December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas to All! ShareTheGift

May we never lose sight of what is most important at this Christmastime, and each and every day thereafter. I am grateful for Jesus Christ, for his love for me during this difficult year when I first lost my mother-in-law in August and then my mother on Thanksgiving Day.

I am thankful for my knowledge of a life after this one. The separation from loved ones is short. It is comforting to know that my mother is now with my sister on the other side, not far from me. And that they continue to watch over me and my family.

I look forward to the return of my missionary daughter from Chile on January 1 (Yay!), and the time I will spend with my beautiful family.

May you each reach out to those you love at this time of year, give big hugs, and joyfully celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For he brings comfort to all who sorrow and joy to our lives.

Love to all!
#ShareTheGift

Valerie

October 7, 2014

Fall 2014 Case Lot Sale Price Comparison List for Food Storage

I spent a lot of time this week updating my case lot sale price comparison list. I had knee surgery a few weeks ago, so it wasn't easy. But I found most prices online which helped. I'm highly motivated to get some food storage in this house after I opened up my last powdered sugar bag and my oil is almost gone. That is crazy for me to let it get so low, so it's time to do something about it.


I created my first price comparison in 2011. And I learned that I don't have to buy everything at case lot sales. I only shop for items I really need. I buy the rest during other months of the year at Costco and the LDS Home Storage Center. It pays to compare. I know some of you see the value in keeping a price book. Mine is a bit elaborate, but it works for me.

This time around I didn't have enough energy to visit Walmart, so those prices on my list are from last year. But staples don't change much in price. It's as if they are frozen in time.

It's the last week of Utah case lot sales for Fresh Market & Dick's (ends Oct. 13) and Lees (ends Oct. 11).  Heads up. Auguson Farms is doing a buy 5 get $5.00 off coupon in the Fresh Market, Dick's and Lees ads. So if you want to buy some #10 can items, use the coupon. My goal? Get in and out of the store in 30 min.

While I was comparing prices in Costco, I picked up a few sale items:

  • 72 oz. Nestle Toll House chocolate chips $7.49 (reg. $9.99, that's like $1.24 per 12 oz. bag!)
  • 2x17oz. Kirkland Canola Cooking Spray $3.29 (reg. $4.64)
  • 4 lb. C&H Powdered Sugar $2.69 (always a deal)
  • 64 oz. Craisins $5.89 (reg. $8.89)
  • 2 Kraft Parmesan Cheese $8.59 (reg. $11.39, a year's supply for us)
  • a jug of Orville Redenbacher popcorn $8.99 (reg. $11.99, we've got to get off of microwave popcorn) 
I'm always amazed how much stuff people load into their carts in Costco. I think my cart was the emptiest one in the place. Self control, people. Okay, I splurged on a few things too.

And here are some great case lot deals!

Dick's & Fresh Market Case Lot
Bottled water 24 ct. case 16.9oz - $1.99!
SureSaving Tomato Sauce 8 oz. - $.20
SureSaving Tomato or chicken noodle soup - $.39 ea.
Campbell's Cream of mushroom or chicken soup - R.79 ea.
Campbell's Tomato Soup - $.59 ea.
Western Family Tuna 5 oz. - $.59
Western Family Albacore 5 oz. - $.99
Vegetables 15 oz. - $.50
Wheat 50 lb. bag - $14.99
Western Family Sugar 25 lb. bag - $9.99
Pompeian Olive oil 68 oz. - $9.99! (Great if you use a lot of olive oil)

A few more deals:
Macey's Fall Sale
Western Family Spaghetti sauce 24 oz. - $.88 Crazy!

Harmon's Sale 
Nestle Water 24 ct. case 16.9 oz. - $2.49 Monday 10/6
Progresso Soup $.99 Thursday 10/9

Tip: buy your fruit at the Spring case lot sales.

Follow my emergency food storage shopping lists so you buy and store in season and thus spread the cost out over the year.

*Note: There will be errors. Forgive me. Thanks!

