Friday, December 23, 2016

Under the {Sunny} Weather ~ Friday 12/23/16


I just freaked out a little in my head when I read the weekly reminder that my Google calendar sends me to blog about food waste. Not because I had a lot of food waste (but we had some) but because it means... today is FRIDAY.  As I mentioned yesterday, I've been thinking that we're at the beginning of the week and that I have plenty of time to finish wrapping my presents, bake cookies, etc. but now I only have today and tomorrow. Yikes.

Last night I started developing a sore throat and I felt very very tired.  I made myself a large mug of decaf green tea with mango, hoping the heat would soothe my throat, and I ate some chocolate :)  I had kittens sleeping on me and around me, and I didn't want to bother them because they were so cute and warm and toasty all nestled in my blankets, but I was freezing myself, lol.  I held out as long as I could, but finally, around 10ish, I think, I saw my opportunity when one of them went to get a drink and the others followed and I laid (lied? I never know!) down on the futon and promptly fell asleep!

I spent the night on the futon, it was too much work to go upstairs in the middle of the night and try to keep the kittens from entering my bedroom with me.  I think they mostly slept with Greg, although Explorer came down several times to walk on me and try licking my nose. Finally, at about 5:30 a.m., I fed the kittens so they would let me sleep, but then they were in a playful mood so that was another disruption.  I did manage to sleep until 8 a.m. and then fed the adult cats.  New Kitty has been coming to visit me on the futon in the mornings. She rubs herself on everything but refuses to jump up and when a kitten comes to play with her, she hisses and spits and lunges at them. Sigh. And here I thought she was getting used to them!

It's now 9 a.m. and two kittens have settled themselves next to me to take their mid-morning nap.  The 3rd is probably sleeping with Greg. Tabby Kitty loves Greg better than anyone else.

Speaking of Greg, I've been feeling lousy about the spat that we had last night. It was so out of character for him, and took my completely by surprise. So I've been kind of worrying about it in my head. However, I just realized that this is his 1st Christmas without his dad and I'm thinking that he might be in a weird mood because of this without even realizing it.  He was pretty quiet during our walk yesterday, after all.  So I guess I need to be a little less sarcastic and more loving?  I shall bake him some cookies. Maybe put booze in them. Rum balls?  I need to see if I have a recipe. And rum. Oh, I think I bought some a couple of weeks ago.

And hey, he just woke up and had a sore throat as well. Well, darn it.  I should have remembered to get us to use antibacterial gel on our hands after we touched shopping carts this week!

It looks like it's sunny outside and it's 68F in my living room. A quick look at my weather app reveals that our high today will be 78F/25.5C.  Not Christmas weather exactly, but actually we had the same weather last year and I think it's pretty common for us to be in the 70s at this time of year. I don't remember.  I think so!  I'm hoping we can keep the AC off today for most of the day but I suppose we'll have to turn it on at some point in the mid-afternoon or it might be too stuffy.

So of course today I still have my main chores to do: the dishes (aack!), prepping cooking dough and hopefully baking some too, and wrapping the presents. I had put the butter back in the fridge last night so I'm going to take it out again right now so it's softened by the time I feel like doing anything. BRB.

  • Make butternut squash soup and freeze any leftovers
  • 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 the new Christmas presents 
  • Unload and reload dishwasher
  • Make Dr appointment for son's annual check-up and for daughter
  • 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
  • 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
  • Recalculate our 401(k) contributions for 2017
  • Work on Net Worth document
  • Check my passport's expiration date
  • Input receipts (paper and email) in my spreadsheets
  • Move my music library to the new laptop
  • Install software programs on new laptop
  • Sync my phone with the new laptop
  • Wipe old laptop of all confidential info
  • Take old laptop to be fixed
  • Prep cookie dough to be baked over the next couple of days 
  • Defrost smoked salmon
  • Make sweet potato casserole
  • Roast chicken



  • My daughter is spending the next couple of days at her dad's so he's feeding her and I don't have to worry about her bedroom getting too hot if I leave the AC off.

