Sunday, August 30, 2020

Weekend grocery store visit

 I went to two stores this week, to get what we needed. Here's what we spent & what I purchased:

Local shop (much more expensive than the produce stand, but the stand is enclosed & social distancing is really hard. One day, we'll be back!) All items for the curry, although we'll have an extra can of milk, leftover potatoes, brown sugar & cilantro. I'll use the remaining cilantro in pico de gallo

  • Brown sugar - $1.99
  • Coconut milk - $2.99x2 (Trader Joes is cheaper, but already had a long line)
  • Cilantro - $.89
  • 5 lb bag of potatoes - $2.79
  • Total = $11.65
Costco. It was an expensive visit, as we need a few pricier items:
  • Milk - $6.09
  • Blueberries - $3.99x2
  • Veggie straws (snack for the kids) - $5.29
  • 5 dozen eggs - $14.99
  • Cucumbers - $5.99
  • Mayo - $4.99
  • Salmon (special treat for M, who will turn this into at least 4 dinners) - $22.48
  • Smoked almonds - $9.99
  • Meatballs - $18.9
  • Tortillas - $2.99
  • Pineapple - $2.99
  • Peanut - $6.79
  • Fresh mozzarella - $7.69
  • 8 lbs of chicken $15.99
  • Cauliflower - $5.49
  • 6 bags of pasta - $6.99
  • Lettuce - $4.49
  • Nectarines - $9.99
  • Limes - $6.99
  • Total = $167.19  
Our standard Costco shopping trip pre-COVID was closer to $125/week. Two things have changed - the prices have gone up almost universally, and M & I now eat 8-10 additional meals/week at home (between the two of us, for breakfast & lunch). We previously received free meals at work. And snacks. I miss the free food for sure!

How are grocery prices where you live? 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Saturday, finally

 It was a long work week, but it's done. This is a busy season for me typically, with performance reviews & annual planning. As my meeting schedule & deliverables heat up, it becomes harder to juggle. I'm definitely ready for the weekend. 

After I finished work yesterday, I made pico de gallo, a triple batch of taco meat, and peanut butter/oatmeal/banana bars, to use up ripe bananas. The pico de gallo used up almost all of the tomatoes I'd picked over the week, but didn't make much of a dent in our jalapenos. I'll have to look into freezing them for the rest of the year.

I love routines & schedules, and have a daily checklist that currently includes:

  1. Working out
  2. Listing one item on eBay
  3. 3 walks (small walks around the block are okay, particularly if I've done other cardio workout)
  4. Journal
  5. Duolingo
  6. 1 kind deed
  7. 1 chore
I've added a posture challenge to my to do list, and am enjoying it. I have moderate scoliosis, and poor posture from decades over a computer, so I'm finding this helpful. If you are interested, the link (not a referral) can be found here

As for the kind deeds, we've continued to share our garden produce with multiple friends, offered cleaning supplies to a neighbor who was infected with COVID (not sick enough to be hospitalized, but still unwell & can't get out to buy supplies), & mailed cards to others.

Here's what's on my to do list for today:
  • Run
  • Plan menu for the week
  • Shopping list 
  • Vacuum
  • Clean the kitchen
  • And bathrooms
  • Boys are meeting with their soccer pod this afternoon
  • Laundry (keeping up with this crew's laundry demands is intense!)
  • Balance the budget/update all expenses
  • Make coleslaw, time permitting.
On to the menu plan:

Friday - we had tacos with pico de gallo
Saturday - Impossible burgers + coleslaw
Sunday - Chicken curry + rice
Monday - leftover burgers & coleslaw
Tuesday - leftover curry + rice
Wednesday - tacos with pico de gallo
Thursday - Any remaining leftovers
Friday - Pizza

What about you? What are you up to today? 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Frugal Friday

 Our house was moved off of the fire evacuation "warning list" earlier in the week, which greatly reduced our stress level. As of yesterday, the smoke appears to have cleared enough (for now) to allow for more outside activity, which really helps all of our moods. Sam, M & I are all running & Nick likes to ride his bike. It's hard to have the activities remove & maintain our well being. So, feeling lucky that it looks like we can go back to being outside & getting in some fitness.

