HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
- Happy last day of May! Where did the month go, though?! Tomorrow is the start of hurricane season for Florida, ugh. Hopefully we won't get hit this year again. I do hope for some rain though although not of Texas proportions (those poor people!). It's been a weird year with a wet winter and dry Spring so far. Usually it's pretty much the opposite.
- My mouth is finally completely cleared of burns. Finally! Did I say finally? Because, wow, that took forever. A whole week and add a couple of days! This morning I was able to brew coffee for my breakfast and that tasted very good. I missed it, come to think of it. Greg had gotten me a half dozen chocolate frosted doughnuts yesterday (just for me!) so I had a couple of them for breakfast and offered the last one to our son when he got up.
- I stayed up until 1 a.m., finishing reading Susan's blog and re-reading previous entries on my own blog just for fun. I love discovering new blogs and reading about people's lives. Facebook doesn't appeal to me at all (I'm not a member) but blogging is awesome. Anyhoo, I was able to sleep until 9 a.m. (despite that dumb woodpecker still thinking ye old satellite dish on our roof is a tree... at 7 a.m., as usual!) so I got a late start today.
- Warning: if you subscribe to my blog via e-mail or RSS Feed, you might receive "new post" notifications this week when in fact they were recent posts from the past couple of weeks because I spotted a lot of typos and spelling mistakes (arrgh! I ought to get in the habit of proofreading the posts before they get published, sorry about that) and I'm thinking I might want to go back and fix the mistakes. So apologies in advance if you end up getting a bunch of those pointless emails or notifications.
- My daughter called me at 9 a.m. from her dad's house, wanting to know if my leg was OK because she had a dream that when she got home tonight, she found me with a broken leg. So she put me under strict orders to just sit on the couch all day. She called me right as I was looking at my dirty dishes from the previous night and trying to get the motivation to wash them so that was funny timing, hahaha. Also, later on I texted her with the news that, in fact, Joe Biden was the one who had broken his leg while biking in France, so I suggested she open her own soothsayer business :)
- I took 7 drumsticks from the freezer that had been in there for about a year and a half, and put them in the crockpot with the large jar of marinara sauce that I made last weekend. I cooked them on high for 8 hours. Then I separated the meat from the bones. I served the meat and sauce on top of rotini. I'm sad to say it was not as tasty as I had hoped. It was... bland!
- From the freezer, I also got a gallon of skim milk that I had bought on 50% off clearance at Save A Lot and set it to defrost on the stove, nestled in a large bowl to catch the extra water.
- I used all the tomatoes that I had harvested this past week to make a big batch of marinara sauce. The recipe that I pulled up on my phone this time included some white wine and I thought it was a great idea, so I added about 1/2 a cup of white wine to the chicken/marinara mix cooking in the crockpot as well. The recipe also called for green pepper so I cut up the green pepper that I had harvested a couple of weeks ago (it had started turning red in my fridge!) and used some diced green peppers that I had frozen as well (also from my garden). Since I didn't want to use tomato paste or sauce and the recipe called for brown sugar, I decided to use ketchup instead, for added liquid. I wonder how it will turn out! I'll put it in upcycled jar jars (I think I have enough for 2 large spaghetti sauce jars) and use it over this next week and a half. If not, I'll freeze it.
- As I was cutting the tomatoes, both Roma and Supersweet 100, I decided to try keeping some seeds so I collected seeds from each kind and set them in small bowls of warm water to try to dilute the slimy covering. Later on, I strained the seeds by pouring the water over a half sheet of Bounty and set the sheets to dry on small plates. I'm still hoping to find Supersweet 100 seeds on clearance at Walgreens, as I did last year during the first week of June, but if I don't, maybe these will produce plants in the fall. I'm not really up to date on the determinate/indeterminate variety aspect of the problem, so I'm not even sure what kind I have. Probably determinate, although both the Roma and Supersweet 100 plants that I grew last Fall produced in the Fall and started producing in the Spring again so maybe they're indeterminate. I don't know and I wish someone who does would just tell me, lol!
- I used 3 plastic snack zipper bags to store the rosemary, thyme, and marjoram that I had dried over the past month and a half. I'll refill the appropriate spice containers once they're empty.
