Sunday, October 27, 2013

The first week of work is exhausting!

I've been exhausted all week, and working quite a bit. My new schedule, combined with all of the other kid activity has put me way behind all of my "house" stuff that needs to be done. We scrambled with our menu this week, so first order of business will be getting that planned!

Sunday - Barbecued chicken with homemade (oven baked) fries.
Monday - Chicken & pasta. The kids eat it separately, M & I mix it together with a small amount of goat cheese & pesto. Chicken is grilled & frozen, ready to go.
Tuesday - Leftovers.
Wednesday - Barbecued burgers (from the freezer) + a salad.
Thursday - Quick dinner, as we'll be heading out to trick or treat. Tacos. (beef is prepared & in the freezer)
Friday - Oven baked risotto
Saturday - Chicken marsala casserole
Sunday - Homemade pizza

I think that will do it!

My little team won their third game yesterday. So proud! They've improved tremendously since the season first started.

What else is on the agenda for today? Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish:

  1. Tour the local YMCA, enroll, & sign the kids up for some activities.
  2. Pilates
  3. Go for a run. Possibly run to my work to pick up the car that we left their on Friday. I'm not a huge fan of running on streets with lots of stoplights, but it would nicely combine an errand with my workout.
  4. Get Audi repaired. I had a major flat yesterday.
  5. IF (big if) the kids listening skills improve, take them to a fall festival.
  6. Laundry.
  7. Review & sign paperwork for selling our vacation house. I've put this off, but it's time.
I think that will be more than enough. What do you hope to get done today? Wishing you a relaxing & productive Sunday!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Working in the kitchen with persimmons

I just wrapped up a fabulous long weekend with my sister & friend. My budget was $400. The irony of my previous post (coming in WAY under a vacation budget) is not lost on me, as I was most definitely not under this budget. We didn't spend as much as expected on food, but instead of heading to the wineries on Sunday, we made a pit stop at an outlet mall (or, rather five outlet malls connected together) & stayed until they closed. I did do some Christmas shopping, but most of what I got was for myself. *blush* A full accounting will be coming soon. ;-)

Here's a picture from the weekend. I'm in the middle:

As for the persimmons in my yard, the squirrels cannot get enough of them, and keep making a mess. I've had "make something with persimmons" on my to do list for over a week, so today I finally got started.

I made persimmon bread, & although I haven't tried it yet, it smells fantastic.  I also want to try this persimmon bread recipe (to compare & find a favorite), persimmon oatcakes, persimmon chocolate chip cookies, and persimmon freezer jam.  I'm planning to freeze all of the remaining persimmon pulp for baking at another time. We easily have 200 persimmons on the tree, so I should have plenty to work with.

I'm also extremely excited for the rest of the oranges to ripen, but most of all . . . for the avocados! Please share your favorite avocado recipes. :-)

I've put off the DMV task (registering one of our cars - the only one that's only in my name, since I've had it since before we were married), but I'm committed to getting it done tomorrow. Wish me luck. :-)

What are you up to? The weather is 80 and gorgeous today - perfect for sitting out in the sunshine.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I love a vacation where you spend less than expected!

Mostly because it's such a rare experience. :-)

I went to Las Vegas with a girlfriend for a few days, & budgeted $1500 for my share of the room, a massage at the spa, gambling, & food. I made $100 or so on the gambling (such a big winner :-)), the room was comped, & they ended up comping all of the food, save for the gratuities. That just leaves the spa treatment (an amazing massage followed by an afternoon spent lounging at the spa). All told, I think I spent about $300. I'm so happy that I get to deposit money back in the bank today.

My sister & best friend arrive tomorrow, & I've set a budget of $400 for their visit. We'll be hopefully visiting a winery, & having a couple of dinners out. I'm so excited to have them visit & see our new place.

I have a ridiculous amount of things to do today before I pick up the kids at 1:00 (early dismissal days), but so far, I have the energy of a slug. I have managed to tackle the enormous pile of laundry & started to unpack, but I need to get a move on if I'm going to get everything done. I also have soccer to coach this afternoon.

And, that's it. I need to get organized & plan out my last week of non-work time, because there's still quite a bit on my to do list.

Hope you're having a more productive day than me! And, have you ever come in under budget on a vacation?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

75% of the way there, 2013 Goal Check and a call out to help

 I can't believe the year is 75% of the way done. Time to kick things into high gear!

2013 brought *many* unexpected changes our way. I found out I had lupus, we moved to California for M's work, I quit my job, and then found a new one. As a result of this, plus normal inertia, I'm not very far along on my 2013 goals, but here goals. Status check!

