Wednesday, August 10, 2016

First Day of (High) School ~ Wednesday 8/10/16

LOL, this certainly was my son this morning, down to the backpack and the apple (in his lunchbox) :)

So that's it, my youngest son is officially in high school now. Sob.  He finished his online Health & Fitness class yesterday so at least he doesn't have that hanging over his head.

He smartly decided to take a shower at night so he didn't have to rush in the morning.  Last night the principal sent a message saying that campus opened at 6:50 a.m. with classes starting at 7:20 a.m.  With the addition of many more students due to the changing in zoning this summer, I figured it might be better to leave our house at 6:45 a.m. instead of 6:55 and I'm glad I had because the line wasn't bad at all (and yes, there was already a line!) but when I left the school at about 7:00 a.m., traffic was extremely backed up.  So I'm going to tell my son that either we'll be leaving every day at 6:45 a.m. until traffic drops a little (it's always worse the first week or so) OR he'll take the bus at 6:50 a.m.  He's taking the bus this afternoon so if all goes well, he might decide to just take the bus.

Bonus: quite a spectacular sunrise this morning. I asked my son to take a picture while I was driving him to school.

I went to bed at 11 p.m. last night, before Greg!  So I got 7 hours of sleep, which was better but I was still a little discombobulated this morning so I need to try to aim for 10:30 p.m. tonight.  We'll see!

My day today will be "weird" due to having to be at the eye doctor at 12:30 p.m.  So my daughter and I will go to her appointment, get lunch somewhere, and then go grocery shopping. I have several stops to make and with her tagging along, it might take a little longer and I'll probably definitely spend more than I'm planning on spending since she's back from eating crap all summer and is going to want to buy "healthy" foods that aren't on my list. We'll see.

So my Grocery Shopping This Week post won't go up until tomorrow, probably, because it'll be dinner time by the time we get home.  Ugh.

Update: as of 11 a.m., I'm actually liking this not doing the grocery shopping until the afternoon!  It gave me time to do some chores and exercise, watch an episode of L&O: CI on OTA TV, have lunch before I left.  During my regular shopping day, I'm usually gone all morning, document and put everything away, warm up leftovers, and then collapse on the couch to eat lunch and start blogging about my groceries and then NOTHING else gets done until it's time to drag myself to cook dinner.  Hmmm, we'll see if I need to change my routine, then!

To Do List:

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 (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 
    • 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
    • Wash dehydrator trays! Airing them 
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Dehydrate pineapples 
    • Process dehydrated onions - Done
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
  • Errands:
    • Take items to the dump
    • Take donations to thrift store
  • 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 - 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 - - Done
    • Pull the tomato plants
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
    • Get back on the recumbent bike! - Done
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises (Thursday!)
    • Weigh myself  
    • Log food into My Fitness Pal
  • 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
    • Order boot lace replacements for Greg once Discover Rewards hit
    • Have Greg removed fallen branch from side of shed
    • Wash the bathroom ceiling with bleached water
  • 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
    • 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 - Done
    • Finalize shopping list - Done
    • Pull coupons for today - Done
    • Mail greeting cards - Mailed one, will hand the other one in
    • Look at sample ballot and research local candidates

  • My son took a packed lunch to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work. He also took 2 cans of Diet Dr. Pepper with him so he wouldn't buy one for 50 cents at lunchtime.

  • I brewed a pot of free coffee from Wawa.

  • Swagbucks confirmed that I'll get 33 SB for shopping at Best Buy.
  • I unlocked new offers on MobiSave and Ibotta.

  • This morning I'm earning Swagbucks by running Ngage and Jun Group videos.

  • I worked on my shopping list for today. I need to keep in mind that I've already gone over my goal of $50 for the week with my shops at Save A Lot on Monday and Tuesday!

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits. I also earned a few Swagbucks.  Yesterday I scored 4 SB for completing the To-Do List but today only 1 SB. That sucks.

  • I texted my son to ask him to keep an eye out for a UPS package that might have been dropped off at the door that we don't use while I was gone. It's supposed to rain this afternoon and I don't want his school supplies to get soaked!

  • I harvested 3 tomatoes and 3 jalapeƱos from the garden.

