PrepWise Wednesday — Personal Care Stocking

When you want to start stocking things and start to think about everything, you may get overwhelmed. You start to think: I need to stock up on food, water, soaps, medicines, cleaning supplies, and so many other things. So may start to think why bother, I just can’t do it. I am telling you NEED to have a basic stock of at least a month, preferably three to six, maybe even a year. In the case of a natural disaster supply lines of food, water, and energy can be disrupted or even stopped for weeks or months while the infrastructure is repaired.

The most important rule when stocking is to stock what you use and use what you stock. If you know you can’t stand beans, then don’t stock them because you won’t use them. They will go bad and you waste money. Then you will think having these emergency preparations is a waste of time and money.

A second rule is not buying everything at once. If you spread the purchases out over a few months, they will not expire at the same time.

An easy place to start is with personal care items like soaps, shampoos, and lotions. Make a list of what you use. Then determine how much you use in a month. Next you decide how many months supply you want to have on your shelf. Stocking can be done very cheaply or even for free if you coupon, use sales and store bonus cards. If you are not brand loyal or have special requirements, then it is very easy to do cheaply.

In most things I am not brand loyal, however, I have a family that has extremely sensitive skin. The children are all very prone to eczema. Any type of scent or harsh chemical causes flare ups that can take weeks to get back under control. To help with this, we can only use Dove Sensitive Skin Soap. Knowing this I am always looking for Dove coupons and sales. I purchase at the lowest price I can to keep my supply up to my goal amount of 36 bars on the shelf. (Eleven people using about 3 bars of soap a month for a 12 month supply).

For things like shampoos, figure out how many ounces of shampoo you use a month. In my family, Richard uses dandruff shampoo. His bottle lasts about 2 months. So we need to have 6 bottles on the shelf for a year. The bigger girls use a bottle a month between them. So we need 12 bottles for the year. We use much less conditioner with the girls so we only need 6 bottles for the year. The boys use a larger bottle every two months, so again we need 6 bottles. The little girls use a tear free conditioning shampoo, which only comes is smaller bottles. So we need to have about 20 of them for a year. (Once they turn 10 they will switch to the older girls shampoo so the numbers will change).

Then I make plan to spread out the purchases over the year so everything will have different experiration dates.  You need to remember to “rotate” the stock so the older products are used first.

I use the same principles to figure out how much I need for the other personal care items we use. My personal care items include:

Lotions for dry skin
Lip balms like Chapstick or Carmex
Facial Cleansing Products
Shaving Cream
Anti Chafing Ointments/Creams
Baby Powder
Sunburn treatments
Feminine Products
Diapers (when they were needed)

Take this week and put together your personal care list. Then use my examples and figure out how many you need to have on hand to survive for three months.

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday: Stocking the Freezer

I took a look in the freezer and just about fainted. We had just almost no meat in the there. I checked the prices and sales and headed to our new Wegman’s. They have the meats we use for $1.99 a pound. So now the freezer is stocked with meats packaged up for our family’s meals, all for under $150.00.

I purchased 4 whole pork loins at $1.99/lb and had the butcher cut them for me. When I came home I packaged them into roasts and boneless pork chops. Most of the chicken packages will give us two meals since the breasts are so large, a half breast counts as a serving. I will use the remaining breasts the next day in a recipe that calls for cooked chicken.

I am feeling much more comfortable about feeding the family now with a well stocked freezer. Here is what I have now have in my freezer. Clearly enough for at least two months worth of dinner entrees and a month’s worth of frozen vegetables.

10 packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10 packages of 80/20 ground beef
10 packages of chicken legs
2 packages boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 packages of mild Italian sausages
5 packages of pork chops
4 pork roasts

These have been added to the meats  and veggies already in the freezer:
2 packages of flash frozen salmon
1 large bag of meatballs
6 rolls Bob Evans Sausage (takes 2 for a meal here)
1 large box of breaded chicken breast patties
1 large bag of tortellini
1 large bag of ravioli
1 large bag of pirogi
1 large bag of fish fillets
1 large bag of fish sticks
1 box of pepperoni pizza rolls
1 box of cheese pizza rolls
5 large bags of broccoli
5 large bags of yellow corn
5 large bags of white corn
3 bags of green beans
2 bags of carrots
2 bags of zucchini
2 bags of yellow squash

Since the freezer is very full, I need to give some serious consideration to aquiring a second freezer.  This would allow me to stock even more frozen foods for the family.  My goal is to get down to a once a month shopping trip for restocking the “dry supplies” with a weekly trip for fresh produce and milk.  Plus I could consider doing more of the once a month cooking since I would have a place to store the finished items.
You should consider stocking your freezer and using it an extension of your pantry. What do you have in your freezer right now, and would you be able to feed your family from it for an extended period of time?  I am off to check Craigslist for freezers.  🙂

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday: A reason

When you start on your preparedness journey, you see or hear something on the news and you think, what if that happens to us. For me it was when Hurricane Isabelle blew through the area in September 2002. We were one of the lucky ones and by the grace of God did not lose power like the millions of other people in the mid-Atlantic area.

