Sunday, March 31, 2019

All the soccer

Nick played in three games yesterday, and Sam played in two games. Nick has an additional two games this morning. I'm thinking he may be a bit sore by the end of the weekend. I tried to convince Nick not to play in the third game (it was a game Sam was subbing for), but while I went for a walk during warmups with a friend, he decided to join up. Because. . . well, Nick adores soccer.

It was a long day, & I basically accomplished nothing else other than driving people around. I also splurged & bought them Subway between games. This is something we rarely do, despite all of the driving. It's way too easy for the kids to think of that as an expected solution, vs planning ahead & making meals or snacks to bring with you. Everyone was thrilled with the Subway option.

After soccer, I relaxed for a few minutes, as the weather was finally nice! It was unexpected, and both boys got sunburned during soccer.

I haven't thought of a menu for the week, so let's sort that out now.

  • Sunday - egg roll in a bowl. I have leftover ingredients from last week
  • Monday - I'll make a spaghetti sauce with ground beef & tomato sauce (freezer) to serve this week
  • Tuesday - leftover egg roll in a bowl.
  • Wednesday - leftover spaghetti sauce
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers, or something from the freezer. So specific, I know. ;-)
  •  Friday - we'll probably do pizza for three of us, and something else for M.
The menu will work down a few freezer items (two packages of $.50 ground turkey, plus two containers of homemade tomato sauce). 

My knee & ankle have been aching all week, so I didn't work out at all. It corresponded well with a crazy work week, but I really need to do "something" this week. Running would be great, but I'm waiting for my new running shoes to arrive. I'm hoping that new shoes will partially solve the problem. We shall see.

Here's what's on the rest of the list for today:

  1. Pick up Nick from a sleepover
  2. Two soccer games
  3. Work out during soccer warmups (walking)
  4. Clean the kitchen. The boys made a cake yesterday. Yikes
  5. Clean the bathrooms. This is the boys jobs, but they need supervision/sign off from me
  6. Vacuum
  7. Build a schedule for the week 
    1. For the nanny
    2. My work schedule for the week
    3. Workout schedule for the week
  8. Shred cabbage. I normally buy a coleslaw mix, but will try to use up the cabbage we have on hand
  9. Make eggroll in a bowl
  10. Make spaghetti sauce for tomorrow's dinner
  11. Research more supportive shoes for work
  12. Have the boys call my parents
That's it for us. Happy Sunday! What is on your to do list today?

Friday, March 29, 2019

Frugal Friday

It was another week where we didn't do anything terribly exciting from a financial perspective. Instead, we stuck to the basics, which always add up over time.

  1. I meal prepped all weekend, to ensure we'd have quick & easy dinner options. I had late meetings three days this week, so this was critical to avoiding meals out.
  2. We line dried the majority of our clothes.
  3. I submitted an expense report quickly, so I can get reimbursed for a few work expenses last week.
  4. I finished all of my library books, so I picked up a few options off of the freebie table at work.
  5. We drove our electric car for all errands/driving over the weekend, and traded off driving it during the week. We also charged for free at work.
That's it from my side. Nothing too exciting to see here. But, in fabulous news, the last two weeks have been CRAZY at work as expected, and they are drawing to a close today, because. .. it's Friday! What about you? What have you accomplished this week?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Menu Plan & Sunday things

It was a very nice weekend, made easier because I took Friday off. I was able to get a kick start on our chores.

Here's what's on our menu for the week:

  • Friday - M & I went out - date night!
  • Saturday - Egg roll in a bowl
  • Sunday - chicken zucchini alfredo (this was delicious!)
  • Monday - carnitas (freezer)
  • Tuesday - leftover chicken alfredo
  • Wednesday - leftover eggroll in a bowl
  • Thursday - leftover carnitas
It's my 2nd week in a row of crazy late nights. I'm happy to be at least half way through the madness.

Here's what else we did this weekend.

