Monday, September 24, 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 think watching all the storms you can see right off that the store shelves went empty and water runs out. This is something you can avoid by keeping your storage up. I think lots can be learned. 

I watched a podcast where a woman and her husband were talking of their preparations. They talked about heating soup over a candle for a big family (they have a large family). They talked about building with bricks and using the oven rack. I think that could work IF it weren’t raining as bad as it was going to be doing. So, give thought to what you would do. Waiting to the very last to do this won’t work. I did notice that she had been cooking ahead. That is good but try to have foods that don’t require cooking like peanutbutter and bread, things like that. They were saying they lose power all the time, makes one think. I know they just stocked a freezer. If it wasn’t totally full, freezing water in jugs can help in the freezer and in the refrigerator.

I keep saying no one wins with water. It will be work no mater what, so the best thing is help each other for sure. - this is a doable thing.

I have been redoing my kitchen cupboards. Upon doing this I noted that shelving needed to be reinforced. It was a huge job. I wanted to move my jars to a cupboard pictured below which had a lot of the cookbooks on it. So everything got moved around. Prime realty is what I call it. When rearranging things the most often used items get the prime spots in this case it really helped.

Also this week I took a jacket to a dress in….

I thought of several things I could try but finally chose this version. I took the patches off then I made two French seams, one on each side going from the front then over the shoulder and down the back. I pressed them with steam and the clapper tool then I reattached the patches right over the front seams. It looks like it was there from the beginning. I then took in the sleeves in the under arm seam.  That was my frugal sewing project for this week.

I was given these white bowls and plan to use them for my main mixing bowls. So they will live on my butcher block…prime realty for sure very handy. - this is my favorite site for making mixes.

I just want to point out the gluten-free section for those who need it. I chose this one to show how many are under the categories. I chose this one to show how you could use as a gift idea,  save that egg white when making this.

I keep egg whites in the freezer mostly for angel food cake then for meringues but they freeze wonderfully.

Again, I want to point out that cooking from scratch is best on the budget and healthier for you.

I use my crockpot a lot. I will fix supper while working on breakfast. It helps me sooooooo much on busy days. This helps with my fibromyalgia as well, by that time of day I am in lots of pain…

So let us know your favorite recipe for scratch cooking or crockpot recipe, we all benefit from each other.

My favorite chili so far is my aunt Marilyn Horn’s recipe..

-I brown and drain one pound of hamburger and put in my small crockpot.
-Two cans of tomato soup and one can of water
-One can partially drained dark red kidney beans
-One tsp dried onion
-One to two tsp chili powder, or to taste (my daughter does 1 1/2 Tbs. chili powder)
-I shake generously black pepper from my shaker, I do not salt until in my bowl as I find it gets saltier as it cooks.

Yum and is better leftover.

Do the best you can at putting in storage and supplies and finding frugal ways of doing things.

Monday, September 17, 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)

"Way of life" I think sums it up pretty well. I don’t know about you but I feel like I have a crisis every week of late. July fourth we got huge rains flooding our basement - seven inches. It was way hard wet work. I worked hard preparing for if it happened again. Little did I know two months from that very day twelve inches would come in, this round more costly but it would have been a lot harder if that week in July I had not thought of things I could do to not have it so bad in the future and worked extra then making it a whole lot easier now.

Sacrificing time money and comfort for a future time of need sounds kind of like food storage doesn’t it?

A way of life…preparing for our future trying to make things better.

It is all hard work, not always wet work, but it could be.

I can tell you I could have done a commercial for vacuum sealing for I had sealed jars of food floating…sealing them kept it from ruining the food within.

I had an empty bucket sitting on the floor. I sat a bucket on that one to get to it later, it had pasta in it. Well water at twelve inches floated the bottom bucket and caused the pasta bucket to tip into the water and it was floating. Now I know some science is at work there, fill a five gallon bucket with pasta and lift…. it is really heavy. You would think the empty bucket would have been weighed down…nope not with twelve inches of water. 

We have been having so much rain our Relief Society president encouraged everyone to check on each other so I did that talking with one woman, she was getting in water but could keep wet vacuuming it up each day. She asked how we were, I said dry so far but at that very time twelve inches was already in. I went to check and booooo. Good thing I checked or a new in-basement pool would have been there by morning.

The bucket of pasta came out dry. I would not have thought so but it was a blessing for sure.

Also, water we got in was ground water which is way better than the sewer water...a big blessing.

So keep working on that storage. You just don’t know what is coming around that corner. I have no storage that is labeled when "bad things happen" storage. I have storage that is used daily. If something happens that makes it hard to get groceries and you were eating with us, you would not know anything had changed because we use it every day.

It is easier to get in as you go rather than all at once…way easier.

Same with your skills, build them as you go. When you learn a skill  keep on learning, add to what you learned.

Here is a way to make bias tape -

This week I was given peppers. With jalapeno peppers I take them off the stem end then freeze them whole. When I have a recipe that uses jalapeno peppers in it, I pull one out of the freeze, let it sit while I gather my ingredients. Then I chop the pepper while still very frozen. This is so easy and none of that really hot juice on your hands.

The red chili peppers pictured at the top I tied in a hanging strand. You can also string on thread like beads and hang them to dry. Once dried I crush up and put in a jar. We like these on pizza or in recipes that call for them. The orange and green peppers I chop and freeze for using in recipes.

I was given this green vase which I use to store my short knitting needles. Have you ever thought you could decorate with your supplies? Well this shows you can.

Same with my emergency candles pictured here…

You already know I decorate with oil lamps. They look attractive but are way more useful as oil is stored in them. They are just waiting for another power outage. - these can be made with equal parts water and mix and are good that way but even better the way she does them.

Mixes are great to have on hand. For some reason fall makes me in the mood to get my mixes made up.

Having your mixes ready is great as a frugal thing and also great to help make your meals fast.

So keep working as you can, the best you can.

Monday, September 10, 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)

We are finally getting cooler weather here in central Iowa. 

It is an off year for my fruit trees so less canning for me. Instead, I have been vacuum sealing and working on my skill building. Later in the fall I will take all the raspberries I froze and make jam.

Now is the time that I've started working on Christmas gifts (more on that further down below). Are you getting ready?

I was able to stop in at a thrift store this last week and found a few good buys…

I found these circular knitting needles which are very good quality and as you can see the prices I paid are on the backs, a price I can afford - 59 cents each!

I also found these yarn bobbins - ten cents for seven, great frugal finds! This goes into adding to my supplies. - this would be a great thing to know. - this would be useful to make.

It really is time to start making gifts for Christmas. I like to get mine done and mailed before Thanksgiving that way I get to enjoy the season.

Instead of getting gifts for each other, my husband and I eat a favorite meal out but if we cannot this year I will fix one at home that we love. Then we have a set amount of money we can spend to go to the used bookstore.

Being frugal should not make you feel deprived! Don’t let it. This leads to anger and no one needs that in their family. This is where being content is a real blessing.

We all have traditions but when they become so costly it's time to make new ones on a frugal level. There are so many inexpensive ones that are fun.

The Cox family makes the best chocolate covered peanuts, lucky are the people on their list for those. The Shooks would love to be on that list :p

Keeping expensive traditions that are too much on the budget is unwise, instead look for new inexpensive ones.

One of our traditions is to have chili and cinnamon rolls on General Conference weekend which is coming up.

Sometimes it is fun to find recipes for things you would ordinarily purchase. Like pumpkin pie spice…

You can find my recipe here -

I one time had the best sopapillas at a restaurant. They were sooooo good but I kept trying to make them like they did, well just as I figured it out they went out of business. It was puff pastry they cut in triangles, fried, then served with drizzled honey and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are so very good. I refrain from making them but they are so good. Making them at home was way cheaper than what we paid at that restaurant.

So try and play with recipes that get you close, you might find you like yours better. Also try a new recipe a week.

I have read so many recipes in my life that I can read the ingredients and I can tell if they are good or bad.

Try grinding your own wheat. Have your family help you mix it with white flour or cooked wheat berries. 

Make your own bread...

I was told at the storehouse by a worker that if you store wheat you need to store wheat gluten or you will have wheat bricks, you need to use it so that your bread will get the rise. Like this pic:

Take the time to teach your kids to bake bread, it will be a skill they'll always have.

As you grind your wheat together use it mixed with white flour to make a bread dough, let it rise and then shape like rolls. Let the kids do their own, then have them flatten their roll. Fry them and drizzle with honey and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Everyone loves fry bread. This way everyone learns and everyone helps just like with the little red hen.

Fun can be so cheap plus it makes a memory that lasts forever.

