Taking a Look at What’s Important

I haven’t posted a grocery update, garden update or debt update in a while.

A few weeks ago when I was grocery shopping I had this overwhelming feeling of wanting to buy what I wanted without having to think about the price. Frustration for the cost of food and the fact that I was sick of trying to control our grocery spending got the better of me so I really haven’t shopped much in the last two weeks. I have slid into just buying what I need at the time and not having a plan for the week.

If I go back to posting about our grocery and meal habits I will need to change some things up. Originally I would post immediately after shopping with a cost for what I purchased and my plan for the week for meals. Then I switched and posted after the week was over about what I actually made and a total for the end of the week’s grocery costs. I have found that not having a plan for meals going into the week has created more stress. So if I start posting about groceries again I will go back to my original posting style. Now the question is does anyone really want to read about what we eat and how much money we spend? Having a plan for our meals greatly relieves me so that is what I am working on at the moment. And trying new recipes!

I really want to try this!

Garden updates have just gotten away from me. I have been so busy with work and bakery orders that I have barely had time to work outside let alone clean my house some weeks lol! But I have gotten a lot done in the garden and I am finally getting the time I need to work outside.

Debt updates. This is a big frustration for me. Really big actually. Getting rid of our debt has been my top priority for over 12 years! We did not get into debt because of frivolous spending. Yes, there are times in everyone’s worlds where we spend on something we really don’t need but that’s just life. No, we got into out debt from divorces, medical, business and general home and car maintenance. We never took fancy vacations or bought tons of clothes or anything like that. We, like many people have gotten into debt just from living.

I worked really hard to get our one credit card down to $3000 from $8000 but again life happened and it’s right back up to $7000. It’s frustrating for sure but everything that has been put on that card (and diligently paid off) has just been life. We have a wedding coming up for our son, we needed a new car, and our 15 year old dishwasher finally called it quits, and one of the most important purchases was a weeks road trip for Scott and I. In the 15 years we have been together we have never taken a road trip together, just the two of us. So in my mind that trip was a need not a want. We had a blast too!

Scott and I have decided together to back away from many of our community endeavors. We just want to spend more time doing what we need to do for our family, friends, home and church. If we put our energies into these things as much as we have our community groups just imagine what we can do! And boy does our house need some TLC!

We got our basement windows replaced!

I have also put my Etsy shop on vacation mode for the summer. EEEks! That’s a bit scary for me but I am already loving the extra time to work in the garden.

Ok, I am digressing a bit. Grocery posts: Are you still interested in my grocery habits? Gardening posts: I want to post more often and not in weekly form, kind of like what I do on Instagram. Debt posts: I would like to post more in diary form where I just post when I have something to say about it. What do you think?

I would also like to post about the cakes I have been making, I’ll always post about my stitching projects every three weeks, I would love to post about fellow veggie gardeners so if you know one or are one and would like me to write about you please message me.

I’ll do my best to post. Please be patient with me as we put our energies into home life. -MM

SAL-Project Joyce’s Rose #13

Happy Memorial Day weekend for those of us celebrating in the US. 😊

I didn’t get much stitched this time, but here is my progress nonetheless.

Here is where I left off last time

And here is where I am now.

I’ll get more done this next time, I promise.

This SAL (stitch-a-long) is managed by Avis, who’s link is below. We greatly appreciate her keeping all of us on track.

Now, I am off to visit the other stitchers in this group to see the delightful projects they are working on. Come join me! It’s so much fun to see their progress.

See you in 3 weeks! -MM


SAL-Project Joyce’s Rose #12

Good Morning SALers! What a gorgeous weekend it has been in Western NY. It finally stopped raining!

I made good progress on the upper half and even got a few stitches done on the last two rose buds for the bottom

Here is where I left off last time

And here is where I am now.

I am happy with how much I got done!

This SAL (stitch-a-long) is managed by Avis, who’s link is below. We greatly appreciate her keeping all of us on track.

Now, I am off to visit the other stitchers in this group to see the delightful projects they are working on. Come join me! It’s so much fun to see their progress.

See you in 3 weeks! -MM


What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 17-18 of 52

Week 17 grocery shopping was interesting! Our local Save-A-Lot has a stamp program right now where if you fill a book with 50 stamps you get an amount off your next order. If you fill one book it is $10 off your next order of $25, fill two books and it’s $25 off of $50 and if you fill three stamp books it is $50 off a $100 order or more. With the help of my mom and a friend and my own shopping there I was able to fill three books for $50 off!

There was a problem with that though. I didn’t know how much or what to buy. Seriously it was quite the dilemma. I walked in the store and realized $100 was a lot to spend at a store like Save-A-Lot and I didn’t feel like using a calculator to keep track of what I was buying. So I sucked it up and just started throwing stuff in the cart that looked good, looked useful or just plain sounded good to eat. It was actually liberating. No list, nothing in mind, just pure instant gratification. I got to the checkout and the cashier took one look at my cart and said to me. Mary Margaret I have never seen you buy so much! I know right?!

