Thursday, February 27, 2014

Amazing Race Youth Conference - Day 1

I've finally decided to bite the bullet. We've had many people ask about our Amazing Race Youth Conference that Bob and I were in charge of a few years ago, so I thought the best way to get the info out is to post it here.

Let me start by saying that when they called us to be in charge, they actually asked me, and were sort of afraid to ask Bob, seeing as how he was in a fairly demanding calling at the time (high council), and they didn't want the stake leaders to frown upon him being asked to be in charge of youth conference. So, they asked me, and said, "We think it would be awesome if you and Bob did it together... as a team... that is... er..., if he has the time". And of course, he made the time.

Now, another thing that I have to make absolutely clear is that we started in March, and we planned and planned and planned til we were almost cross-eyed. I'm serious. We roped my young adult age kids into helping, and they can attest to the fact that we actually had nightly meetings, albeit on our bed and in our jammies. We would talk about what we got accomplished that day, and what needed to be done the next day, etc.

We went out every Friday afternoon and drove to one (or more) of the venues that we would be stopping at during The Race. We timed the drive, timed the activity at the venue, and figured out all of the details that would be needed at each stop.

It was a lot of work. There, I said it. BUT, what youth conference isn't a lot of work? It takes a lot of organizing and preparing and meeting to be able to pull off a smooth youth conference, no matter what you're planning. And, having said that, I can also say that we loved every minute of it. We loved working together, and with our kids, and the other adults that were helping us.

So, I'm going to do this in a few different posts, since there is a lot of information, and frankly, I don't want to overwhelm you with information.

Our Amazing Race Youth Conference was three days long. We did activities that were all in our valley, so that the kids could go back to their homes and sleep there. That saved on lodging expenses, so it worked perfectly for our needs. We wanted to spend the money on the activities and food and such.

We did have each youth pay $10.00 to be involved in the youth conference. This helped defray costs, and also that got us a firm commitment as to who and how many would be coming (and everyone who initially committed, ended up coming!). As part of their permission slip and information form, we asked for their t-shirt size, so we were able to order t-shirts in advance of the activity. Before we ordered the t-shirts, we divided all the kids up into six different teams, along with an adult couple that would be their team leaders. Each team was a different color, so we ordered the t-shirts in the different team colors for every member of each team. We had seven teams in all: red, orange, gray, yellow, blue, tan and brown. Green shirts were for the Race Helpers.

On the weeks prior to the race, we made announcements and talked it up quite a bit to get the kids excited about it. We found a Travelocity Gnome, and even just seeing that, got the kids really anticipating the activity. We made up a flier that had photos of the gnome in some of the places we'd be going on the race. None of the places were obvious, but it got the kids thinking and wondering...

The kids didn't know ANY details about the activity, except that it was The Amazing Race, and they were all very excited! In fact, the bishopric didn't know anything (because each of them and their wives were Team Leaders), and of course none of the other Team Leaders knew anything. We had to keep it that way so that all of the events were surprises and no one knew what was around the corner.

We did have a meeting with all of the Team Leaders (the couples that would be in charge of each group) prior to the activity. We talked about our objectives, which were: to help build unity in our youth group; to help the youth appreciate the history of the Church in our Salt Lake valley; to give them opportunities to serve; to help the youth feel the spirit; to help the youth understand the importance of the temple in their lives; and, to help the youth have a great time. We also gave the Team Leaders a list of things they needed to bring and have in their cars: scriptures, small first-aid kit, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, digital camera, 2 pairs of good fabric scissors (for the first night only), Driver's Race Packet (which was given to them on the first day of the race), a cooler with ice (Friday and Saturday only), race tickets (given to them the day they were needed), hand sanitizer, and cell phones.

All of the above is all just a brief synopsis of the details in the planning of The Race. We had handouts and meetings, and excel worksheets, and lists, and on and on. All of which, were very important, but are not included in this post. It would be WAY too much information. We're already going pretty long on information here. So, I'll move along to the meat of the first day of The Amazing Race...

Day One: We all met at the church in the evening, at 7:00.

When we got all of the kids and adults assembled, we began with a short devotional by Bob. We then explained some of the ground rules for the youth conference (no running through public areas, involve all team members, do each activity as outlined, no use of cell phones to aid in finding answers to clues, no electronic devices of any kind allowed for the youth... leave cell phones at home, obey traffic laws, etc). After that, we directed them to seven different over-sized Word Search puzzles hanging in the room. They had to look at every Word Search puzzle til they found their name, circle it, and then that particular puzzle indicated to them which team they were on.

