Thursday, June 23, 2016

Staycation Day ~ Thursday 6/23/16

I fell asleep on the couch last night, watching the first episode of the new season of "Endeavour" on the PBS app of the Roku.  I have to admit that I didn't enjoy it: I completely forgot what happened in Season 2, couldn't remember the significance of some most characters and the relationships between them, and the storyline looked kind of boring. So I fell asleep. I did wake up when the show was over, at 12:30p.m., I think, but I was so comfy that I just fell back asleep without even turning off the TV!  Then I got up at 1:30 a.m. and dragged myself into bed.

I woke up at 6 a.m. with a massive headache, though. I took an ibuprofen and read the news on my phone for about 30 minutes and then went back to sleep, and this time Greg woke me up by calling me at 9 a.m.  He and our son were headed to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.  It's been pouring there and last night they weren't sure they'd go, but I suggested they go anyway because it wasn't going to be crowded. This morning they said the rain had stopped and wasn't supposed to start again until the afternoon so they were heading out.  Greg's dad is back home from the hospital and his doctors have decided to resume his immunotherapy treatment, which is pretty much his last chance. So he's exhausted and not feeling too good as a result of the treatment. I think Greg and our son will probably be taking a lot of day trips to stay out of his way and let him rest.

I think that today is going to be a staycation day... staying home, not doing much of anything. Hey, that sounds like what I do all year!  It's hot and very humid today (93% humidity).  It's not so bad when there's a breeze blowing but the breeze isn't blowing much this morning.  My pictures from yesterday weren't very good and today's won't be great either because it's so humid that my camera and phone lenses fog up and the pictures are a tad blurry!

Still, I'm on the patio with my coffee, camera, and laptop, but everything feels moist, you know?  I don't know how long I'll stay out.  Of course, as soon as I typed this last sentence, the breeze came back as if it say "stayyyy, stayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"

So I spoke with my daughter for 30 minutes last night. She is doing well but this week's camp has been much harder. She's learning Python. She is a little frustrated with one of the other girls who is finding it very easy and is being impatient because other people (such as my daughter) are taking longer to get the concepts, but over all she says everyone is very nice.  She's feeling better but her throat is still bothering her. I think she might have post nasal drip so I told her to buy some generic decongestant.  Her aunt was driving her to and from camp but she's away this week, so my daughter gets to drive her all-electric car and she is loving it. She's going in the opposite way of traffic both ways so she's not having any problems getting to camp on time.  Let's not forget that she is also taking two online college classes right now and the third one is about to start.  She had been trying to do 2 classes in Summer A and 1 class in Summer B but that didn't work because she would have had to return textbooks while she was still in CA so now she has to take all 3 classes concurrently.  It's a lot of reading so her evenings are busy with that.  Her Humanities class requires her to attend cultural events so this weekend her uncle will take her to visit an art museum.  She's tried coloring her hair pink again but after spending $5 on supplies (my frugal daughter!), it didn't make much of a difference. I had told her that Alison recommended Manic Panic but her friends and online reviews scared her off it because apparently it's very bright (she just wants pale pink hair) and stains everything (pillow cases, etc...).  I warned her against using so many chemical products on her hair in such a short amount of time, not only for the health of her hair but for her health period... there is a reason why you're not supposed to color your hair when you're pregnant. All this crap leaches into your blood stream and it can't be good.

So in a total "do as I say, not as I do" move, I actually am considering coloring MY hair.  Well, covering up the gray. I was thinking that my hair was lightening up because I spend time in the sun, but no... a closer look revealed tons of gray hair. I'm turning into an old lady!  And despite the fact that I don't like coloring my hair, right now the idea of having gray hair is the more unappealing of the two options.  We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll just get used to it.

OK it's 11:03 a.m., the sun is now tickling my toes and it's very humid so I think I'm heading back indoors :(  Hopefully it'll be nice tonight after the sun starts going down behind the trees and I can come back outside.  My headache is lingering, which I think is a result of the atmospheric pressure and the humidity.  Ugh.

