Monday, April 25, 2016

Domestic Monday Lite ~ Monday 4/25/16

I slept well last night without having to resort to the "Counting the Dirty Dishes" trick to put me to sleep.  Well, I had to take off my PJ pants and turn on the pedestal fan, even though the AC was set for 75F so I thought I was going through a hot flash. But Greg reported that he was hot upstairs last night as well, so we commiserated, over breakfast, about being middle-aged wimps and recalled the good old days when we slept (badly) with the AC set for 77F or even 78F!

This week won't be frugal when it comes to electrical costs because I saw that our highs are going to be nearing the 90s pretty much for the next 10 days, with several days breaking the 90 barrier.  I'm just thankful that it isn't 100F. Yet.

I cooked Greg's breakfast and packed him leftovers to take to work (cheeseburger, potato salad, hard boiled eggs, yogurt).  And then I ironed a pair of his pants and a shirt so he would look nicely pressed to go to work.  Greg isn't demanding and I appreciate that very much. He thanked me for ironing his pants. I like that, in our marriage, we are always thanking the other for the things that they do (mowing the lawn, vacuuming). It's the little things like that that make you feel appreciated when, after 15 years of marriage, one might sometimes feel like they are taken for granted.

Over breakfast he checked his RaceTrac app to see how many free fountain drink coupons he had remaining, and since the app didn't seem to be connecting to its server, he signed out and signed back in, despite my warning that he would probably lose his coupons by doing that.  Well, guess what?  No coupons when he logged back in, but he felt confident that they still were somewhere on the server so off he went to RaceTrac to get his free soda before he went to work.  He called me to report that the gas station was having problems connecting to the Rewards servers as well so they just told him to get the free soda and not worry about it, lol.

For my breakfast I had some honey nut cheerios and I sliced the rest of a quart of strawberries bought at Aldi two weeks ago!  Nope, the strawberries hadn't spoiled. Amazing!  I still have about half of another quart in the fridge and I might make strawberry summer cake today.

The kids will be buying lunch from school today, the one day a week they're allowed to do so.

I'm trying to think of my to-do list for the week.  Today is Domestic Monday so I shall endeavor to do the dishes, do some baking, do the laundry. Greg asked me if I was going to vacuum so I guess that's on his wishlist.  It's the end of the month so I should work on end of month reports for my expenses and I know I'll be reporting a huge expense (again) in eating out, but we were quite indulgent with that on purpose this month so I don't feel guilty one bit.

Last night's premiere of Game of Thrones was OK. It wasn't horrible and it wasn't great.  I was surprised but delighted that we didn't have any problems streaming the show, since I expected the HBO servers to be slammed.  We have never EVER watched Game of Thrones during its current season, we usually buy the whole season after it's aired (like a year after it's aired, to boot!) so we're used to be able to watch 2, maybe even 3 episodes back to back.  So it was hard, last night, when the show was over, to know that we'd have to wait another week before going on to the next episode.  Greg went back to his videogames and I started looking at what show could possibly hold my attention on the other channels that we subscribe to, saw that there were 1 or 2 seasons of "Whitechapel" that I hadn't watched on Amazon Prime, and decided to rewatch the whole series from the beginning since I couldn't remember much of it. I fell asleep some time during the 2nd episode, though.

I'm kicking myself for not remembering to take advantage of all the TV watching to do something productive at the same time like folding the laundry, mending some clothes, or sorting my newly printed coupons away.  Sometimes my brain is a little foggier than I would like.

My oldest son replied to my email last night and we decided to have lunch together on Thursday. I will be driving to the UCF area to meet him since he'll be in the middle of finals.

Dinner tonight will be the Fritos Pies that I never made last week.  Since I ruined the red beans by soaking them way too long and had to throw them away, my plans for making my own chili have been altered.  I surveyed my pantry last night and saw that I had one can of dark kidney beans and several cans of black beans, so I will be making chili in the crockpot with kidney beans and black beans. Some people might be aghast but, to me, beans are beans, and they all pretty much taste the same.  Once the spices are added, I think it'll be just fine.

I saw a billboard on the side of the turnpike on Saturday that made me realized that I missed, once again, the annual Blueberry Festival that is celebrated in Brooksville.  That was last weekend. Darn it.

I printed a few coupons from the Kellogg's e-newsletter.  Unlike the coupons that you get by redeeming KFR points, the ones from the newsletter can be printed twice each.

