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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jonathan's First Christmas

Pin It The following was shared by Jim Higgins in our news letter that went out last week. It's a great story and thought you might like it.

Image of the Nativity
Image by "dan"
The following story is a purely fanciful rather than factual interpretation of that special day more than 2000 years ago. I hope it brings a smile to your face and a swelling of love within your heart.

 For several weeks little Jonathan had been pestering Michael to put in a good word for him with the choir director.

 "I'm sorry Jonathan, I've told you before, you are just too young to sing with the choir," said Michael. "But there is something you can do to help. Are you interested."

 "Awe, I guess so. But what could be more important than singing with the choir tonight?"

 Michael smiled and whispered in Jonathan's ear. Jumping for joy and starting to yell, Michael had to quickly hush Jonathan before he spoiled the surprise.

 "Now," Michael instructed, "go home and ask your parents if they will give their permission for you to come with me. There is lot's to be done so we need to leave soon. Can you be ready in time?"

 Without the slightest hesitation Jonathan was nodding his head so hard Michael thought it might break off. In an instant Jonathan was gone and Michael was left standing there admiring such youthful exuberance.

 At the appointed time Michael looked for Jonathan and found him standing behind him with a grin as wide as the pearly gates. "How long have you been standing there?"

 "Only about an hour," confessed Jonathan. But Michael knew exactly how Jonathan felt. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go"

 "Ewe; it smells in here; and it is so dirty. What are we doing in a stable?" Jonathan protested. "I thought we" and Michael interrupted.

 "This is where Jesus will be born tonight. And, although he must be born into the most humble of circumstances, we are going to help make it clean for Mary, his mother, when she and Joseph are rejected at the inn."

 With a little more explanation Jonathan finally understood and eagerly began following Michael's instructions. It wasn't long before David, the innkeeper's son, arrived and started cleaning the stable. David didn't know why but he had the strangest urge to complete his most hated job. Soon, the stalls were shoveled and swept clean. About that time, Leah, David's sister came out and helped distribute the clean straw and hay.

 "Wow," said Leah. "You've done a really good job this time. What's gotten into you?"

 "I don't know. I can't seem to help myself. I'm sure the same miserable men will be coming to the inn later and they'll probably be grumpier than ever, what with the taxing and all."

 "Uh huh," Leah agreed. "And they'll probably expect you to take care of their animals, too."

 "Well, at least it will be easier with the stable already cleaned and plenty of hay available. I wonder when the first one will arrive."

 "He's already here. But he was walking - no animals for you."

 "So, I've done all this work for nothing; great!" Just then David and Leah both felt strange and warm.

"What was that?" asked David. Leah, a little perplexed herself, didn't know what to say.

"I think we're done," he continued. "Shall we go back to see what else mother or father needs us to do?" asked Leah.

 "You go ahead. I want to double check and make sure everything is in order. I'll be there in a few minutes."

 Michael smiled at Jonathan and told him what a good job he had done prompting David and Leah to clean the stable extra well. It was just about then that Leah came back with another traveler and his cow. The man was obviously impressed with the condition of the stable which made David feel even better.

 As the day became evening, each traveler seemed equally impressed at the quality of boarding for their animals. Finally, just about sunset, Leah was told to escort a couple to the stable and to bring a blanket. The inn was simply too full to make room for any more overnighters but, after some pleading by Leah, her father had finally agreed to allow the couple to stay in the stable with the animals to give them some protection from the cool air of the spring time nights. David had run ahead and made sure there was an especially clean stall with extra straw for this pregnant woman.

 When they were sure this couple had what they needed, David and Leah turned to leave and Joseph thanked them both for helping them. Later that night Mary was delivered of child surrounded by the warmth of the animals near by. Michael and Jonathan watched through the night as the innkeeper and his family came to visit along with some shepherds and others.

 Finally, with Jonathan protesting, Michael told him it was time to leave. Taking one last look at the babe lying in the manger, Jonathan couldn't help but feel better when he was sure he saw baby Jesus wink at him as if to say, "It's all right. I must now do this alone. Thank you." Jonathan knew he had been a part of the most important day ever. He joined Michael as they returned to heaven and his own parents.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Microwave Peanut Brittle

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     Thanks to a little bit of snow on Sunday, it's starting to feel a bit more Christmasy around here in Rexburg, Idaho.  Most of the students from the college went home last week for Christmas break and things seem much more quiet especially on and around campus.
     However, despite the fact that nearly half the population of the city returned to their families throughout the country, things have been very busy and exciting here at Basic Living.  So many have come in to pick up food storage, emergency kits, Bosch Universals and other things for their loved ones this Christmas season.  We are glad to see more people taking an interest in emergency preparedness and are thrilled to be able to help.  We are grateful for all who come by the store or our online store.  And together with our gratitude, we also wish you a very Merry Christmas!

