Thursday, December 19, 2013

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Yummy, Fresh, Warm, Home Made Tortillas Dec 19, 2013

Tip of the Week to ya! 

I have been to a few classes on tortilla making. I have learned something new in each one. Home made tortillas have been in my menus for a few years and there is NO comparison when you look at the "store bought" tortillas with 100 ingredients that you can't pronounce (haven't looked? Take a'll be surprised what's in them). Warm, delightful, delicious fresh tortillas turns my entire family into little thieves. I can't keep the kids out of them (or the hubby for that matter). Just yummo!  Many people take advantage of the tortillas found at our local Mi Casa tortilla factory. They are really good...but fresh homemade ones can still beat them! I can't say that I'm a professional by any means, but I must admit...sometimes I'm tempted to get a little fiesta dress on and twirl the colorful ruffles in and out....and in and out...

I've been watching lots of YouTube videos (I think I have a Masters degree in YouTube education) and I found the simplest recipe and instructions to follow if you have never ventured to make your own:

A note: I don't use shortening....I prefer softened butter or olive oil...sometimes half butter/ half olive oil. Much of the "hecho en Mexico" tortillas are made with...wait for it...LARD (which is actually high in vitamin E)! 

If you have a desire to experiment with half wheat/ half white, it still makes a great tortilla...I wouldn't go more than 3/4 wheat, 1/4 white because wheat starts to make it harder and know...more like a Frisbee than a tortilla. :) Something to keep in mind, only cook them until you see bubbles start to form then flip it, if you leave them to cook too long, again we get a Frisbee....I feel a joint Young Men's activity coming on...Ultimate Frisbee!

Here is another recipe to consider with even healthier ingredients:

Until next week...Suelta mi tortilla (or leggo my tortilla) :) 


One last thought on this Thursday before will be 99 years ago this year of the Christmas Truce ( Garth Brooks wrote/performed in the song Belleau Wood). The short story is after so much fighting between the German and English front line in WWI in 1914, both sides were sick of the death. They called a truce for Christmas Day only, and both sides (even though there could be serious implications like a firing squad ) agreed to not fire a shot at each other for that day. It began with one German soldier singing "Stille Nacht" (or Silent Night) and they all joined in. They later played soccer and even exchanged what they had in the trenches with them as gifts to each other. 

No one wanted to fight anymore. They felt the love for their fellow man.

In this world that tries to make laws and enforce "world peace", let us remember the only thing that can promise and provide lasting peace is nothing save our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Warm Fuzzy (And Sometimes Slightly Itchy) Wool Dec 12, 2013

Before I get started with this week's tip, I thought I'd share a question and answer about last week's tip - here is the question that was sent to me:

In case of an EMP, municipal water and gas systems would be down also.  Do you have suggestions for water procurement during a prolonged power outage?

Here is the short answer: You are correct. One temporary solution is water storage, another is to have a well drilled near your property that you could have a hand crank pump available to mount on the well.

Here is the slightly longer answer: I have been told by a local fellow self-reliance guru...that our local water is gravity fed, so according to him, we wouldn't need pumps if the electricity went out. I personally wouldn't count on that in the instance (he will have to forgive me) he is wrong. 


Many of you know that I love wool. It has blessed my life in so many ways. I am slightly obsessed with wool socks! There is no comparison with any other fiber! 

When my grandmother was the Relief Society president in her ward many moons ago, they were encouraged by their stake to keep 3 wool blankets in their home at all times...Now why is that? The summer is hardly the time to cuddle up with a nice itchy wool blanket, pop some popcorn and sit down to watch the news....

It is an excellent fire retardant. They didn't have fire extinguishers back then. I have purchased three wool blankets from this site (the best price and quality I could find).  

Wool is awesome in more ways than a fire retardant. Wool will keep you warm even if you're wet. My husband's grandfather who attributed his survival on the German Death March to intervention from Heavenly Father and the over sized wool jacket given to him by the Germans the day the march began. The Death March (or Shoe Leather Express) began the day after Christmas and lasted for 3 months in the coldest winter that area of the world had seen for over half a century! So, needless to say, it was COLD! 

