Thursday, December 30, 2010

12/30 - Reflections

I am thinking: how happy I am that I haven't bought myself any clothes, shoes or makeup for the entire month of December. This is one of my 2011 goals, & I've kicked it off a month early. :-)
I am reading: "Crossfire" on my new Kindle! Thanks, M, for the fabulous Christmas gift. :-)
I am wearing: Gap skinny jeans, a tank top, & a cranberry colored sweater.
I am grateful for: my adorable kids. They are a lot of work, but fun just the same. ;-)
I am looking foward to: my massage on Sunday & my date day with M on Monday. We're going to run a couple of errands but mostly just have fun together!
I am going: to dinner at a friends house. We're bringing the boys & exchanging gifts with her family. I haven't seen my friend in months, so super excited to catch up.
I am happy with: my life.
I love: my new Kindle!
The week ahead: more work getting ready to switch jobs, a little in house NYE party tomorrow, a massage on Sunday,& organizing my bathroom, as one of my 2011 goals. Do I know how to party, or what? ;-)

12/29 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

**I almost didn't post this one, because I had a terrible evening & ate a bunch of junk. But, what's the point of this blog if I'm not honest? :-(**

Weight = 161.6 - same as yesterday

I just want to call out a few "victories" I had yesterday. First, I planned to go to Baja Fresh at lunch, as I read online that they have reasonably healthy lunch options. It was rainy & cold & I had already run a bunch of errands, and when I got to Baja Fresh, it was closed & a Fat Burger was in its place. I was cold & starving & not interested in seeking out another lunch option, so I went into Fat Burger. They have an enormous calorie chart on the wall, and after perusing it looking for a healhty option, I walked out. I ended up having a salad at Panera. Score! :-)
Also, even though I know I'm not going to hit my 150 workouts (I'm at 137 today, I haven't given up). In the past, I would have thrown in the towel & not worked out at all the week between Christmas & New Year, knowing that my goal was shot. But, this year I've kept on, and stayed focused. I'm pleased with my progress!)

Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + morningstar sausage = 220
  • pineapple - 40
  • coffee with milk - 20

Snack:
  • handful of pretzels, almonds & dried cranberries - 80

Lunch:
  • tomato soup - 100
  • Pirate's Booty - 150
  • peanuts -80
  • pear - 80
  • babybel cheese - 60
Snack:
  • 3 oreos - 160.
Dinner:
  • McDonalds chicken sandwich, fries, oreos & chocolate covered pretzels - 2000?

Total = 2990.

Workout = 30 minutes elliptical, level 13

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12/29 - Reflections

I am thinking: how happy I am that I have been working out this week. I'm feeling sore, but in a "good sore" kind of way.
I am reading: Fitness magazine, and a bunch of blogs. Also, "Crossfire" on my new Kindle! Thanks, M, for the fabulous Christmas gift. :-)
I am wearing: black yoga pants, a black & white striped tank top, & a long black sweater. This is my typical "at home, meal preparation look". I also wore: a separate outfit to the gym today, & jeans + the sweater & tank top to run errands.
I am grateful for: spending all of this time with my kids over the past few weeks. They've driven me a bit crazy here & there, but they are a hoot.
I am looking foward to: my massage on Sunday & my date day with M on Monday. Our offices are closed & the boys are back at school. Our one vacation day that we can spend together doing anything we want. I'm estatic!
I am going: to a friends house for dinner tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing her - it's been several months.
I am happy with: staying reasonably healthy during the holidays (today excluded). I usually abandon my goals between Thanksgiving & New Years.
I love: my life.
The week ahead: prep work for switching jobs, a New Year's Eve party with my parents, a dinner party with friends, a massage, lots of time at the gym, my date day with M, & then back to work.

7 questions to ask before the end of the year

I found this on another blog (Little Miss Moneybags) & it looks like it originated at Dumb Little Man and thought it looked interesting. 

1. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with 2010?Definitely a 10. This was a fabulous year, & I feel incredibly blessed. My relationship with M gets better every year (and it was wonderful to start with!), we have two healthy & happy children, wonderful families & friends, and we are actively working to improve our financial situations. We're not perfect, by any means, but I feel like our lives are headed in the right direction, and that's a wonderful feeling.

2. Why did you score that way?
My relationship with M gets better every year (and it was wonderful to start with!), we have two healthy & happy children, wonderful families & friends, and we are actively working to improve our financial situations. We're not perfect, by any means, but I feel like our lives are headed in the right direction, and that's a wonderful feeling.

Also, I'm going keep it real here. Parenting two toddlers was a huge challenge, and this year, something clicked. I found more patience (not all the time, but definitely it's improved) & the boys got easier & so much more hilarious. They are the light of my lives, and always have them, but it feels like they listen more & are generally so much fun to be with.

3. What are your biggest accomplishments this year?
M & I both got new jobs, we took a huge risk (right at the end of 2009) & bought a vacation home, which we have been enjoying so much. I also survived 12 weeks with my  inlaws living with me, and we all got along well. That was another test of the grace & patience of everyone invovled. :-)

4. What are the biggest lessons you learned this year?
That having children is scary as hell. It's hard not to hear about all of the atrocious acts people commit against one another & not apply it to your own family. I'm really working on not spending so much time & energy focused on those pieces of "news", because it causes a lot of anxiety on my part.

And, parenting is a lot easier when you are "in the moment". If you are distracted and trying to do five different things, your kids will always seek that opportunity to want your attention. My children require very little discipline when I'm actively engaging with them.

5. What are your biggest goals that you want to achieve next year?I want to get back to a healthy weight, pay off my 401K loan, and enjoy life!
                                         
6. What new habits do you want to cultivate?

I'd like to actively work on stress management, being more relaxed and organized, and trusting myself & M more.

7. What are your immediate next steps to achieve them?

I'm creating very specific & actionable goals for 2011 that are along these lines.

What about you?

2011 Goals

I did reasonably well on my 2010 goals (see here for the write up), but I want to set even SMARTer goals next year. SMART, for those of you unfamiliar with the strategy is:

Sustainable
Measurable
Attainable
Results-oriented
Time bound

For me, I think the most relevant tweak for 2011 is making sure my goals are sustainable and measurable. :-)

  1. No Clothes Shopping: I want to stop shopping as a hobby. Once I start shopping, I quickly get offtrack & have no self control. As a result, I think I need to set up a goal that provides a reward for each month I don't shop (for clothes/shoes). I love massages/pedicures/spa stuff of all kind, & enjoy it so much more than clothing. But, the instant gratification of heading to the mall, the retail therapy aspect, and the hunt for a good bargain seem to outweigh that in the moment. Put another way, I truly enjoy treating myself to experiences more than a $15 shirt I'll wear twice, but I'm not spending my money in a way that reflects that.

  • 2011 goal for shopping: No shopping for a year for clothing, shoes, or makeup. Exceptions: replacing running shoes if they wear out, replacing any must have makeup that I wear every day. I think once I break myself of the habit of viewing shopping as a hobby, it will change my entire perspective for good. Other goal - make a list when shopping for the kids & stick to it. No random/impulse kids clothing purchases.
  • Reward for hitting my shopping goal: For each month that I stick to my goal, I'll get a massage. For three months of hitting my goal, I'll add in a mani/pedi. For six months of hitting my goal, I'll plan an entire spa day. If I hit my goal for the entire year, I'll do a spa-focused weekend getaway!
     2.   Budget/variable expenses: I've set up a goal for how much my credit card bill should be each month (we charge most of our regular expenses on our credit cards & then pay off each month), & want to stick to that every month of the year. My total monthly credit card charges should be no more than $3710. Note that some of those charges are fixed ($1850 in preschool and $110 in utilities that get charged to the credit card). After minusing out those fixed expenses, we're left with a monthly variable spend of $1750. This $1750 includes the following categories: groceries, gifts, gas, personal/fun, boys activities, eating out, house projects, clothing/shoes for the kids.
  • Reward for hitting my budget goal: Increased savings & financial flexibility! :-) Hitting this goal is critical for my 401K payoff goal.
     3.   401K loan payoff: 2011 goal for paying off 401K loan: This is a huge goal for me in 2011. Paying off the 401K loan gets me maximum flexibility for eventually leaving my current company and either working somewhere else, working reduced hours, and/or taking a substantial pay cut to work at a non profit. I can't do any of these things with the loan hanging over me, so I'm highly motivated to ditch this.

