Monday, April 18, 2016

Domestic Monday {Kind Of} ~ Monday 4/18/16


  • Ugh, I woke up not feeling very well so I'm not sure how domestic I will be today!  I'm sure it's due to allergies rather than actually being sick, but I was stuffed up all night (yeah, the Allegra does nothing for congestion, not that it's one of the symptoms that it treats anyway) and I woke up feeling icky like I was coming down with something. Now I'm sitting at my kitchen table sweating even though it's 75F.  Maybe I did catch a cold?  I was outside all day yesterday and the pollen levels were high, and probably made worse with all the wind we had so I'm still thinking it's allergies. I might drive to Walgreens to pick up a decongestant, though.

  • I drafted a long to-do list on Friday so I need to go unearth it and see what I should be doing today.  A menu, for one, needs to be drafted.  Call me a baby but when I don't feel good, even planning meals isn't appealing.  I do need to read more of my book since it's due at the library tomorrow.

  • New Kitty is sitting in the sunshine right now, pretending that she's not about to steal kibbles from our male cat's food bowl. Yeah, I'm keeping my eye on you, missy!  She escapes again yesterday, when Greg opened the sliding door.  It's the 2nd or 3rd time that she escapes when he comes out on the patio because he indulges her a lot so she thinks she can get away with it. This time she went into the bushes and Greg just stood there!  So I ran to the other side of the bushes, on the gravel, barefoot (ouch!) and was able to grab her.  Then she got a smack and was told to go to her corner.  As an afterthought I regretted smacking her but only because it means that she will be running away from me the next time when I need her to sit still so I can grab her! She's a very naughty kitty.

  • My youngest son passed his CIW (Certified Internet Web Professional) Intro to IT certification test and scored 100!  Only 3 kids out of 23 got 100.  Woohoo!

  • Single tasks to accomplish today:
    • Reaching out to someone:  I should try to recontact my mom to see if we can schedule a call this week. I checked the message I sent her last week and it did ask for her to let me know when a good time would be and she never replied so I'm kind of annoyed that I have to follow through again. Why can't people ever read the whole message?  I think my kids must be getting their lack of communication skills from her, honestly.  Status: didn't do. I did text with my oldest son, though.
    • Household chore: Today is Laundry Day and I have already started so a small victory there. Status: laundry is done but hasn't been folded or put away yet.
    • Investing:  Greg sent me several notifications from our 401(k) plan that I suppose I should look at and see if we need to take action. I haven't done any of it since January 1st, so why start today?  Yeah, I don't think it will happen. Status: didn't happen!
    • Tax-related:  Well, today is Tax Day and I totally did NOT show my daughter how to file her taxes. She didn't push for it either (yep, I'm blaming her too). She's only 17 and would only get $10 back since she only had a small paycheck last September so I'm not going to stress about it. But I should have done it, I suppose. No status needed.
    • General finances:  I need to pay another credit card bill online and balance my checkbook. Status: didn't do.
    • Saving money:  I need to see if any of the printable coupons that came out yesterday are worth printing. I also really need to curtail the couponing because I'm definitely spending too much time on it vs. the benefit that I'm deriving since I mostly shop at Aldi nowadays. Status: printing a few coupons, clipped them, and sorted them in my coupon organizer.
    • Gardening:  I'll probably water the garden tonight. It's not supposed to rain all week.Oh and I still need to plant those flower and mint seeds. Status: watered the garden, planted shady mix flower seeds in the bare spot of the front lawn.
    • Health: I suppose I should go on a bike ride today but I'll keep that for tomorrow, as long as I finish reading my book.  I'll bike to the library. Status: I wasn't feeling well all day so I didn't bike.
    • Cooking:  I need to draft a menu. Considering that I'm not feeling great, I don't think I'll be very creative this week. It might be a "pasta and some kind of meat on the barbecue every night kind of week." Status: drafted a menu for the week, made a tart, made soup, cooked dinner.
    • Indulging myself:  if I do drive to Walgreens to get decongestant, I'll stop by RaceTrac to pick up a free bakery item. Status: I read blogs.  Drove to Walgreens at night but didn't stop by RaceTrac.

  • I packed leftover burgers for Greg to take to work today.  

  • Greg stopped by RaceTrac to gas up his truck (2% Rewards on Amex) and get a free 32 oz soda with his RaceTrac app.  I looked at it this morning and he has so many of those free coupons left, still, LOL.

