Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Message



"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program. We could refer to all the components of personal and family preparedness, not in relation to holocaust or disaster, but in cultivating a life-style that is on a day-to-day basis its own reward." (President Spencer W. Kimball)

Making preparedness a way of life is easier than you think. You probably do most of it without even thinking about it. Think about your everyday doings. You wake up with a list of things you will attempt to get done. Am I right so far?

That is preparing for your day. Take that further, do you prepare for your week ahead? Month ahead? Then think about things you use in that time frame. How many rolls of toilet paper and other paper products will you need? How much food will you need? Once you figure out these things you can get extra.


Sit down with your store flyers. Every week I sit down with the sale flyers even when I cannot get anything. I study them. My grocery stores are pretty close to each other but I am twenty minutes from them so I have to make very determined decisions. To go twenty minutes to save twenty cents is not cost effective. 

So look through your flyer and see what is for sale. Is there something your family uses? This week pasta was .69 but only for macaroni and spaghetti. Because I don't really have the funds for a real grocery shopping, just a small amount for a few items, I put those on hold and got ten packages of macaroni. I know this is an item that we use and it gets us ahead on that. This is how I do it. 

Now I don't often go to stores but if you do, pick up some item for your storage, even if it is a package of jello or a box of Band-Aids.  You would be surprised at how fast it adds up.

Of course, just getting the pasta is the first part to store it. You must take it out of those boxes. I dumped mine in a bucket and put two bay leaves on top. I put the lid on then labeled and dated it. If you leave it in the boxes you could get buggy pasta. So storing properly is just as important as getting it. I vacuum seal them in jars too but this time the bucket was easier.

So make choices to fit your budget, be flexible so you can put a few things up to stretch when you cannot get groceries worked into your budget.

Sometimes we can prepare less expensive meals to save the funds to stock up...


Develop those skills. Start with learning how to make bread and rolls.



This is how high I let my bread get before I bake it to give you an idea of what you are looking for. I use regular flour that I make into bread flour by adding one tsp of vital wheat gluten per one cup of flour. This bread has cooked wheat in it. So learn this skill and collect recipes in your binder.


Once you master that, learn to make jam. See how skills build on one another?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVb1Tfsdcr0 - enjoy!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Monday Message


"Today, I emphasize a most basic principle: home production and storage. Have you ever paused to realize what would happen to your community or nation if transportation were paralyzed or if we had a war or depression? How would you and your neighbors obtain food? How long would the corner grocery store—or supermarket—sustain the needs of the community?" (President Ezra Taft Benson)

Home production and storage is huge and it is different for everyone. People with a lot of money may go for the freeze dried foods or other already done for you options and that is fine, so long as you taste it and your family is okay with it. No problem. I encourage having storage in any form.

Then you have those with very little funds, I fall here on the scale.  And then you have everywhere in between.

Working with what you have is good on any level. I find the less funds you have to work with, the harder you must work. And that is okay, there is nothing wrong with that, it is what it is...

Because I am on the bottom of that scale, I tend to write what I know but you choose what works best for you and your family.

I have gone to thrift stores and yard sales when I could over my many years. This has helped me stretch our limited funds. I asked myself is there anything here that would help us, i.e. canning jars and equipment, that sort of thing.

And now with even less funds we are benefiting from those thrifty items! What a blessing.

I can what produce I can get. Without having to purchase much to do so. When I have to go to the store I try to pick up a box of canning lids, it all adds up by canning season (actually, I can any time of the year).



I dehydrate all year long. If I have a few potatoes, I peel, slice, and blanch them and put in the dehydrator. That last bit of grapes no one eats? Well they make great raisins. Shred those last carrots, blanch and dry or dice or slice - you need to blanch or else they'll turn black.  

I mentioned before how I saved the tomato skins from canning tomatoes and dried them and blended them into tomato powder which is a costly item. 





I was able to make it for free from something that would normally be tossed. Did it take more work? Only slightly. Everything takes work, so best not to be afraid to work.

