Saturday, November 5, 2016

Weekly Recap: Sunday 10/30/16 though Saturday 11/5/16

Sunday 10/30/16

  • Greg went fishing early in the morning. I had had a bad night (uncomfortable, then insomnia that had me reading my book for 90 minutes in the early morning before falling back asleep) so I couldn't even muster the energy to open my eyes to say "good morning" and fell back asleep until New Kitty started meowing behind my son's door.

  • I thought she was hungry so I fed the cats... and later on realized that my son had already fed them that morning. Naughty New Kitty!  But she did stay quiet after that!

  • I brewed the last pot of half caf coffee with the last tablespoon of free decaf coffee won from Wawa earlier this year. I'm kind of glad I won't have to type that sentence every morning anymore.  LOL. Also: back to full caffeine, yay!  Maybe I'll start being productive again?

  • Once again, I turned off the AC and opened the windows in the house.  We're really enjoying the cooler weather, even when it's in the 80s in the afternoon.  There is a nice breeze, I can hear birds calling outside over the sound of classical music playing on WQXR via IHeartRadio on the Roku so it's lovely. My plans today involve reading my library book ("The Trespasser" by Tana French, I'm finding it a very tedious read and I'm pretty sure I've already guessed the ending even though I'm at less than 50% of the book and now I want to know if I was right so I guess I'll keep on reading it).  Yep. it's a very lazy weekend!  Update: Greg closed the windows and turned the AC back on at 1:45 p.m. because it was 80F in the living room and he was hot.  I was disappointed because it felt nice to me.

  • A new reader, Joy, has been reading my blog since the beginning and leaving me comments here and there on old posts. I love it! It makes me read the posts again and honestly, I think I was more interesting to read back in 2014 and early 2015. It also helps to remind me of things  had cooked or baked, gardening that I was doing, etc.  Self-inspiration, as it were!

  • Greg brought my Sunday paper into the house before he left (thanks, honey!). I was at first disappointed that there were only 2 coupon inserts because other bloggers had predicted three. but then I realized that:
    1. I won't have to clip and sort as many coupons
    2. I don't use as many coupons as I once did anyway
    3. I print coupons so it's not like I don't have any
    4. That positive thinking thing really works!

  • I uploaded digital coupons to my CVS and Publix wallets by using their respective apps.  It's so easy that I decided to also download the Walgreens app to see if uploading their digital coupons would be easier/faster than doing it on the laptop. However, I guess I waited too long to download it because now it's only available for users who have iOS 9.0 or newer. I have 8.2 and I'm sticking with it: it takes less space, doesn't drain the battery as much, and I don't need the new fandangled and useless features that have been introduced in newer versions.  So, oh well, until my favorite apps decide that I can no longer use them because I don't have the newer iOS, I won't be updating.

  • The kittens have ventured onto our 3rd cat tree, which is usually the domain of the two older female cats who spits and hiss at them. They don't care!  They're young and fearless.  The older 2 ladies (Mean Kitty and New Kitty) spit and hiss but also run away so they have the run of it this morning and have been enjoying climbing it.  They're also exploring the stairs outside my daughter's room. which means they'll be going into her bedroom at some point (there's a large gap under her door).  Putting a towel under the door doesn't help as they know how to pull it. I need to make a new draft stopper with old stockings and cat litter. The problem is... I don't now if I still have old stockings!

  • As soon as I typed this I went to check my gardening supplies stock and found a pair of old stockings that I had been using to tie sheets around tomato plants when there's a freeze.  I filled them with about 2 jugs of cat litter.  Then I got the remnants of a pink bed skirt that had come with a comforter set that I had bought for my daughter about 8-9 years ago and that we had never used, and used part of it to sew two "sleeves" with my sewing machine. Boy, was I relieved to find it already threaded and ready to go. I use it so seldom that every time I have to re-watch YouTube videos on how to do everything and there's a lot of cursing and everything takes an hour when it should take minutes.  Today, it took minutes!  Hooray!  Once the sleevers were sewn, I asked me son to hold each filled stocking leg while I stuffed it in its sleeve and then used ribbon remnants to tie the ends.  I then redistributed the litter to make sure each draft kitten stopper was of equal thickness all the way and extended the full length of the sleeve. and then I went to block the underside of my daughter's bedroom door and of the master bedroom. This will allow me to be much less stressed about the kittens venturing on the 2nd floor!  I still need to make another one to block my son's bedroom door, but I don't want to run out of litter before Wednesday so that one will have to wait.

  • Greg didn't catch any fish but he also didn't drive as far as he usually drives so that saved us gas and money.  Also, he discovered 2 new-to-him piers that he could fish from that are also local so he's happy about that. Actually, I'm lying when I say he didn't catch a fish. He said he caught a small one with some bread but then tried to use it to bait the hook to catch a larger fish... and the small fish flew off the hook when he cast his line!  Methinks I need to get him some fishing lessons...  lol.

  • I used up a very brown banana bought 2 weeks ago in my morning cereal for breakfast. Brown bananas are much more fragrant so they taste awesome in bland crispy rice cereal!

  • CVS emailed me a coupon for Colgate products to upload to my ExtraCare card.  I always upload their coupons to my card, even if I don't plan on buying those items. You never know, and in the past I've been pleasantly surprised when a coupon was applied that I didn't even remember uploading.  It costs me nothing but a few seconds to upload the coupon so why not do it, right?

  • I printed a few coupons from Swagbucks, Smartsource, and Redplum. Since I don't use the amount of coupons that I used to anymore and am no longer obsessed with Swagbucks, I have stopped marking the Swagbucks coupons with an "SB".

  • But even though I have long reverted my search engine to Google from Swagbucks (the Swagbucks results are largely spam links and that was annoying me), I keep on typing the names of the sites that I want to access in the address bar, instead of using the bookmarks that I've had for years!  In many cases, using the bookmarks is much faster so I need to retrain myself to do this. I did do a search on Firefox this morning (which is still defaulted to Swagbucks because I only use that browser to print coupons), which earned me 4 SB.

  • I worked on my shopping list this morning, after looking at the printed flyers for Walgreens and CVS since I had forgotten to look at the online previews. No matter since I won't go shopping until Wednesday.  I'll be getting my eggs and milk at CVS this week, which means they'll be free to me with my gift card earned from American Express Rewards.  Target has cheaper eggs this week ($0.89 a dozen), and there's probably a 5% Cartwheel offer on them too (I didn't check) but they wouldn't be free to me there and that would mean an extra stop.

  • I told Greg that for my birthday I wanted a silver chain just like the one that I broke a few weeks back so I can wear my silver pendant engraved with my kids' and his name again. I've missed it. I think it's going to be one of those gifts that I buy from him for myself so I get exactly what I want (sterling silver because I'm allergic to even traces of nickel, and the same length as the one I had, which I need to measure).  His reply was "Is it a week before your birthday? No? Well, why would I be shopping for a gift for you yet?!" It was meant as a joke, but it really wasn't. lol.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and it came out to exactly what I needed to order a $5 Amazon gift card, which I did. Hooray!  I'll be ordering something from Amazon with it once the 10%  Rewards offer expires on our USAA Visa card.

  • It occurred to me this morning that since my daughter is going to be spending Halloween at her dad's after all, I might have bought that graduation gown that she had wanted to make a Harry Potter-inspired costume for no reason and I was annoyed (cost: $6.73 back in August from Goodwill). I texted her about it and she replied that she had planned on wearing it at her BFF's Halloween party but that this year the BFF's family had decided not to have a party this year. She promised she would use it next year. Hmm. By then she could have just used her own high school graduation gown that her dad will be passing down to her from her brothers.  So I think I definitely wasted $6.73.  Not a huge failure but a reminder that next time a teen wants a Halloween costume months in advance, to just let them spend their own money on it, lol!

  • I got a free haircut. Well, not really, but a certain little Princess loves it when I wash my hair and goes crazy scratching my head (playfully) and chewing on my hair when it's wet.  Today I felt like I had a dozen little pairs of scissors giving me some fancy haircut!

  • I earned some Swagbucks.  The Peanuts Lab surveys were still double points today and I was able to qualify and complete one. This helps and I was able to each my 2nd daily goal:)

  • I spent my afternoon reading "The Trespasser". It was very slow and plodding and I had guessed a major part of the ending but I still ended up liking it OK.  Also: I had at least one kitten on me at all times :)

  • I made some crêpes for my son's snack this afternoon. Yum!

