Upcoming Zaycon Deliveries + New Product | Buy Fresh Meat in Bulk For Less

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Looking for a quick way to kill your grocery budget?  Take a trip down the meat aisle.  Premium cuts are outrageous, and budget cuts are usually poor quality.  In fact, at most of my grocery stores, all cuts are poor quality.

You’ve probably heard me talk about Zaycon Fresh before and how much it helps our grocery budget while keeping my picky palate happy.  If not, check out this post detailing the service and my experience: ZAYCON FRESH: THE BEST AND CHEAPEST WAY TO BUY FRESH MEAT

I noticed over the weekend that Zaycon has added a new cut of meat to the delivery schedule.  They’ve added 80/20 ground beef (often referred to as ground chuck) to the December deliveries for just $2.99/lb.  I adore the 93/7 beef, especially for tacos, sloppy joes, casseroles, etc., but I prefer a little fattier cut for burgers and meatballs.  I’m thrilled to have the option to order both!

They have several deliveries coming up this fall.  Each area has a different schedule, so make sure you sign up to see events in your area.

You must order early, and it looks like all events are open for orders now.  The dates shown below are the general pick-up dates for the entire country.  Pickup is at a single day and time for each city.

October 2nd-16th (October 7th-8th for SWMO locations)

  • Frozen Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets (25lbs)
    $6.99/lb X 25.00 lbs | $174.75/case
  • Frozen Premium Alaskan Cod
    $5.49/lb X 25.00 lbs | $137.25/case
      SOLD OUT
  • Bacon – Hickory Smoked, Medium Sliced – 36 lbs
    $3.79/lb X 36.00 lbs | $136.44/case
  • Pork Sausage Links
  • $2.79/lb X 20.00 lbs | $55.80/case

October 23rd-November 21st (November 3rd-4th for SWMO locations)

  • Chicken Breasts (Fresh Boneless Skinless)
    $1.89/lb X 40.00 lbs | $75.60/case

December 4-th-18th (December 9th-10th for SWMO locations)

  • Carvemaster Boneless Applewood Smoked Ham
    $3.49/lb X 20.00 lbs | $69.80/case
  • Fresh Ground Beef, Lean (93/7) – 40 lbs
    $3.99/lb X 40.00 lbs | $159.60/case
  • Fresh 80/20 Ground Beef – 40lbs
    $2.99/lb X 40.00 lbs | $119.60/case



Kids Eat Free at Joe’s Crab Shack Through September 30

JCS-KidsEatFree Images

Joe’s Crab Shack is offering a great kids eat free promotion through September 30th!  You can get up to 3 free kids meals with an adult entree purchase.  The best part?  Kids meals are available to kids 13 and under.  No coupon is required for this promotion. This is valid for dine in only and is not valid with any other promotion.

This is a very inexpensive way to treat your family to a dinner that may otherwise be out of your budget.  If you’re in Southwest Missouri, the nearest Joe’s Crab Shack location is at the Branson Landing.  For other areas, click here to view locations.

Here are a few sample prices* to help you plan ahead:

  • Homestyle Chicken Tenders: $12.49
  •  Joes Classic Steampot | tasty dungeness crab, sweet snow crab, boiled shrimp, and smoked sausage: $22.99

During this time, Joe’s Crab Shack will also be collecting donations for No Kid Hungry.  No Kid Hungry is an organization devoted to ensuring that no child has to worry about where their next meal comes from.  Each dollar donated can help provide up to 10 meals for a child in need.

To further encourage you, each donation will also get you a coupon to use on a future visit.  This coupon is redeemable from October 1st, 2015 through December 31st, 2015.

The coupon value is correlated to the donation amount, as shown below:

$2 donation = $5 off a $20 purchase
$5 donation = $10 off a $20 purchase
$10 donation = $20 off a $40 purchase


I was compensated by Joe’s Crab Shack for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

*Prices may vary by location.  We cannot guarantee the validity of the prices shown above.

I’m the Mom on Her Phone at Practice– Why I Don’t Regret It

I'm the mom on her phone at practice

It’s Monday night, and I arrive at gymnastics early.  I drag my enormous bag from the trunk of the car and head inside. My daughter doesn’t mind that she’s 30 minutes early, she loves to watch the competitive teams practice, but I’m here for another reason.  I’ve got to grab a table, or at least a chair, before the other parents get here.

I see the sneers and the eye rolls as I drag out my Macbook and 3″ thick paper planner.  I know what they are thinking, I’m guilty of the same thing.  How on earth can a good mom spend her time playing on the internet instead of watching her kid?  My case is a bit different than most.  This actually makes me a BETTER mom.  Not better than anyone else, but actually makes ME better.  I’m using this 90 minutes to work. I’m not scrolling Facebook. In fact, my Facebook feed is disabled.  I can only access my own sites and pages.  I’m not going to let my life slip away just so I can monitor the lives of others from afar.

