Saturday, December 31, 2022

2023 Goals

 2023 promises to be an interesting year. I'm planning to leave my job at the end of May (slightly extended due to some comp changes at our company). I'll likely use vacation days to get through the end of June. I'll enjoy the summer, and then think about what the future holds. We also have quite a bit of travel planned in 2023: Dubai with M's family, my sister's 50th birthday trip, and potentially some college tours. 2023 will also be the year that Sam starts applying to colleges, and Nick kicks off the end of high school/college searches. I can already tell that we will be busy!

I'm planning to have some yearly goals, but keep things flexible for monthly goals, particularly as I expect to try things out, and do some experimenting, after I leave work. I want to encourage myself to experiment, and not be overly rigid. We'll see how I do, as, after all, I really do love a plan. :-) 

Here are my draft goals for 2023:


  • Stick to our yearly budget (track monthly)
  • Monthly freezer/pantry challenges
  • Plan & execute "leave work" budget
  • Figure out college funding plans
  • Earn $1500 side hustle
  • Use travel credits/status wisely


  • Plan one fun activity/month with the kids
  • Help the boys with "life" stuff (license, college, SATs, etc)
  • Have two dates with M per month
  • Schedule quarterly calls with M's family, and/or send videos/pics
  • Lose 10 lbs
  • Track calories, eat a balanced diet
  • Close rings 330 days
  • Make the most of my fitness options (work, gym)
  • Stay on top of my health (doctor's appointments, regular check ups, etc)


  • Do something social with friends at least once/month
  • Invest time in my volunteer roles
  • Experiment with fun activities
  • Continue to make kind deeds/"for others" a regular part of my life
  • Enjoy the first few months of not working

What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2023?

Friday, December 30, 2022

Frugal Friday

 We did a very small grocery stop between trips, so there was a lot of eating out of the freezer. I'm always grateful for an opportunity to use what we have. Here's what we've been up to this week.

Saving on things we buy

  • I pre-booked airport parking, way back in November. Pre-booking saves 20-30%, and the lot was sold out for the holidays as it got closer. Parking at the airport is now around $30-40 cheaper than two round trip Uber rides, so parking there pays off. We drive the electric car, so no additional gas costs. 
  • Used a $1 off a bagged salad coupon, to offset the cost a bit. Costco was out of pretty much all veggies when we did a fill in shop, so we picked up a few bagged salads instead. Not our preferred way, but I'm trying to eat more veggies, post holiday!

Earning money

  • I sold a fire table for $30 

Avoiding spending

  • We packed snacks & water, and managed to avoid buying any food/drinks on our return flight home from my parents house. 
  • Nick & I were upgraded to first class on the outbound flight, & got free food & drinks, and premium economy (free drinks) on the way home. Our reservation had been split in two, to take advantage of a companion fare. Nick was the lucky winner who was attached to my reservation, as I had status. We would have traded off between the kids, but M & Sam were in the exit row, and Nick is not quite old enough to sit there yet. 

Eating what we have

  • My mom & I made several leftover meals, out of the holiday food. We had prime rib sliders for a second night (it was so delicious), & I wish I could have brought home my favorite soup that my dad made on Christmas night. Yum! I've tried to replicate his recipe, and can never quite get it. 
  • We were tempted to stop for lunch on the way home from the airport, as three of us hadn't eaten breakfast, and had trail mix and a few Christmas cookies (meal of champions) for the day. We waited until we got home, & I rustled up some chicken sandwiches & M made gyozos, for linner. 
  • Made pumpkin soup out of the pumpkins I got for free after Halloween, and roasted/pureed, & we had that for part of a dinner.
  • Ate chicken alfredo (freezer leftovers) for another meal, as well as chicken fajitas (yet another freezer leftover) for dinner.
  • I ate leftovers for all of my breakfast & lunches, to avoid any waste before we left for our ski trip.  

For others

  • Helped out a coworker, who was on vacation
What about you? Any wins to share for the week?

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Thursday Things

I got up really early & started working this morning, to connect with my manager in Europe. I then went to an early workout class (woohoo for getting it done, right away) & now I'm back, working on my to do list for today.

Here's what I need to accomplish:

  • Complete a bunch of work tasks
  • Pick up Nick from soccer practice (likely Sam)
  • Figure out if the second half of Nick's tennis clinic is happening (first half got rained out)
  • Pack for myself for our ski trip
  • Pack for the teens (aka as supervising what they plan to pack, & ensuring they bring critical items, like underwear)
  • Laundry
  • Finish Costco list for ski trip
  • Pack all non-refrigerated items
  • Figure out a dinner plan. We didn't buy many groceries, so we've been eating out of the freezer this week. I defrosted what looks to be leftover fajitas, so I need to 1) ensure there's enough for at least 3 diners, and 2) make sure we have tortillas.
  • Run to the store
What about you? Are you working this week? Any fun plans through the end of the year? 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Workout Wednesday

Sending good thoughts to those of you who have recent losses in your family. I'm so very sorry, & you are in my thoughts. 

It was not the most productive week of workouts, mostly because the gym I'd planned to go to in Portland (my sister & I had planned to meet up for a couple of classes) was closed for two days due to an ice storm. 

Here's what I managed to get up to.


  • Monday - Orange Theory class
  • Tuesday - Orange Theory class
  • Wednesday - no workout
  • Thursday - Orange Theory class
  • Friday - 1 hour of the elliptical, at the hotel gym
  • Saturday - 1 hour of the elliptical, at the hotel gym
  • Sunday - 4 mile walk with the family
Eating was all over the place, with the holidays. What about you? Have you been able to stick with your workout or health & fitness plans?

Monday, December 26, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 This is the holiday edition! I hope everyone is ready for a lovely holiday season, whatever that means to you.

  • Friday - out, for me & M, as the boys are with my parents
  • Saturday - Christmas Eve. Prime rib, appetizers & cookies. Plus, pomegranate martinis
  • Sunday - Christmas. Soup & salad, plus appetizers. There's no shortage of food!
  • Monday - leftovers from Christmas Eve & Christmas day
  • Tuesday - TBD, as we will be flying back from my parents house
  • Wednesday - chicken curry + rice
  • Thursday - tacos
  • Friday - we will be getting to Tahoe late, so likely pizza & salad
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Friday, December 23, 2022

Frugal Friday

There was a lot of "using it up" this week, as we tried to get everything out of the fridge & make progress with our freezer, ahead of our trip. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Uploaded receipts to Fetch, shopped on double points weekend, and searched for matching iBotta offers for things we needed, but didn't find any. I'd say this is pretty typical for us, for iBotta. 
  • I'd planned to use a coupon off of some sparkling drinks (flavored carbonated water), as a festive holiday treat for the kids. Another brand was actually cheaper on regular sale, so went that direction instead of using the coupon. 

Earning money

  • I finally sold the last piece of my "rearranged furniture" that we didn't need. It took longer than I wanted, but it was a huge piece & awkward/hard for other people to transport & move. I made $150, and I'm glad to get it out of our entryway :-) 
  • Sam was selected for a youth rec soccer coach position, which he will start in January, to fill in the gap before club soccer starts back up. 
  • Got back $25 from a class action lawsuit I was a part of

Avoiding spending

  • Avoided any last minute "extra" purchases, despite being mightily tempted!
  • We are using hotel points for two nights at a hotel, total cost is $4, for various taxes. 

Eating what we have

  • Defrosted soup from the freezer for a couple of lunches, plus another soup to accompany a small piece of salmon for dinner. 
  • Ate kid lunch leftovers, for a few "brunch" meals. Depending on what time I come back from my workout class, I have brunch vs lunch, as I don't like to eat before I work out. In one case, it was a leftover taquito, some chicken, and rice. In another, it was part of a sandwich, & more chicken. Flexibility is important, when reducing food waste!
  • Finished off a package of buns, by planning to have burgers for dinner one night. The buns were originally purchased for a pulled pork recipe. 
  • Made cranberry muffins, using lots of fridge items: the last of Thanksgiving fresh cranberries + homemade sauce, the end of a container of yogurt, orange juice in place of orange zest, and some oat milk I needed to use up. It was nice to clear a few items out of the fridge, and get the muffins into the freezer. No waste!
  • Our meal plan consisted of two previously prepped freezer meals (enchiladas, and enchilada rice). The enchiladas were part of my "use it up in December" freezer challenge - a meal my parents left behind when they were visiting. 
  • I used zucchini & bananas from the freezer to make other muffins. 

For others

  • Gave away stuff on BN, so others could use them as holiday gifts (all new items). And, a bunch of other items we weren't using (not new). 
  • Bought a bunch off of an Amazon wishlist, for a holiday family adoption event a friend is running
  • Donated money & time to the school, for a fundraiser
What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Workout Thursday

 Work has been nuts over the past week, so I'm way behind. I'll keep this short today, but here are my workouts for the last week:

  • Monday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Tuesday -  Orange Theory workout class
  • Wednesday - no workout. Super early meetings with India, and late meetings with APAC
  • Thursday - 30 minute spin class, plus 20 minutes on the elliptical
  • Friday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Saturday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Sunday - Orange Theory workout class

This time of year is typically pretty hard for my workout schedule, so overall, I'm pleased! I still need to reduce snacking, of course. ;-) 

What about you? Are you getting in any workouts?

