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!

 

 

 

 

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).

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

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.

Life in Bullet Points #3

 

  • Attempting bread baking again. Started a loaf yesterday and exercised real patience to try and soak it for the first time.  My friend Sarah had a recipe that already had the soaking instructions incorporated and I could not help but soak it…although it was a little painful to wait even longer. Currently the dough is rising by the (gas) fireplace and I have high hopes. If it knows what is good for itself it will turn out. -Update-Bread fell a touch, but turned out yummy and with great soft texture.

  • Having one of those weeks where the children seem to need my constant direction, help, and training. Love those sweet ones, but looking forward to a time when they play together more peacefully and moods are a bit more even. Some weeks are good, some are hard. As I type this Little Lady just went in and woke sweet baby up trying to video tape her sleeping. WHAT? Guess we won’t be starting school yet this morning. We will get through and next week will be better. 🙂 But look at them…can you resist that?

 

  • Loving our new Berkey water filtration system (Royal size). After an unusual number of tragic rare cancer cases of the same type occurred in our area of town, I was feeling a bit helpless. Environmental causes are in the back of some peoples brains. We won’t know for quite some time if a cause is found, but at least I know we are drinking clean water.   On a recent night away Little Lady was drinking bottled water with a pretty label on it from a nice hotel and said, “This is nice, but I wish it was from our FRESH water at home.” Little man has all on his own declared it “Our BEST purchase ever!” I have really not made a huge deal about the filter so it makes me giggle that the tots are so passionate about it. (I also got the fluoride filters to get the fluoride out. To consume or not to consume fluoride should be a personal decision. Not sure why they think they need to make the choice for us and add it to our water supply…rant over.)
  • Saturday we pick up our first Bountiful Basket (we chose the organic option)! Can’t wait to see what is in it. Why do I get so excited about groceries? Seems like I spend a good chunk of time shopping for and feeding this family of mine. I am so thankful that hubs is a great cook and is so good in the kitchen. It really takes some pressure of that he often cooks for us. Love that man.

Trip to Grocery Outlet 1-25-13

Today I hit up the Grocery Outlet near downtown Salem.  Found a few fun things and thought I would share a picture and some prices for those who are interested.

 

Total today for all of this was $46.11.

Here is what I got:

Organic Yellow Potatoes $2.49

Organic Coconut Milk $1.99

Tillamook Sour Cream 99 cents

Organic Broc (big bag) $3.49

Hair things 99 cents

Aluminum Foil 75sq ft $2.49

Plastic Wrap $1.79

Clif Bars $3.49 (treat for hubs)

Loreal Mascara $2.99 (SO out and desperate)

(4) Annie’s Bunny Pasta 99 cents

Kettle Chips $1.99

Food Should Taste Good Lime Chips $1.49

Natures Path Organic Love Crunch Granola $2.49 (Granola is hubs love language)

Organic Black Tea $1.49

Seventh Generation diapers $6.99

 

Hope this helps! There were lots of other fun things including more organic and natural stuff.

Life in Bullet Points #2

  • Yesterday I found the twinners cuddling like I have not seen for a LONG time. Melt me now.  I overheard her softly say to him, “I want to cuddle because I love you and it is so cozy.”

  • Yesterday I ordered the mother of all planners. My Erin Condren planner will be shipping “on or near Sept 14th.” I will be watching.

  • Yesterday was a happy mail day. I got another free $10 Kohls gift card (you gotta get on their mailing list), a free Starbucks drink coupon, a $40 Nordstrom Note (thank you double points), a $25 off a $50 purchase from Pottery Barn Kids, and my MuTu DVD to review for my blog (The Essential Foundations of a flatter Post-Baby Tummy)! I am so excited to have something else in my arsenal to help heal my Diastasis.

P.S. Did you know that tons of mamas have a diastasis and that any common exercise where you lift your shoulders off the ground (crunches and situps) make it WORSE….as well as anything with a cross over motion?  If you are a mama (others can suffer as well) and you have a weak core, or your tummy pooches out, your struggle to have good posture, have back pain, have bladder/pelvic floor struggles (tmi alert…luckily I don’t have this symptom), etc. you likely have a diastasis.

A diastasis is a vertical separation in the muscles of the abdominal wall.  Getting on most traditional workout plans will NOT help you heal your diastasis. In fact, it will probably make it worse. You might lost weight for awhile, but your tummy will never get flatter and your will likely be further separating the muscles.  Isn’t that a bad deal!? This is one huge area that the medical and fitness professionals are largely ignoring, or more likely are unaware of.  It is crazy that something that affects so many people is rarely discussed. Here is an awesome video to show you how to check for a diastasis. Here are also some great diastasis blog posts from Fit 2 B Studio (she is local too!).

 

  • Sunday we hung stuff on the walls that I had been wanting to get up for awhile. It feels so good!

 

  • Saturday we were blessed with club level tickets to a Duck game. We dressed the tots in all their gear and had a blast…never mind little sister decided not to nap on the way there and was a bit delusional by the end.  But, we got through the entire game melt down free. The children cheered, yelled, danced, ate popcorn, and loved every minute.  So did we. What an awesome family memory. Quote of the game was when Little Man said, “My ears are PLUGGED!!!” Yes, that would be because you are wearing ear plugs. P.S. The orange wax ones worked best of the two types we bought.

 

$100 a Month Grocery Challenge Wrap Up

*After a couple of my friends asked me about how the month went, I remembered I needed to write an update on our totally (not so) interesting month of going cheap on groceries.

-Go HERE if you want to read my first post about challenge.

During the month of August I challenged myself to try and restrict our grocery spending to $100.  We normally spend $500 or more to feed our family of 5 a mostly organic diet (this includes bulk purchases, stockpiling what I can find on sale, etc.).  I knew that spending $100 was definitely going to require a different mindset.  Because the pantry and freezer was fairly full I knew we could do it.

Result? We came very close. I am guessing we went just a bit over $100. My plan to use cash did not work out well for accounting purposes because I was often buying non-grocery items in the same purchases and just ended up using our card.

Here are the main areas we spent our money this month.

1) Fruit! I am guessing we spent $45 on fruit. We go through lots and I did not want to skimp in this area.

2) Eggs-We go through a good amount of eggs. I even bought the cheap ones (gasp) a couple times.

3) Milk- We don’t drink a ton, but I think I bought 2 gallons worth of organic milk last month.

4) Small items to complete some meals.

 

One thing that gave us a little buffer was that we had a couple things to return to Costco last month (Jeans, Burt’s Bees Baby wash, and some electronic thing I can’t remember). This provided us with a little extra wiggle room and we bought whole wheat english muffins, organic olive oil, cheese, and some other small things I am forgetting.

Two areas that I did not count towards our $100 were a small party I planned for my daughter’s (very late) birthday party, and also a couple meals we took to friends.  I did not want to shy away from doing things like that because of a silly challenge.  Hubs said to go for it and not count it towards the $100. So we did cheat a bit.

Overall it was totally do-able and nice to not feel the pressure to go out and spend time grocery shopping.  It definitely freed up some of my schedule a bit and I was able to spend more time on Wednesday mornings (and other times) throughout the month doing other things. It was a nice change of pace. I almost feel like we could do it again for September.  We still have a pretty good amount of food in the freezer and my kids would not starve, but we need more variety again.

Where did I shop this month?

3 trips to Grocery Outlet

2-3 trips to Fred Meyer

1 trip to Costco

1 trip to Roth’s (Which might have resulted in me overreacting about my husband buying prosciutto and parmesan the first week of the month…”You spent how much on what???”)

 

What did we eat? Roasted chicken, white bean and tarragon soup (SO GOOD), chicken tacos, pizza, lots of homemade refried black beans, rice, pizza, parmesan and basil chicken pasta, beef tacos, and more.  See? We still ate good.

Meat for the above recipies included; 1 medium sized roasted chicken which we used the bones for making broth for the base of the soup. 1 pound of McK Ranch ground beef that we turned in taco meat and stretched with tiny diced zucchini and squash, and 1.5-2 pounds of chicken breasts for the pasta.

Now excuse me while I go prep for a Trader Joe’s trip.

Have you ever experimented with your grocery budget?

