Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Message

"Let us be in a position so we are able to not only feed ourselves through home production and storage, but others as well" (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 48; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, 34).

Our mailbox managed to survive storm damage from fallen trees.
It is that time of year again to think of family safety and get our preparations ready - Tornado season!

If you are new to this area and even if you are not it would be a good idea to print off a map of the counties so when they are tracking storms you have an idea where in Iowa they are and how close they are to the area you live:

I have told this story before but it bares repeating…

When our daughters were two and six months or so we were living in Ames in student housing that were like chicken coops, corrugated metal on a concrete slab. They no longer exist. They should have kept one as a museum. We were instructed to leave and go to appointed bomb shelters at Iowa State.

This storm hit when our wee ones were asleep…both of us have grown up in Iowa and remember when many towns were hit like Charles City and Belmont. I can remember all seven of us kids in the basement under a table hearing the sirens for the Charles City one as we lived in Mason City. 

So with those horror stories all well seated in my brain it was no question what to do when the sirens hit that night. We grabbed the kids with their blankets and ran out into the driving rain to get in the car and in traffic with all the others heading to the same place. So many things were wrong with that evacuation system. We ran into this cold dank and awful building. The kids and us now wet and miserable till we got the all clear.  

This was such a bad thing that I thought, what about the next time? So I got a five gallon bucket and put diapers, water bottle, and snackies and toys and towels, plus a change of clothes for the kiddos. And then when the sirens went off we grabbed kids and bucket and went through it all again. This time we had this bucket. So we dried up and changed the kids’ clothes, gave them snacks and toys and had enough to help other kids too. We did not think about it till the next siren. We grabbed the kids and the restocked bucket, fled to our dank designation and proceeded to dry off and change the kids when I noticed the same family we shared toys and snacks with the last time, they smiled and so did I. Though we could not speak the same language we had made an impression because they had a suitcase packed for their family as we had our bucket.

Lots of tornadoes have hit many towns nearby. Ankeny has been hit, a town that now is gone between Ames and Boone called Jordan. This town was a small town, I have a friend whose husband drove a train when Jordan was hit. It lifted the grain elevator and set it on the other side of the train. Gilbert got hit…I had a friend I worked with at ISU, she had us come visit shortly after, we drove out there and the damage was terrifying. 

They tell you to get out of your car and go in a ditch… well mangled pieces of grain bin and barbed wire and electric wires were all over in the ditches. When we got to her house the trees were broken and put in the back yard from the front yard a few out buildings were rearranged like they were toys just moved about. I noticed all the curtains were hanging out the windows. All the windows were broken. They had just finished putting the hay in the barn when the storm came. It flattened the barn. They barely got to the basement. We walked in and silt covered the floors, the TV was upside down on the floor. They said don't sit on the couch, it was full of glass even though it looked normal. They had a hallway on that main floor and the glass swirled and swirled and was all in the hallway… she said this is not what made her the maddest.  

She took us upstairs into the guest bedroom which outside of the broken window it was in perfect condition, nice antiques, things on the dressers, a pretty white chenille bedspread as white as snow made the bed beautiful... I remember saying well at least this room is okay... she grabbed the bedspread and sheet like she was turning down the bedding and when she flipped it back the entire bed was filled with black silt. That shall always remain in my memory. I remember thinking too that the people who were in the basements were safe, their houses damaged or gone, and those who fled their houses fell into the basements and they were safe, everyone was safe - a real miracle.

When the Charles City storm hit they said a tornado never turns a right angle, and they said a tornado would not cross a river or an interstate - all statements were proven wrong. It was two tornadoes that hit that town. The older I get the more they refine what they know.

We had a friend in the one tornado that hit Ankeny, he said his girlfriend's purse was leather and he grabbed it for her afterwards and it was full of glass though it was in perfect condition. He also said that he saw a straw driven into a telephone pole... these storms are not to be ignored.

It took me many years to feel safe going to Ankeny on a cloudy day but I have gotten older and I like to think wiser. I have heard the freight train noise it makes as it went over our house. I have seen what it does to a mobile home as one dropped down on the only empty mobile home in the whole park and exploded it. I have watched the sky turn gray and green. I have seen the hail, I have seen and heard the wind as it took down the trees across from us that our mailbox still wears the dent of.

A couple years ago we were on our way to Rachel Pocock 's graduation party and I was telling my husband I did not like the feel of the weather and, yes, it was in Ankeny. I could see the V-shaped clouds form and disappear and reform. I was mentioning this to him as he was driving, he said it was a rotating cloud I needed to watch out for. 

