Wednesday, July 31, 2019

This week's happenings

July absolutely flew by. I can't believe today is the 31st! Onward & upwards, I suppose. The boys are at soccer camp this week, and by the time they are home, they've played about 6.5 hours of soccer & are ravenous beasts. I've been trying to keep easy snacks at the ready for them. They are learning a lot & enjoying the drills.

I've also been continuing my yard work projects, and just getting a lot of house stuff done:

  • Setting up door installation for our house
  • Calling so many times about installation for storm door at our vacation house. This has been quite a process, as we need someone to be there for the installation. I need to call again today, as the day the delivery people are available, my parents are not. Getting anything done at our vacation house is a lesson in patience. It's a very small town & not that easy to get to, so most companies are there about 1x/month. If you miss the window, you're out of luck until next month.
  • Setting up medical appointments. I went to my primary care doctor yesterday, and finally got my rheumatology referral. I set that up, plus an appointment with a dermatologist to have a skin cancer screen. I did all of my labwork, and need to set up a mammogram appointment. 
  • Tomorrow, I'll attend an appointment for Sam.
  • I've also been selling on eBay, updating my listings, revising offers, the usual.
  • I also completed a few items on my proposed promotion for work (after my sabbatical), so am hopeful that most of that work is off of my list.
I'm heading to the Oregon coast this weekend to see my mom & sister. This is a once every few years trip that we take with my mom, as her Mother's Day/birthday gift. She loves it. We'll also be delivering a fire pit (unloading all of the bricks, & getting it set up), & hopefully training for our relay in a few weeks. 

What about you? What have you been up to this week? Any big wins, or things you've checked off your list?

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Saturday + early menu planning

It's supposed to be quite warm here today (90+), so I'm planning to get my chores done early, and then hopefully we can all get in the pool. Let the floatie inflation begin!

I'm heading to a workout class this morning with a friend, and need to clean the house. We need a few groceries, and I need to make a menu for the week ahead. . . now featuring hungry teenagers. When I picked the boys up from camp yesterday, they were ravenous. Sam attended a teen adventure camp, and hiked 35 miles carrying a 40 pound bag. With a wasp stinger in his hand, as they couldn't get it out until they got to base camp. His counselor said he was incredibly hard core, never complained, & has a super high pain threshold. Sam is joining my family this year on our relay, and I think he'll fit in just fine. :-)

Menu plan for the week ahead:
  • Friday - the adults had salmon + caprese salad, the kids had pepperoni pizza. I was thrilled to get a pizza crust out of the freezer. It had been there forever!
  • Saturday - keto friendly chicken curry + cauliflower rice. If the kids don't like that, pasta & meatballs
  • Sunday - some sort of bacon ranch mystery chicken dish I defrosted from the freezer?
  • Monday - leftover curry
  • Tuesday - leftover mystery dish
  • Wednesday - steak salad
  • Thursday - tacos
  • Friday - I'll be out of town with my sister & mom (we're having carnitas from the freezer), but M will probably take the kids out to Sweet Tomatoes (with a gift card)
What's on your menu for the week ahead?

Friday, July 26, 2019

Frugal Friday

In addition to the normal things this week (cleaning the house, making meals, doing our own yard/pool maintenance), here are our other frugal wins for the week:

Saving on things we buy:

  • I bought two Uber gift cards at Rite Aid, earning $10 in bonus cash for a future purchase
  • I also used a $5 Rite Aid bonus cash from a previous transaction towards deodorant that I needed to pick up
  • Filed for a reimbursement of my eye exam, as I had to pay out of pocket
  • We received a gift card for Christmas from M's manager, but despite several calls & tries to the company, the gift card wouldn't work & I was always asked to call back. Finally got it to go through today, so we will get a few bottles of wine delivered. I'm glad to check that off the list!

Earning money:

  • I found $9 in Las Vegas in leftover slot machines. I suppose people are too lazy to take their vouchers another foot or so to the machine to cash them in? I also found $.25 or so on the ground & in various change machines. I turned the money into an Amazon gift card via CoinStar (one of the free redemption options)
  • Sold two items on eBay
  • I haven't been able to redeem anything on Bing/Microsoft rewards forever. Finally tracked down customer service, after multiple emails, and redeemed for an Amazon gift card.
  • Filled out the Equifax data breach compensation form, which means M & I will likely both get $125. 

