Saturday, March 26, 2011

My co-op order

Since this picture was taken a few weeks ago from my last co-op order, I had meant to do this post before....but that seems like it's the theme now-a-days so just bare with me :)

Some people are curious about what exactly I get from my co-op (Azure Standard)....well, this is exactly what this post is about!! Here is a picture of all things I ordered last month...

And what exactly is that?? Well....8 lbs of frozen strawberries, 10 pounds frozen blueberries, 10 lbs of oatmeal, 20 pounds of oranges (.40/lb!), 18 pounds of apples (.63/lb organic!), 15 pounds potatoes (.69/lb organic!), bag of onions, 2 bags of celery, 3 whole chickens, banana & cherry flavors (natural) for my homemade yogurt, & 3 containers of spritzers!

I just put in our order yesterday for this month and I'll be getting that order Thursday of next week. My orders tend to be a lot of the same things...always order whatever produce they have available...apples, potatoes, etc, and then I'll get most other things every other month or whenever we need them. For example, last month I didn't order wheat berries because I had some left but this month I need them again so that was on my order (although they were out and I need to find somewhere else to get them!) another thing is honey. We usually order a gallon of it every other month or so.

The things on my order for this month were....

8 lbs frozen strawberries (gotta love those things for smoothies and snacks!)
1 lb organic raisins
big container of real sea salt
parchment paper...yep, they have non-grocery items too!
aluminum free baking powder
one container of spritzers
50 lbs of wheat berries (that isn't coming...humph!)
10 lbs froz blueberries...these things are awesome to eat plain or in muffins!
5 lbs oatmeal
10 lbs free range chicken
3 lbs whole wheat pasta
5 lb organic carrots
15 lbs organic potatoes
25 lbs no spray oranges (which also aren't coming...bummer!)
fresh organic cauliflower
fresh organic brocolli
bag of organic lollipops...husband loves these almost more than the kids! And NO dyes! :)
quart of organic pure maple syrup
3 lbs organic onions
1 bunch organic celery
big jar of safflower mayo
almost 7 pounds of sprouted wheat tortillas
20 lbs of organic apples

And the cost??? $200.56

That's a lot of food....and a lot of it is at real good prices (like the organic produce mentioned above!) Some people think that eating healthy and organic is expensive and it is if you don't know where to shop or how to make stuff from scratch. (Like if you go and buy the "organic" frozen dinners each week because it makes you feel better because they say organic....yeah, that's not saving you any money. But if you spend a little time in the kitchen, you'll be able to keep a LOT of that cash in your pocket!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My baby's TWO!

Today is my baby's birthday! Sweet Ariella turned TWO today!!

We hurried out of the house to go bounce at the Bounce Depot today with some friends! I figured I would use the birthday as an excuse to get out of the house and do something fun :) I thought the boys would like it more than her, but I'm pretty sure she did the most playing, going around and around the "Crazy Mazy" for the younger ones! Ana got a great work out too trying to keep up with her the whole time :)

Probably the funniest thing about her whole birthday celebration was the fact that she was the ONLY girl, the rest were boys....10 of them to be exact, HA!

"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" was what Ariella was saying during this picture! She is usually a ham for pictures but for some reason she didn't want to stand by all those boys...guess I don't blame her :)

So who were all these boys?? Well, our 3 of course...then our neighbors Weston (4) and Walker (2)... and friends from church we just met Eli (5), Sam (4), and Jonah (2)...who brought their cousins Nick (7) and Ryan (4). So, yes...10 little boys and 1 little girl. But ya know, I don't think she even noticed. In fact, I don't think she's ever played with a little girl before, besides a few mins with her cousin.

The plan was to get to the Bounce Depot at 9. We got there first and realized it didn't open til 10! Ah! It was one of the first times I ever planned anything with friends outside of my home and I had the time wrong! Go figure! So with a couple phone calls, we decided to just meet at the mall and play on the little play things there until it opened. It worked out just fine :)

We bounced until shortly after 11, stopped at picked up some Legos at Toys R Us for the boys, swung by the grocery store and made it home for lunch! After some pb&j and grapes, Ariella went down for her much needed nap and she is still sleeping as I type this...(it is now 4pm :)

We will have a nice relaxing evening, probably snuggling and watching a movie. Aren't birthdays when you are two a blast?! :)

Pic of Ana and I before church on Sunday

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Biggie's 6!

This post is well over-due (as are a lot of other posts!) but I wanted to show what a fun day we had celebrating Tiernan's 6th birthday!

Since his birthday fell on a Wednesday and Daddy wasn't going to be home until Saturday, we decided to wait until Saturday to celebrate. We had both sets of Grandparents, my brother and family and our neighbors come celebrate with us, along with Ana and her Dad who came a little later.