My total came to $149.49. Eeeeks! But after the $50 off it was only $99.49 amazing! And I got some really fun stuff and filled my pantry.

Here is what I bought at Save-A-Lot:

I haven’t purchased drumsticks ice cream cones in a long time because at over $7 a pop they are super expensive, but hey, why not splurge!

I also spent $28.25 at the Marketplace so total week 17 was $127.74.

Week 18 I hardly bought a thing because I had so much left over from Week 17! I bought creamer, a box of shell pasta, a rotisserie chicken, a big pack of strawberries and a container of Greek olives for a total of $27.47

So here is what we ate the last two weeks:

There were other meals we had that I didn’t get a photo of, but you get the idea.

Total spent on groceries week 17: $127.74

Total spent on groceries week 18: $27.47

Total for April: $438.26

Total so far for May: $27.47

Grand total for the year $2020.03

Whew! That was a lot. Let’s see how week 19 plays out. Have a great week! -MM

What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 15-16 of 52

Sorry for the late updates! The last two weeks have been a blur but I found some great after Easter deals!

Week 15 I spent $76.44 and got some unusual ingredients because I wanted to try a new recipe I saw on Instagram and we wanted to cook on the grill for the first time this season so a lot of meat was purchased.

Here are some of the meals we ate in Week 15:

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of the massive amount of grilled meat we ate all week. We grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, Italian sausages and chicken and ate it all week. Now that’s my kind of cooking!

The new recipe I tried was the cabbage rolls. It wasn’t a complete flop. We liked it but I will have to try it again sometime because the Napa cabbage I bought had leaves that were just too small to roll and I think I should blanche them a little longer, they were kind of chewy. But hey, they had great flavor!

For week 16, I took advantage of a lot of after Easter sales and there was a one day sale at our store so I really stocked up!

I spent $142.80. That’s a lot for me but it was worth it!

Here are some of the deals I got:

Whole boneless pork loin $21.41
Boneless chuck roast $17.32
2 bags raw shrimp 31/40 ct $5.99 ea.
3 Sugardale bacon $3.99 ea.
2 port tenderloin $5.60 and $6.19
Grape tomatoes $2.50
Spiral sliced ham, originally $40.66 on sale for $15.18!!

Here are a few of the things we ate in week 16:

Total spent on groceries week 15: $76.44

Total spent on groceries week 16: $142.80

Total for April: $310.52
Grand total for the year $1,554.30

Have a great week! -MM

Ripley Victory Garden 2023-Week 3-4

Week 3-4 zoomed by!

Garden stuff done this week:

  • I watched the seedlings daily and 11 of 13 varieties have popped up!
  • I have already replanted 62 of the seedlings, and I have a ton more to go.
  • The garlic is getting big in the raised bed garden!
  • The bin of potatoes is doing OK. I brought it in a few times because of the cold temperatures but I forgot one night so all the sprouting ends that were up are now toast, but there are more coming!

Here is a look and what I have been working on:

That’s it for now. It’s going to be a beautiful week weatherwise, so I will have more to share next time. -MM

What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 14 of 52

Week 14 was much better than last week! Meals wise we started off the week with ham and scalloped potatoes and asparagus for Sunday’s meal, Monday, I was by myself so I ate a salad with a side of couscous and sweet potatoes, Tuesday was ham with sweet potatoes and asparagus (can you see a pattern here?) Wednesday was homemade shake and bake pork chops with Kraft mac and cheese and home canned beans, Thursday was leftovers, Friday we went out after Good Friday service and Saturday I was so exhausted from baking all day (and Friday) that we ate out a second time. Seriously that was the only meal I ate on Saturday!

I did get some really great deals this past week. Asparagus was on sale for $1.77/ lb, I had an E-Coupon for a $1 off an already-on-sale jar of Hellmann’s Mayo so that only cost me $3.99. Whole pineapples were $2.99, Gold Medal flour 5lb bags were $2.50 ea. Folger’s coffee was $7.99 for the big container so I bought 2. I bought a semi-boneless ham for $9, Thomas’s English muffins were $2.64, Land ‘O Lakes butter were $3.50, and Perry’s Ice cream was $3.50.

It was a great week for sales!

Total spent on groceries week 14: $91.28

Total for April: $91.28
Grand total for the year $1,335.06

How was your Easter? Until next time! -MM

What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 13 of 52

Week 13 was a very tough week for us. Multiple evening meetings for both Scott and I, bakery orders, work, and two hour choir practices. Then on Thursday we drove down to Ithaca (two hours from us) for a new car and on the way found out Scott’s mom was taken to the ER with fluid on her lungs. We drove straight from the car signing to the ER to check on her. Scott drove to Elmira Friday to be with her and his dad, and Sunday brought her home from the hospital. Friday when he was at the hospital I spent the evening getting the parsonage thrift sale ready for Saturday and Saturday we both spent all day selling our hearts out until the storm hit in the afternoon. We were both exhausted by Sunday evening. Why am I sharing all of this? I guess because none of us really know what the week will bring at the start of it and unexpected things pop up. If I had been more prepared the stress of cooking would have been eased by just grabbing a prepped meal from the freezer. I definitely need to work on this!

