Monday, November 11, 2019

Monday Message

"As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son." (President Gordon B. Hinckley) 

This is quite a statement, it sums it all up.

How many times have you said clean up your room to a child?  That is what I think of when I read that quote as we have been continuously counseled for more than sixty years. Fortunately, our girls both have very clean rooms and that didn't take sixty years :p

Seriously, everywhere we look it seems prosperity is everywhere. It's on TV, in magazines on computers, phones... everywhere we look everyone looks happy and everyone looks well off, like things will always be like this or better, right? 

But look again. Look closer at the flashy page in your magazine with a bowl of cereal in it. Why is it when you fix your bowl of the same cereal it doesn't look the same? Hmmm... Well to get theirs to look that good they can't put milk on it as it takes hours to get their pictures just right and milk would make a soggy mess. So they put glue on it as it looks like milk but that perfect look is not edible.

So next time you ask yourself, "why can't my house look as good as the one in the magazine?" Well they have an army of people setting up that room with the best things and we all don't have that plus no one lives really in that room.

It reminds me of when we were in student housing, which were tiny chicken coop type metal structures on a cement slab. I had a table shoved up against the wall with three chairs. Now I had a friend in another unit call me to say was my unit bigger than hers. I said nope. She said but you have three kitchen chairs around your table and she could only get two. I said for her to come over and when she got there I said there are three because the one chair touches the refrigerator. For every meal I had to move the table things aren't always what they seem.

I once was at a talk where a lady was telling us of her visit to Russia and was invited to a Russian lady's house. The Russian lady was embarrassed and kept apologizing saying her house was not like those in America. The American lady said that the woman's house was very nice so why did she think that? Come to find out the Russian lady could see the show 90210 Beverly Hills show and she thought we all had homes like that. I never saw that show but I am guessing they were mansion type homes.

Things are not what they seem and we should never compare ourselves to others.

Same thing goes for the "everything will always be great" part, because I can say everything is not always great. We have worked for companies who down-sized without warning. We have gone from a good wage to doing the same amount of work for only our insurance and let me tell you I have had lots of learning how to get by and I feel it was all to help me now at this time and I can share with you so you will know what to do when your hard times come.

So when things get hard and you feel like giving up.....think of the blog and what things I have shared.

When your basket looks empty, find ideas here on the blog to put in your basket.

Fill your basket with knowledge and skills.

Don't be afraid.

Don't be lazy.

Work on being prepared. Little by little you will get there.

Learn skills that will help your family and know that every skill you build will add to what you already have and some day when things get tight you too will have learned what you need to know.

Monday, November 4, 2019

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 talked before about preparing every needful thing. We should try to work on this everyday even if it is a little each day. We can learn if nothing more. - I keep this mix on hand all the time, she has fantastic info. - this gives you ideas for oatmeal. - she has many great things here you can use for gift giving. - As long as we are talking oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a great thing to always have on hand so plan to put some in your storage. - I think this would be fantastic, I really love mug recipes.

As you know I am all about learning skills... - this will help you learn a basic scarf. You can just knit every row till it is as long as you like. You can look back over knitting sites in the blog. There is a fantastic site that gives you lessons on doing a child's sweater, would be easier to make a child's first then go up in size. - here is a basic pattern for dishcloths. The one in the picture is the no holes version. You can use straight needles to learn on. I am using circular needles here. Beginners start with straight needles, shorter ones are best.

In the basket, yes, I made the basket I forget to say that, but in the basket are my leftover cotton yarn from making dishcloths.

I am using up these leftovers. The one pictured I am using two alternating colors giving me a striped look.  - she is an excellent teacher and she will tell you every step of the way what you need to get started and then goes through it all the way to finished. I think this would be excellent. You can go at your own pace. Purchase cheap yarn to learn on to keep your cost down, plus the classes are free. 

Free is always my price, I can't afford any other.

These are a few to get you started. If you are rusty at any of these now is a good time to refresh that skill...

