Sunday, September 20, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Sunday 9/20/15

  • Happy Sunday!  I had a weird (but surprisingly good!) night: I fell asleep on the couch waiting for Greg to finish watching his college football game and was woken up by my daughter texting me from her bedroom at midnight that she had changed her plans for today. Errr, thanks for the update but next time, dear, email me instead of texting so it doesn't wake me up!  I keep my phone on at all times near me, just in case of an emergency with the kids.  Then Greg was watching Seinfeld on TV so I watched it with him. We went to bed but I kept on waking up, worrying that I hadn't heard my middle son come home at about 2 a.m. (he works late these days because of Halloween Horror Nights). But I guess I wasn't that worried because I didn't get up to check until I had to use the bathroom at 6 a.m., LOL. He had made it home and I went downstairs to finish the night on the couch because I was too hot upstairs.  So then I slept on the couch until 8:35 a.m. when Target decided that it was a perfectly appropriate time to text me a coupon.  Arrgh.

  • I'm having my coffee on the back porch!  It's a little warm and humid but definitely bearable and so enjoyable. The birds are singing (and the cicadas must have just woken up too). My weekend friend the woodpecker was pecking away a few moments ago but I couldn't see him. He must have been on the other side of the trunk.  I spotted a cardinal flying into a nearby tree so I went to clean out the feeder and refilled it with "fresh" seeds. I say "fresh" because I bought those seeds over 10 years ago for a project my youngest son and I were doing.  Sadly, it didn't come back after I refilled the feeder :(

  • I started reading my Month-By-Month Florida Gardening book last night and while it doesn't have as much vegetable gardening details as I had hoped, it still has good info that I'll be able to use.  I thought he would address all the aspects of  September gardening in the "September chapter but he's actually broken it down by sections: vegetables and herbs, citrus, lawns, bushes, etc., and each section has its month-by-month pages. I would have rather he had large monthly sections with sub-sections for each type of gardening. It would have made it easier to use the book without having to flip back and forth between chapters.

  • I just realized that I left my laptop plugged in all night and my battery charged to 100% and didn't cause it to catch fire.  Hmm. So maybe I should keep it after all. Am I driving you nuts with the back and forth?! I'm driving myself nuts! I did find several complaints online of HP users who had the same problems and various solutions had been offered by other users but I haven't tried them yet.

  • As I was doing the dishes last night I started fantasizing about Greg and I remodeling the kitchen on our own.  How hard can this be if all we're doing is ripping out the old, gross cabinets and countertops and reinstalling new ones?  I'm sure it's much more complex than I think, I have watched enough HGTV back in the days to remember the remodeling nightmares and unfinished kitchens that sat like that for months until homeowners had to call in pros.  I can make do with my kitchen, it's not a problem, but some parts of the cabinets are really falling apart and it's starting to annoy me.  One part in particular... it's the door to one of the cabinets right under the sink.  Water has been spilling on it (design flaw) and the wood is rotten.  It's a basic door that should be easy to replicate so I think I'm going to ask Greg if he'll take a crack at it.  Of course, we'll still have the problem of the water spilling on it... but if he used hard wood instead of particle board, I think it could last until we finally replace the whole darn thing.  Also, since I can't find the rest of the paint that I had used to repaint the cabinets 15 years ago, it would be a good time to repaint them in a brand new color...

  • I noticed last night that we were running low on bread (Greg's been making himself PBJs at night this week) so this morning I baked a loaf in my breadmaker.  I noticed there was a recipe for "Quick" bread that only took 2 hours so I decided to try that and also selected dark crust instead of light. It looked really nice and everyone was excited to have fresh bread for lunch... so much so that we're almost out of it already so I'm going to have to bread more bread tomorrow.  Also I liked that recipe better than the regular one and it took less time to bake. I'm out of bread flour so I'll need to make boule bread dough later on tonight so I can make loaves tomorrow morning.

  • I printed a few coupons from my laptop and then my son decided to go down to the nearby park so I jumped on his computer and printed a few more :)

  • My lunch was a sandwich (Mesquite Barbecue Chicken - free from Target - with some fresh mozzarella and homemade zesty pickles on fresh homemade bread), that Prego Ready Meal (disgusting, really.  I made myself finish it so we wouldn't have any food waste but it was horrible. Good thing it was free!), and a bowl of strawberries. I treated myself to a ginger ale too.

