Monday, September 1, 2014

Menu plan Monday

We're making a concerted effort towards expanding our youngest son's eating choices. He likes a variety of food (he'll eat almost any fruit or vegetable), but he still doesn't like food mixed together (think of a casserole - pasta, meat, sauce, cheese). That's a no go for him, which makes menu planning very difficult. As a result, our meals have gotten pretty drab. We used to spend time making separate meals, and requiring everyone to have bites of the more "adult" meal, but I gave that up after I started my new job. Although I won't make separate meals, I will save him plain pasta on the side, but require him to try new things again.

I've slacked off on my parenting responsibilities, and need to get back to it! :-)

Everyone got to choose an item for the menu this week. Here goes!

Monday - M is making kebabs & Persian rice, as we all have the day off.
Tuesday - Tacos (one of the only meals that "everyone" eats!). I'll prep the meat on Monday
Wednesday - Leftover kebabs & rice
Thursday - Leftover tacos
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - M will barbecue burgers + corn
Sunday - TBD

How about you? Do you have picky kids at home? What's your plan for getting them to eat? If Nick tries things he really doesn't want, he'll make it a huge deal, and then vomit at the table. It's very . . . unpleasant. Fingers crossed that we have enough patience to work with him as he outgrows his fear of branching out.

August goals - how did I do?

The month is over, and it was a mixed bag, in terms of progress against goals. I had my highest cardio & mileage month of the year (in fact, in a couple of years). I finished 103 miles (walking & running) in August. Woohoo!

  1. Fitness-related:
    1. Lose 1 pound - nope. I've gained a pound. :-( 
    2. Track my calories every day in MyFitnessPal - Yes!
    3. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio - Oh yes! I had 1,340. Lots of training for my relay.
    4. Complete 8 strength workouts - No. :-( Only 2 strength workouts, and I can tell! I've lost muscle tone.
    5. Complete 6 stretch workouts - 2 stretch workouts. I need to make this a focus, because my back is in misery with my lack of yoga. 
    6. Run/finish my relay event - Yes, and it was awesome!!
  2. Finance-related:
    1. Finish reworking our budget to take into account yearly categories (vs solely focusing on monthly numbers) - I'm 90% of the way there, but have changed my approach a few times. Want to keep iterating on this in September. 
    2. Stick to our budget! - I booked our holiday trip + paid for the boys soccer. See above, I wasn't doing a very good job of tracking yearly expenses for our monthly budget, which I need to change.
    3. Stick to vacation budget on family trip to the Oregon coast. - Yes!
    4. Sell 2 bikes on Craigslist, and put the money in the boys activity fund (help offset their expensive soccer club). - Sold the last one yesterday, so snuck in just under the wire. ;-) 
    5. File all paperwork. - Ack. No.
    6. Rework childcare budget for 2015, with nanny & summer camps finalized. - I started this, but it's not done. 
    7. Finalize Hawaii trip details. - Mostly done. 
    8. Start looking at plans for the holidays (flights, time off, etc) - Done. 
  3. Personal
    1. Get all back to school details sorted out, including nanny schedule + soccer schedule. - Done
    2. Get sorted business trip sorted out, including passport & early entry program. - Done
    3. Plan one social event with friends. - Done - August was a very social month.
    4. At least one date night with M. - Done! Had a great dinner out this weekend.
    5. Continue to rework my work schedule to better accommodate evening meetings (consolidate them all into one evening to minimize disruption to my life). - Well, I've made progress, but new meetings crop up all of the time, so it's a work in progress. 
    6. Use or freeze all fresh produce from the garden. - I did well until we started traveling. I have a boatload of tomatoes in the fridge, and had to throw out a handful. 
    7. Read 5 books. - Yes! All of the flights helped with this. :-) 
That's how I did in August - it's a busy month, full of travels & fun, and less about "getting things done". What about you? How did you do on your goals? 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A fun end to summer

We've had a great few weeks, but I'm exhausted, and spending the long weekend recovering! I was out of town two weekends in a row, and weekends are critical for my planning, organizing, etc. But, we had an amazing time.

We met my parents at the beach house (Oregon coast) for a week of family time, then flew back, got the boys started at school, and I flew back to Portland last Thursday for Hood to Coast (the largest relay in the world!) My family did the walking portion, and we had everyone from my 12 year old nephew to my mom, sister, best friend, etc. It was AWESOME. We had a fabulous time, and everyone is already signing up for next year.