Cooking from scratch
Sewing and mending
Learning how to make do
Vacuum sealing

If there are any skills you are wanting to learn comment below and I can cover them in future blogs.

I think this is important enough to link again...  

Look for a used bread machine. If you cannot find one, you can do this recipe by hand. It is from way before anyone ever invented bread machines but keep your eye out at thrift stores as they make your life easier.   

While it mixes and rises in the machine, I can run errands or do other things. I don't care for bread baked in the bread machine so I put it on the dough setting so I can take the dough out and do any of the things in Liza's book she shared in THIS POST, scroll down to the turquoise cover, all her pages are there.

I will remind you that you do not need to use bread flour, you can make your own. Use one tsp of vital wheat gluten to one cup of regular flour and in this case the recipe calls for three cups flour so I add three tsp of vital wheat gluten.

Look for it at your health food stores or get it online. They no longer carry it at the Walmart by me or by my daughters' area which was Alabama and Florida, I checked when I was there.

I vacuum seal mine and keep a year's supply on hand at all times.

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

If you find it in box form it has a bag inside. I poke a pin hole in the bag and stick bag and all in a wide mouth quart jar and vacuum seal.

I have gotten mine in bulk of late and fill my jar. I cut a paper towel, a coffee filter works too they work for many things, but I cut it the same size as the lid. I put this in on top of any powdery thing I vacuum seal then wipe the rim then put on the lid and ring and vacuum seal. I use the canister method but any way you do it works. The reason for putting this on top of the powder is to keep the particles from going into the sealer and killing it.

When I go to use it I keep my using jar in the refrigerator.

I keep my yeast in the freezer, except my using jar I keep in refrigerator as well.

So let me know what skill you want to learn in the comments below and keep working on your storage and keep rotating. While food lasts longer than the date in most cases, it won't last forever so keep it rotated.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Monday Message

"More than ever before, we need to learn and apply the principles of economic self-reliance. We do not know when the crisis involving sickness or unemployment may affect our own circumstances. We do know that the Lord has decreed global calamities for the future and has warned and forewarned us to be prepared." (President Ezra Taft Benson)  

I think some of the greatest lessons I have learned have been from going through hard times. I might have learned the same lessons otherwise but would have taken me longer.

One thing I can say for sure is no matter how you think life will go there are many many things that can muck up the works and most of them you never see coming.

I know as well that no matter what life deals you, those things do not define you. You are not less of a person because these things have happened to you. Sometimes things are good, sometimes they are really bad, and most of the time it is in between those two.

We can be in the lowest of income brackets and still be happy and still find joy.

I am reminded of a beginning piano piece..."Money can't by happiness..."

What matters is how we live our life. Be kind no matter your finances.

This week our library had its book sale. I picked up a book called Hard Times, it is an oral history of the Great Depression by Studs Terkel.

I have not read a lot but I can truly say that what I have read is awful. So I will continue to push getting in some storage and learning skills. Just from what I have read both would be helpful if we truly find ourselves in hard times and may they never be like those.

Of course, there were good people in the stories who helped so let us be good and helpful as well.

I also got a few cookbooks as I feel cooking from scratch is a very useful thing.

One book I got was a file folder with pages of family favorite recipes put together in 2000.

One recipe that grabbed my attention was...

Pineapple Minute Tapioca

1/2 c. Minute tapioca
1/2 c. Sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 quart hot water
Cook till thick over medium heat
Remove from heat and stir in 1 c. Crushed pineapple

They chilled and served with whip cream. I think it would be great served right from the heat. It says this was Edgar's favorite.

I love tapioca in all ways so I try to have it on hand.

I think this looks like a very frugal recipe.

So what are skills that would be helpful?

Cooking from scratch - I put this at the top of the list.
Sewing - learn how to sew if only to mend.  

I thought now with it getting colder we needed this reminder to put our car kit together.

