Friday, December 31, 2021

Holiday Recap

Sorry it's been so quiet from my side - it's been a wild few weeks.  

Like a lot of the year, the holidays were not without some ups & downs. Our original plan was to fly to Portland, spend a few days at my parents celebrating Christmas with the family, and then head to Bend to ski. My parents, & sister/nephews would also join for a few days for skiing & general celebrations. 

We all tested for COVID ahead of the trip, and M tested positive, but was asymptomatic. The kids had gone to my parents after finals, and were already in Portland. M quarantined in the house for a week (away from me, wearing a mask, staying to one room, not leaving the house). I tested negative multiple times over the week, and opted to go ahead & go to my parents, so at least one of us could spend the holidays with the boys. It was really hard for all of us not to have M.

The logistics were also really challenging. M is the driver in snow, the main skier, the gear transporter, and getting all of the kids ski stuff to Portland was an adventure with seven bags (skis, boots, helmets, gear, etc). My parents got 10 inches of snow the day we were supposed to leave for Bend. We shoveled their 1/2 mile driveway for hours & hours. It's a good workout. ;-) 

My nephews were supposed to join us on the 26th, but due to weather difficulties, couldn't get home until the 30th. Which means we didn't get to see them (the cousins were all very disappointed - they are quite close in age, and planned to ski/board together). My sister was also incredibly sad to not see her kids during that time. (They were with their dad for the actual holidays.)

The earlier plan had called for M to drive my parents to Bend, so they could avoid driving in the snow. That plan fell apart, so my dad drove 1/2 of the people, and my brother in law drove the rest. The conditions getting to Bend were *super* dicey. Mt. Bachelor also had very, very cold conditions (7 degrees, high winds & lots of snow). Check out the powder!

It was not the holiday season we would have wanted, and we so missed the rest of the family. But, we made the best of it, enjoyed the time together & really did what we could to make it fun. My brother in law took the kids skiing, we did some tubing, we played games, we had lots of laughs, we managed to get the driveway shoveled between fits of giggling, we puzzled... we made the most of a situation that was really reflective of 2021 itself. I'm also SO grateful that M was asymptomatic (he's fully vaccinated & boosted) & healthy. That is the most important thing. Holidays come & go, but he's healthy & we are all lucky to have each other. 

Here's hoping to a better 2022! Wishing all of you a wonderful New Year's and a healthy & happy 2022!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2022 Goals

 The goals, like me, are a work in progress. I always try to set goals that will steer me in the right direction, for things I want to prioritize, things that are challenging for me, and know that progress is the goal. Perfection is probably not an option. If I'm achieving all of the goals each month & year, I'm not pushing myself hard enough, or maybe the goal isn't a match for what I actually want to accomplish. 

Here's what I'm thinking about for 2022 goals.


  • Stick to our budget
  • Come up with 5-10 year budget
  • Finalize our one income budget
  • Determine travel priorities & bucket list items
  • Start a donor advised fund, for charitable contributions
  • Plan one fun activity/month
  • Have two dates with M
  • Schedule quarterly calls with M's family, & send pictures & videos regularly


  • Lose 10 lbs
  • Run 100 times
  • Track calories & eat a balanced diet
  • Complete 17,500 minutes of cardio, 100 strength & 50 stretching workouts
  • Meditate 100 times
  • Fast 100 times
  • Close workout rings 330 days (90% success rate)
  • Do something social with friends, 2x/month
  • Invest time in volunteer roles
  • Determine my next phase (post current career). Give thoughtful consideration to this, and test/practice which of these things I can do while still working
  • Continue to make kind deeds a regular part of my life, and do research on happiness & the relationship between helping others & happiness
  • Consider coaching class

That's it from my side. What about you? What goals are you setting for the year ahead?  

Monday, December 13, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

 Home stretch before the holidays, complete with all of the typical business & additional commitments. Here's what we're having this week:

  • Friday - we had spaghetti & meatballs, using a bolognese sauce that I'd prepped & put in the freezer. Once again, the freezer inventory & organization made life easier!
  • Saturday - hamburgers (made with Beyond Meat) & roasted potatoes
  • Sunday - fesenjan (tried a Persian recipe, which is chicken stew with walnut & pomegranate sauce), served over rice
  • Monday - baked chicken & rice
  • Tuesday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Wednesday - fesenjan & rice
  • Thursday - something from the freezer, or any remaining leftovers
  • Friday - Out to dinner
What about you? What are you making for dinner this week?

Friday, December 10, 2021

Frugal Friday

 We are just cruising towards the end of the year! The weeks are flying by. It was a busy week, with plenty of school soccer, an office visit, a few late work nights, etc. 

