Sunday, July 27, 2008

What does your family eat in a week?

How random is this! Our local Co-Op is asking members to photograph and document what their families eat in a week. Here's the link:

Below is what I am submitting for the contest. What do you eat in a week?

What the Joneses Eat:
It’s hard to say what a week of food looks like at our house because we usually shop on paydays, about every 15 days or so. We spend $320 a month on food. In an average month that would equal $80 a week, but it doesn’t really work out that way. On payday, we spend $100 and get everything to make meals for two weeks. Then, we go to the store one more time in between paychecks to restock on milk, apples, grapes and the like. Food takes 10% of our total budgeted expenditures. Rent is 20%.

We feed two adults, one three year old, and in a secondary way the 4 month old baby. When we got married 4 years ago, it seemed like food never lasted and could be scarce. (Our budget then was half what it is now). Now we have a well-stocked pantry, and always have delicious food to eat. We invite friends over to eat too. We buy a lot in bulk food bins, rarely let leftovers go to waste, and cook/eat small portions. Rather than let excess fresh veggies go to waste, I shred and freeze them and then re-introduce them into other meals. I constantly “recycle” leftovers, making yesterday’s bean dip into today’s enchiladas and tomorrows taco soup. I make our bread. I don’t know if it saves money to make it, but we usually slice it thinly and the loaves are generally smaller. Overall, I think our sandwiches are smaller because of the bread, which means we waste less meat and cheese with the toddler.

We buy organic milk, get our meat at C&L when we can, and buy Tillamook cheese and yogurt. We don’t have a Costco membership, but our friend does. We go once every few months for a bag of shrimp and chicken breast. Unfortunately, we don’t get to buy organic produce too often, but someday I will have my own yard and garden, and I expect to save big then! We love invitations to other people’s gardens. We shop the co-op for bulk foods, cheeses, and Organic Valley milk. The Co-Op often has the best prices on organic milk, and the quality and selection in the bulk section is awesome.

1 sleeve of bulk 4 pack of Kashi Go Lean Crunch, honey almond flax
1 chicken breast
16 shrimp
5 ½ cups bulk AP flour

½ cup cream of wheat
24 oz asst’d. tilamook yogurt
4 bananas
1 can frozen minute made orange juice, from concentrate
3 Hebrew National Hotdogs
¼ lb pork picnic roast
1 chicken leg quarter
2 eggs
3 Hotdog Buns, whole wheat, no corn syrup
1 ½ tbsp fleischman’s yeast
1 ½ tbsp salt
4 flour tortillas, Don Panchos made in Oregon
1/4 lb. cheddar Tillamook cheese from 1 lb. block
1 oz goat cheese
8 tbsp jiffy peanut butter
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp salt
4 tbsp pepper, from peppercorns
½ packet lawry’s taco seasoning
¼ c. Panko crumb
¼ c. Tempura, sun luck
Coconut milk, roland
1 green pepper
3 red peppers
½ cup olive oil and canola oil
1 bag baby spinach
4 onions
2 heads garlic
1 bunch spring onion
1 new potato
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
3 heads broccoli
1 cup frozen peas
2 lemons
Parsley, Italian flat leaf
8 apples
1 apricot
1 bag grapes
6 graham grackers
4 frozen strawberries
4 fresh strawberries
1 cup breyers vanilla ice cream

21 cans Dr. Pepper (mom has a serious addiction…okay??)
¾ lb cod
14 oz pinto beans

Moscow Food Co-Op
1 gallon fat free Organic Valley milk
½ cup Fairhaven Rye Flour
½ cup Montana Gold wheat flour
1 c. bulk jasmine rice
½ c. bulk basmati rice
1 cup masa
Tsp crushed red pepper
Wasabi powder
1 14 oz can Muir Glen no salt added tomato sauce

Locally grown
Cherries from Tukey Orchard
6 tbsp raspberry jam from my bosses raspberries in her back yard (so…pectin, sugar, raspberries?)
Chives from my barrel

International Store, Pullman
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
Chili sauce
7 hot peppers
1 ginger root, frozen and sliced

Unknown Sources
1 cub burger (cougar country)
1 chicken strips, fries, two pieces of toast basket (cougar country)
1 pint milk (cougar country)
1 lolipop (from candy bowl at luke’s work)
Goldfish crackers (leftovers from one of dad’s events)

