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

SAL-Project Joyce’s Rose #10

I got quite a bit stitched since last update.

Here is where I left off last time

And here is where I am now.

I have just a few stitches left on the last leaf to do and there is one more rose bud above it to stitch and the whole bottom will be complete!

This SAL (stitch-a-long) is managed by Avis and we greatly appreciate her keeping all of us on track. Now go and visit the other stitchers in this group to see the delightful projects they are working on.

See you in 3 weeks! -MM


What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 11 of 52

Week 11 was all over the place in the meal department. Sunday we had a chuck roast with squash and veggies, Monday was my birthday! I didn’t want anything for my birthday but my husband did convince me to at least go out for dinner so we did do that Monday after work. Tuesday was again birthday themed with a dinner at my mom’s. I share my birthday with my niece so mom made soup, salad, fruit and cookies for the three of us to mark the occasion. It was fun with just us girls! Wednesday we had roast leftovers. Thursday we got a pizza because I was knee deep in orders for home delivery, Friday we ate the ever classic corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy’s Day, which I cooked in the crock pot and Saturday we had a 60th birthday party for a friend and ate there. Looking back on all of this now I can see why my stomach was acting up yesterday! Don’t worry I’ll get back to cooking normally this week.

Groceries were again minimal this past week with $65.09 spent.

Most of our groceries this week were centered around St. Patrick’s Day with a corned beef roast, carrots, and cabbage. I didn’t find any earth-shattering deals, just picked up a few things we needed.

Total spent week 11: $65.09

Total for March: $139.39
Grand total for the year $1062.59

Did you find any great deals this week on groceries?

See you next week! -MM

Ripley Victory Garden 2023-Week 1

As I have gotten older I have found that planning my garden and trying to figure out which varieties to grow is almost as exhausting as doing the actually planting and maintaining.

There are just so many choices now, which is fantastic, but it can be very overwhelming. Also gone are the days of seeds being inexpensive. They are still worth the money, but at $4 to $5 a packet or more it definitely is an upfront investment.

I ordered from Johnny’s, Harris, and Jung Seeds. I had a $50 gift card to use with Harris Seed. My grand total for seeds and a 5 pk of 50 cell trays and sales tax/shipping was $188.69. A promo code actually worked for Jung and Johnny’s so I did save $12.22. Always try using promo codes when you order something. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t but at least give them a try.

Below are all the seeds I ordered.

I still have seeds leftover for cauliflower, beans, basil, pie pumpkins, buttercup squash, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, zinnia and sunflower.

I will be purchasing from the nursery: celery, onions, shallots, potatoes and in the fall about 6 bulbs of garlic.

Perennial veggie/fruit plants I already have established are sweet cherry, sour cherry, peach, apricot, apple, pear, raspberry, blueberry, rhubarb, strawberry and asparagus. Also add all my herbs.

I think this is good enough for now. I’ll write more next week!

Are you overwhelmed when you buy your seeds too? Let me know what you are growing this year too 🙂 -MM

What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 10 of 52

Happy week 10! We ate a lot of turkey sandwiches this week for lunch after last week’s 23 lb turkey!

Groceries were very minimal and I only spent $72.30. I was only going to pick up a 1 lb package of ground beef to make meatballs but Caledonia was offering 80/20 big packs for $3.99/lb instead of $6.09/lb for the 90/10 1 lb. that was a no brainer for me. I divided the package when I got home and made more meatballs and froze 3 packs for later use.

It was an extremely busy week. I had 4 bakery orders going out between Friday and Saturday and I was swamped trying to get other things done but I did manage to get a few good meals made.

Sunday we had spaghetti and meatballs
Monday we had leftovers
Tuesday we had chicken stir-fry
Wednesday we had big salads with leftover turkey
Thursday we ate out
Friday the hubs and I split a fish fry
Saturday we went to a party

For some reason I took no photos of the meals we ate this week. I’ll do better with that!

I get asked a lot of questions about my grocery posts and one is what about eating out. Eating out is not included in our grocery budget. Meals out come out of the entertainment budget and I specifically asked our kids to just give us gift cards to restaurants for Christmas because it’s hard to buy for us sometimes, and they obliged :). Being able to use a gift card is awesome because I don’t want to cook on Friday nights after work.

I also get asked how we spend so little on groceries especially now with grocery prices being so high.

1. I shop specials and I order from the store ahead of time if there is a particularly good deal coming up. I get info for the 1 day sales at Caledonia before everyone else because I have to post those sales on Facebook for them. If you see a sale item that you know you are going to use a lot of or can store it long term don’t be afraid to stock up or call a store and talk to the managers. They would be more than happy sell you a large qty.

2. I use what I have instead of running out to get things for a recipe. If you have run out of an item for a recipe try using a substitution instead of running to the store. I didn’t have macaroni one day when I went to make goulash but I had a brand new box of rotini pasta. That same recipe I used two green onions in the dish that I had in the garden instead of buying onions. Shopping from your pantry stock really helps keep grocery trips down.

