What I'm Buying - Smith's 1/18

Thursday, January 19, 2012
After Harmons, we stopped briefly at Target since it was right there in the same shopping center.  I was looking for some yogurt (they didn't have it) and some applesauce (not on price cut in our area).  I DID find a couple of toys leftover from the big clearance last week that were 70% off, and some Heinz canned gravy for .64 each.

After Target it was off to pick up the preschooler from class and then over to Smith's to grab some stock-up items for food storage.  It was my lucky day, because I found a bunch of great stuff in the refrigerated markdowns!  :)

Here's what I picked up:

(26) Chef Boyardee, on sale .88 (.71 after coupon)
(2) Trop50 orange juice, on sale 2.99 (1.99 after coupon)
(14) Oscar Mayer luncheables, clearanced to .89
(10) Hormel pepperoni, on sale 1.00 (.50 after coupon)
(5) Johnsonville summer sausage, clearanced to 1.79 (although looking at the receipt, one rang up at full price of 3.49 - GRRR!)
(2) Hormel pepperoni sticks, clearanced to 1.99
(2) Armor summer sausage, on sale 3.99

I used (1) 1.00/6 eCoupon for the pasta (see Smith's website), (5) .50/4 coupons for the pasta [see SS-1/1], (2) 1.00/1 printables for the juice [from a Facebook promo], and (5) 1.00/2 coupons for the pepperoni [see SS-1/15].

Quick clarification:  I thought my particular store's coupon limit was 5 of the same kind (from inserts) and 2 of the same kind for printables.  But when I asked the cashier yesterday, she said it was 4 of the same kind for insert coupons, but that she would allow me to use the 5 similar coupons for this particular transaction. 

Total:  $65.65

I went to more stores than usual this week, and spent more than usual this week, because I don't plan on doing any grocery shopping for the next two weeks if possible.  The new arrival is scheduled to be induced this weekend, so I wanted to get this all done ahead of time.  :)

What I'm Buying - Harmons 1/18

Our middle stop for the day was at Harmons.

(3) Maid O' Clover whole milk, on sale 2.39
(1) Farmland spiral sliced ham, on sale 1.59/lb
(2) Post Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, on sale 2.50 (1.50 after coupon)
(20) roma tomatoes, on sale .78/lb
(4) Quaker cereals, on sale 2.50 (yeah, not a stellar price, but I was feeling generous in letting my kids have some cereals that we don't usually get)
(8) Tombstone frozen pizzas, on sale 3.00 (2.50 after in-store coupon wyb 8, not pictured cuz they had already been put away)
(1) Best Foods mayo, on sale 3.75 (abt 2.50 after special Unilever in-ad coupon for $5 off $15 Unilever purchase)
(5) Lipton onion soup mix, on sale 1.50 (abt 1.00 after special coupon)
(4) Knorr pasta sides, on sale 1.00 (abt .67 after special coupon)

The cashier had the special $4 coupon for the pizzas (it's a Nestle mix-and-match promo, buy 8 participating items and save $4) and the coupon for the Unilever items (save $5 when you buy $15 worth of participating Unilever products).  I then used (2) 1.00/1 printable coupons for the Post cereal [see GroupA at GrocerySmarts].

Total:  $72.02

What I'm Buying - Ream's 1/18

After Macey's it was off to Ream's, just down the road.  I have to tell you that I really miss my Sunflower Market for produce, but luckily Ream's has been able to fill that void mostly.  I have been very impressed with their produce and their prices (on produce and meat - their prices on non-produce stuff still tend to be very high, even on sale).

Here's what I picked up:

(3) pkgs pork sirloin roast, on sale 1.89/lb
(2) 3lb bags clementines, on sale 2.99
(2) heads green leaf lettuce, 1.09 ea
(5) red bell peppers, on sale .79 ea
(6) d'anjou pears, on sale .99/lb
(5) dozen large eggs, on sale .99
(1) Western Family sour cream, on sale .99
(2) bunches bananas, on sale .49/lb
(4) cucumbers, on sale .39 ea

I did not use any coupons on this one.

