Wheat Watchers

Preparedness and Planning Group

  • Get it Together

    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!

  • Upcoming Events:

    • TUES April 17 - Homemade Mixes
    • TUES May 15 - TBA
    • TUES June 19 - TBA
    • TUES July 17 - TBA
    • RUES August 21 - TBA
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Archive for the ‘How-to’ Category

Sun Oven Seminar

Posted by imawheatwatcher on April 21, 2010

I know a few of us in the ward bought sun ovens or are thinking of buying them. Here is a great sun oven seminar. Over at Positively Prepared they are hosting a seminar that everyone is invited to. It will be on May 8th at 3 pm. Click on the link to find out more!


Posted in How-to | 1 Comment »

Free Online Class

Posted by imawheatwatcher on April 20, 2010

On Crystal’s blog she is going to be doing a free online class on pressure cookers. It starts on April 26th. I am not sure how this will work yet but I am very excited to go and learn. Pressure cookers have always made me nervous, so I am anxious to see how it works and how much time it will save me!

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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 »

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 »

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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WW Super Saturday

Posted by imawheatwatcher on February 15, 2009

They’re BACK!!
Due to popular demand (and new ward members that didn’t have this opportunity last fall 🙂  I am planning a Wheat Watchers Super Saturday activity with the following projects available:
  • BASICS 72 Hour kit – This does NOT include any food or clothing.  Learn more about kit contents HERE!
  • Portable Toilet kit – Includes bucket, seat w/lid, filled w/sanitary needs.  Learn more about kit contents HERE!
  • Pandemic Protection/Care kit – Learn more about Pandemic preparedness HERE!  (I will post a list of actual kit contents soon)
  • Shelter-in-place kit – Includes plastic sheeting (cut to your measurements) and 2 rolls of duct tape.  Learn more about Shelter-in-place HERE!
Watch for displays and sign-ups in the next few weeks.  Sign-ups will be available through the end of March. 
  • Sunday, March 29 – Orders CLOSE
  • Sunday, April 5 – Money due
  • Saturday, April 25 – We will meet at the Stake Center for you to assemble your kits.  There will be sisters available to help guide you through the assembly process for each kit.

This was a HUGE success and VERY popular last fall – I hope as many of you will take advantage of my work and service for you with this opportunity to get your home and family more prepared!

Posted in How-to, Preparedness Kits | Leave a Comment »

How to Create a Home Inventory

Posted by imawheatwatcher on January 27, 2009

Originally posted by SquawkFox. Her FREE printable Home Inventory Worksheets are really useful!

1. How to make a home inventory.

There are several ways to create a home inventory. Pick the method you are most likely to embrace and update.

Notebook with photos.

Get a notebook. Make a section for each room in your house or apartment. Go through each room and document everything. Take photographs. Download the 15 Free Printable Home Inventory Worksheets (PDF) to help. These sheets are blank so just fill in the details! Don’t forget to list serial numbers, manufacturers, models, and price paid. Attach receipts. Using a spreadsheet and then attaching photos is also helpful.

Make a video.

You don’t have to be from the MTV generation to know the value of video. Creating a mini movie with a room-by-room playback is very valuable when making an insurance claim. Walk through each room and record your stuff. Be sure to shoot serial numbers and add commentary by reading out model numbers. Collect all receipts and store with the tape. Dubbing in your favorite theme music is totally up to you.

Use home inventory software.

Do the digital thing by finding free home inventory software (freeware) or by buying a trusted brand. Use home inventory software to document your stuff by room, upload photos, and make digital copies of receipts. Here are some popular packages, some are free and some have a fee.

Free home inventory software:

  • Know Your Stuff | Runs on Windows and Mac OS. Software is free, but it costs $15/year to store the data on their servers.
  • StuffSafe | A web-based application. Inventory your home or office furnishings. Since this inventory is automatically stored off site there’s no chance of your catalog going up in flames.

Fee-based home inventory software:

  • Quicken Home Inventory Manager | Costs $30. Runs on Windows.
  • Kaizen Home Manager | Costs $29.99, free demo. Runs on Windows.
  • My Stuff Deluxe | Costs $39.99. Runs on Windows.

2. Reasons to store your home inventory off site.

Do not keep your home inventory at home. What use is a home inventory if it burns in a house blaze or gets whisked away in a whirling twister? None at all. So be sure to keep your notebook, video, or digital back up on CD and place it in a safe deposit box.

3. Should renters have a home inventory? Students?

YES! When I was a student renting a little apartment, I would have benefited greatly from having a simple catalog of all my stuff. When the time came to make a claim, I had no idea how many CDs I owned, or the worth of my wardrobe.

