Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Start of the Hurricane Season ~ Wednesday June 1st, 2016



June... start of the hurricane season for us.  Ugh. I hope we come out of it unscathed, this year again. It's also the month when both my parents were born... I don't talk to my dad anymore and my mom doesn't celebrate her birthday but it feels odd to let those days just go by. It's also when school ends for the kids. They have a shorter summer than usual this year and then in 2017 school will end on May 24. We don't care "how you do it up North", transplants, we rebelled against a calendar that lines up with the cousins' from Indiana or wherever and reinstated our own, which will find the kids going back to school in mid-August, so they have plenty of time to prepare for the state-wide assessment tests instead of losing instruction time so they can go spend the month of August "up North, where everything is better" with grandma.  Yes, this is the reason why our school start and end dates had been changed a few years back. I'm not even from here and I was pissed at the Northern invaders who influenced the school board, LOL.

I woke up this morning thinking about Jess and her predicament.  I want to be a lawyer and stick it up to her sorry ass of a husband, dang it.  I'm sure she's not reading blogs right now, or at least if she is, I hope it's blogs that can help her with her legal situation and strategy.  Ladies, let's give her plenty of support, she's going to need it.

My brother from Paris emailed me a French article reflecting the American articles that came out yesterday to report that the State Department has issued a warning to all American citizens planning on traveling to Europe this summer. Of course, that was right after I encouraged my friend Leslie and her family to go watch the traditional military parade down Les Champs Elysees on Bastille Day (July 14).  There's no specific threat and of course everyone should take care at all times nowadays. My brother specifically warns against Roma pickpockets who are a plague in Paris and other places. He works in the subway and has to help tourists who are robbed every single day and it's really getting to him.  To be fair, he got me all stressed out about those pickpockets last year before and during our trip and I was so paranoid and nothing happened to us at all, although maybe nothing happened because I was being so paranoid... I know the kids were quite annoyed with me at times because I wouldn't let them use their iPhones to take pictures because of all the stories we'd been fed about the hit and grab crimes over there.  How exactly does someone protect himself/herself against a terrorist attack, though?  Especially since they're hitting small caf├ęs and not necessarily just huge gatherings?  It's a crapshot.  You've got to be able to live, too.  Argh. All of this to say that I'm actually glad that we went last year and aren't going this year, especially with all the civil unrest going on right now.  It remains to be seen if my son and I will go next summer after all.

OK, moving on to chores... I need to try and be productive this morning as I have to run errands this afternoon (son's dentist appointment, then I want to take him to get new shoes, go to Aldi to get grapes, get him a haircut...). Here is the leftover list that I had done on Sunday and I'll probably add a few more tasks to it too:
  • Work on a menu for the week. Done. I worked on it last night, actually.
  • Vacuum fridge coils Done
  • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
  • Iron
  • Sweep laundry room Done
  • Finish letter to my great aunt
  • Clip and sort coupons. Did it yesterday but I'm printing more today probably so I'll leave it on the list.
  • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
  • Scan more old pictures
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew
  • Get new potted flowers for the patio
  • File paperwork
  • Enter some Coke codes into MCR
  • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
  • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns
  • Look into fertilizing the raspberries
  • Move the extra veggie "tents" to behind the shed and the peat moss into the small side shed. Done and I had to dump the peat moss on the ground because it was infested with giant ants.
  • Put the extra edging behind shed Done
  • Trim weeds alongside berm edging
  • Add more mulch to berm
  • Harvest basil and dry it in dehydrator. Also move the plants in the shade to slow down bolting to seed (too late?!). Harvested basil and oregano. Dried basil in the microwave.
  • Research bird feeders at Ace Hardware and poles too.
  • Connect new propane tank to barbecue and test it. Done
  • Empty and wash New Kitty's litterbox. Done
  • Redo kitchen wall calendar for June Done
  • Download all May photos to my external drive
  • Write May grocery shopping recap post
  • Replace roach traps
  • Check remaining self watering bins and refill if needed (including strawberries on side of the house)
  • Put Vaseline on pole leading to hummingbird feeder Done
  • Make new hummingbird nectar Done

FRUGAL SUCCESSES

  • I collected warming up water in the shower to flush the toilet later on.

  • Greg worked from home, saving us about $20 in tolls and gas.

  • He drove to RaceTrac to get us free soda refills with our Sodapalooza cups while I was cooking him breakfast.

