Tricks for Banishing the WITCHING HOUR

TEH-witchinghourMy eyes glance at the clock. My breathing starts to speed up and my heart starts to race. It gets harder to breathe…..My muscles tighten and then I hear the garage door open. Hyperventilation. Panic.

Don’t get me wrong….I LOVE my kids. LOVE them. I honestly believe…..

“Children are an heritage of the Lord and . . . happy is the man [and woman] that hath [their] quiver full of them” (see Psalm 127: 3-5 ).

And boy do I have a quiver full,….thankfully. And I absolutely agree with Ezra T. Benson, who said,

“Yes, blessed is the husband and wife who have a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice. To have those sweet spirits come into the home is worth practically any sacrifice.”

Although many would try to convince me to be somewhere else, to get a job and avoid this trying block of time, as a mother and homemaker, I know the importance of this: “First, take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going–when they leave and return from school–when they leave and return from dates–when they bring friends home.” (Ezra T. Benson, To the Mothers In Zion, Feb. 1987)

I KNOW this is where I’m supposed to be. But I still inevitably suffer from being at the crossroads, also known as

TEH-witchingTitle

Every day about 3:15 p.m., I suffer from extreme anxiety and overwhelm and stress. It lasts until about 8 p.m. EVERY WEEK NIGHT.

The kids come in and they don’t say hi, they say “what can I eat?” And bless their hearts, they all want to talk to me at the same time and tell me about their days, and lists of things they need me to spend $$$$ on, and things they WANT me to spend $$$$ on. And homework, and reading, and dinner, and choir concerts and church youth group meetings, and visiting and home teaching, and on, and on, and on……

Is it a rough time of day for you, too? Rough might be downplaying it, yeah? And while Xanax is lovely when needed, taking it every single night…..not a good thing.

Here’s a few ideas that have been helpful for me, and hopefully will be helpful for you, to get through the Witching Hour….who knows, maybe you’ll avoid it all-together.

TEH-menuPlanMenu Planning: I shop once a month, which is hard sometimes, but that’s what works for us. So it is essential…ESSENTIAL that I have a meal plan. So I sit down once a month and plan out what we will eat. In addition, I have 15 meals (times 6) that I have stuff on hand for all the time (more about that in another post coming soon).

PM Planning: I find it really helps if I look at what is going on the next day, before I go to bed. It helps me carve out my time to prep, so that I can avoid that witching hour.

TEH-AMPrepAM Prep: I like to do as much meal prep as I can in the morning, when things are quiet, and my little XY is doing his online preschool work. Whether it’s getting all the ingredients chopped and measured, and assembled, or putting a meal in the crock pot to be done when dinner rolls around, I find the more I can do in the morning when things are slow, the easier it is on me later in the day.

 

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Bulk Cooking/Bulk Prepping: When I go to the store and come home with a ten pound bag of carrots, but best thing for me to do is chop, slice, (etc) that whole bag, then and there. Not only does that make my day-to-day easier, but I (and the minions) end up eathing alot more veggies if they are prepped and ready to go. In all honesty, this doesn’t always happen, BUT when it does….things go much better.

Prep ahead Veggies, Prepping and freezing in portion sizes, Home Canned Beans, Frozen Cookie Dough Balls, Home Canned Chicken Stock

Homestore: Having a home store means I have the ingredients for at least 15 meals on hand at any given time. I am working on having three months worth of foods we regularly eat on hand so I can provide in times of economic hardship, or some other disaster, or simply just have what I need for a quick meal so I don’t have to run to the store. Some of the meals on my list are: Spaghetti, Hawaiian Haystacks, Homemade Pizza, Burritos, Fried Rice, Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Macaroni & Cheese, and more.

 

IMG_4237Mixes: Having my own “convenience foods” ready to go makes meal time so much easier. Not only can I control the food we eat, but I can do most things cheaper than their grocery store counterparts.

Pancake Mix , Instant Oatmeal Mix, Muffin Mix, (if you’re doing “Breakfast for Dinner”), Pizza Sauce and Seasoning Mix, Cream of Anything Soup Mix, Tortillas, Bouillon

TEH_BCN1Freezer Meals: By bulk cooking and freezing the extra in portion sizes, I can have meals ready to go in the freezer that just require a few minutes in the microwave, or can go from freezer to oven in a snap.

