Monday, March 20, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 We've made good progress on our freezer stash, so I'm now working on building it back up, with a few of our favorite meals. I'm making a triple batch of taco meat tonight, 1/3 for dinners this week, and the rest for the freezer.

  • Friday - birthday dinner (takeout pizza)
  • Saturday - chicken curry
  • Sunday - steak & coleslaw
  • Monday - tacos
  • Tuesday - orange chicken & rice
  • Wednesday - tacos
  • Thursday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Friday - gyozos & wings?
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday Things

I was reasonably productive yesterday, and did a lot of driving around (for Nick). We are in the home stretch here, as Nick has his driving test in a few weeks. I typically spend Sundays preparing for the week ahead, and today will be filled with that, plus lots of soccer!

I also had the boys go through all of their shorts for Dubai. As expected, many are outgrown. The good news is that there was some sharing between the kids (Sam is taller than Nick). I'll pass on the outgrown shorts via Buy Nothing, and hopefully save another parent some money. I did place an order for a few additional pairs, and buy Nick tennis shorts. Shorts that fit the bill for his tennis matches are expensive & hard to find, so those are ordered.

To do list for today:

  • Workout class
  • First club soccer game of the season for Nick, so help him get ready to go. M is taking him to Monterey, which is not close at all.
  • Watch two soccer games for Sam. At least he can drive himself to warmups!
  • List shorts on Buy Nothing
  • Call my parents
  • Sort out plans for next week, particularly as I have to be in the city twice. Drat. My least favorite work activity.
  • Coordinate logistics with our Colorado friend, for our upcoming visit
  • Return two items that I bought for Dubai & don't need
  • Shred cabbage for coleslaw
  • Make a salad
  • Clean the kitchen
That's it for us. What are you up to today? I'll be attempting to stay dry at soccer, as it's supposed to be another very wet day!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 It's a non rainy Saturday, for the first time in a very long time! Nick won his (birthday) tennis match last night, we had takeout pizza, opened gifts, and had sparkler candles on ice cream cake. Everyone was so full from the pizza, I don't think anyone tried the ice cream cake. Maybe today. ;-) 

Here's what we're up to today:

  • Take Nick to his reffing game. Run on the track during the game, and then drive him home. Two weeks until his driving test!
  • Take Nick to/from school tennis open court, & tennis volunteering 
  • Shred cabbage for coleslaw (tomorrow's dinner)
  • Vacuum
  • Laundry
  • Clean kitchen
  • Package & mail eBay sale
  • Post a bunch of stuff on BN
  • Menu plan & make a shopping list
  • Costco/store (M + me)
  • Make chicken curry for dinner
  • Try on all Dubai clothes/potential outfits, finalize what I need, and make packing list
  • Finalize Colorado itinerary

What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, March 17, 2023

Frugal Friday

 It was a really busy week at work, so not much time to put my list together. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I had to add another Dubai hotel room to our reservation (folks in Iran don't have access to international credit cards, which makes travel booking near impossible), and noticed that the rate had dropped slightly. Because we are paying for so many rooms, I rebooked everything & saved close to $400. 

Earning money

  • Listed a few items on eBay
  • Helped Nick sign up for reffing games

Avoiding spending

  • Returned a few things I'd purchased for Dubai, but won't need.

Eating what we have

  • Used up ripe bananas in smoothies
  • I finished the last of the breakfast sandwiches from the freezer
  • I made meatloaf on Sunday, and I was able to freeze half for another meal
  • We had a bunch of lemons fall off of our tree in the big storm earlier in the week, so we've been using those in salads, as dressing

For others

  • Signed up for a volunteer project
  • Offered to take home some "lost & found" gym clothes that were being tossed. I washed them, and am giving them away on Buy Nothing
  • Gave away a bag of clothing on BN
That's it from my side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Workout Wednesday

 I'm late to the party, but trying to catch up after a week of having a cold, a huge storm (we lost our internet, and had a huge mess in our yard to clean up) & a bunch of work drama.

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - I had a really terrible night's sleep, so I slept in & didn't work out
  • Tuesday - 2 mile walk on the treadmill
  • Wednesday - spin class + 1.5 mile walk
  • Thursday - no workout, wasn't feeling well
  • Friday - Orange Theory class
  • Saturday - Orange Theory class
  • Sunday - Orange Theory class

Highlights: I tracked my calories every day, which was a nice change, after falling off the wagon for a few days. 

Lowlights: Not feeling great. I'm much better this week. 

Areas of focus for the week ahead: Pushing through hunger, when I know there's a meal around the corner. For whatever reason, I have some sort of scarcity signal that goes off in my head, and when I get hungry, even if dinner is around the corner, I feel compelled to have a snack, instead of just waiting. It interferes with dinner, isn't a great example for the kids (I'm always telling them to stay out of the pantry ahead of meals) & adds unnecessary calories. 

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

Monday, March 13, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

It's another rainy week of March (seriously, so much rain). I'm grateful we're not in the flooding zone, but so many people are struggling with extreme weather right now - blizzards in northern & southern California, and lots of flooding. 

We're also not barbecuing a lot, which is typically a staple for us. M doesn't enjoy being out at the barbecue in the rain. ;-) 

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

  • Friday - doctored up frozen pizzas
  • Saturday - M & I went out, and the teens had taquitos
  • Sunday - meatloaf, mashed potatoes & green beans
  • Monday - chicken fajitas
  • Tuesday - leftover meatloaf
  • Wednesday - chicken curry
  • Thursday - leftover fajitas
  • Friday - leftover curry
What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Friday, March 10, 2023

Frugal Friday

 It's been another week! 

Saving on things we buy

  • On a very busy day, I redeemed a free 1/2 sandwich offer for lunch at Panera
  • Used a $20 grocery store reward to pick up: three cases of sparkling water, two package of fruit snacks (airport/road trip snacks - splurge), and three containers of juice for Nick's smoothies. I spent $6 out of pocket, and earned a little back via Fetch (Bubly offer). 
  • Used a belated birthday offer from Chipotle to get a free chip & guac (for Sam), when I took him to dinner one night. I used a gift card to pay for our dinner. 

Earning money

  • Sold an (empty) box for Airpods, which was Nick's Christmas gift last year. It still blows my mind that people will pay for the boxes, but I guess it increase the resale value of the item they are selling, to have the box. 
  • M & I received the remainder of our 2022 bonus this week. I put mine in the boys college accounts, and savings. He is using his for taxes. Fun. ;-) 

Avoiding spending

  • Picked up a box of oatmeal & an extra watch band/charger (for my fitness class) via Buy Nothing
  • Another neighbor was giving away avocados (we have lots of citrus fruit & avocado trees here), so I picked up a bag

Eating what we have

  • We don't keep bread on hand (typically) & I have a few jams/jellies open & in the fridge. We rarely use them, so I've been adding a bit of jelly to Nick's smoothies. I finished off the blueberry jelly this week, and will start working through the strawberry jelly next. 
  • I also used a container of pureed pumpkin (from when I picked up a few free pumpkins at the store, after Halloween) & made pumpkin muffins. 
  • Ate lots of leftovers during the week. 
  • Sam & I both had leftover Chipotle for a second dinner, and I have just enough for a lunch. The person making our food was clearly new, and very generous with the toppings. ;-) 

For others

  • Gave away a few items on Buy Nothing, volunteered for a citizenship project at work, and helped at the school
What about you? Any frugal wins to share?

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Workout Wednesday

I'm getting into a better rhythm, and my knee isn't bothering me much at all. I do have a cold this week, which slowed me down a bit. (Reflected in next week's post of workouts). 

