Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sunday 10/2 through Tuesday 10/4, 2016

Sunday, 10/2/16
I had an uncomfortable night on the couch last night. Between Middle Son texting me to say he was on his way home, to him actually coming in, to having to get up to use the bathroom and either finding my hands were asleep or my wrist was really hurting because of the position I was sleeping in. to New Kitty using her litter box repeatedly throughout the night and meowing loudly each time she did, I was actually happy when it was time to get up.  And that was signaled by the kittens waking up and making noise of their own.

I got their breakfast ready, brewed a pot of coffee (started a new mini package of flavored coffee - Tia Maria - that had been gifted to me several years ago) and sat down to play with them. They are so hyper in the morning, hiding in the couches, and then suddenly barreling around the carpet, jumping everywhere (parkour!), bumping into each other and going tail over head. So funny!

Then Youngest Son got up and came to visit with them and then Middle Son got up and scared them.  They are starting to be leery of strangers, although it didn't take them long to get used to him.

I made 2 loaves of chocolate chip banana bread with the 7 really ripe bananas that were on my table (bought on clearance at Save  A Lot a couple of weeks ago). I used unsweetened applesauce instead of oil to make them a little healthier but forgot to reduce the amount of sugar. Oops.  I baked them in the electric roaster outdoors. I had forgotten about it and was going to use the oven but Smart Me yesterday decided to leave myself a note on the oven door that I needed to clean it before using it since cheese from the pizza had oozed all over the bottom of the oven. I'm glad I left the note because I had already completely forgotten about it.

It was very nice waking up to clean kitchen counters and sink since my daughter did all the dishes last night, but now the sink is full of dirty dishes again and it's only 8:30 a.m.!

The paper was waiting for me in the driveway, which is always nice, and we got 4 coupon inserts today and 1 Publix store coupon insert.

I was drinking my first cup of coffee and relaxing on the couch with the kittens playing at my feet when suddenly Princess appeared on the ottoman and I have no idea how she got there. I think she just jumped up!  At the same time, Explorer (I'm calling him that from now on, it's faster!) jumped up on the couch next to me. He had a little bit of trouble but he did make it!  Then he went to explore Greg's desk a little since it's readily accessible from the couch.  Fun, fun, fun!

Middle Son took his siblings to the lake near my house to take outdoor shots. I hope he can coax smiles out of them because neither are morning people :) Then he's going to work at about 9:30 a.m.  I'll be going to pick up Greg from the airport at about noon myself. I ought to exercise now since the kittens are asleep. Yep, I'm going!

A little while later... I was able to exercise a total of 54:18 minutes (8.67 miles).  I read through the sections of the paper that semi-interest me, clipped the coupons, uploaded digital Publix and CVS coupons (I had a $1 ECB to upload, not sure what that was about, unless that was my reward for the last quarter?), checked Feedly, checked on the progress of the hurricane (keeping my fingers crossed that it keeps going North, sorry Northerners, and doesn't drift westward).  

I was interrupted partly through my session by the kids coming home from their session and the kittens waking up.  Middle Son asked if he could get paid now because his rent is due and he didn't have all of the money. Who knows what he would have done if we hadn't scheduled this session!  He told me he should be able to put the pictures on line for me to download on Monday and then I can order however many prints I need from him.

I sent him off with a whole load of warm banana chocolate chip bread and the latest issue of the photography magazine that he receives here (I had gotten it for him for free).

Greg texted me from the plane, which left on time. I had offered to bring lunch to the airport with me but he said he had proteins bars.  I'm hoping that I don't have to park and can just get there in time to pick him up. There is a free stand-by parking lot with wifi so I'll go there if I haven't heard from him by the time I get to the airport.

I made my bed, changed into fresh clothes, moved the kittens to the Cat Room where they played a little, ate a little more, and then went back to sleep.  Youngest Son is on the computer there and keeping an eye on them.

Tabby Kitty playing with Male Cat's feet

In a second, he's going to get walloped by Male Cat.  I wish I had gotten a picture of that!

Don't turn around, Male Cat, but you have a captive audience!

Male Cat and his Fan Club
Swagbucks Search has been horrible for the past 2-3 days, returning tons of spammy links instead of the real results. I thought I might have had a bug so I ran Malwarebytes this morning but it didn't find anything, so I defaulted my search back to Google Search. Bye-bye Swagbucks for now. Are you having the same problem?

I had sent coupons to the printer last night but I had left the printer off since the kittens were asleep. So I turned it on this morning and the coupons were waiting to be printed.  Then I marked each one with a small "SB" in pencil so I know to use those first (for the 10 SB per redeemed coupon), in case I have coupons of same value from different sources.

There were lots of pet coupons in the newspaper inserts today so I set those aside for the South Lake Animal League Thrift Store.

