Monday, September 18, 2023

Menu Plan

It's a one week menu (plus bonus day), before I leave for France on Sunday. Here's what we're planning to eat this week: 

  • Friday - chicken, caprese salad
  • Saturday - steak, shrimp & salad
  • Sunday - out, family dinner, using a gift card from a neighbor
  • Monday - Philly cheese steaks
  • Tuesday - spaghetti & meatballs + garlic bread for the teens
  • Wednesday - tacos
  • Thursday - leftovers
  • Friday - leftovers (if we have anything), otherwise, wings & gyozas
  • Saturday - kebabs & rice. My sister will be in town, ahead of our flight to France, so M will be making a Persian feast (one of her favorite meals). 
What about you? What's on your menu this week? 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Sunday Things

 Well, I've been up since 3, and got about 4 hours of sleep last night, so today promises to be a real adventure. I heart jet lag. ;-) Let's hope I can regulate my sleeping again before work tomorrow. 

I was reasonably productive yesterday, all things considered. I went to Sam's game, finished most of my packing for France, got a pedicure, set out new ant traps, did the laundry, worked out, & washed the spare bedding. I also went to Trader Joes, & made a menu plan/shopping list for the week. 

Who knows what I'll get done today, particularly given how tired I am. Here's what's on the list:

  • Weekly check in with boys (this is overdue, so needs to be done)
  • Vacuum
  • Clean kitchen
  • Bathrooms
  • Finalize last France travel detail
  • Make protein bars
  • Run
  • Meet a friend for a hike
  • Schedule for the week
  • Family dinner out (using a gift card)
What about you? What's on your to do list for today? Hope you have a lovely & productive day!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Saturday Happenings

It was a long, long travel day yesterday. We sat on the runway for 5 hours in Tokyo, due to a thunder & lightning storm. My back was already hurting before we took off, which was not a good sign with a long flight still ahead. I got home much later than planned, but did a load of laundry, unpacked & made dinner with M before I went to bed. I slept for 12 hours (!) last night, and then got up & went to my workout class. My body protested a bit, but it definitely gave me some energy that I desperately need. 

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

  • Workout class (done)
  • Pedicure (I'm losing 2 nails & need professional help ahead of my trip)
  • Start packing for France
  • Figure out where ants are coming from (plus, spray for ants, put out new ant traps)
  • Clean closet
  • Wash spare bed sheets
  • Vacuum
  • Bathrooms
  • Clean kitchen
  • Laundry
  • Make a menu plan
  • Go to Nick's soccer game
  • Costco list
  • Trader Joes
  • Grocery store
  • Sort out toiletry list with friends (we'll each bring items, so we don't duplicate)
  • Finalize one last France travel detail
Anything that doesn't get done today will swap over to tomorrow. What about you? What's on your to do list today?

Monday, September 11, 2023

Tokyo, by the numbers

 I sometimes get asked what a standard work travel day looks like, so here are some details:

  • Up at 5:30 am (Sunday, PST). Coffee, finished last minute packing
  • Made final notes for the teens/M for the day
  • 30 minutes on the elliptical
  • Lyft picked me up at 8 am
  • Got to SFO just before 9 am. Made it through security & went to the lounge.
  • Filled my water bottle, & had some fruit & eggs for breakfast.
  • Got to the gate at 9:40, exactly at the pre-boarding phase. I board ahead of "group 1", which I'm not sure if that's a blessing or a curse. Always room for your bags, but more time on the plane!
  • I was flying business, which was a gift, despite not sleeping. 
  • Flight was delayed, so we didn't take off until 11:30. I try to stand up (it's a single seat, and I'm not in the aisle, so there's room to stand) & walk around a bit until the flight actually leaves.
  • Flight was approximately 10.5 hours long. I watched two movies (some really awful Jennifer Lopez/Josh Duhamel wedding movie + the original Fast & The Furious), plus a bunch of episodes of House, which I liked. I also read a bit.
  • On the flight, I had my pre-ordered meal (chicken curry + salad), skipped the dessert & alcohol. It was hard to say no to a glass of rose on the flight! I skipped the snack & breakfast service. I mostly had tea, because it was freezing on the flight, despite wearing pants, two layers on top, and having the blankets. 
  • Landed at approximately 2 pm JST. Got through security & customs by 2:45, in a taxi by 3. (The taxi line was super long).
  • Got to my hotel around 3:30. Unpacked, and then headed to the gym. This is all part of the plan to stay awake until as close as possible to evening in Japan. 
  • Did an hour on the elliptical, and read on my Kindle.
  • Back to my room to do some work, catch up on family stuff & watch some Netflix.
  • I also ordered room service & got a new menu item (I've been to this hotel many, many times) - the Power Bowl, which was a bunch of veggies, quinoa & chicken. I was starving, and hadn't eaten in maybe 15 hours, so I also had a side of truffle fries. Both were great. 
  • Stayed up until 7 pm, and I tried to make it to 7:30, but no chance. Woke up at 3 am JST, because #jetlag.
  • Finally got out of bed at 4, admitting to myself that I wasn't going to fall back asleep. My back was killing me, after the plane time, plus the generally inactive day.
  • Worked from 4-6 am. The espresso machine in my room wasn't working, and I had a wicked caffeine headache. Hotel restaurant wasn't open, so I had a Coke Zero out of the mini bar. I do not regularly drink soda, but my body really appreciated the caffeine.
  • Ran on the treadmill at the gym. Let's just say that they don't have the AC on (it's 90 degrees currently in Tokyo), the treadmills don't have fans, and they still have the COVID protocol plexiglass shields surrounding each treadmill. It was like running in a sauna! 
  • Picked up a to go latte at the restaurant on the way back to my room. 
Off to shower & head to the office, where I have meetings from 9-7. After that, my goal is to stay awake & sleep from 8-4 tonight (then, 9-5 tomorrow, if possible). I'll likely pick something up on my way back to the hotel. Typically, I have work dinners every evening, but this trip was unplanned & I'm the only "visitor" in town, so no dinners! I'm ever so grateful I can relax a bit in the evenings. 

A day(ish) in the life on a work trip!

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Saturday Happenings

I'm trying to hit the right balance of productivity & relaxing today, as it's my only weekend day. My ride is picking me up at 8 am tomorrow, to head to the airport for my trip to Japan. Long travel days are definitely not relaxing.

I got up this morning, and went to a workout class. Came home, showered & went to Sam's soccer game. Sam has been playing soccer for 12 years, and as far as I can recall, this is the first time he's ever needed to sub out due to injury. Both boys have been incredibly lucky in that regard. He got elbowed in the face, and had a bloody nose that lasted for most of the second half. 

What else is on the to do list for today?

  • Finish my last minute packing
  • Read by the pool for a bit?
  • Make dinner - I'm trying this chicken & orzo skillet recipe 
  • Package up a few returns
  • Laundry. Sam has a second game tomorrow, so hoping I can get all of that blood out of his uniform. 
  • Do some budget management & spreadsheet entry
What about you? What are you up to today? 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Frugal Friday

 Here's what we've been up to lately:

Saving on things we buy:

  • Used a $10/$50 grocery store offer, plus two $2 salad coupons at the grocery store, and picked up the Friday Freebie. Uploaded the receipt to iBotta to save another $2.85. I also played the Monopoly game, and earned another $.50 back. 

Earning money

  • Nothing to report here

Avoiding spending

  • Used a gift card to buy a gift

Eating what we have

  • My taste buds are definitely still out of whack, which is making eating a bit more unpredictable than usual. I also still wasn't feeling great last weekend, so I ordered another (hopefully last for a while) delivery dinner. I did have leftovers, and ate that for two meals. 
  • Made the boys some creative meal options last weekend. If I have food that needs to be used, as long as I prep it for lunches or whatever, they will eat what i'd like them to. If I leave it to them, they go for the first visible item in the fridge or pantry, and often not as healthy of options. ;-) 
  • Made a huge batch of applesauce, out of neighbors apples she was giving away. Turned 1/3 of that into two dozen muffins.
  • Also turned a bunch of overripe bananas from the freezer into another two dozen muffins. 

For others

  • Helped my family (x2) with travel logistics, when their flights were diverted en route to my nephew's 21st birthday trip. Spent at least two hours on the phone with Southwest, to ensure they had flights home, and to get them the credit for the diverted flight. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

September Goals

 I have a crazy September, with an unexpected trip to Japan (work) & my sister's 50th birthday trip (France). I'm very excited for the France trip, but the Japan trip got added last minute & is making September feel particularly nuts. As a result, I'm trying to keep my goals realistic for the month.


  • Stick to our budget
  • Use 3 "hard to use" freezer/pantry items
  • Stay on track with travel budget
  • Have one date with M
  • Take Nick out
  • Set up weekly kid/mom meetings
  • Lose 3 lbs
  • Run 60 miles
  • Follow the No S diet...entirely, when not traveling + in Tokyo, and loosely in France

  • Do something social with friends
  • Practice French on Duolingo
  • Have a fabulous trip to France
What about you? What's on your list of goals for the month? 

