Friday, July 29, 2011

Target.

Yes, That Target. I'm proud to report that I have learned to control my impulse buys and can safely navigate through target without buying things that aren't on the list. That's huge progress for me. So now, a good majority of my shopping is done at Target, the only other store I go to is Publix. But I would say 90% of my shopping is done at Target. And I have found ways to save HUGE on the things I already buy.

First, I do get a Sunday paper and clip coupons, but ONLY on things I already use. The trouble you get into with coupons is clipping them all and buying something you don't use, or would normally never buy, just because you have a coupon.


Second, Target online store coupons.


Next is mobile coupons. You can sign up here to get coupons via text message.



And last is the Target debit card, you can get it here. It comes out of your bank account just as if you had used your debit card from your bank. And you save 5% EVERY time you shop. The card can only be used at Target, and the only downside that I have noticed is that it takes 2-3 days to come out of your account, So just be diligent about balancing your bank account. It is seriously the greatest thing since sliced bread. It even gives you 5% off the pizza hut cafe! {Not that I would know that or anything because I don't eat that garbage... I'm pregnant, don't judge me}Think about 5% over your Grocery/Diaper/Toiletry/household stuff over a year... It adds up. Our savings {just for having this card,} are probably close to three or four hundred dollars per year. That's not including big purchases either. And no, there is no fee for having it either. Really, I haven't found a downside.

Now, A few other things I love about Target... They have coupons on their generic up and up brand.  I don't know of anywhere else that does that. And as a side note, Up and Up diapers and wipes are awesome! And You can earn gift cards on things you purchase with coupons Including their generic brand!... Not to mention they print lots of catalina coupons, based on the things you buy. So, long story short, I love Target, and feel pretty good about saving a lot of money there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A farm?

There's part of me that wishes I lived on a farm... Minus the nasty poopoo smell. And no cows or horses either... Those are just too big and stinky. But I really want a little piece of land that we could have chickens on, and let a puppy run, have some ATV's to ride around on, have some beautiful fruit trees, And a fantastic garden. Do I think it will ever happen? Mmmmmm, probably not, There's also a part of me that is a city girl snob. It would have to be a piece of land that was still within 15 minutes of a Target, and lots of fun activities for the kiddos. {Maybe we could just move right next to you Heidi, Kansas City sounds perfect!} Aside from the fact that I don't think I'll ever get Michael out of Jacksonville. But I can dream right?


 
Doesn't this make you want a chicken coop? To see more, go here!


And a garden to pick fresh fruits and veggies from and have an afternoon snack on the wrap around porch?
Have a pair of gardening boots by the door... sitting on beautiful rustic hardwood floors, That didn't matter if you scratched or dented them, because it would just add to the charm and beauty? 

With a perfect little country kitchen to make family breakfasts in, using freshly gathered eggs and fruit?

Hmmmmm.... maybe one day....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

 
The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.
—Unknown Author
 
 I found this quote in a booklet I was going through at my moms house. I've been thinking about it a lot, and can't get it out of my head, and can't stop thinking about what it really means. We certainly don't have the most by the worlds standards. However, there is not a person in the world who could tell me that we aren't the richest people in the world. We adore our children. We are grateful for the challenges that they lay before us everyday. We love our lives together. We have a place to call home, because we're here together. I think once you start focusing on the things you have, instead of the things you don't, you begin to realize that you don't need the things of the world. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, and I don't know if I'll ever be done learning it. Not because I don't realize the many many blessings that I've been given, but because I love pretty things. I love fancy clothes, I love shoes, and jewelry, and make up and we all know I love me some Clarins self tanner. I don't think it's wrong to want these things, or even have them, however, I do think that there is a point where you realize you don't need them. I realize that... but, I still want them. But they aren't important at all compared to this sweet little family that we have that is centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Does that make me CRAZY?


These last few days I've been in some crazy moods. In addition to my normal obsessive anti-clutter self, It's been magnified, thanks to this stupid "nesting" phase of pregnancy... I can't stand clutter and I really don't have any, but somehow, I'm still going crazy,  even the bowl that holds the fruit on the counter bothers me. In addition to that my sister and I have rearranged and organized the pantry twice, just this week. I've been in a cooking mood {not like me at all}... I made a few batches of jam yesterday, a batch of cupcakes today, and I really need to start some bread today. I also have the craziest urge to do a freezer day again... In addition to the list of sewing projects that I have, {Mind you this is after I've knocked out a few already}  A few more dresses for the girls, a papoose carrier, and now thanks to an outrageous price quote on a car seat cover, I get to add that to the list. I really hate this part of pregnancy It gives me anxiety... I'm way too round and uncomfortable to possibly be able to do all of this. Isn't there supposed to be some BURST of energy during this "nesting" phase that gives you the strength and energy to do it all? Because I'll be honest... I'm not finding it... at least not today.

So a few other thoughs about this pregnancy....