June 9, 2014

Sunday Morning Waffles and Favorite Things About My Husband


We are a family with few traditions, but one tradition my husband Brad began a few years ago, is making pancakes for us on Sunday morning. Silly me, I told him I'm not a huge fan of pancakes, and asked him if he could switch to waffles instead. Thank goodness he complied! and now he makes waffles with fruit toppings like bananas, strawberries or blueberries. Yum!


Every Sunday (rain, snow or shine) he walks the 1/2 mile to church (you're jealous it's so close, right?) holding my youngest daughter's hand. I drive every Sunday. Can you guess why she adores him? He also wears a white shirt and tie ALL SUNDAY LONG. It's a habit he picked up from his father, and a rare thing to see these days. He says he does it to remind him of the Sabbath.


He plays "Ticket to Ride" or watches a family movie after church, and then he typically drifts off to sleep, wrinkling his signature white shirt.


He's probably one of the best tenders to young children I have ever seen.
You can always find him holding one of his grand-kids.


He's one of eleven children himself, so he has had lots of experience.


His bond with all our children is amazing, because he is ALWAYS available to them. Sometimes I get jealous when he's gone so much with them. He's the fun guy as you can see.


But HELLO! My kids have a dad who spends time with them. What more could I ask for? The fact that he keeps up with the kids instead of the Joneses is my favorite thing about him. 


Yep, that's the guy I married. He's the greatest Dad and husband in the world. So, yes, I'm keeping pancake mix and syrup in our food storage. It's a tradition. Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there. Thanks for all you do for your family's!

May 7, 2014

Sister Missionaries Part of Mormon Helping Hands in The Arkansas Tornado Cleanup

My niece, Katie Anderson, is serving an 18-month LDS mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Arkansas Little Rock mission. On April 27th, she and her missionary companion live in Maumelle and were awakened to “insane thunderstorms that were off and on all day," but they went about their normal routine as good missionaries do.

Later that evening they decided to stop at an apartment of a senior missionary couple . . . a miracle for sure. Suddenly emergency sirens went off, but for them this was “pretty normal once a week,” and then the sirens got louder and louder. After a call from their mission president to “take shelter NOW!” they did so in a bathroom and the couple took shelter in the other bathroom.

April 8, 2014

An Update on Me and Random Thoughts

This year has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. I haven't written much on my blog because of several health issues. I know what it is like to live with pain on and off. But I'm actually smiling because my perspective of trials has changed. When my knees or my lower back or my neck start complaining, I take it easy. I'm learning not to "run faster than I have strength." Mosiah 4:27

These limitations have given my plenty of time to slow down and ponder who I am and what I should be doing with my life. As I approach my 51st birthday this weekend, I am happy to be alive. I'm blessed with a great family and blessed with challenges that I can learn and grow from. And as Olaf says, "All good things." I wouldn't have it any other way.

I used to wonder why the domino game kept happening to me, but now I understand that He knows I can handle more than I think I can. And I trust Him.

April 4, 2014

You Are Invited to Watch the LDS General Conference

I am so excited for 184th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Every 6 months, our family watches it on Saturday and Sunday. If we can't catch it all, we record it. I get such a spiritual lift and amazing insight listening to the music and the wonderful speakers. I love taking notes and gathering more counsel and direction for my life. I learn ways to help my family. It is just amazing!

If you have never seen General Conference, check it out at the following link. Consider yourself invited! :-)

How to Watch General Conference on Saturday, April 5 and Sunday April 6 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. MST.

About General Conference

What Should I Expect?

Best Deals at the Smith's Case Lot Sale April 2014

After reviewing the grocery ad for the Smith's (Kroger) case lot sale happening here in Utah, I listed below what I consider to be the best deals. All items at case lot sales are not necessarily the best price in town. So it's important to do some homework. But case lot sales are a great time to stock up on items for your food storage.

