Friday, June 9, 2023

Frugal Friday

 The busy season of end of school is upon us. Combined with some really busy work days, this was about all I could manage. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I've continued to upload receipts to Fetch, and found a $.10 receipt offer on iBotta, so uploaded a receipt there as well. 
  • Used Target rewards + a few gift cards I don't remember having to slightly offset the cost of the steam mop I purchased. our entire house is either hard wood or tile (no carpeting) & getting the floors cleaned is a struggle. My mom has this mop & loved it, so I figured it was worth a try to make life easier. 

Earning money

  • I have a bunch of stuff to list on eBay, but have so far made zero progress. 

Avoiding spending

  • Thought long & hard about getting takeout 2x this week, but instead, I cobbled together a dinner one night, and M did the same on another night. 

Eating what we have

  • Grilled an (enormous) artichoke from the garden, and had that with dinner on Saturday. I made a delicious lemon aioli to go with it.
  • I made eggs a few times this week for meals, and served as an open faced sandwich with whatever I found in the fridge (1/2 a bun one day, and the end of a loaf of bread another day). I topped both with sliced pepper jack cheese (leftover from Sam's sandwich making) & sliced tomatoes.
  • Nick had friends over for lunch on Monday (they brought a pizza with them), but underestimated how much food it would take to feed 5 hungry teen boys. I offered them the chicken I made myself for lunch, plus chips & cookies from the pantry. 

For others

  • Gave away a bunch of PSAT books & other prep material in BN, as well as sporting equipment, some clothes, etc. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Last day of school

For whatever reason, I'm a little emotional today, as it's the last day of 10th & 11th grade. Next year, Sam will be a senior! It's such a milestone, we've been thinking about it forever, and known it was coming, but.... it's here!

Work is absolutely crazy, with calls starting at 8, and wrapping up at 6, and I slept through my workout. So, I've left the boys $20, with a promise that they would take the traditional last day of school pictures for me. Pretty convinced my bribe will work!

Nick flies out tomorrow, and Sam starts his job on Monday, so things are already moving quickly. 

Monday, June 5, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 I'm late, but I do actually have a menu planned for the week! Here's what we're eating at our house.

  • Friday - M & I had grilled burgers, the boys had chicken sandwiches, & we all had caprese salad
  • Saturday - grilled chicken & rice + a grilled artichoke from our garden, with lemon aioli
  • Sunday - barbecued chicken + coleslaw + more artichokes
  • Monday - M is making salmon for himself, I'm having a leftover meal delivery meal (freezer) & the boys are having pasta & meatballs
  • Tuesday - leftover grilled chicken & rice
  • Wednesday - barbecued chicken, coleslaw, and if the boys need carbs, pasta
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers
  • Friday - We're taking Nick to the airport, to visit my parents. Sam has to work next week, so he'll be with us. Maybe we'll do a dinner out, just the three of us. Or, more realistically, he'll have plans with friends. ;-)
What's on your menu this week? Anything from your garden making it onto your menu?

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Sunday Things

I made good progress on my to do list yesterday, but a few things have carried over to today (my usual weekend approach). M made delicious barbecued chicken and rice, which we had with our first artichoke from the garden. He grilled it, and I made a lemon aioli to go with it, and it was fabulous. We need to tweak the cooking time a bit, so we're going to practice with more artichokes. I like this kind of practice. ;-) 

It's going to be a very intense work week, with lots of early morning starts. M & I planned our schedules, so we understood the overlaps, the boys schedules, late days, etc. I'm glad we took the time to do that yesterday, as it makes the week ahead a bit easier.

Here's what's on the list today:

  • Meet a friend for a hike
  • Vacuum (M did part of this yesterday, as my back has been bothering me.)
  • Practice Duolingo
  • Water plants
  • Go to Sam's soccer game (last one of the season)
  • Make coleslaw (we opted for the artichoke instead last night)
  • Make protein balls for Sam
  • Read by the pool
  • Sweep
  • Order steam mop
What about you? What's on your to do list this weekend? Any tips to share of what you do on weekends to make the week ahead easier? 

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 School is out in just under a week, so the boys are working hard on finals, studying & last minute catch up work. No one is really having that much fun, and people are a little...stressed, shall we say. :-) 

I'm getting back into the groove, after a shorter work week, having guests, and lots of soccer last weekend.

