Monday, January 25, 2016

Slight Change in Dinner Plans...


As I have mentioned in the past, I love being one of the "go to" houses for Guppy 2 and her friends.  However, since Papa got laid off, it's been tough to keep up with having them here very often.  There are five to six kids in total and they move in a "pack"!  LOL  I have begun lovingly calling them "the Nematodes" (SpongeBob reference) because they come in the house and literally drain the kitchen of food/soda/water!  Papa and I have actually gone as far as hiding some stuff to save it from being spotted.  Haha! 

Okay, so maybe I am being (a little) over dramatic but having an additional five to six mouths to feed snacks and dinner can really be a drain to supplies and grocery budget!

And, G2 asked for them to come over today straight off the bus afterschool!  Of course I could have said "No".  I totally get that.  But, it seems like our house  and G2's BFF are the houses they go to the most.  And G2's BFF's house has been having them there a LOT lately.  So, I figured it's my turn and let the BFF mom get some much needed rest!  Haha

Here's what I decided on:

Snacks
We are hiding Papa's cinnamon rolls and chewy chocolate chip cookies because they are amazing and would be scarfed down in about ten seconds.  So, I made a standard chocolate chip recipe that made about 24 cookies.
We have microwavable popcorn as well.

Dinner
Since Papa and G1 were already having salmon and G2 and I were having baked ziti, I decided to triple the baked ziti I was going to make.  While it is more work than just calling in an order for pizza, it is more frugal....especially since the last time they were here and I ordered pizza, I ended up paying $40!!!  None of G2's friends are big on veggies, so I will just take a loaf of Italian bread out of the freezer and call it a day.

Drinks
I'm ashamed to say that I hid more than half of our stash of drinks.  I left out enough soda for them to each have one.  And I hid all of G1's Snapple since that was an issue in the past.  There is a lot of bottled water and water from the tap of course.


BUT....

I still feel kind of guilty over the whole thing.

Besides saying "no", how would you guys handle the whole snack/dinner thing?

Am I just crazy?  And if I am, let me down gently!  Haha

15 comments:

  1. I'm curious about what exactly makes you feel guilty? The pursuit of frugality is not the same straight path that everyone follows. I think its awesome that your teenager and her friends want to hang out at your house. And I totally get wanting to make it a place that is comfortable and inviting for them--it's a lot more comfortable knowing exactly what your child is up to, and who with, and what better way to do that than to have them in your home. The food you served sounds yummy and teen friendly. The sodas probably are a blow to the budget and I think it's perfectly reasonable to keep things separate that you want to save for your own family (I do this all the time with stuff I make for work vs stuff for home vs stuff for an upcoming meal and stuff my husband can just snack on). If the sodas get to be an expense you want to cut out, you could keep lemonade and tea mix on hand and make it available to the teens. Same with the water -- just keep a pitcher or two in the fridge. It's still your home to make rules -- and as long as those rules aren't excessively strict or arbitrary, I don't think you will run the risk of kids not wanting to hang out there. :)

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    1. Laura, I think I feel guilty because, before Papa's layoff, I didn't really pay attention to the "cost" of having the kids over. Seriously I love these kids and even WRITING this post made me feel guilty! I just have to reign things in for 2016...especially right now.
      The kids say they love our house and G2's BFF's best so I am happy about that at least. =)

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  2. Personally with your Dh being laid off, I think you are more an generous. Buy some cool-aid, make some homemade iced tea, pop corn from a pan as snacks. My husband isn't laid off and those girls drinking all those canned soda would not have made me happy. Cheryl

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    1. The soda consumption is a total budget buster for sure! I will probably buy some lemonade mix next time I'm at the store since that is a great idea! =)

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  3. You aren't the least bit crazy. If they are there a lot then they already have certain expectations of food/drinks/etc. If it was me I would just feed them a lot of snack food (if cheaper) or let my kid know that they are welcome to come over, but need to take off by dinner time. I second the above responses about cheaper drink alternatives also.

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    1. Thanks Jess! And, yes, I really set the bar high previously! LOL I was thinking about having them leave before dinner, but they wouldn't have a lot of down time since they sit and do their homework before hanging out. Since tonight is baked ziti, I just decided to make a much larger batch.
      And so far no one has taken more than one soda so that's good! =)

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  4. Nope, no guilt at all. My kids are 18 and 15 and I have extras here ALL the time. I do the same thing. Special treats get put aside, but if I know they are coming for dinner I make something super frugal like spaghetti or taco soup. I'll also make a cake (from a box, bought with coupons) and I'll make lemonade as well. Everyone is fed well and happy just hanging out. The peace of mind I get from knowing they are safe and sound is worth a few extra dollars in my grocery budget.

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    1. Exactly Stephanie! But, I gotta admit, I was feeling really anxious before but I think that's partially because it's just "one of those days" for me. No rhyme or reason ... Well, besides my feeling kind of yucky health wise. I love the cake mix idea - these kids would love cupcakes I'm sure!