The cats and I could hear birds calling from behind the closed windows so I turned off the AC and opened the sliding door so we could all enjoy a birdie concerto.  Then I noticed a bird singing one the top of one of my veggie protecting "cages" so I grabbed my camera... he had moved by then and the screen of the sliding door was in my way, so I tried to go outside as silently as I could. He was on the ground underneath the bird feeder, pecking at seeds that had fallen on the ground,but I didn't get a good shot of it, even when he flew to the bird bath.  Arrgh.

So I decided to go inspect my garden since I was outside.  I was still in my PJs and threw on one of Greg's old plaid flannel shirts and it must have worked to turn me into a scarecrow because as I was at the bird feeder area, taking down the hummingbird feeder to refill it, that little brown birdie with specks of white or yellow on its belly flew right by me and landed on a pot just a couple of feet away. Unfortunately, something was in my way again so I missed a great shot, as he realized his mistake and flew off almost immediately.

I did hear another call and saw one of the woodpeckers had perched itself on top of one of the wooden power poles in the backyard.

Four squirrels were digging through the backyard.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you think "awww, they're so cute!" until you look at your vegetable garden and see that they've dug holes every-freaking-where.

"But they have to eat!", you protest.  Let me remind you that we have several huge oak trees around the property, that squirrels love acorns, that in Florida oak trees seem to produce acorns year-round and even if they didn't, there are enough acorns to feed 1,000 times the amount of squirrels we have.  Ugh.  Stay out of my vegetable garden, you rats!

I harvested 2 tiny Roma tomatoes and 2 Supersweet 100 grape tomatoes.

My jasmine cutting is flowering too!
I saw two magpies flying into a nearby tree but couldn't get a picture of them.

Back indoors, my son went to school and I turned on the dehumidifier in the downstairs bathroom.

I cooked hard-boiled for Greg's snacks this week and will be reusing the water for my indoor potted plants.

Bath & Body Works replied to my email inquiry to tell me that the Clermont store is scheduled to open on June 4th. Yay!  Just in time for me to go stock up on Beach Grass candles for the summer!

I reused water saved last week to top off my indoor zombie plants.  The cutting that I took from my neighbor's bush has lost its white and pale blue blooms, but the foliage seems to survive so I think the cutting must have started to root.  However, the bougainvillea cutting looks like twigs planted in dirt so I don't think that worked :(

Speaking of cuttings, I was reading old blog posts from April 2014 this past weekend and, I can't believe that I didn't think of it this year, back then I had taken cuttings of my own mint plants and rooted them. Doh, Nathalie.  Sometimes I'm so dense. But this is why I keep this blog.  What? You thought it was to amuse you?  Oh, no, no. It's because I'm the most forgetful person I know.  So I shall be taking a couple of mint cuttings this morning and starting them in water.  No need to stress about buying mind seeds anymore!

I chased 2 squirrels away that had the temerity to venture into the self-watering bins closest to the house, all the way around the corner of the house, and even kicked the trunk of the tree they took refuge in to show them how much they had annoyed me. Take that!  In doing so, I saw the wild lantana growing in between the neighbors' house and ours and remembered that despite all appearances,  it's growing on OUR property so I went to get a couple of cuttings of that because I like the colors and I'm hoping to be able to replant it in pots on my patio to attract bees and butterflies.

Then the sad realization that while gardening is fun, Domestic Monday is the theme of the day, so I trudged upstairs to get the laundry and got a super load started on cold/cold. It's undies and socks and exercise clothes and my own clothing so it'll get dried on the racks outside.  I'll do another super load with Greg's clothes and the bath towels afterwards and that one will go in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting.

I heard another bird all and ran to the sliding door and a beautiful male cardinal had flown to the bird feeder!  I have tons of pictures of male cardinals on my bird feeder but I can always use a few more, right?  So I tried sneaking outside quietly but maybe I should have dressed in red so as not to frighten him because he spotted me (hard not to!) and flew off.  So I decided: Domestic Shmomestic  Monday!  I'm gonna sit outside in my PJs with my laptop and my camera and enjoy the still not too hot morning on my back patio.  Chores can wait.  There are birdies to visit and nature to enjoy. Life is short and, like the squirrels and the acorns, I'm not about to run out of chores.  So this is where I am now and a lovely breeze just started so I'm very comfy.

I shall try to work on a menu for the week.

