Sunday September 25

Well aren’t you glad THAT’S over with? It really is amazing how much you can learn when you “practice” preparedness. Now is a good time to reflect with your family, answer some questions, and prioritize what your plan of attack will be to go forward and improve on your preparedness plans.

To help you with prioritizing we have some checklists for you. Print 2 copies of these lists off.

  • COPY 1: BRAINSTORM– The first time through list ANYTHING you can think of from the last few days that your family needed to learn, to do, and to buy. Don’t worry about the order.
  • COPY 2: PRIORITY LIST– After you have listed all the things you needed to learn, to do, and to buy, re-write them on the second copy in order of importance. This will give you a prioritized actionable game plan moving forward.

Put these lists in a place you will see and be reminded of your goals. Consider asking for some of these items for Christmas or birthdays. Plan family nights around learning new skills. Use family time to do projects you have been putting off.



Friday September 23

Welcome to the 7 Day Challenge. For 3 days, we are “PRACTICING” our Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Plans. Each day will bring a NEW mock emergency or situation that will test at least one of the reasons “WHY” we strive to be prepared! REMEMBER: No going to a store, gas station, or spending any money for the next 3 days! Please feel free to adapt the scenarios to fit your own family and situation.


Times are tough! Due to some unexpected and rather large medical bills your family has run into financial troubles and you have worked through the majority of your savings. You have to live on a tight budget eating through your three month supply foods to save money on groceries. Your water has been shut off because you couldn’t pay the water bill so you must also manage your daily life without water.

Goal: PRACTICE eating your three month supply foods and live without running water

Today’s Tasks:

  • Use the recipes and ingredients from your three month supply plan for your meals today
  • Revisit your three month supply plan. Inventory what you have on hand
  • Determine how long you will be able to survive without buying more food
  • Cook your meals and clean up without using running water
  • Do a load of laundry today without using running water
  • You can’t waste water on flushing toilets so figure out an alternative solution for potty issues today.
  • Make some of your own natural cleaning supplies using regular ingredients you have in your home to save money.

fbSHARING TIME: Visit the Facebook Event Page and share a picture of you doing laundry today or some other “waterless” activity today. Let’s discuss how prepared you feel if you were to have to face this type of emergency.

>>>We’re also sharing on instagram! @foodstoragemadeeasy #fsme7daychallenge

Today’s Limitations:

  • For this day, and ALL days of the challenge: no spending money, no going to stores, and no restaurants.
  • Do not use indoor plumbing for sanitation purposes.

Advanced Tasks:

  • Go and shut off the main water supply to your house to avoid temptation to use water (view tutorial).
  • Locate the nearest source of fresh water to your home, stock up on some extra water since your plumbing is shut off.
Check back first thing in the morning!



Thursday, September 22

Welcome to the 7 Day Challenge. For the next 3 days, we are “PRACTICING” our Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Plans. Each day will bring a NEW mock emergency or situation that will test at least one of the reasons “WHY” we strive to be prepared! REMEMBER: No going to a store, gas station, or spending any money for the next 3 days! Please feel free to adapt the scenarios to fit your own family and situation.


Earthquake strikes! An intense earthquake struck your area and knocked out the power lines, gas lines, and city water pipes. Your fridge food was lost due to the earthquake shattering the glass shelves in your appliances. Your home is safe to stay in but you must survive and stay fed until your utilities are back up and running.

Goal: PRACTICE living without electricity and running water

Today’s Tasks:

  • Keep your family warm (or cool) as furnace blowers and A/C will not work without electricity
  • Practice powerless cooking by cooking all your meals and snacks using no electricity or gas and no running water.
  • You can’t use any perishable foods in your cooking today.
  • You must find a way for you (and your family if applicable) to bathe or shower today.
  • You can’t flush the toilets because there is no running water to refill the tank. If you have stored water you can use it to manually flush
  • Clean all of your dishes using only stored water (practice water conservation tricks)
  • Calculate how much water you used today, how long can you live on what you have stored?
  • Before dark, locate flashlights, candles, or other light sources. Assess your battery supply.
  • Plan a fun family activity tonight with no electronic devices (board games, ghost stories, shadow puppets, be creative!)
  • Share what you are learning with the facebook group – that’s the one electronic you can use (loophole)

fbSHARING TIME: Visit the Facebook Event Page and share a picture of you cooking something without electricity. Let’s discuss how prepared you feel if you were to have to face this type of emergency.