Saving on things we buy

  • I used two coupons at the grocery store, saving $3.50. We're still buying a bit of produce there vs the produce stand, as the produce stand has minimal ability for social distancing. There prices are typically much cheaper, so we're missing it, but not enough to take any risks.
  • I also bought the inexpensive wine I'm enjoying this summer four at a time, which saves 10% off the purchase price. 

Earning money

  • Sales continue to be slow, but I'm still listing things on eBay, and the occasional item on FB marketplace. So far, have sold:
    •  A sports bra that didn't fit (me) properly
    • A vegetable garden kit
    • A running skirt
    • A pair of soccer shorts (both kids are much taller these days)

Avoiding spending

  • Made pico de gallo with jalapenos & tomatoes from the garden
  • Made banana muffins from overly ripe bananas I stored in the freezer last month
  • We went out to eat last Saturday night, but otherwise have been eating all meals at home.

What about you? Any frugal wins for the week? 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Focusing on gratitude

 It's been an adventure over the last 24 or so hours. Our house is very, very close to the "get ready" evacuation zone. That means that we are not required to evacuate, but we are about a mile from the "caution" area, that they provide to give people a heads up & to put a plan together for an evacuation. Currently, the fire lines have held, and it looks like they won't need to extend the evacuation zone. This is great news for all of the families near us.

We did spend time last night preparing: discussing the situation with the kids, considering what we would need to pack (kids text books, items from working & schooling from home, etc in addition to standard "go bag" type of items.) We also discussed our plan of where to go & how to get there. 

There is a metaphor about stress and a glass. Basically, when your glass is already full, any additional stressors, no matter how small, can feel overwhelming. That's where I'm at right now. We're living in a pandemic, we can't really be outside due to the poor air quality. The kids are transitioning to online learning... being prepared for wildfire evacuations feels challenging right now. 

I noticed my stress level rising tremendously yesterday, and while that's reasonable given the situation, I woke up (after a very poor night's sleep) reaffirming my desire to manage my stress level today. 

My plan for managing my stress level today includes:

  • Working out (indoor, because of the air quality)
  • Meditation
  • A few round the block type walks, assuming the air quality drops a bit
  • Deep breathing
  • Taking breaks
  • Making a list of what I'm grateful for
And, with that, trying to focus on the positives. Here's what I'm grateful for today:
  • We did not have to evacuate last night
  • We are now more prepared, in the event we should have to evacuate
  • We are able to use more of the kitchen, which makes meal prep easier
  • I was able to have a quick chat with our lovely neighbors last night, while dropping off some garden treats
  • My family is healthy, during this challenging time
  • Both kids are adjusting reasonably well to online learning
  • The weather is cooler, which makes it easier to keep the house cool (challenging with the smoke outside)
  • We have more than enough. We have a house we can go to, if we need to evacuate. We have family, friends, & financial resources that can get us through this situation, should the need arise. 
Hope everyone is doing well & staying safe.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Saturday happenings

 Our kitchen is mostly back in order, but we are still missing the cabinet faces, so haven't yet unpacked. However, we have the oven, fridge, dishwasher & sink back, & it's amazing! 

I went for a socially distanced five mile walk this morning with a friend I haven't seen for a while, and then got busy in the new kitchen. I made a batch of banana muffins & a large batch of pico de gallo. If we can successfully grow cilantro next year, we can make grow almost everything at the house. (Tomatoes, jalapenos, lime).

Other happenings today:

  • Laundry
  • Bathroom cleaning
  • Kitchen cleaning (there's dust/drywall debris) lurking in many places
  • List an item on eBay
  • Menu plan for the week
  • Costco
  • M & I are going to a restaurant with socially distanced outdoor seating tonight. We haven't been out since February, so this should be a huge treat!
  • Vacuum
  • Sheets
What about you? How is your Saturday going? What was the last food item you made in your kitchen? 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Frugal Friday

It's Friday, and I'm thrilled about that. I need a quieter work day (the non US based teams are already on to their weekends, so it's my quietest day of the week). It's been a long work week. The boys did reasonably well with online schooling, although technical challenges continue to plague everyone (teachers, kids, the systems the schools use, etc). It's a big adjustment for everyone.

The boys started socially distanced soccer practice, and are thrilled to be back on the field & seeing friends. This is the first time they've really seen friends in six months. Sam is quite disappointed to not be with his age group (there is a required pod structure for safety, and because we are in the same household, Sam is temporarily with Nick's age group). I assure you, the last thing either of my kids need right now is more together time. ;-) I'm thrilled they are getting more exercise, which always helps their behavior. School is also giving them something to focus on, which is awesome. Fingers crossed they stay this focused for the full year.

Here are the frugal things we've been up to.

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a coupon to save an extra few bucks off of already well priced juice. Our kids have never been juice drinkers, but do use it in the morning to blend up their protein/fruit smoothies. 
  • I'm ordering a Q-Tip alternative (Last Swab) that is washable & reusable. (Will share my thoughts after it arrives). Searched online for a coupon code & found one for 15% off. If this works well, it will save costs in the long run, but more generally, is good for the environment & reduces waste. Similarly, I also ordered washable cotton face rounds & Thinx. Details to come on my experience with all three. 

Earning money

  • It's been a really slow week on the eBay front. I sold;
    • A sports bra
    • A work shirt
    • Two kids shirts
    • A sports jersey (for my sister). This was the only valuable sale of the week, so winner/winner for my sister!
  • Found $.01 on the ground at the store

Avoiding spending

  • I talked myself out of a few online purchases (shoes, workout wear, etc) that I was thinking about but don't really need.
  • Almost all meals at home again this week, with an In & Out purchase after soccer practice on a late night. 
  • I checked the school supply lists against all of our existing home supplies, and we were able to get away with buying just a handful of things: binder paper, graph paper, a metal ruler, and glue sticks. We may need more as the year progresses, but that is where we are starting. 
In terms of things for other people, I've been:
  • Sharing garden produce with multiple neighbors
  • Volunteering several times at work
  • Made two small donations (we have automatic planned giving, but this year I set an additional goal to do more random, small donations as the opportunities come up). I've really enjoyed this approach. 
  • Helping out a neighbor
What about you? Any frugal wins to report? Any kind/thoughtful deeds to inspire us? 

Monday, August 17, 2020

What's new this week?

 Well, today is Sam's first day of high school. I can't believe it. I remember his first day of kindergarten so vividly! I miss the sweet little boy who was so excited to climb on the monkey bars at the elementary school.

Online learning will be very different, but here we go! We've been talking a lot to Sam about ensuring he understands the expectations of high school, & how grades matter, etc. A lot of that initial goal setting is hard for the school to convey given the remote start. Some must have trickled in, because when I went to tuck him up last night, he was reading his biology book. :-)

The boys also start socially distanced soccer this week. They will be wearing masks & following the required protocols, which include: six feet apart at all times, no scrimmages, no body contact, team "pods" that are broken into much smaller groups, & no games of course. We'll see how they feel about these changes. They both need the exercise, so here's hoping it's fun & enjoyable, although different.

As for me, I really need to refocus on my calories. The first few months of the pandemic, I was consistently losing 1/2 a lb a week by keeping my calories at a very manageable level, and working out every day. I've been able to maintain the working out every day, but my calories have slowly crept up by 150 or so a day, which has stalled out my weight loss. I would like to lose between 10-20 lbs & generally feel a bit more toned up & like I'm carrying less weight around. Not having a kitchen has made this a bit more of a challenge, as I grab lazier snacks vs going through the effort of prepping healthier options.

That's it from our side. What about you? What does this week bring?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Thunder, lightning & menu plans

 Wow, it was a crazy night with thunder & lightning, and rain. We haven't had rain in months, & all of the weather was totally unexpected, with breaking news weather alerts going off throughout the night. I was awake from 3:00 am until 5:30, and finally fell asleep until 6. I was supposed to meet a friend for an early hike to avoid the heat, but we won't be doing that thanks to the continued risk of lightning. We may meet for a socially distanced coffee instead.

I'm tired, so it will be a long day today!

Here's what's on my list:

  • Vacuum. We had lots of people working on various zoned off areas in the house, so want to get everything cleaned up
  • Menu plan
  • Pick up a few school supplies at Rite Aid
  • Review work schedule for the week
  • Build a training plan/schedule
  • Clean outside fridge/freezer (didn't get to it yesterday)
  • Laundry. My constant friend
  • I need a couple of miles for my walking challenge, so will need to go when it cools off. 
That's pretty much what's happening today. 

Here's the menu for the week, with the goal of having at least appliances back in the kitchen by the end of next weekend. (Cabinets won't be finished, but I'll be grateful for a sink & dishwasher!)