Carrying your 4th child is nothing like carrying the first 2 or even 3... It's much, much worse, every pain and discomfort is magnified by 100x. I don't know how Michelle Duggar has done this 19 times... how has her pelvis not fallen off?
I've gained 10 pounds in the last 2 weeks alone... awesome.
I'm addicted to nose spray. Seriously.
I'm up every hour on the hour to pee at night.
My belly itches like crazy. No matter how much lotion I put on it.
My right leg is numb 1/2 the time thanks to the baby sitting on my sciatic nerve.
If it's not numb, my toes are curled under themselves thanks to leg cramps.
It hurts to walk. I am positive at this point that my pelvis is broken.
Surprisingly, I'm not as swollen as I'm used to being at this point... Go figure, This is what it's like not to have toxemia?  
Can someone tell me why I get new stretch marks every time I'm pregnant? I mean... The babies are all basically the same size, can't they all just use the same stretch marks?...
My butt and tata's are humongous...  but then again, so is every other part of my body.
My nails and hair are in fantastic shape however... That's a bonus.
Living with contractions every 10-12 minutes for weeks isn't pleasant... AT ALL.
Terbutaline shots aren't pleasant... however they aren't as bad as betamethosone shots... Those are much much worse...
Pregnancy hormones are the devil... I am happy one second, and could {and probably would} bite a random strangers head off for looking at me the next...

Oh the joys of this mortal life. Okay, it's not really that bad, I know it could be much much worse. I'm grateful to be able to have children, I'm grateful that he's still in there... At least for the next week and 5 days, after that, he won't be welcome in there anymore. I'm very grateful for modern medicine. A cute little sister who is extremely helpful. And very grateful for a wonderful, loving, extremely patient husband, Even though he is terrible at back massages. Oh well, he can't be perfect I suppose.

Monday, July 25, 2011

 I highlighted stuff I liked. I know it's old school, but it's still pertinent.

Teach LDS Women Self-Sufficiency


Teach LDS Women Self-Sufficiency

Sister Barbara B. Smith  <--------------CHECK OUT THAT HAIR!!!
 
My dear brothers and sisters, this morning and in the welfare meeting last October, our Presiding Bishop, Victor L. Brown, quoted from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 78, verses 13 and 14, in which the Lord says he is preparing us to withstand the tribulations that shall come upon us so that “the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world.” (D&C 78:14.)
We have been told that the gaining of this independence will come to Church members only in proportion to their obedience to the word of the Lord in this matter. Obedience brings security and self-sufficiency. It breeds confidence and a peaceful attitude.
Relief Society officers are in a position to materially assist the women of the Church to respond obediently to the advice of our leaders regarding home production and storage, that each family may be prepared to take care of its basic needs for a minimum of one year. Latter-day Saint women should be busily engaged in growing, producing, and conserving food, within their capabilities to do so. Relief Society should help them be provident in the use of the resources available to hem, however great or small these resources may be. By provident, I mean wise, frugal, prudent, making provision for the future while attending to immediate needs.
Relief Society can help give direction to women by providing them with expert instruction and learning experiences. The best place for this teaching is in the ward homemaking meeting, in lessons and in miniclasses. Instruction could also be given in homemaking fairs, seminars, and workshops sponsored by stake and district Relief Societies. Home storage could be a topic for summer visiting teaching messages and could be a suggested theme for talks in ward and stake meetings. Stake and district Relief Society teachers could make this matter a subject of active planning and enlist the cooperation of ward Relief Societies in implementing it.
Each ward or branch Relief Society presidency should make an assessment of the general circumstances of the sisters living within their area and prepare a one-year plan for homemaking meeting instruction to be given on subjects relating to home production and storage, according to the needs and conditions of the women. These classes could include the following guidelines to provident living:
  1.  How to save systematically for emergencies and home storage.
  2.  How to, what to, and where to store.
  3.  How to store seeds, prepare soil, acquire proper tools for gardening.
  4.  How to grow your own vegetables.
  5.  How to can and dry foods.
  6.  How to teach and help your family eat foods needed for physical health.
  7.  How to do basic machine and hand sewing, mending, and clothing remodeling.
  8.  How to plan and prepare nutritious, appetizing meals using the resources available, and foods from home storage shelves.
The resources of libraries, extension services, and government agencies should be wisely used. Instruction should be given that will help each sister understand how to make a good home storage plan in council with her husband, that he might direct their family.
May I suggest that when approving such plans, each Relief Society presidency use the following checklist:
  1.  Are we as Relief Society officers motivating and actually training the sisters in the necessary skills of family preparedness, and then helping them to put these into practice?
  2.  Are we counseling among ourselves and with our priesthood leaders so that adequate and realistic plans for home storage and production are being developed and carried out?
  3.  Do our homemaking miniclass plans respond to the various needs of the women in our ward?
  4.  Are we helping the sisters know how to estimate needs and replenish their home production and storage program?
If we do these things, when trouble comes we will be like a family I know who experienced unexpected financial reverses last year. The father became severely ill, and they were temporarily without employment income. As the fresh produce in the refrigerator was eaten, the family began to use the food they had stored. When the father recovered, he had to look for work in another community. While he was gone, there was a breakdown in the town water system. The family had gallons of water stored which were used for several days before the water line was repaired. Throughout this experience there was no panic, no sense of being overwhelmed. They were prepared for the emergency. Adequate advance provision had been made, including money saved. The basic household bills were paid, and the family was able to care for itself independently.
The principles of family preparedness and a woman’s part in them were not given for our time alone. I consider the women described in the thirty-first chapter of Proverbs a provident woman. Recall her wisdom, prudence, frugality, and preparation, as “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. …
“With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. …
“She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. …
“She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. …
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” (See Prov. 31:13–31.)
From the beginning it was planned that reverses and trials would be a part of our earthly experience, but the Lord has mercifully provided ways for us to withstand these problems if we are obedient to his revealed truth.
The guidelines for Relief Society sisters now are the same as they were in biblical days: Obey, Plan, Organize, Teach, and Do. Obedience is training and doing.
Relief Society sisters have always been known to do that which they have been given divine direction to do with excellence, commitment, and the vision that makes it possible for them to have the rewards and the joy of righteous endeavor.
I pray that we may all become provident homemakers and help each other to perform his or her role in family preparedness effectively. I know that this is the desire of our Heavenly Father for us, his children, whom he loves. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Whole Wheat—in Disguise

Random sampler from Aug. 1990 ensign

If you want your family to start eating foods made from wheat flour, you may have to reeducate their taste buds. Most of the foods our society prepares for us are made from white flour, so it is normal to think of whole-wheat flour as tasting “a little funny.” Since your family is more likely to accept whole wheat if you ease it into their diet gradually, try some of the following cooking tricks.

