I already find it challenging to keep my children’s intake of sweets to a minimum on a regular basis, but during the month of December? It is almost downright impossible to keep things under control. A month or two ago we decided that the best balance for us would be to (of course) stick to eating real food as much as possible, but to also allow ourselves one “treat” of our choice over the weekend. The last thing I want is for my daughters to start raiding the pantries at their friends’ houses after not getting any junk food at home! Plus, most things in moderation are okay.
Now, it is no secret that I have a sweet tooth myself and (not that anybody’s asked) all I’ve wanted for my “special weekend treat” is one darn donut! And have I gotten to take my girls out to Krispy Kreme to watch the donuts being made and enjoy eating them together hot off the conveyer belt? No, because it unfortunately has not yet been up to me what the weekend treat will be. The school or birthday party or other social gathering always seems to be making that decision for us. You see if my girls are invited to a birthday party, the cake (or parfait or whatever it is) automatically becomes their special treat for the weekend. And since some sort of social event seems to be going on almost every week I eventually stopped holding out for that donut, but unfortunately already put my eye on a new prize…Christmas cookies. And not just any Christmas cookies, the homemade from scratch kind that take all day to roll out, cut out, bake, and decorate with super sugary icing. The point is that our treats are so few and far between it would be nice if at least once in a blue moon I could decide (and even make) the delectable treat for us!
Which brings me to why I am feeling like such a scrooge. With the holiday treat overload between school and other parties I could not even imagine what it would be like if I was also providing some kind of holiday cookie or junk food at home. So when an annual cookie exchange party with some friends came up my immediate thought was “what in the world would I do with 8 little bags of cookies in my house?” Yikes. But, at the same time I certainly didn’t want to miss out on a fun evening with my girlfriends. So at the risk of making them think I was a little loony I asked if I could go, but not do the exchange part. Luckily, my friends know me well enough to not judge me too much. I do admit to feeling like a little bit of a scrooge though! It certainly has become quite a challenge to try to escape the candy, cookie, and sugar part of this holiday.
In other news, today ends our 9th week of sticking to real food on a budget. Of course, as I mentioned, we’ve had our occasional non-real food treats, but the fact of the matter is I have not used one penny of our $125/week on anything that doesn’t follow our original real food rules. Here’s how this week wrapped up with a whopping 7 cents left…
- Milk $29.97
- Earth Fare $48.48
- Trader Joes $41.95 + $0.30 (for a banana)
- Lowes Foods $0.51
- Sandwich bread from Great Harvest $5.00 (plus we got a free loaf with our frequent buyer card!)
I hate that I didn’t have any money left for the farmer’s market this weekend. I always like to have a good supply of local produce on hand, but unfortunately I spent a little more than I should have at Trader Joe’s and Earth Fare. It was a tough week to put aside money for the market when I had to spend $15 to replenish our coffee and espresso supply. Other than that we did okay though…this is what we ate for dinner each night…
- Monday: Cheesy chicken macaroni dish (from my new Eating Well on a Budget cookbook)
- Tuesday: My husband was out of town so we had pancakes (and fruit) for dinner!
- Wednesday: Black bean croquettes, brown rice, and quesadillas (pictured…the croquettes were also from the same new cookbook and they were good)
- Thursday: Butternut squash ravioli (I just made some dough and used leftover frozen filling from the last time we had this dish)
- Friday: The adults ate at a party, the kids had leftover ravioli, a little bit of quesadilla, and frozen peas
- Saturday: The adults ate at a party (again!), the kids had baked sweet potato, whole wheat macaroni noodles with butter/cheese/salt, and more frozen peas
- Sunday: Quiche and a side of spinach
We are hosting Christmas this year and expecting some out-of-town guests in a few days. So this upcoming budget week might be a little tricky, but I will do my best to keep things straight.