Friday, March 18, 2016

Brownies for Breakfast (Friday 3/18/16)

Would it be bad to have brownies for breakfast?  Well, too bad, but that's what I had. So, OK, it wasn't healthy but it was f-r-u-g-a-l.  Why? Because they're the brownies that we got for free from our friends at the local Optimist Club competition last night :)

Part of the goodies we brought home last night!

I'm continuing with my stream of consciousness format today. It gets a little tiresome sometimes to try to define everything that happens by its frugality's level of success or failure.

I have a few things to do today: more importantly, I have to run to the library at 10 a.m. to turn in the forms that the librarian needs to mail today to enter my son's 2 videos in the Teen Video Challenge. Then I have my monthly lunch with my friend scheduled for today. I'm going to be social in real life, yay!  We always go to the local sushi joint and chat about life and our kids for a couple of hours. It's relaxing, really.  We take turns paying and today it is my turn.

My son could earn extra credit in his Introduction to I.T. class today if he dressed up in professional attire so he wore the clothes that we had bought for his sister's wedding last year. He's grown since though so I need to buy him new ones but it'll do for the class. However, he saw nothing wrong with wearing them all wrinkled (sigh... 8th grade boys!) so I had him undress and I ironed them for him.  Next time he needs to iron them himself, though.

HBO replied to my inquiry from yesterday about reissuing those expired digital codes for Seasons 1 and 3 of Game of Thrones and it looks like it might be possible because I have to send them pictures of the code inserts and my email address.  Yay!  Of course, we'll still have to watch Season 2 on DVD since that one didn't come with a code :( From now on, I need to make sure to redeem such codes straight away.

I should be posting a Food Waste Friday post today but I don't feel like it. This week had a lot of failures though, I feel like I composted a bunch of things: the oranges I had picked from my neighbor's tree (I didn't do anything with them so they went bad, but the grapefruit might still be salvageable), some tomatoes, the bottoms of the 3 leeks that I had harvested and set in water (but they started to rot, yuck!) and other things that I can't even think of.  Ugh.

My daughter, on the other hand, rescued food since she boxed part of her dinner from Perkins last night (she had breakfast for dinner) and had it for breakfast this morning. My son had some of the cupcakes that we got for free from the Optimist Club.

I packed Greg's lunch: leftovers from last night's crockpot dinner (which he liked, yay!), 2 hard-boiled eggs and a cup of yogurt. He's been packing himself a slice of pumpkin pie to take to work every day since Wednesday and today took the last slice.

For dinner tonight, I plan on making Beef and Bean Enchilada Casserole from the "Quick and Easy Dump Dinners" cookbook, p 55. Alas, it's not a crockpot recipe today.  But it'll allow me to use some of the tortillas that I have on hand (the recipe calls for corn tortillas but I'm using flour tortillas).  I need 1 cup of sour cream and I don't have quite half a cup left in the fridge in a pot that I had gotten on 50% off clearance at Save A Lot a couple of months back (can you believe that it's still good?  LOL) but I remembered that I had a container of light sour cream in the freezer that I had thrown in there right before our trip to France last summer, I think, so I'm defrosting that. It needs to make with the enchiladas so I'm not too worried about freezer burn. I'm also defrosting homemade enchilada sauce that I had frozen last year.  Yay!  Instead of using canned diced green chilies, I will cut up the jalapeño that I got as a money maker from Walmart this week, and instead of canned pinto beans, I'll use low sodium black beans.

It occurred to me this week that I didn't need to slave and suffer to cut up the 6 lbs of onions so I could freeze them: I have a food processor, darn it!  I should be able to just peel them and throw them in the food processor with the blade on it and I should be able to have "diced" onions in no time and with a minimum of tears!  The problem is... always the same: I have no room in the freezer at this time so I can't do it today. I have got to start using what I have in the upright freezer (mostly fruit and veggies) so I can freeze those and the leeks that I harvested (they're still in the fridge!).

