Friday, June 26, 2009

Broccoli Firsts


There's a first for everything, right?! Well, here's the first harvest of the first planting of broccoli for us. (Never tried growing it before.)

We transplanted four plants from a nursery on April 24th and now two months later we're enjoying the fruits of our labors. The other two plants are a little further behind these two. That will be nice because a person can only eat so much broccoli at a time.

I wasn't sure how to grow broccoli so I checked out Under their "How to Grow Broccoli" section I found everything I needed to know from planting to harvesting. I've enjoyed having this resource for growing other fruits and vegetables as well.

I love this time of year!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Food Storage...on the Path to Preparedness

Debbie Kent has prepared a 14-page handout entitled "Food Storage...on the Path to Preparedness" that I came across the other day on She's organized some great information in an easy-to-read format with lots of pictures. Here are some of the topics she addresses:
  • Why Should You be Prepared?
  • Warnings and Where they can be Found
  • The NEW Food Storage Plan
  • 90 Days the Easy Way -- Think SOS
  • Filling 55-Gallon Barrels
  • Rotating
  • Water Ideas and Rotating Systems
  • Financial Reserve
  • Long Term Food Storage/One Person/One Year (in addition to your 90 day supply)
  • Why Store These?
  • I Have a Year Supply...That's All I Need
  • What Will This Provide Per Day?
  • MENU Using Basic Year Supply
  • Survival Mode
  • Menu Planning
  • Using Your Year Supply
  • Storing Your Food Storage
  • Inventorying
  • How Can I Afford Food Storage?
  • How Do I Find all the Food I Need?
  • What Are You Going to do With This Info.?
  • 6 Steps to Success
  • Going the Extra Mile
  • Why Do We Prepare
  • The Path to Preparedness
  • Will You Be Ready?
  • Top 10 Reasons Why I Don't Have My Food Storage
  • A Year's Supply for $58.81?
  • OTHER BASICS and "Fun Stuff"
  • Menu Suggestions

Monday, June 22, 2009

Real Life -- Living It

Because we can learn so much from each other, Monday's posts will be "Real Life -- Living It" featuring a guest post.

This week's guest post is from an Ensign magazine article entitled "One Can at a Time" by Mary L. Wilson.
She shares how she overcame her fears of "being trampled by the enormity of the food-storage elephant."
"It would take an elephant to feed my family for a year, I thought as I tried to make a plan for our food storage. And how could I afford it or store it all? Just then an old saying about elephants popped into my mind: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The question for me was, “How do you store an elephant?” The answer was—one can at a time!

The Church has provided many areas with a wonderful resource: the dry pack cannery. If there is one nearby, we can sign up to pack various products at reasonable prices. Dry packing in number 10 cans is a convenient and safe way to store the basic foods needed for long-term storage. Our “elephant” could fit nicely in our storage room. The next question was, how could we afford it? Our family came up with the following ideas for financing our food storage:

1. Save all the change that comes home. It is amazing how much money five people can contribute in just a week. With only $1 per week per person, we could dry pack one can of potato pearls, or three cans of flour, or one can of delicious apple slices.

2. Use the money from our tax return for quantity purchases. A case of six cans of basic items of milk, flour, sugar, and wheat was affordable and helped us be much more prepared. When we added pasta and beans, we felt that in an emergency we could actually create family meals for a month.

3. Buy one extra item when at the store. Oils, salt, and spices are necessary for a complete storage plan. The cost of one item was seldom noticed in our grocery bill, but our storage room benefited greatly.

An article in the Ensign about debt reduction states, “Your most important savings is food storage” (Jack M. Lyon, “ ‘How Many Loaves Have Ye?’ ” Ensign, Dec. 1989, 41). We have tried to balance this with monetary savings. Each time we purchase an item on sale for food storage, we try to save the extra amount we would normally have spent and add it to our food storage fund.

