Grocery Update & What We Ate: Week 32, 2018

Well, for the first time since March we have a whole week with no sports during the dinner hour!  So, I had time to think, plan, remember, and write about it.  And, its not such a repetitive list.

But, first the shopping.

On Tuesday I made a big trip to Stop & Shop – $100.97.  This was partially because we were having seafood twice (with sales & coupons) and partially because I had excellent bonus gas point coupons if I exceeded $100.  Gas points came out to 456!

See the small bag of rice?  It turns out that they no longer carry the larger bag I usually buy.  On Wednesday I had to go to the hardware store one town over.  It is right next to a larger Stop & Shop.  Turns out they still carry the larger bag and it was on sale so I spent $4.99 on rice.

This was birthday week.  On Thursday I stopped into my regular Stop & Shop for cupcakes.  Yes, I could have made a cake.  But, we have those who like vanilla and those who like chocolate.  By the time you make both of those and ice them, its simpler and not that much more expensive to just buy the cupcakes.

To resupply milk (and buy another cake for yet another birthday), I spent $59.79 at Wegman’s on Saturday.  The Cokes are because the twins need clear 2L bottles per their school supply list.

So, lots of small trips.  But, only $173.73 total.

And, check out all the real food!

Ground beef with spinach – picadillo con espinacas
Spinach salad (for those less keen on the cooked spinach)

Cod with swiss chard and potatoes
Leftover homemade bread

Lobster salad sandwiches
Tater tots
Carrot sticks

Spaghetti & meatballs
Spinach salad

Early: Chicken nuggets
Late: Homemade pizza

Pork pan-fried dumplings
Green beans

Take-out pizza


2018 Summer Goals: Mid-season Update

I tried not to put too much on my summer list this year.  And, thus far I think things are going fairly well.

  • Scheduled activities:
    • Swimming lessons, baseball camp, and track camp are done.
    • Tech camp is almost done.
  • Rainy day movies turned into Heat & Air Quality Alert days.  We’ve had very few rainy days.  But, we did watch:
    • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 & 2
    • Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
    • Skyfall
  • School/spring sports tasks are done because I did clean all the lunch boxes.
  • I’ve stayed on top of the upper side of the yard (with the five leaf vine and fern-like things).  I’m trying to pull out all of the vine and thus far I’ve gotten everything I’ve seen.  I can’t take out the fern-like plants because they’re coming from conservation land.  It takes a relatively quick weekly trimming to keep them at bay.  I’ve also continued to find poison ivy here which I spray when it’s not too windy.  But, I doubt I’ll get all of that this year.
  • On the downhill side, I’ve made some additional progress but its very slow so I’m bringing in reinforcements.  I’ve kept it in check, but it needs to be thoroughly taken back and it’s mostly our property (no conservation land) so this is more doable.  There’s more poison ivy here so that’s been getting in the way too.
  • Throw out/donate/sell/etc. another 465 items:
    • 69 items so far, officially.  I returned one item (left), I sold a baby gate (not pictured), I donated a piano bench (not pictured), and I used two socks to protect one child’s feet during a long pool day (not pictured).  The second picture shows a cardboard “sword” that had worn out, two Toys “R” Us cards, a shirt that no longer fits right to donate, and some blackout curtains that never really blocked enough light that will also be donated.  The socks with holes are self explanatory.  On the far right are a mix of fabrics for recyling: a crib sheet and pillowcase with holes, a cheap oven glove that arrived as an ad in the mail, a fabric cover for a new sheets set, a shirt that’s so yellow as to no longer be useable, kid’s jeans with holes in the knees, and a pile of underwear.
  • Tag 465 items for the fall sale.
    • I haven’t tagged anything yet, but I have set aside five boxes of things to tag and identified a few large items.  Not sure how many items this is.
  • Prep for the 2018-2019 school year.
    • Not much here.  I’ve started a list, but the school lists won’t arrive for at least another week.  And, I try to save shoe shopping for as close to the end of summer as possible.


July 2018 Grocery Review


I felt like I was at the store every day last week.  On the other hand, baseball has finally come to an end so I have a full set of weekday dinners to plan this coming week vs quick doses of chicken nuggets.

On Monday, I made my monthly trip to Shaw’s.  I spent $62.84 mostly on pizza dough and cheese.  Chicken nuggets were on sale so I picked up one meal’s worth, as well as a bunch of bananas.  I don’t usually get dinosaur shaped chicken, but they were out of the standard ones.


On Tuesday, I spent $7.24 on produce from the farm stand.

My biggest trip of the week was to Wegman’s on Wednesday – $136.94.

I took a few days off.  But, I was back at the farm stand on Saturday for a full load of produce – $38.94.


Finally, I spent $21.54 at Wegman’s on Sunday.  There are two gallons of milk missing from the picture.  This will get us through until Tuesday when I plan to go to Stop & Shop.  Hopefully that will be my only stop this coming week.


