I detect a pattern in my weekly rhythm... it seems that the past Sunday nights, my body has refused to fall asleep for various reasons which might have to do with the
You mean I have to clean again?! Even with the little that I do, it feels at times like it's all that I do. I know some people love it but I really loathe it. Love/loathe, it's almost pronounced the same (well, to my foreign ears anyway), I wonder if that's why people say that it's a fine line between love and hate.
So I suppose I shall be productive today: dishes,laundry, baking, making a menu, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, fold (last week's) laundry. Those are all chores I need to do!
I'm kind of stuck at home today because I'm expecting Greg's gaming PC to be delivered and UPS wouldn't let me sign for it online. They give a delivery window but it's smack in the middle of the day and I really should at least vacuum before that window so I hear them when they knock on the door.
Greg was feeling better although he was sniffly so I armed him with a pack of tissues for his commute and off he went to work. I packed him the rest of the Spicy Black Bean soup and a Blue-Cheese Stuffed Cheeseburger, among other items, for his lunch.
My daughter will try to buy lunch at school today. They only have 30 minutes to buy food and everyone has their lunch period at the same time this year so many times the students ran out of time to buy food. To me, that would mean that I'm packing my lunch every day, but she said she would attempt to buy lunch. I hate standing in line more than making myself a sandwich so I don't have much sympathy, lol.
The weather is lovely and still quite cool this morning. I turned the AC back up to 76 throughout the house and opened the sliding door to air out the entrance room and for the cats to enjoy some sounds and smells.
Last night I was finally able to "fix" (well, I hope it's fixed. Update: nope, it's still doing it. I'll need to up the sensitivity setting again) the problem that I've been having with my laptop. The Track Pad had become, once again, very sensitive, making it too easy to drag and drop (and resulting in my dragging tabs into new Chrome windows unwittingly every few seconds among other problems) and was the source of much frustration. I had found the screen where I was supposed to be able to access the settings for it but it had been grayed out. For some reason last night I tried again and this time the settings option was enabled so I was able to make it "less sensitive". Stop being so thin skinned, laptop, grow a back bone! I don't know how the settings changed themselves since I don't have any updates enabled. I do remember having to change them a couple of years ago because it had given me the same problem. It's disturbing when machines seem to do their own thing. Which, let's be honest, seems like it's more and more frequent as I become older and older. I fully expect my laptop to turn into the Terminator by the time I hit 50 (next year, yikes.).
Speaking of turning 50, Jodie and I had a huge brain fart on Saturday as we talked about aging and got stuck in trying to think how old we were currently and when we would actually turn 50. Isn't that pathetic? We laughed but it's obviously a sign of
We also discovered that we both squirm when we see pictures of ourselves because we both think we look like whales, but then we look in the mirror and we really don't look all that bad. Does that happen to you too? Do we all have skinny mirrors? Or are the phone companies deliberately putting fattening filter on our phone cameras because they're in cahoots with the Diet Industry? Inquiring minds want to know! Well, in my case the scale -and more importantly, my suddenly much more limited wardrobe - doesn't lie (probably) and I have much MUCH weight to lose. So added to my chores, I should try to get on the recumbent bike today. Here is another "bleh" for you.
Right before going to bed last night, my son came to me so I could sign his school agenda, a weekly requirement from the teachers, and produced some forms to fill out and return for 9th grade next year. Why do boys always wait until the last minute? There was a form to pick out electives and a form to sign up for AP classes without any information about which AP classes he could pick from and without course descriptions. Arrgh. He had been asked to pick 5 electives (but he will only get 1 or 2) but only two truly interest him (Digital Design and something else IT related, I forget what it is) so he numbered them 1 and 2, but I really hope he only gets those 2. His other choices were Culinary, TV Production, and Building Science (or something along those lines). He didn't want to pick Robotics because he said he hates Robotics which really surprised me. I always felt guilty that I didn't involve him in that (because there were no resources close to us back then) so I guess I worried for nothing, as is often the case.
