Thursday, March 31, 2016

Last Day of March: Thursday 3/31/16

Shaking things up again, going back to the "stream of consciousness" narrative for today!

I had trouble falling asleep last night again but it's all Seinfeld's fault: one of the over-the-air stations shows an episode at 11 p.m. that I very much enjoy watching, and then I switch to NYPD Blue on another station and there are 2 episodes of that... and I start reading blogs while it's on because everybody's in bed by that time and I don't want to wake them up so I turn down the sound very low and then I can't hear anything anyway. I've tried turning the captions on but it's just too annoying to read, so I "read" on my laptop instead... and then it's 1:00 a.m. or later and I'm not sleepy anymore, lol.

So I fell asleep at 1:30 a.m. and this morning the accumulation of 3 short nights was deeply felt!

For my morning coffee I used another K-cup, that I got for free from Walmart, in my coffee maker.  I picked the "Donut Shop" variety today, which is just plain coffee.  I made the mistake of using a Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut-flavored creamer cup, which once again made my coffee taste very bitter. Now I'm wondering if it's interacting with my stevia sweetener. Maybe next time I'll use honey or sugar to sweeten it to see if it still tastes bitter. It's ruining any enjoyment of the hazelnut flavor, that's for sure.

I cooked Greg's breakfast and packed his lunch, and then set the breakfast table for the kids. My daughter was dragging this morning too and my son fell back asleep so I had to go get him out of bed at 8:15!  This is validation of why I'm still a SAHM, lol.

Today it is bright and sunny. It's supposed to be 89F.  Ugh.  It felt hot upstairs last night so I lowered the AC to 75F so Greg and my daughter would be more comfortable overnight, and I put it back to 76F when they got up.

I remembered to go pick up the newspaper from the driveway but it's 10:30 now and I still haven't read it.  Will do that this afternoon. It's yesterday's news anyway.

Plans for today include finishing my grocery shopping at Save A Lot (to see if they have any meat no clearance, i should hurry to get there!), Publix and Walgreens, as well as stopping by Ace Hardware to pick up my AC filters.  Oh and I want to top off my gas tank too and redeem a RaceTrac freebie survey code. All the shops are on my end of town so it shouldn't be too bad.

I have dishes to do (didn't do them last night, bad habits are hard to break!), and I want to make some kind of a cake with the plain yogurt. I need to freeze all that chicken that I bought yesterday too.

CVS sent me a 20% off coupon that I uploaded to my card. It's only good for the weekend but if I drive to Mount Dora on Saturday I'll be passing a couple of them, so better be safe than sorry.

I'm resisting the deal of the day on Bath & Body Works,which is a free full-size item with a $10 purchase. Nice deal but then I'd have to pay for shipping and I don't need anything although I could do with another 3-wick candle added to my stash!

At the end of April, I'm planning on taking my son to the Historical Gaming in the South convention that will take place in Orlando. I think he would enjoy observing people playing their games and definitely meeting the vendors. Their website is woefully low on useful information for novices so I emailed the Convention Director to ask if we could just observe without participating and how much it would be. I'd rather buy the tickets at the convention center than in advance because, as with the Toy Soldier Show that he decided he didn't want to attend after all, you never know what can happen with a moody teenager, so I hope that's an option.

I was thinking about having to cook a meal with that "top secret" ingredient that I'm test driving for Shopper's Army and not wanting to have to buy a lot of ingredients that I didn't have on hand, so I found a  recipe that would allow me to buy only a couple of items instead of a whole bunch. I bought them later on at Save A Lot so my "freebie" "only" ended up costing me about $4.  Grrrr.  I'll make sure to include that in my feedback.

Well, I'd better get going if I'm to score any meat on clearance!  A toute à l'heure!

I collected water in the shower that will be reused for flushing the toilet.

So after I was duly clean and dressed, I went to run my errands:

  • I did drive to Save A Lot and was rewarded by finding lots of meat on 50% clearance!  I left the pork chops since I have some in the freezer and they're not Greg's favorites but I couldn't resist grabbing 10 lbs of ground beef (73% "lean") priced at $1.09 a lb!  I wanted to grab more but I didn't think I could fit it all in the freezer, especially since I also grabbed a beef bottom roast on clearance at $2.49/lb and a couple of beef bottom round steaks on clearance @ $2.84/lb.  Woohoo! I love having options when I draft my menus, lol.  I also bought the last 3-lb bag of Halo clementines because it was priced at $2.99 and I had a $0.50 insert coupon from last week's Sunday paper.  So I have now officially made a $0.49 profit off my newspaper subscription since I paid 1 cent for it!  The ingredients that I needed for that "secret" recipe were shredded Parmesan cheese ($2.49) and spinach but when I looked at the cans, the canned spinach contained way more sodium than the canned mustard greens so I bought the mustard greens instead, which ended up being cheaper anyway. So my OOP was $26.14 and I paid with my Amazon Visa card (1% in Rewards).

