Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Day 11: A huge burst of motivation!

Today started off as any other.  Oatmeal: check. Raisins: check.  After walking around town, I realized that being out in nature with limited rations was actually easier than being surrounded by the smells of hundreds of restaurants in central London.  I have begun to view random strangers as inconsiderate of my situation.  Surely they know the internal conflict that I am battling!  They walk by with their fresh, steaming lattes and delicious, moist muffins as I try not to salivate.

I digress...

The news of the day, and a huge lift of my spirits came when the Managing Editor of The Baptist Standard informed me that an article about this challenge and the solar project was now online to read!!!!!  I am so grateful and appreciative that the Standard picked up my story and decided to spread the word.  Thank you, Ken!

Today's Menu
Breakfast: Oatmeal w/ Raisin puree
Approx cost: $0.13

Lunch: rice, tomatoes, half carrot and newly made refried pinto beans!
Approx cost: $0.25

Dinner: Breakfast for Dinner!! 2 eggs (1 sandbagged from yesterday), hash browns and refried beans
Approx cost: $0.33

Today's total: $0.71
Today's regular estimate is $15
Grand total saved: $190

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

33.33333% Complete!

We made it back safely from the camping trip.  It was stressful but exciting to drive out of, and back into, central London for the first time.  Lindsay was very calm and only gasped 7 or 8 times!  Don't worry mom and mother-in-law, the kiddos were completely safe at all times.  It may take a week to sort through the camping gear, but we're back.

Before packing up, I cooked a bowl of oatmeal with raisins on the grill.  The girls slept almost the entire drive, so we didn't have lunch until getting home around 2.  Halfway through the camping trip, I realized that the tupperware I was using for my food wasn't exactly water-tight.  As the ice melted, my containers filled up with water.  So, most of my meal preparation involved draining dirty water from the food before cooking.  A little salt made the food taste just fine.  So, for lunch, I ate the leftover water-logged half-potato, rice and beans.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited to prepare a fresh, hot meal for dinner tonight.

Dinner: Spaghetti with tomatoes and fried potatoes

I 'fried' the potatoes in lard, then added the pasta and tomatoes to the pan.  The potatoes were already cooked,so they almost became mashed and gave the sauce a lot of substance.  I was blown away by the result!  Definitely one to remember.

Typically, I will celebrate the end of the week with ''Jello Friday''.  However, since we were in the wilderness on Friday, I decided to treat myself tonight.  A great treat for $0.09! ( I had half a portion of half of a jello mix pack. will save the other half for an afternoon snack this week)  This could honestly be the best thing I have ever tasted...

So, camping for 4 days, saving $18/day, brings total saved to $175

Let me know your ideas for 'Participation Week'!!!  5 days to go!!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Day 9 and feelin' fine

With much support and blessing, I made it through our camping trip without falling into temptation. That in itself is huge motivation as I close out the first 10 days.

I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone for their overwhelming response to this project. Your support, whether moral, spiritual or financial has left me humbled and so appreciative. We have made a big beginning dent in our 25K goal and I am confident that we will make it!!!

The day was filled oldies but goodies..eggs, rice and potatoes for breakfast. Half curry rumen, rice and beans for lunch. Spaghetti and tomatoes for dinner. I saved just enough potato and rice for lunch on the trip back to civilization tomorrow.

We had a spectacular time at Grapevine and can't wait to get back to London renewed and energized!

Oh Happy Days, Happy Days!
I'll never be the same!
Forever I am changed!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

O stands for Ocho

Wind and rain can't keep this group down.. Emerson is having a ball playing with her little friends. And, Payton continues to be nothing short of wonderful. It has been so great spending such quality time with the girls and Lindsay. As for the challenge, I am proud to say that I continue to resist all of camp desserts passed around the group. Everyone has been a great support with only the occasional ribbing.

Thanks to our handy portable grill, most of my meals have been piping hot. (which helps tremendously) Last night I had spaghetti and tomatoes. Oatmeal and raisins this morning. Leftover spaghetti, potato, rice and tomato stew for lunch.

I'm writing this as I lay in the tent with a napping Emerson. The sun is out, warm tent, great breeze... I think I'll join her...
We spent the afternoon flying a kite until the wind decided to break the string and send the kite to the moon. The look on Emerson's face was sad but priceless. It was like her new puppy ran away. Ended the day with egg- fried rice w/ beans and half potato. Pretty filling way to end the day. Tomorrow is our last full day at Grapevine so were looking to make the most of it.
Our first British sunset

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Seventh Day!!!

We arrived at the campsite last night with cold and rainy weather to welcome us. A yummy dinner of cold rice, peas and potatoes was all I needed to fall asleep after 6 hours driving in rain and traffic. A chilly night in the tent led way to a beautiful sunny morning. Taquitos for the family and 2 eggs and rice for me and we're off! (I saved 3 eggs from the first week so that I get 2 each day camping! It's the small things in life, isn't it?)
Having a wonderful time at Grapevine with great friends. I survived another day of resisting delicious camping food. Our daughters have been absolute angels and I am reminded again of how blessed Lindsay and I are.
As for food totals while camping, I estimate that my food costs around $0.90/day. And I'm saving at least $18/day. Will resume grand totals upon returning to civilisation.

