Saturday, March 31, 2018

The weather has warmed up

It was 80 yesterday! We've gone from pretty chilly/rainy to warm in record time. We are getting our normal stuff done today, and hoping to use tomorrow to clean the house & have a little fun.

Here's our to do list for today:

  1. Menu plan
  2. Costco (closed tomorrow, so today is a must do)
  3. Sam's soccer game (they both played, and they won 5-3)
  4. Nick's soccer game
  5. Juice fallen oranges (our neighbor's tree) before they go bad
  6. Get in a minimum of two workouts
  7. Hand wash all dishes (of course the dishwasher is broken!)
  8. Prep a weekday dinner
  9. Water the plants
  10. Sweep the patio
  11. Laundry
  12. Have a popcorn/movie party with the boys this evening
I'm hoping the warmer temperatures will mean more opportunities to be outside in the upcoming weeks. Maybe we'll get the pool ready to go for the end of the month/spring break. Can't wait! What about you? How's the weather this weekend? Any big plans?

Friday, March 30, 2018

Frugal Friday

For whatever reason, I foolishly went into this week thinking it was going to be a lot easier than the previous two weeks. I was proven wrong. ;-) Work has been crazy, and lots of logistics/juggling going on. But, we've survived!

Here are my frugal things for the week:

  1. Sold a kids bike that was outgrown. Made $75
  2. Sold 5 books for $2. Mostly just to get them out of the house. ;-)
  3. Kept eating out to 1x, using a gift card. This was a big win, as there were multiple nights where I was tempted in this regard.
  4. We've pretty much eaten all of the fruit & veggies in the house, which is an awesome position to be in, heading into grocery shopping for tomorrow.
  5. Listed a pair of pants on eBay, and have a bid for $5. I know, all of these big sales, where I'm just racking in the money! 
  6. Avoided grocery shopping mid-week, even though we could have used a few things. I'll thank time & laziness, as I may have gone if I could have just fit it into the schedule.
  7. Contacted our power company, as they are not yet giving us credit for our solar generation. I almost missed this in the bill, but am now actively working the case. 
That's all from my side. Any frugal wins for you?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A clean house feels great

I'm not quite there yet this weekend, but getting the house cleaned always makes me feel organized & ready to start the week. We stopped using a house cleaner after we bought our house last winter. I won't lie & say that it's been all easy peasy, but it has been a good lesson in being okay with "just good enough" and also recruiting the kids. M has plenty of his own unending chores (he's the yard guy, and the pool guy, and the mechanic), so he doesn't really do house cleaning.

I find that I can get everything done in about 3 hours (that's vacuuming, bathrooms, & the kitchen). We need to get into a better routine of taking care of things on weekdays (wiping down sinks, etc). But, I squeeze in the laundry & dishes during the work week, so pretty much that's all we can manage. Maybe another 5-10 minutes a day is reasonable, so I need to consider what else we can do in that time frame.

And with that, my list for today:

  1. Take the boys to their soccer game
  2. Yoga
  3. Some form of cardio, weather dependent. Otherwise, will do a strength training video
  4. Wash the sheets
  5. Make the beds
  6. Clean the kitchen
  7. Vacuum
  8. Have the kids dust
  9. Kids to make meal plan for the week
  10. Prep food for kids lunches/breakfasts (help them do this task)
  11. Call my parents
  12. Laundry
  13. Dishes
  14. Go to the produce stand
  15. Call the library for a shelf check
  16. Determine if I have anything else to list on eBay
  17. Make schedule for the week
  18. Workout schedule for the week
  19. Carpool schedule
  20. Make dinner. I think I'll have some of the leftover chicken fiesta skillet w/salad. The kids are planning on pasta & meatballs. 
Would love your cleaning tips. Do you do any cleaning on off days? Quick 5-10 options that make your bigger cleans easier?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Simple Saturday

I can't remember the last time we had a day with nothing going on, but regardless, I'm thrilled! Here's what's planned for today.

