Sunday, July 31, 2016

Last Day of Sodapalooza! ~ Sunday 7/31/16

Well, it has finally come... the last day of RaceTrac's 2016 Sodapalooza!  Also known as Greg's Day of Mourning.  You'd think he would have been there at the crack of dawn, trying to get as many free refills as he could today, but even though he got up at 8 a.m., he didn't make his way there until about 10:30 a.m.

As for me, I stayed up doing I don't even know what on the laptop and halfway watching I don't remember what on the TV, until 1:30 a.m.  Then I headed up to bed, tried to read on my Kindle a little but found that I was actually tired, so I went to sleep, thinking I was going to have a very short night since I probably would be up early and go spend the morning on my back patio.

Well... no!  I slept like a rock until the sun woke me up (note to self: I need to hang another layer of curtains on the east-facing window!) and my bladder nagged me, and when I got back into bed, I started thinking that, even though I was tired, I ought to get up, brew coffee, and go enjoy it on the patio with the birdies. And then I thought "don't think about coffee! don't think about coffee!" and it worked and I went back to sleep until 10 a.m.  Well, that's what Sundays are for, isn't it?

So I got up, Greg went to get the soda refills for the 3 of us (after bringing me the paper from the driveway as I was still in my PJs, thanks honey!), I brewed coffee and sat on the patio. Yes, most of the birds had already come and gone but I thought that if I could even enjoy just one hour outdoors this morning, it would be a lovely start to my day.  And then some inconsiderate neighbor started playing country music quite loudly through their open windows and I muttered something under my breath and the music stopped.  And then it started again so I muttered something under my breath and the music stopped again. Wow.  I'm a witch!

So I enjoyed about an hour outdoors before the sun was high enough to bathe the entire patio in his very bright and very hot rays so I headed back indoors at 11:30 a.m.  But before that, I observed a couple of birds, took some pictures, chatted with my BFF via texts, and read the news on my Kindle Fire.

I have chores that need to be done today, despite it being Sunday, because I was lazy yesterday. So I need to pretend today is Saturday, actually.  I have tons of dishes to be done, I need to refill the hummingbird feeders and water the potted plants.  I should work on a menu for the upcoming week. I wanted to try to bake a new bread recipe from my new-to-be bread machine recipe book.  It's almost noon already!  I'm still in my PJs. I'd better get to it.

Greg called his parents this afternoon. His dad is getting stronger every day but gets out of breath very fast.  The current plan is for him to remain at the Rehab Clinic for another week.  It's very close to their house so it makes it easier for my MIL.

To Do List :
  • Crafty/Creative:
    • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
    • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
    • Melt down old candles and make into one or two new candles
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door and another one for the other front door (we have two)
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the entry room, breezeway, bedrooms
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets
    • Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Iron - partly done
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter exercise room (including storage bench)
    • Vacuum the Expedition and the Focus
    • Do the dishes - Washed one load
    • Clean coupon organizer of expired coupons
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Check on the pineapples to see if they're ready to be cut up and dehydrated - I smelled them today and the smallest ones are starting to get that lovely pineapple aroma. Yay! I'll process them this week
    • Cut up the cantaloupe - Done
    • Bake a loaf of bread in the bread maker - Done
    • Write a menu for this week
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
  • Errands:
    • Take items to the dump
    • Pick up acne soap from dermatologist (on Wednesday)
  • Gardening/outdoors:
    • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
    • Research cone flowers and their care and plant them somewhere - Transplanted them in larger pot.
    • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew (this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!)
    • Fertilize the raspberries
    • Add mulch to the vegetable garden
    • Pull unwanted plants from center "planter" in the backyard, add soil, plant flowers, add edging around it (watch out for large roots that would be in the way). Make planter with other materials if edging doesn't work. (this will have to wait until Fall when it's not so hot and when I can plant wildflower seeds).
    • Divide and repot the aloe plant
    • Plant more okra
    • Trim grass behind the hedge
    • Find fish emulsion and use on plants
    • Refill hummingbird feeders - Done
    • Water the potted plants - Done
    • Check on my seed nursery - Done
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
    • Read reply from insurer about son's prescription
    • Get back on the recumbent bike! - I walked for an hour in the heat today!
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises
  • Maintenance:
    • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
    • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
    • Test the batteries in all 3 smoke detectors and replace as needed
    • Vacuum fridge coils
    • Greg to call plumber
  • Technology/Paperwork:
    • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
    • Scan more old pictures
    • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns - Started but need to do more research.
    • Figure out if we should contribute to regular  or Roth IRAs for 2016 and fund them - I guess I need to wait until tax time next year, actually. I'll have until April 15, 2017 to fund 2016 IRAs so I need to work on taxes way sooner than I did this year so I'd have time to fund the IRAs and THEN file my taxes.
    • Download all May-July photos to my external drive
    • Back up my external drive to my other external drive
    • Find the cats' rabies licenses (might not need to since I'm taking them to get their new ones in a  couple of weeks)
    • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
    • Purge filing cabinet
    • File paperwork
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt
    • Write July Food Expenses Recap post
    • Input receipts into spreadsheets
    • Leave Amazon feedback
    • Reply to my mom's email
    • Print coupons - Done
    • Clip coupons - Done
    • Sort coupons
    • Take Parks department survey and mention the sad state of the access road to the Gal Van Fleet Trailhead
    • Redo the kitchen wall calendar for August

