Monday, September 24, 2018

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)

I think watching all the storms you can see right off that the store shelves went empty and water runs out. This is something you can avoid by keeping your storage up. I think lots can be learned. 

I watched a podcast where a woman and her husband were talking of their preparations. They talked about heating soup over a candle for a big family (they have a large family). They talked about building with bricks and using the oven rack. I think that could work IF it weren’t raining as bad as it was going to be doing. So, give thought to what you would do. Waiting to the very last to do this won’t work. I did notice that she had been cooking ahead. That is good but try to have foods that don’t require cooking like peanutbutter and bread, things like that. They were saying they lose power all the time, makes one think. I know they just stocked a freezer. If it wasn’t totally full, freezing water in jugs can help in the freezer and in the refrigerator.

I keep saying no one wins with water. It will be work no mater what, so the best thing is help each other for sure. - this is a doable thing.

I have been redoing my kitchen cupboards. Upon doing this I noted that shelving needed to be reinforced. It was a huge job. I wanted to move my jars to a cupboard pictured below which had a lot of the cookbooks on it. So everything got moved around. Prime realty is what I call it. When rearranging things the most often used items get the prime spots in this case it really helped.

Also this week I took a jacket to a dress in….

I thought of several things I could try but finally chose this version. I took the patches off then I made two French seams, one on each side going from the front then over the shoulder and down the back. I pressed them with steam and the clapper tool then I reattached the patches right over the front seams. It looks like it was there from the beginning. I then took in the sleeves in the under arm seam.  That was my frugal sewing project for this week.

I was given these white bowls and plan to use them for my main mixing bowls. So they will live on my butcher block…prime realty for sure very handy. - this is my favorite site for making mixes.

I just want to point out the gluten-free section for those who need it. I chose this one to show how many are under the categories. I chose this one to show how you could use as a gift idea,  save that egg white when making this.

I keep egg whites in the freezer mostly for angel food cake then for meringues but they freeze wonderfully.

Again, I want to point out that cooking from scratch is best on the budget and healthier for you.

I use my crockpot a lot. I will fix supper while working on breakfast. It helps me sooooooo much on busy days. This helps with my fibromyalgia as well, by that time of day I am in lots of pain…

So let us know your favorite recipe for scratch cooking or crockpot recipe, we all benefit from each other.

My favorite chili so far is my aunt Marilyn Horn’s recipe..

-I brown and drain one pound of hamburger and put in my small crockpot.
-Two cans of tomato soup and one can of water
-One can partially drained dark red kidney beans
-One tsp dried onion
-One to two tsp chili powder, or to taste (my daughter does 1 1/2 Tbs. chili powder)
-I shake generously black pepper from my shaker, I do not salt until in my bowl as I find it gets saltier as it cooks.

Yum and is better leftover.

Do the best you can at putting in storage and supplies and finding frugal ways of doing things.

Monday, September 17, 2018

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)

"Way of life" I think sums it up pretty well. I don’t know about you but I feel like I have a crisis every week of late. July fourth we got huge rains flooding our basement - seven inches. It was way hard wet work. I worked hard preparing for if it happened again. Little did I know two months from that very day twelve inches would come in, this round more costly but it would have been a lot harder if that week in July I had not thought of things I could do to not have it so bad in the future and worked extra then making it a whole lot easier now.

Sacrificing time money and comfort for a future time of need sounds kind of like food storage doesn’t it?

A way of life…preparing for our future trying to make things better.

It is all hard work, not always wet work, but it could be.

I can tell you I could have done a commercial for vacuum sealing for I had sealed jars of food floating…sealing them kept it from ruining the food within.

I had an empty bucket sitting on the floor. I sat a bucket on that one to get to it later, it had pasta in it. Well water at twelve inches floated the bottom bucket and caused the pasta bucket to tip into the water and it was floating. Now I know some science is at work there, fill a five gallon bucket with pasta and lift…. it is really heavy. You would think the empty bucket would have been weighed down…nope not with twelve inches of water. 

We have been having so much rain our Relief Society president encouraged everyone to check on each other so I did that talking with one woman, she was getting in water but could keep wet vacuuming it up each day. She asked how we were, I said dry so far but at that very time twelve inches was already in. I went to check and booooo. Good thing I checked or a new in-basement pool would have been there by morning.

The bucket of pasta came out dry. I would not have thought so but it was a blessing for sure.

Also, water we got in was ground water which is way better than the sewer water...a big blessing.

So keep working on that storage. You just don’t know what is coming around that corner. I have no storage that is labeled when "bad things happen" storage. I have storage that is used daily. If something happens that makes it hard to get groceries and you were eating with us, you would not know anything had changed because we use it every day.

It is easier to get in as you go rather than all at once…way easier.

Same with your skills, build them as you go. When you learn a skill  keep on learning, add to what you learned.

Here is a way to make bias tape -

This week I was given peppers. With jalapeno peppers I take them off the stem end then freeze them whole. When I have a recipe that uses jalapeno peppers in it, I pull one out of the freeze, let it sit while I gather my ingredients. Then I chop the pepper while still very frozen. This is so easy and none of that really hot juice on your hands.

The red chili peppers pictured at the top I tied in a hanging strand. You can also string on thread like beads and hang them to dry. Once dried I crush up and put in a jar. We like these on pizza or in recipes that call for them. The orange and green peppers I chop and freeze for using in recipes.

I was given this green vase which I use to store my short knitting needles. Have you ever thought you could decorate with your supplies? Well this shows you can.

Same with my emergency candles pictured here…

You already know I decorate with oil lamps. They look attractive but are way more useful as oil is stored in them. They are just waiting for another power outage. - these can be made with equal parts water and mix and are good that way but even better the way she does them.

Mixes are great to have on hand. For some reason fall makes me in the mood to get my mixes made up.

Having your mixes ready is great as a frugal thing and also great to help make your meals fast.

So keep working as you can, the best you can.

Monday, September 10, 2018

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)

We are finally getting cooler weather here in central Iowa. 

It is an off year for my fruit trees so less canning for me. Instead, I have been vacuum sealing and working on my skill building. Later in the fall I will take all the raspberries I froze and make jam.

Now is the time that I've started working on Christmas gifts (more on that further down below). Are you getting ready?

I was able to stop in at a thrift store this last week and found a few good buys…

I found these circular knitting needles which are very good quality and as you can see the prices I paid are on the backs, a price I can afford - 59 cents each!

I also found these yarn bobbins - ten cents for seven, great frugal finds! This goes into adding to my supplies. - this would be a great thing to know. - this would be useful to make.

It really is time to start making gifts for Christmas. I like to get mine done and mailed before Thanksgiving that way I get to enjoy the season.

Instead of getting gifts for each other, my husband and I eat a favorite meal out but if we cannot this year I will fix one at home that we love. Then we have a set amount of money we can spend to go to the used bookstore.

Being frugal should not make you feel deprived! Don’t let it. This leads to anger and no one needs that in their family. This is where being content is a real blessing.

We all have traditions but when they become so costly it's time to make new ones on a frugal level. There are so many inexpensive ones that are fun.

The Cox family makes the best chocolate covered peanuts, lucky are the people on their list for those. The Shooks would love to be on that list :p

Keeping expensive traditions that are too much on the budget is unwise, instead look for new inexpensive ones.

One of our traditions is to have chili and cinnamon rolls on General Conference weekend which is coming up.

Sometimes it is fun to find recipes for things you would ordinarily purchase. Like pumpkin pie spice…

You can find my recipe here -

I one time had the best sopapillas at a restaurant. They were sooooo good but I kept trying to make them like they did, well just as I figured it out they went out of business. It was puff pastry they cut in triangles, fried, then served with drizzled honey and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are so very good. I refrain from making them but they are so good. Making them at home was way cheaper than what we paid at that restaurant.

So try and play with recipes that get you close, you might find you like yours better. Also try a new recipe a week.

I have read so many recipes in my life that I can read the ingredients and I can tell if they are good or bad.

Try grinding your own wheat. Have your family help you mix it with white flour or cooked wheat berries. 

Make your own bread...

I was told at the storehouse by a worker that if you store wheat you need to store wheat gluten or you will have wheat bricks, you need to use it so that your bread will get the rise. Like this pic:

Take the time to teach your kids to bake bread, it will be a skill they'll always have.

As you grind your wheat together use it mixed with white flour to make a bread dough, let it rise and then shape like rolls. Let the kids do their own, then have them flatten their roll. Fry them and drizzle with honey and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Everyone loves fry bread. This way everyone learns and everyone helps just like with the little red hen.

Fun can be so cheap plus it makes a memory that lasts forever.

How are you coming on your skill building? We got our small town’s little newsletter the other day and I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the churches here in town has a day planned for people to come and learn skills like sewing, quilting, knitting, baking bread, etc… I was glad to see others take these skills seriously too. We better our lives by learning them.

Seems like things today are so fast paced, so instant that sometimes it is hard to remember to slow down.

Time to start working on your gifts… - this has some great beginner projects if this is a skill you are building.

Keep working on your storage and supplies and keep building those skills.

Monday, September 3, 2018

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)

I hope each of you are actively working on building your storage. It is hard not to notice the calamities happening and noting how fast store shelves empty. I get it, when money is low it is easy to put things off till you have to get it. But when you see all those people frantic to get supplies in before a storm…think about if you had gotten them in as part of your storage over time. You would be home preparing your house for the storm instead of standing in line trying to get supplies. Knowing you have tended things is a calming peace.

I got corn syrup the other day and it felt lighter. I looked at it, turning the bottle to see it better I noticed that they also did the bottom trick.

I measured water and it was just under half a cup less in the bottle - less product, more cost.

I guess higher prices are here to stay. I know our income hasn’t increased by half a cup. This is just one item. Were it just one item it wouldn’t be a big deal but it is a lot of items and every bit adds up to you having less for other things. I have been noting less variety in all the stores, products that were once there are not anymore.

So if you don’t cook from scratch now is the time to revisit that.  You have to admit it tastes better and you can do it in the same amount of time if not less.

This week I made a batch of vanilla yogurt...

This is the recipe I used:


3 c. water
1 1/3 c. powdered milk
2 heaping tbsp. of yogurt with live active culture (this week I used vanilla yogurt as my starter)

I mix this together and put in my cups to yogurt maker

Now if you do not have a yogurt maker do not fret. Use an ice chest. Put your yogurt into jars with lids, place in the ice chest. Take a quart jar and fill it with the hottest tap water you have. Do not put a lid on this jar. Place it in the ice chest too and then put the lid on the ice chest. Leave them overnight. If they are not set up, then empty the water and fill as before and replace the lid on the ice chest. Check in a couple of hours, do this till set.

Having the ingredients on hand makes this easy for me.

I also tried a granola recipe this week to be like what we had at that bed and breakfast in Clear Lake where we stayed during my husband's gallery exhibit… the granola was so good and turned out easier than the easy one I usually do.

I had all the ingredients on hand to try this. It was easy to do. Next time I want to try it with just regular pancake syrup to see what difference it makes.

How are you coming on your skills??

I was able to get some used dresses in my size but they were way too long for me so I hemmed them. Glad I know how, it saves so much money.

Along with that, I again bring up supplies. I can’t stress enough having supplies. I had thread, colors I needed, needles, scissors and sewing machine.

Yard sale season will soon be wrapping up then you will just have thrift stores to gather supplies.

Of course, you can pay store prices too but living frugal is what I am all about. I know it is a way of life for me and it works with our income. It takes our income and stretches it to go farther to make things even out.

Being a wise steward over what you have is the goal.

Try living on half of what you make and save the rest as a challenge.

Also, you could do a low spend month. Do you have things on hand that you could do this?

Many people fill their earnings with spending till before they know it they are trapped into having to have that amount of money to make ends meet. Then it doesn’t take much to put you behind, then you are on the hamster's wheel and it's very hard to get off. Not impossible, but a very hard job.

Goes back to wants vs. needs. Being content is such a great thing. I know everything is shoved in our faces - get this, buy that - they show the happy looking person buying this and that, very seldom do you see the hardship of that purchase on tv. It is not right but that is how they do it.

So even if you make plenty of money every month, learn what you can do if you didn’t.

Keep learning skills that are needed.

Do you store wheat? Do you have a grinder? Do you know how to grind wheat?  Do you know how to use your wheat?

If you cannot eat wheat do you have what you can eat stored?

If you cannot eat eggs do you know what to do to cook without them?

You might have other food allergies. You need to stock what you can eat just like storing things you like verses don’t likes. If no one in your house likes tuna don’t store tuna. No one will eat it. Stop saying they will if they are hungry enough. Store your food based on things your family does like in storable food…remember too that you need to rotate it!

Keep working on your frugal living and storage building and skills you are trying to learn. Share with us what you are doing. Do the best you can!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday Message

"Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of food because of their foresight and ability to produce their own." (Ezra Taft Benson) - here are some ideas on storage containers. Look around on their site - great recipes! - I was in the car listening to this on the radio and it really made me think, how exactly do we prepare for this? Does this mean more flooding next year, more tornadoes? My heart goes out to those who are being affected with all that is going on now.

When I was working on our flooded basement I did some preventative measures but is anything ever enough to really tend it permanently?

This is why it is so important to stand ready to help others. I know we really appreciated all the help we got.

How are you coming with your skills? I know Christmas is looming large and I have felt the need to kick it in high to get going on gifts…to that end, I saw this and thought of you wanting to work on your sewing skills - I thought that this might a good skill builder project and a gift to give as well.

How are you coming on building your food storage binder? It is not just enough to get your storage in, you have to know how to use it!  Here again I will stick in my reminder that having things on the computer is nice but having hard copies is wise, just take time to print them off and add to your binder. - she has wonderful information on her site for food storage. - here she talks about getting storage.

We have been so busy for so long getting my husband's art exhibit ready for show. Now that it is up I find myself wore out… do you have a worn out plan? Do you have meals that you can fix that will be easy if you are worn out so you won’t be tempted to spend the money you can be using for bills or storage items? I am so worn out I don’t even want to eat but I always have on hand some easy fix meals. I put chili in the crockpot and by supper I will be happy for having done so. But I am serious about having a plan for when you are worn out or sick.

It really is a nice show. - here she shows how to have menus for your storage. Each of us will store differently so these are just to be an example to you. Make them to fit your family’s likes. I can tell you salmon is not an item I have as I hate it, you get the idea.

In my storage you will find dried apples and canned mushrooms…so it is very individualized.

Being able to make what you want is key…

The Clear Lake Art Center is where the show is at in Iowa and they put us up in a bed and breakfast while we were hanging the art. It was called the Large Pine Inn, a wonderful place. Well one part of breakfast was cinnamon swirl bread made into French toast, it all was wonderful.

I mention this because it was wonderful and to say that having things stored to make our own is kind of great, so think about your storage and is it kind of great? Try to make it so.

No matter what comes at us, we will push on doing storage. It kind of takes some of the sting out of the trial.

Do the best you can.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Monday Message

"I have on occasion cited the need for many reservoirs in our lives to provide for our needs. I have said, “Some reservoirs are to store water. Some are to store food, as we do in our family welfare program and as Joseph did in the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty. There should also be reservoirs of knowledge to meet the future needs; reservoirs of courage to overcome the floods of fear that put uncertainty in our lives; reservoirs of physical strength to help us meet the frequent burdens of work and illness; reservoirs of goodness; reservoirs of stamina; reservoirs of faith.

"Yes, especially reservoirs of faith, so that when the world presses in upon us, we stand firm and strong; when the temptations of a decaying world about us draw on our energies, sap our spiritual vitality, and seek to pull us down, we need a storage of faith that can carry youth, and later adults, over the dull, the difficult, the terrifying moments; disappointments; disillusionments; and years of adversity, want, confusion, and frustration.

. . .Parents. .are expected to lay foundations for their children and to build the barns and tanks and bins and reservoirs." (President Spencer W. Kimball)

This quote reminds me of the children’s book Fredrick...

It is about a group of mice gathering food for the winter, all but one who seems to be resting. They would ask him why he wasn’t helping  and he would say he was gathering stories, another time he was gathering colors and yet he was gathering warmth from the sun. Winter hits and is long, their food starts to run low. One of the mice asks, what about Fredrick’s storage? So he shares the things he stored warmth of the sun helped them thru the cold winter the colors helped through the gray days and the stories helped them through the long winter too.

Everyone is important and lots can be done when we work together. 

This week I made two tops, both were from free tutorials… - this is the tutorial I used. This is the first part. It has eight so look to find the second one on the side bar or at the bottom. - this is the first of seven parts.

It was helpful to do these with the class. I plan to use these patterns again as I like how they turned out.

I have the confidence to add pockets or different accents but for now I have to work on Christmas gifts. - this is fantastic to learn about seams. - this is a great tutorial.

How are you coming on your skills?

Do you have sprouting seeds in your storage? I just want to say radish sprouts are my favorite. - some good info on sprouting. - this has some great info. I liked the decorating on a budget section. - I like number nine. - this has quite a list. It was fun to go through the list to see how many things I know how to do and how many things I will never do as well.

Building our skills is very very important. We may never ever do a lot of the things on that list but there are a lot that we do need to learn. Being frugal is essential. Not wasting what we have is huge. Find ways to reuse things.

Life is going to get interesting and the more we can learn and teach our kids these things the better off we will be.

Keep working on your skills, your storage, and supplies…do the best you can.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

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)

I saw this article the other day…

It made me think if everything goes up much higher it will really be tight.

I know with dollar stores and such you can get cheap wash cloths but really they do not last long. So before you get rid of that old towel cut it up for rags or...better yet cut into wash cloth sizes and use your sewing skills. Serge around edges and you will have cloths that out live the cheap cloths and did not cost but a little thread and fifteen minutes. Yes, I timed it :p

It might be a good time to make:

Reusable paper towels…

Cloth hankies…

Cloth napkins…

Cloth pads…

While I don’t want to have to do this ever in my life time it might useful info at some point:

Cloth toilet paper… - Renaissance Homemaker - I love this gal, she is really down to earth.

This is what I won from one of her giveaways ( she made the apron. What a wonderful job! Plus she included a signed copy of her book. this is her channel on YouTube - a big thank you to Bethany!

I was thinking about the above article before falling asleep that night, about what things I use that might go up with tariffs and bread bags popped into my head. I reuse my bags till they wear out and eventually they do wear out. Well, I was thinking I guess I have a big bowl with a lid then I fell asleep and dreamed of a plastic bread keeper. The next day when I was at the reuse it place I saw this plastic bread keeper just like in my dream. It was free so I grabbed it hmmmm. So if the prices on bread bags go higher than our very small budget can work in, I can use this.

When you run across things that could be useful try and pick them up. I look at things, turning them over in my head thinking worth it for it’s usefulness or just more junk, how can I use it?? What can it do to help me?? It has to pay for its storage.

Again the talk…want vs need….that's one of those questions here too.

You may never have to have a budget as tight as ours but you cannot know for sure and better safe than sorry I say.

How do I teach myself? Well it is a lot easier than it used to be. You can check out books from the library or see what free YouTube videos on the topic there is, This really has helped me with the tatting. I like getting books on the topic and lots can be found at yard sales and thrift stores. I have even gotten them free on There may be other places out there but this is the one I know about so I have a very big kindle library…. That being said, I am big on hard copies as well. My favorite book store is half price books. I have found many good books in their sale area for a dollar. We only go on very special days like birthdays, anniversaries etc.

So I read all I can on the topic and then try my hand at it.

I can watch YouTube and back up and watch again until I learn it.  Also, I have been gifted and occasionally have bought classes.  When there are five dollar sales, I have, if I can, gotten a class. One I got on weaving has been very helpful as the teacher was excellent and had wonderful shortcuts. It was They run those sales often and not just weaving. They also have books on those sales.  

I also have been gifted for birthdays or Mother’s Day Craftsy classes. While these are more expensive they do have sales but not as cheap as the five dollar ones, however, they do have a few free ones so check those out too.  

Our library in Ames has a room for selling books for just a few dollars and I have gotten tatting and weaving books for just a couple dollars, same with getting books that are used online…always check used first!

I already have most supplies needed as they all seem related and as I have gone yard selling over these many years.

Do not rule out thrift stores. It takes a bit of time but if you are patient do some digging, you may find things to build up your supplies. I have recently found patterns that were fifteen cents each! I have also seen fabric, sewing notions, books, knitting supplies, so use your frugal skills and keep an eye out.

This is an example of how far at yard sales your money goes...

The little red chair was a dime. I asked several times to be sure and yes, it was a dime. It had a ten cent sticker on it. Well it came to live here and the doll with her doll was a dime at another yard sale. I made the little quilt from scraps so that was free… so for twenty cents and some fabric scraps I have a cute thing to decorate my home.

These threads I got years ago for ten cents a piece and I keep them in this tin I got for 25 cents.

I just wanted you to see that you can, with a little bit of work, build up supplies. If you go back through the blog posts you will see just about everything I have gotten used for very little.

So put to use your frugal skills and see what you can learn and do.  Keep working on your storage and skills too.
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