Thursday, June 14, 2018


...or is it?

One of the questions I get asked most this time of year is, "Do you guys take a break from school over the summer?"  I always find this a little difficult to answer as I consider Life as school...there is always something to learn!  My usual answer is, "Not really, it's just different."  We usually shift our focus from Math and Language Arts to more engaging History and Science, including field trips.  Part of our summer curriculum is deep-cleaning and food preservation.  But there is always something to learn.

Gaining continual knowledge and learning is one thing that we as people, especially the Lord's people, should be pursuing.

On, it states, "As we become acquainted with truth in good sources of all kinds, we are better prepared to work in the world and serve in the kingdom of God. The Lord revealed, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36). All truth comes from Heavenly Father and is designed for the good of His children. God wants us to educate our minds, improve our skills, and perfect our abilities so we can be a better influence for good in the world, provide for ourselves, our family, and those in need, and build God’s kingdom (see D&C 88:78–80)."

I remember hearing President Hinckley telling church members to "get all the education you can."  I have thought about this a lot over the last 15 or so years.  As a mother in a growing family, I did not ever consider leaving my home to pursue additional degrees.  I did earn my bachelor's degree just before we got married, but I did feel strongly that continuing my education was important, but what does that really mean?.  

For me, I have felt that 'getting an education' means learning right alongside my kids.  Boy, I have learned a ton as a homeschool mom!  I have also watched mothers earn their degrees online, seen groups of women get together to learn a skill, and engaged on one-on-one conversations to learn from those who know more than I do.

I challenge you to seriously consider what "get all the education you can" means for you in your circumstances.  As you sincerely ask the Lord what he would have you do to educate yourself, I am confident He will outline a perfect curriculum just for you, and that may include getting your family involved as well.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


In January, our family took a road trip through Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.  While in Denver, we stopped at a dear friend's home for lunch.  She had built a new home since I saw her last and she was showing me some of her favorite spots.  She opened a closet door and there were 7 backpacks, packed full...her family's 72 hour kits.  I was very impressed and am excited to add 10 72-hour kits to my home in the near future.

72 hours is the time it takes for emergency personnel to begin helping people after a disaster.  In other words, you are on your own for 3 days.

Because this is the #1 item I wish I had for my family during the recent evacuations, I am inviting all of you to participate with me to assemble 72-hour kits.   These would also make wonderful gifts.

This is the last chance to sign up as I need all final numbers and $ to me NO LATER than Sunday, June 10.  

Here's the details: 
  • When:  Wednesday, June 20, 2018 
  • Time:  7:00-9:00 p.m
  • Where:  Stake Center Overflow
  • Cost:  $36.50 per kit
Kits will include:
  • Backpack and ID Tag
  • Personal Supplies:  chapstick, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, washcloth, toilet paper, flashlight & extra batteries, whistle, small notebook & pen, shampoo, conditioner, soap, ear plugs, medical mask, plastic bags
  •  Water
  •  Food for 3 days (About 1500 calories per day, no food needs to be cooked)
Questions:  Contact RaeLyn Stoddard
Payment must be received by RaeLyn no later than June 10, 2018
I can take check, cash, or Paypal

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Back in the 90s I worked in a little candy store in the middle of the mall.  I became a pro at making Cotton Candy and Stringing Taffy.  I took the food safety classes (which really only told me not to put meat and produce on the same shelf in the fridge and to rotate food items "first in-first out"), and saved my paychecks for college tuition.  I remember almost all the gummy and sugary candy we got all had the big "Fat Free!" labels.  I realized there was a whole lot of candy that fit right into the fat-free craze.  I thought it was funny that there were people that actually thought that fat free always meant healthy.   Fast forward about 10 years and I was attending Weight Watchers classes.  I loved them and learned a ton about nutrition.  One of the things that stuck out in my mind was that we need fat in our diet.  Now, this is not license to go out and be crazy about French Fries, but the human body does need the right amount of good fats to be at it's peak.

