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This post is sponsored by Udi’s® Gluten Free. All comments and opinions are my own.

Over the past several years, I’ve grown to love salmon. From the time my girls were toddlers, I’ve fed them canned salmon for lunches, and I always feel good about the protein and brain boost I’m giving them with this super food.

Lately though, I’ve noticed that the girls have wanted me to dress their salmon up a bit. Just plain, flaked salmon from the can wasn’t cutting it (and truly, I can see why).

I decided to try my hand at creating some Salmon Melt Sandwiches, and–oh my goodness–they are absolutely delicious! 

Our family has been gluten free for 7 1/2 years now, so I used Udi’s® Gluten Free Delicious Multigrain Sandwich Bread to make the melts. 

I’m happy to report that the Udi’s Gluten Free bread stays together, tastes delicious, and is definitely worth it! It’s a game changer! While other gluten free breads can look miniature, Udi’s 24 oz loaves have 30% larger per slice when compared to conventional sandwich breads. I also love that is it certified gluten free, is dairy and nut-free, and has 8 grams of whole grains per serving, plus other vitamins and minerals. You can find it in the frozen gluten free section of Publix.

Gluten Free Salmon Melts Ingredients
  • 1 can (6 ounces) salmon, drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon salsa
  • 1 drop hot sauce
  • 2 pieces sliced cheese
  • 4 slices Udi’s Gluten Free Delicious Multigrain Sandwich Bread 
  • several pats of butter
Method
  1. Flake salmon with a fork in a small bowl.
  2. Add the mayo, mustard, salsa, and hot sauce to the bowl and combine well.
  3. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
  4. Place bread in a skillet, butter side down, and heat to medium.
  5. Spread half of salmon mixture on one slice of bread.
  6. Place cheese slice on top of salmon mixture.
  7. Cook until the bread starts to brown. Flip the slice of bread without the mixture on it to now be on top of the bread with the mixture.
  8. Flip again until both sides are browned but not burned.

Makes two sandwiches.

From 1/6/19 – 3/10/19 (while supplies last), you can save $1.30 on Udi’s Gluten Free Bread at Publix. Click here for savings and make sure to stop by your local Publix.

Have you ever made salmon melts? What is your go-to recipe?

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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Charcuterie boards don’t have to be complicated, time-consuming, or even expensive. I hope that this post on how to make a super simple charcuterie board will give you the confidence to take one to your next gathering!

This post is sponsored by Stella® Cheese but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Charcuterie boards are all the rage these days. And why wouldn’t they be? They are cute, are full of delicious foods, are perfect to take to a party, and they are incredibly easy to assemble!

I think my favorite part on the list above is the ease!

I’ve been making charcuterie boards for years and didn’t even realize it. I called them snack plates.

Charcuterie sounds so much fancier, doesn’t it?

All you need to assemble a charcuterie board is a nice wooden cutting board and a mix of finger foods.

The key to making a charcuterie board look amazing is to vary the different flavors, colors, and textures of the food on the board.

I recommend including at least one each from the following list.

A Super Simple Charcuterie Board Includes: 1. Meats

Charcuterie connoisseurs recommend including a mix of both pre-sliced and sliceable meats (paired with a small knife for the consumer to cut the meat).

But I say to just use whatever is easiest and available to you.

Some meats you can include on your board are pepperoni, rolled up deli meats, sausages, salami, and prosciutto. 

On a charcuterie board I made for my children the other night, I included rolled-up uncured deli ham. They loved it!

2. Cheeses

I must admit: The cheese is absolutely my favorite part of charcuterie boards. I’ve never tried a cheese that I didn’t love, and I confess that I usually sample every single cheese whenever I’m at a party with charcuterie boards!

It’s best to vary your cheeses and include both a hard cheese and a soft cheese. Some cheeses that come to mind include a cream cheese, a cheese ball, blue cheese, fresh mozzarella, and sharp cheddar.

On a charcuterie board I made for my children the other night, I included slices of Stella Cheese’s Italian sharp cheddar. Yum!

3. Veggies

Here’s where you can really boost the variety of flavors, colors, and textures on the board. The more color the better!

Some of my favorites include baby pickles, pickled carrots, sliced cucumbers, and julienned peppers. 

My girls’ favorite veggie is cucumbers, so I included that on the board I made for them the other night.

4. Fruit

Fruit is another way to spice up the variety of your board. My favorite fruits to include are berries because they are easy for you to pick up, and they also pair nicely with a plethora of cheeses.

Olives are another favorite for charcuterie boards. I included olives on the board I made the other night because my youngest daughter loves them and begs to eat them!

5. Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and nuts really add to the texture of a charcuterie board, but I will say that these should be optional, as so many people these days are allergic to nuts. 

