Monday, September 20, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

We're trying something new this week, as the other diners in my house are getting bored with leftovers. My plan for 10+ years has been to cook on weekends (Friday, Saturday & Sunday), & make enough for leftovers for the week, with one fill in meal. I hate change and am a little worried about the timing of making everything during the week. But, we will give it a try for a few weeks, & see how things go.

We have a green salad with each meal, I just don't post it.

  • Friday - we went out, to an outdoor restaurant we've been interested in trying. IMO, it was overpriced, for the food/experience. 
  • Saturday - steak & caprese salad
  • Sunday - barbecued chicken & roasted squash
  • Monday - spaghetti & meatballs (Nick cooking)
  • Tuesday - tacos/taco salads
  • Wednesday - steak & caprese salad (we'll prep the steak "fresh", so I suppose it's technically not a leftover ;-) 
  • Thursday - taquitos (for 3 diners), salmon for M
  • Friday - Gyozos and baked chicken
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Fall Sunday

 This is absolutely my favorite time of the year, when there is no wildfire smoke. Fingers crossed. It's overcast & may actually rain here, after months & months (& months) of sun. 

I'm planning to take a break from work today (hurrah) & putter around a bit before I take Sam to his game. We had the loveliest evening last night. Dinner was fabulous, the kids were chatty about their days, and then they ended up playing a game together in the evening. COVID was pretty hard on their relationship, and it's been hard to see them not spend time together. I know that is a natural part of growing up, but we were so lucky for the first 12+ years, where they got along exceptionally well. Hearing them laughing & chatting when we went to bed was such a treat. 

Here's what's on the agenda today:

  • Laundry. It's an almost daily activity, when you have four people who work out every day, and one who wears a PE uniform, and two soccer players (game uniforms, etc). 
  • Make zucchini muffins. Defrosted a package of shredded zucchini from the freezer
  • Make salsa verde (roast tomatillos?)
  • Run
  • Take Sam to his game (pick up bonus kid)
  • Arrange soccer schedule for the week
  • Call my parents
  • Have Nick sign up for more reffing games
  • Sam to study for drivers test & PSATs
  • Both boys - homework
  • Make homemade bread (Nick)
  • Review work schedule for the week
  • List the two items from my closet on eBay
  • Clean fridge
That's it from my side. What are you up to today? Hope you have a fabulous day!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Saturday Happenings

I got up at 5 to get started on work, and did that for a few hours, before taking Nick to his first ref job. We want him to select only games he can bike to, but he had to leave straight from that game to get a ride to his own game. Both coaches got a yellow card - he said it was fun but intense. Note that this was pretty young kids, and a rec league, not club/competitive soccer. He's not ready for that level of ref'ing yet. :-) 

M took Nick to his game (an hour+ drive), while I took Sam on a few errands. He can be good company, when he's in the mood to chat. We loaded up at the produce stand, and then went to Costco. Rite Aid had a great deal on toothpaste, so I stocked up on some to donate. 

Nick's team won their game (he scored on a PK, & another player scored in the final minute of the game), so he was thrilled about that. M took Nick & a bonus player back with us, stopping first for lunch. Hungry soccer players couldn't wait, and required a stop at In & Out. 

I worked in the yard, did a few  more hours of work, and then gathered a bunch of garden ingredients for dinner: cilantro, parsley, jalapenos & oregano for a chimichurri sauce, and tomatoes + basil for a caprese salad.

And with that, I'm off to take Sam to his game, while M grills steak. We're having steak with a chimichurri sauce, caprese salad & green salad. All of the yummy things.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! What are you up to today? 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Frugal Friday

 Another really busy week at work. So happy it's Friday! This is my least favorite time of the year at my job - way too much going on!


Saving on things we buy

  • I've done quite a few iBotta deals lately, & earned $55 in the last few weeks. This is really unusual, as I rarely have the time or inclination to shop around for the sale prices + iBotta offers. Everything seemed to work out this time around. 
  • I bought a gift card on Raise (clicked through Rakuten first) & earned a $10 Raise promo. Went back & bought another gift card, applying the $10.

