Grocery Update & What We Ate – Week 11, 2018


This was a big week – many stops and big dollars.  It did include my (roughly) monthly trip to BJ’s, but I still hope things will level out.

In advance of the latest Nor’Easter I went to Target, BJ’s, and Wegman’s on Monday.  I spent $23.10 at Target on juice and raisins.


Since there is no need to refrigerate this, and BJ’s and Target are close together but not particularly close to me, I went directly to BJ’s where I spent $163.88.  Frankly, for BJ’s that’s not that bad.

I went home, put this all away, and ate lunch.  Then after the preschool pick-up we went over to Wegman’s and spent another $39.44.


I’m glad I got all this in because Tuesday and Wednesday were indeed snow days.

On Thursday I spent another $36.51 at Wegman’s.  My primary goal had been to replenish the eggs and coffee, but I got items for the weekend dinners also.


Then on Saturday, I spent $33.65 at Stop & Shop on mushrooms and items that were on sale this week.  The chocolate bar was my Free Day item.


Finally, Sunday night we went to Wegman’s yet again.  I had thought I’d make this trip today, but we ended up going at night.  We spent $65.56.

All that made for a big total – $362.14!

So, what did we do with it?

Early: Macaroni & cheese, broccoli
Late: Homemade pizza

Chicken noodle soup, homemade bread

Braised pork, mashed potatoes, green beans

Early: Chicken nuggets, spinach salad
Late: Homemade pizza

Early: Pancakes
Late: Tuna noodle casserole

Crock pot chicken with wine sauce, pan fried potatoes, spinach salad

Green tea poached salmon with soba noodles


Fall 2017 Freezer Challenge – March 2018 Update


No post yesterday.  I really have a hard time getting anything done when the kids are here.  After two snow days last week, Tuesday & Wednesday were snow days this week and then yesterday they had a planned half day.  Fingers crossed that next week’s Nor’Easter doesn’t materialize so we can all get back on track!

Some background on the freezer challenge:

  • I kicked it off in November and updated the status in January.
  • The goal was not to stop shopping, but to use up things that had been in the freezer for a while.  I’m allowed to make new purchases and buy things to complement what I’m using up.

Items on original meat list left after January update:

  • 6 packages (3-4 per pk) of chicken thighs with bones & skin
  • 1 5.5-lb package of chicken thighs with bones & skin (1 meal for us)
  • 8 5 packages (2-3 per pk) of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 9 packages (4-5 per pk) of thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • 3 lbs chicken wings (These are probably waiting for summer smoking.)
  • 3 1 3-lb chuck roasts (We need two for a meal so I’m hoping this goes on sale one more time before summer so I can grab one more to use this up.)
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 4 lbs of tilapia fillets
  • 5 lbs 1 lb of ground turkey (We always use 2 lbs so I’ll purchase another 3 lb pack from BJ’s to use this up.  Then everything will be fresh.)

New meat that has appeared since January:

  • 5 salmon fillets (I purchased a new bulk bag because there wasn’t enough for us in the old one.  But, I plan to use these this weekend so the salmon will stay freshly turned over.
  • 4 lbs pork loin chunks cut for stew
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 bag of beef bones for stock
  • 1 package of chicken nuggets

As you can see the picture on the left is pretty organized, but the freezer on the right is where the remaining trouble is!

Obviously we still have a bunch of chicken to eat up.  I’ll supplement this with other proteins.

Ingredients left after the January update:

  • Partial BJ’s bag of sliced almonds
  • Partial BJ’s bag of walnuts (I have used some of these, but there’s still about half a bag left.)
  • 7 1-cup packages of blueberries (these are ones we picked and I froze in vacuum bags)
  • 9 basil-in-chicken-broth cubes
  • 12 bags of egg whites, mix of 4-ct and 8-ct
  • 3 8-oz blocks of cream cheese

Clearly I used next to nothing in this category, probably because we were sick for most of February.  A lot of these will be used for desserts which don’t make the top of the list when you’re sick.

Miscellaneous items left after the January update:

  • ½ box of popsicles (these are waiting for summer)
  • 13 7 loaves of banana bread
  • 18 17 servings of butternut squash ravioli (I might be off on this count as I didn’t remove everything from the freezer, but its a lot.  These will be lunches for me.) I did eat a few, but I obviously didn’t count them all because there are still this many left!
  • 2 loaves of gingerbread

I did slightly better here, but most all of these need to go before summer as they won’t get eaten then.  Obviously the popsicles can wait.  And, a few of the butternut squash ravioli would be fine.  But nothing here will age really well.