  • I stopped by Publix to drop off the recycling (plastic bags and foam trays/egg cartons).  I wasn't going to go inside since my list had consisted of Armour meatballs (on BOGO and I had coupons) and string cheese and I had just overspent on meat at SAL. But I decided to get the string cheese anyway since I expected to be able to get twice the amount than I would have at Aldi.  Only once inside, I realized that I must have read the IHeartPublix post wrong: the Sargento string cheese wasn't, in fact on BOGO sale.  Argh.  I did grab 2 containers of Earth Balance spread instead since those were on BOGO and I had coupons for them too.  I bought a couple of them last time they were on BOGO and I have been enjoying spreading the buttery spread on toast once in a while. Also, it freezes very well. Lastly, when I bought it last year the only variety left was the soybean oil version which is good but that I don't think is good for me (!) so this time I bought 1 olive oil-based and 1 "soy-free" version.  So we'll see if they taste good too. I froze them when I got home.  The Reese's quartered artichoke hearts were on sale and I had manufacturer coupons and a store coupon so I bought 2 cans (plain, not marinated this time).  My OOP was $3.28 and I paid with Amex (3% Rewards).

  • From there I went to Walgreens. That experience was frustrating.   First, I mistakenly thought that my son's favorite cereal (Lucky Charms) was from Kellogg's.  You'd think that by now I would know that it's a General Mills cereal!  So it wasn't on sale and my $1.00/1 coupons wouldn't have applied anyway.  Arrgh.  Instead, I grabbed him a box of Cocoa Krispies, a box of Apple Jacks, and a box of Froot Loops, all on sale for $1.88 each.   My favorite cashier was working the register, which was a plus.  So my second mistake that forgetting that the Register Rewards aren't considered store coupons but manufacturer coupons and that you're only allowed 1 manufacturer coupon per item bought at Walgreens, meaning that if you want to use 4 manufacturer coupons, like I was, you need to buy 4 items and also they won't give you cash back on the coupons.  So the register wouldn't take the last $1.00 coupon (she had scanned my $2.50 Register Rewards first).  Arrgh. There was someone in line behind me so I just grabbed a Hershey bar.  Mistake #3: the sign said 2 for $1.50 so I was thinking that I would be spending $0.75 but of course it wasn't true and the sole candy bar rang for $0.99.  Oh well.  Then the cashier asked me if I wanted her to take off the candy bar once the coupon had been scanned, as a way around the coupon policy so of course I said "yes".  But then the register deducted the $2.50 RR again.  AAAARGH. The poor guy behind me was being a good sport (well, he had a city worker uniform on so I guess he didn't care, he was being paid to buy his cigarettes anyway!) so I asked her to void the whole thing and let him check out in front of me.  So of course she had to call a manager to clear the register. He got his cigarettes and we started again, with the darn candy bar. By now I had 4 more people in line behind me so I didn't want to spend more time trying to make this work and I told her I'd just buy the candy bar. Only it's taxable in Florida so I spent $1.06 on something that I didn't want to be able to use all my coupons. I earned 60 Balance Rewards points. I had expected my OOP to only be 14 cents, but it ended up being $1.20 Not bad, but their coupon policy still pisses me off, lol. I think I would have been better off buying another box of cereal on sale instead of a tiny candy bar! I was planning on giving it to my son, but when I got home I realized how cranky I was and I'm always wishing that Greg had a chocolate stash for me, so I hid the candy bar to start my own stash, lol. My son isn't deprived, I bought him Swiss rolls at Aldi yesterday and I'm planning on baking a cake.

  • While I was at Walgreens, I also picked up my free 8 x 10 photo reprint.

