We Bought Half A Cow

We Bought Half A Cow; resources for purchasing a cow, pig, goat, etc directly from the farm!

One of the reasons I am not doing much grocery shopping is because Hubby and I again bought half a cow. We bought half a cow specifically so we wouldn’t have to worry about the price of meat rising, so that we would be able to pick and choose what cuts we wanted, and so that we “knew” what type of meat we were getting – all natural, raised free of growth hormones and antibiotics.

We Bought Half A Cow

We purchased our half a cow from Hanova Hills Farm, producer of “Lake Country Premium Natural Beef”. Hubby found them last year either in his travels, or from a recommendation. I never did get the full story on that. We put in an order last fall. We were told our beef would be ready in either November, or in January. Well, when the beef wasn’t available in November, Hubby called and told them we couldn’t take delivery until March as we were vacationing in Florida. They were fine with this development and the last week of February they called Hubby to see how we would like the meat butchered.

When you order a pig, cow, lamb, etc, you decide what cuts of meat you would like – roasts, steaks, chops, crown roasts, ground meats, etc. It is very specific, and you tailor to your family needs. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know all the different cuts, your local farmer will walk you though the choices. If you are interested in learning, I actually bought Hubby the The Meat Buyers Guide : Meat, Lamb, Veal, Pork and Poultry for a gift last year. It is definitely comprehensive!

We chose a lot of roasts, ground beef, and hubby asked for the bones (from which he made a FABULOUS low-sodium beef stock) as well as the organs.

In all we paid for just over 300 pounds of meat at $3.90 a pound.

We Bought Half A Cow

When we opened the boxes to unload into the garage chest freezer, we saw that the meat was foodsavered. You cannot imagine how thrilled hubby was to have everything not only labeled, but ready for long term freezing. And as an added bonus – and something we didn’t see until we defrosted a roast to cook – was that this was double-bagged for extra freshness! Hubby was super impressed.

To date we have had ground beef and chuck roast. While both suited our taste, we once again found that the meat is very, very lean. The chuck roast was far less marbled than what I buy in the grocery store, and the ground beef was probably 90/10, possibly 93/7. Our future recipes will have to take into account the leanness of the meat, and the lack of fat.

This was our second time buying half a cow (we buy a pig a lot more often), and we will continue to do so. It is worth it to us not only for the stockpile aspect, but for the peace of mind of knowing what the animal was fed, and how it was raised.

If you are interested in buying your meat directly from a farmer, localharvest.org is a great place to start your search.

Have you ever purchased meat directly from the farmer? How did that turn out for you?

Disclosure: the links in this post may contain affiliate links.

To find local farms that sell meat, try one of these resources:

Local Harvest
Eat Wild

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Is Amazon Prime Really Worth It?

Is Amazon Prime Really Worth It?

So your free 3 Month subscription to Amazon Prime via the mom sign up has expired, and you don’t qualify for six free months of Amazon Prime via the student program.It is now time to decide whether or not $79 for “free” 2 day shipping is worth the cost forAmazon Prime.

Amazon sells 20% of all goods sold online, so chances are excellent you order online from Amazon.The question is how often you order, and do you ever take advantage of price mistakes on Amazon?

Let’s start with what Amazon Prime is for those who may be unfamiliar:

Amazon Prime is a membership program that gives you and your family unlimited fast shipping, such as FREE Two-Day shipping to street addresses in the contiguous U.S., on all eligible purchases for an annual membership fee of $79. Amazon Prime members in the U.S. can enjoy instant videos: unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows through Amazon Instant Video at no additional cost. Members who own Kindle devices can also choose from thousands of books — including more than 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers — to borrow and read for free, as frequently as a book a month with no due dates, from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library


• FREE Two-Day Shipping
• Other Fast Shipping Benefits
• Eligible Items and Addresses
• Using 1-Click as a Prime Member
• Shipping Methods and Carriers
• Prime Instant Videos
• Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
• Prime and Kindle Fire

One of the best benefits on Amazon Prime, is the prime sharing:

Prime members under a free trial or paid subscription can share their shipping benefits with up to 4 additional family members living in the same household, or up to 4 coworkers to shop for the related account. Other Prime membership benefits such as Prime instant video and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library can’t be shared.

To invite family members to share your Amazon Prime membership, sign in to Your Account and click on the link to “Manage Prime Membership.” You’ll see your current membership details, the status of all members linked to your Amazon Prime membership, and options to add or remove members.

Amazon Mom and Amazon Student members with Amazon Prime shipping benefits and customers receiving a free month of Amazon Prime benefits with Kindle Fire will not be able to share their benefits with additional people. All existing shared household members will continue to receive shipping benefits if the primary member switches to the Amazon Prime shipping benefits offered by one of these programs, however, the primary member will not be able to add or change shared household members if they move to one of these programs.

