Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last week I received an unusual Christmas present

Last week I received an unusual Christmas present. No. Not a food storage gadget. I was called as the Young Women's president (leader for the girls at church age 12 - 18). Well, needless to say my world is a bit topsy turvey. Sorry I haven't written much here, but those of you who understand, understand. Thank goodness the bishop let me have some wonderful women to work with. Our girls are the best too including my two cute daughters.

My eldest son has been putting together a website for me to launch my Food Storage Organizer and hopefully it will happen in January. Bear with me. Most likely an E-book so you can customize for yourself. It is just about completed.

Today I feel like cleaning up around here in preparations for the new year. Somehow a clean organized house gets me organized inside as well. I asked dear hubby for some food storage shelves for Christmas (I'm definitely a preparedness nerd) and the lumber is here! When that is completed, more pictures will be posted.

I always love this time of year. There is joy and hope in the air. Wishing you all a wonderful new year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Easy Chicken Tortilla Casserole from Food Storage

There are so many ways to make this great recipe. But I'm showing you how my family likes it.

1. Grease 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Open 12 to 13 oz. canned chicken, and drain liquid into casserole dish. In a medium-sized bowl, break up chicken with fork. Add 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 3/4 c. milk, 3/4 c. jar salsa, and 1 T. dehydrated onion. Mix well.

2. Cut 12 flour tortillas (if frozen, thaw) into small bite-sized pieces with cooking scissors.

3. Layer 1/3 of the tortillas onto the bottom of the casserole dish.

4. Spread 1/3 soup mixture on tortillas and sprinkle 1/3 shredded cheese (if frozen, thaw) on soup mixture. Repeat 2 more times. Cover and chill for a few hours. Bake uncovered at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until bubbly. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Casserole Recipe.pdf

Easy Chicken-Tortilla Casserole

12 to 13 oz. canned chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. jar salsa
1 T. dehydrated onion
12 flour tortillas (if frozen, thaw)
10 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (if frozen, thaw),

1. Grease 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Open chicken, and drain liquid into casserole dish. In a medium-sized bowl, break up chicken with fork. Add cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, milk, jar salsa, and dehydrated onion. Mix well.

2. Cut flour tortillas into small bite-sized pieces with cooking scissors.

3. Layer 1/3 of the tortillas onto the bottom of the casserole dish.

4. Spread 1/3 soup mixture on tortillas and sprinkle 1/3 shredded cheese on soup mixture. Repeat 2 more times. Cover and chill for a few hours. Bake uncovered at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until bubbly. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Tip: Shelf life of Pace salsa is 12 months unopened & unrefrigerated at 70 degrees. Avoid freezing. Recommend use by date on bottle. Refrigerate after opening.

Preparedness Is Such a Blessing!

Preparedness is such a blessing. I like having food on hand. I like knowing I have lanterns in the front hall closet for those suprise blackouts, and a supply of cold medicine for this time of year. I know. I sound like a preparedness nerd, but I just like having some things on hand, just in case. I promise I am not a packrat. I donate constantly. Rearrange consistantly. Just hang onto what is most important.

Let me give you a few examples from this week of the blessings of everyday preparedness.

My dishwasher broke down. Not fun. So for a few days we had paper plates and bowls to use. Nice!

I didn't have time to run to the store. I grabbed tortillas, a can of chicken, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and cream of chicken soup, dehydrated onions, bottle of salsa, some frozen cheese, and some milk and I was able to make Chicken Tortilla Casserole; a family favorite. Add a side dish of canned or frozen vegetables and a meal was created without going to the store.

The Utah Food Bank needed some canned goods, expecially protein items. I had an extra case of peanut butter and canned beans to donate. I can always buy more, but others cannot.

Being a little bit prepared makes life a whole lot easier. Love it!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grocery Store, Food Storage Companies, and Case Lot Price Comparison

At this time of year you can find some great sales on holiday baking items to add to your food storage. However, how do you know what to compare those prices to? I've updated my Grocery/Case Lot price comparison spreadsheet and added some local Utah food storage companies (Shelf Reliance, Blue Chip, Emergency Essentials). I want you to see what you can really buy items for. You can compare prices from canned meat, beans, pasta, soups and stews, vegetables, fruits and baking items. It pays to compare prices, and I've done my homework. I'm a little bit frustrated at how high some food storage companies are selling products for (I won't point fingers), so look over the spreadsheet and don't overspend. You can almost always do better at the LDS Home Storage Centers and sometimes Costco, Sam's Club or Walmart.

The month listed to the left of each item is the month I gathered the price. Some items could be at a better price now, but it's nice to know if you should wait until the next Case Lot sale, or just shop the current sales.

(Sorry for so many posts in the past few days, but I write when I have time.)

Grocery Store, Food Storage Companies and Case Lot Price Comparison.pdf
and Excel (No longer available)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Organized Holiday (Christmas) Preparation Calendar

My Holiday Preparation Calendar has reduced the stress of my Christmas preparations. The past 24 years as a mom have taught me that advanced preparation and pacing yourself are the greatest invention since the Ziploc bag.

For me, decorating and shopping take most of my time. I do the bulk of that in November. This allows December to be a time to spend time with family, attend school concerts, create memories, and ponder the birth of our Savior. Our tree goes up the week before Thanksgiving because it's artificial. Some people think I'm a bit odd for doing it then, but I think my family likes a stress-free mom on Thanksgiving Day. I'm a bit ahead and behind, but on my way. Feel free to copy, adjust for yourself or save for next year. Here is a PDF file.

Holiday Preparation Calendar

September 1st WeekPut up Fall decorations
2nd Week
Update Christmas card address list
Order Christmas address labels
3rd Week
Decide on Christmas budget
Decide what Christmas traditions this year
Decide on holiday travel plans
4th Week
Create a Master Christmas Gift list
October 1st Week
Put up Halloween decorations
Work on homemade Christmas gifts
2nd Week
Buy supplies for Halloween costumes
Shop for girl's holiday dresses
3rd Week
Buy pumpkins for Halloween
Family Christmas picture taken
Order copies of family pictures
Ask family for Santa wish lists
Work on Homemade Christmas gifts
Start Christmas shopping
4th Week
More Christmas shopping
Enjoy Halloween!
November1st WeekTake down Halloween decorations
Put up Thanksgiving decorations
Send invites for Thanksgiving if at our house
Christmas shopping
Write family Christmas letter
Make copies of Christmas letter
2nd Week
Inspect/put up outdoor Christmas lights
Inspect Christmas decorations
Buy stamps for cards/letters
Calendar holiday activities/parties
More Christmas shopping
Decide holiday party menus
3rd WeekSet up/decorate Christmas tree
Find Thanksgiving tables, chairs, utensils
Decide on Thanksgiving table decorations
Shop for Thanksgiving meal items
Wrap/box relative gifts
4th Week
Enjoy Thanksgiving
Give relatives Christmas gifts
Take down Thanksgiving decorations
Set up advent calendar and nativity
Finish online Christmas shopping
1st WeekAddress and sign Christmas cards
Shop for stocking stuffers
Mail all packages & cards
Wrap presents and listen to Christmas music
Tradition: Read nightly Christmas stories
Tradition: Go to 1st Presidency Devotional
2nd WeekTake kids shopping for siblings & teachers
Kids wrap gifts for siblings & teachers
Tradition: Read nightly Christmas stories
Tradition: Go visit temple lights
Tradition: Go work at homeless shelter
Tradition: Make Christmas goodies
3rd WeekPurchase food for Christmas breakfast/dinner
Tradition: Go caroling
Tradition: Read nightly Christmas stories
4th WeekMake Christmas Eve dinner
Tradition: Read the Christmas story
Enjoy Christmas Day and family
Shop after Christmas sales
Purchase next years decorations
Plan New Year's activities
Tradition: New Year's Eve countdown

Food and Emergency Storage Items to Gather: December

Here are some ideas of items to stock up on this month. You may find some of these on sale at this time of the year. Choose items that you think your family would use and add them to this month's food storage plan.

