So my daughter came home from her dad's last night at about 9:30 p.m. She has bright turquoise hair, which looks better than the lighter shades she had tried better as she doesn't look so washed out but it far from being my favorite color. She told me that back before she went to California, she accidentally got some developer in one of her eyes and that despite washing it with water, her eye has been hurting ever since and burns when she tears up or there's wind or any air current hitting it. Let's rewind: she left for California on June 8. She is telling me this on August 8. I sent her to California with the health insurance cards in case there was a need for her to see a doctor. Did she go?! So I suspect she has a chemical burn that hasn't healed and now I need to take her to an eye doctor, I guess. I'm not sure if my eye doctor deals with such problems. He's an optometrist, not an ophthalmologist. I looked up the difference online and both are trained to deal with eye "diseases" but it doesn't address such conditions as a chemical burn. Getting an appointment at the pediatrician's might be tough since it's Back to School season and everyone is trying to get their Sports physicals done. So I think I'll take her to the optometrist and maybe he'll refer her to an ophthalmologist. I'll have to call this morning.
We did chat a little about her trip. She wasn't super enthusiastic about it but she said it did meet the expectations that she had had (as in "it was good but not life-changing") and she met people she really liked. Lately all participants had been assigned a mentor and hers was a lady from Adobe who was very good at mentoring and who studied Computer Science but then moved into a position that deals more with the front end customer experience and has design and artistic components. So what I had predicted would happen for my daughter once she was in college did happen: she decided that instead of studying Computer Engineering, she wanted to study the Digital Arts field, but the one that falls under the College of Engineering at UF, not the one that falls under Liberal Arts, because she still wants a strong foundation in Computer Science. I think that's really the best fit for her, since she's an artist and not a math head.
She was tired so hyper and I was tired from her being hyper (!) so we decided to chat more over the next few days. She still has lots of work to do before the end of the week for her online college classes. And she wants to go to the zoo. LOL. So we will try to schedule that before she goes back to school.
I have got to get back on the darn recumbent bike so I'm tired enough to fall asleep at 10 p.m. I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. again last night and I'm really dragging this morning. Greg got up with a slight nausea again (ugh) but couldn't work from home as he has meetings and presentations all day that require him to use equipment from the office. I hope he's OK.
The AC repairman just came at 8:10 a.m. and is trying to figure out the problem with our AC unit. He thinks it might be a bad relay somewhere. I'm leaving him alone and I'm just waiting for the bill. I just put my USAA Visa card in my pocket so I remember to charge the repair to that card (the one with the 10% Rewards right now).
After he leaves, I want to do a quick run at Save A Lot since they have a daily special of 2 loaves of bread for $1. It says "additional purchase required" so I plan on buying avocados since they're priced at $0.99 each but I have printable coupons for $0.75/2 avocados from Mexico. Those are indeed from Mexico, I checked last week.
Otherwise, I guess I'll do more chores. It's my son's last day of "vacation" before school starts. He got up at 6 a.m. today to see if he will have enough time to get ready in the mornings and it seems to work perfectly. He went back to bed after that, which he won't be able to do starting tomorrow. He has Geometry Honors in 1st period and while he's an excellent student, math has never really been his forte either so he's not looking forward to it. Personally, I think that having math for 1st period is cruel and unusual punishment! I didn't tell him that, though. Instead I told him to look on the bright side, which is that once he's done with that period, he doesn't have to worry about it again until the next morning (let's forget about homework for a minute...)
Today's my best friend's birthday and she's having a hard time emotionally. We can't get together because she is working tonight and is spending her afternoon filling out paperwork to be a 4th grade substitute teacher too :( We might be able to see each other this weekend, she wasn't sure. I want to take her out to a good meal and I'll probably get her a treat just for herself too. Gotta think of the best option.
Without any segue, here is my to-do list for today:
To Do List :
- 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)
- Dust the entry room, breezeway, bedrooms (including son's fan)
- Declutter linen closet
- Clean kitchen cabinets
- Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
- Declutter the top of the fridge
- Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
- Declutter exercise room (including storage bench)
Do the dishes- done
- Vacuum living room
- Sweep breezeway
- Sweep and mop kitchen
- Sweep and mop downstairs bathroom
- Spray bleach in shower stall
- Scrub downstairs toilet
- Fold laundry
- Put laundry away
- Dehydrate pineapples (Tuesday?)
- Process dehydrated onions
Bake something for snacks- no need, got 50% off baked goods
- Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
- Take items to the dump
- Take donations to thrift store
- 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 - I'm thinking about pulling them and putting more roses in pots in their place.