The poster also indicated which room they should go to. When all of the kids were gathered in the rooms (where the Team Leaders were waiting for them), they were able to open the first Amazing Race clue to tell them what to do next.

I used my printer to print up loads of yellow envelopes to look similar to the ones on the Amazing Race show, 

and they became very familiar to them and were always waiting for them before or after each stop. The first clue said, "Your first task as a team is to finish this stack of blankets so that they are ready to be delivered to Primary Children's Hospital. Follow the attached instructions carefully and work together as a team. When the blankets are finished, return to the meeting room to have them checked off and to receive the next clue. After having the blankets checked off, put them back in the box and place them in your team car for use later in the race. Return all other supplies to the Task Supervisors and straighten your work room before you leave".

So, the kids and their team leaders went to work cutting fleece blankets. There was a stack of fabric, yardsticks, masking tape, and instructions waiting for them in their work room.  It was awesome seeing the boys and girls and leaders all working carefully and quickly on their fleece blankets. When they finished all of the blankets, they brought them back to Bob and I (who were the Task Supervisors for this task), and we checked them and gave them their next instructions, which read: "Your team must now make its way by car to the Draper Parks Pavilion within the ward boundaries. Park your vehicle and follow the markers to find 10 words that will lead you to your next destination."

Once they arrived at the pavilion, and got out of their car, they had to look around a bit til they found signs that were posted down along the trail...

Of course they ran from sign to sign! The signs read, "Get back in your car and go to the Wright's", with each word being on a different sign, so they didn't know where they were going til they read the very last sign.

At the Wright's, we had our Amazing Race clue box (that Bob and I made with a mail box and some scrap wood), and they found their next envelope in there. 

This envelope had instructions as to what they were to do at the Wright's house. Plastic balls (like the ones in ball pits at play yards) had been hidden all over the Wright's yard. The teams had to send one player at a time, using every member on their team, and find a specific color of ball and bring it back to their team bucket. When they found 10 balls of that certain color, and had them in their bucket, they had to then run as a team to the Amazing Race mat and check in. The order that the teams came in to the mat were the order that they would be leaving in the next morning. 

We served refreshments after all the teams had finished, and then the kids were loaded up and taken back to their homes. We told them to be at the church at 7:30 in the morning for a long, fun-filled race day that next day.

Now, that evening's events were just a tiny taste of what was to come. They were told they would be getting their race t-shirts the next morning, and we kept telling them, "Get some sleep... you're going to need it!" And we weren't over exaggerating that at all, as you'll see in the post about Day 2 (coming right around the corner).

For information about the entire Amazing Race, 
click below on the specific days.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February Week 4: Hygiene Items

This week's food storage/emergency prep item is:

February Week 4: Hygiene Items -- soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions, shaving supplies, toothpaste, nail clippers

This one is pretty simple, and the amount you store would be the same for the past weeks... store what you will use in the coming year. Buy in bulk at Costco, or look through the sales and see where you can get the best deals. I have a small bin that I keep smaller items in (like shaving supplies, deodorant and nail clippers). You might wonder why you would have a perfectly good pair of nail clippers in your emergency supply. It is so that you'll have one there that you don't use, but that will always be there (in case you need such a thing and can't find any others when you really need one), which, by the way, is the same for most of the non-consumables in your emergency supply!

For shaving supplies, my family never uses or rotates through what I store, so I never need to re-purchase them when it comes to this week every year. You know those free shavers that you get in the mail or with your Sunday paper once in a while? I throw those into that bin, too, so I have a good collection that will get us through our shaving needs if at some point we have to shut ourselves in our food storage room and live off of whatever is on the selves (Not sure why we would ever have to do that, but if we did, we'd be okay... AND we'd have nail clippers!)

For soap, store both bar and anti-bacterial hand soap. The soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotions and toothpaste should all be rotated through, so buy items that you use, and be sure to take and rotate from your shelves as you go. These items may have a lot longer than a year before they expire, so you may be able to leave them on for more than one year's rotation. Check to see if they have expiration dates on them. You can generally go about a year past the expirations on these items.

There are plenty of resources online, and you'll get a lot of different opinions on expiration dates of soaps and hygiene items. I found this list from Real Simple a couple of months ago, and they have some information on a whole smattering of items:

As a guideline, I've included a list below from Real Simple that includes some expiration dates for regular household items, including cleansers. I think some of the dates are on the conservative side, as I've used some of the items well after the time shown below, and they've still been fine.

