Sunday, December 17, 2017

The People and Events around the Savior's Birth

This is a LOT longer than most of my blog posts, since it was a talk I gave in church today.  It tells about all the people who surround the story of Jesus' birth.  


Today I’m going to tell a true story.  So, I want the children to really listen.  Remember this is a true story about a baby. 

Once upon a time, there was a man named Zacharias and his wife named Elizabeth.  Now, Zacharias and Elizabeth were really old.  Older than your big brothers and sisters.  Older than your parents.  They were probably as old as your grandparents.  Zacharias and Elizabeth were very sad because they didn’t have any children.  But, Luke tells us that “they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” Luke 1:6 This part of the story is important, because it teaches us that just because someone doesn’t have children, it doesn’t mean that they are unrighteous.

Zacharias was a priest.  Back then, one priest each year was chosen to go into the temple and perform the sacred duties each year.  It was kind of like drawing straws.  And this year, old Zacharias was chosen to do the special duties in the temple.  While he was in the temple by himself, an angel appeared to him!  The angel was named Gabriel.  We know from modern revelation that Gabriel is Noah. Gabriel told Zacharias that Elizabeth was going to have a baby.  Zacharias was shocked.  Elizabeth was very old.  Most grandmas don’t have babies. He asked Gabriel, “Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” (Luke 1: 18) 

Now, we know from reading the Book of Mormon that asking for a sign is never a good thing.  Gabriel did give him a sign.  He told him, “behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words…” (Luke 1: 20)  When Zacharias left the temple, he couldn’t speak.  He went home to Elizabeth and they conceived a child. 

Now about six months after that, the angel Gabriel went to visit another person.  He went and visited Mary.  We don’t know a lot about Mary.  We know that she was a righteous woman, engaged to be married, and that her name was probably actually Miriam.  Mary is what we call her in English.  She was also probably quite young, like young women age.  Look around you at the Young Women you know and imagine Mary being about that age.

Anyway, Gabriel came to her and told her that she was going to give birth to the Son of God.  Just like Zacharias, Mary was shocked.  But, unlike him, she believed Gabriel.  However, she wanted to know how this was going to happen because she wasn’t married and couldn’t be pregnant, yet.  She asked him “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”  This shows us that it’s ok to ask questions in faith, just like Joseph Smith did when he went and asked which church to join.  Gabriel also told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby. 

Mary quickly went to visit Elizabeth.  When she arrived and greeted Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.  (Luke 1: 41)  Elizabeth “spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb….For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” 

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months.  The scriptures don’t tell us whether she was there when Elizabeth had her baby, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that she was there.  Eight days after  Elizabeth and Zacharias baby was born, they prepared to circumcise him and give him a name.  It was typical in that day to name a child after his father and the people wanted to name him Zacharias.  But, Elizabeth insisted that his name should be John.  The people didn’t believe her, so they asked Zacharias to write what the baby’s name should be.  He wrote, “His name is John.”  This shows that mothers can have faith and revelation and speak for their children, just like fathers can.  This John grew up to be John the Baptist.  He was Christ’s cousin, he prepared many people to receive Christ, and he baptized Christ.

But, enough about Zacharias and his family.  Let’s go back to Mary.  Mary had returned home.  Her fiancĂ© was named Joseph.  We know that Joseph was a carpenter.  We know that he was of royal lineage.  He and Mary were both descendants from King David.   Many people think that he was a lot older than Mary.  If you look at art, he will often be show as an elderly man.  But, we don’t know if this was true or not.  We do suspect that he died before Jesus did.

Remember that Mary was pregnant.  Joseph knew that he could not be the father.  Back in those days, he had the right to have her stoned to death since she was pregnant with someone else’s baby.  But, he didn’t want to do that.  This shows us that he was a just and kind man.  He was going to break their engagement privately.  The scriptures tell us, “while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1)

There’s something important we can learn from this.  People receive revelation in different way.  Zacharias received his while in the temple.  We think Mary received her visit while at home. Joseph received his angelic visit in a dream after studying the issue.  Elizabeth didn’t have a visit from an angel, she simply believed the testimony of the Holy Ghost.  Each of these people received revelation.  We can receive revelation, too.  We can go to the temple, study, have quiet time, and listen for the Spirit.  We don’t have to have an angel visit us to know something is true.  Zacharias had an angel visit but didn’t believe at first.  But, Elizabeth had nothing more than the Holy Ghost telling her and she believed whole heartedly. 