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

August Goals Recap

 Wow, August was a wild ride, closing with the running relay & COVID! Here's what I accomplished for my goals this month.


  • Stick to our budget - we did "okay" this month, but had a lot of back to school expenses. 
  • Use six "hard to use" freezer or pantry items - I used a ton of bananas, to make muffins. We also ate through quite a few freezer leftovers, when the boys were with my parents. 
  • Make $100 in side hustle - I made $0 in side hustle in August


  • One fun activity with the kids - I did a breakfast & a lunch out with Sam, but Nick & I didn't get to anything this month (unless you count those doctor's visits ;-)). That's on my list for next month! However, I did get Nick to deep clean his room, which was a crazy time investment, and so very worth it! He got rid of about 1/3 of his room contents. 
  • Prep & get ready for back to school - Done. All registrations, sports physicals, & forms complete!
  • Work in the yard - I did okay with this. Some garden work, but not as much as I'd have liked. 
  • Two dates with M -  Yes! We had a long weekend together in Las Vegas, and several afternoons with cocktails by the pool
  • Prep for September travel - yes. Made a lot of progress on this
  • Complete my running plan for the month & successfully finish my legs at Hood to Coast - yes & yes! Despite not feeling well
  • Follow the No S diet - yes, this is still going well
  • Meditate 3x - nope
  • Have a colonoscopy - yes, and what a treat that was ;-) 


  • Do something social with friends - yes, I met a couple friends for coffee, walks & a hike
  • Practice French on Duolingo - yes, most days
  • Finalize all France activities - yes! we are 95% of the way complete
  • Give away 20 items on Buy Nothing - I probably 3x'd this target
  • Try new garden recipes - Not a new recipe, but I did make pickled jalapenos for M
  • Get back into journaling - nope
That's it for me. How did you do with your goals for August? 

Monday, September 4, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

Getting back into the swing of things, post COVID. There was a lot of takeout, and I'm happy to get back into eating home prepped food. 

  • Friday - ground beef tacos 
  • Saturday -  orange chicken & fried rice
  • Sunday - chicken fajitas
  • Monday - creamy chicken & orzo skillet
  • Tuesday - leftover tacos
  • Wednesday - leftover fajitas
  • Thursday - leftover chicken & orzo
  • Friday - any remaining leftovers, or pizza
What about you? What's on your menu this week? It's expected to cool off this weekend, which makes prepping & cooking food a bit more appealing!

Sunday, September 3, 2023

It's Sunday

 I was moderately productive yesterday, but definitely didn't get as much done as I would have liked. 

I did a video call with my friends, to finalize some our France trip details, then ordered a few things I'm still missing, and booked our train travel while we're there. I made two dozen muffins, did some laundry & cleaned all of Nick's junk out of my closet & listed almost all of it on Buy Nothing. That was a big time hit, but I'm thrilled to have made progress on that. I also worked out, and while it was tiring, it felt good to get back to a routine.

As for today:

  • Clean the house. For real. It's so messy, after I was out of town last weekend.
  • Laundry
  • Make a chicken dish (find out who will be eating)
  • Work out
  • Send revised France itinerary to friends
  • Work on budget/bill paying
  • Coordinate Buy Nothing pickups
  • September goals
  • August goals recap
  • Make banana muffins
  • Clean freezer
What about you? What are you up to today?

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 M(tested negative before he left, phew) flew to Las Vegas on Thursday to meet up with my dad, uncle, sister's partner & my nephew, for my nephew's 21st birthday celebration. The Portland based crowd attempted to fly in yesterday. They got within 100 feet of the runway, and the visibility was so bad that the pilot aborted the landing. Eventually, they ended up in LAX, with no possible flights to Las Vegas, and not even an option to get home that night. You also don't get hotel accommodations if your flight was canceled/diverted due to weather. 

After reboarding the flight again, and then it being cancelled, they ended up driving to Las Vegas, and got there at 1 am. I'm so grateful they made it there safely! What an adventure they've already had, and the trip hasn't even started. Fingers crossed that the rest of the trip is awesome.

I'm thrilled to have a long weekend. I'm very far behind on life & work, after the past week. Here's what's on the agenda (and, as always, some will spill over, so think of this as more of a weekend vs today list):

  • Virtual happy hour call with my sister & BFF, to discuss our France plans.
  • Make 3 dozen muffins. Maybe more, if I get the freezer organized.
  • Use/freeze the applesauce that I made last night. Some of it will go into the muffins. I turned a huge bag of fallen apples from a neighbor's tree into sauce. They were thrilled to get rid of them, and I was able to use 90% of them. Some were a little too far gone, but I caught most of them in time.
  • Vacuum
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Scrub the shower
  • Laundry
  • Wash all the sheets
  • September goals
  • August goal recap
  • Figure out what I'm packing for France
  • Give away at least 20 items on Buy Nothing
  • Sort out math tutoring
  • Sign up for Farsi language practice
  • Clean the fridge
  • Catch up on bills/budget tracking
What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish this weekend?

Friday, September 1, 2023

Frugal Friday

It was definitely not a frugal week, as it involved a lot of takeout while I was isolating from everyone, medicine & COVID tests. 

A roundup of a few things that saved money:

  • I didn't eat much at the relay, save for the packed snacks, as I didn't have much of an appetite.
  • I ate nothing at the airport (either way), & filled my water bottle for free.
  • M dropped me off & picked me up at the airport, saving on the cost of transportation
  • I used a Panera gift card to order myself a couple of lunches, as well as a family feast to feed everyone one night. We don't do delivery meals often (crazy pricey), but there are times when they are exactly what you need.
  • I also used DoorDash credits (from my credit card) to order another dinner for myself one night. I locked myself into my bedroom & tried to avoid being in the main living space as much as possible.
  • I found burgers & buns in the freezer, so M could pull together a quick dinner for himself & the teens, in between tutoring & sports practice.
  • I made myself an egg burrito, using the very last of some shredded cheese, & a tortilla I found in a drawer in the way back of the fridge. It's always nice to use up some containers. 
  • I had another creative lunch (strawberries from the garden, 1/2 a bagel with fresh leftover mozzarella cheese that needed to be used up + a garden tomato & the last of a large container of soup I ordered earlier in the week). 
  • And, I loved the 1/2 bagel + fresh mozzarella + garden tomato combo so much, that I had it for dinner another night. There's still quite a bit of fresh mozzarella left, so maybe it will be back for a triple repeat :-) 
I'm hoping to be back, with more energy & more frugality next week! 

Monday, August 28, 2023

No menu plan, but an update

Starting off with the positives - I completed my relay & had an awesome time with the best group of van mates you could ever ask for! It was a fun & supportive bunch.

My first leg was near Boring, OR & was not only incredibly hot (90, and 100 on the pavement), it was also high AQI thanks to a nearby wildfire. That run was by far the most challenging for me, and way hillier than expected, with a lot more elevation than described in the course guide. When I could see my team waiting for me at the top of the last hill, I almost cried, I was so grateful. 

My second leg was at night, as we moved closer to the Oregon coast. It was the "very hard" leg, and lived up to its reputation. Tons & tons of very steep hills, but I was lucky that it was paved. The guy who I handed off to ran a very similar leg, on gravel, which is just so much harder to run on. I appreciated the cool temperature so much, but running at night with a head lamp & on pitch black road (this was WAY out in the country) freaked me out a little. I was worried about falling, but made it happen.

My last leg was the easiest of the bunch, and the first leg that I finished below my expected pace time. The other two I came in around 10 seconds over. I was ever so grateful to be done, and my quads were killing me, as I wrapped up the last mile (on a huge incline, because of course).

On the bad news, I felt terrible starting on Thursday, tested for COVID before I left. I was negative, but got progressively worse throughout the weekend. It was only thanks to TheraFlu, and lots of cough drops & tea that I finished at all. Came home last night, and tested positive. I feel terrible for all of my van mates, and my parents, who we met for brunch yesterday. I picked up COVID at the work offsite we had last week, which apparently became a super spreader event. 

I'm so happy I finished, but really want to do it again. I was well trained, but all of the training in the world couldn't overcome how fatigued I was. I felt like I was running in slow motion, even though I was giving it 100% effort. I'd love to run again, when I'm feeling at my peak. We're discussing signing up again next year, and/or finding a one day event, and adding a half in for 2024. 

And, no cooking or menu plan for me this week. I'm isolating in one bedroom, to hopefully avoid spreading this to M & the boys. 

Stay healthy out there, everyone!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Frugal Friday

 I'm setting this up to publish automatically, as I'll be out in a van, running my relay, hoping to survive on zero sleep & sore legs!

Saving on things we buy

  • I used a $20 grocery store reward to pick up items Nick wanted. He made a birthday cake for a friend, and also asked for a few snack/smoothie items for back to school. 
  • We have been wanting a generator for awhile, and found a used one via the for sale group at work.
  • I used a credit card offer to save a little bit off of two tours we booked for our France trip. 
  • We typically do delivery pizza as a first day of school treat. I had a $5 discount code in my app, that I used to cover a bit of the cost.
  • I picked up free apples on BN. Now, I need to make apple sauce!

