Friday, February 12, 2016

Frugal Successes and Failures: Friday 2/12/16

  • I had a short night that was interrupted twice by New Kitty jumping on me, wanting to be scratched and by very odd dreams about a cat that didn't have front legs but that rolled itself in  ball to move from one side of a room to another. Oh yeah, and I asked Greg if we could adopt it so he went to talk to the owner to talk to her into it.  I was disappointed when I woke up that we weren't getting that cat IRL, lol.

  • I emailed the 9th grade guidance counselor of our high school to ask for her help mapping my son's high school classes with an eye on him getting college credits for a degree in Computer Science, like his sister.  She decided on this career only this year but I would love to try to get my son to capitalize on an early interest to get ahead as well.  I'm hoping that she will have good advice since things have changed since my daughter started 9th grade. Back then she had been able to take a required class online over the summer before she even started 9th grade so I'm hoping he'll be able to do the same.  She replied that a face to face meeting would be easier so I'll discuss timing issues with my son tonight and schedule something for next week.

  • I also investigated the possibility of him volunteering at our local Kid College sessions this summer.  The website only states that volunteer applications will be available online on April 1, so I put a reminder on my calendar.  This is a very popular program for high schoolers who want to volunteer as they can earn 70-80 hours in 2 weeks (they need a minimum of 100 hours to qualify for Bright Futures Scholarships) so you have to fill your application very fast and also pay a non-refundable fee.  I'm hoping that he will be old enough to do it this summer but he might have to wait until next summer.

  • He received, for the 3rd year in a row, an application to join Jr. NHS at his middle school. However they require that you have prior community service on top of academic accomplishments to be accepted... in a club where they will perform community service!  That is dumb, if you ask me.  I'm contacted the club coordinator to ask if that can be waived. but I'm doubtful.  However, he did participate in a Teen Video Challenge via our library system in 2015, whereby he and his teammates won the State Championship with their video promoting reading, which went on to become a Teen Public Service Announcement.  So I'm hoping they can consider this as community service.  He is an introvert who needs to broaden his horizons and I think belonging to Jr. NHS would definitely help, so I'm crossing my fingers.

  • Google announced that they're killing Picasa Photos in favor of Google Photos but didn't address what this means for Blogger, given that all our blog photos are uploaded to Picasa Web Albums.  Being a pessimistic person and having already gone through one blog where the photos suddenly disappeared when they forced us to use Google + everywhere, I'm thinking that this blog might appear one day with all of its pictures missing.  This would really annoy me.  

  • The kids packed their lunches to go to school.

  • Bing Rewards:  Hey, did you see the free entry in the sweeps to get a Surface 2 laptop? It's only available today so make sure to redeem yours (or not, that way I have more chances to win myself, lol).  

 But then their email also said "download images of beautiful Bing landscapes or animals for your desktop" so I clicked on the link because they really do have gorgeous pictures, but I got this message:

  • Swagbucks: first goal of 90 SB this morning and I couldn't qualify for any surveys so I gave up trying to.  I ran SBTV on my phone and Ngage + Juno Group videos on my laptop.  I'm at halfway my goal at 9:30 a.m.  So I redeemed some offers from my SB inbox (printing a 15% off Famous Footwear coupon for 20 SB, clicking on the Adult AHDH and Breast Cancer articles to earn 2 SB each) and earned 8 SB for a search and less than 15 minutes later, I'm up to 82 SB :) I realized at 11:45 a.m. that I had surpassed my 1st goal. Woohoo!

  • but... WARNING!

  • Redbox emailed me 2 separate codes to rent free movies this weekend.

  • I renewed 2 library books that were due today.  Sigh. I've already read them, years ago, but no one has them on hold so I guess I'll keep them until the reading bug bites me again.

  • I reused water collected in the downstairs shower to flush the toilet.

  • I reused water collected after boiling eggs last week to water my indoor plants.  Saved water from boiling eggs last night to water plants next week.

  • The free algebra tutoring session was cancelled again yesterday due to the tutor doing "grade recovery" so my son will try to attend again this afternoon.

  • I turned off the heat in the house since everyone is gone... and it's sunny.  It's been cold at night so I have been leaving it on overnight.

  • I cut up the 8.2-ln Hickory Smoked Ham that I had bought on clearance at Save A Lot earlier this week.  I know some people will consider this as Food Waste and a frugal failure (or Frugal Failure with capital F's!) but I threw away as much of the fat as I could. We don't like fatty meat and I already have a jar of  bacon fat in my fridge that I need to use up.  I kept the ham bone and froze it, and was able to get 4 bags of 1+ lbs of cubed smoked ham to freeze.  I snacked on some too and it was darned good!

  • I collected water in the shower to flush the toilet later on.

  • I'm wearing the same pants, bra and socks as I did yesterday.

