Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Shopping Day and a Trip Down Memory Lane ~ Tuesday 10/25/16

I've been sleeping so well at night with the cooler temperatures!  Even though I have to get up to use the bathroom several times a night, it's still quite restful.

The kittens were still asleep when I went to get them but they perked up right away.  Tabby Kitty "plops" as we call it, as soon as he sees me in the mornings. That's when he drops to the ground and rolls on his back to expose his belly.  Only Male Cat does this for us and since we've been calling Tabby Kitty "Mini Male Cat", it's very funny that he does that for me!

Princess is crazy about Greg!  This morning she climbed him like a tree, from his toes to the top of his head and was nuzzling against his beard. Awww!  It was time to him to leave to go to work and he didn't want to go!

I had arranged to meet my BFF at Wawa near her house this morning so I could share the latest crazy news from my French family with her because sometimes it helps to talk about it to someone else, so we spent about an hour together and then she left to go to work and I went to do my shopping since I was in South Clermont and would be passing the stores on my way home.  I didn't get home until about 1:30 p.m. and now I'm exhausted and my foot is throbbing.  Ugh.  So I'm not going to post my To Do List today because quite honestly, almost nothing will get crossed off anyway.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • Our son packed a lunch to take to work and rode the school bus.

  • I brewed a pot of half caf coffee with the free bag of decaf that I had won from Wawa and filled a travel mug to take with me.

  • I mixed a batch of boule bread dough from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook and let it rest.

  • I still had coupons to clip and to sort so I did that while the kittens were playing next to me.
Tabby Kitty has been promoted to Vice President of  Couponing
  • At Wawa, the coffee was no longer $0.79 for all sizes so I decided to just drink my own coffee that I had brought with me since I hadn't finished it yet. I also redeemed the weekly freebie coupon for the free Sizzli breakfast sandwich so my whole cost for meeting my friend was only the price of gas to get there :)

  • After we were done, I ran my errands:
    • CVS:
      • As soon as I parked my car, I received a text from my son asking me to get him more fluoride rinse. Great timing!
      • I redeemed my raincheck for 2 dozens of eggs at $0.99 and paid for the $1.98 OOP with my CVS gift card earned via our American Express Rewards program, so it was all free to me!
      • Then I did another transaction with the 2 bottles of CVS-branded fluoride rinse. They were on sale at 2 for $6 and then a surprise store coupon for $2.00 off $6.00 mouthwash was applied so my OOP was $4.28. I charged it to USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.

    • Publix:
      • It had been years since I had shopped at that Publix and the layout is very different from mine so it took me a while to find the meatballs, ugh.
      • They had only 2 bags left of the Community Coffee that was on BOGO for $6.99 so I didn't have a choice as to what variety to buy.  Oh well, as long as it's not dark roast and not decaf!  I had a $4.00/2 coupon, which made the coffee super cheap. But not only that, but a digital coupon for $4.00/2 was also deducted when I input my phone number, making my coffee purchase a money maker!
      • The Armour meatballs were on BOGO at $4.99 and I unfortunately has only one $1.50/1 coupon, but that helped. The kids love those meatballs and I'd rather buy them than make my own.
      • I got a package of Castello blue cheese slices for $5.49 but I used a $3.00/1 coupon and then I redeemed an Ibotta rebate for another $3.00 so that ended up being a money maker as well!
      • The Jello Simply Good packets were on BOGO at $1.49 and I had a $1.00/2 coupon and redeemed a $0.75/2 Checkout 51 rebate so that was another money maker!
      • The Dannon Whole Milk yogurts were on sale at $0.65 each. I handed the cashier a BOGO coupon but I noticed in the parking lot that she hadn't deducted it.  Grrr. However, I had made money off the coffee when the digital coupon came off as a surprise, so I still came ahead.  I also redeemed a $0.50/2 Ibotta rebate so in the end, it was still free thanks to the overage from the coffee.
      • Lastly, I bought a cheesy Florida postcard to mail to my great aunt. It was 20 cents.
      • My OOP was $6.98 and I paid with USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.  I also received $4.25 back in rebates.