Have you thought your role in "Participation Week"???

Friday, 26 August 2011

Day 6: Roadtrip to camping

My KFC was not exactly Golden Hot... Having a great day on the road, after a larger than normal bowl of oatmeal. First ever roadtrip without gas station snacks and coffees. I'm actually really enjoying it. The girls have been fantastic. Now off to the campsite!!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Cinco de 30

I began the day with many things on my mind...  First thought, I'm pretty hungry.  After a great bowl of raisin oatmeal fusion I began wrapping my mind around camping for 5 days on this challenge.  We leave tomorrow morning for a 4-night camping trip about 3 hours north of London (Lincolnshire).  My favorite part about camping has always been the food!  hot dogs, beans, breakfast taquitos and of course S'mores. (man, typing that list was torturous!)  Well, after gathering most of those yummy items for the family, I began rationing my rations.  I may have brought too much, but the alternative is running out of food away from civilization.  worst case, I bring back some 6 day old rice.

this should do nicely

So many of you have commented that you wish you could join me somehow on this journey.  Well, my next thought was to have a ''Participation Week".  So, Week 3, commencing on Sunday, Sept. 4 will be ''Participation Week''.  Whether you want to live on $1/day, $2/day, cut out coffees, no's really up to you.  You can simply make it a lesson in empathy or frugality.  Or, you can donate your savings to a worthy cause. :)  So, think about it. Pray about it.  Let me know your ideas and we'll do it together!

Today's menu:
Breakfast: Oatmeal. (much improved because I put in the raisin puree before microwaving)
Approx cost: $0.13

Lunch: Vegetable soup, spaghetti, chick pea medley
Approx cost: $0.20

snack: half carrot, raisins, half potato
Approx cost: $0.11

Dinner: random mix of peas, chickpeas, rice and half potato (creativity at night is tough)
Approx cost: $0.28

Today's total: $0.72
It was a beautiful afternoon, so I definitely would have eaten lunch out.  Cleaned out the fridge for dinner tonight, so that would've been pretty cheap. 'Regular' day estimate $20
Grand Total saved $103! in 5 days

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.



Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Day 4: Taste buds

It is amazing how your taste buds go into overdrive if neglected for a few days.  Who would have ever thought that a single raisin could be the sweetest, most delicious snack on Earth!?  I had more than one, but the first raisin blew my mind!!..and it's only been 4 days.  On Day 30, I may actually pass out from the sugar high...  Also, my can of $0.28 vegetable soup could have come from a Michelin Star restaurant! (at least to me).  So, it was a good culinary day.  I will admit that the nerves and emotions are starting to get shaky.  Don't worry, I'm not going postal...  but, navigating a busy schedule, a 3-year old girl born for the stage and a very mobile 7-month old on far fewer than normal calories has proven tricky.  ''Deep breaths'' ''Deep Breaths'' ''Deep Breaths''....  I also have been calmed by all of your support and prayers, so thank you.

Tonight, I'm going to be crazy!  I'm going to list the meals in reverse order!!!!!!! Ready????

Today's menu:
Dinner: 2 scoops of rice, tomatoes, half potato, green peas (yum)
Approx cost: $0.21

Lunch: half can of vegetable soup, pasta (yum...seriously)
Approx Cost: $0.17

Snack: half carrot, oh so delicious raisins
Approx Cost: $0.06

Breakfast: half potato, rice, tomatoes, one egg
Approx cost: $0.32

Today's Total: $0.76

Went to Whole Foods today to pick up some things for 'other people' and resisted the samples! which I normal gorge on.  We typically eat lunch there.  Plus the girls chicken and sweet potato dinner. Today's 'regular' estimate is $28.
(to clarify these estimates, I would usual grab a coffee or diet coke throughout the day ($1-$3), at least one snack somewhere ($1-$3), plus normal grocery costs for breakfast, lunch and dinner..if anyone's wondering)

Grand total saved: $83

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” -Sir Girad

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Day 3...10% complete!

I have officially broken my addiction to the most gripping and debilitating beverage known to  My dad warned me that it would take around 3 days for the headaches to go.  He was right, as always...  Besides the usual pangs and pains, it was a good day.  I did take some time to remember the point of this challenge, so I perused the photos on Peace Gospel's site.  A few have been posted below. 

You'll notice there are no photos of breakfast and lunch, mostly because they were dull repeats.  If anyone has recipes to share for my scarce rations, please do.  So far, my recipes have just been trying different concoctions and adding a little salt.  However, the potatoes have been my favorite thus far and least healthy.  I coated them with a little lard, patted with salt, wrapped in foil and baked.  Taste pretty close to Outback taters, if you've ever had one. 