  • The kids brought the lunches they had packed to school today.

  • The new ads for Aldi and Save A Lot are out this morning and here are some deals that I might purchase if I go shopping on Tuesday next week. I'm thinking that I might pop in today after the dentist appointment and grab some of those $0.89/lb grapes for the kids.
Aldi produce sales this week

Goodies at Aldi NEXT week!

SAL sales this week
  • I reused water collected in the shower to flush the toilet.

  • I finished a box of cereal, recycled it but kept the bag to reuse as a freezer bag.

  • I cleaned New Kitty's litter box and finished a cat litter jug so I saved it to store rain water next time my rain barrel is full. No, it did not rain here today again... Orlando got tons of storms though.  Arrgh.

  • There are a couple of new freebie offers to print for Murphy USA.


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


  • While reading the news online (for free!), I saw an article stating that "American Ninja Warrior" is back on NBC tonight.  Ahem. We watched the finale by happenstance last season and actually had a really good time watching those people competing so we'll watch it tonight and see if we still enjoy it. I have added it to my calendar for the foreseeable future, too. I'm going to try to entice our son to watch it with us.  That's the kind of stuff that teen boys should eat it with a spoon, I would think. Alas, my teen isn't a typical teen boy, I don't think. He hates sports of all kinds.

  • I uploaded new offers to SavingStar.

  • I threw away a silk plant but kept the container.


  • I harvested some beans, grape tomatoes and a couple of strawberries, as well as lettuce flowers. I will collect the seeds soon.

  • I also harvested a bunch of basil and oregano.  The oregano doesn't smell like anything,  I think it's too old of a plant. I'm probably going to have to pull it all and plant new seeds.

  • Greg drove to RaceTrac to get himself a new free soda refill.  I hadn't finished mine... but I should have thought to just pour it in a cup and have him get a refill for me too :(

  • Greg and I had leftovers for lunch.

  • When my daughter came home from school, she wanted a hot dog from RaceTrac but was hesitant to go there on her own to redeem an expired survey reward code that was explicitly good for a bakery item. As I learned yesterday, the codes can be redeemed for any size coffee OR a bakery item OR a hot grill roller item and they don't actually expire. So she asked me to go with her. I grabbed my Sodapalooza cup as well as Greg's and got us free refills as well as a free cookie with a survey reward code and my daughter was indeed able to redeem hers for a free hot dog.  We love RaceTrac. Have I mentioned that we love RaceTrac?!  I gave the cookie to my daughter too.

  • I'm thinking that I'll probably repaint our master bedroom while Greg is away on his camping trip with our son this summer. I still have lots of paint leftover from repainting what is now my bedroom so I can use that, but I'll need white paint for the ceiling and probably new brushes and paint roller trays.  I hate painting but I've been wanting to do it ever since we moved in, 14 years ago!


  • I connected the new propane tank to the barbecue and it seems to be working fine.  However, the gauge that it came with wasn't connected to the tank and the instructional picture on the packaging was too dark for me to understand how to install it. So I emailed the manufacturer and asked them to email me a clearer picture. I also asked them if I should be able to read the gauge when the tank isn't being used (you'd think but right now I think I might have installed it the way they want it and it read that the tank is empty when in fact it's full...)  Update: they replied that none of their tanks came with a gauge that needed to be installed, that all their tanks already have the gauge attached to the tank.  I emailed them the picture of their tank, the gauge with its packaging and the unattached gauge itself. They didn't reply.  Grrrr. Another clueless Customer Service rep...

  • I made a new batch of hummingbird nectar and greased the pole to the feeder with Vaseline to try and keep the ants out of it.

