Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 82 Friday The Last day of this challenge

I am quitting early. Tomorrow we go on vacation. I have learned what I wanted to know from this challenge. It is entirely possible to live on $50.00 a month per person at the same time building reserves and building a supply of food in our homes. I spent $21.00 for milk and produce then $32.00 for more staples yesterday. Total for the month =

If I were to be generous and say we saved between $300.00 and $400.00 a month the last 3 months (If a normal budget were $100.00 a month per person), that would represent a $900.00 to $1,200.00 saving in just three months. That much money could go a lot of places in a new household. Even if a family only lived this frugally three months of the year, that is a significant savings. It could pay for Christmas, a washer and dryer, a vacation, bills, and accumulate for a down payment on a home. It requires a lot of discipline and a desire to stick to a goal but it is possible. More Americans could use that fiscal discipline to get their finances in order, to build their storage, and to give their children a legacy of Success. Where there is a will, there is a way.

I'm signing off for now having conquered the question "How can I afford to buy food to stay on my shelves?" In future posts I hope to answer the question "How?" Just how does a person cook from scratch nearly 24/7? How does one find the time and How does one ______ ( cook rice, macaroni, hollandaise sauce, Alfredo, muffins, etc...) Let us be willing to learn, to broaden our experience so that we need not fear. Thank you for all the support and insight everyone has shared along the way.

Day 81 Thursday Final Thoughts

Day 80 Wednesday Final Lessons

Day 79 Tuedsay

Again friends going the extra mile provided a what served to be our dinner - fresh peach pie. It was absolutely divine and the only thing ready to augment bread and butter for dinner. Thank you.

Day 78 Monday Render Service

On Saturday I took 15 minutes to help our new neighbors weed their flower beds. That service was returned with a gift of Zucchini bread. The delicious bread fed our family breakfast today.

Day 77 Sunday

Day 76 Saturday

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 75 Moving Day

Grandma purchased cold cereal, a vegetable platter, bread and paper ware. We had paper ware on the counter but the extra food we'll gladly eat. I made rolls for sandwiches today and if we were living of the virtual shelves we would have been eating a lot of ham and turkey sandwiches. I have not made pizza. With Grandma's extras we won't need to. The fresh fruit is proving a wonderful snack round the clock. And al is well.

Day 74 Breakfast party

The college age children cooked a big breakfast treating us all to chocolate milk, orange juice and bacon. The staples that were used from the virtual shelves were flour and oatmeal for pancakes, ham, eggs for scrambled eggs. All the extras I would not have purchased but they are preparing to wind up their summer and wanted a splurge. It created a great memory and lots of leftovers for the next two days.

Day 73 Sales

The big purchases today were 2 lugs of peaches and 1 lug of fresh bing cherries. The peaches were on sale for $.39 cents a pound and the cherries for $1.00 per pound. Total: $31.00. The children are loving eating all the fresh fruit they want - it is cheap and if not eaten will go bad. If I weren't moving, I would bottle this fruit at these prices. So far so good on getting bread made and meals ready. It was a relief to have a friend bring in dinner tonight. We were gone for hours tying up loose ends on the new house and it was nice to have a meal to throw in the oven. Grandma also came to help so she made salad for a side. It is wonderful to have back up kitchen support.

Day 72 Baking on the Side

We successfully made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and snacks yesterday and today we made a large chicken soup, started thawing a ham from the freezer that I bought on sale at the end of April for $9.00. Other receipts for he last 10 days are $45.00 fresh produce, $21.00 produce and milk on Monday, Crystal light, deodorant, and ice cream bought by the man in the house totaling $32.00, two cans tomato sauce off the real storage shelves costing about $5.00. Total $112.00. Total on month:

Day 71 Fresh fruit

We served Honey Dew melon, blueberries, and French toast for breakfast. the melon and berries were a dollar a piece divided between 10 people makes $.20 per serving. The french toast cost .05 per slice plus about .05 cents of eggs and milk per person. Total cost of the meal $.30 for a gourmet place to fresh fruit and French toast.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 70 Moving - Difficulty of Living Without

The stakes are up. We are moving to a new home 10 minutes away the end of this week. The whole house is in boxes or being sorted. How am I going to feed 12 people, do laundry for 12 people, sort, pack, go to the dump, donate to the second hand store and still stay in budget? These times are when the reality of convenience makes it simple to eat out, to order in pizza, and to do whatever needs to be done to maintain sanity. I cannot cope that way and stay in budget. This will take a plan. As long as there is food to eat, we will be happy staying at home - if there is nothing my husband will offer to pick something up and I will say yes.

