A Matter Of Preparedness

The latest posts from A Matter Of Preparedness

A large part of being prepared....means you practice and rehearse.  The "Great Shakeout" will happen tomorrow in Utah at 10:15 a.m.  What does that mean to Utahns (and anyone else)?  It hopefully means a lot!

What can you do? Plenty! Read, and get ready!

1. For Families:  This PDF covers a great deal of information for you.  

2. For Persons with Disabilities:  This PDF provides great information. 

3. Deseret News series on Earthquake Preparedness

4.  How to make a Grab-n-go-kit

This is a great opportunity to check out your readiness level with your family and colleagues.

Don't Miss it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: April 16, 2015, 3:18 am

Look at what a tangle mess of mighty Pine Trees this photo has.  You may be wondering how that is possible.  The source actually has a name, and many of you may recall this name......Hurricane Hugo and my family experienced it first hand.  I was inspired to share our experience with you today because of a post by Food Storage Moms.

Preparedness Lessons Learned From Hurricane Hugo....

This photo shows you what it looked like all over our neighborhood.  Many of these mighty pine trees fell into the houses all along the coast and the central part of South Carolina.  That actually happened to many of our dear neighbors.  When we went outside to look at the aftermath, it was like those huge pine trees just cut through the homes like butter.  

Due to the blessing of technology, we knew that South Carolina was going to be hit....and hit very hard.  The Media was sharing a lot of information on how to be ready and safe during this destructive storm.  My husband I tried to shield my children from the constant stream of media...I didn't want them to have unwarranted fear or anxiety.  Basically, I wanted them to be informed.  In actuality, we had put ourselves in a pretty good position to handle this or many other unexpected emergencies. We had food, water, fuel, tools, shelter....and SKILLS!  I can't stress enough how important skills are.  You can have all the gear in the world, but without knowledge and practice, they really may not serve you well.  

As I was new to the "hurricane" preparedness aspect, I found that I had to purchase a few things that we did not have.  I packed up my baby, and drove to the local grocery store.  I was looking for tape to put on the windows so that if they broke, they would not shatter into little pieces but rather would hopefully stay as close to 'one unit' as possible. Also, my husband and I decided that we needed more batteries.  

I parked in a very full parking lot, took the baby out of the car seat, found a shopping cart, and wheeled toward the store.  I was not prepared for the scene inside the front doors.  There were people everywhere.  The shelves were basically empty.  It reminded me of a scene from "The Flintstones" when Betty and Wilma went to a big sale which ensued in total chaos.  Thankfully, the store had masking tape and batteries near the front of the store.  I grabbed what I needed and got in line to check out.  It took nearly an hour to get to a register.  I was amazed at the items people were purchasing.  I saw roasts, donuts, hamburger, candy etc. Many people had items that required refrigeration. I wondered why folks weren't purchasing shelf-stable foods like Peanut Butter and bread.  However, as I crawled by the bread aisle...there was no bread to be found. After checking out, I started to drive home. At that point, the roads were packed with people. Some were attempting to leave and others were attempting to come into our area.

When I got home, the children were coming in the door as school was let out early due to the impending Hurricane.  All family members that were able went around the house and began taping the windows in a crisscross/star shape.  The kids thought it was pretty fun to put tape on the windows.  

Because our daughter was a baby, we had a 'playpen' (which people now call 'pack-n-play') in the kitchen. We started a basic 'treasure hunt'. We put sleeping bags, board games, backpacks with clothing etc and portable foods in the 'playpen'.  Our thought was that if we had to leave in a hurry, my husband could lash the playpen on the back of his truck (covered by a big tarp) and we could move quickly.  I need to let you know that my husband is a general contractor. His truck is like the clown car at the circus....stuff just keeps appearing out of it. He said it was our biggest preparedness asset...and I had no reason to doubt him.

When it came time for bedtime, we gave our children the option of sleeping on the main floor as their bedrooms were on the second floor. They wanted to sleep in their own beds, and if we felt things were getting a bit crazy, we would have gone upstairs and to get them.  If things did get too crazy, we had a safe place to go. Our home was built on a slope and we had 'under-the house-storage' that was a bricked-in area.  This was going to be our safe shelter if we need to access it.

On the news, we learned that the state had asked folks along the coast to evacuate and move to the central part of the state...which is where we were.  The USC stadium was being used as essentially a refuge camp. Folks were streaming into our area.

My husband and I did not sleep that night.  Not only were we trying to stay on top of things, but a hurricane is REALLY LOUD!  It really does sound like a Freight Train running through your home.  Add to that the loud explosions we heard from those mighty Pine trees breaking and cutting through other trees or homes near us.  (We did not have any large trees on our lot. My husband had them all removed before we built the house. I was so frustrated with him for doing it when we were building....but I was very thankful to him for his foresight when all the chaos was happening around us).  

We were listening to the radio all night.  I guarantee that some people were at their craziest when the hurricane actually hit.  People were calling into the radio station reporting that they were standing on 'such and such' corner of Charleston and watching roofs being torn off and big pieces of debris were flying right by them etc.  Really?  Who in their right mind would be out driving around during a Category 5 storm anyway?

During the night, our baby did wake up. We brought her into bed with us and she spent most of the night playing with our hair or poking our eyes.  This is another reason we did not sleep.  It became eerily quiet as the eye of the storm passed over, but the vengeance returned soon enough. 

In the morning, the phone rang. My parents were calling to see if we were still alive and well. Shortly thereafter, our young son came down and asked when the 'huwicane' was coming. Thank goodness all of our other children slept through the night....but I still don't know how because it was sooo noisy.

This is what things looked like all over town.  We were without power for nearly a week.  We were the only ones in our area to still have water.  We had people calling to see if we had water to share.  We ended up giving our entire water storage away and as well as letting people come into our home to fill up their own containers and take them home.  I met the parents of many of the classmates of our children as my kids let it be known (by phone) that we had water.

As we were without power, we ate as much as we could from our freezer.  We had steak etc that we cooked on the gas grill out on our deck.  We used the refrigerator as a big giant cooler. The little bit of ice we had we put in there to keep things as cool as possible.  It didn't last for the entire week, but we got a few days from it.

The kids played a lot of board and card games.  They also played outside on our swing-set and played some soccer. We used flashlights and lanterns in the house (the windows were open....because there was no air conditioning).  

Unexpected events....

We actually had friends call us and ask us for things. If we had it or could spare it, we did so willingly.  However, I was surprised by the boldness of some folks. People act unexpectedly during emergencies.  I remember fielding one call from folks we know.  Here is what they asked of us.... "Do you have a generator?  If you do, can we come and get it?"  I thought they were kidding...they weren't. They were concerned about their freezer and refrigerator and did not seem to have any difficulty asking us for a generator....which we didn't have at the time.  

Within a day, our Stake President (a local leader of many congregations in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) asked for as many men as possible to be ready to leave and go to the coast to help in the relief efforts.  This meant that as soon as the chainsaws in our area were able to clear the fallen trees from the roads, that my husband and our older son were going to leave for days to go and help those who were hit harder than we were.  

We made it a matter of prayer, they packed up and went.  The rest of us were totally fine.  We had food, water, old-fashioned entertainment, and a phone, which was my daughter's life-line.  The photo above was taken by my husband miles from the coastline.  This powerful storm had lifted boats and yachts and dropped them inland by miles.  (Even 3 years after the storm, I still drove by big yachts that had been dropped into the middle forested areas that were too difficult to access and remove). 

Take Home Points:

  • We didn't have a Generator....but we purchased one as soon as they were back on the shelves at our local store (for a reasonable price).  As you noted above, people were bold enough to ask to borrow one from us.  Also, you need to find a way to secure it to your home so that it cannot be stolen. Lots of things walked away during that time.  
  • We had too much of our Food Storage in our Freezer. We lost it all and it was very, very costly.  I now have a combination of frozen, canned, and dehydrated/freeze-dried foods in our food storage.
  • We had plenty of food to eat and had enough water to last us if we needed to live off from it. We also used our gas grill and our camp stove to prepare meals. Because we often went camping as a family, we all knew how and what to cook as if we were camping.
  • We had skills and tools to help ourselves and others.  My husband used his chainsaw to help free our neighborhood (along with others who had one as well).  He and my son did go to Charleston and helped repair roofs, close off open areas of homes, and help repair things that they could with the materials that were available.  
  • We had the opportunity to serve others in a time of need. We had water and we shared it. We also shared what was in our food storage and particularly our freezer.  One of our friends loaded up their truck with the contents of their freezer and went to a part of town where folks were in great need. They gave away their food to very grateful recipients.  We were able teach our children how blessed they were and also how to be of service to others.  
  • We learned to have 72 hour kits all put together. We were putting them together in anticipation of the storm with things that we already had. WE LEARNED not to do that in the future.  
  • Because we had water, hygiene was not as big of an issue as it could have been. We just has cold baths....which was a bit of a harsh reality. However, we were so grateful.  I had a baby and children for heaven's sake!  I was fortunate that I had finished the laundry before the storm hit.  After the power came back on, we had a mountain of laundry to do.  I now have the means to clean clothes without power.  
  • Because we had water, we could use the toilets. That was a major plus from a hygiene standpoint.  
  • People do unexpected things during an emergency.  Many rise to the occasion, but others certainly do not.  There was looting, and individuals posing as repairmen who took advantage of folks who were desperate to get their homes back together.  Others sold items for inflated prices etc.  Even those you know and love may put their needs above yours and make inappropriate requests/demands.
  • You need to have cash on hand.  Have a variety of currency/cash on hand because you most likely will not get change back.  I would suggest a lot of $20.00, $10.00, $5.00, and many singles. Have coins as well.  I also suggest that you have other items to barter as well. Medications, food, water, etc. Some folks suggest liquor for bartering.  
  • Gas, keep your tanks at least half-full. The lines at the gas station were long when the power came back on and initially gas was rationed.  There were also a lot of abandoned vehicles on the side of the road that ran out of fuel. We knew that we had a shelter that was appropriate for us, so we sheltered in place.
  • Power:  We used a lot of batteries. Now we not only have batteries, but some solar options, and a Biolite wood buring campstove.  The solar and the Biolite can charge our electronics.  One requires sunlight and the other generates fuel from burning wood.  These two options offer us redundancy. 
  • Protection:  My husband has several weapons, and the oldest children and I knew how to shoot them.  My son's had their own weapons and knew how to care for them. When my husband and oldest son were away, I knew how to use our weapons if I needed to. Thank heavens it was not required.
  • Entertainment:  We had a lot of board games and card games.  Although my children had a few electronic devices, they were not as available as devices are now.  I believe it is important to have a balance in the entertainment that your family is offered.  I love my technology....there is no question about that. However, as a family we were used to playing outside and playing boardgames together.  Although my kids did get bored and hot, they were so good to try to play and work together.
  • If we had to evacuate, we had the equipment, food, and supplies to do so. Our family is used to camping, so it would not have been a hardship for us.

