|Colt Creek State Park, Polk County, Florida|
I stayed up a little late last night, re-reading some of my own entries from January 2016. I came across the one about Greg being cold and I was laughing so hard. He's such a goofball! Luckily for him, it hasn't been that cold this year. Yet.
Anyhoo, I was re-reading posts on the couch last night, and Greg, who'd been sick most of the day, was snacking non-stop. It's really hard, when you're trying to be good, to have your spouse stuff his face in front of you. Or, in this case, right behind you. And then, he went to get some crackers so he was crunching, on top of that, so I'd had it and I took my laptop and went upstairs.
Big mistake. The kittens, who's been asleep or about to fall asleep (again! They slept a lot yesterday), came up, thinking it was bedtime, but since I had the laptop going, they decided it was playtime, after all and oh my. They.were.jumping.on.everything! Explorer kept on jumping inside of my trashbin and making it fall over (we have wood floors so it made a pretty racket!), Princess was determined to chew on or play with the mini-blinds, Tabby Kitty was trying to get into the closet so was busy pulling away the draft stopper that I had installed at the bottom of the door. I had to swat little kitten butts more than once!
Finally I'd had enough (I ought to trademark that phrase...) and turned off the light and then... well, the circus continued on for a little while with the trash bin repeatedly being thrown to the floor and me yelling at Explorer.
|Not Explorer but basically what he was doing for a while!|
The rest of the night... I don't remember. I got up several times. Explorer must have gone to sleep with Greg because he was nowhere on my bed, but Princess was and this morning at 6:24 a.m. she decided that she was a kitten and didn't care about Sunday mornings and sleeping in and she wanted to play and me to wake up and feed her so she started stepping on my face, trying to nuzzle (read: bite) my ear lobes, trying to rip the chain off from around my neck, biting my fingertips... all the while purring, of course. It's hard to yell at a cute, soft, loving and playful kitten even when they're being obnoxious when they're purring at the same time! She's evil.
So I got up. It was dark. It was Sunday morning. I wasn't happy. But then I got on my scale and I lost 2.8 lbs this week so I was really happy! Bonnie, I have reached the 5 lbs that I meant to lose in January and it's only 1/15! Woohoo! How are you doing, by the way, if you're trying to be healthier? The hard part now is to maintain the loss and forge ahead. I still have a long way to go to lose my 50 lbs by December 1st.
Well, it was just as well that I got up since I had to get the crockpot going for dinner, read the news, print and clip coupons, get started on Swagbucks, etc...
My plan for today? I'm going to visit my BFF this morning to deliver the microwave to her. I think I'll take her out to brunch or lunch or coffee or something too. I'm also bringing her both bags of bagel chips that I bought yesterday. I luuuurve those so it's too dangerous to have them at home and she and her kids will enjoy the treat I think. I'd bring her more food from here but they eat differently from what we eat and she really doesn't cook all that much, and now that she works nights at the restaurants, I'm assuming the kids microwave something (hence the need for a new one). Maybe I'll snoop in her pantry and fridge and see what she has in there so next time I'll know what she could use. I don't want to embarrass her and certainly she has food, but if I can help with my surplus, that's more cash she can dedicate to paying the other bills, right?
After I visit her, I want to stop by Walgreens to get the cereal/milk deal. It'll be another stop that I don't have to make on Wednesday and there's a Walgreens really close to her house. As a matter of fact, I think it's on the side of the street when I go to her house so I might stop on the way over there.
This afternoon, if Greg feels OK, he and I will go walking. I don't really want to go back to the General Van Fleet Trail so maybe we'll go to the Lake Minneola Trail, but this time I want to park at the Minneola Trailhead and walk towards Clermont. Or park at the Lake/Orange county line and walk towards Oakland. It'll be a change. We'll see what he says.
