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? 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Goals - Recap!

Wow - that was a lightning fast month! I feel pretty good about how much I got done this month. I had a bunch of work commitments, as well as a girls trip, so all told, it was a busy & fun 31 days. :-)

Here's what I accomplished this month!

  1. Fitness-related:
    1. Lose 2 pounds - I lost 1.5 lbs! I'll take it. :-) 
    2. Track my calories every day in MyFitnessPal - Yes!
    3. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio - I completed 765 minutes, after taking almost a week off around my half marathon. 
    4. Complete 8 strength workouts - Yes, I did 11 strength workouts.
    5. Complete 6 stretch workouts - Ack. This obviously wasn't a focus in July, because I only did 1! Shameful. No wonder my back is tight these days.
    6. Run/finish a half marathon - Yes! Woohoo!! It was an exciting moment. :-) 
  2. Finance-related:
    1. Meet with a tax planner - Yes!
    2. Rework our budget to take into account yearly categories (vs solely focusing on monthly numbers) - I've started this project, but it's not yet complete. In progress. 
    3. Stick to our budget! - Definitely no. We had lots of unplanned car expenses this month. 
    4. Stick to vacation budget on girls trip to Las Vegas. - Yes!
    5. Sell 2 bikes on Craigslist, and put the money in the boys activity fund (help offset their expensive soccer club). - Nope. 
    6. File all paperwork. - Nope. 
  3. Personal
    1. Finalize all nanny details. 
    2. Get passport picture taken, and get this renewed. - Just under the radar - I did this yesterday! 
    3. Sort out vacation hours at work. - Yes. Unpleasant, but done. 
    4. Get to the dentist & doctor for regular check ups. I've been putting these off due to work conflicts. :-( - Both appointments are next week. On the calendar & booked!
    5. At least one date night with M.- Yes!
    6. Rework my schedule at work to better accommodate evening meetings (consolidate them all into one evening to minimize disruption to my life). - I've done an "okay" job at this. My schedule is very unpredictable, so even when I iron things out for one week, the next week is different. This makes it hard to plan and harder to keep a family schedule. Let's call this an ongoing work in progress. 
    7. Use or freeze all fresh produce from the garden. - I've been a cooking fool, but yes. As far as I can tell, everything is getting eaten, and/or made into things for the freezer. 
That's all for me. How did you do with your goals this month? I'm now looking forward to focusing on August! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What a difference a week makes

Last week, I was in Las Vegas, at the pool with my sister & BFF. . . BFF on the left, sister in the middle, and I'm on the right. So much fun - so much fabulous girl time!

And, today, taking these guys for swimming lessons!

It was an absolutely insane work week, so I was very excited to spend some time with my favorite little boys today. We picked up school supplies, bought new desks at Ikea (a long standing promise :)) & I made a fresh tomato pasta sauce for dinner. Yum! I got in a quick workout. I need to be super productive tomorrow as well!

Here's what's on my list:

  • Make fresh tomato paella for dinner. I forgot about this recipe, but . . . yum!
  • Update my budget. Yikes. I'm way behind
  • Run three miles
  • Yoga
  • Make strawberry freezer jam
  • Make salsa with all of our tomatoes. So.many.tomatoes! Luckily, they are one of my favorite foods.
  • Finish a big proposal for work. Ick.
  • Plan our carpool & camp pickup schedule for next week.
  • Make a menu.
  • Bake bread.
  • Go to Costco.
  • Return books to the library.
  • Run a few shopping errands (produce stand + Rite Aid)
  • Register for my next half marathon & build a training plan.
  • Get my passport renewed. I cannot put off a work trip any longer. . . :-( 
  • And, figure out what to make with a giant tub of dates I've discovered in the pantry that need to be used up ASAP.
And, one last picture from last Saturday! Obviously, quite a bit different than my normal life. Which makes it special & fun. But, I'm a pretty big fan of days spent in the kitchen & playing rousing family games of Sorry with my little guys as well. :-)

What are some of your favorite diverse activities you enjoy? I love fancy girl time, followed by a weekend of running errands & filling my freezer with goodies!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

That glorious moment & a half marathon!

When you meet with a tax accountant to start planning for 2014, and realize you made an error on your 2013 taxes. Run home, enter the correct data in TurboTax, and realize you're getting a $2500 refund (or, your enormous tax bill that you already paid is reduced by $2,500, thus you'll be getting some of your money back). Hot dog! :-)

Today has been filled with cookie making (sending them with the boys today, as they are both attending pool party/sleepovers) & turning a LOT of fresh tomatoes into this:

I can honestly say that having too many tomatoes was never a problem in Washington, but this is the second weekend in a row that I've used up 20+ pounds of tomatoes

In other news, I finished my half marathon & ran this morning! Feeling very, very happy that it was still an option with the lupus. I'm slower than I used to be, but I'll take it!

I'm a little sore & tired, but feeling pretty great. Life is about embracing changes, challenging yourself & believing that anything is possible. If you'd asked me if this was in the cards a year ago, I would have said no. What a great day!

What's the best thing that happened to you this weekend?