Why I Love ALDI

When you are a single-income family, you look for ways to “cut corners” and make ends meet in order to stay under budget.  It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that a family of eight can, quite quickly, rack up a hefty grocery bill in little-to-no time.

I went through a phase where I LOVED to clip coupons.  And, when I can find the time, I still love to match up sales to coupons and save loads of money. (I’m looking at you, Target!) Unfortunately, lately it seems like I don’t have the time and energy to dedicate to clipping coupons like I used to.  Homeschooling, infant, toddler, housework, etc. The daily to-do list is never ending.

What’s a frugal gal to do??

aldi_logo2

Here is where ALDI comes into the picture. 🙂 ALDI is my one-stop grocery shop and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad bit addicted. These are my TOP TEN reasons I love ALDI!


1. Price: I love that I can stay under budget while buying a HUGE cart full of groceries. I’m not lying to you when I say I can comfortably spend $200 every other week on healthy groceries (obviously frozen pizzas and ice cream don’t fall into this “healthy” category but, hey, at least the majority is healthy) for our family of eight.

source: Google images

source: Google images

2. Store layout: When you walk into ALDI, you notice that the aisles are wiiiiiide and open.  This is excellent when you have a gaggle of children tagging along for a shopping trip. ALDI keeps their set-up simple and clean.  They don’t constantly change around where things are located.  I can arrange my shopping list in order of which items I will pass first, second, third, etc. which helps me save time!

3. Fast checkout: Not only are ALDI’s aisles easy to navigate, but their checkouts are VERY fast (something that ALDI is well-known for)! Which, might I add, is very important when you are shopping with young children. 😉

source: Google images

source: Google images

4. Fresh produce: ALDI always has a variety of fresh produce available.  Obviously this can vary depending on the season, but for the most part I can always get the produce I need.  Everything from peppers, to bananas, to kale, to kiwis.

source: Google images

source: Google images

5. Organic selection: Tagging along with #3 is the super sweet fact that ALDI’s organic (and non-GMO) selection is affordable! Not only that, but I heard from an ALDI representative that they are planning on continuing to grow their organic selection. I try to buy organic whenever possible, especially when it comes to making family favorites, like chili. Right now I can buy organic canned beans, organic canned tomatoes, organic ground beef, and organic tortilla chips for less than what it would cost me to buy the same conventional food items at Walmart.

source: Google images

source: Google images

6. Special buys: I am guilty of serving the same meals over and over again (my kids groan when I mention we are having spaghetti for supper, again).  In an effort to provide a larger variety of meals for my family, I have been meal planning and leaving meal spots open for ALDI’s “special buys”.  Sometimes I will get salmon, or an oriental frozen meal. The great thing about the special buys is that they help me keep our meals fun and different, which means my kids get to taste and try new things.

source: aldi.com

source: aldi.com

7. ALDI store brand: Their store-brand items taste just as good, if not better, than name-brand items.  Our favorites are their spaghetti sauces and, on the very rare occasion, root beer.

8. One-stop shop: I can literally buy all of my groceries I need at ALDI.  Anything from diapers, to kitchen sponges, to flowers.  When I go grocery shopping at Target or Walmart, I often run across things I “need” but hadn’t planned on buying (*ahem* I may or may not be addicted to the DVD bargain bins in the electronics department). At ALDI, that temptation isn’t there, meaning I’m able to stay within my budget. (It also means my kids won’t begging for anything and everything they see when we pass the toy aisles at other stores.)

aldi_bags1

source: Google images

9. Eco-friendly: You need to either bring your own grocery bags or you have to buy them.  I think this helps create consumer responsibility.  No one wants to buy bags, so in a way this forces the customer to bring their own bags to the store, which results in less plastic waste.  You also have the option to use their cardboard item display boxes (usually found in a big metal “crate” in some aisles) to put your groceries in after checking out. I love recycling/reusing!

10. The price: I know this was my #1, but seriously, this is the one thing that made a difference for me and my family.  I cannot stress how much money you can save by shopping ALDI! It definitely makes living on one income very doable.

source: Google images

source: Google images

So the next time you go grocery shopping, grab a quarter (because you have to “pay” a quarter to use their carts… don’t worry, you’ll get it back when you return the cart) and head to your local ALDI. I really think you should give this unique store a try! Let me know if ALDI helps you and your family save money! 🙂

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

mother

My great aunt sent me this poem when I was pregnant with our fifth child. (Click HERE to read it.)  It is titled “Song for a Fifth Child” by Ruth Hamilton. It is a beautiful poem about putting aside daily tasks to be more present with our children, because they grow up too fast. The dust and cobwebs will always be there; our babies will not.