Other things that I can do with my food processor today: process all the leftover dried up bread and buns (mostly buns/rolls I got on clearance at Walmart) to make bread crumbs. In the end, I think it would have been cheaper just to buy a container of breadcrumbs but to be fair, I hadn't bought the buns/rolls to make bread crumbs but to eat as is or as part of a recipe but it never happened. I need to stay away from the bakery clearance rack!  I'm happy, though, that I won't be throwing them away. I also have 1.5 corn muffin that I had made over a week ago with a free box of Jiffy corn muffin mix. Ah, that stuff is just gross. But it'll also work for bread crumbs.

Another little brownie, you say?  Well, don't mind if I do!  My coffee is extra bitter this morning, I'm not sure why?  I wonder if it reacts to the Dunkin' Donuts creamer by becoming more bitter.  That would explain why the RaceTrac coffee always tastes bitter to me... I use those little creamer packs in that coffee too, whereas I just use milk at home. Food for thought...

There is no rain in the forecast today so I need to water my garden since I didn't do it yesterday.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow and Sunday afternoon but the chances are low enough that I'm not holding my breath. I feel like I'm living in the desert right now, the soil in my planters is so dry.  I really want more flowers for my back patio so I need to soak the planters and sow those seeds that I bought last year.  I also want more vincas so I might splurge and buy some this weekend if I can find any at Lowe's or Home Depot. We'll see.

I didn't comment on any blogs yesterday so I ought to do that today.  I like using Feedly to read blogs because I can email myself all the blog posts that I want to re-read without having to sort through hundreds of blog posts. I always do that when I have read a post that I want to reply to but don't have the time or inclination to do right away. So I have a few blog posts in my email inbox right now! Then there are blogs that I have been reading out of boredom (well, laziness, really) these past couple weeks but that I don't properly follow so I just keep on going back to the blog that has them listed in its sidebar (the way I have a few blogs listed alllllll the way down on the right side of my own blog) and that shows the latest posts.  I like going down rabbit trails like this and sometimes it's the only good way to find a new blog.  The thing is, I find that the same blogs keep on appearing on frugality blogs' reading list. It's like everyone knows one another and they all recommend each other's blog so the rabbit trail only goes that far, after all.  I really wish Blogger (or even Wordpress but Wordpress is far better to find like-minded blogs than Blogger) had a page listing blog themes and you could sift through blog posts and discover new blogs that way. To me, it seems incredible that no one at Blogger has thought to do this.  You would think that it would greatly increase their traffic. Of course, one would need to register their blog with a theme, but as long as you can change the theme or have several and thus be listed in different categories, it would work... just like the old Yahoo! Groups used to be. Ahh, I miss Yahoo! groups.  I was on several of those and it was so much fun.  Then they changed everything and I  quit.  If, like me, you like discovering new frugal bloggers to read, I had jotted down some ideas of how to find them in a blog post last March: How Do You Find New Frugal Bloggers to Follow?

I added $10 to each of the kids' school lunch accounts.  We allow them to buy lunch from school once a week and I usually have to refill the account once a month or so.  I only put $10 in at a time because I want to make sure that I'm in there often enough to see what they're spending and I don't like the idea of it recharging on its own.

Domestic tasks accomplished this morning: made our bed, took down the rest of the laundry from the racks (where it had been since Monday, yikes!), swept the kitchen,  watered my indoor plants by reusing water left in the cups from dinner last night, did the dishes, turned some of the dry bread into bread crumbs.

I drove to the library and turned in the forms.  The new Teen Librarian is so sweet.  We chatted for a little bit and she praised my son's performance and inspiration on the video, which was very nice to hear of course, since my son is a bit of a recluse and not at all effusive in his natural state, hahaha.

I borrowed 2 John Sandford books from the library so I have something to read that I know I will enjoy should lassitude strike again this weekend.

