Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Frantic Start ~ Thursday 1/12/17

A frantic start to my day left me not wanting to do much else today!

So, of course, on the first morning of the week when I planned to relax for a bit in my PJs with a cup of coffee and to cook breakfast for Greg, the school bus didn't show up. My son texted me from the corner at 7:05, 10 minutes after his regular pick-up time, and the first bell at school rings at 7:15 a.m. Did I mention that I was still in my PJs and he's taking the PSAT this morning?!  Arrgh.

Good thing my knee was feeling better because I ran upstairs, threw on whatever clothes were laying around, and we rushed to the school. He got there a couple of minutes late. Thankfully I had left my Vivaldi CD in the CD drive so it played automatically and helped keep me sort of mellow :)

Back home, Greg and I exchanged a couple of pleasantries and then I noticed there were birds in the backyard!  Lots of robins!  So I went out to take pictures. As soon as I stepped outside, Male Cat starting yakking and threw up all the food he had eaten!  Greg was in the middle of leaving for work so I told him I'd take care of it. However, he had thrown up in several locations and while I cleaned one spot, the kittens were trying to eat the stuff in another spot (yum, warm food!) and instead of helping me, Greg just left to load his stuff in his truck!  Arrgh.

He came back inside to use the bathroom before leaving and I heard a kitten cry out somewhere.  I'm overprotective so I started looking for the kittens, trying to account for all three of them (not easy when they're frisky in the morning and run all over the place!) while Greg was telling me "there's probably a stray cat in the backyard and you just hear Male Cat complaining about it!". But I know my kittens and I knew it was Explorer crying somewhere because something was wrong.  I looked upstairs and both bedroom doors were open and he wasn't in the bathroom, and then found the other two kittens downstairs.  I checked the closets downstairs, just in case, my son's room... nothing.  Greg heard the kitten too, went upstairs and found him... in his closet!  It's a darn good thing that it's not hot right now because that closet doesn't have insulation and it gets really really hot in there. Plus it's open to the space under the roof, which is a tiny crawl space that runs the whole length of the house, so that's exactly why I had been adamant about making draft stoppers to prevent the kittens from getting in there.  Greg.  Arrggh, again.

But in the end, son was at school on time for his test, Male Cat will just have to slow down when he eats his food, and Explorer is fine and enjoying cuddle time on my shoulder right now :)  And Greg went to work with a lunch and cooked his own breakfast.

The weather is mild so I have the windows open and the kitties are enjoying the birdies calling from tree to tree and the squirrels in the backyard.

I need to think of my To Do List for today. I'll just report what I didn't do yesterday and see how today goes.


  • Finish putting the laundry away DONE
  • Deduct cost of Greg's liquor stock-up from next month's grocery budget - I will do that IF I'm over budget this month.
  • Go to Save A Lot to stock up on chicken DONE
  • Divide and freeze chicken DONE
  • Read details of Diabetic Exchange program
  • Do my foot exercises 3 X  2X
  • Exercise DONE
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations
  • Sweep downstairs bathroom
  • Wipe out a USB stick for library
  • Update my Net Worth spreadsheet and share with Greg - Re-updated it but still missing one piece.
  • Make note of when stock options are vesting in 2017 and put detailed alerts in the calendar DONE
  • Create spreadsheet to calculate our Personal Savings Rate in 2017
  • Dust Cat Room DONE
  • Vacuum fridge coils
  • Declutter under window seat in Exercise Room
  • Take Driscoll's and RaceTrac surveys DONE
  • Continue moving my music library to the new laptop MOSTLY DONE. Need to make sure that all the music from my old laptop was indeed on the external drive. I don't think it was.
  • Clean litter box upstairs DONE
  • Scheduled 60K Maintenance appointment for the Ford Focus (Monday?) - DONE
  • Schedule credit card payments DONE
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Reset all references in "Other Expenses" spreadsheet summary page
  • Have daughter clean out the family car before she leaves for the weekend DONE

  • Youngest son packed himself a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • I used up a brown banana in my morning cereal.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and I'm in the process of earning Swagbucks. My 1st goal is 90 SB so it'll be a stretch to reach it.  Update: well the 30SB from my last Shop & Earn was credited to my account so I'm really close to 90 SB at 11 a.m.!

  • We didn't turn on the heat last night and it's a nice, mild day today so I have the windows open.

  • I had decided to take the Ford Focus in for its 60K maintenance on Monday but my daughter decided to go to her dad's for the long weekend. Rather than rescheduling the appointment, her dad said he would drive out here to pick her up and would bring her back on Monday night too. And I think he's taking her out to dinner as well.  

  • I entered last night's exercise in Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned... 20 BR points. Better than nothing.

  • I reused a bread bag to carry the "treasures" that I dug out of the kittens upstairs litter box.

  • I went to Save A Lot to stock up on $0.88/lb chicken at 9 a.m.  They had 3 packages of it and I grabbed them all. I got 11.l7 bs of on the bone chicken breasts for $9.83.  I also grabbed a cantaloupe at $1.50 (cheaper than Aldi) but left the $0.79/dozen eggs since I had gotten 2 dozens for free at Walgreens yesterday.  I charged the OOP to Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards.

  • On my way to the store, I called my BFF to check up on her. She's having kind of a hard time and there's not much I can do but be there for her.  She sounded good on the phone and is planning a relaxing day for herself, which was good to hear.

  • The chicken was frozen so I'm letting it defrost a little so I can break the packs and repackage the huge breasts just 2 at a time.  I'll reuse cereal bags to freeze them.

  • I placed an order on for a new pair of Rรฟka walking shoes to replace the ones that I wear now and that will need replacing later on in the year.  To reduce my cost and earn rewards, this is what I did:
    • Went through the Swagbucks shopping portal (3 SB per dollar spent right now so should be 117 SB)
    • Used the 30% off promo code COCOA30
    • Used the free shipping code FREE4JAN
    • Used the $5 in Yes2You Rewards I had earned
    • Used the $20 in Kohl's cash from the 2 Discover Deals offers on our cards
    • OOP was $41.20 to my Kohl's charge and I will earn 39 Yes2You Reward points
    • I didn't need anything else or I would have tried to earn Kohl's cash too by reaching the $50 threshold.

  • I had signed up for the Renninger's e-newsletter and received my 1st issue today. Renninger's is a flea market in Mount Dora (they have another couple locations in the US as well) where they also have special events such as the Civil War battle reenactment that we attend every year, the Steampunk & Industrial Show that I'm planning to visit with Youngest Son and semi-annual Antique Extravaganzas.  The next one is the weekend of the 21st and admission for Sunday only is $4, plus they emailed me a coupon for $1 off admission for me and $1.00 off admission for "a friend" so I'm going to ask Daughter to come with me. We visited a couple of years ago and had a good time.  I just love looking at "junk", it'll be outdoors, I'll spend time with Daughter and get some exercise as well!  Update: it's a date!  Yay!

  • I tracked today's expenses into my spreadsheets. Keeping track of how all our money is being spent allows me to analyze what works and what doesn't work for our family and also makes me way more cognizant of how we spend what we spend.

  • I scheduled a couple of credit card payments online and balanced our checkbook.

  • I set about completing our Net Worth report but then there was a failure (Greg's, not mine!) so I couldn't finish it. But it's mostly done. It'll be done tomorrow, hopefully. 

  • I printed 3 coupons that Betty Crocker emailed me.

  • My lunch was a serving of the pork noodle "soup" from last night (not that much liquid remaining!), a BLT and the rest of the salad from a couple of nights ago.

  • SavingStar credited my account with the $1.00 for the cereal I bought yesterday.

  • Thanks, Lifehacker, for reminding me about the Library Chrome extension!  I used to have it installed and, in changing laptops several years ago, I lost it. So I reinstalled it and it works like a charm.  See screenshot. If you use Chrome and love reading and want to save money, do yourself a favor and install this extension.  You'll no longer have the excuse that you were too lazy to check if your library carries the book or not!

  • Oh hey!  I somehow reached my 2nd Daily Goal in Swagbucks. Woot!