Monday: Kashi cereal, 1 banana, 1 container yogurt; leftovers and spinach salad for lunch; snack of cherries and goldfish; dinner at Cougar Country=chicken strips, burger, fries, milk for Abi, water for us.
Tuesday: Kashi cereal, leftover lunch with apple; dinner of homemade baked fish sticks (panko, tempura, cod) and broccoli with wasabi soy sauce, milk; wine and raspberries for mom and dad
Wednesday: Kashi cereal and juice; leftover lunch with apple; goldfish and apples snack; Picnic @ Sunnyside for dinner= hot dogs, soda, chips, fruit salad
Thursday: Kashi cereal, juice; broccoli, spinach, red pepper salad; snack of grapes and goldfish; Vietnamese-style garlic Shrimp, spicy fried rice made from leftover rice, coconut rice steamed, broccoli, steamed; peanut sauce, milk
Friday: Kashi cereal, 1 banana, 1 container yogurt; leftovers lunch with apple; goldfish crackers, juice, and grapes snack; Friday lollipop (1); chicken and bean enchiladas, green pepper and tomato Spanish rice made from leftover coconut steamed rice, strawberry milkshakes dessert
Saturday: cream of wheat with raisins for breakfast, juice; grapes, an apricot, goat cheese, 1 ½ PBJ’s on homemade bread, and crackers for lunch; tamale meat in leftover shrimp marinade with rice for dinner, milk
Sunday: 2 eggs with sausage crumbled in them; 5 homemade tamales for lunch(small), 3 graham crackers and juice for snack; broccoli red pepper chowder (meatless) with homemade bread for dinner

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cost Cutting

We try to keep our grocery budget to a minimum, but a desire to reduce costs so we can spend more of our budget on travel has me looking to cut expenses again. I was using google to look at grocery budget information, and came across this. I thought it was really interesting. Follow the link to see what people from countries around the world eat in a week.

I guess when I hear that families in x country live on $1 a day, it never sunk in that a family might consist of more than four people.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Great School Swap

I have discovered something about myself as we get ready to move. I always said I would never be like my grandmother, who rinsed every breadbag she ever had and kept piles of them under the kitchen sink, neatly folded. The thought of moving has brought the truth to light though.

I struggle with separation too.

Every piece of children's clothing Abi has worn is tucked away in boxes under the beds and in the closets. Now, as Lily outgrows these hand-me-downs I continue to save everything -- afterall, what if we have another child? Some clothing I know will never get worn, yet I continue to save some pieces which I can't think of giving to Goodwill in the hopes that I will have a friend that needs them. Some of the less treasured pieces were taken to a garage sale recently. I was dismayed as folks actually haggled on quality, bargain-priced children's clothing. After an entire day of work, I came home with $40 (roughly $4 an hour when I add up all the time spent).

The thought of moving everything to Salem in snowy December has motivated me to go through all of this treasured children's clothing. I'm saving just enough so that Lily will have about ten days worth of clothing in every size. For everything else, here's the solution. Two weeks before school starts I'm hosting a children's clothing swap. Parents can bring outgrown children's clothing, and swap it for clothing that will fit their children this school year. Anything that doesn't swap will be donated to charities that can benefit. I look forward to saving money on clothing for Abi, and to clearing out all of those boxes under the bed!

I got this swap idea from one I participated in during college. All of the girls in the house cleaned out closets and we hung all the clothing on hangers for everyone to sort through. I walked away with four really cute outfits, and we had a blast trying things on and "modeling" some pretty ridiculous outfits. Even though I contributed more than four outfits to the event, they were things I never wore, wheras I still wear two of the things I swapped for to this day! Less clutter, more cute. Next time you are due for a garage sale, consider opting for a swap instead!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Best reads for a long journey

I can't wait for Abi to read. When I think of summer, my favorite childhood memory is swaying in the hammock under a shade tree with a good book while the breeze laps at the pages I read. One of the things that excites me most about our upcoming journey is thinking of ways to engage our children on the long boat passages that are a part of our journey when we cross the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. No phone calls, no TV, no trips to the grocery store or bank -- just lots of time to spend together.

I intend to spend much of that time reading with my kids. There is a library on the ship, but it doesn't have many children's books. So, I've already determined that I will purchase many books for our journey. I'm looking for books that are interesting to read over and over again, books that explain some of the things we will be seeing, and books that are intriguing, laugh out loud funny, or memorable in some other way.

Our local children's librarian helped us identify a few good books, and we've started a 'wishlist' of books to take on the journey. Do you have any suggestions for great children's books for a long journey? We would love to hear them!

Friday, July 11, 2008


How does a family decide to put everything they own into storage, leave family and friends behind, and engage in the international living experiment? Four years ago in August, we sailed with Semester at Sea. We were newly married, had no ties, and the voyage was sort of an ultimate honeymoon experience. Since then, we've had two kids and accumulated lots of stuff. We've been invited to sail again a few times now, but the timing never seemed right.

When Luke was offered a position for the Spring '09 voyage, it was eerily possible. We were ready to look for jobs closer to family, Luke had finished his Ph. D, our kids are old enough for travel, but not school age. Having the capability to say "yes" was equal parts terror and exhileration. On the one hand, we are *sailing around the world*, starting with a trip to the Bahamas in the middle of January. But saying "yes" means saying "no" to many things that really are just as wonderful: our stable, established lives in a community where we are loved and cared for; the possibility of moving closer to our families and friends; a physical place to call "home"; and for me, a job.

Our journey on Semester at Sea through 12 countries in 100 days begins on January 26th. But the journey from our stable, predictable life to a place that is yet to be determined has already begun.