Avoiding purchases/spending:

  • Returned a lip treatment that I didn't like, and got a credit back to my card
  • M & I got back later than expected on Sunday (flight delay), & we were tempted to go out to eat. Instead, I defrosted a few things from the freezer (kebab for M, sausage for me), put together a couple of salads, and we had that outside on the patio with a nice glass of wine. It was lovely. 
  • We've been able to eat a few tomatoes from the garden - they are delicious!!
  • Used an Amazon mailing package from a camp purchase to mail an eBay sale. 
  • Used a grocery store gift card to pick up a few things we needed
  • Returned a dress that I noticed was almost sheer in the right light
  • Sent my Jansport backpack in for repairs. I've had the backpack since college, so it's more likely it will be replaced (they have a lifetime warranty), but I'll give repairs a shot. I did pay for the shipping of the backpack there. 
  • Used a $2 reward + a gift card to treat myself to lunch at Panera one day, when I was out & about
  • Took advantage of a work promotion on a photo book. It required some effort & a bit of driving, but will save $20 on my next photo book. Woohoo! Perfect timing.
  • Went to the library & picked up a big bunch of new books to read

What about you? How did save money this week?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

One more day

until the kids are back from camp! Honestly, I've missed them so much. It's been lovely to have the time with M, but I miss all of the hilarity & jokes. I do not miss the bickering (which is a relatively new thing at our house), so I'm hoping the time apart will have done them some good as well.

I did quite a bit off of my to do  list yesterday, but the 2006 photo book is still haunting me. Here's what I have for today:

  • Yard work (sabbatical goal of filling up the yard waste bin each week)
  • Costco. M is insisting for the kids, even though we could cobble it together on Saturday am, and hit Costco that afternoon
  • Barre class with a friend
  • Sort out payment options for nephew's birthday
  • Call my mom
  • Sweep the garage
  • Work on my sanding project
  • Meditate
  • Sweep, skim & water in the back yard
  • And, the infamous 2006 photo book
We're grilling salmon tonight, & having that with caprese salad. And, likely wine. :-) 

What about you? What's on your to do list for today?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Health stuff

While I'd like to be spending my time off from work relaxing & being productive, I've also been trying to get a few health issues taken care of. I went for an eye exam on Monday, which has led to a bunch of other follow on appointments. Unfortunately, the pressure in my eyes was quite high, which can be a problem with lupus. The optometrist told me that I needed to get in to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. When I went to set up that appointment, it turns out that the ophthalmologist wants me to also see my rheumatologist. My rheumatologist recently retired, so I need to find a new one in my network (a change I've been planning to make, but just haven't done yet). Of course, to find a new rheumatologist, I need to get a referral from my primary care doctor.... who is out through the end of the year. It was like a game of dominoes. :-)

I now have a check in with another primary care doctor, who can then give me a referral to a new rheumatologist. And, have an upcoming opthamologist appointment. While I'd prefer to spend my time doing more fun things, it will be nice to have all of this sorted before I head back to work. I also am bringing Sam to doctor's appointments. Once we have a formal diagnosis & more details, I'll share that as well. Long story short, that's also been a tremendous amount of work. I feel grateful to have the time this summer to get all of this done.

What's on the agenda for today?

  • Going for a run
  • Meeting a friend for lunch
  • Must finish the 2006 photo book
  • Vacuum
  • Yard work
  • If the weather cools off, I'll make banana muffins. Our freezer is packed with bananas (we need to buy fewer for sure, now that M & I don't eat bananas), & I'd like to get them out. 
  • Calling about a gift card
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish today?

Monday, July 22, 2019

Menu Plan Monday

M & I are back from a lovely long weekend together. We went to Las Vegas (M was in a tournament) & were spoiled by fabulous meals & plenty of fun. I did manage to go to the gym one time, but it certainly wasn't enough to burn off all of the great food, so I need to work on getting back on track with my fitness & eating this week. Back to salads!

Here's what we'll be having for the week ahead.

Sunday - kebabs (freezer) & caprese salad
Monday - salmon & coleslaw
Tuesday - steak + caprese salad
Wednesday - leftover salmon & coleslaw
Thursday - leftover steak + caprese salad
Friday - pizza (kids), meatballs with zoodles (adults), watermelon
Saturday - tbd, we'll let the kids decide.

The kids come back from camp on Friday & I'm so excited to see them.

I have a sizable to do list today, so here goes:

  1. Make menu plan
  2. Grocery errands (Costco, produce stand, Trader Joes)
  3. See if I can squeeze in an eye exam today
  4. Work out
  5. Mail a few eBay listings
  6. Drop off book donations at the library, pick up more books
  7. Catch up on our budget
  8. Return a dress at TJMaxx
  9. Time permitting, work on photo books or sanding project
That's it from my side. What about you? What's on your menu for the week? Any easy, keto friendly recipes for warm weather?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Frugal Friday

It's Friday, & I have a lot to share this week. Some weeks, I do almost nothing that make me feel frugal. Other weeks, I have a bunch!

I have quite a few things to share this week, so tried to group:

Saving on things we buy:

  • Picked up the Friday freebie at Lucky (sparkling flavored water - the kids will love it)
  • While I was there, I spotted packages of turkey sausages (12 oz) for $.99 on markdown. Sam loves sausage, so I thought these would make a good breakfast option. I bought two. I came back for more the next day (they were a huge hit), but other shoppers had scored all of the remaining packages.
  • Did a gift card deal (also at Lucky). Bought $300 of gift cards (Uber, Delta for upcoming travel) & earned a $60 Lucky gift card. Free groceries!
  • The boys current favorite snack (mini naan bread) was on sale for $.97 in a huge pack at Costco. We bought two for the freezer, as they reheat well.
  • When we discovered a great coleslaw recipe that we wanted to remake, priced out the ingredients to make the coleslaw mix myself (cabbage has varied quite a bit in price in our area) & found it was significantly cheaper to make on my own. Made coleslaw mix, with enough ingredients for 3-4 more batches. Around $5 cheaper than buying pre cut.
  • Used a $5/$25 promo on Monday, which I can normally not take advantage of due to my schedule. Stocked up on a few pantry staples

    Earning money:
    • Finally sold our telescope for $40
    • Sold three items on eBay, and relisted another that didn't sell
    • Listed six new items on eBay, 1 in our neighborhood Facebook swap, and 2 on Nextdoor

      Avoiding purchases/spending:
      • Nick made homemade brownies (no mix, & they were one of the best brownies I've tasted) & I cut up a watermelon we brought back from Oregon. He took these to share with friends at a swimming event, vs buying snacks to bring or having food delivered/purchased. 
      • Ate through much of the food we brought back from the Oregon coast, which was satisfying, cost effective & made me feel good about reducing waste. I didn't use a few pieces of corn in time, unfortunately, but the rest was incorporated into various meals & snacks
      • Drove our electric car to drop off the kids at camp - about two hours round trip of driving
      • Typically when the kids are at camp, we take the opportunity to go out & have date nights. We will be doing that on vacation, but decided on Sunday to avoid our normal winery stop & dinner out. Instead, we came home, M grilled a few things, I made coleslaw & we ate at home with a few glasses of wine. It was lovely. So lovely, in fact, that we repeated it on Monday & Tuesday. This saved us quite a bit, but also used up food we already had. Win/win!
      • I returned two things I bought for camp, as we were able to make do with things we already had. When I was doing the returns (Rite Aid & Target), I just did the returns & successfully bought...nothing!
      • Ate chicken chowder for lunch. I'd unearthed this from the freezer, and was able to mark something off of my goals list (my ongoing challenge to get items out of the freezer) & avoided buying or wasting food.

      Monday, July 15, 2019

      A Quiet House

      It's so quiet around the house today! Although it's nice to have the time to get things done, I do definitely miss the sound of the boys around. And, who wouldn't miss morning hugs from Sam, who, at 13, still comes over & hugs me as soon as he gets up in the morning. *love*

      So far today, I've made a trip to Goodwill (my first ever as a shopper vs donations) & picked up a piece of project furniture. I've never sanded/refinished anything before, so I want to practice before I try it on any of our nicer stuff. I spent $7 on a phone table. It's cute & vintage looking. I'll post before & after pictures, assuming I make anything of it.

