Monday, July 15, 2019

Monday Message

"A cardinal principle of the gospel is to prepare for the day of scarcity. Work, industry, frugality are part of the royal order of life." (Bishop Keith B. McMullin)

Work, industry, and frugality - interesting road map, don't you think? If we study on these things and apply them to our lives it would help so much.

I watched a podcast from Wisconsin where they showed the corn plants were about eight inches tall due to all the wet weather they had. Our state has shorter corn than normal as well for the same reason. He told that a round bale of hay is currently fifty dollars but is going to go up over two hundred dollars. That will mean increased food prices so having in a storage would be helpful.

So would having your skills up.  

It used to be everyone knew how to can and cook from scratch and sew etc. but we have drifted away from that knowledge with the stores having everything we need right now.

It is easy to just go in and get what you want but what if you could not get what you wanted? How hard would it be to make it or do without it?

It is scary to think how many generations it takes to lose a skill.

It never hurts to know how to do things. But it doesn't have to be a big thing that happens. It could be as simple as a plant shut down for a month or a car repair, life throws us unexpected things we sometimes have the means to tend them but what if we don't...?

If we have a smaller income then we might already be learning ways to make things stretch. We can work together or play the blame game. Since we do not know when these hard times come we need to be prepared.  This has fantastic tips This shows how to make dish towels. When my daughter was home this week with her husband she had on her favorite t-shirt. I said we could make a pattern from it so we did something like this....look for them in the future.

Once we find something that we like we can make them using different fabrics.

That is what I do with this pattern I made another out of fabric with sailboats.

When I make socks....

I use a size one circular needle that is very long. At one point for heels and toes, I use magic loop. I have looked in my area for a long circular needle in size one. Nope, no luck. And if I did it would be costly. I know I could order one but again costly, well for my budget which is a fixed income, but when my daughter was here we stopped into a thrift store and there was the very one I needed for 39 cents! I tell you this to say keep your eyes out for things you need and use. You might have gone in to the thrift store for a pan but if you don't look around you could miss what you need as well.

I know in this day and age you can get anything online but what if your income was so low you could not? Now I know that not many knit socks but if you do it is good to have supplies. I also found two skeins of sock yarn for 99 cents at the thrift store and I grabbed it. We were in a store that has some sock yarn...the price was 7.99 for a fifty gram ball (the same size I got at thrift store but for 99 cents).  I could not get it anywhere at that price not even at Hobby Lobby with the forty percent off keep looking is what I am saying.

I think of my tight budget and I keep an eye out. This helps to stretch the budget. I don't always have funds to purchase supplies so one day I found the yarn then down the road I found the needle, I am collecting the budget friendly supplies as I go.

I'm also working on building my spinning skill to make my own sock yarn.

Think out side the box when you can...

This cow is cute as can be! He was for holding a tea light at the thrift store when I found him but now he is a yarn bowl for me to use for yarn or thread when I need him to do so. So think to yourself how can I use something different than it was intended for? I bet you have things around your house that can serve different purposes saving them from the landfill.

You never know, you could end up starting a new trend.

The point is sometimes you will be okay, no problem. Other times you might be tight or your income may turn into no income. Are you ready for bumpy times?

Do the best you can and remember help other and be kind and look for frugal ways.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Monday Message

"Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through the home production and storage, but others as well." (President Ezra Taft Benson) 

We need to be in a position to help others any way that we can.  Even a smile can help a person's day go better. Years ago I heard someone say that every time they hear a siren they pray for the person the siren is for. I adopted this so each time I hear a siren I pray and though I don't have the money to help I can do this and I can smile and be friendly to all. I try to do at least one act of service a day when my fibro let's me, but again if nothing else a smile or being kind I can always do. These are a few things I have adopted from others. There are so many who are having hard times, never a shortage of people in need of kindness.

