Monday, April 29, 2013

Today was my first day going it alone.  And it is 4:27 and I'm starving.  So starving I just made a peanut butter sandwich.  Don't worry, I haven't gone over my amount today.
*Italics indicate food that was not consumed

Here's the original plan:
1 cup milk  $0.18
1 cup cereal $0.14

1 egg $0.13
Mayo $0.05
2 slices bread (wheat) $0.10
1/2 Banana $0.12

2 hot dogs $0.13 ($1.00 package divided by 8 = roughly $0.13 per dog)
rice and veg $0.25
corn $0.20

For a grand total of $1.35 for the day.

My plan:

I skipped breakfast, because I don't to eat in the morning, though I did steal about a handful of cheerios (the cereal that was purchased for the challenge) from my kids' bowls. 

For lunch, I didn't enjoy the banana, only eating the sandwich.  This left room for the PB sandwich I just ate.  I also had the milk that would have gone with the cereal with the sandwich.  The PB sandwich would cost me approximately $0.24, which is about what the cereal and banana would have cost me.  Dinner is still on track as is, so that should not change the outcome.

I do still have about $0.15 left if I get hungry.  Though I don't know what I could eat with that.  Maybe a slice of toast with some butter?  But I don't know.  Perhaps that 1/2 banana that I'm hiding away from my children...

I must say, my brain is not functioning.  Simple math problems that I could usually do in my head are harder, even after just one day.  Sad really, but the truth.  I'm very cranky and I've started to develop a migraine.  I also have no get up and go, which is why I chose PB as a snack, as it is a good source of protein. 

I've been drinking a ton of water to stay full, but it is repeating on my a bit.  Too much liquid, not enough solid I guess. 

Onward and upward, lovies!

Follow me on twitter @camp3082

Dissension in the ranks...

Over the weekend my family revolted on me.

While away on my weekly shopping trip, my husband was at home with the three kids.  He, during this time, had to change a messy diaper.  While he was doing this, he sent me a picture of the diaper and complained that the reason for the mess was because of the food we've been eating.  He also told me to bring home food.  Now.

So, as lofty as my ideals were, I've set them aside for my sanity.  I caved and brought home Taco Bell which was summarily devoured as we watched "The Great Muppet Caper" on VHS. 

I've decided to continue the experiment on my own.  I will eat on $1.50 a day for the next 2-3 days.  I'll see how long I can last. 

I will say that we have learned a lot in the few days that we've done this.  My husband constantly fighting back "But we're not poor!"  I've found that living in the US gives us an advantage.  We have access to clean, healthy food that often goes on sale.  We can have variety in our meals because of sales.  You CAN eat for a small amount each meal, day or week, as long as you have access to supermarkets with large variety and good sales. 

I went heavy on pasta products this week, thinking it would be a large amount of what we ate.  I could have saved a few of those dollars and gotten some meat or some fresh veggies. 

If nothing else, I've definitely learned to shop smarter for myself.  That smarter shopping will hopefully allow me the extra few dollars that I can then "pay forward" by donating to our local food shelf. 

So wish me luck, dear readers.  For I embark on the journey alone from here on out. 

Remember, follow me on twitter @camp3082 and keep reading!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


My kids are used to having snacks at their finger tips.  We always stock the house with yogurt, cheese sticks, fruit snacks and granola bars.  (All healthy items of course)

So since we didn't have room in our budget for any of these items, I set out to do a "swap" for granola bars.  I'm taking approximately 6 cups of the cereal we purchased, some of the marshmallows and some butter to make cereal bars.  If I had my druthers, I'd throw in some raisins, but I am druther-free this week.

This treat is simple to make - following the recipe to make Rice Crispy Treats.  And it will take the place of the granola bars we can't have.  There is plenty of cereal left over for breakfasts this week, and maybe some lunches.  I'll be cutting the treats into bar shapes. 

6 cups of cereal
4 cups mini marshmallows
3 TBSP butter

Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Add marshmallows and heat on medium until completely melted, stirring constantly.  Add cereal.  Spread mixture onto a greased cookie sheet or waxed paper.  Press down until mixture covers the pan.  Allow to cool.  Cut into squares. 

Any leftover marshmallows we'll use to have an indoor campfire.  We "roast" the mini mallows over a lit candle using toothpicks.  It's fun and the kids make memories, one thing I hope will come out of this experience. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 1...

Today was day one of eating on the challenge.  Here was our menu for the day:

Cereal with Milk
Egg Salad sandwich
½ banana

Hot Dog Noodle Soup


Here’s how I made the soup:
2 packages Ramen Noodles, beef flavor
1 cup canned peas
4 Turkey hot dogs, sliced
Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Add hot dogs and peas and allow to simmer until warm.

