Monday, April 30, 2018

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 - I love this quote.  If you lived frugally and had your storage and skills then when something unfortunate happened you could more calmly handle what life throws at you. 

If you think back to the hard times in your life, would having skills and supplies on hand have made a difference? Sometimes we can look to these times to help us prepare. Also, looking to what other people have done can be helpful as well.  

I have mentioned before someone telling about an ice storm they went through to our north. The storm took out power for weeks. They were prepared and had a wood burning stove. But as the time went on and there was still no power they had to go find wood as they were using theirs up. It was very dangerous to go find wood as they could hear trees cracking branches under the weight of the ice. The branches were falling all around and we are not talking twigs.

They would go out and turn on the car to hear the radio to see how far away work crews were from them. They had food stocked up and had candles, which she mentioned they put one in a jar at night on the toilet tank so that the kids could see to go to the bathroom and that was after flashlight batteries wore down. For the most part they did okay. They had board games and books. She said the thing that bothered her the most was that the floor could not be vacuumed.

So I remembered this when I went to a yard sale and saw a carpet sweeper for 75 cents. I snatched it up. This was preparing to me, learning from someone else and what they went through. So learn from your bad times and learn from others. Believe me, we have had lots of things going on around the world to learn from and prepare. I may never have an ice storm that takes out power for two weeks but then I might, it has happened here before. But paying 75 cents is a small price to pay to do my floor so it doesn’t drive me nuts.

When hurricanes knock out power for many days we hear of people having block parties and cooking food from their freezers. From this we see it would be good to have food stored in other forms that are not perishable. I know we will never get a hurricane in Iowa but we do get tornadoes. I do have things in the freezer but I also have canned meat, fruit, and veggies. I also have the stuff stored to can the frozen things if needed. 

So what I am saying is while none of us can miss having hard times, we can offset the impact. Of course some things cannot be prepared for but then we have ourselves, others, and our skills.    Not to mention we can be prepared to help others. Once I read where a lady had a neighbor who when she asked if he was prepared for tornado season he said yes he has his crowbar in the basement she was curious and asked, crowbar? He said if anyone gets hit he would grab it and help his neighbors and if he got hit he could use it to get out.

So again think about your hard times. What would have made them better?

What if you loved loved loved raspberry jam and you could not get any, you just could only have plain toast until things got better? I think you would wish you had some raspberry jam all that while... This is just a tiny example. You could live on the plain toast as long as you stored and had things like pans and ingredients but raspberry jam you would be thinking about…and if you grew raspberries and built your skills to make jam this would enhance your life.

When you go to yard sales or thrift stores think about items that will help you. Instead of buying a knickknack, get a rolling pin or knitting needles or sewing notions. I even have gotten winterizing items, just thinking ahead. Always think, what would I need? Not, what do I want? That is the key.

I have been blessed to buy things at yard sales that have helped us over these many years. Yes, we had to budget for the yard sales but it is amazing what you can find.

When we first moved back to Iowa we had no refrigerator and no stove and two little girls. I had a freezer, a crockpot that sat on a base, a waffle iron, and a microwave for cooking devices. Let me tell you that it was very hard and I had to be creative.  

It was hard, I kid you not. The base of the crockpot is like a griddle but tiny for a family of four. I learned how to do desserts in a crockpot.

And I learned to make French toast in the waffle iron. We called them eggy waffles.

Eventually we could get a used refrigerator or a used stove for one hundred dollars. So I decided I would like a stove more than a refrigerator since I could only get one. I then looked in the free flyer which showed yard sales and I saw used refrigerators that were perfect for worm refrigerators that were twenty dollars. We borrowed a truck and stopped at the sale on way to get the stove. They sold me one refrigerator for fifteen dollars. It was very old and we picked up the stove, very old as well. I felt soooo good to get both. We had them for years.

Later I found an electric skillet at a yard sale for two dollars. I saw it and remembered this hard time and thought… I wish I had this then, so I got it even though the thought came to me that I might never be there again. Don’t listen to those voices. I went ahead and got this…

We were able to get a new stove a long while later by then. They changed to electronic ignition which means when the electricity goes so does the oven. I stirred up an angel food cake and went to put it in the oven and that element went out. It was a gas stove. I had recently heard you could bake an angel food cake in an electric skillet. So I got out this pan and baked the cake and yes, it worked, so you never know.

Things I have found helpful…

And many more items that have been very useful. The kerosene lamps I picked up have served us well through many storms.

The long pan with candles in it I use for decoration but is really for storage if we needed light.

I use lots of storage items to decorate with, just think outside the box.

I made this basket to hold emergency candles in.

When things were better for us I stocked more things like sewing supplies, first aide supplies, and food storage, and found things we could use for less money etc. When things weren’t so good we were able to manage better.

Give thought to what you would wish you had gotten if you had no money and if you think that no money never happens, think again.  Do the best you can. Prepare for as much as you can

Monday, April 23, 2018

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)

I was able to get a few groceries this week and oh my have prices gone high! Not only that but quite a few things have gone away and are no longer in the stores. Plus, the Sam's Club in our area has quit selling cheddar cheese in five pound blocks, now they sell just two pound blocks.  

