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!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Frugal Friday

I feel like I say this every week, but, again, it's true. I wasn't expecting this week to be so challenging. But work, due to things I'm not at liberty to discuss even in vague terms here, was incredibly difficult. We survived another week, and I have a few frugal wins to report:

  1. M was out of town for 10 days (back on Monday), & while I don't get into the specifics of travel details for privacy reasons, we kept the food & dining out budget in check on all sides.
  2. I drove our electric car to all errands & work, and charged for free (work).
  3. No eating out this week! We'd actually planned a date night tonight, but I'm struggling with a cold & we scrapped our plans.
  4. Found a great gift card offer through our grocery store. Buy $50 in Home Depot gift cards, & get a $10 grocery store gift card, max of $300. I did the max, as we are in the middle of lots of house projects. I now have $60 in "free" grocery money.
  5. Found $.02 on the ground. ;-) 
I hope you had a frugal week, and are preparing yourself for the week ahead. For us, that means menu planning, meal prep, and reviewing our budget to ensure things are on track! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April Goals

I'm looking forward to April! I have a fun mini vacation in there (girls trip to Las Vegas), and my parents will be in town for about a week. I'm hoping work will also be significantly less crazy. You'll see a few repeats on there, as many of my goals are yearly goals that carry over.


  • Keep dining out to $150 
  • Stay within budget for girls trip.
  • Make final decisions on house remodel.
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis
  • Earn another $200 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage.
  • File taxes/pay.

  • 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

  • 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 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
  • 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.

What about you? What are you hopping to accomplish in April?

Monday, April 2, 2018

March Goals Recap

It's time to check in & see how I did with our March goals!


  • Keep dining out to $150 - We finished the month with $130, so win!
  • Stay in budget for a long weekend I'm having with my Mom & Sister - Stayed within the budget, and kept the spending under $170. Goal was $150, so I'll call this a pass. 
  • Pay for plans on house remodel, so we can get a finalized budget & timeline, and make prioritization - We've done the first, and have a meeting for the second. 
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis - We've decided to invest in a rain water solution, to help with plant watering! Given California's drought, I'm loving this plan for the environmental impact, in addition to the cost savings. 
  • Earn another $400 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage. - I made $416 on this! There was a comment a few posts back asking for more details. For my sidehustle, it's typically selling things we no longer need/want in a few ways (eBay, Facebook swap, Craigslist, etc). This was an unusually high month, as I had an old watch + a bike that Nick had outgrown. I also counted the $25 in Swagbucks that I converted into an Amazon gift card. 
  • Solve final tax issue & finalize paperwork -  handed off our final information, & just waiting for the documents to come back from the accountant. I sent a follow up email today to try & get the final forms to sign. 

  • Have one family evening together: cooking dinner, board games, etc - We've had a few fun evenings, particularly for my son's birthday. We made pizza & then played games together. 
  • Have a date night with my husband - Well, we made dinner & had wine together, but no evening out. It was still fabulous. 
  • Continue financial help (knowledge, not money) with sister & friend - Haven't done much this month so need to get this going again this month.
  • Determine timing & budget for adults only vacation - We have timing sorted, and a budget in place. 

  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix - Yes, and I'm definitely getting stronger!
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies - I'm at 4.9, so still working on getting to this.
  • Lose 4 pounds - Not 4 lbs, but I did lose a pound. Given how crazy March was, I'll be happy with the (extremely) slow & steady approach. 
  • Run at least 8 times - I got a couple of huge blisters on a run, so waited a bit to heal, & it's been hard to run (schedule wise) over the past week. So, I finished with 3/8. Really need to focus on this in April.
  • Work from home 1 day - Yes, I actually managed two days. 
  • Take two classes that I need for a work opportunity - Haven't started. Things have been crazy at work. 


  • Make one new recipe - Yes, I made a chicken fried rice recipe with fridge leftovers. 
  • Spend time with a friend - I had a mom/daughter weekend, so counting this. :-) 
  • Volunteer at least 1x - Signed up for a couple of things that happen in April.
  • Write for at least 4 hours on personal stuff - March was crazy, and this didn't happen
  • Summarize my findings from completing my Dream Bio, and plan to turn at least one of those findings into action. - Nope, and need to give this one more thought. 

Overall, March turned out to be significantly crazier than I expected. A long weekend with my family overlapped with a couple of big work weeks, and what I thought would be the "calmed down" work week was anything but. Also, Michael was out of town for 10 days, meaning I was juggling everything, which created some additional logistical challenges. I'm making progress in most areas, but there are some clear areas where I'm just prioritizing other things. And, that's okay. For everything, there is a season. :-)

I'm happy that I'm finally starting to see a bit of progress with the weight loss. Not necessarily on the scale, but my clothes are definitely fitting better, and I can see more muscle tone & strength training progress, so I'll gladly take that!

What about you? How did things go with your March goals? 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter, and a relaxing Sunday

One of the advantages of it being a holiday today, is that there are no activities planned. My parents will celebrate a belated Easter (egg hunt, baskets) with the kids in a few weeks when they are here, so we kept things very simple today. I got the boys a small shared basket of fun lunch snacks (chocolate covered pretzels, jelly beans, & gummy bears), & let them know that next Friday will be taking them to one of their favorite activities. So, that was easy!

Other than that, I actually plan to use the remainder of the day to get stuff done, and will take advantage of the time before the week begins anew. Here's what I'm hoping to get done today:

  1. Work on the schedule
  2. Coordinate nanny/carpool schedule
  3. Clean the bathrooms
  4. Clean the kitchen
  5. Vacuum
  6. Dust 
  7. Wash all of the sheets
  8. Make the beds
  9. Laundry
  10. Have the boys clean their rooms
  11. Go for a 5 mile run
  12. Yoga
  13. Make a casserole for next week
  14. Help Sam make cookies for a school event
  15. Sweep the patio
  16. Have the boys water the plants
  17. Sort out Sam's upcoming track schedule
  18. Call my parents
  19. Find 10 things to donate - part of my ongoing decluttering efforts
  20. Find 2 things to sell - ditto above, and part of my ongoing sidehustle work
  21. Dinner - we're having a fancy spread of bunny shaped pasta, hot dogs, salad & finishing with ice cream topped with berries. Living large! :-) 

Happy Easter to all of you out there who celebrate.