Workouts for the week

  • Monday - Orange Theory class
  • Tuesday -  45 minutes on the elliptical
  • Wednesday - 60 minute spin class
  • Thursday - 45 minutes on the elliptical
  • Friday - Orange Theory class
  • Saturday - Orange Theory class
  • Sunday - Orange Theory class

Highlights - back to spin class, after a long break for my knee!

Lowlights - I'm doing an okay job with snacking & overall calories, but I could definitely make improvements. 

Areas of focus for the week ahead - I have a cold this week, and tend to eat comfort food when I don't feel well. I need to keep that in check, and get in workouts appropriate to my energy level.

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

Monday, March 6, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

We have made our way through the vast majority of our freezer leftovers! This is a huge milestone, but also means that we need to get back to prepping more meals on weekends/during the week. Our schedule often makes that a challenge.

Here's what's on the menu for the week. It's apparently a very chicken heavy week. (We serve every dinner with a green salad.)

  • Friday - gyozos & wings
  • Saturday - grilled chicken & rice
  • Sunday - orange chicken & rice
  • Monday beef broccoli noodles
  • Tuesday - leftover grilled chicken & rice
  • Wednesday - leftover orange chicken & rice
  • Thursday - leftover beef broccoli noodles
  • Friday - I'm thinking pizza

What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Sunday, March 5, 2023

A wardrobe update

When we go to Dubai in April, it will be Ramadan. From what I can tell, it looks like a more modest dress code is recommended during that time of year. It's also going to be 80 degrees or so. I've done some research, and it looks like I'll need to be covering my shoulders and knees, while keeping cool. I don't own anything that fits the bill exactly, as every dress I own, save for two, hit me just above the knee. 

I've made a bunch of online orders, and have realized 1) how picky I am 2) that I have a very definite opinion of what I like (fitted vs flowy) and 3) I've never been much of a fan of a midi length (midi is a cut that hits you sort of half way between your knees & ankles.) 

I'll also be seeing my husband's relatives that I've never met before, and will be very unlikely to see again. So, I'd like to look reasonably good, at this one an only shot of making an impression. ;-) 

In an attempt to cast a wide net for things well outside of my comfort zone, I've ordered many, many things from stores across all different price points & styles. 

Here's what I've found so far:

Two of these dresses (one black, one navy). I will wear them with a light sweater or wrap. I also went up a size from what I'd typically order, because I don't want them to be too form fitting. These are from Target.

This dress from Loft. It hits me differently than it does the model, and the slit is on the side, not above the knee.

Two dresses that I already own (woohoo), that will also need to be worn with a sweater/wrap.

This skirt (Nordstrom) , that I plan to wear with a tank top & sweater/wrap. 

I set a pretty hefty budget for this trip, but I've spent very little of it, which is great. Let's hope the last few orders I get in are winners! I'd love to get in a pair of light weight pants, a few tank tops, and need to find some light wraps/sweaters in my closet. I'm also planning to borrow a few wraps from friends, as they are not the type of thing I'd normally wear.

What is your style? Do you enjoy shopping? I'm NOT a fan, particularly when I'm looking for very specific things.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Saturday Happenings

It's a pretty mellow Saturday for us, as club soccer games haven't started yet. Those will begin in a few weeks. We'll enjoy the quiet weekends until then. ;-) 

Overall, it was a good week. I need to be more cautious about our menu planning, as we've done such a great job of eating all of our freezer leftovers, that there is minimal wiggle room for not having a meal at the ready. It was part of my plan for the winter to eat through our stash, but it does mean that I need to be more intentional about our cooking. 

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

  • Go to a workout class
  • Vacuum
  • Clean the shower
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Laundry
  • Make a Costco list
  • Menu plan
  • Try on a few items I purchased for Dubai, and see if anything will work. If not, process the return.
  • Make muffins
  • Take Nick to volunteer tennis lessons
  • Pick up BN item
  • List 2 items on BN or eBay
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, March 3, 2023

Frugal Friday

I've been continuing to look for deals, selling things here & there, & making progress on our freezer meals. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I used a $20 reward for a grocery purchase. I picked up mini ice cream bars that were clearanced out, and had both an iBotta & Fetch offer (rare to be able to combine), making each box about $.25. 
  • I also used a $4 CVS reward, and picked up some candy to go with a birthday gift. Teen gifts are typically cash or gift cards, so it's nice to have a bag/box of candy to go with it. 
  • Used another $8.50 in CVS rewards (they keep sending them) to buy two giant bags of popcorn & two boxes of tea, for a $1.45. (That includes 2 bags, which I didn't purchase, but was somehow charged for. That's the second time it's happened to me on self checkout, so I obviously need to pay more attention.) 

Earning money

  • I sold two pair of sandals on eBay. 

Avoiding spending

  • I've given up coffee, as it's been causing me some stomach issues. Although M still has coffee, I'm saving the cost of one espresso (made at home) per day, as well as the almond/oat/soy milk that I'd buy to go in it. I'll use up my remaining stash of alternative milk in smoothies. 
  • I picked up the Friday Freebie (plain Greek yogurt), which happened to be on our shopping list for a recipe. Love it when that happens. 
  • I belong to a workout studio that charges a monthly fee. You sign up for classes, and if you cancel with less than 8 hours until the class, you get charged a missed class fee. I've only missed once (when our garage was flooding), and I almost overslept on Monday. I was attending the 7 am class, and got almost no sleep, as M has been sick. I really, really thought about skipping, but pushed myself & went! I got in a workout, and avoided the fee. 
  • Called United & got the boys seats for our Dubai flight upgraded. (I get complimentary upgrades for everyone on our reservation, as a part of my status, but I'd split the reservations, and needed to have it done manually. It saved $2k in upgrades.) We're still waiting to see if M & I will be upgraded to business class, so fingers crossed. 

Eating what we have

  • I'm continuing to eat up random leftovers for lunches, and typically fast in the mornings (no breakfast). By the time lunch rolls around, I'm willingly to almost anything. 
  • I've been making smoothies, when we don't have obvious leftovers. I like a small scoop of peanut butter in the smoothie, both for the taste, and for the extra protein.
  • We've been doing great eating things from the freezer, and have whittled our freezer stash way down (our goal for February). 
  • I used up two freebie yogurts in a muffin recipe, as well as almond milk (vs regular milk). I'm trying to use up almond milk purchased for my coffee, as I'm not drinking it any more. 
  • Finished off the last of the ham & bean soup I made for the freezer in January. 
  • Had another two freezer meals, rounding out our menu on a busy week (fiesta chicken + the last of the pulled pork)
  • Out of probably 25 freezer meals when we started the year, we're now down to: 
    • 1 single serving soup container
    • 1 serving of taco meat
    • 1 serving of chicken tikka masala

For others

  • Volunteered at work
  • Gave away a bunch of ski gear on Buy Nothing
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

March Goals

 I'm looking forward to March! It's a reasonably quiet month (one birthday, no travel) before a very busy April (college trip to Colorado, & family trip to Dubai).

Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish this month.


  • Stick to our budget
  • Use 6 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items
  • Make $200 in side hustle
  • Save CA tax refund in boys college accounts
  • Put bonus into savings
  • Find cheaper car insurance
  • Estimate withholdings for 2023 (adjust accordingly) 
  • Plan one fun activity with the kids
  • Summer plans
  • Have to dates with M
  • Plan Dubai activities
  • Lose 3 lbs
  • Track calories & average below 1500 calories/day
  • See two doctors for lingering issues
  • Do something social with friends
  • Invest time in my volunteer roles
  • PRactice French
  • Finalize leave date (work) 
  • Make a list of things I want to do in my first 3 months off
  • Come up with a list of future options (career, volunteer, etc)
  • Figure out dress code requirements for Dubai, and see if I have any gaps. It's a conservative dress code, in a warm weather climate, so not sure I have much that fits the bill. 