Before taking a charcuterie board with seeds and nuts to a party, it would be polite to inquire if that is safe for everyone invited.

Seeds and nuts should be large enough to be scooped easily, or, better yet, include a small bowl with a spoon on the board for your nuts or seeds. 

Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and walnuts are some of my favorites to include. Something salted and spiced would be fun during the holidays!

6. Bread or Crackers

Toasty sourdough slices, petite artisan rolls, or even multi-seed crackers are all wonderful options for the bread or cracker portion of your charcuterie board.

Our family prefers gluten-free crackers, of course.

These are really not optional. Your guests will want some kind of carb to pair with all the wonderful meats and cheeses!

7. Sweets

These are optional but oh-so-yummy. Dark chocolate, a jar of honey, or a jelly spread over a cream cheese are all ways to add some sweetness to your charcuterie board. Some people even include fondue on their boards–with both cheeses and chocolate.

Along with the foods, be sure to include toothpicks to pick up the finger foods and knives and spreaders for the cheeses. 

As you can see, variety is the name of the game when it comes to making charcuterie boards. But they don’t have to be complicated or take a long time to make.

A charcuterie board can really be the easiest appetizer to put together!

What are your ideas on how to make a simple charcuterie board? Have you ever made one?

This post is sponsored by Stella® Cheese but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Pumpkins have always been one of my favorite foods. In fact, I can remember asking my mom to bake me a pumpkin pie instead of a cake for my birthday one year when I was a child.

More than a decade ago, I discovered a pumpkin dip recipe that I began making and taking to any autumn party or get together. Back in 2011, one of the first posts I wrote for this blog was a probiotic version–made with yogurt.

Heads Up! If you download and use the Target app, you can get the 10-15% offer on Silk Half Gallons and Silk & So Delicious Dairy Free plant-based yogurts products between 10/14 – 11/11! Download it here.

For several years, my family was dairy-free, and I sadly had to go without my beloved pumpkin dip. I know many of you are also battling food allergies with your children or are dairy-free yourself.

I recently decided to try my hand and converting my old, beloved pumpkin dip recipe into a dairy-free pumpkin dip. I was delighted at the results, and I dare so, it’s even tastier (and healthier!) than the first one!

Heads Up! If you download and use the Target app, you can get the 10-15% offer on Silk Half Gallons and Silk & So Delicious Dairy Free plant-based yogurts products between 10/14 – 11/11! Download it here.

Without further ado, check out my new, improved recipe for pumpkin dip!

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Dip
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (or one 15 oz. can) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vanilla-flavored Silk almondmilk yogurt* (full of probiotics and great for overall health!)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • pumpkin pie spice, to taste

*Silk and SO Delicious both have a variety of dairy-free yogurts you can try if you have a nut allergy in your family. You do not have to use the almondmilk yogurt, but it’s my preferred choice.

Instructions
  1. Combine pumpkin puree and yogurt. Add in spices.
  2. Serve with gingerbread or spice cookies.
Notes
  • If you check out my original version of this dip, I included a full cup of honey. Other pumpkin dips call for a lot of sugar. Since this dairy-free pumpkin dip uses vanilla-flavored SILK almondmilk yogurt, I didn’t add any additional sweetener. If you prefer a sweeter dip, by all means, add your sweetener of choice, but I felt that the yogurt added the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • An an alternate to using this as a dip, you can even eat it by itself as a pudding.
  • Or, try stirring the dip into oatmeal or use it to spice up pancakes, muffins, or breads.

Heads Up! If you download and use the Target app, you can get the 10-15% offer on Silk Half Gallons and Silk & So Delicious Dairy Free plant-based yogurts products between 10/14 – 11/11! Download it here.

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of StarKist Selects E.V.O.O.

I didn't grow up eating seafood, but I fell in love with it when my husband and I honeymooned
on the Outer Banks back in 2005.

As we were leaving our wedding reception, my dad pulled my husband aside and handed him a
wad of cash with this caveat for us using it: "You must try the seafood!"

My first foray into seafood-eating did not disappoint.

Fast forward a few years, when I was a mom of two with a baby and a toddler, and I learned that
I had been ignoring yet another form of seafood that was packed full of protein and amazing
health benefits—fish in a pouch!

When our family was barely making it financially, I was able to get pouched salmon and tuna
with our WIC checks. I found the flaked fish so easy to prepare–we could eat it straight from the pouch, or I could add it to soups, salads, casseroles, and more!

