Day in the Life

August 6, 2008 @ 7:21 pm | Filed under: , ,

I wrote this for my daily notes blog but halfway through decided I wanted to ask the Costco question here so am sticking it here instead. Forgive the chatty blah blah and lazy writing.

Really nice day, though at the outset I thought it was going to be too busy. Turned out to be productive (in the a.m.) and mellow (in the p.m.).

Piano classes first thing. Rose was deeply troubled by a back tooth about to come out, afraid it would fall out during class and there’s no bathroom right there and what would she do?? I told her she could skip class, stick with me.

We dropped the other two off and went to the gas station to vacuum out the car. Machine took coins only. Turned out Rose had a whole purse full of quarters—saved up for buying bouncy balls at the taco shop on piano days. Hee. She helped me clean out the trash and vacuum two thirds of the car. We didn’t do the last row b/c I didn’t feel like taking out the carseats (and Rilla), and without doing that, not much point in vac’ing.

The panic alarm went off when I started the car back up. COULD NOT get it to stop. Had to call Scott at work. Wonderboy was shrieking: awful sound in his hearing aids, I imagine. Poor guy. I was too flustered to get out of the car and turn off his aids. Scott knew the trick, so whew.

Back to piano to pick up Beanie. Told Jane she could hang out & talk to her friend whose sister is in Rose’s class. That gave us an hour and a half to kill. Needed to pick up something for dinner. On impulse, I went to Costco—finally—and got a membership. Which took a while, so we didn’t have much actual shopping time. I love how the big bulk packages of chicken are sectioned into six meal-sized portions. NOW I get why all my friends buy all their meat there. Cheaper, I knew, but I thought I’d have to divide up the big packages of meat for freezing and I loathe doing that. This perforated portions thing ROCKS.

Made children happy by buying case of fruit leather, which Katie Z had served with lunch yesterday & mentioned getting at Costco. Yum.

Loved the double-seater shopping cart, too, but Rilla begged to ride in the sling anyway. Ah well.

Mean to ask local friends this, but I’ll ask it here too: what do you buy at Costco? What are the best deals? I put off joining for ages because those big warehouse stores overwhelm the bejeebers out of me.

Back to piano to pick up Jane. Home, unpacked groceries, everyone snacked for lunch. All were ready for some veg time. Uncle Jay had sent a copy of Gail Carson Levine’s Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg in the mail: a library favorite, producing much shrill excitement from the girls. Rose called dibs on first read, so that’s how she spent the next couple of hours. Jane is re-reading Oz books (because Beanie has just discovered them) and I forgot to ask what else.

Later: computer games for the girls, Blues Clues for the littles, puttering around for me.

Afternoon tidy up, nice phone call with a Virginia friend, folded laundry, read a stack of Boynton books to the boy.

Around 4:30, hit a wall of exhaustion. Asked Jane to watch the little ones for 20 minutes so I could nap. Took the nap, woke so groggy, wondered if it had been a bad idea.

Started dinner. Slam dunk tonight. Sauteed two onions, boneless chicken thighs (yay Costco), took out a couple for the kids and added some Trader Joe Cuban Mojito sauce to the rest. Found the jar in the pantry when looking for something else. Oh. My. Goodness. So incredibly tasty. Had a big loaf of rosemary bread from Costco, also smashingly good, for sopping up the pan drippings. Kids ate their chicken plain, with sliced peaches, carrots, bread. Rose set the table, made it so lovely. When I finished eating (actually got to sit through the meal, mostly—Rilla had crashed on the sofa, which is a bad thing in terms of her bedtime but made dinner easier), Rose plopped Favorite Poems Old and New in front of me and insisted I read a few. Read some new ones and then was implored by all three girls to read “the funny poem”—their old favorite, “To My Son, Aged Three Years and Five Months.” They shrieked at the lines that especially fit their brother: “Where did he learn that squint?” and “Thou imp of mirth and joy” most of all.

Started the dishes, enjoying the sound of Jane practicing “The Entertainer” on piano. How I love that piano: Jane’s Steinway, her wish from the Make-a-Wish Foundation when she was three years old. Very good choice, my dear. And hurrah to Mr. Rogers for inspiring a tiny little girl with awe at the sight of a “big mommy pah-no” those many years ago, when the only keyboard she knew was the little tabletop one in our apartment. No one could believe such a bitty girl really wanted a piano, but she clung to that wish for six months until everyone was convinced she meant it. What a gift she gave the whole family, choosing a piano over the VIP trip to Disney everyone expected a three-year-old to ask for. She wouldn’t even have remembered the Disney trip, but that piano blesses our family every single day, ten years later. Standing there at the sink, watching the little ones play outside the kitchen window, smiling to see how my neglected petunias have revived in the hanging basket now that we’re actually watering them, listening to Jane’s music ripple off the keys, I felt suffused with contentment.

