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If you prefer your apples flat

Remember back before you had kids, when you thought that if you raised them a certain way they’d be a certain way? And then how, after you had actual children, you realized your foolishness? Good times. I’m here to tell you that I have two children and one of them will happily eat any piece of fruit handed to him and the other one has all sorts of rules about what makes fruit acceptable and life is simply too short for that foolishness.

Except: Dried fruit always works, with her. I don’t know why. Maybe because that seems more like candy to my darling sugar-hound? Perhaps.

So I basically snap up Stretch Island Fruit Leathers for her whenever I see them on sale—because they’re just fruit, and fruit juice, and nothing else—and send them off to her dorm, and hope she doesn’t end up with scurvy or whatever. She’s about to get this 30-pack of apple strips because Amazon has marked it down to $5.78 (lowest price ever), plus when I order via Subscribe & Save and have 5+ subscriptions that price drops to just $4.91, or about $.16/strip.

Listen, I’d rather she take the bag of apples I offer every single time she’s home, for sure, but this is better than nothing. Or gummi bears. So.

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Planning ahead, even for baking

Every now and then, Amazon lists something as being available in a month or two, but it still lets you order it. I don’t know why they do this. I find it very odd. But hey, who am I to question a good deal?

This is preface to sharing that I just ordered this 12-pack of cherry-flavored Craisins for $9.69 even though it’s not going to ship until March or April. That’s 4.5 pounds of my favorite Craisins for baking for under $10! Here’s the thing: these are perfect for Christmas baking. And those pouches can go straight into my freezer whenever they get here, and I can pull ’em out in December.

I put them in scones, I put them in cookies, I put them directly in my mouth while I’m baking because hey, it’s fruit and fruit is good for you. (Ignore the sugar. It’s fruit!) The only thing I like better than the fact that these are so cheap is that they’re also listed as “gift-wrap available.” Just in case you love someone enough to send them six pounds of dried cranberries, gift-wrapped, so as not to spoil the surprise.

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Love this Luna Bar deal

I am a study in opposites, because while I like to be all hippie/crunchy about food and cook most of what we eat from scratch, I also buy my children Cheez-Its. And while I’ve made my own protein bars at home, the kids simply don’t like them as much as the pre-packaged kind, not to mention that sometimes it’s just more convenient to grab a shelf-stable, hermetically sealed snack.

So. I admit to being weird this way.

That said, I first bought some of these Luna chocolate peppermint stick bars last year after the holidays when my local supermarket had them on clearance—and both my teens loved them. (Plus they’re gluten-free, so I can eat them, too.) Awesome, right? Because they basically taste like candy bars but have 8g protein apiece. Imagine my dismay when we ran out of the clearance ones and I discovered that they retail for between $1-$2/bar, typically. Yeah, no. Sorry, kids! Eat something else!

But today you can go snag a 15-pack at Amazon for as little as $4.67 shipped, if you buy via Subscribe & Save and are up to 5+ items for the month. (Pro tip: Want more than one box? Instead of upping the number in your order, order each box separately, so they’ll each count towards your S&S total.) I stocked up.

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Fancy up your hot chocolate

Yesterday’s deal-with-coupon got me thinking that there may be certain Amazon coupons which are only available if you’re a Prime member (or which my be unavailable if you used said coupon on a similar, but different, item), so mea culpa when I post one of these and you can’t find the coupon. Hopefully most deals work for you!

So this one would’ve been nice before the holidays, but that’s okay, there’s month of winter left, yet. Amazon has this 6-pack of Jet Puffed Mallow Bits marked at $9.42 (which really isn’t too bad for 6 canisters), but then you can use Subscribe & Save for up to another 15% off, plus there’s a clippable coupon for another 25% off. I was able to get it for $5.65 shipped, or under a buck apiece.

These would be great in little DIY cocoa gift baskets, but also perfect for sending off to your kid at college with some Swiss Miss packets or using on a sundae bar. Use ’em for whatever you like. My kids will probably just pour them straight into their mouths. I’m trying not to think about it.

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I’ve got the lunch-packing blues

I’m in the home stretch—just five(ish) more months of packing lunches, and then I’m done. Forever.

I know, I know; my kid could pack his own lunch. He’s offered, even. But this is my last baby and I’m sort of neurotic about nutrition and so I plan to see it to the bitter end. It’s not so bad, really, but for some reason it does feel like a super-annoying chore. (“Didn’t you eat lunch yesterday? Why do you need to eat again today?)

