Current Favorites: Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's Storefront

Ohh, Trader Joe’s. You never cease to amaze.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite a while, sharing my current favorites from my beloved store. The problem is, there are so many great choices and they come out with new items so often, it was difficult for me to choose! One of the great things about Trader Joe’s is the community of shoppers who swap tips and share favorites. My beautiful friend Natali is one of those people — any time she and her husband host a party or get together, she has some new discovery from TJ’s for us to try. It’s no secret we both love the place and even run into each other there from time to time, so we decided to join together on this and each share our own favorite picks. Pop on over to The Thinking Blonde and check out her post, Trader Joe’s Treats: A compilation of grocery guilty pleasures. 

It’s easy to indulge at TJ’s — If I make eye contact with the awesome cheese section, it’s all over. Don’t even get me started on all the chocolate and the frozen Mac and Cheese. At this point, I’m making an effort to keep a balanced lifestyle and lose the rest of the weight I put on during my last pregnancy, so I’m doing my best to make healthy choices. So that leads me to my current healthy-ish picks from Trader Joe’s:

10. Coconut Oil

Trader Joes Coconut Oil

I am fully riding on the coconut oil train, letting my freak flag fly. It has a million uses. I cook with it and slather it on my body. It needs no further explanation!

9. Just Chicken

Trader Joes Just Chicien

This stuff is just precooked and sliced chicken breast and it’s perfect when you need to just throw together a quick healthy meal and don’t have the time to grill some chicken. It can be bland on it’s own so I season it up and put it on salads, sandwiches and also use it as a topping on pizza (CPK Thai Chicken Pizza, yasssss).

8. Frozen Rice/Quinoa

Trader Joes Frozen Organic Rice

Another quick option for a busy night are these frozen bags of rice and quinoa. I almost always have a box of the Organic Jasmine Rice on hand for throwing together a stir fry or to add into soups.

7. Organic Carrots of Many Colors

.Trader Joes Organic Carrots many colors

These rainbow carrots are a good way to trick your kids into eating vegetables. HAHAHA oh I make myself laugh. But you can sure try. That’s why I first bought these guys, for the kids, but I’ve personally grown to love them more than regular carrots. They ARE still just carrots I suppose, but isn’t it just so much more fun to eat the rainbow?

6. Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

Trader Joes Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

Okay. If I could only buy one thing from Trader Joe’s I would most DEFINITELY be buying the peanut butter cups, but this would be a close second. It is the tastiest vinegar, perfect for lightly dressing a salad or you know, just guzzling straight from the bottle. Is that bad? IT’S SO YUM.

5. Roasted Coconut Chips

Trader Joes Roasted Coconut Chips

These might seem weird, as they did to me a few years ago, but just give them a try if you haven’t yet! It’s so good to have something like this on hand if you just want a little sweet something but don’t want to go full-bore rainbow chip cupcake binge. Not that I’ve ever done that.

4. Honey

Trader Joes Honey display

If you’re into maple syrup, agave and honey, check out their selection. The Organic Raw Honey is by far my favorite. At night before bed, Justin and I have a cup of tea with a little bit of this honey and it’s just a lovely way to end the day with my boo cakes. Much better than downing a whole bag of Takis, which again, I know nothing about.

Trader Joes Organic Raw Honey personal favorite

3. Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Trader Joes Sweet and Spicy Pecans

“Great for salad or snacking”, most definitely I agree. A little bit goes a long way with these bad boys. I put them on salads usually, and a whole bag will last me quite a while. They’re really tasty though! As a matter of fact, the entire nuts and seeds selection is awesome. I’m not eating vegan anymore, but it was always nice to be able to find bags of raw cashews so easily. Vegans love them some raw cashews.

2. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Trader Joes Sundried Tomatoes

“Ehhh, sun-dried tomatoes are nothing special” —

batman-slaps-robin

THESE ARE THE BEST. Unless your grandma runs a sun-dried tomato farm and you are forced to eat them as a sign of family loyalty, do not ever buy any other brand of sun-dried tomatoes. They are the softest, best tasting sun-dried tomatoes on the planet. Yes, I just dared to make that claim. Sometimes you’ll buy them and they’re these little nasty dried hard beef jerky weirdness, but ohhh not these. Try them. You’ll understand. I don’t want to say the dreaded “M” word on my blog, but you get my drift.

1. ALL THE SALSA

Trader Joes Salsa

I haven’t tried every single flavor they offer, but the Hatch Valley Salsa (green chile) is so yummy. I’m all about easy chicken-crockpot recipes and these are really great for that — throw in a jar with a few chicken breasts and BAM, dinner. It’s also great on the frozen tamales with a little avocado on top —  oh me, oh my. My sister in law introduced me to the Spicy, Smoky Peach Salsa and as funny as it sounds, it’s delicious as well!

Bonus: Flowers!

