Sunday, August 28, 2016

Guess Who's Home! ~ Sunday 8/28/16

Once again this Sunday morning does not find me in the garden with the birdies. I'm really getting antsy for some cooler and especially less humid weather, but we'll have to wait at least a couple of more months, probably, what with hurricane season in full tilt.

Greg is coming home today!  I just spoke with him at 8:30 a.m. and he's at the airport waiting for his flight, which doesn't leave for a couple of hours. It's a direct flight, so 2 hours and in the amount that it will take my on and me to travel to Orlando International Airport, he will be have already accomplished half of his almost cross-country trip, lol.

I didn't sleep great last night, lots of tossing and turning and then I realized that I was hot, so off came the PJs and then I turned the fan on and then I slept much better.... hot flashes are coming back, ugh. Anyway, I feel a little groggy this morning and my eyes are having a hard time waking up :)

Nothing really planned for today but going to get Greg at the airport, which will take probably 2.5 hours between the trip and then parking and grabbing lunch there.  I think I'll just pack a sandwich for myself so I don't buy unhealthy and expensive food. Then when we come back, I need to exercise and plan meals for the coming week, which should be pretty easy since, once again, I haven't used the menu from last week and I have all that chicken in the fridge that I need to use up. We'll be sick of chicken by the end of the week, I predict!

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 - No, I've decided to just pitch them. I know it's not the frugal thing to do but I have a ton of candles to use up, still, and I really need to declutter the house. Update: I had second thoughts last night so for now they're sitting on top of my washing machine until I decide what to do with them!
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door and another one for the other front door (we have two)
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the bedrooms (including son's fan) - in progress
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter shelves over printer stand 
    • Declutter storage bench 
    • Declutter coffee table - in progress
    • Dust fan in exercise room
    • Clean the fridge
    • Declutter gardening supplies chest
    • Clean the oven
    • Defrost the freezer
    • Do the dishes (Monday)
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Dehydrate pineapples 
    • Bake a batch of Grape Nuts - Done
    • Make Chicken Tetrazzini with chicken meat from fridge (Sunday) - Done
    • Make new menu for next week
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
    • Sign up for ranger hikes in local parks
  • Errands:
    • Take items to the dump
  • 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
    • Pull the rest of the dead tomato plants 
    • Plant passion flower vine seeds
    • Add water to pepper bins
    • Refill green bird feeder
    • Pour weed killer on weeds on patio
    • Harvest the peanuts
    • Make hummingbird nectar
    • Refill the hummingbird feeders
    • Replace batteries in solar lights in front of the house (need special batteries) - ordered the batteries today
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment - I'll do that once I'm more comfortable with my weight because I know they'll be nagging me about it anyway.
    • Use recumbent bike  - Done
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises  
    • Log food into My Fitness Pal   - Done
    • Record exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards (in September)
    • Weigh myself (Wednesdays)
  • 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
    • Wash the bathroom ceiling with bleached water
    • Remind Greg to re-secure chicken wire to AC unit and also to block off opening under front of the house
    • Scrub mildew off front of the house (porch, behind bushes, front stairs)
    • Install white beadboard in laundry room (will need to measure and purchase)
    • Install new stick-on tiles in laundry room (will need to remove ancient ones first)
    • Paint laundry room cabinets
    • Get Greg to fix/remove rotten wood on front porch
    • Make a list of which outlets need to be replaced and call Duke Energy Homewire Protection to schedule appointment
    • Ask electrician for estimate on installing outlet on front porch
    • Ask Greg to make me new tiled table for electric roaster on front porch
    • Get on flat roof, sweep it, and clean out the front gutter
    • Ask Greg to install gutter screens on the front gutter
  • 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 - in progress
    • 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 upstairs
    • File paperwork
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt
    • Remove daughter's pc from her room and decide what to do with it
    • Prep August Food Expenses post
    • Print new coupons - Done
    • Clip new coupons - Done
    • Sort new coupons
    • Discuss ACS Road to Recovery volunteering with Greg - Done
    • Fill out ACS Volunteer Application form
    • Go through the genealogical material crate
    • Shred what needs to be shredded
    • Scan what needs to be scanned (if anything)
    • Work on shopping list
    • Work on photo album for daughter's birthday
    • Track our net worth in a new spreadsheet (use AARP model and set up this one)Done