What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in March? How does your month look? 

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

February goals check in

 February always flies by, with a short month & birthdays + ski week thrown in. Here's how I did with my goals this month.


  • Stick to our budget - our power bill was sky high, but the rest of our monthly categories were on track. 
  • Target 5 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items - crushed it, using up 8 items
    • Used a squash, right before it was about to be tossed
    • Freezer brussel sprouts
    • Smoothie kits no one liked (2)
    • Rotisserie chicken
    • Pot roast
    • Giant can of San Marzano tomatoes, buried in the back of the pantry
    • Pulled pork
    • Pork chops (unfortunately, tossed, as they were freezer burned)
  • Make $200 in side hustle - I made $131
  • Save $500 in boys college accounts - I added $1,000 to Sam's account (birthday) & will do the same for Nick's birthday next month. 
  • Save $2,000 - no. I booked our flights to France (sister's 50th birthday trip) & our remaining bonus payout lands in March vs February. I should be able to catch up next month. 
  • Plan one fun activity with the kids - we went skiing together
  • Summer plans - I was able to book Nick's two summer camps
  • Help boys with job applications - submitted
  • Have two dates with M - we had one date (beer, while waiting for the boys to finish skiing)
  • Pictures for M's family - yes, sent. 

  • Lose 3 lbs - my February weight was a little all over. I lost a bit (maybe muscle, as I wasn't working out very hard) & have now stabilized & am where I started the month. 
  • Track calories, & average below 1500 calories/day - I finished at 1517/day, which I'm happy with
  • Work out 24 days - I worked out 27 days (missing the day we drove home from Tahoe)
  • Sort out my knee injury - yes, I had an MRI & found out that the pain is being caused by a cyst, and there's nothing structurally wrong with my knee. This was great news, as it means I can go back to my intense workouts. 

  • Do something social with friends - this is the first month in a long time that I can't think of anything I did!
  • Invest time in my volunteer roles - I haven't done much this month
  • Practice French on Duolingo - I'm a bit sporadic, but working on it
  • Lock in date for girls trip to France - yes, and flights booked!

How did you do with your goals this month? Any wins to share?

Monday, February 27, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

Nick's school soccer season is over, but club soccer has begun & he's also playing school tennis. ;-) It's still busy almost every week night, so we're relying on prepped freezer meals, & making meals as we can. Here's what's on our menu this week. 

  • Friday - pulled pork + coleslaw
  • Saturday - chicken shawarma
  • Sunday - grilled burgers & fries
  • Monday - Mexican one dish rice
  • Tuesday - leftover pulled pork
  • Wednesday - leftover Mexican one dish rice
  • Thursday - pasta & baked chicken
  • Friday - wings & gyozos
What's on your menu this week? Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Saturday Happenings

I spent yesterday catching up on work, and trying to get the house put back together after our trip. Because we brought our own food, there were lots of little pieces that needed to be put away, not to mention getting all of the ski stuff put back into bags for next time. 

Here's what I'm hoping to get done today:

  • Menu
  • Costco (M)
  • Workout class
  • Review grades/homework with boys
  • Laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Schedule for the week
  • Sort out tennis logistics for next week with Nick
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Start working on Dubai plans with M
  • File taxes x2
It's probably overly optimistic, so anything not done today will get carried over to tomorrow. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish today? 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Frugal Friday

 It was not a particularly frugal week, as we were out of town for most of it. We definitely made good tradeoffs (the cheaper condo with a kitchen/laundry, vs the much more convenient hotel), brought almost all of our own food, etc.

We did, however, have a few apres ski beers, while waiting for the teens to finish the last runs of the day. It was a nice balance between relaxing & enjoying, but saving on the majority of the cost. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I used a few Safeway coupons for things we needed to pick up when we were in Tahoe. We ran out of salad, which I think is impressive. ;-) I also bought ice cream for the birthday boy. Both had digital coupons, which saved a couple of dollars. 
  • I bought lunch for three teens on the drive to Tahoe, at Costco. It was under $6. Can't imagine anything cheaper!

Earning money

  • I sold a platter we brought home from our vacation house, but never ended up using. We have an identical one at our house, and don't need two. $25 on Facebook marketplace.
  • I direct deposited our credit card reward into our account, vs spending it at Costco (it's a Costco credit card). ;-) 
  • Bought travel gift cards to earn grocery store credit - $45. We will use the gift cards for summer travel. 

Avoiding spending

  • Prepped food for skiing, & brought it with us (spaghetti & meatballs, tacos, etc). 

Eating what we have

  • We ate almost everything we brought with us, and had very little waste, which I love! 

For others

  • Made two donations, & helped a friend with a ride.
That's it for us. What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, February 20, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 It's another ski week menu plan! We will be feeding 5 for much of the week, as Nick's friend is joining us for our ski trip.

  • Friday - pot roast, green beans & rolls
  • Saturday - finish off leftovers, or curry & rice
  • Sunday - tacos, chips & guac, salad
  • Monday - spaghetti & meatballs, garlic bread, salad
  • Tuesday - out or takeout pizza (whatever the birthday boy chooses)
  • Wednesday - steak, mashed potatoes, goat cheese crostini, salad
  • Thursday - driving home, so something easy when we get back. Pasta & baked chicken
  • Friday - chicken fajitas
What about you? What's on the menu at your house this week?

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Saturday Happenings

It's going to be a packed day, but we leave tomorrow for a ski trip, so I need to make the most of it!

Here's what I'll be up to today:

  • Work on both sets of taxes
  • Work out class
  • Finalize shopping list
  • Costco, produce stand
  • Go to a workout class
  • Sam's having a birthday party at a bowling alley, so I'll need to be there to pay. I'll likely just read my book for the rest of the time, to avoid being a party crasher. ;-) 
  • Pack for myself for skiing
  • Review the boys packing
  • Pack all food & household items
  • Pick up Nick's buddy's ski stuff, so we can get the car loaded. We're taking a friend, to celebrate Nick's 16th birthday. 
  • Figure out dinner. I've defrosted some leftover pot roast, and will make roasted potatoes & carrots to go with that. Oh, and a salad. I guess I've figured it out. ;-) 
  • Have Sam write thank you notes for his birthday gifts.
What about you? What are you up to today? 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Frugal Friday

 Our busy season at work & in our family life continues! 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a flight credit to book one of the tickets to France, and used upgrade points to (hopefully) get upgraded to business class both ways. 
  • I used $12 of Safeway offers (one was a birthday reward, not sure what the other $5 was for) to get: 2 family sized packages of Oreos, a container of sour cream, two green peppers, two containers of Haagen Dazs ice cream, & dill dip for $9. The ice cream & cookies are for Sam's birthday next week. I supposedly saved $30, but I definitely wouldn't have bought most of the items for the non-sale/rewards price. 
  • I received another Safeway reward for $5, plus a $1 produce & $1 bakery reward. I stopped in for more ice cream & birthday pie (it's birthday season at our house!), as well as pears, saving $7 off of the purchase. The pie was pricey, & I would have made it myself, but... time. 

Earning money

  • Sold an ant habitat on FB market place
  • Helped the boys fill out summer job applications

Avoiding spending

  • I used two birthday reward offers to get a free drink (Starbucks) & a frosted sugar cookie (Panera). I rarely get the Panera cookies, because I love them so much. They are delicious. 

Eating what we have

  • I used several leftovers (including Super Bowl snacks) in a chicken fiesta rice dish. The pimento cheese dip added a nice flavor, but it still was missing a bit of salt/cream, so I added our remaining dill dip. That seasoned it nicely, and was an unexpected addition. I also used up a few shishito peppers (in place of the chiles) & the remainder of a bag of shredded cheese. I didn't want to shred more cheddar, and found a bit of crumbled feta from another leftover, so in that went. Sam had his in a tortilla that had been lingering in the fridge. Part of the leftover rice dish went into the freezer, as it made plenty for three dinners. 
  • Continued to eat lots of leftovers, including chicken tenders from the Super Bowl, kebabs & rice, and the above chicken dish.

