Don’t call us, we’ll call you

November 15, 2010

A few burning questions before bed . . .

Filed under: Motherhood, Personal, Personal Finance — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 6:36 am

Do you think it’s horrific that I let Addison suck on my shoes? The way I figure it she has licked/tried to eat virtually everything my shoes have touched anyway. [Clearly, I’m not a germaphobe . . . despite my mom’s best efforts.]

How often do you eat red meat? I generally think that I eat red meat sparingly (probably twice a month), but since I don’t know how often other people do (except for my vegetarian/vegan friends), how do I really know?

How much money should we spend on eating out? We used to budget $40/month (mostly just for me because Neal doesn’t care much about eating out, whereas I find it to be my quickest mood enhancer), but then I decided that it was too big a splurge because it was our largest non-essential expense.  So for a couple of months, I only spent about $8/month and Neal and I never ate out together.  But for my birthday dinner, we had a lovely restaurant meal and Neal started to feel that there might be something non-tangible to the eating-out experience.  It wasn’t just the food, it was talking together sans baby, carefree for a couple of hours, all while I got to eat whatever I wanted (we went to the Pizza Pie Cafe, a pizza and pasta buffet).  It was the most stress-free time we’ve had in the last month or so since Addison has continued to sleep terribly.  Even though Neal is ready and willing to up our dining budget for the chance of more pleasant evenings, I’m still hesitant because our income is irregular and difficult to budget, and well, it’s me, and I’m frugal in a nearly pathological way (thanks to my dad’s best efforts) and I agonize over every purchase like our whole future hinges on it.  So, weigh in, dear readers.



  1. I’m not a germaphobe either. Suck away, Addison!

    Red meat…i’m like you. About twice a month. I don’t really like to cook with it, but take me to a BBQ restaurant and get me some good ribs; I won’t complain.

    Eating out. I love eating out, but it doesn’t happen often. I think a couple times a month is totally doable and worth it.

    Comment by kjell — November 15, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

  2. 1. Not at all!! Build up those immunities 🙂
    2. I am a chicken girl through and through. Occasionally I’ll eat red meat–mmm, at most three times a month. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had beef.
    3. I think eating out is worth it if only for the mental health reasons! It’s like therapy with food thrown in

    Comment by Emily T — November 15, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  3. 1. I am horrified. If I’d known that before we got married…
    2. My secret stash of flesh at the bottom of the freezer means I eat red meat at 3:00 in the morning with Addison while you’re in bed…maybe every night. We’re vampires, father and daughter.
    3. Let’s see, if we consider eating out getting a 79 cent item at Taco Bell…we could eat out EVERY SINGLE WEEK and still keep it under $8!

    Comment by neal — November 15, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

  4. ha ha! I love Neal’s response!
    1. It’s not horrible that you let her suck on your shoes, I am, however a germaphobe, so the only time Camden has been able to do this is without my knowledge (w/his father, of course)
    2. Red meat–YUCK! I don’t like it, but Devin sort of does–although I think I’m gradually weaning him. The compromise is that I cook it 1-2 times per week while alternating the other nights with chicken. If I HAVE to eat meat, it’s chicken. I rarely eat much of the red meat I prepare. But it’s definitely more than you–and anyone else on here really–eats!
    3. Eating out is a necessity for me. Not during family time, but during date nights. I don’t know why, but there’s something liberating about being able to go out, with the hubby, without the baby, and NOT. HAVE. TO. COOK. (even though, I enjoy cooking. I can’t imagine how much more liberating it must feel to you)! It’s been difficult to not really be able to fulfill that necessity for the last couple of months….but as Neal said, and as Devin can attest to, you can get a lot of food at Taco Bell for a low budget. You just won’t catch me eating Taco Bell if my life depended on it! :O) Fast food is nasty to me. We are big advocates of date nights in our family though, so I have a feeling that will always (always meaning in the future when we have a real job :O) be our largest discretionary expenditure monthly. You’ve got to let yourself have SOMETHING monetarily that you don’t stress over–and this seems the most enjoyable to you, so I say, go for it!!

    Comment by Meg Romney — November 15, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

    • Ha Ha…Ha (Three Has)! I love Meghan’s response more. However, it looks like people are too chicken to say how much we should spend on eating out. ‘Cause I know Lindsay won’t let the Taco Bell 79 cent item thing fly. Channeling Back to the Future 2: Are you chicken, McFly?

