Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Money and Sanity Saver!

Here is the number ONE way I save money at the grocery store! I menu plan. Seriously, it works. I go through my cupboards to see what I have, then I go through the circulars to see what's on sale and base my menus off of that. Keep your menu in a place where you are not going to lose it and where you can access it easily. I have a little calendar-type thing magneted to my fridge. I write my menu on that.

Of course, being a girl, I am slightly fickle. (Hey, changing my mind is totally within my rights as a wife, mother, and woman!) So, I always have two or three backup meal ideas in place just in case I do not want what I have planned for that night.

Then I write out my grocery list and head off to the store. Before I started menu planning, I would go to the store all the time...consequently spending a ton of money. I would think of a meal, and find that I was missing one or two key ingredients. So, I would make a grocery store run for those 2 things and come home with 10. Not terribly cost effective.

Another blessed side effect from menu planning, is that my life has become so much easier. How many of you get a little stressed when dinner time rolls around? I think my mantra for a long time was...and still on occasion is..."What the heck am I going to make for dinner?!?!?" After a long day of chasing around a 2-year old and a 4-year old, the LAST thing I want to think about is what to cook. When I have it written down already, it saves me a lot of headache.

Here are some fun websites that can fill you in on menu planning and enlighten you with new, delicious recipes:

*Real Simple 6-menu planning websites
*Simply Recipes
*Kraft Foods Meal Ideas
*The Pioneer Woman LOVE this website
*All Recipes

Friday, January 30, 2009

End of Season Sales

Old Navy is having a 50% off of their clearance items sale. I just got back from there and was able to buy kids' shoes, long sleeved T's, and hoodies for anywhere from $1-$3 each. I also bought a cute sweater for me for $6. This would be a good opportunity to buy some warm clothes for your 72-hour kits or to stock up for next winter. A smart shopper always thinks ahead and shops the end of season sales to get the items they need for the following season. This is the time to buy boots, coats, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, pants, sweaters, etc...

Grocery Deals

This week is the week for produce at the grocery stores!


Grapes .88 lbs
Red Peppers .88 each
Vine Ripened Tomatoes .99 lbs
Sliced Mushrooms 1.50
Asparagus 1.98 lbs
Dole Celery .59 with HV cpn from circular-limit 1
Dozen Eggs .99 with HV cpn-limit 1
Philadelphia Cream Cheese .99 with HV cpn from circular-limit 1
HV 16-oz sour cream .88

Hen House:

On the Border Chips (my FAV!) 2.50
McCormick chili or Mexican seasonings .50 + .25 off cpn doubled = free!
McCormick Seasoning Grinders 1.37 + .25 cpn doubled = .87
Philadelphia Cream Cheese 1.18 (no limit)
Limes/Lemons 5/1
Red, Orange, Yellow Peppers .99
Betty Crocker Frosting 1.48 + .50 cpn doubled = .48
Edy's Ice Cream 2.88 (their double churned 1/2 fat ice cream is REALLY good!)

Price Chopper:

Deli Shaved Ham 1.99 lbs- sale runs from 1/29-2/1 only
Edy's Ice Cream 2.69

Not much at Price Chopper this week.

Non-Essential Necessities

There is nothing like actually being in an "emergency" type situation to realize the things you are missing. Last year, Todd and I noticed several items we wished we had had in our basement during all the tornado warnings. Here are some minor items that we now keep in our cozy little basement:

*Toys-we keep a little box of toys and books for the kiddos
*DVD player-we charge our little DVD player that usually resides in our car in the basement so the kids can watch a show instead of running around like crazy people
*Treats-for the kids (man those kids require a lot!) :)
*Pillows and blankets
*Camping chairs

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tornado Season Approaches

I don't know about you, but tornadoes kind of scare me. Last year was my first tornado season here in Kansas and I spent about 6-months straight getting my family ready for it. It was quite a stressful time for me. Today I am going to share one of the things I learned that is total common sense, and yet when I read about it I had one of those "ah-ha" moments...and then I promptly slapped my head and wondered at my stupidity for not thinking of that myself. :) So, here is my first tornado tip:

Prepare an emergency box (preferably waterproof) to put in your basement...or wherever you go when the tornado siren sounds. Here are the items I keep in my box:

*Toilet Paper
*Diapers and wipes
*Warm clothes and underwear kept in a big ziplock baggie
*Towel...kept in the baggie with the clothes
*Shoes for each of us (imagine waking up in the middle of the night to a tornado siren and you are in your "jammies" with no shoes're going to want clothes and shoes!)
*An old pair of glasses, a pair of contacts, contact case, contact solution
*First Aid kit
*Crank radio/flashlight
*Bottle for the baby
*UNO card game

This is NOT my 72-hour kit, although I keep a lot of these same things in those as well. I put everything I can into ziplock baggies in case water gets into my tub. I want all my niceties to stay nice and dry.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Coupons by Dede Referral

If any of you are going to try out Coupons by Dede, then could you please use me as a customer number is #4042. I would appreciate it. Thanks!

Grocery Spoils

I was so excited today to open up my mailbox and see that my coupons had come. Yea! I really do love to grocery shop and have been waiting all week for those babies. So, tonight I packed up the kids and the hubby and we went to Hen House. Todd could not believe how much I saved and I had to share.

Tonight I purchased:
-10 cartons of Quaker oatmeal
-5 boxes of instant Quaker oatmeal
-3 boxes of Quaker oatmeal squares cereal (plus I got a raincheck for 2 more)
-2 bottles of Aunt Jemima syrup
-2 lbs of fresh chicken breast
-3 packages of Ziplock containers
-Produce: 2 limes, garlic, ginger root, and cilantro

My grand total was $14.28!!! A savings of $67.83 or 85% off. I love it. Now, I did spend $2 on coupons...but I think the investment was worth it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rain Checks

I just went to Hy Vee last night to purchase my peanut butter and OJ. I was not surprised in the least to find that the frozen OJ was nearly gone. By the time I took 10 for myself, there was only 3 cans left. I have found that this area is very sale/coupon savvy. It seems like if you don't get out there the day the sale starts, then you miss out. So, here is another tip from me...GET RAIN CHECKS! I get them all the time. You just have to go to the customer service counter with your circular and ask for rain checks for the items they don't have in stock.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yummy Food Storage Recipe

I thought I would share one of my favorite soups with you. This is a great food storage recipe. The only thing you may not have is the ranch powder. As far as I know, you can only buy this big jar of it at Sam's Club...Costco does not have it. If you aren't a member at Sams, then either find someone who is (we know you're out there), or buy smaller packets from the store...although they are kind of pricey if you do it that way. Enjoy!

Here are the ingredients you will need:

Southwestern Taco Soup

Brown hamburger with an onion. Put into crockpot 2 cans of beans (your choice), 1 can corn, 2 cans tomatoes. Do NOT drain any of the cans first. Add your hamburger and onion, 1 packet of taco seasoning and one packet of ranch seasoning. Stir. Turn on low for 5-6 hours.

If you don't want to use a crock pot, then do everything as stated above but in a pan. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer for 30-minutes.

Top with cheese, sour cream, avocados, onions, olives...basically whatever you would put on your taco. Make sure to have some tortilla chips for some added crunch!

Awesome Grocery Deals!

This week at the grocery store be prepared to save some serious dough on your food storage items. Get excited! (especially if you have coupons!)

Hen House

*Fresh Split Chicken Breasts 1.49 lbs
*Quaker Old Fashioned Oats 18-oz .99 + cpn .60 = .49!
*Best Choice Pure Veg Oil 2.68
*Zip Lock Twist and Lock containers 1.97 + 1.50 off 2 cpn = 1.22 each AND .55 off 1cpn = 1.43
*Hunts Tomato Sauce 3/1 + .40 off 2 cans = .13 each. (they won't double it if it exceeds the value of the product)
*Oatmeal Squares Cereal 1.98 + .50 cpn doubled = .98!
*Quaker Instant Oatmeal 1.98 + .70 cpn = 1.28
*Aunt Jemima Syrup or Pancake Mix 2/4 + 1 off of 2 cpn = 2/3

