Monday, June 14, 2010

A Reader Question...

I got this in my inbox and thought I'd address it.

What are the portion sizes per person? Your apples & bananas allow 1 piece of fruit per person for 2 days only! If you have 4 kids and a man--do you not feel you are starving them? and not allowing for proper nutrition? --I know you won't post this--but your pics are pathetic! That's enough food for maximum 3 days if you're all to be healthily nurished. Can't you up the weekly shop by $20 or $40 more a week? That's called being a bad mom!!

If you haven't followed my blog for long or read any of the back story then I can see how you'd have these questions. For those of you who are new or haven't been with me for the past few years, here's a refresher course.

  • What you see me buy each week supplements what we already have. This isn't one whole weeks worth of food for each menu. I use what's on hand and build my menu around that so that I don't have to buy every single ingredient in a recipe. We garden, I have home canned and frozen produce in my cupboards, and we make lots of things from scratch. We all have plenty to eat. If you know us in real life, you'll see we are all healthy, spend very little time in a doctors office and are at a good weight. A few of us (ahem) could stand to lose a few pounds.
  • When we started this budget, we didn't have a choice as to how much we had to spend. $60 was ALL WE HAD. I wasn't trying to challenge myself on a whim or get publicity. I was trying to survive after a huge financial change. It was scary and overwhelming but the point of this blog is that if needs be, it CAN be done.
  • Our portion sizes are Eat Till You're Full. We have lots of people at our house. Recipes are doubled around here more often than not. I don't cut kids off. We always have leftovers.
  • Our weekly shop started at $50 a week and we stayed that way for several months. When we could afford it, we upped our shop to $60 a week and set a separate budget for cosmetics. (It was included in the grocery budget before that time). I'm sure that with time, our budget will increase again.
I don't normally post rude emails but it just got under my skin that some anonymous stranger was accusing me of starving my children and being a bad mother. I mean, really? Don't you have anything better to do? And for those of you who are struggling to feed your family on a tight budget, be encouraged. You can do it!

53 comments:

Jackie said...

Good for you, Gayle!

Christy said...

I think you handled that very appropriately. Nicely done! I always felt if people feel the need to criticize, they should at least be a big enough man or woman to sign their name to the complaint.
I enjoy your blog, keep up the good work.

Nichole said...

Wow...I hate when people feel the need to leave rude comments but won't stand behind them and leave their name.

You've given me a lot of good tips. Keep up the good work!

Brie said...

I'm blown away someone would take time out of their life to email such unhappiness to someone else.
I hope you have a great rest of the day!! You're doing a great job and I love your blog:)

Emily said...

Some people are so bored that sending rude emails is how they entertain themselves.

Your kids are not anorexic or thin. They are PERFECT weight and you always have homemade snacks and goodies when you invite us over.

You're a terrific mother. I know you in real life and can vouch for you.

As for the emailer? I think she needs a vacation from the computer to enter the real world.

Susan/SC said...

You were very kind to address the poster's questions rather than just saying - take a few minutes and read the blog! I wish I had a garden like you - I know that the produce from there is fresh and chemical free - what a bounty for your family. You work awfully hard to take care of your family and we (the universe) are lucky you take the time to blog about it to inspire us!

Jolly Green Mommy said...

I just wanted to say that I like how you addressed this email. I feel that you did so in a way that was mature and respectful. People like to make judgements, and it can be quite difficult to deal with them. I think you did a great job with this.

Anonymous said...

Gayle: Nice job for addressing it. Very nicely put.

Debbie Downer: I think you should be more concerned with the daily dose of negativity you're feeding your family.

laura jo said...

I know the negative comments tend to stay with us longer (trust me, I'm a teacher and get plenty from my middle schoolers), but you have helped and inspired so many people! I direct many people to your blog from mine because you have encouraged me to make daily changes -- like the homemade laundry detergent - brilliant! I've learned that you can eat a lot more if you make things from scratch. We always have tons of leftovers, too. Keep on keeping on!

*A* said...

Please don't be discouraged...someone is always going to think that THEY know better, even when they've never been in your shoes. You handled that very well.

Leanne said...

What a graceful way to answer that question.

Hope said...

Hi Gayle,
I know that you know this, but I think YOU ROCK! By being WISE and PRUDENT you have stockpiled for your family. Through gardening, you are feeding your family FRESH PESTICIDE-FREE PRODUCE. By canning, you are NOT WASTING your abundance, but rather saving and HELPING THE ENVIRONMENT.

So anon reader, do you feel better now? Is it your business how Gayle feeds her family? Shame on you! And, I just bet you've never seen the inside of a hot water canner, have you?

May he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Gayle, keep your head high, girl. You are doing a great job!

belle said...

I also do not understand rude and judgemental comments. She could have asked about your shopping, budget, and portions in a pleasant manner and not made assumptions before receiving a reply.

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

The nerve of some people. :) I guess they'd really think I was awful, I only bought razors and body wash this week. :) We're all stocked up.

Pamela said...

Go Gayle! You were so nice to address her rude email and you didn't point out her spelling and punctuation errors that she made. Love your blog!
Have a happy week!

Sarah said...

Just wanted to say that I have been following your blog almost from the beginning. I have learned a lot from you and never tire of reading what you have to say!

LB said...

Wow, I would hate for that person to comment on what I bought this week. Potatoes...thats it. Wonder what they would say about that if I blogged it? All that person had to do was look at one menu plan and see that you feed your family well. You handled it well. Keep up the good work!

Jessica, Michael, Bella, Ava and Lady said...

I feel inspired by you. My family is on a tight budget as well and love learning new ways to save. Thank you for sharing with other families because their are some that understand and are in the same boat. My children are still well feed as well and eat healthy.

Roxie700 said...

I do not know why some people can not live by the 'golden rule' of 'if you can not say something nice, don't say anything at all' and leave others alone. I admire what you do. You are teaching your children well.
I think you ROCK too. Blessings to you and yours

Candi said...

Some people just feel the need to share their nastiness. They probably have never HAD to be on a budget. Personally, I love your frugal, thrifty ways. I have been encouraged since we too were in a financial bind 2 years ago and that's what started me couponing. When you have to dig around in your couch for $1 worth of change to buy shampoo at the Dollar Tree, you understand frugality, but if you've never been there, it's harder for you to understand. Hopefully they won't have to feel the burden that others, like my family and yours, have to withstand on a meager grocery budget. Thankfully, God provides and we all go to bed with full bellies :)

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that you are an inspiration and I look forward to reading your blog every day.

For the person who didn't have all the information before deciding to leave such a judgmental and frankly somewhat nasty email, my prayers go out to you that you will learn to be more understanding and tactful in the future.

Jennifer said...

I don't know how you feed your family on so little - but I do know because I see you do it each week. I am just in awe. We are a family of 6 and spend about double what you spend. Way to go on doing what had to be done and making it work.

Michelle said...

Amen, sister!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for taking the time to address this comment...even though I know you have discussed this before on your blog. Maybe others have the same question.

I also want to say that anyone who reads your blog is only seeing such a tiny portion of your life and has no idea what the real picture is. You are doing a great job feeding your family for $60! I don't know you in real life, but, from reading your blog, I have never felt that your family was undernourished in any way.

Always remember to find your security in your friends and family, who ACTUALLY know you, and most importantly in God.

I have found your blog so encouraging and have gotten some really great ideas from it! I hope these comments lift your spirits and remind you that what you are doing is important and helpful.

Susan said...

I love that you said, you eat till you're full. That is such a great healthy way to approach food. I have a friend who seriously limits how much food her kids eat. It bugs me. In return, they never learn to listen to their own bodies needs and cannot discern whether or not they are over eating. It will be a problem for them as adults, even though that is exactly what this mom is trying to avoid. I also love how much homemade food you make. I sometimes buy box muffin mix and think to myself...I know Gayle is making this from scratch! LOL

Sally Woodhead said...

Well done Gayle! For standing up for your family and being a great budgeter without denying your family good nutrition. Unlike most mums, you don't just buy your groceries but also grow fresh produce and homeschool them! My hat goes off to you as I also have four children and it really is a struggle to feed, clothe and educate them without blowing the budget. Thanks for showing us all how to do it so well! Don't let the turkeys get you down!
Sally (Australia)

Susan said...

Wow... that's what her complaint is... not enough FRUIT???? There are people out there that feed their kids McDonalds and twinkies everyday and she's worried about your kids fruit servings???? SHEESH lady!

Susan said...

Wow... that's what her complaint is... not enough FRUIT???? There are people out there that feed their kids McDonalds and twinkies everyday and she's worried about your kids fruit servings???? SHEESH lady!

Anonymous said...

Come on now, Gayle, forgive and forget. Her question, while posed in not the kindest way, was legitimate since you don't explain your cupboards and freezer full of food to new readers or passers by. I agree, she was rude, but she was honest. You handled it well, but let's move on. Yours in thrift and health,
Emily

The Kendrick Clan's Scrapbook said...

Good Grief! You did not even owe that person an explanation!! Us frugal shoppers know the truth!
Keep up the great tips!! I really enjoy your blog!!

Take care,
The Kendrick Clan

PS...you handled it perfectly! ;o)

Melanie said...

I don't feel you needed to justify anything to anyone. If someone isn't happy with what you post,they should kick rocks! I happen to love your blog :)

Anonymous said...

One of the things that I have always loved about your site is that everyone is so positive and supportive. We need to support one another without criticism, jealousy, and hatred. I'm glad that you answered this incredibly rude post. I just wish that if people didn't have anything nice to say, that they wouldn't say anything at all. Keep up the awesome work, Gayle!

Jenny said...

Good for you Gayle!
That was a well spoken, factual answer, without a hint of the "take that you nasty person!" that you were entitled to take.

Anonymous said...

I'm always somewhat embarrassed for people when they leave comments like that because they usually don't have complete information (read: know what they are talking about) We keep our fam of 5's food budget around 60-70 a week as well and believe me none of us are in danger of starving :-). Keep up the awsome work of inspiring us all to better stewardship!!

Sheila said...

I am just always shocked at how rude people can be in an anonymous format. I enjoy your blog - thanks for all the time and effort you put into it. I have no doubt that your kids are eating healther than 90% of the population, if not more than that. Have a great day, and than you again for your blog!

Jennifer said...

I have been thinking about this more and more and one thing to consider is that most people in the US eat way too much. Just because your family doesn't eat as much as the commenter's family doesn't mean much. They could have different metabolisms, different physical levels or food issues and/or could be eating way too much and be overweight. It is so hard to compare!

Carrie Mc said...

Gayle,

I look at your blog everyday for ideas and encouragement, but do not normally post. However, today's post bothered me. Do others not watch the news, read studies, or look at the world around them? Do they not see the child obesity problems that surround us. Your method really should be the norm. Then there might be less children that are overweight with diabetes and fewer parents with serious health problems before they are 50. I wonder what the family of your mysterious negative reader looks like. Keep up the good work, Gayle.

Carrie Mc said...

Gayle,

I look at your blog everyday for ideas and encouragement, but do not normally post. However, today's post bothered me. Do others not watch the news, read studies, or look at the world around them? Do they not see the child obesity problems that surround us. Your method really should be the norm. Then there might be less children that are overweight with diabetes and fewer parents with serious health problems before they are 50. I wonder what the family of your mysterious negative reader looks like. Keep up the good work, Gayle.

Coates Family said...

You are amazing and a huge inspiration to me and my family! It never ceases to amaze me how people will waste time reading someone else blog and then send hateful comments.

you are a blessing to all of us!

Suzanne said...

It is one thing to ask a question. It's another thing to be RUDE about it. Sheesh! I would probably be FUMING if I were you!!

Gardening/canning/freezing make up plenty of fruits and vegetables for your children! My goodness!

Well, you are very sweet to be so gracious with your answer.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath..."

Chris Bryant said...

Dear Gayle,

I have been following your blog and your lifestyle since the beginning. I would like to compliment you on how you handled the complaint you received and posted. You wrote with grace and truth. Your family is healthy and the portions are more than enough. You are a GOOD MOTHER and your family is happy to have a frugal, creative, and industrious woman taking care of their needs.

Sincerely,

Chris

Michele said...

((PAT ON THE BACK))

The worse thing anyone can do you a mom is say they are a "bad" mom. You handled yourself very well.
I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Gayle - it goes without saying that a lot of people support you on this topic. My family of 4 has a $50/wk grocery budget. With couponing/stockpiling etc... I spend even less than that - now I put the excess budget money into our "canning" money.

We can/preserve/freeze multiple foods during the summer - now I don't have to take the money for that out of our regular budget.

It can be done. After practice it's second nature and isn't even a struggle to do so anymore.

Thanks for your blog - I read it regularly.

Sandra from Portland

piperparadise said...

I hardly ever comment but read every word you write. Great approach to the negative email. And you are an inspiration that we CAN feed our families during this horrible economic times we live in and I thank you!

Becky said...

Wow! You handled that alot better than I would have!!! Please don't change a thing! You are such a great inspiration!

Beth said...

I rarely post a comment, but follow you and I'm just so sorry someone would feel compelled to post such a rude email. Why would they take the time? I take so many useful tips from you and you encourage me to stay frugal. Thanks for posting your ideas, shopping round-ups and encouragement! I hope you're are also encouraged by all these comments supporting you! :)

Jennifer said...

I just want to say... Thank You! I was spending way more than I needed to before finding your blog. You have challenged me my family of five on a $60. a week grocery budget. YES, IT CAN BE DONE! Sometimes I do go over but that is because I have found something on sale and stocked up. The next week is usually under budget!

Keep up the good work Gayle!

Jennifer

Lisa said...

You handled that very well, Gayle! I, for one, love your website and get a lot from it...especially the "Ten Ways to Reuse It" segments. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

THank you for all that you do. I have 2 yr old twins and have had a hard time ever since I was prego. I used to budget and eat local/frsh foods only. We decided to focus on bonding with our blessings and let the budget go. We are barely starting to get back on track.
I just recently found your blog and look in daily for inspiration and ideas. I can't thank you enough for being such a "bad" mom and saving money, time, energy and the Lord's creation. Most importantly I feel blessed that you would share your steps and ideas with the world.
God's Blessings, Katy

Anonymous said...

hi gayle,

i am new to your blog and i think this comment was So Rude coming from someone who doesnt know you from Adam. your profile pic is beautiful, and someone should tell just from it alone that you are a well taken care of family. i was raised in a very poor family. spaghetti was splurging! we very often did not get enough to eat and i think my parents could have benefited learning from someone like you. i think this rude person is just jealous of the savings you have created for your family. i would love to see their face if you invited them over to your well stocked pantry! thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

Anonymous said...

I think you are doing great! For several years we have kept a running check on paper of every cent we spend and where. Keep simple but good records. I used to think we spent hardly anything to eat...wrong. We do not spend much but more than I thought! So I thought and cut down on some things and added others etc and got it down even more...that $ we put into retirement funds! Thanks for all the encouragement and ideas you always give us. !!

Caitlin @ The MacKenzie Bunch said...

I know you've already had 50 comments but I just wanted to say as a mom of 4 your blog helped me take our grocery bill from around $150 AND UP to around $75. We only have one income because I stay at home and homeschool so every little bit helps us and cutting our grocery bill in half was AMAZING! And, for the record, I haven't been following long and it was very clear to me after just a couple posts how you bought groceries and that this was not your only food for the week... Some people just go around looking to judge and be critical.

Spendwisemom said...

I would imagine that the person who wrote the post is probably struggling with their food bill and can't imagine how anyone could do it for less. You do a great job and I wouldn't take offense from comments from someone who makes a judges hastily without getting information to back it up. They probably haven't taken the time to look at your recipes and menus or read how you do it. If you have your own fruit trees, or do your own canning, then you don't need to buy as much fruit. Many times when people make unkind comments, it is because they lack the skills to do it themselves.