Category Archives: thanksgiving

Food Stamp Challenge: Thankful Wrap-up

The Food Stamp Challenge ended Sunday afternoon. We broke the bank by just $2, as you can see by the image to the right, which is close enough to the goal that I consider it a success. If you’re interested, you can also look at the full spreadsheet with lists of what we bought and (much of) what we ate.

The week went by pretty much like a normal week. Venessa might tell you otherwise, since the work of planning and purchasing just the right amount of food fell mostly on her shoulders. I’m very thankful that she’s so willing to go along with my crazy challenges! The biggest change was not going out to lunch with my co-workers, which I usually do a couple times a week.

From looking at the shopping list, the secret to keeping food costs down is obvious: buy individual ingredients, instead of ready-to-eat meals and convenience foods. With the exception of “hamburger buns,” almost everything else on the list is either a food item in its most basic form, or a food home-made prior to the start of the challenge*. Given enough time (and my awesome bread machine) I could have made the buns too. Time is really what is needed to turn ingredients into food. I’m thankful that Venessa and I each work sane schedules so we have time for cooking nutritious meals, and being with the rest of the family.

I was talking about the challenge with a friend, mentioning how I aimed to show that living on a very limited food budget doesn’t mean that one needs to make compromises. She mentioned that simply having the money and mentality to make healthy food choices isn’t sufficient for everyone, since some folks live in a food desert. I’m lucky to live walking-distance from an adequate supermarket and work walking-distance from two very good ones, so it didn’t occur to me that not everyone has that luxury. This is yet another thing to be thankful for.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m dropping a lot of thankful bombs, which can only mean one thing: Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Eat yummy food but don’t overdo it. Remember those who are overworked, not able to get to grocery stores, and getting by on Food Stamps.

* If I really wanted to be tough on myself, I’d also add “wine” and the various dairy products to the list of ready-made food items, since they can both be made at home from basic ingredients.

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The “Sweet Rims” concept makes it’s TV debut [video]

Yesterday while driving on I-5, I hit a bit more traffic than I’d bargained for. A shooting/crash had all lanes of the freeway blocked for over an hour. The silver lining on this cloud is that I was interviewed on local news (click that link if you don’t see the video embedded below).

Longtime readers will note my subtle reference to the sweet rims concept — things in your life that you spend an inordinate amount of money on.

I was taking the boys to see the B-17 that my dad helped restore. It’ll be at Seattle’s Museum of Flight through Wednesday. You should check it!

What I’m thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Not sure what got into me, but I blurted this out at the beginning of the week:

“We’re going to start a new family tradition where you have to think of as many things you’re thankful for as you are years old”

The twins are proud of being “eight and a half” so I told them they actually had to think of an extra half thing. Here are their lists (printed without permission):

Isaac Aaron
  1. famaliy(esepacly arron and lilya)
  2. selter
  3. love
  4. water
  5. lifie
  6. air
  7. electtericctiy
  8. entertamement
  9. ocgen
  1. food
  2. air
  3. water
  4. shelter
  5. bed
  6. twin
  7. dad
  8. mom

Aaron isn’t getting dessert until he comes up with another half thing he’s thankful for!

I held up my end of the bargain and thought of 31 things:

  1. Venessa
  2. My health
  3. My family’s health
  4. A roof over our heads
  5. Having food on our table
  6. Being free to be Jewish
  7. Having meaningful work
  8. Being able to ride my bike
  9. Friends who stop by unexpectedly
  10. Supportive parents
  11. Shabbat
  12. Isaac, for his compassion
  13. Aaron, for his tenacity
  14. Lillia, for her love of discovering new things
  15. Local farms
  16. Freedom of speech
  17. Effie, for giving her life to save the rest of the flock
  18. Diz, for being my pet for 20+ years
  19. Scourge (our cat)
  20. Good music and books
  21. Candles, instead of lights, when the sun goes down
  22. Innovators, for new inventions to make our lives better
  23. The Science Center, for teaching us new things
  24. The changing seasons
  25. Biathlon, cyclocross and other friendly competition
  26. The state of Israel
  27. Technology that enables friends and family from afar to keep in touch
  28. Beer
  29. Self-improvement
  30. A good book
  31. Seattle

What are you thankful for?