While I've been using fish from a pouch for more than seven years now, I recently discovered
the StarKist Selects E.V.O.O. varieties, which takes pouched tuna up a notch. I've been
impressed at the simple ingredients of the pouches–like wild-caught Pink Salmon or Yellowfin
Tuna, EVOO, and salt–and we eat the flavored varieties–like the Yellowfin Tuna with Sundried
Tomato–right out of the pouch!

Over the years, salmon or tuna patties have become one of my favorite, quick and easy protein-
rich meals. Salmon and tuna are interchangeable in this recipe, so take your pick of whichever
one you prefer!

As we’ve added more children to our family (four now!), arming myself with quick and easy
meals that are still healthy has become a must.

I hope you will enjoy my recipe for salmon patties or tuna patties!

Protein Packed Salmon/Tuna Patties Ingredients
  • 30 ounces Starkist Selects salmon or tuna in variety or varieties of choice (you can combine different flavors to your own unique tastes!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats, ground into flour in a blender
  • dash of chili powder
  • one squirt of hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • paprika, for garnish/color
  • coconut oil, for frying

Method
  1. Remove salmon or tuna from pouches and mash well with a fork.
  2. Add eggs, oat flour, chili powder, hot sauce, salt, and pepper to fish mixture and combine well.
  3. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the fish mixture into hands and form patties.
  4. Place patties in a well-oiled skillet. Brown for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until well browned.
  5. Sprinkle paprika on the top of each patty.
  6. Serve with fish sauce, tarter sauce, hot sauce, or any seasonings of choice!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of StarKist Selects E.V.O.O.

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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If you’re looking for a quick and easy appetizer to take to your next friend or family gathering, then I have the perfect recipe for you! I have partnered with Eckrich Smoked Sausage to bring you a beautiful Smoked Sausage Appetizer Platter. The best part about it was that I was able to incorporate ingredients that I already had in my kitchen, so it was very easy to make. It let me spend less time in the kitchen, and more time spending time with my friends and family, which I think everyone can agree is a great thing!

My husband Will and I ate a dish similar to this at party more than a decade ago, and it’s been one of our favorite easy but yummy appetizers to take to get-togethers ever since!

Ingredients:

-2 packages Eckrich Smoked Sausage

-2 blocks cheese of choice, cut into cubes

-1 jar dill pickles

-seasonings of choice

To make this, you simply cut and brown the sausage, cut the cheese into cubes, slice the pickles into small pieces, and arrange all on a tray! Then sprinkle with seasonings of your choice and serve with toothpicks. 

It’s so easy but looks fancy! The Eckrich Smoked Sausage makes this a hearty but quick appetizer because it’s so fast to prepare. It is naturally hardwood smoked and crafted with just the right blend of spices for a truly rich, savory flavor. You can get it from the deli section of your local grocery store.

I took this Eckrich Smoked Sausage nibbles platter to our community group the other night, and it was a total hit! And here’s a little time-saving secret: We actually served the platter to our kids for dinner that night. The sausage provides plenty of protein, and this appetizer can double as a quick “snack plate dinner” for those nights when I don’t feel like slaving over a hot oven (which is often!).

All you need is some Eckrich and whatever in your cupboard to make a delicious meal –  no wonder it’s one of my go to ingredients!

Have you ever cooked with smoked sausage for an easy meal or appetizer? For more info about Eckrich Smoked Sausage, as well as quick and easy recipes please visit www.eckrich.com.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Eckrich Smoked Sausage.

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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My friend Lee is a Korean adoptee who spent nearly 40 years of his life not knowing if he would ever be reunited with his birth mother. I am so honored and humbled to get to share his story with the world!

I don’t normally write human interest stories for this blog, but before I began blogging they were my favorite type of stories to write for the newspapers where I worked. A few months ago, I had the opportunity to write about my friend Lee for his GoFundMe account. His story brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart. I am in awe of God’s work in Lee’s life. I hope his story will inspire you as much as it did me! 

In 1980, a 5-year-old Lee Korak flew across the world from his native South Korea to suburban Wisconsin, where a loving adoptive mother, father, and older sister awaited him with open arms. Lee soon lost all memories of his birth family and country of origin, and for the next 37 years he had no information or knowledge of his early years or Korean family.

Despite the nurture and care of his adoptive family, throughout his childhood and adolescence Lee battled feeling out of place. More than anything, he wanted to fit in. He resented being different. Being Korean. Being adopted. He lived his life as if it began as a 6-year-old American boy.

Lee didn’t begin to explore his Korean roots until his late 30s, when he became a father himself. Meeting his newborn daughter—his first blood relative–in 2008–was the catalyst for more deeply exploring his heritage. For the first time, Lee was able to look into the eyes of someone who shared his features, who shared his DNA.

