Monday, April 23, 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 was able to get a few groceries this week and oh my have prices gone high! Not only that but quite a few things have gone away and are no longer in the stores. Plus, the Sam's Club in our area has quit selling cheddar cheese in five pound blocks, now they sell just two pound blocks.  

I did get my one storage item - a 25 pound bag of flour, the price for that was down a bit so that was good. However, I went to Aldi and looked for shortening. They had several brands and places for vegetable oil but no shortening. I asked the checker who went to look then called his boss about it. His reply was that it was seasonal…. No, it's not seasonal. I informed his boss it was no more seasonal than gas for your car.  

I guess the point of me sharing this with you is to show you that a shortage can be from something like this, it doesn’t even need to be a world event. I was just getting it to put in storage, it wasn’t an immediate need but for another person it might be. That was why I bothered to inform them. I checked at another store and they had only about six cans of just the major brand, no other option, and it was $5.79 which I thought was up too much for me. So check your prices as you shop to help you know what they run.

I cannot stress enough that having your storage going is more important than ever. Hand-in-hand with that is living frugally and building on your skills. I heard an older woman say her skills have saved her so much over the years. - this looks like an easy sew pattern, it would help with your sewing skills. - this is fantastic, it shows building skills in using food storage to make great buttermilk biscuits with no buttermilk.

I think it is such great thing to learn how to make do with what you have on hand. For example, you don’t have to run to the store to get buttermilk. But there are so many things just like that if we learn them we could save so much.

As groceries continue to rise in price the more things we can cook from scratch, the better we will be able to manage. Wages rarely keep up with the increase in food prices. This is why over the years I have picked up cookbooks that help in making food stretch and making from scratch. 

I know we have the internet but please keep a hard copy!

How many of you have been killing time in the checkout line? You pick up a magazine turn it to the great looking recipe from the front cover only to find out that there are twenty ingredients listed... this is sadly the case with most. That is why I suggest you get the older church-type cookbooks. Any church or other organization even schools, hospitals, music schools, even radio channels they all have everyone’s favorite recipes.

I just pulled these four, two happen to be from Methodist churches, one from Ames, Iowa, and one from Forest City, Iowa. I have many different church cookbooks. The other two are a women's business cookbook and one from Story City Memorial Hospital. 

I wanted you to see the year on the one 1985 the hospital is 1984 and the yellow one I wanted you to see the price I paid - 25 cents! So look around, even a dollar is a good price. I opened the book to show you how they usually look. Each recipe has the person’s name who donated the recipe… I just randomly opened the book to the page below, you can see that these recipes don’t have twenty ingredients. They usually take ingredients you most likely already have on hand. Real recipes I say.

This recipe for Texas Hash is from the 1985 cookbook from Forest City. I wanted to show you how easy this recipe is, not to mention I could make this recipe with my storage. 

So don’t pass up these types of cookbooks thinking they're old fashioned and with no pictures. I say, exactly! That is why they are the best, it usually means before computers. And pictures that look great don’t always taste good.

I suggest you sit with one of these books and a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and look through. I can go from front to back but have been known to hit breads then casseroles often times too.

This is just one of the frugal things I do.

Let us know what frugal things you do, we all love ideas!

Do the best you can at storage building and skill building and being frugal.

Monday, April 16, 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)

What do you have in your pantry to help you in time of need?

How can you build up your storage? - do you eat out one time a week? Read this to see how you can use that $10 to build your storage. - this is doable and you don’t need to worry if you don’t live close, you can have it shipped.

I mentioned to pick up something for storage each time you go into a store - believe me, you probably go into stores a lot.

There are other wonderful things you can get in that store you go into... peanutbutter for example.

How are you coming on your skills? I've talked about learning to make sourdough bread. If you are gluten free, but not celiac, this would help you with your bread as the sourdough breaks down the gluten… check into this as it would be helpful to try and see if you can do well on it.

Here's where I've been trying to learn more about making sourdough - 

I wanted to do color work with my knitting which is another skill I am working on.

Here is my progress on that front.

Because of my double ear infection I needed a better way of seeing my pattern while weaving so that I would not get so dizzy. After thinking on it for hours I found that if I dropped a clothespin in an already existing hole (as I did not want to hurt my antique loom) I could open the clothespin just enough to slide my paper in after writing a type of shorthand these numbers represent the pedals in order I press them with my feet.  This is for the honeysuckle pattern. I put a clip on to move to where I am on the pattern. This was a blessing. Sometimes we have to think it through to come up with just the right thing.

The other skill I am working on is pictured at the top of the page - tatting. I have been teaching myself with the use of the internet.

That is a lot to be working on but I spread them out.

I hope you are working on your skills? Please share them with us no matter how you might think it is not important because yes, it is! And we will all get inspired and we can all cheer each other on! - these are sooooo yummie.

So work on your storage and work on your skill building and work on being more frugal.

Monday, April 9, 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)

A way of life I like and somehow it feels cozy.

Just like I have been saying, when you go in a store pick up one thing for storage, even a box of gelatin or a box of band aides. It all adds up. Also, build those skills one at a time and they too will add up.

There are so many things we take for granted because of the ease of getting them. We should never slack on being sure to get our storage in, our family depends on us.

How are you set on needle and thread? This should be very much part of your storage. Clothes will always need mending.

Think of your storage as being a little store that if well stocked you can go to in a time of need and can get what is needed without money, because when you are in need you have NO money.

Think the same way with your skills, the more you know how to do for yourselves the less you have to pay for. The means may not allow you to get those services.

Play the "what if game" in your head. Like if I had no money could I just mend our clothes? Yes, you could barter but with what? And the other thing is that maybe others are in a bad spot too. So knowing how to mend is a good skill to have. Then plan that out and make it happen.

Putting things off is your enemy! It will make things harder on your family. Learn to do before you need it. - there are good things here to think on. - this will be helpful. - how to sew on a button. - how to mend a hole.

When gathering supplies don’t forget pressing tools. You will need to press as you sew.

You will notice the big pincushion I made, won’t be losing that one :p but it is an example that if you build your skills you can just see something and be inspired to make your own. I saw a friend's pincushion, it was big with some embroidery on it, her's was 80 years-old. I loved it but put my own twist on it. - patching clothes - very good on how to darn. - how to replace a heel in a sock.

Once you gather your supplies keep them organized.

Keeping things organized saves money too.

As I write this I am suffering with a double ear infection - definitely not fun! As you read this it will have been two weeks ago with the ear infections.

So I used the time to organize my knitting notions….

I got this bag a few years ago at a yard sale. It was a fishing gadget bag turned knitting gadget bag. I have seen them at Walmart in the sports section that is how I knew what it was. This holds four plastic containers

Here is how I am coming with working up the dishcloths.

This is a great skill to have and I am glad to be able to make them.

So keep working on your storage and take the time to learn skills maybe perhaps some that I shared here.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Monday Message

(Ezra Taft Benson, October 1973)
“The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.”

I think about all the preparation it must have taken and elephant pies to have to clean up, oh dear! :p

But really, Heavenly Father warned Noah and Noah followed faithfully tending to every need. How are we doing on our storage?

Are we not living in uncertain times?

It was not so long ago that our ancestors lived their lives in hard and uncertain times. We need to follow their example.  They put food away for the lean times. How did we get away from that? Is it from the ease of getting what we need? You can just walk in the store and there you go, you don't even need to prepare it either.

Lots of people are one check away from having no job.

Health problems are lurking the older we get. 

How long could you manage with just what you have in house??

It is hard for us to think nothing could possibly go wrong. We live in a different time. Oh, we live in a different time, alright, but more can go wrong… do you have house insurance? Why?

Just think that the Venezuelan people probably thought nothing could go wrong… I saw them say that the average weight loss for the people there is 25 lbs. That is sad, in this day no one should have this happen.

Stocking up is easier than it sounds. What do you eat? Stock it as you can.

I am a huge believer in canning, as you well know. Whether you have a garden or not, it is such an important skill. You would want to start collecting items to be able to can. 

Pressure canners - your grandma may have one and may be done canning and would love to pass it down, or you can find a used one. I like the one that doesn’t use a rubber gasket but I have one with a rubber gasket, you just need to replace it every couple years and if you get one used have them tested at your local hardware. If they can’t do it then check with your county extension.

You can also replace the gauge works. I paid fifteen dollars when I last got this replaced on mine.

You will need lids and rings. I try to get those when I get groceries. I will pick these up all year round but eventually I only need lids, the rings are reusable.

Jars - I have put up signs at the library that I was looking for free canning jars. I have gotten them from freecycle, yard sales and people downsizing.

Haunt your yard sales, thrift shops etc. The steamer canner pictured here was three dollars at a yard sale and had never been out of the box - they usually run about thirty dollars.

You can also use a water bath canner.

Why do I think this is huge? As long as you have your equipment you will be able to can your food and having reusable jars are more sustainable. Canning is a frugal skill to learn.

Other things you should be looking for are dehydrators. If you go to a farmers market or grow your own, this is the item to have. You will now be able to dry your leftover produce like the last five grapes or those apples that no one will eat.

This brings me to free food, when you are cleaning celery don’t throw those cast offs. Wash and dry them on a plate if you have no dehydrator. Same with grating rinds from oranges and lemons and limes. I call these things free food. I bet you can think of others.

Vacuum sealers also help to store food. I have gotten several at yard sales and Goodwill. This helps store dry items (also uses canning jars).

Gathering dry goods you need like popcorn, oats, pasta and grains the frugal way I do that I have mentioned before. But I will go to bakeries and get their food buckets and I washed and dried them completely. This is an inexpensive way to put in bulk.

I put bay leaves in the buckets that have grains like flours, rice, wheat, pasta etc.

This is a frugal way to start getting things in.

So no matter your finances you can accomplish what you desire.

Keep reminding yourself why you're doing it.

REMEMBER: Never set your buckets directly on concrete floors put wood down first!! - I love these gals - don’t throw out those apples left in the bag.

I dehydrate them for oatmeal or granola or apple crisp, yes, from dried apples. Put on your frugal hat and think how to be more frugal with the food that we spend hard earned money to get.

So now you have several ways to get started, do the best you can.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Monday Message

(President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference Oct 1980 "Prepare for the Days of Tribulation", now as the prophet offering his own remarks and in addition repeating many quotes from past prophets and apostles) - 

"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."

“There are blessings in being close to the soil, in raising your own food even if it is only a garden in your yard and a fruit tree or two. Those families will be fortunate who, in the lasts days, have an adequate supply of food because of their foresight and ability to produce their own.”

It is coming up on planting time here in central Iowa. It is safe to plant after May 15, so you should make a plan.

How are you being frugal and how are you coming on your skill building?

For me, I am still working on the hat and mittens from taking the craftsy class on their free weekend.

Here is a clever tip - I use this board that was made for lockers that I got used. It holds my patterns with a strip of magnet. I put ribbons on it to make me smile :)

Now, I have lots of ribbon and so on my second board I keep many strips I have made to keep them handy. I got all of them at yard sales over the years. The boards were given to me. The magnetic strips I have in rolls and partial rolls which I laid flat on metal till they stopped wanting to roll.

I have been doing some spinning.

One sleepless night I did some sewing. I was given some dresses a couple of years ago. They had slits and I hate slits. So I matched colors and zigzagged the slits. These are big enough on me that I don’t need the slits to walk or sit.

I also had gotten a flannel dress for free but it was too short for me so I was able to make a shirt out of it instead.

So that was frugal sewing using a skill.

One of the things I want to learn is how to use the many feet, old ones as well as newer ones.

The sewing feet go with my Kenmore. On my list of skills to learn is figuring out how to use each of these feet. - they have a few tech problems but stay with them. I have been following her step by step to do sourdough. I have tried to do sourdough for many years and failed each time so watching this has helped me learn what went wrong. So this is an area that I am trying to learn. I have so far had success in starting the starter and plan to try her bread Friday night and Saturday.  It would be good to learn and have success with this. 

So these are some of the things I have been doing to build skills and be frugal. What have you been doing? Let us know. - I think it would be good if you research her bread information. Look at the items on the left. This lady is fantastic. So what is the window pain test, do you know? She will tell you. If you know the answer you are probably a bread baker.

If you do not know the answer, read here: - this woman shows how to make hamburger buns, has an accident with sesame seeds but it is helpful. She is making her supper so keep watching to the buns.

Both of these ladies sell their baked goods at local farmer’s markets. See how helpful their skills are to their families? Not only do they make things for meals but make income with these skills as well.

We may never need our skills for making income but we can bless our family with them every day.

Before we had kids and we were living in South Dakota, my husband was in the military and we were still very young, the county had a great program where they sent this lady on request. She would come and teach us how to do things. You invited friends and she would come teach and cook. I remembered this one time she told how you could shred and dry carrots. This was wonderful to me but she was also teaching how to make noodles. I was equally excited for it. She fixed a broth and threw them in, I loved it. She let us each taste it.

But before everyone came she asked me what church I belonged to and I told her The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She said I thought so. I thought, how? She said because I loved learning new things and it seemed like everyone she met from the church was wanting to learn. Of course, I am thinking everyone she taught was wanting to learn since her teaching was by invitation but it makes me think we all should never give up learning, there is so much to learn. Yes, I still love learning new things.

Keep building your storage and finding how you can be more frugal. Work on your skills and share with us what your working on.

Monday, March 19, 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)

Being frugal is hugely helpful so learn all you can on how to be frugal. It will take effort to read and learn different ways but in the end the skill will be yours. For sure, living on less is a skill worth developing no matter where you are on the income scale.

Some great books to read are….

Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn - she put out three then did a compiled one.

Make-A-Mix Cookery by Aliason, Harward, and Weston - they had two then put out a third kind of compilation.

Bakers Flower by Kate Manning - this is one mix and a whole cookbook using the mix.

These are a few you could try to get through your libraries.

Some helpful sites… - she has a great site for being frugal. - she also has books Miserly Moms and Miserly Meals are the two I have but are the old versions. I love her granola recipe best and she makes granola bars with this granola too. I find their site a bit harder to maneuver so I put this on the saving on your groceries one. I love watching their videos…you see the blueberry pancakes. This one you get a baking mix recipe.  Just had those this week - wonderful! The pocket sandwiches were made from this mix too. They have books too - Dining on a Dime. Then they have frugal ebooks too. They are generous to show and post recipes from their book… - great to get food storage at great prices. We use when we can. Our closest is two and a half hours away but I love the powdered milk and potato pearls best but I love all the products I have tried. Love the white wheat and the instant refried beans. Just really good prices for stocking up.

I am sharing these with you as I have found them helpful in my frugal living, not as an ad. See if you can get through your libraries to be more frugal.

If you have frugal books that you like share titles with us all. - here I show making curtains from a shower curtain. Those are the red ones, the blue ones before were made out of napkins. Frugal idea. I have done curtains before from sheets and now I use sheets in rugs.

There are ways anyone can be frugal no matter who they are.

One way I was frugal was craftsy had a free weekend you could take classes from them for free on that weekend. One of the classes I took was a hat and mitten class.

This is how far I have gotten. I learned two color cast on and corrugated ribbing. It will have matching mittens. There are caribou waiting to be put on to the hat next.

So look around for things you can learn that will be frugal. Besides this class, I learned spinning techniques, how to dye, how to make baguettes and learned many things. I think they do this a couple times a year.

Gus kitty recommends books that will help you to be frugal. Some of these books I have had before we had a computer in our home. But that being said I feel you should have a library at home made with the old-fashioned way…paper. Yep, hard copies as well as digital. Same with your recipes - hard copies. I am not demeaning the digital age but I like hard copy back-ups…and I love books.

There are always ways to frugalize what we do. Yes, I just made up that word ;)

We should squelch the temptation to just buy all the time. It might take longer but its well worth the journey to learn new skills. Stretch a penny till it screams for mercy :p

Do the best you can! And let us know what frugal things you are up to. We all learn from others.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Message

"We want you to be ready with your personal storehouses filled with at least a year’s supply. You don’t argue why it cannot be done; you just plan to organize and get it done" (Spencer W. Kimball, August 1976)

The Time to Disregard This Counsel Is Over

"As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. . . . I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With the events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness. . . . Create a plan if you don't already have one, or update your present plan . . . 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." (L. Tom Perry, in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 47; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 36)

It is time to take stock of where you are on your storage and skill building. Some skills are fast to learn, others take a lifetime but keep working on them!

I continue to work on dishcloths to replace mine. I have started on my box of gifts for next Christmas.

My fibromyalgia is in a huge flare right now and makes me slower but I keep pressing on.

I have been blessed over the years to go to yard sales and thrift shops. I have stored items that we would need for a huge savings because I was willing to purchase used. It took time and work to go to sales but you have to know you are doing it for your family.

What have I gotten to help us?

Oil lamps - it seems you can always find them. Once I got them I did not stop there. I got oil and wicks for the lamps, not all at same sale but I new I would need to look for them and we have been blessed with them many times. Like in the scriptures, I keep my lamps with oil in them. They are at the ready. So go the extra effort to be prepared.

Bread pans - I have gotten my pans from yard sales and thrift stores. There is no way I could afford to get them if I could find them now. Most were ten cents each. At thrift stores I have also found French bread pans, pans to make burger buns, a pan to make sandwich bread, pans that are twice as long, pans for roll making, a pan that slides as long as you want, and pans down to tiny. I also found a bread machine as well.

Cake pans of every type from angel food down to tiny cheese cake pans and everything between.

Mixing bowls, stainless steel bowls, bread bowls.

Crepe maker, waffle irons, even one that makes panini sandwiches and one that turns into a griddle.

Knitting needles and crochet hooks, yarn, knitting machine, sewing machines, fabrics and sewing notions, electric blanket king size for ten cents that we have used for years.

Cookbooks - my favorite bread cookbook was $35 for new, I got it at a yard sale for five cents.

Food savers, canner, steamer canner, jars....

I could go on and on but I wanted you to know that getting things used is just a great tool for being frugal and is a huge budget saver.

I have shown you my bread but there are so many more out there. I thought you might like some different ways you can make bread that being said I want to remind you: one cup of all purpose flour and one tsp of vital wheat gluten makes bread flour!

Also, I selected YouTube videos that take more fiddling to those that take very little. The variations will have you doing great breads at home. - bread, just another version. - how to make baguettes. - ciabatta bread - no knead rolls - ciabatta rolls - sandwich rolls using little pans - baguettes - pretzel bites

I feel that knowing how to make bread and storing the items to make it is a huge boost to skills and storage. Continue to work on both!
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