Walgreens Well Beginnings Diaper Review

 

walgreens 4 diapers

 

I don’t do a ton of reviews on my blog (they take time). But, when the opportunity to review a product I already love, or know that I will likely love comes up I go for it. Mom’s Meet emailed about an opportunity to review Walgreens Well Beginnings diapers and I applied right away. I love sharing things that work for our family…especially if they save us money AND work great.

walgreens diaper pack

For the past 6.5 years solid we have had between 1 and 3 children in diapers. I know diapers. We have done everything from cloth, to natural diapers, as well as traditional diapers.  Since discovering these diapers when our twins were babies they have been our standby. Even when we were cloth diapering we often used disposables when we were out of the house. When the twins were tiny I found a rocking good deal on Walgreens diapers. They were cheap, so I stocked up. Which, coincidentally, turned out to work fabulously for us. They were very comparable to the name brands in quality and features (a bit more like Huggies than Pampers) and we loved that they were cheaper. Now, on our 4th child we are still rocking the Walgreens diapers.

And for all y’all who are curious regarding what they actually look like I snapped this little pic of the inside of a size 4.

They have double gussets around the legs, are fairly soft, trim, and have stretch at the top of the back and around the tabs for a great fit.

walgreens open diaper

 

Along with the pack of diapers, I received a bottle of Pediatric Dye Free (!) electrolyte drink, paraben and phthalate free baby wash, and some Well Beginnings Sensitive wipes. I love that they got it right and made a dye free electrolyte drink. I like to make my own when my kids are sick, but for some parents the last thing they want to do when they have a sick kid is Google recipies.

If you have any questions about the diapers leave a comment and I will be sure to reply!

 

Grocery Outlet Finds 7-14-14

grocery outlet 7-14

Here was yesterday’s grocery haul from Grocery Outlet. I love that store.

Pine Nut Hummus (Funny since I just made a HUGE batch a home, but the Pine Nut flavor is hubs favorite.)

All natural Immaculate brand biscuits. These are a treat since they are white flour and also SO spendy in the grocery store.

Almond Milk

Organic Sharp fancy white cheddar

Justin’s Honey Almond butter pouches. (I get these for hubs for fuel while running. They are cheaper than the ones marketed to runners.)

Hair clips

Organic starts for our garden beds

Cascadian Farms Hash Browns

Cascadian Farms Granola Bars

Potato Burger Buns

Kettle Chips

Clif Kid Organic Z Bars

Organic pasta

Garlic

Pirates Booty

Also, most of these foods are definitely “treats”. The majority of our diet comes from fresh whole foods when possible, but I don’t usually love the produce a Grocery outlet. Grocery Outlet is great for picking up some special things that you might not be able to otherwise afford.

How we ate black beans for almost a week…and LIKED it.

A few days ago I made a HUGE pot of black beans. We ate them for 5ish dinners in a row, still had tons for the freezer, shared meals with friends and family twice, and enjoyed the food. Here is how I made them, and what we ate:

How to make your beans:

(Ingredients are listed in bold so you can easily make a shopping list.)

Spread out hard black beans on a cookie sheet or two. Sort through for rocks (I found 3). Dump them into a large stock pot and cover with plenty of water. I filled the pot about 65% full with beans. Add a splash of vinegar (any type) and let soak overnight (or all day). After soaking drain off the water, rinse, and then cover with water again. Cook on the stove for a few hours with a few cloves of garlic (not bulbs), salt, some dried onion/fresh diced onion/ or onion soup mix, and some chilli powder (1-2 teaspoons). I like to give them enough flavor to be yummy, but not a ton so that they are mild enough to work in different types of dishes.  Cook them until they are soft and tender, but not total mush. You want them to still stay relatively whole so that your dishes will have texture. Let them cool, and then put them in the fridge. If it looks like WAY more than your family will eat in the next few days portion them out and freeze them for future dishes. You can also blend them up a bit for something more like re-fried beans.

Meal 1) Beans and Rice Bowl

Put a few large spoonfuls of black beans over some yummy rice. For white we love the organic basmatti from Trader Joe’s. For brown we like organic jasmine from Azure Standard, or the sprouted brown rice from Azure Standard. We use a rice cooker, but you can make it without one as long as you make sure your rice is not over or under cooked.  Add some shredded cheese (we like sharp cheddar) and veggies of choice. If you have any ground beef or ham left over it would be great in it, but these beans have lots of protein and can totally stand alone to make a yummy dinner.

Meal 2) Bean and Cheese Burritos

Use a slotted spoon to scoop out just the beans from the container and warm on stove. Put in a warm tortilla (for organic we get them at Natural Grocers, or Grocery Outlet is a good source for non-organic tortillas). Add cheese, salsa, and whatever else you have in your fridge.

Meal 3) Nachos

We warmed up some beans on the stove and added in some sharp cheddar cheese to make them a bit creamier. You could also in some salsa to make them zesty. We then spread out organic tortilla chips (we used blue corn for fun) on our Silpat mat on top of a cookie sheet and and melted cheese over them in the oven. Next, we spooned beans on top along with other toppings and they were so good. None of us were missing the meat and were satisfied.

Meal 4) Enchiladas

I rolled up beans and and a bit of sour cream into tortillas. Next I mixed Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce with a bit of milk and some Trader Joe’s onion soup mix and poured over the top. Last I sprinkled some grated Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese over the top. We sometimes also add in some high quality shredded beef cooked in the Crock Pot. Watch for mark-downs and then stock your freezer!

Along with some fruit and veggies as sides you will be good to go for at least 5 dinners with only having leftovers once. Fruits that are good prices right now are grapes, peaches, and berries (step away from the apples). Also, if your budget is really tight and you have frozen veggies stashed away, use them! They can be virtually as healthy as fresh if you cook them lightly (not using too much water). P.S. Costco also has HUGE bags of frozen organic veggies for cheap.

While we prefer to have a bit more variety, we were well fed and enjoyed saving money. Most of all this mom loved having meals that were easy to whip up each night! Now, excuse me while I go order another 25lb bag of black beans.

TIP-If your hubby is not into meatless dishes cook up a bit of ground beef at the beginning of the week. Then, you can add it to his dishes throughout the week.

 

 

 

 

Current Natural and Organic Grocery Deal Round-up

There were enough good grocery deals right now that I thought I would make a little list. Here are a few deals for my local peeps.

LifeSource

Beeler’s Bacon. Nitrate free and yummy flavors. $3.99 (So good we went back for more for the freezer).

Organic Apples (Fuji I believe) for 99 cents/lb. Produce prices seem to change randomly based on availability. Jump on this sooner than later. About as good of a price as you will see in stores.

Helios Kefir $3.49 (I got coconut, but I am guessing that the regular was also this price.)

 

Natural Grocers

Organic Naval Oranges $1.39 per/lb.

Organic Yellow Onions 89 cents per/lb. (Great price)

Annie’s Mac and Cheese $1.49 and up

Cascadian Farms 10oz frozen Organic Berries. (Rasp, Straw, Blue, Mix, etc) $2.59. (Stock up price. Good through mid Dec.)

Terra Sweet Potato Chips (and more varieties). $2.25

Yogi Tea $2.79 (M’s new favorite thing is making tea.)

They also had quite a few marked down whole chickens if you are heading out today.

Lastly, super excited to find the best price I have seen on Synergy Kombucha drinks. $2.65

(Nothing too hot at Fred Meyer for organic/natural. Bob’s flour packs, Tillamook Ice Cream, and a sale on bulk spices might be worth checking out.)

Hope this helps!

 

 

 

 

Ordinary and Bored

Ordinary
I have a pretty active brain. It is always swirling, always 10 steps ahead, always looking for solutions, and craving something to conquer.  As a stay at home mommy the internet often feels like a lifeline to the outside world. I am so very thankful for it. It provides connection, ease of planning, communication, shopping, and a way to research.  It also brings everything into my kitchen in very close and real way. I can rattle off a list of people who have diseases, cancer, sick kids, relational issues, financial struggles, pet problems, house problems, big new ideas, new diets, new houses, new babies, new jobs, and the list goes on.  For a person with a spinning brain, but only one current and primary calling (wife/mom/teacher) the internet is both great and terrible.  Great when I can reach out and ask a someone for prayer, or catch up with an old friend, or fend off feelings of isolation …terrible at leading me to think that something really bad/exciting/new is or should be just around the corner.

It is also bad at leading me to think that that I am nothing special.  Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything to hang my hat on. Nothing that will fill my brain with the right thoughts, or purpose.  I am not a skilled crafter. I can sew, but not great. I can do stuff with paper, but nothing amazing. I have no idea how to create awesome graphics. I am not a great photographer. I do not have a “brand”. I do not have a hopping blog. My house is not overly clean, or dirty. I like to organize, but am not obsessive about it, nor do I have the storage to “give everything a place”.  I can cook, but I don’t always love to.  I have a degree, but don’t use it in a traditional sense. I like to learn, but am not a veracious reader. I am a “planner,” but am realistic that I really do not have the time or energy to be on any big board, committee, or plan any big exciting endeavor or event (and still have enough to give to my family). I am a bit prone to depression (mainly when not sleeping) and anxiety, but not in a debilitating way that halts life or forces me to “conquer” it.  I have lots of friends, but not as many close friends as I would like. I am not super fashionable. I am not a runner, gym club member, yogi, “enthusiast” or professional. No special label. I am a wife and mom and follower of Christ. The accomplishments come slow. There is nothing flashy and a lot of the work would not be labeled as “fun”. Although the ironic part is that fulfillment and purpose are really all around.  I want to be the one raising my children and teaching them. Even when it is hard. I know them and they know me. We are a team God created.

I am so thankful that God has blessed me with a relatively peaceful life. But, sometimes I am left feeling not so special, and just kinda bored. This is ironic because there is little people chaos swirling around me most all of the time.  It is a very hard job to raise four little ones who are five and under. To be home with them and raising them, teaching them, and training them all day/every day…and often on very little sleep. I am so glad God has not given me more right now. I could not do more. I don’t have the time or energy to be anymore than mommy/wife right now.  I would probably crumble under the pressure. But for someone with a brain like mine it is hard to know how to just be at peace with just being. Not having a label.  Not having a traditional project, or special skill.  Being a wife and mom is all I have ever wanted.  When my professors would ask me what I planned on doing after college I always struggled to answer that question. “You should go on to grad school!” No, thanks. “Have you decided on a career path?” Yes. Sometimes I would tell people I knew my calling, other times I would not. For my very liberal minded professors I was pretty sure that a “good student” should be much more than a “mother” in their eyes.  I knew this was a lie. But sometimes I still struggle.

Bored
There is no question in my mind that being a mother is a very high calling. I know I am doing important work. I know this has eternal value. I am happy with my stage of life. I love having young children. I love language acquisition, I love raising babies, I love teaching my little ones new things, I love answering their questions, I love most things about this gig. I am not wishing away these years. I want to enjoy every stage. But the reality often feels like lots of long dark cold days spent constant picking up. Constant training. Babies who prefer to be held most all of the time, and few real and tangible accomplishments because of the difficulty at getting anything “big” done.  Slowly putting out the biggest “fire” around the house.  Nothing is accomplished easily.

I don’t want these days over, but it often feels like I am waiting for something. For Daddy to come home. For the weekend. For vacation. For something other than the 7:30 am when Daddy leaves to 6:00 ish when he comes home.(Because I need to admit “9-5” is a big fat lie.) Because for homeschooling/stay at home moms there are not many coffee dates, lunch appointments, or meetings to move the day along. There are just lots of meals to prepare. School to fit in here and there as attention spans allow.  And nap time.

Until I can accomplish getting dinner on the table on a regular basis (rather than waiting for my hubby to come and cook) I feel like I have no business following my whims or “great ideas”.  This is my calling. This is my job, my city, my home, my minivan, my family. I am content. But my brain and heart sometimes struggle with the ordinary, the slow, and the sameness. The gradual passage of time, seasons, and the difficulty of accomplishing much more that what is necessary to keep our home functioning.

For the time being I will pray for contentment. I am living out my calling and I will try to be who He created me to be. Even when it feels mundane. Even when I feel ordinary. Even on the long dark days. Even with a migraine. Even sleep deprived. Even in a body I don’t always want to claim. Even when he works late. Even when the kids have colds. Even when it is hard.

Our Suppliment and Vitamin Routine

(Images and photos are not working currently. I will try to add them again soon.)

Lately, I have had a few friends ask what supplements we use at our house.  I will start out by saying that I am NOT an expert.  I am just a mama who has done quite a bit of research, and have some smart friends who have helped me along the way.

We believe that good nutrition, and a diet full of healthy (when possible) and (mostly) organic foods.  We also believe in traditional ideas about food and its preparation (check out the book Nourshing Tradations). Food is the foundation to a healthy body and immune system. We are most definitely not perfect. We do the best we can with the budget we are working with and the time we have. Some days we eat well, other days we don’t. You have to find a good groove in these areas. It has taken us years to get to this point and we still have a long ways to go.  By taking gradual steps it really has been so fun and not that hard. You will rarely regret the time you spent making a nourishing meal…or that your hubs spends making a nourishing meal. 🙂

With that being said, there are a few different supplements and vitamins we use at our house.

Here is what we are currently giving the children (and often ourselves too).

1) Probiotics. Most people don’t eat a lot of fermented foods, or good quality cultured foods with probiotics.  Many people eat yogurt, but it is often full of sugar which negates a lot of the benefits, or eats a variety that has few strains of the good stuff in it.  Over time we have also decided to limit our dairy consumption somewhat and this is why we supplement with a good probiotic. Why take probiotics? Because approximately 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive system. Having good gut health and flora is crucial to our health in so many ways. Check out this article for more information.

What to look for- Make sure that the probiotics you are buying in the store are refrigerated. Check to see how many “billion” cells per gram the brand has.  The higher the better. Also, the more strains the better  (lactobacillus casei, bifidobacterium breve, etc)

We use Udo’s Choice Infant’s Probiotics for the children right now. It is in a powder form and can be easily shook on top of something they are eating (like applesauce), or mixed with something like a spoonful of elderberry syrup.

Source-I take Udo’s Adult probiotics (about $15 for 60 count)…hubs is working on it. After he got hit hardest with a cold bug I think he is realizing the value even more. These can be purchased from Vitacost, or your local health food store. If ordering probiotics online make sure that they will be “cold shipped” to preserve the good stuff.

If you or a family member has taken antibiotics recently this will be hugely important for you. Get on a good probiotic as soon as possible with the highest “billion” number you can find. Your local health food store can help you with this.  If you are currently on an antibiotic you can start taking a probiotic, just be sure to not take them at the exact same time.  Take your antibiotic, and then a few hours later take your probiotic. Continue the probiotics after your prescription has ended as well.

 

2) Vitamin D- This is a biggie for feeling well and preventing the flu. After the twins were born I was feeling VERY run down and quite miserable. I went to a regular doctor and finally an endocrinologist that ran every test under the sun and took 14 viles of blood. What showed up? Nothing but a vitamin D deficiency (I was also suffering from serious lack of sleep that was contributing as well). People who have great vitamin D levels are FAR more likely to fend off the flu. “The risk of children suffering from flu can be reduced by 50% if they take vitamin D, doctors in Japan have found.”Read more from the source HERE.

Source/Dose-We use Genestra Brands or Biotics D-Mulsion 1000 for the whole family (You can purchase any drops, just modify the dose appropriately) . I give a drop or two to the children (1000-2000IU), and hubs and I take about 4-5 drops (4000-5000 IU). We purchase this at Vitacost. (New customers get $10 free to spend and shipping is free after a $49 dollar purchase.)

 

3) Fish Oil. We take Nordic Naturals Omega-3 fish oil or Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. We prefer FCLO, but often use Nordic Naturals because is more easily sourced, is a well known brand and they take purity seriously.  When you are consuming fish products you want to make sure that you are being careful about things like mercury and other toxins.  I trust these brands and am willing to pay a bit more for the peace of mind.  We all use the Omega-3/FCLO and just give a smaller dose to the children.

Source-I purchase the Nordic Naturals at Vitacost for the best price 0r at our local health food store if I have a coupon. I purchase the FCLO through Azure Standard (a co-op).

Recently I ran out of the Nordic Naturals Omega-3 for awhile and I eventually noticed a huge difference. My excema flared up, a joint in my foot that hurt before I started taking fish oil started to hurt again after a long time, and my skin got more red and blotchy.  It turned into an interesting experiment I had not planned on doing. It was nice to know that these things actually are helping us.

Dose-Of the Omega-3 I take a teaspoon or more a day and give the kids about 1/2 a teaspoon. For the FCLO we just follow the directions on the bottle.

My naturopath said that omega 9 can be a bit inflammatory, and the omega 3 is the most important one for me to get the highest dose of. That is why I chose this version of fish oil.

 

4) Elderberry– We LOVE elderberry.  You can purchase it at the health food store, or easily make it a few different ways. We use it mainly for its amazing benefits for the immune system. Check our this post I wrote awhile back with more info on making Elderberry syrup which includes my sources and dose.

 

We also give the Littles a multi vitamin here and there, vitamin C when needed, things like honey mixed with apple cider vinegar (like Braggs brand), and garlic when it looks like they might be coming down with something.

Other good articles

How to Kick Strep Throat Faster and Better Without Antibiotics

Why You Shouldn’t Get The Flu Shot

 Once again, NOT an expert. Just a mama trying to care for her family.

Our Kindergarten Plan for the Twins

school dry erease

I am always curious to hear about what curriculum and tools other homeschooling families have chosen to use.  Now that there are so many curriculum options, it makes the choice a bit harder. When I was homeschooled as a child there were far fewer choices (although I am sure we all got by just fine).  Don’t let this list overwhelm you. It is really just a small stack of books and workbooks and one weekly activity outside the home. We are still deciding if we will do other classes or activities. This mama likes to keep it simple (especially with a new baby).

I really believe in play-based learning and lots of time for creativity. I don’t anticipate spending hours at the table each day, but pockets of time here and there to stay roughly on pace with our books. If they are not enjoying something, we will take a break from it and try something else for a little while.  I really want to instill a love for learning in the children and they have years ahead of them. These are very important early years.

I shopped around online and eventually made the trip to Exodus Books in the Portland area. I needed to get my hands on the books to compare the different options. I also really wanted the in-person advise from someone who has seen all the curriculum and knows what they are talking about. It was so valuable.  I went home and made my final choices and ordered through their website. They have great shipping rates and you can get an unlimited amount for only $5. The other thing that sold me on buying from them is that they have a huge selection of used books.  I was able to scour the internet for lists of books people loved and then go and look for them used on their site. It is hard to find an online resource for cheap used books where you don’t have to pay to have them shipped individually (which no longer makes them cheap or easy to order).  Also, supporting a local homeschooling family rocks too. I priced all our books at many sites. Some had a couple of them for lower prices, but with higher shipping it was a wash. I also wanted to order everything from one site and support the family that spent time helping me talk through the options.

Here is our plan for the year…

 school roller

We will attend Classical Conversations class again on Tuesdays this year. This will cover a good amount of science, geography, math, english grammar, Bible, timeline, Latin, and fine arts. I will use a tri-fold board with our memory work on it and some songs to help us memorize the new material each week.  We will supplement with a bit of additional Science in the form of casual nature studies and nature notebooking. We will also add in our regular math curriculum and continue to do “Family Worship” times (a family devotion) with Daddy at the end of the day for more Bible.