So, back to our story.  Joseph woke up from his dream, and quickly married Mary.  In the Spring, they went to Bethlehem to be taxed.  It was here, in a humble stable that Jesus was born.  We celebrate Jesus’ birth in December, but he was really born in the spring. We know this because there were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks that night.  This only happens in the spring.  While they were watching over their flocks, an angel appeared to them!  They, like the others in this true story, were shocked to see an angel.  They were afraid.  The angel told them not to be afraid, that he was bringing them a joyous message, that the Savior, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem.  We know this happened the same night that Jesus was born because the angel also told them that in order that they would know that they found the right baby, they would find him wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  Then suddenly, there were a “multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2: 13-14)  When the heavenly visitors left, the shepherds rushed to Bethlehem to find the baby Jesus. 

The shepherds’ part of the story teaches us that we need to hurry to do what the Lord asks us to do.  If they had waited, they wouldn’t have been able to see Jesus.  They also teach us to share our testimony and what we see that is good.  The scriptures say, when the shepherds “had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. …  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”  Luke 2: 17-20

Eight days after this, Jesus was circumcised and given his name.  As a religious practice, we don’t circumcise today.  That was part of the old law that was done away with when Christ died and was resurrected.  But, Jesus needed to obey the old Mosiac law, which was still in effect. 
In addition, Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem 40 days after he was born.  As part of the law, they needed to offer a sacrifice.  They offered a pair of birds as the sacrifice.  This shows us that they were a very poor family.  Luke 2: 24

There was also a very old man named Simeon in the temple that day.  He lived in Jerusalem and was prompted by the Spirit to visit that temple that day.  It had been “revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Luke 2: 26  When he saw Jesus, he took “him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation…” Luke 2: 28-30. 

There was also another special person in the temple that day.  Her name was Anna.  She was a prophetess, a widow, and very old.  She served in the temple.  When she entered the room with Jesus, she instantly recognized him as the Savior, and “gave thanks unto the Lord.”  Luke 2: 36-38.  These two people beautifully show us that as we get older, we can still serve the Lord.  They also show us that women, as well as men, can have equal revelation.  Women can also testify of Jesus Christ with as much meaning and power.  And, their work is just as valuable to the Lord.

After Jesus was presented in the temple, Mary and Joseph returned to “Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.”  Luke 2: 39  Now, you may be thinking that I forget some people.   Where are the wise men?

Well, the wise men hadn’t arrived yet!  The wise men came with very expensive gifts for the Christ child.  If they had arrived already, Mary and Joseph would have been able to give a more expensive sacrifice than a pair of birds in the temple. 

A lot of times we think there were three wise men.  That’s because there were three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.  But, we really don’t know how many there were.  It may have been more or less than three.  We know that they were scholars since they studied the scriptures and the stars.  They travelled a long distance to worship Christ.  The star took them to Jerusalem, where they asked King Herod where the new prince was.  Herod didn’t know, but his priests and scribes told them that he was born in Bethlehem in Judea.  They also told him when the star had appeared, so King Herod was able to guess at how old the baby was then. 