  • Heated up the cup of coffee brewed yesterday morning that remained in the coffee pot. I enjoyed it with 2 slices of the banana nut creme cake that I bought on 50% clearance at Save A Lot last week. I've really enjoyed it for breakfast.

  • Brewed a new pot of free coffee from Wawa.

  • Greg drove to RaceTrac and got us 4 free Sodapalooza refills. The end of Sodapalooza means that I probably won't do much driving this week. It'll save me the little bit of gas spent on driving the 1 mile and back in the Focus that I was doing almost every morning.

  • We had 3 coupon inserts in today's paper

  • And also a sheet of McDonald's coupons that match the ones from my app.

  • I uploaded new offers from SavingStar.

  • I earned a few Swagbucks. I'm over the 1,900 threshold and it'd be nice to hit 2,200 SB soon so I can order a new $25 gift card so I'm running the Ngage videos while I'm on the laptop.

  • I put the latest book by Harlan Coben, "Home", on hold at my library via their website. It won't be published until September 20th, but 84 people had already put it on hold ahead of me. Since he's a popular author, my library system will get several copies of the book and it'll be available to borrow for only 7 days for a while so I'm hoping it won't take too long to get it.  At the same time, I have not liked his latest books (which was very disappointing because he used to be a favorite author of mine) so I'm not in a rush to get it, lol.

  • Out of the blue, Greg asked me if I wanted to go walk on the trail and was surprised when I enthusiastically said "Yep!".  Well, walking on the trail with my husband or doing the dishes, it's not a hard choice, lol.  So I got dressed and we both had a quick sandwich and we left. We asked our son if he wanted to come along but, as usual, he turned us down.  So we walked for a little more than an hour (free cardio!) and sweated quite a bit.

  • While we were out, my son texted me that he was taking his own walk down to the park to get some swinging done. A nice thing about walking from the SR50 trailhead is that we did have cell phone reception, whereas we don't when we walk from the trail stop located at the mid point of the trail. So I was able to keep in touch with our son the whole time.

  • On the way home we stopped by RaceTrac and got 3 more free Sodapalooza refills and Greg gassed up his truck so he earned loyalty points on his app and I have a new receipt with which I will earn a freebie for taking a survey.  We will also get 2% back in Rewards on our Amex.

  • Back home, I refilled the hummingbird feeders with homemade nectar and decided to move the feeder that was by my vinca hanging baskets to the holder that already has a hummingbird feeder because the ants had found a way to jump from the vincas to the feeder.  I need another pole.  I have a $5 off coupon for Ace that is good starting tomorrow so I might treat myself and the birds to yet another feeder pole.

  • I also harvested some jalapeƱos and a couple of strawberries.

