Food Storage Do-Over Week 2: Financial Preps

We are excited to be starting week 2 of our food storage do-over! Last week we saw a lot of great progress from all those participating and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!


In the Emergency Prep Basics section of our website we talk about how each family should have an Emergency Binder put together. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a death in the family, or some other crisis, every household needs a plan in order to survive, cope, and recover. By creating an Emergency Binder, you and your loved ones will be better equipped to endure unexpected adversity and enjoy peace of mind. It’s a great feeling to be prepared! Along with your emergency binder we want to look at a few other financial/legal areas this week.

If you are BRAND NEW and don’t have an Emergency Binder check out our post on how to make your own which includes compiling the following documents etc.

✓ Birth certificates
✓ Passports
✓ Immunization records
✓ CASH – keep small bills
✓ Copy of your will
✓ Medical information
✓ Military and church papers
✓ Diplomas and transcripts
✓ Marriage certificates
✓ Adoption papers
✓ Current pictures of family
✓ Pet records
✓ Proof of citizenship
✓ Homeowners insurance policy
✓ Auto insurance policy
✓ Life insurance policy
✓ Medical insurance policy
✓ Pictures and lists of all your personal belongings
✓ Contact information for insurance agents
✓ Copies of your credit
✓ Bank statements
✓ Retirement statements
✓ Social security statements
✓ Internet passwords
✓ Utility statements
✓ Work/tax documents that would be difficult to replace
✓ Deeds to properties
✓ Titles to cars, boats etc
✓ Warranty information

We recommend storing your binder in a portable waterproof/fireproof safe. You can grab it and run in an emergency but it will be safe in case your home burns or floods while you are not home. It’s also a great idea to make photocopies or electronic copies of all the contents and store it off-site in a safety deposit box or at the home of a trusted individual.

If you get your binder finished, consider looking at some of the “other” suggested tasks in the DO-OVER section below.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!


Emergency Binder

If you already have a good start on your Emergency Binder chances are you will need to update it. Here are some things that require frequent updates:

- Password lists for all your financial accounts (Facebook thread on managing passwords)
- List of bills you pay, and how you pay them (auto-draft vs. check etc.)
- Wills
- Medical records
- Insurance paperwork
- Financial account statements
- Go over your plan with anyone in your family that needs to know this information

Other financial/legal tasks to consider this week

72 Hour Kits: Jodi’s Do-Over

This week we’ve working on 72 hour kits during our Food Storage Do-Over 2015. If you haven’t signed up to do the Do-Over with us it’s not too late! Today I wanted to share a little of my thought process as I work on the tasks this week, hopefully it helps you as you go through your OWN do-over!

1. Evaluate my needs
I talked through a few potential evacuation scenarios with my husband. In our situation I need to be prepared to evacuate quickly with a high probability of him not being there. This means I need a complete bag for myself and can’t depend on being able to have him carrying anything. I can put a few “non-essentials” in my bigger kids’ packs but they may be at school and unreachable temporarily so again I don’t want to depend TOO much on that.

Each individual bag will have clothes, food, water, and warmth items for that specific person. It should also include a current picture, contact info, and an emergency whistle for signaling in case we get separated. My kids are all big enough to be able to carry their own packs now, hurray!

2. Look at what I already have
I had a big hodge-podge of stuff in my kits from various times I’ve re-organized them in the past. Sometimes I decide I want real food, then other times I decide I don’t want to rotate the food (see this post for why) so I get a bunch of meal bars, then I discover my kids hate them so I try to add food back in (see my daughter pictured below, lol). It’s a vicious cycle! I decided to dump it all out and go down the list we posted for week 1 and make sure I’ve got all of the tools loaded into MY pack, extras loaded in my husband, and a few bonus items in my big kids packs. Then I evaluated food and water needs AGAIN.


3. Packs
I have purchased inidivudal 72 hour kits from Thrive Life and Emergency Essentials in the past to get a bunch of the basics tools/supplies all at once. I love their sturdy RED backpacks. I use those for my husband and I since our kits are the heaviest. For the kids’ packs we just use random old backpacks from around the house. We seem to have no shortage of those. They pick the one they want to use so it’s easy to remember whose is whose.

