Friday, July 11, 2014

Help! Food Allergies and My Out of Control Grocery Budget

So, I was going along nicely with my grocery budget, keeping things within reason despite having to shop for my husband with celiac disease, when I was thrown another curve ball.

The baby started having bloody diarrhea, which was quite alarming but apparently is a sign of a dairy allergy. Since I am still breastfeeding, I was advised to cut dairy out of my diet (and discontinue the baby yogurt I was giving him.)

His symptoms have since cleared up, but being dairy free and gluten free presents challenges in our house, particularly with the grocery budget. Almond milk is more expensive than dairy milk (and soy milk gives me ahem bad flatulence.)

I am caught between the dance of wanting to buy sustainable/organic foods and keeping the price down. It is hard to decide which is the most important.

Also, not having the accountability of posting my expenses here has made me lazy, and I have become lax in keeping the costs down.

For July I am going to go back to posting my expenses, and gluten-free dairy-free meal and snack ideas.

Suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Would You Accept Government Help if you Qualified?

I have mentioned before we do not make a lot of money. My husband is self employed and currently I am unemployed outside the home (I am a homemaker!)

Earlier in the year we received a letter telling us we qualified for free and reduced price lunch. I had mixed feelings on this, but we did not have to do anything to accept it so I accepted it. Most of the time my son was a packer. When he did buy lunch, the food seemed to give him very bad gas (it isn't the healthiest of fare, but I am all for everything in moderation).

Because we do not make a lot of money, it has come to our attention we qualify for a few government services, such as WIC, LIHEAP, and health care tax credit.

I was interested in the health care tax credit, but once again my husband and I have mixed feelings about insurance. We have a friend who traveled to another country and broke her leg, and at that country's hospital, each procedure was listed with the expense. We both think it makes a lot more sense to pay for services rendered.
Then we heard about the concept of Christian health care bill sharing programs. Essentially you pay a monthly gift that helps everyone pay their medical bills. At this point in time, this is the route we are taking for health care.

If you are interested, here are 3 links to Christian health care programs:

Christian Healthcare Ministries

Christian Medi-Share

Samaritan Ministries

We have also qualified for the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Food Program. I think this is a great program, helping provide breastfeeding support and nutritious foods for mothers and their babies. But, even though we qualify, I do not feel we should accept it unless we are really desperate for food. And we are not. We are incredibly blessed.

I do worry about the future- what if my husband income diminishes, etc. But it this a reason to accept help?

What would you do?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Low Waste Endeavors as of Late

I am not blogging much, but here is what I am doing in the "low waste" homefront.

1.) Composting.
Don't know why I didn't start years ago.

2.) Forgoing the Air Conditioner
Even in the 90's we've managed to only use the unit in the bedroom at night. The hottest the house has gotten is 89*F. Time to find a fan?

3.) Cold Showers
This makes it fast.

4.) Local organic farm co op
We joined with my mom and sister. I am really enjoying the fresh fruit and veggies!

What are you doing to reduce your waste/impact?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Blog Update

It has been a while since I posted. I have just been enjoying life home with my boys. The summer weather has arrived here in Pennsylvania, and our community pool has opened and it is where we spend our weekends.

I am excited to be hanging the laundry out again, my husband also hung a hammock in our yard. I spread the quilt on the ground for the baby to play while I hang my laundry. It feels quite idyllic.

I am now only going to do monthly budget updates- I think you get the point that my weekly spending isn't much. My grocery/gas/takeout budget has remained pretty constant.

My next goal is to lower the utility bills (electric/water). We are trying to see how far we can push the envelope on air conditioning.

When I am not spending time being mom, I have been trying to strengthening my faith and working on my relationship with God, clean and declutter the house, and reading. I look forward to sharing with you books I have been reading soon.

I leave you on this Monday with a favorite poem my wonderful Pastor shared with us.

