Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 49 Driving Home

We had boiled eggs with salt, bread, and crackers but two hours in the reod we bought more produce, salad dressing, bagels, croutons, and licorice to help us through the 14 hours driving home. But by 8:30 pm everyone was starving. I had to consent to ordering 4 small pizzas, regardless of my budget concerns.

Day 48 Sunday

Sunday Dinner - we took a cajun potatoes salad to share.

Day 47 Parenting Experiences

We made pancakes for breakfast. For lunch we ate the leftover baked potatoes, with chili and a hot dogs, and dinner was served at a family gathering. The celebration was a 50 year Anniversary party for the parents of 12 children. Each of the 12 shared a memory and or experience with his parents. The advice was precious to me. Here are some of the take away points:

1) Don't be afraid to discipline.
2) Allow children to experience the consequences of avoiding responsibility and teach them that responsibilities don't go away even when the job is disliked. (The dishes waited until the child realized running away didn't solve the problem.)
3) "Don't let Christ die in vain, repent today."
4) Keep your bearings - know where you are in the world and in life and in what direction you are heading. The small day to day decisions will get you to end destination if you keep your eyes on the goal.
5) Listen twice as much as you talk.
6) Support individuality.
7) Soap with cayenne is sometimes appropriate when fowl language is brought home. Men can keep there tongues in check even when doing the plumbing, working on cars, or watching a sporting event.
8) When bad language erupts, quietly asking "Did you have to use all that to tell me the problem?"
9) Intervene in the lives of children and do what's best for them even if it means locking horns with the school.
10) Teach children to hold their tempers, "What will it take for you to understand that you cannot act that way. If I acted that way toward you, I would be put in jail for months."
11) Play a guessing game at the dinner table to start discussion. "I am thinking of a scripture." Children ask yes or no questions until they have guessed the scripture. The family then discusses the principles therein.
12) From their example I know that rites of passage are important. Whichever girl was turning 16 was in charge of the kitchen all summer. She cooked for hired hands and the family. The oldest girl clear down to the youngest fulfilled the task. Each child carried the same summer responsibilities as a vote of confidence more than as a hired hand.

Day 46 Traveling

We left at 6:00 am for a 12 hour trip after 5 hours of restless sleep. The baby is feverish. I am at the end of the month, over budget and going on a trip that will require two full days in the van with only bathroom stops when we get gas. I packed baked potatoes, homemade granola bars, fresh wheat bread, butter, a little ranch dressing, apples, oranges, carrots, celery a 5 gallon cooler of water and we were off. The children did well all day. The thirteen year old was hungry after 30 minutes on the road. He looked at the potatoes and said, "Well, I'll wait a little, they'll taste good after a while." Bless his heart, he is patient. By 6:00 pm everyone was hungry for hot food having snacked on the available fare. I bought $18.00 of cheeseburgers with three small orders of fries. They tasted delicious and helped us make it through the last 1-1/2 hours.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 45 As Queens Ride By

Stories set a culture in our family to reinforce values my mother wanted teach. I need this story. Let me be a Queen today.

John and Jennie Mungrove had eager plans when they married and took over the old farm. But their great faith dwindled as the first years passed. John worked later and later in the evenings. Jennie took more and more of the heavy tasks upon her own shoulders and had no time for the home and children. They were no further on and life had degenerated into a straining helpless struggle.

One hot afternoon, Jennie was loading baskets of tomatoes to take to town when the children came running to tell her there was a dressed-up lady at the kitchen door. Wearily, she followed the children back and saw a woman in a gray tweed coat that seemed somehow to be a part of her straight, slim body. A small gray hat with a rose quill was drawn low over her brownish hair. She was not a young woman, but she was beautiful. An aura of eager youth clung to her, a clean and exquisite freshness.

The stranger in turn saw a young woman, haggard an weary. Her eyes looked hard and haunted. Her calico dress was shapeless and begrimed from her work.

Stranger (smiling): How do you do? We ran our car into the sake of you land to have our lunch and rest for a while. I walked on up to buy a few apples if you have them.

Jennie (grudgingly): Won't you go in and sit down? I'll go and pick the apples.

(5 pages more when I have time to post)

Day 44 The simple Things

Today, my son received three stitches in the bridge of his nose. While waiting in the emergency room, he asked for three things: Chocolate milk, apples and bananas. I smiled. It is nice to have him be pleased with simple things. We have apples and get bananas regularly (they just disappear so fast that he thinks we don't have them!) The chocolate milk is a specialty item mostly because Dad is always the one to bring it home. Lesson: if we deny ourselves of constant indulging in wants, our wants remain simple and are easily gratified. We are most content and happy.

Breakfast: Ham, cinnamon toast, milk
Lunch: Salads with lettuce, chicken, great northern beans, celery, and Thousand Island dressing (three of the children opted to make oyster soup rather that eat the salad. - oysters are not on the virtual pantry so I know another item to prioritize when restocking.