Tiernan was so excited to learn a couple months ago that Ana was planning on making him a special birthday cake when it was time! She asked him what his favorite things are and he said 'sports!' So she decided to make a baseball birthday cake!

" exactly am I going to make a round cake from a rectangle pan??..."

Stack it very carefully...

Adding grass around the 'dirt'....otherwise known as crushed oreo cookies :)

Making the stitching perfect, even getting the diagonal of the stitch correct...

Voila! A baseball cake on a layer of dirt surrounded by grass!

Blow out your candles from so far back!

Lotsa little boys

He received some awesome gifts including legos, tic tac toe bean bag toss, train tracks, clothes....and a bike!! This was pretty special since Tiernan has never owned a bike, nor ever tried to ride one! There were no training wheels on the bike and we figured that after a few months of practicing outside when it gets warm, he'd get the hang of it. NOPE! He immediately went downstairs to practice and within the FIRST DAY, he was riding unassisted!! He even started himself from hanging onto the wall and then giving himself a push! After the SECOND DAY, he was starting with one foot on the peddle and swinging his leg around the back of the seat to the other peddle. So, after 3 weeks or so, he's pretty much a pro and rides like he's been at it for years. Way to go Tiernan! We are so proud of you!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How I Cut Our Grocery Bill in Half!

....Yes, IN HALF!!!...and we eat a lot :)

I am so absolutely excited about this that I'm pretty much exclaiming it to anyone who will listen! Because not ONLY did I cut our bill in half, I spent a whole 15 mins in 3 different stores buying a months worth of groceries! How I did do that, you ask?! Well, LET ME TELL YOU!!! :)

I planned ahead.

With a little planning, and a little time set aside dedicated to making my lists, etc, I was able to save hundreds of dollars and hours of time!! (not to mention tons of gas money driving to town week each for groceries!) Here's how I did it!.....

First I made a menu for the whole month...Breakfast, lunch and supper, along with any special snacks, desserts, or foods that we always want on hand, otherwise known as our "staples" (which I have written on a list so each time I make my grocery lists I can just scan the staples list to see what we need instead of trying to remember everything and then realize when we get home that I forgot something!). After I have a menu made, I make a grocery list of everything that I would need to make all my meals for the month. Next, I categorize my lists into my 4 different places I will get the groceries.

1) Azure Standard, my buying club/co-op that I order from once a month. They usually have some great deals on produce (.64/lb for organic apples, .69 for organic potatoes, .40/lb for oranges, those are just an example of a few from this month).

2) What I don't get through Azure I will get at Coborns b/c they have a large organic and natural selection and that is usually our first choice.

3) What I can't get at Coborns or what I want to get a better deal on I will look for at Sams Club. (Example, I buy huge bags of frozen fruit that I use almost daily for snacks or to put in smoothies).

4) What I don't get at any of the above places, I will pick up at Walmart. I only had to buy 6 things at Walmart this month...awesome!

And Walmart took 15 of my 20 total minutes of shopping. So how did I do the other 2 stores in only 5 minutes?????

I ordered online and picked it up at the store.

What is this sooooo awesome?!? Well, 1)You save a ton of money bc we all know that we WILL find something that we just HAVE to have while we are in the store that wasn't on our list, thus we end up spending more than we planned (esp if you are in Sams bc everything in that store is at least $10 and 2) It saves a TON of time in the store. Yes, you do have to shop online which takes time, but I would MUCH rather shop in my pjs, sitting with my feet up, after my kids have gone to bed than shop IN the store, with all my kids, with all the other people, waiting in lines, etc. Anyday.

Sam's Club has a 'click n pull' program where you just go to their website, log in with your membership card info, do your shopping, choose your pick up time and place your order. You go into the store, walk up to the membership desk, tell them you have a click n pull order, they ring you up, you pay, they give you your cart--all full with your groceries you've already ordered, and you walk out of the store in 2 mins flat. Awesome.

Coborns is the same shop online, choose your pick up time, place your order and they have it ready for you at the store...BUT there's MORE!!!...with Coborns you don't even need to go into the store!! You just pull through the parcel pick up line, tell the guy that you have an online order, they call the service desk to verify which one is yours and they place it in your vehicle for you! WOW!

Do you see how much time this saves?!? Plus, you know you have all the food you need to make your meals so there's never any last minute eating out bc you 'have nothing to eat' AND it takes all the stress away bc you know what you're going to be making!!!

(And my co-op order is obviously ready for me...I order that online and just pick it up from the truck that it's delivered on)

So that's how I did it! And, honestly, the total for my groceries this month was HALF of what I normally spend...and it was all meals, and I didn't hold back :)