Earning money

I've been trying to slowly add more things to eBay. This week I've sold:

  • A shirt from the vacation house
  • An old remote. I wasn't super optimistic selling these, but would far prefer they get more use vs going to the landfill. I've been pleasantly surprised, and have sold 2 of the 3 I listed.
  • A pair of M's swim trunks that no longer fit
  • A dress I don't wear

Avoiding spending

  • I attended an outdoor goodbye drinks for a coworker, hosted at another coworkers house. She has a lovely outdoor space. I know she loves cooking & baking, so I brought over some goodies from the garden. I thought of buying flowers for the hostess, but know she'd prefer garden produce. I picked multiple varieties of tomatoes, shishito peppers & blueberries. In return, she sent everyone home with a large jar of honey from her bees. I'm very excited to try it. Yum, honey. 
  • Used a Rite Aid gift card to pick up movie theater snacks for Nick, and three more boxes of cereal. Earned 1059 points for the cereal (some sort of special offer) via Fetch. 
  • Got a free lunch from work (meal delivery)

Eating what we have

  • Used up leftover rice, and combined it with scrambled eggs (all baked together) & topped with cheddar cheese. It was surprisingly good, & I had it twice for lunch. 

For others

  • Uploaded my cereal receipt to Box Tops for education, earning money for the local school
  • Signed up to mentor Afghani female students, who were evacuated out, but in transition for a more permanent future. 
  • Volunteered to help someone who needs some career guidance

And, I thought I'd add the things we do every week, as a reminder for myself, if nothing else:
  • Meal plan
  • Save our shower warm up water (this is new over the last few weeks, so I'm excited to see how it will impact our garden watering bill)
  • Line dry the majority of our clothing/laundry
That's it from my side. What about you? 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

Keeping it short & simple, as another wild work week is ahead. Here's what we're eating this week. 


  • Friday - pizzas (kids), leftover curry & rice (adults)
  • Saturday - Burgers on the grill, with Mediterranean Coleslaw
  • Sunday - Beef & cauliflower taco skillet (didn't get made last week)
  • Monday - baked chicken & pasta
  • Tuesday - leftover burgers
  • Wednesday - potentially takeout. If not, spaghetti & meatballs
  • Thursday - leftover beef taco skillet
  • Friday - Wings & salad
What about you? What are you eating this week?

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Saturday Happenings

 It's a much quieter weekend, for which I'm very grateful. We have one soccer game today, and Nick is going to an outdoor birthday gathering for a friend, where I believe the parents have set up an outdoor movie viewing. Getting teens together in COVID times is challenging, but we are blessed with good weather for much of the year, which makes it easier.

What else is on my to do list?

  • Run
  • Strength/posture quick workouts
  • Sort out Nick's drop off/pick up
  • Clean the house
  • Take Sam to his soccer game
  • Track down missing iBotta items 
  • Make a grocery list
  • Menu plan
  • Go to the produce stand
  • Spend some time in the garden, weeding, getting fall items planted
  • List 10 items on Buy Nothing
Bonus items:
  • Pick up Nick's soccer jesery
  • Exchange the (wrong running) socks I bought M

M is grilling burgers tonight, & I'm thinking of making this Mediterranean Coleslaw to go with it. 

What is everyone else up to this weekend?

Friday, September 10, 2021

Frugal Friday

 It's been another wild work week, but here's what we accomplished. 


