Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Message

Homemade dishcloths are the best. Pattern HERE.

“As has been said so often, the best storehouse system that the Church could devise would be for every family to store a year’s supply of needed food, clothing, and, where possible, the other necessities of life.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare,” Ensign, Sep 1986, 3)

Have you repeatedly warned your child about driving carefully?   Have they headed your warnings? Why do you do this? To keep them safe and help them, right? Kids on the other hand, "ya ya ya ya…..nothing is gonna happen." Maybe they will listen and maybe they won’t get it until something does happen. Is that how it is when we have repeatedly been warned and choose to put it off as we think nothing can happen to us. Until it does.

It just takes one pink slip of paper to turn your life upside down in an instant.

It makes you think fast what your resources are. Then things get hard and the older you are the harder things get. It is harder to find work when you are forty and older. The world is constantly changing. Our ancestors had to prepare for days of scarcity. They had to be frugal in every way. They set the example and we should look to them in our path of preparing. Also, pray for help in this as well.

So, I encourage you to heed the warnings and get yourself prepared. - I love her blog, she is very helpful. - I have mentioned before that cooking from scratch is so huge, can make or break your budget. - very basic things to know. - this is a favorite way to have apples. Is this recipe going to cost a lot to make? NO! It is much for little.

I continue to stress - plan your meals! You will be surprised how farther your money will go when you do this and how many meals can be piggy-backed off each other.

We all need to try and do the best we can. - this is great for when we are feeling busy. See, now you know why I love this gal :)

I picked a few just from her site but I encourage you to explore her site. We can learn so much from others. I, for one, am so thankful for people who share information to help us on our journey.

Flu season is in full swing. Remember, have a sick plan and put in the things you will need.

Remember - wash wash wash your hands!

Those just trying to learn to knit, this is my favorite pattern and once you try homemade dishcloths, it will be your favorite too. - as I write this blog post we have a freezing rain event heading our way, do you have lamps with oil at the ready??

I can tell you I have had to use them plenty of times. You can work emergency things right into your decorating.

Winter and losing power can be a cold event. Hopefully, no one will experience that but it could happen. Do you have a plan? If you have room in your freezer (or just set outside), fill milk jugs with water leaving space at top for ice to expand. Then if you lose power for a length of time you can put these jugs in your refrigerator or freezer. This then become a big ice chest but don’t open the door a lot.

Do you have an alternative method of cooking? Also, prepare ahead and make things you can eat without cooking.

Even gas stoves now have electronic ignitions making them hard to use no oven and only the top can be used. So know what you can or cannot do.

We once had ice over snow, we all stayed on the porch and skipped pennies across the ice we had a blast. We are still finding pennies in our driveway and with each one we find we remember the fun we had.

Keep in mind building storage and skills.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Message

Bishop H. Burke Peterson - "On the average, about 30 percent of the church has a two-month supply of food. The remainder have little or none....become self-sufficient as possible to prepare against the days to come." General Conference October 1975.

I wonder what the percentages would be today? Where do you fall? - we need to keep trying to be frugal. download the free download, fun to see their look on how they did things then. - helpful info on making bread. - this has some interesting things, I love this gal and recommend you watch.

I want to visit a bit on how you can get storage when you think you have no money…

Take a realistic look at your finances. You pay tithing, housing, utilities, gas and your other bills, am I right so far? After that where did your money go?? Did you eat out? Where then did it go? Track it and when you are tempted say how many meals can you get from this amount of money. Please, do not tell yourself you will worry about it or deal with it later or something will happen, like a tree of money will drop money in your lap. It doesn’t happen and you are just putting off things. So I tell you, don’t do that. They just get bigger and harder to manage.

If you can, clamp down on extra spending. You see lots are on spending fasts or no spend times, I think this does help to see where the money goes.

You might just see you can easily put in storage.

But in some cases you have no extra at all to do storage. This is what I want to visit about. You set an amount in your budget for groceries, this amount is what you work with. Look at your list of meals. Okay, now find a cheaper replacement meal that your family still likes. Use the difference on getting in your storage. See, with careful planning and elbow grease you can do it even when your budget is as tight as ours.

Check the damage carts. When you see something in them that your family eats AND (this is real important) it must be a lot cheaper, grab them up and rearrange your list.

If you are hung up on name brands, stop. That my favorite brands are fastco store brand, aldis no name brand is a huge savings.

I make my own mixes - taco seasoning, biscuit mix, cream soup mix, cocoa mix, rice mix... you get the idea. Why pay a company to mix your food? Use the money instead to build storage for your family. Yes, this is better for you. Convenience should not be higher than health. Having a snack cake mix on hand takes minutes to make, less to use it so we are led to believe we are so busy that we need these… no, we don’t.

Make my bread. I even fix it in jars so it becomes quick and easy.

I watch flyers sale things. Set aside if you can money to take advantage of sales.

We use powdered milk, not the icky kind at stores - This will get you to the home storage order form, it is a resource you need to use.

There are other things you can do as well - breakfast meals aka pancakes at supper, you can plan some meatless meals too.

Don’t be afraid to try new or different things. I would love to try the lentil sloppy joes the site above shows but I do love some things better without meat like lasagna, even enchiladas. I make a minestrone soup, no meat. You can do more things with less, just see what you can do. Even pizza can have no meat and tastes fantastic.

For years I have used less meat in things, you can too.

If you have little kids having milk is a must and proteins but you can use powder milk in baking and cooking, just mix it into dry ingredients and add the water with liquids.

Soups are great especially when served with breads. Just have a date with your recipe file then plan, make your menus up. How can you cut costs?

If you say you're too busy that might need addressing, because you have appliances that help you whereas your great grandmother was busy too, more busy making clothes and everything from scratch and taking care of her family. You can do this…

Do the best you can, make it a game on how to stretch those pennies and how to make your own mixes.

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.
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