Baking cocoa
Baking chocolate
Lipton onion soup
Extracts - vanilla, almond
Evaporated milk
Marshmallow crème
Bread crumbs
Makeup (use coupons)
Baby powder
Kitchen trash bags
Paper bowls (hide away for emergencies)
Bread rolls
Nuts (2 year shelf life if frozen)
Chocolate or baking chips, sealed
cold medicine
cough drops
decongestant, etc.
Duct tape
Snow scraper
Detailed area map
Small mirror
Pocket knife
Small toiletries
Good shoes
Paper towels
Hand wipes
Electric wheat grinder (on sale)
Solar shower

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Home Organization: Daily Household Routines for Mom

I suppose I should have done this in January, but as my preparations for the holidays have increased, I've felt the need for organization in my life. I've looked at before, but got completely overwhelmed. This time, I decided what this stay-at-home mom could realistically accomplish.

Remember: I have independent-get-our-own-breakfast teens, and a four year-old. So you young moms who work may get overwhelmed with my schedule. Just create your own routine. It really makes sense to have a Bedtime and Morning routine. Obviously you can't always stick to a routine. However, I have been very happy with mine. It keeps me from getting sidetracked. I still need more practice, but it's so nice to wake up to a tidy house. Still tweaking, but eventually I want to laminate these cards and keep them in the kitchen and desk.

Bedtime Routine
1. Clean up house (20 min. tops)
 Tidy LR, FR & Kitchen
 Kitchen: clean up, shine sink, put out clean dishcloths
 Put items away on stairs
2. Think about tomorrow
 Check calendar for appointments
 Write up To Do list
 Put out tonight what will make tomorrow easier
 Check the weather
 Lay out clothes (my girls do this, so why not me!)
3. Focus on Self
 Get ready for bed
 Bath (sometimes)
 Read scriptures
 Read or Sudoku for fun
 Prayer

Morning Routine (M - F)
1. Rise & Shine
 Prayer
 Exercise (treadmill)
 Make bed (if hubby is out)
 Make sure teens are moving
 Shower
 Swish toilet w/cleaner
 Get dressed
 Put in a load of laundry (Mon/Fri)
 Eat breakfast/vitamins
2. Think About My Day
 Check calendar
 Check To Do List
 Check email (10 min. tops)
3. Kitchen
 Wake 4 year-old
 Help her get dressed
 Start her breakfast
 Unload dishwasher
 Let out/feed dog
 Put out something to thaw for dinner

Thursday, November 19, 2009

LDS Missionary Christmas Care Package Ideas

Update: Another Christmas Care Package idea for my newest missionary can be found here.

Today I mailed a few Christmas care packages to my son serving an LDS mission in Bolivia. About a month ago I asked him to send me ideas of what he might want or need. This year I wrapped each gift and put a mailing label on it with a scripture for him to look up. I looked up the correlating scriptures in the Topical Guide and the Bible dictionary. It was enjoyable for me, and I hope he reads them instead of tearing open all of the little packages first.

Shipping Tips:

  • Keep package weight under 4 lbs. to prevent expensive customs fees at the other end.
  • Use a postal scale at home before you get to the post office so you don't have any surprises. When I arrived at the post office, both packages weighed 3 lbs. 14 oz. each! Pretty good.
  • Choose items that are lightweight.
  • Don't try to send everything you desire because if he gets transferred, he can't take it all with him.

Items I sent:

Water filtration bottle - John 3:5
Beef Jerky - Matt. 25:35
Cracker Jack's - Matt. 12:1
Rice Krispies Treat - D&C 89:14
Starbursts - Genesis 1:16
Sugar Free Hawaiian Punch singles - John 2:3-9
Life Saver Storybook - Luke 9:56
Swedish Fish - Matt 4:19
Wonka Laffy Taffy - Eccl. 3:4
Post-it Notes - 2 Chron. 30:6
Nerf Basketball w/hoop & net - Matt. 13:47
Candycane Cocoa packets - Mark 6:8
November Conference Ensign - D&C 1:38
CTR rings in Spanish for kids - Joshua 24:15
5x7 Pictures of President Monson - Amos 3:7
Sm. Hand sanitizer - D&C 50:28
CD "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" - D&C 58:4
Oatmeal packets - D&C 89:16-21
Family Testimonies written in English & Spanish to be put in BofM's he passes out - D&C 76:22
Pillowcase with family handprints - 3 Nephi 11:15-17
Ties for companion and converts
Willowtree Thank You ornament & bookmark for pensionistas (cooks). I wrote a thank you in Spanish on the back of each gift.
Mini Christmas tree (Walgreens)
Super-mini Christmas lights (Walgreens)
Advent Calendar
A few gifts and letters from relatives.

Some other missionary care package ideas from BYU Women's Conference
More ideas here

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gifts of Love and Inexpensive Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

For many, Christmas this year will be different. It will be frugal. It will be more thoughtful. It will be creative. Today I've been reflecting on how to put the true spirit of giving into our Christmas. How to give the gift of self. So I'm taking a moment to pause and really think about my loved ones and how to give gifts of love this year. So my gift to you is to share my ideas:

How to Give Gifts of Love:1. First, write down the names of those you want to give to. It's impossible to give to everyone in the world, so be realistic.
2. Decide on your overall Christmas budget, and then write down a budget for each person. Now is not the time to go into debt. This year may be leaner for many of us, but you can still have a wonderful time together with some creative planning.
3. Consider your skills and talents. Giving a gift of service to a family member or friend, is one of the most memorable gifts you can give. With your typing skills you could type up a journal for your Dad. With your baking skills you could make a food item. With your art skills you could paint or decorate an apron or a T-shirt. With your carpentry skills you could build the shelves your wife has always wanted (hint, hint). With your computer skills you could design a website for your mom (thanks, Josh!). With your photography skills you could create a family movie.
4. Now, think of each person's hobbies, job, favorites, or other interests. Really think. Have they been having a difficult time recently? What could make a difference? Write down what comes to mind. Do they like to cook, work in the garden, read, or play a musical instrument? Is their favorite color green? Do they love to eat? Do they have a favorite band or sport?
5. Next, pray for guidance to know what the real needs are of the person.
6. After you've written down some your ideas and their interests, if you still need help then go through the links below and jot down your gift ideas. Just write the gift idea and the link number below so you can find it again.

This year try to make Christmas more thoughtful and memorable by giving a gift from the heart. Best wishes!
#2 Read article: "A Christmas Made at Home"
#3 Read article: "Our Best Tradition Yet"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Retail Items That Go On Sale in November 2009

What goes on sale in November? If you are trying to save money, the following items typically go on sale in the month of November. Some are perfect for emergencies, Christmas, or everyday. There is a big push for retailers to draw you into their stores this month. I tried to list some items you could wait on for the clearance sale. I've noticed that overall stock is lower in WalMart and Target as retailers are attempting to not overbuy, so be conscious of that.