I also found an Aldi coupon for $5 off $30 in the Orlando Sentinel today (page A-18) and I texted my BFF to alert her.

I mixed 1/3 gallon of whole milk with 1/3 gallon of water to stretch it.

I went to clean the oven. Luckily, most of the melted cheese came off really easily with just a paper towel. I still sprayed the bottom of the oven (and the door too while I was at it) with fume free oven cleaner that I had bought at Walmart last year and I'm letting it soak right now. I have another note on my oven to remind me of that fact :)

I soaked more dry kitten food in filtered water so lunch will be ready for the kittens.

I don't need the kitten bottles, cereal, and other paraphernalia anymore but instead of donating it, I put it away because you never know. It's not my intent to take in any more kittens but with those loose cats in the neighborhood, you never know what my neighbor will find, lol.

I ate my lunch at 11 a.m. so I wouldn't be tempted to buy something on the way back from the airport.  It was the 2nd slice of homemade pizza with the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. So hot!  Not a super healthy lunch, especially with the amount of dough used  but no one else would have eaten it.  However, I had put way too many peppers on that piece so my lips and the skin around my lips are burning really badly right now. I washed it off and took a sip of milk to calm the inside of my mouth. Greg is going to have a nasty surprise when he goes to kiss me, LOL!

SavingStar had a whole slew of new offers this morning so I unlocked a bunch of them, just in case :)

Last night I ordered a Christmas present for my daughter from Amazon, that she had requested.  Youngest Son emailed me the link to the GoPro camera that he wants for Christmas so I'll be looking into ordering that for him.

I redid the family calendar for October. It's a dry erase calendar that's hanging in the kitchen so everyone can see what is going on during the month.

My daughter didn't get started on the FAFSA yesterday so she told me she'd start today. She has yet to finish her essay for college admission. She had started it and then decided that she hated it so she's pondering what she should be writing right now. My BFF replied to my text and said that she and her son completed the FAFSA last night and that it had been very easy.  Good to know!

There were more coupons available via Swagbucks coupons this morning so I printed those too and marked them with the "SB". I'll clip them while watching a show this afternoon.

I'm unable to print Smartsource coupons this morning because of an error message within Adobe Acrobat Reader.  I sent them a tweet since their "Contact Us" link is blank!

I did print some store coupons from Target.

I went to pick Greg up.   I was thinking about taking the Focus but the Expedition is much more comfortable for a 2-hour round trip so I splurged and took my SUV.  Greg texted me about halfway there that he had landed and when I got to the arrivals, he was still waiting for his bag.  So I circled around, looking for the "cell phone parking lot" but signage for that is terrible so I didn't see it. I circled around a 2nd time and then figured out where that parking lot was and as soon as I spotted a bathroom in there and was about to park to go use it, Greg called to say he was ready so I decided to skip the bathroom because I was in a hurry to see my honey!  The drive home was uneventful although there was quite a bit of traffic on the turnpike today and I'm not sure why because it was in both directions. It's Sunday!

Now I'm relaxing with one of the kittens at my feet, classical music on and my mug of decaf instant coffee while Greg takes a nap because he didn't sleep well last night. Our son just walked to the park to get some swinging done but I think it might rain soon because the big fluffy white clouds are getting darker.

After conferring with my son, I went ahead and ordered the GoPro camera that he wanted for Christmas from Amazon.  I also got him an SD card and an accessory kit.  It was pricey but videos is something that he's interested in.  I charged the the kit'n caboodle to our USAA Visa card for 10% back in Rewards.

I checked our library system's catalog and they have most of the seasons of "Roseanne" on DVD so I added them to my wishlist for later on.

I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks.  I also saw that my September bonus was available: I earned 92 SB.  Not great but better than nothing, which is what I'll probably earn in October.

I found the information for the license of Photoshop Elements 10 that I purchased several years ago but never used. I offered to try to install it on my son's computer this week and I'll do that while he's at school.

I entered my exercise into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 180 BR points.  I've given up trying to understand their point system!  Then I entered my weight (using the same one from my last weigh-in on Monday) and earned 20 BR points for that.

I completed my part of the FAFSA for my daughter, gave her her social security card and her passport for her interview at Disney tomorrow, and ordered her a safe from Amazon (charged it to USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards).

My daughter went to gas up the Focus at RaceTrac and gave me the receipt since she used my credit card. I will earn a new freebie with it.

I really want to order Chinese food for dinner... sigh. But I must be good so I will cook the tuna patties and rice that I had planned. Forget the green bean casserole, I'll just make a salad.

I started working on a menu for next week.  I already know what I want to cook, I just need to figure out what I still need to buy :) It's always a relief once I've decided what I want to cook for the whole week!