And then finally Scott was home, and he ate standing at the stove as I knew he would, scraping the juices out of the pan with the good bread. And now he’s on kid (and dish) duty, and I’m here in the bedroom gearing up to write. And answer mail, oh my goodness. I made the stupidest flub: accidentally archived a hundred messages waiting to be answered—some from weeks ago. Have so far pored through 1600 archived emails looking for the ones I need to answer. Needles in haystacks. If I owe you a reply, please be patient. Or write me again, in case I didn’t find your needle in all that hay.

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27 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Hannah says:

    Let’s see, favorite things at Costco (so glad you saw the light and caved). Chocolate Larabars! My Kids: Z-bars! Big bags of frozen berries for smoothies. Large and perfectly ripe peaches. Wild salmon — for a treat.

    Those are the things we buy a LOT, that just spring to mind. There are so many other things, organic or not, that make it somehow possible for a girl who hates large stores with large carts to actually LIKE Costco. Go figure.

  2. Mary G. says:

    Dairy products are all a great deal at Costco: milk, cheese, yogurt, butter- a screaming deal. We also always pick up eggs,dishwasher detergent and the mega package of toilet paper. It’s great to not have to constantly restock the TP. And make sure to pick up the dried mangos!

  3. Christina Martin says:

    We don’t have a Costco in town, so I don’t buy milk or other things that perish too quickly, but I do love their prices on butter and cheese. Also perpetually on the list are dishwasher detergent and baby wipes (both their brand… the wipes are the best brand I’ve found.)

  4. Isabella says:

    Our family lives in Seattle area, so not local yet we love costco. I love the japanese rice, rice milk, dairy and breads. There are delicious brownies they sell here, mini ones that are very addicting. Sometimes I get books there too.

  5. Laurie says:

    I pretty much only shop at costco & windmillfarms. If I go to a grocery store I buy too much processed snacks… here’s my usual list: try the pack of chicken that is marinated, comes in 3 flavors (teriyaki, lemon & Mediterranean) 3 breasts in each. Organic 1% milk, butter, waffles, syrup, eggs, OJ, TP-their brand, papertowels-still like bounty better than theirs, used to get tide there, now i’m on my 2nd bottle of their brand of laundry soap, same with cascade & theirs, bottled water, gatorade, flour tortillas $3, 2 loaves sara lee white wheat bread, La Jolla sourdough bread, hot dog buns $2, chocolate muffins *a treat, bagels, you found the rosemary bread :), pasta, cereal, batteries, books, books, books, books, ummm, most of my clothes, K’s swimsuit, goggles, At Christmas…. watchout… great deals on toys, gifts, decorations..which show up any time now…. Fruit I’m very careful about prices I think windmillfarms or henrys has better prices & quality, but right now I get costco’s blueberries & strawberries. Frozen fruit for smoothies. I get the romaine and salad packs, and the bag of red, yellow & orange peppers.
    OH the rotisserie chicken $5, yum & HOT.
    Birthday cakes… the MissionValley one will make a layer of icecream.
    Does that help? What don’t I get there?
    Go around 1-2 and have lunch on all of the samples. Kids like the $1 churros out front & their pizza & hot dogs too.

  6. genevieve says:

    So glad you asked this question! I just placed a Peapod order and YIKES! Even though we are not in the same city, how much did you spend on your chicken thighs (price per lb) so that I can comparison shop without leaving my house. *hee*

  7. Sarah N. says:

    We don’t have a Costco close by so I shop at Sam’s but I’m going to list my usual buys anyway because I imagine they are common to any warehouse store. I bake a lot so I buy brown sugar, white sugar, flour, butter and 64oz bags of chocolate chips (scary how fast we go through them). I also regularly buy smoked salmon (my almost 5yr olds favorite breakfast), frozen berries, frozen shrimp and individually frozen fish fillets and chicken breasts, diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, wine and olive oil.

  8. Margaret says:

    We usually purchase their fruit, veggies, binders for homeschooling, batteries, Cinnabon bread (unhealthy yum!), organic milk, sour cream, uncooked flour tortillas in the refrig section (they cook up in a pan in 10 seconds and are wonderful), their own brand shelf stable choc milk cartons (exactly like the shelf stable Horizon ones), balsamic vinegar, olive oil, organic chicken broth, kirkland brand baby wipes, gummy bear vitamins.