Plan: bake cinnamon rolls, cookies, and muffins along with plenty of bread and hoagie buns with 1/2 white flour. Freeze several Pizza crusts so we can make a pizza in 5 minutes.
Leftovers: Make a chicken soup to last half the week.
Shop: get mozzarella cheese and more tomato sauce this week so we can have pizza. Don't forget carrots and celery for the chicken soup.

We are out of chicken breast, out of potatoes, out of carrots.... Why do people intentionally live without supplies in their homes? I hate it. I really dislike not having a choice of all the food I want on my shelves. This exercise has plainly taught me that I never want to live this way again. I like having dried milk and all the flour and wheat I could ever want along with all the extras. Rationing and planning and going without every week is draining. We are making progress on building the virtual supply - the food I can store on only $50.00 per person but it is slow. If I took $100.00 per person, building reserves would go much faster. Being prepared is so much easier.

Day 69 Sabbath - Feeling Hungry

The last two days any time someone looked in the refridgerator, they saw milk, salad dressing, mustard, and a jar of picked jalepeno peppers. There have been no leftovers. If they missed the meal, they were hungry. I thought this whole exercise is more for me as a parent to be disciplined enough to let consequences fall. It is difficult. I would rather fix food. The absense of food gives room for a particular kind of gratitude. The children and my husband are hungry enough to eat anything.

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with toast. (I bought 5 dozen eggs this week. It is nice to have all we want to eat.)
Lunch: Navy beans cooked with a ham bone in the pressure cooker. We spread the flavored beans on the whole wheat rolls. One child thought that this dish was unappetizing and would not eat. But my husband and other children were hungry enough to venture a try. They liked it and declared it good.

Dinner: Aloo Gobi with the last of the potatoes and cauliflower, chicken fried rice (boiled rice, fried chicken, celery, and some scrambled eggs with lemmon pepper and salt), steamed broccoli from the garden, brownies from scratch and ice cream. Everyone was full, there were leftovers, and my husband washed all the pans and dishes. Bless his heart.

Brownies cookie sheet size:

6 eggs
4 cups sugar
2 cups margarine (butter is preferred)
2 TBS vanilla
2 tsp salt
3 cups flour (can be whole wheat)
1-1/2 cup Nuts (optional) I left these out - nuts are not on the virtual shelf.

Day 68 Bananas

Saturday morning began with a large batch of banana, oatmeal muffins. The bananas that I bought last week were half price ($.20 a pound) so I got a lot of them. It was wonderful for the children to eat as many of them as they wanted for a couple of days but they soon were too ripe. I put the remainder in the freezer. It is nice to be able to pull them out now and use them to flavor baked goods or substitute for eggs in crepes, cookies, or cakes. Today we made snicker doodles with no eggs. They turned out great.

Lunch: Birthday Luncheon!!! We finally got everyone to be home for one hour together! We had brownie cake with ice cream to celebrate. Presents and a great time just visiting and laughing.

Dinner: Okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancake). Some children did not appreciate this meal and went hungry.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 67 The Lack of Preparation

Pondering today what I would feed the children, wondering how I would stay on this tight budget, trying to come up with another day's meals led me to conclude that many would have difficulty living off basics because

1) They don't know how to budget.
2) They don't know how to make do with what they have.
3) They don't know how to cook what they have.

Breakfast: French Toast
Lunch: One son fried fish, the others had peanut butter on bread again.
Dinner: Fish baked with potatoes and carrots.

