Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It’s A Virtual Shelf Reliance THRIVE Party!

Welcome to Christy’s THRIVE party! I’m Kendra, an independent consultant for Shelf Reliance, and I’m here to tell you all of the great reasons that you should have THRIVE foods in your home. I want to start off by thanking ­­­Christy for allowing me to join you here today! In return for hosting this party, Christy is going to receive 10% of all party sales in FREE products, as well as earning Half-Off products! Yay!!   If any of you are interested in earning FREE and Half-Off foods, you’re invited to host a virtual party as well! Just let me know you’re interested and I’ll get you all set up. Now, on with the party… If you’ve never heard of THRIVE, you’re probably wondering what it’s all about. Well, THRIVE is a line of top quality freeze dried foods by Shelf Reliance.

Freeze dried foods are not the same as dehydrated foods. Instead of using high heat, as the dehydration process requires, freeze dried products are processed at temperatures down to -50 degrees F. Approximately 98% of the product’s moisture content is removed by vaporization, leaving the foods with their full nutritional components, tastes, colors, and freshness in tact. The benefit of doing this is the extended shelf life freeze dried foods offer, without the use of any additives or preservatives. Most THRIVE products have a shelf life of 25-30 years when unopened, and 1-2 years even after being opened! There are so many benefits to having THRIVE foods in your home, not only for long term food storage, but for every day use as well! Let me share with you how these products are saving me time and money in the kitchen. But first… why’d I decide to become a consultant for Shelf Reliance? Well, over the past few years, I have come to really strive toward four major goals that pertain to my family’s eating habits:
  • Eating More Nutritiously
  • Saving Money on Groceries
  • Spending Less Time Preparing Meals
  • Becoming Less Reliant on the Grocery Store
So, when I discovered a product that can actually help me achieve my goals in EVERY SINGLE one of these areas… I was in love. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to tell everybody I knew about it. And hey, if I could make money while sharing my new-found love, why not?! I must admit though… it wasn’t love at first sight. In all honesty, when I first heard about “freeze dried foods” I was quite skeptical. For some reason I was somewhat put-off by the sound of it… as if the foods would be stale, and tasteless. How do you cook with freeze dried foods, anyways? But when I got my hands on a bunch of THRIVE samples and had an opportunity to try them for myself, every misconception I had previously held to was immediately wiped away. They were SO GOOD!! And when my husband and kids loved it just as much as I did, I knew these foods were going to become a main staple in our home. (You can read my thorough product review with close-ups of the foods, and even watch a video of my kids taste testing THRIVE for the first time, HERE.)

THRIVE Can Help You Eat More Nutritiously & Save You Time What is one of the major reasons why people don’t eat more nutritiously? We have all the fresh foods we could need available to us, so why do we still opt for fast food and boxed dinners? Time. It’s all about time, isn’t it? The fast paced lives we lead today are often the reason we just don’t have time to prepare nutritious snacks and meals at home every single day. Chopping fresh produce and meat takes a lot of time. But there are those days when we just need something fast, which usually means a swing through the drive thru, or feeding our family unhealthy processed foods. THRIVE has the solution to this ongoing dilemma! One of the great things about freeze dried foods is that they are already prepared for you. The produce and meat are washed, chopped, and ready to be added to any of your favorite dishes. The fruits in particular are delicious eaten straight out of the can for a quick and healthy snack (which is a fantastic way to get your kids to munch on something that is actually good for them!). The only prep work it takes to cook with THRIVE is allowing the food to reconstitute in a little bit of water for just a couple of minutes, then they’re as good as fresh! Another thing I love about THRIVE freeze dried foods is that you won’t find any additives or preservatives in the majority of their products. Green beans are green beans. Strawberries are strawberries. Period. No salt, no high fructose corn syrup or sugar… nothing. So you can be confident that you are feeding your family pure goodness when you use these items in your every day cooking. With THRIVE veggies and meats already chopped and prepared, there’s no reason you can’t have a quick, nutritious meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. Okay, we’ve talked a little about how THRIVE can help you eat healthier and save time, but now I’d like to share how THRIVE can also save you money!