So, learn from our experience. Now is as good of time as any to look at your Emergency Preparedness readiness.    Take inventory with your family.

How would you fare in such an emergency?

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: April 8, 2015, 10:00 pm
On this beloved Easter Morning, I am very well aware of the great blessing that only the Savior of the World can give.  May we all live worthy of this most eternal gift...

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: April 5, 2015, 3:52 pm
30 Ways of Homesteading

I am an urban girl....I live in a small city in a neighborhood.  I am also someone who likes to be prepared for life's little bumps and bruises.  Today I am going to focus on a Storing your harvest...in a type of Root Cellar.

Portable Root Cellar....

In a previous post, I share my excitement about  a "Root Vegetable Bin" from Gardner's Supply Company.  I have used it a great deal and have felt that it was a good purchase. However, I wanted to take the concept and expound upon it without making this purchase multiple times.

In case you are unfamiliar with a "Root Cellar", it's purpose is to preserve vegetables, fruits, and other foods.  I remember going on a Sunday drive with my Mother in her little home town.  She stopped at a mound on the side of the road and informed me that this was her parent's Root Cellar and that they stored their harvest to preserve it over the long winter.  At the time, I had this very rude thought "I'm glad I don't have to do that".  Fast forward a few years and hopefully with a healthy dose of maturity, I now see the wisdom of this time-tested method of storage.  The challenge for our family is that our home is built on top of a primitive river bed complete with lots of rocks.  Just to give you an idea of what it is like, when the basement for this house was dug....I remember driving up and thinking that Fred and Wilma Flintstone were going to pop out any minute because of the many large boulders and round stones that had been unearthed.  

Since so many people may not have the option of having their own root cellar because of where they live, I want to share an option that I have found to be very versatile and successful.

I ordered Milk Crates  and Natural Twill Tape online.  You will need just under 6 yards of twill tape for each of these units. I also purchased Burlap at my local big box store for $2.19 a yard.  Once the Milk Crates arrived, I measured the width and height of these units.  I decided to cut the Burlap in the following manner.

I measured 2 sides and the bottom of the crate.  Each side was 10.5 inches high and 13 inches across the bottom.  I decided to add them all together and add a few more inches for the design I had in mind.  In ended up cutting a long piece that was 36 inches by 14 inches which will allow for 1/2 inch seam allowance on the sides.

Next I cup squares that were 14 x 14 inch squares.

I began sewing the long piece around 3 sides of one square.  I did the same for the 2nd square.

See how it starts to take on a cube shape?

Note how the raw seams are on the outside. As such, you have a very clean look on the inside.  Because I am a bit OCD, I serged all edges because I didn't want the Burlap to fray. This could also be done by using a zig-zag stitch.  I then encased the raw edges of the seams with the twill tape. You can do this by folding the tape in half around the seam and top-stitching the tape to the burlap.

I cut a piece of burlap that was 14 x 20 inches. I then sewed the twill tape around the 2 long sides and one short side of this piece.  This will serve as the top of the cube.

Here I am sewing the raw edge of the top piece to the edge of the long piece used of the bottom (that makes 3 sides of the bottom cube--not the square pieces).

Just as an FYI, fold the edge of the tape over and top-stitch to  your burlap edges/seams.  After sewing the top to the bottom, encase the top edge of your lining/cube by top-stitching the twill tape on all four edges.

I inserted the burlap liner into the Milk Crate. Notice how I folded the liner over the top of the crate by a couple of inches. This keeps the liner from collapsing on itself.

See how the top pieces folds over the edge and hangs down.  Would you like to know why?

Here is the reason why.  I sewed long pockets of clear vinyl on the flap.  I used a tight zig-zag stitch along the 2 sides and bottom of the clear pocket. This leaves the top edge open to insert a label.  Note that I printed labels to insert into the pocket to identify the contents.  Note how easily you can stack these on top of each other.  The Milk crate and the burlap allow good airflow around all sides of the unit.

Note that I tried both square corners and rounded corners.  The rounded corners stretched quite a bit.  When I make more, I will try rounded corners again and stay stitch the corners to hold the fabric steady while the twill tape is applied.  I like the rounded corners because it makes quick work when sewing on the twill tape...no mitered corders to sew!

Here you can see that these fit very well on the floor of my Pantry.  This is usually a dark room and the floor is the coolest part of the room.  I keep onions and potatoes there as I use these foods often in my cooking.

During the winter, the Garage is very cool.  Here I can stack them just outside the garage door.  The cool temperatures are enjoyed by your root crops.

Here is another option I can use.  I put them down in my basement storage room that has cement walls and floors. It is cool in there.  I have this little alcove that allows me to stack several of these.  Because they are labeled, I can quickly see what I have.  It is important to keep a spray bottle handy here to keep the burlap damp for certain crops like Carrots.  If you put damp burlap in a pile and then place your carrots between little the damp layers, the carrots will last longer. Spraying the burlap periodically keeps it nice and damp.  Some folks store Carrots etc in damp sand. I chose not to do this as it can fall through the burlap and make a mess. Remember that OCD thing?

What do you store together?

It may come as a surprise to some of you that you do not traditionally store fruits and root vegetables together.  This is because many fruits give off Ethylene gas which can encourage the root vegetables to ripen and spoil.  You have seen where I keep my root vegetables. Now let me show you one option that we use for our fruits.

This is a Sterilite container measuring 17 1/8 x 12 7/8 x 7 1/4 inches.  I purchased these at the local big box store.  I like how sturdy they are and how they are also perforated allowing the Ethylene gas to escape each time I open the refrigerator door.  

I was very pleased with the fact that the handles can fold toward the inside and to allow stacking these units on top of each other.

See how these stack so nicely and fit into the refrigerator that we have in our garage.  

I have read that placing these items in tubs (wrapped in newspaper) with a tight fitting lid helps to keep the Ethylene gas contained.

Take Home Points:

  • These units are very portable.  I love that they can serve you in a variety of places and will be sturdy enough to hold many different crops. 
  • The Burlap can be washed and air-dried if it gets soiled.
  • I calculate that each Milk-Crate unit costs about $11.00 to make. Compare that with the Root Vegetable Bin that costs over $35.00 for a smaller unit.
  • This options allows you to store your harvest and preserve it even without the benefit of an underground root cellar.  Not everyone has an underground option where they may live.

Consider it!

30 Ways of Homesteading

The Prepared Bloggers Network is at it again! We're glad you've found us, because the month of April is all about homesteading.

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by growing your own food, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may even involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Most importantly homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.

The Prepared Bloggers are passionate about what they do and they each have their own way of achieving self-sufficiency. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy reading about the 30 Ways of Homesteading!

Crops on the Homestead

Straw Bale Gardening from PreparednessMama
Benefits of Growing Fruit from SchneiderPeeps
Crops to Grow for Food Storage from Grow A Good Life
Winter Gardening Series from Our Stoney Acres
How To Build a Raised Garden Bed For Under $12 from Frugal Mama and The Sprout
How to Save Carrot Seeds from Food Storage and Survival

Animals on the Homestead

Getting Your Bees Started from Game and Garden
Homesteading How-To: Bees from Tennessee Homestead
How to Get Ready for Chicks from The Homesteading Hippy
Selecting a Goat Breed for Your Homestead from Chickens Are a Gateway Animal
Adding New Poultry and Livestock from Timber Creek Farm
How to Prepare for Baby Goats from Homestead Lady
Tips to Raising Livestock from Melissa K. Norris

Making the Homestead Work for You - Infrastructure

DIY Rainwater Catchment System from Survival Prepper Joe
Finding Our Homestead Land from Simply Living Simply
I Wish I Was A Real Homesteader by Little Blog on the Homestead
Endless Fencing Projects from Pasture Deficit Disorder
Homesteading Legal Issues from The 7 P's Blog

Preserving and Using the Bounty from the Homestead

How to Make Soap from Blue Yonder Urban Farms
How to Render Pig Fat from Mama Kautz
How to Make Your Own Stew Starter from Homestead Dreamer
Why You Should Grow and Preserve Rhubarb! from Living Life in Rural Iowa
30 Ways of Homesteading
Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: April 1, 2015, 12:00 pm

Too often, I hear that folks shy away from using Food Storage Staples as they have this perception that it somehow substandard.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

Teriyaki Chicken and Rice....a Sunday Dinner!

