The Gang

The Gang
October 2008 Sweet Potatoe Harvest

About Me

I am a busy mommy of 6, seeking to be a loving, godly helpmeet to my husband and a biblical discipler to my children. God has blessed us with a child with Autism. May the lessons that the Lord is teaching me and our family be a blessing to you and yours!

My Favorite Books

  • Bible
  • Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
  • Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Monday, May 26, 2008
In today's economy it seems impossible to reduce your expenses. Phil and I watched a video on utube about the "Energy NON Crisis". If you are concerned about the current oil crisis and the dollar value you should look up this video or get the book and start doing your own research. It is a bit disconcerting to realize that our nation is headed for such a huge financial crisis if not a full blown depression. We have been discussing how we as a family are going to be wise stewards of what God has provided for us. We do not have to fear what is to come because we are able to Trust that the Lord is in control. However, we do believe that God wants us to be wise & prudent as we approach the uncertain economic crisis of our age. If you are not preparing for the rising gas & food prices you need to start NOW! I thought I'd share some of the things we are doing or plan to do that you might find helpful!

1. Have a garden this summer. Even if your yard is small consider a small garden box with some of the veggies that your family uses the most. Find a book on Square Foot Gardening at your local library or do research on the web. Seeds are very inexpensive and yield much more than the $1 you pay for them. It is not too late to start a garden.

2. Reduce the number of times you shop each month. If you usually usually shop one time a week, start by shopping every other week, then every third until you reach the point where you are only traveling to the store 1 time every month or better yet, every other month. We usually shop one time a month with the exception of milk & eggs which we try to get within 5 miles from home from local farmers. Our garden will soon reach the point where we will be able to provide all our own fresh veggies. Until then I have Phil pick up what I need on his way home from work so that I'm not having to waste gas to get to the store and back.

3. Car pool. Find someone to car pool with for work so that you are spending 1/2 or less than you typically would on gas each month by splitting it 1to 4 ways with others in your local area. Our new home will be 20 miles from Phil's work. He is trying to find people to carpool with so that he can share the gas expenses. If he cannot we are considering a motorcycle for the warmer months of the year since they are much cheaper on gas.

4. Find a local food club in your area where you can purchase bulk beans, grains, rice, flour, sugar, etc. Some in the Mid-West US are Natural Farms, Country Life, and United Prairie. These stores on wheels carry many food items that are both organic and non-organic. You can contact these companies and see who runs the local "clubs" in your area. You can often find out about these groups by asking church organizations, and health food store owners. If you are wondering what to do with 50# of flour, sugar, beans, rice, etc. When you do go shopping stop at every store that you can along the way that has a bakery. The bakeries use 5 gallon tubs of icing, fillings, etc and often will sell you their empty buckets for between 50 cents and $1. You can then put your bulk grains into these buckets (after cleaning them good) and they will stay fresh for YEARS!

5. Buy in bulk. Many large grocery stores or even Sam's/Cosco sell items in bulk. Plan your budget so that you can start buying things in bulk. Focus on one food that you use the most each time you shop. There is no way you can stock up on everything all at once (unless you use your stimulus check, which would be a wise investment), so make a plan to start stocking up on the basic food items so that when flour is tripple the price it is now, you won't have to buy it because you have plenty stored away.

6. Start cooking some vegetarian meals. Find 2 vegetarian meals your family enjoys and make them each week. By not purchasing as much meat you will save a lot of money. Maybe fix homemade pancakes, spaghetti with tomato sauce (no meat), beans and rice flavored with Taco seasoning, popcorn with peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese with tomato soup, veggie stir fry with rice, etc.

7. Stop eating out! Make a sack lunch or supper when you need to be on the road or at work. You will save several dollars a day by making homemade lunches rather than going to a restaurant's. Kids LOVE picnics! Making a sandwich to take along rather than stopping at McDonald's will not only be healthier but will be just as easy as you travel.

8. Water. If you typically purchase bottled water look into getting a water filter. I've been researching the Berkey Water filter systems. The water at the farm we are moving to is not drinkable unless it is filtered. Buying a water filter will save us having to buy bottled water for our family of 8.

9. Shop locally. Find farmers markets, and local farmers that have eggs, milk, syrup, etc for sale or trade. If you have a farmers market only 10-15 miles from your home you will be paying less for the food and support our economy so much better. For more info on why shopping locally is very economically smart read the book: Animal Vegetable Miracle. You can find a lot of info on-line about shopping locally too.

10. Start reducing your food portions. We have decided that I'm gong to start cooking less so that we are getting our nutrient needs met while reducing my grocery needs. We in the US really do eat way too much food. We can live on much less and we may be forced to live on much less in the near future. When you have to pay $5-$7 a gallon for gas you will have to reduce your food budget. By reducing your food portions and making sure you are cooking healthy meals that will meet your families nutrient needs you will end up saving money at each meal.

11. Reduce your home energy use. Make sure you are conserving water by taking shorter showers, economizing your water use while doing dishes, and catching rain water for watering your lawn and gardens. We set a timer for the kids when they are in the shower so that they don't take long showers. We fill a sink with hot water to rinse all the dishes in then empty it and fill it again with soapy water to wash them and we are starting to fill up the other side of the sink with hot clean water for rinsing rather than running the water through the entire rinse process. Often I only use 4 gallons of water to do my dishes. If you have a dishwasher be sure to use the shortest cycle possible with the NO HEAT drying cycle. Turn your heat down this winter. For each degree you turn down your heat in the winter you can save up to 3% of your heat expense. We usually keep our house between 62 & 64 degrees all winter long. If you have the option of heating with wood DO! If you have a wood stove that will also allow you to cook on it. DO IT! Many soups, stews, chili's, hot cereals, pot roasts, roast chicken, etc can all be cooked very easily if set on top of a wood burning stove in the winter. Check out new appliances like Solar Ovens, hand crank food mills/grinders, outdoor bread ovens, and wood grills. You can build a nice outdoor cooking grill by using cinder blocks.

12. Start making your own cleaning products. The basic ingredients needed for almost all your cleaning needs are vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, and borax. These ingredients are not only cheap but they are also NOT toxic. You can find many recipes online for dish soap, dish washer soap, laundry soap, all purpose cleaning, window cleaning, etc.

Ok, I'll stop there. I'm off to make bread and do my dishes. I have promised my kids that we'd fly a kite sometime today and of course I need to pack. If you are doing something to prepare your family for the rising gas and food prices please post a comment sharing your tips!!


Jennifer said...

I surfed onto your blog a couple of weeks ago and you are so right about the cleaners. I've known how to make simple cleaners for a while but never get around to it.

We even made simple glass cleaner this year in Girl Scouts as part of our badge work.

So with your inspiration I mixed up a batch of vinger cleaning solutions... today is devoted to cleaning the kitchen so I used it. Thanks for the reminder!

Also... Loved the pics of your chickens... We had to move to town about 3 yrs ago.. I really miss my chickens and eggs.

Karis said...

Great post. I don't have anything to add -- my brain is kinda' turned off so I can ignore my baby crying (she's having a hard time falling asleep tonight). I enjoyed reading these ideas, though!