  • He told me he was planning on working from home two days this week. Yay! I'll get to spend some time "with" him (well, in the same vicinity) and we'll save on gas and tolls.

  • I did a super load of laundry on cold/cold and I hung most of the clothes outside to dry.  I put the bath towels and Greg's undershirts in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting.

  • I ran the dehumidifier in the downstairs bathroom and collected the water to add to the bucket in the shower, that will eventually be used to flush the toilet.

  • The temperature isn't very hot at 9:00 a.m. so I opened the sliding door for the cats to listen to the birds and turned off the AC. I'd love to settle on the back patio myself, but with my congestion it's probably not a great idea. Plus, I'm supposed to be domestic this morning, not lazy!  I have all the pots and pans from this weekend to clean. I'll do that shortly.

  • I completed my Bing Rewards tasks.  As for Swagbucks, I had started running Ngage and JunoGroups videos but they slowed my PC so much that I gave up. I don't know how I stood it all those months when I was raking in the SB gift cards!  I'm so bad with SB right now, still only at 480 SB for the month.

  • I made our bed and put away all the laundry that I had folded on Saturday.

  • I boiled eggs for Greg's snacks this week.  The water will be kept and reused to water my indoor zombie plants.

  • My breakfast today was, once again, 2 fried eggs over hashbrowns that I made from one of my red potatoes, and 2 pieces of buttered toast. Yum.   It gave me some energy to "mop" my floors.

  • My kitchen is very large (about 300 sq ft) and needs to be mopped pretty badly but in my current sniffly and sweaty state, I wasn't in shape to use the mop, that, invariably, hurts my lower back so much.  So I swept it and then used a square cut up from an old bath towel and thoroughly wet and wrung, to fake mop most of the kitchen on all fours.  Yes, I'd actually less painful for me to it this way, even though my knees don't thank me (I should use knee pads but it's too much work to go get them in the shed!) but with my nose pretty much on the tiles, I realize just how much freaking cat hair is still present even after I sweep and mop. Ugh. Next time I get excited about getting another cat, I need to make myself fake mop the kitchen first!  Anyhoo, it looks a little better and I feel more Cinderella.

  • The Orlando Sentinel sent me another of their "Your Daily E-Newspaper is Here!" notice so I investigated... well, it's just another pitch to get me to sign up for the e-version of the paper at 99 cents for the first week and they're giving me 10 free pages... which is what I'm getting already without their emails so I unsubscribed from the emails. I'll get my news via other channels. It seems that all that's going on recently is murders and robberies anyway, and they just canned their art critic from what I could tell from his column yesterday so who wants to read about that all day?  Yep, crime in the Orlando area is way up, apparently. 

  • I uploaded new MobiSave offers on my app.  Once again, it looks like I might only use some of the generic ones, but it's better than nothing, right?

  • Someone on Slickdeals posted an alert about a sale and coupon code for Mossimo T-shirts on so I figured I would buy myself some since some of mine make me look like a sausage nowadays. However, I was very frustrated with the Target website that displayed dressed and junior items even though I was searching for women's Mossimo tshirts only and then when I finally found some that I wanted, the site didn't show that they were out of stock until you selected the exact color and size and they're pretty much out of stock on everything. So I gave up. I'll have to go shop at Goodwill.

  • I mixed half a gallon of water to half a gallon of whole milk to stretch it.

  • Dawn posted a picture of the rhubarb that is growing in her garden right now and that made me crave rhubarb pie so I defrosted a pie crust patty and will try to make a pie later on.  It might not be rhubarb after all, I should try another recipe from the "Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen" book. Oh wait. I need to make that  Mandarin Ginger Cream Tart because my last mandarins are starting to look... bad.

  • So I made it. I used a pre-made graham cracker crust that I had left over from... Thanksgiving?, a package of instant vanilla pudding,  1 and 3/4 cup of milk and all (save one that I had to compost) mandarins that I had left in my fruit bowl.  I peeled 3 of them for decorations and the rest were peeled and chopped in my food processor.  That was placed at the bottom of the pie crust, then the pudding when on top. Refrigerate for 2 hours and then I'll decorate with the rest of the mandarin slices, some crystallized ginger and I think we have whipped cream left that I will put on top.  It's going to be very refreshing and yummy and I'm glad I got to use up those mandarins before they all went bad. The pie crust that I'm defrosting is going in the fridge and I'll have to bake a real pie tomorrow.  Verdict on the pie? The presentation looks very good until you cut into it and it becomes, well, a mess. You see the filling is instant pudding. It doesn't "gel" like flan and since you put crushed mandarins on top of the graham crust, it becomes soggy and doesn't hold together. Also, I would have added Grand Marnier to the pudding if I had thought of it.  So you can get the same result without making a pie and by just making the vanilla pudding, adding some chopped and whole mandarin quarters in it, putting a few animal crackers or graham crackers as decorations and calling it a day :)