Bean & Cheese Burritos, Homemade Chicken Nuggets, make and freeze Homemade Pizza Dough,

TEH-tomatobasilsoup1Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less:  Something quick and easy, with few ingredients like Tomato Basil Soup which is awesome with grilled cheese sandwiches, helps make dinner quick and easy, and lets us get on with the rest of the evening crazy.

TEH-MIJvarietyMeals In Jars: Taking an hour or so on a slow day to put ingredients together in a jar, makes dinner come together in 20 minutes.

Prepping Meals in JarsSouthwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Summer Porridge,

TEH_scHamPot_8Crockpot/Pressure Cooker: Slow Cooker Ham & Potatoes, Rosemary Chicken, Turkey Breast, Roasts, Dry beans…..all things that can be cooked in a fraction of the time in a pressure cooker, or cooked on low heat all day in a slow cooker, for spectacular mealtime results.

By using these tricks, I can focus on what’s really important FOR ME as a mother and a homemaker. Being at the crossroads. Because I am a mother who knows how important it is for me to overcome my anxiety and be there for my children. Finding ways to eliminate and avoid stress during the Witching Hour is one way that I try to make peace and preparedness a part of my every day life.

What things do YOU do to avoid the crazy stress of the Witching Hour?

 

DIY Skin-Loving Deodorant

 

Ya’ll know I love a good DIY, and I’m kinda a crunchy granola mamma, too. Early this year I decided that I wanted to try making my own deodorant. The aluminum and other ingredients in commercial antiperspirants are controversial and since my grandmother died recently from advanced Alzheimers, let’s just say if I could find an acceptable stink-stopping replacement that is natural and sans chemicals and heavy metals, I’m all over it.DIY Deoderant

So early this year I tried a recipe I found online. And it was ok. Occasionally I’d have to reapply during the day, which wasn’t too big a deal.

But you know me….I have to tweak….I’m hardwired to mess with something and try to make it better than it was before, so the next time I made it, I added a little bit of Vitamin E oil…no bueno. It made the deodorant not hold up very well in the heat, and the heat from my hands (during application) would make it a slimy mess…so I knew more tweaking was needed.

TEH-bentoniteclayThen I heard about (or rather was reintroduced, actually) to bentonite clay. A friend had given me some YEARS ago to help with a skin issue one of my kids was having. Bentonite clay is DA BOMB! It can be used in all kinds of skin products and even toothpaste!

Commence with the tweaking! So I made up a batch of deodorant with bentonite clay and…..deodorant NIRVANA! This recipe creates a VELVETY SMOOTH, slightly citrus smelling concoction that not only keeps my pits stink-free, but makes my skin feel amazing! Additionally, the discoloration under my arms was gone after using this deodorant for a few days….there’s some detoxifying going on there!

Oh, and it is less expensive than buying commercial deodorant, which is an added bonus!

A couple of tips to remember:

*Bentonite clay is a detoxifying product which is AWESOME, but also means that you want to avoid storing it in metal, using metal bowls or spoons, as it lessens the effectiveness of the clay. I did use metal bands and lids on top of my jars because I was out of these awesome plastic lids, but since it doesn’t come in contact with the deodorant, it’s not an issue. I bought my Redmond Clay at my local health food store, because it was on sale, but it can also be purchase through Amazon. 

*Shea butter doesn’t like high heat. Melt your oils on LOW heat to avoid the grainy texture that is created by using too high a temperature when melting.

*Beeswax comes in bars or in pastilles (little bit pieces). The pastilles are more expensive, but may save you a knuckle or two as grating the bars is hard work.

*You can use any one of a number of essential oils, or combinations of essential oils. The trick is to use oils that have properties that enhance the objective (kill bacteria-which causes pit stink, condition skin, smell lovely) and cause no harm (sometimes citrus oils and others can cause photo-sensitivity, so if your pits spend any time in the sun, you may need to exercise caution).

*Dedicated equipment….I actually went to my local thrift store and purchased some things like a sauce pan, glass bowl, cheese grater (for grating beeswax), etc that are dedicated to DIY projects here at home. This saves the sometimes horrendous cleanup of beeswax on your nice pots and pans, and bowls….yes, I do speak from experience.