72 Hour Kit Re-Do

4. Tools/Supplies
Matching up my actual supplies with the list posted earlier this week helped me find a few things I need to get. Some of the ideas in the Do-Over Facebook Group also added to my “to-buy” list. I put this list in my phone and started checking things off and sticking them in the packs as I got them purchased.


5. Food/Cooking
As mentioned above, I do have enough 3600 calorie bars for each person (needed to buy one more for my youngest child). I decide what I would like to have is one cooked meal per day plus three meals worth of foods plus snacks that don’t require cooking. I used lots of the ideas found on this post to make my master shopping list. I bought my meals from Thrive Life (they are the best tasting and most filling of the ones I’ve tested) and the rest of the food just from Wal-Mart. I made sure to add in a cooking container and fuel to cook the meals.

6. Clothes
Here is where my biggest fail was. While I had gone in and messed around with food over the years, I hadn’t swapped out kids’ clothes for about two years. My kids had a big giggle trying on the old clothes from their kits. We decided to go to a second hand store and buy two outfits for each kid in one size too big (we also grabbed a pair of shoes to keep in our car kits while we were there). That way I don’t have to feel bad wasting outfits in a kit that will never get worn. In the spring when I rotate my kids again I will hit a second hand store again and move those two outfits into their wardrobe since by that time they should actually FIT.

To finish up I am going to type up a contents list of what is in each bag so that when I am looking for a specific item in an emergency I can know where to find it. I haven’t made it that far yet but I’ll share it here when it’s done!

How is YOUR 72 hour kit do-over going???

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

30 Days of Preparedness Day 13: Practice Living Without Electricity

September is National Preparedness Month and is something we celebrate every year with our 7 Day Challenge (have you signed up yet???) This year we are also participating in a little blog hop called the 30 Days of Preparedness. You can check out each day’s post over at the Prepared Bloggers Network site and get a crash course in emergency preparedness this month. We will be featured on September 13th but you get to have a sneak peek of our day today!


Our post is DAY 13 which is an ACTION DAY! You get to practice living without power on this day. It will be a good warm-up if you plan to join in the 7 Day Challenge coming on a surprise day sometime in September. So let’s turn off that power and get started! Here are 5 action items to do to participate today:

It’s very easy to accidentally flip on a light switch when you are supposed to be practicing living without power. There are a few ways you can “turn off” the power to practice today. You can turn off your main circuit breaker but that will cause your fridge to turn off too which you might not ACTUALLY want to do. So we recommend going to your circuit box and flipping the breakers on all the switches except your fridge circuit. If you don’t want to mess with your breakers you can tape duct tape over all the switches and sockets and unplug everything just to keep you “honest”.

2. Cook all three meals using the powerless cooking methods from day 10
Cooking is one of the biggest immediate concerns when the power goes out. You may have a barbecue grill or camp stove but there are other options you should consider as well. We did a powerless cooking class showing a variety of options you can use ranging from free/inexpensive tools to more substantial tools useful for long term powerless situations. You can also view DAY 10 of the 30 Days of Preparedness series for more ideas!

3. Don’t use your fridge or freezer foods
Even if you haven’t actually turned off the power to your fridge, it’s a great way to practice by only using items that are shelf stable or from your pantry. It’s nice to have freeze-dried or canned meats to add some bulk to your meals, but there are lots of meatless recipes you can make too. Use our Shelf Stable Cookbook for lots of ideas on pantry meals you can cook.

4. No electronics!
In a technological society it may be harder than you think to go without your electronics for even a day. Today will be a good day to practice unplugging. That means no tv, no cell phones, no computers! This may especially be a struggle for kids who may not understand the benefit of “practicing” this. Plan fun activities that don’t involve electronics. We like using a crank lantern and telling ghost stories at night. Candlelight board games are fun too. Be creative and have fun.

