Friday, January 20, 2017

A Good Surprise ~ Friday 1/20/17

I didn't think that I would, but I slept well. I was tired and the kittens left me alone. Princess and Explorer came to wake me up at 5:30 a.m. but I told them "no, go back to sleep!" so they settled on my tummy and we slept for another 45 minutes. I've been too tired to shower at night so I decided to start getting up 15 minutes earlier so I do that first thing instead. Whatever works.

Today I'm wearing my exercise pants because they're comfy. It's an uncomfortable day otherwise, so I figured I might as well "treat" myself, ha. Plus I'd been wearing my capris for over a week and I have yet to fold the laundry! I've got to do that today.

It's another cool morning. No sun today, it's overcast. It's like Nature knows what's coming for it, eh?  I have the windows open and the kitties are all loving it. As for the past couple of days, I'm not playing any music, just listening to the mourning doves coo through the window, the occasional crow's cry, and the call of the Sandhill cranes as they fly above.

The school drop-off was the best so far, no line to stand in to drop off and almost no line to get out! Woohoo. I wish all mornings were that easy. Still listening to Vivaldi's "Music for lute and mandolin", although I think I'll change to another CD on Monday as it's played twice already. I'm really enjoying rediscovering our CDs and not having to filled with the Bluetooth adaptor to play the music from my phone (and not having my phone loaded with gigs of music that I only listen to occasionally!).

Youngest Son was all dressed up today and looked handsome. He borrowed his dad's black tie and Greg taught him how to tie it on Wednesday night.  He's spending the day at Lake Sumter State College in Leesburg, where the FBLA Awards Ceremony is taking place. He had no idea what subject his clubmates competed in (typical of him!) but he'll cheer for everyone and will have lunch with them before they return to the high school in time for (hopefully) the bus ride home.

Daughter doesn't have in-person classes today, she'll be working on her online classes.

Nature is making a liar out of me, it's 9:40 a.m. and the sun is finally starting to shine :)

Well, I'm pretty much re-posting my To Do List from the last couple of days since I haven't made much progress on it!  I keep on doing other tasks and meeting other January goals, so it's not like I haven't done anything, but the point of me posting this "priority" list was to force myself to focus on those specific goals before moving on to the next and that hasn't worked so well this week. I get easily distracted!


  • Watch "Sherlock" while I fold the laundry DONE
  • Read details of Diabetic Exchange program 
  • Do my foot exercises DONE
  • Exercise DONE, I'm using the 10,000 steps I walked today.
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations
  • Wipe out a USB stick for library
  • Greg and I need to assign the IRA contributions to specific funds  
  • Vacuum fridge coils
  • Replace fridge water filter
  • Declutter under window seat in Exercise Room in progress, will finish next week
  • 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
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Ask Daughter to help me clip Tabby Kitty's back claws and Explorer's claws  
  • Fold the laundry DONE
  • Put the laundry away in progress
  • Vacuum living room DONE
  • Take Driscoll's surveys 
  • Take RaceTrac surveys 
  • Make lemon poppyseed muffins or/and lemon squares with the "grapefruits"!
  • Bake Blueberry Oatmeal Bread DONE
  • Pick the oranges
  • Zest the oranges and freeze
  • Cook black beans in pressure cooker for Saturday I think I'll use canned beans instead
  • Move fonts from old laptop and reinstall on new laptop
  • Take my measurements
  • Sign up for Personal Capital?
  • Look for coupons to go with items I plan to buy at Publix DONE
  • Enter receipts in spreadsheets DONE
  • Enter Greg's paycheck details in Tax spreadsheet DONE
  • Send check to Middle Son for conference DONE

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • We're having pretty cool temperatures this morning so the AC is off and the windows are open :)  Update: I had to close them and turn the AC back on at 2:00 p.m. as the temp had reached 79F in the living room.

  • My 1st Daily Goal in SB is back up to 102 SB. Aaah.  So I'm running nGage and nCrave videos and at 10 a.m. I'm up to 68 SB with the help of a Search award a little earlier.

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 BR points.

  • I reused a newspaper sleeve bag to collect the "treasures" from the upstairs litter box when I cleaned it.

  • I printed several coupons that Kellogg's emailed me.

  • Last night, I forgot to mention that I reuse the water in which my lettuce had been resting all day to water my Peace Lily and my hibiscus, outside.

  • Thanks to a heads-up from the Orlando Sentinel's Frugal Force blog, I hopped over to the Duke Energy site where they were giving away free trees to their customers in honor of Arbor Day, today only, and was able to snag a White Fringetree.  Their map tells me, however, that the perfect spot for it in my yard (in order to benefit from its shade and lower my electric bills in 20 years!) is right where my veggie garden is, so I shall find another spot for it, despite promising that I would plant it where they recommend I plant it. I think that once it's on my property, I can damn well plant it where I want to!  I'm already pissed enough that I have TWO electric poles in my backyard with electric cables crisscrossing it, which makes it very hard for us to get tree maintenance done and to plant those giveaway trees anyway. Grr.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and I will be able to order my Amazon gift card tomorrow, it looks like, woot!

  • I actually rarely eat at Chili's and we never order take out from there (because it's a 20 minute drive to get there anyway!) but I uploaded their latest offer anyway because, as I like to say, you never know. A rare optimistic stand in my case :)

  • My blooming hyacinths make my living room smell soooo good! It's kind of like having a Bath & Body Works candle in here, it's that strong of a scent. I am really enjoying them!  And so far the kittens have been oblivious to the mantelpiece...

  • I printed some coupons via Swagbucks. Hopefully I'll redeem some so I can save money at the register AND earn 10 SB per redeemed coupon. Princess always gets a lot of enjoyment watching the paper come out of the printer, she has to come look every time I print something!

  • I printed Greg's last pay stub and reported all the details into my 2017 Tax Spreadsheet. This forces me to examine his paystub very closely to catch any deviations (like when stock options vest or are granted) and stay abreast of our deductions.

  • I had scheduled the $80 payment to our New Car Savings account (corresponding to Greg's raise in 2016) to be transferred automatically to that account today and it was :) One fewer thing for me to have to do.

  • I noticed that the Meow Mix Brushing Bites cat treats are on BOGO at Publix this week @ $1.79 and I had mailed my coupon for a free pack up to $1.75 to my BFF last week. So I texted her to give her the heads-up. If she hasn't redeemed it yet, she should be able to get 2 bags of treats for $0.04 plus the tax on $1.79 since in Florida tax is calculated before coupons.

  • I made 2 loaves of Blueberry Oatmeal Bread. Instead of just yogurt, I used up 2 cups of sour milk and 1 cup of fat free yogurt, and instead of oil I used up the jar or organic unsweetened applesauce that had been in my fridge too long and threatened to get moldy. Yay!  I also only put 1/2 a cup of sugar total instead of a cup and a half, even though Laura had said the bread didn't come out too sweet. And I didn't let the oats imbibe, I just put everything in the oven right away.  The blueberries were Dole frozen blueberries that had been kicking in my freezer for a couple of years, I think.  I also added some lemon zest because I always forget to make Blueberry Lemon quick bread and it's always sounded so good to me :)  Alas, my beautiful mini Kitchen Aid mixer proved to indeed be "mini" so I made do by putting the plastic mixing bowl on it and holding it while the mixer did its job. I moved it off center a bit at times so it would mix the sides too but it didn't reach the bottom so I had to continue mixing it with a spatula by hand. We'll see how it all turns out. Now I have a sink full of dirty dishes. Ugh. Oh and I also baked them for 1 hour and 10 minutes since there were 2 loaves and the batter was quite liquid with the milk having replaced most of the yogurt. They came out fully cooked and I made a quick glaze for the loaf that will be consumed right away with 1 cup of confectioner's sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk.  That'll make it a little sweeter. I'll freeze the other loaf.  Update: so I had a piece this afternoon. Hmm, I don't think my family will enjoy it. It's bland (maybe I shouldn't have cut out the sugar so much and then the glaze is kind of overpowering) and you can't even taste the blueberries.  I now I have 2 loaves, lol.  So if you try the recipe, stick to it, Laura liked it that way.

  • In the meantime, I boiled 4 eggs for future lunches. It pained me to only boil 4 because I think it's not as an efficient use of energy as to boil 6 like I always do, but since the last 2 were starting to go bad,  I figured I'd better stick to 4 eggs.  I boil them for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat and leave the pan on the cooktop until the water is cooled off. At least I save 2-3 minutes of energy that way.  I will reuse the water once it's cooled off to refill my indoors pineapple jars.

  • For lunch I made myself a pepper and mango sauce herring filet sandwich. Oh those filets are so yummy, I really wish I had bought more tins of it when Aldi had them. This year, I'm going to stock up.  I need to look up when exactly I bought them, I think it was October, and put a reminder on my calendar.  I have another variety of it too, something with spicy pineapple sauce, I think, and I will try that one next week.  I also had the left over Southwest Chicken Stew and the rest of last night's spinach salad.

