Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Domestic Tuesday! - 3/29/16

My pineapple flowers have developed purple "petals"!


  • Hmm, I guess I'm going back to my old format, it's less confusing for me, heh.

  • It was very foggy this morning and then Greg called me a few minutes after leaving the house to have me warn my daughter that the main road to the high school was obstructed by a log that had fallen off a logging truck and that traffic was really bad.  Luckily she is able to take an alternate route from our house (well, she still has to take that road since it's actually the only road to the high school unless she wants to drive many many miles out of her way, but she could bypass the logging truck location) so hopefully she wasn't late to class.  Sometimes I wish I was one of those parents who monitor their kids' cars with GPS so they know where the kids are! Update: my daughter got there in time, thanks to Greg's warning. Her friends, though, were stuck in traffic for 2 hours!

  • The first thing I saw when I turned on my laptop this morning was that an EgyptAir plane has been hijacked. Oh no, SUSAN!  Greg and I were really concerned since I believe this is about the time when she and her stepmom should be heading back to Canada, but the news reports didn't mention any Canadians being on board and then the hijacker got arrested without any hostages being hurt so I guess it's time to stop worrying.  The first time I flew to the USA was on EgyptAir... wow, that'll be 30 years next year!  Update: Susan replied to the comment left on her blog so I'm glad to know she's fine and apparently back in Canada already. Phew!

  • Plans for the week, btw: grocery shopping (of course!), my son's dermatologist appointment, the reception for the art competition where my daughter placed 2nd, the Vintage Gardening Show at Renninger's and possibly a visit to downtown Mount Dora.

  • It's really humid and muggy today. Our high is only supposed to be 75 so I was hoping to be able to open the windows but... nope.  

  • The scones were popular with everyone yesterday as they are gone. I ate 3 of the 8.  Crap, I forgot about trying not to eat too much. But they're so good!  My son and daughter also ate half of the banana bread loaf that I had made.  The good news is that there is a half left so I don't have to bake today :)

  • Single tasks accomplished today:
    • Reaching out to someone:  emailed my younger brother to ask if his concert next week will be live streamed (it will be).
    • Household chore:  scrubbed shower stall
    • Investing: 
    • Decluttering: decluttered the top cabinets in the laundry room
    • General finances: input some receipts in my checkbook and other spreadsheets
    • Saving money:  Used the MobiSave money earned in Paypal to pay for part of my screening materials
    • Gardening: planted seeds
    • Health: 
    • Cooking: boiled eggs for Greg's snacks
    • Indulging myself: brewed myself another pot of coffee, mid morning

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work: a chicken breast that I had roasted last night and I had cooked him 2 small baked potatoes too.  A couple of hard boiled eggs and a cup of yogurt.

  • I forgot to mention yesterday that since we didn't drive anywhere on Saturday we reached my goal of 7 No Drive Days for 2016.  Yay!  For sure I thought it was going to be much harder than this.  So this fact, combined with the fact that gas prices aren't bad at all even though they've gone up since this winter, makes me feel much less guilty about my plan to go on outings.  Maybe one of them should be trying to ride that newish public transportation bus to Clermont.  I have the bus schedule somewhere in my pile of papers...

  • I earned the Bing Rewards credits for today and am working on earning whatever SB I can today to get to the 2,200 SB needed for a gift card.  I'm very very close.

  • I reused water collected while I was showering and in the drippy shower stall downstairs to flush both toilets.

  • Since it was so humid that the dew was very heavy, I decided not to water the potted or in-ground plants today. It's supposed to rain later on today (and probably won't, like yesterday!) so I'll take my chances. 

  • So instead of watering I spent some time planting more seeds. I had to pull weeds out of the bins first.  I planted another bin with lettuce seeds that I had harvested (Romaine lettuce, I'm guessing?!) and then I also planted a few seeds of Supersweet 100 Tomato.  I had bought those seeds on clearance at Walgreens last Spring and the "use by" date was 11/15 so I hope they'll germinate... and that the damn squirrels will leave them alone. Last fall they ate 99% of my tomato seedlings.  It's too late in the season to plant tomatoes but you never know. Here we start tomato seedlings indoors in January.
A new sweet potato flower

Yet another one of my roselle seeds has sprouted, yay!