Hy Vee

*Skippy Peanut Butter (the all natural kind is my FAV peanut butter) .99 + cpn (limit 2)
*80% ground beef sold in 1 lbs rolls 1.49
*Hy Vee frozen OJ .88 STOCK UP!!!! I usually stock up on this when it reaches somewhere around $1...I have never seen it this cheap!
*Kleenex .88 + (I know I have a coupon for this somewhere...I just have to find it!) cpn
*Dole Iceberg Lettuce .59 with HV cpn from circular
*Hy Vee pound of butter 1.28 with HV cpn from circular

Coupons and Things

There is a website out there that I don't use very often, but when I do use it, it is terrific. It is called Coupons and Things by Dede. Sometimes there is only one or two coupons that I need and I don't want to go and spend a fortune buying Sunday papers for a small amount of coupons. So, I go to this website and order the coupons I want in the quantities that I want.

Since Tanner was up at the crack of dawn this morning, I had some time to look over the new circulars for this coming week and they are awesome! I immediately went to Coupons and Things and ordered the coupons I wanted so they would get here before the sales end. This company is usually very quick about getting the coupons mailed out and at your door.

They charge a very minimal fee for each coupon: depending on the coupon value, they charge anywhere from .05-.25 cents per coupons. Today I bought 40 coupons and with the .92 cents shipping, I spent $4.02. You must order a minimum of $3 worth of coupons for them to ship to you.

Here are the coupons I bought this week:

*Quaker Oats .60 off of 1 x 10
*Quaker Instant Oats .70 off of 1 x 5
*Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cereal .50 off of 1 x 5
*Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats 1.50 off of 2 x 5
*Wholly Guacamole 1 off of 1 x 5 (no sales on this item this week, but they go on sale often and
they are great to freeze!)
*McCormick Spices .25 off of 1 x 10

Now, if any of you from Olathe order coupons from this website, could you please order me 2 Skippy Peanut Butter coupons and I will pay you for them. I meant to order 2 for the sales this week and pressed the buy button right as my brain was remembering this. Aarrgghh!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Emergency Preparedness Tip

This past weekend Todd and I went to Marshalls. I wanted to see if they had any of their winter items on clearance. We needed a few more things for our 72-hour kits. I was able to get nice winter hats for my boys for only $3 a piece. (I had to buy them adult sized hats because they have seriously huge noggins!)

Here are some things that I would suggest you look for now that the stores are clearancing out their winter items to make way for their summer stock:


You need a pair of each of these for every member of your family. Next month I am going to be focusing a lot of my energy on getting my family prepared for tornado season, and part of that is updating our 72-hour kits. Plan on lots of blog postings regarding this in the next week or so. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

How To Freeze Meat

If any of you are snoring just by reading the title, then by all means press the "X" and put yourself out of your misery. For the rest of you, I am going to share how I freeze meat as regulated by the state of Utah. I used to be a program director at a group home in Sandy, Ut and this is how the state told us we had to freeze meat:

Here is the 8 lbs of 93% lean ground beef from Price Chopper in all its ground glory. I only bought 8 lbs because my family is on the smaller side, but if your family is bigger, then I would suggest buying more because this was a great deal. For this you will need, plastic wrap, tin foil, a sharpie and a freezer ziplock bag.

First divide your hamburger into your desired sizes. Then put one portion onto a piece of saranwrap and wrap it up.

Next put that slab of meat onto the tinfoil and wrap. Make sure you label each piece with the date and the item's name.

Then label your ziplock baggie and put your meat into them. Squeeze as much air out as you can when you close it. Then just pop it in your freezer.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shopping List

Here is a list of the best deals I found at the grocery stores in the area:

Hen House:

  • Roberts Cottage Cheese 1.58 + .50 cpn doubled = .58
  • Hormel Chili .98 + .55 cpn when you buy 2 = .70 each
  • Rice-a-Roni or Pasta Roni .99 + 1.00 off when you buy 4 = .74 per box
  • Wonder Bread 1.49
  • Home Pride Wheat Bread 1.49
  • Yoplait Yogurts .39 + look for coupons from past papers (I already used mine, but I think it was .40 off of 6, that would make the yogurts .25 each!)

