Posted on | March 19, 2012 | 23 Comments
This is only part 1…
Times are rough. Many have compared the way our country is today to the Great Depression. For some people it has gotten that severe. For many others, we’re only a step away from it. Grocery prices are continuing to rise- quickly & repeatedly. In a 6-week period of grocery shopping I’ve seen prices go up at least twice (per item). These items are rising at a rate of well over 10% per increase (10% has been typical, but has been held for every couple to few years).
I’ve been reading a lot on Depression Era living. I did this 8 years ago when I had my youngest. Hubba & I decided that it was time for me to stay home with the kids. We went from 2 incomes to one, & although I was already pretty sufficient in the kitchen, I could use a lot more work. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten lax in the frugal area. I have my reasons, and if you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know those reasons. I don’t want pity or judgment. I just want you to know that things happen. Things come up. We all fall, we all can fail. We can also pick ourselves back up & ride again.
This past week I was in our local, but nationally owned grocery store. We needed frozen veggies. As I opened the freezer case, I noticed that they had gone up….. AGAIN!!! People must have thought I was nuts, because here I am, slamming bags of frozen veggies into my cart, grunting, moaning & bitching the whole time. Not one of my better moments, but I was livid. I came home, as I usually do from grocery shopping anymore, and tried not to bawl my bloody eyes out.
I. Know. I’m. Not. Alone.
So, I decided in the past week that we needed to change some things. Across the country, temperatures are reaching record highs. I’m not ready to waste money to run the air conditioner. I’m ready to save money all over.
Line drying clothing…
When we moved into our rental home, the landlady made mention of “sharing a clothesline with the neighbor.” I have always loved hanging clothes on the line, and now seemed the time to do it. By not running the dryer, we’re saving money in several different ways. We’re not using that electricity, which in turn runs up our bill. We’re not heating up the house, which in turn means we don’t have to run the AC. We’re also saving some wear & tear on our clothing. As long as you you get your clothes in from the line as soon as they’re dry, you won’t have much worry of fading. The sun is also GREAT for bleaching whites, so feel free to leave those out much after they’re dry. Oh, look at that- save on whitening agents, too!!! 😀
Eating on the cheap…
Our meals have just gotten very creative. I love to cook, so this one is fairly easy for me. I understand it may not be for some. I know a lot of people have picky husbands or picky children. Guess what? So do I!!! I am of the mind that you eat what you’re given. Hubba knows if he doesn’t like what I make, there’s always PB&J (or something). Sound harsh? Maybe so, but I find a few things that happen with this train of thought. Kids will NOT starve themselves. I know it seems like they will. They may go a few days without food (so I’ve been told), because they don’t like what you’ve made, but sooner or later they will eat. I promise. You really have no idea how particular 2 of mine are or have been. I have found, though, if you continue to stick with this train of thought, their palates will grow. My oldest who would have lived on 3 things at any point in his younger years, turns his nose up to almost nothing anymore. My now 8-year-old….. same way. 3 things at a time, if I let him. Now he eats about 50% of what I make. He’s still a work in progress, but more & more I see his palate grow.
I’m not at all suggesting you make things that you KNOW they’ll hate. None of us like asparagus. I don’t make it. Make a variety of things in one sitting. That way they do have a choice. You’re not being a short order cook if you choose to make smaller batches of 3 types of veggies. Make a starchy side & a bread, then let them choose. Instill the one-bite rule: “you have to try just one bite of everything.” There are many ways to accomplish “you eat what I make” without being an ogre. My oldest (he’s 15, by the way) has actually THANKED me for making him try things. He loves food as much as I do.
My heart just went pitter patter.
Just understand, you’re not alone. You also do not have to be bound by hot dogs, bananas & mac & cheese.
So, with that said, here’s my plan…
Casseroles, one-skillet meals, low-meat/no-meat meals & sneaky foods. My family is not a huge fan of beans. Well most of them aren’t, anyway. I’ll start small. Beans IN a dish, but not a whole dish a time or two a week. I can also puree them into dishes for sneaky nutrition & to get them a “taste” for them. Um…. so to speak, I hope.
I’m not a fan of meatless dishes, but on occasion we can do meatless spaghetti, loaded baked potatoes, meatless soups (potato, tomato, etc). I think I’ll go with once a week on the meatless. Another time or 2 on the low meat.
Low meat. That’s where casseroles come in. When you have some chicken leftover from a whole bird, freeze it. That meat can be shredded, diced or whatever and become amazing casserole style dishes, pot pies or one-skillet meals.
Tonight, I had planned on making a cheesy turkey meatloaf, leftover mashed potatoes & loads of leftover veggies (waste not, want not). I had the ground turkey thawing in a sink of water. When the boys did lunch cleanup, they didn’t put it back into a sink of water. A little after 4 it was time to start getting dinner ready. My turkey was still frozen in the middle. I knew with an hour of bake time, there was no way we were eating at a decent hour. Into the refrigerator the turkey went. Tomorrow will be the meal listed above. What am I doing for dinner???
I pulled out my “Yinormous Pan” (that’s actually what I named it, LOL. It’s a HUGE cast iron roasting pan that covers 2 burners on my stove). I fried up a pkg of nitrate/ite-free bacon that was in the fridge. I chopped up one onion & added that to the bacon. Once that was all cooked up, I removed it from the pan, leaving the drippings. To the hot pan I added diced potatoes. Fry those up until tender & nicely browned & crisp. Oh I added a little salt, pepper & garlic powder, too. We also had cornbread & baked beans (canned beans without HFCS). It doesn’t sound appetizing, but it was delicious. And, it was filling.
After dinner, I took a few quiet moments to capture what God has given us. Don’t forget- count your blessings. Rely on God. And pray…
“Michaela– homeschooling Mom to 3 boys, wife to one wonderful Hubba, kitty-momma, likes gardening/sewing/baking/cooking/a multitude of other things.
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