My current loan balance is $43K, but one additional payment will be applied in 2010. I have $2000 in a snowball account saved up (note that this loan cannot be paid off early unless you're paying the entire balance, hence the snowball account). I have about $20K of funds that will be available through my FSA reimbursement, stock awards, and employee stock purchase that I will use. I will also be making $8K of regularly scheduled payments as they are due, which leaves me with approximately $13K to save during the year. Gulp. I know I can do this if I focus.
  • Reward for hitting my 401K payoff goal: Job/family life balance flexibility.

      4. Fitness goal: I'm pushing hard to hit my 150 workouts for 2010, but I want my goal in 2011 to be: more flexible, encourage strength training, & rewards me for longer cardio workouts. Right now, I give myself credit for any 30 minute cardio workout, which means that most of the time I stop at 30 minutes. Slacker. :-) I'm thinking of structuring the 2011 goal into three tiers:
    • Cardio - 4500 minutes of cardio in 2011. This is the same as my current goal of 150 workouts, but gives me flexibility to do longer workouts on the weekend, etc.
    • Strength - 1500 minutes of strength training in 2011. I definitely need to tone up, so this is a great way to build in time & make sure this happens.
    • Stretching/flexibility - 1000 minutes of flexibility in 2011. I'm thinking of using this for stretching or yoga/pilates.
    • Achieve my goal weight of 130 lbs.
  • Reward for hitting my fitness goal: Looking & feeling great!

      5. Personal Goals: This is a bit of a mixed bag, but I tend to over-focus on my financial & fitness goals & forget about the rest of my life. You know, the other stuff that makes life enjoyable? :-) I'm very goal-oriented (as you can probably guess), so I'm hopeful that setting clear goals for myself will motivate progress against these.
  • Organize one room in the house each month. The goal for January is the master bathroom & I've started on this, but have a ways to go.
  • Have a minimum of one date night per month with M.
  • Get together with 2 friends per month.
  • Take a photography class. The reason you don't see many pictures on my blog is that I'm a terrible photographer.
  • Create wills & trusts for the kids. We have drafts, but they are not nearly as specific and detailed as they should be.
  • Get additional life insurance on both myself and M, for the wills.
  • Create a list of 25 favorite meals.
  • Learn to bake bread.
  • Take a pilates class.
  • Run a 5K.
  • Make a 2010 family photo album.
  • Make a 2011 family photo album.
  • Take the boys to Disneyland.
  • Read 12 books.
  • Re-learn to ski. I'm taking lessons, so this will hopefully happen this winter.
  • Teach our oldest to be a moderately good skier for his age (ski green runs, ride the lift, etc).
  • Introduce our youngest to skiing.
  • Consciously consume (to me, this means thinking about every purchase, consider reusing something we already have before making a purchase, etc)

2010 Goal Wrap Up

It's that time of year to recap my 2010 goals & progress, and hopefully set even better goals for 2011! If you have a goals wrap up post, please link to it in the comments. I love reading how others are doing.
  1. Make an extra $500. I'll be snowballing this money into my 401K loan payoff savings account. (Reminder, I can't pay it off until I have the full amount). - Achieved! I currently have $2146 in my snowball account. This money came from a variety of sources, but I feel good about this amount.
  2. Stick to my Christmas budget. I currently have $970 that I have allocated, but I'm fine as long as I don't exceed $1200, as I know there are things that will come up over the holidays. I do not have a special Christmas savings account, as I use my last few paychecks of the year to cover this. Specifically, my last few paychecks do not include a 401K deduction, as I'll be maxed out by then. The money that normally gets deducted for the 401K gets saved for the holidays. I'm hoping to be maxed out by 10/15. - Achieved. I spent right at $900 on the holiday, & my official goal was $1200. Woo! I think I can even bring this lower next year. I am very pleased with our restraint this holiday, & it was exactly how I had hoped - relaxing, enjoyable, less of a holiday scramble. I told M this week that it was the best holiday I've ever had. Gifts are not what makes the holidays enjoyable - it's spending time with my family, creating memories and traditions with my kids, & having enough time to step back and enjoy the season. Well done! :-)
  3. Complete a 5K run. I'm slowly working on increasing my running time & distance. Ideally, I'd love to complete a race, but I'd be okay with doing a personal run of 5K between now & the end of the year (if I can't find a local race that works with my schedule). - Fail. :-( I briefly got into running but took a nasty spill on a trail and that, combined with the weather change in fall, ended my running. This goal will reappear in 2011.
  4. Learn to make bread. I want to try the "5 minutes a day" artisan bread thing. Yeast makes me nervous.-  Fail. I tried to make english muffins once this year & they were an utter disaster. I'd love to get into the artisan bread, but time is limited. We shall see.
  5. Try pilates again. I love pilates, but haven't done any for the entire year. I have a DVD I enjoy, and my gym offers free pilates classes. - This goal wasn't very specific. I did, in fact, do pilates several times in 2010, but I'm not sure that was the original spirit of the goal. ;-) I'd like to sign up for a class next year, as I'm switching offices and I will be much closer to the gym.
  6. Make a family photo album. I actually just finished one as a gift for my mother-in-law, & would love to make a 2010 year in recap album for our family. Otherwise, digital images do nothing in our house, other than linger on our computers. - Fail. I really want to make digital albums, so I'll keep this for next year.
  7. Save/pay $5000 toward my 401K loan. See #1 - I can't pay more than the monthly payments, so I'll make those on time & then save the remainder in my snowball amount. - I accomplished this goal & after the last payment is made on 12/31, I will have paid off more than $7000 on this loan. .
  8. Log 150 workouts for the year. (In 2009, I had a goal of 100 workouts, which I hit). As of today, I'm at 91 workouts for the year. - I'm going to close the year at 139 workouts. Although this is a technical fail, I feel good about hitting 92.6% of my goal. I knew this would be a stretch goal, so I feel really good about how close I came. :-)
  9. Lose 50 lbs. I've worked hard & lost 21.2 lbs since January 1. 50 might be aggressive in the next few months, but I'm pushing on! - I am currently at 161.6, and started the year at 180, so I lost a total of 19.4 lbs for the year. It's short of my 50 lb goal, & I really slowed down/started to regain in the second half of the year. Luckily, I've turned things around & I'm heading in the right direction again.
  10. Hit $300K in our combined retirement accounts. M & I each have a 401K account & I have a random IRA out there. We're currently at $286K. We'll see if the markets cooperate & our end remaining contributions get us there. - Acheived. We blew this one out of the water and are currently at $357K. Yeah!
  11. Learn to speak Farsi. I'd love to surprise M & learn his native tongue. It would be especially helpful for family visits. :-) - I've made no progress on this goal, so fail.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Recipe summaries for the week

This week I tried a couple of new recipes, & wanted to share the results. First up, was an Oven Chicken Risotto recipe. I'm a huge risotto fan, so I was definitely interested in trying out a risotto recipe that wouldn't require a bunch of stirring over the phone. This recipe was extremely simple & fabulous. I wouldn't describe it as particularly cheap, however, as fresh mozzarella is generally spendy - but worth it. :-) I bought the rotisserie chicken at Costco (used 1/2 for this recipe, and 1/2 for the second recipe that I've described below), as well as the mozzarella & grape tomatoes. I'll use the leftover mozzarella & tomatoes for a balsamic salad at New Year's Eve, and finish off the rest of the mozzarella as a caprese appetizer. Yum! I can't wait to make this again witha variety of risotto ingredients. I have quite a few risotto recipes that I like, and I think the recipe will be flexible enough to experiment with different flavors.
(Image from Cooking Light)


The second recipe was much less successful - Couscous salad with chicken and chopped vegetables. I was hopeful that this recipe would be a winner, because it had so many wonderful vegetables in it. I also used the other half of my rotisserie chicken (from above) in the recipe, which added to the appeal. However, I found it bland and very unappetizing looking. I'm chilling it for lunch tomorrow & hope I'll enjoy it more as a cold dish. M suggested pulling the chicken out, changing the dressing, & serving it as a side dish. Basically, changing everything. ;-) I think I will keep looking for a better couscous/vegetable recipe.If you have one, please share!

It should be noted that my dish looked nothing liked the picture in the recipe.
Image from Cooking Light


12/28 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 161.6. Making progress. First mini goal is to be back in the 150s.

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • English muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + morningstar sausage patty - 220
  • pineapple - 30
  • coffee with milk - 20
Snack:
  • Babybel cheese - 60

 
Lunch:
  • Tomato soup + crackers - 250
  • 2/3 Panera Orchard Salad - 350
Snack:
  • skittles - 80
Dinner:
  • Couscous salad with chicken & vegetables - 300
  • Salad - 100
  • wine - 80
  •  2 hershey's kisses - 50
Total calories = 1540
Fruits/vegetables = 2/6. Much better on the vegetables today - still need to work on the fruit.

