Just some thoughts

So I have had the thought to write this post for a while now, but hesitated for simply prideful reasoning. But, I’m over that and just hope that it can benefit anyone going through the same situation, or help prepare those who might.

Food Storage, as I have said before, is a spiritual thing in it’s own right. I have learned so much about myself, about the ways of the Lord and much more through this journey. However, I did start my food storage preparations not ever thinking that I would be using it this soon!

Since before Christmas Aaron told me that because his industry is changing things are going to be tight financially for a while. I knew tight, we had done tight before. So I was feeling prepared, I had begun my three-month food storage and it was coming along nicely. The more the months passed, the tighter it became. We did all right things in my mind, getting rid of wants like cable and some extra curricular activities, no eating out, etc. All the basic things I knew to do to keep ahead. I started to rely more and more on my food storage. I began using it, still trying to build here and there, but more using than storing!

I’ve drastically cut the grocery budget last couple months to getting only fresh things like eggs, cheese, veggies and fruit. Utilizing what I had in storage. This worked out just fine. I had already been cooking in a way that things didn’t change drastically in the way we ate. I did find myself baking more- like bread and treats so as to not have to buy those things. But overall, I realized again the importance of why food storage is a lifestyle and not just something we check off our list of things to do.

Now for the things I have learned along this journey that I am so grateful to have the knowledge of. I realized that because using the food storage was food that we already ate, the kids didn’t know any different. And I too didn’t feel like I had to start eating Mac and cheese every night. This really affects the mind when going through a hardship. The last thing I wanted to feel was frustrated in the kitchen, wondering what in the world am I going to make and how the heck do I make bread, or what in the world do I do with this wheat. Things just kept rolling forward. I had to become a little more creative in certain areas, like I wanted to make these bagel pizzas but couldn’t get them, so I made them. And I wanted to have French dip for dinner and didn’t have the large rolls, so I made them. Now I saw this only to show that by taking to time to learn these skills, it helped me to not feel self-pity, or frustration as a homemaker. I found that I looked forward to Friday Pizza Night because it was the closest to “fast food” as we were getting with the Soda being allowed and all!
I realized that while living off food storage, I was glad to have had so much variety. Instead of sticking to my original 14 meals I was using to build off of, I had started adding more and more meals. This has made it so nice, again, to not FEEL the lacking, but to FEEL blessed that I had so much! If I had mostly Mac and Cheese, spaghetti and such stored up, and had three months of it- we wouldn’t starve- no. BUT my point is that if I had to open up the cupboard and pull out another box of noodles one more time I would go nuts!!!
So when planning your three-month supply, really think about what you and your family will eat, plan around that. And we need to be constantly learning how to cook, how to make different foods, how to make those convenient foods that we rely on a lot more than we think! I will do admit, I miss the freezer section on the store!!!!
I am grateful that I have been able to get to the store for those few things that do make meals nicer, I have however, not been able to a couple times and thought to myself, ok what do I substitute this with? Being creative with your meals is not as hard as we think.
Keeping positive and really embracing my roll as a homemaker can be challenging in times like this. I am glad that I have had this experience where it really could be so much worse that it is. I know now though, that doing all I can to keep positive for the children is huge! And having Aaron see that I am OK, that I’m not complaining about not being able to go to the store and get this and that. It helps him to be able to focus on his main role. Keeping the home happy is a hard thing outside these types of challenges let alone in the middle of it. So I commend all those who have done this and kept the peace! I have to work at it every day, and there are better days than others that’s for sure. I do know however, that I have a great role as a mother, and a homemaker. I k now that this is no easy job, and embracing it, learning all I can in it, and DOING IT the best I can, not letting my doubts about myself get in the way, is the best job ever!

I think on average, these last three months I have saved over $600 in grocery bills. WOW. I also will say I found Mexican foods are easier and faster to put together. I found that we went through more cereal than I had planned out for. I had 25 boxes in storage. Once I start building again my new goal will be 40. I also realized just how important it is to stick to the meal plan for that reason alone. My food storage has lasted a lot longer than three months, and I think part of that is sticking to what I had planned to make, which makes sense when you think about it! But I am finding that for my kids, pancakes are not wanted as much as I thought. And when we do eat them we don't use as much batter as I calculated for, so the three bags are lasting twice as long. I found that I like having the freezer as part of my food storage use- good thing I have a generator! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are made just as often as I planned and kids are not getting sick of them. I do not use pasta as much as I thought- more Mexican foods. 
I had exactly three months of can chicken when i started actually having to use it and I am almost out, so that was about half a month shy. I will up my numbers on that, I really do like using it over the fresh in most recipes. 
Let's see, I have not used my tomato soups that I stocked up on- those are a last resort meal. 
I will store more dry beans this next time because I  know now that I can grind them into flours and make cream of soups out of them. I love that! And I will store more 6 grain. I have not run out yet or anything but have been frugal with it as to not run out. I love making granola and it has been very filling. I'm using less wheat because I have been combining it with my bread flour. So both those have lasted longer because I do that. I will up my numbers on Crisco, and chocolate chips!
Snack food we flew through. I didnt think it would go that fast. But with kids in school and having to make lunches, yep- it goes fast. This is where home made things have been a must. Like making mini muffins and such. But I still will store more of that too next go around. 
Also I have been grateful for the stocking up on Toilet paper, paper towels and laundry soap. Things like that are so expensive when you are trying to tighten things up. I have felt so lucky to walk down and get TP when we are out, knowing that I couldn't really afford it right now. Soaps, shampoo, toothpaste- glad I have had all that. I will up the numbers with body soap. We were using it prior to the actual start of food storage use, but i will still stock up on that more. 
Oh, and cleaning products. I had not really got to a full three months on that yet and really wish I had! I think that about does it.
I will say that when I was teaching the three month class i said that even if we are buying one extra can of soup a week to build toward our supply we will be blessed. i do believe that and have done just that when I go tot he store. I have taken advantage of my coupons and have been able to get things for just cents. So it's possible even under stressful situations financially. 
I hope I have not just blabbed on and on, but I really wanted to share what it’s like from one perspective at least, to live off food storage. I learn so much every day and am glad I have a place to share it. Keeps me going on those harder days!

1 comment:

Katie said...

Amie, Thank you for sharing. You will inspire alot of people by what you wrote. I know it has inspired me. I love how you said you look at it as a blessing when you have more meals you can add and make to your food storage, rather than looking at it as, just mac and cheese... Thats why I love getting my 3 month supply organized and thats why I love this blog. It truly is fun! I feel creative and resourseful and prepared! That brings peace!!