I have to do this so that I CAN spend time with my kids.  I own multiple businesses, and I often have a lot of work to do or delegate.  I’m able to streamline this into the few blocks of time I get each week without my toddler.  He spends around 12 hours a week at daycare, and on gymnastics nights, my husband is able to meet us to get him so that I can have this uninterrupted time.

Even though I have a separate office at home, I’m still wracked with guilt for not doing the millions of things that need finished. You know, the dirty laundry, phone calls, dishes, clean laundry (which is much worse than the dirty), messes, and unlimited access to the refrigerator.

I am watching my daughter, it’s just over the top of my screen.  In fact, as I’ve been writing this, she is doing the funky chicken across the balance beam because she knows I see her while I’m typing.

There are several kids in her session, so she’s not practicing constantly.  She dresses in the brightest clothes you’ve ever seen, so it’s pretty easy for me to see when she’s moving.  I can stop what I’m doing to watch her latest trick and when she’s done, I go back to work.  This 90 minute block twice a week gives me time to plan and get my week on track, which makes me more efficient- which in frees up more of my time to spend with my kids.  Gymnastics are the only nights that I am able to wrap up my work from and enjoy the rest of the evening with my family.

My daughter is also very active in softball, volleyball,  basketball, and school clubs. Those activities are packed with non-stop action that I can’t always look away from, nor expose my computer to.

I don’t regret my decision at all.  I’m able to be with my children during summers, after school, school holidays, and never miss a single thing they do.  Not many parents have that opportunity, especially without financial worry.  I’m lucky.  Damn lucky.


Zaycon Fresh: The Best and CHEAPEST Way to Buy Fresh Meat


You’ve probably heard me sing the praises of Zaycon Fresh for years, but I realized that I’ve not updated the original post in a very long time.

Zaycon is a company that works directly with meat producers to bring customers prime cuts of fresh meat in bulk and skip the middle man.  This results in the freshest meat possible at a great price.

They offer events for many locations throughout the year.  All you have to do is sign up, look for an event in your area, and purchase the items you want.  Each event has a specific delivery date.  To pick up, all you have to do is visit the location.  It’s all set up as a drive thru, so you just need to roll down your window, show your receipt, and they load it for you.

When you purchase meat at the grocery store, it typically takes 21 days to get from the producer to the shelf.  With Zaycon, it seems to average 6-8 days.  The pack date is plainly stamped on the box.

We raise a lot of our own meat, but Zaycon is a close second.  Once you try it, you’ll definitely not want to go back to grocery store meats… especially the chicken!

I get asked a lot of questions about the Zaycon meats, so I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A to help answer them.  If I miss something, please comment or ask in our Facebook group.  I’ll do my best to answer!

Alicia, I’m really picky about meat.  How can I believe you that this is actually good?

Do you buy your meat in a grocery store?  If so, you probably aren’t that picky.  I worked in a butcher shop for several years and we farm.  I process almost all of our meat myself because most aren’t up to my standards.

Is this hormone free?  The chicken breasts look very large.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually illegal for any chicken producer to administer growth hormones.  There are several types of chickens that are bred to grow to a large size very quickly.

How hard is this to process?

It’s only going to be as hard as you make it.  Because most items arrive fresh, you can package and freeze them with no worries.

When I process chicken, I typically halve the breasts (they are a butterfly cut), then I filet each one to thin it.  This speeds up thawing.  There’s occasionally a piece that needs a bit of trimming.  If I have extra time, I will slice strips for fajitas and dice some for quick stir fry, jambalaya, soups, etc.  It takes me about 30 minutes per case to process and package it into freezer bags.

The bacon is very easy to pull out pieces and bag separately.

The sausage links are frozen, and they fit perfectly into a quart bag.  Because they are flash frozen, you can also freeze the entire box if you have room and just pull out what you need.

To process the ground beef, I simply slice burgers off of the roll, place on a cookie sheet between layers of parchment paper, and freeze.  I usually make up a batch of meatloaves or meatballs, because that is hard to do with meat that’s been frozen.  To freeze batches of ground beef for tacos, soups, casseroles, etc., I cut a roll into 10 equal pieces (that’s 1 lb hunks), place into a quart freezer bag, and flatten.  They store easily in the freezer and take up little space.

Some people prefer to make up freezer meals, marinate the meats, etc.  This will drastically increase the time you spend processing, but will speed up dinner time in the future!

What happens if I don’t have time to process it the day I receive it?

