June 2, 2012

Come on Over!

I have changed over to a new website! Eat What You Store.com is up and I know you are going to love it! I am going to be doing lots of giveaways and focus really on how to help you become more self-reliant and Eat What You Store.

Thanks for being a follower and I would love to have you follow my new blog!

May 17, 2012

New blog



It's official! I have changed over to a new website! Eat What You Store.com is up and I know you are going to love it!
I started this Grocery Cents blog when I was teaching coupon classes years ago. I loved getting food at really cheap by using coupons. In fact, I loved it so much that I started to teach Coupon classes.

A few years later, I found that much of the food I was getting had a lot of ingredients in it I decided I didn't want to feed my family. I also realized that a lot of it expired quickly after I purchased it. So, I decided to look into getting more long-term food storage. That is when I found Shelf Reliance.  I love the fact that I get free and half off food! The food lasts up to 25 years, and I can make money by selling Shelf Reliance Products to others!

So, I decided to keep this blog for a while because I already had followers here. But, in the last month, I have decided to start a new blog. I would love to have you come check out Eat What You Store.com! I am going to do lots of giveaways and focus really on how to help you become more self-reliant and Eat What You Store.

Thanks for stopping by!
~Diana






April 27, 2012

What we have been up to...

Check out my new website: Eat What You Store.com for more ideas on becoming organized and becoming Self-Reliant.

Barn raising! Well, actually, just a chicken coop, but it is as much of a barn as we are going to get for a while! Our little gals are getting bigger everyday, and soon will need a home to stay in outside. Scroll down for more photos of the fun coop we got!
Isn't she a beauty! We are so excited to have a coop for the chicks.





I kept telling my husband I thought he could build a coop. We even got a book on chicken coop plans. Every time I would mention James building one, he would say, "You have a lot of faith in my building abilities." Translation: Diana, you might not ever get a coop if I build one for you.






So, we found one that was 20% off at IFA near us and we bought it. Then, earlier this week, we pulled out the screw drivers, and put the kit together.


 The box was so big that my kids thought it was a fun place to hide. And, our oldest was a wonderful help in putting it together.














In all, it took about 2 hours to put together. If we were to do it again, we would start earlier in the day. By the time we were done, the sun had set and we were fighting to try to get the coop finished in the dark.




The next morning, my kids wanted a photo in front of the coop. They are so excited about the chickens!




What has been going on at your house this spring?

~Diana - Independent Shelf Reliance Consultant

April 19, 2012

The Chicks are three Weeks old!

Our baby chicks are growing up so fast! Their feathers are growing in, and the baby "fluff" is disappearing.
Our kids love to hold them, but not clean out the box. We still have a light on the box to keep them warm, but we will probably remove it next week.
My husband has trained one of them to come when he calls it. She likes to sit on his finger and will pecks any other bird who tries to be held by him. She also loves to peck at his wedding ring.
We have loved being "chicken farmers" so far. My older daughter is counting the days until they can go outside in the coop.
I am exited for the eggs we will get in a few months!
-Diana  - Shelf Reliance Consultant


February 28, 2012

Gas up to $5 a gallon?

Gas prices are on the rise...again. I remember when my husband and I were first married, we got gas for only $.99 a gallon! I'm serious! We would fill up our car for about $10! Our little car had great gas mileage, and didn't cost much to fill up.
Then, we started having kids. This meant, we needed a bigger vehicle for our family. We got a mini van. (Yes, we became a mini van family.) By this time, gas was at $2 a gallon. So, we could fill up our van for around $36. Well, now, I typically pay around $56 to fill up our van. If gas keeps going up, as they have projected it to, I will be paying over $5 a gallon! That means, my cute van will cost me $90 to fill up! That is crazy!

 
When I found this out, I decided I needed to know how to increase the fuel mileage for both of our vehicles. I did a search and found some tips from WikiHow on increasing your fuel mileage to keep the cost of driving down.
  • Plan your route so you can make all the stops needed  instead of making extra trips.
  • Lighten your load. (I decided since I've lost 35 pounds and my husband has lost 85, we have reduced our fuel mileage when we drive together.)
  • Slow down to increase fuel efficency.
  • Tune up your engine.
  • Avoid idling when waiting at the drive thru.
  • Keep a safe following distance so you don't brake and accelerate more than nessasary.
These are just a few ideas for increasing your fuel mileage. If you find other ways to save money on your gas, please let us know! Because saving money on your car {Makes Cents!}

February 22, 2012

Raising Backyard Chickens

(Photo from Pinterest)

Have you noticed more and more people with homes in suburban areas are getting chickens? When I drive around, I notice the number of chicken coops in backyards. I think it is great that so many people are becoming more self-reliant! Chickens are a great source of food. Both for their meat and their eggs.

