Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Colorful Day: Tuesday April 5, 2016

The house felt cool this morning as we woke up and, indeed, it was in the mid 50's overnight. How nice!  The weather for the next few days will be in the low to mid 80s, which is close to perfect. Perfect for me would be in the 70s, but we'll take anything below the 90s and above 60 for now!

So I opened the sliding door for the cats.  They enjoy looking outside and sniffing the lizard trails.

Plans for today, thus, should include some gardening (or at the very least my checking on the garden!) and trying out my new bike.  I have a library book that is due today and that I didn't read. I forgot to bring it with me on my errands yesterday to turn it in then so I had been thinking that I would just renew it today and drop it off next time I go (or ask my son to drop it off for me since he goes to the library a lot these days) but... I could just bike there!

As you know I keep a lot of things and one of the things that I bought years ago but never used and also refused to donate because I thought I have use it in the future was a brand new bike clock with a letter combination.  And I think I still have my old bike helmet somewhere although if I do it's probably very dirty because it's been in a bin on the front porch for several years.

My daughter and I will be attending the "Coloring for Adults" event at the library in Clermont later on today.  I'm not really sure how that's going to work. I can't imagine that there'll be an actual instructor so I'm envisioning it to be more like a social thing. We'll see if we last the 2 hours but we have plans to go to Panera's for dinner afterwards. I have a $10 voucher (that the manager had sent me a year ago after I sent a complaint) that I need to use and hopefully they'll still have free bagels at that time.

Greg was feeling better this morning but he doesn't think he'll be attending the shin-dig at work tonight. Typical of him not to capitalize on free food (grr, I wanted to send him with a doggy bag!) but he did stop by RaceTrac on his way to work and redeemed his first free drink coupon for a 32 oz soda.  I warned him not to get hooked on those because past the 8 free drinks he has on his app, we're not buying any more, lol.

Speaking of the RaceTrac Rewards app, I noticed yesterday that I now have 2 BOGO coupons for roller grill items as well.  It would make for a cheap lunch for 2 if my son and I end up doing anything on Friday.  Oh yeah, school is out on Friday because it's a teacher grading day in between the 2 quarters. Hard to believe they're about to enter the last quarter of this school year, already!

I explained to the kids that I was thinking that perhaps my son and I could go to Universal Studios together on Saturday morning (we get free tickets from Greg's employer for that day) and then my daughter could come meet us after her ACT test and the kids could stay on and go visit the other park with the other 2 tickets we'll get while I leave to go attend my oldest's senior recital at UCF. That would allow us to use up all 4 tickets that we're getting, my son and I to have a "Mommy Date" together and for him to visit both parks. However, my 14 year-old threw a wrench in my plans by demurring to do this because he really has no interest in Universal and said "I can't think of anything I'd want to do with you there and you don't like those parks anyway" (but he'll go with his sister because they have a blast together). He's right but, damn!  I thought we'd have fun together like we did when he was little and we'd go on a lot of field trips.  And I don't want the tickets to go to waste and they might be the last ones we get!  So maybe I'll force him to come with me anyway.  After all, he's only 14 and he gets to do what I tell him to do. But it that doesn't happen then I'll go on a bike ride by myself. Provided that I don't break my neck this morning because it's been a few years since I've been on a bike.

I packed Greg's lunch today with Chicken and Turnip Greens Lasagna leftovers from last night. It's the kind of dish that's probably even better the next day so I can't wait for lunch, lol!

I had to use half a gallon of whole milk for the bechamel sauce last night and it was serendipitous that we were about to start a new gallon of milk that hadn't been mixed with water yet, but since it used up a whole half gallon, I added a half gallon of water to the jug this morning to stretch it through the week.

The kids packed their lunches for school as well.

My breakfast was the free blueberry muffin from RaceTrac yesterday and hazelnut coffee from Aldi.  It's pretty good, actually, even though at $4.99 a bag, I would do better at Publix with a BOGO sale on coffee. I need to stock up, actually, although I do have a bunch of crappy coffee that I ought to go through before buying better coffee.  Need.to.resist. for frugality (and decluttering my pantry)'s sake!