But unless you watch a lot of instant videos, the $79 comes down to: do I buy enough that is shipped to make Amazon Prime worthwhile?

This is the link to all Amazon shipping costs.

Standard Shipping Rates for U.S. Deliveries, which is 3-5 business days delivery, ranges from $1.99 – $7.99 with extra costs on some overweight products.

Two day delivery, which is free with Prime, ranges from $5.99 – $12.49 with extra costs on some overweight products for those without Prime.

I will say that for a price glitch, Amazon Prime cannot be beat! It is shipped before the cancellation orders make it to your inbox. That means odds are good that a price mistake will make your house. Also when low stock is a concern, 1-click can make it yours before the next person finishes typing out their credit card number.

But, we all know that Amazon price mistakes have gotten fewer and father between the last few years, so while Prime is nice to have on those occasions, the decision should really be based on how much you buy, and therefore ship, and/or how many instant videos you watch. One new wrinkle is Kindle ebooks – a lot of the free ones are only free with Prime. So that too may influence your decision.

Ultimately only you can decide if Amazon Prime meets your, and your family’s, economic needs.

Is Amazon Prime Really Worth It?

Note: this post originally appeared on my old blog, Coupons, Deals and More.

Disclosure the links in this post may be affiliate links

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Florida Vacation Pictures

Florida Vacation Pictures

Even though I am fully aware I am a crummy photographer, I decided to share some of my Florida vacation pictures with all of you. Hubby, Max and I stayed at a beach house just outside of St Augustine, Florida for the month of February this year. Last year we stayed in Miami, and while the view was outstanding (we were on Sunny Isles right on the beach on the 26th floor of a condo), and loved walking across the street to all manner of shops and restaurant, the traffic was insane. So, on our way home last year we took an extra week to meander up the coast investigating areas that we might like.

We had spent some time in St. Augustine on our way down to Miami and then again on the way back. We loved the laid-back, artsy-fartsy feel of the St. Augustine area. Deciding that Anastasia Island was too touristy for us, we went north to South Ponte Vedra Beach (not Ponte Vedra Beach which has some super super spectacular beach properties!). The house we rented had four bedrooms, three bathrooms and when you walked out the backdoor, you went down the stairs and were on the beach.

I collected a load of seashells – and have to figure out what to do with them. We saw a Right Whale one day (they are very endangered) breach and blow, a giant jellyfish that washed up on the beach (which we gave a wide berth), many sand pipers and tons and tons of pelicans – both flying and dive-bombing in the ocean for food!

Max loved his beach walks. One of the main draws to the area for us was dogs being allowed on the beach. Most of the Florida east coast beaches have banned dogs (but some still allow driving on the beach – go figure!). My guess was people didn’t pick up after their dogs and/or didn’t leash them. We actually had people thank us for leashing our dog, and I was always surprised; we only ever saw one unleashed dog, and the beach was generally desserted.

While we did go into town often, and we drove to Orlando three times, once for our day ay Universal Studios we did spend a fair amount of time on the beach.

One of the nicest evenings I spent was with Allie from Simply St Augustine (all things St Augustine, check out her blog if you will be in St John’s County), and Karen
from Saving the Family Money (of you are looking for a deal blogger, check her out!). Allie took pictures of the food we had at Cap’s on the Water. When she pulled out her camera, neither Karen nor I blinked, but the rest of the restaurant certainly gave our table a funny look! You can read about our dining experience at Simply St Augustine (click here) edited to add: I just noticed I made it into one of Allie’s pictures! The one with my dinner entree

Here are some pictures of our vacation (all taken with my Droid). The sunrise is from the first few days at the beach house. Hubby had to fly to Chicago for his brother’s funeral, so I was up very early to see him off.

Florida Vacation Pictures

Vilano Beach, February 2013

Florida Vacation Pictures

Vilano Beach, February 2013

Florida Vacation Pictures

Vilano Beach, February 2013

Florida Vacation Pictures

Vilano Beach, February 2013

Florida Vacation Pictures

We went to a number of Farmer’s Markets while in the St Augustine area. The above came from one of our stops at The Wednesday Market. This was a nice, laid back, small Farmer’s Market held every Wednesday on the pier. Dogs are most welcome. As a matter of fact, dogs are very welcome through most of the St Augustine area. Many a restaurant has outdoor seating so food may be enjoyed while taking your pooch for a walk. One of the few places we were not allowed to take Max was the Old City Farmer’s Market. There is no indication of this on their website, so that was disappointing.

All-in-all we loved our trip to Florida this year, and wish we had stayed a few extra weeks!

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