During the month of April, I follow my monthly preparedness list, but check out other items I listed below that you want to stock up on. I did not include everything in the store ad, so there are definitely more items you could shop for. But, I tried to give you examples of the best bargains. Here is what I plan to buy:

March 6, 2014

10 Mistakes I've Made With Food Storage

Some of you think I know everything about food storage. Maybe I know more than some of you, but I definitely don't know everything. I'm really good at gathering, but I have a B- in cooking skills. I will give myself an A+ for effort though. Over the years that I've been gathering food storage I've made some big mistakes, and I want to share them with you so you don't make the same mistakes.

10 Mistakes I've Made With Food Storage
  1. Storing someone else's idea of what I should store in our food storage. Big mistake! We don't eat what someone else does. I tried that and ended up with so much ketchup that I've been tossing it in the trash. Even though I share a list of ideas of what I store, your kids may not like it. I've also looked at the big lists food storage companies figure out for you for a year's supply, but that isn't exactly how we live each day. So, store what YOU eat, not what I eat or someone else eats.
  2. Believing I could create a vegetable garden like the farmer down the street. Hello! What was I thinking? I'm a mini gardener. For that matter, a micro-mini gardener. Reality has set in. My garden will always be small. Though I do want to try growing some indoor tomato plants.

March 3, 2014

It's Spring Case Lot Sale Time in Utah!

If you're looking for some good prices on everyday food storage items, check out the Utah case lot sales starting this week! I compared prices with my Fall 2013 price list, and have listed what I consider are some great deals several stores. Take advantage of these steep discounts while supplies last.

As always, I try not to blow our budget on these sales, but focus on what is really needed after taking an inventory of my supplies and it has worked for me. This month I'm focusing on tomatoes and pasta and a few items I didn't get last month when I focused on breakfast items.

February 16, 2014

Breakfast Foods for Food Storage. How much to store?

Breakfast foods are easy to gather for food storage and that is what I focus on buying in February. I love it because I know that if I had nothing else to eat, we could survive on breakfast foods. Or if we had a short term emergency such as job loss or illness, having some breakfast items on the shelf would really come in handy. I thought I would share how I figure out how much to store. You just need a calculator, some basic recipes and food labels from the items you want to store.

1. Look On Your Shelf For Shelf-Stable Breakfast Foods
Shelf-stable means they can sit on your shelf without requiring refrigeration until opened. I store items which can be stored for about a year. Some much longer like my oats and wheat. Some foods I like to store are oats, breakfast cereal, granola, dehydrated apple slices, brown sugar, pancake mix, pancake syrup, powdered sugar, powdered milk, and oil. I don't store powdered scrambled eggs because we don't eat them for breakfast. And if we don't eat them regularly, they just sit and sit on the shelf until I eventually toss them out which defeats the whole purpose of being frugal. I've also learned that storing foods your body is not accustomed too can upset the tummy or cause gastrointestinal problems. So I store what we eat, and we eat what Mom stores.


2. Create A 7-Day Menu. 
That's super easy! My family normally eats fresh foods daily, but if we didn't have much money or a disaster struck, we would use some of the menus below. You will see that I repeat the least expensive meals several times so the total is 7 menus. The least expensive meals usually have long-term ingredients like oats and wheat. Perfect for food storage!

My kids don't drink dry powdered milk, so I listed a milk alternative called Augason Farms Morning Moos for milk drinking. You might be the family that drinks warm dry powdered milk with your cereal, but my kids won't.

Here are some food storage breakfast menu ideas:
    • 3x OATMEAL: oatmeal, dry powdered milk, apple slices, brown sugar, canned fruit
    • 2x WHEAT PANCAKES: homemade wheat pancakes, pancake syrup, Morning Moos powdered milk to drink
    • 1x BREAKFAST CEREAL: variety, Morning Moos powdered milk, food bar
    • 1x WAFFLES: pancake mix, pancake syrup, powdered sugar, Morning Moos powdered milk to drink
    3. Figure Out How Many Meals Per Person You Need
    It takes time to figure out amounts. But it's worth it. Multiply a weeks worth of food by 12 weeks, then that total by the number of adults to come up with total servings. My example shows 4 adults. I broke the ingredients down per serving (ps) in the parenthesis to make it easier to multiply by the total servings. Then I looked at food labels to figure out the amounts in the containers I want to store. That's a little tricky, but I've given you some Tips that will help if you are storing similar items.