  • So my plan of  "When school starts, I get on my bike and exercise as soon as I get home from dropping off my son" didn't work out today because 1) I totally forgot about it and 2) I needed to update Greg on the school drop off anyway so we chatted while he ate breakfast.  Later on, I realized that I had forgotten all about it so I added a weekday alarm to my phone for 7:15a.m. and then I exercised for free in my home by using my recumbent bike (go me!). I put on an episode of Midsummer Murders on Netflix while I was biking. I used to love that show but now it bores me to death!  So I caught up on Feedly on my phone while I was ignoring the show :)

  • After I was done exercising, I cut off the power to the TV and Roku by turning off the power supply. It'll just take an extra minute to reconnect to the wifi tomorrow morning.

  • I filtered water for the cats with our Brita pitcher and stored it in an upcycled gallon bottle of spring water that we've been using for several years.

  • I started dinner in the crockpot by putting the 2 small pork loin roasts that I had bought on 50% clearance yesterday in the crockpot with a bottle of Kraft barbecue sauce that I had gotten on sale with coupons a few months back.  In order to get all the sauce out of the bottle, I added some water to it, shook it, and added it to the crockpot. It will make more sauce for the leftovers :)

  • Instead of washing the dehydrator trays that had held the onions that I dehydrated a week ago, I just aired them out on my countertop and range because they looked clean. Note to self: next time I need to chop the onions in small dice (by hand) and not just rings that I separate because the food processor will NOT chop them once dehydrated!

  • I decluttered 2 items out of one of my kitchen cabinets, which gave me much needed space: a large cup measurer (I have two) and a patty press (which never really worked for me, I just use my hands!).  I will put them in the attic in case I need them later on.

  • I had a very brown banana so I froze it in a re-washed generic ziploc bag to make banana bread at a later time.

  • I put one of the danishes that I bought on 50% clearance yesterday on the table for this afternoon's after-school snack.  

  • I changed my mind about eating lunch out: I ate leftovers at 11:30 a.m. and told my daughter. who had just woken up to eat before we left. She said she would have breakfast (typically Special K for her) so I told her to bring a snack along because I was NOT going to spend money on eating out OR add unnecessary things to my cart just because she was "shopping while hungry."  My lunch was leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, with the last piece of garlic bread and the 2nd half of the papaya.  Yummy yum yum.

  • My daughter and I went to her appointment and to run errands. It was very hot (104F back home) and exhausting.  We didn't get home until about 3:30 p.m.
    • Ophthalmologist: they did a very comprehensive eye exam and didn't find anything wrong with her eye.  The doctor thinks that she might just have some regular eye strain due to being on the computer so much and that, since my daughter knows she put some chemical in her eye, she concludes that it's due to the chemical.  
      • Deals: 
        • the doctor gave my daughter free samples of preservative-free eye drops to put in her eyes when they hurt and advised her to rest her eyes every so often.
        • I'm not sure yet if I'll have to pay a co-pay since my daughter is covered by 2 different insurance plans.  They will bill me if there is anything that is due.
      • Frustration:
        • We had to wait for about 20-25 minutes before being seen
      • Gratitude:
        • the staff was very friendly and very thorough
        • my daughter's eye is OK
        • her vision is perfect
    • CVS:
      • Deals:
        • I bought 2 boxes of Cheerios on sale and used a store coupon and a couple of printable coupons and got $1 in ECB, 1 bag of candy (for my son) and got $1.49 in ECB, 1 candy bar (for my son) and used a printable coupon and got $0.75 in ECB.  I redeemed $3.00 in ECB from last week's trip and paid the $1.14 OOP with my CVS gift card so it was all FREE to me.  I will get $1.00 back for the Cheerios from SavingStar.
      • Frustration:
        • They didn't have any of the Diet Dr. Pepper 12 cans in stock so I couldn't do the deal that I wanted to do and also buy the Special K cereals so I could get $5.00 back.  So I will try to go to another CVS tomorrow when I have to go get school supplies.
      • Gratitude:
        • Nice and friendly staff and great deals!

