Monday, December 15, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

We are heading to my parents house on the 23rd, so I'm going to do a "use it up" menu plan through the end of the year. Here's what we'll be having:


  • Monday - 12/15. I have a work dinner, so M will feed the kids. Likely pizza. ;-) 
  • Tuesday - 12/16. Burgers & pasta
  • Wednesday - 12/17. Tilapia & rice.
  • Thursday - 12/18. Tacos
  • Friday - 12/19. chicken risotto (chicken/pasta for kids)
  • Saturday - 12/20. 
  • Sunday - 12/21. Homemade pizza.
  • Monday - 12/22. Leftovers
  • Tuesday - 12/23. Eating out with the family in Portland.
  • Wednesday - 12/24. Christmas Eve. Not sure what's on the menu. I contribute money, & my mom/sister plan it all. ;-)
  • Thursday - 12/25. A big ham dinner with the family. I contribute money, as we fly.
  • Friday - 12/26. At the beach house. We'll probably throw together some things from the freezer (meatballs, pasta, etc).
  • Saturday - 12/27. The family is reconvening back at the beach for a last hurrah before we head out. Pizza + salad & lots of festive drinks. :-)
  • Sunday - 12/28. I'm flying home & will find something in the freezer. Michael + the boys will have chicken & pasta.
  • Monday - 12/29. Hot dogs & burgers for the kids - I'll eat at work.
  • Tuesday - 12/30. Leftovers for the kids/M - I'll eat at work.
  • Wednesday - 12/31. New Year's Eve! We'll do festive appetizers, plus homemade pizza.
And, that should take us through the next couple of weeks. Lots of fun to be had between now & the end of the year! How about you? What's on your menu these next few weeks, as we close out the year? 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Planning for 2015

Wow - another year, almost gone! I love reflecting back on what I accomplished over the year & planning for the year ahead. Sadly, this year I really didn't accomplish as much as I'd hoped personally. I'll save the details for my full goal review, but work definitely got in the way of much of what I'd hoped to accomplish. Leading me to my planning for 2015! :-)

I'm thinking of a few themes for my 2015 goals:

  1. Financial
  2. Family
  3. Fitness/health
  4. Work/career
  5. Giving back
  6. House
  7. Personal/creative
What about you? How are you planning for 2015? I also am excited to do our financial review, & determine how we're spending our money (in aggregate), and how we want to adjust our spending/savings in 2015.

In other news, this happened to our house in Seattle. It's certainly related to the state work near our house (they removed an enormous of dirt on our property, tore down a fence, etc). We've asked them to remove the tree, fix the fence, replace the landscaping that they've destroyed. . . so far, they do not think this is their responsibility. Ahhhhh, the government! Fun times ahead, for sure.


Hope you are all having a fantastic Sunday!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Preparing for the holidays, work bonus, & the rain

As usual, life is crazy. We got back from our amazing vacation, and we're now back to the grind. :-)

I'm spending time thinking about our goals for 2015, wrapping up our 2014 budget & goals, and working insane hours. Q4 is our busiest time of year, by far.

In super great news, I received my annual bonus & salary increase. I'm getting a roughly 12% salary increase (much more than expected) & a $48,000 bonus (also more than I expected). Wow. Almost makes all of those crazy hours worth it. ;-)

I'll receive the bonus in January, and my salary will also take effect at that time. I'm undecided on where to put the salary increase, but will probably direct it to the kids college savings. On the bonus, the plan is as follows:

  • $24,000 - estimated tax & deductions. I aim high, but with all of the taxes, 50% is pretty close to what I see
  • $15,000 - travel fund for 2015. This will include a few family visits to see my parents, flights back and forth to our vacation house, Christmas 2015 travels, and our 10 year anniversary in the fall! :-) 
  • $9,000 - save for the emergency fund. I'd love the deductions to be less, so I can shove an even $10K in, but we'll see!

We have a bunch of holiday things happening this weekend, so here's our list of activities & things to get done:

  1. Birthday party
  2. Tea party
  3. Holiday party (all parties are on Saturday! Phew!)
  4. Send out Christmas cards
  5. Put up last decorations (our tree is up, but we have a candle set & some other stuff that I need to put out.)
  6. Exercise! It's been crazy rainy & stormy here, so I haven't been exercising as much as usual.
  7. Cooking
  8. Laundry
  9. Packing for the holidays
  10. Final wrapping & prep
  11. Perhaps holiday baking, if I finish the first 10 items on the list.
That's it! What about you? Any festive plans this weekend? 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hawaii is my favorite place

We are having an AMAZING time in Hawaii. We leave on Friday, so we're soaking up all of the fun.

This is what a Maui vacation looks like for us:

  • We've spent a minimum of 6+ hours a day at the pool (the boys are pool obsessed), minus our two excursion days
  • A trip to Haleakala to see the crater/volcano
  • A snorkel cruise (Sam got super seasick, so that wasn't as fun as we'd hoped)
  • Snorkeled off of the beach
  • A trip for epic shave ice
  • Played hotel bingo
  • More rainbows than you can imagine
  • Yoga by the beach (me :-))
  • Total relaxing family time. 

I feel SO relaxed. My favorite part? All of that time without a schedule, without work or any work requirements. I do have a phone interview tomorrow, but I haven't done any work at all. It's been glorious! :-)

Here are a few photos of the fun:


This vacation has been far from inexpensive, but we've done what we could to keep the expenses in check. We've made all of our own meals, with a couple of exceptions - a breakfast buffet (free for everyone in our group except one), the epic shave ice, and a basket of fries by the pool. We'll also do Thanksgiving dinner out (I'm not cooking! :-)). We stocked up on groceries at Costco on our first day, and have been trying to keep the poolside drinks to a minimum.

