Monday, July 26, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

 It's time for another menu plan! I'll be heading to Portland this weekend to pick up the kids, celebrate a birthday & my parents 50th anniversary. M will be dining solo for part of the week. :-) 

  • Friday - we got delicious takeout Greek food. I had a gyro bowl, and we will definitely be back.
  • Saturday - grilled barbecued chicken salad (me), wings & caprese (M)
  • Sunday - steak & coleslaw
  • Monday - grilled chicken salad & caprese
  • Tuesday - steak & zucchini
  • Wednesday - I'll be eating with my sister & BFF, but M will be finishing up the grilled chicken, coleslaw & zucchini
  • Thursday - we're going to a winery, & will bring a picnic
  • Friday -  I'm going to a tapas place. 

That's it from our side. Starting next week, we will be back to feeding the hungry teens, while juggling numerous sports practices & the inevitable return to school. I'm looking forward to it! :-) 

What about you? What's on your menu this week? 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Garden things

M & I had such a nice & relaxing day yesterday, and caught up with the kids & my dad about the mountain biking extravaganza. Sounds like an amazing experience all around. I'm so happy my dad is still able to take the kids on adventures. What a gift it is to be healthy at his age.

I picked a few things from the garden yesterday:

  • Two different types of cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • A not quite ripe beefsteak (because, the squirrels are getting to everything)
  • Two green (now orange) peppers
  • Mint & Greek basil (for M's salad)
  • A few Marzano tomatoes
  • A bunch of different peppers & chiles

I pickled the peppers together. The first batch was crazy spicy, so I rinsed them and started again. This meant that the batch was a little "softer" than I'd prefer, and those serranos...still too spicy. I think I will pickle the next batch as a mix, but drop the serranos. I need to figure out a plan for just those. The mixed batch was M's request, but he was really struggling with them at dinner. I couldn't stop laughing because, of course, I warned him about this exact issue. ;-) 

As for today, here's what I'm up to:

  • A pace walk. I need to get a sense for my timing
  • Work on my calendar for the week the kids are back. I have a lot going on, Sam has soccer practice, and the kids have camp, appointments, etc.
  • Start my packing list for next week
  • Make coleslaw
  • Make pico de gallo
  • Strength workout
  • M & I are going to a wine tasting this afternoon (looking forward to that)
  • Make a menu for the week
  • Fill out camp paperwork for the kids
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you up to today? What are you harvesting from your garden? 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Mortgage home stretch

We are SO close to paying off our mortgage! It's such an exciting feeling. We've paid off 97.5%! We are expecting to have the full amount paid by the end of September. As soon as that's complete, we will work on saving up for our taxes, as we opted to put the full sale of our vacation house into the mortgage, vs holding the taxes back. It saves us about $10k in interest, so it's worth it.

We are going super hard at that last chunk of mortgage and it's fun to see it dwindling every week. Fast forwarding to when we have the taxes paid, I'll be in savings mode for a few months to beef up our savings accounts, and then ready to leave my job. Home stretch!

The boys & my dad (along with some of their bike friends) completed a huge mountain biking ride yesterday. The boys rode 40+ miles (the first 1/3 in the dark, powered only by head lamps), & my dad rode close to double that. They are all thrilled with themselves, & exhausted, as you can imagine. My dad was doing it for a large fundraiser. The boys joined to support my dad, and Nick has been talking about, training for, and planning for this bike ride for the past year. I'm thrilled that everyone made their goals, and there were no injuries. I haven't gotten details yet (they were in a national forest, with no cell service), but today I should be learning more about the adventure. I'm very proud of everyone. 

Here's what's on the to do list for today:

  1. Return sunblock to Rite Aid
  2. Pick up a few items at Trader Joes
  3. Costco
  4. Grocery store (they are having a sale on pasta, which is Nick's favorite food ;-))
  5. Pickle a variety of peppers
  6. Run
  7. Strength workout
  8. Pick up the house
  9. Contact yard service about neighbor sprinkler issue
  10. Set up global entry appointment
  11. Work in the garden a bit
  12. Read by the pool :-) 
  13. Dinner - wings & caprese salad
That's it for us. What are you up to today?

