MYO Canned milk and French Fries!

My grandmother tells me about the vouchers used during the depression, each person was only allowed to buy a certain amount of things like sugar and gasoline per month, so they had to have vouchers to purchase them. She remembers her mother saving vouchers to be able to buy enough extra sugar for a birthday cake. I can't imagine what that was like, but I know hard times happen and I try to be prepared for them.
 One of the things I think we'll miss most during hard times is the occasional treat! I'm not a fast food person myself, but I do like to enjoy the occasional french fry, usually home made. You may be thinking, yeah I can make french fries! Sure, I make home made fries with fresh potatoes too. (You do NOT have to deep fry them!) But I'm going to share with you a video that teaches you how to put up potatoes when they're on sale, or abundant in your garden and then be able to use them later for home made french fries! How neat is that! There's also a tip in there about how to keep potatoes from getting starchy during the canning process! So for a great video on putting up french fries, watch this!


The next thing I want to discuss can often be a topic of heated discussion. What is it? Canned milk. Today I'm going to share with you not only the how, but also the why. Did you know that store bought canned milk is not only homogenized, but it is also irradiated! (who needs irradiated food!?) I for one don't want that, but there are different ideas on whether or not you can safely can milk at home. On the one hand you have people who have done it safely for years with never a problem. On the other hand you have die hard ball blue book advocates and extension program studiers who swear that you can't! WHY? They never give a good reason, other than the standard: "Because you don't have commercial equipment to do it with". My response has always been "SO WHAT? Give me a real answer. What is it about the commercial process that is supposed to be better than my processing abilities?" And you know what, there is never a clear, founded reason. My ball book says that 240` is the temperature at which bacteria, mold and yeasts are destroyed. The only time I've ever heard of foods not being able to come up to temp correctly is when they're too dense. Milk definitely is not. Then there are others who say it won't taste right. Well, sure if you over cook it, which you don't have to. Thirdly, I've heard "you can't kill the bacteria in milk". Well my answer to that is that raw milk from a trusted source is safe to drink, so why not canned? I am of the school of thought that there really isn't a good reason other than money. If you can it yourself, you don't have to buy it from them, dairy companies, big AGRI- business. HMMM. Shame on them.

I've found a video in which a lovely lady teaches you how to can milk, using a clean kitchen and proper canning methods. She shares with viewers that canned milk is over a dollar a can in some places. And the cost of canning it is much lower. (try 25 cents a pint!) She also has the testimony of actual use. She said it tastes great over cereal, because it's not over processed! I think that's a smart way to prepare for the future without going broke! Here you go!
(The embedding abilities were disabled, so I'll give you the link instead)
Canning Milk, by the Preppers Wife, Prepare today, for tomorrow come what may.

*Edited to add- On a side note, I just read an article that said you can use the same process for canning other kinds of milk too! And a woman shared that her grandmother canned fresh cream for many years, to use when they couldn't get to the market. 

Will you give me a moment to tug at your ear?... It is not conspiracy theory, sensationalism, or paranoia. It is a fact of life that hard times can and will come. Whether for just your family or for the world over or somewhere in between, they do come. We can certainly trust in the Lord for all that we need, but we do see scriptural examples of God telling His people to prepare. Please learn about preparedness, for your family, however you choose to do it, keep your eyes upon the Lord, but remember to do what you can to prepare yourself and your family for hard times that you may face. It is not my wish that any of His children would suffer and that's part of the reason why I share what I can.

35"And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine." Genesis 41:35-36 KJV



The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

I know at first glance it looks like the title to an old western. But it's really an important list to know and keep handy. In fact I would print it out on a card and keep it in my purse for shopping trips. Here's why: First and foremost I know that not everyone can afford organic food. I'd like to say I buy all organics, but I don't. It's just not possible to feed a family our size with our food budget. I'm sure I'm not alone. But there are certain food items that are really considered the bad of the bad. This list is called "the Dirty Dozen". These are foods that are so heavily treated and abused that if you can't afford to buy them in organic, it's better to do without. It shouldn't be taken lightly either, the testing done on these foods gave a result of 47 chemicals present, on average, with some testing positive for as many as 67 chemicals! Reading the list may be hard, I know I'll be biting my lip as I read it again, because I choke on those prices. But you really have to bring yourself back to what is important. The health of your family is in your hands every day, every dinner, every shopping trip. (and that includes all shopping, not just food, but that's a post for another time) If you're making a conscious choice to do better, you have to start choosing, and this list is a good place to begin.