It is suggested to store a minimum of 10 quarts per person of cooking oil for your year's supply.  For my family, that is 95 quarts.  

"Fat" comes in several forms:  Olive oil, Canola oil, Vegetable oil, Coconut oil, Butter, Peanut oil, etc. One thing to remember about fats is that they do have a shorter shelf life and need to be rotated and replaced often.  Because of this, it is important that you choose fats that you know you will use on a regular basis.  Remember that "first in, first out" rule and you will be great.

I challenge you to get enough cooking oil for your family to add to your long-term storage.

If you would like to add a few extras to your storage, I will list some suggestions each month.  Remember the #1 Food Storage Rule:  Store what you Eat and Eat what you Store!

5 lb Peanut Butter and 2 jars of jelly or jam

6 lb pasta for each member of your family

Safety matches, flashlights, batteries

Condiments:  watch for sales and stock up on mustard, ketchup, relish, mayo, salad dressing, soy sauce, etc.

Sleeping Bag or Tent


Month 1--Salt, 8 lbs per person

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


My Brother-in-law has a philosophy:  "Work is the answer to everything."  If you are depressed, go work.  If you are happy, go work.  If you don't feel well, go work.  If you feel great, go work.  If you are hungry, go work.  If you are in trouble, go to work.  I think you get the idea.  I don't fault him, it is kind of how he was raised.  Yup, I married into a family of work-a-holics.  But this concept of hard work is really something I want to instill into my kids' character.  Nothing happens by itself and only through hard work can we attain something great that we are proud of.

This reminds me of the letter President Hinckley's father wrote him after a young Elder Hinckley felt discouraged and wondered if he should continue his mission.  This letter was simple:  “Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work” (May 1995 New Era).  

Sections 5, 6, and 7 of One for the Money talks about teaching our family, specifically our children about money.  As children work hard to earn money and learn that the family is not a money tree that will just "drop green stuff" every so often.  Instead, they learn how to earn, save, and spend money wisely.  Elder Ashton also suggests that when children contribute to the family welfare, they experience joy and ownership in shared goals.

I challenge you to read these sections and pray about what you can do to help your children (or grandchildren) understand money and become wise stewards over it.  Find a way to teach them that only through hard work and discipline can we achieve our goals.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


I always thought of 72 hour kits as an item used for when everything else fails.  I envisioned me and my family hiking through the wilderness, rationing water and living on berries as a supplement.  Last December, my thinking changed.  During the Lilac Fire, I realized that a 72-hour kit with basic food, clothes, and supplies would have come in mighty handy.

So, my friends, I hope you are able to benefit from my need.  I am making 72 hour kits for my family and I hope you will join me!  I will have all the items ready, all you need to do is come to assemble your kits!
  • When:  Wednesday, June 20, 2018
  • Time:  7:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Where:  Stake Center Overflow (451 W. Bobier Dr. Vista)
  • Cost:  Approximately $45 each.
72-Hour Kits will include:
  • Backpack & ID Tag
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Personal Supplies
    • ChapStick
    • Hand Sanitizer 
    • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Dental Floss
    • Washcloth
    • Toilet Paper
    • Flashlight & Extra Batteries
    • Whistle
    • Small Notebook & Pen
    • Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap
    • Ear Plugs
    • Plastic Bags
  •  Water
  • Food for 3 days (About 1500 calories per day, no food needs to be cooked)
I will be sending around a signup this Sunday, but if you know you would like to participate, you can email me at  Please include your name, phone number, and how many kits you would like to assemble.

The fine print:  
  • If you would like to have kits, but know you will not be able to attend June 20, please arrange for someone (besides me) to assemble your kits for you that night. 
  • I am unable to take out items or replace other items.   The kits come "as is."  You will need to purchase the entire kit, then change it to fit your needs.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Do you remember much Chemistry?  I don't from my school days, but with a homeschool Chemistry class a few years ago and a daughter currently taking CHEM 100 at Palomar, sometimes chemical topics creep up at dinner.  Sodium Chloride (NaCl--if you are fluent in Periodic Table-ese) is definitely a good dinner topic.   This ionic compound is formed by the neutralization of an acid and a base (Sodium and Chloride) to create what we more commonly call salt.