I’ll do a final update in June before we switch to the summer diet.  I better be done with all the meat (except maybe the wings) and all of the miscellaneous (with the few exceptions mentioned) by then!

Next week I’ll update the pantry situation, although nothing there is nearly as critical as the freezer was.

The Week in Review – Week 10, 2018

This has not been a productive week, unless you count extra time with the kids because of snow days!  We had two snow days last week.  Today is another snow day.  And, if the forecast holds I don’t see us having school tomorrow (not my decision, though).  We also lost power for 16 hours last week, which was about middle of the road for our area.

Here’s today’s “view” courtesy of wind driven snow.


We did get a few regular things in:

  • Swimming for the middle four
  • A playdate for the preschooler
  • One of the baseball sessions
  • Math morning

But, most things were washed out.

The older three finally went to see the Black Panther movie.  They’ve been seeing all of the movies in that chain and wanted to make sure they got this in before the next installment comes out.

I got my oldest’s team baseball bag embroidered with his name.  Otherwise they all set their stuff down and its hard to just grab yours and go.  Probably some others will do the same with either names or numbers.

I went to the Math Placement discussion last night to learn about the middle school math levels and how kids are placed in them.  They touched on 9th grade also, but it was mostly middle school.  The most interesting assertion is that kids can move between the levels rather freely in middle school.  Apparently the higher levels represent a deeper dive into the same topics so if you’ve matured enough to handle the deeper dive next year, you are ok having not missed an actual topic.  Interesting.  My experience in school was that it was very difficult to move out of one’s track; near on impossible to move up.

As for what didn’t happen.  In theory Ninja night for the fourth graders and the first grade concert will be rescheduled.  The first grade concert is rescheduled for tomorrow, but referencing my first paragraph that is looking rather doomed.  I’m sure they’ll push it out again.

Unfortunately, today’s swimming and last week’s gym and baseball classes won’t be rescheduled.  They’re just gone.


Grocery Update & What We Ate – Week 10, 2018


This was a relatively light week for groceries.  I made two trips to Wegman’s and one to Stop & Shop.

My first stop was Wegman’s on Monday, when I spent $87.43.  Looking at it, this was a rather produce heavy shop for us.  The jicama was free and I had a coupon for the corn tortillas.  We used the tortillas, cilantro, chicken, and a few other things to make enchiladas later in the week.  This was the second time I’d made them.  We decided we like the recipe, but not corn tortillas which is just as well because we always have flour tortillas in the house and corn tortillas were really a pain to work with.

I made another stop at Wegman’s on Wednesday, spending $86.68 in advance of the second Nor’easter.  Included is a third package of corn tortillas.  This was before I had made the enchiladas and I was worried I didn’t have enough with just two packages.


Finally, after we were finally freed Saturday from the snow and downed trees I spent $57.67 at Stop & Shop.  I could have put this off until Monday, but I hadn’t been out of the house in a few days and with a third Nor’easter in the works I have other stops to make then.  This largely covered the week’s sale items.  In fact the only things that weren’t on sale were the macaroni & cheese, cake mix, margarine, hot dogs, mushrooms, and bananas.  I missed a chunk of watermelon (on sale) in the picture.  The gum and granola bars were free; I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise.  But, for free, why not.


Dinners were a mixed bag.

Coq au vin, french bread, carrot/jicama/tomatoes

Early: Chicken nuggets, applesauce
Late: Leftover shepard’s pie or Welsh Rarebit

Enchiladas, corn

Early: Macaroni & cheese, green beans
Late: Homemade pizza

Early: Chicken nuggets, carrot & jicama sticks
Late: Welsh Rarebit

Chili, corn bread, watermelon

Hot dogs and assorted sides for the little ones, who were the only ones home.

Catching up and Some February Randomness

Apologies for the missing post yesterday.  The Nor’easter brought us heavy snow that knocked out our power from 2 am to 6 pm.  I had planned the lower part of the post yesterday and then starting on the travel posts today, but those will have to wait until next week.

We have propane so we did have a fireplace and stove available to us.  No oven, or I would have been baking all day!  The fireplace kept the temperature very reasonable though it did drop slowly throughout the day.  Outside was nicely at refrigerator temperature so I kept the in-process milk outside to prevent opening the fridge unnecessarily.