  • After lunch I put on exercise clothes (my shirt had sleeves this time!) and went outside to start planting seeds. Only it's never as easy as that, is it?  The two plots where I was planning on planting my pole beans had lain fallow the whole summer and, thankfully, I had thought to cover them with landscaping fabric so there was only a negligible amount of weeds to pull.  However the ground was very compacted so I used 2 bags of mushroom compost (that had been laying about my yard since last fall) in one plot and 1 large bag of Miracle Gro gardening soil in the other.  I hoed and mixed the old soil with the new additions.  By then the sun was full out and it was very very hot (close to 100F) but I really wanted to get something planted today so I persevered.  I installed the bean towers in one plot and made "teepees" with old bamboo stakes and some of the holders that I had gotten for free with a store credit from Gardener's Supply earlier this year (I had completely forgotten that I had those so it was a very good surprise to find them as I was looking for string!). Then I weaved string in between the poles to provide more support for the pole beans and finally planted bean seeds (all Kentucky Wonder but a mixture of organic seeds from bought 2 years ago, non-organic seeds from the Dollar Tree bought this Spring, and seeds collected from my own beans back in May this year.  Hopefully everything will grow well. With no rain on the horizon today, I watered everything with the hose, and also refilled several self-watering bins.  I also planted some zucchini seeds next to the guest acorn squash plant, and spinach seeds that I had collected from my own spinach this past spring. These last ones were planted in a self-watering bin.

  • I wanted to continue planting but I needed more soil additives for the remaining plots and also more soil for a couple more bins, and also I was overheated so I called it a day after about 2.5 hours.  It didn't feel like I had accomplished much but I did reuse supplies that I already had and that felt good.

  • I mentioned to Greg that I wanted to drive to Home Depot or Lowe's (whichever I have a gift card for, I can't even think at this point!) so I would have what I needed for planting tomorrow, but he remarked that we could have a "No Drive Day" today since my daughter's plans had changed... he's right!  So I decided to just stay home and get the stuff on Wednesday instead and enjoy No Drive Day # 27 :)

  • I ordered a bag of Jobe's organic fertilizer on Amazon and got it for free with my Discover Rewards.  I wanted it ASAP so I didn't pick the "No Rush Shipping" option this time. I usually don't use fertilizer on my veggies (well, I believe the Miracle Gro potting or gardening soil that I used in my self-watering bins already has fertilizer in it) but I decided to try it this time.  Hopefully I won't kill anything!

  • The kids were excited to see cheeseburgers on pretzel rolls on the menu for tonight but I had to disappoint them. I didn't feel like making the rolls and the frozen hamburger buns that I do have are allllllll the way at the bottom of the chest freezer (and so is the ground beef!) so I decided to make what I had planned yesterday, which is the Red Beans and Smoked Sausage that I already have in the freezer (on top!).  I made make rice to go with it and I baked corn bread. There is enough left over for Greg's lunch tomorrow and also for mine!

  • I earned the daily credits for Bing Rewards and reached my first daily goal for Swagbucks.

  • My daughter's drawing tablet doesn't work anymore. She researched the problem and tried several solutions, to no avail, so she wanted to purchase a new one with her savings. I typically don't allow her to take money out of her savings account, but she put almost all of the paycheck that she got from her job (we're still waiting to see if they'll pay her all that she is due) so I relented for this.  She was looking at ordering it from Amazon so I told her to charge it to my Discover card and I will earn 5% in Bonus Rewards (or about $3.45).  I transferred the money from her savings account to my checking account too :)  I had asked her to wait until Christmas so I could just buy it for her, but she didn't want to wait.

  • I froze the remaining 5 pieces of corn bread so we wouldn't be tempted to eat it like cake :) It is that delicious!

  • I collected the crumbs from the pan and toasted them. Then I added them to my jar of homemade bread crumbs.

  • I entered my gardening activities into Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 Balance Rewards points... so I'm up to 2,510 points or halfway to a $5 Reward.

  • I inventoried the fridge and was going to wait until tomorrow to plan a menu but Greg was watching football and I didn't have much else to do, so I planned my menu.  I'm actually glad this is out of the way :)  I will have to buy a couple of things, but really not much.

