Thursday, April 30, 2020

April Goals Recap

It was a full month of WFH/quarantine/remote learning. I've continued to focus on the positives, while giving myself some forgiveness on the things that are harder right now.

Here's how I did this month:

1) Financial

  • Stick to the budget & rebuild plan for taxes due - yes, plan is in motion & we are in good shape for the revised 7/15 date. 
  • Pay down our mortgage to the next micro level - yes, done! And, over delivered. I put all of my eBay sales towards the mortgage, which always helps. 
  • No clothing, shoes & jewelry purchases - I bought a pair of jeans for a friend (they were $10, as I had points & rewards), but nothing for me. 
  • Make $100 in side hustle - I made just over $250! Lots & lots of small sales. I'm listing one item a day, as I've heard that helps promote all of your listings in the algorithm. Not sure if it's that, or something else, but slow & steady. 
  • Keep working through freezer/pantry clean out - we've done a good job of managing food waste & rotating through things. I may come up with a "hit list" of items for May. 
2) Family
  • Plan a family dinner night, & a couple of fun spring break activities - we've had family dinner every night, and busted out the old XBox during spring break. The pool is also finally warm enough, but we didn't quite get warm enough weather over spring break. We've also done nightly walks as a family.
  • Off the computer by 7:30 each evening (not counting reading) - Most days, yes. I had a few crazy nights (and, it interrupts my sleep for sure), but otherwise just reading after that. 
  • Have a weekly half hour alone with M - we are doing pretty well on this. 
  • Schedule monthly calls with M's family - we had a call, and I've been recording WhatsApp videos, to help us get past some of the time zone challenges. 
  • Two hours of practice with Farsi flashcards - I've been practicing Spanish every day, but not Farsi
3) Fitness/health
  • Lose 3 lbs - I lost 1.5 lbs. My calories were higher, but I'm still pleased with the progress during a quarantine
  • Work out every day in April - yes!
  • Track calories, eat five servings of fruit & vegetables. Aim for 1400 calories/day - I crushed the fruit & vegetable goal, but my average calories were high at 1623. Luckily, I was active this month. 
  • Complete 1000 minutes of cardio, 10 strength & 5 stretching workouts - 1330 minutes of cardio! 10 strength workouts, & 4 stretching workouts. 
  • Meditate 20 times - close, with 18 meditations
4) Personal/creative
  • Stay connected with friends. Do something social 2x/month- yes, we've been doing virtual happy hours
  • Volunteer - I've been helping out some neighbors
  • Journal 25 times - Yes! I journaled every day in April
  • Adapt a more positive mindset (judge less) - I'm doing okay at this
  • Listen more often vs talking & work on not interrupting - also doing okay
  • Reduce swearing - eh, it's been hit or miss during the quarantine
  • Read one non-fiction book - I'm 2/3 of the way done with Becoming by Michelle Obama. A great read so far. 
  • Compliment M every day - Mostly
  • Support the kids with online learning - Well, we are all surviving as best we can!
  • Complete one project/day (taking advantage of WFH situation) - Yes! I've done so much cleaning & decluttering, organizing, weeding, getting our patio area cleaned up. It's been great. 

All in all, I'm feeling really good about how April went. How about you? How did you do with your April goals? 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A few things

It was a day of random tasks today, but I did manage to get a few things done:

  • A few walks
  • A few chores (sweeping + cleaning & setting out our last two patio chairs)
  • A 30 minute HIIT workout
  • Plenty of work
  • Meditation
  • Listed an item on eBay
  • Journaled
I'm looking forward to tomorrow & Friday, where I have significantly fewer meetings. I try to journal every day these days, and come up with three things I'm grateful for. I'll try to remember to share them here as well, as we can all use more positive news:

Today I'm grateful for:
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice to add to my water
  • Baked oatmeal, for a quick & easy breakfast
  • Nice walking weather
  • Time to play rummy with my husband (during what used to be our commute time)
That's it for me. What about you? What are you grateful for these days? Are you ready for May?! I can't believe April is almost over.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Menu Plan Sunday

I went for a virtual run with friends this morning, and it was toasty! I came home & made pico de gallo & guacamole, although i don't think the guacamole will be as good as normal - the avocado was barely ripe enough to mash. I ended up giving it a light chop instead. In pre-quarantine days, I definitely would have gone to the produce stand for more ripe avocado, but in our current world, we will just make do! I also made 3.5 lbs of taco meat. We will eat some for dinner this week, and the rest will go into the freezer.

