Ocean’s Weekend


Some fairly typical eats!

Took my young one to Brixx after a Dr appt. Love they have vegan pizza!

Lunch date with my guy. Veggie fajitas!

Totally amazing chili with my favorite sweet cornbread. I’m always hunting for new chili recipes used this recipe – added 1 cup of soy curls, skipped the refried beans (I was out), and cooked in my Instant Pot on high pressure for 12 minutes. Seriously amazing.

Went to dinner with my friend NL before she went back home to PA. We shared a mezze platter and I grabbed this beet salad.

This is actually my daughter A making homemade cider

My guy and his youngest came over for dinner on Saturday. Made creamy mushroom pasta, maple roasted sweet potatoes, balsamic & garlic roasted brussel sprouts, and 3 loaves of homemade French bread.

Baked oatmeal with chai spices

Roasted butternut squash and apple soup

Meatless Loaf, mashers, and Tamari mushrooms


A couple runs, but then just really gentle yoga because I think I pulled something in my calf as it was sore for days. Feels much better now though, so think I’m good to run again!


The past week has been fairly busy, but good. Lot’s of time spent on school work, but that’s not new. We had a group project, which is often a pain in the butt, and since I really took control from the beginning, I was fielding calls and messages from my 9 classmates trying to get this project done. It was more complicated than it needed to be, but we got it done and I’m quite proud of it.

I went out to dinner last Wednesday with a girlfriend and had a great time. Did get to see my guy a bit too, so that’s always fun.

While I was out, R tripped while she was stretching her wrist and got hurt. I Aced it when I got home after doing an examination – no deformations, etc. It still hurt 2 days later though, so off to her Dr we went. X-ray shows no break, but if it still hurts by Wednesday – we go to ortho, as not all breaks can be seen, especially of the wrist. So far – my guess is we’ll end up at Ortho…

Friday i went out with SMS – who I probably haven’t really seen in 6 years! We went to a local wine bar and then to grab dinner. Was awesome to catch up. I’ve missed her.

Saturday my guy and his son came over for dinner and we watched Ocean’s 11. I rented Ocean’s 8 to watch the next day and wanted a warm up movie! It was a fun time, as always. A & M both had Halloween parties to go to so we didn’t see them the rest of the night.

Sunday was low key. I was up early and watched Ocean’s 8. So – I love the Ocean’s movies. Though 12 kinda sucked. But anyway – I know 8 got tanked in reviews, so I waited until Redbox. I don’t mind splurging the $1.87, even if it sucked. I actually liked it. No Oscar movie to be sure, but still fun. Good homages to the original, and a totally killer cast. Fun twists, just like the originals. Well, as I’m in the last 5 minutes, A wanders in and wants to see it. I suggest watching Ocean’s 11 first. So she does. And as she’s about to watch Ocean’s 8, R walks in. The two of them watch it while I make dinner and watched it with them. Even more fun the second time! After it was over – and both girls loved it – R watched Ocean’s 11. She liked 8 more. Anyway – definitely an Ocean’s weekend.

Today was a really early morning coffee date, work, and some school stuff (not enough).

The weather has definitely cooled off, so we’ve been using the fireplace! Of which Kuma is a BIG fan…she’s also incredibly lazy. But cute, so that’s ok.

Ignoring me and pretending it’s not time to get up

Giving me major stank eye when I gave her crap for still being in bed when I got out of the shower


A quiet week overall. Trying to make up for the bday weekend splurge! Shopping was a minimum, even in the grocery category – only spent $26 on groceries this last week. I have SO much food in the house, I should really cook more of what I have – so that’s what I did. All my meal plans were based on what I have on hand, though some fresh produce is always necessary.

Fortunately, this has always been my motto. If I haven’t used it in 6 mo, likely don’t need it

Meaty Bananas & Cranberry Juice that’s NOT for Vodka


Not a lot of kitchen inspiration this week. Leftovers, popcorn, soup, and a few outings in the last couple days.

The best meal was Thursday night though. It was an early birthday outing with my guy, where we went to a local winery we like and split a bottle of our fav easy drinking cab, and then went out for Italian. We had a marinated mushroom appetizer that I think was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever had.

Yummy zucchini ribbons and pasta with olive oil, garlic, and bread crumbs

On Friday (my actual birthday) we went out for Indian. Went to a different place than last weekend – one where we know it’s always good. And it was. I had to Goan Vegetable Curry.


No runs this week, but definitely yoga and weight lifting.


Overall, the past several days have been pretty amazing. Lots of school stuff, but that’s nothing new nor unwelcome.

Thursday I had a really important thing happening all day, and after, went to my guys house so we could jet to our romantic evening out. And it really was awesome.