  • My new fridge water filter came in. Remember how I had found a replacement for only $13.99 since the one I bought back in August had shot up from $22 back then to close to $40 now?  Well, I was kind of nervous that it wouldn't fit, but it fits perfectly!  And while I was at it, I vacuumed those gross under the fridge coils (you're supposed to do this to get better performance from your fridge). Misandric rant of the day: a man who will never EVER clean the refrigerator coils must have designed that fridge.  What retarded (yes, I used the forbidden word!) idiot thinks that it's cute to put a grill that cannot be removed and without practically any access to the coils behind and yet tell me that I'm supposed to vacuum those things?!  What woman is actually going to empty her whole fridge and freezer and gently tip it on its back so she can vacuum the coils?  Nobody has ever done this. I'll bet you that even neat freak and germaphobe Kate from "Jon + Kate + 8" or whatever that show was ever did this (and the bleached the inside of her fridge all the time!).  Anyhoo, I always forget that opening the doors of the fridge and freezer makes it much much easier to pry open the plastic guard in front of the whole thing. I only ever remember this after I was sweated and sworn a few choice words while I try to pry that thing off without breaking anything!  Duh.
Gross.. but this isn't the coils... this is the non-removable grill in front of the coils that prevents me from vacuuming them. The brush barely fits into those larger spaces at the front but then I have to bent it to try and get the dust on the sides, and the vacuum won't reach all the way in there, even with the smallest attachment. Grrr.
  • I looked for printable coupons for Dick's Sporting Goods since we'll probably go there to get new sneakers for my son (his are almost 2 years old!). However, I couldn't find any. They're supposed to have "in store promotions" but all shoes seem to be at least $70.  Still if they last another 2 years, it's not so bad!

  • My son didn't have any cavities (woohoo!) but the dentist wants him to try changing toothbrush every month or even more often because his teeth are still too yellow despite not smoking or drinking tea or coffee.  He received a free toothbrush, toothpaste sample, and floss.   

  • I had to pay $15 for a tube of Prevadent toothpaste but I charged it to our Health FSA Debit Card (prepaid, tax free).

  • My son picked a pair of Nike Air running shoes that weren't the cheapest but were more than half the top of the line that we saw!  They were marked down to $59.99.   While we were at Dick's Sporting Goods, I asked about the indoor archery range that Greg had spotted there, but it's only for customers to try the bows that they are buying from Dick's or to try them after they've been restrung.  We were hoping it might be a range that we could rent for our son to practice his archery.

  • We drove to Aldi to take advantage of the sale on red grapes... there was only 1 bag left and I grabbed it just in time because the person behind me wanted it. I also got blueberries, another bag of Gold potatoes (I bought some yesterday but they were on sale today!), some toilet paper, and a 4-pack of pretzel rolls. I usually make my own and I had planned on serving rolls with dinner but forgotten to make them!  They were delicious, though.  I also bought one dozen eggs because they were down to $0.79 and I have a $0.10 MobiSave rebate that I can use. I charged the $15.22 OOP to my American Express card (3% back in Rewards).

  • Then I checked my son in at Great Clips by using their app before we started driving there. That guaranteed that he would be the first one seen when we got there.  I paid for the $14 haircut with our Great Clips prepaid card, which allowed me to only pay $9.99 for it. I gave the stylist $2 for a tip.

  • On the way home, we stopped by RaceTrac again!  I got Greg and myself another diet soda refill (#4 for him, #3 for me) and my son got a free soda as well since the frozen drink machine wasn't working.

  • Back home, I started cooking dinner. I made my version of Zuppa Toscana. I used a package of chipotle chicken sausages from Aldi ($2.99), a yellow onion that had been sitting on my counter, white wine that had been bought on clearance at Save A Lot last year ($2 a bottle), Better Than Bouillon, collard greens bought on clearance yesterday and some yellow potatoes.  I didn't have heavy cream so I used half a small 8-oz brick of UHT whipping cream from Trader Joe's.  I served the soup with a pretzel bun on the side. Well, I don't know if it's because I've been on a diet or what but it was one of the best meals I've had in a while!

  • While dinner was cooking, I watered the garden, refilled the hummingbird feeder, emptied the countertop composting bin, added water to the large composting bin and turned it.

  • I also dried the basil that I harvested earlier today in the microwave instead of the dehydrator. It only took 6 minutes total (2 loads at 3 minutes each).  I'll grind it tomorrow.

  • After dinner Greg and I listened to an episode of "Snapped" that was running on TV while we each worked on our electronic devices, and then we watched American Ninja Warrior.

  • I submitted my Aldi receipt for a $0.10 MobiSave rebate on eggs.



  • Our middle school sent a message that the YMCA will be providing a summer camp at our school completely free this summer for all incoming 6th graders to including outgoing 8th graders. In addition, the kids need to only provide their lunch the first week but past the first week, breakfast AND lunch will be free.  That is an awesome help to the parents of pre-teens and young teens in our area!  My son won't be participating, though. He'd rather stay home and has several events at which he will be volunteering at our library every week. Since I don't work anyway, there isn't a need for him to attend.