  1. Lose 12 pounds, bringing my weight to 135. I'm trying to shoot for a healthy, but realistic number. - I'm at 145. I'm pretty proud that I didn't gain more with the move, cutting back on my exercise, etc. I definitely want to continue to drive this down into the 130s.
  2. Track my food/exercise every day in My Fitness Pal. - Yes!
  3. Improve my fitness by doing the following:
    1. Complete 13,000 minutes of cardio. This will be a huge stretch goal for me, but I'm ready for the challenge! - I'm way off track after two really low months in August & September. I'm at 7,800. I'll push for 10,000 for the year, but that will be a stretch.
    2. Complete 100 strength workouts. - Yes, I'm on track at exactly 75! :-)
    3. Complete 100 stretching workouts. - Sadly, I'm at 22. I did sign up for a yoga/pilates class, so I've been attending regularly.
  4. Run consistently, as measured by the following:
    1. Run 10 races. I have a few in mind, but basically want to challenge myself to really maintain my running endurance throughout the year. - No longer a goal, but I've completed 4 races this year. I'm hoping to finish with six races.
    2. Run 20 miles (or more per week). - Not a goal anymore, due to my lupus.
    3. Run 1000 miles in 2013.  - Not a goal anymore, due to my lupus
    4. Achieve a personal best in a half marathon. - Done!!!
    5. Run a 5K, 10K, 15K, & potentially a 30K. - Well, I've done a 5K & 10K. I'd love to do  a 15K. The 30K is out of reach. :-)
  5. Reach 50% of our boys college fund savings. This will take around $10,000, depending on the tuition price fluctuation. - No, we stopped putting money in when we were considering the move. We're at 44%.
  6. Pay $50,000 of principal on our mortgages. - Ditto above. The move moved this onto the backburner, but I hope to close at $20,000.
  7. Have one date night per month with M, & get together with two friends per month. - Yes!
  8. Track our spending, stick to our budget, & continue the monthly reports. - Yes!
  9. Review our charitable contributions, & increase our yearly giving by 10%. - Yes!
  10. Organize one room in our house per month. - Oh my, yes. We moved. So, I probably eliminated 1/3 of our overall belongings.
  11. Learn to bake bread (bagels, english muffin bread, sandwich bread). This is partially because I'd like to trim our grocery budget, but also because it's something I've tried & failed at before & just want to improve. - Yes!
  12. Create/finalize will & guardianship papers. I hesitated even adding this to my goals, as I've failed at this for the last two years. But, it's important enough that I'm adding it again.  - No. *blush*
  13. Generate $1,000 in "side hustle", loosely defined as anything outside my normal paycheck, for the year. I've never tracked this before, so keeping the bar low. The money will be used to convert my grandmother's old movies into DVDs, and the rest will go towards my sister's 40th birthday trip. - Oh yes! I made over $3,000!

So, there's all of that. I still have some goals to focus on, although some of the running & financial ones are just permanently adjusted due to my health & our new life. 2014 will see some different goals as well.

And, I just want to share that Sluggy (Don't Read This, It's Boring) is helping out Judy. Judy is an amazing lady, who lost her husband this year. She's struggling, and could use a boost up to catch up on her bills and get her life back together after some very challenging times. Big hugs going out to Judy, and to Sluggy for putting together the fundraising. I know we all have our own ways we like to donate, and our own financial priorities, but if you can help out with $5, or whatever you have available, I know it would go a long way to helping a virtual friend.

How are you doing with your 2013 goals?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October goals & a quick net worth check in

I'm waiting for a batch of orange muffins to come out of the oven. Why am I waiting? Well, because somehow two of my three muffin tins got lost in the move. What a random thing to lose. So, I have six dozen muffins mixed, & one muffin tin. ;-) Looks like I'll be at this for a while.

Net worth for October 1st:

We had a big jump in our net worth this month, as we paid off our 401K loan, my bonus came through, etc.

  • Debt (mortgages only) - $949,926
  • House values - $1,445,000
  • Retirement savings - $672,787
  • Liquid cash - $28,760

Total net worth - $1,196,621 - up 11% from our August net worth (I didn't calculate it in September due to the move & forgetting ;-)).

*Note that stock awards are not included, as they require employment terms, and if either of lost our job, the value would immediately go to zero. To be conservative, we are not including these, although they are worth a substantial amount - $450,000 gross, between the two of us. That money will be recognized each year as the options vest.

And, now on to October goals!

I promise to recap September, but spoiler alert - I didn't do very well. The move took basically all of my time & attention.

Here's what I want to get done in October.

  1. Bump my cardio back up to 1,000 minutes/month. I hit a new low in August, & barely surpassed that in September.
  2. Complete 5 strength & 5 stretching workouts/week.
  3. Stay within my budget for both girl trips (one is visiting here - have yet to set a budget for this one, & I need to, & the other is in Las Vegas).
  4. Stock the freezer with meals to make my transition back to work easier.
  5. Get the house officially unpacked & done. I'm 95% there, but the last 5% is proving to be very difficult.
  6. Find all doctors/dentists for everyone in the family.
  7. Make an appointment for myself to get to the dentist.
  8. Reduce our food budget to $750 (between groceries & eating out)
  9. Rent our main residence.
  10. Finalize plan for vacation house, & either get it listed for sale or put it up for long-term rental.
  11. Plan holiday trips & book flights.

I think that should do it! What are your October goals?