Earning money

  • I received a check of $18 from Rakuten, for online purchases (most of which was from a purchase of 2 pair of running shoes, I believe).
  • I received a full refund from USPS for the lost eBay item, so while I didn't earn any money, I was able to keep the money I earned from the original sale. (I refunded the buyer, of course.)

Avoiding spending

  • M is able to take me both ways to/from the airport for my trip, saving the cost of a Lyft.

Eating what we have

  • Sam & I went to lunch together on Thursday (after his senior picture appointment didn't happen), & I had leftovers for breakfast one day.
  • Made a triple batch of pickled peppers, to use up some garden produce. 
  • We've been eating lots & lots of tomatoes from the garden

For others

  • I volunteered at a food bank. We had a work event, and were looking for a way to spend time together & get to know each other a bit more. I suggested a food packing event at a food bank (we've also done a huge garden clean up at a school, which was a lot of fun). It's free for us, helpful to others, and I always enjoy it more than getting together over drinks & snacks. I think most of my peers felt the same, which is great!
  • I made donations to the school on behalf of both boys, and submitted for a match via the company I work for.
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, August 21, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

Honestly, there hasn't been much cooking happening around here, for several reasons. I'm working a lot, particularly in the early evenings, as I work through a large project with Japan. It's also been hot, and I hate using the kitchen in the evenings. Finally, we never know who will be around for dinners, so we frequently have leftovers we can eat instead. 

Nonetheless, we usually have a rough plan:

  • Friday - I had leftover chicken & rice, with tomatoes & strawberries on the side (garden). M had salmon. I made Nick taco quesadillas, using up the last of the taco meat.
  • Saturday - chicken yakisoba
  • Sunday - steak & scalloped potatoes
  • Monday - first day of school! We may do delivery pizza, as a celebration
  • Tuesday - caprese salad (tomatoes/basil from the garden) with grilled burgers (freezer)
  • Wednesday - leftover yakisoba
  • Thursday - I'll be eating with my sister & BFF, after flying to Portland. The boys will have leftover pizza 
  • Friday - I will be eating van food. M & the boys will be having leftover burgers, assuming anyone is home!

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

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 It was a really, really long work week. I'm happy to see the end of it. Still reading about the horror stories in Maui, and now thinking about NWT in Canada. M's cousin lives in that area. Our wildfire season typically starts in October, so to be having this kind of fire in August is really scary. 

I leave on Thursday for Portland, and our relay starts bright & early on Friday (6:30 am). I'm in the second van (there are 12 people, six in each van) & the first van starts at Mt. Hood ski area. I'm the first runner in our van, which means I will need to figure out who the runner from van 1 is who is handing off to me. I'm expecting to run my legs at: Leg 1 at 1 pm on Friday, Leg 2 at 12:15 am on Saturday, and Leg 3 at 10:20 am Saturday. I'll also be the first one done in our van, which is kind of nice. On the flip side, it's been incredibly hot in Portland, and I'm really dreading running in the heat. Luckily, I have only the first leg where it could theoretically be hot, which is nice. Some of my van mates may be running both legs 1 & 3 in the heat. The race finishes in Seaside, and then we'll be staying the night at a local beach town. It's also the town where we used to have our vacation house, so it will be so very nice to see Manzanita again! I've missed that place. I do not like running after I've eaten (another reason why I prefer to run in the mornings), so I'm trying to figure out easy food options for the van, that won't be hard to run on (PB&J & bananas, maybe?) My hardest leg is leg 2, and I'm not much of a night owl, so that 12:15 am start time will be quite a challenge. ;-) It's six very hilly miles, through the Neahkahnie mountains. Regardless, it's going to be an adventure!

What am I up to today? Plenty to do, as always. And, some items on this list will inevitably shift to tomorrow, as needed:

  • Go to an early workout class
  • Review the family rules with the teens. We've always had family rules (curfew, electronics usage, chores, etc) & review them before the start of each school year
  • Pack for the relay. It involves a bunch of odd stuff, lots of layers, and you have super minimal space, due to six people in a van. Luckily, I've done this before, and have done the walking version many times, so at least I have some experience.
  • Laundry
  • Menu plan
  • Make shopping list
  • Go to TJs & the grocery store
  • Vacuum
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Give away a few things on BN
  • Review our car insurance
  • Go through school supplies with boys/have them clean out their backpacks
  • Download books to my Kindle, for the flights to/from
  • See if I can make a prepayment on a France hotel, to take advantage of a credit card offer
  • Work in the garden
That's it on my side. What about you? What are you up to today? Any food option recommendations that might work to have in the van, & would be easy on my stomach? 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Frugal Friday

It's the final few days before school starts, and the teens are very busy! I'm also busy with work, and leave next week for my relay, so plenty going on at our house. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Nick would like to learn to golf (he also plays tennis, soccer, mountain bikes, surfs & skis - so.... there are a LOT of sports involved). I recommended that he sign up for a very discounted teen course fee ($5 at many local courses) & he found a set of used clubs at Goodwill. This way, he can try it out without a big cost investment. 
  • I used a $2 Rite Aid reward to pick up a replacement travel deodorant
  • I bought Nick a six pack of his favorite socks for $10 (50% off). With all of the sports, he's very hard on socks, and we are constantly tossing those with holes.
  • Reduced our internet bill by $15/month, by calling when our promo period expired. 

Earning money

  • I sold an old remote on eBay

Avoiding spending

  • Nick had planned to take a tennis class the last week of summer, but it was cancelled due to low enrollment. They offered me a more intense version, that was quite a bit more money. Instead, I rolled over the summer camp fee into his fall lessons, saving a lot of money towards those. He's also attending a few tennis clinics during the week when he was supposed to have camp, so there will still be plenty of tennis!
  • Used a gift card to pick up lunch at Panera while we were between soccer games for a tournament. I also earned $2 back with Fetch, as they were having a Panera promo of some sort. 

Eating what we have

  • We continue to eat a lot of garden goodies: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, & basil.
  • The boys were both going to be out with friends on Friday, so I planned an easy dinner for myself & M. (Wings, Trader Joes samosas, salad & a bowl of sliced tomatoes & sliced strawberries). Nick decided to leave a little later, so he also ate with us. He's not a big wing fan, so I made a quick chicken patty sandwich for him, and he wrapped up the last of the carrots, cucumber & a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes, with hummus. 
  • I've made the boys protein smoothies a few times, using up berries from the freezer (so many berries!) & almond milk. I've discovered that almond milk bothers my stomach, so I swapped it out for oat milk in my coffee. I don't want to waste it, so happy to find another use for it. The smoothies also include the free protein powder that I picked up on Buy Nothing. 

For others

  • Helped my parents with rebooking flights for their trip to Hawaii (now shifted to Oahu vs Maui). There were a few complications with their reservations, and my father is quite hard of hearing, so it's easiest if I sort it out with the airline directly. Two phone calls & one chat later, it's now fixed!
  • M spent Sunday helping our neighbor with a repair project.
  • We donated money to the Maui wildfires, and filled out a form via work, who will match our donation. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, August 14, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 It should be a pretty normal week this week. That said, the teens are rarely at home at the same time for dinner, given it's their last week of summer. Conflicting sports practices, dinners out with friends, etc. Here's what we're eating this week!

  • Friday - it was supposed to be just myself and M, so we had wings & chicken samosas + salad. Nick ended up going out later than planned, so I made him a chicken patty sandwich (freezer options for the win), as he joined us. We also had sliced tomatoes & berries, both from the garden, as a side. 
  • Saturday - M grilled burgers, & we had those with more sliced tomatoes. I had mine over a salad, and we served that with cheater TJs potato salad. I call it cheater, because potato salad is, in my mind, an effort to make, and buying it is much easier. ;-) 
  • Sunday - I prepped M's grilled chicken recipe while he helped a neighbor, and he grilled & made rice. 
  • Monday - we're having ground beef tacos 
  • Tuesday - leftover burgers & potato salad
  • Wednesday - leftover chicken & rice
  • Thursday - leftover smorgasbord
  • Friday - it sounds like Nick is going to have friends over to swim, so likely pizza & watermelon
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Sunday Things

 The weekend has whizzed by. I haven't been drinking much/if at all this summer, as it isn't a great mix for me with the running. But, in celebration of finishing my last long run of the training cycle, I'm having a glass of delicious chardonnay today. 

I managed to get *almost* everything done on my to do list. I'll need to vacuum after work tomorrow, and deal with USPS & our car insurance.

I spent a chunk of unexpected time today helping my parents with some flight changes (due to the Maui fires), and got them all sorted out. I also took over prepping M's special chicken recipe, as he spent most of today helping our neighbor install a new garage door opener. She is in her 80s, and appreciates the help so much. I had no idea how much work M's chicken recipe is, and now I have a new appreciation for the time he spends on it!

I also had to go back to a mall (drat) to exchange a pair of shoes for Sam, and pick up a few other back to school items. My two teens could not be more different. Nick loves everything about shoes, clothes, cologne, style... He spends a lot of his own money on those things. Sam wears 8 year old shorts from Costco, and despite my best effort, will not upgrade! He recently allowed us (me + Nick) to choose a few "cooler" clothing items for him, and when he ripped his only pair of shoes, he also allowed us to pick a few slightly nicer pairs. They make me laugh, with their very distinct approaches to dressing. 

