Tuesday Timesavers: Online Grocery Shopping

tuesday timesaversTuesday Timesavers is back with another way that moms like you can save time!

This week, we’re looking at places to do your grocery shopping online.  In fact, there are a handful of websites dedicated to doing just that!

For example, if you live in the northeast, Peapod.com doubles as an alternative to Stop and Shop.  In order to maximize quality and freshness, they package your products at the last possible minute and ship in temperature controlled containers to keep the perishables cold. They are also currently offering free shipping on certain orders, and you can schedule a delivery window that works for you. As far as I can tell from the site, as long as you order by 4 p.m., your order can be delivered the next day. Peapod also delivers to other areas of the country, so check the site to see if your area is included in the list!

If you don’t live in an area that Peapod.com can deliver to, you can opt for Netgrocer.com, which delivers to all 50 states. Like Peapod.com, they can deliver perishables and frozen products in temperature controlled containers. Their delivery schedule is published on their site, and they use a FedEx shipping method that does not require you to be home to receive the delivery. The delivery process takes a little longer with Netgrocer.com…about 3-7 days.

Another alternative is Amazon.com, who started selling groceries a few years ago. Delivery is available in all 50 states and shipping times and rates vary. I found it hard to find details on how they keep products fresh while they’re on the way to you, though.

Finally, if you just need baby products delivered, you might try something like Diapers.com. (Use coupon code ANCA7897 to save $10 on your first $49 purchase – and for the sake of disclosure, I do get a referral bonus if you use that code.) They sell everything from diapers and wipes to formula to bottles, toys, clothing, and other baby gear and boast quick shipping. (And sometimes it’s free!)

All product reviews in this post are the writer’s opinion and have not been paid for or compensated, except where noted for Diapers.com. 

Tuesday Timesavers: Lunchables: They’re Not Just Kids Meals

tuesday timesaversTuesday Timesavers is a weekly feature, posted on Tuesdays, listing conventional and unconventional ways that we can save time each week!

Today’s might make some of you laugh. It’s a trip back to elementary school, but a way that I’ve managed to save both time and money every week.

A few weeks ago I wrote a Tuesday Timesavers piece about ways to save time in the morning. After that, I got to thinking – what are some ways to save time throughout the day? Later that night I was grocery shopping, and suddenly, it was staring me in the face, making me laugh like a ten year old girl.

It was a Lunchables display.

Okay, before you think I’m totally off my rocker, let me explain. One of the things that eats up time in my morning is packing a lunch. You have to get all the parts together, make the sandwich/grab a frozen meal, grab a drink…or worse, plan to grab fast food for lunch if you don’t have time to do that.

So, feeling kind of silly about it, I decided to give the Lunchables a try. I hadn’t had one since elementary school, and since then, they’ve started packaging them complete with a drink and a snack size candy bar.

For example, the one I have with me today is a Low-Fat Ham and Cheddar, with a snack size fat-free Jello pudding and a Capri Sun fruit punch. 360 calories. I tossed a banana in the bag with it to get my fruit/veggie for the meal and I’m set!

Another great thing about these is that they don’t need to be microwaved. No need to wait in line in the break room for the microwave, no need to wait 5-7 minutes for a frozen meal to cook. Just pull this out of the fridge and eat, or if you’re really pressed for time, put it in a lunchbox with an ice pack and keep it at your desk!

If your child or children are school aged, this also could save time at the grocery store. If you buy Lunchables for their school lunches, grab a couple for yourself too so you don’t have to go elsewhere in the store to pick up yours.

Finally, each one costs about $2.50. That’s about the same, or less than the cost of a frozen meal, and definitely cheaper than fast food. It may not be the 100% healthiest thing in the world, but if the alternative is fast food, the Lunchables is a better option.

I now understand why my mom used to send us to school with these every day.

Disclaimer: The above is my opinion. I am not compensated by Lunchables or any associated brands for writing this article.

Tuesday Timesavers: Five Ways To Shorten Your Morning Routine

Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Timesavers – helping moms like you save time each week!

This week, I’ll be talking about the thing that is my biggest challenge as a working mom: the morning routine.

Here is how my mornings have been going as of late. Miss A wakes up at 7 or 7:30. Mr. Dad and I will roll out of bed – one of us will get ready for work while the other one feeds, dresses, and gets her ready to go to daycare. Lately, he’s been the one handling getting her ready and fed, while I get ready for work. I’ve been finding that my current process takes way, way too much time. Over the past week, I’ve been examining what I do each morning in order to come up with some ideas on how to save time and get out the door.

So, here are my suggestions.

    1. Shower at night. This saves 15 minutes off of the morning routine (20 if you blow dry your hair), and has the added benefit of keeping your pillowcase clean of the germs that collect in your hair over the course of the day. (I realize not all women wash their hair daily — I do, though, probably because I’m a bit of a germ freak.)

