Saturday, April 30, 2022

Saturday Happenings

 I'm so grateful the work week is done! I had an offsite last week, & two offsites this week. Tons of in person time, and four evening commitments between the two weeks. I feel like I went from zero to 100, with working from home for two years, & then returning to the office full force. 

On the one night I didn't have an evening work commitment, I drove four kids to soccer & hung out in the parking lot until just after nine. After dropping everyone off, it was after 9:30. There were some *long* days last week!

It's more wild times ahead, as we fly out on Friday for a family wedding (M has very few family members in the US & this is one of his cousins). M & the boys fly back on Sunday, while I fly to London. On Mother's Day weekend. I'm not overly excited about it, particularly because there were no direct flights that met my price cap, so I have to go to Denver first. 

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

  • Figure out packing for London & San Diego. I need a bunch of COVID test kit related stuff, so need to remember to add that to the packing list. It will also be a weird packing list, as I need things like a formal dress & heels, which is not something I typically bring on a work trip. ;-) 
  • Decide on a dress for the wedding
  • Take Nick to a reffing game
  • Work out
  • Menu plan for this week, and helpfully arrange the freezer so M can figure out meal options when I'm in London
  • Sort the soccer carpool for next week
  • Take Sam on some practice drives
  • Yoga
  • Laundry
  • Costco
  • Grocery store
  • I think we're having chicken curry (freezer) & rice tonight for dinner, so I need to sort that out as well.
What about you? What's on your schedule for today?

Friday, April 29, 2022

Frugal Friday

I was too busy to spend money during the work week, but made up for it during the weekend, where I treated my mom to a dinner out & a wine tasting, as a thanks for all of her help in the past week or so.  

Saving on things we buy

  • My mom treated the boys to boba one night, and I had a $5 coupon that I applied to the order. I do not get the boba love, but the boys are huge fans. 

Earning money

  • Again with the driving of the kids to their jobs. 

Avoiding spending

  • Along with everything else, Uber has gotten very expensive, so I picked up M at the airport after a flight, and arranged my schedule to be able to drop my parents off for their respective flights. 

Eating what we have

  • Unfortunately, I had to eat out for most of the meals (I love a great dining out experience as much as anyone else, but too much, particularly for work, is not great for the waistline, and I'd much prefer to be at home.)
  • We made chicken enchiladas & guacamole on Sunday, which made quite a bit of leftovers & got put in the freezer for another time. 
  • I turned two small containers of leftovers (many dinners out) into a follow up dinner at home
  • M relied primarily on prepped meals from the freezer to feed the kids while I was busy

For others

  • Returned carts at the grocery store, set up a carpool, helped my parents with some tech issues, and helped out at a work event
What about you? Any wins to share? 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 Things are getting wild here, with lots of in person work time. Here's what's on the menu for the week.

  • Friday - pizza & salad
  • Saturday - taking my mom & the boys out to dinner
  • Sunday - chicken enchiladas 
  • Monday - spaghetti & meatballs, M cooking, as I'm at a team event
  • Tuesday - tacos, M in charge, as I'm at a team event
  • Wednesday - leftover enchiladas, M in charge, as I'm at (you guessed it), a team event
  • Thursday - leftover spaghetti
  • Friday - TBD
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Friday, April 22, 2022

Frugal Friday

 My parents are here this week, so there have been several meals out, & extra groceries & the like. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I adjusted my mom's flight (per her request) & saved $40 due to the flight change. 

Earning money

  • Sold a few small things on eBay. Not much, but junk out of the house & money in.
  • Drove the kids around to reffing games, where they earned money

Avoiding spending

  • We've eaten all dinners at home, despite some crazy schedules. 

Eating what we have

  • We definitely bought more groceries than usual, but I made chicken shawarma & chicken fajitas a couple of nights, M made kebabs & rice, & my parents cooked a few nights as well. 
  • The kids have eaten all of the Easter treats, as well as the chocolate covered fruit that I purchased as a dessert option. 
  • Froze a bunch of leftovers for future use. 

For others

  • Helped my parents save $750 on a flight, by using miles instead of paying out of pocket. 
  • Attended training to mentor girls in tech. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, April 18, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 My parents are in town, so meals look a bit different, with other folks prepping, and us serving six instead of the usual four. 

Here's what's on the menu for the week. 