I forgot to mention yesterday that Youngest Son played with his LEGOs yesterday, most of the day, and I can't tell you how happy I felt about that! First of, it reminds me of when he was little because he would film his own stop action LEGO movies and they were so funny! Secondly, that means he was away from the computer, which I like because he's really on there all the time. At dinner last night, I asked him what book he was reading these days and he admitted that he wasn't ready anything. I've always required the kids to read 1 minute in order to earn 1 minute of computer game time, and I've completely dropped the ball with him since he's gotten to be a tween/teen. Arrgh. So I tasked him with finding a book to read at the library next week and I'll check on his progress.
It's Sunday so I shouldn't have a To Do List, damn it, but if I don't write down the things that I hope to accomplish, they simply won't get done. So here goes...
TO DO LIST
- Cook dinner in crockpot - DONE
- Bring microwave and snacks to BFF DONE
- Go to Walgreens DONE
- Get a free snack at RaceTrac for Youngest Son DONE
- Go on a walk with Greg DONE
- Read details of Diabetic Exchange program - I printed the documentation but I didn't read it
- Do my foot exercises DONE
- Exercise DONE (walk)
- Finish putting away Christmas decorations
- Wipe out a USB stick for library
- Greg and I need to assign the IRA contributions to specific funds we talked about it, but didn't do it.
- Vacuum fridge coils
- Declutter under window seat in Exercise Room
- Compare music libraries between the 2 laptops and finish moving what's missing to my new laptop
- Figure out what software I still need to move/reinstall on new laptop
- Trying syncing my phone on new laptop
- Clean litter box upstairs DONE
- Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
- Read some chapters in my book
- Clip the other two kittens' claws Clipped Tabby Kitty's front paws
- Bake a cranberry clafoutis? Or something else?
- Make a menu for the upcoming week DONE
- Print coupons DONE
- Clip coupons
- Sort coupons
- Charge my fitness tracker
- I prepped dinner in the crockpot for tonight: 3 bottom round steaks that I had bought on 50% clearance and cut into chunks, 3 carrots, 2 large baking potatoes that were just starting to get soft, an onion, and 2 small cans of no salt added tomato sauce (plus salt and pepper). It'll cook for 10 hours and I'll bake that last tin of biscuits to go with it. I don't like having to cut or handle meat first thing in the morning, though! It was 6:45 a.m.! Yuck.
- I've noticed that we don't seem to go through so much milk anymore... we're still finishing the gallon that I had stretched with water earlier in the week and I have a whole unopened gallon in the fridge. But I'm still going to get the Walgreens deal today, which includes a gallon of milk, because it would be so stupid not to. I'm thinking that I might give the milk to my BFF, though. I wonder if they use whole milk or not. I should ask her.
- The paper only had 1 coupon insert, 1 Publix store coupon insert and a sheet of Steak n'Shake coupons, but it's better than nothing :) I saved the newspaper sleeve and reused it later on to bag the "treasures" from the upstairs litter box.
- I had asked Greg to turn the AC on as I went to bed last night because it was 75F downstairs, which means that it was warmer upstairs and neither he nor I sleep very well when it's warm or hot upstairs. We set it for 74F. We didn't turn it on in the other part of the house at all (we have 2 AC units) since my daughter isn't home. However, it must have run only for a little while because it was only 72F in the living room this morning. So I turned it off again and opened the windows. It's gloriously cool. Right now is the time that we should be walking!
- I earned the Microsoft Rewards for the day and I'm working on Swagbucks thanks to automatic nGage videos. I will try to remember to leave my laptop open when I leave, so they can keep running and earning me SB. My 1st goal is 60 SB and I'm only at 23 SB at 9 a.m.
- I lost 2.8 pounds! Woohoo! I've lost a total of 7 lbs since I started :)
- I input my weight for yesterday and today into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 40 BR points.
- I uploaded new digital coupons to my CVS and Publix digital wallets and printed coupons via Swagbucks and Smartsource. I printed all the pet coupons from Swagbucks and I will donate them to the South Lake Animal League Thrift Store ladies. It's not completely disinterested, as I will earn 10 SB per coupon that is redeemed. Which reminds me that I haven't gotten any coupon credits in a while...