  1. Take the kids to the library. We have to sort some fines, and will be returning & checking out more.
  2. Go for a run
  3. Yoga
  4. Clean the kitchen
  5. Vacuum
  6. Bathrooms
  7. Buy Nick new cleats (assuming the one mysterious cleat doesn't show up)
  8. Clean the showers. Yikes. 
  9. Hopefully sell an old bike. A coworker is interested & will likely stop by today for it.
  10. Menu plan
  11. Go to Costco
  12. Produce stand
  13. The boys will be cleaning their rooms. They are utter disasters!
  14. The boys need to make their own menu plans (breakfast & lunch)
  15. We'll close the evening with a popcorn/movie night. We started watching "Wonder" last night (it's a requirement for Nick's class), but had to pause because he was pretty emotional about it. It's a great movie, but tough to watch. We may choose something a bit more light hearted for this evening. 

Are you having a crazy Saturday, or a more mellow one? We were supposed to have a soccer game in Santa Cruz, but the fields have been so rainy, it got cancelled. Hurrah for mellow weekends!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Frugal Friday

The past few weeks have been crazy, so I've greatly enjoyed my work from home day today. There weren't a lot of frugal wins, but I'll take what I can get!

  • Made muffins for M to take on an upcoming trip. And, homemade muffins are way tastier/better for you, not to mention frugal. 
  • Made my own vanilla, out of beans I found lingering in the pantry.
  • Stretched our two weekend meals (curry, & kebabs/rice) into four weekday meals. No waste, and was able to freeze one dinner's worth of curry.
  • Received $735 of a stock refund (part of my equity through work, they sell in even batches, and sometimes there is an odd amount left). Put the money straight into our "unfunded" 2018 goals - college money for the kids, and extra payment on our vacation house mortgage.
  • Drove the electric car to work each day, and charged for free.

I'm hoping for a nice & boring weekend. :-) I do need to get Nick new cleats (he lost one cleat. How?!), and plan to clean the house & just get stuff done tomorrow. Hurrah for a free weekend day! Any frugal wins on your side?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Frugal Friday - the late edition

It's been a few weeks since I've posted, so here are a few things we managed to accomplish. It's a marathon, not a sprint, right?

  • Used a combination of a companion fare (offered through our flight credit card) + miles to book four tickets for Christmas, saving $538.
  • After we had to turn around on our ski trip (pass was closed due to avalanche control), we were able to get our money back on the lift tickets ($330). This was extremely awesome news, as they are non-refundable.
  • Returned the ski pants I didn't end up needing (no skiing)
  • Sold a watch for $307 (after shipping fees)
  • Received a $20 credit for price matching flights. Will use for future travel. I haven't done this in a while & need to remember to go back & fill out the price matching weekly. The one flight I thought I could skip (because the tickets were so cheap to start with) actually yielded the $20 credit. Who knew.
  • Booked a flight for an October trip using frequent flier miles + $11 of the $20 noted above to cover the taxes. Paid $0 out of pocket. 
  • Used a Starbucks gift card to cover snacks + breakfast on my trip with my mom & sister
  • Made pizza at home for my son's birthday meal
We had a few expensive weeks in there, and pre-booked a lot of travel to take advantage of expiring deals, so it was nice to have a few wins. What about you - any frugal wins to report?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Getting things done Sunday

I took a recipe from a fellow blogger & made Chicken Curry last night, and it was incredible. It felt so nice to make a big dinner yesterday, and have time to actually prepare it. It may have been helped by the very nice bottle of wine that M & I shared while I was cooking & we were chatting. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday evening. :-)

The boys have a super early soccer game this morning (warm ups start at 7:30 am, and the location is 30 minuts from us), so we'll get that knocked out & then focus on the rest of the day.