That brought my total for the week to $267.50.

So how did we do in July as a whole?  Still high.

July TOTAL: $1,350.03

  • Stop & Shop: $178.76
  • Wegman’s: $679.16
  • BJs: $100.45
  • Other: $391.66
    • Local: $264.98
    • Star Market/Shaw’s: $126.68
    • Trader Joe’s: $0
    • Target: $0
    • Other: $0


The Month in Review: Weeks 28-30

Again this is not quite a month, but hopefully next week I’ll give an update on the Summer Goals as a whole.


I’ve mentioned many times that our summer has been dominated by baseball thus far.  That isn’t strictly true, but it feels that way because it is usually during dinner and because one might plan for an evening game only to have it rained out and rescheduled so you have to think about it again.

  • It’s been 20 days since my last update.  16 of those have included baseball in some form – game, practice, lesson, or camp!
  • Swimming lessons have continued multiple days a week for the middle four kids.  They wrap up this week.
  • We attended the summer company party.
  • One child went to kid’s night at the pool.  I couldn’t interest the other two who were eligible.
  • I’ve continued pulling unwanted plants on the perimeter of our yard.
  • I’ve made some progress towards the toss & tag goals.  More on that next week.
  • We’ve watched a few movies and just generally tried to be unstructured and spontaneous.



Grocery Update: Week 30, 2018

I bought a lot of produce this week.  Seasonal stuff we actually want to eat has finally arrived.  Plus, my kids really liked cherries this year, which admittedly aren’t local.

I spent $19.66 at the farm stand on Tuesday.  (Our farm stand grows a lot of their own stuff, but also buys from elsewhere – hence the cherries.)


On Thursday, I made an even smaller stop at Stop & Shop.  I spent $14.64 almost exclusively on items on sale.  Bananas and mushrooms were the exceptions.


I was back at the farmstand for $25.40 of mostly produce on Friday.


Finally, on Saturday I made a relatively modest trip to Wegman’s.  For $98.50 I bought a lot of drinks, bought some weekend dinner specific items, and restocked a few things.

That brought my total for the week to a very reasonable $158.20.

Baseball is still dominating our dinner hours, but we did manage to have a few family dinners this week.  I haven’t been doing as good a job of keeping track, but our family dinners were meatball subs mid-week, grilled hot dogs on Saturday, and tacos on Sunday.


Grocery Update: Week 29, 2018

I had planned to post this yesterday.  But, happily Mother Nature did not obey the weather forecast so we ended up at the pool for a good chunk of the day vs home while it rained.

We made five grocery stops this week.  I spent $111.05 on Monday – the first trip to Wegman’s.  The veal was the heavy hitter.


I made a small trip – $27.78 – to Stop & Shop on Wednesday.

On Friday I spent even less at the farm stand – $17.92.  Summer produce is excellent.


On Saturday, we spent $88.45 on nice steaks.  These were grilled with mashed potatoes and carrots.  On Sunday, I spent another $118.99 at Wegman’s.  It rained so we needed a change of dinner plan.  Dinner ended up as meatball subs.  Hopefully that carries us through much of this week also.

That brought us to a very big $364.19 for the week.  I’m sure we’ll need milk this week, but otherwise we may get by with what’s on hand.


2018 Summer Goals

I realize summer is about one third gone, but I have been working on some of these things and if I put them all in writing they’re just more likely to get done.  Certainly we will do more than this, these are more the big hitters.

I consciously tried to keep us less scheduled than last summer.  Last year a number of interesting options came up after we’d signed up for other things so we got over-scheduled.

On the schedule this summer:

  • Swimming lessons for the middle four will run most of the summer.  This also results in our spending lots of time at the pool.
  • Our oldest has one week of baseball camp.
  • The oldest three have one week of track camp.
  • Kids B-D have one week of tech camp.

And that’s it!  Should be very manageable.  We have a list of day activities for days in between.  And, hopefully we’ll get some movies in on rainy days. (Thus far we’ve had only one.)

I need/want to accomplish the following:

  • Finish up school/spring sports:
    • Dry all soccer cleats and put away
    • Clean all sports water bottles (3)
    • Empty back packs
    • Clean lunch boxes
    • Clean all school water bottles (8)
    • Check status of all items in preparation for next year
  • Keep the woods from encroaching on our yard
    • On one side we have a five leaf vine thing and the plant in these pictures.  This second plant looks sort of like ferns when kept trimmed, but it puts out creepers that wrap around trees, thicken, and eventually kill the trees.  The righthand picture shows some that have been cut.  You can see the marks on the tree where other bands have been.
    • On the other side we have the same five leaf vine, raspberry plants, and a different sort of climber.  This one doesn’t strangle the trees, it just creates a net over them that doesn’t look very good.  There’s also poison ivy on this side, which I am very allergic to, so I’m less brave about tackling things.