While we were out, A sent me a text asking if we had any bananas, and if she could please have one. Thought it was an incredibly strange question since no one needs permission to eat food in my house (especially healthy food!). Turns out that, as part of her nursing school instruction, she needed to practice injections on the banana. Huh. Okay…

Well, then she asked if she could have the cranberry juice. And I assumed – since I came across all the vodka on the counter the day before – that she was going for a vodka cran before going to sleep…

Yesterday was my birthday, and I’m pretty sure it’s the best one yet! I took off work and spent the entire morning and then lunch with my guy. Then I went to see M at his Starbucks, and then it was off for spooky Howl O Scream fun! It was supposed to me, my girls (M couldn’t get anyone to take his shift 😒), my guy, and his youngest. Shortly after lunch though, my guy got really sick, so he stayed home. But, the rest of us went as planned and had a total blast.

Traffic sucked on the way, but the ride ended up being hilarious. A and I were telling crazy stories about patients we’ve encountered and everyone was cracking up. We then started talking about bananas and A asking me if she could have one of the bananas. I proceeded to tell the kids that I thought it was funny, and then she asked for cranberry juice, presumably to pair with vodka. A started laughing and said that no, the Cranberry juice was actually what she needed to inject INTO the banana in order to determine if she was doing a good job. And that it was important that the banana be really meaty. It probably didn’t help that she had only 2 hours of sleep in about 36, hadn’t eaten, and everything ended up being hilarious. There were many jokes about meaty bananas the rest of the night….

We walked around the park until full dark set in and we could start with the really spooky stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell really spooky characters that they weren’t allowed to kill be because it was my birthday. One particularly funny/spooky guy commented how cool it was that my birthday would also be my death day…

A posted this on FB. She’s so cute!
Creepy jester DJ spinning some jams

So my guy’s son had never been to Howl O Scream before, but for me and the girls, this is totally our jam. The more spook, the better! Nothing like getting scared out of your mind, chased with chainsaws, and just generally laughing and screaming so much your throat started to hurt. At least that’s MY idea of a fun night 🙂

So yeah. Half a day with my guy, half with my kids (except M), and dozens of messages from friends and family all over the world. Other than M and my guy not being able to come with us for spooky fun, overall the entire day was totally perfect.

Couple other pics

Bday present from my guy. Heart = Melted 😍
Woke this morning to this awesome gift from my sister!
Meet Beverly. She’s been hanging out with us all week. She’s very friendly, actually, and R is really digging her.
My car on the left, A’s on the right. Mama bear and baby bear!


So I will admit I spent a bit more this week than I’m proud of and I do need to refocus on my challenge. I bought a new coffee pot. I had a Ninja Coffee Bar and I noticed some green mold growing in the reservoir, despite cleaning it regularly. So I contacted Ninja, and after some back and forth, said they’d give me a discount on a new one. Well – I did some googling and saw quite a few people comment on the green mold, so I knew I didn’t want another one nor one with a reservoir quite like that. But, most of the time, only a single cup is consumed per day (unless M or A want some, and then it’s a pot), but I refuse to get a Kuerig. Despite the intense wastefulness of those K Cups, I find the coffee pretty crappy. So the hunt began for a coffee maker that can do a pot, or a single cup, and not be those K cup things. Thankfully, Cuisinart pulled through. Could I have just used my French press forevermore? Yes – and it wouldn’t have cost me anything. But – I spent the money and replaced my coffee pot.

My youngest did get me an Amazon gift card – mainly because she doesn’t like that I can’t buy myself books on my shopping ban. I’m pretty excited!

Nope. Brain isn’t Melting. I Hope.


Been a fairly typical week. Smoothies, salads, soups, curries, and stir fries mainly! I’m loving the (mostly) chilly weather.

Lazy meal – beyond meat crumbles + marinara over pasta
Simple Instant Pot dish – 1 c soaked pintos, 1.5 c br rice, 1 jar salsa, 4 c broth 25 min high pressure

Yes, popcorn is a meal!

Out for Indian with my guy!
Enjoying drinks on the water
Special order FAIL. Our admin is amazing – always orders me vegan eats. Kitchen screwed up and added feta 🤨
Thankfully (or sadly) I expect them to screw up, so I always bring back up eats. This time – leftover soup!
Killing time at the Sbux where my son works. Apparently this is my new nick name??


Been another really active week. Runs several days and LIIFT4 on 4 of the days. Good times!


School, work, school, family, school, school, school. Oh, you get the point. Every waking minute when I’m not working, working out, with my family, or my guy – I’m studying. And since I sleep for crap, that leaves a LOT of time for studying! I can’t tell if my brain is melting or expanding. I’m hoping for the latter. It’s all good though. I really do love learning.

Kuma – my study buddy sleeping on the job
Was a really cold saturday, so studies with tea!