But I was perturbed by the fact that the AP sign-up sheet didn't come with more explanations so I emailed the 9th grade Guidance Counselor with whom we met several weeks ago to ask if we were missing anything. I'm glad I asked: he was missing the sign-up sheet for the only AP class 9th graders are allowed to take (AP Human Geography) and the course description so I asked that she email it to me and she did. I'm thankful that I had an inkling that we were indeed missing something based on having had my daughter attend that school prior to him and getting involved in AP classes as early as 9th grade (unlike her older siblings) otherwise I wouldn't even have known to ask the questions. That is a consistent problem with the schools down here. They claim that they want parents to be involved and deplore the fact that there is little parent involvement (I worked as a Family School Liaison at the local elementary school and my job was specifically to get parents involved in their kids' education so I know what I'm talking about and yes, I found most parents to be apathetic, at least at the Title I school where I worked) but in return they give out information drop by drop and oftentimes you have to be proactive to get the information because it's not on the school's website and you don't get flyers either (but boy oh boy, do we get flyers advertising all kinds of other things such as fundraisers and commercial "partnerships"). As a parent, many times you don't know what is it that you're supposed to know. No one tells you, and then there information isn't there. It's truly pathetic. If I were more social, I would run for the School Board. Anyhoo, now we have the forms that we need so yay.
My son will be buying lunch from school today as well. Today is also the day when he volunteers at the library after school.
Yesterday Greg told me I should "just" buy bikes for my son and myself as I was wistfully talking about going on a bike ride. He meant "just buy new bikes". I have been talking about getting them from a thrift store. He's probably right in the sense that I don't really know much about bikes so I'm liable to buy something that's not working properly right off the bat and if I have to take it to a bike store and pay $100 to get it fixed, then, shamefully, I admit that I'd rather buy something new so I don't have to deal with it. A Slickdealer posted an alert about a Schwinn bike that was featured on Walmart.com at $100 less than it used to be. I checked it out but I wanted one with the handles bar that allow me to sit more upright and I found a very pretty one that is $159 and fits the bill. I was really tempted to get it for myself, but people were complaining that it was very heavy. I have a large SUV so loading the bike on the bike rack that I hang from the back of the SUV is hard work because I have to lift the bike overhead. As I have noted, I'm no Spring Chicken (more like a Fall Chicken now!) so I really don't want to have to do this. It just occurred to me that maybe the solution is also to buy a new bike rack, something that wouldn't be so high. One of those that slides into the trailer hitch "pipe" and that sits much lower. Hmmm, I might do that although that is yet another expense. I'll have to do some research. I like that the bike has those mud protectors and a bell... and the awesome mint color too! Oooh, I think I'm going to buy it!
|My future bike?|
Update: Greg said nothing was too expensive for me (awwww....) so that did it, I ordered it. I could be saving lots by going to a thrift store so I feel a bit guilty but then I'd have to compromise on a bike I don't like as much (yes, still rationalizing). I went through Swagbucks so I should earn 5 SB per $ spent (or 750 SB), and 1% back on my American Express card. I was thinking about using one of those darn Visa gift cards from the Optimist Club to get rid of it faster but then I thought about purchase protection so I chose Amex. Granted, I didn't check to see what purchase protection was offered via Amex but the gift card offers none anyway. And then I'll earn 1% back on Amex too, so there's that. It should be ready for pick-up today and I'm hoping that they'll put it together for me too (apparently some stores do that automatically). If UPS comes to deliver my other package early enough, I might have time to drive to Clermont today to (get a free bagel) and get my bike! I looked at my UPS notice again and they should deliver it by 2:45 p.m. so unless they change that, it should work for me!
I signed out of and closed the MobiSave app and got the new offers for the week when I reopened it. This week there are several offers that I'll be able to redeem (eggs, milk...). Yay!
I printed some coupons that Kellogg's sent me. Crap. Gotta clean out my coupon organizer and clip and file all those coupons that have accumulated!
I just wrote a long to-do list for the week and then caught myself sneaking off to Feedly to catch up on blogs and other news. Argh! Bad Nathalie! I need to get started on my chores! Well, I have a load of laundry in the machine right now. So I'm turning off the laptop for a while and putting on my Domestic Superwoman cape, well, apron. (it's just like a cape, you just wear it in the front!)
