Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Message

President Spencer W. Kimball - "The little gardens and a few trees are very valuable. I remember when the sisters used to say, `well, but we could buy it at the store a lot cheaper than we could put it up.' But that isn't quite the answer, is it, Sister Spafford?
Because there will become a time when there isn't a store." General Conference April 1974.

I think we need to keep in mind this when I stress learning skills, such as learning to can and dry foods, learning to grow gardens, sewing and more.  

I know you probably think this is just her thing, actually no it is not my thing but having to go through many ups and downs, I say no one has security and everybody should be learning these skills. It is just my calling to help you all. I am glad to share with you what I have learned, to help you to be ready for when they happen to you. And things will happen, they happen to everyone. That is just the way it is. Either you can learn now and prepare for them or you can wait and try to learn them harder when you have no money to keep the computer hooked to a server, no money to get gas to go to the library to learn. Then there is trial and error. What happens if you did not have storage? Look at your family and think how will you help them through this trial and ones they will have? Take the time now when you are not stressed out by the trial.

Practice now how to make successful bread. Start working it into your children’s diet so they get used to having the different things. We have so much available to us right now. It used to be red wheat was the only wheat we could get and it is harsher on some bodies than others. I can tell you I could not eat bread made from it totally. I would be very sick. But now there is white wheat and I love it and if you think no way will your kids eat wheat bread... oh yes they will. Made from white wheat you can’t tell by color or taste so these things you NEED to learn. If you have wheat stored, have you ever used it? Do you even have a wheat grinder??

I have some, not much, but some red wheat I will have to use it very little in my recipes but I store flour and white wheat so I can add very little to those and still be able to eat it.

Those in my ward, we have a wheat grinder in the building. Check with the relief society president. 

Do you know how much wheat grinders are? I bet if you saved the money of eating out you will have enough to buy one. Everyone who stores wheat should have one. I also have a hand crank mill, an all metal kind. These you should get and are not much. I would hate to have to grind flour with it but if I had to we could. It also makes great cracked wheat, but having an electric one is a blessing for me now.

If you made everything from scratch - biscuits, breads, cake, flour shells, cookies and pies and such, how much flour a month would you go through? Well because we do that and there is only the two of us, I can tell you that we use twenty five lbs a month. How many do you have to feed? How many buckets does that work up to be? I had a lady tell me once she had her year's supply in of flour and sugar then said she had a bucket of each… depending on how many kids she had, I think she had four and her husband, how far will she get on those? One third of a month or less.

I had one lady mention she did not think she could buy the twenty five lb bags. Yes, you can. One of those will fill one five gallon bucket. Never store it in the bags. I put the flour in the bucket and place two bay leaves on top, put the on lid, date it and write flour and rotate newest in back, oldest in front. This keeps flour from getting infested.

Do not buy wheat flour to store like this because once the wheat is ground you have three months to use it before it goes rancid. That is why we store wheat berries not wheat flour. With wheat berries I do the same, fill a bucket, put two bay leaves in, put the lid on and it date and write what it is on the bucket.

One more thing, and this is huge, do not store your buckets on the concrete floor. Put a piece of wood down first but keep the bucket off concrete. Moisture seeps up into your bucket and will ruin the food.

Store yeast in the freezer and don’t buy the packets, they're too costly. Get the big bags of it and freeze. I keep a quart jar in refrigerator to use from but all other bags are frozen.

What else do you need to make bread? Well salt, sugar and shortening, water. But if you are using wheat you will want to store vital wheat gluten. Hmmm can you think of what else?? Yes, bread pans. So be haunting thrift stores for them.

Getting supplies is just as important.

Now, I would like you to watch these grocery videos. I know in the fourth she will ask for money but these are free so I only put these in this blog post. - I think we need to be aware of what we use, what we have and how to repair, learn to mend, etc.

Have you ever thought to look up on the internet how to fix something?? That should be a first option. Learn how then see if you can fix it.

Remember also to haunt thrift stores to buy used, remember that the store will let you plug things in to see if they work.