- Add mulch to the vegetable garden - I will do this once I have replaced the broken self-watering bins
- 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
- Trim weeds alongside the berm
- Find fish emulsion and use on plants
- Harvest the last couple of tomatoes and pull the plants
- Call gyneco to make annual appointment
- Get back on the recumbent bike!
- Do 5 min of strength exercises (Thursday!)
- Weigh myself
- Log food into My Fitness Pal
Make ophthalmologist appointment for Daughter- Done
- 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
Have Greg measure the length of his boot lacesDone
- and order appropriate replacements
- Have Greg removed fallen branch from side of shed
- 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
- 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
- Submit Clearasil rebate
- Enter receipts in spreadsheets
- Last night I saw an alert on Slickdeals that Best Buy was having a daily special on Kindle Fire 7", and that they were on sale for $33.33 with free shipping. Greg has been saying that his Kindle Fire (which is several days old) was giving him lots of trouble and not functioning properly anymore so I called him over. He looked at mine, asked a few questions, realized that my model was way more versatile than his so I ordered him one. I charged it to our USAA Visa card that is offering 10% back in Rewards right now, and I'll also earn 1SB per $ spent (so 33 SB), and it counts towards our Best Buy Rewards (although we never buy anything from Best Buy so that might be all for nothing). Yay! It came with a 6-month free subscription to Kapersky that can be used on PCs or Macs, and even though I unselected it because we'll never use it, I still got the email from Best Buy with the license info so I guess I'll count it as a freebie today :)
- Also last night, my daughter announced that she now had 2 laptops because Adobe let the camp participants keep the IBM Lenovo ThinkPad laptops that they had been issued. Whaaaat? It's a very basic laptop but wow. However, my daughter's personal laptop is much better so she asked me if she could sell her ThinkPad. I told her it was hers to do whatever she wanted with it.
- Speaking of selling, Greg was saying that the tablet that his mom passed on to him over the summer is kind of crappy so we discussed selling it too. Honestly, he won't do it so it would be up to me to deal with setting it up, following it through, shipping it (if it sells!) so it probably won't happen. I'll probably end up taking it to a thriftstore.
- I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work today.
- I brewed a pot of free coffee from Wawa.
- Greg gassed up his truck this morning and obtained a receipt with which I will earn a freebie after taking the survey.
- My daughter wants to go visit a zoo before school starts again. We should be able to go together during the week next week since her classes won't have started yet and I'm planning on having my son take the bus home in the afternoons. I checked the prices for the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, which is the best zoo in our general area (we won't discuss Disney's Animal Kingdom because I'm not paying hundreds of dollars to see animals!), and they're having a special right now where if you pay for 1 day, you come back for free until the end of the year. Chances are we would NOT go back before the end of the year, but at $30 a ticket, it's a great deal. The Central Florida Zoo in Sanford isn't all that much closer to us, is much smaller, and costs $20 per person. I'll give her the choice but I think she'll pick the Lowry Park Zoo. We used to go there when the kids were younger during their $5 Admission Days and their Swap Days with the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa because we had an annual pass there. We also used to visit the Central Florida Zoo because we could get in for free with our Orlando Science Center family pass, if I remember properly.
- It's been sprinkling ever since I got up so no watering today? It's overcast again. I hope the rain does NOT pick up today as the AC repairman is pretty much taking our outside unit apart to find out what is causing the low voltage problem with the blower that won't shut off. Ugh. He's been at it for 90 minutes now and still hasn't been able to find the problem. Update: a few minutes after I typed this, he announced he had found the problem (fan relay). Waiting to hear the damage... (listed under "splurges").
- After the repairman left, I went to Save A Lot. Since my daughter is back, I've returned the Focus to her so I took my huge Expedition. I love my SUV but weirdly, I didn't miss driving it all that much. Still, when I drive it I'm "oooh, I love my car!", lol. But today I was beating myself up for using up so much gas to drive the 10 minutes to Save A Lot just to get 2 loaves of bread and a couple of avocados. So I decided to make my errands run count, and boy, did I ever!
- Save A Lot:
- Deals: I bought so much stuff! This week's grocery budget is already blown but it's all good. Almost everything I got was on 50% off clearance.
- Things that weren't: a 12-pack of ginger ale soda ($2.29) for Greg since he felt nauseous this morning, 4 avocados ($0.99 each, minus (2) $0.75/2 coupons so $2.46), (1) 10-oz bag of cinnamon crunch cereal for $1.00.