      I also posted a bunch of stuff on eBay, Nextdoor, & our Facebook marketplace. I haven't tackled the books yet, so those are up next. It felt good to get some stuff out of the closet & photographed. I also noticed one of the items had a small mark, so it went back into the wash to see if that could be removed.

      I cleaned our patio chairs. Our neighbor has a tree which hangs way over our fence line, and drips some sort of sap onto the ground, plants, & the patio chairs. It's a bummer. Anyway, chairs & the small side table are now clean, & ready for action.

      I also worked on my packing for our trip this weekend - picking out what I'm planning to wear, ensuring everything is clean & doesn't need a quick trip through the dry cleaning cycle (Dryel bags, in our dryer at home), etc.

      I cobbled together lunch out of fridge/freezer items: Trader Joes edamame (love this stuff), Aidells pineapple & bacon sausage (M grilled these yesterday) & watermelon leftover from Nick's swimming event.

      I can't do more yardwork until our bin gets emptied, so that will need to happen later in the week.

      Up next: working out (inside, because it's almost 85 outside, which is too hot for this fair weathered girl).

      What about you? What's happening in your world today?

      Sunday, July 14, 2019

      A childless menu plan this week

      We drop the boys off at summer camp today (they are very excited), so we'll be missing a few people around here for menu planning purposes. We will also take advantage of our child free state and enjoy a long weekend out of town. Here's the menu:

      • Sunday - M will grill tri tip, as well as chicken sausages. We'll likely just eat the tri tip tonight, along with coleslaw
      • Monday - chicken sausages + salad
      • Tuesday - leftover tri tip
      • Wednesday - meeting friends at a Greek restaurant
      • Thursday - we'll be out of town, and have plans to eat at a sushi restaurant
      • Friday - Out of town. Meeting a friend at a steak house
      • Saturday - Still out of town, planning to eat at an Italian restaurant
      • Sunday - we should be home around 4:00. We have a few freezer options, but are more likely to grab takeout, as the kids are out of town
      It will be an unusual week for us, given all of the meals out!

      What else is on the agenda for today?

      • Run
      • Yoga
      • Work on photobooks
      • I'm on the lookout for a piece of wood furniture (a freebie on Nextdoor, hopefully) that I can use to practice sanding & staining, before I attempt something at home. A lot of my neighbors give away scratched & damaged furniture, so it's just a matter of timing it correctly
      • Work on photo books
      • Update ebay, Facebook, Nextdoor listings. Post 5 more.
      • Weather dependent, make muffins. Maybe before it gets too hot
      • Have the boys call my parents
      • Drop off the boys at summer camp
      All in all, it should be a great day. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish today? Have you ever sanded & stained/refinished furniture?

      Friday, July 12, 2019

      Frugal Friday

      I'm starting today off strong, because I finally made & ordered our wedding album. And yes, it's been 14 years. ;-) But, it's done, and making photobooks was one of my projects for my sabbatical. I'm excited to see how this one turns out, and if it works well, I will keep going. Meanwhile, I'll continue to digitize all of our existing printed photos. I've also sorted them all, which was quite a project.

      Yesterday I worked in the yard for four hours - until my arms gave out & I was too hot. I'm about to go outside & do more trimming! Looking forward to more progress.

      Here's what we've been up to this week, in terms of frugal things.:

      • Made do with a salad kit that was past it's use by date for lunch. I picked out a few things, but otherwise it was fine.
      • Bought Sam's camping trip gear at Target, using a gift card.
      • Returned a few things I didn't need.
      • Listed four items on eBay, and three items on our local neighborhood swap.
      • Made banana muffins out of a few overly ripe bananas that didn't survive the car trip back from the Oregon coast. 
      • Offered a friend a ride to camp for her son, saving her time & money. 
      • Used a $100 coupon code, and $330 travel credit for our holiday flights, paying around $200/pp (after those discounts). A great deal compared to what we've paid before!
      • Met M for lunch at work, so free impromptu date!
      • All meals eaten at home (save for free meals at work & camp)
      • Carpooled with a friend for camp, so we both saved on gas/driving time
      • Found a coupon code for a light fixture we were planning to order, & then went through Raise & ebates for a gift card to further defray the cost.
      • Hosting Nick's friend this afternoon for lunch & swimming, to help out his mom, as she has to work & camp ends at noon. Trying to pay it forward this summer!
      What about you? What frugal things have you been up to this week?