Start by using whole-wheat flour in desserts. After all, who can turn down a cookie? Then move on to other recipes your family likes. The transition is easier when foods are not totally unfamiliar. Don’t feel that you have to use all whole-wheat flour in a recipe, either. Using half white and half whole-wheat flour gives excellent results in most baked goods. If your family is extra fussy, include one tablespoon of whole-wheat flour in each cup (eight ounces; four ounces, British measure) of white flour, then increase the amount each time you make the recipe.

Since whole-wheat flour is brown in color, it is less noticeable when you use it in recipes with brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, or fruit or vegetables (bananas, applesauce, carrots, or zucchini).
Whole-wheat flour is heavier than white flour, so to make sure foods maintain their normal textures, you’ll need to increase the leavening (baking powder and yeast) in a recipe when you substitute whole-wheat flour for white. In yeast breads, use half again as much yeast and allow the dough to rise a little longer.

In recipes that use baking powder, increase baking powder by one teaspoon for each three cups (twenty-four ounces; twelve ounces, British) of flour. Recipes using baking soda need not be adjusted.
For baked goods that use eggs, separate the eggs, stir yolks in with ingredients, beat whites until stiff, then fold whites into batter just before baking. For extra lightness, add an extra whipped egg white.Rosalie Farnbach, San Diego, California

 Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with 1/2 wheat flour and 1/2 white flour are a great start... And actually I always make my bread with 1/2 and 1/2. I tried to do it with all white flour and thought I'd done something wrong because it tasted funny to me, come to find out after several other people tasted it, and raved about it, it was made correctly, I prefer the taste of wheat. It's how my mama makes it and I guess that's just how I'm used to it. So, go bust out a can of wheat, grind it, and get to bakin'. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homemade instant oatmeal packets.



 

So, before I had seen the light... {You know, not eating artificial and processed crap} I used to LOVE Quaker strawberries n cream oatmeal packets. However, after reading the ingredient list, I quickly decided it wasn't for me or my family.

Ingredients
WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, SUGAR, FLAVORED AND COLORED FRUIT PIECES (DEHYDRATED APPLES [TREATED WITH SODIUM SULFITE TO PROMOTE COLOR RETENTION], ARTIFICIAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, RED 40), CREAMING AGENT (MALTODEXTRIN, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL**, WHEY, SODIUM CASEINATE), SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, GUAR GUM, OAT FLOUR, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, NIACINAMIDE*, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE*, RIBOFLAVIN*, THIAMIN MONONITRATE*, FOLIC ACID*.

EEEEEWWWWW, Gross! So Here's a way to make your own, that's cheaper, tastier, doesn't have all those bad words you can't pronounce, and has no artificial colors or flavors. Here's my recipe.


1/3 cup quick oats
2 Tablespoons THRIVE freeze dried strawberries
2 teaspoons powdered milk {I used THRIVE instant milk}
2 teaspoons sugar


This makes one packet. The easiest way to do it is to get out a bunch of snack size ziplocks and add oatmeal to all of them, then the milk, then the sugar, then the strawberries. You can make as many as you'd like at a time! And you can always use blueberries or peaches or any other freeze dried fruits you'd like.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot you just add enough water to cover the oatmeal and microwave for a minute or so.




I put my strawberries in the food processor and pulsed it just a bit. See the powder on the left side? It makes it so the strawberry flavor gets incorporated throughout. And if you don't want to use sugar you can always use Truvia or something else.


Pretties.

I'm kinda stuck in the house today, So this is what I'll be up to... Making invitations, Baking bread, and possibly making a cute new necklace... like this one...

I love the simplicity, and my sweet little LaLa will love making it with me.

And of course, filling my head with ideas...
 I love this headboard... Mike is so wonderful, I could paint our bedroom pink, throw a crystal chandelier or 2 up, and as long as it had a ceiling fan and down comforter, he wouldn't care.
 I also LOVE this shirt... And it would be SO super easy to make... I may just have to add it to the project list... Because there isn't enough on it already...
 These are just gift wrap, But Oh heavens, They make me happy. Could you imagine a perfectly simple Christmas tree with a bunch of beautiful and coordinated presents like this under it? {SIGH.... DROOL... } It would have to be up from the minute Thanksgiving dinner were over to New Years day of course, and nobody would be allowed in the Christmas Tree Room...

 I also long for a vintage frame with burlap in it, and cute hooks, so that I can hang my jewelry and it can be a piece of art!
 I have a strange Obsession with long comfy dresses... I have stalked this dress for weeks, and cannot find where to buy it... So if anyone has too much time on their hands and wants to look for me, I'd love you forever.
 I saved the best for last... I want this mirror SO bad. Like to the point of, anything goes... If I had to break into someones house and peel it off the wall in the middle of the night, I would... They better hope I can't track it down... And if it's for sale, Mike's wallet better pray that I don't find it, Because I would pay almost anything for it. Okay, on to being productive.... And making breakfast. { My kids slept until 9:30 this morning, It was a Festivus Miracle!}

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yay for cute free clothes!


