Monday, July 13, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

The weekend went by in a flash, as usual. It's back to life! :-) Here's what we'll be eating this week.
  • Monday - Penne with garden tomatoes, zucchini, & chicken sausage
  • Tuesday - Taco Tuesday! :-) With homemade salsa
  • Wednesday - Leftover chicken & rice
  • Thursday - I'm out of town. M will be making the boys pasta with meatballs
  • Friday - I'm out of town. M will be making the boys chicken & rice
  • Saturday - I'm out of town. The boys will be having leftovers.
  • Sunday - I'm coming home late, so hopefully M can make beef kebabs, grilled tomatoes, yogurt sauce, & rice for us to eat a bit later.

What's on your menu for the week? I'm having a hard time using up all of our produce! Anyone else getting creative with their bounty? :-)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Getting things done Sunday

I haven't been home on a weekend for way too long (over a month), so I have a lot I'd like to do today. Here goes!

  1. Yoga - I'm tight everywhere, & could really use it
  2. Some sort of cardio workout - either a bike ride with the kids, or a long walk/run
  3. Pack for my trip next week
  4. Pick & use all of the tomatoes - I think I'll make a fresh tomato sauce
  5. Ditto the lemons - just juice them for use in salads
  6. Have the boys clean their rooms. This will take several hours each. The good news? I've already found over 100 things to donate! :-)
  7. Go through my closet
  8. Plan for the week ahead - menu, work schedule, workout schedule, any kid transportation issues, & review with M
That's it! What's on your list for today? And, because I'm always curious about weekend dinners, what are you making for dinner? We're having grilled chicken, rice & salad.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Goals for July

Yes, the month is almost half over, but better late than never!

Here are my goals for July:

  1. Fully fund our travel budget for the rest of the year.
  2. Clean & restock the freezer, using all of our fresh tomatoes! Tomato sauce & salsa, coming up.
  3. Stick to the budget, including on my girls trip to Las Vegas. Can't wait. :-)
  4. Lose 2 lbs.
  5. Get in a minimum of 800 minutes of cardio, 15 strength workouts, & 5 stretching workouts.
  6. Keep my daily calories to 1500.
  7. Buy all school supplies
  8. Lower my pace time by 90 seconds (per mile) in my training for my big relay in August.
  9. Find another race to train for.
  10. Sort out my family schedule, & work travel schedule through the end of the year

That's it, but looks like plenty to keep me busy. What about you? What's on your list for July, and how are you doing so far? 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five Frugal Things I Did This Week

It's been a bit of a whirlwind, returning from vacation. I'm so, so excited that the boys will be back from Disneyland (they are with my parents right now) this evening. It was great to have a kid free week, but I miss them too much! :-)

So, here's what I did this week:

  1. Drove to LA to pick up the kids. Okay, M did this, but we were originally planning on having M fly to LA, pick up the kids from my parents, & then fly all three of them home. Instead, he left for LA super late last night, stayed at a hotel, and then will drive back with them this afternoon. SUPER long drive (7+ hours each way), but a savings of about $500, after gas & hotel cost.
  2. Ate at home, even without the kids. Normally, when the kids are gone, we treat each night like a date night & eat out. This time, we ate out just once. Even when we got home late from the airport on Sunday, with nothing prepared, we went to Trader Joes & picked up a couple of easy options for $15. A huge cost savings over a meal out.
  3. Decided to clean the house on my own this week. To be fair, the cleaning lady asked if this was an option, as she had a family emergency. She offered to send someone else, but I'm skipping it, cleaning myself, & saving $90.
  4. Returned a few things to Macy's that I ordered online, and were a better deal in the store. Got a price adjustment. Savings of $65.
  5. Sent in for various reimbursements through my tax savings accounts. A few copays on prescriptions while I was sick, & my vision check. I almost let these both go due to the effort involved, but thought better of it. Savings of $61.
That's it! We did our first *real* grocery shopping in four weeks yesterday, and it was pretty crazy. :-) Now I need to make a menu, clean the house, and spend a lot of time with my sweet boys!

And, here's a great picture of my dad at Disney, with his four grandsons. :-)

Have a great Friday & weekend, everyone!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Back from a great vacation

We had a fantastic time at the Oregon coast - lots of sunshine (but, cooler than the 90+ degree weather in Portland), & family time. I was getting over bronchitis & pneumonia, so it was great to relax, sleep, bike ride, and hang out.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures:

The boys with their cousins, near where The Goonies was filmed.

Hug Point

Kite flying with Daddy

The beach at my favorite place

Other than that, I'm just recovering from the trip, and getting back into the swing of things at work. I haven't set any goals for the month, and need to check out my 2015 goals & see where I stand at the half way point.