  • I took (2) RaceTrac surveys and received (2) reward codes for free bags of chips.

  • I hadn't yet mixed the whole milk with water this week and we had just opened a new full gallon this morning. So after the kids went to school, I transformed 3/4 of a gallon of whole milk into 1.5 gallons of ~2% milk by splitting it between 2 jugs and adding 3/4 gallon of filtered water.  This should last us until the next time I go grocery shopping.

  • I had earmarked recipes that I was interested in trying in the Crockpot cookbook that I had borrowed from the library a couple of weeks ago so I copied them. I'll return the book next week.

  • I had a long lunch with my friend who used to be my boss at the elementary school when I worked there. She has her own real estate business now. We have a great time having lunch once a month as a quiet Japanese restaurant in our town that is tasty and pretty inexpensive and where they don't mind if we monopolize a booth for 2-3 hours :)  It was my turn to pay but she ordered water to drink.  She knows someone who might need a virtual assistant for an online project at some point and told me she was thinking about asking me if I'd be interested. I told her that I would be, especially if it's project-based.  I think I'd rather work on a project that has a definite end date than get a permanent, full-time job. We'll see what happens.

  • I paid for lunch with my Amazon Visa card, with which I will get 2% back in Rewards.

  • I stopped by Walgreens on my way home to pick up my free 8 x 10 print that I had ordered last weekend.

  • I also stopped by RaceTrac to redeem a survey reward code for a free bag of chips for my son's snack.

  • My daughter had a freebie waiting for her in the mail: the pack of free Kleenex that I had sent her a couple of weeks ago.

  • Auntie Anne's sent a coupon for $1 off any pretzel to my app today. I still have the freebie earned with my first visit as well so next time I go to Walmart, I'll get 2 pretzels (one at a reduced price) for the kids.

  • My daughter made a small flower "arrangement" in her Horticulture class today so she gave it to me for Valentine's Day :)

  • She also found a Coke bottle cap at school and texted me the MCR code :)

  • For dinner I cooked Moroccan Lentil & Vegetable Soup and I made grilled cheese sandwiches.  For the soup I couldn't find the homemade sundried tomatoes in my freezer, so I finished a jar of organic sundried tomatoes in oil that had been in my fridge for a couple of years. I also used up the remaining yellow squash that I had bought last week, some frozen tomato paste, cilantro, onion  and celery and canned chicken broth bought on sale with coupons.

  • I had lunch with a friend today. We take turns treating the other every month and today was my turn to pay.

  • I was so tired when Greg got up that I asked him if I could just stay in bed and if he could buy lunch.  Then New Kitty woke me up but I still let him go to work without packing him a lunch.

  • I threw away last night's crockpot lasagna leftovers because they just weren't edible.

  • Did some research on Florida State University (FSU)'s website.  Why would I want to encourage my daughter to study there? They don't have the information that we need on their website, many links lead to 404 page errors or dead ends.  The Computer Science department's page is just sub-par.  The campus tour for FSU itself is strictly outdoors. We get to see the outside of the buildings but we have to explore the inside "on our own".  I guess we get to answer our own questions too. I couldn't find any evidence of Computer Science-specific tours (C.S. is NOT a part of the college of engineering at FSU) or any CS-specific study abroad opportunities.  This left a very bad first impression in my mouth. I guess my daughter will apply to that school too as a back-up in case she doesn't make it into UF, but honestly, I don't even want her to at this point. Ugh.  I was even composing an email to the President of FSU in my head to let him know how much their website sucks from a customer's POV.  Am I going to send him one?  Nah. Let themselves shoot themselves in the foot. Seriously. It's ridiculous that an institution of higher learning has such an atrocious website. Doesn't bode well for the rest.
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Ran dehumidifier in downstairs bathroom
  • Gave New Kitty her medicine
  • Made a to-do list for today to try to spur me into action
  • Renewed library books online
  • Watered indoor plants
  • Emailed the high school guidance counselor
  • Emailed the middle school Jr. NHS coordinator
  • Made our bed
  • Put the laundry away (from last week!)
  • Mixed water with milk to stretch it
  • Made copies of recipes that interested me from the Crockpot cookbook that I borrowed from the library
  • Had a long and leisurely lunch with a friend
  • Ran a couple of errands
  • Folded the laundry (this week's)
  • Cooked dinner

  • This was late last night (very late) but in reading some of the handouts that I picked up at UF yesterday, I realized that we don't have to wait until we've done our taxes to fill out the FAFSA since we can use the income estimator and then complete the FAFSA once our taxes have been filled. Of course next year this will be moot as recent legislative changes now enable students to complete the FAFSA as early as October using the parents' income from 2 years ago in a first time.