Learning skills, having skills, teaching your skills to others is good as well. - for learning to crochet the simple granny square is a good place to start. - this is very helpful in learning crochet. - this shows very beginner knitting skills to get you started. - this will be helpful as well. - this checklist can help to know what to learn, check it off as you go. - this has helpful info, though you have to go around the ads. - this is another checklist. - this is helpful steps.

I was watching a grocery haul video that was recommended to me from another as frugal was not frugal. I suppose it was compared to eating out but it was expensive prepackaged things. We need to back up how doing for yourself things that are pre-cut or pre-made saves so much money. I could not help thinking how much more she could have gotten. There was a bag of already popped popcorn for same price as unpopped, only you would get way more with unpopped. Small containers of ice cream, each costing the same as a large container. Bar cookie mix which is way cheaper from scratch. I understand when life gets busy sometimes it is easier to just grab these items but when it keeps being busy it starts costing way more on a tight budget. Sometimes we need to analyze things by stepping back to see where you are at. - this is great info - cooking from scratch - this has some good ideas - this is very interesting. - this has basic things that some may not know.

Keep working on your storage, keep building your skills, and look for ways to help others.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Monday Message

"The counsel to have a year’s supply of basic food, clothing, and commodities was given fifty years ago and has been repeated many times since. Every father and mother are the family’s storekeepers. They should store whatever their own family would like to have in the case of an emergency… and] God will sustain us through our trials." (James E. Faust)

It is hard to think ahead sometimes when we are dealing with so much, but we need to try and do this, make a habit of it. It means self denial too...sacrifice a little now for later when you will really need it. You will be so thankful that you did. Lets say your family uses two jars of peanut butter a month, would it hurt to buy four?  Eating at a fast food place would cost more and, at the same time, do less for you too.

I know we can justify about anything if we wanted to. Justifying makes me think of our kids. We wanted to have a good Sabbath day so on Sundays no Super Mario on the nintendo was our rule. Even though the kids would try to change our minds, we would not cave on this but they kept trying to justify why they should. On the way home from church they would keep trying but the funniest justification was - "we can baptize Mario." We said no, but it was a cute try. So if we think long enough we could come up with why we should not get food stored.

But in the end when things get hard for you because of loss of a job and such, what will you have wished you had gotten? It is always easy when we have that job finally and part of us thinks we made it and that we will always have the job and finally we deserve this, that and everything. Starting storage is far from our minds then life jerks your chain and something happens that having storage would have been so helpful.

Before we put in the basement I stored food on shelves in a bedroom not far from the kitchen. One of the kids' friends asked me one time if we were poor. I said no, what makes you think so?  They said because you have all this food. I said it is because we have the food that we are not poor. Indeed, when things have been tight we have it to help us through.

Food for thought...if you cannot get groceries due to loss of work or whatever you do not have a choice of what to get. Food stamps won't let you get toilet paper for example. They also for the most part are not enough your family may not be in a position to help you.  If you go to a food pantry it won't be like going to the store. You are limited by bags or lbs of food then you have to work with what you choices.  

I had a chat with my daughter who lives in a hurricane area like we live in a tornado area, she said that many feel why get a storage when a hurricane can wipe it all out? I said it could be if you had your storage in you would be very helpful to those who were hit. I see no downside to having storage.

When we moved we always took it with us as well for this very reason that when we moved there would be deposits on housing, water, gas, phone etc. leaving us no money for groceries.

We have had insurance for many many years and never used it but on the times we needed it we were glad we had it. Food should not be any different and if rotated and used and replaced it will be a blessing to your family or someone else's family. And if you store it you will have a choice in what you get!

Having skills enhances your storage like canning - I have meat like roast canned, yum! Without that skill and supplies I wouldn't do without, I just would not have certain items like beef and noodles or roast with gravy and lots more. I would not have my yummy orange marmalade. You can buy it and store it and you would have it but if you did not store it you would not have it. And for supplies having them means I will be able to can provided I think ahead and purchase a box of lids from time to time. If I just plan to do a box or two a month it won't seem as bad as if i have to do it all at once...kind of like the peanut butter I mentioned in the beginning.

Skills will help us as well.

Here is the skill I have been working on - socks from a long tube I knit, this gives me another way to make socks I now know a variety of ways to make them.

I knitted one long tube to make a pair of socks.

Separating the socks into individual ones.

Successful separation of the socks.

Preparing to knit the ribbing on the second sock, keeping the stripes in order.

Starting to work on the toe with the purple yarn.

Preparing to cut the tube to work in the heel.

Starting to knit the heel.

Finished product!

Do I need to know how to make them? I could probably live without knowing but it enhances my life and that of my family.

What are the skills you are working on to enhance your life?

Monday, June 24, 2019

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 have been thinking so many people are on fragile finances, living right on the edge. It's a very stressful thing indeed. There are as many reasons as there are people. Not always are things in our control. My mother-in-law used to always say, "one step forward, two steps back," and so often this is how it feels.

So how do we offset life's challenges? We do what we can and we make do with what we have. I follow a podcast and her family had a huge plumbing expense so she made her menu using what she had in her house. She picked up only three items at the store with a total cost of under four dollars.

Could you do this with what you have in house? Would you think to do this when you had stress?

Learning to make do is something we can do to offset the unexpected expense.

One thing we can try is to do as much as we can on our own. This helps to offset the things we have to have done. Like house repairs we can do. We also search to learn what we don't know how to do... this helps us as well.  

Things may seem harder than they actually are.

Lets face it though, there will always be stuff we can't do but every little thing adds up.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. We should use this to live by. How exactly to do this?? 

Mend your clothes... 

If we make do by mending and repairs we will stretch our budget.

Use it much do we throw out??

Celery leaves, for example. Did you know you can dry them on a plate if you do not have a dehydrator?

Save your own orange rind. Also. those last grapes no one will eat -dry them into raisins.

Vacuum sealing is a small expense to what it will save you.

Raisins, for example, can be put in a canning jar. Yes, they will last a while but breakdown into a sugary form of themselves if you take the jar of raisins and vac seal it when you get them. One lady said a jar of raisins got shoved out of place and she found it twenty years later and they were still good.

Here is a LINK to my post on step by step vacuum sealing.

Use up your leftovers. Don't toss them out. They always taste better the next day. We can have planned overs like fixing a roast and making beef and noodles out of leftovers, bbq beef, get the idea.

I think rotating our storage keeps you from doing without as well.

Also, to go with all this is being content. If you are not content you will be miserable wanting things you cannot have. Instead be happy with what you do have and be grateful.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday Message

In Argentina, Relief Society leaders are trying to teach the importance of food storage. They wrote: "Unfortunately, most of the sisters [here] cannot afford to buy an extra kilo of sugar, or flour, or an extra liter of oil. However, they have been encouraged to save, even just a spoonful at a time." (Elaine L. Jack) 

Can you imagine how hard it is for them? I think they set an example for us...if they can do it so can we!

This week I was in the car running errands and had the radio on. They were talking about food waste and how so many people look at the dates on cans and toss them even while the food is still good. They said this is adding to the greenhouse gases. They also said more young people are tossing food as well and that home economics classes that teach food safety are no longer offered in schools. Young people don't know what to look for in spoiled foods. 

Stopping home economics sure hasn't helped, it is letting those kids down. Can you imagine how better off they would be learning basic life skills while still in school?! Life isn't easy as it is, this only makes it harder for them.

Imagine all the things you have learned...did you know how to use spices right off ?? Or how to slice, dice, mince, all sounds like a funny language.

We learned lots from home economics.

If you still have kids at home try to fill in so they know the basics. Cover topics like.... 

Basic cooking
Sewing on buttons
Food safety
Cooking from scratch... yes, little Billy, you can make popcorn without a microwave.
And how does food all get done at the same time? What are measuring tools and how to use them?

I would make cookies for after school so they were coming out of the oven when my kids would get home. One of their friends asked me how do I know to do so many?...she meant different kinds of cookies.

I know some kids who know how to make wonderful cookies from scratch... I say, well done parents, well done!

We need to work alongside our kids in the kitchen as well with other chores. Yes, we all know we could do it faster alone but what does that teach? Nothing. So let them learn in the kitchen about preparing food as all too fast they will be out on their own. Teach them before they have to learn on the job. I can truly say it took me a long time to learn. Oh, I had dish washing down but not much else.

I knew a sweet lady who when her kids would do dishes she would wash and they would dry and it was a race. If the dryer caught up to the washer they could quit. Make it fun! If you show them how to make pancakes, make them the queen or king of pancakes.

Get the recipe for these AMAZING diner style pancakes HERE.

And just how many pancake variations can you come up with? I remember fondly someone put corn in the pancakes, I loved them!

Make mixes together. Learn how to make the mix and how to store the mix, such as pancake mix. - this has some mix ideas. - here are more ideas. - this one is my favorite.

Now with the kids home for the summer it would be fast to fix meals if you had some of these mixes on hand.

I also like to have my mixes filled full before winter.

What are some mixes you make from scratch?

If you have favorite store bought mixes have you ever done a search to find a homemade recipe for it?

Keep working on your storage and living frugally and help others as you can.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Monday Message

“Store a provision of food which will last for at least a year wherever it is legally permissible to do so. The Church has not told you what foods should be stored. This decision is left up to individual members. . .From the standpoint of food production, storage, handling, and the Lord’s counsel, wheat should have high priority. ‘There is more salvation and security in wheat,’ said Orson Hyde years ago, ‘than in all the political schemes of the world’ (in Journal of Discourses, 2:207). Water, of course, is essential. Other basics could include honey or sugar, legumes, milk products or substitutes, and salt or its equivalent.” (President Ezra Taft Benson) 

We lived in New Hampshire for a few years and at every grocery store you had to stand in long  lines. I was used to lines in Iowa that were not that long. One day I was in line and the lady behind me said, “don't you love having so many options to choose from?” I looked at her like you have to be kidding me. She said she was from Canada and didn't have the range of products. Here I was thinking I did not have the range of products like I did in Iowa. So it is all in where we are on that line. I bring that up as I have noticed in the last year some items are not being carried that I usually get, making my choices more limited. Have you noticed less items being offered in your area?

I know you could ask your store to get an item but it is unsettling when you have, let’s say five to choose from than there is two or there isn't even a spot for the item on the shelf. Something to think about.

We need to be thankful for what we have.

Cooking from scratch helps the budget, also using our leftovers as planned-overs.  

Here above are some ideas that might inspire you.

When you make something from scratch look to see how much you have saved from the not-scratch version.

It really helps to use leftovers by planning menus.

Like when I make tacos I fix extra meat and then package and freeze it for other meals. First night will be tacos, next night I could add the taco meat to tomato soup for taco soup
or chili, or I can make green bean casserole.

My Green Bean Casserole

In a 9x13 pan that I sprayed, I put two cans of drained green beans, two cans of tomato soup, 1 tsp dried onion, and then leftover taco meat. Stir and then I make some instant potatoes to spread over the top and then sprinkle with cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes. You can use plain cooked hamburger too but is soooo good with the leftover taco meat.

Maid-Rite Sandwiches

Brown a lb of hamburger, drain it and add a can of chicken broth. Cook till broth is gone and then serve on hamburger buns. I then make spaghetti sauce using the leftover meat.

I will cook hamburger ahead and package them to freeze for future meals.

So do some intentional cooking and see what you can come up with. you can watch her make a top and you can use a pattern like it and follow along. Everything she does is straight stitching so any machine will work. This will help you build more on your sewing skills.

After I am done helping my husband in the garage I plan to make a few more of these tops. Once you find patterns you like you can use them with different fabrics and can embellish them how you wish as well. I find too that once I sew a pattern I get faster at it.