More Red Canna flowers!

This weird fungus appeared on some of the mulch right off the patio.  I poured some of Susan's Natural Weed Killer on it.
  • Speaking of the damn squirrels, they started digging around in my green collards bin so I pulled that length of netting material that I had found on the ground off the end of the basil tent and covered the collard greens seedlings.  I need more screening material so I'm can be more versatile in how I use it. I have some big lengths but the second I cut them in half, I'll need a big length for one reason or another...

  • My 2nd zombie celery has arisen!

  • I defrosted some of the Jennie-O turkey sausage meat for dinner ($0.50 a roll at Save A Lot after clearance and coupon).  I'm planning on making a mock Shepherd's Pie with it for dinner as I have to use up potatoes that are going bad, anyway.  I will harvest some lettuce this afternoon to make a side salad.

  • Alfresco sent me a link for a quick survey so I could earn a $2 off coupon.  It was indeed quick as I only had to answer 1 question. I hope the coupon is off any Alfresco product because I like their sausages.

  • I unlocked the SavingStar Healthy Offer of the week, which is for loose green peppers.  I wish they were cheaper but maybe I'll stop by Walmart this week so I can get one and use the offer.

  • I brewed myself another pot of coffee, mid morning, because I was droopy.  I used up the rest of the "hazelnut" ground coffee from Dollar Tree.  Yeah, it wasn't good.  But at least now it's all gone.  Also, I remembered that I still had the plain creamer cups from my last visit to Dunkin' Donuts so I used a couple of those instead of using milk.  

  • I sorted the bag of Idaho potatoes that were rotting. The good news is that I only had to compost 3 potatoes. I took advantage of this trip back to the humidity outside to also dump my countertop composting bin contents in the large bin and I covered everything with composting oak leaves that Greg had raked last fall and saved in a large trash can for me.  I need to turn the compost "pile" but not today!
Those weren't rotten, I just cut off the eyes and cooked them.
  • The cheap container from Dollar Tree that I was using to store my potatoes in the pantry was split almost in half. Instead of throwing it away and getting another one (it's just $1, after all!) I fixed it with Duct Tape.  Yes I might have used another $1 of tape on there, but I'm delaying adding more plastic to the trash can so I think that can be excused!

  • I harvested some basil for my lunch (and pinched back some basil flowers while I was at it!).

  • We had left the plain white rice that I had cooked on Saturday on the stove, in a covered dish.  The good thing is that cooked plain white rice doesn't spoil... at least not fast!  I used half of it for my lunch today, along with half of the meat I had picked off the chicken breast bones last night, and saved the other half of the rice and the chicken meat for lunch tomorrow.  While I was piling up more dirty dishes on my countertop, I noticed a Haas avocado that I had gotten out of the fridge late last week to get it to ripen and then promptly forgotten about!  It was ripe, alright, very soft and all brown.

  •  No matter, I cut it up and used a Roma tomato, the basil that I had harvested and some of my homemade salad dressing to make a yummy side salad. Oh, I might add a couple of croutons to it too now that I think of it! Lastly, I cut up 2 of the 3 kiwis that I had left.  I'll probably end up eating the 3rd one too because they're getting mushy.

  • Since I've had such success with my zombie pineapples, I decided to try and grow an avocado tree from the seed.  Avocados grow well in South Florida and I know of one gardener from DeLand (who's stopped blogging, it makes me sad!) who grew a tree in his backyard too.  I'm hoping mine will grow as well and you don't know if you don't try, right?  This avocado was from Mexico. Maybe if I speak Spanish to it... I referred to my Guide to Florida Fruit and Vegetable Gardening book to find the instructions.  I upcycled an old candle jar and used 2 toothpicks from the Dollar Tree.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