  • My middle son finished his box of cereal for dinner (he came home from work after we had already eaten and insists on eating "his own food") and left it on the table.  I would usually complain about that but I rinsed the cereal bag to reuse later on to freeze meat, and I noticed that the box contained a code to redeem to win a vacation in... Orlando, Florida so I entered the contest. I had to use my 13 year-old son's DOB because you had to be under 18 to enter (ha! watch that of all contests, we win this one!).

  • I realized that KFR doesn't automatically pull the Kellogg's purchases through the Balance Rewards loyalty program, the way they do it with the CVS ExtraCare card, so I uploaded my Walgreens receipts to the Kellogg's Family Rewards site so I can get credit for the3 boxes of Special K cereal bars that I bought there on Wednesday.

  • Greg enjoyed watching football via the NFL Sunday Ticket that I got him for his early birthday present. He discovered the ESPN Red Zone channel where he can just watch all the highlights of all the games live without even having to switch from game to game, so he's in heaven.  I'm dumb but I had thought that the deal would give him access to all the games all the time (Thursday night, Sunday, Monday Night), but as he pointed out it's called the "Sunday" Ticket so it only works for Sunday games.  So it's not as advantageous as I thought, especially since he was out of town last week so he didn't use it and he'll be out of town next week so he won't use it then either.

  • The Customer Service department for Staples Easy Rebates emailed me back about the amount of the rebate (the ream of paper was advertised for $0.01 after coupon and easy rebate but it ended up costing me $1.00 so I asked them to adjust the rebate amount so my final cost would truly be $0.01).  They claimed that the rebate had clearly been advertised as being for $3.80 so I should contact the Staples Rewards Customer Service via phone (aaargh) for them to "take care of me". That's HORRIBLE customer service and the 2nd time that Staples has really disappointed me this year so I'm thinking that I might not shop there anymore once I redeem the 3 rebates that are coming my way.  Maybe I'll go back to Office Depot or just use Amazon.  In the meantime, I'll have to check whether there is an email address for the Rewards Customer Service because I truly dislike talking to people on the phone.

  • I baked bread.
  • I cleaned out and refilled the cardinal feeder.
  • I prepped 2 garden plots.
  • I made bean teepees.
  • I planted pole beans, zucchini and spinach and watered all the potted plants and new plantings.
  • I made a batch of boule bread dough to be able to bake fresh bread over the next 3-4 days.
  • I baked buttermilk corn bread for dinner.
  • I researched fertilizers for my vegetable garden.
  • I wrote several checks for my daughter's FFA dues and activities and emailed her dad about him paying for half of those (we keep a running total of our kid-related expenses in Google Drive but always ask each other if we can add to it first.  This is how we have been handling sharing expenses since we agreed that neither would pay child support to the other when we got divorced - the kids lived 50% of the time with me and 50% of the time with him).
  • Planned the dinner menu for the upcoming week.
  • I printed a blank W-4 form so my daughter can turn it in to her former employer. Apparently they never asked her to fill one up. I also explained to her what a W-4 and a W-2 are and why she should claim 0 allowances on her W-4 at her point in her life. She already understands that getting a tax refund once she has a permanent full-time job, just means that she would have been lending money to the government for free and that she should strive to not owe the government anything but also to not lend them money for free!

Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. Nathalie I have decided that I am a serious lightweight slacker since I see what you manage to achieve in your day you garden, plan meals etc, bake and do so many other things.

    Shame you had such a bad nights sleep, I hate being up and down like that all night. I overslept this morning I woke up at 7.30 when I have to leave at 8.00, I came downstairs and the kids were eating their breakfast when I asked why they didn't wake me they said they thought they would let me sleep in. Urgh not on a school day guys!

    Its good that your daughter is getting the drawing tablet herself, she sounds like such a great girl Nathalie, you must be really proud of her.

  2. Your garden is looking AH-MAZE-ing. My garden season is winding down, and you are starting it up all over again.

    I had to laugh when you described the family's disappointment on the last minute menu change. I don't post my menu plan anymore because I don't like being tied to any kind of commitment, including meal times. Yesterday I spent hours upon hours washing, peeling, boiling, and mashing turnip; that in the end, all I had time to make for supper was a "Poor Man's meal". That is basically potatoes and onions fried in butter and garlic with some pieces of hot dog thrown in. I also had a side of green beans. The men in my household loved it. Go figure.


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