  9. Melissa Wiley says:

    Genevieve, I’ll have to check my receipt but I think the boneless chicken thighs were $1.19/lb. Still pricey compared to a whole chicken (which is what I buy most often), but it’s too hot to roast a chicken these days and it’s always nice to have boneless on hand for quick meals. I prefer breasts but they’re so much more expensive.

    I am loving seeing your lists, everyone. Keep ’em coming! Laurie, those marinated chx breasts you described sound so yummy I’m *almost* tempted to go back today! I forgot contact lens solution anyway…

  10. Beck says:

    Our “local” (it’s an hour away) Costco is infamous for being the dumping grounds for anything that doesn’t sell in other North American Costcos. Apparently, we will buy ANYTHING.
    We don’t live close to it to even own a membership, although I do like to buy dairy products and bread at a closer discount store, when I remember.

  11. Hooly says:

    I adore Costco. I’m there once a week at least. I’m trying to think of my favorite costco-only things.

    Milk can be close to a $1 gal less than the grocery store. Not fond of their square jugs though, they drip no matter what.

    Meat is better & cheaper than the grocery store. Big thumbs up for the rib eye steak (I”m a steak snob) Their hot rotisserie chicken is divine and no turning on the oven!!! I haven’t tried it yet but they have started ground beef already frozen in 1 lb tubes so no packing.

    Try the roasted garlic bread :::drool:::

    Adeil’s (sp?) Chicken/Apple sausage(kielbasa-like) on the grill.

    The Kirkland brand dog food is actually very high quality at a Dog Chow price.

  12. Jamie says:

    I like to get a CANISTER of onion soup mix (rather than the little boxes of single envelopes) because we use them for everything from meatloaf to dip. Also their sheet cakes are delicious and a fraction of the price at a grocery or bakery.

    I have a question for you. What is your favorite Boynton? My first baby is just 6 months old and so I am reading these for the first time. I am not sure I have ever ready anything as funny as Not The Hippopotamus!!!! BTW…unrelated, but have you read Goodnight Gorilla??? Best children’s board book ever in my opinion. I laugh at the mouse every time!

    As for Trader Joe simmer sauces….SOOOOOO GOOOD!!! Try the Masala (if you like Indian food) even tastier than the Mojito!


  13. amy says:

    I have a Costco just minutes away so I am there often. I get almost all our meat there, romaine lettuce, dino nuggets, Foster Farms frozen sliced grilled chicken-a bit salty but great in a ceasar salad, butter, shredded mexican cheese blend-great for tortillas, frozen hamburgers, organic juice boxes, bisquick, cheerios, vanilla, tuna, dishwasher tablets, liquid laundry detergent-their brand, soap, deodarant, toothpaste. I find Costco to have the best prices for everything on this list.

  14. Mamasteff says:

    Check costco’s gas prices – around here they are about 30 cents cheaper than everyone else, well worth the lines, but not on the weekends.

    Fruits – big box of fresh berries, or whatever is currently in season. We are a small family so I try to only buy one large item at a time, and eat it in a week or so.

    Diapers – cheaper than the store, even considering coupons. (sorry, I am not eco friendly or hard-working enough for cloth).

    We always enjoy the book department! Also check out great deals on tickets to local attractions (Sea World, Disneyland), and travel – a friend saved $900 on a cruise she booked through Costco. Hubby got glasses there, too, for cheaper than the downtown shops.

    (If you are up for it – Hot Dog AND a drink for $1.50 at their cafe makes an acceptable dinner/ lunch for the kids you brought with you, if you throw in some fruit or veggies you brought along – but I like to do that before we go in, so I don’t have a cart full of stuff sitting in the eating area).

  15. BethG. says:

    COFFEE!!!! At our Seattle Costco I can get a Rainforest-friendly dark roast (grind it at the store) for about $4/lb It comes in 3lb packages. For the amount of coffee we drink that savings alone make up the membership cost.

    Also the dried mangos, blueberries, cherries make good snacks.

    I also buy the huge bag of chocolate chips for cookie baking. Also organic butter for baking, among everything else.

    Our Costco has a nice Indian simmer sauce that combined with the frozen chicken and whatever vegetables I have makes a great stand-by dinner.

    I also buy the Tilamook shredded cheddar cheese (freeze half), and now from the advice of this list, I will buy the flour tortillas to make our go-to fast lunch. Quesadillas– flour tortillas with shredded cheese in the middle baked in the oven.

  16. MelanieB says:

    we had a BJs membership but let it lapse I find I spend too much at the big stores on stuff we don’t need. It’s killer on my budget.