  • Throw out/donate/sell/etc. another 465 items.  This counting thing has been working well for me.  I had planned to do this again in the late fall, but there’s enough kicking around now that I’d just assume move it along.
  • Tag 465 items for the fall tag sale.  My rules for above were that it has to get out of the house within the time period.  Since the tag sale isn’t until the end of September these items don’t meet that criteria.  As a result there are many things that should be leaving our house that aren’t going anywhere yet.  But, tagging needs to happen sooner rather than later.
  • Prep for the 2018-2019 school year.
    • Purchase a new lunch box and water bottle for the incoming kindergartner.
    • Complete preschool paperwork for the youngest.
    • Pay bus fee.
    • Purchase school supplies after the lists come out in mid-August.
    • Check fit of soccer cleats for four kids.  Upgrade as needed.
    • Check fit of baseball cleats for oldest.  Upgrade as needed.


June 2018 Grocery Review


Well, at least I’m keeping up with one post a week.  So much harder when the kids are all home for the summer!  And, I realized I completely forgot the June totals so they’ll be at the bottom of this post.

I made three stops this week, one at each of the major stores.

On Wednesday, I spent $138.36 at Wegman’s.

There’s items for two meals here plus some extras.  The pork butt, rolls, and coleslaw were for pulled pork on Saturday.  I bought more rolls than necessary, but better to not run out and they can always be eaten separately.  The cod and shrimp (small round container) were for California Fish Stew Wednesday night.

So far this summer we’re eating a lot of eggs, smoothies (ie, yogurt), and cheese slices.  Milk and grape juice are pretty standard.  On the far right is a small bag of cherries – in season, but only three of us will eat them.

On Thursday I spent $100.45 at BJ’s, not bad for my monthly visit.

Unfortunately they had no honey, which was my real reason for going on Thursday.  Otherwise I could have saved this stuff for next week.  But, it was a true stock up with multiple copies of almost everything.

Finally, on Sunday I spent $50.12 at Stop & Shop.  I had to spend $55 before $5 off coupon, so I did pretty well.  They were out of the cheese slices I wanted so I was glad I had gotten some (less preferred variety) at Wegman’s above.  As a result I got an extra egg noodles and extra pack of Gatorade.  Both will be used eventually and they were essentially free since I used them to move up from $48 -> $55.

That brought my total for Week 28 to $288.93.

June was a busy month in so many ways – school ending, sports transitioning, and MANY grocery stops.

June TOTAL: $1,311.89

  • Stop & Shop: $184.13
  • Wegman’s: $647.05
  • BJs: $337.15
  • Other: $143.56
    • Local: $53.54
    • Star Market/Shaw’s: $61.24
    • Trader Joe’s: $0
    • Target: $28.78
    • Other: $0

Clearly the many stops and the multiple BBQs showed!

The Month in Review: Weeks 25-27, 2018

Admittedly, this is not an entire month.  But, “weeks in review” didn’t sound quite right so here we are.

The chaos of the end of the school year has let go for the somewhat more relaxing pace of summer.  We still have things to do, but not as many (especially on the weekends), and not as early in the morning which just makes things seem more relaxed.

The last Review post went up on the last day of school.  Since then we’ve:

  • had 7 baseball practices plus 7 baseball games, all for kid A.
  • had four swimming lessons for each of four kids.
  • hosted one BBQ and attended two others.  This feels very summer-like.
  • attended one birthday party.
  • grilled ribs and baked beans.  Finished with s’mores.  Again, very summery.
  • spent four days with relatives.

I’ve been working on my project to take some of the plants attempting to encroach on our yard.  More about that on Thursday.

Grocery Update: Week 27, 2018


I was in and out to a lot of grocery stores this week.  Nothing huge, but catching up on some places I don’t go often and hitting the same store on two sale cycles adds up.

On Thursday, I spent $56.57 at Stop & Shop.  We were away a few days over the fourth so some restocking was needed and I wanted to get some items on this sale cycle (they’re Friday – Thursday) so I squeezed this in after we got back Thursday afternoon.  As you can see, I had timed running out of milk well with our trip!

Then on Friday, I made a relatively small trip to Wegman’s.  I didn’t strictly need to go on Friday.  But, I was going to need to go soon and we were trapped inside all day by thunderstorms and heavy rain.  We have a garage and Wegman’s has a parking garage so we spent $53.78, got out of the house, and stayed dry.  I had a $5 off coupon for this specific type of cheese, so that part cost $0.55 (close as I could get to $5).


The clouds broke briefly while we were out so I quickly ran in to Shaw’s for oatmeal and pizza supplies ($63.84).


Then on Saturday, I spent $29.65 at Stop & Shop where I grabbed two fruit salads for an evening BBQ that didn’t make the picture.


Finally, on Sunday I spent $17.37 at the farm stand on corn, local green beans, and cherries.


That brought by grand total for the week to a reasonable $221.21.