Monday, December 19, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

I'm looking forward to wrapping up work this week, and enjoying some time off. I'll be on call a few of the days, as well as working a few days when we are back from my parents. But, it will be nice to get a bit of a break. 

Here's what's on our menu: 

  • Friday - We had an appetizer style dinner. I made coconut shrimp, and we had crackers & cheese. Sam, M & I enjoyed that. Nick got home late, and had a chicken sandwich. 
  • Saturday - orange chicken + fried rice
  • Sunday - barbecued burgers
  • Monday - chicken skillet rice (freezer)
  • Tuesday - enchiladas (freezer)
  • Wednesday - leftover burgers
  • Thursday - flying to my parents, & heading straight to the airport after Nick's soccer game. So, something at the airport
  • Friday - M & I are staying two night at a hotel (his Christmas gift), and my parents will have the boys. We will be dining out. 

What about you? What's being served at your house? Are you in full holiday prep?

Sunday, December 18, 2022

It's Sunday

The weekend has been rushing by, and somehow, I haven't been productive enough. That's how I feel at the end of most weekends, however. ;-) 

Nick's team ended up winning first place in the pre-season tournament they've been participating in. The game went to a PK shootout, as they were tied in regular play. It was very exciting! They were all so happy yesterday - it was super fun to see, and worth those early morning field arrival times. 

I went to my workout class, ran errands, helped Nick shop for a secret Santa gift, did laundry, made a shopping list, went to two grocery stores, & made dinner. 

Nick & I both went to bed super early last night, and I got a ton of sleep, so I'm grateful for that. M took Nick to a World Cup viewing party with his soccer team, and they were out of the house by 6:30 this morning. 

I got up early as well (that's what happens when you go to bed early), and have been enjoying a relaxing morning so far. Here's what else we're up to today:

  • Workout class
  • Boys - study for finals & call my parents
  • Laundry
  • Clean the house
  • Start packing list for next week & ski trip
  • Make muffins
  • Meet a friend for a walk
That will pretty much take the day! What about you? What are you up to today? Are you working on finishing up any holiday prep?

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Saturday Happenings

I got up bright & early this morning, to take Nick to a school soccer game. We are really unlucky this season, with three 8 am games. I'm mainlining coffee, until it's time to leave. 

Here's what's on the list today:

  • Move dresser out to the porch before we leave (a buyer is finally picking it up this am). I'm grateful to get it out of our entryway.
  • Start packing list for next week
  • Take Nick to the soccer game
  • Workout class
  • Make a shopping list & menu for next week
  • Stop by the store
  • Pay math tutor
  • Make orange chicken
  • Clean fridge
  • Make muffins (may be overly optimistic)
What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, December 16, 2022

Frugal Friday

It was a wild week, but we made it! We're deep into finals prep, as well as school soccer, and it's an incredibly busy time for me at work. Here are our frugal wins for the week. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $20 grocery store reward to pick up a few things we need. 

Earning money

  • Sold a shirt on eBay

Avoiding spending

  • After a very cold, windy & rainy early morning soccer game on Saturday, I was mighty tempted to stop by the Starbucks we passed on the way home. But, I stayed strong & came home & had a cup of tea. 

Eating what we have

  • Used a package of spinach from the freezer to make spinach dip. Everyone loved it, and it got an item out of the freezer that had been there forever! 
  • Ate a single portion of chicken curry for lunch one day
  • I made two loaves of cardamom bread for Christmas, but one stuck to the pan & broke in half. We've been slowly eating it (without the glaze). It's delicious toasted, with a bit of butter. Waste not, & all that. 
  • I also got out a Taiwanese pancake type of dim sum from the freezer, and made a couple of those to go with another dinner. (It's on my "use it up" freezer list). There were a few in the package, but it made a really filling snack for the boys, and I'll finish it off soon.
  • Also defrosted lasagna my dad made when he was here, as yet another "get it out of the freezer" meal, which had the helpful bonus of feeding us on a late soccer game night. 
  • Made a nice crockpot pulled pork dish on Sunday, but thought it was a bit soggy, so on the second serving, broiled it off a bit (similar to how I make carnitas) & liked it much more. 

For others

  • Attended a call for the college advisory board I'm on
  • Carpooled a bunch of high schoolers to an away soccer game, saving other parents time
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Workout Wednesday

I had some hard workouts the last few weeks, and took it a bit easier on a few days. That was intentional on Thursday, and I ended up missing my workout class on Saturday, so I could take Nick to his soccer game. 

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Tuesday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Wednesday - spin class + 2 mile walk
  • Thursday - 30  minutes on the elliptical
  • Friday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Saturday - 45 minutes on the elliptical
  • Sunday - Orange Theory workout class

Lowlights/Highlights: There are too many fun treats in our house, and too much snacking continues. I'm really working hard to find a few easy ways to change this. 

Focus for the week ahead: reduce/eliminate after dinner snacking

How are you doing with your health & fitness? Are you struggling with snacking at this time of the year?

Monday, December 12, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 It's a very busy work week, with three 8 am meeting days, and several later evenings. Organization & planning will be key this week.

Here's our menu:

  • Friday - it was a bit of a choose your own adventure. Nick had two sandwiches before a game with a friend. Sam had samosas, before he went to meet a friend at their work. Which, incidentally was a bakery, and he came home with a bag of treats they were planning to toss. I had leftover chicken enchilada skillet, and M had salmon & the last of cauliflower crust pizza. 
  • Saturday - M grilled chicken, and I made spinach dip to go with it. Sam found the spinach dip earlier in the day, however, so... there wasn't much left. ;-) 
  • Sunday - pulled pork sandwiches + coleslaw
  • Monday - leftover grilled chicken
  • Tuesday - lasagna (freezer)
  • Wednesday - pulled porch sandwiches
  • Thursday - I think I'm meeting friends, so the boys will likely eat pizza 
  • Friday - TBD. Maybe an appetizer like dinner, with coconut shrimp & gyozos. 
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sunday Happenings

I've already been reasonably productive this morning. I put the ingredients for pulled pork in the crockpot, worked out my schedule for the week (meetings & workout classes), got Sam up for his shift at the food pantry, & went to a fitness class. 

Here's what's left on the to do list:
  • Glaze & freeze holiday bread
  • Review calendar with Sam & sign him up for last few tutoring slots. Pay tutor
  • Vacuum
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Book Nick's second driving lesson
  • Help my sister with the Christmas trip menu
  • Call my parents
  • Make coleslaw
  • Try on some shoes that arrived, and decide if I'm keeping anything
That's it for me. What are you up to today?

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Saturday Happenings

I was up & out of the house early this morning (6:30), to get Nick to a school soccer game. It was incredibly wet & windy. In fact, the wind broke my umbrella, which left me pretty drenched for the rest of the game. It was blowing sideways. I felt like I was on the Oregon coast - definite flashbacks! The boys won handily, with a 7-0 victory, which was the reward for such a miserable morning, I suppose.

Here's what else is on the agenda:

  • Menu plan
  • Shopping list
  • Made cardamom bread for Christmas
  • Make spinach dip
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Vacuum
  • Laundry
  • Clean the kitchen 
  • Take Nick to pick up captain "armbands" for school soccer. He needs a specific color, that is hard to find. I'm a little surprised the school doesn't provide them with the uniforms, but oh well. 
  • Work out. I had to skip my morning workout, to get Nick up & to soccer. Normally I'd walk or run during warmups, but I couldn't be bothered to get out of the car, until the game started. 
What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, December 9, 2022

Frugal Friday

Work has been very busy, so I haven't been up to too much in the frugal world. I am often really tempted to buy this time of the year, so my primary goal is to avoid mindless spending & splurges. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Picked up Home Depot gift cards at the grocery store, earning $20 in store credit. We will use the gift cards in the spring, for gardening & such.

Earning money

  • Listed a bunch of stuff on eBay
  • Helped Sam with a job application

Avoiding spending

  • Picked up free crackers, as part of a Friday Freebie at the store. They were then even better than free, as iBotta had a $.75 offer on them, making them a rare money maker. 
  • Used a Costco cash card (earned from our trip to Hawaii) to buy our groceries for the week, plus two new pillows we needed. 
  • Picked up a couple of shirts on Buy Nothing. It's always a bit hit or miss, but I think one will work well. I'll donate the second one. 