5. No air conditioner or furnace
One of the hardest things about having no power is the lack of heating and cooling devices in our homes. It’s good to practice days like this in extreme weather to know how you will manage in a true emergency. If you don’t have a fireplace, you’ll want to have some other powerless means of providing heat. If you live in extremely hot areas it will be equally as important to have a way to stay cool. We put together a list of 50 ways to keep cool when the power is out to help with some ideas.


Thanks for joining the Prepared Bloggers as we work our way through 30 Days of Preparedness. September is National Preparedness Month so you will find everything you need to get your preparedness knowledge and skills into shape.

Take one post each day, learn as much as you can about the topic and make it a part of your preparedness plan.

Day 1 – Ready, Set, Get Prepared! Welcome to 30 Days of Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 2 – The Family Meeting Place and Escape from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 3 – I’m Safe! How to Communicate with Family in an Emergency from PreparednessMama
Day 4 – Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? from Home Ready Home
Day 5 – Preparedness For Pets from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 6 – The Escape Exercise from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 7 – It all Falls Apart Without Mental Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 8 – It’s a Matter of Emergency Kits from A Matter of Preparedness
Day 9 – Nine Great Emergency Light Sources Other Than Flashlights from Food Storage & Survival
Day 10 - Cooking Without Power from Mama Kautz
Day 11 – The Importance of a Shelter & Staying Warm and Dry from Trayer Wilderness
Day 12 – The Importance of Having The Right Tools In Your Pack from Trayer Wilderness
Day 13 – Practice Living Without Electricity from Food Storage Made Easy
Day 14 – How We Choose The Right Gear – (including the MultiFlame Tool) from Trayer Wilderness
Day 15 – Water Storage & Purification from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 16 – Food and Water for a 72 Hour “Go Bag” from Homestead Dreamer
Day 17 – 8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How from Melissa K Norris
Day 18 – Planning Your Pantry from The Organic Prepper
Day 19 – Stocking Up on Non-Food Items from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 20 – Dutch Oven Cooking: Off-Grid Before Off-Grid Was Cool from The Backyard Pioneer
Day 21 – Pressure Canning the Harvest from Timber Creek Farm
Day 22 – Personal Protection & Awareness from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 23 – KISS First Aid from Herbal Prepper

50 Tips to Keep Cool When the Power is OUT

My air conditioner was broken for a few days this summer and it was pretty miserable around our house. It got me thinking about what I would do in a long term powerless situation to keep our family cool. We posed the question on our Facebook page and got tons of great ideas from our readers. Here is a summary of the best ones!


  1. Wear light-colored clothing, dark clothes absorb heat
  2. Use a damp cloth to wet face, arms and legs
  3. Find a cool breeze to sit in (especially after getting wet)
  4. Make a paper fan and fan yourself
  5. Hang out in the basement of your home
  6. Install attic vents to release the hot air that rises
  7. Sleep on the porch between wet sheets
  8. Relax during the hottest hours, do heavy chores/cooking in the morning and evening
  9. Do your canning and cooking outdoors
  10. Take an afternoon nap
  11. Use a buckwheat pillow, it won’t hold on to your body heat
  12. Close all blinds and window coverings (don’t let the sun in)
  13. Open all the windows at night to let cool air in
  14. Lie down on the floor in the lowest level of your house
  15. Keep a window open upstairs to pull hot air up and out
  16. Wet your hair
  17. Put white sheets over furniture, it will reflect heat instead of absorb it
  18. Wrap a wet towel around your neck
  19. Plant or find shade trees
  20. Take cool baths
  21. Make sure your home is well insulated, it will keep the heat out
  22. Drink lots of fluids
  23. Use a spray bottle and spray yourself down
  24. Hang wet sheets in open windows that have a cross breeze
  25. Keep babies in a light onesie (not naked) for when you hold them
  26. Dip feet in cool water
  27. Keep your body covered (in cool clothes) to shade it from the sun
  28. Don’t wear polyester, it makes you sweat
  29. Sit still, moving around makes you hotter
  30. Make recipes using mint/peppermint to cool the body
  31. Brush mint against the skin to cool you down
  32. Wear loose-fitting skirts
  33. Use battery-powered fans (like these ones)
  34. Put wet rags over a batter powered fan to make a “swamp cooler”
  35. Give the kids squirt guns and have a water fight
  36. Buy some evaporative cooling bandanas. These look so neat!
  37. Eat cold meals
  38. Eat spicy foods, they increase perspiration which cools down the body
  39. Buy some cooling towels/cloths
  40. Wear a large-brimmed hat to shade your face
  41. Spray your house down with a water hose for a temporary cool down
  42. Keep ice packs in your freezer and then use them for relief
  43. Go around naked (if appropriate)
  44. Use silk or satin sheets and pillowcases, they feel cooler
  45. Hang up bedding in cool areas of the house or shade during the day
  46. Get a waterbed, it will absorb heat and feel cool on hot nights
  47. Build porch awnings to provide shade
  48. Have a generator to plug in electric fans
  49. Make a homemade air conditioner or swamp cooler if you have a generator