3. I try not to waste food. We all do it, I am no different, but I have really been cracking down on our food waste. I have stopped throwing out stuff from the freezer now that I have dedicated myself to using my Food Saver vacuum sealer. It’s a game changer.

4. I grow as much of our veggies, fruits and herbs as possible. I haven’t bought sage, basil, parsley, jams/jellies, or onions, etc. in a very long time. I finally broke down and bought a bag of onions last week because our onion crop sucked this last year but I am proud to say our potato crop lasted us 5 months!

5. I make pretty much everything we eat from scratch. Sometimes I cheat, like having Eggo waffles or fish stix in a pinch, but even the teriyaki sauce we had on our stir-fry I made from scratch.

6. The hubs and I share a lot of meals. Literally! We will buy a large sub and halve it. Friday nights we have been sharing a fish fry. You may think that guys need a lot of food to feel full but they really don’t. Guys tend to over eat in my observations! Plus sharing a meal is almost intimate in nature. I watched a couple I know share a meal out at a meeting and it was so sweet to watch one take a fork full then let the other one take a fork full. Quality time and save money…that’s a win!

7. I don’t include things we don’t eat in our grocery budget. You can’t eat toilet paper!

Total spent week 10: $72.30

Total for March: $72.30
Grand total for the year $923.20

Do you share meals with your spouse?

See you next week! -MM

What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 9 of 52

Week 9 groceries were pretty significant for us. I always say buy only what’s on your list when you shop, but last week I made an unexpected purchase. A 23 lb Butterball turkey jumped right into my cart! Yes it was the last frozen turkey from the Thanksgiving season and it was only 99 cents/lb. You bet I grabbed it. Other significant purchases last week were a London broil for $10.68, 6pk pork chops for $6.39 (great price and I froze 3) and of course creamer for $8.99 (I need to work on getting a better price). I also had 2 doz eggs delivered from our farmer friend who came at the right time to push my sons car out which was stuck in the driveway. What service!

Total spent on groceries: $133.13

Although I was super excited about the turkey I picked up, I did have an epic fail last Wednesday night which REALLY upset me. I have been reading Mavis Butterfield’s blog for a very long time and in her latest posts she is trying to use up what’s in her canning cabinet before summer starts. To use up her home canned goods faster, she has been setting out a few jars each week with the intention of using the contents in a recipe. I thought that was a fantastic idea but instead of just my home canned goods I would also use something that had been in my pantry for a bit.

I decided to make Mavis’s recipe for Saturday night beans and the reason I was so excited was that I had two packs of pulled pork already frozen in my freezer and I had a bag of dry navy beans in my pantry I needed to use. I talked about these beans all day at work. I spent my lunch preparing them and putting them in the oven and I skipped down the back steps at the end of the day and couldn’t wait to get home to check on their progress. When I got home I checked and they weren’t done yet so waited another hour and checked again. And checked again, and checked again. The beans just never softened up even though I had done everything I was supposed to (soaking overnight etc.) Finally at 8:00 pm I just ordered a pizza. I was crushed. Seriously. My son thought I was being ridiculous. It wasn’t such a big deal, Why was I so upset? I wasted 6 hours of energy cooking in my oven and wasted all of those ingredients and I had nothing to show for it. I threw the whole thing in the trash.

After sulking for a while I got online and realized my dry navy beans were too old. Yes, dry beans that are too old will not re-constitute. Who knew? I didn’t know that. I didn’t think they were that old actually. The article said best to use old beans as a pie weight. Great. sigh….

Lesson learned. I won’t make that mistake again, but I will try Mavis’s recipe again with fresh ingredients. I’m sure those beans are fabulous!

We did however, eat that big boy turkey on Saturday with four other friends and we had a fabulous time together. I think we all need to go back to eating with friends and sharing meals with each other. Can you imagine what it would have cost to feeds seven people out at a restaurant? No thanks lol!

Here are some of the meals we ate in week 9:

Total spent week 9: $133.13

Total for February $133.13
Grand total for the year $850.90

Have you ever had an epic fail in the cooking dept?

See you next week! -MM

SAL-Project Joyce’s Rose

Unfortunately I didn’t get one stitch done in the last 3 week on Joyce’s Rose.

Vacation in FL and work and life distracted me so there you have it.

I will be going now to check the progress of my other stitchy friends in this group who no doubt got more stitched than I did. Please click on their links below and see what they have accomplished.

See you in 3 weeks! -MM


What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 6-8 of 52

In week 6 I tried not to buy much of anything in the category of groceries. I used what we had in the pantry and freezers and came up with some pretty great meals for us. Total spent in week 6- $34.39

I had a lot of ground beef in the freezer so tacos and chili were made, one night we went to a friends for dinner, one night was just fish sticks, rice and broccoli and two nights were leftovers. Super bowl Sunday I made pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw We went to mom’s on Tuesday night and she made mac and cheese and fruit and salad so we wouldn’t have to cook before we left on vacation. She’s the best!

Week 7 & 8 we were on vacation! Alright not that entire time. We left Wednesday the 15th and got back Wednesday the 22nd. Yes the hubs and I drove from NY to FL and back in eight days. We traveled through eleven states! For three meals on the road we used the gift cards we received from our kids for Christmas. We were pretty sick of restaurant food by the time we got back for sure.