  • I feel a little guilty that I'm sitting in my living room instead of outside since it's a beautiful day, but I'm listening to the Brahms station on Pandora, the windows are open and the kittens are napping next to me so I'm happy as a clam right here :)  I just had some flavored coffee (the rest of this morning's pot), and I caught up on Feedly instead of doing something productive. I feel a little lazy today! Youngest Son is coming home soon, I'm giving myself until he walks into the door to resume my chores.  That gives me about another 30 minutes of lounging around to do!

  • My brother from Marseille sent me a quick email to thank me for the New Year's card that I had sent him and his girlfriend. He never includes any news or details of what they're up to, it's frustrating!

  • I unlocked new offers from SavingStar.

  • And one for Steak'n Shake in Ibotta. It's a rare one where you don't need to buy alcohol, it's just $2 back on a $10 restaurant bill. Not too shabby. I don't plan on using it but, as always, you never know!  I actually like Steak'n Shake a lot :)

  • Youngest Son reported that the PSAT went "well".

  • He's animating his D&D club tonight (although I think he's going to replace that with a work session for the upcoming Teen Video Awards) so he will walk to the library and then I arranged for Greg to pick him up on his way home tonight as it will be dark.

  • I took two Racetrac surveys and earned reward codes for 2 new freebies :)

  • And I took two Driscoll's berry surveys and earned 2 more coupons for $0.75/1.  I'm 6 surveys away from getting $1.00 coupons.  Instead of printing those coupons, I put a reminder on my calendar to print them on 2/10, a couple of days before the link expires. Then the coupons should be good for another 30 days (if I remember correctly), so i'll allow me to "stretch" the amount of time that I have to use them up.

  • I bought a birthday present for my daughter on Amazon. Her birthday isn't until the fall. However, I came across this book and thought she would love it since she's creative herself and she's starting her Etsy store.  I bought a used copy (of course!) and had enough Rewards on my Amazon Visa credit card to cover the cost of the book and shipping. Yay!  I'll probably find an excuse to give it to her before her birthday, though, LOL.
"Care Packages: Celebrating the Art and Craft of Thoughtfully Made Packages"

  • I reclaimed a penny that was lost on the breezeway counter and added it to my 2017 Spare Change Jar.

  • I used my homemade glass cleaner (gotta find my recipe to mix a new bottle of it!) that I store in an upcycled Seventh Generation spray bottle, and a free (received as a free sample) light cleaning cloth to clean the windows in the Cat Room.

  • For dinner I warmed up the rest of the Black Eyed Pea soup and there was just enough for the three of us, and then I made us grilled pepperoni and cheese sandwiches, that used up the rest of the pepperoni slices that I had in my fridge. Woohoo!  Dinner was simple and delicious.

  • I repackaged the chicken breasts in washed cereal bags and froze them.

  • I exercised for free at home by using my recumbent bike while listening to 2.25 (!) episodes of Frasier on Netflix, warning kittens to be careful or their little paws would get hurt by the pedals, and yelling at them when they were chewing on things they shouldn't, while trying to catch up on the blogs/sites I follow on Feedly.  It was exhausting and I shall sleep well tonight, I hope!

  • Gas:
    • to drive Youngest Son to school.
    • and tolls for Greg to commute to work
    • to drive to Save A Lot
    • for my daughter to drive to her college classes

  • A replacement pair of walking shoes for myself.

  • My daughter went to Target and saw the Valentine's Day version of the birdies that I had loved so much at Christmas so she texted me a picture... and I asked her to get me two of them!  I usually don't really decorate for Valentine's Day, although I do put up a sign and a table runner, but those are too cute. And I'm feeling full of love for my husband despite my initial crankiness this morning.  I asked if there was a boy and a girl but she told me all the birds looked the same. So when I told her to buy me two, she said "Lesbian love birds, coming up!" but since Greg has been growing his hair longer than I like, I'm thinking that maybe that will inspire him to cut it shorter again, hahaha.

  • The school bus didn't show up, again.

