Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Best Food Storage to Buy in October 2011

The air is turning cooler here in Utah, and it's time to post this month's list of items to stock up on for your food storage, 72-hour kits and emergency supplies. I am excited to tell you out-of-staters coming for General Conference that there ARE some case lot sales going on! So leave some space in your van for a few cases. Go to and enter the Utah state link to see prices ahead of time. Stores with case lot sales - Allens, Bowmans, Crisps, Lees, Wansgards. Maceys has Augason Farms Hard White or Red Wheat, 50 lb. bag on sale for $13.99! That's .28 cents a pound! (Lower than LDS Home Storage.) Another store you might want to check out is Emergency Essentials for food storage and emergency supplies. Prices are cheaper in Utah than online.

This month's focus is beans and potatoes. Perfect items to stock up on for the fall and winter. Even though you can make stew and chili from scratch, put aside some prepared cans too, just in case. Yesterday, our neighboring ward brought a trailer of potatoes from Idaho. I happened to drive up the street just in time to buy a 50 lb. bag of potatoes for $10! They will be in my fruit cellar all winter.

The October List (click for printable copy)

STEP 1: 3-Month FOOD STORAGE SUPPLY - Beans and Potatoes
(Suggested amounts are for 1 adult)
CL = case lot sale, WM = Super Walmart, LDS = available at LDS Home Storage centers
HM CL = Harmon's case lot, SM CL= Smith's case lot, Costco = CC, Sam's Club = SC, Bowmans = BM
LT 30 YR= Long-Term shelf life if stored properly. Consider storing a year's supply.

1. Decide on a monthly food storage budget
2. Choose a few items from the list that you want to focus on
3. Multiply list amounts by # of family members. Adjust amounts and items for younger children
4. Each week look at your grocery store ads for items on sale that match your goals
5. Carry your list with you, or put it on your cell phone notepad

FOOD ITEMS (suggested stores and prices in brackets)
(Food is about $25 per adult.)
Beans, black, kidney, white, refried, etc. 10x15 oz. cans [$5.80 BM]
Stew, 2x24 oz. cans[$4.25 WM or $5.00 BM]
Chili w/beans, 4x15 oz. cans [$3.52 BM or WM]
Potato Flakes carton 1x3.5 lbs. [$5.50 SC or $6.50 CC 1 Y shelf life]
or Potato Flakes 2 x #10 [$6.50 LDS 30 Y shelf life]
Potatoes, dehy. sliced 1 box [$1.00 WM]

Note: Dry Beans are listed in January, however you could purchase them now too.

NON-FOOD ITEMS (per family)
Trash bags
Storage bags

72-HOUR KIT (per person)
Whistle on neck cord
Light/glow stick (Halloween sale)

Batteries, various
Whet stone
Multi-function army knife
Fire escape ladder
Gas shutoff key

Whistle on neck cord
Duct tape

Store a 2-Week Supply of drinking water, which is about 14 gallons per person. If you've already started this, continue to add to your supply. For drinking, that is about 4x24 ct. cases of 16.9 oz. bottles per person. You may need more for hygiene and cooking which you can store in other containers. Always keep stocked up on water. You can't live without it.

Each week add some money to an emergency fund. Decide on a do-able amount and set up weekly transfers from checking to savings. Or put aside your loose change in a jar. Whichever way you choose to save, use it only for emergencies.

1. Brace large furniture and bookcases to wall
2. Strap water heater to wall
3. Test fire extinguisher

My Food Storage Inventory Spreadsheet

There are so many ways to keep track of your food storage, so I thought I'd share how I do it with a spreadsheet. Whoever created the "spreadsheet" was a genius, because I use them all the time. Here are mine:

Food Storage Inventory Blank worksheet
Home Storage Inventory Blank worksheet.pdf

(Note: These worksheets do not have formulas in them. You can add them yourself)

  • VERSITILE Creating a spreadsheet with a list of items you want to stock up on takes time, but once you've done it, you can use your spreadsheet over and over again. I am always tweaking mine, adding columns, moving rows, changing column headings to make it work for me.
  • PAGES I keep two separate pages or sheets in my spreadsheet: one for My Food Storage and one for My Home Storage (non-food items). You can make yours as long or as small as you want.
  • CATEGORIES On each page I divide my items into categories, and within those categories I group items to make it easy for me to count them at their location. This way I can take an inventory count of each category any time I want and be quick about it, or I can do all the food items, or all of the home storage items. It is usually very time consuming to count EVERYTHING. Here are my current categories:
Our Food Storage
(Revised 1/12/12)
Beans & Legumes
Beverages & Water
Breakfast Items
Grains & Dry Pasta
Infants (I don't need this, but you might)
Pantry Basics