I did a load of dishes and a bunch of them by hand as well. I still have some dirty dishes that will be washed with tonight's load.
I hung the undies/socks/exercise clothes and my cotton clothing outside to dry on the racks. It's a delightful day today and I really should be out gardening because it is still quite cool but I have too many things to do indoors (and the UPS guy to listen for).
I swept the laundry room and the stairs leading to my daughter's room. Then I swept the kitchen and used a square cut out from an old bath towel to "mop" the floor as well.
I was going to bake today but everyone is gone until dinner time (well, my daughter will be back after school for an hour or so, actually) so I decided to postpone that until tomorrow, when my son will be back after school to eat snacks!
I picked the following free e-book from the April offerings of the KindleFirst program. What did you pick?
I worked on a dinner menu for the week. I always feel better once it's done!
UPS delivered my packages at 11:45 a.m., thus freeing me to be able to drive to Walmart whenever my bike is ready for pick-up. I'm thinking I might just get my grocery shopping done while I'm in Clermont, if it's ready early enough.
For my lunch, I made myself a quesadilla with 2 Ortega flour tortillas from Dollar Tree, the rest of the Cajun Chicken Helper from Friday's dinner, topped with half a diced tomato that was just sitting in the fridge and some shredded cheese. I kind of made a mess when I flipped it around so it doesn't look great, sorry! I also finished the Sweet & Tangy Pineapple Salad.
I decided to clean the fridge. Unfortunately, I found some food waste in the back of it, but at least all my shelves are clean now!
I found a strawberry that had rotten in one of the boxes from Aldi last week so I decided to cut up those strawberries and freeze them. I'm keeping the 2nd box in the fridge as I want to make scones and Strawberry Yogurt Cake tomorrow.
Then I found a box of Baking Mix in the fridge and there is a recipe for Shortcakes in the back so I think I'll make some today and top them with strawberries. I'll use shelf-stable whipping cream from Trader Joe's (although I keep it in the fridge and I just found out that it needs to be refrigerated for 6 hours prior to being whipped so I might buy whipped cream in a can when I go out later on today).
So I froze the margarine wrapper from the margarine stick that I finished by using it in the shortcakes.
I cut up the 6 green peppers that I bought at Aldi last week and froze them.
Walmart emailed me that my bike was ready for pick up so I got my coupons together very fast, printed my shopping list, and was off! Here is what I did:
- I stopped by RaceTrac near my house and redeemed a survey reward code for a free blueberry muffin for my breakfast tomorrow and a free drink Reward with my app (32 oz caffeine free Diet Coke, no ice!).
- I went to Walgreens and bought a gallon of milk for $2.79 and 2 boxes of Lucky Charms for my son. They were on sale and I had an insert coupon for $1.00. Unfortunately. I realized later on that the generic "Marshmallow Stars" cereal at Aldi is only $1.29 a box so I overpaid by buying "the real thing" at Walgreens. How annoying. I also got a small bottle of my favorite Dawn dish soap that was on sale for 99 cents. I redeemed a $0.25 coupon and I'll redeem a 40 cent MobiSave rebate too so it'll be 34 cents in the end. Then I saw that they had the Easter stuff on 70% clearance. I ended up buying a kit with several chocolate milk bunnies for just $2.99. I'll probably split it among the kids, but for now it's in my chocolate "stash" that I'm starting! My OOP was $9.56 and I paid with one of the Visa gift cards that I'm trying to get rid of so I didn't earn any credit card rewards. I did earn 70 Balance Rewards points though.
- Then I drove to the RaceTrac in Clermont and redeemed another survey reward code for a free Glazed Lemon Coffee Cake. The assistant manager asked me if I wanted another receipt so I could take another survey so what do you think I said?! LOL. I have 5 or 6 receipts that I need to take surveys with so what's one more, right? FREE bakery items says it all.