But it wasn’t until 2012 that Lee truly began to grieve the loss of his birth family and acknowledge how the trauma of his early childhood was affecting him in negative, unforeseen ways. After attending a Christian men’s ministry event called Marked Men for Christ, Lee was able to see that what he had previously believed about himself—that he was unlovable, worthless, and easily discarded—were all lies. Through the Marked Men for Christ ministry, Lee was able to claim the truth that he had always been cared for, loved, and belonged. This began the healing journey that Lee continues on today. Part of this journey has led Lee to further reconnect with the Korean part of himself that he had buried and been ashamed of in his youth.

In 2017, via a Facebook group, Lee connected with other Korean adoptees from the orphanage he was placed in as a child. In early 2018, the group highlighted the contact information of an English-speaking nun who had worked at the orphanage—now transitioned to a daycare center—since the 1970s.

As others in the group wrote about contacting the nun, Lee decided, on a whim, to reach out to her as well.

Unsure if there would even be a response, Lee did not dream that the nun would be able to connect him with his blood relatives. He simply wanted to know if she had any more information about his first few years of life.

Lee was shocked to hear back from the nun just nine hours later. Not only had she found his birth mother’s name and phone number in Lee’s file, but within this short span she was also able to speak with her on the phone.

“Your mother was so touched and cried on the phone,” the nun wrote to Lee.

After 37 years of wondering who he really was, within a day Lee learned that his mother was a 75-year-old widow (now remarried) who had never forgotten about her beloved son. In fact, his mother had never given him up for adoption. He had been taken to the orphanage against her will.

In her first letter to Lee, his birth mother told of his early life and the circumstances that led to them being separated. After Lee’s father died, his mother was left bankrupt and without any support system. This forced her to flee Seoul to live with her sisters and their husbands in Daegu. However, the sisters’ husbands were not open to providing long-term care for Lee and his mother. Day-after-day, Lee’s mother strapped him to her back while searching for a job. But the murky economic landscape of the 1970s did not favor single women in the workforce.

One day, Lee’s mother left him in the care of her older sister while she, once again, sought employment. Sadly, the sister took Lee to the orphanage and requested that he be adopted by an American family. She told the orphanage that Lee’s mother had run away. While Lee’s aunt gave him to the orphanage under false pretenses, Lee believes that she did so because she thought he would have a better life in America than what his widowed, jobless mother could ever give him in Korea. Still, hearing this news devastated Lee, as he realized that his mother had literally been looking for him for 37 years. It was against the rules of the orphanage to give out any information about Lee. The only way Lee’s mother would ever be able to reconnect with her son, the orphanage authorities told her, was if Lee came looking for her.

His mother waited 37 years for that to happen. When Lee was around 18 years old, his mother came to the orphanage, seeking if her now-adult son had come looking for her.

She was met with no news.

She returned a few years later. She had now gone more than 20 years without her son. “Was he still living? Did he remember her? Would they ever be reunited?”

Perhaps her now 26-year-old son had come looking for his mother.

Still, no news.

The day the nun contacted Lee’s mother with the news that her son was seeking to find her felt as if he had been raised from the dead.

“‘Oh, thank you! Thank you, Sister!” his mother cried out to the nun. “My son is alive!!’”Lee’s mother had never forgotten her son, had never stopped loving him. The son who had believed the lies that he was unlovable, worthless, and easily discarded was not only loved, worthy, and accepted by the love of God—but he also had been longed for and grieved for by his Korean mother for nearly four decades.

Lee never imagined he would have the opportunity to be reunited with his birth mother. He only has memories of his adopted family—who he has always loved as his own.

Discovering that his birth mother was alive and looking for him came during an excruciatingly difficult time in Lee’s life: Just one month before he received news of his birth mother, Lee’s adoptive mother, Valerie Strouf, passed away after a one-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Valerie never saw Lee any differently than her own flesh and blood, and Lee felt the same.

Losing his mother of 37 years and finding his birth mother within a month of each other came with both great sorrow and great joy.

Because Lee’s birth mother is elderly, Lee and his wife Kelly have made the decision to visit her in Korea as soon as possible.

They are planning a trip to Korea from July 19-30, 2018, so they can meet their long-lost Korean family. Passionate about spreading the gospel of Jesus—which infused Lee with the hope he had been missing after his traumatic early life—the Koraks have decided to use this opportunity to also help with a Vacation Bible School mission trip organized by a Korean friend who attends Centre Prebyterian Church in Mooresville, NC.

Lee and Kelly do not have much time to raise money for this trip, and they covet any help you can give. Eventually, they would love for their three children to meet their grandmother in Korea, but, for now, they are excited about taking this maiden voyage to the country of Lee’s birth.

