Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kimmie in Real Life...wrap up!

Three months of Plenty!

What a wonderful summer we have had
and what a wonderful time we had with
"3 months of no shopping"!

I had a friend ask me
if we stocked up before we started our three month adventure...the answer is absolutely NOT !!

Most of the time trials or adversity
come into our lives without any warning and so we treated our three months of no shopping as if something really happened.

Each month for the past year we would always buy extras of all of the basics in our food storage room...I wouldn't know what it was like, to not be preparing for the future today.

For those that haven't been following this challenge...
for the past 2 years we have diligently been adding an extra $1,000 to our debt to get it paid off...we hate debt and want the Freedom that comes from having financial freedom and being debt free!

In May our HELOC debt was at $6,043 and by keeping with paying the $1,000 each month, it would mean we wouldn't have it paid off for another six months.

SO, we decided to rally our food allowance
and family fun money together

to put towards the debt and pay it off in 3 months instead of 6 months and so we decided to not do any grocery shopping for the next three months and put our food allowance/family fun money and any other extra money we could towards paying off our debt.

We wanted this to be a real test and since I opened my big mouth and told people we weren't going to shop for 3 months...we didn't cheat at all.

(these were the guidelines we established,
before we started this challenge
we would only live off our food storage

, we did
buy a gallon of milk every other week and supplemented with powdered milk (click here for how we make our milk stretch)
AND we did allow ourselves $15.00 each week for fresh produce
(although some weeks we didn't purchase any produce)

(here showing our DEBT gone after our challenge)

We learned so much,
like how much we LOVE onions, and need to find a way to better store onions so if we had to be long term without any shopping at the grocery store, we could make sure and have plenty of onions to make all of our yummy soups, Dutch Oven cooking and Stir-Fry. (dehydrated onions, just don't quite cut it).

I also realized how much celery, carrots and bell peppers

make up many of our meals and I want to have plenty of freeze-dried and or dehydrated versions of these so if we don't have these fresh in our fridge, we can still make up our favorites.

We ran out of yogurt and cottage cheese, cream cheese, onions and chocolate chips and were on our last package of butter when the three months was over.

Here is a list of the major things we went through.
With cooking every meal from scratch,
we went through A LOT of the staples.
This has been very helpful to help us in planning for LONG term storage.
(BTW...we have chickens that we get eggs from, so we didn't have to use egg powder)

100 pounds unbleached flour
25 pounds sugar
10 pounds brown sugar
2 pounds powdered sugar
10 pounds honey
10 pounds raisins
1 pound dried cherries
13 pounds wheat
2 pounds corn meal
1-1/2 pounds SAF yeast
3/4 pound baking powder
2 pounds baking soda
3 pounds salt
6 pounds rock salt
25 pounds steel cut oats
8 pounds rolled oats
8 pounds powdered milk
9 pounds dried beans/legumes
9 pounds rice
12 pounds pasta
3 pounds popcorn kernels
5 pounds raw almonds
1 pound walnuts
1/2 pound pecans
1 pound sunflower seeds
1 pound cashews
(1) 23 ounce container unsweetened cocoa powder
32 oz. bottle REAL maple syrup
12 ounces molasses
16 ounces corn syrup
2 packages marshmallows
1 pound Citric Acid
2 bottles Lemon Extract
(3) 8.2 ounce bottles REAL vanilla
2 liters Olive Oil
72 ounces Canola Oil
2-1/2 pounds cornstarch
72 ounces chocolate chips
6 ounces white chocolate chips
(2) 40 ounce jars peanut butter
(we also used quite a bit of Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, taco seasoning, cumin, chili powder, granulated garlic, beef and chicken bouillon, dried parsley oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and All-Spice)

10 pounds Monterey Jack Cheese
1-1/2 pounds sharp cheese
2 pounds Mozzarella Cheese
24 pounds butter

