Monday, May 25, 2020

Monday Message

"There is still much in life to be hopeful about and grateful for." Jeffrey R. Holland

Yes there is!!!

The way things are right now won't always be this way...We should not give up, we should not despair!!! When we have our darkest time and things look too hard, roll up your sleeves instead of throwing in the towel.

Learn to make do. Play with your kids. Learn to do something fun as well as learn a skill. I know someone who learned to watercolor and she does a really good job. What have you always wanted to learn (within the current parameters)?

If you have been laid off, use this time to create a business. What is needed that you can do? If needed, learn things, research online. Only you can stop you from learning and even if you still will have a job, learn to increase your skills.

I like to have bread mixes made up ahead of time. I put one and a fourth cups water (I just use cold from my tap) in bread machine but if you don't have one, not to fret! Just put it in a bowl to mix by hand. I just dump in my machine and set to dough setting and let it rise till it is higher than the pail lid in my machine and that can take a little over an hour. 

When I have done this by hand, I stir in bowl and knead it right in the bowl you mixed it in but only flour your hands, do not add flour to your dough. Then I cover and let it sit for an hour then, in both cases, I take it and flatten the dough and form a rectangle as wide as the pan is from end to end and a bit longer then that so you get a rectangle. Then I roll up end to end, pinch a seam and place that seam side down in the sprayed or greased bread pan. 

Spray or grease the top, cover and let rise. I preheat my oven to 350 degrees while it rises. When it is one inch over the top of the rim of the pan, I uncover and put in oven and bake for forty minutes. Remove it from the pan onto a cooling rack. I then butter the top of the hot loaf.

When I have it flat in rectangle, I sprinkle with sugar then sprinkle with cinnamon. I also sprinkle a few raisins and then roll it up, only I pull it a bit so I get more swirls and continue like the other.

So in this jar I have:

3 cups all purpose flour (you can use bread flour)
3 tsp of vital wheat gluten (omit if using bread flour)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
One handful of oatmeal
2 1/4 tsp of yeast, I give a stir at the top so yeast isn't on top
2 tbsp veg shortening

That is what is in the jar shown here.

Then when my loaf is cool, I slice the whole loaf up at once and I use an electric knife though you don't have to, I just like the look better. The reason I do the whole loaf at once is after a couple days if you slice as you go it will crumble.

I store my yeast in the freezer, you should too. I keep a quart jar of yeast in the refrigerator...this is my using jar. I make a loaf like this about every four or five days but there is just the two of us.

I have noticed yeast is hard to find right now so go back to last week's blog and check out sourdough -
- this has tons of videos on cutting hair as we are all still inside pretty much, you may find this helpful. - this took a lot to find, this recipe makes the best flour shells though the picture doesn't do it justice, if you roll even thinner they make great wraps.

Gus says have you run out of crackers?

Missy says she would rather have muffins...

Missy says stay in and be safe!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Monday Message

"We face many serious challenges in the world today, but I assure you that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us. He will guide and bless us as we put our faith and trust in Him and will see us through whatever difficulties come our way." - Thomas S. Monson

I know that it feels like this is a forever sort of thing and we wonder what it will be like on the other end of this battle. I think we will be like those who have gone before us...look toward them now, see how they got through and gain strength from what they did to get through. We really will have a hard trial but we will make it through.

We still have a very difficult time ahead and we need to brace ourselves for this.

Start being even more frugal than before. Stretch your food stuffs. Be looking for meatless meals your family would enjoy. Learn to plant some items to grow for your family. We need to learn how to mend our clothes to have them last longer. Take care of what you have. Find out how you can make everything you have useful, for example: vegetable cans can be used to plant seeds, just poke a hole in the bottoms for drainage. Go back through the blog to see what now might be even more helpful to you, like making washcloths out of old towels.

Learn to cook from scratch and how to make things stretch.

I have been watching what is and isn't on the shelves and hearing from others and looking at stores online. This week I was surprised  to notice that, of course, there's still no yeast, so given this I wanted you to be able to do sourdough if you needed something...

This is my favorite and best ever tutorial on making sourdough - 

Give them some patience on the first part, stick with it and you will find they get things figured out. You will see it goes into each day so just click on the next day to see but she does a fantastic job of walking you through it. - another thing you can make is biscuits.

There are so many things you can do with biscuits...