After several hours of threatening clouds as well as thunder, it finally started to rain at about 6 p.m., although it wasn't quite a hard downpour.  Still I'm sure the garden appreciated it.

The kittens fell asleep at my feet :)

I did cook dinner!  I didn't make a salad after all, just the rice and tuna patties. We have leftovers so I can pack lunch for Greg tomorrow and we'll still have a couple more tuna patties too.

While dinner was cooking, I unloaded the dishwasher and then reloaded it right after dinner.  Woohoo, I'll start my Domestic Monday without having to do a bunch of dishes :)  I also finished cleaning the oven.

Then I cleaned the 2 kittens' litter boxes and settled the kittens for the night in the playpen. Greg is back home, which means that he is going to be playing computer games in the living room until 11 p.m. but he'll have his headphones on so it shouldn't be any different than when I watch a show on my laptop. Which I might do too!

Before I did that, I compiled my September Recap of our Food Expenses.

Monday, 10/3/16
I fell asleep at about 10:15ish last night. The kittens are a little more active during the night now and a little noisier using their litter box and scratching their claws on the mesh side of the playpen, but we slept until about 6:05 a.m. My alarm was set for 6:15 a.m. so it was good.

I turned the outdoor lights on for my son as he walks by our house to get to the bus in the semi-darkness, brewed coffee (still using a small pack of Tia Maria coffee that was gifted to me), and brought the kittens their breakfast.  Then I sat on the ground and watched them go crazy, as they always do in the mornings.  They are so entertaining!

My son got up and went to school. He packed a lunch. I was asking him why he didn't buy lunch from school anymore but he said none of it looked appetizing and he didn't want to spend half his lunch period standing in line.  He rode the bus to school.

Greg got up late, I had to text him to see if he had forgotten to turn his alarm on (I had a lap full of purring kittens so I couldn't go up to wake him up!) but he had slept so well that he kept on hitting the snooze button :)  While he was in the shower, I put the kittens in their bed and went to cook him breakfast and pack his lunch of leftovers, a hard-boiled egg, and a yogurt. For a moment, I had forgotten that I did those tasks for him in the mornings, he'd been gone so long!

Then I went to get dressed in my exercise clothes and got a load of laundry started.  I drank my coffee, had my bowl of cereal, posted my Day Book post.  My daughter left for her interview at Walt Disney World.

The kittens had settled down so I went to ride my recumbent bike. I watched 3 episodes of Roseanne while clipping the coupons that I had printed yesterday, purging my coupon organizer of expired coupons, checking on Feedly, etc.  I biked for 55 minutes (7.54 miles).  I had to stop because the shoes that I had put on are those really narrow Nike trainers that make my feet numb after a while.

My daughter texted me before her interview that she got the Free Bagel a Day reward from Panera this month!  I checked my app and I didn't get it but hey, they credited me with one "free" visit so I only have to visit 4 more times this month instead of 5 to get a free Pick Two.  I don't care, I'd rather have the Free Bagel A Day!  I know, I know, I'm on a diet.  That and the post from Sandie that I read last night with the delicious picture of English Muffins made me crave bread really badly, but I had an apple instead. Not the same, people, not the same! My daughter told me that I could use her Rewards phone number when she's not using it to get the free bagel. Hooray but dangerous, I might drive to Panera's every Saturday, Sunday and Monday (which are the days she doesn't have to be in Clermont!).

I switched the laundry and put another load of laundry on.  I'm being lazy today and stuffing everything in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting since the weather might be iffy. (however, I did dry my son's old comforter outside on the patio furniture because I didn't care about that too much. It's now almost 5 p.m and it never did rain!). I also swept the breezeway, half the Cat Room and half the kitchen.  Then I fake mopped the rest of the kitchen.

My daughter called me after her interview.  Instead of getting a dishwasher position, they hired her to be a seating hostess at the Grand Floridian CafĂ© at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. It's my favorite resort and I used to love eating there so I'm really excited for her :)  She's excited too.  I called Greg and we're plotting on going to eat there on her 1st day, lol. Just kidding, we won't embarrass her like that but I do want Greg to take me there to eat at some point.  That's if we don't have to pay $20 for parking, though.

I set water to boil to cook more hardboiled eggs. I'll save the water for the indoor plants.

While I was checking if I had everything for this week's menu, I drafted a menu for next week too. Woohoo!  Hey, that rhymes :)

I finalized and posted my dinner menu for this week.  I'm starved and it's only 11 a.m.  I had the apple (in lieu of bread), a stick of string cheese and a leftover chipotle chicken sausage, cold.  I'm still hungry!  Definitely a tape worm, I think.

I checked our American Express accounts and we each had an offer for a $15 statement credit if we spent $75 at Home Depot. I plan on buying various gift cards there, as I did last year. I'll probably buy one Home Depot gift card (for gardening supplies) and a restaurant gift card, possibly Red Lobster since we like it.