As one can imagine, a trip to Korea is extremely expensive. I have personally set up a GoFundMe campaign for Lee and Kelly’s trip. The funds from this GoFundMe will help defer the costs of Lee and Kelly’s flights, transportation in country, food, and lodging. Our family will also be helping to take care of Lee and Kelly’s three children while they are on the trip. Please keep them and their children in your prayers!

Lee and his family are grateful for your support and invite you to be a part of this amazing story.

If you feel led to give (even the smallest amount helps!), you can do so here.

Please feel free to share Lee’s story with your friends and family!

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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Amazon Prime Day is July 16-17! Get a FREE $10 Amazon credit to spend!


Amazon Prime Day is returning this year for a day and a half. It will start on July 16 at 3 p.m. and run through July 17th.

There will be deals to rival Black Friday, so this is a great time to get some shopping done for Christmas, birthday, or any other occasion. 

We will be posting the BEST Prime Day specials that we can find, so stay tuned for some great deals! There will be exclusive deals on household items, fashion, toys, electronics, etc. 

We love Prime and use it on a weekly basis. Along with the free shipping, there are movie, music and book benefits as well.

In order to claim these deals, you must be a Prime member. If you aren’t a Prime member, have no fear. You can get a free 30-day trial to get access to these deals.

As a bonus, you can get FREE $10 credit to spend when you download and sign into the Amazon app for the first time. 

To get your credit, download the Amazon app from your app store. Open the app and sign into your Amazon Prime account for the first time. Within 7 days, the $10 credit will appear to be used for any $20 purchase you make within the Amazon app.

You can combine your credit with Prime Day deals to get extra savings! 

SaveSave

SaveSave

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Food Lion. All opinions are 100% mine.

While most families shop at more than one grocery store, it’s convenient to know how to save money at the one closest to your house. These 3 ways to save money at local grocery stores will help you make the most of your time and money!
While I most definitely shop at a variety of stores, there are three specific ways I like to save money at local grocery stores.
3 Ways to Save Money at Local Grocery Stores

1. When your meal plan falls through, pick up a rotisserie chicken instead of take-out.
My friend and mentor, Holly, actually recommends just adding a rotisserie chicken to your meal plan each and every week!
It saves our family so much money for me to run to the store and grab a rotisserie chicken for dinner over succumbing to the temptation to order take-out or load up the kids and go out to eat.
I usually pair the chicken with some quick gluten-free mac ‘n cheese and some sautéed green beans. Bam–we have a full, frugal meal that didn’t require any more than a 5-minute trip to my closest store (for me, it’s Food Lion).
Besides pairing the chicken with side dishes, you can also shred it up quickly and add it to soups or casseroles, or top salads with it.
I also like picking them up to bring to potluck suppers.
2. Check gluten-free and other specialty food sales.
It’s often (but not always) cheaper to purchase specialty items at local grocery stores over health food stores.
Because it’s not these type of items their typical customers might be seeking, our Food Lion frequently puts their gluten-free items on sale. They also run amazing clearance sales when items like this aren’t selling.
I always go by the gluten-free section when I’m at Food Lion to see what’s on sale and what I can stock up on while there.
Besides often being cheaper and on sale, it also saves me money to look for specialty items at local chain stores like Food Lion over the fancier stores that require me to drive to the “big city” (Charlotte). Mama just doesn’t have time for all that in this season of her life!
3. Use loyalty programs for even more savings.

Local-ish grocery chains often offer great loyalty programs that are worth exploring.

I’ve been a Food Lion MVP member since I was a teenager. I love that they offer Food Lion MVP Digital Coupons as well as the Shop and Earn app.

Whatever your local grocery chain is, inquire about joining their loyalty program–especially if their conveniently-located store means you frequent them for last-minute items.

If you live in the South, like I do, you might have a Food Lion on every corner. I live just twenty minutes away from the Food Lion headquarters, which means my medium-size town has no less five Food Lion stores. This makes it a super convenient stop for last-minute items, as well as for everyday, stress-free grocery shopping. (Check out more ways to save at Food Lion via their weekly specials and Fresh Ideas Blog!)

What are your ideas on how to save money at local grocery stores?

The Humbled Homemaker has gifts for you! Click on the link to download your FREE eBook!
Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day/a>

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Zaycon Fresh closed their doors on June 25, 2018–but that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives to Zayon Fresh–and to buying affordable, quality meats! This post will give 6 alternatives to Zaycon Fresh!  

It is sadness and frustration that I am writing you today to let you know that one of my most FAVORITE businesses has suspended their operations, and, it appears, has gone out of business!

I’ve been telling you all about Zaycon Fresh for years because I’ve been a loyal customer for years–at least five or six! A couple days ago, I ran across a Facebook post that said they have suspended operations. The post–and their website–give no further information!