Well, Today wasn't a total waste. I am proud to report that I was productive... sort of. I did get Brent's onesies done...

I made my sister cut them out... That's the part I hate. While she did that,
I made the girls some matching pillow case dresses.
{They look much cuter on, however, my girls were not in modeling moods}
 I wish I could say I "threw them together" in 10 minutes. But that would be a lie. Normally, {not running on pregnant brain} They do only take me 10 minutes, But I messed up the ruffle and had to redo it and that took me like an extra hour. Literally. So I guess I threw one of them together in an hour and the other in 10 minutes, after my brain had warmed up. So, today was productive, and I saved a bit of money. If I had bought all of this on Etsy, {Which, I'll be honest, If I hadn't gotten around to making them, I would have bought them} I would have easily paid well over $100, but because I had all of the fabric for everything already, and had some leftover onesies in my sewing box, It was free. WooHoo! For cute free clothes for my kids!

Heavens to Betsy...

Heavens to Betsy... I'm having a baby in 2 1/2 to 4 weeks, and I am So So So not ready! With 3 kids in tow already, I really haven't had time to think about it. My sister is here until the last week of August, and can I say how wonderful it is... I'd probably be mental by this point if she weren't here, and I can tell you that my entire family would be wearing dirty clothes. {Our washer and dryer sit really low to the ground and it's basically impossible for me to get around the washer and dryer doors in the hallway with this gigantic belly.} Well, back to me not being ready... I haven't washed the baby clothes yet,  scratch that, I haven't pulled them out so my sister can wash them, is a more accurate way of putting it. I haven't gone through to see how many clothes I still have left from Blake, if any of those will fit, Or even be the right season.{Blake was a tiny 4 pound preemie that came home in the dead of winter.} Brent, I'm guessing will be at least 6 or 7 pounds and come home in the hottest part of summer.  So I really just need a few pj's and lots of onesies. Which I wanted to make a few little cute ones... like this...

  Hasn't happened yet...

I also haven't made my papoose...
This is a must have. I used it every day, all day long with Kynzi.

The car seat cover... Still hasn't happened. I'll be honest, I'm contemplating just buying a new one, because I HATE making them...

Um, and can I say that I am so glad to be having another boy... However, little girl stuff is so much more fun. And there is a lot more selection. 
I still need to buy diapers. {I have a million boxes of diapers, but no newborn or size 1} Speaking of diapers, has anyone else noticed that pampers kind suck these days? They must have changed something, So I have switched totally back to Target brand. {I love Target, and I love that they give coupons on their generic brand.} 
Other than that I think we have everything we need. I mean, it was only 14 months ago that I had a brand new baby in the house...
But really, are you ever "ready" for a new born?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kick off PARTY!



Mark your calendars now!!
YAY! We have a date! August 25th, 6 pm at Kathi Daniels house!!
How many of us have tried over and over again and ended up giving up on our food storage, emergency preparedness, and all together provident living? Well, not anymore. The best way we can actually stick to it and get it done is to do it together. So at this PARTY we are going to have tons of food storage recipes to taste. And go over the principles of provident living, briefly, and then decide as a group, what we want to have classes on. Bread making, sewing, budgeting, how to use the food we store {rotating it}, sprouting, canning, gardening, emergency preparedness, health, preparing for the future, education, spiritual preparation, and anything else that falls into the category of provident living. I know you're probably thinking, That does not sound fun... I promise it will be. And if it's not, you don't have to come back... But who can resist learning a few new skills, saving some money, and getting some new dinner ideas SOME WITH LITERALLY 2 MINUTES OF PREP TIME!...AND FREE FOOD! Yummy food. Would you want to come more if I told you there will be homemade jam, Debi's homemade sacrament bread, cupcakes, and chocolate covered macaroons... not to mention all kinds of giveaways? And if you're wondering if you are invited... the answer is yes. We want everyone who is interested to come and invite their friends!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Entertaining the boredom

My kids were going slightly stir crazy. So I sat them down for a craft. We just made fruitful o's cereal necklaces, {the all natural organic alternative to fruit loops} but these ones are dang cute! You can find the tutorial for these cuties here. Wouldn't they be a fun craft for st. patty's or valentines day?

A little bit of everything... literally. Random.


Oh heavens... I hate being sick. I think it's probably just a head cold, but still add that to the fact that I've gotten to the miserable part of pregnancy. I'm gigantic, I can't walk for very long, I officially had to retire my wedding ring because my fingers are so fat. I don't sleep at night. I swear my pelvis is broken. My back hurts all the time. I'm contracting every 10 minutes or so, and have been for the last 2 weeks and will most likely continue to do for the next few weeks, and I HAVE to keep this kid in at least another 3 weeks. But hey, I'm grateful he's still in there and he's healthy.

