Monday, June 11, 2012
First of all the most important thing....today is my daughter's birthday, a whopping 8 years old. This is my second, the middle of 3. She was my rough start baby. First she needed just a little help getting going, then her blood sugar kept crashing over and over. Finally she stabilized and now she is our wild one :). She is sweet, kind and loving unless you make her mad then watch out cause this kitten has claws! She's the one who brought home a citation from school for kicking a boy who threatened her, she didn't just kick, she kicked where it counts. When my husband and I stopped laughing (quietly, to ourselves) we had a long talk about getting an adult and telling them what happened and that it is not appropriate to kick a child at school. Later we were discussing it again and said "at least she knows how to defend herself", somehow she overheard that (she was supposed to be asleep in bed) and is still proud of the fact that she knows how to defend herself. We love our little bug and hope she has a terrific birthday (with her fave foods and a homemade cake).
Today was our long awaited grocery shopping day...we'd been "making do" for about a week. Eating from carefully planned, inexpensive meals without much in the way of extras as we waited for funds for shopping, but we made it, nobody was even close to starving although the kids thought they might-lol.
All weekend I sat and planned meals. Putting in many of the family's favorites along with a few new things. Then I sat down and planned uber-healthy side dishes for each regular meal so that my family can start being introduced to new things and maybe like them! Armed with my extensive shopping list the whole family headed out.
First stop, Sprouts, our only health food type store. Lots and lots of produce on the list. Lots of lettuce for salads, some peppers, some zucchini and radishes, and green onions and yellow and sweet onions (I really like onions and things with onions in it-lol), carrots (huge bag), celery, tomatillos and a jalapeno. Blueberries!! Those weren't even on my list, but my husband saw them for .88 a carton so we grabbed two! Don't know what we'll make, but it'll be yummy :). Let the kids pick a treat from the bulk bins and spent a total of $26.12 on lots of healthy veggies.
On to the regular market....spent a lot, I mean A LOT more there. I HAVE to find some cheap meals besides spaghetti! First, girlie REALLY wanted Mc D's for her birthday, we said no, first, really trying to avoid places like that and second, couldn't afford it anyways...so no Mc D's but we told her she could have everything LIKE Mc D's, just made at home. Hamburgers, Chicken Nuggets and French Fries. Hamburger is REALLY expensive. We found a list that Win-Co (where we shop) does not put slime in their store meat. Still, just for tonight's burgers I couldn't find a good pack that was even close to the price we needed, but we did find a pack of six preformed patties made from ground chuck (not "hamburger") and was a reasonable price for exactly what we needs (just six patties, not 4 pounds (too much) or 1 pound (not enough). I make really yummy chicken strips very much like you can get eatting out, but she didn't want those, so I conceded to a pack of pre-made chicken nuggets that are fresh, no preservatives and as unoffensive as such a product can be and still be somewhat affordable. French fries are the frozen variety, but going in the oven, not a fryer. So, her desired meal is not perfect, but as good as I can get and still meet her birthday requirements.
We spent plenty in other areas....and I didn't even buy much meat. Spent a bit on a pack of two Pork roast which will become two seperate meals, but were a really good price. Some chicken, and then all the things we need for snacks and lunches for a week with 3 kids home all day. I'm not used to that grocery bill. But, I did do really well, I think. We had to stock up on a lot of basics from the baking isle so that adds up fast. My kids are firmly planted in the white bread world, so I bought a loaf of bread just one step up from there. Still white bread, but with some grains attached to the outside crust. This is the first step in trying to convince the kids that real bread is still yummy. Peanut butter, I've been buying a brand called Simply Jif or Jim Simple, something like that. It is a step between all natural and regular pb. Another step in the right direction without shocking my kids. I tried jumping into all-natural pb and they kind of balked at it, we'll get there.
Cheese, okay, here is my cheese story. I like sharp cheddar because it simply has a better flavor. Side by side in the case are Tillamook and Store brand. I pick up both and hold them side by side. I'm looking at the 2 pound block and Tillamook is $8 something, Store brand $5 something. Roughly $3 difference. I really wanted to buy the store brand and save those $3. Here's the thing though, I hadn't researched the store brand. Tillamook says right on the package every ingredient, including that the milk comes from non-hormone cows and that the rennet is not animal based and that they use Annato which, while still a dye, is all natural, not a chemical dye. The store brand did not list a single ingredient. NOT ONE. How is this possible. I guess "cheese is cheese" and they don't have to list the ingredients. I don't know how they don't have to list the ingredients. They did list the nutritional info, big whup. So, I'm standing there with two blocks of cheese in my hand and trying to decide. I've kind of always had this "cheese is cheese" kind of mentality. But, what if, the store brand used hormone milk? I have two young girls and while "studies" show no difference, there is evidence that hormone laden milk does have a negative impact on young girls. What if instead of a natural dye they used a chemical one? What if animal rennet makes a difference? Now, becoming a full vegetarian is not at the top of my priority list, but again, there is more and more evidence that an animal based diet is not the best way to go. If I can cut one animal based product out of our diet and it is an easy switch I've been tending to go with it. I'm not seeking out cheeses made with one or the other, but there were my two choices, with or without? Which one do you think went in my cart? I'm such a sucker for a brand name and an ingredients list.
We spent a bit TOO much and might be eating spaghetti twice a week for the rest of the month, but my choices were deliberate and more informed than ever before. Now, to just make everything and keep on track and see what happens. Hope my family likes at least SOME of the good stuff :).
OH!!! The real coup and it may not seem huge and really I haven't read the label so I'm not certain what we've actually got here, but this is what hubs did....The kids wanted a juice box type drink...they were asking for Mondos which are kool-aid in a plastic bottle with a twist off top. I told him he could decide on that and went to the bread isle. When we started loading the stuff on the belt was the first time I saw his choice...Minute Maid flavored water drinks. Okay, good pick over the Mondos....I'm impressed :). They might not be perfect, but they are much better than what the kids were asking for. It's wearing off :).