  • I was out of the container of free Wawa caffeinated coffee and only had the one bag of free decaf that I had won in the same sweepstake... but I need my caffeine in the mornings!  I found a bag of Maxwell House regular roast in my pantry so I mixed the two and poured the half caf/half decaf mixture into two airtight containers. It'll have to do for the next few weeks.  And beyond, actually, because I found another bag of decaf coffee in the pantry, arrgh. I'll have to also mix it with regular coffee and I have large cans of Maxwell House French Roast that I had bought years ago. It'll feel nice to use up all that stuff and hopefully the decaf will help with the bitterness of the French Roast.

  • My 1st Swagbucks goal this morning is only 68 SB, woohoo! I was hoping to get it out of the way quickly by filling out a survey but, once again, I was disqualified from all the ones that I attempted and I attempted almost all of the ones in my dashboard. It's frustrating. One, especially, asked me lots of personal political questions and when they got my answer as to who I would vote for in the November election, then I was told I had been disqualified.  I usually would email Customer Service and complain about that but today I just don't have the energy. Maybe the half caf coffee wasn't such a good idea! So I'm running nGage and JunGroup videos until it's time to go to the airport and hopefully I'll reach that goal.  Update: well, one of those two made their Chrome windows crash in the middle of earning SB so I lost everything in that round since, when I reopen them, it takes me back to zero. Grrr. So at 10 a.m. I only have 48 SB, thanks in part to a Search Award for 11 SB!  I'm taking a break until this afternoon and then I'll try again.

  • I picked up the paper from the driveway and found 3 coupon inserts and a couple of Publix flyers with store coupons in them.

  • Last night, I ended up re-creating a new spreadsheet to track our net worth. It's less detailed than the one I was using in the past, but also more useful as it will tell me, from month to month the percentage of growth or decline of our growth. I find that encouraging.   The last time I had filled out my old one was back in late January when I was still gun-ho about meeting my goals for the year, which included a lot of financial goals on which, as usual, I completely dropped the ball right after that (!), so I used those numbers and the current ones to see how our net worth has progressed and so far this year, it has increased by a little more than 22%.  Woohoo.  Thanks to Greg's sizeable bonus, we were able to pay down a large part of the remaining principal on our mortgage, and also we are continuing to send extra money every month automatically.  We are also contributing the maximum allowed to his 401(K). The IRAs is trickier since we have to wait until after we file our taxes to see if we qualify for Roth IRAs or not or even if we are allowed to contribute to IRAs because there are income limits.  It's all too complicated! I put a reminder on my Google calendar to fill out this new Net Worth report every 1st of the month, but if history is any indication, I'll drop the ball on that one too, lol.  I checked Zillow for the value of our home and, as I predicted, home values are dropping in our area. I really think that we're headed for another real estate bubble, which makes me even happier that we never cashed out on equity or took second mortgages to pay for silly things such as granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a beautiful kitchen, but not at the risk of losing the roof over our head should the economy tank.  I can do with my old Formica countertops and my wall oven from the 70s!  I can't wait until this house is paid off, though.  Unless Greg loses his job, we should be able to pay it off in 2 years at the most.  I'm not saying this to boast, it's really to cheer ourselves on when I re-read my past posts, especially in times when everything feels a little overwhelming.  What is scary is how little we have, in reality, saved for retirement. This is another reason why I want the house paid off, so we can start putting more money aside.  Vanguard warmed me that we need to diversify our funds more as we have only stock funds but at this stage of the game we should also have bonds.  So Greg and I need to discuss this and take action.  Discussing it is already complicated because neither of us are really interested in all that stuff, but taking action is harder because he leaves it all to me and I'm stupidly scared of taking action and screwing up something.  I hate dealing with investments and all that crap.  I wish pensions still existed and it would be all done for me automatically, like my mom's.  I'll get a tiny pension from Disney because I'm holding out when they try to get me to cash it in so they won't have to pay it.  Nope, I'll take the pension, Disney, nice try.  It'll be tiny though.