  • Re-reading my posts from last year, I was listing as a splurge the fact that I had been turning on the Christmas lights in the mid afternoon instead of waiting until night time.  Well, this year I've been turning them on in the morning!  However, this year I've only strung up 2 strands of lights in the living room (and nowhere else) and they're both LED lights so I think the cost will be minimal and cheaper than having our regular Christmas tree  and the trees in front of the front door, that all use mostly traditional Christmas lights.  See how I turned an unnecessary expense into a success?  lol.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and a couple of Swagbucks. Today is the day when  I should get a 60SB credit for having printed 60 coupons through them a couple of weeks ago so we shall see if I actually get it.  That would allow me to reach my 1st Daily Goal.

  • Advance Auto Parts emailed me a $5 off $20 coupon that I earned with my previous purchase. I'm mulling running over there to get that last present for Greg (the steering wheel cover) although I think it's less than $20 and 20% off anyway... he doesn't need the matching mats so I'm not even sure if I could use the coupon.  Hmmm, I have to think about it. His steering wheel is all peeling so it's not just a comfort thing, it's actually a gift he wanted and "needs".

  • I'm been stressing over that chicken that I defrosted but couldn't cook last night because I don't want to end up with chicken leftovers tomorrow when we'll already been having a lot of food!  So I decided to roast it this morning so the boys can have chicken for lunch and then we'll have chicken again for dinner and hopefully this will be the end of that.  It's ridiculous to stress about having too much food in the house when others don't have enough. I wish my BFF lived closer so I could have surprised her with a roasted chicken!

  • I distracted myself while wrapping the rest of my Christmas presents by watching several episodes of "Frasier" on Netflix on my Kindle Fire. Apparently an update came through yesterday and somehow I couldn't connect to my Wifi at first, it wouldn't even detect any networks!  But I restarted it and that seemed to have solved the problem, phew!  Then I had to battle the 3 kittens taking turns trying to squeeze under my bedroom door to come bother me while I was wrapping up there.  Bad news: they can still all wriggle under the door!

  • I finally made butternut squash soup.  I peeled the butternut squash that I had microwaved several days ago, heated it up in the microwave while I was heating up 4 cups of water in my electric kettle to make chicken broth with "Better Than Bouillon", and then also used 2 laddle-fuls of the chicken juice produced by roasting the whole chicken. I added some light sour cream, some cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves, and salt and pepper. It was super quick to make and delicious.  I usually cook the butternut squash with butter and a half onion so the greasy chicken juice replaced the butter and I omitted the onion, which is better for Greg. I suppose I could have used some onion powder.  It's a little bland without the onion, even with the spices. But I had a bowl of it for lunch, we'll have some for dinner with the rest of the chicken, and if there are any leftovers I'll freeze them for a dinner next week.

  • I transferred some money to savings (new car fund), corresponding to the amount of Greg's tiny raise that he got in June and the FICA that we had already maxed out earlier this year.  The next time I put money in savings, though, will be much less since we'll have to start paying FICA again.

  • I reset our 401(k) contributions for 2017.

  • I didn't do anything chore-wise this afternoon because I got caught up in calculating our Personal Savings Rate for 2016 and that required research and then calculations. I have a post about it that will be published tomorrow (Saturday) at 9:30 a.m. if you're interested in seeing how we did. But that took me a chunk of time to figure out!  I'm going to try to automate that report for next year now that I know what I'm doing (well... I think).

  • For dinner, we all had chicken.  Greg had some leftover rice on the side, our son didn't want anything else than the chicken, and I made myself a chicken sandwich and had a large bowl of butternut squash soup too.


  • Nothing today!


  • I wish I had looked up what a "raspberry pi" is (i.e. "a tiny and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming through fun, practical projects") before last night because it sounds like something that I totally could have bought for our son for Christmas. He could learn to code with it, make it do all kinds of things, and there are accessories and part to be bought... so more ideas of things to get for birthdays and other occasions!  Ugh.  Maybe next year, then?  As it is, he's getting Greg's iPhone 5s for his birthday so I don't think he "needs" anything else.  

  • I cut myself a break by throwing away several baggies that I had meant to reuse but that had been sitting on my sink for several days, waiting to be washed. I didn't feel like washing them and I have an awful lot of various baggies and cereal bags already washed and waiting to be reused. I told Greg I wasn't going to feel guilty about it but I do.