  • I misread an email from Panera as saying that my "meal was 100% free". But they actually wrote: "Your meal is 100% clean." Well, that's nice and all but I think I'd prefer if it was 100% free... of dollars :)

  • One of the kittens completely eviscerated one of the toy mouse I had given them and I had stuffing all over the living room. How much stuffing can there be in such a little mouse?  I put it back in there and secured it with a safety pin and placed it in my mending basket. 

  • I logged into our brokerage account so I could complete our Net Worth spreadsheet and didn't see a confirmation for the transaction that Greg reported doing yesterday to fund my spousal IRA for 2017... so I texted him and he confirmed he never got a e-mail receipt so he must have forgotten to push the final confirmation button. I asked him to do it over. Grr, now that's delaying my finishing my own report by another day!  This is why I don't like teamwork.  I could perform the transaction myself but I hate that website and I don't understand it all so I'd rather he does it (since I do everything else but make the money anyway! And mow the lawn. I'm feeling a little cranky today, time for lunch!)

  • I had quit Pinterest back in 2012 when they first started monetizing it and haven't missed it one bit. But today I signed back on because I needed one image from there and I couldn't get to it unless I signed up. Within 1 second of creating a new account, they were already pissing me off. "Pick at least 5 subjects to follow"... WHY?! Why do I have to do that?  I don't want to follow anything or anyone, damn it.  So I picked "Frugal Living, Florida Gardening, France, Florida, and Cats & Kittens".  I'll probably never use the account unless I need a specific graphic.  Apart from blogging, I truly despise "social networks".   If you love it, I get it.  I was you, that first year.  I wasted so much time on Pinterest and then none of the projects that I tried to recreate looked anything like the pin. I did find some great recipes, though. But I have tons of recipe books and printouts and clippings. 

  • Save A Lot: $11.33 (chicken, cantaloupe)
  • $41.20 (walking shoes)
  • Target: $10.70 (V-day decorations)
  • RaceTrac: ?? Greg gassed up the truck but left the receipt in it and I'm too tired to go get it (or to make him get it!)
  • Argh, I mean to stop by RaceTrac to get a soda for Youngest Son with one of my survey reward codes but I forgot!

  • My daughter went to Chili's with her BFF for a late lunch. They each used their Reward program to get a freebie (appetizer, dessert) and then the BFF treated her to her meal anyway as she had a gift card. Sweet, but then again my daughter is driving her to and from her classes.

  • A birthday present for my daughter (with reward points)

  • Fed the kittens
  • Prepped Greg's breakfast
  • Drove my son to school at the last minute
  • Picked up cat barf
  • Located missing kitten and cuddled him a lot
  • Earned credits on my rewards programs
  • Cleaned upstairs litter box
  • Made my bed
  • Finished putting away the laundry
  • Made an appointment for the family car at the garage
  • Drove to Save A Lot to stock up on chicken
  • Called my BFF on the way
  • Aired the house
  • Texted with Greg about Monday
  • Ordered new walking shoes
  • Tracked expenses
  • Discussed plans with Daughter
  • Worked on Net Worth document
  • Texted with Greg about IRA funding
  • Piddled around on the laptop!
  • Continued transferring music from my external drive to my new laptop
  • Chatted with Youngest Son about upcoming FBLA activities and library ongoings
  • Unlocked offers in rebate apps
  • Piddled on the laptop some more
  • Took customer satisfaction surveys
  • Ordered a birthday gift for Daughter
  • Dusted Cat Room, breezeway and kitchen
  • Cleaned windows in Cat Room
  • Swept breezeway and part of Cat Room
  • Cooked dinner and set the table
  • Talked to Middle Son for a minute (he came along with his dad to pick up Daughter and came in to wish his little brother a happy birthday) and gave him his mail that I had forgotten to give him
  • Unloaded the dishwasher, then reloaded it and started it
  • Repackaged the chicken I bought this morning into smaller packages and froze it
  • Exercised!
  • Took a shower. That's always nice when I have the energy to do it right after I exercise.

