Friday, May 27, 2016

Frugal Successes and Failures: Friday 5/27/16

I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. last night and "slept" for 11 hours. In truth, I was uncomfortable and anxious and I woke up pretty much every hour. Then I felt like I was in Groundhog Day because I kept checking my phone and it said it was 6:30 a.m. but then I'd fall back asleep and check it again and it was still 6:30 a.m.  I must have dreamt that.

When I first went outside this morning, I didn't have my phone or camera with me and wouldn't you know it... there was a falcon or hawk or osprey hovering right above my back patio, not even that far up in the sky, and since he was kind of hanging into the air for a while, it would have made an awesome picture.  Argh.

I sat outside with my mug of coffee after I did my first chores, hoping Nature would perk me up.  I noticed 2 striped-winged mosquitoes on my patio table and I think those are the ones that spread encephalitis and zika so I came back inside. It'd been months since I had seen a mosquito in the backyard!  I need to check and make sure there is no unnecessary uncovered water.  I'm hoping the tadpoles will eat any mosquito larvae from their bin but since it's close to the patio, it might be where the mosquitoes are coming from.

Tons of hibiscus blooms on  my plant, yay!

How is your holiday weekend (if you're in the US) shaping up to be?  Here it's supposed to be raining a lot.  It's beautiful out now, though.  I have no plans. I tried to entice my daughter into going to visit her dad for the long weekend but she just wanted to stay here. I asked my youngest son if there was somewhere he wanted to go visit this weekend but he said no.  So I guess I'll read my books and watch some shows on Netflix.


  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • The kids packed their lunches to take to school.

  • There was half a mug of coffee left in the pot from yesterday morning so I had that as my first cup of coffee this morning.

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks.

  • I forgot to mention yesterday that I had mixed some water to some whole milk to stretch it.

  • I wasn't sure what to make with the chorizo that I defrosted for tonight. I have a recipe somewhere for a dish that I made and liked but I don't remember what it is and it seemed like too much trouble to look for it. So I found a recipe on for Chorizo and Lentil Stew and that's what I'm going to cook.

  • I had been thinking about how to extend the outdoors TV antennae cable to the 2nd floor so I could watch TV in my new bedroom and had resigned myself that I probably couldn't without making the house look really bad and unsafe with a cable running across walls and doorways.   So I had resigned myself to just using the Roku 1 that we used to have in our bedroom. Since my youngest son never plays the Xbox 360 anymore, I moved that flat screen TV from the entry room to my bedroom but couldn't find the Roku 1 anywhere. It's odd because I still have the remote and it can't be used without the remote.  I looked everywhere for it and it's driving me nuts that I don't know where it is. However, I did remember that I could watch Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant on my Kindle Fire (I will need to see if there is a PBS app I can download too), and I remembered that I had kept the indoor digital antennae that we used in the living room before putting in the new windows rendered it useless.  So I installed it in the front window of my bedroom, plugged it into the TV, scanned for channels... and I have a lot of channels!  Most of the ones that I do watch are there, although no ION TV, which means no Law & Order marathons for me unless I'm downstairs. But it's better than nothing, and I didn't have to run cables or buy anything.

  • My new-to-me laptop charger that I ordered off eBay came in yesterday and it works fine.  It's actually nice to have a charger in the room upstairs and leave the other one in the living room.  It charges fine. I did try to run the laptop off the battery this morning because it said I was at 100% power, but the battery only lasted 30 minutes, tops.  I suppose I could invest in another cheap Chinese battery but with the laptop having other problems, I'm loathe to spend more money on something that might not be of use anyway.

  • I uploaded new digital coupons to my Publix digital wallet. I never did receive the $100 gift card that I was supposed to have won :(

  • I collected warming-up water in the shower and will reuse it to flush the toilet.

  • I didn't like the box fan in my bedroom last night so I switched it for my favorite pedestal fan that is usually in the living room.  It's kind of busted but works fine if I jiggle the paddles in place properly and makes just the right amount of noise for me. I hope to be able to sleep better tonight.

  • I used a queen-size sheet on my bed because I'd repurposed most the twin-size sheets. I don't like the sheet's feel,though, so I will be looking for a more comfortable twin-size sheet at a thrift store, along with some drapes for the bedroom as well.

  • Swagbucks notified me that I have earned 15 SB from my eBay purchase earlier this week. When I checked my ledger, it says that it will take 71 days to credit. Good grief. Still, better than nothing, eh? I thought I would earn 2 SB per dollar spent but apparently it's only for baby items and collectables.

