Last Week’s Accomplishments – It’s all About 5th Grade



While school doesn’t let out until later this week, last week was dominated by 5th grade activities:

  • Graduation ceremony
  • Pool party
  • Singing the National Anthem at opening night for minor league baseball

We also had:

  • The last of the spring baseball activities
  • Two birthday parties
  • One Dr. appointment
  • The last day of preschool for this year

On the house front, our patio installation is almost finished.  We need the sod/seed to take and then the patio will be sealed before we move the cooking and seating onto it.

The patio is about 300 ft² using Pavers by Ideal’s Andover Collection – Oxford grey set stone pattern with GrandStone.

Grocery Update & What We Ate – Week 24, 2017

There’s no other way to say it.  I made a lot of stops this week.  I went to Stop & Shop twice, Wegman’s twice, and Shaw’s once (no picture of that one).

My first trip to Stop & Shop was on Monday.  Hopefully this is the beginning of the transition from quick meals to full family affairs.


Friday I made a very small stop at Wegman’s.

I made a very small trip to Stop & Shop on Saturday.


Then, on Sunday we went to Wegman’s again for a Father’s Day meal.

Hopefully I won’t have to go again soon.  Though, I’m certain milk will be the deciding factor.

We were still busy with baseball this week, but had the weekend free for the first time in a long while.

Kids: Hot dogs
Adults: Chinese take-out

Kids: Chicken nuggets
Adults: Homemade pizza

Spaghetti & meatballs

Kids: Pancakes
Adults: Homemade pizza

Kids: Eggs
Adults: Homemade pizza

Sous vide salmon, pan fried potatoes, spinach salad

Steak, baked potato, creamed spinach, Caesar salad

Last Two Week’s Accomplishments – Spring Sports are Done!

Yes, soccer and baseball are finished for the spring.  Now, a short respite until summer.  We would have liked to continue baseball for one more week, as our oldest lost in the second round of the playoffs.  But, it was a tight game to finish out their season.

So, this will be the last post for a while that is sports dominated:

  • We had 6 baseball games and 3 baseball practices.
  • We had 6 soccer games and 2 soccer practices.
  • Our oldest went to the 5th grade track meet.
  • Our oldest had a few extra baseball lessons.
  • Our oldest went on the 5th grade camping trip.
  • We had our last Math Morning.
  • I went to a retirement party for the preschool director.
  • I also met the incoming preschool director.
  • We had a preschool play date.
  • I had a doctor appointment.
  • We attended two birthday parties.
  • It finally warmed up so we went to the pool.  Our preschooler spotted a bunny.


  • The warm weather must have been exhausting because multiple people fell asleep on the floor.
  • We thought a sky scraper had sprouted in town, especially as the first time we saw it, it was a dark and rainy day.  In actuality it is a church steeple wrapped in scaffolding, which is a bit easier to see in this sunny day picture.

IMG_6472 cropped

Grocery Update & What We Ate – Week 23, 2017

I made for grocery stops last week, which is more than usual.  One was the monthly trip to BJs.  Two were to Shaw’s!  I usually only go there once every six weeks or so.  But, they’ve been very low on pizza dough when I’ve gone recently and we’ve been using more of that because of baseball season.  You may see it as one of my stops this coming week also.

On Monday, I made my first trip to Shaw’s.  I restocked on oatmeal, which was on sale.  Kraft shredded cheeses and grapes were also on sale.  The Coke was for that afternoon.  And, I got all the pizza dough balls they had.


On Wednesday, I went to BJs and Stop & Shop.  Both trips were for primarily non-food items that were on sale/had coupons.  You’ll see in the menu below that the chicken nuggets are not lasting long right now.

Now for Stop & Shop.  Rather than listing everything that was on sale, I’ll just say that the bananas (39¢/lb), shallot, and bagels were not on sale.


Then on Friday, I tried Shaw’s again.  Two was it for pizza dough, but I did find some of the large bacon packages.


As for what we ate, it was incredibly boring!

Kids: Chicken nuggets
Adults: Homemade pizza

Spaghetti & meatballs

Kids: Chicken nuggets
Adults: Homemade pizza

Kids: Take out pizza
Adults: Homemade pizza

Kids: Pancakes
Adults: Indian take out


Kids: Chicken nuggets
Adults: Pan fried steak, potato pancake

Fitbit Service vs Performance



Not sure if this is a positive endorsement, or an indictment of Fitbit.

I was gifted a Fitbit Charge about 10 months ago.  I’d thought about getting one for a while, but hadn’t pulled the trigger.  Having set it up, its been interesting to see what it had to say but I try not to be a slave to it.

Most noticeably, while the base flights of stairs goal came almost automatically, getting to the magical 10K steps was rare initially.  I bumped the stair goal to 20 flights a day and I still get there most of the time without thinking hard about it.

The steps, on the other hand, were interesting.  Moving alone added a couple of thousand steps.  Yes, we have a bit more square footage.  But, from Fitbit’s perspective its the attributes of newer houses that increase the steps.  For example, modern hallways are wider by code so just crossing the hall from the bedroom to the bathroom takes almost twice as many steps.

So, it does what it says it should do.  And, its interesting data for one’s life.  Does that make it worth purchasing?  That would be your decision.

Now, for the meat of the post though.

Over the winter the band on my Fitbit Charge started bubbling and then last month it separated entirely so it is no longer a band, but an open circle.


Mr. Google told me that this was a reasonably common problem and I should contact Fitbit for a replacement.  This was a remarkably quick, hasslefree process and my replacement (now purple as I couldn’t find red on the color choices) arrived soon after.  It synced and we were off and running again.