Friday, July 23, 2021

Frugal Friday

It was a surprisingly quiet week this week around here, although I'm not expecting that to last, as the boys ramp up with a soccer camp & back to school stuff soon (sports physicals, dentist appointments, orientation, packet pickup, etc).  

Here are our wins for the week.

Saving on things we buy

  • Used an iBotta $.10 receipt offer, as well as a blueberry offer ($.15) for groceries this week. That apparently triggered the July weekly bonus, so I earned another $2.15. I find iBotta pretty quick & easy, but don't chase deals & typically only buy what's already on the list. We don't use the majority of the products with offers, but I've been having luck with produce offers & generic grocery receipts here & there. 
  • Uploaded all of our receipts to Fetch

Earning money

  • I'm trying to list more on Facebook marketplace, as well as eBay. Here are my sales for the week:
    • Board game (FB)
    • Pottery Barn Kids decoration (brought back from the beach house)
    • A coffee table book (beach house)
    • Workout tank top (beach house)
    • A re-usable wine bag
    • A pair of shoes
    • A dress shirts (a Hawaiian dress shirt that's now too big for M)
  • I returned two sunblocks to Rite Aid that were part of the recall. I received a $20 Rite Aid gift card for future use. 

Avoiding spending

  • We were out of town over the weekend, checking out potential future retirement destinations. We most certainly splurged on eating out while we were there (we stayed in a hotel), we skipped breakfast, & avoided eating out when we got home.

Eating what we have

  • Lots of eating up garden produce (mint, basil, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers)
  • We had multiple caprese salads. I also had peaches with mozzarella (and salt) for dinner one night. One of my favorite light meals.
  • I finished off the Italian chicken sausages M grilled a while back
  • Made a smoothie out of peaches a neighbor gave us (as well as other freezer fruit, peanut butter & protein powder). It was delicious & super filling. 

For others

  • Gave away veggies & herbs to friends & neighbors
  • Went through my entire closet, and got rid of a bunch of items. Gave away several bags of clothing via Buy Nothing.
  • Also shared some household items (including a requested fan) via Buy Nothing. I'm happy I remembered we had the fan - it was tucked away in a closet. Now it can keep someone else cool.
  • Worked at my non-profit role
That's it from our side. What about you? Any wins to share for the week?

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

What kind of peppers are these?

 The tag indicates they are Fresno chiles, but I'm not sure. The don't look like any Fresno chiles I saw online. I don't want to get it wrong, as chiles/peppers vary so much in heat. 

M went a little crazy with the pepper planting this year. We have serrano, shishito, sweet banana, lots of green peppers, and ... five jalapeno plants. I think he's hoping I'll have lots to pickle. ;-) 

Please weigh in! What type of pepper/chile do you think these are? 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Garden happenings & other things

 We've had problems with squirrels & crows eating everything they can reach, but the garden is in full swing. The peppers, in particular, are loving the sun. 

We've also got cantaloupe, watermelon & pomegranate, which is exciting!

I've been struggling a bit with my health (some flare ups of my chronic auto immune disease), and have had a few appointments & more to come. Hoping the doctors will be able to help me with my energy level & overall health soon. With the increase in COVID again, now is not the time to be struggling with auto immune issues. 

M & I had a relaxing & wonderful time last weekend, exploring the southern California coast. So many great places to visit!