For others

  • Helped out with rides for a school event
That's it from our side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Workout Wednesday

I'm overdue, and haven't been super motivated lately, with my knee challenges. However, I'm now back to harder workouts & enjoying myself! 

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - 50 minute elliptical workout
  • Tuesday - 60 minute elliptical workout
  • Wednesday - no workout, as I had an early MRI
  • Thursday - 2 mile walk + one hour elliptical
  • Friday - 60 minute Orange Theory workout class
  • Saturday - 60 minute Orange Theory workout class
  • Sunday - 60 minute Orange Theory workout class

Highlights - getting cleared for harder workouts, just in time for ski week!

Lowlights - I've really struggled with snacking (this is an ongoing problem, clearly) & I've tried a variety of approaches, but so far, none have "stuck"

Focus for the week ahead - limiting calories, no after dinner snacking, and being seriously focused to lose a couple of pounds in the next few weeks. This will be especially important while we're skiing, as I tend to drink beer after a day on the slopes.

What about you? How are you doing with your workouts & overall health?

Monday, February 13, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

We have two birthdays within a week in our family, so you'll see more meals out than usual. As always, the birthday person picks dinner!

  • Friday - family dinner out
  • Saturday - kebabs & rice
  • Sunday - snacky Superbowl food + pizza
  • Monday - chicken fajita rice
  • Tuesday - leftover kebabs & rice
  • Wednesday -leftover chicken fajita rice
  • Thursday - birthday dinner out
  • Friday - chicken & pasta
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 I'm back to regular workouts, as the MRI determined that it's a cyst behind my knee. While it can be painful, there's nothing structurally wrong with my knee, so I can resume my workouts. WOOHOO! I have really missed the endorphins. I went to a class yesterday, & a class today & enjoyed myself so much.

Nick's team finished the week with two more wins, and it was fun to see their soccer game yesterday afternoon, despite the rain. The final game of the season is on Wednesday, and then he immediately starts tennis.

Here's what else we have going on today:

  • Laundry
  • Make protein balls
  • Help the boys with job applications
  • Work on France travel plans (I'm taking my sister for her 50th, and our BFF is joining)
  • Start doing Dubai planning (our activities when we're there)
  • Get cash
  • Go to the store
  • Wrap Sam's birthday gifts
  • Make the boys Valentine's bags
  • Menu plan
  • Make a Costco list. M usually goes to Costco.
  • I could optimistically put "clean the house" on the list, but let's be honest... I'll put that off until tomorrow regardless
What about you? What are you up to today? 

Friday, February 10, 2023

Frugal Friday

With the cost of groceries, I've been paying more attention than ever to store offers, rewards, & the like. There have been a few wins in that regard lately, although it does require some time & attention. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I picked up some buns at the grocery store, and checked for any iBotta offers against my receipt. Earned $.50 for something I'd already bought, which is always a nice surprise. 
  • Nick is planning to attend two weeks of tennis training this summer. I used an early bird discount, plus a credit for when a few days of camp got rained out, cutting the cost by 70%. 
  • Ordered new soccer cleats for Nick, using a gift card (I purchased it a month or so ago, and earned grocery store rewards for the purchase). I also clicked through Rakuten, and earned $10 back. 
  • Used a few Safeway coupons to save a bit off of a purchase, although failed to notice that my $5 birthday offer was a reward I need to clip, vs applied automatically. Next time, I suppose. I also uploaded my receipts to Fetch & iBotta, saving a bit more. 

Earning money

  • Helped Sam fill out his payroll forms, for his part time soccer coaching job.
  • Similarly, filled out his tax returns for 2022, and for $14.99 (California cost money to file, federal was free), he's getting $100 or so back. That will go into his college account.

Avoiding spending

  • I thought of using a gift card to treat myself after my MRI on Wednesday, but waited until I got home to have some tea. Although it wouldn't have been out of pocket spending, I still have the money to use for another time. 

Eating what we have

  • I'm continuing to eat random leftovers for breakfast & lunch, on days I eat at home. I had a chicken patty & fried rice for one meal, soup for another, and a cheese quesadilla. 
  • I also had two smoothies, using up a smoothie mix that M purchased, and no one liked. It was super heavy on the kale flavor. I was able to remove about 1/2 of the kale, then add a banana, some protein powder & soy milk, and had those for two meals this week. They are out of my freezer, and it was a healthy & filling meal.

For others

  • Gave stuff away on Buy Nothing, volunteered a couple of hours of my time at work, and arranged for a few carpools - saving other parents time is always a win!
What about you? Any wins to share for the week?

Monday, February 6, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

We've been eating a lot of prepped (by me) freezer meals, which has been nice. It's a busy stretch, with Nick playing in two soccer games, practice three nights a week, Sam's job, & lots of other teen activities. It's so helpful to have backup meals at the ready. 

  • Friday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Saturday - chicken curry & rice
  • Sunday - egg roll in a bowl
  • Monday - leftover chicken curry
  • Tuesday - leftover egg roll in a bowl
  • Wednesday - bacon wrapped chicken & roasted squash
  • Thursday - any leftovers, or gyozas & wings
  • Friday - birthday dinner out
What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Wild Weather Sunday

The weather has been really erratic today - high wind & rain, followed by blue skies, then rinse & repeat. M's been attempting an outside chore, and every time he gathers what he needs & heads out, it rains again. ;-) 

I took Nick & a couple of friends to a soccer team event, then hit the grocery store for a few sale items (18 chocolate chip cookies for $.49 from the bakery - I can't make them for that price). The boys were very excited to see them, of course.

I've also cleaned the house, worked out, washed all of the sheets & done the laundry. I need to motivate myself to keep going, but my book is calling to me. I have a few doctors appointments next week, and I know it's going to be a busy, busy week. 

M is going to make smash burgers on our griddle tonight (due to the weather) & I'll add some roasted potatoes & a salad, to health up the dinner a bit. 

What about you? What are you up to today? Hope you are all having a lovely & productive day. 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

February Goals

 It's the shortest month of the year! Let's get going & get a few things done, shall we?


  • Stick to our budget
  • Target 5 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items
  • Make $200 in side hustle
  • Save $500 in boys college accounts
  • Save $2,000
  • Plan one fun activity with the boys
  • Finalize summer plans
  • Help boys with job applications
  • Have two dates with M
  • Pictures for M's family


  • Lose 3 lbs
  • Track calories, & average below 1500/day
  • Work out 24 days
  • Sort out my knee injury
  • Do something social with friends
  • Invest time in my volunteer roles
  • Practice French with Duolingo
  • Lock in dates for girls trip to France
What about you? Have you set any goals for February?

Friday, February 3, 2023

Frugal Friday

 We had some good frugal wins this week, which was nice. We also came in under budget for our groceries in January, which was a nice surprise. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I saw that I had a $10 Safeway offer (off of a $10 purchase), which made it worth it to make a stop. I bought treats we don't normally buy - four boxes of cereal, chocolate milk, dairy free mint chip ice cream, & two bags of coleslaw mix (not a treat). Out of pocket was $9.20, with another $2.50 in iBotta rewards. All in all, it was a good deal. 
  • Took the boys to dinner for a "mom/boys" night out on Friday, and used a gift card for the majority of the purchase. 
  • I used a 10% off coupon to buy Nick's birthday gifts (a ski helmet & goggles). He's grown a lot since we bought the last set. 
  • The boys are mostly getting cash & college money for their birthday, so I picked up some candy at CVS to wrap. I used a $4 CVS reward, and also earned another $.50 via Fetch. 
  • Used a $20 grocery store reward (earned by buying gift cards) to pick up a few things we needed, and some "wants" from the teens. 
  • Called our auto insurance & sent Sam's transcript, to earn $166/year via the good student discount. Insuring teen boys is crazy expensive, so every bit helps. 
  • Picked up a few clothing items the boys needed (we are keeping our heat lower, so everyone is asking for slippers). Found a really great sale, combined with a birthday offer, free shipping, and two rewards. I had to add a couple of tshirts to quality for the free shipping, but they were the boys preferred brand, and $3.50/each, so a deal. 

Earning money

  • Sold a ref jersey on eBay

Avoiding spending

  • Sam asked for a pull up bar for Christmas, and we got one that didn't work. We returned it, but hadn't gotten around to replacing it. Someone was giving away a like new one on Buy Nothing, so we are all set now. He's thrilled. 

Eating what we have

  • I had the leftovers from our "Mom/Boys Dinner" for lunch one day
  • I've also been eating soup that I made and froze when the boys were out of town a few weekends ago. 
  • Finished off the rice, kebabs & yogurt sauce on Saturday, ensuring we had no waste from our previous dinner. 
  • Made up a big batch of taco meat, prepping enough for two meals this week, and three more for the freezer. 
  • Had fajitas from the freezer, as well as pulled pork (freezer) another night. I made coleslaw to go with the pulled pork, using everything on hand for the dressing, and the shredded veggies I picked up in the $10 Safeway offer stop. 

For others

  • I was able to fulfill two "ISO - In Search Of" requests on Buy Nothing, for a fabric shaver, and a moving plastic wrap roll. I'd forgotten that we had both, so it was nice to get them out of our house & match them up with someone who would have otherwise had to purchase them.
  • I also gave away a bunch of other stuff on Buy Nothing. Sam allowed me to do a quick pass on his room, which netted five items (three books, two wallets) that he didn't need.
  • One of my pet peeves are carts strewn about the parking lot at the grocery store, particularly when they block spots. Whenever I see them, I try to take at least one, or two if I'm feeling it, back to the corrals. It's a little thing, but frees up more parking, & makes it easier for shoppers to get a cart.
That's it from my side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, February 2, 2023

January Goals Recap

 January was both slow & fast, at various times, but regardless, February is here! Let's see how I did with my goals for the month:


  • Stick to our budget - we ended up moving to a more expensive hotel on January 1st (due to a huge snowstorm). We've also had some other large expenses, but had some income wins as well that offset this. 
  • Use up 5 freezer items - we've definitely used up 5 freezer items, as I stocked the freezer again. I need to be more specific with my goals, and target individual "hard to use" items, for my next month's challenge.
  • Save $500 for college - we were able to save much more than expected, through my bonus & a settlement I received. Total saved in January was $13,000
  • Earn $200 in side hustle money - I made a mistake in a listing, & had to do a return, so my earnings in January were abysmal. All told, I made $26
  • Apply for status match on preferred airline - I've submitted the form, & am awaiting approval. 
  • Plan one fun activity with the kids - we had a mom/boys dinner last week
  • Plan out college visits - I've planned out a trip to Colorado in June
  • Help Nick with driving - lots & lots of driving, dealt with insurance, and booked his behind the wheel test
  • Have two dates with M - we went out for dinner one evening
  • Pictures for M's family - pictures sent
  • Finalize ski week plans - plans are booked & finalized
  • Lose 5 lbs - I lost 2 lbs (carryover holiday weight)
  • Track calories - I tracked almost every day, and was able to fill in the gaps for the rest of the month
  • Close rings 30 days - definitely not, thanks to my knee
  • Make the most of fitness options - not really, with my knee. I did well before that.
  • Make a doctor's appointment - done
  • Do something social with friends - met three friends for walks, went to lunch with another friend, & had a virtual happy hour with my sister/BFF
  • Invest time in my volunteer roles - it's been quiet in January, but I've continued
  • Practice French on Duolingo - slowly but surely!
What about you? Did you have any goals for January? How did you do?

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Workout Wednesday

 It's not been a great week for my health & fitness, as I've been having knee problems. I have an MRI next week, and will likely begin PT (depending on what the MRI uncovers) at the end of the month. Getting medical appointments is quite difficult - there are very few providers these days, and long waits!

The lack of intense workouts impacts my mood & stress levels, and also makes it harder for me to maintain my weight. So, I need to find other low intensity ways to capture those same effects, and reduce my calorie intake. It's a work in progress!

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - Orange Theory + a walk
  • Tuesday - 80 minutes on the elliptical
  • Wednesday - 5 mile hike with a friend
  • Thursday - 3 mile walk
  • Friday - 1.5 mile walk
  • Saturday - one hour elliptical
  • Sunday - 80 minutes on the elliptical
  • I'm working on tracking my calories regularly, which helps me stay focused.
  • Everything else - the knee, my own mood as it relates to being injured, etc. 
What about you? How are you doing with your health & fitness?

Monday, January 30, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

It was lovely to have the time with the boys on Friday - the days are going by too fast, and getting time alone with them is rare!

  • Friday - Mom & boys night out dinner
  • Saturday - kebabs, rice & yogurt/cucumber sauce
  • Sunday - tacos
  • Monday - pulled pork & coleslaw
  • Tuesdaygarlic noodles with beef & broccoli (carried over AGAIN, because I forgot to buy ground beef)
  • Wednesday - leftover garlic noodles
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers
  • Friday - baked chicken and pasta
What about you? What's on the menu this week?

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday things

 I was moderately productive yesterday, but somehow left the house cleaning for today. That's a common theme. If there is one thing I put off doing, it's definitely house cleaning! 

I did give a bunch of stuff away via Buy Nothing, list a few things we're not using on Facebook Marketplace, made protein balls, etc which wasn't on my list. I love decluttering. 

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

  • Make dinner. We ended up with leftovers last night, so tonight I need to prep the beef/broccoli dish, and freeze the rest of the ground beef
  • Call my parents
  • Schedule for next week
  • Boys - calculus tutor + pay tutor
  • Work out
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean kitchen
  • Laundry
  • Pick up Buy Nothing item
I think that's it for me. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish today?

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Saturday Happenings

Unfortunately, there will be no workout classes for me today (or likely, for awhile) as my knee has been bothering me something fierce. I saw a doctor on Thursday, and need to go to PT, and get an MRI. Until the MRI, I need to take it easy. I can walk & do yoga, etc. I'm missing my harder workouts for sure! Those intense workouts are so good for my stress level, & I love the endorphins. I'm going to have to find other solutions.

It's a pretty quiet weekend (woohoo), so here's what we're up to today:

  • Costco
  • Take Nick to find a couple of birthday gifts (ski items)
  • Laundry
  • Clean the fridge
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Start gathering tax documentation
  • Take Nick to tennis volunteering
  • Some sort of workout
  • Make dinner (finally the beef & broccoli/noodle dish!)
  • Go to CVS to use a reward before it expires
  • Duolingo
  • Plan for the week
  • Menu plan
What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, January 27, 2023

Frugal Friday

In non-frugal news, I had to bail on a scheduled workout at my gym due to a last minute true work emergency, which cost me $15. Work does reimburse me slightly for my gym membership, so I'm considering it a wash. 

Here's what we've been up to this week: 

Saving on things we buy

  • Tracked down missing stay credit, for our ski trip over New Years. The points are quite valuable, so I didn't want to miss out. It took two emails & a live chat session, but got it resolved.
  • We have been trying to eat more from the freezer, and are also adjusting our meal planning to have less waste (the teens are rarely both home for all dinners in a week). As a result, we were able to limit our grocery shopping to about 1/3 of our normal expense this week. 
  • Used a gift card & a small reward at Panera to take Nick to lunch. I'm trying to do more one on one time with the boys, which is hard to come by these days!
  • Combined a Rite Aid sale, rewards & an iBotta offer to earn $6 off a few things we needed. 
  • I also went through & inventoried our gift cards again, as we've been trying to use them up. It's a good reminder of what we have & ensuring we using all of our resources. 

Earning money

  • Listed a few unneeded items on eBay

Avoiding spending

  • Picked up the Friday Freebie at the store, which was dairy free milk. I'm not super picky about what I put in my coffee, so it was nice to have a free option. Bonus, iBotta had an offer for the milk, so I earned $1.35 from iBotta, making this a money maker. 
  • Found a handful of tomatoes & strawberries, still growing in our garden. Pretty crazy, given we've had cold temps, lots of rain & minimal sun. 

Eating what we have

  • I've made Nick a few smoothies, using up ingredients from the fridge, pantry & freezer. Smoothies are great for hiding leftover items (chopped up apples that were about to go bad, for example)
  • I froze leftover fajitas, before they were wasted. 
  • Brought home leftovers from date night, and had them for brunch on Sunday.
  • Sam has a friend who works at a bakery, and often brings home treats. We've been enjoying them!
  • We used leftover naan bread, toasted with butter, as a side for spaghetti & meatballs. Non-traditional, but the teens weren't super picky.
  • I forgot to pick up ground beef for one of the recipes this week, so I improvised by adding additional meatballs & sauce to the leftovers (replacing one dinner) & because I'd planned for leftovers of the missing recipe, I also subbed in gyozos & wings another night.
  • Used up an acorn squash that I bought ages okay, and kept forgetting about.
  • Made M a "football watching" appetizer tray, using things from around the fridge.

For others

  • Gave away bags of things on Buy Nothing, and to a neighbor who runs an outreach for a local shelter. 
That's it from my side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Workout Wednesday

It was a mixed week for workouts, and I finally have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to talk about my knee. Something is not right. 

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Tuesday - no workout, as my knee has continued to bother me
  • Wednesday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Thursday - 50 minutes on the elliptical
  • Friday - no workout, due to very last minute all day work drama
  • Saturday - Orange Theory workout class
  • Sunday - Orange Theory workout class
Highlights - The workouts I did get were high quality

Lowlights - my knee, missed workouts, & overall more snacking. M brought me a box of delicious Belgian chocolates, and I ate a couple at a time until they were gone. 

That's it from my side. How are you doing with your health & fitness?

Monday, January 23, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 Here's what's on the menu at our house this week.

  • Friday - spaghetti & meatballs + garlic bread
  • Saturday - date night. Pizza for the kids
  • Sunday - grilled chicken & rice
  • Monday - garlic noodles with beef & broccoli (didn't get made last week)
  • Tuesday - leftover spaghetti & meatballs
  • Wednesday - leftover grilled chicken & rice
  • Thursday - leftover garlic noodles with beef & broccoli
  • Friday - I'm taking the boys out for a "mom/boys" dinner. Assuming they are both don't have plans, which is quite a risk. ;-) 
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sending love & good thoughts

There are several bloggers (& readers) struggling right now, with tragedy. Sending you all lots of love & good thoughts, as you process everything. No words are enough, but thinking of you all. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Saturday Happenings

Yesterday was a long & not great work day, that involved a lot of drama. I didn't get a chance to work out, which always negatively impacts my stress level. I should have found time to at least meditate, but I didn't. 

I've not felt great this week (mild fever, and some stomach issues), but I feel like I'm finally starting to turn the corner. There's been a lot of sleeping!

Last night was a gorgeous night on the soccer field. Nick's team tied their opponent, and it was a fun game to watch. It was also incredibly chilly!

As for today, I feel really behind on life after my week. Here's what's on the to do list:
  • Workout class
  • Boys have calculus tutoring
  • Laundry
  • Wash sheets
  • Plan for the week
  • Shopping list
  • Menu plan
  • Costco
  • Trader Joes & produce stand
  • Date night with M (definitely the highlight of the weekend)
That's it for me. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish this weekend? 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Frugal Friday

 It's been a very busy week, and we definitely had some wins. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Our grocery store has not been running many gift card offers, but I noticed there was a great one this week. Picked up $300 of gift cards we will use, and earned $60 in grocery rewards.
  • We buy red curry paste at the grocery store, and it is crazy expensive and never/rarely on sale. I found that it was 40% off on Amazon, and bought a large container. We use this for curry dishes, and I'm hoping this is about a 6 month supply. 
  • I rarely find iBotta offers that we need, but I was able to find four things at Rite Aid that were on sale, on my list, and matched up with an offer, saving $9.50. I also used $1.79 of rewards that were expiring, and earned another $2 in future rewards. 
  • Used the $2 in Rite Aid rewards to offset slightly the cost of a prescription, which is always nice. 
  • I also found very inexpensive yogurt marked down (a 4 pack for $.80), which I bought for muffin making. 
  • Used previous flight credits & a Southwest gift card to drop the price of flights for three by $700 for college tour, part 1. 
  • Booked a rental car for the above college tour using Costco travel, saving about $40 over the next cheapest options. 

Earning money

  • I prefer to use our credit card for all purchases, as we get cash back, and pay it off every month. However, some places charge a fee for using your card, so the cash back is not always worth it. I researched a couple of larger expenses (DMV & home insurance) to determine if there were fees, and/or if the fees were higher than the cash back. The insurance company charged nothing, making it an easy decision. The DMV did charge a processing fee, but it was less than our cash back. I would have done it up to the point of being an even exchange, as having all of our bills in one place is easier. There is another expense I researched, and the fee was more than double the cash back, so definitely won't be charging that on the card. 

Avoiding spending

  • Picked up the Friday Freebie at the grocery store - a flavored sparkling water. I'll use it for a virtual "happy hour" I'm attending, as I'm trying to keep January as dry as possible. 
  • Continued to provide additional details to my credit card company, for a double charge. (I bought movie tickets online for Sam & friends, and the first charge errored out. The second charge worked fine, and tickets were emailed me.) The movie theater, of course, wanted to charge me for both & it took two months for me to get my $56 back. Irritating, but worth it to provide additional detail each time the movie company came back with why they should be able to double charge me. 
  • Saved the price of a night of a hotel (~$185) by using a free night award, for the college tour trip (part 1, I suppose). 

Eating what we have

  • Made two large soups over the weekend, and froze it in lunch sized portions. I'm the only real lover of soup at our house, so I typically have it for lunches.
  • Made a loaf of French bread, to go with my soup. 
  • Ate leftover orange chicken & rice for two meals. 
  • Made a double batch of blueberry muffins, using yogurt I picked up on clearance, and blueberries from the freezer.
  • Went through the 20+ bananas in our freezer, and pureed them all. Made a double batch of banana muffins, and froze the rest of the puree, which is much more manageable to store in the freezer. 
  • I went to lunch with a friend on Monday, and the portions at the Mediterranean place were huge. I easily had enough for leftovers on Tuesday as well. 

For others

  • Donated to a local charity, helped out at the food bank & provided ongoing mentorship at work
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Workout Wednesday


Workout for the week

  • Monday - Orange Theory class
  • Tuesday - 75 minutes of elliptical
  • Wednesday - 50 minutes of elliptical
  • Thursday - 1 hour of elliptical + 1.5 mile walk
  • Friday - Orange Theory class
  • Saturday - Orange Theory class skipped, as I was dealing with the flooding garage. I did get plenty of exercise, carrying buckets of water. 
  • Sunday - Orange Theory class

Highlights - I did really well with tracking my calories, avoiding sweets & alcohol, & I lost 1.5 lbs. 

Lowlights - My knee has been bothering me a bit, so I ordered knee sleeves (like slide on braces) to help reduce pressure during my workouts. Fingers crossed.

How did you do with your health & fitness this week?

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Long weekend productivity

I didn't get everything done on my long weekend to do list, but I did get quite a bit accomplished. We'll ignore the clearing of the drains, bucket brigade, clearing the garage, etc. Let's hope that was a one time thing, although we will definitely be keeping that drain cleared moving forward. 

I made the following, for food prep:

  • Ham & lentil soup
  • Rosemary & white bean soup
  • French bread
  • Two dozen blueberry muffins
  • Two dozen banana muffins
  • Pureed all of the bananas in the freezer, to create space, and get them ready for future muffins
  • Prepped six pounds of chicken - 1/2 for chicken shawarma, 1/2 for chicken fajitas. I also chopped all of the veggies, and froze the remaining fajitas for a future meal. Same with the shawarma. We will have the rest of the fajitas & shawarma for dinners this week.
House cleaning:
  • Washed all rugs
  • Mopped
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchen 
  • Baseboards
  • Vacuumed
  • Laundry


  • Two workout classes (one was canceled due to the flooding)
  • Virtual happy hour with my sister & BFF
  • Got a massage
  • Met another friend for coffee
  • Watched a couple of shows & read
I also did a few other odds & ends (all of the grocery shopping), and while the weekend didn't turn out as I'd hoped due to the flooding, I'm happy with the stuff I got done.

What about you? What have you been up to lately? Have you had any productive days? 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 There is quite a bit of cooking planned for the week ahead, thanks to the long weekend & time to prep.

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

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sunday Things

Yesterday wasn't quite the day I expected. I was getting started with some kitchen prep, when I went to the garage to our outside fridge. And, noticed all of the shoes on the garage floor were floating. Our garage had flooded. It was early & I was confused, so I foolishly opened the door, which let in a bunch more water. 

M & the boys left for skiing at 4:30, and somehow in three hours, the garage had flooded & our pool back patio had flooded. After several hours outside, I figured out what was happening (we had a large drain that was blocked, & looked like it hadn't been used in 10+ years). I dug that out by hand, scooped out buckets & buckets of water to the main drain on our street and got the garage drained. Then I moved on to the pool area, which was more difficult, as there wasn't an obvious way to fix it. It too involved carrying buckets of water to our drainage area, about 15 feet away. My back was killing me after all of this, so I was super grateful I'd planned to get a massage in the afternoon. 

The massage was incredible and relieved my pain, but I'm still having a terrible time sleeping at night due to back pain, & really need to go back to see the doctor to understand what my options are. 

I didn't get a chance to go to my workout class, but I did end up making the soup & homemade bread. I had the split pea & ham soup for dinner, & it was fabulous. I also signed up for a free month of Amazon Prime, and watched some shows. I have it on my calendar to cancel before it charges me for any future months. 

M & the boys had a rough time skiing, as Tahoe received a ton more snow, and visibility was very poor & many runs weren't open. Here's hoping today will be a better day, but it seems like it may be more of the same. They woke up to another foot of snow. 

Here's what I have planned for today:

  • Workout class
  • Costco
  • Trader Joes
  • Produce stand
  • Make muffins
  • Clean fridge
  • Virtual happy hour with my sister & BFF
  • At least one cleaning task
What about you? What's on your to do list for today?

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Saturday Happenings

It's a super stormy day here - very, very rainy & windy. The boys are off for a ski trip to Tahoe, so fingers crossed all goes well there. I woke up briefly when they left at 4:30, but then managed to fall back to sleep an hour or so later.

I have a huge list of things I want to accomplish while they are gone. The list is too long to write down, but the rough categories are:

  • Work out every day
  • Organize a few sections of the house
  • Prep meals for the week
  • Make soups for the freezer (plus a loaf of bread)
  • Make muffins
  • Deep clean the house
  • Run errands
  • Do a couple of fun things (get a massage, virtual happy hour with friends)
Between all of that, it's easily enough to keep me busy through Monday. 

What about you? What are you up to this weekend? 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Frugal Friday

 Here's what we've been up to over the past week. The holidays are always expensive, and we try to use January to buckle down, where possible. 

Saving on things we buy

  • We were able to find shoes for Sam that were $20 off. He only has one pair of daily shoes (not including soccer cleats), but his feet are growing quickly. Luckily, he's not picky, & chose a reasonably priced shoe, and it was also on sale.
  • Returned a cart from the parking lot (this is something I try to do each time I go through the lot, and encourage the boys as well. ) & saw a receipt. Uploaded it to Fetch, & earned $.50. I also noticed it had an item with a Box Top code, so uploaded that as well, and earned $.10 for our local school, then recycled the receipt. 
  • Combined a $5 reward, free shipping & a sale to get glove liners for skiing. Sam lost one of his liners at some point during our last trip. 

Earning money

  • Sold ski pants on eBay, & listed a new item. 
  • I received the first part of my annual bonus (largest chunk). I put money in the boys college accounts & maxed out my 401K for the year. The rest will go into savings for my job change. 

Avoiding spending

  • Picked up the Friday freebie at the store, which was a sugar free Chobani yogurt. I'll likely add it to a muffin recipe, if one of the teens doesn't eat it first. 
  • Picked up four free razors in sealed packages (3 of which are my preferred brand, & one for the boys) on Buy Nothing, and picked up a bag of chocolate marshmallow snacks (for Sam) from another neighbor
  • Ate breakfast & lunch (3x) at work, and charged our car for free. We get free meals at work.

Eating what we have

  • We brought some bread home from our ski trip, and froze most of it. The boys ate the rest for breakfast.
  • I ate leftovers for "brunch" after my workout class. Random selections have included: mac & cheese, fried rice, chicken, & carrots/hummus. Not all at once. ;-) 
  • Used up the last of the potatoes (from Thanksgiving mashed potatoes) in a chicken curry dish
  • I defrosted a couple of grilled chicken sausages, & kept them in the fridge for easy lunch options (sliced over a salad). I also used up leftover salad dressings, & a bit of holiday cheeses, for a few different salad varieties this week. 
  • Made protein bars for Sam, who requested them as a pre-gym snack
  • We keep hamburger buns in the freezer, and have been defrosting them a couple at a time, for the kids. I'm trying to have my protein over salad, which is better for me, & helps me eat more produce. 
  • One of my 2023 goals is to set a monthly target for items I want to use up from our freezer or pantry. I chose part of a bag of frozen corn. I do not enjoy corn off the cob, so I'm not sure why I have this (a taco soup recipe, maybe)? I added a bit of it to fried rice. It will take at least a few versions of this to use up the rest of the bag, as too much ruins the fried rice for me. ;-) Slow, but steady progress!

For others

  • I've been cleaning out a couple of closets (hall & coat) & given away a ton of stuff on Buy Nothing. I'm loving the improved organization, and it's nice to pass things along. The theme of this week was largely ski/winter stuff, which the kids have outgrown. Those are always very in demand, as they are expensive but necessary, and kids don't wear them long enough to create much wear before they outgrow them. 
That's it from my side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Workout Wednesday

I'm back to a normal routine & working hard to control my calories, which means tracking my eating more diligently than in the past few months. 

Workouts for the week:

  • Monday - skiing
  • Tuesday - skiing
  • Wednesday - an hour of elliptical + a few (ski) runs with Sam
  • Thursday - nothing, driving back 
  • Friday - Orange Theory
  • Saturday - Orange Theory
  • Sunday - Orange Theory

Highlights - getting back to calorie tracking, doing a much better job of avoiding evening snacks. 

Lowlight - I've been pretty hungry, as my stomach adjusts to the changes, and recovers from the holidays. ;-) 

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

Monday, January 9, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

We're back in action, & meal planning again. Our vacation was lovely, but it's always nice to be home & cooking again. As we all know, eating out is incredibly expensive!

  • Friday - grilled burgers (the only day it's not expected to rain)
  • Saturday - beef tacos & guacamole
  • Sunday - chicken curry & rice
  • Monday - leftover tacos & guacamole
  • Tuesday - burgers
  • Wednesday - chicken curry & rice
  • Thursday - pulled pork (freezer)
  • Friday - TBD, or chicken alfredo (per Sam's request)
What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Sunday Happenings

I feel like tomorrow is lining up to be the Monday of all Mondays. Returning back from long breaks is hard. It's also a super busy time at work for me + M, the boys are kicking off school, Nick has school soccer, and Sam is starting his coaching job. It's a season of business, for sure. 

I'm trying to be productive today, so we'll see how that plays out for me:

  • Go to workout class this am
  • Call my parents, and/or make sure one of the kids calls
  • Deal with Amazon return
  • Make protein balls for Sam, per his request for a quick "pre gym" snack
  • Make tacos for dinner
  • Work on the schedule for the week
  • Clean hall closet
  • Order high school soccer gear for Nick
  • Help Sam set up the app for his new job
  • Laundry (always)
  • Practice Duolingo for 30 minutes
  • Meditate (trying to proactively set the tone for the week)
What about you? What are you up to today? 

Saturday, January 7, 2023

December goals recap

 I'm a little late to the party, but better late than never. Here's how I did with my December goals. 


  • Stick to our budget, including for Christmas - we stuck to our budget, including Christmas! (Our ski trip was another story, but that's part of January's budget)
  • Make $250, so I can complete our 2022 side hustle goal - close - I made $224
  • Continue post work plan & budget - we made a lot of progress on our budget planning for the years ahead
  • Go through ebay inventory - yes! Cleaned out a bunch, & donated a bunch. 
  • Give away 10 things on Buy Nothing - I gave away probably 25 items (thermos x2, 2 tennis bags, clothing items, craft projects, shoes, etc)
  • Use up 5 random freezer items - I used up: enchilada sauce, enchiladas, lasagna. & green onion pancakes). 
  • One activity with the kids - we drove around & looked at Christmas lights
  • Help Nick learn to drive - the driving continues!
  • Two dates with M - yes! We had a lovely couple of nights in a hotel
  • Connect with M's family - sent pictures & videos
  • Continue with 2023 travel planning & finalize ski week plans - we are waiting for summer dates to be finalized, but we have a budget & our priorities in place. We're checking out both places while skiing, to make a final decision for ski week. 
  • Post weekly fitness summaries - done
  • Match November's calories burned - I was about 1,000 calories short, which makes sense, given I missed two of Orange Theory workouts, given the studio was closed from an ice storm. 
  • Close rings 28 days - I only closed them 20 days, and need more focus in January!
  • Take advantage of workout classes - the workout classes I had planned over Christmas didn't work out, as the studio was closed due to an ice storm. Otherwise, all workouts happened as planned. 
  • Meditate 5x - nope, and there were days I could have really used it!
  • Lose 2 lbs - oh my, definitely no. January will need to be a fresh start, with a focus on bringing my calories back in check & reducing sweets & snacks. 
  • Do something social with friends - met friends for dinner
  • Continue to volunteer - yes, done!
  • More thinking on "post career" plans - I continue to think about this, but don't have any formal plans

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

Friday, January 6, 2023

The not so frugal Friday

Let's just say that we spent more than planned on our ski trip, due to the weather & switching to the hotel located in the resort area a day earlier than planned. That threw our budget *way* off for the trip, but I'm happy with the decision, given the weather & difficulty driving. 

Rather than my normal format, here's a more consolidated list of frugal wins, rare though they were this week. ;-)

  • Stopped for gas at Costco on the way home, and bought lunch for everyone for under $6. 
  • Brought snacks from home for much of the trip.
  • We did manage to make breakfast & dinner at the condo 2x, using groceries we brought from home. I forgot foil & ground coffee, so we did pick that up at the store while we were there, but otherwise ate things we brought with us. 
  • We bought season passes for skiing use a (small) corporate discount over the summer. We've already skied enough that the passes were less expensive than paying the day rate, and we plan to go again in February. 
  • We mostly skipped lunch on the mountain each day (which is, crazy expensive), and just had a snack & an earlier dinner. 
  • We took advantage of the free breakfast at the hotel, which was lovely & had pretty much everything you could want. 
  • Despite really not feeling like cooking when we got home last night, found some grilled chicken in the freezer, along with my emergency meal stash of Trader Joes fried rice. I also had a bag of salad that we didn't eat, but stayed cold in the cooler. Quick & easy dinner, and much less expensive than takeout.
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

A quick check in - all of the snow

It's been a wild few days on our ski trip. The resort we're skiing at received their 24 hour historical record of snow (34") & 7" in an hour! On NYE, we were there for three hours before they closed, and we had to shovel the car out, as it had snowed 9" during that time. 

We made it back to the condo we were staying at, but only after a super dicey drive. We made the decision to move to the ski in/out hotel earlier than planned, because more snow was expected, and the drive was super dangerous & long from the condo. We woke up on the morning of the 1st, and the car was absolutely buried in snow. We couldn't get into the condo parking lot (too much snow, unplowed), so we carried all of our gear out & up a hill 1/4 of a mile. I've had more fun. ;-) But, we all worked together to get the car dug out, and the gear packed up. Switching from the condo to the hotel was pricey (we forfeited the night in the condo, and paid for an extra night at the hotel), but we have no regrets, as even more snow fell. It's been so nice to be at the hotel & not worry about driving. 

It's snowing again today, and expected to snow through our departure tomorrow. I'm at the hotel catching up on a bit of work today, but will likely join the boys for a few runs this afternoon, if the weather cooperates & the lift outside of our hotel continues to stay open. Despite all of the craziness, we've had so much fun together!

The end of my favorite run (I don't take photos on the run, but the entire thing is stunning):

And, ski buddies:

We drive home tomorrow, and I'll be back to regularly posting & commenting then. Hope everyone is staying warm & safe!

Monday, January 2, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 The ski trip edition! Here's what we'll be eating this week, while we're in Lake Tahoe.

  • Friday - drive day. Frozen pizza & salads when we get to the condo.
  • Saturday - NYE! Steak, caesar salad & garlic bread. And, champagne, of course. I bought special "festive" drinks for the kids, as well.
  • Sunday - Spaghetti & meatballs + garlic bread (both prepped in advance).
  • Monday - We're switching to a hotel, as I need to work for some of the time. We'll be eating out.
  • Tuesday - At the hotel. Eating out.
  • Wednesday - At the hotel. Eating out.
  • Thursday - Driving home from Tahoe, so something scrappy when we get home. Likely baked chicken & gyozos. 
  • Friday - TBD, but I'm hoping for chicken curry & rice.
What about you? What's on your menu this week? 

Sunday, January 1, 2023

January Goals

 It's a new year, with fresh new goals! Here's what I'm planning to get done this month.


  • Stick to our budget
  • Use up 5 freezer items
  • Save $500 for college
  • Earn $200 in side hustle money
  • Apply for status match on preferred airline
  • Plan one fun activity with the kids
  • Plan out college visits
  • Help Nick with driving
  • Have two dates with M
  • Call + pictures for M's family
  • Finalize ski week plans
  • Lose 5 lbs (carryover holiday weight)
  • Track calories, eat a balanced diet
  • Close rings 30 days
  • Make the most of fitness options
  • Make doctor's appointment


  • Do something social with friends
  • Invest time in my volunteer roles
  • Practice French on Duolingo

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