- I was about to brew coffee when I remembered that I had the free hazelnut coffee in my fridge! So I poured part of it in a large cup and nuked it. It is a tiny bit bitter but nothing like the RaceTrac coffee! I'll heat up the rest to bring along to my trip to my BFF's.
- I finished a box of cereal so I saved the bag that I will wash and dry later on, since I've used several bags that I had saved to freeze meat in the last few days. My freezer is full again! (which is why I can't freeze that gallon of milk from Walgreens...)
- I packed my free Wawa coffee in my travel mug and headed to my BFF's.
- Right before her house, I stopped by Walgreens and bought:
- 3 boxes of Kellogg's Rice Krispies at 3 for $8.00. I redeemed (3) $1.00/1 coupon from KFR and a $1.50 Register Rewards earned on Wednesday.
- 1 gallon of 2% milk, free with the purchase of (3) Kellogg's cereals.
- My OOP was $3.50 after tax. I paid with my Amazon Visa for 2% back in Rewards.
- I earned 80 Balance Rewards points on my purchase
- Back home, I submitted for the $1.00 Ibotta rebate so my purchase will cost me $2.50 total, not bad for 1 gallon of milk (priced itself at $2.99) and 3 boxes of cereal!
- I will earn KFR points when I submit my receipt to Kellogg's Family Rewards.
- As I left Walgreens, my BFF texted me that she had misread her calendar and that instead of working the night shift, she was scheduled to work the day shift AND they had just texted her, asking her to come in early! She felt so bad because I had just driven 30 minutes for "nothing".
- So I went to her house, which is just 5 minutes from Walgreens, and gave her:
- the gallon of milk. I had texted her and found out they use 2% milk.
- the 2 bags of bagel chips
- the microwave. I told her it was her Valentine's Day present and she was very appreciate of everything.
- I told her that her not being able to spend time with me worked out great for me, actually, since now I could go on a walk with Greg earlier in the day, while it was still cool. So she was relieved that I wasn't upset.
- On my way home, I stopped by the Wawa near her house to get a free coffee sample (might as well since I was passing it!) but that Wawa wasn't giving out free samples. So I left without buying anything.
- I called Greg and offered him 3 options for our walk: the two that I discussed in my intro or go to Colt Creek State Park down in Polk County, buy the annual state park family pass, bring a picnic, walk the trail and do some fishing. Guess which one he picked? Well not the first two options that were close by and free! He got ready while I drove home.
- Before going home I stopped by RaceTrac and redeemed a survey reward code for a free Apple Crisp muffin for my son.
- At home, Greg made us PBJs and I packed them in reusable sandwich wrappers that I've had for years. We filled our water bottles and I also brought pretzels and a fruit cup for me.
- I grabbed his military release paperwork so we could get the military discount on the State Park Annual Pass.
- We had asked our son if he wanted to come along, but as usual, he didn't. So we put him in charge of making sure the cats were OK and the kittens fed at lunch time. He did.
- We stopped by RaceTrac for Greg to fill up his truck. He went inside to get a free 32 oz Diet Dr. Pepper with his monthly app coupon while I pumped gas. So I earned rewards on my loyalty app, got a receipt which I will exchange for another freebie once I take the survey, and charged it to Discover for 5% back in Rewards.
- At Colt Creek State Park, the ranger was very friendly and not very used to selling annual passes and especially not military paperwork :) He was about to give us a lifetime military pass, which only disabled veterans are entitled to (for free), when (to Greg's surprise who thought I would have jumped at the opportunity to get a lifetime pass for free, but I don't think lying by omission just to get a freebie that I'm not entitled to is right!) I corrected him and explained that he needed to sell us a family annual pass but give us the 25% military discount. So we paid $90 plus tax instead of $120 plus tax. He made the pass good through February 2018 instead of through January 2018:) I think he was just happy that I didn't bamboozle him with the military status! I charged it to our Amex for 1% back in Rewards.