I will say though, that anything you can grow yourself would be by far better than any organic food you can buy, so long as you grow it without added chemicals and pesticides. Because they're fresh and grown in soil that isn't over farmed. You can more easily feed and nurture your growing space than any organic operation simply because of the size of your plot.

That said, there are also foods in a list called "the Clean Fifteen". Which are generally not treated, or treated heavily and considered to be safer for buying in conventional form. In testing they showed little to no traces of chemicals. Now while many will argue that "organics are always best", and they may well be correct, the clean fifteen can allow some breathing room for a cash strapped growing family that's trying to do their best without going broke. Use this list as a buffer for your grocery budget. If you eat foods mainly on the dirty dozen list and can't afford to buy them in organics, you can begin to use more of the foods on the clean list to balance out your grocery bill.

This is JUST a starting point. Take it a step at a time. Pick one thing on the dirty list and begin to buy it organic, or replace it with something on the clean list, and keep doing that until you can look at the dirty list and feel confident that you've mastered it. Then move on to other things. Don't be overwhelmed by the choices and the expense. And don't feel like you have to do it all now! Baby steps here! You didn't learn to use those foods overnight, and you'll take time to learn different ways too. We can all learn to be healthy, but it will take time. And don't forget to pray. Often times when I feel like I don't have other options, I pray and doors open. God cares about our health too, and He'll help guide you in your walk, both spiritually and in taking care of your family.

So without further delay, here are the lists:

The Dirty Dozen:
  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce
The Clean Fifteen:
  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions
You can most likely see, as I did that there are many things we use that are not on either list. I'll go over some more info when I address the topic of "going organic" in my Tips to Save Money series. But my suggestion, until you have better info would be to buy those food from the best source you can afford. Hope this helps you take a step in the right direction!

31"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31



Tips to Save Money part 2

Hi again! We're now going to go more in depth on each of the points I touched on. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section! I love input from readers and welcome help and advice from others! The first one we mentioned was checking price per pound or price per ounce vs. overall price.

1. One way I save money is to check price per ounce or per pound, this is probably the best way to save on items you already buy and the price per oz is usually listed right on the tag.

During hard times, like the Depression, people had to carefully consider where there money was going so to make the most of it. Stores know this and will often try to scew your view of their prices by offering sales on name brand items or smaller packages. Tactics like 50% off and 5 for $5 deals are common, but they don't really give you enough information to know if you're getting a good deal or not. I try to avoid those, or do my best to figure out if it's a good deal before I go to the store. $4 for a whole chicken seems like a good deal, but for a 4lb chicken that's $1.00 a lb.  For another example take almonds, $10 for a 3lb bag, nice round number sure, but that's about $3.33 a lb. I buy them in bulk for $2.89 a lb.
When there is a good deal I stock up. That's part of deal seeking is buying stuff when it's cheap so you can use it at the lower price when the price is high. When whole chicken is on sale for $0.69 cents a lb, I stock up and fill my freezer.  Then when it goes up to 1.09 a lb I'm paying the lower price every time I use it. At .40 cents a lb savings, if I found all my chicken at that price, and used 1 chicken a week it would save me around $83 a year! So when a store tries to lure me in with a .99 cents/lb deal on chicken, I pass, because I know I can do better.
Stores and product manufacturers will often label their items so it's harder to find the price difference. In one instance, 2 jars of peanut butter, one was listed with price per oz and the other just had price per unit (each jar). (that was the one that was "on sale") With calculator in hand, it only took me a second to figure out that the sale priced item was actually .03 cents an oz MORE than my usual brand. Back in the day grocers would put things on sale to move merchandise, you get a good price and they free up shelf space for newer items. But I'm sorry to say those days have gone by. To quote a store owner "we don't mark down old bananas because we know people will use them for banana bread". Great sales aren't always good for YOU. So keep your eyes open, and always bring your calculator.
Price per pound or oz is also helpful in deciding what to buy, when. We try to keep a varied diet, but you can really save money by buying what's on sale, or in season. Bananas are about .60 cents a lb while apples right now are up to .99 cents a lb., so for fresh fruit bananas are the first choice, followed by oranges at .65 cents/lb. For apples I use home canned that I bought for .10 a lb from a farmer during apple season.  What about cheese, you can get bulk cheddar for 2.99/lb (or more), or you can get cottage cheese, higher in protein and lower in fat for less than $2/lb. One final example is that I usually make my spaghetti sauce from scratch, it's cheaper and better for you. But occasionally the "good brand" (high quality and free of nasty additives) goes on sale for about .05 cents/oz. cheaper than the cost of my home made stuff.