Here's what I'm up to today:

  • Workout class this am
  • Shopping list & menu for the week
  • Workout schedule/running training plan
  • Laundry 
  • Dust
  • Vacuum
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean kitchen
  • Make coleslaw
  • Run to the store
  • Help the boys with emails to their teacher. For whatever reason, both of them get very uncomfortable with this, but there is some chasing to do. (Assignments that were submitted but not graded, etc.) 
  • Sit by the pool & read my book
  • Water the plants
  • Duolingo
  • Make protein bars for Sam
A lot's going on at work (in a good way), so I'll provide an update about that in the next week or so. Just when I locked on a date to leave, something really crazy happened in my broader organization that's making me interested in staying at least long enough to see what happens, and whether I'm interested in leading a team. We shall see!

What about you? What are you up to today? 

Friday, June 2, 2023

Frugal Friday


Saving on things we buy

  • I had a $20 Dicks sporting good reward to use that was expiring. I combined that, ensured I had enough to get free shipping, and of course clicked through Rakuten before I made the purchase. I was able to pick up: two pair of running socks for M's birthday, a water bottle for me for traveling, & a light weight water bottle for Nick. I was short on the amount needed to get free shipping, so I added two containers of Nuun (an electrolyte water bottle drop in). Nick uses Nuun when it's hot, to prevent getting migraines. I needed a water bottle that was small enough to fit in the side pocket of the backpack that M bought me for my birthday. It's an awesome backpack, but all of my current water bottles are too wide. In related news, we only have three water bottles left at our house. Maybe five years ago, we had 6-10. They ever so slowly disappear at sports practices... 
  • Used a $10 reward to order pizza one night when my mom was visiting

Earning money

  • I volunteered at the soccer tournament last weekend, earning $100 off of my club dues for one kid. My mom was in town and offered to help volunteer, which was awesome, as I needed another chunk of volunteer hours for the second kid. All told, we volunteered for two hours & I saved $200. (I did take her out to dinner on Friday as a thank you :))
  • After a long drought, sold a workout tank on eBay. 

Avoiding spending

  • Instead of going to the local winery for a wine tasting, we opted to do something similar at my house. I bought a nice but not terribly expensive bottle of wine at Trader Joes, as well as some fun nibbles. We had that by the pool, where we sat & caught up. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, which made it especially nice. 
  • Drove our electric car to an away soccer tournament (x2), which was quite a distance, saving on gas. We charge the car for free at our office. 

Eating what we have

  • I didn't have any good lunch options, so made a quick scrambled egg wrap, using a mini tortilla leftover from a meal delivery dinner, and some grated cheese from taco night. Easy & filling. 
  • My mom & I had leftover Chipotle for lunch one day. We had to eat on the run, between soccer games on Saturday, and had plenty of leftovers on Sunday. I reheated the tortilla chips, added diced tomato to my burrito bowl to make it more filling, and we were good to go.
  • Ate lettuce from the garden in salads, and used garden basil for a caprese salad. 
  • Ate a leftover dinner delivery meal, from the freezer 

For others

  • Gave away some garden goodies to neighbors (lettuce, spinach, herbs)
  • Helped my neighbor order a mouse (the computer variety) that would meet her needs
What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, June 1, 2023

June Goals

June is full of lots of family celebrations (my nephew's graduation & my cousin's wedding) & travel, so things will be interesting this month! 

Here are my goals. 


  • Stick to our budget
  • Use 6 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items (including meal delivery leftovers)
  • Make $200 in side hustle
  • Start working on college funding plans


  • One fun activity with the kids
  • Plan birthday lunch with M + our shared day off
  • Have two dates with M
  • Survive finals week (teens) & plan a few fun surprises for them
  • Help boys with college prep (Sam) & tutoring (Nick)
  • Get back on track with running training plan
  • Track calories & average below 1500/day
  • Complete June Orange Theory Fitness challenge (15 class workouts + other assorted daily challenges)
  • Meditate 10x


  • Do something social with friends
  • Practice French on Duolingo
  • Land on timing for French trip (time in various areas) + hotels & activities
  • Give away 20 items on Buy Nothing
  • Trim back herbs & give away what we won't use
  • Try one new recipe with garden goodies
What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in June?