- We had a lovely time at the park, see my recap at the end of this post. While driving to one of the trails, I spotted a T-shirt laying in the middle of the road so I yelled at Greg to stop and he did because he thought I was joking. I wasn't. I left the truck to pick it up and bring it home. He couldn't believe I did that! It was an Adidas T-shirt and I figured that if it wasn't in super shape, I'd donate it to a thrift store. I put it in the laundry basket when we got home. It doesn't look like it'll fit any of us so I will donate it once it's clean :)
- On our way home, I wrote a menu for the week in the Notes app on my phone and emailed it to myself! I love when I can whip one up on the fly because I remember what I have in my fridge that I need to use up!
- Meanwhile, our son went to our local park to get some swinging done. He also cleaned up after the kittens when they broke a glass. Oops.
- I had left my laptop running automatic NGage videos since I had left to go to my BFF's. When we got back, I had met my 1st daily goal and close to meeting my 2nd one when the videos finally stopped playing :)
- I submitted my Walgreens receipt to Ibotta.
- I unlocked new offers on SavingStar.
- The weather was very overcast today so it never got to the 78F that was supposed to be our high. Our AC was off until 4 p.m. when I turned it back on because it was getting to be 75F downstairs, which meant hotter upstairs. I'll turn it back off once night falls since the high overnight is only supposed to be 61F.
- I clipped the nails of the front paws of Tabby Kitty myself. I would have done the back paws too but he was having none of that!
- I decided to add a "Florida State Park Visits" page to my blog so I can keep a tally of how many times we used our pass, to make sure that it was worth getting the pass, when/if we decide to renew it next year :)
- Dinner was delicious! We were apprehensive about this Easy Beef Stew recipe since it was the first time I made it and when I got home from my BFF's this morning, I exclaimed, as soon as I got into the house "Pee-eww! What stinks in here?!" and it was the stew. Oops. But it wasn't stinking when we got home this afternoon, although it wasn't smelling nice either. As a matter of fact, it didn't smell like anything. But oh. It was SO good. And so easy and cheap to make: 3 carrots, 2 large potatoes, 1 onion, 1.5 lbs of bottom round roast (I had gotten bottom round steaks on 50% clearance so I used that), 2 small cans of tomato sauce (I used no salt added), 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 a tsp of pepper. Cooked on low 8-10 hours (I did 10). I served it with wedges of naan bread that I had gotten for free at Publix a couple of weeks ago and frozen. Yum, yum, yum and we have enough for another meal for 3 people. I may freeze it.
- I washed the baggie that had contained the wedges of naan bread and hung it up to dry so I can reuse it.
- to go visit my BFF and deliver the microwave. I wish I could take the Focus but the microwave is already in my SUV and it's heavy and I don't feel like moving it to the trunk of the Focus. Is that a failure? Well, we won't mention that to Greg.
- to go on a walk with Greg
- For a Florida State Park annual family pass.
- I upgraded my Runmeter app to the Elite version. Greg said I might as well since I wanted to be able to have the app pause my time when I stop to take pictures while we're walking and also not have ads etc.
- The kittens broke a glass while I was gone and it wasn't the one that I meant to throw away because it's so water stained :(
- The Dole Mixations fruit cups that I brought for my lunch once again was spoiled! This is from the pack that I just bought last week with the free coupon they had sent me to compensate me for the pack that had spoiled already. Grrrr! I'm NOT buying those anymore!
- I had to throw away a hamburger patty that I had cooked last Sunday but that had gotten uneaten.