Save for later!

If you want to save this information for later, feel free to use this image to add it to your pinterest boards.

50 Tips to Keep Cool When the Power is OUT

How to Create a Mommy Emergency Car Kit (Gift Idea)

I’ve been working on re-arranging my car kits after I saw a #10 Can Car Kit on Pinterest. I thought fitting it into cans made a lot of sense and would be sturdy and a good way to use up old cans. It’s still a work in progress and I’ll post about it when I have them completed. BUT, it also gave me a great idea for a different type of emergency car kit also using an empty #10 can.

How to Create a Mommy EMERGENCY Car Kit.  Perfect baby shower gift idea for a new Mommy!

My two little sisters both got pregnant with their first babies at the same time and I wanted to do something special for them on their first Mother’s Day. After having 4 kids myself, I’ve learned a few things like “always keep a spare diaper and wipes in the car” because your mental capacity decreases over time and you start to forget your diaper bag more often than you remember it when you are herding 4 children out the door. I decided it would be great to give them a MOMMY emergency car kit that contains small sizes of things they will most likely keep in a diaper bag, but can save them in an emergency where they forget it at home.

Contents List:

Here is everything I included. You can feel free to add or subtract items to fit your needs. Some suggestions from readers are a onesie, or nursing pads and snacks for the mommy.


  • Wet wipes
  • Kleenex
  • Diapers
  • Bottle
  • Formula
  • Binkie
  • Nail clippers
  • Infant Tylenol
  • Band-aids
  • Baby lotion
  • Baby powder
  • Diaper cream
  • Baby wash
  • It was cheaper for me to buy enough items to make 6 kits since I could buy 3-packs of bottles and binkies, and I could split a whole package of diapers and formula packets into 6 kits. It ended up costing about $16 for each kit including the decorating materials. Now I have 4 more gifts ready to go for future baby showers!



  • Clean out an empty #10 can
  • Stuff it full of the items from the contents list above
  • Use cute scrapbook paper to cover the outside of the can
  • Wrap a strip of ribbon around bottom and top of can
  • Tape a circle of matching scrapbook paper onto the lid
  • Print out labels with a contents list and title for the top
  • Feel free to use my printable downloads below:

    - Printables in Word Format (customizable)
    - Printables in PDF Format

    And here are my cute sisters on Mother’s Day with their new car kits :)

    How to Make a Mommy EMERGENCY Car Kit.  Perfect baby shower gift idea for a new Mommy!

    APRIL: “Get it Done” Challenge

    It’s a new month and we are excited to announce the “Get it Done” Challenge for April. Have you been procrastinating getting your 72 hour kits put together? Do you have kits but haven’t opened them for several years? Would you like to expand on your kits and make them better? Well this month’s challenge is for you!

    APRIL: Get it Done Challenge -- Swap those kits

    Having spare clothes for your kids in a 72 hour kit won’t do you any good if they are 4 sizes to small. Having food that is expired and/or inedible won’t keep you alive for very long either. While either of those options is better than not having a kit at all, it’s probably best to update yours! Your April challenge is to do at least one of the following THIS WEEK:


    1. Create a 72 hour kit for each member of your family
    2. Swap out seasonal or outgrown clothes and replace food items in your 72 hour kits
    3. Find a few ways to supplement what you already have in your 72 hour kits

    Download our complete Emergency Preparedness Plan for a basic guideline on what you should include in your kits.