Then I set about writing a long email to my mom and siblings in France to update them about our various adventures.  That pretty much took until it was time to go meet my friend for lunch.

We had a delightful lunch and entertained ourselves with stories about our kids and our own youths.  Her husband is Canadian, which I had never realized. I thought he was Swiss.  So odd!  We stayed at the restaurant until just past 4 p.m. and I think the woman of the owner was aggravated with us, although the restaurant was empty and they don't close between lunch and dinner and we really didn't require anything.  I left a 25% tip.

When I came home, I visited with my daughter, and then my son came home too so we all chatted and watched the cats play with one another. They are so funny!  Cat drama...

My daughter had entered an art competition at the state college where she takes classes and found out today that she won 2nd place for her dragon statue and honorable mention for her drawings.  There is an Award Ceremony on April 1st which my son and I will attend.  She is going to receive a cash prize for her 2nd place award!  We don't know how much. Also the results will be published in the school's magazine.  Hooray!

Unfortunately between submitting it and now, she tried to paint it and it didn't
work out very well.

Look at what I found on my kitchen table when I went there:

LOL, a new Coke code, yay!

I made the enchilada casserole and put it in the oven.  A few minutes later my eyes were bothering me because of allergies so I rubbed them and almost as soon as I was done, I remembered that I had just cut up the jalapeño. Oh no! My eyes started burning really badly!  My daughter urged me to go to the kitchen sink and put water on them so I did and asked her to look up what to do and the first thing the article said was "no matter what you do, don't put water on your eyes!"  Arrrrgh!  I couldn't keep my eyes open, it burned so badly. She ended up pouring milk on a paper towel and I dabbed at my eyes with it. Eventually, it got better. Phew!

Always wash your hands right after cutting those things up!
Dinner was good but very spicy. By the way, don't freeze sour cream. When you defrost it, it becomes very very liquid!

HBO had replied that I needed to email them pictures of the card with the digital codes on them so I tried doing that but my emails were rejected because "my IP address was found on a block list".  What?!? So I had to go back to their support page and send them a new request that way, asking if I can just mail them the stuff.

Meantime, we tried watching digital copies of episodes of Season 4 of Game of Thrones via Google Play on our Roku since Greg didn't want to move his Xbox One, but the episodes wouldn't play because we kept getting messages that our internet connection wasn't strong enough for playback. WTH?!  It's strong enough for Netflix and Amazon Prime and streaming games!  So we gave up and Greg moved the Xbox One. I'm going to have to spring for a new Blu Ray player, darn it!

By the way, I received a box of samples from in the mail today. It contained a sample of sleeping aid and of wet cat food.  The sleeping aid might come in handy!

CVS sent me another one of those $5 off $25 coupons that I uploaded to my card. I need to take my son to shop for new "business attire" clothing this weekend or next week, so if we go this weekend, I might swing by CVS.

I was able to request a (nother!) free full-size bottle of Degree for Men Dry Spray Deodorant from Walmart for Greg, woohoo!


  1. I hope your eyes are feeling back to normal now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with frugal brownies for breakfast. I have never read a John Sandford book before but we seem to have the same taste in books so I will have a look in the charity shop for one of his books.
    That dragon is really good. Your daughter seems to be incredibly talented at everything she does Nathalie you must be so proud of her. Have a lovely weekend xx

  2. Congratulations to your daughter, again! What a talented girl!

    I must admit I like your new "stream of consciousness" style of posts. :)

    And brownies for breakfast, especially when they were given free of charge, sounds perfectly fine to me!

  3. Thank you for the link to finding new bloggers to follow. It is an article I plan to read when I get some extra time.
    It sounds like you had a marvelous time with your friend at lunch. It is so nice to get together and talk about your kids and memories you have shared. You had a lot of "news" concerning your kids. Congrats again to your daughter for her win. Are you getting used to the fact that she, and your other children, are incredibly gifted?