That particular event left stores without power, fast food restaurants without power, and no delivery of food or other supplies to areas for a week or more. I realized that while I had some food stores in the house I was not prepared for something prolonged. So it was after Isabelle I decided to build up my food stores, water stores and emergency medical supplies.

There are many sites you can use to help figure out what you need for your family.  Here are a couple I have used in the past, and use now.

For a VERY basic calculator you check out the Latter Day Saints area on  With this one you plug in the number of people by ages and it gives you a rough number of pounds or items you need to have in the house to provide for a year.  This will allow to have an estimate of what you would need.  Then you can break it down and budget for building up your stores.

A more in-depth food storage calculator can be found over at Millennium Ark.  It is the Deyo Calculator and is spreadsheet based.  I like using this one since I can customize it more for my family.  Millennium Ark Long Term Food Storage area is a great resource to browse when you have time.  It has a lot of basic information on preparing you and your family for any emergency.  Some of the rest of the site is little too tin foil hatish for me, but the preparedness area has some wonderful information.

Remember to take into account any food allergies or sensitives when you are planning your food storage for your family.  We only have 2 allergies we need to be concerned about: coconut and latex.  Not as extensive as some, but it complicates things in others

The new year is coming.  Check out some of these food calculators and start making your plan for beefing up your food and other emergency stores for your family.

 Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday: Stocking the Medicine Cabine

When you think about stocking up, you should also consider adding over the counter medicines to your preps. Think about what type of illnesses you and your family has over the course of year and then plan accordingly.

In my family alone we have had the following in the past year: headaches, muscle soreness, sprains, stains, menstrual cramps, tummy issues, allergies, yeast infections, jock itch, athlete’s foot, colds and flu. Most of these can be treated relatively inexpensively with over the counter medications.

Here is what I have in my over the counter medication preps. You should look them over and considering adding them to your preps too.

Ibuprofen — I pick up the 750 caplet bottle at the local warehouse club for about $10.00. That is 7.5 cents a capsule. And you can take prescription strength dosing by using 3 or 4 caplets. You can also watch for sales and coupons and get these inexpensively.

Acetaminophen — Again I pick up the 500 extra strength tablet bottle at the warehouse club for about $7.00. Again right around 7 cents a pill.

Aspirin — 81 mg dose. Daily dose for those with heart issues or a family history of the them. Once again a warehouse club pick up. Large bottles for little cost.

Aspirin — 325 mg pills. Good to have on hand for those aches and pains that the Motrin and Tylenol aren’t kicking alone. Also wonder to have on hand if you think someone is having a heart attack. Have them chew an aspirin to help block the clotting factors as you get them to the hospital.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) — A wonderful antihistamine. Good for block allergic reactions and nasal allergies. It can be uses in a pinch as a sleep aid, if it makes you sleepy.

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) — Get the good stuff behind the counter. It helps to relieve the congestion in both the head and chest. I have everyone over the age of 18 grab the largest box possible about every 2 months.

Plain Robutussin — Good to help with check congestion and coughs.

Loperamide (Imodium) — Best over the counter medicine for diarrhea. I get liquid and tablets.

Meclizine (Dramamine) — Anti-nausea medicine. Helps relieve nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, and vertigo-like dizziness.

Calcium Carbonate (Tums) — Anti-acid and calcium supplement. Helps relieve temporary heartburn.

Mylanta — Liquid anti-acid/anti-gas to help with tummy issues.

Rantidine (Zantac) – another anti-acid, relatively inexpensive and can help with hives and migraines too. Liz’s over the counter migraine “cocktail” is a zantac, a benedryll and 600 mg of Advil.

Hydrocortisone Cream – the 1% version is the strongest OTC available. Good for adults and children with rashes, eczema, poison ivy, and diaper rash.

Bacitracin Ointment — good topical antibiotic ointment for skin broken by bumps, scratches, bug bites.

Clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin) — Same anti-fungal medication as in lotrimin. This medicine can be used to treat female yeast infections, jock itch, athlete’s foot, ring worm and yeasty diaper rashes.

Zinc Oxide (Desitin) — excellent protection for skin irritations, a heavy duty sunscreen if necessary.