Items on Sale this November:
Fall decor clearance. Shop first week after Halloween. (I saw some items yesterday in Joann's Fabrics for 70% off. Put a couple of things aside for next year).
Halloween costume clearance. Shop first week after Halloween. (dress up costumes are a great gift for a little girl.)
Coats (if you can wait, the best clearance sales come in January. I bought a coat at Kohl's earlier this year that retailed for $150. I paid $20!)
Boots (if you need them now, buy them on sale. Harder to find your size when they go on clearance.)
Gloves (December is better, or January clearance. Get two pairs as gloves get lost.)
Quilts (Flannel sheets are now on shelves in the store, so retailers have unsold quilts on sale or clearance)
Baby blankets (on sale. Go to or )
Heating appliances (on sale)
Water heaters (on sale)
Small appliances (on sale)
Men’s/boy’s suits (on sale. best time is Easter)
Thanksgiving week sales (Actually several weeks of sales. Just about every department will have something on sale.)

Hang onto sale mailers and put them in your purse or car. Even though you may not plan to shop, it's always nice to have them on hand when you suddenly decide you need something. Throw away old flyers when you are waiting somewhere like the doctor's.

Here is my seasonal sales calendar. Needs to be updated.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Here are some ideas of items to stock up on this month. You may find some of these on sale. Choose items that you think your family would use and add them to your monthly food storage plan.

Shelf Foods
Canned pumpkin
Sweet potatoes/Yams
Spices - cinnamon, etc.
Cake mix
Pie filling
Broth - beef & chicken
Cooking spray
Brownie mix
Brown sugar
Freezer Foods
Whipped topping
Non-Food Items
Plastic wrap
Medical & First Aid
Hand sanitizer
Cotton balls
Car Emergency Kit: Part 1
Water bottles
Food bars, etc.
Jumper cables
Flashlight and batteries
Toilet paper roll
Work gloves
Plastic trash bags
ABC fire extinguisher
Smoke detector
Fire escape ladder
Emergency Prep
Latches on cupboards
Brace shelves/cabinets

Monday, October 19, 2009

Food Storage Salad Bar - Yummy, Yummy!

One of the easiest ways to encourage your family to eat canned food storage is to create a food storage salad bar. There are so many possibilities with some great nutritional value and no one ever thinks they are eating food storage. It's fun to go to the food storage pantry to select salad toppings and a favorite dressing!

Food Storage Salad Bar, Yummy, Yummy!
Serves 6

1. 12 cups of fresh healthy spinach, or mixed salad greens, in bite-sized pieces.

2. Next, go wild! Open up about 5 or 6 canned foods from the list below, and dump them into some plastic containers with lids. Chill.
3. Then when it's time to eat, put the containers and greens on the table and let each family member choose what they want to top their salad with. Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator for the next day.
4. Top with your favorite dressings. Another food storage item!

Food Storage Salad topping ideas:
Corn, canned (drained)
Green beans, canned (drained)
Olives whole or sliced (drained)
Beets, canned (drained)
Pineapple chunks or tidbits, canned (drained)
Mandarin oranges, canned (drained)
Black beans (rinsed and drained)
Kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
Garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
White beans (rinsed and drained)
Canned tuna (rinsed and drained)
Canned chicken (rinsed and drained)
Canned salmon (rinsed and drained)
Water chestnuts (drained)
Toasted almonds
Sunflower seeds

Don't be afraid to add fresh tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers. And if you're really adventurous, sprout some wheat!

See How to Sprout Wheat Berries

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shelf Life of Canned Food Storage Foods

"Hi. I am from Nebraska and have been working on some meat storage. I know I had it at one time, but am having trouble finding a list showing how long it is safe to store home-canned meat products (or any food actually). Would you happen to know where I might be able to find this information? Thanks"

To answer your question, I did a general internet search and went through two of my favorite food storage books: "Your Guide to Emergency Home Storage" by Alan K. Briscoe, and "Emergency Food In A Nutshell" by Leslie D. Probert and Lisa L. Harkness. I value these books because I can see the amount of research that went into them.

There are many lists "out there." If you are ever curious about any one food item, do an internet search with the food's name and type in "shelf life" after it. As a general rule, I personally try to use all small canned good items within 2 years. So, I mark the can or case with the date of purchase. Obviously I've had some last longer, but the flavor and consistency may change. So my general answer is 2 years. You never know how long an item has been on a shelf in a store before you bought it, and if the place you have store it consistantly stays lower than 70 - 75 degrees.

Here is a good list with the shelf life of many canned goods and food storage foods at
One Year Supply Guide

Just Updated Paper Clutter Control: Organizing Your Office

If you would like to see how I reorganized my office, go to this former post that I recently updated. Rearranging the three desks in our small office has made it enjoyable for me to work here again. Check out my clutter control ideas as well.

Update on the Flu in Our House - Buy a Thermometer

Each day I've been updating our life with the H1N1 Swine flu. For full story see this post.

Oct. 18 Day 6: I woke without fever. Have more energey, but still congested in my chest. Staying off the meds today. Our 4 year-old woke with a fever of 101.7. Day 2 for her. Put her on Tylenol. Her spirits are up. Kids are amazing. Asked the doctor last night about Tamiflu and she thought it would be difficult to get unless we were in the emergency room. So, we are watching our little one for any respiratory problems, and keeping her hydrated. Plenty of DVD's in this house to keep her happy. It's amazing how resourceful our digital thermometer has become. With three of us sick it is getting used a lot.
Tip - Always have a working thermometer in the house.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We Have the Flu. Is it H1N1?

We have the flu. Is it H1N1? Most likely according to the doctors in our area, but we have not been officially diagnosed. "Over 99% of all subtyped influenza A viruses reported to CDC this week (Sept. 27 - Oct. 3) were 2009 influenza A (H1N1) viruses."

Here is the family illness timeline:
Son #3 got the flu Oct. 2. Got over it in about 5 days.
Daughter #2 got it Oct. 7. Got over it in about 5 days.
I got it Oct. 13. Daughter #3 got it the day after me.
So far no one in my family has had a critical case. None of us are in the high risk category: pregnant, diabetic, heart disease, asthma, kidney disease, weakened immunue systems. The H1N1 flu shot was limited in our area. Hello, we didn't have time to get it.

Illness Timeline
Oct. 13 Day 1: tickle in my throat, then sore throat, tired, body aches. Made the mistake to go to the preschool fieldtrip and grocery store because I "didn't feel so bad." Sorry everyone I came in contact with.
Oct. 14 Day 2: fever of 99 to 100, congested, sinus headache, body aches, sore throat, coughing. Stayed home. Time to be a responsible adult. 200 kids home ill from our junior high.
Oct. 15 Day 3: body aches, no fever (because on meds), congested, sinus headache, sore throat, coughing, feel yucky, but I can be up more. I am staying home with daughter #3.
Oct. 16 Day 4: woke with fever 99.9 and daughter fever 102. We both are congested, sinus headache and feel lousy. Another day off from school for her. Both of our arms and legs are tired. I have a croopy cough, and chest congestion. Went to bed without a fever. She still had a fever. I know this will end, but it's sure taking a long time.
Oct. 17 Day 5: woke with no fever. No sinus headache, but still am congested, croopy cough. Arms and legs fatigued. Have diarrhea. Doing simple chores, and resting inbetween. Going to stay off meds today. Seeing the light at the end of this tunnel. Daughter #4, who rarely naps, took a nap at 4 p.m. I took her temperature and it was 101. Daughter #3 has most of her energy back and no fever. I worry the most for my youngest, but so far she is doing fine. I'm keeping her hydrated and on Tylenol. In the evening my temp was up to 99.7. :-(
Oct. 18 Day 6: I woke without fever. Still congested. Staying off the meds today. Our 4 year-old woke with a fever of 101.7. Day 2 for her. Put her on Tylenol. Her spirits are up. Kids are amazing. Asked the doctor last night about Tamiflu and she thought it would be difficult to get unless we were in the emergency room. So, we are watching our little one for any respiratory problems, and keeping her hydrated. Plenty of DVD's in this house to keep her happy. It's amazing how resourceful our digital thermometer has become.

