Monday, March 28, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 I'm trying hard to stay on top of the schedule & menu planning. This is also my last week of working from home, so things are about to get...wild! Combined with upcoming travel for M, myself, & onsite evenings when team members travel to see us, it's going to get intense, from a scheduling perspective.

  • Friday - Pecan chicken over salad
  • Saturday - barbecued chicken & rice
  • Sunday - chicken yakisoba
  • Monday - barbecued chicken & rice, take 2
  • Tuesday - Italian chicken & pepper sandwiches (over cauliflower rice for M)
  • Wednesday - Turkey burrito bowls
  • Thursday - chicken yakisoba, take 2
  • Friday -  Any remaining leftovers. If nothing is there, gyozos & wings?
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Weekend happenings

 Yesterday was a good but full day of lots of activities.

  • Nick & Sam both reffed games, & needed a ride. One day soon, hopefully Sam will pass the next level of reffing tests, and they can ref together, which will be a huge win for mom.
  • Sam had a club game. I walked in the sunshine during warmups.
  • M made grilled chicken
  • We played a game of family tennis & then grabbed boba tea together after. I skipped the boba, as it's not my thing. I needed to pick up a gift card (all of Sam's friends appear to be having their 16th birthday within weeks of each other), so it worked out. 
  • I did the inevitable laundry
Today looks similar, with a few twists:
  • Nick is reffing another game
  • I'm hoping for an 8 mile hike in the sunshine
  • I'm making chicken yakisoba for dinner
  • Sam has an interview for a summer camp job
  • I'm taking Sam to a birthday party
  • Nick has tennis lessons
  • Laundry
  • Sort out tennis tournament registration
  • Optimistically: list an item on eBay
  • Motivate lazy teens to complete chores/homework
That's it from our side. What about you? What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, March 25, 2022

Frugal Friday

My reminder this week is to never take hungry teenagers to Costco with you. Oh my! They love all of the baked goods, and constantly prowl around & attempt to sneak things into the cart. ;-) 

This was a much lighter work week (more craziness in upcoming weeks), so I enjoyed it as best I could. Here are a few frugal wins for the week. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $2.50 oat milk coupon (yet another one) to get oat milk for about $1. 
  • Uploaded all of our receipts to Fetch
  • Bought two of M's vitamins, while they were on sale at Costco
  • I bought a gift card for a local boba shop (birthday gift for one of the boys friends) & earned rewards at the shop. I took Nick to boba (his request for his birthday) & the gift card purchase generated enough rewards that I had a $1 off coupon to use. 

Earning money

  • Not me personally, but I chauffeured Nick around to earn money reffing. He's a year away from being able to drive on his own - hurrah!

Avoiding spending

  • Nick is planning to wear one of M's ties to an upcoming event. Fifteen year olds really appreciate irony, even when dressing up. Apparently, it's "cool" to wear the Santa tie ironically (e.g. not at the holidays), so you can still be cool, even when wearing a nice suit. This is what I hear, anyway. ;-)  He did teach himself how to tie a Windsor knot, solely via YouTube videos, so at least he's learning something. 

Eating what we have

  • I got a few containers of oat milk for free/near free with iBotta & grocery store deals recently, so I've been trying to use it up. It makes a delicious smoothie (we like it with banana, frozen mango, and some protein powder), so we've been having lots of those.
  • I used a container of applesauce (freezer) to make applesauce muffins
  • Turned a piece of ham & some chicken broth (both from the freezer) into a delicious ham & bean soup. This also cleared out two cans of beans that have been lingering in the pantry. It was a nice "clean it out" meal. 
  • Used zucchini from the garden (freezer) to make another type of muffin

For others

  • Helped our neighbor with painting recommendations, a tech challenge, & opening a few containers that she struggled with 
  • Arranged another carpool, to make driving easier for four families
  • Helped organize a soccer school banquet & donated extra for the coaches (who, don't get paid nearly enough for the time commitment, IMO!)
That's it from our side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, March 21, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

Our "menu" was really hit or miss last week, thanks to me getting home much later than expected on Sunday, and not having time to menu plan/prep. I definitely want to avoid that this week. 

  • Friday - leftover birthday pizza & salad (in a nod to health)
  • Saturday - ham & bean soup + bread
  • Sunday - tacos
  • Monday - stuffed peppers (freezer)
  • Tuesday - roasted chicken & carrots
  • Wednesday - leftovers
  • Thursday - pecan crusted chicken over salads
  • Friday - TBD, but likely wings & gyozas, or something similar
What about you? What's on the menu for the week? What's your go to "meal", when you don't have time to meal plan & prep?

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Saturday Happenings

One of my goals this weekend is to "catch up" a bit on life, after being out of town last weekend. I had a fantastic girls weekend, but need to get back to my routine now. I've looked ahead at the work week ahead, and it appears to be much calmer than the past 6-8 weeks, which sounds fabulous to me!

I have my first international work trip scheduled for May, which was a good reminder that I do not want a job with international travel, and should come up with my exit strategy. I'm very close! COVID & working from home gave me a really fantastic break from the international work travel, & allowed me to extend my time at the company for a couple of years. 

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

  • Make 3 batches of muffins. The freezer is empty, and they are a staple.
  • Take Nick to two reffing games, & pick him up
  • Take Sam to a soccer game (walk during warm ups)
  • Menu plan
  • Grocery store
  • Costco
  • Work out
  • Laundry/wash Nick's ref uniform for tomorrow
  • Tacos for dinner
  • Have the boys try on suits I bought for upcoming wedding
  • Nick's tennis 
  • Take Sam to/from a birthday party
  • Motivate lazy teens to do chores & homework
I think that will be plenty of running around for me. :-) What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, March 18, 2022

Two weeks of Frugal Friday

 It's been a long & busy couple of weeks, but here are a few highlights to share.

Saving on things we buy

  • Our flight home on Sunday was cancelled. After spending 3 hours on hold with Southwest, and still not getting through, I found another flight & was able to get home super late on Sunday. My sister, similarly, got home after midnight, so it was a long & unexpected day. I followed up with Southwest to request a discount on the flights, given the very long delay & wasting most of our last day chasing flights. We each received $250 for future credit. 
  • Used a free room offer at the hotel, and won $1500 in a tournament (we were in Las Vegas), which covered the cost of flights & meals. 

Earning money

  • Nothing to report here

Avoiding spending

  • We planned our vacation meals to have small snacks/drinks for breakfast & lunches (free) & splurged more on nice dinners.
  • Baked Nick a cake for his birthday (vs buying one).

Eating what we have

  • Because I was gone over a long weekend, meals have been a bit hit or miss, but M made burgers, I took advantage of a $50 work coupon for takeout pizza, & we had some freezer meals. 

For others:

  • Found & returned two wallets while on vacation. So random that it happened, but really happy we could reunite the wallets with their owners. 
  • Organized carpools, to help other parents with soccer driving. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

March Goals & February Recap

It has been a wild few weeks, so I'm quite far behind on goal setting & recapping how things our going. I debated not posting goals for March, & not recapping February at all, but I'm opting for a trimmed down/combined version, so I can hopefully stay motivated.

Here's what we accomplished in February:

Financial - generally good. We stuck to the budget on our family trip, handed off all of our tax paperwork to the accountant, and came up with a plan for funding our taxes. We also stuck to our general monthly budget. 

Family - we had an awesome family ski trip, complete with lots of skiing, ice skating, & laughs. M & I even managed to get a drink together while the kids were finishing out the day skiing. We also had a dinner out together. We found Sam a study skills tutor, and that seems to be going well also. 

Fitness - I've continued to my fitness challenge (closing my rings every day, & doing 90 minutes+ of cardio), but my tracking of calories & eating has fallen by the wayside. I haven't gotten on the scale in the last few weeks, but my pants suggest that I've gained a few pounds. 

Personal/creative - I got together with friends twice, and continued to volunteer. 

 Onward to March goals!


  • Stick to our budget
  • Talk to our accountant about a DAF for charitable contributions, & adjustments for next year
  • Come up with long term budget/FIRE plan
  • Progress towards $1500 side hustle goal, gift card goal, & Fetch/iBotta goals
  • Plan one fun activity with the kids
  • Support the kids with various planning (permit process, job applications, tutoring, etc)
  • Have two dates with M
  • Schedule a call with M's family
  • Get back into healthy eating routine
  • Close rings daily
  • Lose 2 lbs
  • Do something social with friends at least once/month
  • Invest time in my volunteer job
  • Come up with post-work plan & options
  • Journal 10x
What about you? How did you do with your February goals? Did you set any goals for March? How are you doing with your progress this month? 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

While I want to lay on the couch & order takeout, that's a terrible decision for a number of reasons. Instead, we'll keep menu planning & cooking. 

  • Friday - we had chicken wings & gyozas, finally finishing the last package of gyozas we were gifted by a friend
  • Saturday - M & I went out to dinner, the teens fed themselves some sort of borderline unhealthy teen food.
  • Sunday - bell pepper meat loaves
  • Monday - chicken fajitas. Meat prepped & in the freezer, uses the rest of the peppers from the meat loaf recipe
  • Tuesday - meat loaf leftovers
  • Wednesday - fajita leftovers
  • Thursday - I'll be out of town, and M needs to juggle a tennis match & soccer practice. I'm guessing this will be frozen pizza
  • Friday - TBD, as I'm out of town. M is an excellent cook (just prefers not to cook unless asked ;-)), so the boys are in excellent hands
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Get outside

When I'm stressed or anxious, one of my solutions is to get outside. Being in the fresh air helps me think more creatively, brainstorm solutions, and/or forget about the challenges. 

I got in a lovely 6+ mile hike this morning, and am grateful for the beautiful sunny sky, after a few days of (much needed) rain. Bumped into some friends on my hike...

It was a great way to kick off my morning, & I feel better already. 

I'm off to go be productive & prep for another wild week ahead. Sending you all positive Sunday vibes!

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Saturday Happenings

I'm grateful for the weekend, after a long & challenging work week. Logistics were also very complicated this week for teen activities. Luckily, club soccer hasn't begun games yet, so there are no soccer games this weekend. Hurrah! 

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

  • Work out
  • Make a menu
  • Shopping list
  • Costco
  • Produce stand
  • Have the boys review their grades & assignments
  • Laundry
  • Pack for a trip (long weekend girls trip next week)
  • Plan the schedule for the week ahead
  • Arrange carpools
  • Make M's schedule for when I'm gone 
  • Go out to dinner with M (date night!)
  • Remind lazy teens to do their chores/activities
That's it from my side. What are you up to today? I need to go look up menu options. I'm thinking something with ground beef, as we've had a lot of chicken lately. Any suggestions? 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Frugal Friday

It's been a really challenging week, with the majority of my work time spent dealing with the situation in Russia & Ukraine. Several of my team members have family members directly impacted, and it's hard to focus on anything other than that. It feels pointless to share how I saved a few bucks at the grocery store, but ... focusing on the small things I can do in my own life is something, I suppose. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I redeemed $20 worth of grocery store rewards, and took advantage of a $1 sale, picking up pasta for $1, and a couple of pasta sauces (also $1). I also picked up a few items I needed for dinner during the week. 
  • Uploaded all of our travel receipts to Fetch.
  • Purchased travel gift cards at the grocery store, earning $45 in grocery store rewards

Earning money

  • I earned a $100 bonus randomly at work, which can be used for a meal out. M & I are going to dinner 

Avoiding spending

  • Nothing I can think of 

Eating what we have

  • Before we checked out of our ski condo, I assembled PB&J sandwiches with the rest of the bread, and peanut butter/jelly. I packed those in my backpack, for easy snacks & to avoid waste. 
  • I also packed up the salt & pepper shakers we bought (these can be tricky to find, and are critical for cooking), so we can use them for future trips. I brought home the tiny olive oil container (purchased on another ski trip, and refilled for travel), the leftover coffee I brought from home, a container of mostly full garlic salt I'd purchased, and the remainder of the trail mix. It's almost impossible to use up everything you buy, but we did a pretty good job. And, every meal eaten at the condo definitely paid for itself. Meals out are expensive, particularly when you have four people to feed - two of whom have huge appetites!
  • I used a container of chicken broth (freezer) for an orange chicken dish. I almost used a purchased can, but remembered the homemade broth in the freezer. 

For others

  • Made several large donations to refugees
  • Donated to the school tennis team
  • Arranged several carpools for soccer parents
  • Gave a ride to a tennis game & took a few boys to lunch
Any wins for the week?