Not Impressed with Our Debt September 2020 Update

I haven’t updated since June so I thought I better get an update posted today.

It’s been a frustrating few months. I have made some progress in some areas and put some debt on in other areas.

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Honda loan balance in June was $1600 – Now down to $900. I made a triple payment in July and another regular payment in September. Yay!
  2. Our clothes washer finally said enough and died on us. Instead of paying for a brand new washer which was at least $800 we went on Facebook Marketplace and found the exact model we had currently only much newer for $250. We paid for it in cash we had saved. Double Yay!
  3. My big 20 qt mixer started to seize and spark. We put it off for a month but finally got someone to come in and repair it. Cost was $150. We again paid in cash. Triple Yay!
  4. I paid $525 on my credit card this month. I took the minimum payment and added in the few things I charged on it for the month then I added in the interest amount from last month and paid $525.41. I plan on doing the same this next month. Yay x 4!
  5. We did put about $800 on our other credit card this month. We bought a new couch. It was more than I wanted to pay but we have barely used our living room all year and I was very tired of each of us hanging out in our bedrooms and not being all together to at least watch a movie or football game once in a while. Our old couch (which was only about 6 years old) never was comfortable so we stopped hanging out in the living room together. $800 was worth bringing us back together I think so money well spent! Minus 1 point though for adding more debt 😦

Unfortunately school taxes are looming due and I know I am going to pay them late because I just don’t have the funds to pay them in full this month. It’s ok though. I’ll get them paid I just won’t be able to pay much extra on our debt in October.

That’s about it. Only $900 left to pay on the Honda! Until next update -MM

Lactose Intolerant

It’s official (at least in my mind) I am lactose intolerant. Especially after last night’s late night stomach problems after eating macaroni and cheese for dinner.

Most of my adult life I have suffered from what I would call random stomach problems and stomach problems suck right? The most frustrating part is that people love to tell you what they think is your problem (trying to be helpful) but in reality there could be a 1000 different reasons and combinations of foods that make you sick when you eat them so I have just always stayed away from eating much in public. I especially would never eat anything fried or greasy out unless I knew I was going home right after.

About a year ago I had one of the worst bouts of stomach upset I have ever had and it was at a party we were attending. About half an hour into the affair (the other guests said later) I all of a sudden turned green and then I left and headed straight home. All that night I was sicker than a dog. Stomach upset and ache, diarrhea, chills, nausea. I was so frustrated.

At one point a month later I had been feeling pretty good, no stomach upset for a while and then I realized it was because I hadn’t had a glass of milk in weeks. Hmmm…. But I had had ice cream and cheese and such but no pure milk.

Right then and there I stopped drinking milk entirely and voila, no more massive stomach upset. Life-changing to say the least. My doctor was on board with it. She said I didn’t need a test to tell me if I felt better cutting out dairy.

Now I am still able to have dairy once in a while without too much upset but last week I was eating way too much and I was suffering for it. A Klondike bar everyday and mac and cheese (even though I used Lactaid to make it) really bothered me. Not the massive stomach bothering that milk does to me but enough bother to slow me down.

I haven’t tried taking a Lactaid pill before I eat dairy. I will have to experiment with that. At this point I just avoid dairy all together and my tummy thanks me for it.

Don’t worry I will not walk into my next party and announce I am lactose intolerant to everyone. That’s just not my style lol!. -MM

Damaged Canning Lid Update

Last post I told you about the canning supply shortage and the shipment of lids I mistakenly purchased from a company in China.

I have received a $6.96 credit towards my over $45+ purchase for the damaged lids. I wasn’t very happy with this and I would never buy from this company ever again but I guess it is something right? And they were very prompt with getting back to me.

Below are a few screen shots of the exchange:

What do you all think? Should I have pushed for a bigger refund?

Lesson learned this time. I will, from now on ALWAYS research better who I am buying from and if I cannot find a mailing or shipping address on a website I will not buy from them.

Now on to the pumpkin shortage crisis sigh… – MM

Canning Supply Shortages

If you are a canner or preserver of food than you must have noticed that supplies are scarce this year. Every store I have called locally is out of canning supplies and no dates in site for re-stocking.

Along with TP and sanitizer, yeast and flour the newest shortage, at least in my world is canning supplies, in particular the lids.

I saw it happening about a month ago when at the beginning of the canning season the grocery store I work at part time could not get supplies in. We had some left over stock from the previous year but that did not last long.

I immediately went online and Amazon had lids but they were over $20 a box! Nuh uh…not doing that. I ended up buying 6 boxes of regular lids from mason-official.com. THAT was a mistake. I found out later that mason-official is not an American company at all but a company from China.

The lids took almost a month to get to me but finally today I received them. But they came in a BAG. None of the lids were in boxes. Just loose in baggies. Coming all the way from China in a bag and you probably already can surmise what I found when I opened the package today. At least a third of my order is damaged. The lids are bent. Not surprising considering they shipped them from China in a BAG. Did I say a bag? Yes, a small bag. That’s the last time I’ll say that.