This week we are giving out Peanut Brittles at the store.  It's a very simple recipe (very delicious, too!) and we hope that those who can't make it to the store would try this in their homes.  Enjoy!

Image of Peanuts
Image by Grant Cochrane
Microwave Peanut Brittle

  • 1 1/2 cup     Dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2    cup     Light corn syrup
  • 1       Tbsp.  Butter
  • 1       Tbsp.  Baking Soda
  • 1       cup     White sugar
  • 1       pinch  Salt (Optional)
  • 1       tsp.     Vanilla
Grease a baking sheet, and set aside.  In a glass bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Cook in microwave for 6 to 7 minutes on high (700 Watts).  Mixture should be bubbly and peanuts browned.  Stir in butter and vanilla.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Quickly stir in baking soda, just until mixture is foamy.  Pour immediately onto greased baking sheet.  Let cool 15 minutes, or until set.  Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.  

Have a more powerful microwave?  Convert cook times here

Monday, December 10, 2012

Merry Christmas Cookies Recipe

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Image of Cookies and Milk by the Christmas tree
Photo Credit: Scott Smith (SRisonS) / Foter CC BY-NC-ND
One of the funnest Christmas traditions I wish to pass on to my kids is leaving cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve.  Because the kids won't get to see Santa come in and fill their stockings on Christmas eve, it is easy to take him for granted.  What a great way to teach them that Santa appreciates a small gesture of kindness by leaving cookies and milk for him.  It's a simple way to teach the children the joys of giving.  

Santa may not come and fill stockings at Basic Living on Christmas Eve, but that doesn't mean we can't take part in the spirit of giving during Christmas season.  Last weekend, Mechele baked some yummy cookies during slow hours at the store.  They will be given to patrons as long as supplies last.  I tried some, and they were delicious!  We wish to share this recipe, which she's had for years, and hope that you, too, will take part in this wonderful spirit of giving this Christmas season!

Merry Christmas Cookies
1/3 cup       soft shortening
1                 egg
1 tsp           lemon flavoring
1 tsp           soda
1/3 cup       sugar
2/3 cup       honey
2 3/4 cup    flour
1 tsp           salt

Mix ingredients and chill the dough.

Roll out the dough so it's 1/4" thick.  

Cut into desired shapes.

Place 1" apart on lightly greased baking sheet.  

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes (or until touching lightly with finger leaves no imprints).  

by Kento Fukuyasu

Thursday, December 6, 2012

46 Lessons from Superstorm Sandy

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Image of New York City
Image by Damian Brandon

Those of you who are subscribed to our newsletters will recognize this information.  Because there are some of you who are not subscribed to our newsletter that might find this useful, we decided to post this on our blog as well.  This is being shared by a man who experienced the fury and results of Sandy - We are leaving it 100% unedited.  We invite you to pay close attention to the lessons learned and act on the things you felt to improve in your life.  Remember, it is better a year early than a day late.  So, here we go.  46 things we can learn from a Sandy survivor.

Things that I learned from Hurricane Sandy

1. The excitement and coolness wears off around day 3

2. You are never really prepared to go weeks without power, heat, water etc. Never!

3. Yes it can happen to you.

4. Just because your generator runs like a top, does not mean its producing electricity.

5. If you do not have water stored up you are in trouble.
     a. A couple of cases of bottled water is “NOT” water storage

Image of person buy fuel at the pump
Image by Poulsen Photo
6. Should have as much fuel as water
     a. Propane
     b. Gas
     c. Kerosene
     d. Firewood
     e. Firestarter, (kindling, paper, etc)

7. Even the smallest little thing that you get from the store should be stocked up.. (spark plug for the generator, BBQ lighter, etc).

8. If you are not working, chances are nobody else is either.

9. I was surprised how quickly normal social behavior goes out the window. I am not talking about someone cutting in line at the grocery store.

     a. 3 people were killed at gas stations within 50    miles of my home.
     b. I did not say 3 fights broke out, 3 people were killed.