Our food storage is growing day by day, can by can, case by case. We are better prepared and no longer afraid of being trampled by the enormity of the food-storage elephant." —Mary L. Wilson
(Source: Mary L. Wilson, “One Can at a Time,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 68)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

THANK YOU Liesa Card!!!

If you were unable to attend last night's Enrichment night, you missed out on a wonderful evening. Guest speaker Liesa Card, author of "I Dare You to Eat It", shared her wisdom and wit with those able to attend. What a talented woman!

THANK YOU to these cute ladies - Melanie, Britney, Julie, and Darlene, and Janet - for beginning the evening with "The Family Preparedness Song."

And a big THANK YOU for all the time and amazing efforts of dear Donna and Janice and their committee for all the planning and preparation to make the evening so enjoyable! THANK YOU to those who brought food and to all who attended! I feel each of us came away better informed and inspired to do something(s) about building and using our food storage.

I've been motivated to plan 30-days of meals my family will eat using basic food storage and store the printed recipes in plastic sheets in a binder. That's not all, but it's what I'm going to begin with.

I highly recommend her book "I Dare You to Eat It"! In it she shares a simplified approach to the whole food storage concept and makes it more manageable for everyone. Along with her helpful ideas are quotes from wise leaders, personal stories, delicious recipes, and her heartfelt testimony.

THANK YOU for sharing your time, wisdom, and testimony Liesa!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tonight's the Night...Please Join Us


Come share an evening
with our guest speaker
Liesa Card
(Author of the book "I Dare You to Eat It")
as she presents a manageable method
for food storage that can be used
during a time of need
but that can also help to
Instead of buying, storing, and then tossing it,
you can create a storage of food that
makes your life easier
by integrating it into regular meals.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
6:30 pm
Murray, Utah

Bring your family, friends, and neighbors.
Light refreshments served.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Real Life--Living It

Because we can learn so much from each other, Monday's posts will be "Real Life -- Living It" featuring a guest post.

This week's guest post is by Sara from The Pantry Panel. Sara posted a talk she gave in her LDS ward on June 14, 2009 entitled "A Provident Living Talk". I love how she shares personal experiences and the blessings she's received from following inspired counsel.
(Thanks for your permission to share this post Sara! You are INSPIRING!)

A provident living talk

Given by me in my LDS ward today.


"At long last, frugality is becoming cool! According to last week’s Washington Post, people are no longer trying to keep up with the Joneses. “Instead of feeling conscious about spending less, people are flaunting their frugality.” Of course, in the church, provident living is not some new trend.

What is provident living? Provident means carefully preparing for the future. Elder Robert D. Hales said in last conference, “To provide providently, we must practice the principles of provident living: joyfully living within our means, being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for rainy-day emergencies. When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others.”

The church puts out “Family Finances” pamphlet that summarizes advice about Provident Living: (1) Pay tithes and offerings, (2) Avoid debt, (3) Use a budget, (4) Gradually build a reserve, and (5) Teach your children.

Pay tithes and offerings. President Hinckley called tithing “the Lord’s law of finance.” When we put the Lord first financially by paying tithing, God is able to keep his promises, and open the windows of heaven to bless us. I know that God blesses us when we keep his commandments, especially when it is difficult.

Avoid debt. Our society has had to relearn this lesson recently, haven’t we? Our country’s recent financial problems have mostly been caused by excessive debt. Every generation or so we forget, and we have to learn this all over again.

Even young children can understand why debt is harmful. Sometimes my kids see the pay-day loan stores, with names like “The Cash Store.” They ask me, “Mom, can you buy cash at the store?” I say, “Yes! They say, ‘We’ll give you $10 today, but you have to pay us $20 next week.’” The kids laughed and laughed, and asked, “Why would anyone ever do that?” I did exaggerate the amount of interest slightly to teach the principle, but this is the truth about debt and interest. You always have to repay more than you borrow, and you can never be sure that you will have the money to repay in the future.

Some in recent years have tried to make debt look sophisticated. But no amount of sophistication can deny those simple truths about debt and interest. Speculative thinking is nothing new. In 1986, Elder James E. Faust said, “There are some investment counselors who urge speculative credit practices described as ‘leverage,’ ‘credit wealth,’ and ‘borrow yourself rich.’ Such practices may work successfully for some, but at best they succeed only for a time. An economic reversal always seems to come, and many who have followed such practices find themselves in financial ruin and their lives in shambles.” History repeated itself yet again.

It’s especially important to avoid consumer debt. Credit cards can be handy. But if you can’t pay off the balance every month, get rid of them. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin counseled in April 2004, “Those who use credit cards to overspend unwisely should consider eliminating them. It is much better that a plastic credit card should perish than a family dwindle and perish in debt.”

Elder Hales said, “Of course some debt incurred for education, a modest home, or a basic automobile may be necessary to provide for a family.” However, even in these cases, debt should only be incurred carefully and prayerfully, and minimally.

Education: Student loans are often thought of as “good debt.” Interest rates have been low in recent years, and education usually leads to increased income that can be used to pay off the loan. But I know of many people whose student loans have caused them a lot of trouble. The loans have to be repaid even if the degree is not finished, or if job opportunities are not what you thought they would be, or if the degree is in a low-paying field, or if the student wants to become a stay-at-home mom. Student loans are not bankruptable, so even in a worst case scenario those debts are with you forever until they are repaid. So make these decisions prayerfully, and get your education without debt if possible.

Car: a “basic automobile” is not a new one. New cars are much more expensive than used cars. New car loans are often structured so that you owe more on the car than it is worth, making the car impossible to sell without spending thousands of dollars. Reliable used cars can be found with careful research and shopping. Teenagers can save up for old cars and pay for them with cash, which is what my husband and his brother did when they were teenagers. That car was often broken, but they were motivated to keep the car running, and they learned how to repair and maintain a car. These skills have blessed our family and saved our family a lot of money.

House: Debt is usually necessary to buy a home now, but in recent years excessive debt has been promoted. It used to be that banks required a 20% down payment on a house, and monthly payments had to be no more than 28% of your income. Buy a “modest home,” as President Hinckley counseled. If you follow these rules, you will have some measure of safety even in a declining real estate market. Avoid home equity loans, and seek to pay off your mortgage as quickly as you can. President Hinckley told the story of President Faust paying off his 4% mortgage, even though people thought it was foolish to pay off a loan with such a low interest rate. But he understood that being debt free brings freedom.

Use a budget. A budget is a great place to start to get control of your finances. When you write down where your money goes and make a plan, it’s easier to see the waste that you can cut out to reach your goals. The mystery of where the money goes is solved, and you are empowered to improve.

Elder Hales counseled us
to “joyfully live within your means.” How can we do this? Often we think of budgeting or cutting back expenses as a matter of deprivation. But it helps for us to have the right attitude. Don’t compare your financial situation to affluent lifestyles portrayed in the media. My husband and I once attended a Parade of Homes home show. We enjoyed looking at the many lovely features in the fancy homes, but when we came home, we found ourselves less satisfied with our own simple home.

Instead, compare yourselves to your grandparents when they were your age. We have a great deal to be grateful for. Of course our grandparents didn't have cell phones or cable TV. But they also did without things that we see as necessities, such as air conditioning and dryers. Families had one car each. My grandparents raised 8 children in a 1200 square foot home. That isn't done anymore, but back in the 1960s it was relatively common.

Getting by on a very small budget can become a game. My grandmother was a divorced mother of 3 young children in the 1960s. Money was extremely tight, and often my grandmother went hungry because there was not enough food for everyone. Yet my mother thought of it as a fun challenge to show how clever they were. Their natural gas was turned off the summer after their dad left, and their stove was gas, leaving them without a way to cook. Granny figured out how to cook meals in the electric coffee pot (they were not Mormon at the time), and the children thought their Mom was so clever to figure that out. In our families, we can seek to have the same attitude, even in desperate circumstances.