I can’t use bent lids of course so I emailed the company. They immediately emailed back and said to email them photos of the damaged lids, tracking number and SKU on the BAG. Oops I said it again.

I did what they asked and sent them photos. Let’s see what happens right?

This isn’t the first time I have had an experience like this. I have purchased items on Ebay and Etsy and have found out later that the items I purchased were actually coming from China. I have nothing against China but when I buy from a company supposedly saying they are an American based company with an American sounding name (Jane Smith in the case of Etsy) one would expect to receive their package from somewhere in the US. Needless to say I think I got one Ebay seller shut down for selling me a bootleg set of Legos. Pissing off an American momma on Christmas morning is not a good idea!

My advice when buying online is this:

If you can’t find an actual address for the company you are buying from beware. Read ALL of the description of the item you are buying and if it says it will take 7 to 14 days to ship to you it is probably coming from another country AND if there are any typos or the grammar is off anywhere on the website that’s also a red flag.

I think it’s time for a “Call to Action”. There is a shortage of canning supplies this year and if you have canning supplies you would like to pass on because you aren’t using them anymore or if you are a canner in need of supplies let’s connect with each other! Feel free to get in touch with me by clicking on the CONTACT button in the header above. Tell me about your experience this year with supply shortages and what’s going on in your neck of the woods. Hopefully we can help each other!

Don’t worry I’ll keep you updated on my canning lid saga. 🙂 -MM

Victory Garden Update

I can’t believe I have forgotten to post about my garden this year. I am fully embracing the victory garden life this year. Mentally changing my gardening experience to embrace the idea of victory gardening has changed my perspective. Growing food as a hobby is one thing. Growing food to survive and as a necessity is another.

Here are a few snapshots of what my garden has grown into this year.

What I am growing so far includes:

  1. Lettuce
  2. Shallots
  3. Red Onions
  4. Basil
  5. Parsley
  6. Lemon Balm
  7. Sage
  8. Rosemary
  9. Thyme
  10. Chives
  11. Pumpkins
  12. Red Raspberries
  13. Sour Cherries
  14. Peaches
  15. Pears
  16. Apples
  17. Yellow Squash
  18. Zucchini
  19. Eggplant
  20. Green Onions
  21. Peas
  22. Green Beans
  23. Dry Beans
  24. Jalapenos
  25. Sweet Bell Peppers
  26. Lunchbox Sweet Peppers
  27. Roma Tomatoes
  28. Purple Cherokee Tomatoes
  29. Butternut Squash
  30. Lavender
  31. I am foraging black raspberries, wild ramps, wild garlic, and dandelions

I still have time to get some other things in the ground like beets, and carrots. I hope to use some season extenders as well to grow into December.

Another mission I have in regards to my growing food this year is to document how many pounds I harvest. I am trying to prove to the naysayers that say growing your own food is too expensive for what you get out of it and too much hassle when you can just go to the store and buy it. Yeah that’s a bunch of bullshit in my opinion. I intend to prove my point by the end of the season.

Total harvested so far this season since starting to document it May 26th is 417.1 oz. which is 26.06 lbs of food. These foods include: Lettuce, Lemon Balm, Peas, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Black Raspberries and Sour Cherries.

I’ll try to update more regularly! Hope your gardens are all doing well 🙂 -MM

Fraktur Hex SAL #11

Just a very quick update for me this time. I STILL did not get my 3rd corner done. Just haven’t had the time to work on it!

Here is where I left off last time:

And here is where I am now:

Not a lot done but it will have to do.

Please visit the other members of this lovely SAL group by clicking on the links below. Can’t wait to see what everyone is up to!


AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

Home Delivery

Not sure if I have mentioned this before but along with doing cakes again I also offer home delivery of baked goods every Wednesday. This option was a big part of my bakery business almost 10 years ago and as you can imagine very popular with customers.

A few months ago I put out a post on Facebook to see if there was any interest in me starting delivery again. The response was quick and overwhelmingly “Are you kidding me? Yes!”

Herb bouquet for home delivery

So how does home delivery work, you ask? Every Sunday I post a list of what is available for delivery on Wednesday afternoon. I text, instant message, and email people as well as post on Instagram and Facebook. I have about 50 or so people that get that message each week. Average week is 25 or more deliveries but some weeks it’s as many as 32 or 33!

Fresh strawberry rhubarb jam
offered this week

The list of offerings I send out consists always of bread, scones, cookies and then additions of other sweets like pies in-season, cakes, cupcakes etc. I also offer homemade jams and jellies, fresh herbs, fresh produce when I have enough and flower bouquets.

There is no obligation to buy each week, this is not a CSA where you buy a share. People can look at the list and choose what they want and I will deliver it to them. It’s that simple.

Mini peanut butter chocolate cake perfect for four people

Here is an example of one week’s Home Delivery Offerings:

Available for Home Delivery on Wednesday June 3rd:

Breads: White: $2.75 sm $4.50 lg

Breads: Rye, Black, Marble Rye or blueberry/brown sugar: $3 sm and $5 large

Demi Baguette (small loaf) $3 ea.

