Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bread and Water

Hmmm. I have no good explanation for why some of you see green and some of you see blue. I get green on my desktop, and blue on laptop, yet they are both Dell. It doesn’t seem to be a Mac vs. PC issue, or a browser issue (maybe???) or a green eyes vs blue eyes issue (although that suggestion made me laugh). It’s bizarre, isn’t it? But, since the positive comments outnumbered the negative comments about ten to one, I’m going to leave it as is. (Actually, I’m going to leave it as is because I’m too lazy to dink around with changing it …… )

Now, on to more pressing matters. Like the state of my refrigerator.

The thing you need to know is, we are out of food at our house. Out of food in a yes-I’ll-use-the-heel-of-the-bread-for-toast kind of way. Normally, I go to the grocery store once a month, around the 15th. I make a huge, ginormous, three-carts-full-of-food trek to the commissary, and the pantry is overloaded for a few weeks. But I didn’t go in September because I was just back from the cruise and feeling overwhelmed, plus we had all that meat we had cooked and frozen from when the freezer door was left open, so I figured we were fine for a few weeks. Then I didn’t go on the 1st because I was headed to camp with Kellen, so I just made a quick trip to stock up on milk and bread and toilet paper and cereal, and decided we could manage two more weeks …. It would just require a little creative cooking on my part.

It wasn’t a problem, until yesterday. Yesterday morning we used the last two pieces of bread (yes, the heels) for toast. And I had a huge crockpot full of psuedo-homemade chicken noodle soup** on, so decided I would use my bread maker to make psuedo-homemade bread (because it’s common knowledge you can’t properly eat chicken noodle soup without lots and lots of bread to sop up the juices … no, I have no idea why I have a weight problem.)

So. That gives you the background to my story.

When I got home from taking the kids to piano lessons, Blaine said, “The school called and said Brayden’s lunch account is at zero.”

“That can’t be right,” I replied. “I just put $35 in each of their accounts on the first.”

“Well, that’s what they said.”

“They must have put her money into Kellen or Kendrie’s account by mistake. I’ll go talk to them tomorrow.”

Then I got to thinking …. “Brayden, you know how we told you that once a week you could buy a special lunch from the fast-food vendors? But the rest of the week you have to buy the regular (ie, cheaper) school lunch? Have you bought anything besides fast food? Or have you bought it more than once a week?”

And she said, “Only one time. I bought an extra drink.”

So I turned to Blaine and said, “I’ll go talk to the lunch people tomorrow and ask to see her account. I’m sure they put the money on the wrong account.”

Then Brayden said, sort of hesitantly, “Weeellllll, I *might* have bought some pizza one day. Or maybe two days.”

And I looked at her.

“Oh, *really* ??? And is there anything else I should know about, before I go in there tomorrow and accuse them of messing up their accounting???”

“Well,” she started stammering, “It’s just that everyone else buys a special lunch every day. And I’m the only kid in the entire sixth grade that has to buy a boring plain lunch, and so I bought other stuff like everyone else.”

And basically, she blew through $35 in less than two weeks.

OK, so, not the end of the world, right? I’m sure most kids do this sort of thing when they first get some credit in their possession, and haven’t quite mastered money-management skills. In fact, my nephew did the exact same thing last year when *he* was in sixth grade, and fast food lunches were an option for the first time. So I really wasn’t that upset about it, just resigned to the fact that this is one of life’s little teaching moments, and a good opportunity to educate her about consequence.

“Well, honey, I’m sorry, but if you’ve already spent all the money I put in your lunch account for the month, you’ll have to take your lunch from home the rest of the month. So I suggest you go in there right now and take a look at what you want to make yourself in the morning.”

She replied, hopefully, “Could you go buy me a bunch of Lunchables to take?”

And I sort of laughed as I said, “No, me going to the store and buying you a bunch of stuff to take pretty much defeats the purpose. If you want Lunchables, I'll take you to the store and you can buy them with your own money. Or you can spend your own money at school. Or, you can go through the pantry like a normal person and make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

At which point Blaine so tactfully pointed out …. “Um, we don’t have any bread.”