Sometimes we think of frugal ways of life as “poor,” and extravagance as “rich.” But wealth is accumulating money. If you spend your money on disposable purchases, you don’t have the money anymore. Many rich people are frugal; that’s how they got the money. My husband’s grandparents are enjoying a comfortable retirement after a lifetime of frugality. Even though they don't have to be frugal anymore, they still only eat oatmeal, cracked wheat, or cornmeal mush for breakfast. All of the money they saved on simple breakfasts and in other countless ways over the years added up. Let your children know that those who spend more money than you are not necessarily richer. Without talking about any specific family’s finances, let them know that debt sometimes makes it appear that others are more prosperous than they really are.

It helps to think about what deprivation means to you. Is it deprivation to eat simple foods, wear yard sale clothes, or drive an old car? Or is it deprivation to not be able to afford to have another child, or have mother in the home, or to be unable to sleep well because of excessive debt?

Gradually build a reserve. Save money for a rainy day. 10% is a good figure to shoot for, and increase that if circumstances allow. The money can be automatically withdrawn from your accounts so it can be done without thinking about it.

Also, remember a reserve is more than just money in the bank. Food storage is part of a “reserve” as well.

Plan for the future, and have goals. Often young couples get used to spending two incomes, not planning what they will do when children come. When we were a young married couple, it was our goal for me to stay at home with the children when they came along. We made our decisions on that basis. It was fun to see how little we could live on! We avoided debt, lived in cheap apartments, and avoided turning on the air conditioning and heat. I worked, and during my time off I learned frugal skills such as bread baking and cooking from scratch. We shopped carefully, stocking up on food when it was on sale, eventually building up a good supply of food storage. We drove a junker car. My husband fixed anything that broke. Because of our choices, we were able to reach our goal.

Teach your children. So many young adults are unprepared for adulthood. We may have provident living skills, but the next generation needs to learn them or else those skills will be lost. How can we teach them to live providently?

Don’t do too much for them. I recently watched a news segment called Unspoil your kids.” Even if you have means, make them work for what they want. Have them provide for their own car, buy their own clothes, save for their own missions or education. This can start at a young age. When our kids whined in the store for candy, we asked them, “Where is your money?” They didn’t have any, and a fight was avoided. We wanted them to never get the idea that it’s the parent’s job to provide for more than the basics. Children are naturally much more frugal with their own money than with your money.

Teach them how the household budget works. When I was a kid, I saw my dad’s paycheck. I selfishly imagined all the things I could do with that money, because I didn’t understand what family obligations that money paid for. We taught our children how the budget works in a family night, using an idea from this book. We represented our household income with Monopoly money, and asked our children what they wanted to do with it. Then we showed them where the money has to go, and how little discretionary money we actually had. After we did this, our children have desired to do what they can to help us save money.

Do self-reliant things as a family. Teach your children to cook. Even young children can learn to make sandwiches, or prepare oatmeal. My mom taught me, “If you can read, you can cook.” We have created a family cookbook so my children can have the confidence to make our family’s favorite recipes. Do family work projects together. Last month, our family worked together to insulate the attic. We all did our part, and the work got done. More importantly, our children can look back on experiences like that when they are adults and gain the confidence to do needed repairs themselves instead of hiring others. Grow a garden and preserve the surplus together as a family. Include your children when making repairs.

Provide the child with opportunities to work for money. Sometimes families give allowances to help children learn to manage money, but in my opinion, the most important lesson to learn about money is that you exchange work for money. Work together as a family. My husband’s parents ran a newspaper distribution office when he was growing up, and as a family they would assemble the newspapers before they were delivered. Because of experiences like this, my husband and his siblings all grew up to be hard workers.