  • Saturday - we had street tacos from Costco + salsa verde (yum!)
  • Sunday - M will grill the pre-mix/seasoned fresh burger patties from Costco, and I picked up a potato salad from Trader Joes. Not our normal jam (we'd make these on our own, in non-kitchen remodel times), but it will work
  • Monday - Impossible burgers (vegetarian option) that Sam has been wanting to try
  • Tuesday - orange chicken & cauliflower rice
  • Wednesday - leftover burgers
  • Thursday - hot dogs & salad, watermelon
  • Friday - pizza or tacos
  • Saturday - we may go out to a socially distanced patio restaurant option 
What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Saturday happenings

 It's hot here (100+), which is unusual for the bay area. We often get one hot day, but rarely a few in a row. When it's hot for multiple days, the house has no chance to cool down, of course. We do have A/C, but have contractors generating quite a bit of dust in various parts of the house, and have plastic sheeting hung from floor to ceiling to both contain the dust, and increase safety during COVID. 

Luckily, we have two thermostats, as our house is set up in an L shape, and the bedroom side can have A/C even when the living area has to remain off. We try to be frugal, but when it hit 80+ in the house yesterday, turned the A/C on & it was delicious. 

I woke up late this morning & need to get out for a run. Unfortunately, I've already passed the reasonably cool window, due to sleeping in, but need to make it happen.

What else is happening today?

  • I accidentally ordered tomatillos from our produce box, so I think I'll be making salsa verde today, as I have all of the other ingredients.
  • Need to list a few things on eBay
  • I must clean the bathrooms. Because we are using the bathrooms for dish washing (insert sad face), they get much dirtier than usual. 
  • We'll be setting up our various learning areas for next week (Sam starts school)
  • I need to make a menu, & M will go to Costco
  • I have to get a card put together for my dad - it's his 70th birthday next week! I wish I was there to celebrate, but will keep him safe instead by not traveling. 
  • I also need to clean our outside fridge. We have a new fridge for the kitchen, so once that's moved in, we'll sell or donate our outside fridge. 
That's it from our side. I'd love to get in the pool, but we won't want to be in the way when people are working, so potentially this evening.

What about you? Is it hot where you are? What are your plans for today?

Friday, August 14, 2020

Frugal Friday

The weeks continue to whiz by. As always, I'm thankful it's Friday & I've survived not only another week of work, but also the first day of Nick's school, & drive through orientation/supply pickup for Sam. 

Here are a few frugal wins for the week: 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a Subway gift card to buy Sam lunch, after an appointment
  • Earned $10 on an Amazon promotion a month or so ago (and, now escapes me how I earned it), but used that towards the purchase of new soccer balls for the kids. They need additional balls, and can't play with shared/coach provided balls due to COVID regulations.

Earning money

  • Listed more items on eBay. It's been a slow selling week, but so far have sold:
    • A pair of like new shoes that Sam outgrew before wearing
    • A work top I decided against keeping, and never wore
    • A pair of speakers 
    • A pair of swim trunks
    • A shirt that was a gift but didn't fit

Avoiding spending

  • Picked garden produce - a few late strawberries, a cucumber, lots of tomatoes & a few jalapenos. I'm still waiting for the green peppers to get big. They are turning red, but not getting any bigger. Guess I'll have to pick them when they are on the smaller side. 
  • Meals "made" at home, still. We are expecting the kitchen to be back in service in a week or so. Fingers crossed.
That's all from our side. What about you? Any frugal wins to report?

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Back to school - it's happening!

 I'm not at all ready for back to school in its new form, but regardless of how I feel, it's on for Thursday. Nick starts with a full online schedule on Thursday. Sam & I will pick up books at school & supplies on Thursday, and then (online) classes begin on Monday. 

I've had quite a bit of anxiety on how to best support the kids during this transition, and I've decided that we'll do some experiments, but also know that we don't yet know what we need to do (as parents) quite yet. That helps to reduce some anxiety, and reminds me that it will be an iteration, and we're not going to get it right out of the gate. Having a child with a learning disability increases that anxiety, as many of the adjustments we put in place with the school last year don't apply during online learning. 

What else is new? I'm doing a 2 month challenge to bike/run/walk 15 miles per week. It's a virtual fundraiser & have a few friends doing it as well. I'm looking forward to tracking miles & staying motivated.

