Wednesday, January 4, 2017

More Domesticity ~ Wednesday 1/4/17

Yes, in low light it IS hard to tell them apart!
What a nice feeling to wake up on a Wednesday and think "I don't feel like going grocery shopping today!" and then realizing that you're not!  Because you're going tomorrow after first meeting your BFF for coffee!

So, with this off my plate, I was ready to tackle the day!

My alarm rang at 6:30 a.m. but I'd been up since about 6:15 a.m. and been cuddling with the twins who had been sleeping at my feet and came up to lick my nose and get some kisses.  They got lots of kisses but not as many as I wanted to give them because they were a little playful too and bity.

I got dressed in my exercise clothes right away. They're comfy, they remind me that I need to exercise, and also I'm dressed in case the school bus doesn't come.  I need to just lay out exercise clothes at night.

It rained last night, although not as much as I had hoped, I guess, because my rain barrel still isn't full :( But the water level did go up.  Youngest Son was all dressed up since he gets extra credit in one of his classes if he dresses professionally on Wednesdays.  And the school bus did show up so yay!

I woke up with a headache, though, so I took a Tylenol and, an hour later, my headache still hasn't abbatted.  Yesterday Greg came back from work complaining about his throat that's still hurting and now one of his ears is clogged. He said it wasn't painful but bothersome. I told him to take a decongestant and that he should go to CentraCare, an urgent care clinic, to get checked out for an ear infection.  I'm quite sure he won't go, though.  This morning, his ear was still clogged so he took more decongestant.

Alright, pondering my list of priorities for today...

  • Put away the Christmas dishes and decorations IN PROGRESS
  • Boil eggs for lunches DONE
  • Write postcards to my mom and aunt and prepare for mailing them tomorrow DONE
  • Finishing filing new coupons DONE
  • Finalize my grocery shopping list DONE
  • Wash comforter on futon  DONE
  • Put new cover on DONE
  • Vacuum DONE
  • Fold the laundry
  • Finalize "Other Expenses" worksheet for 2017 DONE
  • Exercise  DONE
  • Do heel stretching exercises 3 times  2 X
  • Put outings with Youngest Son on calendar DONE
  • Calculate our Net Worth IN PROGRESS
  • 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
  • Take 2 Driscoll's surveys and 2 RaceTrac surveys DONE
  • Order hose reels from Home Depot DONE
  • Take batteries out of fans
  • Wipe out a USB stick for library
  • Bake pumpkin bread

  • Our son packed a lunch to take to school today.

  • He rode the school bus.

  • I packed a lunch of leftovers for Greg.

  • I reused water left over in a measuring cup to water some seedlings and the water used to boil eggs to water them some more!

  • I earned the Microsoft Rewards credits for the day.

  • I claimed my December bonus in Swagbucks. It was more than I thought I'd get so yay!

  • I didn't think that I would reach any goals in Swagbucks today because none of the regular videos were available after the initial round of SB and then the automatic nCrave necessitated my cursor to remain on that page to actually work (grr). So I begrudgingly went to the Gold Surveys page and saw a survey for 700 SB. Hmm, I had done an in-home product test that had promised 700 SB after I completed 2 specific surveys and I'd been waiting for the 2nd survey to show up in my inbox (as per their instructions) but it still hadn't... so I opened that survey, and after answering an initial question about financial stuff that had nothing to do with the in-home test, it ended up being that 2nd survey!  I took it and was credited the 700 SB on the spot. Woohoo! So I shattered my 2nd goal for today and I'm very close to getting a $25 gc now!

  • Dinner plans for tonight changed yet again when I realized that I had quite a few large potatoes that needed to be used up ASAP. So I'll make mashed potatoes for tonight and the rutabaga casserole will have to be made on Sunday instead, unless we have mashed potatoes left over (which I expect we will because the potatoes are enormous). Update: later on today I decided not to make mashed potatoes but to make baked potatoes instead.

