So, we are all better at the House of Babe, but I haven't been keeping up with any sort of schedule, meal or otherwise. No joke, this week's menu had "leftovers" in four different day slots :) I'm trying to finish out our freezer stash, which we started 8 or 9 weeks ago as an experiment, which by the way, I mark down as failed. Here is why:
We decided at the end of Jan/beginning of Feb to blow through approx a month of grocery budget in a day and stock our freezer with meat and pantry with sale items. Wegman's had the best prices on meat, so we went with them. The premise was if our freezer was stocked with meat, and our pantry stocked with dry goods, then supposedly we should only need to supplement with fresh produce, milk, eggs, and cheese every week, keeping our budget waaaay down. I don't know how, but every single week, with the exception of one week, we blew the budget. Without fail. We didn't buy anything different, fancy, foreign, just the normal stuff to fill out a week's worth of meals. So, buying in bulk did not save us money. It cost us normal money, and extra money, and I can't figure any reason for it except we like to eat and I am really bad with money.
So, it's back to the sale papers and weekly shopping. Here's another grocery conundrum, since I know you're on the edge of your seat; when working, I tried to keep our grocery budget at $50/week for our family of three. Since I was working nights, we only made dinner 3 or 4 nights a week, and Deej fended for himself the rest of the week. Baby was eating grilled cheese or oatmeal, so no budget busting there. Now that I don't work, and the toddler eats a lot more, we need more meals at home, and we can't do 21 meals plus snacks on $50 and still eat healthily. The conundrum is I'm not willing to compromise on health and food safety, so I buy my milk, eggs, baby snacks, and produce at Trader Joe's because everything in their store is non GMO. Call me silly, but I don't want animal DNA in my apples. I buy our meat and other staples at Shoprite, because their prices are good, I like their savings club, and it's clean and I grew up with it and will always think it's the best place on earth. No lie, when we used to go south for a conference every year, I called all the Food Lion's "Shoprite." If its a grocery store, it's a Shoprite. Anyway, the conundrum. It is exponentially cheaper to buy processed "foods" but it also is not always real food and I really think America's health problems are environmental and diet based. So, I don't want to compromise there either. I bake my own bread about 50% of the time, and make most of our meals from scratch. I think the long term health benefits of not eating a highly processed/non food diet out weigh the short term wallet squeeze...But we still need to be in the black at the end of the month. Choices, choices.
I love not working and being home with our critter, and I would not go back unless I was physically forced to, or Deej wanted me to. Thankfully, Deej LOVES that I'm not working, and can feel a palpable difference in our home atmosphere, and the meals ready when he comes home from work don't hurt either. But I still want to contribute to the family income in some way. It just seems right. I'm going to try selling aprons on an Etsy, since vintage is back and they really are a great help with cleaning and cooking. Our grocery budget will also be a little looser June-September since we joined a local CSA, and I'm growing produce out front. All this to say...there's no super simple easy way to run a house. There's choices and consequences, checks and balances, faith steps and risks, successes and failures. I really do enjoy learning it as I go along though :) We are very blessed.
Time to put the peanut head to bed. What are you guys cooking this week?