Monday, June 21, 2021

Monday Message

"Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors, and support bishops as they care for others." (All is Safely Gathered In pamphlet)

I have been feeling that we need to be stressing thrift and frugal living, and storage and skills very strongly in preparing for what is ahead. I have no idea what it is, just a feeling we need to do these things quickly. It is just a nagging feeling I have. Sometimes it means the Shooks may have troubles ahead or all of us do...sometimes, in the past, I would get them just before we had a job loss or some other hard time like replacing a car or some such thing. But it is a very strong nagging feeling.

So, that said, we will learn how to stretch a penny till it screams. We will learn skills we can use to help us to save.

We will learn scratch cooking and batch cooking and very budget type cooking.

Planting a garden, and while I hate gardening, it saves us so much on veggies and hopefully we will get watermelon and far so good.

Take special notice of the surrounding grass. We are in a drought! So I am not watering grass only the garden and stingy with watering that as well. All the yards look like this. Very crunchy to walk on. We got about twenty raindrops yesterday, not even enough for the grass to green up.

This heat spell isn't doing us any favors.

I watched two podcasts this week, one the lady was diagnosed with Lyme disease and is in much pain and grieving for not being able to do what she always did. This will alter their income I am sure as well. So while things are seemingly good they can change in a moment.

The other lady was telling how she has hashimoto's and she said it often is tied closely to problems with gluten intolerance. She has an autoimmune problem too. She is a young mother and knitwear designer. She said she has to cook everything from scratch - everything! So she said she cooks for her family and for her, she cooks large amounts and freezes them so if she is tired she can pull them out because she can't eat out. She also said she used to work at a gluten free bakery. Of course, she had no way of knowing she would be needing this knowledge someday in her future. I am glad she got these skills before she needed them. - thank you Mary Ann for sharing this great site with us! - beautifying our homes doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money. There is something soothing about doing embroidery. It calms one.

I took it a step further. I saw someone on a podcast, she was talking about cross stitch so I searched around the house for the items...

The pink cloth that is so pretty was from a yard sale. I am going to stitch the pattern on a mask pictured you spy the duckie? That is why I gathered things I already had to make this, it is called a pin keep. There are two magnets, you can see the magnet on the bottom and there is one on top and to that one I glued on a button and the duck was left over from another project, I glued him or her onto the blue button.  

The magnet is strong enough that it holds the needles as I do not want to step on any. You can move it to any spot or even undo it and set it on a table. This was made with just what I had on hand. This was a frugal before you run to the store, look around, you may already have items on hand that you can put together.

These are Easter lilies from many many many years ago. Someone mentioned you could plant them, so I did.  Every year they put on this pretty show for us. They were gifts, all of them, so free flowers. Think about putting in free flowers, there is alway someone who is thinning their flowers and plants. You could put on freecycle or on your town page that you are looking for plants. I once asked if I could get a rhubarb start and a lady said she threw one in her compost but it wouldn't die and I was welcome to it.

As long as I am talking about freecycle or town pages, that is how I got some canning jars. So use that to find canning supplies.

Don't forget about yard sales...

Years ago when my kids were little I went to a yard sale and found this teapot (the smaller one in the picture).  A few weeks ago our youngest daughter and her husband were visiting and we went to a yard sale and there was the pitcher (the larger one in the picture). What are the odds of that?! Fun finds for sure! But as I mentioned in the last blog post, do not dismiss yard sales and thrift stores. - here is a budget dish, we do this even with flour shells. - here are some food storage ideas on a budget.

Missy says to look through cookbooks to get more frugal recipes.

Gus says if he only had thumbs he would embroider.

So keep plugging away in all those areas that will help your family the most.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Monday Message

"Home storage should consist of a year’s supply of basic food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel. After this goal is reached, emergency and expanded storage is desirable." (Barbara B. Smith)

Getting this post ready, I had to smile as I remembered a food storage fair that was at church. The fair started like a crisis had just happened and we were to go to the shelter. It really was a very large room that they taped off for every family to have a section.

The fair started with a mock breaking news disaster and there were two families that heard this bulletin, one family grabbed their 72-hour kit and left. The other family were to grab things around the house and got things like a hairdryer and other items that would not be able to work with the electricity down but they were frazzled and couldn't find batteries in the dark for the flashlight and so it went they were unprepared.

Then we moved to the above mentioned shelter.

Each section had a family and they were all stages of preparedness. Some were wet with no towel so they would ask us if we had a towel - nope, we didn't, so they were cold and wet. This went through every family but the funniest of all was this family, they had a very old emergency kit the wife had on a pair of jeans that were clearly ten sizes too big for her and she told everyone she'd lost a little weight lately but the clothes did not fit. The kids had on t-shirts way too small and long pants that were almost down to their knees, it was cute. And they opened a very, very old can of dehydrated fruit of some unknown kind, it was very nasty looking. They kept trying to share it with way.  