I mentioned above how much faster it gets to you than the grocery store.  The driver picks it up at the producer just before he starts delivering.  I actually kept a chicken breast in the refrigerator the last time I bought to see how long it took to ‘go bad’.  It was 13 days before it started even smelling like grocery store meat.  You know, that icky ‘it smells like meat’ smell.  It took 16 days before it was at the point that I wouldn’t consider cooking it.

Most of the meats have a ‘use by’ date stamped on the box.  The ground beef I picked up on August 13th says to use or freeze by the 25th.  That gives me plenty of time to decide how I want to freeze it.  It also gives me almost two weeks to enjoy the fresh, never frozen meat!

I just can’t bring myself to buy meat from a truck.

You do realize that this is the same type of truck that delivers your meat to a grocery store to sit in their cooler for weeks, right?

How’s the ground beef?

I was finally able to coordinate a beef delivery last week, and to say that I’m thrilled with it is an understatement.  This is 93/7 ground beef, which means that there should be a fat content of 7%.  The most inexpensive cut you see in the grocery store is 73/27, which means that there should be a 27% content.

I actually bought a package of inexpensive ground beef at $3.99 to compare with.  The Zaycon beef was $3.99/lb, but I bought it with a coupon code that dropped the price to $3.59.  I drained over 40% of the weight off of the store bough beef.  That meant a pound of meat ended up weighing 9.6 oz once it was done cooking.  Then I cooked the Zaycon beef.  I drained ZERO!  Maybe a couple of drops, but it wasn’t enough to make much of a difference.  I ended up with just under a pound of cooked meat.

What does this mean?  That the store bought meat with a lesser taste actually cost me $5.60 per pound of cooked meat, while the Zaycon cost me $3.59 and tasted so much better.

I also decided to make up some identical burger patties.  I cooked one and left one raw to compare the size when the first one was cooked to well done.  Both still weighed almost exactly the same, but the shape was off a bit where the cooked burger plumped up. Here’s the difference:


How can I store this to make it last the longest?

Some people love to use their Food Saver to process theirs, but honestly, I’d rather not use mine.  It’s expensive, time consuming, and a hassle.  Because there are events for each cut at least twice a year, I can plan my orders to keep from having a large excess that’s frozen for a long period of time.

I usually just package mine in Glad brand freezer bags.  They don’t break down as badly as the others over time.  I prefer the quart, which will hold two large chicken breasts, 4 breast fillets, sausage links, and 2 lbs of ground beef.  They are the perfect serving sizes for my big eaters.

Can I share with a friend?  A 40 lb box of chicken seems like so much!

Of course, but I’ll warn against it. Each box is divided inside so that you can easily distribute.  One of the biggest complaints I get is that someone ordered one box to split and loved it so much that they couldn’t stomach buying meat at the store to get through until the next event.  20 lbs of chicken might last a couple a few weeks, but it doesn’t go very far for families.

Can I order at the last minute?

Even though they give a ‘last day to order’, almost all of the items sell out long before that date.  They can only fit so much on a truck!  Get your orders in early to avoid missing out completely.  Trust me- I speak from experience.

We sometimes buy meat at the store to supplement if we run out of Zaycon, because obviously we can’t grow it all- and not near at these prices.  In recent weeks, almost every package I’ve bought has went bad within 2 days of purchase, and long before the ‘use by’ date.  I’ve doubled up on my Zaycon orders this fall to prevent me from throwing out any food.


Colorado Vacation: Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

When we were planning our trip to Colorado, many people recommended that we visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.  It was a bit off of the path we had decided on traveling, which almost caused us to skip it. I can speak for everyone when I say that we are so glad we didn’t skip it!royal gorge

Hanging high above Colorado’s wild Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge Bridge is America’s highest suspension bridge and a legendary feat of engineering renowned the world over.   Built in 1929 for $350,000, the cost today would easily exceed $20 million.   It was a world wonder then and still is today.  For those who venture across it, whether walking or driving, the experience is priceless.

The journey up the mountain to the park was along quiet and narrow, winding roads.  Most of the trees and plants were destroyed in the fire.  Once we reached the top, the road opened into a parking lot filled with hundreds of cars.

royal gorge visitor center

Royal Gorge Visitor Center



The Visitor’s Center is huge, clean, and packed full of cute and unique souvenirs.  There are large screens showing the history of the bridge, along with updates on the recent fire. There is a nice cafe adjacent to the Visitor’s Center that has some amazing gourmet sandwiches.

Royal Gorge Gondola

Royal Gorge Gondola


The Visitor’s Center opens almost directly onto the bridge.  General admission includes unlimited gondola rides across the gorge.  A gondola is a small car that travels across the Royal Gorge via a cable.  Each car holds approximately 6 people and is filled with windows so that you can view the Arkansas River- 956 feet below.

