Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday night chit chat

We had a nice & relaxing day today. No sports or activities for the boys!! I finished my packing, went on a run, & prepared for the week. The only remaining item is to recalculate my budget for our monthly expenses & remove our rental property.

Thanks to Carla for the writing prompt tonight! :-) 

Reading: Nick & I biked to the library yesterday, but I'm saving my books for the 13 hour flight tomorrow, and on the way home. ;-) 
Watching: We don't have cable, so we watch whatever is free on Amazon Prime. Right now, we're about 2/3 of the way done with The Good Wife. 
Saving your pennies for: Our travel fund for the year. Yikes!
Spending your pennies on: I just finished paying for all of the summer camps + most of our summer flights.
Listening to: The sound of the boys playing a game on the Xbox.
Looking forward to next week: Uhhh, coming home from my trip on Saturday? I leave tomorrow & come home then, so I'm not very excited about the time away.
Creating: I'm not a very creative lady. We often do puzzles in the evening, but just finished our most recent Superman-themed puzzle. ;-) 
Cooking/Baking: M did all of the cooking tonight, minus the salad. He grilled chicken, made rice with tadiq & yogurt sauce. Yum!
Thinking about: That I'm going to be doing three international trips in three months. Groan. After that, I start all of the summer travels (for fun), which makes international travel hard. So, it's short term gain for family fun later in the year.
Adding onto your "to do" list for next week: I have to call for a dentist appointment and make the boys physical appointments. Other than that, I'm pretty much caught up, given that i won't be able to use my phone next week. No international plan. 

My goals for the week:
  1. Manage my stress
  2. Eat well (within my calories, even if I am eating out every meal for six days)
  3. Get in three runs + one other workout
  4. Get as much sleep as possible!
What about you? Hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Did you know that 2015 is more than 20% over?!

Wow! Maybe I should take another look at my goals for the year, and evaluate my progress. :-)

Here's what I have on my list of things to do today:

  1. Make a menu for the week. I'll be out of town Monday-Saturday for work, so even more important that I put this together for M  & the kids. Otherwise, they tend to eat a lot of pizza.
  2. Costco
  3. Make a packing list. It's super cold in Seoul. Lows in the 20s. It's been 70+ in California, so I have a feeling I'm going to be very cold!
  4. Hit the library for books for my trips.
  5. Plan the boys schedule for next week (soccer, carpools, etc)
  6. Run 3 miles
  7. 30 pushups
  8. Yoga (time permitting)
  9. Rework our budget. I want to pull our Seattle rental house out of the budget, as it's just breaking into the cash flow positive and part of an asset now, and shouldn't be tracked in our regular budget.
  10. Evaluate our travel for the year, and figure out what I still have left to spend.
  11. Take Sam to his soccer game
  12. Take Nick on a bike ride, since he doesn't have any sports. Maybe to the library?
  13. Date night with M!!! :-) 
  14. Check in on my 2015 goals
What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish today? Happy Saturday!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

March is whizzing by!

We've had two birthday sleepovers, a week long conference in the city (me), a week long team offsite (me), and I leave for Seoul on Monday.

Money has flown out of the budget, like wild fire. I'm too tired to come up with a real post, so here is a list of recent happenings. :-)

  • I've now paid for all summer camps - just over $5K!! 
  • I've also paid for all summer flights (I think, need to go through & check my calendar)
  • Taxes are due in less than a month. *gulp* We have the money allocated, but it's going to be painful to part with $40K.
  • My parents are coming to stay with the boys for a long weekend, and M & I are going on a mini vacation. In three weeks! SO excited. :-)
  • I did a 7 mile run/hike today. I'm very sore. :-)
  • M & I are also having a date tomorrow, before I leave on my trip. He was in Kansas City all week for work, so we're tying to get a little time together.
  • I'm planning on making this chicken & rice dish for dinner tonight. 
  • I'm scared to do the budget! :-)

That's about it. How is March treating all of you? Hope it's great!