Here are our frugal wins for the week:

Saving on things we buy

  • Bought Home Depot gift cards at the grocery store, earning $30 in rewards. 
  • I had some Rite Aid rewards to use up (from Black Friday), so I went in to see if I could find any deals that matched with iBotta or Fetch. Not much there, but I did use a $10 off of a $50 purchase coupon, & picked up a bunch of stuff we were running low on. I also restocked a few makeup items (mascara, for my gym bag & eyeliner, which I wear rarely, but I'm out of). Total was $16.50, after my rewards. I was able to get $6 off from iBotta for the mascara & eyeliner, bringing the total to $10.50 out of pocket. I then earned another $8 back. I didn't notice that I earned a discount on one of my items, so I'm also $2 away from a $5 bonus reward. 
  • Went back for the second round of Rite Aid (to spend the $2 for the $5 reward) & spent $8.26, earned $6 in bonus bucks, & another $1.00 via iBotta. I bought: shaving cream, four boxes of tea, & 2 mini chocolate Santas for the kids. 

Earning money

  • M & I received our comp updates for the year, with our salary increases, annual bonus & stock awards. We also received a one time bonus (not part of our standard comp), which was super awesome & unexpected. 
  • Redeemed Fetch points for a $10 Amazon gift card
  • Cashed out $25.55 of iBotta rewards via Paypal, added it back to the grocery budget
  • Made $90 on Facebook Marketplace, selling outgrown skis & poles
  • eBay....oh my. I'm very frustrated by some of their crazy policies. I'll leave it there for now, but wow. They make it hard to be a seller.  
  • I did sell an ugly holiday sweater on eBay

Avoiding spending

  • I used Rite Aid rewards to cover the out of pocket cost of a prescription. 

Eating what we have

  • Ate restaurant leftovers for lunch 2x, and made the kids leftovers for lunch 2x. Teens are lazy, and if I prep it, they will eat it. ;-) 
  • Had a really busy night, and defrosted a freezer meal (taco cauliflower rice). Shredded cheese, sliced tomatoes & got the guac all ready to go. As soon as my calls were over, I heated up the dinner & we were good to go. Bonus points that it moved a large container out of the freezer. 
  • Nick had a taco quesadilla on another night, using up a bit more of the leftover taco meat. 
  • I had a taco salad for lunch, using up the tiny amount of taco meat & taco rice. 
  • We had leftovers several times for dinner this week

For others

  • Call with mentee
  • Helped a charitable organization get set up through our work system, so I can log volunteer hours (as can others) & have donations matched
  • Volunteered (2x) for a sports tournament for the kids
  • Optimized my time to volunteer as much as possible, as I'm attempting to log plenty of volunteer hours before the end of the year. (My company makes a donation to the charity for each hour I volunteer.) 
How about you? Any frugal wins to share? 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Menu Plan Monday

 We're in the home stretch before the holidays! Here's our menu plan for the week:

  • Friday - wings, spring rolls & gyozas
  • Saturday - we went out for a family dinner & tried a new place. Nick is pretty picky, but this place was a success. I've been wanting to try it with the kids for awhile now, and everything came together for a dinner out. Hurrah!
  • Sunday - Persian kebabs & rice
  • Monday - Dragon noodles & coconut shrimp
  • Tuesday - Persian kebabs & rice
  • Wednesday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Thursday - taco cauliflower rice (freezer)
  • Friday - TBD, but potentially homemade pizza
What about you? What's on your menu this week? 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Saturday Happenings

 We have a full schedule today, as the teens have plenty on their plates. Nick is reffing two soccer games, & both boys have a school soccer tournament. Sam & I are both volunteering at the tournament, ahead of the game.

M & I were planning to have a date night, but that got scrapped, as the boys game schedule shifted around. Instead, we decided to do a family dinner out. It should be a lot of fun, but different than an adult date night. :-) 

Here's what I need to get done today:

  • Get the boys game gear packed (boys)
  • Drop off Nick for his first ref game
  • Pick up Nick from second game (M)
  • Drop Nick off at the tournament (M)
  • Costco
  • Produce stand
  • Work out
  • Laundry
  • Take Sam to the volunteering, volunteer myself
  • Get Sam to finish his permit test
  • Homework check (we're just a few weeks from finals)
  • Menu plan
Being the parent of teenagers means there's always a lot of driving! :-) 

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Frugal Friday

 This week felt particularly long, after Thanksgiving. But, we're in the home stretch before the holidays!