>>>We’re also sharing on instagram! @foodstoragemadeeasy #fsme7daychallenge

Today’s Limitations:

  • For this day, and ALL days of the challenge: no spending money, no going to stores, and no restaurants.
  • DO NOT USE POWER AT ALL TODAY (even if you have a generator, it helps to practice!)
  • DO NOT USE RUNNING WATER AT ALL TODAY (not even for flushing toilets)

Advanced Tasks:

  • Make one ore more powerless cooking tools to use today. Here are a few options: #10 can stove, #10 can grill, cardboard box oven
  • No laptops, iPads, phones, etc. (even if you have a way to charge them, don’t!) — You can only use them for the purposes of sharing on Facebook for education purposes.
  • Calculate how many meals you can cook based on the fuel that you currently have. Use our fuels handout for a guideline on calculating.
Check back first thing in the morning!



Tuesday, September 20 to Wednesday, September 21


So if you really want to see if you’re prepared ignore this post and start the challenge in 2 days on the “practice” portion of the preparedness cycle. What is the preparedness cycle? Read this.

lastminute However, if you’re not sure if you’re ready, we have some things for you to do over the next 2 days. We felt like giving you a list and time to get ready would only be beneficial in the long run. These are things you may have been putting off so we’re giving you 2 days to “prepare”.

Feel free to buy some of these things or locate them if you have them already. We have even made this list into a printable checklist so you can print if off and get right to it. We will see you in 2 days with our first “practice” scenario.

Here is what is in the printable checklist:

72 hour kits
-Replace clothes family members have outgrown
-Check and replace diapers
-Check food expiration dates and replace
-Check to see if you are missing supplies
-Do you have cash in small bills

-Locate flashlights
-Check batteries in all flashlights
-Charge any solar powered battery packs
-Charge all your electronic devices and keep them charged just in case you lose power
-Get solar outdoor lights, you can use olive oil in jars with wicks as well
-Pick up a solar phone charger then you will still have power for your cell phone
-If you have to use a gas-powered generator, make sure to have a little extra fuel on hand; just be very careful where you put it, and be mindful of your local laws on how much you can have on hand at one time

-Fill all your water containers
-Consider filling your waterbob (link) or plug your bath tub and fill it out
-Consider filling big rubbermaid totes with water but MAKE sure they are covered if you have young children around
-Have a rain barrel to collect water you can use to flush toilets

Family Communication/Planning

-Keep a list of emergency numbers handy, along with family members’ phone numbers. —-Write them down if you only have them stored in your phone
-Have an emergency escape plan from your home and make sure all family members know it and know where to meet.
-Make sure you have and/or locate your radio to stay connected
-Prepare an evacuation list of things you would need to grab in case you need to evacuate.
-Have an emergency binder with all important paperwork ready to go
-Take pictures of every room and closet in your house – it makes a huge difference if you have to deal with insurance companies

-If you have a gas grill, make sure you have a full tank of propane
-Check and replace other types of fuels
-If you need internet for instructions on how to use any of your powerless cooking tools go online and print the instructions now
-Make sure you have and/or locate a non-electric can opener

(If you haven’t started on the food part of your food storage, 2 days is hardly enough to prepare. You’ll just have to wing it or see how you do with this one)
-Have lots of non-perishables on hand
-Turn fridge and freezer to a colder setting
-If you have extra space in your freezer, take containers or zip-loc bags full of water and fill in the extra space
-Make a few meals and snacks that will last without power
-Have enough food and litter for your pets

-Improvise an emergency toilet with a bucket lined with a bin bag and some sawdust or cat litter to cover the contents after each use
-Have your prescriptions filled
-Do your laundry now, so you have clothes that are dry and clean. Locate items necessary to do laundry by hand.
-Find your glasses so you don’t have to deal with contacts in an emergency
-Anyone with an oxygen tank – make certain you have 1) a travel tank 2) a generator or means to operate your home device

-Have books and other non electric entertainment like board games ready for everyone
-Fill your gas tank
-Don’t forget to pay attention to fire prevention measures. Have your extinguisher handy

Remember to get everyone in your house involved. Then in 2 days we will be back with scenario 1 on Thursday, scenario 2 on Friday, and scenario 3 on Saturday! MAKE SURE to visit the event page on Facebook to discuss your progress and share tips. Click on “discussion” on that page.

We will also be posting a lot on instagram (@foodstoragemadeeasy) over the next few days so join along #fsme7daychallenge



This year we are excited to be revamping and reformatting our annual 7 Day Challenge. In the past we have done 7 days with 7 different mock emergencies or scenarios. While we had a blast and learned a lot, we felt like it was time for a change. This year will be even more interactive and really emphasize learning and improving. Having friends join you will make it even more fun and a better experience so please feel free to share this post with them and/or invite them to the Facebook Event for the 2016 Challenge.

