SAL-Fraktur Hex #13

This has been such a busy month that I have had no time to stitch so I woke up th his morning and stitched a bit before posting today just to say I got something accomplished lol!

Here is where I left off last time:

And here is what I did this morning. Lots more leaves to go!

I hope all my fellow stitchers have been more productive than I! Please visit their blogs to see what they have accomplished the last three weeks. See you in 3 😊-MM

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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

Not Impressed With Our Debt – Update

The last time I did an update on our debt was in my March 27th post. In that post I updated that I had gotten my medical bill paid in full and paid our Town/County taxes. The goal for April was to pay off the Bank of America credit card but I was a little leery because of the pandemic and whether I should just make minimum payments to keep a flow of cash if needed.

That was a short lived thought for me! I paid off the Bank of America card two weeks later which was about $1300. Not only did I pay off the BOA card but I was also able to pay the NYS and Federal taxes we owed from our 2019 tax return. Don’t worry I definitely stimulated the economy with our stimulus check but I also took it as an opportunity to pay off some debt!

Now the next goal will be to pay off Scott’s Honda which sits at about $1600. My goal is to get it done in July because we have five paychecks that month.

I have been working to pay down our debt for almost two years now. I am not completely happy with where we are after two years but I will talk about that in my July update. For now I plan on working hard and getting that car debt paid in July.

How are you doing on your debt? -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!


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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

How to Get Out of Your Creative Block or Any Mental Block at All

There is a lot to block us from feeling normal right now which the experts say is understandable.

But we can’t feel this way forever right? It damages our emotional state to constantly feel unmotivated and unproductive. It does me at least.

Even before this world Pandemic I practiced something that whenever I felt a creative block coming on or I felt unmotivated to get moving I would do this one simple thing.

I changed my clothes. Wait a minute…that’s it? Just change your clothes?

Yes, change what you are wearing. I always feel better and more motivated (and creative) when I change into something cool. I put on my coolest jeans, a ruffly, colorful top, a vintage necklace and even put on my best sneakers, and I swipe on some lipstick. I don’t care if the only person that sees me is me. If I look better, I feel better. Then I go take some photos of dishes and of course I look awesome doing it.

Changing into something that isn’t sweats or pajamas is what makes you feel better. It sets you up to succeed. You might feel comfy in your PJ’s but let me tell you in the long run it hurts you. It keeps you unmotivated, trust me.

I want to paint my bathroom and I have been putting it off all day. I am going to put on my cool ripped jeans, a cool graphic t-shirt, a pair of my awesome vintage earrings and put some Metallica on my ipod and started painting.

Try it. Change your clothes 😉. – MM

Meal Prep Week 1 of 4

With the shut down of NY from COVID-19 I have been laid off from my job at the law office.

But if you know me at all a little thing like being laid off is not going to slow me down from earning the money we need to survive AND still getting our debt paid down.

Before this shutdown, on top of working two days at the law office, I had also started working the closing shift at the grocery store two nights a week and I had resurrected my bakery home delivery service again. And of course I was still rocking the Etsy sales selling my vintage dishware, dress patterns, linens, flatware and other odd trinkets like cat calendars from the 1970’s and 1980s.

When all of this hit I had to stop the two days at the office and now have shifted to working two nights and two days at the store plus home delivery and Etsy.

My 18 year old son also works at the store as a cashier and with his senior year of high school pretty much over with the pandemic he is working more hours than ever before.

My husband is also working his normal hours because his company sells medical oxygen and welding supplies and gases.

I know we are very fortunate to be working but it does put us in harms way. It’s a classic Catch-22 with no good answer.

Now that I have all of that background out of the way I have to admit I have been struggling with getting food ready for all of us. I am so tired after doing home deliveries on Wednesdays and working opposite shifts from my guys that I just don’t want to cook and I am REALLY tired of pizza.

I came up with an idea to have certain grab and go items ready for all of us without having to stand there and cook every night.

It’s not a new concept by any means but it made me feel better just thinking about it.

I made a list up of food ideas and here it is:

Homemade Salsa

Apples with carmel dip – Yum right!?

Homemade Mac and Cheese – Great for a leftover too

Pepperoni and moz cheese, sauce and bagels – Make mini pizzas when you don’t have time to cook a big meal

Cut up fruit – easy to snack on

Taco Meat for Nachos – I also keep a can of black beans on hand for the protein if I don’t have taco meat available.

Deviled and Boiled Eggs – The boiled eggs can go on salads!

Grilled Veggies – warm up with grilled chicken and add to a flour tortilla for a great quick dinner!

Salad Fixings – Always good to have on hand

Cabbage for slaw – making slaw is easy and can be used for over a week in the fridge

Grilled Chicken Breast – so many uses. Salads anyone?

Veggies and Dip – perfect snack! And if I don’t use them all by the end of a week I’ll toss them into a stir-fry or steam them for a side. It’s handy to have them washed, cut up and ready to go.

Pckles/Olives – We love munching on these

I spent about a day working with all of these ideas. Made my list and shopped, chopped, minced and prepared everything. I even cleaned out my fridge. I mean REALLY cleaned it. Took all the shelves out and everything!

Let me tell you…what a huge help this all was for me. The homemade salsa alone saved my butt more than once. You see the salsa has many of the starting ingredients that I would use in other dishes. The onions, peppers, tomatoes and garlic all ready to go meant I could just use it on the fly for pot roasts and even as a base for spaghetti sauce.

I also organized my spice and ingredient cabinet which was a big mess. It is much easier to find things now!

These are all suggestions and I hope it helps give you some inspiration. I’ll get some more ideas together and get back to you with more next week.

Stay safe everyone! – MM