As far as groceries during that time, my son, who was still at home, shopped and cooked for himself. I reimbursed him for the money he spent. In week 7 he spent $69.56 and before we left I spent $55.78 getting odds and ends he might need. The meals he made for himself were spaghetti and meatballs, (he made the meatballs from scratch), beef and broccoli and rice, (he made the teriyaki sauce from scratch), steak and glazed carrots, and tacos for taco Tuesday. Pretty impressive if you ask me! He had some trouble making the meatballs and teriyaki sauce but he said they tasted good so that’s something we can work on together soon.

We got home Wednesday night to a lovely snow and ice storm, I was too tired to cook so I just made myself a bowl of spaghetti. On Thursday I made a full on dinner of pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon with roasted mushrooms and sweet peppers and corn from the freezer. Friday we split a fish fry for Lent and yesterday I baked two large split chicken breasts and had butternut squash and stuffing mix to round it out. The only things I picked up at the grocery store for week 8 were stuffing mix, milk, Lactaid and English muffins for a total of $17.78.

Total spent week 6 – $34.39

Total spent week 7 – $125.34

Total spent week 8 – $17.78

Total for February $314.31
Grand total for the year $717.77

Tell me what YOU ate this last week and hey egg prices are finally falling in our area!

See you next week! -MM

SAL-Project Joyce’s Rose #9

After finally feeling better, I got a lot more stitched on the last leaf on the bottom half of this project

Here is where I left off last time I posted:

And here is where I am now:

This stitch-a-long is made up of many talented stitchers from all over the globe and we are all working on different projects. I have linked the other members of the Stitch-A-Long below. Please pop on over to see what all of the other stitchers are working on. Thank you Avis for organizing this SAL!

Next update is Sunday, March 5th. See you then! -MM


What We Ate and How Much We Spent on Groceries – Week 5 of 52

I bought a lot of groceries in week five but also got some really great deals!

The store had a sale on split chicken breasts and fresh chicken wings for $1.49/lb! Have you seen the price of chicken wings lately in a restaurant?? Each package of wings had 8 full wings in it so that’s 16 flats/drums and I got two packs for around $3 each! I also picked up two packs of the split breasts and each contained four breasts. Egg prices are steadily falling, thank goodness. I picked up an 18 pack for $5.99 and this week I see another store has a dozen eggs for $2.89 and butter 2 for $6 so I will be stocking up, especially with Lent baking season starting in a couple of weeks.

Total spent in week 5- $136.80

The beginning of the week was good in the meal department. We had of course chicken wings on Sunday while we watched the Chiefs game for which I thought my husband was going to have a stroke watching. (He’s a diehard Chiefs fan). Monday we had just two of those huge split chicken breasts stuffed and with veggies on the side for the three of us. That’s how big they were! Then pepper steak with mash potatoes on Tuesday. Wednesday was cereal/leftover night because I didn’t feel like cooking. But Thursday, Friday and Saturday we had take out because we were working so hard all of those nights down at church getting ready for the thrift sale we had there on Saturday. It’s amazing how fast our bodies react to bad food because by Saturday my stomach was not happy! Don’t worry I got back on track for Sunday.

These chicken breasts were just opened up with a cut along the bone and stuffed with stuffing mix. I seasoned up the veggies, added a bouillon cube and a small amount of water and baked covered for 1-1/2 hours in a 350 degree oven.
This doesn’t look the greatest but it really is yummy. I used a cheap cut of steak and cook in a crock pot or Dutch oven with sweet bell peppers, garlic, a little olive oil, water and a again a bouillon cube till tender.

Total spent this week $136.80

Total for February $136.80
Grand total for the year $403.46

Tell me what YOU ate this last week? Are prices starting to fall where you live?

See you next week! -MM

One Hundred Dollars a Month

How I feed my family with $100 a month - gardening, frugal living, recipes - with fun along the way!

Gardening Nirvana

Sharing my journey in and out of the garden

The Snail of Happiness

small steps to a kinder world

Cocktails In The Library

Talking about great books while enjoying tasty libations!

Autumn Leaves & A Spring Breeze

Leading a happy and sustainable lifestyle

Midwest mattie

just living my best life in the midwest.

Sewing Beside the Sea

All things made with my needle and thread


Making and creating

Sewing Etc.

Sharing my adventures in sewing and needlearts

Debt Free Hopeful

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou


Outrageous mama saying Fuck It

The Journey to a Debt-Free Life

Reshaping your Financial Future

Cottage Garden Trio

The daily life and times of a thirty something couple and their toddler

McMuffins Gaming

From the Mind of a Gamer

Claire93's Blog

my little corner in blogland

Ever The Crafter

She, ever the crafter, kept on crafting

Emma's Craft Projects

Everyday craft inspirations

Bake. Make. Take (a trip!)

Celebrating the "funner" things in life...

Peas Romaine Calm

A simple, easy & cost effective approach to cooking!

%d bloggers like this: