Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday plans

I'm working on my to do list for today & drinking my coffee. . . meanwhile, the boys are watching a table tennis "world cup" on youtube. .. . Ah, the things they find when you have no cable. ;-)

Here's what we have on the agenda for the day!

  1. Go to Costco & buy our supplies for the week.
  2. Sam's end of the soccer season pool party.
  3. Work on M's Father's Day & birthday gifts. Wrap, make cards, etc
  4. Use up oodles of oranges.
  5. Make cookies for kids lunches.
  6. Figure out our tax plan. The 2011 battle we've been fighting? It's over, and we owe $5600, due in 30 days. (Well, that was a few weeks ago, so two weeks). It's a long story, so if you haven't been following, M's employer at the time incorrectly classified an advance as a bonus. When he left the company, all was fine. Months later, he had to repay, which triggered a series of tax implications. The IRS refunded us the money, but then under further scrutiny & lack of supporting paperwork from M's employer. . . we have to repay the original refund plus a fee. I can't really get into how I feel about this, because it's been an incredibly frustrating process. In the end, I believe that we really owe the money, so we will pay. Also, the IRS has been investigating for over a year, and the appeal timeline is now over, so either way, we have to pay. Grimace.
  7. Update our budget. I haven't entered any credit card transactions in several weeks & I'm super far behind
  8. Recap my May goals.
  9. Set June goals!
  10. Call our yard person (Seattle house), who owes a big explanation as to why they've been paid to cover both the front & back of our house, and has only been doing the front for six months.
  11. Run 9 miles! Yikes. I need to mentally prepare for this. :-)
  12. Organize the summer camp schedule.
  13. Bake bread
That should be more than enough. Number 6 will probably take me half of the day, so my goal is to not get irritated about it. It is what it is. Deal with it & move on.

In other news, I dropped & shattered my phone, so I'm currently phoneless. It's strangely freeing. I really need a new one ASAP for work, but I'll enjoy the weekend without feeling tethered to technology :-)

What about you? What are you accomplishing this weekend?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Life's a beach

I spent the long weekend at our vacation house with my sister & best friend. We had an amazing time. Both of these ladies are my BFFs. I am so grateful to have a sister who I consider a best friend.

We went to the coast to get the house ready to sell - we went through everything in the house, made huge piles for the Goodwill, cleaned, inventoried all of the furnishings (we will likely sell the house as furnished, so needed a list of everything that was excluded), and had an all around great & relaxing time.

We made sure to work out (we're all doing the relay together in the summer), so we did lots of walks/runs. We actually covered 20 miles in three days! We drank wine, laughed, had plank competitions (who could hold their plank for the longest), played Yahtzee & Sorry, and generally just had an amazing time.

M is away this weekend having some boy time, so I'm looking forward to time with the kids. We have a few end of the year parties to attend, I have a long run, and a TON of house stuff to do, as I was out of town this weekend.

Here are some pictures of the fun!

We are going to Las Vegas in July, and I'm extremely excited about it.

Tell me about your BFF(s). How long have you been friends, how did you meet, etc!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Feeling grateful

For my fabulous family, my healthy & happy boys, and that I'm healthy enough to continue challenging myself.

View from the top of my (very hilly!) 8 mile run today. If you look really closely, you can even see the water. Gorgeous, and not as hot as it has been. The first four miles were all up (the trail in view, & then all the way around the mountain). I really had to cajole myself to keep going from 3-4, and then was able to turn around & enjoy the blissful downhill. :-)

I've prepped a couple of pizzas for dinner (chicken, pesto, & fresh mozzarella for the adults, & cheese for the kids). We're off to Sam's last soccer game of the season.

Hope you are all having a fantastic day today. What's one thing you're grateful for?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A spring harvest

Nick & I spent an hour in the yard this morning, picking a few things:

  • basil
  • lemons
  • oranges
  • mandarins

It's an *enormous* amount of basil, and there's still quite a bit outside. It was starting to flower, so it was a must pick situation. ;-) I made a giant batch of pesto, but ran out of pine nuts, & still have 2/3 of the basil left.

I also juiced all of the lemons (there was another bowl not pictured), and have lemon bread in the oven. Yum!

I haven't figured out what to do with the oranges. The mandarins are sweet, but have lots of seeds. The navel oranges never got too sweet, so they are not good for juice. I have to get creative. Maybe marmalade. :-)

Other than that, Sam had a soccer game this morning, M is at Costco picking up our groceries, and I have a few things on my list for the rest of the day:

  1. Hit the library with the kids. We need to exchange our books.
  2. An easy run. I have a long run tomorrow, so today should be relatively short & leisurely.
  3. Yoga. Must.Fit.In.
  4. Look for swimming lessons for Nick.
  5. Plan a menu for next week.
  6. Go to the local produce stand
  7. Grocery store for a few things Costco doesn't have.
  8. Clean the fridge
  9. Start packing for my trip next week.
  10. Figure out what to make with some chocolate caramel bars no one wants to eat plain (cookies, maybe?), & sesame sticks that went uneaten & are now stale.
In other news, I made an easy & fabulous recipe last night - Pesto Quinoa with Shrimp & Tomatoes. Super easy & fabulous, especially with homemade pesto. 

What about you? Any good recipes with oranges, or pesto? Have you made anything fabulous lately? Please share!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

These sweet boys are the best thing that's ever happened to me. Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there.

I need to plan the menu for the week, and then I have a fun day planned. Here's what's on the agenda:

  • Long run, before it gets too warm. I'm hoping to do 6 miles - my first run over 5 miles in easily a year. I forgot to get fuel (shot blocks, gel, etc), so I'll be trying to power up those hills without anything. Fingers crossed.
  • Pedicure. My toes are a little "interesting" after my increased mileage lately, so this is my gift to myself. ;-)
  • Shopping. M & the boys got me a couple of super cute sandals, but he got the size wrong, so I need to exchange.
Other than that, I hope to read my book in the sunshine with a glass of wine, and eat a fabulous dinner. M is making his specialty, Persian feast. ;-) He makes beef kabobs, a special rice dish, and a yogurt cucumber sauce. It's my favorite meal ever. He also got my favorite wine, so it should be a pretty fabulous day.

And, for the rest of the week, here's what we're having:

  • Monday - M calls this "grab bag". The boys will have leftover tacos, & the adults will have leftover spaghetti & meatballs. Clear out the fridge day - we eat late because of soccer.
  • Tuesday - Leftover chicken risotto.
  • Wednesday - leftover Persian dinner. Yum!
  • Thursday - Fish & pesto pasta on the side. The boys may have chicken instead.
  • Friday - Meatloaf & some sort of side. (Meatloaf from the freezer)
  • Saturday - Chicken rice pilaf.
  • Sunday - Homemade chicken pesto pizza. We have SO MUCH basil! :-)
What are you doing for Mother's Day? I hope it's a fabulous & relaxing day.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The big goals continue!

I was so inspired by my plan yesterday to pay off our second mortgage in one year, that I started really dreaming. :-) Since we've moved to California, I've been challenged by not feeling in control of our future. The cost of housing, the unknowns on buying vs renting, M's job and where that would net out. . . I'm a girl who is all about feeling in control of my own destiny, setting targets, and working towards them.

I came up with the idea to focus on the second mortgage, and realized yesterday, I can actually extend that to paying off our Seattle house, with a larger time horizon. Basically, if I set a target to pay off our entire mortgage (focusing first on our second mortgage, paid off on a one year schedule), I can consider an aggressive schedule for the rest of the mortgage. What will this get us? Well, if we can pay off our Seattle house, it will put us in a better financial position by creating a passive income stream (from the rent), minimize monthly cash outflow, and at the time I think we will be able to pay it off, our kids will be out of elementary school, and we might have a broader range of locations available to consider buying. Right now, we want to stay with the same elementary school, which puts us in a very tight location grid for buying.

So, first goal remains - pay off our second mortgage by May of next year!

Next big goal (and, it's a monster!) - pay off our first mortgage by December 31st, 2018. At that point, both of our kids will be out of elementary school (can't even believe that!) Current amount owing = $492,300.

Here are the sources of funding that I'm considering:

  • Once the second mortgage is paid off next May, funnel all of those payments to the first mortgage.
  • Standard monthly payments.
  • Additional monthly payments, based on the beach house selling & additional cash flow from that.
  • My bonuses at work.
  • My stock options at work.
  • The difference between our rent and our mortgage payment each month, save for an emergency fund we'll create for additional expenses on the Seattle house.
As you can see, I've left out M's bonuses & stock options, as he's not sure he'll be at his current employer beyond the initial year. The most exciting part of all? If I can hold out in my current career until the end of 2018, paying off the Seattle house means (drumroll. . . . ) I can move to a much more flexible job and/or reduce my hours! Hurrah! Now, that is a goal I can get behind and actively work towards achieving. 

I'm so excited to have a  more concrete plan for the future, as well as a horizon with which I can see a future that doesn't involve me working in this industry or these hours. I feel so very motivated to do this. It's going to be a huge challenge for us, but I think we can do it!

