Saturday, October 28, 2017

October Food Challenge

I haven't kept up with posting but I have been pretty solid with eating down our pantry.  I have spent $416 this month on groceries but DH stopped for a couple items so I need to get his receipts and add to the tally.  We have had our first snow here so I will be back to having a more stocked pantry.  My pantry still has the basics but there are certain items that I always have in the winter to be prepared for the lovely weather that is surely in store.

We have a busy weekend.  We had friends over last night and I made beef stroganoff and green beans.  I'm planning on taking my daughter to the library this morning.  Friends invited us over to their house later to see it.  They finished up building it about 6 months ago but we haven't been over to see it yet.  The Vikings play tomorrow in London so we will watch them tomorrow morning at 8:30.  We have friends coming over tomorrow and the guys are going to shoot.  I'm planning on making fish tacos.

I love getting together with friends and it's easier to get together at a house than try to go out.  I used to try to cook a more elaborate meal for guests but now I just focus on making something good.  Beef stroganoff isn't fancy but it went over well last night.  If you have people over, how do you decide what to make?  Or do you go out more than have people over?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Columbus Day

I had a lovely day off.  I went shopping with a good friend as we both had the day off.  We went to the mall to take care of a couple exchanges and hit up an awesome department sale.  We had a delicious sushi lunch downtown.  We then found an awesome little boutique.  I bought a vest, blush jacket and a long sweater, just right for fall.  We finished the afternoon with my first trip to Costco.  I spent about $100 at Costco.  It was nice to go with a friend for my first trip there as she showed me why she always gets and what she loves. I think I am going to get a membership there but I will definitely have to watch how I spend money there.

I also spent $125 at the grocery store this weekend.  I was hoping to make it another week but we were out of almost all produce.

This is what we had for meals this past week.
Thursday-- I ate at the funeral and DH took the kids out
Friday-- I was exhausted and cooked a shrimp sesame veggie meal from the freezer.
Saturday-- Saturday lunch we went out with a friend and I made spaghetti for dinner.
Sunday-- My in-laws came over for lunch and we made eggs and biscuits.  I made a rice, sausage, spinach and tomatoes with cheese.
Tonight-- I made spinach salads and topped them off with Costco quinoa salad.  We are having carrots and cauliflower with dip as we watch the Vikings now.

So far I've spent about $225 this month with groceries.  I'm hoping we can skip grocery shopping this weekend.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Using Leftovers

We had a dinner comprised of leftovers.  We had meatball sandwiches on buns from last week.  The meatballs were left over from a party I had last Friday evening.  We had frozen veggies on the side.

I did stop at Walmart after work for milk, bananas, romaine lettuce and a yellow cake mix.  The cake mix was a must as I'm making bars tonight for a friend's baby's funeral tomorrow.  Her baby had Trisomy 18 and was lucky to live a week.  It makes me so grateful to have healthy children while also feeling for my friend.  Y didn't want to go to the funeral with me tomorrow.  I was going to push him to go but my bf told me not to.  She said it was likely too soon for him to handle another funeral after his brother's 3 months ago.

In good news, I had a huge sales presentation today to 22 people.  It went well and I'm so happy it's over.  Public speaking is hard but sales presentations are even harder.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday Eats

I was held up at work so DH made dinner.  He made rice noodles with stir fry sauce with green beans and chicken, topped with almonds.  It was delicious but Lil G didn't like it.  

Tomorrow Punk has basketball practice 30 minutes after daycare so I made us a lunch.  I made her a pb & honey sandwich.  I made a sandwich with leftover boneless pork ribs, onions and jalapeño mustard for myself.  I threw in some cherry tomatoes from the garden and veggies straws.  I would love some suggestions about how other parents handle dinner with bringing kids to sports right after school/daycare.  We live out of town so we can't go home quickly to eat.  

I'm praying for everybody affected by the terrible shooting in Las Vegas.  What a horrible and senseless atrocity.  

Sunday, October 1, 2017


We had a really nice Sunday.  We watched the Vikings lose unfortunately.  Then we went outside and did some chores we've been putting off for far too long.  I tossed several old hay bales out of the barn.  We then loaded a neighbor's trailer with some old scrap metal that was in an outbuilding.  DH would like to tear it down and build a new shop.