  • I was reading up about saving on electric costs last night and once again was reminded of all the power vampires that we have throughout the house. Some of them I can't do anything about: all the PCs, the router and the modem, as well as the TV and the OTA antenna remote control thingie in the living room will always be plugged in.  However, there are some that I can unplug since we use them rarely. So I unplugged the Xbox 360 with his LED TV monitor (my son mostly plays on his PC), I put the small flat screen TV and the Roku 3 (that are facing my exercise bike that, let's admit it frankly, I haven't used in weeks!) on a power strip (since it's hard to access the outlet, which is why I had left the TV plugged in to start with), and I'm on my way to unplug the small stereo in the living room (I only use it at Christmas time), the Blu Ray player (used rarely). I think I'm going to put the small microwave back in the attic. It's convenient to have two working microwaves right now but I don't need two.  The weather radios are staying plugged in, so are the fridge  and freezer (obviously!), washing machine and dryer (no digital display on those anyway so I think we're OK).  The night lights are LED and light sensitive, most of our bulbs are LED now.  I think the lamps and fans are OK to leave plugged in, they should only draw energy when we turn them on... I can probably unplug my phone charger upstairs since I mostly sleep downstairs now.  I should find a power strip for the radio in the kitchen but then I'd have to reprogram the stations every time I turn it back on.  I kind of wish I had an old dial-up button radio,you know?  It was "easier" that way, although sometimes it was a pain to find a signal. OK, I unplugged it anyway.  Greg has his Kindle charger permanently plugged in. Maybe I can make it a habit to unplug it when he goes to bed and plug it back in before he gets home... he'd be none the wiser and it wouldn't be plugged in most of the time.  Adding that to my alarms.  So hopefully this will make a small difference.

  • I changed the air filters for both furnaces. They weren't bad, but the last time I had changed them was in mid November so they were definitely due.  

  • I printed some bonus coupons from Pillsbury.

  • My daughter took a RaceTrac survey and went to redeem her reward code for a free pastry. Mini Nathalie!

  • I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned 2 more survey reward codes for free bakery items.

  • I decluttered the top cabinets of my laundry room and ended up with 2.5 laundry baskets of odds and ends that Greg and I will go through after dinner to decide what we keep and what we donate.  I expect most of it will be donated.

  • Two things that I am definitely keeping from the stash: an almost full bottle of Osmocote Plant Food and a toilet bowl cleaner "patty". I think my MIL gave me those several years ago and I must have stashed them in there and forgot about them.  I've already put the toilet bowl cleaner patty in the downstairs toilet tank.

  • Despite my prediction that it wouldn't rain, it did start to rain just a few minutes after my son walked back from school and it's still raining at 10:30 p.m.!

  • While I was bringing the trash cans back up the driveway, my next door neighbor drove up so I went to get the 3 cans of free wet cat food that I had received recently and gave them to him for his kitties.

  • I forgot to mention that on Sunday, my youngest son had lamented not bringing his wallet with him when we went on our outing because he wanted to stop somewhere to buy himself a pair of earbuds since his had broken.  I told him that I had an extra pair for him... my iPhone earbuds!  Those don't fit in my ears so I had bought myself another pair, several years ago. But since I keep almost everything that I could reuse, I had kept them. Then when I upgraded to the Iphone 5S last year, they came with another pair of those same earbuds. So one pair went to Greg a couple of months ago when his broke and the other pair went to my son on Sunday. He was quite happy not to have to spend his money!

  • Along the same lines, I asked my daughter last night what exactly she had bought at Walgreens yesterday and she told me she had bought herself a new scientific calculator because hers had stopped working. While I appreciate that she spent her own money on it instead of asking me for a new one, I actually wish that she had mentioned it to me (she's under 18 so I think her dad and I should still be splitting school supplies!) because I suspect that all she needed to do was change the battery. So I just went to check on it and she told me that it didn't work because she had accidentally stepped on it and broken the display. Why did she step on it?  Because she's messy (like her mom, I guess) and left it on the floor in her room, among with many other things (like clothes).  So... yep, she can pay for the replacement out of her own money :)

  • My son and I had to do a conference call with his Florida Virtual School P.E. Coach to discuss the class and her expectations. We had lots of questions.  We were ecstatic to find out that he doesn't need to be exercising 7 hours a week, he needs to be logging exercise 7 days a week but the minimum is only 2-3 hours a week. Since he walks to school and back, that's going to take care of a lot of that already. Then I told him he could use my recumbent bike or do crunches, lift weights, etc. So he's happy. I still want to get a bike for myself so I can go on bike rides and I was hoping he'd want to come with me so we'll see. But maybe we don't have to play racquetball after all (phew, because I'm so out of shape, I probably would only last 5 minutes in this heat and humidity!).