Saving on things we buy

  • Used grocery store rewards to pick up a few items we needed for dinners this week. And almond milk for my coffee, because mornings are hard enough without coffee.
  • Submitted iBotta offers for a few things we were already planning to buy (a sports drink for a thirsty soccer player & ground beef for weekend burgers). Saved $1.60. 
  • Used a Rite Aid gift card & rewards to pay for the above sports drink & two boxes of cereal. Received a Venmo rebate for the price of both boxes of cereal.
  • Contacted the grocery store, as I didn't get rewards for a gift card purchase. I find that these offers work as planned about half the time. They are always very friendly & responsive when I email them, but they should really figure out why their promotions don't work upon purchase. It would save everyone some time. ;-) 

Earning money

  • I didn't list much, but sold a few things:
    • A book off of a freebie table
    • An unworn race tshirt that didn't fit
    • A crystal candy dish, from another freebie table
    • A workout tank
Avoiding spending
  • Picked up a free loaf of bread as part of the Friday Freebies at the grocery store
  • Filled out a rebate for two boxes of cereal (teen snack favorite). I believe the rebate is still open, if you like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. 

Eating what we have
  • Lunch leftovers have been slim pickings lately (a combo of not having as much time to cook & meal prep, people eating more, & I've inadvertently selected a few recipes that just didn't make as much). Had a frozen lunch entree (frozen from our own previous meal) of chicken enchilada rice. Didn't love it as a leftover, due to semi soggy rice, but topped with guacamole, cheese & tomatoes & it was better. 
  • Found some fruit leather that were apparently leftover road trip snacks from this summer. Put them in the front of the pantry so hungry teens would eat them. Done & done. 
  • Used a lot of garden items in salads, and also made a large pasta salad. The salad used up zucchini, cherry tomatoes, basil, shishito peppers & banana peppers, and it was delicious. I used up other fridge items, including the last of a jar of sweet & spicy pickles. The pickle brine made a great addition to the dressing. 

For others
  • Helped a friend with transportation to our soccer tournament, and took her son with us to brunch. Another friend has helped me so many times with soccer transportation, so it's really nice to pay it forward. 
  • Bought breakfast for another friend. 
  • Returned a lost phone to a happy owner at a soccer tournament
  • Chased down our neighbor's dog (she's a wily one) & brought her back
  • A neighbor needed help (& a specialty part) for a bike repair. Nick offered to help, and fixed her bike for her. She was thrilled. (She sent him an Amazon gift card & the nicest thank you note, even though no payment was required. He's hoping to build enough skills to work at a bike shop.) 
  • Donated money to the boys school, and then requested a corporate match

Monday, September 6, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

It was a busy week, and an equally busy weekend. Prepping food over the weekend helps us stay on track between activities during the week.  

I can't function without a menu plan!

  • Friday - we had Thai takeout
  • Saturday - barbecued chicken (M) + pasta salad with lots of garden goodies
  • Sunday - In & Out style (homemade) burgers + leftover pasta salad
  • Monday - chicken curry & rice
  • Tuesdaybeef & cauliflower taco skillet
  • Wednesday - leftover barbecued chicken
  • Thursday - chicken curry & rice
  • Friday - Making burritos with the beef & cauliflower skillet filling
Other things happening today:
  • Clean the house
  • Laundry
  • Make curry
  • Prep beef & cauliflower taco skillet
  • Host pool party
  • Take Nick to meet up with friends
  • Work out
  • Carpool plan for the week
  • Work schedule for the week
  • Make to do list for tomorrow, as I have a crazy day
  • Some work
That's it from my side. What about you? What's happening at your house today?

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Soccer Sunday

M took Nick to his early morning game today, and they won 4-0, so we are back in the finals this afternoon. I attempted to go back to sleep after they left, but I find that really hard to do, so instead just relaxed a bit. 

I ran some errands (produce stand, Rite Aid, Trader Joes & the grocery store) to pick up a few items we needed, and also get snacks for tomorrow. Sam is having a couple of friends over to swim tomorrow, and I have a few pool party snacks, but two have meat, & both guests are vegetarian. Picked up some options for that.

I haven't yet worked out, but will plan to walk during tournament warm ups. As usual, there will be plenty of time ahead of the game. :-) 

I made pasta salad last night to go with M's barbecued chicken, and it was delicious. It used up so many garden items: zucchini, cherry tomatoes, basil, shishito peppers, banana peppers & cucumber. I also used the last of a jar of sweet & spicy pickles (delicious) as flavoring for the dressing, which worked well. In fact, I wish I'd had more. The zucchini should have been picked earlier, but was otherwise fine. 