Dinner: Baked chicken quarters that had been marinating the last 24 hours and bagel rounds with strawberry jelly. (The potato salad didn't get finished in time for everyone to eat it. Left over Root beer for a drink.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 43 Work

Today as I ground flour for more good whole wheat bread, I mused over the "just why are you doing this challenge?" My upper body was getting a "nice warm glow" from the steady turning of the handle. I thought this an extra bonus to making bread - I get to sweat a little. Instantly the phrase that states "by the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread" ran through my head. It gave me a little comfort to think I was following directions given by God himself. I also thought that of all the character traits I want my children to develop, learning how to work has to be one of the top. If a man can work, he is honest, he is most often humble, he develops a sense of compassion, he is never bored, he is always in high demand. A hard worker is successful.

Growing up that meant that we learned to "report." Mom would say "We have work to do." and for the next 3-4 hours (occationally and 8 hour day even as a ten year old) we would get an assignment, do it, go back to report "job done," and get another assignment. We were expected to keep coming back until released. Learning to work went beyond doing daily chores. "Work" meant doing more than they everyday dishes and laundry (those are maintenance and real work puts a family ahead). We were taught that as long as anyone in the home was working, we should all work. After I got married, it took a while for me to learn to fold clothes by myself. It seemed that it should be a team effort. I love seeing a pile of sand, river rock or mulch in someones yard. That means I can go help. That is an opportunity for team work. Team work is fun.

We also learned that work means a person gets hot, thirsty, tired, sometimes hurt with smashed toes or blisters. Discomfort is just part of the job, no complaining. Working gives team members a chance to visit and philosophize and solve the world's problems along with our own. I must say that since I have run out of money this month and I decided that rather than buy dishwasher detergent, we would wash dished by hand, I have relished the few minutes to be side by side my young daughters and hear of their dreams and dilemmas. I think we will continue to wash by hand. This morning the 6 year old reported with a glow in her eyes, "I'm drying the dishes." I love that glow! I love being part of a winning team. I love my children to feel part of a winning team.

Living within a budget, cooking from scratch, being self reliant, learning to sacrifice for the whole, are all reasons our family is completing this challenge. It is well worth the effort. I am not just being a frugal nut, I am building character that will serve many people beyond our own family for generations.

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: Navy beans and ham soup with fresh whole wheat bread
Dinner: Cold bread and milk. Break homemade whole wheat into bite size pieces, cover with cold milk, top with a 1/2 tsp sugar. Eat. It is a poor man's cold cereal. It is delicious. It was so hot and I had set chicken to marinate, boiled another five quarters, and cooked the beans. I was tickled to have a cold dinner that required no preparation.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 42 The Longest Day of the Year - Expenses this week

It is the longest day of the year. I feel like I've been awake for 24 hours. Luckily it is not the hottest day of the year due to huge thunderstorms that came through last night. I am exhausted and it is easy to lose resolve when too tired. Today I went to the store to buy fresh produce and milk for the last week of the month. I should have lettuce in the garden but I don't. I'll have to rely on friends who have been more proactive in gardening. Receipts since last week:

$5.80 for 20# chicken quarters, $5.00 for 5 large cantaloupe, $5.00 for ice cream and root beer for Father's Day, $17.61 Milk, $10.00 Milk my husband bought at 10:30 p.m., $3.60 Fruit Drink, $35.24 for milk and produce, $4.55 lettuce,cabbage and tomatoes.

Total for month: $537.61 Over budget! I will surely be glad when the tomatoes and peppers start producing (I included those starts in the grocery budget in May.) I should have done better in the gardening to say in budget this time of year.

Breakfast: leftover spaghetti, or potatoes with breakfast hamburger patties and ketchup
Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich or peanut butter sandwiches
Dinner: Fried chicken, green salad, potato casserole with white sauce
Snack: The children finished off the ice cream from Fathers's Day

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 41 A Great Love Story

Father's Day is exciting. Husbands and Dads make the world go round. Breakfast was a simple ham scram with toast because it is one of His favorites. Lunch was a little later at 3:00 p.m. We served a simple spaghetti, green salad with fresh tomatoes and homemade thousand island dressing, homemade fresh french bread with olive oil/minced garlic and tomato paste for dipping. For dessert we had root beer floats. Both the nineteen year old son and my husband were prowling around the kitchen smelling the bread baking when they asked what we had to put on the bread. "Is there any margarine or something?" "No. We have olive oil with garlic in which to dip our bread." My son gave me a huge bear hug and squealed "Yes!"

Thank the Creator for men who are or will be fathers. Pleasing them are the some of the sweetest moments to live for.

Thousand Island dressing:

1/2 cup salad dressing (like miracle whip)
1-2 hard boiled eggs chopped finely
1/4 s dill pickle chopped finely
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup milk

Mix and serve. My mother made this dressing as the standard house dressing of our home. My husband loves it. I rarely fix it because ranch dressing wins the vote of most of the children. It is nice to fix a delicious dressing out of basics in our home.

The french bread dip is a take off a dip offered at one of the best Itallian restaurants in town. They serve roasted whole garlic which the patron mashes in olive oil with a light tomato paste. It is fantastic. During the last 90 day challenge, I learned that topping for bread is critical when trying to live off one's shelves. We ran out of frozen butter and I didn't have any olive oil. It was painful. The beginning of May for the first shopping trip of this challenge, I bought a small jar of olive oil for $3.00. We do not feel deprived when we can eat gourmet Itallian foods like this. Today was a perfect day to celebrate Fathers with some of Dad's simple favorites.

Day 40 That was the best lunch!

