What I Can’t Buy at Aldi

Y’all know I love Aldi. It saved our grocery budget, and my comparison shopping with favorites is my top post on the blog.

Buuuuut, one of Aldi’s main benefits is also a downside. I love that the choices are minimal, and I can shop quickly and easily with no decision fatigue. However, there are a few items that I found myself missing.

On a recent trip to Hy-Vee (more on that later), I took the chance to stock up on some of my necessities that I can’t buy at Aldi.

Clockwise starting upper left:

Whole wheat pasta – Aldi just started offering ww spaghetti, but for more choices I have to look elsewhere.

Wheat buns – This is only a summer seasonal item at Aldi.

Unbleached flour – I use both white whole wheat flour from Trader Joe’s and unbleached flour. Aldi only sells bleached.

Poblanos (in bag) – Chile rellenos are on the menu, and Aldi can’t hook me up.

Uncured bacon – Other stores are often cheaper than Aldi’s price on uncured, nitrate-free bacon, so I stock up and throw it in the freezer.

Petite diced tomatoes – These are my preferred style of canned tomatoes, and sadly Aldi no longer carries them.

Squeezable jelly – This is a necessity with my independent PBJ-makers. I buy the reduced sugar kind.

Hiding under the bacon, you can see what prompted my trip to Hy-Vee. BudgetBytes recently posted the tip on her Instastories about getting homemade pizza toppings from a salad bar.

So I picked up a little bit of a few things, and Brett and I will enjoy some mushroom, bacon, and artichoke pizza while the kids chow down on their black olive pie. Easy way to get a little bit of several things!

My Aldi love isn’t going to fade any time soon, especially since they’re currently remodeling mine, but I do have to be strategic in buying some of my necessities when I get the opportunity. Worth it!

If you’re a major Aldi fan like me, what are some of the things you have to find elsewhere?

Advertisements

We Remember. They are Learning. – The Next Generation on 9/11

I’d purposely waited to bring it up.

There are a lot of topics that I want to be the first to broach with my kids. This one I was curious to see what other would say.

“Did you talk about 9/11 at school today?” I asked casually over dinner. “Did your teachers say anything about it?”

Both of my school-age girls shook their heads. Violet seemed confused. But Hannah spoke up.

“No, but we talked about it at lunch. Like a lot.”

I’m always curious about what third-graders pass off as facts. “Cool. So what kind of stuff did you talk about?”

Hannah proceeded to relay information, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was mostly factual! Since this wasn’t addressed in the class apparently, I’m presuming that most of the other kids got their information from their parents.

We also had a good talk about why we don’t just call people “stupid” when “evil” is a much more accurate term. Vocabulary is important.

But I came away from the conversation with appreciation for the other parents of Hannah’s classmates. The line on 9/11 is “We Won’t Forget.” And it was clear that other parents of my generation, the generation that went through it during our college and early adult years, is not forgetting and is not letting their kids forget. 

So around a lunch table in Kansas City today, a bunch of eight-year-olds showed there is remembrance. Good job, parents.

Jello Cups and Judgy Planks

My little Peanut is having surgery. After many minor issues over the last year, she’s getting her tonsils and adenoids removed. While she is fairly oblivious to the impending situation, the other girls have had friends go through the same thing and are both stressed about her going through surgery and also excited to take part of the special foods that are encouraged during recovery.

Last weekend, I added these special soft foods to my grocery list at Aldi. I stood in the snack aisle thinking about what fun it would be to buy these things for my girls. Jello cups, pudding cups, fruit cups, flavored oatmeal packets – never on my normal list, so I excitedly grabbed multiples of things, glad that there was something for the girls to look forward to. 

As I was shoveling pudding cups in my cart, the lady next to me loudly declared to her husband, “I’m so glad we don’t buy sugary food for our kids any more.”

Ouch.

I’ll give her a momentary benefit of the doubt. Maybe she wasn’t talking about me. Maybe she hadn’t even noticed me and my cart full of pudding. But it sure seemed like weird timing to make a random declaration of personal buying habits.

I was immediately defensive. Food is important to me, and the way I feed my family is very important to me. I spend a lot of time and effort making meal plans and encouraging healthy eating habits. I want to look right.

Then felt convicted. While I definitely wouldn’t have said it out loud, if I had been in that woman’s shoes observing my sugar-filled, pre-packaged snack binge, I would have thought the same thing.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:1-3

Food is important to me, but it shouldn’t be a source of self-righteous pride. I wanted to launch in and set her straight – provide an extensive explanation of what was happening in our family and justification about why those particular items were on my shopping list this week only.

Her speck of a rude comment certainly illuminated the plank of food pride in my own eye.

Instead of looking at other’s carts, I’m going to practice Ecclesiastes 9:7. “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” Because I really wanted wine after that.