Trader Joes Flowers

They carry such a beautiful and inexpensive selection of flowers, I don’t feel bad picking out a bunch for my kitchen table nearly every time I’m in the store. Now that I’m thinking about it, the very first time I realized TJ’s carries such pretty flowers was about 7 years ago when my new friend Natali gave some pretty purple ones to me as a ‘just because’ gift! Yeah, Nat, we definitely have Trader Joe’s weaved into our friendship from the very beginning, ha!

I could really go on and on about my love of Trader Joe’s, but I’m sure you already feel the same. One step in that place and you can’t help but fall in love!

I’d love to hear your favorite products from TJ’s in the comments! And don’t forget to check out Natali’s post to see some of her favorite guilty pleasures!

HEADS up! Rhino on clearance at Target

rhino target

See what I did there? Heads up, cuz it’s a head! #MountCleverest

“But… why?” you ask. That’s kind of what I’m asking myself right about now. Would you buy this thing? I just saw it was $3.74 and you can’t honestly expect me to pass up an amazingly rando purchase such as this for a steal like that, can you? Target has so many little weirdly awesome things that I so easily get sucked into purchasing. I mean, I just BARELY made it out of there without buying this little gold mouse wearing a party hat:

oh joy for target party hats

Party Mouse Figurine | Oh Joy! for Target

COME ON. I think I have to go back for that guy.

I think I’ll test the rhino head in Ruthie’s room to see if it weirds her out or not. If she approves, I will consider this a successful random purchase! Either way, I will definitely be pulling a Godfather and putting it in someone’s bed. Will follow up on this soon. I know this is riveting, news-worthy information right here and I don’t want to keep the world biting their nails in anticipation.

Weekend Dollar Tree Finds

Weekend Dollar Tree Finds Header

I’ve been noticing that the Dollar Tree has been surprisingly on point with some items lately. Today, I stopped by to pick up a few hair things and saw some blog-worthy deals…

makeup organization

makeup organization 2

I LOVE makeup organization! Like, a lot. These are obviously not the most amazing quality plastic boxes in the universe, but when I saw them I immediately started dreaming of how my lipstick collection would look all perfectly lined and stacked and I got lost in the wonder of it all. You could use them for a jillion other things I’m sure, but I just happen to think makeup, makeup brushes, hair accessories and all my paint brushes. Really good deal there!

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I noticed a few months ago that my store started carrying these little framed art prints. They come out with new designs every so often and I have to say, for a buck, they’re not bad! If you’re looking to create a gallery wall, or need some art for your bathroom, nursery, etc., check it out!

love is in the air

life is beautiful

courage to pursue

(ignore my nub thumb)

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Pretty cute!

They also had a great Easter section — a lot of cute things for making a basket. And the fake flower selection is superb, if I may say so. I just happen to be on the lookout for certain things when I’m in a crafty mood, so when I see a big pretty colorful selection of flowers for $1 a bunch, it makes my heart go pitter patter. Wreaths, hair clips, centerpieces, so many possibilities.

I hope you all can find some fun stuff at your local dollar stores! Do any of you have any other good finds to share?

Current Mood: Mom

You ever have a day where your kid is being such a giant turd that you wish you could fly like an eagle, to the sea?

In this moment, I’m referring to Ruthie. I love that baby pieces and bunches, I do. But g’lawd, the child’s screams could shatter glass. She’s down for a nap right now and Jack and I are using this valuable time to just soak up the quiet, bathing in the blissful silence as our batteries recharge. And when Baby Shrieks-a-Lot awakens from her slumber, refueled and armed for battle, we will forge ahead in unity.

For real though, Jack is a champion. He is patient with his baby sis and such a perfect buffer and a calming presence for us girls. There’s just something so steady and not dramatic about him that I appreciate more and more every day. Not that I don’t appreciate my girls. They’re special and wonderful in their own way. It seems like they’re a lot like me and Jack is a lot like Justin. We really love and need those steady men in our lives to calm the cray cray.

So Ruth definitely has a uniquely fun and… challenging personality. She’s joyful and silly and actually has a pretty intelligent sense of humor, but she can also be a stinker. That special blend of smarty-pants and booger definitely spices up our lives.

spice-up-your-life

(Am I the only one who thought?)

One of the particularly boogerish things Ruth does is when we’re watching a show, she’ll turn the television off. I know this is pretty basic as far as toddler behavior goes, learning boundaries and such, but not only does she push the button after we have told her a hundred times “that’s a no”, she does it with this little sassy smirk as she watches us react. It’s downright rude, I tell you.

ruthie tv

“Are you seeing this, mom? I’m disobeying with flair again! Yes, I hear you. Away with your idle threats, woman! Oh crap, she’s coming…”

ruthie running

Kindly stop, dear little person of mine, and allow me to watch more than 2 minutes of this show at a time. You make me rewind that stupid Mickey Mouse Clubhouse intro 300 times a day. It’s the least you can do for the sweet one who birthed you.

