“Budget-Friendly” 12 Days of Food Storage Christmas

Last year someone did a 12 Days of Christmas for our family for the 12 days leading up to Christmas Eve. We would find a surprise gift on our porch that was something fun for the kids or an inexpensive gift with a nice message. It’s always fun to see what the surprise will be the next day!

If you have family, friends, or neighbors who you have been wanting to introduce to the world of preparedness, this could be a fun way to do it. We’ve put together 12 days of free or inexpensive (under $1) gifts that follow along our 10 babysteps to help someone get started and hopefully peak their curiosity to learn even more.

12 Days of Food Storage Christmas

Feel free to adapt this to meet your needs. You can do all 12 days at once as a “getting started” package for someone for a gift. You can spend a little more money and do some of the bigger ideas we share for each day if you don’t want to do the full 12 days activity. Don’t forget to download the tags and labels for each day and Merry Christmas!!!

Download tags and labels for all 12 days here

12 Dasy of Food Storage Christmas

Emergency Preparedness is always a great place to start. Print out our in depth Emergency Preparedness Plan that your loved one can fill out as a starting point for their family. Roll it up and tie a pretty ribbon around it and attach the Day 1 tags and labels to it. You could also include a personal note letting them know that you will be giving them some fun little gifts over the next few days to help them be more prepared.

More expensive gift ideas
Prepare My Life Planner
Pre-made 72 hour kits

We have two ideas for day 2. Babystep #1 is shelves so you can build a little rotating can shelf out of cardboard and stick the day 2 tags on it. Download the instructions here and you can even give them a copy so they can make their own additional units to fill their pantry. If you don’t have the time or patience to do this, you can opt to print out our Small Spaces Storage Solutions handout which gives lots of ideas on sneaky places to store food storage. Again, this can be rolled up with a cute ribbon tied around it and the Day 2 tags added to make it fun

More expensive gift ideas
Canorganizers (Commercially made cardboard can racks for pantry)
Cansolidators (Plastic can racks for pantry)
Harvest Shelves (72″ rotating can rack shelf)

Babystep #2 is water, one of the most critical components of any preparedness or food storage plan. For today you can either recycle a few empty pop or juice containers and fill them with clean water, or you can splurge and grab a few little water pouches that can be great for 72 hour kits or car emergency kits. Depending on how many you buy they can be less than $0.50 each! Whichever option you opt for, add your Day 3 tag to make it cute.

More expensive gift ideas
Berkey Water Purification Systems

Babystep #3 is to put together a 3 month supply of regular foods. Print out these worksheets to help someone get started on their 3 Month Plan. There is an Instruction Sheet, a Menu Plan Sheet and an Inventory Sheet. You will need to print the Menu Plan Sheet multiple times depending on how many different meals you want to plan. There is also a video tutorial to go along with these forms found here. Put the printed worksheets in sheet protects or roll them up and tie a ribbon around them. Don’t forget to attach the Day 4 tag!

More expensive gift ideas
Subscription to Deals to Meals (grocery savings program)

Babystep #4 is an introduction to long term food storage foods. People often get overwhelmed with how much and what to buy. Here is a handout that includes instructions and a simple food storage calculator that you can print out, tie a ribbon around, add the cute Day 5 Tags, and give to someone. This will help them determine quantities of foods to purchase based on their family size.

More expensive gift ideas
I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage
Country Beans
Dinner is in the Jar
Cooking with Food Storage Made Easy

Babystep #5 is learning to use grains, and more specifically wheat. People often have a hard time using wheat if they don’t have a wheat grinder. If you haven’t tried making Blender Wheat Pancakes you are missing out! This is something easy you can make that uses wheat with no wheat grinder required. Put the ingredients in a baggie, tie a ribbon around it and a recipe card with instructions. Don’t forget to add the Day 6 tag as well. It wont cost you much, but will surely impress and motivate someone to use their food storage.

More expensive gift ideas
WonderMill Wheat Grinder

Babystep #6 moves on to learning about beans/legumes. Legumes can be very intimidating to a lot of people so this is a great one to help people realize they aren’t so bad. Purchase a 1 lb bag of 12 bean soup mix from the grocery store ($1-$2). Tie a ribbon around it and include the Day 7 Tags. Include this 12 Bean Soup Recipe on a cute recipe card for them, it’s delicious!

More expensive gift ideas
Electric Pressure Cooker (makes it EASY to cook dry beans)
Instant Beans from Thrive Life (no soaking or long cook times)

Babystep #7 covers baking ingredients that are necessary for you to be able to make a lot of recipes using your grains and legumes. Salt is one of those things that you run out of, and don’t necessarily think of storing. Find or buy a container of salt and make it cute with ribbons, or put it in a gift bag, and remind them Food Storage isn’t just grains and legumes.

More expensive gift ideas
Instant Powdered Milk
Whole Egg Powder
Pure Vanilla Powder

Babystep #8 is purchasing or preserving fruits and vegetables. While not critical for sustaining life, fruits and vegetables are a welcome addition to any food storage program for the health benefits, variety, and to help you save money on your day to day grocery shopping. Gardening is a great way to become more self reliant. Try giving a few packs of gardening seeds to help motivate people to get going on gardening. If you know the person doesn’t have a lot of space, pick herbs, or things you can grow on kitchen counters.

More expensive gift ideas
Excalibur Food Dehydrator
Canner and canning supplies
Freeze Dried Fruits or Veggies

Babystep #9 encourages people to store comfort foods for times of crisis. This is a great day for the holidays. Even just a candy bar or 2 in your storage for just in case scenarios are great. Pick up the person’s favorite one and surprise them with a little treat to have in time of need (and tell them they can’t eat it right away, they have to store it ;) Tie a cute ribbon around the candy bar and add the Day 10 Tags and you’re all set.

More expensive gift ideas
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer (great for preserving treats for longer storage)

Babystep #10 covers all aspects of storage that are NOT food. Although Food Storage (and Christmas for that matter) are a lot about food, we can’t forget the non-food items that are important and necessary to store not only for hygiene but also for cooking, cleaning, first aid, etc. Any inexpensive toiletry would be a great gift for this day (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)

More expensive gift ideas
First Aid Kit

Once you have completed the first 11 days for a friend, or family member, it’s time for them to keep the journey going themselves. To help them do that, we have our BabyStep Checklists. Have the person you are giving to sign up for our free email checklists. You could even sign up for them with their email address and print out the first checklist for their gift. The checklists last for one year and are sent every 2 weeks. After following the 26 checklists they will have a full food storage for one person.

More expensive gift ideas
Food Storage Made Easy 3-Part eBook Program (buy and print out in a binder for them)


12 Days of Food Storage Christmas - Budget friendly gift ideas for increasing preparedness awareness

Preparedness Gift Ideas for Any Budget

Give the Gift of Preparedness - Gift Ideas from Food Storage Made Easy

Tired of all the Black Friday emails?  We understand!  But we also know that this is an amazing time to stock up on great preparedness gifts for your loved ones (or yourself!).  We wanted to share with you a list of preparedness gift ideas for all budgets since this is literally the cheapest you will be able to find these items all year.  Get the most bang for you buck on your preparedness gifts!

Gifts $20 and Under
- $7.99 Crank Hand Can Opener:  Our favorite can opener for opening lots of #10 cans :)
- $10.99 Thrive Potato Dices:  50% off regular retail prices, view other Thrive deals here
- $12 Food Storage Made Easy 3-Part eBook:  50% off, perfect for beginners!

- $18.99 Thrive Blackberries: 50% off regular retail prices, view other Thrive deals here
- $18-$20 Waterbricks:  Save on cost per brick depending on how many you order

Gifts $21-$70
- $24.99 Seychelle Water Filtration Pump:  50% off a filter that pumps from any location
- $34.99 Cansolidator Pantry Plus:  Largest can rotating rack view other rack size here
- $55 InstaFire Fuel Starter:  The easiest way to start a fire or cook food in any conditions
- $69 Lindon Farms Meal Bucket:  Just-add-water meals for $48 off retail price

Gifts $70-$250
- $70.99-$181.99 Thrive Life 6 Pack Bundles:  Exclusive sale through consultants
- $99 Prepare My Life Planner:  Easily create an important documents binder
- $249 Thrive Life Harvest Shelves:  Scroll to bottom, click Food Rotation Systems

Gifts $250 and Above
- $258-$325 – Berkey Water Purifiers:  Big Berkey and Royal Berkey are currently available 
- $319 All-American Sun Oven + Accessories:  Complete accessories package on sale
- $339.99 BOSCH MIXER:  Sale price only available on Monday, great low price
- $2000 Lion Energy Solar Generator:  Limit quantity available, buy early to reserve yours

We know your loved ones lives will be blessed by giving them the gift of preparedness this year, and your pocket books will be blessed by getting the gifts at great prices!


We are so excited to let you know about all of the AMAZING deals going on over Black Friday weekend. This is the BEST time of year to stock up on your food storage and emergency preparedness supplies. We have been working with all of these companies for weeks to make sure that we can get you the best prices possible on all of these great items.

Black_friday_flyer_2014_08 (1)



We are excited to share with you some AMAZING deals coming up next week from Thrive Life and how we can help you take advantage of them to their fullest.


Last year we started taking pre-orders for the sale and it worked great for our customers. This year we will be doing it again! We will take orders in advance and process them in the order we received them starting at midnight when the sales go live. This will help make sure you get the items you are wanting and you don’t have to worry about shopping over the weekend to catch the deals. To take advantage of this service simply fill out this secure PRE-ORDER FORM. You can see Black Friday pricing on all the products on our pre-order form.



If you aren’t able to get your pre-order form in, we will be sending out email reminders when the sale prices go live to the public. To make sure you are on our reminder list, join our Thrive Life customer list by clicking here. You will get discounted pricing, get great tips and recipes sent to you monthly, and three awesome bonuses just for signing up!


EVERY SINGLE Thrive food product is on sale, as well as quite a few shelving and emergency products. Here is a flyer for the highest discounted items. For a full price list on all Thrive items, check out our PRE-ORDER FORM.


Harvest 72′ and Harvest 72′ #10 Shelves: Retail $459.99, SALE PRICE $249.99
Cansolidator Pantry Retail $44.99, SALE PRICE $19.99
Freeze-Dried Strawberry Slices #10 Can: Retail $28.49, SALE PRICE $17.09
Freeze-Dried Blackberries #10 Can: Retail $37.99, SALE PRICE $18.99
Freeze-Dried Broccoli #10 Can: Retail $25.49, SALE PRICE $15.29
Freeze-Dried Potato Dices #10 Can: Retail $21.89, SALE PRICE $10.99
Freeze-Dried Chopped Chicken #10 Can: Retail $57.99, SALE PRICE $43.49
Freeze-Dried Shredded Mozzarella Cheese #10 Can: Retail $45.99, SALE PRICE $32.19
Italian Seasoning Blend: Retail $8.59, SALE PRICE $6.69
Providence Basic 2-Person Survival Kit: Retail $119.99, SALE PRICE $79.99

Food Storage Friendly Thanksgiving

Today we are sharing some ways you can make your Thanksgiving a little more Food Storage friendly. It’s always a great idea to rotate your food storage. Enjoy!


Green Bean Casserole

Use freeze-dried beans to save time and rotate your beans, use bean flour cream of chicken soup to make a healthier version with less fat and preservatives.
Click here for Julie’s green bean casserole recipe experiment.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Some people like whole baked sweet potatoes, others love the sugary sweet potato casserole. You can use dehydrated or freeze-dried sweet potatoes to save time in the kitchen, and it’s a great opportunity to rotate some of your basic baking ingredients like powdered milk, eggs, etc.
Check out the freeze-dried sweet potatoes at Honeyville Grain.


Making homemade rolls is definitely not a time-saver, but it is a delicious tradition for many of us. You can use your favorite bread dough recipe and make your own homemade Rhodes Rolls a few days before the craziness of Thansgiving begins.
Click here for a tutorial on making frozen rolls using our favorite recipe

Cranberry Sauce

If you love cranberry sauce you will love homemade cranberry sauce even more! You can easily make your own using freeze dried cranberries. So delicious!
Click here for an awesome recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.


If you are in a pinch on Thanksgiving Day and have forgotten to buy onions and celery, no fear. Food storage to the rescue! You can use dehydrated or freeze-dried vegetables to complete your stuffing recipe. It may not be quite the same texture (smaller chunks) but you can save time on chopping and the flavor will still be delicious.
Click here for our favorite food storage veggies.


Don’t mess with your turkey! Here is how my mom and I do turkeys and they turn out awesome. Stuff your bird with a really wet stuffing, lots of butter in it. Then cook your bird breast DOWN. All the juice will flow into the breast during cooking and it makes the best most moist turkey you will ever taste. Give it a try!

Mashed Potatoes

My LEAST favorite part of Thanksgiving is peeling hundreds of potatoes. (ok it just FEELS like hundreds, but still …) If you are willing to give it a try, you can actually make really yummy mashed potatoes using food storage. The new Mashed Potatoes from Thrive Life are made of REAL potatoes and have no additives so they are a great alternative if you just can’t face making real potatoes this year.
Click her to see the new Thrive Mashed Potatoes plus a delicious recipe.


My mom always sneaks in some mashed up carrot chunks into our turkey gravy to add a little bit of texture and some pretty color. If you want to try that but don’t want to add another item to cook, just toss in some dehydrated carrots. You may want to let them hydrate for a while first as they can tend to take a while.
Click here to check out the dehydrated carrot dices we like.


Desserts are one of the ways we recommend “sneaking” food storage into your meals if you have family members that are picky or don’t like to try new things. You can use freeze dried fruits in a fruit pie, or sub whole wheat flour or powdered eggs and milk into a cake or other baked good. Here are a few of our favorite holiday yummies that you can try yourself.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cake
Blackberry Pie
Best Sugar Cookies Ever (don’t use food storage on this one!)

8 Tasks to Help You “Prep” For Winter

Fall is the perfect time of year to get your yard, vehicles, house, and preps ready for winter. Here are eight tasks you can do to get ready for the change in seasons.

8 Ways to "Prep" for Winter


Clean Up Your Gardens

Harvest all remaining vegetables. Pull up all plants and add to your compost pile. Add compost/mulch to your garden beds. Prune all fruit trees and bushes. Plant garlic if desired. Bring in potted plants for the winter. Plant decorative bulbs.

Rotate/Winterize Your 72 Hour Kits

Rotate food and water as necessary. Check/rotate matches and other fuel supplies. Swap out seasonal clothing and shoes. Update kids’ clothes to correct sizes. Rotate baby supplies (diapers in correct size, formula expiration dates, etc.). Check batteries for flashlights and radios. Check medicine expiration dates and supply levels. Update pictures and medical information for each family member. Update emergency contact information. Click here for more on building 72 Hour Kits. Click here for some pre-made kit options.

Rotate Your Water

Whether you have treated your stored water or not, it’s always a good idea to at least CHECK your water every six months. Fall is a good time to pull out each container and rotate if necessary. Click here for more tips on water rotation. Click here for some storage containers that help reduce the need for frequent rotation.

Add Winter Gear to Your Car Kits

Make sure to add extra clothes, good winter boots, warm blankets, simple heaters, tire chains, etc. to your emergency car kit. Swap out food items that need to be rotated. Click here for more resources on car kits.

Clean Out Your Pantry and Freezer

Go through your pantry and freezer and throw away expired foods. Update your three month supply inventory list and replenish to be fully-stocked with all of your chosen meals.

Give Your Furnace a Tune-Up

Vacuum any dust from around your furnace. Wipe off any dust on the blower fan. Change your furnace filter now and once a month during the winter. Light your pilot light if necessary. Consider getting a carbon monoxide detector if you don’t already have one.

Winterize Your Sprinkler Systems

If you live in an area where the ground freezes below the levels of your sprinklers, you’ll want to make sure to get all of the water out of your system to avoid frozen/cracked pipes. Click here for some helpful tips.

Swap Out Seasonal/Outgrown Clothing

Go through your children’s clothes and remove anything that doesn’t fit any more. If you store seasonal clothes elsewhere, bring in the winter clothes and box up the summer items.

Happy Prepping!

8 Ways to "Prep" for Winter

Vacuum Seal Those Meal-in-a-Jars + a GIVEAWAY

One of the common methods of storing food is to put raw ingredients together into actual meals and re-package them into jason jars or bags. This enables you to make sure you have all the ingredients for your favorite meals, and makes dinner-time really quick because you just add water and cook the meal. Today we are going to cover how you can get recipes to make your meals, and how to best preserve them for longer term storage. We also have an AWESOME giveaway going on so make sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for details!

Vacuum Seal Those Meal-in-a-Jars

How to find recipes

There are a lot of recipe books and websites out there that can help you come up with meal ideas. You can also create your own jar recipes. We’ve shared a few that we have created ourselves that you can check out below.


How to preserve your meals

FoodSaver® Regular Jar Sealer by FoodsaverJodi has been a big fan of her FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealing System for over five years now. She is constantly using it to keep her foods fresh for longer which is obviously awesome for food storage. The jar sealer attachment has been critical for making her meal-in-a-jars increase their shelf life. Depending on which model you have there will either be a built in hose that you attach the jar sealer too, or you can get a hose that attaches to an accessory port. Either way works fine!

The method we have found that works best is to place two jar lids on top of the jar (they don’t need to be new but they shouldn’t be warped or visibly damaged). Place the jar sealer attachment over the top and press “seal”. You will hear a release when it is finished. Pull the attachment off, and pull off the top jar lid. The bottom lid should be securely attached to the jar and all of the oxygen has now been removed! I like to then place a canning ring over top and store it in my pantry. Storing in a cool dark location is ideal.

I LOVE having a bunch of these awesome meals on hand for quick dinners or for a powerless emergency where I just have to boil water on a butane stove and have an easy meal ready to go.


We were recently contacted by the awesome people at FoodSaver® about reviewing the FoodSaver® FM2000 Vacuum Sealer and doing a giveaway to one of our lucky readers. Since Julie didn’t have a Foodsaver yet she gladly accepted the challenge to try out this model. Here is a comparison of how our two models stack up.

FoodSaver® FM2000 Vacuum Sealer
$79.99 + free shipping
FoodSaver® The New FM2000 Vacuum Sealer by Foodsaver
Julie’s Review: This is a perfect little unit for doing meal-in-a-jars. It also has the capability to seal bags so if you want to package large meals it will work just fine. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles like the ability to seal gently or seal moist items, but it can do the basics. It is small and fits easily in your kitchen cupboards. The $79.99 price with free shipping is really quite good for all that it can do and it also includes a few bags and the accessory hose. I’ve enjoyed sealing up my cheese blocks, meats for freezer-storage, and of course doing tons of meal-in-jars!
FoodSaver® V3880 Vacuum Sealer
Master Chef Kit $139.99 (40% off)
FoodSaver® Master Chef Kit by Foodsaver
Jodi’s Review: I love love love my FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealing System. It sits on my kitchen counter and is used almost every day. This unit is quite large so you’d need space in your kitchen for it. It is heavy duty and high quality. I can vacuum seal hamburger buns using the gentle cycle, and meat using the moist cycle and have no problems at all. I love having the built in accessory hose so that I can easily attach my jar sealer or marinading container. I also love that I can store my bags right in the unit so they are at hand whenever I need them. The Master Chef Kit comes with a ton of accessories and bags and is a steal at $139.99



We are so excited to be able to offer one of the FoodSaver® FM2000 Vacuum Sealers to one of our readers. To enter the giveaway it’s VERY SIMPLE!