One of my favorite things to dry is frozen mixed veggies. The hard work of preparing the veggies and blanching was done before freezing so you only need to a open bag and dump it on trays.



So watch for sales. This picture shows three jars. In these jars are ten lbs of veggies. I know what you are thinking...how do I use them? I use these in a fantastic veggie chili soup. I just toss in what I want and these shriveled bits turn into veggies that taste like I just picked them...yummy!

Used dehydrators are normally three dollars. I saw one last year just after we all had those floods for $3.99 just like this one, I almost got it but I have three so I was trying to decide if I should I get it. Just as a lady spied it in my cart, I said I love this kind a lot. She said she use to have one before but lost it in the floods. I made up my mind right then and there. I picked it up and put it in her cart and said it works I just had the guy test it. She was soooooo happy, it had it's manual and was a great purchase.

So if you are serious about finding one, just haunt those thrift stores. You will find one eventually and if you have the money, just buy one new, they often have sales 40 - 50 dollars new.

But like I said I had to get mine on a tight budget. I am sure that lady was on a tight budget as well. We both were in the thrift store and very few flood victims had insurance that covered these floods.

The jars pictured above will be vac sealed and they will be stored in the basement.



I was looking in a used cookbook I had gotten a few years ago and saw a bread recipe. It had vinegar in it and then I remembered yes, vinegar is a dough enhancer.

What your recipe calls for in yeast...let's say it called for 2 1/4 tsp of yeast, then to the water you would add that same amount in cider vinegar.

To make your own bread flour - use 1 tsp. of vital wheat gluten to one cup of your flour. This is what I do as I have to stretch my dollars. I have stored vital wheat gluten so I have it on hand. It comes in a plastic bag inside the box. I take out the bag and poke it once with a pin then I put the bag with contents into a wide mouth jar that I then vacuum seal, now I have a supply on hand but as I use one I need to get another, this is what I do for a bucket of flour - use and replace!

Remember to rotate constantly.

https://www.traditionalhomemaker.com/homemaking-skills/ - this has some helpful info.

I go to the library to get magazines and books that they have in a free area. I also get free Kindle books from freereadfeed.com, this has saved so much money.

Also freecycle.org you can find useful items there.

So share with us some of the way you save...


Monday, September 30, 2019

Monday Message


"In Argentina, Relief Society leaders are trying to teach the importance of food storage. They wrote: “Unfortunately, most of the sisters [here] cannot afford to buy an extra kilo of sugar, or flour, or an extra liter of oil. However, they have been encouraged to save, even just a spoonful at a time." (Elaine L. Jack) 

This quote always sticks in my mind about how much easier I have it even at my hardest times. They have it so much harder and yet they do this.... I can do this is what I think and so can you, we've got this.

Procrastination is not our friend, we need to avoid it.




I needed to put a new lashing around the rim of this basket that I made long years ago. The second I got it done Gus thought it was his.

Thought I would show my progress on the weird yarn spin...




I have been canning so I haven't had a lot of time to spin but thought you'd like the update.

Since I am all about learning skills, here is an update on the circular sock machine. I am trying to learn the tension which for now I have back to where I think - think - mind you, where it needs to be. I am so still very much a beginner trying to learn this machine. Incredible that anyone ever learned them or even invented them.

I feel the same way about the rug loom. I have a photocopy of the original directions for the loom and I cannot imagine learning it by only reading it, so I guess learning on them would have been largely passed down to next generation...this is why it is so important we teach each other.









I know I have trouble at times with directions, these throw me over the edge.





I am blessed to have YouTube, this has helped me more than a teacher. The other thing that was my biggest blessing was when Interweave ran a sale for five dollars. I was able to get the best instruction ever on warping my other loom, I watch it every time I warp it.

So I guess by showing you these things I wanted to emphasize there is (for me anyway), a huge learning curve but I push on.

The free jars I got from a friend at church I washed and filled everyone of them.