Scones: Blueberry, Cinnamon Apple, chocolate chip, walnut, sausage, or Plain Cinnamon scones (great for strawberry Shortcake) 6 for $8 or $1.50 ea.

Cookies: Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle or ginger snap $6.00 doz.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pies $4.50 small and $13.00 for large

Fresh spice bouquets -a mix of fresh peppermint, lemon balm and basil. $2.50 ea. Will supply lasts.

I will have 4 bags of mixed green lettuce ready again this week. First come first served. My mom yelled at me for only charging $2.50 last time so I have upped them to $3.50 for a 12 oz bag lol!

Thank you for your continued business!

Please have orders in by Tuesday at 12:00 noon. Thank you so much!

12 oz bag of salad greens washed
and ready to go

I prep everything on Tuesdays and bake fresh on Wednesdays. I do the baking, my son and husband help package and deliver everything. It gets a little harried at times but when everyone’s orders are delivered and we collapse afterwards and have dinner it feels great!

Savory sausage scones ready
to go in the oven

I love my home delivery customers! We have so much fun and everyone feels like family to us.

Demi Baguette

During this Pandemic we have tried to keep our service going including during supply shortages. It’s been a challenge for sure but we stayed positive throughout giving smiles and leaving yummy things on people’s doorsteps. 😊 -MM

Lots of orders ready to be delivered

Doing Cakes Again

I have been baking and decorating cakes professionally for almost 20 years!

The trends have changed over the years and continue to change. Some I have embraced and some I would rather not do lol!

I stopped offering cakes for about a year because honestly I was burned out. I needed to take a step back.

Slowly I have added them back into my schedule and I have really been enjoying them again.

I try to keep my cake ideas page here on WordPress as up to date as I can. It includes many ideas for children’s themes, anniversary, wedding, adult birthdays and of course dessert cakes too.

Please enjoy looking through them by clicking on the link below.

Hopefully you will find some inspiring designs. 😊

https://marymargaretripley.com/cake-ideas/

To-Do Lists

Along with my Blog “The Professional Domestic” I also have Facebook and Instagram pages under the same name.

I picked the name The Professional Domestic because I wanted to share my life as a professional Baker and a “professional domestic” at home.

Believe it or not I would have preferred not to have a career but rather stay home and take care of my family. I find that people tend to view a stay-at home wife and mother to be rather a lazy job choice though. To that I say they have never met me!

I think people must envision stay-at homes as watching soap operas and making dinner and chasing after toddlers all day and that’s about it.

But toddlers grow up and well…there’s just a little more to staying home than that lol!

I posted one of my to-do lists for the day up on my Facebook and Instagram account one time and the response was enormous. People kept asking me questions about the things I do each day and how I got so much done.

Since then I have posted my daily to-do lists and am continually surprised how many people care what the heck I do each day.

I like to write to-do lists not only to help me stay on track but also as a bit of a glimpse of what I do. It’s kind of a journal for me. I suck at journaling but this at least will be a recorded account of what I do and maybe my grandchildren will care. (If I ever get any).

Here is my to-do for today.

If you would like to find me on Instagram you can click on my page which should be in the sidebar here along with my Goodreads. A link to my Facebook is here The Professional Domestic

Enjoy this beautiful day! -MM

Bathroom Painting Update

I have been wanting to paint our bathroom ever since we moved in. The room was lacking a ceiling exhaust fan which wasn’t an issue when this was my grandmother’s home because she didn’t take 20 minute steaming hot showers three times a day. But with the three of us living here it quickly warped the ceiling and caused mold and peeling paint. Yikes!

About two years ago we had the ceiling repaired and an exhaust fan installed which solved our problem with the mold and moisture. But the ceiling was still never primed and painted. So I got my fancy, feel good, painting clothes on one day (See my last blog post about dressing for success) and set to work getting the room painted,

The room had dark wide solid wood paneling. This was real wood and actually beautiful but sorry, just too dark. Here are before photos:

 

After a coat of primer and two coats of white paint here are a few shots of the after:

Now consider this a temporary fix until we can rip the whole bathroom out. Our tub is virtually uncleanble, having to use an industrial cleaner just to get it relatively clean because the glaze on the porcelain is shot. (No I don’t want to reglaze it) And that 1960s tiny tile on the vanity is not a color that goes with anything in my style book and don’t get me started on the floor but those things are tolerable now because WOW does the room look so much cleaner and brighter!

Couple of notes: while painting such a tiny room obviously use the exhaust fan to help with fumes but ALSO open the window because the fan alone did not help. And if you want your husband’s help painting the room just know that in order to get that help expect him to get paint everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. The hubbs had it all over himself, the tile, the floor, the mirror, the back of the door and even somehow on the tension rod for the shower curtain.

I’ll be scraping random spots of paint for months but hey, I appreciated the help and we had fun singing at the tops of our lungs to Funky Cold Medina and Livin’ La Vida Loca.

After a few more decorative touches which I’ll show you later, this project can be crossed off the list.

On to staining the deck! -MM