4 pounds chicken
8 pounds hamburger
5 pounds pork
10 pounds salmon
22 cans tuna
2 packages Pepperoni & Canadian Bacon (from freezer)

40 limes (limes, citric acid and sugar turned into this)
6 packages Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid
25 pound bale carrots
(2) 46 ounce jars pickles
(2) 24 ounce bottles ketchup
(2) 30 ounce jars Mayonnaise
10 cans stewed tomatoes/tomato sauce
2 bottles salsa
2 packages dry Ranch Dressing Mix
20 packages Doublemint Gum
bag of 200 Menthol cough drops

(we also went through a few cans each of pineapple tidbits, olives, diced green chilies, canned beans, evaporated milk, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and chow mein noodles...ALSO, a few packages of Ramen for our backpacker meals))
1 large bag charcoal briquettes

(I lost track of how many pounds of frozen fruits/berries we used for our smoothies, (
here) but I had pineapple in my freezer from 2007 and 2008 and it is all used up and we are on this years pineapple chunks..click here for how I freeze pineapple)

(4) 56 ounce containers Soft Soap
48 ounces shampoo
48 ounces conditioner
30 ounces hair gel
33 ounces hair spray
(1) 13 ounce bottle Curel lotion
18 rolls paper towels
60 rolls toilet paper
(1) 36 count box tampons/(1) 18 count box maxi-pads
1 box of each sandwich and snack sized bags
2 boxes of each gallon and quart sized bags
1/2 box Q-tips
20 oz. mouth wash
(2) 100 ounce jugs laundry soap
1 box Borax
90 ounces dishwasher soap
32 ounces Glass Plus
12 ounces 409 cleaner
16 ounces Armstrong floor cleaner
40 ounces Bathroom cleaner
40 ounces Shower Cleaner
64 ounces Hydrogen Peroxide
3 gallons vinegar
1/2 box Bounce sheets
1 gallon CAR oil
1 gallon windshield washer cleaner

I LOVED this challenge
and I'm so glad we did this as I learned SO much.

When we walk down to our food storage room it doesn't look much different than these photos (here)
we realize that the shelves of canned goods, we made very little dent in.
It was all of the basics, flours, sugars, grains, honey, yeast, oil, spices/cooking supplies that we used the most. We also realized how much our freezers benefit us with having pounds of butter, cheese, meat and frozen berries and fruit.

This was a WIN-WIN for us...
we were able to get one of our debts paid off early,
ROTATE our food storage

we now have a guideline of what our family needs for three months, six months or a year of staples.

I don't have to "guess" anymore
how much we really do go through in three months time and I gained so much more of an appreciation for simple things.
I also gained skills that I probably wouldn't have, had I not needed tortillas to make up enchiladas, or buns for hot dogs or hoagie sandwiches, or, Granola Bars for energy when we went on our backpacking trips, OR, for Jade to have for energy bars when he runs Cross Country
AND we realized how fun and easy it is to make homemade ice cream.

Challenges are good!
It's not until you force yourself,
(or until you're forced into a situation)
that you really learn what you're made of!


TLC said...

Kimmie, I just have to let you know that even though, i don't comment as often, I have always been watching.reading and i have to say that i am SO SO SO SO impressed!!!

Really and truly, can I come live by you and eat?!?!?!?!?

Forget Paula Dean or Martha or Rachel Ray...you my friend inspire me to cook like no other. I ADORE like "mouth drooling" over your pictures! And I'm so happy for you and your family to be free of that debt.

You need to publish a cookbook with just your pictures. I'd buy it!!!

You truly inspire me and i sure others to use what you have and save and cook!! I am a 1000% believer that a home and children strive better when families cook home cooked meals and such. Of course life gets in the way and things come up and I believe it's okay to go out once in a while but i truly feel that families eating dinner at the table with home cooked meals stimulates better upbringing.

All my love and I send my best warm fall greetings!!!!!!!!!

Garden of Egan said...

