Wednesday, May 31, 2023

May Goals Recap

May absolutely flew by. Any time I have an international work trip, things are wonky during the week I travel, and it takes some time for me to adjust when I come back. We also had my mom visiting over Memorial Day, which was a fun treat, but a bit out of the normal schedule as well.

Here's how I did with my monthly goals.


  • Stick to our budget - yes! This was a good month for our budget
  • Use 6 "hard to use" freezer or pantry items - I've been working on using up some of the meal delivery dinners I have in the freezer (they take up a lot of space) & used three of those, plus one leftover of a delivery dinner. So, I got to 4/6
  • Make $200 in side hustle - I didn't even think of this, really. I have a list of stuff to list on eBay, but with the traveling & having to pause sales, it didn't work out to list anything new. 
  • Update our withholdings - we've both made adjustments to our withholdings, although frankly, it's not enough, given the split of our income between stock & salary.
  • Decide on car insurance - Due to State Farm exiting California for homeowners policies, now isn't a great time to shop around for insurance. We're planning to stay with our current provider at the moment, as we have a combined auto & home policy, with some benefit to having the two at the same company. 


  • One fun activity with the kids - yes, we took the kids out to dinner with my mom, when she was here. The teens were hilarious, filling her in on their lives.
  • Finalize summer plans - done!
  • Have two dates with M - nothing official, although we did have cocktails by the pool at least 2x. 


  • Focus on my running training plan - I was doing great, until I went to Tokyo. Things have been really inconsistent since then, and I need to get back on track.
  • Track calories & average below 1500 calories/day - basically exactly the same as the running plan. I've been off track since I've been back. When I'm jetlag, I rely on caffeine & carbs/sugar to get through the days. 
  • Stay focused on overall fitness goals on trip to Tokyo. Despite jet lag & travel days. - as you can see above, I did "okay" with this, in that I did run once, and went to the gym two other days. But, so much room for improvement here. 


  • Do something social with friends - I went out with my friend on her birthday (in Tokyo), which was fun. 
  • Practice French on Duolingo - similar to some of the above themes, I did great before I left for my trip, and then fell out of the habit. I need to get back into the groove.
  • Start France trip plans - we've chatted a bit about locations we're interested, but that's as far as we've gotten
  • Give away 10 items on Buy Nothing - done! I probably gave away 15 items, plus a huge bag of lettuce from the garden

What about you? How did you do with your goals for the month? 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 It was a very busy weekend, so easier meals than usual. 

  • Friday - out to dinner with my mom. 
  • Saturday - takeout, on the way home from a soccer tournament
  • Sunday - pizza delivery + salad
  • Monday - grilled chicken, salad & berries (potato salad, if we can find any - Trader Joes was sold out)
  • Tuesday - leftover pizza
  • Wednesday - leftover grilled chicken
  • Thursday - Trader Joes orange chicken
  • Friday - pot stickers & wings
What about you? What's on your menu this week? If you're in the US, what's on your menu today for Memorial Day? 

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Saturday Happenings

My mom flew in yesterday afternoon, and Sam & I picked her up at the airport. She was so excited to see the boys. We went to dinner at her favorite local restaurant, and had a fabulous dinner. Both teens were super chatty & love catching up with my mom. Any time the teens willingly engage in a long discussion is a great thing. :-)

As for today, it's a very soccer filled day. We're heading out shortly to go to game one of Nick's soccer tournament. My mom & I will walk during his warmups, and then watch his game. We'll head home after that, as he volunteers to teach kids tennis lessons in the afternoon, and doesn't want to miss that.

We will head back to the tournament this evening, where my mom & I will volunteer for two hours together (checking kids in, and the like). We will miss the first half of Nick's game, but will be able to catch the second half. 

I need to volunteer for three hours (x2 kids) each season, in order to get a $100 credit off of soccer fees. Because we're taking the evening shift at a tournament, we only have to work two hours, and having my mom there means I get credit for both kids. I'm excited! For two hours work, I'm getting a $200 credit. The dinner last night was partly a thank you to my mom, for offering to volunteer with me. ;-) 

After Nick's second game, it will be around 9 pm, so my guess is that we will grab a quick bite to eat, and then head home. More soccer tomorrow, of course!