  • The new issue of  Kiplinger's Magazine is available to read digitally for free via my library. I will check it out since the loans don't seem to expire anyway but in truth I haven't read Kiplinger's since February. I just don't really care about retirement and investments right now. More immediate issues are sapping my energy and enthusiasm about financial planning.

  • I set about painting my squirrel sign. For drying racks, I used the 2 metallic racks from the microwave. I've never used them and they've been in a drawer all this time. To protect the table (the one Greg made me that sits next to the barbecue, it's the perfect height for my back), I reused the other side of the bag of potting mix that I used up yesterday and had already reused when I sprayed the Kilz primer onto the sign parts.  Then I scrounged around my craft supplies and found small bottles of old acrylic paint left over from projects made years ago. I found 3 fall-looking colors that I thought would work with the squirrel and acorn them.  The paint definitely wasn't fresh but I added a little bit of water.  I had received mini paint rollers and trays with free samples of paint from Ace Hardware two summers ago so I used those to paint the parts.  I might need to borrow additional paints from my daughter and see what sealant or clean varnish she or we have because I doubt the plywood will last very long in a storm.
Getting ready to paint

Yeah, I'm going to have to put on several more coats, I think.
  • While I was looking for the paints, I found 2 curtain rods that I had bought years ago but never used. I'll use those in my bedroom. I still need a 3rd one. I'm thinking about going to Family Dollar since it's close by (I'd like to walk but I should avoid that with my foot) and those things usually don't cost much more than at Walmart anyway.  They might also have curtains that would do the trick.

  • I looked for a bike repair store and found the one I had used years ago. It had good reviews in Yelp. I checked their website and they quoted service for "big box stores and internet bikes" at starting at $100.  Yikes. I called and described the problem and they said they would need to see the bike. I asked for a minimum price if I had the parts and they said $25.  So I loaded the bike and parts in the car, grabbed the Sodapalooza cups, and made a list of errands to run at the same time as I was in Clermont.  Here is what I did:
    • Bike Repair Shop: I dropped off the bike.  The owner of the store (I had spoken to the mechanic on the phone) said probably $50-$60 if they didn't need to change the wheel. I did bring the new wheel in. He said that if it cost less than $100, they wouldn't call me, they would just do the repairs. I agreed to it because what choice do I have?  I don't really want to drive to Daytona Beach to see if my son's roommate might be able to do the job, and since he's new at the job, I think, I don't know that the repair would be done properly. So I left the bike. They said they would call later on in the afternoon. It was 11 a.m.
    • Aldi: I bought more hot dog buns for this weekend, a jar of hazelnut spread for the kids since I never did buy it at Walgreens and didn't want to make an extra stop, and loaded up on 6 packages of the seasonal chipotle chicken sausages because they were very good.  I also bought the last 2 hummingbird feeders that they had at $6.99 each.  I charged the OOP to my Amex (3% back in Rewards)
    • Goodwill: I found 1 fitted twin-size sheet in a pattern that I like ($2.99), what is probably a shower curtain but that I will use as a curtain for 2 of the windows in my bedroom (either as 1 big curtain if it fits, or possible have to cut it and hem it into 2 smaller curtains ($4.99). I also found a pair of panels in a color that complimented the shower curtain. It has a faint leopard spot print that I don't care for but I probably won't even notice it since the curtains won't be opened ($6.99). My total OOP was $16.01 and I declined to round up to the next dollar. I decided to check if one of the rods that I have would extend to the full width of the 2 windows before buying a new one.  Goodwill did have a meat slicer that I had been looking for 2 years ago ($25) and ended up buying from Amazon. Shortly after that, Aldi stopped selling the unsliced Black Forest Ham that was so much cheaper by the ounce.  So now I have yet another appliance that's not being used. I keep hoping they'll start selling the ham again. Oh, I forgot that I also bought a "welcome" sign painted with cats for just $0.99. It's hanging at the entrance to our kitchen. I think my son will like it.
    • South Lake Animal League thrift store: I was looking for bird feeders but didn't find any :(  (I looked at Goodwill too and didn't find them there either).  I did see a large panel that I would like for my room for just $3 so I'm going to check now if what I bought will work and if not, I might stop buy and get that new panel.
    • RaceTrac: I got a free refill of CF Diet Coke for me and a free frozen drink for my son, which I put in the fridge.  Greg continues to get a free Dr. Diet Pepper on his way to work and then again at night on his way home.
Meat slicer at Goodwill - $24.99. I think I paid double for mine and that was after using some Discover Rewards :( Maybe mine will make someone at a thrift store happy one day...