  • While we were driving to Dick's Sporting Goods today, I noticed that the old Walgreens location in Clermont is poised to be turned into a Bravo Supermarket. I checked their ad for the Winter Garden location and they might be able to beat even some of Aldi's prices so that would be exciting. I'm not sure when it would open but I would assume several months from now.

  • I took the customer satisfaction survey regarding my visit at Dick's Sporting Goods and was able to print a coupon for $10 off my next purchase of $50+. The coupon expires at the end of July so I might even be able to use it.


  • The new free offerings for the KindleFirst program are available here.  To be honest, none of the books sounded interesting to me so I'm skipping this month. 


SPLURGES
  • Gas to drive to RaceTrac (three times).

  • Gas to drive to Clermont for errands.

  • $15 for the Prevadent toothpaste that the dentist wants my son to keep using.

  • Running shoes for my son. 

  • Water for the vegetable garden (30 min on the sprinkler)


FAILURES
  • I should have taken the survey on the Dicks' Sporting Goods receipt when we bought the dartboard, because I would have scored a $10 off $50 discount that I could have used on the shoes!

  • I forgot to make buns for dinner so I bought a 4-pack of pretzel buns at Aldi.

  • Gas prices shot up 20 cents overnight!  I paid $2.09/gallon yesterday and this afternoon it was $2.29/gallon at the same location. I guess it was a success that I filled up my car yesterday but it's not a success that we're going to have to pay more for gas moving forward!


CHORES
  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Set up breakfast table for the kids
  • Cleaned downstairs bathroom sink and mirror, wiped cabinet and toilet
  • Commented on blogs and replied to comments
  • Cleaned out New Kitty's litterbox
  • Deadheaded roses
  • Cut out dead branches off tomato plants
  • Inspected the garden
  • Harvested some veggies
  • Refilled the water bath
  • Moved unused veggie tents to behind the shed
  • Spread the ant-infested peat moss onto the ground and emptied the bin of water
  • Pulled weeds off veggie garden and berm
  • Connected new propane tank and tested it. Tried to figure out how to install the propane gauge on it.
  • Drove to RaceTrac to get free drink refills and free items.
  • Prepped the kitchen wall calendar for June
  • Swept the laundry room
  • Made a batch of hummingbird nectar
  • Put Vaseline on the hummingbird feeder pole
  • Made my and Greg's beds
  • Replace fridge water filter
  • Vacuumed fridge's coils
  • Washed face plate and floor in front of the fridge
  • Ran errands with my son
  • Cooked dinner
  • Watered the garden
  • Refilled hummingbird feeder
  • Emptied countertop composting bin and turned the large composting bin
  • Submitted a rebate

HEALTH

  • I waited until 9:45 a.m. to have breakfast: 1 and 1/4 cup of generic honey nut cheerios, 1/2 cup of ~2% milk, some sliced strawberries.  I drank my customary 2 cups of coffee.  

  • For lunch I had a sweet potato that I had cooked several days ago, the last hot dog from this past weekend, a grilled zucchini and some leftover salad with my homemade dressing on it.  Not too bad and I got rid of three leftover containers in the fridge!

  • I had a banana for snack in the afternoon.

  • For dinner, I had a bowl and a half of my zuppa toscana and a pretzel bun.

  • Later on in the evening, I had a cup of blueberries and a yogurt.

18 comments:

  1. I love pretzel rolls. Your dinner sounds amazing. I hope Hurricane Season is pretty mild this year, too. I have been thinking about what I need to stock up on, though, just in case. Not really any foodstuff, more flashlights, pet needs, etc. It's hard to believe it's here already.

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    1. Those rolls were really good but part of it is probably because I really haven't had any bread in the past 2-3 weeks, lol. Bread is my downfall. I stocked up on canned food and bottled water a couple of weeks ago and thanks for mentioning flashlights. We have tons of them but I do need to inventory our battery stock and see what we need. We do have a generator and I have a crank radio/weather radio/phone charger somewhere... and I need to find it. I think I lent it to Greg when he went camping last year and he never gave it back. Stocking up for pet needs is another good idea that I don't think about. We do buy their prescription food in 15 lb bags but maybe I ought to be a bag ahead and I might need to have more cat litter in stock during those months. Toilet paper and trash bags is another thing I ought to stock up on. We do have a generator this year and I just got us new gas tanks (filled) and a new propane tank for the BBQ and camping stove. I still need to get new extension cords... wow, I guess I'll be adding all of those things to my to-do list for this week :) Hopefull all of this will be in vain. In the past few years I had gotten very complacent and not really done anything to prep aside from having some bottled water, canned foods and UHT milk. But Hurricane Sandy and especially how long people were stuck without any power up there really gave me a wake-up call. Oh, I need to stock up on mosquito repellant too.

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  2. Oh, I hope the hurricane season passes you by without any hurricanes!

    My cousin and her daughter were in Europe a couple of years ago and the daughter had her wallet stolen. I guess one has to be super vigilant!

    Even at $2.29/gal., your gas is cheaper than our cheapest gas here ($2.59/gal, yesterday); I'm jealous.

    Impressive list of chores you got done! You always accomplish so much!

    Hope you have a great day, tomorrow.

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    1. Thanks Bless! I would really welcome the rain but not all the anxiety and the damage that a hurricane would bring. Back in 2005, we had 4 hurricanes hit our area in 4 weeks. Back then we had the 6 kids at home and a dog, and Greg was on a business trip out of state for one of them so it was just me and the kids. It was one of the most stressful times in my life. Luckily we had no damage, aside from a lot of yard waste, and a huge oak tree across the street fell across our driveway and our neighbor's but didn't hit anything (well, it took down the power line). We raked and bagged leaves for days and the spot where the tree hit between the two driveways has been bare since (there was grass growing there before!).

      I was thinking that our gas was still cheaper than in other areas, but Greg is going to be driving several hundred miles for his camping trip pretty soon so I was hoping gas prices would stay as low as they've been. 20 cents overnight is a huge jump! I wonder if your prices went up too? It seems that you paid $2.59/gallon when you were driving back down from Berkeley, no?

      I hope you have a great day too!

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  3. Thanks, Nathalie. I appreciate it. I missed a few days, but started trying to catch up with people last night.

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    1. ((HUGS)) Jess. It's hard for people on the sidelines to know what to do or what to say. I hope I didn't annoy you with my comments and advice on your blog. You have a really good head on your shoulders and you are smart.

      Still, when you haven't gone through the experience of such a separation/divorce with a little kid, there are things that could be overlooked. It's also easy to think "I'm tired of this, let him have this, I just want it to be over" and then give up on stuff that later on you will regret giving up on. A friend of mine did just that and got screwed in the process. Her ex got her to agree to give up the house altogether and only pay her alimony for 2 years (her daughter was only 9 or 10 at the time). She was a stay at home at the time too and they were homeschooling. Back then, 2 years seemed like a long time to her to find a job, but she found out that 2 years goes back in a flash and that jobs weren't that easy to find. I've lost track of her since as she had moved to Maine after the divorce, but I'm sure she was kicking herself for not hanging on with the legalities a little longer. If the house is both in your names, make sure that the lawyer demands that the house be sold. If he wants to keep the house, then the house needs to be legally sold only to HIM and your name needs to be removed from the deed (quit deed claim) and he needs to get a new mortgage. Otherwise you will be responsible for the house if he stops paying! Same thing with all the other debts that you have incurred while married (credit cards, loans, car loans, etc...). Again, the lawyer should know what to do but some of them are idiots and some of them have idiotic staff that overlook things. Hence my advice to be your own advocate and read up on everything that you can and double check and follow up on what they do/are supposed to do. Greg's lawyer was such a mess, Greg missed court dates because of him, documents that his office produced were full of mistakes, etc. In the end we fired the lawyer and Greg represented himself (and won!) but it was very very hard and stressful. The hardest part is going to be co-parenting and the custody issues. For your son's sake, I hope his dad will still want to be a part of his life (although it doesn't sound like he was such an active part up until now... maybe I misunderstood, though) but for sure, it's going to be challenging. Can you apply for food stamps and other aid once the lawyer gets you declared legally separated? OK, I'll stop with the advice now.

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    2. His Dad loves him, but didn't want to be inconvenienced if that makes sense. He didn't mind being there when my boy was happy and playing on his own and he could do his own thing, but didn't want to deal with any crying or when he was upset. He had barely seen him the past couple of months. His own choice though. And my son had never even said the word dad since all this happened. I'm okay with him seeing his son at times, it's the other person involved I have the issues with, for reasons I'm not going to go into.