Anyway. Back to school today, back to packing lunches. I just went ahead and ordered these Zesty Ranch Garden Veggie Straws because 1) my kid likes ’em, 2) I feel less guilty about them than I would about potato chips (yeah, I know they’re only a little better, but allow me this fantasy), and 3) between the Subscribe & Save savings and the current 20% off clippable coupon, it comes out to under $9 for 24 bags, which is around the price I’d pay on sale at Costco. Sold!

In related news, no, I would never shove bags of Veggie Straws and packages of cookies into my college kid’s duffel bag before she heads back to campus. Why do you ask?

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I’m always up for coffee

You may not have this in time for Christmas unless you do in-store pickup, but really, there is no wrong time for coffee (now, Christmas, later, a random Tuesday, whenever), so you do what works for you.

Today Target is offering 30% off coffee and coffeemakers, automatically. If you want to buy coffee rather than a machine on this deal, it gets even better: mix and match your choice of three qualifying coffee products (looks like that’s mostly Starbucks K-cups) and you get another $6 off!

Shipping is free, too. And did I mention it’s coffee, the elixir of life…?

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Stock up at Jet, too

If you’ve never shopped Jet.com before, think of it as a warehouse club where you save more when you spend more. In addition to whatever deals they already have, the more you spend, the cheaper everything is. You have to pay attention to what you’re buying, of course—some prices are great, and others, less so—but there’s definitely deals to be had, especially on groceries, if you’re willing to look around a bit.

(This is usually where I stock up on dorm food like Pop-Tarts and Easy Mac cups, by the way.)

Anyway, if you have shopped with them before, you know they’re notorious for having coupons only for new users. But today only, everyone can use coupon code GMA30 for 30% off almost everything (some exclusions apply, and it’ll say on the product page if an item is ineligible), for up to an extra $30 off.

If you don’t need groceries, well, they have lots of other stuff, too. I’m off to look around….

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Insert your own orange joke here

I buy organic. I make most meals from scratch and I do a ton of baking. I always put fresh fruits and vegetables in the lunches I’ve packed for my family over these many years.

So what do my darling children both go absolutely nuts for, food-wise? Cheez-Its. Because of course. I mean, what’s not to like about an orange cracker that tastes like shelf-stable cheese-food-product, amirite?

When I succumb, I try to keep the price right. It doesn’t get much righter than this Amazon offering for 36 packages of Cheez-Its: They’re marked down to $9.59—so your starting point is $.27/pack, which is perfectly reasonable—then you can save up to another 15% by buying via Subscribe & Save, and there’s also a 20% off coupon to clip. My total out the door is $6.23, or just over $.17/pack, which is a very low price to pay to be a lunchbox and/or dorm care package hero.

(I still think they’re gross, but whatever.)

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Start Graze-ing

There are all sorts of subscription snack services out there, and I’m always a little leery of signing up, because what if it turns out that I’ve just overpaid for stuff I didn’t even like?

But I just signed up for a free box from Graze, because right now you can pay just $1 for shipping and get a 4-snack sampler box. A quarter a snack? I’m in, and it’ll help me decide if I want to keep going after that. Plus, hello, their assortment of goodies sounds crazy good—everything from a virtuous “super kale and edamame” mix to the decadent “mocha walnut cake” snack mix that includes chocolate-covered coffee beans (my personal kryptonite).

If you love it, keep going. If not, well, go ahead and cancel, and you’re only out a dollar.

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Because my freshman lives on this stuff

I grew up eating all manner of processed and fast foods, so of course as an adult I’m an insufferable “grow it yourself/make it from scratch/fresh ingredients are the best” type. And in the great circle of life, this also of course means that my oldest left for college and promptly began subsisting on Pop-Tarts and Easy Mac. Of course.

Did I try to fight it? Maybe a little. But then I gave up. And now I just comfort myself by 1) reassuring myself that no one ever died from craptastic college eating habits, and 2) buying those items on sale.

Right now Amazon has their 10-pack of Easy Mac cups priced at $7.49, plus there’s a clippable 15% off coupon, plus you save another 15% if you buy via Subscribe & Save and have 5+ items for the month. That means you can get 10 cups for $5.25, which is a no-brainer “buy” price for me.

Optional: Handing the cups over to your college student while sighing heavily and saying, “Tell me again why I’m paying for a meal plan for you?”

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