    • RaceTrac:
      • Deals:
        • My daughter gassed up my SUV ($1.99/gal) and I earned 14 loyalty points in my app and got a receipt that will earn me another freebie when I take the survey.
        • While she was pumping, I went to redeem a survey reward code for a free Monterey Chicken roller grill item for my son.
      • Gratitude:
        • As always, for all the great freebies from RaceTrac!
    • Aldi:
      • Deals:
        • My shopping list wasn't very long.  The veggies were pretty expensive, I thought, so I didn't buy any. I need to try and use up the ones from my freezer. I decided to hold off on buying onions since I didn't need any this week and I'm hoping they'll be on sale soon.  My OOP was $40.38 but it included cat litter and some dishwashing liquid (I got the Rosemary scented one that was in the ad this week). I charged it to my USAA Visa so I should get 10% back in Rewards. I will get $0.10 back from MobiSave for the berries.
      • Gratitude:
        • My daughter didn't go crazy and add a lot of things to the cart :)  She did ask if I could buy her a can of Arizona tea because she was thirsty ($0.74) and she wanted strawberries and blueberries, which I would have bought anyway.

    • Dollar Tree:
      • Deals: I found the minced garlic that I like. They had very few jars on the shelf so I bought two (even though I already had 3 in the pantry. I don't mind having a lot since I was without for a while earlier this year!). I also got some toilet bowl cleaner and a can of bathroom cleaning spray, and 2 greetings cards.  My OOP was $5.21 and I charged it to USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.
      • Frustration: they don't seem to carry the mint tea anymore. They had mint lemon tea today but Greg just likes mint tea.  I also haven't seen the cherry pie filling in a long time.

    • South Lake Animal League Thrift Store:
      • Deals:
        • I stopped by to get the infuser pitcher that I had forgotten to buy yesterday. I'm glad it was still there!  It was priced at $5.75. I charged it to USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.
        • I also bought 4 small pots of periwinkles at $0.25 each. I paid cash. They charged me tax on those and I didn't think that plants were taxable in Florida but maybe I'm wrong, I'll have to check.
      • Gratitude:
        • For the friendly volunteers staffing the store who do such a great job!
        • That no one else had bought the pitcher that I wanted!

    • Walgreens:
      • Deals:
        • 2 dozens eggs on sale for $0.69 each
        • 1 bag of candy which gave me back $1.50 in Register Rewards.
        • I earned 20 Balance Rewards points and charged the $2.99 OOP to the Visa prepaid card that I had received from a rebate, so it was all FREE to me.
      • Gratitude:
        • For the eggs being in stock
        • For my friendly cashier!

    • Ace Hardware:
      • Deals:
        • A bird feeder for $4.99
        • 3 air conditioner filters for the price of 2
        • I paid for the $16.02 OOP with my USAA Visa card for 10% back in Rewards and some Ace Rewards too.
      • Frustration:
        • They still didn't have any ant spray :(
      • Gratitude:
        • Friendly cashier:)

    • Library:
      • I picked up the Law & Order: Criminal Intent (3rd season) DVD that I had put on hold.
      • Gratitude: for the best staff ever!

  • My son took the school bus home.  He decided that he still wanted me to take him to school in the mornings.

  • I submitted my receipts to SavingStar and MobiSave.

  • I input my receipts into my spreadsheets.  Keeping track of what I spend on what, to the penny, is extremely important to our bottom line.

  • I cooked bacon in the microwave for the potato salad. Afterwards, I drained the bacon fat and saved it in the fridge.  Greg loooves that potato salad.

  • My son took several walks to the local park this afternoon and early evening and my daughter borrowed my bike to take a long bike ride through the neighborhood.

  • MobiSave credited my account. Woohoo! 10 whole cents!

  • I reached my 1st Swagbucks goal, woohoo!

  • Gas to drive my so to school and to go run the errands. I drove the SUV all day since all my bags, etc. had been moved to that vehicle.

  • None

  • Made my and Greg's beds
  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Packed his lunch
  • Put Diet Dr. Pepper in fridge for tomorrow
  • Drove my son to school
  • Aired out his bedroom
  • Ran the dehumidifier in the main bathroom
  • Worked on shopping list
  • Scrubbed upstairs toilet
  • Harvested garden
  • Exercised!
  • Filtered water for the cats
  • Processed dehydrated onions
  • Brewed ice tea
  • Washed food processor
  • Started crockpot
  • Took my daughter to her eye doctor appointment
  • Ran errands
  • Made potato salad
  • Wrote and mailed a greeting card
  • Unloaded the dishwasher
  • Did the dishes
  • Input all my receipts in spreadsheets

  • For a good first day of high school drop-off and no bad temper or mishaps!
  • For witnessing a gorgeous sunrise this morning on our way to school
  • For my daughter's eye being OK
  • For my son's having "an OK day" at school


Early this morning a butterfly was enjoying breakfast at the feeder.  Smart of him :) (my lens kept on getting very foggy for the next few pictures aren't very clear)

Mushrooms growing at the base of one of my herb pots.