It takes patience to learn new skills on your own. You could learn faster with a teacher if you can find one but if teachers are not in your budget just keep working hard to teach yourself and have patience.

So do what you can. Find what you want to learn and look on YouTube, you might be surprised what you can teach yourself.

Keep working harder on your storage as times look to be bumpy ahead.

Learn skills that will help you.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Monday Message



"Recent surveys of Church members have shown a serious erosion in the number of families who have a year’s supply of life’s necessities. Most members plan to do it. Too few have begun . . . It is our sacred duty to care for our families, including our extended families." (President Thomas S. Monson)

"Start now to create a plan if you don’t already have one, or update your present plan. Watch for best buys that will fit into your year’s supply. We are not in a situation that requires panic buying, but we do need to be careful in purchasing and rotating the storage that we’re putting away. The instability in the world today makes it imperative that we take heed of the counsel and prepare for the future." (L. Tom Perry)

Preparing for the future is our goal for sure as we do not know what tomorrow will bring...

I think we need to pay attention to what these quotes are saying. It doesn't take much to see instability everywhere we look.

It is time to build those skills. I know everyone is so busy but knowing how to do things will really be a blessing.  

I keep trying to learn as much as I can as well.



This year with little more effort, I saved the tomato skins from canning and dehydrated them then I ground them into powder in the blender. This was free food for sure.



The smaller jar I did not grind into powder but hand crushed to make bigger flakes that I plan to use in bread. I plan to use the powder to enhance the flavors in soup.



Free food is knowing how to make the most of something like when I told you how to save orange rind part that normally is tossed out like the tomato skins.

Did you know that you can put green onions in a jar with some water and the tops will keep growing? You just cut them as needed. I cut them up with scissors and put them on a plate. In just a few hours they are dry. I then put them in a jar like I do chives.



Again, being frugal and getting free food from what you already have is a good skill to have.

Of course, knowing how to repair our clothing is also huge...



I have a mend job to do on this sweater cardigan. Knowing how to mend has been a real blessing in my life and huge savings.  Knowing just a few things can save a lot. Imagine if you knew even more what you could save.



Along with those skills, start storing supplies to be able to sew and mend. Look at thrift stores or clearance aisles, even a package of needles from a dollar tree type store, it doesn't have to be a huge expense.



Having a sewing machine makes mending faster and easier. Look at thrift stores to find one used, be sure to try it while you are there. Some places give you so many days for if it doesn't work to return it. This machine I got 36 yrs ago. Yep, I did the math and when I got this machine it already was ten years old...wow.

This brings me to the next skill and that is learn to clean and oil and replace parts and this will extend the life of your machine. Proper maintenance is good at saving money if you do it yourself and I have. This machine is my little work horse, I use it a lot.  

It is a lot like doing your own house cleaning, saves you lots of money. The more we learn, the more we can do for ourselves, the more we can save or the less we have to earn. If you do it yourself it cuts down on expenses. This is why I stress learning skills.

I try to do the mending as I go. For instance, the day I discover I need to mend something is the day I actually mend it. It takes very little time as I always have my machine out. Now some mending I will do by hand, same with darning. I can do this hand work while listening to a podcast for example or while skyping with family.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmfWu83I0ZI - this is soooooo helpful.

This class is so very helpful, it is a free class so if this is all you learn this week that is good!

Learn your appliances, what else can you learn from their manuals?

My kitchen aide broke, at one point it would no longer hold the bowl up which it had to do to mix. I called the Hobart company and told them what I had and what was happening. They told me what I needed for a part and how to fix it and they were just twenty miles away. So before you toss out things, find out if you can fix it. And learn how to properly maintain it.

Remember to be frugal and build up your storage and be kind.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday Message


"I wish to urge again the importance of self-reliance on the part of every individual Church member and family. None of us knows when a catastrophe might strike. Sickness, injury, unemployment may affect any of us. We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas. It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary." (President Gordon B. Hinckley)

We went to Omaha to go to the Winter Quarters Temple and on the way, just before hitting the Nebraska border, we started seeing tremendous flooding. I thought they had recovered from the floods as I have not heard any more about it on the news. I don't think the water will recede this year, the water table is very high and this has been going on already for a very long time. I am wondering if these farmers will even get into their fields by spring.  