There was no school yesterday for the snow, which fell almost entirely overnight.  No school again today because of power outages and downed trees preventing the buses from driving all of their routes.  I can’t see any restoration work, but I can hear the chainsaw chorus this morning.  Many people are still without power throughout the Metro area, including some who lost power in last week’s Nor’easter so the tree services/power companies/electricians/insurance companies/etc. have their hands full.

In the random thoughts category, I saw this building last month.  Note that I know nothing about it, it just happened to be in front of me when I visited a grocery store I rarely go to.


I finally decided that I don’t think the porch is falling off.  I’m not sure who thought to put the siding and windows on an angle to match the roof.  But, I’m assuming behind that siding is a horizontal floor.  Not sure, of course; it definitely looks odd.

My second, less random thought, is that these folks don’t actually want to give me $10 back.  We moved about 18 months ago and this clearly says it is related to our “payoff statement.”  But, it was mailed to our previous address.  The only reason I got it is because I know the new occupants; we’re past the post office’s forwarding period.

I don’t know how many people still occupy the same address after a “payoff,” but I know that the bank knows were we are living now.  In the end, I got (and cashed) the check and will leave it at that with the bank, but I wonder how many of these they send out that never reach their intended recipient.


Accomplishments – February 2018


The boys were very excited to see the Patriots plane in Providence, RI.  It was there both times we came through.  We wondered what it does when the team isn’t using it.

So those multiple sick children I mentioned in the January accomplishments post, they continued (along with some sick adults) for almost the entire month of February.  We had a scheduled vacation trip the last week of the month and thankfully we ran out of illness (and implemented Tamiflu) in time.  But, between the short month of February, sickness, and vacation, accomplishments were few and far between.

So, what did I get done:

  • Finish the master bedroom clean. Nope.
  • Set up / put remaining items into circulation.  This is a bit of a catch-all, but includes a number of things we’ve bought/received over the past few months.
    • Two Amazon gift cards to enter so they get used instead of the credit card on file. Nope.
    • Clothing that needs tags cut off so it can be put in the appropriate person’s closet.
    • One LEGO set needs assembling (adult assistance required for this one). Nope.
    • Five electronic devices need some settings updated. I got three done.
    • Some clothing items from the sizing sort need to go to their final homes – either the sale bin or the hand-me-down bin.
    • Open the new mop and use it for the bathroom floors.  I did a lot of cleaning, but not this.

When we weren’t sick, we managed to:

  • Our oldest had baseball two days a week each.
  • We finished conditioning and ski lessons for the year.
  • Math mornings and Before School Sports continued.
  • Our youngest continued her gym class.
  • Swimming lessons restarted.
  • We had two doctor appointments.
  • The middle four kids had Valentine’s Day parties at school.
  • Everyone got haircuts.
  • I went to a preschool parents night.
  • We hosted a birthday party.
  • We attended three birthday parties.
  • I registered the oldest for yet another baseball team.
  • I registered the youngest for a gymnastics class.
  • I registered the twins for bike club.
  • We went on vacation!

Unfortunately, the office is going to have to wait again as March must be a catch-up month.

  • Finish the master bedroom clean.
  • Get back on track with general cleaning.  (This is a big one and will include trying out the new mop.)
  • Set up / put remaining items into circulation.  This is a bit of a catch-all, but includes a number of things we’ve bought/received over the past few months.
    • Two Amazon gift cards to enter so they get used instead of the credit card on file.
    • One LEGO set needs assembling (adult assistance required for this one).
    • Two electronic devices need some settings updated.
    • Two carpet pads need trimming/adjusting.

February 2018 Grocery Review


After being out of town for a week, this week was bound to be on the higher side.  But, it wasn’t too bad.

On Monday, I spent $120.84 at Wegman’s.  As you can see, it was a fairly thorough restocking.


On Wednesday, I spent $76.74 at Shaw’s and $31.29 at Stop & Shop.  I was in a hurry so I mixed the pictures a bit.  If you swap the milk and the oatmeal, Shaw’s is on the left and Stop & Shop is on the right.

That closed out February so this last one is part of this week, but not part of February.  I made a small $15.55 trip to Stop & Shop to grab a few items that were on sale (and milk).


That brought me to $244.42 which is not bad at all for a restocking week.