I want to show you how you can prepare a wonderful meal using items in your Food Storage. For heaven's sake....who doesn't love Teriyaki Chicken?  

Before I left for Church this morning I decided that we were going to have Teriyaki Chicken so, I took out my trusty Crock pot.  I put in Chicken Breasts that I had frozen in pairs and coated them with Teriyaki Sauce.  (See the link to learn how simple it is to prepare your own and have it on hand).  I turned on the Crock pot and got ready for Choir Practice. Hours later, I entered my home to that magnificent aroma of Teriyaki.  It filled the entire house.

I wanted to have rice with my amazing chicken....so we did.  I pulled out my the Minute Rice that I dehydrated myself.  Now, just to clarify I didn't set out to make my own Minute Rice the first time that I placed it in the dehydrator.  The fact of the matter is that I had a lot left over from a family gathering.  This rice had butter on it too. I have frozen rice before, but I never have wanted to wait for it to unthaw. (Yes, I am very impatient.....).  I decided to try to dehydrate it.  I took out my dehydrator and the fruit leather inserts.  When it was finished, I dry packed it into jars and vacuum sealed it with my Food Saver.  

Today, I opened my jar and poured in the desired amount of rice.  (By the way, I always check to see if it is rancid when I break the vacuum seal.  I am happy to report that it never has been).

When I add water, I just barely cover the rice.  I then bring it to a boil and cook it until it is the consistency I desire.  I literally takes a couple of minutes once the water starts to boil.  Just for your information, the rice still tasted of butter and it was delicious!

So far, we have discussed using Frozen, Canned, Dry Packed, and Dehydrated foods for this meal.  In my Cold Storage (my 2nd refrigerator), I retrieved apples and sliced them with this handy device that most people think is only for canning.  Not around here!

Once we got home, I had dinner on the table in about 15 minutes....that's right....15 minutes.  I LOVE THAT!

Take Home Message:

  • Food Storage is vibrant and delicious!  You can have a wide variety of meals if you plan and prepare for them.
  • Food Storage meals can sometimes be a great convenience as it was today. I made this meal in a less time that it would have taken to go to the Drive-through at a restaurant.
  • I know the quality of my ingredients....because I chose them all!  I am not dependent on someone in a back room choosing the ingredients and putting it all together for me.  If I have special dietary requirements, I can management them by stocking up on items that fit with my limitations.
  • I believe I made this meal for 2 for under $4.00 today.  Take that big box restaurants!
  • I am rotating my staples and trying out recipes at a time when I could always make something else if this didn't work out.
  • I am gaining skill sets by thinking of meals that could use any of the following types of foods:  Canned, Frozen, Dehydrated, Dry Packed, and in Cold Storage.

By The Way....IT WAS GREAT!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 29, 2015, 9:58 pm

It's Sunday once again. I love Sunday's because the pace of life slows down just a little.  We can even take naps sometimes!  Because it is so low key, I like to make our Sunday meal from our Food Storage Staples. This allows us to use what we store and also rotate our food.  It also lets us try new things when we have plenty and not wait until the chips are down. Trying new foods where some sort of crisis exists is foolhardy indeed. 

Easy Bistro Chicken

I found a recipe for Easy Bistro Chicken at myrecipes.com.  This recipe calls for a lot of fresh ingredients, which I am totally in favor of. However, I was able to make this same recipe using items from my Pantry and Food Storage.  Let's see how it went!

The recipe called for canned Italian Style Tomatoes drained and chopped.  I used canned diced tomatoes and I did not drain them.  I will show you why in a minute.  

Chopped Onions and Garlic are part of this dish. I used dehydrated forms of both.

Sliced Mushroom are an important ingredient.  I used my the Mushrooms that I dehydrated a few months ago when they were on sale.

Chopped Pepper is also called for. Again, I used my dehydrated Peppers that I dehydrated some time ago.

Diced Celery is also required for this dish, I used some that I had purchased in a #10 Can.

Remember when I made the decision not to drain my tomato as the recipe suggested?  Well, I chose not to do that as I was putting in dehydrated ingredients. These dried ingredients absorbed the extra liquid.

While the sauce was simmering, I added Italian Seasoning as the original recipe called for "Italian-style Tomatoes".  I was adding the "Italian" in this manner.

From the Freezer I added Chicken Strips.  Frozen foods are also part of my Food Storage Staples.

I let the Chicken unthaw and simmer in the tomato-based sauce.  I put on some Macaroni noodles (the recipe called for Macaroni or Cavatappi) to cook while the sauce simmered.

When we served the Bistro Chicken, I also added some grated Parmesan Cheese and sliced apples. The Apples came from our 2nd refrigerator and I have a block of Parmesan that I grate for dishes like this.  My second refrigerator is cold storage for fruits and items like Parmesan Cheese. These foods were also from my Food Storage.  

Take Home Points:

  • We had a  nutritious and very scrumptious meal even though fresh ingredients were not used.
  • I did not have to go shopping yesterday to be ready for today, I just used items I had on hand.
  • Adapting recipes to use your Pantry and Food Storage items is usually relatively simple.  If you are using dehydrated or freeze-dried foods, allow for additional liquid.  Frozen foods require some time to thaw and be cooked appropriately.
  • Having the satisfaction of making something great from items on hand.....Priceless!
Here is the recipe for Easy Bistro Chicken (with my adaptions in red)  from Myrecipes.com:

Ingredients for Easy Bistro Chicken:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (From my Pantry)
4 (6-ounce) chicken breast halves, skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
4 chicken thighs (about 1 pound), skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
4 chicken drumsticks (about1 pound), skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
2 cups chopped onion (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
4 garlic cloves, minced (Dehydrated, From my spice cabinet)
1 cup chopped celery (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (From my Pantry)
1/4 cup sliced green olives (From my Pantry)
1/4 cup capers (did not use)
1 tablespoon sugar (From my Pantry)
Dash of ground red pepper (From my spice cabinet)
2 bay leaves (From my spice cabinet)
1 (28-ounce) can Italian-style tomatoes, undrained and chopped (Diced Tomatoes From my Food Storage with added Italian Seasoning)
8 cups hot cooked macaroni or cavatappi (Macaroni, From my Pantry)
Parsley sprigs (optional) (From my spice cabinet)

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast halves to pan; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken pieces; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add celery; sauté 5 minutes. Add basil and next 8 ingredients (basil through tomatoes). Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Uncover and simmer 25 minutes or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaves. Serve with pasta. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

Note: You can chop the tomatoes in the can using kitchen shears.MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

Try It Soon!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 23, 2015, 2:31 am
Canning, A Matter of Preparedness

It is no secret that I am a fan of Canning and preserving my own foods.  Even though my kids have rolled their eyes when I have asked them to help (which I think they inherited from me....I used to do that too), several of the items we have canned are preferred items.  A Case in point was when I made a batch of Strawberry jam. My youngest son ate 3 jars before warning me that I needed to make more because it wasn't going to last the winter. The goal is always to have your Food Storage and Food Preservation last the winter...and a bit beyond.

Anyone who has ventured into the world of canning inevitably has had a few questions.  That is certainly the case for me.  That is why I was really glad to read and review this new publication by Daisy Luther entitled "The Organic Canner".  (Ms. Luther gracious provided a copy of her work for me to review)

The Organic Canner....

I always wondered how folks canned or preserved items before the likes of our modern 'thickening' agents that are used in things like Jams and Jellies.  I also wondered how to ensure that you have removed all the pesticides that may be on your produce.

Additionally (and professionally), I work with families that have children with feeding and swallowing disorders.  Many of them are on some type of elimination diet due to Gastrointestinal or Allergic reasons.  These families quickly learn how to cook from scratch as prepared foods just don't meet the special needs of their little ones.

These, along with other reasons are why I was interested in reviewing this book. 

Points of Interest:

  • Ms. Luther explains why she has objections to "Genetically Mutated Organisms".  She even has her own "Manifesto" which explains her views. 
  • She gives 'doable' mentoring on how to water-bath and pressure can at home.
  • She sheds light on how to make your own Jams and Jellies without "the box".  It is straightforward and I plan to try it as soon as berries are in season.  By using her method, you actually get 2 products....the jam and fruit syrup.  
  • Canning meats is also discussed, which is a personal favorite of mine.  She highlights the serious leftovers we all often have during the holidays. Canning the extra Turkey or Ham is a great way to extend their use.
  • Did you know that you may preserve Nuts such as Pecans, Walnuts, and Hazelnuts?  I once had a disaster with nuts in my pantry.  I won't go into it, but I learned a painful lesson.  I had always thought that I would need to seal nuts in jars with my dry-pack canning device.  However, I learned that you can also do this with Water-bath canning.  Yea!  I'm going to try it!
  • There are many recipes that I have 'dog-eared' the corner of the page because I want to try them. Here are just a few to pique your interest: Beef stroganoff, Marinara with Meatball, Cajun Jambalaya, Sloppy Joe Filling, Deep South BBQ, Vegetables and Fruits with a twist, Random Pickled Veggies, Honey Vidalia BBQ Sauce, Taco Sauce and many more.
  • She has a section dealing with canning your own recipes. She gives thoughtful advice on how to determine the method and time needed for your favorites.
  • The only 'glitch' is that she refers to page 237 for directions on "Removing Pesticide from Produce" which actually appears on page 231.  This is not a big issue in my view.
I love this portion of her Disclaimer:  "Ultimately, though, you bear the responsibility for your own food and safety practices."  Overall, that is true for any food activity we participate in and is something we really need to be thoughtful about. If you are concerned about what is in your food and how it is prepared, then this book may really fit the bill for you.