My son took two ham and cheddar cheese sandwiches with him to work. He came home and exclaimed "Mom, those were the best sandwiches! I don't know what it was but it was soo good!" I felt badly because I didn't have any lettuce to put on them but it was a token lunch. I made a mental note that if I was ever feeling down and needed a compliment, I should make a lunch for my sons.

Breakfast: Oatmeal made by the man of the house!
Lunch: Black bean burritos with homemade tortillas
Dinner: Au-gratin potatoes with ham and a lettuce wedge

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 39 Building Responsibility

I believe in letting children learn and gain experience early. I have never owned a baby gait, a play pen, a baby swing, or portable crib. The more time babies are allowed on the floor the stronger they become, and hence more independent and I think capable. (I have a motivating factor they are all very heavy - pushing 20 pounds by 3 months -and so I hold them at 3-4-5 months until my arm is sore and put them down on the floor.) Nearly all of our children have walked by 8-1/2 months. (One baby took until 11 months to walk.) I encourage them to climb stairs and to then learn to go down backwards on their tummies as soon as they learn to go up the stairs. By age four the children take great pride in frying their own signature eggs. And they make some good eggs. Some are scrambled with all sorts of seasonings, some are fried until stiff. All of the eggs are delicious and eaten with great relish because the children made them on their own. That means I am letting them cook on a gas stove with hot pans. No one has ever sustained a burn from the stove. Soon after the stove, is learning how to cut with butcher knives. I teach them how to recognize the sharp side, how to cut while keeping all body parts out of the way, how to walk with a knife, knives can cut on chopping boards, and safe use of knives when others are around. I think that education is far preferable to ignorantly grabbing a knife and pushing down of the cutting edge because no one has taught that knives have a sharp side and a dull side. Kitchen skills do wonders at increasing self confidence and real skill levels.

I have never had anyone cut themselves with a knife. Hopefully, we never will have a major accident! I like to think in the Wild West nearly every household had guns. Everyone was taught gun safety as a matter of life. The mature and responsible man was honored because an irresponsible man may shoot his gun when he was feeling angry. Responsibility was expected to ensure a safe society. Even today, we can build a safer society by teaching our children how to act wisely.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 38 Authority - Who has it

I must say I listened to conservative talk radio today and the tone in the nation seems ready to explode with opposing views on how government is supposed to uphold rule of law. One term that peeked my interest was "authority" and who has the privilege to use it. The word "authority" is one I understand. In order to be effective, authority has to come from the right source. (Trying to power a gas lawnmower with an electric cord doesn't work.) I believe that the answers to the nation's greatest dilemmas lie in each person recognizing that it is the people - each of us that has the authority to govern our lives. We have agency. We can chose who is going to be responsible for our health, our need for food and shelter, the use of our resources. If we live a healthy lifestyle, we will not need nor choose universal healthcare. If we have food in our homes, we will not need nor choose welfare. If we live providently, we will not need nor choose bankruptcy protection. We have the power to govern ourselves. No government will succeed in governing a people that has relinquished all personal responsibility.

The oil spill may be bad but if personally affected, I would hope that rather than take a handout, I would opt to start over. I would ignite the American spirit that drew the revolutionaries, the early immigrants, and still draws the world's most talented minds to come to the United States. The ideology that teaches "Give me nothing and I will make something of my life" is still the strength of this great nation. The belief that each person has God given authority to claim life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I heard the Constitution is no more a governing document. On a national front it appears so to me. But on a personal front I can live those laws that give me authority to govern myself and teach my children likewise.

In application, this food challenge is at a critical two weeks. I cannot afford to buy the 25 pound sack of fruit drink. I will pay for the 6 gallons of orange drink as if I had purchased a crystal light or other fruit drink mix. This should cost $3.50 or so. That frees $20.00 to use for milk over the next 13 days. My husband also forbid the use of baking soda dish washer soap. So rather than give in and buy $3.00 worth of dishwashing soap, I opted to wash by hand. I have plenty of Palmolive from the register rewards cash purchase. I can choose to conserve my cash for milk and fresh produce. I can stay in budget. My husband said, "It is only two dollars!" And it is only $2.00 but that represents .4% of my grocery budget. Yesterday the front page of the paper disclosed a family declaring bankruptcy because of 15 million dollars of debt. The monthly overage on their personal expenses was $3,000. If I did the math right, that means that $3,000 represents .02% of the total corporate debt declared. If .02% can make an impact, one purchase of dish detergent representing .4% of the budget, can make a difference. Somehow if a person is making a sacrifice in the food he eats, it is easier to save on the things that really cost more and have fare greater impact on the financial health of a family. (Changing insurance deductibles and being wise in the purchase of cars and homes affects more dollars than deciding to have homemade tortillas or commercially made tortillas.)

I am not going to buy anything I can do without for 13 days.

Breakfast: Whole wheat pancakes again with grape syrup. The eight year old was pleased to tell me she could do the syrup - she acquired another skill this morning.

Lunch: Two fresh cantalope. Bread and butter and leftover fish for those who wanted.