    Here are my details:

    Oatmeal Breakfast: 3 menus x 12 weeks = 36 x 4 adults = 144 total servings
    Tips: LDS #10 Can of Quick Rolled Oats makes 30 servings
    LDS #10 Can of Non-fat Dry Powdered milk = 207 tablespoons 64
    LDS #10 Can of Dehydrated Apple slices = 21 1 ounce servings
    48 teaspoons of brown sugar in 1 cup
    • 5 LDS #10 cans oats (1/2 c. ps)
    • 2/3 LDS #10 can dry powdered milk (1 T milk ps)
    • 3 1/2 LDS #10 cans apple slices (1/2 ounce ps)
    • 3 cups brown sugar (1 t. ps)
    • 36 cans fruit (29 oz. or 2 15 oz. cans)
    Blender Wheat Pancake Breakfast: 2 menus x 12 weeks = 24 x 4 adults = 96 total servings
    Tips: LDS #10 Can of Wheat = 14 cups wheat (who knew?)
    #10 Augason Farms Dried Whole Eggs has 177 Tablespoons (just fixed this amount!) (all manufactures have different amounts in their cans, so check your label)
    8.1 oz. Clabber Girl Baking Powder = 15 Tablespoons
    26 oz. Morton Salt = 122 tsp
    • 3.5 #10 cans whole wheat kernels (.5 c.)
    • 2 #10 cans egg powder (1 T ps)
    • 3 8.1 oz. baking powder (.5 T ps) 
    • 1/3 #10 can dry milk powder (1.5 T ps)
    • 48 oz. cooking oil (1 T ps)
    • 96 oz. honey (1 T ps)
    • 2.5 salt containers (1/2 tsp)
    • 1.5 64 oz. pancake syrup (1/4 c.)
    • 6 cups powdered sugar (1/8 c.)
    • 2 #10 cans Morning Moos (2 T per serving)

    Cereal Breakfast: 1 menu x 12 weeks  x 4 adults = 48 total servings
    Tips: All boxes of breakfast cereal are NOT created equal.
    16 oz. Lucky Charms = 12 1 cup servings
    14 oz. Kroger Granola = 8 1/2 cup servings
    I estimated 1 box to have 10 servings. If you eat more, figure differently.
    Morning Moos Milk Alternative = 26 x 2 T servings
    • 5 boxes of cereal (1 cup ps)
    • 2 #10 cans Morning Moos (2 T ps)
    • 48 Nature Valley Sweet & Salty nut food bars (1 ps)
    Waffles from Mix Breakfast: 1 menu x 12 weeks = 12 x 4 adults = 48 total servings
    Tips: 64 oz. Mrs. Butterworth's Syrup has 32 x 1/4 cup servings
    Morning Moos Milk Alternative = 26 x 2 T servings
    10 lb. Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix has 90 x 1/3 c. servings
    48 oz. cooking oil = 96 Tablespoons
    • 1/2 bag 10 lb. pancake mix (1/3 c. ps)
    • 24 oz. cooking oil (1/2 T ps)
    • 1.5 64 oz. pancake syrup (1/4 c.)
    • 6 cups powdered sugar (1/8 c.)
    • 2 #10 cans Morning Moos to drink (2 T ps)
    4. Create One List
    Consolidate all the food onto one big list, and bingo! You know what to store for breakfast. I checked off completed items, and then made a grocery list after subtracting what I have on my shelf. But I'm just showing you the total amounts. Now I know what I need to buy this month and where I can buy it. Easy!

    Shop at the LDS Home Storage Center
    • 3 1/2 LDS #10 cans apple slices
    • 5 LDS #10 cans oats ✓
    • 1 LDS #10 can dry powdered milk ✓
    • 3.5 LDS #10 cans whole wheat kernels ✓
    Shop at Costco
    • 96 oz. or 6 lbs. honey ✓
    • 3 x 64 oz. pancake syrup
    • 1/2 bag pancake mix ✓
    • 48 Nature Valley Sweet & Salty nut food bars ✓
    • 3 cups brown sugar ✓
    • 12 cups powdered sugar ✓
    Shop at any Grocery Store
    • 3 x 8.1 oz. baking powder ✓
    • 2.5 x 26 ox. salt containers ✓
    • 5 boxes of cereal ✓
    • 1.5 x 48 oz. cooking oil ✓
    Wait for the Spring Case Lot Sales
    • 2 #10 cans egg powder
    • 6 #10 cans Morning Moos
    • 36 cans fruit ✓
    You won't eat this way everyday, but it's nice to know you have extra food on your shelf when do need it. I spent a few hours figuring this list out. I know you can do it too, and you will probably come up with better menus than mine. Please excuse any errors in my math. :-) I rounded in some places. Let me know if you find huge mistakes (I found one), and please share some breakfast menus with us.

    So, get moving and gather some breakfast items this month. I know you CAN do it!

    January 18, 2014

    My January Emergency and Food Storage Preparations

    Lest you think I'm not doing anything around here, I thought I would share a running list of what I have done so far from my January Emergency Preparation list. Emergency preparation is a natural part of who I am, so I am always doing something.

    First, I looked at the list and decided what I need to do, want to do and can afford. I personally don't buy the suggested items week-by-week, but I look at the whole month to come up with a plan. Some of you newbies may need to do it a week at a time to spread out the cost, but I tend to buy things as I see them. But I love just focusing on the monthly list.

    The amount of items are based on my family of 5 living at home. I multiplied the suggested amounts on the January list, and then tweaked them based on expense, storage space and my preferences. Those below that are crossed off might mean I already had it OR needed to buy it. So don't think I bought all the stuff listed below.

    HERE'S WHAT I'M WORKING ON:

    4x 64 oz. apple juice + 20 Gatorades + 30 Capri sun drinks
    10x evaporated milk + 12 protein drinks
    4x 1 lb. cans cocoa drink mix + 1x 1 lb. apple cider mix (An LDS #10 can = 4.1 lbs.)
    4x 20 oz. Tang (looking for that sale)
    2x #10 cans LDS Dry Milk AND 2x #10 cans Chocolate Morning Moos

    Step 2: Emergency Drinking Water 14 gallons x 5 people = 70 gallons
    2x 55 gallons water
    12 cases bottled water garage + 2 cases bottled water emergency closet + 1 case 8 oz. bottled water kitchen

    $50
    The jar keeps getting filled with change too!

    Step 4: Long-Term Food Storage
    20x #10 can LDS Dry Milk

    Weekly Inventory
    Water
    Beverages
    Freezer
    Toiletries
    Breakfast Items

    Home Storage Toiletries Part 1
    60x Toilet paper rolls (gotta have it!)
    12x Soap bars
    4x Body wash
    3x Kids body wash
    6x Shampoo
    2x Dandruff shampoo
    3x Kids shampoo
    6x Conditioners
    90x Feminine items
    12x Deodorants

    Preparedness Goals
    Location to store water
    Decide type of water containers
    How to purify water
    Research other water sources (water heater)
    Dry milk recipes

    Equipment Goals
    Update 72-hour kits (redo water bottles, food packs, clothing)
    Buy water containers
    Buy bleach to purify (has 1 year shelf life)
    Brace food storage shelves
    Manual can opener

    Have to say I loved showing you what I've done! It was good for the old self-esteem. Don't get overwhelmed with how huge my list looks. This has been a decade of learning and polishing for me.

    "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." You CAN do it!

    January 1, 2014

    Best Case Lot Sale Deals in Utah - January 2014

    If you are looking for some food to add to your food storage supply this year, check out the case lot sales going on right now in Utah. But don't rush out to the store. Patiently compare prices first and then buy.