It is time to put together your sick plan, have some easy to put together meals on hand.

What other skills do you want to add to my beginning list of skills??

Let's all share ideas!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Monday Message

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year’s supply of food … and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free." (President Thomas S. Monson)

When having debt is like walking under water with weights on your ankles - She a wonderful author this is well worth watching, straight forward in understanding. 

Life is just hard sometimes and so much is out of our control. We should work on what is in our control, putting in a little food, and work on skill building. We have some control over these things. We should not put things off, that never goes well.

We never know what is around the corner. We feel things will always be okay, just little bumps, but when big bumps come along we stress and stressful events make it hard to think clearly. So having storage helps us when big bumps come and knowing how to stretch things is valuable as well. - here are a few ideas.

Learning how to cook from scratch is a huge blessing. Making rice pilaf from a box takes just as long as doing it from scratch and is cheaper than a box. I know when I run across something that costs soooo much with ingredients that actually cost very little, I get a bit angry that they can do that. Like laundry soap. I went years worried about how we could afford to purchase it each time we needed to, only to find out you could make it yourself for so little, that still gets my goat.

So do some searching to see if you can make things cheaper.

I was thinking the other day about commercials. They tell people it is not cool to have dandruff for example, so long before it was a thing people had dry scalps but suddenly you are looked down on because the commercial shows you to do so when in fact using their shampoo makes your hair thin out.

Really, we need to use common sense. All these commercials are trying to show you how you should be, trying to get you to think you can't live without their products. They are trying to make money, I get it. But we don't always need these items.

How many times have you heard that this product tastes just like grandma's..? Really? One should get out her recipe and fix it instead. We have gotten away from how to do things. Even researching for this blog post I am finding so many that say too busy to cook, do this or that instead.

I am not against crock-pots for example, or microwaves, or any of the wonderful things that help us - even the bread machine! I find things used that help me all the time and you can too. What I am saying though, is that if you need to stretch your finances then going out to eat or buying packaged items is not what is helpful.

What you might do instead is plan and do a few things ahead that will help you when you are busy and we all are busy from time to time, but if you are so busy all the time take a step back and look at what you are doing because it isn't healthy to be going like that all the time. Your health WILL suffer and we don't want that.  - Seriously, this gets harder all the time to find and it is the best recipe you can find. I timed myself making a creamed soup with a recipe for creamed soup from here and then made a can of soup... did it take the same amount of time? YES! Did the taste compare? No, this was way BETTER!!!!!!  Now that soup is a dollar a can this is way cheaper. And with tariffs ongoing look for it to go up in price. - again this too was hard to find as well and these two sites have the best ever recipes.

I have them printed off and in a binder. So give them a try and then print them and put them in your binder, that way it's easy to grab. Really, this was two very hard searches.

I don't packet them, I find the best way to cook from scratch is to have the basic ingredients on hand.

Going out to eat really is not in our budget so trying to stretch what we have is so important. It's a very helpful skill that will bless your family.

With prices going up we need to do these things to offset the expense.

As the weather cools, try to learn to make bread. Also, look for used bread machines. As you've seen, using them to just do the dough is so worth it! You can let it do all the work while you do your chores.

I make my bread flour using one tsp of vital wheat gluten to one cup of flour as I cannot afford bread flour. This works just the same. However, it is a bit harder to find vital wheat gluten. I use to get it at Walmart, they no longer sell it at both stores near me. Our health food store does carry it and one can order it online. I keep a jar in the refrigerator as my using jar and to vacuum seal it if it is in a plastic bag inside the box, poke it with a pin and put whole bag in a jar and seal it. If, however, you buy it in bulk, put it in a jar then put a piece of paper towel over the powder inside. Completely wipe the rim, affix the lid and seal. This has to be the same procedure for all powdery foods otherwise the particles will suck into the machine and kill it and is not fixable.

More on making your own bread HERE!