Oh another thing that's happening today is my youngest brother's concert in Paris. He's a self-taught blues guitarist and I happen to think he's a really good guitar player. His singing is... OK.  He takes on a raspy voice that's odd and then he has a big old French accent so I giggle.  He's been playing as a side gig in cafes in Paris for a few years now (that's how he met his wife) and today he's going to try to livestream his performance on his phone. It'll be at 2:30 p.m. our time so I put an alarm on my phone so I don't miss it.  I wanted to connect my Bluetooth speaker to my laptop but I don't think my laptop is bluetooth-enabled.  Oh well. I'll just connect the laptop to the TV and its soundbar, then.  Or I could just use the Kindle Fire that does connect to the bluetooth speaker. Don't mind me, I'm thinking outloud.  I'm excited to see him play!  It'll be the first time I see one of his concerts. I hope it works over the café's Wifi.

Alison posted a review of a cookbook entitled Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen that sounds actually pretty good to me (Squirrel Pot Pie!) so I checked my library system but they don't have it... yet. The book was just published at the end of March. I put in a request for them to buy it. In the meantime, I saw that they had "Blue Ribbon Baking From A Redneck Kitchen" by the same author so I put that on hold. As I told Alison, I guess I'm not going on a diet anytime soon.

Oh and while I was in the section of my library account where I could see all the purchase suggestions I had ever made, I was reminded that a year ago I had asked them to purchase this book and they did, apparently (they never notify you if they do or not, apparently the system isn't set up for it).  So I put it on hold as well:

Yesterday I decluttered the top of my dryer (I had a pile of old bath towels that I was keeping in there but I stuffed them in a cabinet, out of sight) and I was left with the 2 packs of wooden clothespins that I had purchased at Dollar Tree. Wouldn't you know that since I bought them, it either hasn't been windy on laundry day or I have used the dryer!  I was thinking about looking throughout the house for a small basket that I could repurpose but couldn't think of one... and then this morning as I was brushing my teeth, my eyes fell on the perfect basket, hanging in my upstairs bathroom, completely unused.  It was given to me as part of a gift basket of bath items at least 15 years ago. So you see, I keep things a long long time, ha ha ha.  Well, I'm sure glad that I kept that one because, as I said, it's perfect!  I put one pack of clothespins in there and the other one is in storage, in case I need more (Greg goes through a lot of socks!).  Hooray for not being a minimalist!

Greg left the big boxes that the computer came in on the floor of the cat room (i,e. our large entry room) for the cats to play with and I don't think they've been empty since he's done that. Well of course I went to take a picture for the blog and... none of the cats are in the boxes at the moment.  I'll probably move the boxes to the tiny "attic" in case we end up having to ship the PC back for some reason. I hope we don't!  Greg loves it, he says it's "lickety split!" but he always says that with every new PC that he buys, lol.  Overall it's quieter than the other one but last night I thought a neighbor was edging his lawn in the dark and I was getting annoyed because the buzzing just wouldn't end... well, it's the PC's fan.  And since Greg's desk is located right behind me when I sit on the couch, it's a little bit annoying (she says, between clenched teeth). I'm very sensitive to noise so it's going to take time to get used to it.  I turned up the Smooth Jazz on IHeartRadio to take my revenge :)

It's always a great feeling when you don't feel like doing much, look at your long to-do list and realize that you had forgotten to cross off a few things that you did yesterday!  So I happily crossed off : cleaning the fridges's shelves, cut up and freeze the ground beef, cut up and freeze the green peppers, change battery in kitchen clock. Hey,my daughter doodled me a little happy face with a "hi:)" in the margin!  I love her.  Maybe she's testing me to see if I'm actually looking at the to-do list.

I noticed that Greg didn't drink his morning tea, Usually he puts it in a travel mug, after breakfast, to drink on the way to work, but I guess he left it because he was planning on getting that free 32 oz soda this morning.  So I won't brew him tea until he's used up the soda coupons.  I'll try to remember to drink this tea later on.

I just heard from weird noises coming from under the table... sounds like I have a little companion... yep!  New Kitty is playing with her tail, LOL.

Speaking of companions... I was taking the trashcan down the driveway for collection day and I was lost in my thoughts. When I looked up, guess what I saw?  Awww, and they had a baby with them!  This is why I love wearing cargo pants ("non sequitur?" you think... but wait) because I can have my digital camera in one pocket and my phone in another.  My phone is slower on the intake so I used the digital camera and filmed them too.  Lovely to see this little family!