I sent the kids with my parents to Brysons Eagle scout project, where they made free safety ID profile kits for the kids. While that was going on I was experimenting with my butter and egg powder. I made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. And some oatmeal chocolate chip bars. Made entirely from food storage. And all whole ground wheat. They were good, but not great. A bit dense, and I think I need to reduce the wheat by 1/2 cup or so...
Anyhow.  I learned a valuable lesson, I don't have nearly as much butter powder as I need to have a full years supply. And same thing with my meat, fruits and veggies... I mean yes, I do have enough if we're really stretching out our food, but, I don't want to take that chance. So I'm going to be doubling a lot of what I have already. It's actually been really fun to be experimenting with food storage. I am really excited to show y'all how good it really is. We are going to have a huge kick off party for our provident living group, and we {my mother and I} are planning for the 4th Thursday in August. We want to make sure we have time to really do it right! And that will be right after our stake relief society provident living night and hopefully we will have the excitement of things on our side! So mark your calendars now!



In other news... I realized yesterday how fragile our income, and stability really is. The dealership is slow right now, and so Mike's month has started out slow. Which is fine, our needs will still be met {not necessarily the worlds idea of needs I.E. the picture above} regardless of a slow month {because we have chosen to live below our means, not just within.} But I was thinking... I am so glad that we have adopted this lifestyle. And learned how to distinguish wants and needs. It's really scary to think what we would do if Mike lost his job, or how long we could realistically make it without his income, had we not prepared for a "rainy day." I say that it's scary, because we've been there. I know what it's like. Now however, we have almost 4 little ones that would need a lot. I feel like I have forgotten how much has been given to us, how blessed we are. I knew that the lord had been so generous, But I think I started to take it for granted. How quick we are to forget. Or at least I am. It's a great reminder of the reason why we've chosen to live this way, and why all the sacrifices that we have made to do so, are well worth it. I know that I focus a lot on food storage, but that is just part of provident living. There's still the financial part, and more important is the spiritual side of everything. I am so grateful for a loving heavenly father who inspires his servants. I am grateful for modern day prophets, and grateful that we have been given this counsel. And I intend to show my gratitude through my actions, and hearken the counsel of the brethren. Little as it may be, I think that as long as I'm trying, that's what counts. The brethren didn't say, "go out and buy a years supply of food all at once." They said, buy a little extra, and over time, gradually, we will get there. The spiritual blessings are just as great as the temporal.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We would do well to listen..

{I highlighted the things I liked.}

Chapter 11: Provident Living: Applying Principles of Self-Reliance and Preparedness

"Chapter 11: Provident Living: Applying Principles of Self-Reliance and Preparedness," Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, (2006)

From the Life of Spencer W. Kimball

As a young couple, Spencer W. Kimball and his wife, Camilla, “knew they weren’t rich. But they had work and ability. They knew how to manage their own money, living within their income, saving for the future.” 1
The Kimballs lived through times of widespread economic difficulties—World War I (1914–18), the Great Depression (1929–39), and World War II (1939–45). Having experienced these challenges, President Kimball concluded, “What I have seen with my own eyes makes me afraid not to do what I can to protect against the calamities.” 2
Among the things he saw were the struggles of others: “All my life from childhood I have heard the Brethren saying, ‘get out of debt and stay out of debt.’ I was employed for some years in the banks and I saw the terrible situation that many people were in because they had ignored that important counsel.”
In addition to his bank work, Spencer kept the account books for some of the local stores. “One of the shocking things of my life was to find on the books the accounts of many of the people in the community that I knew. I knew them. I knew approximately what their income was, and then I saw them wear it away. In other words, I saw they were buying their clothes, their shoes, everything they had ‘on time.’
“And I found that it was my duty to make the bills at the end of the month for them. And many of them couldn’t pay at the end of the month. They couldn’t pay even the installments that were arranged for them. And having been reared in a home that took care of its funds, I couldn’t understand it. I could understand how a person could buy a home on time or perhaps could even buy an automobile on time. But I never could quite understand how anybody would wear clothes they didn’t own. Or eat food that they had to buy ‘on time.’” 3
In his teachings President Kimball addressed not only financial issues but also other matters related to provident living, such as personal responsibility, work, and home food production and storage. He said: “Let us practice the principles of personal and family preparedness in our daily lives. ‘If ye are prepared ye shall not fear’ (D&C 38:30).” 4

Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball

We are responsible for our own social, emotional, spiritual, physical, and economic well-being.

The Church and its members are commanded by the Lord to be self-reliant and independent. (See D&C 78:13–14.)
The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the Church if he is a faithful member thereof.
No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Lord and with his own labors, he will supply himself and his family with the spiritual and temporal necessities of life. (See 1 Timothy 5:8.) 5
As we travel and visit the people throughout the world, we recognize the great temporal needs of our people. And as we long to help them, we realize the vital importance of their learning this great lesson: that the highest achievement of spirituality comes as we conquer the flesh. We build character as we encourage people to care for their own needs. 6
No amount of philosophizing, excuses, or rationalizing will ever change the fundamental need for self-reliance. This is so because:
“All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, … as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” (D&C 93:30.) The Lord declares that herein lies “the agency of man” (see D&C 93:31), and with this agency comes the responsibility for self. With this agency we can rise to glory or fall to condemnation. May we individually and collectively be ever self-reliant. This is our heritage and our obligation. 7
We have placed considerable emphasis on personal and family preparedness. I hope that each member of the Church is responding appropriately to this direction. I also hope that we are understanding and accentuating the positive and not the negative. I like the way the Relief Society teaches personal and family preparedness as “provident living.” This implies the husbanding [prudent managing] of our resources, the wise planning of financial matters, full provision for personal health, and adequate preparation for education and career development, giving appropriate attention to home [food] production and storage as well as the development of emotional resiliency. 8

We have been counseled to participate in home food production and storage.