  • Soccer. SO much soccer. Nick is playing for three teams, and Sam is playing for two teams. It's a lot of driving. They are having a ball.
  • Sam attended a birthday party with friends, Magic themed, of course.
  • Running. I ran 4 miles yesterday, & 6 miles today. I really, really need to have more time during the week, so I can spread these out more. My legs are so tired today!
  • Cooking. I made the egg roll in a bowl yesterday (using ground turkey I bought for $.50/lb last week) & I used leftover cooked chicken (freezer) from a pesto chicken dish we didn't particularly enjoy. Now we have plenty of food in the fridge for the week ahead, and we used up things we had on hand. 
  • Planning. I'm working on my sabbatical plans! I need to nail one final decision on our 4th of July plans & logistics, and from there will map out all of the dates & trips. There's a lot of fun on the agenda for this summer. I'm so excited.
And with that, I'm off to relax & watch the rest of a movie with M. Can't wait for this week to be wrapped up & the craziness from work completed. What about you? Any fun new recipes? How was your weekend?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Frugal Friday

It's been a really, really long week. I'm planning to take today off to rest & recover, as I have an equally long work week tomorrow. As a result of being in the office until 7pm+ every night, I didn't have a chance to spend any money. ;-)

Here are a few frugal wins for the week:

  • We were able to cover a child care issue (our nanny had a work conflict), on our own, which saved about $50 with carpools & schedule swapping
  • Additionally, the boys had no school on Monday. We were able to work out an elaborate patchwork of coverage, and didn't need to pay for childcare during the day. Their age also helps. We've previously had to pay for one day camps, which are quite expensive.
  • I used an Uber gift card (purchased to earn a Rite Aid reward) for a trip into the city for a conference. I'll get reimbursed for the full amount back
  • I found $20 on the floor at a conference I was attending! 
  • We avoided eating out, despite all of the craziness. I meal prepped a lot over the weekend, which is the only thing that held it together

What about you? Any frugal wins for the week?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

An early Saturday start

I didn't sleep well yesterday (our pool pump was making some crazy noises around 4 am), but I'm up & it's time to be productive. The boys have a soccer tournament, and once again, we've drawn the 8:00 am game, which means an arrival time of 7:15. I'm going to make the most of it by getting in my run during their warm ups. If I do that, I'll at least feel like I didn't waste the 45 minutes while we're waiting for the game to start.

I'm settling in with the work news. It's still really not great for me, but it is what it is, & I'm moving on emotionally. Also, this change will likely make it easier for me to make a final decision on next steps over my sabbatical, so I'll do my best to be grateful for that.

The boys have two games today, and at least one tomorrow. Here's what else I need to do today:

  • Menu plan
  • Grocery shop (M will likely do this)
  • Short run today (2.5 miles)
  • Clean the house
  • Sort out plans for Monday, as the kids don't have school
  • Take the boys to two soccer games
  • Laundry
I think that will do it. What about you? What's on the list for today?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Frugal Friday

What a week! We are in the middle of work changes, & hard conversations. It's also our performance review time. I manage a large team, so this is a big time commitment, on top of the normal "fun".

Here are a few frugal wins for the week!

  • A few grocery deals, including ground turkey for $.50/lb & ground beef for $.99/lb
  • I returned a few items at Rite Aid, and the cashier didn't want to do a split transaction. I'd paid for the original purchase with $10 of gift card, & $6 on my credit card. She refunded the entire $16 back to my credit card, which is more useful to me than the Rite Aid gift card I have to keep track of. 
  • Nick asked for an early birthday dinner, as he has a soccer tournament on his actual big day. It was a dinner out, but we brought our own bottle of wine (bought in bulk, on sale). ;-) 
  • I found $.11 on the ground
  • And, earned $.39 on ebates, when buying Nick's birthday gifts. 
  • I'm working from home today, & saving the commute time both ways.
  • Nick is making his own cookies to bring to the soccer tournament as his birthday treat. He loves to bake! His birthday gift is actually a cookbook. ;-) 

I think that was all for the week. I'm enjoying my $.99 box of lemon ginger tea. It's quite good, and a nice change in the evenings

What about you? What frugal things have you been up to this week?

Monday, March 11, 2019

March goals check in

March isn't officially half over yet, but I'm trying to stay motivated through the rest of the month. Doing a mid month check in always helps me stay on track a bit more.

Here's how we're doing!

1) Financial:

  • Stick to the budget - we're trending high on food, which I'm not at all surprised by, given I'm trying to switch more of our menu to being something M can eat (think Paleo/Keto style). This has resulted in much more meat buying than normal, and much fewer eating things out of the freezer/pantry. I'm hoping this will stabilize somewhat. 
  • Every month come up with a new way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis - It's not very exciting this month, but we bought a discounted toll pass. We saved $5 off of future tolls, but even better, will be saving 40% off of every toll in the future, given it's an automated pass. 
  • Make $300 in sidehustle - About 1/2 way there, with two other items listed on our local sale group.
  • Finish/file our taxes - 99.9% there. Waiting for one final piece of information, & then just have to transfer the money around to pay. 