Hy Vee:

  • Pork Tenderloin 1.79 lb-you have to buy this in the family size, but they will cut it and wrap it for you. This is a great deal! (eventually I will post my most FAV way of preparing pork is to die for and when purchased at such a great deal, it is budget friendly as well!)
  • General Mills Cereal 2.00 + 1 off of 3 = 1.67 + .75 off of Kix + .50 off of Multi Grain Cheerios bring the grand total to 1.25 per box!
  • Oatmeal Squares Cereal 2.00 + .50 cpn = 1.50
  • Vaseline Lotion 2.88 + .55 cpn = 2.33


  • Hy Vee dozen eggs .98
  • Hy Vee lb of butter 1.28
  • Oscar Meyer Bacon 1.99
  • 24 pk water 2.99 = .12 per bottle...great for food storage

Price Chopper:

  • Quaker Oatmeal 1.99 + .70 cpn from paper, + cpn from Quaker website (see post below...I already used my allotted coupons from this site, so I can't tell you exactly how much they are for, but it must have been a good one for me to use all of mine!)
  • 93% lean ground beef 1.99lb
  • Roberts Sour Cream 1.29 + .50 cpn = .79
  • Aussie Hair Care products 2/5 + 2.00 off of 2 = 2/3! (P&G product!)

Price Chopper MONDAY and TUESDAY sale:

  • Best Choice shredded cheese 1.44
  • McCormick Mexican seasonings .44 + .25 off of 2 cpn (I love to have fajita seasoning packets in my food storage!)
  • Deli shaved ham 2.44 lbs

Later this week I will post on the drug store deals. Just remember that the grocery deals end Tuesday!

Proctor and Gamble Coupons

Proctor and Gamble (P&G) frequently has coupons booklets in the Sunday paper. Today in their booklet, they have a mail-in form where you can get $120 worth of coupons. Getting these coupons is easy: all you have to do is spend $50 in P&G products and mail in your receipts and they will mail you out their coupons. Now, I have to say that my favorite coupon booklet is always the P&G Saver. I love all of their products. You can go to the Proctor and Gamble website to see a list of all of their products...they include, Tide, Tampax, Cascade, Crest, Gillette, Charmin, and Herbal Essence just to name a scant few. I guarantee you will probably spend more than $50 on them before their deadline anyway. This Sunday paper had 3 coupons booklets in it, so you might as well go and get a copy or two regardless of this promotion. I for one will be cashing in on this coupon deal!

  • You must make your purchases BEFORE January 31st and have it postmarked by February 14th.

(p.s. I promise to spend more time on things OTHER than coupons, but apparently I have deemed this month "coupon month" with all that I have posted on them! Sheesh! Can you tell I love coupons?) :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Emergency Lighting Ideas

***This deal has EXPIRED!***

I don't know about any of you, but I worry with two little boys about what we would do if something were to happen in the middle of the night and we lost our electricity. I have plenty of candles, candle sticks and matches on hand, but what if it is a tornado or an earthquake that has caused the lights to go out. I certainly would not want to light a match in a situation like that. So, here are some ideas:

We have several LED headlamps that I keep all over the house. I hang one on our shelf in the basement, one is kept in Todd's night stand, and one is kept hanging in the garage. They are really handy and I love them. I just found an amazing deal on a LED headlamp here. It is $4.99, but if you enter this code (M248002CPPOFF) then it takes $1.50 off making your total $3.49. Plus, there is free shipping. I just ordered one myself.

Another item I store in my basement are touch lights I got from the dollar store. These will be a great, risk free source of light for my family. I also keep plenty of batteries in a tupperware tub in my basement to accommodate whatever items I have stored that require them.

(Once Todd comes back with my camera, I'll post a picture of the lights so you can see what they look like.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Questions Answered

Here is the deal with Hen House double coupons: The register automatically doubles the coupons and this is true every day of the week; you don't need to ask for them to be doubled. As I said before, they double coupons up to a .50 cent in laymen's terms, if you bring a coupon in for .55 cents, they won't double it.

The grocery circulars come in the Wednesday paper since their ads run from Wednesday to Wednesday. I do not get the Wednesday paper. Instead I just look at the online circulars. Here is a link-list of the circulars:
The drug store circulars come in the Sunday paper because their ads run Sunday to Sunday, but I thought I'd include them in my link-list anyway.