My daughter got home so we chatted about Disney and her future job and work location. She's very excited but won't get to start working until later on this month because she has to go through Traditions first. That's the new hire orientation and was scheduled for a couple of weeks from now.

She also re-gifted me my free bagel reward from Panera that I had gifted her last month, since she now gets a free bagel a day anyway!

Then we played with the kittens and finally I offered to take her out to lunch to celebrate because we were both hungry.  

  • So we took the Focus and drove to Panda Express in Clermont (her choice).
  • She had a coupon for a free entree that had been given to her so we used that to get part of my meal for free.  She couldn't finish hers and we used the ToGo container that I had ordered mine in to bring hers home. I charged the total to my USAA Visa card for 10% back in Rewards.

  • During our lunch, though, she revealed that she no longer wants to pursue a Computer Engineering degree.  I understand but I'm disappointed, mostly because she started talking about studying Linguistics, which might be interesting but in my mind is akin to studying Underwater Basket Weaving (disclosure: her dad graduated with a degree in Linguistics).  We talked about other majors that might be a better choice given her interests in arts and liberal  sciences.  She's also questioning whether she should really go to UF because now that she is thinking about different careers, it sounds like UCF in Orlando might actually be a better fit for her. But she doesn't want to live at her dad's. He lives just 2 miles from campus so he would probably pressure her to live at his house or at the very least to participate in a lot of family events that she has no interest in. I encouraged her to find her voice and assert herself as an adult and not be afraid  to refuse invitations.  So everything is up in the air, she doesn't know what the essay she has to write for college admission should be given her total change of heart regarding Computer Engineering and the pressure is on.  Especially since she'll be starting a job soon during her days off from school so she really needs to finalize the essay now!
  • On the way home, I asked her to stop at a few places so I could run errands and we could maximize our drive.  Our first stop was at Publix, where I returned one bottle of infant gas drops that I didn't need. I got $7.49 refunded to my Discover card.
  • Our 2nd stop was at Tractor Supply Co, where I returned a can of kitten replacement milk that I no longer needed and I received $11.49 back on my USAA Visa card.  The cashier was a high school student who used to be in FFA with my daughter and who shared that the teacher that most students disliked had been fired.  My daughter actually hooped and hollered because that teacher was single-handedly responsible for making her hate being in Ag and FFA.
  • Our last stop was at the library, where I returned the book about orphaned kittens and the 6th season of Law & Order. There weren't any coupon inserts in the donation box.

Back home, we played with the kittens some more, and then went our separate ways.  I admit that I'm a little depressed about her revelations about college. I thought that for once I had a kid who would try to get a career where she could find a good-paying job but suddenly she's adrift and 3everything is up in the air.  I mean, she'll go to college but since she'll already have an AA, she has to declare a major so it's not like she has a year to find herself and take her time to decide what it is she wants to do.  But it's not my life so I can't let it get me down, right?  She'll find her way.

Here's a cute picture of some of my cats to make me feel better. Also I ate the Chinese food leftovers. Because.  Sigh.
Smartsource replied to my tweet from yesterday and apologized, saying that they fixed the problem. So I was able to print their coupons today.

A rep from PetAg finally replied to my question from several weeks ago about the difference between their PetLac kitten milk replacement product and their KMR milk replacement product.  Not that it's helpful because my kittens are weaned now!  Bottom line, they're basically the same although PetLac's protein comes from milk and soy, whereas KMR's comes solely from soy.  If you have kittens to raise and have the choice between the two, the PetLac seemed to make my kittens constipated, while the KMR gave them loose stools.

I entered my exercise into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 140 BR points, and then another 20 BR points for entering my weight.

For dinner, I roasted the Gold'n Plump Seasoned Whole Chicken in my wall oven and I'm making mashed potatoes with a mix of Russet and red potatoes because I don't think I have enough of either kind.  I'll make a salad too.  The good news is that I used up the rest of the potatoes without any further waste.

I used margarine instead of butter in the potatoes and froze the wrapper so I can reuse it to butter baking dishes later on.

Those Gold'n Plump Seasoned chickens get baked in a bag, which I don't like because, aside from baking something in plastic, the instructions say to place the chicken breast up in the oven but I just can't tell which side is "up" and I always get it wrong!  So the breasts get boiled in the liquid but the bottom of the chicken is nice and crispy :(

I watered the indoor plants with the water from boiling the eggs this morning and some rain water too.

My mom emailed me that she did return the kitten to the rescue operation she had gotten it from but that she was sad because the kitten was a cuddler. They've already lined up another family for the kitten, albeit another one with a dog. Hopefully for that kitten, things will go easier than at my mom's.

