Most days it feels like I’m feeding an army at home. Just as soon as I buy it, (poof) it’s gone, and I’m back at the store.. again. Some weeks I feel as though I live at these grocery stores, it just doesn’t seem worth it. I finally got hip to the game and tried a free trial 3-month membership to BJ’s Wholesale. What a game changer, wholesale is where it’s at folks, especially for my brood. To be fair I’m not sure if two kids constitutes a “brood,” but they sure eat like one.
With fun summer holiday weekends quickly approaching, wholesale seemed the most logical way to shop. Although, what we save by shopping BJ’s Wholesale is logical all year-round. You can’t beat the prices, and it reduces stress on having to provide additional groceries on top of the already existent grocery bill, especially if you’re frugal like me. Even if you aren’t you can’t deny the good deal that comes from buying large quantities for a fraction of the cost at local grocer’s, and lest we forget the convenience of not having to go shopping every week. Less stress, more fun with the family.. makes sense to me! I once heard Suze Orman yell at the camera, “if you are a family and not shopping wholesale for groceries, then you are just throwing your money away!” She was totally right, so /i decided to try the convenient free-trial membership to see which wholesaler had the food that my family liked.
Having this membership means nothing if we don’t like the product, and being a mostly organic buying family it was especially important for me to be sure my family could still eat a healthy and nutritious diet. I was wowed by the growing amount of organic options at BJ’s (this was the deciding factor for me). I know that (like me) most organic families shy away from wholesale for this very reason, so I decided to share all of my fun organic find from shopping at BJ’s! You know, in case that free-trial membership is just calling you.
There are a few items we haven’t been able to find that are certified organic, and I’m well aware of the “dirty dozen” list. However, dairy is one space I refuse to take chances. All of our dairy and meat is certified organic, humanely raised, and grass-fed if possible. I was impressed with the different brands that BJ’s carries, aside from the house brands (Wellsley Farms & Berkley Jensen) which is growing by the day, each time I go I find a new organic option.
One of the trickiest parts of an organic diet is finding the right responsibly sourced produce. Lots of big chain grocer’s claim to sell all organic produce, and don’t. It’s all a part of the “green-washing” that the organic industry is currently facing. Supply must meet demand, and unfortunately now that folks are demanding to eat food that are free from harmful pesticides, the snakes are moving in for the kill. They want their customers back and they’ll say or do just about anything to get them.
Fun fact: All organic produce sku numbers start with the number 9, if it doesn’t, then it isn’t really organic.
There is a wide variety of organic produce options at BJ’s, enough to get a good deal of groceries and fill in where you have to. Anything from greens, fruits, and veggies are available in their own organic section that is clearly marked and easy to find.
Both frozen, and fresh produce is available for your convenience. I tend to buy a mixture of the two, frozen for the items we don’t consume as often (because it may spoil), and fresh for the everyday items that we need.
While most of our groceries are fresh, there are items we need to buy boxed, and a select few that are canned. I like how the organic options are directly positioned next to their non-organic counterparts, so it’s easy to locate. We buy mostly pasta, tuna, rice, flour, beans, maple syrup, sugar.. You know, the necessities. All organic, and all within reach. Buying these in bulk really helps to drive down the cost, and keep me at home with my family (instead of at the store).
The spice selection is growing by the day, making it easier to access all of the ingredients to cook all of our homemade meals.
Fruits and veggies are our main source of snacks for the kids, but occasionally we will splurge on some organic treats which has the potential to get pricey. Our boys are a big fan of the organic brands at BJ’s so it’s a win for us. They love coming with me on these kinds of grocery runs. The fun carts, double seating, and multiple snack stops along the way make shopping here bearable for my hungry boys.
I think I was most surprised with the amount of toiletries that were offered that we actually use. I was pleased to see I could buy these items in bulk seeing as how you have to pay more for aluminum free deodorant, and fluoride-free toothpaste.
There is something for everyone at BJ’s is my point, and if you’ve been curious to check it out. Now is a great time to test it out with their three-month trial membership here (no other wholesale retailer offers this).
“What do you want for Mother’s Day?” I get this question a lot lately. I’ve written at great length about the gifts that matter to me, and they can’t be bought in a store. I always ask for uninterrupted time with the family, just enjoying each other’s company. While this is still true, this year has been a year where I’ve learned to put myself first a bit. I’ve focused less on pleasing everyone around me, and more on celebrating my authentic self. I’ve taken some time to really focus on what keeps me whole. It’s the small peaceful moments (I call these pockets of peace), that really keep me going.