Eating what we have

  • I made an enchilada rice dish that used up enchilada sauce from the freezer, the last of a jar of salsa, the remnants of a bag of shredded cheese, and a few other things. It was turned into an enchilada chicken rice skillet, which was quite good & made several dinners.
  • On a night when I just really didn't feel like cooking, I made a very easy dinner, using up some frozen breaded chicken & pasta. It was easy & everyone got fed. I had mine over salad, in an attempt to use up a bagged salad I bought. It was a BOGO salad, and let's just say that I won't be buying it again. There was a reason it was so inexpensive compared to the other brands!

For others

  • Gave rides to soccer games, & coordinated carpools, to save parents time.
  • Signed up to help with admin work for the food bank
What about you? Any frugal wins to share? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Workout Wednesday

 I had some really hard workouts last week, and I'm definitely feeling it!

Workouts for the week

  • Monday - Orange Theory class
  • Tuesday - Orange Theory class
  • Wednesday - spin class + 2 miles of walking
  • Thursday - 1 hour of elliptical
  • Friday - Orange Theory class
  • Saturday - Orange Theory class
  • Sunday - Orange Theory class

Lowlights/highlights - I've continued to snack more than I'd like. This time of year is always more of a struggle for me, as there are just more snacks, treats, cocktails, social events, etc. 

Focus for the week ahead - I start off tracking my calories during the day, but often forget by the end of the evening. Which happens to be when snacking tends to occur. My goal is to track all of my eating throughout the week. Not just the early parts of the day! ;-) 

What about you? How are you doing with your health & fitness? 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 It's another very busy week, with lots of activities. It's a little quieter on the work front, which I'm grateful for. 

Here's what we're planning for the week:

  • Friday - M & I went to dinner, & we left the boys money for takeout
  • Saturday - spaghetti & meatballs + garlic bread
  • Sunday - tacos
  • Monday - one pan chicken Mexican rice
  • Tuesday - leftover spaghetti & meatballs
  • Wednesday - leftover tacos
  • Thursday - leftover Mexican rice
  • Friday - TBD
What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Sunday Things

It was a very, very rainy day yesterday. We certainly need the rain, but I prefer not to be out in the downpour for hours, watching soccer. ;-) On the positive side, Nick's team shut out their opponents in an 8-0 win, with Nick scoring one. He's a defender, so this is unusual. He scored off a free kick, with a header, which has been his goal for the season. Who doesn't want a header goal, World Cup style? ;-) 

M treated me to a pomegranate martini when I got home, which was very appreciated. I fell asleep on the sofa, which is unusual for me, and slept for over ten hours last night! Apparently, I really needed the sleep.

As for today, I have a long list of to dos, but I think I'll push my holiday bread making to next weekend.

  • Schedule for the week
  • Workout schedule for the week
  • Make a list of all remaining Christmas items to pick up, order, cards to write, etc
  • Defrost dinner items for tomorrow
  • Make tacos
  • Laundry
  • Pick up a few Buy Nothing items
  • List more items for Buy Nothing
  • Finish my wreath
  • Workout class
  • Investigate savings/retirement accounts for boys, with their 2022 earned income
  • Call my parents
  • Make crostini
  • Calculus tutor at 4:00 (thankfully, not for me)
What about you? What are you up to today? I hope everyone has a lovely day!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Saturday Happenings

 M & I had a lovely dinner out last night, but our shopping trip was largely a fail, as the shops closed at 7. We were very surprised by the early close, particularly this close to the holidays. We did find a couple of items, but I was primarily looking for a pair of shoes. I prefer always to shop online, but it's hard to find shoes, when you don't quite know what you're looking for. I suppose I'll need to order a variety & then just return what doesn't work.

Here's what we're up to today:

  • Take Nick to/from a reffing game
  • Workout class this morning
  • Take Nick & a friend to the school soccer game. That will be a big chunk of time, as they have to be there an hour early for warmups. 
  • Make a shopping list
  • Costco
  • Grocery store
  • Arrange calculus tutor for the boys
  • M is making spaghetti & meatballs for dinner
What are you planning today?

December Goals

 It's the last year of the month, and the last opportunity to close out the goals for the year! 


  • Stick to our budget, including for Christmas
  • Make $250, so I can complete our 2022 side hustle goal
  • Continue post work plan & budget
  • Go through ebay inventory
  • Give away 10 things on Buy Nothing
  • Use up 5 random freezer items
  • One activity with the kids
  • Help Nick learn to drive
  • Two dates with M
  • Connect with M's family
  • Continue with 2023 travel planning & finalize ski week plans
  • Post weekly fitness summaries
  • Match November's calories burned
  • Close rings 28 days
  • Take advantage of workout classes
  • Meditate 5x
  • Lose 2 lbs
  • Do something social with friends
  • Continue to volunteer
  • More thinking on "post career" plans

That's it for me! What are you hoping to accomplish this month?

Friday, December 2, 2022

Frugal Friday

The weeks are whizzing by, as we enter the home stretch to the end of the year. It felt like a solid frugal week, but maybe that's because I had to purchase a few things. Any time you're purchasing something, there's more of an opportunity to find it for less, or save a bit here & there. I also did so, so much better than previous years, on only buying things on the list! I avoided many impulse purchases, which I've struggled with in previous years. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Bought a Starbucks card I needed on Black Friday, and earned a $5 bonus gift card
  • I bought new running shoes a week or so ago, and noticed that Rakuten hadn't applied the cash back. I filled out a quick form, and earned $4.40 back. Sidenote: running shoes are expensive. I'm on a schedule of buying two pair/year, around the holidays & trying to make them last for at least 6 months. It's a bit hit or miss, whether they last that long.
  • Uploaded a receipt I found in the car (maybe Nick's, or a friend, when they went to the movies) to Fetch, & saved a couple of bucks. 
  • Bought two pair of Nick's tennis shoes, at a large BF discount. He is so hard on the shoes, and plays a lot of tennis, so I'm hoping these will last through the summer.
  • Saved $540 by calling & asking for a price adjustment to our Christmas flights. They were on sale for Cyber Monday, and I was able to get the money added as a credit to our travel account. 

Earning money

  • Listed a few new items on eBay
  • Finally earned enough points on Fetch to cash out a $5 reward. 
  • Made $150 selling furniture we weren't using. I'd kept it for a few months, to make sure we wouldn't change our minds, and then listed it for sale. It sold very quickly, and I had MANY interested folks, so lesson learned for next time - I didn't have it priced quite right. ;-) 

Avoiding spending

  • I picked up a large bag of apples from a neighbor. I'm pretty impressed they are growing apples in our area - we're more of a citrus fruit climate. 
  • Picked up a bag of cranberries from another neighbor. I put it in the freezer for future cranberry muffins. 
  • Used expiring Starbucks points to buy myself a latte, after a very early workout. 

Eating what we have

  • I made a large crockpot of soup on Wednesday, knowing we'd be home late due to Nick's game. We had it for dinner one night, and I had three lunches, & then I froze the rest. 
  • Made Philly cheesesteaks, out of things we had in the fridge/freezer, leftover from last time we made them. We're slowly but surely making freezer progress. 
  • Made a squash soup out of a few different squash varieties we grew, roasted & then froze a few months ago. I added fresh herbs from the garden, and also some celery I had that needed to be used up. It turned out delicious. Froze a small portion for a future lunch. 
  • I also used the last of some bread purchased on Wednesday to make a second batch of goat cheese crostini, which the boys adore. We had that as an appetizer, while decorating the tree. And, when I say "we", I mean, I had one piece, M had zero, & the boys ate the rest. ;-) 
  • Ate the rest of a taco bake over mashed potatoes, for a lunch & a single serving dinner. 
  • Made another loaf of foccacia bread, out of yeast that is not very active. Because the foccacia rises for so long, it still works reasonably well. The boys love it, so it's a win.
  • We used/froze all of the dinner leftovers by Wednesday, which is an accomplishment. We cook on weekends, and then after we're out of prepped meals, we dig into the freezer. 

For others

  • Gave stuff away on Buy Nothing
  • Began what I assume to be the last of a mentoring project at work
What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, December 1, 2022

November goals recap

 I enjoyed November a lot. It came on the heels of a fabulous anniversary vacation with M, but I also like our small Thanksgiving, the cooler weather & the feel of fall. 

Here's how we did with our goals!


  • Stick to our budget - we blew our budget out of the water by booking flights to Dubai, and planning a bunch of 2023 travel. But, we will adjust the rest of our travel accordingly to prioritize as much as possible. 
  • Progress towards side hustle goals - I did well with my side hustle goals, & earned $304, through a combination of efforts.  
  • Continue post work plan & budget - a little progress was made.
  • Go through eBay inventory - Nope
  • Give away 10 things on Buy Nothing - I think I gave away 20 items. 
  • One activity with the kids - we went mini golfing
  • Help Nick learn to drive - the practice driving continues
  • Two dates with M - I don't think we had any dates this month, but we are going to dinner on Friday, and shopping for the last couple of Christmas gifts
  • Connect with M's family - we sent pictures & videos
  • Continue 2023 travel planning - we've made good progress, but a few things are dependent upon the boys schedules (camps, jobs, etc) that aren't finalized yet.
  • Finalize holiday travel plans. - done!