Here are some of my favorite pictures! In the 4th picture, you can see my amazing flip flops. ;-) My shoes broke during the race (I always wear flip flops between my actual running legs, to avoid wearing sweaty sneakers for two days solid) & the only store in the Oregon mountains was a Wal-Mart. The shoes are two sizes two large, hot pink, & glorious. They cost $4. ;-) The little guy in the pictures is my amazing 12 year old nephew, who did an awesome job on his relay legs. He rocked! The sweaty picture with my sister is after our 10 miler. I'm not sure why she's so tan & I'm so white - I live in California, after all!










Now we're back to reality! And, the last few weeks reminded us that we really need to plan our 2015 trips, from a budget, time off, and calendar perspective. I spent about 5 hours on it, and I'm very close to a plan for 2015. I'm just waiting for my sister to confirm dates for our 2015 family trip. We'll celebrate our 10th anniversary next October, and I think we're going to go back to the Grand Wailea (where we got married) to celebrate. SO excited. :-)

We spent yesterday running errands (plus a date night!), have a barbecue to attend today, and we're going to Nick's "welcome to second grade" party tomorrow. In between all of that, I need to get our week planned (soccer, carpools, late meeting nights), meals planned & prepped, etc. 

I have lemon bread in the oven (bringing it to the barbecue) & it smells amazing. 

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday, again!

I love Sundays. I always create my to do list for the day while drinking my coffee. :-)

We have a lot of fun ahead in the next few weeks - can't wait! Tomorrow is a busy work day (8 am to 10 pm), and then on Tuesday, the boys & I fly to Portland. My sister will pick us up at the airport with my nephews, and we'll head straight to the beach & our vacation house. I'm looking forward to spending time with the family - relaxing, riding bikes, walking on the beach, & playing games! We fly back on Sunday, just in time to start school on Monday. :-)

I'm flying back to Portland on Thursday, for my relay event - Portland to Coast. I can't wait! We've been training & planning & it should be super fun. My fan consists of: my mom, my mom's best friend, my best friend, my twelve year old nephew, and my Uncle. My sister is the captain of our second van, and she's with a family friend, my two cousins, and my aunt. My sister has done this relay before, & I've done the more extended/running version, but everyone else is a novice. Should be awesome!

And, on to today! I need to use all of the tomatoes before we leave town, and . . . there are a lot!

I already made an awesome breakfast - Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce . I've never made poached eggs before, but these were amazing. The sauce was incredible!

Here's what else I need to do today:

  1. Wash all sheets/make beds. 
  2. Make tomato soup for the freezer. 
  3. Make roasted garlic tomato freezer jam.
  4. If I *still* have more tomatoes left over, I'll make more of the tomato sauce from the poached egg recipe & freeze. 
  5. Walk 8 miles, as training for my relay. The pace time is pretty fast, considering all of the hills - 13 minute miles.
  6. Power yoga. My back has been killing me, & I really need to stretch. 
  7. Return a couple of things to the mall.
  8. Plan schedule for Monday
  9. Finish cleaning fridge & freezer, to prepare for our vacation.
  10. If time permits, get a pedicure

What about you? How are you spending the last few weeks of summer? What are you up to today? 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer is in full swing

The boys have their last week of summer camp starting tomorrow (I'm downright giddy - summer camp is incredibly expensive, the locations are varied & far away from our offices, and the hours mean a lot of unpredictability for our work schedule). I've taken copious notes on how to avoid this next summer. It was our first summer in a new area, so these things are bound to happen.

Favorite camps of the summer:

  • All day soccer camp. This is through their select league, and the hours suck (9-4), and the kids play soccer for that entire time, save for a 30 minute lunch break. It's nuts. They come home sweaty & so tired they can barely move. But, it's their favorite. I had to start packing coolers & giant water bottles on top of their normal stuff once I realized that they would indeed be playing soccer in the sun for the entire day. 
  • Sleepaway camp! This place was a hidden gem in the mountains near Santa Cruz. Huge outdoor water park, beautiful new cabins. .. when we drove up, I wanted to stay! It was a YMCA camp, so expensive, but not crazily so. The boys want to do two different (not back-to-back) sessions next year. It was also super fun to get a few date nights in with M while the boys were at camp, so I won't say no to that!
  • Another local sports camp. I'm glad this was a hit, because it had super flexible hours, and the location was the most convenient of all. We will likely only do this camp, the mandatory soccer camp, and sleepaway camp next summer.
Another lesson learned is that very few camps are open in August (kids go back on August 18th). The boys have also requested a week at "Nana & Papa's Camp" (i.e. my parents house) next summer, so we will try to arrange that as well.