- I had a very large cucumber that was threatening to go soft, so I sliced it with the mandolin and made 2 more jars of zesty refrigerator pickles. I reused the 2 jars of pickle juice that we had finished recently and just added some fresh sliced jalapeños, as well as the 2 serrano peppers that I harvested yesterday. This time I didn't bother removing the seeds so we'll see if the pickles turn up being too hot or not. Right before I put the jars in the fridge, I realized that I had a small container of sliced green onion from my garden that I still hadn't used, so I dumped the green onions in the jars of pickles as well and shook everything very well. I don't mind experimenting with pickles! The cucumber had cost me $0.39 so those were very inexpensive pickles :)
- I cut up 2 mangoes that looked like they might have gotten bad, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the black spots were only surface-deep. I set out the cut-up mangoes on the kitchen table so my son would snack on them throughout the day. Greg hates mangoes, he thinks they're too slimy. I luuuurve mangoes and wish we had a tree of them in the backyard. They apparently don't grow so well in Central Florida, though. They're more a South Florida kind of tree.
- After doing all this cooking/preserving, I turned my attention to the garden. I harvested most of the remaining Romaine lettuce seed heads and set them out to dry in the breezeway (we have a large countertop there as it used to be the galley kitchen in the oldest part of the house. It's very useful, especially since it's under South-facing windows.).
- I harvested a few tomatoes and 2 strawberries. One of them made us laugh because it still had the flower petals around its base, so it looked like a strawberry ballerina. I made it dance to "Swan Lake" and we were laughing. Just being silly!
- I also harvested a few dried seed heads from the little clump of Cosmos flowers that I had grown from seed.
|Puny picture... I'll try getting some seeds out of those|
- While I was out there, I checked the rose cuttings that I had set in potting soil several weeks ago and found that only one out of 6 had actually started developing roots. It's better than nothing! So I transplanted it into a larger pot. It was the pot where I had tried to plant a poinsettia cutting that never took so it still had soil in it. I just transplanted the rose cutting and watered it. I set it in the shade of the other rose bushes. It'll be easier for Greg to remember watering it that way.
- The plant labels that I had made from an old cat litter jug had lost their markings (I guess the Sharpie ink isn't as permanent as one might think!) so I was able to upcycle them for future reuse.
- While I was kneeling down between two of the large pots containing the rose bushes, I kept hearing bees or wasps buzzing around my head and I realized that the wasps that we had disturbed (when Greg took away my barbecue side table to rebuild it) had started building a new nest under one of the rose bush leaves! Incredible! I sprayed them away with the wasp spray and destroyed the nest. Hopefully that won't kill the plant.
- A couple of the small begonias that I had gotten for free from my library back on Earth Day were missing some soil in their pots (I guess I'm using too hard of a stream when I water them with the hose!) so I replaced it with potting soil that I was storing in a bin. Thankfully the darn ants haven't found it yet.
- As I was checking the strawberry plants, I spotted a couple of runners coming down from the large bins so I got two small planters from my stash. I filled one of them with the potting soil that I had used for the rose cuttings (no waste!) and nestled the runners in them. I watered them with water collected in my bin located at the leaky faucet. When I come back from France, I will cut them off and put them in another (yet to be determined) location.
- This is only a frugal victory if the tadpoles eventually turn into frogs so we can have frog legs for dinner (jk!). Wow, I didn't notice how loud the cicadas were until I watched the video!
- Greg finished my barbecue table and put it back in place. Honestly, the top looked better before it was coated with the water-repellent paint (the kind we found on clearance was the white-tinted one), but look at how cool this stuff is!
(Blogger did something weird to this video, the original is much clearer, sorry!)
- I warmed up the rest of the meatloaf leftovers from two night ago for my lunch and decided that a cold Diet Coke would be nice with that, so I offered my son to take him to Racetrac to get a frozen drink refill with his Sodapalooza cup, thinking that I would use my daughter's for the Diet Coke. Only it turns out that she took her cup to her dad's with her, so my son offered me his cup. How sweet! I took him up on it after making sure, repeatedly, that he really didn't want a frozen drink. While I was there, I also redeemed the Racetrac Insider May 2015 coupon for a free small coffee since it expired today. I filled the cup with hazelnut-flavored coffee but then realized that they no longer have the hazelnut-flavored creamer (noooooo!) so I settled for a couple cups of Chocolate Caramel creamer. Next time I get coffee from that station, I need to check on the flavors of creamer they have available before filling the cup, because if they don't have hazelnut creamer, I'll just get plain coffee and use the flavored creamers that they have on hand. Today they had French Vanilla, Irish Creme, and Chocolate Caramel, as well as plain half and half. I kept the coffee for my breakfast tomorrow morning.
- Last year I had bought Greg one of those large foldable awnings so he could take it on his camping trip with him. It was priced at about $120 at Target but one week they had it on sale for about $50, only my Target was out of stock that whole week (hmmm....). Thankfully I had remembered to get a raincheck and I would check the shelf each week when I did my grocery shopping. Luckily, just a couple of weeks before Greg and our son left on their camping trip, the awning came back in stock and my raincheck was still valid so I was able to get it for the cheaper price! However, during the trip, they experienced a strong thunderstorm and the weight of the water broke off several of the "arms" that folded. Greg spoke with his son-in-law, who is a welder, and also his dad, who used to be an engineer, and decided to reweld the whole thing instead of throwing it away.
I had yet to see how much he spent in supplies, but I'm hoping it was cheaper than buying a whole new awning, lol. So, for now, I'm counting it as a frugal victory (he finished the project today). Come to find out, he didn't spend anything on the repairs at all: his dad gave him his old welding kit so he just used that and we're hoping the job will hold up! So a definite frugal victory for now.
- I printed a few coupons from my usual sources... even though I won't even be here for most of June! However, a few coupons had longer expiration dates. Also, I didn't want to not have a coupon available if I came upon some clearances this week :) I printed very few coupons, though. I also uploaded digital coupons to my Publix and Walgreens digital wallets.
- I did a chat with Netflix to see if I could put our account on suspension for a month but there's no way to do this. The rep said I could cancel the account since "My List", etc would be preserved, and that since we had a price guarantee on our account through "at least May 2016", he could leave a note on the account so we would still pay the same price if/when we re-upped. Greg and I decided that, for $8.64 a month, it probably wasn't worth the hassle of cancelling and then reopening the account (if we decided to reopen it) but I still asked the rep to leave the note on our account, in case I do decide to cancel it. After all, Greg and our son never watch it. I think we'll decide for sure when I come back.
- I was looking for information on why there weren't any printable Staples coupons on their site (this has never happened before, as far as I'm aware) so I checked a Slickdeals thread. Someone posted that there was a 20% off regular price ink coupon posted under "Daily Deals" on their site so I checked it out. It expired today so I decided to order the ink cartridge that I would have bought on Wednesday to use my Staples Rewards. I went through SavingStar (5% back), ordered the cartridge with the 20% off coupon code, applied my $2.00 ink rewards to the order, and also got free shipping. In the end, I paid $7.27 OOP (it's a one-color cartridge). It saves me a stop on Wednesday and I'll just recycle the 2 cartridges that I was going to turn in when I go there in July.
- When my daughter got home, she presented me with a Diet Coke that she had gotten for me with her Sodapalooza cup, as a surprise :)
- I am loving our outdoor digital antenna! I rarely have to make it go in another direction but it's so nice to be able to adjust it when we need to with just a click of the remote. Tonight, I wanted to watch Columbo on Me-TV, only the channel was very pixelated (I think there may have been storms in Orlando?) even though it'd been fine for weeks. I used the small remote to slightly move the antenna and the channel came in clear as a bell! The "receiver" has a very bright RED light in the front of it, which is very annoying so I usually tuck it behind the TV stand, where I can't see it. Since, as I said, I rarely have to change the direction of the antenna, it doesn't really matter. I just move the receiver and place it on one of the small stereo speakers that we have on each side of the TV stand while I adjust the position of the antenna, and then put it back in its hiding place.
- Bill Nye the Science Guy is on Netflix! I knew there was a reason not to cancel our account, lol! 31 glorious episodes. Can you tell I love Bill Nye? I love Bill Nye. I emailed my older sons about it because they love Bill Nye too :) I have it on right now. OK, we're keeping Netflix. 10 minutes later... hahaha, my 13 year-old just came out to ask "Are you watching Bill Nye the Science Guy?!?" so I told him it was on Netflix now and that we'd be watching it for Family Movie Night every week for 31 weeks. He thinks I'm weird even though he loves Bill Nye too. I was joking about Family Movie Night, although I really want to watch those with him as it reminds me of when I used to homeschool him:)
- I guess the gas to drive to Racetrac to get the free drinks. It's about a mile from my house, but it was hot and my daughter had ordered me not to break my leg so I decided to drive.
- I needed to order something from Walmart.com but it wasn't quite $50 so shipping wasn't going to be free... I decided to re-order large bins to make more self-watering bins for the Fall garden. My regular brand had gone up by $6, so I ordered a different brand instead, which was about $6 less. I got the free shipping and hopefully the order will come in this week, since the "thing" that I was ordering is for our early Father's Day celebration that we'll hold next weekend.
HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
- I had a lemon that I had zested last week and left on my counter. I was hoping to juice it today but when I turned it around, it had started to rot so I had to compost it.
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!