Thursday, December 15, 2016

Another Day, Another Batch of Freebies ~ Thursday 12/15/16



A cool day is in store for us today, as in our high is going to be 72F/22C.  I opened the windows at 7:30 a.m. and I'm airing out/cooling down the house a little.

I got up and got dressed in case I needed to drive my son to the high school again, but today the bus stopped by (albeit 7 minutes late) and I won't lie, I was happy not to have to drive!



My daughter and I made plans to go see Moana at the theater today, but she's already seen it (and loved it) so I'm going to ask her if we can just stay home and watch "Spirited Away" on a DVD that we already own and pick up lunch from McDonald's instead. It'll be way cheaper... but then again, if I go to Clermont, I can get my Wawa and Panera freebies, and stop by Save A  Lot on the way home to score cheap chicken breasts and butter.  Hmmm, what to do, what to do?  She'll probably want to go to the movies, especially since I didn't bake cookies with her yesterday!



So the kittens have figured out, weeks ago how to get into one of the bottom "cubes" of my craft organizer (one of those cube organizers that I keep in a hallway), where I keep pipe cleaners.  I kept on thinking that the kids were giving those to them to play and kept on putting them back, but Princess is the one who gets in there and gets them out. They luuuurve to play with those, bending them and playing soccer with them. I'm afraid that they'll perforate their palate or even swallow one, but short of locking them up somewhere, I can't keep them out and while they're finding what they want in those cubes, they leave the other cubes alone!  So they're having quite spirited "pipe cleaner-soccer games throughout the house". Of course they have tons of other toys but noooo, those won't get as much use, although they do tend to destroy those little catnip mice quite a bit!


  • Make butternut squash soup and freeze (make sure I have proper containers) - in progress
  • Write Xmas cards - I need to find my cards first!
  • Mail Xmas cards
  • Sweep/mop kitchen - Swept it
  • 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
  • Wrap some presents
  • Unload and reload dishwasher
  • Make Dr appointment for son's annual check-up
  • Make dermatologist appointment for my son
  • 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
  • Vacuum fridge coils
  • Declutter the printer stand
  • Go through receipt bucket and archive what needs to be archived, file what needs to be filed
  • Take RaceTrac surveys
  • Make chocolate-covered pretzel sticks - we have loads of cookies so I'll skip that
  • Clip coupons
  • Sort coupons in the organizer
  • Recalculate our 401(k) contributions for 2017
  • Work on Net Worth document
  • Install light on bike
  • Put away the chicken stock



  • My son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • The school bus did show up before I drove him, yay!

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • I won another 50 KFR points at the Spin & Win Game on Kellogg's Family Rewards.

  • I earned the daily Bing Reward credits.

  • The Swagbucks Search results are back to not being crap so I reset my toolbar Search default to using Swagbucks Search and immediately scored 11 SB for the first search.  Shortly after, I reached the 2,200 SB that I needed to order a gift card so I ordered a $25 Walmart gift card to use on groceries. Probably my last one for the year. I earned $330 in Swagbucks gift cards in 2016, far less than in 2015 when I had earned $660, but this year I didn't spend all my days trying to earn SB and didn't run the apps on my phone so I'm really happy with the results. My redeeming the SB for a gift card triggered my 55-SB Birthday Swag-up, so yay, although it doesn't count toward my 1st Daily Goal.  Update: I received the gift card in the afternoon, woohoo!  Sometimes I have to wait over a week so that was a good surprise.


  • My 1st Goal is 40 SB and I should earn it before 8:30 a.m. Then I'll only use Swagbucks Search the rest of the day.

  • Last night, I put the chicken carcass in the crockpot with water and veggie odds and ends from the freezer and cooked it on low overnight to make chicken broth that I'll freeze.

  • Dinner tonight will be Leftovers Night. I have a bunch of odds and ends in the fridge and I'm also defrosting a small container of Lentils and Hot Sausage that I had saved from another dinner.

  • I'm cooking one of the butternut squashes that I had bought on sale at Aldi a couple of months ago, in the microwave.  I usually peel it first but this time I'm cooking it with the peel on and when it's completely cooled off, I'll peel it.  I'm in no hurry for the soup as I'll be making it to freeze. It's been lovely to just get a container of soup out of the freezer on days when cooking inspiration doesn't hit!

  • I harvested the one strawberry from my garden and ate it.