*You CAN actually recycle your old deodorant containers if you don’t like using your fingers. I did this a few times, but dislike trying to clean out the old containers and found that I don’t mind using my fingers to apply at all, especially with the velvety texture, and the absence of residue after washing.

*The deodorant has a slightly gray appearance from the clay, however, I have not had a problem with my clothing being stained…certainly less than with the commercial deodorant. You can always use a stain spray on your whites/lights if you’re concerned.

Now let us commence with the recipe!

TEH-diydeodRhead

 

 

 

Printable Recipe Card
Makes 2 4-ounce mason jars

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons beeswax, grated, or pastilles
  • 2 Tablespoons shea butter
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons bentonite clay
  • Essential oils

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil and beeswax in a saucepan over LOW heat, stirring frequently until beeswax is completely melted.
  2. Remove from heat and add shea butter and stir until melted.
  3. In a small glass or plastic bowl, mix arrowroot, baking soda, and bentonite clay. Add essential oils and mix to combine with a plastic or wooden spoon.
  4. Add oil mixture and mix quickly, until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour into jars. Tap jars against counter top to release any air bubbles. Let cool, covered with a paper towel, until completely cooled. Seal with a lid. Let cure about 24 hours before using.
  6. Apply a small amount with clean fingers to underarm area, once a day as needed.

ESSENTIAL OIL Combinations:

  • 15 drops Tea Tree Oil & 7 drops Lemongrass
  • 10 drops Lavendar Oil, 5 drops Tea Tree Oil, & 5 drops Peppermint Oil
  • 10 drops Peppermint Oil, 10 drops Tangerine Oil (use care with citris oils as they can cause photo-sensitivity)
  • 5 drops Tea Tree Oil, 5 drops Lavendar Oil, 5 drops Rosemary Oil, & 5 drops Peppermint Oil

 

Making your own deodorant really takes almost no time (10 minutes, maybe?) and creates a great, effective, and natural product that is perfect for all you crunchy families out there. You can even come up with oil combinations that will make your man happy.

Making deodorant is one more way I’ve found to make peace and preparedness a part of EVERY DAY LIFE.

Have you ever made your own deodorant? Do you have trouble with or concerns about commercial deodorants, that would make trying this DIY Deodorant a great idea? I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment!

The Art of Time Management

I struggle….I mean STRUGGLE with time management. There is so much going on….things that need doing, places I have to be, 1/2 a million kids with different stories that distract. As a person who is easily overwhelmed, organization and time management are critical to my productivity, and well, my general well being. But that doesn’t translate into “good at it.” I’m trying all the time to figure out how to keep it together. (Side note: for Mother’s Day my daughter filled out an “all about my mom” page in primary….incidentally, “My Mom is good at: everything” and “My Mom isn’t very good at: keeping it together.” OUCH.)

I ran across a Facebook post by one of my favorite people to follow, Jennifer Wilson over at Simple Scrapper. She wrote a great article this week on Time Management and I loved what she had to say. Although it’s written for a scrapbooking site, it’s principles are applicable to life in general. Check it out: My Every Day Productivity Tricks by Jennifer Wilson. It got me thinking (again) about how to make my day more productive.

Her number one is also my #1 way to stay ahead of the game: Get Up Earlier.

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photo source
Because of health issues and fatigue, I have struggled (ah, there’s that word again) with this so much lately. I don’t always wake early, and when I do, I’m not always able to get up right away. Let me tell you that when I DO get up earlier (15 minutes earlier that usual, or 15 minutes before anyone else….whatever “earlier” is to you), my day goes SO MUCH BETTER! I get some of those things done that I can’t do in the midst of chaos, like morning prayers and scripture study and mapping my day. And I feel like I’ve gotten some ME time.

My next favorite way to boost productivity is my planner.

IMG_5284Whether you do it in your smart phone or in a paper planner (I ADORE the Mormon Mom Planner. I’ve used it for the last two years and it helps me keep my focus and be deliberate in my….everything. You can check it out here). Prioritizing and defining your focus is so important to a productive day. It helps me see where I can fit little projects in and helps me make sure I’m where I’m supposed to be. It also helps ME because I have places to write quotes and inspiration to help me remember this years “one little word” which for me, is INTENTION. Each week I have a “sub-word” and I write ideas and quotes about that secondary idea on each weeks page. Mapping my day gives me an opportunity to make sure I’ve got all the important stuff in the forefront of my mind so I don’t forget things.