This is not good. Do we even think about how these things will affect our prices on food or even the economy? 

Then coming back home, not too far from our house we saw a fancy newer tractor for sale by owner. This machine probably costs as much as a farm in itself. But I have never seen newer tractors for sale and I live in the heart of the farming land. Seeing this tractor really bothered me, a symbol that someone is quitting. Can we afford for farmers to quit? An old farmer getting ready for retirement would not have invested in such a machine as this.  Usually if one is losing a farm they have auctions and if a farmer dies they auction, farmers have a network also. This machine was washed till it sparkled and driven to the end of the driveway of a farm... This and the flooded farmland has me a bit rattled. We will have hard times ahead. All this coupled with rumors of a recession on the horizon...

We should all be prepared.

It hurts nothing to be ready for hard times. Yes, it is a bit of hard work but that is something we can do.

Earlier this week I was given some tomatoes and cucumbers so I had a full day of canning...



As I mentioned last week, I was gifted canning jars. Here you see them washed and ready to use.



While I did the pizza sauce and salsa, I dehydrated the tomato skins and added to the jar I started from my canning last week. I filled the jar and vacuum sealed it.




This will be used in soups to enhance the flavors and to not waste the skins.

I made the cucumbers into dill pickle slices and relish.



Jane Russell's Sweet Relish

4 c. Grated cucumbers
1 c. Grated green pepper
1/2 c. Grated red sweet pepper
3 c. Grated onion
3 c. Grated celery

I used a food processor to do these. I put them in my stock pot this time but usually I put them in my stainless steel big bowl. By the way, I double this recipe when I make it usually because I have the stuff on hand.

I stir this then...

Sprinkle over all 1/4 c. Canning salt 
Then I cover with a dishtowel, which is fine on stock pot but if I use the big bowl I put a cooling rack on then the towel to keep it from falling in.

Let this sit four hours.

Then drain well - really well - while you bring to a boil....in my dutch oven size pan..

3 1/2 c. Sugar
2 c. White Vinegar 
1 tbsp. Celery seed
1 tbsp. Mustard seed
Stir till sugar dissolved

Add the drained veggies into this boiling goodness and simmer for ten minutes giving a stir now and then.

Put them into your jars, jelly jars are perfect but I was out so pints it was. Process in water bath for ten minutes.

We need to keep working on learning new skills. I keep saying this because skills will bless our lives.

Work harder on your storage and learning frugal things like making the tomato skins into tomato powder.

And remember always be kind and helpful.



Monday, September 9, 2019

Monday Message


"Can or bottle fruit and vegetables from your gardens and orchards. Learn how to preserve food through drying and possibly freezing. Make your storage a part of your budget. Store seeds and have sufficient tools on hand to do the job." (President Ezra Taft Benson) 

So today I did nine pints of salsa - yum! 



To do this I had to wash the tomatoes, blanch the tomatoes, remove and save the skins to dry them...



When the skins are dry, I will pulverize them and use as tomato powder.



Then the water I used to blanch with I put two tablespoons in the bathroom sink drain and the tub drain followed with vinegar (about the same amount) then the blanch water followed that because the drains were a little slow and this is how I clear them (only boiling water) but that was what the blanch water was...whew.

We had some really ripe bananas...



I made them into banana bread, two loaves and a cake.




BANANA BREAD 

1 3/4 c. Flour
1 1/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/3 c. Shortening
2/3 c. Sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 c. Mashed bananas
Optional: I put in chopped walnuts

Mix the sugar and shortening together. When creamed, add the eggs and bananas. Mix well then add the dry ingredients. Once mixed I throw in walnuts, you don't have to though some put in chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees. Start checking after thirty-five minutes by poking with toothpick. When it comes out clean it is done.