Herod told the wise men to go to Bethlehem, and when they had found the baby, to come tell him, so he could worship, also.  But, Herod was wicked and really wanted to kill Jesus.  He was afraid Jesus would take his throne.  The wise men, left Herod, and the star once again became visible.  It lead them to where the child really was.  One way that we know that they came later, after the birth, was that they found the young Jesus in a house and not in a stable.  When they found him, they worshiped him and gave him their gifts.  They were also warned in a dream to avoid Herod on their trip home. 
After they left, Joseph also received a dream that warned him to take his family and flee into Egypt because Herod was going to try to destroy Jesus.  “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt….”  The family stayed there until Herod died.  Matt 2
There are a couple of important lessons from this part of the story, too.  Sometimes, we don’t know what our service will do for another person.  Remember that Joseph was very poor.  It would have cost a lot of money to just get up in the middle of the night and flee to Egypt.  The wise men didn’t know that the family would need their gifts in order to finance their trip.  The wise men probably never even knew what Joseph and Mary did with their gifts.  But, their generosity and service in traveling so far, saved Christ’s life. 

A second lesson is closer to home.  Not all of us live with our biological mother and father.  Sometimes, we have a step parent, like Joseph was to Jesus.  Joseph was still the head of their family and received revelation that protected Jesus.  He was a good man and loved and cared for Jesus.  Our families can be the same.  In Disney, step parents are evil.  But, in real life, there are lots of people who are righteous and love us and help us be safe from worldly and spiritual harm. 
Finally, we are reminded that when we are given instruction from the Lord, we need to act right away.  Joseph didn’t know that Herod was going to have every baby in Bethlehem and around it, under the age of two killed.  He simply acted and did what he was told to do.

You may think this finishes our tale.  But there are two more groups of people I haven’t mentioned yet.  First, five years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Samuel told the people in the Americas to watch for the sign of his birth.  As that day approached, the wicked began to “rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.  And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass. But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.”  3 Nep 1: 6-8

Do you see this happening sometimes in your life?   People tease, make fun of, or put you down because of your beliefs?  The more righteous people were very sad because of this.  Does it make you sad?  They sometimes wondered if the sign would come.  This shows us that it’s normal to sometimes wonder.  The trick is to be like these believers and continue to watch for the promises so that you know that your faith is not in vain.

“Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.”  3 Nep 1: 9  The prophet Nephi was very worried about this and prayed to the Lord.  But, that night when the sun went down, it stayed light.  Many people who hadn’t believed, then knew the truth.  It stayed light all night into the next day.  And, then a new star appeared.  Many people were converted to the Lord.

Our last people to talk about are us.  We haven’t seen the baby Jesus, but we have received many different testimonies of him.  We have the testimonies in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon.  We have the examples of the many faithful men and women who looked forward to His birth.  We can choose to continue to have faith even when it’s hard.  I hope we can be like the prophetess Anna who waited her whole life to see Jesus, never losing faith.  I hope that we can be strong like the Nephite people who were mocked and threatened.  Christ lives and loves us.  This is my testimony.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

A few of my other short blog entries about Christmas:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Accepting Callings

Trust the Lord and council with your Bishop when it comes to callings. During my divorce, I was called to nursery. I had all kinds of reasons that I could have resented the calling. Common gossip would say that this is where divorced women are sent because they aren't "worthy" to hold any other calling. I had five kids at home; I needed the break. One of my own kids was in nursery! I needed support of other women. I'd already served my time in nursery. I don't like little kids. But, the Lord knew my situation, my needs, and my heart. He knew how fragile I was. he knew that I sobbed through every sacrament meeting. He knew that my heart couldn't handle two additional hours of the usual teaching. He knew that I needed the gentle, simple teachings in nursery: "God loves you," "God made the trees," "God gave you loving parents." He knew that I needed the one-on-one visits with the other sisters in nursery. He knew that too many people and too many questions was more than I could handle. He knew that I was worthy to enter His temple and that His children needed a worthy teacher. He knew that my baby in nursery needed the extra time with me and he grew more confident. I served there a short time. I wasn't excited for the calling. I never loved it. I went home exhausted each week. I celebrated the day I was released. But, I am deeply grateful for the calling and a perceptive Bishop who extended it to me despite the fact that I might have been offended by it. I'm grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who gave me what I needed even when I didn't know it was what I needed and didn't want it anyway. We are blessed when we accept His gifts.