Psst, there's a much better picture of them on my Garden Update post that I published just a little bit ago!

So I went to check on the garden, not much to report but I'll write a separate post about it anyway.  I did do a little bit of work, although none of it was what I had actually planned to do!  Thanks to Bless for reminding me, by mentioning doing that yesterday in her blog, that I needed to dead-head my dead rose :)

I took a cutting from a colorful bush in my neighbor's side yard. He won't mind.  I hope it grow some roots!

I put the bird bath together. It looks OK, a little too golden for me but I expect that the paint will fade soon enough with our unforgiving sun.  It did come with 3 little spikes to anchor it. I put it on the rotting tree stump and could only sink 2 of them into the soft wood, but better than nothing. I reused rainwater that I had collected to fill it up.  Now I should go park myself on the back patio to see if any birds come to take a bath.

I noticed some hair caught in my cardinal feeder.  Damn squirrels, damn, damn squirrels!  So I went outside with my large pot of vegetable shortening and a Bounty paper towel and I laid a thick coat of shortening on the bird feeder pole. There, try climbing up that now!  I hope it works.  I haven't seen one bird on the feeder for a while but it's almost empty.

One of my whisks broke yesterday. It was a cheap whisk that I've had for over 15 years and I have several more (I love having lots of duplicates of the tools I use the most, it helps since you all know that I don't do the dishes every (day) time I use something.  I was thinking about throwing it away in the spirit of decluttering, but then I realized that I could fix it so fixing it I did. I just needed to tuck the loose wire back into place and tighten the base. The coating on the holding part is silicone or rubber so I could try using that heat gun that I discovered in the laundry room last week, but I'm liable to set the house on fire so I just used duct tape. After all, that's what it's for.  Ta-dah!  A "brand new" whisk. It'll probably fall apart in the dishwasher, and if it does, I'll throw it away then. Or will I?

I ran the dehumidifier in the bathroom and aired out my son's bedroom.

I have a pile of receipts to input in my spreadsheets! That's not on my to-do list but looking more appealing a task than vacuuming the living room so I'd better get to it...

Oh my!  I just noticed on my daughter's RaceTrac gas receipt from yesterday that the free bakery item in exchange for taking the survey has been extended through May!  Hooray!!

I submitted yesterday's grocery receipts for rebates with MobiSave and Checkout 51.

I uploaded the Healthy Offer of the week on SavingStar: 20% off asparagus!  I wonder if they'll be cheap enough to buy at Walmart next week.  they were $2.29 or $2.69 at Aldi yesterday, I don't remember, but you can't use SavingStar with Aldi purchases anyway, darn it.

Hey, I was checking Ibotta and there was a $0.25 OJ rebate that had popped up so I uploaded it and then decided to try to submit it for the OJ we bought at Publix on Sunday.  Good thing the empty bottle was still in the recycling bin. The rebate did say that I had to have purchased the juice between 3/29 and 4/8, I think, so it should work, although I have read people complaining that their rebates had been denied because they needed to be unlocked before they actually went shopping, so here's to nothing...  Update: they approved it, yay!

I also received $1.10 from MobiSave...

And $0.25 from Checkout 51! I don't care if they're small amounts, it's better than nothing.

So I wrote my "Grocery Shopping This Week" post, which always takes a while.  Now it's 12:30 p.m. and I haven't done the dishes or eaten lunch so I think I'll keep the bike ride for tomorrow because I don't want to miss my brother's concert. We're going to the library tonight for the coloring program so I'll return my book there.

I took (2) RaceTrac surveys (for 2 different gas stations) and received two Survey Reward codes for free bakery items.  I also gave 2 receipts to my daughter (the cashiers gave me receipts when I redeemed freebies, woohoo!) for my daughter to take the surveys and she can use the freebie codes for herself.

My lunch was leftovers: (oh yum!) Chicken and Turnip Greens leftovers and salad from last night, as well as an orange. I drank the tea that Greg left here this morning.

I remembered to earn my daily Bing credits... I think I forgot to do that yesterday, oops!  I'm at 92% of my goal.

