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?