Old Navy Back to School Sales (through 8/15)

Its that time of year. Even though it sure feels like Summer, the stores are calling it “Back to School”.  For us homies (homeschoolers), back to school means time to stock up on jeans and school/art supplies for the year.  Old Navy is where we tend to get most of our jeans for the little ones. They hold up well and if I buy them during this time of year I can get them for a great price.

Today I went to the Keizer Station store and right now almost all of their basic jeans in the toddler, boy, and girl departments are $10.  Look for the big walls and they will be clearly marked.  This was my first time getting out of the toddler department for any of my children and I have to say that I am a little sad.  It is nice to have more options for fit and washes though.  For my daughter I got a pair of the Skinny and Super Skinny (they are not “painted on” at all on her). She wears so many leggings that she says that boot cut pants feel “weird and too big” to her.  Since she wears them with dresses, tunics, and boots during most of the year they seem to work well.

For my son I got the toddler Regular Fit jeans (Jeans shown above are from Boys).  The toddler boys painter style are super cute, but are cut wider and we need the more narrow cut for him.

Some of the other deals I was excited about were boys polos for $5! Girls knit shirts for $3-5 (the solid $3 ones are a super cute cut). I also loved the camis for women for $3.50. I love layering most shirts and dresses with a cami and this is a killer price.  They also had some great colors.

Because I am a shortie I always have lots of interaction with the employees when I am trying to get my hands on sizes. Today I was blessed to be able to get out of there with almost everything I was looking for.  As a stay at home mom I find myself having way more conversations with strangers than I used to. I think Brooklyn (the uber sweet lady who rang me up) might be my new BFF.  We laughed about color strategies when purchasing camis and I was this close to giving a PSA for the Clean Well (all natural) hand sanitizer I purchased to bump my purchase up to get some Super Cash.

I also noticed quite a good selection with the Women’s markdown area.  If you interested in any of the back to school items for children I would head down there as soon as possible.  Some of there sizes were running low.  The toddler department looked to be running out of some sizes.  If you are needing a size that you can’t find in store I would recommend buying the same color and style that you want in a different size and then exchanging it for the right size when they get a new shipment (I was told that it might be a while before they have a new shipment).  Ask an employee if you have a question about the best way to get what you need.  You could also try shopping online if you are sure of the sizes you need.  I always like to see the items in person whenever possible.

*It sounds like their back to school sale ends on the 15th so if you need basics head down there within the next few days.

Happy back to school shopping, but don’t forget to enjoy your Summer!

$100 a Month Grocery Challenge

For the last couple weeks I have been thinking about taking a month to really cut back on grocery spending and eat mostly from what we have on hand.  We have a fairly stocked freezer with a good amount of fruits and veggies and a few packages of meat. Our pantry is moderately stocked and we have a good amount of most of the items we use in bulk.

My husband and I have been talking about our budget more lately. It feels good to have some goals. It is also a good reality check to break everything down in our monthly spending and and see where we need to be.

I want to do my best to only spend $100 on groceries for the next month and see how it goes.  I will still be buying the same types of natural and organic items we normally do, just less of it.  It will definitely be challenging.  We spend quite a bit more that $100 on a monthly basis. Also, I normally make small trips to about 3 stores a week for sales and to look for markdowns.  Our children are beginning to eat a lot more than they used to and we can go through a good amount of groceries.

By the way, we will not be increasing our eating out budget to cut back on grocery spending. 🙂

Here are the ways we will save this month.

-Eat more from our stock at home.

-Eat slightly more creative meals.

-Use recipies that stretch meat a bit more than we are used to.

-We might be making a few more things from scratch. Maybe more bread?

-I will likely go to fewer stores than I usually do.

-If there are not any exciting sales some weeks I might skip shopping altogether for a week or two.

-We will probably eat a bit less of a variety of fruits and only buy what is on a SUPER sale.

-We will still get most of our veggies from our CSA and garden.

-We will switch to using an envelope and cash rather than a card. This will be the easiest way to track my spending and my first time using this system.

 

If you are motivated to cut your grocery budget this month, or even join me in the $100 challenge leave a comment.  Even if you start after the first of the month just roll your 30-ish days into September.