I spent $102.96 this week on groceries. I can’t believe I got out of a Wegmans only spending $36 and I even bought salmon! I splurged on salmon and olives and dolmas. If you have never had a dolma it’s a rice mixture wrapped in grape leaf and pickled.

Last week I shared some items from my pantry that I wanted to use up and while some got used in recipes, I didn’t get to all of them because of the exhausting week we had. Here are a few of the meals we had and how I used some of those ingredients:

The macaroni pictured in that group I used for my lunch one day. I eat a lot of pasta with just butter and salt on it.

What I didn’t get to was the pumpkin and evaporated milk and the brownie mixes but the rest I used. Yay! Not bad!

Total spent on groceries week 13: $102.96

Total for March: $320.58
Grand total for the year $1243.78

That’s an average of $95 a week. Pretty good! I still want to work on getting that average down though.

How was your past week? Until next time! -MM

What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 12 of 52

Week 12 I spent $46.25 on groceries at the store and $31.98 on Amazon for a 24 pk case of white tuna. That’s a total of $78.23

Here is what I bought at the store:

No deals here! I bought 9 items and it cost me $46! Eeeks! They were all expensive items pretty much but as the weather gets better I will more likely venture to other places for better deals. Isn’t that funny how that works? The crummier the weather, the less you want to slog yourself around.

We ate good this past week. Yeah I know I ate fish stix but I ate carrots and rice with it to make it healthier. 😉 Chicken Fajitas, a pasta bake (looked and tasted better than that photo), big salads, and homemade pot pie. Lots of leftovers too.

I do have something new I am going to try doing in week 13. I am going to pick some items out of my pantry/freezer/spice cabinet and create recipes to use these items up. I am trying not to waste anything so I will shop from my pantry as much as I can in the next few weeks.

Here are the items I have pulled from my pantry that I want to use this week:

If you are like me, you probably have small quantities of different kinds of pasta sitting in your pantry. I plan to use the macaroni, rigatoni, shells and a bag of fusilli pasta that my son got free at a food show. I definitely don’t usually have brownie mixes on hand but my husband has been cleaning out his mom’s pantry and she wasn’t using these so he brought them home. I’ll whip some kind of fancy brownie recipe up with them. I don’t like Ragu sauce, I am more of a Prego kind of gal if I have to buy a jarred sauce but again my son bought it so can’t let it go to waste. I also want to use the pineapple, oranges, pumpkin mix and evaporated milk too. Should be an interesting week!

If you’ll notice I already used some of the fusilli and the sauce and rigatoni in the above pasta bake recipe.

Ok that’s it for week 12

Total spent on groceries week 12: $78.23

Total for March: $217.62
Grand total for the year $1140.82

See you next week! -MM

Ripley Victory Garden 2023-Week 2

Week 2 was spent reading, planning, and planting seeds indoors.

Garden stuff done this week:

  • Planted 13 different varieties of veggies/herbs indoors
  • Purchased two books specifically to learn succession gardening techniques.
  • Uncovered the rhubarb outside
  • Planted a bin with sprouting potatoes

I started plum tomatoes, regular tomatoes, purple and green basil, purple and green sprouting broccoli, purple and orange cauliflower, jalapenos, Lunchbox peppers, bell peppers and eggplant. I used the black bottomed/clear lidded takeout containers I had on hand. They were brand new but I didn’t like them for freezing meals in so I thought I would use them for starting my plants.

The two books I bought were “Grow More Food” by Colin McCrate and Brad Halm and “Plant Grow Harvest Repeat: Grow a Bounty of Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers by Mastering the Art of Succession Planting”, by Meg McAndrews Cowden, who I follow on Instagram.

I am only a few pages into Grow More Food and I am already learning lots of new things. They have a great chart that tells you size of garden, what to expect to harvest from that size of a garden, and how many hours a week it will take to maintain that size of a garden. My garden is currently 1573 sq ft which will be large enough to feed 6 to 10 people all season and still have enough to distribute small quantities of especially productive crops. If I plan it right, I should be able to grow substantial storage crops and have plenty to preserve for the winter. It says to expect to spend 6-8 hours a week keeping up with just the garden not including preservation time. In past years I have not made my garden a priority like I would like and I hope to change that this season.

The rhubarb I planted last year from a friend’s divided plants have already started popping up this season! Anyone have any interesting rhubarb recipes they want to share?

I planted a bin of potatoes yesterday and stuck it outside. I had some potatoes stored from last year that sprouted so I am experimenting to see if I can get them to grow. What do I have to lose right? I’ll keep you updated.

I already have more to share but will save it for next update!

Please feel free to share recipes that use rhubarb :)-MM

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