Workout:
30 minutes on the elliptical, level 13. I switched the workout & bumped up the level & definitely felt the difference today!

Monday, December 27, 2010

12/27 - Getting back on track with fitness & nutrition

Weight = 162. Heading back toward the 150s. . .

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + egg + 1/2 laughing cow - 220
  • coffee with milk - 20

 
Snack:
  • cashews - 80

 
Lunch (M & I had our annual holiday lunch today):
  • martini - 120
  • bread with butter - 150
  • 1/2 turkey sandwich with fries - 450
  • few bites of salad - 40
Dinner:
Total calories = 1360. Calories were okay, but I definitely need to work on increasing my fruit & vegetable intake. Why does this feel like a theme? ;-)

Workout = 30 minutes elliptical, level 13

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Baking:
  • I made Fresh Cranberry Muffins to have on hand for breakfast this week (M is a muffin lover) & made a triple batch so I could also stock the freezer.

 
Lunches:
  • Sunday - grilled ham & cheese sandwiches with Christmas leftovers
  • Monday - finally having my annual holiday lunch with M. It was supposed to be a few weeks ago, but got rescheduled.
  • Tuesday - Tomato soup, crackers, hummus + celery, fruit
  • Wednesday - Tomato soup, crackers, hummus + celery, fruit
  • Thursday - Leftover couscous salad
  • Friday - Out to lunch with my mom
  • Saturday - Leftover pizza
  • Sunday - Whatever is left in the fridge :-)

 
Dinners:
*asterisk indicates that it's the first time I'm trying the recipe. For whatever reason, lots of new recipes this week!

12/26 - the post-holiday blahs

weight = 164.4 - Holy smokes!

 
I'm back from vacation, & facing the toy bomb that exploded in my house, as well as vacation laundry, putting away Christmas decorations, kids that are coming off of major present/sugar highs, & the normal Sunday rush. Someone hold me. :-)

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • 1/4 pear - 20
  • egg + english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow - 220

 
Snack:
  • nonfat latte - 100

 
Lunch:
  • 2 pcs of wheat bread + ham + cheese - 425

 
Snack:
  • mandarin - 30
  • cashews - 80
Dinner:
  • wine - 80
  • baked pasta dish - 300
  • 1 cranberry muffin - 175
Total calories = 1330

Workout:
Finally hit the gym again today. Squeezed out a 30 minute cardio workout (I was definitely feeling it after my relaxing vacation) & 15 minutes of strength training.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12/21 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

I'm feeling pretty good about my eating this week. While I'm not exactly dieting, and enjoying splurges here & there, I've always struggled with that approach - having fun & enjoying the holidays while not going completely off the rails. So far, sogood.

 
Breakfast:
  • coffee with creamer - 30
  • english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + egg - 230
Lunch:
  • tomato soup with crackers - 235
  • baked multigrain crisps - 140
  • 1 piece gouda - 110
Snack:
  • 2 cookies - 200

 
Dinner:
  • wine - 200
  • crostinis & hummus + celery - 250
  • chicken with parmesan rice - 300
  • oreos - 280
Calories = 2000ish.

12/20 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

We're on vacation, so I didn't weigh in this morning. However, I think it would be a great idea to get a checkpoint on my weight & keep things under control over the holidays. :-)

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + laughing cow + morningstar sausage - 240
  • coffee with creamer - 30
  • coffee cake - 200
Lunch:
  • baked grain crisps - 140
  • cashew chicken sandwich with cheese - 500
  • 1/2 pear - 40.
Snack:
  • hummus with celery & cucumbers + pita chips - 150
  • 1 pear mixed drink (M's holiday concoction - yum!) - 150
  •  
Dinner:
  • Parmesan chicken & rice - 300
  • 2 graham cookies - 200
 
Total calories = 1950
workout:
35 minute walk/run/chasing my kids on their bikes :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - the holiday & vacation edition

We're out of town this week, & spending the holidays with the family. Should be fun! :-) We usually vacation at our beach house, so recipes have to be simple. We keep a moderately stocked kitchen & pantry, but try to keep the recipes to things we have on hand.

Lunches - some variety of the following:
Dinner (no days assigned for the first 1/2 of the week, as we're trying to keep things flexible this week):
Have a fabulous holiday!!

12/19 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight - didn't weigh in this morning

Food:
Breakfast:
pineapple - 20
english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + egg - 230
coffee with creamer - 25

Lunch:
6 inch subway sandwich + a handful of sunchips - 500

Snack:
1 1/2 serving crackers - 135
1/2 pear - 40. Subtotal = 950.

Dinner:
Pasta with vodka cream sauce (cooking light recipe)
goat cheese crostini
2 cosmopolitans
2 graham cracker cookies

Total calories = 1700

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12/16 - Random Thoughts

I am thinking: that the "sleigh" (the car) is packed & that I am so, so, so very excited about my massage tomorrow. :-)
I am reading: a new book, but it's packed for my trip & I can't remember the title. Is it wrong to bring 8 books on a 6 day vacation? When 2 of those days involve the holidays & one involves a family birthday party? Overreaching a bit, perhaps? :-)
I am wearing: Seven dojo jeans, & a grey H&M sweater. I paired it at work with gray sparkly flats & a red wool JCrew blazer.
I am grateful for: my lovely family. Even when M annoys me, I know that I am a lucky woman. We have a wonderful life & I am grateful.
I am looking foward to: the weekend with the family, our trip to the beach, & the holidays with my boys!!
I am going: have a massage tomorrow. Swoon. Then, to the Oregon coast this weekend. Can't wait!
I am happy with: staying reasonably healthy during the holidays. I usually abandon my goals between Thanksgiving & New Years & while the food choices haven't exactly been enough to knock the socks off a nutritionist, it's such an improvement over my usual full scale blow out. Small steps. :-)
I love: the things a three year old will say. Last night in the car, "Mommy, tomorrow Daddy &I are going to fly to Las Megas. (Las Vegas). Then we're going to hit the pool." Seriously - where do they come up with this stuff. LOVE it!
The week ahead: picking the boys up early tomorrow, and headed to Portland for a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. Staying the night at the fam's house, & then headed to the ocean on Saturday night. Looking super forward to the family getaway.

12/16 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

My goal for today is to eat a healthy & balanced diet (read: more fruit & vegetables, less sugar!) & work out.

 
Weight = 159.8. Woo!! Super excited that I was able to bring this back to the 150s. My goal is to continue working this down, even though it's over the holidays.

 
I've scheduled a massage for Friday as a reward for getting my new job. I cannot wait! My back & neck have been sore for weeks, so I'm very excited for a little relaxation. :-)

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • Starbucks breakfast wrap & latte (280+100) - 380

 
Snack:
  • 2 small cookies - 175
Lunch:
  • salad - 300
  • 1 frosted cookie - 180
Dinner:
  • wine - 200
  • edamame - 150
  • tortellini with parmesan & tomato - 250

 
Total calories = 1635

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12/15 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 160. Woo!! Heading towards 159 again.

Food:
Breakfast:
  • egg + english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow - 220
  • coffee with milk - 20

Lunch:
taco & tator tots - 810

Snack:
  • cookie - 200

Dinner:
  • wine - 120
  • very small portion of rice dish - 150

Total calories = 1520

Not the best day, nutritionally, but I'm very happy I was able to reign in the calories. I received a job offer & have only a few weeks to complete my transition, which is tricky given the holidays & my vacation plans. As a result, my workouts have definitely suffered. My goal is to workout tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12/14 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

160.4 - woo! Only .5 of a pound until I'm officially in the 159s again. :-)

Food:
Breakfast:
  • coffee with milk -20
  • 2 frozen blueberry waffles - 220
Snack:
  • Trail mix - 170

Lunch:
  • salad - 250
  • cookie - 300
  • 3 pc candy - 100
Dinner:
  • hummus with crackers - 150
  • cottage cheese - 100
  • wine - 80
  • pear - 80
Total = 1470

Monday, December 13, 2010

12/13 - Reflections

I am thinking: how happy I am that I got a job offer! I will be setting up my transition tomorrow with my existing manager, but I am thrilled for the change. And the excitement of a new team. :-)
I am reading: Fitness magazine, and a bunch of blogs. I did, however, go to the library tonight with my little guy to pick up more books for all of us.
I am wearing: black yoga pants, and a black hoodie. This is my typical "at home, meal preparation look". To be fair, I wore a black pencil skirt, shooties, black tights, & a purple sweater to work today.
I am grateful for: finally starting to feel a little bit better. Unfortunately, it looks like M is starting to come down with the same cold.
I am looking foward to: the weekend with the family, & our trip to the beach!
I am going: to the Oregon coast this weekend. Can't wait!
I am happy with: staying reasonably healthy during the holidays. I usually abandon my goals between Thanksgiving & New Years.
I love: snuggling with my kids. They are still young enough to let me get away with it. And, a cold glass of sauvignon blanc. :-)
The week ahead: lots of work, and then vacation starting on Friday! A birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, and heading to the ocean.

