Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Have you seen the email with the marriage advice for young brides? The tips claim to have been culled from a 1950s home economics text book, and after reading some of the how-to-please-the-hubby-hints, we finally get why so many of our mothers spent the day in their heels, their pearls and their medicine cabinets. No wonder Valium was called "Mother's Little Helper" back in the day.
Take a 15 minute rest so you will be ready when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. His stressful day may need a lift.
Make him comfortable: have him lie down on the sofa and have a cool drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Allow him to relax and unwind.
Prepare the children: wash their hands and faces, comb their hair and change their clothes if necessary. They are his little treasures and should look the part.
The men who wrote that book would really need a lie down if they had to contend with the challenges of modern living. Sure, we could scrub the hands of the “little treasures” like Lady Macbeth with OCD and there would still be over-exposure issues. If we could get the girls to pull their shirts down, and the boys to pull their pants, well, it might not cure cancer but it sure could reduce the incidence of sudden heart failure.
As for the grooming tips, Suzanne is fairly certain she could tie some ribbon to the baseball cap she’s been sporting in lieu of showering this week, but we are both unclear how one attempts to touch up makeup that’s never been put on in the first place.
The more things change the more they stay the same. We are still struggling to get dinner on the table; to provide a warm home for our family and to keep our husbands, if not quite on the sofa with a cool drink, at least alive and fed.
Here are some of our tried and true suggestions for planning, shopping and cooking a week’s worth of dinners, all without wrecking your last good nerve.
The Fru-Gals Grocery Shopping Tips:
Plan out a week’s worth of dinners before going to the store.
Check the supermarket fliers and base your menu on what is on sale. And by doing a week’s worth of shopping in one trip, you really will save money, and time. Raise your hand if you have ever gone into the store for “a few items” and came out with $79.43 in stuff you didn’t think you needed. Uh huh, we thought so.
Store Brands are just as good as name Brands (most of the time). Our pantries are full of delicacies like Juicy Magic, Woven Wheats and Magic Stars. Grocery stores contract with brand name companies to provide the same items in store brand packaging. We have it on good authority that Hood makes all the dairy products for at least one of our local chains. And by replacing at least some brand name purchases with store brand equivalents, you’ll feel better about splurging on hard to substitute or non-negotiable things like Heinz Ketchup and Stonyfield Farm’s Chocolate Underground yogurt.
We know, it’s hard to resist the juicy tubs of cut watermelon in the produce case, but it is expensive and not great tasting. Buy the citrus and think about how good the local watermelon will taste in July, when you are sitting in the sun on the back porch, barefoot and parka free.<
Don’t buy toiletries in the grocery store: Not only are they more expensive than at the big boxes or at the pharmacy, but the selection is more limited. We like to peruse all the flavors of Suave shampoo before making our choice.
Cook once and eat twice: This is the simplest advice for saving time and money. We’ve done columns on turning roast chicken and ham into a few nights’ dinners, but this theory can apply to so many things. If you are making brown rice (like for this week’s burritos) make double the amount, and then use the remainder as a base for fried rice with scrambled eggs, frozen veggies and soy sauce.
Set a snack budget and stick to it: This takes nerves of steel. After the weekly allotment is gone, do not replenish until the following week. Children can get really creative when the chips and pretzels are gone. And the truth of the matter is, when dealing with teenagers, no snack budget would ever be big enough. Peanut butter sandwiches, anyone?
This week we are going Mexican, vegetarian and kind of low cal. Chickpeas are the basis for burritos and a deliciously fresh and crunchy side salad. If the thought of dofor directions to turn this into a casserole. And Suzanne’s children also wanted you to know that this recipe would be really good with some beef. They’re just saying. For dessert we take some diet gelatin and make parfaits. We added sugar substitute to heavy cream to make the topping, which we realize is just like ordering a diet coke with your Big Mac. If you really want to cut the calories and fat, buy some diet whipped topping and use that instead.