Please share what's happening in your garden, or in your life otherwise. I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Frugal Friday

The beach house sale closed, was funded, & we are applying the money to our home mortgage! We are very excited. The rest of the wins seem very small in comparison this week, but here goes:

Saving on things we buy

  • Uploaded receipts to Fetch & iBotta, and saved $.10 on a Trader Joes purchase, & earned $1.25 on another grocery store purchase. I was close to Safeway for an appointment, and stopped in to pick up a few things I can't find anywhere else

Earning money

  • I relisted all of my eBay sales, and also posted a few things on FB marketplace. It was a good selling week! I sold:
    • A wand topper, from many years ago (indoor water park)
    • Chess set (FB)
    • A router from the beach house (FB)
    • Three shirts
    • Various makeup samples 
    • A pair of shoes
    • Two "magic" wands, from an indoor water park. I believe this is the last item from the stash of water park items I found a while back
    • A set of battery operated votive candles I found at the beach house

Avoiding spending

  • I had to pick up a prescription at Rite Aid, and had enough rewards to cover the cost. Always a win
  • Not exactly sure what category this falls in, but when we went to sell the vacation house, we realized our Oregon house has never been put into our trust we created. We had to hire an Oregon licensed attorney to coordinate with our primary attorney, so we'd spent $300+ to put the house into the trust. After the sale was completed, I reached out to the Oregon attorney, and he went back through his paperwork, and it was an error on his side. I appreciate that he was honest about his error. He also offered us a full refund, so we will be getting our money back. 

Eating what we have

  • Made delicious zucchini fritters  for dinner one night, along with caprese salad. The zucchini, chives, tomatoes & basil were from the garden.
  • I also quick pickled two batches of jalapenos - one of M's favorite snacks
  • We continue to eat lots of other garden produce: tomatoes, peppers, basil, mint, zucchini, etc
  • We ate two dinners from the freezer this week (chicken curry & egg roll in a bowl). I find that serving the leftovers with a fun side dish (caprese salad), makes everyone happier. 
  • Made banana muffins out of some overly ripe freezer bananas
  • Ate the remainder of the chicken curry & cauliflower rice for lunch one day. Cauliflower rice isn't my favorite, but with the kids out of town, it doesn't make sense to make an entire batch just for me. 

For others

  • I continue to give away a lot on the local Buy Nothing. Cleaning out our house, and helping others is the best win. M cleaned his closet, and gave me a few things to list on eBay, and a bunch to give away via Buy Nothing
  • I also shared herbs with neighbors & the Buy Nothing group. Our Greek basil, in particular, has gone nuts
  • Gave away a lot of zucchini to friends & neighbors

What about you? How was your week?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

2021 Goal Check - the half way mark

It's hard to believe, but 2021 is more than half way over. I always like to check in on my goals, and see how things are going, & what needs more attention.


  • Stick to our budget - well, we're on track for groceries, but over on dining out & gas. We may need to increase our dining out budget, now that things are opening back up again. We don't go out much, but M & I do enjoy a date night here & there, and we typically do take out with the boys once per month or so. 
  • Pay down our mortgage to the half way point - yes! We're now on track to have the entire mortgage balance paid off by EOY, thanks to selling our vacation house. 
  • Spend $250 or less on clothing for myself (not including running shoes) - I wrote a post about this, but I'm largely on track at $127.04
  • Take my parents to Maui for my dad's belated 70th birthday, and in lieu of a 50th wedding anniversary party for my parents. - done, and fantastic times were had by all. We kept the budget pretty well in check, and planned for indulgences, and skipped the things we cared less about. 
  • Consider remodeling our bedroom area - we have decided not to do this for now, and will likely wait until the boys are out of the house. 
  • Increase charitable giving by adding a "$1k kind deeds fund" - yes, and I've spent roughly half of this. 
  • Plan one fun activity/month with the kids - yes! We've done lots of fun things. Biking, walking in the neighborhood, trips to Oregon & Hawaii, mountain biking, tennis, etc. 
  • Off the computer (minus reading) by 7:30 each evening - I did really well with this for the first four months or so, but have fallen back into my habit of being on the laptop until bed time. It really impacts the quality of my sleep, so I need to get back to this. 
  • Have two dates per month with M - yes! We also went to Sonoma together, and have a few weeks alone in July. 
  • Schedule quarterly calls with M's family & fill in with videos - we've done one call (time zones are tricky) & made a few videos. I also send photos, which my in laws love. 
  • Lose 10 lbs - before Hawaii, I was at 7 lbs lost. Now I'm closer to 3-4 lbs lost, and need to get back into it. 
  • Run 100 times - I've run exactly 50 times!
  • Track calories, eat a balanced diet - mostly doing well, but there have been some challenging stretches in there for sure. Vacations and schedule variances really throw me off. 
  • Complete 15,000 minutes of cardio, 100 strength & 50 stretching workouts - I'm at 8,600 minutes of cardio, and decided to do daily strength & stretching challenges instead. 
  • Meditate 100 times - I've meditated 67 times, so well on track
  • Deal with food allergy/stomach issue - I've seen the doctor, and done a food allergy test. But, now my doctor thinks this is related to other health issues. I have more follow up s scheduled. 