I did get my one storage item - a 25 pound bag of flour, the price for that was down a bit so that was good. However, I went to Aldi and looked for shortening. They had several brands and places for vegetable oil but no shortening. I asked the checker who went to look then called his boss about it. His reply was that it was seasonal…. No, it's not seasonal. I informed his boss it was no more seasonal than gas for your car.  

I guess the point of me sharing this with you is to show you that a shortage can be from something like this, it doesn’t even need to be a world event. I was just getting it to put in storage, it wasn’t an immediate need but for another person it might be. That was why I bothered to inform them. I checked at another store and they had only about six cans of just the major brand, no other option, and it was $5.79 which I thought was up too much for me. So check your prices as you shop to help you know what they run.

I cannot stress enough that having your storage going is more important than ever. Hand-in-hand with that is living frugally and building on your skills. I heard an older woman say her skills have saved her so much over the years. - this looks like an easy sew pattern, it would help with your sewing skills. - this is fantastic, it shows building skills in using food storage to make great buttermilk biscuits with no buttermilk.

I think it is such great thing to learn how to make do with what you have on hand. For example, you don’t have to run to the store to get buttermilk. But there are so many things just like that if we learn them we could save so much.

As groceries continue to rise in price the more things we can cook from scratch, the better we will be able to manage. Wages rarely keep up with the increase in food prices. This is why over the years I have picked up cookbooks that help in making food stretch and making from scratch. 

I know we have the internet but please keep a hard copy!

How many of you have been killing time in the checkout line? You pick up a magazine turn it to the great looking recipe from the front cover only to find out that there are twenty ingredients listed... this is sadly the case with most. That is why I suggest you get the older church-type cookbooks. Any church or other organization even schools, hospitals, music schools, even radio channels they all have everyone’s favorite recipes.

I just pulled these four, two happen to be from Methodist churches, one from Ames, Iowa, and one from Forest City, Iowa. I have many different church cookbooks. The other two are a women's business cookbook and one from Story City Memorial Hospital. 

I wanted you to see the year on the one 1985 the hospital is 1984 and the yellow one I wanted you to see the price I paid - 25 cents! So look around, even a dollar is a good price. I opened the book to show you how they usually look. Each recipe has the person’s name who donated the recipe… I just randomly opened the book to the page below, you can see that these recipes don’t have twenty ingredients. They usually take ingredients you most likely already have on hand. Real recipes I say.

This recipe for Texas Hash is from the 1985 cookbook from Forest City. I wanted to show you how easy this recipe is, not to mention I could make this recipe with my storage. 

So don’t pass up these types of cookbooks thinking they're old fashioned and with no pictures. I say, exactly! That is why they are the best, it usually means before computers. And pictures that look great don’t always taste good.

I suggest you sit with one of these books and a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and look through. I can go from front to back but have been known to hit breads then casseroles often times too.

This is just one of the frugal things I do.

Let us know what frugal things you do, we all love ideas!

Do the best you can at storage building and skill building and being frugal.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Message

"I wish to urge again the importance of self-reliance on the part of every individual Church member and family. None of us knows when a catastrophe might strike. Sickness, injury, unemployment may affect any of us. We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas. It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)

What do you have in your pantry to help you in time of need?

How can you build up your storage? - do you eat out one time a week? Read this to see how you can use that $10 to build your storage. - this is doable and you don’t need to worry if you don’t live close, you can have it shipped.

I mentioned to pick up something for storage each time you go into a store - believe me, you probably go into stores a lot.

There are other wonderful things you can get in that store you go into... peanutbutter for example.

How are you coming on your skills? I've talked about learning to make sourdough bread. If you are gluten free, but not celiac, this would help you with your bread as the sourdough breaks down the gluten… check into this as it would be helpful to try and see if you can do well on it.

Here's where I've been trying to learn more about making sourdough - 

I wanted to do color work with my knitting which is another skill I am working on.

Here is my progress on that front.

Because of my double ear infection I needed a better way of seeing my pattern while weaving so that I would not get so dizzy. After thinking on it for hours I found that if I dropped a clothespin in an already existing hole (as I did not want to hurt my antique loom) I could open the clothespin just enough to slide my paper in after writing a type of shorthand these numbers represent the pedals in order I press them with my feet.  This is for the honeysuckle pattern. I put a clip on to move to where I am on the pattern. This was a blessing. Sometimes we have to think it through to come up with just the right thing.

The other skill I am working on is pictured at the top of the page - tatting. I have been teaching myself with the use of the internet.

That is a lot to be working on but I spread them out.

I hope you are working on your skills? Please share them with us no matter how you might think it is not important because yes, it is! And we will all get inspired and we can all cheer each other on! - these are sooooo yummie.

So work on your storage and work on your skill building and work on being more frugal.

Monday, April 9, 2018

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 I like and somehow it feels cozy.

Just like I have been saying, when you go in a store pick up one thing for storage, even a box of gelatin or a box of band aides. It all adds up. Also, build those skills one at a time and they too will add up.

There are so many things we take for granted because of the ease of getting them. We should never slack on being sure to get our storage in, our family depends on us.

