Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Year and Lake Idamere Park's Hiking Trail ~ Sunday 1/1/2017


Resuming my regular format today although I'm slightly overwhelmed with my To-Do List already so I think I'll hold off on posting it today. Plus it's the weekend!

I went to bed at 11:15ish last night because I felt tired. The neighbors had started their fireworks and the kittens were freaking out.  All three of the kittens came up with me, which pleased me because then I didn't have to worry about them being scared downstairs.  Well, actually, I lie, Explorer and Princess ran up the stairs ahead of me and when I got to the 2nd floor, I heard this pitiful crying and it was Tabby Kitty who Greg had inadvertently locked in his room several hours prior!  It's a good thing that he has a strong bladder because he didn't pee on the bed.  I felt terrible that we didn't notice him missing but I thought he was just sleeping upstairs as he likes to do and in truth he probably was asleep the whole time or we would have heard him cry out.

Despite this, he and the others settled themselves at my feet on the bed right away.  I had also brought the "Fantastic Beasts" library book but after reading a couple of pages, I felt too tired to continue and I turned off the light.  A lot of people were firing fireworks, my goodness. I don't think I've ever heard so many of them in our area.  The kittens were worried but talking to them and petting them worked and after a short while, they were pros and didn't even budge.

I would have thought I'd have another great night, but I didn't. I ended up not being able to fall asleep, and then had an uncomfortable and fitful night.  I was too hot but it wasn't hot enough to warrant the fan. In retrospect, I should have turned it on.  Plus the realization that 2017 is here was depressing in itself.  My mind wouldn't turn off of all the worries the new administration is going to bring us and where the world is going (to hell in a handbasket sounds like an appropriate expression, even coming from a non-believer such as myself).

I finally got up at 7:15 a.m., feeling really tired and overwhelmed by all that I have to do: not only my regular tasks and chores which have been neglected for a couple of weeks, but everything that I put on my plate as far as goals for 2017.  Instead of feeling full of energy at the thought of starting anew, I feel run down, already. Ugh.

And then things started vexing me already:

  • I fed the cats, started to brew my flavored coffee, and went to get the XL plastic cup from RaceTrac that I had kept on purpose because it holds 48 oz, I believe, so I was going to fill it with water and make sure I drank one of those cups a day, at least.  Well, the top and the long straw seem to have disappeared and I think I might have thrown them away.  I could easily drive to RaceTrac and get new ones, but that already derailed my plan first thing this morning. So instead, I'm using my regular sippy cup that I'll have to keep on refilling. Not a big deal, right?

  • Then at 8:30 a.m. I realized that my Sunday paper wasn't in the driveway. There are 5 coupon inserts today so it's not an issue to miss!  I contacted the Orlando Sentinel Circulation Department (thankfully only an online form to fill out) and requested that it'd be re-delivered.  Deep breath, Nathalie, not a big deal.  Ugh.  It should be here by 12:30 p.m. 

  • I had forgotten to weigh myself right as I got up so I trudged back upstairs and got undressed again and got on the scale.  AAAAARGGGH. 228 lbs.  This is a HUGE deal. I am well into obese territory.  I need to do some kind of exercise today and I already feel so tired.  

Greg and our son are still asleep, it's 8:50 a.m. and I've been fending off kittens wanting to sleep on me (we just got up!) because they're so big now that it proves a problem when I'm trying to type. Despite my rebuffs, Explorer just plopped himself on my bosom. OK, in that position, I can handle it:)

My daughter should be at work. She asked me last night if it was OK for her to meet her friends at Chili's after her shift so they could have a belated Christmas gathering so she won't be home for a while.  After today she only has one more weekend to work.

Greg and our son are planning on going to the Wildlife Management Area nearby today so they can practice their shooting for hunting season. Greg reasons that it won't be busy with hunters since it's January 1st. I wouldn't bet on that.

While my coffee was brewing this morning, I redid the wall calendar in the kitchen. It's an erasable monthly chart where I write the family appointments and commitments and celebrations for the current month so everyone knows what's going on since they refuse to look at a Google Calendar.  We don't have much on our plate this month, thankfully.  We have 2 birthdays coming up, including Middle Son's who turns 21 (but he doesn't drink so it's not a big deal) and Youngest Son who turns 15 (so learner permit time, woohoo!) and later on one of my brothers celebrates a birthday as well.  I need to add potential field trips and activities, though. We always attend the Civil War battle reenactment at Renninger's, typically held at the end of the month so I'll have to research the date.

Tonight is the premiere of the new season of Sherlock!  Woohoo! My daughter and I are planning on watching it together. She's now going to Chili's for dinner at 7 p.m. but she said she'd make sure to be back by 9:00 p.m.

Greg feels "blah" so they might not go shooting after all.  I'm kind of worried, well no, I am worried about him driving the truck into the woods where he has no cell phone reception with that transmission fluid leak but he says "it'll be alright."  I hope he doesn't go. He plans on taking the truck back to the garage tomorrow, but we're not sure they'll be open. I'm wondering if we shouldn't just take it to the Ford dealership and bite the bullet.

FRUGAL SUCCESSES
  • I had an email from Kohl's waiting for me this morning with the $5 in Yes2You Rewards that I had earned. I guess they only email those on the 1st of the month, I had been wondering why I didn't get this sooner. I had to reset my Freebies spreadsheet for 2017 and accounted for it.  A good way to start 2017 :)

  • My 1st Swagbucks goal today was 60 SB but JunGroup videos wasn't in the line-up. Poop. However, I played nGage videos which at first ended up earning me 4 SB every TWO videos so I was up to 49 SB in no time. Then that dried out and I had to do the regular nGage videos (12 videos for 4 SB) and then that dried up too (!) so I'm trying nCrave for the final push.  Today is the start of the new Collector' Bills week and even though you can't control whether you'll get the whole series or not (to get the 20 SB bonus), it's still a week when usually Search awards are much higher so make sure to do a lot of Swagbucks searches this week!

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits. As I had surmised, the double points promo on weekends ended on 12/31 so just regular credit amounts today. I had been hoping...

  • I reached my 1st SB goal at 9:38 a.m. and my 2nd goal is only 10 more SB so I'm going to keep running nCrave until I reach it. On a side note, I tried Swagasaurus again this morning after rebooting my laptop and it lets me play 1 round and then stops working for me altogether. I need 2 rounds to get 2 SB so this is a complete failure. Boo! Is anyone else having this problem?

  • I mixed 1/2 gallon of water to 1/2 of whole milk to stretch it.

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

  • I unlocked offers in MobiSave.

  • I uploaded new store coupons to my CVS app. I also had $4 in ECB to upload, I think it was the quarterly ECBs for the Winter?  I noticed that the $5 in ECB from the Beauty Club expire next Sunday so I have got to use them this week. I haven't looked at the weekly ad yet so I need to do that.

  • Woohoo! With the help of a 2nd search award this morning, I exceeded my 2nd SB daily goal at 10:15 a.m.! Since the nCrave videos are playing themselves, I'll keep on playing them until they dry up.  Update: I ended up earning "a lot" more than I expected to and I barely had to click anything at all.



  • I printed 34 coupons via Swagbucks, most of them twice.  I purposefully avoided printing coupons for unhealthy snack foods (ahem, candy!).  I also printed a couple of coupons from Redplum and Smartsource. For some reason, though, the Smartsource website doesn't come up at all on Chrome for my anymore!  It worked fine on Edge.  I tried the same link on Chrome (copied from Edge) and I once again wasn't able to access Smartsource at all. Their Canadian site seems to work though. Uh.  

  • I opened our windows at 10:45 a.m. and disturbed several squirrels digging through the front and back yards in doing so. I think the kittens think they are also kittens.

  • I printed a store coupon from the Target coupons site.

  • I uploaded many digital coupons to my Publix wallet and also to my Walgreens wallet.

  • I looked at the Walgreens and CVS weekly ads online and made a list of what I wanted to buy. Nothing from Walgreens, but I'll get milk, Special K and Special K bars from CVS, along with a small bottle of SoapSoft. I won't be rolling any ECBs but I'll be able to use up $12 in ECB from previous trips.

  • My Sunday paper was finally delivered and they left me three of them! Woohoo?  Lots of coupons to clip and sort :) Thanks, delivery person!

Actually, there weren't that many interesting coupons today. Go
figure, for once that I get 3 copies of each insert!
  • I checked our Amex accounts for new offers. There wasn't anything but I uploaded the Boxed offer to Greg's account (I had already loaded it on mine). It's highly unlikely that I'll use them but you never know. They expire this month.  I went ahead and checked which offers I had loaded to my card since I don't always print them, and saw that I have a $15 off $75 offer for ABC Liquor. I will need to stop by this week and see how much Greg's whiskey is there (I had looked it up but I forgot to write it down) and compare that with what I would pay at Winn Dixie with the 10% off for buying 4 bottles.  If it's a better deal, I'll stock up in advance at ABC liquor, which means that my grocery budget will take a hit in January.   I went ahead and sign up for their Customer Loyalty program too.


  • For lunch, I made myself a sandwich using up a rosemary & olive oil FlatOut FoldIt flatbread that I had gotten for free several months ago and frozen. I had defrosted the package before Christmas, when I defrosted my freezer, so I was glad it was still good!  I put in 1/4 cup of that chipotle chicken salad from Aldi (still good, I opened it many weeks ago and I still have about 1/4 cup left). It's actually really good!  I also ate the leftover salad from last night, to which I added a few more cucumber slices from the wrinkled cucumber and the last tablespoon of Ken's Pomegranate and Raspberry dressing.  Rounding up my meal are 2 clementines, bought a week before Christmas at Save A Lot, I really need to hurry up and eat those before they spoil. I might put them in the fridge.  Greg warmed himself a can of soup and our son will make himself a sandwich.


  • I forgot to mention, yesterday, that when I harvested my lettuce, I remembered to just cut it above the soil line so that it regrows. I used to just pull the whole plant, including the root, but last year (It feels so weird to type "last year" when meaning 2016!), I noticed that some of my lettuce had regrown when I hadn't pulled the roots. Duh.  So I'm hoping it will happen again.  I used a package of 20-cent Dollar Tree seeds for the while bin so I'm definitely getting my money's worth.

  • When Greg was still feeling blah and restless, I suggested we go walk at Lake Idamere Park in Tavares so he could check out the fishing pier. I had gone to check out the fishing pier there a couple of months back and hadn't been impressed, but there was an article in the Daily Commercial this morning that described the trail there, and the author claimed that he had met a fisherman who had bagged "three nice sized bass".  Amazingly, Greg was ready to go right away when I was still in my jammies! So we closed the windows and turned the AC on, asked our son if he wanted to come (he didn't), and I got dressed.  We brought water from home in our reusable water bottles and this time I remembered to put on my brand new hiking boots to break them in.  We spent no money except for the gas to get there and back and I got a little bit of exercise in today :)


  • I used my free RunMeter app to track my walking progress.  I was looking at the "premium" settings on it that you can unlock for $9.99 a year and I'm mulling over upgrading.  I think that for now I'll stick with the free version.  The only problem that I have is that I need to stop it when I'm not already stopped myself or it messes up the pace stat.  But I guess all I really care about is how long I walked and how far I went. It calculates the calories burned too but I realized that I had set my data (age, sex, weight) so I did that afterwards.


  • I uploaded new offers to my SavingStar account.

  • I clipped all the coupons that I had printed and that had piled up over the holidays. My plan is to clean my coupon organizer while watching Sherlock tonight and then to file the new coupons tomorrow.

  • I found the instructions for my electrical pressure cooker (bought at Aldi a year ago for $39.99). The hour of reckoning is near... arrgh, I'm so nervous!  

  • I occurred to me that I probably needed to bake corn bread and thankfully there was still time.  I started using my regular mixing bowl and then it occurred to me that I had this cool, brand new Kitchen Aid Artisan Mini mixer, crying out to be used, so I dumped everything into that bowl and, oh my, it worked so well and it was so QUIET!  There are 2 things I'm not crazy about. OK make that 3: 
    1. The weight of the thing!  When it's not in use, it's pushed back under my cabinet but to use it, I have to bring it forward. I might need to find a way to make it slide easier (maybe stick some felt pads underneath?) because that sucker is heavy. I can't imagine how much the larger models weigh!
    2. There isn't much clearance to pour anything into the bowl when you use the whisk, even if the arm is raised. It was challenging adding the flour, etc.
    3. The bowl is awkward to grab and hold on to while you're trying to pour the contents into the baking pan and then scraping it with a rubber spatula. I wish they had provided a handle!
    4. Conclusion: it was a gift so I'm grateful but I have to admit that if I had ever used one before, I might not have chosen that particular model for myself.  I'm sure I'm get used to it, it's just first impressions and it might be useful to someone if you're thinking about buying one.

  • My buttermilk cornbread recipe calls for... buttermilk, of course, so I used 1 cup of ~2% milk to which I added 1 tbsp of vinegar. Now I'm wondering if it was supposed to be 1 tsp?  My memory is so horrible these days.

  • I had a little bit of trouble with the directions (I think I should be a technical writer and re-write all the manuals!) for the pressure cooker, but I think it's working. The only thing is that reading the directions and my nervousness distracted me and I'm not sure at all that I put 2 cups of dried beans in there. Maybe I only put one.  Oops. It'll be very liquidy soup if that's the case.

  • I soaked an entire bag of beans (I changed recipes in the meantime and I didn't need as much, oops) so I put the remaining 4 (5?) cups into a glass Pyrex dish in the fridge and I may cook them in the crockpot tomorrow and then freeze the results for future dinners.

  • I reused the water used to soak the beans to water one of my rose bushes :)

  • Meanwhile, Greg downloaded a free gaming app to his Kindle, and later on, a free utility app too.

  • I was so nervous when it came time to release the pressure on the cooker because the recipe instructions said to release it manually but this is the scary part because you don't want to get burned!  I ended up using metal tongs to turn the knob from "seal" to "vent" back and forth so my hands and arms (and face!) wouldn't get too close to it.  I was really nervous because I didn't remember to see if the pressure vent thing came up as it was cooking. But: everything seems to have worked just fine. The soup was a little bit on the thin side so I think I did forget to add the 2nd cup of beans. Oops.  But we liked it nonetheless.  There are about 2-3 cups left so I put them in the fridge and I'll have soup for lunch for the next few days. 


  • I froze the last 4 pieces of cornbread. I put one aside for my daughter because I know she loves my cornbread!

  • I rewashed the plastic baggie that had contained the half onion that I used in my recipe and hung it to dry.  In turn, I used a washed gallon-size baggie that has been rewashed several times already to freeze the cornbread.

  • Now that I feel better about using the pressure cooker, I got a binder from my stash (reused from one of the kids' projects) and I will make myself a "Pressure Cooker Recipes" binder this week.


SPLURGES
  • Gas to drive to Lake Idamere Park and back.

  • We had to turn the AC back on but as of 3:30 p.m. it still hasn't kicked on in the living room.  It's warm outside though so I have no doubt that it will. Right now it's still 71F in the living room, though, and I have it set to come on at 74F.

  • I still haven't taken down the few Christmas decorations and lights that I had put up so today I strung up the fishing-themed string of lights that I had gotten as a present for Greg, on our mantelpiece. They're not LED but they'll only be up for a couple of days anyway.


FAILURES
  • I checked Murphy USA's e-offers page for freebie coupons, but nothing has been loaded yet. I'll check again on Tuesday.

  • No Kohl's Discover Deals in either of our accounts :( I'll check again in a few days.

MONEY SPENT TODAY
  • $0. No Spend Day. Yay!
FREEBIES
  • $5 in Yes2You Rewards from Kohl's
  • 2 extra Sunday papers!
  • Gaming app for Greg's Kindle


ACCOMPLISHMENTS
  • Fed the cats
  • Redid the wall calendar in the kitchen for the month
  • Earned SB/MS Rewards
  • Contacted Orlando Sentinel re: missing paper
  • Weighed myself
  • Reset my 2017 Freebies Accounting Spreadsheet
  • Unlocked MobiSave offers
  • Printed coupons
  • Uploaded digital coupons
  • Loaded Discover Deals offer to our cards
  • Loaded an Amex offer to Greg's card
  • Signed up for the ABC Liquor Rewards program
  • Went on a short hike with Greg
  • Strung up the fish lights
  • Clipped coupons
  • Cooked dinner in the pressure cooker!
  • Baked cornbread
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Swept the kitchen

HEALTH
  • Weighed myself this morning: 228 lbs. Arrgh.
  • Breakfast was 1 cup of generic rice Krispies, 1/2 cup of ~2% milk, and 1 brown banana, and flavored coffee.
  • Lunch was a chipotle chicken salad sandwich on flatbread, a side salad and 2 clementines. I drank water.
  • Walked at Lake Idamere Park for 34 min (1.3 miles).
  • Snack: I had an apple
  • Dinner: 2 small bowls of the Black Eyed Pea soup and a wedge of cornbread. I drank water.
  • I logged my food intake and exercise in MyFitnessPal :)

GRATITUDE
  • For a quiet day at home
  • For sunny and warm weather
  • For a kind newspaper delivery person who left me 2 extra papers :)
  • For a short hiking date with my husband
  • For not getting anybody hurt when I used my pressure cooker for the first time!

NATURE: Lake Idamere Park Hiking Trail


I guess that the last time I was at Lake Idamere Park was back in July, not a couple of months ago as I had guesstimated!

I had been to that park many times with the kids, back when they used the playground, and used to walk the paved walkway that circles the playground, but I had never ventured on the hiking trail.

It's a cute little trail, very short (only about a mile or so) and it's easy to navigate. It's sandy but there is grass so it's not a trail that actually requires hiking boots, my walking shoes would have been fine.

It's really well marked and there are a ton of small signs identifying various plants and, for once, the signs are actually in front of the actual plants, not like at other parks where they might have been at some point, but not anymore.  I appreciated that.

The park is nestled between rather busy and noisy CR 448 and small Lake Idamere, which is bordered by SR 19 and various businesses and houses.  It's easier to hear birds chirping and calling when you're close to the lake, although you still hear all the road noise, which is very prevalent when you walk the trail and it lounges the road. I prefer my trails to be on the quieter on the  civilization side of things!

It being January, there wasn't that much to see. All the vegetation is mostly dormant or dead at this point. The only animals we spotted were some small birds (with yellow bellies) that like to fly close to the ground, a large black bird that was flying over the lake, and a couple of butterflies.  We visited the fishing pier and there were people fishing there (including some really young boys who seemed to know a lot about fishing, it was funny to listen to their chatter) and I did spot a small turtle swimming close to the shore but I wasn't fast enough to photograph it before it disappeared under some grasses.



There were lots of prickly pear cacti!  Little kids need to be watched on this trail.


It was nice to see a flower of a color other than yellow!

There were a few other people walking but they turned around soon when they realized that
there really wasn't anything to see.

Some berries

A lot of these were left on long stalks, I wonder what they were.





I promise that one of these days I'll go back to researching the names of all the flowers and butterflies but tonight I waited too long to upload the photos and Sherlock is about to start and I'm tired too :)

REFLECTION
All in all, this was a very good start of 2017 for me:

  • I started my diet and didn't cheat
  • I exercised a bit
  • I went on a hike (and since Greg took my hand before we came home AND told me he loved me AND kissed me, I told him I was counting this as a date too)
  • We explored a new-to-us trail
  • I used my pressure cooker for the first time (and didn't kill anyone AND the food was cooked and good!)
  • I used my Kitchen Aid mixer for the first time :)
  • I did the dishes!
Hopefully the year will continue along the same lines! After all, we did eat Black Eyed Peas for good luck!

How was your January 1st?


8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Happy New Year, Theresa! Thanks for reading! Did you stay up until midnight?

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  2. I am glad the day seems to have ended on a happier note than when it started. :)

    I have to make sure I drink 64 oz. of water a day, not counting tea or juice, etc., to prevent dehydration. I have a 16 oz. glass and I drink 4 of those.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know about you but after having born 4 children, my bladder has become very weak and when I drink that much water I'm in the bathroom constantly. That's a big reason, aside from the fact that I've never been a big drinker in my life, that I don't look forward to drinking even 48 oz every day. But I know that once I get started, it'll get easier. As with everything, the first step is often the hardest! That being said, I might have to start wearing Depends when I go on the marathon shopping trips! Maybe this year I ought to split my shopping in 2 days... My health is more important than saving money at this point, right? Right.

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  3. I would say you had an excellent start to the New Year. Love the hiking boots. That has to be better for your feet than your ordinary walking shoes. Love your photos (even when there is "nothing" to see) There is always something new and interesting going on.

    I got on the scale this morning because I told you I would. I still have no idea how much I weigh, because I never weigh myself. But my Sweetie weighs himself daily to keep track of how much fluid his body is retaining (for the purposes of his heart) Those are the scales I used. However, when I got on, the scale said "error" and I don't think that bodes well for me. Maybe the battery is wearing down? or could I have gained that much? Any ways, it didn't do much for my self confidence.

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    Replies
    1. I think it's probably the battery that needs to be replaced (or maybe you stepped on it too soon after your husband did?) but in any case, here is a ((hug)). You had the courage to step on it, it's not your fault if the technology has failed you! Can you ask one of your husband's doctor's office if you can weigh yourself next time you take him in for an appointment? Even if it's with your clothes on, it would give you a baseline.

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  4. ...problem that I have is that I need to stop it when I'm not already stopped myself or it messes up the pace stat. I had the same issue with the app that I use for walking (RunKeeper). Then I discovered there is a setting where the time stops when you pause. That way it won't think your crawling at a snail's pace when you are stopping to take pictures. As soon as I stop, the app says, "Activity stopped" and when I start walking, it says, "Activity resumed." I bet you have a setting on your app like that, too.

    I love your hiking boots!

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    Replies
    1. You are so full of helpfulness these days! Thanks for mentioning this. I had seen something like this when I was looking at all the settings so I just went hunting for that feature again and it looks like it might be part of the whole "Elite" thing, which is the premium version that costs $10 a year. Still mulling whether I should bite the bullet or not, I think I'll see how often I remember to use the app when we walk and if it'll track us at all on the General Van Fleet trail because at some point our phones say "no service" anyway... and that's where we walk the most often.

      I like my boots too! Greg wants me to wear them all the time, but I think I'll only wear them when we're not walking on a paved trail.

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