If you are interested in finding out more about raising chickens, there are a couple of low cost classes that Utah State University Extension office is offering. The first one is in Utah County on February 29. It is only $3 if you register early. The second one is on March 22 in Weber County and is $10. Both classes should be a lot of fun to go to! Make sure to register early so you can reserve your spot!
I am not an expert on raising chickens. Actually, we don't even have any, yet. But, one of these days, we will build a coop and raise chickens for their eggs. (And, to teach our kids to work.) My husband and I have read a lot of books on them, and we are excited for this class! Maybe that chicken coop will be built this year after all!

If you want to read a short article from the USU Extention about the basics of raising chickens, go here.
And, if you live too far away for these chicken classes, you can check out these fact sheets that Utah State University Extension has put together. There is some great information there!

Feel free to share this on your blogs, or let your friends know about it on Facebook!

Raising your own food {It Makes Cents!}

February 10, 2012

Earthquake Preparedness

Have you heard? There is going to be an earthquake on April 17 in Utah! Well, actaully, it is a drill, but it will be the largest earthquake drill in Utah history! Be Ready Utah is hosting The Great Utah Shake Out at 10:15 a.m. on April 17, 2012.

They are encouraging everyone in the state to Drop, Cover, and Hold On. If there were a real earthquake, where would you be? At home? In the car? At work? You never know when a real earthquake will hit, so it is a good idea to have your family prepared. Even if you don't live in Utah, you can still participate. This is a great opportunity to improve your earthquake preparedness by practicing with your family. Just sign up on the website below. In the mean time, here is a video they put together to help you understand what it might be like.



Here is the website for the Great Utah Shake Out:
http://www.shakeout.org/utah/resources/

For more resources on Earthquake Preparedness, you can go to http://earthquake.usgs.gov/prepare/ or http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes.

February 7, 2012

Bill Organizer -One way to make Cents

NOTE: For this and other great ideas, visit my new blog:

EatWhatYouStore.com

 
 

Check out my new website: Eat What You Store.com for more ideas on becoming organized and becoming Self-Reliant.

One way to save cents every year is to pay your bills on time. Did you know that 1/3 of the income from credit card companies is because of late fees? That is a lot of money!

I hate to admit it, but I was in a rut from paying my bills late. After my husband lost his job twice in one year, and we didn't have an income, we had no way of paying our bills. And because we couldn't pay the bills, the bills got bigger. When he did get a job, we were behind. We didn't think we could ever get things paid off, let alone pay them on time. But, with simple budgeting and getting our bills organized, we have been able to get back on track. We are even paying off our bills. Our goals is to have everything except our house paid off in five years. We are doing it, and you can too!

As I found, putting off a bill doesn't mean it will go away. You will just end up with more to pay. And, it adds up fast! Let's say your credit card company, bank, or mortgage charges $35 each time you have a late payment.
  • Only 1 late fee each year, it will cost you $35. That is $35 you could have spent on other things. 
  • But, if you have 1 late fee every month, that is $420 a year!
  • And, think about it...if you have 10 late bills each month, that is $4,200 in late fees over a year!
Many moms will say, "I wish I could afford to stay home." Or, families say, "I just don't have the money to build my home store." By paying your bills on time and budgeting, it helps make this possible!

So, I have created a bill binder or bill organizer to help you out!

Here is what you will need:
  1. A large d-ring binder with a clear pocket cover. Get a 2" one if you can find it. Trust me.
  2. Clear sheet protectors. Make sure you have at least 12. (One for each month.) You will also want one each for stamps, envelopes, insurances and your taxes.
  3. Print off one set of the binder pages below. (Scroll down to see your front cover and side piece.)

  4. White address sticker labels. I used the 1" x 2 5/8" ones that come with 30 on a sheet. This is to print off the months for you to use.
Directions:  

You will want to get the biggest binder you can find to put your bills in. This is a side view of mine from 2011. It is huge...and heavy! And now that I need to get my taxes done, I know exactly where everything is!


Next, put one sticker on each of the twelve sheet protectors for each month. Then, put on the ones for stamps, envelopes, and insurance. Lastly, put the one on for taxes. Then, put them into your binder.