We started the day off with banana chocolate oatmeal.  I used the last of the oats and the last of the cocoa powder plus the one leftover banana that was almost too ripe.  The kids didn't love it but they ate it anyway as they love oatmeal.  For lunch, we had bacon cheeseburger wraps which were really like tacos but slightly different ingredients.  Inside a flour tortilla, put cooked ground beef, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, onion, lettuce and pickles.  I used a spicy horseradish Mayo for my sauce.  For dinner, DH and I had leftovers.  The kids had pancakes and lettuce salad which is what the requested.

I have chicken stirfry planned for tomorrow.  I did dry 5 gallons of apples this weekend which turned out really well.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

October Grocery Challenge

I'm going to challenge myself to eat down our pantry and spend less on food for October.  I told DH that we are not grocery shopping this weekend.  I'm going to try to post what we eat for meals.  For tonight's dinner, we had boneless pork ribs in the slow cooker, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans.

Tomorrow is a football day as the Vikings play.  We are planning bacon cheeseburger lettuce wraps, basically aa bacon cheeseburger without the bun and wrapped in lettuce.  It's what DH wanted so we will see how it goes.  

We just bought half a beef so that will help the challenge but we aren't just going to eat beef for an entire month so we might have to get creative.  

Anybody want to join me?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Still Alive!!

I'm still here.  Summer is over with this weekend.  I've met a few of my financial goals but I've had difficulty focusing on finances with everything.  Have a good long weekend!

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Greetings!  I've missed blogging and have thought about coming back but just haven't done so.  It's been a very busy rough few months.  My brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly this past month at 33.  Dealing with funeral arrangements and everything else has been very hard.  We still don't know if he had life insurance with his work so we might be paying for part or all of the funeral.

Financially we are doing well.  I might do a separate post about that.  We are heading to the lake this weekend with my in-laws.  I'm usually annoyed that we are spending our Fourth of July with them in a small camper but this year I'm much more thankful for family and just for being with my loved ones.

Have a wonderful Independence Day weekend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March Stock buys

I didn't buy any others to know than the regular $500 we have going into mutual funds.  For this month, I've made a couple stock purchases.  I bought 100 shares of Target in three separate transactions.  I happened to buy Target shares last fall.  When my stock was up $1000 in two months, I sold around Thanksgiving.  I'm thankful that I was able to time it and sold high.  I'm now buying at what I feel is a low but time will tell.

I also bought 14 shares of BP.  I own just under 180 shares of BP and I would like to buy more.

My retail stock accounts are over $80,000 so only about $20,000 more to go this year 😃

Anybody else buying in this funky market?  If so, what are you buying?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Gender Wage Gap

Since it is International Women's Day today, there are quite a few articles about the gender wage gap.  There is no doubt that there is still very much a wage gap but I do think there are areas that women can fight back.

I'm lucky in that I work for an organization that values women.  Our CEO is a woman.  My boss is a senior vice president and is a woman.  There are many women in management.

I am in sales so I am on a commission comp plan.  It is the same plan as my male coworkers.  How do I know that?  Because I ask them of course.  When our comp plans are changed, I usually end up discussing it with at least three or four coworkers.  I want to know that I'm being paid equally with the only variance being what we produce.  Our employer has never told us not to discuss our pay so I'm not being insubordinate by doing so.  In general, I find that most people don't discuss it because they are unsure how others will react.  However, unless you are in an HR position, there is no way to know unless you ask so I ask.

If I wasn't paid the same, I would either wait for a review or email my boss right away and ask for a change to my compensation.  Yes, it's bold but nobody else really cares about what I make more than me.

I do think that women could fight the gender gap by asking for more and being assertive about it.  It is worth noting that some companies are never going to comply.  They are a good old boys club with no room for women.  My last company was like that and I looked to leave when I had a reasonable amount of experience there.

How about you?  Are you paid the same as your male counterparts?  This subject fascinates me so I would love to hear your input.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Taxes Filed

I just filed our taxes on Friday.  I received the last capital gains statement on Friday from Capital One Investing.  I used for the free federal filing and $12.95 for the state filing.  We are getting back $3069 for federal and $14 for state.  I'm happy that we are getting money back.  My commissioned income is all over the place so it is impossible to accurately withhold correctly.   I would rather get back money at tax time than pay in.

We made the most money that we ever have in 2016.  The money actually feels a bit bittersweet.  I was the most stressed that I've ever been at work the last half of the year.  My sales activity is now back to normal and I'm way less stressed.  I actually leave work everyday now to work out during lunch versus scarfing down lunch at my desk.

