August 6, 2010

Update on Two Week Eat From the Pantry Food Challenge

On Monday of this week, I started our family’s two week eat from the pantry food challenge.  There have been a few hiccups along the way. 

I totally forgot about an evening that my husband had planned with the guys on Tuesday night.  Since it had been planned for months, he enjoyed a nice dinner out and some guy time. 

Then, I had a meal out previously planned for yesterday at lunchtime.  I had thought I was planning ahead by purchasing a gift card at to make my total amount spent just a couple of dollars.  Boy was I wrong!  I arrived at the restaurant where my friend and I had planned to meet only to find a big board covering the door and a sign saying that they were expanding their restaurant.  “Come back soon!”  Yeah right!  We ended up eating next door and I paid WAY too much for a lunch with NO leftovers to eat at another time.  What is that quote, “The best laid plans of mice and men, oft do go astray” or something like that?  UGH! 

I guess the upside of the challenge is that we haven’t needed to prepare as many of the meals that I had planned.  On Tuesday night, daughter and I had some leftovers for supper instead of cooking steak.  On Wednesday night, we brought over a bunch of veggies and my dad cooked for us while we helped him with his house.  Last night, Hubby and Daughter pulled pancakes from the freezer instead of making up a new batch.  Rescheduling those meals for a later date saved us some money and time, which is always a good thing. 

The loaf of bread that I bought last weekend is starting to run out, which means that if Hubby is to have sandwiches for lunch, I’ll need to make some bread this weekend.  Since it is so dang hot, I don’t want to fire up the oven, and I’ll be using the bread machine instead. 

I freeze the heels of bread to save for stratas and other casseroles.  Daughter and I have been using those for toast in the mornings.  I even used a frozen whole wheat hot dog bun for my sandwich on Monday.  Not only is this helping me to clean out the freezer to make room for more of the food from the garden, but it is also saving a bit of cash. 

I also forgot about the men’s breakfast at church that takes place on the first Saturday of the month.  Since Daughter and I help to prepare those meals, we’ll eat for free that morning, but Hubby will still need to pay for his breakfast. 

So, in a week when I hadn’t planned on us paying more than a couple of bucks to dine out, we will have used up most of our entertainment budget in one fail swoop.  Is this Murphy’s law?  I don’t know, but I do know that it is not only frustrating, it is also depressing.  It would be so easy to give up, so easy to give in and throw in the towel.   When I’m faced with a problem like that, I ask myself two questions: 

What part of this can I control?

I can control myself.  I can control my attitude and whether or not I continue. 

What can I learn from this experience?

I have learned empathy for others who might not have it as easy as I.  What do I really have to complain about?  Baking bread—big whoop!  At least I have the ingredients on hand.  I have a bread maker and don’t have to heat up the house.  I have an air conditioner.  For Pete’s sake, I have a home!  I can better understand how difficult it must be for single mothers who work a full time job and then must come home and cook.  When you are tired and want nothing more than to spend time with your family before retreating to bed, spending time in the kitchen isn’t as appealing.  It is a luxury to say that I enjoy cooking.  It is a blessing to have a husband willing to help me.

I learned that if I’m going to plan a trip to a restaurant and am going to purchase a gift cert online then I am going to first call the restaurant and make sure they are open. 

I have learned to keep a better family calendar so that these little events don’t pop up and surprise us again. 

I am going to keep going with the challenge.  I’ll hope that my report next go around will be a little more upbeat.  ;)

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