Tag Archives: planning

Alzheimer’s Advent Calendar: Days 5 through 8

I am a bit behind in posting these. By about day 5, I was streamlining the process for Quinten. He is having so much trouble with these but there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he wants to do this for the kids. He is often frustrated (and doing a unique card for each kid was simply too much for him) but he is able to do at least 2 per day. We are up to day 18 (pics will be posted soon) so by Tuesday, we should have the rest of them completed and we can focus on letting him hand them out each night.

Day 5

Day 5. Chapstick and a small chocolate. Note from Dad: “I am thankful that you…”

Day 6

The lighting in my room sucks much of the time so the pictures sometimes turn out crappy. Day 6. Note from Dad: “You are smart.”

Day 7

Day 7. Hot chocolate packets and the note from Dad which says, “I am so thankful that I am your dad. Love, Dad”

Day 8

Day 8. Organic honey hard candies and the note from Dad. “You are handsome/beautiful.”

By now, you may be questioning/judging the amount of sugar in these packets–especially from someone who purports to be changing our diets to combat early onset Alzheimer’s. Again, it’s about balance. I have successfully, except for these presents, gotten rid of most of the sugar in our diet (the little bit that we do get mostly comes from the sugar in semi-sweet chocolate chips). And this whole idea is a way to give my kids something special this Christmas season. No matter how you spin it, their daddy has a terminal disease and is getting worse every day. They are dealing with so much right now and handing them baggies of carrot sticks just doesn’t send the message I want to send right now.

Balance.

We can go back to our sugar-free lives in 2 weeks.

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Menu Plan 1

I spent a good part of yesterday planning a menu for the week and making a corresponding grocery list. The plan is so pretty but so, so expensive! There is a good chance that I’ve overestimated costs by quite a bit but–for food only–it came to $494. That works out to be $70 a person a week, which isn’t too bad when you figure it’s for 21 meals and 7 snacks–it works out to be $2.50 a meal per person. But it’s still $144 over what I have to spend for food per week. So, it’s back to the drawing board. This plan may not work for me but here it is in case it will work for you.

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First month

So….here we are nearly at the end of the first month of our attempt at 100 Days of Real Food. How did I do?

  • I am down 6.6 pounds. Wasn’t really the main focus but I am thrilled to finally have the scale moving in the right direction.
  • We officially made it to Thanksgiving before it all started to unravel. It unraveled because:
    • we got so busy in town that we made poor choices (ie, fast food nastiness)
    • we ran out of grocery money before the end of the month

What did I learn?

  • My family eats *a lot*!! Looking at 100 Days, I was feeling bad that just doubling her amounts for groceries wasn’t giving my family enough food. But I started thinking about it. My teenaged girls are in sports and burning through everything they eat and need additional fuel to keep them going. Two of my boys (21 and 20) work physically demanding jobs with long hours and are also burning through everything they eat. And my youngest boy (18) is working full-time as well as going to college full-time and is also burning through everything he eats. In fact, all three of the boys ended up losing weight this month which wasn’t something they were intending to do–one of them has even had to replace his wardrobe!
  • I need to cook more.
  • I need to actually plan menus instead of winging it.
  • I need to start packing everyone’s lunches again–bento style
  • I need reevaluate my grocery spending. I tried to do nearly all organic this month but I’ve run out of money and we still have a week to go. True, it was a holiday month with higher than normal grocery spending for T-Day. True, my washer broke and we’ve had to use grocery money to pay for the Laundromat. Also true, I would have had grocery money had I not had to come up with money for a sports physical as well as for basketball shoes ($110 total there). But that is true any month–the grocery budget is my only flex category which takes up the slack for other spending I need to do. For the next 3 months, it will be for eye exams and contacts for those of us who need them. It’s just how it is and I need to plan for that.
  • I need to reevaluate how I spend money at the health food stores. I had been ordering through their special ordering system where I can order cases of whatever, which saves money. However, I am finding that there isn’t enough grocery money to do that *and* eat well for the week. Ordering this way kept our  fruits and vegetables to a minimum with little variety.
  • I need to start ordering from Bountiful Baskets again. I’ve ordered through them a lot over the past year but it has been their conventional produce baskets. Last time, I ordered their organic basket. It works out to be $26.50 for a box of produce but I think it will provide the variety we need at a good price. This last basket had:
    • an avocado
    • bananas
    • apples
    • pears
    • kiwi
    • potatoes
    • sweet potatoes
    • onion
    • celery
    • carrots
  • I need to figure out when I have the best chance of getting Great Harvest’s whole wheat bread. The last few times we’ve gone in there, we’ve not been able to get the whole wheat. The white bread is tasty but isn’t as filling we’ve found. And I need to keep my people full.
  • Since I’m going to be ordering Bountiful Baskets again, I need to change my shopping days. Pick up is on Saturdays and what’s in the basket isn’t known until you actually pick it up. Not a big deal…in fact, I like that it’s a surprise every week. But in order to use everything, I will need to pick up the basket, bring it home, and then plan meals around what’s in there.