  • Oh, I remember where I was going with all this musing about our finances!  I found this site last night, that has over 400 free financial calculators, including some for Canadians and Australians!  Check it out. It's called Dinkytown.  I know, weird name.  Their Net Worth calculator is the one that's embedded on the BankRate and AARP websites, among others.  To find it, go to Personal Finances via the drop down menu and it's in that section.  There's a calculator called "Should My Wife Get a Job?" or something to that effect, which is very helpful in trying to determine if you can survive on one salary.  When I was time for me to convince Greg that we could live on one salary, I just budgeted our expenses and income 4 years out in Excel, day by day, and showed him that we could do it if we were careful with our money.  Then his income increased too so that's always helpful, but that's how I was able to convince him: with cold, hard facts.  And I've been home for 12 years now.

  • In checking the news online, I found a very helpful article about the FAFSA on USA Today.  The process starts on October 1st this year and some of the financial aid is on a first come, first served basis so don't delay filing it if you have a child(dren) in college.  I emailed the article to my 2 friends who both have incoming freshman like my daughter. I know for a fact that one of them didn't know about the new date until I told her at lunch this week so she was very grateful that I shared that with her.

  • I mixed half a gallon of whole milk with half a gallon of water to stretch it.  With Greg coming home, I'm going to need to start buying more milk.  Oooops, and I completely forgot to make him more Grape Nuts!  Brb!

  • I baked a batch of Grape Nuts. They'll cool off while we're at the airport and then I'll process them and rebake them tonight.  Instead of using the powdered buttermilk that I have been buying, I just added vinegar to milk, it seems to work very well.

  • I also brewed myself a new pitcher of herbal tea with teabags that I had gotten for free after coupons several years ago (Raspberry Zinger today) and my thrifted electric kettle and iced tea pitcher.

  • I printed several coupons and also uploaded digital ones.

  • I activated new offers in SavingStar.

  • When I took my shower, I took great pains to turn off the water while I was shampooing my hair, soaping up, and shaving. 

  • I packed a lunch for myself to take to the airport: left over salad from last night, in which I sliced a hard boiled egg, some light dressing in a small cup, a piece of mini naan bread (free from Publix!) and a small apple. I'm also bringing a bottle of water from our hurricane stash.  Cheap and healthy for me :)  I packed everything in my son's old elementary school lunchbox that is ripped on the inside but that I had kept... once again, it pays not to declutter too much, lol.

  • I spotted two new freebies on my McDonald's app today, each for a free breakfast burrito.  However, the McDonald's at the Orlando International Airport doesn't honor the app coupons and I didn't feel like going to the McDonald's near our house so they went unused :(

  • After we came home, Greg went to mow the lawn (such a great hubby!) even though I urged him to wait a few days because it really didn't look too terrible and I was afraid he'd develop a migraine again while getting used to the humidity again. But he poo-poo'ed my concerns and said that the lawn indeed looked terrible. So he's been mowing for 2 hours.  Thanks, honey!

  • Meanwhile, I exercised for free at home on my recumbent bike. I watched the end of an episode of L&O: CI on a DVD borrowed from the library, and then I read a blog on my Kindle Fire.

  • I also earned the Bing Rewards credits for today.

  • Once I was done exercising, I decided to get dinner ready.  I had looked forward to cooking the Broccoli Chicken Tetrazzini recipe that Pillsbury had shared in my thrifted electric roaster oven outdoors so it wouldn't heat up the house, but of course at that moment dark clouds had started to gather so I ended up baking it in the oven indoors. And then it never rained. But of course!