I also built our menu plan for the week:
  • Friday - it was a leftovers smorgasbord, with the kids having chicken & the adults having salmon
  • Saturday - burgers, potato salad & homemade potato chips (we have a LOT of potatoes to get through)
  • Sunday - tacos with pico de gallo & guacamole
  • Monday - leftover burgers & potato salad
  • Tuesday - leftover tacos
  • Wednesday - likely carnitas, with any remaining pico de gallo. I'll hopefully have enough avocados for a second batch of guacamole
  • Thursday - anything leftover in the fridge
  • Friday - TBD
And, sold our lawn mower. I'm currently taking a break, enjoying the sunshine by the pool.

For the rest of the day, who knows if I get anything done, but I will likely get our patio cushions added to our outdoor dining table. And then maybe just some lounging & reading.

Hope you are having a great Sunday!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Busy in the kitchen on a sunny day

I went on a hike this morning, and traded a friend Kleenex that she needed for apples from her farm delivery. The apples are amazing!

I also went to the grocery store to pick up a few items Costco doesn't carry. Pretty much anything is cheaper at our local produce stand, but it's very difficult to practice social distancing. So, we've been shopping at the grocery store near our house instead. M went to Costco, and unloading & sanitizing everything (not to mention finding space in the fridge/freezer) is an adventure. We have more food  than usual, so it's a bit of a juggle when the new supplies come it. We are grateful to have access to high quality food right now.

I cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed & then started prepping some food. I made potato salad (for the first time!) & it was fabulous. The recipe I tried was super tasty, but the peeling of the potatoes & time involved means this will be a rare treat in our house. I sent Nick over to drop off a few servings for our neighbor across the way, and she'd picked up quiches from our local bakery, and gave us one. She's so lovely.

I also made orange muffins (some for us, some for our neighbor who gave us oranges), which turned out well. I boiled extra eggs for egg salad, but I've run out of steam, and those will need to wait for another day.

I'm hoping to list an item on eBay, and sell a lawnmower to a neighbor who expressed interest. Other than that, I think that will be pretty much the day. Oh, and reading by the pool for a bit!

Hope you are all having a fabulous Saturday. Have you tried any new recipes that you would recommend?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Frugal Friday

It's hard to spend much money when you're quarantined at home! Here's what we got up to this week.

Saving on things we buy

  • We have a trip booked to Hawaii (the big island) in June. It seems very unlikely we'll be able to go, unless things trend drastically differently with COVID.  But, if we do happen to go, I noticed that our hotel is now $1,000 less for the trip & includes free buffet breakfast + free drinks. I went ahead & made the change, in the event we are able to go. Costco Travel is so easy to work with. I did have to hold for about 20 minutes (expected, given all of the travel changes), but the agent was able to quickly adjust our reservation. It seems more & more likely that our vacation this summer will be at our house on the Oregon coast, which will be lovely, but not what we'd planned. It's been nice to have this Hawaii trip to look forward to, even though it seems extremely unlikely at the moment. 
  • In a similar vein, I price matched all of our flights for the rest of the year, and cancelled/rebooked for the lower prices. It seems unlikely we will be taking those flights, but if we do, we will have saved a few hundred dollars. 

Earning money

  • Continued to list things on eBay. The sales have been slow. But, we are getting a few things out of the house per week.
  • We received our Costco rebate check (we've calculated to see how much we spend, and this is definitely the right choice for us). I'd wanted M to apply the rebate to our most recent shopping trip, but there was a cashier mix up, so we received it all back in cash. I'll tuck it away for a time when we're out & need cash. 