      Thursday, July 11, 2019

      It's already Thursday!

      I've had a mostly productive week, and have been working through a few projects. I've also enjoyed time by the pool, reading my book. All work & no play, and all that. . . :-)

      I have plans today to clean the house & trim the plants that are under our eaves around the patio. One of my sabbatical goals has been to fill the yard waste bin each week. I'm usually limited in my yard work by how much space we have in the waste bin. Well, the yard waste was picked up yesterday, so let the trimming begin!

      I ran errands yesterday, and was thinking about how much time is wasted in purchasing & returning things. In this case, I was exchanging towels (birthday present for M - yes, really his request) that were the wrong color. The entire exchange took nearly two hours. When I read blogs where people are frequent clothing shoppers (and returners), I'm always surprised by how much of their free time they spend in the pursuit of buying, trying on, maintaining, re-selling, returning, etc. While I like getting a new top or pair of jeans as much as anyone, for budgeting reasons I try to limit this, as well as because I know I often change my mind later, and returns are a hassle & a time waster. We used to leave near a mall in our Seattle house, and I was often spending my weekends in this cycle. For a variety of reasons, it's not something I do much of these days, & I'm ever so grateful.

      Here's what's on my list to accomplish today:

      • Clean the house
      • Trim the trees
      • Clean up another yard project
      • Run 
      • Potentially yoga or pilates
      • Call about a gift card we received 
      • Laundry
      • Clean the fridge
      • Decide on a streamlined menu for next week (the kids will be at summer camp)
      • Make muffins (time permitting)
      What are you hoping to accomplish today?

      Tuesday, July 9, 2019

      Checking in on 2019 yearly goals

      With the year more than half way over, I thought I should check in on how I'm doing with my 2019 yearly goals - for myself as much as anyone else. :-) Checking in is always a good reminder of the areas I need to focus on.

      1) Financial:

      • Stick to the budget. - We've done okay in this one. We're well over in a few categories, including ones we decided to intentionally change (travel, as I added a few trips for my sabbatical) & those where it's been unintentional & the result of higher than expected spending. I'm giving us a yellow. I'm hoping we can be more intentional in the second half of the year. We knew the first half would be expensive, as we had a bunch of house projects planned, etc. 
      • Come up with a "pay off our house model - we have a few options that we can choose from depending on factors we can't predict right now (how long each of us will work, etc), but the plans are built. 
      • Every month, come up with a way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis. - this has mostly happened, although I'm pretty sure I missed a month. 
      • Model out a 3, 5 & 10 year financial plans. - We have a bunch of options going, but we are largely aligned on the plans. 
      • Spend $250 or less on clothing for me & track all purchases- Fail. I stopped tracking items (still tracking the budget). I'd say, ignoring two pair of running shoes, I'm at around $300 for the year. 
      2) Family - spend more time together as a family!
      • Do a minimum of one fun activity/month with the kids. - This has been happening! We skied, flew kites on the beach, went to a soccer tournament, went mountain biking, played games, cooked together, etc.
      • Be more present with the kids & M - this is also going well. I've been trying to get off the computer by 7:45 each night, and have been largely successful.
      • Have two dates with M per month - mostly on track. We've had a long weekend together, a few lunches, and a few date nights. 

      3) Fitness/health - lose 15 pounds, bringing my weight to 142. - I made great progress in May, & ate too much on vacation in June!
      • Make running a consistent part of my life. Run a half marathon in under 2:25. - I've been running reasonably consistently, as long as I'm training. When I'm not, I stop all together, so still more work to do. And, I was just over this time (bathroom & fuel breaks), so the timing goal rolls into my October half. I've run 38 times this year. I'd like this to be more like 12x/month, so more progress to come. 
      • Track calories, eat five servings of fruit & veggies/day. - I'm at a 95% success rate for this. 
      • Work out 365 times in 2019. - I'm at 166 workouts for the year, so trending just a little behind, but have made progress since my sabbatical started. 
      • Meditate 100 times - I'm at 22, so way off track. 
      4) Work/career - improve my work life balance
      • Keep better perspective at work/reduce stress until I leave - I mostly did this, despite a lot of drama
      • Take a sabbatical - absolutely!
      • Decide on returning to work part time - I have a plan mostly in place. Details to come. 
      5) Personal/creative
      • Cut my own hair - probably not going to do this in 2019.
      • Make time for friends, do something social at least one per month. - I've been crushing this, particularly on my sabbatical.
      • Volunteer a minimum of 1x/month - no, this hasn't happened. I need to find flexible options.
      • Write/journal consistently - I've been journaling quite a bit in 2019 & really enjoy it. 

      Well, looking through everything, I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at. I know I need to focus on meditation, running, & staying on top of the budget! What about you? How are you doing against your 2019 goals?

      Monday, July 8, 2019

      Sabbatical goals - the half way point

      I really can't believe that my sabbatical is half way over. It's gone so very, very fast! I've had so many great adventures, and spent so much time with my family. It's been lovely. But, I'm very aware of the time ticking away (in fact, when I realized I was half way done, I had anxiety dreams about going back to work last night). I want to take advantage of the time I have left, and be as productive as possible.

      Here are the goals for the rest of my sabbatical, with a bit of status on each. Strike through represents completed projects.

      1. Create a plan for Sam, and get all paperwork to the doctor, lock in tutors, etc. - This is about 50% done. I know what needs to be done, but need to get everything sent in & get additional appointments set up. 
      2. Complete replacement project for all doors in the house.  - The doors have been ordered & paid for. We are waiting for them to come in & get installed. 
      3. Make all of our photo books (2018 since the boys were born) - No progress. 
      4. Deep clean our house. - Waiting until the doors are installed, as they will generate a bunch of dust.
      5. Deep clean the beach house 0 Done, minus carpet cleaning. 
      6. Go through our house & declutter - Maybe 10% done. 
      7. Declutter the beach house
      8. Have an adult trip with M - Yes, but we may adjust the location. 
      9. Take my mom to Las Vegas
      10. Run a half marathon
      11. Friends trip to Hawaii
      12. Girls trip with my mom - This is booked for August.
      13. Have lunch with friends - I've had lunch with six friends, & plan to continue.
      14. Complete four projects at the beach house - We replaced our patio set & fridge, have a bid for three other projects, and have ordered 1/2 of the supplies for another project.
      15. Complete two yard projects - I'm about 1/3 done with both.
      16. Organize all paperwork - No progress.
      17. Book holiday plans (flights, hotels for skiing, etc) - M & I just need to lock in final details.
      18. Fill out camp paperwork
      19. Work out consistently (yoga, running, strength training) - I've done pretty well with the yoga & strength training. Kicking off a new half marathon training plan this week.
      20. Order new light fixture for dining room - Not done.
      21. Buy new drapes for dining room - Not done.
      22. Complete the boys baby books - Not started.
      23. Update our financial models - Mostly  there, but need to update based on work plans.
      24. Wash the windows - Not started.
      25. Sell 10 items from around the house - Not started.
      26. Get an eye exam - Not done.
      27. Deal with new drivers license. - Need to make an appointment. 
      28. Clean & itemize fridge, freezer & pantry - Have done one pass, but many more in my future.
      29. Stock the freezer (meals, protein balls, muffins) - Nope.
      30. Come up with a squirrel solution for our plants. - Have tried a few things with moderate success.

      Whew! That's a lot to do. But, I'm looking forward to getting things marked off, particularly those where I've made some progress, but am not yet done. What about you? Any major projects you hope to tackle this summer?

      Sunday, July 7, 2019

      We're home, and a few frugal wins

      We drove from the Oregon coast home yesterday, and made great time. It took around 12 hours of driving time, plus about 30 minutes of stops (gas, lunch, and bathrooms). It was by far our best timing on the trip, and we were home in time to unpack the car & eat dinner at home.

      The kids are thrilled to be back, after being gone for three weeks. They can't wait to see friends. As soon as he helped unpack, Nick was on his bike, cruising the neighborhood.