  • I didn't feel like cooking dinner (big surprise!) and neither Greg nor I  felt like going out to pick up something so I heated up a can of ravioli for our son, Greg made himself a sandwich, and I made myself a fried egg sandwich.

  • I read the book in one evening. Although the story made me cry because I identified with Alice, I felt that the writing was terrible.

Monday 10/31/16

  • Can you believe it's the end of October, already?! Happy Halloween!  You know what?  I'm so glad my kids are older and I don't have to do anything for Halloween anymore. I don't buy candy either.  Our neighborhood used to see truckloads of kids being dropped off  to come trick or treating but in the 14 years that we have lived here, our little city has grown and subdivisions have sprouted so now it's just local little kids and we just don't have that many or they all go to the "Fall Festivals" organized by the churches down the street.  So I don't even bother anymore, which suits me just fine as having anyone knock on my door causes anxiety (loooong story).  I might bake Halloween cookies for my son this afternoon if I remember :)

  • Late last night, I checked to see if any of the books I wanted to read in 2016 was available as e-books. It's a huge disappointment that only a couple of them are. I put one on hold, and downloaded another, "Zero World" by Jason M. Hough.  It's a futuristic thriller.  I read a chapter or so last night and then fell asleep. My plan is to do a lot of reading by the end of this year.

  • It's all foggy this morning!  I'm going to wait to do the laundry since I can't hang it outside until after the fog has burned out. Our high today is supposed to be 83F. We'll be in the low 80s all week and then down to the 70s this weekend and all next week, woohoo!  I'm hoping today's fog will make the outside plants happy!

  • My rose bushes are going gangbusters compared to how dormant they were this summer!

  • I turned off the AC and opened the windows.  The older cats are enjoying sniffing out the scents from behind the screened windows.  The kittens don't seem to care :)

  • Since I didn't have any leftovers to send to work with Greg and I was feeling lazy this morning, I told him to buy lunch today.  I'm sure he'll enjoy it, though. 

  • Our son did pack a lunch to take school and rode the school bus.  I was also a bad mom and slept through his departure, although I had gotten up to turn the lights on outside so he would have plenty of light on the street to walk to the bus.

  • Despite not walking this weekend (save walking through the house and that wasn't a lot!), my foot has started to hurt again.  Also my left tennis elbow thingie has come back (probably courtesy of the heavy library books I read this weekend!) and now my right forearm is aching (some kind of rheumatism type of pain as I used to get when I was younger).  I feel like I'm whining and I'd rather be down with the flu for a few days so there's actual proof that I'm sick, than have those general pains that come and go for no good reason!

  • This morning I threw away a bag of wavy potato chips.  I had tried having some for lunch yesterday but someone had opened the bag a while back and never gone back to eat the chips and I thought the bag was still unopened so I hadn't eaten any either.  So of course the chips were stale and disgusting.  About 20 minutes after I threw them away, I was re-reading old blog posts and came across this tip I had posted about reviving potato and tortilla chips!  Serendipitous!  I will try that for lunch today since I went to fish the bag out of the trash. Relax!  The trashcan was empty and there was a brand new trash bag in it.  Update: I didn't try the trick. I'll have to try it tomorrow.

  • I don't feel like doing much today but it is Domestic Monday.  Here are the tasks I HAVE to do:
    • dishes - done
    • laundry  - done
    • bake GrapeNuts  - done
    • bake Halloween cookies  - done
    • revive the chips
    • fold laundry
    • cook dinner  - done
    • make menu  - done

  • I did one super load of laundry on cold/cold, using vinegar as softener.  Once the fog has burned out, I will hang most of the clothes outside to dry. Greg's Tshirts and the bath towels will be put in the dryer on the auto moisture sensing setting.

  • I used up the last brown banana in my bowl of crispy rice cereal this morning.

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

  • I mixed some vinegar into some milk to make buttermilk for the Grape Nuts that I was baking for Greg.

  • I took the banana peels out of the countertop composting bin and threw them at the feet of my rose bushes. This will fertilize them as the peels break down. (I didn't bother processing them).

  • I emptied the rest of the countertop composting bin into the large one. I wanted to turn the bin but I had thrown the peanut plants in there and they still haven't decomposed.  I think I'll pull them out tomorrow and just put them in a yard waste bin.

  • I deadheaded the rose bushes.

  • I went to inspect my garden, saw that some lettuce has reseeded itself in a bin that was also threatening to be overtaken by weeds, so I started pulling the weeds... and I ended up pulling the weeds from all the pots and bins.  I had some nice surprises as I also found tomato and basil plants that are reseeded themselves!
lettuce (and some weeds that I didn't get)

One of the volunteer tomato plants that I discovered today

  • As I was pulling weeds, the sun was still hidden behind the house and trees and I was thinking that I always do so much better when my day has a "theme".  For instance, I don't feel like cleaning but if it's "Domestic Monday", it makes it easier for me to feel guilty about not feeling like doing anything and actually accomplishing things. Same with "Grocery Wednesday".  So I think I'm going to start having "Garden Tuesday" (gardening or just making sure that I inspect or enjoy the garden that day or doing gardening/landscaping research or completing a garden-related project), "Crockpot Saturday" since I never seem to want to cook on Sunday nights anymore!), "Cheeseburger Sunday" (since I weirdly don't have a problem cooking that on Sundays and Greg misses it!) "Photography Thursday" (where I focus on learning about Photography or work on my many photography/video-related projects that have been on my To Do List forever) and Finances Friday (where I focus on inputting receipts, researching investments, working on our Net Worth report).  We'll see if that helps my motivation in those areas.

  • I broke 2 branches of basil by mistake. I will dry them in the microwave this afternoon.

  • I think that I'll make Zuppa Toscana for dinner tonight. There is some kale in a bin that I can use.  Not much, but it'll do.

  • I ran the dehumidifier in the downstairs bathroom. It had a hard time (and actually didn't succeed) in getting lower than 65% today, but that's because the windows are open and I guess the foggy weather translates into humid weather too.  But it's still better than the 90% I had in there before.

  • I hung the laundry outside. One of the metal supports on one of the IKEA drying rack has already come unsoldered, grrr.  I texted Greg to ask if he could resolder it for me this weekend.

  • I baked 4 rolls with some of the boule bread dough that I had mixed last week and that has been in the fridge. 3 of the rolls will be for dinner and the 4th is for my lunch.  They didn't cook all the way through so I put them back into the oven as it cooled off.

  • I made a batch of carrot coriander soup for my lunches.  I used up the rest of a bag of carrots that had gotten rubbery and some homegrown leeks that I had cut up and frozen last year.  I also put the chicken "stock" that I had defrosted (I had to nuke it because it was a very unappealing congealed mass,more gelatin than stock) and used some dehydrated vegetarian "chicken bouillon" powder that I had bought from my organic co-op several years ago, for the additional 2 cups. It's not the best carrot coriander soup that I had ever made but I needed to use up all that stuff.

  • The kittens are well into their toddlerhood, where they want to be with me and wondering what I'm doing and wanting to do what I'm doing all.the.time!  This is Tabby Kitty this morning, climbing the screen of the sliding door, while I was hanging the laundry outdoors. Soon, all three were climbing it and I was wondering how the heck I was going to get back inside!  But I poked them and yelled at them to get DOWN and it worked!  After a few times of doing this, I just had to approach the door and they would jump off on their own.  Naughty, naughty!  they also tried to climb into the dishwasher on several occasions as I was unloading/reloading it.  It was a relief when they finally decided to go take a nap!

And this is Explorer, wanting to eat what I was eating.  Our little vegetarian kitten!
  • I rinsed a cereal bag and hung it up to dry. I will reuse it as a freezer bag.

  • I ran a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

  • Middle son called me and asked if he could come visit for a couple of hours this afternoon since he has an appointment in the area. I said "Of course!". I hadn't talked to him since Hurricane Matthew over a month ago. He still gets some mail here so I pulled it from the basket where I save it for him.