Dinner: Birthday Dinner of baked BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes with more cantaloupe and a TALL chocolate cake with SPRINKlES. I made a spumonie filling to top the cake instead of traditional frosting. Recipes in the morning.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 36 Baking Soda

Most the budget will be used this month keeping up with what the children pull off our real shelves. I have to purchase Fruit Drink, cocoa, and honey. These are items that I don't have in the virtual pantry but the children are using. At least this challenge is helping to set priorities on purchases that matter to the children. I will also buy Baking Soda in bulk at Sams because we need dish washing detergent, toothpaste, household cleanser, and a substitute for baking powder to name a few uses. Baking Soda is a basic item. It can be used for dozens of household chores including managing swimming pools. My Dad taught us we could use it to brush our teeth. He put a little jar of baking soda mixed with salt by the sink and we would dip our wet toothbrush in to cover the tip with powder. It is sour! This is a survival technic and not one I will make my children do but if it helps us stay in budget for two weeks.....

My ranting about Governments staying in budget is coming home this month. After buying 25 pounds of Fruit Drink at the Home Storage center and the other items we will have less than $20.00. I am stubborn. We can endure anything for 14 days.

Breakfast: Whole Wheat Pancakes! with a fried egg and milk (to bring the protein to about 20 gms.) We ground the wheat (2-1/2 cups) with the hand grinder in less than 10 minutes. The children were entertained and kept on grinding. I loved it. We made "grape syrup" by watering down a little grape jelly. It was good.

Lunch: Leftover chicken and rice dishes, refried beans, and Fruit Drink. Especially delicious was the leftover BBQ sauce and chicken broth that I saved from Monday's dinner. We poured that sauce over the rice and heated it stove top.

Dinner: It was sooo hot that we were happy to have tuna sandwiches with watery Fruit Drink.
Snack: Chocolate milk (My husband went shopping for milk for the baby and a few extras came home to the children's delight.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 35 Whole Wheat Bread - Mom I love this Food

The wheat grinder came. We ground 8 cups of flour in about 30 minutes for our bread recipe. It looked a little course but I let the dough sit on the counter for an hour to soak up water to help the gluten develop. The bread was moist, good texture, and delicious. It is the first whole wheat bread we've had in 35 days! (Maybe that is why I have lost 6 pounds - no whole wheat bread to eat!) We'll see how diligent we are to grind flour nearly everyday.

Breakfast: Raisin Bran with whole milk. The children finished the box and asked if that was all. Two boxes are necessary to feed my family. So even at a sale price it would be a minimum of $3.80 including a half gallon of milk. It would be cheaper to cook 10 potatoes and a dozen eggs for $1.50 than serve cereal.

Lunch: Fresh wheat bread topped with refried beans and cheddar cheese. I called this a "Pioneer meal." The older children ate it but the younger ones looked wary.

Dinner: Herbed Chicken recipe from the recipes posted last week. I left out the parsley and used the spices I had: garlic and onion with salt instead of bullion. The children liked the rice. Interestingly the child that said, "Mom, I love this food." also had been very productive through the day practicing the piano, reading, pulling weeds, spelling, etc... Because she felt good about herself she was inclined to feel good about dinner as well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 34 Phase two - Inventions in the Kitchen

Somewhere in the world of mass production and assembly lines, we've lost too many would be creators. It is evidenced in the kitchen when too many are afraid to try. They are afraid to try new combinations, spices, or even recipes that have all the improvising taken out. As a result we have lost confidence in ourselves and a sense of self or pleasure in being different. If our dish doesn't taste the same as the canned version or McDonald's Big Mac then it isn't edible. This is wrong thinking. We need to capture again the aura of "Grandma's cooking," our own signature dishes and tastes that leave a rich heritage of memory and pleasant associations. The movie "Ratatouille" is a prime example of the magic that carries a person back to a childhood fairy tale in one simple bite. It is risky - and exciting! (At least that is my personality!)

Today we did two things that were new for me. One we baked Oatmeal bread. I substituted oatmeal for half the flour in my traditional bread recipe. I had to add 2 more cups of white flour to make the dough not sticky. We ate scones for breakfast then baked loaves. They were soft and light with a little texture from the oatmeal. Good.

Lunch" Tuna sandwiches with dill pickles

Dinner was the other experiment that tasted great. I baked quartered carrots, red potatoes, peeled russet potatoes, and cabbage wedges layered under white fish fillets. To flavor I added olive oil and minced garlic. The garlic was layered mainly on the vegetables and the olive oil spread on the fish. After phase one when I ran out of butter and had no olive oil, I learned that olive oil was a must for my shelf. I bought a small jar the first week of phase two.) Our large roaster pan baked for 1 hour at 350 degrees until the potatoes were tender to a fork. Everyone thought it smelled great. They were anxious for dinner to be set. The flavor was wonderful after adding salt at the table.

Once again this blog has given me opportunity to learn something new. Lesson: create an artificial challenge, name the handicap, and practice. Success is waiting.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 33 Spiritual Dividends

My Father was killed in a ranching accident at the age of 53. He left four children still at home. Of the legacies he left, one I will never forget is his example of offering a prayer of gratitude over his food every time he ate. Often he would eat after the family had eaten so he would warm his plate and sit at the table. He bowed his head and paused to offer a silent petition for nourishment, strength, and gratitude for the means to procure this food and the hands that had prepared it. This simple example speaks volumes to my soul now as I complete this food storage challenge.

God gives us food to assuage our hunger. God also gives us food to teach us how to work, how to be a team, how to have love for each other, how to exercise patience, how to have faith, and how to pray.