Panel I was thinking of buying at SLAL Thrift Store. In the end, I didn't need it so I saved $3.00

New cat sign I bought at Goodwill. I don't think anyone has noticed it but no one has commented on it.

Pattern of the new sheet I bought for my bed

Pattern of the shower curtain I turned into an actual curtain (simply by hanging it in front of 2 windows...)

Patter of the other pair of curtains I bought.  I guess it's snakeskin pattern, not leopard spots.Still don't like it. Oh well.
  • As soon as I got home, I noticed that I had a voicemail... my phone was in my back pocket and I hadn't heard it ring... my bike was ready to be picked up.  I was considering going back there right away but I figured I should try to eat lunch first because it was 12:30 p.m. already. I'm not hungry though.

  • Before I ate, I gathered some dirty clothes and threw them in the wash on cold/cold along with the sheet that I had just bought.

  • I went to pick up my bike: the only part they actually had to use was the derailleur itself. They didn't need the new gear disk or wheel at all. I guess I get to keep those in case one day something else goes wrong.  My OOP was $53.50 and I charged it to Visa so just 1% in Rewards.  I was glad to have gotten that taken care of and the charge wasn't that bad compared to the hassle of trying to do it ourselves.

  • On the way home, I stopped by the South Lake Trail to try the bike. I parked midway between Lake Hiawatha Preserve and Jaycee Beach since I knew I could walk back to the car from those locations if something went wrong again. My plan was to tie up the bike to a tree or streetlight, walk back to the car and park as close to the bike as I could so I wouldn't have to carry it too far. Thankfully, everything went fine. However, the only time I changed gears was when I first started because they had tested it in the lowest gear. I put it on a higher gear and plan on leaving it there. After all, my bike in France had no gears and the terrain was way less flat than here. It'll be good for me. So I got free exercise today (well, free after a $53.50 repair, of course!). Parking was free too.  On my bike ride, I saw lots of Red-wing Blackbirds, a Blue Jay, and some other birds. I didn't take any pictures. The Birdy Hotels seemed empty.

  • On my way home, I stopped by RaceTrac again and got another free refill of CF Diet Coke with my Sodapalooza cup.

  • I downloaded the PBS app on my Kindle Fire.  Apparently, I had already downloaded HBONow. So I'm good to go without a Roku:)

  • My daughter and I drove to Family Dollar here in town to look for a curtain rod. I found a café rod for $3.00.

  • Once we got home, I installed all rods and curtains in my bedroom and got everything to fit properly. Yay! It makes the room a little darker, although not as dark as I would prefer. 
Shower curtain... not bad! It was a little tricky hanging it because the café rod barely fit into the holes meant for shower hooks, but I did make it work.

The other curtains. Ugh, that print!

But it's not too bad and you know what? It worked. It was dark enough at night, although I have
no idea what phase the moon was.  We'll see what happens when it's a full moon out.
  • My daughter asked if my new bed was comfortable and I told her that the mattress was too hard for me so she asked if I wanted the pillow top that I had gotten her (I don't even remember getting her that!) because she wasn't using it (it makes the bed too soft for her!). Score! I just hope I won't be too hot sleeping on it.

  • I am cooking the Chorizo Lentil Stew for dinner and it smells very good.


  • 2 hummingbird feeders, drapes for my room, one sheet for my room, bike repair.

  • Since the clothes I washed contained some of Greg's shirts, I ran the whole load in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting (otherwise it would have ran almost empty).


  • Food Waste Friday: I had food waste this week.  I didn't take pictures but I had to throw away/compost bread, a cantaloupe, a pie crust patty, some berries.  On the frugal food saves, I dehydrated 4 apples that were going bad, ate a mango that had gone bad and stuck the other one in the fridge to slow down the "going bad process", cut off moldy spots from a chunk of cheddar and used the good part for lunch, ate a yogurt that had a bad consistency (like it's bee frozen and defrosted) but that tasted fine.

  • Susan will be mad at me because she ordered me to go to my Photography class today but I never read the manual, my assignment photos didn't turn out, and I just didn't feel up to driving the 45 minutes to Mount Dora today and pretending to be jovial when I feel the complete opposite. So I emailed the library and asked them to convey my regrets to the instructor. I do have the manual to read and I'll just re-order the Digital Photography for Dummies book from the library once I've read the manual.