 

    1. Cut back on cosmetics. My morning makeup routine takes less than five minutes. This is probably the shortest part of the process. I use liquid-to-powder foundation (Cover Girl’s Aquasmooth is a good one – good coverage but not heavy), lipstick, eye shadow, mascara and eyebrow pencil. Getting to skip the eye liner, and using the combined foundation/powder cuts out 3-5 minutes from the makeup routine.

 

    1. Pack the night before. One thing I used to do, and need to get back to doing again, is packing a large bag with everything I need for the following day. Any paperwork I needed to bring with me, nonperishable lunch items (I would grab a frozen meal from the freezer in the morning), and anything that needed to go to daycare (diapers/wipes/clothes) went in the bag the night before. Also, when Miss A was still on the bottle (we’re off it now!) we would prepare her bottles the night before and leave them in the fridge in a cooler bag, which I would grab when I grabbed my frozen meal in the morning. This saves a variable amount of time, depending on how organized your chaos is first thing in the morning.

 

    1. Eat a quick breakfast. I don’t cook in the morning — ever. Breakfast is either a Lean Cuisine breakfast pocket (A minute and a half in the microwave) or a bowl of cereal, with juice or coffee. This is a lot quicker than making eggs and toast or anything else that requires preparation in the morning. This saves 5-10 minutes of cooking time.

 

    1. Time your coffee. Last but not least — my coffee maker has a timer on it. I prepare it the night before and set the time for 7:00 a.m. (remember, Miss A wakes up at 7 or 7:30) so by the time we’re ready to sit down for breakfast, the coffee is already made. That means no setting up the pot to brew in the morning and no waiting for the coffee to be ready. It practically makes itself. This probably saves another 5-10 minutes of preparation and waiting.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Got any ideas for saving time in the morning? Feel free to comment and let me know – I know I’d appreciate it and I bet other moms will too!

Tuesday Timesavers: Lose the Baby Weight With Weight Watchers Online

tuesday timesaversWelcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Timesavers – helping moms like you save time each week!

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this product review, so the below is entirely my opinion.

First of all, apologies for the hiatus – as you can see, the site recently got a facelift, and most of my time was devoted to that. But never fear, Tuesday Timesavers is here again!

This week’s edition of Tuesday Timesavers will be about Weight Watchers Online! If you’ve read my post about my quest to lose the baby weight you’ll know that I’ve now been on the program for a month. To give a little preview of the weight loss I should be announcing once the month is up (later this week!) – I am down nine pounds! (And I didn’t even abide by the plan perfectly 100% of the time!)

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Weight Watchers. I joined for the first time when I was planning my wedding back in 2004/2005, and again after the wedding. I wanted to sign up after having the baby, but when you’re a working mom, when do you have time for meetings?

So I gave Weight Watchers online a shot, and was wary about whether or not it would work since there isn’t the accountability of meetings. I didn’t find that as a factor in my success though, because I was motivated.

The best thing about the new version of the Weight Watchers program is that it’s got an option that is practically designed for busy people like us. They have the Simply Filling technique, which gives you a list of foods and guidelines, and as long as you don’t break the rules  and you make sure to get your Good Health Guidelines checked off (water, vitamin, exercise, etc), you don’t really need to “track” anything. So, between not having to attend a meeting, and not having to track your calories, it’s a definite time saver! (Plus the meal choices and recipes are quick to make!)

So, all in all, it works well for moms who need a quick way to plan healthy meals. Whether you decide to track Points or use the Simply Filling technique, you’re guided toward making good choices that are good for your wallet, waistline, and your time.

Tuesday Timesavers: Warehouse Shopping

tuesday timesaversWelcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Timesavers – helping busy mom bloggers everywhere save time each week!

This week, I’ll be talking about Warehouse Shopping. I am a big, big fan of warehouse stores such as Costco (where I have a membership), BJ’s, and Sam’s Club. I love them not just for their money-saving potential, but for their time-saving potential as well!

If you’re going to shop the warehouse stores, though, you have to do it right – otherwise you’ll be shelling out a lot of money on big packages of things that will eventually go to waste. If you think of shopping at the warehouse store not as an alternative to grocery shopping, but as an aid to grocery shopping, you’ll be in good shape.

For example, at the warehouse store, I pick up big boxes of the staples we use all the time, and easily-preservable perishable items.

For example, the items I might buy at Costco (monthly) over Albertsons or Publix include:

    • Shampoo and Conditioner

 

    • Granola Bars (or 100 calorie packs, or any other type of snack)

 

    • Soap

 

    • Pasta and Pasta Sauce

 

    • Frozen Lunches (our Costco carries both Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine)

 

    • Diapers (Costco’s brand diapers are amazing, and at under 18 cents a piece, are so worth it)

 

    • Wipes (Again, Costco’s brand is great and saves money over buying brand-names)

 

    • Formula (TWO cans of Costco-brand formula for under $20…that’s less than $10 a can!)