I went to empty the small countertop composting bin into the large one outside and inspected my garden.  The sky is getting darker and my son biked to the library for his volunteering.  If I need to go get him, it'll be in the middle of my cooking so I hope the rain will hold off until after he's come home!

I soaked the black eyed peas that I'll use for dinner tomorrow.

I input my receipts from this weekend into my spreadsheets. Tracking our spending allows me to control our finances!

I printed a couple of coupons that Kellogg's emailed me. I wanted to order $1/1 coupons from their Rewards catalog but it's down again. It's like a weekly occurrence now, very annoying.

I unlocked new offers on MobiSave.

I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned reward codes for 2 more freebies.

I took a survey on my Panda Express receipt and earned a code for a free entree item with the purchase of a 2 entree plate. Then I realized that instead of charging my meal to my USAA Visa card, I had given them my USAA Visa debit card, which won't earn me any rewards.  Arrgh. They both look the same!  It's the 3rd or 4th time that I do that these past couple of weeks!  I put the debit card somewhere else in my wallet, which means that next time I go to get it from its usual spot and I don't see it there, I'm going to start hyperventilating, lol.

I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.

Crap: the latest predictions for Hurricane Matthew show him hitting Central Florida as a category 3 hurricane on the night of Thursday. 

Tuesday, 10/04/16
Late last night, Greg received a phone call from his mom to alert him that the doctor was hospitalizing his dad.  He wasn't responding to any of the medications they had tried to calm his anxiety and hallucinations and he hadn't slept in 24 hours... which meant that Greg's mom hadn't slept either.  His sister accompanied his mom to the hospital.

Greg didn't have a good night. I didn't either. I was tossing and turning.  Consciously, I was worried about Hurricane Matthew (I got very anxious at dinnertime last night but making a to-do list helped me calm down some) and about Greg.  We knew he wouldn't be able to go back to Ohio until after the hurricane had gone by and it was upsetting to him. Selfishly, I wanted him here in case we had damage from the storms.  I was worried about Middle Son living near Daytona Beach because right now it looks like the hurricane will approach Daytona directly.  I emailed him asking him to come stay here starting on Wednesday. He didn't reply (and there's no need to call him because he never replies!)

Greg insisted on going to work this morning, saying that he'd rather be in the office so he could use the gym at lunchtime and keep busy over there.

I cooked him breakfast and packed him leftovers for lunch and off he went.  I had changed my shopping plans and decided to go today to beat the crowds that were sure to flock to the stores on Wednesday and Thursday (the hurricane is supposed to hit our East coast on Thursday evening) but since I also needed to get the crockpot ready for dinner and make dinner roll dough in the bread machine, I got those started early and hopped on my recumbent bike.

I can't remember what I did while I was biking, probably catching up on the news and blogs.  I had Roseanne on for 3 episodes but didn't watch it really because I was preoccupied.  I biked for 63 minutes (10.79 miles).  Oh yeah, I flipped through the 2016 Hurricane Guide for South Lake County. I learned that all our shelters are pet-friendly, but they have to have had their rabies shots, which precludes the kittens.

Then I took a shower, sorted my coupons, and left for my errands.  The kittens had been sleeping on the couch in the living room but woke up before I left so I brought them to the Cat Room and got them situated there.

For my errands, I went to:
  • Save A Lot:
    • The weekly ad showed that the 5-lb bag of Russet potatoes was on sale for $0.99 through today but they had already put the price back up to $3.99.  However, I had the ad with me so I showed it to the cashier who adjusted the price.  I'm not sure why I didn't just grab 2 bags because...
    • They had also marked down the Klondike Rose potatoes to $1.99 for 5 lbs and I got a bag of those too. It would definitely have been better to get 2 bags of Russets!
    • I checked all my regular clearance spots but nothing was on clearance.
    • However, I did buy 2 Butterball Smoked Sausages because I had $0.75 coupons that expired in 2 days and I didn't think I'd be stopping at Publix (where I think they were no BOGO and I had store coupons to boot). My OOP was $5.46, charged to USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.  Yes, I have room in the freezer for 2 links of sausages :)