February TOTAL: $649.22

  • Stop & Shop: $76.08
  • Wegman’s: $157.48
  • BJs: $274.17
  • Other: $141.49
    • Local: $18.35
    • Star Market: $123.14
    • Trader Joe’s: $0
    • Target: $0
    • Other: $0

This was nice and low.  Even accounting for the fact that we were out of town for a week February had a low weekly average.

We largely managed to get back on track re eating also, after a month of sickness and travel.

Pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, caesar salad

Early: Chicken nuggets, strawberries
Late: Homemade pizza

Chicken noodle soup
English muffin bread

Early: Hot dogs, strawberries
Late: Steak, potato pancake, caesar salad

Early: Macaroni & cheese, carrots
Late: Homemade pizza

Nacho chicken, brown rice, spinach salad, English muffin bread

Shepard’s pie, spinach salad

It’s Been Quite the Month

Normally, I’d write about what we did last week on Tuesdays but we were on vacation and I’ll write about that in other posts.

So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to catch you up on our month.  In summary, we have been sick almost the entire month.  It’s been quite something as we are usually pretty healthy.  But, we’ve been knocked for a collective loop.

A couple of us ended January with a mild cold.  That’s nothing.  It’s winter.

February, however, arrived with a bang.  The evening of Wednesday January 31, the 5 year-old succumbed to norovirus.  A number of preschoolers had been sick throughout January and unfortunately we weren’t able to evade it forever.  He was finally feeling better by Saturday.

On Monday, February 5 our middle school-er came home with the flu.  We had all had flu shots.  But, they aren’t all that effective this year and over the next two weeks seven of eight of us had gotten the flu.  All of us went on Tamiflu (whether that staved it off for the last I don’t know).  Between that and the flu shot, the sickness was only 3-4 days for any given person.

Tuesday, February 6 was family day at preschool so the youngest and I spent extra time there.  That night the 2 year-old came down with norovirus.  She was under the weather through Friday.

Thankfully, all of us were better by Valentine’s Day and able to largely enjoy our vacation.  We collectively had more issues with ear pain on the airplanes since we were still dealing with lingering effects.  Plus, five of us (including the 5 year-old again) had short-lived bouts of norovirus on vacation.

Now that we’re back, two kids have colds and I have a sinus infection.  Fingers crossed that we’ll be back to full health by this time next week!

What all this means is that my February was dominated by laundry, with a second shout out to prepping and being on vacation.  My monthly accomplishments post next week might be pretty short.


Grocery Update & What We Ate – Week 8, 2018

This will be a rather short post.

We were on vacation most of last week!  So, the only grocery shopping I did was $109.23 at BJ’s yesterday to start the restocking process.  Mostly milk.  And, I got rather lazy with the picture taking as I needed the milk and bread for lunch pretty much instantly.


This coming week I’ll be at each of my rather regular grocery locations to restock appropriate items.

The budget while on vacation was terrible as we ate out for lunch and dinner every day.  However, this was included in our vacation purchase.  So, its in the vacation budget not the food budget.  I did bring food from home to have breakfasts in the hotel room that came from purchases you’ve seen earlier in the month.

As you will see tomorrow will not be a standard post either, but then we’ll likely get back on track.  Plus, I have new material so stay tuned!

Grocery Update & What We Ate – Week 7, 2018

Well, the sickness got much worse this week so the meals went downhill.  The past few weeks we’ve had one, maybe two, people sick at a time.  By midweek we had five people sick and meals were very hit or miss.

So, meals were almost exclusively based on what we happened to have in the house.  Monday we had Chicken Noodle Soup.  This used up the last of the Thanksgiving turkey broth among other things. I was hoping this would help end the sickness, but it didn’t work.

Tuesday we had pot roast, mashed potatoes, and carrots.  Because, we always have potatoes and carrots.

Wednesday we had takeout pizza because nobody felt like much more than that.  Even at that we didn’t eat much so Thursday was leftovers.  And, it was downhill from there.  Hopefully you’ll discover next week that we’ve recovered and are happily enjoying our temporary immunity to both the stomach bug and flu.  (Yes, we had flu shots.  No, they did not stop us from getting the flu this year.)

With all that, I made one trip to Stop & Shop, mostly for medicine.  I failed to take a picture of it.  But, for $12.56, I got one gallon of milk, apples, plus dried basil and thyme because they were on sale and I had coupons.

Signing off for now.