A fast update

Yo-Yo has been begging us to quit the spending fast. That he is unable to convince us to buy him a treat irritates him to no end. We’ve pointed out that he has his own money to spend, that he’s not starving, and that we’ve met all his needs (buying the kid underwear to replace his shredded loincloths doesn’t count as breaking the fast), but that doesn’t appease him any. Simply the idea of self-imposed frugality bugs him. What he doesn’t realize is that now that we know he’s watching and understands our little game, he’s given us more reason than ever to stick it out, to show him how few monetary needs we really have. There’s a lesson here, kiddo! Listen up!

Poor child. The suffering we inflict on him has no end.

So far we’re doing pretty good, though I must admit that I was sorely tempted to buy a coffee this morning when I went to Barnes and Noble for some writing time. To sit in a café and use their electricity (no wireless, though!) without buying anything at all brought on some tiny twinges of guilt, but I was strong. I buy coffees other times, I reasoned. I don’t need to buy them every time. (Right?)

Now that I have no flexibility with my purchases, I detest grocery shopping. Last night’s trip to the store was just so dang boring:

25-pound sack of bread flour
4 gallons of 2% milk
4 pounds of butter
10 pounds of potatoes
2 pounds of carrots
1 bunch of celery
1 container of tapioca
1 container of sour cream

As I was putting the milk in the fridge I got an incredible urge for a bowl of bought cereal, pretzels, ice cream, chips, and popcorn. So I made popcorn and opened a quart of grape juice. That was nice.

But not as nice as it could’ve been.

We still have insane amounts of food in this house. Wanna see?

Here’s the jelly cupboard. (Can you see where I took out the jar of grape juice to go with last night’s popcorn?) Mr. Handsome hauled two wash basket loads of canned goods from the basement and restocked the shelves. This is what the shelves in the basement look like now.

Still way too full. But wait! What’s that I spy? Empty canning jars! Lots of empty canning jars!

(To provide perspective, this is what we started with. It might not seem much more than what you see in these photos, but it is. Trust me.)

We’re doing our best to put a serious dent in the food supply (we’re pretty much having an applesauce free-for-all), but it’s a big job. We had three extra kids to feed yesterday, so unbeknownst to them, I enlisted their services.

Lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches with pesto from the freezer (check), oven-roasted tomatoes (check), and fruit smoothies with frozen strawberries (check) and frozen apricot chunks (check).

Mid afternoon snack: butternut squash pie (check).

Supper: biscuits with dried beef gravy (check—the beef had been in the freezer for going on two years and I still have some left), scrambled eggs, canned green beans (two quarts, check), frozen corn (1 ½ quarts, check), and some leftover rhubarb-strawberry crisp and squash pie (check, check, check).

Here’s what my freezers look like.

They’re emptying out nicely but there’s still a ridiculous amount of food in them.

I realize I’m soon going to shift my focus from freezer to garden, so I’m feeling the pressure to keep lids a-popping and bags a-defrosting. I focus on frozen and think positive thoughts. We can eat it. We can eat it. We can eat it.

As for the pantry, it’s certainly depleted (contrary to all appearances). No longer do we have white rice, cereal, wheat crackers, canned black olives, or lentils. I’m running low on whiskey, sherry, and pasta. But aside from those shortages, we’re still awash in a surprising amount of nonessentials: cracked wheat, kalamata olives, matzoh meal, coconut cream, canned pineapple, ranch dressing, canned grape leaves, dulce de leche, wine, chocolate, nuts, sweetened condensed milk, canned beans, hominy, barley, and cake flour.

There have only been a couple times that I’ve seriously felt the pinch. This morning at the café was one of those times, and the other time was when we went to Pittsburgh—making stops for junk food and coffee was out of the question (though Mr. Handsome did get a plain tall coffee because he was falling asleep—it was a question of life or death) and we relied on my brother for any entrance fees (he may have done that anyway in his role of host, but we didn’t even offer to chip in, something I don’t like not doing). (I did take him a box filled with various jars of canned goods.)

I have a list of things that I want to buy when we go off the freeze—for starters, chocolate tights, mascara, a camera battery, a flowy blouse, and sunglasses—but for now I’m sitting tight. I have a feeling that it might be quite awhile before Mr. Handsome buckles.

Until then, we certainly are in no danger of starving.

Two months, and one week and counting…..

About one year ago: To the dentist she goes, kind of.


  • Jennifer Jo

    KTdid, I thought of that, but still, I want those tights to go with this new used cream hippie skirt that a friend passed on to me…

    Mavis, Yo-Yo taped his mouth shut HIMSELF. (And it had nothing to do with the spending fast. I just thought the picture did a good job of illustrating the post.)

    Are you serious about the mascara??? I am psyched!!! I thought of confessing that running out of mascara would do me in for the fast, then decided not to write that after all because it made me sound like a wussie. But it's true—I would lose the fast for the sake of my eyelashes.

    Karen, I got those groceries for $48.30. Considering I routinely spend $120.00, it was really cheap.

    You want to come over for supper? You can eat all the applesauce you want. Promise.

  • Karen

    Oh, and by the way, if you have too much food, I know someone that will take some of it off your hands…

    don't freak out if you see my face smooooshed up against your kitchen widow with a bit of drool hanging from my chin. 🙂

  • Mama Pea

    You're all doing fantastically . . . hang in there. You're setting a good example for the rest of us. A week or so ago, we picked up a box of ground beef (35 – 1# pacakges) and while I was sorting the freezers to fit them in, I realized that even though we were low on ground beef we have SO MUCH other meat (duck, chicken, pork, venison, other cuts of beef) that we should be eating that I felt awful for spending the money on the ground beef. Always room for improvement, eh?

  • It's me ...Mavis

    … I had to laugh out loud when I read "I'm running low on whiskey"…

    …Why does the boy have tape over his mouth? I'm guessing he said something shouldn't have.

    …I just dropped 2 tubes of FREE mascara in the mail for you…via first class… they should arrive late next week… Tell that Mr. Handsome of yours to start preparing his concession speech… cause GIRLS RULE!

  • Anonymous

    Hold fast–chocolate tights may not be all that appealing with the kind of weather that's coming (already here, here).


  • You Can Call Me Jane

    Good for you! This time of year I feel like we are ground hogs having to dig our way through all the put-up food before we can get to the light at the end of the tunnel which is fresh garden produce. We can do it! You can do it!

    And I love the picture of Yo-yo. Just love it. You can pull it out and show it to his kids when he's on his own spending freeze one day:-).

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