    I tried to look for prices that beat Walmart SuperCenters and Costco. Here is my post from Fall 2013 with a list of last year's case lot prices. And here is a post with tips on How to Shop at Food Storage Case Lot Sales.

    Smith's grocery store does not break the case, meaning you have to buy the whole case.

    These are what I consider the BEST deals, but there are more items at the case lot sales. I'm headed out Monday to pick up a few items I need.

    SMITH'S (starts Wednesday, Jan. 1 while supplies last) (limit 2 cases)
    Libby's vegetables 15 oz. $.33 ea./case of 12 $3.99 (very low!)
    Kroger Peanut Butter 16 - 18 oz. $1.42 ea./case of 12 $16.99
    Kroger Fruit 15 oz. $.75 ea./case of 24 $18.00
    Dole Pineapple 20 oz. $.85 ea./case of 12 $10.20
    Langer's Apple Juice 64 oz. $1.25 ea./case of 8 $10.00 (ad says 12)
    Kroger Water 24x16.9 oz. bottles $2.50 case
    Kroger Tomato Sauce 8 oz. .20 ea./case of 24 $4.80
    Kroger Canned Tomatoes 14.5 oz. $.50 ea./case of 24 $12.00
    Hunt's Pasta Sauce 24 oz. $.75 ea./case of 12 $9.00
    Campbell's Tomato/Chicken Noodle soup $.55 ea./case of 48 $26.40
    Hormel Chili 15 oz. $.84 ea./case of 12 $9.99
    Kroger Beans 15 oz. $.55 ea./case of 24 $15.20
    Starkist Tuna 5 oz. $.64 ea./case of 48 $31.20
    Tillamook Shredded Cheddar Cheese 5 lb. $10.99 bag ($2.20 per lb.)
    Sugar 4 lb. $1.59 ea./$15.90 (.40 cents per lb., same price per lb. as Costco C&H 25 lb. bag)
    Kroger Vegetable Oil $2.39 ea./case of 9 $21.51 (I don't usually buy the case. Just 2 at a time so the expiration dates vary.

    Here is the Smith's ad with additional items.

    HARMON'S (starts Monday, January 6 - 19)

    Langer's Apple Juice 64 oz. $1.25 ea./case of 8 $10.00
    Western Family Tomato/Chicken Noodle soups $.49 ea./case of 24 $11.76
    Western Family Cream of Chicken/Mushroom soups $.59 ea./case of 24 $14.16
    Campbell's Tomato/Chicken Noodle soup $.59 ea./case of 24 $14.16
    Dinty Moore Beef Stew 24 oz. $1.69 ea./case of 12 $20.28
    Western Family Chile w/beans 15 oz. $.88 ea./case of 24 $21.12 (was .69 ea. at Macey's in Oct.)
    Campbell's Spaghettios 15 oz. $.69 ea./case of 24 $16.56
    Western Family Tuna 5 oz. $.69 ea./case of 48 $33.12
    Western Family Albacore Tuna 6 oz. $1.29 ea./case of 24 $30.96
    Western Family Corn/Green Beans 15 oz. $.49 ea./case of 24 $11.76
    Western Family mushrooms 4 oz. $.59 ea./case of 24 $14.16
    Libby's Corn/Green Beans $.59 ea./case of 12 $7.08
    Western Family Tomatoes various 14.5 oz. $.49 ea./case of 24 $11.76
    Western Family Beans various 15 oz. $.49 ea./case of 24 $11.76
    Mandarin Oranges 11 oz. $.49 ea./case of 24 $11.76
    Western Family Green Chilies 4 oz. $.49 ea./case of 24 $11.76
    Taco Bell Refried Beans 16 oz. $.69 ea./case of 12 $8.28 (WF was .50 ea. at Macey's in Oct.)
    Western Family Tomato Paste 6 oz. $.49 ea./case of 48 $23.52
    Western Family Brown/Powdered Sugars 2 lb. $.99 ea./case of 12 $11.88 (verify 2 lb.)

    Here is the Harmon's ad with additional items.

    Good luck!

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