Wednesday, December 7, 2016

And the Shopping Went On... ~ Wednesday 12/7/16

I guess I was optimistic when I declared last night that I thought I was done with my Christmas shopping because I found more things to buy today!  But at least I did it from the comfort of my couch. More on this a little later...

Greg came home late from his business dinner.  I was sitting in the living room with the strands of Christmas lights on and the kittens starting to doze by my side, so he sat next to me on the futon (a rare occasion, he usually makes a beeline for his lounger, there are times I hate that lounger and I'm the one who gave it to him for his 40th birthday!) and we cuddled a little and caught up on our day.  I told him about "besting" the gamer on Slickdeals who didn't know about the new Xbox coming out next year and yes, he chuckled and said that he was proud of me for knowing more about it than a gamer.  And then he started playing with the kittens so needless to say that once he went to bed, they were all wound up. Arrgh.

I didn't want to go to bed at my regular time because I hadn't even caught up on blogs and such so I stayed up until about 1 a.m. but the kittens never went back to sleep, despite my playing Mozart at low volume.  They were wild and really getting on my nerves. I ended up getting a small bath tower and rolling it and threatening to swat them with it each time they were climbing up the drapes. They know they're not supposed to do it because when they saw me move, they'd get off really quickly, only to start all over again once I sat down.  Ooooohhhh!

But somehow they mostly left me alone as I was sleeping, which was good. I thought they had gone to sleep with Greg but he said they never showed up so I guess they were just pooped.

Source: Etsy
I did find something else to buy last night, I got a bike light that also comes with a light for the back.  My son rides my bike to the library a couple of evenings a week and I don't like him not having a light on there. He rides mostly on a sidewalk, but still. It's the kind that takes AAA batteries but it'll be fine as long as he remembers to turn off the light.  There was another light, not too expensive because it was 60% off, that worked with a rechargeable battery pack, but I was afraid that it would get stolen while the bike was parked at the library because it's easier to detach it.  I charged it to Greg's Discover so I could redeem a couple of dollars in Discover Rewards and also I'll earn 5% back from Discover.

This morning, the weather was very foggy. I opened the windows to air out the house and entertain the cats. We all appreciate some cool air.  The humidity of the fog (which still hasn't burned out at 8:45 a.m.) will help the garden as well. Yay.

Since I did my grocery shopping really early in the week, I won't go out today. I do need to pick up the book from the library but I still have a couple of days to do that if I don't make it today.  I guess I'll just work on the stuff that I didn't get to do yesterday.

My daughter doesn't have classes today. She has to take a final online by the end of the day so she was planning on studying all day. I hope that we won't lose internet tonight!  I hate it when people wait until the last minute like this, I stress for them, imagining everything that could go wrong and prevent them from finishing the task simply because we lost the internet. Which we rarely ever lose, but it happens. Update: never mind!  She had already taken the test portion of it by 10 a.m. and now she needs to work on a project of some kind that is part of the whole exam as well. Her BFF takes the same class and is having problems accessing the site on her laptop so my daughter will go to her house this afternoon and they will use my daughter's laptop to complete their individual projects. I'm not really sure of what it entails but I trust my daughter not to cheat, she hates it when people cheat. If anything, I hope the BFF has the same ethic.

Greg isn't working from home at all this week, but honestly, I don't mind.  When he's here, I don't do anything and I don't know why, especially since I feel guilty about it so you'd think I'd actually do chores to show him that I don't just sit around all day.  It's just weird!  I think it would be different if he actually had a home office.

I'm drinking my morning coffee from a mug that my BFF gave me for Christmas last year. I feel very regal because the motif resembles a crown and there is my initial on it in golden letters.  It isn't quite "NR" for Nathalie Regina (did you know that all of Queen Elizabeth's possessions are marked "ER" for Elizabeth Regina -Queen Elizabeth?) so maybe I should ask my daughter to paint me a little "R" in the white space behind the N, lol.

Oh, since I'm done decorating the house, I figured I would dress up the blog for the holidays a little. I don't want to mess with the template though.  Anyhoo, I think it's a little more festive around here today, don't you think?

On to my To Do List for the day...