  • I harvested some lettuce for dinner. Since it was raining, I barely had to rinse it, lol.

  • My newer umbrella stand (I had bought it at Target several years ago) is useless because the screws that would hold the umbrella in place are rusted so they won't unscrew enough for the umbrella pole to slide down the holding pole, so the umbrella sits too high over the patio table.  Since I keep things around, I still had my old, ugly, plastic stand (that Greg wanted to get rid off but that I hid from him!) so I just switched them. I'll try using WD40 to get the screws on the nicer one unstuck because I'd rather use that one, but in the meantime, this will work and won't cost me a penny!

  • I had told my son I'd drive him to the library if if was raining. He had to meet a classmate for them to work on a team project.  But when it was time to go, he just put on his rain jacket and decided to walk.  I'll still go pick him up if it's dark when he's done.  Update: he just walked home and got here just as it was getting dark.

  • I bought a bag of citric acid to see if it will help my glasses remain spot-free.  However, I didn't buy the product they linked to in the article (and that would have earned them a commission). I used the Swagbucks portal to access Amazon and today they offered 3 SB per dollar spent for Kitchen items.  I found a 2-lb bag for just a dollar more than the product recommended by Lifehacker, free Prime shipping and I applied Greg's Discover Rewards to my order. So I paid $1.72 OOP, should get 90 SB or so, and will receive a $1 digital credit for having picked the No Rush Shipping.
  • Dinner was delicious and I had enough leftovers for Greg's lunch tomorrow. That Jennie-O turkey breakfast sausage worked really well in the Shepherd's pie. I also used a can of peas. No gravy was needed. I topped the whole thing with a mixture of Monterey Jack and Mild Cheddar cheese.  I had made enough mashed potatoes to have a whole Pyrex container set aside so we can have it with the beef roast tomorrow.

  • After dinner Greg and I went through the laundry room stuff .  We ended up with a laundry basket's worth that he wants to keep and that will go in his shed, and a laundry basket of stuff to donate. I'll sort it and take things like wallpaper border and spray paint to Habitat for Humanity, and the other stuff to the South Lake Animal League thrift store. I decided to keep my old cordless drill: if it still charges, I'll just give it to one of my older sons.

  • My daughter told me that she never did buy lunch yesterday so she bought lunch from school today.

  • I ordered a roll of screening material from the Home Depot website via Swagbucks. I would have preferred Lowe's as it's 2 SB/$ spent (Home Depot only earns me 1 SB per $1 spent) but Lowe's com doesn't offer Paypal as a payment option. So I was finally able to use the $8.60 that I had accumulated from MobiSave in my Paypal account and I paid for the $23.67 OOP with my Discover card so I'll earn... well nothing in Rewards since I haven't reached $3,000 charged to Discover yet.  Darn it. I chose a large roll (25 ft) so I can build several screens for my bins.  I chose the free store pick-up option so I will get it when I'm running errands.
  • Replacement air filters. I could have waited for a sale, but I like to have spare ones in the house, just in case.  I did order them from AceHardware.com via Swagbucks so I should earn 20 SB.  Yep, I had said I would never order through the Ace website again, but those 2 filters are in stock at my local store and pre-ordering them allows me to earn the SB.  I charged them to one of the Visa gift cards that I traded my daughter in exchange for cash in her savings so I won't earn any additional rewards although I did earn 100 Ace Rewards points.  It was $10.68 for 2 (pleated) air filters.  I'm doubting I'll get the SB though because those bastards never replied to my 2 email inquiries about the missing SB from my Staples.com order.

  • My knee hit the side of one of my self-watering bins as I was pulling weeds and, of course, it cracked and broke. No, I'm not some super human, just a dummy who didn't expect her plastic bins to not survive the Florida sun past 1-2 years.  Grrrr.  I guess I should be happy that I didn't invest in expensive ones because I'm guessing those probably wouldn't last either.