  • I slept pretty well last night and my knee doesn't hurt this morning.
  • I'm wearing my new fitness tracker so I can see how many steps I take a day just staying home.
  • I drank one cup of water before coffee.  What can I say? After the initial stress of the morning, I wanted hot, comforting flavored coffee!
  • Breakfast was a cup of generic rice crispies with 1 cup of ~2% milk and a brown banana.
  • I did my foot exercises.
  • Lunch was pork noodles soup, a BLT and a small salad. I drank water.
  • Afternoon snack was an apple and a cup of decaf instant coffee with hazelnut creamer
  • Dinner was black eyed pea soup and a grilled pepperoni and cheese sandwich. I drank water.
  • As of 8:31 p.m., I have taken 6, 808 steps today, mostly by staying at home!  That corresponds to more than 3 miles according to the app that goes with my fitness tracker. Greg was surprised to hear that I walk that much when I'm home. And, truthfully, I didn't move from the couch as much as I did, for instance, on Monday!
  • Exercise: I rode my recumbent bike for 51 minutes (8.23 miles), woohoo!
  • That I'm able to stay home and drive my son to school when the bus doesn't show up!
  • That we found the missing kitten before he got hurt
  • That there was some cheap chicken in stock when I drove to the store just for that
  • That we had another lovely day in Central Florida
  • That there were birds in my backyard again!


  • There were lots of birds in my backyard this morning!  Welcome, welcome, birdies!  I was so excited!  Red robins by the dozen and a cardinal fed at the blue feeder. But I couldn't get a good shot of it.
Sorry, they were moving, I was using the 40x digital zoom and the cat was throwing up his breakfast just a few feet away from me...



left: 1 week old
right: 4.5 months old
Another one of my baby who is growing up! Isn't he gorgeous?!


  1. Pretty kitty!

    Your comment about shopping at Kohls reminded me that I wanted to use my $10 Yes2You birthday money so went ahead and did that. Thanks! Also, you have been on fire with getting stuff done so far this month.

    The love birds are very cute. I got one of the fall birds from Target, and love him. I also got an owl from JoAnn that I love. I don't often add to my decorations (because I'm not usually all that into holiday decorating), but I do love these little guys.

    1. Aw, they had fall birds too?! I'm going to need to go back to Target once in a while! I'm not really into full holiday decorating, but I do have a few things that I hang or display on some holidays or special occasions, depending on my mood. Since I'm not having much luck with real birds at my feeders these days, I'm comforting myself with fake birds on my mantelpiece :)

      I'm glad my post reminded you to use the Yes2You reward! I hate it when I forget to use up free money! I hope you found something good to spend it on!

  2. Kitty is a beauty! And the robins! I think I've only seen a real robin once in my life. You certainly had a full day. Bet you were glad for bedtime to roll around. Enjoyed your post (always do). ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Thank you so much, you're so sweet to say so! The yard was filled with the robins but they kept hopping around and it was hard to photograph them, especially with the cat distracting me at the same time!

      Exercising at night really works for me. I don't dread it the way I used to when I had to fit it in my "day" and by the time I'm done, I'm really ready to go to bed!

  3. My goodness! You did have a frantic morning! Poor Explorer! Poor you having to deal with missing buses, cats throwing up, and kittens getting shut in closets! Dancer once got shut in the spare room all night! He started to meow when he heard me getting up and then I saw his paw reaching out from under the door and waving about! "I'm here, Mummy! Rescue me!" I felt so bad for him, but daughter said he was probably sleeping all night. He made a mad dash for the litter box the minute he was let out!

    You found a good deal on the chicken breasts! It's on sale, here too, and I was wondering whether to buy some or not. I'm trying to eat from the freezer without buying more!

    Looks like a whole flock of robins visited your garden! They are probably getting ready to fly up north to look for mates in the spring!

    You had a very productive day, after all that excitement in the morning! I hope you'll have a less frantic morning, tomorrow, and have an enjoyable lunch out with your friend.

    1. Poor little Dancer! he was a really good boy to hold it for so long! But your daughter is right, he was probably asleep the whole night.

      We did have a whole flock of robins in the yard! It was lovely to see after all those weeks without any birds at all.