    Also, our April newsletter contained TONS of tips on how to build, rotate, or expand on your kits. Check out the newsletter at THIS LINK and make sure to subscribe to our BabySteps Checklists if you want to receive all of our newsletters.


    The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Edith Kincade who won the Pocket Socket!

    Screen shot 2014-04-01 at 10.36.18 PMOur giveaway item this month is an awesome product we just heard about that is perfect for 72 hour kits. It’s called a Pocket Socket and is a hand-powered generator that charges electronics with a crank. You can charge phones and rechargeable batteries with this, anything that uses less than 10 watts of electricity. The pocket socket is one of Thrive Life’s monthly specials in April!

    To be entered to win, SHARE THIS POST on Facebook with your friends, and then leave a comment there letting us know you shared and the date you commit to have the challenge completed by.

    Here are some bonus ways to earn entries or in case you don’t use Facebook:

    - Post a picture on our Facebook fan page
    - Post a picture on twitter and tag our twitter username @foodstoragetips
    - Email us a picture at

    Winner will be randomly selected and notified Tuesday, April 8, at 10:00 pm MST.

    Emergency Preparedness Plan: Whats New?


    Last week for our 5th year Blogging Anniversary we introduced our brand new Emergency Preparedness Plan. Today we wanted to talk a little bit more in depth about the plan.

    Here are some of the main differences and additions:


    • The three main sections are still the same: Family Plan, Disaster Kits, Evacuation Lists.
    • There’s still room for you to fill in emergency contact info and other important components of your family plan.
    • We still give a menu of food for you to put in your 72 hour kits (and other necessary items for cooking, etc.)
    • We continue to talk about the necessities needed to keep your car stocked and having a game plan for things you would grab in case of an evacuation.


    • The file is a pdf file now. You can print it out easily even if you don’t know how to print from excel without all the extra spaces and lines.
    • We changed the Disaster Kit titles to include the words “72 Hour Kit”, and “Emergency Binder”. The new titles are more descriptive of what is included in each section. We also added the word “Car Kit” to the Evacuation section
    • We included tips and facts throughout the whole plan to help you in your planning and purchasing processes. These tips are things we have learned ourselves as well as reader suggestions that have helped us.
    • Instead of giving you just the one menu plan for the food in your 72 hour kits, we included several lists of menus depending on varying diets. We also included meal planning worksheets for you to make your own custom menus.

      After finishing the new plan, we decided to give it a test and printed it out before going through our 72 hour kits that needed rotating. The plan flowed very well, and we’re confident it will help you rethink (or start) your plan. Here are some additional tips to think about when putting together your plan and kits. A lot of these are included in the plan, but we thought since we had your attention we would share them here too.

      PURCHASING: After you’ve come up with everything you still need to buy for your kit, break it up into a purchasing schedule. Purchase just 1 or 2 things each week for however many weeks it takes you. The point is you’ll be making progress, even if you can’t buy it all at once.

      GRAB LIST(S): Instead of having just one grab list (things you would grab if you have to evacuate) have multiple lists- one for each family member. Tape those lists up on the inside of your front closet door. When it comes time to evacuate, anyone who is old enough can get their list and hurry. This will save time deciding who is going to grab what.

      INDIVIDUAL KITS: For anyone old enough, make them their own kit. Have food, water, and clothes in each kit so in case of separation everyone will have their own stuff. Divvy up the remaining supplies among all the kits. Put the heavier stuff in the stronger family members’ kits. Use backpacks or rolling bags that are easy to transport. Lugging around big rubbermaid bins is HARD.

      TRIAL SIZE TOILETRIES: There are sample sizes of shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants etc. you can purchase for the kits. They are in the regular personal hygiene aisles at the store. No need to lug around big containers of those things. Another idea is to save the samples you get at hotels and put those in your kits. They always get thrown away anyways if you only use a small portion!

