Monday, May 31, 2021

Adventures in mini golf

I took the boys (and a friend) mini golfing yesterday, and it was a fun outing. It almost felt like "normal times", minus the masks. I really dislike wearing the mask in the heat. It doesn't typically bother me much, but the heat makes it more challenging. There were quite a few people mini golfing, and the weather was warm, but it was a lot of fun to get out & have an adventure with the boys. 

We ended up with another light dinner, as I treated the boys to ice cream (required on a hot day, right? ;-)) & then picked up M at the airport. He had a fantastic time on his trip, seeing his childhood BFF, the BFFs parents, wife/kid & then they had some guys only motorcycle drives. Good times were had by all.

As for today, I've worked out this morning, watered the plants, dropped off zucchini with a neighbor (she requested it), gave away a bag of clothes on Buy Nothing, started the boys bedding in the laundry, put the ingredients for crockpot carnitas together, & looked at some future retirement houses with M. He was in San Clemente over the weekend, and loved it, so that's on our potential list of places to explore. 

I'm trying to pick the zucchinis before they get too big...

It's supposed to get hot today, but it's currently the perfect temperature to be outside the pool, under the shade. Yeah! 

Here's what else is on the list:

  • Finish the boys bedding, make beds
  • Finish carnitas/dishes
  • Make margaritas (that will be M)
  • Potentially dip my feet into the pool. We don't heat it, so it will probably be pretty brisk, as this is our first real stretch of warmer weather
  • Nick has tennis at 2
  • Make chicken enchilada rice (for real, this time)
  • Go through eBay closet for other items to list, donate, or give away
  • Make parmesan zucchini to go with M's steak (he can't have the chicken enchilada rice)
That's it. A nice mix of fun & productive. What about you? What do you have planned today?

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The long weekend Sunday

 It's so lovely to have the extra day! I'm very much enjoying myself. I've been trying to combine relaxing with productivity, with some success. 

We managed to get the kids bank accounts opened yesterday, but it was a *lengthy* process. I'm not sure why it would take 2+ hours to open two bank accounts, but... there you have it. I'm glad I can mark that off of the to do list.

Sam & I also reviewed all of his assignments. I went for a walk/run yesterday, and a run this morning. Nick made dinner last night, and is currently making chocolate chip cookies. I have the sheets in the dryer, and will be making beds soon. 

I went through one of my eBay drawers, and pulled some items out & listed them on Buy Nothing. It was great to give things away, and get them out of the house. I gave away several pair of shorts, shoe inserts, soccer cleats, and some kids clothes. Woohoo. I'll do more of the same today. I also went through every eBay listing, and updated them. 

For the remainder of the day, here's what's left:

  • Read by the pool. First things first. ;-)
  • Recap May goals
  • Set June goals
  • Make beds
  • Finish laundry
  • Make chicken enchilada rice
  • Take kids/friends mini golfing
  • Pick up M at the airport
  • Organize the books in my closet. Determine if there are any I'd prefer to give away vs sell
  • Water the plants
  • Check on the garden, pick as needed
And, spotted on my run: (That's a wild turkey behind the deer):

What about you? What are you up to today?

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Hurrah, finally

I've been trying to schedule second COVID vaccines for the kids, and it's been quite challenging. They got their first doses at a mass vaccine site, but the second appointment conflicts with school finals. Because they require a Pfizer vaccine, and many places do not book just a second vaccine, I've spent hours on this project. Yesterday, I was able to get appointments with Stanford, after 90 minutes on hold. Only to have Stanford call me back several hours later to cancel. GRRRR.

I got up nice & early this morning & tried a few pharmacies, none of which were guaranteeing Pfizer availability. Finally, I was able to book appointments for both, 30 minutes apart. Unfortunately, they are at separate pharmacies, but only a five minute drive distance. Fingers crossed that works, or I'll need to have M come along & help with logistics. 

What else have I done? I got a few errands done yesterday, returning an item to TJ Maxx, getting groceries, & dropping off a donation. I also listed a few things on Buy Nothing, and started organizing some of my closet items. I met a friend for a hike, and also read by the pool. All in all, it was a really nice mix of relaxing & productive.

