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Old 04-27-2013, 11:29 AM   #31
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Another question I had was I wondered what your grocery budgets were...(the mamas with big families) We put $725 away each month for groceries..and we usually use it all and then some towards the end of the month. This includes NOTHING but food. Well..food and drinks...milk etc. I am thinking of signing up for WIC. Im almost positive that we will be elligable for this...it will help with milk, cereal, juice and bread I believe...prolly not much bread but some. Oh and cheese. But anyways...going for a goal of not dipping into more $$ after the $725 is gone. And I really think Wic will help with that
Ours is $2000. $500 a week and that includes paper plates, cleaning spray/toilet cleaner/dishtabs and kitchen soap. We do 6 weekly meals (meat) with sides and 1 frozen or pasta meal.

When I lost my job we were at $1200 a month and we didnt eat so well.

Would you qualify for SNAP?

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Old 04-27-2013, 11:30 AM   #32
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Family of 6 here, we eat on $550 per month, no assistance, and we eat well (non organic). That is not including meals out, which are once a month.

I second with plate at the counter. Out of sight out of mind! Set a salad on the table or a loaf of bread and apple butter instead.

Hearty cheap sides: brown rice (cooked in chicken broth is YUMMY!), potato or cooked carrot dishes, pitcher of ice water on the table.

Stock up on meat when it's on sale! When making casseroles add filler veggies.... frozen peas, corn, etc.

When all else fails, make dessert from scratch. When everyone's eaten a reasonable dinner, ask if they have room (or remind them to leave room) for dessert. Let them help you clean up and then enjoy dessert together. I make a strawberry (frozen) and peach (canned) cobbler weekly that goes over very well and it's super simple.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:44 AM   #33
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Ok..great tips..but see this is why its so hard for me. I Get so frusterated with things like..my hubby likes to eat cheseburgers ALOT. Its like his number one fav meal (Bleck! I like them once in a while) but anyways..he eats 3 (they go in one pan), I make 5 (SMALL) of them fit into another for the kiddies, THANK goodness 2 of the kiddies dont like them. So by the time my stove has 2 big pans there isnt room for another pan...so I usually skip burgers and dont get one becuase bythe time Im done cooking and putting together all those burgers..I dont feel like standing over the stove for another 1/2 hour..UGH. Thank goodness its summer though because I can use the GRILL!
Maby im not making enough or maby Im not doing enough side dishes...IDK? When I make chicken..I usually make one for everyone. A Big pack of chicken breasts is like $15-$19 here (boneless, skinless) and to me..thats alot of $$ to spend on just one meal worth of meat (or is it?>) IDK. I def need to find more larger meals or how to add to my meals so there is enough for everyone becuase Im tired of toast! GRRRR! Thanks everyone for the tips
Why aren't you cooking under the broiler in your oven, the cheese burgers?
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:54 AM   #34
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Not only am I pregnant but I also have a 5 month old who will be joining us at the table. Did I say I was pregnant? I dont remember what I typed (LOL) I wasnt worried about the baby Im pregnant with(Im only 2 months pregnant..not yet anyways. But def worried about the baby thats about to reach 6 months old and will be going to the dinner table soon! But...I do want a healthy baby and def dont want to deprive the baby of any vitamins or nutrients himself! or herself..(lol).
But heres what happens...I always make hubbys first because I feel...he works overnights and works hard to support us. He has a crappy schedule and dont get much sleep so I can stay home with the kids. I feed him firt becuase he needs to eat as early as possible because he has to go back to bed early evening so he can sleep until its time to go to work. SO Basiclaly I make his plate first and then little kid to big kid. By the time Im ready to eat..little kids are done and want more..Hubby is almost doen with his. He always says u can have the rest of mine or u can take my debit card and get something downtown. But I dont want to. I dont want to take from him or the kids! I dont want to take his debit ($$$ that we can use for something we may need in the house...dish detergent etc) and get soemthing from the deli becuase then Im taking away from what we may need later in the week! SO I settle for pb toast usually, or plain...depends on my mood. But Im really getting tired of it. I think I got some good tips here..adding more side dishes to our meals and making plates before I serve them. Now I just need to work on next weeks and months meal plans! Thanks alot everyone! More tips and tricks are always welcome!
I have a rule that then kids can't ask for seconds, I will offer them seconds when I'm finished eating. I am reaching them not to be greedy, and to be polite. Can you imagine a brood of seven all asking a host for seconds? I mean in public? Or how my kids before I taught them to wait would devour a buffet rudely and be a big burden at social gatherings. Seconds are offered *if* there are any and *after* my plate is clean. Then often times they are not as hungry as they thought. This is a good practice to let food settle before eating more anyway.