You can mix chicken leftovers or canned chicken with a can of cream of mushroom and some cheese, I throw in some peas. Scoop this into a muffin tin about halfway filling the cups, then top with biscuit and bake in a 350 degree oven till biscuits are golden. Then when you serve, flip it over so the biscuit is on the bottom and the sauce runs over it, yum! - you can make white sauce with very little ingredients. You can add cooked hamburger or cooked sausage and serve over biscuits, you can add cheese for variation.

Gus says things might look rough right now but the sun will come out.

Missy says we can do this and she is proud of you all.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Monday Message

"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."
― Joseph B. Wirthlin 

As each day seems harder to get through we need to keep our focus. We need to think not on what we cannot do, but think of all we can do!  

We can take this time to build our skills...skills we now need to have. So learn to darn socks before you get holes. If you have one of those plastic eggs that hold treats leftover from Easter, put in this egg your darning needle and thread, even embroidery thread works well too. This can be your darning kit. - here she shows how to use your plastic egg on the inside to stretch your sock over while darning.

Put your egg kit in a box or basket with a pill bottle or baggie of buttons and a pair of scissors and a light and dark colored threads, this can be your mending basket. - here are some mending by hand examples if you don't have a machine. - get creative!

Then try to find frugal ideas...

This gal makes this pancake mix with no eggs. So with everyone making every egg count this is a good way - After having had this I had the same recipe at a place in Florida. So I suggest this recipe. - I keep this recipe of hers on hand always. I just use powdered milk for the cream, you can leave out the zest and put in chocolate chips. The sky is the limit really. Yes, once again there's no eggs.

Make your own yogurt. You can see how I do it here... 

So this is the finished radish sprouts. I use the green sprouter pictured above with the yogurt. I used radish sprouting seeds here. You don't have to have special equipment just sprouting seeds, a jar with a ring, and a clean nylon. Put a tablespoon or two in the jar and fill with water, affix the nylon and ring then let it sit overnight. Drain the next morning and run water back in and drain, this is rinsing. Do this rinsing a couple times a day leaving nylon and ring in place the whole time. When you have drained the jar, tip it at an angle in a bowl. This is a great source of fresh greens. These sprouts will go in a sandwich in place of lettuce is where they are headed.

Take time to learn and do fun things as well...

Here is a bookmark I tatted for a gift. So see how you can work on your skills? You can make gifts with them!

With the threats of food shortages to come, you need to think of planting some things in pots if you cannot do planting in your yard. Even if you cannot can, you can freeze. Think about putting food plants in your flower gardens.

Soon I will be thinning out the tomatoes by planting them in their own containers till I can put them in the ground. Think outside the box. Use your planters for food instead of flowers or along with flowers, I love flowers.

Gus says to be safe out there and learn how to stretch what you have, this will not be a short term thing.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Monday Message

"Bad days come to an end." Jeffrey R. Holland

Eventually we will get through this. We will be stronger. Hopefully you will have found a better you and more compassion and love for others.

I mixed this up today and thought I should share it with you, it is from my childhood, almost a lost recipe...

Pizza Burgers

Shred one stick of margarine or butter
Then shred one can of spam (the regular) kind
Add a small can of tomato paste
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dry oregano, I crush in fingers
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
Mix this together well
Then stir in shredded mozzarella cheese to your liking, I like a lot, about four cups, this stretches it out as well.

Store in your refrigerator till ready to use.
I cover a cookie sheet with tinfoil for quick clean-up but it isn't needed if watching your tinfoil. 

You spread this on half hamburger buns and bake at 350 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes or till slightly golden. 

This has always been a favorite, you can make one or a pan full just so easy to have made ahead.

I understand you are probably very frustrated at having to stay home and a loss of income. I know full well but we really need to stick with it.

The things we do at home with our family will be fond memories of being together.

We are so sad for the loss of life and we are continually praying for all affected.

Those with children at home - one of our favorite games was buckle buckle bean stalk.... You pick something easily hid in plain sight like a toy, everyone gets to see it then leave the room while someone hides it. Then everyone comes in and when one spots it they say "buckle buckle bean stalk" then that person is the one to hide it, on this goes kind of a Where's Waldo before he was a thing.

It is time soon to plant after May 15 here. Because this can still happen...

I have started seed indoors. My 9 year-old pepper seeds failed but the dollar tree ones are coming through the dirt.