On an unrelated note, M added some extra plant food to our bougainvillea plant, and it's stunning! It's a bit of a hassle, as the wind easily knocks the blooms off & into the pool, but it's so lovely that it's definitely worth it.

And, what's happening today?

  • Work out
  • Take the boys to the bank to open savings accounts
  • Make zucchini muffins
  • Work on the schedule for the next two weeks
  • Continue organizing/cleaning my eBay closet
  • Make one pan Mexican chicken & rice for dinner
  • List a few things on Buy Nothing

What about you? What are you doing today?

Friday, May 28, 2021

Frugal Friday

Another busy week. It's finals week (two weeks, for Sam), new soccer practices + old soccer team practice, I was at the beach for a few days, and we're working through the inspection & final stages on that. As always, frugality is about prioritization, and flexibility. Each week is different, and an opportunity to make thoughtful choices. For us, frugality is also about prioritization. Sometimes, we're willing to prioritize spending more, as something is really important to us. Often though, it's not important, and ensuring we are clear on our prioritization is a good reminder to cut costs when things don't matter as much.

Saving on things we buy

  • Uploaded grocery receipts to Fetch. Remembered to check iBotta & found $.50 of offers. I also earned $.50 on Fetch for buying cereal (a rare treat, as it was on sale.)
  • I needed to buy some swim trunks & shorts for the kids for our Hawaii trip. I was able to find really inexpensive shorts ($6-7) for them, and two swim trunks for $12. Because I bought them in Oregon, I paid no sales tax, as an added bonus. As noted below on sales, for things we use infrequently, I sell them on eBay when the boys have outgrown things like swim trunks. 

Earning money

  • Continued to list & sell things on eBay. It was a quiet week this week, and I sold:
    • Outgrown swim trunks
    • Two books
    • A fridge magnet (a gift)
  • Earned a $15 Amazon gift card via Swagbucks

Avoiding spending

  • I've been able to cut back on some of our salad fixing purchase, by using things out of the garden, which always feels nice.

Eating what we have

  • The garden is really starting to come along. I used lots of radishes, basil, kale, spinach in our salads, and picked the first carrot & tomato. 
  • I picked our first two zucchini, and we have SO many! My husband clearly went nuts on the planting side. The good news is, we can make zoodles or sauteed zucchini for his meals, but we have so, so many zucchini.
  • M will miss a few dinners this weekend, so I've built a menu that uses up some of the non-Keto friendly items in our freezer. It's a good chance to incorporate those carb heavier items. 
  • Made zucchini muffins, with the garden zucchinis. They are delicious.
  • Used 1/2 of the remaining grated zucchini with my eggs in the morning. It was surprisingly good. I just sauteed the zucchini for a minute, added eggs, salt, pepper & topped with feta cheese when it was almost done cooking. Served with sourdough toast. 

For others

  • Continued volunteer role
  • Gave away quite a few things on Buy Nothing
  • A school parent was looking for a logo'd mask for graduation. My son refuses to wear his, so I was happy to offer ours up to someone who will use it. 
  • Shared herbs with a neighbor
  • Remembered to scan a receipt for BoxTops (our money goes to the local middle school). I rarely buy cereal, but when it's on a huge sale, it's one of Nick's favorite snacks. Cereal is always a winner for BoxTops - few other things I buy qualify. 

That's it from our side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Planning for the long weekend

I have tomorrow off work, as well as Monday, so I'm overjoyed at the thought of a long weekend. I also have plenty to do. 

Jotting it down for myself, as much as anyone else.

  1. Meet a friend for a hike (Friday)
  2. Return a top to TJ Maxx. I don't need it (I was there to get shorts for the kids), so back it goes.
  3. Some sort of workout (Sunday)
  4. Make zucchini muffins
  5. Drop off takeout containers to a woman who collects them for meals for the homeless.
  6. Go through all of my eBay stuff & decide what I'm going to list, donate or give away. Update pricing.
  7. Clean my closet
  8. Take the kids mini golfing
  9. Read by the pool
  10. Go for two runs (Saturday/Monday)
  11. Work on our Hawaii plans
  12. Move the kids second vaccines (they both have finals/standardized tests)
  13. Organize my schedule for next week
  14. Figure out Sam's summer soccer league
  15. Work out soccer camp drop off & pickup (add to work calendars)
  16. Figure out travel plans for my return trip to Portland in July (nephew's graduation/birthday, & picking up our kids)
  17. Follow up with the realtor on inspection & appraisal
  18. Wrap up May goals.
  19. Set June goals
  20. Call Comcast, who raised our rates. I spent 45 minutes on hold with an agent, who told me she'd fixed it, but when I clicked in to "agree" to the new plan, it was even more than before. I'll try again over the phone this time. Sigh. They make it really hard, don't they?

If I get all of that done, it will be amazing, and I feel very good heading into next week. Fingers crossed. What about you? How are you planning to spend the weekend and/or bonus day off, if you have one? 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

Being out of town over the weekend always throws me off my game, but guess what? It's Monday anyway! 

I'll be cobbling together the following dinners this week:

  • Monday - 2 diners will have burgers, 2 will have spaghetti & meatballs. There's not quite enough leftover of either to form a full meal
  • Tuesday - grilled chicken (freezer) on salads, or with bread (kids)
  • Wednesday - chicken curry (freezer) over cauliflower rice 
  • Thursday - hot dogs (grilled, in the freezer) and coleslaw
  • Friday - pizzas (freezer) & salad
It won't win any awards, but we will all be fed! 

I had a lovely trip to the beach with my mom & sister...a final mom/daughter hurrah, so to speak. The weather was really good, and we had a lot of time together, and took care of a few things at the house. It was great. Our next trip will be the last - over the 4th of July. We have the inspection tomorrow, so fingers crossed all goes smoothly there.

What is everyone serving this week for dinner? 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Frugal Friday

We received a full price offer on our vacation house, and have now signed a contract! There are still steps along the way, but feeling really good about that progress. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Uploaded our receipts to Fetch, and earned $1.90 in offers on iBotta at Costco (strawberries & pico de gallo + a bonus for completing any offer)
  • I had to buy Sam a few new items of clothing (growing kiddos), and used a $5 Old Navy reward, plus an online promo code, and remembered to use the remainder of a gift card. I also clicked through Rakuten before making my purchase, so I will earn a small amount in cash back. 

Earning money

  • I continued to list & sell things on eBay, including the following:
    • Two workout shirts that are too big for M
    • Two books about the Oregon coast (brought home from our vacation house)
    • A shoe dust cloth, from a pair of designer shoes (I've had the shoes for 10+ years, but have never used the dust cloth)
    • A set of 15 books I picked up from a freebie table. I was surprised they sold for $25, and now I have 15 items out of the house! Major win
    • Sold two stickers (from motorcycle parts? I think they are used to "decorate" a motorcycle) that I discovered in M's VHS box. So, they are pretty vintage by now. ;-)
    • A sunglasses "kit" that came with Sam's sunglasses he asked me to sell last week.
    • A shirt that no longer fits M  
  • Earned $56 in Rakuten, and will apply the full rebate to our mortgage (this is what I do with all "found"/earned money)
  • Received $36 back from a Decluttr sale (movies, a few books & an old iPod). Like the Rakuten money, will apply towards our mortgage
  • Found $.01 on the ground while walking. Earning money & working out, again for the win
  • In non-earning money news, USPS lost another package. It happens with alarming frequency. 

Avoiding spending

  • Picked up the Friday Freebie at the grocery store (oat milk). I use almond milk in my coffee, so when that runs out, I'll try the oat milk. 
  • Nick & I made hot dog buns out of ingredients we had on hand, vs buying at the store

Eating what we have

  • Used two pizzas out of the freezer for Friday night dinner. (One cauliflower crust, one regular.) Added pepperoni (also from the freezer). We had to eat late due to Nick's tennis lesson, so I made panko shrimp (freezer) & served it with a dipping sauce leftover from our takeout Greek meal on Thursday. It was a nice "use up what you have" meal. 
  • Continued using up things from the garden: spinach, radishes, radish greens, & lots of herbs: basil/Greek basil, mint, oregano, parsley, cilantro. I hope the tomatoes & peppers come up soon. 
  • Finished off the last of freezer breakfast burritos, as lunch one day. I thought they were all gone, but a freezer excavation turned one up.
  • Had Sam finish the last of the breakfast bowls, mostly to free up extra freezer space, but also ensuring no waste.

For others:

  • Gave away a bunch of stuff on Buy Nothing
  • Came up with some ideas of how to repurpose middle school (logo'd, mandatory) kids PE clothes, so they can be donated next year to those who need them. Otherwise, it's just so wasteful!
  • Continued daily check in & support at the non-profit I help out 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Under contract and other things

We received a full price offer on our vacation house yesterday morning, and we are now under contract! This is a huge weight off of my chest. Knowing that the buyer is purchasing the house "turn key" ((almost) all items inside the house) also means that the work required to get it ready to sell is very limited!

We will empty out all of our clothing, personal items, food, alcohol, etc between my trip tomorrow & our last hurrah trip over the 4th of July. We will then have the house professionally cleaned, drive back to California & sign the papers to close. 

In soccer news, Sam got offers from all three clubs he tried out with, and made his selection yesterday. He made a few really strong teams, and ended up going with the club that quite a few of his school friends play for. He also really liked that coach, so fingers crossed it's a good fit. The boys have their last soccer game this weekend, so the spring season is over in a hurry this year. It's a much shorter season due to COVID.

Sam also starts finals week next week....having a high schooler is quite an adventure, and this time of year is particularly stressful. We are all just trying to hang in there & stay calm. Keep calm & carry on. This time of the year can be particularly challenging for kids new to high school, and those who have learning/executive function delays. Keeping track of everything is quite hard, and the stress is showing. There are some moody teens in my house! 

I'm off tomorrow to have a long weekend at the beach with my mom & sister. Our last mother/daughter trip at the beach house, so we will be sure to enjoy it.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

 Another week, another schedule change. After last week's soccer tryout hurrah, this week includes me heading back to the Oregon coast to continue to work through what needs to be done to sell our vacation house. Our menu is adjusted accordingly.

  • Friday - we had pizza. I doctored up a cauliflower crust pizza & a cheese pizza with lots of pepperoni. Because people like pepperoni, and also because we have a lot of it in the freezer.
  • Saturday - tacos el pastor (freezer), with pico de gallo 
  • Sunday - M grilled hot dogs, and we had that with coleslaw
  • Monday - leftover tacos
  • Tuesday - hot dogs & coleslaw
  • Wednesday - chicken curry (freezer) with cauliflower rice
  • Thursday - I'm out of town, and we're having taco slaw. I'm guessing M & the kids will have pasta & meatballs
  • Friday - I'm out of town, & we're having white chicken chili & bread. M & the kids are having burgers
What about you? What's on your menu this week? Any good recipes to share?

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Can you identify these plants, & other Sunday things

 M & I picked up our wine order (we're in a wine club) & had a free tasting yesterday afternoon. It was lovely & we talked through some parenting challenges, so we really needed the time together. 

This morning, we went for a run together, which is unheard of for us. Mostly because I'm A LOT slower than he is. It was nice to have a partner, and he was very patient. We tried this when we were dating, and he was ....less patient. ;-) It won't be a regular thing, as our schedules in the morning don't typically match up on week days, but I did enjoy having someone else run with me. A good reminder that I should explore a running group. I'm always worried I will be too slow for the group, but I think I should get over that & look for a fit.

What else are we up to today?

