  • Decide on a purchasing plan for your family. Try spending $5-10 each week on adding ‘extra’ groceries to your pantry or choose 1-2 meals per week to purchase a 3-month supply of those ingredients.

  • Once you have an ingredient list it becomes your MASTER SHOPPING LIST. Using your INVENTORY TRACKING and MASTER SHOPPING LIST, you know what you need and you can purchase items at their lowest price as they are on sale at local stores or online. Using coupons can save you even more money when combined with store sales 🙂

  • Since you have created a plan that includes meals your family already eats and likes, you will naturally use (rotate) the items you purchase for your 3-month food supply in your well stocked pantry!

    I will send other documents through e-mail for your use.


Posted in How-to | Leave a Comment »

Family Home Evening

Posted by imawheatwatcher on March 15, 2009

Clean-up time!  Here’s another one I thought I had scheduled to post sometime in December!  A great goal for the new year is to make a plan for family home evening so it’s easier for you and your family to stick to it!

An important part of personal and family preparedness is being spiritually prepared. Attending church meetings and classes are important and even more important is teaching our families in our homes.

For some reason, FHE is something that is easy for me to put off. But, this is my most important calling, more important that Cub Scouts, Nursery, Wheat Watchers, Visiting Teaching and any other teaching I do in my home. I think it is easy for me to let it slide because I do take the opportunities every day to teach my children true and correct principles. However, that is not enough. We have been told repeatedly since 1915 that it is of utmost importance to hold Family Home Evening once a week. Our families need a specific time when they know we are teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is most easily done when we have a plan. Even if your plan is only centered on a specific day, time and place to meet together, that is a good plan. To make it even easier, I suggest to make a lesson schedule or topic plan. Then you already know what to prepare when it’s time to teach. Aside from the standard “assignment wheel”, here are a few ideas I’ve learned about:

Monthly theme – Choose a gospel topic or principle to focus on for an entire month. Divide your weekly activities between lessons/activities/service all centered around that theme. This can develop testimonies of that principle in many aspects of daily life and give opportunities to each individual to feel the spirit in their own way. You could use this idea with a weekly schedule too.

Weekly schedules
– Follow a schedule similar to Sunday lessons. This idea is more fully explained HERE. Choose your lesson source/topic according to the week of the month. First week: Church magazine, second/third week: Gospel principle, fourth week: scripture story, fifth week: secular topic (finances, emergency preparedness, household help, fire drills, first aid, service project, super activity.)

Join an FHE group – If you’re children have moved away or haven’t yet joined your family, create or join a Family Home evening group with neighbors and friends. You can decide to meet every week or only once a month. This is a great way to get to know your neighbors and to put some fun into your FHEs.

Invite your family back – In my family we gather on the first Monday each month with my aunts, uncles and cousins for a Family Home Evening. Each family takes a turn providing a lesson or activity along with a simple meal. It’s a fun tradition that my kids LOVE. I love that they know my aunts and uncles and cousins’ children too. Invite your grown-up kids and their families back to your home for an evening.

Join an FHE packet group – Think of it as plug and play for FHE. Although there is usually some preparation involved. Packets can give young families a great head start. Make multiple copies of one packet and exchange with other families. Our enrichment group should be starting again after Christmas – watch for sign-ups in RS.

Suggested topics/resources that can keep you going for a few months – A very short list, it could be un-ending! Please try to use Church produced materials as much as possible 🙂
My Gospel Standards
Faith in God
Duty to God
Personal Progress
Pres. Hinckley’s 9 Be’s
Articles of Faith (great missionary tools for grown-ups too!)
Preach My Gospel
True to the Faith
Book of Mormon Stories (now on DVD too!)

The Public Library has some CD’s and DVD’s available to use as well.  Of course there are many, many online resources available too.  Please make sure what ever resource you choose to use, that it follows gospel doctrines and uses church resources as much as possible.  Here are a few of my favorites

Just do something more this year to prepare yourself and your family to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead of us!

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Macey’s Case Lot

Posted by imawheatwatcher on March 12, 2009

Just a REALLY quick note . . .

I haven’t had time to review the prices of product available at Macey’s this week (and last) but Prepared LDS Family has recently posted price comparisons on dry goods for food storage.  Get out your store ad to compare Macey’s prices on #10 cans and buckets of baking goods and dehydrated/freeze dried foods.
You can check the case lot prices for canned goods and other items at grocerysmarts.com (FREE!)
Good Luck!

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A Well Stocked Pantry

Posted by imawheatwatcher on March 11, 2009

Creating a well stocked pantry

Church guidelines

  1. 3-Month Supply – Gradually build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet until it is sufficient for 3-months.

  2. Store drinking water – 2 week supply per person (One gal. Per person per day – cooking only, two+ gal. Per person per day – cooking & hygiene.)

  3. Financial reserve – Establish a financial reserve by setting aside a little money each week, and gradually increase to a reasonable amount.

  4. Longer-term supply – Once families have achieved the first three objectives, they are counseled to expand their efforts, as circumstances allow, into a supply of long- term basic foods such as grains, legumes, and other staples.            (Pamphlet: All is Safely Gathered In and Ensign Mar 2009, pgs. 57-8)

Thoughts to ponder –

  • To have greatest benefit from your stocked pantry, decide on a menu planning system THAT WILL WORK FOR YOU and follow it. This will ensure you have the proper amounts of food required to cook your meals.

  • Create a shopping list from your menu plan. Purchase those items gradually as they go on sale.

  • Shop store sales, use coupons, take advantage of promotions and group purchases to get more and spend less.

  • Check expiration dates on EVERYTHING. Only purchase the amount your family will use BEFORE that date.