We're hoping to spend Monday sitting by the pool. We were going to go to a wine tasting, but I think we'll have it at the house instead. We'll go to Trader Joes & pick up some fun nibbles, and then enjoy the nice pool backyard area.

The weather is not supposed to be super warm this weekend, which is pretty wild for Memorial Day in California.

What are you up to this weekend? Any fun plans?

Friday, May 26, 2023

Frugal Friday

It's been a super wild week at work, but looking forward to a fun weekend. My mom is coming to visit today, and M is headed out of town to meet a friend. 

Saving on things we buy:

  • I received a bunch of contest tickets at the grocery store, and took the time to redeem them all. I won a total of $5.25, and a 2 liter of a Coke product. I'll redeem that next time I'm at the store.
  • Picked up the Friday Freebie at the grocery store, uploaded my receipts to Fetch, and Box Tops for Education (earns a donation for the local school.) 
  • Bought two giant boxes of cereal for $3.49. I try to keep the junky snacks pretty limited, which means the boys really enjoy the treats, when I buy them. 
  • Bought Home Depot gift cards (which we use for house maintenance, gardening supplies, etc) & earned $30 of grocery store rewards. 
  • I used a Southwest flight credit to book flights for a trip to my parents this summer. 
  • I submitted my receipt for my workout class, for work reimbursement. I get a small discount (15% off), via work. 
Earning money
  • Not "earning", but keeping my own money... I submitted my expense report promptly. I use my corporate card for almost all expenses, but a few are charged to other cards, & by submitting promptly, I also get my own money returned quickly. 
Avoiding spending
  • We debated takeout last Friday (I was *so* jetlagged, & incapable of any meal prep), but M whipped up what I'd planned to order out - salad topped with chicken. It was delicious, and made from things we already had on hand. 
Eating what we have
  • I had a meal delivery freezer leftover for a dinner, when M & I were home alone for a meal. He had the rest of a piece of salmon. While I don't love all of the variance of our dinner plans (due to teen availability), it does make it easier to serve impromptu leftovers. 
  • Cut back a bunch of lettuce, put it through the salad spinner & it's now in the fridge, ready for salads. We've been eating it all week. We still have SO MUCH lettuce ready to pick. I need to share some with the neighbors. 
  • Ate one of my (frozen) meal delivery options, which I've kept on hand for just such an occasion. Meanwhile, M had leftover cauliflower pizza I found in the fridge, and half of a burger. The boys were at practice, and no one wanted anything heavy. 
For others
  • Caught up with my neighbor, who is quite elderly, and was very close with the previous owners of our house. She occasionally comes around to our side door (surprising me, numerous times), but caught me at a great time, where I had time to chat & check in with her. We help her out when we can, and her daughter calls us whenever they need someone close to ensure everything is going well. M is also her to go tech support, and if she sees the kids backing their car out, she doesn't hesitate to ask for help moving something. She's adorable. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, May 22, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 Easy meals are on the menu for the week, as I get back into the groove, post-Tokyo.

  • Friday - M made salads topped with grilled chicken, which was delicious
  • Saturday - tacos
  • Sunday - grilled burgers
  • Monday - orange chicken & rice
  • Tuesday - leftover tacos
  • Wednesday - leftover burgers
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers, or spaghetti & meatballs
  • Friday - my mom is arriving for a short visit, so we'll see what she feels like
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday things

 After two very long nights of sleep (Friday & Saturday), I'm slowly getting back to normal. Given I have a very early start tomorrow am, I need to be back on schedule, so fingers crossed. 

I got most of the house cleaned yesterday, but had to skip vacuuming. Sam had terrible allergies, so he took medicine & that caused him to be drowsy & take a nap. I didn't think vacuuming would be very conducive to vacuuming. ;-) 

I also went to my workout class, cleaned the fridge, caught up on laundry, made a meal plan, went to the store, and got a few other tasks completed. I sat in the sun & read a bit as well, as the sun is supposed to help reset your circadian rhythm & help with jet lag.