Day 66 Avoiding Fast Food

The day was a busy one. We were in the van away from home or in between from 10-5. The first 4 hours were spent shuttling children every 20 minutes between piano, summer school, swimming, home, and helping a friend move. It was a perfect day to grab a burrito or a burger. Here is how we managed to avoid fast food:

The first two hours of the day I made phone calls and scheduled appointments. I ground wheat by hand while on the phone. Enough flour was produced to make a couple of batches of bread, and cookies over the next two days. I made a batch of rolls and for lunch the children ate peanut butter on fresh wheat rolls and I quickly threw a turkey sandwich together for the older children. (Turkey lunch meat was on the grocery list this week ($2.50 per pound regular price). The sandwiches worked well - we had food on the go and avoided the temptation to eat out.

Dinner: Fish baked with potatoes and carrots.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 65 Birthday Meals

Happy Birthday to my third daughter. We will have our family together for only two more weeks this summer. I love having a full house. The desire to spoil them all with great meals and "homey" memories is great. This challenge to stay in a tight budget and be disciplined while building storage is - a challenge. What will I do today to make this child feel special?

We served cantaloupe and rice pudding for breakfast. I made it milk free with eggs, water and sugar. It was okay.
Lunch: Pigs in a blanket - two full packages of hot dogs wrapped in biscuit dough made without eggs and with water instead of milk.
Dinner: Her favorite - Spaghetti with broccoli from the garden.

There was no time for a real celebration today when all the family could be together.

Day 64 Paper Towels - Desperate for Dinner

I was reading an article in magazine in the doctors office last year that was giving suggestions for saving money durring the recession. It was refreshing to read something really practical: paper towels are an extra. Do without. Use old rags and throw them out. As a child we never had paper towels. Now they are almost a necessity. We simply are spoiled and it is nice to be reminded that this luxury is one we can live without.

Breakfast: Cottage cheese and toast with delicious bread my husband made last night. (He used the electric mixer. But he made bread and did a fantastic job!)

Lunch: Peanut buter and jam sandwiches, macaroni and cheese

Dinner: It is the end of the "grocery" week. I am trying not to go to the store and desperate! I am tired of trying to come up with something again and again while rationing the same ingredients! Sooo here is what I did tonight: Browned 1/2 pound of sausage, 1 package of hot dogs, one small onion and 5 small potatoes pealed and sliced in bite size pieces; boiled rice (or one could use a rice cooker), and steamed another head of cabbage, the inside stalks of celery leaves and all, and 4-5 carrots. We mixed aout 6 cups of rice with the meats added salt and served plates of steamed vegetables and the rice mixture. Everyone loved it and went for seconds until we ran out. Success!

Day 63 Building Storage Review - Stir Fry

This challenge to build storage on an extremely limited budget has taught me: 1) That money should not be an issue to being self reliant. Families that are most financially strapped should be eating from food groups that have the longest shelf life, feed the family most nutritiously, and are the easiest to store. These foods are also the cheapest: oats, flour, beans, rice, and wheat. 2) Many foods that we are accustomed to can be sacrificed. We have lived with out ketchup, sour cream, corn starch, chicken and beef bouillon, canned vegetables, disposable diapers, many cleaning agents, paper towels, and variety. It is driving me crazy - just a little. Nevertheless we are surviving just fine. The children are not complaining too much. And my confidence is increasing. I made a gravy tonight without bouillon and no one knew. Being able to sacrifice is the foundation of any progress. No one develops a talent without sacrificing time to practice, no one builds a successful business without sacrificing some comfort at the beginning of the investment. Building home storage requires sacrifice to be useful. If one just takes excess funds, buys a large storage and puts it away to be used someday, the greatest benefits are forfeited.

Breakfast: Lumberjack pancakes with white flour
Lunch: Leftover pasta casserole
Dinner: Chicken Stir fry made with a head of cabbage from our garden! carrots, and celery steamed together and chicken breast cut in 1 inch pieces browned. Then for the sauce for the stir fry: 4 cups water, 1 TBS salt, 1 TBSP lemon pepper thickened with 1/4 cup flour mixed with 1/2 cup water. We layered rice, vegetables mixed with meat and then poured sauce over the top. The family loved it.