    1. LOL, I know I sound like every other mom out there touting their incredibly talented and amazing kids (and I roll my eyes every time I read the "I'm a mom with 2 amazing kids" bit!) but they do amaze me a lot. I'm still trying to figure out how they were able to survive me as a mom, me who couldn't even grow potted plants back when I decided that perhaps I did want children, after all. I've been tough on them: back in 3rd grade, my daughter was identified by the school as possibly being "gifted" so they put her through a battery of tests to figure out if she should be placed in that program. Back then, it meant just being in the "gifted" classes 1 day a week at another school where they needed to be bused. I wasn't in favor of it because I know my daughter: she is very bright and works very very hard because she is very motivated and competitive. But she's not a genius. So I thought the "gifted" thing wasn't necessary, would cut her out from her friends and wouldn't be a plus for her any way. So when the psychologist sat down with me and her dad and was very apologetic that our daughter had scored the highest they had ever seen on some tests but that she didn't score extremely high across the board so they couldn't put her in the program, she thought we were going to fight her and argue and cry. We just shrugged and said "OK. We love our daughter, she's bright but she's not a genius and we're fine with that." She was shocked, almost to the point of arguing with us against what she had just told us, lol.

      Anyhoo, obviously none of that deterred her from achieving what she is achieving. She's an incredible person with a lot of qualities and also a lot of things she could improve on (as we all are!) and she certainly is more motivated than I am, although, to give us some credit, I also think that she benefits from having parents who are demanding when it comes to education. I'm no Tiger Mom but she knows that how she does in school is extremely important both to me and to her dad... as does my youngest son. She and her younger brother and my oldest sons, now mature enough to give it all to their passions and future professions, really do me proud. I just hope they all lead happy lives, and are fulfilled with whatever path they choose to follow, professionally and personally.

  4. I am so very happy to hear that your daughter was left out of the special gifted program to blossom in her own environment. I agree with you and her dad. I don't think labeling her and segregating her would have fostered her creativity. She would always feel different or special and that is not always a good thing.

    1. She feels different now when she looks around and sees all the slackers around her and how entitled most of her classmates are, but it's a good thing, I think. She knows what she's capable of and is always challenging herself. She doesn't even love math or science but her goal is to get an engineering degree. You've got to respect that when, like me, you're a math despiser, LOL.

      I'm happy that, while she and her former best friends have grown apart, they all were very hard workers who put their education first, so she was always surrounded by people who challenged her and helped motivate her, both at home and at school.

      I'm worried about my youngest in that regard since he's not as social as she was at the same age and his few friends never seem to be at the quarterly award ceremony that I always complain about. So I don't think he would find motivation from there. This is another reason why I was pushing him to join the National Honors Society, because I'm hoping he'll become friends with some of the kids from that club. Added to that, I found out that our high school has done away with "Honors" classes. Nowadays there are AP classes (and they routinely enroll students in AP classes that don't even want to be in AP classes - those are the Advanced Placement classes that are taught at college level in high school - so you end up with very unmotivated and disruptive students in those classes that hardworking students were looking forward to so they could finally be among peers) or regular classes which, to be politically incorrect but realistic, are comprised of the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. It seems that nowadays "we" are always playing to the lowest denominator. Well, that's my take on it. So since he's only allowed to take one AP class in 9th grade, it sounds to me that most of his time he's going to be in classes with students who don't care, don't want to be there, are disrespecting the teachers and disrupting the class, etc. So basically, not the sort of students who would be inspiring and a good influence, far from. I'm strongly considering putting them in Florida Virtual School full-time if he finds that environment as toxic as it sounds, although I wonder if he would still be able to qualify for dual enrollment comes 11th grade. I ought to ask the FLVS people... I think my son would probably love to do FLVS full-time so I'm not mentioning it to him because, despite all the problems that I have described, I'm also "battling" his antisocial tendencies (meaning that he'd rather not be around people!) so before I allow him to further isolate himself, I would want him to give traditional high school a try.


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