    But what I really wanted to say is that when it’s too hot to roast a whole chicken, we grill it instead: our recipe. I use the leftover chicken meat for enchiladas, yum, yum.

  17. mamacrow says:

    It’s funny you should post a ‘day in a life’ post today… I was thinking the other day, somewhat grumpily, that If I blogged one it wouldn’t read ANYTHING like one of yours and would be a lot more about hitting (the kids) and shouting (me).

    After lots of chocolate last night I am feeling somewhat better today! But am now bawling like a baby over the piano story!

    we don’t have Costco in the UK sadly, so can’t add my list.

  18. Beate says:

    Ditto on the dairy, olive oil, flour, sugar, etc. They carry the organic chicken broth and tomato/pepper soup, which is nice because they don’t have msgs. The pasta is also a good deal as are the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Also no-iron shirts for dh – WOOHOO! Cute baby outfits, swimsuits and swim shirts, socks, boxed sets of cards (we usually make our own but when you can get 35 for $9.00…) I also love the Kirkland shampoo and conditioner in the pump bottles.

    I don’t usually buy meat there, though.

  19. Anna says:

    Costco! My favorite subject!
    I’ve converted many people.
    We went there today for lunch, small shopping, and my daughter needed driving hours.
    Frozen Blueberries (eat every morning on oatmeal) 1/3 the price of grocery store.
    Chocolate cake
    Toilet paper
    Cat litter, cat food
    Dog Food, rawhides
    Butter, eggs, 1/2 & 1/2
    Lo-Carb Monster
    Bananas and fruits
    and many more.

    We also get all our eye exams and glasses and contacts.
    They DID have $25 Caribou Coffee cards for $20—anyone that knows me knows that’s my vice!
    We are getting a new one 5 minutes from our house. WooHoo!

  20. Mariah says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months, but this is my first comment– how I miss Costco! I live overseas now, and we don’t have anything remotely resembling a price club.

    My list, when I’m back Stateside:

    Vanilla extract (the real thing, not imitation).
    Fruits and veggies, fresh and frozen.
    Contact lens solution for dh
    I always check their office/craft supplies aisle. I once picked up a giant pack of all sorts of crayola markers there for a song, and they lasted close to 8 years.

    I can’t remember what else, I’m feeling too nostalgic.

  21. genevieve says:

    Good to know! That’s 50 cents per lb cheaper than Peapod. Now the percentage saved is similar across the board with meat and diary (two highly popular Costco items), just imagine the books I could buy! *grinz* Thanks!

  22. Melissa Wiley says:

    Re Costco gas prices: Laurie, does our Costco have gas pumps? I didn’t see them but that means very little. 😉

  23. Sandra Dodd says:

    We keep our Costco list on a yellow sticky note. Keith is the one who shops at Costco. He sticks the list on the cart.

    We keep our requests from the regular grocery store (walking distance from the back gate) on something non-yellow, and whoever goes up there (the kids are all teens now) will grab that list too (and some money or my debit card if it’s much stuff).

    The costco lists this week (Keith went twice) had
    cream cheese
    canned tomatoes
    chicken broth
    laundry soap
    orange juice

    And not on the list but he brought them back:
    pork roast
    cat food

    Cream has become a staple here. It’s used in tea, sometimes cooking, and hot fudge sauce. When our old cat wasn’t well, cream cheered him up. Real whipped cream is good sometimes, and quick to make.

  24. Lisa says:

    DH works near a Costco, so buys his gas there, and will stop by after work if I email him a shopping list. Things we normally buy there: shampoo & conditioner, deodorant, Gummi vitamins, razors, canned tomatoes (the giant can, for making salsa), organic chicken broth, Dino nuggets, organic frozen veggies, paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins, garbage bags, Kirkland brand anti-bacterial surface wipes, take and bake pizza from the deli (such a deal, and really good!), cheese, chicken, bread, batteries, books, printer paper, clothes. Last week I got one of those super-soft fuzzy blankets for our king-sized bed for $19.99! It is incredible, and the perfect color.

    We do have an additional freezer in our garage, so I have room to store all the giant packages of foodstuffs. In fact, our entire garage is a Costco staging and storage area, for all the big packages of paper goods, etc.

  25. genevieve says:

    Woo hoo! I just got back from Costco. Love it! The individually wrapped chicken is fantastic! It must be new because I don’t remember it four years back. Now I have a month’s worth of meat in the freezer! Hopefully weekly grocery shopping would be faster with vegs and the occasional center aisle. Yeah! Thanks again, Lissa!

  26. Parker says:

    This advice is really going to help, thanks.