So I didn't sit outside again today. When I went out to grill my dinner at 7 p.m., the temperature on the patio was still 97F, although the thermometer had been in the shade for at least 2.5 hours.  It also was very humid.  So instead of sitting outside while my food cooked, I stayed indoors and finished a chore.

Current To-Do List: I've added several new tasks because I went through the reminders that I sent myself via email over the past few months and decided that if I didn't list them here, they probably wouldn't stay top of mind.
  • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
  • Finish letter to my great aunt - Got the picture from my son today. 
  • 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 - thinking about going to buy vincas from Lowe's as they're on sale
  • 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
  • Fertilize the raspberries
  • Add more mulch to berm
  • Download all May photos to my external drive
  • Replace roach traps
  • Inventory supplies for master bedroom painting project
  • Research extension cords for generator
  • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
  • Find the cats' rabies licenses
  • Exercise! 
  • Sweep the main stairs
  • Mop kitchen 
  • Dust
  • Look into getting new connecting hose for the propane tank 
  • Study dSLR camera manual
  • Spray oven cleaner on the shower stall walls, scrub it all clean, and redo the grouting too
  • Wipe down oven - Done
  • Read reply from insurer about son's prescription
  • Prep master bedroom with painter's tape
  • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
  • Declutter breezeway cabinets
  • Declutter linen closet
  • Take donations to thrift store - Not yet but I added things to the donation box!
  • Gather book donations for Friends of the Library and schedule a drop-off. Done, and they start taking donations on Tuesday. I added that to my calendar.
  • Clean kitchen cabinets
  • Investigate new paint shade for cabinets
  • Harvest and dry old basil plants - didn't dry but have been harvesting basil and using it in salads
  • Harvest lettuce - probably not though, I have 4 hearts of Romaine in the fridge to use up first.
  • Collect lettuce seeds
  • Empty out recycling bins by the shed
  • Take items to the dump
  • Inventory seeds for Fall plantings
  • Fix the shoe shelf that has collapsed
  • Buy concert tickets for Oldest Son's concert - Done
  • Recalculate Greg's W-4 with new paycheck info and bonus
  • Schedule automatic raise amount transfer to savings
  • Add 2017 projections to my checkbook spreadsheet
  • Look at what's in the large bin on front porch and declutter
  • Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
  • Declutter the top of the fridge
  • Deal with all the loose recipes (drawer, under coffee table...) - Done, need to file the ones I'm keeping.
  • Declutter coat closet/son's closet (shared closet)
  • See if still have $20 credit on Shutterfly and order mug for my mom
  • Purge filing cabinet
  • Get rid of all the extra paper scraps I've been keeping
  • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
  • Send email to my French BFF

  •  I spoke to Greg about my laptop last night. He'd rather we let the experts try to fix the problem and reminded me that the only documents I should worry about taking off the laptop are the tax returns and such. He's right, who cares if they look at my pictures?!  Also, he reminded me that he'll be bringing back at least one laptop from his parents' who no longer need it.  We were going to let our son use it but I can use it as a back-up while mine is in the shop. Woohoo!  So I will wait until after July 4th to bring my laptop in to the repair shop.  It's not really a frugal success per se, but it's a success because I won't be whining about not having a laptop for a week, lol.

  • I collected water in the shower (and remembered to turn it off while I was soaping up) and reused it to flush the toilet.

  • Breakfast this morning was my free mug of free Wawa coffee and 3 homemade chocolate chip banana muffins made with very old bananas bought on clearance.  I'm upping my consumption of muffins because I still had (before breakfast) 18 muffins and a small loaf of banana bread to eat... and no room in the freezer (of course).  Arrgh.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and I'm working on Swagbucks, trying to earn those bonus SB for NGage. I'm also running JunoGroup videos. All of this significantly slows down my laptop. I've got to keep my eye on the prize!

  • I kept the AC on last night but it was set for 78F in the living room and 77F in the kitchen (I took pity on the cats since they have fur coats), so I'm still saving money compared to when Greg and our son are here.