    • Murphy USA:
      • I redeemed a monthly coupon for a free can of Murphy Classic strawberry soda, which I gave to my son for his after school snack.

    • Walmart:
      • I was disappointed to see that the clearance bakery rack had disappeared :(
      • I stocked up on pantry stuff since I was paying with Swagbucks gift cards.  I bought 2 5-lb bags of bread flour at $2.50 each, 6 cans of Better Than Bouillon at $3.72 each (and redeemed 6 $0.75/1 coupons), and 4 cans of diced mild chiles at $0.88 each.
      • An envelope of taco seasoning (I don't like the one I make!) at $0.67.
      • I also bought a bag of Borden string cheese for $2.97 and later on redeemed a $1.00 Ibotta rebate.
      • 2 lbs of bananas for which I received $0.25 back from Ibotta, making them a money maker, since...
      • I paid for the $35.60 OOP with gift card earned via Swagbucks so all of it was free to me.  I still have $8.00 on my gift card.
      • I found a penny in the parking lot.

    • Aldi:
      • I spent a lot more than I had planned because I made a lot of impulse buys.  Some highlights:
        • the 10-lb bag of white rice was on sale for $3.99 so I bought one even though I still have several pounds of rice left at home.
        • the wide pan whole wheat bread was on sale for $0.89 a loaf and there were only 2 loaves left so I got both of them. It'll be a nice change.
        • I stocked up on 2 bags of apples at $1.69 and 2 bags of pears at $1.49
        • I bought vegetables since I have been bad about incorporating veggies in my dinners lately: broccoli ($1.79), zucchini ($1.79), tomatoes ($1.39) and Romaine lettuce ($1.99)
        • I found cans of tart cherries and dark cherries so I got 2 of each to bake goodies later on ($1.79 each) and cappuccino chocolate chips ($1.99 each, 2 bags)
        • For my pantry, I bought cans of tomato soup concentrate ($0.49 each), panko and seasoned bread crumbs ($0.79 each), cans of cannellini and chickpeas ($0.65 each).
        • I decided to treat my loved ones to some ice cream, so I bought 3 pints of it at $1.99 each.
        • I also bought a 4-tier shelf that I want to put near the sliding door because there is a mess of shoes and other items there all the time; it was $8.99.
        • My OOP was $76.55 and I paid with USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.
        • I submitted rebates to Mobisave (10 cents off apples, 10 cents off canned soup) and to Checkout 51 ($0.25 off tomatoes).

    • I called my daughter to ask her to check on the kittens (she was cuddling with them already!) and ask if she would please get me a free bagel with her Panera's Reward since I had gotten her ice cream.  She agreed :)  I'd rather have a bagel than ice cream, myself!

    • RaceTrac:
      • I gassed up my SUV at $2.16/gal. I paid with USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards, earned loyalty points on my app, and received a new receipt that will earn me a new freebie.
      • I redeemed a survey reward code for a free apple fritter, which I gave to my son for his after-school snack.

    • Vet's office:
      • The technician had called me back last week after talking to the vet who treats Male Cat to assure me that the gel joint supplement was safe for him so I stopped by to buy the tube of supplement ($18.99).
      • I inquired whether the kitten food was available in bags larger than the small bags I've been buying because they don't last long. But it's not!  That's so dumb. So I bought yet another bag of kitten food for $13.99 because I've already used 1/2 the bag that I bought last week.
      • I charged everything to USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.

    • Publix #2:
      • I wanted to see if they had the Community coffee since I had another $4.00/2 coupon.  The shelf was bare but I asked a stocker if he could check in the stockroom and he came back with boxes of it. Hooray!  So I bought 2 bags of the breakfast blend,on BOGO at $6.99 and redeemed the $4.00/2 coupon.  I didn't bother entering my phone number to see if any digital coupons would come off this time.
      • I also bought a small onion for $0.21 and received $0.25 back from Ibotta so this was a money maker!
      • I paid for the $3.20 OOP with USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.

