Monday, October 29, 2012

Healthy Living eBook Bundle...A GREAT Deal!

This is a great deal, A GREAT DEAL!  The Healthy Living eBook bundle promotion will only last for 5 short days, from October 29th – November 3rd, 2012 so don't let this great price expire without purchasing it!
The eBook bundle contains books from Stephanie Langford (, Laura Coppinger ( Mandy Ehman (, Katy Kimbal (, Todd Dosenberry (, and 19 other bloggers!

What type of books are in this bundle?

  • real food recipes-- main meals, snacks, smoothies, and more!
  • grain free and Paleo recipes
  • gardening and homesteading
  • healthy pregnancy, birth and babies
  • all-natural skincare and beauty tutorials and recipes
  • herbal remedies
  • tips for a healthier, more holistic lifestyle
  • saving money and time, even with a whole foods diet
Not to mention, well-known brands to bring you even more natural-living bonuses!!!

The Healthy Living eBook Bundle sale!
34 eBooks. $300 value. PLUS, $48 in natural-living bonuses and a chance to win one of three awesome kitchen appliances.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jury Duty Meal Plan

Well, I called in on Friday and I have to report for jury duty tomorrow morning!  My meal plan is simple this week.  If I don't end up on the jury this week, my meal plan may change for a little more doubling because I will be calling in each Friday to see if I report the next week!  No links to recipes this week because I am too tired and too busy! 


B-Waffles (Frozen in advance!)

L-Leftover Shipwreck and raw veggies

S-Salmon Patties and rice (Patties made the night before and rice soaked all day for a quick boil!) and canned peas


B-Pumpkin Muffins  (From the freezer from last week!)

L-Fish sticks and raw veggies

S-Balsamic Chicken (in the crock pot) and green beans


B-Breakfast Cookies

L-Leftover Chicken and green beans

S-Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes (both from the freezer) and mixed veggies


B-Eggs and bread

L-Peanut Butter and Jelly and raw veggies

S-Beef and Noodles and roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes



L-Mini Tacos and raw veggies

S-Small Group



L-Chicken and Rice Casserole (Double)


Sunday (11-4)

B-Leftover Pancakes


S-Cheeseburger Skillet (Triple beef for future quick meals!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where I Shop-Part 3

If you are just jumping in here today this is the third in the serious of three answering “Where Do I Shop?”  Today I share my lists from bulk shopping stores.  Bulk shopping is a learned art!  My shopping list never includes all of these items at one time.  That would be a super expensive trip.   The great thing about purchasing in large quantities is that time and money can be saved by purchasing enough for several weeks or months!  I love saving time and money!



I was recently asked if I actually saved money with my Costco membership.  I save enough in almond milk and rice milk to break even on the cost of the membership.  The membership gives me access to foods that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to get in bulk, and I like that.

·         Almond Milk

·         Rice Milk

·         Uncooked tortillas (Yes, they are white four, but we do not normally eat white flour so this is an area where I give.  These are a great price-about $7 for 44 tortillas, and have a very short ingredient list.)

·         Nuts

·         Canned salmon

·         Organic tortilla chips

·         Organic salsa

·         Organic lettuce

·         Fruit leather

·         Toilet paper

·         Paper towels

·         Olive oil

·         Grape seed oil

·         Honey

·         Maple syrup

·         Fish sticks (Yep, one more convenience food, but they are made with 50% less breading and wheat flour so I justify!)

·         Frozen tilapia

·         Natural peanut butter

·         Organic eggs

·         Dairy-free chocolate chips

·         Oranges

·         White vinegar

·         Baking soda

·         Contact solution

·         Organic frozen green beans

·         Organic frozen broccoli

·         Coffee


Azure Standard

At first I was skeptical about ordering from Azure.  It seemed a little complicated to me.  I order online and pick the order up off the back of some semi?   It has never been difficult.  First, I signed up to join the online co-op which was painless.  You cannot see prices unless you sign up to join the co-op.  I don’t like to sign up for things that I am unsure of, but they do not inundate my inbox with sales and specials as do most online stores.  I appreciate that.  Once a member a phone call can get you the contact information for you area’s co-op organizer if you have specific questions about your drop.  (ie. Where is the specific location of the drop?) There is a minimum order of $50.  The part that made me the most nervous was that I cannot find out about the exact time of our drop until the DAY BEFORE THE DROP!  That made me nervous.  I signed up with a friend so that if one of us was unable to go the other could pick up the order.  The pleasant surprise has been that in the 8 months that I have been ordering from Azure my drop has always come on the Wednesday after the order cut off between 5-6 p.m.  It isn’t as vague of a drop off as I feared.  The prices from Azure are worth any inconvenience.  Organic whole wheat pastry flour is $0.50/ pound.   (Last month we went through around 19lbs of flour!) Organic apples this month were $0.98 per pound.  I love stocking up on a great deal!