  • He told me on the phone that he had gotten an iPhone 5 for free from a classmate who no longer wanted it.  Frugal, although now that he has to have a data plan since he had a dumb phone up til this point, I'm not sure the move was all that frugal for him.  Need to remember not to nag him about this!

  • I prepared a batch of sugar cookie dough. since I want to bake cookies for my sons' snack this afternoon. I'll sprinkle Halloween-themed sprinkles on them.  I used a stick of margarine instead of butter, but that always makes the dough much softer so I'll use use a cookie scoop instead of rolling it out. I also used homemade vanilla.
They look like a toddler made them, LOL!
  • I froze the margarine stick wrapper so I could reuse it in the future to grease a baking pan.

  • I devised a menu for the week and worked on my shopping list too.

  • We were low on fruit in the fruit bowl on the kitchen table so I got 3 lbs of apples and 2 lbs of pears out of the fridge.  In replenishing the bowl I realized that the 2 apples that were left in it had some kind of blemish. I ate one of them and put the other back in the fridge. I'll eat it later.

  • I put the upcoming thriller by John Lescroart, "Fatal", on hold at my library. I'm #1 in line!  The book comes out in January.

  • Youngest son is volunteering at the library this afternoon and will ride my bike to go there. I asked him to return my DVDs and books and to pick up the DVDs of "Homeland" that are waiting for me. He did :)  This saves me a trip this week!

  • I printed a coupon that Hardee's emailed me.

  • I made a note in my recipe book not to use margarine for the sugar cookies anymore. It just doesn't taste great.  I'm sure the boys won't mind, though!

  • I deposited a $27 refund check from our mortgage escrow account to our checking account via our credit union's app. It's so convenient!

  • I also transferred the amount corresponding to Greg's raise back in June and the FICA that he's no longer paying this year (he's contributed the maximum) to one of our savings account to use as a new car payment at some point.

  • I had enough water in the tank of the dehumidifier to fill a 2-quart jug and also to water my indoor seedlings (I hadn't emptied it the past few of days). 

  • I noticed that either Greg or our son reused water collected in the shower to flush the toilet this morning :)

  • I changed the air filters in the 2 furnaces that we have; it was about 3 months since I had changed them and the recommendation on the filter was to change them every 90 days.

  • Middle Son visited for a couple of hours and played with the kittens. He showed me the latest video that he and his friends put together recently. It's called "The Jester".  My son did most of the video work on this, apparently. It's pretty creepy!  We talked about photography and I asked him some questions but he had to leave.  Arrgh.  I told him about "Photography Thursdays" and how this time I'm going to read those darn manuals and he looked at me like "Yeah, right!".  Hahaha.

  • I harvested most of my tiny kale for the soup tonight.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks.  Actually, I took a double points Peanuts Lab survey and met my 2nd Daily Goal, woohoo!  I'm also very close to being able to order a $25 Walmart gift card.

  • Greg and I watched a few episodes of "That 70's Show" on Netflix after dinner.

  • We didn't turn on any lights and, so far, at 8:15 p.m., no one has come a-knocking. Just the way I like it.  I don't think anyone on our street gives out candy anymore.

  • Bonus cat picture:
Princess was all comfy for one of her naps this morning!

  • It pays off to read old posts: one such post reminded me that we might need to add an international plan to Greg's phone for his trip to Vancouver next week.  We talked about it and he decided to not add it and promised he wouldn't be placing any calls and would only use his phone while on wi-fi.  The old post also reminded me to put a reminder on my calendar to give him his passport and retrieve it from him when he gets back.  Little things that you would have thought would have come to my mind as soon as he told me he had to go back to Canada, but that I had completely forgotten about!

Tuesday 11/01/16

  • I didn't feel like getting up this morning! But I did to turn the outside lights on for my son's short walk to the corner of the street to catch the school bus and then I just stayed up.

  • The problem with replacing all or most of our bulbs with LED bulbs at once is that you don't get the chance to see if you picked up the right kind. Until The Frugal Girl started talking about the LED bulbs that she returned to Costco because they had a "cold" light instead of a "warm" one, I didn't realize that there were different kinds. Unfortunately, the kind I got last year seems to be the "cold" ones (even though there is a note on the neck that says "warm white" and they're also VERY bright, even though I had gotten a 60W equivalent. While I appreciate their brightness on dark mornings when my son walks to the corners, I'm sure the neighbors are happy that I only leave them on for about 10 minutes! Inside the house, I've been throwing a cloth napkin on top of the clip-on lamp at my elbow on the futon to diffuse the harsh light, and when Greg turns on the one above his chair, I feel like I need sunglasses! I might have to return to CFLs for those two, I still have a few anyway. We'll see.

  • Greg is working from home today, saving us about $20 in gas and tolls.

  • Our son packed a lunch to take to school and rode the school bus.

  • My daughter is in training at her work location today and coming home tonight.

  • For Garden Day today, I decided to sit on the patio and enjoy my backyard. Sadly, I've been sitting here for a couple of hours and I have yet to see any birds visiting my backyard. It could be due to the orange cat that I spotted chasing squirrels between our neighbors' yard and ours:( I think this is a feral cat.
I had breakfast outside: I used up some strawberries that I had dehydrated in
my bowl of crispy rice. It was delicious and freed some space in my fridge :)
  • Vultures are flying overhead, though. Those are not the birds I had in mind!

  • Something has been eating the mealworms I put in the bird bath, though, as I had to refill it yesterday. I'm hoping it was the eastern bluebirds but I didn't observe them eating. A young female cardinal was on the suet holder yesterday when I was dead heading the roses, but she flew off when she saw me looking at her. I'm hearing her squeak right now so I'm hoping she'll come for a visit. Update: she didn't.  I didn't see one bird the whole morning!

  • I've brought seed packets on the patio with me in case I feel inspired to plant something. So far inspiration hasn't struck.

  • The windows are open in the house and the AC is off. Woohoo!

  • Here is my gardening To Do List that I would like to work on, on Tuesdays:
    • Plant wildflower seeds in large pots on pathway - I planted them in the large square garden plot instead.
    • Prune red canna
    • Transplant seedlings
    • Plant more seeds  - planted lettuce
    • Turn soil in long rectangle bed. Add more soil - Decided to plant the potted vincas in there instead. Transplanted 2 of them.
    • Plant beans - Done
    • Plant collards and kale
    • Pull weeds from patio - Poured natural weed killer on most of them.
    • Weed rectangular beds - Done
    • Edge berm
    • Fill self-watering bins - Done

  • I reused a couple of cat litter jugs worth of rain water to water the hibiscus, peace lily and rose bushes.
Peace Lily

Tiny Roselle flower
A Sulfur butterfly came to visit one of the hibiscus flowers.
  • I spent a while reading my library e-book, "Zero World". I'm not sure why that was on my list of books to read. It's a science fiction thriller and I'm usually not into that style.  The writing is not very good.  I'll stick with it for now. Most of the books that I put on my list had gotten very good ratings from Entertainment Weekly.

  • For lunch, I had some Zuppa Toscana from last night, an egg salad sandwich made with an egg that had started to smell a little sulfurous, and the apple that was spotted and that I had put in the fridge yesterday. 

  • After lunch, I worked on my gardening chores: weeding, refilling self-watering bins, watering the potted plants, planting pole beans and lettuce, planting Florida wildflowers.

  • The pole bean and lettuce seeds were from the Dollar Tree, bought for 20 cents a package back in 2015. I hope they'll germinate.  I used 3 packages of pole beans and 1 package of lettuce seeds.

  • I was planning on watching some episodes of "Homeland" this afternoon but I realized that there was a note on the DVD set that stated that "episode 2 doesn't play". Well, damn it.  I looked at the disk and the scratch was very long and deep. I tried putting some disk repair liquid on it to see if it helped, but it didn't.  I was thinking about putting another copy of the show on hold at the library but then I found the 2nd episode on YouTube. Hooray! 

  • Greg went to vote.  I was thinking about driving with him and going to Save A Lot or Aldi while he was in line but he deluded himself into thinking that his wait time will be very short so he wanted to take separate cars.  I decided to stay home after all.  Update: he was right, he didn't have to wait very long.

  • I noticed that RaceTrac had released a new coupon for a free 32 oz drink that expires tomorrow. I told Greg about it so he could get his drink while he was going to vote and he did.  I also texted my daughter about it.

