Saturday, September 3, 2016

Shopping Goals: September 2016

First, I want to happily report that my son actually slept last night, so I slept last night.  I feel a lot better today as a result...especially on the cold front. Although I overstretched my arm last night so I'm in a bit of pain this morning.  Luckily 800 mg of Ibuprofen and ice do worlds of good for the arm with no side effects compared to the prescription drugs I had.  

I awoke this morning to melting frost on my deck.  Which means that fall is, officially, here to stay.  We'll see how long the pea plants last after that as they are protected under the eave of the house, but still...frost is frost.  We shall see.  Kind of a neat experiment really.

So, yeah, to get to the point in a round about fashion (with me is there REALLY any other way to get there?) is that peas are not on my shopping list this month *laugh*.

Usually this time of year I'm in full blown planning mode to get the most out of our dividend checks next month and would be working tirelessly figuring out a shopping list and redoing it over and over again until I had it where I wanted it in the hopes I could at least somewhat fill the pantry for less than a grand.  This year I figured I'd be panicking, hard, as dividends are reduced thanks to the governor and already spent for us (winter tires and dental bills oh my!).  But, God's providence shown on us this year and I was able to get great deals on produce and things to help pad out home canned goods in the pantry, there have been awesome sales on meat to stock the freezer and I was able to get enough from the garden and other areas where I have an entire SHELF in my standing freezer packed full of fruits and vegetables on top of my home canned goods (and an entire shelf of my fridge freezer packed full of fruits and veggies too!). I'm feeling pretty darned good about that.

This month my shopping goals are going to be primarily done online, but I do have a few things I want to get at the regular stores, one of which I'm hoping to get today as Fred Meyer has honeycrisp apples on sale for 2.49 lb through today as part of one of their 3 day sales.  Honeycrisp are not only my favorite apple, they are a good storing apple, so I want to get those to stock into the fridge.

With the online shopping, I am putting in a big order with Amazon this month and using money I have carefully set aside every month to stock up the pantry.  Some things I'm ordering because I can't get them safe (or at all) locally, like rye flour for baking dark breads this winter. 

I was going to get some hot chocolate mix and some oats from the LDS cannery, but found their hours to be terrible with my schedule, so I sought other options and actually found some cool stuff!  One is that Swiss Miss hot chocolate, the regular stuff, is actually safe for my son's peanut allergy.  This is HUGE for me as I've been getting really expensive hot cocoa mixes thinking that was my only option (when I wasn't making them myself and all).  I doubt my son will actually drink hot chocolate anytime soon, but I like to be safe either way. 

I was also able to get a bulk thing of Quaker Oats on Amazon one night super cheap, so I have those coming.  I put in a bulk order for Wasa crackers/bread too.  My husband has found that he loves the stuff after I got some to try on my son during feeding therapy and he blows through the stuff.  At nearly 5.00 per package that starts to get cost prohibitive.  He actually asked for it in bulk as he likes the crackers/flat bread better than chips for a snack.  Works for me as it's a lot healthier!  And I've loved Wasa bread since I was a kid as it was one of my dad's favorite crackers too.  It's over HALF the price on Amazon compared to buying the packages at the store, so it's worth buying it there.

So, here we go.  Shopping goals for this month!

Fred Meyer
  • Honeycrisp apples
  • Puff Pastry (I know you can make this yourself, but I want some for desserts in the freezer and with the price of butter and the labor involved?  I find buying it to just be simpler and cheaper) 

  • Big thing of chicken boullion
  • Local Carrots (if I can't find a good deal on them at the produce stand) blanch and freeze a few more for winter.
  • Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix (Maybe.  Going to comp shop that at Fred Meyer today to see if the big cans are available and how expensive they are)
  • Quaker Oats
  • Rye Flour (bulk)
  • Flax Seeds (for bread baking)
  • Wasa Bread, bulk
  • Vanilla pudding mix (ran into 24 boxes super cheap on Subscribe and Save, so I'm hoping this will help to finish up the pudding stores for winter...I can add cocoa powder to make chocolate pudding if I need to ;).
  • Cream of Chicken Soup, bulk (family does not like the SOS mix made into cream of chicken soup, although I can't really tell the difference and we've run out)
Toward the end of the month I'll also keep my eye out for good deals on a pumpkin for Halloween next month (I find if I buy early and carefully I don't end up with a rotten pumpkin come Halloween...pumpkins are not great quality once they get up here.  At all) and also any good deals on pie pumpkins as well as I find the pumpkin from those SO much tastier than the canned pumpkin.  Worse comes to worse, though, canned pumpkin it will be.

