Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Four O'Clock Stop

Every weekend day, M & I push super hard to get all of our chores complete by 4:00, and then try to take a break to have a glass of wine together. It's a great motivation to get as much done as possible by then, but quite frankly, if I've pushed myself, I'm typically exhausted by 4:00 anyway. I manage my energy levels well, and know that I'm trending down anyway right around that time. Given we don't have many formal date nights, and the kids are typically playing outside or at the library at this time, it's a perfect chance for a conversation & relaxing.

As for today, it's almost 4:00 on the west coast, and I've finished most of my to do list. I'm calling it! I took Sam to two soccer games, went for a run, went to the store, cleaned the house, cleaned/vacuumed under the bed (which required taking the bed apart), sold something on our local Facebook swap, and washed the sheets. I also did my normal pre-week planning (nanny coordination, work schedule, fitness schedule, and lining up my calendar with M's, to make sure we have everything covered).

I'll make dinner around 5:00, so plenty of time to relax & have a glass of wine. I'm making naan pizza for dinner tonight. A quick & easy pizza crust alternative. Yum!

Do you have any similar habits? Do you close down your weekend days early enough to relax a bit? It's my favorite part of the weekend, and I enjoy it so much more when I've "earned it", by finishing my work. :-) 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The end of the soccer season

Between the two boys, we have six games this weekend, so things will be very busy! Nick's season will wrap up tomorrow, but Sam will have a game the first weekend of June. It will be nice to have a break after that. :-) His club doesn't play over the summer, although both boys elected to attend a couple of soccer camps. Nick plans to try out for the ultra competitive school soccer team in middle school, so he wants to make sure he's getting in some soccer time this summer. I don't know anyone who loves playing soccer more than Nick. . . If his team has a free weekend, he'll find another team to sub for. He can't resist!

M will take Nick to his morning game today, so I can go for a run. It's been hanging over my head, and I haven't been consistently running, which is frustrating. I also have my normal set of chores to complete today. Here's what's happening:

  1. Make a menu
  2. Make a Costco list
  3. Take Nick to morning game (M)
  4. Go for a run
  5. Take Nick to afternoon game (me)
  6. Vacuum
  7. Clean the kitchen
  8. Bathrooms
  9. Declutter 30 items (this will mostly be papers, as it's the end of the school year)
  10. Go for a bike ride with Nick
  11. Collect all overdue library books
  12. Laundry (to prep all of the soccer stuff for tomorrow)
  13. Remove mattresses from beds & dust/vacuum the frames. They are super dusty.

That's it for us! What about you? What will you be up to this weekend? 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Frugal Friday

Another week, whizzing by! We've had track meet districts, end of the school activities, open house, a crazy work week. . . Here's what we've been up to this week, in terms of frugal news:

  1. Made all dinners at home, using leftovers. (We cook on weekends & then reheat during the week.) Yesterday we had a little bit of lots of things for everybody, but stayed the course vs going out. 
  2. Cancelled 3 return flights (myself + the kids) & determined that we would drive home from our summer beach trip. This allows us to save the price of a rental car (minus the gas involved in driving to & from) + the 3 one way tickets & a round trip ticket for M. The goal was to bring tools & supplies for some work we need to do on our vacation house, but after rethinking the trip, we were able to make other changes as noted here, in order to save more.
  3. Used frequent flier miles to book two round trip tickets to Hawaii. Paid outright for the other two. When we originally started pricing a week in Hawaii, the price was absolutely insane. I promised myself that we could book it if I could get the cost cut in half. . . it's taken a bunch of work & time, but I did it! 
  4. Found a penny on the ground ;-) 
  5. Didn't save me money, but I had a free hotel night that was expiring & I wasn't able to use - I offered it to a coworker, and his family will be able to use it. As a thank you, he upgraded my upcoming Tokyo flight to business class, using a free upgrade. That's a huge win for me!

What about you? Any frugal wins to report? 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Post London jetlag

I flew in yesterday, and arrived home around 3:30 (an hour earlier than expected). Hurrah! It was so nice to see the boys, and we went to the grocery store & picked up two frozen pizzas for dinner. It wasn't the cheapest or healthiest option, but it was cheaper than takeout.