      Comment by neal — November 15, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

      • also, i posted this on Meghan’s response, by accident. I’m an equal-opportunity chicken-caller. And that goes for my mom’s mammoth post too.

        Comment by neal — November 16, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

  5. 1. You’re right, she’ll try and eat everything you walk on anyway, and the stress of trying to keep all of that out of their hands – So not worth it.
    2.We LOVE red meat around here. Burgers at least 5 times a month. I don’t cook steak, it’s just SO much better from a steakhouse – which leads us to quetion number 3. Jonathan eats out once a week with a work buddy, it keeps him going. Plus he’ll grab something cheap about once a week($60 a month). I take Nathan probably twice a month for something small (less than $5 for the two of us – usually Target or Wendy’s)Jonathan and I get out probably once a month to a nice dinner ($20-$50).Not to mention we go out as a whole family sometimes, but I think that replaces a date dinner. That’s a lot of money – BUT, it is our enjoyment. That thing that can make other things better. Whether it’s a long day at work, a long day in the house with an energetic boy, or a need to get away from the kids. I think dates are super important. And eating out gives you the chance to fulfill a necessity(eating) and some time to talk and just be husband and wife – and yes, it’s okay to talk about the kids. So we potentially spend $100 a month eating out, I think $40-$50 is reasonable. That could give you one nicer dinner, and one cheaper dinner – 2 dinner dates a month. We watch netflix movies some nights once the kids are in bed, so we get more time together.

    Comment by Jolene — November 15, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  6. 1. Katie’s survived so far . . .
    2. About the same as you.
    3. About $20 a month. We usually don’t eat out every month and save it for bigger meals out or for when we travel and want to eat out a lot.

    Comment by Vickie Blanchard — November 16, 2010 @ 12:36 am

    • Wow, you guys really don’t spend much on eating out! But I’m always impressed with how you experiment in the kitchen so that you can have great meals at home! Obviously, not a strong suit in our house.

      Comment by llcall — November 16, 2010 @ 1:37 am

  7. 1. Gross! Sick! Just kidding… She’s doing fine so far, so I say, keep it up!
    2. We eat red meat at least two times a week. My dad grew up on a cattle ranch, so I had beef nearly every night growing up. My husband is also a major carnivore. I do try to throw in chicken a few times a week too though.
    3. If you want to eat out without feeling too guilty for doing it, try using coupons. has excellent deals. Dan and I eat out fairly often, not because the food is better, but because we get tired of cooking and doing dishes. Even though it does cost more than preparing our own meals, we rationalize it by calling it “Date Night”… anyway, if you want another date night, I know an excellent babysitter 🙂

    Comment by Kristin — November 16, 2010 @ 3:34 am

  8. 1. Well, is Addison allowed to lick places like the flooring of public restrooms? Because–if the answer is yes–then, no, I don’t think her sucking on your shoes seems that much worse.
    2. Maybe 2-3 times a week.
    3. Since spending time together sans baby doesn’t have to be centered around food, isn’t increasing your eating-out budget an unrelated question? (Unless you’re only willing to schedule babysitters when Neal lets you eat out. In which case, I understand him going along with it.) It seems like we’re really just talking about the age-old question: will Lindsay’s love/hate relationship with money beat out her love/hate relationship with cooking. Eating in is great if someone else cooked it; eating out is great if someone else pays. Since you won’t really be happy with either option of cooking or paying, perhaps better than increasing the food budget is simply finding a benefactor. 🙂

    Comment by Elizabeth — November 16, 2010 @ 9:40 am

  9. 1) Rather than shoes, SUBSTITUTE something that you can throw in the dishwasher. I even sanitized legos by occasionally running them through the dishwasher. Does she need teething toys? I can send you some, or you can use pots & pans, strainers, colanders, or plastic juicers.