Random acts of kindness (or, whatever the right name is for this stuff):

  • Volunteering to package & prep books for textbook pick up at the high school
  • Sponsored students in a friend's classroom via Scholastic. Normally, fliers go home, but with the move to online & a major economic crisis where she teaches, that won't be happening this year. Love that books will still get to kids who need them.
  • Made a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative
Please share any positive things you've been up to this week! Inspire us. :-) 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Easy dinners & fence pictures

 After telling M that I was totally uninspired by another week of cooking without a kitchen, he came home with some quick & easy Costco options. We had the first one last night, and it was great. He bought fresh ground tri-tip patties, that were already seasoned & good to go on the grill. We combined that with a foil pack of sliced onions, jalapenos (garden), butter & garlic salt. Sliced cheese & the yummy brioche buns from Costco. 

We have a few other easy dinner options on the menu for the week, which is fantastic. We need to get organized & start planning for school next week. Can't believe it's already here.

I also got a request for fence photos. Here you go! As I mentioned in the comments yesterday, we did discuss style, board layout, color & wood, & the neighbor originally said that as long as she didn't have to pay, and there was a replacement fence, she was fine with whatever we selected. I can understand that the fences look different, but the way it was handled was not great. She also told us that she thinks it looks like a barn. :-) 

C'est la vie. We'll see if she wants us to put the old fence up on her side, which is an option. I'll be unexcited to pay the contractors to complete that work, but would rather have a positive relationship with the neighbor than more drama. As you might be able to see, the fence was leaning & some of the boards were rotted in the original fence, which was 20+ years old. The fence on the right (first picture) is actually much worse, but requires us to build a significant retaining wall with other neighbors, so that's a project that requires quite a bit of coordination with the lovely neighbors behind us. (Retaining wall & fence need to be built on their side, due to sloping.) 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Good fences make good neighbors

As one of the many construction projects we have going right now, we are replacing our fence between our property & our neighbor's property. Let's call her Alma. We get along well with Alma, and are paying for the fence. We've discussed it with her, are building a retaining wall to better support her property sliding onto our property, and replacing the fence that is 20+ years old & falling apart. We did discuss fence design with Alma & color, but there was a misunderstanding. The fence started going up yesterday, and Alma came over & was very upset, yelling at Sam (our 14 year old.) Sam got M, & Alma expressed how upset she was about the fence design & color. Fair enough, we all have different taste & preferences. We're not sure if she didn't understand or hear us correctly when we chatted about it the few times before, but in hindsight, given her not fantastic age (hearing), probably should have provided photos, etc. *Edit, an astute reader pointed out that I was being judgmental about her age, and should have specified that given her hearing, I should have erred on the side of providing photos, just to ensure she didn't miss any of the details.*

Alma told Sam that we were taking advantage of an old lady, which made him cry, as she was very agitated & yelling. In front of Sam, she also told M that "because you're not from this country, you don't know what a fence looks like. In our country, that looks like a barn." There were a few other references to M not being born in the US...

It's really a very positive thing that I was not home when all of this played out. M gave her feedback that a difference in taste & opinion could happen between anyone, and where he was born was not relevant. They ended things in a "good" place, with us agreeing to pay our contractor to put the old falling down fence back up - behind our fence, if she ends up not liking the new fence design.

Words matter. It's okay to disagree, and have a respectful conversation with someone else about how you prefer a fence to look, which stain to use, and which material you like best. All are totally fine. By bringing up where M was born, the conversation took a very different turn. M handled is so much better than I would, but it really upset the kids. And me.

So, with that, on to my menu for the week, because if I dwell too long in the space of thinking about that, it is upsetting.

Saturday - tacos & pico de gallo (we didn't end up having this yesterday, as planned)
Sunday - cauliflower chicken piccata
Monday - meatballs & garlic bread + salad
Tuesday - burgers
Wednesday - leftover tacos
Thursday - baked chicken & salad
Friday - pepperoni pizza

Friday, August 7, 2020

Frugal Friday

Another week has gone by! What frugal things have we been up to this week? Mostly the same type of stuff:

Saving on things we buy

  • Used the rest of a grocery store gift card to offset 1/2 of a purchase to stock up on a few things that make lunches easier without a kitchen - chicken patty sandwich fixings that the boys can easily assemble using the toaster oven. 
  • We don't buy the kids sports drinks regularly, but do for summer sports camps, when the temperature is particularly warm. Found large containers of Gatorade that can be poured into water bottles, vs needing lots of smaller sized ones. Saves on plastic/waste, and we also pay a tax on each bottle purchase, so also saved a bit there. 