My next favorite trick to time management and productivity is the FlyLady philosophy….living life 15 minutes at a time.

Clock fleur de lis
photo source
Especially when I am completely overwhelmed, setting a timer and going to work on one specific thing for 15 minutes, and then moving onto the next critical thing for 15 minutes, really helps me power through a whole lotta stuff. I get so much more done, particularly housekeeping stuff, when I operate 15 minutes at a time. And on days when I am really struggling to go, because of health issues, that 4th quarter (work on three different projects for 15 minutes and then take the 4th 15 minutes to relax, get a drink, READ A BOOK, etc) makes such a huge difference for me mentally.

Next, I find there are a few small, but critical items to be accomplished every day for maximum productivity and success. Yours might be different….

  1. Make my bed
  2. Read scriptures
  3. Pray
  4. Exercise
  5. Get dressed for the day
  6. Put in laundry
  7. Put meals in motion

Swallowtail on milkweed
photo source
There are probably a million and one more ways to increase productivity and manage  your time as a woman, but the last one I’m going to mention that I need to remember is the importance of being fluid. Things are not always going to go according to plan. Sometimes only 3 of the 254,698 items on the to-do list are going to get done, and that’s ok. Making sure that I’m tuned in to catch a teaching moment with my children, or recognize the beauty in this amazing planet we’ve been blessed with, or realize a blessing, see a neighbor in need and help out, or share a hug or loving word with my loved ones is so much more important that having everything crossed off the list.
They are the TRULY essential things.
I never want to be so busy, so wrapped up in my to-do’s that I fail to recognize what is truly important.

I’m not there yet. Everyday is a new journey, a new attempt at managing my time and being successful at…..well, everything. But working to manage my time better and increase my personal productivity is one way I work to make PEACE and preparedness a part of EVERY DAY LIFE.

Leave me a comment and tell me YOUR favorite time management ideas!

Peace: Who is the Essential Homemaker???

Several months ago, during a horribly difficult time, one of my incredibly sweet and well-meaning friends paid me a compliment and said something about how I know how to do anything and have it all together….in the middle of this HUGE mental and emotional breakdown….and I thought…”oh my goodness, I’m a fraud!” I’m falling to pieces, and people think I have it all together…..or worse, do they see that I’m going to pieces, and think that I THINK I have it all together??

So I descended into this pit of stress paralysis* (yes it IS a thing….) and could not blog for months. I did stuff in and around my home to continue to learn and become better at “making peace and preparedness a part of every day life” ….barely…but I couldn’t say one word about it. And I didn’t do as much of it as I used to…I was just stuck. Fortunately, my stress paralysis passed…funny enough, right about the time my incredibly difficult time passed…funny enough, right about the time my legion of wonderful children went back to school. Suddenly, I was productive again and could think about sharing what I was learning with others. And so I began blogging again.

 

whoisTEH15

But it got me thinking….who is the Essential Homemaker?? Is she perfect? Does she have it all together? Is she a paragon of virtue and ability? (And I’m only writing “she” because it’s easier and looks better than “he/she” but guys, know that you’re included.)

I decided it was of the utmost importance to me, to define who the Essential Homemaker is.

So typically, when I want to figure something out, I turn to good old Webster. I find out what the accepted definition of a word is, and go from there. Therefore, consult Webster’s Dictionary with me.
Essential:
   a: of, relating to, or constituting essence :  inherent
  