- From there I went to CVS, where I found a penny in the parking lot. Woot! Free money! At CVS, I bought a tube of Colgate toothpaste. Again, Nathalie? It was a money maker because it was on sale for $3.00 and the kiosk printed a store coupon for $2.50 and I had a $1.00 manufacturer coupon so the 50 cent overage applied to my groceries which were: 2 dozens eggs at $1.99 (yes, I know they are $1.29 at Aldi right now but they're free to me at CVS!), a Dove dark chocolate bar for $0.99 and 4 boxes of Special K cereal bars on sale @ $1.99 each and for which I had (2) $1.00/2 coupons. I redeemed $5.50 in ExtraCare bucks that I had earned last week and my OOP was $5.16 for all that but really it was ALL free to me with the CVS gift card that I earned via our American Express Rewards program. I also received $0.75 in ECB for the Dove chocolate bar. I was hoping to find a new Minute Clinic booklet with store coupons in it but I didn't see any (I checked near the Minute Clinic as well).
- My next stop was Panera where I redeemed my daily free bagel in April reward for an Asiago Cheese bagel. I think I might try a new bagel every time I go if there are any available at all. Today I was there at about 2 p.m. and the only ones they had left were those, the chocolate chip ones and another kind that I don't remember. So I need to try to go mid-morning, really, after the breakfast rush and before the lunch crowd.
- From there I drove to Aldi where I did most of my shopping. I didn't buy very much today, actually. I did splurge on a bird bath to put in the spot where I had my banana tree. It's near the bird feeder and will be a little higher due to the old stump so I'm hoping to be able to observe birdies taking their baths! It's made of resin and I'm wondering if I should try to tie it down somehow because it feel very light. I also got toilet paper and a bunch of snacky foods. We were all set with meats and produce so I didn't need to get much. My OOP including everything was $49.93 and once again I paid with the Visa gift card from the Optimist Club (remember, this doesn't mean it was free to me as I bought the gift cards from my daughter so she could put the cash in her savings. What it does mean, though, is that I'm missing out on 3% Rewards from Amex...)
- My last stop was Walmart where all I did was pick up my bike. I had brought my bike rack just in case and I'm glad I did because it was all put together. It must have been the floor model because they had a big price sticker right on it and now I have to use Goo be Gone to remove the adhesive. It's beautiful! I haven't tried it yet as I was tired after coming home and putting everything away. I didn't have much trouble putting it on the bike rack but it doesn't fit on it as easily as my other bike did so I will have to always struggle a bit, it seems. But hey, I brought it home without any problems so yay!
Back home, I took pictures of the groceries and put everything away and then took a break with a strawberry shortcake. I've never liked using Baking Mix for anything and this is NOT the exception to the rule. The cake is dry and crumbly and not very good and I have 7 more to eat!
I was worried that the spread that I bought at Aldi instead of the margarine that I using buy was going to be of very inferior quality but guess what? They're twins! And, it's only 59 cents at Aldi compared to now 89 cents at Save A Lot. Woohoo! This is what I use a lot when I bake instead of butter.
My daughter loves my new bike and is already talking about taking it to college next year. Whatcha talking about, daughter?! LOL. I haven't tried it yet as I am too tired to make the necessary adjustments to the seat height, etc. I'll probably do that tomorrow.
My daughter went to her college class and my son texted me to inform me that he was on his way to the library for his volunteer shift. Then Greg called to say that he was really tired so he was leaving work early. I've got to cook soon!
I updated my Ibotta app and right away noticed that rebates are no longer offered at CVS and Walgreens. Well, poop.
I do have several rebates to submit to MobiSave: lettuce, milk, eggs and the dishwashing liquid. I'm wondering if I can claim the salad mix rebate on Checkout 51 for my Boston lettuce since it's in a box too? I'll try and see what they say. Kellogg's Family Rewards will credit me with KFR points for the Special K cereal bars automatically via my ExtraCare card so I don't need to do anything and I don't have to submit my receipt for the bike to the Savings Catcher.
Thanks to everybody who always leaves such nice comments on my posts, you all are such nice people and I appreciate you all taking the time to chat with me!