  • Despite my thinking that I wouldn't open the windows today, it felt less stuffy outside than inside and the kitties love having the windows open so I opened them for a bit.  We had big drama yesterday so I was insure... New Kitty was sitting at one of the back windows in the living room and the kittens were in the living room as well.  I was turning my back to her so I didn't witness the whole thing but all of a sudden there was a very loud cat scream, like I had never heard before, and I thought she had bitten one of the kittens or something so I turned around and yelled "What the hell is going on?!" in time to see her run to the other end of the house and she screamed again when she got to the Cat Room. My daughter was there and exclaimed that New Kitty was screaming at Male Cat over there, which has never happened in one year she's been with us. Ever!  Before I ran over there to see what was going on with her, I saw that the stray black and white male cat who haunts our backyard was standing on our AC unit and had his nose straight against the window screen (our windows were opened), looking in. So I think he came up suddenly and spooked her very badly!  He didn't say anything and ran off when he saw me get up.  In the Cat Room, New Kitty had her fangs bared, her fur was all standing up all over, her ears were back, and she screamed at Male Cat again, who didn't know where to go, the poor dummy. No one but me has ever yelled at him! So he went to hide in the bedroom. I went to New Kitty and got her calmed down and by then Youngest Son had come running out of his bedroom so I entrusted New Kitty to him and went to calm everyone else. When the screaming had started, the kittens disappeared upstairs so after calming Male Cat and Mean Kitty, I went looking for the kittens. They were hiding in my bedroom and were very unsure of me :( but eventually they came back down and everyone calmed down (I had closed the windows right away).  Phew.  So I'm a little leery about today but we will see. I didn't open the window right above the AC unit today, but he could come up to the sliding door even easilier.  What drama!  He didn't even say anything!

Speaking of drama, the boys were wrestling next to me this afternoon... with teeth!
  • I found a small bowl of pumpkin and butternut squash seeds that had been sitting on my island way too long without me doing anything about them so seeing the squirrels getting acorns from the front yard gave me an idea and I went to spread them in the backyard, in view of the cats. Hopefully the squirrels will find them and provide entertainment for the kitties at the same time. And if squashed start growing on their own, all the better!

  • My neighbor's grapefruit tree had a lot more fruit on it this year than in the past, but the grapefruit are the size of oranges and lemons this year, due to our drought. Our neighbor hates all citrus (a result of working in groves most of his life) so I have an open invitation to harvest either of his citrus trees. The orange tree dropped all of its oranges this year, but I couldn't stand the grapefruit to go to waste so I harvested the tree this morning and texted my neighbor to thank him. The bad part is that I have absolutely no plans for the grapefruit (which is why it wasted away on my counter last year!) so I have to think of what to do with them. Two years ago I tried making grapefruit preserves but failed miserably and I still have orange preserves in my pantry. I'm the only one who eats it and it's slow-going and now on I'm a diet. Three years ago I made grapefruit cake. That was yummy, but again, I'm on a diet and so is Greg.  I'll have to see if it's sweet enough to make a citrus salad, I guess. 

  • I threw the comforter from the futon in the washing machine on cold/cold, along with some other odds and ends that needed to be washed.  I'll probably dry the comforter outdoors as it doesn't look like it's going to rain today.

  • I identified an outing for me to do with Youngest Son this year.  I'll be taking him to.... drumroll... the SteamPunk & Industrial Show at the Mount Dora Renninger's at the end of the month!  He's shown interest in SteamPunk stuff (ok, totally not my scene but I need something to do with him!) so I thought it would be fun.  I even told him (via email) that we can play the Painted Giraffes or whatever the name of that band is that he's listening to these days (oh yeah, Steam Powered Giraffes), in the car on the way over. And I have outings scheduled for February, both family and with my daughter. Woohoo. There was no information about cost but I would imagine just a couple of dollars if there's even any cover fee. I would imagine it's an event where people sell their homemade steampunk accessories and things.

  • Greg and I had discussed buying a Florida State Parks annual pass. I checked on the price and it's $120 (gulp!) but we could get 25% off with his military discharge paperwork, so $90.  I'll discuss it with him tonight.  We would need to go to Lake Louisa Park over 20 times so I don't think it would be worth it, but I also want to go visit other parks...