  • Post weekly fitness summaries - done!
  • Match September's calories burned - I increased it by a lot, & ended with 21,658
  • Close rings 28 days - done!
  • Take advantage of workout classes - yes, still taking classes regularly
  • Meditate 5x - still no progress!
  • Lose 2 lbs - I didn't lose (or gain) anything this month. 
  • Do something social with friends -  met a friend for a hike
  • Continue to volunteer - volunteered at a food pantry
  • More thinking on "post career" plans - continued small steps here

What about you? How did you do with your November goals? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Workout Wednesday

 I had five hard workouts & one good run this week, besting my 5k time from last year, so I'll take it!

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - 45 minute elliptical workout
  • Tuesday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Wednesday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Thursday - 5k run with the family
  • Friday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Saturday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Sunday - Orange Theory workout class

Eating: Generally, there was a lot of eating & way more dessert than usual, thanks to the holiday & long weekend.

Highlights/Lowlights: I'm still snacking too much, and am trying hard to get things back under control post Thanksgiving. 

Focus for the week ahead: my goal is to brush my teeth after dinner, to hopefully avoid evening munchies. 

What about you? How are you doing with your health & fitness?

Monday, November 28, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

We're working our way through some leftovers, and trying to ensure there's no food waste. I'm keeping the plan a bit loose this week, to ensure we don't have to toss any food. 

  • Friday - various Thanksgiving leftovers
  • Saturday - In & Out (not the plan, but we were running late from another activity)
  • Sunday - Philly cheesesteaks
  • Monday - chicken curry & rice
  • Tuesday - grilled chicken + any leftovers, or over salads
  • Wednesday -spaghetti & meatballs, or something easy, as I think Nick has a school game
  • Thursday - leftovers?
  • Friday - wings + spring rolls
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Saturday Happenings

It's been a lovely long weekend so far (we've all been off work/school since Thursday), with plenty of relaxing. Nick went to a tennis clinic yesterday, & had a great time. 

I did some cooking, & made butternut squash soup, from squash we froze from the garden. It was delicious & I will definitely make it again. It was roughly based on a recipe, but I tweaked it quite a bit to get the flavor I was looking for. Yum!

I also made cranberry muffins, to use up some of the leftover cranberries. They are M's favorites, so he was thrilled to see those get added to the freezer.

As for today, here's what we're up to:

  • Workout class in the morning
  • Clean & wipe down the fridge
  • Pick up books from a BN person
  • Meet up with M's cousin's family for a mini golf outing
  • Laundry
  • Work on plans for the week ahead (calendar, workout classes, etc)
  • Pay bills
What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, November 25, 2022

Frugal Friday

It was a busy week, but we had some wins along the way. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $1 expiring Rite Aid reward, to buy the boys deodorant. They need... a lot of it!
  • Used a coupon code & a reward to pick up a few Christmas gifts for the boys. The gifts are actually from my parents, but saving money is a win for everyone. 

Earning money

  • Sold the last of M's jackets on eBay. As expected, it sold within a week of listing it. I only wish everything I listed sold as well. 
  • Cashed out $20.75 via iBotta. We rarely buy anything that matches up with offers, so it's nice to get a bit out, even though it takes time.
  • Sold a bunch of travel gift cards. Raise has been a hassle lately, but it's nice to have them gone, and the money back into the travel budget. This airline dropped a lot of routes during COVID, so the gift cards were near impossible for us to use. 
  • Received a rebate from our mortgage company. They were auditing some paperwork, and realized they overcharged us for our appraisal. We bought the house in 2017, so I have no idea why this just popped. Anyway, received a check for just under $500. Unexpected money is always a fun surprise. 

Avoiding spending

  • I've been trying hard to avoid random purchases. I'm doing pretty well. I did take the boys grocery shopping, and that played out as expected. ;-) 
  • I didn't have any canned tomatoes (the recipe called for one with diced chiles), so I diced a few large tomatoes from the garden & added a jalapeno from the yard. It was a nice freebie replacement, although the tomatoes are really at the end of the season. 

Eating what we have

  • Our meals have been the opposite of glamorous this week, but we've all been fed, and we've gotten a lot out of the freezer.
  • Used all of the naan bread, in various dinners.
  • Ate random leftovers for lunch, numerous times this week. I'm usually pretty hungry after a workout, so it's all good & as long as there is protein and some sort of produce with it, it all works out.  
  • We managed to clean out the fridge by Friday night, which is rare! 
  • Defrosted a small container of soup for an on the go lunch.
  • Finished off the last of two packages of tortillas (one regular, one Keto friendly). We use shells regularly, but one of these was tucked in the back of the fridge & isn't a brand we buy. I think my parents bought them when they were here. I'm glad we discovered them before they went bad. 
  • Finished off the last of a bag of pizza rolls, for a weekend teen boy lunch. 
  • While doing a bit of freezer organization, discovered a few of the "eggwich" breakfast sandwiches in the freezer, and set one out for an easy breakfast.
  • Defrosted an accidental package of chicken (it was attached to two packages I'd planned to defrost) & turned it into soup. The soup had the bonus points of using up the last of carrots, celery lingering in the fridge, potatoes we need to use, & two containers of chicken broth from the freezer. Wins!

For others:

  • I worked a four hour shift at a food pantry, and then matched my time with work (earning them an in kind cash match).
  • I also helped the food bank supervisor set up a cell phone for the volunteers
  • Gave away lots of pomegranate & herbs to friends & neighbors
  • Gave away a gift card to the local soccer store. I've had it in my purse for at least two years, and just never go there. I think it has around $20, and a neighbor on BN is buying a Christmas gift from the same shop. Out of my wallet, into the hands of a neighbor who will use it. Win/win. 
  • Purchased an Amazon wish list via a friend, to help out a neighborhood family who is struggling right now. The wish list was a mix of basics (deodorant, toothpaste, soap, etc) & some clothing items. 
  • Donated to the high school soccer team for Nick, and submitted a request for a match, thus doubling my donation.
  • Gave away a bunch of other items (including in demand ski pants) on BN. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving

 Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US! I hope it's a lovely & relaxing day, filled with family & fun. 

We rallied the troops out of bed this morning, for our traditional turkey trot. It's at a local high school, and all of the money benefits the school. 

Nick blew us all away, with a very fast finish. Sam was right behind him, M a little further back, & while I was last in my group, I finished faster than last year. The workout class I go to does at least some running at the start of each class, which I could tell helped. I'm happy with faster than last year. ;-) 

The boys are now heading to the gym. I'm going to get started on the cake. 

Have a fabulous day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Workout Wednesday

I had a consistent set of workouts this week, and am still really enjoying Orange Theory. I was happy I found time to go, even during a really busy work week. 

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Tuesday - 90 minutes of elliptical
  • Wednesday - 45 minute spin class + 1.5 mile walk on the treadmill
  • Thursday - 90 minutes of elliptical
  • Friday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Saturday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Sunday - Orange Theory workout class
Eating: I did pretty well with eating last week, but definitely still snacked during intense days.

Highlights/Lowlights: Great workouts were the highlights, snacking was the lowlight. 

Focus for the week ahead: track my calories, which I didn't do last week

How about you? How did you do with your health & fitness?

Monday, November 21, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 I'm hoping this week will be much less stressful than last week. A girl can dream, right? I have Thursday & Friday off of work, which I'm really looking forward to. 

  • Friday - wings & gyozos
  • Saturday - sesame chicken + rice (really liked this recipe, and it will go into the rotation).
  • Sunday - taco skillet (made into burritos for the teen). Eh, thought it needed more seasoning, & it was just "okay". Will likely not make again.  
  • Monday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Tuesday - sesame chicken
  • Wednesday - butternut squash soup & either baguette or homemade foccacia
  • Thursday - Thanksgiving! We'll be having:
    • Pomegranate martinis/cider + goat cheese crostini (happy hour)
    • Steak
    • Mashed potatoes
    • Roasted acorn squash
    • Green beans
    • Chocolate cake/pumpkin pie. Nick & I are not pumpkin pie fans, and he's voted for the cake. M & Sam will have the traditional pie, with ice cream. 
  • Friday - Thanksgiving leftovers (minus the steak) + chicken for protein
What about you? What are you having this week?

Sunday, November 20, 2022

All of the pomegranates

 M planted a pomegranate tree when we moved in, and it's an amazing producer, now that we're on year 4+. Unfortunately, we got a lot of rain this year (well, it was super fortunate for the drought, but pomegranates do not like big swings in moisture), and many of them started to crack. 

I've picked about 4 Home Depot sized buckets of pomegranates this week. One bucket needed to be tossed, as they were split far enough that they couldn't be used. Others had just minor cracks, and the seeds inside were still protected. 

We've given lots away to friends & neighbors, and M has been busy deseeding them each evening. We all love the arils, so they've been a big hit. The tree runs off of a drip irrigation system, so it's very inexpensive & a very high ROI plant.

