No, this post is not about discount traveling, but in fact, dear readers, myself and the musician will be headed out of the country for one whole entire month starting tomorrow. I am anticipating a lot of busyness and do not anticipate being able to work on Doubled Up for quite a little while… Things to look forward to in September: Travel Posts! I love traveling and have a few little secrets to share with you. Chinese food! Who doesn’t love that? More musings about what it means to be an American. Feminism. In China. What does it look like?

STAY TUNED!!!! See you all in September!


I’ve been checking out the tons of interesting links around about extreme simple living.  What do you think?

1.  Freegans: Check out this blog to see how to use dumpster remains for tasty supers! Woah….

2.  (From Treehuger) A bike powered trailer!  So cool!

Brian has perfected the fabrication of an all-weather enclosure that is light, insulated, very stable, and road worthy. This model is 8′ x 4′ and weighs only 80 pounds. It has a spacious interior that fits a sleeping adult (or two?), has many interior shelves, and is priced to sell (he’s asking $1,950 but says he’ll take offers). He can modify the hitch custom for any bicycle.

4.  This is one of the most talked about stories right now: Van living at Duke. Read his story: Here and here.  As a grad student living on the cheap, I can definitely understand his struggle.  At the same time, I question the gendered privilege he exhibits… have you ever heard of a woman hitchhiking 7,000 miles???

These guys are taking it to the extreme!  Be guaranteed that you will find much more moderate posts on frugality here, but it’s always good to see what people are doing as food for thought and inspiration… if they can do it, so can we!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my Frugality Project: How to live simply, save the earth, save your health and save money in the process… A lofty goal, but we can all take small steps!

I came across this article from NPR about food scarcity in the United States and how government programs aim to help people like the family featured in the article. Some of the articles highlights are below:

Image Credit: PamFessler/NPR

The Williamson family of Carlisle, Pa., is among those who struggle for food. They’ve been in and out of poverty for years.

Connie Williamson and her husband, Butch, have an 8-year-old son and two teenage girls, including one who is pregnant. Connie says her sister and brother-in-law also spend a lot of time in the Williamsons’ small apartment because they’re homeless right now.

“It makes it a challenge for the food to stretch sometimes,” she says….

Families like the Williamsons rely on a patchwork of government programs to survive. Soup kitchens and food pantries help fill in the gaps. They also get $600 in food stamps from the program now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The article continues to interview the Williamsons family and talk about the struggle to obtain nutritious, healthy food and to stay under their small budget. (I recommend reading the whole article) I sympathize. I totally get the need for government support.

But at the same time, I don’t… $600/month? For 5 people? That makes for $120/person/month. To me, this seems crazy. The Musician and I spend only $125/person. Often we eat organic food, we also purchase gluten free specialty items quite often, probably totaling to over $10-$20/month. If you remove this, we would probably spend no more than $110. There are months that we have spend under $100/person, easily. Usually, we like to eat cereal and buy organic cheese, and host a dinner party or two… you know, live a little.

So when I heard this NPR article complaining that a family runs out of food with $600 allotted, I just couldn’t really believe it.

Edible Experiments are my trial-and-error attempts at replicating dishes from various blogs, forums, and online databases. I try them out, rate them and pass the info on to you. To check out the whole series, click here.

In my last Edible Experiments, I confessed by love of Gluten Free Goddess’ Recipes. Today, the cat is out of the bag, I wouldn’t be a gluten free gal without loving Shauna of GlutenFreeGirl, writer, bloger, and fellow sans gluten lifestyler. However, one of the reasons I haven’t been able to get into her posts that much, is that I’m not a total foodie. I’m not really interested in tasting olive oils for instance, or spending all of my time thinking about food… so sometimes her posts are a little bit out of my reach. But, to be fair, I have used her insights a number of times. Most recently, a roasted chicken.

My local market had whole free range chickens for about $2.50/lb. If that’s not a good deal, I’m not sure what is. So we bought the chicken. But what to do with it? I remembered a post I saw, so to Shauna’s blog I went

1. The directions she gives for this chicken is a little confusing- defat, but don’t take off the skin. Since most of the fat is in the skin I was a little confused. Also, since I had a free range chicken, there wasn’t a whole lot of fat on it. I cut off one or two pieces and hoped for the best.

2. Roasting pan. for a chicken? We need to market one that is the right size. I ended up using a 13×9 pan and filling the extra space with some cabbage I had on hand, not in her recipe, but tasty none the less.

3. I also used a little less garlic, about 9 cloves, instead of her recommended 15.

The results? See for yourselves….

Yes, juicy, tasty and possible one of the best roast chickens we have had in a long time. I loved the paprika on top. It was flavorful, and I thought the saltiness was just perfect. Not too much fuss, and it was an easy, through it in the oven and forget about it kind of a dish. Perfect for dinner parties, special dates or even for the holidays! Overall, a very strong recommendation for Shauna’s Roast Chicken!! Check out the vegetables! My Conclusion…. Gluten Free: 5/5 chicken is of course naturally gluten free. Ease of Directions: 4/5 only because of the confusing “defatting” direction. Weeknight Friendly: 5/5 This is a stick it in and forget about it kind of a dish. Taste: 5/5 Like I said, best roast chicken I’ve had in a while! Frugality: 4/5 Whole chicken is really a great way to cook because you can get a lot of bang for your buck. That said, meat is rarely frugal friendly for many of us. You can get a lot more out of the chicken by saving the bones for stock… (guess what’s in my freezer!)

Happy Anniversary!

The Musician and I have just returned from a whirlwind trip to Colorado, which included among many things, hiking, eating, seeing family and…. celebrating our first year together. He and I chatted about the things that we loved most about marriage and I thought I’d share them with you.

1. We love waking up to somebody. (Mostly, sometimes I am in a bad mood!)

2. We love cooking dinner for each other. I especially love that I can try out new recipes or make up my own and always find a willing taster!!! Also, I especially love that HE DOES THE DISHES!!!!

3. We love that we have companionship and pray together regularly. Example, with our recent decision to go to China, we had to really think and pray through the cost benefits of going.

4. We love that we get to know each other more and more each day. I love finding those things that I say, “I didn’t know that about you!” To demonstrate, I didn’t know that the Musician hijacked the stage at a quartet camp when he was 17 to play Metalica on strings with his quartet! Right before the major guest artists!!! I bet he got into so much trouble!!!! I am still laughing at the image of my 17-year old husband (he had hair back then) stubbornly playing Metalica for a large audience of classical music snobs!!!!

5. Two for One. We really love to be there for each other. We have committed to one another through thick and thin, and praise God for companionship and shared vision, hope and life!

Of course, marriage is not always peaches and cream…. so I’d also like to share a few bits of advice we learned the hard way. Thankfully this year has gone really really well, minus some financial difficulties and setbacks that were temporary and stressful, we have really thrived with each other!

1. Don’t take it personally. So, I lived with roomates before marriage, I thought I was prepared to share space with someone I really really loved (even though I did love my rommies!). I was not prepared for the one fact that did not affect my shared roomie experience: taking it personally. If, for example, a toothpaste tube fell from a cabinet at 6:30 AM right on top of my head and I lived with roomates, I would be slightly annoyed, but I would put the tube back and laugh it off. However, when we had been married only 3 weeks, this exact situation played itself out, I began furiously accusing the Musician for booby trapping the cabinet and maliciously attempting to throw the toothpaste on me…. hmmmmm. That’s all I’ll say for now!!!!

2. Save it. When things are really stressful and you can tell that mentioning the topic will cause your partner to explode, I highly recommend saving it, storing it, and rephrasing it for another time. Amazingly, our brains have the capacity to figure out less painful ways of sharing that: the bank account is empty and you lost your job, you crashed the scooter, the refrigerator is not working and all of the food that you bought yesterday has been rotting in it for 12 hours… (these may or may not reflect actual and true events).

3. Take it for the team. The Musician and I have this annoying tendency to clean, but to leave each others laundry, toiletries, papers… dishes (!), side of the bed (!), uncleaned. We’re married, it’s OUR stuff. We should clean it together and if your hubby leaves his gross “lucky” boxers on the floor and you are cleaning up the room, don’t throw them as hard as you can at him, or nicely arrange them on his pillow, just put them where they belong… (and not in the trash can even if you think that’s where they should go!)

4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!! A little goes a long way. Assume that you are out for the others good. Honor the process of becoming who they want to be. This is really important in transition times (school, training, job search, etc!)

5. Assuming love. We noticed a profound difference when I began each day with the affirmation and assumption that the Musician actually loved me and was actually not attempting to sabotage my life. (It helps that he actually does love me! I don’t think you can take this advice if the guy is actually a creepo). I was more willing to let things go, not take it personally, and respond with love and affection.

Do you have marriage advice from your own experience (married or single!)? Would you like to share it! Write it in! I’d love to hear about it!

A Growing Garden is a photo series documenting progress in the garden.

A Growing Garden is a photo series documenting progress in the garden.