Greg forwarded the reply from RaceTrac to me about the missing drink coupons in his Rewards account and they apologized and said that they had had some hiccups this weekend but that everything should be fixed. I'll have to check his app tonight, he was at work so I didn't want to bug him to check there and then. Update: he was pretty excited to inform me that he did get the coupons and that he was going to go to RaceTrac every morning to get himself a 32 oz soda for his morning commute, lol. We'll see if he actually does it.
They also replied to my email about not having been upgraded to the Prince of Pastries level (although I had been since I had emailed them) so then I asked what the different point/dollar levels were and how that all worked so here is their reply:
"It takes 500 points to get to Prince of Pastry, 2000 points to get to King of Coffee, and 3500 to get to the Sultan of Soda!
You get 1 point per .25 cents spent inside our store (Cigarettes, Tobacco, and Services Excluded) and 1 point per gallon you fill up at the pump."
The Sultan of Soda level is where you get a free drink every day for a whole year! I don't think I'll earn that. Greg might with all the driving he does, so maybe we'll get it.
They also told me that they'll be glad to credit me the points for the gas we pumped yesterday (the Rewards thingie didn't work at the pump) and that it will take 48 to 72 hours to show up in my account so I'll need to monitor that.
My daughter downloaded the RaceTrac Rewards app too and is getting gas for the family car tonight so I reminded her to use her Rewards membership. I told her to just use her own phone number so she earns her own Rewards and she was happy about that. As well she should be, since she's spending our money on the gas, lol. She redeemed a survey reward code for a free doughtnut. Atta girl!
For dinner I made the Chicken & Turnip Greens (not mustard greens as I might have said!) Lasagna. It was way more involved than it looked it like would be because their instructions was to cook the roux for 1 minute whereas it should be cooked for 7 minutes and then the bechamel has to cook for 10 minute, whipping it non stop, instead of "until thick" as the recipe just said. Arrrgh. I need to write to Barilla because they also said to put 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture over each layer of pasta, which is nothing! It should be 1/4 recipe of chicken mixture, which is what I did. I think I'll post the my version of the recipe on this blog later on tonight or tomorrow because it was really delicious! Greg and I loved it, the kids liked it. We have lots of leftovers for tomorrow's lunches and probably Greg and my son's dinner. Greg might go to a work function, actually, which is why leftovers might be on the menu for my son.
Panera replied to my email about the Touch ID problem, saying that their app doesn't require this at all, that it must be my phone and that I need to call Apple. However, the app worked just fine before I updated it without needing Touch ID and I haven't updated my phone since June last year so... I'm not sure what happened. I might have changed a setting somewhere else than in the Touch ID section? I noticed that when the message shows up to access the account (that Touch ID is required), it lets me proceed if I put my finger on the pad. I had thought it was giving me a warning but I guess it was instructions?! I can't test it to order anything since I have nothing to order right now. Grrr. I'll have to test it tomorrow night when we go out to dinner.
Swagbucks sent me that $25 Walmart gift card that I had ordered. I'll have to go grocery shopping there soon.
I earned 100 KFR points by entering this bonus code (see below) in my Kellogg's Family Rewards account.
The rest of our evening was spent getting the new gaming PC set up (Greg) and catching up on blogs and comments (me). Greg's all congested, the poor dear. I wish he would stay home and rest tomorrow as he has a low grade fever too, but the CEO of the company is coming to town tomorrow so it's all hands on deck :(
Have you visited Susan's blog yet? She creates the most beautiful greetings card for her family and friends and has fun in the process which is something that I cannot fathom because I'm not a creative person. I paid her a compliment in a comment and she admitted that sometimes she worries that her cards might come across as amateurish. So, dear Susan, I made this for you:
|This is an amateurish card by Nathalie, an amateur.|
|These are Susan's cards. Amateurish? Are you kidding me?! Go see the rest of them and judge for yourself! I think she should open her own Etsy store!|
Then my daughter was chatting with me for a little bit while waiting for the bathroom to be free so she could shower and let it slip that she had seen that her brother had gotten a flyer about going to visit the high school. Sigh. Of course, he didn't mention it! So I had to ask him about it and he gave it to me, saying that he was going to give it to me but tomorrow. Sigh. Again: boys! Anyway, so that's something else that gets added to my April social calendar since the expo is in the evening.