How are you coming on your skill building? We got our small town’s little newsletter the other day and I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the churches here in town has a day planned for people to come and learn skills like sewing, quilting, knitting, baking bread, etc… I was glad to see others take these skills seriously too. We better our lives by learning them.

Seems like things today are so fast paced, so instant that sometimes it is hard to remember to slow down.

Time to start working on your gifts… - this has some great beginner projects if this is a skill you are building.

Keep working on your storage and supplies and keep building those skills.

Monday, September 3, 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)

I hope each of you are actively working on building your storage. It is hard not to notice the calamities happening and noting how fast store shelves empty. I get it, when money is low it is easy to put things off till you have to get it. But when you see all those people frantic to get supplies in before a storm…think about if you had gotten them in as part of your storage over time. You would be home preparing your house for the storm instead of standing in line trying to get supplies. Knowing you have tended things is a calming peace.

I got corn syrup the other day and it felt lighter. I looked at it, turning the bottle to see it better I noticed that they also did the bottom trick.

I measured water and it was just under half a cup less in the bottle - less product, more cost.

I guess higher prices are here to stay. I know our income hasn’t increased by half a cup. This is just one item. Were it just one item it wouldn’t be a big deal but it is a lot of items and every bit adds up to you having less for other things. I have been noting less variety in all the stores, products that were once there are not anymore.

So if you don’t cook from scratch now is the time to revisit that.  You have to admit it tastes better and you can do it in the same amount of time if not less.

This week I made a batch of vanilla yogurt...

This is the recipe I used:


3 c. water
1 1/3 c. powdered milk
2 heaping tbsp. of yogurt with live active culture (this week I used vanilla yogurt as my starter)

I mix this together and put in my cups to yogurt maker

Now if you do not have a yogurt maker do not fret. Use an ice chest. Put your yogurt into jars with lids, place in the ice chest. Take a quart jar and fill it with the hottest tap water you have. Do not put a lid on this jar. Place it in the ice chest too and then put the lid on the ice chest. Leave them overnight. If they are not set up, then empty the water and fill as before and replace the lid on the ice chest. Check in a couple of hours, do this till set.

Having the ingredients on hand makes this easy for me.

I also tried a granola recipe this week to be like what we had at that bed and breakfast in Clear Lake where we stayed during my husband's gallery exhibit… the granola was so good and turned out easier than the easy one I usually do.

I had all the ingredients on hand to try this. It was easy to do. Next time I want to try it with just regular pancake syrup to see what difference it makes.

How are you coming on your skills??

I was able to get some used dresses in my size but they were way too long for me so I hemmed them. Glad I know how, it saves so much money.

Along with that, I again bring up supplies. I can’t stress enough having supplies. I had thread, colors I needed, needles, scissors and sewing machine.

Yard sale season will soon be wrapping up then you will just have thrift stores to gather supplies.

Of course, you can pay store prices too but living frugal is what I am all about. I know it is a way of life for me and it works with our income. It takes our income and stretches it to go farther to make things even out.

Being a wise steward over what you have is the goal.

Try living on half of what you make and save the rest as a challenge.

Also, you could do a low spend month. Do you have things on hand that you could do this?

Many people fill their earnings with spending till before they know it they are trapped into having to have that amount of money to make ends meet. Then it doesn’t take much to put you behind, then you are on the hamster's wheel and it's very hard to get off. Not impossible, but a very hard job.

Goes back to wants vs. needs. Being content is such a great thing. I know everything is shoved in our faces - get this, buy that - they show the happy looking person buying this and that, very seldom do you see the hardship of that purchase on tv. It is not right but that is how they do it.

So even if you make plenty of money every month, learn what you can do if you didn’t.

Keep learning skills that are needed.

Do you store wheat? Do you have a grinder? Do you know how to grind wheat?  Do you know how to use your wheat?

If you cannot eat wheat do you have what you can eat stored?

If you cannot eat eggs do you know what to do to cook without them?

You might have other food allergies. You need to stock what you can eat just like storing things you like verses don’t likes. If no one in your house likes tuna don’t store tuna. No one will eat it. Stop saying they will if they are hungry enough. Store your food based on things your family does like in storable food…remember too that you need to rotate it!

Keep working on your frugal living and storage building and skills you are trying to learn. Share with us what you are doing. Do the best you can!
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