  • Try to store one quantity more than you need (store 8 if you need 7) then you will never “run out”.

  • Use items from your storage daily and replenish your supply as those items are on sale again. This creates a natural rotation of your food storage.

  • Initially, DO NOT purchase or store foods your family will not eat. FOCUS on increasing the amounts of the foods you already purchase each week at the grocery store. Your current shopping list is your greatest building tool.

  • Learn to cook with longer term storage items. Gradually include these items in your meals and food storage purchases. These truly are the building blocks of a healthy diet and long term food storage solution.

  • Be creative (and correct) with your storage methods and places. You may not be able to store ALL your water in blue barrels or soda pop bottles. Use a variety of safe methods.

Posted in How-to | 1 Comment »

Latter-Day Prophets Speak on Preparedness

Posted by imawheatwatcher on March 8, 2009

Latter-day Prophets Speak on Preparedness

“Latter-day Prophets Speak on Preparedness,” Ensign, Aug. 2007, 33

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–) 
Fifteenth President of the Church

“The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary. …

“We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs” (“To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 58).

Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) 
Thirteenth President of the Church

“The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah” (“Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 69).

Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) 
Twelfth President of the Church

“We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. … Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities” (“Family Preparedness,” Ensign, May 1976, 124).

Harold B. Lee (1899–1973) 
Eleventh President of the Church

“We expect the individual to do all he can to help himself, whether it be an emergency for a single family or for a whole community, that the relatives will do all they can to help, then the Church steps in with commodities from the storehouse, with fast offerings to meet their needs that commodities from the storehouse will not supply, and finally, the Relief Society and the priesthood quorums will assist with rehabilitation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], 171).

Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) 
Tenth President of the Church

“[The pioneers] were taught by their leaders to produce, as far as possible, all that they consumed, and to be frugal and not wasteful of their substance. This is still excellent counsel” (“The Pioneer Spirit,”Improvement Era, July 1970, 3).

Wilford Woodruff (1807–98) 
Fourth President of the Church

“We feel led to caution the Latter-day Saints against forming the bad habit of incurring debt and taking upon themselves obligations which frequently burden them heavier than they can bear, and lead to the loss of their homes and other possessions. … Our business should be done, as much as possible, on the principle of paying for that which we purchase, and our needs should be brought within the limit of our resources” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff [2004], 232–33).

George Albert Smith (1870–1951) 
Eighth President of the Church

“How on the face of the earth could a man enjoy his religion when he had been told by the Lord how to prepare for a day of famine, when instead of doing so he had fooled away that which would have sustained him and his family” (Deseret News, Mar. 4, 1868, 26).

Brigham Young (1801–77) 
Second President of the Church

“If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot procure for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives?” (Deseret News, July 18, 1860, 153).

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Pandemic Preparedness

Posted by imawheatwatcher on March 4, 2009

(repost from Oct. 24, 2008)
Please view the Pandemic Preparedness Video produced by BYU-Idaho to prepare their students and faculty. The video is 17 min. long but is very informative. Thanks Sis. D for finding and sharing this with us.

BYU-Idaho Pandemic Preparedness Video

There are many ways to learn about pandemic flu outbreak. You can find several informative and instructional documents from providentliving.org to know what we have been counseled to prepare. The pandemicflu.gov web site site gives more information about what the national and local governments are doing to prepare. Please visit and click around to inform yourself further.

I would like to focus on what we need to do to prepare. Each of our homes should have a pandemic kit including items similar to those shown here in this commercially available kit.

(New Post March 3, 2009)

OUR SUPER SATURDAY kits will include the following: (click links for more info)

100 Nitrile exam gloves (nitrile to avoid latex allergies)
Chemical splash-guard goggles
Hand sanitizer
30 Shoe covers
Heavy duty cleaning gloves
Gatorade (patient hydration)
This kit is more expensive than the other SS kits offered, the respirators and exam gloves are the bulk of that cost.  It is still less than what is available through retail stores.

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Carb Load!

Posted by imawheatwatcher on March 2, 2009

I’ve updated the calendar items on the sidebar to include our next few months of Wheat Watchers meetings.  In the spirit of more DOING and less TALKING at the meetings, we’re focusing on a couple of ‘how-to’s as suggested by the group in February.  (They just happen to be carbohydrates-GOOD ones!)

Wednesday, March 18
We will start with the basic ingredients of flour, water, oil and egg and finish with DELICIOUS fresh pasta noodles and various shapes.  ANYONE can do it and you DON’T need a pasta roller (although that does make the job easier)  More on that later.
Saturday, April 25
Details are everywhere, but e-mail me if you still have questions-I’m happy to answer them!  We’re also combining this activity with the requested TASTER’S TABLE.  EVERYONE is invited to prepare and bring a dish to share that has been made with food storage items (remember anything shelf stable is food storage, not necessary to use wheat, rice, powdered milk or eggs!)  Also bring 1 copy of the recipe, we’ll combine them into a recipe file for you!
Wednesday, May 20
 in just over an hour.  This is a repeat class using Becca’s well known recipe.  You will get to see the entire process, feel the dough and learn other ways to use your stored wheat!  (Plus we eat the fruits of our labors!)

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Becoming Self-Reliant

Posted by imawheatwatcher on March 1, 2009

In the March 2009 Ensign, there are several articles centered around becoming self-reliant, building your food supply and preparing yourself and your family for an emergency situation (not necessarily a natural disaster, but also loss of employment and other life changes.)  The links for these articles are posted below.  I strongly encourage you to pick up your Ensign today and read through our modern-day scriptures concerning these topics.

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