  • I was distracted while boiled eggs. I usually let them boil for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat but leave the pan on the burner until the eggs have cooled off.  Today I turned off the timer when it rang, but neglected to turn off the burner!  I think I allowed it to keep cooking for probably 5-10 minutes.  Arrgh.

  • One of my underwire bras broke again... I need to lose weight.

  • Also, while decluttering the laundry room, I must have handled bleach somehow and it splashed all over my navy blue capris :(  The good news is that they were old and worn anyway but still, I would have liked to get more use out of them. They're fine to wear at home, I suppose. I think I'll be looking for more at Goodwill.

  • I'm not buying grapes anymore. The kids never finished the last three bags that I bought and they spoiled. I didn't realize because I was avoiding having to look too closely so I had to compost them. Grrr. Had I not been lazy, I could have frozen them!

  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Packed his lunch
  • Set breakfast table for the kids
  • Collected trash throughout the house and took the bin down to the curb for collection
  • Planted more seeds
  • Pulled weeds
  • Ran dehumidifier in downstairs bathroom
  • Sprinkled Bon Ami on floor of shower stall... gonna have to scrub it
  • Ordered screen material for the garden
  • Input receipts in my spreadsheets
  • Filled out 2 customer service surveys
  • Donated cat food to my neighbor
  • Decluttered the laundry room cabinets
  • Scrubbed the shower stall
  • Peeled potatoes for dinner
  • Attended a conference call with the FLVS Coach
  • Harvested lettuce
  • Cooked dinner
  • Did the dishes
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Fake mopped the kitchen
  • Took the recycling down to the curb

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


  1. What a beautiful flower on the pineapple plant. I like the flower of the sweet potato vine as well. Just gorgeous. Your garden is doing so well. I can't believe you were not going to do any gardening this season.

    I copied down the recipe for Ten Things Farm chicken seasoning. Thank you for the link.

    If you don't have WD-40, just squirt some non-stick vegetable spray on those rusty screws in your umbrella stand. It works in a pinch. I've been known to use it on squeaky hinges as well.

    You are a Domestic goddess, having had two domestic weekdays in a row. I really need to start decluttering my house now that my holiday in Egypt is over. I am impressed that you have already started with the laundry room. Great job. And scrubbing the floor of the shower stall with Bon Ami??? What has got into you? You are making me look bad. Must be Spring Fever.

    I find it very strange that you have to use up the potatoes before they go bad. We eat a tremendous amount of potatoes. We are always running out. Did you know that you can freeze mashed potatoes? My hubby doesn't like rice so that sort of dictates the need for a lot of potatoes in our diet. Your Shepherd's pie looks really delicious.

    1. Do you know what I found in my laundry room cabinets?! A total of 5 canisters of WD40. FIVE! I guess I kept on buying some because I couldn't find it and thought we were out. That's how much of a mess was in there. Yes, I shall try some on the screws.

      I did know about freezing the mashed potatoes as I have some frozen mashed potatoes patties that I keep for making potato rolls. However, my problem is always that I never have any room in the freezer, lol. I'm mad about the darn potatoes because I just bought them recently and I had made sure that none of the potatoes had started to spoil. I guess I must have missed one... We love potatoes too and I buy them because we love them and they're cheap, but they're in my pantry so kind of out of sight, out of mind unless I stick my head in there so a lot of times I forget to use them. Right now I have 3 kinds of potatoes (red, Klondike Gold and some Russet) and I really need to use them all up. I was thinking about making my own "Potatoes O'Brien" mix with onions, diced potatoes, and peppers, and freezing it so I have some already made next time I want to make frittata. But again, I have to make some room in the freezer first. Since I just bought 10 lbs of chicken breasts today that I need to fit in there first, the potato project is going to have to wait, lol.

      You should not be doing any cleaning or any chores until AFTER you have told us everything about your Egyptian vacation, lady!

  2. Your pineapple flower is looking awesome!

    You get so much done in a day! I wish I had half your energy.


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