And there you are folks.  My shopping goals for this month.  What about you?  Got anything on your list to buy?


  1. I'm so glad you are not stressed about trying to fill your pantry this year. You've worked very hard to fill it this summer, and on a tight budget, no less. Don't forget to prepare and watch for those holiday sales coming up in the fall and early winter as well. That's when I stock up on things like baking supplies, turkey, ham, potatoes, snack crackers, and cheese. Also watch after Halloween for deals on candy, potato chips and chocolate that you can use for stocking stuffers, too.

    Well, I don't blame you for wanting to buy pre-made puff pastry. It looks complicated and time consuming to make. I'm the same with the canned soup, too. I am currently watching for Campbell's Tomato and Chicken Noodle soup to go on sale for around $0.50 a can to stock up in my pantry. Yes, I know I could make it from scratch. But I like the taste of these and they are great for quick meals or to use during emergency situations. By the way, Quaker Oats has a factory in the city I live in...but unfortunately, no factory outlet store.

    I'm still watching for cheap produce that I can process for winter. I just went to the farmers market today and bought more green & yellow/waxed beans and corn on the cob. The beans will be blanched and froze. The corn on the cob will be cooked for a meal, then any left over will be cut off the cob and frozen. My mom bought a huge cabbage to use for coleslaw too. Cabbage lasts a long time in the fridge. Still waiting for the big 10lb bags of carrots to go on sale super cheap at the grocery store, which should happen this month or next. We will also be making our annual trip to the apple orchard area this month to buy some bushels of "C-grade" apples, hopefully some pears and we'll see what else they have at good prices at the roadside stand (maybe some butternut squash?).

    Other than that, I will watch the sales closely for great deals on things my family like to eat. My job will be slowing down now, so I will have more time to cook from scratch, make jams to can and do some baking. Maybe I can even make some Christmas gifts, too. Surprisingly, I'm actually looking forward to it!

    1. I've gotten to a point where the last few years the seasonal sales were SO disappointing that I just haven't banked on them the last few years. This year, though, seems really promising. I'm seeing more of a return to...what would you call it...regular sale prices on seasonal sale items? Like the condiment sales this year weren't stupendous like they've been in previous years, but they were fair. So, I'm hopeful that things like baking supplies (especially things like butter) go on sale cheap this year and that we might see a return to more normal seasonal meat sales. Here's hoping anyway :).

      You know, I grew up with Campbell's Chicken Noodle and Tomato soup. The chicken noodle I don't like so much anymore as I think my tastes have changed, but the tomato soup I do still like. I do find that I have to add a bit of seasoning to it, but it sure does hit the spot with a grilled cheese sandwich :).

      I'm waiting for the big bags of carrots to go on sale cheap too *laugh*. Usually at the end of the season you can get giant things of carrots super cheap up here, so here's hoping it was a decent carrot year (it was for me in my small garden, so I have hope :).

      I need to pick up some cabbage for the fridge, but this time I'll definitely pick one that ISN'T the size of a large soccer ball. The other one got frozen very quickly when I realized it wasn't going to fit into my fridge *laugh*. At least cabbage seems to be plentiful this year and thus cheap, so I'm hoping to pick up a couple to keep for at least a while in the fridge.

      Good luck with your produce adventures on your end. Sounds like you have some awesome resources relatively close by to take advantage of. I especially envy the orchard as I'd love to have one of those nearby to pick apples from. I also envy the beans. Green and wax beans up here are RIDICULOUSLY expensive, so I end up sticking with the store bought frozen ones. When I get a green house I'm definitely going to plant some of those, although next year I'm going to see about planting some short growing season beans if I can find some seeds. Seems a good investment to plant :).

      I'm looking forward to getting more Christmas gifts done myself, now that food preparation is finally winding down. I get a huge kick out of canning and putting food up (my mom thinks I'm weird for being like that), but with my arm and so many Christmas gifts to get done...I'm glad it's slowed down considerably :).

    2. The orchard that we go to is actually 45 minutes away from where we live. However, it is in the area that my family originates from. Both my grandparents are buried there and we do a bi-annual run to the graveyard, each spring and fall, to put flowers on the grave or take them off for the winter.

      While we're in the area in the fall, we make a side trip to a roadside stand to get the apples. Actually, they also have Applefest festival in the small town, so we often try to aim to go for that as well.