  • Practice Farsi and/or Spanish - I'm pretty good about practicing Spanish (via Duolingo) on week days
  • Do something social with friends at least once/month - yes, typically hikes or walking
  • Invest time in my volunteer job - this was more intense before a major milestone, but has quieted down a bit
  • Write & journal regularly - yes to journaling, but I could spend more time writing
  • Improve myself (judge less, listen more, stop swearing) - as always, I'm a work in progress. I've definitely cut way, way, way back on the swearing. 
  • Get crafty - I haven't done much since spring/summer started. The nice weather means I'm typically outside
  • Make kind deeds a regular part of my daily life - I try to think of this when I'm writing my Frugal Friday recap, which helps me remember this throughout the week

What about you? Did you set any goals for the year? How are you doing? 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Checking in on one of my 2021 goals

I set a bunch of goals at the beginning of the year (full post here), & Sam inspired me to check in on how things are going, now that we are past the 1/2 way mark.

I'll do a full check in against my goals in another post (have to gear up for that), but started thinking about my clothing budget goal. I set a budget to spend no more than $250 on clothes for myself this year, with running shoes being excluded from that total. 

I had some gift cards at the start of the year, so I'll review both what I spent, and what I bought.

Total spent for the year to date = $127.04

Items purchased so far:

  • A sweatshirt at a local shop at the Oregon coast, to commemorate our house & last vacation together. $40
  • 3 pair of new running socks - used Amazon credit
  • Three new dresses (one from Athleta, two from the Gap) - $87.04, & used a gift card for the rest. I replaced a few dresses that no longer fit, as I'd lost a bit of weight. 
    • The Athleta dress is one of my new favorites. (Not a referral)
    • I haven't worn either of the two Gap dresses, but they are both perfect for work related events, parties, dinners out, etc. I'm hoping to wear at least one this weekend. I'd planned to wear them in Sonoma in April, but it was too chilly for dresses. 
  • A star tshirt, from TJ Maxx. I bought this for the 4th of July, but it will be cute to wear at other times as well. - Used TJ Maxx credit that I've had for years. 
It was useful to look back & see what I've purchased to date. I've worked hard to stop treating shopping like a fun "hobby", and instead only buy things that I really need, and/or will serve a specific purpose in my wardrobe. I've also continued to whittle things down via Buy Nothing, and when I empty out my closet, I'm reminded that I have plenty left to wear, and don't need anything more.

Running shoes, however... I continue to buy those! I think I've bought two pair so far this year, and they are typically around $100/each. No regrets, as I consider those an investment in my health, and try to run or walk at least 25 miles/week. 

What about you? Do you track what you spend on clothing? How are you doing this year?