All that said, Bishops are human and sometimes I also think they are prompted to extend callings as a way to get us in their office and share what's going on in our lives. It's ok to council with your Bishop and explain your concerns with a new or current calling. Your time spent in council may result in solutions that hadn't occurred to you before, the calling being withdrawn, revised or released, or you accepting the calling with more peace. Whatever the case, don't just unilaterally make the decision. Take advantage of the opportunity for a two way discussion with the Lord's representative. Callings are a gift from God. They aren't all fun, but they can all be a blessing.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

72 Hour Kit: Shelter, Warmth & Clothing

This is part of a multi-part series on 72-hour kits.  See the other parts by clicking on the links to the right.  

SHELTER

I actually figure that the most likely scenario where we would use our 72-hour kit is one where we end up in an established shelter of some sort, a school or church or the like.  So, I'll be honest, I've kind of skimped when it comes to shelter.  I've included a rope and duct tape and figured we could use the garbage sacks and foil blankets we have to put together a sad covering if we really needed to.

However, as I work on rebuilding our kits, I might give in and purchase some simple, lightweight shelters like the triangle tube tent below.  It only weighs a few ounces, folds up to the size of a smart phone, and holds two adults.  It's open on both ends, so you'd have to use some duct tape to close one end and use plants or debris in front of the other.  You don't want it entirely closed because you still want to release carbon dioxide.  There are no stakes to hold it down, but four rocks on the inside corners will do that duty.  It's made out of mylar (that shiny thin metal stuff) so should reflect back body heat and keep rain and snow off.

        SHELTER            -- foil BLANKET fleece --

WARMTH


I currently have those thin mylar blankets.  The link I've posted above is for ten.  But, they are less than 80 cents each!  You can have extra for shelter, split the order with someone else, or give some away at that price.  Mylar blankets are super for space and weight savings, but they just lack something as far as psychological warmth goes. So, I am thinking that if room in our new packs allows, I will probably add a small, lightweight fleece blanket to most of the packs.  This will be in addition to, not as a replacement for the mylar blankets.  The mylar blankets have a  ton of other potential uses.  They can be used to collect rain or dew, keep the rain off, as a shelter, or to reflect the sun for starters.  Anyway, I'll probably look for fleece blankets at thrift stores like Goodwill, Value Village and D.I. but, I've included a link to one just in case.

In addition to blankets, we have the Sterno cans we have for heating our food.  However, open flame has it's own concerns of fire and asphyxiation, if being used in a closed space.  Plus, we don't want to use up our food heat before we've used up our food.  So, that's a limited heat source.

Finally, we have a supply of chemical hot packs like the ones below.  These are super duper easy to use and won't start a fire.  You do have to be careful using them with small children, the elderly or anyone else who may not be able to sense if they get too hot.  Just make sure there is a good barrier between them and the hot pack.  I have plain hand ones which are a plain rectangle shape.  You can put these in your shoes, but they do make a shoe one as well. I've never tried it, however.

   WARMER               PONCHO               TAPE



CLOTHING

Clothing: the bane of any mother's existence.  We are constantly picking it up, washing it, putting it away, and buying new clothes for ever growing kids.  Even in a disaster, we've got to think about clothing.  It's one of the few areas that I can't get around having to check and rotate the clothes because my kids just keep growing.  The packs that the rats got into had diapers in them, but my youngest is six an has been potty trained for several years!  Obviously, I've fallen behind.

To start with, I've put in disposable rain ponchos.  I live in the Pacific Northwest.  It rains here, a lot.  On a day to day basis, it's not that big of a deal and people don't even use umbrellas.  But, it's not fun to be wet and not be able to dry out.  The ponchos are very thin.  When I say they are disposable, I mean disposable.  Treat them gently.  They'll be too big for most children.  Use your duct tape to size them as needed. The link above is for four ponchos. If you watch, you can probably find these cheaper.  I just saw them at Winco for less than a dollar each.

Next I'm going to add a warm hat for each family member.  I prefer fleece because fleece cuts wind and repels water better.  If you don't have any extra hats, check your local dollar store.  You can probably save more there than even at thrift stores.  There are links to a couple of good deals below if you don't want to shop around.

