Grocery Shopping Staples: Costco

While Costco isn’t a weekly run for me, it is important for us in saving money. I visit once every 4-8 weeks, depending on our needs, and try to go during the week. If you’ve been to Costco on the weekend, you understand why I avoid it like the plague. In fact, I think I’d rather have the plague. So.many.people. I suffocate from that close proximity to strangers!

I have a list in our kitchen of our Costco staples. Each time I’m about to visit, I compare that list against what we have stocked to make sure 6 days later I’m not upset for missing a key item.

I’m not including fresh produce we buy from Costco as it can change with season and availability, but needless to say, there is a handful of fresh organic produce available at Costco including spinach, baby kale, and carrots. This summer organic berries were also available for a fantastic price. It’s always worth a look.

(In case you missed it, here are our Trader Joe’s and Hy-Vee staples.)

Here are our Costco staples:

Dubliner Cheese: Since cutting dairy, we aren’t big cheese people, but I do buy a block of KerryGold’s Dubliner when I’m at Costco. Justin and I munch on this with apples and crackers. It’s a little slice of heaven! The first time I had this cheese was at Justin and my couple’s engagement party in 2006, hosted at the (now extinct) Java G’s in West Des Moines and thrown by our good friends Travis and Tiffany. I still remember my first bite and demanded T&T tell us where they found this gold mine. Travis was so excited to tell me it was actually called KERRYGold.


Toilet Paper: I mean, does this need explaining? I don’t buy the cheapest TP because that’s more like… tissue paper. Ya know, just yuck.


Organic Frozen Peas: The kids prefer peas frozen. Weird? It’s a super easy side veggie for the kids that they devour with a spoon. There is a handful of other frozen organic fruits and vegetables available including mangos and berries.


Ezekiel Bread: I saw this for the first time at my last visit. A good price if you’re a Food For Life fan! (A single loaf is normally $4.99-$5.99 at regular grocery stores.)


KerryGold Butter: This is the only butter we will use (from grass-fed Irish cows). We’ve been trying to add this to recipes that Finn eats and so far, so good… no reaction.


Raw Almonds: While I wish we could afford organic almonds, we just can’t.  They are SO expensive! Justin and Evie both love raw almonds. I use these to roast and Vitamix into almond butter. Homemade almond butter is 10 times better than store-bought if you haven’t tried it. (A real treat is to add some maple syrup to a small batch!) We’ve been making almond butter for about 6 months, and minus the “emergency” jar of Trader Joe’s salted creamy we usually have on hand, homemade with these almonds is now our go-to.  We also buy pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts from Costco.


Avocado Oil: This is the first time I have bought avocado oil from Costco (or ever, for that matter), but I keep hearing how great it is and read the Costco oil was recommended from a few bloggers I respect, so I made the leap. Haven’t used it yet, but I have a few recipes that call for it.


Organic Sugar: We’ve been buying this sugar for a few years now. I’m always worried it won’t be there when we return for another bag! Not only is this non-GMO sugar, it’s larger crystals so it’s perfect for sugar scrubs and baking. You can imagine that a 10 pound bag lasts us a LONG time!


Real Maple Syrup: Check your store-bought syrup. Most cheaper versions do not contain any real syrup, but are simply high fructose corn syrup with artificial flavors and colors. Bottles shaped like someone’s aunt? No good. And the sugar-free versions, sheer junk. This is the good (and real) stuff! (There are lots of great real maple syrups out there, this is just the best prices I’ve found.)


Coconut Oil: We use coconut oil for a variety of things including baking, cooking and skin care. You can never have enough!


Chicken Stock: I use stock in place of broth for most recipes as the flavor is so much richer. This stock doesn’t have a lot of the normal funky ingredients, is gluten-free, and comes at a great price for organic stock. If you don’t have stock on hand, this is a great back-up to have on-hand, especially for the winter months when soups and more hearty recipes call for stock or broth.


Red Pepper Soup: I usually buy one or two of these individual boxes at Trader Joe’s or Hy-Vee, but realized the price just makes sense at Costco to have through the winter. This is a great light meal for me when Justin is out of town or I’m craving something warm and cozy for a Saturday lunch. (Note: We have not fed the kids this as there is dairy on the ingredient list.)