I’m not usually scared of heights, but I am often considered the scaredy cat of our family.  I tend to do nothing dangerous, but decided that I was going to step outside of my comfort zone for this trip. The gondola was one of my favorite stops of the entire vacation.

Royal Gorge Zipline

Royal Gorge Zipline

My guys are fearless and my daughter is a bit more cautions, but she will try almost anything once.  While my daughter was too light to ride the zipline, my husband and son anxiously exited the gondola and got in line to ride the zipline back across.  The zipline is taller than the gondola cables, and it takes you back across the entire gorge.  They really enjoyed it and thought that would be the adrenaline rush of the afternoon- boy, were they wrong!

Royal Gorge Skycoaster

Royal Gorge Skycoaster

There is also a Skycoaster, which they thought would be a mild ride in comparison to ziplining across.  In fact, I had to convince them to give it a shot.  Up to 3 people lay on their stomachs in a harness.  They are hoisted 100 feet in the air and then dropped into a free fall to swing out over the Royal Gorge at up to 50MPH.  Needless to say, when they were finished with the ride, they were begging to go again.  My husband admitted that it was one of the scariest rides he’s ever been on.

I am so glad that we decided to visit the Royal Gorge, and it’s on our list of places to visit on our return trip.  At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a budget friendly stop for a large family, but we spent all afternoon there and practically had to drag ourselves out at closing time.

Click here more information on the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

*We received a family pack of tickets to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.


Become a Blogger in 7 Days Online Workshop Begins on June 14th!

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Have you always wanted to start a blog or website, but weren’t quite sure how? Maybe you’ve looked at online tutorials and found them too overwhelming to even start? It’s time to quit looking and start creating! The Become a Blogger in 7 Days online workshop will get your site up and running in as little as a week. That’s right- a WEEK!

Become a Blogger in 7 Days is geared towards absolute beginners. The written lessons are packed with screenshots and will walk you through each step of creating your site. Unlike other beginner classes, Become a Blogger in 7 Days will teach you how to set up your site to leave room for maximum growth and monetization.

In addition to the written lessons, you’ll receive access to an exclusive Facebook group for 30 days. Why just 30 days? I’ve learned over the years that there are two things that will push you to succeed: time and money. If you take a free class, do you place as much emphasis on it? Of course not. The same goes with time. By creating the limits, you’ll work much faster and put more of an effort into it.

The Facebook group is a place for you to ask questions, receive assistance, talk out any issues you may have, and receive support from people going through the exact same thing that you are.

So, what are we going to cover in Become a Blogger in 7 Days? Everything you need to know to get your site up and running. This class is based on setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog, and we’ll also go over how to use it to create a static website. The lessons include:

  • Assessing Your Expectations
  • Basic Terminology
  • Choosing Your Domain Name
  • Purchasing Hosting
  • Setting Up Your Site
  • Creating Your Header
  • Installing Plugins
  • Creating Menus
  • Customizing Your Site

Each lesson has a short assignment that will help you grow your site and prepare for the next lesson.

What you’ll need to get started:

  • A computer and internet access (you won’t be able to do this from a tablet or phone)
  • At least an hour a day to devote to each lesson
  • In addition to the class registration fee, you will have to pay for one year of hosting and your domain name (around $72).

This class will run from May 4th-10th and is limited to just 25 students! If you cannot complete every lesson that week, don’t worry. The Facebook group will remain open until June 4th and you’ll have access to all of the lessons and information until then.  You can also elect to purchase an optional 60 day membership to the group so that you have a place to ask your questions.

When you register, please make sure and enter the name you use on Facebook, along with the email address you use to log in.  This will allow me to invite you to the group where you’ll receive all of your lessons.  You will receive a response within 24-48 hours of registering.  If you have any trouble with registration, please email me at alicia@thesensiblefamily.com.  


Legoland Discovery Center KC Discount Coupon

While you’re planning your Kansas City trip, make sure to allow time to visit Legoland.  It’s perfect for kids ranging in age from 3-10, but all Lego lovers will enjoy it.  We plan on taking a trip this summer and will post a full review afterwards.  I’ve also got a $3 discount coupon for you guys!

Explore LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City, the ultimate indoor playground for kids ages 3-10 who are the biggest fans of LEGO! LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City is one of Kansas City’s best attractions for kids! Reach out and touch the stars in our 4D cinema, build the fastest car in Build & Test, save the princess at Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, or have the ultimate LEGO birthday party. Plan your family visit and jump into the biggest box of LEGO bricks!

Have you been to Legoland?  Do you have any tips for us?