Save with THRIVE! What’s the most expensive item in your fridge? Organic produce? Meat? Wrong! It’s actually the stuff you throw away!! Think of all of the produce and freezer burned stuff you toss every month. Spoiled grapes or berries, slimy onions, shriveled carrots or celery, sprouting potatoes and moldy mushrooms… so much of what comes out of the produce drawer in our fridge ends up being tossed straight into the garbage, doesn’t it? On average, Americans throw away over 25% of their groceries every single month. That’s HUGE! When you add up how much of your money is thrown straight into the garbage monthly, it can really add up to a significant loss. For instance, let’s say your monthly grocery budget is $500, if you are like the average American household you probably throw away around $125 in spoiled food every month. And I’m betting that’s money you could really use! Why not reallocate that portion of your monthly grocery budget toward foods that won't spoil? Having THRIVE’s freeze dried foods in place of the produce that typically goes bad in your home will save you big bucks every month. You’d never have to worry about mold growing in your berries, or your veggies spoiling because you didn’t use them in time. Imagine that… no waste!! Okay, so how else do we blow money on food? Eating out, right? How often do you eat out during the week? Again, it comes down to time, doesn’t it? Some days we just don’t have time to get a meal together at the last minute. THRIVE can help you on those nights when the family is starving and you have no time to put anything together. Instead of blowing a bunch of money to pay for somebody else to make your food for you, have several THRIVE Express meals on hand! Almost all of these hearty, complete dishes are table ready in 10-15 minutes, and can feed your family for less than the cost of what one person would spend eating out! Just dump it into a pot, add water, and heat. It’s super easy, and even my picky kiddos love these soups. (Just a head’s up, THRIVE Express meals are actually on SALE this month, and can be picked up for less than $6 per pack. A pack generously feeds four adults, and would be a real money saver compared to eating away from home.) Take a minute to check out the selection of THRIVE Express meals that Shelf Reliance has to offer, and then make a note to have a few of these on hand for quick and healthy backup meals. And how much of our money do we spend on impulse buys? How many times have you realized that you were missing a key ingredient in the middle of cooking something? I know I’ve done it plenty of times! And it always meant a quick trip to the store to pick up the item I needed. But running to the store for just one or two things isn’t a good use of time or money. You can’t forget to factor in the cost of your gas to get to the store and back. The pack of eggs you needed to run and get might cost you $1.50, but how much did the gas to get it add to that expense? Probably at least another $3.00. When it really comes down to it, that’s an expensive pack of eggs! Not only that, but grocery stores know how to enlist those impulse buys. They’ve strategically placed tempting treats throughout the store, in hopes of catching your eye and begging you to grab just a couple of other things before heading to the checkout lane. I’m sure you’re guilty… we’ve all done it! So, that one missing ingredient that you ran to the store to get can end up costing much more than you’d anticipated shelling out. Doesn’t it just seem wiser to have backup ingredients on hand for just such emergencies?! Lucky for us, THRIVE carries just about every basic staple you would ever need. Powdered milk, powdered eggs, powdered butter, powdered shortening, even powdered sour cream … think of the things that you typically run out of in the middle of a recipe; you name it, it’s there. Add a little water and voila, you’re good to go. As a side note, the powdered eggs aren't only easy to use, and are fantastic to bake with, they're actually cheaper to use than store bought eggs! With over 200 whole eggs per #10 can, using powdered eggs for all of your baking can save you a little bit of money as well. Not only that, but you can actually eat the cookie dough without any fear of salmonella!! That's enough reason to have some on hand, right there! Another way you can curb your impulse buys is by signing up for Shelf Reliance’s “Q”. The Q has been best described as Netflix for food, and is a place where you can do your monthly shopping online without the distractions and temptations of a traditional grocery store. Every month, you choose what you’d like to put in your shopping cart, and they’ll ship it straight to your door. It couldn’t be easier. But, more about the Q in a moment.

THRIVE Helps You To Be Less Reliant On The Store A recent survey found that the average American household has enough food to sustain themselves for three days. THREE DAYS! But what if bad weather hits, like the recent derechos that caused thousands and thousands of people to lose power for a week, and stores are without power and unable to help customers? What if gas prices surge and truck drivers can’t make deliveries to grocery stores? What if inflation sets in and we can’t afford many groceries anymore? Or, what if you experience the loss of a job and have to live on an extremely limited budget? There are so many variables that our food supply depends on, and a problem with any one of them can disrupt the entire assembly line. It is foolish to think that we will always be able to get what we need from the grocery store when we need it. Having food storage, or a Home Store, that you can “shop” when times are tough is not only wise, it can be life saving. I’ll share a little personal story with you. In 2009, the Lord started pressing upon me and my husband to start storing up food. We’d never in our lives heard of people doing such a thing, but with the slowed economy and all we thought it would be a wise use of our money. Turns out, it was. In March of 2010, my husband was laid off. Work was slow, and they just couldn’t afford to keep him on any longer. It took six months before he found another full-time job (which he was also laid off from less than a year later!). During that time, we used what money we were able to bring in to pay our mortgage and other bills. And because we had food stored up, we ate just fine through the whole ordeal. Now that we have experienced first hand how incredibly important it is to have what we would need to feed ourselves and our children when tough times hit, we will never again go without at least a year’s worth of food stored in our home. Think of it as food insurance. We have car insurance, and home owners insurance to help us if we ever run into trouble, right? But what I hate about those kinds of insurances is that you pay the bill, hoping you’ll never need to use it, though if you don’t use it then you’re out all of that money you spent! Let me just ask you, what’s more important… having a car, or having food? So, why don’t you have food insurance? Reallocating a little bit of your grocery budget every month toward building up your home store is an incredibly important thing to do for your family. And the best part is that you’ll be using every bit of what you buy!! Shelf Reliance has made building your home store as easy as 123...