Avoiding spending

  • A neighbor gifted us lemons & oranges from her trees, as a thank you for walking her dog each day. I juiced all of the fruit, and the lemons will serve as salad dressing, reducing our need to buy limes. The orange juice was mixed into an open jug of store purchased orange juice. The kids use the juice as a base for smoothies. We typically don't buy juice, but figure the Vitamin C is good to have right now. 
  • After numerous emails & customer chats, finally got a refund for some clothes we purchased for Sam that didn't fit. I mailed them back over a month ago, and never received a credit. That's now sorted. 
  • I asked another neighbor if we could pick a few oranges from her tree (it is half in our yard) to which she said to pick them all & enjoy. We picked some for her, gave some to a friend, and will juice the rest.
  • Our soccer club refunded part of the spring season fees. The coaches were all paid, which I fully support. We were able to get our money back for a cancelled tournament, field fees which weren't used, etc. In total, it's a bit under $500, as we have two kids in the same club. 

Not frugal for me, but I picked up paper towels & Kleenex for friends who couldn't find them. Left paper towels & oranges out for a contactless pickup for a friend. She has offered me a food drop off soon, which she preps big meals for Ramadan. Yum.

What about you? Any frugal wins to report for the week? 

Monday, April 20, 2020

The days are feeling long

It's going to be a really wild work week. I have one week a month with significantly more meetings (just the way the recurring monthly meetings fall) & we also have a big deliverable this week. The deliverable is something we normally take 6-8 weeks to plan & execute, but in this case, have less than a week. There are..reasons.. so, it's all hands on deck to get things ready on time.

My standard week lately have been about 4 hours/meeting a day, with projects, emails & activities sprinkled between the other hours. I have no days this week with less than 5 hours/meetings, which makes things just generally harder to manage. Oh well, still getting paid. I'm telling myself that this will make the following weeks that much more manageable. :-)

Because it's a crazy day today, I'm going to keep my list of chores to the basics, as I'll use my lunch to do all of my daily stuff (a quick yoga workout, meditate, etc.) I'll also try to do a couple of walks around the block with the kiddos, and then a longer walk this evening.

M is in charge of dinner tonight (steak), which will be a lovely change, as I have APAC calls until later this evening.

That's it from my side. How is your Monday looking? 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

One leisurely day with nothing to do

In my previous (pre quarantine life), I would have been grateful for a single day with nothing on the agenda, and nowhere to be. It changes your mindset when, instead of one day, it's a huge slew of nothing but those days. I'm going to try & treat today like the former - just an unexpected time out in my life - one day with nowhere to be. I'll see how that goes for me.

The weather looks gorgeous, so I'm going to head outside for some yard work this morning.

Of course, I can always find things that need to be done, so here's what I'm hoping to do today:

  1. Work out
  2. Meditate
  3. Take the kids on a few walks
  4. List something for sale on eBay 
  5. Set out porch pickup for a friend (I bought paper towels for her, when I saw them in stock)
  6. Wash the sheets
  7. Make the beds
  8. Chat with my neighbor about picking her oranges
  9. Defrost taco meat
  10. Yard work
  11. Fill the yard waste bin
  12. Review the schedule for next week
  13. Have the boys call my parents
  14. Duolingo
  15. Read my book by the pool
All in all, I'm hoping it will be a productive but relaxing day - as all of the best ones are! What about you? How are you handling the tedium? Any tricks to share?

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Menu plan & a Keto friendly recipe recommendation

First up, for Anne, here's the link to the chicken tikka masala we made over the weekend. We didn't have the garam masala or the dried coriander, so skipped that. Otherwise, made it exactly as called for & it was easy & delicious! Next time, I'll increase the chicken & decrease the amount of cream, as we prefer a slightly less saucy recipe.

And, here's our menu plan this week. I'm expecting another crazy work week, so I'll need some easy options.