If you are looking for a way to preserve your food more from a 'ground up' approach, you should consider "The Organic Canner".  As of this writing, the price is $16.75 on Amazon.  You most likely will spend more than that going out for dinner and a movie!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: March 8, 2015, 11:52 pm

Mylar Bags....Sealing with a Vacuum Sealer...

I have used Mylar Bags for years and just love them.  I have written 2 posts dealing with using them. You can find these posts here and here.

However, I came across this video with a really unique idea.  The difference between this gentleman's device and mine is that you gasket area is much wider. I plan to experiment to see if my Food Saver device can work as well.  No matter, this is worth your time to view.  

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 24, 2015, 10:15 am

If you have been following this blog for the past few weeks, you will know that we are in the process of "Reclaiming our Domain".  We have adult children coming and going.....and it's a fun time of life. However, I need to put things in order for my husband and myself....and we are.  

I have donated a double bed to a couple that was in need of one.....which left an entire room for me to take over. I am turning it into a sewing room. I will show it all to you as soon as I put the finishing touches on it. Just know that I love it already.

Making Sensible Yarn Storage from a Moving Box:

When trying to decide how to organize my yarn, I looked at several options.  I have seen fun wine racks used and liked that look. However, I didn't like the price!  I have stored my yarn in clear tubs, but for me there was always frustration because the different yarns eventually would get tangled...I really hate that!

So, here is my little brain storm.  Let me show you how I did this for very little money.

I found Moving Boxes online at Home Depot.  The box was under $2.00 and the dividers were under $7.00.  This is a Medium size box and the dividers are for 2 levels of glass storage if you were going to actually use this as a moving box.  I asked Rooster Senior to cut off the flaps of the box on one end.

I then asked him to open up the seam with his Exacto Knife....he was very willing to help!  I opened the box because I want to spray-paint the decorated side of the box.

I laid the box and the dividers on my lawn (yes, I know it is February, but it is unusually warm this year).  I used a can of black spray paint that Rooster Senior had in the Garage.

I used my hot glue gun and glued the box back together...with the black being on the inside.

This is what the seam looked like after it was glued together. It's not lovely, but it is very functional.

I then put the bottom of the box together and glued it with hot glue.  Note how the black will show on the inside of the box.  

I had measured the length of the open box before I glued it together.  I also measured the 'height' of the box from the cut edge to about 8" down on to the bottom flaps.  I cut a piece of fabric according to those dimensions and surged the cut edges.  I then brought the two short sides of the fabric together and sewed one seam.

I slid the fabric sleeve over the exterior of the box.  Now, here is why I put the box together in an "inside-out" fashion.  There is now no decoration to show through my fabric.  It is a blank slate.  This is a  tight fit, which I was glad about. 

This is the bottom of the box.  I wrapped and hot-glued the fabric to the bottom.

I then finished the bottom of the box with a piece of $.99 black poster board. I measure, cut, and glued it on.  I like how it looks and it slides easily on surfaces with the smooth finish of the poster board.  

I like the fact that the color of the yarn plays well off the black surfaces.  A skein fits just fine in a slot. I even put some of my crochet skeins of 'thread' that I used to edge baby blankets.

I can even fit balls of yarn down into a compartment. Notice that I wrapped the upper edge of the box with about 4 inches and glued it to the box before inserting the dividers.  

I attached a rope handle by punching  2 holes/side with sharp scissors.  I had cording from a former upholstery project.  So, I threaded the cording through and tied double knots on the inside of the box.  I now have 2 handles to carry the box. I am not worried about reinforcing the holes, the yarn is very light weight. This box is prepared solely to be used for my yarn storage.  

So, What is the Take-Home Message?

  • I spent under $10.00 for this entire project as I already had the fabric, the cording, and the spray paint.  I am trying very hard (as we reorganize) to use items that we already have. I just like to be wise with the things we have been blessed with.  I am guessing that you may find items around your house that you can re-purpose into something usable like we have. 
  • This project took about 1 hour total (not including drying times) to complete.
  • I can easily find the yarn I am looking for without undoing a tangled mess! 
  • This container is out-of-the-way, but is easily retrieved when it is needed as it is so lightweight. It can be stored up high.
  • I have a friend with an entire room of yarn.  I think the slogan "She who dies with the most yarn...wins" applies to her.  I am not there yet, but I admire folks who are so wildly talented that they can create clothing and bedding, etc from a hook (or a couple of needles).  I am still at the dishcloth, afghan stage...and am quite happy to be there.

Reclaiming our Domain is proving to be really fun!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 16, 2015, 1:47 am

It's only days away, you know....Valentine's Day.  Here is something fun to do that does not cost big bucks, but makes a special meal fun.

How To Make Heart-Shaped Rolls for Valentine's Day.

I wanted to do something fun for our dinner.  So, here we go. This was more simple that I realized.

I used my favorite white bread dough recipe and let my Breadmaker do all the work!  Roll your dough into the shape above... wide at one end and pointed at the other end.

Using a pair of scissors, cut the wide end in long-side down about 1/3 of the shape.

After cutting, attempt to soften the sharp edges with your fingers.

Shape them into a 'heart' and place them on your baking sheet in this manner. You can fit more on the baking sheet by placing them in this alternating pattern.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap with a cooking spray and cover your rolls while they raise.

After they raise (according to your recipe), the sharp edges should be softened and rounded.  Bake according to your bread recipe directions.  I baked my for 20 minutes, but next time I think I will try 18 minutes as 2 of them were harder on the bottom than the others. 

Here is the delicious result!  These are a fun and easy addition to any special meal with your sweetheart!  I made these Valentine Rolls totally from my Food Storage ingredients. 

And you thought Food Storage was boring!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 10, 2015, 12:12 pm

In our family, our adult children have  been in a bit of a transition.  Some coming and others going.  It has been a very fun roller coaster over the past few months. Sometimes we would come home to some type of surprise.  In this case....it was a really big surprise.

Our Son saw this Armoire sitting on the side of the road with a "Free" sign attached to it. He was pretty excited about this find, so he got it into the back of his truck.....and of course brought it home.  He was planning to move out and move on to the next chapter of his life.  His plan was to 'fix it up' and take it with him.  Alas, he married, moved and left this very large piece of furniture here. When we asked what he planned to do with it, he told us he didn't want it and we could do whatever we wanted with it.  Translation...."I don't want it Mom and Dad, you can figure out what you are going to do about it".  I have to admit, this abandoned item was easier to care for than the little dog that was left behind by another child.....alas, that is another story for another time.

When our son left, he wanted the desk that I had been using while he was gone on his mission.  I packed up everything into bags/boxes and off the desk went.  It was really fun having everything you are used to finding in a drawer....now in a bag.

So, I started look at this monstrosity and it had good bones.  The doors slide back into the unit and essentially disappear. There was a lot of room in this section of the unit.

This is the bottom section, and yes that door kept falling through...a lot.  I was excited to see the lock....but alas it had no key.  I need to remember that this unit was "Free".  When the doors were opened, it had a lot of space in there as well.

I happened to be married to the most talented Trim Carpenter on the planet.  I told him that I had this wild idea.  To his credit, he only blinked once.  What was the crazy idea?  I wanted to turn this Armoire into my desk.

Transforming an Armoire into a Desk....

My sweet husband looked at it as I described what I wanted to do.  Initially, I wanted him to remove the area that most likely housed the VCR or DVD player. As he looked at the unit, he said it would have been a structural problem to remove it.  However, he said he still could insert a shelf to hold all the binders that I use on a regular basis.  So, using scraps from the garage (I love that part), he built and attached this shelf to the upper shelf.

I asked him to build a flat surface that could be slid out to be used as a working surface.  I also asked him to put a board at a 90 degree angle at the back of the sliding surface. He said no problem and made it happen.  He stated that the hardware to do this cost about $20.00.  He also attached a powerstrip on the side to plug in all my devices.  I had this powerstrip already. The amount of money spent for that was 0 dollars.

I also had this file cabinet that was also free from a neighbor who had to move quickly.  Unfortunately, when I used to try to fill my own printer cartridges....you can see I had an accident!  I used the sanding block to sand all the surfaces, and that dark spot was still very prominent.

I started painting the file cabinet and the new pieces within the Armoire. The cost of the amount of paint I used was about $10.00.

The outcome.....

Here is the Armoire and the File Cabinet. Don't they look great!!!!! This is how the Armoire looks when it is closed.  I like the fact that I can just shut the doors and hide whatever project I am working on.

Looking inside, you can see my laptop, and my files behind it.  These units keep the files I am using in a standing position.  The black unit has boxes in the front of it where I put pens/pencils, scissors, lotion, White-Out, etc.  The other unit on the left behind my computer just holds files.  The cost for these was....0 dollars!

Here is the other file unit.  I put my Ipad in there to recharge.  It saves valuable real-estate.

Here is another view.  Even with the items I have placed in there, I still have a space for things I am working on that is to the right of the computer. I have put open binders there, papers, etc.

See how nice this sliding surface is?  Having that perpendicular piece of wood keeps my file units secure when the surface is moving.  This slider also lets me work while being seated.

See this little light?  It was something I already had as well.  I have used it to light up my Nativity sets on a certain shelf....but I haven't used it really in a couple of years.  So, it now has a new home.  The cost of having a lighted surface?  As before  0 dollars!

Here is how I am using the former VCR/DVD space and the new shelf.  I am so thrilled that all of my binders fit on this shelf....I could fit every one of them in. In the former VCR/DVD space, I have two organizers.  One holds card-stock and the other the myriad of labels that I use.  In the middle, I have blank greeting cards (thanks to the suggestion of my daughter) and behind them I have blank CD's  and DVD stacks.