b: of the utmost importance :  basic, indispensable, necessary

So far, so good. I can work with that…..next…
Homemaker:
a wife who does work (such as sewing, cleaning, or cooking) at home and usually does not have    another job outside the home
Wha??? Now, that I must take issue with. It seems outdated and a little too gender specific. Because I don’t know about you, but I do LOTS of jobs outside the home. I am an Independent Consultant for Thrive Life, I volunteer doing work at the school, and in my church. And I really believe that Homemaking has come to encompass more than just sewing, cleaning and cooking. Additionally, I know MEN who are the homemakers for their family. Perhaps Webster was thinking along the lines of a “Housewife” when he created that nifty little definition.
Homemaking is defined by dictionary.com as a person who manages the household of his or her own family, especially as a principal occupation. NOW we are getting somewhere.
Incidentally, the word Homemaker has somewhat of a negative connotation in the world we live in, where one’s ability to amass  money, determines their worth. This, I definitely take issue with. My worth is not determined by how much money I get paid for what I do. My worth is inherent in me, as a daughter of God. It has nothing to do with anything I do. However, my calling in life, that I am privileged to be able to do, is to be a homemaker. To manage my home and raise children, create a safe place for my family, and to do all I can to prepare my family for the future and life that can change at any moment. To create good citizens and Christians who will grow up to raise MORE good citizens and Christians. And here’s the cool thing….homemaking is INHERENT (see above under Essential definition) in me, because of who I am….again, a daughter of God. It is the ESSENCE of my existence. Because of what I believe and what I know. And is is indispensable…I know lots of people manage to survive without a homemaker in the home, whether by choice or necessity and I’m not criticizing anyone who has chosen that path, because that decision is up to each of us. But for ME, I have the INHERENT ability, created in my very ESSENCE, that leads me to be a homemaker, the roll of which is INDISPENSABLE to my family. The Essential Homemaker.
(no my house doesn’t always look like this…it’s just a bad day, haha)
So, am I perfect? Uh….sadly, no. Do I have it all together?? Not even a little. Am I a great guru of amazingness….no. Well, maybe. Uh……no. But I’m open to doing what I feel prompted to do by my Heavenly Father…and THAT is where the amazingness comes in. Being willing to be led by one greater than myself…and performing what I have been called to do…which really means I can’t take any credit for any of it. I’m more of a sink full of dirty dishes while I try to experiment to see if I can make jello with no artificial ingredients/colors/flavors, etc kind of gal. Ninety-eight percent of the time. So, really more of a mess, than amazingness. I haven’t given up, though…I’m still working on perfection.

But I am SHE. The Essential Homemaker. And if you are reading this humble little blog, then chances are you are the Essential Homemaker as well. Because we are trying to do what we feel we’ve been called to do. And that is enough.

*If you have no clue what I’m referring to, go watch Moms’ Night Out….you will die laughing….or sit in a puddle and sob, depending on how close to real life it is at that moment…but either way, you’ll love it. You can thank me later.

Please, please, please (and on and on…yes, this IS me begging) leave me a message. Let me know you’re out there, and that you read my blog. Let me know if you’ve seen Moms’ Night Out and if you can relate.

What Am I Forgetting? Protein

protein-teh

I know…you’re jealous of my beautiful picture. Here’s my “What Am I Forgetting” post, due…..only months ago.

When we’re building our Home Store (benefit of a grocery store in your home) it may be a little easier to get balanced nutrition, but when we’re building food storage, it’s easy to get stuck on wheat, rice, beans, milk, sugar, and not much more.  These items contain plenty of carbohydrates, but not much protein.

Why is protein important?
Proteins are vital for growth and maintenance of our body’s tissues. Through digestion and absorption, proteins from the foods we eat are broken down and then developed into many kinds of proteins, each with a specific job. Proteins aid blood clotting, fluid balance, vision and aid in the distribution of important nutrients/substances throughout our bodies.  Protein can be metabolized for energy when carbohydrate and fat are in short supply. It can also help you feel full longer.

Remember to add things like peanut butter, commercially or (BETTER) home canned meat, chicken, and beans, tuna fish, products like Thrive’s Scrambled Egg Mix (yes, I’ve tried it, and yes, it’s amazing) to your Home Store. Your family will thank you for it, your belly will thank you for it, your whole body will thank you for it. Focus on getting three months of ingredients for meals you regularly eat, then build up from there. This is especially helpful when you end up dipping into your storage because of economic or other conditions, not necessarily considered a natural disaster or emergency.

Do YOU store protein in your Home Store or food storage? What is your favorite kind?

Have the Desire, Be Mindful, Be Determined, and Endure

….this is my mantra.

Friend,…..can I call you friend? Let me tell you a little about my journey.

Putting it out there makes me feel terribly vulnerable, so please be kind, if just for a moment. But maybe there’s someone out there like me who needs a little push, a few ideas. If so, this for you.