Today is a new start and I’m glad that we’re back to eating healthy. The last few days made me feel gross. I still won’t have grocery money until the 1st but I’m going to try my best to make this week ‘real food’.

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Day 1

Today was our first day doing 100 Days of Real Food “Social Security style.” Since we were out of so many things, it’s been fairly easy to stick with a whole foods diet.

Breakfast:

 

Breakfast was 2 soy-free organic eggs cooked in a little bacon fat and 1/2 an organic banana sprinkled with cinnamon. We also had 1 cup of coffee with grass-fed whole milk and a tiny bit of local honey.

After breakfast, I looked outside and saw this:

Yesterday we had gorgeous 70 degree weather and this morning we woke up with dense fog and drizzle. When I left the house, it was a whopping 41 degrees and didn’t warm up much until we were leaving town at 3:15pm this afternoon. It seems that my grocery shopping days often include foul weather. Whee!! Thankfully, it wasn’t icy.

Like a good girl, I packed our lunch so that we wouldn’t be tempted to eat in town.

Lunch today was 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich (Quinten had a whole) with honey on spelt bread and organic popcorn popped in coconut oil. The mason jars each have a tea bag in them, with back up tea bags behind them, and a thermos full of hot water on the left. The mason jar concept really needs a bit of tweaking–those puppies got hot!! I think I’m going to try to make coozies for them since I would much rather drink out of glass than plastic and loved being able to close it up.

Our first stop was Target. I needed a few toiletries and dog food and also picked up some organic peanut butter, a couple of packets of maple almond butter, a jar of organic spaghetti sauce (contains organic sugar), and a tiny bottle of maple syrup. I can’t find the receipt but it came to around $30 with a 5% coupon I had and the 5% Target debit card discount.

 

After Target, we went to Sam’s. Sam’s seems to be shrinking their organic offerings here. I ended up making two trips to Sam’s today because my spinach and kale order didn’t come in at the co-op. I ended up getting organic raspberries, organic carrots, mushrooms, grass-fed butter and cheese, and organic salad greens. I spent $37.65 here.

After Sam’s we went to the Dollar Store and picked up a drawer organizer for silverware. That trip was 3.18. We still had time to kill before meeting the person I ordered beef from so we went back to Target and ordered coffee and their Starbucks. Even before we decided to do this diet, I’d stopped ordering their sugar-laden “coffees” since you can’t even taste the coffee in them anymore. Quinten and I got brewed Thanksgiving blend coffees with a bit of half and half, no sugar. Total spent: $3.53

We sat there mostly in silence checking our emails and Facebook on our phones.

After Starbucks, we headed to the other side of town to meet the lady with our beef order. I am so happy to have found a place I can order grass-fed beef–especially hamburger. No more pink slime for us! Total beef order: $159.00

Are you getting tired yet? We were by this point. We had 3 more stops left after this, included that second Sam’s stop. After the beef we stopped at the health food co-op and picked up our special order along with a couple other items. We got 20 pounds butternut squash, 5 pounds bananas, 2 onions, 1 case grass-fed milk, 3 bottles grass-fed cream, 2 soda sized bottles sparkling water (we were thirsty!), 1 jar tomato paste, 1 jar fruit spread, and 2 bars dark chocolate. Total spent: 99.20

Our next to last stop was the bread store. Great Harvest Bread has terrific bread using the ingredients I used to use when I made bread for my family and the farmer’s market many years ago. I spent $22.79 here and brought home 1 loaf sourdough, 1 loaf white, and 2 loaves whole wheat.

My last stop was Sam’s for the box of organic salad greens. Not pictured are my Amazon orders. My orders were for toiletries, coconut oil, and organic kamut flour. I spent $46.41.

My goal was $400 for food and toiletries/paper goods. I spent $401.76. Not too bad. I just hope I’ve purchased enough to feed us for the week. Fingers crossed!

Dinner was cheeseburger pasta with hamburger, pasta, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut to sub for the pickles, cheese, and cream. It didn’t taste too bad but it sure wasn’t a pretty dish. We had this with the loaf of sourdough and butter.

 

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10/29/2012

I spent the weekend planning how I was going to make this switch to real food work. I’ve done it before, though maybe not as extreme, but it was with a more generous grocery allowance…or rather, I had little kids who didn’t eat so much and more flexibility in the budget. I am determined to make this work as best I can on our Social Security budget.

In order to make this *hopefully* work is to ask the boys to help. I hate that the boys are going to be asked to contribute but after careful planning, they will only be asked to contribute the amount that just covers their costs. I’ve shown them exactly where the money is going and just how bare-bones it is. In the long run, I do believe it will teach some good lessons for the boys. I reminded one kid who balked a little at being asked to help that it is only covering his costs but that he still gets someone who cooks it all for him. 😉

As of this weekend, we are completely out of sugar and non-organic flour. I have switched us to honey for sweetening and picked up a small bag of organic flour at Target. I made up a couple of muffin recipes for breakfast today and lunches a couple of days this week. I want to tweak them a bit before I post the recipes.

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