August 2018 Grocery Review


With the Monday holiday, I decided to push this post to Tuesday.  I expect to post Wednesday (normal Tuesday post), Thursday, and Friday this week to get back on a more regular school year posting schedule.

Last week was another big one for groceries, largely because I went to BJs for the first time in about two months.  I also stopped at Target and purchased a number of things that we use during the school year, but not during the summer.

On Thursday, I went to both Target and BJ’s as they’re fairly near one another.

First, at Target, I spent $59.28.  I didn’t get a picture before things started getting eaten (actually drunk), but it included a large number of single serve boxes of raisins & craisins, lots of grape juice, some granola bars, and some Gatorade.

Then I ran over and spent $241.07 at BJ’s.  Again, I failed to get pictures of everything – notably most of the non-perishable items this time.  There was a flat of Coke, a rotisserie chicken, honey, croissants, barbecue sauce, peanut butter, canned soup, bread, two types of cereal, chips, shallots, sweet potatoes, rolls, and chocolate chips.


That finished off August so the totals below will won’t include the rest of the week.

On Saturday, I spent $127.39 at Stop & Shop.  There were many things on sale this week we will eat.


Then on Sunday I spent $24.71 at the farm stand and another $81.24 at Wegman’s.  I’m sense a trend here because I clearly forgot to take pictures of the farm stand visit.  I got broccoli, corn on the cob, green beans, and a heirloom tomato.

Finally on Monday we happened past a different Target.  I hoped to get more grape juice as it was on sale, but they were out.  I did get a few items that BJ’s had been out of totaling $19.85.


August TOTAL: $925.60

  • Stop & Shop: $181.00
  • Wegman’s: $371.42
  • BJs: $241.07
  • Other: $132.11
    • Local: $72.83
    • Star Market/Shaw’s: $0
    • Trader Joe’s: $0
    • Target: $59.28
    • Other: $0

Wow!  That came out much lower than I was expecting.  It turns out I had a few VERY BIG trips, but not that many trips overall.  Exactly the opposite of July.


Grocery Update: Week 34, 2018

First week of school this week.  No two days are the same.  Lots of back to school events.  The first day where they all have full days of school is next week.

So, I’m behind.

But, I wanted to get this one up so a grocery post on a non-Monday it is.

Last week didn’t have many stops, but they were rather large.  Coming back after vacation and school startup (which changes our meal needs) will do that.

On Monday I spent $25.58 at the farm stand (melon picture) and $56.09 at Stop & Shop (milk and bananas pictures).

Tuesday’s stop at Wegman’s was a big one any given week – $217.04.  There were a few things that didn’t make the pictures, but we ate them before the picture was taken.

On Saturday I spent another $94.59 at Wegman’s.  We’re going through a lot of milk and cheese with everyone home.

Finally, on Friday I spent another $47.25 at the farm stand.  This is the time of year when we eat the most produce as the local options are full of things we want to eat.


That brought our total for the week to $440.55 or almost two weeks of grocery budget!  And, the month will get worse today since I’m headed to BJ’s for the first time since the beginning of summer.

Two Weeks in Review: Weeks 32 & 33, 2018

We really haven’t done much to prepare for school yet.  That will be this week’s task.


Last week we were on vacation in DC & Virginia.  I’ll post more about each of our locations over the next week or so, but first some general trip thoughts.

  • We drove.  This works well with so many people and a relatively short trip.  We also needed a car while there.  But, I do have some thoughts on that subject.
    • First, I’m not sure Google Maps can properly estimate traffic hours into your journey.  It persisted on sending us through NYC on the George Washington Bridge.  Much past experience (paper map driving days) tells me to take the Tappan Zee/Garden State Parkway route.
    • On the plus side, Google Maps did suggest a new to us route east of the Tappan Zee bridge which we will have to make note of because it was much better than our previous trips on the Saw Mill Parkway.
    • I also wish the Google Maps app could let you quickly switch between routes like you can on a computer.  It is very difficult to check alternate routes while underway.
    • Why oh why are rest areas in New Jersey so terrible?  I somewhat understand the issues with the ones closest to NYC.  There’s a big time gap between rest areas on the east and west of NYC so lots of people stop immediately after; that’s a big drain on anyplace.  But, we stopped much further south and still terrible.
    • On the other hand, big thumbs up to Maryland House.  I remember this one from childhood trips and it is still excellent.  I’d like to assume the other rest stops in Maryland are just as nice.

And now for the previous week.

  • Three kids were at tech camp.
  • Our oldest spent the week preparing for a Home Run derby, which ended up being rescheduled and then cancelled for weather.  It has been very rainy here the past two and a half weeks.
  • I signed the middle four up for fall swimming lessons.
  • The boys had haircuts.
  • One child went to two birthday parties.
  • We went to one doctor’s appointment.

Grocery Update: Week 33, 2018


It will be a short post today because we got back from vacation last night.  We were gone for an entire week, during which I spent $10.97 on one gallon of milk and two containers of juice.  Otherwise food went on the vacation budget.

That does mean that this week will have quite a few stops so next week’s post might be rather long.  It also means school is just around the corner so hopefully I’ll be able to get more than one or two posts up per week.  I certainly have a new set of material!

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.