Then I'm adding two pair of socks per person.  Now, here comes my evil secret.  You know that pile of mismatched socks we all have?  Mine is HUGE.  I'm going to find socks that are alike in shape and use those.  I don't really care if they match otherwise, as long as they are warm.  If you don't want to go this route, there's a link to some wool socks in all sizes below.

While cleaning out the kids clothes, pull out something ratty but still durable and warm and stick that in their pack for clothing.  One change per person.  Include some sort of jacket, coat, or sweater.  This should be rotated every six months or so depending on how fast your child is growing.  We all know babies grow super fast and teen boys sprout like weeds.

Finally, sturdy shoes and work boots should be included for each family member.  To be honest, my budget doesn't really allow this.  So, I rely on the last pair of shoes they've trashed but still fits and isn't being worn.  It's better than nothing.

I'm packing all clothing in ziplock or seal-a-meal bags so that they stay dry.



disclaimer:  I do get a small commission if you purchase through the links above.  But, mostly, they are there to illustrate what I'm talking about and for reference, so don't feel obligated in any way.  :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

72 Hour Kit: Food and Water

This is part of a multi-part series on 72-hour kits.  See the other parts by clicking on the links to the right.

The rats which have been causing problems got into our 72-hour kits.  Grrr.  They pretty much destroyed them, so we are starting over in many ways.  Here's what we have or are working on getting.

WATER  

One gallon of water per person per day minimum is recommended.  But water is heavy to carry and we live in an area with an abundance of available water, so my focus is on cleaning the available water, not storing water for my 72 hour kit.  I'm getting:

Polar pure:  We can use this to purify the larger amounts of water we will need to prepare our dehydrated food.  It kills all living organisms, treats up to 2000 qts of water from one bottle (that's super affordable compared to other options), has an indefinite shelf life (so I don't have to rotate or replace it), it's super easy to use, and is supposed to have little taste.  It doesn't filter out sediment.

All you do is fill the very small bottle with water, wait one hour, treat the water you are going to drink and wait 20 min.

Tip:  dissolve a vitamin-c tablet in the water after the 20 minutes to make the water clear again, instead of iodine colored.  It can be a magic trick for your kids.  I've linked an example of vitamin-c here for reference, but really any cheap vitamin-c tablet will do.  Any dose.




Life Straw:  These can be used for individual drinking water.  You just stick in the water and drink through the straw.  Works great for everyone who can drink through a straw.  If you have an infant or small child, you'd need to use the polar pure to clean their water.

Additional Water:  I'm including a sealed bottle of water for each person to get us started.  Plus, we are storing water in clean used soda bottles in case we shelter in our home.  It's lots easier to access that then go find water.  Don't use milk containers.  They decompose and leave you with a wet mess!

FOOD

You can calculate how many calories you need per person using this handy dandy chart at WebMd. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/estimated-calorie-requirement  It lists calorie needs by age starting at age two, sex, and activity level.  But, I kept it simple and went with an average of 2000 cal per person per day.  I considered several options.

MINIMALIST OPTION People have different opinions about food.  My mother says she doesn't really care if she's hungry as long as she has the nutrients she needs.  So she packs high energy, low weight, high calorie, but not very filling energy food like the S.O.S. Rations bars shown below.  Personally, I have kids and I don't want to see them crying because they are hungry.   Neither approach is wrong. Pick what works for you.  The advantage to her approach is that the bars take little space in her pack, are comparatively light weight, require no prep, no heat, and no water (but they are dry, so you probably will want water to wash them down with.)

LOW COST OPTION  You can easily put together 72 hours of food using top ramen, oatmeal packets, jars of peanut butter, and canned tuna.  This is inexpensive and a little can be purchased at each grocery trip.  Just make sure to rotate it every year (and keep it away from the rats.)  I didn't want to go this route.  It's what I've had and I'm ready for an upgrade.  I don't want to have to rotate all the time.  Plus, honestly, I don't like top ramen all that much.  Not that I wouldn't eat it in a disaster.  I've included a link for the picture, but honestly, I'd wait until it goes on sale at your local grocery store and buy there.