      I said I would cook from the freezer as well but I get bored eating the same protein all the time and chicken is so versatile... I'm glad I have some chicken breasts to use now.

      I hope you're having a great Friday, Bless :)

  4. That's quite a kitten picture--so small and so big. And they're not done growing yet!

    1. It's amazing that there are only a little more than 4 months between the two pictures, eh? I'm glad that we have adult cats so we know how big they're going to get. They definitely still have some growing to do. But boy, they're really getting heavier now!

  5. Good morning! I'm glad that you ordered your shoes. I saw that you got a kitten Christmas gift and now a birthday gift for your daughter. I already have four bins in the basement with all my pre-holiday purchases in them. I only say this to you to make sure you find a place to put all your gifts and remember where they are LOL. Two years ago I found quite a few gifts that I had pre-bought but couldn't find where after the gifting time had passed. If someone in the family diabetic? I noticed that you said you were looking at diabetic exchanges. Or are you using this to help with weight loss?

    1. Hi Sandie!

      Ha, that sounds like something I would do! However, I do have ONE spot where I usually stash all my gifts and I also keep a running list in a spreadsheet so I remember what I bought already.

      Another reader recommended the Diabetic Exchange program to me, she said it really helped her lose weight. My dad and his dad before are/were both diabetic so I'm predisposed to also being diabetic, however I don't like doctors so I haven't been in a long time. Still, I'm thinking that since I'm really overweight, it wouldn't hurt to try that program, you know? I just haven't made myself read carefully through it yet. I think I might take some time to get used to eating a restricted amount of calories first and once my body is used to this, try to transition into something like the diabetic exchange. It's just that if I make things too complicated, I'm more likely to quit. So for now, I just need to educate myself.

    2. I thought about a spreadsheet, but decided to leave lists in each bin instead.

  6. Wow, you did have a frantic morning! And "ugh" on the kittens eating thrown-up cat food. Hey, at least they aren't dogs eating poop!

    LOL at Lesbian love birds! I see your daughter inherited your sense of humor. :-)

    I noticed those off brand "FitBits" at Aldi. I got a FitBit for Mother's Day last year, and I love it. How many steps are you getting a day? I liked my FitBit so much, my husband got one for Father's Day and now we are in constant competition about who's getting more steps. I always win, of course.

    1. Of course you would win! You're a walking machine! Middle Son bought himself a Fitbit and has the scale that talks to it and he says it really motivates him to be more active. So when I saw those at Aldi just a couple of days later, it was a total impulse buy and I didn't expect much of it. But I have to say I really like it, only for the fact that having it on my wrist reminds me that "someone" is recording how much I move... or don't! I'm skeptical that it's really accurate, I just didn't expect that I was taking as many steps as I do when I'm home all day, but for all the times when I say that I'm lazy, I do walk around a lot... my house is long and 2-stories. I don't always look at how many steps I took that day but it comes with an app that keeps track of all that... so looking at it, I took 5,949 steps on Thursday (my first full day of wearing it), 10,439 steps yesterday, and 15,404 today. What about you?
      I'm a little worried that it won't charge when I plug it in. It didn't seem to charge when I tried it on the first day. It was already 3/4 charged but the instructions said to charge it fully. Well, it never did show that it was charging and the charge didn't increase. So I don't know if maybe the 3/4 bar display actually meant that it WAS fully charged. I might plug it in tonight to see if the charge increases because it's down to 41% now. I'd hate to return it!

    2. I think we all tend to underestimate how active we are around the house. Weekends are the only times I can reach my goal of 10,000 steps without exercise walking. During the week, I sit at my desk most of the day and I have to exercise walk to reach my goal. I usually average around 12,000 to 13,000 steps per day, so you are doing really well. My all-time record was 17,000 something, but that was on vacation when we walked around town most of the day.

    3. You're probably right. You're doing really well! I'm not confident that my fitness tracker is all that accurate because I just checked and I'm closing in on 10,000 steps for the day but I sat on my butt on the patio for several hours and then I sat on the futon and worked on the laptop so I'm giving it a big side eye right now!


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