A New Food Adventure

Imagine looking in your fridge and you have nothing to make for dinner? Then you look at the credit cards and they are too high and you need to pay them off. So you look at your bank account and it doesn’t look much better, actually it looks worse. Does this sound like your story? No shame if it does. It doesn’t mean you are a low life or and bad person, it just means that life as been a little meaner than you were prepared for. That’s where places like food closets and banks come in handy so that we can feed our families.

Well something like this sort of happened recently. It’s not like we can’t buy food so for all my family reading, please don’t think that. It’s just that we really want to pay off our credit cards before the end of the year and being a one income family you have to be creative. I am on so many levels but my pantry is one area that hasn’t recovered from us having to leave everything behind in our last house. I was actually really proud of it since it was to the point that I had all the staples to last for an entire week or even longer on hand. Now I am only able to buy a week’s worth of food at a time and when shopping day is here the fridge looks a little bit more bare than I would like.

So yesterday I went to a food closet for the first time and it was very humbling. I grew up thinking that food closets and banks were only for poor people who didn’t have any thing otherwise. Well at the moment since we have set a goal and I would like to restock the tings I have lost that’s me. But it wasn’t like I expected.

I expected to see a bunch of people sneering their noses at me as I pull up in my 2006 Matrix (our only car) in my gym clothes with a gym badge hanging off my key ring. Unfortunately some did look at me that way since why would someone like me need to come to a place like this? Didn’t my husband make enough to buy food if I can have luxuries like this? What they don’t know is that we have lost everything, the last date my husband and I went on was get our infertility tests done last week, we only have one car because our roof needs to be replaced, our normally unused credit cards are carrying balances and we still have to pay off many other people who graciously helped us out during our time of need. You add that all up with the mortgage and the bills and yes I do belong in a place like this because everyone has their own story of why they are there.

Now I pray I don’t keep having to go for long since there people who have it way worse than me. At least my husband has a job and many of them don’t. So this isn’t a long term plan. Actually I probably won’t even go every week since what we were provided weren’t things that we even use. It’s just until we can get back on our feet and our credit cards paid off.

We are adults being responsible and if anyone thinks there’s a problem with that then maybe you should have a heart check before you are humbled to this level. Trust me I am being very humbled right now because I was the one who was on there other side wondering why a middle class (if there is such a thing any more in California) woman with a toddler is going to a food closet. It’s because we are all human and some times we all need to be creative sometimes.

Making the Cut

I know not everyone is into being thrifty and that’s ok. Many find it weird and extreme but I see it as a way to help get my husband retired faster. He likes what he does but, like many men, would rather be able to do what he loves. Sadly what he loves doesn’t normally pay the bills. So my hubby has done the steps to set himself up for early retirement and one of those things is that I now cut his hair.

Eek! I was like, my sister has cut your hair for years. Why have me do it? But we did the math and his hair costs about $78 a year to cut. Give it 20 years and that over $1500 that could go toward his retirement. So I can now add hairdresser to my homemaker resume. It’s not the best but it’s not the worst either. I’ll get better at it. I will still go to my sister though. I am not even attempting to cut my own hair 🙂

IMG_20160314_071435353_HDR
This is what my hubby looks like a 6am 🙂 Where’s the coffee!?

 

My Gardening Buddy

Tis the season for breaking out that shovel and getting your hands in the soil to plant the new seeds for that spring garden. My husband and I have been rather busy putting ours together. We planned on doing small things but that had quickly climbed to 3 raised beds, 9 tomato plants (6 normal and 3 cherry), 14 potatoes planted, 4 trees (2 breeds of avocados, a lemon, and a clementine), 6 basil plants, 6 batches of strawberries, kale, spinach, carrots, rosemary, zucchini and enough onions to make any one cry. The crazy part is – we aren’t done! We are still going to peppers, more herbs, cantaloupe, watermelon, and even black beans. (Deep breath in!)

How am I going to take care of all this? I know I am in way over my head but I love it! It gives me something to do to provide for my family all year round and I bought my hubby a dehydrator for his birthday so now we can so even more! But I am not doing this all on my own of course. I have my husband’s help but, most of all, I have Emma! And she is a great help! Sometimes it’s not in the way I would want but she is there none the less and this is my chance to teach her something that she won’t learn in school.

She will get to learn where her food comes from and how hard it is to actually get it. That it takes time and a lot of work just to get one plant to grow. She will learn responsibility (which is dying fast in our young people today) and how to take care of something other than herself. She will learn about death and how not all plants make it, but there’s where learning from mistakes and problem solving come in. She will learn how to fix something to make it better.