Just kidding. More like “Whatever you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.” 1 Corintihians 10:31

I shouldn’t feed my kids a certain way for my own glory. So I can post a nice pic on Instagram.

It’s for the glory of God, fueling their bodies to grow and serve Him.

It also showed me the lesson that a snapshot of a person’s life does not necessarily represent the whole. Yes, maybe a mom shoveling jello cups in her cart feeds her kids junk food every day.

Or maybe she’s trying to entice her already-underweight kid to eat after surgery.

So I finished shopping. Yogurt squeezers, popsicles, apple sauce, ice cream, avocados, and dino chicken nuggets filled the checkout belt. All Cora’s favorites and soft things.

I’m going to get the plank out of my eye and go back to focusing on helping my kid heal. And I’m going to try not to care what the lady next to me at Aldi thinks about what’s in my cart.

Family Fun Near KC: Joplin and Ft. Scott

With a new baby, trips are hard. There’s the schedule or lack thereof, there’s all the stuff, there’s the lack of sleeping, all the crying… it’s just rough to go places with an infant let alone three other kids! But sometimes it’s worth the effort for family gatherings. Last summer, Brett’s grandpa turned 85, so we loaded up our new crew of six for the first time and headed to Tulsa for a family celebration.

While we were on the road, we figured we’d maximize our outing with some family fun on the way back. But at first glance, I thought it was a lost cause. There is nothing to do between Tulsa and Kansas City, blah. Wrong.

We did this all as stops on our way back from Oklahoma, but this would be a fun mini-trip if you’re looking to get out of KC for a night!

Joplin

In preparation, I googled around for a park because I knew the kids would want to get their wiggles out after hours in the car. I found something far beyond your average playscape.

Cunningham Park was built in there area where the 2011 tornado flattened the town hospital. The park features a small Western-style town, a huge playscape, a toddler playscape, a fish pond, and a memorial to the 158 people killed in the tornado.

The day we went was a bright and sunny 96 degrees! It was sooooo hot. But the park was so fun that the girls didn’t want to leave. It was sobering to watch my kids play next to the tornado memorial and think about the families that were impacted by such a disaster.

We needed a little snack after all that playing, so we headed over to Hurt’s Donuts. There is not a Hurt’s location in the Kansas City area, but their reputation goes far. Their selection produced awe and glee from the girls.

We left with Starry Starry Night, Grape Balls of Fire, ET, Cotton Candy, and Red Velvet.

There are several other activities in Joplin that I noticed as I was looking around. The Rangeline Golf Center has a mini-golf course that looked fun. And there is a Museum Complex with some unique offerings, but they are closed Sunday and Monday (when we were there). The best source of information was the JoplinMOLife blog.

We were excited to find a Homewood Suites in Joplin as it is our first choice of hotels for many reasons. For our family size with a baby, suites work the best for getting everyone a good night’s sleep. And it’s not just a half-wall between a little couch and a bed. There is a small kitchen, a living room, and a separate bedroom and bathroom. The Joplin location only has one-bedroom suites, but some offer two-bedroom options.

The breakfast is fantastic, but on Monday-Thursday nights they also serve dinner! Included with your stay. Very convenient, and they even offer adult beverages. We were sad to miss this on our Sunday night stay and instead headed to McAllister’s for their 99 cent kids meals.

Ft. Scott

In the morning, we headed north to our next destination. This was a very spontaneous stop, and I had done no preparation beforehand. As we drove down, I saw the actual Ft. Scott by the road and thought it might be an interesting place to check out.

We stopped in first to get the map and were introduced to their Junior Ranger program. There was a book with activities for each building plus a bag (which you return) with hands-on items.

Since it was ridiculously hot and we only had one for which it was age-appropriate, we didn’t end up doing much, but it was a fun surprise as I hadn’t be sure how kid-friendly they would be. We will definitely do more when we go back.

The Junior Ranger program may be kid-friendly, but the buildings and stairs are not stroller-friendly.

Inside each building were exhibits that provided good information about daily life in the 1800’s, not just military life. We had just read “Little House on the Prairie,” so the girls had some context to the time period. I was amazed at the logistics of running the place. We learned the men took turns in the bakehouse cranking out 100 loaves of bread a day!

We went through quickly due to the heat, but I am looking forward to going back when the kids are a little older and the weather is better. When we returned the Junior Ranger bag, Hannah took an oath promising to preserve the landscape and respect history.

As we left, Hannah said, “I figured this would be boring, but it’s actually super cool.”

Our stops in Joplin and Ft. Scott were so much more fun than I anticipated. In a short amount of time, we were able to do a lot of things without being too far away from home. With a family of six including a refluxy cranky baby, I did not have high expectations. But we made some good memories and look forward to repeat visits!

Grant’s Birth Story

One year!