Earning money

  • More eBay sales & listings. Sold this week:
    • Books
    • A Crate & Barrel bar set, rescued & unused from our vacation house
    • A jacket Sam outgrew
    • A chess timer, won at a long ago chess tournament. Listed & sold the same day. Love those rare sales.
    • A set of four new crystal glasses. If I've never used them after 20 years, time to let them go!
  • Found $100 on the ground?! Split it with my sister, who was picking me up. Felt terrible for whomever had lost it. 
  • Sold a bike for $400. We invested $30 in a new part, and M & Nick repaired the bike so we could sell it. It went quickly, with lots of interest. Nick & I are sharing the money, as he spent quite a bit of time working on the repair (with M's supervision). He's investing in a bike stand and additional bike repair parts. His favorite book right now is a bike repair manual, and he is constantly watching YouTube videos about how to repair bikes. Potential future side hustle? :-)  

Avoiding spending

  • Continuing to make & eat meals at home, despite not having a kitchen. As I've mentioned, the meals are repetitive and not very glamorous, but we are getting fed.  
  • Cancelled a trip for my dad's 70th birthday. I would have far preferred being able to see him & celebrate together, but we will get together when it's safer
  • Cancelled our anniversary trip. It may have been possible in October to go somewhere in driving distance & celebrate, but that would require my parents to travel, and I'm not putting them at risk. We will celebrate at another time. 

My nephew turned 18 last week, and is currently working at his first job (fast food). I gave him spending money for his birthday, as well as money to start his first retirement account (allowed now that he has earned income). His project is to research how to create the account, and understand how the compound interest will work. He's quite interested, so hopefully this will put him on a positive trajectory for future financial success.

That's it for us. What about you? Any frugal wins to celebrate? 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

It's been a long week

My 13 year old's school announced they aren't going back to in person learning until January (at least). While I understand & support the need to keep everyone healthy, I've been holding out a naive & optimistic hope that it would be before January. It's been really hard to mentally re-adjust. I'm also so sad for my 14 year old, who is supposed to start high school next week. It's quite a different experience to start high school online. I know in the grand scheme of what we're going through, all of this is very minor. But, some days present more of an emotional challenge than others. We also cancelled our 15th anniversary trip in October. Again, I knew it needed to be done, as I would never want my parents to fly here, even if we decided to try out a low-key & safe option near us. So, that's cancelled & we will likely order takeout on the day & then plan for something in the future.

On to other news. I was able to do a virtual happy hour with friends yesterday, the construction projects continue in earnest, and Sam has been doing video chats with his friends in the run up to school starting. I have a bunch of school orientation type activities, that come along with Sam starting high school in a new system, so will need to work through all of that.

As for positive things, here's what we've been up to:
  • Provided lunch for the contractors, as a thank you for a big day they put in
  • Made dinner for a neighbor
  • Volunteered for a school event
  • Donated money 3x for various school things to make the beginning of the year easier for distance learning
  • Signed up to host a charity 5k at work
Just thinking about it as an active step each day makes me more creative, and is a good reminder to myself to do something that I'd naturally want to do anyway. I've enjoyed this very much! I'm hoping I can bake it into my regular routine. 

What have you been up to? Any positive/kind things you'd like to share, to inspire us? Ideas can feel hard to come by during COVID & isolation, so I appreciate the inspiration!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Menu plan Monday, plus other miscellany

Can't believe it's Monday already. The weekend went by, lightning fast. Here's what's on the menu this week, and yes, this is definitely uninspired. The frozen meal options are really low these days!

Sunday  - we had grilled burgers
Monday - baked chicken + salads
Tuesday - hot dogs
Wednesday - leftover grilled burgers
Thursday - tacos
Friday - any leftovers, or pizza if not

And, in the vein of helping others/kind deeds:

  • I wrote a letter to my parents, thanking them for their help this summer with the kids. Not only was it incredibly helpful to us during COVID & while we were remodeling the house, the investment they've made in having an incredible relationship with their grand kids is amazing. 
  • Wrote a letter to my godmother (a close friend of my deceased grandmother) who is quarantined at home, and quite lonely. I haven't seen her in a few years, so gave her some updates on our family.
  • Dropped off cleaning wipes to a neighbor who can't get out much & needed some

What about you? What's on the menu for the week? Any positive actions you'd like to share? 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

August goals

Getting ready, it's back to school month! I'm confident it will be an adventure, as we adjust to 8th grade & 9th grade online learning. Here are my goals for the month.