As I got back in the car, I realized that Greg had texted me a couple of minutes prior to that to let me know that his dad had passed away. I tried to call him back but he didn't pick up. I was in the middle of texting him when he called back. He sounded upset, of course.  We talked about it a little. He shared that his mom had apparently gone back home (possibly to sleep a little) and was on his way back to the hospital when his dad passed. She got there 20 minutes after he had died (the same thing happened to my grandmother, btw, when my grandfather passed) so she was upset that she wasn't there, which made Greg upset.  We talked about him going back this weekend but who knows what havoc Hurricane Matthew will wreck on the flight schedules. I urged Greg to come home to grieve privately, but as a senior manager, he needed to do several things to ensure that his team (spread around the world) would continue working while the Florida location was closed later on in the week, so he stayed to do that. (he came home at about 5:30 p.m.).  So I went on to my errands. I wasn't close to his parents anymore, but it hit me more than I thought it would, mostly because I'm projecting on his mom and imagining how horrible it must be to lose a spouse.  Come to find out, instead of rushing through my shopping to make it home early and get started on hurricane preparations, I dealt with my stress by prolonging my shopping instead. I took my time and even visited Publix, which hadn't been on my list.  So here is what I did after that call with Greg.
  • RaceTrac: I just needed 1/4 tank of gas but I got it because gas prices are sure to go up and if the hurricane does hit us, we might not be able to get gas for days.  I also texted my daughter to make sure to gas up the Focus today for the same reason. I earned some loyalty points and a new receipt with which I will get a freebie. I charged it, of course, to my USAA Visa for 10% back.  I also went inside to redeem a survey reward code for a free apple fritter for my son.

  • CVS: I did 2 transactions:
    • Transaction #1: I bought 2 bottles of their brand of Deep Wood Mosquito Control spray. They weren't on sale, at $6.99 each. While I was waiting in line to pay, I checked my email and saw that CVS had emailed me a coupon for 20% off any full price item so I uploaded it really fast and used it in my transaction. I charged the $13.47 OOP to USAA Visa for 10% back in Rewards.
    • Transaction #2: I bought 2 gallons of milk, 2 dozens eggs, 2 bottles of Bai5 drink that were $2.00 each but came with a $4.00 ECB if you bought 2, and then 4 boxes of Special K Red berries for my daughter and 2 boxes of Special K Red Berries cereal bars for her as well.  Since I spent more than $12 on those, I received a $3 ECB.  I used (2) $1.00/2 printable coupons off the cereal, a $1.00 off 2 Special K store coupon and the $1.00 ECB that I had uploaded to my ExtraCare card, along with the $3.00 ECB earned last week. So my OOP was $19.74 (I hadn't spent that much at CVS in a long time!) and I received $7.00 back in ECBs. It was all free to me since I paid with the CVS gift card earned from American Express Rewards.
    • I redeemed the following rebates: $1.00 from MobiSave (2 Kellogg's), $0.50 from Ibotta (cereal and milk), Kellogg's one or many offers on SavingStar (automatic submission via my ExtraCare card), $1.00 from Checkout 51 (Special K bars) and I'll earn Kellogg's Family Rewards points automatically via my ExtraCare card.
I forgot to go to Panera's to redeem the free bagel while I was there. It expired on the 11th so I'll have to go next week.

  • Aldi: Aldi was PACKED. I hadn't seen that many people since last Christmas and all 4 checkout lanes were open.  
    • I got what was on my list and a few more things that I had forgotten about: tuna cans (we were out), protein bars (I couldn't remember if we had any and it's a good food to have if we lose power), more cat litters, paper towels (we're almost out).  So my OOP was pretty high, $66.18 but I redeemed the $5.00 store coupon that I had found in the paper on Sunday so it was $61.18, charged to my USAA Visa for 10% back.
    • I submitted some rebates: $0.20 from MobiSave (bananas, bread), and $0.25 from Checkout 51 (grapes).

  • Publix: I stopped at Publix to get cash from their ATM but I ended up going inside to check out what deals I could get anyway.  I knew I was already above budget but oh well. I needed retail therapy.
    • I bought Kraft Light Mayo on BOGO because there were $1.00/1 stickies on them, making them cheaper than the light mayo I get from Aldi, which they haven't had in a while.  I still have several jars but that stuff lasts forever.  I got a jar of Marie's coleslaw dressing for free after coupons, Campbell's Chunky soup cans for just $0.69 each after BOGO sale and coupons, more Ken's salad dressing on BOGO, hot pickles for just 50 cents a jar (I make my own but 50 cents was cheap enough), smoked salmon on BOGO (for Christmas), Lipton tea (just because I could get 2 big boxes of 100 bags and 2 smaller boxes of flavored tea for just about $4.50, and 6 Renuzit cones for really cheap too. And I got a small yellow onion because there was a $0.25 Ibotta rebate, making it a moneymaker.
    • I redeemed lots of coupons and also was able to redeem digital coupon but this was a surprise :)  My OOP ended up being $25.20, which I charged to USAA Visa for 10% back.
    • I should get $2.20 back from SavingStar for the Renuzit, $0.40 for the tea, and hopefully reach the $12 needed to get $3.00 back from the Ken's dressing.  I also got $0.25 back from Ibotta for the onion.

