Blue Ribbon Food’s – what is it?

blueribbonfoodSome of you who follow me on my personal facebook would have seen me post the photo to the right last week…. A photo that seemed to be great at catching peoples attention haha, because I got a TON of comments on that post. Kinda blew me away. Loved the conversation it created and was cool to pass on information about this company to all those who may find it to be a fit for their family.

To go ahead and get some disclaimers out there
, since I tend to feel the need to do so. I was 1) Not paid to write this post for Blue Ribbon. 2) My family signed up with Blue Ribbon Food’s just like anyone else would, through a friend. 3) I am no expert and I am brand new to this company, so what I am about to talk about is from a newbie’s experience. However, I plan to follow up in 6 mo. from now and share with my readers my thoughts as the time goes. I may even do a 3 mo. check in too, if yall want.

I saw a friend of ours on facebook post a similar image to the right, of their freezer. Packed full of foods. They also mentioned how the food was from a good source of local farms, free range and so forth. I am big on this but will be totally honest. We could not afford to buy all our foods organic… from whole foods, trader joes and other organic food stores in the area. I tried to find ways to make it work… but with our budget, we just couldn’t. We literally live pay check to pay check right now… and as much as I value quality food for my family, it was not worth buying it and then not having enough money to pay our mortgage or utilities. I have learned throughout my years of trying to live well, healthy, feeding my family real food, that living in fear is no way to live… and while everything we eat may not be 100% organic, I try my very best to make do with the resources we have and feed my family well.

So, when I saw these friends post about Blue Ribbon Food’s… I was immediately intrigued. I knew they didn’t live the high life and didn’t live lavishly with lots of money… I knew they had lots of little mouths to feed and shared similar values… and so I decided, why not… why not call the guy they referred me to, and check things out for myself.

So I made an apt. with Blue Ribbon Food’s. The rep who’s name is Matt Albert, came out to our house and cooked our family a meal. Yes, all 6 of us. He asked us prior to coming, what kind of meat we like and would prefer to try… and once he came, he began to cook it up, while talking to us about the company, the farms, the food and so forth. They btw have a list of all their farms. All of them local to the states they service.

Throughout the entire apt. my husband told me, he was just holding his breathe. Waiting for the big price tag to flash across our faces and bid the man goodbye, as he just knew we could not afford something that seemed so nice.

After Matt explained everything to us though, we ate the food, kids enjoyed it… he asked us a lot of questions, like what meats we eat, how often we eat at home, what veggies we eat and so forth… he then was able to quote us a price.

If you go to the Blue Ribbon website you will not see individual pricing. The way their service works isn’t based off a set price on a chicken breast, or a pound of turkey. The price varies depending on your family size… what meats you eat. Do you eat fish, lobster, beef, pork, chicken… or are you a vegetarian and only need their organic veggies. All of these things come into account and that ultimately determines the final price.

I will be honest I am not totally sure how all the numbers work in that regard.

What I do know is once he priced our family cost, my husband was shocked.

It was such a good deal… and even with the freezer we got through the company (commercial grade, frost free), the cost is still within our budget and LESS than what we had been spending at normal grocery stores, buying things on our own. (The freezer btw is something you will want to discuss with Blue Ribbon. It is amazing and so worth getting. It is not “required tho” to use their services. Still, ask about it.)

As soon as my husband heard the price, he was sold.

So, on Wednesday last week, a sweet man in a Blue Ribbon uniform, showed up. My kids were behaving as if this man was Santa :) – so excited about the huge freezer he was about to lug down our drive way and the boxes of food he was going to fill it with.

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The man who delivered our food was very patient with my kids 1,000 questions and remarks.

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ED9A8802As he loaded the freezer into our garage (where we felt it would best fit). I began chatting with him some about the company… and asked him about the largest family he delivers to. He said he has a family with 15 children he delivers to. Many foster kids… What a blessing this service has got to be for families that large… families who may have special needs children… who may not be easily taken to a grocery store. Families who’s husbands may work really late hours, leaving their wife to do all the housework, grocery shopping and tending to the children. I for one, do not enjoy grocery shopping with my kids. While some trips are kinda fun, if its just to pick up a few things here and there… If I had to choose, I would much rather do my grocery shopping alone :) – so that my brain can function properly haha… and I can think while I pick things out.

This guy took care of moving everything into place. He took care of unloading all the boxes himself. I felt like I needed to do something, but nope, he did it all. He didn’t even make that a possibility. He even took the time to properly organize and place all my meats/veggies and other items in the freezer. He explained to me how to use the freezer… its features and so forth. Oh and get this. IF YOU HAVE TO MOVE... as long as you move WITHIN the states that Blue Ribbon Service, they will come to your home on move day, pack up your food and freezer. They will then relocated it for you to your new home, even if that means taking it to a new state! Re-install and re-fill it for you, at no cost. I was blown away at that. They believe in taking care of their customers without a doubt.