If you are on the look-out for socks, jackets or anything else made of wool for its warm and fuzzy benefits, be sure to look at the label. Many manufacturers say "100% Wool!", but if you look at the tag, only 10% is actually 100%...they can be sneaky...10% won't do a whole lot for you if the rest is acrylic. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - No, an EMP Is Not A Mythological Fairy Dec 5, 2013

File:Incandescent Light Bulb.png

I grew up in a home that listened to Kenny Rogers and Barbara Mandrell. I am reminded of one of Barbara's songs, "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" . I feel similarly when talking about self reliance. For YEARS those "wacky Mormons" stored food, gardened and all that crazy, peculiar stufff...FOR WHAT? Well, now if we fast forward to 2013, "prepping" is now cool! You can find numerous websites and videos to help you along your way in getting more prepared. 

We all prepare differently and there are some who choose to be REALLY extreme in their "Dooms Day" preparations. There are so many conspiracies...what do you actually prepare for? Can you be over prepared? I just watched a show where a man paid just under half a million dollars for an underground bunker for his family....if you have that kind of money...go for it, but I feel that is a little extreme.

Among the many "conspiracies" is the threat of and EMP (not to be confused with Imp....a little fiery fairy thing that is a mythological character that doesn't exist). Unfortunately, EMP's can actually happen. I am going to enlist the help of another blogger who says it better than I could...I will turn the time over to her....

Go Low Tech to prepare for an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) 


Have you ever heard of an EMP?

Here is a paragraph from the government's report about EMPs:

"Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication. EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences. EMP will cover the wide geographic region within line of sight to the nuclear weapon. It has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of US society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.  The common element that can produce such an impact from EMP is primarily electronics, so pervasive in all aspects of our society and military, coupled through critical infrastructures. Our vulnerability is increasing daily as our use of and dependence on electronics continues to grow. The impact of EMP is asymmetric in relation to potential protagonists who are not as dependent on modern electronics. "

(I took that paragraph from the fifth page on the above link.)

I do this blog as part of my church calling as a ward preparedness specialist.  I steer away from political or crazy things on this blog, but since this EMP information is on our government's website I assume I can talk about it in on this blog without looking too wacky.

Let's just consider what would happen if all of our electronics and technology were wiped out in one day.  

Here's some simple things you can do.

Think about every thing you do each day which uses electricity and technology, and come up with things that you can substitute.  Ask yourself, "What if I had no electricity.  What do I need to store NOW, to substitute for that item."

Here are some:

No electric washing machine?  Get some washtubs, and a wringer.

No Dryer?  Get a clothesline and clothespins.

No Electric drill, power saw, chain saw?  Get a hand saw, a handpowered drill, regular screwdrivers, etc.

No Electric wheat grinder?  Get a hand wheat grinder.  (I also have an antique meat grinder, hand powered.)

No electric sewing machine?  You might be able to find a foot-powered treadle machine somewhere.

No Computer or ipad?  Learn to hand write again.  Get pencils, pens, paper.

No computer files anymore?  You better have printed out all your recipes, and other important documents, in case you never have a computer again.  

No internet?  You better have all that stuff in regular old books, on the bookshelf, because you might not be able to look it up anymore.

No grocery stores, or trucks bringing food from faraway farms?  Better have food storage, plus garden tools and garden seeds, because you will need to grow your own food sooner or later.

This might be scary to think about, but if you have the low-tech equivalent, you will be able to make it through most crises and disasters better than someone who relies strictly on electricity.

So, I challenge you to take a day in the next few weeks and go "electricity free" and see what you might need to adjust in the event of extended power loss.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Nov 21, 2013 Make Your Own Home Made Extracts!

Tip of the mornin' to ya! 

I recently found this website and I love it! The link below was emailed to me and I started to browse other pages on her site, and all I can say is WOW! She could teach many classes I would be interested in attending.

If you follow this link ( ) the author takes you step by step how to make your own vanilla, lemon and almond extracts. I think anyone who does the grocery shopping knows that the REAL stuff at the grocery store could break the bank in a hurry if you wanted to purchase several bottles for your storage.

This is where Self-Reliance steps in - if you learn to make your own, you save a BUNDLE! There is a catch however - you will need to purchase vodka. Come again? Some may be thinking, "But that is against the Word of Wisdom!" Let me there is too much...let me sum up.

Alcohol extraction allows for a couple of things: #1 long shelf life - alcohol is a preservative. #2 It extracts flavors, and desired medicinal qualities from plants.