Friday - we had chicken alfredo (freezer) & the kids had baked chicken & pasta
Saturday - chicken curry & rice
Sunday - tacos & guacamole. If I'm feeling inspired, I'll make tortilla chips for the kids (out of shells)
Monday - carnitas
Tuesday - leftover curry & rice
Wednesday - leftover tacos
Thursday - leftover carnitas
Friday - TBD

What's on your menu for the week? Have you discovered any new recipes over the quarantine?

Friday, April 17, 2020

Frugal Friday

It's been a really busy week at work, so not many posts. We continue to make do as much as possible with what we have on hand. Here are a few frugal wins for the week:

Saving on things we buy:

  • Found a discounted snack (granola bars) & two bags of coleslaw that were $1 at the store, when I went to pick up milk. 
Earning money

  • Found $.02 in the yard while sweeping. I think this fell out of an Easter egg, but I will put it back into the "found change" fund
  • Continued to list items on eBay, and made a few more sales

Avoiding spending

  • Put together a nice Easter afternoon with minimal money. Used a couple of bags of Easter treats purchased earlier in March, recycled Easter bags & plastic eggs, and filled them with the candy & change. 
  • I had leftover heavy cream, so I made a crockpot chicken tikka masala, after I discovered I happened to have everything necessary to make the recipe, and it would use up most of the heavy cream. It was delicious, and Keto friendly. It will be going into the recipe rotation. 
  • We are generally only spending on repairs (more on that) & food. For repairs, our oven element caught on fire, so we've ordered the part & M will be repairing it this weekend. Additionally, we've needed to replace a few items on the kids bikes, as they are getting serious workouts during the quarantine, as biking is an acceptable activity for them... one of the few. 
  • We normally would have spent $300-500 when my parents were in town over spring break. We typically give them money so they can take the boys to lunch, do fun activities outside of the house, and they buy groceries & prep meals. So, while we would have much preferred to have them with us, we are saving the money.
  • The boys won't be doing school track this spring, so we've saved $200 on the fee for that.
  • Our gas budget is incredibly low right now.
What about you? Any frugal wins for the week? 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter

For those of you who celebrate, I hope you have a fabulous day with your family (either virtually together, or in person).

I went on a seven mile hike in the sunshine yesterday, and it was wonderful, but came back with a tick. M removed it, but it was swollen & unpleasant. I found two more on my clothes! I'm hoping it heals up quickly with no further pain.

We are planning to hide a few plastic eggs (filled with money & treats) in the backyard for the boys, and we also have two small gifts for them to share. It should be a low key & fun afternoon. I'm also trying my hand at hot cross buns, so fingers crossed those turn out.

And, in exciting news, I finally got a video call to work with M's mom! She hasn't seen the boys in YEARS, so this was thrilling all around, and she couldn't stop crying. It was such a nice surprise for my inlaws, as they have been locked down in their house for well over a month now. We're going to make the video calls a regular occurrence, now that we've sorted it out.

Here's what else is on the to do list today:

  1. Mail an eBay sale
  2. Work out
  3. Clean the bathrooms
  4. Vacuum
  5. Clean the kitchen
  6. Meditate
  7. Make crockpot chicken tikka masala for tomorrow's dinner
  8. List another item on eBay
  9. Laundry
  10. Wash the boys duvets
  11. Set out Easter eggs in the yard
  12. Make hot cross buns
  13. Finish tikka masala
  14. Call my parents
  15. Make muffins
That's it on our side. What about you? How are you planning to spend your day?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Menu planning

Menu planning has taken on renewed importance for all of us, as we balance what we have, what we can do without, and minimize trips to the store.

 Breakfasts will include things like: eggs, waffles, protein smoothies, bagels, fruit, etc. We will rely more on frozen fruit as our fresh supplies dwindle. For lunches, the adults typically have leftovers & the kids will have easy to prep options from the fridge, pantry or freezer.

Here's what we're planning on having for dinners this week.