Here's what we'll accomplish during the rest of the day:

  1. Soccer
  2. Yoga
  3. Some sort of cardio. A run, weather permitting
  4. Make granola bars for snacking
  5. Make hummus
  6. Clean both fridges
  7. Finish cleaning the bathrooms
  8. Clean the kitchen
  9. Dust
  10. Vacuum
  11. Check library stats after my recent returns
  12. List a few books on Amazon
  13. Build my workout schedule for the week
  14. Review my work schedule & adjust as needed
  15. Build schedule for the nanny
  16. Laundry
And, here's the menu plan for the week ahead:

Saturday - Naan pizzas (kids), chicken curry (adults)
Sunday - beef kebabs & rice
Monday - leftover chicken curry
Tuesday - at a work event late. M to make the kids leftover kebabs & rice
Wednesday - leftover curry & naan pizza
Thursday - eat anything leftover from the earlier days of the week, or spaghetti & meatballs
Friday - chicken fiesta rice skillet

What about you? What are you making/eating this week? What makes you feel prepared, heading into the work week?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Still out there

It's been an absolutely crazy few weeks. I spent last Thursday-Sunday with my mom & sister at our vacation house. It was a long overdue Mother's Day/Birthday gift for my mom. Then came home & had a long work week/offsite. I had evening events every day, and we rounded out the week with Nick's birthday party/sleepover last night.

I am exhausted! I knew March would be crazy going into it, and it's been all that & more. In positive news, I only need to be in the city one day next week, vs the two I was expecting.

I know myself well, and it's clear that not having the time to plan, grocery shop, make a menu & clean the house really puts me in a stressful position at the start of the week. I'm looking forward to getting back to a routine this week.

All of that planning really helps us get through the week, so we're getting back to it!

Here's what I need to get done today:

  1. Sleepover kids are getting picked up in a few hours, so I'll need to make pancakes.
  2. Make the menu
  3. Make a grocery list
  4. Go for a run
  5. Yoga
  6. Take Nick to soccer. It's suppose to be super rainy, so that should be fun. ;-)
  7. Clean the bathrooms
  8. Laundy
  9. Return overdue books to the library
  10. Make an appointment for a hair cut. I can't stand it! It's been over a year & my hair is driving me crazy.
  11. Go to bed early!
I'll be really happy if I can get all of that done today. What about you? What are you hoping to get done today?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Men Plan Monday

I'm trying to get organized for the week ahead, and meal planning is a huge way that I reduce expenses, but also manage my own weekday stress. Here's what we're planning to eat this week.

  • Friday - I found a mystery chicken dish in the freezer. It turned out to be chicken & goat cheese risotto. It was a crazy night.
  • Saturday - M  grilled chicken & made rice.
  • Sunday - naan pizza, using Saturday's chicken - one with a red sauce/cheddar, and one with pesto/parmesan
  • Monday - leftover chicken & rice
  • Tuesday - taco quesadillas for the kids, and chicken + salad for the adults
  • Wednesday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Thursday - I'll be out of town, so I'm thinking the boys will go out to eat. I have a gift card they will use
  • Friday - out of town, so the boys will have frozen lasagna
  • Saturday - still out of town, & the boys will have pizza
  • Sunday - leftover lasagna
I need to really plan the following week, as I have 3 work evening events, and won't have prepped anything with my weekend out of town. It's going to get tricky! We've eaten pretty much everything out of of the freezer, which is good from a usage/rotation perspective, but tricky from a backup plan perspective. 

What about you? What are you eating this week? Do you have a big stash of freezer meals?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

March Goals

Even though I don't always achieve all of my goals, the process of setting them & tracking my progress is always helpful & insightful. Here goes for March!


  • Keep dining out to $150 
  • Stay in budget for a long weekend I'm having with my Mom & Sister
  • Pay for plans on house remodel, so we can get a finalized budget & timeline, and make prioritizations
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis
  • Earn another $400 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage.
  • Solve final tax issue & finalize paperwork

  • 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
  • Determine timing & budget for adults only vacation

  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies
  • Lose 4 pounds
  • Run at least 8 times
  • Work from home 1 day
  • Take two classes that I need for a work opportunity


  • Make one new recipe
  • Spend time with a friend
  • Volunteer at least 1x
  • Write for at least 4 hours on personal stuff
  • Summarize my findings from completing my Dream Bio, and plan to turn at least one of those findings into action.