As for today, it's going to be a full one:

  • Attend two soccer games
  • Go for a run
  • Vacuum the house
  • Help Sam order a new debit card
  • Work in the yard
  • Pick more lettuce
  • Go to Trader Joes
  • Call my parents
  • Work on the schedule for the week
  • A bunch of emails, phone calls & other life stuff that needs to be handled

What about you? What are you planning to get done today? 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Jet lag Saturday

I'm back from a very short trip to Tokyo (Sunday-Friday) & feeling all of the jet lag. I got in yesterday, around lunch time. I slept for close to 12 hours last night, but it's still not enough to make up for lost sleep. I estimate that I typically sleep a total of 48 hours in six nights, and over the trip, got about 25 hours. My body is also not loving the time changes, and I've had some pretty intense headaches.

In good news, this was my last work trip, and things are well in motion for my departure, due to some other work changes on the horizon. My current planned last day is Friday, 9/1, but there may be some wiggle room on either side. I'm heading to France with my sister & BFF at the end of September, to celebrate my sister's 50th birthday, and we can also celebrate my retirement. 

What comes next? I'm unsure, and plan to do something at least part-time, but not have to worry about how much it pays. I also think it's unlikely to ever take a big career job again, but who knows? Maybe I'll be bored in a few years, and motivated to change. Some of my future choices will be dependent upon the boys college costs, so we need to get that sorted out over the next few years & see where we land & how much college ends up being. It's hard to predict at the moment, and we do have a substantial amount saved. We plan to cash flow the rest. 

I like planning, so I'm expecting to get more concrete about my plans (at least through the end of 2023) soon. Expect more updates on this front!

Other than recovering from jet lag, what else is happening today (and, realistically, part of tomorrow)?

  • I'm attending a workout class this morning, which I'm confident will kick my butt, as I'm not feeling very energetic
  • The house is an absolute wreck, so I need to vacuum, clean the bathrooms, dust & clean the kitchen
  • Nick has tennis volunteering
  • I need to catch up on laundry
  • I also need to plan for the week ahead, and deal with some schedule changes. There's a lot of work drama on the horizon, & I need to ensure my schedule is ready to deal with a bunch of last minute incoming meetings.
  • Plan the menu
  • Catch up on the budget
  • Organize all of my receipts for my expense report
  • Work in the yard
  • Go to the grocery store
What about you? What are you up to today? Best jet lag tip? I find that being in the sun is the best way to try & reset your body clock.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 It's a gorgeous day here, and I'm hoping to enjoy it & be outside a bit. I got up & started working (yuck), & then made it to a workout class. Sam had a very early soccer game, so after repeated trips to his room, I was also able to get him up. ;-) 

What am I hoping to accomplish today?

  • Wash all of the sheets, make beds
  • Laundry
  • Nick's tennis tournament
  • Finish packing
  • Load new books on Kindle
  • Work in the yard
  • Vacuum
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Supervise solar panel cleaning (Sam is doing the actual cleaning)
  • Read my book by the pool
M is making dinner, and I plan to have wine by the pool & enjoy the sunshine, while he does that. What about you? What are you up to this weekend? Hope all of you moms/mom figures out there have a fabulous Mother's Day weekend!

Friday, May 12, 2023

Frugal Friday

 It's been a super crazy busy work week (more on that in a future post), and I leave for Japan on Sunday, so trying to wrap everything up before I go. A few frugal wins to share. 

Saving on things we buy

  • I occasionally treat myself to lunch out on Fridays, as I fast until my workout class (ends at 1 pm) & I'm then famished on the way home. I have a gift card to Panera, so that's my occasional stop. They were having a BOGO50% off sandwich sale, so I picked up a sandwich for Sam as well. He's done early on Fridays & was ever so excited to have a sandwich for lunch. 
  • Our local grocery store is doing some sort of ticket redemption contest, if you happen to buy certain items. I don't pay attention to that when purchasing, but ended up with three tickets. Took them home, and earned $1, which applied to my store reward account. 