  • Friday - spaghetti bolognese (over cauliflower rice for adults, pasta for kids). This will use up ground beef, cauliflower rice, & a container of tomato sauce discovered in the freezer. I'll fill out with fresh onions, peppers, and carrots. 
  • Saturday - chicken curry over rice. This will use up chicken (freezer), and some additional veggies. 
  • Sunday - I'm hoping to make hot cross buns for Easter. The kids voted on the super traditional Taco dinner. ;-) Planning to make homemade tortilla chips to serve with it. This will use up ground beef from the freezer
  • Monday - leftover bolognese
  • Tuesday - leftover curry
  • Wednesday - leftover tacos
  • Thursday - leftover curry again
  • Friday - cauliflower crust pizza (freezer) + regular pepperoni pizza (freezer)
  • Saturday or Sunday - restock our supplies, dinners TBD

Things we will be running out of soon:

  • Fresh fruit (we only have one banana left)
  • Bagged salad
  • Frozen fruit
  • Milk
  • Cucumber (Nick's favorite food)
My husband gets very anxious when we run low on specific food items (we clearly have enough to eat for another month, but would be substituting almost all top choices), so we shall see how long he can realistically go.

What about you? What's on the menu plan this week?

Frugal Friday

It's hard to spend any money when everything is closed! Here's what we've been up to in frugal news this week.

Saving on things we buy

  • I was able to use a $1 Rite Aid reward for bandages I needed for Sam. He fell of his skateboard & had major road rash in three places. He was a terrible mess, and in a lot of pain for a few days, but has since recovered. We've again talked about reducing risk to stay safe right now! Teen boys are hard to corral!
  • Our car insurance company sent an email that they will be providing an upfront discount, as we are not on the road right now. That will be tremendously helpful. 

Earning money

  • Listed one item on eBay every day. Made three sales so far.
  • Continued to do Microsoft Rewards, and earned a $5 Amazon gift card

Avoiding spending

  • No driving to work, so no wear & tear on the cars, or gas (for one of the two cars)
  • Eating lots out of our fridge, pantry & freezer. Trying to do our absolute best to maximize what we have, and minimize food waste.
  • Traded fresh oranges in our yard for yeast from a coworker. She threw in two apples & two homemade lime truffles. I'd added a bag of Easter chocolate for her kids. Our minds were clearly in the same place. I only got one of the truffles before Sam ate the other, but it was incredible!
  • Worked out at home with free DVDs, hand weights & a mat I've had for years
  • I cancelled a coaching training I was scheduled to do in March. Actually, the program cancelled the March event, and rebooked me in a later one. I decided I'd rather have the money back, and will reschedule time permitting. This will free up quite a bit of money back onto the credit card. 
Helping others
  • Donated to a food bank that is experiencing record high requests
  • Walked our neighbor's dog
  • Mailed masks to my sister & BFF
  • Assisted neighbor with her mailing 

That's it from our side. What about you? How is everyone doing on the frugality front this week?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A quieter day

I had a bunch of meetings today, so it's been a bit quieter on the productivity front. Here's what we're getting done today.

  • Working out (creatively). I was on a listening only call, and spent 30 minutes doing abs, push ups, squats, etc. 
  • Listed an item on eBay
  • Helped Nick with his soccer activity, got some fresh air
  • Journaled
  • Haven't meditated yet, but it's on the list
  • Washed Sam's sheets. He had a skateboarding crash that yielded quite a road rash, and bleeding. Poor guy. He's fine, but it was scary for sure. We reminded both kids (again) about staying safe & taking less risks, because no one can take an unnecessary trip to the hospital right now. 
  • Cleaned the bathrooms. We're bumping up the frequency, as we're all home so much throughout the day.
  • Filled the yard waste bin
  • Found a non-fiction book to read for April
  • Update our menu, based on available food items
  • Go for walks. It's been quiet, but we'll do a longer walk this evening.

For dinner tonight, we'll be having chicken tenders (homemade) + cauliflower rice & salad. 

Hope everyone is having a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The sun is back

And, I'm relieved. The kids were all over each other yesterday, and really needed an opportunity to burn off energy outside. We did end up outside for a quick rainy walk, and then a slightly longer walk (the full family) after dinner. Phew.