  1. I have a long list of scheduling tasks for the week ahead
  2. Laundry
  3. Vacuuming
  4. Clean the kitchen
  5. Make coleslaw
  6. Sort out the boys second vaccines. Of course the appointments I booked conflict with Sam's finals & Nick's 8th grade graduation. They've had zero in person on Wednesdays all year, but they both have conflicts on this particular date
  7. Package & mail an eBay sale
  8. Work on my Hawaii trip to dos
  9. Make the schedule for M when I'm out of town
  10. Decide which running shoes I want to keep
  11. Package up a return
That should keep me busy. On to the plant identification. I planted a bunch from seed, but nothing much grew (minus the basil, spinach & radishes). I removed all of the original markers, as M planted a few things from starters, and we used those markers. Now, of course, I have no idea what a couple things are. I'd love input! I think the second one may be thyme? I could be completely mistaken, of course. 

Hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday!

Friday, May 14, 2021

Frugal Friday

 It was a week, but here we go! Always a few chances for frugal wins. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Uploaded grocery receipts to Fetch & iBotta, saving a small amount. I earned a $.25 iBotta offer. Slowly but surely!
  • Used a $50 work credit/reward to get takeout one night. I paid for the rest, but it's a rare splurge & was very much appreciated during a busy week.

Earning money

  • I continued to list & sell things on eBay. I need to do a big purge on my eBay items, and donate/give away a bunch. But, for now, here's what I've sold:
    • Outgrown swim trunks
    • Workout pants (brought back from the beach house)
    • A Seahawks jersey
    • A workout shirt that is too big for M (unworn)
    • A pair of sunglasses (gifted, that Sam didn't care for)
    • A couple of makeup subscription box samples

Avoiding spending

  • Can't really think of anything this week

Eating what we have

  • We've been trying to go through the freezer & reduce what we have there to a manageable level. It's (mostly) working. M often is tempted by Costco sales for things we will (eventually) need, but I prefer the freezer to be a bit more streamlined, allowing us to see everything we have. 
  • Continued to cut spinach from the garden & sautee and/or serve in our salads.
  • Harvesting radishes from the garden, and sauteeing the greens 
  • Made dinner from freezer kebabs one night. Love having leftover meal options in the freezer

For others

  • Listed & gave away a few things on our local Buy Nothing group
  • Continued regular check ins at my volunteer job
That's it from my side. What about you? Any frugal wins to share?

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Double vaccinations & feeling so grateful

California/my county announced the vaccine eligibility extension to the 12-15 year old group today while I was at a soccer tryout with Sam. Serendipitously, Sam's school announced a high school night at a local mass vaccination site. 

We hustled out of tryouts, picked up Nick, & headed for the mass vaccination location. It took about 60 minutes from start to finish, and included a lot of walking. Unfortunately for those around us, Sam was just coming off of his 3rd tryout of the week, and I had just finished a 6 mile walk with a friend. We were both tired, and "fragrant". The longest part was the mandatory 15 minute wait, after the shots. 

The second vaccine appointments are booked, and I am SO, so very thrilled that both boys have their first vaccine. I feel so lucky that we were able to quickly respond tonight, and get it done. Sam texted my parents, and let my mom know that he was getting vaccinated "for her". He's a sweet kid, most of the time. ;-) 

The mass vaccination site had a DJ, prizes, & so many volunteers. I'm grateful for the volunteers, science & the availability of vaccines in my area. Hurrah!

Our house listing is live & other fun

Our listing went live last night, so things are in motion! I'm a planner, & the angst of not knowing what the next week will hold is...hard for me. ;-) Luckily, I've been plenty busy with the rest of my life, which is keeping me from overly obsessing about the next week or so with the beach house.

Sam has been to two soccer tryouts, both very different. He has two left (a total of three clubs, with one requiring two tryouts). Finding a good club is a mix of: finding a coach that's a fit, a team that needs a player for your position, and a club that has a team playing at a level that suits your skills. And, has fun/positive/collaborative team mates. Depending on which teams offer him a spot, he would like to prioritize a team where he will be at the bottom of the skill stack rank, because he'd really like to push himself to develop more. There's a lot to balance, so it's a bit of a roll of the dice.