An email from JustBARE chicken asked me if I considered myself a locavore, or someone who tries to only eat food that is produced locally. Nope. I'm a cheapievore.  If I had to depend on food that is grown close to my house, I'd have to survive on oranges and blueberries, probably. Florida is an agricultural state but they must charge too much for it because you don't see produce sourced in Florida all that often at places like Aldi.  Publix will put "grown in Florida" labels on their produce and their ads so it would be easier to be a locavore if I shopped there, but you have to also realize just how large Florida is: it's a 12-hour drive from Key West to Pensacola, for instance (and incidentally Google Maps is telling me that it would take 3h30 by PLANE to go between the 2 cities.  Seriously?! That's got to be wrong or involve several layovers). So eating produce grown in Florida doesn't necessarily mean that it's grown close to where you live. And I like the variety of being able to eat veggies and fruit grown all over the place. Florida oranges are usually pretty gross. Navel oranges from California?  Oh so good!

Well I'm trying my best to look like an inconspicuous big black lump on the patio so as not to scare the birdies, but I don't think it's working. I'm hearing a lot of bird calls but no birds are venturing in my yard.  Did you ever participate in the Great Bird Count?  My son and I did it several years when we were homeschooling but we ended up going to count them at the lake near our house because our backyard was pretty boring and got almost no action.

I think that sometimes I over-complicate my life. I'm here on the patio with nary a cookbook in sight (well, I guess I could look up recipes on the laptop but I didn't bother) and I managed to work out a whole dinner plan for the week in less than 5 minutes.  Woohoo!  I put my ideas down and I will work on refining the list of ingredients that I will be using up and what I still need to buy this afternoon when I'm back indoors. I love easy weeks like these.

  • Monday:  Frito Pies (didn't make them this weekend)
  • Tuesday: Grilled Mild Italian Chicken Sausages and Salad
  • Wednesday: Blue Plate Meatloaf, Mashed Red Potatoes, and Dawn's Grandma's Baked Zucchini
  • Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
  • Friday: Meatball Subs
  • Saturday: Pasta Enchilada Skillet
  • Sunday: Cheeseburgers & Fries

There is a yapping dog somewhere close that is annoying me.  I will take squirrels digging in my bins before a yapping dog.  That's how much I don't like yapping dogs. And oh yay, the other neighbors down the block let out their freaking dog that barks.non.stop.  I forgot it was Monday.  I've noticed that they tend to leave their dog outside all day on Mondays.  Soon the other neighbors a few houses down will let out their big snarling dog and the two of them will try to outbark one another.  This is why I typically retreat indoors on Mondays.  If you own a dog, please be respectful of the neighbors. There is no reason for your animal to be barking its head off. If it is, then something is wrong with the animal and it should be dealt with.  Go check on your dog and figure out why it is barking.  If it's barking just for fun and you live somewhere without neighbors, fine.  If you live in a downtown area, like I do, then get your dog back inside.  If your own dog barking inside is driving you nuts, watch The Dog Whisperer and enroll your dog in an obedience school or take the time to play with the darn animal. Or take it to the dog park. Or pay someone to take it to the dog park. There are a couple of them just a few minutes away from here that the taxpayers are funding for you.

Sometimes I think people should be taxed on the amount of noise their household produces. And that's coming from someone who, at some point, had 6 kids living at home, including two who played brass instruments and one who liked to sing at the top of her lungs.

Hmm,  I just got an email from my calendar reminding me that Save A Lot is probably having a 50% off clearance on their 5-lb ground beef chubs today since last time I went they had a whole bunch that had a sell-by date of today.  Do I want to drive the 14 or so mile roundtrip to check it out?  We have been using a lot of ground beef recently.  I probably should. But I'm so comfy!  A quick look at my freezer inventory that I keep on Google Drive reveals that I should have about 14 lbs left in my freezer so I guess I can skip it.

MobiSave must have finally fixed its app because today I didn't need to sign out and sign back in to get the new offers. I typically only use the generic ones and I uploaded all 5, although I'll probably only use the offer on the bananas.

My patience was rewarded!  After being outside for 45 minutes or so, the female cardinal landed on the bird feeder... and then she was rejoined by another bird. I had never seen this and I think it might be the couple's young one... and since its head and part of its chest were red, I'm guessing a young male that hadn't yet come into its all-red plumage?  Is that how young male cardinals grow up? I have no clue. I'll have to research that.  The young one saw me taking a picture so it flew off somewhere, and then the female perched herself on top of my "All Birdies Welcome" sign post and posed for pictures until she finally flew off into the orange tree where she was immediately rejoined by the male cardinal that had been watching her from a nearby oak tree.  This is their usual routine, they always visit the orange tree for a few minutes after they're done feeding. It's weird because there are much larger trees just 10 feet away but maybe filling up on seeds prevents them from flying too high right after a meal?  LOL.

The digital zoom was at its maximum so the pictures are blurry.