Monday, July 12, 2021

Menu plan Monday

 Adjusting our menu plan to suit just the two adults definitely takes some getting used to! The kids continue to have a fantastic time with my parents. I will be back in Portland to pick them up soon, although they are being fully spoiled & will likely be sad to return. ;-) 

  • Friday - We ended up going out to Greek food. We shared an entree, but had an appetizer & two salads. Fantastic meal, & lots of laughs
  • Saturday - We'd planned to have steak & caprese salad, but I found a recipe for zucchini fritters, & made those. We were so full from the fritters & salad that we skipped the steak
  • Sunday - steak & caesar salad
  • Monday - salmon (M) + chicken sausages (me) & coleslaw
  • Tuesday - barbecued chicken & caprese salad
  • Wednesday - salmon (M) & chicken curry (me). I'll see if I can convince M to make me rice to go with the curry
  • Thursday - barbecued chicken & caprese salad
  • Friday - we are likely going out to eat again

We have lots of fresh tomatoes & basil to eat up, hence the repeat occurrence of the caprese salad. Costco also had mozzarella on sale for $3, which was a great deal. We may pick up another container. It's one of our favorite & easiest side dishes, plus it's Keto friendly for M. 

What about you? What's on your menu this week? Are you using up any particular items from your garden?

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Zucchini fritters & other things

I ended up sitting by the pool & reading for most of yesterday, and it was so relaxing. M & I are enjoying the quiet time together, and the kids are very much enjoying their time with my parents. 

We were originally planning to have steak & caprese salad last night, but I made zucchini fritters, & they were so delicious & filling that we skipped the steak. If you have extra zucchini in your fridge, these are fabulous. I also vacuumed, made reservations for next weekend, booked a house for the holidays, replanted seeds, & listed a bunch on Buy Nothing & eBay. 

Today's list looks similar to yesterday. It's so nice to have the flexibility to carry things over from one day to the next.

Also, here's hoping I see these guys on my run this morning.

Today's to do list:
  • Clean the fridge
  • Run
  • Strength workout
  • List 5 more items on eBay/FB marketplace, and 5 on Buy Nothing
  • Pickle jalapenos/peppers
  • Swap out Nick's desk (I need M's help for this one)
  • Update the budget
  • Talk to neighbor (again) about leaking sprinkler. It continues to flood our sheds. She's 90+, so unfortunately, it can be a challenge to get things resolved. 
That's all for me. What are you hoping to accomplish today?

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Saturday Happenings

We ended up going out for an impromptu dinner last night, and it was so lovely. The weather was perfect for an outdoor meal in the shade, & we had a lot of laughs & great conversation over a delicious meal. I love unexpected moments like that. 

In other unexpected moments, I didn't know that M planted a hibiscus. What a surprise to see it blossoming in the yard.

We were considering going to our wine club to pick up wine & have a (free) tasting, but it's going to be so hot here today & they only have outdoor space. I think I'd rather sit by the pool & be cool(er) at home. 

The vacation house is officially closed, and the money was wired to our account. Hurrah! I'm now in the process of using it to pay down (almost off, not quite) our mortgage. What an amazing feeling that will be! 

Here's what's on the agenda today:

  • Clean the fridge
  • Vacuum
  • Go for a run, before it gets too hot
  • Make reservations for next weekend
  • Swap out Nick's desk for the standing desk we brought back from the beach
  • Plant kale & radishes. We pulled out cucumber that didn't make it, and I want to use the space for other stuff
  • Stake the banana peppers
  • Make a batch of pickled jalapenos
  • Strength training
  • List five items on eBay (or Facebook marketplace) & five items on Buy Nothing
  • Finalize end of the year holiday plans, and book something

That's it for us. What are you up to today?

Friday, July 9, 2021

Frugal Friday

We had 10-12 people at our vacation house (different days) for a last hurrah, & it was so much fun. Entertaining that many people is rarely cheap, but we had a few frugal wins along the way.