What is everyone else up to today? Hope your weekend was a lovely mix of productive & relaxing!

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Saturday Happenings

I can't get Maui off of my mind. I feel terrible for everyone there, and I'm just so sad about the devastation, & loss of life. Maybe because I'm very familiar with the area, it feels so real. 

Work has been very, very busy & my anxiety has been higher than usual. I really need to make time to meditate, which is always helpful, but somehow falls to the bottom of my list. I also have a huge meeting coming up on Monday, so I'll be happy when that's wrapped up.

On the family side, this is a super busy time of year. The boys are getting ready to go back to school, and getting all of the school stuff sorted out & ASB cards ordered, schedules managed, booking a last minute business trip to Japan (more on that another time) & I've been feeling overwhelmed. I'm also in the final stages of relay prep (it's at the end of the month) & staying trained & preparing for that is also top of mind. 

My to do list was so long yesterday that I ended up making a second list half way through the day, to keep me focused on the remaining items I could accomplish. I did make a lot of progress, although never as much as I'd hoped! 

Here's what's on the agenda for today, with some slipping to tomorrow:

  • It's my running break day, so I'm going to a workout class. The class involves about 2 miles of running, but that's a break compared to my other training days. And, there will be rowing & strength training, so it will be a nice mix. 
  • Sam has two tournament games today, so attend at least one, hopefully both.
  • M is grilling burgers, & hitting up Costco. We need everything, as the boys cleaned us out of basically all fresh food. We were getting desperate last night, so I was grateful for all of the garden tomatoes & strawberries! 
  • Work on packing list for relay. There's not much space in the van, and you need a bunch of odd stuff. The weather is also super unpredictable, and you are running at all possible times of night/day, so you need things like head lamps, warm clothes, clothes for hot weather, etc. 
  • Order all of boys stuff for orientation: parking permits, ASB cards, picture order forms. The website wasn't working yesterday, so fingers crossed that I can check this off today.
  • I'm going to go to Trader Joes, to pick up other grocery items. 
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Package/mail eBay
  • File USPS claim for lost eBay item
  • File all receipts, run budget numbers
  • Look into car insurance
  • Clean kitchen
  • Vacuum
  • Duolingo
  • Stretch 
  • Meditate
What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, August 11, 2023

Two weeks of Frugal Friday

 I was out of town last Friday, so catching up with a double edition.

Saving on things we buy

  • We ran out of packing tape, and I picked up a roll at Rite Aid, and used $4 of Rite Aid rewards. I'll buy a larger pack at Costco, but this will hold us over in the interim. 
  • I used $40 of grocery store rewards to do a mid-week shop. We didn't do our typical grocery shop the week the boys were gone, and had nothing in the house when we got home. I picked up fruit, veggies & some milk, as well as Gatorade for myself, for the 36 hours of fasting I had to do for my medical procedure. 

Earning money

  • In the opposite of "earning money", the post office lost one of my eBay packages, and I need to return the buyer's money. The post office has determined the item was stolen, so hopefully I'll be getting a check at some point. But, there are some hoops to jump through to get my money back for sure. 

Avoiding spending (apparently, these are travel themed for the week)

  • The boys & I were able to get dinner at the airport at no cost, using our lounge passes (these come with our credit card).
  • We used Southwest free drink coupons to get a free drink on our flight back last weekend.
  • We received two free bottles of wine on our trip, and checked a bag (for free) & brought them home.
  • I was upgraded to business class on a work trip to London in November. I used "plus points" earned from status, and while I would never pay to upgrade myself on a work trip, it will be a huge benefit to return home with less jetlag, thanks to a lie flat seat. 

Eating what we have

  • I ate a freebie yogurt container, with fresh strawberries from the garden. I wanted a little "crunch" & figured I'd use some stale cereal (teen snack). Let's just say, whoa! The sugar level in that cereal. I think it was Trix? I ended up eating around it. Haven't had Trix in years, and it's definitely more of a dessert than an actual breakfast food. ;-) 
  • With the boys out of town, I've been trying to creatively eat through smaller portion fridge/freezer items. I made a breakfast burrito for a lunch, using up tomatoes from the garden + tortillas & cheese leftover from taco night. 
  • M & I also had a few leftover kebabs, served with 1/2 of a remaining pack of gyozos.
  • On Monday, with minimal options in the fridge, I made a breakfast burrito (similar to the above) & then we had freezer leftovers for dinner.  
  • I fasted for a few days, and M ate other single serving leftovers from the freezer, which saved us from needing to shop for a bit longer. 

For others

  • M has been helping our neighbor with a variety of projects, I've stocked up on toiletries for a neighbor who is doing a run to a shelter in need, and continue to offer up items to our neighbors on Buy Nothing. 

What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, August 7, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 M & I were on vacation, and arrived home last night. Good times were had all around, but it's always nice to be home. The teens are arriving back home tomorrow (woohoo), so we will be back to our more regular menu planning. We eat a large green salad with every dinner.

  • Friday - we ate at a French restaurant, and I had an amazing roast chicken dish. So good. 
  • Saturday - out again, and & I had steak & scalloped potatoes. Plus, strawberry cheesecake. It was a very indulgent dinner.
  • Sunday - we got home from the airport & were too tired to sort out dinner, so we just went to bed.
  • Monday - PF Chang lettuce wraps from the freezer (dupe recipe)
  • Tuesday - I need to fast for a medical procedure on Wednesday. M will have chicken shawarma (freezer)
  • Wednesday - I have a medical procedure for part of the day, and need a ride to/from the hospital. So, it will be an easy dinner of orange chicken & rice (Trader Joes).
  • Thursday - spaghetti & meatballs
  • Friday - grilled burgers + goodies from the garden. I'll probably make a caprese salad, to use up lots of tomatoes & basil.
That's it for us. What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

August Goals

 August will be a busy month. M & I are doing a long weekend in Las Vegas, while the boys are with my parents. Then the boys return, and it's a flurry of back to school activities (dentist appointments, sports physicals, packet pickup & the actual start of back to school). I'm also doing Hood to Coast (a relay that goes from Mt Hood to Seaside Oregon) at the end of the month, so I'll be training for that as well. We've got a lot to get done in August!


  • Stick to our budget
  • Use 6 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items. 
  • Make $100 in side hustle 
  • One fun activity with the kids 
  • Prep & get ready for back to school. Complete all registration & sports physical requirements.
  • Work in the yard
  • Two dates with M 
  • Prep for September travel (I'm going to Tokyo unexpectedly for work, and heading to France at the end of the month)
  • Complete my running plan for the month & successfully finish my legs at Hood to Coast 
  • Follow the No S diet 
  • Meditate 3x 
  • Have my colonscopy

  • Do something social with friends 
  • Practice French on Duolingo -
  • Finalize all France activities
  • Give away 20 items on BN 
  • Try new garden recipes 
  • Get back into journaling 
What about you? Do you have any goals for the month? Share, so we can cheer you on!

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

July Goals Recap

 July absolutely whizzed by. Work was much busier than expected, but it was a good month just the same. Overall, I feel good about the progress for the month. 

Here's how we did with our goals this month:


  • Stick to our budget - mostly, yes. We have some yearly budget categories (vs monthly) that we are trending over for, so as we get closer to the end of the year, we'll have a better idea of how we fare. That said, I'm working  longer than I'd planned, so that income is more than offsetting the budget increases.
  • Use 6 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items. - I used 4 total this month (pepperoni that had been lingering forever, a mystery chicken dish, a chicken basil single serve meal, & a lunch soup sized frozen meal). 
  • Make $100 in side hustle -finally, a month where I had a few sales. I sold a ref kit, skirt, bike jersey & luggage tags. I made $130.
  • One fun activity with the kids - we bought a corn hole set, and have played that, and watched a lot of Wimbledon together. 
  • Plan something for the days off we have in July - we went to Half Moon Bay, and it was cool & gorgeous!
  • Work in the yard - not as much as I'd like (we had a bunch of hot days), but we've been staying on top of it
  • Two dates with M - yes, we went to HMB, and also sat by the pool several times & either had a cocktail, or just caught up & chatted. 
  • Complete my running plan for the month - done! I ran about 75 miles this month
  • Follow the No S diet - yes, and I've lost 3.5 lbs this month
  • Meditate 10x - nope, this didn't happen
  • Set up overdue dentist appointment - yes, and they had a cancellation & squeezed me in
  • And, colonoscopy - this is happening in early August. Yay ;-) 
  • Do something social with friends - I met a friend for a hike, another friend for a workout class/coffee & met up with two other friends for an after work glass of wine. 
  • Practice French on Duolingo - yes, I've been practicing most days
  • Land on timing for France trip + hotel & activities - timing is decided, hotels are booked & tours are largely decided on
  • Give away 20 items on BN - done, and more like 30 items were given away
  • Try new garden recipes - eh, not much here. I'd hoped to use zucchini for a new recipe, and the rabbits (I think) have eaten every single zucchini. We've since added a cage, and will see if we are able to successfully grow anything
  • Get back into journaling - no progress. 
Did you set any goals for July? If so, how did you do?

Monday, July 31, 2023

Menu(ish) Plan Monday

 The boys & I left for Portland on Friday, and M stayed behind & got some chores done around the house. The teens will stay with my parents for a little over a week, & M & I are having an adult vacation this weekend. So, the menu plan isn't very formal, to say the least. It's pretty easy when it's just the two of us. I also found a container of rotisserie chicken & sauce in the freezer, which M ate over the weekend. 

  • Friday - the boys & I ate at the lounge at the airport. M had the rotisserie chicken dish.
  • Saturday - we ate at my nephew's party (burgers, salads, etc) & M again had the rotisserie chicken
  • Sunday -  M grilled steak, & I made a Greek salad to go with it
  • Monday - kebabs (freezer) + gyozos
  • Tuesday - M will grill the remaining steak. We cut them into smaller chunks, so we could grill on two different nights. Leftover steak isn't quite the same as fresh off the grill
  • Wednesday - chicken shawarma (freezer)
  • Thursday - we will be out of town & have dinner reservations at an Italian place
  • Friday - out of town, and we will be eating at a dinner show. Not entirely sure what the menu is like
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Friday, July 28, 2023

Frugal Friday

Another super busy week, and the boys & I head to Portland this weekend for my nephew's birthday party. From there, they will stay with my parents for a week or so, and I'll fly back on Sunday. Here's what we've been up to! 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $2 Safeway reward and a gift card to pick up some groceries we needed
  • Similarly, I used $6 in CVS rewards, and picked up two packages of flavored sparkling water, which is a fun treat to have on hand in the summer.
  • I also called in an order to the local Greek restaurant last weekend (Nick picked up, saving the exorbitant fees on a delivery service) & used a 10% off coupon code. 

Earning money

  • I have status on the airline I fly from work, and they sent premier luggage tags (to help your bags get through baggage claim faster, I presume). I don't ever check bags, so I sold them on eBay for $75.
  • I also sold a skirt on eBay

Avoiding spending

  • Picked up an almost full container of protein powder on Buy Nothing. Nick drinks a lot of protein smoothies, after working out. 

Eating what we have

  • I ate a huge bowl of strawberries from the garden. Oh my, the taste of homegrown strawberries is so, so much different than those from the store.
  • We've continued to eat lots of basil, peppers & tomatoes from the garden.
  • We are largely having an "eat from the freezer" week, where I defrost leftovers, and pair those with fresh side dishes. 
  • M polished off Greek salad leftovers, when he got home from a trip on Saturday.
  • I managed to serve the last of the cauliflower rice & salmon, and nothing went to waste. Wasting salmon is always painful, given the cost, so I try to be really on top of it. 
  • We finished off the last of the hoagie rolls, purchased for Philly cheesesteaks. I froze them, and have pulled out a few at a time as needed, as they are good fill in hot dog buns. 
  • The boys finished off the last of a loaf of sandwich bread that they described as having an "odd" taste. 
  • I used garden tomatoes & basil (plus some fresh mozzarella that needed to be used) to make a caprese salad
  • We finished a bag of grilled chicken & leftover hot dogs (4th of July) for a few dinners. M made rice to pair with the chicken. Sometimes, adding the fresh side really "sells" the leftovers. 

For others

  • We are doing a work offsite, and planning a social event for team bonding (many of the folks were hired during COVID, and have never met in person). I suggested a volunteer activity, vs the standard drinks & appetizers, and people are thrilled with the idea. We're volunteering at a food bank.
  • M has spent hours helping our neighbor with a house project, and I've ordered her a few options to repair the garage door. Unfortunately, none of that worked, so it looks like she'll need a new unit. But, we tried!

That's it on our side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, July 24, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 It's going to be another very busy week, with a lot of work activities on my side, evening work commitments, as well as the boys last week of work. On Friday, we're flying to my parents house, where I'll stay the weekend, and the boys will stay for a week or so with my parents. 

  • Friday - leftovers (PF Changs imitation lettuce wraps + fried rice)
  • Saturday - hot dogs + caprese salad
  • Sunday - grilled chicken + rice
  • Monday - mystery shredded chicken dish (freezer - why didn't I label this?) + whatever side is appropriate with said mystery
  • Tuesday - leftover hot dogs
  • Wednesday - leftover grilled chicken + rice
  • Thursday - finish off all leftovers. If they are gone, either pizza from the freezer, or gyozas
  • Friday - the boys & I will eat in the lounge at the airport, and M will have leftovers. 
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 At the end of a long work week yesterday, I wasn't very excited to have a social event. I was invited to meet up with a couple of friends for work, and have a glass of wine at my friend's gorgeous home. I ended up going, and it was lovely. Sometimes, putting in the effort is really worth it. We caught up on summer travel plans, work gossip, & her rapid approach at being an empty nester. 

I'm also meeting another friend for a hike this morning, and planning to go for a run after that. I'm at the point in my relay training where I need lots of miles!

Here's what I'm up to today & tomorrow:

  • Meet a friend for a hike
  • Run a few miles
  • Have a call with friends to plan France trip
  • Clean the house
  • Laundry
  • Clean the fridge
  • Wash the bedding
  • Work in the garden
  • Practice French on Duolingo
  • Drop off an eBay sale at the post office box
  • Drop off a return at UPS
  • Trader Joes
  • Make a menu plan
  • Safeway
  • Read by the pool, if it doesn't get too hot
  • Long run (definitely tomorrow)
That's it for me. What are you up to this weekend? 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Frugal Friday

 It was a packed week, with long work days all around. The boys also fit in some tennis & soccer. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I was hoping to buy some sneakers that would be light weight & good for a few upcoming trips. I loved them in the white color, and wanted to get a pair in black as well. I went to the outlet, and found them in black for 1/2 price (unfortunately, the white was not available). When I bought the white sneakers, I combined Rakuten with a site sale, so did save 40% off the purchase price. 
  • I picked up a bunch of things we needed at Safeway (cheese for $1.97/package!) I picked up 8 packages (we go through a lot of cheese here, as a snack & for sandwiches for work lunches for the boys). I also picked up two packages of Gatorade (our agreement is that if it's 90 or close to it and you are playing sports, you can have Gatorade.) Otherwise, it's too expensive & I'm not a fan of the plastic. I also got bread, two packages of deodorant, and three boxes of cereal (teen snack). The total was $51, and I earned $2 of Safeway rewards, $8.10 in iBotta rewards, and $2.72 on Fetch. 
  • Used grocery store rewards to pick up some lunch items, plus added in the Friday Freebie (some sort of sports drink). 
  • Picked up some random toiletries that got added to the shopping list (lots of sunblock, for the boys camp & ever more deodorant + cereal, which was again on sale) at Rite Aid. I used $7 of rewards, and saved $2.35 on Fetch, and $6.60 via iBotta. Total purchase price of $37, so this brought it down to a reasonable amount. 

Earning money

  • I cashed out $25 of Fetch rewards for a Safeway gift card. 
  • Similarly, I cashed out $31.70 in iBotta, but straight to cash.

Avoiding spending

  • Nick works out at the gym right next to a CVS, so had him use my $4 CVS reward to buy drinks for himself & a friend. I wasn't going to make it CVS, but didn't want the reward to go to waste. Teens can always find a way to spend $4. ;-) 

Eating what we have

  • We continue to eat things here & there from the garden (strawberries, basil, peppers, tomatoes) 
  • The boys have been packing lunches for work
  • I made protein smoothies out of some overripe bananas, and freezer fruit
  • I used up a couple of bags of frozen fried rice (one with cauliflower rice), to round out another meal
  • As always, we've been eating lots of leftovers

For others

  • We often share leftovers with our older neighbor, and did that again this week. 
  • M helped our neighbor with a home repair project
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, July 17, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 It's supposed to be a beautiful (& warm) weekend, so we'll plan to keep things pretty easy. I also have a jam packed week next week (lots of folks in town for work, so multiple evening activities). 

  • Friday - Pizza (from the freezer, because we have a ton of it)
  • Saturday - M is grilling burgers
  • Sunday - chicken lettuce wraps 
  • Monday - chicken gyros
  • Tuesday - I have a work dinner, so the boys will have leftover burgers
  • Wednesday - leftover lettuce wraps
  • Thursday - leftover gyros
  • Friday - remaining leftovers, or orange chicken (Trader Joes, from the freezer)
What about you? What's on your menu for the week?

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 I'm heading out shortly to a workout class, and trying to enjoy coffee before our leave. Our espresso machine was purchased when Sam was born (there's a reason we started drinking coffee, and it's related to our first sweet baby, who never, ever slept ;-)), & is giving me trouble today. We'll see if M can fix it. On the financial side, what an incredible investment that's been. M makes 3-4 espressos per day (I had 2 for quite a while, and am down to 1). Either way, over 17 years, the amortization of that purchase makes it incredibly reasonable. We've had it serviced once (it didn't enjoy the moving process), but otherwise, M maintains it.

Other things that are happening here today/tomorrow:

  • Pick up items for the menu this week. We have a few odd items that can't be purchased at our normal Costco shop, so I'll run around to grab those items.
  • Clean the house
  • Volunteer at a food pantry donation. Sam goes regularly, but they are desperate for people this week, so I'll join as well.
  • Work out (fitness class today, 6 mile run tomorrow)
  • Lots of laundry
  • Watch Wimbledon. Nick & M are obsessed
  • Try on a few things for upcoming trips. Make a packing list.
  • Make a list for Sam's senior pictures
  • Find 10 items to give away on BN
  • List 2 items on eBay
  • Work in the yard (hopefully, before it gets so hot)
  • Come up with a training plan for the rest of the weeks before my relay (end of August)
  • Work on France travel logistics
What about you? What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, July 14, 2023

Frugal Friday

It's been another busy week. Lots of work (all four of us), soccer practice is back, and plenty of running around.  

Saving on things we buy

  • I took Nick to lunch on his way home from tennis camp (apparently, that 50 hours of tennis really took it out of him ;-)) & used a free drink coupon to go with his burrito.
  • I've been buying sandwich fixings for the boys to make lunch each day. While it's not the cheapest lunch option, it's easy for them & fills them up for a day of work. There were a few Fetch offers for various sandwich items (cheese, deli meat), so I also scanned those receipts. 

Earning money

  • The boys are both back at work this week, earning money. Our agreement is that they keep as much summer earnings as possible, and that should largely serve as their spending money for the year ahead. Sam still has summer money from last year (after a brief challenge with spending too quickly, we then worked together on a plan, where he transfers over $25 a week to checking). Having your own money & understanding how much things cost is super helpful. Both kids comment on the price of various things, now that they are spending their own money - which is an amazing life lesson! :-) 
  • I listed an immediately sold a bike shirt on eBay. 

Avoiding spending

  • Not having Amazon Prime made it much easier to resist the deals this year! 

Eating what we have

  • Rather than ordering anything for myself at Chipotle, I came home & made a sandwich & had that with a bowl of berries & a few bites of potato salad. 
  • We continue to use lots of garden goodies, and finally have some tomatoes! I've been making caprese salad with fresh garden tomatoes & basil. Yum!
  • Ate lots of leftovers this week, including meat loaf & taco meat from the freezer. 

For others

  • We are helping out a family member in a tight spot
  • I coordinated travel arrangements for a celebratory trip for my nephew's 21st birthday, and covered flights for him + my dad. In other news, flights are absolutely insane right now. Crazy wild expensive. 
  • My dad wanted to use his miles to cover my uncle's trip to Las Vegas, but the airline he has miles on was 2x as expensive as Southwest. Instead, I covered my uncle's trip (I had gift cards purchased at the grocery store, which is how I get my grocery store rewards) & used my dad's miles to cover a trip here in October when my parents watch the boys. I always cover their flights, as they are providing what used to be childcare, and can now more accurately be described as teen supervision. ;-) 
  • Gave away a bunch of stuff on Buy Nothing
That's it on my side. What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, July 10, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

Everyone is back together again, although getting both teens together for dinner during the summer is quite a feat! :-) We have salad with every dinner. 

  • Friday - M's cousin was in town, so we had steak, scalloped potatoes, caprese salad.
  • Saturday - tacos (meat from the freezer)
  • Sunday - grilled chicken & rice
  • Monday - meatloaf (freezer) + leftover scalloped potatoes
  • Tuesday - leftover tacos
  • Wednesday - leftover grilled chicken & rice
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers, or orange chicken & fried rice
  • Friday - pizza
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 It's a pretty quiet weekend (no soccer games & no travel will do that for you), & I plan to enjoy it. I'm also taking Monday off, as I have a dentist appointment & a doctor's appointment, and the logistics of that are plenty for a day. 

M's cousin visited on his way back from LA last night, and flies out of SFO this morning. He hasn't been to see us since we moved to California, so it was great to catch up. I also picked up Nick from tennis camp, where he played 50 hours of tennis in just under a week. He was home for an hour before he left to meet up with a friend to... play tennis. ;-) 

Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish today:

  • Attend a workout class
  • Make a menu plan 
  • And a shopping list
  • Go to Trader Joes 
  • Vacuum
  • Laundry
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean the kitchen
  • List 10 items on BN
  • List 3 items on eBay
  • Catch up on bill paying/budget tracking
  • Stretch (my piriformis has been bothering me, so stretching has been critical)
  • Drop off a couple of returns
  • Find running shorts. It's too hot to run in pants, and I don't want to run in anything actually "short", both because I'm not 20, and also...chafing. I'm trying to find running shorts that are the bike short type, but getting the length and fit right has been an adventure. 
That's it from my side. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish today?

Friday, July 7, 2023

Frugal Friday

It was a really nice long weekend, an we got a lot done around the house, and did some travel planning. Any time there is travel planning, there is an opportunity to both spend & save! Here's how we did. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I used a $20 grocery reward to pick up a few things (2 large boxes of cereal, two gallons of ice cream, two packages of sliced cheese, sandwich bread, deli meat, tortillas, & Keto friendly wraps. My after reward total was $17.68, and I also saved another $3.60 via iBotta & a bit more using Fetch. I also picked up a Gatorade protein bar, which was the Friday freebie. 
  • M & I had planned on doing a dinner out on Sunday, but opted to come home, hang by the pool, make drinks & grill steaks. Sam & a friend unexpectedly dropped by for dinner, so we extended our meal to feed four. I warmed a loaf of bread, took some old peaches from the fruit drawer & made that into a mozzarella/peach/basil salad, used a bagged salad, and we cut the steak into smaller pieces. It worked great & was definitely cheaper than a meal out, despite splurging on steak. 
  • We are planning a final all family ski week for next February (Sam will be unlikely to join the following year, as he'll be in college). Sam got to vote on his top location, so I've been pricing out Whistler. I was able to find the hotel we wanted, for $500 cheaper by using Costco travel, and it includes a car rental & a $40/day free parking option. I'm so happy I thought to price out the same hotel via Costco. All told, we will save close to $1000 by booking this way.
  • When the boys opted to stay with my parents after the wedding, & had to cancel their return flight (the same airline didn't service Pasco & Portland), so we ended up with a hard to use credit with a bunch of limitations (due to using 1/2 of it, but not all of the ticket). I was able to rebook another one way flight for them, and cancel another reservation, saving about $300. 

Earning money

  • Sold an outgrown reffing kit on FB, for $25
  • Both boys got paid for their camp weeks

Avoiding spending

  • Found a Subway gift card while I was cleaning my desk area, and used that to order lunch for Sam on a busy day. He picked it up while out running errands, and was able to have lunch for "free". 

Eating what we have

  • I had leftover chicken & beans for a quick breakfast, after a workout. It was a nontraditional breakfast meal, but it was delicious, and good to clean it out of the fridge. 
  • I've been eating less than usual, which has the side benefit of requiring less food. ;-) 
  • Used up the last of the sliced provolone (leftover from a Philly cheesesteak dinner) on a couple of sandwiches.
  • On a related note, used hoagie rolls as substitute hot dog buns for our 4th of July dinner
  • Ate leftovers for dinner during the week

For others

  • Washed up Sam's PE uniform, and gave that away on BN, saving a local parent $30 on the cost of the mandatory school PE uniform.
  • Gave away a few other BN items
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, July 3, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 Yay for long weekends! M & I have both today & Tuesday off, which makes it a 4 day weekend. Hurrah!

  • Friday - chicken patty sandwiches for the teens, grilled chicken over salads for myself + M
  • Saturday - beef kebabs, rice & a yogurt sauce
  • Sunday - steak, mozzarella/basil/peach salad, & green salad
  • Monday - tacos
  • Tuesday - hot dogs, potato salad & coleslaw
  • Wednesday - leftover kebabs & rice
  • Thursday - leftover tacos
  • Friday - leftover hot dogs, potato salad & coleslaw
What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, July 2, 2023

July Goals

July should be a good month. The boys are working, and we're not traveling, with the exception of the last weekend of the month, where we'll head to Portland for my nephew's party/to see family. The boys will stay with my parents for about ten days, while I'll fly back.

Here are my goals for the month.


  • Stick to our budget
  • Use 6 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items
  • Make $100 in side hustle (list 5 items on eBay)
  • Work on college funding plans
  • Update financial plan based on my work timing (planning to stay longer)

  • One fun activity with the kids
  • Plan something for the days we have off in July
  • Work in the yard
  • Have two dates with M
  • Complete my running plan for the month
  • Follow the No S diet
  • Meditate 10x
  • Set up overdue dentist appointment
  • And, colonoscopy (dread)
  • Do something social with friends
  • Practice French on Duolingo
  • Land on timing for French trip + hotel & activities
  • Give away 20 items on Buy Nothing
  • Try new garden recipes
  • Get back into journaling

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

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Saturday Happenings

It's the first weekend in a few weeks that we've been home, and I'm enjoying the peace. My sister & her family are in Hawaii this week, celebrating my nephew's graduation, so I'm living vicariously through her pictures. As always, it looks amazing. 

Some random things that are top of mind:

  • Today is our one free day, as tomorrow we drop Nick off at an overnight tennis camp. He'll be done on Friday. We will be spending some time getting him ready for that, and of course, it's finally hot. He spends 50 hours playing tennis, so we'll need to make sure he has plenty of hydration options. Not a referral, but we really like Nuun tablets, which you can easily transport, drop into water bottles, and generate minimal waste. They are also much healthier/have less sugar than some of the alternatives. Nick gets migraines when he's dehydrated, so while Nuun's are not cheap, they are a worthy investment. 
  • We picked a bunch of cucumbers, and a handful of strawberries, in addition to the enormous amount of basil & peppers + lettuce we have. Something came & pulled out most of my squash plants, and ripped every last zucchini off the vines. Some of the zucchini were huge! What kind of a critter could accomplish this? I'm super irritated, and don't want to add netting to our planter boxes, but maybe we need to.
  • I gave away two teen suits on Buy Nothing, and people are so thrilled. Finding suits for teens is a huge challenge (and, pricey) & they grow out of them quickly. I'm so happy to help people out. 
  • On a related clothing note, a family friend is taking Sam's senior pictures when the boys are in Portland in August, and I need to go through his clothes & see what options he has. Sam took a weightlifting class at school, and goes to the gym pretty regularly. His chest is quite a bit broader than it was a year ago, so not everything fits. Growing boys!
  • At Sam's request, I put together an appetizer tray last night - a few varieties of cheese, crackers, nuts & sliced peaches. Everyone was thrilled, it used up cheese leftover from my mom's visit, and it held us all off until dinner was ready. Win/win/win. 
  • I've lost 3.5 lbs, which I'm feeling really happy with. It's also just much easier not to worry about everything I'm eating, which is my favorite benefit beyond the actual weight loss. 
What do I need to accomplish today? Well, it's a four day weekend, so consider this list aspirational for one day, and anything that doesn't get done today (minus prepping Nick for camp) can shift around to other days. Although, I want to be as productive as possible:

  • Attend a workout class. I couldn't get in to the 8:15 class, so I'll be going to the 9:30. A little late for my taste, but it will be nice to have the workout done.
  • Help Nick pack for camp
  • Make a menu + a shopping list
  • I need to do a little work
  • I made a ton of progress on the three tiered tray where I keep incoming mail, things that need to be dealt with, and a bunch of other random items. As you can imagine, over time, things stack up & it needs to be cleaned out.
  • Call United & figure out how much credit the boys have from their cancelled flights. It's always available online, but this one isn't. So irritating. 
  • Yard work 
  • Steam mop in front of the stove
  • Find 10 more items to give away on Buy Nothing
  • Sort out FB marketplace sale
  • Practice Duolingo
  • Meditate
  • Figure out plan for Monday
  • Laundry
  • Read by the pool (maybe dip in the pool?) We shall see how warm it gets.
What about you? What's top of mind for you today?

Friday, June 30, 2023

Frugal Friday

Another week whizzed by! We've had so much fun with family, but it will be nice to be home this weekend. Here are a few frugal wins for the week. 

Saving on things we buy

  • It was another weekend out of town, so we did our normal travel stuff: brought water bottles to fill at the airport, M & I made a dinner out of food at the lounge, priced out cheapest ride share options, & packed snacks for the teens. 
  • I dropped off Nick's tennis racket, string & some cash for his friend, who is restringing the racket for him. It was about half the price of having it done at a shop. 
  • I had to pick up some things we needed at Rite Aid, and found matching Fetch offers, as well as a Rite Aid offer. I spent a total of $55, and earned $7 in Rite Aid rewards & $16 in Fetch offers, which was a nice bonus. 

Earning money

  • Not much to report here, as the boys are with my parents & not working this week. M & I are continuing our normal work.
  • I found $.35 on the ground, outside of Rite Aid
Avoiding spending

  • We also took advantage of the free breakfast the hotel served over the weekend. It was a nice  buffet, so everyone was able to fill up in the mornings. 
  • I needed a rapid COVID test for Nick's camp, and didn't have any on hand. I was able to pick one up on Buy Nothing. 

Eating what we have

  • Ate lots of lettuce, basil & peppers from our garden. We have not had as much sun/warm weather as usual, so we don't have any ripe tomatoes yet. Our tomato plants are quite small for this time of the year.
  • I finished all of the delivery meals (frozen)! They are super handy to have in a pinch, and I love that they are very healthy, as opposed to most frozen/prepped options. That said, they are too pricey when you pay the regular price. I got a great deal from a work offer, but likely won't replace them. 
  • M ate a few burger patties & grilled chicken from the freezer, as well as finished off the last of the salmon.
  • I cut up all of the ripe/overly ripe fruit in the fridge, and froze it for smoothies, as the boys were  out of town this week. 

For others

  • Spent some time on a new mentorship program through work.
  • I have a few nice things to give away on Buy Nothing, so want to get those posted ahead of the long weekend.
That's it for me. What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, June 29, 2023

June Goals Recap

 June was a really busy month, and I can't believe it's done. We had: both kids finishing school, starting work, M's birthday, and two weekend out of town/flying trips! It's been a whirlwind. As a result, it was a lot of fun, but not as productive as some of my other months. That's okay, that's why I consistently try to set goals, even if not every month is quite as productive as others. 


  • Stick to our budget - eh, we've been traveling a lot, but have generally done well, outside of travel costs.
  • Use 6 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items - I finished off all of the meal delivery prepped meals, which has freed up a bunch of freezer space
  • Make $200 in side hustle - I made $45, selling two items
  • Start working on college funding plans - I didn't make any progress on this


  • One fun activity with with the kids - we did several fun things, including two mini weekend trips. We also played cornhole at a family party, and enjoyed it so much that we ordered a set for at home.
  • Plan fun birthday lunch with M on our shared day off - we ended up going for a run & then having lunch in Pacifica, which was lovely
  • Have two dates with M - we've had lots of time together, & enjoyed a few dates.


  • Get back on track with my running training plan - mostly there
  • Track calories & average below 1500 calories/day - I'm liking my new approach of no snacks, sweets or seconds & my calories have been consistently good on these days
  • Complete Orange Theory challenges (15 class workouts) - I'm going to finish with 14, and could push for 15, but also need to prioritize running
  • Meditate 10x - I meditated 1x, so better than prior months. 

  • Do something social with friends - met a friend for a hike, and another friend for coffee
  • Practice French on Duolingo -  I've done a bit of this, but not consistently
  • Land on timing for French trip + hotels & activities - no real progress
  • Give away 20 items on Buy Nothing - yes!
  • Trim back herbs & give away what we won't use - no, & now I've missed the window. Need to be better next time, as I hate waste.
  • Try one food recipe from garden goodies - yes, we made grilled artichokes, & they were fantastic. 
What about you? How did you do with your June goals?

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Workout Wednesday

 This should really be re titled as "Fitness Wednesday", but I'll stick with the alliteration for now. Similar to most people, I do best with a regular routine, on the health & fitness front. Since April, I've done two international trips, one college tour, one trip to my parents house for my nephew's graduation, and one weekend trip for a wedding. Individually, any of these would be fine, but added together, they definitely got me out of a routine, & I've struggled to get back into one.

I've done a good job over the last 3 years  or so of sticking with my workout routine regardless, even if it's sometimes dialed back on travel or jet lagged days. Eating, however, is much harder for me to rebound from splurges back to healthy habits. 

I'd like to lose 15-20 lbs (realistically, anything around the ten pound mark would be great), and I'd like a diet (e.g. not a short term "diet", but a healthy approach to eating) that I can use for the rest of my life. I'm fine with occasional calorie tracking, to ensure I know how much I'm eating, but I really don't want that to be the rest of my life, worrying about each calorie. I also find that I just get decision fatigue. Should I eat this? That? Have I burned enough calories? 

I've been following the No S diet  (no affiliation of any kind) for the past ten days or so, and am really liking how easy it is. Basically, no sweets, snacks, or seconds (portions) for any days that don't start with S. On S days (Saturday & Sunday), you can indulge a bit more, but be reasonable. Special occasion days (your birthday, Christmas, or whatever) can fit within an S day. 

Trying this out has made me realize how much snacking I was doing! It's been super helpful & eye opening, just to make this adjustment to my diet, and I've lost 1.5 lbs in two weeks. I'm going to give it a few more weeks, and continue to make small adjustments to my eating (ensuring I'm getting enough fruit & veggies, as typically fruit served as a "snack), but so far, I love how easy it is & can definitely see following this forever. It's also described as the "Grandma Diet", as it's reflective of how your older relatives likely ate. 

On the fitness front, I'm still juggling OrangeTheory workout classes (love them, and really enjoy the strength training element, and the muscle tone I've developed in my arms), combined with running. I'm doing a relay at the end of August, and need to dial up my miles. I also have some piriformis pain, and need to increase my stretching. 

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

Monday, June 26, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 The teens didn't have to work this week (unexpectedly, as camp registration numbers were down), so they opted to go home with my parents after the wedding this weekend, and will fly back on Thursday. As such, our dinner options are a little lighter/we're feeding fewer people. I try to make these "clean out the freezer" weeks, and reduce our grocery shopping as much as possible. 