Total:  $49.64

The bell peppers get seeded and sliced or diced, and then put in ziploc bags in the freezer for use in various recipes.  My husband was wondering what in the world I planned on doing with 5 dozen eggs, but then I reminded him that he can down an entire dozen in 24 hours if they are made into deviled eggs.  Now I just have to find the energy to make the deviled eggs!  Also, I was thinking I'd have some time to make some into egg patties for biscuit sandwiches (to also be put in freezer and pulled out for breakfasts), but the time is fast fleeing and the new baby is expected tomorrow, so those may have to wait for a week or so.

What I'm Buying - Macey's 1/18

So, we start our marathon grocery shopping story at Macey's yesterday. It was a pretty quick trip, but the cereal was definitely going fast! Apparently each Macey's location has a different "list" of which cereals are included in the 10 for $10 sale, so the selection may vary. I got lucky and found that the West Jordan store had quite a few varieties they were including, which made for a nice haul! And there is no limit to the number of groups of 10 you can do (and they don't have to be 10 of the same item - it's a mix and match sale).

In fact, the early reports were for some varieties that I didn't think I'd really want, so I didn't actually bring enough coupons to cover everything I bought. The West Jordan location included Trix in the sale, and I haven't seen that on sale for months, so I grabbed it while I could, coupons or not.

Here's what I picked up:

(Sorry for the hideously blurry and dark picture)

(30) GM cereals, on sale 1.99 (1.49 after promo, .99 after coupon)
[Dulce de Leche Cheerios, Multi-Grain Peanut Butter Cheerios, Frosted Toast Crunch and Trix]
(20) Progresso soups, on sale 1.59 (1.09 after promo, .84 after coupon)
(6) Bubba's bagels, on sale 1.50
(6) Western Family canned chili beans, on sale .69
(1) head broccoli (not pictured), on sale .69/lb

I used (7) 1.00/2 coupons for the cereal [see SS-12/11], (1) 1.00/2 printable coupon for the cereal [see GroupA at GrocerySmarts], and (5) 1.00/4 coupons for the soup [see SS-12/11 or GM-1/8].

Total: $70.55

I could have saved another $5-$8 with more coupons for the cereal, but like I said, I wasn't sure exactly what was included and wasn't expecting to find the Trix included, so I didn't bring extras. The cereal was going fast, and since Macey's is a bit of a drive for me, I figured it was best to just get the cereal then and not risk it being all out if I tried to come back another day with coupons. Gotta pick your battles, right?

What I'm Buying - 1/18

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Five stores in three hours today...I'm exhausted! Wasn't sure I'd be able to make it, and I almost wasn't - ha ha! But stay tuned - I'll have posts up at some point, I promise.

How I Do Food Storage: The Theory, Part 1

Monday, January 16, 2012
I can't tell you how many times I have started this post over the last two years...and then never finished. It's kind of a mammoth one to tackle, and hard to break into smaller more readable chunks that can be separated out into individual posts. But I'll try. Hang with me folks!

There are many difference approaches to food storage, and NONE of them are any more right or wrong than any other, EXCEPT ONE - NOT DOING ANYTHING! ;)

Before I was asked to serve as the food storage specialist in my previous LDS congregation, my husband and I had talked about food storage a little, and we even had maybe a dozen #10 cans of various items, but we really didn't have much of a plan. Back then, the LDS Church website (ProvidentLiving.org) had a page with a calculator where you could go and insert the number of people in your family, and it would tell you all of the long-term stuff you should store and how much of each to last approximately one year.

That was great and all, but I would look at the printout and think, "Awesome, I can go buy this stuff, but then what in the world do I DO with it?!? How do I split it up into meals? How do I ration it to make sure it lasts me and my family for one year, and more importantly, what exactly do I make with it???" There wasn't a comprehensive plan that I could follow, showing me what to fix for each meal and how much to use and recipes and all, and so it was more than a little daunting and overwhelming, which led me to the one food storage/emergency preparedness sin - not doing anything at all!