We'll see how far M gets into this pile tonight. We have pomegranate martinis every year on Thanksgiving, so the timing is perfect!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Saturday Happenings

This is the first Saturday in a long time without a soccer game! Sam's club season ended last weekend, and Nick injured himself at high school practice, so he'll need to miss the last two games this weekend. 

What will I do with all of this free time?! I'm giddy with the idea of nothing going on. 

Here's what's on the plan for today:

  • Defrost meat for meals
  • Make banana muffins
  • Make a Thanksgiving shopping list
  • Stop by Rite Aid & the produce stand
  • Pick up a few items at the grocery store
  • Go to an early workout class
  • Laundry
  • Sweep the garage. We could build a turf field with all of the turf in our garage. Both the club fields & school fields are made of turf, and those tiny pellets get everywhere. 
  • Clean the fridge
  • Organize & inventory the freezer
That's it from my end. What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, November 18, 2022

Frugal Friday

 We've been working on eating things out of the freezer, as ours became overly full very quickly! Progress is being made. We also had a bunch of late nights with work this week, & easy meals were a requirement. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I picked up a few items I needed for a holiday bread I make, and earned an iBotta reward for the yeast. Planned the purchase around the 3x points offer that the grocery store had going, and while I was there, picked up the Friday Freebie. 

Earning money

  • Found $.15 on the ground, at various kids sporting events. ;-) 
  • Earned a bit back from Rakuten, for online purchases over the quarter. It wasn't much, but will go towards offsetting a holiday purchase. 

Avoiding spending

  • It's hard to find the right items to fit the boys, at this current phase. I picked up some winter wear, and not everything fit. I returned it right away, although, I just discovered they charge a shipping return fee. Moving forward, I'll suck it up & go to *shivers*, the mall to return the items. 

Eating what we have

  • I made M a cauliflower crust pizza (base purchased at Trader Joes), & used a bunch of fridge/freezer remnants to make the pizza (marinara sauce, cheese leftover from Philly cheese steaks, pepperoni from the freezer). He reports that the pizza was fantastic.
  • Remembered that we still had a bit of fancy cheese leftover from my parents visit, so got that out for a Friday night "happy hour", and served it with the last of a package of crackers.
  • M took all of the arils out of the pomegranate I picked. I need to bring more in. 
  • I finished off the last of the chicken pesto pasta for lunch
  • Made Saturday's dinner out of items on hand (burger patties + buns in the freezer)
  • Remembered to defrost naan bread, for our chicken shawarma dinner. 
  • Used a few freezer items for dinner one night: Trader Joes orange chicken, fried rice & edamame. It cleared out quite a bit of freezer space.

For others

  • Showed Sam how to sign up for a volunteer opportunity at a food bank. Teaching the teens life skills often takes some work, the first go 'round. :)
  • I am also volunteering at a food bank for four hours this week.
  • Offered to take a box of corporate swag that was going to the garbage. Parsed it out, and found a charity excited to take mens dress socks, hats & all of the new tshirts. Gave away the wipe board & pen packs on Buy Nothing. Recycled the giant boxes. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Workout Wednesday

 It was a really busy & intense work week, but I still managed some good workouts in there. 

Workouts for the week

  • Monday - Orange Theory
  • Tuesday - 70 minutes of elliptical
  • Wednesday - spinning + 2 miles of walking
  • Thursday - 5.5 mile hike with a friend
  • Friday - Orange Theory
  • Saturday - Orange Theory
  • Sunday - Orange Theory

Eating: I'm still wasting about 10% or so of my calories on unnecessary/unhealthy snacks. This needs to be improved.

Highlights/lowlights: I really struggle to avoid treats when I'm stressed at work.

Focus for the week ahead: Better eating, less snacking, continue to calorie track.

What about you? How did you do with your health this week? 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 Work is approaching peak crazy right now, and our freezers are overflowing. I need easy meals, that reduce our freezer inventory. 

Here's what we're planning for the week:

  • Friday - Pizza x2 (cauliflower crust + regular). The regular pizza is in the freezer, and I have a cauliflower crust in the fridge & need to use it up.
  • Saturday - Grilled burgers. (Beef + buns in the freezer)
  • Sunday - egg roll in a bowl with quinoa (ground beef from the freezer)
  • Monday - orange chicken + rice (both from the freezer, as I have a late meeting)
  • Tuesday - burgers & brussel sprouts (freezer)
  • Wednesday - egg roll in a bowl
  • Thursday - chicken curry (freezer)
  • Friday - TBD
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Saturday Happenings

I really need the weekend, to decompress from work & try to take a mental break from all of the drama. Next week is also going to be a very intense week, and I'm doing my best not to borrow trouble & worry about next week over the weekend. I'm doing just an "okay" job at that, at the moment. 

Our freezers are both packed, so I need to also make sure we're making good progress cleaning them out, and menu plan accordingly. 

Here's what's on the agenda for today:

  • I was able to switch to an early workout class, because our morning schedule changed a bit
  • Sam's soccer game
  • Nick's tennis tournament
  • M is grilling burgers
  • Costco
  • Trader Joes
  • See if we can fix Nick's $$$ cleats, so we can wear them tomorrow for his game
  • Ensure lazy teens clean their rooms
  • Laundry
  • Sort out the boys phone plans
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, November 11, 2022

Frugal Friday

Well, our trip to Dubai to visit M's family is a go (and, exceptionally pricey for four people, to boot), but we did what we could to offset some of the cost. As Anne said last week, sometimes frugality is less about every dollar spent, and more about ensuring your money is being prioritized in the way that you value. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I used United upgrade points to try & upgrade me + M to business class. I do not enjoy an international flight in economy, so fingers crossed. Additionally, signed the boys up for United frequent flier numbers, so they can also accrue miles on the flight. I haven't yet, even though we've flown them a few times. The international flight is definitely worth the miles, though. 
  • I used Hyatt points to cover one hotel room. We need to book a few for family members, and I found a discount code that worked for the place we're staying. Luckily, the hotel is pretty reasonable. 
  • Used $650 of United travel credits that Sam, Nick & I had to offset part of the ticket costs. 
  • Nick needed new pants (it's cool here, and he's grown a lot since last year), so I used a gift card to cut the costs down. 
  • I also used a combination of gift cards & rewards to pick up a few Christmas gifts. 
  • Picked up two containers of oat milk, with an iBotta reward, saving $4.

Earning money

  • I've continued to work, which on weeks like this... is a mental game with myself to continue! 
  • Sold an old fitness tracker on eBay. 
  • Listed the last of my husband's outgrown clothes on eBay. 

Avoiding spending

  • Our grocery store was giving away pumpkins, after Halloween. I picked up two large pumpkins to roast & turned 1/4 of it into muffins. I pureed & froze the rest. 
  • For M's Christmas gift, I booked two nights in a hotel, using points exclusively. 

Eating what we have

  • Inadvertently fasted after a workout, and was starving for lunch & rummaged through the fridge. Remembered the last piece of leftover lasagna, so had that for brunch. 
  • After we attended an anniversary party, the host sent me home with leftovers from the venue. I took a small box and that became lunch one day. The leftover samosas were particularly delicious. 
  • Had leftover taco meat on a salad for lunch one day. Even remembered to use the last of the shredded cheese.
  • Made pesto for a recipe, and used a ton of garden basil, shredded parmesan left over from a bagged salad, and 1/2 a lime I found in the fridge. I didn't have pine nuts, so subbed walnuts that I found in the pantry. It was super close to "free", minus the olive oil. 
  • Picked up a rotisserie chicken at Costco (still so inexpensive), & used some for a recipe, and froze the rest of the chicken. Also made chicken broth out of the bones, which I used for the recipe with pesto, above. 
For others

  • On our local Buy Nothing group, someone was looking for an old phone for a food bank. I was able to find one of ours, and I signed up to volunteer at the food bank. I'm interested in dabbling in some volunteer options, until I find some that are a great fit when I leave my job. 
  • Gave away the boys outgrown pants. There is always a lot of demand for teen boy clothes, as they can't wear them often. I've been the recipient of some really nice things, so I also like to pay it forward. 
That's it from our side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Workout Wednesday

 It was a pretty good week, slowly integrating back into my workouts & healthier eating, post vacation.

Workouts for the week

  • Monday - Orange Theory class
  • Tuesday - 90 minute elliptical workout
  • Wednesday - 80 minute elliptical workout
  • Thursday - 4 mile run
  • Friday - Orange Theory class
  • Saturday - Orange Theory class
  • Sunday - Orange Theory class

Eating - there were several social events (date night, friend's anniversary party, work dinner out), but all in all, it was a good week. 

Highlights/lowlights - 4 hard workout classes in a week, plus my first run in a while. I do still need to be on top of snacks, and work on dropping the few pounds I gained on vacation. 

Focus for the week ahead - tracking my calories.