      THRIFT STORE CLOTHING: It can be inconvenient and kind of wasteful to store regular usable clothes in your kits that stay stored in a closet while children outgrow them. Consider purchasing outfits at a thrift store for your kits. That way you wont have to feel bad about not using whole outfits while they still fit.

      COLD WEATHER BAG: There are a lot of items you might want in your 72 hour kit if it were cold- but you wouldn’t want if it were warmer weather. Store all the stuff you would need in colder weather in a separate bag or container that you would grab and go in case of emergency during the winter. If it happened to be warmer, you could just leave it behind.

      PUT FRESH FOOD ON GRAB LIST: If time, circumstance, and space allow – grab any fresh food you may have and throw it in a cooler on your way out (if you are leaving in a car). You may really appreciate fresh produce in the first 24-72 hours of a crisis.

      DIAPER BAGS PACKED: This goes for evacuations OR everyday emergencies. Do your best to ALWAYS have your diaper bags packed with extra food, clothes, and diapers. If you’re in the habit of doing this all the time it could really save you in a REAL emergency (like those don’t happen daily with babies on the go).

      IDEAS FOR ROTATION: Depending on how often your kit needs rotating (the foods you chose will dictate this), make it a habit to change them out at the same time each year. Whether it be Halloween (where you use some of the extra candy as comfort food), Spring cleaning week, April Fools Day (we did that last year so we wouldn’t be fools- we know it was corny) or any other time of year, get in the habit of rotating and re-evaluating them.

      COMMUNICATION: If in case you are evacuating and you expect your house to be in tact when you return, it’s wise to maybe leave a note about your where-abouts on a door. That way when people come looking to see if you are safe – they will know you are elsewhere.

      And now, I’ll leave you with a picture of part of my kits sprawled out all over my family room floor. Dumping and pouring your kits out is a sure way to MAKE YOURSELF rotate the food and clothes in there. The food got older, and my kids got bigger since I did this last. Oh and yes, that’s our NEW PLAN printed out on the floor in front of everything. I used it to guide myself through the task :)


    10 Ways to Practice Powerless Cooking This Summer

    Summer is a GREAT chance to practice cooking without power because the weather is nice, you can avoid heating up your kitchen, and your kids are around and can join in the fun. Most people do some form of outdoor cooking or camping throughout the summer, so why not use it as a chance to practice some important skills!


    1. Use a Solar Oven: Nobody likes heating up their kitchen in the middle of a hot summer afternoon. Cook any of your regular foods outdoors using the power of the sun. We love practicing with our Sun Ovens, but if you don’t have one there are a couple of plans online to be able to make your own. This one is a little more like a real sun oven, and this one is a simple pizza box oven that will not get too hot but can be used sort of like a slow cooker.

    2. Cook on Your Fire: If you are out camping, don’t just stick with the usual hot dogs and marshmallows. Experiment with making “food storage” meals. Boil water and make a “just add water” meal. Or use freeze dried eggs, sausage, and veggies to create your own omelets for breakfast.

    3. Make a #10 Can Stove: Simply push some hangers through a #10 can and give it some ventilation and you can make a little outdoor stove that can use wood, charcoal, or InstaFire. This is great for boiling water or roasting hot dogs, and kids think it’s fun! Here is a tutorial we put together on how to make one.

    4. Make a #10 Can Oven: We saw this idea on a forum and thought it looked like an awesome way to practice powerless cooking with a cheap oven. Lay the can on it’s side and stick a wire rack inside and put charcoal underneath. Then wire the lid back on and it makes a perfect mini oven. Here is the link to details about how to make one.

    5. Make a #10 Can Grill: Who knew #10 cans could be so useful right? To make a perfect little grill you make slices in a #10 can and then bend the strips back, cover them with foil, place charcoal inside and a grill over top. You can see pictures of this idea at this link.

    6. Do Your Canning Outdoors: I often think if there were a powerless emergency I would want to hurry and can a bunch of my freezer foods. Why not practice canning out on your barbecue grill or a camping stove or even a butane stove and see if it works. Practice getting your pressure right if you are pressure canning, and see how much fuel it uses as well. The added benefit to this is not heating up your kitchen!