As I have researched and read more about food storage and preparedness, my ideas about food storage have evolved. What I have found works best for me is this method:


For me, that simply means that my food storage is basically just a bigger extension of my kitchen pantry. The same stuff that is upstairs in the day-to-day pantry is also down in food storage, just in larger quantities.

This method has worked for me because it means I am familiar with all the stuff in my food storage, I know how to prepare it, I have recipes that use it that I regularly prepare, and I don't need a comprehensive "plan" for how to ration it all out because I'm familiar enough with what is down there to know how we rotate it, and the stuff just fits into our regular everyday meals.

Now, this method is a little more labor-intensive than some of the other options. It means that I spend more time in the kitchen making meals from scratch (not necessarily a bad thing for your health, just time consuming some days) and I've had to learn a few new skills (like how to make bread, but I've been trying to do that since I was 6, so not necessarily a bad thing there either). This method allows me to rotate my food storage because we're actively and constantly using it. But that also means that I have to be more aware of keeping track of inventory (which is our current area of focus). This is what I have found works for ME and my family - it may not be for everyone, and that is TOTALLY okay!

There are other "methods" to food storage as well, and many fabulous options to meet your needs.

Here are a few:

- buy the long-term stuff (the grains, powdered milk, dry beans, etc.) and just store it until needed. Most of the long-term items have a 30yr shelf life, so this is perfectly acceptable.

- come up with a set plan of meals, multiply it out for a year's worth, then calculate how much you'll need for all those meals, buy it, and either store it, or occasionally rotate some of it. Usually you'll use regular meals that your family already enjoys, like spaghetti, casseroles, etc.

- buy some of the pre-assembled "raw ingredient" kits from food storage companies (like Shelf Reliance), and then either rotate the ingredients into your everyday cooking or just simply store until needed.

- buy some of the pre-assembled "full meal" kits from food storage companies (like Daily Bread), and simply store until needed. These are cans or kits of ready-to-go meals usually only needing to be reconstituted with hot water. Not much prep involved. Sorta like gourmet MREs.

- do a blend of any or all of the above.

Really, truly, the BEST food storage method is WHICHEVER method or combination of methods that works best for YOU!!!

Stay tuned and I'll go into more details on the various methods, and then we'll start exploring the specific stuff that I store and give you some ideas of what exactly I do with it.

Our Saga with Radon

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our saga with radon starts in early December, when I came across an article on KSL.com about a man in Cottonwood Heights who parts of both lungs to lung cancer caused by radon gas in his home - never smoked a day in his life. (We've since found out that this wonderful man is the president of the stake that some of our friends attend.)

Now, I had actually heard about radon gas several years ago. For some reason there were some concerns in the area we lived in in Colorado back when I was in high school, and my parents had talked about doing some testing, but never got around to it. But at least I knew sortof what it was.

Fast forward about 20 years...but it just never occurred to me to have it tested in my own home once I "grew up". And until I read the article recently and did a little studying, I had NO IDEA how pervasive the radon problem was in Utah! Studies estimate that approximately 1 in every 3 Utah homes could test high for radon gas.

But it's not just a problem in Utah - it can affect any home, anywhere.

Radon gas is produced by the breakdown of uranium and other minerals in soil. It escapes out of the soil, through your foundation and into your home. It is ODORLESS, TASTELESS, INVISIBLE and worst of all, RADIOACTIVE! Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States!!! [Now, just because you have radon in your home doesn't mean you're guaranteed to get lung cancer - it just puts you at higher risk.]

After reading the article, I finally figured enough was enough, and it was time to bite the bullet and order some tests. We live very close to the western Oquirrh mountain foothills (in the lower elevations) near a canyon and near a huge copper mine - which puts our property at greater risk for higher concentrations of radon due to the higher granite and mineral content of the ground underneath us.

