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Monday, February 17, 2014

Keeping one step ahead of my kids

This past Thursday evening was yet another free opportunity for me to see a live performance at the university. This time it was a student recital. I haven't enjoyed this many theater and music productions since my own university years. Theater daughter was working the backstage for the performance.

So, I met up with both daughters, we had a bite to eat, and went to the recital. Although the performances are free, my daughters have become accustomed to us spending a small sum of cash on treats in the Student Union Building. One daughter loves the cup of chocolate chunk cookie poppers (bite-sized cookies), and the other daughter enjoys the salads and fruit cups.

Even on 50% off nights, this adds up. What's a budget mama to do?

Thursday afternoon, I baked a batch of my own chocolate chip cookie poppers, and made a good-sized salad to take down to campus with me. And I even brought a treat for myself. I made a thermos of herb tea just for me (the girls don't always care for my selections in tea -- all the more for me).

We still bought 1 bagel sandwich to split between the three of us. But this was a far cry from buying several items off the menu. There's a large common area in the SUB where we sat, talked about the day, and enjoyed our treats before the performance.


  1. Those cookies and salads look much tastier (and healthier) than anything you can buy.

  2. Great idea! It is kind of funny how much "food memories" are really about the time spent with other people more so than the actual food.

    1. Hi Shara,
      Your really right. It is more about the time together than what we actually had to eat.

  3. Oooh, you used your spinach. The salad looks good. I may have to splurge on spinach this week. It's funny--my mom baked most of our cookies/cakes/pies/muffins and I thought store-bought was such a treat--I laugh now at the memory because anything mom made homemade was so much better than store-bought. Your kids will have such good memories of truly tasty food because of you. :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      We've been enjoying the spinach every single day since I bought the bag. It's been wonderful!

      My own mom didn't bake from scratch most of the year. It was a holiday thing for her. So we ate store-bought baked goodies most of the time, until I became interested in baking around 9 years old. I thought homemade was spectacular! Funny how we want what we don't have.

  4. OK... that salad looks delicious! And I'm not looking at the cookies too hard or I'll start to lust over them and nothing good can come of that!

    I just have to say that I'm so impressed with how much support you give to your children - financial and otherwise. When I went to college that was pretty much it. My mom sold the house and moved - she dropped me off at college on the way to start her new life. I didn't even have a phone number where I could reach her for the first few months.

    And I NEVER got spending money from my parents - not since grade school. I had to get jobs and earn my own money for clothes (beyond the back to school stuff I got each year), movies, sports equipment etc. In college they paid for tuition, but everything else I had to pay for through student loans & jobs.

    Anyhow... don't mean that to sound like a pity party - it all made me quite independent which I am grateful for. I just think it's amazing how much you do for your kids.

    1. Hi Cat,
      I think as a parent, I tend to try and compensate for aspects missing from my kids' lives. And the way that I can do that best is by cooking, and being involved in what they're doing. This is complicated by the fact that my own relationship with my mother was cut short, when she passed away when I was 24. When I became a mother, I relished the opportunity to restore that type of relationship.

      I was thinking to myself, Friday afternoon as I drove down to campus, just how long will they tolerate having me around. Surely there will come a point when they say, "Mom, we love you, but please give us some space".

      Can I get off the therapy couch now? ;-)

    2. I'm so sorry you lost your mother at such a young age. I'm sure there will come a time when the kids will want more space - but I'm also quite sure that they are grateful for all of the love and support that you give them. I just can't imagine being allowed to live at home throughout college and beyond - what a wonderful way to ease them into adulthood. I just think it's really neat, and your kids are soooo lucky to have you.

  5. Your kids are old enough that I don't think it matters anymore, but I remember, like Kris, that when we would go shopping in the big town a couple of hours away, my mother would pack homemade fried chicken, boiled eggs, etc. and we would eat it at a park. Now I understand the work she put into it and how good the food was, but at the time I really wanted to go to a restaurant. That was something that happened rarely in my family.
    Our values change as we get older and have more experience in the world, don't they.?

    The food you took looks delicious. I would be happy to have a frugal night out with you anytime.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      That sounds so Little House on the Prairie to me, and in a good way!
      For myself and my sister, going shopping with our mother meant getting a hot dog at the lunch counter at Woolworth's. When I was 5, that was my idea of a fine restaurant meal!

      Now, I just don't find much value in eating out in a restaurant. Some of that is food intolerance issues. (Why pay a lot of money just to feel sick the next day?) But also, I simply like my own cooking best. I do like the idea of having someone wait on me, though, and clean up the dishes afterwards.

    2. I just have to chime in on this topic. I think there was a time when home cooking was generally considered to be superior to eating at a restaurant. I'm not sure how that got turned around.

      One time I had some friends over for dinner - one of whom HATES to cook with a passion. To compliment me on the meal I had prepared, she said that it tasted "just like something you'd get at a restaurant."

      She totally meant it as a compliment, but I couldn't help but think how incredibly offended my grandmother would have been at such a statement. NO restaurant could top grandma's cooking!

      I wonder if this attitude comes about because there are just fewer good cooks around these days so most home cooked food just isn't that good anymore, or if society has just collectively swallowed the kool-aid and bought into the idea that mass produced yuck is actually somehow "better."

  6. Budget Mama did great! That salad looks delicious as do the cookies. Bringing your own food from home definitely saves money and still allows you to enjoy a night out. Great way to live within your means - something that not everyone does these days. Kudos to you, Lili. :)

    1. Thank you, Belinda!
      We did have a great time, and I didn't have money regrets afterwards!


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