2) Family - spend more time together as a family
  • Do one fun activity/month with the kids. Likely skiing in March - we didn't end up skiing yesterday, as the weather was unpredictable. We did take the kids for ice cream on Saturday evening. We may add in something else as well. 
  • Get off the computer by 7:45 each evening - I'm doing better with this, and reading more. 
  • Have two dates with M per month - one of two & a second one scheduled. 
  • Have two meals/week that a minimum of three people in the family can eat. (Lots of food allergy issues going on)- Yes! We're in a much better place, and menu planning is working great. 

3) Fitness - lose 2 lbs - Yes! I've lost just over 2 lbs so far. 
  • Run 12 times - I've run 5/12, so on track
  • Track calories & eat five servings of fruit & vegetables/day - on track
  • Work out 33 times (2 additional/bonus workouts to make up for February) - I haven't missed a workout (trending to 11/11), but need to figure out a way to create makeups for February. 
  • Meditate 10 times - only 3/10 Need to focus on this, as I do enjoy it when I make the time.
4) Work/career - improve my work life balance

  • Reduce stress until my sabbatical - due to pending org changes, it's been a rough few weeks. But, I've left, taken breaks, used the gym & tried to remove myself from the stress when feasible.

  • Nail a large presentation (I'm not a fan of public speaking) - smaller than expected, but I did fine
  • Have one lunch/month to expand my network - 2 scheduled for the month

5) Personal/creative - spend more time on myself/creative pursuits
  • Do something social at least once per month - nothing scheduled. Maybe a workout at soccer warmups with a friend? 
  •  Volunteer a minimum of 1x/month - yes, I'm in charge of helping to set up the soccer field before games
  • Journal 10 times - 6/10 times so far
  • Make a 2018 photo book - may park this one until my sabbatical. No progress. 
  • Read one non-fiction book - I've been reading a lot of fiction, so will see about trying to finish one of my non fiction books. 

That's it for me. Not being sick as I was in February is really helping with the motivation. Also helping me is that the weather is supposed to improve, which generally gives me a motivational boost. What about you? How are you doing with your goals for the month? Any one goal you'd like to focus on?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Grocery deals

I rarely get grocery deals, as my primary store is Costco & they don't heavily discount. I happened to be at our local grocery store yesterday, just as they were doing mark downs. I found a few scores:

  • A box of ginger flavored tea for $1. I'm not super picky on flavor, and enjoy a cup of tea after dinner
  • Ground turkey for $.50/lb. I bought 5 tubs, and there were more. I may go back, now that I know how much freezer space I have
  • A fancy looking, Curtis Stone branded ground beef that had chili spices mixed in. $.99/lb. I bought three.
  • It's a rare day when I buy the kids sports drinks, but we save them for super hot days & back to back games. They have a tournament coming up, & the price was great at $.50/24 oz containers. 
Here are a few other things I've been up to:

  1. I'm making "crack chicken" in the crock pot
  2. I went on a rainy 4 mile run
  3. Cleaned the house, including the moving of furniture to vacuum behind everything
  4. Organized my 3 tier tray, caught up on all of the paper work there
  5. Finished our taxes, so I can have a call with an accountant tomorrow to finalize
  6. Organized two shelves in our pantry
  7. Caught up on laundry
Unlike our house in Seattle, I don't have a treadmill here, so I'm hoping the rain will eventually stop. I don't enjoy training in the rain at all!

Any good scores at the store lately?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Saturday ramblings

It was supposed to rain today, so soccer was going to be cancelled. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your love for soccer, it looks like the weather will hold up & the game will be on. So, we'll be spending our morning at the soccer field that's super close to our house. At least that's the advantage!

It was a harder work week than normal. Work is usually busy & stressful, but this week elevated that to a new level. There are rumors of changes & shifts in responsibility, which didn't bring out the best in some of my coworkers. The unknown also brings stress & general chaos. I'm thrilled it's the weekend. I should get the details on Monday, so more stress remains.

I did come up with a menu plan for the week, so we can make a shopping list & prep for the week ahead. Here's what we'll be eating.

Menu plan:
Saturday - out to eat, early birthday celebration for Nick
Sunday - crack chicken (crockpot)
Monday - homemade pizza (kids)
Tuesday - leftover crack chicken
Wednesday - leftover pizza
Thursday - Spaghetti & meatballs
Friday - tbd

I'm planning to run tomorrow, so today will be hopefully a strength training workout + either pilates or yoga. I'm trying to be balanced with my workouts, so that I can stay injury free during my half marathon training. Fingers crossed. Work was so stressful this week, that at one point I left my office to escape the drama & got on the treadmill. So, I guess there was a side benefit to all of that stress. ;-)

We may ski tomorrow, depending on the weather. If we do, I'll need to get all of my chores done today, including cleaning the house.