So we ordered our tests. Did it online, in just a matter of minutes. Super easy. And for those who live in Utah, there is a program where the state will subsidize part of the cost of the test - so you can get tests for $6 (about half the normal cost). That price INCLUDES the test kit AND the testing/results. [It's a GOOD deal!!!]

We did two tests in our home - one on the main floor and one in the basement. It's a little charcoal tray and you set it out for 48 hours. After the time was up, we sent it in and waited for results.

I was shocked when we got the email with our results. The EPA suggests that anything over 4 pCi/L should be retested, and if still high, the homeowner should seek out mitigation options.

Our numbers...? 27 on the main floor, and 40 in the basement - that's 6 and 10 TIMES the acceptable limit! UGH!!! Needless to say, it was hard to breath for a day or two, just thinking about what we were drawing into our lungs.

We are on our second round of tests now to confirm, but with numbers that high it is a foregone conclusion that we will have to have a mitigation system installed. We've already contacted a company and discussed options and have an estimate. The good news is that mitigation systems are very effective and fairly easy to install - most systems run usually in the $1000-$1500 dollar range. Bye bye tax return, but at least it will give us some peace of mind.

The moral of my story is: I encourage EVERYONE to take a few moments and have your home tested for radon, especially those here in Utah where our risk is higher than the national average.

For more information on radon, check out the Utah Department of Environmental Quality's Indoor Radon Program web page or read through some of the great info available at the EPA's radon awareness site. They have a wealth of information there, including handouts, guides, maps, and even videos (some from a Dr. Oz show from February 2011 discussing the dangers of radon in your home). The site will also give info on the many options for radon testing, specific state programs you can participate in, and a list of approved radon mitigation companies should you find yourself in need of one.

And for those in Utah: Order short-term radon test kits online for discount

Additional links:

EPA - Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction
Utah Radon Risk Map
National Radon Risk Map

Which food storage company should I buy from?

Monday, January 9, 2012
Just wanted to highlight this great little post by Crystal at EverydayFoodStorage.net. She is the master guru of all things food storage, and absolutely without-a-doubt knows her stuff. :)

The only time where going with the cheapest may not apply, is when you are buying the freeze-dried or dehydrated full MEALS (in cans or boxes) as those will differ slightly in taste and quality among the various companies, and so for those you'll definitely want to sample first and compare cost vs. quality.

Food Storage Recipe: Taco Chili

Sunday, January 8, 2012

[Photo from Better Homes & Gardens - see link below for recipe]

I saw this recipe last week and decided to try it out for dinner this evening. I was supposed to put it in the crock pot before we left for church, but I totally forgot. So we just made it on the stovetop when we got home and let it simmer for about 30 minutes - still turned out just fine!

I also opted to use some ground turkey instead of ground beef because, well: a) we had it, and b) we needed to use it. ;)

It wasn't anything super-wow, but my kids tolerated it better than usual, and it is a slight change to the straight meat and bean chilis. We served ours over Fritos and topped it with cheese - YUMMY!

It comes together VERY quickly, and uses lots of canned items from your pantry or food storage!

Better Homes & Gardens Taco Chili

For recipe clarification:

I didn't know there was such a thing as canned chili beans with chili gravy, but there are. You'll find them with the other canned beans - they are basically canned pinto beans in a sauce. I found some in the Western Family brand at Macey's here in Utah, but there were two or three other brands on the shelf as well. I'd never seen them before because I guess I had never looked...

Also, I'm not sure about the seasoned tomato sauce with diced tomatoes - that I couldn't find. So I used 1 15oz can of tomato sauce, and 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes as a substitute. Seemed to work just fine. And we used whole kernal corn instead of hominy.

Did you know...?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

...That your smoke detector has a limited lifespan?

I didn't.

According to the US Fire Administration (a division of FEMA), you should replace your smoke detector batteries at least once a year, but you should replace the ENTIRE UNIT every 8-10 years! [HOWEVER - some types of alarms will expire at 5-7 years, so make sure you read the specific manufacturer instructions for your model.]

