Goals for September 2017

Now that the kids are back to school, its time to get something done.  So, here’s what I’ve largely put off over the summer that I’m hoping to tackle in September.

  • Clean the house.  This means everything – under/behind furniture, all surfaces, inside the furniture/cabinets themselves, unfinished areas, etc.  My plan is to start at the top and work my way down.
  • Identify, tag, and sort items for the twin’s tag sale at the end of the month.
  • Go to BJ’s.  This will be on Sept. 6.  It is the first actual full day of school for everyone and I have coupons that expire that day.
  • Get a haircut.

That list seems short, but it will probably take the whole month.  That first bullet, in particular, is a whopper!  Also, in September, there are only 12 days where everyone has a full day of school.

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We also need to get back into school routines and used to our fall schedule.  Fall activities don’t kick off in full until the week of Sept 12 so we have a bit of time to adjust.  This fall we’re dealing with:

  • Soccer (three kids, two @ three days/week, one once a week)
  • Baseball (one kid twice a week)
  • Swimming (four kids once a week)
  • Homework – first year of middle school puts new emphasis on making time for this

I’m still short a baseball schedule, but once I have that I’ll lay out a typical week for us as I’ve done previous seasons.

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First Day of School 2017!

It’s finally here.  Even though it is only a half day (and preschool doesn’t start until next week), its good to get them off and running.

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I didn’t have to buy that much for school this year either:

  • 2 backpacks
  • 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • some miscellaneous school supplies (we had about half the requested items)

July 2017 Grocery Review

So apparently I missed almost the entire month of grocery updates.  Since we did some traveling (and therefore had fewer grocery runs than usual), I’ll just cover them with the August numbers next week.

My last update was on July 31, and I didn’t do any grocery shopping that day so there won’t be any carry-over to the next post!

July TOTAL: $1,293.70

  • Stop & Shop: $53.70
  • Wegman’s: $751.56
  • BJs: $241.62
  • Other: $246.82
    • Local: $61.79
    • Star Market: $146.14
    • Trader Joe’s: $0
    • Target: $38.89
    • Other: $0

Still higher than I would like.  I’m going to try some new strategies come September.  One of them will be to include the cost info with the weekly photos.

Here’s a photo of some of the yummy BBQ we’ve had this summer.

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I’m back!

We were away for much of August.  That combined with back to school startup has made things a bit quiet around here.  But, we’re settled back in now.  School begins next week.  And, I’ll be back next week to update everything that happened in the interim!

Cool Summer?

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I am not a meteorologist, but this summer seems cooler than usual to me.  I think we’ve had a typical amount of humidity and rain.  But, the temperatures are another story, particularly during the week.

Since the boys got done with school (the last week of June + all of July), the actual high temperature has reached 90º three times and 91º once.  The other end of the spectrum is even more telling.  We have had 15 days where it didn’t reach 80º, including three where it didn’t reach 70º!

July is typically our hottest month, which an average high of 82º.  That may not seem that hot, but we do usually have our fair share of high 90s days to balance out the 70s.  This year’s highs so far range from 64º to 91º.

Now, I shouldn’t complain.  Mostly its been a great summer to be outside.  But, I miss swimming and its just been too cold for that most days we’ve been scheduled for swimming lessons.  It’s not fun to be in an outdoor pool when its 60º and cloudy.  We had 11 scheduled.  We’ve missed 5 for equal parts 60º weather (lessons are 4-6 pm so even if the high is higher by late afternoon its cooling off) and thunderstorms.  Today is the last day.  It’s plenty warm, but the forecast is for thunderstorms.  We’ll see what happens.

Grocery Update – Week 30, 2017

Spendy week this week with big trips to both BJs and Wegman’s.  I also stopped at the farmer’s market and Shaw’s.

BJs was first, on Monday.

While I was over that way already, I stopped at Target.  It’s the only place I can get green Gatorade and they have the best juice prices.

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Then, on Tuesday, I went to Shaw’s for pizza supplies and oatmeal.

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On the same day, I went to the farmer’s market.  I was disappointed nobody had spinach.

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Finally, on Saturday, I went to Wegman’s for our weekend BBQ supplies (and some basic groceries).

Grocery Update – Week 29, 2017

As discussed before, I’m a bit behind.  So, I’m going to post the last two weeks of groceries today especially because this week was pretty light.