Things I am grateful for. Lots of food (we are hungry instead of nauseous), meds (DayQuil, NyQuil, ibuprofen), cough drops, and kleenex in the house. Ordered pizza last night. Glad I planned on having some items in advance because I do not want to go to the store.

What do I wish I had had more of? DVD's. TV is pretty boring these days. I'm tired of watching everyone remodel their kitchen or hear about a national health plan.

Advice? STAY HOME! FOR AT LEAST 24 HOURS AFTER FEVER IS GONE. (Fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine)

What are “emergency warning signs” that should signal anyone to seek medical care urgently?
In children:

•Fast breathing or trouble breathing
•Bluish skin color
•Not drinking enough fluids
•Not waking up or not interacting
•Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
•Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
•Fever with a rash

In adults:

•Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
•Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
•Sudden dizziness
•Severe or persistent vomiting

More information on H1N1
If you or a family member has the flu, please comment on how you are coping, and any other tips. Thanks.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Favorite Quotes from October 2009 General Conference

I hope many of you were able to view the October 2009 LDS General Conference. My husband was in the choir on Saturday afternoon, and the kids and I were excited to see him. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from General Conference. You can already read, listen or watch the sessions at this link:

"For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are - and who we will become." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Saturday morning

"Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Saturday morning

"We should remember that saying 'I love you' is only a beginning. We need to say it, we need to mean it and, most important, we need to consistently show it. We need to both express and demonstrate love." Elder David A. Bednar, Saturday morning

"Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls." Elder David A. Bednar, Saturday morning

". . . bearing up under our own burdens can help us develop a reservoir of empathy for the problems others face." Elder L. Whitney Clayton, Saturday morning

"If we provide a 'still' and quiet time each day when we are not bombarded by television, computer, video games, or personal electronic devices, we allow that still, small voice an opportunity to provide personal revelation and to whisper sweet guidance, reassurance, and comfort to us." Sister Vicki F. Matsumori, Saturday morning

"God’s love is so perfect that He lovingly requires us to obey His commandments because He knows that only through obedience to His laws can we become perfect, as He is. For this reason, God’s anger and His wrath are not a contradiction of His love but an evidence of His love. Every parent knows that you can love a child totally and completely while still being creatively angry and disappointed at that child’s self-defeating behavior." Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Saturday afternoon

"We may feel the words of spiritual communication more than hear them, and see with spiritual eyes rather than with mortal eyes." President Boyd K. Packer, Saturday afternoon

"When temptation comes, you can invent a delete key in your mind - perhaps the words from a favorite hymn. Your mind is in charge; your body is the instrument of your mind. When some unworthy thought pushes into your mind, replace it with your delete key. Worthy music is powerful and can help you control your thoughts." President Boyd K. Packer, Saturday afternoon

"Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil. And I have learned to conclude all my prayers with 'Thy will be done.'" President Boyd K. Packer, Saturday afternoon

"I have seen enough ups and downs throughout my life to know that winter will surely give way to the warmth and hope of a new spring. I am optimistic about the future. Brethren, for our part, we must remain steadfast in hope, work with all our strength, and trust in God." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Saturday Priesthood session

"There may be those who, after many years of Church service, believe they are entitled to a period of rest while others pull the weight. To put it bluntly, brethren, this sort of thinking is unworthy of a disciple of Christ. A great part of our work on this earth is to endure joyfully to the end—every day of our life." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Saturday Priesthood session

"Brethren, you have a duty to learn as much as you can. Please encourage your families, your quorum members, everyone to learn and become better educated. If formal education is not available, do not allow that to prevent you from acquiring all the knowledge you can. Under such circumstances, the best books, in a sense, can become your “university”—a classroom that is always open and admits all who apply." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Saturday Priesthood session

"The destiny of the rising generation of priesthood holders is far more than to be ready to bring God’s power down to heal the sick. The preparation is to be ready to go and do whatever the Lord wants done as the world is preparing for His coming. None of us knows exactly what those errands will be. But we know what it will take to be ready, so each of us can prepare." President Henry B. Eyring, Saturday Priesthood session

"To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan. No one can make us angry. It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry. I testify that such is possible." President Thomas S. Monson, Saturday Priesthood session

"First, I give counsel to husbands and wives. Pray for the love which allows you to see the good in your companion. Pray for the love that makes weaknesses and mistakes seem small. Pray for the love to make your companion’s joy your own. Pray for the love to want to lessen the load and soften the sorrows of your companion." President Henry B. Eyring, Sunday morning

"Former United States president Ronald Reagan has been quoted as saying, 'I do not want to go back to the past; I want to go back to the past way of facing the future.' His counsel still resonates within me. There is something about reviewing the lessons of the past to prepare us to face the challenges of the future." Elder L. Tom Perry, Sunday morning

"I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives." President Thomas S. Monson, Sunday morning

"Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all troubles in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to 'come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.'" Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Sunday afternoon

"Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared in crossing an ocean, settling in a new world. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. I did not proselyte with Alma and Amulek nor witness the fiery death of innocent believers. I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of an entire civilization. But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. Like them '[I] give [my name] unto the world, to witness unto the world that which [I] have seen.” And like them, “[I] lie not, God bearing witness of it. I ask that my testimony of the Book of Mormon and all that it implies, given today under my own oath and office, be recorded by men on earth and angels in heaven. I hope I have a few years left in my 'last days,' but whether I do or do not, I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days." Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Sunday afternoon

"Some parents place undue priority on temporal and material possessions. Some are far less diligent in their efforts to immerse their children in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember that having religious observance in the home is as important as providing food, clothing and shelter." Elder Quentin L. Cook, Sunday afternoon

"Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard." Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Sunday afternoon

"My brothers and sisters, He has prepared us. If we heed His words and live the commandments, we will survive this time of permissiveness and wickedness -- a time which can be compared with the waves and the winds and the floods that can destroy. He is ever mindful of us. He loves us and will bless us as we do what is right." President Thomas S. Monson, Sunday afternoon

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

OCTOBER: Items to Add to Food Storage or Emergency Supplies

It's hard to believe that October starts this Thursday! A cold front is moving into Utah and we should get snow in the mountains on Wednesday. If you live in Davis County, the emergency radio station is 1700 a.m. which is now one of my saved station buttons on my car radio.

Below is the list of items to focus on for your October food storage purchases. These are only suggestions, but you may find some of these on sale to stock up on. I did find canola oil at Macey's for $4.99 per gallon! Canned applesauce is .57 per can or $13.68 case 24 ct. Their Case Lot Sale ends tomorrow.