Our Home Storage
Cleaning & Laundry
Emergency Kits
First Aid & Meds
Fuel & Light
Paper & Plastic

  • LAPTOP, iPad or PAPER While taking inventory, I carry my laptop from place-to-place in the house and type in the number of items I have in stock. It was so easy for me! I have items all over the house, but their location is listed on the spreadsheet so I can easily find them again. I am sure an iPad would work well too. Or just print your spreadsheet and carry it with you on a clipboard. Or if you are still in the paper and pencil world, print the template and keep a paper copy in a binder.
  • HIGHLIGHTING As I take the inventory, I pull items that are past expiration to the kitchen. I highlight all items that I could still use beyond expiration date with red so I will use them quickly. I don't like to throw away food, but when I quickly learn from the experience and change what types of items I store or how much I buy.
  • SPREADSHEET EXPLANATION This is an explanation of the columns:
  • Need - this column has the number of items I need to purchase. I wanted this first so I can easily see what I need to purchase. Mine has a formula that subtracts what is "on hand" from my "goal," so what I need to purchase shows up automatically in this first column. I want to see this when I make a shopping list.
  • Loc - this column has the location of the item stored. I color coded an abbreviation for each location. I keep the bulk of our storage in our cool basement, but I also have a small supply of everything in my kitchen cupboards.
  • Item Description - this column has the name of the item stored. Sometimes I get grandiose ideas of things I want to store, but after a while I learn that the basics usually win out and I remove rows of items that really don't work for our family like garbanzo beans.
  • Size - this column has the container size of the item. It is usually a measurement or in eaches.
  • Mo - this column has the number of months I desire to store the item. I only keep a 3 M supply of some items, or 6 M or a 1 Y supply of others. For example, I may only have a 1 month supply of toilet paper, but a year supply of wheat. I choose how much of an item to store based on our finances and storage space.
  • Goal - this column has the number of items I hope to store someday.
  • Total Have - this is the total amount I have on hand. The spreadsheet ads all the On Hand columns and totals them.
  • On Hand/Date - there are several double columns for the items I have on hand. I could add more if needed to. The first group lists the oldest items purchased, the second is newer items, and the third is the most recent purchase. The important thing is to document when I purchased some items. I don't enter these into the spreadsheet every time I go to the store. That would drive me crazy. But I hung a list on the door of one of my pantries. And pencil in after I go shopping. Because I buy items in groups of 8, 12 or 24, I don't need many columns. I probably didn't explain that well, but just look at the spreadsheet. If I don't know the date I bought the item, I look at the shelf life on the spreadsheet (next column), and subtract that from the expiration date on the box. For instance I have 6 boxes of Special K Granola that has an expiration date of June 2012 and a shelf life of 1 Y, so I guesstimate that I bought it in June 2011.
  • Shelf Life - this column has the estimated shelf life of the type of item in its closed status. This is useful to know! Basically I find the shelf life of an item by looking at the best use date on the can or box and the date I purchased the item. It's really a rough estimate.
  • Low Cost & Store - this column has the least expensive price I have purchased this item for and the place I typically buy it. This helps me remember where I purchased the item for a great price. Or if I should wait until the fall, or buy it at a Case Lot (CL) sale. It's like having a Price Log in my inventory. I love this. Especially when I list what I buy items for at Sam's Club or Costco.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nutrimill On Sale During National Whole Grains Month

The month of September is national whole grains month. In celebration Bosch Kitchen Center is offering the Nutrimill at a $70 discount off the MSRP! It is $219.99 plus FREE SHIPPING! This offer runs now through September 30th 2011.

This Is The #1 Selling Mill. I personally do not own one, however, it was the highest ranked mill in a poll of my readers in 2009. And at this price, it is very tempting to me. If this is your grain mill, write to me at preparedldsfamily {at} gmail {dot}com and let me know what you think about it.

Nutrimill Features

  • Over 20 cup bowl capacity
  • 1 to 1 ratio for milling grain into flour - fill the hopper once and get a full bowl of fresh flour
  • Ergonomically designed control knobs and bowl handles for safe and easy use
  • Patent pending TruFeed" precision grain flow control
  • Easy grip hopper lid for easy access and quieter operation
  • TruTrack" bowl locking system - connects right every time
  • World's first variable, high speed, mill
Here is a video of how to use the Nutrimill. It's nice to see the size of it.

Update: My married son just bought a Nutrimill and made his first loaves of bread. Way to go Josh!