·         Organic whole wheat white pastry flour

·         Sucanat

·         Rolled oats

·         Seasonal organic produce (Apples, carrots, peaches, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc.)

·         Coconut yogurt

·         Fish oils

·         Coconut ice cream

·         Coconut oil

·         Frozen organic berries

·         Palm shortening

·         Organic raw cheddar cheese

·         Organic crushed tomatoes-canned


Another great online resource worth mentioning is Vitacost.  They do not have the produce deals that I am always looking for, but they do have some really great deals on fats like coconut oil, palm shortening and ghee.  They also carry vitamins and fish oils.  They will often run shipping specials or buy one get one 50% off, but they send me many emails.  I think that is annoying.  They will ship directly to your door which for many is worth something too!  Vitacost is worth checking out.  Email me if you would like a $10 discount code! (

I think that should wrap up my shopping lists.  Did I forget anything?  Were these lists helpful?   Where do you find the best deals?  I would love to know!
If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 you can read them at these links!

This post is linked up at

Where I Shop-Part 2

Where do I shop?  I live in a really great spot for purchasing real food for a great price.  In the Des Moines area we have Whole Foods, Hy-Vee, Dahl’s, Fareway, Campbell’s Nutrition, Aldi, Trader Joes, Target, Wal-Mart, Costco and Sam’s Club.  (Did I forget any?) We are also just a hop, skip and a jump away from great local farms. 

I am a very busy home school mom with four children 7 and under.  I do not have time to go get three things at each store chasing each deal and sale.  Instead I choose one store each week (two if it makes sense) and get everything that I need from there for the month.  In order to do this I plan our menu for a month at a time and bulk shop.  I have chosen to shop at Costco, Fareway, and Trader Joe’s.  I am part of a co-op that purchases directly from Picket Fence Creamery, and I order online from Azure Standard. 

Do you want to peak at my shopping list? Today we will look at my lists for Trader Joe’s, Fareway and Picket Fence.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is still relatively new to our area.  I like the food selection and the price.  I like the atmosphere.  (The kids try to find “Bacon” the pig hidden on the shelves.  When they find him they get a sucker; it keeps them entertained!) I have a couple of problems at TJs.  A lot of the produce is imported.  I don’t buy grapes there because I am too cheap to buy organic, and the conventionally grown grapes are from Chili.  It is easy to justify some of TJ’s packaged food because they usually claim it is healthy.  It is still more expensive than making it from scratch and often times is still just processed food.

·         Organic applesauce

·         Taco shells

·         Frozen mini tacos (A processed food we indulge in for convenience!)

·         Organic yogurt

·         Lunchmeat

·         Shredded cheese

·         Beef hot dogs

·         Bananas

·         Ice cream

·         Sprouted bread

·         Butter

·         Dishwasher detergent

·         Dish soap

·         Organic carrots

·         Organic lettuce

·         Dark chocolate (My weakness)



I grew up shopping at Fareway.  It is significantly cheaper than Hy-Vee or Dahl’s and will honor competitor prices.  Each Tuesday I check the Aldi ad to see what is on sale and then bring the flier with me when I shop on Thursday.  Fareway does not have a lot of organic foods, but they are trying.  I vote with my dollars and try to support their efforts.  I will buy boneless skinless chicken breast there as well as roasts.  It is not organic, but it is also not gassed or injected with water solutions, and they do not use iodine or finely textured beef.  I try to buy fruits and veggies that are not on the Dirty Dozen from Fareway and any extra baking supplies I need.

·         Thick skinned fruits (bananas, pineapples, oranges and melons in season)

·         Domestic Grapes

·         Raisins (California)

·         Noodles and Pasta

·         Tomato sauce

·         Low sugar jelly

·         Frozen veggies

·         White, brown and powdered sugar (we don’t go through a lot of these so I do not purchase in bulk)

·         Al Fresco chicken sausage

·         Fresh chicken breasts and roasts (when on sale)

·         Triscuits

·         Ketchup

·         Mustard

·         Organic apple cider vinegar

·         Dry Beans

·         Sour cream

·         Sheeder milk

·         Sweet potatoes


Picket Fence

I am part of a co-op that takes turns making once a month trips out to Picket Fence Creamery.  I am currently out of ground beef (I order ground beef and whole chickens from Tom’s Ranch when they are taking orders), so I am purchasing it from Picket Fence.  They had eggs on sale this month so I stocked my fridge with 8 dozen!  That will last 2-3 weeks for us depending on the amount of baking that I do.

·         Milk

·         Eggs

·         Ground Beef

·         Bacon

·         Raw Honey

·         Sausage

(If you missed Part 1 yesterday you can find it here!)
This post is linked up at and

Monday, October 22, 2012

Where I Shop-Part 1

If you have not noticed the rise in the cost of food in the last few years you are probably not the one doing the grocery shopping for your household!  I have been asked a few times where I shop for real food at the best price.  (And if you ask I will try to post a reply because I think it is much more fun to have a “conversation.”)

Before I get into the specifics of what I buy where I thought that I should first explain how I decide what to buy where.  There are usually four factors that I think about when buying food: Budget, Diet, Geography and Methods of Farming.  The weight of importance that I put on these four categories may be completely different than that of my neighbors.  I am sharing my thought process not to convince anyone to think this way, but because I think that it is important to know why I shop the way that I do before I share how I shop for our family.

Diet: We eat a Real Food diet which means that we try to consume foods that have been minimally processed.  Many times the food that we eat is dairy-free because 50% of our children have a dairy intolerance.  I went back and forth several times trying to decide if this was the first criteria that I use or the second.  By putting it first I didn’t want to imply that there is never processed food in our cart.  We follow the 80-20 rule and 80% we eat really well, but there is the 20%.  I ended up putting it first for two reasons.  1) If we cannot eat it I don’t buy it even if it is on sale or organic. 2) I think that many times people think that real food cannot be eaten on a budget, and that simply isn’t true. 

Budget:  The first time I wrote this post I put budget first.  Then I changed my mind and I put it second because I don’t always buy the cheapest apple per pound or spend hours cutting coupons.  However, I have to stay within my family’s budget or I am not being a good manager of my home or steward of our money.  I watch for sales, buy in bulk and make from scratch when I can.

Local: I support local businesses and farmers whenever I can.  There is greater accountability when the consumer is looking in the farmer’s eyes asking about methods.  The consumer can influence how and what is available.  Many farmers are responsible but are not certified organic.  They may be even healthier than the organic foods in the supermarket.  I prefer to buy eggs from the farm than even the organic eggs at Costco, and I love contributing directly to the economy of local families!

Organic: How food is grown or raised is important.  This post would get incredibly long if I went into great detail, but I will say that pesticide and insecticide residue remains on fruits and vegetables, and hormones and antibiotics in animals are passed along to those who consume them.

Grocery stores, membership stores, online shopping and local producers; I shop from each one of them every month using many bulk shopping principles to best serve my family.   I can’t wait to continue this discussion on where to buy quality food at great price! 

This post is linked up at Raising Arrows, Homestead Revival and Penniless Parenting

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meal Plan Oct. 22-28

This week should be much slower at our house.  Soccer is over and so is woman’s Bible study.  My fear is that this may just be the calm before the storm.  I received paperwork from the federal court that I may be needed to serve on jury duty for the next month.  My goal is to double a freeze as much food as I can over the next few weeks.  It would be very different for our household if suddenly I had to be gone every day for a couple of weeks!  A few freezer meals could come in very handy.



L-Stew and Sweet potatoes

S-Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Broccoli (Double and freeze!)


B-Leftover pancakes

L-Meatballs and Pasta


B-Eggs and Toast

L-Left over Chicken, veggies and dip

S-Shredded Pork Roast on buns (Double the marinade and the buns and freeze!) Freezer corn and sweet peas


B-Oatmeal and Eggs

L-Amish Lunch

S-Chicken Tortilla Soup (Double and freeze!)


B-Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (Double, maybe triple and freeze)

L-Leftover Soup

S-Small Group (Maybe bring Pumpkin Cheesecake!)


B-Waffles (Freeze again!)

