Monday, February 24, 2020

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) 

A way of life is the perfect way to do food storage as long as you store what you eat then replace what you use.

Don't buy it and set it away, use and replace.

And learn those skills even if you have a good income. You will save money by knowing how to mend or how to make bread or how to sew your clothes.

If you are watching the Coronavirus you see where everything we have learned and skills would be needed.

My heart goes out to them and I am praying for them.

How is your storage and how is your learning skills going? Could you shelter in place? For how long? If it spreads here like there are you ready..? Plus, businesses that depend on items to run their business won't be getting those and lots will have to stop and in doing so there will be people losing jobs. Are you prepared for a job loss?? When we had been down-sized it always came as a shock and yes, while I had some ahead it did not last long. So prepare for these things and also keep learning skills.

Skills to work on...

Learn to make bread.

Learn to sew and mend and make your clothes.

Learn to make jam to go with your bread.

Learn to can meat and fruit and vegetables.

Learn to cook from scratch and make your own mixes.

Learn to garden.

Learn to knit and crochet. - look through the list, what more can you learn?

And here - How many can you check off and on that note can you cut hair? If not Google some on that so you can cut your family's hair. - food for thought here.

Here is another -

I will add budgeting, learning to make do, living on less, meal planning, using planned leftovers...and more.

Can you go one month not going to any store??? Even if you don't have too?

How long could you shelter in place??
You can do it, you've got this.

And here -

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday Message

"Most of us cannot afford to store a year’s supply of luxury items, but find it more practical to store staples that might keep us from starving in case of emergency." (James E. Faust) 

There is so much wisdom in this statement so don't think you need to get luxury items because to me and others a warm loaf of homemade bread seems the most luxurious thing.

So work on those staple items.

Because it is the middle of winter here in Iowa and because my roots come from Norway and I love all things Hygge, when I saw this I knew you would enjoy reading it too...I am a hot cocoa and a kringla sort of gal -  

Because I know you are wondering what they are... 

One time our car hit a snow bank and we could not get it out. We went to a nearby farm house and they let us call a tow truck. They gave us hot cocoa and freshly made kringla and she was knitting. I never forgot their kindness.

Here is an update on my skill building...

I finished my last spinning, it is my first attempt at making sock weight yarn.

I have been working a little on the rug loom.

And I have worked more on the floor loom.

How are you coming along building your skills and storage? Here is a link to one of our friends working on some cute crochet and sewing projects -

Missy put on her serious face talking about this next bit.

With the Coronavirus spreading it would be good to be able to shelter in place. It means we store things that we need such as food and medicines, like Tylenol and also things like cat litter.

In mine I have cereal and milk things too that I won't have to go to the store to get.

I have stuff to make bread.

I have medicines, I have cat food and cat litter. I think we could shelter in place quite well.

Do the best you can.  

I think we all have seen the Coronavirus and how hard it is. When they have to shelter in place they try to get food but there is none to get. My heart goes out to them. 

But it very well could be here and we need to pay attention and not procrastinate.

We keep our eye on the news. Gus is keeping an eye on it too.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Monday Message

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

If we could know what is ahead of us on our path it would be easy to plan for but we do not know. This does not mean we do not plan, it means we plan more than ever.

When you get groceries buy something extra...a bag of rice, a bag of beans, or a can of veggies or fruit. This is a painless way to put a few things ahead as it will add up and benefit you down the road.

As I have looked at current recipes it seems they take so many ingredients and are basically very costly to fix. Look for more frugal recipes that you already have in your file. Work at being more frugal, this will help you get a few things ahead.

Did you happen to see the TV clips from China with people panicked with the new virus trying to get food and the shelves were bare? This is a scene repeated over and over again.

If you have some things ahead you will not be in this situation and will not only have food for your family but you can help others as well.

I find that these cookbooks have the best and most frugal recipes in them. Look for the older ones because getting the newer cookbooks has the more expensive recipes in them.

I also keep a binder of recipes we try and like. I have it divided up - main dish, breakfast, etc. so I can find the recipe easily again.

I just saw this - If you haven't got the money for a big vacuum sealer this is a great thing. She shows how to use it. I wouldn't store long term in those bags but this is a cheaper option. I still think using the canister lets you use any jar, not just canning jars. I have some dried carrots in a Smucker's jelly jar, that being said if you cannot get the large canister perhaps this would work on a smaller one?

Being able to throw food in a jar and seal it has helped me save so much money over the years. I was blessed to find mine at yard sales. I have seen them at thrift stores but I never have seen this version before.

Have you ever gotten chocolate chips, put them in a jar and after a  while they get a whitish look to them? They are starting the breaking down process, well when you vacuum seal them they stay fresh.

Not wasting is frugal. When your budget is very tight you need to look for ways to not spend and not waste. Making what you have go further is very necessary.