Shelf Foods
Vegetable & other oils
Graham crackers
Corn syrup
Dried cranberries
Baking powder & soda
Sloppy Joe mix
Biscuit mix
Dried peppers
Gum (comfort foods)
Candy (hide some Halloween candy away)
Freezer FoodsBread
Bell Peppers
Hand sanitizer
Paper & CleaningPaper towels
Medical SuppliesCPR mouth barrier
Adhesive tape
Pet 72-hour KitPet food
Pet carrier
EquipmentBBQ or Stove
Emergency Prep
Test smoke detectors
Have family fire drill

There are still a few clearance backpacks in the stores for your 72-hour kits. I am looking for one with wheels for my 4-year old. Also an idea for your pets 72-hour kit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Food Storage Recipe: Quick Beef Chili with Corn

Here is a simple and easy Quick Beef Chili with Corn recipe made from 100% food storage items. Perfect meal for a fall or winter day. Adapted from "Emergency Food in a Nutshell."

Serves 4 – 6

2 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained OR
3 ½ c. soaked and cooked dry kidney beans
1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (12 oz.) can beef chunks, undrained and broken up
1 ½ c. water
1 c. chunky salsa
½ t. cumin
½ t. chili powder
1 t. sugar

1. Combine ingredients in pan and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I put in a small slow cooker and heated until warm.)

So simple!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Utah Case Lot Sale Price Comparison List - Update!

I just updated the Utah Case Lot Sale Price Comparison list. Go to this post for the most recent changes. Price sheet compares Reams, Macey's, Dick's, Harmon's, Bowman's, Smith's, Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, and LDS storehouse.

I shopped at Macey's today *9/14) and found some GREAT deals! If it's on the floor, you can buy it at this coming Wednesday's price. If the price of an item is highlighted in yellow on my spreadsheet, the price is lower than the last caselot sale! Macey's lowered their prices. They've also come out with an ad insert called Price Chopper. I talked with someone in customer service, and corporate is having them reduce the size of their print ads, so they can no longer fit everything on sale in the ad.

So, as you look at my ever-growing ever-changing spreadsheet, you will notice some items still have Sept. 2008 because I couldn't get some of the 2009 prices yet. But I did get a lot of them. A few highlights:

WF Apple juice - 64 oz. for .99 ea.
Progresso Soup - 19 oz. for .99 ea. (w/coup)
Cooking oil - 128 oz. for $4.99 (even Canola!)
WF Pancake syrup - 128 oz. for $3.99
WF Spaghetti Sauce - 26 oz. for .99
WF Tomato soup - .33 ea.
Oatmeal - 42 oz. $1.39

Smith's also has some great deals, so look over the list.
Happy Shopping!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Evacuation List: What do I take?

In light of the current fires in California where 12,000 people evacuated, and recent fires in Utah, I thought I would relist a post which can help you create an evacuation list. Evacuations happen sooner than people think and we should take this seriously.

Please reread my post "What Would You Take If You Had to Evacuate?"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2009 Utah Case Lot Sale Dates

Here are the dates of the September 2009 Case Lot Sales at some of our Utah grocery stores. If you know of additional dates and stores please send them to me.

Harmon's: Aug. 31 - Sept. 20. Here is a link to their site. If you look on the bottom right you will see a link to their case lot prices.

Ream's: Sept. 8 - ?
Smith's: Sept. 9 -23
Peterson's: Sept. 15
Macey's: Sept. 16 - Oct. 6
Bowman's, Dick's, Dan's: Sept. 16 - 29
Kent's, Winegar's: Sept. 16 - ?
Lin's: end of October

Stores will start putting items out the weekend before. If items are on the floor a few days early, you can buy them for the sales price. Check with your store. Excludes Smith's.

The spreadsheet now includes Reams's, Harmon's, Smith's, Bowman's (Kaysville), Dick's (Layton), Macey's (Ogden), Costco (Bountiful), Sam's Club (Layton), Walmart (Centerville), LDS storehouse.

I picked up Macey's Case Lot ad today (9/14), however, it does not contain all that is on sale. That is on a list at the customer service desk and was not available yet. So I could only list the Macey's prices from the ad.

Utah Case Lot Sales Prices.pdf

Utah Case Lot Sales Prices.xls

For more of my Case Lot shopping ideas go to this post.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Retail Sales Items That Go On Sale in September 2009

Over the past year I've been regularly looking at emergency preparedness and other clearance sales at Sears, JCPenney, Kohls, Target, Kmart, Walmart, Cabela's, Sam's Club auctions, Big 5, Sports Authority, etc. I've put together a Seasonal Sales Calendar of sale items to help you plan purchases better and save money.

Camping supply prices will continue to drop this month, so watch for items you need. It is better to search for clearance items online, than in newspaper ads.

Here is my list of Items That Go on Sale in September 2009:

On Sale: jeans, fans, yard tools, 2009 trail bikes, rugs, lamps, dishes & glassware, fall clothing
Clearance Sales: School backpacks (look for a sturdy one for 72-hour kits), BBQ's, patio furniture, back-to-school supplies, college furnishings, summer sports equipment, comforter sets, last-of-the-summer clothing such as shorts & Capri's, summer pajamas, summer athletic clothes, sandals, canvas shoes

Camping Supplies Clearance: tents, lanterns, flashlights, camp cook sets, hiking backpacks, hiking boots, camping chairs, 2-way radios, sleeping bags, camping stoves, Dutch ovens, shade covers, coolers, duffle bags

Sunday, August 30, 2009

SEPTEMBER: Items to Add to Food Storage or Emergency Supplies

Each month I post a list of suggested items to add to your Food Storage and Emergency Supplies. I've done lots of research to see what items go on sale during various months of the year. Don't get overwhelmed with the size of the list. Only stock up on items you have a budget for. As you follow the monthly rotation of my Food Storage and Emergency Supplies Calendar, over time (it may take several years) you will accumulate the necessary items you need. Organizing your purchases will prevent you from overspending and help you take advantage of the best sales.

Shelf Foods
Condensed soups
Canned tomatoes
Canned kidney, northern beans, etc.
Canned tuna
Canned corn, green beans
Canned stew
Canned pineapple
Canned mushrooms
Spaghetti sauce
Cornbread mix
TVP - chicken, beef, etc.
Freezer Foods
Chicken breasts
Non-Food Items
Lip balm
Laundry Detergent
Medical & First Aid
rubbing alcohol
hydrogen peroxide
hydrocortisone cream
72-Hour Kit
backpack (watch for school clearance)
3-day supply food
3-day supply water
candy, gum
Equipment & Fuel
Sleeping bags
Sleeping pad
Emergency Prep
Learn school disaster plan
Update emergency contacts

Friday, August 28, 2009

How to Create Preschool Picture Menu Cards

Feeding a preschooler a variety of healthy meals isn't always easy, so I decided to create some Preschool Picture Menu Cards that can be hung on our refrigerator. Incorporating food storage items into the menus was important for me, so I included several items we stock up on regularly. This was really a fun project! It should also help with my grocery shopping later. There were lots of smiles from my daughter with this project.

How to Create Preschool Picture Menu Cards

1. Find ideas for your child's menus at school websites or Even though your child doesn't know how much they eat, they need to be a part of the planning otherwise you will end up with foods that won't be eaten.