    3. That sounds like a fun trip. And 45 minutes isn't bad. Once you live in Alaska, a "long drive" takes on new significance. I keep telling my husband if we ever move down South again we're going to take a lot of road trips. Long stretches of road are really common here. To get to the nearest apple orchard, though, I'm PRETTY sure I'd have to go to Washington, so I do envy you being able to get to one in less than an hour :).

      Applefest sounds awesome! I love apples and apple season. It's one of the biggest things I miss about living in Maine. Apple picking season was always so much fun. Ah well, Alaska has fun things too ;).

  2. I may just have to look into getting Wasa bread from Amazon - we love it at our house but rarely buy it since it is so expensive! Thanks for letting us know about the price difference - I'm definitely going to look into it.

    We're going for spending as little as possible this month since John has a few weeks before getting his first paycheck at his new job (Whoot!) and my paycheck covers just the basics - mortgage, medical insurance and gas for the car. We're going to have to pull utilities out of savings and keep things turned off! :) I have about $20 in gift cards that I can use if things come push to shove but I'm hoping to stick to a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs per week for a while.

    SO glad you have so much produce in your pantry and freezers - what a huge blessings. Now all that hard work you've done this summer is paying off for sure!

    Rest well, let that arm heal (that 800mg dose you mentioned is an overdose for me so I'm glad it works well for you!), and enjoy the fruits of your labor!


    1. Yay for new jobs! I did a little dance when my husband started his second job just because, money *laugh*.

      I sure hope 800 mg of Ibuprofen is okay to take as that's the huge horse pills my doctor prescribed me when I told her the other stuff was bugging my head. I also told her about the cream and how much it cost and she was appalled and understood why the insurance company was giving her such a hard time after finding out the price, so she just said to ditch the prescription and go and get some Ultra Strength Ben Gay or some Icy Hot or something like that. So I have found that Ultra Strength Ben Gay smells so strongly of menthol that it'll clean out your head when you have a cold *laugh*.

    2. Not offering medical advice here but sharing my experience. When my Rheumatoid Arthritis pain began ramping up I noticed I was taking more and more ibuprofen. I asked my Rheumatologist if it was safe to take so much and she said many of her patients are taking 800 mg. Both she and my Primary Care doc know that I am taking 800 mg a couple times a day, every day and have for a long time. My primary care doc keeps and eye on the labs (have to have them done frequently) for signs of (I think) possible kidney problems but none yet. Do be sure you always eat something when you take it, even a few crackers, as on an empty stomach can do damage. Love your blog!

    3. I totally didn't mean to alarm you! Quite sure most people are fine with that since that's the dose of some of the OTC extra-strength meds out there. I break out in the lovely 'butterfly rash' and can't stand up. :) I learned that after taking a prescription dose that that the doctor didn't blink at giving me. Live and learn I guess!

      I hear you on the money thing! John's been making less than $15,000/yr for the last two years, which basically pays for medical insurance for us, if that. I'm excited to have a bit of wiggle room again - never mind that we have a bunch of other BIG stuff that we need to do but at least I can not worry if someone outgrows their shoes before the next sale rolls around. :)

      Have a great week,

    4. Woah, not being able to stand that's not good. Glad you figured that one out before you took another dose and did some serious harm to yourself.

      I know how you feel about money. We're in much the same boat. I'm super happy the pantry is way better stocked than I had hoped for this year and I am HOPEFULLY in a position to start saving money this winter. I'm just getting to a point where my husband is making enough where I can put a few dollars aside here and there, but we're still not even close to being prepared for any type of emergency, be it a tire needing replaced, a sudden medical expense or anything else, so I try not to think about it and just keep plugging along saving my pennies here and there in the hopes it'll start to add up in the long run.

  3. I get my Kroger sale paper early since we we only get a newspaper twice a week (small town). The upcoming sale beginning on Wednesday, September 7th will have 4lb of sugar for $.99 and Kroger cheese for $.99 for 8 oz. Honeycrisp apples will be on sale for $1.99 per pound. I don't know if the prices will be the same for you but I wanted to give you a heads-up as to what will be on sale.

    1. Aw, thanks! I'll let you know if our sales even reflect yours. Sometimes it seems our sales are off in left field from the Lower 48 and other times they can be sort of close. I can safely say that our prices will probably be more as we end up with everything costing more due to shipping costs, but we shall see :).