    7. Pull Out Your Dutch Oven: If you don’t have a dutch oven, check garage sales or second hand stores to try to get one for cheap. Dutch oven cooking can be a fun adventure and the food can be delicious! Practice now when you don’t HAVE to and then in a real emergency, you will have lots of ideas for things you can make. Here is a great blog by a lady who cooked with her Dutch Oven every day for a year!

    8. Use Your Coleman (or other) Camping Stove: Most people who enjoy camping have some sort of propane or butane camping grill that they use. Don’t be afraid to pull out the grill at home even if you aren’t camping. Experiment with cooking some regular family meals on it as opposed to just usual camping food. Pay attention to fuel usage and make a plan for how much to store. You can learn a lot by simply practicing.

    9. Make a Cardboard Box Oven: This is another fun idea to do with kids. This is a bigger oven than the #10 can one would be and can be used just like a regular oven with charcoal. If you make one and practice with it, then you can always keep it in your storage and have it ready to go in an emergency. Or just keep the materials on hand to whip out a new one should the need arise. Here is a tutorial we made on how to make this one.

    10. Experiment With Fuels: Whatever stoves, ovens, grills, etc. you have, fuel is going to be your main concern in a powerless emergency. We did a whole series last February about different fuels. You may want to review it and try to pick up a few of the different fuels and experiment with them. Here is the link to the posts in that series.

    New and Improved All-American Sun Oven (ok this is really exciting!)

    If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you probably know that we both love and use our Global Sun Ovens frequently. We teach about them intensively in our Powerless Cooking Classes because it is such a great way to conserve your fuel as long as you have a sunny day. You can check out a few of our cooking adventures here and here.

    Well today we are so excited to tell you about the BRAND NEW ALL-AMERICAN SUN OVEN. The company has taken feedback from customers over the years and has made so many great enhancements to the sun oven. We’re going to highlight some of our favorites in this post, but you can check out the full details over at our Online Store. This new Sun Oven is only available in the U.S. while the Global Sun Oven will still be available in the U.S. and worldwide.


    Benefits of the NEW All-American Sun Oven

    Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 11.19.41 PM 20% LARGER INTERIOR: Without increasing the exterior size of the oven, the interior can now accommodate a regular 9×13 pan. HURRAY for this! Now you don’t have to buy special pots and pans or limit your meals to smaller meals.
    EASIER TO ALIGN WITH THE SUN: No more trying to figure out if the oven is aligned properly with the sun (did anyone else feel like the shadow thing was really hard to get right??) The little plastic E-Z Sun Track Indicators take all the guess work out.
    Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 11.15.01 PM MORE STABLE: The stake at the back is now t-shaped so it is more stable in windy weather, it also includes little stakes you can use to pin it to the ground.
    Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 11.19.34 PM HOTTER TEMPERATURES: With a thicker glass door and a better sealing gasket, temperatures can now get 10-15% hotter than the Global Sun Oven. On full sunny days you can get up to 360-400 degrees. Woo-hoo!
    rack BETTER LEVELING RACK: The new rack looks great, you can use it in different ways, including folding it up and placing it on the floor of the sun oven to increase the usable area inside while still allowing air to circulate in the oven. Love this.
    NEW CD: The new CD that comes with every All-American Sun Oven is full of emergency preparedness info, videos, and tons of amazing recipes developed specifically for the sun oven plus FREE recipe organizer software. You can even update the software to download all the new recipes from Sun Ovens website. How cool is that?


    If you already own a Sun Oven, we have heard that there will be an upgrade kit that will get you all of the new features (except for the interior capacity). We will keep you posted as soon as it is available.

    Sneak Peak at the New Features

    Paul Munsen, the President of Sun Ovens International stopped by my house when he was in town last week to give me a sneak peek at the new sun oven. I canNOT wait to get my hands on one of these and start using it! I tried to film a video of him showing me the new features but alas, when you have a 6 year old help film you end up with only half of a video. You can see the half of it that actually recorded after I took the phone from her. I TRIED, please forgive me :)