  • Write a menu for the rest of the week, using what I have in the fridge
  • Enter receipts in my spreadsheets 
  • Dust the Cat Room
  • Sweep or vacuum the Cat Room
  • Clean the windows in the Cat Room
  • Fold the laundry
  • Put away the laundry
  • Clean the downstairs bathroom toilet bowl
  • Ask my son to help me put the futon cover back on the futon
  • Dehydrate apples
  • Wrap some presents
  • Unload and reload dishwasher
  • Refill pineapple jars and water indoor seedlings
  • Make Dr appointment for son's annual check-up
  • Check his back and make dermatologist appointment if needed
  • Make vet appointment for New Kitty's annual check-up (will do it when I'm there on Friday)
  • Take batteries out of fans and store them until next hurricane season
  • Make appointment for son to take permit test
  • Replace solar rechargeable batteries in lights in front planter
  • Take out battery of the 3rd solar light on berm to see if it'll "fix" it
  • Vacuum fridge coils
  • Declutter the printer stand
  • Bake cookies for library staff (some time this week)
  • Go through receipt bucket and archive what needs to be archived, file what needs to be filed
  • Take RaceTrac surveys
  • Post November grocery totals
  • Make chocolate-covered pretzel sticks

  • I checked my email after Greg left and found a sales promotion email from The Vintage Pearl, an online store that I used several years ago to order my favorite pendant that hung around my neck every day until my 2nd chain broke a few months ago. It's a silver circle with Greg and my kids' names engraved. They sell very darling jewelry items but I don't like change so if I bought something else, it'd stay on my credenza as I'm not someone who likes to fuss with changing jewelry, First off, I don't wear any apart from my wedding ring and my 10th anniversary diamond ring and secondly, once I put a piece on, it stays on (through showers and baths, even!) until... it breaks. Or I get a rash.  But I still like looking at their store and wishing that I had a different personality because I like a lot of their pieces!  I don't have any girls to buy for, except for my oldest son's girlfriend (but she's only into Disney stuff) and my own daughter, who, like me, doesn't wear jewelry, so it's frustrating.

  • However, today I did buy something for my daughter!  I saw that they sold pendants in the shape of countries and they place a little stamped out heart over the city of your choice.  My daughter always talks about France and wanting to go back, so I ordered her the pendant (with chain) of France and asked for the heart to be placed over Paris, of course.  I also ordered a new chain for my favorite pendant, yay! I was able to get free shipping and I used a 20% off discount code. I did tell Greg that he had bought me a chain for Christmas, because I had told him that I wanted one, not that I think he would have actually remembered to get me one, but just in case...

  • The second Christmas gift I ordered this morning was from eBay and was for my daughter again. She mentioned last night that she really wanted to find a copy of the Nintendo 64 game Pokemon Stadium and claimed that all the copies of it were extremely expensive.  We used to have that game but we can't find it anywhere.  So I went to check Ebay this morning (via Swagbucks so I'll earn 1 SB per dollar spent) and I found one for just $20 including shipping. I'm not sure what she was looking at, and I hope that I didn't buy the wrong thing.  I paid with Paypal, which allowed me to use up the $6.55 credit from all those MobiSave rebates, yay!  I hope she didn't tell anyone else in the family that she wanted that. I might let my son give it to her.  I'll have to ask him how much he was planning on spending on her.

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

  • My daughter doesn't have classes this morning so she won't be driving anywhere :)

  • I almost forgot to pack his lunch again this morning, but I did remember at the 11th hour. Phew!  Additional expense averted. I packed him leftovers of fried chicken and potato salad from Publix.  There's enough left for my lunch too, bonus!

  • I turned off the AC and aired out the house since the high today should only be 74F (23.3C). It's 65F at 10 a.m. and the fog has finally burned out.

  • SavingStar credited my account with the $5.00 from buying all those Kellogg's cereals these past couple of months. Yay!  

  • I had a mid-morning snack of homemade bread and homemade marmalade. Yum and frugal :)

  • Even though I have no plans of going shopping again this week, I checked the new Aldi and Save A Lot ads to see what I was missing. Not much. Aldi has a lot of goodies that I should stay away from so if I have to miss the $0.69 eggs, so be it. (she says, clinching her teeth).

  • I entered the Redbox holidays sweepstakes (text DEALS to 727-272) and earned a free rental code so I put "Finding Dory" on hold at my local Redbox kiosk since I still haven't seen it yet.  Greg has no interest in watching it so I'm going to get it now and my daughter and I will watch it together. She's already seen it in the theater but she loved it.  I also earned points on my Playpass program so I'm closer to getting another free rental.

  • And the library just emailed me that my audiobook is waiting for me so I can pick it up along with the other book that is waiting for me, The library is on the way back from Redbox so no extra gas will be spent.

  • I took four RaceTrac surveys (as I had receipts from 4 different gas stations, thank you for Thanksgiving travel!) and earned codes for 4 freebies. I will redeem one for a snack for my son this afternoon and I'll buy some lottery tickets for stockings while I'm there. I am so close to being done with my Christmas shopping, I'm kind of giddy about it.

  • So I did what I just typed:
    • Drove to the Redbox kiosk and picked up my free movie.  Boy, I thought I was going to leave it at the kiosk because my credit card wouldn't swipe. It's my Target Mastercard. I have used it fewer than 10 times since getting it but the backing it already peeling at the edges, including at the magnetic stripe so I think that was the problem. Finally, after trying many times, it finally registered and I was able to get the movie. Phew!

    • Stopped by the library and picked up my 2 items. There were no free coupon inserts in the donation pile. Also, they'll be showing "Finding Dory" one of these nights, but I wouldn't go watch it in a room full of little kids anymore. I've done my time with kids :)

    • Stopped by RaceTrac:
      • redeemed a survey reward code for a free apple crumb muffin for my son's after-school snack

      • redeemed a coupon on my app for a free small coffee. I got hazelnut. I always add some hazelnut creamer too to mask the bitterness of their coffee but today all they had was Irish cream creamer. I got 2 of those cups anyway, along with 2 packets of sweetener. I'll keep the creamer for coffee I brew at home.

      • bought some scratch-off lottery tickets to add to my Christmas stockings

  • Back home, My daughter and I settled to watch "Finding Dory". I ate my lunch of leftovers while watching the movie, which I liked. Well, I really liked the beginning, got bored and distracted during the middle, and then really liked the final part of the movie. Even before the opening credits appeared, I had already laughed my head off and cried.  But of course :) I would buy this movie to watch it again, although I think it'll be on Netflix at some point.  We also watched "Piper", the short that preceded the movie in the theater, which was very good and very cute.

  • I earned a few Swagbucks. I had an offer in my inbox to earn 1 SB per printed coupon up to 60 SB (to be credited later on this month) so I made sure to select 60 coupons, including many pet coupons that I will donate to the South Lake Animal League Thrift Store (they love pet coupons!). If they redeem any of them, I should get 10 SB per redeemed coupon, so it's worth the ink and paper, IMO.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.

  • I was able to print 2 new $3.00/1 coupons for Castello cheese so I'll get more free blue cheese slices for Greg since I got the Ibotta $3.00 rebate once again!

  • I drove my son to his dentist appointment. They took some Xrays and the hygienist didn't think that his beginning of cavity had gotten any worse in the past 6 months. I guess the dentist wasn't there because she said she had sent him the films to review and would call me if he had a different opinion.  There was no charge to us this time, yay!

  • Since it's the end of the year and I still have some money in the FSA account (it will rollover for next year), I bought 2 more tubes of the Prevident Booster Plus toothpaste for my son and daughter, at $15 a pop.  I paid with the Health FSA Visa card so it's paid for with tax-free funds that have already been set aside for this purpose.

  • My son was given a new toothbrush, a sample of regular toothpaste and a sample of floss, for free.

  • Back home, he set about making crêpes on his own for his AP Human Geography project.  It's so nice when I no longer have to supervise or help, lol!

  • While I was waiting for my son, I leafed through the "Florida's Wild Edibles" book from the library. "Leafing" is appropriate as it is more of a leaflet than a book.  There are illustrations but they're pencil drawings. I would have much preferred full-page color photos of the actual plants because I'm so afraid to pick the wrong ones but at least I do know what beautyberries look like.  I learned a lot in the short time that I read the book, and a lot of interesting facts.  I think I'm going to type some of the information about plants that I do know, so I can use it for future reference. For instance, did you know that daylilies are edible?  Here is the paragraph about daylilies:
"Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva). The daylily is such a common garden plant with its orange flowers that I don't think any further description is necessary.
Daylily is another one of the many-purpose plants.  The firm, young tubers can be scrubbed and eaten raw or sliced onto a salad, as well as cooked as a potato.  The buds can be cooked like green beans.  The fully-opened flower petals can be added to a salad.  Withered flowers make a good addition to a soup or stew, or flowers can be dried and stored for later use as a thickener for soups and stews.  The plant also yields a yellow die." 

  • For dinner, I cooked a package of turkey jalapeño sausages from Aldi  ($2.99) and a box of Barilla Pronto penne pasta in which I threw a cooked diced zucchini, 3 large sliced mushrooms, and half a bag of spinach that threatened to go bad, along with the rest of a jar of marinara sauce that I had opened a while back. I served it with homemade bread.

  • Greg's cup from this morning still had water in it and I wanted to wash it, so I reused the water on my indoor seedlings.

  • After dinner Greg and I ended up watching "Finding Dory" and then somehow we got started looking at 10 year-old pictures on my laptop and having a great time reminiscing. We did that for at least 2 hours!  It's amazing how much stuff you forget. I'm glad I took all the pictures that I did.

  • More Christmas presents!
  • Gas to drive to the dentist's

  • I'm not sure why or how, but when I calculated the numbers of grocery weeks I would have in 2016, I only counted 52. Because a year is 52 weeks, right?  My grocery weeks run from Wednesday through the next Tuesday. If a week is split between 2 months, the week gets assigned to the month in which there are 4 days of said week.  So I'm guessing it might be due to the fact that 2016 was a leap year, but I realized that my last shopping week of the year won't start on 12/21 as I had budgeted, but on 12/28! So that means that my grocery budget is actually $5,300 for the year, not $5,200.  As I was prepped the spreadsheet for next year, I ran into the same "problem" where I see 53 weeks, so maybe the leap year had nothing to do with it.  So... I guess my budget will have to be $5,300 next year as well?  Although... my daughter will be away at college starting in August so I guess I ought to lower my budget, perhaps down to $75 during those months. Yeah, I think that's what I'll do. That brings down my 2017 Groceries budget to $4,675.

  • As expected, Swagbucks only gave me preliminary credit approval for part of my Newegg order from yesterday. Newegg's splitting my order into two orders messed that up.  So I got a pending credit for 60 SB for the part of the order that was $59.99 but I'm missing the 160 SB for the other part of the order for which I was charged $160.  I contacted Swagbucks' Customer Service with a copy of the receipt that Newegg emailed me, showing 2 separate orders (grrr).  I hope they can credit me with the 160 SB!

  • When the kids and I flew to France on Aer Lingus last year, I signed up us for their frequent flyer program. They changed their program and are requiring us to link the accounts (why they can't do that on their side, I don't know, it's a PITA). Anyhoo, I tried doing this but they want a user name and we were never given user names and when I try to retrieve them, they claim that my email address isn't in their system even though they keep on sending me emails at the same address. Aargh.  As usual, I don't want to make any phone calls so I replied to the last email (hopefully that email address is manned as they don't have an email address for their customer service on their website) and asked for help. I'm supposed to keep my mileage AND get a small bonus points so I hope I don't lose it because we would be flying Aer Lingus again should we go back to France. It's all very frustrating.  Update: nope, I got a canned answer that their mailbox in unmanned. I'm going to have to call. Grrr.

  • Fed kittens
  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Packed his lunch
  • Aired out the house
  • Ordered a couple of Christmas presents
  • Created new headers for the blog
  • Unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it
  • Took customer service surveys
  • Went to pick up free movie, library books and freebies
  • Watched a movie with my daughter
  • Contacted Customer Service departments about several issues
  • Printed new coupons
  • Took my son to the dentist's
  • Gave him instructions on cooking crêpes
  • Fed the kittens
  • Cooked dinner
  • Watched a movie with my husband and spent time together looking at old pictures of our family when the kids were little

  • For free shipping and discount codes :)
  • For Pixar's genius  and humor  and a very talented child who voiced little Dory and made me cry buckets in the first few minutes of the movie.  I miss my kids being little.
  • For photographs!
  • For reminiscing with Greg about "the good old days", for having pictures of me when I was thin and of the house back when it was still relatively not too crammed with stuff.  That made me want to get rid of 80% of what we have nowadays, LOL.