You'll see a few of these are carryover goals, which is okay with me. Not every goal gets accomplished in the month I hope it will. :-) What about you? What are you planning to accomplish in March? 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Frugal Saturday

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind, but here are a few things we've done to save money:

  • I avoided the siren call of a room upgrade on my upcoming trip in April, and stuck with our free 3 night option. Chose not to upgrade. Although the other hotel is slightly nicer, both are perfectly fine.
  • Continued to sell things. I made all of $3 this week, but have another item on eBay that ends today & the bidding is currently $200+. Yay!
  • Used a gift card to cover a meal out, when we had an unexpectedly super busy week. Out of pocket cost was $0.
  • The standard meals at home (minus above), charging car for free at work, etc. Pretty basic stuff!
  • Bought ski passes online a day ahead to save $52. Skiing is expensive!
And with that, we're off to ski again. Looking forward to another fun day on the slopes with the kids. What about you? What are you up to this weekend? Any  big frugal wins?

Friday, March 2, 2018

February Goals Recap

As usual, the month sped by. Overall, it was a good month for us. Here's how we did. 


  • Spend $200 or less on groceries (have a gift card for the rest) - Yes! We were able to use a gift card, and keep the spending to $151. Win!
  • Keep dining out to $150 (that's with two birthdays) - Yes! We spent $139. This included a dinner out for my birthday, plus an unexpected meal out when we had a power outage. 
  • Pay for plans on house remodel, so we can get a finalized budget & timeline, and make prioritizations - On track. Have paid for the plans & have met with the designer. Waiting to hear back from the designer on budget & timeline.
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis - I came up empty for February, so hopefully can figure out two ideas for March.
  • Assuming one car is back from the shop, sell our sedan (carryover from Jan, as car isn't back from shop) - eh. This hasn't happened. M has had a lot going on, and he's responsible for this. 
  • If we sell the sedan, call around for new car insurance. (ditto above)
  • Earn another $200 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage.- I made $225 this month
  • Get our taxes sorted! Yikes, so scared to tackle this. - Have handed off all docs to accountant, & also answered all questions that have been generated to date. There was an error in my husband's W2, so we need that resolved before we can proceed


  • Have one family evening together: cooking dinner, board games, etc - we went skiing instead!
  • Have a date night with my husband - Yes, & it was lovely!
  • Continue financial help (knowledge, not money) with sister & friend - Yes, I sent a doc with additional money saving, budgeting & overall financial help. Continuing to provide input & support. 
  • Determine timing & budget for adults only vacation - Timing is sorted, and we will likely go to Napa in July while the kids are in camp. Budget is still a bit of a work in progress. 
  • Take the kids skiing one time - Yes, and they had a great time!

  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix - Completed 19 of 21 days, and used the other two for additional running. So, I'm okay with the tradeoff. 
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies - Closed the month with 4.4 servings/day
  • Lose 3 pounds - I lost 2.6 pounds. 
  • Run at least 6 times - Yes! I ran 6 times this month. 
  • Work from home 3 days - Yes, done
  • Take two classes that I need for a work opportunity - Nope. Work is absolutely crazy right now. 


  • Make one new recipe - nope. We kept the menu simple this month.
  • Spend time with a friend -Yes! Met a friend for dinner.
  • Volunteer at least 1x - yes, actually volunteered 2x.
  • Write for at least 4 hours on personal stuff - Nope. :-( Need to plan time for this. 
  • Summarize my findings from completing my Dream Bio, and plan to turn at least one of those findings into action. - No, still haven't done much with my findings. 

All in all, I'm happy with the progress this month, and need to sort my March goals! What about you? How did you do with your monthly goals?