I asked Rooster Senior to install these sheets of metal inside both doors.  I have included little containers that hold staples, paperclips, etc.  I also have a magnetic clip to hold the notes of 'to-do' items that I need to take care.  On the other side, I have put photos of my family.  If you recall, these doors can slide back inside of the unit so that they are out of the way if I want.  

The cost of 2 metal sheets was $8.00, the cost of the small metal storage containers ($12.25 for 6 of them).  My husband had magnetic stripping that could have been adhered to them to hold them on the door.  However, I had a Magnetic strip I had purchased for another project.  However,  I decided to use it for this project at a cost of $13.99.  I want to point out I could have done this for free, but decided not to.  

Here is a more global view of the upper part of the Armoire.  I cannot stress enough how roomy this unit is.  However, there is more to show in the bottom of the unit.  

Here is the bottom unit.  It holds A LOT!

I put nearly a whole box of paper paper in here initially.  Yea, I got rid of that ugly box that was an eyesore in the office!

This is opposite from the paper on the bottom shelf.  I have boxes of file folders, envelopes, Stationary, etc.  In the white container (which actually says 'popcorn' on one side of it) I have small some eclectic and odd shaped items that needed a home.  I purchased all 3 of these 'popcorn' containers (now stacked together) from the Dollar Store.  A whopping $3.00 invested.

On the upper shelf (in the bottom of the Armoire), I have containers that hold many things. Items such as my labeler, glue/gluestick, ink cartridges, index cards and the red container holds pens/pencils.  I also got these containers at the Dollar Store.  Total investment here $10.00.

Opposite of the containers noted above, I have 3 organizers that hold items like glossy paper, CD covers, and the little bit of scrap book paper that I have.  I also have a box of plastic sleeves.  I had the organizers already, so the cost for those is 0 dollars again.  

Can you see how much I was able to store in this unit?

So here you see the Armoire and part of the File Cabinet that I painted.  Guess what is behind the photos on the File Cabinet? The Router and Modem.  Next to the photos is my printer.

Take Home Message for "Reclaiming my Domain"....

  • Up until a couple of weeks ago, my daughter was using this space as a Beauty Salon.  I'm not kidding.  She is in the process of purchasing a home and is no longer needing to use our 'Domain'.  I now have an office, a real office for all my needs.  Please understand that I was glad to share with her, but I like the thought of having a place for everything. Had I finished this unit while she was here (just know it would have been hard for a variety of reasons), both of us would have been able to work in there. 
  • It cost me $77.24 to create this beautiful office space.  I could have done it for $63.25 if I chose not to use the Magnetic Strip.  
  • I love that I had most of the items needed to transform this unit.  I love the styling of it and with the matching file cabinet it looks really great in my office.
  • I have a great deal of storage and can also close it all away if I need to as my office is located by my front door.
  • I "Upcycled" this unit. It went from being unwanted to being a beautiful and functional piece of furniture.  Because of the size of the TV it used to house, it is large and spacious.  I can see myself using this for a long time to come.
As our journey to reorganize and 'upcycle' continues, I will share our finished projects as when we complete them.

Don't you just love it?

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: February 2, 2015, 2:30 am

"Neat Stuff" is coming....and no, I am not turning into a "General Store". (Although I have felt like that at times).  We have had recent changes here at home. This is allowing us to truly "Reclaim our Domain"....or put our house back in order for those who live here.....permanently.  

So, watch for upcoming updates.  We are busy, and hope to share the fruits of our labors with you soon!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: January 22, 2015, 10:00 am

I had a crowd over for dinner around Christmas time.  I have a 3 burner device that can cook or keep 3 shiny pots/kettles going on individual controls. I decided to offer our guests a choice of 3 different soups along with other things.  One of the soups I offered is a crowd favorite....and is very delicious!

(The pots that come with this device are very shiny and made every picture I attempted to take a little challenging!)

How to make Taco Soup from Food Storage Staples

I love Taco Soup.  Pair it with some corn ships and you have a delicious and filling meal.  For this soup, I used only items from my Food Storage, yet the soup was fresh and delicious.

I have Hamburger frozen in 1 pound packages.  I thawed it and broke it up into pieces and then put it in the microwave. Yes, I really did say the microwave.  I timed the microwave for every 30 seconds and stopped to chop and stir. After about a couple of minutes, the Hamburger was cooked and in small pieces.  At this point, you can rinse your hamburger under running water to reduce the fat content, or leave it as is.

I went to my Food Storage room and got a can of canned corn, a few jars of canned black beans (you can use a variety of beans in this recipe), and a can of tomato dices.  

The recipe calls for a package of Ranch Dressing.  No Problem! I have Ranch Dressing Mix on hand that I put together myself.  It is so easy and convenient!

I put in the Ranch dressing mix, along with all the other seasoning as well as the cooked hamburger.  I put the lid on, turned up the burner, and let it simmer until our guests arrived.

Just for your information, I also made Pumpkin Soup, and Chicken Noodle Soup. All of these were made from Food Storage Staples.  Again, it was all so convenient!.  I just turned the burners on and went about my business before my company arrived.

Well, after dinner the gifts were the actual star of the show.  However, I loved being in a position to provide my guests with a nutritious and hearty soups.......all from my food storage staples.

Take home points:

  • Having Food Storage Staples actually is having convenience foods available to you.  
  • I believe this Hearty Taco Soup cost about $2.00 total to feed this crowd.  
  • The cost of the Pumpkin Soup and Chicken soup were nominal as well.  Several folks went back twice for more soup...so it was welcome on a cold winter day.
  • Efforts made in the summer and fall bear fruit during the winter.
  • The peace-of-mind that comes from having food stuffs on hand is priceless.
  • Food Storage Staples are not just for emergencies, it is for everyday living.  In this case, it was for a holiday celebration.
  • Gaining skill sets brings successes in many ways.  It's not just about the food, it is the knowledge and preparation that makes this possible.

Taco Soup:

(I got this recipe from a group called "Organized Christmas" a number of years ago.)

Taco Soup

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Combine these ingredients, cook and drain. Add the following to the pot:
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 Large can diced, stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can Ro-tell tomatoes (if you can't find these, look for tomatoes with diced chillies, or in a pinch a good hot salsa or picante sauce will do).
  • 1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix (1 Tblsp)
  • 1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (I have actually poured in an amount from a my dressing bottle before)

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour (or keep the water to a minimum and put it in the crock pot for all day)

Serve over tortilla chips or tamales. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheeses, and or cubed avocado. 

Try it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: January 5, 2015, 4:07 am

I am assuming that many of you will be staying up tonight. You certainly won't be alone.....because a great deal of celebration will be happening to welcome in 2015.  But, after such a late night, who wants to get up early to make breakfast?

Making a Breakfast Casserole overnight in the Crockpot.

Yes, you can really do this.  I even did this with many Food Storage Staples that I had on hand.

The recipe that I use called for Hash-browns.  No problem, I had diced dehydrated Hash Browns in my pantry. 

Here they are after soaking for a short time.  I place them in the crockpot (lined with a crockpot liner)

Place all the eggs in a single dish.

Add the spices such as Mustard Powder....

A little Salt is always good...

A touch of freshly cracked pepper from the mill...

Stir the mixture vigorously....

I like to add Sausage, Bacon, or a combination of the two.  Here I am adding browned Sausage on top of the Hash-browns.

Add the cheese next....

Pour the egg mixture over the other ingredients.....

Begin cooking the casserole on low for 7-8 hours before you plan to serve it.  So, if you are staying up for the "New Years Rockin Eve" tonight, plug this in and let it cook while you sleep.

When you wake up, it will smell delicious!  No work, just joy in the morning.

Try it!  Happy New Year!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: January 1, 2015, 2:39 am
Image Courtesy of lds.org
I love the lessons taught through the life of the Savior.  I sometimes struggle to find a favorite....there are so many that I am grateful for.  But, today I want to touch on one.  This particular lesson has had such power for me personally over the past few months.

Great Lessons from the "Woman taken in Adultery"

I realize that most folks are focusing on Luke 2...as am I.  However, I wish to focus on another story that I feel capture lessons for life that we all can be blessed with at during this Holiday season and throughout the year. If you are not familiar with this powerful message, it is found in John Chapter 8. With your indulgence, I would like to share my insights and those of others that I have taken from this thought-provoking incident.
To set the stage, the Savior was teaching at the temple when the following occurred:
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Image courtesy of lds.org

Now, who were the Scribes and Pharisees?  

These folks were not friends of the Savior, rather enemies who had conspired ahead of time to trick or discredit Him. President Howard W. Hunter described the Pharisees in this manner:

"The Pharisees were the largest and most influential of the three sects of Judaism at the time of Christ. The Pharisaic movement in the Jewish state rose from the ranks of the lay lawyers of the Greek period to become the leading religious and political party. The main characteristics of the Pharisees were their legalism and their legalistic inflexibility. They were known for their strict accuracy in the interpretation of the law and their scrupulous adherence to living the law in every minute detail. This caused them to be known as the strictest of Jewish sects in observing their tradition. They shunned the non-Pharisee as being unclean, thereby keeping themselves separated from those they considered to be the common people."
First off, this sounds like a very difficult way to live.  I love the term "legalistic inflexibility" that he uses, it is very descriptive. If I interpret this correctly, we might refer to it in our day as "It's my way or the highway".  You either agree without deviation with these individuals or you are shunned. 

This type of shunning can be found in various circles:
  • Political
  • Racial 
  • Familial
  • Social
  • And in the workplace
Image courtesy of lds.org


In their day, there was not mass communication. They had to meet...at least two or more of them, together at a time.  During these 'get-togethers', we must infer that their severe dislike for the Savior brought about various discussions or plans to rid themselves of him.  These discussions and plans must have been shared with others as the scripture verse states "Scribes and Pharisees" which means multiple people.