My to do list for today is enormous, but we don't have soccer until late afternoon. I also want to get the house cleaning done today, given I don't feel like scrubbing toilets on Mother's Day. ;-)

Here's what I'd like to get done today:

  1. Review my work calendar
  2. Email our nanny & coordinate our schedule for next week
  3. Laundry. And, we have a ton, as I was gone & Nick brought home a giant bag of laundry from science camp.
  4. Clean the kitchen, bathrooms & vacuum
  5. Make muffins
  6. Catch up on our budget
  7. Finalize flights for my parents in August
  8. Clean & organize the paperwork & bills that have stacked up while I was gone
  9. Work out! Long distance flights are the worst for sapping your energy 
  10. Take the boys to soccer
  11. Make chicken curry
  12. Plan the menu for the week
That's it for me. What about you? I rarely get a chance to "get out" much on work trips, but this time we did eat out at a fabulous restaurant. If you like Indian food, and happen to be in London, I highly recommend this place

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Just another Sunday

First, an observation from yesterday, where I went to three youth soccer games. . . Usually most of the teams we play are pretty well intentioned. Yesterday was a crazy day, full of kids following us through the parking lot & taunting the players (some of the things were saying . . . ), flipping off adults, a fist fight broke out, parents got ejected, a coach got ejected, and. . .while Nick was playing goalie, a player intentionally tackled him. Nick was injured & got carried off, and the offending player said he wished he broke his arm. I really feel sad that parents & coaches are not doing their part to teach sportsmanship & appropriate play. Our kids don't play for "the best" soccer club, but the definitely play for a club that focuses on player development & skills  . . . not how to foul other people. If a coach hears a kid trash talking, he will immediately pull them from the game. As it should be. Parents are also only allowed to cheer on the players.

Today is one more soccer game, but it's another nearby team. So, should be minimal drama. Also, this is soccer for 11 & 12 year olds. . . Please get a grip, adults.

Vent over. :-)

I need to squeeze a ton into my day today, as I'm leaving for the airport around 5 pm for a flight to London. I'm trying to treat the flight as a "fun" event, even though we all know it's not so much. But, I lucked into a business class flight both ways, and a business class flight does have great movie options & typically nice wine & a meal. Bright side.

Here's my plan for the day:

  1. Absolutely must work out before sitting on a super long plane ride. 
  2. Yoga would also be a bonus - to stretch out
  3. Clean the house
  4. Take Nick to soccer
  5. Finish packing
  6. Help Nick finish packing for science camp
  7. Return overdue library books
  8. Mail my mom's mother's day card
  9. Help M with a meal plan
  10. Laundry. Uniforms. So. many. uniforms!
  11. Review the plan for the week with M & the kids
Any youth sports stories? How is your weekend going?

Friday, May 4, 2018

Frugal Friday

It was a pretty slow week, in terms of frugality, at the HP house this week. Here's what went down:

  1. Scored free lemons off of the "free" table at work. One of my coworkers has an amazing lemon tree that overproduces, and sometimes they share the bounty. We use lemon juice daily in salads, so this is always a nice treat.
  2. Arranged a carpool + biking option for Sam to get to his track meet. Saved time & the cost of traveling. 
  3. Made dinner every night at home this week, despite some craziness between M being in the city all week, and soccer + track. The fridge is almost looking bare, which is my preferred way to enter Friday.
  4. Chatted with my manager about needing to fly back from a vacation to attend a mandatory training. She agreed that I can expense my trip. Savings of $250. 
  5. Almost booked an elaborate vacation on a stressful day. Instead, agreed with M that we would book it if we could get the price to 1/2 the original estimate. We'd need to be super creative with using miles for flights, cheaper lodging, etc. It's a fun challenge, & saved a bunch of money to avoid booking on a whim.
That's it for us. How frugal was your week? Any wins?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Goals for May

May is a rare month where I have two international business trips. This was not part of my plan, but I have a really challenging situation to deal with in APAC, and already had a London trip (with other attendees) already booked. So, it is what it is. I'll set reasonable goals this month, knowing that the two work trips will make some things logistically challenging.

Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish in May:


  • Keep dining out to $150 
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis
  • Earn another $100 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage.

  • Have one family evening together: cooking dinner, board games, etc
  • Have a date night with my husband
  • Continue financial help (knowledge, not money) with sister & friend
  • Finalize June trips for myself & M. This was previously complete, but a change of plans means I'm back to evaluating our options & rebooking. 
  • Decide on Thanksgiving plans (if any). 