And I sort of sighed and said, “Fine, then she can make a sandwich with some of the psuedo-homemade bread that will be left-over after dinner. It’ll be a sandwich like Pa Ingalls used to eat, with huge slabs of homemade bread.”

Only …. Well ….. I guess maybe the yeast was outdated or something, because my “light and airy and delicious” loaf of homemade bread was short and squatty and dense as a rock, and had about as much flavor as a rock would have, too.


So last night saw me at our local grocery store, buying bread. And some pretzels. And some Oreos, because my gosh, the girl’s got to take her lunch for two solid weeks, which is a lot by our standards, so I figured a few Oreos wouldn’t hurt.

But I drew the line at Lunchables.

**Recipe for psuedo-homemade chicken noodle soup

Combine in crockpot:

6 oz pkg Wyler’s Mrs. Grass Hearty Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup Mix

1 can Campbell’s double-noodle chicken noodle soup

1 pkg boneless skinless chicken breasts, boiled (baked, whatever) and cut into bite-size pieces

9 cups water

Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours


Anonymous said...

OH. MY. GOSH. That is almost same Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe that I make. No Cambells, but I do stew a chicken before adding the soup mix and some water to the broth.

Funny thing, every year at X-Mas that is the one thing that I'm requested to bring for around 40 people. Only my mom and my family know the secret!

Anonymous said...

We had the same thing happen with my daughter and her lunch account. She was getting all a la carte stuff and buying stuff for her friends. That came to a screeching halt when she spent $40 one week! I had the same loaf of bread yesterday too. My husband threw a batch in the machine and even used the new yeast I bought. Smelled great, about half the size it should have been. The inside was kind of dense but ok, but the crust was so thick and hard it was inedible. I think I'll have to try a homemade batch instead of a mix. Does the flour ever go bad so it doesn't rise? I think our mixes are too old. Have fun at the grocery store, I hate it so much I put it off as long as I can and then my Motherhood Merit Badge gets taken away for not feeding my kids good stuff.
Sheila in MN

Jill said...

Thanks for the recipe! Seems easy enough!
Bet those PBJ sandwiches won't taste half as good as a plain lunch! Poor Brayden....what a tough lesson to learn!
I'm not sure I've ever commented on your blog before. I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you and your family. Hang in there!

Mom on the Run said...

Like you, I am so tired of the "but other kids get to" do _____ (fill in the blank). My 7th grade daughter takes her lunch 4 days out of 5. She has not complained this year--I suspect she realizes that I will tell her that buying once a week is just fin--but every so often she will tell me about the other kids who buy. Apparently some kids pay otrher kids to buy food for them...too lazy to go to the counter themselves?! I feel badly for her, but can't quite bite the bullet and let her buy lunch every day.

I am also getting sick of the kids who are allowed to see PG-13 movies and watch ANYTHING on TV no filter. Very tough for my daughter.

Jacqueline said...

LOL...that bread sounds about as bad as the lemon log my mom made a few months ago...it was supposed to be a nice light and airy lemon roll...well, first she added both baking soda and baking powder (and it only called for baking soda, I think)...and then instead of one teaspoon of lemon extract, she used one teaspoon of lemon juice...it was SO BAD.

But man, where were those fast food lunches when I was in junior high?

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Poor, poor Brayden....... of all of the travesties of justice.... she'll have to bring her lunch to school which will include Oreo cookies!!!!! LOL--- Good for you Kristie-- I sure wish I could have learned about the consequences of charging too much before I got my first credit card as a jobless freshman in college!

Anonymous said...

You always make me laugh! Reading your blog is a great way to start my morning!

Heather said...

I am now wondering if our middle school has the special lunches also. I guess I have two more years until we find out.

Great use of Love and Logic though :)

Tami said...

At my kids' schools, you can let the cafeteria know if you want your kids to be able to purchase the extras or if they can only buy the school lunch. Occasionally, I give them cash to purchase something extra.