Now, I have heard them say clouds with rotation, what does that even mean? All the clouds are moving in the storm.... so I was watching the clouds when I looked up and I said, like that? And sure enough a “rotating” cloud was right over us. So let me describe it to you... it was like looking at the eye of a hurricane that they show on TV but much smaller of course. You know when you flush a toilet the water all goes in the same direction? It was like that. There was a defined center and the clouds were going around it in the same direction. We hurried to get there and told them what we saw and then the sirens went off.

Sirens are for people outside. we can sometimes hear them and sometimes we can hear Huxley's sirens and then there are times we don't hear them at all. We rely heavily on weather radios, we have one on each floor of the house… if you do not have one make it a priority to get them. They are life saving for sure.  makes you want to put a crowbar in the basement.

I guess I am stressing for you to get your family prepared for this season while the days are fair. Make a family home evening of it. Print the map above or one like it in your area, stick it in a page protector, then get weather radios and if you are out put a weather alert app on your phones.

Do you have your 72-hour kits current? Working flash lights? I would try to have one per person. Kids feel safer with their own. You could have books to read little ones, treats, blankets, water bottles. If you have a vacuum sealer you can store treats down there already and have a game to keep their minds off things... do whatever you like to personalize it to your family

If your neighbors do not have a safe place ask them to yours. 

Severe weather is part of the reason we prepare to be able to help our family and others. If we do that then why wouldn't we want to prepare for other things as well?

Many have asked this question, what is the difference between a canner and a pressure canner? this helps a bit.

Take time to learn and study these.

Plan what skills you want to learn this year.... like canning jam, making pickles, can relish, can applesauce or tomatoes. How about green beans? Just start some place. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

1-800-262-3804 is the home extension - very helpful!

Keep working on building your skills. I would love to see what you are working on!

Keep gathering storage.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Message

"We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasiblly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard." (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 171; or Ensign, May 1976, 124) 

April we should be putting the finishing touches on our gardening plans. - some ideas for saving with a garden. - good to watch to get you started on your garden - shows you how to start your garden. - she shows how to build a raised garden bed for under fifteen dollars. - (ignore the naughty gnome) the link has some great ideas for container gardening. I know that some areas have covenants that won’t let them garden but perhaps container gardening could help. this is a great way to get fresh pasta. - this is a good thing to print and put in your binder.

I store pasta in five-gallon buckets. I have bought pasta on sale and then I dump out into the buckets. I put three bay leaves on top then put on the lid, label and date it.

Never set food storage buckets or any storage directly on a concrete floor.

I go to bakeries to ask if they have buckets since I know that the buckets are food grade. Make sure you wash them well and that they set and dry overnight, then fill them up!

I keep seeing gold wheat at the Walmart stores, buy it and put in a bucket. Put three bay leaves on top of wheat, put on the lid, label and date. It is in comparison with wheat from church now that you can only get cans shipped to you, so use this time to get your wheat in storage. Ask Walmart to get in however many you want.

So get your hands dirty and put seed into Iowa soil! If you can’t, perhaps share a garden with someone who can.

Knowing how to garden is up there with other skills that are important.

Mother’s day is coming up. I don’t have a problem getting flowers but I would rather get something like asparagus that I could then plant and get year after year. I always asked for fruit trees and we planted raspberries who joined forces with our neighbors' to make a nice patch for both of us. I always wanted to plant what would feed us. I have two peach trees, a plum tree and two apple trees.

So when they want to get something for Mother's Day ask for something like a fruit tree and involve the kids in planting with you. Years from now you will still have food to eat... just some food for thought :)

Apple Pudding Pie

1/2 c. margarine or butter
2 c. sugar
cream this together real good and add:
2 eggs mix till lite and fluffy
then add:
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. b. soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt

mix well and add:
4 c. raw unpeeled chopped apple (Johnathan are best)
1 c. chopped walnuts
beat well and put in a greased 9x13 pan
bake 325 degrees 45-60 min.
test with a tooth pick
serve with butter sauce and whipped cream

Butter sauce= melt 1/2 c. butter in double boiler, stir in 1 c. sugar and 1 tbsp. cornstarch and 3/4 c. heavy cream (whipping) cook in double boiler until thick serve a spoon full on cake piece and dab of whip cream.

So your assignment is to ask for a berry bush or tree, to look for vacuum sealers with canisters, look for bread pans and used bread machines, sale items on food storage items. Share with others. Keep your eyes out for dehydrators and steamer canners and water bath canners and pressure canners. It is as important to you as getting food in.

Keep working on skill building and keep your eyes out for these items for you and others. Let's all help as we are all sisters and brothers!

Keep actively working on your storage.