The “Q” If you don’t know where to start with food storage, The “Q” that we spoke about earlier makes it super easy to build your home store on a budget. I can even help you set it up. First, you would enter how many people are in your household, whether they are children or adults, and the Planner determines their caloric needs. Then you specify how many months of food you’d like to build up, anywhere from 3 months to several years! Next, you tell the “Q” what you’d like to set your monthly budget at, and The Planner automatically puts items in your cart that would fit your family’s needs. The Q is completely customizable. If your family has special dietary requirements, or just doesn’t particularly like bananas per se, you can exchange that item from your cart for something else that you’d rather have. Every month you’ll get a shipment of food sent straight to your door, and your home store will soon be stocked with everything your family would need for your specified amount of time.

  Help Feed The Hungry When You Place An Order As if THRIVE foods weren’t awesome enough, the founders of Shelf Reliance have created their corporate charity, Thriving Nations, which donates 5% of all THRIVE profits to helping impoverished people in third world countries to become more self reliant by teaching them essential agricultural techniques and economic principles. You can feel good knowing that every THRIVE purchase you make is used to bless the less fortunate around the globe. Now do you see why I love this stuff so much?! Here’s Even More Great News! As a special perk for “attending” this THRIVE party, every one of you is eligible to receive an exclusive discount of up to 30% off retail prices on Shelf Reliance’s webstore! That means that you can get everything you would need to help save your family money, eat more nutritiously, and grow your home store for cheaper than ever! All you need to do is contact me at newlifeonahomestead@gmail.com, let me know that you were a guest at Christy’s virtual THRIVE party, and I’ll add you to my customer list. You will receive an email with a password that you will use to log in at Shelf Reliance. Once you’re in, you will always see the discounted price reflected on the screen, and you will get that discount on every order you place. But the BIGGEST discounts will be given for “Q” customers who set up a Q budget of $100 or more. Not only will you see the absolute best prices available on the web, you’ll also get specials including occasional shipping discounts, monthly “Q-pons” which you can use for even deeper discounts on your favorite products, and points rewards you can earn for free products. Alright Kendra, I’m ready to place an order. What do I need to do? Your Six Steps To THRIVE Success… 1. Make a list of everything you can think of that typically goes bad in your fridge, then make a plan to order the freeze dried form of these items so you never throw away spoiled produce (and money) again. 2. Make a list of the basic baking essentials that you tend to run out of in the middle of cooking, then make a plan to order their powdered forms so you never have to run to the store at the last minute again. 3. Make a list of the foods that you hate taking the time to prepare. Hate chopping onions? Get them freeze dried, they’re delicious! 4. Decide if building a Home Store sounds like a wise idea for your family. Then determine how long you’d like your Home Store to sustain you, and how much money you can afford to spend every month on your “Q”. 5. Email me to let me know that you’d like to be added as Christy’s exclusive party customer. I’ll get you all set up. 6. Log in to Shelf Reliance with the password you’ll receive in an email, and start using your discount! You can place a one time bulk order for everything on your lists, or you can set up a monthly “Q” and get all of your family’s needs on a budget. Please remember to place your order before the party's closing date on Wednesday, August 8,2012. If you have any questions or need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll be more than happy to help you with anything you need. Thanks so much for joining Christy and I today!! It’s been a pleasure sharing THRIVE with you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Waste Not

Waste not, want not. Ever heard those four words? I heard them a lot growing up, and as an adult I really appreciate them. I've decided to slowly wean my family off of so many disposable paper products. No, I'm not going without toilet paper, but there are a few things we can do without. Paper plates, foam plates, cardboard plates – we are ditching them. That's a few bucks a week added back to our budget and a lot less waste. I may gave to wash a few more dishes, but that's s small sacrifice. Paper towels and napkins – we use a ton. While I wont yank these from under our feet all at once, I would love to see them gone. First, I'll get everyone used to cloth napkins. I sat down and made 16 little 12x12 size napkins. I just cut our squares and did a rolled hem on them with my serger. They fold to fit in my kitchen napkin holder perfectly. I think I will need many more though, but this is a start. If you don't have a serger, just hem the edges and miter the corners and viola! Lacey even gets her own pink (monogrammed, of course) napkins for her lunchbox this year. I'm on a roll!!