12/13 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 161. I really want to be in the 150s by the end of the year, so pushing hard for 159. Only 2 pounds away!

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + egg - 220
  • coffee with milk - 20
Snack:
  • banana wheat germ muffin - 185

 
Lunch:
  • Sun chips (I know, I know). Third set of interviews today, & I ate the chips during a bout of nerves. - 210
  • Salad with chicken - 300
  • 2 mini truffles - 100
  • 1/2 a cookie - 150. I need to nip my holiday eating before it gets out of hand!
Dinner:
  • wine - 120
  • 2 mini calzones - 300
Total calories  = 1605.

2010 Goals - Progress Update

With only a few weeks left in the year, I thought it might be interesting to do a check on my original 2010 goals. Here's how things are going.

2010 Goals

  • Make an extra $500. Sadly, I didn't exactly track this, but I definitely made more than this. If I had to guess, I would estimate that I made $700ish this year in extra money, via surveys, focus groups, swagbucks, etc.
  • Stick to my Christmas budget - $1200. I'm actually under $900, and done with my shopping. Woo!
  • Complete a 5K run. No. :-( I did briefly start to run, but I haven't been keeping it up. When the nice weather stopped, I moved to the elliptical & bike.
  • Learn to make bread. No. I tried one yeast based recipe, and it was a flop. Maybe I'll try again in 2011.
  • Take a pilates class. Nope.
  • Make a 2010 family photo book. I did, in fact make a family photo book & ordered one for my inlaws as their Christmas present, but I haven't ordered one for myself yet. Semi-fail?
  • Save $5000 for my 401K loan. As of now, I have about $9K saved. As you may recall, this loan does not allow early partial payment, so I cannot pay this money on the principal until I have the complete payoff amount.
  • 150 workouts for the year. I'm at 131 workouts. Putting off a bunch of workouts until December was a semi-strategy for ensuring that I stayed focus & didn't gain a bunch of holiday weight. Until I got sick.
  • Lose 50 lbs. Ha. I've lost 20 pounds, but have basically maintained that for the past 6 months & haven't lost anything. I'm in a holding pattern, & very frustrated.
  • Hit $300K in retirement accounts. We're at $350K+, so we've definitely exceed this one. Woo!
  • Learn Farsi - While I did pick up quite a bit of Farsi this summer when the in-laws stayed with us, I have not made any progress since then.

Weekly money check up

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a house warming gift for a friend - $330. She has offered to watch our kids many, many times & never accepts anything. It was the perfect gift for her family, & while totally outside our normal gift giving budget, I am super excited to give it to her! 2. Today I feel positive towards money. I feel like I've finally reigned in the crazy, miscellaneous spending, which makes me happy.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was having a dance party with the family (ala Kinect, where you can actually do various dance offs & get scored. Poker Face, with the parents!).4. I will consider this week a success if I wrap up all of my work before vacation!
5. My favorite holiday treat is fudge. :-) Rich, decadent, and melt in your mouth yummy.

Ambitions for the week

I have a bunch of stuff that I absolutely must get done this week. We're heading out of town on Friday (a day earlier than expected), & not coming back until after Christmas, so I need to wrap up all of my last minute holiday preparations.

  1. Create packing list for our beach trip.
  2. Create a menu for our beach trip, & determine what I need to bring from our house.
  3. Write thank you notes for interviewees.
  4. Make a to do list for my time off. (Doesn't that sound relaxing? ;-))
  5. Schedule time to visit friends over the holidays & drop off gifts.
  6. Work out a minimum of 4 times.
  7. Clean/organize house before we leave.
  8. Close Chase account due to their crazy new fee structure.
I'm sure there's more, but if I can get this done, I'll be thrilled! What about you? What's on your agenda for this pre-holiday week?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12/12 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

I cannot believe that I'm still sick, but it's getting very old. I have a bunch of things to prep for next week, as we're headed out of town for birthday parties, a trip to the ocean, & then Christmas. I worked out today, but it was a mistake. I felt fever-y & flushed on the elliptical machine, and the workout made me feel incredibly weak, vs giving me the energy boost I was hoping for.

 
Weight - forgot to weigh this morning. We had houseguests & I got up early to make coffee.

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • banana wheat germ muffin - 150
  • coffee with milk - 20
  • whole wheat lavosh bread + feta + tomatoes + eggs - 250

 
Lunch:
  • cashews - 80
  • babybel cheese - 60
  • 1 1/2 small pcs of pizza - 300
  • 1/2 pear - 40
Dinner:
  • rice, beef, & green bean casserole - 400
  • wine - 100

Total calories = 1400.

 
workout = 30 minutes elliptical, level 10.

Menu Plan Monday

We didn't stick to our menu plan at all last week (I was sick & we had an unexpected holiday party to attend), so you'll see a few repeats. We're also planning to head out of town a day earlier than planned, so we have one less meal to plan for.

Lunches:Lunches include leftovers, cottage cheese, fruit, hummus with vegetables, & nuts. I'm trying hard to lose weight this holiday season, so I need to keep the calories under control for lunch.

Dinner:
Sunday - Lubia polo (a traditional persian one pot dish - fabulous!)
Monday - Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders
Tuesday - Chicken Cordon Bleu
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Pesto Pasta
Friday - At a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. Yum. ;-)
Saturday - Attending my nephew's birthday party - we will be eating there.
Sunday - Leftovers or something from the freezer at the beach house :-)

Weekly Spending Wrap Up

  • Monday - No spend day
  • Tuesday - $45.14 - Panera. $40 for Christmas gifts - gift cards for the boys preschool teachers, & $5.14 for a bowl of potato soup. Total for the day = $45.14
  • Wednesday - No spend day
  • Thursday - $25 - pizza for the sitter & kids. This was a last minute decision & I should have ordered a much cheaper meal. :-) $70 for the sitter. Total for the day = $95.
  • Friday - $4.50 - fruit smoothie. $43.98 - gas. $5.72 - 6 pair of socks for the boys. Total for the day = $54.20
  • Saturday - $18 - Christmas present. $65 - wine for Christmas presents. $30 - lunch for us + my parents. $100 - dinner out with the family. Total for the day = $208.
  • Sunday - $360. One grocery item, 3 bottles of wine to bring to Christmas, & a housewarming/thank you gift for friends.
Total for the week = $761.34. Another expensive week, but the Christmas gifts were within our plan of spending, and I'm now officially done with my holiday shopping. I came in at $876, so under my budget of $930. I had actually planned to spend closer to $1000, so I feel great coming in under budget. Big savers this year: taking our own holiday cards rather than going to a photographer, sticking to my budget for the kids, and eliminating all adult gift giving, with the exception of a few small gifts for M.

12/11 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

weight = 161

Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + egg - 220
  • coffee with milk - 20
Lunch:
  • 1/2 Chipotle burrito bowl - 350
  • chips & guacamole - 150

snack:
  • 1/2 latte - 40
Dinner:
  • appetizers + drinks - 200
  • salad + 1 mini appetizer taco + edamame - 300
  • wine - 200

Total calories = 1480

No workout. Believe it or not, still sick.

12/10 - Fitness & nutrition update

Being sick has definitely screwed up my eating & working out. I'm thinking of working out this afternoon, but it will depend on how I feel. Right now, I want to go back to bed for a long nap. But, that's not going to happen - I have a second interview later today. *fingers crossed*

Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin with 1/2 laughing cow & egg - 200
  • coffee with milk - 20
Lunch:
  • cottage cheese - 100
  • 1 1/2 pcs pepperoni pizza - 300
  • jamba juice just fruit smoothie - 240
  • cashews - 80
Dinner:
Ham & cheese turnover - 300.

Total calories = 1240.

I need to work on my fruit & vegetable intake. It fell off of my radar when I got sick - I always crave carbs, potato soup, etc when I'm not feeling well. It's been too long since I've had a healthy eating day, so I need to make it happen!