I have been putzing around, organizing things here and there. This is powdered sugar and cocoa powder and brown sugar for easier access for baking. is a site that has free books to read. Note to parents - there are settings to keep certain things away from kiddos. You might find some fun things for the kids, they have books for all ages with stuff that comes out daily.

Those of you with kids who read, get them a book and you get one too and read together then talk it over, fun can be had! Also, if you have grown kids like me, you both can read the same books, we have lots of fun doing this.

There are "how-to" books on that free read feed too like gardening and cookbooks and I like cozy mysteries. I have been known to grab some children's books too. - I would add have a picnic in your yard. - I like that bear pancake. - fun projects for kids

Gus says he is trying to not use the word "bored." When we first got him he was a stray, when I would watch a podcast he would fly away in fear but he is a smart fella and will now watch with me. He has watched the tablet with me enough that he stretches his arm out and faster than ever, spreads his toes apart and swipes my screen which is a touch screen and messes the page I am on. I think he takes joy in be like Gus take joy in the simple things.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Monday Message

"Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands." Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I know things are very hard right now, we just need to push on and keep staying the course. Just do the best we can.

Gus says he would gladly share his mouse with you.

I read how the mail delivery people needed masks so this is the mask I made for our mailman.

I have been busy making masks for donation to our hospitals. Our governor had requested all who could sew to make masks to donate to the medical facilities all over the state of Iowa. So far over 10,000 masks have been collectively made but way more are needed.

By now you are probably having to be creative with just about everything...

So I thought it would be a good idea to revisit bread-making.

This is the best recipe I use for bread-making from my friend Liza. See the whole cookbook here - for a whole bunch of different ways to use this recipe including cinnamon rolls and garlic knots and more!!

To make bread flour you use a tsp of vital wheat gluten per cup of all purpose flour, it's also the same for wheat flour.

If you do not have this you can use just flour. Now keep in mind wheat will be heavy without though, also you can use white and wheat together as well.

If you do not have a bread machine just do it by hand.

Having called in an order to be picked up at Walmart, I had an opportunity to look up several items. There is no flour, no yeast, no rice, and no toilet paper just to name a few...and what they did have of other items they limited them to two. This makes me wonder about families larger than ours, do they have to go more often? I do not know.

Plus, there is only so much money in bank accounts.

If you have wheat stored but no grinder...this is the best pancake recipe - - this is helpful if you do not have syrup. Remember, peanut butter, jams and jellies, butter with brown sugar sprinkled over top, are good options for toppings too. If you are low on bread, use leftover pancakes and just spread with peanut butter and then roll up. Try to make pancake shapes for the kids to make for fun for them. Also, let the littles help you mix them up. Try putting chocolate chips or raisins in or for eyes on pancake, bears, or smiley faces.

Also use powdered milk, mix it up and put it in the refrigerator for easy using. If you use powdered milk dry, add it to dry ingredients and water with liquids.

One other thing that I noticed that Walmart did not have was garden seed, I am hearing they are hard to find. So I gathered what I did have together and I was surprised to find I had more than I thought...

I forgot that I picked up some from the Dollar Tree before all this started, also I saved seed. So gather what seeds you have. I planted in the house in pots. I did tomato and peppers, both were nine years old. The tomatoes are doing good but the peppers did not so I planted them with the new seeds I forgot I had gotten.

Having done this, I thought I would go ahead and plant seeds that I usually just put in the ground. I had some little clay pots I had as a decoration and planted cucumbers and squash, etc. in them. I have some plastic cups I had from long ago from when our kids were visiting that I will save for when I need to thin the tomato plants. I will put a hole in the bottom and fill them with dirt and save the thinned plants.

This would be a good year to put seeds in the ground. We do not have a tiller but we have shovels and I will just do spots here and there, so just do what you can. I took out sprouting potatoes I hung onto with plans to plant, so go look at your potatoes and see if any are looking back at you, then plant them in the ground.

Our frost date here in Iowa is May 15, that is when we should plant outside but potatoes can go in now.

Take a look at what food you have then look for ways to stretch it.

Let's call or email our friends and family and seniors, think who could use a check up on and make it so. There is one thing not on the shortage list and that is love.

Missy says stay safe and stay well.