  • So I started looking at events offered at State Parks that could justify buying the pass and this Saturday there is a free Crabbing for Beginners on-hand class in Flagler Beach, about 2 hours away. I've ALWAYS wanted to try crabbing!  So I contacted Middle Son to see if we could reschedule our lunch to Sunday (he said yes!) and I booked 2 spots in the crabbing outing. So now, Greg will probably turn me down because blah blah blah and he won't want to leave at 7:30 a.m., which we have to.  So I asked my daughter to be the back-up and she adamantly turned me down because she has a phobia of crabs (anything with more than 4 legs, I tried telling her they're 4-legged furry kitten-crabs but she didn't believe me, go figure!).   Arrgh. I don't want to go by myself!  But I will if I must since it's also one of my resolutions for this year, which is to go on field trips on my own (if I have to).
"The tidal salt marsh of our park is home to the Atlantic Blue Crab, a popular seafood and keystone species of the local ecosystem. Learn to catch these tasty crustaceans in a one hour hands-on program, appropriate for adults and families."

  • I called the Park to see if I could get the military discount for the annual pass without Greg present. The ranger said he would need to check so I asked him to call me back :) The Crabbing program itself is free. It takes 2 hours to get there if I don't take the toll roads and the interstates (which I don't want to do, there's too much construction going on, plus I think taking the back roads would be fun!).  I plan on packing a picnic, snacks and water. I need a bucket with a lid for the crabs? Not sure if we'd get to keep any.  I'll wear my old tennis shoes. I'm quite excited about this :) Uhhh, but it'll be 64F on Saturday and that's the high, and there's a 60% chance of rain. Poop. Better bring a jacket! I don't mention the weather to Greg :)  Update: the ranger said I could apply for the pass in Greg's name and get the discount so hooray!  I plan on enticing Greg further by telling him we could try our hand at fishing off the beach and there's also a nature trail. I just texted him to ask if he would need a special permit for beach fishing and I think he would...

  • I'll be mailing a large picture of Oldest Son, that Middle Son took in the studio last year and that I printed for free at CVS, to my mom tomorrow. I'm reusing a cardboard envelope from Walgreens (smaller than CVS's).  I'm also planning on buying 5 books of Forever Stamps since the price will be going up, as well as enough stamps to mail 10 postcards and 10 letters to France, which should cover most of the year.

  • My daughter and her BFF are going to return last semester's college textbooks today and will pick up their new ones. Since they're dual enrolled, they're also getting the textbooks for free, so there is no cost to any of us, yay!

  • I didn't notice it in the weekly Kellogg's email but a Slickdeals user posted a new KFR code worth 100 points (SNUGGLEUPWITHPTS) so I entered it in my account.  I did see, in the email, however, that they will stop accepted codes from packages on 1/28, I believe, so if you still have old packages in your pantry with codes printed on them, make sure to enter your codes before then.

  • I usually buy cheap things because I'm cheap. It's true, I am, to my great shame and detriment because cheap stuff breaks much faster or doesn't fit.  So when I went to order a couple of hose reels for my 2 garden hoses, my first instinct was to buy the $38.77 model so I could get 2  for a minimal OOP after applying my $75 gift card. However, I looked at the reviews and they weren't great. They were great, though, for a model that costs almost double the price and also works as a hideaway for the hose.  I debated with myself and decided to just buy the one for now and if I like it, I'll order another one later on.  Shipping to my home was free and my gift card (purchased last year in order to qualify for an American Express statement credit) covered the whole cost so there was no money out of pocket for me today :)

  • I decluttered my house a little more by getting rid of:
    • a very dusty fake ficus tree
    • another "collector's item" from the Seinfeld that I was going to put in the donation box but I dropped it at the last minute and had to throw it away :)
    • setting aside Greg's old PC and various electronic parts that had been sitting in the living room for most of 2016 and putting them next to the staircase leading to our "attic". I'll ask Greg to go put them away with his other electronics up there.

  • As I was vacuuming behind the futon, I found:
    • one of my missing wool dryer balls
    • a fork
    • a spoon
    • an unused extension cord
    • a partly used roll of electrical tape

  • My son went to the library for his teen program so I asked him to return 2 of the books that we borrowed yesterday since we decided not to visit those areas this year after all.