L-Pizza (Try new crust recipe to freeze.)

S-Burgers and Homemade fries (white and sweet) and green beans




Monday, October 15, 2012

Make A Move Monday: Where have I been?

Last week I took time to do a lot of things that I "should" do.  Mostly I did A LOT of laundry.  The weather turned cool on us, and I think that the extra fabric and layers added 4 or 5 loads to my week.  I was determined to get caught up on laundry, COMPLETELY caught up.  I even put the laundry away each night.  (Hold your applause, please!)  It was wonderful.

Another thing I keep saying that we should do is visit some of our elderly family members.  We van schooled on Monday and listened to a couple of CDs that came with our curriculum.  I learned a ton about Tchaikovsky!  Now I am saying we should make the trip again soon.

Wednesday we went on a hiking field trip and began fall clean up pruning back the flowers and plants for fall.  I dug up the sad remainder of the garden.  Until spring, my Friend.

Friday I went on a retreat with the ladies from church.  We had a wonderfully encouraging 24 hours.  The camp was great.  I hope that we can go back as a family sometime!

How did you spend your week?  I would love to see what you are doing to Make A Move in your home! Please read through the rules for those participating, and thanks for your participation.

1) No linking to giveaways or promotions for affiliates or sponsors. Give aways and promos are great, but they expire. I will delete giveaway links or promotional links.
2) Keep things simple and healthy. Avoid recipes with "cream of x soup," processed cheese or corn syrup. Crafts are cool, but unless they help organize or simplify please don't link them.
3) Link back to Simply Made Home.This is common blog party courtesy. It also helps build the community of encouragement. Check out other’s posts and leave a comment! It is fun to hear from others.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Menu Plan October 15-21

Menu planning this week was a little tricky.  I order through Azure Standard each month, and in October they had some great deals.  My order comes in on Wednesday this week.  When I went shopping last week I didn't buy a lot of things that we needed because they are coming in bulk this week.  We will not starve, but the fridge is going to be crazy empty the next couple of days!

B-Pancakes and Bacon
L-Noodles and Sauce and Roasted Broccoli
S-Coq Au Vin and Green Beans

B-Leftover Pancakes
L-Leftover Coq Au Vin
S-Koren Beef and Rice and mixed veggies

B-Oatmeal and Eggs
L-Mini Tacos and Green Beans
S-Salmon Patties Homemade Fries (I am excited to use my new french fry cutter!) and peas

B-Eggs and Toast
L-Clean out the fridge
S-Chicken Noodle Soup

L-Soup and Sweet Potatoes
S-Small Group

B-Baked Oatmeal
L-Beef Stew

L-Tacos and raw veggies
S-Popcorn Chicken, broccoli and sweat potatoes

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Meal Plan October 8-14

I just got up from a nap on this cool fall afternoon.  Now with a cup of coffee at my side I am meal planning for the week.  Ahh…this is my happy place! 

We have had a good weekend and are gearing up for the week ahead.  One major consideration for this week’s meal plan is that MAMA IS GOING OUT OF TOWN.  The women from our church are retreating to a camp an hour or so away on Friday night into Saturday, and I have decided to retreat with them.  I have spent the night without my children.  I have spent the night without my husband, but in the last 9 years I have never spent the night without my husband and my children.  Truth be told I am a little anxious about it.  My husband is a very capable father, but I like to set him up for success and have meals ready for him.  I planned a few meals this week that should have a lot of leftovers so that while I am gone he can reheat and go!


Breakfast-Frozen Waffles (These are so great for busy mornings when we are leaving the house, and I don't want to deal with a mess in the morning.)

Lunch-Out with family

Supper-Beef and Broccoli with egg noodles


Lunch-Chicken Tacos and sweet potatoes

Supper-Cashew Chicken and Rice, Green Beans (I am so excited to try this new crock pot recipe!)



Lunch-Clean out the fridge, it is leftover time!