EASY OPTION  I also considered a pre-made kit like the 72 Hour Emergency Kit by Legacy below.  Its calorie amount is right and it has a good feedback on taste.  Plus, it includes everything you need for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  But, to feed seven of us, I'd need to purchase four kits which adds up.  This is a great route to go, but you do need to read the fine print and do a little math when decided what kit to purchase.  The kit I selected below has the right calorie count, but a lot of the kits don't.  When you calculate the calories per serving, they'll work out to 1000 or so per day.  That's not a problem as long as you are aware of it and plan your food accordingly.

   MINIMALIST         LOW COST        EASY OPTION
 

CHOOSE YOUR OWN OPTION  Finally, I decided to choose our own food.  I choose number 10 cans because they have the longest shelf life (25 YEARS) and are relatively rat resistant.  Plus, when feeding seven people, it's cost effective to buy a larger size.  In addition, the cans be used to cook in, carry water, store things, etc.

But, everything I chose is available in smaller sizes as well (just click the link and select the smaller pouch.)  The shelf life isn't as long (12 years) but still lasts many years.  You can rotate it out an a camping trip.  Here's what I chose.

MAC'N'CHEESE      BEEF STEW         RICE'N'CHKN    

 
    SPAGHETTI          PRIMAVERA     STROGANOFF

Frankly, I chose these flavors because they were ones my kids would eat that were on the lower end cost wise.  But, there are some others that sound delicious, too:  Chicken Teriyaki, Sweet and Sour Pork, Mexican Style Rice and Chicken.  I chose Mountain House because everything I've ever tasted by them is pretty good, they've been around forever, and have a great reputation.  I also added in one can of oatmeal from the LDS Church Cannery.  We'll eat that for breakfast.

We are putting one can in each person's bag and think it won't be too heavy since they are dehydrated foods.  If we are separated, one person will get tired of whatever she or he has, or will trade with other people, but will be nourished.  If we are together, we'll open one can at a time and all eat it.

COOKING GEAR

The food can be rehydrated with cold water, but it takes longer and will taste a lot better warm.  If we are home, we have a gas stove that we can light with a match if the electricity is out.  We also have a propane BBQ.

TIP:  keep an extra propane tank in reserve. It's good for emergency storage and for when you are cooking and run low.  In addition, we have a camp stove that runs off those little propane bottles.  Finally, we could have a wood fire in our fire pit.

But, for our 72 hour kit, none of those are easily portable.  After looking at the options, I decided to go with:

     *6 Sterno cans: one in each of the oldest people's packs. These can be used and put out, then used again.
     *1 Cute little Sterno Stove:  Just the right size for a number 10 can.  If we are separated, those who don't have the stove will have to make due using rocks or found objects.
     *Some metal cups to eat out of:  We had some already, but I needed a couple more.   We can use these to heat the food, but I really plan to heat the food in the number 10 cans.  If you are getting pouches, you will probably want to get a small mess kit that includes a small pot.
     *Multi-function flatware:  These are forks/knives/spoons.  The knives aren't very sharp, but won't be used to cut anything that needs it.  I love that they are in different colors.  Each person knows which is his or hers.  I like these well enough, that I plan to order some more for camping.
     *7 P-38 Can Openers:  I already had a couple but needed a few more so that I can duct tape one to each can in case we are separated.  These are dirt cheap.
     *Matches and lighters!  Be sure to remember these!
     *Ziplock baggie to put the dry food in, so I can use the number 10 can as a pot.


 STERNO=HEAT          STOVE                   CUPS              


 FLATWARE        CAN OPENER


If you buy though clicking on any of my links, I do get a small commission at no cost to you.  I appreciate it, but that's not why the links are there. They are there to help illustrate what choices I made and help others find what they are looking for.  Pictures are just so much easier than words sometimes.  :)

Monday, December 26, 2016

What to do when Baby BITES when BREASTFEEDING?!