Now, just a word of caution: There have been a few times that I have gone into the grocery store for a deal that I found in their online circular, and the item is not on sale in the actual store. This has only happened 1 or 2 times in the past 7 or 8 months, but just so you know, although uncommon, it can happen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Perfect Example

My family loves Quaker Oats...especially the ridiculously expensive instant oats in individual packets. We do buy the cheaper no-name brand, but they never taste as good as Quaker. So, whenever they run sales then I look for coupons and stock up.

This week, Price Chopper has their Instant Oatmeal for $1.99, which is a good deal, but it is made an even better deal with this coupon: Quaker Oatmeal Coupons. You can usually print 2 coupons out before it won't let you anymore.

Now I just need to go get some ink for my printer so I can print and shop!


Okay, I don't want to seem like I am totally obsessed with coupons (even though that is not far from the truth), but they are just the sensible thing to take with you shopping. You'd be crazy to not use coupons to save money...even if it is just .35 all adds up.

Although this posting is on coupons, it is NOT on Sunday paper coupons. I realize that getting the Sunday paper is not in the cards for everyone. So, I am going to pass along another trick of the trade that I know. I NEVER go shopping for anything until I have done a google search for coupons. I even have Todd getting in on the fun of coupon searching. Here is just one example: I knew that I wanted to get Todd a pair of jeans for Christmas. So, I did a google search for Banana Republic coupons and found a 25% off coupon. That combined with their sale made Todd's Christmas jeans only $25, instead of the $60 they normally are.

This idea holds true for everything from groceries (try The Coupon Mom for great grocery coupons), to clothes, to oil changes, to restaurants. You may or may not find the exact coupon that you need, but at least you tried. It is a good habit to get into...unlike my eating BBQ potato chip habit that I have tried and failed to quit...but that's a topic for some other blog! :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Here's How It's Done

Okay, I just put together my grocery list for tomorrow. I usually do not get THIS detailed, but I wanted to show you all how easy it is to save some serious dough. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I am going to go to Hen House. I really love Hen House because they tend to have great sales AND they always do double coupons. They will double your coupons up to .50 cent value, taking up to $1 off of whatever you are purchasing. I love it. My list will also show you that Aldi isn't always the cheapest place to buy your food.

  • Best Choice Shredded Cheese $1.36 x 10 = 13.60 (I have NEVER seen cheese this low!)
  • Best Choice Diced Tomatoes .39 x 20 = 7.80
  • Best Choice Pinto and Kidney Beans .39 x 20 = 7.80
  • Juicy Juice 8 pack 2/$3 + .50 cpn doubled = 2/$2
  • Red Baron Pizza (great for nights I don't want to cook) 3/$10 or $3.33 per box. I will buy 2 for $6.66 + $1 off cpn = 2/$5.66 (Again, I've never seen it at this price!)
  • Special K Cereal 2/$5 + $1 off cpn = 2/$4 AND when you buy 2 boxes of cereal, you get $2 off of any size or flavor of milk you choose. So...
  • Roberts 1% Gallon Milk, $3.55 + $2 off, + .50 cpn doubled = $.55 cents...for a gallon of milk!
  • Aero Cool Whip (for the pudding lovers in my house) 1.97 + .50 cpn doubled = .97
  • Cottonelle 18-pack Toilet Paper $9.97 + .50 cpn doubled = 8.97
  • Viva Big Roll Paper Towels $1.86 + .35 cpn doubled = $1.16
That brings my total bill to $52.76 before taxes. Just for kicks and giggles, I added up what it would be without sales and coupons and the total came to a whopping $104.85!!!

See, easy-breezy. Happy shopping! :)

The Food Storage Planner

There is a great program that my mother-in-law got us for Christmas called The Food Storage Planner that is really neat. It tells you how much food storage you need for the members of your family based on genders and ages and then keeps track of everything for well as MANY other things like menu planning, budgeting, etc... It has been a life saver for us and I highly recommend it.

The Great Depression

I have often wondered if the people alive during the Great Depression could have built up their food storage, what would they, in retrospect, have included. I have done some research on this and here is what I have found. The items that were most needed and most scarce, according to various Internet sources, were as follows: toilet paper (I surely would NOT want to run out of that!), soap, oil, and sugar. I thought it interesting that toilet paper and soap would be high up on the list. You often think of your year's supply of food storage as just being food, not so much the other niceties of life that you wouldn't want to do without.