But today, everything is looking sparkly, post all of that rain, and hopefully it will be a good opportunity for the kids to get some exercise, and for the adults to get some Vitamin D.

Here's what's on the list today. I consider the first five the "positive flywheel" that I'm trying to put into motion each day of the quarantine. Basically, make sure I'm making time for the things that are keeping me mentally & physically healthy, and also take advantage of the non-commute time to make the quarantine have positive benefits, so it feels like less of an overall negative.

  1. Meditate
  2. Journal
  3. Work out. Not sure what today will be. Perhaps a run and 10 minute abs
  4. List 1 item on eBay
  5. A chore around the house or yard (I'm thinking I'll dust the beds/nightstands & clean our bedroom fan)
  6. Work meetings
  7. A couple of work projects
  8. Work in the yard over lunch
  9. Spanish Duolingo
  10. Farsi flashcards with the kids
  11. I've made carnitas for dinner, so need to prep those 
That's it. Do you have any positive daily activities you're trying to build or increase during the time at home? 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Homemade masks

A  neighbor made masks for M + me, and made two bonus masks for me to send to my sister & friend. Such a lovely thing to now have homemade masks. We will be doing our best not to leave the house for the next two weeks, but it's great to have the masks in the event something comes up.

The rain continues, but it looks like today is the last day. Hurrah! It's very noticeable how much the weather is impacting my mood, when combined with the quarantine. Getting out for walks in the sunshine has been part of what's kept me positive, so I'll need creative solutions for rainy days.

As for today, here's my plan for the day:

  1. Journal
  2. Meditate
  3. Yoga
  4. Walks with the kids, even in the rain
  5. Work calls. It's my APAC evening, so dinner will need to be scrappy
  6. Two work projects
  7. List an item on eBay
  8. Mail masks
  9. 1 chore. Haven't decided what to do, but likely clean out under the sink in one of the bathrooms
  10. Make sure the kids do their calls
Dinner tonight will be carnitas. Some will have them in tortillas, or over homemade cheddar bread. I'll likely have mine over a salad. My calories were too high over the weekend, so I'll need to trim back this week.

What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish today?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Rainy Sunday

I am so glad the drought has ended, and understand we need the rain here in northern California, but... the long weekends of rain combined with the quarantine is a harsh combination. But, we are all healthy, have plenty of supplies, and are still speaking to each other, so I'll be grateful for that. :-)

So far today, I've done a cardio DVD workout with Nick (and, bonus 10 minute ab workout), listed an item on eBay, started a load of laundry, organized our bathroom under sink storage areas & put in two loaves of quick bread (cheddar & double chocolate).

The weather is super gloomy here, & it's putting me in a bit of a funk. Here's what else I'm going to do today:

  • Finish the carnitas (in the crockpot)
  • Meditate
  • Read a book
  • Finish Nick's sheets & make the bed
  • Laundry
  • Find an Old Navy tracking number for a "lost" return
  • Play at least one game with the kids
  • Take the neighbor's dog for a walk, if it ever stops raining

What about you? How are things for all of you? Hope everyone is staying healthy!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Menu plan Saturday

M was able to go to Costco yesterday, and find most of what we needed. Fresh chicken remains elusive, but we were able to pick up frozen breasts. Not my top favorite, but it will certainly do. Based on what we picked up, and our freezer/fridge/pantry stores, here's what's on the menu for the week:

  • Friday - we had a smorgasboard of leftovers (salmon, leftover takeout, and one small diner had a lingering chicken patty of unknown origin)
  • Saturday - M is making Persian kebabs, rice & yogurt sauce
  • Sunday - I'm making carnitas in the slow cooker
  • Monday - leftover kebabs & rice
  • Tuesday - leftover carnitas
  • Wednesday - meatloaf (freezer) + coleslaw
  • Thursday - any leftovers, or chicken alfredo (freezer)

I'm feeling unmotivated today, and need to break out of the funk. Because, sitting around & staring into space certainly won't help. So far, I've sold/packaged an item on eBay, and listed two more. Plus, journaled & paid a bill. Now I just need a plan for the rest of the day:

  • Clean the fridge
  • Go for a run or walk
  • Walk with the kids (& take neighbor's dog for a walk)
  • Work on Farsi flashcards
  • Meditate
  • Menu plan
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Deep clean the kitchen 
  • Laundry
  • Find one bonus organizing/cleaning chore to do. Maybe the medicine cabinets
What about you? How are you planning to spend this at home Saturday?