If you read in section 89, there IS proper place for "strong drink"- for the washing of the body. Alcohol is used in medicines (NyQuil, etc) - and if used in super small quantities (1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp) it can help cleanse the body of micro-organisms etc. I make herbal extracts all the time to get the highest potency and shelf life out of herbs I purchase. They are called tinctures.

Did you know that vanilla extract can kill some bacteria? Check out this article:

Did you know that lemons have anti-viral properties?
When you grate the lemon peel to make your extract, you are getting the lemon oil as well! 

Remember, we are counseled to use all these things with judgement, skill, prudence and thanksgiving.,18-20?lang=eng

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - The Amazing Properties of Natural Vinegar - Nov 14, 2013

I am sOOOooo glad I went to the evening Relief Society meeting (formerly known as Homemaking et al)!! We had good food, good fun, a little bit of Indian Leg Wrestling, but best of all great conversation! 

The topic of planter warts came up (isn't that great??), and Sister Tami said she had removed one from her finger using apple cider vinegar. No way!! Then, the kicker...Sister Tricia said you can also use it to remove MOLES!! So, I decided to look up how other people had done it, and I found many examples.

I am in the experimenting process currently, I'll tell you how it works out! I'm so excited ( *giddy giggle*)!

So, this gets me thinking...we live in a time where we can visit the doctor pretty much whenever we want. They have all these high tech gadgets that help diagnose issues that would have only been dreamed of even decades ago. We really are blessed. But...what if, there wasn't a doctor around when you needed one? Some may think, "Oh, that could never happen! - We live in America!" If anyone remembers not too far back to Hurricane Sandy, or further still Hurricane Katrina, many people were left without food, water and medical supplies because of evacuation from the flood waters. We must prepare to be self-reliant with as many aspects of our health care as we can.

Will vinegar be our cure all? Many people believe so, but I would disagree. I have learned through experience not to put all your pickled eggs in one jar...if you know what I mean. We will talk more about other alternatives later, but for the meantime, vinegar does have SO many amazing things to offer us! Here is what other people have used vinegar for (I mean the real stuff...the "pasteurized" cider vinegar at the grocery store doesn't have all the properties the real stuff does. But, it will do in a pinch):


One more thing - Attention Gluten Free-ers!

I got an email from Honeyville Grain - they are having a sale! Honeyville only charges $5 for shipping too!

Honeyville's 15% Off All Gluten Free Items Starts Today Thursday, Nov. 14th, 2013 and lasts only 6 days. To claim your 15% savings, shop online at before the sale ends on Tuesday, Nov 19th, 2013. Then simply enter the coupon code "BAKING" during checkout and enjoy. Remember to tell your friends and family, before they miss out!

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - WOWEE! The Wonderific Wonder Oven Nov 7, 2013

When my nephew was around four years old, he said, "Ohhh I just love mashed potatoes!!" My sister said, "Well, if you love them why don't you marry them?" He said, "(scoff) I can't marry them, they don't have feet!" 

I hear ya bud, I feel the same way about my Wonder Oven. They are cute, warm and cuddly, but Wonder Oven's would make less of a mess if you snuggled them as opposed to your mashed potatoes. Alas, they don't have feet either. 

My new hero on the Wonder Oven scene is a cute little lady named Megan who runs this site:

All of the things on her little site far surpass my cute little tips. You can compile your own cookbook with your own recipes and make them food storage friendly! I encourage you to check it out! Awesome...anyway...

She has perfected making bread in the Wonder Oven and this is her experience...its all in the pan you use. Check it out...

I am sure you will come to love Megan as I have...AND she has feet :).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Aug 29, 2013 - Sleeping Bags

Have you ever compared prices to get the highest quality with the lowest price. I did that with a toilet brush the other day and found that I really should have gone for the $7 one the first time because the $1.50 was a waste of precious money. Lesson learned.

Sleeping bags can be the same way. Walmart can carry some good bags...unless you need to see a night under the stars under 40 degrees because of an emergency evacuation. Get it right the first time and don't waste your precious money. 

My suggestion is to get a four season sleeping bag the first time around because you can add or take away bags to fit the season. I found used military bags for a good deal on Amazon at this link:

To be honest...the price isn't that much different either. I have spent hours looking for bags and even the most expensive cannot guarantee comfort even around 20 degrees (that is above zero). Give it a good thought, because our pioneer fore bearers would have really enjoyed having these bags for their journey.

Happy hunting! 

Self - Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 31, 2013 - What Are We Doing?