  • The kids finished 3 boxes of cereal this weekend so I have 3 more cereal bags to reuse as freezer bags.

  • SavingStar confirmed that I should be getting a credit for $4.36  for buying my rainbarrel at Home Depot through their shopping portal. Woohoo!
  • I redeemed 1,700 KFR points for (2) $1.00/1 coupons for Kellogg's cereal since we're running very low on Special K for my daughter.  I don't think that cereal is on sale this week though :(

  • I printed other free Kellogg's coupons that came in their e-newsletter today.

  • I'm miserable, sneezing all over the place and I texted Greg to share my misery with him. He suggested making Jalapeño Soup because he likes it when I make it and he's congested. Great idea!  I defrosted a boneless, skinless chicken breast in the microwave and got some frozen jalapeños. The chicken broth was made from boiling water (heated up in my electric kettle) and Better Than Bouillon Chicken base.  Lastly, I had an avocado in the fridge that I peeled and sliced. It's not ripe but it'll do in the hot soup.  (and you know the most annoying part of sneezing so much?  If you're a middle aged woman, you already know...  I pee a little every time I sneeze!  It's so disgraceful and annoying!)

  • I haven't had luck getting the avocado pits to germinate (one did, once, but on its own and then my little tree died).  Still, I'm trying again with the pit from last night's salad and the one from today's soup. Only this time, I took a hint from the roselle seeds and I scored the pits.  We'll see if it helps?

  • Speaking of roselles, I found an envelope full of roselle seeds from the bush that I grew last year. I had forgotten that I had collected those!  I'll need to see if they'll germinate. I have 5 roselle plants growing right now but they are some organic seeds that I had bought a couple of years ago.

  • Also, I found Badia Sorrel tea at Save A Lot on Saturday. I didn't buy any since I have so much tea already, but I do want to try it. Sorrel is what they call roselle in the Caribbean and in Africa.  The tea is made from the red calyx of the flower. It's supposedly very good!

  • I printed a few coupons from via Swagbucks. There is a $2 off coupon for Miracle Gro potting soil under "household" if you need some!

  • I ordered a free sample of Allegra 24 allergy tablets from the Target website because, event though it didn't work for me, it seemed to have worked for my daughter and Greg in the past.

  • I planted a box of "Wildflowers - Shady Mix" seeds that I had bought from Dollar Tree, in a corner of the front "lawn" that was quite bare underneath a large oak tree.  Hopefully they will grow. I fashioned a sign out of the box that I laminated using a remnant of a lamination sheet and I used the stake from a broken garden tool to plant it next to that corner and warn off Greg from mowing it.