How are you coming with your skill building? (Gus says he's working on his cuddling skills)

Learn to work on your skills even if it takes working around obstacles and even when things seem to be holding you down...ahem Gus :p - this has some frugal info. - some more frugal thoughts. - scroll down to the tips. - this has tips as well.

I think you will find helpful ideas here from these sites, you might even already do a lot of them.

Monday, February 3, 2020

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) 

I think this sets a good example for us. Even the littlest amount adds up. However, one thing is required...just do it. If you don't do it, it won't get done.

Make it a habit. Remember rotation.

Try to store basic items that many things can be made from. For example, I store powdered milk because I use that. I don't store evaporated milk and I don't have to worry about recipes that call for cream. I just use the powdered milk in more of a concentrated form.

Evaporated milk - use one and a half cups water to a half cup plus one tablespoon of milk powder and you have what would equal one can of evaporated milk.

A lot of people turn their nose up at powdered milk but it might not be what you are used to.

I use non instant powdered milk as it stores way longer than the instant but I have used plenty of instant as well. 

Either way, use it or lose it and by that I mean use it daily or it goes to waste...

I keep a jar on the counter for easy use.

As you go about fixing food pay attention to how many times a recipe calls for a few tablespoons of milk or a half a cup, even a cup. This is easier to do than you might think to get used to using powdered milk for all cooking. If it is easier, have a quart jar mixed up and in your refrigerator but I find over the years that I just automatically mix it when I need it. Also, you can put the dry milk powder in with the dry ingredients and the water in with the wet ingredients. I don't think you will notice a taste difference so this would be a good place to start.  

Store the basic ingredients, you can make your own items rather then running out to the store... 

I was in the middle of making enchiladas when all of the sudden my sleeve snagged the open can of enchilada sauce and it fell and spilled. What was I to do? Well, I made this recipe - 

I was worried it would not taste the same but it did and I was so amazed. I did not put the green pepper in as I was in a hurry and it was quite a bit cheaper than the can I usually got and I had everything on hand.

My husband built this spice rack for me based on these jars.

When building your storage add spices. - this site has much we could use. - look at the recipe, can you make this without going to the store? - try recipes, save the ones you like in your binder. Neat thing is you don't need the chemicals. - you can see some of the bread mixes I make up here. I don't do them long term, just for ease. I put the water in the bread machine then add the mix. I could also do by hand using this mix...  - scroll down till you see the turquoise booklet, Liza's recipes follow. This is the recipe we put in jars. I do mine with regular flour and add one tsp. vital wheat gluten for each cup of flour, this makes bread flour too.  this has lots of bread info.

Try to store ingredients for the recipes that you make then you can just fix from scratch what you need. - this is a very good read.

Frugality is different for everyone. I may have had to do frugal because of hardships but if I had not learned I could not have bettered our lives. You may feel like I concentrate a lot on the same things, it is because these things have helped me the most. Try to learn those things now when you are not pressed to by harder times.

I am a huge believer of hard copies. You can learn much from books. I know we live in this age of internet and believe me, I have learned a lot from it too but having books in hard copy has its place too.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Monday Message

"My brothers and sisters, I feel our anxieties are justified. It is the opinion of many that more difficult times lie ahead. We are deeply concerned about the welfare of our people and recognize the potential privation and suffering that will exist if each person and family does not accept the word of the Lord when he says, 'Prepare every needful thing.'" (D&C 88:119)  (Victor L. Brown) 

Prepare every needful thing is quite a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Just take it a step at a time.

Look at your budget. It may be tight but look at areas you can cut down on and use the difference to get a bit stocked up. When you go to a store pick up one item extra for storage or don't go out to eat and use the money you would have spent to stock up. I am sure you will find a way...I know some have used tax returns so whatever method you use it is important that you do it.

This also means be working on building those skills.

Ask yourself - if I had no money what would I have wished I had stored? What would I wish I had learned?

Dry beans - do you know how to fix them? or ... - here she shows using an electric pressure cooker. - she shows how to can dry beans. Why would you do this? Because it is way cheaper and a big convenience.

Now if you already know how to do this or you learn these things, you can check them off your skill building list.

There are two reasons why I mentioned dried beans... One is that at the moment they are a cheap storage item, a cheap protein, and they are easy to store. You can fill buckets with beans but they can just set on the shelf as they come from the store. The second reason is if you follow the farming news beans didn't do well with all the flooding.

If you intend to store beans then know how to cook and use them.

At this point I will bring up spices and herbs...they last a lot longer then you are led to believe. So be sure to store them! You can grow some and dry them too.

Rice do you know how to cook rice? - rice is another value food to store.

I store my rice in several ways, in buckets with three bay leaves set on top the rice and I also have some in jars vacuum sealed.

My favorite way of having rice is with sugar and cinnamon and milk, no doubt from my Nordic roots.

This brings me to powdered milk, sugar, oatmeal, salt, oil and shortening, flour and wheat etc.

Making sure you have baking soda, baking powder, YEAST!... all the basics and then add to them.