Today's menu

Breakast: 1/4 cup oatmeal with raisin puree mixed in for sweetner
Approx cost: $0.13

Lunch: 1/2 curry flavored Romen, extra water, kidney beans and carrots
Approx cost: $0.17

Snack: half carrot and 10 raisins
Approx cost: $0.06

Dinner: Chickpeas and Potato ''Mash'', Rice and Chopped Tomatoes, Half Carrot
Approx cost: $0.60

Today's total: $0.83

It was a typical rainy day here in London, so I probably would have eaten lunch here.  'Regular' day estimate is $10
Grand total saved: $55

Slum Outreach (1600 children die everyday in India)

Orphan Care
Knowing this project will make an impact

Monday, 22 August 2011

Dia Dos

Woke up with plenty of energy ready to begin Day #2.  The coffee headache is just about gone, which is nice.  I really realized how much of this challenge will be mental.  I also realized that my 3 year old daughter, Emerson, is an enabler!  She tried to force a blueberry into my mouth this morning!  and, it looked delicious.  Also, knowing that I can't just walk to the fridge and grab a small snack is starting to  play with my mind..and belly.  All-in-all a great day. 

one note: I realized tonight that I listed meal costs in pounds (pence), not dollars (cents)  revisions below.

Today's menu:
                                         Breakfast: one egg, brown rice, potato half, carrot slices
                                                                   Approx cost: $0.34

Lunch: half of curry flavored Ramen noodle pack, spaghetti, kidney beans, green peas. (I also drank some of the juice from the green pea can. not recommended)
Approx cost: $0.23

Dinner: Salmon, spinach salad with feta cheese, sushi
...wait. No, this was Lindsay's dinner :(

Actual dinner: ''Jacket Potatoe'' with chick peas, rice, carrots & chopped tomatos (favorite thus far)
Approx cost: $0.37

Today's total: $0.94

Estimated 'regular' day costs after taking daughter to lunch and salmon dinner: $20
Grand Total saved: $45

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Day 1 in the books

What a wonderful first day for my challenge.  I must admit that I was not anticipating the coffee withdrawal to be so severe, but it will only be temporary.  Thank you to everyone for their kind words and prayers.  It has been a good beginning!  The most difficult part will be rationing the food appropriately over the month.  Today's portions may have been too small, but I fear that I'll be fasting for the final week!  Please pray for energy, especially during these first few days. 

Today's Menu:
Breakfast: 1/4 cup oatmeal with raisins
Approx. cost: $0.13

Lunch:Spaghetti with chopped tomatos
Approx cost: $0.26

 Dinner: Carrot and Pea Egg-Fried Rice, plus half of a potato
Approx cost: $0.50

Today's total: $0.89
I estimate that between a normal breakfast, Sunday lunch and dinner, I would have spent around £15 today.  ($25USD) 

Each day, I will set aside the money I save and give every penny towards the Peace Gospel solar micro-enterprise project.  Although we do not eat out every day, I anticipate to save at least $550 for the month.  Stay tuned!

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.

What $30 gets you...

Living in central London has certainly put a twist on this challenge.  $30 USD is approximately £18.50 (depending on a fluctuating exchange rate)  This leaves me with around £0.62/day to spend for groceries.  I got many food/menu ideas from Kirby Trapolino's 30 on $30 challenge.  Kirby is the Executive Director of Peace Gospel International, which is the organisation that has inspired this culinary adventure. 

I have set myself fairly strict parameters for the month.  I can only eat what has been purchased with the $30 budget.  No handouts.  No free coffee.  No eating my daughters leftovers.  Thankfully, we are blessed with an neverending supply of clean water, which many do not have. 

(30 eggs not pictured)
2 kg carrots:                       0.76
30 eggs:                              2.70
3 cans vegetable soup:       0.51
3 cans green peas:              0.42
6 cans chopped tomatoes:  1.98
2 kg brown rice:                 2.58
500g pinto beans:               0.93
1 kg table salt:                    0.23 (I don't plan to use all 2.2 pounds of salt, don't worry)
500g raisins:                       1.54
1kg oats:                             1.09
500g chickpeas:                  0.78
500g kidney beans:             0.67
2.5 kg potatoes:                  1.75
2 packets of Jello:              0.43 (a treat for myself...Jello Fridays!)
7 Romen noodle equiv:      0.77
tub of lard:                         0.55 (for refried beans, etc....not on it's own)   
2 kg spaghetti:                    0.82

Grand Total:                     £18.51 ($30USD)

Anticipated challenges: Monotonous menu.  No coffee!!!  Only water for a month.  Lack of energy with two small girls!  But, with your help and support, I know we can do it!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Countdown and preparation

Emerson helped me pick up the final few items from my list. Getting excited and nervous about starting tomorrow.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Empowering missions around the world...

It is an honor and provilege to be working alongside Peace Gospel International on this very important project.

Peace Gospel International exists to empower native missions in Asia and Africa through micro-enterprise. Native teams in India, Myanmar, Nepal, The Philippines, Uganda and Chad multiply your donations through microeconomic efforts involving dairy production or animal stockbreeding, allowing us to...

 • operate 9 orphanages in 6 nations, caring for 250+ orphans
 • train 30+ widowed/destitute women in small business each month
 • educate & feed over 60 children from destitute/slum homes each month
 • provide Vacation Bible School & hot meals for 400+ children each month
 • combat frequent power outages at our project locations with solar initiatives
 • provide full time jobs for over 40 native staff members
 • multiply this work through church planting and training