Here is what I know, and here is what YOU need to do if you have any outstanding orders with Zaycon (this is important!!):

1. Zaycon suspended operations on June 25. They posted a notice on their website, but they shared very little else. Sadly, they have not sent out any emails to customers or blogging affiliates. Word of mouth is the only way people are finding out they have suspended operations.

2. No one knows if “suspended” means if Zaycon will ever resume business or not.

3. Thousands of customers (including me!) had pre-paid for orders that they will now not get. I urge you to immediately contact your credit card company or bank or PayPal (however you paid) and file a dispute for any and all Zaycon Fresh orders that you have not yet received. Please note that different banks and card companies will have different dispute windows and you could be looking at anywhere from 15 to 90 days before you’ll see the refund.*

*Because Zaycon kept pushing orders to a later and later date (this happened to me repeatedly over the last few months, and it was very frustrating!), there are some customers whose banks are refusing the disputes. I have heard from some customers that if they were able to prove that Zaycon had not yet delivered their product and were able to show the emails or other notifications showing the delays, then the banks still reimbursed these charges.

4. Bloggers who promoted Zaycon are just as frustrated as everyone else. Zaycon had a stellar referral program for all customers and a great affiliate program for bloggers. Not only does this business suspension cheats innocent customers out of their money, but they closed shop without paying out thousands of referral dollars. They also let their loyal truck drivers go without notice. In fact, some of their drivers were still making deliveries this week–without pay. (My mom got her final bacon order this way.)

Alternatives to Zaycon Fresh

I’ve long promoted Zaycon because I ordered from them regularly myself, and although their meat wasn’t organic, I felt it was high quality (especially their wild-caught seafood!), and it’s what I fed my own family.

You could not beat Zaycon’s prices, which, sadly, seems to have contributed to their demise. Offering customers such low prices again and again was not a sustainable business model.

So where do we go from here?

The following are some suggestions for where to purchase bulk meats online.

I’m still researching these myself, and I will let you know my findings here and in future blog posts/newsletters.

Azure Standard

I’ve actually been a loyal Azure customer for years as well. They are based on farmland out in the Pacific Northwest but deliver by trucks all over the U.S. monthly.

Pros- They offer a HUGE selection of natural foods, including produce, canned goods, boxed staples, dairy, meats, and more.

Cons- While they are typically cheaper than Whole Foods and other health food stores, they are for sure pricier than what we were accustomed to paying for Zaycon meats. Buying in bulk and splitting with friends is definitely the way to go with Azure. The more you buy, the more affordable Azure becomes. I also always check out their sales and clearance tabs before ordering.

Check out Azure here.

Butcher Box

Full discloser: Our family loves the idea of Butcher Box, but we’ve only tried them ourselves once. Why? Full transparency: the price!

We have been getting meat at such a good deal from Zaycon that we haven’t had much reason to look elsewhere–even when that meant we weren’t always getting the highest quality meat. Why? Let’s be honest: Sometimes “better” is the “best” when it comes to budget.

Pros- Butcher Box offers very high quality meat, and they deliver to your home!! They also sometimes offer sales, and the prices really aren’t ridiculous when you compare them to somewhere like Whole Foods. Also, shipping is FREE! Their meat is 100% grass-fed, their pork is heritage breed, and their chickens are free-range organic. Their meat is all certified humane and all free from added antibiotics and hormones.

Cons- The price. That’s really it. If you’re already used to buying organic meat at the grocery store, Butcher Box might even feel like a steal to you.

Want to try Butcher Box bacon for FREE? Now through July 8, 2018, they are currently running a promo where everyone who signs up for a Butcher Box subscription will get FREE BACON in every single order! Will and I are signing up for this one! Check out this deal here.

Tropical Traditions

I’ve been a long-time customer of Tropical Traditions, but I’ve never purchased meat from them because…again…they are pricey. But they are pricey for a reason: They only offer the highest quality meat.

They also sell high quality coconut oil, palm shortening, eggs, and even non-toxic cleaning supplies (among other things).

Pros- They offer TOP quality products. They ship straight to your house. When you sign up for their newsletter, they offer some great deals and even free shipping occasionally.

Cons-They are pricey (but for a reason). They only offer free shipping occasionally.

I just checked the website, and Tropical Traditions is actually offering FREE shipping NOW through July 4! Use code 2018july. Check out Tropical Traditions here.

Warehouse Stores (Costco, BJs, Sam’s)

Like I wrote about in my books, buying in bulk is often (but not always) more affordable. If none of the above work for you, I recommend checking out the meat prices at your closest warehouse store. We’ve had a membership to BJ’s and Sam’s off and on for several years, and I’m excited that a new Costco is opening in my town next year. (Read my friend April’s review of Costco here and my review of Sam’s Club here.)