One or more of them had to had knowledge of this Woman's lifestyle.  (Now, I am in no way  agreeing with her choice and that of her partner when they chose to indulge in Adultery).  Whether she had lead this lifestyle previous to this event, or was placed in a position that she fell, we may never know.  The point here is that someone had knowledge of the place, time, and the event to be caught "in the very act".  (Have you ever wondered where the guy was in all of this?).  Again, these self-appointed legal zealots had to have conspired to know of her whereabouts etc to find her and bring her to the Savior.  These treacherous individuals only gave a portion of the critical information to the Savior. They only focused upon her act, not the act of the two folks engaged in intimacy, not the circumstances that lead up to them finding her in this compromising position, and certainly not the methods they were using to humiliate her.  They had an agenda and they used it. 

In our day, communication is lightning fast and there are a variety of methods to communicate.  These technical marvels include text, email, blogging, twitter, phone calls etc. But, some time-tested methods are still here, the act of gathering together and visiting.  

Although we have more methods to communicate than ever, the temptation to Gossip and mislead are still there.  Gossip traditionally focuses only on partial aspects of a situation or a person. The individual sharing the distorted information often has a purpose other than being fully transparent.  Gossip becomes particularly hard to distinguish if it comes from an individual you care about or trust.  As it was at the time of this scripture story, the purpose of Gossip is the same, to distort and garner support essentially in an unholy fashion. Gossip inflicts emotional and spiritual wounds that sometimes drive friends and family far apart. The desire for temporary gain or superiority is never precious enough to hurt others. There is no righteous use for Gossip.....
I would like to quote Elder Marvin J Ashton:
 In the world today we are victims of many who use their tongues as sharp swords. The misuse of our tongues seems to add intrigue and destruction as the media and private persons indulge in this pastime. In the vernacular of the day, this destructive activity is called bashing. The dictionary reports that to bash is to strike with a heavy, crushing blow.
Such a popular behavior is indulged in by far too many who bash a neighbor, a family member, a public servant, a community, a country, a church. It is alarming also how often we find children bashing parents and parents bashing children.“For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14.)
 We as members of the Church need to be reminded that the words “Nay, speak no ill” are more than a phrase in a musical context but a recommended way of life. (See Hymns, no. 233.) We need to be reminded more than ever before that “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” (A of F 1:13.) If we follow that admonition, there is no time for the dastardly hobby of bashing instead of building.

The Ambush....

The Scribes and Pharisees were using subterfuge. In the words of Elder Marvin J Ashton:

"[The scribes and Pharisees] brought unto Him the woman taken in adultery. These enemies … tried to trick Him.....They were setting Him up in what appeared to be an impossible situation. Moses’s law says to stone her. “What sayest thou?” [John 8:5] they asked, tempting Him, trapping Him—putting Him in a no-win position.
This was an ambush of the most cruel type.  Not only for this woman who was most likely fearing for her life at this point, but also for the Savior as these legal scholars were attempting to box him in a corner and discredit him.  

If you have lived you life without being ambushed in some form or fashion, consider yourself lucky.  Chances are, you just haven't thought about these experiences as emotional ambushes.  Things like friends suddenly avoiding you (think back to the playground) both as kids and unfortunately as adults.  The loss of a boyfriend/girlfriend to a friend.  Being overlooked for an opportunity in education or business only to learn later that a trusted individual had engaged in behaviors to discredit you and enhance themselves, or walking into a situation where everyone seems to know about the purpose of the gathering...but you.

All of us have been born and blessed with the "Light of Christ" meaning that we can discern goodness and seek for it over evil.  The Holy Ghost provides promptings to do good as well as promptings to avoid situations that are not praiseworthy or safe.

“That which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men. …“Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” (D&C 46:7–8).
When presented with a choice to be involved in any sort of ambush, I encourage you to make it a matter of prayer and supplication.  Seek for inspiration to know how to proceed "lest ye are deceived".  In my view, time-outs are not just for children.  In the Medical world, physicians take a 'time-out' just prior to surgery to ensure they have the right patient, procedure, patient history, supplies, etc. We can apply that same philosophy when we are invited to engage in any type of ambush.  Take a time-out and seek inspiration.


In many ways, we all use inference or prediction throughout our day. Situations like walking into a room and seeing a mess without anyone one in view.  In the past, this may have happened because one or more individuals have made decisions to leave a similar disaster behind. What is our first thought? Perhaps we choose to call the former perpetrators into the room. "Kids.....come downstairs....now!".  In this all too familiar situation, I have (in total exasperation) jumped to conclusions that one or all of my sweet children have been the guilty of the mess-making.  Then, lots of finger pointing ensues.  

I have had to learn to talk with my kids differently.  "Can someone tell me what happened here?"  "Did someone forget to pick up after themselves here?"  For me, asking in this manner takes a lot of patience....(which is something I have had to work hard to garner) to help resolve the mess-test.  Have I at times said things like "It doesn't matter who made the mess, lets just get it cleaned up".  Yup...but I had to learn to undo that type of stuff.  

It's one thing to make an assumption about the intent of others, but it is a totally different thing to either not clarify the situation and publish the assumption to others as fact.  As noted above, we have various methods of communication today....all can be used to publish for a good purpose or to promote an unfounded assumption.

The Scribes and Pharisees made assumptions about who the Savior was and published them among themselves.  I love that fact that Paul had been a Pharisee and then made life-changing decisions that positively impacted the future of the gospel during his life-time.  Somewhere along the line, he had to abandon his life-style, stop making assumptions about who the Savior was, and go on his own fact-finding mission.  He ultimately discovered the glorious gifts the Savior was offering to the world.

Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet.

The Gifts of the Savior in the Parable...

Courtesy of lds.org

Now that we have addressed the foibles of man, I would love....love.....love to point out the tremendous gifts of the Savior in this parable.  As this is the Christmas season, let's examine the great gifts that Savior gives us all by turning lemons into lemonade.


The Savior could have joined in with the Scribes and Pharisees and bashed or humiliated this woman even further....because she was a sinner.  He instead chose "the better part".   

6...This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
It must have taken significant patience to listen to and know that he was being targeted. He patiently, and with kindness, pointed out a way for them to accomplish a part of their goal......to stone her.  However, there was a precursor, they had to be without sin to do so.  He was the only one present who could be that person...the one without sin.  He let them look introspectively and make their own choices.  I love that he was very low-key in his actions as well.  

Love Unfeigned....

I am going to make an assumption...(yes I know.....).  I am going to assume that the Savior cared for and about everyone in the situation. This includes the woman and the Scribes and Pharisees.  These were all his children, and he loved them all.  He set up a situation that allowed the accusers to self-evaluate and change their course without being forced.  He showed love for the woman by protecting her from her accusers and saving her from stoning.  This action is masterful....

See this great explanation from Elder Marvin J. Ashton:

The woman taken in adultery answered the Lord’s question regarding her accusers by saying, “No man, Lord.” And then this powerful declaration came: “Go, and sin no more” [John 8:11]. The Master was teaching in that day and also teaching in this very hour. His great message: despise the sin, but love the sinner. I hope that can give us strength and confidence and a closer relationship to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus did not condone adultery. He gave the woman love instead of an authoritative lecture. She and the accusers needed a lesson in love. The situation called for mercy and compassion. How rewarding it is to know that Jesus believed that man is greater than all of his sins. Is it any wonder He was referred to as the “Good Shepherd”? He loved all of His sheep whether they were strays, hungry, helpless, cold, or lost.

Courtesy of lds.org


The lessons here are many.  In my understanding, this is the one that most folks have taken away from this story is the forgiveness aspect.

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.I cannot express how touching this lesson is to me personally.  He loved her and cared about her eternal progression. He offered her....and the rest of us.....a pathway to return to our Heavenly Father again.  He proffered forgiveness.  

This gift...or lesson... is one that can be a bitter pill for many folks.  When someone has wronged us, has inflected significant pain, bashed us, or taken away something or someone dear.....we have the opportunity to forgive.  

 [He] seems to center around the virtues of love, compassion, forgiveness, and long-suffering—in other words, those qualities that enable us to deal with our fellowmen more compassionately. Let’s look specifically at the Savior’s message to the Twelve. They (and we) were admonished to “be reconciled to [our] brother” (Matt. 5:24), to “agree with [our] adversary quickly” (Matt. 5:25), to “love [our] enemies, [to] bless them that curse [us], [to] do good to them that hate [us], and [to] pray for them which despitefully use [us], and persecute [us].” (Matt. 5:44.) We are told, “Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matt. 5:39.)A set of pretty high standards to live up to.....but it is possible.  This life is meant for us all to make choices.  We have the opportunity to make choices everyday. We can make compassionate, loving, kind, and patient choices.  We can choose to bless the lives of those we interact with on a daily basis.  For those who partake of the sacred Sacrament, this offers a weekly basis to forgive, repent, and choose the better. If we seek the Holy Spirit, he can guide us through the process of forgiveness and repentance. 

How do we take the Holy Spirit for our guide? We must repent of our sins each week and renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament with clean hands and a pure heart, as we are commanded to do (see D&C 59:8–9, 12). Only in this way can we have the divine promise that we will “always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (D&C 20:77). That Spirit is the Holy Ghost, whose mission is to teach us, to lead us to truth, and to testify of the Father and the Son (see John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:13; 3 Ne. 11:32, 36).
This past year has been one of the hardest years of my life. Trusted individuals have made choices that have caused an immense amount of pain and suffering for far too many people.  I still do not see any winners throughout this entire experience.  Far to much as been lost.

