Answer-Thankfully, thanks to my awesome friends from church (thanks, Jamie), we had wonderful home cooked meals delivered every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for the first month we were home. I mean good meals, too. I've been flying solo lately, and am managing pretty well, amazingly enough. Now, cooking and grocery shopping are not my 'thing'. I abhor grocery shopping. First you have to put the item in your cart, then onto the conveyor belt, then into your cart again, then into your car, then into your house, then into your pantry. After all of that, you are supposed to plan the meal, cook it, and clean up afterwards.... 3 times a day. Therefore, it was our habit to scrounge around in the refrigerator for meals for as many days as possible before going to the store again, which usually meant more meals eaten out than our budget could afford. Now with 9 kids, we not only 'shouldn't' eat out, we 'can't'. Therefore, I am playing The Grocery Game, found at www.thegrocerygame.com. It is a system that matches up coupons with the sales at local grocery stores. For instance, last Tuesday I bought $230 worth of groceries for $126, for a savings of 45%. The only catch is that you have to buy what is on your list, not what you NEED. Eventually you will catch up, and virtually be able to shop out of your pantry, because the sales cycle will have come full circle. After 12 weeks, you should be set on everything from peanut butter to toilet paper. I'm on week 4, and I'm enjoying the game aspect of it now, and enjoying the savings. So I shop at Kroger with coupons on Tuesday night (while Steve puts the kids to bed), and I go to Costco Wednesday night, while all of the kids are at church activities. At Costco I buy lunch packing supplies (lunch meat, chips, fruit, Capri Suns), fruit, detergent, rice, gatorade. My total grocery bill has gone up, but not exponentially, as you would expect adding 4 HUGE EATERS (these kids can pack.it.in) to our family. Also, we have eaten out WAY less. Usually pizza with coupons one night a week. Not eating out is the biggest savings of all for us.
As far as cooking goes, I've just been more diligent about planning for dinner in the morning. Lately the crockpot and rice cooker have been my friend. I put in some cheap meat, marinade of some sort, veggies of some sort, and let it cook away, making rice sometime in the afternoon. It's awesome!! Put out some fruit or salad and voila! I do make more food, but we are more careful with portions. We start with very small portions, then they can have 2nds, 3rds or whatever, but they have to eat what's on their plates first. This has kept us from wasting tons of food!
There you go, Anita. First question answered!
Anymore questions, anyone? Ask away! (And fill out my survey, so I know I'm not writing posts for 14 people)!!!