Friday night was fun. R and I hung out, played Backgammon, and watched Black Panther.

My guy got some new shades and he sent me a selfie in them. I was already in bed, so sending a reciprocal selfie was met with squinted eyes due to the flash. So I got my old Burberry glasses (that he hates) and did one with those instead!

I was feeling pretty run down on Saturday, and while I took a nap, A took R (and Kuma) to a local farm to get pumpkins!

Also having all 3 kids home – at the same time – for a picture! (Ignore the floors – we’re mid- home improvement project!)

Sunday was studying during the day and then most of the day and evening with my guy. Was tons of fun, as always.

Otherwise- my life in miscellaneous pictures!

R and I were at Sbux waiting on M and saw a rainbow!
My guy’s youngest and I whine about math. So I sent him this 🙂
For my next house?
Showing off my new glasses for my guy (while wearing his fav sweatshirt 🤣🤣)
Quick wine and magazine break from calculating statistical control charts. Can ya blame a girl?

Looking forward to the rest of the week. Have a few really cool/nerve wracking things happening, my birthday, and fun times planned!


Well, I was confronted for the first time for something I didn’t allot for. Eyebrow waxing! Now, thankfully I’m not really hairy or anything, so every 2-3 months is fine. But I will tell you – I will NOT tweeze. Ugh. So, I did pay the $10 to get them waxed last weekend.

The only other unplanned thing was an Uber – which was a necessity after the golf tournament! Otherwise, everything is within expected categories: replacing things that ran out, groceries, and going out, but not going over my monthly limit.

And what am I doing with all this $$ I’m not spending? Paying off bigger ticket item bills, loans, and putting stuff into savings.

Doomsday Bubble Blanket!


Pretty typical, though had a few days on the road. Smoothies, leftover lasagna-ladas, a vendor dinner at a restaurant in Virginia Beach that has a dish I adore.

Busy dish, but yummy!
Taco salad
R and I split this. I had the burger and she ate the fries! Pretty good homemade vegan burger at an Irish restaurant in Baltimore
Brown rice, steamed veggies, and my fav acorn squash Alfredo sauce


Still following the LIIFT4 schedule and running when I can. Friday was golf (though to be fair, it really wasn’t strenuous – more of a party). And the weekend was walking around Baltimore, but nothing crazy.


It was a busy, but good week. Spent some time with my guy at a local brewery/cidery that recently opened. Vendor dinner on Wednesday. Work, and then our IT sponsored charity golf event on Friday.

Saturday my youngest and I and my guy and his kids went up to Baltimore for the rest of the weekend. My very good friend M is a Navy Captain, and his strike group was organizing Fleet Week. On Saturday we went on tours of 5 ships, and it was awesome having M educating us. They were all older ships – like the Constellation (Civil war era), etc. It was very overcast, so the airshow was difficult to see.

So lighthouse ships are interesting. They do the same job as lighthouses, but it turns out they’re not particularly well built and seaworthy, and they often get damaged!

Quite cramped on the old sub, but interesting to see how people lived on board

A replica of where the officers and CPO’s hung out. The pic is mainly of the cribbage board – which I have taught and played with my guy and his youngest.
This old Coast Guard ship was WW2 era, and they had a dog on board who’s journey was chronicled as well

M explaining something to R!

So kind odd, but I imagine it’ll be really pricy.

Just like I mentioned with my friend D and the air show a couple weeks ago, it’s so amazing to see M in his military element. We know him as this very kind, gentle, hard working, brilliant, and generous man. To see him this weekend, was to see a new side of him. Quite honestly, the most fun may have been the sheer look of terror/awe on every individual in uniform when they saw him. The snap to attention and salutes. Turns out my friend is quite a big deal 🙂

Saturday night we stayed with friends. Bon fires, drinks, and catching up. Very awesome.

Sunday was back to the Inner Harbor to meet back up with M and other friends that came up from DC. We had private tours of active ships, including one named for my hometown, the USS Milwaukee! Again, amazing to see the reverence in which M was treated. The whistles and call to attention for each ship that a captain was boarding.

We got a tour of a Canadian ship as well, and it was fun to have M explain the mechanics better than the Canadian sailor could. To be fair, the gentleman touring with us is an Engineer, and probably didn’t know as much about some of the operations of the ship as M (a 27 year veteran) could. There was also a medical emergency while we were on board, so the crew was naturally distracted. It was still fun.

This is from the Canadian ship

This is a USNS ship – The City of Bismarck. And it was REALLY cool!