  • Interesting how hard it is for my to pick up my "Quiet" book when I'm indoors. There are so many distractions!  So... despite my allergies, I'm going back outside and read my library book on my back patio, otherwise it will never be finished! I'm taking my pot of Peach Green tea with me... and my tissues.
The trash can is the one I've been filling up with weeds.
The backyard was very pretty this afternoon!  I didn't see any birds, though.
  • Well, this didn't take much time at all!  I hadn't realized that so many pages at the end were footnotes. Sadly, the chapter on how to handle introvert kids wasn't all that interesting, unless you're a new parent, are extroverted yourself, and have no idea of how to handle your introvert child.  For me, it was merely confirmation that I have been doing the right thing by recognizing that my youngest son is indeed an introvert and needs lots of time alone, that since he hates team sports there is no reason to force him to join a team.  But also, that I need to firmly encourage him to take up activities that will expose him to this extroverted society that we live in and yet help him flourish.  When we was little we tried soccer, but he hated it so we stopped after (too long) a year. Since then, I have had him try horseback riding, archery, cross country running. He's thinking about taking up archery again, incidentally. He was allowed to work pretty independently when we were homeschooling, but I made sure he had plenty of interaction with the couple of friends that he had, despite the fact that they each lived an hour away: we would meet them for play time at the playground, go rollerskating, swim at their house.  We would go camping with a group composed of a few families one weekend a month but the kids were left to pair up as they wanted and run around all day... or read and play with their LEGOs if they wanted to. A teen now, I encourage him to get involved in clubs because it will broaden his horizons and give him opportunities for scholarships and leadership. We've discussed how becoming a club officer, even if it's the secretary or other position that's not very visible, is important when it comes to be accepted in college, but he's going to be on his own to actually apply for those positions and get involved in the couple of clubs that we have identified as possibly being a good fit for him.  He is volunteering at the library because it's the perfect environment for him: he can be shelving books by himself and hopefully come in contact with subjects that might interest him down the road as he handles the various books.  I did tell him to enter the Teen Video Challenge but only because he could submit a project on which he worked on his own, not necessarily as part of a group. He actually enjoy small group activities once they're underway, but if you ask him whether he would like to join a group, he will say no. I encouraged him to get involved into historical miniatures and Dungeons & Dragons and suggested he creates his ow D&D club when he couldn't find anyone to play with locally (that club is still waiting to get started at the library, I'm hoping the marketing gets done soon!). Anyhoo, I'm glad I read the book because it gave me the validation that I needed that I am indeed doing right by my son, and also what I had sensed but never verbalized, that American culture at large prizes extroverts, group activities, teamwork and risk-takers, sometimes to a fault, unfortunately.  For people like us who don't like all those things, despite some of us being able to fake it very well (as I do when I'm in a work context), it's very painful to live in a society like this.  We'd rather be left alone to our own devices!  I'm looking forward to Susan Cain's next book that should come out on May 3rd, "Quiet Power, the Secret Strengths of Introverts (A Guide for Kids and Teens)", and I have requested that my library purchase it. I hope they do!

  • If you're interested to know whether you are an extrovert, introvert, or ambivert, head on to Susan Cain's site "Quiet Revolution", where there is a short test you can take and many articles, even a podcast!

  • My daughter went to her college class tonight so she redeemed my Panera reward for a free bagel for herself.

  • I made a dinner menu for the week, yippee! I barely have to buy anything for it too, which is normal for me. Most of what I buy every week ends up being for breakfasts, lunches and snacks, as I try to use up what's already in my freezer, fridge and pantry when I make my dinner plans for the week.

  • Coca-Cola sent me an email urging me to redeem a Coke code to receive a promotional code for a free 8x8 Shutterfly book. What the hell, I thought, I have a lot of Coke codes that I need to enter. I was waiting for a double point promo but they haven't had one. So I redeemed a Coke code and got the free Shutterfly code book.

  • I also entered more codes on MyCokeRewards since apparently they're having some type of a 10th anniversary promotion starting on 4/27 and we need to have points?  I guess for sweepstakes?  So I entered enough codes for 73 points and put a reminder on my calendar for next Monday to enter more, since we're limited to 75 points per week. Once again, thanks to all of you who've ever sent me codes (like Michelle, if you're still reading Michelle, thanks so much! - and like Dawn!).

  • Then I got working on my 8 x 8 book. I thought I'd make a French trip book for my daughter and so I had to wade through all the photos from our French trip. Halfway through, I started thinking that it might be easier if I posted them all on a blog for her and my son's benefit, but I guess it would use up a lot of my Google Drive space. so I'm not sure I'll do that.  I want to, though.  Well, I didn't know how many photos to upload for a 20-page book, which is what I'm entitled to, so I uploaded close to 100 photos (so about 5 per page, I figure that would work?) but it looks like my book would be 50 pages and, before coupon, it would cost me $75.  Whaaaat?!?  I'm waiting for them to upload all the photos to see what it looks like, but I don't think I want to spend close to even half the amount.  I think there's a promotion where I could get 100 prints for free and then I could make a memory book I mean scrapbook. Do you hear me, Susan?! I'm considering doing a scrapbook. I already have a lot of supplies so I don't think it would cost me a ton, either.  Mmm, decisions, decisions! 

  • I changed my dinner plans somewhat because (blush) I didn't have enough clean pans to cook the mac'n cheese I was supposed to cook.  So I made rice in the microwave instead, and grilled the smoked turkey sausage on the barbecue.

  • While all of that was cooking, I quickly watered the potted and in-ground plants.

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched an episode of Fargo, Season 1 (library DVD).  