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a Starbucks gift card to treat my mom & sister to a "thank you" drink for all of their help packing, organizing & cooking
  • My mom doesn't use iBotta, so I uploaded one of her receipts, saving $.10
  • Earned a $30 grocery store gift card for buying Uber gift cards (which, we will use for travel).
  • Used a $1 grocery reward for mayo, and earned another $1.15 iBotta offer for the same item. Made coleslaw for M, which he loves. 

Earning money

  • Found $.25 on the ground at Starbucks
  • Unpaused my eBay listings, & sold a few things:
    • A book from a freebie table
    • Two vases (on FB marketplace) that we brought back from the beach house

Avoiding spending

  • M & I had just one meal on our road trip home. We picked up deli sandwiches at Costco, and ate that for a combo lunch/dinner. I ate some trail mix I'd packed for the drive, and we considered that good. 
  • We were able to sign the closing documents for the vacation house in person (we thought we'd have to sign at home) & saved $175 on a mobile notary
  • We also fit all of our items from the beach house that we were moving (a couple of pieces of furniture that M really wanted) into our SUV, which I find nuts, but the kids weren't with us, so we folded the seat down. That saved another couple of hundred dollars. 

Eating what we have

  • With just the adults for the next few weeks, we need to be on top of our purchasing & consumption, as we don't have hungry teens around. I used lots of garden produce in our salads, and ate a couple of leftover hot dogs for lunch.
  • Used fresh chives, the aforementioned mayo & some leftover heavy cream in a coleslaw dressing. I had shredded cabbage & carrots in the back of the fridge, so this nicely used up that as well. 

For others

  • Gave away garden produce on Buy Nothing, as well as for neighbors
  • Got back into supporting the non-profit I volunteer for, now that I'm back from vacation
  • Listed a bunch of items on Buy Nothing, that I had put away for when we are back from our trip. We're back! Time to clean out the closet
That's it from our side? What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, July 8, 2021

So close to Friday

These short work weeks are both fantastic & challenging. Fantastic because...fewer work days. They are also challenging, because there is the same amount to get done, in a shorter amount of time. 

I had a reasonably productive day yesterday (on the work & home front), but like every day, I didn't get everything done on my to do list. We did get the tomato plants & rolling beds moved back into their correct places, after adjusting them for watering purposes while we were gone.

We are closing on the vacation house today (fingers crossed) & expecting the funding tomorrow. It sounds like everything is well in hand with that process -  hurrah!

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

  • Pull up a few cucumber plants that didn't survive our trip to Hawaii. 
  • Plant more radishes, & potentially cilantro & kale
  • No laundry. This is shocking, but what happens when there are no teens in the house!
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Make a reservation for wine tasting this weekend
  • Make health physicals for both boys, before school starts
  • Call our mortgage company for a balance payoff
  • Work out (cardio & strength training)
  • List five items on eBay
  • List five items on Buy Nothing
  • Check on the boys camp registration for August
That's it for me. What are you up to today? 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Menu Plan Wednesday

 We're off schedule a bit, but here's what we've been up to, and what we're planning for dinner:

  • Monday - We had a late lunch on the road, and skipped dinner, preferring to save time by driving through. I had some trail mix that I'd packed.
  • Tuesday - out to dinner, at one of our favorite restaurants. We hadn't been in 18 months, due to COVID
  • Wednesday - steak & salad
  • Thursday - Salmon (M) & grilled chicken sausage (me) 
  • Friday - potentially, out for Thai food
  • Saturday - salmon, chicken sausages, & caprese salad
  • Sunday - barbecued chicken, with mozzarella/nectarine/basil salad. It's a summer favorite.
What are you eating this week?

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Drive complete

We made it back from the Oregon coast, and the drive went as well as could be expected. The Salt Creek Fire in Redding was more contained, but it was so sad to see all of the fire trucks, the fire planes, and the pink fire retardant on the freeway. The fire originated on the freeway, so the damage was very visible. Sending good thoughts to the fire fighters & all of the families that live near by.