Here is the US Fire Administration's page with helpful information on installing and caring for smoke alarms in your home.

You should also know the difference between an ionization alarm, and a photoelectric alarm, and which is best for your needs (or a dual-sensor alarm).

And while you're at it, if you don't have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, time to install those, too! We found some great plug-in units (with battery backup) at Costco that we've been using - no need to install on the ceiling, just find an empty outlet.

And I can't believe I haven't posted yet about radon and radon testing - shame on me!...My story coming soon!

Great article to keep things in perspective

Friday, January 6, 2012
Really enjoyed this article at KSL.com - not necessarily written from a specific emergency preparedness perspective, but it totally applies!

Article - "Mommy Moments: What would you save if you home was about to be destroyed?"

Murray Cannery Welfare Assignment - Help Needed

Thursday, January 5, 2012
If you didn't get a chance to get in on the frozen berries previously, this is a great chance to do some service AND get your hands on some of the berries!

From the Murray Cannery:

We are in need of a few helpers with our welfare assignment.

Thursday January 19th
Tuesday January 31st
Shifts are 2 ½ hrs The hours are
7:00-9:30, 9:00am-11:30, 11:00am-1:30 and 1:00pm-3:30.
Please only sign up for one day!

Those that work will be able to purchase frozen fruit.
While Supplies Last (one box per person)
Frozen Blueberries 30lb box $65.00
Frozen Strawberries 30lb box $35.00
Frozen Peaches 40lb box $42.00
Frozen Raspberries 20lbs $35.00

1) Scroll down to find the SIGN-UP TABLE.
2) Click on the "SCHEDULE THIS SHIFT" box in the column for the TIME you want to work. Work times are indicated at the top of the column.
3) Enter the required information and click on the "CONFIRM THIS SHIFT" button.



Happy New Year!!!

Traci Johnson
Murray Cannery
4373 So Main Street
Murray, Utah 84107

[If the signup links above don't work for some reason, PLEASE post a comment so I'll know to fix them!]

What I'm Buying - Macey's 1/4

Wednesday, January 4, 2012
While I was out today, I grabbed a few things at Macey's. Some were on my list, some were not. ;)

(4) Betty Crocker berry muffin mix, on sale .89
(6) Guittard mint chips, on sale 1.49
(8) Pillsbury reduced-fat crescent rolls, clearanced to .50
(6) Pillsbury crescent dough full sheets, clearanced to .50
(2) WF chili beans, on sale .59
(2) WF great northern beans, on sale .59 (I wanted more, but they were completely out)
(2) Don Julio tortillas, on sale .88
(6) frozen tilapia fillets, on sale 2.99/lb
(2) bunches bananas, on sale .50/lb
(4) cucumbers, on sale .44 ea
(2) 2lb strawberries, on sale 2.99
(1) mango, 1.29
(1) red onion, .37
(4) green bell peppers, on sale .44 ea
(1) red bell pepper, 1.69 (holy cow!)

I didn't use any coupons - there were probably some for the crescent rolls and the muffin mix, but they were unexpected finds and not planned in advance, so no coupons with me.

Total: $44.35

The tilapia, mango, onion and red bell pepper are for Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa and the crescent rolls will be used for Taco Pizza and Baked Apple Dumplings, among other things! :)

What I'm Buying - Reams 1/4

Had a few things on my list for Ream's this week - usually with a list this small I would probably be lazy and just price-match at Walmart. But the produce at Walmart is almost always sub-par in my experience. So, I opted to go right to Ream's, since I also wanted to grab a few things at Macey's, which is (relatively) close by.

I apparently was hungry when I went, because I ended up with a few things that weren't on my original list... ;)

(2) Reese's pb cups 18oz size, reduced to 3.50
(2) Hershey's chocolates large bags, reduced to 3.50
(1) Nestle Crunch minis, reduced to 2.50
(12) Hunt's SnackPak puddings, on sale .98 (.87 ea after coupon)
(2) WF real mayonnaise 30oz, 2.89 (we were totally out)
(6) Marie Calendar's croutons, on sale .99
(3) green leaf lettuce, on sale .79 ea
roma tomatoes, on sale .78/lb
large braeburn apples, on sale .99/lb

I used (4) .45/3 coupons for the puddings [see SS-1/1].