For some reason this question has come up a lot lately.  I thought I'd save myself some time and answer it here, so I can just post a link.  I've nursed five children, each for over two years.  So, I've been bit once or twice.  I have some experience with it.  You are not inevitably doomed to bleeding sores.

Babies don't all bite for the same reason.  Figuring out why your baby is biting can help end it.  One overarching thing to keep in mind is that it is anatomically impossible for babies to get milk and bit at the same time.  If they are nursing, they can't bite.  If they are biting, they aren't nursing.

Some babies bite at the beginning of a feed.  Often they are seeking pain relief for swollen, tender gums.  It may take some timing on your part, but try to sooth those gums before baby is very hungry and just before feeding.  Offer a teething toy, a wet frozen washcloth, or rub his gums with your finger.  Relieving the pain may help him, and you, have a better nursing experience.

Other babies will chomp and release toward the end of a feeding.  Go with what feels natural in a situation like this.  Let out a yelp!   Immediately remove her from your breast, firmly tell her, "No biting!", put her down on the floor and walk away, even if she is crying.  In generally, a Christlike mommy doesn't want her babies to cry, but in this case, loving discipline is in order.  Come back soon, soothe her and remind her, "No biting."  Babies learn quickly, that biting means no cuddles and no milk.

Some babies bite at the end of a feed and latch on like a little barracuda.  They just won't let go!  It seems wrong, but pull that babe into your breast smothering her.  Make sure to cover her nose, so that she can't breath, so that she is forced to open her mouth to breath.  Don't worry, you aren't trying to strangle her, just force her to open her jaw!  She will. Like above, immediately firmly tell her, "No Biting!", put her down on the floor and and walk away.  She'll get the message after repeatedly doing this.

There is another class of babies that seem to get bored toward the end of a feeding and bite to get a reaction from you.  For these little ones, watch closely for when they start to slow down.  Unlatch them when they are near the end of the their feed and end the feed a tad early.  This can be tricky.  You want them to get enough to eat, but not bite you.  Usually, a babe this age is older and also trying out solid foods, but getting his or her main nutrition still from mama.  But, you've been doing this for a while, and probably have a feeling for when your babe is getting full.

With any of these, consistency is the key.  It may take a week or so of repeatedly teaching your baby.  But, it is so worth it.  Nursing an older baby is so much more fun and rewarding than nursing a newborn.  Plus, it makes life a ton easier.  Looking back on it, getting through the biting part was actually easier than getting through the newborn part.  You've made it this far. You've got this Mama!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Conference Butterscotch Bubble Bread

We have a tradition of making this for LDS General Conference morning.


18 frozen dinner rolls (2 packages will make three batches)
1 (3.5 oz) package cook & serve (not instant) butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C melted butter

At 9:30 pm, on Saturday night,
Spray a 9" bundt pan with cooking spray.
Place 24 frozen dinner rolls in pan
Sprinkle with 1 3.5 oz package of cook and serve (not instant) butterscotch pudding mix
Sprinkle with 1/2 C brown sugar
Pour 1/2 C melted butter over the top
cover and let sit on counter overnight

at 8:15 am, on Sunday morning,
preheat oven to 350 degrees
bake for 25 minutes
remove from oven, invert onto dish and serve.

times are approx.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

I've never had a breakfast casserole worth repeating, until now.  They always end up soggy.  This one isn't.  Here it is....

*2 pkg frozen Potatoes O'brian:  bake at 350 for 30 min on a Pam coated baking sheet
*3 lbs bacon: cook 'till crispy

mix above with

*3 C of your favorite cheese, grated
*4 green onions, diced (next time, I'm tried diced red onions)

Pour all into a Pam coated casserole dish.
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In a separate bowl, mix together:

*3 C eggs
*3 cans (36 oz total) fat free evaporated milk
*Salt & Pepper

Cover the casserole and the bowl.  Put both in the fridge until ready to cook.
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Rewisk the egg mixture, then pour over the potato mix.  Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour until eggs are set in the middle.

The original recipe is from http://recipesl1.blogspot.com/2016/03/farmer-casserole.html .  I've adapted it.