Thursday, June 30, 2022

All of the decluttering

I should have taken some pictures, but I've been a busy bee in the afternoons/evenings, without the boys at the house. They are having an amazing time with my parents & nephew (at Disneyland this week), and the pictures are making me so happy. Love to see my parents enjoying their time with the boys. 

I've been taking advantage of the errand free evenings by going through the boys rooms, and also just trying to work through our own clutter. I've given away SO much on Buy Nothing, & have listed four items on eBay. I haven't done eBay in months, after I was burned out from a really (cough) foolish buyer. 

The house feels so much lighter! Garbage & recycling came out of closets, drawers were organized, holey socks were tossed, the closet was used! Old books & toys were given away. Dirty items were washed. It's a miracle. :-) 

I also took advantage of a brief break at lunch today, and finally achieved my goal of getting all of last year's zucchini out of the freezer. Only a month behind my goal of managing that before our first zucchini this year. But hey, I'll still take it. I made up a double batch of zucchini fritters, to accompany some leftovers.

I'm also getting organized for next week, when we are back full swing with the boys. The quiet has been lovely, but I'm looking forward to having them back at home again! That means a large Costco stock up trip is probably also in order.

Are you decluttering anything these days? 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 M & I had a fabulous weekend getaway, and are now firmly back in real life. (He started with a 7 am meeting, & I had an 8 am. It was quite a re-entry. ;-))

  • Friday - out to dinner at a supper club, I had steak!
  • Saturday - out, again, at one of my favorite restaurants. Steak, again. Oh, and wine. ;-) 
  • Sunday - we got home late, so I made a cauliflower crust pizza from the freezer
  • Monday - we're making a chicken fajita kit I found at Costco
  • Tuesday - likely creamy basil chicken (freezer) over roasted squash
  • Wednesday - enchiladas (freezer)
  • Thursday - leftovers
  • Friday - I might try this coconut chicken dish
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Friday, June 24, 2022

Frugal Friday

These weeks are a bit different, with mini trips & the kids out of town. But, we're still looking for wins where we can find them. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I don't know which category this fits in, but we stayed at a hotel on Father's Day, for a mini getaway. The hotel has a "resort fee", which included a lot of fun activities. I took advantage of three fitness classes, and enjoyed them quite a bit. In my area, fitness classes run between $15-25, so three of them was a chunk of value I didn't want to miss. The classes at resorts are often so different than how I'd work out, and I always learn something new. They also made me the good kind of sore, which I appreciate. 

Earning money

  • No real "earning" of money, but I did remember to promptly file an expense report, so I would get reimbursed

Avoiding spending

  • I made Nick chicken between tennis camp & the airport (he ate in the car), as he hadn't had lunch & was starving. He still ate dinner a few hours later, but this avoided some snack purchases, and was healthier than other options. 
  • M was able to get a gate pass with the kids, without paying extra. I don't know if the policy is different by airport, or what. We were prepared to pay, as my sister mentioned that she's always had to when dropping off her kids. 
  • M & I skipped breakfast at the resort. I don't like to eat before working out, and he prefers to fast a bit here & there. Instead, we met up for lunch after we both worked out & showered, and shared a salad & sandwich. Perfect, & delicious. 
  • Picked up a large new container of almonds from a neighbor on Buy Nothing

Eating what we have

  • Used lettuce & peppers from the garden in our salad
  • I forgot to pick up corn to go with our barbecued chicken, so I picked tomatoes & basil from the garden, and mixed them with olive oil, balsamic, salt & pepper. They would have been better with some fresh mozzarella, but were pretty great on their own, as well!
  • Used our first spaghetti squash! Roasted it, shredded it, and served it under a yummy Tomato Chicken Basil recipe. I added fresh tomatoes & basil from the garden on top. 

For others

  • Gave away huge amounts of M's outgrown clothes (he lost weight a year or so ago, and on his frame, 20+ lbs makes a huge difference.)
  • Shared garden produce with neighbors
What about you? Any wins to share? 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

After three years, they resolved an ads issue

 Way, way, way back, I filed a request to allow ads on my site. There was no follow up, and I kept getting a note that the blog was ineligible for ads. Fast forward to today, where I randomly got an email (three years later) that ads are now turned on for my blog. Wow, awesome customer service. ;-) 

Apologies, while I fiddle around & make things as minimally intrusive as possible. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

 The boys are with my parents for the next few weeks, so things are a bit different on the meal planning side. Here's what we're up to! As always, all meals are served with a green salad.

  • Friday - I made bacon wrapped chicken, & served it with chicken tikka samosas (Trader Joes)
  • Saturday - barbecued chicken + grilled zucchini
  • Sunday - eating out
  • Monday - Thai coconut chicken 
  • Tuesday - creamy tomato basil chicken
  • Wednesday -leftovers
  • Thursday - on a mini vacation, eating out 
  • Friday - on a mini vacation, eating out 
What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Saturday Happenings

M got the boys escorted successfully at the airport yesterday, despite Nick's protests that they'd be fine on their own. They really feel quite independent. ;-) When M was flying home with the kids from San Diego a month or so ago, they got on board, and realized Sam had left his bag in the boarding area. So, they still require a bit of supervision... Despite what they may think!

It was so quiet in the house last night. No one asking for a ride anywhere. Or, needing additional food. Or, money. We sent quite a bit of money to my parents, because we know how expensive it is to feed these guys, and appreciate their help so much!

Here's what's happening on this lovely Saturday in the bay area:

  • I'm planning on a long hike this morning
  • I need to plan our menu
  • Make a grocery list
  • Costco, produce stand, grocery store (or, some combo of these)
  • M is grilling chicken tonight. And, will use barbecue sauce, which I love, but Nick does not. I get my preferred type of chicken! It's the small things. ;-) 
  • Clean the house
  • Give away some things on Buy Nothing
  • Continue the "great clean out" of the boys rooms. We have them keep up on their rooms when they are here, but it is much, much, much easier without them! Sam's room is in reasonably good shape. Nick is a wild clutter bug. 
  • Pick herbs & lettuce
  • Read by the pool
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish this week? 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Frugal Friday

We've made it to Friday! Here are a few wins for the week. I find that, sometimes I really have to search for them, and other weeks, the wins just roll off of the finger tips (while typing). This week was somewhere in between.  

Saving on things we buy

  • M & I are splurging on a few mini trips, while the boys are at camp. I'd booked two nights at one place (they had a two night minimum) & we opted to instead change to one night at another place that we booked for just Sunday. Sunday is definitely cheaper than a standard weekend away, and it will reduce the number of meals out. We're both super excited about the place we picked, which should be fun. 
  • We went to dinner for M's birthday, and brought our own wine. There is a corkage fee, but it's still cheaper than buying at the restaurant. 

Earning money

  • Sam had camp setup on Sunday, and has been working all week at his summer job. He's in charge of 1st graders, and is enjoying it. It's definitely been a shock to him to discover how hard it is to keep track of & entertain 20 1st graders. ;-) 
  • Nick helped out his tennis coach, & also got paid a bit.

Avoiding spending

  • We've made some tweaks to the upcoming weeks to eat more at home than originally planned (even during our time off) & reduce costs. We'll still go out & splurge, but treat it more as a one off, vs a week of splurging. 

Eating what we have

  • I'd planned to have leftover orange chicken & fried rice for lunch one day, but saw that Sam had eaten the chicken when he got home from soccer practice. Instead, I added 1/2 of the rice to a pan, and then added two eggs. I scrambled them all together, and then added sriracha on top. Yum! I did this for two lunches.
  • Made a double batch of chicken fajitas for dinner one night, and used peppers & cilantro from the garden
  • Defrosted bolognese sauce, and added meatballs, and part of a very inexpensive ($1) jar of spaghetti sauce to make enough for two dinners. The bolognese had been in the freezer for awhile, so it was good to get that out of the freezer. 

For others

  • We brought gifts to Sam's soccer bud, who just had surgery
  • When we got to the store to pick up the gifts, all of the carts were spread over the lot, making it really difficult to park. The kids & I rounded up all of the carts, & returned them to the corrals. 
  • Gave away some garden produce to interested neighbors
  • Donated school supplies to a non-profit camp, serving low income students
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, June 13, 2022

Menu Plan Monday

It's another busy week, with Nick at camp, and Sam starting his job. There are quite a few logistics involved in the schedule, so hoping for an easy menu this week:

  • Friday - hot dogs, mac & cheese + fruit
  • Saturday - tacos
  • Sunday - chicken fajitas (peppers & cilantro from the garden)
  • Monday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Tuesday - taco quesadillas
  • Wednesday - leftover fajitas
  • Thursday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Friday - something on the go, as we get the boys to the airport
That's it from our side. Nothing complicated this week. What about you? What's on your menu? 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

It's Sunday

We have a really busy week ahead, and I have a morning meeting tomorrow that I'm absolutely dreading. As I'm trying to put a positive spin on it for myself, maybe that means I'm getting the hardest part out of the way early, and the rest of the week will be a breeze! (I can dream. ;-))

Sam starts his job tomorrow, and Nick is unexpectedly around for a local tennis camp (he was originally at a residential camp, but they cancelled it *very* last minute, which throws all of the logistics up in the air.) 

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

  • Work out
  • Water the plants
  • Wash all sheets/make beds
  • Laundry
  • Marinate chicken
  • Prep veggies
  • Make a large salad
  • Organize the fridge
  • Make a schedule for the week, taking into account kid logistics
  • Finalize upcoming time off with M
  • Pick M up at the airport
  • Take Sam to & from job orientation
  • Take Nick to/from tennis tournament
  • Buy treats for Sam's injured soccer buddy (he's having surgery today) & drop them off
  • Review work schedule for the week, make adjustments as needed
  • Work on packing list & plans for the upcoming trips
I don't think I'll get a chance to sit by the pool, but I think it will be too hot for that to be really enjoyable anyway. 

I'm going to keep posting Hawaii pics, I think. The hotel had so many lovely elements to enjoy!

What about you? What are you up to today?

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Saturday Happenings

It's been a busy day around here, with lots going on & plenty of chores, catching up from being out of town last weekend. 

I set the alarm this morning, so I could make Sam breakfast & wake him up for a ride to a soccer tournament. His friend's mom picked him up at 7:20, so it was an early start to the day.

I worked out this morning, and ran a few errands (Costco & the grocery store, plus a couple of stops for Nick to get some new clothes/shoes). The price of groceries! Oh my. I'm usually not at Costco (that's M's job), so I was blown away by the price increases since I've last been there.

Nick has grown another few inches, and slimmed down even more (all of that tennis, plus a growth spurt), so he needed a few additional items. 

Nick & I had just finished unloading the car, and my friend called. Sam's buddy was injured during the game (broke two bones in his wrist) & I needed to come pick up Sam & another player. The field was about an hour away, and I got there just as the whistle was blowing at the end of the game. I feel terrible for Sam's friend, who is spending the afternoon at the ER, as the local urgent care couldn't set the bones. The poor kid is in a ton of pain, and it's a lengthy wait. 

Sam & the other friend I picked up were exhausted & dehydrated, as they ended up not having any subs, and had played two full games in 90+ degree weather. We stopped at 7-Eleven for drinks, as I didn't have time to pack anything from home. Everyone was a bit more enthusiastic after they'd hydrated a bit.

Nick is helping out his tennis coach today (and, potentially for a few other weeks this summer), as the coach needs to rest up after surgery. Nick is fetching balls, and keeping an eye on some of the younger age group lessons, which the coach really appreciated, as it's so hot here. Having a teen to run around for you would definitely make the lessons easier!

I'm planning on staying cool for the rest of the day, catching up on laundry, watering the plants, and making an easy dinner. Otherwise, I need to start working on a few packing lists, have the boys help me make Father's Day cards, & the like.

And, another of my favorite Hawaiian flowers. Dreaming of last weekend, on the beach!

What are you up to today?

Friday, June 10, 2022

Not really much of a frugal Friday

 There were minimal frugal wins on our vacation, but we had a fantastic time. 

A few frugal wins:

  • Got upgraded to premium economy on the way home, and enjoyed a free mimosa
  • Packed snacks & avoided airport/plane meals for the flight home
  • Brought home some chocolates we had leftover, as a treat for Sam
  • Parked our car in the free area, vs paying $40/day (!) for valet parking. Decided that we will pass on the car rental next time we visit. We didn't need it, and parking is super pricey. We typically book through Costco, and due to the car shortage, if you decline the car rental, they will now often offer you a free shuttle to/from your hotel, as well as provide you with a pretty sizable discount on the overall package (several hundred dollars)
  • Filled up the car at Costco before we turned it back in at the rental car place (cheapest gas on the island)
  • When I got back, I was pretty jet lagged on Thursday, but in charge of dinner. I remembered a few Trader Joes freezer options - orange chicken & fried rice - & made that instead of takeout or going out. 
And, a few photos of our trip.

The weather was great, the hotel was lovely & our time together was very fun. Most importantly, my mom had a wonderful time, & was so appreciative of the birthday celebration, which is really all you can ask for! 

I'll be back with a real update soon. Hope everyone is well. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Frugal Friday

The week ahead is expected to be fabulous, but not frugal, with a trip to Hawaii. I focused on cleaning out the fridge as much as possible before I left. M tends to not be on top of creative menus, and using up leftovers.  

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a grocery store reward to pick up some Memorial Day weekend barbecue items. 
  • I've tried to build in a few fun treats over the past week or so, as the boys are studying hard for finals. I took them to boba on Monday, and used a $5 reward for one of the drinks. 

Earning money

  • Nothing on this front, but I did get to drive to & from the district office (school) to turn in Sam's work permit form, to allow him to work this summer. ;-) 

Avoiding spending

  • I adjusted our plans in Hawaii from a formal photo shoot, to just doing the free photo that comes with our hotel package. I figure we can have someone else take extra photos as needed. We will get one great picture, and my mom can have that as part of her gift. 
  • M had a conflict & couldn't drop me off at the airport today, but I was able to use Uber credits
  • Packed a lunch & snack for the flight, and brought my own water flask to fill at the airport
  • I really wanted a premium economy seat, but I was on the upgrade waiting list (I have status, thanks to some pre-COVID work travel). Better than premium, I got upgraded to first class for free! I'm thrilled. I think I'll treat myself to a free drink before we arrive, and the flight is long enough that the extra leg room will be very appreciated.
  • Arranged carpools for multiple kid activities, saving everyone time & money. 

Eating what we have 

  • We finished off the last of a large bag of gyozos. I don't know how M prepares them, but they are amazing every time. He uses a lot of seasoning, and pan fries them. They are an easy Friday dinner for us, served with a protein option. We bought this particular bag at Costco, on sale for $7 or so. We've made 6 or so dinners (x3 diners) out of them, so they've been a great value. 
  • Used up the oranges from our neighbor's tree, and made a double batch of orange muffins (we skip the glaze). This recipe also used up the remainder of an open tub of yogurt (in place of the sour cream). 
  • I used the remainder of the orange juice in a fruit smoothie. The giant bowl is now off of my counter. Hurrah!
  • I made Rice Krispie treats, to use up most of an open bag of cereal.  
  • I had a salad with the dregs of a bag of lettuce, plus a leftover piece of chicken from one of the boys. That was lunch one day, which worked fine. 
  • Had leftover roasted potatoes (dinner out last weekend) 2x with eggs, to make a breakfast burrito. Delicious & it felt good not to toss them. 
  • Finished off a bag of edamame, from the freezer. 
  • Used two pieces of chicken that Nick had as a dinner leftover, and turned them into sandwich wraps. The first one was Mexican themed, with salsa. With the second one, I added sliced tomato & a bit of mayo. Both were great, and no waste with the chicken. 

For others

  • Hosted a call for a volunteer organization
  • Donated some outgrown, but still fantastic condition teen Nike shoes on Buy Nothing. 
  • Was selected for an advisory council at a local public university. Details to come, but it sounds exciting!
That's it from my side - what about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Goals for June

June promises to be a fun month, with a lot going on! My sister & I are taking my mom to Hawaii, Nick is doing a few summer camps (including a residential tennis camp at a college), Sam starts his job, & M & I have a few weekend getaways planned. 

Here are my goals for the month!


  • Stick to our budget 

  • Have a great time in Hawaii, while sticking to a reasonable budget

  • Finalize 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 

  • Either list or donate all remaining eBay inventory


  • Plan one fun activity with the kids 

  • Manage summer schedule effectively (jobs, summer camps, etc)

  • Have two dates with M 

  • Plan a call with M’s family


  • Decide on some updates to my eating habits. I’d like to potentially move away from calorie counting, and go with something a bit easier to manage. While still eating well & dropping a few pounds. 

  • Close rings daily 

  • Lose 4 lbs 

  • Sign up for new fitness classes

  • 4 strength & 4 stretching workouts

  • Meditate 5x 


  • Do something social with friends

  • Finish volunteer commitment for girls in tech org 

  • Some sort of personal writing (fiction or journaling)

  • Continue working on post-work plan & options  (advisory role?)

What about you? What are your goals for June?