I'm a person who is not a fan of change (M would laugh if he was reading this,'s very true), so I'm always impressed when one of the kids actively seeks out change, knowing it's a good thing for them. Who knows what will happen with the soccer tryouts, but Sam has recognized that his current situation isn't working for him, and is taking risks to improve that. There's a lesson there for me. ;-) 

What else is new? Lots of work, eating dinners out of the freezer, and attempting to keep up with the house, the endless stack of laundry & the last few weeks of school. We are in the home stretch! Hurrah.

What about you? What's new in your world? 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

 It will be a busy week, with Sam trying out for a couple of new soccer clubs, and Nick attending tryouts for his current club. Lots of driving & activities this week, so the menu will reflect that.

  • Friday - burgers & cheese tortellini
  • Saturday - egg roll in a bowl
  • Sunday - M grilled chicken for chicken caesar salads (my Mother's Day request), which we had with bread + lemon bars. Oh, and wine ;-) 
  • Monday - leftover egg roll in a bowl
  • Tuesday - hot dogs & cheese tortellini
  • Wednesday -leftover grilled chicken turned into chicken tacos
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers. If that doesn't pan out, chicken curry (freezer)
  • Friday - wings, baked chicken & salad
What about you? What's on the menu this week? Any great new recipes to share?

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Happy Saturday!

I'm grateful it's the weekend. It was a busy week, and next week looks to be even busier. I'm really enjoying the garden, & planning for a mostly relaxing weekend as the gift to myself for Mother's Day! :-) 

Here's what I'm up to today:

  • Work out
  • Call with the realtor
  • Make muffins
  • Read by the pool
  • Go to the grocery store
  • Make egg roll in a bowl for dinner

I love the small thrill that comes with harvesting things from the garden! I'm very much a beginner, and have M to thank for much of the gardening efforts, but I do love seeing the spinach & radishes I planted come up.

From yesterday's harvest (radishes, basil & spinach)

I also cut back some of the herbs (weeds, really ;-)). Mint, cilantro & parsley

The planter boxes are starting to fill out! We've got tomatoes, squash, basil, peppers, carrots, spinach, and a few mystery plants (I planted A LOT from seed, and originally had markers, but gave up after nothing came up. Of course, now they are coming up & I don't know what they are ;-))

The planter boxes were a Mother's Day gift last year, so the timing feels very serendipitous. What about you? Do you have a garden going? What are you up to this weekend? 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Frugal Friday

My biggest financial win of the week was making a substantial mortgage payment with my stock vest. By having a plan for the money, & transferring it over to the mortgage right away, it ensures the money matches our financial priorities & goes where we intend it. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Made an HSA purchase through Rakuten, earning a bit back on my purchase. I'll then get reimbursed (from myself, via my HSA).
  • Most of my flight from last weekend was covered by a gift from a neighbor (she had a flight credit that was expiring before she was traveling again.) I made a donation to the local food bank as a thank you (she wouldn't accept money.)

Earning money

  • Found $.25 on the ground on a run. Making money & working out - double win!
  • Earned & redeemed a $5 Amazon gift card on Fetch. 
  • Sold another 32 items (largely DVDs from our vacation house, but a few books as well) via Decluttr. It's so nice to get stuff out of the house!
  • I've continued to list a bunch on eBay/FB, but have had few sales. It seems like a slow time right now
    • An outgrown kids shirt
    • An outgrown pair of kids pants
    • A (no longer available) game I brought back from our vacation house & quickly sold

Avoiding spending

  • A neighbor had extra groceries and shared a few items before she headed out of town. 
  • While my kids don't always love the school lunch options, neither of them are big on lunch & make do with the snacks and/or free lunch available each day, saving me from needing to provide lunch or money for hot lunch. It sounds like everyone in the school will receive a free lunch next year as well. 

Eating what we have

  • Cut spinach & used radish greens from the garden to sautee for M, along with his dinner each night
  • Used coleslaw that my neighbor dropped off 
  • It was pretty much a freezer dinner week, as I was out of town for the weekend. We had: tacos, chicken curry/rice, & kebabs. No cooking required, and it helped to clean out the freezer. Win/win!