  • I stopped by RaceTrac to top off my tank since at this point I needed almost 1/4 tank.  Gas was priced at $1.99, which for once was the same price as in Clermont. Great!  The Pay at the Pump screen asked me if I was a "Rewards Member". What?  It never asked me that before and there wasn't any signage anywhere so I said no and paid with my Discover ($6.86) so I could get the 5% Bonus Rewards for the last time.  I went inside to redeem a survey reward code and decided to get a glazed lemon coffee cake for my afternoon snack.  I asked the store manager what the "Rewards" message was about and he said that if you had a smart phone, you needed to download the new RaceTrac app and starting tomorrow, you could start earning rewards each time you spent money at RaceTrac.  WOOHOO!  I'm going to download it and also get my daughter and Greg to download it. I sure hope it doesn't mean the end of the receipt surveys, though!  I need to let my sons know about it too.

  • From there I drove to Ace Hardware, where I picked up my air filters. No problems today!

Back home, I took photos, put everything away (well the ground beef is in the fridge because I have to cut it up in 1-lb chunks to freeze it) and got my lunch ready.

There were enough beef stew leftovers to 2 lunches so I put half of it back in the fridge, and then fixed myself a bowl of sweet & tangy pineapple salad and a bowl of cantaloupe chunks since they need to be eaten. I also brewed myself a cup of black tea by reusing the tea bag from Greg's breakfast.

MyCokeRewards sent me an offer to get a free melt sandwich at 7-11 on Monday with the purchase of a 20 oz Coke product.  I could treat myself to a Diet Coke and get a free sandwich... there isn't a 7-11 close to my home, but maybe I'll run an errand or go on an excursion?

I downloaded the RaceTrac Rewards app. The problem,  I realized, is that I'm the one who uses the least gas so I won't be earning many rewards at all.  Considering that Greg would probably never redeem any of the Rewards, I'm thinking that he and I need to be using our home phone number at the pump instead of our individual phone numbers. BUT: I think the rewards are then texted to that number (?), which then would mean that I would need a Smartphone for our home line... arrgh, this might not work for me after all.  I told my daughter to download the app and see if she can use our home phone number in her profile, as I used that in mine too.  I had emailed RaceTrac asking if they could credit me for my purchase this morning, but they did confirm that you can only earn points starting tomorrow (so not sure why the pump was asking for a Rewards number today?).

I uploaded my Walgreens receipt to Kellogg's Family Rewards.  According to a promotional email I received a few days ago, I should earn a 5,000 point bonus. I'll be monitoring my account to make sure this actually happens since I didn't see the offer in my account once I logged in...  Update: well what do you know?!  They did credit me with 5,240 points. Yay!

I spent a long time recording my receipts in my spreadsheets and composing the post about my grocery shopping while watching "Blue Bloods" on Ion TV (over the air).  This is the first time in a long time that I didn't have any rebates to submit to any of the apps... poop.

My BFF texted me that her major project (she's in charge of the yearbook for her school) was behind her so we agreed to meet for dinner in a couple of weeks. I haven't seen her since before Christmas!

KFR emailed me a bonus personalized code for 200 pt to "get me to 4,000 pts" but the website wouldn't take it, telling me it was a duplicate. I went to their "contact us" section and tried to email them but after I typed up all the info and uploaded a screenshot, nothing would go through and then eventually the Contact Us page stopped loading altogether. Arrgh.  So I contacted them via Twitter but not sure if I'll get an answer.  Update: they did reply to me a couple of hours later, asking me to send them my email address so I did. We'll see what happens.

I wanted to check the IRS's "Where Is My Refund?" function on their site to see what our tax return status is but Chrome tells me the encryption on that site isn't up to date so the data isn't private. Great... since I'd have to input one of our SSN in order to get the information, I decided to just be patient and wait until I get something in the mail.

I was really exhausted by the end of the day and didn't relish the idea of cooking dinner... but I did anyway. However, I changed my plans and decided to make chicken fajitas instead of Caribbean Chicken and then I made Spanish rice to go with it.  I used up a very old packet of fajita mix and 2 of the chicken breasts that I bought yesterday, some tortillas and I cut up a Roma tomato.  Greg put salsa verde and shredded cheese on his, and I put tomatoes and sour cream on mine. My daughter and my son put shredded cheese.  The Spanish rice was cooked in the microwave. I just added 8 oz of tomato sauce to 2 cups of water, 2 tsp of homemade taco seasoning and 1 cup of uncooked rice (cover it, cook on high for 5 minutes and then on 50% power for 15 minutes).  I had enough leftovers for Greg's lunch tomorrow.