The new challenge will follow the “Preparedness Cycle”. which is a new concept we came up with as we were planning this year’s challenge. When we began this journey we were naive to thinking we would ever be “fully prepared”. Preparedness is truly a cycle. You prepare, practice, prioritize, proceed then repeat. Just as you get a skill tackled you realize there is more to learn. No matter where you are in the process there is always room to get just a little more prepared!


ONTO THE CHALLENGE… This year we will be telling you exactly when and what the challenge will be. No surprises here! We want to work together through the preparedness cycle and make the most of this year’s challenge.

The 7 days will begin with the “Prepare” portion. Two days before the “practice” portion of the challenge we will GET READY! Since you will know what’s coming we will spend a couple days getting prepared and completing last minute tasks. This will be a great time to tie up loose ends on things you’ve been procrastinating.

Then we will “Practice”. We will go 3 days with mock emergencies. Expect these days to have situations where you will go without power and water. There will be a different scenario each day and the scenarios will come with come tasks and recommendations much like prior year’s challenges.

Then we will take a day to “Prioritize” based on our findings from our practice. We will encourage you and your family to make a game plan of where to go next.

The last day will be the day to “Proceed”. You’ll purchase items you realized you needed. You’ll sign up for classes or start researching things you need to know more about.

We know everyone is at different levels of preparedness and there will be scaling. We’d like to remind you to try your best and don’t stress.

Learn from each other – Join the Facebook discussion

7f We will be posting here on the blog each day to let you know what is going on but the real discussion will be happening on our Facebook Event Page. You will be able to access that link even if you don’t have facebook. Make sure to invite friends to join you.


fillingwater Tuesday, September 20 to Wednesday, September 21
During these 2 days we will spend time making sure all our ducks are in a row. We will list tasks you will want to do to “PREPARE”. Examples of some tasks include filling water containers, ensuring flashlights have batteries, shoes are by their beds etc, supplies are organized and updated.


practice Thursday, September 22 to Saturday, September 24
During the 3 day “PRACTICE” portion of the challenge we will be doing 3 different scenarios much like prior years. EXPECT there will be challenges to go without power and water! We will practice cooking, cleaning, showering, and more. Each day there will be a different scenario with things to practice and learn.

Thursday September 22 – Day 1: Natural Disaster
Friday September 23 – Day 2: Personal Family Emergency
Saturday September 24 – Day 3: Economic Long-Term Crisis

The goal will be to do the best you can, learn from the experience, and improve!


prior Sunday, September 25

On the “PRIORITIZE” day we will take some time with our families to really analyze how we did. What worked? What didn’t? Where are the holes in our preps? What are our next steps? We will have worksheets and ideas to help you make a game plan to move forward.


proceed Monday, September 26
Although the “PROCEED” day will only be one day during the challenge it will continue on for you in your personal preparedness cycle and journey. We will encourage you to go purchase the items you are in need of most. We will talk about ways to learn more skills so you can proceed and get going on becoming more prepared. As you proceed through the cycle, you will continue to find opportunities to prepare, practice, and prioritize over and over. And next year will be one of those opportunities!

ALL NEW 7 Day Challenge 2016


As most of our faithful readers know, every September for the past 7 years we have hosted a 7 Day Challenge where we go through a different emergency situation each day for 7 days and share and discuss what we learn as we practice.  Well this year we are doing something completely different!  Here are some teasers but stayed tuned as more information and full details will be coming soon.

  • It’s going to be harder
  • It’s going to be easier
  • It’s an all-new format
  • You will know EXACTLY when it’s going to start
  • We are going to really maximize learning and DOING
  • We will be introducing the 4 P’s of Preparedness
  • You are going to want to participate!!!!!!

We will be ramping up for the main event which will be held on Facebook for discussion purposes as we’ve found that people do best at learning by being able to discuss the experience with each other.  You don’t have to have facebook to view the event and we will share the main information via email and on the blog as well.  
Click here to join the 7 Day Challenge 2016 Facebook Event now!

Powerless Cooking Adventures

Summertime is the PERFECT opportunity to practice your powerless cooking skills. In fact, we even shared a post with 10 Ways to Practice Powerless Cooking This Summer several years ago. We always like to come up with fun events to incentivize force ourselves to actually practice what we preach. So this summer we are bringing back our Powerless Cooking Adventures but with an added community aspect to it which we are totally excited about!