Friday, March 6, 2015

February budget summary

February was a surprisingly good budget month. For reference, I only track our monthly numbers in these posts. I'll do a more detailed run down of how we're doing with our yearly numbers (travel, house, kids, clothes, etc) in a separate post.

So, drumroll, we were under our monthly budget by $120. I'm shocked!

We were over in some categories:

  • Childcare, by $414. I've started booking summer camps.
  • Dining out by $212. A few birthday meals (mine & Sam's) killed us. 
  • Toiletries, by $90. I stocked up before my Tokyo trip, and bought a bunch of over the counter medicine that I didn't have last time, plus face wash, etc. 

But, we were under in lots of other categories:
  • Cleaning by $210. Our cleaning lady went out of town unexpectedly, and we took care of it ourselves.
  • Gas by $153. 
  • Groceries by $18. Helped that we were out of town for a long weekend
  • Utilities by $444. Only because our billing cycles fell in January & March, due to the shortened February month.

We're having to make major updates to our monthly budget to accommodate our tax withholding changes, so look for a revised (and much smaller) monthly budget soon.

How did you do in February? Did you spend more or less than you'd planned? 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March goals!

March *has* to be a better month than February! I refuse to accept that February's lack of productivity was a sign of things to come. :-)

Here are the new & shiny goals for March:


  • Meet with financial planner (scheduled)
  • Figure out boys college accounts (potentially the Utah 529 plan - contingent upon our meeting with a financial planner).
  • Stick to our budget
  • Build plan for 2014 taxes (how to pay for them)
  • Build plan for withholdings, to minimize 2015 taxes
  • Figure out Nick's birthday parties, keep both parties at/under budget
  • Keep working with both boys on responsibility, friendship, & citizenship
  • Continue working with my oldest on school. He's very smart, but bored at school, which is reflected in his (less than positive) attitude. 
  • Get my youngest to try two new foods.
  • Figure out spring break child care
  • Book remaining summer camps
  • Book summer flights

  • Lose 4 pounds
  • Track my food/exercise
  • Run 30 miles
  • Complete 900 minutes of cardio
  • Complete 10 strength workouts & 8 stretching workouts

  • Continue to look for ways to streamline my work schedule
  • Make a concrete list of goals for work (already have them, but they are too fuzzy). Break them down into an actionable plan.
  • Work out 8 weekday mornings
  • Continue my "life plan" document, which I'm going to share with M. We've been talking a lot about it, but I need to finalize a few numbers & scenarios.

Giving back
  • Volunteer at school at least once, log my hours (my work will donate money in exchange)
  • Pick & donate all fruit we can't eat to nonprofit
  • Sort through my closet. Donate, sell, toss.
  • Sort through boys closets. Donate, sell, toss.
  • Plan/book date night with M
  • Do something social with a friend. Maybe a hike.
  • Read 4 books.
  • Try a new recipe (with a focus on something that my youngest will actually eat)

So, a lot of repeats from last month, but I CAN DO THIS!!! It's not that hard. I know I can.

What's on your list of goals for March? 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

February goals summary

Well, let me just start out by saying that February wasn't my best month. At all. A week long international work trip, a family trip, a death in the family, I was ill for a week. . . the list goes on. It wasn't nearly as productive as I'd hoped. But, here's what we accomplished.


  • Meet with financial planner - No, but the appointment is set for March!
  • Figure out boys college accounts (potentially the Utah 529 plan - contingent upon our meeting with a financial planner). - Ditto above.
  • Stick to our budget - Shockingly, yes! Now that I have our yearly numbers set up separately, it's easier to track our standard monthly expenses. We came in within (and, under, for the record) $120. Given the size of our budget, that's pretty impressive!
  • Hand off all tax paperwork by 2/10, to qualify for the "early bird" discount from our accountant - Yes. The "how much we owe" part is most certainly not a win. But, accomplished this specific goal.
  • Figure out boys birthday parties - Sam's date is set. Still need to email Nick's friends. 
  • Keep working with both boys on responsibility, friendship, & citizenship - We're working on this. Plenty of room for improvement. 
  • Get my youngest to try two new foods. - Yes. He tried a new restaurant this week (big news) & had jello for the first time, and foccacia bread. 