The dishes will have to wait until tomorrow, there is no way I can do them tonight, I'm about to fall asleep typing this!

2 hours later, I was reading a new-to-me blog and the lady (who grows an impressive garden in Northern Minnesota) was saying in one of her posts that she wasn't a great housekeeper and didn't dust every week (imagine that!  lol. I dust... twice a year, I think), but that one thing she could absolutely not stand was dirty dishes left on the counter or the sink because it was slovenly.  Gulp.  So I dutifully shuffled to the kitchen and put a load of dishes in the dishwasher.  I still need to wash more of them tomorrow but 80% of them are done.

Sometimes it takes another blogger to shame you into doing what needs to be done, lol.


  1. Speaking of Seinfeld, that story you described at Walgreen's would make a very funny episode. I found it hilarious, even if you didn't think so at the time. Yes maybe you should have bought a fourth box of cereal on sale, but buying a "forbidden" treat like a chocolate bar just so you could use all your coupons, made the whole scenario even funnier. You might have imagined what everyone was thinking as they stood in line behind this crazy woman trying to buy 3 boxes of sugary cereal and a chocolate bar with as little money as possible. And getting the store manager involved? Oh God. I'm still laughing. Could you just imagine how more terrifying it could have been if it was one of those surly cashiers, and not your favourite? It was all worth it though.

    No wonder you ended the day exhausted. But congrats to you for changing your menu plan so that you didn't buckle under and order in food. Dinner looked so very yummy. And congrats for doing up the dishes last night before you went to bed....I guess. Slovenly??? Oh my.

    1. Do you know that what you said about the sugary cereals and the candy bar is exactly what I told that very nice guy who was patiently waiting in line behind me? I urged him to get in front of me because "I feel bad holding you up while I'm buying crappy sugary cereal and now a candy bar for my kids!", lol. Yes, my cashier is awesome but if she had been a surly one, she wouldn't have offered to take off the candy bar which created a problem... so I would have ended up with the same result but I wouldn't have held up the line as long!

      The slovenly part of the post hurt, although it wasn't directed at me since she doesn't know my blog from Adam (and I won't comment now so she never visits and sees for herself how SLOVENLY I really keep my house!). But she is right, damn it. I was supposed to be cleaning the rest of the dishes right now but instead I ended up baking a cake and cupcakes so now I have even more dirty dishes in the sink. Might be time to break out the Kindle Fire and watch that new show Netflix just added that they think Greg and I will like, since that's what I do when I do the dishes. OK, maybe after lunch.

  2. HATE HATE HATE Walgreens because of their weird coupon policy. They also have really mean cashiers here that I didn't know what the problem was over and over because of course, the same transaction works at CVS so why would I know what I was doing wrong and you are right that it is stopping all progress on the line so you would think that they would change it but they totally like it.

    You are not the only one. My mom has to wash all her dishes at night and I wait and wash them in the morning. I am exhausted and I just want to get off my feet after being on them all day. If I put a little water in the pots to soak, the morning is plenty soon enough to clean the kitchen. I frequently then make more dishes and keep the kitchen in a state of disgustingness but that is life!!

    1. LOL, oh Alison, you make me laugh :) Thanks, my dear!

  3. Your fajitas look great! One of my favorite foods.

    I got gas at a Race Track today and it asked for my rewards # as well. I didn't really connect it to anything since that is not where I normally fuel up, but it makes sense hearing your story. I try to get gas either at BJs because we get a discount with our membership or at Gate because AAA gives you dollars towards your membership renewal, which I really appreciate!

    1. Make sure you take the survey at with your receipt info. it's very short and you'll earn a code for a free bakery item! As far as the Rewards app, I'm talking about it in today's post (to be published later on tonight). You get 7 free drink coupons to use up in the next 14 days as a sign-up bonus (coffee, fountain drink or frozen drink) and if you use the promo code for RaceTrac Insiders by 4/4 you'll get 1 free drink a month for the whole year. I'll post the promo code too (it's the same for all RaceTrac Insiders) but I don't know if they're double checking to make sure that you are indeed a RaceTrac Insider so you might want to sign up for that too (they used to email a freebie each month but now that they have the Rewards app, I'm not sure what will happen to RaceTrac Insider). I love freebies so I would get those even if I didn't gas up at RaceTrac, lol. I don't gas up at MurphyUSA but I use their freebies every month. We don't have "Gate" here, but I don't have AA either. It's cool that you get a rebate toward your membership, though!


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