On Monday, I went to Stop & Shop.  This was almost exclusively for drinks.  I also got some cherries and chicken nuggets on sale.

Then, on Sunday, I made a small trip to Wegman’s.  I would have gotten the bulk bag of potatoes, but they were out so I settled for a few loose ones.

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Summer Spontaneity

Well, things have been a bit hit or miss here over the last month.  With summer upon us the kids are home full time.  It’s basically swimming, baseball, and whatever else we come up with to do.

This year I’ve been trying to be a little less scheduled and go with the flow.  Unfortunately that means less blogging.  Fortunately, it means yes to other things.  We’ve spontaneously (i.e., ask and go essentially immediately):

  • Gone to the pool.
  • Gone for ice cream.
  • Gone to McDonald’s.
  • Played with our neighbors.
  • Gone to the farmer’s market.
  • Gotten the screen replaced on my phone (not the best, but we did it super promptly).
  • Played some board games.
  • Played some video games.
  • Watched some movies.
  • Read some books.
  • Gone for a walk.

We’ve also, in a more planned way,

  • Played at the park.  Many times.
  • Gone strawberry picking.  This is about 8 lbs of strawberries, or what remains of them.

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  • Gone to the pool.
  • Taken swimming lessons (Less often than I would have liked as we’ve had issues with temps in the 60s and/or rain/thunderstorms, none of which make for good swimming weather.)

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  • Played baseball games.
  • Been to baseball tryouts.
  • One attended multiple baseball camps.
  • Two attended video game design camp.
  • One attended soccer camp.
  • I gave a pile of stuff that had been sitting in the basement to a neighbor for his yard sale.
  • The builder replaced the siding on one side of the house, a result of a manufacturing issue so the vendor covered costs/supplying materials/etc.
  • We went to the town carnival.
  • Plus the standard grocery shopping, though including the farmer’s market because it’s summer.

In summary, I’ll try to post when I can for the next few weeks, but we’re trying to be out doing which is always the priority.

Grocery Update – Week 28, 2017

Not much interesting in the meals department, but I did go to the grocery store.

On Monday I stopped at Star Market for roughly 10 each of pizza dough, pizza cheese, and oatmeal.  This should last us a few weeks.

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Then, on Thursday I went to Wegman’s for a regular weekly shop.

Yesterday I went back to Wegman’s to purchase items for grilling that night, plus a few things we were low on.  We had hot dogs and sausages for dinner.

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I also stopped at the farm stand.  Blueberries and cucumbers are in season locally now.  This farm stand also brings in produce from other areas; hence the broccoli.

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Since I didn’t add to our milk supply the second time I went to Wegman’s, I’ll be needing to do that early this week.  I plan to go to Stop & Shop this week to get some items we prefer from there and anything that might be on sale.

Tri-tip with Chimichurri

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We made a new discovery this week.  We tried it one weekend, and then decided we liked it so much that we made it again the second weekend.  So, if you noticed tri-tip in my grocery purchases twice in the same week, that’s why.

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I didn’t invent, or even much alter, these recipes.  I just put them all together.  The first time through we tried sugar snap peas as the side.  We all agreed that while we liked sugar snap peas (and I had them already needing to be eaten with something), they weren’t right for this dish.  The cauliflower was a much better option, but we may continue trying other sides.

First the tri-tip with chimichurri.  This was a nice, simple recipe from Bon Appetit.  There were a few modifications:

  • We omitted the sesame seeds.
  • I substituted 1 Tbsp sugar for the agave nectar.
  • Next time I’m going to try making the chimichurri in a food processor or blender because we’d prefer the greens a bit more broken down.

Next, the bread.  This is King Arthur Flour’s French-Style Country Bread.  I’d never made it before pairing it here, but it is very good and will definitely enter the rotation with other meals also.  Note, the first time I made this I used 2 hours for the starter and the full times for the rises.  This produced a very soft bread with larger holes.  The second time I was in a bit of a hurry so I shortened all the times a bit.  Both were tasty, but I’d recommend going for the longer times for truly light, airy bread.

Not pictured, but with the bread, we had guacamole.  Definitely recommend putting this on the bread.

The cauliflower held its own much better than the peas.  It’s a recipe we make a few times a year.  The kids prefer it without the cheese sauce which is easy enough to accommodate.