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