A weed trying to masquerade as thyme.

New Red Canna flowers

I think it's time to put more Vaseline on the bird feeder poles

The butterfly must have told his friend the wasp about free breakfast at the feeder!

Strawberry flower

Aphids and a weird looking tiny white bug on my hibiscus

Small green pepper is getting a little bigger

This lizard was trying to camouflage itself.  Didn't really work, though...

It's crazy how much the sweet potato has grown in a few days!

My passion flower vine is NOT thriving. It's a native plant so I'm very disappointed.  

The periwinkles I bought today. I wonder if they'll flower.


  1. So glad your daughter's eye is OK. Thank goodness for that!

    Glad your son's first day of high school was "an OK day". :)

    I'm sure your passion flower vine will do well after a few days. Especially with all the rain you've had.

    That white bug on your hibiscus is a mealybug. Best to remove that flower bud to prevent them from spreading. They are plant pests.

    1. The passion flower vine is pretty much dead, but I moved it to another area of the yard where the soil is native sand and not the Canadian peat moss I had put it in. I'm hoping it might be revived but if not, maybe the seeds from the fruit that the ranger had also given me will germinate. I need to research how to plant them.

      Thanks for the name of the bug! When I went to spray the hibiscus (with water) today, it was very hot so I decided to wait until it's cooler tonight to do that.

      My son isn't very enthused about high school. It's always awkward to be a newbie in a new school. I kind of wish that my daughter had still been attending classes there so he would have felt a bit better about it, but I think that after a couple of weeks he'll like it better. Right now he has 2 substitute teachers out of 7 classes because the district is still scrambling to hire full-time teachers. Our district is one of the ones that pay the least in all of Florida so they have a high turnover rate.

  2. Ha I love the picture at the top, that's exactly how I will be when I go back too (I can sympathise with your son).

    I'm glad your daughters eye is ok.

    Well done on the exercise and for eating before you went shopping.

    What a gorgeous sun rise to drive along to. One of my friends is in Florida at the moment and she is really complaining about your weather! It made me laugh because knew you would be loving the rain. Haha


    1. Ha! Where in Florida is your friend? It hasn't really rained here in a couple of days (well, Greg said it poured north of Orlando yesterday but we didn't get a drop here). Yes, I would love the rain, especially at night!

  3. You must be relieved that there was no chemical burn to your daughter's eye. The free eye drops will feel good when she next experiences eye strain.

    Today's shop yielded some more very good buys for you. You may be over the budget this week, but I recall you being slightly under last week. It all seems to even out. Greg is going to appreciate you making him the potato salad. My Sweetie loves it when I make it. That is often times his favourite snack before bed, if there is any left.

    Love the garden photos, especially the butterfly at the feeder and the lizard camouflaging itself against the edge of the bin.

    1. Yes, I was very relieved, indeed!

      Greg looooved the potato salad, he kept on saying it's the best he's ever had. Ha. I used gold potatoes and cooked them for 30 minutes instead of the 40 the recipe specified. I'm not going to tell him that your husband eats it before going to bed or I'll have to start making him a batch every week!

    2. I KNOW I typed a reply to your comment hours ago and somehow it's missing!

      Yes, I was very relieved that there was nothing wrong with her eye. I'm not going to suggest to Greg that he eats the potato salad before going to bed or he'll start expecting me to make it every week!

  4. Glad your daughter's eyes are OK.

    Filtered water for your cats? Somehow I understand, but it still made me laugh. My husband said he saw two of those anoles having sex right outside our front door when he came home this evening.

    1. It does sound like they're very pampered, doesn't it? But we have very hard water and our male cat almost died because of blocked urinary tract several years ago. Since then all the cats are on expensive prescription food that supports their urinary tract and I had started buying them spring water because of our water, just to be safe. A couple of years ago I got the Brita pitcher so now I'm filtering our tap water for them with the Brita pitcher. Better be safe than sorry.

      Was the anole sex the novel or the short story kind? ha.


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