Talk to your children about money. Help them to understand how interest works, and why debt is bondage. Often people are quiet about their financial problems, so children grow up only seeing the fun side of overspending, and never see the full consequences. My kids sometimes overhear the Dave Ramsey show, a national radio show that helps people get out of debt. The show has given my children a good education about why debt should be avoided, by hearing the consequences of others who have gotten into debt. Explain to your children, in a way that they can understand, why it is smart to be frugal.

I testify that Heavenly Father has blessed us greatly, and he wants us to use our earthly resources to provide for our families, plan for the future, and bless others. I know that when we make wise choices with our money, we are blessed with peace."
(Source: Sara, The Pantry Panel blog, June 14, 2009 post)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Join Us for Liesa Card's Presentation on Food Storage


Come share an evening
with our guest speaker
Liesa Card
(Author of the book "I Dare You to Eat It")
as she presents a manageable method
for food storage that can be used
during a time of need
but that can also help to
Instead of buying, storing, and then tossing it,
you can create a storage of food that
makes your life easier
by integrating it into regular meals.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
6:30 pm
Murray, Utah

Bring your family, friends, and neighbors.
Light refreshments served.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Great Articles

This month's Ensign magazine has some great articles on finances and gardening. Here are the links:

Focus on Family Finances
By Allie Schulte
"Either we control our finances or they control us. Here' how to get the upper hand."

Power Tools for Family Finances
"Use them to demolish debt and build a strong financial future."

Stretching Your Dollars
By Kay Przybille
"We can stretch our dollars by eating home-cooked meals, looking for bargains, and establishing a budget."

Our Community Garden
by Beth A. Wright
"I had always wanted a garden, but with no yard I didn't think it would be possible."

In the Morning Sow Thy Seed
"Hard work can strengthen our spirits."

(Source: Ensign, June 2009)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Freckled Pancakes

We eat a lot of pancakes around here. It helps keep the cost of breakfast down and sometimes we have them for dinner. My children enjoy them with chocolate chips in. This morning I happened to have some mini chocolate chips on hand and added them to the batter. They looked like freckles.

3 eggs

1 cup milk*
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted shortening
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, stirred and measured (or whole wheat flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Handful mini chocolate chips

Beat eggs thoroughly; stir in milk, shortening, and sifted dry ingredients just until blended. Bake on lightly greased griddle. Sprinkle with some mini chocolate chips. Makes 8 to 10 pancakes.

*You may use 1/3 cup non-instant powdered milk and 1 cup water in place of milk. Mix non-instant powdered milk with dry ingredients, mix water with liquid ingredients.

Apple Pancakes:
Stir in 1 cup finely chopped apple.
Blueberry Pancakes: Stir in 1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned and drained blueberries.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Real Life -- Living It

Because we can learn so much from each other, Monday's posts will be "Real Life -- Living It" featuring a guest post.

This week's guest post is by Angie. She was asked to talk in her ward about food storage and how they've done it. When I asked Angie for permission to share her post, she was very kind and willing.
(Thanks for sharing Angie! You are INSPIRING!)

Being Prepared

I have been asked to talk in our ward about food storage and how we've done it. So this is long, but here's my rough draft:

Preparedness with Little Space or Money

Set goals and make decisions: We decided in August that we were going to start taking food storage seriously. We made a goal to have a certain amount of money set aside each month. Our budget was already tight, so we weren't exactly sure where this money would come from. I also made lists of what we needed and what we had. We prayed sincerely and consistently for our Father in Heaven to help us. We saved all the money we could and when we started to falter, the Lord stepped in and blessed us. He made it possible for us to be in the position we are. Our food storage is still a work in progress, but at least it's progressing!
"Replace feelings of fear with an act of faith."

Three-Month Supply: The church suggests starting with a 3-month supply of the foods you usually eat. The easiest way to start accumulating is to simply buy two or three instead of one item when you're at the store, especially when it's on sale. Every spring and fall, there are Case Lot Sales. We saved up our money in between these times, so that when things are on sale we have the cash to buy in bulk and end up saving money.
Finding a place to put food storage, even a three-month supply can be very difficult. In our small 1200 square foot condo, we had to be creative. I decided to just get the food and bring it home, and I would find a place for it. And it works. Under beds are a great place to store things. Our canned goods are under the boys beds in their room, this is nice because it also prevents them from putting toys under the bed when they're supposed to be putting them away. Under our own bed we have #10 cans of wheat and oats. The large buckets would be more difficult to fit in our home, so most of our long-term storage is in the #10 cans.
We have also rearranged our closets a bit, even moving some things out of the closet to shelves or dressers, so we can fit buckets or boxes in the closets. I know people who have cleaned out their linen closet, keeping towels in the bathroom and sheets in the bedroom, so they can store food on the shelves in their closet.
We rotate our three-month supply when we buy new food, by moving old food into pantry, and the new food under the bed. We use the old food, but if we replace it every 6 months to a year, it will never go bad.

Drinking Water We definitely do not have space for a big blue barrel of water in our condo. So we had to be a little creative again. We have space for a few cases of bottled water and some old juice bottles filled with water that we can use for washing, not drinking. Then we go a filtered water pitcher, with extra filters. This is not ideal and if we had space we would choose to store more water, but this is a way for us to hopefully clean whatever water we can get hold of if we have the need.

Financial Reserve Pray. A lot. And act on faith. We decided to keep an emergency account with one thousand dollars. We have used this to cover unexpected car or medical expenses, when our check-book just can't cover it. Then we put in a little each month until it's back up to 1000.
In August we felt we couldn't just rely on miracles to pay for our storage, so we all have extra little jobs to make it possible. I believe the Lord rewards us for our effort. The kids and I have a paper route. It's very small and only makes about $10/month, but it's a way for the kids to help out. They aren't slaves though, they get to keep any tips for themselves and we also agreed to let them help us decide which storage foods to buy with the paper route money. So, we have chocolate milk, popcorn and dried strawberries, all earned by them. Nick also delivers pizza one night a week, which is just a few hours of time, but a couple hundred dollars will buy a lot of wheat!!!

Longer-Term Supply Speaking of of the best things I can do for my family's food storage is to learn how to use it. I know how to bake bread and though I don't do it all the time, at least I know that if the need arises I can do that. My family will be eating soft yummy bread, rolls and pancakes instead of a month or two of me baking bread that has the consistency of a rock, while I figure out how to cook and my family is hungry and relying on me. Other important cooking skills are home-canning and using dried beans and wheat.
Being in a condo, we don't have much of a garden. So, the past two years, I have helped my sister plant and take care of her garden, in return for half the produce. The winter months have been so hard because the price of produce seems so outrageous compared to simply picking what I want. Fruit trees and a garden are a great source of food! The cost of planting is so minimal compared with the harvest. And if you grow more than you eat, there are always others to share with.
The church cannery makes food storage simple, delicious and as inexpensive as possible. They are always completely organized and usually offer the best price. Everything is packaged in a safe way and you can count on that food lasting you for years without going bad. In September, we were able to obtain large amounts of food for a cheaper price somewhere else, so we borrowed a canning machine, which is free, and canned the food for less than what it would have cost at the cannery.

72 hour kits Each person in our family has a backpack with typical 72-hour kit items and an old ice cream bucket with food. Because I have a tendency to fill them and then forget about them for a few years, we decided to check them twice a year at conference time. I pull them out a few days early and determine which foods will be expire or need to be replaced. Then the kids get to snack on the juice boxes, crackers and granola bars during General Conference.
I have also printed and attached a paper to each bucket and backpack. It has the person's picture, name and emergency contact information. So the kids know which bucket is theirs and also, so that if we are ever separated in an emergency, they have the information with them to help them find us.

So you can see how, with little space and even less money, we have been able to prepare our family for what may lie ahead. It didn't happen overnight, but with consistent effort and faith in the Lord, it is possible and it will bring immeasurable comfort and peace to our home.
(Source: Angie)