  • When  I opened my fridge this morning and saw all the baked goods that I bought on clearance yesterday, I kind of felt guilty... but then I remembered why this was actually a frugal success even though I spent some money on them: I won't have to turn my oven on to bake.  I paid $1.50 per coffee cake (so $3.00) and a $1.75 for the cinnamon rolls but I'm thinking that I'll save at least that in energy between operating the oven and the AC running harder because I would have heated up the kitchen. So I'm going to stop feeling guilty now :)

  • Saving Star credited my account with the $1.00 for the Hamburger Helper that I bought yesterday. Hello freebie!

  • Guilt is powerful... I wanted to go get my freebies from RaceTrac but I knew that I would feel guilty about using gas just for that so I'd end up finding other errands to run, using more gas, spending more money... and I really just wanted to stay home today.  So, despite the heat and the humidity, I rode my bike to RaceTrac!  I remembered to change from my black T-shirt into a bright orange exercise tank top (a more sensitive choice for comfort AND safety since I bike alongside a very busy road for a short distance), and remembered to put on sunscreen.  The gas station is only 1 mile away from my house, which sits on a small hill so there's actually no pedaling involved for about 1/4 of the way there as I take advantage of going downhill and then the breeze and cloud cover helped me not feel too hot.  The ride back, however, is a little more challenging as I need to go up the hill and since I refuse to change gears so I don't damage my derailleur again, I really have to push on those pedals, lol.  But I was back within 20 minutes tops and I have my freebies: 2 caffeine free Diet Coke refills and a jalapeño cheddar sausage on a bun.  Today I didn't take any free toppings though.
Puff, puff, arriving in my driveway!

  • Funny how 78F indoors feels very cool when you come back in from the heat and humidity!

  • For dinner I'm defrosting a couple of Gold'n Pump Butter and Herb marinated chicken breasts that I bought on clearance from Target last week.  I'll grill them on the barbecue and have one tonight and one tomorrow.

  • I took a RaceTrac survey and earned another freebie.  Not driving around and Greg not being here means we're not buying as much gas at RaceTrac, which means I'm running out of receipts with which to take surveys. Eeek!

  • I harvested some tomatoes, jalapeños, 1 serrano pepper and 1 green bean (!) from the garden.

  • Frugal staycation fun: watching the new season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix while eating my lunch :) I really love that show. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are wonderful.  The men are too and I like Sam Waterston much better in this role than in the irritating role he has on Law & Order (he got on my nerves so badly on that show), he's a natural as Sol.  The only character that irritates me is the oldest daughter of Grace and Robert. She's just "too" everything.

  • Lunch was the jalapeño cheddar dog.  I also made a salad of tomatoes and basil from my garden and added some marinated artichoke hearts. I used part of the marinade as salad dressing.  For dessert, I had cherries... and a piece of chocolate cake with whipped cream :)
The weirdly colored tomatoes are supposed to be black cherry tomatoes that I had to harvest because the plants were dead, but that weren't ripe yet, as I discovered when I bit into one. So I ended up not eating those and composting them. I had bought those plants instead of planting the seeds, lesson learned!
  • Swagbucks credited me with 27 SB for yesterday's bonus. I could have earned up to 50 bonus SB but I had to start late since nGage wasn't working for me for most of the late afternoon/early evening.

  • I printed some coupons that Betty Crocker emailed me.