Do keep working on your skill building and continue to find frugal tips that will help your family. - this gal has great frugal ideas.

Here is my smaller bobbin lace pillow that I made. To have it be more portable, I put it in a basket. My sister had given the bobbins to me as a b-day gift. The pins were from a yard sale for a dime and the thread too came from a yard sale... So if we put our minds to it we can find ways around expensive items while being frugal and loving it!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Message

"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program. We could refer to all the components of personal and family preparedness, not in relation to holocaust or disaster, but in cultivating a life-style that is on a day-to-day basis its own reward." (President Spencer W. Kimball)

Making preparedness a way of life is easier than you think. You probably do most of it without even thinking about it. Think about your everyday doings. You wake up with a list of things you will attempt to get done. Am I right so far?

That is preparing for your day. Take that further, do you prepare for your week ahead? Month ahead? Then think about things you use in that time frame. How many rolls of toilet paper and other paper products will you need? How much food will you need? Once you figure out these things you can get extra.

Sit down with your store flyers. Every week I sit down with the sale flyers even when I cannot get anything. I study them. My grocery stores are pretty close to each other but I am twenty minutes from them so I have to make very determined decisions. To go twenty minutes to save twenty cents is not cost effective. 

So look through your flyer and see what is for sale. Is there something your family uses? This week pasta was .69 but only for macaroni and spaghetti. Because I don't really have the funds for a real grocery shopping, just a small amount for a few items, I put those on hold and got ten packages of macaroni. I know this is an item that we use and it gets us ahead on that. This is how I do it. 

Now I don't often go to stores but if you do, pick up some item for your storage, even if it is a package of jello or a box of Band-Aids.  You would be surprised at how fast it adds up.

Of course, just getting the pasta is the first part to store it. You must take it out of those boxes. I dumped mine in a bucket and put two bay leaves on top. I put the lid on then labeled and dated it. If you leave it in the boxes you could get buggy pasta. So storing properly is just as important as getting it. I vacuum seal them in jars too but this time the bucket was easier.

So make choices to fit your budget, be flexible so you can put a few things up to stretch when you cannot get groceries worked into your budget.

Sometimes we can prepare less expensive meals to save the funds to stock up...

Develop those skills. Start with learning how to make bread and rolls.

This is how high I let my bread get before I bake it to give you an idea of what you are looking for. I use regular flour that I make into bread flour by adding one tsp of vital wheat gluten per one cup of flour. This bread has cooked wheat in it. So learn this skill and collect recipes in your binder.

Once you master that, learn to make jam. See how skills build on one another? - enjoy!

Monday, October 7, 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)

Home production and storage is huge and it is different for everyone. People with a lot of money may go for the freeze dried foods or other already done for you options and that is fine, so long as you taste it and your family is okay with it. No problem. I encourage having storage in any form.

Then you have those with very little funds, I fall here on the scale.  And then you have everywhere in between.

Working with what you have is good on any level. I find the less funds you have to work with, the harder you must work. And that is okay, there is nothing wrong with that, it is what it is...

Because I am on the bottom of that scale, I tend to write what I know but you choose what works best for you and your family.

I have gone to thrift stores and yard sales when I could over my many years. This has helped me stretch our limited funds. I asked myself is there anything here that would help us, i.e. canning jars and equipment, that sort of thing.

And now with even less funds we are benefiting from those thrifty items! What a blessing.

I can what produce I can get. Without having to purchase much to do so. When I have to go to the store I try to pick up a box of canning lids, it all adds up by canning season (actually, I can any time of the year).

I dehydrate all year long. If I have a few potatoes, I peel, slice, and blanch them and put in the dehydrator. That last bit of grapes no one eats? Well they make great raisins. Shred those last carrots, blanch and dry or dice or slice - you need to blanch or else they'll turn black.  

I mentioned before how I saved the tomato skins from canning tomatoes and dried them and blended them into tomato powder which is a costly item. 