I never wrote down Grant’s birth story because things got a little crazy. Because FOUR KIDS, y’all. But as we are at one year, I really wanted to get things down.

Don’t worry. I’ll make it short. No TMI details.

My labor with Violet was 7.5 hours and was 3.5 hours with Cora, so I knew a quick labor was likely this time. We thought we had a plan, but then I was diagnosed with group B strep. It’s super random; it’s not an STD or sketchy disease, and I didn’t have it with my other pregnancies. But it’s recommended that the mom get IV antibiotics at least four hours before delivery to pass to the baby in case the baby contracts the bacteria during delivery.

That’s no big deal for most people, but it’s a bit of an issue for someone whose entire labor is likely to be less than 4 hours. I discussed the possibilities with my midwife and she gave me the details of all options.

I opted to be induced so that we could have some “control” over the timing of the labor to ensure that I could receive the IV. This was a whole new experience since my previous deliveries were medication-free and intervention-free.

So I took this picture the morning of delivery.

The induction went smoothly and quickly. I’d been warned by friends that inductions are intense, but it felt like my others so I guess I’m just naturally intense. And meeting your baby for the first time is surreal and magical whether it’s the first or the fourth!

I got choked up thanking my midwife Michaela. I saw her frequently with Cora and the entire time with Grant, so we had a history and a connection.

But the delivery is only part of the story I want to remember. Grant’s birth showed me how big our village is.

My in-laws took care of a cleaning lady coming for the last few months of pregnancy because of my painful sciatica.

My friends and neighbors showered me with so much fun boy stuff.

A sweet mom of another 1st grader drove Hannah home from school for several days.

My mom held down the fort with the three kids at home, then my sister was there the day we came home from the hospital.

I got to watch my nephew hold his five-hour-old cousin. At first he didn’t want to, but then he wouldn’t give him up.

A friend delivered at the same hospital the day before me, so we rejoiced together at the ends of our pregnancies. :)

My MOPS group plus friends and neighbors kept us fed for five weeks!! This was such an unforeseen blessing when I ended up spending two days in the hospital with Grant at four weeks old, and I didn’t have to worry about food at home since people were still delivering meals. Amazing!

The first four months of Grant’s life were really hard. He had reflux and basically cried and spit up all.day.every.day. He really hated the stroller and the carseat, so any outings were rough.

But we made it! And we’re so glad this guy is in our family.

Rename and Reboot – Welcome to Grit & Grace

I’ve been blogging here for almost SEVEN YEARS! From my quiet days with little Hannah to our crazy days now with four kids in four stages, plus an out-of-state move (away from “Olive Street”), it’s been a busy seven years.

As a little refresh, I’m changing the name of the blog to better reflect my vision of writing.

My URL will stay the same as lifeonolivestreet.com because I’m not ready to tackle the technical part of redirects and such, but welcome to

Follow me on Facebook here and on Instagram at @gritandgrace6, and stay tuned for more food, family, and fun!

Starting the Finishing

 

 

My sister, Kristen, and I were sitting around the other night discussing goals for the new year. While it seems cliche, it’s also a milestone for evaluating and re-evaluating what’s effective and what could be tweaked. Kristen is working on outsourcing some of her tasks and mental load. I’d picked the word “adventure” as kind of a lens for my viewpoint this year, but I hadn’t chosen any physical goals.

Then Kristen mentioned this article about going “deeper not wider” with goals when “you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started. You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more.”

you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started

This led to a discussion about re-considering making new New Year’s resolutions and instead finishing the goals we’ve already set for ourselves in the past. I haven’t set any major specific goals for a while, but I can think of tons of small projects and books and to-do items that have been sitting in my mind and on my desk and in my basement for a very long time. Most partly-done but some not even started.

“I’ll get around to it.”

“I wish I had time to finish…”

“Someday I’ll be able to…”

Nope!

So instead of starting new things this year, I’m going to focus on finishing! Within 24 hours after that conversation, I was able to create this list:

  • Finish two books I’m in the midst of and maybe finish two more I recently purchased
  • Sew valance
  • Paint and install barn door
  • Finish church membership process
  • Schedule child dedication for Cora and Grant
  • Update birthday books
  • Dye dust ruffle
  • Paint island
  • Conquer the clothes
  • Finish embroidery project
  • Finish chair pads

I’m sure I’ll add more as I continue to mosey around and find things. And not all half-done books or projects are worth finishing, so I will certainly evaluate their worthiness of my time and effort. And the kicker is that these are just the things on my in-progress list, not the things on Brett’s list or my list of new projects.

One of the good things about this goal is that it requires very little monetary cost or mental load. I’ve already purchased most of the supplies and have planned out the projects. I just need to finish them!

So Happy New Year (halfway through February)! Starting the finishing is my adventure. What are your resolutions or words of the year? Or what do you need to finish?