 

    • Ground beef/turkey/chicken (refrigerate a few portions, freeze the rest)

 

    • Milk (they still sell Milk by the gallon, but it’s cheaper than the grocery store)

 

    • Toothpaste

 

    • Animal Crackers (one of Miss A’s favorite snacks – Costco sells organic animal crackers under their store brand)

 

    • Cereal (two boxes of Cheerios for a grand total of $4.99 versus $3.50 a box at the grocery store)

 

    • Frozen fruit/vegetables

Doing a 45 minute Costco run monthly saves me time in that instead of making weekly trips to the grocery store, spending an hour or so each time, I usually only need to go two or three times a month to replenish the staples.

At the grocery store, I usually buy:

    • Fresh Fruit/Vegetables for salads

 

    • Bread (Though larger families may benefit from buying bread at Costco – the three of us just don’t eat it fast enough and it gets moldy).

 

    • Milk (if we run out of the gallon from Costco)

 

    • Yogurt

 

    • Soda (our store brand’s soda – diet, of course – is good and very inexpensive)

 

    • Juice

 

    • Eggs

Of course, this isn’t the entire shopping list – but it covers the staples and I fill in the gaps where needed.

I hope this is helpful information!

Got a suggestion for Tuesday Timesavers? Comment on this post, or email andrea@minuteformom.com.

Tuesday Timesavers: Mint.com

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Timesavers, a weekly feature where we talk about things that help busy moms like you save time every day!

This week’s featured timesaver is Mint.com. I’ve been seeing tweets about this service show up on my Twitter feed over the past week and decided to check it out.

Mint.com is an online financial management service much like Microsoft Money or Quicken, except that it is free and done completely online. The process of creating an account is quick, easy, and completely painless. Simply enter your email address and password, and then follow the prompts to add your bank account, loan account, savings account, credit card accounts, and any other financial accounts that you have to Mint.com. It automatically downloads the account details to your Mint.com account.

After doing this, it automatically categorizes your spending (with relatively high accuracy – I had to go back and change a few things, like my daughter’s daycare I had to change from “Education” to “Kids – Babysitter & Daycare”) and helps plan a budget for you. With just a few clicks, you have have a complete analysis of your financial standing and net worth. You can even add the value of your cars and your house to complete the picture.

And if that’s not enough, once you’ve added a credit or loan account to Mint.com, they send you email reminders letting you know when your next payment is due. These reminders are also posted in an “alerts” section when you’re signed into Mint.com.

Finally, the site is secure. Security is verified by Verisign, Trust-e and McAfee, so you know your information is safe.

The only complications I ran into are with credit cards that have extra layers of security. For example, one of my credit card accounts requires that you enter your password and answer three security questions every time you sign in. That one I wasn’t able to add to my Mint.com account, but it’s set up to auto-pay anyway so it’s not really a concern.

There’s about a million more cool features on Mint.com, but why not check it out for yourself?

In the interest of transparency – the opinion expressed here is mine and mine alone – I was not compensated by Mint.com in any way for writing this review.

Tuesday Timesavers: Crockpots

Tuesday Timesavers for Busy Moms

I’m testing out a new weekly feature: Tuesday Timesavers! Let me know what you think by comenting below!

As a working mom, who is also working on a masters, finding time to work in cooking at the end of the day is pretty difficult. By the time both Mr. Dad and I get home, we’re wiped out from working all day. Miss A is also usually pretty tired from a full day of running around like a tazmanian devil at daycare, plus she’s not very handy in the kitchen yet. This has resulted in many nights of takeout, which has been detrimental to our waistlines and our wallets.

What’s the solution then? A couple of weeks ago I pulled my trusty crockpot out from the black hole where it was stored, dusted it off, and started making meals with it. One afternoon of cooking usually equals 3-4 meals for each of us. I’m kind of liking the whole “cook once, eat all week” idea. Plus, it’s fairly easy to make healthy food this way!

Here are two of the recipes that I have made so far:

Bloody Mary Chicken
1 bottle of Spicy Bloody Mary Mix (appx. 33 oz)
3 boneless chicken breasts, thawed and cut in half

Put the Bloody Mary mix and six halves in the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours (or high for 3-4 hours).

Chili Pasta Bake
1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey (if you want to go healthier, use ground turkey breast)
1 1/2 cups of elbow macaroni
2 cans of diced tomatoes in water
1/2 can tomato paste
1 cup of chopped onion
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of pepper
1/4 tsp dried crushed oregano
2 tsp of chili powder

Brown the ground turkey. Add the other ingredients to the crock pot first, then add the browned ground turkey. Cook for 3-4 hours on low, 5-7 hours on high.

Here are some other resources for crock pot recipes:

A Year of Crockpotting
Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes (Better Homes & Gardens)
Cooking Light Cook’s Essential Recipe Collection: Slow Cooker: 57 essential recipes