For others

  • I've made a lot of donations in the last few weeks via a charity shop, and Buy Nothing. It's so nice to pass along things we don't need
  • Gave away a bunch of games & puzzles to a family friend, who had kids the perfect age to enjoy them
  • We don't eat much bread, so gave away a huge bakery loaf of bread (gifted to us) to a neighbor
  • Continued to check in with my volunteer role
That's it for us. What about you? Any frugal/for other wins to share? 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Selling our vacation house

I promised an update on how we landed on the decision to sell our vacation house, and I'm finally ready to share.

We bought this house 12 years ago when we lived in Seattle, and it was a comfortable 3-4 hour drive from our house - perfect for a long weekend. My parents (and, sister & many other family members) live 2 hours from the house. 

When the kids were young, we used the house a lot. They didn't have activities or sports, and M & I both had six weeks of vacation time per year. The beach house was a fantastic vacation option. It had all of the comforts of home, without a flight or really long drive. We also could meet family members at the house, and we've been doing a summer family trip there each year since we bought it. We've had countless fabulous memories, and even got both grandmothers there before they passed away. 

I love the quiet town, and the change of pace in such a small community, and feel so lucky we've had the experience, and been able to share it with many friends & family members. 

So, what's changed? 

When we moved to California, M pushed really hard to sell. It took me a while to agree, and then we put the house on the market for more than a year. The market there was REALLY slow. It wasn't the pricing, just the number of interested buyers. So, we took the house back off the market, paid it off, and mentally checked that box. 

Now, however, things are pretty different for us.  In no particular order

  • Maintaining any house takes work. I'm at a point where I'd love to go on vacation & just chill & relax. Not worry about deep cleaning the house, replacing worn out items, decluttering, landscaping, & just working. With us in California, my parents have picked up some of the work (at their request), and they are now 70 & that feels both unfair & untenable in the mid to long term. In addition to the maintenance work, there are bills to stay on top of, calendars to manage, & plenty of communication. We don't rent the house out, but lots of family members use it, which takes coordination & overhead.
  • The boys are/will be in high school (Nick starts in August). Our time together is really limited, both because of all of our schedules (work, sports, activities), but they'd also love to explore other travel destinations. They love the family time at the beach, but it's a sleepy town & they'd prefer to mix it up a bit on trips.
  • The market. The math on the house has never quite added up from a value exchange perspective, as we aren't there enough to get the value out of it, and we pay for all utilities, taxes & the upkeep. However, the market has been soft as noted above, so there was no incentive to sell. COVID has changed all of that. The house has gone up 85% (estimated, based on planned listing price) since we attempted to sell seven or so years ago. The math makes it really, really hard to pass up this opportunity. 
It's very bittersweet, & this place will always have a piece of my heart. I know we will always have the memories, and we are already planning our next family summer trip, to ensure we carve out the time together. There are many votes for Bend, so that seem likely for next summer. 

Picture from last weekend. Beautiful, even on a cloudy day.

What do we plan to do with the money from the house sale?
  • Taxes & fees. We'll be paying federal taxes, as well as both OR & CA state taxes, so that will eat up a sizable portion. And of course, paying all of the standard selling fees.
  • Savings. We will put a large chunk into savings & investments. That money will be ear marked so I can quit my job in February. It will cover what my salary covers, for our non-mortgage expenses.
  • Mortgage. It will get us very, very close (but not quite there) to paying off our California house. This would be a huge & exciting milestone for us. In addition to the financial security of paying off our house, it allows me to quit working (or, find something flexible as I'd like) & M would also have the ability to switch to another (lower paying) role, should he choose. He's wanted to work at a start up for a long time, but the financial instability has always been a sticking point. Having the mortgage (nearly) paid off, and then paid off soon after would allow M to make any career switches he'd like. 
Our current timeline anticipates the house going on the market at the end of this weekend, & accepting offers a week or so after that, so things are happening fast. We've requested a slightly delayed closing, so we can have one last family vacation there over the 4th, and then pack up & head out. It will be hard to leave it behind, but I'm at peace with the decision & know it's right for us right now. M, after pushing me to sell forever, is now pretty emotional & torn over it, but I know he will come around as well. :-) 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

April Goals Recap

April certainly sped by, didn't it?! Well, here we are at the end of the month & I barely remember what I accomplished. 

Here goes!


  • Stick to the budget - we were over a bit in dining out & gas, due to our trip to Sonoma & my parents driving a bit, but otherwise did well. We kept the grocery budget largely in check, which is great progress. 
  • Make $400 in side hustle - Yes! I made $484 in April. 
  • No clothing purchases for myself - no clothing purchases for me
  • Finish plan for house pay down to 75% - this will largely be covered by our vacation house sale
  • Come up with plan, timing, etc for selling our vacation house - yes!
  • Finalize timing for house project here - M has been really busy with work, so we have the project picked out, and the budget sorted, but no additional progress

  • Plan one fun activity with the kids - we took the kids to ice cream, and on a few walks
  • Off the computer by 7:30 each evening - I've been slipping a bit here & there, and need to refocus on this
  • One date with M (it's actually a weekend away in April!) - we had a fantastic weekend together in Sonoma!
  • Make a video or send photos to M's parents - I sent pictures
  • Finalize summer plans - largely done, camps booked, travel plans arranged
  • Enjoy my parents visit - we had a great time, despite some of the complexities (we work from home, everyone in the house, etc)

  • Lose 2 lbs - I maintained in April
  • Run 10 times - I only ran 5 times
  • Track calories, eat a balanced diet, & average 1390 calories (per day) in April - I finished at 1489/day, so 100 calories/day over my goal. Sonoma & my girls weekend were both responsible for the overall overage. 
  • Complete 1400 minutes of cardio & daily strength & posture challenges - I was 975 minutes of cardio (400 minutes below March), so not a great month. I did okay on strength & posture, but need to increase my consistency
  • Meditate 15 times - 13 times
  • Intermittent fasting, 3x/week - yes
  • When I'm tempted to snack, due a 3 minute meditation or take a walk around the block - I did not do this


  • Practice Spanish at least 20 days - yes
  • Do something social with friends - I had a girls trip
  • Continue daily check ins of volunteer job - yes
  • Write & journal regularly - I journaled regularly, but didn't complete any creative writing
  • No swearing - there were some DAYS, but overall, this is so much improved. Not perfect, but greatly improved
  • Do something crafty - I did lots of yard work & gardening, but nothing crafty
  • Achieve 400 "points" on my daily checklist - I was not very productive, with 304 points. Traveling really gets me off of my routine & schedule. 
  • Continue looking for opportunities to help others - there were several wins for the month, including donations, helping a neighbor, and giving away a lot to my local community (fulfilling asks, etc)

And, that was the April recap. It was a month where there was a little "back to normal". M & I were out of town for a weekend together, we had house guests, & I went to our vacation house to get it ready to sale. It's a good reminder how much I rely on consistency to get things done, & my need to be adaptable when that can't happen for #reasons.

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

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

May Goals

I'm going to keep things a bit shorter & simpler, because May will be a wild month with both work, and hopefully selling our vacation house. 

Here's what I have planned for the month:


  • Sell our vacation house
  • Handle incoming stock vest, saving some for Hawaii vacation & putting the rest on our mortgage
  • Stick to the budget
  • Make $400 in side hustle 


  • Make time for lunch with M one day/week, when the kids are at school
  • Have a last hurrah with my mom & sister (belated Mother's Day) at the vacation house, while we're also getting it ready to sell. 
  • Help Sam finish out the year as strongly as possible (in person is much better for him, but he has a lot of work to do to make up for challenges from online learning earlier)
  • Sort out soccer club tryouts (we're switching clubs for one kiddo)


  • Lose 3 lbs
  • Run 3x/week
  • Do not gain weight over mom/sister trip (maintain is fine)


  • Review all eBay items. Lower prices, donate, etc & keep things moving
  • Finish Decluttr order, and get junk out of my closet
  • Go through clothes I brought back from the vacation house. Figure out what to give away, sell, or keep. 
That's it for me. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in May?