I recently went to a middle school concert for Band and Orchestra. Since I have played the flute for years, I noticed a really nervous 7th grade flautist (a flute player) who kept looking at the girl to her side to make sure she was playing the right thing. I've so been there before! I'm sure you know that feeling too - not quite new to "playing", but still not so sure you're doing it "right". 

Self-reliance can be the same way. We all know the basics of what we need (food, water, shelter, sanitation), but are you doing it right? Some may be thinking, "My neighbor has all of these newfangled gadgets, they must be more prepared than me..."

Don't get me wrong, a goal to get the top of the line water filtration system is well worth the extra money and a good buy...unless you don't have the finances to get it.If you need to, save up for it - there is no shame in that. Staying out of debt is as much a part of self-reliance as buying food. If someone you know is using a credit card to purchase thelatest and greatest in "prepper" accessories, it will come back to bite them something serious...with interest...kind of like an American Staffordshire Terrier...with five sets of shark teeth. Yeowers! That's gonna leave a mark!

Prayer, research and practice are the only sure ways to know that you're going to succeed in the "Concert of Self-Reliance". Others may be looking to you for an example.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 24, 2013 - Salt! Glorious Salt!

Salt is a seasoning that has lasted through the ages! It is so amazing that it is even in the scriptures! In Luke 14:34 it says:

Salt is good: but if the bsalt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

I don't think I've ever had salt that has lost its savour. That is a sad day. So is the day that we forget how important it is to store salt! Our bodies need it! 

I am only slightly obsessed with Colonial America era. I love the clothing, the architecture, the Founding Fathers...I love it all! It shouldn't be surprising that we can learn so many preparedness lessons from this day in time too. They had no cars, no electricity, NO iPHONES??? But they survived! I have found a website that has many things from this time period that I periodically drool over when I have a spare minute or two. They have also been making cooking videos. Here is a video on how to preserve pork with salt (remember, they had no refrigerators) for several winter months.

If you feel so inclined to check out their website, here is also a link, but beware - there are some amazing things on this website you might become as slightly obsessed as I :). Tell me honestly... wouldn't you just LOVE if this stuff came back in style?

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 17 2013 - The Need of Self Reliance

We are seeing an epidemic today of many of our nation's brothers and sisters. It is a sad sight. It is the "Gimme Gimme" epidemic. As we have seen in the news lately about the "glitches" in the nutrition assistance program across the nation. How easily can relying on someone else get you into trouble in a hurry?

George Washington stated, "There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from Nation to Nation. 'Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard." 

Will God do for us which we can do for ourselves? 

I have been reading about my Great Great Uncle Alfred Hancock. This fellow many would consider "unlucky". He contracted typhoid just after he married. This disease left him with an uncooperative leg for the rest of his life. Not long after he "recovered" from the typhoid he was kicked in the head by "the calmest" horse they owned. After three surgeries, he had to learn to walk and talk again. 

By today's standards, he could easily be on "disability" and never work another day in his life. But, he went to school to learn how to repair shoes and still was able to rely on himself for his support and that of his family. 

Please don't misread what I am saying. There are people who cannot provide for themselves. But there are also many who rely on others when they are in reality capable to take care of their families. 

The bottom line is, if there is an emergency, don't plan on going to someone elses house because you didn't prepare. Rely on your own promptings to attain the needs for your family. If there are any "glitches" that our nation may run into, you will have much less to worry about because you planned ahead.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 10, 2013 - Washable What?

Some of you may remember the days that you used to cloth diaper your babies. I was one of those babies. Then came along the THROW AWAY paper diaper. Wow...what an amazing invention. It changed our lives forever. Convenience is trump in our day in age. 

But what if...truckers went on strike, there was an earthquake, or a tornado  happened to interrupt our day? Diapers would fly off the shelves faster than chocolate. If you don't have washable diapers, you're left towels? I'm not liking that visual. 

I looked and looked and looked for fairly priced washable diapers for the"modern" world. I found them. The initial cost is a bit pricey, but they will pay for themselves over and over if taken care of properly. I have been using them for the past two weeks on my bubbins and it is amazing what I have learned in such a short time. One of the greatest blessings of these kind of diapers is you do not have to buy different sizes. They have snaps to adjust the sizing. That is rockin'!Here are the diapers I purchased:

What if you are passed the raising babies stage in your life? Should you get some? That is up to you. Do you have any grand-babies in diapers? If you ever needed them, you'd be so glad you had them. 

