Fortunately, not everyone shares this cashier's view. We were at a restaurant a few days ago and a lady that we both have met came up to our table and started a brief conversation. She was there with her two children and she was saying how much she loved going out to eat with her children. We briefly discussed the above cashier encounter and laughed candidly and both agreed that it is amazing how people don't want to take their children to restaurants, yet don't seem to understand why those children have no idea how to behave when they take them out to eat. What better way is there to train children, but by putting them in the situation.
So, that is why we take FIVE kids out to dinner!
We take them because we want to share that time with them, also. I can not imagine feeding my kids some junky meal and heading out to their favorite restaurant without them. I am not saying this is wrong, but rather that I would not enjoy a meal they would love without them. Now, I can say that a little over a year ago we were out of town and took them to Bucca Di Peppo (sp?) and they did not have an appreciation for the meal. About $75 later I told Cody that if we ever came back there to eat it would be without the kids simply because that is too much money to spend on a dinner that was not enjoyed. Now, that is an example of a circumstance that if it were an option I would totally leave them out. :)
And the next question I know people wonder is how do we AFFORD to take five kids out to eat. There are several things we do:
- We don't make extravagant purchases. We don't have all the big toys that many people have. Our cars are over 10 years old and in all honesty our parents have gifted some of that to us... not because we wanted them to. For whatever reason they wanted to. We still would be fine in that area, but these gifts or partial gifts had made other expenses more manageable. So, they have been a blessing in more than one way. And it has allowed us to have extra money to purchase our shuttle bus that we use for travel.
- I cook from scratch and buy very little packaged food.
- Dining out is our biggest "splurge" in life. Other people get their hair done or a pedicure or go shopping, etc.. I skip all that and go out to eat with my family.
- We also choose frugal ways to dine. That may mean that we go to places like CiCi's Pizza (under $30); if we are on the go we grab Little Caesar's Pizza ($10-15 for 2-3 pizzas); we go to Tuesday buffet at Pizza Hut where kids eat free with adults (around $20); we used to go to Monday night at Johnny Carino's (dinner special... we could eat and tip $6 for about $22); we look for Tuesday night sales like Casa Ole' has 99 cent kid meals including a drink (usually $40 because we get cheese dip... we could go for about $30); We don't order anything other than water unless it is included in the cost of the meal; We don't do happy meal deal types of things and in fact, we don't even order fries for every child. We order what they eat and in and over indulgent fast food culture we find that our kids get full on a small burger, a few fries, and water and if necessary we buy them an extra burger if they are really hungry for it.
- Often, if we know that we are going to be gone for a whole day or vacation, we will pick-up bread and snacks and have a picnic going down the road and this allows for splurging on meals at other times on the excursion.
Lunch with special friends at a special place... The American Girl Store's Bistro in Houston, Texas.
And so... that is how it is done in our "little" family! What tips do you have to share?