  • I used all the meat remaining from the chicken that I had cooked in the crockpot for 16 hours last week, as well as the stock that had resulted. I had ended up with only 24 oz of stock and the recipe calls for 32 oz, so since it was much darker than usual, I added 1 cup of water to it.  I didn't have regular spaghetti so I used Mueller's Pot Size thin spaghetti, which meant that I didn't have to cut them in half since they were already cut.  Cutting spaghetti in half always results in having pieces of spaghetti jump all over my kitchen so I'm happy I didn't have to bother.  I used fresh broccoli from Aldi instead of frozen florets so I saved the stems in the freezer to make stock at another time.

  •  I needed to cover the Pyrex dish with foil so before I got my roll of foil out, I checked my supply of washed pieces of foil that had already been used a few times to see if I had one of the proper size. I did, so it went to cover my dish :)

  • I'm ambivalent about recycling the containers of cream cheese that I used.  They might be good for small amounts of leftovers.  But I do have individual 1/4 cup containers already. Arrgh.  I put them in the sink for my daughter to wash tonight but I might still recycle them.

  • While dinner was cooking, I decided to go empty my countertop composting bin into the large one outdoors. It was very dry and I needed to rinse the small composting bin so I dipped it into the rain barrel and poured a couple of bins' worth of rain water into the large composting bin. I"ll need to turn it too but I didn't feel like doing it right this moment.

  • Then I took pity on all the plants that looked horrible so I used rain water on the hibiscus and roses, and then got the hose out and watered the rest of the potted plants. I didn't take any pictures but everything is pretty much fried.  My baby basil plants? All dead.  It's my fault, I was so not wanting to be out in the heat and humidity that I completely neglected my poor plants.  

  • I was able to put 2 books that will be published in November on hold via my library system. I'm #6 in line for one and #12 in line for the other, woohoo. A lot of times I'm number like #87 or something.  Of course, I didn't like the last 2 books by those authors (who used to be my favorites at one time or another) so I might be excited for no reason.

  • Gas, tolls, and parking fee to go pick up Greg from the airport.  We could have taken the Focus but I wanted to be comfortable so we took my SUV.
Random photo of the Orlando International Airport!

  • Lunch for Greg and our son at the airport. Yes, I could have packed them something but our son likes the airport food court so it's a small indulgence, lol. He's such a good boy :)  They like Chik Fil A but it's not open on Sundays so I stood in line at McDonald's while Greg went and our son went to secure a table (it was busy!). Then my son came back to help me carry the food back. 

  • Greg and I discussed my wanting to explore volunteering for the Road to Recovery program via the American Cancer Society and he's on board for me to find out more information about it. So I will fill out the application and should be able to view the 45 minute orientation to better judge how this would work out for me.  As Susan suggested in a comment that I'm about to post, I'm planning on "taking it easy" at first, if I'm allowed to, by only doing one trip a week. I'm not sure if that's possible but I would imagine that they don't expect their volunteers to put in 40 hours a week.  After I posted about this last night and I thought about it some more, I am a little concerned about what might be required in terms of car insurance protection. I don't carry medical payments as part of our insurance since we do have medical insurance, but if I'm transporting someone with serious medical issues, I would imagine that I would need to reinstate this?  I really wish they had more information upfront. I'd also need to up the miles driven on my policy since right now I have it at the minimum, and I would imagine that I should also disclose that I would be transporting other people regularly... I mean, if something were to happen, I wouldn't want the insurance to deny my claim because I didn't tell them something that I was supposed to tell them. Nothing is ever easy, is it?  Or maybe it's me that's making things more complicated than they ought to be.

  •  I should have collected water in a bucket while I was showering since it's been so dry outside, but I forgot :(

  • At the airport, I opened up my McDonald's app to see what coupons were available but the airport McDonald's doesn't accept the coupons, it figures! 

  • A lot of my potted plants died: some strawberry plants, the rest of the cone flowers, the oregano (it was too old anyway), one container of mint looks horrible, all the baby basil...

  • The damn squirrels found their way under my peanut tents and have been enjoying my peanuts!  I think I need to harvest them now.  So I'm adding that to my list.