Seems like you can solve a lot of issues just with training!


We use about $800-1200 a month on groceries because I have three that are gluten free. Im trying to reduce that. *blush* before we were gluten free and I had six kids eating we used $600-800. My biggest downfall is snacks and trying to buy gf for all the kids. I'm finding that's just not needed.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:02 PM   #35
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Re: Help! Meals for big families...

We eat a lot of soups, stews, and casseroles. These meals are ones in which I can make meat last longer without any noticable difference. We only have 3 kids but my meals are made to have left overs so can typically feed between 10-12 adults. For example spaghetti I make from scratch using canned tomatoes. I use 1lb of turkey sausage to 60oz of crushed tomatoes, 30 oz of diced tomatoes, 16 oz of tomatoe sauce and 14 oz of tomato paste. Then I use my own seasoning mix and about 1-2 whole garlic bulbs crushed. I made this for dinner thursday. My kids and husband took leftovers to work and school. My toddler and I used the sauce to make pizza bread for lunch Friday. Today(saturday)my kids and I had spaghetti for lunch. The remainder of the sauce will be frozen for a future meal. Possibly even be used for homemade pizza. I usually try to make homemade garlic bread to go along with this but got lazy and didn't make it this time. When I do 2 loaves are usually gone within 24 hours. I usually use a recipe in Bread in Five Minutes a Day and add in 2 bulbs of crushed garlic when mixing up the dough. Then before baking I lightly coat it with olive oil and generously sprinkle on Italian seasonings(my mix). Then I pat it on gently to insure at least some sticks. Had I made the bread I would now have much more sauce to freeze than I do have. I don't add salad to my spaghetti typically because salad makings tend to get expensive.

Some meals I like for making meat last are lentil stew, barley stew, split pea soup. I love chilli as I have made a large pot of chilli last 4 meals with left overs for us.

I make sure when I make chili I make at least 2 gallons of chilli. I bought a large 3 gallon pot just for this purpose. Then we have chilli for dinner and left overs for lunch. The next time I serve it I will add in pasta and top with cheese. We will have this for dinner and again for the next days lunch. The next time I served it up I expanded the meal with a vege mixed along with some more cheese topped it with a corn bread dough and baked it up and called it chilli pot pie. We ate this again for dinner and then again for lunch the next day. However we did not do this consecutively. After each meal I froze or refrigerated the meal. The chilli I froze in meal sized portions. So some packages of chili I mad e smaller as I knew I would be adding to it. The left overs from those meals I refrigerated and used within a few days. By the third change up of the same meal the kids were actually pretty tickled at the idea of having the same meal but different enough even my picky husband would eat it without complaint.

My husband loves beef. As I am sure you are already aware steak isn't exaclty cheap. So to accomodate his preferences I will hunt out any sales or discounts and occasionally buy steak just for him. He works to provide the food so I make sure he gets what he wants at least every now and then. Even if this means I must cook 2 meals for dinner that day. If the kids complain they don't get the steak I tell them they can have the steak when they are working for a paycheck. I know sometimes my husband feels like he is working for nothing. The occasional steak makes him feel like he is special and appreciated and his work isn't for nothing.

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Old 04-27-2013, 12:03 PM   #36
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I think the only thing that would actually work would be the black beans. I dont think the other stuff would fly very well, LOL! I always have black beans and chic peas on hand (always) because I put them in salads. My family does loove salad!

Its hard but not super hard. Its hard at night time when I dont get any sleep becuase the kids wake numerous times at night! That drives me crazy...like for example...toddler number 3 dont want to go to bed until like midnight so I finally get him to bed and then lay down and next thing yanno baby is crying for a feeding...so I feed him..by this time its about 2amish...Get him layed down and my toddler number 2 is waking...BLAH! I change diapy...FIIINALLY get here to sleep and its like 4:30...Then Toodler number 4 wakes and wants to be up the rest of the night. I move him to the couch otherwise he will wake EVERYONE (if he hasnt done this already)..he wants to watch tv and something to eat. SO I grab him a snack...lay down on the opposite side of the couch..just about to sleep and now he wants a drink. BLAH! I get up..get him a drink and then lay down and the sun is comming up or its time to get my public school kid up for school. SO I roll off the couch, get him up and ready with my eyes closed....hubby finally comes home and takes him to school. I lay on the couch from 7-9am and get up with the other kids and start aking breakfast and homeschooling. This happens about 4 out of 7 days a week! IT SUCKS!