As for us, the beach house is emptied out, & will be cleaned today (part of our closing agreement). We will supposedly receive our funding on Friday. We ended up being able to sign in person, so we saved on the mobile notary fee.

We also managed to get everything packed into our SUV (helped greatly by the fact that we could fold the seats down, as my parents had the kids), & didn't need to rent the planned U-Haul. I was able to cancel our reservation. Aside from the money saving, we didn't have to drive with a trailer for 12 hours, through the mountains, etc. It made the drive much easier & faster.

We had an absolutely fabulous last hurrah at the beach. We played a lot of corn hole, giant jenga, built fires, made s'mores, laughed, talked about our favorite family memories, the kids went to the campground for a goodbye round of hide & seek... we treated the boys to a trip to the Seaside arcade (hide & seek & the arcade used to be their big vacation highlights). Excellent times were had by all.

We came back a day early, as we were able to pack up the car without the trailer, and I'm grateful for the bonus day before we have to work tomorrow. We have plenty to do, however.

  • I'm kicking off a new fitness challenge, and need to work out (cardio + a strength workout)
  • M lost his credit card, so I've locked it & need to cancel it, assuming he can't find it today
  • Unpack the car. We got in at midnight last night, so nothing is done
  • Decide what to do with everything we brought home!
  • Make a menu plan (adults only!)
  • Go to Costco
  • Catch up on the gardening
  • Clean the house
  • Laundry
  • Pay bills
  • Make a schedule for the week
M & I are going out to a celebratory dinner tonight. We're home alone for the first time in a long time. Meanwhile, Nick is repairing bikes at my dad's house, and Sam & his cousin are playing board games. Everyone is having a ball.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Saturday, July 3, 2021

July Goals

 July is already off to a bang, and I know it will be a crazy month, between finalizing the vacation house sale, a long weekend for myself & M, and flying back to pick up the kids at my parents at the end of the month. 

My goal is to be ambitious, but reasonable for the month. ;-) Mostly, I need to get back on track with my fitness!

Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish in July:


  • Close on our vacation house. Move funds to mortgage, minus estimated taxes
  • Stick to our budget
  • Make $300 in side hustle
  • Take advantage of alone time with M, with dates & a long weekend together
  • Start planning our family holiday trip in December
  • Lose 3 lbs
  • Run 10 times
  • Complete 12 strength workouts
  • Meditate 10 times
  • Relist all eBay items
  • Give away or donate all items put aside for Buy Nothing group
  • Stay on top of garden. Try a few new recipes.
  • Write, for at least 30 minutes

That's it for me. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in July? Any big goals for the month?

Friday, July 2, 2021

Frugal Friday

It was a bit of a limbo week, with prepping for travel, working, driving, & now getting the house all ready for sale & entertaining guests. We had a few frugal wins along the way.

Saving on things we buy

  • I bought another Uber gift card via Raise, for a discount. I first clicked through to Rakuten to Raise, earning slightly more. Uber is more expensive than pre-COVID, but still cheaper than airport parking, for our upcoming travel. 
  • I needed road trip snacks at Target, and the first one I went to was closing (permanently) that day. They had none of the snacks, but they had half off of my favorite, expensive protein bars. I stocked up. They also gave me a $5/15 purchase at the closest Target store, and some free samples. It turns out that iBotta is also having an offer on those protein bars, so it worked out well, saving me another $1.
  • I went to the next Target store, bought the snacks, used my coupon, and applied my Target Circle rewards, and paid for the entire purchase with a Target gift card, bought on discount at the holidays.
  • I had some other iBotta wins. I noticed I was half way to a $5 offer, so checked out Rite Aid. I picked up a few things I needed, earned $11 via iBotta, $2 in Rite Aid rewards. 
  • We had lunch at Costco on our way to the beach. We only made a couple of stops for gas, and Costco has super cheap lunches, as well. Win/win. 
  • Uploaded receipts to Fetch & iBotta when we were at the beach, saving $1.75 on things we need (s'mores fixings & the like). 