  • She called me after her training session had ended to say that she needed to buy pantyhose for work. So I told her to get some at Walmart but to get the best brand so it lasts longer and also to charge 4 pairs to my credit card.  After that, she'll need to pay for it herself since she'll be getting a paycheck (and now I know what to give her for Christmas!).

  • I noticed that my Canon point-and-shoot camera's shutter isn't closing properly anymore. Arrrgh.

  • I printed a couple of coupons that Kellogg's emailed me.

  • I unlocked some MobiSave and SavingStar offers.

  • I entered a bonus code (SUNNYFREEBIESPTS) into Kellogg's Family Rewards and earned 100 points!

  • My daughter brought me back 2 Coke product codes from her weekend :)

  • We chatted about her weekend and her Disney training so far. She's received her guest passes and wants to take me to Epcot to the Food & Wine Festival. Awwww.... years ago I took her to Epcot and now she's the one taking me!  I've got tears in my eyes, lol.

  • I checked the Murphy USA e-offers for the month. There are 3 of them. I printed them all, even though I'll probably only be able to redeem the one for the OJ since my Murphy USA station doesn't have hot coffee or a bakery section.

  • I uploaded some American Express offers to our accounts although I don't think we will use them.

  • I hadn't received any Wawa Rewards in my app for this week, despite the Free For All promotion so I checked online to see if anyone had the same problem and found a press release that specified that the freebie in November is a free cup of coffee every Friday.  Well crap. I'm usually nowhere near a Wawa station on Fridays :(

  • I selected a free e-book from the KindleFirst program for November and downloaded it to my Kindle.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks. No surveys for me today, though :(

  • CVS emailed me a coupon that I uploaded to my ExtraCare card.  Their email also mentioned that the milk was on sale for $2.49 a gallon with a $1.00 ECB... well, my ad says $2.79 a gallon and no mention of ECB but I'm going to guess that whoever wrote the email didn't make sure that the price and promotion would be valid in my area :(

  • I had forgotten to defrost pork chops for dinner so I cooked the Lentils with Carrots and Smoked Sausage tonight.  I had enough leftovers to freeze for another dinner and also for Greg's lunch tomorrow.  I served tonight's with the 4 squares of cornbread that I had made with the free Jiffy Mix last week (I had frozen them too).

  • After dinner, my daughter and I drove to RaceTrac to get our free drinks. I also redeemed a survey reward code and she got a free blueberry muffin for her breakfast tomorrow morning.

  • From there, we drove to Save A Lot. I really wanted to get the $0.99/lb grapes and also a 3-lb bag of yellow onions for $0.99 since the sale ended tonight.  I got those, as well as bananas marked down to $0.29/lb, some margarine, 4 gallons of vinegar (to make weed killer) and a box of mini moon pies for me.  I shared them with my son.  I charged the whole thing to my USAA Visa card for 10% back in Rewards.

  • My daughter gave me a mini Almond Joy that she had gotten for Halloween from her dad's. I love those!

  • When I got back, Greg and I watched 2 episodes of "That 70's Show" on Netflix and once I'm done typing this. I will resume watching "Homeland" on my laptop. Greg is playing video games now.

  • The kittens are on their way to being independent.  Explorer cuddled with me for a while right before dinner, but Princess didn't nap on me AT ALL today.  However, they were hovering near the screen door the whole time I was outside on the patio this morning and Explorer was meowing quite pitifully because he wanted to be outside with me.
Princess's cute little face

Tabby Kitty helped Greg with his work today...

Enthralled by the cursor and pop up menus!

Then he took a nap on Greg's chair, on his blanket.  I think Tabby Kitty thinks he's Greg!

Meanwhile the twins were chasing one another across the living room!

Yep, the Ripple Rug is still seeing some action!

Explorer came to sit next to me and, like a good male, hogged the remote :)

Wednesday 11/02/16

  • I'm really liking the 1st season of "Homeland" and stayed up until 2 a.m. last night, watching episodes of it on my laptop!  So I went ahead and put Season 2 on hold already.

  • I really didn't want to get up this morning and in fact, I didn't even hear my son until it was time for him to go to school. So I jumped off the couch (where I've been sleeping) and turned the outside lights on and then went to give him a big hug and wish him a great day.

  • I packed a lunch of leftovers and yogurt for Greg and then I cooked him breakfast when he was in the shower.  

  • Our son also packed himself a lunch and then, of course, he rode the school bus.

  • The kittens were eager to come down and didn't even stop to cuddle with me when I opened the door to "their" bedroom!  They just ran past me and headed down the door, their 3 little tails all perked up in the air as they jumped down the stairs. They're so cute!  Now they're ready to settle down but it's time for me to go Grocery Shopping :( Well, the twins just sat down on my chest and right arm (it's making typing this interesting!) so I guess I won't be leaving any time soon!  And oh, the purring!

  • I checked the new Aldi and Save A Lot ads online and sure enough, the onions are on sale at Aldi today for 20 cents cheaper than I paid last night at SAL. Arrgh.  But I also see that SAL is having a sale on their pork loin ($1.79/lb), which I think I'll buy over the pork butt roast that Aldi has ($1.49/lb).  I worked on my shopping list.  I have a lot of stops to make again today, sigh.  I'm going to stock up on baking supplies for several months at Aldi: chocolate chips and brown sugar are at their lowest price.  I might also get some more evaporated milk since the cans last forever (in my book!) and I'm still getting the 10% back in Rewards on my USAA Visa so I might as well charge as much as I can before the promotion ends.

  • My breakfast was a bowl of crispy rice cereal with some of the stretched milk and a lightly brown banana that I got on clearance for $0.29/lb last night.

  • Fun fact: every morning I spray my cleavage with some Bath & Body Works body spray. Not for my husband, but because the kittens cuddle on me and sleep on my chest, still (although less often than before), and then when Greg or the kids cuddle with them in turn, they always exclaim "They smell so good!"  LOL.

  • Southern Savers posted about a class action lawsuit against Seventh Generation. I'm definitely going to claim this, as I checked the product list and I bought their laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid a lot a few years back.  I don't have my receipts, however, so I can only claim up to 50% of the sale price, according to her. I need to look at the terms more closely.

  • I tried to take RaceTrac surveys so I could earn survey reward codes, but their website was down :(

  • The kittens went to eat so I'm going to sneak out...  I put some foil on the couch as a deterrent because I read that cats didn't like it and I was trying to keep them off the spot where one of them has been peeing...  a couple of the kittens came to investigate and I snuck out.

  • Here are the errands that I ran. I charged all my purchases to my USAA Visa card for 10% back in Rewards.
    • RaceTrac: I redeemed an app coupon to get a free 32 oz caffeine free Diet Coke for myself and survey reward code to get a free apple fritter for my son's snack.

    • Save A Lot: I was able to get everything that I needed and also got a pizza for 50% off because it was past its sell-by date and I asked the cashier for the discount.  The pork loin was supposed to be on sale for $1.79/lb but wasn't so I had to ask for the butcher to relabel it.  

    • I also picked up a flyer about a sale a couple of weekends from now... I guess I will be stocking up on chicken breasts!

    • Vet's: I picked up the 4 bags of kitten food that I had ordered and placed an order for 2 large bags of the urinary moderate calories cat food for the older cats.

    • South Lake Animal League thrift store: I stopped there on a whim to check if they had anything that I wanted and sure enough, they did!
      • I found 6 large bins priced at $5 each that I will transform into self-watering vegetable bins next Spring.  The attendant who knows me was concerned that I was moving away, lol. So I explained to her how I make the bins. She asked me for a picture so I'll have to put one on my phone to show her next time.
      • I also bought a smaller bin that had a lid that was broken on one end. It was $2. I will use it to store the 4 bags of kitten food. The break isn't huge so it will keep the cats and any mice away.
      • A large pet carrier. It was priced at $25 which is steep but it's replacing the 2 smaller carriers that I was planning on purchasing.  However, I bought the exact same one from Habitat for Humanity ReStore, earlier this year, for just $13.99 :(
      • Another sturdy pooper scooper to go with the litterbox ($1.00)
      • 2 pairs of capris for $2.50 each
      • 1 skirt (red, for the holidays!) for $2.50
      • A pair of comfy PJs for me for $3.00
      • They also gave me a small bag of pantyhose to use to tie up plants.

