Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A return to the real world

It has now been a week since we arrived back home from our vacation, which was in many ways a peek into the outside world (albeit partly the world of 1775-ish).  With many happy memories all stored up for years to come (God willing)... life has returned to the "new normal".

Hubby and I went to one of the food pantries yesterday and my friends... it was an alarming sight.  We were first in line (he learned long ago to be at least fifteen minutes early) but as we waited, the line formed further until it went out the door of the long room.  As we peaked into the area where you were given food, the shelves were almost empty.

We came away with a few items we could really use, especially a chuck roast that could become soup (this is the government sponsored food pantry where grocery stores freeze their unsold meat and send it to be given away).  This food pantry lets you choose a certain number of items from each shelf (usually one or two) so I told hubby not to take anything we didn't need (for instance, we have canned veggies and cereal).

It made me think of an interview on TV I heard last week.  An economic expert was asked where we should invest our money and he said... food.  The same answer given by a few other "experts" the past few years.  Yes, deepening the pantry is a good thing!  

I'm also very glad I had to develop frugal shopping and cooking skills.  On the way home from the pantry, we stopped by Kroger for essentials such as milk (and off brand coffee, I do have my addictions).  As usual, I stopped by the area where they have packaged "sell by" fresh veggies and found numerous packages had been clearanced.

I came away with sliced squash, chopped red onions, and even organic broccoli florets... all at a fraction of original cost.  Another grocery chain in the area marks down its' meat close to the "sell by" date in the early morning hours.  These are all still in perfect condition.

Last Monday I made chicken soup from a rotisserie chicken purchased on sale at Kroger.  Over the weekend, we enjoyed vegetable beef soup (the recipe I made my mother show me how to make as a bride) from a small chuck roast and a package of soup bones I had put back in the freezer. 

Even though Christopher is living near campus, I make as much soup as I always have.  We can have it for two meals and perhaps even a lunch or we can share it with him.  I love serving soup at least a couple times a week in colder weather.

I also made a cherry chocolate cake as I had everything I needed for the cake in the pantry.  I didn't have chocolate chips to make the original "glaze-icing" but it was easy to whip up a chocolate butter cream frosting, which I think is actually better if the cake is not being served within twenty-four hours (the glaze-icing makes it so moist that it gets soggy over time).

I shared some of it with friends and Christopher was happy to find it available when he stopped by yesterday.  We don't see him often, he is so busy combining school-work-fiance and his responsibilities as president of a computer science organization.  But right now his place of work is not far from our house so he can drop by when time permits on his way there or back.

Hopefully we will soon return to the old normal.  Our settlement check arrived from the insurance company yesterday.  After taking off the large deductible, we are holding our breath (not literally) to see if it enough to get all the repairs made.  But it is good to have the process behind us.  We may have to set priorities for getting the electrical fixed (the kitchen first... the doorbell last).

The DVD player the insurance company ordered for us arrived yesterday and Christopher hooked it up. (It was financially better for us to have them order the replacement DVD player and TV and take a cash settlement for the rest). 

Christopher glanced at the instructions and used one enclosed cable but then looked behind the TV for a special cable we already owned and used it instead of the second one they sent.  Within a few minutes he had it ready to go and I must admit standing there with astonishment on my face.  I have only a few tekkie skills with the computer (hubby has almost none).  Christopher thinks in a technical language, as his dad's mind worked in numbers as an engineer.  As for me?  I see words... lovely words.

Hopefully very soon we will have light in the kitchen and the other repairs made (can you tell what I've really missed?).  I have been using a flashlight to make coffee in the morning.  :)

Thank you to everyone who has prayed us and helped us through this time.


Anonymous said...

It is amazing how we get along when we have to. We are the type of people who are investing in our pantry. We know that there are really tough times (tougher than now) in the near future. I will be canning some meats this fall to stock the pantry with meats... just in case. Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy my visit even if I don't comment.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Ah, yes, the real world.....I am lucky enough to be able to have a deep pantry (though I'm still trying to organize/manage it in the best way. Organization is NOT a natural talent for me.) and though there are many many horrible problems out in the world wide real world, I give most of my donation money to the local food bank which has more and more calls on its store of food.This is an easy decision for me because my husband grew up in Hungary after WWII and they would have starved without things they received from CARE. He was always concerned with people who did not have enough food. So many people are struggling now.

I am glad that you are all getting your insurance/disaster problems somewhat behind you. And glad that you have Christopher for tech. needs. I have my son Andy who is a software engineer at NASA Glen and is very gracious about his mother's frequent cries of "Help!"

Jedidja said...

Thanks for this posting. A hug from here, what I read on your is almost unthinkable here in the Netherlands. (The story of the food and the line of people) Cherry cake, ah can I eat that with you? Great recipe, I will try to make it!

LisaZ said...

Thank you for making us aware of the shortage and the need at your food shelf. I will make a point to give extra for a while, as well as stock my own pantry more deeply. The thought of children, and anyone, going hungry is just horrible in this day and age. We are doing well ourselves at the moment, better than ever in fact but it's because my husband has a second job and we are being ever so frugal even with that. It's a time to save up for the rainy days!

I hope all your repairs can be done well and within your price. Where there's a will there's usually a way!

A Cultivated Nest said...

I read recently that Angel Food Ministries has closed their doors. I don't know if it's permanent or what. I do know a lot of people relied on that box of food that they received at a reduced price. I don't know how those people are coping. I read just this morning that the food pantries in the Atlanta area are low and not getting as many donations as they used to. I don't know...then I go to Hobby Lobby on a Saturday and the store is packed with people buying...stuff. Me included.


Anonymous said...

So glad you are seeing some light at the end of this tunnel!! Thanks for all your comments and tips...I do pass them on!!
Blessings, Elizabeth in NC

Echoes From the Hill said...

I think I'd forgo the doorbell! I have lived in my house for 35 years, without a doorbell, and have never missed it;)

It is sad that so many people need to use a food pantry. Food prices are becoming scary. I have been looking for more ways to save on food. I discovered that a local grocery store sells loose carrots and celery at a reduced rate. It saves not having to buy an entire stalk of celery, and have to cut off the heavy end and discard it. I went to a grocery store, this morning, that marks down the price of hamburger, on the sell by date, or even the day before. I was thrilled to see 85 per cent lean hamburger marked down to 99 cents a pound. I wanted to take all 20 pounds of it, but left some for someone else. The normal price is now $2.99 a pound. Loss leaders and price matching, at WalMart has become a way of life for me.

Anonymous said...

I was just on a new site and it encouraged people to use pantries to get things to add to your stock up pantry...not only people who needed the help but just to help yourself to free stuff. Bad advice and dishonest. I reread it to be sure of what was being said! I know people we know who get commodities go a hour or more early and get in line...have had to do this for several years. I wonder what it is like now? Thank you for the information. Reminding us that the pantries need extra help to fill shelfs now. With Angle food stopping giving boxes till who knows when there will be even more needing n help. We have older friends that we can invite to eat at our house more often, thus helping them with one meal too. Makes for a fun at home time together and their pride is not hurt. Giving them a bag from of goodies the garden when they leave. I have not canned much as have been privileged to find so many people that can use the garden produce. God has been good with showing me who can use things. Without His help how could I have grown anything? You always awaken new ideas in us Brenda and so help us in so many ways. Thanks again. Sarah

Gwendolyn said...

I enjoyed reading several of your pages today. I can relate to your times of need as we have been there during various stages of our lives. Your love for the Lord is evident and a blessing!