I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits.  My phone states that I was eligible for 28 credits today but I only had 2 "extra" offers on my laptop and none on my phone so I think I only earned 27 today.  The $5 Amazon gift card still isn't available.  I'm wondering if it'll ever be again.

I earned the minimum on Swagbucks. I'm still at fewer than 600 SB for the month.

Right as I was thinking that it was so nice that it was cloudy today because the temperature outside was very enjoyable, the cloud cover parted and it started getting hot... especially since I'm still wearing my black sleeping clothes.  So I reluctantly retreated indoors.

I swept the kitchen and went to take a shower. I reused water collected while it was warming up to flush the toilet, and I remembered to turn it off when I was soaping up. No reason for all this water to just run down the drain!

Then I hung the laundry outside to dry. You know the saying "you get what you paid for"?  It's so true.  Two of my three racks that I bought from Aldi have broken. The plastic hardware couldn't handle them being folded and unfolded ONCE  a week?! I just started using the third one so hopefully it'll last a little longer.

This one is the metallic one I bought from..., I think? I can't find the exact one anywhere, anymore. That's a shame.  There are similar ones but the reviews are mixed.

Then I spent several hours going through blogging rabbit trails while Whitechapel Season 1 episodes 2 and 3 were playing. I didn't pay attention to what was going on in the story! I just love reading blogs, little insights into people's lives, looking at pictures they took, etc.  I find it fascinating.

Then at 3 p.m. I figured it was time to go check on the laundry... and suddenly remembered that I was supposed to have started chili in the crockpot. Oh no!  I decided to make Chili with Beans and Corn from my Crockpot's Hearty Soups, Stews & Chilies (bought at Aldi last Fall).  I got a can of dark red kidney beans and what I thought was a can of black beans from the pantry... only once I drained the "black beans", I realized that it was another can of kidney beans albeit the light red kind this time. OH WELL.  The recipe called for draining all the cans, including the tomatoes, but then I had to add 1 cup of water. Why not just keep the liquid from the cans, then?  Sadly, I didn't read the whole recipe beforehand (arrgh, I always forget to do that!) so I had drained the cans. Also, they said to get a can of whole tomatoes and then cut them into pieces.  Hmm, it's not like diced tomato cans exist, right?  Shrug. I used a can of petite diced tomatoes.  I was able to use some diced sweet onion that had stayed on my kitchen counter overnight so it had dried up a little but I had put it in a baggie and back into the fridge yesterday morning so it was perfect for the chili!  I skipped the tomato paste, green onions, and jalapeños because I just wanted to get it going. It'll get smothered in melted mock Velveeta cheese so no one will miss those.

I put Greg's clothes in the dryer but realized that my Bounce dryer bar holder had come unglued from the dryer and then clothes lint had piled on to the sticky side so no way to stick it back on.  Now, up until I reorganized my laundry room cabinets last month, I kept probably about 10 extras of that holder since the last one had stayed glued on for a couple of years. So I decided that I would never use them and threw them away.  This always happens to me!  So I pulled the holder out of an unused package of Bounce Dryer Bar instead. I hope this one will remain stuck at least through 2 bars!

Back outside, it was HOT!  I checked on the laundry racks and was able to bring most of the laundry back inside.  There are a few more things that need to stay out a little longer though. I'll fold the laundry while we watch our evening shows after dinner tonight.

The hummingbird feeder was empty so I refilled it with water and the 2nd half of the hummingbird nectar bag that I had bought at Dollar Tree.  I also added more bird seeds to the bird feeder.

My son's Florida Virtual School teacher emailed me about him not having logged in enough exercise minutes so i'll have to discuss that with him tonight.  I looked at the notes that I had taken when we had a conference call with her when the class started and she never said anything about minutes. She talked about variety of exercises and how many days.  She spoke very fast and never seemed to completely answer the questions we had for her so I think that after I speak with my son tonight, he and I will be calling her back and I won't get off the phone until she has explained clearly and succinctly exactly how much exercise he is supposed to have logged every week.

My daughter went to her college class (last week for Trig!) and I told her to stop by Panera and use my free bagel reward. This week is the last week for it!  She had planned on using it every day this weekend while she was at her dad's but she ended up not using it at all. It's fine, since I didn't go to Clermont and didn't pass a Panera in Gainesville.

