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 raelynstoddard@gmail.com.  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.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Charles Dickens has a way of making his characters come to life.  He was often paid for his books by the word count (hence the reason why most of them are very long).   But he had a knack of putting so much of the timeless every-day-ness of human character into his books, that everyone who reads or watches a Dickens work seems to relate to something or someone and is changed as a result!  One of these "human moments" is when Mr. Micawber gives a young David Copperfield his famous, and oft-quoted, recipe for happiness: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

In a few more words than Mr. Micawber,  Marvin J. Ashton explains the need for a budget in section 4 of One for the Money.  I encourage you to read section 4 and have a Family Home Evening, sharing your budget with the whole family.    

Making a budget is an important step to financial independence.  Knowing where each dollar is spent and tracking these expenditures gives each family member appreciation to what things cost and how they can help the family to stay in monetary well-being.  The second part to budgeting is a little harder, but even more important: Keeping in the budget.  Every family member should be honest with each other and commit to spend only what is allotted each month.  Arrange time to review your budget with your spouse regularly and make changes as needed.  As we follow this recipe, we can expect the same result Mr. Micawber promises: happiness.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Two weeks ago, we were urged to come to General Conference with a question.  I made my list of questions, and one of them was, "How do I help my family and my ward be more prepared?"

I am not sure anyone was prepared for the amazing prophetic changes made, but I listened to conference with my ears and my heart open for any phrases like, "preparedness" or "self-reliant."  Well, my friends, I was not disappointed.  Sunday morning, Elder Larry Y. Wilson was the first speaker.  He addressed my question head-on when he said, "Being spiritually self-reliant is hearing the Lord's voice through His Spirt for one's own life."  Wow.  He then went on to say, "...being familiar with the voice of the Holy Ghost is a matter of spiritual life and death."

And, if that wasn't enough, just over an hour later, President Nelson also spoke on the importance of personal revelation, and he told us how to receive it:  "Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.  Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”  

Spiritual self-reliance is a principle that is true, important, and life-saving.  I echo President Nelson, "I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation..."  I also expect to receive our prophet's promise that "...as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord give you, and as you patiently honor the Lord's timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek.  Every blessing the Lord has for you--even miracles--will follow.  That is what personal revelation will do for you."  President Nelson ended his talk with a clear self-reliance statement, "...in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost."  
I challenge you to make the decision today and do what President Nelson said, "Do the spiritual work required to enjoy the git of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly."  Read, ponder, and pray about what our living prophet has told us and work to be spiritually self-reliant.  Meanwhile, I also will be working to receive guidance about how to help you be more prepared.

Monday, April 2, 2018


Forgetting your toothbrush is the worst.  I remember so many occasions when that small little thing just did not make it into our "bathroom bag."  When this happens, I can hardly wait to get to the closest store to buy one!  I am sure you can relate!

Over the last few months I hope you have been working to get your 3 month supply.   Here is what we have done so far:

This month:  Supplement

There are many other items that would help make life easier if we truly could not get to a store for 3 months.  Consider adding these (or other) items to your 3-month supply:  Water, medications, vitamins, TOOTHBRUSHES, Toilet Paper, Paper towels, laundry soap, hygiene supplies, feminine needs, shampoo, soap, etc.  

I challenge you to make a list and purchase (as your budget allows) the 5 most important non-food items to you.  

If you are still on step one, two or three, that's fine.  The important thing is to get started and to keep going until over time, you have a 3-month supply for you and your family.

Remember the church states, “We encourage [you] to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise… [and] do not go to extremes... With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.” (See All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage).