What’s In Your Children’s Food?

*Sponsored post.

sprout organic pouch

If you buy a baby food product with a name like Quinoa & Leeks with Chicken and expect those three foods to be the primary ingredients, you would be wrong. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, none of the three are in the top five ingredients, and one is ninth. The same problem applies to many other baby food products, according to CPSI.

This issue has concerned local company Sprout Organic for a long time, leading the company last year to launch a “real, honest and pure” campaign for its own baby foods: “real” because all Sprout products contain whole foods (no concentrates); “honest” because the product names precisely match the top three or four ingredients in the package in descending order (unlike products that list things like kale first even if it’s only a trace ingredient), and “Pure” their product is organic and GMO-free. It is the only brand that is unadulterated by sugar, salt, preservatives, acids, artificial colors or flavors, or thickeners like guar gum. 

As a mom, the best part is that their products taste great, are nutritious, and my children enjoy them.  My children have been enjoying Sprout Organic pouches since they first came on the market in 2008, around the time my oldest was first being introduced to baby food.  I loved that Sprout Organic offered a wide variety of flavors and combinations, similar to what I would mix together at home, and not just the basic orange and green veggies (don’t worry – they have those too).  

Today, my youngest still enjoys the Sprout Organic pouches for breakfast or a snack, and my older children like the fruit & veggie cereal snacks as well as the Morning Smoothie pouches.

You can buy Sprout Organic products at your local grocery stores, as well as at Buy Buy Baby, diapers.com, Drugstore.com, Walgreens, and Amazon.

An Introduction to Home Food Preservation – Saturday, August 22


In the last 5 years, there has been a bit of a home canning explosion!  Canning has become trendy.  

Unfortunately, with this influx of people into such a wonderful hobby, there is also a lot of misinformation floating around about what you can can at home.  For example, did you know, you should not can pumpkin butter at home but apple butter is ok?  Or that you need to pressure can vegetables, never water bath can them?

I have been helping out my friends and family with their canning and home food preservation questions, and now I want to help you too.  Join me on Saturday, August 22 from 9a-12:30pm for An Introduction to Home Food Preservation at the RWJ Center for Health & Wellness in Mercerville, NJ.

During this class, we will discuss boiling water bath canning, pressure canning, freezing, and dehydrating and how to utilize these processes to preserve what you grow in your garden, buy at the farmers’ market, or purchase on steep discounts through out the year.  

Attendees who register by July 24, will each receive a copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Canning.


Organizing Girl Scout Badges & Awards

girl scout badges & awards

I’m gearing up for another year as my daughter’s Daisy leader.  Unlike the older Girl Scout badges which are sold individually, Daisy petals are sold in sets – 10 petals & 1 center, so when you make a purchase you need to store the remaining petals until they are earned through out the year instead of buying as you go.

Last year, we had our first awards night in December, and then I had to store the remaining petals until the were earned.  While I am normally very organized, I managed to disappear the remaining petals.  They vanished!  Less than a week before our end of year court of awards, I tore apart my homeschool shelves, and found a nondescript brown paper bag.  When I opened it, I was thrilled to find all of the remaining petals!

Right then and there, I vowed to never have this issue again, and to come up with a solution where I could keep the Daisy petals, pins, and other awards organized, and be able to adapt that storage solution to Brownies as I moved up the levels with my daughter’s troop.

Enter the ArtBin organizer.  

girl scout - artbin

I purchased the ArtBin Anti-Tarnish organizer from Joann Fabrics for about $25, but you can get a similar one from Amazon for only $19.84.  Once you move the dividers around to your liking, this organizer can easily hold a wide variety of badges, pins, journey awards, and more.  

The best part, you can flip this organizer any which way, and everything stays in the compartment where you put it!  Nothing mixes into the various compartments.  You stay organized!  

This would also work very well for fun patches (I like to stock up when they are on sale), as well as Cub Scout/Boy Scout advancements and belt loops.

Are you a scout leader?  How does your troop organize badges?

IKEA Hack of the MÅLA Easel



This post contains affiliate links.IKEA Hack of the MÅLA EaselThis past weekend, I went to my home away from home, IKEA is South Philly.  I had some shelving to return, chairs to purchase, and the downpour had just begun.  In order to kill some time, and avoid getting soaked, I wandered the showroom and found the MÅLA easel – a basic children’s easel where one side is a wipe-off board, and the other side is a chalkboard – for $14.99!  I couldn’t believe it!  Brand new, and still cheaper than what I was used to seeing at consignment sales for a wooden framed easel.

There was only one catch – I really wanted at least one surface to be magnetic, and that is not available on this easel.

I did a quick online search for magnetic easels, and found that many of them were well over $50!  No no, that wouldn’t do.  I needed to find a way to make the MÅLA easel have at least 1 magnetic surface, and that’s when it struck me: Rust-Oleum Magnetic Primer! [Read more…]

Coming Soon: Best Dressed For Less Opens Thursday 8/20


Don’t miss the Best Dressed For Less ALL SEASONS kids consignment sale next week, August 20-22, in the Life Center at Fountain of Life Church 2035 Columbus Rd in Burlington Township NJ. 500 Consignors – 50,000 kids items! Anyone can shop! Free admission & Free parking!

Best Dressed For Less has clothes for your newborn through teenage children; plus baby gear, toys, books, educational materials, furniture, bikes, bedding, and so much more! I have shopped Best Dressed For Less since their very first sale, and have never missed one! It is my go to sale in South Jersey!

Come find out why Best Dressed For Less has been voted “One of the Best of Burlington County 2014,” as well as the only 400+ TOP RATED sale in the nation on Consignment Mommies!

Since 2008, they have been hosting the LARGEST & HIGHEST QUALITY kids consignment events in SJ!

Join them on Facebook and “SHARE” with your friends!

Best Dressed For Less ALL SEASONS Sale
Thursday 8/20 9am-8pm
Friday 8/21 9am-8pm
Saturday 8/22 10am-2pm Most items 50% off!

BDFL top ratedBDFL one of the best

Keep Your Cool For Back To School Giveaway Event

This post contains affiliate links.

Are you already thinking about back-to-school?  Let us help get you ready!
Welcome to the Keep Your Cool for Back to School Giveaway Event!
Hosted by: Southern Mom Loves


All-natural Facial Care Trio: Gel Cleanser, Purifying Toner, Moisturizer
Choice of Little Kid Combo, Stylish Scholars Combo, or Ultimate Back to School Combo
International Moonjar Moneybox, Conversations To Go: Money, & Conversations To Go: Travel

2015-2016 Academic Planner in choice of design & Book: What’s the Deal with Teens and Time Management by Leslie Josel

$25 Amazon eGift Card

Nurtura Replenishing Cream, Banishing Cream, & Firming Cream

It’s That Kinda Day Planner in design of choice
Funbites food cutter of choice


1 WINNER will receive all 11 prizes (ARV $255)! Good luck!
Giveaway begins on 8/1/15 at 1:00 am CST and ends on 8/22/15 at 11:59 pm CST. Must be 18 years or older, open to residents of the US only.

Disclaimer: The participating blogs were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. All entries will be verified. Void where prohibited by law. Winner will be contacted by email; Please add email hidden; JavaScript is required to your whitelist. The individual sponsors will be responsible for prize delivery to the winner. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest, or any other social media platform.

Contact Holly at email hidden; JavaScript is required if you have any additional questions or comments, or would like Southern Mom Loves to organize your next giveaway.

True Confessions of the Not-So-Frugal Blogger

true confessions of the not so frugal blogger

Raising A Family On A Budget has been a big part of my family’s life for the last 5 years.  I have prided myself on living frugally.  Some of the frugal living bloggers pay cash for everything and are living a debt free life.  That’s just not where we are.  I’ve always been honest that I use credit cards, have college loans, a car note, and a monthly mortgage payment.  Like everyone we also have grocery bills and occasionally go out to eat.  

And there is where I need to get honest with myself.

Last night, I shared this image from Growing Slower on my personal Facebook page:

grocery-budget-chart-spendiAt first, I laughed.  We are a family of 5 and I’ve always prided myself on having a grocery budget around $400-500, so we were well below the “frugal budget” recommendation.  Then I thought about things more, and started chatting with friends.  What about dining out?  What about the big trips I do to the butcher a few times a year?  Or the bulk produce I buy for canning?  Should I include trips to the liquor store?

I decided the answer to all of that was yes.  All food, beverage, pet supplies, diapers, cleaning supplies, and paper products are part of our “Food & Dining” budget.  So after living in the dark for quite a while, probably at least 2 years (my husband handles our finances, and while I know what’s going where, I didn’t pay much attention), I opened up Mint, and clicked on the word budget on the top of the page.  

That’s when I saw RED! [Read more…]

Canning: Why I Trust Science Over Grandma

Posts may contain affiliate links.  When you print a coupon or make a purchase using an affiliate link, Raising A Family On A Budget makes a small commission.  Thank you for your support.

canning why I trust science over grandma

I have been canning for 15+ years.  During that time, I have made my share of mistakes – hot jar on a cool counter, letting my finger tips get a little too close to the boiling water in the canner, forgetting to skim the foam off my jam – all mistakes that many of us have made, but none of them that could be fatal.

That might sound extreme but that’s exactly what happened this past April at a church potluck when people were served potato salad made from improperly canned potatoes.  One woman died, and more than 30 others got sick.  The cause – botulism. 

Clostridium botulinum is the name of a group of bacteria. They can be found in soil.  These rod-shaped organisms grow best in low oxygen conditions. The bacteria form spores which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. — CDC

These spores can be killed several ways, with the two most common being acid and heat. [Read more…]

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments: July 20-26


I picked tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, carrots, green onions, and cantaloup from the garden.

We picked up our CSA share for cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, onions, carrots, blackberries, and flowers.

I canned grape jelly, raspberry jam, and mild salsa using produce from our garden and the CSA.

The remaining blackberries and raspberries went into the freezer for smoothies.

I used my $40 rewards credit at OfficeMax to stock up on school supplies and ink for the coming school year.

We turned off our AC for a few days because the weather was beautiful and completely out of character for mid-July.  I really can’t wait until fall when the house can be open all of the time.

Our plan is to move all of our homeschool materials out of the dining room and into the living room.  There were shelves that I want for this project, but we aren’t planning on working on things until August.  However, IKEA has the shelves on sale for 15% off through the end of July, so I bought them yesterday, and we are going to store them in the garage until we are ready for this project.

What did you do last week to save money?

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments: July 20-26

**Posts may contain affiliate links.  When you print a coupon or make a purchase using an affiliate link, Raising A Family On A Budget makes a small commission.  Thank you for your support.

herr's snack factory

On Monday, I took the kiddos to the Herr’s Snack Factory Tour.  The tour is free, and we had a great day out with friends.

Last week, we harvested grape tomatoes, plum tomatoes, beans, a few blueberries, green onions, carrots, and herbs from the garden.

We did a meat order from Bringhurst Meats in Berlin.  By purchasing meat in bulk, we saved more than $6/lb on beef.

I bought locally grown corn, watermelon, and cantaloup which is cheaper than buying stuff from clear across the country.

I negotiated a case discount on raspberries at our local produce market, getting them for $15 a case.

Prime Day was last Wednesday, so I started looking at my shopping list and things we needed. On that day, I found some deal on the fermentation lids, Gorilla Self-Standing Bags, and Hoover Clean Plus carpet cleaning solution that I needed, and used a gift card that I had earned from Swagbucks.

I saved 5% on diapers using my Target REDCard, and earned a $10 Target Gift Card for buying two packs of Huggies.

Every day last week, I met my Swagbucks goal.  This made my total earning over 2200 Swagbucks, so I cashed in for another $25 Amazon Gift Card.  I am averaging one $25 gift card a month, and while I’d love to save them up for Christmas shopping, the reality is that we need stuff now so I’m using them as I earn them.

My husband took a packed lunch to work every day last week using up dinner time leftovers for his lunch.

We set the thermostat to away when we weren’t home so that we weren’t cooling the house when we weren’t there.  Having a Nest Thermostat has saved us a lot of money over the past few years.