Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weekly Budget Recap (7/18-7/24/16)

I track *all* of our spending, but find that tracking it at a weekly level & reporting back to you fine friends gives me even more insight & accountability.

This was a bit of a "getting ready for school & sports" week, as well as a week (for the first time ever) with two sitters! So here goes.

Monday - 7/18
  • $25.44 - 4 pair of slip in shin guards. The boys have a lot of soccer, we sometimes lose them, and also. . . I like to wash them between wears. They get a little "slippery".
  • $17.38 - new goalie gloves for Nick.
  • -$232.40 - refund for morning camp care that we didn't use a couple of weeks ago
  • -$80 - refund for morning camp care that we didn't use this week
Tuesday - 7/19
  • $70 - sitter. We got free concert tickets, parking passes, food/& drinks to see Barenaked Ladies at a winery
Wednesday - 7/20 - no spend day
Thursday - 7/21 - no spend day
Friday - 7/22
  • $25 7 Eleven gift card for my nephew (he and his girlfriend take "walking dates" to the 7 Eleven
  • $25 - cash for the rest of nephew's birthday, for his college account
Saturday - 7/23
  • $50 - anniversary gift for my parents
  • $36.43 - Costco, groceries
  • $55 - a sitter so M & I could attend his kid free work barbecue. On a Saturday. :-(
  • $4.04 - a watermelon at the market. But, mostly to break a large bill so we could pay the sitter.
  • $58.31 - gas
Sunday - 7/24
  • $40 - swimming lessons for the kids
  • $25.62 - school supplies
  • $43.96 - new Sonicare toothbrush heads
  • $13.71 - produce stand. Half a flat of strawberries, mini cucumber, wheat lavosh bread, radishes
  • $6.23 - pasta was $.89 at the store (cheapest I've seen it for a while), so I stocked up
  • $41.73 - two sunblocks for the kids to take to sleepaway camp, plus my favorite SPF70 facial moisturizer was on sale. I'm starting to get some serious sun damage from this California scene, so I need to get more aggressive with the face lotion
  • $35.32 - gas for the other car
  • $7.99 - kiwi, from Costco
  • $94.83 - a lot of wine. My parents will be staying with us for a week.
Given the childcare/camp refunds, we netted out with a total of $363.79. I'll take it! How about you? How did you do with your weekly spending?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday

With the bonus of Sunday as well. :-) Because, why not? My parents are arriving next Sunday, and I need to also start planning lunches (they will be at home with the kids), and dinners (2 more adults at each meal). May be a crazy week, but details on that in next week's update.


  • Sunday - homemade chicken pizza. Cheese for the kids, chicken pesto for the adults. I made homemade tomato sauce for the kids pizza
  • Monday - barbecued burgers & tortellini
  • Tuesday - Spaghetti and meatballs, with homemade tomato sauce (tomatoes from the garden)
  • Wednesday - I have a late work dinner, but the kids & M will be having leftover pizza
  • Thursday - Tacos, chips & guacamole (drat, forgot to get avocado at the produce stand)
  • Friday - Leftovers, of whatever I can cobble together. If all else fails, "freezer dinner", which is where I stand in front of the freezer and bake up a cookie sheet full of random things (last Friday it was breaded chicken, homemade taquitos, samosas from Trader Joes, etc). 
  • Saturday - Probably homemade risotto, if the weather cools down a bit. If not, maybe calzone with homemade dough
  • Sunday - not sure, but possibly salmon, salad, and an appetizer with my parents 
What about you? What's on your menu for the week? Any recipes to try out?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's hot, I'm tired, & ready to relax!

The work barbecue ended up taking the majority of the day yesterday (ahhhh, a story for another day :-)), so I worked really hard yesterday late afternoon & today to get as much done as possible. Here's what I accomplished.

  1. Sort lunches for the kids (our sitter for today doesn't cook)
  2. 4-5 mile pace walk (training for my race in August)
  3. 7 mile pace walk
  4. Yoga
  5. Strength workout
  6. Menu plan
  7. Wash sheets
  8. Schedule for the week
  9. Workout plans for the week
  10. Clean closet
  11. Return library books. A few are overdue - yikes.
  12. Inventory freezer
  13. Make lemon poppyseed muffins (and, find a recipe)
  14. Use up all loose lemons in the fridge
  15. Buy new running shoes
  16. Return a few items to the outdoor mall
  17. Buy school supplies

Not a perfectly marked off list, but I'll take it. I also made homemade hummus, ran to the produce stand, the grocery store, made homemade pizza dough for dinner tonight, and now I'm feeling out of energy. The nanny I had scheduled to interview this afternoon canceled & said that she accepted another job this afternoon. Drat. Finding a nanny is the bane of my existence. 

I also went through my pantry/fridge yesterday, and made a list of things I'd like to use up. I got a start on the lemons & almost used all of the poppy seeds making these lemon poppy seed muffins. I think they were more work than I'd normally put in for a muffin, and I liked them "okay". 