If you don’t know how to do something, look it up. Learn. Being frugal is huge in managing our resources better, thrift stores are one of our resources. Also, put the word out that you are needing something, if someone has an extra this may help you. Be sure to be thankful for your blessings and thank others always.

Once you master bread making, what will you have on it??

Do the best you can now that you have an income, it gets way harder when you don’t.

I want to remind you that as you work on this, pray for help. Amazing what prayer can do.

I have covered a lot of material over these many years. Review the blog and relearn things. I wish I had this information when I was a young bride but you get all my learnings in this blog. Remember, things happen usually we get no warning. Learn to do as much as you can for yourselves and others.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!

These gloves I got for free two winters ago and at that point they were already used.

 Many others would toss them but we must not be tempted to do so.

I knitted the thumbs and darn/weaved the finger to strengthen the yarn that was worn.

 I could have driven to a box store twenty minutes away and walked through the big store to find a lesser made glove, paid and come back home. This was there was no gas used and it took very little energy to fix them, plus it cost no money!

What are you doing to be more frugal???

Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday Message

"The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes. . .
"We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week's food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. . . . I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.

"Begin in a small way, . . . and gradually build toward a reasonable objective." (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, Oct 2002 and quoted again in April 2007)

If you have not read last week’s post, please do. We are starting a new year and you will want to have that info.

Get yourself in a better place storage wise, money wise, frugal wise, skill wise.

Are you feeling like life is way to busy? That you feel like you are flying apart??

Time to analyze why. I know it is good to stand back and take a look. It is time to jot down where your time is spent. Take time to slow down and just breath.

I find what works for me. Doing a little everyday makes progress over time. When I suggest learning a skill, do it a little at a time if you are feeling overwhelmed just take a bite at a time. Same with getting storage or cleaning a closet.

But I will tell you that going full speed all the time is not a good thing. Your body cannot do that without a price to be paid.  Food for thought.

On that line of thinking, the best time to prepare for the unknown is to always be preparing. Learning a skill is harder during duress. It can still be learned but will be harder. So this is why I keep telling you to be working on the skills and storage. Living within your means is great but what if you lived on even less than that? Could it be done? Could you build a savings? Could you work on storage too? Hmmmm give this serious thought.

How often do you or someone in your home go to the grocery store? Does that put a huge drain on your budget?

Go to the store less often. I go once a month. I am not saying you need to be just like me. I was getting groceries at Aldis and a young gal noticed my list, as I make a plan of attack getting the most out of our food monies. She asked me if I was buying for a lot of people, I said why would you ask that as I only had three things in the cart. She said because of my list. I said oh no, I showed her in depth how I had certain things I got under different stores to find better deals. She was impressed and said she just gets and gets hollered at later. I keep adding as I go to not go over.  I saw her again at the bagging area and she commented again. I said I go once a month, she was shocked and said she didn’t even know that was possible and that I should write a book.

But if you go two times a month or every week, your goal is to stop your leak. Make your menus and grocery list, this is a great tool and huge time saver.

I like not going more often. It is hard on me as I have fibromyalgia but not having to go more often is great. - I love this gal. You will find helpful ideas on here. I would change one thing though for us, we are not coffee drinkers but we are hot cocoa people. Make your own mix for this and money saving will also be had.

I am going to tell you about me just to show how I break things down. I already mentioned I have fibromyalgia so already I have to work around that and you won’t, so things will be easier for you. Aren’t you lucky? I think so.

I do a lot to stretch our meager means...

I make bread. All our bread rolls, hamburger buns, pizza dough. I have to break things down like you have seen the bread recipe I use. - I make bread mixes by putting all the ingredients except water into canning jars. I use wide mouth quart jars.  I usually make 11 or 12 jars up at a time. This does take a few minutes to do an assembly line. But it is easy to put in the machine while I am setting up our breakfast. I know how to make by hand or mixer but this has helped so much. And you can find bread machines for three bucks at yard sales and thrift stores. I plug them in if they go “erup” they will work. I don’t bake in the machine though, you could, but I make bread or rolls or cinnamon rolls or hamburger buns.  I also know I can do this recipe and others by hand, it is a skill I have in my quiver.

When I make muffins I mix the dry ingredients in a bowl the night before, same with pizza dough.

I find cooking from scratch a huge help on the budget.

I have collected items over years to be frugal. I have done yard sales and thrift stores, even when we made better money I still did this. I have gotten sewing items and fabric, lots from Freecycle but yard sales too. Same with yarn and needles and hooks to work it up. I picked up or collected canning supplies and dehydrators and food savers. All used, also kitchen appliances and things that help me build my storage plus built the skills to do this.

I still am learning new skills weaving spinning and such. Most of you following the blog are aware I am learning more and building new skills. Some are skills that aren’t life or death skills but skills that I can make gifts for others on our limited income it is a must for us.

We have worked for companies that folded, so I know the hard things that go with loss of work. Usually you have no warning. So for me these times have forced me to learn skills like canning and growing food and drying foods and baking bread and cooking from scratch, mending and making clothes, knitting socks, scarves, hats, mittens.

Several things I am learning at once but I keep learning new skills. All the time one thing I want to learn is bobbin lace so I will take this and show you what I do when learning.

I break it down.

I looked online but back then it was really hard to find info, but I learned you need a pillow. So I made one out of a free dress fabric, it is like a velvet but is a stretchy fabric. I used this fabric on outside I made a muslin pillow, filled it with saw dust then sewed this closed and put on a piece of wood covered with the blue dress fabric. This saved lots since this was basically made for free. Then on b-days and Christmas dates and anniversary outings, we go to the used bookstore where I found books showing how to do this. 

Next to get bobbins, I was gifted some from my mother-in-law and this b-day my sister sent me 61 bobbins which is the number of this b-day. Threads I have gathered over the years from yard sales as I tat and crochet with these threads too, so all this was years in the making. Well with YouTube there are now many things out there on this so I will learn and do…

This is how I break it down, so you see eat that elephant one bite at a time.

When I try to get you to learn skills, take your learning a bite at a time. Same for getting storage. So you don’t need to break the bank to do these things or to be frugal, you just need to learn the basic skills.

You don’t have to do what I do as your needs may vary but remember things may look bad when things happen but the more skills that you have the better you will be able to manage.

In it all do not neglect your spiritual preparedness as well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Organizing the Stamp Room/Sewing Space

I decided I needed a sewing space upstairs so I consolidated my stamp area to make room for one. The first few pictures are of my stamp room desk and decorative edge scissors.

I keep my wood-mounted stamps in a map drawer (pictured below).

You can see here how they are stored in the drawers.

I have organized my embossing folders on a rolodex.

The card labeled #1 on the rolodex matches the #1 embossing folder in the storage container. Each folder is numbered and matches the corresponding card in the rolodex.

Often I don't sleep well at night so I decided to put a sewing space in the stamp room which is upstairs next to our bedroom. A lot of our mending needs are up there so it works out well.

All this fabric was gifted to me by Sister Diane Miller. 

This beauty (pictured below) is my absolute favorite older sewing machine. I got it for free and is still in working condition.

This serger was $10 at a yard sale.

I converted this older dresser to a cutting and pressing station. The beautiful beehive quilt was gifted to me by Donna Jo Smith.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday Message

Be prepared and keep hard copies of food storage files and recipes on hand.

President Ezra Taft Benson - "Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account... We urge you to do this prayerfully and do it now."

Let's start the new year off right. Let’s redo our budgets or learn to do one if we don’t already.

That should get you going on that. Once you set it up, stick to it!

Also, be working on your storage. I know I keep saying this but believe me when I tell you that the only certain thing in life is that life is uncertain. Knowing this and having seen unexpected things happen and things we cannot imagine, we should be prepared. So make this a goal. This lady has soooo much knowledge. - this is her info. I encourage you to read and learn. Learning is all part of this as well. It does no good to have if you do not know how to use it.

This would be good info for your food storage binder. It is a lot of very useful info you need to know. It took almost a ream of paper, so you might want to put it on a thumb drive and go to your local cheapest printing place. It will be the best book of storage you can find. Note that I suggested to have you have it in hard copy. I know we have computers and devices but a hard copy is a great back up.

Same with your recipes. If you do not have hard copies you should get on that. What would you do if you could not access that info? This too is why I suggest you find from thrift stores some of those old time spiral church favorite type cookbooks. - to get you started if you haven’t already. - binders

I made a binder of my family favorites that I have everything on hand and I picked recipes that are good. If I did not have cheese on hand, I could grab and use and it is well used.

I know that it duplicates recipes but it is sooo handy to grab. Then you make sure that you store the food these recipes call for. - this I have printed and put in my binders on food storage. If you need a system of how to calculate what to get, I highly recommend this for beginners and pros at storage and everything in-between. - watch this and all through nine of this presentation she teaches so many things in this total presentation.

Now you need to plan your menus.

If these two YouTube clips don’t inspire you, quick take your pulse :p

Well I think if you read through this Monday message you will be ready to start your new year off right!

Do the best that you can.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday Message

I bought my sewing machine used thirty years ago and used it to sew for my babies.

“As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001)

Everyone can be more prudent.

This is the time of year when we make a list of New Year's resolutions. This would be a good time to think what you can do to be more frugal, what skills we can learn and what we need to do to build our food storage.

Make a goal to get out of debt. Maybe it could start by not going into more debt. Put away credit cards. It might be hard especially in the beginning but skip what you might now use your cards on. Think to yourself how you could do it differently, like wait and pay cash or get it used or do without - could you do that?

Ask yourself, why do I want/need this? Now, be honest - is it an emergency? Is it to make yourself feel better? Do you feel you deserve it? Try to think about it. Ask yourself, how am I helping my family by not making this purchase? As a yard sale shopper I can tell you I have seen many things with the new price tags on them for ten cents. Really, that was not a frugal purchase; they only got one dime back.

I am a firm believer that used is the way to go to save on your budget. It is clear though if you have money and spend $25 on a blouse then sell it for a dime never having worn it, this might not be a frugal use of the that money.

I am not saying that having money is bad, I am not saying getting a blouse for that amount is bad. I am saying that if you are struggling, give this thought and also another thought - how many hours must you or spouse work for everything you purchase? What if you settled for less, so less has to be sacrificed. I have heard some say but I want the finer things in life... really, what is finer? Fancy new things or spending more time with family or spouse? What does it say when things are more important? Time for a rethink.

Make a plan.

Once you stop the extra spending then go for paying down what you owe. Take the smallest debt, get it paid off then tackle the next by using the amount you were paying and add the now money from the paid off thing and just keep going.

I saw a sewing program on Saturday that there is a group who helps teaching to mend clothes. I think mending is a skill that all should have. - this has so much good info. - this is very good. - this shows if you don’t have a sewing machine.

I think mending has been given  a bad rap. Instead, think you saved money that can go to benefit your family. You can see this as happy work. You are extending the life of the clothing and stretching your money.

I once was at a grocery store in Kalona, Iowa, and was behind a young married man. He was buying a huge fifty lb bag of potatoes but I was drawn to the patch on his pants. The patch was held on with the tiniest stitches by someone who loved him very much.

Though he probably did not have a lot of money I would say he was rich in what matters and rich to have a wife who knows how to mend.

This group also gives out used machines as well as teaching them to mend.

I bought my machine used thirty years ago and it was ten years old then, so it is forty years-old. I learned the skills of being able to clean and oil it. This machine I used to sew for my babies and as they grew. I still use it.

If you learn to mend you will save money and bless your family.

So I challenge you to learn to mend. Look over these sites and find more. A few years ago to do easy mends it was eight dollars each, harder mends and the price goes up.

So make this one of the first skills you take on.

Making do is a sign I keep on the fridge as a reminder.

What helps me is to do mending right away, keeping up is better then catching up.

Work with what you learn here. Even used clothes need mending so this is a huge skill with the less training.