I like to have my stamps and envelopes at the front. Put any stamps you have in your house in the appropriate sheet protector. After I started doing this binder, I kept finding stamps in different drawers and I would add them to my collection. Now, when I need a stamp, I know right where to look. Next, put some envelopes in their spot. I know a lot of you pay your bills online, so you might not need either of these in your bill organizer.
Then, put each of your month sheets in your binder. When you get a bill you need to pay, put it in the front pocket of the binder. This way, you will know what bills need to be paid. Then, every time you pay a bill, file it in the appropriate month. I always write the "confirmation number" right on the bill. This way, if there is any question as to whether I paid a bill or not, I have the number.

After each of the the 12 months, I put the insurance sheet protector. This is where you can file the yearly information for your life insurance, auto insurance packet, and your homeowners insurance. The last sheet protector is for your tax info. When you start getting your tax information, you have a place to put it. (I am proud to say that I no longer loose our tax papers!)


Next, print off the front and side for your bill binder. I made two for you to choose from.



Here is the edge of this one.




Here is the edge of this one. Click here to open it.


 Hopefully, you will like them enough to print them out and start your own organizer! 

For more ideas on paying your bills, check out this website.

Before I started using this bill organizing system, I would loose papers, forget to pay bills, and I felt like I didn't know how to get organized. Now, our bills are on time, I know which ones need to be paid, and they are all in one place!

Once you learn to control your debt, it can change your whole life.  And, I promise you, it will make your  life better. It is so relieving knowing where the money is going every month. It is awesome to know that we are on the right track to getting out of debt.

Paying your bills on time {It Makes Cents}

January 24, 2012

Incredible Snow Storm in Utah

I don't know about the area you live in, but here in Utah, we have had some crazy weather! Have you seen this video yet? This incredible video was filmed on Saturday afternoon in Bountiful, Utah. The snow storm hit hard and snow quickly filled the streets.


I happen to be in Bountiful that day with my family. I had checked the weather report that morning because I wanted to make sure it wasn't going to snow. We planned the day so that we could visit my parents in the afternoon. They live in Bountiful, which is an hour away from my home. I grabbed my rain jacket because it was raining pretty hard, but it was not snowing. The morning forecast said there was not going to be snow, so I packed up the kids and we left. Because of our crazy schedule that day, my husband had driven our car and I had our van. We got to my parents house at about one o'clock. My husband had an appointment and was going to meet us there later. The kids were excited to see grandma and grandpa and play with their toys. We were there for a few hours, watching the downpour out her kitchen window. My mom commented, "Wow. If this were snow, it would be a blizzard."

Within minutes of her comment, the snow started to fall. Just a little bit. But, none the less, it was snow. I hate driving in the snow. I did not want to drive home in the snow. A few minutes later, the snow started to stick to ground. Big heavy flakes. But, the road was still clean, so I figured it would be okay. We were waiting until my husband got to the house. As soon as he got there, we were planning on leaving. He called and was a few minutes away.

When he arrived, he ate a quick dinner, we cleaned up the toys and packed up the kids into the cars. In the short amount of time he was in the house, the snow had covered the tire tracks. The road was covered in snow and I had to drive home in it. Did I mention that I hate driving in the snow?

Since my parents live on the mountainside in Bountiful, we had to drive down the hill to get home. Right before we left, I asked my son to say a prayer that we would be safe. I left first, with my husband following me. I was driving super slow, because the roads were slick. When I came to the first stop sign, I slid right through it and came to a stop on the other side of the street. Uh-oh....This was more dangerous than I thought it was going to be. As I was stopping, I noticed the cars on the next street over were stopped....completely stopped. It looked like they were all parked waiting for something. The road was so slippery, the cars could not get up the hill. I also asked my son to say another prayer. We needed all the help we could get!

We continued down the street we were on. There were no other cars on this street, so I felt okay about driving down it. I was still slipping all over the place. I thought that if I could get down lower in the valley, then the road would be better. When we came to the second stop sign, we slid a little, but we were able to stop. Thank goodness. 

White knuckled, I continued driving. When we came to the third stop sign, we didn't slide at all. We had come to the main road and there was more traffic. We saw other cars that were stuck on the side of the road. I turned off my wipers for a minute to reach out and brush the snow off that was sticking to the side of the wind shield. By the time I turned them back on, the snow was all over my window.

I was sliding all over the road. Cars were stuck and had hit curbs. My husband called...he had hit a curb and the car was out of alignment. Great, I thought. One more thing to fix at our house. He decided to keep driving home. I was so nervous. After a few more yards, I decided not to go home. I didn't know if I could make it all the way home. And, did I mention that I hate driving in the snow! We had left my parents home 15 minutes before and we had only been able to drive 4 blocks.