Don’t let things, tasks, people stop you from enjoying your kids while they are still here in your home, needing you.

My house may not be “Pinterest perfect” (my last Pinterest attempt actually ended in an ER visit and stitches), and my countertops are seldom clear of piles of mail, the kids’ artwork, or the dishes from supper last night.  But our days are full of laughter and learning and cuddling and singing and playing.

Except.

Except for when I get trapped in the time vortex known as Facebook.  I can sit down with the intent of giving myself a 20 minute break to unwind on Facebook during naptime, and then look up to realize it is supper time and my house is in complete chaos.

Lack of discipline? Yes. Lack of self-control? Definitely.

Can anyone else relate?

I decided that in order to more fully enjoy my kids, and to be more present with them during the day (and maybe even stay caught up with the laundry??), I’m breaking up with Facebook.

Those that know me well know that I have always had a love-hate relationship with Facebook.

Things that I love about Facebook include: keeping in touch with friends and family that live far away, being able to make new friends in various groups, and having the ability to keep up to date on news happenings around the world. And that’s about it.

I don’t love the drama (oooooh the drama), or the negativity, or the time-sucking, or the constant “I need to know anything and everything about your life” that floods my newsfeed. I have lost friends due to things posted on Facebook.  And, sadly, I’ve missed out on daily interactions with my kids.

Ouch.  It hurts to say that out loud. But if I’m being honest, then yes, it is true.

So, last weekend I made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account. <<Again.>> (Don’t get me wrong, this is much easier said than done!)

I’m putting a stake in the ground and saying I’ve had enough. This time with my kids at home is more important than anything I can see on Facebook. No offense, but adiós, Facebook!  At least until I learn some self-control and discipline. 😉

In regards to the poem I shared above, I give to you my own rendition that more aptly fits into our generation of parenting. With so many things competing for our attention nowadays, let’s make sure our kids aren’t coming in last place! Maybe you can find the courage to unplug more often. Or maybe you want to try a break-up with Facebook (or Twitter, or your e-mail account, etc.). You have nothing to lose and everything worthwhile to gain! 🙂


Song For A 21st Century Child

Mother, oh Mother, check your inbox.
Text back your friend, talk, talk, talk.
Notifications and friend requests, too;
try to go viral with a hit on youtube.
Where is the mother who isn’t updating?
She’s out in the backyard, blissfully playing.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as I dislike to.
(giggling, smiling, cuddling, too).
E-mails are waiting, I forgot how to Tweet
(running and skipping and hide-and-go-seek).

My blog’s not updated and my followers are blue,
and my password needs changing to something new.
But I’m playing pirates and kissing boo-boos.
Look at those toes! Aren’t they just cute?
(giggling, smiling, cuddling, too).

Facebook and Twitter will wait ’til tomorrow,
for kiddos grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So turn off the iPad, silence the beep.
I’m snuggling my baby for babies don’t keep.

I’ve Been Given the Sunshine Award!

Wow! When I saw my very first blogging award pop up in my notifications, I was partially ecstatic and partially wondering if someone had made a mistake. 🙂 Nevertheless, I could really use a little “Sunshine” on a cold and snowy day here in the Midwest!

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Sarah over at Life in the Orchard has nominated me for my very first award. Again, I’m still super honored someone thinks my blog is award-worthy!

Of course there are some “rules”

  • Include the Sunshine award icon in your post and/or on your blog
  • Link to the blogger that nominated you
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself
  • Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award (I only know a handful of bloggers but will try to nominate as many as possible)
  • Link to your nominees and inform them of the award
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer

A fun thing about this award is you have to answer 10 questions from the person who nominated you. Here are my questions and answers!