Things I want to use up:


  • Lemons - (lemon poppy seed muffins)
  • Two unopened tubs of Nutella
  • Poppy seeds - (lemon poppy seed muffins)
  • 1/2 a bag of quinoa
  • two tubs of pesto unearthed from the freezer, from many, many batches ago
  • 2/3 a bag of chia seeds
  • 1/4 bag of Craisins
  • An enormous quantity of baking chocolate, repurposed from random bars & gifts
  • 2/3 bag of cashew pieces (so, better for baking/cooking vs snacking, as not entire cashews)
  • A bag of dried pinto beans (I need to cook these & freeze them for tacos).
  • 8 individual packs of almonds & trail mix
  • 3 individual servings of honey peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 boxes of orzo
  • 3/4 a large box of stuffing

The nanny search continues, and I'll track my random food "things I want to use" list, and share any fun recipes that I discover along the way. If you have any recipes to share, please let me know! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Finally, it's Saturday

I had big plans for a weekend without any major commitments (save for swimming lessons for the kids), but M forgot to mention a work barbecue today. So, sitter is now arranged, and half the day will be spent with his peers. I'll be honest & say that I look forward to relaxing weekends without major commitments, but . . . what can you do? :-)

Anyway, I have quite a bit I'd like to get done this weekend (shocking, really),  so here's my list:

  1. Sort lunches for the kids (our sitter for today doesn't cook)
  2. 4-5 mile pace walk (training for my race in August)
  3. 7 mile pace walk
  4. Yoga
  5. Strength workout
  6. Menu plan
  7. Wash sheets
  8. Schedule for the week
  9. Workout plans for the week
  10. Clean closet
  11. Return library books. A few are overdue - yikes.
  12. Inventory freezer
  13. Make lemon poppyseed muffins (and, find a recipe)
  14. Use up all loose lemons in the fridge
  15. Buy new running shoes
  16. Return a few items to the outdoor mall
  17. Buy school supplies
I've realized lately that I really need the weekends to recharge, and in between social engagements (girls trip to Napa, family vacations, etc), I greatly enjoy the time to relax and get organized, so I can survive the work weeks. What about you? Do you like to be busy on weekends with plans, or spend that time on your own projects?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The time we ran out of food

This is a bit tongue in cheek (of course), as we have lots of meal options in the pantry/freezer. However, with the boys attending soccer camp this week through their club team, they are playing soccer 7 hours/day. I cannot describe the voraciousness of the appetites they've returned home with each day.

Yesterday I walked through the door & saw Sam with two pieces of fruit (a large apple, and a peach in each hand) & he was eating both of them. Juice was dripping down his arm (yes, I know, we will continue to work on manners when they are ravenous) & he was shaking with hunger. I've been packing big lunches, but apparently I need to up the amount of food I'm sending.

We also (for the first time ever!) ran out of our weekly purchase of milk. We're out of cheese, fruit of all kinds (save for the kiwi that no one has the patience to peel, apparently), most veggies (those that are snackable, at least), all of the hummus, anything that vaguely resembles a "snack", and most of our smoothie fruit in the freezer.

I'm clearly going to need to make an interim grocery stop this week, as well as prep some easy snacks for their return home each day . . . Who can resist these faces??


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Weekly budget recap (7/11-7/17/16)

I try to recap our weekly spending whenever possible, and it helps me stay on track & understand risks & outliers. Here's what happened last week (I was on my belated 40th birthday trip with my sister & BFF in Napa for part of the time).

Monday - no spend day

Tuesday - no spend day
Wednesday - no spend day
Thursday

  • $25.85 - breakfast food for hotel (Trader Joes)
  • $11.72 - mints (giant bag, should last a few months) + ice for the cooler
  • $8.00 - parking at the airport
  • $.21 - lunch, after gift cards
  • $53.66 - gas
  • $59.02 - tasting for 3 at Chandon

Friday - 

  • $38.74 - various Ubers in Napa
  • $21.83 - dinner out (M & boys)
  • $75.88 - happy hour for 3 (Napa)
  • $55.08 - tasting for 3 at Mumm 

Saturday - 

  • $212.50 - groceries at Costco
  • $60.88 - mixing for drinks (BevMo)
  • $41.97 - champagne (to drink later)
  • $25.92 - champagne (to drink later)
  • $42 - boys hair cuts x3
  • $44.75 - school supplies for kids
  • $924.22 - hotel two nights in Napa 
  • $126.05 - clothes (a new dress, jeans, two tank tops, a sweater & a workout top)

Sunday - no spend day


Total spent = $1820.28, so a pricey week, but included a trip. How about you? How did you do with your weekly spending? 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Menu plan, Napa recap, & a few frugal things


I'm back from a fantastic girls trip to Napa. Lots of girl time was had, as well as lots of laughs. And champagne. ;-)


I threw together a quick menu, so I wouldn't be scrambling mid-week. Here's the plan.

  • Saturday - beef kebabs, rice, yogurt sauce, & homemade lemon drops (courtesy of my lovely husband)
  • Sunday - fresh Sockeye salmon with rice & salad
  • Monday - leftover kebabs (me, kids), & salmon (M) with rice & salad
  • Tuesday - at a concert (freebie tickets from work), where food will be served. Kids will eat with the sitter.
  • Wednesday - Salmon, kebab & rice leftovers
  • Thursday - tacos, chips, & guacamole
  • Friday - homemade risotto (with chicken sausage & peppers)
  • Saturday - calzones
  • Sunday - grilled fish or steak
And, a few frugal things, in a decidedly non-frugal week:
  • I was able to arrange (and participate) in carpools & adjust my work week so that I didn't need any after care at all last week. This will save me around $200.
  • I utilized a free work gift card to buy lunch on my way to Napa. Saved $10 (out of pocket, $.21). :-)
  • I utilized a free work gift card to buy $20 of bakery items when my friends were in town. Leftovers will go to the kids lunches this week. Out of pocket, $0.
  • I found a nanny (fingers crossed! Waiting for final acceptance) & was able to negotiate for $1/hour less than what we are paying now. This is commensurate with her experience level, but every bit helps.
  • We used an Uber to get back & forth between a few wineries. Much cheaper than other transportation options, and of course, safe when having a tasting.
  • I won free tickets to the Barenaked Ladies concert tomorrow, in addition to a free parking pass & food/drink options. Not an entirely free date night (I paying for a sitter), but I'll take it. A huge win!
If I manage to secure a nanny for the upcoming school year, I will consider this week a huge win! What about you? What's on the menu? Any big frugal plans for the week?