Summertime Pantry Challenge: Clean fridge and cupboards, grocery photos, and what I'm spending our savings on

Okay, I'm overdue for a Pantry Challenge update! Yes, that would be me... chugging along and taking twice as long as I'm supposed to! :P What can I say? Lately I've felt like anything I would write about here is either worthless or boring. I tend to second-guess myself and decide that no one would even care what our menu was or if my fridge got cleaned or if I had self-control at Costco last week...

But, moving along, my fridge did indeed get cleaned. My goals last time were to clear off the kitchen counters, clean out the fridge, and then go to Costco for a few things like eggs, milk, cheese, toilet paper, and lettuce. I spent about $150 at Costco, which was my goal for this month. (Yay!) We did have to make one other trip to Costco to get a few things for dinners we hosted at our house -- burgers, buns, and dessert (strawberries, pound cake, and cream).

Clean fridge

Here is my clean fridge! We've had tacos and used most of the corn tortillas. (Those had been previously frozen, as the big pack from Costco can go stale before we use them all!) And, I've been using the carrots (one of my goals!). This was before Joshua went to Costco for milk, eggs, etc. That ONE Costco trip is lasting all month, thankfully! I can tell our freezers are getting emptier though.

Fridge door cleaned

Here is the door of the fridge after I cleaned it out. The top compartments have my homemade bread dough conditioners.

Pantry cupboard organized

My kitchen pantry cupboard has been organized, also. (And believe it or not, Moshe hasn't gotten back into it to mess it up... yet!) I've used some of the canned corn, finished up a bag of rice, and that's pretty much it, I guess. We seem to eat mostly from the fridge and freezer rather than pantry! The things I do use from the pantry, like beans, rice, or flour, are things that I buy in bulk and which last quite a while. :)

Fruit grocery shopping

Aside from our Costco shopping trip (which I should have photographed!!), Joshua also went to QFC and got bananas, peaches (on sale), and some ingredients for a dairy-free ice cream that we made for company.

What I'm spending my "savings" on:

When I decided to do this pantry challenge, I was planning to stash the money saved in our savings account. But instead, we are going to get a bed set up for Ruth! She's 3 1/2 and sleeps in the crib. Moshe, who is 1 1/2, sleeps in a Pack'n'Play. We have a twin bed frame that was given to us for Ruth last year, but no mattress. So, we are finally going to buy a mattress, set up the bed for Ruth, and move Moshe to the crib! :)

My goals for the next week:

Organize the freezers and take pictures of them

Re-arrange kids rooms to accommodate Ruth's new bed (I'll share before and after pictures -- hopefully this weekend!)

Wait at least one more week before getting more groceries (except for bananas)

Some other great ladies are joining in the Summertime Pantry Challenge! Visit them for more inspiration:


Hi Tammy!!
Just wondering if you make your own baby food?
I have been reseaching items to add to my baby registry and I was looking at baby food makers. I am trying to be smart about what I ask for, because its my first and we need everything!! If you make baby food how do you do it and is the baby food maker worth the money. I like anything homemade, so I will make it any way, but just really looking for ideas.

I've not really made "baby food". I've pureed a few things (asparagus and squash) in the blender for my first baby, but that's about it!

Usually, I wait until the baby is old enough and has a few teeth (6 months or older) and then just give them mashed veggies from our meals... mashed banana... mashed avocado.

As they get older and have more teeth, I keep introducing new things. Again, just foods we're already eating, and either fresh things (like bananas or avocados) or cooked (carrots, peas, broccoli, applesauce, etc.). Then soups... cheese... no peanut butter before 2 years, and no honey or nuts before 1 year. (I still don't give Moshe nuts and he's 1 1/2.)

Anyway, nothing scientific -- but I hope this helps! :)

With my babies, we started with "rice cereal" at about 6 months, but for main food, mashed potatoes, mashed banana, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and the like. I don't think you need to get a "baby food maker" - there are so many other things you need for a baby! With my first child, who is 10 tomorrow (!) I mashed things with a fork, or I just used a cheap blender, which did a great job. With my son (2 1/2) I had a Kenwood food processor, and with the attachments there was a kind of mini-goblet which would fit on the spindle, and this was fab. I still found myself using a fork a lot though if I did not want to get the food processor out! I think that one of the best accessories for making baby food is a freezer and some ice cube trays!



The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

I've been waiting for this post for the last 10 days or so! I love it when you post about your shopping trips and what not. We have a similar budget and family size (although you have one more child) so seeing how you do helps me. Because I always struggle coming in under budget. I am looking forward to your post about their room as well. We have three kids in one room so I love reading about how you do that as well.... you inspire me!