      Now that I'm back home for the next few months with only short weekenders in there, I need to get productive on my sabbatical goals! I'll be posting an updated list of sabbatical goals soon.

      Here's our planned menu for the week:

      • Sunday - Nick will make pizza for the kids, & M & I will have sausages on the grill + salad.
      • Monday - leftover burgers
      • Tuesday - Leftover sausages + salad
      • Wednesday - Tacos (a taco salad for me)
      • Thursday - Leftover burgers (if any remain) + hot dogs
      • Friday - Carnitas 
      • Saturday - TriTip + salad

      We had a really crazy day on Friday, with a furniture delivery that went very wrong (a story for another day, but they did quite a bit of damage to our floors & walls). I did manage to get us packed & the house cleaned, the car loaded, so we could take off bright & early on Saturday morning. 

      We had a few frugal wins along the way. Here's how we did:
      • I packed breakfast for everyone for the car yesterday, out of things we had at the beach house.
      • We ate lunch at Costco, while getting gas. Lunch for four was $16. A steal.
      • We bought gas 2x at Costco, which is by far the cheapest place.
      • I packed all of the groceries & pantry items from the beach, so we have a more streamlined shopping list for today, and reduced waste.
      • I also sent my sister & parents with their own bags of food. They will both get a couple of meals out of the leftovers. 
      • We used our snacks leftover from the drive to my parents for the drive home. I hid them during our trip, so they didn't get consumed during the vacation.
      • I used a Starbucks gift card to buy everyone a cool drink yesterday. During part of the drive, it was 100 degrees. Our car has air conditioning, but it still was warm in parts. The boys loved the iced tea, and it was a refreshing change.
      • Before we left, I cleaned the house from top to bottom, and did all of the laundry myself, saving on the cost of cleaners turning over the house. 
      • Driving vs flying saved about $2000, when you factor in gas & meals, against the cost of flights & a rental car for such an extended period of time. 
      I hope you are having a fabulous Sunday. I'm happy to be home, & have a long list of projects to tackle. I need to go be productive!

      Wednesday, July 3, 2019

      July goals

      The summer is flying by! I know I need to set goals (and, do a better job of tracking each item) this month, so I can stay on track & take advantage of my free time while the kids are at camp. Here's what I'm planning to accomplish this month.

      1) Financial:

      • Stick to the budget
      • Come up with a new way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis.
      • Make $500 in side hustle
      • Sell five items
      • Use up 5 freezer items from our house, and 5 from our vacation house.
      2) Family - spend more time together as a family!
      • Do one fun activity/month with the kids.
      • Off the computer by 7:45 each evening
      • Have two dates with M, & figure out our trip when the boys are at camp.
      • Continue meal prepping
      • Plan & book our holidays
      • Get a plan together for Sam for next year. Follow up with the doctor & tutor
      • Deep clean the entire house
      • Complete two projects at the beach house
      • Finalize house projects & budget/schedule

      3) Fitness/health - lose 2 lbs.

      • Run 12 times, & get a training plan kicked off for the October half.
      • Track calories (1400/day) & eat 5 servings of fruit & veggies/day
      • Work out 35 times
      • Meditate 10 times

      4) Personal/creative
      • Do something social
      • Volunteer a minimum of 1x
      • Journal 15 times
      • Tackle four projects from my sabbatical list

      What about you? What's on your list of goals for July? Let us know, so we can cheer you on!

      Tuesday, July 2, 2019

      June goals recap

      June was a great month, with a trip to Hawaii, and several trips to the Oregon coast. Because of all the fun, it also means that less productive stuff got done around here. Oh well, plenty of fun was had! Here's what we got done in June:

      1) Financial:

      • Stick to the budget. We were way over on groceries & dining out. :-( 
      • Come up with a new way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis. We bought everyone flasks, and have been consistently using them for errands, sports, as well as traveling. This has reduced our purchase of water & other beverages tremendously, and reduced our environmental impact. 
      • Make $500 in side hustle. $245. I thought I'd be paid for another item, but looks like that will carry over into July. 
      • Use up 5 freezer items from our house, & 5 from our vacation house. We definitely used more than ten, but can't remember the exact ratio: bagel bites, muffins, steak (x3), bagels, sandwich rolls, chicken cordon bleu, sausage, risotto, etc.
      2) Family - spend more time together as a family!
      • Do one fun activity/month with the kids. We've been doing lots of kite flying!
      • Off the computer by 7:45 each evening. Yes, and I didn't use the computer at all for over a week.
      • Have two dates with M. Yes, we had dinner & watched the Warriors game while the kids were at an event, and had three happy hours out while the boys were with my parents. 
      • Continue meal prepping. Yes! This has continued to go well.
      • Plan & book our holidays. Nope, will move to July. We've discussed the dates & plans, just need to get the travel locked in. 
      • Get a plan together for Sam next year. I accomplished what I could, and spend a lot of time on this in June, but I need to chase some paper work, and set up the tutoring schedule/study topics. 
      • Finish camp paperwork - done!
      • Deep clean the entire house. Not done. I did the bathroom cabinets (one bathroom), but have quite a bit still to do. 
      • Complete two projects at the beach house. We ordered & set up a new patio set, & ordered a new fridge. We still have several other projects to complete. 
      • Finalize house projects & budget/schedule for work at our house. Mostly there. Still waiting on final dates for our doors. 

      3) Fitness/health - lose 2 lbs. No scale at the beach house, but I'll be thrilled if I've maintained vs gained, given all of the vacations!
      • Run 12 times. Nope, only two times. The hot weather (at our house + in Hawaii) foiled this for most of the month. 
      • Track calories (1400/day) & eat 5 servings of fruit & veggies/day. Way over after vacations (1798/day), but I did manage 5.46 servings of fruit & veggies. 
      • Work out 35 times - I completed 32/35 workouts. At least I averaged more than one per day!
      • Meditate 10 times. I completed 5 meditations, all before the chaos of vacations began. 

      4) Personal/creative.
      • Do something social. Yes, I met two friends for lunch, and went for a walk with another friend. 
      • Volunteer a minimum of 1x. Nope. I did increase my financial donations to a few places, as I couldn't find any time flexible volunteer options. 
      • Journal 15 times. I journaled 8 times. I was on a roll, but got off track during vacation. 
      • Read one non-fiction book. I totally forgot about this, so it didn't happen.
      • Tackle three projects from my sabbatical list:
        • Declutter beach house - yes
        • Deep cleaning beach house project - nope, will do this in July
        • Clean out clothes for myself/boys - yes

      It was really a great month for fun, and fewer productivity wins. I'll take it, either way! Looking forward to getting a lot done in July! What about you? How did you do with your goals in June? Any that you will be carrying over to July?

      Monday, July 1, 2019

      Menu plan Monday

      The weather at the beach has been lovely, and the boys have been flying kites and enjoying the sunshine. My parents, sister, nephew & brother in law arrive on Tuesday, and we'll be hosting everyone for a few days.

      Our goals while hosting are to keep things as easy as possible, while still putting on a great menu. I don't like a lot of fuss, and prefer to spend the time together, relaxing & enjoying. We also have big happy hours each evening, with special drinks for the kids, wine/beer for the adults, veggies & dip, cheese & crackers, etc.

      Here's what we will be eating for dinners:

      • Monday - salmon & salad
      • Tuesday - pizzas & salad
      • Wednesday - crockpot carnitas + taquitos, chips & salsa
      • Thursday - burgers & hot dogs + potato salad
      • Friday - leftovers
      • Saturday - driving home, so either something on the road, or something out of the freezer. Dependent upon our arrival time. 
      • Sunday - tbd. I can't remember what we have in the freezer at home.
      For breakfasts, we will have eggs, fruit & bagels. We'll make up a big pan of scrambled eggs in the morning, or the kids usually prefer breakfast sandwiches with my sister's homemade sausage patties. For lunches, we will put out sandwich fixings, chips, fruit, etc. We'll switch it up & do taco soup in the crockpot one day for lunch, along with the carnitas sides (chips, salsa, guac, etc). There will also be leftovers. We won't plan much for desserts, although Nick did mention that he wants to make ice cream sandwiches, so those will probably happen as well.

      What about you? What will you be serving this week?