The spiritual lessons I am learning as I try and feed my family on a limited budget, with limited spices and foods are far more poignant than the victory of putting another meal on the table. Yesterday one of my children exclaimed "Why can't we go to the store and buy whatever we want. I am tired of living off a budget!" I smiled. Limiting our budget is working. I want my children to learn discipline. We have had ice cream and pop and cookies. We are not suffering. We have plenty. We have nothing about which to complain. I hope each of my children choose live on a budget all their lives. I hope they learn to find joy in the sacrifice for their benefit as well as the benefit of others.

God wants us to love our fellow beings. Love means providing earthly sustenance as well as spiritual nurturing. If our own families have food, clothing, shelter and education, we have the opportunity to give. Our favorite charities have less than a three percent overhead. Where we can, 100% of our donations go directly to relieve the wants of the poor. Such commitment to the needs of others in this world is my greatest aspiration for my children. Is it worth living off my shelves to teach them this? Yes. Is it worth getting up at 6:00 a.m. to bake bread to save a dime so my children learn compassion through our example? Yes.

Now, my formula may not be everyone's formula but cooking family meals is an excellent way that God has prepared for us to learn these values. May we find a way to live a legacy of faith, diligence, and gratitude for those who will come ofter us.

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Chicken and Dumplings in the crock pot
Dinner: Baked BBQ chicken with mashed potatoes and cantaloupe. This meal seemed simple because I only served one fruit. The cantaloupe is a good source of Vitamin A and C. So I let myself be happy with simple.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 32 Bowel Health

Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables are recommended for good bowel health. Good bowel health means that a person is having at least one large soft bowel movement every day. ( I had to smile at a 1940's health text used for elementary children that specifically enumerated this fact and then expected them to take responsibility for their bowels by eating right not relying on a medication.) Living on white flour is like living on white sugar. That is probably why I only lasted one day before I bought a #25 bag of wheat even though we had no grinder for the challenge. (My nice electric grinder is taking a break so that I can act like I was starting from scratch.) Stools are 1/3 the size they used to be when I was eating 3-6 servings of whole wheat bread throughout the day! I am amazed at the difference in bulk. The fiber provides fodder for good bacteria which help to clean the bowel. A clean bowel is at decreased risk for cancer induced by rotting spots of stagnant feces. Regular bowel movements with high fiber also pull excess fats from the digestive tract. Food high is dietary fiber like oatmeal help to pull cholesterol and fatty deposits from the circulatory system. This helps improve cardiovascular function. The high fiber found in whole grains also helps to regulate blood sugar by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream. That means energy is sustained through out the day. Combining all these factors decreased risk for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes means a significantly healthier individual. And in my opinion - I have heard some data indicating ADHD is improved by diets lower in sugar - psychological health is also improved. I feel there would be less depression if people would eat whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. More hope and energy would fill the world. The work required to prepare them is half the therapy. I am excited to get the hand grinder to start using whole wheat flour. Until then, the 25 pounds of oatmeal will be our staple for whole grains.

Breakfast: Fried Potatoes and ham
Lunch:Leftover Spanish Rice, bread and Peanut butter
Snacks: apples
Dinner: Macaroni and cheese and hot dogs

Week of June 8-15 receipts - Inventory

Total Spent Month to date: $453.81
Receipts this week: Omaha Home storage: $36.20 (bans and oats), Sams $35.68 (cheese, flour, garlic), Aldi $38.29 (Milk, eggs, fruit), BNSave $3.65 (milk, cereal coupon) Wheat Grinder $67.00

Inventory as of Saturday June 12 9:00 a.m. : Wheat 15 #, White Flour 45 #, Oatmeal 24 #, Rice 15 #, Black beans 25#, White Beans 25#, Chicken 27#, Hot dogs 6 packages, Hamburger patties 2 meals, Fried Hamburger 1-/1/2 pounds, Sliced Ham 5 #, White Fish 10#, Tuna Fish - 37 cans, Peanut Butter 7 - 18 oz jars, Cheddar Cheese 5 #, Shredded Mozzarella 5 meals of toppings (pizza), Jelly 1 jar, Sugar 15 #, Salt 20 #, Potatoes 75 #, Carrots 10#, oil 1 quart, Minced Garlic 48 oz,

I missed the sugar sale $.30 pound; the price is back at $.44/pound. I may not stock up on sugar unless the price falls again.

Need: baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, plastic wrap, baggies, drier sheets, hand soap, shampoo, toothpaste, rubbing alcohol for window cleaner....

I bought a box of Raisin Bran because I had a store coupon. The price was a 1.49 a 20 oz box. The manufactures coupon wouldn't work because I only had one box. Is it a good deal? It will last one meal, require a half a gallon of milk ($.80) totaling $2.30 for our family of 10 mouths. If I diced 6 potatoes ($ .30) and fried 12 eggs ($.70), the whole family would be fed for $1.00 with a significantly better source of protein. The cereal was probably not the best choice.

I feel our supplies are significant considering we have been building for 4-1/2 weeks. So far we are in budget - If I can make $45.00 last for 18 more days. This is requiring nerves of steel. For those of you who have survived unemployment, $45.00 is a fortune.

Day 31 Friday:

Breakfast: potatotes frided in garlic, toast, milk
Lunch: Tuna fish sandwiches, ice cream with fresh mulberries
Dinner: Spanish Rice - 2 cups rice boiled in 6 cups water, 1 small onion browned, 1 pound ground beef, 1 TBS chili powder, 1 TBS cumin, 1-1/2 tsp salt. The rice took 20 minutes to cook. Total preparation 25 minutes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 30 Yea! One Third of the way!! Rice Flavorings

Rice can be flavored in many different ways. Here are recipes for a few:

Chicken/Tarragon Rice Mix
4 c. uncooked long grain white rice
4 TBS instant chicken boullion
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp white pepper

Dill-Lemmon Rice Mix
4 cups uncooked long grain rice
5 tsp grated lemon rind
4 tsp dill weed or dill seed
2 tsp cried chives
2 tsp salt
8 tsp instant chicken boouillon

Spanish Rice Mix

4 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 TBS chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Creamy Herb Mix
4 cups uncooked long grain rice
1/4 dried minced celery
2 TBS dried thyme
4 TBS instant chicken bullion
1/2 c instatnt dry milk
1 TBS dried marjoram

Herb Rice Mix

4 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 TBS dried onion flakes
1 TBS dried thyme
1-1/2 cup dried mushrooms, chopped
1 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS dried parsley

To Cook Rice Mixes:

Use 1 cup rice mix, 2 cups cold water and 1 TBS butter or margarine or oil. Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and cook 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Day 29 Wednesday - Wheat Grinder

Breakfast: Ham, leftover rice pudding
Lunch: Toast with peanut butter and jelly
Dinner: Pizza with mozzarella, hamburger, garlic breadsticks

We ordered a hand wheat grinder today. I do not have a hand grinder so it will be a good addition for emergencies. We researched hand and electric grinders and also looked at coffee grinders. As a child I remember my Grandmother using a large coffee grinder with which she cracked wheat for "mush." The setting must have been difficult to change because we were instructed not to change it. It was the perfect coarseness. No one has served mush like Grandma's mush. She had a completely different grinder for wheat flour with which she made bread. This hand grinder may produce flour too coarse, it may be too difficult to use, it may take too long to make enough flour for our family, but I need something with which to grind flour so we will start somewhere.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 28 How much food is Realistic?

For one person to have a three month supply basics that last 20-30 years, it is recommended to have -- 100 pound of grain (including rice, wheat, oats, flour, canned corn, flour, etc...), 4 pounds dried milk, 15 pounds of legumes(beans and dried peas), 15 pounds sugar, 2 pounds salt, and 3 pounds oils and fats. I now have a months of use under my belt so I can weigh these suggestions with what I know our family is using. I am going through 1 bottle of oil a week that is 1 quart and 1 pint, a little less than 25 pounds of white flour a week, less than 5 pounds of salt a month, about 10 pounds of rice a month, along with 60 pounds of fresh potatoes as an alternate starch. We could use more pasta's but I have not purchased them yet.

By the end of this challenge I would like to have: 25# oats ($7.60), 50# rice ($15.00), 200# wheat ($46.40), 25# pasta($25.00) 25# dried milk ($35.40), 25# beans ($14.50), 25# white beans (14.10), 25# salt ($3.00), 60# sugar ($22.56), 35# oil ($18.00). Total $201.60. Is it possible? We are eating about $50.00 per week in fresh produce. Household supplies also need to be renewed, a wheat grinder purchased and possibly a mixer. This may be too aggressive but for 10 people, it is a start and we have a net $750.00 left in July and August (prorated to end mid month). To date, we have oats, beans, salt, sugar a little rice and wheat.

My long term goal is to have a 15 months supply of food on hand while constantly rotating 3 months worth of food with fresh produce (like potatoes).

Breakfast: Ham, toast, banana muffins, milk and orange slices
Lunch: Chicken stir fry over rice, ice water
Dinner: Macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. (Macaroni cooked from scratch velveta cheese added) Apple crisp baked in the crock pot.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 27 Cutting back

The national government is in debt, spending more and more, and threatening to raise taxes to pay for ever increasing appetites. The State Government has a budget shortage. The city government has a budget shortage making it impossible to meet pension and health care packages for city employees. The solution being suggested is to tax. Spend and tax is the only course of action most governments know. Even in our homes high debt doesn't stem the tide of buying more on credit. It seems no one knows where to cut. This blog is trying to show a few effective ways to cut so one can save money at the same time prepare for the time when these governments will fail in meeting the uncurbed demands from a greedy public. Sacrifice is an absolute prerequisite to "getting ahead." We sacrificed ketchup for the first couple of weeks. There is still no sour cream in the refrigerator. I have only one can of corn in the "virtual pantry." I sacrificed the canned goods sale last week to buy meet instead. (And we are still alive!) The first two weeks we had rice, a little chicken for flavor and the ingredients for bread. We stayed in budget, we are healthy, we are grateful, and we are living honestly. To buy groceries on credit without knowing where the money is going to come from next month if there is no money this month is naive and irresponsible.