Having a good supply of these medications will allow you to mix and match to treat a wide variety of ailments in an emergency.

Like mentioned above, you can have an effective migraine cocktail. You can mix sudafed, Robitussin, a pain killer and benedryll and have a cold medication. You can mix the mylanta, hydro-cortisone, gyne-lotrimin and the zinc oxide and have an effective diaper cream for bad diaper rashes.

In addition to these OTC medications, having a good basic knowledge in herbal medications would be a help also.

So think about your family and what you would need to survive during a time of emergency if some one became ill with a minor illness. Then make a plan to build up your stores of those medications throughout the year. You do not want to purchase them all at once, you want to spread the acquisition of them throughout the year so they do not all expire at the same time.

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday: Shelving

A couple of weeks ago the homeschool bookshelf collapsed. Thankfully no one was injured and we were able to repair it. To lighten it’s load, I moved a few (more like a bunch) of books off the shelves that are not in use at this time. Hopefully it will stay standing for a while.

This made me assess all of the storage shelves that we have in the house. During this process, I realized that our storage shelves in the basement are not as sturdy as I would like them to be. We actually had one collapse a couple of months ago. Looking at the listing and sagging shelves, I mentioned to Richard that we need to get stronger shelves soon. He and the boys headed to the home improvement box stores to see what was available. They priced several options and all were very much out of our price range. Since we have eight shelves in the basement and want to add shelves to the garage we are looking at 10 to 15 shelves to meet our needs. Most of the industrial shelving cost about $400 a shelving unit, so we would be looking at $4000 to $6000 total cost. WAY out of our budget.

Richard and I looked around the Internet and found this article from Mother Earth News, which is a wonderful magazine by the way.  On our next date night we headed to the home improvement store to price out the cost for building these shelves.

The materials required to build TWO shelving units are:
1  1/2 inch thick plywood         $21.00
16 8 foot 2 x 4s                        $ 2.97
1 5 lb. box 3 in deck screws     $22.00

Total Cost for the units:  $91.00  which makes the total cost per shelf $45.50, which is within our budget.  And considering the box of deck screws will probably make more than one set of shelves the cost will probably be lower overall.  For a little more than a price of 1 of the home improvement store shelves, we can have 10 shelves made.  Not too bad.  We have started our fund to budget for building these shelves and hope to have the first shelves made by the end of the next month.

Have you thought about your storage spaces yet?

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday Challenge

It you all have been following my blog for a while, you know I like to keep a large pantry and storage of daily use products. Since we have a large family, I prefer to shop out of my pantry for the week and restock when items go on that once every two month sale.

Over the past 20 months or so, the pantry took a major hit. I praise God that I had the provisions in the house to help us get through the leaner and more turbulent times. Now that things have settled down, it is time to rebuild the pantry and other provisions.

The first thing I am going to do is take a physical inventory of the items I have in the house right now. Then I am going compare what I have on hand with what I need to get the stores back up to at least a three month level. Then I will make my plan for restocking.

After I complete my plan, I need to have my husband build better storage shelves for the food items. The ones I have now are plastic shelves and they are showing signs of age. One even collapsed a month or so ago. Thankfully there were no glass jars on it so nothing was lost. I want to avoid having that happen in the future.

For the next week I am going to work on my inventory, research plans for shelves and start a plan for restocking.

For this week I encourage you to start your prepping plan. Post here with your prepping plans.

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday

This weekend was a major shopping weekend. I visited 5 stores and spent an obscene amount of money. (Well not really, but more than I usually spend at one time). I was restocking the pantry. With everything going on this summer I wasn’t shopping the sales and we were eating out of the family’s pantry. In a way I am glad we did this since some the items had been around a while and it cleared the shelves.

I was very thankful we had those supplies in the house. It freed me from having to worry about shopping in the midst of all the chaos. With the food was in the house, Richard or Mandy were be able to figure a meal if I wasn’t around.

Now I am restocking those pantries and freezers. My main goal is have three months worth of food in the house by November. Why November you ask? I am remembering this last winter:


Last year we started with the record breaking amount of snows in mid November. Having food in the house took away a worry. I knew we would be able to eat. We made sure we had the propane for the gas tanks full so we could have hot meals even if the power went out.

Richard and I are now talking about getting a generator. This would be used to run the pellet stove for heat. Of course that would mean having to store gas or diesel fuel so that we could run the generator, so we are looking for a safe place to store the fuel too. Not to mention finding a place to run the generator to the exhaust does not come into the house, while at the same time make sure it would not get stolen.

What are you all doing to get ready for the upcoming winter?

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome