Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Needle felting

I tried my hand at needle felting. One of these bearded fellows is a Swedish tomte and the others are Norwegian nisses (basically wee folk from Scandinavian folklore). I also tried a little leprechaun. Overall, they were fun projects and made for some really cute Christmas gifts.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Message

Me in the apron my dear friend Liza made for me.

"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. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son" (Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 89; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 73).

This message comes out after Christmas hoping that you were able to have quality family time and that you got to have time to reflect on Jesus.

In a few days it will be a new year. Have you taken a few minutes to think about what you want to accomplish this year??

If not, grab a pen and paper and sit down with me. Get a cup of hot cocoa and go through this Monday Message.

 Make a list of your skills…

See, you have lots you don’t think about! Pat yourself on the back, you are doing great!

I am not one who makes an impossible to-do list without a plan B. My plan B is that what I don’t get done just remains on my list. I think life has stress enough without my causing impossibly tight deadlines then feel rotten about myself for not getting it done.

So set goals work towards them but don’t beat yourself with them!

I have been asked to sew a pretty white dress for my granddaughter’s baptism… this will be in March. Up to this point I have collected the items together to accomplish this.

I have Fibromyalgia which is very painful and causes much fatigue as well. Before I got this I was energetic, could do things in one hour with what now takes me three days. How I explain this to those who just get this diagnoses is… you have a bowl with ten marbles in it, you cannot save the ten marbles. When your ten marbles are gone your done, you cannot borrow from tomorrow's ten marbles. The marbles represent your energy - so getting up, showered and dressed, fixing breakfast, takes three marbles. Now you have seven left. Think about a regular day of laundry, cleaning, cooking, doctor appointments, errands, etc. You have seven marbles to ration for the rest of the day…how do you do that?? 

Break down the tasks into steps. Someone without fibro will say, "I have to run and get groceries"… and they might even want to have them done by a certain time. A fibro person has to think of the marbles… I have to get in the car -ouch- I have to drive to store -ouch- get out of car -ouch- walk through the really big store -ouch- then there are heavy things like a bag of flour or sugar or gallon of milk or laundry soap. If you are wise you went to a store that unloads from the cart then bags and carries and puts them in your car. Then drive again but this time you are huge ouch, get out of car -ouch worse- then carry in groceries, even with help it hurts, then to put things away. By this time all my marbles are gone but I press on and fix supper.

How do you do this? For me, if I can I try to plan and only go once a month, I plan an easy supper and usually easy meals the next day since I will pay with pain for the overdoing or big projects. I used to do things fast and many things I can hardly remember but I helped build the addition. I know more than I wanted to about construction. I helped shingles. I remember going to sleep at night and waking up ready to go get big projects done… Now part of this is not sleeping all night and waking more tired than when I went to bed. Big projects like helping clean the church is four days of big pain. I have to plan for these events, rest before and have meals ready for those days. Planting a garden is way worse... we are talking weeks.

I am only telling this to you so that you think about when you write down your goals, break them into steps. Nothing is that huge when you break it down into steps, it is more likely to get accomplished.

I was a busy lady for sure before getting this, overdoing did not play a part. I was healthy, was walking miles every day. Things just happen and we can fight and be angry or just adapt so you can live with it but do so with joy.

So look over your list.

On my ongoing list I have that I want to learn more on weaving, so I have to be realistic. I cannot learn in a month, in fact, not a year…so I break it down.
Classes cost too much and not in my budget, if that was not an issue the fibro would be, sooooo my plan is…

Read all I can in my books and on the internet.

Break it down. I would need to refresh how to warp a jack floor loom, I will need to refresh using warping board. I need to learn how to set up for different weaves. Suffice it there is a long list. But I think you see what I am saying.

A huge deal is to be FLEXIBLE. Life is happening always, we get sick, our kids get sick, things come up, service is needed to help others, new family additions, job loss,... things get in the way of our goals, we need to accept that and not let our goals stress us out.

Mind you probably no one reading this has weaving as a goal but whatever your goal is, break it down.

Back to the white dress, everything is gathered. Step two, cut it out. Step three, is sew when I can. I have allowed a couple months so if I get sick I can accomplish this. So with fibro my immune system is bad so when I get sick it is awhile to climb out.

So write your goal then break it into steps just like I told you I have to do to get groceries. Don’t make this a race, make it fun.

Budgets are this way as well. Set your goals for your budget and steps you will take to stay in it.

I remember long ago I read how a family planned on getting out of debt. They made a dark cloud out of paper and wrote a debt like car or master card on the cloud. Then they made a cloud for each debt. They cut out a house and put this house up to represent them and put the clouds above the house each time they got rid of a debt they threw out the cloud this was a helpful tool. I like to think now there are no clouds over that house.

Things we can do to help stay within our budgets…

Eat in and not out. This is easy for me. I have gotten food poisoning twice from eating out so I would much rather eat in where I am in charge of my own safety, but I do understand being tired. But when you're trying to cut bills this can add up fast.

If your food budget is not very much look for ways to stretch your food dollars. Go through your recipe file and get out your most frugal recipes. If they are in your file you probably like them.

A huge $ stretcher is cooking from scratch. Yes, it is easier to buy ready made but with prices as high as they are cooking from scratch should be everyone's goal.

Here again, break it down. I find mixing the dry ingredients together when doing supper clean up helps me. In the morning just add wet ingredients and bake like muffins. If you buy a muffin mix you still have to add wet ingredients and by breaking it down helps. Okay, finding your muffin recipe might be challenging. I have to break down things so I have my breakfast recipes like muffins, pancakes, scones and such on recipe cards and hooked together with book rings. You could use yarn if you don’t have the rings. I have them on a nail by the stove. I have another with one-pot meals like homemade hamburger helper all done in one pot. I also have my go-to binder which has my favorite English muffin bread, my favorite hot cocoa mix, recipe for white sauce... things I do all the time. So break it down, even setting those up to help me I broke them down.

A great place to get from scratch recipes is our Relief Society cookbook -

I know you are thinking well she has to break it down and yes, I do, but slow and steady wins the race, right? Just think how better you could do it without fibro…lucky you are.

They don’t have to be pinterest award winning if you don’t have the time but better than a snicker bar for saving time and money.

Okay, I would still like the snicker bar as well... :p

These are just a few things and ideas to get you started. I know you can do it.

Probably more than you wanted to know about me but now you know how to break things down.

Food storage is the same, break it down. You might not be able to do a lot but what you can do adds up fast.

For us, I noticed that we will need to make a purchase in January for powdered milk from the storehouse. For us it has to be a planned purchase of fifty lbs or as close to that as we can get, and will have to plan on going to Omaha to pick up.

We use powdered milk for everything, so you see this is a big purchase and has to be planned.

So break down and get as you can.

This is a different blog just us vising over a hot cocoa. :)

The picture on top is me in the Christmas apron my friend liza made me.

Lets plan for a great new year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Message

(Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001)
“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.”

This will be the last message before Christmas so a reminder to find time for yourself, to find time to rest, find time to rejuvenate.

These last few days usually are the most stressful. 

Don’t forget the reason we celebrate!

Remember to look around you... is there someone who needs a kind word or to be remembered or lifted? This is the hardest time of year for so many people.

Mix up some cookie dough, roll in a log, wrap in plastic wrap or tinfoil, write the recipe and baking directions and wrap around and tie ribbons on both ends - a great gift last minute!

As we use lots of ingredients for our holiday baking we need to be reminded to restock what we use. This is a good list of what to store in our storage for seasonal baking - fun with the kids

Family fun and traditions -

Here is a food storage room...

I think she has done a great job.

Just some storage pictures to get you excited to organize it this new year or to get started if you haven’t.

Each family will have their own needs, wants, likes in what they store or how they store.

I really enjoy when someone tells me about their storage or what skills they are working on.

I want you and your family to have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Message

Put your skills to work and do homemade presents this Christmas like the knitted rib warmer I made my granddaughter.

“We all need to build a personal ark . . . And we shouldn’t wait until it starts raining, but prepare in advance. This has been the message of all the prophets in this dispensation . . . as well as the prophets of old.

“Unfortunately we don’t always heed the clear warnings of our prophets. We coast complacently along until calamity strikes, and then we panic.

“When it starts raining, it is too late to begin building the ark. However, we do need to listen to the Lord’s spokesmen. We need to calmly continue to move ahead and prepare for what will surely come. We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and temporally, we and our families will survive any flood. Our arks will float on a sea of faith if our works have been steadily and surely preparing for the future.” (W. Don Ladd, October 1994 General Conference)

Being grateful is huge. We are being blessed every day. Are we grateful when times are great? Are we also grateful when life is hard?

We can choose to be happy or not.

If all you have is four potatoes for Christmas, make those four potatoes an event!!!

Things won’t always be good and this is the time of year that unmet expectations can seem larger than life. Having hard times seem much harder, I am not sure exactly why that is. But try to be aware of those around you, help lift their spirits.