Friday, April 3, 2020

Frugal Friday

Well, we had a record high grocery spending month in March, so I'm not sure anything qualifies as frugal. But, we're doing the best. Why was our grocery bill so high? 20 meals + snacks that M & I would normally have at the office (breakfast + lunch x2, x M-F) adds up. We also didn't shop around to get great deals & focused on what was available wherever we were at. We stocked up more than normal for sure (no hoarding). And, we added treats to keep things fun around the house during the quarantine.

All that aside, here are the frugal wins for the week.

Saving on things we buy:
  • Picked up takeout (vs using delivery service) to save slightly on the cost
Earning money:
  • I've gone back to Microsoft Rewards in the morning. About 1/2 way to an Amazon gift card.
  • I took some spare time this weekend to list items on eBay, and have already earned ~$80 with three sales. Applied the extra money towards our mortgage. 
Avoiding spending:
  • This is a regular thing, in that we are avoiding anything outside of our core shopping trips. For example, I was out of mayo this weekend while making coleslaw. I subbed Greek yogurt, vs running to the store. This is happening repeatedly, especially on weekends. 
  • I called my broker about an error on their side. I wasn't sure how much it would cost, but they credited back the $6 in cost, which was a small win. 
  • I was supposed to be on a girls trip this weekend. I'm very disappointed not to be there, but I've saved about $250 in costs. 
  • We were supposed to go to Costco yesterday (made it to 8 days without shopping), but they have new hours & were closed early.
  • Continued to use up pantry & freezer ingredients. In fact, I cleaned out our entire garage freezer, wiping it down & organizing the food, so I could better tell what we had on hand. 
What about you? Any frugal wins for the week?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

We've made it to Thursday!

In another long week, we've made it to the downhill side. The weather is beautiful today, so definitely planning to get outside & soak up some of that vitamin D. I'm trying to have my lunch by the pool when the weather is good, just to break up the routine.

Here's what's on my list for today:

  1. Meditate
  2. Journal
  3. A DVD workout
  4. List one item on eBay
  5. Work meetings
  6. Two work projects
  7. Clean one drawer in our console table
  8. Prep dinner ahead
  9. Virtual happy hour (in place of girls trip I was supposed to be at today)
  10. Work on Farsi flashcards
  11. 3 walks with the boys
  12. Dishes
  13. Follow up on Sam's executive function tutoring
  14. Figure out what we're doing for Easter
  15. Fill up another yard waste bucket
That's it on my side. What about all of you? How do you plan to spend your day today?

April goals

I've adapted my goals a bit, to better support our current life situation.

1) Financial:

  • Stick to the budget & rebuild plan for taxes due
  • Pay down our mortgage to the next micro level. Not a primary focus right now, but still trying to set motivating goals.
  • No clothing, shoes & jewelry purchases for right now.
  • Make $100 in side hustle
  • Keep working through freezer/pantry clean out
2) Family
  • Plan a family dinner night, & a couple of fun spring break activities, while house bound. Welcome ideas!
  • Off the computer by 7:30 each evening (not counting reading)
  • Have a weekly half hour alone with M, even if alone means outside while the kids are inside, or vice versa
  • Schedule monthly calls with M's family
  • Two hours of practicing with Farsi flashcards
3) Fitness/health
  • Lose 3 lbs 
  • Work out every day in April
  • Track calories, eat five servings of fruit & vegetables. Aim for 1400 calories/day
  • Complete 1000 minutes of cardio, 10 strength & 5 stretching workouts
  • Meditate 20 times
4) Personal creative 
  • Stay connected with friends. Do something social at least 2x/month.
  • Volunteer
  • Journal 25 times
  • Adapt a more positive mindset (judge less)
  • Listen more often vs talking & work on not interrupting
  • Reduce swearing
  • Read one non-fiction book
  • Compliment M every day
  • Support the kids with online learning
  • Complete one project /day (taking advantage of WFH situation)