I'm going to set a few goals for this week, just to make it easier for myself. ;-) No need to climb the mountain right out of the gate.

  1. Talk to nanny candidates. I'm getting desperate - we haven't found any good candidates.
  2. Review June goals.
  3. Set July goals
  4. Review 2015 goals
  5. Buy travel stuff for trip in a couple of weeks
  6. Set a menu for the week
  7. Return a bunch stuff that I ordered online that didn't work out.
  8. Work out 5 times this week
  9. Exchange books at the library
  10. Figure out what to do with all of our tomatoes in the garden!

How is everyone else? Any fun summer vacations on the horizon?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Happy, happy summer

Just a quick note to check in. I'm still here! Here are a few things that have happened since I've last posted:

  1. The boys went to overnight summer camp in the mountains, and had an amazing (and filthy dirty) time. ;-) Just as little boys should.
  2. We went to Portland last weekend to see my family, and for the boys to participate in a big mountain biking event for Father's Day. My dad loved it!
  3. The boys are staying with my parents, & went for a hike at Mt. St. Helens - it's absolutely beautiful to see how the land is recovering after the eruption. As someone who lived through it, it's lovely to see how resilient it is.
  4. I'm headed out on vacation to the beach with the boys! My favorite place - can't wait. M will join us for the end of the trip.

Here are a few of my goals through the end of the month/vacation:
  1. Stay on track financially. I've been helped greatly by not having the kids eat at home (they were at camp & with my parents). But, M & I ate a few meals out (no sitter required!), which offset the savings. I am also giving my parents a bit of money to help offset a trip they are taking with the boys.
  2. Make creative meals, use up what we have, & eat well. 
  3. Stay on track with my weight, specifically lose 2 more pounds to be in the 143 range.
  4. Continue to do strength training every day.
  5. Work out for a minimum of 60 minutes every day on my vacation.
  6. Read lots of books. I made a last minute pit stop at the library last night to stock up.
  7. No working (post today, of course, as it's a work day :)) & relax & enjoy the time with my family.

Boys on their hike:

The four cousins getting ready for an epic bike tournament:

And, my parents house looking a lot like a park on an amazing & beautiful Saturday. Cars & tiny people headed included as size context for the trees. :-)

We don't have internet at our vacation house (intentionally - keeps everyone from working), but I can hopefully update using my phone & stay in touch a bit more. Hope everyone is have a fantastic summer!

Monday, May 25, 2015

A lovely weekend, and thinking about house buying

The extra bonus day makes all of the difference! It's been relaxing (haven't really done much, as Sam has a cold), but productive.

  • I made six dozen muffins yesterday
  • Picked & juiced all of our lemons
  • Picked all of the oranges (haven't tackled those yet)
  • Made zucchini bread from our homegrown zucchinis
  • Bought the boys new duvet covers. Sam's was 8 years old, and had some holes
  • Dealt with our lease renewal, or rather, kicked off the email to see if we can renew our lease for another year. 
  • Made 3 batches of homemade taquitos
  • Dropped a few things off to be altered. This chore had been on my to do list for months, but I've struggled to get there when they were open. Woohoo!
  • Returned some items at the mall

I've also worked out, enjoyed a few lovely dinners from M (salmon & corn, and a yummy shrimp & pasta veggie dish), and sat out in the sunshine reading my book. Relaxing & fabulous.

As it's time to think about renewing our lease, M & I have been discussing what the future holds for our housing situation here. We'd run the numbers a few months ago, and figured that we could potentially afford a $1.8M house (the very lowest possible price in our neighborhood, keeping the boys in the same school), once our stock options vest next year. This would align nicely with our rental agreement. However, when I looked up potential housing options for budget purposes, there's not a single home for sale in our school district for less than $2.4M. Wow. Quite a jump. Inventory is very limited where we are, to say nothing of the housing prices. This brings us back to what we plan to do next year when our lease expires. And, enormous amount of silent prayers & finger crossing that we can extend without too much of a jump on our existing rent this year.

I'm so grateful that we found an amazing neighborhood to live in (with extremely short notice) when we moved to California. But, now that we're stuck buying in the same district, it's very painful. Keeping the kids in the same school district is our number one priority, which means we have a lot of painful choices coming up. 

We could sell our house in Seattle (which is now cash flow neutral/slightly positive), and that would bring us quite a ways to closing the gap. From an investment perspective, I'm loathe to give it up. But, we have a year to decide, I suppose. Maybe more inventory will magically show up here. ;-)

What about you? What have you been up to on this long weekend (assuming you have one)? Has anyone tried any fun new recipes? I may try this recipe for homemade frozen pizzas.