The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Food Storage -- Week 1

Overview

I've already worked on this week's assignment.  When I first decided to accept this challenge, I figured it would be pretty easy for me, the "pathetically organized" personality, who already has some food canned from her garden, and some extra stocked in our Bomb Shelter (that's what we affectionately call that particular corner of our basement!).  However, after reading this month's assignment, I was overwhelmed--what had I bitten off?  Didn't I have a ton of other stuff I'm working on?  How was I ever going to find the time to work on this?  Maybe I should just not do it...

As Fernando and I chatted about this, though, I saw his enthusiasm for the project.  He has a very clear view of politics and our nation's plight.  He is very perceptive when it comes to all things political and economical, at both the state and national levels.  Gosh, even I know that our Prairie State could declare bankruptcy in the next five years.

Usually when we get talking about something, the creative juices flow.  Something he says, or even something I hear myself say, nudges me in a direction I hadn't anticipated.  And so, this project will result in hours being racked up for Thomas--Home Economics 101!!  I am thrilled that, as we spend time together creating and implementing our storage plan, we can count all the time we spend as credit towards his high school diploma.

For a summary of my week, I'm going to copy the parts of Lori's assignment below in purple, then comment on each one.




PART A ~ PRAYING
Always, always, always pray before undertaking any kind of project for your family!  Ask God to watch over you.  Ask Him to help you make wise decisions.  Ask Him to lead you.  And, if you are married, ask your husband if it's all right for you to do this.

This will be ongoing!  We definitely need His wisdom, His leading, His plan, for this undertaking.  I jumped on board before even asking my husband, then I asked him about doing this.  :)  Yep, it was backwards.  And I was prepared to drop out if Fernando was opposed.  But surprisingly, as I said, he was enthusiastic and encouraging.  I've said it many times before--when my husband encourages me to do something, I know it's the Lord's leading.  The Lord worked this situation out nicely.



PART B ~ THINKING
Take a walk through the house and decide where you will keep your stored food.  How much space will you need?

Thomas mentioned that the only under-bed space was Dad's and Mom's bed.  But our room remains warm in the summer, even with air conditioning, so that may not be the ideal location.  Since we already have our Bomb Shelter in the basement, we decided that we would carve out some extra space in that area.  There is a "train table" opposite the Bomb Shelter shelving, a project-of-many-years construction that will remain for Fernando to work on and finish with future grandchildren (see--I'm thinking ahead!!).  We have several Rubbermaid boxes filled with stored clothing underneath that table, so we'll spend some time in the near future sorting through that, de-cluttering and simplifying it.  After all, Thomas is our youngest and we have no need to keep certain clothing items any longer.  We will move the remaining clothing boxes elsewhere to free up enough space for food.

We're not really sure how much space we'll end up needing.  Once we finalize our menu and get an idea of how much product we'll need for three months, and how much space that product takes up, we'll be able to figure out the space issue.  (Fernando has already talked about building the food to a six-month supply, but we'll stick to three months for now.)



Decide realistically how much additional money you have or could free up to spend on this food you'll be storing.

We plan to skim a little off of our weekly stipend, and see how much we can save up.  Currently, I set aside a certain amount each week in four areas:

  1. Bulk co-op.  We have a friend who organizes a bulk co-op on a monthly basis.  This portion of money goes toward all of our grains, dry beans and legumes, pastas, oils, etc.
  2. Meat and eggs.  We found a source for farm-fresh eggs and meat, Nature's Choice Farm.  We already have grass-fed beef stored in our freezer, so this portion of my grocery money is spent on eggs and non-beef meat--poultry, fish, etc.
  3. Costco.  I purchase certain canned goods--tuna and olives, for example--and other items here.  Plus, I get good prices on some organic products.
  4. Weekly perishables and other.  This portion of money stays in my wallet, for use at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Meijer (which now stocks some good organic products!).  With this portion, I purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, cheeses, sour cream, butter, ketchup/mustard, etc.  This is the portion of my grocery budget that causes me the most trouble--when this runs out, no more purchases for the week. 

We use CASH for all of our grocery purchases.  We initially used cash when we were first married, then gradually switched to using our Discover card.  The "cashback bonus" feature was nice, and we always paid our full monthly bill.  But we were spending beyond our limit each month.


Crisis came about three or four years ago, when we were almost $1,000 in the red for the month.  One day, Fernando came home from work, walked into the family room, and announced, "We're going to use cash for groceries.  When the cash is gone, we will not purchase more.  The Lord will provide."  And He did.  Within one month, our grocery budget was back in the black!  God is good.

I wanted to share that because cash is how I will be operating when I purchase food for storage.  For example, if there is some extra cash at the end of the month in our Costco budget, I can set that aside for extra purchases.  I am simply going to make another envelope for "food storage" purposes, and keep it with my current envelopes of cash.  I also realize that the money for the bulk co-op is already for purchasing extra.  I should be able to use some of that money for items I find I need once lists are made.


PART C ~ DOING
Research.


I have sources and a plan for purchasing already in place.  I will research as I encounter ingredients I can't store well.  I anticipate having to deal with--what takes the place of an egg?  Sour cream?  Buttermilk?  Cheese--oh, my lovely cheese?  *sigh*  I'll research these as I have need, and post results!

Okay, this post is now pretty long.  My next post (next week) will focus on our menu plan, which we've already started.  I think I'll let it sit and mellow a bit, then look at it again and get more family feedback, before we make the final decision on what we'll be committing to eat over and over again!  :)

Thomas works on the menu plan

Back to life,
Christine

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