We are clearing out our two car garage. It has been a hard job. Each day I had set goals that we would achieve, this has not been kind to my Fibromyalgia as I hobble about. When we are done we will set it back up for a total work space for my husband, a woodworking station and a stained glass working station. It has been a hard thing to do but again it was a good time so we could get things we no longer need to the humanitarian yard sale. - here are some free patterns for crocheting dishcloths. - here is a knitted dishcloth pattern to try.

Learning these will help you to have a skill that helps with dishes and that also makes for great gifts.

Keep working on your skill building and keep working on your storage.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Monday Message

"Have sufficient food, clothing, and fuel on hand to last at least one year." (President Ezra Taft Benson)

It seems things are more crazy than ever with droughts, flooding, and all manner of things. We are having rain and more rain here.

I think it is more important than ever to be frugal and learn skills that can help our families. I think that until we experience hard times we won't really know how or what we will have to do. Think about the hardest times you have ever had and figure out what skill would have made that hard time easier.

When I look back I wish I had learned earlier to can.

We could have benefited so much from that. Home canned food lasts so much longer than the tin can foods. However, having both is a blessing plus knowing how to cook is huge. Eating out was never an issue but knowing how to cook and stretch food and money would have helped a lot.  - If I had known then what I know now it would have been easier however my push to learn might not have been as strong. I share the blog so it will be easier for you. - lots of recipes here.

I know I was always on the look-out for things I could make at home. - this is easier than boiling. - I thought this might be helpful.

Knowing how to bake bread, rolls, hamburger and hot dog buns was huge for me to get to that point. Also, having the equipment to do all of the things is a real help so take advantage of yard sales that are now starting. Look for dehydrators, pressure canners, canning jars, vacuum sealers and such - even wheat grinder. I know you are thinking "really?" But I have seen them. I know I often mention this but unless you have the money to walk in and purchase them you will have to look at the used options. Once you get the equipment you need to learn how to use it and then put it to use making it a part of your life.

Sewing is also a huge skill. Being able to sew and maintain our clothes is critical.

Living within a budget is essential as well, especially with prices that will be going up and if you are just eeking by now it will get harder, so get these skills learned.

Knitting and crocheting, especially in colder climates, is helpful.

Food storage is critical if you had no money to buy food with. It has happened a lot to us so it has been helpful to us to have a storage.

Food storage is different for everyone. The best thing is to look at what you eat and store. Those items have shelf stable items such as dried beans, rice, wheat, powdered milk, oatmeal, sugar, oil, on these items as you can. - this is a great place to start and just keep it going, there is another video following.

I encourage you to look around their site, "store this, not that" for wonderful ideas. - they have great info. - these are all great and you will learn great things by watching them.

I encourage you to not put off learning your skills or storing food.

Monday, May 27, 2019

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)

You can't look at what is going on today and not be a bit concerned.
The flooding continues all along the Mississippi. The weather patterns are crazy. The tariff troubles - a million people could lose their jobs and prices will go up...I think we might be in for some bumps.

It could be there are things we cannot see coming along as well.

Our house insurance company is moving out of Iowa this follows our health insurance that already pulled out.

It would be prudent to be prepared.

If you do not know how to garden you might want to learn that.

Put yourself in the position of those that will be losing their jobs.  What would you do? What will you wish you had stored? What will you have wished you had learned? How would you manage? What could you live without? I used to think I would do okay but I have to have_____ (fill in the blank) until I had to do without it, this happened several times. Each time I was amazed how I could do without it. So give this some thought.

Ponder these things.

Can you...

Grow sprouts?  
Do you even have the seeds to do so?  
Did you know you can and should vacuum seal these seeds or they will not work in time? 
Do you have a sealer?  
Did you know if you have the tall canister you can seal any jar that has a lid with that rubber inside the rim? Most everything has that now and you can use your canning jars for canning.  