Have you filed taxes yet?  Anybody else receiving a refund?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Big Fat Goal

I never did post my goals for 2017.  The reason is that I've had trouble finding motivation and inspiration.  However, I have one major goal that is exciting to me.  I want to have $100,000 in our joint stock accounts.  We started the year with $75,785.73.  I track this monthly so I will update at the end of this month.  At the end of January, we had $75,447.99.  The loss was mainly due to our investments.  I purchased Under Armour and it's taken a beating this year.  But I also purchased Unilever toward the end of 2016 and I've made over $1000 on that in the last few business days.

The other goals I have for 2016 involve maxing out my 401k, both Roth IRS's, paying down the mortgage a bit, increasing Y's 457 contributions and increasing 529 contributions for both kiddos.  For my person goals, I want to continue working out at the gym, run 3 5k's, finish basement, plant an apple tree, plant two other berry trees/shrubs and an vacation for 2018.  And have a more relaxing year.  So far, so good on the last one!!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Giving to Needy?

We were at a Walmart in Phoenix tonight when we were approached by a lady.  She said her baby needed diapers and food.  I asked her what size diapers.  She said size six.  I gave her some pullups and asked her what kind of food she wanted for her baby.  She said cooked chicken, bread and avocadoes.  I told her I would buy her food.  I went in and bought her a cooked chicken, bread and bananas.  I brought them back out to her.  She said thank you and stayed where she was with an older guy whom she introduced as her dad.

I think that I was likely lied to and she just wanted money for drugs or whatever.  However, I cannot walk away from somebody who says they have a hungry baby/child.

What would you do?  Walk away?  Give her money?  Or buy food for her?

I'm not looking for affirmation either way.  I'm just curious.  We don't really have homeless people where we live because it is bitterly cold and a really low unemployment rate.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Entertainment Expenses

One area we have decided to spend more on is entertainment.  We want to have more experiences and are willing to pay for it.

Last weekend we went to Wisconsin to spend New Years with two of my sisters.  We went tubing at a ski resort there.  It was expensive but totally worth it.  Lil G even lasted for the entire 3 hours.  He was a trooper.  Punky had a blast going down with my sisters, brother-in-law and her cousin.  It was fun to travel to see them.  I miss them so much.  We even talked about moving to be closer to them.

We are currently renting a rustic cabin in a state park.  We had actually planned this trip a few months back with friends.  We each have a cabin for our families.  The cabins have electricity but no other amenities.  We brought an electric skillet with to cook breakfast tomorrow as there are no cooking facilities.  We rented cross country skis today and went sledding.  It was so cold though, about minus 10.  We are now hunkered down in our cabin.  Y and the kids are watching a movie on the portable DVD player and I'm catching up on blogs while appreciating the fire and being in the middle of the woods.  We had a couple bottles of wine earlier with our friends and played a dice game.  These are the times that memories are made of :)

Next weekend we are planning on going to Monster Jam with the kiddos.  Lil G is excited to see Grave Digger.  It's crazy that monster truck is still around because I saw it more than 20 years ago.

We are comfortable increasing how much we spend on entertainment.  We feel that it does improve our quality of life.  Anybody else spending more and enjoying it?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Almost Free Vacation

We are going on vacation next month to Arizona.  We fly into Phoenix, will stay one night, drive to Sedona the next day where we will stay for two nights and go back to Phoenix to a water park for a couple nights.  I have used credit card points to pay for most of it.  We signed up for the Barclay card this past year and used it for everything.  We were able to use those points for all but $167 for our flights.  I used my previous points from my US Bank card to rent a midsize SUV.  I used previous points from my Chase card to pay for the hotel in Sedona for two nights.  I was a little short and had to cover $98 for that hotel.  I signed up this past year for a Hilton card.  I used it a minimal amount but was able to get enough points to almost cover 2 nights at a  Hilton Resort which has a water park for the kiddos.  I had to pay $100 for additional points to cover the Hilton hotel.  So far, I've spent $365.  I do still have to cover the first night in Phoenix but we will just get something mediocre since we get in late that night.

We plan to drive to the Grand Canyon from Sedona.  I also want to go the Butterfly museum in Phoenix one day.  I would also like to go hiking around Sedona with the family.

My goal was to use points for our whole vacation.  I'm very close to doing it but it won't happen this year.  Plus, we will not have any points after this vacation to keep for next year.  I'm ok with what we have but I'm going to aim for a completely free vacation next year.

Has anybody else used perks or points to vacation free?  I love hearing others stories as it inspires me.