Saving on things we buy

  • Uploaded my receipts to Fetch to earn a $5 promo via Unilever. I noticed I was $4 short, and picked up some soup mixes to have on hand (an easy option when someone isn't feeling well), which generated the $5 reward. 
  • Bought gift cards at the grocery store, earning a $60 store gift card
  • Picked up the Friday Freebie at the store (egg bites), & used $3 of store rewards to pick up tortillas for tacos this week

Earning money

  • Found a penny on the ground at the store, and a dime while walking in the neighborhood

Avoiding spending

  • Used a gift card to buy lunch for the kids at Subway, and also redeemed a $2 Subway reward that was expiring soon.
  • Used a gift card to a climbing gym to take the kids out for a fun activity, while I went to a yoga class at the same gym. I wasn't sure what to expect from the yoga class, but it was quite hard! I'm so happy this gym survived COVID, as the gift cards are from Christmas 2019. It was a great way to spend a no school/work day. 

Eating what we have

  • We ate Thanksgiving leftovers, but that's really no challenge for me, as the sides are my favorites!
  • We picked the last of the pomegranates. We feel blessed that we got so many this year. M may feel less blessed, as he's the official de-seeder of the fruit. ;-) 
  • Used up three bags of shredded zucchini (freezer) for zucchini muffins
  • Made up 6 lbs of taco meat (1.5 lbs for this week's dinners, and the rest for the freezer). Future me will be thankful for the quick meal option

For others

  • Dropped off another bag of toiletries for a donation to the local shelter. There are some amazing prices on in demand items for the homeless, so it feels really great to help out
  • Continued mentoring
  • Donated money to the boys school
  • Volunteered a few times for a sports tournament at the school
What about you? Any wins to report this month? 

Thursday, December 2, 2021

December Goals

 It's the last month of the year, filled with fun, celebrations, a lot of deviation from the standard schedule, & some travel. It's also the last month to accomplish the goals for the year!


  • Research work financial planning benefits
  • Review & revise categories, & 2022 budget
  • Make $100 in side hustle
  • Use up three "hard to use" items
  • Finalize ski trip budget/plans
  • Determine 2022 travel plans & budget
  • Plan one family activity
  • Off the computer (minus reading & working out) by 7:30 each evening
  • Have two dates with M
  • Schedule a call with M's family 


  • Lose 2 lbs
  • Run 20 miles
  • Track calories daily
  • Complete 2,000 minutes of cardio
  • Fast until lunch 15 times
  • Meditate 10 times


  • Max out my volunteer hours at work
  • Practice Spanish 4x
  • Do something social with friends, x2
  • Journal 6x
  • Find 20 items to give away, donate, or toss

That's it from my side. What are you hoping to accomplish in this last month of the year? Let us know so we can cheer you on!


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

November Goals Check In

November flew by, but the month is officially over! Here's how I did with the goals for the month:


  • Lock in accountant for 2021 taxes, & research work financial planning benefits. - We have an accountant, but I still need to research the work benefit. 
  • Review & revise categories for 2022 budget - nope
  • Make $300 in side hustle - I listed one item for the month, so unsurprisingly, didn't make much in side hustle. I closed the month with $67
  • Inventory freezer, use up 3 "hard to use" items - yes to both! I used up 2 bags of grilled tomatoes, pizza rolls, & pureed pumpkin.
  • Budget for Christmas & ski trip. Finish majority of purchases. - I'm pretty much done with Christmas, but we're still finalizing our ski trip plans. 
  • Determine 2022 travel plans & budget - mostly there 


  • Have two dates with M - we went to lunch, & to a winery 
  • Have a family adventure - we ran a 5k together, & then made a feast for Thanksgiving. We also decorated for the holidays. 
  • Fast until lunch 20 days - 13/20 days
  • Lose 2 lbs - I'm coming off of a few days of Thanksgiving indulgence, so I'm up 1/2 a lb. Not good!
  • 1300 minutes of cardio - However, I crushed the cardio, with 2,450 minutes
  • Run 20 miles - I ran just over 11 miles
  • 10 strength workouts - almost, 9/10
  • Meditate 12 times - I meditated 7 times
  • Get at least one massage for back pain - I got two massages, and it's helping my back so much to get back into regular help


  • Find 30 items to donate, give away, or toss - Yes! I gave away a bunch, cleaned out a paper drawer, & then tossed things that no one wanted. It was nice to make some progress, after a few slow months on the decluttering front. 
  • Try two new recipes - I tried a new dessert recipe, & a new muffin recipe. Neither were worth trying again, but were okay. 
  • Write for 30 minutes - I didn't write at all. I'm trying to get my groove back, with reading more & watching less shows. I go through spurts, where I won't watch a show for months, & then I binge for weeks. My library app has been really error prone lately, which has led to frustration & show watching. I'm trying to resolve that, and download a bunch of books when it's working, so I have plenty of content. 
  • Get together with friends 2x - I had dinner & drinks with coworkers (one who is a good friend) & met another friend for a hike

Plenty of room for improvement there, but setting goals monthly helps me stay on track & focus on my priorities. How did you do with your goals for the month?