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  5. Well I read your post right after telling my daughter, who had invited 2 friends to come here from noon to 4 p.m., that they had better planned to eat lunch at their own houses because I wasn't feeding them, so I chuckled. She said she hoped they had planned on that too. That was the end of it and the girls spent the afternoon in my daughter's bedroom and no drink (save for water, which is what we drink anyway) or snacks were provided as far as I know (I left them alone but it's not like we have tons of snacky foods around the house anyway and I know that they didn't cook). I'm not a caterer and the girls had a perfectly fine time anyway.

    TraceyBee, you have GOT to realize that things have changed: you guys no longer have an income coming in. That's a huge problem. You shouldn't be expected to feed other people's kids, no matter how good friends they are and how much they love coming to your house. Certainly you can have your daughter explain the situation to her friends and offer them cheaper alternatives, such as what has been suggested, and mention that they need to have meals at their own homes until things get back to normal for you guys. You can't be digging yourself further in debt because you want to be a good hostess. Or put a time limit on how long they can be over and make sure it doesn't involve any meals.

    Sorry if I'm not being tactful, that's just my POV:)

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    1. Nathalie, no worries about the tact part. I appreciate your honesty!
      I think that G2 must have mentioned something to the kids prior to them coming since it was nowhere near the experience it has been in the past! (which worked out very well!) The cookies ended up being 'enough' for snack and then they ate the baked ziti & bread plus some of the candy I brought out of hiding.
      And, I do have leftovers for the ziti still so it looks like I am out about one extra baked ziti meal total.
      Nowhere near as bad as it could have been...But, yeah, I know I have to buckle down with my generosity going forward.

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  6. You need to have a talk as a family and explain the new normal. What if your dh doesn't get a job as soon as you expect? Money only goes so far and to be honest, your kids can have friends over without you feeding them a full meal each time. Our own family comes first, a snack is enough. I would never expected another family to feed my kids meals every time they visited. Cheryl

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    1. I think I felt like I needed to feed them since they were here until 7:30 and came straight afterschool. I couldn't (in good conscience) send them home without dinner yesterday.
      The girls are getting used to our new normal. They know we are running a much tighter ship at the moment. And, they have actually been adjusting their "wants" accordingly. It's the stuff they don't necessarily think about (like food costs) that need tweeking.

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    2. Sorry TrayceeBee, but WHY?! Why "couldn't you send them home without dinner, in good conscience"?! Are we talking about kids who come from homes who are more disadvantage than yours? It was 7:30 p.m., not midnight! You provided an after-school snack, they weren't in danger of starving!
      The thing is, and you're going to think that I'm being mean, but I say this to HELP you: you keep on finding excuses for justifying everything, but your bottom line is that you guys are surviving on your husband's severance package and you have other expenses that are vital, such as your medical treatment for your MS. You have NO idea how long it'll take for him to find another job. You don't have (as far as I'm aware of) any other emergency funds. You should be very strictly controlling your expenses right now and not finding excuses for every little thing that is causing you to be over the budget that you assigned, which might still be too high. It's a slippery slope and a dangerous one in your situation. I know it sucks, but you have got to get a handle on your spending and that includes how you steward your food stocks. Don't go feeding the neighborhood, when, according to comments that you have made before, the neighborhood is quite well off! Week after week you detail your grocery shopping, and I know that you're trying, but every week you end up saying "Oops! Oh well, I'll do better next week!". When you give yourselves excuses like these, you will never do better and once you realize that you should have/could have saving money that you might need to stretch past the time when your husband's severance package is depleted, it'll be too late.

      It's now a month after the holidays and still no paycheck on the horizon unless you know something that I don't. It's time to reassess the budget that you created a month ago and your priorities. Sugary drinks, candy, croissants... yes, comfort foods. Not needed. Snacks and meals for friends? Not needed. Gourmet prepared foods? Not needed. Coupons? needed. Making a list of whole foods that you can cook yourself? Perusing the sales ads before you go shopping and spending a few minutes organizing your coupons? Only shopping the sales and comparing prices so as not to over pay? Definitely needed.

      And I'm not even discussing spending thousands of dollars on music lessons when you have no income coming in.

      You're a very nice person who has to deal with a lot. But you need to stop being a people pleaser and use that as an excuse to spend more than you should at this point. Be tough, be ruthless and be diligent.

      Again, I'm not saying these things to be mean or rude. I might come out that way because the truth isn't pretty and I think that what you need is the truth, not a pat on the back. I would say the exact same thing to my BFF or my kids. Heck, I DO what I'm telling you to do and we do have a paycheck coming in!

      So I'm going post this and hope that you will accept these comments in the spirit that they are meant: friendship and a genuine desire to help you.

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    3. Thank you. I would hate for her to realize too late and lose her home. No eating out, no extras, no feeding other people's kids. I do not work, my dh doesn't make a high salary, lower the past three years due to his health and no overtime. We eat out maybe once a month, everything I buy is on sale. I watch every penny. That is life. I know you have health issues but are you able to make all treats and buy none? I make cookies, quick breads, buns, bread, and cook every night. I must be hard, you don't want your girls to go without but look how much you spent the week your dd friend came to visit. If you are mad I am sorry but we only know what you write and I hope something comes up soon for your dh. The other post you said you wouldn't move, you may have no choice if you don't have the money. Cheryl

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  7. Just so everyone knows, I am not publishing any more comments for this post.

    Thanks! =)

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