Greed has gotten the best of most markets now days and we have to be smart enough to figure out what the good deals really are and  why they're offering them. That's not hard to do if you just keep this in mind. Take a little time (really it's seconds!) to figure out if you're being duped into padding their pockets. And if you think it's not worth it, remember the chicken figure ($83 a year! on chicken alone!) and think of your family. What could that money mean to you in hard times. What would it mean to the littlest member of your family if you were going hungry and found $83? It's never too much work to save money that you or someone in your home has already worked hard to get. And for most parents, putting a little extra work in to ensure the health and safety of our children is it's own reward.

16She considereth a field, and buyeth it...27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:16 and 27 KJV

Blessings to you and yours,


Why go green?

If you've ever asked yourself or someone else why going green means anything please watch the following video. Now I'm not talking about the fad type of going green. Save the planet stuff doesn't really appeal to me, aside from wanting our earth to be enjoyable for the next generation. So what is it that drives me to do what I do? Why do I wash cloth diapers and make hard decisions about toys and expensive paint?  It's my family, my children, my blessings, they're the ones I love and want to protect. Watch the video and see for yourself. It's the very words in this video, that came to my heart years ago and began to foster a change.You can change your home and life too, one little step at a time and before long you'll see that the changes have changed your life and the lives of your family!

And don't forget, you can find truly green and safe products for your family in the button at the top of my blog labeled The Green Company!


Companies Shrinking Packages to boost their bottom line! PLUS tips to save money part 1

I read an article this morning and am appalled but not surprised. I understand that the economy is in trouble, and we're all doing what we can to save money. That's one reason why this bothers me. It becomes very difficult to keep your costs down and keep tabs on what you're spending when the companies are using underhanded techniques to keep their bottom line up! During the depression era there was a lot of this going on and now we're seeing it again. But the moms of those days found a way to make things work and I'm going to share a few tips new and old on how you can make it too.

Here's a link to the article and here's the bottom line: Many more companies are now using a deceiving technique to get your money, and more of it, while giving you less in return. That's right LESS. Basically they have reduced the size or amount of what you're getting while keeping the prices the same. This allows them to deceive you by letting you think you're getting the same good deal you've always gotten, but in reality you're paying more for your items. They know that if you see a price jump you might divert your money elsewhere and they'll loose profits. So their resolve is... you guessed it... to deceive you into spending more on their products by making you think you're spending less. So a word to the wise... check your package sizes as well as prices when shopping for the best deal.

Here are some brief tips on my money saving techniques. I'll give an overview today and in the coming days I'll give you more detailed information on each one.
1. One way I save money is to check price per ounce or per pound, this is probably the best way to save on items you already buy and the price per oz is usually listed right on the tag.

2. Another tip on saving money is to (almost) skip the coupons. Generally the stores and manufacturers use coupons to direct and control your spending and to lure you in for items so they can get you to buy other stuff that has been increased in price to make up for it. (You don't really think they're going to give you great deals for nothing do you?)