MONEY SPENT TODAY
- Walgreens: $3.50 (but got $1.00 back so $2.50)
- Gas for the truck: $21.93
- Florida State Park annual pass: $96.30
- Runmeter upgrade: $9.99
- a gallon of milk from Walgreens with promo
- an apple crisp muffin from RaceTrac with survey code
- a 32 oz fountain drink for Greg with a RaceTrac app freebie coupon
- an extra month on our state park annual pass thanks to a generous ranger
- Weighed myself
- Took a shower
- Fed the cats
- Started dinner in the crockpot
- Emptied the countertop composting bin into the large one outside
- Printed and uploaded coupons
- Earned rewards on my reward programs
- Emailed a couple of articles to Greg
- Thought about and wrote down an itinerary for the day in my phone so I don't forget anything and maximize our gas expense
- Drove to my BFF's
- Went to Walgreens
- Donated items to my BFF
- Stopped by Wawa
- Went to RaceTrac
- Packed a picnic lunch
- Went on walks and fishing with Greg
- Bought an annual pass for the FL state parks
- Wrote a menu
- Submitted a receipt for a rebate
- Cleaned the upstairs litter box
- Cuddled with kittens
- Clipped the front paws' claws of Tabby Kitty
- Entered my receipts into my spreadsheets
- Upgraded an app on my phone
- Fed the kittens
- Set the dinner table
- Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
- Put away the cooler we used for our picnic
- Looked up the details for fishing at Lake Louisa State Park
- Logged my food intake and exercise into MyFitnessPal
- Downloaded all my pictures and wrote up this post!
- Cuddled with a kitten!
- My foot has been feeling great this whole week, since it hurt so bad due to my long walk last weekend. I think the stretching exercising really work! It'll probably hurt again today and tomorrow if we go walking again but I love our walks!
- I lost 2.8 lbs! I was delighted as I hadn't expected to lose as much. I'm down to 221 lbs now.
- I drank 1 cup of water before switching to coffee. Bad Nathalie, but I couldn't make myself gulp another cup. I wanted to sip on flavored coffee instead.
- Breakfast was a bowl of generic rice crispies with 1/4 cup of blueberries and a cup of ~2% milk.
- I had a hard-boiled egg before going on our walks as a snack
- We walked for 29 minutes (1.24 miles). We did stop a few times for me to take pictures.
- We had a picnic lunch. I had 1.5 PBJ sandwich, and about 15 pretzel sticks. I drank water.
- We walked for 42 minutes (1.83 miles). Once again, I stopped several times to take pictures :)
- For mid afternoon snack, I had the remaining 0.5 PBJ sandwich.
- I did my foot stretching exercises.
- Dinner was a bowl of Easy Beef Stew and a wedge of naan bread. I drank water.
- As of 8:40 p.m., I have taken 15,404 steps today!
- For having lost weight again this week!
- For my foot not hurting most days this week!
- For annoying wet kitten "kisses" in the early morning
- For a wonderful day with my husband, it truly was blissful
- For my son being a great cat carer
NATURE: A Visit to Colt Creek State Park (Polk County, FL)
Greg and I had visited Colt Creek State Park back on October 3, 2016. Back then I had meant to write a whole post about our visit later on and then I never did :( Well, poop.
I wanted to go back there because back in October, it had rained there a lot and the trails were very muddy. I didn't have boots then so we had to turn around. Since now I have hiking boots and it rained recently, I wanted to go hiking in the mud! Plus we wanted to buy the annual pass to the Florida State Parks so we could use it to go into Lake Louisa State Park (near us) and then also visit other state parks.
We got there at about noon today. We bought our annual pass and headed to the main parking area, which was pretty busy!
|I guess we weren't the only ones wanting to enjoy an outing on a nice and cloudy day! There was even a truck from Ontario in the parking lot.|
There were several parties fishing off the dock and also several boats and canoes/kayaks on the pond with people fishing from them.
|Some of the fishermen (and women)|
We first walked the trail that goes alongside the "lake" (it's really a large pond). Back in October, it had been quieter and there had been more flowers to photograph, so it had taken us a while to get to the muddy part where we had to turn around... but today... well, it only took us 29 minutes to walk to the end of that part of the trail and then get back to the parking lot and that's with stopping to take a couple of pictures too!
|Sorry this is blurry, I took the picture as I was walking and I tend to bounce a lot :)|
|This snail was in the water but we couldn't tell if it was swimming or just an empty shell floating there...|
|A Little Blue Heron on the far shore. This was taken with the 40X digital zoom, hence the grainy quality of the picture.|
|There a whole tree covered in those clusters of small white flowers but I don't know what it was...|
|I think this is Climbing Dayflower.|
|This was the lone remaining tiny flower on a clump of otherwise dead branches. I think it might be an Aster of some kind. It doesn't show in the picture but it was a very delicate mauve.|
|Some creature laid eggs on this branch and I'm not sure I want to know what kind of creature!|
|A familiar sight in Florida anytime there's any body of water... (gator, in case you hadn't guessed!)|
There has been a lot of maintenance done since October! Back then, parts of the pond were inaccessible to hikers because the vegetation was so overgrown, but some mowing had been done since and also they had added some pebbles to the parts that had been very muddy back in October.