  • I was sitting on the carpet folding some laundry and when I was done, I took a look at the overflowing book basket near the fireplace that's been driving me crazy for a while and started decluttering... and then I went from room to room, pulling books and deciding whether to keep them or donate them (the Friends of the Library will be accepting book donations starting on Tuesday for their annual sale). Before I knew it, I had gotten rid of a bunch of cookbooks (yay!), most of the books that I still held over from homeschooling (but now that my youngest is in high school, we won't need them), a lot of my own paperbacks (actually, I think all of them!) and more.  I also finally went through all the stacks of loose recipes that I had printed or clipped and if they weren't recipes that I have cooked several times before or that were marked "yum!" on them because we particularly liked them, I threw them away.  It felt so... liberating!  I kept a small stash that I need to file away in the appropriate binders.
I was able to get rid of 2 laundry baskets' worth of books!  I need to get some cardboard boxes by Tuesday, though, I think.
This is an old dresser that I bought in a thrift store and that is in my kitchen. I use it to hold a bunch of baking stuff and odds and ends... and my cookbooks.  This is after I decluttered it today. It still doesn't look as neat as I would like, especially with all my cloth napkins piled up there on the end, so I'll probably change things around again. But it looks wayyyyy better than it did before!
  • I rediscovered some magazines that I had gotten from the library's donation pile: several issues of Birds & Blooms that I plan on flipping through to educate myself, and an issue of "All Animals" that has plans for building a catio. I'll look through that too.  Once I'm done with them, I'll recycle them.
On the left, things that I got rid of: an e-reader case with a light that I have never needed nor used (a last minute Xmas gift from Greg a few years back), a stack of LEGO Brick Journal magazines (my son didn't want to keep them although I paid $10 per issue for them!  I could sell them but... I don't have the energy for this. I'm donating it to the Friends of the Library book sale), a stack of French brochures from places we visited last year (I threw away), a stack of National Geographic magazines and an issue of a French History Magazine that I had bought to read on the plane but that I never read (I recycled those), a couple of French books that my dad had given me for some reason (going to the library sale although I don't know if they'll find a buyer).
On the right, things that I kept: a new books (although the 2 paperbacks ended up in the donation laundry baskets afterwards), the stack of magazines that I'm going to peruse and then recycle.
  • I finally got the notification that Netflix is increasing their price next month.  Our current plan is apparently the HD plan that allows 2 streams in HD and that will be $9.99 a month.  I'm going down to the 1 stream in SD plan, which would remain at $7.99 a month for us. We never use 2 streams at once (my daughter uses her dad's login and our son only watches content on YouTube, while Greg and I typically watch Netflix together) and for $2 a month, I think I could live with SD.  If it stinks, I'll just upgrade to the HD plan.  I still have a month on our current plan so I put a reminder to go down to the SD plan a couple of days prior to the price increase.

  • I continued to enjoy my afternoon at home, watching episodes of  "Grace & Frankie" on Netflix while catching up on blogs. If seems that even if I resolve not to open the laptop while I watch a show, I still do.  And I have to these next few days if I want to earn those bonus SB because I have to keep on clicking on those nGage videos.

  • For dinner I grilled the 2 marinated chicken breasts that I had defrosted, baked 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes in the microwave and grilled the remaining 3 zucchinis that I had bought at Aldi a couple of weeks ago.  My dinner for tomorrow night is cooked as well, hooray!
My dinner. My potato is topped with light sour cream and dried chives. I also enjoyed my 2nd CF Diet Coke of the day, that I had kept for dinner. It's still fizzy!
  • While everything was grilling outside on the barbecue, I wiped down my oven.  I still had to scrub the inside of the window because I guess it had been a while (probably a year!) since I had cleaned the oven. It's not a self-cleaning oven, it's a wall oven that dates to the 70s.  Pretty much the only reason why I still buy Bounty paper towels is for jobs like these. I bought 6 rolls of it at the beginning of the year and I'm starting the 5th roll. That's way more paper towel usage than I would like and that's all due to my daughter taking on the dishes duty to earn her share of the car insurance money. I guess it's easier for her to grab paper towels than one of the cloth rags that I keep under the sink. Maybe I'll hide the paper towels before she comes back!
Not perfect but good enough. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking about rebranding myself as "The Good Enough Homemaker".  What do you think?  LOL.

  • For the first time in a few months, I reached my 2nd Daily Goal in Swagbucks!

  • I bought the 2 tickets for the performance of the Orlando Jazz Orchestra in July.  I could have probably paid $2 less for one of them had I selected the "student w/ ID" option for my son's GF's ticket but I wasn't sure that she would remember to bring her student ID with her so I just paid for 2 adult admissions.  It was $33.50 after fees and tax.

  • I had to throw away a hardboiled egg that had gone bad in the fridge.  Arrgh. This is my 2nd one this week!

  • My Peace Lily doesn't like the heat.. it looked horrible outside so I brought it in and watered it again. I hope it survives! Update: it looks much better tonight!
Droopy... I had just brought it in from the outdoors.
  • Greg only reads non-fiction and it's usually history books.  I found a pile of novels that didn't look familiar to me so I suspected he brought them back from his parents.  Whenever his parents give him things that he knows he doesn't want or won't read, he somehow can never say "NO, thank you". So he always comes back with stuff that is now here but that he won't use or get rid of. It drives me nuts. I texted him a picture of the books asking if I could donate them to the book sale and he said... NO. To me.  Apparently he "meant" to bring them back to his parents but forgot. I'm quite sure they either don't expected them back or don't even remember that he has them, but it doesn't matter.  So now they'll sit here at least until he drives back to Ohio, probably much longer.
OK, it's not a lot but neither of us is ever going to read them!
  • We also have 2 huge dollhouses that his father put together (from kits) for his daughters several years ago. They barely played with them and actually I bought them from the girls ($50 each) for my then young daughter and youngest son to play with.  When they outgrew them, we put them back in the room that we call our attic. It's very small and cramped and the only indoor storage place that we have in the house. Greg wants to give the houses back to the daughters (when in fact they now belong to ME) but every time I suggest he takes them there, he finds some excuse not to.  This week his excuse for not bringing one along to NC was that he didn't have room in the truck. He could have made room. He'll be camping 2 nights, he doesn't need a trunkful of camping supplies!  The daughter just bought a 2,800 sq ft house and has "no furniture" according to him so SHE has plenty of room for the dollhouse.  So now we're stuck with those, still.  They take up a lot of room in that attic, I really want them gone.

  • Morale of these stories?  It's way easier to declutter when you don't share the house with anyone :)

  • Two of my cookbooks were ruined because the opened wine bottle that was in the wine rack leaked onto the books below and I didn't realize it. Then it got all moldy.  Both books couldn't even be opened because the pages were stuck together.  I was going to give the Chocolate book away but keep the one about the cakes and cookies, darn it!  I put both of them in the recycling bin but I don't even know if they'll take them.

  • Fed the cats
  • Added more to-do's to my list!
  • Worked on earning bonus SB
  • Emailed Middle Son
  • Biked to get my freebies :)
  • Bought the concert tickets
  • Emailed Oldest Son's GF
  • Texted Oldest Son
  • Harvested the garden
  • Dead headed a rose
  • Brought the Peace Lily back inside and watered it again
  • Made my lunch
  • Emailed Jodie (BFF) to find out how her orientation went yesterday
  • Printed some coupons
  • Folded a basket of laundry
  • Put the laundry away
  • Did research on UF's minimum admission requirements for BFF's son and texted Jodie
  • Declutted book basket near fireplace
  • Decluttered my cookbook shelf
  • Decluttered bookshelves in entry room
  • Decluttered homeschooling/educational bookshelves in living room
  • Decluttered loose recipes
  • Decluttered under coffee tables
  • Decluttered bookshelves at the top of the stair
  • Emailed my daughter
  • Talked to Greg about Netflix price increase via texts
  • Fed the cats
  • Cooked my dinner
  • Wiped off the oven

  • An intermittent breeze as I was sitting on the patio
  • An easy ride to RaceTrac and a lovely bike to ride!
  • More fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden
  • The Friends of the Library having a book sale right when I feel the need to declutter my bookshelves :)

I was late coming to the patio this morning, so I thought I might have missed the birds, but a cardinal and then a Carolina wren flew in for some breakfast, so I had company as I drank my coffee.  The cicadas are very loud this morning, which doesn't help my lingering headache, unfortunately.

Carolina wren (The picture isn't sharp because of the humidity!)

At 10:45 a.m. the weird pair of cardinals came back: the male once again fed the female, that was shaking its wings and emitting small cries.  I need to research this. Maybe it's a courtship behavior instead of being a dad feedings its young? Ah yes, it IS a courtship behavior!  I can't believe I didn't think of this.  Greg did use to cook for me at the beginning of our relationship, LOL.

 At the same time a pair of Great Crested Flycatchers tried to come to the feeder but I guess they weren't willing to wait their turn. One of them flew over me and over our house, the other took refuge in our orange tree in the back of the garden and then flew off into one of the neighbor's trees.  The male cardinal took off but the female stayed at the feeder for a while afterwards.

Great Crested Flycatcher in the orange tree

Hibiscus flowers!
These pineapples are looking very good and right on schedule. I think I should be able to harvest them in a couple of weeks. They're not huge, but they'll do.  I need to look up how to tell whether I should harvest them or not.
Did you have a good day? What did you do?


  1. They now say it's perfectly okay to dye your hair when pregnant. I never did though, it still worried me. I'd like to dye my hair again, I've got some bad roots going, but I'm not wasting what money I have on it.

    1. Oh do they? They changed their minds constantly, you never know what you're doing today that they will announce might kill you the next day. I would think, though, that it would be obvious that putting harsh chemicals on your body might not be the healthiest thing to do (says the woman eating Sweetarts right now, lol).

      I'm with you when it comes to spending money on hair dye, though. It's a never-ending cycle, isn't it? What color is your hair/roots currently?

    2. They change everything constantly so I don't put much faith in what I hear. But yeah, it's now considered perfectly safe. My hair is a medium reddish brown, my roots are a dark brown. A lot darker. It's very noticeable and I hate it, but I'm not spending money on it right now.

  2. I hope your daughter does not wear herself out. I guess I didn't realize your daughter was ALSO taking three college classes at the same time she is going to these computer classes every day. I know you have told us...I just didn't clue in.

    Great job on the decluttering. I know how great it felt to have gone through all my cookbooks and getting rid of most of them.... such a feeling of accomplishment. But you expanded on that and went through all your books and magazines.

    So if you are the "good enough" homemaker, then I will be "striving to be good enough". Ha
    Most of the time I describe my housework as "a spit and a promise", meaning that most times my efforts are just a make do until I can do a proper job. So in my mind, nothing is really done well at all. I should learn to settle for "good enough".

    1. "A Spit and A Promise" would make a wonderful new blog title, I love it! I promised myself that I would mop the kitchen as soon as Greg left and it's been now 5 days and I still haven't mopped it. I keep the curtains closed so the semi-darkness makes it look cleaner, lol. I think I'll mop it right before he comes back:)

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    1. Hi Mary, I'm sorry you're not receiving the blog posts via email anymore. I checked the settings on my end and it shows that you are subscribed and active and there doesn't seem to be any problems with my feed. Have you checked your Junk email folder in Outlook in case the emails were filed there by Outlook? If they're not there, let me know. I'll try to delete you as a follower on my end and you can try signing up again to see if you start receiving the emails again. I'm sorry, I don't know what else I could do on my end :(

    2. hi, thanks for check. i will try to resubscribe again. love your daily posts. if possible, please remove my email address from my first comment. thanks

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      Thanks very much for your kind comment! I'm glad you're enjoying the posts and that you commented :) Talk to you soon, Mary.

  4. Hope your daughter feels better, soon. 3 college courses is a lot of work, especially on top of coding camp.

    You accomplished a lot! Good job with the decluttering and the oven cleaning!

    Your salad looks yummy and I don't even like tomatoes! :D

    1. Thanks! I'm a little worried about her work load but the camp itself doesn't give out any homework so at least she's "free" to study for her college classes at night. I'm so proud of her but I hope she doesn't burn out... she'll have less than a week before classes start again when she comes back and then if she does make it into UF, she'll be spending next summer in their College of Engineering Summer Bridge program so she is not going to have much downtime for the foreseeable future. Something that I'm sure your daughter knows all about!

  5. Wow - you got a lot of decluttering done! The nice thing about decluttering is that it SHOWS right away. You could do six loads of laundry and scrub three toilets and nobody would notice it.

    If you rode your bike to Racetrack, you deserve to cross off "exercise" on your to-do list!

    1. You're right! I did exercise... well, on the way back anyway :)

      And so true about no one ever noticing that the toilets have been scrubbed. I leave the laundry to be folded in the living room for days on hand so Greg realizes that there is NO laundry fairy, lol.


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