What about you? How are you doing with your health & fitness?

Monday, November 7, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 The weeks are whizzing by, and the weather has definitely taken a turn to feel fall like around here! We are also in a slightly different season, with boys activities, etc. The one standard is that we're always busy. Here's what's on the menu for the week.

  • Friday - We were at an anniversary party, and the boys ate at the football game
  • Saturday - M made rice & chicken
  • Sunday - M, on a cooking roll, made Philly cheese steaks
  • Monday - I'm trying a new recipe for one pot creamy pesto chicken
  • Tuesday - rice & chicken, take 2
  • Wednesday - cheese steaks, take 2
  • Thursday - pesto chicken, take 2
  • Friday - tbd. If Nick is eating with us, maybe pizza. If not, potentially wings & gyozas
What about you? What's on your menu for the week? Are you adjusting your menu for the change of seasons? Any fun fall recipes to share?

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Saturday Happenings

We are all up early this morning, as Sam has the SATs at a local school. I suppose that means I should be extra productive today, with the bonus time. 

Here's what's on the agenda today:

  • Take Nick for a haircut. The trend is for quite long on top hair. His is well beyond that, and very much in his face. He's finally agreed to get a trim.
  • Sam asked for a ride to the SATs, as it's raining & he's pretty sleepy. I'll pick him up after.
  • Go to a workout class
  • Ride along with Nick (he has his learner's permit) to tennis volunteering.
  • Make a menu & a shopping list
  • Costco, the produce stand & Trader Joes
  • I picked up two free pumpkins at the grocery store last night. They need to be roasted, pureed & frozen for future use.
  • I'd like to get a few things listed on eBay & Buy Nothing.
  • Clean out the fridge.
  • Laundry.
  • Depending on the weather, I may clean up some of the garden beds.
What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, November 4, 2022

Frugal Friday

 It's a two week edition, as I missed last week. It most certainly wasn't a frugal week, but I'll share the things we did to save a bit here & there. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Christmas flights are incredibly expensive this year, but I used a few options to save money. I split the reservation into two, and used a companion fare (credit card perk) to save $400 off of one flight. I also used the last of my Alaska flight credit for those two tickets, reducing my out of pocket spending. I was hoping to buy more Alaska gift cards on Costco (they are 10% off, and I get a credit card rebate), but they are no longer selling them.
  • Used an Uber reward to save $5 on our trip back from the airport. Our departure flight was very early, and our return flight was very late, so we opted for Uber, vs having one of the boys or my parents drive us. 
  • Picked up lunch stuff for the four of us (my parents, myself & Sam), so we could avoid eating out. 
  • Used a $2 Panera reward, to take Sam to brunch. There was a glitch with our order, so we also ended up getting free drinks, which was a nice bonus. 

Earning money
  • Sold another of M's outgrown jackets on eBay. They are all the same (slightly different sizes/colors) & I've been blown away at how consistently they sell, and at a pretty high price. I'll get the last one listed this week. 
  • Sold a gift card on Raise.

Avoiding spending
  • I took M & Nick to the airport for their soccer adventure, and picked them up, avoiding the cost of another Uber.
  • Used the last of a Target gift card + rewards to pick up a few things on vacation

Eating what we have
  • Ate random leftovers throughout the week, including orange chicken for breakfast one day, & an orzo salad (Trader Joes lunch leftover) for another breakfast. If I'm really hungry after a workout, almost anything works. 
  • I also had chicken curry on toast for breakfast one day, making the most of random fridge items my parents left behind.
  • Used up the dregs of a jar of marinara (I think my parents used some of it for lasagna), to make spaghetti & meatballs.
  • Made garlic bread out of leftover sandwich rolls for Sam (M & I don't need any) to go with the spaghetti & meatballs. 
  • My parents prepped a few meals when they were here, and left them in the freezer for us. I used the lasagna for a quick dinner on Tuesday. 

For others

  • Kicked off another short term mentoring relationship at work. I participate in several programs that help senior folks from under represented backgrounds during their first few months at work, when they are building their networks & just trying to figure out how to ramp up. 
  • I've been trying to slow down yet another work mentorship program, as I'm pretty swamped at the moment, but they needed a senior female, and there were none available. So, one more before I wrap up at work. ;-) 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, November 3, 2022

November Goals

 The year is really starting to rock & roll now, as we enter the home stretch! 

Here are my goals for November:


  • Stick to our budget
  • Progress towards side hustle goals
  • Continue work on plan & budget for 2023
  • Go through eBay inventory
  • Give away 10 items on Buy Nothing
  • One activity with the kids
  • Help Nick learn to drive
  • Two dates with M
  • Connect with M's family
  • Continue 2023 travel planning
  • Finalize holiday travel plans, finish ski lodging


  • Post weekly fitness summaries
  • Match September's calories burned
  • Close rings 28 days
  • Take advantage of workout classes
  • Meditate 5x
  • Lose 2 lbs
  • Do something social with friends
  • Continue volunteer roles
  • More thinking on "post career"goals

That's it for me. What do you have planned for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Two weeks of workout Wednesday

Combining a couple of weeks here, as I missed one when I was traveling:

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Tuesday - 1.5 mile walk, spin class
  • Wednesday - 1.5 mile run, spin class
  • Thursday - 90 minute elliptical + 1 mile walk
  • Friday - airport day, so 1 hour of elliptical at 4 am. It was a true joy ;-) 
  • Saturday - two yoga classes, plus walks on the beach
  • Sunday - 1 hour of elliptical + canoeing
  • Monday - 1 hour of elliptical + outdoor HIIT class
  • Tuesday - 1 hour of elliptical + outdoor HIIT class
  • Wednesday - 1 hour of elliptical + water aerobics
  • Thursday - SUP yoga (so crazy hard & fun) + some walking on the beach, before we flew home
  • Friday - 45 minutes of elliptical
  • Saturday - Orange Theory
  • Sunday - Nothing! For the first time in forever.
Eating: great up until the vacation, and then plenty of splurges. 

Lowlights: can't think of anything. I enjoyed the rest day on Sunday. 

Highlights: working out, even while on vacation. I really enjoy it. Not shown here is all of the reading I did, leisurely strolls on the beach, and pina coladas consumed by the pool. :-) 

Focus for the week ahead: I always struggle to bring my calories back under control when I'm back from vacation, so I'll be working on that this week. 

What about you? How did you do with your health?

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

October Goals Recap

 The month flew by (as always, really), so let's see how I did with my goals.


  • Stick to our budget. - it was an expensive month. We booked holiday flights (so, so $$$), added Sam to our car insurance, and went on vacation.
  • Progress towards side hustle goals. - I actually used up a few gift cards (Target, Panera, Uber) & made some money selling things on eBay. 
  • Continue work on plan & budget for when I leave work - we are considering a different budget approach, and working through that.
  • Go through eBay inventory. - I listed a few additional things, & sold them. I need to finish going through the rest of my inventory.
  • Stick to our budget while on vacation - yes! We came in just a bit under budget
  • One activity with the kids - M took Nick to Las Vegas, and they had a lot of fun together. Sam & I went to brunch, and out to dinner a different night. 
  • Help Nick with learning to drive - yes!
  • Help Sam with practice & take him for the driving test - Yes, and he passed!
  • Two dates with M - yes, an entire lovely vacation
  • Connect with M's family - we've been texting. 
  • Continue 2023 travel planning - still in the works
  • Post weekly fitness summaries - yes, minus the week I was traveling
  • Match September's calories burned - I was about 400 calories short, out of a total of 18,400. I blame two days with 6 hour flights. 
  • Close rings 25 days - 29 times! In fact, I got up at 4 am the day we left to get in a workout. 
  • Take advantage of workout classes - yes, lots of workout classes at the office, at the gym & at the hotel we stayed at
  • Meditate 5 x - still didn't manage to make that happen
  • Lose 2 lbs - I lost these pounds before our trip, but will need to work to get them gone again. 
  • Do something social with friends - I had an impromptu trip to Portland, where I saw my sister & BFF & ran a race with them. 
  • Continue volunteer roles - yep!
  • More thinking on "post career work" life/goals - not much happened here, but I'm ticking away the days. 
What about you? How did you do with your goals for the month? Any wins to share?

Monday, October 31, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 It's catch up time, as we get back to real life around here. :-) 

  • Friday - I made Trader Joes orange chicken & fried rice. Very easy effort.
  • Saturday - dinner out with my parents, as a thank you for staying with the kids last week. 
  • Sunday - chicken dumplings
  • Monday - tacos
  • Tuesday - chicken & rice
  • Wednesday - I have a work dinner, so M & the boys will have leftovers
  • Thursday - the boys have soccer tryouts at school, so likely leftovers again
  • Friday - TBD
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Vacation daydreaming, & Sunday things

 I dropped my parents off at the airport this morning, and then took Sam for brunch. He is a lovely companion, and chatted with me about all manner of things. I love this age. Nick & M are in Las Vegas for a soccer tournament, so I'll be back to the airport this evening, to pick them up. Nick has been absolutely spoiled by M, who used a bunch of his comps to arrange fun meals for the two of them. They've been living it up. So happy they are having a great time.