    • I passed a new-to-me thrift store that I had been meaning to visit, New Beginnings, that benefits our local homeless population, and found another pair of capris for just $0.99!

    • Pharmacy: I picked up my son's acne prescription refills and charged them to my Health FSA account's credit card (tax free)

    • CVS: 
      • Transaction #1: 
        • I bought CVS brand acne wash for my son. I thought I would be able to use the 20% off coupon that I had uploaded but since there was a promotion to get 1 for free if I bought 2, the coupon couldn't be applied. I didn't buy more because I need to make an appointment at the dermatologist for my son and I'll probably buy whatever wash they sell in their office. 
        • I also found a telescopic back scratcher on 90% clearance to put in Greg's stocking (30 cents!). I had given him one a couple of years ago but he said it had broken.
      • Transaction #2: I just needed 1 gallon of milk (which, I had been right, wasn't on sale for $2.49 and didn't have a $1.00 ECB attached!) and a dozen eggs, but then I saw that they did have Diet Dr. Pepper in stock and it was on sale, kind of (3 for $10) so I got that too.  It was all free to me thanks to the CVS gift card that I earned via our American Express Rewards program.

    • Aldi:
      • I spent wayyyyy too much money... partly because I put my nose in their chocolate stash and decided to buy some for myself!  Also they did have the 12-ct boxes of Halloween-themed Poptarts on clearance for $1.25 so I bought 2 boxes of the fudge-flavored ones. The kids were really happy!

    • Dollar Tree:
      • I stocked up on toothbrushes, various drugs, tea candles, floss. I also found 3 collars for the kittens.  I couldn't remember if I had broken Christmas-themed glasses last year (but I think I did) so I bought 2 glasses and also 4 bowls.

    • Walgreens:
      • I picked up my free 8 x 10 reprint and then saw that the Count Chocula cereal was on 50% clearance so I went back inside with a couple of coupons to get some.

    • Library:
      • My 2 Sri Lankan cookbooks were due and couldn't be renewed but I asked for them to reissue them to me if they weren't put on hold, which they weren't.  So I have them for another 3 weeks. I really need to read the 2nd one, go find that international grocery store in Orlando and then try some recipes!
      • There were some coupon inserts in the donation box so I grabbed those.

  • Back home it took me a while to put everything away because the kittens insisted on... helping.  By the time I sat down to eat my lunch, it was past 2 p.m.!

  • By the way, this is the foil that I found on the couch:

  • I was worried that they had eaten it, but my daughter told me she rolled it all up in a ball for them to play with... phew!  And no one peed anywhere but in the litter box.

  • I submitted my receipts to the various rebate apps.

  • For lunch, I had the last of the Zuppa Toscana and a slice of bread.

  • There was a catalog in the mail that contained 5 perfume-scented inserts. I cut those off and will put them in my undies drawer so they smell good :)

  • I spent the afternoon inputting receipts in my spreadsheets and working on my Grocery Shopping post while watching a few episodes of "Homeland" on the DVDs I borrowed from the library.  The kittens were napping somewhere else for most of the afternoon, although both Princes and Explorer came to cuddle for a while.  Then Princess came to sleep on me right before Greg got home. 

  • The various rebate apps credited my accounts.

  • I had an email to claim my October bonus on Swagbucks. It wasn't much but still 59 SB that I wouldn't have had if I hadn't reached one of my goals on several days :)

  • I also noticed that I had reached my 2nd daily goal, thanks to the Amazon Shop & Earn credit that hit my account today.

  • So I had enough Swagbucks to order a $25 Walmart gift card. Woohoo!

  • After school, my son came in all excited with a letter about an "educational trip" that "a teacher" had recommended him for. It's in Scotland and Ireland in March. My son looooves anything Irish so he really wanted to go.  Of course, it's one of those things where you have to attend a meeting to get more information. They provided a website but that specific URL wasn't working. I checked the main website and the cost of the trip is $3,000 and doesn't include the lunches, tips, spending money, etc.  I had warned him, upon reading the letter,that it wasn't going to be something that we would do but I checked anyway. He never asks for anything so I feel bad, but $3,000+... no.  He was disappointed but understood.

  • SavingStar told me I had earned "Premier" status so I get to know in advance that there will be a new freebie released tomorrow:

  • For dinner, I baked the $2.50 pizza :)  Greg and I ate our pieces while watching "That 70's Show" on Netflix.  Princess and Explorer sat on my shoulder and my chest again and I was given a bath by Princess as part of her after-dinner cleaning routine :)

  • I finished watching Season 1 of "Homeland" after Greg started playing video games.  I watched it on my laptop while trying to complete Swagbucks surveys.

  • The RaceTrac survey site is still down. I used the Contact sheet on their website to ask how long they plan on the site being down.  Dang it.

Thursday 11/03/16

  • I started watching Season 3 of "The Fall" on Netflix last night. It's so frustrating to me that I don't remember much of Season 2!  I need to rewatch at least the last episode because I was kind of lost.  Also, that 1st episode of the new season is a serious snoozer.  I fell asleep, but not before 1:30 a.m., again.  I cannot keep on doing this, I don't deal with the lack of sleep very well anymore.

  • It is 7: 45 a.m. and I have just opened the windows.  As soon as I opened the sliding door, Male cat was there sniffing the outdoor scents and when he moved away. it revealed Explorer, sitting in front of him, doing the same thing, LOL.  He is now running around with his favorite red shoe lace in his mouth, which is quite comical.  I hope that I can keep the windows open most of the day. Our high today should be 82F but we're supposed to have a "cold front" this weekend that will drop us in the high 70s. I can't wait! There is no rain predicted for the next 10 days, though. I'm going to need to water the potted plants again.

  • Our son packed a lunch and rode the school bus.

  • I didn't have any leftovers to pack for Greg so I made him a sandwich and gave him pretzels and a yogurt. Nothing exciting but it's cheaper than to have him buy lunch again.

  • Today is Photography Thursday, which means that I should be concentrating on doing something photography-related.  I have the several projects that I have started but not finished:
    • Read my dSLR manual!
    • Read other dSLR documents that I had printed
    • Read the dSLR e-book that I bought
    • Practice, practice, practice!
    • Install Photoshop Elements 10 on my son's PC
    • Scan old photos into my laptop
    • Label all photos that were scanned
    • Back-up all my photos to my external drive for October - Done
    • Back-up my external drive
    • Re-film my kids' childhood movies since they're on a format that is no longer used
    • Work on photography album to give to my daughter at her graduation
    • Delete useless photos from external drive: Start in May 2016 (Did March and April today)
  • But before I can start focusing (ha!) on that, there are quite a few chores that I need to complete:
    • Do the dishes (oh boy!) - Done
    • Sweep the cat room - I vacuumed it, along with part of the kitchen, the breezeway, the exercise room, and the living room. Yay me :)
    • Clean the litter boxes - Done
    • Fold the laundry - Done
    • Give older cats their joint supplement

  • Confession: I don't feel like doing any of my chores or photography tasks.  I did some vacuuming, though, swapped out a kitten-friendly litter box for one of the newer (and taller, that won't let so much litter out!) ones and cleaned all three kitten litter boxes.

  • The kittens, who were unfazed, to my surprise, when I fired up my hair dryer in the small bathroom yesterday (one was sitting at my feet, staring at me, the other was sitting on the bathtub's edge, next to me), freaked out, as the older cats always do, when I turned on the vacuum cleaner today!  I felt bad but I really needed to vacuum the downstairs.  Done and everyone survived :)  Princess came back to lie on my chest and we're cuddling. She was very very affectionate last night and this morning.  My baby!  At the same time, it really ties me down.  I'm going to have to read my camera's manual on the laptop since I had downloaded it!

  • CVS emailed me another 30% off my in-store purchase coupon. I uploaded it to my ExtraCare card, even though I don't plan on going back until next Wednesday, because it's proven useful on a couple of occasions when I did stop there unexpectedly!

  • I hope my feet will feel well enough to go walking with Greg this weekend. I missed it last weekend :(

  • The RaceTrac survey site is still down.  I sent them a tweet this morning. I hope it comes back up soon, I have lots of surveys to take and no codes to redeem. That'll teach me to procrastinate so much :(

  • I completed the Bing Rewards credit activities for today.