Here’s how the adventures will work:

  • We commit to cooking AT LEAST once a week using one of our powerless cooking options which we will list below.
  • We will share our adventures via all our social media channels so make sure you are subscribed wherever you prefer to follow us:
    – Instagram
    – Facebook page
    – YouTube
  • YOU can join in the fun by posting YOUR powerless cooking adventures over on our Facebook group. There MAY even be prizes involved along the way.
  • We will also post lots of educational content throughout the month so make sure to keep checking the blog and also sign up for our newsletter list so you don’t miss anything!

Powerless Cooking Options

All-American Sun Oven – Cook with the power of the sun
Volcano Grill – Perfect for dutch oven or using a variety of fuels
HERC Tea Light Candle Oven – Cook indoors just like a regular oven
Helius Rocket Stove – Heavy duty rocket stove for major cooking or outdoor canning
Camping Stoves – Any small camp stove will be good to practice on
Butane Stove – We like this option for cooking on a stovetop indoors
Barbecue Grills – This should be an easy one to practice, so no excuses!
Cardboard Box Oven – Make this using household materials and cook with charcoal
Pizza Box Sun Oven – Cook slowly or re-heat foods in this simple little oven
#10 Can Grill – Perfect for roasting hot dogs and fun to make
#10 Can Stove – Uses any number of fuels and boil water or heat up foods

Making Potato Salad in a Sun Oven


Last week we hosted a Sun Oven Cooking Essentials Webinar (you can still access the free class through Wednesday, May 4th at midnight). Paul Munsen, president of Sun Ovens International always shares so many great tips on actually USING your Sun Oven to save time and money in the kitchen and I learn something new every time I listen to him speak.

This class was no different. I got it in my head that I really wanted to try the hard-boiled egg trick and Sunday dinner was a perfect opportunity. I somehow ended up hosting my entire family for a dinner and there were 24 people coming to my house for a barbecue. I was scrambling to make a bunch of side dishes and decided this would be a great time-saver to throw my eggs and potatoes in the Sun Oven to cook while I worked on other food items (I was also making this amazing pasta salad using tons of my food storage foods, it was a good preparedness day over here).

I wrapped up my potatoes in aluminum foil after washing them off. I didn’t poke holes in them or peel them or anything. I laid them out on the Sun Oven tray with space in between each one. Then I stuck six eggs in there on top of the potatoes and closed the lid.

After about 90 minutes I went to check on things. I hadn’t repositioned the Sun Oven so the temperature dropped a bit. The potatoes were close to done but still a little firm in the middle. The eggs were more like a soft-boil consistency but the whites were still a bit goopy too. I got the Sun Oven a bit hotter and left them in to keep cooking. In the meantime my family arrived and I sort of forgot about making the potato salad in all the chaos. After about two more hours I checked on them again. Oopsies.

Surprise surprise, it still worked! The potatoes were PERFECT. They did not get too soft or mushy by being overcooked. The eggs took on a strange orangish-yellowish tinge (I believe because I overcooked them) but I tasted them and they were just fine and the consistency was great.

After everyone left I chopped everything up (left the peels on the potatoes and everything). It took me literally five minutes to throw together a complete potato salad. I now have a full bowl just to myself since I missed having it ready for the family, but it was delicious and I’m not complaining!

This is definitely something I want to try again. I loved not having to heat up my oven for 45 minutes to bake potatoes or peel and chop and boil on my stove which always seems to make a huge mess. Don’t forget you can still grab your special Sun Oven Webinar Package until Wednesday if you don’t already have your own. We really do love them not only for emergencies but for every day use!

How to Make a Pizza Box Solar Oven

We are going to be holding a FREE Sun Oven Cooking Essentials webinar next Wednesday (April 27th) and we want to invite you to join in! We’ve been thinking about solar cooking a lot as the weather is starting to warm up and we are lucky enough to have Paul Munsen from Sun Oven International speak to all of our readers about the benefits of cooking with the sun and how to use Sun Oven’s in particular. We hope that you will join us for this great class (there will be a special offer on Sun Oven’s at the end for those who listen in too). Click here to register now and get reminders as it gets closer to the event as well as a replay link if you miss it!

For those who don’t have the budget for a heavy duty solar oven right now, you can still join in the fun! We put together a little solar “oven” using a simple pizza box and other basic materials you should already have hanging around the house. So take a few minutes, grab a few helpers, and make yourself a little solar oven and start practicing up! Obviously this little project won’t cook as hot or as quickly as a real Sun Oven and the capacity is much smaller, but it can definitely be used in an emergency. So we hope you will listen in to the webinar, and either make one of these fun Pizza Box Ovens or grab your own Sun Oven in our awesome webinar package.