Thanks for doing what you did and LIVING TO TELL ABOUT IT!!!!
It seems like it was a real joy for you and your family and not much of a struggle at all.

I love that you posted what you used. I think I have plenty of food storage, but I've never "tested" it. Thanks for your hard work.

Since you've been doing this I've really gone through my food storage with a fine tooth comb. I've even been buying more of the staples. I've tried to use your recipes and it's been so good for me to challenge myself.

Thank you again!!!
I'm off to make some oatmeal cookies (your recipe of course).
I also turned my DIL onto your site when they were here last weekend helping Howie lay carpet in our basement apartment. She spent HOURS looking at your stuff. She got really excited as well. I know she's a stalker now.

You'll never know how many "seeds" you planted.

No my garden did NOT survive the frost.
We thought we'd turn the water on at 0500 this morning and we'd do OK but no.
I have about 6 tomato plants that are right next to the house, they are fine. My squash will be ok, but the cukes and corn and peppers didn't fare at all.
Boo for us.

Cherie said...

I don't know what else to say. I have never known anyone else who really lived off of their food storage for 3 months. We talk about it, we hope it will work, but to see you actually do it - to live it really IS inspiring.
I loved seeing your list of all you used. That truly would be very beneficial.
Good job - You should write a book...seriously!!

Ann Marie said...

* standing ovation*

I am SOOOOOOOOOO happy for you!!!
For this challenge that brought you joy.. learning.. and living within your means... but also for the debt you have conquered! Way to BE Kimmie!!!!

When we did this challenge... a while back... I was prepared for the entire 3 months except for:
Ran out of Butter.. and ran out of Toilet Paper. ( and we had A LOT of TP stored. I know we don't HAVE to live without it.. but I don't want to!!

When we did this.. it also was in the summer.. so we had plenty of Garden Veggies and Fruits to eat. I wonder how it would be to do this in the winter... hmmm... I think it would be easy if I canned alot! -- I'm not sure though.. the way my Dad and Chad go through my peaches.. :)

You are such a good example.. and I too-- have given your blog address out to a few people!

Kimmie-- E-mail me PLEASE!!!
~ And see you in one month! :)

Garden of Egan said...

OK Kimmie..........cuz I'm nosey.

How was shopping the first time after 3 months? Painful?
Did you go with a very specific list of what you were going to buy?

Connie said...

You really are my hero in many ways! What a test of preparedness, faith, and diligence!
Did you get the debt paid off? I'm sure you did!

Thanks for telling us about this. It has helped me realize how much I might need for 3 months worth of delicious meals!

Now, I'm going back to check out your links about stretching the milk and your food storage.

Thanks again, my friend.

Sondra said...

The "used list" sure gave me a jolt. It got me really thinking about what we would use in a year. I always feel prepared, but wow! that list gave me something to think about. I'd love to try a three month food storage only - just to see what we really use. Also the saving like mad is a great idea too.

Anyway, I wanted to send you an idea to store onions.
It is from "Want What you Have blog" and the link to how she stores onions is: http://blog.wantingwhatyouhave.com/2010/08/kitchen-tour-part-three-pantry-and.html

I am going to try this soon... I just haven't got around to it. But I think it's a great idea.

Anyway - you truly inspire me. Thanks for sharing your real life and wisdom with us.

Jeff and Lisa said...

I'm one of the Cheney clan, Katie(sis in law)led me to your blog. It's been fun to read your blog. I loved reading about your challenge and have learned a lot, it will come in handy since my daughter was just diagnosed with celiac disease and most foods will have to be made for her. It's a good thing I'm a from scratch type. I experimented with freezing onions and peppers last fall and will be doing it every year from now on. If you want to learn what I did, email me at j.l.cheney@gmail.com
I did lots of diced onions and peppers for all of my cooking as well as made my own fajita mix and froze peppers for stuffed peppers. I haven't tried celery but love to cook with it as well, I might have to try it this year!

Lisa Cheney