What about you? What goals do you have planned for April? Have you made any changes to support the current situation? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March Goals Recap

I think it's fair to say that March looked nothing like I expected. That said, I worked hard to flex & adjust to the various changes (first my work moving to WFH, then the kids schools being cancelled, then shelter in place). We're hanging in there, and it's clear that I need to have new routines & systems in order to feel as normal as possible.

To highlight what's currently working for me: meditation, journaling, working out, "talking" with friends (using a video chat app), and really focusing on some of the benefits of WFH (finding a project each day to accomplish).

Here's how I did with my goals for the month.

1) Financial:

  • Stick to the budget - our grocery bill was wildly blown, as we stocked up, didn't shop around for best prices, and had to pay more for alternatives in many cases. We also went over on dining out (supporting local businesses via takeout).
  • Pay down our mortgage to the next threshhold - barely. By around $30. :-) 
  • No clothing, shoes, or jewelry purchases - bought a pair of jeans at Old Navy (I was ordering clothes for Sam) & I love them. They are perfect for WFH. 
  • I didn't set a side hustle goal, but at the end of the month, had a few eBay sales - made $80.

2) Family
  • Do one fun activity/month with the kids - lots of walks, card games, puzzles. 
  • Off the computer by 7:30 each evening - I've started reading online & had a few COVID news days where I read for quite late into the evening. I'm generally making this happen.
  • Have two dates with M - we had a happy hour on the patio. Dates are on pause right now.
  • Schedule monthly calls with M's family - No, and now is the time to get this done. They are also quarantined & it would be lovely to make this happen.
  • Buy & practice Farsi flashcards - I've purchased them & did this early in the month, before the COVID drama started in earnest.

3) Fitness/health

  • Lose 3 lbs - I lost 1.5 lbs, and given the situation, I'll definitely take it.
  • Run 10 times, half marathon training - I had some lingering knee pain & ran once. My half marathon & girls trip was cancelled, so the motivation dwindled. I did work out every day in March, so was active otherwise.
  • Track calories, eat 5 servings of product/day & aim for 1400 calories/day. - 1542 on the calories & 4.74 on the fruit & veggies
  • Complete 1000 minutes of cardio, 10 strength & 5 stretching workouts - 925, 8 & 5. Good, considering my gym is closed, I'm WFH with the kids & getting scrappy to make this happen.
  • Meditate 10 times - 19 times. Crushed it!

4) Personal/creative 
  • Make time for my friends. Do something social at least once per month - had lunch with a friend (pre WFH), & then a virtual happy hour
  • Volunteer - yes, volunteered for a neighborhood shopping program, signed up to volunteer for Meals on Wheels, have been walking elderly neighbor's dog, and increased our charitable contributions tremendously
  • Journal 15 times - 27 times
  • Adapt a more positive mindset (judge less) - doing okay at this. 
  • Listen more often vs talking & work on not interrupting - This has gotten better, mostly because more listening is pretty required when you are all joining remotely
  • Stop/greatly reduce swearing - I blame the pandemic for this one
  • Read one non-fiction book - read a financial non-fiction book that I didn't enjoy at all, but it's done. 
  • Choose & try 3 disruptive experiments
    • Compliment M every day - I'm guessing a 90% success rate
    • Review my calendar & have 10% of my time focused on development of myself or other people.  - Yes, but this has switched to the kids development, as I support them for online learning. 
    • Try to "be the change" & get involved in solving hard problems, vs sitting on the sides complaining - I've tackled this in a few places, but now is not the right time at work to be handling all of these. Many are much better in person.

What about you? How did you do with your March goals?