  • Lose 2 pounds - sweet mercy. No. May have gained two pounds. International travel, jet lag, & after work drinks are not my friend. 
  • Track my food/exercise - Yes
  • Run 20 miles - Nope. 15 miles
  • Complete 700 minutes of cardio - In what i think might be my lowest month in YEARS, I hit 395 minutes of cardio. :-( :-( 
  • Complete 10 strength workouts & 8 stretching workouts - I did 16 strength, but only 1 stretching workout.

  • Revamp my meeting schedule. We have an organizational shift, so some people are moving onto a new team, and I'm getting additional staff. - Yes, I've definitely made improvements. 
  • Work out 8 weekday mornings - I managed 4. 

Giving back
  • Volunteer at school at least once, log my hours (my work will donate money in exchange) -event got canceled. Schedule for this week! 
  • Pick & donate all fruit we can't eat to nonprofit - mostly. A few oranges left that we need to pick
  • Sort through my closet. Donate, sell, toss. - I've done a bunch. About 2/3 of the way there. 
  • Plan/book date night with M - Yes!
  • Do something social with a friend. Maybe a hike. - well, got to spend a lot of time with my sister & best friend during President's Day weekend, so I'll call it a win. 
  • Read 4 books. - Yes! The international trip helped. ;-) 
  • Try a new recipe (with a focus on something that my youngest will actually eat) - Nope, can't think of any new recipes I tried. 

And, that's all for me. I hope you had a fantastic & productive February! What did you accomplish? 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

I'm slowly recovering from my epic jet lag! Here's the menu for the week:

Monday - baked fish & pasta
Tuesday - tacos (of course!)
Wednesday - leftover homemade meatball pizza
Thursday -chicken & rice
Friday - Some sort of leftovers. Crazy kids activity schedule
Saturday - Sam's having a birthday sleepover, so I'm using a Groupon to pick up a few Papa Murphy's pizzas.
Sunday - Baked chicken risotto

That's about all that I can muster up. I did manage to make homemade pizza & cranberry muffins yesterday. That, combined with soccer finals, sucked up most of the weekend. Oh, and sleeping. Glorious sleeping.

What's on your menu for the week?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Recovering from jet lag, & catching up

My (direct) flight home was canceled, so I had to fly to Denver, hang out there, and then my flight from Denver to San Francisco was delayed. Super good times, with 24+ hours traveling.

I'm back, and fully in the swing of parenting this weekend. Both boys had semi finals for soccer, plus basketball. One team went on to the finals, but we lost in a very close match today. We had to go to ice cream to dull the pain of the loss. ;-)

It was a very long month (I know, the irony, given that February is the shortest ;-)). We did a decent job with our budget, I basically got in no exercise with my trips & being ill early on, and we found out that we owe a tremendous amount (almost $40K) in taxes. More on that. We have the maximum account deducted from our paychecks, but this comes down to the distribution of our income, and a standard tax rate for stock. Net/net, our stock is a bigger portion of our pay than expected, and our employer is only allowed to withhold 25%. Our tax rate is closer to 40%. So, the $40K is the difference between that.

To make matters worse, we haven't sold any of the stock, so we've yet to see the benefit of it - just the pain. ;-) We were planning to save it for a potential house downpayment. With the news about the taxes, and the reality that we have to have a great deal of additional money withheld every month . . well, we're kind of back to the drawing board about buying a house.

In non-financial news, we lost my grandmother, which has been very difficult emotionally.

March will involve rebuilding our 2015 financial plan, adjusting our paychecks for next year's taxes, and generally working through various life scenarios.

And, I MUST get in shape! Too many trips, too many cocktails, not enough exercise. My clothes are tight.

And, how about you? I'll do a few goal posts to wrap up February, but hope everyone had a great month!