Once we checked off the check list, he was on his way and that was it. Could not have been any easier.

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To those curious, all their food is vacuum sealed… it is good in the freezer for up to 12 mo. It wont get all gross and freezer burnt. The way they package their meats is amazing, as well as their organic veggies. I really don’t think Id do it justice to talk about all that here though, you def. need to contact my rep Matt and have him answer all those questions for you.

blue ribbon foodsA few questions I can answer… that some may have.

1. How much food is it? how often do you order?

– You order a 6 mo. supply of food… but you can order as often as you like.
– If you do not use the food within the 6 mo. You do not have to order again after 6 mo. You order when you are ready.

2. Do you have to pay for it all at once?

– Heck no haha. You pay for it weekly. Also, be sure to ask them about what happens if you loose your job… and can’t pay for the food. Their costumer care is UNREAL. It is no wonder most of their clients stay with them for 10+ years.

3. Do you have to order the same stuff all the time?
– No, you can change what you order at any time. So if you end up using more turkey than you thought, but not much of the beef… you can switch it up next order.

There are TONS of questions to ask about the services Blue Ribbon Food’s provides… I don’t really feel I am qualified to answer them all…. However, what I will say is, book an apt. Talk to a rep. Ask a lots of questions and go from there. It cost NOTHING to have a rep come into your home, cook you free food… and tell you about the company. Its free and it is def. no pressure. If they quote the price for your family and you cannot afford it, they understand and its okay. They will work with you and make it work though if it is something you want.

To end, let me say this…

I feel incredibly blessed to live in a country that has the resources it has. You all, we are blessed! I mean look at that freezer! God has blessed this country and I am thankful for everything we have. I do not post any of this to boast… to brag… My family lives frugally…. and while we live very lavishly compared to many in third world countries or even in our own state, where many are homeless and don’t have anything… we have learned to live within our means and with a tight budget. God teaches us to be good stewards of our money… and we truly believe this is going to help us stay within our budget even better.

I look forward to not having to run to a grocery store to buy meat that may be bad… Have you ever purchased an organic chicken (that you paid a lot for) only to get it home and realize its rancid? what a pain… I look forward to trying new recipes with the many choices of food we have here… I also look forward to cutting our bills down even more, by eating at home, real, healthy foods…. rather than running out to eat because we didn’t have a chance to go buy meat, or veggies at the store that week. We have eaten out way to much the last few months and I know that is the culprit. Not being prepared… and not having the time in between home schooling, shooting for my business and keeping a home. Grocery shopping, is last on my list some weeks…

Having Blue Ribbon become a part of our normal, is fine by me :)

To wrap this up….

If you are interested in Blue Ribbon Food’s and live in, GA, NC, SC and parts of VA… contact my rep Matthew Albert on facebook HERE. Or you can email him at: malbert[at]blueribbonfoods.com. I have his phone number too if you want that… but because my blog is a bit to public, if you would like his phone number, just email me drea[at]dreawood.com and I will pass that onto you. One cool thing that Blue Ribbon does do, is offer some great rewards… so any time someone signs up with Blue Ribbon Foods, our family has the opt. to earn money towards paying for our food. So you can help our family out, and others can help you out, etc..etc… The way they have it laid out is great. So if you are interested, be sure to tell Matthew that “Andrea Wood” or “The Wood Family” sent you :) – and we would appreciate it.

With that said, even if Blue Ribbon Food’s had no reward program. We’d still use them. You really cannot beat the convenience and quality for the price.

Hopefully this post made SOME sense. I know it was really long :)

I leave you with baby Reed, enjoying some of his Blue Ribbon food, the first day we cooked it up last week. We’ve enjoyed many meals since then using their food and loved every single one.

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8 years in the making…

We had our family photos taken recently… by my sweet friend Laurie who lives in NC. She was traveling through GA and made a pit stop nearby our home, just for me! I felt so blessed. The pictures came out so so so SO good… I hope to share more of those next week some time. For today though. A little flash back. I had told her I wanted to do this one particular pose… that was honestly a bit OLD SCHOOL… and a bit “not my style” … but it was a photo we had taken when we had first moved to NC back in 2007… I have always loved the photo and wanted to recreate it. So! we did.

Here is the old photo. Taken Nov 2007 – so like 8 years ago? if I am doing my math right.


