“Sam” Groff

Curious Woman, Friend, Wife, Mom, Teacher, Course Creator, Entrepreneur, and Believer of the Need to Be Better Prepared!

Samantha GroffAs the world transformed before our very eyes, my history teacher brain went into overdrive during 2020. I was experiencing what felt like every dystopian book I’d ever read had come to life. It was terrifying!

Most people rely on their extended family for support and ideas when it comes to rearing kids, running a household, and genuinely living life. Me, I never really seemed to fit that mold. My relationship with both my parents is, well, odd to put it nicely, so throughout my childhood and adult life I’ve made lasting friendships with some of the most amazing people that were double my age.

Growing up I spent most of my summers going back and forth to the Veterans Association Hospitals and local recreation center with my grandparents. Needless to say, I grew up around “old people” who are now labeled as “the Greatest Generation!” They helped to mold me into the person I am today.

I learned how to cook from scratch almost anything, can my own food, fix and build things, dehydrate foods, sew, make almost anything from nothing, and so much more. My grandparents instilled in me self-sufficiency, sustainability, preparedness, and basic common sense. These skills have made me feel odd and like an outsider in comparison to many of my peers. It is no surprise to me when I befriended Ellie when she was 71 and I was only 35 years old.

We both needed to earn an income and landed different jobs with a local small business. The rest has been a fabulous journey of growth and exploration for the both of us.

Ellie keeps me grounded. She reminds me to BREATHE! With two small kids in the house most parents know that sense of dread and overwhelm that can sometimes consume you. Ellie regularly has helped me to find my sense of center and just BREATHE. It sounds simple, but when you have kids running around your house screaming, well…. If you haven’t been there, you just wouldn’t get it. LOL!

With a wealth of knowledge about what feels like everything, Ellie has taught me a lot about the ins and outs of marketing. She has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, teaching me to make my first website. Don’t worry – it doesn’t exist anymore – it was BAD!

I bet you’ve experienced those moments when you just want someone to tell you if you are bonkers, Ellie is that person for me. In my times of despair, she has never B.S.’d me. She has offered words of wisdom and solid solutions to help me move forward and not stay stuck. I would be a liar if I said I followed through every time, but the advice has always been solid. We differ on opinions and can respectfully discuss our ideas without getting hot under the collar and storming off. She is someone I would call a true friend, because with true friends – you don’t always have to agree!

Throughout Beyond TP and Milk we will share things that have failed EPICLY and some that have been wonderful successes. We will share our opinions and beliefs. And the beauty of the internet and life now, is that you can love it and follow along or you can opt-out at any time. We want to just share a little of our experiences to make yours a little easier!

If you got this far, I’m assuming you are along for the journey, so welcome aboard!

“Ellie” Mencer

Still Searching, Always Learning, Mom – GrandMom, Life Gypsy, trying to be wise…

Ellie MencerFour years ago, sitting at the desk of a new job, I sat across from this outspoken, fast-talking, techie. Yep, that was Sam. I remember at the end of my first week sharing with my sister that this young lady was intimidating.

Now, putting it in perspective, I’m 75 and Sam would be like – a granddaughter! At the same time, I’m fairly savvy about computers and online marketing, etc. I create websites and help small businesses with marketing. I also published a local tourism magazine.

I was certain that Sam and I would never get past our personalities! Oh, yes, famous last words! For today, Samantha Groff is a best friend – trusted, loved, appreciated, fun, creative, and much more. Her family is my family. Who would have guessed this from our first weeks at a job four years ago!

As we’ve grown and changed over the past four years, it’s been an interesting experience. At times, when I feel … well … invisible and unimportant, Sam will come to me with questions and asking for guidance, reminding me that my 75 years are valuable. I’m thankful to her for that.

Having lived 3/4s of a century, I’m constantly amazed at the changes and new experiences available. At the same time, I’m disappointed by how often history really does repeat itself. As a baby boomer, living through the 60s, I had a dream. As a baby boomer in 2020s, I continue to dream but sometimes with a bit less enthusiasm in their possible accomplishment.

I love people and stories, so 2020 lockdowns and stay-ins have been harsh. I very much love being alone but it needs to be fueled by intermittent conversations live and in person. Sigh…

Anyway, I have a number of experiences that include:

  • 20+ years in the corporate world (Data Entry, sales/cost accounting/ etc)
  • House parent for group home of mentally challenged children in Erie, PA
  • Housekeeper/Cook for Fishers Island, NY estate
  • Owned several businesses including VIP (Vinyl Repair for a bus company in Lexington KY, weekly paper in Greene, NY, city tourism magazine in Havre de Grace, MD
  • Many temp jobs from data entry to work in a plastics factory (injection mold) and a can factory (creating decorative tins)

I moved from the city (Erie, PA) to a 100-acre farm 30 miles away in Ripley, NY my junior year in High School. There I learned about trimming grapes, picking apples, peaches and grapes, having chickens, horses and a garden.

I’ve been married several times, obviously now divorced. The one thing I’ve learned is that I love marriage and ‘just haven’t learned to do it right yet.’

I love to write, read, enjoy meaningful conversations, drink wine, and laugh. I very much love helping others move toward their dreams by acting on their goals. I love being creative and coming up with new ideas to reach a goal.

Most importantly, I’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks over these 75 years to make life simpler. That’s what preceded the decision for Sam and I to create the website. Different generations, different perspectives, but the simple aim to share our ideas in the hopes that one or two will help you create the lifestyle you desire.

Join us on our journey.

Our Philosophy

Let’s face it – 2020 had us all reeling in chaos, confusion, and the challenge of constant change!

  • Snowstorms? Grab the TP & Milk
  • Hurricanes? Grab the TP & Milk
  • Covid-19? Yep, Grab the TP & Milk

Seriously? What lies behind our knee jerk reaction to grabbing the TP & Milk? Have we learned anything?


… the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed

… to supply with food, drink, and other necessities of life

… to undergo, experience, or suffer; endure without giving way or yielding

… to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way, as under trial or afflication

… to keep up or keep going, as an action or process


A word that is encumbered with political views and debates, labels not always flattering, and considered by some as anti-jobs is really about Life! Covid-19 brought the idea of SUSTAINABILITY to the forefront like a deer caught in headlights.

As our families struggled with concerns about school, jobs, usinesses, and the future of our familiar lifestyles – all amid the challenge of understanding the virus, national and local politics, figuring out how to have a national election amidst the lockdowns from the virus, and trying to determine exactly what the ‘new normal’ was going to mean, SUSTAINABILITY kept popping up like billboards along the highway (or those annoying pop-ups on your favorite websites)!

We realized that SUSTAINABILITY meant personally thinking beyond TP and Milk to figuring out how to sustain our families through today’s challenges and beyond.

SUSTAINABILITY has come home to roost! (Haha – yes, Sam’s family does  have a few chickens!) But seriously, SUSTAINABILITY is no longer some pie-in-the-sky – let’s-sign-a-petition, but now demands each of us to consider personally how we can prepare our families and communities to cope with whatever our future holds.

Connect with us on Social Media

Samantha Groff


We hope you’ll join us on our path to simply being prepared for the benefit of each of us, our families, and yes, even our friends. Small actions that will add up over time, giving you a feeling of control in the chaos. Or just to enjoy a simpler, beautiful world.  
Sam & Ellie

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