Tuesday, May 31, 2022

May Goals Recap

 Another month has whizzed by! Here's what we accomplished this month. I'm pretty happy with the progress, all things considered. 


  • Stick to our budget - we did reasonably well, but went over on eating out. M & I need to find some less expensive date night options. We were mixing in hikes with meals out, but he broke his ankle, so we've been defaulting back to meals out again. 
  • Talk to our accountant about a DAF & adjustments for the year - we've updated our adjustments, but haven't done anything with the DAF. 
  • Come up with long term budget/FIRE Plan. I need to update this based on some comp adjustments our company announced. - We've made some progress, and I'm feeling good about the goals. Now, I just need the stock market to stabilize a bit. 
  • Progress towards $1500 side hustle goal, gift card goal, & Fetch/iBotta goals - I sold an expensive jacket ($80), made $5 on Fetch, and used a couple of gift cards. Progress!


  • Plan one fun activity with the kids - I took them (plus a friend) to bowling & lunch, & took them to boba on another day. 
  • Support the kids with various planning items (driving practice, tutoring, ref jobs, summer job forms, etc) - yes!
  • Have two dates with M - Yes! We had a drink together in San Diego, ahead of a family wedding, and went to dinner together. 
  • Lots of photos for M's family (at the wedding for his cousin this month) - Many, many photos & videos were taken, & shared
  • Finalize summer plans - done!
  • Book all summer travel - everything is booked!
  • Stay on track with my healthy eating routine - I've been splurging more than usual, and have more treats in the house than usual (the boys), and need to find a way to avoid my own treats. 
  • Come up with international travel healthy plan. Also, avoid getting COVID in London, so I can re-enter the US as planned. - this went well, generally & I didn't get COVID & was able to come back successfully. 
  • Close rings daily - Yes! I've closed my rings every day on my fitness watch. 
  • Lose 4 lbs - No. I'm steady at the same weight. That said, I definitely look & feel more toned. 
  • Meditate 5x - I didn't meditate at all
  • Use return London trip to renew my global entry - yes, done! 
  • Take advantage of office perks, making it feel like an appealing change in my routine - I've been doing well with this, and taking advantage of the free workout classes. 
  • Do something social with friends - I met a friend for a hike, and met another friend for a workout class
  • Volunteer commitment for girls in tech org - Yes, and it's been really enjoyable. 
  • Continue working on post-work plan & options - I am considering a few options & may have updates in the next month or so
  • Some sort of personal writing (fiction or journaling) - no writing, other than on the blog

What about you? How did you do with your goals this month? 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Menu Plan Monday


It's another wild week, as we wrap up school, M takes his first work trip, & then I head to Hawaii with my mom & sister. We're celebrating my mom's 70th birthday!

  • Friday - wings & salad
  • Saturday - adults - out to dinner, kids had teen friendly options
  • Sunday - hot dogs & potato salad
  • Monday - grilled chicken & rice
  • Tuesday - leftover barbecue items
  • Wednesday - grilled chicken & rice
  • Thursday - chicken quesadillas
  • Friday - I'll be in Hawaii with my mom & sister, so M is in charge!
What about you? What's on your menu this week? 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Sunday Things

Yesterday was a good, if expensive, kind of day. I was less productive than I'd expected, but mostly because the boys had a great time bowling, & playing ping pong, & I was out with them a bit longer. It was a well earned break from finals studying. Sam is left with one more final (honors chem), one big essay, and his final presentation in business. Nick has just one final to go. Hurrah.

M & I went to dinner, and had a fabulous time. However, we were stunned by the price. We've been to this restaurant numerous times, and it's always been on the expensive side. I'd say it was 60% more expensive, which we totally weren't expecting. They have also cut two of the cheapest menu items off altogether. We loved it, but I don't think we'll be back. It was just too much for the price. Luckily, the food was great, and it was super enjoyable, so it can be a nice close to our memories of the place.

I juiced all of the oranges yesterday, to set myself up for muffin making today. I've made the muffins, and rice krispie treats. I also went to the store & picked up what we needed for our meals this weekend. 

Here's what I'm planning to get up to today:

  • Freeze (most of) the muffins
  • Go to a workout class with a friend
  • Get a pedicure (before Hawaii). 
  • Laundry. Because, of course
  • Pack for Hawaii
  • Work with the boys on their schedule for the week, as M is traveling & I need to figure out logistics
  • Take Nick to/from a tennis tournament
  • Potentially go to Trader Joes or the produce stand
  • Make a big salad, and trim the lettuce
  • Cut down the cilantro & parsley. It's out of control
  • Pick some lemons off of our Meyer Lemon tree
  • Water the plants
  • Help lazy teens with finals prep
  • Read by the pool
  • Write out two graduation cards & add money
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish today?

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Weekend Happenings

 I've been in a bit of a funk, so I'm hoping that the long weekend is just the ticket to getting out of said funk. It's a nice combo of mostly mellow, with a few activities. 

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

  • Take the boys & two friends to lunch, & bowling
  • Make orange muffins. I have a giant bowl of oranges, courtesy of our neighbor's tree. She likes us to pick them, and if we don't the oranges fall in our pool & make a mess. It's a lot of oranges!
  • Laundry
  • Start packing/list for trip to Hawaii next week
  • Store
  • Menu
  • Costco
  • Trader Joes
  • Make Rice Krispy treats for the boys
  • (With the boys), go through all of the shoes in the garage, figure out what's been outgrown, and determine what needs replacing. I noticed multiple pair of shoes with holes on the bottom & sides...
  • Dinner out with M
The weather is supposed to be a lovely 73, which is a nice change from the 90+ days we had earlier in the week. What about you? What are you up to today? 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Frugal Friday

 I find myself overwhelmed by current events, and it's hard to think of anything else. It's been a real struggle. I'm working on taking care of myself, focusing on the things that I can control, and hugging the boys & M extra tight this week. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Picked up Home Depot gift cards at the grocery store, as they generated $30 in rewards. The receipt also generated a $.10 ibotta offer. 
  • Sam needed poster board for a school project, so I went to Rite Aid. That had poster board on clearance, but the only white poster board left was a package of 10, that had been opened, with 4 pieces missing. I took it to the register, and the guy sold it to me for a buck. 

Earning money

  • Nothing this week

Avoiding spending

  • I'm now consistently eating lunch at work a few times a week, which is making a tiny dent in the grocery budget. Given the rising prices, it's mostly keeping us even, I suppose. 
  • Picked up the Friday Freebie at the grocery store, which was taco seasoning. We make a lot of tacos, so this was a welcome surprise. 
  • I picked our first garden produce (lettuce), which we used in a salad. I don't know why we haven't grown lettuce in the past, because it produces well, and we certainly use a lot of it. 

Eating what we have

  • Used up two packages of zucchini (freezer), a bunch of leftover nuts, & the end of a bag of dried berries to make a double batch of zucchini muffins. I'm trying to get all of the zucchini out of the freezer ahead of our first zucchini from this year's garden.
  • Turned a takeout entree into one dinner, one lunch, & then added some lettuce & tomato to the gyro bowl to round it out into one last lunch. It was delicious, & I didn't want any of it to go to waste. 
  • Defrosted chicken to go with rice on Monday. I had a late meeting, and needed an easy meal option for M. He made rice to go with the chicken & round out the dinner.
  • Used the last of a loaf of sourdough bread to make garlic bread one night, after it had gotten a bit stale. 

For others

  • Helping out a friend who is re-entering the workforce
  • Found money on a hike, and gave it to the ranger's station as a donation, and/or lost & found. It was right near the booth, so I suspect it blew out of someone's car or hands as they were paying for entry
  • Gave away the rest of my poster board on Buy Nothing, so other parents of last minute students too could have supplies. :-) 
  • Volunteered to judge entries for a girls in tech global project, that's a lot of fun. 
I hope you are all well this week, and staying mentally & physically healthy. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

This will be a very busy week, as we are having a virtual APAC "offsite". We were originally supposed to go to Tokyo, but travel restrictions made that impossible. Instead, we'll be home, but I'll be working late each day, in order to accommodate all of the Japan friendly meetings. 

  • Friday - finish off the leftovers in the fridge
  • Saturday - egg roll in a bowl 
  • Sunday - chicken yakisoba
  • Monday - grilled chicken salads (chicken from the freezer)
  • Tuesday - leftover egg roll in a bowl
  • Wednesday - leftover chicken yakisoba
  • Thursday - finish any remaining leftovers, or enchiladas (freezer)
  • Friday - wings & gyozas
What about you? What's on the menu for the week? 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Weekend happenings

Yesterday was a day of soccer (two games, plus one reffing game). One of the games was a 75 minute drive each way, which made for quite the haul. I also managed to get some returns done, and they've been lingering in my closet for awhile, so it felt good to get them out of my way.

I made a delicious chicken yakisoba recipe for dinner, using up a bunch of veggies we had on hand, as well as a package of ramen noodles I'd picked up on clearance for $.25. 

There was also the standard tennis driving (they are paving the courts near our house, so Nick needed more rides than usual. 

As for today, I met a friend for a hike in the morning. My friend is quite athletic, so our workouts are always a good challenge. Today was no exception! 

I came home, and made a double batch of these zucchini muffins. It's my goal to get all of last season's zucchini out of the freezer, before we have more to contend with. The plants are starting to blossom, so I best get on it! I added dried fruit & nuts (happened to have both) & thought they were incredible. I put the nuts through my mini food processor/chopper, to give them a finer consistency/texture. Highly recommend these muffins! 

I washed the sheets, made the bed, did a few loads of laundry, & returned a few of the items that didn't fit Nick. I'd say I've had an 80% success rate for the majority of what I bought (all online), which is a good ratio, all things considered. It's hard to size rapidly growing teens. He definitely is preferring more of a "teen" look, vs his previous athletic shorts & whatever random shirt he could find. It's a fun transition to watch. Sam is still firmly in the athletic short/random shirt phase & despite me asking if I could add a few things for him to the order, he was firm in his no. ;-) Nick's reffing shorts are about to enter booty short territory, so I need to see if I can find a second hand pair of those, and hand off the too small version to someone else.

As for the rest of the day, I'm hoping to read a bit by the pool, & the make egg roll in a bowl for dinner. It was originally on the menu for last night, but I forgot to pick up hoisin sauce. I picked some up today, so we are good to go for tonight's dinner.

Still on the list for today:

  • Pack for tomorrow (I'm going to a yoga class in the am, and then heading to the office, so I'll need a change of clothes)
  • Have the boys call my parents
  • Prep the veggies & make egg roll in a bowl
  • Water the planter boxes
  • Pick lettuce & make a salad
  • Take Nick to his tennis tournament
  • Supervise reluctant teens, who are prepping for finals
That's it from my side. What about you? Any fun plans for today?

Friday, May 20, 2022

Frugal Friday

It hasn't felt very frugal lately, but a few wins here & there.  

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $20 reward at the grocery store, along with a $1 coupon to pick up a few things. Out of pocket was $15.78, for quite a few items (3 packages of sparkling water, taco shells, ice cream, 4 Gatorades, romaine lesson, salad, & breakfast sausage). I also earned another $5 back between Fetch & iBotta. 
  • On a second trip to the grocery store (you can tell I hadn't been home, and wasn't terribly efficient with my trips. Luckily, the store is 5 minutes from my house), used another $20 reward, & a $1 coupon to pick up some things. (Oat milk, two salads, chicken, protein bars, etc). My out of pocket was $6.46, and I earned $2 via Fetch, and $.25 via iBotta. 
  • I used flight credits for our summer family trip to Bend. M had a United credit from his cancelled holiday travel, which offset the majority of the cost. 
  • I used discounted airline gift cards for flights for the rest of us, saving a bit of additional money.
  • Nick needed an (almost) entirely new wardrobe: underwear, socks, shoes for tennis x2, shorts, tshirts & a hoodie. He's grown tremendously, and is pretty hard on his clothing. That wasn't cheap (to say the least), but I did shop for offers, used gift cards, and clicked through Rakuten where I could. 

Earning money

  • Earned $13 from Rakuten
  • Sold a jacket on eBay, and made $78. The eBay sales have been glacier like (I haven't spent time on this, so unsurprising). It was nice to have a win. 
  • Earned/redeemed a $5 Fetch reward

Avoiding spending

  • Other than optimizing airline flights, I can't think of anything!

Eating what we have

  • We ate all of the leftover lasagna for dinner (could have used one more slice, but the boys filled in with a few snacks after soccer).
  • I made a couple of salads, and topped them with dinner leftovers

For others

  • I'm volunteering as a judge for a UN girls in tech program, and enjoying the work so much. What a highlight of my day. 
That's it from our side. What wins have you had lately? 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 I flew in on Friday afternoon, and am still jet lagged. Hoping to be recovered by mid-week or so. As a result, the menu planning is, shall we say, low effort.

  • Friday - M heated frozen lasagna
  • Saturday - M grilled burgers (belated Mother's Day) + cupcakes
  • Sunday - tacos
  • Monday - I'm driving five kids to soccer, so we'll take the easy route & have leftover lasagna
  • Tuesday - burgers & salad
  • Wednesday - tacos
  • Thursday - enchiladas (freezer)
  • Friday - any leftovers, or wings 
What about you? What's on the menu this weekend?

Sunday, May 15, 2022

I'm back + all the jetlag

It's been a whirlwind over the last ten days or so. We flew to San Diego last Friday, and attended a wedding for one of M's family members. It was so much fun for the boys to get to meet lots of family members, participate in a traditional Persian wedding, & it was just a gorgeous event. We all had a great time. 

I flew from San Diego to Denver, then on to London. Normally I get a direct flight from SFO, but San Diego didn't have any options that fit my work policies. So, Sunday was quite a long travel day. I don't recommend it as a Mother's Day plan. :-) 

I don't sleep for any period of time on flights (even with business class/reclined seats), so no sleep at all on Sunday. I got to the hotel on Monday afternoon, ordered room service, binge watched Bridgerton (a month of Netflix was my Mother's Day request, knowing I'd use it when I traveled) went to the gym, and then slept for 12 hours. Lots of office time, team dinners, & it was so lovely to see the team again, after 2+ years. 

I flew back on Friday, and slept for maybe an hour, so another night without sleep. The lack of sleep definitely adds up in unhelpful ways. I managed to complete my Global Entry renewal interview as I came through customs at the airport, so at least that task has now been completed, and my next international trip return will go a bit faster. 

I did all of the mom errands yesterday (birthday party, soccer game, reffing game, helping Sam with job forms, etc) & today is taking Sam to his summer job training, Nick to a tennis match, and more tennis. I've managed to unpack, and do all of my laundry. But, I feel so far behind.

Next week will be a very long week, as I attempt to catch up on sleep & readjust myself to the right timezone, all whilst in the middle of my life. 

And now, for a limited time, a picture from the wedding, which was such a family highlight! <Photo now removed.>

What about you? What have you been up to this week? 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

May Goals

 May represents another very busy month for us. We are working to get re-adjusted to high school life, now that most COVID restrictions are lifted. The boys are *very* active, & it keeps us on our toes. One day soon, we will have drivers, but for now, we're in that spot of tons of activities, and all driving falling to us. 

It's also the month where I return to international work travel. Here goes!

Here are my goals for the month. 


  • Stick to our budget - 
  • Talk to our accountant about a DAF & adjustments for the year 
  • Come up with long term budget/FIRE Plan. I need to update this based on some comp adjustments our company announced. 
  • 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 items (driving practice, tutoring, ref jobs, summer job forms, etc)
  • Have two dates with M 
  • Lots of photos for M's family (at the wedding for his cousin this month) 
  • Finalize summer plans
  • Book all summer travel
  • Stay on track with my healthy eating routine 
  • Come up with international travel healthy plan. Also, avoid getting COVID in London, so I can re-enter the US as planned. 
  • Close rings daily -
  • Lose 4 lbs -
  • Meditate 5x 
  • Use return London trip to renew my global entry
  • Take advantage of office perks, making it feel like an appealing change in my routine
  • Do something social with friends - 
  • Volunteer commitment for girls in tech org
  • Continue working on post-work plan & options 
  • Some sort of personal writing (fiction or journaling)
What about you? Any wins to share? 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Frugal Friday

In between a crazy work schedule, I've been deep into summer planning mode, which is helping me feel more organized. But, it's definitely not been cheap, as I book 12+ weeks of activity this week. Nick is planning to take some formal tennis training, which is not inexpensive. But, Sam is now largely on the income generating side of the parenting equation. :-) 

Here are a few frugal things for the week:

Saving on things we buy:

  • Raise had an 3% off promo code, which included Amazon gift cards. I clicked through Rakuten first, then went to Raise & saved 4% (standard 1% + 3%) off of the purchase. I also will get a small amount back from my credit card & Rakuten. 
  • Canceled & rebooked my flight for Hawaii (my mom's 70th anniversary), to save $60. I'm surprised that flights have gone down for June, but I'll take it!
  • I priced out Uber for our trip this weekend, & it was significantly more than parking at the airport (3x as much). I booked in advance online for the parking, saving 10% more. 

Earning money:

  • I redeemed Fetch rewards for a $5 Amazon gift card

Avoiding spending:

  • I ordered a few dresses for the wedding we're going to, but ended up liking the one in my closet the best. 

Eating what we have:

  • M grilled up a huge batch of chicken this weekend, which we've enjoyed with rice. There was plenty to feed us most of the week, and we have some chicken leftover for the freezer.

For others:

  • Continued several mentoring relationships
That's it from my side. What about you? Any wins to share? 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

April Goals Recap

 April whizzed by, and it's time to check in on my progress against goals. I'd describe this as a month where I was mostly getting by. A few things did come together, but largely that's through good habits I already have in place. Anything beyond that mostly didn't happen. Here goes!


  • Stick to our budget - dining out was high (I took my mom out 2x as a thank you + early Mother's Day). Groceries were lower than expected, as we had our Costco rebate. 
  • Pay our taxes - done!
  • Talk to our accountant about a DAF & adjustments for the year - nope
  • Come up with long term budget/FIRE Plan - nope
  • Progress towards $1500 side hustle goal, gift card goal, & Fetch/iBotta goals - I sold a few things on eBay, redeemed a couple of gift cards, & earned $5 via Fetch. Tiny little wins, but progress. 


  • Plan one fun activity with the kids - we played tennis, I took the boys to dinner with my mom, we had an Easter egg hunt with my family, we went mini golfing, & the boys had lots of spring break fun with my parents. 
  • Support the kids with various planning items (permit, job applications, tutoring) - Yes! Permit acquired, job application was successful, & tutoring is on track. 
  • Have two dates with M - we managed one. M broke his ankle, so he's been reluctant to get out much. 
  • Call with M's family - no, although we've been sending lots of photos. One of the reason we are all heading to the family wedding this weekend is on behalf of my mother in law, who can't be there. 
  • Enjoy spring break/Easter with my parents - done, and it was great!
  • Finalize summer plans - not in April, but I have a positive May update. 
  • Stay on track with my healthy eating routine - I did well for the first half of the month, & with visitors & back to the office, & non-stop meals out, the wheels fell off the bus a bit. 
  • Close rings daily - Yes!
  • Lose 2 lbs - I maintained this month
  • Meditate 5x - nope. I think I meditated 2x. 
  • Adjust to return to office. Build new routines/habits that work with our schedule - I've worked out every day, including those days I'm in the office. We're still working on the boys getting up on their own those days. There have been some real scrambles!
  • Do something social with friends - went on a hike, & a walk
  • Invest time in my volunteering job - Yes, but not as much as I'd like. 
  • Continue working on post-work plan & options - I don't have much of an update here, but it's something I regularly think about.  
  • Journal 10x. - 1x. I just haven't been particularly motivated on this one. 
That's it from my side! What about you? How did you do with your April goals? Any wins to share?

Monday, May 2, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 We have quite a bit in the freezer, so this will likely be a bit of a use it up week. Here's what I'm thinking. 

  • Friday - gyozas & wings 
  • Saturday - chicken curry & rice
  • Sunday - grilled chicken & pasta salad
  • Monday - chicken enchiladas
  • Tuesday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Wednesday - chicken curry
  • Thursday - chicken quesadillas
  • Friday - we are heading to San Diego for a wedding, so something at the airport
What about you? What's on the menu this week?