Its been 5 years?

and… taken last week…

12yrs


In 8 years we sure have grown :)

When I look at the above photo of our sweet family of 6… I first off begin to look at my flaws. Not sure I am loving the bangs… Wondering if I look a lot older… and you know, just finding things you find wrong with yourself.

I hate that my flesh goes straight to the flaws I see with my eyes… instead of naturally going to what does matter.

Look at how faithful God has been!

We are all healthy.

We are all safe…. growing and each passing year, blessed beyond measure.

Christ has seen us through 8 moves over the course of our marriage. Within those moves the Lord has blessed us with babies. All of them born in different cities and 3 different states.

God has radically done a work in our marriage.

He has seen us through so much… and in those moments when I begin to doubt His love for us, He lavishes us and blesses us, again and again.

We may not have a bank account with a nest egg… or savings.

We may not have the best clothing or shoes :) – in fact our entire wardrobe above was stuff we already had and made do with… I did go to a thrift store to buy Caleb a shirt and Reed some pants. Spent $4.00.

We don’t drive the most fancy cars… and the cars we do have may very well have over 100,000 miles right now :) – but they work and get us where we need, with AC, no complaints.

So despite my hair not being perfection (oh the woes of bang issues haha). Or my shoe falling off… or whatever small thing I may see that the flesh in me wants to fix. The above photo, is perfection to me, in that we are together… and I am so very thankful for this memory.

Tot Distraction – Home School Schedule… ish.

I get asked A LOT what I do with baby Reed while I am schooling my older boys. I thought Id type up real fast kinda our general home school schedule on a normal day :) – by normal, just means a day we are home with nothing else to do, but school. Non-normal days mean we have plans to meet another home school family, or family is in town, or a kid is sick, etc..etc…

—- So on a normal day kids are up by 7:30am. They eat breakfast – yes I have taught my kids to fend for themselves most mornings. Some may agree or disagree with that. For me, its a must. I can’t hand feed my kids forever. Teaching them the basics of how to cook an egg, make some toast, pour a bowl of cereal, is key for my personal sanity haha… as well as begins to teach them responsibility and independence (yes please)

—- We try to start school by 8am. Reed the youngest who will be 2 in a few weeks, sleeps most days until 8:30 or 9am. THANK THE LORD, this is huge for us. When time falls back, I think ill loose my mind. Hopefully he bounces back to the normal routine eventually after that dreaded day… but for the last month or so, that has been our normal.

—- First thing we almost always start our day with is Science. A lot of home school moms start with Bible… however, my husband takes care of the bible when he is home, so for us, this isnt the 1st thing we cover. I guess that kinda goes against the code of conduct for more Christian home school moms… for us, it works. I’m all for breaking rules and not fitting the mold of a typical home school mom. haha… not really, but I pretend im a rebel. To those curious, I use SONLIGHT for our Science. We do it together. WORKS GREAT.

—- Next we do History. I am using STORY OF THE WORLD VOL. 1. I LOVE IT. Could not be happier with it. Involves a lot of reading but its been good for me and the kids. The activity book I highly recommend. History we do not do daily... I would say most weeks we do it 3 times a week.

—- By the time we finish History it is at least 9am.
So those two subjects typically take 1 hour. By that point, Reed is awake. So I then get the boys started on their seat work. This includes working on phonics workbooks (for Taite), writing workbooks, their Math-u-see worksheets (or video lesson), computer work, etc.. The boys know what has to be done and they can get it done without me sitting there all the time. This has been a process btw… and takes lots of work… some days are better than others.

—- Once Reed is up it takes me a good 30 minutes to get him dressed, changed, fed and settled…
I wont lie, I typically put Reed on the sofa with some breakfast (cut up toast, dry cereal, muffin, that sorta thing), his bottle of milk, and turn on a netflix show for him. Owen is typically by his side, so they keep each other company and destroy something together.

ED9A8755—- By 10am the boys begin to finish up their seat work… Caleb is working through SOS History/Science/Bible for 4th grade… its a bit more advanced and has helped him developed I believe in his ability to navigate his way on a computer, as well as establish some independent learning… while it is not an easy program to use at first, I think it has been good for him. Caleb usually cannot finish his SOS work from 9-10am… but around 10, regardless if he is done, we almost always break for snack. Or just a brief intermission… brain break :)

—- 10:30am I try to sit the boys back down to finish any other lessons I have. Sometimes this consist of me working on Taite with his phonics and spelling… other times it may be me helping Caleb with his computer work for the day. It is never exactly the same in that regard.

One way I keep Reed busy though, that I thought Id share with those reading this… is to get a big mop bucket (nothing to big, you dont want a drowning hazard), fill it up with some water, and give your tot a few plastic cups. I kid you not, this will keep your tot busy for the longest time! We have a top deck connected to our living room.. so what I typically do is, open the door wide open, so I can easily hear Reed playing, and let him have at it. He gets as messy and wet as he wants. HE LOVES IT! I actually kinda dread the weather getting cold… cause once its cold, he wont be able to do this out there… but for now, it is my go to :) – I suppose once its cold, the back deck will be filled with macaroni noodles and rice. HAHA… you do what you got to do… working around a 2 year old is def. VERY HARD in my opinion… and it makes home schooling very challenging. Some day, he is super needy and we literally quit schooling until his nap. Then from 1-3pm we finish while he sleeps.

The boys almost daily finish their more quiet work during Reed and Owen’s nap time. While I typically get some work done.

Not sure this post helped anyone :) – hopefully so haha…

Thankful for the ability to home school these dudes… it is an experience I will look back on and cherish.

Below are some photos of Reed playing in his mop bucket :) – he is so cute! I love watching him with the cups of water. Apparently our cat Toby does too. He always seems fascinated with Reed.


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& Yes, Reed’s clothes are a few sizes to small. Its how we roll, HAHA. It is what happens when you dont have time to switch out the clothes for the season and your baby is still wearing size 12 mo pants and shirts. Poor dude. He doesnt seem to mind, he just looks kinda like a hobbit some days. I plan to make time to switch out clothes soon… bless him ;-)

Busy weekend shooting.

This weekend was filled with a lot of shooting, but also fun times.

Friday I got to hang out with some sweet friends and snag some head shots for them. Both photographers in the area. Also Christian ladies who are just precious and fun to spend time with. Rebekah is actually my chiropractors wife. It was cool to find out his wife was into photography when we first move here. The other lady, Charlene, her son Benjamin and my son Caleb share a birthday. Same day, same year. Pretty cool to think 10 years ago we didn’t know each other, but had babies on the same day.


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Then on Saturday I had to photographthis cutie….

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Then on Sunday I had to photograph baptism for the church and count shots. Then that evening I was brought on to photograph Shelley E. Johnson in concert. If you have not heard her music yet, you need to check her out. She is an amazing blend of hymns and acoustic/rock? Not sure the proper lingo haha, but I love her style and music A LOT.

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Then today, Travis took off from work, so that we could meet up with my sweet friend from NC, Laurie Crutchfield & her friend Melissa Pepin (who is a photographer near Athens, GA – also very talented). Laurie is an amazingly talented photographer who back when I lived in NC, really helped encourage me and at times mentor me. I looked up to her more than I think she knows :) – She did our photos many years back before moving to GA… and to this day the portraits she did for us, hang in our home. Since Reed however was not born then, I knew it was due time for some new portraits by her. Was so excited when she told me she would be in the area traveling through to a conference. I absolutely took her up on meeting up. So fun to see her… although it did make me a little sad. I miss her a lot.

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Here is a little sneaky peak of her in action (instagram photo). I will post the photos she took when she gets them to me. Could be a week or more, since shes busy at the conference she will be attending this week.

Thank you again Laurie ;-) – if you are reading.

Photo shoot time with the funniest photographer I know :) - always gets our kids laughing. Thanks @lcphoto3837 !! Can't wait to see photos.

Healthy Broccoli Salad

I recently attended a baby shower for a friend of mine… and while there I got to eat up some broccoli salad with bacon in it. I had never seen anything like it before… so when I tasted it and liked it, I was on a mission to find a recipe similar.

All of the recipes I found though contained MAYO. I for one hate mayo :\ – although I will say, mixing it with other stuff makes it tolerable… but my distaste for it, made me not want to use it at all. So when I came across a recipe on Pinterest that used GREEK YOGURT instead, I was all for it!

You can view the original here.

Or print it below :) I made a few small changes but its mostly the same as the original.

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Healthy Broccoli Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins, or 1 (1 oz) box
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TB raw sugar or honey granules
  • 1 1/2 TB white vinegar
  • 3-4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Instructions

  1. Take the cut up broccoli, onion, sunflower seeds, raisins and bacon and throw it into a large bowl.
  2. In a seperate bowl stir together greek yogurt, the sugar (or honey granules), vinegar and stir together.
  3. Once mixed well, pour over top of the broccoli mixture and stir evenly. Also do take in mind this makes a lot of dressing. SO if you are like me and prefer less dressing, feel free to customize this any way you like. I honestly only used about 1/4 of the dressing on a batch. So I plan to just save that other bit of dressing for the next time I make this salad.
  4. Serve up immediately. Or refrigerate and serve later. If you plan to do this for a party, add dressing last... so maybe on the way to the party. If this sits with the dressing on it, it isn't as good.
  5. Enjoy! :)
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