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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Feed 6 on $5 or Less?

I always try to make our big meal of the day—our evening dinner, when we’re all together—for under $10. Sometimes, that’s a challenge. But in order to manage our costs right now, it’s really necessary. Recently, though, I heard of someone who challenged herself even moreso—she tries to make her family’s dinner on an average of $5. Given, her family is a little smaller—there are 4 of them, not 6—but two of ours are so small that we might come close to evening out. So, I thought I’d give it a shot and try for some $5 dinners.

Here’s my first:

Cream of Celery and Chicken Soup with Sliced Tomatoes and Corn Muffins.

I found Campbell’s condensed low-fat Cream of Celery soup at Grocery Outlet and bought 2 cans for $1.00 each.
To that, I added ½ a package (about .55 pounds) of diced chicken tenders bought on sale for $1.98/pound at Ingles. (Actually, I diced and cooked the chicken in salted water with pepper and dry parsley ahead of time to make a soup broth.)
I used 2 full-sized celery ribs and sautéed them in ½ tablespoon of butter with a touch of garlic. To that sauté, I added the chicken, broth, and canned soup.
I bought 2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix for 43 cents each, and prepared those with 2 eggs and 2/3 cup of milk.
I sliced 2 tomatoes to serve on the side—but these were free from a family member’s garden, so no added cost.

Here’s how it broke down by cost:

2 cans of soup: $2.04 (with tax)
Chicken: $1.11
Celery: $0.40
Butter: $0.04
Muffin mix: $0.88
2 eggs: $0.22
2/3 cup milk: $0.13 (milk was on sale for $2.99 this week, but who realized it was this inexpensive?)
Spices, no more than: $0.05
Tomatoes: $0.00

Grand total: $4.87

This excludes drinks, but I drink only water, Bill often drinks water, and the kids usually have less than a half cup of milk each. So even with adding in the cost of 2 full cups of milk, we’re just at $5.25, and we had leftover soup, which will be my lunch tomorrow. I know it’s not a very fancy meal, but for a cold day like today, it’s very satisfying!

Could I have done better by making the corn muffins from scratch? I don’t usually keep cornmeal in the house, so buying just the 2 boxes, what I needed for our family right now, was in part motivated by cash flow concerns. But I’m not against stockpiling if I can get a good price on something we will use regularly.

Can anyone top that? Or match it? I’d love to hear about it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

God Is So Good!

When you ask godly people to pray, you get action! I'm amazed at how good God has been to our little Jane in the last two months.

Three times this summer and once last fall, Jane suffered debilitating headaches with vomiting. We took her to a neurologist who was concerned because the headaches didn't fit a typical pattern for childhood migraines. He was also mildly interested in her stature, which is far below that of her peers. She had grown only one inch in the last year.

An MRI showed, however, that there was nothing out of the order structurally in her head. An EEG showed normal brain activity.

Since we asked people to pray for Jane, she has not experienced a single headache. And today, I measured her. This is just unbelievable, but she has grown a full inch (maybe an inch plus a sixteenth!) in the last 6 weeks!

What makes this so fantastic is that we were told NOT to expect her to enter a growth spurt! She had a wrist x-ray last year this time to determine her bone age and we were told she was exactly on target for her age. That meant, or so the pediatrician said, that she wasn't likely to have a late onset growth spurt to help bring her up to a more consistent height with other kids her age.

And yet, here we have what can only be considered a real growth spurt, since she's grown as much in the last 6 weeks as she had in the entire year before that!

Ask and it shall be given. I'm convinced we just don't ask earnestly and often enough. We know it is God's will to do good for Jane. We asked, and he answered. Pretty cool stuff, huh?