    • Walgreens:
      • The milk was on sale at Walgreens but not CVS this week so I had decided to pay for it and get it at WG. I ended up buying 2 gallons of it because I remembered at last year around Halloween, CVS hadn't had milk on sale several weeks in a row.
      • I also bought 2 bags of M&Ms and finally remembered to buy the Coffee Nut variety that Pixel Peeper is so fond of!  There were on sale for $2.50 each and I used a $1.50/2 manufacturer coupon and a $1.00/2 store coupon to get both for $2.50.  I redeemed the $1.50 Register Rewards voucher earned last week so they cost me $1.00 (plus tax).

      • I checked the clearance cart on a whim and found a set of colored ink for my HP Wifi printer on clearance for $19.99!  I usually pay $33.99 for it at Staples so this was a good deal.
      • I paid for the $28.12 OOP with USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.  I earned 230 Balance Rewards points, woohoo!  I'm very close to getting a $10 credit towards my next purchase.

    • Library: I had checked my email and seen that the latest John Sandford thriller was waiting for me there so I went to pick it up.  There was nothing in the donation pile that I wanted, but I got to chat with my friend the children's librarian for a few minutes.

  • Back home, I  browned some ground turkey and onions and made Quick Chili in the crockpot. I set a reminder to make cornbread to go with it, using the free box of Jiffy mix that I had gotten last weekend.  Thanks to Bless for mentioning that I could make bean-free chili, it hadn't occurred to me!

  • I documented my trip and put everything away and then warmed up the leftover butternut squash soup for my lunch. I also had a brown banana.

The kittens helped me unpack!
  • I submitted my receipts for the various rebates and cuddled with the kittens.  I was credited with the money from Checkout 51, Ibotta and MobiSave within minutes!

  • My son borrowed my bike for a school assignment he had to do.

  • My daughter brought my back a free asiago bagel from Panera's!

  • I was stuck on the couch the rest of the afternoon because two kittens were napping on me, so I played several episodes of Law & Order from a DVD borrowed from the library, although I was also surfing the web at the same time so I only paid partly attention to the show.  This is becoming a habit with me.  The DVD set is due tomorrow but I still have most of a DVD to watch and books to read in the meantime so I renewed the DVD since no one had it on hold.

  • I received a new set of Bath & Body Works coupons in the mail.

  • I baked a pan of cornbread by using the free box of Jiffy corn muffin mix that I got last weekend.  We used half of it for dinner and I froze the other 4 pieces of the next time I make chili.

  • I was able to order a sample of Pillsbury biscuits via the Pillsbury e-newsletter.

  • Greg and I watched a few episodes of "That 70's Show" on Netflix after dinner.

  • Gas to go meet my BFF and for my daughter to go meet her BFF!
  • Various baking supplies.

  • I had to compost about 1/2 a cucumber that had gone bad.
  • I had butter fingers and dropped an egg that crashed to the ground :(

  • Fed the kittens
  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Packed his lunch
  • Mixed bread dough
  • Clipped and sorted coupons
  • Met my BFF for coffee and a chat
  • Ran errands and did the grocery shopping
  • Started dinner in the crockpot
  • Documented my trip and put everything away
  • Submitted rebates
  • Cuddled with the kittens
  • Baked corn bread
  • Input receipts in my checkbook and a couple of spreadsheets
  • Cuddled with kitten
  • Ordered sample
  • For my BFF being willing to listen to my crazy family stories before going to work!
  • For Coffee Nut M&M's :)

My little Princess, playing with my fingers.
Let's have a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Domestic Monday ~ 10/23/16

How was your Monday?  Mine started by getting the kittens down, as usual, and then I checked my email while sipping on my coffee and waiting for Greg to get up so I could cook his breakfast.