Then we came to a family all comfy with their camp stove set up. They were fixing a meal they had and cots set up and clothes on that fit, they had toothbrushes and toothpaste. They were very well prepared.  It was to make us all think and get our 72-hour kits up to date.  But I will never forget that lady holding up those pants with one hand and offering us the nasty stuff in the can.

We have had many many disasters since then, even a pandemic, and for us here in the Midwest a Derecho which we had never heard of before, though we learned quite fast that you really need to be prepared to be on your own for a spell. Our town did not have ice in till the day before we got the power back on so for anyone to benefit from using it in their refrigerator or freezers was too late as it was day eight into having no electricity during the hottest time of the year. 

I learned to take a shower by using a flashlight which I sat in the center of a roll of toilet paper to keep it setting so the light pointed up, this not at all a fun thing but better than when the water main broke and no way was I going to shower in what came out of that tap.

So every emergency has its own challenges. No, we cannot be prepared for everything but being prepared for some things is better than not being prepared at all. And having a huge widespread disaster is way harder than having just a crisis more localized like our town water main issue, but each has challenges. With the town water issue, surrounding towns did not have the issue so we could go purchase water or get water from friends. 

The Derecho was widespread, it cut a 70-mile swath through the center of our state, most of the way horizontally through the state so no electricity during the hottest time of the year and with the damage of a devastating tornado that large it meant everyone was in it. People who were helping also needed help. 

We will not stop having disasters, they will keep coming. The only thing we can do is prepare and be ready to help others when we can.

While we had water, I could fix meals on the stovetop only and could wash the dishes. I was extremely exhausted from the damage clean-up in that terrible heat. We were thankful for every bit of help we got. It was like a hurricane that was 70 miles wide that sustained the strength most of the way across the state. There was no government help and because it was so vast there was no state help as well. People came in from other states and other countries to help string wires for electricity.

So do the best you can to prepare when you aren't under duress. Learn what you can from people who went through their disasters. For example, I learned from those who had a very bad ice storm and were out of power for weeks. One lady said her floors drove her nuts because she couldn't vacuum them. I kept this in my mind and when I saw a carpet sweeper at a yard sale I bought it for 75 cents and yes, it has earned its keep.

So learn from these things and prepare what you can while you can, it helps it not be as bad as it could otherwise be.

Gus and Missy say to please also remember your pets in your preparations.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Monday Message

"Start now to create a plan if you don’t already have one, or update your present plan. Watch for best buys that will fit into your year’s supply. 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. The instability in the world today makes it imperative that we take heed of the counsel and prepare for the future." (L. Tom Perry)

I saw my first yard sale sign today for the season. It brought back memories of going every week.  The first thing on my list was anything I could use for storage...weird, right? Well here’s some of the things I found: wrapped soap, flashlights, candles, canning jars, oil lamps, oil for lamps, a brand new steamer canner for three dollars never opened. So these are just a few. So many more things like gardening tools and household tools, sewing fabric and notions, knitting needles and yarns, etc. One time I was at a sale she was doing half price then half again, some weird math type thing, but whatever it was I bought a bobbin winder for twelve and a half cents.

It is this very one. It winds bobbins for my weaving shuttles. I wanted to show you how much I would have to pay to buy one new.  So what do you think? Does yard saling pay off? Yes, it does.  Was it work? Yes, very much so.

The bobbins are the white part with the fiber on it in the center of the shuttles.

At a yard sale I would take a fast look around for anything that fit that first thing on my list, after that I would have things listed that we needed like snow suits, coats, whatever it was. Now I had this list with me because I am easily distracted and before I would leave I would consult my list.

I would always look through their free box. I would find adult jeans with broken zippers that I would make into little jeans for the girls.

Here are some of the yard sale finds…

So you see, many items are still very useful. Having done this for years we have saved lots of money, we could not afford to have purchased them new. I was able to stretch our budget very far. So next time you see a yard sale sign, stop and look around and see how far your money goes.

Missy says she is priceless.

Gus says at the top of his list is cat toys.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Monday Message

"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 am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. . .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." (President Gordon B. Hinckley)

This is so wise. Have you ever asked a child to clean their room and they just get flustered as to what to start with? Grown ups face this too. But choose one spot to clean and move to the next.

Food storage is overwhelming if you think of it all at once but if you start small, one week's worth is doable so attack it that way. - has some basic beginning help. - I think this has a good way to break it down however prices are a bit higher now. - she has good info and so does the site, she refers to 201 ways to save money.

One way I have saved money this week was that I planted a garden.

I worked so hard three days ago and I still hurt from it but it will save us money in the long run.