I did a load of dishes in the last half hour before my brother's concert started and then I set up my laptop with my TV and my daughter and I started watching the concert.  She bailed out after 30 minutes to go study for the ACT, but I watched the whole 2 hours. It was really cool!  He had set up the phone to the side so I could see him but also see my sister-in-law in the audience so I texted her throughout the concert, it was fun.  She was also texting with her brother who lives in Germany and was also streaming the concert so my brother is an international star!

The quality of the picture wasn't the best but... again, it was better than to not see him.  The girl at the bottom of the screen is my SIL.  That was a complete bonus!
About an hour into the concert, I realized that I could be doing something productive at the same time so I cleaned out my coupon organizer of the expired coupons.

The concert ended just 5 minutes before it was time for my daughter and me to leave for our "Coloring for Adults" event.  My son came home from school at the same time so I had just time to give him a kiss and we were on our way.

There ended up being 24 of us in the program, 22 adults (mostly retirees but there were a couple of us moms with teenage daughters) and 2 children (because there's always someone who's gonna break "the rules", you know? But the kids were well behaved and didn't disturb anyone.  It wasn't a class or anything.  They provided the pictures that you could choose. They were organized by subject matter so I chose something that was related to gardening, of course.  My daughter picked a cat picture.  They also provided the color pencils and the pencil sharpeners. We decided that if we were to go back (they're doing it again next month), we'd bring our own pencils so we have better choice of colors.  Then they also had a table with cookies and refreshments (sweet tea, iced tea, lemonade and water) and they played jazzy music throughout the session.

You could sit with other people since the rectangular tables sat about 6 or 8 or you could sit by yourselves.  My daughter had warned me (as if I needed that warning!) that she didn't want to socialize with anyone so we sat at a table by ourselves and just chatted together while we colored. We ended up staying until the very end of the session, although I had my doubts 10 minutes in because it felt kind of tedious, probably because I chose a picture with a lot of small flowers to color so I got bored. But I persevered and my daughter showed me some shading tricks so I liked my picture much better after that. I asked for her advice on what color to use on some parts and really appreciated her input.  She didn't finish hers but she did an awesome job on the parts that she did do. Oh my. the difference between a true artist and someone who last colored about 10 years ago, LOL.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with the coloring sheet now... I mean, I have enough papers laying around!  I'll probably put it in a pile somewhere and it'll end up in the trash a few weeks (well months, knowing me) from now.
After the session ended, we drove to Panera where we planned on having dinner. Only, the parking lot was absolutely full so we changed our mind and ended up across the street at Chili's because I had uploaded, for the nth time, the freebie that they offer me every week. Today was my choice of appetizer, desert or queso so we decided to have the appetizer. We picked something that I forgot the name of, but it was fried cheese bites, basically, with some dipping sauce. So good!

Then she had a cheeseburger and I had an appetizer sampler with small cheeseburgers, Southwestern eggrolls and boneless honey bbq wings.  So much food! So many calories!

Yeah, I'm gonna have to bike a lot of miles to redeem myself for that!
In the meantime, Greg didn't want to eat leftovers.  I hadn't had time to precook dinner for him and my son because my brother's concert lasted longer than I expected so they went to Hardee's.

So my free coloring session cost us $40 in food.  Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't go back next month, lol!

When we came home, Greg was fiddling with the new PC.  The noise that I was complaining about was annoying him too so he took the fan off because apparently it's malfunctioning which is what is causing the noise, and emailed the company about getting a replacement... it starts... let's remember that it's the company that provided horrible customer service with the previous PC that we bought from them so I'm not holding my breath.

He's still not feeling 100% well so he decided to work from home tomorrow. But he did say that he still planned on driving to RaceTrac first thing in the morning to go claim his free soda, LOL.  I told him I'd come along to get mine and then we'll redeem a couple of survey reward codes for free bakery items as well.

I took the recycling down to the curb since they'll be collecting it at about 8 a.m. I always end up having to take it down when I'm still in my PJs and I don't like that so I'm going to try to remember to take it down at night, instead.

Al Fresco sent me the $2 coupon that I earned by taking one of their surveys a few days ago.

I hope you had a good day too :)


  1. So happy to hear you got to watch your brother playing. How nice that you got to spend some time with your daughter, coloring. You did a good job coloring you picture, by the way. And that dinner looks so yummy!

