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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Someone should warn you about....

Yesterday I had a mom/daughter teaching moment with a side load of guilt. I know teaching my kids how to become responsible is part of parenting; what I didn't count on was all the guilt that can come with the job. Someone should have warned me! Seriously, the looks on those little faces when they've made a mistake and have to carry out their punishment seems as bad for me, no worse since I handed down the punishment, than it is for them. There was a certain incident at our house over the weekend, and let's just say the twins are going to be the only 10-year-olds on the block that can tape and mud a wall. They had some privileges taken away, realized their mistake, made restitution and were sad. Lesson learned I am sure, but the sorrow was overwhelming for yours truly. Guilt sucks! I am hoping this experience is a stepping stone to responsible adulthood for them, someday.

Don't want to leave this post on a downer, so I will throw some more great money saving ideas your way. I am sure most of you are familiar with the phrase, "too much month at the end of the money." Here are a few cheap meal ideas that can help you stretch your pennies to make it to next payday, without going out. These are based on average low price, without coupons.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
tuna .49 cents per can (I use 2 cans, but you don't have to)
noodles $1 (16 oz. pkg.)
1-2 cans cream of whatever you have soup (I have tried mushroom, chicken and celery and they all work, /69 cents a can)
1 c. peas (.40 cents)
1/2 c. cheese (.20 cents)
random toppings if you like/want them--chow mein noodles, almonds, etc.

I serve this with a loaf of wheat bread (.50 cents) and some fresh fruit and a spinach salad.
Total cost of meal and sides:$5.50--or less w/ coupons; feeds 6-8 adults

Spaghetti and meatballs
1 pkg. noodles ($.49 on sale, $1 reg.)
1 lg. can sauce ($1)
15-20 meatballs (apprx. .10 cents per meatball premade)
garlic bread ($1)
jello (.50 cents)

About $6.50 on average; feeds 5-6 adults

Breakfast Ideas

Eggs (about .10 cents per egg); add some toast for .07 cents a slice.

Popover pancakes, German Pancakes, Yorkshire puddings, etc (uses basic ingredients you should all have, but I'd guess you can feed a family of 6 for about $2)

Crepes--again, flour and water basically---fill with whatever you have--fresh or canned fruit, sugar and butter, leftover meats, lunch meat--you can make a dozen for $1 or less.

Breakfast burritos--eggs, cheese and meat/veggies. About $1 for 10 flour or $2 for 10 wheat tortillas. You can serve 10 for $5-6.

Barbacoa Pork
Pork roast $5 (check for sales)
1 can Dr. Pepper (.21 cents)
1 c. water
1 bottle bbq sauce ($1.50)
cumin/ chile powder
1 can diced chilies (.50 cents)
Tortillas or salad ($1)
black bean and corn salsa ($1)

This feed a lot --I'd say a 4 lb. roast would feed 8-10 adults. Total meal cost under $10 with sides.

Remember that mealtime should be fun for you and your family. Try serving meals in fun ways (picnic, outside, crazy utensils), or on special dishes. I really find that kids eat better if they help with the preparation. Cooking, although often a chore, can be a great teaching tool. I find I reduce my stress when I know what I am making during a week, so I have stuff ready to go and less likely to go out and get something.  Find the meals that work for your family. You can often substitute expensive ingredients for less expensive ones (ie use ground ginger instead of ginger paste or root) and still achieve the flavor you want. Meals can be simple to prepare and still delicious and fun. Andy and I often have to remind each other to KISS IT. Keep It Simple Silly! This is the year to decrease your stress and enjoy living.

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