  • I noticed that my camera's shutter is closing all the way again, right in time for Photography Thursday. Yay!

  • I had forgotten about the nGage and Jungroup videos on Swagbucks!  Since I'm not watching a DVD on my laptop right now,  I'm running the videos for a little bit to try and earn more SB.

  • I wanted to buy Youngest Son's birthday present before 11/15 so I could get 10% back on my purchase via USAA Visa Rewards. However, the present we are getting him (a used iPhone 5S) would need to be activated right away to rule out any issues that would need to be addressed with the vendor right away and I don't want to give him his birthday present 2 months early!  So I will have to wait until after Christmas and forgo the 10% in Rewards. It's very disappointing that you have to go through individuals to purchase those, especially when they might not be scrupulous. Apple will sell refurbished items (iPads, iPods, their own computers) but not their own iPhones. Crazy!

  • Somehow, in cleaning up some files on my external drive, I completely deleted the videos that I took of my oldest son's senior recital.  And since I had saved them directly onto my external drive (and I hadn't backed up the drive yet), they're gone forever.  This really pissed me off but at the same time, oh well.

  • The library has the newest Michael Connelly thriller waiting for me, woohoo!  However, I also have Season 2 of "Homeland" on its way to me, yikes. I'll have to figure out what to do first. Probably watch "Homeland" and then read the book while Season 3 gets sent to my branch, lol.

  • I baked 4 rolls with the rest of the dough that I had in my fridge.  The house smells delicious right now!
Confession: I ended up eating all 4 rolls!

  • For those of you who enjoy genealogy, Fold3 is offering free access to their Native American records through 11/15.

  • I clipped the coupons from the inserts that I had gotten on Sunday and from the library.

  • My lunch was a bowl of Coriander Carrot soup (made several days ago), a homemade roll, a Dole Mashables fruit cup, and the last of the spiced apple cake I made last week because no one was finishing it. It was very good!

  • An almost effective diet aid: the kittens!  Why? Because every time I have something to eat or drink, I end up with 3 kittens staring at me and then trying to eat from my bowl or my plate. It's very annoying. Then, if I put my dishes down next to me, they try to eat what's left. I would call it "doing the dishes" but they really do a poor job since I still have to wash them afterwards, lol.

  • They still love "helping". Right now two of them are "helping" me clip my coupons.
Nice try but you're not as effective as scissors, Miss Princess!
  • The twins have more pronounced stripes that have appeared and it's now hard to tell the 3 kittens apart from afar (well, for me at least).  I've called Explorer "my sweet wittle gurl" so many times, he might start thinking that he's a female, lol.
Two of my babies: Explorer and Princess
  • I clipped the coupons that I had printed and since Tabby Kitty was eyeing the paper strips, I threw them on the ground and the kittens loved it.  They ran through them and played in them and roughhoused on top of them, LOL. They were very funny.

  • I watched more episodes of the 3rd season of "The Fall" on Netflix, this afternoon, while I did other chores such as clipping coupons, folding the laundry, providing nap support to one and then two kittens, checking out blogs, etc.

  • I also made a note of what I want to buy from Walgreens and CVS next week after looking at their ad previews.

  • My son borrowed my bike to go to his Dungeons & Dragons club at the library and picked up the book waiting for me.

  • Dinner was delicious and quite easy to make :) I didn't have any canned navy beans so I used great northern beans, and I used fresh carrots instead of frozen ones.

  • I received the Walmart gift card that I ordered from Swagbucks yesterday.

  • I ordered a $25 Publix gift card from our USAA Visa Rewards program :)

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 BR points.  I now have 9,400 BR points, just 600 points away from a $10 credit!

  • I finished watching the 3rd season of "The Fall" (which I thought was horrible and utterly pointless, they should have just ended it in Season 2).

  • I started reading "The Wrong Side of Goodbye".  So far, it's really meh.

  • Well, I didn't take many pictures for Photography Thursday, but I did back up some pictures and also cleaned out some photo folders.

Friday 11/4/16

  • Greg worked from home today, saving us about $20 in tolls and gas.

  • Our son packed a lunch and rode the school bus.

  • I opened the windows at 8 a.m.  Since Greg is home, he'll probably ask me to close them at about noon.  Still, it's 4 hours of not operating the AC, woohoo!

  • I ran the dehumidifier in the bathroom.  I will use the water for my indoor seedlings.

  • Chores I'd like to accomplish today:
    • Do the dishes
    • Give the older cats their joint supplement
    • Clean the kitten litter boxes - Done
    • Call the dermatologist to make an appointment for my son
    • Renew Greg's library book - Done
    • Bake chocolate peanut butter sheet cake - Made a chocolate cherry cake instead
    • Do Greg's laundry - Done
    • Put away the laundry - in progress
    • Iron Greg's clothes
    • Text Oldest Son to get his mailing address - Done
  • Financial Friday tasks I'd like to accomplish by the end of the year
    • Update our Net Worth document
    • Input all receipts in spreadsheets
    • Balance checkbook
    • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns - Started but need to do more research.
    • Print Greg's paystub
    • Record it in tax spreadsheet
    • Recap October's groceries and eating out
    • Clean my email inbox of investment-related emails (i.e. read them and act on them if necessary)
    • Prep the end of year "Freebies and Rewards Recap post
    • Read Kiplinger magazine issues
    • Prep tax paperwork and list of what we'll need

  • Getting motivated to do financial stuff today is very hard. It's 10 a.m. and I haven't started yet.  Let's end the suspense here: I did absolutely nothing financially-related today. Nothing.  Sigh.  
I did THIS instead :)
  • I did a super load of laundry in cold/cold, using vinegar as softener. It will get dried in the dryer as I want to try to do some ironing for Greg's upcoming trip this afternoon or tonight.

  • I boiled 6 eggs to use for my lunch sandwiches and snacks. I love egg salad sandwiches and when I don't have any to use,  I end up wanting to go and buy a burger!

  • I wanted to make a chocolate sheet cake with peanut butter frosting but I couldn't find the cream cheese that I know I saw in the freezer just yesterday!  So I looked in my Dump Cakes book and decided to make a chocolate cherry dump cake with a Devil's Food cake mix from Aldi ($0.79, I think?!) and 2 cans of cherry pie filling from the Dollar Tree. Instead of butter, I used margarine and used the wrapper and one of the ones I had frozen to grease my cake pan.  I was tempted to bake the cake in the electric roaster outside, but since I have the windows open, I decided to bake it in the regular oven.

It tastes OK. I made a note that next time, I'll mix the melted butter and the cake mix first
instead of putting the dry cake mix on top of the cherries and then pouring the melted butter on top.
  • I wanted to bake some bread in the breadmaker but couldn't decide which one. My Better Homes & Garden bread machine cookbook opened at the page of the Yogurt Corn Bread.  I needed some for dinner tomorrow and I wanted to keep some frozen too, and I happened to have a cup of plain yogurt at the bottom of my fridge that really needed to be used up so that was perfect. I hope it turns out good!

  • I had to compost 1/2 a 5-lb bag of Klondike Rose potatoes because I didn't use them up fast enough :(

  • I ordered 2 new bras from since that's where I found the ones I have right now and I like them.  I also ordered some socks that I'll give my daughter for St. Nicolas.  I was hoping to use a $10 coupon off apparel but, reading the small print, it wasn't good for either bras or hosiery, grrr.  I got free shipping though, and 5% off thanks to my Target Mastercard. I could have used my USAA Visa but I didn't feel like re-entering another credit card's info for just this order (I know, what's wrong with me?!) and my account already had my Target Mastercard info in it.  I did go through Swagbucks so I'll earn 1 SB per dollar spend so 49 SB.

  • I earned a few Swagbucks and ran the Jungroup and nGage videos too.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.

  • I spent the afternoon and evening watching "Goliath" on Amazon Prime.  The first couple of episodes were very promising and then it was downhill from there, unfortunately. I finished the series but didn't like it.
Tabby Kitty must have known the show wasn't good as he decided to block my view :)
  • Despite having a menu plan in place, we once again got take-out for dinner. I got Chinese for Greg, our son and myself and my daughter got a sub from Subway.