 

explode the code

Reading/PhonicsExplode the Code books A, B, and C- We did not get very far through these last year and will continue to use this series. We will move onto books 1, 2, and 3 after we finish these. (Purchased from Exodus Books)

70 Basic Phonograms Cards by Wanda Sanseri– These are pretty similar to the phonics in The Writing Road to Reading, but my book (which kinda overwhelms me anyway) was missing the cards. I am just going to follow the basic instructions and information that comes in the pack of cards to teach the sounds. I am hoping this will be what helps the twins gain the tools to learn to read. So far I really like this basic approach. (Purchased from Exodus Books)

 

singapore essential math

Math-

-Singapore “Essential Math” Kindergarten books A and B- We started these books awhile back after ordering their books for this school year and we are LOVING them. There are a few different versions of Singapore and this one was obviously the one I choose. It was a bit cheaper and I liked the simple format and the fact that I did not have to buy more than the book “A” and “B” to complete the system.   I spent a lot of time choosing a math cirriculm and looked through a good amount of the popular brands.  I felt like this was the “middle ground” between the ones I was interested in.  It is visually interesting, but it black and white which still allows for a lot of creativity. My daughter LOVES to color the pages after finishing the assignment (which helps my more anxious learner get excited). I am so thankful we choose this one. At the rate they seem to be moving through book A we might need to supplement with something else or move onto the first grade books when they finish both K level books. (Purchased from Exodus Books)

life of fred apples

Life of Fred “Apples” –This is a literary approach to math. It is a story you read and learn from. We are excited to try it out, but not ready to use it as a stand-along curriculum as some have said you can do. Daddy is helping us read through this book.  (Purchased from Exodus Books)

 

a reason for handwriting

Handwriting-A Reason For Handwriting book A- After looking through a few options I choose this for a few reasons. It is visually interesting but not overwhelming. It also follows the same simple style of letter formation that I have been teaching them already (and similar to Explode the Code). It also has them practice and copy Bible verses which I loved. In the back of the book is what they call “Scripture Border Sheets”. They are lined sheets with cute images along the side for the children to color after they write the weekly verse on “Day 5”.  This will give them a nice finished product to be proud of each week. This also happens to be the First Grade level. I preferred it over the Kindergarten for a few reasons and will be challenging, but not over their heads. If we continue this book into their first grade year, I am fine with that.  (Purchased from Exodus Books)

 

draw write now

Art-Draw Write Now Book One- This teaches drawing in a fun step-by-step way.  We have tried a similar book and the twins loved following along and creating things they would not be able to create on their own in the same way. It also includes some applicable copy work on each page which you could use for a lot of your handwriting practice if your children have already mastered forming all their letters.  (Purchased from Exodus Books)

 

Other books we will be using:

the nature connection

The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms. (Purchased used from Exodus Books)

pacon primary journal

Pacon brand Primary Journal “Picture Story” (A composition book that is empty on top for a drawing and then has regular and dotted lines on bottom to help young writers.) We will likely use this for our drawing and nature study. (Purchased from Learning Palace)

And also…
Sharing Nature With Children (Purchased used from Exodus Books)
Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book K (Purchased from Exodus Books)
A Hive of Busy Bees (Character development) (Purchased used from Exodus Books)
(I will add to this list as I find and remember more of our books we bought for the year).
Our newly 3 year old really likes to learn along with the bigger kids. She will do a lot of similar thing that I will modify when necessary.  When she gets bored or things are over her head she will be free to go off and play by herself (in the play area, with special toys, with the iPad, or on busy bags).
*Disclosure-If you purchase through the links in this post I may earn a small percentage and you will be helping to support this blog. Thank you!
Hope this helps someone. I am not an expert, but if you have any questions about the choices we made or have any great suggestions I would love to hear them! Comments make my day.