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Oct 3 - Cry Me A River

We have seen the river ebb and flow the past few months. What a beautiful sight to many to see all of the rain we have had. Sometimes it was a love/hate relationship because of a leak in my roof, but since that has been fixed (thanks dear!), I welcome all the rain the Lord would like to bless our sometimes very dusty valley with. 

This same river which sustained life for the pioneer settlers, sustains us today (along with wells, water sheds and modern water utilities too). What was life like for those same pioneers who had to haul water before irrigation was existent here? I'm sure it was a pain, but they were so thankful to have it. If you have ever been without water, for one reason or another, you might know what I'm talking about. 

Some of our local wells have dried, some pumps have failed, and others have experienced well collapse. Without water, life stops! We can have all the food storage we want, but without water to cook, clean, sanitize or cool ourselves, it can only take us so far. 

I strongly encourage you to get a supply of water that your family might have inthe case of an emergency. Then, you can cry me a river of joy.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Sept 26, 2013 - Archive: What to do with all this Wheat?

A blog was started by a brilliant young lady when we were in Solomon Ward and we kept the tips coming until the ward split, shuffle and fruit basket reorganization took place. The tips are still available for your reading enjoyment at this link.

I've decided to take some information from that archive once in a while. It is always good to get a refresher on something you may not have thought about for a while. For some it may be old, for some it may be new, sometimes it is borrowed, and seldom it is blue. :) So here goes:

A question I get a lot is: "So, I have all this wheat...what do I do with it?"

Well, I was talking with my friend Marie the other day. She told me that a few years ago her grandparents served a mission in Adam-ondi-ahman. They decided as a couple that they were going to eat SUPER healthy. They made cracked wheat cereal, whole wheat bread, etc etc. They were so happy to be eating healthy...until...about a week into it, for the sake of the squeamish lets just say that her grandfather had some SERIOUS digestive trouble. 

Poor Marie...she didn't know why in the world he was sharing this information with her. Well, Marie, it is because our "Tip-of-the-week" readers needed something to...chew on.

One of the big mistakes that Grandma & Grandpa made was that this much wheat is not something they normally eat. Their digestive systems weren't ready for all that. Our society is beginning to see many food allergies to wheat, soy, eggs, milk etc. I won't get into the hows and whys now, but if we HAVE to eat things that we aren't used to eating, some tummies might not be ready for that. So...lets plan ahead.

Suggestion #1: Plan several meals that you usually eat and have those items on hand...say, 3 months worth :). 

Suggestion #2: Have at least one meal a week that is strictly food storage items. Pancakes are a good start :).

If you're going to be making Whole Wheat Bread, it is a good idea to also get "vital wheat gluten" found currently in the "emergency food isle" at Walmart. After many tries and failures, Sister Noelle told me that her husband uses the "vital wheat gluten" and 2 T to my 2 loaf batch turned out awesome!!! Thanks Noelle!

What if you have allergies to wheat? What if you want to cut gluten down in the things you currently eat in an effort to avoid gluten intolerance later? I have a tool for you! Check out Chef Brad

He has a natural "white flour" recipe and a gluten free flour recipe. I haven't tried them yet, but I'll let you know when I do.

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Sept 19 - Got Oil?

You might think because of the subject line, that I will be discussing cooking oil. Not this time.

I recently heard the story that took place many years ago. There was a serious lightning storm in Manti Utah. A family watched as lightning flashed around thenewly finished temple. The children said to their mother, "The Lord wouldn't strike the temple would He?" Just as the mother was assuring them He would not, lightning struck the temple and it lit on fire. Her husband was among those who fought the fire and put it out. When he returned home, the children asked him why the Lord would strike his own temple. The father answered them that installing a lightning rod had been discussed, but not carried out. He said, "God had given the means to protect the Temple against lightning, and the workers neglected to use those means. They thus did not have a right to expect miraculous interventions."

 What does that have to do with oil? The parable of the 10 virgins can become trite when comparing it with spiritual and physical preparedness. I cannot think ofa better comparison. The five foolish virgins could not expect to attend the feast because they were off buying more oil. 

Like the Manti Temple, we cannot expect "miraculous interventions" if we fail to use the means the Lord has given us to prepare ourselves and our families against days of coming tribulation. This applies to physical, spiritual and even emotional preparedness. 