      I doubt I'll be able to get anything since I'm living with my parents and I've been told their income counts.

      My lawyer seems okay. We did discuss the house and other issues.

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    3. Hmm, I would double check the story about your parents' income counting. Only reason why I'm saying this is that back when I worked at the Title IX school, I had to deal with a lot of low-income families and all those who lived with other relatives or friends were considered "homeless" (since they didn't have their own home, rented or not) so the kids had access to resources earmarked for homeless/displaced children. So if your state uses the same guidelines, then I don't see why your parents' income should count towards your income. It's not like you're in school and I'm assuming you're over 26, right? I'm not sure how updated this article is but it might be of help: http://helpforsinglemother.net/help-for-single-mothers-in-kentucky/

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    4. From the SNAP application form: "A SNAP household is a person or a group of people who live together and buy food and fix meals together. The group does not need to be related. The following people must be one SNAP household if they live together, even if they do not buy and fix meals together:

      • You and your husband or wife,
      • Your children who are under 22 (even if they have children of their own),
      • Any parent of children under age 22,
      • Other children under 18 who you take care of, and
      • All other people who buy food and fix meals with you."

      So as long as your parents don't buy food and fix meals with you, I would argue that their income shouldn't count. It's probably worth a try, at least?

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    5. Ah I just deleted everything I wrote to you, No!!!
      I'll start again...
      I can't believe that it is back to being the start of hurricane season already, wow that went quick. I will keep my fingers crossed that you come out unscathed.

      Thanks for the date about France that your brother mentioned to you the day after Liam gets back from New York he is off to France for four days back for a couple and back off again for another four days to watch the Euro's. I think he is going to Marseille but its still good to have an idea of what he should watch out for. My mum got mugged in Spain a few years back by some Roma's. I didn't realise they were in France too now but I guess that makes sense.

      Your tomatoes look delicious, you are doing really well with your kitchen garden.

      Hah my thirteen year old loves artery too. I don't know too many boys that are into it here. Mine doesn't belong to a club because they are quite expensive so he just does it for fun.

      Its brilliant for parents that work to have a free summer camp to go to, our high school has a camp for year five and six but it is £100 for the week. Luckily its a sports camp and my daughter said she would rather eat her own feet than go. (she really is not a sports fan).

      You achieved loads again today, I feel like such a slacker by comparison.
      Xx

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    6. Blogger's swallowed a couple of my comments lately as well. It's so aggravating, especially because it ALWAYS happens when i type a long comment, lol.

      Liam is going to Marseille? One of my brothers lives in Marseille, but he's not into soccer (that I know of). Apparently the train workers are on strike so I'm not sure how that will affect the people traveling for the Euro's.

      Can your son practice archery in your backyard? We can't here, as the bow and arrows are considered weapons and we're not allowed to discharge weapons in city limits (it's a crime that could get him arrested). A few years ago I had him take lessons every Sunday morning. There is a local man who is into archery and trains people on his property. He was talking about taking the kids to tournaments. But my son, after a few months, grew tired of archery and especially of getting up early on Sunday mornings to go to the lessons and the tournaments didn't materialize, so we stopped going. It was a little pricey too. I had bought him his own bow and arrows and lately he's been wanting to practice again. I was joking with Greg that with his bonus we should buy a long and narrow strip of land in the county where you can legally shoot the bow and just use it as a range, lol.

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    7. Ha ha, Greg and your son would love it you would never see them, mmm perhaps that's what I should do... (only joking).

      Gosh No he could shoot them in our garden its like a postage stamp ha ha.

      He has only done Archery a few times at various camps he has gone to but everyone that has taught him said he is very natural at it which makes me feel bad (probably because I'm not naturally good at anything, I have to try hard at whatever I do).
      My thirteen year old would probably go off the idea too if he had to get up early on Sunday mornings, err actually early any mornings!

      There has been some stuff on the news about the rail strikes in France, do the affect your brother? Liam, I'm sure said to me that he is flying into some airport and a man from the supporters club is driving him and his friend to their hotel. But I'm not sure about his second trip. Ben worked in Marseille for a couple of weeks last year he said it was really pretty. Xx

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  4. I'm sure the strike impact my brother in Paris who works in the subway but I don't know for sure. He doesn't like talking about his job because he says it stresses him too much. He'd love to live in the countryside and do something else but what? He feels stuck.