My tip: let the bread stay in the pan for five minutes then remove it, comes out way easier.

So this was a peek in at my morning.

It was a busy one for sure but the rewards for all that hard work are well worth it.

Little by little the things add up. We will enjoy that salsa in the winter but we will enjoy the banana yummies tonight with supper...one loaf is slated for giving away.

Keep working on your storage and on your skill building. This recipe today is from scratch so make it and there you go a yummy skill building homework and frugal too.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Monday Message


"Included in the year’s supply of basic foods should be life-sustaining foods that store well for a long time: grains (wheat, rice, corn, or other of the cereal grains); dried milk, dried fish or protein vegetables such as beans and peas and other fresh, canned, dried, or pickled fruit or vegetables; sugar or a sugar substitute such as honey; some form of fats; salt; and water. Fresh taro or sweet potato, and live pigs, chickens, or fish might be considered as a supply in some areas of the world where it is difficult to store food. Remember that regular use of whole grains is important in building a digestive tolerance for roughage." (Barbara B. Smith)

The herbs in the jars at the top are the herbs from my herb garden that was gifted to us by the activity day girls and I can't thank them enough!

I think hard times for me has taught me to put in a few extra items when I can.

It has taught me to learn skills like cooking from scratch, canning and dehydration, sewing, knitting, crocheting, baking bread and making do with what you have, stretching things...this list could keep on going.

You may not be in a place where you can have animals, or in some places you cannot have a garden, in other places you cannot even hang out laundry, but wherever you live you can learn.

You can learn how to cook from scratch or...

How to use powdered milk. I use a lot of powdered milk. My favorite way to use it is to make hot cocoa mix...






Liza's Hot Cocoa
3 c. powdered milk
1 ½ c. cocoa powder
1 c. powdered sugar
2 c. Walmart cheap brand of coffee creamer powdered

-Mix & adjust to your taste with less or more cocoa powdered or powdered sugar

I use powdered milk in cooking all the time in anything that calls for milk. I keep a jar of it on the counter, it is automatic to grab it and use it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL13ijHpZoc - here is wonderful info on powdered milk, I love this gal.

You could learn ways to use oats....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezqi-2fnmJM this explains the different oats.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-things-to-make-with-oats - great ideas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx7sxWI9FNI - how to fix the perfect rice.

https://food.unl.edu/cooking-dry-beans-scratch-can-be-quick - how to cook dry beans.

So these are a few basic things to have in storage. Having food in your storage means knowing how to fix it.

https://www.sunoven.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/EverythingUnderTheSun.pdf - I love this gal's site, much to learn here.

https://www.mormonchannel.org/blog/post/how-to-begin-a-3-12-month-food-supply - this will be helpful to start.



Remember to beautify your home along the way. The red rocker and rag doll in the picture above, I both got at different yard sales, both were ten cents each. Keeping things frugal is good too.

Skills are huge too...

https://www.traditionalhomemaker.com/homemaking-skills/ -  interesting

http://homeftw.com/61-essential-skills-for-homemakers-how-many-of-these-can-you-do/ - much info here

There is a right and wrong way to hang a shirt, both will dry but if upside down it won't be as wrinkled.

Find ways to use what you have, here is a yarn storage idea.  



Some of the stitcheries on the wall are from pictures our daughters drew when they were little. I embroidered using floss the colors they used then I tea stained them by...

Covering a cookie sheet with tinfoil. Laying my finished work on top of the tinfoil. I would heat a cup of water and then put two cheap tea bags in and steep till dark water. I actually use the tea bags to dab the water on the project till it is wet all over then I put the cookie sheet and project in the oven on the lowest setting until it's dry. Check in ten minutes or so till it's dry. Take it out, let it cool and then frame it. I would pick up frames at yard sales.



This is how I am progressing on the weird yarn I got on clearance for $1.99 that I wanted to see if I could take apart and spin it. It is coming along nicely.



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