Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Stay At Home Day ~ Wednesday 7/6/16

I was really annoyed, last night, to find out that all of the TV stations that I like to watch in a specific order on weeknights seemed to have changed their line-up in July. Nooooooooo!  So I was stuck having to turn "Criminal Minds" on so I could have something mindless (ha!) playing in the background while I worked on inputting Greg's many receipts from his trip into my spreadsheets.  I hate Criminal Minds, seriously. I despise that show (sorry Susan!), hate all the actors, their acting, everything.  So you know I was desperate.  Thankfully, it was on one of the channels that seems to be constantly pixelating now that summer is here so it didn't stay on my screen very long. Then I turned on Amazon Prime to check if they indeed had Downton Abbey as I was going to comment on Susan's blog (they do, all 6 seasons in Prime Instant, gotta watch it!) and realized that they added a whole bunch of TV shows and movies so I got busy adding things to my Watchlist.

We went to bed at 11 p.m. but I did read my Kindle for a few minutes before falling asleep. I know "they" say not to use any screens about 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed, but when your library books are e-books, that doesn't leave you much choice. Am I supposed to stare at the wall and count sheeps?  I think not.

So today is Wednesday. Typically I go my grocery shopping and errands on Wednesdays but today more than ever I don't feel like going and, really, I don't need to go today. So I won't. Of course, I say that before having even looked at the new Aldi and Save A Lot ads so I might change my mind. But I don't think so.

I do have dishes to do (sigh) and laundry to fold but that hardly fills a day, eh?  I'll think of something... after all, I have tons of tasks to accomplish on my Big Bad To Do List.

  • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
  • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
  • Scan more old pictures
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew - this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!
  • Research cone flowers and their care and plant them somewhere 
  • Enter some Coke codes into MCR (next week)
  • 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 and June photos to my external drive
  • Replace roach traps
  • Research extension cords for generator
  • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
  • Find the cats' rabies licenses
  • Exercise! 
  • Sweep the main stairs
  • Dust
  • Read reply from insurer about son's prescription
  • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
  • Declutter linen closet
  • Clean kitchen cabinets
  • Process dried basil in coffee grinder - Done
  • Take items to the dump
  • Inventory seeds for Fall plantings
  • Recalculate Greg's W-4 with new paycheck info and bonus
  • 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
  • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
  • Purge filing cabinet
  • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
  • Send email to my French BFF
  • Add new genealogical information to Rootsmagic
  • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
  • Declutter coat closet/son's closet (shared closet)
  • Text my friend Leslie to wish her and her family a good and safe year in France
  • Schedule credit card payments
  • Fold laundry and put away
  • Finish doing the dishesDone
  • Finish working on a menu for the week  - I figured out tomorrow night's dinner so I'm a day ahead :)
  • Declutter countertop in the breezeway
  • Declutter coffee table
  • Refill the self-watering bins - Done
  • 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.
I was going to marinate the strip steaks all day today but this morning they were still frozen!  I had thrown them in the fridge to defrost in the bottom drawer where I keep the yogurts and I guess it's much colder in there than I realized. Poop. Hopefully I can still marinate them for a couple of hours at least before grilling them for dinner.  I was going to make pasta with them but instead I might just make mashed sweet potatoes with the sweet potatoes that I harvested last week (or 2 weeks ago, I don't remember).

It's going to be another scorcher here today with the Heat Index noted to be at 105F for Clermont again.  It should rain tonight but not until 11 p.m. or so. I hope it does!  In the meantime, I have got to refill the self-watering bins this morning, or at least check that there is enough water in them. It's hard to tell, sometimes, but I should do it while the sun is still down, which is right now.  Yawn. I'm still in my PJs at 8:45 a.m.

I'm afraid there won't be any interesting nature pictures to share for a while. It's too hot to be outside and I'm thinking that the birds are thinking what I'm thinking.

Maybe I'll just read my library book today?  I did do quite a bit yesterday so I need the rest, lol.

