Great Finds Friday: Costco Product Excitement

Oct 11, 2013 by

I was very excited about my trip to Costco on Wednesday. They had many new organic and NON GMO products at the Maplewood, MN store. Maybe they are at your local Costco too!

Organic Bananas (not sure on the price, but I have never seen organic bananas there before; in 3# bunches.)

Organic frozen blackberries for $9.99.

Namaste 5# gluten free flour…Non GMO and no potato flour for $8.99.

Organic Honey Crisp Apples $14.99


KerryGold Butter is back! $6.79


Nature’s Earthly Choice Quinoa pasta…gluten free and Non GMO!
Seriously, this is the BEST gluten free pasta I have ever tried. $6.69 for 2.2#


Cubed organic butternut squash is back! So convenient and delicious at $3.99


I saw this tuna and have heard good things about Wild Harvest Tuna.
I am looking forward to trying it. $14.99 for 6 cans


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Great Finds Friday: Berkey Water Filter

Jul 12, 2013 by

royal berkey water filters

The Berkey Water Filter System photo courtesy of

One of my favorite products
that I use on a daily basis
is the Berkey Water Filter.

I made this purchase back in August of 2012 and have been meaning to do a post about it ever since. What has taken me so long?

After Wednesday’s post about glyphosate, it got me thinking as to what the Berkey is filtering out of my water.

While I am no expert on the contaminants in our drinking water, after researching and looking at our budget, I chose the Berkey water filter when deciding to switch from bottled water (which is all I used to drink.)


The reasons I chose the Berkey:

  1. It was an option we could afford
  2. After consulting with a water treatment representative, he asked me what kind of bottled water I preferred. I told him Ice Mountain was my brand of choice. I also told him I can’t stand the taste of waters like Aquafina. He said that my taste preference was for a spring water flavor which would be more conducive to a charcoal filtered water rather than reverse osmosis.
  3. I liked the idea of not being dependent on water/electricity availability at my house to get clean, filtered water.
  4. The Berkey can be taken anywhere to filter while camping, cabin, motor home, etc.
  5. I am not a survivalist or extremist, but it is likely that in some time in the future we may have a community crisis, whatever it may be, where we would not have water or electricity to our home. I would still be able to get my Berkey filtered water; as it just uses gravity through it’s charcoal filters. You can filter lake water, if need be, and have clean, fresh tasting water.
  6. I read reviews and felt convinced it was the best choice for our family right now.


I bought the Royal Berkey from Amazon, as it was the best price. There are several places that sell it online. My sister also purchased a Berkey from Amazon after tasting my water…she is also very happy with her purchase. I chose to purchase the fluoride filters; as the more I have learned about fluoride, the more I did not want it in our water! I added on a spigot so I could see the water amount in the canister. I would highly recommend that add-on.

If you are concerned about what the Berkey filters, here are some links to data to that information.

Details of Black Berkey Organic Test Results and Black Berkey Purification Elements

I also think that this FAQ section from the Berkey web site is very helpful…it answers so many questions.

A few things I have learned…

  • When first using the filters, make sure to properly rinse and prime them; there is factory residue that does pass into the water
  • I found that no matter how long I used my filters, there was still a bitterness to the water and some “floaties” after filtering. After talking to a few people at customer support they said it was because of the fluoride filters. Apparently, the fluoride filters interact with some kinds of water differently, particularly harder water. The recommendation was to either not use the fluoride filters or to double filter. The first time with the fluoride filters, the second time without them.  I decided to go with double filtering. While it is a pain to filter, then store in glass containers until I am ready to do the second filter, I have figured out a system and it works for me. My sister, on the other hand, lives in a different part of the metro area and she only filters once…she doesn’t get the taste we get.
  • It is important to wash out the bottom canister once a month. It can get a smell to it. Every month, I have a routine where I can tell the water is filtering just a bit slower. I take the filters off and scrub the black filters with a Norwex spirinet scrub; Berkey recommends the 3M scrub pads…whatever works for you. Anyway I scrub the grime and build up from the filter under water until it runs mostly clear. I have never needed to prime the filters again after scrubbing, but you may need to do this. I then do a vinegar/water soak of the bottom canister and run it through the spigot. I rinse and am ready to filter again.
  • I did have a leaking plug for the non-filter holes. I ended up going to the local Ace Hardware and purchased two stainless nuts/bolts to fill the holes and they have held the water tight. Berkey did replace those plugs, but I had already come up with my inexpensive, solid fix.
  • Make sure to run the red food dye test every once in awhile to make sure your filter is doing the job intended. It is pretty amazing that it filters red food dye out; it sure stains my hands when I do the test.
  • With my reusable water bottles I have saved so much money over purchasing bottled water. In light of what I have learned about bottled water and plastics; I am happy to have made the changes! To learn more about the bottled water crisis, check out the documentary, Tapped. You can watch it on Netflix or Hulu Plus or check out trailer below.


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Great Finds Friday: Van’s Cranberry Almond Snack Bars

Jun 14, 2013 by

van's snack bars

It can be a challenge to find delicious gluten free foods to grab & go.

For Great Finds Friday, I want to tell you about Van’s Cranberry Almond Snack Bars. These snack bars have a wonderful flavor and they don’t have that funny gluten free taste that I don’t like. I love the fact that they are free of those nasty GMO’s too!

I tried the snack bars the first time when a friend shared a sample she received. We loved them! Unfortunately, there were no stores that sold them near us. Now, they are carried at WalMart and are supposed to be at Target sometime soon (they may be there now, but I haven’t checked.) They do carry them at our local gluten free store, Tailor Made Nutrition. The price is more than $2 more a box there, so I can’t afford to purchase them from them.

If you sign up on the Van’s web site and follow on their facebook page, they offer coupons fairly regularly.

I have tried the chocolate chip and it wasn’t nearly as good as the cranberry almond. We didn’t try the peanut butter flavor because no peanuts in our house!

Well, back out the garden. Have a great weekend!

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Great Finds Friday: Organic Salsa

May 31, 2013 by

Organic Salsa

We love salsa in our house and a great organic salsa that we enjoy is the Kirkland brand from Costco. It comes in a reasonably priced double pack. Pair this salsa with my favorite chips, Mystic Harvest Purple Corn Chips and you are all set for a yummy snack or party.

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This & That

May 30, 2013 by

I just had to do a second post to update on a few things.


Spoonk Update

I was tired of fighting with my son every night on who got to lay on the Spoonk mat before bed, I broke down and bought another one (in Grass Green.) I was excited about the deal I got this time; for the same price I originally paid ($59) I was able to get a travel size mat included. It was only available in the Grass Green and Tera Brown at the cheaper price. The brown color shows only 10 left. I have 6 people I know who have bought the mats and are happy with them. A couple have purchase a 2nd mat. If you have any aches & pains or like a deep, relaxing sleep…and, you are open to new things, give the Spoonk a try! Please click through with my link so I get my credit for the sale (small credit, but helps support the site.) You can also purchase at Whole Foods (but they don’t have the travel size mat. I like the idea of buying the Hemp version, because it has the antibacterial qualities and from reviews holds up better. Here is a link for the less expensive cotton version. Cotton Pagoda Blue Acupressure Massage Mat with carry-bag


whole foods blueberries


Organic Blueberries

Whole Foods has organic blueberries on sale tomorrow, Friday, May 31st for $2/pint. It is very hard to find organic blueberries right now and at $2/pint, it is a great deal. Stop in to pick up some tomorrow!







Zach Sobiech

I thought I had seen everything there was to see or hear about this wonderful young man who is now gracing God in heaven. Last night on my Facebook feed, I ran across another video that rocked me to the core. Something about this video had me sobbing deeply. What a perfect blend of the movie and the song! If you plan on growing old with the one you love, you will likely find a connection with this video. You have been warned…you might cry.

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