Tomorrow is back to reality, and I'm having a hard time being motivated today. I have no energy, so I'm just sort of rolling with it. Tomorrow will come soon enough, regardless! I did wash the sheets, do a bunch of laundry & I have chicken & dumplings going in the crock pot. Yum.

I'm also dreaming of Hawaii... the hotel had these amazing covered pool chairs, which I appreciated every day. I don't like being directly in the sun, so these were perfect. M & I had the long conversations, talked about the future, and just laughed & enjoyed each other. Those moments are so rare during our normal lives, that they were really special.

Everyone has wild weeks next week. M has a friend in town, my manager is in town (which means lots of evenings & team dinners), the boys have club practice & school tryouts, & then Sam takes the SATs this weekend. And, weekend soccer, of course. :-) It's really back to real life!

Here's hoping you all get a few moments today, to relax & think about something lovely ahead. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Saturday Happenings

 We are back from vacation, and in fact, M is in Las Vegas with Nick, at a soccer tournament. I'm home with Sam, and my parents are here until tomorrow. Hawaii was absolutely amazing. Full of relaxing, lots of fun, & just time to catch up together. 

I need to get organized for the week ahead, and have plenty on the to do list today, although no soccer on my side. 

To Dos:

  • Workout class
  • Costco
  • Trader Joes
  • Work schedule for the week
  • Soccer schedule + carpool
  • Garden
  • Water plants
  • Menu plan
  • Complete a return
  • Laundry, although my mom is the queen of the laundry, so she is likely to help. 
  • Take my parents to dinner, as a thank you for their help during the week
View in the morning, while drinking coffee.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Frugal Friday

We added a teen driver to our car insurance this week, and that was the opposite of frugal in every way! 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $5 grocery store offer, and picked up a Friday Freebie (trail mix), that Sam will enjoy. 
  • Uploaded receipts to Fetch & iBotta, and picked up oat milk for $3, using an iBotta $2 rebate, bringing the price down to a very reasonable $1. Also used a $.10 iBotta offer. 

Earning money

  • I sold my running watch on eBay (I can use my every day watch, as it does a fine job on outside runs, although is not the best for indoor/treadmill runs). 

Avoiding spending

  • I was starving after a workout class, and thought about buying lunch out, but skipped it & went home & made myself a breakfast burrito. 
  • I filled out a few forms, to try & get a status match on our preferred airline. I have status on United, from work travel, but rarely fly them for personal travel. I was pretty surprised the match went through. This is great news, as we get additional bags for free (useful for taking our ski gear, etc), I'm automatically on the waiting list for upgrades to premium economy or first class, and there are a few other perks. I was able to move our seats for our Hawaii flight to premium economy, which means we can have free drinks, and potentially a snack. It's the small stuff. :-) 

Eating what we have

  • I saved a bagged salad, that had been pushed aside in the fridge, and made myself a chicken salad for lunch on the day above. 
  • Used up the last of coconut shrimp, I found buried in the freezer
  • I also took the opportunity to use a can of green beans, which Sam loves, but we rarely eat
  • Made dinner for Sam & M, using bacon wrapped chicken I found in the back of the freezer. Nick had the rest of the taco meat. I had some leftover chicken. Everyone got fed, and no food waste. I love a dinner like that!
  • Used rice noodles that had been sitting in our pantry for a long time! Made a beef stir fry, which had the bonus of also using up some very old carrots that needed to go. 
  • Made a double batch of banana bread, using overly ripe bananas from the counter & freezer. We will take one loaf to Hawaii (M loves muffins/bread in the am, and it's his only carb for the day.) I'll leave the other loaf for my parents. 
  • Defrosted the last of my prepped soup & the end of a loaf of bread, for a quick lunch this week. With the weather getting cooler, I'll have to make more soup for the freezer. I love it, but I'm the only one who really eats it, so I typically make a big batch, and freeze it for lunches.
  • Made chicken curry, using the rest of the elderly carrots. Made enough for two dinners (x3 diners), froze the other half, plus two lunch sized servings.
  • While we were having curry, Nick ate the remaining hot dogs from the freezer. He's not much of a curry fan. 

For others

  • The boys & I helped our neighbor with a leaky sprinkler. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Workout Wednesday


Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - Orange Theory
  • Tuesday - 90 minutes of elliptical
  • Wednesday - Orange Theory
  • Thursday - Spin class, plus a mile on the treadmill
  • Friday - Orange Theory
  • Saturday - 90 minutes on the elliptical, plus a mile walk
  • Sunday - Orange Theory
Eating - making mostly good choices. 

Lowlights - had an after dinner snack several times this week. The calories add up, and I prefer to brush my teeth after dinner, and start fasting until mid morning the next day. 

Highlights - lots of great workouts, and ate okay most days. 

Focus for the week ahead - we'll largely be on vacation for the week, so I'll be focused on making smart choices, working out, but also getting lots of sleep & just generally enjoying myself.

What about you? How are you doing with your health?

Monday, October 17, 2022

Menu Plan Monday


  • Friday - Nick ate at the football game. Sam & M had bacon wrapped chicken & green beans, and I had a taco salad
  • Saturday - stir fry beef noodles
  • Sunday - chicken curry & rice
  • Monday - leftover stir fry beef noodles
  • Tuesday - leftover chicken curry & rice
  • Wednesday - My parents are flying in, so M will grill for us. Burgers & potatoes
  • Thursday -  chicken fajitas, chips & guacamole
  • Friday - M & I are heading to Hawaii, so my parents will be feeding the boys.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Sunday things

Yesterday was a really nice day. It was also unusual, as we didn't have any soccer games to attend. I'd planned on taking Sam to his game, which is about a 3.5 hour commitment. But, due to the PSATs, and a variety of kids being unavailable, they switched up a few rosters, and Sam needed to be in the city for a game. I sent him with a friend (her son plays on the team Sam was subbing for), so I could pick Nick up at the PSATs. Nick didn't have a game, because of the PSATs.

Nick did manage to complete his tennis volunteering (he teaches tennis to young kids), & squeezed in a tennis game with a friend. Plus, completed his concussion protocol, which is required for him to try out for school soccer. That was on the list forever, so glad to mark that off. He reports that the math portion of the PSATs was "easy" for him, but the verbal section was quite difficult. He is my child who is not a reader, which I can't wrap my head around. Reading is my absolute favorite hobby, and I can't imagine my life without it. Sam, on the other hand, loves reading. We'll see how he did, once the scores come in.

On to today:

  • Wake Nick up for a reffing game. I think Sam will be able to drive him.
  • Go to a workout class. 
  • Make chicken curry for dinner
  • Pack everything but my "last minute" items for Hawaii. Since I don't typically wear the clothes I'll wear in Hawaii, most things can be packed early.
  • Do a homework check with both boys. They have tomorrow off from school, so it's always useful to understand what they should be working on, in advance.
  • Speaking of reading, clean up my Kindle, and download lots of new books for our trip. (I have Kindle Unlimited, which has proven to be a huge win for me. I'd normally recommend the library, but our local library has very few books - digital or otherwise, & I read 5ish books/week & just couldn't find enough content.)
  •  Laundry, clean up the raised bed, pick up the house, water the plants & all of the normal chores.
What about you? How are you spending your Sunday?

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Saturday Happenings

How is it already Saturday? All I know is that I'm dreaming about our vacation. M & I leave on Friday for Hawaii, and I'm *very* excited. We reviewed our plan last night, and made a few small tweaks. I'm really easy going on a vacation. I like to work out in the morning (bonus points, if it's a new work out I haven't tried before, or in a new location), chill by the pool/beach in the afternoon, and then have dinner. 

My parents arrive on Wednesday, so I need to get a few things prepped for that, as well.

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

  • Pick up Nick from the PSATs
  • Get Sam up, ready & breakfasted before my friend shows up to take him to a game in the city
  • Make two loaves of banana bread (one for Hawaii, one for my parents when they are here)
  • Go to Costco, the store & the produce stand. (M will likely cover Costco)
  • Work out
  • Start packing & work on my packing list
  • Make a menu for the week
  • Sort out our soccer carpool for the week
  • Sign everyone up for the turkey trot
  • Sort out rental car
  • Laundry (always)
  • Make dinner. I think I'm making stir fried beef noodles tonight. 
What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, October 14, 2022

Frugal Friday

 The weekend was not terribly frugal, but was so, so much fun! I'm grateful for the unexpected family time. Here are a few frugal wins we managed. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I earned a few free classes, by taking advantage of a promotion at Orange Theory (workout studio)
  • I also submitted my volunteer hours for the boys soccer club, earning me $100 off of each of their registration fees.

Earning money

  • Listed a few things on eBay, and sold a skirt. 