The best part of this project was that my mom gave me these fabrics out of her stash - so they were free.  Oh, and they match my kitchen perfectly!  I'm just having so much fun!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Watermelons, Chickens, & Homemade Brownies

Today we harvested the last little watermelon from our garden. Our watermelons were tiny, but had a good sweet taste. I don't know the trick to growing large watermelons like I see in the grocery store! I need to read up on that before next summer's garden.
Travis and I also walked our land trying to decide on a new garden spot. There are so many large trees in our yard that it's hard to get enough sun on the plants – and then the fact that most of our backyard is one gigantic slope to the pond makes things a bit more difficult. We LOVE our pond though. With a little boiling and/or Clorox, we will have plenty of water to drink in an emergency situation; not to mention my boys are excellent fisherman. We are also considering a small chicken coop. I've raised chickens before and the fresh eggs are amazing. My only issues were about 6 feet long with fangs and a rattler. I gave up on my chicken before because the rattlesnakes seemed to LOVE them. Something else to study on...how to keep snakes out of my hens beds.
Lastly, I made my first ever made from scratch brownies. They were so easy and so yummy, I will never make store bought mixes again. Why have I waited till age 37 to do all this fun stuff? I've been missing out, and I have to make up for lost time!!
Sorry, no cool photos today. I could snap some of the watermelon rind or the scraped bare brownie pan, but I'll spare ya!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Handmade Christmas

It's July and I've already started thinking about Christmas gifts. I love giving handmade gifts, but have the tendency to start too late to get everything done! This year I'm starting my idea search early and would love input and ideas from anyone who has them! Not only can Christmas be very expensive, but when you have to buy everything you need in just a few weeks in December – well, it can cripple your bank account as well. Those of you who know me know how much I LOVE to sew. I sew something almost everyday. Hopefully, I'll be able to come up with lots of little hand sewn gift ideas. Maybe a cute potholder set with a jar of canned homemade strawberry jam? The link to my list will be up top! Keeping checking it if you're interested in a handmade Christmas this year!

Handmade Gift List

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Watching the pot....

My first day of canning went great! I started small scale (no bushels yet)! What I hadn't anticipated or read about was how incredibly long it takes that giant pot of water to boil. After a while I decided that the old saying, “a watched pot never boils” MUST be true and I walked out of the kitchen. 
I loved filling those jars with peaches and then with a batch of tomatoes. I had such a great feeling about preparing my family for the future. I got my peaches and tomatoes from the farmer's market since my little garden has about played itself out. Travis (my hunky hubby) brought home another five pounds of tomatoes today. I think I may work on some homemade pasta sauce for my next canning project – oh, and strawberry jam is on the list too!
My kids were captivated by the entire process. I think we've all started an exciting new chapter in our lives!

“Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through home production and storage, but others as well.”
— Ezra Taft Benson

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Helllllloooooo...echo...echo....anyone out there? I feel like I'm just talking to myself at this point because I've neglected my blog for so long. I stepped back from the world for a while. I had to be quiet and just listen. Listen.
What did I hear? Several things. First, I'm happier and my family is happier with a little privacy. Though I check in from time to time – life is so much better without Facebook. Prying eyes and nosy Nellies make life difficult – get rid of them!!! You can also have a successful little side business without staying plastered on Facebook as well! Less Facebook = more family time. Period.
Next, I learned that things that never interested me before were uninteresting because I never gave them a chance. I've found recently that cooking is quite fun. Makes me so happy that I can make fresh bread for my family with only flour, salt, and yeast! No bread machine, no aggravation, just simple hearty bread. Tomorrow I'm canning peaches and tomatoes!! My family is priority and having a supply of food for them is so important to me. I think I woke up at age 37 and became my grandmother. There are just so many dying arts that need to be preserved.
At the risk of sounding incredibly corny, this beautiful earth that we live on has become even more important to me as well. In my times of reflection, it has become amazing to me how much we take from the land. How much we depend on it's bounty for our survival. It was so nice to walk to our garden this summer and pick a juicy tomato. Food in my own backyard. Awesome. Our fall garden is going to be even bigger and better. We are planning some raised garden beds for spinach, broccoli, carrots, and potatoes!
I've also been working on some sewing projects for my home – in addition to sewing what seems like a million little girls dresses..
So, why the blog – again?? Because if feels so good to be canning, gardening, sewing. It just feels fantastic and I want to share the fun with everyone. I plan to photograph and document my gardening, canning, sewing adventures. And though I will probably never will be a full fledged “homesteader” my little slice if provincial living will be fun to be a part of!!
The quieter you become, the more you hear. Just listen.

My first loaf of homemade bread - from scratch!