  • I took 2 Driscoll's survey and received 2 coupons for 50 cents each. I'm one survey away from the Silver Level ($0.75/1 coupons for each survey).

  • I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned 2 new freebies.

  • I linked my ABC liquor store customer loyalty card to my Ibotta app so I can start earning rebates there.

  • I logged into my Disney pension account.  Last year, they had offered me a payout.  I can't remember the amount but it wasn't all that much. I just calculated that, even though my monthly pension will be very measly and by 2032 and later (when I turn 65), inflation will have eaten a whole chunk of that value anyway, but if I survive 20 years after that, I'll receive several times over what they offered me as a payout.  I'm not a savvy enough investor to know where to put that money and make it make babies, should I take a payout, so I'll stick with the pension.  At least it's something to look forward to.

  • For dinner, I cut up 2 chicken breasts lengthwise and pan-grilled them in some butter with homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning and made 2 large baked potatoes in the microwave. You know what? It was quick, simple, but delicious!  I cooked another breast cut in half that I'l splitting with Greg for tomorrow. I made him a chicken sandwich for his lunch.

  • Greg agreed (well, he didn't say "no" so that's a yes in my book) to go to the crabbing lesson on Saturday!  He said he looked up the rules and he doesn't need a special fishing license to fish from the beach, unless the beach itself requires one.

  • I exercised for free in my home using my recumbent bike while listening to 1.5 episode of "Frasier" on Netflix.

  • My daughter bought herself a brand new iPhone SE.  Hopefully she won't drop it and break it as soon as she walks in the door this time!  Her uncle works for Apple so he was able to get her a discount (frugal!). She doesn't have a checkbook (even though I suggested several times that she gets one, checks are free at USAA) so she transferred the money to our checking and I'm writing the check for her. I'll ask her for the stamp money as well :) Time for her to be an adult, right?

  • In the mail today, I received the 2nd coupon for a free 12-pack of Coke products from MyCokeRewards.

  • Gas and tolls for Greg to go to work
  • Gas for daughter and BFF to go return their college books and get the new ones
  • I bought a more expensive hose reel than I intended, but it should pay off in the long run since it's of higher quality than those we've owned in the past.
  • I procrastinated in putting the items that I had washed out to dry so I threw them in the dryer.

  • I had to compost 4 large baking potatoes that had rotted.

  • I wanted to order my stuff from Home Depot but I can't earn SB if I pay with a GC, so I signed up for Ebates without even looking up whether Home Depot is a participant. As it turns out, they no longer are. Grrr. I was all excited about the $10 Walmart gc bonus that I would have earned as a new participant and for spending at least $25 in my first 90 days and now I probably won't earn it.  Unless I find something else to buy...

  • I'm kind of pissed off that ever since I bought the complete series of the Harry Potter movies on Google Play for 50% off  at $49.99, it's been offered as a region-free BluRay set from for less than $30, shipped.  Arrgh. Although I do like the Google Play feature that lets you see the name of each actor next to their face when you pause the action. Greg and I played with that a lot when we watched Die Hard on Christmas Day!  We know all the names of all the 2nd fiddle actors, now!

  • I washed the comforter with other items at the same time and somehow the washing machine didn't spin properly. The comforter was fine, weirdly, and I set it outside to dry,  but all the other items were sodden and I had to wash them again too because some spots hadn't come off.

  • Greg got a form from some legal firm in AL that is representing someone using USAA for Term Life Insurances Policies irregularities which I don't even understand, and this has been certified as a class action lawsuit.  I have no real idea of what we would get or not get from the lawsuit because it's all written in legalese but it looks like either $100 or some type of 2-year certificate equal to 10% of Greg's policy, which, I assume the beneficiary (i.e. me) would get if Greg died within the 2 years.   However, what I do understand is that if the judge accepts the settlement, the plaintiff will get $12,500 for his efforts but his legal firm?  They'll get $4.5 million.  That is OBSCENE and ridiculous.

