Supplies taken include Hot Pockets, Gatorade, instant noodles, and paper towels.
"I had an Italian mother, I cannot recall one time being sent back to college without a cold meat ball sandwich," Tony F. Troy, one of McDonnell's lawyers and a former Attorney General, said Monday.
Troy told CBS 6 political reporter Joe St. George that legal counsel told McDonnell he did not need to reimburse the state but he did so anyway.
In a memo accompanying the checks, McDonnell said he thought his kids actions were "generally permissible since the state guidelines contain no prohibition."
McDonnell's finances have been under intense scrutiny in the wake of a federal investigation into his relationship with Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.
But could McDonnell's admission impact the trial involving the Executive Mansion's former chef?
Todd Schneider is the former executive chef who has been accused of four counts of embezzlement.
Prosecutors claim Schneider took supplies out of the mansion for personal use. Attorney Todd Stone says the McDonnell admission could help the defense prove their was a culture of people taking items at the mansion in exchange for something else.
"The defense has a better argument that his client is more entitled to these items than his children since he was working for the state," Stone said. .
Schneider is awaiting a ruling by Judge Margaret Spencer regarding whether the charges should be dropped.
A written ruling is expected by the end of the week.
If Spencer does not dismiss the case, Schneider's trial is scheduled for October.