Peach Cobbler (but you could use any canned fruit)

Melt one stick of butter or margarine in a 9x13 pan in your preheating 350 degree oven, meanwhile in a bowl mix...
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
In a measuring cup put three tbsp powdered milk and the juice of two reg size cans of peaches. Pour this into the dry ingredients, mix well and pour over that melted margarine or butter, then take the peaches and put them over the top. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and bake thirty minutes.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Monday Message

"We face many serious challenges in the world today, but I assure you that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us. He will guide and bless us as we put our faith and trust in Him and will see us through whatever difficulties come our way." Thomas S. Monson

We all are having hard times. We just need to remember who we are. We will have to work a little more but that's okay, we can do that.

Gus and Missy are here to tell you that even though you are staying safe at home you can make your home a wonderful place to be...

I saw this somewhere and so I did this for Gus and Missy. I had two boxes, then I took two of my t-shirts and you just put the shirt on the box with the neck on the open side of the box like you see in the picture. The shirts are intact but now they have little forts.

In my spare time I have been making cloth masks to be donated to our hospital. Our governor asked for all who could sew to make them. - this is the one I am making in picture above. - simple to make.

It is time to be thinking about planting your vegetable garden, be it in pots or in the ground. One thing I want to do is have a pot with lettuce up on the porch so I can just go out the door and get it. Think outside the box. Get creative, like I plan to just put squash in a hole that I will clear the sod off of. So think what you can do and don't dwell on what you can't do.

My Chocolate Cake

1 ½ c. boiling water
¾ c. butter
2 c. sugar
Stir together till butter is melted and sugar is dissolved
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. cocoa powder
Mix well and add…
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Blend well, batter will be thin.

Put in a sprayed 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees till done, check after twenty minutes.

Whenever we had tough times I would make this chocolate cake. We had it at other times as well but as long as there was chocolate cake our kids thought things were normal and they would not be afraid. Though we knew we were in tough times, it made us feel better too. So I made sure we always stored ingredients to make it.  I still do in fact make this cake, we had it this very week.

What fun things are you doing while home bound? I think you all know I made kitty caves with t-shirts.

I think this will be going on for a while so try to have fun times...

Have a popcorn party!

We once had a Carnival when our girls were very little. We set up bean bag toss and fun things all around the living room with yummies at the end.

We use to have a huge dress up box. Just toss in some of your clothes, scarves, hats, shoes, and big jewelry. The kids love it!

We use to go on a safari with our grandson and we would go in and out and all around till we found the stuffed toy giraffe.

Have a family swap. Have everyone bring some things to the table they no longer want and that others might want.

Set two or three objects for each person then go around and one at a time they pick an item and make a fantastical story up about that item.

I am sure you have wonderful ideas. Share them with us in the comments below!

We will get through these times with stories to tell.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Monday Message

"He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face..." - Thomas S. Monson

I thought now we need positive thoughts while everything is so dark and scary all around us. We need to be a light to our family. We need to be strong. I think we can all agree this is the most challenging time in our life.  

As we are in the high risk demographic we are staying in and safe, only going out for meds which is a drive through.

Has anyone else been organizing too? It helps as it is one thing I can control when everything else seems out of control.

Now is a good time to go through your cookbooks and find the most frugal ones.

Go through your cookbooks and look for recipes that you already have the ingredients for on hand, no running out for items if you don't have too.

Make a list of the recipe and page number and what cookbook it's in.

Inventory your freezers.

What can you substitute if you don't have an ingredient? 


Brown and drain a pound of hamburger, I do this in a big Dutch oven size pan.
To this I add a cooked, drained and rinsed package of macaroni
Then I add two tbsp dried onion flakes
Then I add tomato sauce, two to three cans, the larger ones you can add if you like it with more sauce
Then add chili powder to your taste, I like one to two tbsp
Stir this together and heat through

Here is a cowl I just finished up. This is a free pattern from Tin Can Knits, they have lots of free patterns -

This is the time to keep busy, learn a new skill or work on ones you already have.

Also, it is time to start some garden seeds because I am not wanting to go out to stores. I found I had some tomato seeds and green pepper seeds from nine years ago! I figure it couldn't hurt to try. I put dirt I had in outdoor containers into pots I had and planted the seeds, watered, then tented the pots with plastic bags.

So far the tomato seeds are pushing up through the dirt, now we will see if the peppers do?

Missy and Gus say to keep a positive attitude and put a smile on your face like Raggedy Ann.

Let us all know how you are doing in the comments below.

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