Chia Seeds and Quinoa: We devour chia seeds in smoothies, salads and oatmeal, so good quality bulk bags are a blessing for us. Last time we bought bulk quinoa, we did not use the entire bag before the expiration date, so it might be good to split this with a friend if you are a “sometimes”-quinoa family.

IMG_0094Whole Foods staples to come.

What are your Costco staples?


My Mommy Mind


  • Why do girls instantly make the pouty face? And where to do they learn it? As long as we can correct this by age 10, we’re good. I cannot handle the teenage ducky face pictures!!!!!!!!!!!! (Yes, it demands THAT many exclamation points.)
  • Daddy and the kids headed out for donuts and the Science Center Saturday while I had some ladies over to make some essential oil goodies for gifts and for themselves. Sugar scrubs, room sprays, relaxation roll-ons. It was so fun to use the oils for more than “basic” application. The sugar scrubs are by far my favorite so far! Do you handmake any holiday gifts?
  • Finn was in the Christmas program at church Sunday. They sang 2 songs, 1 of which not a single child sang a single word. For the 2nd song, Finn stood there motionless, desperate to jump off the stage. His school program is Thursday. He promises to sing and participate with all his buddies. I’m not holding my breath!
  • Finn’s Santa gift arrived last week. I had to stop myself from playing it more. I still need to put Evie’s gift together so it’s ready to go. I refuse to stay up until midnight Christmas Eve night slaving away this year!

The annual Santa question: do you wrap Santa gifts or leave them unwrapped under the tree? Justin and I have differing opinions and need some additional insight!


Evie’s Big Girl Room

The process of getting Evie into her big girl room has been a long time coming!

A few months back I went to get Evie from nap time. She was sitting in her rocker… feet kicked up and crossed much like the picture below, reading a book. I thought, “well, crapittycrap!” Apparently Finn showed her the easiest way to get in and out of her crib. Shocking.

So, Evie and I set out one Saturday morning to go “big girl bed” shopping. I knew we weren’t getting anything fancy, but I could let the girl dream, right?

She thought Mr. Baseball was coming home with us…


… as well as the bed that lights up from underneath. (I turned away for 1 second and this is where I found her!)


Needless to say, we settled on a basic mattress and box spring – no headboard, no frills.

While I want the kids rooms to be cozy and “theirs,” I just can’t bring myself to buying a crazy set of furniture until they are bit older and I know they will care for it.

The morning the bed came, the kid’s cousin was over. It worked out well that we set the bed up and let them play upstairs while I was downstairs with him. The kids were DELIGHTED to have this new bed to play on all day!


Meanwhile, for the last few weeks (cough *months* cough) I’d been working on my DIY dresser for Evie’s room. I told myself that Evie was the girl who would put stickers all over a nice $700 dresser.  This old school Broyhill dresser with all the paint and supplies cost us just less than $105. Although, after the blood, sweat and tears poured into this dang piece, if she puts a single sticker on here I’ll hang her from her toes!!! :) Here’s the before:

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I sanded, primed and painted (4 coats) to get her all “girled out” for Ev.


And ta-daaaa! It’s not perfect, but it will work for a 2 year old monkey! Don’t be fooled… this DIY stuff is tough!


That weekend we hauled the dresser into the room with the new bed and added her music box and lamp (from my childhood room).


A few princess pictures above the little girl bedding to entice Evie into thinking this room wasn’t so bad, too!


I found these prints through You could choose which 3 princesses you want sent, and let me tell you – that was almost as difficult as that DIY dresser! Just THREE?!?! I settled on Elsa, Cinderella and Ariel. (I had the hardest time letting go of Belle…)


The girl is happy and that’s what matters. She sleeps like a queen and has yet to fight us on staying in bed.


At some point we will likely paint the room a pale pink. I have an end table similar to the dresser from my Grandma’s house I will redo as a nightstand. And we have some sparkly hanging decorations that need a crafted hook in the ceiling before hanging. But for now, everything she needs is wrapped up in this simple room!


Because I don’t want nap time to turn into “playtime,” we’ve kept toys out of the room.  Eventually, we will add a few, but for now, it’s a sleep and nap room.

Do you go all out for your kids rooms or keep them simple?