Work together to help each other.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Message

Lately I've been working on cleaning an old singer that was gifted to me about ten years ago.

"Recent surveys of Church members have shown a serious erosion in the number of families who have a year’s supply of life’s necessities. Most members plan to do it. Too few have begun. . . . It is our sacred duty to care for our families, including our extended families" (Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, Sept. 1986, 4; emphasis in original). 

As I have been refashioning some dresses of mine to save some money and to use what I have, I am reminded of just how important it is to have some basic sewing skills to draw from. Most were easy simple things to do to redo the dresses but this one particularly made my last hair turn gray.

I was thinking of my learning to sew in junior high and now it is no longer offered. And how grateful I am to a neighbor of mine all those years ago in Pammel Court student housing, who really helped me learn more about sewing - thank you Diane Evans! She gets the super sewing award.  

Our girls were two and six months. Laura, our then two year-old, would lean over me, her little feet straddling me as I sat working at the sewing machine. I learned how to make little t-shirts and I learned to make little jeans for them by using adult jeans. I would pull out of free boxes at yard sales that had broken zippers but the fabric was good. I learned how to cut them open and how to pin my little pattern on so I could use the outside fancy seam as their outside seam and to use the original hem as the hem. I could do the same with other pants too but I really liked how the jeans looked store bought.

As they grew I learned how to applique their favorite Care Bear characters on the front of those t-shirts. I still have that sewing machine, it is a very old Kenmore. It was ten years-old when I got it used and it is still my go-to work horse.

I have been cleaning my old singer that was gifted to me about ten years ago by this friend whose mom wanted to upgrade. I now wonder if her mom would think it funny that I am trying to learn what I can do with it. 

Over years of yardsaling I would come across old feet for free or for very little. They really did things to last back then. 

Look at those feet and attachments, the box above on the right is a buttonhole attachment. They all look like Borg parts off of Star Trek. I will be learning how these all work. 

Back in those days with my little girls I was driving home and this little Asian couple as cute as could be were dragging a treadle sewing machine to the dumpster. I stopped and he helped me put it in my trunk. I only had two blocks to go... he kept saying it doesn’t work but happily I took it home always wondering why he said it did not work. It was a treadle, how could it not? I thought maybe they thought it was to be electric but I still am glad I have it. I only wish I had found long bobbins for it through my yardsaling, I only have a couple.

I brought this up to you to tell you a story about my grandma. She had six children and as it was very hard for all during the depression it was for them as well. She would help my grandpa work in the saw mill then go home bake bread, she would glean the fields of sweet corn and can food for her family. By kerosene lamp she would make clothes for the kids after they went to sleep. There she would toil away at her treadle by kerosene lamp into the night.  

Some people in town would bring bags of their used clothing. There was a school concert for my mom who was in first grade or so and my grandma searched through the bag of worn out clothes. She found something to make a little jumper out of but try as she might she could not find enough fabric that she could make a blouse out of. The jumper had a little pinafore front to it so she carefully placed the pieces of that tiny blouse around on the good parts of a lady’s blouse and the worn part she made sure would be hidden behind that front part of the dress. Is this not a mother's love and sacrifice? She truly was my mentor.

So as I learn my skills in homemaking she is always so close to me… I shall not slack, I will continue to learn these skills and use them all my life.

As she has taught me... I too have made a little blessing outfit for Riley, our first grandson, when he was blessed. With no money I looked around at goodwill for a white shirt that I could make his outfit. So I can say I truly am no seamstress in any sense of the word but I was able to make a cute little outfit the top I picked had pin tucks on the front. I made a vest front of front of top and added it to a onesie, this was pre-pinterest days. The back of top was plain and I made little trousers, this was eleven years ago next month. 

Laura bought some fabric and seven years ago last month I made her blessing dress, bonnet and booties the request for a baptism dress is in… I share these with you so you can see I am not a seamstress I am still building this skill but being able to make do and being willing goes a long ways.

So whether you have a used machine or a very old machine or blessed to have top of the line you can learn and keep on learning. Some day you may be the teacher someone like me needs or you well be low on funds and you will find this story and it will help sewing is one skill that I think should be at the top of the list and maybe some day in RS. You younger moms might like me to teach you how to do shortcut toddler jeans or how to applique.

I find it is more fun to learn together.

So if you have a sewing machine dust it off and start building your skills if you do not have one look at thrift stores and on freecycle or Craigs List try them on the spot before you buy or take some with you who knows sewing machines. You could ask on the church list if anyone has one they don't use anymore.

This skill will help you with mending, and from time to time I have been paid for mending for others, this skill can help you in making you home accessories  make or remake your clothing, you can add length, sleeves, and remake clothes to be modest or for the scariest event to take in a wedding dress or make blessing clothes and a baptism dress for a sweet grand daughter.