  1. Why did you start your blog? I started my blog as a way to capture all of the thoughts and feelings I’m experiencing in my current role as full-time stay-at-home-mom.  I am hoping to be able to reach out to other moms along the way and let them know that they are not alone! Also hoping to learn a thing or two from my readers alone the way.
  2. What is your favorite thing about blogging? My favorite thing so far (my blog is still in its infancy) has been connecting with other bloggers and getting feedback on my posts. I love checking my stats to see who is reading what and if anyone has “liked” anything I have to say.
  3. What is your least favorite thing about blogging? My least favorite thing about blogging is trying to articulate my thoughts in words that sometimes aren’t easy to come by. My “draft” box is chock full of things I hope to finish writing someday!
  4. Do your friends and family know about your blog? Yes, they do!
  5. What is your routine for the first 30 minutes of your morning? Since I’m usually awake before my kids (not by choice… hello, pregnancy insomnia!) I try to get all of my Facebook, e-mail and blog checks out of the way before starting the day.  Then I try to squeeze in a shower, depending on if the baby is awake or not. 🙂
  6. What is your favorite part of the day? My favorite part of the day is when my husband comes home from work (he works two jobs right now) and our family can finally connect, even if it is just for an hour. I love seeing the kids get super excited when he walks in the door, and I love seeing his energetic responses (even though I’m sure he is dog-tired).  It also helps having an extra set of hands and eyes when caring for the littles. 😉
  7. Who in your life inspires you? There are so many inspirational people in my life, it is hard to choose one.  I have a very close friend who has an awful, incurable disease (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) that causes extreme pain (that is seldom manageable with even the strongest pain meds) and yet she manages to push through each day to take care of her two young girls. She went through more in her childhood than I have gone through in my 27 years of life.  I just admire her and think she is absolutely amazing! A true SuperMom!
  8. What is your favorite creative outlet? Hands-down, crocheting is my favorite creative outlet. I used to run a small crochet business on Etsy, but now I just do orders for friends and family. I still love it and wish there was more time (and energy) in the day! Maybe I’ll start posting some projects on here. 🙂
  9. How do you stay positive in less than positive situations? Oh boy, I am not great at this but I’m getting better at it. I always remind myself that things could always be worse.  Counting my blessings instead of focusing on the negative also helps.
  10. If you had one piece of advice for your 18-year-old self what would it be? Enjoy your time before the kids come along, because it really does go by too fast.  And STAY AWAY FROM DEBT! 🙂

Now it is my turn to nominate some blogs that have inspired me or that I find to be positive and creative. I won’t take offense if you choose to not participate, but I hope you do it is a lot of fun and you get to meet some other great bloggers!

Here are 10 questions for my nominees to answer…

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  3. What is your least favorite thing about blogging?
  4. What are your future goals for you blog?
  5. What is your routine for the first 30 minutes of your morning?
  6. What is your favorite part of the day?
  7. Who in your life inspires you?
  8. What is your favorite creative outlet?
  9. How do you stay positive in less than positive situations?
  10. What is your favorite go-to recipe?

Thank you so much for the nomination, Sarah! 🙂

Who I am (aka What Makes Me, Me)

I am, first and foremost, a child of the one true God.
I am a wife to an amazing man.
I am mom to five (soon to be six) crazy, loving kiddos.
I am a daughter and daughter-in-law to some of the sweetest people you will ever meet.
I am a sister and sister-in-law to the best people I could ever ask to have in my life.
I am a granddaughter, cousin, niece, friend, and so much more. I seriously know some of the most awesome people in the world.

The human part of me (which, last time I checked, was all of me) is full of many flaws and tarnishes I would sometimes wish to forget or hide away.

I am impatient.
I am selfish.
I am loud.
I am self-conscious.
I am lazy.
I am full of regrets.
I am full of mistakes.
I am the extreme opposite of perfect.
I am forgiven.

Sometimes it is really easy to focus on the hard/tough/messy things in life and forget about what really matters most in life: building relationships with one another. I am truly blessed to have each and every person God has placed in my life. These people have helped shape and form who I am and the kind of person I am/will be.

I am a work in progress.

That is who I am, in a nutshell.

Welcome!

I have decided to start a blog in an effort to help capture this brief moment in my life, when my days at home with the kids are long but the years are short.

It will be fun to look back one day and relive the moments I cherish, as well as the moments I would just as soon forget.

The ups and the downs, highs and lows, smiles and tears, all joined together to create this beautiful mess. You’re welcome to ride along with me! 🙂