2. Type your ideas on a spreadsheet or Word document. I created 10 breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. As you type the menus, space them so you can eventually cut them out into little cards. They will be hung on your refrigerator or a magnetic board. Mine look like little rectangles.

3. Hunt for pictures on the internet or from clipart picture software (I use Broderbund: The Print Shop Deluxe) that you can add to your menus. You could also take pictures with your own camera of your actual meals. Make your menu cards as visual as possible so your preschooler can see their choices. Ask them to tell you what they see in the picture so you know they understand.

4. Copy your menus on cardstock so they will be sturdy.

5. Cut each menu apart.

6. Laminate the individual cards, and cut them out again. This will keep safe from sticky hands.

7. Hole punch at the top so they can be hung on magnetic hooks (Target) on your refrigerator or a magnetic board. Or attach a small magnet on the back to hang them up. Each day let your child choose what they want for breakfast, lunch or snacks. Then move the eaten menu to the "discard" hook. If you don't have an ingredient such as broccoli, substitute another food item from another menu card.

Let me know how your Preschool Menu Cards work for you!
Printable Preschool Menu Cards.pdf
Printable Preschool Menu Cards.xls

P.S. My preschooler called me a chef today. I told her, "Those people work in restaurants." She said, "But you make food for our cousins. So you are a chef too." I'm glad she thinks so. :-)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blender Wheat Pancakes Recipe

Here is a great blender wheat pancakes recipe that uses lots of food storage items and tastes yummy. Adapted from “Cooking with Chef Brad” by Brad E. Petersen. I highly recommend Chef Brad and have been to some of his classes at BYU Education Week. If you want to learn more about cooking with whole grains, whole foods, and gluten free recipes, check out his website at the link above.

1 1/4 c. water
1 c. soft white wheat flour (I used 1 1/2 c. but live at a higher altitude)
1/4 c. dry powdered milk
1 egg
2 T oil
2 T honey
1/2 t. salt
1 T Rumford (or other) baking powder

1. In a blender blend water, wheat flour and dry milk on high for 3 minutes.
2. Add egg, oil, honey, and salt. Blend 20 seconds more.
3. Add baking powder then pulse-blend 3 times—just enough to mix. Mixture will foam and get very light.
4. Cook on hot non-stick griddle.

Tip: I keep freshly ground wheat flour in my freezer so it is always on hand.

Yield: 2 dozen silver-dollar size pancakes
Blender Wheat Pancakes.pdf

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home Storage for Newlyweds

Many young couple think food storage is a "someday" project, however, a recent article in the September 2009 Ensign magazine entitled "Two Cans of Corn: Home Storage for Newlyweds," will help you see things differently.

The first presidency encourages ALL Church members to follow these guidelines, even those on a limited budget. We encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow. (p. 67).

Those of you who follow my blog regularly know that I try to encourage you to store what will work for your circumstances. If you can only fit 3 months of food storage into your tiny apartment, than you are doing the best that can with your circumstances. As we use our wisdom to gradually build a food (home) storage supply, and then learn to use and replenish it, we can succeed with the counsel church leaders have given us.

This morning I decided to make some muffins for my family, and discovered I was out of fresh eggs. Thank goodness I keep powdered eggs in my refrigerator. They are simple to use, and always on hand, and the muffins were perfect. I hope you won't get overwhelmed with food storage. Make food storage work for YOU.

Get rid of food storage guilt and focus on one can or box at a time. Even the Nephites had home storage.(3 Nephi 4:4).

Here is a list of items college students living in apartments may want to stock up on at the beginning of a semester. Perhaps it could help young newlyweds as well.

College Food Storage.pdf

Monday, August 24, 2009

Our Sunday Evening Power Outage Experience

During a family dinner party this past Sunday, we experienced a 2-hour power outage. The lights flickered a few times and then went completely out. It wasn't dark outside yet, but dusk was setting in. Since one never knows how long the power will be out, I decided to locate some candles and our battery powered lanterns. The lanterns were easy to find in the front hall closet with our emergency supplies, and most of the candles were in the kitchen cupboard and others were scattered around the house as decorations. Even though scented candles in jars are occasionally nice, lighting several for power outages isn't the best idea. Kind of gives you a headache. I did have some vanilla scented pillar candles, which was a better idea. This Christmas I will pick up a few more and store them in the basement.

Without the power the air conditioner stopped working, so windows were opened. It was humid and somewhat stuffy because of the summer rain storm going on outside. But we endured. Just grateful winter had not set in.

The teenagers were playing Mafia in the living room, while the rest of us visited in our family room. They were excited when I lit candles on the sofa table because it added to the mystery of their game. Some of them kept commenting on how much "cooler" it was without the lights on. As conversation continued and darkness set in, I thought how wonderful it was that a family could still enjoy each another even without the power.

My little nephews, Mark and Luke, had been playing in the basement, and were somewhat disappointed that it was dark down there. I handed them a battery-operated lantern which they thought was very cool. Little 2 year-old Mathias continued wandering around the family room totally unaware of the event, but his wise mother moved the candles a little bit higher. One family member was caught in the bathroom when the lights went out; however, it was the one bathroom that I had a rechargeable light that is always plugged into the outlet. My teenage son later brought it into the family room commenting how great this little light was because it automatically goes on when the power goes out. So today I headed over to Target (also at Lowe's) to buy some Energizer Weather Ready Rechargeable LED lights for the other bathrooms; about $10 each. These also become a small handheld flashlight. Wouldn't want to be caught in the dark in the bathroom.

Fortunately this was a brief power outage, but each minor experience prepares us for future emergencies. If you are interested in a battery powered lantern, you may find these and other camping supplies on clearance later this month.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Applesauce Spice Muffin Recipe

Here is another recipe that uses canned applesauce that you will want to add to your food storage recipes.

Applesauce Spice Muffins
Makes: 48 mini muffins or 24 regular muffins

1 c. vegetable oil
2 T. mayonnaise
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2. c. applesauce (or 1 15.5 oz. can)
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. powdered sugar

1. Lightly grease muffin tins or use paper muffin cups.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. In a large bowl, cream oil, mayonnaise, brown sugar and eggs until fluffy.
4. Add applesauce and mix thoroughly.
5. In small bowl sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
6. Add flour mixture to moist mixture, and blend.
7. Pour batter into muffin cups and bake at 375 degrees for 10 min., mini muffins or 20 min., regular muffins
8. Sift/sprinkle powdered sugar over muffins and let cool 10 minutes.
9. Remove from muffin pan and enjoy. Great food storage recipe!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Toiletries: Part of Food and Home Storage

Even though toiletries are non-food items, they are an important part of home storage, and disaster and emergency preparedness. In the first few months of job loss, it would be nice to have some of these items on hand to help with finances. After a disaster you may need to help more people in your neighborhood than just your own family. So, decide what items you want to stock up on. Most of us do this already since we shop at warehouse stores and buy larger packages with more items to save money.