I need to get some house cleaning done today, and then M is grilling burgers. Tomorrow I'll make chicken curry, and then perhaps also prep the beef/taco skillet for the week. 

How about you? What are you up to today? 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Saturday Happenings

I was up early (5), made coffee, made a smoothie & toast for Nick, & then we were out the door at six for soccer. The tournament organizers said we had to be there over an hour early, but somehow when we got there, the tournament wasn't even open yet. ;-) 

We won our first game 6-0 (you have to stop scoring at six) & then tied our second game 1-1. In between, we took the kids to brunch, where they scarfed pancakes & laughed & generally fooled around. 

I'm now home, & finished up a bit of work. It's definitely my busy time of the year. Luckily, it was a fast project. M is cooking, and I still have to make a salad. Oh, and laundry, because Nick's soccer uniform is all of the fragrant smells, and he has two more games tomorrow. Sam is at a birthday/swim party, and is thrilled, as the family is Indian & making lots of Indian food for the kids. That's his absolute favorite. Other (Indian) kids often ask their parents if they can have more Western party food, like pizza, but Sam always begs for their parents to make traditional food. They love feeding him, so I'm sure he'll come home stuffed. 

M is up for the early morning game tomorrow, and then I'll go to the afternoon game. I'm making chicken curry tomorrow (yum), & then a cauliflower/beef skillet dish on Monday. It sounds delicious, so I'll report back.

And, spotted on a run this week:



What about you? What are you up to this long weekend (for those of you in the US) Saturday?

Friday, September 3, 2021

Frugal Friday

 It was a really busy week on all sides, but here's what we accomplished!


Saving on things we buy

  • Bought two drinks at Starbucks, using a gift card. While I was walking into Starbucks, I looked on the app to see if there was a promotion, and quickly signed up for that, earning 25 stars.
  • Used grocery store rewards to buy Gatorade for soccer player on a super hot day. We don't do it often, so it's a special treat.
  • While I was dropping off the cleat exchange items for recycling, noticed that M's favorite running socks were on sale (good running socks are $$), & picked up a couple of pair


Earning money

  • Our mortgage company was challenging to work with, while we were attempting to pay off the balance, so we ended up overpaying. They reimbursed us $6k for the over payment, which I added to our savings
  • Listed a few items on eBay, as things are slow. Sold a few things:
    • A remote
    • A pair of football gloves that were at the bottom of the cleat recycling bin, but looked to be in great shape

Avoiding spending

  • I planned to make homemade granola bars, but Costco was out of natural peanut butter. I looked around our pantry, & found an unopened container of peanuts that needed to be used anyway, and made homemade peanut butter. Cleaning out the pantry & avoiding spending money. Win/win. 
  • I finally set up water containers in the shower to catch the warm up shower water. I feel so much better, making even tiny strides in reducing our water usage. The fires here continue to remind me to use as little water as possible. 
  • Picked up a few free lemons that a neighbor had out with a "free" sign. We use lemons to dress our salad every night
Eating what we have

  • Following on to the granola bar win, I also used up the dregs of a bag of stale granola & cereal (both in the back of the pantry, that someone left unsealed) in this granola bar recipe. I find that the pretzels can be replaced with many things. 
  • Roasted Serrano peppers
  • Picked a couple of small watermelons & one cantaloupe from the raised bed. They are small, but taste great!
  • I made eggs for lunch a couple of days, as there were no suitable leftovers. A couple of our recipes made less than expected/people ate more than anticipated. :)

For others

  • Gave away more zucchini to neighbors
  • Another neighbor dropped off strawberries & two (unopened) packages of pasta, as a thanks for all of our zucchini sharing
  • Volunteered at the cleat exchange, and helped match up soccer players with cleats & other soccer gear
  • Took the cleats with no life left, and dropped them off at the local sports store for recycling. 
  • Volunteering through a project at work

Thursday, September 2, 2021

September Goals

September, it's happening! September is another busy work month, so I'm keeping things pretty focused on what I feel like I can realistically accomplish. Here are my goals for the month. 