So, I pulled into a parking lot and to turn around. I called my mom and asked her if she would be okay having extra house guests tonight. There was no way I wanted to drive home that night, even if the roads were cleared. She is so awesome and was excited to have us come stay the night. We were not prepared for the snow, nor were we prepared to stay overnight anywhere but our own house.

I pulled back out into the street and started back up the hill to my mom's house. The road we came down was so slippery now, I couldn't get back up it. So, I had to try another street. I told myself that if we needed to, we could walk part of the way in the snow to their house. After all, my pioneer ancestors walked in the snow with their kids all the time! We inched our way along, sliding all over the place. But, we were getting closer to the house. Little by little we passed the houses on the way up the hill.

Suddenly, a car came up beside us and drove around us. I couldn't believe how fast he was going. He must have had four wheel drive. This made me slow down. I had lost my momentum and again I was sliding. Grrr. We had to pull over to the side of the road because I couldn't go up any further. I decided we could walk the rest of the way. We were only 1 1/2 blocks from my parents house. I called my parents to let them know our plan (thank goodness for cell phones!) and I asked my son to get the emergency kit from the back of the car. I wanted to see if there was anything in it we could use. I was grateful had packed it. But, the problem I found was that it was packed for summertime. There was some food, juice, matches, diapers, formula and a first aid kit. Umm....no hand warmers, no blankets, and diapers? My daughter is 3 and potty trained. I think I need to change my kit! Luckily we did find an umbrella and there was a blanket in the car.

I had another prayer with my kids and we got out and started walking. I'm so glad my girls had put their snow boots and winter coats on when we left that morning. My son only had a light jacket and his tennis shoes, so he wrapped up in the one blanket we had brought with. I decided I need to redo our emergency kit and put things in it we actually might need.

I was so glad my parents home was only a few minutes away. Dad was so cute and met us part way with some gloves and boots for my son. (But, being the pre-teen he is, my son didn't want to change shoes. Silly boy.) He also brought a sled for my youngest to ride in. As we walked, we watched more cars sliding on the road. When we got to my parents house, we all changed into dry clothes and had hot cocoa. Later my husband called to let me know he was home safe. I was so grateful we were all safe. After the snowplow came by, we went and picked up the van. I probably could have driven home that night, but decided it was easier just to stay at my parents home.

Why did I blog about my experience from this storm? So that maybe you can learn from it. I keep asking myself "What if's". What if I hadn't been so close to my parents home? What if I was stranded without a cell phone? What if I had crashed? Hopefully, you can do something different and be a little more prepared than I was.
  • Maybe you need to put your emergency kit together.
  • When was the last time you checked your emergency kit? Will it work for your family right now?
  • Do you have a kit for your car that will work for your family? Does it have items in it you may need?
  • How prepared are you? Honestly?
If you are like me, you are a busy person who thinks "I will get to that another day." Well, today is that day! Or, maybe your New Year's Resolution is "This year is the year I am going to get prepared." If you are going to do it, way to go! Some of you might build your emergency kits with items you already have at home. Other of you might not know where to start and need an easy way to get your survival kits put together. You can purchase them from Shelf Reliance.

I am grateful for the safety of my family last Saturday. I am also grateful for my parents who helped us out and let us stay overnight at their home. I hope I do not have to experience this again. If I am ever stuck in a snow storm, I hope that I will be more prepared next time.

~Diana

January 19, 2012

Baking With Egg Powder

NOTE: For this and other great recipes, visit my new blog:

EatWhatYouStore.com

 
 



Have you ever wondered how to use Egg Powder? Maybe you didn't even know you could buy egg powder. I will be honest, the first time I used powdered eggs, I was a little nervous. Okay, maybe more than a little nervous. I was very nervous. I had never used them before, and I wondered if they would work.

I will never forget that Sunday afternoon. We had come home from church and I got a hankering for cookies and milk. We used our last egg that morning for breakfast. Every recipe I had called for two or more eggs. What is a girl to do? When you get a craving for cookies and milk, you just got to do something about it!

I didn't want to go shopping because it was Sunday. But, I knew I had some powdered eggs hiding in a deep dark spot in a can in the basement. So, bravely, I went down and started digging. You see, this was before I started using Thrive foods. Back in those days, all my #10 cans had the same labels and we had to dig around to find the right one. And, back then, I didn't have my food storage as organized as I do now. So, digging I went. I finally found the right can and brought it upstairs. After it was opened, I stared at the yellow powder inside. I didn't know what to expect. But, I admit, I was kinda surprised by it.

I read the directions on how to use powdered eggs. Then, I re-read them to make sure I got it right. And, I read them again! You would think that 1 Tablespoon egg powder and 2 Tablespoons of water would be easy enough to understand. But, I wanted to make sure I was getting it right. I wanted good cookies.