Local Farms

You will, without a doubt, get the highest-quality meat from your local farmers. Now, I can’t research the farms for you, but you can always check out a site like Local Harvest to find farms near you.

In the past, my husband and I have used tax returns to purchase up to 1/2 a cow! That meat lasted us a LONG time!

Your Local Grocery Store

If you’re used to the convenience of buying meat in bulk online, then it can sound like a bummer to go back to your local grocery store. But here’s a tip: When they mark meat down, simply STOCK UP. This is the best way to ensure the most bang for your buck.

Also, while I used to not get meat at ALDI (my favorite grocery store!) that has all changed over the past several years. They now offer organic grass-fed beef, wild-caught seafood, and even organic chicken. So if you haven’t visited an ALDI in a while, go explore their meat section. You might be surprised at what you find.

So while I’m SUPER BUMMED that Zaycon is closing (and especially that they have closed in such an abrupt manner while leaving customers and employees scrambling), I’m glad we DO have other options for where to shop online (and in person) for affordable and quality meats.

Where do you shop for meat? I would love to know your alternatives to Zaycon Fresh!

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Have you ever noticed the dumb dad stereotype in sitcoms, movies and other TV shows? It’s time that we put a stop to the idea that all dads are bumbling idiots incapable of completing a task.

The other day I was sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room while my oldest watched a show on a popular kids’ network.

I wasn’t paying any particular attention to the show, but a couple of things caught my ear, and I was sucked into the show.

I immediately noticed that the “dumb dad stereotype” in the show was portrayed as a bumbling idiot how wasn’t capable of an intelligent thought without help from his sarcastic, disrespectful kids.

He couldn’t take care of his kids and was constantly having trouble completing simple tasks…like taking his kids to the grocery store or fixing lunch or changing a diaper. Come on! Let’s raise the bar a little bit on what makes a good father.

In addition, his loving, sweet (and at times, condescending) wife fixed everything and solved all the problem while the kids just rolled their eyes. Granted, my wife is loving and sweet, but we are a team.

And this is not a new phenomenon. Now as an adult, I think about the sitcoms from my childhood and some of them were the same way. The “dumb dad stereotype” was always getting into a mess that the wife or kids had to get him out of. Even the cartoons took on this persona…think The Flintstones and The Jetsons. As a child I didn’t notice it, but as an adult, I certainly do.

My wife and I don’t really watch sitcoms, but I have also noticed that trend on adult shows as well.

One friend noted, “The show was one of many shows depicting children as teachers of parents more often than vice versa. And dads especially being the people who are lectured and ‘schooled’ by everyone else who apparently know better than dad. If the child only sees examples of child superiority, what does that mean for the child’s future? We all grow into adults. So the male child has nothing to aspire to, because dads are fools.”

I know this is meant to be comedy, and yes, there are times when I laugh at the exaggerated situations. Yes, we can laugh and have fun, but that “dumb dad stereotype” is not the norm…at least in my world he’s not.

The Dumb Dad Stereotype is NOT the Norm

On some level this constant portrayal of dads as weak, bumbling idiots is bothersome to me.

Fatherhood.gov says that the children of fathers who are involved are more likely to:

  • do well in school
  • have healthy self-worth
  • exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior
  • avoid high-risk behaviors such as drugs, truancy, and criminal activity

However, while this site aims to strengthen parents and show them as competent, our media culture says the exact opposite.

Is this really what we think of dads? Is that really our culture’s perception of fathers?

An unofficial Father’s Day survey done by TODAY found that almost two-thirds of the men who answered the poll feel that society does not respect dads enough for their contribution to their family.

As a man, I spend a lot of time around other dads, and I have to be honest. I don’t know a single dad who personifies the clueless patriarchal figure that the pop-culture media presents to us.

Most of my friends are transparent about their struggles as a parent and husband, but these men are guys who love their wives and kids. They are involved on multiple levels in their homes. They care about their families more than themselves.

They are leaders in their homes how continually seek wisdom on how to be the best dad and husband they can be. They are invested in all aspects of family life.

I know other dads are out there. The ones who are clueless, abusive, disgusting, unintelligent, detached, or incapable. However, it has been my experience that those dads are the minority. Perhaps they seem like the majority because they are the loudest and most obnoxious.

Being a Dad Is Rewarding But Not Easy

From the things I’ve read and the conversations that I’ve had, many men struggle with the twists and turns of family, work, and life in general. They have made sacrifices for their families to provide for them, and many make equal sacrifices in their professions to be there for their families.

