Some of our favorite restaurants have been missing our entourage of late. They miss seeing us walk in the door: two crazed parents and five hungry children after a busy day working, doing homework, cleaning the bathrooms, running the errands, folding the laundry, attending the recitals, cheering on the sports stars, etc, etc, etc!
Our favorite eateries are missing the convenient take out orders. This is the typical scenario: "Honey, I'm going to need to work until 7 tonight. I know you've been working like crazy all day, and now I'm going to add a few extra hours of insanity. How about I just stop and get take out on my way home? Yeah, Chinese sounds great! The Feast Package? Double the Orange Chicken?"
Most importantly, these wonderful eating establishments miss our debit cards, credit cards, check books, and cash! Sure, going out to eat is a wonderful solution to an incredibly busy day. Its terrific when a polite young person comes to your table and takes your order, brings you your meal(s), and cleans up after. Terrific right up until you see the bill!
Look at your typical family neighborhood restaurant menu. Meals that are meant for one person. Children's menus that are wonderfully fun but over priced. When all is said and done, with deserts and drinks, a family like ours is out at least $50 bucks! If we eat out or order take out like that for just one night a week, that's $200 a month! What could you buy with $200?
For starters, you could buy a lot of groceries. You could buy the ingredients of those expensive meals and probably make something for everybody in the family at a fraction of the cost, with leftovers. I'm not doing any scientific experiments here. This is just basic math. Even I can do basic math (some would argue that point).
Of course we all can't cook like the underpaid kitchen crew at the strip mall restaurant chain (who would want to?). And there's still that little problem of where do you find the time to cook? And who's going to clean up that mess! What about the homework! and the laundry!
Flash to this little scene: The laundry is folded, the homework is done, the errands are run, piano is being practiced in the other room, the bathroom is clean, and dinner is warming in the oven. Preparing the meal was as easy as pulling the items from the freezer and popping them into the oven. Clean up will be even easier, as you toss the disposable aluminum pans into the recycle bin (or the garbage, whatever works).
The PieFect ending to a wonderful day.