  • I was able to save the soup container that Greg's soup came in. Those come in very handy when I need to bag soup for his lunch or freeze things!

  • I had noticed that a new coupon for a free 32 oz fountain drink had appeared in my RaceTrac app so my daughter and I stopped by on our way home from picking up dinner and got our free drinks since the coupon expired the next day.  Her app deducted the monthly drink that didn't expire for another 30 days, however, while my app didn't deduct any coupons at all!  Double freebie for me :)

Saturday 11/5/16
  • I start this blog post at 4:15 p.m.!  I have lost my blogging mojo and I'm thinking I might take a break from it for a while. I don't know. I live keeping track of what I'm doing and yet at the same time I don't feel like doing much of anything worth relating these days.

  • My daughter left early this morning to go to her 1st day of on-the-job training at the Grand Floridian Café. I didn't hear her leave and felt bad about not getting up to wish her a good day.

  • For once, Greg is the one who woke me up by coming down with the kittens at close to 9 a.m.!  I woke up because I felt a kitten jump on me.  Greg said they had been crying behind the bedroom door (they have food and water and a litter box in that room so nobody panics!) when he went to the bathroom so he released them and they came bouncing down the stairs and then went crazy with all their toys!  I didn't get any kittens to cuddle with me until after 10 a.m.

  • Confession: for several weeks, I had been stressing over a run/walk race that was supposed to come through our street this morning. I have a huge problem with my street having to be "closed" and us being restricted from leaving our property because of a race.  However, I had decided that I should just relax and just go with the flow, perhaps even go cheer some people on (before my foot started hurting, I had even checked into joining the walking part of it myself but they wanted $20 for it and why the heck would I pay $20 to walk in my neighborhood when I can do that for free?! Then it became a moot point since my foot started hurting whenever I walked). So I had warned my daughter and Greg that our street might be closed off, etc.  However, when we looked out the window this morning, not only was our street not blocked off, but there weren't any racers!  I guess I wasn't the only one thinking that a $20 entrance fee was steep?!

  • We spent most of the morning on our respective electronics.  I was catching up on some blogs, including Frugal Woods, that I don't read regularly, when I suddenly felt like looking up what properties were available in Vermont.  So I looked up one of the real estate sites and right away found one for just $260K for 60 acres. So, OK, it's over $100K more than what we paid for our house, but 60 acres, guys!  And it had a chicken coop, a swingset for our son, and "lightning fast fiber internet" with speeds at least 10 times faster than what we get here.  And it's close to Quebec (well, not close but certainly closer than from here!). I'm ready to move, LOL!  It was fun to day dream about it.

  • Our son got up and we were all observing the kittens and chatting when Greg got up from his chair and declared "OK, the plan for today is we go walk on the trail, I might fish, and we'll have lunch at that restaurant on the lake!".  And I said "OK!" and that's what we did, lol. I love it when I don't have to decide everything.  As usual, our son didn't want to come, so Greg and I got to have a "date".  Before we left, I watered the plot where I planted the pole beans on Thursday and some of the potted plants.  I was happy to see that my cone flower plant has been revived enough that I now have two flowers on it!

  • We parked at the Lake Hiawatha Preserve in Clermont, and walked on the Lake Minneola trail to Lilly's on the Lake.  There, I asked if they had a table out on the porch, facing the lake, and the very friendly waitress said they had been holding the very best table for us, LOL.  So we had a lovely lunch there and chatted about the kids. It was a pricey lunch, ouch, but they were able to look up my loyalty card with our phone number and credited us with today's visit, which actually earned us a $10 discount on our next meal. That's almost the price of an entree.  While we were eating, I saw a squirrel running down the beach bordering the restaurant, with a baby squirrel in its mouth!  I wasn't able to take a picture of it, unfortunately.
I had a Caesar Salad with Ahi Tuna
  • Since we were close to downtown Clermont, I suggested we walk to Montrose St. to check out the  Clermont Art Festival that was going on this weekend. It was such a non-event that I didn't even take any pictures!  Plus Greg was stressing me that saying that we'd probably run into the bathroom remodeling people to whom we had spoken at the Leesburg festival we attended last month and that they'd be demanding why I hadn't called them back, lol!  Anyhoo, the art festival was tiny and poorly attended.  Most of the booth were of photographers so I guess Middle Son has a lot of competition.  There was one booth where the artist was selling painted papier mache sculptures of kittens, that were cute, but at $50 a pop, we weren't about to buy any of them!  

  • We then walked back to Lake Hiawatha Preserve.  I took some pictures of flowers on the way there.  
Lake Minneola

There were interesting red "fruit" on a cypress tree.

I don't know what this gray bird was but he sat there waiting for me to take his picture, so I obliged :)
  • A fisherman had set up camp on the fishing pier that Greg was interested in, so he decided to skip fishing. I suggested we go to Park Pals (Lake Palatlakaha Recreation Area) to check out the pier there.  The playground parking lot was packed!  Apparently there were several large groups holding picnics and barbecues. I still hate the new playground. Hate it!  We walked down the boardwalk and found a young man with a T-shirt from our son's high school fishing there.  I asked him some questions about how he fished (he was using hot dogs as bait) and he showed us the catfish that he had just caught. He said he had caught a large bass at one of the fishing spots that Greg and I had passed walking on the trail.  It was nice talking to him. I did ask if he knew our son since he also was in 9th grade, but he didn't.
The boardwalk from Park Paks to Lake Palatlakaha.  Boards of the boardwalk were sponsored by local businesses.

Walking back, the dreaded playground. Once upon a time, there was an awesome wooden castle playground there :(

The catfish that the teenager had caught.
  • I had hoped that the season 2 of Homeland DVD had arrived at my library today and had warned my son that I might call him to ask him to bike there before it closed to pick it up for me, but it never did come in. I kept on checking my email all morning! It's been in transit from the Tavares library since 11/2 so I'm a little annoyed because I had planned on watching it this weekend.

  • On our way home,  we saw a truck pass us that said "The King of Jackfruit" with a local Orlando area phone number!  I thought of Bless. I looked for it online but they don't have a website, although there is such a business that was incorporated in the Orlando area.

  • We stopped by Publix so I could pick up the bowl of Riceroni that was the SavingStar freebie of the weekend. I also decided to get more bananas since I was almost out and there was a 20% off discount on SavingStar as well.  At the register, I decided to make a "bronze level" donation for a local family to get a Thanksgiving Day meal, and I received a free Publix reusable bag in exchange.  

  • I also got to sample some cheese for free, French imported brie and Blueberry and Vanilla Goat Cheese, that was delicious and on sale this week for $5.99. I think I'm going to splurge on Wednesday and buy myself a log of it.

  • Then, Greg reminded me that we should stop by RaceTrac to redeem our drink coupons that expired today so we did that.  I asked the station manager if he knew anything about the survey site being down and he said he hadn't heard that it was down.  I just checked again and it's still down.  They also never replied to my email or my tweet inquiries.  Odd.  There is the option to call a phone number for the survey, printed on the receipts, so I'll have to try that.

  • Back home, Greg had some work to do and he also watched college football.  I looked at more Vermont properties, lol.  I also opened the windows because I felt that the house was a little stuffy, even with the AC on.  There is a very nice breeze blowing and with the windows open it's only 77F in our living room at 5:15 p.m.
A couple of kittens were watching football with Greg, which tickled him pink :)
  • My daughter came back from her shift. She was tired and her feet hurt. She worked for 7.5 hours and they only gave her one 15 minute break, no lunch bread at all. I told her this wasn't acceptable and that she needed to speak up to make sure she got her breaks.  It's the law!

  • I submitted my rebates to SavingStar and cuddled with some kittens :)

See the spot where the Princess is sprawled?  It's where I usually sit.  So I had to go sit on the other couch for a while, because
I didn't want to bother her, LOL.  Explorer is sleeping on my pillow.

  • I saw a preview of a new TV that Greg said looked funny, called "The Great Indoors" on CBS. It features Joel McHale, who we really enjoyed on "The Soup" and "Community". The first 2 episodes are available on the CBS website so I think we'll watch them tomorrow and if we like it, we'll make it a habit of watching it every week.  