- Things on sale: 2 loaves of white bread for $1.00/2 (Deal of the Day sale)
- Things on clearance:
- about 8 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts at $1.49/lb
- about 7 lbs of boneless pork loin (cut into roasts, chops and chunks) at $1.24/lb
- 12 lbs of Jennie-O ground turkey @ $1.32/lb and I also redeeemed a $1.50/2 coupon
- 2 pies (cherry and blueberry) @ $1.99 each
- 1 container peanut butter cookies @ $1.25
- 3 caramel nut danish coffee cakes @ $1.49 each
- My OOP ended up being $54.69 and I remembered to charge it to my USAA Visa card that will give me 10% back in Rewards.
- Frustration: that I had only printed ONE $1.50/2 Jennie-O ground turkey coupon because I've been printing them for a while but I hardly ever find the ground turkey on clearance... aargh. I could have saved another $1.50 today!
- Gratitude: that I have enough money in the bank to be able to jump on all those clearance items without batting an eye and that some of the meat on clearance was the boneless chicken breasts that I had just ran out of!
- Optometrist: my eye doctor is a very short drive from Save A Lot so I figured I would stop by and ask about my daughter's eye. Then I remembered that I also wanted to tell them about I haven't been able to use my new glasses at all because they make everything blurry.
- The receptionist told me that my daughter needed to see an ophthalmologist since they treat eye diseases and injuries. It would have to be covered under our medical insurance though, not our vision plan. She did give me the name of one in town, but I need to check our insurance plan network to make sure they take our insurance.
- The lady who takes care of ordering the glasses came out right away when she heard of my concern with the new glasses and had me explain what was happening and tested my vision by observing how close/far I had to old printed papers to be able to read them comfortably with my old glasses and with the new. Her conclusion was that the doctor might have ordered glasses that are too strong for me. He had increased by prescription by a "half increment" when it might have only needed to be increased by a "quarter increment" so she said she would send the glasses back to be adjusted. I forgot to ask whether I would be charged again... my plan only covers 1 pair of glasses per year so I hope not! We'll see.
- Right around the corner is my favorite thrift store: the South Lake Animal Clinic Thrift Store. It's tiny but the best organized thrift store I've ever been in and I always get great deals there. I looked at my thrift store wish list that I keep on my phone before heading in to make sure I didn't miss something that I had said I wanted. Oh yeah, an electric roaster like Susan's... let's go look!
- And guess what was on the shelf, almost in mint condition, with the manual, with a pilot light, with a "keep food warm" setting?! A huge (18 quart) Oster roaster oven. That thing is a monster. Priced at $30, which isn't a wonderful deal but cheaper than buying it new from Amazon ($39.99 with free Prime shipping). So I still saved $10. I confess that I didn't check the price of a new one just like that while I was in the store but I knew it was bound to be more expensive given the size and the research I had done a couple of days ago after seeing Susan's post.
- I also found an expandable bread saver that has ventilation hole settings for dry climate and humid climate (hooray) and is obviously for bread machine loaves since it's larger than my Rubbermaid bread saver. It was priced at $5. Sold!
- A pair of Lee's khaki shorts for me for $1.00. They don't have the side pockets that I like to carry my phone and camera (the name escapes me right at this minute!) but I needed a spare pair of shorts.
- So my OOP was $38.52 and I again charged to to my USAA Visa card for 10% back in Rewards.
- Frustration: my daughter has tasked me with finding her a graduation gown that she needs for a Halloween costume but I didn't find one.
- Gratitude: the attendant told me that they do get them from time to time so I'll just keep checking back. Also my roaster oven's manual comes with the cooking time chart for various cuts of meat, confirms that you can use it to bake muffins, etc and provides instructions and cooking times, and also has recipes. Woohoo! I might try it for the meatloaf tonight. I'll use the new extension cord that I had gotten for the generator, as I think it is rated high enough to handle the high voltage. That way, I can put the oven on the table next to my barbecue where no one will get burned by touching it as it cooks. I wasn't sure where I was going to store it when not in use but I remembered that I had decluttered the breezeway cabinets so I found the perfect spot for it there. Only I'll probably forget that it's there as I rarely use those cabinets anymore!
- Ace Hardware:
- Deals: None today! I stopped by to get air filters, ant spray and a new bird feeder and I left empty handed.