Back to the four potatoes… If this is what you have been dealt, you can make it worse or better. It is up to you. Don’t pout and think you are owed or deserve more, it is just life’s up and downs. Now I just pulled the four potatoes out of the air to use as an example. I think there are wonderful ways to make those potatoes an event to make something special.

When times are going along pretty well you just do what you do... you pay your bills, go to the grocery store, just normal everyday things. And when you are there it is hard to think - what if we lost income or were dealt a reversal??

I can think plenty of times I thought how would I ever do without ____ you can put anything in the blank. But then it would be a hard time and I found I could actually manage okay.

Life can be very stressful. I think having storage on hand helps me not be as stressed. It helps smooth out the rough times.

I think building skills is just like that or has been for me.

Not everyone will have the same struggles, so the skills we have talked about may not be for everyone and those who have steady jobs may opt for other skills, but knowing how to use those skills to make up the difference in loss of income is a wonderful thing and even if you have steady work that can change in a second…

So preparing for unseen things is huge.

If you are used to eating out a lot then suddenly you have no money for that, then what? Will you have wished that you had learned to cook more from scratch and had built up a book with the recipes to do that? Also wishing you had built your storage so that you could fix the recipes? I know that this sounds pretty elementary but there are some who just eat out and don’t even own pans. Yep, then it would really be hard with nothing to cook on or in, let alone food to put in said pans.

Knowing how to manage on less is really huge.

Sometimes we can be lured into a sense of security - don’t be! Have yourself ready to help by knowing how to…

Make your own bread
Cut up chicken
Make your own noodles
Spend your budgeted amount for groceries wisely - this is huge too.
Make your own pizza
Make pancakes or waffles…from scratch
Have a date in because funds are tight and make it an event
Not waste anything
Mend anything
Make laundry soap if needed
Have a garden
Can or dry your garden
Make hot cocoa mix
Darn socks to get them to last longer
Make blankets or quilts
Make mittens
Make socks
Make slippers
Make scarves
Beef stroganoff from scratch
Make rolls from scratch
Make cookies from scratch
Bake anything from scratch
Make your own syrup
Make it do, use it up, wear it out
Sew anything
Fix as much as you can
Learn as much as you can

I don’t think learning these and other things would put someone out too much but to be able to use your skills could be so helpful.

It seems the bread winners have to work much harder and more hours for less money so lets do our part to live as frugally as you can.

Better to learn when you are not under pressure - you will thank me later for this statement.

Life is learning and we must never stop.

Joseph Smith’s mother stepped in to paint oil cloths to help supplement their families income during a set back. this is just to show you that even when you are a grammy it is good to know skills

The new year will soon be here, let me know of what skills you plan to work on.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Message

“It is . . . necessary that each home and family do what they can to assume the responsibility for their own hour of need. If we do not have the resources to acquire a year’s supply then we can strive to begin with having one month’s supply.” (James E. Faust, April 1986 General Conference)

I know it is hard to think of buying storage items in December but that is when sales are going on, so keep an eye on your sale flyers!

Also a reminder to not go in debt for the holidays. It is hard with commercials and sales and commotion all about decorations, your own decorations to do, many things distracting you from your lists, plus the notion to try to give your kids more than you had. Instead, stick to your budget and your kids have good parents, that is the best gift.

Remember, try to be frugal...  great gift ideas for gifts for toddlers building traditions - helps to stay in your budget - ideas for stocking stuffers

Now is a good time to get large items needed like grain mills. I keep getting sale notices. And look for dehydrators, pressure cookers, food savers, sewing machine... I know they are not glamorous gifts but items that can help us with being frugal down the road. - inexpensive advent ideas

Fun giving ideas... - great idea for a gift to give your family. I always did a puzzle or such so we would have family fun…

I always liked giving "to do" things like a drawing set I would put together or a sewing kit or something along their interests - a gift put together by you!

We loved picking someone who needed some Christmas love…we picked food things to go with the twelve days of Christmas then each day we secretly dropped them off, the last day we made ourselves known with the gift but I have seen it too where they are never known, either way it is a blessing to all. 

Here are some ideas… - I like the ring and run but the one doing nativity set as an advent is good too... - boy wouldn’t it be wonderful to get that one at the end? What a blessing.

I remembered giving five cans pineapple rings for the golden rings, two bottles of dove dish soap, hens a laying... we took eggs, we just thought hard on each section then we would get those items - fun was had by all! You can have this fun and brighten someone’s Christmas and if using food items it helps them as well.

Get your kids into it, they have great fun and learn to be giving as well.

There are so many people who are in need and need lifting.

Keep working on your skills and your storage.
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