Monday, June 29, 2020

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 don't think we have to imagine anymore. We now see happening what we never could have thought of but yet we are here.

I know it is harder now but try to pick up a little extra when you get your groceries.

It is hard to conceive not to being able to get all the supplies to even bake bread...something I never thought I would see...but here we are.

I made this bread this week. I'm thankful I have stored the ingredients to be able to do so. I looked up yeast to see if Walmart has it and it still doesn't. I do not need yeast, I have lots but I am using it to judge how things are, same with meat.

I have not been inside a grocery store since this started to get bad in the beginning. I do the online store pick-up as we are in the high risk. So this is why I check, I have no idea how the shelves are.

Our positive cases are rising and the news reports say lots of states are rising, this being said, try to be ready for harder times ahead. There will continue to be limits on things and shortages on many things. Have you noticed the toilet paper company with the bears in the commercial went from "you should not have to worry, we are working around the clock" to "you aren't using too much are you?" They claim that because they are a good brand you can use less... something to think about.

The virus is still here and going strong. We need to keep doing the things that will keep us safe. If we get complacent it could have bad consequences.

As I'm writing this, our 46th wedding anniversary is tomorrow on June 15th. I know this will be two weeks ago by the time you read this. We were together in seventh grade and every year after that. We were high school sweethearts and married two weeks after we graduated. This will be the weirdest anniversary we have ever had as we cannot risk going anywhere and it will be the cheapest as we will be eating in and not going out. We will miss the Half-Priced Bookstore as we would include that in our anniversary date. But when things call for it, we all must do the most prudent things.

I made up seven more bread mixes while the bread above was going on.

I make three loaves in two weeks time, one of those is cinnamon swirl. The one pictured above is plain though I throw in a handful of oatmeal.

The garden is doing great. I did have to replant some green beans as one package did not come up. I was just going to leave it but I went through my seeds for something else and did not think I had any left. What was I thinking? I had several packages so I replanted those. I also planted a package of pole beans out on the post so we shall see, so far everything is doing well.

We were given Easter lilies over the years all white except one pink and this is what they became.

I will soon be picking raspberries to be making jam. I usually freeze till fall when it is cooler to be making jam.

Gus says keep working on your storage...plan for harder times and hope for better times.

There will be peaches this year, I cannot wait!

Missy wants to know what things you are doing during all this.

Everyone stay safe!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Monday Message

"God gives us difficulties to bring out the best in us."  Marvin J. Ashton

I know with negative things so loud we need to look for kindness because there is a lot of kind acts out there. We just need to look for them and we need to be kind to others as well.

Look for ways to recycle and reuse. Think outside the box. This container at one time had a salad in the bottom and toppings in the tray.

Now it holds a few tatting projects and tatting tools. I could easily make a basket to fit. I think that would be a cute idea... lots of things we have gotten for a certain use but look around and see how you might use it differently.

Gus asks you how are you coming on your skill building? - first part of crochet for beginners.

You will know how to crochet after watching those videos.

It is the right time of the year for rhubarb...

This is a family favorite! I transplanted my rhubarb this year to a better spot, it wasn't thriving so hopefully it will now.

My garden is growing well. I have been gathering grass clippings after the grass is mowed and using it for mulch. I did find I had another package of bush beans so I planted them where the one row did not come up. I also planted a pole bean package at the foot of a pole with strings and transplanted my tomato seedlings, they are doing very well. I usually am not successful starting them from seed so maybe this will be a good garden year??

I feel that the CDC will be right and that we will be in for a worse
time of virus in the fall and winter. So I suggest you beef up your
storage as you can and if you do any canning... do you have enough
sugar and lids?

See where you are low and build it up.

Did you notice what items were in short supply like yeast and flour? If you use these items, see if you can get them in during the summer when no one wants to bake. Remember, yeast goes in the freezer.

This year might be the year you learn to can. It would be a good year to learn to dehydrate. It would be a good year to learn how to freeze food too. It is not too late to put seed in the ground here in Iowa. You can have a second crop of green beans when the first crop is done.