  • Liquids:
    • 2 cups coffee
  • Food:
    • Breakfast:
      • granola with 1 banana and ~2% milk
    • Mid Morning Snack:
      • A couple of ham cubes, 6 oz raspberries, some chocolate coconut covered almonds
    • Lunch:
      • Bento box at Japanese restaurant
    • Mid Afternoon Snack:
      • chocolate coconut covered almonds
    • Dinner:
      • Moroccan lentil & vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwich
    • Evening Snack:
      • xx
  • Weight:
    • 218.6 lbs  Back to over 218 lbs.  My weightloss, diet and exercise have all stalled.  I ate greasy foods yesterday, skipped dinner and ate an entire 12 oz container of chocolate covered crystallized ginger. I'm not feeling very motivated despite adding this section to my blog for public accountability!
  • Exercise:
    • I didn't exercise today.
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. I think that during the Depression, housewives were expected to render down the pork fat into lard for cooking and baking. I am not there yet. I wouldn't expect anyone to use up all that fat you took off the ham. Ugh!

    So you have stalled in your attempts to lose weight. Everyone does. You have still lost what is considered a healthy weight loss in a month's time frame. You should be glad for that. I did absolutely nothing to lose weight. I didn't even get started. I am wishing I could report having lost some weight since the beginning of the year.

    I would say that your son's accomplishments give him a deciding edge to community service. At his age, I suspect they are looking for things such as being a a Boy Scout or some club membership. So this should cinch the deal.

    What a sweet arrangement you got from your daughter for Valentine's Day. I didn't know she belonged to a horticultural club? You have such nice children.

    1. Thank you :) She is (and has been for 4-5 years now) an officer in FFA, which is Future Farmers of America. It's an organization that promotes agricultural science and careers in middle and high schools. She originally joined in 7th grade because most of her friends were in it (our county is agricultural) and the teacher who was the sponsor was really awesome. I did a lot of volunteering with them during her 7th and 8th grade year, driving the teams to various competitions throughout the county and the state. Then when it was time to go to high school, my daughter could pick from 2 high schools given where my and her dad's house were located and since she lived half the time in each house. She chose to attend the school closest to my house (to my great delight, it made my life easier!) since most of her FFA friends were coming here. However FFA in high school has been a disappointment for her. She and her friends have grown apart, the teachers in charge of the high school club haven't been the best, and so she won't be continuing past this year. She couldn't anyway since she'll be in state college full-time next year and not allowed to participate in any high school activities even though she'll be a high school senior! She never intended to go on to an agricultural career, but thoroughly enjoyed her first years in the club. She learned parliamentary procedure (and competed in contests of parliamentary procedure which is... odd, in my mind), public speaking (which helped tremendously with that oratorical contest she won last year with the Optimist Club), much information about land judging and forestry, and of course gave her leadership experience. Her agriculture class this year (an elective that is required if you're part of FFA) is Horticulture 3. The high school has a farm in our community where cattle and other animals are kept, and her class travels there once a week to help care for the animals and maintain the farm. Some students show horses, pigs and cattle at the county fair (and earn quite a bit of money selling their animals) but we never did that.

      I have yet to hear back from the Jr. NHS coordinator and now we have a 3-day weekend so I'm hoping I'll hear back from her next week. You're right, they're probably looking for such things as Boy Scouts. We'll see what she says.

      You're right, I did lose the 4 lbs (that I had put on over Christmas) so I should be proud of that... but I really need to get back into a routine. 218 lbs is far from being healthy, I should be at 168 or less so I have a lot of work ahead of me. My 50th birthday is in less than 2 years and I really would like to be at my goal weight then, mostly because that's what I said for my 40th birthday and now I'm even bigger. The problem is that I KNOW what I should be doing but it's hard to keep motivated.

    2. wow, I am so impressed with your daughters flower arrangement. How lovely. We don't have things like horticultural class her, sadly!

      It sounds like you are really getting on top of things with your kids schooling. I'm quite surprised I thought Florida state university was a good one.

      The ham looks delicious, I love ham on the bone, we only really have it at Christmas but that's made me want to go and buy one.

      I read Susana comment I wouldn't know where to start to make lard but our predecessors seemed to be much more resourceful than we are.

      My weight loss has stalled too, I don't seem to have the will power these days. I am still walking but that's about all I am doing. If you keep your birthday in mind as your motivation though I am sure you will get there xxx

  2. I also used to do the half whole milk, half water trick to make my own lower calorie milk and save us money. However, now we use Almond milk and I haven't tried it with that yet.

  3. Sorry to hear that the crockpot lasagna didn't work out. I really love making lasagna now but I make one for the fridge and one for the freezer each time. It was one of the things that I thought was going to be hard and put off for years. It is super easy and we love sausage lasagna. I was hoping to try to make some soon. I just saw ricotta on sale at Harris Teeter which started the hankering!! YUM!!!


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!