Friday, December 10, 2010

12/9 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

I have been sicker than a dog, & yesterday I had to pull off an interview while I had a fever & a nasty flu. I think it went pretty well, under the circumstances. M also had his holiday party last night, which we attended.

Food:
  • Breakfast:
  • english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + egg - 200
  • coffee with milk -20

Lunch:
  • no lunch - in interviews

Snack:
  • cottage cheese - 75
  • cashews - 80
  • pirates booty - 40

Dinner:
  • wine - 200
  • 1/2 hamburger + fries - 500
  • appetizers - 400
Total calories = 1515.

No workout. Hoping to feel good enough to work out on Friday.

12/8 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Still sick - I hate the flu!

Food:
Breakfast:
  • N/a - slept for 12 hours tryign to get over being sick

Lunch:
  • soup, bread, & cookie - 600
  • pirate's booty - 150
  • cottage cheese - 100
  • cashews - 80. Subtotal = 930.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12/7 - Fitness & Nutritional Update

Weight = 161.4

Food:
Breakfast:
  • 3 mini pancakes with jelly - 200
  • Coffee with milk - 20
  • breakfast sandwich - 500.
Lunch:
  • soup, bread, & cookie - 850.

Total calories = 1620.
Workout = 30 minutes on the bike, level 12. I have a terrible cold, so I'm not sure if this was such a hot idea, but I desperately need to keep hitting the workouts to hit my goal for the year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

12/6 - Fitness & Nutritional Update

I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round. I work hard to lose a few pounds, & then a special event or holiday comes along, & I immediately regain the weight. Then I lose it again, & the cycle continues. I'm frustrated.

 
Weight = 162

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • 1/2 wheat lavosh bread with egg, feta, & tomato - 240
  • coffee with milk - 20

 
Lunch:
  • hot chocolate - 40
  • 1 1/2 small pcs of pizza - 300
  • apple - 80
  • babybel cheese - 60 Subtotal = 740.
Snack:
  • trail mix - 170. Total = 910.
Dinner:
  • wine - 120
  • chicken with goat cheese - 300
  • pear - 80
  • Cottage cheese - 100

Total calories = 1510.
Fruits/Vegetables = 2/1. Need to focus on this tomorrow.

No workout. Today was a very challenging day, on a variety of fronts. I'm very stressed about work, an ill family member, and a variety of scheduling challenges. Better luck tomorrow.

November Financial Updates

I haven't been tracking my monthly increases & decreases as closely as I would like, but I can give a quick net worth update.

We closed out September with a net worth of $628,009. I just ran the numbers for November, and our net worth is now $773,712 - a net gain of $145,703. This is huge progress for us, & I can mostly attribute it to overall gains in the stock market, which impacts our retirement accounts, as well as our company stock. Together, M & I have a little over $350K in retirement savings, and have steadily worked to pay down our liabilities. As we pay off our 401K loans, it's a double win - it reduces our liabilities in the form of debt, & the money is automatically reinvested in our retirement accounts. I would love to see us hit a net worth by the end of 2011 of $900K, which I think is reasonable with paying off our 401K loans, staying on target with additional payments for our properties, and keeping our spending under control.

ETA: I forgot to mention that I bought two more "units" for my youngest son's GET account. We generally put money in their college accounts as part of their Christmas gifts, & the price is going up, so I thought it was easier to do it now.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

M is coming back from a trip this afternoon, so meals will include everyone this week.

Lunches:
Lunches include leftovers, cottage cheese, fruit, hummus with vegetables, & nuts. I'm trying hard to lose weight this holiday season, so I need to keep the calories under control for lunch.

Dinner:
Sunday - Stuffed Peppers (recipe below)
Monday - Ham & Cheese Turnovers
Tuesday - Chicken Cordon Bleu
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Bob's Awesome Lasagna
Friday - Homemade Pepperoni Pizza
Saturday - Out to dinner with my parents.
Sunday - Mediterranean Chicken with Potatoes

STUFFED GREEN PEPPERS (adapted from Better Home & Gardens Cookbook)2 green peppers
1 pound ground beef
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup chopped onion
7 1/2 ounces canned tomatoes, cut up
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or dried oregano)
1/4 tsp saffron
1/2 cup shredded American cheese, divided use

Halve peppers lengthwise, removing stem ends, seeds and membranes. Immerse peppers into boiling water for 3 minutes. Sprinkle insides wth salt. Invert on paper towling to drain well.

In a skillet cook meat, garlic and onion till meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain fat.

Stir in undrained tomatoes, uncooked rice, worchestershire sauce, basil, 1/2 cup water, saffron, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or till rice is tender.

Stir in 1/4 cup of cheese. Fill peppers with meat mixture. Place in an 8x8x2 inch baking dish with any remaining meat mixture.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven about 15 minutes or till heated through.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Let stand 1 to 2 mintues.

Serving Size : 4

Holiday Progress - Financial & Otherwise

I wanted to do a recap of where I'm at with preparing for the holidays, so here goes!

  • We've created & ordered our holiday cards. We just need to fill them out & mail them. I bought stamps today, so I'm planning to get these mailed by Wednesday evening.
  • I've finished my package for M's family that I need to mail overseas. I need to get this in the mail by Monday or Tuesday in order to get it there by Christmas. I shudder to think how much the postage will cost. But, I did find a fabulous deal on the one last gift I was looking for. M's brother-in-law wanted the same shaving kit that M uses, and I've been purchasing of the items here & there when I think about it & had spent $18 for three items. Today I found a set that included 6 items (including the three I'd already purchased) for $12. I'll be returning the other items. Score!
  • Our tree is up & our house is decorated. We still need to hang our outdoor lights. (I say "we", but this is M's job. :-))
  • I'm not planning to do any Christmas baking this year, with the exception of baking either a holiday cake (we have a train & race car set) or cookies to decorate with the boys.
  • We've made craft gingerbread houses (i.e. not with candy) & the boys loved it & have the houses in their rooms as decorations.
  • The advent Calendar is filled, & treats are being enjoyed daily by the boys.
  • I'm done with my shopping! My family has really worked to cut back on gift exchanging (nothing between the adults) in order to keep the focus on the kids & streamline for everyone. I love it! I didn't miss the gift exchange at all last year. I'm giving M an "experience" oriented gift, which I'm very excited about. I feel like I made great choices for everyone & stayed within my budget, which is always a nice feeling. I may be getting gifts for my team at work, but I'm interviewing for a new team on Monday, so I haven't picked anything up yet, as things are in limbo. If I do give gifts, I generally stick to champagne.

And, here's the damage. My goal for the year was to keep my budget under $1000. I know that's still a ton of money, but I've cut this way, way down considering my old ways. :) I've had previous budgets of $3K+, and you know what, I didn't enjoy the holidays any more. It just meant more gifts to shop for, wrap, and find places for at our home.

*drumroll*. . . I have one other expense that I don't have an exact total for (postage, as noted above), so I'll estimate $30 for that, which will bring my grand total to $800. I've stuck to my budget for almost everyone (going under and over by a few dollars on a few people). Love it!

Weekly Spending Update

I'd like to get back in the habit of doing weekly spending updates, as they make me more accountable!

Monday - no spend day. Finally. :-)

Tuesday - Costco - $74.54. Three bottles of wine + normal groceries/produce. Met a friend for dinner, but she picked up the bill. I'll treat next time.
Wednesday - Treated a coworker to lunch as a thank you present. $73.80. Safeway - $88.05 on groceries. Total for the day =  $161.85

Thursday - $38.31 - bought a Christmas gift. I'll be getting reimbursed $30 for this item. Ice cream cone - $1.10. :-) . Total for the day = $39.41

Friday - $4.77 - thank you cards & grapes. Overnight hotel stay with sister + our kids. Used a gift card I purchased earlier in the year.
Saturday - $35 - Starbucks for breakfast for six. $30 pizza for dinner. Total for the day = $65.

Sunday - $92.30 - grocery store. This is a combination of groceries, presents, and a very expensive hair product that I've been looking for for several months.  Let's hope it works, because it was a fortune! $80.18 at costco - $43.75 of that was for holiday stamps. We'll use about 1/2 to mail our holiday cards, & the rest of the stamps last for months. We're not big letter mailers. $10 refund at Target, but then spent $61.92. Christmas presents & one household item. Kohl's (Christmas presents) - $22.97. The good news is, that I think I'm done with my Christmas shopping! I'll post a separate recap on the damage for the holidays. :-). Total for the day = $257.37

Total for the week = $602.94. Yikes! It's definitely more than usual, but I have an expensive meal out in there, as well as Christmas gifts. I'm done with my Christmas shopping, so I'm hoping to have a very inexpensive week next time. :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

12/2 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 161.4 - same as yesterday.