Materials Needed:
– One empty pizza box (the bigger the better)
– Aluminum foil
– Plastic wrap
– Black construction paper
– Scotch tape
– Ruler
– Pencil
– Knife or razor blade

Step 1:
Measure and draw a straight line about 1 1/2 inches from the outside of the box.


Step 2:
Use a knife or razor blade and cut three edges along the drawn line (leave the top edge uncut to act as a hinge)


Step 3:
Cover the inside of the top flap with aluminum foil. Also cover the inside edges of the pizza box with the foil. Tape it all down securely.


Step 4:
Cover the open area of the lid with plastic wrap to help retain heat and keep bugs, dirt, and moisture out. Do two layers of plastic and tape it down very well.


Step 5:
Tape black paper in the middle of the box bottom to absorb the heat from the sun which will be reflecting in.

IMG_9764 (1)

Step 6:
Prop the lid open with a pencil or ruler and aim the box into direct sunlight to start cooking!

IMG_9766 (1)

Optional: You can roll up newspaper rolls and stuff them in the sides to add insulation. You can also use a thermometer inside to test your temperatures.

Hopefully you can have a little fun making your own solar cooker. It’s a fun activity to do with the little ones. It didn’t get super hot and I had to hold the box down with a crowbar because it’s so windy in my area. But it definitely got hot enough to melt cheese so there are a few things we could use it for in an emergency!

Don’t forget to register for the Sun Oven webinar to learn more about solar cooking and the higher quality Sun Ovens if that’s something you are interested in! Here is a little more information about the webinar:

Sun Oven Cooking Essentials Seminar

Want to know more about how to cook with the power of the sun? The Sun Ovens Cooking Essentials Seminar will show you the fundamental sun cooking and baking techniques to help you warm up to the idea of cooking with the sun to save money now and be better prepared for emergencies. Whether you have a Sun Oven and want to learn more or you know nothing about solar cooking you will find this seminar beneficial.

Date: Wednesday April 27
Time: 6 pm Mountain Time 7 p.m. Central Time
Click Here to Register: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/food-storage-made-easy-sun-oven-essentials-seminar-tickets-24270332217

7 Day Challenge 2015: DAY 7 (TUESDAY)

Welcome to the 7 Day Challenge. Today is the FINAL DAY! Did you survive? For 7 days, we have been testing our Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Plans. Each day will bring a NEW mock emergency or situation that will test at least one of the reasons “WHY” we strive to be prepared! REMEMBER: No going to a store, gas station, or spending any money for the entire 7 days (unless we say otherwise)! And please feel free to adapt the scenarios to fit your own family and situation.


You have run into some hard times financially but have felt the need to get better prepared. An anonymous donor has offered to give you a Food Storage and Preparedness Makeover and foot the bill for it. Today your task is to inventory your food storage and emergency preparedness items and come up with a wish list for your makeover. Reorganize your room to fit the new supplies you will be getting and make it better organized.

Goal: Organize your food storage and make a future shopping list for yourself

Today’s Tasks:

  • Revisit your three month supply plan. Are you fully stocked on everything? Are all of your three month supply items stored together? What is your rotation plan?
  • Update your long term food storage calculator with your current inventory levels.
  • Determine if your current food storage plan works with your regular diet. Do you need to make adjustments to what you are storing?
  • Arrange like items with like items on your shelves
  • Make a list of the items you still need to buy to complete your three month and one year supplies
  • Look over your emergency preparedness items and re-arrange them as necessary
  • Make a list of emergency preparedness items you may need to purchase
  • Take a before and after picture of your “makeover”
  • FILL OUT YOUR MASTER WORKSHEET TODAY – Doing it as you practice each day will help you remember what you want to include.

fbSHARING TIME: Visit today’s Facebook thread and share a picture or description of your food storage makeover!

Today’s Limitations:

  • Once your makeover is complete the challenge is OVER! Go and buy a donut or a diet coke or whatever it is you’ve been missing this week 🙂

Advanced Tasks:

  • Go and purchase everything on your shopping list and add it to your newly reorganized food storage area

Helpful Posts on This Topic:

Helpful Products for This Topic:


Screen shot 2014-09-16 at 8.51.13 PMWe put together a master worksheet for you to fill out each day of the challenge. There is a separate page to list the things you need to buy, do, and learn after each day of the challenge. Include a due date of when you’d like to accomplish the task and check it off when you do it! Fill it out at the end of each day while your memory is fresh.

Check your email first thing in the morning!