  • I don't feel like cooking dinner tonight. I should have put something in the crockpot this morning but I need to cook the pork chops that I defrosted. My kitchen counters are covered with dirty dishes once more.  My daughter wasn't hungry and neither was Greg.  I offered to make some mac'n cheese for our son. who took me up on it; I had some as well, along with a slice of the corn bread I make yesterday. Then Greg decided to make himself a sandwich.  If we lived in a large city, I may pay for take-out every night, LOL!

  • I reused the water left over from boiling eggs yesterday to water my indoor seedlings.

  • This afternoon, Greg reused the water collected in the leaky shower to flush the toilet.

  • I need a reboot. Now that the kittens are older and more independent (she says, as two as nestled against her thigh and atop her pillow, as she types this!), I need to get back to exercising every day, dieting, and trying to do the dishes every night. Try as I might, I have been able to catch the attention of a Dish Fairy yet :(

  • My lack of enthusiasm for activities has been extending to blogging, commenting on blogs, replying to comments on mine. I apologize. I'm in a slump.  It feels like I don't have anything interesting to talk about and I'm bored with myself so I can't even imagine how readers feel, hahaha.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks.

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched 3 episodes of "That 70's Show" on Netflix. 

  • There is some kind of a loud party going on near the lake, we think at the same lakefront business where a similar loud party took place a couple of years ago.  Back then, I had to call the cops and then the mayor at his home, at 1 a.m. because the party didn't seem like it was going to end, ever.  Right now it's almost 10 p.m. and I hope it doesn't go past 11 p.m.  I'm playing classical music and we can still hear it over that.  The new double pane windows we had installed last year help, but it's still a bother :(

Well, this has been my week.  As you can see, nothing really exciting.  It's kind of hum-drum and I've finding myself feeling "blah" and kind of bored with blogging right now.  So I'm not going to promise there'll be another update next Saturday, but there definitely won't be daily posts again this coming week.  I hope you're all doing well! Don't forget to "fall back" one hour at midnight if that applies to where you live!


  1. Did your kittens ever get their claws caught in the screen door. My cats used to climb the screens, but would occasionally get a claw caught in the mesh. We would either have to rescue them or they would rip a hole in the screen to get the claw out. Very frustrating.

    1. That must have been very frustrating indeed! Ours haven't gotten caught yet, maybe their claws are still too small? I've clipped Tabby Kitty's claws a couple of times already and I need to do it again because I've noticed he's getting caught in blankets again. The other two had their claws clipped when they were super tiny but I haven't done it since. I need to do it as well. I did catch Princess climbing the sliding door screen again yesterday but with some pocking and firm "get down!" she jumped off without damaging anything and then didn't attempt it again. I'm just worried that the older cats will think "You can do that?!?" and start trying to do the same thing, hahaha. That would not be a good thing.

  2. I am sorry you are in a slump, Nathalie. Maybe you need a break? A change of pace from your every day life? Would a holiday help? Maybe go somewhere for a week? Or even a weekend? A change of scenery?

    I feel that a lot of us tend to live rather hum drum lives. A lot of what we do on a daily basis is very repetitive and much of it is not very exciting. Rooms have to be cleaned on a regular basis. Laundry has to be done at least weekly. Meals have to be prepared and dishes have to be done at least once a day. Lather, rinse, repeat. But I, for one, really enjoy reading about the daily lives of others. I guess I am nosy, that way. :D

    1. I'm a homebody at heart so I think I might need more day trips. Like all those day trips to State Parks that I had said I would take this year but didn't. The kittens have tied me down somewhat, but now that they're older and more independent, I should be able to swing it. However, now my foot hurts so I can't walk much. It's always something!

      I always get somewhat depressed around holiday season, for a variety of reasons. I need to get out of my funk. It's not clinical so I should be able to just shake it off, lol.

      I think you're right about our humdrum lives. I think of what I post and think "it's so boring, why do I even bother?" but then I also miss it when others don't post about their humdrum lives for a while because I'm like you, I enjoy reading about the chores they've done, their shopping, their cooking, etc. I don't want to be one of those who posts such things as "10 Ways You Can Save On Toilet Paper", but at the same time I feel that my blog has become a little stale. Which basically means that I'm bored with what I'm doing. I have plenty of projects that I need to work on, so maybe I'll take a break and work on those and come back rejuvenated a few weeks from now, knowing how to take killer photographs, knit a cool sweater, having catalogued all my pictures, learned how to make cool crafts, turned into a Master Gardener, and started an Etsy store to sell the Squirrel Signs that I will have mass-produced. Ha.

      Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions, Bless. I appreciate it :)

  3. I saw the movie Still Alice a while sad.

    Funny about the perfume inserts - I do the same thing, stick them into my underwear drawer.

    And the nice thing about "falling back" is the extra hour of sleep...the not so nice thing: it's getting dark at 5:00 p.m.!

    Lots of people take a blogging break on occasion. Nothing wrong with that. We'll be here when you come back (if you decide to take one).

    1. Alzheimer and dementia is terrifying. I can't imagine what it's like to know that soon you won't be able to recognize your own spouse or kids.

      I hate it when it's dark early! But I do like that my son doesn't have to wait for the school bus in the dark anymore.

  4. Loved this post as it reminds me to do SavingStar and ibotta apps. I also am again reminded to look into my AX card deals and perhaps start using it. I did use a rewards card for the tree work and paid the bill off this week (3 separate scheduled payments). Got almost 40 back. Why pay cash when using a card can earn me something.

    1. Absolutely! Think of all the English muffins you can buy with that $40! I have a reminder on my calendar to check the new Amex offers every month at the beginning of the month, but sometimes new ones appear throughout the month. I wish they would just send an email when they do!

  5. I for one do not find your blog posts boring and uninspired. I look forward to reading about what goes on with you. The kittens are really changing quickly. I love how they race downstairs in the morning when you open "their" bedroom door.
    You got some amazing deals while thrift shopping on Wednesday. You were so lucky to find all those bins to help replace your self-watering bins. And 3 new pairs of Capris?? It's like Christmas. Good work getting another $25 gift card to Walmart. WooHoo. Free food.

    How are your kitties dealing with the time change? Our dog drives us crazy during this time. He starts his day at 6:30 because it's really 7:30, by whining and nudging me out of sleep. And at 3:30 in the afternoon, he wants his supper. Of course he doesn't understand why all of a sudden I have gone off of his schedule. I keep trying to explain it to him, but he just doesn't seem to get it. Stupid dog.

    1. Awww, poor dog! I never noticed any impact of the time change on our pets until last night... at 9 p.m. I went to put on my PJs and when I turned around in the bedroom, all 3 kittens were behind me! They thought it was bedtime, I guess, since I usually take them up at about 10 p.m. So since they were there already, I just bid them goodnight and closed the door :) I turn a small fan on downstairs so it blows right in my face when I sleep so if they make any noise wanting to come out, I don't hear it! This whole change of time is really dumb, isn't it?

      I was so pleased with my thrift store shopping although less pleased with my $71 bill at the one where I found the bins and cat carrier. There were great deals but it still shocked me that I would be spending so much at a thrift store, hahaha. I wear my pants several days in a row if I manage not to stain them, so I still haven't tried on my new capris. Maybe I'll "inaugurate" a new pair today. I wore the PJs for a couple of days and they were comfy, but they're long-sleeved and it's still not cool enough for me to be able to stand long sleeves when I'm getting hot flashes too!

      I'm glad I'm not boring you. You're not boring me either! Today I shall look for a pattern to cut out for those little teapot tea bag holders. You don't happen to have online instructions or patterns, do you? You probably don't, you gifted crafty lady, I'll bet you don't need patterns, but I thought I'd ask just in case... Have a great day, Susan! Give that poor dog an extra biscuit for me... hahaha.

  6. I am not a crafty lady. I find things online and use them. Ha. I usually start my searches with "free printable template for...." Anyways, if you search for free printable template for teapot box, you will find lots of different ones. There is one here You can print it out on the back of coloured or printed cardstock and cut it out, or there are sites which will also print out a lovely coloured pattern for you on plain white cardstock. Make sure you use a good strong glue. I actually use a very strong two way tape. But if it comes apart, it's not really a big deal, because the ribbon through the top will help hold it together. I hope you post a picture of it when you are done.


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