  • Then I sat down with a bowl of baby carrots that I had bought at Aldi several weeks ago ($0.29 a bag, I think) and some of the Ranch Veggie Dip bought on 50% clearance at Save A Lot this past week (50 cents for the whole container!) and my Sodapalooza cup. It was very nice and refreshing.

  • Instead of making pizza tonight as I had planned, I'm going to make cheeseburgers with the ground beef that I had defrosted yesterday for the Hamburger Helper that I didn't cook, and grilled corn on the cob (3 ears for $1.00 at Save A Lot this past week).  I'll put pizza on the menu for another day this coming week.

  • I uploaded new digital coupons to my CVS app and my Publix and Walgreens digital wallets.

  • I printed some coupons via Swagbucks.

  • Then I clipped the coupons that I had printed and from the inserts from today's paper and those that I picked up at Publix last night.

  • Pixel Peeper has a new post up!  Do you visit her blog?  She takes awesome pictures, you should check it out.  The one from the dry cleaner is hilarious.  I love that I can visit Lakeland, FL through her blog, it saves me the 2 hour round-trip, lol.  

  • I reused rainwater to water my zombie celery.

  • I baked a loaf of Raisin-Rum Loaf in the breadmaker. It will be ready late tonight so we (as in "I") can have it for breakfast tomorrow.

  • I grilled dinner on the barbecue to avoid heating up the kitchen.

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched "American Funniest Videos" on OTA.  We had some good laughs.

  • I ordered my free 8 x 10 reprint from Walgreens Photos with code FREEDEAL731. I didn't have a great family photo to print so I ordered a reprint of the mimosa photo from yesterday. I'll look nice in my bedroom in a cheap frame from Dollar Tree :)

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.

  • Gas to drive to RaceTrac and to the General Van Fleet Trail.

  • GGGRRRRR!! Google Calendar must have been "updated" and now they've done it and made it dumber, which results in more time for me to set tasks that used to be quick and easy to do.  Once again, Dumb and Dumber decided to play with something that worked perfectly before but now sets us back several years. I'm quite sure there are several more problems with this latest "update" but for me, immediately, it means that:
    • When I create an event, I need to already have the appropriate calendar selected in my main view as the drop-down menu in the event creation screen itself now ONLY shows the calendars that you have pre-selected to view, not ALL the calendars that you own or are allowed to access.  This is retarded. Yes, I'm using the R-word.  It just is.  I own over 10 calendars, that's what keeps me organized and helps me keep my main calendar clutter-free.  Most times I create an event, and then halfway through, decide that it should really go on my "Gardening" calendar or "Organizing" calendar.  Before, I could quickly change that with the drop-down menu without interrupting my task. Now, I have to cancel what I was doing, go back to the previous screen, select the calendar that I meant the event for, and then create my event.  Whaaaaat?! More steps for the same result.  Why?
    • Google Calendar allows you to set reminders either by "notifications" on your laptop or by email. I set email reminders for almost all events that I create and since Google Calendar is my main organizational tool, I create lots of events.  Until today, there was an option in "Settings" to default your reminders to email reminders so when you clicked to create a reminder, "email" popped up automatically.  Now they've taken that away so every time I create a reminder, I have to change the setting to "email". It's freaking annoying, is what it is!  Again, they've dumbed down the whole program!  Why take away something that made life easier for users?!  
    • I sent a scathing feedback form. I really hope they rollback those changes but since they never tell you when or what changes are made, I'll just have to keep on checking "Settings" to see if that got changed again. What a PITA and what a waste of time.  I know it sounds like minor things, but minor things add up.  Updates should actually be progress, not regress!

  • At dinnertime, I went to cut up the cantaloupe that I had bought from Aldi this past week because the rind was starting to get soft. Only when I cut it, the flesh was pale green like a honeydew while the seeds were just starting to get orange.  I tried it. in case it was a variety that I didn't know and that had pale green flesh and it just tasted unripe. So I composted the whole thing. I'll have to remember to bring a picture and my receipt back to Aldi to ask for a refund.

  • I was all excited to cut up my tiniest homegrown pineapple because it was all yellow on the outside and smelled like pineapple so I figured it was ripe.  But no, it wasn't :(  So I'm going to have to compost that one too :(  I'll try to regrow the top in water but I don't know if it's ready.

  • Got some exercise!
  • Texted with my BFF
  • Refilled the hummingbird feeders
  • Harvested the garden
  • Went for a walk with Greg
  • Printed and clipped coupons
  • Did a load of dishes
  • Baked some bread
  • Watered the garden
  • Blasted aphids away with a water
  • Cooked dinner

  • For my BFF and the fact that her new job is going well.
  • For the fact that there are critters willing to hunt and eat cockroaches!
  • For Greg driving to RaceTrac to get us free soda refills
  • For someone making the neighbor(s) turn down their music or close their window!
  • For a fun time on the trail with my hubby who had eagle eyes today and spotted a ton of interesting things.

My Backyard

You know that very intense feeling of satisfaction you get when a bad driver gets pulled over right in front of you?  Well, I got that this morning when I went to get my patio furniture cushions out of the deck box where I store them and 2 small cockroaches fell off them. Ewww!  First time it's happened. They scrambled to hide under the deck box but a small lizard came running out of nowhere and grabbed the larger one of the two and ate it. Dang it, I wish I had had my camera with me at the time, it was so satisfying!  

Here are some pictures that I did take, though.

The bees do like the basil in my garden!  It grows so easily in the summer, I think I'm going to grow tons of it next year.

Red canna flowers are blooming one by one.

What happened to my zucchini plant in the past couple of days?!?

These two did.

Another green pepper is growing. I read that they like a little sulfur and to plant a matchstick next
to them helps. I think I'm going to try it.

The pink rose has opened up.

And a red one will open soon :)

A hibiscus flower, ready to open

And one that had already opened.

This little butterfly was in imminent danger of being gulped down by a small lizard that was approaching slowly (off camera).
But then a six-lined race runner came out of nowhere and attacked the small lizard, that ran away.  The butterfly was completely clueless.

A lone white ibis landed in the yard.

The mourning dove stopped by for a mid-morning snack

A squirrel AND a white ibis in the same shot!  BOGO!

Love the color on this juvenile six-lined race runner :)

General Van Fleet Trail, Mabel, Sumter County, FL

We decided to go on the General Van Fleet trail in Sumter County since it's bordered by trees on both sides so we figured we'd be in the shade most of the time. Well, yeah but when it's 1 p.m. and the sun is straight above, there isn't that much shade!  We parked at the trailhead right off SR 50 since we hadn't walked that way (South) before.

Gopher tortoise!

Another one for Bless!

It was very dry, but at some point there was some water just off the trail and Greg heard a splash.  On the other side of the trail, we spied a couple of baby gators getting in the water, and a few feet away, I spied this.

Uh, yeah. An alligator egg.  So, let's recap: us alone on a trail, splashing noises, baby alligators and an egg... so where was the mom?!  We started walking a little faster!

Wild boars dug out the side of the trail from time to time. Greg is pointing out hoof tracks.

We took advantage of this bench to catch a rest. It was shady and a light breeze was blowing, it was so relaxing.

And right across from the bench that wavy tree caught my eye. He looks like he's having a good time next to the other ones that are standing up so straight!

A hawk or falcon of some kind.  Greg spotted it later much closer to us but  I didn't have time to take a picture, darn it. It was fairly large.

Saw Palmetto

Trumpet Vine
Have you taken any nice walks recently?


  1. I guess lizards aren't all bad then :-)

    The tree looks like it's dancing. I'm glad you had a nice walk with Greg. The pictures are beautiful

    1. It really helps to think about the beneficial aspect of having them around :) This is why I try not to mind the huge spiders too much... because they catch and eat the roaches too. But I'd take a lizard over a spider any day.

      Will you show us pictures of your garden harvests? I love me a good picture of vegetables :)

    2. No way, I would much rather have spiders than lizards anytime! Unless it was a big old tarantula or something, spiders don't bother me.

      If I ever remember I'll take a pic. Although I think some of its starting to die out.

  2. You are a brave woman to go walking in the afternoon in the heat! But thank you for sharing your pictures with us, especially the ones with the squirrels! :)

    Glad to hear Greg's father is feeling stronger. Hope he continues to recover and do well.

    Hope you have a lovely start to your week, tomorrow.

    1. Anything to get away from housework chores, ha.

      Thanks Bless, I hope you have a great week too!

  3. I was laughing at the beginning of the post because I don't know if they had any other family take advantage of the soda program as much as you guys!! I am sure that it was a sad day come August 1st with the cups still there as a reminder of what you don't have now :) Can't you talk your way into another one or will another promotion come around soon??

    Like that you took advantage to do something other than washing dishes. It sounds like me!! I hate washing dishes. I came down this morning and my husband washed all but the potato cutter because he hates it so I only have to wash one thing today!!! Super excited!!! I went through the expired coupons yesterday and working on cutting all the coupons now with a short break to be on the computer...Swagbucks keeps killing firefox and I have to restart over and over :( I am already at the points to get my gift card for the month and I have faith that you will get your few last points to get it done :)

    1. It's been so hard not to be able to go and get our free soda refills, lol. And yes, having the cups is a cruel reminder. I'm washed my son's with the dishes today and I'm going to wash the other 2 tomorrow and put them away. I still have the ones from last year! Greg uses his. He likes how it keeps the drinks cold. This morning he poured one of the cans of Diet Dr. Pepper that I had gotten for his camping trip so tonight I put another can in the fridge for him. Publix issued some store coupons for those and there are printable manufacturer coupons as well, so if I do well with my grocery shopping, I may splurge and get him some more cans and hide them so I can dole them out one at a time, lol.

      That was super nice of your husband to do the dishes for you; How weird that he doesn't like cleaning the potato cutter. But doesn't he just stick it in the dishwasher with the rest of the stuff?! Greg won't do the dishes because I get upset by how he loads the dishwasher and how he just puts away the clean dishes wherever he damn well pleases. I think he did that on purpose, the few times that he did them, knowing that I would get annoyed and tell him to stay out of the kitchen from then on :)

      Good luck with your Swagbucks. It's always something, isn't it?! Everytime I have a problem with Chrome, the various site techs (for whatever site isn't working) tell me to get Firefox, but it sounds to me like it's not any better. I've been running nGage today to try to earn a little more, but it's definitely slow going and it slows doing my laptop so it annoys me. I'm at 2,020 SB right now... it might take me the whole month of August to get to 2,200!

  4. Like you, I was hoping to sleep in this morning because yesterday we were up at 5:30, and didn't get home until 8:30 for a quick soup and sandwich dinner. It was a long day. But this morning I was up early to go grocery shopping. I sorted, took photos, and blogged about the shop. My brother and SIL were coming back from also visiting Guelph and Cobourg (they went up Saturday and stayed over to visit)so they stopped in to see us so we could have a chat together about the situation. So it turned out to be a busy day. It wasn't until Monday morning that I got to sleep in until ten o'clock.

    So glad you took us all on a trail walk today. Again, you managed to capture different photos of things we hadn't seen before. I also enjoy seeing pictures of your backyard and the changes that take place there.

    1. That was an extremely long day for you guys, no wonder you needed to rest after that! I'm glad you got to sleep in on Monday.

      I hope that your brother and SIL are able to lend much needed support regarding your mom and stepdad's situations.

  5. I'm finally catching up on my blog-reading. Thanks for the shout-out! *Blushes*

    You had a busy day - and a one-hour walk? We managed 20 minutes in the heat on Sunday morning... I'm loving all your nature shots! And don'tcha know that you're only supposed to walk near alligators when you are training for your next marathon? :-p

    1. Ah, you deserve it, you take the best pictures!

      Well don'tcha know that I actually tried running and that I'm so out of shape that Greg was speedwalking faster than I was "running", lol. So any gator would feel like it won the lottery if it decided to chase me. I was kind of worried about what would happen if our way was suddenly blocked by a gator. Until I saw the wild boar tracks and then I was really worried about those, lol.


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