  • Friday - we had chicken fajitas, with chips & guacamole
  • Saturday - I made chicken shawarma, which was delicious
  • Sunday - M made kebabs & rice, & we had cupcakes for dessert. 
  • Monday - chicken enchiladas
  • Tuesday - I'll be at a team dinner, but I think my dad is making lasagna
  • Wednesday - blackened chicken & pasta
  • Thursday - leftovers
  • Friday - TBD, but it will be just my mom, myself & the kids. We may do frozen pizza
What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Friday, April 15, 2022

Frugal Friday

While I survived my first week in the office last week, I had to leave by noon on Tuesday, as my office mate had COVID, and office policies require me to test & then stay home for a week. Back to working from home for the rest of the week, but luckily, no COVID.  

Here are a few frugal highlights from the week.

Saving on things we buy

  • We ended up with two free cookies, when I treated Sam & a friend to a lunch out, between soccer & tennis
  • I used $25 in grocery store rewards to offset a stop. My out of pocket was $.11. If only every grocery store run was like that!

Earning money

  • Nothing for myself, but as always, driving around the kids to their jobs. Nick made a bunch of money reffing back to back games on Saturday, so that was a win. 

Avoiding spending

  • M & I opted for another date by the pool on Friday, heating up leftovers & catching up. It was more relaxing than going to a restaurant, and it was free.

Eating what we have

  • We managed to use up the last of the Hello Fresh freebie box
  • I bought hamburger buns, in order to entice the teens to eat burgers from the freezer. The addition of buns really sells it for them
  • We defrosted fesenjan (a Persian chicken, almond & pomegrante stew like dish) & had that over rice one night

For others:

  • One of Nick's friends unexpectedly needed a ride home on Saturday night, so I got out of bed & took him home.
  • I helped set up the soccer field for a game on Sunday
  • Cleaned up trash at the field while I was walking
  • Signed up to mentor teenage girls in tech
That's it from my side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, April 11, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

It's another super wild week, with more sports & my parents arriving on Thursday, plus time in the office. 
Having a menu plan is the only way I can keep things together!

Here's what we're planning this week:

  • Friday - making the last of the duplicate Hello Fresh dinner (Italian chicken sandwiches & baked potato wedges)
  • Saturday - chicken curry & rice
  • Sunday - fesenjan (pomegrante/walnut/chicken Persian dish) with rice
  • Monday - burgers (freezer) + some sort of side dish
  • Tuesday - leftover curry & rice
  • Wednesday - any remaining leftovers. If none, chicken caesar salads
  • Thursday - my parents are flying in, Nick has a tennis match & Sam has soccer. Likely pizza delivery
  • Friday - chicken fajitas, chips, guacamole & all of the sides
What about you? What are you making this week? 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Saturday Happenings

I was up early this morning, likely because I couldn't stay awake last night, & was in bed a good 90 minutes before the kids. ;-) One of the pitfalls of parenting teens - they can outlast you in the evening every single time! 

It was a really busy & tiring week. On Thursday, I had close to six hours of kid activities, and that was after a day at the office. Nick had one of his last tennis matches, and it went into a very long tie breaker. Due to a conflict on the soccer carpool schedule, I drove both ways & after dropping everyone off, I didn't get home until 9:30. 

On Wednesday, Sam passed his permit test, which we are all very excited about! In California, after you pass the written test, you need two hours of instruction by a driving school before your permit is "authorized", so he will be doing that tomorrow. I'm grateful we could find someone who was available so soon. Most places were booked out at least a month, if not 8 weeks for a weekend spot. Sam also found out that day that he landed a summer job working at a sports camp. This is a camp he attended & really enjoyed, so he's super excited for his summer first job. It was quite an exciting day for Sam, & his teen milestones.

We are in such a transitional phase with the kids - we can see the end of all of the driving, & the scheduling & the non-stop go, go, go, but yet... we are still deep into it right now! I hate evening driving, but I do love hearing what other teens are up to, how they joke with each other, and all of the fun/silly things that happen in the car.

Okay, onto a busy weekend. I thought I'd get a chance to hike with a friend on Sunday, but Sam got asked to sub for another team (he's been waiting for this offer all season), so we will need to find another day.

