I really like to think about having a life that is full of daily adventures. Before, I’ve wanted a camper or a tiny house, but now I’ve set my sights on a van. But here in the real world I am not a big adventure seeker. I’d say stay-at-home mom is probably the job description that best defines what I do these days. That means a lot of cooking and cleaning and picking up the same mess over and over. It also means grocery shopping.

I recently wrote about how I was feeling a bit let down by the service I’d been using, but how I’d gotten so accustomed to having my shopping done for me that I sure hated to have to go back inside the store and do it all myself.

To have some connection to the outside world I follow a lot of other moms on Instagram and for years I’ve heard people sing the praises of Trader Joe’s, but I’d never been to one. When I heard one was opening in Huntsville I got pretty excited. So when groceries ran out last week I decided to make the drive to Huntsville and see if the store I’d heard so much about was really anything to write home about.

And it was. What a gem. What a dream.

The outside of the store was decorated in pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. I didn’t buy any because I already have about ten on my front porch. There was also a display of fall flowers. As soon as I walked in the door I saw a display of live herbs, but no buggies so I just grabbed a basket. I later figured out that the buggies are kept outside.

The moms of Instagram always rave about the flower bouquets at Trader Joe’s, and there was a wall full of them as I entered the store. But what caught my eye was the bag of Japanese sweet potatoes I saw. I haven’t had them in years, and I swear by their deliciousness. I found a bag of colored carrots and scooped them up. And then I found the grapes. I was never big on grapes until it was my big food when I was pregnant with Little Sister. The thing about grapes is, there are so many different kinds and I had lived under the impression that the ol’ table grape was about it. I found two varieties at Trader Joe’s that I’d never had, and one of them is my new favorite. They are called Thomcord grapes and while they do have little seeds they are still the one of the best tasting grapes I’ve ever had.

I also picked up a shampoo bar, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, some chips and some organic pasta.

The thing that was so nice about this new to me grocery store was its size. It was small, so very small. There were not millions of brands and things to choose from, but only a tiny selection. I really just wanted to dash in and see what all the fuss was about, but I could have easily dashed in and out with my entire week’s worth of groceries.

While I might not yet be able to take off for Montana on a moment’s notice, at least I can enjoy this domestic life of mine a little more with a simple trip to a new grocery store. If I think about that a little bit it seems a sad outlook, but then I taste those little purple grapes and I think this is the life.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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