    2)&3) Salads, with homemade vinaigrette made ahead. Oh, protein is nice, too, if you remember to defrost it so it can be cooked. (have one thing you pull out at night to defrost in the fridge & to cook in the next couple of days.) Frozen salmon can go directly to the oven for baking.
    –The thing is, people need food. Nothing wrong with keeping it as close to nature as reasonable: slices of fresh whole wheat bread, fruits and cheese, a handful of nuts (or heaven forbid–but I like ’em–raisins), oranges, carrots, celery, grapes, berries, pomegranates, and grape tomatoes.
    –You can make a good meal without cooking, but you may need a knife to chop or slice.
    –In your case, keep it simple. Maybe add some sliced chicken–bake it yourself or pick up a rotisserie roasted one from the store for $4 or $5 dollars; it will last several meals. Quick supper.
    –I like sliced bananas in milk, sprinkled with wheat germ. Or, in the summer, melons sprinkled with lime juice and blueberries. Good for breakfast or dessert.
    –If nothing is defrosted, pick up some poultry/fish/meat on sale to bake at home. Microwave a potato, especially sweet potatoes, which only takes a few minutes. Brown rice can take longer, but it’s a choice when you bake chicken. Drink milk.
    –If you are tired and need a pick up, eating out can be nice, just don’t order the beverage which proportionately can be quite pricey. Better yet, travel with a water bottle, & an apple & nuts to stave off hunger until you are home to eat.
    Now, going out for a date to eat is a treat psychologically, physically, and emotionally–a respite w/o a baby. Do it! Save up, do more than fast food, and enjoy! (can’t help it, I resent fast food, but maybe advances to make it more healthful are being made).
    Restaurant meals are typically not as heathy as homemade ones where you know what is in it, so I’d keep it as a special, but necessary budget item. Bottom line: eat real food (not processed), mostly plants, and not too much. Be grateful for it.
    And yes, Lindsay, eating out occasionally is a worthy budget item, especially if you need to talk and relax.

    *Cooking comes with time for some. Think of it as learning chemistry. It is about formulas, experimentation, doctoring failures, and trying again. It is a lab science, a hands-on effort. Split up the process: have Neal make an entree while you do the salad or slice grapefruit.
    Delicious and delectable will come. Hurray, sliced grapefruit is a winner before the meal! That, & setting the table, could be your job. Vary colors on the plate: a good tip for health, & presentation! (Advanced chemistry: vary textures.)

    You’ll be great! Time to think beyond taco soup, so you have some variety in your repertoire. A whole meal can overwhelm, but if you each do a portion, it is more manageable. Casseroles go back to the one pot meal concept, but I think platters could be fun, quick, & not much to cook.

    Comment by Lorie — November 16, 2010 @ 11:09 am

  10. 1) My kids suck their fingers, their nasty, dirty, germified, touched everything and many things imaginable — I will not judge you.
    2) I’m a carnivore. Love meat, love it. Only, don’t like the cook, so we eat it when we have company or I’m feeling particularly ambitious.
    3) Hmm, we eat out a lot. Well, we used to anyway, because 1) I was a lobbyist, ’nuff said, and 2) because overseas eating out is almost as inexpensive as cooking for yourself. Now that we are back in the US and one of us is a starving student, our eating out habits have been curtailed, but not eliminated, I just couldn’t bear that!

    Comment by Linsey — November 16, 2010 @ 2:29 pm

  11. We budget $75 a month for food and if we eat out that comes from the budget and that means we have to do better with cooking meals. Basically I think it’s totally fine to treat yourself once in awhile! Plus I get tired of cooking every night:)

    Comment by Carissa — November 19, 2010 @ 3:49 am

    • Your $75 food budget pretty much blew Neal’s mind. He talked about it all day! I reminded him that you had sent us your “how-to” before and he is studying up on your methods 🙂

      Comment by llcall — November 21, 2010 @ 6:27 am

      • It’s true, I am currently studying the methods. I was on the brink of selling my soul for magical means toward such a low figure…now maybe I get to keep my soul!

        Comment by neal — November 21, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

  12. 1. I’m a germaphobe, Linds. But with that said, I do pick up Maddie’s food off the ground and give it back to her. 10-second rule! Hehe.
    2. We’ve been trying to be more herbivores for health reasons, so red meat maybe once a week.
    3. Well, seeing as how my livelihood depends on people eating out (Justin’s Menuism website), I hope more people eat out! $40 sounds very reasonable though, with a splurge every now and then.

    Comment by Soo — February 19, 2011 @ 1:30 am

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