Disclosure: Diary of a First Time Mom is proud to partner with Denny’s as a #DennysDiners Blogger Ambassador. Stay tuned for exclusive content and menu news. Although we’re being compensated in some form, all opinion remain our own.

Dear Diary,

Recently, Caitlynn announced that she wanted to pay for dinner. She ran and retrieved two dollars–money her Pap Pap gave her for…well, for being a granddaughter. I told her I had a gift card to go to Denny’s, but she insisted that she would foot the bill. And she did. She paid for the Cheese Quesadillas she ordered off the $2468 Value Menu. This was a teachable moment about ordering an item that fit her budget. She doesn’t quite understand what budget means–that’s apparent when she wants to buy everything in the toy store–but she does understand how much her two bucks can buy.

$2 Menu

The week before we went out to dinner with my friend and her sons, one of which got into big trouble for ordering the most expensive meal on the menu–a crabmeat stuffed filet mignon! We let him know that when he made his own money, he could ordered whatever his heart–or stomach–desired.

Danny's Value Meal 1

Denny’s offers items families can afford. And you get a lot of bang for your buck. Caitlynn even had leftovers. The value menu features everything from burgers and chicken wraps to soups and sandwiches. That’s a lot of options for a little bit of money. A family of four can eat for $20 or less!

Denny's Value Meal 2

And perhaps take home leftovers. Cailtynn wrapped up food for later, in order to make room for dessert. This huge sundae, which I help her devour, is only $4

Denny's Value Meal Feature Image

While waiting for our food, we usually play games, like Alphabet Eye Spy.  Here are a few number games you can play with your preschooler.

Count Down

I always make sure my smart phone is fully charged, just in case there’s a longer than normal wait time at restaurants. There are lots of educational apps and websites for preschoolers that you can pull up to pass the time while waiting for a table or your meal. We like PBS 123, which features Curious George Hide and Seek numbers. Kids must find the number one, the word one and one object.

Measure Up

Let your child help you measure ingredients while cooking at home, measure themselves with a height chart or measure distance with their steps.

Eye Spy Numbers

Look around. How many numbers can you find? You’ll be surprised! Eye Spy addresses, price tags, billboards and more!

Hey DFTM Fam–What counting games do you play with your little one? How are you teaching your kids about budgeting?

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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