A normal morning here.  But there was an email from the oldest of my two brothers (the cop from Marseille), asking me to email him as soon as I got up because he wanted to "tell me something".  Uh oh.  Turns out, we needed to talk on the phone because he had finally called my dad (after months of dodging his calls because my brothers, like me, are tired of my dad's craziness and abuse) and gotten puzzling news. Apparently my dad (73, in poor health, widowed almost 3 years) met someone.  Someone who's younger than my brother (and me, since my brother is younger than me by 2 years) and he is quite taken with her and taking her to meet "all his friends" (of which he has almost none anymore since he's alienated everyone).  My brother is concerned that my dad found himself a gold digger.  The only thing that concerns me, is that in France children are responsible for their parents' (and grandparents'!) debts.  My dad isn't rich but his chalet in the Alps is paid off and he has pensions and enough money in the bank to support himself.  He and I don't talk anymore and my brothers avoid him as much as possible.  I don't care what he does with his money and never expected to get any inheritance from him.  Honestly, not getting any inheritance from him would be my preference, but the law in France states that you cannot disinherit your children and that everything has to be divided equally in between children.  I am very concerned about inheriting any debts.  So I put my brother in charge of finding out more, but there's really nothing we can do. Our father is an adult and has the right to live his life the way he sees fit.

Then I was mentioned our mother and my brother announced that their vacation in Corsica had been a total disaster (he and his girlfriend invited our mom to join them on their vacation to Corsica this past September, and Greg and I paid for my mom's share of the vacation), and that he wasn't talking to our mom anymore and would never talk to her again.  Whaaaat?!  It's the first I hear of it but I was wondering why no one had sent me pictures of Corsica or talked to me about their trip.  I guess that now, I know why.  My brother proceeded to list his recriminations against our mother, some I can understand, most of them makes me wonder why in the heck he thought it would be a good idea to take a 69-year-old woman who is afraid of the water, can't be in the sun and has leg and knee problems so she can't walk much and definitely not hike mountains or even go up and down stairs, on a camping vacation to Corsica, on the beach and where most of their excursions included hiking or visiting villages with lots of stairs because they were in the mountains.   And one has to wonder why my mom was so eager to go, surely she would have done research about Corsica!  I've never been to Corsica and I knew that was the way it was going to be!  I had raised reservations with my brother at first but he had said "no, no it'll be OK, we won't be on the beach all the time, there are a lot of places to visit!". So apparently they spent most of the 2 weeks not talking to one another, with the girlfriend caught in the middle.  My mom can be a very critical person who thinks she should say whatever is on her mind no matter how hurtful, so that must have been fun.  I love my mom, she's been through a lot and is actually a nifty person, but I wouldn't go on vacation with her.

So I'm not talking to my dad and my brother #1. is not talking to my mom.  My brother #2. has stopped talking to my brother #1 and his girlfriend and he has blocked them on Facebook.  Brother #2. lives in Paris and met my mom at the train station on her way back from Corsica to make sure she got on the right train to go home. Brother #1 and I think that our mom must have given him an earful about her vacation, which is why Brother #2 is now not talking to Brother #1.  No one has told me anything until now so I was completely in the dark.  My sister is probably not in the know either, even though she lives close to my mom, because my mom told me she hadn't seen her since late August.

So I'm going to pretend I don't know anything.  I was laughing at all the ridiculousness while I was on the phone with my brother, but as soon as we hung up, a dark cloud settled and I started feeling very anxious.  Remember this T-shirt?

Yeah, that was me this morning. Despite telling my brother that I didn't care about any of the shenanigans that he had discussed, I couldn't think about it all morning.  And when I'm upset, I clean!  Good thing it was Domestic Monday, uh?

So I spent the next 3.5 hours cleaning and cooking and baking. I don't even remember everything that I did because I kept on running scenarios about my family and what could happen in my mind and I was on autopilot most of the morning. The poor kittens were trying to follow me everywhere and get my attention and they were cute but they were in my way.