  • I started to feel like I was getting earaches so I took some ibuprofen in the middle of the show, and after it was over, I decided to drive to Walgreens to get a decongestant, lest my ear problems and congestion prevent me from sleeping.  I splurged and decided to buy the pseudo-ephedrine instead of the cheapest (and probably less effective) phenylephrine.  Wow, that stuff really works because just by having it in my purse, my sinuses opened up as I left the store, lol.  Well, it was the ibuprofen starting to take effect. Maybe I didn't have to bother getting the decongestant after all, but I still took a dose of it when I got home.

  • The kids are buying lunch from school today.

  • Not a splurge yet but I'm adding "go check on the blackberry patch" on the calendar for Sunday. My neighbor's family is growing and selling "you pick" blackberries a few miles from here and I promised him that I would go. Plus...homemade blackberry cobbler and I want to try to make some blackberry syrup or jam.

  • So I'm definitely going to subscribe to HBO Now during the run of the new season of Game of Thrones that starts on Sunday. Not frugal but oh well. I said OH WELL.  Greg gets to subscribe to his Gamefly and Spotify Premium (for the next couple of months only, he assured me) so I'm subscribing to HBO Now and getting my GoT fix.  Roku sent me an email this morning reminding me of the free 1 month trial for new users via the Roku so I'm already saving $14.99. I think I need to keep it only for 3-4 months max. However, I was assuming that I would be able to watch the episodes whenever I wanted.  Greg told me it was probably like the cable chain itself where everything is on a set schedule but they're probably re-running the episode of the week on several days.  Arrgh, I don't like that. I want to watch it when I feel like it.  Does anyone have HBO Now?  Is this how it works?  Anyhoo I'll wait until Sunday to subscribe. Adding a reminder to my calendar right now.  I wonder if that'll qualify for the 5% bonus rewards from Discover on "Movies" since they do include "online movie providers".

  • Well I was hoping that my oldest would have a couple of spare WDW tickets so that I could surprise Greg with a visit to Epcot for our 15th anniversary because he was just saying that he misses that park, but my son is no longer employed by WDW and doesn't have any tickets left.

  • Cooked breakfast for Greg and packed his lunch.
  • Made our bed
  • Put away the laundry
  • Did a load of laundry and hung half of it to dry outdoors
  • Ran the dehumidifier in the bathroom
  • Watered the zombie plants
  • Swept and fake mopped the kitchen
  • Made Mandarin Ginger Tart
  • Made Jalapeño Soup
  • Printed a few coupons
  • Finished my library book
  • Started putting together a Shutterfly book for my daughter
  • Cooked dinner
  • Watered the garden
  • Drove to Walgreens to buy decongestant

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


  1. I am reading! I have a few more to send to you this week too......just have to have a moment to sit and send an email��
    Your blog is part of my morning ritual....I read it while I make my kids lunches!

    1. LOL, Michelle, do you really? I'm honored :)

  2. Congratulations to your son on his excellent exam scores! 100! How great is that?!

    Your mandarin tart looks lovely! I bet it tasted wonderful, too.

    Avocado seeds take a few weeks to germinate. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but make sure that the pointy end is at the top.

    1. Do they? My first one, that's been in water for a couple of weeks already without a sign of germinating, was facing the proper way. I'm afraid that the two others might not be so I'll be rectifying this next time I walk by. Thanks, Bless! You are a well of knowledge!

  3. Oh Nathalie I'm sorry you are feeling poorly.

    I can't believe that photo book would be $75, wow that's expensive.

    Well done to your son, he did so well! You really do have bright children. And of course you are doing the right thing with your sweet introverted boy. You are a great mum who encourages but never pushes her boy. That is very clear from everything that you write.

    By the way the pudding looks delicious. Xx

    1. Ha! I'm just lucky that he's a compliant child so I "encourage" forcefully and he does what I tell him to do even though he might not like it. Like for cross country, for instance. In this case it really doesn't have anything to do with him being an introvert, and more with the fact that I'm sick and tired of him always being on the computer. That's pretty much all he does, usually. Since he's started that online P.E. class for high school though, he's been very keen on making sure he meets the requirements for physical activity each day so I hope that it will stick past the class!

      The pudding was good. I ate all of it. ALL OF IT. In my defense, no one else would have liked it and it was taking space in my fridge that I needed since I went grocery shopping today :)


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