See this is more training. I don't mean to sound harsh, I mean it sweetly. Us large family Mamas have to be strict. Especially if we Homeschool and never get a break. Toddlers do not get to decide when they go to bed, they need to be in bed at 730 or 8. They should stay in bed. Super nanny has some great tips to get them there. No one gets a snack or a drink for keeping Mommy up at night! What a reward to get special Mom time for being naughty. That's rough on you, pregnant and running all night long. And more selfishness..


I feel like I'm talking to myself here because I can fall into so,e of the same habits when dh is out at night. Over the
Last two or three years I've really had to be more firm with my kids. Because if I don't speak up for myself they will never learn to respect others. I'm not a door mat and I don't deserve their scraps either. I don't look at it as mean, but training for their future.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:04 PM   #37
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Oh I like the rule of no asking for seconds until mama and daddy have eaten too.

We all start at the same time though. I fill plates, Dh gets drinks, kids get plates to the table and sit and wait until I sit. Then we pray and then we eat.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:13 PM   #38
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See this is more training. I don't mean to sound harsh, I mean it sweetly. Us large family Mamas have to be strict. Especially if we Homeschool and never get a break. Toddlers do not get to decide when they go to bed, they need to be in bed at 730 or 8. They should stay in bed. Super nanny has some great tips to get them there. No one gets a snack or a drink for keeping Mommy up at night! What a reward to get special Mom time for being naughty. That's rough on you, pregnant and running all night long. And more selfishness..

I feel like I'm talking to myself here because I can fall into so,e of the same habits when dh is out at night. Over the
Last two or three years I've really had to be more firm with my kids. Because if I don't speak up for myself they will never learn to respect others. I'm not a door mat and I don't deserve their scraps either. I don't look at it as mean, but training for their future.
This is good advice.

Mama, it sounds like your kiddos are really taking advantage of you. You deserve much more than that. Nursing babies getting up- fine, but antsy toddlers waking in middle of the night getting snacks and drinks? I think something needs to change. You sound like you really cater to their wants and obviously, meet their needs. But is okay for them to understand that they can't have it all their way, all the time. Is this something you feel we can help you with?
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:36 PM   #39
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Re: Help! Meals for big families...

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Originally Posted by Dahlia64 View Post
Another question I had was I wondered what your grocery budgets were...(the mamas with big families) We put $725 away each month for groceries..and we usually use it all and then some towards the end of the month. This includes NOTHING but food. Well..food and drinks...milk etc. I am thinking of signing up for WIC. Im almost positive that we will be elligable for this...it will help with milk, cereal, juice and bread I believe...prolly not much bread but some. Oh and cheese. But anyways...going for a goal of not dipping into more $$ after the $725 is gone. And I really think Wic will help with that
I have a budget of $130 per week, so $520 a month. That covers EVERYTHING-pet supplies, household supplies, etc etc. The only thing it doesn't include is baby formula (long story.) The only reason it's so low though for all of us is that I coupon a LOT. Like last night, 6 lightbulbs and 5 cans of enchilada sauce for free using coupons...and more lightbulbs the rest of this week too.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:14 PM   #40
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Our budget is about $800 a month including dog food and toiletries, laundry and dish soap. It kinda varies because if something is on sale (meat, pasta, whatever) I stock up on it if I can so budget may be more that month. The next month I won't use it all because I stocked up.
I've really gotten into freezer meals because it helps me from being frustrated and wondering what's for dinner. I buy bags of frozen chicken and put about 2.5-3lbs of chicken in a ziplock, some spices and veggies (Italian spices w carrots, lemon pepper seas. and green beans, etc) so I can throw it in the crock pot or oven and it's done. When I do those chicken dinners we have butter noodles or another veggie and call it simple and done.
Adding oatmeal to ground meat is wonderful, you can't really see or taste it and it holds the meat together. The veggies bulk it up and are healthy, you can't taste a difference.
I'm pretty stern with dinner though, you eat what I cook or you don't eat. I'm not a short order cook but I try to make sure I make at least one thing everyone likes. Only DD gets special food because we think she may have milk protein sensitivity or gluten sensitivity, but that just means no cheese, milk, or very much bread or pasta for her. I have to add it all back in so we can have allergy testing done in a couple of weeks. :/
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