Plan for what would make your life easier if we had to go back into stay at home situations. We are still in that mode as we are in that demographic that still has to stay home. We are only just going for essentials like meds and food, that is what high risk seniors are to be doing in Iowa, probably everywhere else as well. I know it has been hard on people to stay at home. When our ancestors lived long ago, many lived very rural and were home most of the time. They probably went to get supplies once or twice a year. We should look to them now to help us through. They did not go to the grocery store every day. They did not even have TV.  Toilet paper, if you go back far enough, hadn't been invented yet, toilets either for that matter.... So while it has been hard, it could be worse. Think if you had no toilet...yikes!

But truthfully, they lived their lives. They loved their families no less than anyone else. They made do with what they had. They made hard times fun for their families. They lived frugally, they looked to the future and planned for the future. 

Life is hard and will probably get harder, but we can do it. We can do it grudgingly, feeling sorry for ourselves and the easiness of how life used to be.  Or...we can roll up our sleeves and do what we can. Look to our future. If we lament our circumstances we will be unhappy. Face it, we will never be where we were before. It will take a lot to get out of this. Blaming others is not the route we want to go.

No one said you deserve this and that and if you don't get that you will have a does that help??

If you talked to kids of the depression they mostly will tell you about the fun times they had as they grew up.

Money is most likely to be tight for very many right now. You should not feel that you need things to make you happy or that you need places to go to make you happy. Your dreams can change. If your kids are around the house 24/7 and you feel stressed, you can make the time miserable for them or you can build memories with them inside your four walls. 

If you are thinking, "well, she is an empty-nester" yes, I am, but I wasn't always. In the summer my kids were home as well. Go through your closets, you have clothes you could throw in a box and let the kids play dress up with. Read stories, bake cookies together in the kitchen, let them be messy then let them help you clean. I made worksheets up to keep them on task for school. Let them make a play and present it to you. At night, do shadow puppets...put on a black and white movie and tell them that is what Grandma and Grandpa watched when they were little, or put on your childhood favorite movie and let them see it through your eyes.

Once after a huge snow our grandkids came to visit. I filled empty dishsoap bottles with water, added food coloring and out we went and drew pictures in the snow. To this day that is one of their fondest memories...that cost nothing but time.

If you run out of ideas look online, there are tons of ideas there!

Most of all, do not be selfish if you feel it is not fair and it is cutting into your time, change that mindset. Your kids will not be little or even home forever.

We are sacrificing not spending time with our grandkids now so we can still be in their lives later. Is it hard? Yes, it is, but we must. Life is not passing us by. We are living life every minute and every minute we can choose to be happy or angry or sad, it is still living life. Yes, there are people with mental hardships and hopefully they have people in their lives that are helpful.

Life will be different and sometime, long years from now, people will look back to what was now and ask what did they do to get through those hard times.

Missy says hang in there!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Monday Message

"The past is to be learned from but not lived in." - Jeffrey R Holland

We do live in challenging times for sure but remember we need to love and help each other. Look for ways that you can show love and concern for others. One little thing I do for some friends that I no longer can see in person because of the virus, is I send them a joke a week that they can try to answer or they can roll their eyes to :p but with this I send them something from me to let them know I am thinking of them. If you have ideas on what we can do to encourage others share it with us in the comments section!

The garden is growing here and I have about organized my brains out but I am keeping busy. Leave a comment below and tell us what you are doing during this time.

I have been making bread twice a week.

I have been practicing what I preach by stretching what I have.

I am learning new skills. Last year I had picked up an instant pot (only not that brand, it is a technique) at Salvation Army. Back then I was so very busy I had no time to learn it so I did not even know if it worked. So I am starting to learn it and I can tell you it works, so that was good. I'm still learning which is good, I also want to do a water coloring tutorial.

I am working on a bookmark...

I think you will agree with me that we are spending more time on meal preparation and house cleaning chores as well. But that is what we can do right now.