 

 

CSA, Bountiful Baskets, or Traditional Grocery Store?

This is the time of year that I really start to strategize our produce spending.  CSA (community supported agriculture) signups are in full swing and I have recently discovered Bountiful Baskets.  We need to quickly decide if we will participate in our CSA and each week I have a hard time deciding if we will order a Bountiful Basket or not.  It is a bit difficult to decide on Monday what we will be doing late morning on Saturday (when the BB pickup is).  As the weather warms up I like to be free to head out and go on a fun adventure as a family on Saturdays.

This rambling leads me to today’s experiment. I was curious to see how much organic produce $26.50 would buy me while I was grocery shopping (the total of the organic Bountiful Basket plus small fee they charge and also almost the exact price per week for our CSA basket).

I started out at our local natural grocery store called LifeSource to check for any great sales, and then went to Trader Joe’s to get the things I was not able to find there for the price I wanted to pay. Fortunately they were having an awesome sale on Navel Oranges for 79 cents per lb. and Fuji apples for 99 cents per lb.  I prefer to get my produce from LifeSource when possible because they are a locally owned and source local produce when possible. I have been able to find prices close to that here and there lately for those items, but this definitely helped me get a great value for what I was looking to spend today.

Here is what I purchased today for a total of $27.01

  • 8 large bananas 29 cents each (T.J’s)
  • 6.44 lbs of oranges (on sale at LifeSource)
  • 4.62 lbs or apples (T.J’s)
  • 3 large onions $2.49 (T.J’s)
  • 7 lemons $1.79 (T.J’s)
  • Bag of local raspberries $2.99 (on sale at LifeSource)
  • Fresh Broccoli Florets $2.49 (T.J’s)
  • Baby Lettuce Mix $1.99 (T.J’s)
  • Chopped Spinach (pesticide free not organic) $1.49 (T.J’s)
  • Rosemary $1.79 (T.J’s)

So the verdict is that I think I actually prefer picking out our own groceries and hunting for sales.  It was interesting how close I came to $26.50 without even trying. I definitely got more for my money this week than I would have from either of the other options.  I still really believe that CSA’s and Bountiful Baskets are a good value and doing a huge service for their consumers, but this week has proven that I can do okay without them too.  I will probably still order from BB from time to time.  It will also be nice to just modify our weekly purchases this summer as our garden starts to produce, rather than being committed to our CSA.  Because I go grocery shopping weekly it takes me no more energy or trips to choose my own produce and hunt for the sales when I am already in the stores.  It does take a bit of time to know what the best prices are, but it is worth it.  I love being able to feed my family organic foods for an affordable price.

I hope this post helps you as you decide your “produce strategy” for the year. Prices and availability of various types of produce and buying options will be different for everyone.  All of the options I mentioned today will likely provide your family with quality produce for a good price. I just geek out on this stuff a little more than most people.

 

Mama Needs a New Easter Dress

Snuck into the Keizer Station Old Navy this morning for a bit to preview their big dress promotion that starts today (check links in this post for prices).  I was thrilled to find my main spring weakness being featured. Eyelet! My tried and true Easter dress for years was actually a somewhat similar pink and white seersucker dress from Old Navy.  We dressed the twins up in eyelet and seersucker and my husband and I even got all into the preppy spring madness (picture hubs in pale blue seersucker blazer and matching pants). We were dorks and completely fine with it. Easter is one of the only days that an Oregonian can go all out and look like they are fresh off a yacht brunch cruise. Live it up.

Wanted to share with my bargain hunting friends about this sale. Word on the street is that both women and children’s dresses will be included. Price points in Women’s will be only $15-$25.  Girls will start at $10. Their main feature in women’s will be these beauts… The quality was a step up from what I was expecting and they were even fully lined. Think J.Crew style….for Old Navy prices.  If you need a spring dress this would be so cute. You could add belt if you wanted, a fun chunky necklace, cute espadrilles for spring, or some brown boots in fall if you picked the right color (maybe the navy or green) and paired with a cute sweater.