I'm going to soak up all of the fun! I hope you are all having a great week!

What's your favorite vacation destination?



Sunday, November 16, 2014

A lazy Sunday

Well, not really, but it's 8:30 and I haven't gotten much done yet. So, pretty lazy in my book. It's been glorious so far. :-)

M & I went to Napa for a couple of nights last weekend, & it was fabulous. It was so much fun to chat without worrying about the kids overhearing, reconnecting over a glass of wine, & just remembering why we're married. The lack of responsibility also helped! My parents were with the boys & had a great time as well. It was a very successful weekend all around.

A few shots from our favorite vineyards. It was also 80+ all weekend, and absolutely perfect weather for lazing around.





Nick has his last soccer game today, and a pizza party following. Should be fun. Other than that, I need to work out, and get ready for our trip to Hawaii on Wednesday! I'm *very* excited for some extended time off of work - I need the break mentally very much.

That's it for us! Hope you are having a great & lazy Sunday today.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

October goals recap (hint: not very successful)

October was a very challenging month for me. As my workload increases in Q4, my stress level goes up, my personal time basically disappears, I stop working out & I start eating like crap. All in all, it's not healthy.

So, enough with the excuses. Here's how I did!

  1. Fitness-related:
    1. Lose 2 pounds - bringing my weight to 143. We're going to Hawaii in November, & I want to be feeling great! - Nope. I stayed exactly the same. Yellow (instead of red), as I didn't gain. ;-) 
    2. Track my calories every day in MyFitnessPal - Yes! 
    3. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio - No, definitely not. It was a very light workout month. I completed 695 minutes. 
    4. Complete 8 strength workouts - I completed 5 strength workouts. The most since July, but still not at my goal. 
    5. Complete 6 stretch workouts. This is critical. I'm really sore after spending all day at the office. - No, and this is critical. My lack of flexibility makes everything harder, & I'm not prioritizing this, and NEED TO! One piddly stretching workout.
    6. Find & register for a 10K. Start training. - No. 
  2. Finance-related:
    1. Finish reworking our budget to take into account yearly categories (vs solely focusing on monthly numbers) - No, I'm about 80% of the way there, but have yet to finish.
    2. Stick to our budget! - Definitely not. We overspent on a few categories, & came in $1K over our budget.
    3. File all paperwork. - Nope! They are now in the filing cabinet, but unfiled. ;-) So, closer to their ultimate destination, but not organized.
  3. Personal
    1. Plan a getaway with M for the next few months. We need time alone together! - YES! We're going to Napa this weekend. Cannot wait!
    2. Plan one social event with friends. - Yes! I did a hike with another mom a last weekend - a workout & social time! :-) 
    3. At least one date night with M. - Yes! We went to dinner & had a fantastic evening. 
    4. Continue to rework my work schedule to better accommodate evening meetings (consolidate them all into one evening to minimize disruption to my life). - This is very much a work in progress. Some weeks are better than others. 
    5. Bake something fun with pumpkins! Even though it doesn't feel like fall here, I still want to bake something "fall-ish". - Yes! I made pumpkin muffins. 
    6. Read 5 books. - Definitely! I've been reading a lot, especially now that the kids are avid readers. We like snuggling up together to read. 
    7. Get my hair cut! It's been a full year, if you can believe it, since I got the awful mullet. My hair is now grown out, and needs to be trimmed. - Yes! It's pretty cute. Nothing too wild.
    8. Every Sunday, review week ahead and do the following (this is critical to "during the work week" sanity!) - Yes! I've been doing this, & it's been tremendously helpful. :-) 
      1. Menu plan
      2. Organize pickup/drop off schedule
      3. Coordinate after hours meeting
      4. Consolidate meetings, etc. 
      5. Organize any carpools
Okay, that's it for me. How did your October go? Any big wins, or goals you're still trying to wrap up? 

Monday, November 3, 2014

November Goals!

I'm very excited about this month. We're going on *two* vacations! M & I are doing an adult weekend/wedding celebration in Napa while my parents spend time with the boys, and we're also doing a family vacation in Hawaii over Thanksgiving. I really, really need the time off. I do not plan to work at all in Hawaii! :-)

  1. Fitness-related:
    1. Lose 2 pounds - bringing my weight to 143. I stayed exactly the same in October. My calories were decent, but I really didn't get enough exercise. I think I can do this, even with the traveling. I tend to exercise more on vacation (more free time!)
    2. Track my calories every day in MyFitnessPal
    3. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio
    4. Complete 8 strength workouts
    5. Complete 6 stretch workouts. This is critical. I'm really sore after spending all day at the office
    6. Find a family race (likely a Turkey Trot). The boys loved their 5K in September. 
  2. Finance-related:
    1. Finish reworking our budget to take into account yearly categories (vs solely focusing on monthly numbers)
    2. Stick to our budget!
    3. File all paperwork.
    4. Plan menus & shopping lists for Hawaii.
    5. Talk to accountant about how to handle our stock vesting.
    6. Finish all Christmas shopping!
  3. Personal
    1. Plan one social event with friends.
    2. At least one date night with M.
    3. Continue to rework my work schedule to better accommodate evening meetings (consolidate them all into one evening to minimize disruption to my life).
    4. Read 8 books (should be easy, with the vacation!)
    5. Every Sunday, review week ahead and do the following (this is critical to "during the work week" sanity!)
      1. Menu plan
      2. Organize pickup/drop off schedule
      3. Coordinate after hours meeting
      4. Consolidate meetings, etc. 
      5. Organize any carpools
That should do it! What do you have planned for November goals?