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

May Goals Recap

May absolutely flew by. Any time I have an international work trip, things are wonky during the week I travel, and it takes some time for me to adjust when I come back. We also had my mom visiting over Memorial Day, which was a fun treat, but a bit out of the normal schedule as well.

Here's how I did with my monthly goals.


  • Stick to our budget - yes! This was a good month for our budget
  • Use 6 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items - I've been working on using up some of the meal delivery dinners I have in the freezer (they take up a lot of space) & used three of those, plus one leftover of a delivery dinner. So, I got to 4/6
  • Make $200 in side hustle - I didn't even think of this, really. I have a list of stuff to list on eBay, but with the traveling & having to pause sales, it didn't work out to list anything new. 
  • Update our withholdings - we've both made adjustments to our withholdings, although frankly, it's not enough, given the split of our income between stock & salary.
  • Decide on car insurance - Due to State Farm exiting California for homeowners policies, now isn't a great time to shop around for insurance. We're planning to stay with our current provider at the moment, as we have a combined auto & home policy, with some benefit to having the two at the same company. 


  • One fun activity with the kids - yes, we took the kids out to dinner with my mom, when she was here. The teens were hilarious, filling her in on their lives.
  • Finalize summer plans - done!
  • Have two dates with M - nothing official, although we did have cocktails by the pool at least 2x. 


  • Focus on my running training plan - I was doing great, until I went to Tokyo. Things have been really inconsistent since then, and I need to get back on track.
  • Track calories & average below 1500 calories/day - basically exactly the same as the running plan. I've been off track since I've been back. When I'm jetlag, I rely on caffeine & carbs/sugar to get through the days. 
  • Stay focused on overall fitness goals on trip to Tokyo. Despite jet lag & travel days. - as you can see above, I did "okay" with this, in that I did run once, and went to the gym two other days. But, so much room for improvement here. 


  • Do something social with friends - I went out with my friend on her birthday (in Tokyo), which was fun. 
  • Practice French on Duolingo - similar to some of the above themes, I did great before I left for my trip, and then fell out of the habit. I need to get back into the groove.
  • Start France trip plans - we've chatted a bit about locations we're interested, but that's as far as we've gotten
  • Give away 10 items on Buy Nothing - done! I probably gave away 15 items, plus a huge bag of lettuce from the garden

What about you? How did you do with your goals for the month? 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 It was a very busy weekend, so easier meals than usual. 

  • Friday - out to dinner with my mom. 
  • Saturday - takeout, on the way home from a soccer tournament
  • Sunday - pizza delivery + salad
  • Monday - grilled chicken, salad & berries (potato salad, if we can find any - Trader Joes was sold out)
  • Tuesday - leftover pizza
  • Wednesday - leftover grilled chicken
  • Thursday - Trader Joes orange chicken
  • Friday - pot stickers & wings
What about you? What's on your menu this week? If you're in the US, what's on your menu today for Memorial Day? 

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Saturday Happenings

My mom flew in yesterday afternoon, and Sam & I picked her up at the airport. She was so excited to see the boys. We went to dinner at her favorite local restaurant, and had a fabulous dinner. Both teens were super chatty & love catching up with my mom. Any time the teens willingly engage in a long discussion is a great thing. :-)

As for today, it's a very soccer filled day. We're heading out shortly to go to game one of Nick's soccer tournament. My mom & I will walk during his warmups, and then watch his game. We'll head home after that, as he volunteers to teach kids tennis lessons in the afternoon, and doesn't want to miss that.

We will head back to the tournament this evening, where my mom & I will volunteer for two hours together (checking kids in, and the like). We will miss the first half of Nick's game, but will be able to catch the second half. 

I need to volunteer for three hours (x2 kids) each season, in order to get a $100 credit off of soccer fees. Because we're taking the evening shift at a tournament, we only have to work two hours, and having my mom there means I get credit for both kids. I'm excited! For two hours work, I'm getting a $200 credit. The dinner last night was partly a thank you to my mom, for offering to volunteer with me. ;-) 

After Nick's second game, it will be around 9 pm, so my guess is that we will grab a quick bite to eat, and then head home. More soccer tomorrow, of course!

We're hoping to spend Monday sitting by the pool. We were going to go to a wine tasting, but I think we'll have it at the house instead. We'll go to Trader Joes & pick up some fun nibbles, and then enjoy the nice pool backyard area.

The weather is not supposed to be super warm this weekend, which is pretty wild for Memorial Day in California.

What are you up to this weekend? Any fun plans?

Friday, May 26, 2023

Frugal Friday

It's been a super wild week at work, but looking forward to a fun weekend. My mom is coming to visit today, and M is headed out of town to meet a friend. 

Saving on things we buy:

  • I received a bunch of contest tickets at the grocery store, and took the time to redeem them all. I won a total of $5.25, and a 2 liter of a Coke product. I'll redeem that next time I'm at the store.
  • Picked up the Friday Freebie at the grocery store, uploaded my receipts to Fetch, and Box Tops for Education (earns a donation for the local school.) 
  • Bought two giant boxes of cereal for $3.49. I try to keep the junky snacks pretty limited, which means the boys really enjoy the treats, when I buy them. 
  • Bought Home Depot gift cards (which we use for house maintenance, gardening supplies, etc) & earned $30 of grocery store rewards. 
  • I used a Southwest flight credit to book flights for a trip to my parents this summer. 
  • I submitted my receipt for my workout class, for work reimbursement. I get a small discount (15% off), via work. 
Earning money
  • Not "earning", but keeping my own money... I submitted my expense report promptly. I use my corporate card for almost all expenses, but a few are charged to other cards, & by submitting promptly, I also get my own money returned quickly. 
Avoiding spending
  • We debated takeout last Friday (I was *so* jetlagged, & incapable of any meal prep), but M whipped up what I'd planned to order out - salad topped with chicken. It was delicious, and made from things we already had on hand. 
Eating what we have
  • I had a meal delivery freezer leftover for a dinner, when M & I were home alone for a meal. He had the rest of a piece of salmon. While I don't love all of the variance of our dinner plans (due to teen availability), it does make it easier to serve impromptu leftovers. 
  • Cut back a bunch of lettuce, put it through the salad spinner & it's now in the fridge, ready for salads. We've been eating it all week. We still have SO MUCH lettuce ready to pick. I need to share some with the neighbors. 
  • Ate one of my (frozen) meal delivery options, which I've kept on hand for just such an occasion. Meanwhile, M had leftover cauliflower pizza I found in the fridge, and half of a burger. The boys were at practice, and no one wanted anything heavy. 
For others
  • Caught up with my neighbor, who is quite elderly, and was very close with the previous owners of our house. She occasionally comes around to our side door (surprising me, numerous times), but caught me at a great time, where I had time to chat & check in with her. We help her out when we can, and her daughter calls us whenever they need someone close to ensure everything is going well. M is also her to go tech support, and if she sees the kids backing their car out, she doesn't hesitate to ask for help moving something. She's adorable. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, May 22, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 Easy meals are on the menu for the week, as I get back into the groove, post-Tokyo.

  • Friday - M made salads topped with grilled chicken, which was delicious
  • Saturday - tacos
  • Sunday - grilled burgers
  • Monday - orange chicken & rice
  • Tuesday - leftover tacos
  • Wednesday - leftover burgers
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers, or spaghetti & meatballs
  • Friday - my mom is arriving for a short visit, so we'll see what she feels like
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday things

 After two very long nights of sleep (Friday & Saturday), I'm slowly getting back to normal. Given I have a very early start tomorrow am, I need to be back on schedule, so fingers crossed. 

I got most of the house cleaned yesterday, but had to skip vacuuming. Sam had terrible allergies, so he took medicine & that caused him to be drowsy & take a nap. I didn't think vacuuming would be very conducive to vacuuming. ;-) 

I also went to my workout class, cleaned the fridge, caught up on laundry, made a meal plan, went to the store, and got a few other tasks completed. I sat in the sun & read a bit as well, as the sun is supposed to help reset your circadian rhythm & help with jet lag.

As for today, it's going to be a full one:

  • Attend two soccer games
  • Go for a run
  • Vacuum the house
  • Help Sam order a new debit card
  • Work in the yard
  • Pick more lettuce
  • Go to Trader Joes
  • Call my parents
  • Work on the schedule for the week
  • A bunch of emails, phone calls & other life stuff that needs to be handled

What about you? What are you planning to get done today?