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

— Teresa of Ávila (attributed)

Friday, May 30, 2014

That time I flashed my underpants in the parking lot at Costco..


So! So

 I have been making my monthly treks to Costco to pay homage to their low prices.

On this particular trip, I had the baby with me. I was feeling deucedly excited about my bounty as I walked from the store through the parking lot to my car.

When, all the sudden, my elastic waist band maxi skirt (the skirt version of yoga pants) started slipping. Huh. All the sudden it was pulled down to mid thigh. What the heck?! I started pulling at it trying to get it back up, but it won't come back up! I couldn't figure out what had happened.

I was standing in the Costco parking lot in my underpants! With my skirt hovering around my knees!

I am freaking out! I can't get it back up! I try to hurry to my car, but that makes it worse! It starts going lower!

Finally, I realize the bottom of it is caught in the shopping cart wheel, and as I push the cart forward the skirt goes lower (can you picture this?)

So I start frantically trying to get it out, but it's stuck! An old man walks by! Luckily he seems kind of out of it (it is a weekday during the day, and all the senior citizens are out at Costco), and pays no notice to me.

I am still trying to get my skirt out, and I squat down so I can heft it up over my cute underpants granny panties. So I am squatting by the bottom of the shopping cart, trying to cover myself with my skirt, while simultaneously trying to get it out of the cart wheel. At this point I am just trying to rip it out because I really don't care if the skirt rips, I just want to get out of the middle of the parking lot.

Baby is sitting in the cart smiling and cooing and totally unaware of my distress.

Finally, I back up and get the skirt untangled, and I pull it up and for safety reasons I tuck the bottom into the waistband (super cool.)

Who ever said "maxi skirts" are more "modest"?


PS. Miraculously the skirt is fine!Can't say the same for my pride...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Weekly Spending Report 5.16.14 - 5.24.14

We had a busy weekend! My big boy had a birthday (Memorial Day weekend is a great time for that!) and we had a big picnic to celebrate. My son's birthday parties are proof you do not need a big hoopla for kids to have fun- every year we have a picnic outside. We invite family, a few friends, and we let him choose the dinner. This year we picked up a slip n slide for $10 and that and wiffle ball were the source of entertainment for kids (and adults) alike!

On to the Weekly Spending Report:

Groceries: $48.52
Gasoline: $87.86

Takeout: $45.74

Toys for kid's birthday (from 2nd Hand Store): $36.00
Diapers: $21.56
Birth Control Product: $138.09
Toilet Paper: $32.51
Gifts/Slip n Slide/Other: 67.66
Bills: 129.90

Total for Week: $607.84

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Weekly Spending Report 5.9.14-5.16.14 And Thoughts of My Year in the Compact So Far

Weekly Spending Report:

Groceries: 79.67
Total for Month: 217.17
Gasoline: 21.11
TFM: 139.95
Takeout: 0.00
TFM: 0.00 :)
Laundry Det. : 3.00
Plants and Garden Junk: 44.56
Netflix: 7.99
Beer Store: 48.99 (they discontinued my favorite cider in the US.)
Kindle Books: 5.00

Total For Week: 210.32

I am almost at the half way point in the year since I pledged to do the Compact. Time has flown! I really think everyone should take this on.

I decided to join the Compact mostly for Environmental/Social reasons- the impact of producing new things on people and the planet. I also joined it for the economic advantage- I am currently living out my dream of staying home with our baby and kid.

 I have learned it is very easy to get almost anything you need second hand, especially with the internet. Even though we did not enforce the compact on the rest of the family, my husband is pretty much a part of it and we have bought almost all of the things for our children second hand.

I have also learned thus far that there is very little you actually need to buy new, and there is also very little you need to buy to be happy. Beyond food, clothing, and shelter happiness is much more a state of mind than something you can find in accumulating stuff. The compact has become a great tool to make me stop and think before I buy something, because I cannot buy it new. It has prevented me from buying a lot of useless crap.