A report by The New Dad states that when Millennial men become fathers, there are a few clear trends. Millennial fathers’ satisfaction with their jobs and their lives is significantly greater than that of their childless counterparts.
Source

More than 70 percent of dads say they struggle to find a good work-life balance, a number that is unsurprising in light of the fact that more than half of the dads surveyed indicated that they do not feel they receive enough support from their employers in their role as a father.
Source

Dads also agree that when they are spending time with their children, they do not consider it “babysitting.” Nearly 90 percent of the dads who took the survey agree that they are fathers, not child care providers, while nearly 60 percent of dads say that they have had an outsider commend them for “babysitting” their kids while on solo outings.
Source

Men, as dads and husbands, are more involved than they ever have been before. They don’t expect their wives to do it all. They cook, clean, change diapers, and split other duties.

Fathers don’t expect to be rewarded for what they should be doing. It’s their dad duty, but I think they would like to be acknowledge and respected for their contributions.

While two-thirds of dads said they feel respected by their mates for their parenting role, nearly 70 percent of moms agree that Dad deserves more respect on Father’s Day and every day. Our culture’s portrayal of dads is anything but respectful.
Source

Dads long to be the heroes for their kids, and the warriors for their wives. Yet our culture often portrays the opposite. The dad who always needs saving or who is the joke of the family. He is constantly being run over by the mom and kids and couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag.

Are we perfect? No, we are not.

Do we make mistakes? Yes, we do.

Are we idiots incapable of caring for our children or loving our wives? Absolutely NOT!

Most of us are trying our best. We, as men, dads and husbands, are constantly growing and changing to improve who we are.

So, really I just ask one thing…

Can we please dump this idea that dads are buffoons? Can we please give respect and credit where they are due?  Can we please not give credence to the cultural sitcom dad?

Well, that was more than one thing, but you get the point.

Help break the dumb dad stereotype? Encourage Your Man

If you’ve ever had The Five Love Languages, you know that men receive love different ways. Find out how your man receives love and respect then fill up his tank.

For example, if he’s a words guy, tell him how attractive he is, affirm his ability care for his family, praise him for spending time with the kids, etc.

Spend time with. Get him a small gift of appreciation. Let him know that you care.

Let him hear you compliment him in front of your kids and never berate him in front of them (he shouldn’t do that to you either).

Do Something Together

One of the things that my wife and I enjoy doing after the kids are in the bed is cuddling on the couch and watching a show or movie together.

She tolerates my shows like Flash or Grimm, but we have also found shows that we both enjoy, like Downton Abbey and Once Upon a Time.

If you watch a show, find something you both can agree on that doesn’t enforce the dumb dad stereotype.

If you enjoy the outdoors, go on a bike ride or a hike…just the two of you.

Create Opportunities

Give him a chance to be a good dad.

If you are always hovering over him and not giving him any room to breathe with the kids, he can quickly become frustrated.

He may need a few specific suggestions since some dads don’t have this innate fatherly instinct.Let him take them places. Suggest he take them to a movie or for ice cream or to the park.

You go somewhere and leave him home with the kids…without calling every 5 minutes to check in on him.

Don’t use words like babysitting or other condescending terms.

Support Him

If he has to make a hard choice, support him in his decision. This could including anything from a professional decision to disciplining the children.

You should both reinforce each other, so that the kids don’t get mixed messages.

If there is an issue, then wait until the appropriate time to discuss it with him. There may be times where you may need to step in and say, “Honey, can I talk to you for a second?” and then go into another room away from the children.

Don’t Fix It

My wife and I may do the same task but tackle it different ways. If she doesn’t something and I don’t like the way she does it, I try really hard not to go behind her and fix it.

You should do the same for your husband. If he doesn’t fold the laundry or feed the kids you way you want it done, let him do it his way and don’t go behind him trying to fix.

If you do, he will most likely not see the point in doing the task to begin with. If there is an issue that needs to be addressed, then talk to him about it at the appropriate time.

Pray for and with Him

Prayer is a powerful tool.

Pray specifically for him as a father and as a husband. Find scripture to pray over him.

Instead of nagging him about something, give him space and pray about the issue.

If you need some suggestions, check The Power of a Praying Wife.

Again, I don’t know any dads who fit the stereotypical figure put out by Hollywood, so let’s move past these cliches and notice who the real dads are.

Where have you noticed the “dumb dad stereotype”? How can we combat this?
With Father’s Day around the corner, you can check out my gifts ideas from man to man:
  1. Celebrate Dad: 10 Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas
  2. Tie-less Father’s Day Gift Ideas (written by a man)
  3. Natural Skincare

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