The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year’s supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. 9
We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly 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. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods. Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities. 10
I hope that we understand that, while having a garden … is often useful in reducing food costs and making available delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, it does much more than this. Who can gauge the value of that special chat between daughter and Dad as they weed or water the garden? How do we evaluate the good that comes from the obvious lessons of planting, cultivating, and the eternal law of the harvest? And how do we measure the family togetherness and cooperating that must accompany successful canning? Yes, we are laying up resources in store, but perhaps the greater good is contained in the lessons of life we learn as we live providently. 11
We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; and we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where He says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46.] How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says. 12
As we become more affluent and our bank accounts enlarge, there comes a feeling of security, and we feel sometimes that we do not need the supply that has been suggested by the Brethren. … We must remember that conditions could change and a year’s supply of basic commodities could be very much appreciated by us or others. So we would do well to listen to what we have been told and to follow it explicitly. 13

We should work for what we receive.

With regard to all phases of our lives, I believe that men should help themselves. They should plow and plant and cultivate and harvest and not expect their faith to bring them bread. 14
Work is a spiritual necessity as well as an economic necessity. 15
Work brings happiness, self-esteem, and prosperity. It is the means of all accomplishment; it is the opposite of idleness. We are commanded to work. (See Gen. 3:19.) Attempts to obtain our temporal, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being by means of a dole violate the divine mandate that we should work for what we receive. 16
We cannot be too often reminded that Church welfare assistance is spiritual at heart and that these spiritual roots would wither if we ever permitted anything like the philosophy of the dole to enter into our Welfare Services ministrations. Everyone assisted can do something. Let us follow the order of the Church in this regard and insure that all who receive give of themselves in return. May we be on guard against accepting worldly substitutes for the plan to care for his poor in this, the Lord’s own way. 17
The Lord’s way builds individual self-esteem and develops and heals the dignity of the individual, whereas the world’s way depresses the individual’s view of himself and causes deep resentment.
The Lord’s way causes the individual to hasten his efforts to become economically independent again, even though he may have temporary need, because of special conditions, for help and assistance. The world’s way deepens the individual’s dependency on welfare programs and tends to make him demand more rather than encouraging him to return to economic independence.
The Lord’s way helps our members get a testimony for themselves about the gospel of work. For work is important to human happiness as well as productivity. The world’s way, however, places greater and greater emphasis on leisure and upon the avoidance of work. 18
It is right to work. Every man and woman and child should work. Even little children should learn how to share, to help do the housework and the yardwork, to plant gardens, to plant trees, to pick fruit, and to do everything that needs to be done, because that makes strong characters out of them and builds their faith and character.
We want you parents to create work for your children. Insist on them learning their lessons in school. Do not let them play all the time. There is a time for play, there is a time to work, and there is a time to study. Be sure your children grow up like you know they ought to grow. 19
Work should be the ruling principle in the lives of our Church membership. (See D&C 42:42; 75:29; 68:30–32; 56:17.) 20

We can become economically self-reliant by saving, avoiding debt, and living within our means.

Are you prepared for and protected against death, illness, a long-continuing, crippling illness of the breadwinner? How long can you go if the income stops? What are your reserves? How long could you make your many payments on home, car, implements, appliances? …
The first reaction is: We just cannot do it. We can hardly get by using every cent of income monthly. … If you can hardly get by when you are earning increasingly, well employed, well, productive, young, then how can you meet emergencies with employment curtailed, illness and other unlooked-for problems arising? 21
You must not spend all you make. Money must be put aside for missions and for schooling for your children. They can assume responsibilities and take little jobs whereby they can also help to raise these funds and instead of spending those little accumulations, they will save them for these great purposes. It may mean that the parents of today will go without many things that they would like, but tomorrow will come the harvest. 22
Avoid debt. … Today everything is seemingly geared toward debt. “Get your cards, and buy everything on time”: you’re encouraged to do it. But the truth is that we don’t need to do it to live. 23
We wonder what our people will do who have been spending their all and more. If employment and income should reduce, what then? Are you living beyond your means? Do you owe what you cannot pay if times became perilous? Are your shock absorbers in condition to take a shock? 24
Plan and work in a way that will permit you to be happy even as you do without certain things that in times of affluence may have been available to you. Live within your means and not beyond them. … Purchase your essentials wisely and carefully. Strive to save a portion of that which you earn. Do not mistake many wants for basic needs. 25
Let us as individuals, as families, and as wards and stakes learn to live within our means. There is strength and salvation in this principle. Someone has said that we are rich in proportion to that with which we can do without. As families and as a Church, we can and should provide that which is truly essential for our people, but we must be careful not to extend beyond that which is essential or for purposes which are not directly related to our families’ welfare and the basic mission of the Church. 26

Preparedness is a way of life that brings its own rewards.

Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program. 27
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.
Let’s do these things because they are right, because they are satisfying, and because we are obedient to the counsels of the Lord. In this spirit we will be prepared for most eventualities, and the Lord will prosper and comfort us. It is true that difficult times will come—for the Lord has foretold them—and, yes, stakes of Zion are “for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm.” (D&C 115:6.) But if we live wisely and providently, we will be as safe as in the palm of His hand. 28

The spiritual steps to provident living.

{My thoughts are in purple and I highlighted things that stuck out to me.} 

Becoming Self-Reliant—Spiritually and Physically

From an address given on March 11, 2004, at Brigham Young University during the opening of the Marriott School’s Center for Economic Self-Reliance.