  4. Hi Erika,
    You've really done well. Amazingly honey crisp apples are the same price where I live. Hopefully the orchards will have them for a little less. I'm still processing garden produce and have onions in the dehydrator right now and chicken stock cooking from bones in the slow cooker to be canned tomorrow. The other thing that needs to get done is freezer cole slaw. At least that's the plan. My only shopping goal this week is to get to one of our family-owned grocery stores on Thursday as they're having a one-day chicken, beef, and pork sale, that's super fantastic. I know the everything will be top notch as they purchase for this event from the local 4Hers. Hopefully after this sale and careful planning we'll be stocked with the above for the fall, winter and early spring. Dorothy

    1. I envy your meat sales. That sounds fantastic! I hope you can get a ton to see you through till next summer!

  5. I am curious about Alaskan winters. Do you get snowed in for weeks at a time? You would be prepared if that is the case. Until retirement I lived on a midwest farm, and sometimes we would get snowed in or iced in for a long time. A few times, without electricity, which stopped the furnace and pumps. We always prepared just in case. We would fill the tub with water for flushing and other use when we knew a storm was coming. I always had extra food on hand.

    1. I too am curious about your winters and how you survive. I am in lower Middle Tennessee and it is so different for us. When it snows here, everything comes to a grinding halt. Northerners laugh at us until they experience one storm then we laugh back. We get ice or wet snow that thaws during the day then freezes at night. No road is level (hills of Tennessee) and there are no curbs and deep ditches beside each road. Parked cars will just start sliding. As a child I would just try to stand on the roads but you would slide one way or the other. The roads look fine but they are covered in “black ice” which is a term for ice you can't see but is there anyway. Some years we get nothing and then the next year WHAM.

    2. The biggest thing about Alaska is that winters can be really harsh and when they are harsh the state still doesn't shut down for anything. Period. And the state is so vast the odds of getting your road plowed quickly are minute. So, no matter how much snow you've gotten, no matter how terrible the ice storm, about 99.9% of the time you still have to get up and get your kids to school and, in the case of my husband and others, you have to go to work. Our winters are nine months long on average, so for someone like me who HATES HATES HATES to drive in bad weather...I dread them *laugh*. So, I try to make sure we're well stocked so I don't have to worry about taking my life into my own hands to get to the store during terrible weather. Especially since I live on a hill, which doesn't seem like a bad hill at all...a nice little hill, but during the winter it becomes darned near impossible to get up it and then we're quite literally the last road in our area to get salt or anything put on it or plowed, so it gets scary, especially since the ditch along our road is deep. It's really the only thing I hate about living where I do.

      We haven't gotten much snow the last couple of years, but lots of ice and black ice at that, so it led to a lot of interesting drives to school in the morning I can tell you what. This year, if the weather continues on the pattern it has all summer long...we're going to get buried snow-wise. Which will be good for vitamin D deficiencies (the last couple of years has been terrible during the winter as with the dark on top of the cold and no snow to reflect what light we got? Winters were long and depressing), but not so much for driving. We'll see how it goes, though.

      And it gets cold here. Really cold. Like everyone leaves their cars running for fear the car battery will be dead by the time they get back to their car, cold. The worst winter we've had, and this is even talking to old timers who were thinking about moving after it, was about five years ago. The winter was really, really cold, and yet we got tons of snow on top of it. Moose were going into the towns and cities to escape the massive snow pack to eat branches off of trees and things and yet so many of them still starved to death that winter. It was awful. I've never seen weather where it was snowing, which normally would mean the weather SHOULD be warm, but nope, it was still 20 below outside. And it was LONG. I think we skipped Spring that year and went right into summer, but in June. Never had a winter where I wanted to move after the winter was over more than that one *laugh*.

      Another reason to stock ahead, especially in inclement weather, is you never know when a big shipment of supplies is going to get delayed, a barge is going to go down, or a dock worker's strike is going to effect the state and shortages might happen. It's just one of those things you have to prepare for when living up here.

      The biggest reason I prepare for winter, though, is that with my husband is construction, winter tends to be the time of year where we will run out of work and things will get super tight. So, we've always tried to prepare ahead just in case and I've never regretted doing it.

    3. It is 92 outside right now and tomorrow's high is 94 degrees yet reading your comments made me shiver. I know winter is coming and I too dread it but I look forward to curling up in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.

    4. Your comment totally made me laugh as I'm really the type of person that if I had a choice I'd hibernate inside all winter long and just wait for Spring. I love sitting in a quilt with a steaming mug of hot chocolate or coffee, reading a book or doing embroidery or knitting or something and just not caring what the weather was doing outside. Nothing better than cuddling up with your husband and kids and realizing that even if it dumps three feet of snow you don't have to go to work the next day, so who cares? Course, since we moved here we've NEVER been able to do that as we were always getting dumped on when my husband has to be at work the next day and we have to get the kids to and from school. But, it's still a nice dream *laugh*.