Learning to serve the Lord and my family one day at a time.

Learning to serve the Lord and my family one day at a time.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Costco - Is it worth it

After some debate we decided to join Costco for a year. I had been with a friend and impressed by the prices on diary and produce and we felt like the savings on milk alone were worth the cost of a membership. The regular membership is $55 for a year but they have an executive membership that earns 2% back that is $110. 

While the executive membership is twice the price, Costco is so sure you'll use it (ie that you will spend at least $2750) that they will refund the difference if your 2% cash back check is less than the cost of your upgrade making it a no loose situation. $2750 x 2% = $55 Since the total doesn't include gas I highly doubt we will spend at least $2750 but at least we will get the difference back no matter what. I guess many people either spend more because they are getting 2% back or don't come back in for the difference. 

Here's a price breakdown of items I believe are a good price at Costco. I have heard that prices vary by store and can fluctuate. The gas is a great price often 10 cents cheaper but the standard gas here in Colorado is 85 Octane which is not good for your car. We are having to buy midgrade 87 Octane and Costco only sells 85 Octane and 91 Octane. The 91 is often the same price at the 87 at other stores but I wish they sold 87 at a discount. 
  • Cheddar cheese- $2.50 per pound for a two pound block. I'm happy to get it on sale at Kroger for $4 per pound so this is a great price. 
  • Bacon - $3/pound - $11.79 for four pounds.  I don't know if this is a good price since I've never really kept an eye on price per pound at the grocery store. 
  • Breakfast sausage $2.33/pound 
  • Butter $7.49 for four pounds - $1.89 per pound (awesome price!) 
  • Fresh strawberries- four pounds flat at $1.09 per pound 
  • Eggs - 18 count $2.99 - 16 cents each. What's up with egg prices? Oh my! 
  • Protein powder - six pound bag for $49 - $8 per pound. Cheaper than what we usually buy online. 
  • Milk - The Costco in Augusta sells the gallons individually but the Costco near us only sells them two in a box which is fine since David drinks a lot of milk. Two gallons for $3.95 - $1.97 per gallon! This is a savings of at least a $1 per gallon versus the grocery store. Milk is cheaper in Colorado than it was in Georgia. 
  • Extra Virgin Organic Coconut oil - 72 ounces for $20- .256 per ounce. Fantastic price! 
  • Dog food - I was feeding Lilly Iams or Purinia One but the Kirkland Brand is cheaper and much better quality according to Dog Food Review so I'm going to switch her over in September. 40 pound bag $28- .70 per pound verses the $1+ I was paying at Walmart for Iams. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Camping Trip in Colorado

Last weekend we headed out west to Lake George, Colorado to camp with some friends from our Sunday School class at 11 Mile Canyon. After setting up our tent we enjoyed chicken cooked over a campfire and fellowship with our new friends. Laura had a hard time settling down but finally fell asleep only to wake up again hysterical and overtired at 10 pm when we headed to bed. Nothing would settle her down so David drove her around for 30 minutes (!) until she was sound asleep. We've never done that but it sure works in a pinch.

Saturday, Laura and I relaxed at the campsite while David hiked to the top of the canyon. David also did some rock climbing with another guy in our group. We ended the day with another hike with Laura in the Ergo before closing up camp before the rain headed in. Laura enjoyed herself and was able to crawl around on a tarp and play with her toys.

On Thursday we went rock climbing for the first time outdoors and I loved it! I will confess I did not look down the entire time I was climbing and wasn't too keen about repelling down after I reached the top. We are going again this week and I can't wait. We climb with the other residents from David's dental program and they take turns holding Laura. Who says you can't have adventures with kids?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Laura 9 Months

Our little munchkin is up to trouble these days and I can only imagine the disasters to come in the future months and years. I think she has transitioned to our new home very well. She even took a nap in the church nursery on Sunday! She's often pretty quiet, slinking off to the staircase when I have my back turned or suddenly appearing right at my feet when I thought she was off playing by herself in another room.
Playing in the kitchen while I unpack

She is pulling up and cruising the furniture and pushing a little toy walker Grandma bought around the house. If there's papers or books on a table or surface of any kind they must be thrown on the floor according to Laura. Taking toys in and out of her toy basket is always fun and our living room constantly looks like a tornado (or a 9 month old) destroyed it. I have caught her eating dog food on multiple occasions or drenched in water from Lilly's water dish. 