I finally sat down at 12:30 p.m. to have lunch.  The kittens missed me so much that right now, at 1:15 p.m., I have Princess sleeping on my chest, Tabby Kitty curled up against me the couch, and Explorer curled up on the couch about a foot away.  Awwww...

I did text my BFF telling her that we needed to have breakfast together again because now I had WTF news from my family (she had shared her own WTF news from hers at breakfast last week and it was a doozy!) so we made plans to meet again tomorrow morning at our favorite Wawa station to shoot the breeze.  I need that because I don't want my kids in the middle so I'm not discussing it with them and Greg has no interest in my family (he thinks they're all crazy) so I won't get any satisfaction from unburdening to him (I told him the broad lines this morning after I got off the phone with my brother and he had no comment).

Now I understand why my mom emailed me with just a "Is everything OK" late last week, she must have been wondering what I knew about the Corsica trip and if I was mad at her!  I'm glad I didn't hear from my brother until today.

Anyhoo, moving on from all this madness, here is my To Do List and I get to cross off several things from it so I'm excited about that. At least, some good came out of all this.

To Do List:
  • Crafty/Creative:
    • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
    • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
    • Melt down old candles and make into new ones - in progress
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door and another one for the other front door (we have two) - I think I'm also going to add "and don't leave your literature either, I'll vote for the other party if you do!"
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the bedrooms (including son's fan) - in progress
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets - Cleaned a couple of them today
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter shelves over printer stand 
    • Declutter storage bench 
    • Declutter printer stand
    • Clean the fridge - Done
    • Declutter gardening supplies chest
    • Defrost the freezer - scrapped off the top of the ice layer. Will need to defrost the whole thing.
    • Sweep/vacuum downstairs bathroom - Done
    • Sweep kitchen - Done
    • Sweep cat room - Done
    • Sweep breezeway - Done
    • Sweep exercise room - Done
    • Clean entry room front windows
    • Put up pictures on Art Room's walls
    • Do the laundry  - Done
    • Fold the laundry
    • Iron
    • Mix a bottle of window cleaner for the kitchen
    • Sweep litter from upstairs - Done
    • Clean kitten litter boxes - Done
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Post menu for next week (Monday) - Done
    • Defrost meat for tonight - Done
    • Bake bread - Done
    • Make roselle jelly
    • Make Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola bars
    • Make crepes for the kids' snacks
  • Education
    • Start watching Photography lectures online (see email)
    • Write post about Colt Creek State Park visit
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
    • Go for a walk with my camera - little lake near Downtown Clermont
    • Finish reading my library book (Mind Prey)
    • Finish watching Season 14 of Law & Order
  • Errands:
    • Mail Labels for Education to elementary school 
    • Go to Ace to get new broom handle for rubber broom and solar rechargeable batteries for the front yard solar lights -need to see which handle would fit.
    • Buy Greg a bike
    • Meet BFF for coffee  (tomorrow)
    • Buy a litter box at Family Dollar
    • Return materials to the library
  • Gardening/outdoors:
    • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
    • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew (this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!)
    • Pull the raspberries and add roses in pots in their place
    • Add mulch to the vegetable garden once I have replaced the broken self-watering bins
    • Pull unwanted plants from center "planter" in the backyard, add soil, plant flowers, add edging around it (watch out for large roots that would be in the way). Make planter with other materials if edging doesn't work. (this will have to wait until Fall when it's not so hot and when I can plant wildflower seeds).
    • Turn the composting bin
    • Plant wildflower seeds
    • Plant seedlings outside
    • Measure diameter of feeder "tray" and get new bowl from thrift store
    • Water potted plants
    • Refill self-watering bins
    • Pull weeds from pots and bins
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment - I'll do that once I'm more comfortable with my weight because I know they'll be nagging me about it anyway.
    • Use recumbent bike 
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises 
    • Log food into My Fitness 
    • Record exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards
    • Weigh myself (Wednesdays) 
  • Kittens/Cats
  • Maintenance:
    • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
    • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
    • Test the batteries in all 3 smoke detectors and replace as needed
    • Greg to call plumber
    • Remind Greg to re-secure chicken wire to AC unit and also to block off opening under front of the house
    • Scrub mildew off front of the house (porch, behind bushes, front stairs)
    • Install white beadboard in laundry room (will need to measure and purchase)
    • Install new stick-on tiles in laundry room (will need to remove ancient ones first)
    • Paint laundry room cabinets
    • Get Greg to fix/remove rotten wood on front porch
    • Make a list of which outlets need to be replaced and call Duke Energy Homewire Protection to schedule appointment
    • Ask electrician for estimate on installing outlet on front porch
    • Get on flat roof, sweep it, and clean out the front gutter
    • Ask Greg to install gutter screens on the front gutter
    • Have Greg block the opening in the back fence
    • Strengthen BlueTooth transmitter's cord with electric tape (in SUV) 
    • Pour Drano down the kitchen sink (for maintenance)
  • Technology/Paperwork:
    • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
    • Scan more old pictures
    • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns - Started but need to do more research.
    • Figure out if we should contribute to regular  or Roth IRAs for 2016 and fund them - I guess I need to wait until tax time next year, actually. I'll have until April 15, 2017 to fund 2016 IRAs so I need to work on taxes way sooner than I did this year so I'd have time to fund the IRAs and THEN file my taxes.
    • Download all blog photos from September to my external drive 
    • Back up my external drive to my other external drive
    • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
    • Purge filing cabinet upstairs
    • File paperwork - in progress!
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt (include kitten photos)
    • Scan what needs to be scanned (if anything)
    • Work on photo album for daughter's graduation
    • Reply to my French BFF's email
    • Start proceedings for deleting Yahoo Mail account
    • Replace music on my phone
    • Take RaceTrac surveys 
    • Update Net Worth document
    • Install Photoshop Elements 10 on son's PC
    • Input receipts in spreadsheets
    • Print coupons - Done
    • Clip coupons
    • Sort coupons
    • Research candidates on the ballot (before Wednesday Tuesday, preferably)

  • I brewed a pot of coffee with the free bag of decaf coffee I had won from Wawa.

  • Wawa released the new weekly freebie to my app: a free Sizzli breakfast sandwich, will I will redeem when I have breakfast with my BFF tomorrow morning.

  • I didn't need to pack a lunch for Greg today since he had been invited to a business lunch.

  • I wanted to bake something so I made Pumpkin Pecan bread in the breadmaker. The recipe is from the bread machine cookbook that I bought at the Mount Dora Friend of the Library bookstore this summer and I hope it turns out! I used up the rest of the can of pumpkin puree that I had opened last week and I chopped the pecan halves that I had gotten for free at Walmart with my SB gift card in my food processor.

  • I made another batch of butternut squash soup. I picked the squash that had developed some "spots".  I used up the rest of the small brick of UHT whipping cream that I had opened last week.

  • I saved the seeds from the butternut squash. I will season and roast them at a later date.

  • I boiled 4 eggs for my lunches the rest of the week.

  • I cleaned the fridge and identified several things that I want to use up:
    • powdered goat milk: will use in my baking
    • Pedialyte: will drink mixed with the free samples of orange FiberPlus powder
    • apple butter: will make spiced apple cake with orange glaze
    • old vanilla beans that had already been used once to make vanilla extract: refilled the jar with the rest of my bottle of vodka to make more vanilla extract.  I hope it works a second time!  I left it to brew in one of my kitchen cabinets.

  • Did 3 loads of laundry in cold/cold and hung most everything outdoors.  Used the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting for Greg's Tshirts and bath towels.

  • My lunch was a bowl of butternut squash soup, some mashed potatoes left over from last night's dinner and the 2nd half of the papaya I had cut open yesterday.

  • I printed a coupon that Kellogg's had emailed me.

  • Chili's sent me another reward for a free appetizer or dessert if I eat there in the next couple of days. I always upload them to my account, just in case.

  • I decided that I would do my grocery shopping tomorrow, since I'll be out in South Clermont to meet my BFF tomorrow anyway. If I can make myself study the voter's guide, I might even be able to determine who I want to vote for in all the races by tomorrow. which would definitely save me a round-trip to Clermont.

  • I watched more Law & Order episodes from the library DVDs that I borrowed.

  • I put the first season of "Homeland" on hold at the library. I'm #2 in line although the county shows several copies available at the various branches so I don't know when I'll get it. That's OK, though, as the latest John Sandford book is on its way to me right now. Woohoo!  I'll only have 7 days to read it so I don't need to have the pressure to watch Homeland at the same time :)

  • I had to text my son to ask him to bring me a slice of the pumpkin pecan bread since I had 2 kittens taking naps on me!  Thankfully he got my message for once and I was able to partake in a warm piece of delicious bread. Oh yes, it is delicious!

  • Later on, I saved the rest of the loaf by using my expandable bread keeper, bought for $5.00 from a local thrift store.

  • My son borrowed my bike to go volunteer at the library.

  • I finally wrote a menu for the week and worked on my shopping list.

  • I received free samples of Starbucks Latte K-cups in the mail.

  • For dinner I cooked Pasta with Beans and Spinach and grilled chipotle chicken sausages.  This allowed me to use up the bag of spinach that I had bought at Aldi a couple of weeks ago and that was threatening to go bad.  We had lots of pasta leftovers so I packed some for Greg's lunch tomorrow and then froze the rest for a future dinner.

  • I also froze half the leftover butternut squash soup that I made today. I have enough left in the fridge for a couple of lunches. I reused 2 soup containers from past orders of Chinese take-out.

  • It got hot (77F) in the kitchen after cooking dinner so I finally closed the windows and turned the AC back on at about 7:00 p.m.

  • Greg said that he received a free month of Groove music subscription as a bonus for having signed up a couple of months ago.  Woohoo!

  • After dinner I watched some episodes of "That 70's Show" (one of my faves!) on Netflix while a kitten was napping on me and I was finishing this post :)

  • Talked to my brother on the phone for an hour.

  • I dropped the container of freshly processed pecans in the fridge!  While I was able to recover most of what had spilled, I still wasted about 1/4 cup of it, which is annoying because those things are expensive!

  • Remember how my daughter had complained about her eye when she got back from California and confessed that she had accidentally put developer from her hair dye kit into her eye?  So I had taken her to an ophthalmologist to get checked out and the doctor had said there wasn't anything wrong with her?  Well, they had told me that there wasn't a co-pay but I knew there should be one and they said "oh don't worry, we'll bill you!".  So that bill came in today: $225!  The insurance claim was denied because of "non standard adjustment code". So now I have to make phone calls (which I hate!) to the insurance company and the doctor's office to get them to do their jobs properly. We have excellent insurance and the doctor is in network so this should have never gotten denied. I hate dealing with this crap!

  • Kitten duty
  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Spoke with my brother on the telephone
  • Did 3 loads of laundry
  • Hung most of the clothes outside to dry
  • Dried the rest in the dryer
  • Unloaded the dishwasher
  • Reloaded and ran the dishwasher
  • Cooked butternut squash soup
  • Cooked hard boiled eggs
  • Defrosted meat for the next 4 days
  • Baked bread in the breadmaker
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Fake mopped the kitchen
  • Wiped the countertops and some of the cabinets
  • Swept the cat room
  • Swept the breezeway
  • Swept the exercise room
  • Swept the downstairs bathroom
  • Scrubbed the downstairs toilet
  • Made Greg's bed
  • Printed some coupons
  • Cooked dinner
  • Froze leftovers
  • Organized the dirty dishes for later
  • One of my left elbow tendons started hurting this morning. Tennis elbow? I don't know but taking the heavy ceramic bowl containing the hot butternut squash out of the microwave was harder than it should have and my elbow hurt.  Between that and my left heel, I'm just a mess on my left side and I wonder why!
  • That my family lives far away from me.  I can't handle all the drama, quite honestly. 
  • That the library provides volunteering opportunities for young teens via the Jr. Friends of the Library. Not only is my son helping his community, but he is earning volunteer hours to qualify for a Bright Futures scholarship (he needs 100 hours at least before graduation), and it's a mile from our house so there is little need for me to drive him there. It's really a win-win-win situation!

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (male)




Flowering weeds in my veggie bins

Roses and hibiscus!

Pileated Woodpecker

Princess has been very cuddly today!

The "twins" climbed on top of the tallest cat tower in the Cat Room and took a little nap there while I was working in the kitchen, next door.
Did you have a domestic Monday today?

This Week's Dinner Plans

Each week I peek in my fridge, freezer, and garden, to see what needs to be used up and I take a couple of minutes to think of ways to use up those ingredients in the next few days...

Now that I have typed up the whole thing, I realize that we have beans in the recipes of the first three dinners, so I might need to rearrange the menu or Greg will blow up and fly off (beans and Greg don't really agree!).  Darn.

MONDAY:  Penne Pasta with White Beans and Spinach & Grilled Chipotle Chicken Sausages
  • From the freezer: chipotle chicken sausages, homemade chicken broth
  • From the pantry: 1 box penne, 1 can Great Northern beans, EVOO
  • From the fridge: 1 bag spinach, minced garlic
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance: nothing
  • Need to buy: nothing

TUESDAY: Two-Bean Turkey Chili and Rolls
  • From the freezer: nothing
  • From the pantry: flour, salt, onion, 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 can black beans, 2 cans kidney beans, 1 can tomato sauce, chili powder, 1 can diced green chiles
  • From the fridge: yeast, ground turkey
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance: **Crockpot recipe ** Prep dough for rolls before leaving (Artisan Bread in 5 minutes A Day), bake rolls in afternoon
  • Need to buy: nothing

WEDNESDAY:   Beef & Bean Taco Casserole
  • From the freezer: nothing
  • From the pantry: 1 can refried beans, homemade taco seasoning mix, old tortilla chips
  • From the fridge: ground beef, 1 jar salsa, tomatoes, black olives
  • Need to harvest: green onions
  • Need to make in advance:  assemble, needs to cook for 1 hour
  • Need to buy:  lettuce, shredded cheese

THURSDAY: Chicken Quesadillas and Salad
  • From the freezer: nothing
  • From the pantry: Ten Things Farm seasoning
  • From the fridge: chicken breasts, tortillas, lettuce, tomato, avocado, dressing, cucumber
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance:  **marinade chicken in seasoning and a little bit water/oil*, grill chicken on barbecue
  • Need to buy:  lettuce, shredded cheese

FRIDAY: Hearty Meatball Soup in Bread Bowls
  • From the freezer: italian meatballs, diced onions, celery and peppers
  • From the pantry: mustard greens (in lieu of spinach)
  • From the fridge: homemade chicken stock
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance:  Bake bread bowls (use rest of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day dough)
  • Need to buy: cannellini beans

SATURDAY: Easy Cheesy Loaded Grits
  • From the freezer: Spicy ground sausage
  • From the pantry: onion, grits, hot pepper sauce, paprika
  • From the fridge: butter, eggs
  • Need to harvest: nothing
  • Need to make in advance:  shred the Monterey Jack cheese, **dish needs to bake for 1 hour, cook outside in electric cooker in advance**
  • Need to buy: diced green chiles, Monterey Jack cheese

SUNDAY: Lentils with Smoked Sausage and Carrots
  • From the freezer: turkey smoked sausage
  • From the pantry:  EVOO, onion, lentils, salt, bay leaf, thyme
  • From the fridge: minced garlic, carrots, Better Than Bouillon Beef
  • Need to harvest: parsley
  • Need to make in advance: nothing
  • Need to buy: nothing

What's cooking in your kitchen this week?