My son went to volunteer at the library.  I lit the French Lavender candle in the living room, turned on Smooth Jazz on the radio and lost myself in the blog of a lady who lives in Lakeland (an hour south of me) and publishes weekly posts consisting of 1 picture she takes every day. I like looking at my area of Florida through other people's eyes.  I used to drive to Lakeland with my youngest son when I homeschooled him because one of my friends' homeschooling group met there at one of the playgrounds, once a month. We also used to visit Explorations V, a "hands-on" exploration place for little people, which is one of those places where they have a kid-size supermarket, bank, etc. and the kids can put on costumes and play with the accessories, etc.  My son used to love it.  I did too!  OK, don't tell anyone but maybe I'm more ready to be a grandmother than I think I am.  OK, forget that I said that, really quickly. I don't like kids. I guess I miss mine being little.

When it was time for dinner, I melted half of the huge bar of Aldi-brand Velveeta cheese in the microwave with a can of Rotel tomatoes.

I checked the mail while this was happening and found $5 in Staples Rewards in my mailbox. Woohoo!

New Kitty had gotten into the habit, this past weekend, to sit on the top of the rain barrel box that had come in but hadn't been unpacked yet.  Then after Greg installed it, he left the huge box on its side in our entry room so the cats could play in it. In preparation for recycling it, I straightened it out today and placed it near the sliding door. As I was setting the table for dinner, I heard this loud scrapping sound and couldn't place it... until my son pointed out to the box: New Kitty had tried to jump up on top, not realizing that... there was no top since the box had been opened and I had tucked the flaps inside. LOL!  She was all discombobulated.  I wanted to leave her in there to see if she would come out by herself but she just sat there, licking herself. I tried plying her with dangling a toy over the side but she just wanted to play.  So my son got her out, lol.  Not 5 minutes later... she tried jumping in there again!  But this time she couldn't make it in.  Silly cat.

Dinner was good but not a great hit with the kids.  Oh well.  I had enough leftovers for Greg's lunch tomorrow and also for mine.  I gave him the rest of the Fritos and I think we have tortilla chips in the pantry that I'll use for mine.

After dinner, my daughter was putting her dirty dishes on the counter next to the sink when her glass cup fell to the floor and shattered.  All of us but Greg were barefoot so he took care of cleaning up. I snapped a picture of him sweeping so I could show you all my man in action, lol. I told him that I had seen some shards flying into the next room to get him to keep sweeping but he was on to me at that point!

He went to change into his comfy clothes and sat in his chair, and I asked him if his RaceTrac app had ever gotten all his coupons back (since he had lost them this morning when he signed out of it and tried to sign back in). So he checked and they were back but then he mentioned that one of them was expiring today but that he didn't want to go get anything, so I guilted him into going to get a caffeine free diet coke for his poor wife who had slaved over a hot stove for him all afternoon.  With a big sigh, he went back upstairs, put clothes back on, and tried to enroll our son to go with him by promising to buy him some sour patch kids with another coupon that he had.  Only once he got there, most of the soda fountains were out of order and since my only choices were lemonade, Powerade or Gatorade, I asked him to get a lemonade.

Right before he left, he changed into a T-shirt and came downstairs, all indignant and asked me to touch the T-shirt, exclaiming: "it feels like sandpaper!". That was one of the T-shirts I had dried outside a couple of weeks ago.  He is such a whiner :)


  1. Sounds like you had a good day! Love the pictures of your garden visitors, including the cute little squirrel! :D And your plants look so nice and green! I used to have mint growing in my garden and I managed to kill it!

    1. I shall endeavor to post more pictures of the "cute" squirrels for you since you appreciate them, lol. The self-watering bins are really working! I transplanted a lot of tomato seedlings that grew from all the seeds I had foolishly planted in just one bin (one of my bins will support 2 tomato plants but not... 18!) and since I didn't feel like making more bins and then mixing lots of soil, I just put them in potting mix in large nursery pots and I placed those in bins. I try to always leave some water in the bins so the pots "water" themselves and don't dry out. It's worked for the seedlings because they have grown a lot (as much as the ones in the self-watering bins). Tomatoes need a lot of water (a gallon a day per fully grown plant). But it's not a great idea because of mosquitos. Thankfully I have plenty of lizards and frogs in the backyard and our city sprays for mosquitos.

      I can't believe that you killed mint! I thought I had killed mine by not watering it at all this past winter but as soon as I did, it was revived. I have it in a couple of planters because I had read it could be quite invasive, but actually mine is kind of sparse and I'm thinking of planting the one that I'm rooting in a larger pot to give it more space to spread. My oregano is definitely trying to escape its pot, I'm glad I didn't grow that one in ground.

    2. I had the mint growing in the ground. I gave it the whole bed in which to grow. I hoped it would be invasive and spread and be a groundcover of sorts. But it just frizzled out and died! Probably needed more water.


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