  • I stopped by the local florist's to order flowers for Greg's mom, but the lady said that if I ordered through one of the wire systems, I'd pay a lot in fees and the bouquet would be smaller than what I had ordered.  She offered to look up florists in Columbus near Greg's parents and gave me the information so I could call directly. I thanked her and told her I felt bad that she wouldn't get the commission, but she said it would have been really tiny. I got the feeling she felt it would be too much work for her for what she got, but I was thankful that she was saving me money.

Back home, I checked on the kittens.  My daughter had texted me that both the boys had nestled themselves on the couch, on the spot where I usually sit. Awww.  And that's where I found them when I got home.  Princess was asleep in her bed in the Cat Room.  The boys woke up, Tabby Kitty climbed on me immediately (separation anxiety, much?!) and Explorer took his own sweet time waking up and stretching.  So cute.

I fed them, brought them all back to the Cat Room, and proceeded to document my shopping trip and put everything away. I also warmed up my lunch and baked the rolls that had been rising while I was gone and then I went to eat in the living room.

I placed an order from a florist in Columbus for a bouquet to be delivered to Greg's mom tomorrow.

Soon, all 3 kittens were back in the living room with me!  The twins (Explorer and Princess) kept on climbing on my chest and just wanted to cuddle there, while Tabby Kitty was chewing on my fingers, at my side. I couldn't eat my lunch!  

They all fell asleep, the twins on my chest and Tabby Kitty nestled against me. 

I texted my son, who had come home from school, to ask him to bring my their bed to me.  We put the kittens in the bed, but only Tabby Kitty was OK going to sleep in it. The other two kept on jumping back on the couch and then on me!  It was funny but also slightly annoying because I was trying to submit my receipts for rebates, LOL!  Also: they love paper.  Or rather, they love to chew on paper.  Or on anything really. They're really teething!

I finally was able to put Explorer back on the cushion where he had been sleeping previously, at my left elbow, and Princess fell asleep where Tabby Kitty had been sleeping this morning, against my hip. Happiness!

It poured really hard this afternoon, you would have thought that the first bands of the hurricane had gotten here. But it's still far away.

I finally was able to submit my rebates and most of them got credited right away.

I entered a Kellogg's Family Rewards bonus code into my account (SUMM-ERFU-NJUL-SB20) and earned 100 KFR points.

Swagbucks notified me that I would be earning SB on my Amazon purchase of the cat carpet.  Woohoo!

My daughter and I chatted about what she thinks she might want to major in next year.  She now thinks she might want to be a librarian. A librarian, you say?  I told her that I know of at least 3 or 4 librarians or past librarians in my readership... because smart people are attracted to greatness, you know!  LOL. I told her that all of you librarians would probably have lots of advice to give her.  According to the ALA website, she can get any kind of bachelor's, and then she needs to go to grad school to obtain a Master's in Library Science. I told her that she could specialize and work in a research library at a university (I think that's what Susan used to do?  Am I wrong?) and she was interested in that. In Florida, only 2 schools offer masters' in Library Science: Florida State University in Tallahassee (where my Favorite Ex GF is now studying!  They could be roommates, because that wouldn't be awkward AT ALL!) and University of South Florida in Tampa, which would be way closer to us. So she's researching all of that.

Greg left work early. His mom called when he got home.  We're not sure if he'll go next week now. There will be a cremation, but his mom wants to hold off on having any kind of "ceremony" until Thanksgiving, when hopefully all the grandchildren and great grandchildren can be present.

He played with the kittens for a bit, which helped cheer him up a little because they're now vicious little beasts that pounce on another another incessantly but then want to cuddle innocently.

I checked the mail and found a sample of Temptations cat treats that I had requested.

Dinner was black eyed pea soup that I had cooked in the crockpot all day.  I was able to use up the limp celery that was still in my fridge, as well as some carrots that were a little past their prime, and 4 hot link sausages that I had bought on clearance from Save A Lot back in March 2015!  I served it with the cheddar wheat rolls that I had baked. They're delicious!  I admit that I didn't bother brushing any glaze on them or topping them with anything.  They rose a lot!

The kittens fell back asleep on the couch, nestled again me.  It's now 7:15 p.m.  I think I'll spend the evening inputting today's receipts in my various spreadsheets and writing up my Grocery Shopping post while watching some episodes of Seinfeld from the DVDs that we own.

Scratch that. Or rather: scratch me!  The kittens awoke and were very frisky but insisted on staying on or near me. Consequently, I died the death of the Thousand Small Cuts as my arms and hands are on fire from tiny little claws and not so tiny and very sharp teeth!  I was laughing a lot but it's also very annoying as I tried to put them down for the night but 2 of them escaped the play pen.  Yep, Easy Street is over and I think I'm now going to have to share my bedroom with 3 playful kittens!  I might try it tonight to see how it works. which means moving the litterbox, their bed and their food and water bowls, and then blocking the underside of the 3 closet doors and the main door so they don't get stuck somewhere they shouldn't.  So: a lot of work!  Also, risk them getting loose when I go to the bathroom at night.  Sigh.