Just like a dumb squirrel to leave proof of their perfidy right there in the open!
 They are actually TAUNTING me.
  • And I guess this butterfly was after my peanuts too. He became stuck in between 2 layers of screening material and died :(

  • Picked up the paper from the driveway (yes, it counts!)
  • Packed a lunch for myself
  • Baked the initial batch of Grape Nuts
  • Picked up Greg from the airport
  • Exercised
  • Processed the Grape Nuts
  • Baked dinner
  • Watered potted plants outside
  • Shared Net Worth information with Greg
  • Packed dinner leftovers
  • Baked the 2nd phase of the Grape Nuts
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Placed library books on hold

  • I used my recumbent bike for 1 hour (11.42 miles).

  • I brought my own healthy lunch to the airport so I wouldn't be tempted by bad-for-me food!

  • I logged my food and exercise into My Fitness Pal.  I still have over 800 calories left so I'm thinking some cherry pie might be in my evening snacking future :)
  • For my honey being back home!
  • For my son being willing to come to the airport with me
  • And for him being assiduous and working on some geometry homework on the drive there
  • For Greg mowing our lawn :)

How was your Sunday?


  1. So glad to hear that Greg arrived home safely and he's already mowed the lawn! Good job packing your lunch to take with you!

    If you want to add another craft project to your to do list, you could make teacup candles with your candle ends. I did that one year for Christmas gifts, with some teacups I was given. Do a search for teacup candles and you'll find instructions and pictures. But basically, you pour the melted wax into teacups and insert the wicks.

    Oh, those naughty squirrels, eating your peanuts! Well, they had to find something else to eat when you moved the bird feeders out of their reach, didn't they? :D On today's news, they showed a bear making off with a bird feeder and the homeowner chasing after the bear (with his cell phone camera taking a video); the bear did eventually drop the bird feeder!

    My Sunday was good, but I had to say goodbye to daughter.

    1. Thanks for the teacup candle idea, I'll have to keep it in mind!

      I don't think I would have chased a bear! That's one video that I probably would have passed on taking, lol.

      I'm sorry you had to say goodbye to your daughter. Did you ever try to restart that laptop, by the way?

  2. My sister-IL made a teacup candle for me. It is beautiful, too lovely to burn. But I am sure you would burn yours as you have scented wax. I think my SIL just used plain candle wax. It is a good idea because it would free up all those containers that you could repurpose.

    Yay! Greg is home. He was probably itching to do the lawn.

    Those rowdy rodents! Those mischievous mammals! Those scurrilous squirrels! Aren't they just so cute and adorable? Aww! They were just helping themselves to a few peanuts. I guess the peanuts must be ready to pull now. You were wondering when was the best time to harvest, and they are letting you know.

    I noticed a LOT of frugal endeavours in today's post apart from the usual. You reused a piece of tin foil, took a navy shower, made your own buttermilk, and packed a lunch for the airport. I know that was mostly to keep your daily food intake low, but you saved buying one of the meals at the airport (which is not cheap). Good for you.

    1. Very clever alliterations, lol! No, I don't think they're cute and adorable. I've had my fill of squirrels!

      I think the book that I consulted said to harvest the peanut in September so yes, it might be time to do that now. I sure hope they left us some!

      I never thought to make a teacup candle so it's interesting that, once again, you and Bless are familiar with those. Maybe I could make one for my BFF? I just don't know enough people to give those to, though. Most likely, I would use all the wax to make a layered scented candle for myself in one of those containers, there's probably enough wax for one whole candle. I do have wicks already. But it's been on my to-do list for a year now so that means it'll probably never get done!

  3. Sometimes I'm wondering if possibly we were sisters in a past life...because I've taken random pictures at airports, too. I'm impressed with your 1 hour on the bike! That's a long time to exercise.

    1. Ha! Wouldn't be funny to find out that we're related, somehow?

      The trick about exercising for an hour on the bike is to find something very engrossing to do at the same time.. so a very good TV show or blog that has lots of posts that you haven't read, lol. I wish I could read books while I bike, but they don't seem to hold my interest quite as much.


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