  • No Spend Day!  Woohoo!  I added a No Spend Days page to the blog where I will be keeping track of them this year.
  • Free shipping on the hose reel from Home Depot (that counts!)
  • A coupon for a 12-pack of Coke products from MyCokeRewards


  • Fed the kittens
  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Packed his lunch
  • Unloaded the dishwasher
  • Reloaded the dishwasher with the breakfast dishes
  • Ran the dehumidifier in the bathroom after Greg's shower
  • Boiled some eggs
  • Took down the Christmas dishes from my cabinets
  • Put the regular dishes back in the cabinets
  • Composted rotten potatoes
  • Washed non-rotten potatoes and decided to make mashed potatoes for dinner tonight
  • Cuddled with a kitten
  • Completed in-home test follow-up survey
  • Harvested grapefruit
  • Swept top of driveway and front porch off oak leaves
  • Aired out the house
  • Identified outings to do with the kids (individually) and as a family for the next couple of months and put them on the calendar
  • Wrote the postcards to my mom and great aunt and got that and the large picture I'm mailing to my mom ready for the post office tomorrow.
  • Registered for the Crabbing for Beginners event
  • Called the Park Rangers for information
  • Ordered a hose reel
  • Got distracted and looked for places to visit on our summer road trip
  • Pulled one futon away from the wall and cleaned out thoroughly behind several pieces of furniture
  • Decluttered the living room a little
  • Dusted the living room
  • Vacuumed the living room, hall, and exercise room
  • Put all cat toys into one box
  • Took 2 Driscoll's surveys
  • Made the final changes to my 2017 "Other Expenses" spreadsheet
  • Started pulling the information together to calculate our Net Worth
  • Cooked dinner
  • Packed the leftovers and prepped Greg's lunch for tomorrow
  • Loaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Washed the pots and pans by hand
  • Replied to blog comments and commented on other blogs (I was so behind!)
  • Exercised
  • Wrote a check for my daughter's check after she transferred the money to me
  • Clipped the rest of the coupons and filed them
  • Drank 2 cups of water before drinking coffee!
  • I did my heel exercises this morning.
  • Breakfast was 1/4 cup of Blueberry Mini Frosted Wheats (to finish the box) and 1/2 cup of generic rice crispers with 1/2 cup of ~2% milk and 2 cups coffee
  • Lunch was the 1/2 portion of lasagna left over from last night, an egg salad sandwich using the last flatbread and a few carrot sticks.
  • Afternoon snack was a stick of string cheese and an apple
  • Dinner was 4oz of grilled chicken breast (in a little bit of butter) and half a large baked potato with about 2 tbsp of light sour cream and some chives.
  • Exercise was: using the recumbent bike for 36:01 (6.46 miles)
  • I drank 9.5 cups of liquids today and I'm still drinking at 10 p.m.!
  • Evening snack was a Fit & Active yogurt from Aldi
  • I have calories left since I exercised so I might treat myself to something but I don't know what yet.
  • For our neighbor's ongoing generosity with his citrus trees' fruit
  • For not having to drive my son to school this morning :)
  • For more water in my rain barrel and oak leaves that will be raked and put aside for my composting bin

NATURE: Around the Garden This Morning

3 red cannas!

Woa... those grew overnight!

Another eggplant flower?!  Grumble...


I was trying to teach Explorer how to text...
How was your Wednesday?


  1. That picture of Explorer texting is so cute! Clever kitty! Loved the picture of the 3 kittens eating from their bowls, too. :)

    Your garden is looking good! All that rain is helping the plants to grow and produce.

    You got a lot done, today! Good job!

    1. We love the rain, don't we, Bless? ha.

  2. (Now that I know what I'm doing with comments, you're going to get so tired of me! πŸ™‚) Do you have a juicer? Fresh grapefruit juice is really good...maybe you'd like to give that a try? We've got a small lemon tree that's just loaded and finally they're starting to turn. Can't wait to pick them. Every morning I drink a mug of warm lemon water before my coffee. It's supposed to be good for cleansing and hydrating, like what you're doing with the water. On another note, I told my son you wished him a happy birthday and he said thank you! (But he did question who you were!) I can tell Princess from her brothers by the light splotch of fur on her head, but the boys look so similar to me. They are so cute! The cat drama reminded me of scenes played out screeching has got to be the worst!