Financial:

  • Set new savings goals. I need clear motivation & tracking, after we finish saving for taxes
  • Resolve outstanding vacation house item
  • Figure out grocery budget, & determine what's realistic
  • Make $150 in side hustle

Family:

  • Have two dates with M
  • Build a regular soccer carpool schedule, once the practice time/days get finalized
  • Have Sam start working on a few longer term projects: test prep, drivers ed practice, job considerations
  • Decide on anniversary itinerary
  • Have a family adventure (this could be anything - dinner out, family tennis match, etc). 
Fitness/Health
  • Fast until noon 20 days
  • Lose 2 lbs
  • 1200 minutes of cardio
  • 10 runs
  • 10 strength workouts
  • Meditate 12 times
  • Continue doctors stuff for lupus & back
Personal:
  • Find 30 items to donate/give away, or toss
  • Try two new recipes
  • Write for 30 minutes
  • Plant a few fall vegetables



Wednesday, September 1, 2021

August Goals Recap

I can't believe August is over. It was a whirlwind month, with soccer & school starting, & my workload getting busier. Yet, here we are!

Here's a look back at my goals, and how I did for the month.


Financial:

  • Pay off our mortgage! - yes, done! WOOHOOOO!! All of the celebration emojis. 
  • Resolve outstanding vacation house item. - No, and we can't proceed until the buyers finalize a contractor.
  • Stick to our budget. - we were way over on groceries again. I need to take a closer look in September. I can think of a few things that contributed, but it's going to take some dedicated effort to figure out exactly what's happening (other than, spending too much generally) & deciding where we want to cut back, what we're comfortable with, and what's due to generally rising prices. 
  • Make $300 in side hustle - I made $130, as I didn't get much listed in August, due to overall business. 
Family:
  • Have a date with M- yes, we had a lovely dinner out a few weeks ago. 
  • Help the boys get back into school/soccer, particularly high school for Nick - yes, this is going pretty well, but a lot going on!
  • Help the boys with potential new job opportunities - Nick has completed the soccer ref course & is awaiting his official completion card, but is otherwise good to go. Sam's job didn't pan out (the school didn't end up hiring anyone), so we're waiting for him to get a bit more settled with school & sports before figuring out what might be a good option. 
  • Plan our anniversary - my parents are coming to hang out with the boys, and we're going out of town. Flights (parents) & travel (us) are booked!
Fitness/Health:
  • Lose 3 lbs - I've lost one pound but it's not net new. It's losing a pound I'd gained back. I'm happy for a bit of positive momentum, but need more!
  • Start half marathon training - I had one good week, but have since dialed it back to less frequent running & shorter distances. I'm not sure if a half is in the cards right now. Maybe a 10k
  • Complete 12 strength workouts - I did 6, and can tell that I had a rough month. I'm not as toned as I was, and need to make this a priority.
  • Meditate 10 times - I meditated 7 times
  • Continue doctor's stuff for lupus - yes, it's slow to get in for some of the appointments, but I'm doing my part. 

Personal:

  • Go through all of the boys + my clothes -  I did finish the boys clothes. My wardrobe is largely pared, & I did go through all of my dresses, but still a few things to go through.
  • Give away or donate all Buy Nothing items - I'm about 1/2 way through, and keep finding more!
  • Stay on top of garden. Try a few new recipes. - we've done a good job of this. I've given away a lot, we've made a few zucchini recipes, I've tried several pickled pepper recipes, and we used our bell peppers in a new fajita recipe. 
  • Write, for at least 30 minutes - I journaled, and probably spent about this amount of time, but was hoping to get in some fiction writing, which didn't happen


The month looks as I'd expected it to. Some progress, but not a lot of completed items. What about you? How did you do with your August goals?