Hamming it up for the camera

She is finally cutting her first two teeth! Laura loves opening and closing doors and cabinets and our old house is full of doors for her to play with. The front door looks out onto a busy road and she will stand at the door for 10-15 minutes at a time watching the world go by.

Hanging on with just one hand

Hiking in the Ergo with Daddy

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This Week's Menu and freezer inventory sheet

I have a new system for meal planning and freezer inventory that is working very well.  I have a white board calendar that I fill in with the dates and any activities that are going on for the month and add the meals on each day. It's easy to erase and change up meals as I buy more meat throughout the month as well.

When I buy meat I package it into dinner size portions plus leftovers for lunch. This is often 1.5 -2 pounds of meat each night. I generally only buy meat that is $2/pound or less but David has been begging me for steaks. Since I started from a bare cupboard and freezer this month our grocery money went very fast but hopefully I will be able to buy steak next month. Despite rising food prices I am able to get great prices on meat at the commissary. It's the only place I can find ground beef for $2 a pound anymore. The average price at the grocery store is around $3 for 80% lean or higher and it rarely goes on sale for less than $2.50.
We are following the Primal Blueprint and eating mostly meat, and veggies for dinner. David still eats some grains in the form of sandwiches, hummus, crackers and granola bars but for the most part we no long consume grains or legumes. Here's a few more links on why grains are unhealthy. The Definitive Guide to Grains & Is Going Grain Free Healthy. I have lost 12-15 pounds (depending on the day) and am back to my weight when we got married. I even had to go buy new pants this weekend because I could literally pull down my old jeans without unbuttoning them and they were falling off of me! That being said, we do eat at least 8 ounces of meat per person each night plus I try my best to cook enough for leftovers the next day.
Back to my freezer inventory- Once I have packaged the meat into servings I write down the name of the meat on my inventory sheet, find a day to cook it on the calendar and then write the day I will be cooking it on the calendar AND the inventory sheet along with I how I plan on preparing the meat. Eg, next to 1 pound of ground beef I write "Taco Salad" & "8/25" and write it on the dry erase calendar as well. I do this in pencil so as I buy more meat throughout the month I can alter the menu for more variety. I have been able to plan out the whole month of meals which I was never good at before. This also gives me a good visual reminder on what meat to pull out several days in advance in the morning or while I'm cooking dinner.

All that being said here's what we are eating the rest of this month. I just write out the main dish and cook up whatever fresh or frozen veggies we have, slather them in butter or fat and often a salad.

Monday August 20 - Grilled chicken quarters
Tuesday August 21 - taco salad
Wednesday August 22- bratwurst
Thursday August 23- Chicken breast - still need to find a recipe for these.
Friday August 24 - camping with church so not sure what we'll be taking to cook out there. Any suggestions for easy camping food?
Saturday August 25 - grilled chicken breasts
Sunday August 26- taco salad
Monday August 27 - grilled chicken wings drenched in this amazing hot sauce I bought at Costco
Tuesday August 28 - bratwurst
Wednesday August 29- hamburgers without buns
Thursday August 30- pork sirloin roasted in the oven. Oh my this is my new favorite meal.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

At last!

We finally have a brand new laptop that doesn't require being cooled by a small desktop fan while perched precariously atop a desk organizer to ensure airflow so I will slowly start writing up our summer adventures, the move and our upcoming time in Colorado.

We left Austin for Colorado on July 25 with a very tightly packed Mazda 3, a dog, two adults and our darling daughter. Day one of the drive couldn't have gone better, Laura was practically on her normal routine of awake for two hours with one to two hours of naps in between feeds. We stopped in White City, New Mexico that evening right outside the entrance to Carlsbad National Park.

I had trouble finding a hotel near a hot tourist spot in the middle of the summer that took dogs but we were able to find a place in White City which is closer to the park than the city of Carlsbad. I was so stressed about the trip I even called the night before to double check our reservation. For reasons beyond my comprehension, the desk clerk thought I was CANCELING our reservation because when we arrived the next night he couldn't find our reservation and later found my cancelation number.

Thankfully they had room for us, I didn't even want to ask if they took pets since they had told me yes on the phone originally but this place clearly didn't have everything squared away. We had a huge room that Laura and Lilly were happy to run (crawl) around in and a fun pool with two water slides, a pirate ship splash area and kids' pools. We were in the middle of the desert with nothing but blue sky and a few small buildings. The town felt like it was straight out of a western.