I had a disposable pan that I cut up and tied with wax string to the fence. If you look closely, they make noises and catch the light to keep furry thieves out of the garden. Also, I went a step further and had been saving my hair from the hair brush for a bit and I tucked it here and there around the fence line. We will see if it works.

I cut some cardstock in half to fold, making blank cards.

This way I have the card blank ready to make up cards when I need them. This also saves money and I can make them more personal.

The garden took several days to finish up so not much else got done however...

I was able to get a small sewing project tended. These are gifts. They are my favorite kitchen helper. It is getting harder and harder for me to open jars. These are jar openers. Yes, this is so helpful that I wanted to make them for a few friends. This is a frugal gift.

That is what I did this week. What did you do?

On Saturdays at noon they test the tornado sirens in town. That is what was going on as I wrote this. Missy says, “Oh my goodness! Practice going to a safe location.” In this case she is under the weaving bench. 

We should have a plan for storms and in case of fires, an evacuation plan or a tornado safe place. Work together so everyone knows the plan.

In our case I have picked up information along the way. Like once I read about the suggestion of having a crowbar in the basement which is where we go in a tornado. We also have bike helmets, suggested by our weatherman. We also watch the weather. We also know what it feels like in tornado weather. I have shoes in the basement for both of us cause if windows break you don't want to be barefoot.

I remember a story about a street conference type thing going on in Salt Lake City. They had tents set up along a street and people from all over were there. When they suddenly got a weather alert for a tornado warning. People who live there were also not used to having tornadoes. People were shouting to take cover. A man from California was there and hearing this he ran out into the street. He said a man from the Midwest, he guessed, grabbed him and took him to a safe place.  The fella who ran to the street said he was used to earthquakes and you run into the street. Not what you do in a tornado.

Gus says learn what things you need to do in your neck of the woods.

Monday, May 24, 2021

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)

I think it is more important than ever. There is need everywhere.

So if you have a skill or just learned one, share it so another person can have the skill as well.

This is hard during a pandemic but one could learn to Skype and then you can learn the skill together with someone over Skype.

Start with the most needed skill then learn a fun one as a reward, learning can be fun.

I know some people are saying grocery prices haven't gone up yet but others are already seeing prices up. I heard flowers are up twenty percent.

I have seedlings hardening getting ready for planting after the fifteenth. I like flowers that keep coming back every year. Many were shared by people cleaning through their plants. They make me remember my friends, several have passed but I remember them often.

Independence is at the heart of frugality. The more that you can do for yourself, the less you have to pay others to do those things for you. But to be independent, you need skills.






Knitting or Crocheting


Making Minor Household Repairs this has great skills.

I am working on my sewing skills

Knitting skills

Crochet skills

Cooking for two


Another skill that often is overlooked is proper care of appliances, our cars, our sewing machine. These are great skills to have. - this is a fantastic list and can even be used as a checklist.

Knowing how to make your own baked goods is the best skill to have. It saves so much money and tastes way better. - learning to sew and mend is huge as well.

Missy says plant a garden if you can.

Gus says please be safe.

Monday, May 17, 2021

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)

Only you know what your family would like to have in case of an emergency. Take time to ponder that. Perhaps make a list and each trip you make put a few things from that list on your grocery list, it will add to your storage.

Spring is here, says Spot the dog. I thought I would put a flowering plant in this dog planter I got from a yard sale years ago. It makes me smile every time I see it.

This week I had the spring cleaning bug. I went through closets and drawers, switching winter clothes for summer clothes. So that is tended and looks great besides.

The plants are growing and very soon will go live in the garden.

I have done some yard clean up and planted the pots on the old stove with peach colored geraniums. I want something pretty for my neighbor to look at while she does her dishes.

I did a little weaving and spinning but spent the most time on the spring clean up and organizing.

We seem to have wind every day which hurts me so. We usually have our rainy month in April but this year we have had very little of it in April, I am hoping that isn't a prediction of our summer to come.

For the next two weeks I won't have to work as hard and can rest up for garden planting. I did move the tubs I use to container garden in because the sun there was good, with so many of our trees gone I have moved them to another area. Spot, the flower dog, thought it was a great idea too.

Last year on May Day our new neighbors two houses away gave us a wrapped roll of toilet paper (remember it was in short supply then) and a paper basket of candy. We found the toilet paper still wrapped but a chipmunk tore open the candy and ate it then left the wrappers behind. I am sure that was one wired chipmunk, too funny. The neighbors have two young boys so this year I made a grungy treasure map that would lead them to a treasure. I rolled it and put it in their screen door. The treasure hunt would eventually lead them to a "crows nest" aka their swing set, it has a raised area where they can decide what direction to go like down a rock wall or to slide down. The treasure was a big box of Fruit Loops, fun but not too bad for them. I hope they had fun. 