I wonder how Jess did on her interview and how Bless did with her first radiation treatment.  I'm hoping both came out of their ordeals with flying colors!

I'm also wondering what Dawn is up to, she hasn't blogged in 2 months. Hopefully she is just busy having fun with the kids.

Tara, you're probably way too busy to read this but I'm thinking about you too and hoping your dad is feeling OK.

To my other readers, I hope you're all doing well as well and that summer is kind to you.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • Once again he only took one Sodapalooza cup to work with him and refilled it on his way to work at our local RaceTrac.  That leaves two for me so I guess at some point I will drive to RaceTrac and get refills for my son and myself.  Since I don't like driving just for that (and I don't see myself biking in the heat today!), I might drive to Save A Lot if there's anything interesting to buy today.

  • I turned the AC back up to 76F in the living room for the day.

  • Breakfast was, as usual, 2 mugs of free hazelnut flavored coffee from Wawa (I won it) and a bowl of Vanilla Almond Special K with fresh raspberries and whole milk.

  • I mixed 1/2 a gallon of whole milk with 1/2 a gallon of water to stretch it (it makes about 2% milk).

  • The chair cover that I washed last night was still in the washer so I draped it over a patio chair for it to dry in the sun.

  • I didn't take a shower this morning. I went straight from my PJs to clean clothes as I wanted to get in the garden to do some work while the sun was still hidden behind the roofs and trees.  However I got quite filthy doing so, so I will indulge in a bath later on this morning.

  • I used my new electric trimmer to edge the berm and cut the overgrown weeds between the veggie garden and the house. It's a narrow strip of land with many obstacles in the way so getting the mower in there is a little difficult. The trimmer didn't do as good as job but good enough!  I love that it's electric and that I'm not breathing in gas fumes as I use it.  It's a little challenging with the long extension cords, especially since it keeps on coming undone from the trimmer (I have yet to try and fix that) but I'm getting the hang of it!

  • Last time I had used it, it had stopped working so I thought maybe I had run out of string and the machine knew to stop at that point (I'm not well versed in yard work machinery!) so today I set about figuring out how to change the string (not that I had any spare!) with the help of the manual. However, there was string in it.  Hmm.  Then I remembered that Greg pointed out a couple of days ago that the outdoor outlet had been tripped again and he had reset it. Ha ha!  So I tried plugging it in and it worked just fine. Hooray and now I have an idea of what string I need since the manual specified it. I think I will use my $5 Ace Reward to get a new pack of it.

  • Mid morning I realized that the strip steaks were actually quite large so I stuck the 3rd one back into the freezer. I used most of the mesquite marinade bottle that I had in the fridge on the two remaining steaks. The last of the marinade will keep for when I grill the 3rd steak, probably next week.

  • I refilled 2 cat litter jugs that weren't quite full with the water that had dripped from the outdoor faucet into a bin.

  • I dunked my filthy gardening shoes into the bin that had collected rain water and water dripping from the outdoor faucet to wash them off.  I left them to dry in the sun.

  • I used some of Susan's Monster Weedkiller (I never remember the nickname that I had actually given it but it's made with vinegar, salt and dish soap) on the weeds growing in between the pavers of the back patio.

  • I made a new batch of homemade hummingbird nectar.

  • While it cooled off, I refilled two of the hummingbird feeders with nectar made with the last instant nectar mix that had come with the feeders.  I hung them back up and immediately a hummingbird showed up to drink from the feeder that I had left hanging there with homemade nectar (I have three feeders). I'm wearing a red T-shirt today so I think all this red moving about the backyard was just too irresistible!  I was taking pictures and zooming in to get a better shot when I saw fluttering so I thought it had flown away... but it was only a large butterfly fluttering by so I missed the shot of the hummingbird that was still feeding!  Nice job, butterfly decoy!   By the time I did zoom in, the hummingbird had indeed flown off. LOL.

  • I drove the Focus to RaceTrac and topped it up at $2.18/gal. I only needed 1/4 tank so it came to less than $6. I will earn 2% in Rewards from Amex and a few loyalty points on my RaceTrac app.  I will also earn a freebie with the survey on the receipt. I need to start taking surveys again, I have 5 receipts that are waiting for me to do just that!

  • While I was there, I refilled all 3 of the Sodapalooza cups left at home for free.  The CF Diet Coke didn't taste very good so I got regular Diet Coke for myself (2 cups) and a Fanta Orange for my son later on today since they were also out of lemonade (and of Mountain Dew and Diet Mountain Dew!  I fear Sodapalooza might be too popular!).  I put my son's cup and my 2nd cup in the fridge.

  • I found a penny on the ground while walking back to my car.  It went into my 2015 Spare Change Jar.

  • I used the remnant of a corrugated perforated pipe that I had used to make self-watering bins back in 2015 to fashion a protection sleeve around the AC wire that I mistakenly stripped this morning.  Once again, proof that NOT decluttering can really save you money and aggravation.

  • I perused the new weekly ads for Aldi and Save A Lot online and made note of which items I want to buy this week.  I had just been thinking that the next time cucumbers were on sale, I needed to get some to make more homemade refrigerator pickles when I saw that they are $0.29 each at Aldi this week. Yay!  Of course, it would have been better if I hadn't just composted 2 cucumbers that had gone bad over the last 2 weeks because I had been too lazy to make pickles :(

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks.  I earned my 2nd Collector's Bill today while doing a Search.

  • Lunch was the last hot dog that I had grilled on Saturday, topped with some homemade zesty refrigerator pickles.  I also made queso dip with the rest of a brick of generic Velveeta cheese from Aldi (so glad for this to be out of my fridge now!) and a can of Ro*tel tomatoes. I had some with tortilla chips. Lastly, I cut up the last half wedge of cantaloupe leftover from last night's dinner.

  • The extra queso dip put me in the mood for taco salad so I'm defrosting ground beef. We might have taco salads tonight after all and keep the steaks for tomorrow night.

  • I ground the homegrown basil that I had harvested and dried in my coffee grinder and stored it in my basil jar.

  • I ate my lunch while listening to Smooth Jazz on WLOQ (via IheartRadio) and reading my library book.

  • Afterwards I went to take a bath. I didn't use any bubble bath as I was afraid my poor battered legs would hurt.  I brought 2 small bottles of Dove shampoo and conditioner that I had gotten as free samples and given to my daughter. She had used up most of it but thrown the bottles away. I had fished them out of the bathroom trash can to recycle them but realized that there still was a little bit of shampoo and conditioner at the bottom (as there always is) and mixed it with a bit of water repeatedly so I could use it up today, which I did. Then I recycle the bottles :)

  • I always feel guilty about taking a bath because it's a perceived waste of water.  I actually probably use less water than most people use when they shower because my bathtub isn't huge... but I'm pretty large so I don't need much water once I lie down, lol.  Also, I stay in it for an hour with a good book so I think I make good use of it. As usual, I used an upcycled cat litter bucket that I keep near the bathtub to scoop out water and flush the nearby toilet with it, and since doing this actually emptied out the commode since there's no water coming from the tank when you do this, I could see that I needed to scrub the toilet so I scrubbed it with Lysol toilet bowl cleaner and then refilled it with more bath water.

  • Then it occurred to me that instead of just draining the rest of my bath (which always ticks me off!), I could put in a little bit of effort (free exercise!) and just empty out the bathtub... into the rain barrel!  I wish I could empty it out directly into the rain barrel as it is located almost directly under the window located right above the bathtub but we have a screen on the window and then there's the main electric cable lower than that really close to the roof line so maybe trying to get water past all of that is not the best idea.  So I decided to get another bucket and do it the hard way: down the stairs, through the house, out the sliding door, onto the back patio.  I used the bucket that I used to mop the kitchen last night. That water was still in it and there was just a little bit of floor cleaner in it. I decided that, once diluted into the 55-gallon rain barrel, it probably wouldn't amount to much at all, same with the shampoo, conditioner and soap that was in my bath water.  So I emptied the mopping water into the rain barrel and then used that bucket and the cat litter bucket to empty out the bathtub. Since I don't use much water, it only took 4 trips total and I'm very pleased to say that not only did only about 2 cups of water go down the drain, but that my rain barrel is now halfway full. Woohoo!  Now watch that we'll have a huge rainstorm tonight, lol.

  • My son rode my bike to the library to attend the teen programming today. No volunteer hours but hopefully a lot of fun working on a group project (I think they're filming a video to promote our library) and free snacks provided by the library (with money raised by the Friends of the Library).

  • He came home with 2 coupons for free frozen custard at Ritter's in Clermont. They're one of the sponsors of the library Summer Teen program so all the teens get those for showing up at activities. Thanks, Ritter's!

  • My daughter sent me a message from Instagram asking me if I remembered "When we went there JUST to try the free samples". The picture she had meant to send didn't come through so I had to guess but that was easy... it was Sephora!  We went there when she was maybe 8 years old and was starting to get interested in make-up.  We had so much fun trying out different nail polish, blush, etc.  I think we looked like clowns when we left :) For some reason, she's always remembered that. Possibly because neither she nor I are into make-up. She wears eye liner and sometimes mascara but that's about. Anyway, I thought our conversation was funny - and frugal - enough for the blog:

  • Greg stopped by the RaceTrac station close to his office on his way home to get his 2nd free Sodapalooza refill of the day for the drive home.

  • Dinner was taco salads. I cooked one pound of ground beef bought on 50% off clearance at Save A Lot a couple of weeks ago and added a packet of Ortega taco seasoning that I had gotten for free after SavingStar rebate.  The tortillas chips from Aldi were topped with the taco meat, most of the queso dip that I made at lunchtime, some shredded Romaine heart, and homegrown tomatoes. I also added some light sour cream to mine.  For dessert, I served the second half of the cantaloupe that I had bought at Aldi last Thursday. It tasted amazing, by the way. For once I timed the ripening perfectly :)

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched the 1st episode of The Great British Baking Show, Season 3, on the PBS app of our Roku. Now we're craving Black Forest Cake, which is my favorite, by the way. Greg made it for my birthday a few years running. I just told him that he has 5 months to perfect his recipe with hints from tonight's show :)
Flora's Black Forest Gateau was my favorite. She's only 19!

  • After that I did the dishes while watching the beginning of "Ronin", a movie I had already seen a couple of times, on Amazon Prime Instant (via my Kindle Fire) and then I folded the laundry while watching the rest of the movie. (OK I lied, I meant to do that but now I'm too tired so I'll do that tomorrow!)  Good thing I'm still trying to get my mind off Game of Thrones because so far Sean Bean ( Ned Stark) and Jonathan Pryce (the High Sparrow) are in this movie too. Arrgh!  And the Swedish actor who played in another series I liked, "River". Oh yeah, his name is Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd.  Anyhoo, I don't know why it doesn't bother me to see Robert de Niro in various roles, but when I see actors from series I really liked, I have a hard time seeing them as something else, after that, even in roles in which they starred years ago.  Judi Dench in James Bond?  I can never take her seriously as "M" because to me she's Jean from "As Times Goes By" (oh Gosh I love that series. I have it on DVD and I have to watch it again).

  • Water that we're paying for to refill the self-watering bins and water the potted plants while I was at it (it was easier and quicker than using the cat litter jugs).

  • Gas to drive to RaceTrac (I was dirty and tired after doing the yardwork so I didn't drive anywhere else).

  • I was drunk with power, wielding my trimmer like a mighty sword and fighting the evil weeds (what can I say?  I had been reading speculations about what happens next in Game of Thrones right before that!), when I mistook the electric wire that goes from the thermostat into our AC unit for a weed... thankfully, the trimmer only stripped it from his insulation so I fixed that with electric tape. Still, arrgh.  It was an idiotic mistake and proof that people with poor eye vision shouldn't handle power tools.

  • The trimmer's instruction manual specified that you should wear pants when using the trimmer. Well it's Florida in the summer so I wore shorts. Ouch. My lower legs have been well sand-blasted now.  I think I'll take a bath without the bubbles because it's going to hurt otherwise!

  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Packed his lunch
  • Fed the cats
  • Weeded the vegetable garden
  • Refilled the self-watering bins
  • Watered the potted and in-ground plants
  • Topped off some cat litter jugs
  • Trimmed the berm, vegetable garden, and alongside the house near the garden and patio
  • Fixed the wire that I had just mistakenly stripped
  • Set out the chair cover to dry
  • Poured weed killer on the patio
  • Refilled 2 hummingbird feeders
  • Made new hummingbird nectar
  • Put the steaks to marinade
  • Went to get Sodapalooza refills and gassed up the car
  • Woke up my son... at 10:15 a.m.
  • Fashioned some protection around the wire that I damaged
  • Had a project status chat with my son about his summer assignments. The outcome is that I told him "you're halfway done with summer break and have done maybe a quarter of the assignments (and haven't finished the two books on which the assignments are based!) so less videogaming and more work is in order. You can do more videogaming once all the assignments have been completed." He wasn't too happy about it but he's also not one for confrontation.
  • Made queso dip
  • Read some of my library book
  • Emptied out the bathtub into the rain barrel
  • Scrubbed the upstairs toilet
  • Made my bed
  • Put the chair cover back on the chair
  • Compiled, analyzed, and posted my May and June food expenses
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Chatted with my daughter via Instagram
  • Cooked dinner
  • Did the dishes
  • Folded the laundry

  • That my daughter made it to her grandparents OK yesterday. I was worried because she hadn't been answering her phone but it turns out it had died, she had spilled nail polish all over the charger so she didn't want to use it until she could clean it off, and the extra battery that I had lent her hadn't gotten charged.  Kids!
  • That RaceTrac is only a mile from my house :)
  • That I didn't completely cut through the wire to the air conditioning unit!  I need to put some more protection around there. (done!)
  • That my daughter has a good enough head on her shoulders to realize that Sephora is too darn expensive, even if someone offers to buy you something there :)
  • That my Youngest Son is a really good kid.  After my admonitions about the pace at which he was working on his projects, he spent the morning reading his assigned books, without pouting.   Such a refreshing change of attitude from unnamed older children :)


  1. 105F is HOT! Hope you are able to keep cool! Yay for doing the dishes! I still need to do mine! You were very productive today and got a lot done! You always do! I look at your list of chores and feel I am being very lazy in comparison!

    Thank you for thinking of me. My radiation treatment went well.

    Hope you have a cool, relaxing day, tomorrow.

    1. This is high praise from the Queen of Decluttering and the Empress of Working from Home While Undergoing Cancer Treatment! You are definitely NOT lazy. Isn't it funny how each and everyone one of us tends to think we never do enough? Susan always admonishes me about that too and then say that she's lazy and go spend 4 hours weeding, bake dog biscuits, make a gazillion cards for everyone around her... lol. It must be in our feminine genes.

      I'm so glad your treatment went well, Bless. I hope today's is fine as well. Have a great day. I hope it rains in Southern CA! I wish it would rain here too.

  2. I have never watched Criminal Minds, but I have a friend who loves it. And you hate it. I may have to watch it just to know what both of you are talking about.

    1. It's an extremely popular show and it seems that it's ALWAYS on broadcast TV down here, unfortunately for me, lol.

      Greg dislikes most shows that I like to watch. He pretends that he doesn't watch them and goes on his computer to play video games, but his computer faces the TV and so he ends up watching them anyway. And then he makes some kind of sarcastic comment about it and he's ruined the series for me because we get into arguments about the plots or the acting, lol. So there are specific series that I don't watch when he's around so he doesn't ruin them for me ("The Americans", "Grace & Frankie") and others that I put on just to annoy him because I don't mind them and he loathes them (anything "Law & Order"), lol.

  3. To each his own, I suppose. I LOVE watching any kind of forensic show or crime drama. That is probably a very good thing in this household because my Sweetie watches all those shows as well. If I didn't like watching these shows I would be constantly upstairs in my bedroom watching my own brand of shows. That is not to say that we like watching all the same thing. He never misses watching "America's Got Talent" and he likes some of those competition shows that you like, that I detest. But we do try and watch Netflix series that both of us are happy with. We started watching "Breaking Bad" last night. It is INTENSE. Ha.

    I changed my mind about supper last night too. I will save the potato salad for tonight, as it is even hotter today. I used the reduced cost flat bread I bought on Monday, spread it with leftover spaghetti sauce from the freezer, topped with sauteed onions and red pepper, sliced chorizo from the Cheese Festival and smothered with mozzarella cheese bought on sale last Thursday. Quick and easy supper.

    1. Ooooh that sounds so good! How long did you bake it for? Like 10 minutes? That with a side salad... now I'm hungry and I haven't even finished my morning coffee yet.

      Stop it with Breaking Bad! Middle Son has been after me to watch it for a couple of years now and I keep on refusing despite absolutely loving Bryan Cranston because I don't like the glorification of meth dealers. That comes from the woman who loves The Wire and cried when drug dealers and thugs got killed on that show. So I'm a big hypocrit but now it has become a question of being stubborn because Greg keeps on saying "You KNOW you said you would never watch it but secretly you really want to!" and I do, LOL. So quit it, I want to remain in my little stubborn corner :)

      I was thinking "what competition shows do I like and watch?? Does she mean the Great British Baking Show? How could anyone despise that show?!" but I think you might mean American Ninja Warrior. Is that it? We also used to love Top Shot, although we haven't watched it in a few years. I don't even know if it's still on. I can't think of any other competition show that I watch... but yes, to each her own, lol. I'm glad you enjoy every single one of the 300 million episodes of Criminal Minds, lol. Ha, how I like teasing you!

    2. Yes I mean American Ninja Warrior. And yes I do enjoy watching the 300 million episodes of Criminal Minds, but not so much the reruns. Ha. We have already started watching the second season of Breaking Bad. Oopsie! You don't want to hear about it. Disregard please.

    3. You.are.evil. I told Middle Son about you and he cheered because he really wants me to watch that show, lol. BUT: if you tease me about it, I shall have to watch the 6th season of Downton Abbey and post spoilers. Oh, yeah.

  4. Your queso dip looks so yummy! And I bet the taco salads were delish. I haven't been cooking too much this week since I prepped so much over the weekend. I can really get quite a bit done in the evening if I don't have to cook each night. It seems I have to have this little revelation once every couple of years. ;)

    Smart idea to cover the exposed wire with the corrugated pipe. We have an electric trimmer too. I am terrified that I am somehow going to cut the cord and electrocute myself.

    1. I wish I had your resolve to prep food on the weekends, but I don't.

      I think it would be hard to actually cut the cord if you're using one of those outdoor extension cords because they're really thick. My extension cord is bright orange so it's easy to see and then I drape it over my right shoulder so I know it's out of the way. I'm more worried about forgetting not to use it when the grass it wet so I don't get electrocuted, lol.

  5. Now I am craving Black Forest Cake. It's all your fault!

    1. Ah, sorry! Don't watch that episode of the Great British Baking Show, then... there are 12 contestants that first week so there were 12 different Black Forest Cakes, some more successful than others, but I wanted all of them.


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