1. Follow us on Facebook and/or Pinterest
2. Leave a comment on THIS BLOG POST letting us know that you are a follower (either new or that you already follow us)
3. Cross your fingers that you are a big WINNER!

Winner will be announced the evening of Friday, November 7th and contacted via the email left on the post comment.


Fall… the weather is cooling and it’s the perfect time for SOUPS. Soups are one of my go-to meals in the fall. They are often times nutritious, hearty, and filling. The best is when you can use your food storage items in soups. I use freeze-dried vegetables a LOT in my soups because it takes out the washing, peeling, cutting steps. Here are some of our favorite soup recipes on the blog and from around the web. ENJOY!

Soup Season Recipe Round-Up

Favorites from our blog

Here are some soups we have shared on the blog over the past few years. These all use food storage and are soups our families eat regularly.

Fast and Easy Quinoa Chicken Soup
Greek Lentil Soup
Creamy Potato Soup (with a fat-free version)
Chicken Tortilla Soup (freezes well)
16 Bean Soup
Salsa, Chicken and Black Bean Soup
Chicken Tortellini Soup
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
12 Bean Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
Chicken Barley Chili

Favorites from around the web

We asked on facebook for you to share some of your favorite soups and here were some of them. Click here to see the thread of all the ones you shared. There were some of you that shared the recipe right on facebook so we couldn’t link to them all.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
Italian Wedding Soup
Paula Dean Chicken Noodle
Goulash Soup
Loaded Vegetable Soup
Our Best Bites: White Chicken Chili
Pioneer Woman: Black Bean Soup

What are some of your favorite soups? Share in the comments your favorite go-to soup recipes.

Feel free to pin this post to save for later using the image below :)
Soup Season Recipe Round-Up

BREAD: No Grinding, No Kneading, No Electricity, No Problem!

During our annual 7 Day Challenge last month one of the days we were practicing living without electricity and had to make bread. I knew I had a busy day ahead of me but I still wanted to accomplish the task, so I decided to try an experiment. I researched some no knead bread recipes and found that most of them depended on cooking at a high temperature in order to achieve a thick, crunchy “artisan” crust. I decided to tweak a few of these and make them my own and cook it in the Sun Oven. So here is how it went!


No Knead Bread Recipe

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups cool tap water


Stir together all ingredients with a fork in large bowl. It will be very sticky.

Let stand covered in Saran Wrap for 12-18 hours. It will get very large!

Use a spatula or bread scraper and remove from bowl onto a floured surface. Shape into a large ball with floured hands. Place on wax paper and let stand for 30 minutes.

Place a 3 quart pot into an All-American Sun Oven while the oven warms up. If you don’t have a sun oven you can make an inexpensive cardboard box oven that will work with charcoal. Light the charcoal and let the pot pre-heat in there as well.

Bring the pot inside and place the wax paper and dough right in the pot, put the lid on and place back outside in the sun oven.

Cook for about an hour and a half or until done. If cooking in a cardboard box or regular oven bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes with the lid on, and then 15 minutes with the lid off.

The bread won’t get that dark crusty look like a traditional artisan loaf if baked in the Sun Oven but it is a great consistency with a thin crispy-ish crust. So delicious!

7 Day Challenge 2014 Recap

We are so glad to be through this year’s 7 Day Challenge. It is such a fantastic learning experience every year but it sure is exhausting! We appreciate everyone who joined in the fun and participated whether it was through actually practicing the scenarios each day, or thinking through them and still discussing on facebook or on the blog comments.


Day 1: Natural Disaster – “Ice Storm”

Day 2: Economic Crisis – “Utilities Disrupted”

Day 3: Terrorist Attack- “Time to Bug-Out”

Day 4: Pending Crisis – “Prep Day”

Day 5: Pandemic Strikes – “Ebola Virus”

Day 6: Dietary Limitations – “Eating Grains And Legumes”

Day 7: Everyday Emergency – “Recipe Organization”