  • I also harvested some sweet potatoes as I pulled the vine.  Most of them are tiny but I know that the vine will regrow next Spring because most of it rooted under the weed cover fabric on my berm and when I pulled the vine, the tiny potato roots remained in ground for the most part.  I'm not going to complain about free sweet potatoes, though!  I'm letting them cure without washing them for a couple of weeks.  Then I'll cut off the parts that the bugs ate and I'll cook them, along with the ones that I had harvested this past summer!

  • CVS sent me another $5 off $15 coupon that I uploaded to my ExtraCare card. I think I might stop by to see if I can get 3 or 4 package of Diet Dr. Pepper for Greg and maybe something else to make it to $15.

  • I took two RaceTrac surveys and earned 2 more freebies.

  • My daughter got up and was fine not to go to the movies, yay!  We decided to watch a movie at home after I made waffles for our brunch. We had a failure with the regular waffle iron (see "Failures") so I made Mickey Mouse waffles with my Mickey Mouse waffle iron. They were yummy.

  • Since we couldn't watch "Spirited Away", we decided to watch "Bridesmaids", since we own that DVD as well.

  • My daughter needed to pick up her senior ID from a teacher at the high school, so we left to do that and then we ran a few errands. We took my SUV since I needed to gas it up:
    • We went to CVS and purchased 3 12-packs of Diet Dr. Pepper for Greg and a lipstick that she wanted. That put me over $15 so I was able to use the $5.00 coupon that I had uploaded and I charged the OOP to the CVS gift card that I had earned via our USAA Visa Rewards program so it was all free to me!  I'll give the lipstick to my daughter for Christmas.
    • I had my daughter order me a free bagel from Panera via my app while I was driving (chocolate chip so we wouldn't have to stand in line when we got there).

    • In the meantime, we stopped by Wawa, where:
      • I put air in my tires for free. One of my tires was very low, I wonder if I have a slow leak. I got new tires earlier this year so I hope not...
      • I redeemed the freebie that had popped up in the app for a free 24 oz mocha mint iced latte.  The app had trouble loading and then wouldn't let me redeem the coupon (the cashier said he had the same problem with his app today) but after the 3rd or 4th try, it worked. Then the cashier couldn't get the scanner to work on the bar code so I had to take my phone out of its Otterbox case. I apologized to the people waiting behind me (although none of it was my fault!) and the lady behind me sighed very audibly.  I swear, if she had said anything, I was going to deck her. People are so rude.
      • While we were in line, I checked my email and realized that the high school's assistant principal (see "Failures") had replied to my email instead of calling my daughter like I had asked her and wanted me to tell her what extracurricular activities my daughter was involved in for the recommendation letter she was supposed to write for the committee that decides who is getting the corporate-sponsored National Merit-affiliated scholarship.  So I handed my phone to my daughter for her to email the assistant principal back.  
    • From there, we went almost across the street to RaceTrac, where I gassed up the SUV.  I got a new receipt with which I will get a freebie (which is why I don't gas up at Wawa, the prices are the same). I charged it to my Amex for 2% back in Rewards.
    • Then we went to Panera to get my free bagel.
    • We stopped by Save A Lot and got 2 lbs of butter for $1.99/lb, clementines ($4.99 for 5 lbs) and a 12-can pack of ginger ale.  I paid for the OOP with my Amazon Visa card for 1% back in Rewards.
    • Finally, we stopped by Publix because my daughter wanted to get a Christmas present from there.

  • My son borrowed my bike to go to the library for his Dungeons & Dragons Club,since I've installed the light on it (although it bothers me that there isn't a light in the back, just a reflector) and he returned the audiobook that I had borrowed at the same time.  

  • I downloaded the free SuperMario Run app to my phone... it's free for the first few levels and then you have to pay. I might get very addicted to this. I love SuperMario!  

  • For dinner, we all had something different. Greg had two leftover containers mixed into one: the rest of last night's chicken meat that I had picked off the bones, mixed in with the rest of the beef pot roast from a couple of nights ago. Our son had the leftover waffles from this morning's brunch and I nuked him breakfast sausages. I had a brie sandwich and some tortilla chips with salsa and for dessert I had my free chocolate chip bagel from Panera.  My daughter had lunch at 4 p.m. so she wasn't hungry for dinner.

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched several episodes of "Bob's Burgers". Actually, lately I've let the laptop distract me so I only listen to the episodes but I don't pay that much attention. I've got to stop doing that!


  • I ordered a used DVD of "Spirited Away" from Amazon and used the $0.67 in Discover Rewards left on Greg's card. So my OOP was $10.22 and we'll earn 5% back in Rewards for that too.  We won't get it by Christmas but that's OK.  It's my favorite Miyazaki movie so I had to replace the missing DVD, of course!



  • Yesterday, Greg didn't think to ask the garage to perform an oil change on his truck as they were repairing the transmission fluid leak so now I have to take his truck to Valvoline at some point to get the oil changed.

  • My daughter's National Merit-sponsored scholarship's application is due today and has yet to be approved or submitted by the high school!  My daughter left the assistant principal who is in charge of it a voicemail and I sent her an email too.  I hope she gets it in time and approves it, darn it. Update: after the voicemail and emails from both my daughter and myself, the AP did submit the high school's part of the application on time. Phew and yay.  I'm so glad I asked my daughter about this at brunch today, or she would have completely missed out on that. 

  • We wanted to watch the DVD of "Spirited Away". Only, when we opened the case, the DVD of the movie was missing!  We looked everywhere for it, to no avail. The kids are the ones who watch that movie all the time so someone knows what happened to it, whether they took it back to their place or threw it away or something.  Grrr.

  • There apparently was a reason why someone didn't want their waffle iron anymore and donated  it to the thrift store from where I bought it... it doesn't work very well!  I tried making waffles with it and the first waffle got hopelessly stuck in it, despite having oil in the batter and then my spraying oil on the waffle maker first too.  Arrgh! It was a major PITA to clean it up. I don't think it heats up as much as it should, despite the "ready" light having come on.

  • By the time we went to Save A Lot, there were out of the $0.88/lb chicken breasts. Nooooo....!  They don't issue rainchecks and I can't go tomorrow so I might have to stop by on Saturday morning although I don't know if they'll get another truck in by then.

  • I saw a list of shows and movies coming to Netflix in January and there are really only 2 movies/shows that I'm remotely interested in seeing (and one is Jim Gaffigan's new special!). I'm seriously wondering if I should just cancel once we're done watching Bob's Burgers because we're paying close to $11 a month and I'm mostly rewatching shows I've already watched several times before. Since I just bought the complete series of several shows that we love on DVD (in case Netflix drops them or we drop Netflix!),  it wouldn't be as painful, you know?  Right now we're only keeping it out of convenience, which is silly.

  • (I didn't need to feed the kittens this morning because they still had food in their bowls)
  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Packed his lunch
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Put away the dehydrated zucchini and mushrooms
  • Cleaned the upstairs litterbox
  • Aired out the house
  • Worked on Rewards programs
  • Cooked a butternut squash
  • Swept the leaves away from the doorways
  • Replaced my garden flag with a holiday-themed flag
  • Installed light on my bike
  • Harvested my lone strawberry
  • Trimmed rose bushes, raspberry canes, roselle bushes, dead herbs and flowers
  • Pulled the sweet potato vine
  • Harvested sweet potatoes
  • Made waffles
  • Clipped the front paw claws of all three of kittens and the back claws of one kitten (that's all I could so and they fought me mightily, I have scratches!)
  • Watched a movie with my daughter
  • Ran errands with my daughter and got some freebies!
  • Looked up the wheelchair rental information for Walt Disney World parks
  • Fed the kittens
  • Cuddled with kittens
  • Fed the adult cats
  • Got everyone dinner's warmed up
  • Cuddled with a kitten
  • Helped my son with a school project by letting him interview me about St Nicolas' Day

  • For the school bus showing up this morning
  • For being able to get a free $25 gift card from Swagbucks
  • For another day spent with my daughter
  • For my husband calling me his Domestic Goddess despite the fact that I don't do much to deserve this!
  • For a tiny harvest of a strawberry and some tiny sweet potatoes
  • For thinking to ask my daughter about the status of the scholarship and the AP being responsive when we emailed her in a panic when we saw the high school hadn't done what they were supposed to do!
  • For my son returning my library materials for me, almost every week
  • That the SuperMario Run app designers made it work with ios 8.0 and later since my phone only has 8.0 and I'm not updating to the newest (which uses much more space and power, and I don't need all the new fandangled things that take all that space and power!)