I was able to make it for free from something that would normally be tossed. Did it take more work? Only slightly. Everything takes work, so best not to be afraid to work.

One of my favorite things to dry is frozen mixed veggies. The hard work of preparing the veggies and blanching was done before freezing so you only need to a open bag and dump it on trays.

So watch for sales. This picture shows three jars. In these jars are ten lbs of veggies. I know what you are do I use them? I use these in a fantastic veggie chili soup. I just toss in what I want and these shriveled bits turn into veggies that taste like I just picked them...yummy!

Used dehydrators are normally three dollars. I saw one last year just after we all had those floods for $3.99 just like this one, I almost got it but I have three so I was trying to decide if I should I get it. Just as a lady spied it in my cart, I said I love this kind a lot. She said she use to have one before but lost it in the floods. I made up my mind right then and there. I picked it up and put it in her cart and said it works I just had the guy test it. She was soooooo happy, it had it's manual and was a great purchase.

So if you are serious about finding one, just haunt those thrift stores. You will find one eventually and if you have the money, just buy one new, they often have sales 40 - 50 dollars new.

But like I said I had to get mine on a tight budget. I am sure that lady was on a tight budget as well. We both were in the thrift store and very few flood victims had insurance that covered these floods.

The jars pictured above will be vac sealed and they will be stored in the basement.

I was looking in a used cookbook I had gotten a few years ago and saw a bread recipe. It had vinegar in it and then I remembered yes, vinegar is a dough enhancer.

What your recipe calls for in yeast...let's say it called for 2 1/4 tsp of yeast, then to the water you would add that same amount in cider vinegar.

To make your own bread flour - use 1 tsp. of vital wheat gluten to one cup of your flour. This is what I do as I have to stretch my dollars. I have stored vital wheat gluten so I have it on hand. It comes in a plastic bag inside the box. I take out the bag and poke it once with a pin then I put the bag with contents into a wide mouth jar that I then vacuum seal, now I have a supply on hand but as I use one I need to get another, this is what I do for a bucket of flour - use and replace!

Remember to rotate constantly. - this has some helpful info.

I go to the library to get magazines and books that they have in a free area. I also get free Kindle books from, this has saved so much money.

Also you can find useful items there.

So share with us some of the way you save...

Monday, September 30, 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) 

This quote always sticks in my mind about how much easier I have it even at my hardest times. They have it so much harder and yet they do this.... I can do this is what I think and so can you, we've got this.

Procrastination is not our friend, we need to avoid it.

I needed to put a new lashing around the rim of this basket that I made long years ago. The second I got it done Gus thought it was his.

Thought I would show my progress on the weird yarn spin...

I have been canning so I haven't had a lot of time to spin but thought you'd like the update.

Since I am all about learning skills, here is an update on the circular sock machine. I am trying to learn the tension which for now I have back to where I think - think - mind you, where it needs to be. I am so still very much a beginner trying to learn this machine. Incredible that anyone ever learned them or even invented them.

I feel the same way about the rug loom. I have a photocopy of the original directions for the loom and I cannot imagine learning it by only reading it, so I guess learning on them would have been largely passed down to next generation...this is why it is so important we teach each other.

I know I have trouble at times with directions, these throw me over the edge.

I am blessed to have YouTube, this has helped me more than a teacher. The other thing that was my biggest blessing was when Interweave ran a sale for five dollars. I was able to get the best instruction ever on warping my other loom, I watch it every time I warp it.

So I guess by showing you these things I wanted to emphasize there is (for me anyway), a huge learning curve but I push on.

The free jars I got from a friend at church I washed and filled everyone of them.

It takes patience to learn new skills on your own. You could learn faster with a teacher if you can find one but if teachers are not in your budget just keep working hard to teach yourself and have patience.

So do what you can. Find what you want to learn and look on YouTube, you might be surprised what you can teach yourself.

Keep working harder on your storage as times look to be bumpy ahead.

Learn skills that will help you.

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