3. I do read store adds to find the best price on what I already need. But I do this with my price list handy. This helps me figure out if they're really offering a good deal or just using tricky marketing.

4. Loyalty belongs only to the Lord and to your family. I have no brand or store loyalty. I aim for the best price and quality where ever I can find it. I have no qualms about saving money on milk at one store while buying my bulk items at another store.

5. One more thing is to buy and quality fruits and veggies in their natural form when they're available. While a store or company can change the size on a ketchup bottle to hide a price hike, you can't do that with a tomato!

6. I also cook from scratch and buy ingredients and bulk goods whenever I can. You know what you're getting, what's in it and how much per pound you're paying. 

7. Buy items that have added value. Whether in the form of items with multiple uses like an all purpose cleaner vs a cleaner for every job, or in the form of packaging like glass storage jars that can be saved and used again.

8. Use and re-use everything! One of the heralding terms of the depression was "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!". That adage is as valuable today as it was back then. Anything that doesn't need to be bought is money in your pocket and you want to keep it there. So use it and re-use it. 

9. Grow it or make it yourself, then "eat what you can and can what you can't". Believe it or not even the smallest efforts put into growing or making your own goods can save you a substantial amount of money. Don't overlook this very important way that many families not only survived, but thrived during the depression era. 

10. What about Organics? As wives and mothers we should be doing the best we can for our own families. If that means non organic but from scratch, that's a better option than processed foods. More importantly don't cut costs on your food budget, by buying lower quality, so you can use the money for yourself. My purpose for cutting costs is so I can buy the best quality available to me, and improve or protect the health of my family. My best advice is to familiarize yourself with a couple lists. One is called the "dirty dozen" and the other is called the "clean fifteen".  In my next post I'll give you the actual lists and some pointers on how I purchase and use these foods for my own family.

15"She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard." Proverbs 31:15-16

PS: before you go I wanted to tell you that a great way to save money is to spend less money on water. WHAT??? ok, sounds funny, but if you click on my "green company" button you can find out about a green company that sells their safe and natural products in concentrate form to save you and them money on water and packaging. I love this company and I love their products because they're safe, natural, and cost effective. I've been accused of being a greeny, but when it comes to the health of my family, that's ok.


Exciting news!


If you haven't already noticed there is a new button on the upper right portion of my blog. It's labeled THE Green Company and I'm so excited about it, for a couple reasons. Number one I created the button myself. YEAH!

OK Now for the real exciting info!!!! I've just partnered with a business that is a REAL green company. Lot's and lots of companies claim to be green but they're not really. To them green means using recycling bins in their break rooms. But this company is serious about green and when I think of green I don't worry as much about "the earth" as I do my family. They're my big priority. My family's health is in large part my responsibility. My cooking, cleaning and mothering skills will all impact their health in a huge way. So it's important to me to do the best that I know how to do. Which is a large part of why I use cloth diapers and more natural toys, cook from scratch and breastfeed my babes. I believe these things have an impact on their health. I've also made some home made cleaners over the years and have done ok. But I've not always been happy with them. I've tried a few other things to protect our health and some have been a blessing, some haven't.  Whatever my venture, I've tried to do things that improve the health and overall well being of my family and that's why I'm so excited to tell you about this!

The company I've partnered with is new to me but certainly not new! They've been around since the 80's and have always been "green". That shows real forward thinking. They were green before green was "IN". I like that, because they have a commitment to green, it's not just something they're doing to "ride the money wave".
Here's what they have to say for themselves:

We are a Green Manufacturer whose commitment to preserving nature's resources and operating in a clean, sustainable manner has been at the core the of our company since its inception.

 And their mission is:

To enhance the lives of those we touch by helping people reach their goals.

So want to know more??? Click on the "THE Green Company" button on the upper right portion of this blog to learn more! I hope you do, because I'm so excited to share with you how you can protect the health of your family. It's important to me and I know it's important to you too!

27"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." Proverbs 31:27-28 KJV