So, last week of camp coming up, and soccer practice starts tomorrow as well. Luckily, the weather has cooled down a bit and it's been around 80 for the past few days, rather than the high 90s we've been having.

I'm also in the throes of getting ready for our family summer vacation (my parents, my sister, my nephews, etc). We are going to our vacation house on the Oregon coast, and I'm very excited to relax & spend some time with the family before school starts up again.

I finished all of my school supply shopping today, and we topped off the afternoon with swimming lessons, and "free" ice cream cones at Thrifty. Our Rite Aid has a Thrifty ice cream shop inside, and when I scanned my Rite Aid card, it used my UP rewards! I had no idea this was an option - and, it's probably dangerous to know that I can get "free" ice cream on a whim. ;-) So, the total OOP was $.29 or whatever was left after the rewards. What a nice treat.

I'm planning to make risotto tonight (with a glass of wine, of course!), finish the menu, and hopefully list a few things on Craigslist.

What about you? How are you spending one of the dwindling summer weekends? :-) 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday happenings

So excited for a nice & relaxing Saturday! The only fixed commitment we have today - swimming lessons for both boys. I've even saved up cash to pay for today & tomorrow, so I'm feeling pleased about the minimal budget impact. We live in a neighborhood where many people have pools, so we've decided that it's critical for both boys to be great swimmers. Sam is already a very strong swimmer, and comfortable in the deep end. But, he's forgotten his strokes. Nick likes the pool, but isn't comfortable in the deep end, and doesn't know any strokes. Both boys have had a couple of lessons & are making great progress so far. The swim teacher is going back to college in a few weeks, so we're getting in as many lessons as we can before she goes. :-)

I also skipped the house cleaning yesterday, since I had to work from home. It's not at all conducive to a lot of video calls to have the cleaning lady running the vacuum in the background. ;-) We've already vacuumed & cleaned the bathrooms today, & we'll wrap up the rest of the house tomorrow. I'm paying both boys $5 for assisting, to save for our trip to the beach in a few weeks. They are pleased, I've still saved $80 with a few hours of work, so win/win!

Other than that, I need to go for a quick run, do either yoga or my 30 Day Shred dvd, make a menu plan for the week, and run a few errands.

I'm also watching flights for Christmas. They are currently about $150 under my planned budget, which is awesome. But, we had a ton of expenses in July & August is looking to be expensive again. In order to ensure I don't have to touch our emergency fund to cover travel costs, I may wait a few more weeks to buy. I have to request time off for work at least a quarter in advance, so the travel dates are already well known. ;-)

I made homemade salsa (tomatoes, tomatoes, everywhere!) yesterday for the freezer, plus chocolate chip banana muffins for kids lunches & snacks this week. I need to get really organized about using the food we have on hand this month & making room in our freezer for things we need. I went through & purged (this is our other freezer - not the one that was suddenly defrosted. That one is already pretty clean ;-)) to make room for other goodies, & took a quick inventory of what we have. I really need to come in under the grocery budget this month!

And, what's a post without a picture? My son asked for a "selfie" earlier in the week. Note the team USA world cup shirt, and the hair that he styled himself. He's into a "hair phase" right  now. :-)


What are you up to this Saturday?

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Goals

It's that time again! I liked the format I used in July, so I'm going to continue again in August. Here's what I'd like to accomplish this month.


  1. Fitness-related:
    1. Lose 1 pound
    2. Track my calories every day in MyFitnessPal
    3. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio
    4. Complete 8 strength workouts
    5. Complete 6 stretch workouts
    6. Run/finish my relay event
  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. Stick to vacation budget on family trip to the Oregon coast.
    4. Sell 2 bikes on Craigslist, and put the money in the boys activity fund (help offset their expensive soccer club).
    5. File all paperwork.
    6. Rework childcare budget for 2015, with nanny & summer camps finalized.
    7. Finalize Hawaii trip details.
    8. Start looking at plans for the holidays (flights, time off, etc)
  3. Personal
    1. Get all back to school details sorted out, including nanny schedule + soccer schedule.
    2. Get sorted business trip sorted out, including passport & early entry program.
    3. Plan one social event with friends.
    4. At least one date night with M.
    5. Continue to rework my work schedule to better accommodate evening meetings (consolidate them all into one evening to minimize disruption to my life).
    6. Use or freeze all fresh produce from the garden.
    7. Read 5 books.
What are you hoping to accomplish in August?