These governments infuriate me. I will eat rice and beans indefinitely rather than cut our charitable donations if they continue to tax. One may wonder why our family would undergo such a challenge to live on a limited budget. 1) May be it is because that is the only way to feed 10 children. No. It is often easier to eat restaurant fare especially when they do the pans and dishes than eat at home. 2) May be we have special diets that require cooking from scratch. No. There are no dietary restrictions in our family for medical reasons. 3) May be our religion specifies cooking from scratch. No. Our religion does encourage provident living and getting out of debt. There are no specifications on how we should do this. 4) May be our budget is so tight that this is more reality than "virtual." No. We smile when our children ask why we can't buy something. We explain that the smart millionaires keep people guessing. This challenge to live off a limited budget, provide for the wants and needs of the family, buy a grain grinder and a mixer, and put food on the shelves is a daunting task. It is also one small realm that I can control. The greater the national debt the more tight I want to be. Instinct tells me it is time to prepare.

Breakfast: Rice Pudding with polish sausage cut in small pieces and fried. The sausage smelled wonderful enticing the children out of bed while augmenting the little protein in the rice pudding.
Lunch: Leftover Chipolte burrito, Potato and bean casserole, apples and milk.
Snack: Ice cream
Dinner: Chicken, rice and black beans layered over a tortilla with lettuce, tomatoes, ranch dressing, and olives. (I decided it was time to buy 25 pounds black and white beans, and oatmeal from the Omaha Home Storage Center - best prices for these items).
The children liked the dish. Even the 4 year old who had complained that he didn't want the "salad" on top, ate the filling hungrilly when offfered just the beans and rice without the lettuce or tomatoes.
Snack: Ice cream

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 26 Sabbath delights

As I changed the babies diaper, I marveled at her beautiful eyes. In my heart I thanked God for the privilege of being a Mother. Whenever I see a child's face or hold their dimpled hand, I'm glad to play a small part of their growth and development. May God grant wisdom and insight equal the task that every effort may worship Him more fully.

Day 25 Preparing - Register Rewards

The pace changed in our home today. The pulling weeds, planting flowers, painting the windows, and deep cleaning paused. I prepared food and "cleared the decks" mentally shifting in preparation for the Sabbath. I realized if I wanted Sunday to be different than other days of the week I had to change today also.

I used register Rewards at Walgreens today for the first time. I got $20.00 of free product that helps us manage resources. No more impulse or desparation buying as we run in to the store to buy nail polish remover, razors, or other personal care products.

On another errand my six year old help my hand as we walked into the store. The four year old grabbed her hand to be part of the chain. When we were all connected, I smiled. Grocery shopping should really be about a chance to connect in a new way. Of less importance are the sales we find, the goods we accumulate and the money spent or earned. If we don't have positive family associations, all the food and money in the world wouldn't compensate. We swung our hands together and laughed for joy.

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Mashed Potatoes layered over refried beans with ground beef, topped with cheese! Another combination - that won the praise "I like this."
Dinner: The neighbors gave us Chipolte burritos left over from a bike race. Three fed our whole family. They were delicious.
Snack: Ice Cream

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Week 3&4 May 28-June 7

Receipts:SS $30.29, $34.09, $18.61, B&S 3.45, Walmart $16.67, Walgreens $10.69, $1.64, $1.38, $1.63, $1.20 Fareway $1.98, No Frills $68.55, Aldi 16.81, $52.20

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 24 Where there is a will...

...There is a way.

As I worked in the yard, I had to chuckle. I do not accept "No" for an answer very well. This is a blessing in many respects. It means that if someone tells me they couldn't live off the food one their shelves, I think why not? and begin solving each of the objections. Where there is a will there is a way. My husband taught me early in our marriage that I needed pride myself on the cheapest price for everything. It is the same to be pridefully rich or pridefully cheap, he said. He is right. This method of accumulating wealth (especially food wealth may not fit your circumstances, but it is working for us and some of the principles may be helpful. Today we added 30 pounds of chicken breast, 10 pounds of fish fillets, and 10 pounds of spiral sliced ham without the bone. If I did not have the budget constraints of this blog, I would have purchased three or four times more - the only constraint would be freezer space and how quickly I could bottle chicken. These items were on sale at almost once a year lowest price. It is time to stock up.

We still have rice, potatoes, flour, wheat, peanut butter, all the meat added today, and tuna in large quantities on the shelves. We have all the fresh fruit we can eat, lettuce, carrots, milk, and eggs. In a little over three weeks, we have fed the crew and simultaneously accumulated stores to last several weeks.

The reasons for this challenge are unfolding day by day. One - I have ample opportunity to say, "No;" this helps the children learn delayed self gratification (I can have lifes pleasures later if I don't indulge now.) Two we have more time in the kitchen. I believe this is a plus because we get to work together, children learn skills, I learn skills, creativity flourishes and that gives us real satisfaction.

Day 23 The Best Mom in the World - Potatoes and Beans

This accolade "Mom, I think you are the best Mom in the world" came 12 hours after a breakfast "session" in which The almost 4 year old was invited to eat his hot wheat cereal served Wednesday. I refused to let it be a "Power Struggle." The choice was his; he could eat three bites or forgo any cinnamon rolls or outings with the family. He was given the facts about protein requirements for his muscles, sugar in the white bread cinnamon rolls, and fiber and energy in the whole grains. We agreed on three spoons, one for each year of age. He reluctantly consented to the first bite then gladly had a second. (There was ice cream mixed in place of the milk.) He had about 4 spoons full - almost the 1/3 cup portion that I wanted him to eat. He was happy and so was I. Mothers do not need to fight to get their children to eat healthy food. Parents often demand that children eat too large portion sizes - 1 tablespoon per year of age is sufficient (1/4 cup for 4 year olds.) Then parents let the children play offense. Don't. Parents are in charge of their own kitchens and parents have a duty to feed their children healthy food - whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, and dairy products - not pop, not chips, not fruit roll ups, not fast food, not candy., not sugar...