  • Guess what?!  This day is starting to suck a little less because Youngest Son texted me that he won 1st place in our district in the FBLA's Computer Problem Solving Competition!!! Now, this is hysterical because he ended up being the ONLY person to compete in it so he got 1st place by default despite having a pretty dismal score. I think he scored 2 answers right out of 100?  In his defense, FBLA didn't provide any study materials or guidance and it seems to me that his local club officers and sponsor had no clue and didn't provide any help about this subject at all.  When I looked up information about it afterwards, even at the national level FBLA doesn't provide anything, not even study materials that you can buy or mention references that would be useful. A former chapter president who is also an Eagle Scout made it his Eagle Scout project to research resources for all of their subjects and post them or their links on his blog. That's ALL there is.  And when I looked up what he had on Computer Problem Solving, oh my. It wasn't much but the standards that the exam was on were very complex and way above my poor son's head who's only ever gamed and used his PC for homework, hahaha. Well, I'm tickled to death that he participated AND got 1st place, even if it's by default, and I wish I had realized that it was a real possibility and thought to show up at the ceremony!  I'm not quite sure yet if he's coming home with a trophy or what, but he did say that he wasn't moving on to the next level since he scored lower than an 80%. We're both quite relieved to tell you the truth :)  The best part is that he'll get to put this achievement on his college application!

  • Oh and he also won a $5 McDonald's gift card in a raffle!  He's having an excellent day!

  • Meanwhile, I reached my 1st Daily Goal in Swagbucks and I'm working towards my 2nd one, which is 120 SB. We'll see...

  • I made a shopping list for Publix next week so I'll stop by on Tuesday morning after dropping off Youngest Son at school. That'll save me some time on Wednesday.  I'm planning on buying Vita Smoked Salmon on BOGO @ $7.99 since it froze so well when I bought it in preparation for Christmas buffet this past year. I'll freeze it again for this year's buffet. The packages are thin enough that they really don't take much room.

  • I watched the very overwrought last episode of Season 4 of Sherlock on PBS while folding the laundry. I feel very ambivalent about this whole season.  I wish they had kept to what they were doing in Season 1, quite honestly.
I tried teaching Tabby Kitten how to fold Greg's socks...
  • I reached the 2nd Swagbucks Daily Goal.

  • I mixed 2 bottles of glass cleaner. I have found that it's better to let it all sit for... well, I'm a lousy housekeeper so I let it sit for weeks, lol, before using it so the cornstarch truly dissolves, and then make sure to shake it vigorously before each use. You might still want to buff your windows after using it, as I just noticed many streaks in the sunshine :)  I reused 2 commercial spray bottles that were empty.

Hmm. I'm really a lousy housekeeper! But at least I have proof that I tried to wash the windows, right?
  • We have a window seat in the Exercise Room with storage on the inside. It used to be our playroom when the kids were little so it held a lot of toys. Nowadays, it holds my collection of recycled glass jars and plastic containers such as empty Windex bottles, etc.  I can be a bit of a pack rat and there are way too many containers down here!  So today I used the empty recycling bin that we have and cleared out the glass jars. I ended up with a whole bin of jars!  I kept a few, of course, but it's puzzling as to why I had kept so many of them.  Next week, once my bin has been collected by the Waste Management people, I'll clean out the other side that houses the plastic containers.

  • I printed some Publix store coupons.

  • For dinner I made turkey burgers with 1 lb of ground turkey that I had bought on 50% clearance several months ago. I covered them in homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning and cooked them in a skillet on the cooktop and they were delicious. Greg and I topped ours with homemade zesty refrigerator pickles.  I served corn on the cob with it. I had bought it at Aldi last week and I steamed it in the microwave in the Tupperware veggie steamer that a friend had given me several years ago.

  • Gas expenses:
    • driving Youngest Son to school
    • and tolls for Greg's commute 
  • Youngest Son bought lunch with his clubmates while on his outing.

  • Kellogg's promotional email this morning claimed that Walgreens is having a "Buy 3 boxes of Kellogg's cereals for $8 and get a free gallon of milk up to $8" next week (starting on 1/22). I rechecked the ad preview since I hadn't seen that the promotion had been extended. Nope, it's not.  So I emailed their Customer Service to point it out.
Uh no, wrong week.  That promotion ends tomorrow.
  • Giddy with my success from the past couple of days, I tried taking many surveys on Swagbucks today and was disqualified from every single one of them. Including one where I had already pretty much answered all the questions in detail, which usually pisses me off, but I have much bigger things to be pissed off about today so I shrugged and said "whatever". Gotta pick your battles.