Here is a list of supplies that I am building up for my year's supply of "food" storage:

  • Toilet paper...and lots of it! :)
  • Bars of soap
  • Dish soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothpaste, floss, and toothbrushes
  • Lotion
  • Medications of all types and for all ages
  • Cleaning supplies: bleach
  • Socks and underwear
Every time there is a great sale on any of these products, I stock up. Also, I make it a point whenever I go to Costco to buy something for my food storage. Usually it is a package of toilet paper, or dish soap, or water bottles. It will take me a while to get to where I want to be, but you gotta start somewhere.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Sunday Paper

I would encourage everyone to get a Sunday paper each read of course...but more importantly, for the coupons! :) On Sundays where the paper has some especially great coupons, then I go and buy 2 or 3 more. Now, for all you "greenies" out there, if you are too cheap (like myself) to pay for recycling each month, then put a tub in your garage specifically for your used papers. At the Walmart on Blackbob and 135th there are recycling dumpsters that I take my recyclables too. It makes me feel a wee bit better for all the trees I am killing for my coupons. :)

On the Kansas City Star website they have a list of where you can buy Sunday papers all week long. Here is the list for Olathe: (keeping in mind I haven't actually checked out these places, so there are no guarantees that the Star website is current!)

7-Eleven 806 W. 56th St., Olathe, KS
7-Eleven 13901 S. Murlen St., Olathe, KS
7-Eleven 951 S. Parker St., Olathe, KS
7-Eleven Rana Inc. 2151 E. 151st St., Olathe, KS
Borders Books 15350 W. 119th St., Olathe, KS
Conoco 15115 W. 119th St., Olathe, KS
Conoco Short Stop 1100 E. Santa Fe St., Olathe, KS
Eckerd 191 N. Parker St., Olathe, KS
Hyvee 1463 (8717) 16100 W. 135th St., Olathe, KS
Kings Super Store Ridgeview Rd., Olathe, KS
Kmart 2000 E. Santa Fe St., Olathe, KS
Olathe South Citgo (9060) 1449 E. 151 St., Olathe, KS
Osco Drugs #2401 8041 877 S. Parker St., Olathe, KS
Price Chopper #026 8036 Ball's 2101 E. Santa Fe St., Olathe, KS
Quik Trip #206 15650 W. 135th St., Olathe, KS
Quik Trip #182 1301 E. Santa Fe St., Olathe, KS
Quik Trip #212 18619 W. 151st St., Olathe, KS
Texaco 9027 #101 1550 Hamilton Cir., Olathe, KS
Texaco Foodmart 202 9027 11960 Strangline Rd., Olathe, KS
Texaco Star Fuel Center #404 9027 1090 W. Santa Fe St., Olathe, KS
Walgreen's #4183 545 E. Santa Fe Dr., Olathe, KS
Wood Oil 813 S. Claireborne St., Olathe, KS
Wood Oil Co. 211 E. Flaming St., Olathe, KS

I used to buy my extra papers at the dollar store, but just recently found out that they no longer carry them. So, in my quest for coupons, I will let you all know if I come across a place on this list that does not carry them.

Friday, January 9, 2009

And So It Begins

I have wanted to start a blog like this for a long time...mostly for my own benefit. I have so many ideas floating around in my head and I have to put them to print or I will forget them. Also, there is so much I want and need to learn about, so I thought, why not all learn together!

I will frequently post on the great grocery and drug store deals that I find and if I know of any coupons that go with them. I also plan on spending a lot of time on gardening, food storage, 72-hour kits, etc... As a stay at home mom, I will also post quite a bit about ways to save money. I save a lot of money through coupon clipping along with sales. It is not uncommon for me to cut my grocery bill in half with these methods (don't roll your can happen!) Also, I love to cook, so I'll have lots of postings on tried-and-true, yummy, budget friendly recipes that your family will enjoy. There will be so much more as well to post about.

So, this blog is dedicated to survival: the things I feel I need to learn and do to be prepared for whatever the future holds.