So this last pic is of the City of Bismarck. It’s a spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship that supports military and humanitarian efforts. Run by Merchant Marines (hence the USNS and not USS), they can deploy around the world really, really quickly. The ship is gorgeous – just commissioned a year ago, it has some cool capabilities. One of them is to haul tons of equipment (tanks, etc). In talking about their firefighting capabilities, on the major deck where equipment is, they have a crazy technology where in the event of a fire, they hit a button, and the place fills with these bubbles – in less than 2 minutes – that can put out any fire. BUT – it’s highly dangerous for people to be in it. Like death will ensue. So we started calling it the doomsday bubble blanket. A last resort option to save the ship from sinking in the event of a disaster on this deck.

At the end of the tours, 12 of us went to lunch before we said our farewells and headed home. All told, pretty amazing weekend filled with so many people I love!

On another note, my new term started up, so my days of boredom have come to an end, and ten tons of school work have kicked in!


Interestingly, I’ve gone out a few times, but they were paid by vendors. And the weekend counts as “travel”, though with staying with friends vs a hotel, we definitely saved on housing the 5 of us!

All shopping was either replacement or groceries. And while my guy and I went out a couple times, they total spend is still low and within my allotment.

Going to be a rough month in some ways though. My birthday is in a couple weeks, and the event planned will not be cheap, but it’s the whole family, so it’s worth it.

I Need Work Shoes…Who Knew??


I think it’s really fortunate that I love to cook. Well, I guess it’s only fortunate that I’m a GOOD cook. Would kind of suck for people if I loved to cook but was terrible at it…

Anywhoo. There was lots of cooking the past couple days.

But first. Smoothies!

Chocolate Vega powder, banana, and spinach

Saturday night was an Indian Feast + Game night. I made 8 dishes:

  • Garlic naan
  • Basmati rice
  • Tofu/pea tikka masala
  • Red Lentil Dal
  • Soy Yogurt curry Potatoes
  • Charred eggplant and potato
  • Curried cauliflower/carrot/peas
  • “Butter” “chick’n” – made with soy curls

Cooking took several hours, but that was fun

Sunday was obviously more chill. I marinated some pressed and cubed tofu in tamari, lime juice, garlic, and agave, and then stir fried that up. Also made a sweet and sour red cabbage dish in the Instant Pot too. Very simple recipe of broth, apple cider vinegar, unsweetened apple sauce, and salt.

Today was lasagna-ladas! Basically – and I’ve mentioned this before – I’m lazy. I don’t like going thru the drama of rolling up the enchiladas since it all ends up a mess anyway. So – layer the corn tortillas and filling like lasagna, top with enchilada sauce, and bob’s your uncle.

Topped with the last of my homemade soy yogurt

Mine was loosely based on Chef AJ’s Enchilada Strata dish from The China Study All-Star Collection. I used canned enchilada sauce (read above “lazy”), and some different fillings. I also topped with my pickled jalapeños from last week! SO good.


Okay, had two runs. One Saturday morning and one this morning. I also did a Beachbody workout today called LIIFT4. It’s a combo weight training and HIIT program. Just launched today, so I figure why not check it out? I really enjoyed it, though I was literally a sweaty puddle on the floor after….


It’s only been a couple days, so not a whole ton! Saturday afternoon I went out with my guy for a while. Then we went grocery shopping and came back to my house so I could start my marathon cooking spree. It was fun bouncing around the kitchen, drinking wine, and getting kisses.

It turned into a little party. It was me and my 3 kids, him and his youngest, a friend of A’s, M’s girlfriend, and another of M’s friends. Certainly plenty of food for the 9 of us. The kids all hung out either playing or watching video games, and the playing a board game after dinner while my guy and I chilled outside and then napped!

Sunday was cleaning, yard work, and reading. Very low key. Just maybe a wee boring. BUT – one more week and my next term starts and then I’ll wish to be bored!

Today was work and finishing the yard work. That’s it!

Definitely need “work shoes”…my flip flop life ain’t havin it…

On a different note – I have been seriously slacking on my “becoming a morning person” plan. And after some serious shaming by my guy yesterday, I’ve recommitted to it. Despite the fact that lately I can’t seem to fall asleep before midnight-one am (and last night was no different), I still got my a$$ up at 530. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pretty. But I did it. So suck it, baby.


Month one is DONE. Overall, I’m pretty happy, though there are areas I can definitely tighten up.

Overall, I spent 9.56% more than I intended. That was due to a few things I bought for the house (to facilitate said yard work mentioned above), and MUCH higher water and power bills than anticipated. My water bill was 252% higher than budgeted and my power bill was 63.9% higher. What was cool was I was under in so many other areas. Not always by a lot, but by enough that – even with those crazy expenses – I wasn’t too far over what I thought I’d have in expenses as a whole. I spent much less on groceries, gas, entertainment, and my natural gas bill than I budgeted. Will definitely trend that over time.

All this meant I put a healthy chunk into savings as well as paid down some other bills. All told – good first month, but I know it could be better. Stay tuned!