A balanced and nutritious diet is the fuel my body needs to keep going, a sense of purpose and overall feeling of self-gratification is also important to me. I find lots of peace in having compassion for myself and understanding that I am always doing my best. Giving back and making conscious decisions in different areas of my life is also key to helping me feel whole. Loving and embracing all of these parts of me is essential to being a good, mother, wife, and person.
Which is why when Stonyfield Organic and prAna clothing line partnered up this month, I was excited to participate. I feel whole when I am balanced and making deposits in all areas of my life. I try to take a bit of “me time” to get my body moving. Whether it be yoga, or just going for a walk. The prAna clothing line is perfect for this lifestyle, their pieces transition smoothly for a mom like myself on the go. This Liana summer sweater can go from the yoga studio, to picking up the kids from school, and out to dinner. Simplifying your wardrobe is key to a stress-free life. I love using Stonyfield Organics Whole Milk Greek Yogurt in my fruit smoothies. I never have to worry about any pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or GMO’s. Only organic pasteurized yogurt perfect for smoothies, or just a quick nutritious snack. I added collagen powder to this delicious smoothie for added support. We could all use a little more collagen ladies!
Less stress means less wrinkles, let’s face it. Watching what I put into my body is also one way I stay balanced. Just taking a moment to just sit and enjoy myself with a few tiny pleasures (like my new favorite comfy prAna sweater), while enjoying a nutritious yogurt smoothie that is good and good for me. This is what I will be celebrating this Mother’s Day. Me, the WHOLE me.
From now until May 31st, you can save 15% on your entire prAna purchase online when you use coupon code WHOLES17EEV. Enjoy!
Growing up in New York, we often visited the Bronx Zoo. It’s a huge zoo that could take a full day to really see everything. We’d spend long hours walking through the different exhibits and learning all about the different species. As a kid growing up in the “concrete jungle”, it was the most interaction I had with nature and any kind of wildlife. It wasn’t until I was much older and had kids of my own that weighing in on zoo trips was really thought. To zoo, or not to zoo. That was the question.
Did I really want to give my kids the impression that animals came from or even worse belonged anywhere other than in their natural habitat? As an advocate for all wildlife, like many others, I believe that animals and their habitat should be respected and even preserved. I donate to causes and charities to help preserve these habitats and prevent extinction of many species. The connection I feel to nature is powerful, so my feeling behind this issue measures up just the same.
As a parent, I struggled with how to broach this issue with our kids. They have class trips to the zoo, friends who frequent the zoo. However, it’s important for me to express that animals do no come from the zoo, and in fact live in a much broader world that I wish they will spend the rest of their lives learning about. I needed to find a way to introduce this issue carefully and help them to truly understand the world around them.
A happy compromise I’ve discovered is contributing to organizations that act as a conservation society. Supporting your local conservation society can help house wildlife that are incapable of surviving in the wild, while educating patrons about their species and natural habitat. The AZA (Association of Zoo’s & Aquariums) / SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) is working closely with Stonyfield YoKids together on a mission to help save endangered species. As part of a year-long effort, Stonyfield will not only be contributing funds to field work but aiming to drive kids and their families to see animals and conservation projects first hand at zoos, aquariums, and on the ground where the research is happening.
By sponsoring the AZA’s efforts, Stonyfield is working towards supporting conservation efforts for 10 endangered species, including the African Penguin just in time for World Penguin Day on April 25th! In keeping with Stonyfield’s long time effort in conservation and sustainability, they will be featuring most of AZA’s SAFE species on their packaging all year-long so kid’s can collect all of the species. Stonyfield YoKids will be offering a special on-pack offer to encourage families to visit any of the 131 participating AZA accredited member zoos and aquariums in their own communities.
From now to the end of September families who buy two specially-marked YoKids yogurt multipacks will receive a FREE kid’s admission to their local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium when they also buy an adult ticket. Stonyfield has long been a company with high standards using only organic, non-gmo ingredients in all of their kids yogurt. Most recently stepping it up with a sugar reduction across the line available in cups, squeezers and smoothies.
Check out this adorable video when kids were asked if a cow could save a penguin?
By encouraging more kids and families to visit their local participating zoo or aquarium and experience endangered species firsthand, Stonyfield hopes to inspire a lifelong appreciation of our planet and commitment to animal conservation in the next generation. We can’t wait to visit our local AZA SAFE accredited Zoo in Miami and share all of the wonderful details!