We now have a seven year old in our house! We celebrated his fifth birthday in the weeks before we shut things down due to COVID-19, so this past weekend was technically his second “pandemic birthday,” even though we’re heading into the third year of life at the end of this month.

Even so, this year was definitely brighter than last – we are all now vaccinated (and boosted), as were the few kids that joined us for his outside birthday. The weather cooperated, and he had a wonderful day (and rest of the week as he got to celebrate multiple days with different family members).

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Friday’s Frugal Five

1. Unlike previous years, I really didn’t have the energy or drive to make birthday foods from scratch (normally, homemade pizza and homemade cupcakes – even for large pre-pandemic crowds). This year though, there was zero guilt about buying store bought cupcakes. They were delicious, if not zero waste or made for pennies.

The kiddo switched up his pizza request for bbq ribs smoked by the husband on the Traeger. They marinated in the fridge for a day before the party, and they were the best ribs I’d eaten in a long time. So perhaps we still did have homemade food for his party? Just not made for me this year. Paired with a carrots and broccoli with dip and some Doritos. No disposable dishes or silverware though – even low key I can’t go that far ūüėČ

Hanging with the chickens on his birthday

2. My sister invited me to do a stairs workout with her at the Crestwood Stairs (~210+ stairs), and we ended up doing ten rounds up and back. I was pretty pleased with myself for being able to complete them without needing any mid-trip breaks on the way up, but I have sure been sore for a couple days after – specifically my calves.

I absolutely miss the gym. I’m one of those people who actually loves working out in communal spaces like that, but I’m getting better at figuring out how to get good workouts in without a gym membership. We do have a small one at work, but with the Omicron spike, I’ve been skipping those trips as well. Who needs an elliptical when you have some serious stairs near to home? Well, okay, I still miss the elliptical.

3. We had a local special election this week specifically on school levies. I voted “yes,” and it appears that all three will – narrowly – pass. My kiddo might not be in public school right now since we’re homeschooling through the pandemic, but I strongly believe in our need for a good public school system. No matter if and when I have a child in the school system, I will continue to vote yes on these measures.

Confession time: I almost didn’t vote this time around. Not because I was apathetic, but because I forgot what day it was and almost missed the deadline. I ended up having to drive my ballot down to get it in on time, but I was rewarded for my lateness with a real “I Voted” sticker! For someone who has voted by mail their entire voting life, getting a real sticker was perhaps more exciting than it should have been.

4. I finished two more library books this past week, both of which I highly recommend: The Dawn of Everything and Exit Strategy (MurderBot #3). I’ve leaned even more into the Audiobook option this year, and I get to read so many more books this way. I am reading a couple others though (Lights Out – ebook) and The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire #4 with the kiddo).

We did purchase the Wings of Fire books hard copy from our local bookstore (Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park is awesome, if you’re local and haven’t been), but my ebooks have almost exclusively been borrowed from the library. Since it looks like my reading count will be even higher than 2021, not spending on every book is a serious help to our budget.

Looooong, but very worth it

5. Speaking of the MurderBot series, those books were introduced to me by our WPF Insiders on Discord. We’re having our first book club meeting at the end of the month, but I’ll be done with all six books by then because they’re awesome. I’m not usually much for Sci-Fi, but this series is a must-read, especially if you aren’t totally sold on Capitalism / “normal” life.

Women’s Personal Finance Insiders. Holy cow. We hit our first anniversary as an official business this week as our first annual Insiders began to renew their memberships. We also hit – and passed – over 300 Insiders / Mission Supporters, which feels totally awesome. Insiders is open only quarterly (next will be mid-March), but folks can become a Mission Supporter any time for $5/month, and they help us “keep the lights on” at WPF, if you will.

I didn’t go into this blogging thing expecting to make money or grow an entire business out of the process, but I am so glad that WPF exists in the way it does now. I absolutely could not do it without my business and platonic life partner, Regina. I couldn’t have fathomed what we’d get to do together, but I love it. And I can’t wait to see where year two takes us.

Exercise Update

Saturday was a longer than expected hike “to get groceries” the long way that took us almost two hours through the trails. Sunday was a hike for part of the kiddo’s birthday with his friends.

Monday was a HIIT sprint workout, and then Tuesday was the big stair “hike.” Wednesday was a walk and yoga, and then Thursday was a couple of slow walks to stretch out my very sore calves and less sore quads.

How is February treating you so far?

4 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (COVID-19 Week 102)

  1. I absolutely miss the gym as well, though more for the heavy weight / resistance of it all. Nowadays, we play Ring Fit on the Nintendo Switch to just get indoor exercise in.

    Februrary’s been snowy, dark, and grey here in NY.

  2. Thank you for recommending the MurderBot series! I am listening to “Network Effect” now and highly enjoy it.

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