We are out of dog food. He is eating rice mixed with leftovers and dried whole wheat bread mixed with leftovers until I can get to the store to buy dog food.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 62 Sabbath - Raising a Disciple

Raising a child that is a Disciple depends on the child's ability to discipline himself. This morning as I planned one sausage patty per person, 1/2 cup orange Juice per person and a large slice of French Toast, I felt a little badly. Part of me wants to put a huge platter of all you can eat sausage and gallons of orange Juice on the table. The responsible adult in me reasons that I could not serve that much fat even in delicious sausage and more than 1 cup of orange juice simply creates expensive urine. Soon after that thought my mothers intuition whispered that I would not want my children to eat 4-5 sausage patties just to satisfy an appetite. I want my children to stop themselves from eating unhealthy proportions of any food no matter how good it tastes. I remind myself I am in the business of raising children to be disciplined. Parents set an example of good discipline by teaching proper proportions and serving sizes. In some cases those rations are governed my budget constraints but in many where finances are not so tight parents forget what their objectives are in raising children.

I want my children to be able to sacrifice their own wants for the good of their families and communities. I want them to govern themselves instead of letting appetites rule. I marvel at God's grand design that allows us to deny ourselves and give to the poor. He wants us to learn these principles in our homes. I want my children to love God and to love our neighbors as themselves. I want to raise Disciples.


Dinner: Messy lasagna (curly noodles with all the cheese, meat and tomato sauce and spices) This casserole was given to us as leftovers from a church dinner. Salad on the side.

Snack: Root beer floats a la Dad who loves the Children to look forward to Sunday's to have ice cream!
Cinnampn toast for bedtime snack. Some children had bread and milk.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 61 Insisting on Nutrition

The morning began at 4:00 as I scrambled 7 dozen eggs and made 4 dozen cinnamon rolls for a Sea Scout Breakfast. The menu was breakfast burritos, "mountain man potatoes," cantaloupe, and orange juice. The scouts made their own hoagies with a choice of toppings including lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, onions, and peppers. It is refreshing to have an adult plan a menu that is healthy for the teenagers instead of allowing themselves to be coward by pressure to "fix what they will eat." The vegetables serve to hydrate physically active growing bodies and provide lots of vitamins and minerals. The protein helps to stabalize blood sugars and protect children from hunger through out the day. Being the adult in charge means we carry the charge to be responsible. If we model good behavior, our children will more likely be responsible as well.

Breakfast at Home: toast and eggs
Lunch: Peanut butter Sandwiches with deviled eggs
Dinner: Pork chops, buttered rice, salad that Grandma prepared with celery, carrots, peppers, kidney beans and coleslaw mix (delicious)

Day 60 Food to make life easier

Friday

My daughter is giving me a sad story about not having real food. So I went the extra mile this morning and served hash browns with sausage, scrambled eggs, and toast with orange juice. All the children were sleeping as I prepared breakfast. It was reinforced that a little enticement in a good breakfast is surely more effective than a stern "Get Out of Bed!"

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: a pizza - the crust was frozen from the last time we had pizza. I topped it with leftover tomato sauce and mozzarella just as Mr. Young and I were heading out the door on a date. It is nice to have a quick meal in the freezer.

Day 59 Exercise - Shopping

For the record I kept track of the physically active things I did all day: Walking the dog, mopping the floor on hands and knees, pulling weeds for 20 minutes, mowing the lawn, swimming with the children, 60 minutes of water aerobics, vacuuming for 60 minutes total, running stairs to put laundry away. The total time was 4 hours and 20 minutes. I did not get to grinding wheat or mixing bread and we did only half the vacuuming but it was a new way to put "flow" into the day. Exercise invigorates. It was easier to do all the routine chores if I thought it was adding to my physical activity log for today.