Mend your family's clothing? Do you have what it takes to do it?
I noticed buttons will be a tariff you have some on hand with thread and needles and scissors?

Can you make pancakes from scratch? Do you have those items in storage?  
What about making bread? Do you have the ingredients on hand?  Did you know you can make pancakes or waffles from these ingredients?

When we first moved back to Iowa we had no stove. I made french toast in the waffle iron. We called them eggy waffles. It is surprising how we can adapt.

Do you have food on hand like canned meats, fruit, and veggies?
Do you have wheat to make bread or flour?  
What could you put on that bread?  
Do you have peanut butter and jam?

Do you know how to preserve your food? i.e. can your food, dehydrate food, etc?  
Do you have the equipment to do so?

Having a full working storage is more than just having food, it is about equipment, clothing, skills and supplies...ponder which areas you need to improve.

Are you practicing better budgeting to handle higher prices?

Even if nothing goes bad you would do well to prepare and with yard sale season soon here you can watch for these items or ask on your neighborhood groups if anyone has what you are looking for. - this shows how to make a pattern from your own underwear.

I saw a YouTube video where the husband sewed his wife and daughters' underwear from t-shirts. 

I just wanted you to see with a little sewing skill you can make useful items.

I have given some very basic ways to knit and crochet helpful items that you can learn to make on a beginner's level.

I think getting back to basics will be helpful.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Monday Message

"Decide as a family that there will be no vacation or holiday next year unless you have your year’s supply. Many Church members could buy a full year’s supply of the basics from what they would save by not taking a vacation. Take the vacation time and work on a family garden. Be together, and it can be just as much fun."
(Vaughn J. Featherston)

It is almost planting time, are you going to have a garden?

There still is much flooding going on in eastern Iowa. It seems there is no end to the trials all around the world. We need to be ready to help each other...there is no shortage of need. We may not be able to do huge things but we can do what we can to help, even a smile and prayers can help if we can do nothing else.

I have still been spring cleaning a bit and organizing as I go. I have always believed having something you like to collect is a good thing but as I have been going through clearing out with this spring cleaning I might be rethinking the collecting thing. I think I collected too many things. Yes, collecting is fun but is hard to clear out. During this time I saw a commercial for a show, this lady had such a huge collection she needed to buy another house just to house it. Just how much is too much? Well, I know my clearing out will help others who are going through a hard time and that kept me going.

How are you coming with your skill building?

Mary Ann shared this link with us...   

It is a great site if you knit or if you want to learn.  

I have been working on knitting up a skein of sock yarn. I only had one skein of this and want to see how long of a sock tube I get.  

Then once I get close to the other end I will do ten rows of ribbing and bind off. I plan to do the afterthought everything socks. I will pick gray or blue and do the heels and toes. - here she will show you how I will do it.

This will prepare me to using my sock machine to do the same thing...

I will crank out a sock tube that will be like the one I showed above then I'll repeat the same procedure. This is a skill I have been teaching myself.

The sock machine will do ribbing heels and toes using these parts...

Maybe down the road I will want to do that but I really want to crank tubes and do the afterthought everything socks.

At the same time I am trying to learn to spin thinner to make my own sock yarn because over the last few years sock yarn has skyrocketed in price.

Along those lines I have been watching this gal's podcast. This one happens to be her dying cotton crochet thread which it just happens to be like I use in one of my favorite bobbin lace bookmark...  

I'd like to learn more on dying my own fiber. I also have been gathering things I had on hand to use for dedicated dye equipment like separate pans, a salad spinner, rubber gloves, plastic measuring spoons and stir spoons tongs, scale and dye and such.

I have my fleece for spinning all on this shelf waiting to be dyed or spun.

With most of the spring cleaning done I have been able to do a little weaving as well.

This is a bobbin lace bookmark I made for part of a gift. I am still learning and probably always will be. I knew I would like to learn bobbin lace I just never expected to love it so much.

What skills are you working on?

Keep looking for sales to stock up as you can.
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