Keep working on your skills, watch for inexpensive but working used sewing machine at thrift stores. Tell others what you are looking for, put it on freecycle that you are looking for a working sewing machine.

Keep putting in storage. When you get groceries, add doubles of things.

I am proud of you, I notice frugality and am proud of you!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Message

Apples are a great addition to food storage and can be used in so many recipes!

 (LDS Church Handbook 2, Section 6.1.1)
“Church members are responsible for their own spiritual and temporal well-being.....To help care for themselves and their families, members should build a three-month supply of food that is part of their normal diet. Where local laws and circumstances permit, they should gradually build a longer-term supply of basic foods that will sustain life. They should also store drinking water in case the water supply becomes polluted or disrupted."

What is your normal diet? Could you store it? Can you fix it for your family? Will it store well? Can you rotate it? Will it last in storage for a year?

It's important that food storage is part of your daily food. Just work storage things into your menu planning. Don’t wait for the emergency to use your storage, your family won’t eat it. Do you know when the church goes into other countries to give aid they ship in food they are used to eating?

It is winter - make oatmeal for breakfast put it in cake cookies and bread, apple crisp... see these are perfectly normal foods, so this makes oatmeal a great storage item.

This is what I am talking about, not oatmeal patties or worse.

When you use your storage it is just like a big pantry, use and replace.

Having dried apples is wonderful as they don’t take much room. Now add some to that oatmeal, use them to make apple crisp any time of year. Dried apples are a great item to store too, drying your own cuts that cost a lot.

This is what I am talking about. Whoever said food storage had to be icky?

I notice prices going up every month on groceries, not only here in the US but outside as well. Having storage helps with the pain of price increases.

I know you are all on Christmas right now but keep working on your storage. - ideas here - part four of the crochet 101 series. - I think this is so helpful in building your sewing skills.

Now for fun I saw these… - too cute - I love the marshmallow snowman in the hot cocoa. I think you will have fun making and eating these with family. I can see a family night making a pretzel manger and stable - fun!

Mostly keep in mind your goal is stay out of debt. Don’t be that person in cold dark January with excess bills coming in. Stay within your budget! We all want to do things for others, it is who we are, but others you do for don't want you further in debt.

This is a hard time of year for many people, there are so many acts of kindness that cost nothing.

If you are someone having a hard time know That Heavenly Father loves you and is aware of your circumstances and people around you love you too. You are never alone. Pick yourself up, smile in the mirror, I know someone will smile back. You will get through this test in life! Really, we do learn from these times. I am not just saying this. I have had hard times and most have, we learn from them, whether it is to make a cake from scratch to taking a family walk in the snow looking at all the lights - most memories are free.

Let others know you are having a hard time. Everyone should read this.

Instead of feeling bad for your situation, change that to a challenge. Roll up your sleeves and tackle it.

If anyone needs to have a great feeling give service, simple as that. Look for someone to help. They won’t be flagging you down, we tend to suffer in silence so pray who needs my help today.

Remember … don’t feel bad, you may be far from home, you may be struggling to just make it through the month. Whatever the problem, don’t feel less - you are not. Things happen in life. We may not have what others have, that is okay. Not everyone has those things either. Instead, remember why we celebrate Christmas. It isn’t giving or receiving gifts that matter at all.

On a lighter note...

I have a cat named Gus. He lived outside and we brought him in. He at first was skittish with every noise and would run and hide. We would watch a Star Trek movie and he would run and hide. I would watch a YouTube clip, he would run and hide. But as time went on noises don’t bother him and he is addicted to TV and really addicted to YouTube, he comes running to watch it.

But he is a smart cookie too…you have no idea. I will be working on the Monday Messages and out of nowhere comes a paw. He stretches it out and moves my screen. Yes, he has watched me swipe the screen and has learned how. He stretches those toes out and with the pad of his foot slides my screens, a stinker to be sure but he now knows how to start or stop YouTube clips. Sooo if Gus can learn things by gum so can we, so push on and be the best you can be. 
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