Food:
Breakfast:
  • egg with english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow - 230
  • coffee with milk - 20

Snack:
  • banana - 110
  • trail mix - 170
Lunch:
  • mandarin orange - 30
  • pasta with meat & cheese - 300

Snack:
  • ice cream cone (McDonalds) - 150. Subtotal = 1010.
Dinner:
  • hummus & cucumber - 100
  • cottage cheese - 120
  • pesto pasta with meat sauce - 400

Total calories = 1630.
Fruits/Vegetables = 2/2.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12/1 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 161.4. Woo! Happy December. I'm especially excited because I went out to dinner last night, set a plan for myself, & stuck to it fairly well. This is important for me, as the holidays tend to be filled with lots of opportunities to get off track - planning things out ahead of time makes a huge difference.

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • Egg + laughing cow + english muffin - 240
  • Coffee with milk - 20

 
Snack:
  • Trail mix - 170
Lunch (out)
  • 1 glass of wine - 120
  • Salad, soup, & bread - 400
Dinner:
pretzel thins - 160
small serving of chicken with spinach - 300
pomegranate - 80

 

Total calories = 1530.

Fruits/Vegetables = 2/4.

Workout = 40 minutes of bike, level 12. I tried a new "hill" workout, & it kicked my butt!

2011 Ambitions/Goals - a work in progress

I'm starting to think through how I want to structure my 2011 goals, & what I want to focus on. I have a few initial ideas, but these are not fully baked.

I want to stop shopping as a hobby. Once I start shopping, I quickly get offtrack & have no self control. As a result, I think I need to set up a goal that provides a reward for each month I don't shop (for clothes/shoes). I love massages/pedicures/spa stuff of all kind, & enjoy it so much more than clothing. But, the instant gratification of heading to the mall, the retail therapy aspect, and the hunt for a good bargain seem to outweigh that in the moment. Put another way, I truly enjoy treating myself to experiences more than a $15 shirt I'll wear twice, but I'm not spending my money in a way that reflects that.

  • 2011 goal for shopping: No shopping for a year for clothing, shoes, or makeup. Exceptions: replacing running shoes if they wear out, replacing any must have makeup that I wear every day. I think once I break myself of the habit of viewing shopping as a hobby, it will change my entire perspective for good. Other goal - make a list when shopping for the kids & stick to it. No random/impulse kids clothing purchases.
Reward for hitting my shopping goal: For each month that I stick to my goal, I'll get a massage. For three months of hitting my goal, I'll add in a mani/pedi. For six months of hitting my goal, I'll plan an entire spa day. If I hit my goal for the entire year, I'll do a spa-focused weekend getaway!

  • 2011 goal for budget: I've set up a goal for how much my credit card bill should be each month (we charge most of our regular expenses on our credit cards & then pay off each month), & want to stick to that every month of the year.
Reward for hitting my budget goal: Increased savings & financial flexibility! :-)

  • 2011 goal for paying off 401K loan: This is a huge goal for me in 2011. Paying off the 401K loan gets me maximum flexibility for eventually leaving my current company and either working somewhere else, working reduced hours, and/or taking a substantial pay cut to work at a non profit. I can't do any of these things with the loan hanging over me, so I'm highly motivated to ditch this. I'm still working on how I'm going to payoff my 401K loan by the end of 2011, but will have the details by the end of the month.
Reward for hitting my 401K payoff goal: Job/family life balance flexibility.

  • 2011 fitness goal: I'm pushing hard to hit my 150 workouts for 2010, but I want my goal in 2011 to be: more flexible, encourage strength training, & rewards me for longer cardio workouts. Right now, I give myself credit for any 30 minute cardio workout, which means that most of the time I stop at 30 minutes. Slacker. :-) I'm thinking of structuring the 2011 goal into three tiers:
    • Cardio - 4500 minutes of cardio in 2011. This is the same as my current goal of 150 workouts, but gives me flexibility to do longer workouts on the weekend, etc.
    • Strength - 1500 minutes of strength training in 2011. I definitely need to tone up, so this is a great way to build in time & make sure this happens.
    • Stretching/flexibility - 1000 minutes of flexibility in 2011. I'm thinking of using this for stretching or yoga/pilates.
    • Achieve my goal weight of 130 lbs.
Reward for hitting my fitness goal: Looking & feeling great!

I'm sure there is more to come, but what are your goals for 2011? How are you doing towards your 2010 goals?

11/30 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 162. Heading in the right direction again. :-)

Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + egg + laughing cow - 230
  • coffee with milk - 20
Snack:
  • Hot chocolate - 50
Lunch:
  • roasted potatoes - 150
  • pasta with pesto - 300.
  • 1 mandarin - 30

 Snack:
  • chocolate milk - 160. Subtotal = 940.
 Dinner:
  • cashews - 80
  • Wine - 150
  • Edamame - 100
  • Salad - 400
Total calories = 1670.

Fruits/Vegetables = 3/5
Workout = 40 minutes stationary bike, level 12

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weekly Money Check Up

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on Black Friday - Christmas gifts, & clothes for me. The majority of the clothes are going back (I don't try things on during the madness & always return a bunch).
2. Today I feel worried about money because I'm not tracking it the way I like, & I'm spending it too freely. I hate that out of control feeling, & want to funnel my money towards my priorities (read: not clothes, but my 401K loan payoff fund).
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was laugh with family members for hours over delicious food and wine. (that sentence came from MPP, but it was exactly how I felt, so I'll liberally borrow it.). :-)
4. I will consider this week a success if I finish my shopping returns & complete my Christmas shopping & wrapping.
5. My favorite holiday song is Silent Night.

For more weekly money posts, check out My Pretty Pennies.

Ambitions for December

I haven't done monthly goals in a while, & I really need the accountability. November & December tend to be two months of indulgence for me, so I'm feeling highly motivated to put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) & set out specific goals for the month. I'm also working on  my 2011 goals, which I find exciting to set. I'm a planner like that. :-)

Lose Weight:
  • Lose 9 pounds by the end of the month. My current weight is 162, so this will bring me to 153 - my official weight before I got pregnant with my second child.
  • Eat 1500 calories/day (averaged weekly).
  • Workout 24 times. This is very ambitious, but I'm at 126 workouts for the year, & my goal is to hit 150 for 2010.
Financials:
  • Spend $700 or less on food.
  • Stick to my budget for the month.
  • Create & follow weekly menu plans.
  • Use up 5 random items from the pantry/freezer or donate them.
  • Create a 401K loan payoff plan.
Work:
  • Get a new job. :-)
Organization/Planning:
  • Go through the boys toys & books to make room for holiday gifts.
  • Organize/declutter my closet & drawers
  • Organize/declutter the master bathroom

Monday, November 29, 2010

11/29 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 162.4. Have to get below 160. That's my "scary" threshold, & I'm freaked out a bit to be over it.

Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + egg + laughing cow - 240
  • coffee with milk - 20

Snack:
  • trail mix - 170

Lunch:
  • small salad with chicken - 200
  • turkey & provolone sandwich - 290
  • 3 mini butterfingers - 150
Snack:
  • carrots with hummus - 90. .
Dinner:
  • pesto pasta dish - 400

Total calories = 1560. A much better calorie day, but still need to work on this.

Fruits/vegetables = 0/4. I suck with the fruit, which is odd, because I'm a huge fan. Apparently, just lazy.

No workout today.

The long overdue financial update

*shiver* Not excited to write this all out, but I suppose that's the most obvious sign that I need to. I have been spending more money than needed, pretty much for the past couple of months. Buying gifts for the holidays seems to set off this massive consumerism *buy, buy, buy* trigger in my head. It's not pretty.

I think that next year, I'm going to skip Black Friday shopping & plan a spa day. I'll still come out ahead, financially. In terms of buying gifts for others, I'm mostly on track for meeting my goals. However, I've bought myself & the kids way too (clothing). I need to return a lot of stuff, but the damage is much more than I had hoped to spend. Just checked my credit card statements. YIKES.

I also want to update my tickers/side bars, so that's on my agenda. Isn't it interesting that when things fall apart with my eating, they also do with the finances? For whatever reason, the two seem to go hand in hand.

I'm not entirely sure I can fully explain what caused either, but I will say that work has been incredibly stressful lately. More so than the usual stress. I'm looking at a new job, and may have an interview as soon as next week. Crossing my fingers that pans out, as getting a new job would be a huge win for my stress levels.