  • Greg now has body aches "all over."  Ugh. He and I took some Advil and we really hope we don't come down with the flu... or at least not until after Sunday.  We're supposed to be watching hours of Lord of The Rings next week so it would be a perfect time to not feel very good because we already have a built-in excuse for not doing anything!  Update: as the day wore on, he felt worse and worse. He has the body aches, the body chills too. But no temperature and he's not nauseous.  He took a decongestant and Advil and we'll see what happens.  As for me, I felt fine today after taking my Advil (this morning, I think), but I've mostly been sitting on the couch anyway.

  • I was supposed to get a 60 SB award for having printed 60 coupons through their site a couple of weeks ago.  However, when the award hit my ledger today, it was only for 5 SB!  I had kept a screenshot of the offer so I emailed Customer Service and asked for the remaining 55 SB. It being Christmas I'm pretty sure I won't hear back until next week...

  • I realized suddenly tonight that I forgot to send a holiday card to my French BFF!  I'm afraid it's kind of too late now as she won't get it for New Year's either.


  • Ugh, I had to create a brand new header because Greg really did drop the ball... so I was looking at his latest paystub and didn't see a couple of expenses that should have been refunded.  When he had given me a heads-up about them (because I was questioning the credit card receipts), he had told me his company would refund us at the end of the year, so I had made myself a reminder.  Come to find out, only after I asked about those, he forgot to submit the expenses within the deadline, so now we can't get refunded at all!  And he said that very nonchalantly, which pisses me off like you wouldn't believe. He had the ONE thing to do.  Seriously.  So we're talking $75.00, which isn't a huge sum but still represents one week's worth of groceries for us! Ugh, ugh, ugh.

  • I also had a major failure, which actually probably cost us more than $75.00. So remember when Greg and I started using our USAA Visa exclusively because we had a promotional offer for 10% back in Rewards that ran for several months when they switched their card from Mastercard to Visa?  We charged everything to that Visa card during those months. Thousands of dollars spent.  Today something was nagging at me so I went to look at the balance of our Rewards on that card because all I had been able to order so far were two $25 Publix gift card.  Well, the 10% had been applied alright, but whereas I was expecting 10% of the price paid to be credited to us in Rewards, it ended up being 10% more in Reward POINTS.  Well, 1 reward point is worth 1 cent, I think (believe it or not I'm so pissed off that this little fact wasn't spelled out in the offer that I could spit nails and can't be bothered to figure out the "exchange" rate), which would mean that we would have been earning 1.10% in Rewards instead of just 1%, if I'm calculating this properly (I suck at math so it's probably wrong BUT it's definitely not 10% of the cost of what we charged!).  So all those months I thought we were earning a lot more Rewards than if we had kept on charging our expenses to the various cards according to my monthly cheat-sheet (for instance, Amex earns me 3% back in groceries!).  So I'm quite livid. USAA has pissed me off several times over the last couple of years and they keep on going down in how much I value my relationship with them...  I wish I had kept a screenshot of the offer when it was still offered. Grrr.


  • Fed the kittens
  • Fed the adult cats
  • Earned credits on my reward programs
  • Roasted the chicken
  • Wrapped the rest of my Christmas presents
  • Scrubbed the upstairs toilet bowl
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Washed pots and pans by hand
  • Made butternut squash soup
  • Printed Greg's latest pay stub and recorded it in my tax spreadsheet
  • Reset the 401(k) contributions
  • Researched and calculated our Personal Savings Rate for 2016 and wrote a post about it
  • Greg wrapped his presents
  • Warmed up dinner for all of us
  • Made 2 kinds of cookie dough to be baked tomorrow and beyond
  • Baked cookie bars
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Defrosted the smoked salmon


  • That I finally got the energy to wrap the presents. Ugh. I bought too much stuff!
  • That I don't seem to be as under the weather as Greg is (since Mom is usually the one who makes Christmas happen, as you all know)
  • That our son doesn't seem
  • That our Personal Savings Rate is way higher than I thought it would be. I'm naturally a glass half empty person so I tend to forget a lot of the good things that we do :)