Earning money

  • Helped the boys with paperwork for their summer jobs. 

Avoiding spending

  • Now that the boys have their license, it's tempting to not go to the warmups of their soccer games (an hour ahead of kickoff). However, that means bringing two cars to the games, or carpooling. I've tried hard to just ride along to the warmups, and bring my Kindle to read, while they practice. I do enjoy watching the games (well, I could have done without the giant downpour last Saturday, when I'd forgotten my umbrella, because it was May, and the forecast didn't call for rain), so I still want to attend when possible.

Eating what we have

  • Found some gifted popcorn in the pantry that was expired, so unfortunately had to toss that.
  • Made protein balls out of oatmeal packets I was given off of Buy Nothing. Combined with crystalized honey (I warmed it in the microwave first), peanut butter, protein powder, and then you typically throw in a dash of chocolate chips. I had a few Trader Joes mini chocolates, from an Easter bag, so used those instead. The oatmeal was flavored (chocolate & sea salt) & I really like the way it changed the flavor of the protein balls. They are for Sam, so hopefully he enjoys them as well.
  • Used tomatoes (frozen before we left for Dubai) in a spaghetti sauce, to go with meatballs for dinner one night. For the same dinner, defrosted part of a baguette & turned that into garlic bread. 
  • We haven't been eating much pasta (well, I try to avoid a lot of carbs, but for a while, the boys were going through a crazy amount), so we have quite a bit lingering in the pantry. That was part of the inspiration for spaghetti & meatballs this week (used one open pack of noodles, and part of a second opened pack). I also made the boys pasta for lunch one day, using part of a box of smaller shaped noodles. 
  • Cleaned our pantry, gave away a few things on Buy Nothing that we likely won't eat before they expire. Everything is much more organized, & easy to find. 
  • Made Nick several grilled cheese sandwiches, using leftover naan bread
  • I didn't get a chance to make the last of my delivery meals, but I was able to use up all of the ingredients in other recipes, and froze the protein. 

For others:

  • I've continued to give away a lot to my neighbors, via Buy Nothing.
  • Made a large donation to Goodwill
What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, May 8, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

We're not having very good success getting everyone together for dinner, but we are averaging about three people a night. ;-) Here's hoping this week's logistics are a bit easier. 

  • Friday - it was Cinco de Mayo, so of course we had tacos!
  • Saturday - I made a big batch of spaghetti & meatballs + garlic bread. A cozy dinner for a rainy day
  • Sunday - I made chicken fajitas
  • Monday - leftover spaghetti & meatballs
  • Tuesday - likely orange chicken & rice
  • Wednesday - leftover fajitas
  • Thursday - any remaining leftovers
  • Friday - most likely wings & potstickers
What about you? What's on your menu this week?

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Productive Sunday

 I didn't get as much done as I wanted yesterday, but I've been very productive today. I'll take it!

I worked out this morning, dropped off four bags at Goodwill, vacuumed the house, cleaned the pantry, organized my closet, did a load of laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, picked up hamburger buns at the store, swept the back patio, trimmed back the parsley (between rain showers), made the teens breakfast,  & found more items to post on Buy Nothing. Hurrah! I love a productive morning. 

Here's what's still left on the to do  list:

  • Prep the fajitas (slice peppers & onions, make the marinade). 
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Start my Tokyo packing list, & schedule for M
  • Make a salad
  • Practice Spanish on Duolingo
What about you? Are you having a relaxing Sunday? 

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Saturday Happenings

We were all up early this morning, as Sam has the SATs today. Fingers crossed, as he's been studying hard. 

I'm supposed to be meeting a friend for a hike this morning, but the rain has put that on the maybe side, or perhaps we will just meet a bit later. If I don't hike, I need to do a 5 mile run, for my training plan. 

Other things I want to do today:

  • Watch Nick's soccer game. He can dry himself to warmups (saving me an hour - hurrah!), but I'll watch his game. Hopefully it won't rain.
  • Make the last of the Home Chef meals, for lunch
  • Find 5 items to declutter
  • List 5 items on eBay
  • Drop off donations at the drop site
  • Make chicken fajitas
  • Menu plan for the week
  • Prep the schedule for next week
  • Laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Bathrooms
  • Clean the kitchen
What about you? What are you up to today? 