I'm going to be incorporating more financial updates regularly, so look for those!

Menu Plan Monday

My better half is traveling this week, so it will be a quick & easy menu. When he's not around, I tend to improvise quite a bit more. :-)

Lunches will be: leftovers, sandwiches, fruit & vegetables with hummus, + nuts.

Dinners:
Monday - Tacos
Tuesday - Cider Glazed Chicken
Wednesday - Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Tenders
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - on a mini trip with my sister, so we'll be eating out.
Saturday - I'm thinking of taking my kids to an event at our gym that includes dinner.
Sunday - Panera's Creamy Potato Soup & rolls

Sunday, November 28, 2010

11/28 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Back to reality. The scale has shocked me into realizing that I have undone a lot of ground & need to get back into the rythm of healthy eating & losing weight.

Weight = 164

Food:
Breakfast:
  • coffee with milk - 20
  • english muffin with laughing cow & jelly - 200
  • Honeydew - 30
Snack:
  • walnuts/almonds/cranberries/pretzels - 250

Lunch:
  • pizza - 300
  • cottage cheese - 100
  • mandarin + honeydew - 50.

Snack:
  • hummus/vegetables/pita chips - 250

Dinner:
  • cosmopolitan - 150
  • chicken with roasted vegetables - 300
  • crackers - 120

Total = 1770. I need to start driving this lower - 1400 calories/day.

Fruits/Vegetables = 2/4

Workout = 40 minutes on the elliptical, level 13.

11/27 - The Thanksgiving/Black Friday Hangover Edition

Not hangover in the true sense of the word, but more of a complete indulgence with food & finances. I need to update my financial trackers asap & get myself back on track.

Weight = didn't weigh in today. Have promised myself to deal with the reality tomorrow. :-)

Food:
Breakfast:
  • 1 tortilla + 1 egg + 1 tbsp cheese + salsa + a small tomato = 300
  • coffee with milk - 20

Snack:
  • 1 mini doughnut - 60

Lunch:
  • 1 cheese bagel with light cream cheese - 450. Subtotal = 930
  • 1/8 of a quesadilla - 75
  • crackers - 300
  • 1 small package of skittles - 80
  • two lindor truffles - 160
Workout:
46 minutes of elliptical, level 13.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11/24 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

I promise to break out of my rut & actually post things other than my daily update. Soon.

 
Weight - 161. I had a good day today, so a little disappointed.

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • 1 pear - 80
  • coffee with milk - 20
  • english muffin with laughing cow & egg - 220

Lunch:
  • cashews - 80
  • cottage cheese - 175
  • fat free grilled cheese on wheat bread - 235.
Dinner:
  • tortellini with pesto & fresh tomato - 300
  • wine - 200
  • 1/2 mini hoagie with parmesan & butter - 300

Total calories = 1610.
Fruit/vegetables = 1/1. :-(

Workout:
35 minute walk in the snow with the kids. :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11/23 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

I'm home with the kids today, as their school is closed due to snow. :-)

 
Weight = 160.2 Feeling good about heading in the right direction. My goal is to be at 150 by 1/1/11.

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • coffee with milk - 20
  • 1 pc wheat bread + laughing cow + egg - 200
  • Pineapple - 50
Lunch:
  • chicken pasta casserole - 350
  • pear - 80
  • cashews - 80
  • babybel cheese - 60.
Snack:
  • 1 cranberry muffin - 180.
Dinner:
  • wine - 120
  • steak with risotto & macaroni & cheese - 300.

Snack:
  • pomegranate - 80

Total calories = 1320

Groan. Still no workout today. I'm going to try & work out something tomorrow with M, so he'll watch the boys for an hour between meetings while I work out. This no school thing & still trying to work this week has proven to be quite a challenge.

Fruits/vegetables = 4/1. Better than yesterday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/22 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

I got on the scale this morning, & it was not good news.
Weight = 162

Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + egg - 200
  • coffee with milk - 200

Snack:
  • babybel cheese - 60
  • almonds - 100
Lunch:
  • (Panera) potato soup + vegetable sandwich + multigrain bread - 700. Subtotal = 1260
Dinner:
  • 3/4 of a serving of baked chicken casserole - 300

Total calories = 1560.

Will try to have fruit tonight. :-( again with the fruit & vegetables.

No workout. Had to leave work early to pick my kids up today, as their school closed early due to snow. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This will be a bit of an unusual week because of Thanksgiving, but I'll see what I can come up with. :-)

Lunches will be leftovers, sandwiches, fruit & nuts this week.

Dinners:
Monday - tacos
Tuesday - Italian Baked Chicken Pastina (bumped from last week)
Wednesday - White wine marinated steak
Thursday - Thanksgiving dinner with family
Friday -  Chicken piccata
Saturday - Balsamic chicken with spinach risotto
Sunday - Linguine with shrimp & lemon

11/21 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight - unknown. Will weigh in tomorrow.

Food:
Breakfast:
  • scone - 200
  • english muffin + laughing cow + morningstar - 200
Lunch:
  • grilled halibut with fries & small amount of coleslaw - 800

Dinner:
  • brussel sprouts - 100
  • small serving of lubia polo - 250

Total calories = 1550.

Horrible on the fruits & vegetables today.

No workout - drove home from the beach & got caught in some terrible weather. Happy to be home. :-)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

11/19 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

I'm going to the beach this weekend for my mom's birthday, & I'm looking forward to relaxing!

Weight - Unknown. The boys woke me up very early this morning, so I forgot.

Food:
Breakfast:
  • 1/2 waffle + banana - 200
  • non-fat latte - 100

Lunch:
  • Low fat chicken salad sandwich (the deli at my gym makes them, & they are wonderful & healthy!) - 250
Snack:
  • pub mix - 100

Dinner:
  • wine - 320
  • chicken salad - 200
  • hummus/veggies - 140
  • Smoked salmon/cheese/crackers - 250
Snack:
  • 1/2 mini skinny cow ice cream - 80
  • 2 cookies - 250

Total calories = 1890

Workout = 40 minutes elliptical, level 13

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11/18 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

I need a kick in the pants. I've completely lost my motivation for healthy eating, working out, & financial tracking. I can't put my finger on why or what happened, but I need to get back in gear & making things happen. I know I *can* do it, but somehow, I'm just not.

Weight = 161.8

Food:
Breakfast:
  • 1.5 waffles (no butter) - 200
  • banana - 110
  • latte - 100

Lunch:
  • 1 pc pizza - 200
  • 1 babybel cheese - 60
  • 1 truffle - 100
  • 1 pear - 80. Subtotal = 850.
Dinner:
  • chicken sandwich - 430
  • Fries - 410

Total calories = 1690

Workout:
Cardio/weights - 30 minutes

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11/17 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 161.8

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin + sausage + laughing cow - 250
  • coffee with milk - 20
Snack:
  • almonds - 80

 
Lunch:
  • hummus & crackers/pretzels - 300
  • pasta fagioli soup - 170
Snack:
  • m&ms - 150. Subtotal = 970.
Dinner:
  • 1 2/3 pcs of pizza - 400
  • edamame - 200
  • pear - 80
Total = 1650
fruits/vegetables = 1/3
No workout.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11/16 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 162

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • English muffin + 1/2 laughing cow + sausage - 240
  • coffee with milk - 20

 
Snack:
  • 2 mini babybel cheese - 120
  • almond - 120.
Lunch:
  • chicken flatbread - 440
  • strawberry smoothie - 170.
Dinner:
  • 1 beer - 200
  • 1 1/2 pc pizza - 350

Total calories = 1660. Although I was hoping to keep my calories lower for the day, I'm very proud of myself that I didn't have more pizza.Normally, going to my favorite pizza place means losing all control, & tonight I reigned it in. Small steps. :-)

Monday, November 15, 2010

11/15 - Fitness & Nutrition Tracking

Weight = 162.6 - at least we're headed back in the right direction.

Breakfast:
  • english muffin + morningstar sausage + 1/2 laughing cow - 230
  • 1/2 pear - 40
  • coffee with milk - 20

Snack:
  • granola with milk - 200

Lunch:
  • Turkey sandwich & chips - 1000 (holy smokes! Looked this up after my catered lunch. Too late, apparently)
  • handful of m&ms - 100
Dinner:
  • Chicken with brussel sprouts - 400
  • 1/2 glass of wine - 40
Total calories = 2030. Bummer. I had no idea that the lunch threw me off track by so much. I thought I was going to come in around 1500 or so - shows you how much planning ahead helps!