She also snatches my phone and runs, occasionally changing my Facebook profile pic along the way. She smacks the keyboard when I’m typing. Her favorite place to hide remotes, phones, her siblings’ toys is the fireplace — I don’t even know what to do with that. It’s a lot.

But I do love her so much. Bless her sassy little heart. I feel like I have to say something nice because this is coming across neg, but can I just be real? The reality is that kids are wonderful and precious and a blessing to be sure, but it’s not always snuggles. I sometimes find myself blankly staring at one of my children who is making noise (whining, screaming, tattling, etc.) and I like am so worn down emotionally that I can’t even hear the sounds anymore. Like, I see their mouths moving, but nothing is registering in my mind.

family guy mom

I’m learning not to be hard on myself when I think these things like, “Why are you so annoying right now?” or “4 more hours until Justin gets home. Wait, it’s 5 hours! NOOOOO GOD WHYYYY?!”

dad walks in

This post is kind of all over the place, but that’s just life with little kids. I suppose there’s beauty in it all — you can go from zero to 100 on the crazy scale and then back again in a few moments. You can be completely frustrated at dinner time because no one’s eating what you just cooked, then have a tender moment with your child that melts it all away. You can be on the brink of exhaustion during the marathon bedtime routine and then in the very last, quiet moments of the day when you’re staring creepily at your sleeping kids, you fully remember and appreciate just how precious those little stinkers are.

The calm, the sass, the meltdowns — it’s all part of the package. Even if it’s not always reflected by our moods or reactions, or we’re powering through our day and we haven’t been able to be still long enough to feel those lovey dovey things, we know that the unconditional love for them is still firmly locked in and secure on the inside.

Current Mood Mom

So if you happen to see me out at Target with this crazed look in my eyes, frantically throwing things in the cart while shoving snacks in my baby’s mouth to keep her from screeching at inhuman levels, know that I’m probably just feeling very “mom” right now. I’ll be fine in a few minutes.

IRL Healing: Burns disappearing

images

I mean, these testimonies from my two lovely friends speak for themselves and need no introduction. Enjoy!

GGFirst off, let me just say that healing is awesome. But the way I got to it was something you don’t want to try at home.

One evening, I was baking for myself a delightful snack of sweet potato fries. When the time seemed right and in my excitement and absent-mindedness, I took the cookie sheet out of the oven and – yes, this happened – hugged the exceptionally hot piece of metal directly to my bicep.

A few days and ointments later I had a rather ugly infected wound, right where the muscle moves as one bends the arm, that would not close up. Thankfully I am surrounded by friends who have faith and like to pray and want to see moves of God in our day!

Nicole and Marie began to earnestly pray over the not-so-pretty-but-I-won’t-gross-you-out-by-describing-it area. One of them prayed specifically that the angels would put a soothing balm over the wound.

At that very moment we literally saw the deep wound become shallower and shiny as though being covered in an angelic salve.

Within days, the wound had closed and what was left is a scar which now serves to remind me not only to avoid hugging hot metal objects to my bare skin, but that God so lovingly heals today. 

— Gena Gauthier, Los Angeles, CA

Isn’t that amazing? This kind of stuff is becoming normal! God is so good, man. He loves us so much and wants us to realize He’s not out for blood. He just wants to love on us!

After I posted that video of my own healing testimony, I got a message from my friend Amy Jo on Facebook and I just have to share it with you as well. Double dose of awesome today:

amy jo hand
“It was my thumb that was RAW and my pointer and middle were bright red and singed.”

I’m quite frankly flipping the crap out over here Morgan. Late last night in bed I watched your YouTube video about healing. Tonight during dinner I burned my hand so badly that layers of skin peeled back and I was moments away from giving in and going to the ER. I was sitting with my son on the couch two hours after the fact…I have had my hand emerged in ice thamy jo ae whole time and I had just taken it out. The numbness was wearing off and a blanket grazed my hand. The shooting burning feeling came back and tears started pouring as I winced in pain. I lay there paralyzed with this sensation and remembered your prayer. I immediately started praying with power…recognizing that this pain was an infliction of the enemy and asked God to bind up my nerves and my words were “freeze them over”…my hand immediately felt cold. Like ice…a few seconds later I looked down and it wasn’t raw anymore. I screamed and called my husband over and we literally stared as we watched my fingers go from bright singe red to white. I started laughing uncontrollably. I was healed in an instant and it’s as if I never was burned at all. Never experienced that in my whole walk with God.  Crying. Shocked. Holy…cow… 

— Amy Jo A, Boise, ID

WOO! Thank you Gena and Amy Jo for letting me share! Get ready for your own miracle friends — God’s on the loose! xoxo