Thoughts for the day
I did not eat breakfast today, but the kids and my husband did.  They ate their normal breakfast, so it wasn’t much of a switch.
For lunch, it was odd not to have side dishes.  Normally, we’ll have some canned pineapple or peaches as well as some sort of treat like chips.  Today we just had the sandwich and a half of a banana.  It felt odd, but I ate slow and drank a lot of water to keep me full. 
The dinner menu did not go over so well.  My daughter had two bowls, but she was still hungry.  My 6 year old did not eat the soup, and was scrounging around for food while my husband put my other son to bed.  My 3 year old son did NOT eat dinner.  He’s a picky eater and will only eat certain things.  I’ve been instructed, in the past, by my pediatrician and his service providers that if he skips a meal here and there, he will be OK.  That he will eat when hungry.  So don’t think I am starving him on purpose, he chose not to eat. 
My husband has already said that the experiment is over.  But I’m going to try to stick it out till the end of the five days.  I think we can make it.  And we are getting the word out about this project. 
Remember to check my updates on twitter @camp3082. 
Have a great evening!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shopping day...

So this is my haul from the grocery store.  Using the guideline of  $37.50 (which is 7.50 per five days for five people in my family) from the Below the Line Challenge (, I was able to purchase the following:

3 jars pasta sauce
3 boxes angel hair pasta
2 packages turkey franks (8 each) 
2 dozen eggs
3 cans Chef Boyardee (with meat)
3 cans veggies
2 boxes mac n cheese
6 packages Ramen
1 head iceberg lettuce
4 3/4 pounds bananas
1 package frozen rice and veggies
1 package of marshmallows
1 large package "cheerios"
1 loaf of bread
1 jar of Peanut butter (doesn't appear in the picture)
1 package breakfast sausage (doesn't appear in picture)

This was the total cost of the haul, with tax.  My supermarket had some awesome sales this week, and I was able to get a jar of pasta sauce for free.  That helps out a lot, meaning I can use the sauce with some of the other items purchased.

The 3 dollar surplus I'm chalking up to butter, salt, pepper and other spices.  You can't buy this stuff in small quantities, so I'm giving myself 3 bucks worth of leeway.  

Stay tuned for Day 1 menu and recipes.  

Please check me out on twitter @camp3082 for more up to the minute updates and photos.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I think I picked a good week to try this challenge.  My supermarket is having a big sale on a lot of items, many of which are $1 each.  At this sale, I can get at least two different kinds of meat, pasta by the box and sauce, which may also include meat.  It may not be the kind of meat we are used to, but it is meat.  This is the challenge a family living below the poverty line faces.  Feed them lower quality food, or don’t feed them. 
There are some sales on fresh produce this week as well.  A head of iceberg lettuce is $0.99!  Vidalia onions are also the same price, per pound.  Bananas are $0.59 per pound, and can be used for snacks or meals. 
Canned peas, corn and green beans are part of the 10 for $10 sale, and a can of peas will feed my family of 5 with some leftover for the next day.  Chef Boyardee canned foods are also 10 for $10, and they claim to contain part of the daily servings of vegetables.  Some are even made with whole grains.  In a pinch, these will work, but I worry about the sodium levels. 
As I scour the circular for foods, I’m noticing that I may be able to make this work, but that we won’t be able to eat healthy for the week or get the items we are accustomed to having.
For instance, I’ve developed lactose intolerance, so I’ve started drinking almond milk.  That won’t fly this week because it is too expensive.  My son is a picky eater, and will only eat certain foods like baby ravioli.  He might be missing out on a few meals this week. 
So I’m working on my list, which I will share in the coming days.  I’d love some feedback on the selections I’ve made. 

Also, if you are interested in taking the Below The Line Challenge, visit this website

A challenge has been posed...

I received an email today that suggested I take part in the Below the Line Challenge.

The challenge is supposed to raise awareness for Global Poverty, noting that people who live below the poverty line live on less than $1.50 a day for food.  So for 5 days, participants use that amount to feed themselves.

I'm a bit skeptical about doing this, but also I'm a bit excited to see if I can meet the challenge and what doing the challenge will teach me.  I've got three young children who eat a ton.  As I type this, my son is eating fruit loops cereal that he spilled on the floor.  At least he's not wasteful.

But feeding them on $150 a week is challenging, now you want me to take 1% of that number to feed each of us per day?  Daunting, yes.  Impossible?  Not sure.

So I've decided to take on the challenge.  I'll be honest and tell you that this will work in theory, but it may not work in practice.  I would have to completely take every piece of food out of my house and give it away for my kids NOT to find the food we've got lying around.  And we've got lots.  So I'm going to make up a shopping list for the five days.  I'm going to make up a daily menu and blog about each day.  I'm going to do my best to stick to that list for the kids.

Though it may not be exactly as the challenge asks, I'm sure any effort taken is going to make me and my family more aware of poverty in this world.  And that's really the point, isn't it?

So join me on this journey, which will start, for me, on Friday April 26th.  The actual challenge starts on April 29, but personal commitments prevent me from starting on that date.

Wish me luck, friends!