    The whole Provence region was very pretty, we loved it. Marseille itself... well, it's a very old town (the 2nd oldest port or maybe even the oldest port in the world? I don't remember) and it's crowded. I don't particularly like towns. And since my brother is a cop there, he has many stories about how crazy crime is, etc so that kind of takes away from being able to enjoy it too much, LOL. There is an airport in Marseille (Marignane) so Liam is probably flying into there? They did say that the strike with the air traffic wasn't going to be a problem when I checked the news this morning. It's always something over there. Honestly, it's one of the reasons why I don't go back too often. Who wants to spend so much money on a plane ticket and then get stuck somewhere because a group of people has decided to block the whole country for the nth time?! I just don't have the patience.

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    1. Yes, I can understand that. They do seem to have a lot of strikes out there but from what I have heard the standard of living is pretty good.

      Liam is flying into Montpelier and then driving to Marseille the first time and the second time going to St Etienne, I just asked him.

      I think if you had police officer in the family wherever they worked you would be put off going there. Lets face it there's crime in the safest towns and cities.

      I guess there isn't much work in the countryside for your brother to go to, its hard when you feel stuck in a job isn't it!

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  5. Nathalie, I am so happy you commented on my blog since that allowed me to find your blog! I feel like I've found a kindred spirit... I love Aldi, too (thanks for the heads up on the great price for grapes) and shop there about 3 - 4 times a month (sadly, our Aldi is out of the way on the other side of town). I always get their pretzel rolls, too, whenever they have them.

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    1. Hi there neighbor, thanks for visiting! It's been so nice to read another blog from our corner of the world and I love that you live in a town that I (kind of) know because I can relate a little more too. I've been inspired by your walks and I truly enjoy all your pictures... and the work saga. I'm following you via Feedly so I don't miss a post!

      Aldi is about 15-20 minutes from my house, but I save so much money by shopping there that I don't mind. When it first opened I was saying "it's too far and I do better at Publix with the BOGOs/coupon stacks" but after a few months I went to write down prices and I have shopped there ever since. Since I don't work, I can afford to spend several hours to do my grocery shopping every week, and I visit many stores for the best prices, but the bulk of my shopping is really done at Aldi. I really haven't shopped at Publix in months, although I do love Publix (a little too much, which is why I'm staying away!) and although it's just 4 minutes from my house.

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  6. You really got yourself a bargain by pre-purchasing your haircuts this year. Can you use them for yourself and your daughter, or are they just for the men's haircuts? I have forgotten. How many did you buy for the year? This is becoming a HUGE savings.

    I am also impressed with your chore accomplishments list; but, I am more impressed with the fact that while you are cooking dinner, you are able to " water the garden, refill the hummingbird feeder, empty the countertop composting bin, and add water to and turn the large composting bin." I dare not leave the kitchen while dinner is on or I will surely burn it.

    You should know that every day I read your blog posts, but sometimes it can take a whole day. I think I have explained how those days go. So by the time I get to make a comment, I am pooped so I let it go another day. That is how I get so far behind. So it was while reading this post again today, it hit me how heart wrenching it was to read these comments on France again today, especially after the news yesterday that there was yet another terrorist plot in the works for France later this summer. This plot was foiled in a collaborative effort of several nations....ever vigilant.

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    1. Yes, we can use the prepaid card for any haircut and they deduct $9.99 from the card. When I bought it, I loaded it with "X amount" of haircuts. I think 10? But they don't expire so I don't have to use them all during 1 year, which is great. Sometimes, though, they end up having in-store promotions and only charge $6.99 or $7.99 for the haircut so if someone needs a haircut during that time, we just pay out of pocket and don't use the prepaid card. We also earn 1 free haircut for every 10 haircuts by signing in with our home phone number. I usually also buy a prepaid card for each of my older sons and load it with 10 haircuts for them as well.

      I also sometimes wait several days to comment, Susan! I tend to catch up on blogs either very late at night or very early in the morning and neither of those times usually are my more social times, lol. So I'll read the post but mark it "leave as unread" in Feedly so the next time I read blogs, I'm reminded that I meant to comment on that particular post that I had already read. There is no rule saying that you must comment or that you must comment within x amount of time so feel free to do anything you want :)

      The world is quickly becoming a terrifying place, isn't it? It's such a shame that some people can't seem to be able to get along.

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