Reader comments:

"I've owned the Nutrimill about 6 months and think it's terrific. I've ground wheat berries from the cannery and popcorn from Pleasant Hill Grain for use in cornbread. It's easy to clean and convenient to use. It should last a lifetime." D.L.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Utah Case Lot Sale Price Comparison Includes Harmons and Smith's

Last night I had the pleasure of teaching a class about the Four-Step Approach to Food Storage at a ward in Syracuse. They were a fun group of ladies, and I went away feeling that they truly desired to become more prepared. After the class I stopped at the Winco in Clinton to buy some inexpensive spices for fall baking to refill my spice jars. Can't wait for the store to open next year in Layton.

I just updated my Fall Mega Case Lot sale price comparison list, and have included the Harmon's and Smith's case lot sales. I'm a little bit disappointed in the Smith's sale this year, so overall Harmon's had the better deals. However, as with all case lot sales, sometimes you can do just as well, if not better, at the LDS Home Storage Centers, Walmart and sometimes Sam's Club and Costco. And the Winco in our area is also competitive, though I did not have time to compare there. Harmon's told me they do not break cases and give you the sale price, which is too bad. I love how Macey's allows you to do that.

Take a look at the list as it can help you choose great prices on items to stock up on for your food storage. You don't need to print the 17-page document. Just skim it.

Best wishes! Valerie

Fall 2011 Mega Case Lot Sale Price comparison list.pdf
Fall 2011 Mega Case Lot Sale Price comparison list.xlsx

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Smith's Case Lot Sale starts September 7, 2011

The Utah Smith's grocery store case lot sale begins next week on Wednesday, September 7th - 20th. It is highly unlikely that there will be any other case lot sales later this year around General Conference time. But if I hear of any, I will certainly post them. Generally the Smith's sale has some items I like to stock up on. Even though it is two weeks long, if the stock disappears it is not resupplied the second week. So it is best to go the first week. I am adding the Harmon's sale to my Mega Case Lot Sale price list. And I will add the Smith's prices as soon as I get them. So keep watching.

Harmons Case Lot Sale starts September 5, 2011

As I picked up a few items at the Harmons in Farmington today, they were setting up for the case lot sale that starts on Monday, Sept. 5 - 18, 2011. However, they told me you could get the case lot prices starting tomorrow (Friday).
They gave me a copy of the case lot price sheet and of course, I spilled Drano all over it. Yikes! Anyway it dried out. So here it is:

Harmons Case Lot Sale pg. 1
Harmons Case Lot Sale pg. 2

Each Life That Touches Ours for Good

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, my back went out. It wasn't an unfamiliar experience for me as I've had back problems for years, but I had just started seeing a chiropractor regularly and things were feeling so much better. So, I was not expecting the sudden pain in my lower back and the migraine that soon followed. All I could think was, "Oh no. Not now!" I went to bed feeling pretty lousy, shifting ice packs on and off throughout the night.

This morning I cried in front of my chiropractor because I was so discouraged. It is hard to take two steps forward, and then take one step back. He told me it would be okay and that spasms are normal. That my body was not done healing yet and I needed to be patient. I came home feeling like I had been in a car accident. But I followed his counsel to ice and heat throughout the day. I grabbed my laptop, some ice, the heating pad and some food, and hibernated in my room most of the day. However, throughout the day I began to recognize small miracles and I'd like to share them

Not by coincidence my six year-old was supposed to go straight to a birthday party right after school. A blessing for me because having her gone helped me rest all day. And a friend offered to drive her home.

My two teenage daughter's had a cross country meet I wanted to attend, but knew I shouldn't. However my husband was able to go, and even picked up the popsicles I had promised the team.

During a conversation on the phone with another friend we cried about the bummer days we both had been having. Sometimes you just have to cry. Talking to her made me feel better.

As I lay in bed trying to figure out how to create some signs for a neighborhood service project coming up, the thought came to me to call a real estate friend down the street. She happened to have some old yard signs that were supposed to go to the dump that day. But she hadn't taken them yet. What a lifesaver!

Another sweet friend insisted on bringing over a yummy dinner for our family. She was so quick to offer that I had a difficult time refusing. And daughter number three offered to fix me a plate and brought it to my room.

My Laurel adviser said she could handle the mutual activity tonight with the girls. They made cookies for several new people in our neighborhood. Our family ended up with a plate of those wonderful cookies as well.

My pain is easing up, though not completely gone. But it has improved. Yeah!

And then late tonight I came across a wonderful MormonMessages video called "My New Life," about a woman who is the survivor of a near-fatal plane crash. And everything was put back into perspective. I hope you will watch it.

Doctrine & Covenants 121:7 - 9: "My son (daughter), peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."

Thank you to all my friends and family! All is well.