  • Nick is reffing four games back to back, and needs a ride to/from the field, plus potentially either food dropped off or packed. Need to see how much time he has between games, & what he prefers.
  • Sam has a club game, and I'll walk during warmups. If possible, catch the coach ahead of the game to see about Nick attending a practice in the next few weeks.
  • Menu plan for next week
  • Shopping list
  • Costco
  • Grocery store
  • Produce stand
  • Nick's tennis lesson
  • Figure out how to get Nick's rackets restrung (before his game on Tuesday)
  • Make chicken curry
  • Work out
  • Wash all bedding
  • Laundry 
  • Make room for treadmill
  • Go through all receipts, add to budget & Fetch
And, for visual interest, I came around the corner on a walk with M last weekend, & almost tripped over this guy. He was within petting distance. (I did not pet him.) He was so close! 

What are you all up to this weekend? 

Friday, April 8, 2022

Frugal Friday

It was my first week back in the office, so that means free lunches/snacks/drinks, & electric car charging. My team is very distributed (lots of offices & countries), so I don't love the current set up, & would prefer more dedicated but less frequent in person time. But, hey. Here we are, trying to adjust, after two years of working from home. 

Saving on things we buy:

  • Used grocery store rewards & coupons to save $13 on a small stop at the store, bringing my out of pocket to $1.03.

Earning money:

  • More driving of teens to reffing games, where they earned money. 
  • Redeemed $5 of Fetch rewards

Avoiding spending:

  • Hello Fresh & the delivery company had a misunderstanding about whether last week's box was delivered, so they sent us another one, for free. 
  • Used the gym for free workouts, & a spin class
  • It goes without saying that we drive our electric car absolutely everywhere we can, including all of our soccer carpools. We save a ton on gas that way. 
Eating what we have:

  • I used a Friday freebie yogurt in a muffin recipe, and also used the last of a batch of cranberries, plus some orange juice that was lingering around in the fridge
  • I also dug out a container of pumpkin puree from the freezer, and turned that into a double batch of pumpkin muffins
  • Nick had a very long day on the tennis courts (after reffing a soccer game) on Sunday, so I dropped off snacks, making the most of what we had on hand: pumpkin muffins, a bun leftover from a Hello Fresh meal, fruit, & a protein bar, plus lots of water. It was nice to use stuff up, and keep him fed. He's typically a picky eater, but when you've played six hours of tennis, you'll eat almost anything. ;-) 

For others:

  • Paid for my parents flight & travel arrangements for another family member
  • Helped a few parents with various rides, particularly one on a late night. I'm a real early bird, so this one was painful, but very appreciated by a friend. 
  • Provided high school advice to some parents
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

April Goals

April is a wild month, with both M & I returning to the office, my parents coming for spring break, and two team offsites. (Team offsites mean evening events, dinners & the like.) All of that pent up demand to get together in person is really coming together in April & May! As a result, my main goal for April will be to find new routines that work for us, in this new phase. 


  • Stick to our budget
  • Pay our taxes
  • Talk to our accountant about a DAF & make adjustments for next year
  • Keep working on long term budget/FIRE plan
  • Progress towards $1500 side hustle goal, gift card goal & Fetch/iBotta goals
  • Change our primary credit card
  • Plan one fun activity with the kids
  • Support the kids with various planning (permit, job applications, tutoring, etc)
  • Have two dates with M
  • Schedule a call with M's family
  • Enjoy spring break with my parents. We're spending our first Easter together in 8+ years, and my mom is very excited about this!
  • Finalize summer plans (awaiting confirmation on Sam's job applications)
  • Stay on track with healthy eating routine
  • Close rings daily
  • Lose 2 lbs
  • Meditate 5x

  • Adjust to return to office, and build new routines/habits that work with our schedule
  • Do something social with friends at least once/month
  • Invest time in my volunteer job
  • Continue working on post-work plans & options
  • Journal 10x
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in April? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

March goals recap - how did I do?

March wasn't the most organized month, and I was quite late getting things going. But, unsurprisingly, the month carried on without waiting for me to be ready. It was also a very busy time at work, and I'm expecting that to be getting even busier, with returning to the office, & traveling.

Here's how I did with my goals.


  • Stick to our budget - we are trending slightly ahead of where I'd like to be for groceries, but otherwise doing well. 
  • Talk to our accountant about a DAF for charitable contributions, & adjustments for next year - we completed our tax work, but haven't talked about the DAF. 
  • Come up with long term budget/FIRE plan - I've been working on timing, and think I've got a pretty good sense for what I'm working towards. Budget is always more fungible, but also making progress on this as well. 
  • Progress towards $1500 side hustle, gift card & Fetch/iBotta goals - I made $1.48 in March, so clearly nailing this one. ;-) I did, however, make progress with some of the gift cards, so that's nice. 
  • Play one fun activity with the kids - we had a tennis & boba night
  • Support the kids with various planning (permit process, job applications, tutoring, etc) - yes, this is going reasonably well
  • Have two dates with M - Yes, we had a lunch & dinner date
  • Schedule a call with M's family -no, but I sent pictures
  • Get back into healthy eating routine - Yes, for the most part, I've turned things around. 
  • Close rings daily - Yes
  • Lose 2 lbs - Yes
  • Do something social with friends at least once/month - I met two friends for walks
  • Invest time in my volunteer job - yes, but not as much as I'd like
  • Come up with post-work plan & options - I've been thinking a lot about this!
  • Journal 10x - nope

So there you have it! As always, progress, not perfection. How about you? Did you set any goals for the month? How did you do in March?

Monday, April 4, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 Menu planning, the return to the office edition! Hello Fresh accidentally mailed us another box (the same one as last week), as they thought it got lost in delivery. You may notice some duplicates as a result.

  • Friday - Italian chicken sandwiches & roasted potatoes
  • Saturday - tacos
  • Sunday - barbecued hot dogs & pasta salad
  • Monday - turkey rice bowls
  • Tuesday - leftover hot dogs & pasta salad
  • Wednesday - tacos
  • Thursday - Italian chicken sandwiches & roasted potatoes, take 2
  • Friday - leftovers
What about you? What's on your menu this week? 

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Saturday Happenings

We had a (reasonably) relaxing evening yesterday. I say reasonably, because there is always at least one kid activity, but this one was close by. M was able to pick up Nick from tennis a few blocks away while I finished dinner. He can only bike that route home towards the middle of summer, when the days are longest. Because Fridays tend to be our latest dinner night due to Nick's tennis, M & I got the chance to sit by the pool & have a glass of wine & catch up. It was so lovely. Sam was inside doing homework, so he perhaps had a slightly less lovely Friday evening. ;-) 

I made a delicious dinner, that required only minor revisions for my two "other" eaters, so that was also a win. 

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

  • Take Sam to reffing games
  • Take Nick to reffing games
  • M to take Sam to the city for a club game
  • Nick to tennis lessons
  • Laundry
  • Work out
  • Dinner. I'm thinking tacos/taco salads, as that's what sounds good right now
  • I'd love to get in a yoga video, depending on the schedule
  • Make muffins
  • List an item on eBay
  • Finalize & book Nick's (now belated) birthday gathering
  • Shopping list for the week
  • Menu
  • Review the boys assignments with them. As we get closer to finals, I encourage them to double check that each assignment is submitted (because, sometimes they are done, but people have neglected to hit the "submit" button), etc. 
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you up to this weekend? 

Friday, April 1, 2022

Frugal Friday


Saving on things we buy

  • M & I planned a date lunch, & intended to go out. We opted last minute to order delivery Panera (coupon code for free delivery + tip, & I had a gift card). We sat by the pool in the sunshine & finished a bottle of champagne while we had lunch. It was much more frugal than going out, and it was lovely. It needs to become a regular staple for our dates. 
  • Bought a few odds & ends items from the grocery store, and used a reward, saving $13 off the purchase. 
  • One of the items I was purchasing was top ramen (for yakisoba) & the recipe is just using the noodles. As such, I bought the heavily discounted "roast beef" flavor. Top Ramen is already cheap, and the roast beef version is even cheaper ($.36/package). 

Earning money
  • I chauffeured around the boys for reffing games, and helped Sam prep for a job interview, but nothing for me personally. 

Avoiding spending
  • Used a gift card at Subway to pick up a free lunch for Sam, after he reffed his first soccer game. It was hilarious. Reffing a game where the kids don't really understand any of the rules is...complicated. He also had a kid unexpectedly climb on his back, so that he could get ahold of the ladybug on Sam's jersey. ;-) These were really young soccer players.

Eating what we have
  • We did a good job of eating leftovers this week, and keeping waste to a bare minimum. We've enjoyed two weeks of a delivery service for a change of pace, but have paused. I like the occasional break from menu planning, but the packaging waste is still hard.
  • I've switched to oat milk in my coffee, so I can use up more of the super inexpensive cartons I've picked up on sale.
  • I re-organized the pantry, and put the boys snacks in front. If they are not there, they tear through the pantry, and don't exactly leave things as they found it. ;-) 

For others

  • Worked at my volunteer job
  • Returned shopping carts at the grocery store
  • Helped friends with carpools
What about you? Any wins for the week?