Total: $48.82

Don't know what possessed me to grab the candy, especially since I can't eat it with my gestational diabetes...but I do plan to vacuum seal it and put it in food storage to be used throughout the year for deserts for classes, parties, etc.

What I'm Buying - Smith's 1/4

Smith's has a P&G sale this week - Buy 4 items, save $4. And there are some good coupons to match up with the sale! Some of the best deals were ones that I didn't even pick up, because I didn't need those items, so make sure you check out the whole list so you don't miss out. Some highlights that I didn't pick up in my trip:

Old Spice deodorant, .49 after promo and coupon
Secret deodorant, .49 after promo and coupon
Old Spice body wash, .49 after promo and coupon**
(This one isn't on the Utah PYP list, but I believe it is on sale for 3.49ish, making it 2.49ish after promo, and then paired with the 2.00/1 coupon from P&G-1/1, it'll be .49ish.)

Here's what I picked up this morning:

(4) Bounty paper towels 8ct, on sale 6.99 (5.99 after promo, 4.99 after coupon)
(1) Downy fabric softener, on sale 4.99 (3.99 after promo, 2.99 after coupon)
(5) Tide laundry detergent, on sale 5.99 (4.99 after promo, 2.99 after coupon)
(2) Bounce dryer sheets, on sale 4.99 (3.99 after promo, 2.99 after coupon)
(2) Charmin Freshmates, on sale 2.79 (1.79 after promo, .79 after coupon)
(2) Duracell AA batteries 4ct, on sale 3.99 (2.99 after promo, 1.49 after coupon)
(3) Tide Stain Release pacs 18ct, on sale 5.99 (4.99 after promo, 2.99 after coupon)
(1) Tide Stain Release liquid 36oz, on sale 5.99 (4.99 after promo, 2.99 after coupon)

I used (3) 1.00/1 coupons for the paper towels [from the packaging of a previous purchase], (1) 1.00/1 e-coupon for the paper towels [see Smith's website], (1) 1.00/1 e-coupon for the fabric softener [see Smith's website], (1) 2.00/1 e-coupon for the detergent [see Smith's website], (4) 2.00/1 coupons for the detergent [see P&G-1/1], (2) 1.00/1 coupons for the dryer sheets [from the packaging of a previous purchase], (2) 1.00/1 coupons for the moist wipes [from the packaging of a previous purchase], (2) 1.50/1 coupons for the batteries [see RP-12/11], and (4) 2.00/1 coupons for the stain release [see P&G-1/1].

Total: $66.59

P&G Sale at Smith's/Kroger

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Hold on to your coupons folks - it's a P&G Mega Event at Smith's this week! Time to stock up on deodorant and laundry detergent! :) It will be a Buy 4 items, Save $4 deal - so far it's looking like Old Spice and Secret deodorant will be .99 after the promo (.49 ea after coupons from last Sunday's P&G insert) and Tide (smaller size) will be 4.99 after promo (2.99 after coupon from last Sunday's P&G insert)!

The UT Smith's sale list and coupon matchup from PYP IS UP!!

A good reminder...

Monday, January 2, 2012
This story illustrates exactly why you really need to have a rescue tool (window hammer/seatbelt cutter) in each of your cars...it could literally save lives!

The father in this situation was unable to open the car doors to get to his kids and couldn't release seatbelts to free them from the car. Thankfully passers-by were able to help, and with a gun (to break a side window) and knife (to cut seatbelts) they were able to free the children.

Story at Yahoo.com

The tools are $10-$20, sometimes less - TOTALLY worth it! Here's more information:

Car Rescue Tool Info

Remember - if you need to break a window, ALWAYS go for the SIDE windows!