As painful as it has been for me personally, I have worked (and continue to work) hard to forgive the perpetrators.  These are folks I love and cherish....which is why it has been so very difficulty for me personally. I am grateful for these many gifts the Savior offers to us all.  I am touched by his kind impressions and love I have felt from him through this ordeal and throughout my life. As my Dad always says "This too shall pass...if we can endure it well".  I am trying to do so with every turn.

Courtesy of lds.org


The Gospel of Jesus Christ is filled with hope. If we are willing to turn to Him and live righteously, I do believe that we as individuals and collectively can change lives, situations, and ultimately the world.  We were sent here to succeed...pure and simple.  We are never given anything that we cannot handle, no matter how overwhelming it is. Remember, you can do what is needed and by doing so, you will grow in so many areas of your life.  Be the blessing that the other person needs you to be.

I believe Elder Ashton has a great summary statement....

Let us open our arms to each other, accept each other for who we are, assume everyone is doing the best he or she can, and look for ways to help leave quiet messages of love and encouragement instead of being destructive with bashing. 


The Scribes and Pharisees were short sighted in their efforts, but were still children of our Heavenly Father.  They too were loved.. I pray that at this Christmas time, we will all be loving, be forgiving, and build up where we can. We have been given this great gift of life, let us all live up to the potential that the Savior and our Heavenly Father have gifted to us all.

Merry Christmas to you all...

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: December 24, 2014, 6:39 pm

Preparedness Websites:

I am a follower of many blogs and websites. I love to learn from those who share the same interests and concerns that I do. I am also grateful when good folks like you all take a few minutes of your precious time to read our blog. It is my hope that you find something of use, a nugget or two to use in your busy daily lives. Every once-in-a-while, I am touched by the kindness of others.  I have fortunate to be mentioned on various lists as a site to visit.  Just to be included on the same lists as other's who are notable is really a great honor.

I have never been at the top of the lists, but I am really just fine with that. I will continue to look and learn, search and find, and experiment and share in my efforts to help you be as self-sufficient as can be on a daily basis.  I do this not because I am preaching a doomsday philosophy. Rather, it is a 'real-life' philosophy.  My husband's business tends to be cyclical.  We have used our food storage, and DIY skills for years.....and have always been fine.

No one knows when they may need to call upon their preparations either in skills or with food or 'stuff.  One thing is for sure, if the day hasn't come to you yet, it most likely will.  I would encourage you not to put your head in the sand.....invest in yourself and your family.  Live with more peace, live with more confidence, live with the opportunity to share and serve others because you have taken the time and interest to become more self-sufficient.

Now, if you want to see where I landed....it was down on the list...but yet still on the list(s). Thank you to those who considered me and those who took a moment to vote.  While looking on the list, please visit the many experts listed!  You will be amazed and hopefully curious to learn more!

It's the end of another year.  It is the time that many reflect and make goals for the future.  Make a list, make a plan, learn!

Consider it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: December 21, 2014, 9:45 pm

I have the opportunity to teach a the CTR-A Class in our Primary. Translation, I teach the 7 to 8 year-old children in our Congregation's Children's program on Sunday.  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, turning 8 is a very big deal.  All year, we learn about making important choices and preparing for....Baptism.  


In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have learned from scripture that children are accountable for their choices beginning at age 8:
And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands (D&C 68:27).
Being a medical professional, I have always found it interesting that Myelination is usually complete by age 8 as well.  What this essentially means is that nerves are protected and also transmit information faster when this process is completed. Myelination also helps with "executive functioning" which are higher order brain activities that allow for more complex thought and decision-making. That's why I think it is truly inspired that children are thought to be accountable or able to make good decisions by the time they are 8.  

When children of our faith turn 8, they can decide if they would like to be Baptized. This is not a requirement, but an opportunity if the child appears to understand and wishes to take this important step.  The Bishop of the congregation interviews the child to determine whether they are ready and understand the importance of the covenants or promises that come with Baptism.

Baptism Towel:

I had two little class members who had prepared and made the decision to be Baptized recently.  I wanted to do something special for them ahead of time, so I made the following for them:

I found this "CTR" design (which is the 'logo' for the CTR-A Class. It means "Choose the Right") on Etsy.  I think it went well overall, but I found that there were a couple of 'white' spaced in the design which I will be contacting the seller about.

Under the logo, I embroidered the child's name, and the Baptism date.

I wrapped them up with a ribbon.  (There is a poem that can accompanying them, I decided not to include it this time around).  These were delivered before the 'big day'.  The kids said they loved them and one of the boys said he wanted to watch his friend be Baptized as he was slated to be Baptized first. So, his Dad wrapped him in this towel after he came out of the water so that he would be warm while he watched his friend take this important step.  

I like the fact that this small token gift was not given on the day of the Baptism. I didn't want to take away from the meaning and importance of this very special event. I also like the fact that after the Baptism,  it can serve as a reminder of their important decision.  

Take Home Message:

  • If you have an embroidery machine or access to one, this is a very simple project.
  • I paid about $6.00/towel and I really feel that the thread cost is minimal.  I did use stabilizer and topper, but these can be done with scraps from other projects.
  • This can be personalized for each child....and make them feel special.

Consider it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: December 15, 2014, 3:13 am
Black Beans

It is a December day, and although there is no snow outside (yet), a warm and hearty soup is always so very welcome.

Black Bean Salsa Soup:

I have had this recipe for a long time.  I just forgot about it for some reason. However, today I pulled it out and made it really fast.  It uses Food Storage Staples and is almost a convenience food straight from your pantry.

1. I used Black Beans from my Storage.  I cooked them in my Electric Pressure Cooker.  It takes about 30 minutes.

2. The recipe calls for chicken broth.  I used my First Street Chicken Flavored Soup Base.

3.  It also calls for Salsa. Well, I happened to have some of that on hand!  I can my own.

That's it!  Would you like the recipe?  Those who follow the South Beach diet plan may recognize this wonderful little gem.  

Black Bean Salsa Soup (SouthBeachDiet.com)

2 cans black beans, rinsed (I used beans that I have canned or use my pressure cooker)
2 cans of chicken broth (as noted above, I use a soup base)
1-1/2 cups of chunky salsa (I use my canned salsa)
1 can of green chillies (from my pantry)

In a blender of food processor place 1 can of black beans, chicken broth, and salsa.  Blend until smooth.  Place mixture into a saucepan with the rest of the beans and chilies.  Mixture will develop into a wonderful creamy soup. Warm on your stove.  Makes about 6 servings.

Top with a dollop of Sour cream and green onion if 'permitted'.  (I broke the rules and put just a little shredded cheddar on top). 

Take away points:

  • Use beans from your storage....either ones you have canned or dry beans that can be cooked in either your pressure cooker or in a pan after soaking.  It makes use of of your food storage staples.
  • I keep a soup base on hand to use in place of chicken or beef broth.  It is less expensive and takes up a fraction of the space in your pantry.
  • Using your canned salsa is a great because you are able to benefit from your efforts at harvest time.
  • I figure I made this meal for under $3.00.

Try it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: December 7, 2014, 11:45 pm

In honor of Thanksgiving this year, I want to thank our wonderful readers who have viewed and contributed to our blog.  I feel blessed to have you as a part of my life and hope to share more time with you all in the future.

I hope your day is also filled with a prayer of Thanksgiving.  Prayer has always been a part of the Thanksgiving tradition even from the very beginning.  Would you like a little proof?  Here is a public notice given to the Plymouth Colony from 1636:

"In ye Meetinghouse, beginning some halfe an hour before nine & continued untill after twelve aclocke, ye day beeing very cold, beginning wt a short prayer, then a psalme sang, then more large in prayer, after that an other Psalme, & then the Word taught, after that prayer - & then a psalme…" and then was followed by dinner, "…the poorer sort beeing invited of the richer."

Today, I wish you health, happiness and joy as you and your family reflect on the goodness that you enjoy.  There is goodness in any situation, no matter how trying.  It is a time for gratitude, forgiveness, and love.  Make good memories today.....

May the Lord bless you all this Thanksgiving Day!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: November 27, 2014, 12:42 pm

Why you might want to cook your Turkey early!

This is an encore post from a few years ago.  The information still applies and I hope it helps you prepare for your upcoming holiday!  It takes one more stressor out of your plans!

Many folks are intimidated with cooking a Turkey.  I certainly was the first time I attempted it. After I was done, I remember thinking....'what was I afraid of?"  

I cooked a Turkey yesterday.  I try to reduce the stress of the actual holiday....so that I can enjoy it as well.    Here is the method I use and find that it works well. I hate being the only one who isn't in a position to 'play' before the big feast.  I decided to do this because my husband carves the turkey before we serve it anyway so the presentation is not a big deal

Yes, I am using my Roaster Oven again.  So, I laid out the rack on the counter. See the little blue box.  In my world, this is a 'must'.  Get the Oven Cooking Bags for Turkeys.  They are totally worth it.

Take your thawed Turkey out of the wrapping.  If you are buying a frozen Turkey, let it thaw in your refrigerator for several days.  This is a very safe method to thaw your bird.   Rinse the bird.

Remove the neck and giblet packets from the neck and little 'butt' opening. Rinse the cavities.  After rinsing, I often salt the cavities.

I cut up onion, apples, and always add citrus.  These help keep the meat moist and flavorful.  

Fill the cavities with these.  You can also add herbs such as Rosemary as well.

Follow the directions on the box of the Oven bags by putting in flour and shaking it in the bag.

Tie the legs closed to keep your content inside the cavity.  You can also use toothpicks to keep the other cavity closed.

Place your Turkey in the bag.  I placed the bagged Turkey on the rack and then carefully loaded it into the Roaster Oven. You can place you Turkey in your Standard Oven at this point as well.  

Put water into your oven as well, set the temperature gauge, put the lid on, and wait until it is cooked.  You hopefully can see the little red 'dot' on the Turkey.  I am a big proponent of using these little gauges.  Why?  they not only ensure the Turkey is cooked, but you may also be surprised at how fast your Turkey can cook not only in the bag, but also in the Roaster.  The combination can cut some time off the process.

On the day of Thanksgiving, I use my Roaster Oven to warm the Turkey meat inside another Cooking Magic bag with a big of water.  The meat is still moist and delicious.  You can make gravy with the drippings ahead of time and warm it either in a crock pot or in a saucepan.  Then I serve it to to everyone!

Consider it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: November 22, 2014, 6:28 pm

Pumpkin-shaped Rolls for Thanksgiving!  So easy..

I love the holidays....and my house is already sporting my Thanksgiving decor!  As much as I love the holidays, I hate the stress that can accompany them.  Soooo, I will be posting (and planning) ideas for Thanksgiving so that when the big day comes....I can be ready and relaxed.

One of the crowd favorites are.....ROLLS!!!  I have made different types over the years. Some were more preferred than others.  This year, I have something fun for you to try....

You can do this with home-made dough or the 'frozen' option.  Yes, these are the frozen option....let's just say that I was in a hurry!  I let them unthaw for about an hour. Then I used my kitchen shears and made 8 cuts-slits around the roll.  

After making the cuts, cover the rolls with a towel and allow them rise per the directions of your recipe or your frozen-roll dough.

When they have risen sufficiently, use a kitchen tool with a rounded-end. Make an indention in the middle of the rolls.

Here you see my rolls with the circular indention's.

 Brush with egg-white. This gives you a glossy finish and a firm crust.

Oh, and just before baking insert either a walnut or pecan nut or sliver.  I used Almond slivers here.

Baked according to directions.  These are cute and fun!  It is a nice addition to any Thanksgiving table.  So easy and delicious too!

Try it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: November 9, 2014, 11:28 pm

Preserving your 'Candy Bounty' from Halloween...

Yes, if you look really hard, you can see a lot of treats in these canning jars. That is by design.  I went to the big box store early in the morning on November 1 and found lots of Halloween candy on sale for 50% off. There was a bit of a mob picking through all the candy. One lady complained about another customer who came in and 'took 200 bags of chocolate candy'.  I thought that he was pretty savvy myself.  Anyway, I digress...I actually bought lots of different kinds of candy during that shopping trip.

I decided to help preserve it....for posterity. I really mean that.  Rooster Senior thinks candy is another food group...I keep waiting for the Doctor to give him 'what for' because of all the candy and soda he consumes. However, they keep telling him he is just as healthy as can be.  

I decided to can different candies in pint jars....so that when we did get into them....there wouldn't be mounds of candy to consume quickly all at once.  I did this because vacuum sealing helps keep chocolate from getting white, and helps keep things like taffy and licorice stay soft.

It is important that all the edges of the packaging do not interfere with the seal.

I turned all the edges under before placing the lid on it.

I sealed the candies in both wide-mouth and regular-mouth jars.

Now, why would I do all this?  Well, for several reasons:
  • It think it is important to have known comfort foods in your storage.  Not only is it fun, but it really can be comforting in times of stress
  • I do this when candies are on sale and save money.
  • I have treats for when little ones come to visit.
  • I hopefully can keep the little ones from raiding Grandpa's stash without permission....because this secret stash really is not so secret!

Try it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: November 3, 2014, 1:25 am

Trick-or-Treat Bags made with Machine Embroidery....Perfect for little Goblins this Halloween!

Look what I did.....last Saturday.....when I had this wild idea....and just a little time to execute it. 

I will be having a Halloween Party at my home tomorrow for a few little Goblins that I love to pieces.  These Goblins are local, and thus a last minute idea happens to work.

I created this pattern because other Trick or Treat bags that I have made were just as big if not bigger than the little Goblin who would try to carry it. So, I made these a bit smaller. They are not as wide, but they are super cute!

We have a little fabric store in my little town, so I decided to support it and bought some coordinating fabrics.  In the black, I cut 2 pieces 11" x 14".  I then downloaded this sweet Jack-o-Lantern design to program my Embroidery Machine. I loved that this design is....free!  I also embroidered the name of each little Goblin just under the Jack-o-Lantern.

I used some left over piping from another project and covered it with coordinating fabric.  Using my zipper foot, I stitched the new fabric closely to the piping.

For the little "Goblin-Princess", I made a ruffle.  The width of the ruffle is 3 inches and the length depends upon how tightly you want your ruffle to be.

See how great the Orange pumpkin stands out against the black. The downloaded pumpkin pattern turned out very well!

I made a 'cuff' from coordinating orange fabric that was ~5 inches x 11 inches.  Here you see that I am stacking several layers.  After sewing the sides of the bag (black fabric), I pinned the piping (or ruffle) and the cuff together and used a zipper foot to sew along side of the piping.

 The lining (same size as the black fabric) is also sewn along the same seam as the piping stack. I didn't sew all 4 layers together at once as the lining was slippery and I didn't want to unpick anything unless I had to.  Next, you can see that I pinned the seam together and sewed along the side and bottom. I serged all edges to finish them off.  In case you are asking why I finished the inside of the bag that way. Well.....let's just remember that it is a "Trick or Treat Bag"!  It is not a fashion bag!

Here is a bag with piping.  I made handles and sewed ric-rac on the handle for a sweet and funky look.

Here is a close-up of the ruffle embellishment.

I love how they turned out. However, the downside is my insanely busy schedule. I didn't think of doing this until a few days ago. That means that I didn't have enough time to make more for the other Goblins who live out-of-state. Sooooo, I will let the parents of these Goblins decide if they want me to make more for them next year.

I really need to plan ahead a bit, don't I?

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: October 30, 2014, 5:04 am

I have a few little goblins that will toddle through my house this year....and I love it!  I have always decorated and celebrated every holiday in my home.  I wanted my children to have fun and fond memories of our time together over the years.  

Now, I have another generation that I would 'spread the fun around' with.  So, I have plans for our party this year, and I would like to share some of the fun things that I will have at that family gathering.

Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Jars....from Canning jars and Vinyl Cut-outs.  

Well, if you have been reading my blog for any time at all, you know that I can lots of different things. As such, I have jars...and jars...and jars in my storage room.  I decided to try a little project this year.

I cut out some fun faces using my Silhouette.  I put them on to transfer paper.  I then cut the individual faces apart.

I found a smooth side to my jar and rubbed the design/transfer paper on to the jar.

I initially had the plain jar and put in a flame-less candle.  You know the ones that are sold at Christmas time. They work just great for these, and little hands can be curious and not get burned if they try to touch them.

I decided to put on some raffia for fun!

Aren't they sweet?  I think all the little Goblins will love them when we 'party-hardy"....(well as much as you can with a 3-year old and younger party!).

Take Home Message:

  • I had all the materials to do this project.  I had the Vinyl from another project. The cost for me today was just my time.
  • The Canning Jars are from my storage...again I had these items on hand.
  • I used flame-less candles for safety.  I had used these candles in my Christmas decorating. They are perfect for this little project.

Simple, Easy, Cute, and Fun!  Who can ask for anything more?

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: October 26, 2014, 10:35 pm

I have a number of sweet little Grandchildren....sprinkled all over the United States.  Yes, I really mean all over.  I kind of want to agree with my neighbor Vicki who says that "It should be against the law for Grandchildren to move far away from their Grandparents".  If only it could be like that....

Our little Grandchildren love music in many forms.  I love to hear their sweet voices when they talk and when they sing.  Being a Speech-Language Pathologist, little voices are very intriguing to me.

Family Home Evening, spending time together as a Family.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a number of auxiliaries and programs that support the family. Today, I want to highlight "Family Home Evening".  This is an opportunity for the family to gather one night a week and spend time together in a variety of activities.  There may be nights with games or recreation, religious instruction, service to others, etc.  The purpose is to build strong families, understanding of our Father in Heaven and his Son Jesus Christ, and the Gospel.  It's a great idea isn't it...in fact it was inspired.  

As early as 1915, the Church of Jesus Christ encouraged families to set aside one evening a week to spend valuable time together.  In 1970, President Joseph Fielding Smith and the First Presidency designated Monday nights as Family Home Evening night and encouraged no other activities etc to be held that would interfere with this valued time with the family.  

Singing Songs and Hymns for Family Home Evening

One special aspect for me during our Family Home Evenings together is singing songs for fun and for worship.  As such, I have made binders for many of my adult children and their families.  I wanted to make it fun, so let me show you what I did and how I organized it.

Although these are not published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think the graphics are really fun for our Family Home Evening singing time.  You can purchase these in many areas, with Amazon being only one source.

I printed, cut and laminated the different graphics for various songs from the CD's.

Singing a Song is "Fun to Do"...

and, "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam". There are many more that I have prepared in the same manner.

When you follow these links above, you will be directed to a screen like this one...

You can see the sheet music, can play the audio, learn about the composer and see this song in various languages.  However, what I was pleased to learn is that you can print the song as a "PDF". Look in the upper right hand corner of the screen and download the song.  I printed a copy of each song in color.

I put the graphics and the song into plastic sleeves.

I used a Sharpie to label each plastic sleeve and put them into a binder. Now, you have everything you need to add music to your home.....and your Family Home Evening.

Music adds such a positive element to our family. I hope you consider putting together a binder similar to this one to make your time together organized and fun!

Try it!

Author: The Little Red Hen
Posted: October 20, 2014, 1:54 am

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