So no receipt inputting tonight as the noise of the paper riles them up.  I guess just cuddles :)  Fine by me!

I entered my exercise into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 120 BR points.

I just realized tonight that I completely forgot to set the trashcans down to the curb this morning! I should take the recycling right now but I'll have to do it first thing in the morning because I am now surrounded by 3 sleeping kittens.  I might just have to sleep upright, LOL!

A sobering image to end this post: Matthew's projected track as of 8 p.m. EST tonight:

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us about Greg's dad's passing.  Greg was very touched by your messages, as was I.  Take care, everyone.


  1. Sorry about tempting you with the English muffins I froze all but one half which I eat on Sunday. I plan to eat a half every Sunday. But I am going to try and King Arthur recipe. Congratulations to your daughter on getting the job at Disney. Library science is fantastic .....And again my prayers and thoughts for you and the rest of your family

    1. You have such willpower, regardless of your stomach issues! Let us know how the King Arthur recipe turns out. I had cut out a recipe for them once and it sounded pretty easy but I don't think I ever baked them. I probably should stay away from baking bread, I want to eat it all... I think I've had 4 of the Cheddar Wheat rolls that I baked yesterday.

      Thank you for your congratulations, I'll pass them on to my daughter :)

  2. Congrats to your daughter on her job.

    When my grandpa died the nurse there said its really common for patients to wait until they are alone to die. Says she has seen it a lot, even in patients whose mind is already gone, they just seem to know and hold on until that time

    1. Thanks and I guess you learn something new every day...

  3. Lovely to read your update.

    Once again, my deepest sympathies on the loss of Greg's dad. But I am glad he's there with you just in case the hurricane causes some damage in your area; you won't have to deal with that by yourself.

    Congratulations to your daughter on her new job! Don't worry too much about her changing her mind about her majors, especially since she's so young. Better she does it now, rather than later, but it's hard to decide what you want to be for the rest of your life when you are just 18. My daughter changed her majors, too, about midway through college. As I told her, find what you really love to do because you'll be doing it for the next 30 years of your life!

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you during the hurricane season. Stay safe!

    1. Thank you Bless, this was helpful. You're absolutely right that it's hard to know what you want to do when you're only 18. We just thought that she had actually found what she wanted to do. I guess it's a good thing that she went to CA this summer to the coding camp and then realized that maybe it wasn't for her after all. She doesn't like math and you can't fit a square peg in a round hole. I agree with finding what you love to do but at the same time I have a jazz studies major who works at Starbucks to pay the bills and a future photographer so right now I'd like one kid who picks a career where they can actually make a living without having to hustle all the time, you know?

      I'll try to post short updates during the storm, as Susan suggested, but I don't know if we'll have internet. Keeping my fingers crossed as well!

  4. This new format of yours is packed with so much, my head is swimming. Where to start....I laughed out loud when you made the comment that Greg was going to get a nasty surprise when he kissed you at the airport. My thought was that he would be thrilled to kiss "Hot Lips" Nathalie.

    Also, I am understanding your ambivalence to the news of your daughter's uncertainty of what her major should be or where she should go to school. I really can't give any advice because although I worked in the library system at Queen's University, it was in the capacity of library technician, not as librarian. I worked in Interlibrary loans in the Medical Library and I loved my job. But I was trained as a teacher, not a librarian. In any event, she still has to get her B.A. and major in something before she gets her Masters degree. (the same as teaching) Computer science would still make a wonderful background for a librarian, especially in a research library. Our medical librarians were not doctors, but they sure had a very healthy knowledge of medicine and rehabilitation in their backgrounds. She should pursue her degree in what she is passionate about.

    BTW, congrats to your daughter on the job offer. It sounds wonderful. And it was nice that you sent your Middle son home with a pocket full of rent money and a warm loaf of banana bread from mom's kitchen.

    1. I kind of look like "Hot Lips" when you think of it! LOL.

      Thank you for the advice, I will pass it along to my daughter. I talk a little more about her plans in tonight's post that I just published.

      I'm sorry to be short but I'm really tired and I think I'm going to head out to bed now... not that the kittens are though. They're all jumping everywhere like little ninjas! My system doesn't work anymore now that Greg is home and using his computer in the living room until late at night, and that the kittens don't stay in the playpen anymore! I have to sequester them in my bedroom with me, which worked fine last night and I hope will work tonight again!

  5. Your post did have a lot of information. The one thing that jumped out at me...I think it's wonderful you're giving your son a GoPro camera for Christmas. Do you know the book If you give a mouse a cookie? - well, if you give a kid a GoPro, he'll want a drone next! LOL.

    1. Perish the thought! I hate those things!


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