"Salt is what makes things taste bad when it isn't in them." ~Unknown

So, what's the deal with salt?  Salt not only makes things taste good, but it provides the essential chemicals of Sodium and Chorine that humans need to survive.  It helps with things like brain and nerve function.  Before refrigeration salt was used as a preserver for meats.  And, there are so many different kinds of salt!  From table salt, to pink Himalayan salt, Kosher salt, rock salt, and the list goes on.

But, the bottom line is:  You need salt in your food storage.  At least 8 pounds per person.  

So, now you have salt in your food storage.  How do you use it?  Well, the possibilities are endless.  Aside from regular recipes that call for salt, here are a few ideas:

  • Rub gray salt into a prime rib (or other) roast prior to cooking.
  • Sprinkle sea salt onto whole potatoes after brushing with olive oil, then bake.
  • Make homemade ice cream with Rock Salt to make the ice colder--hence the freezing.
  • DIY some flavored salt to add some kick to your recipes (this was totally new to me, but it seems there are several ways to do this, and it doesn't look that hard!).
And if you have a little person in your life, or need a quick birthday present, this is probably my favorite salty recipe:

Play Doh
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/3 cup Salt
2 tsp. Cream of Tarter
1 1/2 c. Water
1 1/2 Tblsp Vegetable Oil
Food Coloring or Kool-Aid Packet

Mix Ingredients (dry then wet) on stove.  Cook over medium heat until it thickens.  Cook 4-6 minutes until if forms into a ball.  Knead.  For something extra fun, knead in a bit of glitter.  Store in airtight bag or container.

Monday, April 30, 2018


Are you up to the challenge?

On Sunday I challenged every family in our ward to have a basic year supply of food by May  1, 2019.  I referenced Elder Featherstone from the April 1976 Conference (his talk is the best talk I have heard on food storage EVER--I highly encourage you to read it) and feel strongly that this is something our ward should focus on.

My job (that I love!) is to help you be prepared.  I am available for questions, help, coaching, and whatever you need to help you get your year's supply.  Over the next 12 months, I will be giving monthly guidelines for you to follow.  I promise this is not hard, it just requires a little effort and faith.

As President Hinckley said, “We can begin ever so modestly.  We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months.  I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.  Begin in a small way…and gradually build toward a reasonable objective.”  

I will give you small, monthly goals that can be met easily. I will give a basic goal, which I hope all will obtain, and also a few suggestions to supplement your storage even more.

May's goal: Salt.

Nutritionists recommend iodized salt when available. I think this is one of the easiest items. It is very inexpensive, requires no extra packaging, and makes everything taste yummy. Any grocery store is a good source to buy salt. Unfortunately, it seems Costco has stopped carrying it, so don't check there.

The minimum suggestion is that you have 8 lbs. of salt for each person. The general rule is that you half the amount for children and plan on 150% for teens. You know your family best, so you can do the math accordingly.

For my family of 10, I will plan for 3 adults, 3, teens, and 4 children; so I multiply amounts by 9.5 for my family. Therefore, I need 76 lbs of salt.

If you would like to add a few extras to your storage, I will list some suggestions each month. Remember the #1 Food Storage Rule: Store what you eat, and eat what you store!

Yeast: 1 lb per person. SAF yeast is the best brand and is vacuum-packed for freshness. I recommend keeping it in the freezer after opening to keep it good. Locally, the places to buy it are WINCO and Costco Business Center (Othello Ave. San Diego).

Dry Soup and Mixes, Crackers

5 lb bag of Popcorn

Garden Seeds and Shovel. If you want "Storage" Seeds, consider an Heirloom pack that can be easily stored in your freezer.