I’ve been overweight my entire life (well, since the age of 9 probably). It bugged me, but it didn’t stop me from living my life. A couple of years ago, I went through something very traumatic, and didn’t feel like eating…ever. This was a first for me. But it put me in a place where suddenly things clicked in my head and I started to lose weight. And exercise was a release and I started to enjoy doing it, and I started to lose weight.  I lost a lot of weight. 115 lbs, to be exact. And I loved it. I have never felt better in my body than I did then. And the “weight-height” indicators would tell you that I was still 70-90 lbs overweight, but I felt awesome. I felt free. I felt unstoppable.

And then life ramped up in the super stressful department. Planning and executing a wedding by myself (and with the help of a couple of amazing friends and family), all the “should-be-doing’s” and the list of never-ending needs and expectations, and so much more. Not to mention beginning a lifestyle of very little processed food, and a blog that required an increased amount of time in the kitchen, cooking and testing and cooking some more. And some off-handed and surely well meaning comments by someone I adore that cut to the core and made everything I had accomplished feel like “not good enough.” I fell right off the back of the wagon, and I’ve been dragged under it for about a year. I’ve gone through periods of not wanting to leave the house, of having no confidence, of feeling so much worse than I ever did before, because now I know how great I CAN feel. It’s been rough.

I am so ready to get back on. But your head has to be just right for things to stick, ya? Anybody with me?

I’ve given a lot of thought to how to get going again and make things work and here is the formula I’ve come up with:

TEH-mantra As far as I can see, that’s the only way to accomplish what I want. Let me break it down…

Have the Desire: you have to want it more than you want anything else. More than the m&m’s, or french bread, or potato chips, or whatever else it is that sets you off. If you don’t want it, then it won’t happen. Pray for the righteous desires of your heart. You’re not the only one invested in your success.

Be Mindful:

  • Have you ever been cooking and taken a little taste here and a little taste there, to check flavor balance, or texture, or whether something is done or not. Me, too. But it adds up and fast. One of the tricks that I’ve found works for me is to eat carrots and celery before I start cooking, drink a big glass of water, and chew gum. It keeps my mouth busy.
  • Here’s another one….have you ever been super duper stressed and before you know it you’ve eaten a whole bowl of chips or bag of crackers or something else? Crunching down on something reduces stress for me.There, I’ve said it. Part of being mindful for me is making sure that I’m either crunching on something that I’m not going to be tempted to overeat/forget I’m eating, or to chew gum.
  • Or how about trying to understand why you eat the way you do, like with my sudden understanding that crunching relieves stress. Are you an emotional eater, a bored eater, a stress eater, etc. Understanding why is the beginning of making changes to help it work for you instead of against you.
  • Make menus and snack ideas so you’re not rifling through the cabinets and refrigerator at the point that you’re starving and will grab whatever you can find first.
  • And a big part of being mindful for me is remembering to pray and ask for help. ‘Cause I can’t do it alone.

Be Determined: You’re going to have to start over five, ten or two dozen times. Maybe more. That’s just the way it is. Being determined means that you’re able to start again, any time you’ve messed up, and not assume that a mess up means failure. You might have to start again every single day for a while, but determination keeps you starting. Oh, and prayer again…I have to pray for strength to keep wanting to effect change. To not give up and sink into a pile of pathetic self pity.

Endure: It’s gonna be a lifetime of change. It’s not a temporary thing. You may be going along fine, and then one day find yourself in the middle of a huge setback. Pick yourself up, be determined and go on. And then do it again the next time. Pray for the ability to endure, and do it well.

The epiphany continues….these steps aren’t only for my physical health. They apply to almost any thing I can think of.

  • Acquiring a skill
  • Personal growth
  • Spiritual growth
  • Parenting
  • Relationships

…..Pretty much anything positive and worth doing that you can think of, you can apply these four principles to, and achieve success. YOU can change YOUR world. And I can change MINE. Are you with me? Wanna give it a try?

Leave me a comment, telling me you’re with me. Here’s a little free printable for you to print out. Hang it on your bathroom mirror or kitchen cupboard and look at it every day…maybe all day.  Look at it until you get to a place where you have the desire, are mindful, are determined and are enduring. I know I will.