Avoiding spending

  • Took advantage of a free flu shot at work, in addition to: workout classes, food/drinks, & electric car charging. 
  • Canceled Amazon prime
  • Sam passed his driver's test on the first try, which saves us money. (Taking it again costs money, but the first round is free/covered by the permit fees.) 

Eating what we have

  • I had leftover chicken for lunch one day, and finished off a bagged salad that was about to go bad. Chicken salad is one of my favorite quick lunch options.
  • M made rice to accompany dinner one night, and we pulled out chicken from the freezer, for a quick & easy option. 

For others

  • I submitted my volunteer hours for the soccer club to my employer. They donate money for each hour I volunteer, as a match. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Workout Wednesday

 I decided to do a last minute race with sister, friend & mom. My sister, BFF, & her daughter did a half marathon. My mom & I did the 10k. It was nice, as the first 4 miles or so of the run are together, so we ran that together, and then my mom & I split off for the 10k. Huge props to my mom, who we invited on Friday for a race on Sunday. She's a very consistent jogger, and finished with zero problems. The rest of our group also did really well, with my BFF's daughter finishing her first ever half. It was great to cheer her on. 

I'm inspired by Tamara, and her 60th birthday half last weekend, but I'm not sure if another half is in the cards. I love the mix of workouts I currently have going. 

Workouts for the week

  • Monday - 90 minutes on the elliptical
  • Tuesday - 1 mile walk + 45 minute spin class
  • Wednesday - 1 mile run + hour spin class
  • Thursday - 2 mile walk + body pump class + 30 minutes on the elliptical
  • Friday - Orange Theory class
  • Saturday -  an hour walk
  • Sunday - 10k race

Eating - my appetite was miraculously reduced, which made eating better easier. I wish it was this easy every week!

Lowlights - had an unsatisfying lunch one day, and followed it up with a handful of candy. Yeah, not the best option. 

Highlights - generally ate well, made good choices, & wasn't super hungry. 

Focus for the week ahead - continue tracking my calories, which works well for me. 

What about you? How are you doing with your health?

Monday, October 10, 2022

Menu Plan Monday


It's going to be another wild menu, as we have a lot of activities during the week, and I'm out of town on the weekend.

  • Friday - Everyone is pretty much on their own. Nick at the homecoming game, I had dinner with my family in Portland. Michael & Sam had a boys dinner.
  • Saturday - burgers
  • Sunday - grilled chicken & rice
  • Monday - leftover burgers
  • Tuesday - orange chicken & fried rice (Trader Joes). It's a wild day, with lots of driving & priorities. 
  • Wednesday - tacos
  • Thursday - grilled chicken & rice
  • Friday - TBD
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Friday, October 7, 2022

Frugal Friday

In decidedly unfrugal news, M surprised me, by arranging a flight, so I could join my sister & BFF this weekend, as they were together. They are doing a half marathon. I haven't trained *at all*, so I'm planning to do a 10k& hope for the best. We did have flight credits, but woohee, flights are super pricey. Our anniversary is in a few weeks, and he knows me well - experiences are definitely my preferred gift! 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used $4 in coupons for Safeway, off of 4 items. The app had the offer, and I've successfully used it before, but it didn't work this time. The cashier was very friendly & made it work. 
  • Picked up Panera after Nick's tennis tournament. Used the last of a few small gift cards, and an offer for a free loaf of bread. The boys love the Panera baguettes, and polished it off in no time. 

Earning money

  • Listed a few items on eBay & sold another of M's outgrown jackets. 
  • Drove Nick to reffing, so he could earn money. Or, rather, I sat in the car & supervised, while he drove, as he has his learner's permit. 

Avoiding spending

  • Rather than buying flavored sparkling water (the kids drink it really quickly), I've been using the bubly sparkling water drops in my water bottle. They are intended for a Soda Stream, but the teens don't use the Soda Stream much. This gives me a nice change from plain water, and is zero cost (we already have the flavors on hand, and a little goes a long way).

Eating what we have

  • I used leftover chicken from Nick's dinner to make a salad for lunch. It was quite good. As long as there is protein to put on top of a salad, I'm pretty happy. 
  • Made muffins out of things in the fridge that needed using up (two different yogurts, a splash of juice, oat milk, etc.) I picked up cranberries at the store, and turned that, plus pantry ingredients & the random fridge items into M's favorite muffins. Lots of substitutions, but they turned out great.
  • Similarly, I had a muffin & the remnants of a salad for lunch on Monday, when I was working from home. 

For others

  • Went through all of the Halloween costumes, and listed everything on Buy Nothing. Gave away all of it in no time. 
  • Helped a neighbor repair her mop. She was very frustrated, and didn't want to have to toss it. 
  • Gave away other random stuff on BN. It's homecoming time, so I went through & found a few things (black clutch, etc) that others can use. I've liked trying to be seasonal (e.g. Halloween costumes, etc). I also am giving away other random things I stumble across, but the seasonal items help draw attention to the rest. ;-) 
What about you? Any frugal wins to share?

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Workout Wednesday

Three days in a row of Orange Theory (an intense workout class that includes: treadmill, rowing & strength exercises) was quite hard! I'm happy I've built up to being able to do 5 days of hard workouts. 

Workouts for the week

  • Monday - 90 minutes of elliptical
  • Tuesday - spinning + 1.5 mile walk
  • Wednesday - spinning + 2 mile walk
  • Thursday - 90 minutes of elliptical
  • Friday - Orange Theory
  • Saturday - Orange Theory
  • Sunday - Orange Theory

Eating - I've been tracking my calories again & making some progress. It's work, but it definitely helps me be more aware of what I'm eating.

Lowlights - we went on a date (lovely!) & I had dessert after. It wasn't really needed, and M doesn't eat dessert, so I'm the only one what ate it. A few bites would have been more than enough, but... ate it all!

Highlights - lots of good workouts, generally good eating.

Focus for the week ahead - keep up the healthy eating & workout momentum. 

What about you? How are you doing with your health?

Monday, October 3, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 I didn't end up making the chicken shawarma, or beef noodles last week, as our soccer schedule ended up being more involved than planned. 

Here's what's on the menu this week:

  • Friday - pasta & chicken
  • Saturday - date night/birthday party (date night for us, birthday party for the kids)
  • Sunday - steak & roasted potatoes
  • Monday - chicken shawarma
  • Tuesday - tacos
  • Wednesday - steak salad
  • Thursday - chicken shawarma
  • Friday - tacos

That's it for us. What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, October 2, 2022

October Goals

 I'm trying to get back to posting these at the *start* of the month, vs somewhere in the middle. ;-) 

Here are my goals for October.


  • Stick to our budget
  • Progress towards side hustle goals
  • Continue work on plan & budget for when I leave work
  • Go through eBay inventory. Donate, update listings, etc.
  • Stick to our budget while on vacation
  • One activity with the kids
  • Help Nick with learning to drive
  • Help Sam with driving practice, take him for test
  • Have two dates with M
  • Connect with M's family
  • Continue 2023 travel planning
  • Post weekly fitness summaries
  • Match September's calories burned
  • Close rings 25 days
  • Take advantage of workout classes
  • Meditate 5x
  • Lose 2 lbs


  • Do something social with friends
  • Continue volunteer roles
  • More thinking on "post career work" life/goals

What about you? Do you have any goals for October?

Saturday, October 1, 2022

September Goals

 September was really a month! But, I'm enjoying the transition to fall, the cooler weather, & the boys settling into the groove of school, sports, etc. 

Here's how I did with my September goals. 


  • Stick to our budget - overall, we did well this month
  • Progress towards side hustle goals - I made $103 in side hustle, & used a gift card that's been in my purse forever. I also did an inventory of my gift cards, discovering a bunch I'd "lost". 
  • Continue plan for when I leave work - yes, making progress
  • Continue to list items, go through all eBay inventory - I've done one pass, & need to do another. 
  • One activity with the kids - we've been doing college trivia at dinner, and lots of travel discussions & planning. 
  • Take Nick for permit test - took two tries, but he has it & is ready to learn!
  • Help Sam with driving practice - lots of driving happening
  • Have two dates with M - it was a busy month, so we took advantage of time when the kids were out of the house, and caught up with a glass of wine by the pool a few times. 
  • Connect with M's family - photos sent
  • Work on travel plans for end of year, and 2023. - I've done a lot of planning, & booked a hotel for a New Year's ski trip. 
  • Post weekly fitness summaries - yep
  • Beat August calorie burned (14,310) - crushed it, with 15,422 calories burned
  • Close rings 25 days - 23 days
  • Take advantage of workout classes - I'm averaging 2 free fitness classes/week
  • Meditate 5x - nope, still struggling to make this happen
  • Lose 2 lbs - Yes, I lost 2.1 lbs
  • Do something social with friends - went on a hike & to brunch
  • Start advisory role - attended my first meeting
  • More thinking on "post career work" life - this is in the background of my mind, a lot lately!

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