Don’t Just Store Your Food …

For more than 15 years, I have worked as an extension educator for a university’s agricultural county extension office in the United States. From questions and comments I often hear, I know a lot of food storage is ultimately wasted. That’s a shame since food-storage staples are so healthy for us and are often more cost-effective than processed items. To better use the food, I recommend the following basics.

  1. 1.

    Rotate. Remember the first-in, first-out rule, and try to use your food storage regularly. Though some items can be stored for years, keep in mind that their nutritional value diminishes over time. For instance, dry beans used within a year or two cause less gastrointestinal distress than old beans. Eating them several times a week also helps your body adjust to them.

  2. 2.

    Whole grains. The highly processed foods we tend to eat often contain a lot of sweeteners, salt, and unhealthy fats. And much of the product’s cost can be for packaging. It’s healthier and less expensive to use oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat, and other grains for nutritious meals, especially breakfast cereals.

  3. 3.

    Dried milk. You can improve the taste and consistency by using 1/3 cup of dried milk to 2/3 cup of water. Add a little vanilla, and pour it on cereal. Or use it in your recipes as a cost-effective substitute for regular milk.

  4. 4.

    Healthy oils. Olive and canola oils are examples of healthy options. Shortening and hydrogenated vegetable oils, on the other hand, are especially unhealthy as they raise the bad fats in our blood and lower the good fats. Keep in mind that oils need to be used within six to nine months, or they will go rancid.

5. Cool, dark, and dry. Remember to store your food in good conditions to ensure optimal storage life.

Audrey Liddil, Idaho

Note: More information on food storage can be found at

[illustration] Illustration by Joe Flores

New Era Posters at Work

When I started a new job, one of the first things I did in my cubicle was hang a changeable frame, into which I inserted a different New Era poster each week. Not only did I enjoy looking at them, but they provided a simple way for me to share uplifting gospel messages with my coworkers.

Dave Proulx, Kansas

Note: New Era posters and other Church visuals, along with changeable frames in a variety of sizes, are available at LDS distribution centers or online at Click on “Pictures and Visual Aids.”

The Good Book

Searching for an effective way to influence your children? A solution could be right in your pocket. When my children were younger, I purchased pocket-sized note pads and wrote each child’s name on an individual pad. Dubbed “The Good Book,” each handy little notebook made it easy for my wife and me to jot down any good deeds we saw our children doing throughout the day. Since they already had regular responsibilities, we recorded only the extra things that were beyond their normal duties. For instance, we tried to notice if they cleaned up a mess they didn’t make, said a prayer for someone who was ill, or helped each other with a chore. Later, we could review with each child his or her good deeds for the day. This simple family tradition not only reminded our children to serve others but also helped them drift to sleep with positive thoughts about themselves. Nothing else we did as parents seemed to motivate our children more than this simple acknowledgement of kindness.

Perry Gravelle, Washington

Family Home Evening Helps:

Cookies and a Gospel Message

A few years ago I decided to give our friends and neighbors something extra for Halloween: a message from us—and the Church. To a plate of festive sugar cookies I attached the conference talk “Let Our Voices Be Heard,” by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. During family home evening that week, we had read it and discussed how we could improve our choice of media at home. We also focused on Elder Ballard’s reminder that “there are many like-minded men and women of all cultures and faiths” who oppose offensive media influence (Ensign, Nov. 2003, 17). So we decided to make a list of all our friends and associates of other faiths who might feel as we do on this topic.

We then compiled small folders of materials, including copies of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102) and Elder Ballard’s talk. We then shared the information and Halloween cookies with those on our list.

And how was our gift received? I was surprised at how “like-minded” our friends turned out to be. They seemed just as concerned about these issues as we are, which led to some productive discussions about how we might support sponsors of more family-oriented programs on television. We also enjoyed some friendly discussions about the Church. Even our mailman asked questions after receiving his gift.

We had such a positive response that we’d like to continue giving such gifts for other holidays and occasions too. With all the Church materials available, there are many effective ways to share the gospel if we will just “let our voices be heard.”

Kathleen Woffinden, Kansas

Note: Copies of the family proclamation are available at LDS distribution centers or online at U.S. and Canadian residents may call the Salt Lake Distribution Center at 1-800-537-5971. Church magazine articles can be accessed at For an idea to help you share the gospel during the Christmas season, see “Joy to the World” (Ensign, Oct. 2003, 6).

[illustration] Illustration by Beth Whittaker