MantraTEH14printable link (right click and save to your computer)

P.S. I might have to add a new one….my finger is hovering over the “publish” button and I’m scared to death to put this out there. I might need to add “fearless” to my mantra…..anyway……here goes……

Preparedness: Convenience Foods

We don’t buy pre-boxed junk. We make our own everything….ok….I DID buy a couple of bags of Veggie Straws last trip to Costco…I LOVE those things….anyway…..,

We TRY not to buy pre-boxed/pre-packaged junk. It’s not very hard to resist anymore. Just look at the ingredient label, and I lose all affinity for some of my favorites rather quickly.

What do I miss the most? Convenience! Oh, to have a meal on the table in the same amount of time it takes to make a box of Kraft Mac N’ Cheese. My little secret? You can TOTALLY do this! It just takes a little prep on a day when you might have an extra 10, 30, or 60 minutes. It makes things so much easier!

WAIF series_6

And yes, I have to admit that many of my convenience foods take full advantage of the convenience, and health aspects of Thrive foods. Listed from back to front, left to right: Beef & Peas with Rice, Mac N’ Cheese, Raspberry Vanilla Summer Porridge, and Cream of Chicken Soup ( just add some Thrive Chopped Chicken, some Thrive Celery, and some Thrive Chopped Onions). All of these can be made in 15 minutes (except the Summer Porridge which I prefer to add water and let soak overnight in the fridge).

I regularly make and keep on hand muffin mix, tortilla mix, bouillon, instant oatmeal mix, chicken nuggets, ready-to-bake cookies, bean & cheese burritos, and granola.

Also, canning your own beans, chicken/beef stocks, and meats can make throwing a quick meal together as easy as snapping your fingers.

And then, you can prepare foods ahead of time and have them ready to go when you need to be faster than a speeding bullet at getting dinner on the table. For example, prepping veggies and freezing veggies, and freezing individual portions of rice.

Now, convenience foods are pretty important in making peace a part of everyday life at my house, but can you imagine how much MORE helpful they would be in times of economic stress or emergency??? Having lived both ways (doing everything from scratch with NO convenience foods, and making my own convenience foods) I can tell you that having some quick and easy things available is CRUCIAL to getting through it all with your sanity intact.

Remember to consider the convenience factor when planning  and acquiring your homestore!

What are YOUR favorite convenience foods? Which ones do you make yourself?
Leave me a comment and let me know!

Preparedness: Eat an Elephant

I can hear you like you’re inside my own head…..

  • I can barely make ends meet…how am I supposed to gather food storage or create a HomeStore?
  • I wouldn’t even know what to store if I could
  • I don’t have space to store anything in my house/apartment
  • I don’t believe in all that preparedness nonsense
  • I’ll just go eat my  neighbor’s food and use their supplies if anything ever happens…they’ve been preparing for a while so I’m sure they’ll share (You know this would make you the Grasshoppers in A Bug’s Life, right?)
  • It only happens other places…we’ll never deal with something like that (flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, economic collapse, pandemic, whatever)
  • oh, and my personal favorite: the government will take care of us if something happens

I could go on, but you get the gist.
Truly, focusing on what, where, when, how, and why is enough to make a person go nuts.
But lean in close and let me whisper into your ear…….you only have to do it….

onebiteatatime

One idea at a time, one belief at a time, one food item at a time, one skill at a time, one day at a time. That’s it. It really is that simple.
So start today with ONE THING. One thing like WATER, or TOILET PAPER, or a can of wheat or flour. ONE.

I know what it’s like, I’ve been there, so if you need ideas, or a cherub with a cattle prod, or just your own personal cheerleader, you know where to find me.

Now get out there and eat that elephant ONE BITE AT A TIME.

Recipe: Veggie, Chicken, or Beef Bouillon

TEH_bouillona

Wait….you can make your OWN? I know…Mind BLOWN!

I am so excited about this one….I worked with it and played with it and I’m in love with it….ssshhhhh.

One of the things I love about Thrive is that they have NO MSG in their foods. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Their bouillon does have autolyzed yeast extract in it. Now, these are both substances that contain large amounts of glutamate, but they’re not the same thing. MSG is a synthetically derived and highly concentrated flavor enhancer. Autolyzed yeast and hydrolyzed protein are completely natural ingredients that contain large amounts of glutamate. So, not the same (for more info see this article). However, people can still be sensitive to the smaller amounts of glutamine in the natural ingredients and I have a couple of those in my house.