4. Update and repeat!

Be sure to update your inventory with each big purchase. Don’t let it get out of date.

A home inventory is a very valuable tool in times of theft or natural disaster. A listing of all your stuff can really help when dealing with the unpleasant task of making an insurance claim. I must admit, I never claimed my Chia Pet.

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Cover Your Cough

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 18, 2008

These principles of good hygiene should be in use at all times. In the case of Pandemic Flu, personal efforts will be increased and greater precautions will be taken.

Why should I cover my cough?

  • Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are spread by:
    • Coughing or sneezing
    • Unclean hands
  • These illnesses spread easily in crowded places where people are in close contact.

How do I stop the spread of germs if I am sick?

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze.
    Throw the used tissue in a waste basket.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
  • After coughing or sneezing, always clean your hands with soap & water or
    an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.

How can I stay healthy?

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.
  • Get vaccinated! Influenza (flu) and pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines can prevent some serious respiratory illnesses.

When you are at the clinic or hospital:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of the used tissue in the waste basket.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • You may also be asked to wear a mask to protect others.

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How to Buy a Space Heater

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 14, 2008

Five Tips for Buying a Heater (from amazon.com)
Choosing a space heater is a matter of sifting through a bewildering array of types, power ratings, and fuel sources. Let’s break it down a little to make the process easier.

What are the different types of space heaters?

  • Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly warms the objects in front of the heaters (rather than the surrounding air). If you only need heat by a desk or in a small section of a room, a radiant heater is quiet and will use very little power.
  • Forced-air heaters use a fan to blow air that has been warmed by metal or ceramic heating elements. A forced-air heater is appropriate for quickly heating up a small- to medium-sized room, but can be noisy.
  • Convection heaters draw cold air from the floor; the air is warmed by heating coils and emitted from the top of the heater. A convection heater is appropriate for quickly heating up a small- to medium-sized room, but also can be noisy.
  • Radiators work by heating oil enclosed in a reservoir, gradually heating the surrounding air. If heating speed isn’t an issue, you might want to opt for a radiator. These are extremely quiet and effective–perfect for bedrooms.

Should I buy an electric or a combustion model?
If you want a heater that will be available in emergencies, or that can heat areas larger than a single room, choose a “combustion” model–one that is powered by a gas or fuel like propane, kerosene, natural gas, or diesel. Which fuel type you choose depends largely on convenience and local availability. For example, diesel would be appropriate for a heater you take with you on long car trips.

How powerful a heater do I need?
Heaters are rated by BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit (the amount of heat needed to heat one pound of water by 1 degree F). To find out how many BTU you need:

  • Calculate the volume of the space to be heated by multiplying square footage by height.
  • Multiply that number by 4 if your insulation is poor, 3 if it’s average, or 2 if it’s good.

The resulting number is a ballpark figure for how many BTU you’ll need.

Do space heaters cost a lot to operate?
As a general rule, electric space heaters are more expensive to use than combustion models. To ensure energy efficiency, a thermostat is a must-have feature for any heater. For radiant heaters, models with a 360 degree heating surface can heat larger spaces. If you need a forced-air heater, models with ceramic elements tend to be more efficient.

Are space heaters a fire hazard?
Space heaters are implicated in about 25,000 residential fires every year. To ensure proper safety, always follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions and fill out the warranty card to receive informational updates from the manufacturer. Also, look for extra safety features such as an automatic shutoff switch that can shut down the unit if, for example, it gets upended. In addition, choose a model where the heating element is adequately enclosed within the unit.

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Get a Visual

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 7, 2008

If you are planning to order a shelter-in-place kit, you will need to record measurements of the door/window openings in your chosen safe room. sheeting will need to be cut 6 inches larger than actual measurements to insure proper sealing.

Ready.gov has some good information about planning for sheltering and evacuation. Know before you need to go (or stay put!) Here’s a little of what they have to say:

To “Shelter in Place and Seal the Room”

  • Bring your family and pets inside.
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
  • Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating systems.
  • Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
  • Go into an interior room with few windows, if possible.
  • Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Consider measuring and cutting the sheeting in advance to save time.
  • Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination.
  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available.

Learn how and when to turn off utilities:

If there is damage to your home or you are instructed to turn off your utilities:

  • Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.
  • Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.
  • Teach family members how to turn off utilities.
  • If you turn the gas off, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

Still have a thirst for more? Try THIS and THIS 🙂

Posted in How-to | 2 Comments »