When I first started building up my stock of items, I thought I needed a year's supply of everything. Then I decided to focus on a 6 month's supply of some items and 3 months of others. This helped my budget. Of course when there is a coupon that allows me to get something dirt cheap (usually toothpaste and deodorant) I stock up on more of these.
Here are some suggested amounts for a 3 month supply for one person:
  • Shampoo/Conditioner - 3
  • Body Wash or Bar Soap - 3
  • Deodorant - 2
  • Lotion - 1
  • Razors - 3
  • Toothpaste -1
  • Toothbrushes -1
  • Dental floss - 1
  • Chapstick - 1
  • Shaving cream - 1
  • Feminine items - varies
  • Facial tissue - 1
  • Toilet paper - 12
If you would like to see my 3 month/12 month Food Storage Calculator with suggested amounts of toiletries to store, go here. You would need to download it from

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Take A Food Storage Inventory Count to Prep for the Utah Case Lot Sales

Now is a great time to do a formal food storage inventory count so you know what to buy at the Case Lot sales coming next month. My teen daughters and I did the counting, and I sure appreciated their help. I keep my food storage inventory sheets in a small binder. Each sheet has a list of the amount I want to store, and what I have in storage. I changed my 3 month goals to 6 month goals. It's nice to start with 3 month goals rather than 12 month goals so you don't get overwhelmed and blow your budget. Then move from 3 to 6, and 6 to 9, and so forth.

My worksheets are erase-as-I-go, rather than on a spreadsheet in my computer. I like the portability of these sheets. I took out the worksheet with category "Vegetables" and let one daughter count those items. Then daughter number two counted "Legumes." And I carried the notebook from place to place in my home so I could count other items. And so forth. Now I know what I have in stock again.

Utah Case Lot Sale Price List

Next, I spent about an hour looking over the Utah Case Lot Sale price list and decided what I MIGHT want to buy next month based on my needs. I know, next month is a long ways off, but I'm such a planner. :-)

Because I have the price list, I could look for the best prices, list how much I needed, and total it all on a piece of paper. I put the initial of the possible store to shop at next to the items. This is my guesstimate of what I want to buy, how much I want to spend, and where I might buy it. I didn't list things that I could buy everyday at Sam's Club or Costco.

Hope you Utah shoppers will be more prepared this year for the Utah Case Lot sales.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Our Family’s Brush with Swine Flu

Read how one family lived with Swine Flu.

"Most of our family came down with Swine Flu at the end of June after our eldest 16 year-old daughter went away for a week long EFY youth program at a local college. While there, she began to feel ill with headaches, low fever and cold-type symptoms. When she got home on Saturday morning, she felt really cruddy and slept for 2 days. We weren’t sure if “she had played so hard she needed to catch up” or if she was coming down with something, or a combination of everything plus allergies!

"By Sunday evening, I started feeling heavy in the chest and went to bed early. Monday, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was so tired and just needed to sleep; lots of achiness and especially a headache. That evening, I started a low-grade fever and assumed we were getting a summer cold. On Tuesday, my husband and 13 year-old daughter, both came down with the same type of symptoms – tiredness, fatigue, and fever. This daughter has Type 1 diabetes and regulating her blood sugars is often difficult during illness. By Wednesday evening, she was having a hard time swallowing so I decided to take her to the doctor thinking she had something like strep throat.

"When we arrived at the doctor’s office, they thought she had strep throat too. But when the culture came back negative, they swabbed her for Influenza. Yep! It came back positive. So we discussed our previous few days with the doctor and how we were passing it around quickly. She said, “Swine flu passes like a normal flu, but is much more highly contagious.” We were asked to isolate ourselves until all of the symptoms were gone. She also explained that unless you have the symptoms, you aren’t contagious. So theoretically, the other kids who weren’t showing symptoms didn’t have it yet. As a precaution, the doctor gave us Tamiflu for our two boys (one of which is also diabetic) as a precaution to help prevent them from getting Swine Flu.

"That night, we started both boys on the Tamiflu. Our youngest son showed a fever that evening and part of the next day, but that was all either of the boys experienced. Our diabetic son never even got tired. We had a mild case of the swine flu, because after about 5 days, we were feeling better. We had to let it run through everyone. After about 10 days, there were no more symptoms.

"I think the hardest part for us was the pure isolation from others. We Facebooked, emailed and called people, but other than the few unfortunates who got to come to our Swine Flu parties, we didn’t get to go anywhere for about 10 days, because we waited for EVERYONE to be clear of symptoms. Luckily my husband was able to work from home, so except for the 2 days he couldn’t get out of bed, he didn’t have to take sick leave from work. Luckily we have a good supply of DVDs because we watched a lot of movies, played games, got out home movies and had some fun times as a family. We did get stir crazy though, especially the little boys. They'd play WII just to burn off energy since they weren't sick!

"If I had to pin point one thing that I think really helped me, besides lots of sleep, was a health food product called Body Balance. It's a liquid food supplement which is made from Sea Vegetables and Aloe Vera. I drank a lot of that and I had more energy and seemed to bounce back rather quickly. My youngest daughter wouldn't drink any and her symptoms lasted the longest in our family.

"We keep lots of stuff in the freezer and pantry so we could cook full meals all the time. If people aren't "scratch" cooks, I'd have soups on hand (broth based, not creamed base because of the phlegm that comes with the flu), fruits, veggies and fun stuff for when you are at home and no one wants to associate with you. It makes it not so bad.

"As an elementary school teacher, I don’t think the average case of the Swine Flu is anything more than the regular flu. Teaching our families to cover their mouths when coughing, wash their hands often, brush teeth frequently, and keep our surroundings disinfected, is our best approach to limiting the spread of Swine Flu.

"Lastly, don’t forget charity when you or someone else has Swine Flu or any other illness. Dropping off a treat or meal isn’t any more dangerous than going to the local grocery store and touching a shopping cart, handling money, or sending our kids to school where all the variables are unknown. You don’t get Swine Flu because you are dirty!

L Johnson - Utah

Some of the things we have learned:· Wash your hands often (Make sure you sanitize door knobs, toilet handles, etc. often. The cost of a can of disinfectant is cheaper than spreading it around. This applies to all cold and flu season.)
· Brush your teeth every 2-3 hours (bacteria in the mouth can spread germs and magnify the communicable diseases)
· Be prepared to provide your own meals. People are really FREAKED out when they hear Swine Flu. NO ONE brought us in food. This is where our food storage came in handy. We made all our regular favorites and more. We made parties of our isolation period. In fact, on two different nights, we had friends or family that had Swine Flu diagnosed at their house come over for Swine Flu parties. I’m sure our neighbors were really confused!
· Have cold and flu treatments and other required medications on hand (popsicles, juice, medications, etc.) For us, we had to make sure we had our diabetic supplies on hand. We’ve got a great doctor that helps us get at least an extra month or two of supplies so we always have enough on hand. Saved us here!
· Many people had similar symptoms in our neighborhood, but never went to a doctor. So in reality, you don’t know if you have it or not, unless you get an influenza test. We probably wouldn’t have gone in if it hadn’t been for our daughter with diabetes because of the complications that can arise.
· Swine flu doesn’t HAVE to be serious, but can quickly turn serious without proper attention, especially if you have a predisposition to chronic illness, lung problems, etc.
· Get lots of sleep and lots of fluids.
· If you START to show the symptoms, Tamiflu can cut the effects and time sick, but only within the first 24 hours, or so they say.