For example, if you store the ingredients to make bread, also store peanut butter and jam and honey. Also canned chicken, relish and mayonnaise... see where I am going? So I guess what I like best is to store ingredients.

One time there was this wonderful sale on hamburger helper stuff in a box. I got tons, it was a great sale. Guess what? As time marched on we noticed they tasted saltier and saltier till we could no longer eat them. Yep, I no longer store those but store the ingredients to make up my own when I desired to have them. - you can see her recipes, basic ingredients that I have in storage...what about the hamburger? I have canned hamburger so canning in all it's forms a great skill to learn.

Hopefully this gives you a way of looking at food storage differently. 

You probably have all the ingredients to try some of the recipes already on hand.

On my skill building you all remember my getting a sock machine for my birthday.

I have always wanted one and my sister remembered and found this for me, what a great sister!

I worked and worked trying to figure it out, after all how much harder then my knitting machines could it be????

But it was not as straight forward as all that...

I read and read, then attempted, Nope.

Read and read some more and watched on YouTube. One was on cleaning it. So carefully I took it apart and cleaned every part, oiled it, put it back together...


So I changed out all the needles cleaning them...


I dropped many stitches, I just couldn't make it work...

This went on all year. I got really good at making messy yarn nests but still nothing.

I got so fast at hanging and casting on I could probably do that in a minute or less.

I kept working my way through my waste yarn but each time was a fail. I continued to read, attempt, fail, watch YouTube and fail.

In my mind it should work. This is so basic, every video I watched they never ever dropped a stitch, so then why do I??

I knew I needed to learn more on tension, perhaps that was it...

Then I got the cold flu that lasted four weeks. I am finally just better now...but since I had to rest so much I took my books on sock machine to read but after three days holding a book wasn't going to happen. So I opted to watch YouTube over and over on the CSM (circular sock machine). 

I watched and watched and watched, nobody dropped stitches but then while rewatching several someone finally mentioned tension. They said your working yarn should be same as the space between rows. Finally, was that so hard?? It wasn't in anything I read or watched till then. So I wrote it in my book, watched another and they said oil the latches...what?? I oiled all but those thinking I shouldn't. I wrote it down too.

Then I did both and...

I was able to get it to work but kept dropping two stitches every time so I changed out the two needles remembering to oil their latches and...

That was the problem and I was off...

So here is my very first sock tube. I stuck to it and because of it all I now know the CSM inside and out.

The tube became a pair of socks. I hand knit the heels, toes, and cuffs.

If you are working on a skill just keep working and you will master it. Keep working on your storage and remember store what you eat.

Monday, January 20, 2020

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)
 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)

Fifty years is a long time and stresses to my mind how very important home storage is. - very helpful. - recipes. - here is home storage center info. - look at the apple and popcorn recipe, yum! Very good recipes. - good to read.

So I am covering a lot on food storage cause if you haven't started working on it I cannot think of one reason not to. I can think of a lot or reasons to do it. - I love this gal. - isn't her pantry wonderful? Search around on her site, she tells how she gets Christmas gifts. She gets used and makes them, a true inspiration.

Make a plan to set aside a little to get things like dehydrator, pressure canner, vacuum sealer, jars and canning equipment, sewing machine and equipment for that, even bread pans. What you need to do is haunt thrift stores but make a list of what you need and stick to the list, don't be tempted to get shiny things.

If you see sewing notions or crochet hooks, knitting needles, oil lamps, fabric, yarn, etc. allow to get these and other items that will help you in your goals.

Along this vein, I hope that your thrift stores are still thrifty. The one near me that I have gotten good deals from in the past is doing unfortunate things. They used to have all yarn be .99 but I noticed different prices lately. I picked one out that said 2.99, it was only a fifty gram ball. I asked the manager as she walked by if that was the correct price. She said yep. I explained they used to be all a flat price and that they were now all priced different prices. She took the yarn in my hand and then did something I was amazed to see. She scanned the QR code on the label handed it back to me and said it is correct. Well I tossed it back and said nope, I could go next door and buy new for that. She grabbed it out of the box and said she would check in the back. She came back with it .99 but it didn't help others who go and need to purchase used. 

Another day I asked the other manager about an item I didn't want if this was the right price because right next to it was the new price tag which was cheaper... I also noticed the workers were looking up the new price of brand names then marked them just a few dollars cheaper. I wrote to the up-the-chain people what I had recently seen before and mentioned that it seemed like a bad move if this was the new policy... We shall see... But I pointed out the yarn, stating that it took no time to toss it in a bin with a flat price but they were now paying people to look up prices new then individually pricing them. That did not seem like a good working formula. 

So things are changing...

Keep working on skill building. Knowing how to do things like knit and sew and crochet etc. stretches your funds.

Learn to mend and cook from scratch, these are huge dollar saving things you can easily do.    

Have this year be the year that you learn how to do the skills on your list.

Gus says he is glad I can make baskets...

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