  • I also emailed the tea shop and explained that I wasn't coming to Mount Dora and probably wouldn't go again for a while so I will just keep the mango tea and forget about exchanging it for the peach tea. The mango tea will probably do, it's decaf anyway, which is what I wanted.

  • I looked for coupons on Kraft BBQ sauce so I could go and stock up from Save A Lot, but there aren't any.

  • It figures... right after I said I was going to check whether the curtains I bought would fit to see if I needed to stop by SLAL to get the one panel, I completed forgot to do it and left.  I realized it on my way to Clermont and told myself that I'd just stop and get it anyway because if I didn't use it for that room, I'd find another use for it.  And then... I forgot to do that too and didn't even realize it until I was home again!  Arrgh.

  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Packed his lunch
  • Set the breakfast table for the kids
  • Ran dehumidifier in the downstairs bathroom to avoid the mildew
  • Looked for a recipe for dinner tonight
  • Looked for Kraft BBQ sauce coupons
  • Uploaded digital coupons
  • Made my and Greg's beds
  • Moved fans around
  • Started painting my squirrel sign
  • Called a bike repair shop to get a quote
  • Dropped off the bike at the repair shop and ran errands
  • Did a load of laundry
  • Went back to repair shop to repair the bike
  • Went on a bike ride
  • Recorded receipts into my spreadsheets
  • Drove to Family Dollar to buy a curtain rod
  • Installed all curtain rods and curtains in my bedroom
  • Corresponded with my mom via email
  • Cooked dinner


  • I didn't have dinner last night.  I'm not hungry this morning.

  • My foot has started bothering me again, probably because I did put weight on it yesterday. I can't be sitting on the couch all day, every day, though. It's not too bad but it did wake me up a couple of times during the night and it's a nagging pain right now, even as I'm sitting. I need to do my stretching exercises.

  • I ended up having breakfast at about 10 a.m.  The food tastes like cardboard.  I had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, half a cup of ~2% milk and some slices of dehydrated apples.

  • I weighed myself after my first cup of coffee but before breakfast and I'm 221.2 lbs. I'm still huge, but down from 231 lbs about 10 days ago (although back then I was dressed in exercise clothes and I had already eaten).

  • I ate lunch without much of an appetite at 1 p.m.: an egg salad sandwich (1 hard boiled egg with 1 tsp of Fit & Active Light Mayo, on 2 slices of whole wheat bread) and the leftover salad from 2 nights ago, along with a little bit of my homemade dressing.

  • For exercise, I bike (outdoors) for 22 minutes, about a 4-mile ride.

  • I had a banana in the late afternoon. 


  1. You had a lot of successes again! And you lost a lot of weight in a short period of time - 10 lbs. in 10 days. That's a lot more than the recommended 2 lbs. a week!

    Looking forward to seeing your squirrel sign when it is all done and finished! It's going to look great!

    I guess it's a good thing the kids don't want to do anything this weekend. Places are probably going to be crowded since it is a holiday weekend. Also, they are perhaps tired after tests and so forth. We are not planning to do anything, either. My half sister and her husband will visit tomorrow and bring lunch. Daughter will do more grocery shopping on Sunday. We'll just relax on Monday before she flies back up north on Tuesday.

    Hope you have a good day, tomorrow. Take care.

  2. Lol. I am not mad at you. It just isn't in the cards right now. But I think the other part of your "assigned homework" turned out wonderfully. Your squirrel sign is so darned cute. As far as my homework is concerned, I have ONE box packed out of six. I am quickly running out of weekend. Tomorrow I will be engaged elsewhere.

    I also think your welcome sign with the cats is cute. It belongs in the entry room. It is so hot and humid here, I can't think of doing anything. I am such a wimp in the heat.

    I like your new curtains. They are almost room darkening. I think the pair work very well the stripes.

    1. Come on, Susan, you can pack one or two more by the time you have to leave tomorrow, no? My problem isn't putting things in boxes, it's doing something with the boxes. You'd think I would have remembered to bring the 2 boxes of donations to the thrift stores yesterday, since they've been sitting right next to the front door, but nooooo.... my brain just doesn't register them anymore unless I'm coming into the house. I need to just load them into my car so next time they'll be there!

      The curtains did darken the room last night, I was quite pleased.

  3. I think the shower curtain looks quite nice!

    1. Thanks, I was pleased with it too, especially the price :)


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