    1. I had heard about the warm lemon water but to be honest it's hard enough as it is for me to chug regular water down that early (or at any time, really) and the one time I tried the warm lemon water, I just couldn't do it!

      Grapefruit juice is a possibility, definitely, thanks for pointing this out. Sometimes I miss the obvious!

      Cat screeching has got to be the worst, I completely agree! She scared me, even! Luckily, no drama today so far ;)

  3. You are on a roll. What a great day you had. Your list of accomplishments is so-o-o long and reflects a lot of the goals that I recognize from your list.

    I hope that you and your son really both enjoy the Steampunk and Industrial Show. What a great opportunity for just the two of you. If you were to buy the State Park pass for this summer, would it benefit you and your daughter when you take your road trip this summer?

    I am wondering why wouldn't Greg love to go crabbing with you? It is so much like fishing/hunting/gathering .....all the things I kind of think he would enjoy. I hope you go regardless. It would be fun.

    Your garden is looking spectacular after that rain last night.

    1. The State Parks pass would only be for Florida and we'll be traveling out of state... watch out, we might be coming to Canada! But only to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side as she wants to see the falls and I've always heard it was nicer on the Canadian side. But we're changing our plans every day :) We'll be buying the National Parks Annual Pass, though, more than likely, as we plan on visiting several of them, and then Greg could use it later on in the summer when he goes camping with our son.

      Greg never wants to go anywhere with me unless it's within say 15 minutes from our house. His original reason was that I "complain too much". It was hurtful but I had to recognize that he had a point! I tend to chatter a lot while he's the "strong silent type" so I say pretty much anything that comes through my head and I don't like people in general so what comes out usually ends up being construed as being negative. I wonder why he thinks I complain though, I'm just stating the facts! LOL. So I've been making an effort to not be like that around him anymore (and really pointing out when he's being hypocritical because it's not like he's always the most positive person either!). So... I'm thinking that the appeal of going fishing and walking in a new spot will override his objections to doing a group activity (he HATES that) and driving that far. Plus I'll research a good seafood restaurant, that should entice him :)

      The raindrops on the plants were pretty, uh? The garden is happy! If only we would get rain regularly, it would be very nice.

  4. YOur poinsettia is beautiful! I can commiserate with your Mean Kitty experience. Every so often a neighborhood cat will wander into our back yard or onto our front porch and it sets off which ever cat is closest. The noise is terrible!! I like to think that they are defending your territory. Usually I go up and thump the window to make the other cat go away. In my case the outside cats are being pretty aggressive, sitting right outside the window and staring in very confrontationally -- one even rushed the window to the back patio. So now I just go up and do something to make them go away.

    For the grapefruit -- I like to make grapefruit spinach salad. It's so good! They're also really yummy sprinkled with brown sugar and broiled, but not so healthy. :)

    You are on a roll with getting things done lately!

    1. I would be worried if the neighborhood cats were aggressive! Ours just stare or come and lie down on the patio just to irritate our cats. They've been fairly quiet and subdued from what I have witnessed. I do thump the window as well and usually I have to even open the sliding door and pretend to go outside for them to think I mean business.

      I was thinking about adding it to salads too but I didn't buy any spinach today. What type of dressing to you use on that? Something made with grapefruit juice?

  5. For the spinach salad, you just use olive oil and then the juice from the grapefruit provides the acid. The recipes that I've seen always include avocado and thinly sliced onion so the avocado provides a really nice creaminess and the onion gives it a savory tartness. I just google the recipe each time, so don't have anything bookmarked to share.

    1. Thanks, that sounds delicious! I have been composting all the avocadoes that I've bought lately so I'm not sure I'll be buying another one any time soon. I'll have to try the spinach salad next week since I've already been shopping and didn't buy any spinach.

  6. I love the photos from your garden, but Explorer "texting" is absolutely hilarious!

    Your list of what you eat is inspiring...I need to get on board with eating less and eating healthier. My sister in Germany was on a diet once and in lieu of writing everything down she ate, she took a picture of it with her phone. Maybe I should do that!

    1. Interesting idea... but I'm afraid it would just make me want to eat more and not less, hahaha. Let us know if you try it and how it works for you!


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