Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Real Life: We're Not Perfect--Feeding Your Family for Near to Nothing without Cooking

Today's post may be a bit unpolished and chaotic because, honestly, that's how life in my house is right now.  I think most of you out there reading this have a tainted view of what Kimiko and I are really like.  It's easy to hide flaws and shortcomings behind a blog with great text and yummy pics.  I want to set the record straight on just a few of the multitude of ways we are not perfect.

These are old pics---April is bigger and has more teeth now.

  1. Our kitchens are not always spotless and tidy.  I almost always clear enough clutter out of the way just barely enough to get it out of the frame.
  2. I am great at organizing kitchens.  I am terrible at keeping them that way.  The cookware and dishes aren't so bad, but the pantry looks like it was ransacked and the plastic containers are taking up about ten times more space than they need to because I've resorted to just tossing them into the cupboard.
  3. The inside of my fridge does not get the attention it should.  Too often I have to tell my husband, "Don't eat anything on the back half of the shelf."
  4. I can't see the top of the fridge.  Consequently, it doesn't get cleaned as often as it should.
  5. Sometimes we feel like quitting or cutting down immensely.  Occasionally life will be so hectic and we will be so dry on new ideas that it is hard to write.  Fortunately, we haven't both felt that way at the same time so we've been able to encourage each other through it.
  6. Sometimes we just don't want to cook.  Our families don't always get a from-scratch homemade meal.

It is this last point that I really want to talk about today.

Moms get burned out.  It's just a fact of life.  I have been feeling that way for about a month now (potty training, sick kids, homework, broken dryer, house projects).  Life is just coming at me faster than I can deal with it.  And sometimes we just need a break from the kitchen and the dishes.  But we just don't have the money to go out to eat, not even occasionally.

What do I do in these situations?  Costco!  Ok, I guess that is eating out, but it is much more affordable than any restaurant.  You just can't beat a hot dog and 20 oz. drink (with refills) for $1.50!  And their hot dogs are delicious and really big!

I find it's less messy to have them dip in the ketchup rather
than put it on their hot dogs.  I simply use a cup lid
for their ketchup.

Don't want a hot dog?  How about a huge slice of pizza for $1.99 and a drink for only $0.59 (with refills).

It's HUGE!!

They do have other tasty things, but those are the items we stick with because they are the best value.

Our family of six can eat at Costco for $6.49 plus tax (plus some milk and a few bananas)!  Here's how:

Free                      Go through store and get samples if they are out
Varies (under $5)  Pick up box of milk and bag of bananas
1.50                      Robbie--hot dog and drink
1.50                      Me--hot dog and drink
1.50                      Boys--share hot dog; fill cups from home with milk; one banana each
1.99                      Keanna--slice of pizza; use boys' drink; banana
Free                      April--eats off my everyone's hot dog and Keanna's crust; banana
6.49 + tax + milk and bananas  TOTAL

We take our own straw or sippy cups and fill them with the
milk we've just bought.

Of course, this isn't something we do regularly or often.  Even $6.49 can add up over time.  And I don't want my family eating a lot of hot dogs and pizza.  But for those days when dinner just doesn't come together, it is just the thing for us.

How future rock stars eat bananas.

April's telling us what she thinks.

Costco is also great for dessert treats.  About once or twice a year we take all the kids out for dessert, usually to Costco.  In fact, we went last night for family night.  Only $5.55 plus tax for dessert for all six of us!  Robbie and I each had frozen yogurt ($1.35).  I shared mine with April, and the boys shared one (ask for water cups to divvy up yogurt!).  Keanna opted for a dipped ice cream bar ($1.50).

The following is the menu at the Antioch, California Costco, though the Concord Costco has at least one additional item:

  • 20 oz. drink  $0.59
  • Twisted churro  $1.00
  • Chicken Caesar salad $3.99
  • Chicken bake  $2.99
  • Pizza (cheese, pepperoni, or combo)  $1.99/slice or $9.99/whole
  • Hot dog or polish dog with drink  $1.50
  • Carne asada bake  $3.79
  • Very berry sundae  $1.65
  • Nonfat frozen yogurt (chocolate, vanilla, or swirl)  $1.35
  • Hand-dipped ice cream bar (w/ or w/out almonds)  $1.50
  • Berry smoothy or latte mocha freeze  $1.45
So next time dinner just isn't going to happen and you want to hold onto your money, consider Costco.  If your Costco offers something else, please let us know in the comments.

And just because my kids are so adorable:


Karen said...

"Don't eat anything in the back of the refrigerator"
That made me laugh. My family never did any random snacking from the refrigerator because I was the only one who knew which food was actually safe to eat!

GrandiGirl said...

Aw, Sumiko, thanks for sharing. I know life can get soooooo crazy
sometimes! My kids love Costco and dinner there is a great deal when you just can't crank out one more meal-- sometimes I feel like I live in the kitchen. :0)

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