  • In typical governmental efficiency, our county's governmental PR office sent the electronic "Lake County News Release for the Week" today for events that took place, well, this whole week. As I replied, it would have been helpful to read LAST Friday that governmental offices will be closed on MLK Day.  Sheesh. I guess I should be thankful that they didn't waste real resources by mailing it to us a week late.

  • My BFF texted me that she and her daughter were at a dance competition down in Lake Buena Vista where her daughter had a solo.  We were hoping that I would be able to see her dance live via a stream, but come to find out, they weren't livestreaming that competition after all :(

  • $149 to refund Middle Son for his PhotoShop convention ticket. I'll deduct it from my School Events budget. And I spent a stamp to mail him the check since he didn't want the money in the account that he keeps at my bank.
  • I gave $20 to Youngest Son for his lunch and asked him to give me my change back. But I think I'll let him keep it since he got 1st place, ROFLMAO.

  • a White Fringetree, from Duke Energy and the National Arbor Day Foundation. I think it'll be mailed to me.
  • A MobiSave employee posted this on Slickdeals yesterday and it showed in my RSS Feed, but then the post was yanked off Slickdeals so I'm not sure if this is truly happening and if it's for everyone or just certain areas for the US, but there is a free offer for Oreo cookies if you can find a package that has a special MobiSave sticker on it.  Good luck and let us know if you find one!
  • Youngest Son won a $5 McDonald's gift card in a raffle.

  • Took a shower
  • Fed the kittens
  • Prepped breakfast for Greg
  • Drove Youngest Son to school
  • Aired the house
  • Worked on my Rewards programs
  • Entered my weight in Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices
  • Caught up on news and emails
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Requested a free tree from Duke Energy
  • Wrote and mailed convention check to Middle Son
  • Made my bed and Greg's bed too
  • Dealt with cat drama (New Kitty is being a bully again)
  • Played with kittens
  • Cuddled with kittens
  • Printed coupons
  • Accounted for Greg's paycheck in my spreadsheets
  • Baked Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal bread
  • Boiled eggs
  • Mixed some more baking powder
  • Texted with Youngest Son and Greg
  • Chatted with Daughter
  • Folded the laundry
  • Watched Sherlock
  • Put some laundry away
  • Mixed 2 bottles of glass cleaner
  • Vacuumed the living room
  • Decluttered half the window seat storage area in the Exercise room
  • Printed coupons
  • Fed the kittens
  • Cooked dinner
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Washed pots by hand

  • I did end up drinking all my water yesterday after all, yay!
  • I slept very well last night.
  • But I didn't feel like drinking water this morning so I went straight to coffee.
  • Breakfast was a cup of rice krispies with a cup of ~2% milk, and a banana.
  • I did my foot exercises.
  • Lunch was a serving of Southwest Chicken Stew, the left over salad from last night and a herring sandwich.
  • Afternoon snack was a slice of blueberry lemon oatmeal bread and a cup of decaf instant coffee.
  • Exercise was... getting 10,021 steps just being home today!  I didn't feel like biking because I'm really tired and I was so close to 10,000, Youngest Son and I did some jogging in the Cat Room together to I could get to 10,000. He tried to get me to do jumping jacks but honestly, my boobs are too big. It hurts!

  • For a very easy school drop-off this morning
  • For a lovely and cool morning
  • For a free tree from Duke Energy
  • For Youngest Son to have placed 1st in his Computer Problem Solving competition (I can't stop laughing!)
  • For my husband to stop for a cuddle out of the blue tonight and to tell me that he loves me.  You know, that never gets old :)


  • New Kitty was a big bully yesterday as she attacked Explorer out of the blue and very aggressively not once but twice. My little baby!  So she and I were NOT friends last night.  This morning I heard loud commotions coming from the Cat Room again and I found the kittens on high alert but no sign of New Kitty anywhere. Where could she be?! I looked everywhere and I was really puzzled.  Then I found her...
And yes, those are the pumpkins that I bought last October.  I need to cook them!
She knew she was in trouble so she was hiding from me. Good thing too because I was really pissed and by the time I found her, I had calmed down. I don't tolerate drama with my cats.  I might be a cat lover, but I rule my household, not her (she?) not any other cat.