Shopping: I feel great about today's purchases. It is a new week to buy produce. I spent $40.00 on milk, eggs, cantaloupe, spotted bananas at half price, jams, honey, baby wipes, grapes, and then $15 on shampoo, toothpaste (on sale) and 24# of margarine at $.39 per pound. This is the big storage purchase this week. This will last for 6-12 weeks depending on how many cookies we make. Butter is our bread spread of choice and when it is on sale, I will put a case or two in the freezer. It will last for months and it is a comfort to have.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with whole wheat kernels
Lunch: Peanut butter sandwhiches
Dinner: Chicken, Sausage and Rice

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 58 Miracles, Miracles, Miracles

While washing dishes my youngest son said three times, "This is my bestest day. I am so happy." When asked why he said it was because he was helping me wash the dishes. He gave me a big hug. Hugs are wonderful.

The neighbor children opened the refrigerator door at 4:30 pm and reported "There is no food to eat." Everyone was hungry and prowling around the kitchen. I was making bread. They had taken turns grinding wheat. It was a novelty for them to see the seed and then the flour and soon they could eat the bread. An hour later, I hear several feet rush up the stairs, "What smells so good?" "Fresh bread!" "Yumm" Everyone fixed a piece of bread with margarine some with honey. Everyone came back for thirds and fifths.

Breakfast: Rice pudding - made with boiled rice, cottage cheese and sugar ( 4 cups hot boiled rice, 1 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon on top) Miracle #1

Lunch: Navy bean soup with carrots, and celery with 1 cup of tomato sauce, salt, lemon pepper, and basil. Delicious and filling. Cherry pie for dessert (Gift from a friend.) Miracle #2

Dinner: Black Bean Veggie Burgers. Fresh hamburger buns. This is the first veggie burger I have ever made. They tasted good. The children didn't eat them too well because they were so full of bread. Recipe was in a diabetic magazine purchased at the checkout. 15 oz black beans, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 2 large egg whites ( I omitted), 1 cup bread crumbs ( I put in 1/2 cup flour our bread was too fresh to crumb.)1/2 tsp garlic, 2 stalks green onion ( I used 1/4 cup yellow onion) Good. Miracle #3

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 57 Company

We had company for breakfast so I served fried eggs on toast then sent them on their way with breakfast chops, canaloupe, and Snickerdoodles. (I decreased the eggs from 2 to 1 to help conserve the eggs.)

Lunch: The last half of the watermelon.

Dinner: Homemade cheese pizza with a Bread Salad on the side. After looking on Epicurious.com, I decided that a "bread salad" consisted of cubed dry bread, salad greens, vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, green pepper, celery, and olives all tossed in a vinaigrette.

Day 56 Celebrating

We celebrated Independence Day with a BRUNCH of waffles smothered with whipped cream and topped with blueberries and strawberries. Breakfast was a regular bowl of oatmeal but Dinner was Dad's favorite: pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and a large fruit platter of watermelon, cantaloupe, and blueberries. It was delicious. We had fresh bread for a late night snack.

I went shopping today and secured diapers and toilet paper. A six months supply of baking powder,baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, dryer sheets and garbage sacks also made it on the cart. The box of 320 garbage sacks cost 5.7 cents each versus the 8 cents each in the small box of thirty that I have purchased the last two months. Saving over half the cost of one sack is a real victory and most of all a relief to have a supply on the virtual shelves. Lemon pepper, a three months supply of Cascade, I also bought two large pork loins and cut them into packages of 3 roasts, 2 pork chops and 2 meals of breakfast steaks. Bulk sausage was also on sale so I got 3 pounds to stretch through out the month. It is nice to have more variety in meat. Expenditures: Sams $113.00, Meats $34.87, More Fruits- $11.01, Diapers $14.63 Total for month to date $220.51

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 55 Independence Day

It is the Sabbath and Independence Day. I marvel at the irony God created when He brought forth this great country. We fought and continue to fight for Independence. The only way we achieve independence as individuals, families, communities and nations is to be ever watchful of each other. Nourishment and encouragement as we strive to achieve independence are critical to success. Without each one of us loving our neighbor as himself, the pull to relenquish independence for dependence on the government, on Mom and Dad, on willing neighbors, and well meaning community organizations is too great and too many of our populous fall victim to feeling they deserve help from others. In all our actions we should be helping move ourselves, our family and our friends to more self reliance. This is true love for oneself, our neighbor, and the God who gave us life.

Parents who are still housing and feeding adult children for years have failed to preserve our nation's Independence. State governments who grow the welfare class have failed to declare Independence. National policy that stymies free enterprise and individual initiative by taxing and regulating fails to preserve Independence of its Citizens.

Today is Independence Day. Let us recommit to striving to be more self reliant, free ourselves of debt and dependence on others to provide food and shelter. At the same time let us reach out to someone who needs a helping hand. We will do the jobs that need to be done pleasant or not, We will offer judicious help. We will nourish the growth of the individual by teaching new skills, and providing access to resources enabling them to help themselves. (Education, freedom from bondage of debt and addictions, sometime a meal that offers HOPE.) Thus we become all that God wants us to be. We preserve the Independence of the Human Soul to magnify His God.

Day 54 Resourcefulness

Saturday 3rd of July

I had to smile at the resourcefulness of my three daughters today. They left home for all day as Sea Scouts without sack lunches then discovered the only money between all of them was $1.98 in the glove box of the car. Their solution was a loaf of French Bread (.98) and a pint of blueberries (.98). The food served well as a lunch for three!

Breakfast: Fried Eggs and toast, cantaloupe,
Lunch: Peanut butter sandwiches
Dinner: Aloo gobi - an Indian dish of cauliflower and potatoes and spices. I will have to "buy" cardamon, turmeric, and ginger from my real storage shelves for this dish. I can serve it every week my husband likes it well enough. The cost per serving potatoes 5# - $0.65, one small head of cauliflower $1.40 and spices (?.20) for a total of about $2.25 for a family of 10 for one meal.

Day 53 Shopping

Friday

I managed to shop for milk and fresh produce. I also grabbed napkins and paper plates for the fourth. Prioritizing the spending this month is tricky. On our virtual shelves we are out of shampoo, hand soap, baking powder, toothpaste, diapers, dog food, cinnamon, oil, baking soda, toilet paper, dishwasher soap, garbage sacks, and bread sacks. We have 25# black beans, 20 # white beans, 15 # oatmeal, 10# rice, 20 # white flour, 20 # salt, 20 cans of tuna, 6 jars of peanut butter, 5# frozen white fish, 12 # frozen chicken breast, and10# chicken quarters.

Lunch: Fried Fish and steamed cabbage with a carrot sticks
Dinner: We enjoyed cantaloupe with ice cream and fresh white bread (I didn't have the time to grind wheat.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 52 Balancing the books

Thursday July 1st! Pay Day! We are drinking a lot of ice water. Time to balance the books. Fast Food on the trip(18.00), Pizza ($25.00), Walmart on the trip ($28.00), Total=$608

Breakfast: Potatoes with beef and mozzarella cheese
Lunch: Egg salad sandwiches with leftover boiled eggs
Dinner: Cassoulet with navy beans, pork, chicken, carrots, celery, and a little tomato sauce.

Day 51 No Imagination

No milk, no eggs, no cheddar cheese, no tomato sauce, no bread, ......NO IMAGINATION! What are we to have for dinner?
I finally decided on chicken salad with celery in a lettuce leaf bed. The lettuce came from a friend's garden. It was delicious.

At 8:30 my son came home hungry for MEAT. We fried chicken breast and boiled potatoes. I went to bed.

Day 50 Doing What Needs to be Done

Tuesday - I feel a personal victory - We did not buy any disposable diapers for the trip. I managed to stretch the eight diapers I had for the driving time in the van. The days on vacation I used cloth. We made it!! My daughters think it is gross and not socially acceptable to brag about this victory. I am braver now and I am not afraid. I know how to make it through the night using cloth diapers without soaking the baby's bed. Beth Streeter Aldrige in "A Lantern in Her Hand" made the poignant observation that the tough pioneer woman whom everyone called to do all the "dirty jobs" had no more special skills than anyone else on the prairy. She just did what had to be done. Others didn't want to sacrifice or do what was uncomfortable so they called someone else.

This is intestinal fortitude - it is doing what needs to be done. Washing a cloth diaper in the toilet requires a little intestinal fortitude. With all the modern conveniences, we have lost some guts. To many Americans are too soft to do what needs to be done.