Friday, January 6, 2017

๐Ÿ‘‘Kings' Day๐Ÿ‘‘ - Friday 1/6/17

Today is Kings' Day. In France on that day, we traditionally eat a cake called "la Galette des Rois". It is made with buttery dough and frangipane (almond paste), topped with a Golden paper crown, and contains "la fรจve", which is typically a little figurine of a baby. It's a Catholic thing of course, but most everyone, at least when I was growing up, celebrates it because it's delicious and fun. You see, the person who finds the "fรจve" in their piece of galette (hopefully before breaking a tooth) becomes King or Queen for the day! In my family, you just got the crown, celebrated and went about the rest of your day, lol. I'm not sure if other families did something more involved.

Anyhoo, it's one tradition that you would think that I would have kept for the kids since it involves delicious cake, but I can only recall once that I did it for my oldest boys when they were toddlers and I probably make a regular chocolate cake and used a plastic dinosaur for the fรจve, I can't remember.  The main reason why I didn't keep up with it is that I didn't know how to make the galette back then (in France you just buy it from the pastry shop at the corner!) and also because it's yet another celebration right after Christmas and right before Middle Son's birthday, both of which involved me baking quite a bit.

Today I'm on a diet and the yearly notification in my Google Calendar that it's Kings' Day made me wish for galette des rois, only because I can't have it, hahaha.


It's was a couple of degrees chillier than yesterday this morning.  The kittens are being all frisky and enjoying the chilliness, I think.

The school bus came, Greg is about to go to work. He said he had a headache all night and couldn't sleep well. He has a stressful day ahead of him at work with one of his employees and then also another employee starting today so he's taking him out to lunch.

My plans for the day are to stay home. I'm hoping that I'll have the energy to do what I wanted to do yesterday but didn't get to and mop my kitchen, which really needs it.  The real mopping, this time.   my daughter asked if a friend could come over later on this morning. I don't know the girl and I'm sure she's fine, I just stress whenever someone I don't know comes to my house. I'm sure someone like Bless, who gets visitors all the time, thinks it's weird, but I really dislike visitors.  Well, I usually forbid visitors. No one gets to drop by my house!  Update: she ended up not coming :)

So imagine my stress level when Greg got a call from his daughter who announced that she, her husband, and the baby will be in town at the end of the month and want to come visit!  All I could think about was the fact that we have 6 cats and she's allergic to them (I guess she doesn't know we have 6 cats) and our house is NOT baby proofed and he is now crawling.  I tried to be nonchalant about it but the fact is that it is not going to be a relaxing visit at all. I think I'll have to lock up the kittens in a bedroom upstairs.  Anyhoo, I need to distract myself with something so it's a good thing that I'm still in the "Let's Get This Done!" mode.

Here are my priorities for today:

  • Mop the kitchen DONE
  • Mop the downstairs bathroom
  • Wipe the mirror  DONE
  • Clean the sink  DONE
  • Scrub the toilet  DONE
  • Clean the upstairs litter box  DONE
  • Empty the dehumidifier  DONE
  • Exercise  DONE
  • Do heel stretching exercises 3 times DONE
  • Finish putting the Christmas dishes and decorations away in progress, I packed them up and they're ready to go back in the closet
  • Fold all the laundry
  • Iron at least 2 outfits for Greg
  • Take batteries out of fans
  • Wipe out a USB stick for library
  • Bake pumpkin bread  DONE
  • Remind Greg to transfer money into the IRA accounts
  • When he does this, update the Net Worth document
  • Look up value of our cars and call USAA re: dropping collision
  • Calculate bare bones budget and make sure we have 12 months put away in EF
  • Set directions for state park in my GPS DONE
  • Put Greg's DD214 in my purse/fanny pack (in page protector) DONE

  • Our son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • He rode the school bus.

  • Greg is having a business lunch today so no expense for us.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and a few Swagbucks before giving up because it kept causing my laptop to freeze (see "Failures").

  • I cooked one of the butternut squashes that I had bought at Aldi a couple of months ago in the microwave. I'll use it to make butternut squash soup for dinner tonight, with grilled salami and cheese sandwiches.

  • I reused an old bread bag to dispose of the "treasures" from a couple of litter boxes.

  • I used the last cup of pumpkin purรฉe that I had processed in 2015 to make one loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread for my son's after school snack. It smells so good.  I always resist it but today it's proving to be hard!

  • I decluttered my living room a little more by emptying a basket that contained nothing of importance, putting an unused extension cord away properly in its cabinet, and repurposing the basket to hold the kittens' toys.  The Amazon cardboard box that was holding them has now been recycled and my living room feels a little less cluttered.

  • And I decluttered the kitchen by packing up the Christmas dishes and bringing them up to my bedroom. For now the boxes are on the floor, I will put them away in the closet later this afternoon. It's like playing Tetris to fit everything in the closet so I need to gain my strength and eat lunch first!

  • I mopped the kitchen with the mop I had gotten at the thrift store. Confession? I dislike it so much. Don't people who design those things not take ergonomics into account?  I might need to buy another one. I wish you could take one home and try it before deciding to buy it, I've been through so many mops and I've hated every single one of them.

  • Lunch was an "egg salad" sandwich, some cucumber slices, and the rest of a container of grape tomatoes that had gotten wrinkly and were about to go bad.  I also had half a papaya that I had bought on clearance right before Christmas. It kept well in the fridge but it's same to eat it.  My vegetarian kitten tried to eat my lunch!

  • My BFF is worried about how her kids will be able to afford college (she has a  son who is a senior in high school this year too). This morning I received an email from the Florida Prepaid College program with the link to an essay contest to win a scholarship so I forwarded it to her, along with the information for the Optimist Club's district essay and oratorical contests for this year, for her young daughter.

  • I raked the dead oak leaves from the side of the house and back patio so we wouldn't be tracking so many leaves into the house.  I put them in the trashcan that I keep near my large composting bin. The leaves will rot and will be added to my compost pile throughout the year. I had asked Greg to refill the bin for me but he's been waiting for the part of his leaf blower...

  • I harvested a few beans, tomatoes and serrano peppers.

  • I was tempted to drive into Clermont with my daughter since she needed to go to the T-Mobile store, but after thinking about it, I decided to stay home since I still have several things on my To Do List that I haven't done.

  • I received an email with the $5 virtual Visa card from the Energizer rebate from yesterday. After some frustrations about not being able to create the account they wanted me to create to access the card, and then not being able to access it, I was finally able to get it.  I had to use it online only and I couldn't find anything I wanted for exactly $5 on Amazon but then I remembered Sandie's recommendation to use those to purchase Amazon gift cards for myself in the exact same amount so I did it!  Sandie you ought to be so proud of me, LOL!  I bought a $5 Amazon gift card, sent it to myself and then redeemed it in my account. Woohoo!  Thanks, Sandie :)

  • And then, I remembered that I had another rebate Visa gift card in my wallet that expires at the end of the month and has a an odd amount left on it, so I did the same thing with that one :)  Woohoo!

  • I entered my exercise from last night into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 140 BR points.

  • Greg needs to have a passport picture taken for a license that he is renewing so I printed a $2 off coupon from CVS.  I'll go with him so we can also get the other bottles of whiskey while we're in town!

  • I perused the previews for next week's ads for Walgreens and CVS and made note of what I might want to purchase.  If I could be sure to find 9 packs of Diet Dr. Pepper in the same store, I could get a great deal on those with the ECBs that I have to spend, and get another $10 in ECB, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  At Walgreens, my son's favorite candy, Trolli, will be on sale for $1.50 and I will receive a voucher for $1.50 in Register Rewards, plus the Lucky Charms will be on sale, so I will be redeeming my $10 in Balance Rewards. Come to think of it, I might do a separate transaction for the Trolli to make sure I do get the RR.

  • For dinner, I made butternut squash soup by peeling the squash that I had cooked this morning and nuking it again for 2 minutes. In the meantime, I heated up 4 cups of water in my electric kettle, and mixed the hot water with 4 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Chicken paste.  I blended the chicken bouillon with the squash and then sprinkled cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper and mixed it all up.  Greg declared it the best butternut squash soup I had ever made. It was very thick and they all enjoyed oyster crackers with their soup. I abstained :)  As a side item, I made grilled cheese and salami sandwiches. You really couldn't taste the one slice of salami that I had put in there, which was fine. I just want to get rid of that salami that has been in my fridge for a while. I think I'll put soup and grilled cheese and salami on the menu again for next week as I still have salami and now the package is opened.

  • I was able to request a free 1-load sample of Persil ProClean laundry detergent.

  • I downloaded the free app about Florida State Parks.  As others mentioned in the comments, the admission prices aren't listed, which stinks, but since we're planning on getting the annual pass tomorrow, I guess it doesn't matter to me too much.

  • At 8:46 p.m. I realized that it was raining!  Yay! Speaking of rain, tomorrow's chance of rain in Flagler Beach is 100%. I'm starting to wonder if we should bother driving all the way there... It's still raining at 9:50 p.m.!

  • I exercised for free at home on my recumbent, as I have done all week. Once again, I listened to 1.5 episode of Frasier on Netflix, while I was catching up on Feedly.

  • I drank all my water all week as well! Woohoo!  I have decided that I will stop drinking after I'm done exercising, though, so I don't wake up too much at night.

  • I logged into my Google Play account and noticed that I had an offer for 50% off any TV Show Season, good through April 17. Woohoo!  I'd been waiting for such an offer because I want to buy Season 1 of "The Jim Gaffigan Show". It's broadcast on TVLand but we don't have cable so I've never seen it. I hope it's good!  Today, however, is a No Spend Day so I will wait until tomorrow to purchase it. I think $7.50 will be a good price to pay for it :)

  • Gas and tolls for Greg's commute.

  • I hate my non-Christmas drinking glasses because they're all mismatched (something that wouldn't matter if they were all at least the same size and color!) and they're badly stained by our hard water. Nothing will get them cleaned. So I've decided that I'm going to splurge and get myself some new drinking glasses. I'll scope the thrift stores.

  • Gas for my daughter to drive to T-Mobile store and back.

  • Twice this morning one of the Swagbucks videos caused my computer to freeze up at either 14 or 14 out of 20 videos watched.  So each time I lost my progress because I had to close all my browser windows.  Grrr. My 1st goal of the day is 90 SB and it's not going to happen. It's annoying because as of this morning I'm at 2,160 SB and I just need another 40 to get to the 2,200 needed to order a $25 gift card!  I'll have to try again later on.

  • Last night I commented... somewhere... that I had started a new routine of taking a shower at night and getting dressed as soon as I got up and that it worked well for me. Well, it had only been one day and indeed it had worked well yesterday morning.  Last night, I was really tired and it was getting chilly so I skipped taking the shower.  Result?  It's 9:32 a.m. and I'm still in my PJs and I haven't really done anything productive yet and the thought of showering and getting dressed and getting to work makes me feel like... ugh! I just want to stay in my PJs and read blogs all day!  So off I go to take a shower in my old, cold bathroom. Please pity me :)

  • Still no e-offers on Murphy USA this month. I wonder if they discontinued the program?

  • I was working in the backyard for close to an hour and it didn't occur to me to make sure to leave my cursor on the nCrave screen so the videos would auto advance and I'd earn SB while I was outside. AARRGH.

  • My daughter asked to borrow my bike and then called me a short while later telling me she had fallen off the bike and the chain had derailed, but she was fine. So I drove down there and the chain is completely mangled. I have put back several chains in my biking days but this... I don't know how the hell the chain came to be tangled the way it is.  She said she hit the curb. After her hitting the pothole with the car a week ago, and costing us over $90 in repairs (she paid for the tire), I had had it.  I had her wheel it home and told her not to talk to me again tonight.  How the heck does an 18 year-old hit the curb on a bike when biking down a straight road?!  Probably when someone is trying to take a selfie with her brand new phone (that doesn't have a protective case yet), I presume.  Ugh.  So I tried again, looked at a video on YouTube and, people, I can't figure it out and frankly, I shouldn't have to. I don't want her to ruin the bike even more, which is why I'm not having her fix it herself, but I told her that I'm taking it to a repair shop this weekend and that she has to refund me for the whole cost of the repair that same day and if it means she needs to take an extra shift at Disney to pay for it, so be it.  Steam is coming out of my ears.  I'm so pissed my eye actually started twitching. If it was the first thing she's broken... but she's very careless with many things, unfortunately (see? nobody is perfect!) and when it's mine that get broken, I get angry. What really made me mad was that there wasn't any apology, she just said, breezily, "oh a chain that falls off the derailleur is no big deal, I've watched dad fixed that a million times!".  Wrong thing to tell me.

  • At exercise time, I remembered to leave my cursor on the nCrave screen. That's good, right?  Well no, because absent-minded me didn't make sure that it was on the Discover mode (i.e. automatic mode) so it didn't progress to the next video in the series so I earned exactly zero SB during that time.  Arrgh. I end the day having earned only 39 SB out of 90 for my 1st goal and that's including a 16 SB Search award at that!

  • Greg still has a sore throat and announced he would go to the Urgent Care Clinic on Sunday.  I offered to go crabbing by myself tomorrow so he can go earlier than Sunday but he said that he'd had a sore throat for 2 week so one more day would be OK. I checked his throat because he said "I probably have strep" but I told him that if he had strep, he wouldn't be as chippy as he's been and also we'd all have it by now since it's really contagious.  His throat is a little swollen but I don't see any signs of infection or striations so I'm positive it's not strep. I know they'll do a test anyway.  I suggested he gargles with salt water but he let that go by without any comment so I doubt he will do it.  You know the doctor is going to say "It's a virus. Gargle with salt water and rest, drink plenty of fluids". Greg drinks water all day (and Diet Dr. Pepper!) so he's covered with that.  Also he said his ear was now fine. So we'll see what they say.

  • No Spend Day!
  • Greg got a free business lunch
  • I received the $5 rebate from Energizer

  • Fed the kittens
  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Unloaded the dishwasher 
  • Reloaded it with the breakfast dishes
  • Cuddled with a kitten
  • Worked on my reward programs
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Cuddles with two kittens!
  • Caught up on Feedly
  • Took a shower
  • Scrubbed upstairs toilet
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box and the Cat Room's box too
  • Cleaned sink, toilet, mirror, trashcan, scrubbing brush holder, dental care holder in downstairs bathroom
  • Wiped mildew off top of built-in shelf in bathroom
  • Replaced toothpaste tube in upstairs bathroom
  • Emptied recycling bin in downstairs bathroom
  • Baked pumpkin bread
  • Cooked butternut squash for tonight's soup
  • Opened the windows to air the house
  • Swept and mopped the kitchen
  • Scheduled Youngest Son's annual physical
  • Packed up the Christmas dishes and brought them to my bedroom
  • Swept laundry room
  • Texted my BFF
  • Emptied my countertop composting bin into the large one
  • Removed the dead peanut vines from the composting bin and threw them away with the yard waste
  • Turned the compost pile
  • Raked dead leaves
  • Filled "browns" trash can with leaves for compost pile
  • Pulled weeds from patio and some of the veggie bins
  • Collected all pieces of broken plastic around the self-watering bins
  • Harvested the garden
  • Dealt with annoying rebate issue and ordered Amazon gc
  • Decluttered the top of the printer stand
  • Shredded what needed to be shredded
  • Filed some paperwork
  • Reported Greg's paycheck information into my Tax Spreadsheet
  • Helped my son locate various items for an AP project he is working on
  • Dealt with the bike situation
  • Programmed the GPS for tomorrow
  • Cooked dinner
  • Loaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Looked up other things to do while in Flagler Beach
  • Prepped the crockpot for tomorrow so all I'll have to do is turn it on before we leave
  • Got my clothes ready for tomorrow
  • Exercised
  • Replied to blog comments and commented on blogs

  • I drank 2 glasses of water before my first cup of coffee.
  • I did my foot exercise
  • Breakfast was a cup of generic rice crispies with half a cup of ~2% milk and the rest of the old strawberries, sliced.
  • Worked in the backyard for 50 minutes
  • Did my foot exercises
  • Afternoon snack was an apple.
  • Dinner was a bowl of butternut squash soup and a grilled pepperoni and cheese sandwich.
  • I still had close to 300 calories to eat before I even exercised, so I took advantage of that to eat that lone La Libertรฉ pomegranate yogurt that had been in my fridge for several months. It's a ridiculous 210 calories and has tons of saturated fat, but it was yummy. And now it's gone!
  • For exercise, I used my recumbent bike for 35 minutes and biked 6.15 miles.
  • I drank 7.5 cups of water and 2 cups of coffee today.
  • That I finally felt "adventurous" enough to try fresh papaya in 2016 because it's become one of my favorite fruit!  All those years I only ever had it as little cubes of dried papaya in exotic trail mix and I never liked it.


NATURE: In the Garden Today

The squirrels ate my strawberry!

The one bean plant reached the top of the poles. The others... not so much.

The one rose is taking its own sweet time to bloom. Once it's done, I'll prune the rose bushes back down to just a few inches, like I did last year.


My little Princess :)
How was everyone's Friday? Are you ready for the weekend? Any fun plans?  If you're trying to get healthier, how did you do today?


  1. Sounds like you had a pretty good day, although I am sorry to hear about your bike. Hope it can be repaired without it costing too much. Didn't that chain come off earlier, too? You did very well with your healthy eating and drinking, too.

    Ha, ha, I used to stress when visitors came because my house was messy. It's still messy, but now I have the excuse of being not well enough to clean! :D

    I had a good day until afternoon. Then I went to open the sliding glass door for my gardener, tripped and fell, and knocked my shoulder against the sliding glass door and banged my knee, too. At least I didn't black out; just a regular trip and fall. I'll have a stiff shoulder, tomorrow, but at least I didn't break any bones or dislocate anything.

    1. Oh my goodness, Bless! What did you trip on?! The kittens are always in my feet and one day they'll make me trip and break my neck, I always have to be careful especially when I'm coming down the stairs. I hope your shoulder doesn't hurt and that your knee is OK as well.

      About the bike, yes you are right. When I first bought it, someone at Walmart had already put it together but improperly and the chain fell off during my ride and destroyed part of the wheel assembly. I had contacted Schwinn who very graciously sent me a new wheel and wheel assembly kit, and then I took it to a bike repair shop for them to install it properly for me. We haven't had problems since, my son uses it several times a week and I have used it as well. My daughter was being careless.

      I just cancelled my crabbing trip because of the bad weather we're having (sob... I really wanted to go!) so I suppose now I have time to drive to Clermont with the bike to see about getting it fixed again. I hope it stops raining at some point (wasn't I just asking for rain just a couple of days ago?!) so I can do that. And also take Greg to the Urgent Care Clinic for his throat problem.

  2. A no spend day AND buying Amazon gift cards?!? You GO GIRL!

  3. Hi Nathalie,
    Did you know that when that happen with the videos on Swagbucks you can close it all out and then go back on the same video and just complete it. I actually discovered it by accident. ... I've been able to do it several times... see if it works for you! Have fun crabbing today!

    1. Really? I don't think it's ever restarted for me where it had left off but maybe I just didn't pay attention? I'll have to remember to check next time it happens! Thanks for the tip, Bonnie :)

  4. Shoot just read you had to cancel crabbing ) :

    1. Yeah, I was very disappointed, too!

  5. Ooooh...where did you get the free Persil sample?

    When Persil appeared on the shelves here in the U.S., I was so excited to again see a brand that I remember from childhood.

    I had never had papaya until a few years ago, when I did a "thing" where I would try 54 new things by the time I turned 54. Papaya was one of those things. It was OK, but the taste is a bit too peppery for me.

    Interesting to read about your traditions in France for Three Kings Day. I told everybody at work on Friday that we'd be off if we were in Germany, since it is a holiday there. We would always take down all the Christmas decorations on that day, and my brothers and sisters and I would get to eat the foil-wrapped chocolate decorations that had been hung on the tree. Now I get those foil-wrapped chocolates at Aldi (and I take them off the tree whenever I want them - ah, the advantages of being an adult!).

    1. Ah sorry about the sample, it was on their website but apparently it's no longer being offered :(

      I felt the same when I saw "Persil" being sold as a "new" product here, it was the laundry detergent my grandma used when I was little and I'm turning 50 his year, lol!

      I have to say that I don't find the papaya peppery at all? The ones I get on clearance are very ripe and taste just sweet.

      I didn't know January 6 was a holiday in Germany! And how typically German for you and your siblings to be so disciplined as to wait until then to eat the chocolate-covered ornaments! My mom would buy those every year and after the first night of the Christmas tree being up, all the chocolate ornaments would be gone because my brothers and I would sneak at night and eat them, LOL. My mom would be sooooo mad. She also got the ones filled with real liquor so we would eat those too. Nowadays I get the little chocolate bottles filled with real liquor for Greg and myself at Christmas but we don't put them on the tree, lol. I can just picture you enjoying your chocolate ornaments. Did you tell your mom that's what you do?

  6. Princess is so cute! I meant to comment earlier but...I think I was on my tablet? I don't know. Anyway, re: mopping. I hate to mop as well. I recently bought a steam mop but have used it yet because...I hate to mop. Anyway. I too have tried a ton of different mops. Some have truly been useless, but others I've hated as well. And recently I decided that this is probably because I hate to mop. So I think I am never going to truly love a mop, because it still means I am mopping. Which I hate to do. :)

    As Lutherans, we always celebrated Epiphany. It's not quite the celebration that Kings Day is, but it marked the end of the Christmas for us, too and like Pixel Peeper we would take down most decorations and so on. I had a French Canadian coworker and also a coworker from NOLA. King cake was a thing that we enjoyed every year!!

    1. Thanks, she is a cutie and she can also be quite fearsome, ha.

      The first time I saw a King Cake, I thought to myself "what the hell is THAT?!" French people definitely do NOT make cakes with purple and green dough. Just sayin'. LOL.

      I think I get, from reading between the lines of your comment, that you might dislike mopping a tad. I'm not sure why I get this impression, but there it is :)

      I hate it too. What I especially hate about it is the lower backache that it gives me. And how no mop ever gets my floors clean. I can't apply enough pressure on the handle with my current one, because it's angled weirdly, which I thought would be an advantage but it's truly useless. I'd have more luck with just a straight handle. I think that I might have to go back to the Cinderella method: on all fours with a stiff brush and a bucket. Better buy some knee pads, though. Ugh. Let me know how you like your steam mop if/when you ever use it.

      PS: a confession. We've had the kittens for 4 months and it was the first time I have mopped my kitchen since they've been in the house... and I don't remember the last time I had mopped it before they came to us. Shhh....

    2. I won't share your secret. Since the number of times I've actually mopped and the number of times I've meant to mop definitely don't add up to be the same. ;)

    3. Deal :) We'll both keep mum.

  7. Okay. I waited a day before I commented on this post. I thought it would help the situation if I read the post again under different circumstances. But no. It still comes across as the funniest post you have ever written, and I am sure you did not intend for that. I must be tired....very, very tired. I think I am delirious. I read where you probably substituted the baby Jesus in the chocolate cake for a plastic dinosaur.......and I just lost it. I became very, very giddy.

    Then you proceeded to explain how putting your Xmas dishes away in the closet was like playing Tetris and you would need to gain your strength by eating first. That was funny.

    Even the quarrel with your daughter was hilarious. I know it wasn't, but I couldn't stop laughing. She phoned you to tell you she hit the curb (funny) and you made her walk the bike home and told her not to speak a word to you the rest of the day. Then I had this mental picture of steam coming out your ears and your eye twitching. I can't shake that image. Tears are coming down my cheeks. To make matters worse, I then read Bless' blog post about falling. Instead of being aghast at her accident, all I could see was her gardener friend standing at the patio door and Bless running headlong towards him, trying to regain her balance before she went crashing through the glass. But that didn't happen. She fell at the door, raised one arm slowly and unlatched the door so he could come in. There is something seriously wrong with me. That should not be funny, but I am killing myself laughing. I am very glad she didn't break anything and that she appears only to have some stiffness and soreness the next day. But I just have these funny images running through my head. I guess I am more tired than I realize.

    1. Susan, I am so glad you enjoyed this post so much, but yes, I might be a little worried about your mental state :) You need sleep! Thanks for being a great audience, though. Please come back tomorrow and try the veal.


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