    1. Thanks, Bless! It was a fun time with my daughter. I've got to try to squeeze as many opportunities to do activities with her while she's still at home because I know from my experience with our older children that we probably won't see her much once she's in college...

  2. I really like the idea of the coloring session that you and your daughter attended. I find coloring very relaxing and I have many times been tempted to buy myself one of the adult coloring books, but I usually just grab one of the kids coloring books if I get to the point that I need to color to relax myself. Now that I see your pictures I think I may just get a book for myself. The kids enjoy coloring too. They have a stack of coloring books and I occasionally break them out with the "special" big box of crayons when they are way too rowdy and mommy needs a little bit of quiet so I can think. :) Don't throw the pictures away- I would definitely keep them and years from now your daughter will look at them and remember the day you did that together.
    I had to laugh at the whisk- duct tape really is solution to almost anything, isn't it?! ;)

    1. You can probably find free coloring for adult pages to print online, Dawn. I recall seeing some bloggers posting about that but I can't recall who and when. It was a good surprise that they had the music going (and music that I liked!) and the free drinks and cookies. It made it more "fun". I usually don't have the patience to do things like this. I soothe myself with the internet and TV, lol. But it was great having my daughter give me her feedback and my picture turned out much prettier after I did the changes she suggested. Who would have thunk? lol.

      There's a painting place in town where you go to get some painting instructions but people bring their own wine and so the theme is "Paint and Wine" and is really marketed to women. My daughter would like to go with me so she can paint together but she can't drink and I don't drink wine and I'm imagining the place full of women getting tipsy and loud so I'm not really sure that it'd be an experience that I would enjoy (plus it's not free like the library's coloring activity) but she loves painting so I'm going to look into it.

  3. I was under the weather today, but although I read your posts earlier in the day, I am going to comment on them tomorrow. Not because I have to, but I have a feeling I have a lot to say....AGAIN.

  4. Yes. I got a lot of rest yesterday. Firstly, I slept 'til about 9:40 yesterday morning. Then about 12:30, or a little later (I wasn't really watching the time), my hubby told me to go lie down for a rest because I wasn't feeling all that great. I slept until 5 p.m. I made dinner, watched some TV, and had no problems sleeping again last night. I'm not sure what happened there. I guess I needed it.

    I'm glad you had that time with your daughter at the colouring class. I suspect it was the interaction with your daughter that had the most effect on your evening. I don't think it was the colouring. I can just imagine you thinking what a total waste of time this is. I have other things I could be doing. Ha. But you gave it a go. And it was a nice time with your daughter. I do admire the shading on the curtains and the planters.

    Also, I'm glad you enjoyed your baby brother's live concert. Being able to see and text your SIL was an added bonus. Talk about an interactive performance.

    Good repair job on the whisk. So many uses for duct tape. And you found so many other items for reuse, like the small basket for clothespins, the bike lock and helmet. Go Nathalie.

    1. It probably is your body trying to shake off that jet lag. The change in climates probably didn't help either, you might have picked up a cold? Greg hasn't been feeling great all week and he was really stuffed up and coughing too. He was feeling and sounding much better this morning, I'm glad he stayed home yesterday. You should sleep as much as you can, housework can wait :)

      It takes an artist to notice the shading on the curtains and the pots, and yes, she taught me how to do that. It might sound like a basic technique but it had never occurred to me, lol. Also, she's the one who told me the picture was of flower pots hanging on a window and pointed out the curtains as I was pondering how to color those things. I couldn't figure out what the background was at all, I could see the flower pots, obviously, and the fence but my non-artistic brain wasn't computing the rest. As I said, the picture was quite busy. Yes, I absolutely enjoyed the fact that I was doing that with my daughter more than the coloring itself, you nailed it, but I enjoyed doing this because she is an artist and enjoys those activities. I wish I could do the same with video games and my son or Greg but they just make me nauseous (I get motion sickness very easily) so even if I WAS interested (and I'm not), I couldn't stand it without taking major dramamine. Actually, maybe I should try to take one of those pills and see if it works with video game-induced motion sickness.

      Thanks for all the cheering! I hope you feel better soon.


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