But, then I discovered that the only two other people in my immediate family to own Fitbits also had theirs fail (for various reasons) within the first year and were having Fitbit replace them at no charge.  So, now a bunch of folks I know plus all those who wrote in to Google about their experience have free replacement Fitbits.  (There was also an option of a significant discount on an upgraded model.)

So, is this a ringing endorsement.  It does perform as advertised.  It’s easy to use.  And, their customer service is great.

Or, is in an indictment of their poor quality.  Maybe both.

May 2017 Grocery Review


May is the heart of baseball season, so its almost all quick meals around here.  We’re also starting to transition from winter to summer foods (although now, in early June, its only in the mid-50s).  I did make two trips to BJ’s, so that number is higher than usual.

May TOTAL: $1,129.20

  • Stop & Shop: $91.30
  • Wegman’s: $397.18
  • BJs: $350.77
  • Other: $289.95
    • Local: $131.49
    • Star Market: $120.06
    • Trader Joe’s: $0
    • Target: $38.40
    • Other: $0

I made a few small grocery trips last week.

Monday I stopped at the farm stand, primarily for green beans.


Wednesday, I went to Wegman’s.

Finally, on Thursday I made a very small trip to Stop & Shop for taco supplies.  Cheese was on sale plus I had a coupon.


As for eating, it was a typical baseball week.


Kids: Chicken nuggets
Adults: Homemade pizza

Kids: Pulled pork, pan fried potatoes, watermelon
Adults: Take-out pizza

Tacos, corn

Chinese take out

Kids: Chicken nuggets
Adults: Homemade pizza

Spaghetti & meatballs

Chicken and Walnuts



This is a very Americanized version of an Asian inspired dish.  It works equally well with tofu to produce a vegetarian version.  It is also easy to double or triple depending on your needs.  Serve over rice or noodles with a vegetable on the side.


1-2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut up
*** works equally well with tofu or boneless chicken breasts, depending on your tastes
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup apple juice
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T vegetable oil
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup sliced scallions
½ cup walnuts


  1. Combine brown sugar through pepper to create the marinade.
  2. Marinate chicken at least half an hour.
  3. Drain chicken, saving the marinade.
  4. Stir fry the chicken with the scallions.
  5. When the chicken is cooked through, add the marinade to the pan and reduce.
  6. Add the walnuts just before serving.

Product Thoughts – Socks and Goldfish


I didn’t really have enough to say on either to make they’re own post, so let’s put two random things together.

A request to the sports sock makers – and really all sock makers out there:  Please include the size on the socks.  We’re all now used to baby/toddler socks being marked with the size.  It’s a useful pattern for their anti-skid materials.

But, it can be done with big people socks also.  See how the M for medium is stitched into the red bulk socks from Target.  I have “S” and “L” Target socks too.  It makes life so much easier.

In contrast, the yellow soccer socks are entirely unmarked.  These are a small and large pair.  And, yes, its reasonably easy to tell them apart.  But, that’s just because we don’t have anyone wearing medium at the moment.  Plus, I hand down soccer socks to the next person, which often means storing them for a bit.  So apart from yellow (town team sock color), I try to buy different colors for different sizes.  But, that’s not the best solution.  Just stitch the sizes in.  Thank you, in advance.



On an entirely different topic, I was given a pack of whole grain cheddar Goldfish crackers.  Now, they don’t taste bad.  But, they definitely don’t taste like the original.  I think they’re less tasty, which might also lead one to eat fewer.  Whole grains might be better for you, but is part of that “betterness” just that we’re eating fewer of those carbs because they don’t taste as good?  As you can see, the main nutrition spec on the package is almost exactly the same.


Grocery Update & What We Ate – Week 21, 2017

After a light week, I made many stops.  On Monday, I went to Stop & Shop and the farm stand.  At Stop & Shop, I sneaked over $50 to get double gas points.

On Wednesday, I went to BJs.  Because of the time constraint of preschool pickup, its broken into three photos.

While I was over that way, I made a quick stop at Target.


Then, on Friday I went to Wegman’s.  A lot of this was for the holiday weekend.


The fast dinners continued, though we had a few rain outs which made for last minute dinners.  And, our holiday weekend was remarkably event-free.

Chicken & walnut stir fry, green beans

Kids: Hot dogs
Adults: Homemade pizza

Kids: Chicken nuggets, green beans
Adults: Pan fried steaks, potato pancake

Spaghetti & meatballs

Fish tacos
Pico de gallo

Baked potato
Spinach salad

Kids: Macaroni & cheese
Adults: Homemade pizza

Spring Schedule 2017 – A Week at a Glance




This is not last week; it is the week of May 7.  But, this is a typical spring week for us.  I’m going to focus in on the 5:30-8:00 hours because, in elementary school, this is when everything happens.  All the parents are home to coach/drive/etc. and the fields are available after the middle school and high school programs are done with them.  Yes, its terrible for dinner.


11:30 – 1:30        D: birthday party
6:00 – 8:00          A: baseball practice



5:30 – 8:00          A: baseball game
5:30 – 7:00          A: soccer practice (skipped in favor of baseball game)
5:30 – 7:00          B: soccer practice


5:30 – 7:30          D: baseball game
5:30 – 8:00          A: baseball game
7:00 – 10:00        I had a twins club meeting I skipped.


5:30 – 8:00          A: baseball game
6:00 – 7:00          I had the 5th grade camping trip meeting.  I got a babysitter.


2:30 – 3:45          A,B,C: bike club
4:00 – 4:30          D,E: skating class
5:30 – 7:00          A,B: soccer practice


6:30 – 8:00          Little League night at the high school baseball game.

Saturday (Thankfully not during dinnertime.)

8:45 – 10:00        D: soccer
11:30 – 1:30        A: soccer game
1:00 – 2:30          D: baseball
2:30 – 4:00          B: out of town soccer game