Your fridge looks amazing. That is the emptiest I have ever seen it! ;)


Thank you, Katie! :)

Bunk beds is our kids' bedroom "lifesaver"! :) And using a crib for a long time. :) I think things may change as the kids get older... who knows! It's hard to have privacy when several kids share a small-ish bedroom. Right now, the older boys don't have a lot of personal things... yet. :)

I know, I know... my fridge never gets very empty! :) If I run out of things like milk, eggs, sour cream, lettuce, cheese, etc. I will get complaints from everyone!! :D

I love seeing other people's goals and whether or not they accomplish them, it inspires me! Except sometimes I think I spend to much time "being inspired" and less time using that inspiration to actually get things done at my house! =)

Hi Tammy, I just loved the video tour that you gave us a while back of your apartment! Will you be doing somthing like that again in your new house? I am so encouraged when I see how others organize things, and have purposed to keep my countertops more usable and free of clutter because I love the way yours look! It just makes me want to use my kitchen more when it's clean and ready for work!

Anyway, just thought I'd ask and see if that was something you'd consider doing again. Thanks for the encouragement to get that pantry and fridge clean and organized!

I've thought about doing a house video tour but I'm not sure! :) I'll ask Joshua what he thinks. :)

I agree -- clear counters really inspire me to tackle projects, cooking, etc.! :) I dislike feeling cramped... that was the hard part about our apartment -- there was really no way to fit 7 people in there and not feel a bit cramped... :) I'm so thankful for a spacious 3-bedroom house to rent!! :)

When you don't post regularly, we all wonder what you're doing. So, we DO care what your goals are!
Your fridge looks great. Mine has NEVER looked like that. It's always stuffed to the gills. :-)

~Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents

Since I stocked up on some pasta, beans, cheese, etc. when I moved (or when there was a good sale on them up here) and now that my garden is producing, I'm trying to plan my meals on what I have available. I still buy milk (mostly for kefir! :)), some fruit, and a few other things from the grocery store up here but that is about it.

I did buy some coffee at Costco when I went with Erin a couple weeks ago. I don't have a card since it really isn't worth it living over 3 hours from one but it is a fun place to shop. :)

I have an idea for a post you can do. Talking about name brands verses generic brands.
I shop some at Aldi's, but their quality on some things are not good at all.
Do you mostly buy name or generic?
Thanks for considering this.
Blessings to you,

Thanks for the suggestion, Cathy! I'm not sure I have too much of an opinion on name brand vs. generic... a lot depends on what's nearby.

In Ohio, we had Aldi, Kroger, and Wal-mart, and we bought mostly generic things. It worked just fine for the most part!

Now, with Costco, we are pretty spoiled by name-brand stuff (which is sometimes a lot better!) or Costco-brand stuff (which is very high-quality) and I have to admit... I love it.

But I know I wouldn't drive an hour JUST to go to Costco. I don't like spending a lot of time or gas money to go shopping! I prefer to make do with what's close by.

I'm not stuck to certain brands for most things (one exception is our toothpaste)... but I can tell a difference between a lot of the things that Costco carries vs. generic versions. Would I pay more for name-brand if we didn't have Costco so close? In 99% of instances, probably not! (I really am a penny-pincher, deep down.) ;)

I'm with everyone else your blog, even the "mundane" everyday stuff. Everyone has mundane stuff and its nice to see that others are in the same boat, struggling/doing the same things.

I agree with your baby food reply. I have 5 and just used a small blender (that came as an attachment to an immersion blender we were given). Worked great for small amounts of food to puree (usually a little extra I made just for that purpose or leftoevers). Also just mashed up food with a fork. I usually bought baby cereal as it is fairly inexpensive and was convenient to have on hand. I don't think the food makers are much more than a ploy, one of many, to get parents to spend their hard-earned money on not so necessary items. Ice cube makers are about as complicated as it needs to be!

Blessings, Robin-Taine

When my twins were babies (now 3) I would buy apples, squash,pears, carrots, and things of this nature and steam them then either blend with a little hand blender, and then put them in ice cube trays and freeze them, then I would put them in plastic containers, lable them.I'd thaw them when I needed them. It was much cheaper and more healthy.

I personally never did baby food, but never bought it either. I EBF until one year and that made it a lot easier as they were ready to start more textured food by then. I did use a baby food grinder and just put my table food in it and they ate that. This book though is a great book on making your own baby food, if you like.

I care! I love these posts! I can't wait to see the kid's room. :)


I get Costco pound cake quite a bit in the summer for berry trifles. It's so good and moist...I could hardly make it for much less, or as good.

Hey, I'm close to you and know an azure drop point in maltby if your interested.

Amy, I'd love details on that pickup location! Can you send me some? :)

I love when you post your menus, you should start doing it again!

I love reading your updates. :)

Good for you on spending just $150 at Costco, it can be so easy to spend money there. We go about once a month or so and it can be $300-$400...

Look forward to seeing pics of the children's room. :)

~Tanya - mama to 6 treasures plus one on the way. :)

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