I used to do treasure hunts with my kids. I have mentioned before about the dress up box and the grandkids, we would dress up and go on a safari to find the stuffed animals. A bishop stopped by while we were in costume, it was a bit embarrassing but fun was had.

So as summer approaches and kids will be done with their studies, plan some fun. It doesn't have to cost money to create memories.

In the morning when I get up I go in to open the curtain in the sewing room and Gus and Missy know that means we all look out the window. Well on this day we were looking out and saw a father walking his daughter to get her safely across the busy street, then she skipped on her way to school which is a straight shot after that past our house. I have missed the kids going pass on their way to school. She was dressed all in pink. The pandemic has been so is good to see a little skip to school. 

Later, I was up sewing and saw a man standing, waiting for something, and I told Gus if a pink clad little girl comes by that is her daddy. Sure enough it was. 

Long ago when our kiddos went to school I would know the time of day by kids coming home. Our yard is almost an acre and I was sitting on the ground weeding strawberries and several kids cut through the yard. Wrapped up in their conversation, they didn't notice me there till they were very close then they froze thinking I might scold them. Not me, it was a shortcut for them so I greeted them and they were happy I wasn't mean. Long ago I was the shortcut kid, I saved almost a quarter of a mile in a just short of a two-mile walk from school by taking a shortcut. My favorite thing was not just the shortcut but walking by a house that had the prettiest bleeding heart plant by their backdoor. I wonder now did they watch me stop and look at their beautiful plant as I walked by, I wonder...

It does not take anything to be kind and yet it is everything.

To this day bleeding hearts are my most favorite flower ever and some day I will plant some for a passer by to love.

Gus says please keep being safe.

Missy says be kind to others.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Monday Message

"Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors, and support bishops as they care for others." (All is Safely Gathered In pamphlet)

I am so thankful for this beautiful earth.

Preparing every needful thing is a big job, but do it a little at a time. Just ponder what is needed and then make a plan and work that plan. It does not need to be done all at once. Whenever I have a huge task, I break it down and do a little each day. Otherwise I would feel very overwhelmed. Sometimes I will give myself a time limit, let's say twenty minutes. If I am making headway, I may choose to go longer, and I often do, but it doesn't seem so hard when I say twenty minutes.

This week was time to make up bread mixes. I filled all these jars. This is the recipe I share for bread machine but you can do it by hand as well. Yes, I did do it by hand to see and it works just as well.

I put 3 cups of regular flour (cause that is what I have). So each jar gets the three cups of flour.

Then I add 3 tsp. of vital wheat gluten (if you use bread flour you can omit this).

I then add a handful of oatmeal.

Then a 1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

I just take a butter knife and give a little stir so the yeast isn't on top.

Then I put 2 Tbsp. shortening on the top and put on my jar lid and ring. 

When I use the mix, I put 1 1/4 cup of warm water into the pan of my bread machine and dump one of these jars in on top then put it on the dough setting.

When it gets to the top of the pan (usually an hour or an hour and a half - depends on any given day but I check at an hour), I take it out and either make the loaf by spraying slightly the table then pat it as wide as my bread pan and a little longer the other way, then I roll it into the bread log and put it into the sprayed loaf pan. I spray the top and cover loosely with plastic wrap. I set my oven to preheat 350 degrees and let the loaf rise one inch above the rim of the pan - little more is okay, mind you set a timer. This takes me thirty minutes then I put it in the oven and bake for forty minutes.

I let it cool for thirty minutes or so then use an electric knife to slice it. The reason I like to have it all sliced at once is that it’s convenient and makes better slices.

Sometimes I make cinnamon rolls or pecan rolls...

This is a basic dough that you can make anything you can come up with just by changing it a little. There are many variations in this cookbook generously made and shared by my friend Liza.

It is the base and then you can go from there. So I make up these "bread kits" to make it fast when I need to make a bread item.

This week I tried it as bread bowls. I covered a cookie sheet with foil then I got out four bowls that could go in the oven. I sprayed them and divided the dough. I used two large and two regular sized bowls but if you have four the same size, divide it evenly. I just pressed the dough around the bowls. So it looks like this.

Then I sprayed and covered it with plastic wrap loosely. I let it rise fifteen to twenty minutes. Then baked in a 350 degree oven till it was nicely golden.

So now that adds another variation with this bread dough.

I also did some weaving. I took these two balls of pearled cotton and just did a tabby weave.

I thought I would just play with this warp I have on the loom at this time.

Gus and Missy besides overseeing my pattern I am working on, remind you to please be safe - we are not yet out of the pandemic. Continue to wear your masks and wash your paws and social distance like they are demonstrating for you.

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