I keep a journal which I am trying to keep things up to date on what is happening. I write daily in it so I am tracking the numbers of pandemic in my state.

This is full of my journals and with genealogy.

I have been spinning. I have my fiber pre-drafted in the basket ready to spin when I need it.

Gus is wondering what skills you are working on? You can tell us in comments below.

I think Missy has an interest in weaving as she is always by the looms.

Gus is always an easier one to take a pic of, he sits a minute longer than she does.

Gus says everyone keep being safe!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Monday Message

“But there will be helping hands along the way, many such, to give you encouragement and strength to move forward.” Gordon B. Hinckley 

Look for ways to give encouragement and strength along your way. It will make you feel happier to lift others up right now and it will make the person you lift up happier too. True, we must do it from afar but it can be done.

I hope you were able to plant a garden or some pots.

Are you finding things to do during this time?

Don't forget now is the time to learn skills. - this is a different no knead way of making bread and I have watched him for years. I like how he does the mixing with the handle of the wooden spoon. I pulled this out as she does a great job but they have many videos... so watch and learn these wonderful things.

I figure about now you will need a fun thing to make...

You can make chocolate cupcakes anyway you choose box mix or use my

Click HERE then scroll down for my favorite chocolate cake recipe!!

So make and cool the cupcakes.

Now this is cupcake filling. Whatever you do, don't double this recipe or you will have so much you won't know what to do with it.

Cupcake filling

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
2/3 c. shortening
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
Beat together really good, add about one bag of powder sugar and beat five minutes.

Fill a pastry bag with a tip and poke in from the top of the cupcake in the center, then squeeze in enough that you see it bulge but not crack the cupcake.

Then frost the top with chocolate frosting, you can use any frosting or my favorite...

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

(I double this recipe for a 9x13 cake or for cupcakes, leave as is for 9x9 cake)

3 tbsp butter or margarine
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp light corn syrup or honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c. powder sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
Cream butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla.
Add powder sugar and milk, beat to spreading consistency.

So you put the frosting on top as normal and if you do these on the sly no one knows that there is filling in the cupcake till they eat it and yum what a nice surprise!

Enjoy something different while every day seems like the day before.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Monday Message

"I can do hard things" - Elaine S. Dalton

I think we are all doing hard things with all that is going on.We need to remember we are not alone. We still have each other, we're all just a touch of a computer away.

I thought I would put a few recipes from my food storage binder here for you....

Hamburger Green Bean Casserole

Brown a pound of hamburger and drain. Place in a 9x13 pan. To this add two cans of drained green beans and two cans of tomato soup, 1/4 tsp of onion salt, this is optional. Mix all together and top with mashed potato leftovers or mix from dry instant potatoes. Bake 350 till potatoes are golden....

I put cheese on the potatoes before baking but you don't have to.

Also, I have used leftover taco meat in place of the hamburger, this is a wonderful version.

Maidrites (a loose meat sandwich in case you don't live in the midwest)

Brown and drain a pound of hamburger, 1 tsp dry onion if you want, I leave it out. Add a can of chicken broth and cook till broth is gone.

Serve on buns like you would hamburgers, same toppings, I like mine plain though.

Dick's Mom's French Dressing

1 c. oil
1 c. ketchup
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. vinegar
1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, celery salt, parsley, dry minced onion

Shake well before using.

I store it in a quart jar, this is a family favorite.

With lettuce growing in the gardens this is a fantastic time for this recipe!

Now is the time for you to be looking through your recipes to find your budget friendly recipes, perhaps what recipes you had in your food storage binder.

Gus says....

We need to stay the course, I suggest you be getting ready for the second wave for the virus in the fall.

Hopefully you have planted some plants to give you food. If you have a garden then you are a busy bee! Be studying how to do things like blanching and freezing or dehydrating or canning, these would all be worthy to learn right now.

Missy says don't let all this get you down. Yes, it is a bit more work but you can keep pushing on no matter what.

So I thought I would give you pics of around the house...

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