1) Financial
  • Stick to the budget
  • Pay down our mortgage to the next milestone
  • No clothing/shoes purchases for me
  • Make $500 in side hustle
  • Work through freezer/pantry clean out (10 random items out)
  • Call to set up will/guardianship appointment
2) Family
  • Find time to take the boys to one socially distanced activity per day (walking, tennis, etc)
  • Off the computer by 7:30 each evening (not counting reading)
  • Have a weekly half hour alone with M
  • Schedule a call with M's family
  • Two hours of practicing Spanish or Farsi
  • Finish kitchen remodel
  • Compliment M every day
  • Build a plan for the new school year

3) Fitness/health

  • Lose 2 lbs
  • Work out every day, minus travel day home. Do 2 daily doubles to offset.
  • Track calories & aim for 1440 calories/day
  • Complete 1400 minutes of cardio, 10 strength & 5 stretching workouts
  • Meditate 20 times
  • Run 15 times

4) Personal/creative
  • Do something social at least 2x/month (virtually is okay)
  • Volunteer
  • Journal 25 times
  • Improve myself
    • Judge less
    • Listen more often (talking less)
    • Reduce/eliminate swearing
    • One kind deed/day
  • Read one non fiction book
  • Complete one project/day (taking advantage of WFH)

What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in August? Please share, so we can cheer you on. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

July goals recap

Another month is over! Can't believe how quickly July went by, despite COVID.

Here's how I did with my monthly goals.

1) Financial
  • Stick to the budget - well, with the remodel, not so much. But, much better progress on groceries. Dining out has been a bit hit or miss due to the remodel, but overall our food budget is significantly lower this month. Hurrah!
  • Pay down our mortgage to the next milestone - Yes!
  • No clothing/shoes purchases for me - Yes!
  • Make $500 in side hustle - Crushed this goal with $961.
  • Work through freezer/pantry clean out (10 random items out) - we've used up so many freezer items as part of our remodel! Less on the pantry side, but giving us a pass given huge freezer progress. 
  • Call to set up will/guardianship appointment - No, and I'm rolling this one forward
2) Family
  • Find time to take the boys to one socially distanced activity per day (walking, tennis, etc) - mostly, yes. 
  • Off the computer by 7:30 each evening (not counting reading) - I've lost some of the good habits I've made & need to get back to this. 
  • Have a weekly half hour alone with M - Yes
  • Schedule a call with M's family - No, and I need to make this happen
  • Two hours of practicing Spanish or Farsi - Yes!
  • Make finalized revised summer plans, taking into account home projects - yes, done!

3) Fitness/health

  • Lose 2 lbs - I gained a bit in June while at our vacation house, so lost that in July, for a maintenance month. I'll take it!
  • Work out every day, minus travel day home. Do 2 daily doubles to offset. - I got in 32 workouts!
  • Track calories & aim for 1440 calories/day - yikes, no. My calories are at 1627. I did track. 
  • Complete 1400 minutes of cardio, 10 strength & 5 stretching workouts - 1160, 3 & 3, respectively. 
  • Meditate 20 times - this one fell way off my radar, and I meditated only 2x.
  • Run 15 times - I ran 13 times. 

4) Personal/creative
  • Do something social at least 2x/month (virtually is okay) - Yes
  • Volunteer - I'm volunteering in a few ways at work
  • Journal 25 times - every day, so 31 journal entries!
  • Improve myself
    • Judge less - always a work in progress
    • Listen more often (talking less) - slight improvement noticed
    • Reduce/eliminate swearing - eh, about the same
  • Read one non fiction book - I've been reading, but haven't finished my current non-fiction book
  • Compliment M every day - I think this has happened almost every day. I'm actively thinking about it/working on it. 
  • Build a plan for the new school year - we're waiting for schools to announce specifics, but have added in some supplemental activities for the kids. 
  • Complete one project/day (taking advantage of WFH) - yes

How about you? How did you do with your July goals?