Friday, May 5, 2023

Frugal Friday

It's been a super busy few weeks, as we get the boys sorted with their summer jobs, get back into the swing of things with work & school, and Nick has been asked to join the varsity team for a few matches (as well as club soccer). Everyone is doing well, but we're busy!

Saving on things we buy

  • Used a $10 Rite Aid reward to pick up a few cards I needed (graduation, & M's birthday). 
  • Nick wanted to buy a pair of Adidas sneakers, with some of his money. I shopped through Rakuten, found a promo code, and also signed up for their "club" for free shipping. Altogether, I saved him about $20. 

Earning money

  • Helped Nick sign up for additional reffing games. It's a lot of calendaring tetris, so it takes both of us sitting down, reviewing the available games & all of his commitments. 
  • Sam was offered a summer camp job as a head coach, which means he'll work all seven weeks camp is offered, and makes slightly more per hour ($.90). I found the hourly rate difference to be pretty funny, given how much work is involved. But, he's thrilled, and that's all that matters. Working a summer job was so, so good for him last year.
  • Nick is also going to be an assistant coach at the same summer camp. Both boys attended this camp when they were younger, and loved it. It's an all sports camp, which is right up their alley. He'll be working five weeks, so he'll spend a week at my parents in June, and also attend a tennis camp one week. Otherwise, he'll be working alongside Sam. 

Avoiding spending

  • I've been very into Starbucks iced tea lately, which is not frugal. I've found these tea sachets, designed to go into cold water, and a container of 8 is less than half of the price of one Starbucks iced tea. So far, I really like them, and found that I can use them in my bottle of water at least four times. I'm going to stock up this week, while they are on sale at my local grocery store. 

Eating what we have

  • Made the boys a variety of sandwiches over the weekend, to use up the loaf of bread I'd purchased. I finished it off on Monday, by eating an egg sandwich, which was delicious. 
  • I've kept a good eye on leftovers, and juggled our meal planning to ensure we're using everything up. We also bought delicious strawberries (they are finally not tasteless again) & went back for a second container, because the first one was so good. Yum!

For others

  • Helped our neighbor a few times, with some repair issues she's been having. 
In non-frugal news, the price of flights is staggering right now. We have quite a few family things coming up (my nephew's graduation, a family wedding, etc) & even short haul flights (San Jose to Portland) are super pricey! We did opt to fly in & out of SFO (not preferred, by a long stretch) for one of the trips, which saved $200/pp. It will increase the cost of Uber there & back, but will still be a savings.

What about you? Any wins to share?

Monday, May 1, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 We're (ever so) slowly getting back into the groove here. I'll add that I think we only had one dinner last week that we all ate together. It's peak season right now for teen activities, which makes it really difficult to plan dinners. Nevertheless, we continue to plan, because's chaos!

  • Friday - I made chicken piccata (delivery service) for M & Sam, and I ate leftover turkey tacos. Nick was at a volleyball game. 
  • Saturday - M made grilled beef kebabs & rice. We ended up eating very late, due to a soccer game. Sam was asleep before dinner (he had an early soccer game that morning, plus maybe some residual jet lag). Nick raced home from soccer, and then went to a birthday party, where he presumably ate.
  • Sunday - M took Sam & a few friends to a soccer game that was about an hour away. He took them to In & Out on the way home. I prepped a big batch of taco meat for dinners, and made a taco quesadilla for Nick. I had a grilled cheese & sliced strawberries, as I'm trying to use up some sourdough bread. 
  • Monday - leftover kebabs & rice
  • Tuesday - tacos
  • Wednesday - delivery meal - probably pork sandwich with coleslaw
  • Thursday - delivery meal - probably chicken gyros
  • Friday - final delivery meal - ironically, it's steak tacos ;-) Should have planned a little better!
What about you? What's on your menu this week?