M. Russell Ballard
My travels have taken me almost everywhere in the world—most of the continent of Africa, the islands of the sea, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the heart of the inner cities of America. Everywhere I go, the cries of the poor ring out—often with the plea, “Please help us.” In Africa alone those cries do not come from a few; they come from tens of thousands, even millions.
The Church has been especially concerned with teaching self-reliance since 1936, when Elder Melvin J. Ballard was named general chairman of the newly formed Welfare Committee. Elder Harold B. Lee was the first managing director, followed by Elder Marion G. Romney. Since that beginning, the Church has learned a great deal about the principles of self-reliance.
From the Church Handbook of Instructions, we learn: “The Savior has commanded the Church and its members to be self-reliant and independent. …  {I thought to myself... "Am I really self reliant and independent?"}
“To become self-reliant, a person must work. Work is physical, mental, or spiritual effort. It is a basic source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity.  {Its not just going to happen...}Through work, people accomplish many good things in their lives. …
“As people become self-reliant, they are better prepared to endure adversities” and are “better able to care for others in need.” 1   
President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) taught: “Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak.” 2 (See also p. 65 of this magazine.)
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) said: “The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.” 3
William George Jordan put it this way: “The world is busy with its own cares, sorrows and joys, and pays little heed to you. There is but one great pass-word to success,—self-reliance.” 4
From my experience, I believe that a few simple but very important principles can help prepare us to become more self-reliant.

Find Answers through the Spirit

First, every person must know that he or she is a child of God and is loved by Him. People need to realize that regardless of their circumstances, as desperate as those may be, they are entitled to the Light of Christ in their lives. From Moroni we learn, “The Spirit of Christ is given to every man” (Moroni 7:16). The promise is that every son and daughter of God can find, through the Spirit, answers to the challenges in their lives, including how to become more self-reliant. We must, therefore, ever keep in our minds how precious each child of God is and how important our service is to each one of them.
We become more self-reliant in some ways as we recognize our dependence on Him from whom all good things come. {This is so true.} This is the spirit noted in Alma 34:27, in which we are counseled to cry unto the Lord over our homes, our families, and our work. “Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be … drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.”
At the root of self-reliance are the dignity and importance of seeing ourselves as children of God regardless of circumstance, culture, or location.

Appraise Our Lives and the Needs of Others

Second, we need to appraise our own lives. How well are we listening to the Spirit? Are we living according to the eternal truths and doctrines of the restored Church of Jesus Christ? Can we effectively appraise the needs of others by the prompting of the Spirit? It impressed me that Muhammad Yunus must have been prompted by the Spirit when he organized a very unusual bank in Bangladesh, which some have said was the beginning of microfinance. When Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts to help the poor, was asked what his initial strategy would be, he responded:
“I didn’t really have one at the time. I simply began trying to help with my own funds, then went to the banks and asked them to get involved. They refused for several stated reasons, and thus my strategy began to evolve into: ‘Whatever the bankers did, I simply did the opposite.’ The bankers would only lend to the rich. I would only lend to the poor. The bankers would only make large loans. I would only make very small loans. The bankers would only lend to men. I would only lend to women. The bankers would only lend if there was collateral. I would only lend without collateral. The bankers required extensive paperwork. I only made loans that even an illiterate could understand. The bankers required their clients to come to the bank. I took my bank to the village.” 5
It should be noted that the banks expected a high rate of loan defaults. Yunus expected and experienced almost none. I understand that Mr. Yunus’s bank has provided more than $4 billion in loans and is entirely self-sustaining. Surely the Spirit of the Lord guided this noble effort.

Choose between Good and Evil

Third, we need to remember that every man and every woman has the God-given right to choose what he or she will believe and do. Lehi said it this way: “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh. … They are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27). I realize there are some places in the world where freedom is greatly restricted; however, the individual freedom of every soul to choose good or evil is an eternal truth essential to God’s plan of happiness. No one can take that away from His children. Benjamin Franklin had this to say about choice:
“We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we’ve selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make.
Those who believe there is one God who made all things and who governs the world by his Providence will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who hold in reverence that being who gave them life and worship Him through adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe that mankind are all of a family and that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe in a future state in which all that is wrong here will be made right will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who subscribe to the morals of Jesus will make many choices different from those who do not.”
Franklin concludes:
“Since the foundation of all happiness is thinking rightly, and since correct action is dependent on correct opinion, we cannot be too careful in choosing the value system we allow to govern our thoughts and actions.
“And to know that God governs in the affairs of men, that he hears and answers prayers, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, is indeed, a powerful regulator of human conduct.” 6

Think Straight

Fourth, master the ability to think straight. As Franklin said, “The foundation of all happiness is thinking rightly.” This may be more important in the future as the world continues to spiral downward and crumble into moral decay.
In my office hangs a printed statement that includes the last words spoken by my grandfather Elder Melvin J. Ballard before his passing. He was in the hospital phasing in and out of a coma. My father said that Grandfather suddenly opened his eyes and looked into the room and said, “Above all else, brethren, let us think straight.” A few minutes later he passed away.
That was more than 65 years ago. How much more does the world need people today who can think straight? Part of thinking straight is using common sense in solving life’s problems. Lord Chesterfield said, “Common sense (which, in truth, is very uncommon) is the best sense I know of: abide by it; it will counsel you best.” 7  
Often in my ministry have I heard the sad tale of those who are struggling to become self-reliant but in fact are becoming more dependent upon others because of their inability to think straight and apply common sense in the decisions they make. Much of life’s misery centers in the lack of using common sense. As an example, consider the pharmacist who was compounding a prescription that called for as much strychnine as you could put on the face of a dime. He didn’t have a dime, so he used two nickels.
Helping people to think straight and use common sense will, in my judgment, always be a very important step in helping them to reach economic self-reliance. It is part of teaching our children and others to walk in the ways of truth and soberness and to love and serve one another (see Mosiah 4:15). Part of thinking straight is listening—being able to listen to the promptings of the Spirit.