This is second on my skills list first is to make bread as though you were in a bakery.

Third skill teach the skills to your girls and boys alike.

Here is a site to inspire you…

I admit not everyone wants this skill but simple mending such as sewing on buttons or hemming pants will be way worth it. 

There are so many things to learn for basic skills in homemaking.

If we choose not to learn as a group but at home alone the internet has made that easy to learn on your own at your own speed

I may jump from topic to topic but all are to help you. 

This is the pan of rolls that I made for Easter out of the Liza bread that was shared a couple weeks back -

I just wanted to show yet another variation of this terrific bread. I also made cinnamon rolls the day before that, they were a hit.

Keep working on your storage. 

We have honored grandmothers who worked hard for your generation, so remember if you think it is too hard... look back to them then forward to the next generation it will bouy you up.

While you are out thrifting look for oil lamps that you may have light in bad storms when the power goes out go ahead and fill them and have a wick in. We've had people slowly go by our house and the town is out of lights but our house had light plus they are a great decoration.

Keep up the good work and thanks to those who love the blog and letting me know. It is for you I do it!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Message

All different shapes and sizes of reeds can be made to make the prettiest of baskets!

(James E. Faust, April 1986 General Conference)
“It is . . . necessary that each home and family do what they can to assume the responsibility for their own hour of need. If we do not have the resources to acquire a year’s supply then we can strive to begin with having one month’s supply.” - I love this gal, she is easy to understand. Here she is talking how to get started on your three months supply.

In this message I have tried to help you understand what exactly provident living is… - this explains in a better way about provident living and why it is so important. Isn't this impressive? No one expects to know it all at once, but we all can learn something. Life is learning.  
No one is perfect and no one is better than another. We are here to help each other, to share things we have learned but life teaches us an awful lot. I feel like everything I have learned was through Relief Society and from good people and through life’s learning experiences.

It is through this calling that I share what I have learned. We have the choice to muddle through or we can choose to improve every day. I heard someone lately say "a homemade life"  I like that. We take what we have and do the best we can. Yes, things get in the way. Yes, though we do what is right bad things happen. It is a refining process. We can freeze up, we can be angry but I would rather find joy - it is like jello, you always have room for it! So if you have something happen, you have a choice, as I mentioned, choose to pick yourself up. If you can, lean on a friend if needed. Sometimes we need to use knee pads for lots of praying…nothing changes the fact that you have a Father in Heaven who loves you and wants the best for you.

I make baskets from time to time … I use flat reed, some are thin and some are thick. The baskets are all pretty to me. If I take a reed out of my finished basket it would not be as pretty, it would not look complete. I liken this to all of us. Some are thin, some are not, each makes it all beautiful, each has something different to bring to the basket. We all have different talents and interests. Some of my reed is fine and smooth and pliable, some is not and yet others are hairy and old, but all make the whole. Some of us are young and some are old and gray.…but together we make something that cannot be matched.…poor or rich it matters not, without one it is not complete. - some good useful ideas for our time too. I am not a fan of a few... bet you can find out which ones.… but there are many that are good. a free apron pattern, so you can use the advice in site above. for those who are gluten free - good info

*If you are too busy to cook consider doubling what you cook and freeze the extra
*utilize your crockpot, you can take three tinfoil wads and put on the bottom of your crockpot and set frozen chicken breasts on top of them. Cook on low all day, when you get home it is like a roasted chicken, either use instant potatoes or bake potato in microwave serve canned veggie
*make stuffing, put leftover chicken on top and cover with cream of mush soup
*make foods on the weekend for weeks ahead. I have a friend who makes chicken fajitas ahead and keeps them in refrigerator for fast lunches or supper, you could freeze leftovers
*hard to do but find time to learn something new like what i have shared on previous blog post on using the bread machine 
*learn your crockpot, learn the food processor... whatever you have learn it, you just might be surprised like I was that I could use the basic bread dough out of the machine many ways at such a fraction of time. Once you figure it out, customize it. You can put all dry ingredients and shortening in a bowl in the morning as I did today. I dumped the water in then the contents of the bowl, select dough, and then I went to the doctor, got home and waited for it to rise above the rim of the bread pail. I shape and put in bread pan, grease, cover with plastic wrap & let rise 20-30 minutes all the while having oven going so its ready to put in. Cook 40 minutes and you are done! It is way better than store or bakery bread. Today I threw bran and raw sunflower nuts in. When the loaf is cool I use an electric knife to slice all at once for appeal and convenience.

These are a few tips for the very busy. Do the best you can!
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