Supper-Pork Sandwiches, Cheese and Broccoli Potatoes, Peas


Breakfast-Leftover Pancakes

Lunch-Pork quesadillas, raw veggies and dip

Supper-Chili and corn bread


Breakfast-Baked Oatmeal

Lunch-PB&J, raw veggies and dip

 Supper- Someone is cooking for ME and everyone else to small group


Lunch-Chili Soup

Supper-Pork Sandwiches, freezer corn and peas


Lunch-Popcorn Chicken, lettuce salad, bread


 This post is linked up at Meal Plan Monday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention

Last weekend Campbell’s Nutrition, our locally owned natural food store, hosted a 75th anniversary celebration.  I took my little two, and we enjoyed guilt-free food samples from a variety of vendors.  This was a special treat for my kiddos because they are d-free and normally don’t get to eat samples!  I also got to meet Jenny from Jenuinely Pure in person.  We have emailed back and forth for the past few years but never met.  She was giving out sample for a body scrub that I may have to purchase for Christmas gifts in a couple of months!

While at Campbell’s, I decided to take advantage of a few sales to get ready for flu and cold season.  As much as I don’t want to think about it, soon we will be shutting up the house and will start passing around runny noses and fevers.  Yuck!  Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure that is how I prep our home for winter.


Multivitamins-Vitamins have been under debate for years.  We take food-based multis in the winter when the variety and quality of produce doesn’t give us the same vitamins and mineral as we would get in the summer.  Food-based vitamins contain powdered foods to increase absorption by the body.  The kids like Animal Parade and I like Nature's Plus and Rainbow Lite.

Essential Oils-We have been using eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil for the last couple of years.  I make a vapor rub with eucalyptus for congestion and a tummy rub with peppermint oil.  I add both oils to the kids’ bath water when they have coughs or colds.  It really clears them up.  I can add a few drops to a vaporizer or on their pillows to help keep them clear through the night.  Last month my oldest had a fever for 10 days that he could not shake.  I ended up purchasing Thieves Young Living essential oil which is both an antiviral and antibacterial essential oil.   His fever disappeared, and I am glad to go into winter with this versatile oil in the cupboard.

Herbal Teas-Since I was in grade school I have struggled during winters with tonsillitis and strep throat.   I really like Yogi Teas with honey when my throat starts to get scratchy.  I first bought the cold weather sampler, but Jordan and I both agree that our favorites are Echinacea Immune Support and Throat Comfort.  

Throat Lozenges-The rule at our house is that you have to have a cough that would keep you up at night to warrant getting a Zand throat lozenge.  The kids love them, and if they see them they will pretend to cough to get one.  J  I bought Elderberry and Zinc because it supports the immune system and they taste great.

Oscillicoccinum-I thought this was a little crazy, but I had it on hand last winter.  At the first symptoms of the flu last year both Jordan and my oldest son took Oscillicoccinum and were able to continue on with normal life the next day.  I will keep it on hand again this year.

Olive Leaf Complex-As I have said before I have trouble with my throat each winter.  Strep throat is super fun (hear my sarcasm) because there is a waiting game to see if it viral or bacterial.  Different doctors play it differently.  Some make you wait for test results before prescribing medicines, and some give an Rx even though it might be viral.  Olive leaf complex is both antibacterial and antiviral and is great for strep throat.  I have used it several times and been very impressed!

Onions and Garlic-I will use these as much as I can while cooking this winter especially in soups and stews.  I have to hide onion from the pickier eaters at our house so I buy a bag of frozen chopped onion and add a little to our meals.  We like garlic and I have some late garlic growing in my garden.

Garlic oil works wonders for ear infections.  Like strep throat, ear infections may be viral or bacterial; prescriptions are not useful for viral.  I started using garlic oil for my second son’s ear infections when he was around 6 months old and had been on a few rounds of antibiotics with no end in sight.  (Kids with dairy issues often have ear issues because dairy increases mucus secretions and the fluid builds up in their ears.)   When I first started using garlic oil I bought it at Campbell’s, but then started making my own.  I use it whenever I suspect an ear infection coming on.  Since I started using it three years ago my son who once was on a cycle of antibiotics for ear infections has only been on antibiotics once.   My son smells like the Olive Garden for a few days, but it is worth it to me.


Recipe for Garlic Oil

1/4 cup olive oil or sweet oil

4 cloves garlic finely minced

Put in a pan on low heat and let warm for 15-20 min ~ the idea is not to cook the garlic but to release the oils. Strain into a jar (preferably glass-I just used a baby food jar) and let cool. Drop 2-3 drops in each ear 2 or 3 times a day and put a small bit of cotton in the ear. The infection should clear up in a day or two. The mixture will keep in your fridge for 3 - 4 days then you will need to make a fresh batch. I don't put cold oil in the ears, but warm it up in a hot water bath first!

This post is linked up at