  • The kittens looked a little bored this morning so I gave them some exercise with the laser pointer that I had picked up at Dollar Tree. After that, they took a long nap! 

  • Awww, she looks very comfy, using her brother's butt as a pillow :)

  • Well look at who is cuddling next to me tonight!
So comfy!
  • My favorite nature photographer, Jess Yarnell from Cat and Turtle, a local amateur one at that, posted more incredible pictures of birds at Viera Wetlands today. I have her blog in my sidebar as one of the blogs I follow, but if you follow me via an RSS reader or email, you might not be aware of her blog.  If you have a few minutes today and enjoy bird photography, hop on over. She's fantastic!  If you have more time than a few minutes, keep on reading back posts, they really are worth it. I always learn something too.  Today I learned that Blue Herons nest on top of palm trees.  I had no idea!  And no, Pixel, she hasn't posted a picture of an egret on a cow, that I know of. Let's not give her any ideas, though, OK?

How was your Friday? Are you ready for the weekend? Any big plans?  Greg and I will probably go on a walk tomorrow if he wakes up early enough.


  1. Congratulations to your youngest son! What a nice surprise! Looks like Tabby Kitty did a pretty good job of folding that sock! :D He looks like he's saying, "Like this Mommy?" :D
    Hope you have a lovely day, tomorrow.

    1. Thanks! It was a nice surprise, although something that I had jokingly predicted a couple of weeks back:)

      I'm trying to train the kittens to do my chores for me (folding the laundry, doing the dishes, clipping the coupons...), alas they're not very good at it!

  2. Love the picture of Princess and the printer. One of our cats sticks her paw in the printer trying to see where the paper comes from. I'm not ready to have a kitten again, but I am really enjoying yours.

    1. I love how cats are always so curious and need to investigate things. We can't open a box without at least one cat needing to come see what's going on!

      You say you're not ready for another kitten and I can't imagine not having any at this point... I need to steel myself since the mom cat was hanging around our backyard with another stray (male) cat, and warn our neighbor, who first spotted our kittens, to not even mention seeing kittens anywhere to me. I love them but I can't become THAT woman with a million cats. My vet bill is already way too high!

  3. Congratulation to your son on 1st place in the computer problem solving competition! And I'll have you know that I had some of that Publix smoked salmon for breakfast today. I didn't know you could freeze it - thanks for the tip!

    Your picture of Princess watching the printer reminded me of this video:

    And that egret-on-top-of-cow competition needs to be just between us. It sounds as if Jess Yarnell could get a picture of that in no time, beating the both of us (gasp!). I'll have to check out her blog now.

    1. Hmm, smoked salmon for breakfast! Just as decadent as my caviar for lunch! But what happened to your oatmeal and chia seeds and blueberries, hmmm?

      Loved that video of the cat fighting the printer, hahaha!

      I know you'll enjoy Jess's blog but you're right, if she knew about our little competition, she'd probably post the best egret on a cow picture ever. Some people are just talented and have much patience to wait for the perfect picture too. My problem is Greg. I have the talent (AH!) but not the husband who's willing to wait until an egret hops on a freaking cow.

  4. Congrats to the kiddo! Also, the loaf of bread you made reminded me of a new banana nut bread recipes I tried. It made 2 large loafs, so I had plenty! I had planned on bringing that to my family's Christmas get-together. Well, it was a touch dry for me, but I hated to waste it! So, I cubed it up, baked it for about 15 minutes to get it a bit dry, and used it as a base for the BEST bread pudding EVER! My family LOVED it! Also, my Mama taught me the method to perfect boiled eggs (the tint of gray you see around the yoke is where they have been a bit overcooked. Place eggs in pot and cover eggs w/ cold water. Bring to full boil and turn off stove. Let set for 10-12 minutes (I do mine 10). Either add a cold water to a couple of ice cubes to slow/stop the cooking process afterwards! Perfect EVERY time!!

    1. Thanks, Joy :)

      I don't know why I never think of making bread pudding with "bad" baked goods because I absolutely love bread pudding. Thanks for the suggestion! I'm glad you were savvy enough to save your banana nut bread that way!

      As for boiling the eggs like your mom, I did it several times like that but we found the eggs very hard to peel when I cooked them that way (although now I realize that I don't think I added cold water after turning off the cooktop, I might have to try it again). Also our ice maker doesn't work so we rarely have ice cubes these days. I used to make them in ice cube trays but little by little Greg weaned himself from his ice addiction and now there's really no reason to make it anymore!


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