Air freshener, aerosol
2 years

Antifreeze, premixed
1 to 5 years

Antifreeze, concentrate

Batteries, alkaline
7 years

Batteries, lithium
10 years

3 to 6 months

Dish detergent, liquid or powdered
1 year

Fire extinguisher, rechargeable
Service or replace every 6 years

Fire extinguisher, nonrechargeable
12 years

Laundry detergent, liquid or powdered
Unopened: 9 months to 1 year
Opened: 6 months

Metal polish (silver, copper, brass)
At least 3 years

Miracle Gro, liquid
Opened: 3 to 8 years

Miracle Gro, liquid, water-soluble

Motor oil
Unopened: 2 to 5 years
Opened: 3 months

Mr. Clean
2 years

Unopened: Up to 10 years
Opened: 2 to 5 years

Spray paint
2 to 3 years

2 years

Wood polish (Pledge)
2 years

Once you have decided how much of each item that you need in a year's time, go to the inventory sheet and change those numbers to reflect your family's needs. Then, put them on your grocery list, and when you have purchased what you need and have it all on the shelves, make the notations on the inventory sheet, and you will be done for the week! Yay!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February Week 3: Oils and Butter

Before I get to the weekly item, there is something you all need to know. I am not one of those crazed food storage and emergency prep people who is delightfully looking forward to a catastrophic event so that I actually get to dive into my food storage. And if there IS a major catastrophic event, my husband won't be sitting at the door of our food storage room, dressed in camouflage with his collection of guns, armed and just waiting for someone who thinks they need our 14 cans of canned butter more than we do.

I have always felt like food storage and emergency preparation were things that I needed to do for my family, and through the years have made feeble attempts at it. It has taken me several years to find and fine-tune a plan that would work for us, since we don't "eat, drink and sleep" food storage. I wanted to come up with something that would work for our busy (one might even say crazy) life. This plan works perfectly for us because it takes so little time each week. When I first began working on it, I was a little doubtful as to whether I'd really stick with it and have my food storage all collected and sitting on the shelf within a year. And after that first year, I had amazed myself. It was just too easy of a plan to not be able to do.

All it takes is for me to look at my weekly schedule every Monday morning as I go downstairs for my daily workout. Then, I can check my shelves and tally up what I have and what I need for that week. It takes about 3 minutes. At the very most. No kidding. And then I write the items on my grocery list, and next time I'm at the store, I purchase the needed items. So, maybe a total of 5 minutes? Who can't spare 5 minutes a week? And then, each week, as you see a few more items on your shelf, you can feel so good about doing something really important for you and your family. Even after just the first week, it should put a smile on your face!

I have received many emails from people very surprised that I would share this so easily with anyone who requests it. Why not? Its a good plan, and it works, and it wouldn't make sense not to share it! I hope that you find it useful and that it enables you to get something on the shelves for you and your families.

If you're just starting, and hate the thought of having missed several weeks of the plan, no worries. That is one of the beautiful things about this plan. Start wherever we happen to be on the list, and follow along week-by-week. This is not a plan that begins and then one year later, ends. There is no end, so it doesn't really matter where you start.

Now, to this week's food storage item:

February Week 3: Canola or vegetable oil, olive oil, canned butter, coconut oil

As with all the other weeks, store enough of each item that your family would generally use in the coming year, OR that you might use in a long-term emergency situation. For instance, back in January, we collected paper goods. You may say to yourself "We don't ever use paper plates or plastic utensils, so I don't think I'll worry about storing any". But, if there was an emergency situation where water was scarce, you wouldn't want to waste water by having to wash dishes. Paper goods would sure come in handy. And, if you never use them, then next year when it comes time to check that week's inventory, you won't have to buy any more paper goods!

So, with the items for this week, I will check and make sure I have enough on my shelves to use for a whole year, plus some. I hate to completely go through my stocks within the year, so I like to buy just a little extra. Coconut oil seems to be the latest thing these days (check out the list below), so if you're liking that, store some! Also, you'll notice I have Red Feather canned butter on the list. I bought some canned butter a couple of years ago specifically for food storage. I don't ever use it, and it lasts quite a while, so I just leave it on the shelf. Who knows... maybe canned butter will be just the thing we'll need when we cook up those potato flakes over our propane stove. Ugh. Since the Red Feather canned butter doesn't have an expiration date on the can, I've looked online and found varying reports as to how long it lasts. People seem to feel like it still tastes great whenever they open it, and some have even reported contacting Red Feather (click to read what they say about canned food shelf life) and being told that the cans will be good even up to 30 years. So, there you have it.