When we got to the "end" of that portion of the trail, we found ourselves near the equestrian trail entrance where there are 2 other, smaller ponds. Again, maintenance had been performed so we could access the ponds today and found benches, picnic tables, etc. The ponds were quiet, no one was there, although there were several trucks with horse trailers parked in that parking lot. The weather was overcast and it was cool, so we decided to go back to our own truck and drive it to that parking lot so we could have our picnic there where it was quiet and then Greg could try to fish in the larger of the small ponds.
When we got there and settled to eat our picnic under one of the pavilions, we spotted several hawks flying overhead and calling to one another, it was lovely. I wasn't able to take a picture of any of them though :(
|Our view of the pond where Greg fished later on. There were hawks flying over it and calling to one another.|
|I think those were crows, though. There were several of them flying around too. I wish my camera were better! See how overcast it was?|
We saw horseback riders, who were very friendly and greeted us like they knew us. It was fun to see people riding horses and made me wish we had horses to ride too!
|This truck had My Little Pony decals on its back window, as Greg noticed! I took a picture for Youngest Son who loves My Little Pony!|
I appreciated that the pavilion featured both a trash can and a mixed recyclables bin. Everything was very clean, that park is very well maintained. The friendly ranger drove by while Greg was retrieving his fishing gear from the truck and I waved at him and he waved back with a great big smile. I loved the friendly atmosphere, even though usually I really don't want to see anyone :)
There were several "bloops" in the water so the fishing looked promising but Greg didn't have any luck. In fact, I'm proud that my husband, instead of taking a fish from the pond, left one there: his little plastic fish bait became entangled in some cat tails and he had to cut the line and leave it there :(
|Goodbye little plastic fish!|
So after a little bit the sun came out again and we decided to go for our hike on the equestrian trail. It's funny how, when you're on a diet, every fresh horse turd looks like a scoop of rich chocolate ice cream or a steaming brownies fresh out of the oven! Greg didn't think they did. But I thought so!
|Relax! I didn't take a picture of the horse shit... so here are some deer tracks for you :) How exciting, I know.|
The trail itself is 10 miles long but of course I knew that we couldn't walk that far with my foot problem. The trail was interesting terrain with some dips and even a dried up creek bed that we crossed on foot (Greg was surmising that it probably was indeed Colt Creek. How smart of him, I hadn't though of that!) but since it's January, most of the vegetation is dormant and there wasn't too much stuff to photograph.
|Ooh, suddenly this looks much more interesting... like the entrance to a forbidden forest!|
|I call those "squirrel staircases".|
|These saw palmettos look like they were crawling out of the ground to get us! Creepy...|
|We crossed a dead creek bed. To our right, there was a narrow rickety bridge. Greg couldn't|
resist walking across it on our way back.
|Florida used to be the bottom of the ocean so you will find petrified sand formation with shells in them everywhere, in the middle of the fields, miles from the Atlantic ocean or the Gulf of Mexico!|
|Close up of the bent area (on the right) and one of the new "trunks" growing from it (on the left)|
"If you can dream it, you can do it"?!
BONUS KITTEN PHOTOS
|Tabby Kitty and Male Cat where playing with each other! I tried to take a picture but Male Cat walked off...|
|to the Ripple Rug nearby where he "plopped" himself and invited Tabby Kitty to come play with him. But I had to leave to be at my BFF's on time so I didn't get pictures of that.|
|Right now (9:24 p.m.), next to me on the futon... Princess (far left) just gave a very thorough tongue bath to her brother, Explorer, and now he looks very relaxed, nestled between her and my thigh :) Such cuties!|