Dh allows the kids to buy treats at the grocery store, sometimes, IF the item is on sale. (Yes, their financial education has already started as they are very involved in the grocery shopping).
Anyway, one day they spotted a package of 15-bean soup (dried product) and thought it looked really good. Dh decided it didn't look like a bad idea.
So we had the Cajun 15 Bean Soup for dinner a while back. We decided it was delish, cheap and healthy. All that for the pretty packaging and varied beans that caught the kids' eye.
So we had it again last night. I think it turned out even better this time. VERY spicy, but we like that. We cooked with sausage.
This is definitely a family fave.
As far as grocery shopping we primarily shop at Safeway and Bel Air. I think Bel Air shopping confuses much of the frugal crowd, but they switched to more of a "low-price leader" a few years back and we find the prices on most of what we buy to be very similar, though the store is VERY nice and the customer service can not be beat. I think most people assume we pay a premium for all the perks, but we really don't. We certainly could buy many overpriced items in that store, but as far as the basics we find them to be the best prices.
For the rest, there is safeway.
Plus Bel Air gives us 25 cents of per gallon gas, which is a hard perk to beat (Safeway gives us 3 cents to 10 cents).
Anyway, some of the items we buy in bulk at Safeway are cat food and organic apple juice (we're not strict on organic but it's a great deal - this particular juice).
In the last month or so they discontinued both in the larger (discounted) sizes.
My mom offered to take us over to Costco to stock up on this kind of stuff. We don't buy enough in bulk to justify any warehouse membership for now, but we may have to take her up on it in the interim (use her membership).
I will probably look around online and see if I can find the cat food in bulk; maybe shop some of the pet stores.
I have blogged much that we haven't really noticed grocery prices in our particular budget. Not to say it isn't happening, but just to say it hasn't affected us. But these will be two significant increases in price for us - so we will research our bulk options a little more.
(ETA: A quick online search shows these size changes are at the manufacturing level. So we may have little choice. What a way to sneak in SIGNIFICANT price increases... I've seen many of you blog about this - but WOW).
This month will be impossible to get a grip on our grocery budget (or I should say, a feeling about it) because we were gone a week and have had, what seems like, infinite amount of free meals. Next month will be normal and we'll have to see where we are at.
We did splurge on some ice cream yesterday (drumsticks - yummy).
& as a perfect example, dh found a 3.5 pound bag of gyozas at Bel Air, for $10. The full price at Safeway, for 1.5 pounds, was $6. He had bought the Safeway ones because they were on sale, and I found them to be rather good (as good as Trader Joe's, which is way out of the way for us). So if Bel Air's are any good, I think I am sold.
I can't believe we never thought to buy frozen gyozas before. !! Yum yum yum. Much cheaper than eating out, to find them. Though of course not as good as fresh ones, but they really aren't bad at all.
Yesterday was a pretty simple day. My mom came for a visit and we played cards most of the day. ("Spite & Malice" & "Oh Hell" are our favorites - any other players out there?)
I made sloppy joes for lunch and dh did the soup for dinner. We usually get our parents to treat us out but we were in a simpler mood (tired of eating out this month, for sure).
I think we were all on the same page, so worked out.
In the morning, the kids and I went to Fairytale Town (a little park that is more than a park, here). The place opened at 9 and we got there closer to 9:30. We had been planning a hike in Old Town, but there is a huge jazz festival this weekend - all weekend - and we figured we would probably be lucky to find parking. So we were going to settle on something else when my mom decided to come over. So I had promised the kids a trip to Fairytale Town (we have membership, so the trip is "free" and we haven't been getting our money's worth in the winter months). So we headed over there about 1/2 hour after they opened and I swear for about a 1/2 hour we were the ONLY people there. We hung around a couple of hours until grandma got here.
It was COOL having the place to ourselves!
I did have to buy some nachos - what can I say. They are YUMMY. & hey, it's for a good cause...
That was my splurge for the day I guess.
Eventually some other kids came in (not many) and BM made fast friends with a 6-year-old.
He had actually befriended a 7-year-old at LEgoLand and had spent much the day with this kid, so it was much the same.
I think he is officially "graduated" and ready for Kindergarten. I know most people don't understand why we put our kids in preschool. We are fiercely vocal that the kids don't need a fancy preschool to learn academics (they learn them fine at home) and we also tend to be rather frugal. BUT socially/emotionally we really struggled with developing our child. It was probably extra hard with the man staying home, and not being so invited into the primarily female playgroups. But it's more than that. I have friends who don't let their kids out of their sight but expect them to thrive in Kindergarten in the fall. I think they are insane. No offense, but they are insane. I at least appreciate/understand the thinking when it comes to home schoolers. But I am at a complete loss to the emerging trend to shelter your kids 24/7 for 5 years and not let the kid out of your sight, but when they turn 5 they can magically go fend for themselves at school 6 hours a day.
Thankfully that is not the "norm," but I see it a little too often.
Color me confused.
For me personally, we knew we always intended to send BM off to public school in the fall, and didn't feel we were properly preparing him socially and emotionally. So that is where preschool came in for us. We felt we needed help in that area, and searched it out. I see nothing wrong in that. To admit we needed help. I know we could have found more frugal help, but we found this route to be the best/easiest, and certainly no regrets there. Some areas we are frugal so we can splurge in other areas.
Anyway, to see him suddenly have the ability to make fast friends with just about anyone he meets, is quite an accomplishment. He has only one more month of preschool, and I think it has done its job.
I also like how he has a lot of "unsupervised time" to interact with other children. I know the 4:1 ratio he enjoys at preschool is nothing near the 20:1 ratio he will encounter in kindergarten. But at least he has spent much time with other kids without momma breathing down his neck and monitoring his every move. I think he will at least be much more prepared than those kids. He's learned, with much practice, how to solve conflict and get along with other kids, on his own, without adult intervention every second of the day.
We'll see how he does in Kindergarten. I notice he does gravitate to older kids. He may have less patience for the kids in his grade. But hopefully a few of them have gotten the emotional/social education he has. & if not, I guess the other kids will learn fast in that environment.
I guess the true test will be he how he does at school in the fall.
15 Bean Soup
May 26th, 2008 at 07:38 am