- Frustration: I had misread the ad and thought the filters were on BOGO but they're on Buy 2, Get 1 Free. They were totally out of the ant spray and the bird feeder that are on sale,
- Gratitude: I had 3 attendants trying to help me located the ant spray. They determined that they were out but that 12 cans were on order and would be delivered tomorrow. I'm assuming more bird feeders will be delivered tomorrow too so I'll stop by after grocery shopping tomorrow. Ace is about 1 mile from my house so it's not a big whoop to have to go back :)
- Deals: I got a hot roller grill item for my son's lunch for free by redeeming a survey reward code and a free bottle of protein milkshake for Greg after Sodapalooza coupon redemption.
- Frustration: I had wanted to get a Monterey Chicken roll for my son's lunch but the grill was almost empty as they were just putting out items to start cooking.
- Gratitude: They did have corn dogs that were cooked so I got him that instead. Free lunch for him :)
- Back home, I had a huge panicky moment as I unpacked my groceries because, as usual, my freezers are full and here I was with about 27 lbs of meat that needed to be frozen. You probably heard me swearing all the way from your house. My daughter looked at me and said "I don't know why you always panic so much, you always say you don't have any room and still, you always seem to manage to make it fit! I was just telling Aunt Lisa about you..." She's right. I don't want to know what she told Aunt Lisa, though (probably "Oh my mother is such a drama queen!"). Well, I reused 11 cereal bags to package 11 lbs of ground turkey, and 4 re-washed generic Ziploc bags to package the pork. I froze the chicken breasts without breaking the packages. The 12th pound of ground turkey will be added to the 1-lb of ground beef I was defrosting for tonight's meatloaf. It'll give me more leftovers for tomorrow. And tomorrow's dinner was going to be pulled pork sandwiches so instead of cooking 1 lb of pork loin roast, I'll cook both roasts bought today and again we'll have enough leftovers for the next day. And I was able to fit everything in my freezers although it means that I won't be able to buy anything that's frozen tomorrow.
- My lunch was an egg salad sandwich and half the papaya I bought yesterday.
- On the last day of summer vacation, my son and daughter were both studying and taking exams for the classes they took over the summer. Such industrious children! My son completed his online Health & Fitness class and I expect he'll get an "A". My daughter completed one of the two college classes she had been taking and took the final exam. All of those online classes were completely free to us, including the textbooks for my daughter's college classes, which she is borrowing from the county.
- I asked my daughter if she would want to go on the free ranger-led nature hikes that I had identified for October. November and December and she's on board. Woohoo!
- It started raining pretty hard at 2:30 p.m. My rain barrel was about halfway full this morning so it should be able to collect some more rain and my garden won't need to be watered. My plan to put the electric roaster outdoors will have to be changed. I will try to put it on the front covered porch and run the extension cord under the front door, as we do at Christmas time with the porch lights, since there isn't an outside outlet there.
- I received the $25 Walmart gift card that I had ordered from Swagbucks. This will be used for groceries.
- I cut the red rose that had opened up today and it replaced the 2 roses that I had cut last week in a small vase, on my coffee table. It would have died in the storm that we had a bit later so I'm glad I'll get to enjoy it indoors for a while longer.
- I didn't want to set the roaster oven outdoors since it had rained so much so I set it up indoors, in my kitchen, on my "baking island" which has a marble top. I ended up making Blue Plate Meatloaf that I shaped into 2 logs in cake baking pans and put in the roaster oven side by side for an hour at 350F. Once they're done baking, I will warm up the rest of the garlic bread loaf in there too while the oven is cooling off.
- For the meatloaf, I used up the 3 small green peppers that I had harvested a while back and some frozen ones too. I'm out of onions so I used some of the ones I dehydrated last week. I used up the rest of a bag of cornbread stuffing that I had bought on clearance at Aldi after Thanksgiving last year too. Instead of spinach, I used up the rest of the collard greens bought on clearance that I had stir-fried into some bacon grease a few days ago. The recipe also calls for 1/2 cup of milk so I used some of the sour milk that Greg didn't want to drink last night but was kind enough to point out to me instead of throwing it away like last time! I hope it turns out despite all the changes!
|Yeah, meatloaf never looks appetizing, But it's so good!|
- I didn't want the meat splattering on the inside of the roasting oven so I put a length of aluminum foil over the baking dishes. It worked the inside of the oven is spotless. After it was cooked, I used the other side of the foil (that didn't have any condensation) to wrap the garlic bread and I put the whole thing back inside the oven, turned off, until it was dinnertime an hour later. The bread was nice and warm and soft! After dinner, I rewashed the length of foil, along with the length of foil in which I had wrapped the garlic bread yesterday. One length went to cover the 2nd meatloaf that I put in the fridge, the other went to wrap the last piece of garlic bread that I will eat for lunch tomorrow.