Here's what we're eating this week:

  • Friday - M & I ate at the lounge, before our flight. The teens ate snacks from home & a sandwich
  • Saturday - we ate mostly at the wedding, and ordered Dominos for afterward, as not everyone was "full" enough ;-) 
  • Sunday - I made the last of a bag of chicken from the freezer, and served that over a salad. M had salmon
  • Monday - salmon for M, a frozen delivery dinner for me (last 1 of 2!) 
  • Tuesday - last delivery dinner for me, and a burger for M
  • Wednesday - grilled chicken salads
  • Thursday - picking up the boys at the airport. Spaghetti & meatballs
  • Friday - gyozas & wings, most likely
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Friday, June 23, 2023

Frugal Friday

Another very, very busy week, with the boys working & M & I working more than usual. We did have Monday off, which was so lovely, after being gone over the weekend. It was nice to catch up! 

Saving on things we buy

  • Our flights last weekend were in & out of separate airports (because of the cost difference on the return flight - so much cheaper to fly home via SFO), so we weren't able to park. We priced out the least expensive option (Lyft) & used that both ways. We get a small discount as well via our credit card. 
  • I bought discounted travel gift cards at Costco. 
  • I buy 2-3 pair of running shoes a year, and discovered that my current favorites (Brooks, Ghost 14) were on sale. Additionally, my credit card was also offering 10% back at Brooks, and I clicked through to Rakuten first, saving an additional 2%. 
  • Uploaded a few receipts to Fetch & iBotta, saving $.35 on raspberries. 
  • I used a $20 grocery store reward (earned buying gift cards) to offset the cost of: two bags of salad, hamburger buns, a loaf of bread & two packages of cheese for the boys sandwiches, plus oat milk. I paid $5 out of pocket. 
  • The boys are done from camp earlier than expected on Fridays, so I was able to move up our flight for the wedding we're attending. We will need an additional night in a hotel, but even with that, it's a $400 savings. Bonus, the hotel repriced my first night reservation & increased the rate by $40 when I added the second night, but I caught it  & they adjusted it for me. 

Earning money

  • I sold a pair of shoes on eBay

Avoiding spending

  • M & I used our free lounge access app & had two free drinks + dinner at the lounge. We received the lounge access app with our credit card, & will be tracking the cost of the card vs the perks this year, to see if it's worth continuing. The sign up bonus paid for the card for the first year, but we'll want to see how the cost plays out after the first year.
  • Brought snacks from my parents house, for the return flight on Sunday. 

Eating what we have

  • Rather than takeout, we found dinner options in the freezer, after we flew home on Sunday

For others

  • Sadly, I can't think of anything this week. This is a good reminder to focus on this next week.
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, June 19, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

We had a great weekend, celebrating my nephew's graduation. We flew back yesterday afternoon, & M & I both have the day off work. The teens, on the other hand, are both working today. 

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

  • Friday - M & I ate a few things on the lounge, & bought Sam a sandwich at the airport
  • Saturday - there was lots of party food available to enjoy
  • Sunday - when we got back from the airport, I defrosted barbecued chicken & served that with fried rice
  • Monday - M is grilling burgers, since we have the day off today, & more time to cook
  • Tuesday - chicken fajitas (prepped & in the freezer, just need to be baked)
  • Wednesday - leftover burgers
  • Thursday - leftover fajitas
  • Friday - we are flying to a family wedding, so something at the airport
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Friday, June 16, 2023

Frugal Friday

Work is whizzing along, and this week I needed to be in the office by 8:30 all five days, which is unusual. A couple of the days it was even earlier. It was also M's birthday, and Sam's first week of work. Nick is visiting my parents, and having a fabulous time. 

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $10 reward to buy a bralette for myself, for $5. 
  • M bought me a few pair of my favorite work shoes (Rothys) for Mother's Day last year. They were the same size I've always worn, but were so much smaller. I've stubbornly tried to wear them, and they hurt my feet every time. I should have returned them at the time, but that ship has long since sailed. Instead, I'm listing them on eBay, and used a coupon code + Rakuten to order them in a size up. So, this is definitely a combination frugal fail/win. 
  • Uploaded Fetch & iBotta receipts, and saved a bit here & there.
  • Used $5 of Rite Aid rewards, before they expired. 
  • Contacted the grocery store for $6.50 of rewards that didn't apply on a recent purchase (their loyalty system was down).
  • Earned $30 in rewards at the grocery store, buy purchasing Home Depot gift cards. We use the gift cards for various home maintenance tasks that come up. 

Earning money

  • I worked at my normal W2 job, but Sam worked last weekend to get ready for the first week of camp, and worked as a counselor this week. 

Avoiding spending

  • M taught Sam how to change the oil in his car, so they worked on that this weekend. 
  • All of our cars were washed at home
  • Carpooled to a volunteer event

Eating what we have

  • I've continued to eat the leftover delivery meals (stored in the freezer), as a good "in a pinch" meal option for myself. It's also helping to clear out the freezer, which is always a win. 
  • Used up garden lettuce, basil & a small handful of tomatoes
  • We also took advantage of a few freezer dinners (kebabs, grilled chicken, etc), as we had fewer diners this week, with Nick out of town. 

For others

  • Gave away a bunch of teen clothes via Buy Nothing
  • Volunteered at a clean up event at a local school, and then had my time matched by my employer
What about you? Any wins to share this week?

Monday, June 12, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 Nick is with my parents this week, so there are just three diners at our house. Here's what we're having this week:

  • Friday - went out to dinner, to celebrate Sam becoming a senior. We had a fabulous meal (pizza, salad, wings) & lots of laughs.
  • Saturday - A delivery dinner (freezer) for me, M had salmon. Both served with caprese salad
  • Sunday - Philly cheesesteaks + coleslaw
  • Monday - chicken fajitas
  • Tuesday - Philly cheesesteaks
  • Wednesday - chicken fajitas
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers, or delivery dinner (freezer) for me, and meatballs for the boys
  • Friday - at the airport, on my way to my parents for my nephew's graduation party
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Sunday Things

 I made some progress on my to do list yesterday, but opted to work on cleaning out Nick's room, vs some of my other cleaning chores. Much was done, but quite a bit remains. 

Here's what's on my list for today. 
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Laundry
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean kitchen
  • Try out new steam mop
  • Go to workout class
  • Organize my schedule for the week
  • Work with Sam on his schedule for the week
  • Work in the garden
  • Run a couple of miles, try out new watch
  • Continue working in Nick's room

What about you? Are you having a productive weekend? 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Saturday Happenings

We dropped Nick off at the airport yesterday, and he flew to Portland to spend a week with my parents, and attend my nephew's graduation. Sam has to work next week, so he stayed behind with us. 

I got a few things taken care of (new passport photo, as I'm out of pages & need to order a new passport) & then we took Sam out to dinner to celebrate becoming a senior. We had a hilarious & lovely conversation. I'm trying to remember to make time for lots of mom/boy occasions this year, as we close in on the home stretch before Sam graduates.

Here's what's on the to do list today (I always hope to get most of it done, but often some stuff carries over to the Sunday to do list):

  • Make a menu plan
  • Grocery list
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Laundry
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean kitchen
  • Try out new steam mop
  • Go to workout class
  • Meet a friend for coffee, after class
  • Find a stapler, as I need to staple my passport photo onto my application
  • Get application sent off
  • Organize my schedule for the week
  • Buy lunch items for Sam, as he has to pack a lunch for work next week
What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, June 9, 2023

Frugal Friday

 The busy season of end of school is upon us. Combined with some really busy work days, this was about all I could manage. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I've continued to upload receipts to Fetch, and found a $.10 receipt offer on iBotta, so uploaded a receipt there as well. 
  • Used Target rewards + a few gift cards I don't remember having to slightly offset the cost of the steam mop I purchased. our entire house is either hard wood or tile (no carpeting) & getting the floors cleaned is a struggle. My mom has this mop & loved it, so I figured it was worth a try to make life easier. 

Earning money

  • I have a bunch of stuff to list on eBay, but have so far made zero progress. 

Avoiding spending

  • Thought long & hard about getting takeout 2x this week, but instead, I cobbled together a dinner one night, and M did the same on another night. 

Eating what we have

  • Grilled an (enormous) artichoke from the garden, and had that with dinner on Saturday. I made a delicious lemon aioli to go with it.
  • I made eggs a few times this week for meals, and served as an open faced sandwich with whatever I found in the fridge (1/2 a bun one day, and the end of a loaf of bread another day). I topped both with sliced pepper jack cheese (leftover from Sam's sandwich making) & sliced tomatoes.
  • Nick had friends over for lunch on Monday (they brought a pizza with them), but underestimated how much food it would take to feed 5 hungry teen boys. I offered them the chicken I made myself for lunch, plus chips & cookies from the pantry. 

For others

  • Gave away a bunch of PSAT books & other prep material in BN, as well as sporting equipment, some clothes, etc. 
What about you? Any wins to share?