There were also some fun dresses for girls. If you are looking for something for Easter get your buns in soon. Things are flying out of there but there are still some cute options.

And these for the toddler crowd were cute.

Or this for a great everyday choice and bargain (Think spring Hanna Anderson…for cheap). Pair with some cute 3 for $15 toddler girl leggings or some skinny jeans you have from back to school time.

And um, let’s not forget the boys. These shorts and springy shirts were SO cute (quality and fit of shorts was great). The shorts are must-have for my little guy.

Here are a couple more pieces I was loving. This stripe dress had an adorable cut and was looked so easy to wear or travel with. At $15 it would be great for a summer basic.

And these? Yes, please.

And were you wondering if this prego took the plunge on an dress? Yes, I did. Next year I will be the happily donning this cute one.  I chose the navy because it is classic and will transition well into other seasons. I am picturing it with some really cute brown sandals…that I have been on the hunt for for months. Hard to find something when most of your shopping is …um…grocery shopping.

Don’t forget it is also Super Cash earning time! Get $10 off your next purchase of $25 or more  (during redemption time) for each $25 you spend now (up to $75).

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Old Navy invited me into the store to check out this promotion in exchange for a discount on my dress. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.

Our First Bountiful Basket Pick-Up

Last Monday I ordered (they call it “contributed” to) our first Bountiful Basket.  Bountiful Baskets is not a business, but is instead considered a co-op. You are pooling your money together to buy things at a great price. The conventional baskets are $15 and you can pay another $10 to upgrade to an all organic basket. There is also a $1.50 processing fee to go towards expenses since all your “contribution” goes towards the cost of the produce. If it is your first time ordering you will also have a $3 fee.

You can order up to 3 baskets (which would be a TON of produce).  There are also some fun things you can add on like granola, tortillas, bread, a tropical pack, a Veggie lovers pack-Mexican theme.  In Oregon I believe our ordering time starts at 12:00 p.m on Monday and closes Tuesday night. Things become unavailable as they sell out. My pick-up time was 11:45 on Saturday at Fresh and Local (used to be called Organic Fresh Fingers).

How did it go?

I think it was probably just a rare fluke, but when I got there some other people arriving to get their basket told me that there was an accident and traffic issues and that the pick-up was moved to 2:45. It sounded like they attempted to email people to let them know, but I never received one and know that some other people did not either.  It was a little hard to fill all that time and go back out there a few hours later.  I do understand that things happen and was glad that the pick-up was still happening. When I got back out there right at 2:45 I noticed that there was already a good sized line of people waiting to pick up their things. We all waited in line with our containers to transfer our food into and at 2:50 they said they were ready for us and started helping people in line.  They asked our names and for the last 4 digits of our contribution number that was on our emails we received. It looked as if most people were getting a conventional basket.  I was directed to pick up my organic basket at the table that you pick up your “extra stuff” at. My produce was already all boxed up and I did not really seem need to bring the tote to transfer it into like other people needed to.  I asked if the traditional and organic baskets contained roughly the same types of items and they said that they were usually fairly different from each other. Next time I will try and snap a picture of the list of contents in the traditional basket.  The produce that was labeled came from a few different states. It was not super local, but I know they work hard to source from small farms when getting things like bananas that are outside the U.S.  I am not sure if the traditional basket is more local or not. By the time I got back in the car it was about 3:15.

Here is what we got (or at least what I think everything is): 🙂

-1 HUGE cauliflower

-1 good sized head of broccoli

-bag of brussel sprouts

-1 large fennel

-1 bunch of radishes

-head of garlic

-1 bunch of celery

-1 bag of red potatoes

-1 large head of greens

-5 bananas

-6 sm-med sized Fuji apples

-1 half pint of blueberries

It was definitely a good value and our family I will probably supplement with more fruit and order every other week since it is still a good chunk of our food budget and a little out of the way from where we live.

There is the low down. Let me know if you have any questions and I will see if this newbie can answer them.