Dream big! Do you have any big goals on the horizon? What's holding you back from setting them? 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Big financial goals!

We've been in a bit of a lull here at the Hawaii Planner house, mostly as we just get used to our new life, budget, & jobs. You know, no small thing, six months post move. :-)

However, we do well with big giant goals, so I think it's time to focus on our next priority - paying off our second mortgage on our house in Seattle. (As a refresher, we are renting this house out, and considering it part of our larger retirement portfolio. At some point, we may need to sell to afford a house in California, but would really like to keep it if possible.)

By paying off the second mortgage, we will ensure that we will be cash flow positive on the rental, reduce our monthly payments, as well as put us in a better position for buying a house in California, when & if the time comes.

Down to the nitty gritty details & the BIG GOAL. To pay off this second mortgage in one year - by May, 2015!

Current balance:  $148,703.

Plan to pay off (obviously, these numbers are all based on estimates of things like, stock price, predicting timing of a house sale, etc., & will need to be adjusted monthly based on actuals):

  • M's stock options (vesting in September) - $48K
  • My stock options (vesting in October) - $23.7K
  • Sale of beach house (expected by September?) - $40K
  • Monthly stock vests (October-May) for me - $9K
  • January bonus for me - $5K
  • Regular monthly payments - $12K
  • Rolling beach house payments into second mortgage (September-May) - $13.5K
If all of these things work out, and I tried to build in some flex, we can pay off close to $150K in a year! That would be amazing & would make me extremely happy!!!!!!

I have a feeling, if we measure this as a very doable & trackable goal, we will achieve it (or, come a lot closer than if we don't pay attention). Isn't that the case with all goals? The focus & intensity ups the importance and makes it easier to achieve. . . :-)

What about you? What big goals are you working on, thinking about, or hoping to accomplish?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Super Sunday

My husband agreed to take Nick to his 8 am soccer practice this morning, so I'm enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee. Bliss! Sam is all tuckered out from his late game last night. He was awesome! His team lost 3-6, but he had a huge assist & a goal. So proud. Check out this cutie pie. It was a gorgeous evening for a game. Around 70, sunny, and just down the street from our house.

Anyway, yesterday I made lemon muffins, and a double batch of pesto, with our ever expanding basil. On the list for today:

  1. Submit a price match for our Hawaii reservation. I found it for $10/less per night, and the price matching is for an additional 10% off. We'll see if they accept it. Fingers crossed.
  2. Costco. We went yesterday, but realized we're out of ground beef, and want to grill burgers & I need to replenish our stock of taco meat. I also need to pick up M's father's day present while they still have it. (Fancy scotch :))
  3. Sam's book report. I won't be doing it, but convincing an 8 year old to sit still long enough to complete it himself will be a bit of a task.
  4. Laundry. Enough said.
  5. Prep for tomorrow. This includes - reviewing my meeting calendar, blocking out work time, packing lunches, & corraling soccer gear.
  6. Finish/mail Mother's Day stuff.
  7. Run to the local produce stand for a few things.
  8. Pick up my prescription at Rite Aid.
  9. Find a cheaper solution for Gatorade. I hate wasting those bottles, and paying the extra charge on the plastic, so I was thinking of sourcing the powdered kind, & making our own. Sam definitely needs something beyond water when he runs for two hours in the heat.
  10. Make homemade buns
  11. Make homemade bread.
  12. Pilates.
  13. 5 mile run.
  14. If time, go to the outdoor mall to do a return.
That's it for me. How about you? How was your Saturday evening? What's on the agenda for today?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May Goals - Let's Aim High!

Welcome to May! I'm setting big goals this month, as I'm feeling particularly motivated. :-)

  1. Lose 3 lbs. This is a must do. Time to really focus on my weight.
  2. Track my calories every day using MyFitnessPal
  3. No dessert at work! For the entire month! Again - loved this goal last month.
  4. Complete 1,000 minutes of cardio. (Workout 20 days).
  5. Complete 8 strength workouts.
  6. Complete 8 stretching workouts. 
  7. Continue Half Marathon training.
  8. Have one date night with M.
  9. Finalize our vacation plans for the rest of the year, and create a budget.
  10. Do one social activity.
  11. Stick to our budget.
  12. Determine if we should lower our vacation house sale price, & get it in shape when I'm in town over Memorial Day.
  13. Renew my passport! I need to do this for work, as I have a trip to London coming up.

I think that will do! How about you? What's on your agenda for May?

April Goal Summary - How Did I Do?