I spoke with a friend a few years ago and she told me that she thought she was doing enough to prepare by laying some money in the bank. She realized that if financial institutions were to fail, that money would be worthless and she would have nothing to give her family to eat. 

On the other hand, if we do use the means we have to carry out preparations we know we should do, and listen to the spirit for guidance for anything else - I believe we can expect miraculous intervention. That is the law of obedience. "I,the Lord, am bound when we do what I say. When we do not what I say, ye have no promise." Doctrine and Covenants 82:10

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - April 27 - What We Have Here - A Failure to Communicate

We may have all had a time when (for those of us who choose to have them) when we were so thankful to have our cell phone. For some people the cell phone goes in the pocket before teeth are brushed or make-up is applied. It is a necessity.

How would you communicate if your cell phone didn't work? Bostonians recently had this communication shortage during the 2013 Boston Bombings last week. First reports were that service was shut off to prevent anymore cell phone detonation. Then Sprint said that their network shut down because of that kindof traffic. What ever the reason, it is something that can happen. What is your plan B if you cannot communicate via cell phone? How would you tell your family that you were ok in an emergency if your phone isn't working?

Many families have chosen, for several different reasons, to have their home phone now be a cell phone. "Land Lines" are becoming more and more rare because of the versatility that a cell phone can offer.  Inthe event of an emergency there are a few alternative options:

Self - Reliance Tip of the Week - July 8 Vacuum Sealer Jar Attachment

Do you have a vacuum sealer? Did you know there is a jar attachment where you can use canning jar lids and seal all kinds of awesome things in them?

Things I have personally sealed: almonds, chocolate chips, and raisins.

Things I plan on sealing are: olive oil, walnuts, pecans, dried fruit, coconut, brown sugar, and more chocolate chips :),

Things you cannot seal this way: powdery stuff (like flour) it will get sucked up in the hose and stuck, things that need heat and pressure (like fruits and veggies etc).
Here is are some links where you can purchase the attachment. 

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Sept 12, 2013 - Diva Cup

When we're talking about "sanitation" - nothing sounds more "sanitary" than "sanitary napkins". However unruly "Auntie Flow" can be when she comes to visit every 28 days or so, dealing with that visit can be anything but sanitary. Enduring those few days with the inevitable visitor, teaches patience and long suffering to say the least! Do you have a supply for this kind of sanitation? 

If you have daughters in your home that supply must be multiplied because those precious napkins are something you do NOT want to be without in a crisis of any kind (and I'm not talking about the "bad hair day" crisis).

I have recently come across an item that is "self-reliant" friendly. It sounds a little different than the norm, but hear me out. You might want to give this a try.

It is called a "Diva Cup". It is a reusable mini-cup that can be used by sea or by land. It is not associated with chemicals like dioxin (in pads) or sicknesses like TSS (in tampons). The huge plus here, is that it is reusable. That means less to buy and less trash. I know people who swear by these and will never go back tothe traditional means of "sanitary napkins" or the like.

Here is a link to one of the many places that sell this little "Diva" :

For more information here is the "Diva Cup" website:

Self Reliance Tip of the Week - Sept 5, 2013 - Cheese Glorious Cheese!

For many families cheese is a comfort food (oouu pick me!). For other families not so much. If life would be hard for you without cheese, this is the tip for you!

There are actually a few ways to have your cheese for a rainy day:

1) One is cheese waxing - here is an excellent how-to video (not for mozzerella or cream cheese though...hard cheeses are invited to this party only)

2)  And then there is learning how to make your own cheese...It sounds so complicated and not do-able in our modern day...but it is and it TASTES SOOOOOoooo good!

This is a website you can get starter packets (which I have and I have enjoyed making Mozzerella) - I got the 30 minute Mozzerella kit:

When making your own cheese, you need to know there is a learning curve. But you can do it!

3) Freeze dried cheese is an awesome option! This is my favorite place to get it. It is a bit pricey, but you can buy it now and use it later. When stored in the proper temperatures, it will last many many years. I have cooked with it before (including grilled cheese sandwiches!) and my family didn't even know! My picky eaters were none the wiser!

Hopefully you can glean something worth your while in this week's tip. Have a great day!

PS - For those who might not have thought me completely crazy.... I want to let you know that I used my Wonder Oven to dye wool! Please ask me how! :)