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Have you heard the one about the homeschooling family that lives on less than $22K a year in an area that costs above 100% (116%) of the National CoL Index?

I haven't quite figured out why so many people still persist in perpetuating the myth that living on a single income and homeschooling on a dime aren't possible. I can only suppose these are people who can't imagine life without a daily trip to Starbucks and dinner out several times a week. The people who actually shop at malls (*shudder*) and think "Brand Name = Best". The people who really live by the "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality.

That? Would not be us!

Welcome to our world. We cook from scratch. Buy from thrift stores. Find 95% of our homeschool materials for free. This is my blog and this is how we do it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gift giving for single friends.

If you have any family or friends who live by themselves, or if you yourself have ever lived alone, you're probably aware of the challenges that face a single guy or gal when it comes to eating at home. Shopping for smaller portions is difficult, (and often more costly because bulk-buying can be less appealing to someone who knows he'll have to eat the entire "family pack" of chicken drumsticks himself.) There are items like celery or lettuce that can go bad before being consumed. There are other considerations, as well, like a lack of scaled down recipes and even the general feeling of "I don't even like bothering with cooking when it's just for me."

This situation presents you with a wonderful gift you can present your friend either for a birthday or Christmas or any other event - even just as an "I appreciate you." surprise. (More in full post.)

What you will need: Freezer containers, enough for several meals, in sizes of individual portions. (Note: I do freeze many things in plastic bags, because they can lay flat in the freezer, but it is up to you whether you want to do this, or would rather use something studier as this is for a gift.)

Several weeks before you are giving the gift, pick one or two meals you are cooking for your own family and increase the portions enough to include one more serving. If you do this far enough in advance, to where you are only picking one meal a week, you can squeeze this into your regular food budget with very little adjustment.

Freeze the extra portions, making sure to label and date them. Do this each week until you have as many meals as you want to give. I personally like to give 7, as a "Week of Dinners Just for You". Also, if you bake your own breads, you can add a loaf, a dozen biscuits, dinner rolls or mix of different breads to the gift. Write or type up a page with a list of each meal and any heating instructions the recipient will need to know. (For instance, if I give a bowl of chili, I also grate some cheese and freeze this in a small bag, so my instructions will include the note that the cheese is to be thawed and sprinkled on the chili.)

I deliver this gift in a regular brown paper bag, which, sadly, nowadays I can only seem to find at Target. I will occasionally go to Target and cruise their "Dollar Spot" section and then, if I purchase anything, I always request a paper sack to carry it. They do have nice, sturdy bags, with handles, which is particularly helpful. I put the instructions in with a nice handmade card, and I always try to add a few pieces of fresh fruit, such as an apple or two, or a banana.

This is a great gift for young folks just out on their own, all the way to older retirees. Before my father - a widower, he'd lost my step-mother to cancer - passed away some years ago, I quite frequently brought him a bag of meals and it was not only something nice for him, but peace-of-mind for me, knowing he was eating a good, home-cooked meal and not running out to some local junk-food place again.

Everyone I have ever done this for has always expressed a great appreciation for it, especially the gentlemen. As my BIL once said, "This is even better than winning a free meal at a local restaurant. It's a whole week of food and no one's trying to sell me anything!" :)


Anonymous Mrs. L said...

That is a lovely idea that can benefit many different people. Every now and then as our budget affords I like to bring something to my elderly widowed neighbor as I know his wife was the one who always cooked for the family. Food always makes people happy.

July 3, 2007 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Tersie said...

what a sweet and thoughtful idea for a gift. thanks for sharing!

July 5, 2007 at 9:01 AM  

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