Food Storage: How Long?

We all intend to rotate our food storage. But sometimes as we dust off a number 10 can or a bucket of our dry-pack food, we wonder if it’s still any good. If we’ve stored it in dark, dry, cool conditions (below 70 degrees is recommended), the food should be good even beyond the “best if used by” date.

Do we need to toss it after that? Maybe not; it likely has significant nutritional value, but try to use it soon. To help you know how long you might keep your dry-pack items, post the table (left) in your food-storage area, and refer to it as needed.

Rotate your food by using it yourself or by sharing it with others. This chart and additional information are available at

“Best If Used By”

Dry-Pack Storage Items

Years of Storage (when stored under recommended conditions)







Fruit Drink Mix


Dry Pink, Pinto, and White Beans


Apple Slices


Macaroni and Spaghetti


Chopped Dry Onions


Hot Cocoa Mix


Rolled Oats


Chocolate Pudding Mix


Vanilla Pudding Mix


White Flour


Soup Mix




Nonfat Dry Milk


Instant Potatoes


[illustration] Illustrated by Joe Flores

Keeping a Lid on Our Budget

Because it seemed convenient, my husband and I once used our ATM cards for all our expenses, storing the receipts in our wallets until they bulged. Eventually we tallied these random expenses in our bank book, but not before our budget had been damaged. Since we weren’t using credit cards, we rationalized that it was OK to spend more than originally planned, thinking we had enough funds in the bank. When we occasionally bounced a check, we resolved to do better, but we never stayed within our budget until we stopped using ATM cards.

For some families, misusing these cards wouldn’t be tempting; for us, they were too easy, too available. So we reverted to an old-fashioned money-management tool: tracking our budget funds in fruit jars. Based on our past expenses, I selected a few categories, then labeled some empty jars accordingly: “groceries,” “diapers,” “gasoline,” and so forth. With each paycheck, after paying tithing and major bills, we cash enough money to fund our respective jars with predetermined amounts and store them in a secure location. We don’t consider the possibility of losing the money a big risk considering the substantial amount we often lost previously to surprise ATM fees and overdrawn penalties.

Certainly other substitute tracking methods can be used: envelopes, boxes, computer software programs, to name a few. The glass-jar method helps our young children to see how our money is saved and spent. Another bonus—one of the jars holds leftover change, affording us occasional treats and fun family outings.

Lorraine D. Jones, Powell Valley Ward, Mount Hood Oregon Stake

Working for Fun

“But, Mom, I don’t want to clean my room!” Sound familiar? The good news is you can teach your children that doing their chores and being responsible don’t have to be drudgery. To help make life’s essential tasks more fun, why not try the following ideas?

Have a contest. How about dividing into teams to see who can finish making their dinner assignment first? If household cleaning jobs are your biggest chore, try assigning or letting each family member choose a specific task. Then have everyone move from room to room doing their jobs. The first one to clean thoroughly in all the rooms wins.

Offer incentives. Reward the team that finishes preparing their food assignment first by serving them dinner first. Maybe the quickest and best cleaner in your family gets to enjoy free time while waiting for the last person to finish.

Work together. Working with your children, you can show them how tasks are done, helping them to prepare for adult responsibilities someday. Also, use the time together to talk. Ask about your children’s lives, and tell them about yours.

When you help your children experience the satisfaction of doing a job well, you teach them one of life’s greatest skills.

Rose V. Voigt, Preston Branch, Rochester Minnesota Stake

Family Home Evening Helps: Memorizing Step-by-Step

“We believe …” Climb a step; recite another article of faith; ascend another stair. Our oldest daughter made clever use of our home’s 13-step staircase during one of our more memorable family home evenings. Inviting everyone to stand at the bottom stair, she encouraged each of us to take a turn ascending each stair as we successfully repeated an article of faith. Some of us received help, encouragement, and a little teasing from the others. We even paused occasionally to discuss some of the principles taught, instead of just reciting them. As we eventually gathered at the top, it was rewarding to see that each family member had passed off all 13 articles. And in the process, each of our daughters achieved Personal Progress goals or Faith in God requirements.

Don’t have 13 stairs in your home? You could easily modify the activity by ascending and descending any stairs you have or by using pieces of paper on the floor to represent steps. Or you could choose another memorization activity to coincide with the number of stairs you have. For example, you could memorize a scripture for each step you take.

We found that having a simple activity in which the whole family could participate enhanced our learning abilities. Step-by-step, we’re setting and achieving goals to better apply gospel teachings in our home.

Lori Raymond, Timpview First Ward, Orem Utah Timpview Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth Whittaker