On another front one son exclaimed "I wish I had a Modern Mom!" This was after begging and pleading to stop at Sonic on the way home from Home Depot at 8:30 pm. (Wed) We were tired, hungry and thirsty. A sonic icy or shake would be perfect. But mother would not budge. "No." was the answer. And there were no negotiations despite his every effort. The next night (Thurs) the same scenario occured (the Home Depot shopping list is long.) This time I consented "I probably have enough pocket change to stop but the baby is really tired and she needs to get home." The 12 year old looked at the baby and said."Thats okay, I don't want a Sonic tonight." It was a victory moment. His ability to deny personal pleasure for the good of someone else won.

How many ways can a person serve potatoes and beans? We tried one at lunch - just boiled potatoes with savory beans on the side. Everyone ate well. Then at dinner several people had snacked on the leftover macaroni hamburger and tomato - there was not enough for the whole family. So we baked potatoes, sauteed an onion, added beans, cumin and a little chili powder. Then, because I knew it would be a hard sell two meals in a row, I upgraded the presentation, made each baked potato individually on our finer china and served the children restaurant style. The children ate the baked potaotes well.

Breakfast was fried hamburger patties, boiled potatoes, oranges if wanted and milk.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 22 Using Whole wheat without a grinder

We made cracked wheat for cereal this morning using the blender. 2 cups water, 1 cup wheat berries. Blend 2-3 minutes until cracked but not as fine as the blender wheat pancakes. Cook over low heat stirring to avoid burning. Add 1/4 tsp salt. The children got to eat it with ice cream leftover from Memorial Day. They ate the whole batch. I loved it. It is a little courser than my grinder because not all the grains are evenly cracked. After three weeks with no wheat bread, I loved it.

I have tried to sprout wheat twice to make an "Old world" bread that retails for about $4.00 a loaf locally. Sprout the wheat for three days then blend the wheat until it forms a soft dough. I have added some salt, the sprouts are sweet so sugar is unnecessary, and tried to bake it. I haven't had a loaf turn out yet but I am still trying. The flavor is wonderfully fresh and nutty flavor of wheat. I want to make it as a regular part of our diet if I can fine tune the process.

Chicken Breasts are being offered for $1.33 per pound. This is the price I buy to bottle.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 21 Cooking basics - Hot chocolate and taco seasoning,

We made hot chocolate by heating one gallon of whole milk on the stove top, Then we added 1/2 cup cocoa, 1 cup of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. The children loved it. The college friends thought it was great - they had never had homemade hot chocolate.

I bought a 10 pound tube of hamburger at $1.68/pound. To use it I fried 2/3 of it. When all evenly browned, I drained it over a big bowl in the sink with hot water from the sprayer attachment. I caught the run-off to use as a soup base. Left to sit on the counter top, the fat all rose to the top making it easy to skim off. The ground meat is 99.9% fat free (a tip in the newspaper several years ago.) I flavored half of the meat with taco flavoring then froze the meat in meal sizes in sandwich baggies with 1 gallon size bag to keep them organized and together. The remaining 1/3 of the tube I formed into "breakfast patties" to fry up when I want a good protein source for breakfast.

Taco Flavoring (Original recipe from Make a Mix cookbook for 1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef)

2 teaspoons instant minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp crushed dried red pepper
1/2 tsp instant minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Add to 1-1/2 pounds ground beef and 1/2 cup water

My modified recipe:

1/2 cup chopped fresh onion
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp flour/cornstarch
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin (This is the main reason I prioritized cumin as a first purchase.)

Another spice that I make from scratch is Sloppy Joe

1 TBS instant minced onion
1 tsp green pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp instant minced garlic
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder (easily found in Indian stores)
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp chili powder

(I add 1 TBS brown sugar)

Mix together, Add to 1 pound ground beef, 1/2 cup water, 8 oz tomato sauce. Heat and serve over 6 hamburger buns.

Day 20 Memorial Day

We spent a delightful day preparing for dinner. We had homemade hamburger and hot dog buns, potato salad, watermelon, deviled eggs, and grilled chicken, hamburger, or hot dogs. There was pop to drink and ice cream with home made brownies for dessert. The Brownie recipe turned out really good.

Brownies (Double Kathy Deford's with added cocoa):

6 eggs
4 cups sugar
2 cups butter
2 TBS vanilla
2 tsp salt
1 cup cocoa (or 12 TBS)
3 cups flour
2 cups nuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, add dry ingredients. Bake 325 for 40 minutes in large cookie sheet. Thick and yummy!

It was a humbling day to listen to two young men talk of military discipline. I was impressed that one of life's first lessons that must be mastered is the ability to do uncomfortable tasks. The young men in basic training go without sleep, food, showers, cell phones, even conversation to learn to fight for the common good. Many of us as parents could use the same lessons to sacrifice a few pleasures for the common good of our families.

The meal was delicious.