All of these things she should be learning at school but she won’t. I know I didn’t. I didn’t learn anything about responsibility from public school. I learned that all from home. I was a nine year old out riding on the trails by my house with my own horse (of which I started providing everything for by age 14) with no one. How? I knew how to take care of myself and what to do in case of an emergency. We still didn’t have cell phones at that time. I am actually happy to say that I can remember a time when people weren’t strapped to the little device. So my mom would drop me off, I would go ride and then return at the allotted time planned. Because I was taught all the lessons above at a young age, I was able to do so much more. It came with more responsibility but my childhood was something that most little girls only dream about.

I just didn’t have one horse, I, at one time, owned five. I trained one colt and brought another home. He bonded with my mom and now he is ten and is her trail horse. I got to do 4-H and dominate in my class, I got to go to AWANA a earn my Citation Award, I have 300 Endurance Riding Miles under my belt and countless other Horse Show ribbons in a box in storage. This isn’t to gloat but rather to show what some training about the simple things life can do. Where someone can go if they are given the right tools.

I want to equip my daughter to be successful.  I want her to grow up and be her own person and to do the things that she wants to do. It doesn’t have to be horses. My sister is 22 and has a thriving business as a hair designer called Beauty Designs by Audrey. She graduated high school with her first salon station and ready to start her career. My parents have a successful body work called Bowenology. My husband does Youtube videos now with his most popular one about Everydollar.com. What do these things all have in common? We are old fashion people who know that value of hard work, and the start of that for my daughter is going to be this garden.

So she is my gardening buddy and I can’t wait to show how to dig her first hole 🙂

IMG_20160309_121755905_HDR
Where’s Emma?

 

 

Finding Food in Your Backyard

With all this wonderful weather we are having in California, if you are anywhere else it will be there soon, we are having quite the time with our backyard. As I have bugged my husband to mow it, he finally got his newest toy! Believe it or not, it is a manual mower.

IMG_20160208_165010499_HDR
Hubby proudly mowing his lawn 🙂

He did all the research, and fought with a gas mower that we were given, and decided this was the best and most cost effective way to go. I think it is rather sexy to be honest but that is just me 🙂 And as you can see, the front yard could have really used it.

It’s not the conventional thing to do but who is to say that we are conventional?

But there’s more and I am sure you are going to face palm when I say this but we have lettuce growing our back yard! And we didn’t even plant it! Here is Northern California we have this thing called Miner’s Lettuce and it 100% edible. Most people just think it is a weed and mow it down.

IMG_20160209_112721655

So I did the weird thing and told my husband not to mow this section of grass until the Miner’s Lettuce dies off because we don’t have to pay for letus for our salads while it’s growing. I know I am crazy but it saves me money 🙂

Do you have this wonderful plant in your back yard? If you do, then maybe you give it a chance in the kitchen instead of the mower 🙂

A Normal Saturday

So this morning, I woke up with a huge list to do. Well actually every Saturday I do since that is the day for Emma will be distracted by my wonderful hubby until I am finished and I don’t have to worry about her. Any way, I woke up and started my bread for the week and get it rising, then I had to do the pizza dough for the next couple weeks to put in the freezer, then I had to make soup for the next two nights and get it in the crock pot, then the bread dough was ready to be split to rise again, then the I got to sit down for a couple minutes before they had to go in the oven, and finally I prepared sweet potato fries to go in the oven when the bread was all done. Whew! That was a busy morning.

Why am I bringing this up? It is not because I am bragging. Trust me, all I wanted to do was sit on the couch with my family and watch Tinker Bell for the 100th time, but I was instead in the kitchen all morning. The reason I did this was because it saved my family over $30.00 in products.

Each loaf of bread only costs $1.50 each (I made four) and in store they go for $3.00 a loaf. That’s $9.00 saved there.

The pizza doughs cost about the same and they go for $5.00 in the store (I made 3). That’s $10.50 saved.

The fries go for a small bag at the store $2.29 and I made enough to be the size of two of the bags. The bag of sweet potatoes only costed $1.79 to that was $3.00 saved there.

And with the soup, I used left over chicken from a chicken I had already made two meals out of, the veggies were already in my fridge and costed me all less than a dollar and I have bone broth in my fridge so I didn’t have to spend any money on chicken broth. If I had to buy it in a can, it would cots me at least $2 a can and I made enough to make five cans so $10 saved there.

In total that was $32.50 saved (before taxes that would be included on the purchased items), and all it costed me was a few hours this morning.

So for me it was worth it. That doesn’t even considering the health benefits from them being homemade but that is another post 🙂

Have you considered doing more home cooking but don’t think it is worth the time and effort? Well I can tell you it is. My husband and I are now saving for a house and retirement for the little areas that I can help save money will make a bigger impact later for us. And that to me is worth three hours in the kitchen 🙂

Hope you have fun in the kitchen and have a blessed rest of your day!

IMG_20160206_132740759
Anybody hungry?