The Running Girl said...

Yep. Madison's lunch money goes lots faster in middle school. She use to take her lunch about half the time in elementary, but buys every day in middle school. And they sale slushies at her school in addition to the other "good stuff". We told her she could have one per week. I think I'll make her read your post about what Brayden has to deal with.

Anonymous said...

I sent my child to school with his PB&J on a hamburger bun...I get next dibs on Mother of the year!!!

Meg from Ga

Anonymous said...

My kids get to have school lunches three times per month. They make their own sandwiches all the other days, even my kindergartener.

Jack, who is now 14, no longer has a lunch account because of his mismanagement.

When he was in fifth grade, and before I was wise to the online lunch account program (stalk-your-child-program), I needed to bring him a prop for a speech.

I opened his locker and found one raincoat, three sweatshirts, a loose CD, two pairs of shoes, a zillion crumpled papers and 12 (TWELVE!!!!) old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yuck.

I laid out the raincoat, loaded on all of the stuff, clasped the toggles and brought it all home, where I laid it all out on the kitchen floor.

When he returned, he said "Oh, that was you who was in my locker?"

I told him, authoritatively and summarily, that he owed me for two loaves of bread, a jar each of peanut butter and jelly, plus 12 x $1.45 for all the school-bought lunches.

He wasn't really embarrassed, but my daughter walked in and said "Eeeew. I think I just saw one of those sandwiches move!"


Cathy in MI said...

When my son first started middle school he was going through lunch money too fast too. I was getting so upset and frustrated until I found out what he was doing... he was buying 2 lunches per day. We don't have options it's the regular hot lunch or salad bar - so he was just purchasing two of the regular hot lunch. We put a stop to that and now he brings fruit or granola bars or crackers etc. One lunch per day that's all I am buyin'.

Tiffany said...

Oh my gosh! I see this everyday as I am a middle school lunch lady in the pizza line....i have one boy that spends almost 9 bucks a day everyday for lunch.
Believe me the food is NOT that good,no matter what line it is.....we eat it everyday for lunch....and dont get me started on the slushies....what a waste the kids do NOT have the time to eat the whole thing!

my kids eat once a week in elem school the hot lunch the rest of the time its lunchboxes for them.

Anonymous said...

My child went to a tiny private school that did not have a cafeteria; everyone brought their lunch and it worked out just fine.

It would have been difficult for me to pay for school lunches.

You do live close to the school, right? Would it be possible for B. to come home for lunch? Then you could use the dense bread and the rest of the soup!!!

Amy said...

Last year my son Charlie went to basketball camp. I bought him a snack card with 10 stamps -- enough for 2 snacks or a snack and a drink a day. Charlie used 8 stamps the first day!

Natalie said...

I'm dreading the ability for the kids to buy all that stuff when they get to middle school. I'll have to break into their college funds (if there's anything left in them by then) to be able to afford lunch!

Natalie said...

AND, I totally had to laugh at the Pa Ingalls reference. She'd have to wrap it in a bandana and put it in a pail to be totally authentic! And will you be bring her water from the well? Makes juice boxes look pretty darn appealing.

Anonymous said...

Wow - times have changed - my kids WOULDN'T/COULDN'T eat school food-way too gross and not identifiable according to them. We became #1 customer at the bagel store on the way to school though:) starting at middle school - on to high school and carepackages of bagels for the college days...randy

Anonymous said...

Geee what I have to look forward to, we have lunch accounts with a version of stalk your child..
My oldest (second grade) has a daily limit of 3.00 which will get him a meal $1.25, a bottle of flavored water .60, and a package of either whales .50 or cheez-its .60, those are his known down falls.
Most days I send his lunch except Wednesday chicken nugget day and I allow him to buy his water or cheese cracker snack.

Patty House, Jasonville, IN said...

Ouch. $35 in 2 weeks. That's roughly what William spends in a month, but then again...fast food isn't an option at our school...even in high school. But I've heard that lunches are higher in the high school (where the at least 7th grade and up eat).