And, because it was such a hard week, & I'm emotionally wiped out, I'll add my good news for the week. Our neighbor finally secured a permit & was able to cut the giant tree that drapes over our pool. This is huge news, as there's about 10 hours/week of maintenance required in the spring & summer to keep our patio area clear due to the droppings of the tree. We've also replaced our filter multiple times due to clogs from the tree debris. And, when the tree drops its cones in the fall, that work is now gone as well. I happened to be home, heard a bunch of noise, & was thrilled to see that my yard nemesis is gone! What a giant time saver for the upcoming pool season.

That's it for us! What about you? What are you making this week? What are you hoping to accomplish this weekend? What's one good thing that happened to you this week?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Frugal Friday

This was a really challenging work week for both myself & M. It also rained a lot. Why is the rain noteworthy? Our kids bike to & from school, & the route in the rain is not particularly safe. Which means we have to figure out other logistics during the week. Additionally, soccer practice often moves around with almost no notice. Suffice it to say that the rain adds a bunch of logistical/planning work to my day.

Here are our frugal wins for the week:

  • Saved $40 by paying via check for a kid activity vs credit card
  • Sold an unopened phone on eBay for $150
  • All meals at home or free at work/packed, minus an unexpected meal out with four kids. Used a gift card & a coupon to keep the price zero out of pocket. 
  • Picked up books off of the freebie shelf at work
  • Line dried the majority of our clothes
  • Requested a microwave & mini fridge for our room in Hawaii in June. It's a long way out, but they have a limited number, and our available on a first request basis
  • Used a coupon when buying Nick knee pads that he needed for his volleyball team
  • Both boys have grown out of their pants at pretty much the same time. Unfortunately, hand me downs aren't much of an option, as they wear their pants until they are ragged. I was able to get a few replacement pair for $9/each.
That's it for us. Any frugal wins for you?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March Goals

February wasn't exactly the best month, but I have hopes for March! I have no work or personal travel planned, although we will likely sneak in a day ski trip.

1) Financial:

  • Stick to the budget
  • Every month come up with a new way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis
  • Make $300 in sidehustle
  • Finish/file our taxes
2) Family - spend more time together as a family
  • Do one fun activity/month with the kids. Likely skiing in March
  • Get off the computer by 7:45 each evening
  • Have two dates with M per month
  • Have two meals/week that a minimum of three people in the family can eat. (Lots of food allergy issues going on)
3) Fitness - lose 2 lbs

  • Run 12 times
  • Track calories & eat five servings of fruit & vegetables/day
  • Work out 33 times (2 additional/bonus workouts to make up for February)
  • Meditate 10 times
4) Work/career - improve my work life balance
  • Reduce stress until my sabbatical
  • Nail a large presentation (I'm not a fan of public speaking)
  • Have one lunch/month to expand my network

5) Personal/creative - spend more time on myself/creative pursuits
  • Do something social at least once per month
  • Volunteer a minimum of 1x/month
  • Journal 10 times
  • Make a 2018 photo book
  • Read one non-fiction book

Those are my goals for March! What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish this month?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Frugal Friday

We had a few frugal wins this week, although it was standard in all of the usual ways. While it's  nice to have a few "out of the ordinary" wins to report, the day to day stuff is really what keeps us frugal overall.

A few frugal wins:
  • Drove our electric car all weekend, to save on gas costs (we charge for free at work)
  • Dropped off & picked up my husband at the airport for a weekend trip, saving about $50 in Uber charges
  • Ate all meals at home
  • Exchanged a gift for something more practical
  • Prepped meals for the freezer
  • Listed three items on eBay, packaged last week's sales
  • Sold my son's bike (finally!) He owed me $90, so I was able to clear that up, and then he is putting the rest in his savings account for a rainy day
  • Used an Alaska Air companion fare to book a flight for my sister. I'm taking her to Hawaii as my treat. She is close to our family (location wise) & does a tremendous amount of work that I naturally can't help with given location & is generally just awesome. Saved $550 on the companion fare, plus used $55 of travel credit that I had available. 
I also moved a few items out of the freezer (chili, a breakfast sandwich, tortillas), so it feels good to make progress there. What about you? How did you do with your week? Any frugal wins to report?