- I cooked potatoes for mashed potatoes for dinner. When they were done cooking, I fished them out with a slotted spoon instead of draining the water and reused the water to cook potatoes for the Southern-Style potato salad for tomorrow. I didn't want to cook everything at once so I could judge proper quantities for each dish better. I used up more sour milk and also some butter. I think I put too much milk (darn it, I always eye ball it!) so I'll heat up a can of beef gravy to pour on top and none will be the wiser.
- I emptied the countertop composting bin into the large one outdoors and added some well-rotted oak leaves that Greg had raked for me. I should have turned the whole thing but it's 98F outside at 5:30 p.m. so it'll have to keep.
- I think Pillsbury has been reading my blog. Look at the title of the email they just sent me!
|Yes, it made me so happy that I framed it :)|
- I checked my rain barrel and it is 3/4 of the way full. Yay!
- Well it's not a frugal success but getting something fixed can hardly constitute a frugal failure either, so I'm listing it here": the AC repair cost us $222, It was a bad fan relay. The part was $42, service call charge of $90, and labor charge of $90. This is why you need an emergency fund if you own a house. Something always breaks down. I'm wondering how high our electric bill is going to be since the fan was running non-stop for several days, but I would have rather had that problem than a completely broken down air conditioner in the middle of August in Florida!
- Greg has decided to wear his hiking boot to work as they're comfy while his "street" shoes that we buy at JC Penney once a year, it seems, at $50+ a pair, have rubber soles that once again have worn too much on one side. He wants shoes with leather soles ($$$) but doesn't want to spend the money for them so that's his compromise. However, replacing the boots will cost $120+ so it's really not a good option, IMO. In the meantime, he goes through shoe laces like there's no tomorrow and doesn't want me buying the Kiwi brand anymore because it's flimsy. So I researched sturdier laces on Amazon and am waiting for me to get home so I can measure the length that he needs and I can order the correct size. It'll cost us about $10. For boot laces!
- I'm not sure if it's a failure or not... Truvia is giving me mixed messages... I went to order a Truvia sample of their nectar liquid but after I completed the form it congratulates me on ordering the sample but also tells me that I may not receive it because their records show that I have received a sample of their sweetener before. Then I get an email from them saying congratulations, you'll receive your sample soon but we may not send it to you. W.T.F?! So I don't know if I'll get it or not. If you want one, try this link.
- I decided to compost the leftovers of the rum raisin bread that had failed in the breadmaker last week. Interestingly, it never got mouldy. It just got as hard as a puck.
- Cooked Greg's breakfast
- Packed his lunch
- Made our beds
- Collected the trash throughout the house and took large bin down to the curb for collection
- Refilled hummingbird feeders
- Refilled cardinal feeder
- Ran errands
- Texted my BFF
- Chatted with my daughter
- Found an ophthalmologist for my daughter and secured an appointment
- Cooked dinner
- Cooked potatoes and hardboiled eggs for tomorrow
- Emptied the small composting bin
- Unloaded the dishwasher
- Replied to all blog comments
- Recorded new meat that was frozen today on my freezer inventory (I keep it on Google Drive)
- Set the table
- Did the dishes
- Wiped the counters
- Put away leftovers
- Took recycling down to the curb
- Checked on the rainbarrel
- Fed the cats
- For an honest AC repair company (we've used them for years) who was able to send a repairman so quickly.
- For 50% off food clearance stickers!
- For thrift stores
- For an understanding attendant at my optometrist
- For being able to snag an appointment for my daughter tomorrow at the ophthalmologist
- For some more rain (and Greg didn't get a migraine today after all!)
- For having cooked dinner early enough that when my alarm rang at 6:30 p.m. to tell me to go cook dinner, I was able to sigh and say "It's already all done!"
|The rose that I cut later on tonight, just opening up this morning|
|Sorry for the blurriness, my hibiscus is once again infested with aphids.|
|The sweet potato vine is once again huge and threatening to strangle my green onions!|
|All the rain we've had has encouraged new growth on my rose bushes!|
|The penta is coming back nicely from the dead!|
|A delicate mushroom was growing near the serrano peppers|
|which are blooming again!|
|I have 5 eggplants growing at once (one is hidden).|
|I need to get the trimmer out because the weeds are invading my berm again!|