How are you set on needle and thread? This should be very much part of your storage. Clothes will always need mending.

Think of your storage as being a little store that if well stocked you can go to in a time of need and can get what is needed without money, because when you are in need you have NO money.

Think the same way with your skills, the more you know how to do for yourselves the less you have to pay for. The means may not allow you to get those services.

Play the "what if game" in your head. Like if I had no money could I just mend our clothes? Yes, you could barter but with what? And the other thing is that maybe others are in a bad spot too. So knowing how to mend is a good skill to have. Then plan that out and make it happen.

Putting things off is your enemy! It will make things harder on your family. Learn to do before you need it. - there are good things here to think on. - this will be helpful. - how to sew on a button. - how to mend a hole.

When gathering supplies don’t forget pressing tools. You will need to press as you sew.

You will notice the big pincushion I made, won’t be losing that one :p but it is an example that if you build your skills you can just see something and be inspired to make your own. I saw a friend's pincushion, it was big with some embroidery on it, her's was 80 years-old. I loved it but put my own twist on it. - patching clothes - very good on how to darn. - how to replace a heel in a sock.

Once you gather your supplies keep them organized.

Keeping things organized saves money too.

As I write this I am suffering with a double ear infection - definitely not fun! As you read this it will have been two weeks ago with the ear infections.

So I used the time to organize my knitting notions….

I got this bag a few years ago at a yard sale. It was a fishing gadget bag turned knitting gadget bag. I have seen them at Walmart in the sports section that is how I knew what it was. This holds four plastic containers

Here is how I am coming with working up the dishcloths.

This is a great skill to have and I am glad to be able to make them.

So keep working on your storage and take the time to learn skills maybe perhaps some that I shared here.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Monday Message

(Ezra Taft Benson, October 1973)
“The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.”

I think about all the preparation it must have taken and elephant pies to have to clean up, oh dear! :p

But really, Heavenly Father warned Noah and Noah followed faithfully tending to every need. How are we doing on our storage?

Are we not living in uncertain times?

It was not so long ago that our ancestors lived their lives in hard and uncertain times. We need to follow their example.  They put food away for the lean times. How did we get away from that? Is it from the ease of getting what we need? You can just walk in the store and there you go, you don't even need to prepare it either.

Lots of people are one check away from having no job.

Health problems are lurking the older we get. 

How long could you manage with just what you have in house??

It is hard for us to think nothing could possibly go wrong. We live in a different time. Oh, we live in a different time, alright, but more can go wrong… do you have house insurance? Why?

Just think that the Venezuelan people probably thought nothing could go wrong… I saw them say that the average weight loss for the people there is 25 lbs. That is sad, in this day no one should have this happen.

Stocking up is easier than it sounds. What do you eat? Stock it as you can.

I am a huge believer in canning, as you well know. Whether you have a garden or not, it is such an important skill. You would want to start collecting items to be able to can. 

Pressure canners - your grandma may have one and may be done canning and would love to pass it down, or you can find a used one. I like the one that doesn’t use a rubber gasket but I have one with a rubber gasket, you just need to replace it every couple years and if you get one used have them tested at your local hardware. If they can’t do it then check with your county extension.

You can also replace the gauge works. I paid fifteen dollars when I last got this replaced on mine.

You will need lids and rings. I try to get those when I get groceries. I will pick these up all year round but eventually I only need lids, the rings are reusable.

Jars - I have put up signs at the library that I was looking for free canning jars. I have gotten them from freecycle, yard sales and people downsizing.

Haunt your yard sales, thrift shops etc. The steamer canner pictured here was three dollars at a yard sale and had never been out of the box - they usually run about thirty dollars.

You can also use a water bath canner.

Why do I think this is huge? As long as you have your equipment you will be able to can your food and having reusable jars are more sustainable. Canning is a frugal skill to learn.

Other things you should be looking for are dehydrators. If you go to a farmers market or grow your own, this is the item to have. You will now be able to dry your leftover produce like the last five grapes or those apples that no one will eat.

This brings me to free food, when you are cleaning celery don’t throw those cast offs. Wash and dry them on a plate if you have no dehydrator. Same with grating rinds from oranges and lemons and limes. I call these things free food. I bet you can think of others.

Vacuum sealers also help to store food. I have gotten several at yard sales and Goodwill. This helps store dry items (also uses canning jars).

Gathering dry goods you need like popcorn, oats, pasta and grains the frugal way I do that I have mentioned before. But I will go to bakeries and get their food buckets and I washed and dried them completely. This is an inexpensive way to put in bulk.

I put bay leaves in the buckets that have grains like flours, rice, wheat, pasta etc.

This is a frugal way to start getting things in.

So no matter your finances you can accomplish what you desire.

Keep reminding yourself why you're doing it.

REMEMBER: Never set your buckets directly on concrete floors put wood down first!! - I love these gals - don’t throw out those apples left in the bag.

I dehydrate them for oatmeal or granola or apple crisp, yes, from dried apples. Put on your frugal hat and think how to be more frugal with the food that we spend hard earned money to get.

So now you have several ways to get started, do the best you can.
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