  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies
  • Lose 3 pounds
  • Run at least 8 times
  • Go on 4 bike rides (I'm doing a family biking event in June) 
  • Work from home 3 days
  • Take two classes that I need for a work opportunity


  • Make one new recipe
  • Spend time with a friend
  • Volunteer at least 1x
  • Read a goal book ("Wishcraft".) Hoping to get some clarity on what I want to do when I'm done working at this job. 

That's it for me. What are you hoping to accomplish in May? Any big goals? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April Goals Recap - How Did I Do?

April was a month without business travel (hurrah), but with one girls weekend. We had a fabulous time in Las Vegas. My parents also came to stay with the boys for spring break, which you'll see reflected in some of the numbers below. I also was sick for almost a week, which impacted my work out routine. Altogether, it was a good month, but definitely some areas for improvement in the months ahead. 


  • Keep dining out to $150 - Nope, we were double this. Because my parents were in town, M took them out to dinner/dessert (I was on my girls trip), & M & I had a date night while my parents watched the boys. 
  • Stay within budget for girls trip. - Yes, done!
  • Make final decisions on house remodel. - We've agreed to do nothing, save for air conditioning. We'll continue to save & plan until we get a bit further & see what else we might want to do with the house. 
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis - we bought solar outdoor lights, to replace our battery powered lights. 
  • Earn another $200 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage. - Nope. I found $30 on the ground, but that was my only win. 
  • File taxes/pay. - Yes, done & done. 

  • Have one family evening together: cooking dinner, board games, etc - We did a family movie/popcorn night. 
  • Have a date night with my husband - Yes! Did this when my parents were in town. 
  • Continue financial help (knowledge, not money) with sister & friend - Yes, I did both this month.

  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix - I only finished 15/21, and can tell a difference. I missed a few workouts when I was sick, and just never got back around to them. 
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies - Nope, 4.3. 
  • Lose 4 pounds - I did lose 1/2 a pound. I had no idea this would be so slow! But, I'll definitely take any progress. 
  • Run at least 8 times - I had four runs in April. 
  • Work from home 3 days - Yes!
  • Take two classes that I need for a work opportunity - Nope, and I may not do them. I have another big opportunity to focus on instead, and did make progress on that front. So, considering that a win. 


  • Make one new recipe - Nope. 
  • Spend time with a friend - Yes, girls trip!
  • Volunteer at least 1x - Nope. 
  • Write for at least 4 hours on personal stuff - Not even close. Did pretty much nothing. 
  • Summarize my findings from completing my Dream Bio, and plan to turn at least one of those findings into action. - Not even close. Did pretty much nothing. 

So, there you have it, folks! For those of you who think that I get so much done every day/month. . . well, sometimes I do. But, more often I have months where I have some wins, and some fails. But, it's all good! May is going to be a good month! What about you? How did you do with your April goals? 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Happy Sunday

I'm looking forward to today. Because I was out of town last weekend, my normal chores didn't get done completely, and the work week is a bit of a scramble.

Nick is subbing for a soccer game today, but has a ride. Sam has a birthday party, but will be able to ride his bike both ways. Hurrah!

Here's what I need to do today:

  • Clean the house
  • Make a menu plan
  • Drop off a car + change of clothes at work, so I can hopefully bike tomorrow. (I'm just starting out, so can't go both ways yet).
  • Make chicken broth
  • Deal with a broken ice machine that has made a giant mess in the freezer
  • Help Nick pack for science camp
  • Start packing for my trip to London next weekend
  • Manage my work week schedule
  • Sort some adjustments to our summer travel plans (due to work)
  • Help Sam with a few last things on his book report. My work here will be helping him get the printer up & running, not actually helping with the project.
  • Work out. I'm hoping to go for a run & do yoga.
If I get that done, I'll be thrilled, and will hopefully have time to read my book.

I'll just go ahead & check off #2, and make a menu plan for the week. M will be at work dinners most nights, so I'm going to keep things easy:

Saturday - we had chicken fiesta skillet with chips & guac
Sunday - M is making kebabs & rice
Monday - leftover chicken fiesta skilet
Tuesday - leftover kebabs & rice
Wednesday - eat any remaining leftovers
Thursday - chicken enchiladas (from the freezer. My parents made them when they were here)
Friday - chicken risotto
Saturday - chicken kebabs, rice & salad

I'm traveling starting next Sunday, so I'll also make sure there are easy meal options available to M & the kids. What about you? What are you up to today? What's on your menu plan?