I've got a big to do list today! I want to get things done in the kitchen (lemon bread, pesto, clean the fridge), plan our menu, get M to grill up our next freezer full of chicken, inventory both freezers, laundry, go for a run, do pilates, & maybe read a book. We also have a soccer game this evening for Sam, which should be fun. Here's hoping you have a productive day as well. And, now onto my goals!

April went by in a blur, but I'm happy to say goodbye to a very crazy month. Here were my April goals (original post here.)

  1. Lose 3 lbs. - I actually lost one pound. All things considered, I'm happy to be back on track & feeling good about my progress, slow though it may be.
  2. Track my calories every day using MyFitnessPal - Yes! I love this. I know that my average daily calories in April were 1621, so too high. 
  3. No dessert at work! For the entire month! - YES!!! So proud of this one. 
  4. Complete 1,000 minutes of cardio. - I wrapped up the month at 780 minutes. 
  5. Complete 8 strength workouts. - I completed 6. 
  6. Complete 8 stretching workouts. I'm good at getting in one workout a week (on Sundays). I need to also do one evening per week. - Nick started attending a Sunday morning soccer, which has screwed up my routine. I only did 2. :-( 
  7. Register for a half marathon, or a 15K. Start training. - Yes to both! I registered for a half in July. I'm currently working on my base mileage.
  8. Better manage my work schedule - take more breaks, work out regularly, and block out time on the calendar. - It's not perfect, but I'm making progress!
  9. Have one date night with M (should be easy - we're doing a long weekend together). - Yes!
  10. Do one social activity. - I got together with a friend for lunch, and also am planning a get together with some ladies on my street, but it hasn't worked out yet.
  11. Find a running club. - No, but I am going to try out a new local workout class with a fellow soccer mom that I've met. 
  12. Finalize tax payment plan. - Yes. Done & mailed.
  13. Stick to our budget. - Not even close!
  14. Continue exploring next career options. - I think about this often & have some ideas in mind, but nothing formalized.
  15. Make a list/plan for my trip to the beach over Memorial Day of what I want to accomplish/get rid of. It's a fun girls trip, but I plan to take full advantage of being there to go through our stuff. Minimize the pain when we actually sell. ;-) - Yes! I have a running list going. 

Okay, so that's how things played out for me. What about you? What did you accomplish in April? What was your biggest success, and what's your biggest opportunity for May?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Financial Summary - where did all of the money go?

April was a very painful & expensive month for us. Our budget spreadsheet is a sea of red. But, keeping it real (and, the honesty helps me stay on track. :-))

Categories where we were over:

  • Boys (misc) - we bought our older son a bike (used, on Craigslist) as he grew out of his. We also bought the boys bike locks, so they could ride to school & securely lock up. Over by $163.95.
  • Childcare - I paid for & booked all of our summer camps. Crazy expensive. I bid on two in the school auction, so I saved $150, but all in all, the childcare costs will go down for the summer. Thank goodness. It's mostly just prepayment of future costs. Over by $3,016.
  • Dining out - over by $16.2. Mostly from a lunch out at Great America at Easter. I won't even get into the food prices. And, we ordered two sandwiches from Subway - this wasn't exactly fancy. INSANITY. 
  • Entertainment - over by $346. We bought season passes to Great America, & expect to use the water park passes regularly during the summer. It's already 95 here! This also included our Easter visit, and parking. I do need to figure out how to keep the food costs down, so we can afford to go semi-regularly. I also feel compelled to confess that I got really into a series & bought & read 9 books! I'm a little ashamed - I rarely pay for books. 
  • Gas - over by $83. This is unusual for us. I guess this is driving to more soccer games.
  • Groceries - over by $15. I'll take it! :-)
  • Liquor - over by $58. My wine was on sale, so we stocked up.
  • Mortgage - over by $25. The insurance went up slightly, so I'll be over every month until the end of the year, as I measure the yearly budget against actual.
  • Vacation house utilities - over by $14. We're paying a yard guy to mow, and keeping the house warm for showings, both in the goal of eventually reducing our expenses. :-)
  • Toiletries - over by $11. 
  • And, the grand daddy of expenses. We paid $15,038 in taxes.
Adios, April. I won't miss your expenses at all!

On the plus side, we came in under a few other categories. Net/net (minusing the taxes), we were over for the month by $500. Not terribly shabby. 

We are setting a goal of actively trying to pay down our second mortgage on our Seattle house (and of course, selling our vacation house), so that we can eventually figure out the housing situation here. We owe just under $150K on it, so it's going to take some creative thinking to get it paid off.

How about you? How did your April turn out?