Seek the Lord’s Guidance

Fifth, seek guidance from the Lord and trust in Him. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read:
“I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
“Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
“And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
“Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
“And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
“For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man” (D&C 76:5–10). {Aren't those incredible blessing?}
May we remember our responsibility to carry the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to all of God’s children. And may we, through our provident living, teach others to emulate the examples of our pioneer forefathers in lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps, to trust in the light of hope, and to seek the light of knowledge that will ultimately lead them to spiritual and economic self-reliance.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You need this book...


Okay I picked this book up at my moms house, and I couldn't stop reading it. So I stole it from her house and can't put it down. So I'm going to share a few of my favorite things from the book.

  • Food storage is not just for "The end of the world" think of these scenarios you forgot that you were supposed to take  something to the church dinner that starts in an hour. You went to bed thinking you had plenty of milk for the  next morning, only to find that someone put an empty carton in the fridge. You can't finish preparing a meal because you're out of an important ingredient. It's 5 pm and you haven't even thought about dinner. Having a working food storage will help you survive not only a major emergency, but all the everyday emergencies as well.
  •  When you use your food storage regulatory you can save money, eat healthier, never run out of anything, and prepare meals faster. Most importantly, using your food storage every day is invaluable preparation for a potentially life threatening emergency.
  • Food storage is an emergency fund you can eat. Did you know that stored food provides a much higher return on investment than a savings account? the average interest rate for a savings account is just 0.41%. With food prices rising an average of 5.2% in 2008 and continuing to rise, you can clearly get a better return by storing food. 
  • It saves money. {She has old prices in her book so here are the current prices.} the cost of a #10 can of pwd milk at the cannery is $8.60 there are 5 gallons of milk in one of those, making it $1.72 per gallon. The average cost of milk is about $3.75. I'm not saying drink it straight, but if you use it in recipes that call for milk, you can't tell the difference. you'll save money only buying fresh milk for drinking. Same with pwd. eggs. I am a HUGE lover of pwd eggs. The cost of a #10 can of eggs is $20.99. There are about 13 dozen eggs in each can. So a dozen pwd eggs costs $1.61. The national average for a dozen eggs is $2.17. Like I said I'm not saying make scrambled eggs out of them {although I have, and they are good with a bit of ham and cheese in them} But in baking recipes, You CANNOT tell a difference. I promise. I ALWAYS use pwd eggs when I bake. The saving on whole wheat would make you sick if you knew how much cheaper it was. I'm just too lazy to do the exact current math on it. It comes out to almost $3 cheaper to grind it yourself than it is to buy A small bag of whole wheat flour at the store. But if you are interested in the exact breakdown I will get you the information.
  • Speaking of wheat...Did you know that all purpose flour that has been "enriched"
    has had 22 vitamins and minerals stripped from it, and only 4 are added back in. Yeah, That's not a typo folks! Why do these crazy scientists mess with what God made, and then try to feed it to us?
  • You are probably using "food storage" and don't even know it... So instead of being scared of it and thinking you don't know how to use it, Why don't you make an earnest effort to look into it and see how much you already know, and how much you already use! 
She has TONS of recipes and a lot of good information. Her website is here...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Provident living group


Okay, I've been saying I'm going to do this for a long time... I am starting a provident living group. I don't care if it's only me and my mom, But once a month we are going to get together and learn something about provident living. I don't claim to have all the information that I want to have, but I do claim that I want to know as much as I can. Why are you storing wheat if you don't know how to make bread? Or are you even storing that?!? So a few key things that we want to have "classes" on.


Where to begin... Figuring out your families needs for long term food storage and 3 month supply. And how to do it on a TINY budget over time.

{I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, Because I HATE multi level marketing schemes... But I recently signed up to be a Shelf Reliance consultant. I didn't do it to make money, I did it to save my family money.  Yes, I will host "parties" but not to sell you things, but because I want to help people who just don't know where to start and I want to help people stay motivated in their endeavors and not be overwhelmed and give up. And I will have access to more information than I currently do}

Learning how to make bread.. Yes, grinding the wheat...

Having tasting parties and recipe swaps. Learning to use our food storage. And tasting all the weird freeze fried long term foods. {um, I'm going to be honest, not to toot my own horn, But I have some YUMMY recipes, made with food storage items you'd never expect.}


Learning how and what to rotate from our food storage

Learning how to sprout


Learning how to make and use oat and bean flour.

Going over emergency plans

Having a few finance courses ( Um, shout out to Stephie Gross, I'm most likely going to ask you to do those :)

Making cannery trips

Gardening

Learning how to can. And not just jam.

Possibly a very brief coupon lesson.

Maybe a quick sewing lesson? I'm just throwing things out there now...

So stop slacking and come hang hang out with us! Or at least come for the food. I'm thinking the 4th Thursday of every month. {Let me know if that's a good date or not} So PLEASE leave me a comment and let me know what else you think would be something you'd be interested in doing or learning about, and if you know any one who has skills, so that you don't have to listen to me and my mom all the time. And let me know if you're interested in coming!