About Us

Where to begin....oh yeah about us! John and I have been married for almost 22 years. He's been a butcher for almost 33 years. He's worked retail, wholesale, locker plants,and meatpacking houses. I was a kindergarten teacher when we got hitched but was able, due to our passion for frugality and sacrifice, to stay at home and raise our kids- current total 10. Eight of which are still basically at home most of the time and range in age from 20-2.

We both grew up in large frugal families that had to watch every penny. I figured out the other day why I liked hand-me-downs so much- they were usually cute clothes from people I loved versus when we'd go shopping for new things- I as the oldest of 7 was under a lot of pressure to get something practical, durable, and sensible that could be passed down through the ages. One of my most frugal accomplishments was graduating from college in 3 years debt free with my degree in Elementary Education- without grants. I like kids, toys, movies, desserts,making soaps and adore reading.

John's mom has never owned either a clothes dryer or a car by choice. She was able to raise 6 kids on her own and they never went hungry. John was a Marine Corps cook for 3 years and then was encouraged to become a meat cutter along side his older brother. We met while I was teaching kindergarten and got married shortly thereafter. We started out both in debt from previous marriages and by buckling under and the grace of God we were out of debt within the year. By the end of our second year of marriage we'd had our first child together and bought our first home.

We started publishing Ark Essentials the newsletter in 1991 before everyone was concerned about Y2K. It was dedicated to promoting provident living and preparedness and we ceased operations in 2000 when we stopped homeschooling and started building a home. In 2002 we sold that home and moved.

On the side while doing the newsletter John wrote his first book Confessions of a Butcher/Eat Steak on a Hamburger Budget and Save$$$ and I designed My Quiet Dolls- patterns and craft kit. In 2007 we incorporated and formed Ark Essentials Inc.

John currently is working on his first novel,writes a biweekly column for the newspaper, loves to garden and anything to do with college football and his Oregon Ducks.

Here's a video from a presentation that John did for my women's group.

John's Articles

Beef Back Rib Recipe
Chicken Fried Steak Recipe
Easy Meat Loaf Recipe
Flat Iron Steak Sandwich Recipe
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Hamburger Funny Face Recipe
Hamburger Gravy Recipe
Prime Rib Loaf Recipe
John's Awesomely Way Good Cheap Chili