Earning money

  • I've paused my eBay listings again, as I'll be working on the beach house. But, I sold an item before we left - a makeup sample. One less thing in the house!
  • I found a penny on the ground at Target
  • Cashed out $29.84 in iBotta earnings

Avoiding spending

  • We borrowed an extra cooler from a friend, to transport things back with us when we leave next week. 
  • I used a reward for a breakfast sandwich for Sam, on the drive to Oregon. I covered the rest of the Starbucks purchase with a gift card. 
  • Also on the drive, I packed a protein bar (my breakfast), bananas (to go with the boys breakfast), & snacks (always needed), to keep the costs in check for the road trip. 

Eating what we have

  • We had caprese salad, with tomatoes & basil from the garden. It was amazing. I always forget how delicious fresh tomatoes are. They are nothing like what you buy at the store.
  • I made the boys lunch, & used pitas that had been hidden in the freezer for the last year. They are used & gone! Woohoo! Freezer victory
  • We had tacos (x2), with prepped meat from the freezer
  • I continued to use lots of garden items in our salads (the last of the spinach, peppers, radishes, kale, tomatoes, mint, basil, etc)
  • The boys wanted lunch out after a busy Saturday, but I hustled home to help them make lunch from things we had on hand
  • Finished the last of the tomato soup in the fridge
  • I packed all of our perishables in the cooler before we left. Our first meal at the beach (dinner), after a 13 hour drive, was the chicken curry & rice I'd made over the weekend & brought with us. I was happy to have a quick meal, & then finished the rest off for lunch on Wednesday. 
  • I also picked all of our veggies in the garden before we left, and brought everything with us. 
  • At the vacation house, we've been in use it up mode. From the freezer, we've used: the meatballs, a small container of white chicken chili, three chicken sausages, a few bagels, and five burgers. We will have very little to bring back from the freezer, which is great news!

For others

  • Volunteered my time for a "citizenship" work project
  • Gave away zucchini & tomatoes
  • Uploaded receipts for Box Top for Education

That's it from our side. Did you have any wins this week? Please share!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

June goals recap

 We are having such a nice time at the beach. It's definitely bittersweet, knowing it's our last trip. But, there's been Jenga, Uno, walks on the beach, creative meal prep out of lingering freezer/pantry know, all of the best things. ;-) 

It really doesn't feel like July yet, but here we are. Let's look at how I did with the goals for June.

  • Continue what's needed to sell our vacation house. Pack up during our summer trip. -We've made some progress, but it also feels like the majority will need to be done on the 5th, when everyone heads out & we are done entertaining. 
  • Stick to the budget during our trip to Hawaii (and, have an amazing trip) - Yes, we did great with the budget!
  • Stick to the rest of our monthly budget - eh, we were over on gas (drive to Oregon), but did okay elsewhere..
  • Make $200 in side hustle - I made $205! 
  • One date with M - We went out to dinner to celebrate M's birthday in Hawaii
  • Enjoy a few fun family activities - so many! Kayaking, caneoing, SUP, etc
  • Plan the last of the Hawaii details (COVID test, final packing) - the planning went very well & Hawaii was amazing
  • Lose 2 lbs - sadly, no. I think I gained 3 lbs. Must refocus, post the vacations!
  • Run 3x/week - Nope, I ran only about 1x/week in June
  • Get back to regular strength training - also no. Consistency is my friend, and June wasn't a month of consistency
  • Get all eBay items listed - they were listed, then paused again
  • Stay on top of the garden - yes, and found someone to water the plants while we were gone
  • Work on fiction writing - didn't do any! 
  • Make a list of everything that needs to happen the week we're at the beach - we have a list, but still waiting to hear on signing timing

From a productivity perspective, June was a bit of a mixed month. This is unsurprising, given the two trips, kids end of the school year, summer camps, etc. Back to the grind soon!

What about you? How did you do on your goals in June?