Fruits/Vegetables = 1/3


Workout:
30 minute bike, level 12

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 11/14

This is my first menu plan in a few weeks, & it feels good to be back on track. :-)

Lunches:
  • Monday - catered meeting
  • Tuesday - butternut squash risotto + fruit
  • Wednesday -butternut squash risotto + fruit
  • Thursday - chicken casserole + fruit + vegetables & hummus
  • Friday - picking up a healthy sandwich from the gym. Will eat on the road, as I'm heading to the beach with my mom for a girls weekend. :-)
  • Saturday - Out of town
  • Sunday - Out of town

Dinners:

11/14 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 162.8 I almost cried when i got off the scale this morning. I knew I ate out a ton over the past few weeks (traveling & training + date night last night), but didn't expect the damage to be so much. I'm super depressed. The good news is that I'm off to the gym this morning. I know it's going to take a week or so to get my weight headed back in the right direction - all I can do is focus & work hard.

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • 2 homemade waffles with butter - 300
  • fruit - 80
  • egg - 80
Lunch:
  • pear - 80
  • cashews - 80
  • 1/4 quesadilla - 150
  • small srvg chicken casserole - 200.
Dinner:
  • butternut squash risotto - 400
  • cosmopolitan - 200
Total calories = 1670

Fruit/Vegetables = 4/2

Workout:
60 minute elliptical, level 12
45 minute weight training

117th workout of the year (goal is 150).

11/13 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

No weigh in today.

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • Egg with english muffin & 1/2 laughing cow - 230
  • pomegranate - 80
  • coffee with milk - 20

 
Lunch:
  • 1 small piece of vegetable pizza - 150
  • cashews - 80
  • satuma - 35
  • 1 cranberry muffin - 174
Snack:
  • pomegranate - 40
  • 2 mini babybel cheese - 120.
Dinner (date night):
  • hummus with pita chips & vegetables - 150
  • cosmopolitan - 180
  • 1 glass of wine - 80
  • edamame & salad - 300

Total = 1640.
No workout.

Friday, November 12, 2010

11/12 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Didn't track my food today, but I don't think it was great news. However, back from my trip & training & ready to tackle things again.

Weight = 162. :-(

Full details tomorrow!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

11/5 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

weight = 158. Hanging tough at 158, but feeling fine about it, given my lack of workouts & unhealthy food choices this week.

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • egg, 1/2 piece toast, 1/2 laughing cow - 210
  • honeydew - 30
  • coffee with milk - 20
Snack:
  • cashews - 150

 
Lunch:
  • apple - 80
  • 4 carrots & 2 tbsp hummus - 50
  • homemade potato soup - 325. Subtotal = 865
Dinner:
  • roasted brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes & carrots - 200
  • 1/2 grilled cheese - 175
  • a few pita chips & hummus - 150.
  • Wine - 120
Total calories = 1510

Fruits/Vegetables = 2/6

Workout = 60 minutes elliptical machine, level 13. 20 minutes weight training.
Workout 113/150 for the year. Starting to get nervous on my pacing, I'm still tracking about 9% behind for the year. Even though I'm traveling next week, I can't lose my momentum this late in the year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

11/2 - Fitness & Nutritional Update

Weight = 158

Not a great day. I was in training, & had way too many snacks & overall greatly exceeded my calories. I also didn't wake up an hour early (as planned) in order to get a workout in. Tomorrow has to be a better day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - 11/1 edition

Little bit of a crazy week, as I have training all week & then leave for New York on Sunday morning. I tried to prep a bunch of stuff over the weekend, so I feel a little prepared. :-)

Breakfasts:
Peanut butter banana bread
Blueberry muffins (I substituted blueberries for cranberries, but left the rest of the recipe intact)

Lunches:
I made a huge batch of potato soup, as well as red pepper hummus. I'll have the hummus with carrots & celery, and add in fruit & nuts to round out my meals.

10/31 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 158

 
Food:
Breakfast:
  • coffee with milk - 20
  • pineapple & yogurt - 50
  • breakfast sandwich with turkey bacon & egg - 350

 
Lunch:
  • ceasar salad (no dressing) - 200
  • 2 pc halloween candy - 60
  • tastes of soup, muffins, etc - 120
Snack:
  • 1 pc banana bread - 200.
Dinner:
  • chicken & tomato pasta casserole - 400
  • cosmopolitan - 120
  • candy - 300

Total calories = 1820

Fruits/Vegetables = 2/4

 
Workout:
40 minutes on the elliptical machine, level 12
15 minutes of strength training.
Workout 112/150 for the year. 74.6% of the way to my goal, with 83% of the year elapsed.

11/1 - Fitness & nutrition update

Weight = 158. I'm frustrated. Now, I have to figure out what to do about it. More on that shortly.

Food:
Breakfast:
  • Coffee with milk - 20
  • English muffin with laughing cow & egg - 230
Snack:
  • 1 piece banana bread - 150
Lunch (restaurant):
  • potato leek soup + 1/2 turkey sandwich + chips + bread - 900
Dinner:
  • cosmopolitan - 200
  • 2 chicken tenders + pasta with tomato sauce (small portion) - 400

Total = 1900.

Fruit/Vegetables = 1/4. Again, with the fruit.


I have a seriously crazy schedule the next two weeks, & I need to make working out & eating well a priority. It's critical that I don't let these next two weeks get away without progress.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend wrap up, spending & otherwise

Wow, productive Sunday. I'm going to be in training most of next weekend, & leave for a business trip on Sunday, so the pressure is on to get organized & prep food before I leave.

Last night I put together two Italian Baked Chicken & Pastina casseroles before we left for a Halloween party. I was planning on heating one up for dinner when we got back, but we ended up eating at the party. So, I have two good-sized casseroles for the next few weeks.

Today I made:
  • Blueberry muffins (I used this recipe, & swapped the blueberries for cranberries). I love this recipe with cranberries, but didn't have any in the house.
  • Peanut butter banana bread (no glaze, no peanuts added) & it was totally knock-your-socks-off amazing. Yum. Yum. Yum. I made two loaves for the freezer.
  • Red pepper hummus, to eat for lunches throughout the week. Haven't tasted it, but plan to have it tonight.
  • Loaded potato soup, for lunches during the week. I'm in training, so I'll very limited with what I can prep during the week.
I also went to the gym this morning, & did a 40 minute cardio workout + weights. I'm absolutely bushed! :-)

In financial news, we did the normal grocery shopping, & the other updates are that it was time to sign both boys up for soccer lessons. They've been taking lessons (1/2 lessons, 1/2 scrimmage) on Saturdays for several years & they both love it. You sign up for a quarter, & it's $175/each, per quarter. So, $350 total. Gulp.

We also signed our oldest child up for ski lessons (they start in January, but fill up very quickly & we got one of the last spots), bought both boys helmets, new boots for our oldest, bought a lift ticket to go with the lessons, etc. Groan.

Teaching our kids to ski is very important to us, as we're big skiers & want to be able to do frequent ski vacations. But, it's definitely not a cheap sport. I'm guessing I spent around $1000 this weekend, but don't have the exact total.

None of the expenses were unplanned, but having them fall on one weekend was a bit of a budget buster. How about you? How did you do this weekend? Stay on budget? Go over?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

10/30 - Fitness & nutrition update

No weigh in today.

Food:
Breakfast:
  • coffee with milk - 20
  • english muffin with egg & laughing cow - 230
  • pineapple - 30

Snack:
  • cashews - 80

Lunch:
  • grilled cheese sandwich (fat free cheese) - 300
  • 1/2 apple - 40
  • 1 piece pumpkin bread - 150.
Dinner:
  • wine - 120
  • 2 pc candy - 80
  • turkey meatballs with garlic bread & salad - 400

Total = 1450
Fruits/vegetables = 2/5

Friday, October 29, 2010

10/29 - Fitness & Nutrition Update

Weight = 158

Without going too far into the details, I'm having some serious stomach problems. I got all the way to the gym this morning, and had to go home - I was in so much pain that I laid on the couch for an hour & tried not to move. I'm not sure what's going on - I have a doctor's appointment on Monday. Although, that's clearly no excuse for my eating today. :-(

Food:
Breakfast:
  • english muffin, egg & laughing cow - 230

snack/lunch:
  • 2 cookies - 600

Dinner:
  • turkey sandwich - 400
  • roasted brussel sprouts & pomegranates - 200

Total calories = 1430
Fruits/vegetables = 2/3

No workouts.