Week 3 was a doozy, lemme tell you!
We visited Indianapolis for our annual MLK Jr. Field Trip day! I love doing this because each place has activities to talk about equality and black history...with things that would be really hard for me to show the kids at home like drum shows and Rosa Parks speeches.
We packed our food for the day and vowed that we were not going to spend any money during the day.
Okay, so actually I had to promise Nick that we wouldn't spend any money because that was the only way that he agreed we could go. He had a good point because we always think it's going to be cheap because all of the museums are free but after you factored in the trips to the gift shops and teacher stores I had to go to because we don't have them at home...well all that shopping and then meals and we were out a couple hundred dollars each time we went. Yikes.
So this time we packed foods. I know that for me when I am thirsty is when I start to feel whiney and justified in purchasing a drink. So I made sure to pack tons of drinks for the grown ups and for the kids.
I packed two larg-ish coolers of food: one for cold foods and one for anything else.
So the first one I packed up the night before with all of the cold items. For drinks I took Fruit Shoots, Chocolate Milks, Waters, and Perriers. My current obsession has been green apple Perrier. Yum! I also packed yogurt tubes and cheese sticks. Snacks with some protein tend to fill the tummy for a longer period of time when you are on the road. Instead of the kids constantly eating, they tend to not eat as much when it is a protein.
In the other cooler I packed our breakfast, lunch, and other snacks. So I was a terrible mother and purchased pop-tarts for breakfast. They were on sale for $1.50 for a box, it fed all of us, and the kids were tickled because they hardly ever, or never, get pop-tarts.
For lunch I packed us all pb&j. I know that's kind of a lame sandwich but we all loved it and I used these amazing cherry preserves from Costco that has whole Michigan cherries in it. So yummy! I also packed some chips, fruits, granola bars, and some Nutella snack cups. We ended up having more than enough snacks for the day and had a very full lunch.
All in all it was a yummy day and we went through the day without feeling deprived. As an added lesson I had the kids browse the prices of food when we went by a food-court kind of place in one of the museums and I felt like they got it! They were commenting on how expensive the foods were and how unhealthy everything was. It was what we could call a teachable moment.
Tuesday & Wednesday
We were home and not spending any money. Except for I contacted my best friend and we decided to meet Thursday for drinks and chips at our local Mexican restaurant. Nick and I also started a conversation on if running shoes are a need or a want. (They are for me). I said they are a want and I could probably wait it out...Nick looked at my shoes and warranted that clearly this is a need. We'll probably come back to this but at least we got the convo started.
So we were supposed to meet for a drink and chips but when Nick and I were driving there we were starving. I didn't want to just throw our no-spend project out completely, so we shared a meal. We felt like we each had enough to eat but we saved money by splitting. I was happy, he was happy, the whole world was happy.
We did nothing. It was nice. We had frozen pizzas, watched the original Parent Trap, and just hung out. I love spending time with our family. Nothing makes me feel richer than that.
We had a birthday party for our nephew and so we didn't have to spend a thing! Well we purchased his gift but other than that we were there for lunch and dinner. It was so great to be with family and to watch all of the kids playing together. I will also say that I was proud of myself because I just bought him one gift, a tricycle. I tend to go overboard and get a small gift to attach or I buy a few gifts but this time I just got one gift.
We had a new pastor come to our church to preach and after we had a carry in dinner to welcome him. It was nice to not cook and all of the foods were super yummy! We made cheesy potatoes for a dish to take and all of the ingredients we had so it was easy-peasy!
So as you can see this week seemed to have a lot of eating with friends and we loved it! It was nice. Sometimes, even though it's not a true "need", I do feel it is needed to have that connection. Especially being a housewife, sometimes it can be a lonely world. Carry in meals or potlucks are great ways to get together with friends and they are super cheap!
So after this week I wanted to share a run down of tips to make taking food on a road trip super simple:
Pack the Protein
Protein fills us up. Good sources of fiber fill us up. Be sure to stock protein as that is what fuels our muscles and helps for proper brain function (ever heard of brain drain?)
Hard boiled eggs, apples with peanut butter, trail mix with nuts, string cheese, yogurts, all things that can help curb your appetite and help you feel fuller longer when on the go.
Drinks are the Way
Dehydration is not fun. In warm areas and when you are wearing a coat you get parched faster than you normally would. Be sure to pack lots of drinks and store them in a cooler so when you crack one open you will feel quenched by an ice cold beverage and not something tepid.
Be sure to pack lots of drinks for your kiddos as that helps them (and this goes for you too!) to not feel hungry all of the time and those kiddos need have lots of liquids.
When in Doubt Pack it Out
Pack more than you think you need. It stinks to be starving and thinking of buying food but not really wanting to buy food but at the same time starving. Just pack oodles of snacks and if even if you don't eat them you will have offered yourself more variety and you will feel like you had choices. When you get home you can put the extra snacks away on the shelf and there will be nothing lossed but everything gained because you didn't have to stop for something to eat.
Everybody have fun tonight
I'm just going to come out and say it...when I am sitting at the museum surrounded by everyone with their soft pretzels and nacho cheese, I feel pretty darn sorry for my PB&J self.
So with that sob story of mine I say pack fun foods. Pop tarts, chocolate milk, Nutella cups, whatever. It is so fun to have foods you don't always get to eat and a little bit of junk food will be okay for you and your kids. Promise! I know my kids seriously geek out when they get to have junk food so then it lessens the blow a bit to have to eat nothing but things brought from home.