I mixed the egg powder into the cookie dough, put it in the oven and waited. I tried to remind myself that people use egg powder all the time. Many bakeries use whole egg powder in everything they bake because it is more consistent than eggs from the store. But, I was still wondering what my cookies would turn out like.

Before I knew it, the time rang. The cookies were done.

As I pulled them out of the oven, I noticed they looked and smelled great! I was so excited! After I took them off the pan, I took my first bite. They were so good! They tasted just like the cookies I had made with regular eggs. In fact, they were not a flat as the ones I typically make. My family had heard the timer, and within seconds the kids were running into the kitchen to eat hot cookies. We ate every one of them! I was so excited I had learned how to use whole egg powder and my family didn't notice a difference.

Now, we use Thrive Whole Egg Powder at our house. It has been months since I bought eggs at the store. I LOVE using it in baking. I LOVE making things with it. I LOVE the fact that I can make cookies on a Sunday and not need to run to the store. I LOVE having a home store where I can just use eggs whenever I want to.

So, now that you have heard my egg story, here are some equivalents for using egg powder in cooking:
  • 1 Tablespoon Egg Powder + 2 Tablespoons Water = 1 Whole Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Egg Powder + 1/4 cup Water = 2 Eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons Egg + 6 Tablespoons Water = 3 Eggs
 And, I thought I would share some tips on Whole Egg Powder:
  • They are free of samonella. This means, you can eat cookie dough. YEA!
  • You can substitute egg powder in any recipe that calls for eggs. They are perfect for pancakes, cookies, brownies, breads, cakes, and anything that needs eggs.
  • Yes, you can make scrambled eggs using egg powder.
  • Egg Powder has a shelf life unopened of 5 years.
  • Once you open them they will last 6 months on your shelf.
  • They don't need to be refrigerated. You just store them in your pantry, next to all your other baking goods.
  • These are perfect for camping! They won't break and they don't take up cooler space. =)
  • There are over 230 eggs in a #10 can! When was the last time you fit 230 eggs in your refrigerator?
  • If you have a smaller family, then a pantry can would be perfect for you. There are 60 eggs in it. That is 5 dozen and it will still be good to use for 6 months after you open it.
  • Powdered Eggs make awesome french toast!
  • My favorite thing is: You can eat the cookie dough when you use powdered eggs!
I hope this you learned something today about egg powder. Let me know if you decide to try out the egg powder at your home!
If you are interested in buying Whole Egg Powder to try it out at your house, you can click here.

January 18, 2012

Triple Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

NOTE: For this and other great recipes, visit my new blog:

EatWhatYouStore.com

 
 

This recipe is awesome! It is one of my favorite cookie recipes. I love the fact that the ingredients come from my food storage! And, almost all of it is from my long-term food storage! I make these cookies all the time. They are super easy, and a great way to start using things like butter powder and egg powder! Here you go!

Triple Threat Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup THRIVE butter powder
¼ cup water
1 cup THRIVE sugar
2/3 cup THRIVE brown sugar
2 Tablespoons THRIVE egg powder
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cup THRIVE flour
¾ cup THRIVE chocolate drink mix
1 teaspoon THRIVE salt
1 ¼ teaspoon THRIVE baking soda
¾ cup each white, milk, and semi-sweet chocolate chips
(I like to use 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips and 3/4 cup butterscotch chips instead of the other three kinds. You could also use peanut butter chips for a yummy treat!)

Cream butter powder and water. Add sugars until smooth. Beat in egg powder, water, and vanilla until combined. In a separate bowl combine flour, chocolate drink, salt, and soda. Add to wet ingredients in 3 or 4 parts. Fold in chips. Chill the dough for an hour or so. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 9-11 minutes until edges are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan (if you can wait that long).

NOTE: When it says to bake these for only 9-11 minutes, you need to bake them for only 9-11 minutes. If you cook it longer, the cookies will go hard. Trust me. I had to find this out the hard way. We threw out most of a batch because they were as hard as rocks! And, since you are using egg powder in this recipe, you won't need to worry about cooking them any longer because there is not any risk of salmonella. Plus, they are so yummy a little on the doughy side!

If you make these cookies, I would love to hear about it!

This recipe came from Tiffany Fairbanks who adapted it from The Pioneer Woman.

January 17, 2012

Use Our Free Online Food Calculator!

Find out how much food storage you need for your family! Try out our FREE online food planner. It is quick and easy to use! Just following the instructions and on the left hand side, you will see a link to email it to yourself. Then, you can print it off, too.