So it gives me no small amount of pleasure to say that I can make something that’s just as amazing, but 100% natural and identifiable in its ingredients list. And it’s a pretty nice feeling to feel like I have control over what food my family eats. Oh, and did I mention I had all but one ingredient in my HomeStore? So bring on the soups, the sauces, the sick people….I don’t need no stinkin’ MSG laden bouillon any more! Wow, that was liberating! Here you go….oh, and make sure you set aside a good…I don’t know… FIVE MINUTES to get this thing done.

TEH-recipeTitlePrintable Recipe Card

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Throw everything into a blender and process until it is a fine powder.
  2. Add 1 t. of mix to 1 cup water, or to taste.

Couldn’t be easier. This has great flavor, great blend-ability….good stuff.

Give it a try. You can play with the seasonings if you want to customize them to your family’s tastes. This worked for me.
Have YOU ever made your own bouillon? I’d love to know how it goes, so leave me a comment! Should I have said please?….

P.S. We skipped the “What Am I Forgetting?” Series post yesterday so I could bring you the news about Thrive’s amazing March Madness Case Sale, but we’ll resume the series next Monday. Thanks for your understanding! Remember to stock up on your Thrive goodies before March 25th!

Inspiration: Weeks End Roundup

March 14, 2014

This is a moment each week when I take the opportunity to show you some things that inspired me over the past several days. Enjoy!

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I attended a class last night at a local Real Foods store. It was a class on making and using natural yeast and it was fantastic. Not only am I concerned about the health implications of commercially produced synthetic yeast, but (and here’s where my mind always goes) at some point, I may run out of any yeast I’ve stored and not have the resources to get more….what would I do? My great grandmother and her mother knew how to do this, so there has to be a way to make bread without packaged yeast. So this was where my mind was when I came across this class and decided to go see what Caleb Warnock could teach me. I learned so many things that confirmed my gut feelings, no pun intended. Really. But it actually kinda works, right?

yeast

Uh, yeah….right….back to business. So when I got home, I read the book he co-authored, The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast. Cover.to.cover. Talk about a bread geek. Yes, that would be me. And then this morning, I went to his website and read some more, and I want to live like he lives. Almost completely self-sufficient. There is something about a self-sufficient lifestyle that resonates so deeply with me. Being self sufficient actually brings me closer to my Heavenly Father, because I believe He helps those who help themselves, and when I’m working to be self sufficient, I have to rely on Him, and not on the worldly philosophies that would have me believe that I can’t survive without big food companies, big drug companies, big oil companies, and the list goes on and on.

Caleb says on his website, “As a society, we’ve pretty much abandoned self-sufficiency. We rely on corporations to grow our food, produce our seeds, and make sure the grocery store is stocked.” YES!

But here’s the big thing. My “a-ha!” or “Eureka” moment of the evening. Something he said really struck me. Amongst talk of rationing and Victory Gardens, Caleb said (paraphrasing): If our grandparents and great grandparents had a need to be self sufficient, how much more desperately will our CHILDREN need those skills? That is OUR burden. To teach them.

I have so much work to do to learn and teach my children skills of self sufficiency. It requires so much faith. Faith that one bite at a time (of that big old elephant) is good enough as long as you keep consistently taking bites. He will bless us for our efforts, and doesn’t expect us to be perfectly self sufficient, or perfectly anything for that matter, in a day.

If you want to be inspired, check out these links. I’m looking forward to reading Caleb’s other books, Forgotten Skills of Self Sufficiency, More Forgotten Skills, and Backyard Winter Gardening.

Caleb Warnock’s Website
Caleb Warnock’s Facebook page

 

fromtheMrs

A Simple Mindset at From the Mrs.
A friend of mine is on a fantastic journey to simplify her life, and simplify her home. She has lots of great ideas and info on her blog

 

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Lemon Pudding Cake at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
There’s just some about lemons that scream “SPRING”

 

huge-cabbages-growing-in-container-garden-300x225Plan a Canning Garden at Awesome Mitten

 

Thanks for letting me share what inspired me this week!
I’d love for you to leave me a comment and tell me what inspired YOU!