Symptoms to look out for:· Headache
· Fever
· Chills
· Body aches
· Fatigue and complete inability to get out of bed
· For some people – intestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting
· Sore throat
· May have a cough because of nasal discharge

If you have a Swine Flu story that you would like to share, please email me at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Utah Case Lot Sales: How to Shop

Shopping Tips:
  • About 3 times a year, several stores in Utah have case lot sales. A case lot sale is an opportunity to buy 12 or 24 cans or items at a reduced price. You can also find dehydrated foods in #10 cans at a reduced price.
  • All items in a case lot sale are not the best prices. So it is good to compare.
  • Review my Utah Case Lot Sale Price list spreadsheet and decide in advance what items you need. I put it together several times a year to compare the case lot prices to regular prices found at Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, the LDS Home Storage Center and a few food storage companies. 
  • Planning beforehand will prevent you from shopping on impulse. Don't get star-struck when you walk into a store and feel the need to gather a bunch of cases. Be prepared, yet wise.
  • Set a budget limit. You don't have to go in debt for food storage. "Patience is a virtue."
  • Only buy foods your family will eat or use, so you don't waste money.
  • Stock up on the container sizes your family will use before it goes to waste. For instance, a 40 oz. peanut butter would go rancid in my family before an 18 oz. one will. And so would a gallon of oil, so I buy the 48 oz. size. Even though larger may be cheaper, it may not be the best choice for your family.
  • Realize that there will be some great November and December baking sales on items such as flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cake mixes, evaporated milk, etc., so you do not have to buy those items now unless you're really low. 
  • Some stores like Maceys allow you to buy single items at the case price. This is helpful for those of you with limited storage space.
  • Saving a few cents on an item usually isn't worth it. However, if you can save .25 per can on 10 - 24 ct. cases that's a savings of $60.00!
Good luck!

    Friday, August 7, 2009

    Participate in the "Have You Experienced One of These Disasters?" poll

    As I've watched the concerns with the economy and health care reform, I decided to start a poll: "Have You Experienced One of These Disasters?" As I personally took the poll, it made me think of things I have gone through, and what others have gone through. I felt very blessed I have not experienced some disasters, and sorry for those who have. Life can always be worse than it is. I am grateful for my own challenges. It's how we get our gray hairs, right? Please take part in the poll on the right sidebar of this blog.

    In your lifetime, have you, or a member of your family, experienced:
    • Unemployment 2 months or longer
    • Illness/Injury 2 weeks or longer
    • A 24+ Hour Power Outage
    • A Home Fire
    • A 6.0+ Earthquake
    • A Category 3+ Hurricane
    • A Tornado
    • An Ice Storm
    • A Flash Flood
    • An Epidemic/Pandemic
    • A Drought
    • Do you feel prepared for a disaster?

    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    How to Teach Daughters How to Plan Dinner Menus, Part 1

    I've been trying to teach my daughters (ages 13 and 15) how to plan dinner menus.

    First, I gave them a blank Weekly Menu Worksheet, and they divided the days of the week between each other so they each created three. (Dad does Saturday dinner). I told them I wanted them to create menus using items in stock at home. Knowing it would be easier to ask me, I soon heard: "Mom, do we have spaghetti sauce?" or "Mom, do we have things to make chicken pot pie?" I was fine telling them if I had the items or not, but next time they are going to have to search for them. One step at a time.

    Next, I gave them a blank Grocery List to write down the missing items for me to purchase at the store. The grocery list was actually very small, so I think they did very well using ingredients from home.

    This is a beginning, and there will be more steps as I teach them how to plan meals as economically as possible.

    Here are the menus:

    Monday: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, grapes
    Tuesday: Spaghetti, bread, salad
    Wednesday: Chili, cornbread, peas
    Thursday: Hamburgers, chips & salsa, lemonade
    Friday: Chicken pot pie, fruit salad, bread & butter
    Saturday: Juan Pollo type tacos, cake, lemonade
    Sunday: Lasagna, bread, salad

    Thursday, July 30, 2009

    Results of the "My Grain Mill Is the Best Poll"

    The results of the "My Grain Mill is the Best Poll" are in, and the winner is:

    Nutrimill Grain Mill

    Here are your votes:

    6% VitalMill, Retails $179.99
    18% K-Tec/BlendTec Kitchen Mill, Retails $179.95
    27% Wonder Mill Grain Mill, Retails $259.95
    47% Nutrimill Grain Mill, Retails $269.99

    Remember - these mills use electricity, so you may want to someday invest in a generator, or purchase a handmill as well for emergencies. However, electric mills have the capacity to grind large amounts of grain for regular family use. You can read about each mill at Kitchen Kneads.

    To see a video demonstration of the Nutrimill, click here at Milk and Honey Farms.
    And here is a YouTube video that compares the sound of all four mills. My Magic Mill (not in the poll) definitely requires earplugs.

    Thank you to all who participated. Here are some of your comments, and you are welcome to add more.

    How I Repaired Our Durabrand Portable DVD Player

    Late last night our 2005 portable Durabrand dual DVD Player (the one we use for travel to keep kids content with movies) decided it did not want to read our DVD's anymore. It would spin the DVD's, but a "no disc" error would come up on the screen. This was frustrating because it was needed for a 9-hour road trip my husband and younger girls would take the next day. So, I decided to do what most Americans do - throw up my hands, and run to Walmart to buy a new one. Frustrating! Another electronic item to add to the dump. Since I stayed home from the trip, I decided to see if I could fix the DVD player myself; me, who has no idea what a circuit board is. I laugh because of my lack of electronic knowledge, but my enormous amount of determination.

    I spent two hours searching the internet for some guidance. Most suggested it would cost me $80 for a repairman to look at it. The first suggestion was to unplug the DVD player and remove all screws to take off the cover to look for damage. I figured I had nothing to lose since it was probably going to end up in the trash. After taking off the cover, I stared at the circuit board, hoping that something would jump out at me to tell me what was wrong. Not seeing any burnt out areas, I closed it back up. For some reason I ended up with two extra screws! Mmmm. Probably not needed anyway, right?

    Then I found a post that suggested I clean the lens (that little glass circle in white above) with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol. I did this but DVD's still would not play.
    Next I tried to push the lens housing (see the white area surrounded by black, then green in the picture above) by forcing it away from the black circle thingy you put your DVD's on, towards the top. I pushed pretty hard. Wow! It slid up smoothly on its own. It was jammed. I put a DVD in, closed the lid, and was never so excited to see The Chronicles of Narnia. A DVD player saved from the trash. I can't find the post to thank the techie that helped me with these ideas, but thanks!

    Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    Items to Stock Up in Your Food Storage: August

    Here are some suggested items you may want to stock up on this month as you may find them on sale. Only purchase what you budget for.
    For a PDF copy of my Food Storage and Disaster Preparedness Calendar, see sidebar.

    Shelf Foods
    Apple slices, dehy. (LDS Dry pack)
    Dry onions (LDS Dry pack)
    Macaroni (LDS Dry pack)
    Popcorn or dried corn
    Dry potato slices or dices
    Cracked wheat cereal
    Hamburger helper
    Food bars
    Lunch drink boxes
    Hot pepper sauce
    Cheese sauce
    Powdered cheese blend
    Freezer Foods
    Ice cream
    Non-Food Items
    Soap/body wash
    Lawn trash bags
    Lunch bags
    Start fall/winter veggies
    Harvest some veggies
    Medical & First Aid
    eye patch
    ear drops
    eye drops
    Family Emergency Kit (part 4)
    5-gal water carrier
    filtered water bottle
    water purification tablets or bleach
    am/fm radio
    spare radio w/batteries if needed
    vise grips
    multi-function army knife
    Equipment & Fuel
    Water containers
    Water pump if needed
    Family tent
    Emergency Prep
    Bag with shoes and flashlight water, under bed