Friday, April 27, 2018

Frugal Friday

It's that time again! Apologies for being MIA. I was out of town last weekend on a fabulous girls trip with my sister & best friend. Many, many good times were had, and it's always so energizing to get a chance to catch up & laugh. Lots of laughing. :-)

Here are the frugal wins we've had over the past few weeks:

  • Used miles (work trips) + a free room in Las Vegas for a very reasonably priced vacation. We did splurge on food, however, and it was well worth it
  • Went to the airport an hour earlier than necessary to get a ride with M, and avoid an Uber.
  • Even though I had no meals prepped, avoiding eating out this week. Things got pretty creative with leftovers & freezer options. ;-)
  • My parents were in town last week with the boys over spring break, so we had no nanny expenses. 
  • Called & modified our home owners insurance for our vacation house, and saved $50/year.
That's pretty much it on our side. What about you? Any frugal wins for the week? Hope you are gearing up for a great weekend! We have no soccer, so I'm looking forward to a nice combination of relaxing, and getting things done!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Frugal Friday

It's that time again! Another week has whizzed by, and here's a quick look at how we did with our spending/savings/frugality.

  1. Found $30 on the ground on a walk! I was so excited. What a fun surprise.
  2. Made all dinners at home. (Lunch is free for the adults at work.)
  3. Drove the electric car for commuting all week, and charged for free at work.
  4. Took advantage of a free class at work that I've been wanting to take.
  5. No other purchases during the week. This is something that we consistently do every week, but our schedules are so crazy, we don't buy anything M-Thurs. Friday is usually included, but occasionally I slide a few errands in there, time permitting. It works well to keep spending in check.

So, a pretty quiet frugal week, but I'll take it! And, for those wondering about the peanut noodle bowl recipe I posted last week, it was great. I added diced chicken, and served with cilantro, sriracha, fresh lime squeezed on it, and peanuts on top. I thought it could be a bit spicier, but the toppings helped make it close to perfect. M, Sam & I loved it. Nick didn't try it, because he's super picky. ;-) Also, I served mine with angel hair pasta, as we didn't have soba noodles. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Menu Plan Monday

Making a weekly menu helps us reduce grocery costs, avoid food waste, and stay out of restaurants. It's not perfect, and we eat a lot of leftovers but it helps. Here's what we're eating this week:

Friday - I made chicken risotto
Saturday - we had no power, so our plans for peanut noodle bowls (with chicken) were scrapped, & we got sandwiches from the Costco food court
Sunday - Grilled burgers
Monday - Chicken peanut noodle bowls
Tuesday - leftover burgers
Wednesday - leftover chicken bowls
Thursday - eat any remaining leftovers, or spaghetti & meatballs
Friday - my parents will be visiting, so I'll make tacos, guacamole & we'll have margaritas
Saturday - M will make beef kebabs & rice
Sunday - homemade chicken curry

That's it for our plans. What about you? What's on your menu for the week ahead? 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Soccer free Sunday

It's always amazing when we have an entire day without any responsibilities! Soccer is not scheduled for today, as many schools are on spring break. (We're a couple of weeks later.) Hurrah! I definitely need the time to get things done.

We were supposed to try a new peanut butter/noodle recipe last night (I was going to add in chicken, to make a bit of chicken satay like taste), but the power was out from around 4 pm to 2 am. The power company kept reassuring us it would be back soon, but we ended up having M pick up food court items from Costco for dinner. We ate by candle light, and read books in the evening. So, we're a bit behind on standard laundry/dishes chores.

I'm still getting over a bad cold, so it will likely take me longer to get things done, but I have a lot to accomplish. Here goes:

  1. Make peanut sauce & prep ingredients (will have that recipe tomorrow, instead, due to power outage)
  2. Make muffins (time permitting)
  3. Wash all sheets & duvets
  4. Clean spare room (my parents arrive on Friday)
  5. Clean showers
  6. Clean bathrooms
  7. Clean kitchen
  8. Vacuum 
  9. Catch up on budget & paying bills
  10. Make a packing list for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas
  11. Review work schedule for next week
  12. Carpool schedule
  13. Nanny schedule
  14. Go for a slow walk in the sun (not feeling up to a run)
  15. Yoga
  16. M will grill burgers for dinner
  17. Try on a few dresses I ordered, and see if anything will work for my trip in a few weeks
  18. Work on menu plan for my parents visit
  19. Catch up on email
That's it from our side. What about you? Hope you have a relaxing & productive Sunday!