Some of you might be saying to yourselves, "If I store what I will use in the coming year, then by the end of the year, it will be totally gone, and I won't have anything in my storage." That is why I always buy a little extra, making sure to check the dates of expiration. By the end of the year, I don't want a bunch of things that I have to throw out because they've expired. So, its a fine line of buying what you need, plus some extra, but not so much that you'll be wasting food. As you go, it becomes easier to judge that. Some of the things we will be collecting never expire, some expire several years from now, and some expire within just a year. Don't worry... you won't have a bunch of empty shelves after a year. Not with this weekly plan.

So, write the various oils on your grocery list this week, and get started!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

More on Coconut Oil...
If you google "coconut oil uses", you will find tons of ways people use coconut oil -- some proven by research, many not. offers a list of 20 ways to use it:

Here are 20 of my favorite ways to use coconut oil:

Deep conditioning hair treatment.  Rub a small amount of oil into hair (mostly at the ends), comb through and place hair in a loose bun or in a shower cap.  Let sit overnight and wash out in the morning.

Body moisturizer.  Rub coconut oil directly into skin directly after showering.

Eye makeup remover.  Rub a small amount of coconut oil on eyelashes or waterproof makeup and rinse off.

Cheekbone highlighter.  Rub a very small amount of coconut oil on the tops of cheekbones to highlight over makeup.

Vegetable oil alternative.  Replace coconut oil for vegetable oil in your favorite recipes.

Wound care.  Replace Neosporin for coconut oil to protect and help wounds heal.  Can also be applied to small cuts and scrapes to stop bleeding.

Dry feet treatment.  Combine coconut oil with sea salt to create a foot scrub.

Sunburn care.  Rub coconut oil on burned skin to help soothe and repair sunburned skin.

Stretch mark prevention.  Apply coconut oil to stretching skin multiple times a day.

Body scrub.  Combine coconut oil and sugar to create a sugar scrub to exfoliate and soften your skin.

Healthy smoothies.  Add a spoonful of coconut oil to your smoothie to help increase your energy.

Cooking at high heat.  Some oils can't be heated to high temperatures, but coconut oil is a safe alternative.

Popcorn topping.  Add a spoonful of coconut oil to popcorn and top with sea salt for a sweet and salty treat.

Shaving lotion.  Rub coconut oil on area to be shaved to replace shaving cream and post shave moisturizer.

Lip balm.  Rub a small amount of coconut oil on lips for a natural lip balm.

Facial moisturizer.  Apply a small amount of coconut oil on clean skin in place of usual moisturizer.

Moisturizing soak.  Add some coconut oil to a warm bath to soften skin.

Frizzy hair fighter.  Rub a little coconut oil between your palms and rub through hair to tame frizziness and fly aways.

Hydrating night cream.  Replace your night cream with coconut oil.  Apply coconut oil to the areas that tend to wrinkle and crease lock in moisture and hydrate skin.

Cuticle softener.  Rub coconut oil on ragged cuticles to hydrate and strengthen nails.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Christmas Card Keeper

What do you do when you look out the window, and this is what you see? My very first inclination was to throw on my sweats (or even better... jammies!), and talk my love into curling up on the couch and watching old movies with me. 

The perfect little project while curled up in front of the TV is going through the Christmas cards we just received. I quickly go through all of the envelopes and update my Christmas Card list with any address changes that I may not have previously known about. And then, I toss all of the envelopes into the garbage, and I punch a hole in the top corner of each card and Christmas letter we've received. After that, I just thread them onto a large keyring, and leave them out on the coffee table for a few weeks. That way, the family is easily able to thumb through them and read anything they missed out on. When I put it away for the year, I'll just attach a "2013" tag (which my husband is going to make with his magic laser machine), and I can keep it with the other Christmas card key rings I have. Its a fun way to keep the cards and photos, and to be able to look easily through them, without having to take the cards out of envelopes to view them. Easy and fun project!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February Week 2: Peanut Butter

This week's food storage item is:

February Week 2: peanut butter -- creamy or crunchy

Decide how much peanut butter your family will consume in a year's time. This will be an estimate, and may change from year to year, so just come up with a possible number, and then check to see what you already have on your shelves, and subtract those from your total number needed. Then, go to the store in the next day or two, and pick up the needed jars of peanut butter. Once you've got them home, get them on your food storage shelves, and then update your inventory sheet. In reality, the process should take you all of 10 or 15 minutes each week, so this is something even the busiest of families can do.

Buy whatever brand and type of peanut butter you usually use. I buy both creamy and crunchy, since I use both, whether in recipes or just on a sandwich. And don't forget, there are lots of yummy variations out there. Whitney just gave Bob a new variety for part of his birthday present. And to some of you, this is more of a want than a need. Depends on how much you love your peanut butter and chocolate.

Be sure to check the expiration stamp on the jars you are purchasing, so that you know these will last you as you rotate all year long in your food storage. Remember, this is a rotating food storage plan, which will do away with having to throw out old, expired food.

I know that peanut butter is often on sale at case lot sales, and that is a good time to stock up, though it usually won't be in conjunction with this schedule. You can definitely try to work around the sales, and just buy enough peanut butter to get you to the next case lot sale, if that is a better plan for you. Sometimes if I see that something is on sale, I'll just buy whatever I need and put it in my food storage. I can then just update the inventory sheets, and when it comes around on the schedule, I wouldn't have to buy as much.

Do whatever works for you, but continue to inventory the items as they come up on the schedule, and try to keep at least some of the items in stock at all times. Remember the point of all of this: to get started today building food storage and emergency supply items. It would be costly and difficult to buy everything all at once, but one week at a time, it is very do-able! And if it is too expensive to buy all the peanut butter your family might consume in a year, then buy a half a year's worth, or less. Just buy and store something!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Activity Days: Valentine's Treat Jars

We had a fun Activity Days activity the other day. We took around some Valentine's treats to some people in the neighborhood, and also to the girls who missed Activity Days that week. I made the Valentine's Muddy Buddies (from The Recipe Critic) beforehand so that the girls would have a chance to make the cards and then deliver the treats in the neighborhood.

I just used some wide-mouth jars that I happened to have on hand, and we used coffee filters for the covering under the rings. I have loads and loads of coffee filters for crafts, and we don't drink coffee around these parts, so I love when I get a chance to use them. They fit perfectly on the jars, and looked pretty darn cute. Then we just tied some pink and red baker's twine around the ring lids and voila! A darling little treat! Lindsay (my daughter, and Activity Days partner... woo hoo!) made the darling little cards to attach to the jars. Each of the girls wrote their names on the back. We had the girls all go up to the doorsteps together, and they were darling! I'm sure the recipients couldn't help but smile at their sweet, eager faces. And the girls felt SOOOOO good afterwards. It was fun to hear them talk about how much they liked surprising the people with their little treats.

Easy to make, and we really could fill the jars with any kind of treat for any time of the year and do the same thing.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sweet Pea Baby Shower

The baby shower turned out great! My daughter Whitney planned out all of the decorations while I was with my husband floating in the ocean somewhere around Panama. She is amazing, and it makes me think I'll need to plan another trip right before the next event I have at my home.

The theme was "Sweet Pea". We couldn't do a boy or girl themed shower, since we don't know the gender of the baby yet. 

I had my niece Joanna design the invitations. She is so very talented at everything graphic arts.

I wish I had taken photos of the food table all laid out with the scrumptious food. But, that was right when the festivities were starting, and I was otherwise occupied. Suffice it to say, it was all delicious. My friend Kristen made the frosted sugar cookies. Divine. In fact, before things even started, my husband was on his way out to a meeting, and wondered aloud whether I had stashed some away for us to have later. Indeed I had. Probably more than we need, but I've definitely got us covered for a while. We also had a fruit plate and a delicious cheese ball with crackers, and personal vegie cups.

Of course we couldn't just serve plain old water bottles. I bought a brand with a plastic label, which made it really easy to remove. And then I just tied a small piece of green tulle around each bottle. So easy, and it doesn't matter if the tulle gets wet or cold, or whatever. It looks great no matter what.

And at the end of the buffet was where the guests could cast their ballot as to which gender they think the baby is.

And I'm pleased to announce, the "he's" have it. If the ladies have anything to do about it, the baby is a boy!

Here are some of Whitney's darling decorations...

She made the darling felt raindrops and hung them from "clouds" to hang over the gift area... a baby "shower". So cute!

We had the guests put the gifts in our old bassinet. My mom had her own babies sleep in this very same bassinet, and I had mine sleep in it too. It originally cost my mom $18.00. I'd say we got (and are still getting) our use out of that! I love it!

Garlands made by Whitney.

Dishes of candies and gum, all looking a lot like peas.

More pea decorations...

Whitney helped me put these favors together for the guests as they left the shower...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February Week 1: Fruit juices and powders

Its the first week of February! This week's food storage items are:

February Week 1: Juices: Gatorade powder, Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, lemon concentrate, 
apple juice, grape juice

Notice that the highlighting is now in red. This will be the color for all of the items in the month of February, and will coordinate with the items on the main inventory sheets.

When I checked these items in my food storage yesterday, I found that the apple and grape juice jugs were close to expiring. So, I brought them upstairs to my pantry and refrigerator, and we'll be drinking that in the next while. I had used the lemon juice concentrate from my food storage, which is exactly what is meant to happen. That way, I won't be throwing away old, expired items. The trick is, to rotate through them, and that is why it's so crucial to check what you have at least once a year. So, I need to get more lemon juice and fruit juices to re-stock my shelves. If you use lime concentrate, you might consider adding that to the list.

We don't drink a lot of fruit juice anymore, though I do love it. Too many calories when I compare it to a glass of water. That being said, I like to have some on hand, and I'm pretty sure I would love to have some if there were a long-term emergency! So, I will have a few small jugs of juice on the shelves. I also like to keep Gatorade powder. (Now this is something I NEVER use in regular life, unless I'm on a pioneer trek in the middle of Wyoming. And there, in the middle of nowhere, I chug it down like its my most favorite thing in the world) Because it might be really handy to have in an emergency, I like to keep a couple of containers of the powder concentrate on my food storage shelves.

I do have some fruit juice mix that I canned at the Home Storage Center Cannery, which is good for a few years, and it is actually something that kids really love! I've posted before about going to the cannery. If you have one in your area, you should really check it out. It's easy to do, and it makes you feel so resourceful, too. To find the locations of the Home Storage Centers, click here. And to see a list of what is available at the Home Storage Centers (both pre-packed, and ready-to-pack), click here. And to read all sorts of other useful Food Storage and Emergency Supply Information that the LDS Church has provided for anyone to utilize, click here.

So, now I have my shopping list in hand for this week. In the next day or two, I'll pick up the items I need in my food storage and update my inventory sheet, and then I'll be done for the week.

If you like different juices or Kool-Aid or Crystal Light, or any other fruit drink mix or juice, add those to your list and stock up this week! We'll be working on tomato juice at another time, so work on all the other juices this week.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Thank You Note A Day...

So, here we are at the beginning of February. Remember the goal I set for this year to write a Thank You card each and every day the whole year long? I have a few things to report about that goal:

1. Indeed, I have succeeded in writing a Thank You card every day so far in 2014. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it might be.

2. I am finding that the benefits of this goal are many. I thought that it was merely to show gratitude for those around me. I didn't anticipate the experience it would be as each night, I took account of that day, and people in my life, and then began writing my gratitude and thoughts to a certain person that stood out to me at the time.

3. It wasn't hard to think of someone to write to each day. I am realizing how very blessed I am to be surrounded by wonderful people who touch my life in lovely ways. I find myself looking forward to my "note-writing" every night.

4. People love to hear gratitude for something they've done. I've received several texts, phone calls and conversations from my "note receivers". Again, it makes me realize that I need to express my gratitude to others more often. My family and friends need to know these things.

5. I now recognize that I probably didn't say "Thank You" half as much as I should have. Many times someone does something kind for me, or I hear a particularly touching lesson or talk in church, and I mean to mention it to the person, but I get busy and time passes. And before I know it, I've forgotten about it. 

6. It has become a sort of Gratitude Journal for me. It helps me recognize so many blessings in my life that occur just as a normal part of my day. I have kept a list of who I write the notes to and why I'm writing them. I began the list as a way of keeping track, so I wouldn't forget who I had written too, but it now looks very much like a list from a Gratitude Journal and it makes me smile to look at it.

So, as you can see, it has been a very good thing for me. I've learned much and I know there is still much for me to learn throughout the year. My hope is that this makes it more of a habit and that after the year is over, I just keep on writing. Through the years, one thing I've learned is the truthfulness of the quote below, and I want to do what I can to let my family and friends know how much I love and appreciate them.