Thursday, January 5, 2017

Out and About ~ Thursday 1/5/17

Explorer and I headed off to bed at 11ish last night, I'm not sure where Princess and Tabby Kitty were, probably playing around in the kitchen, and she didn't come to sleep with me at all. My babies are growing up and becoming more independent. Not so Explorer, though, who is a mama's boy and came to my pillow right away and cradled my head and he and I fell asleep in that position.

I had to use the bathroom a lot last night, a result of drinking all that water, so I felt very tired upon getting up this morning.

And then, I realized that I hadn't cut off the fat from the pork loin roast that I was about to put in the crockpot so I had to do that. I don't even like packing sandwiches in the morning, so I was almost gagging the whole time, yuck. To make matters worse, I had run out of Chinese Five Spice Powder so I had to grind my own, and let me tell you, it might smell great during the day but the scent of anise, fennel, cinnamon, etc. first thing in the morning?  Not for me!

And then I realized that I ought to pack myself a lunch and morning snack since I'll be grocery shopping at lunch time. Arrgh.

But I got it all done and now I'm spending a few minutes on the laptop before it's time to head over to my BFF for our coffee klatsch and then grocery shopping.  I have menstrual cramps that hurt pretty badly so I'm not sure if I'll be great company.

It's chilly this morning, about 56F right now.

I started thinking about my priority list for today last night, actually and I'm glad I did because I feel a little frazzled this morning, lol.

  • Meet my BFF for coffee at her house and chat DONE
  • Grocery shopping: only buy what I need, no impulse buys and use calculator as I add items to the cart. Caveat: I might go over budget if I decide to stock up on whiskey at ABC Liquor Store. DONE
  • Pick up the kitten food order from the vet's DONE
  • Go to the Post Office to mail letters to France and buy stamps DONE
  • Input all my receipts into my spreadsheets  DONE
  • Exercise DONE
  • Do heel stretching exercises 3 times 2 X
  • Finish putting the Christmas dishes and decorations away
  • Fold at least one basket of laundry
  • Take batteries out of fans
  • Wipe out a USB stick for library
  • Bake pumpkin bread
  • Make sure Greg transferred money into the IRA accounts  He didn't. He has a stressful day at work and doesn't feel like dealing with it tonight.

  • Late last night I input my exercise into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 120 BR points.

  • My son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed a lunch for Greg to take to work.

  • I packed myself a lunch to take grocery shopping, and a snack. 

  • I packed my own coffee to bring to my BFF's so I don't spend money at Wawa.

  • I mixed a batch of Chinese 5 Spice Powder since I was out and used some on my pork loin roast that's in the freezer.  I had bought the pork loin on sale. I'll make rice tonight to go with it.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.

  • My 1st goal in Swagbucks is 60 SB but I won't reach it since I'll be out all day. I did earn a few this morning.  I'm not having too much luck with the Collector's Bills, I think I've gotten the pipe one for 7 SB three times in a row. Update: I'm at 44 SB at almost 9 p.m., so close.  I tried to qualify for several surveys but got disqualified each time, of course, grrr.

  • We still had some strawberries left over from Christmas. They weren't very good but they taste OK in my cereal and cold milk, so I sliced half of them into my morning cereal and will finish the rest tomorrow morning.

  • I reused a bread bag when it was time to clean up the upstairs kitty litter box.

  • I printed the 50 cent- coupons that Driscoll's emailed me so I can pass them on to my BFF.

  • I brought my homebrewed coffee with me to my BFF's.  Taking the back road meant a shorter commute (i.e. less gas expense) because the main road is undergoing construction and gets really backed up.

  • She was telling me that her over-the-stove microwave was dying so I suggested she checks out Habitat For Humanity ReStore for a replacement, since that's where I found mine last year for just $25.

  • We spent 2.5 hours chatting on her back porch and it didn't cost us anything :)

  • I did take the main road on my way home so I could go through Clermont and do my shopping at the same time. I took advantage of the construction traffic to eat my packed lunch while driving, and drank the water I had brought along.

  • At Aldi, I mostly stuck to my list, which was very short.  The only items I added to my cart that weren't on my list was a 32 oz container of plain yogurt (versatile and healthy) and the produce because I buy whatever ends up being cheapest. I wasn't interested in any of the produce advertised in the flyer this week.  I also bought 18 rolls of toilet paper and 4 jugs of cat litter (on my list). My OOP total was $40.77 and I charged it to Amex for 3% back in Rewards. I checked my receipt before leaving the store.
Just the food in this picture.
  • At Dollar Tree, I found a Powerade cap in the parking lot!

I also stuck to my list.  I almost didn't as I picked up a new water dish for the kittens but when I got to the register, I told the cashier I didn't want it as I'm I have some kind of receptacle at home that I can use instead.  I spent less than planned because they still don't have the nail brushes that I want nor do they have the minced garlic (they did have garlic cloves in brine but I have a couple of bottles of that already that I'll mince myself).  My OOP was $3.21 and I charged it to Amex for 1% back in Rewards.

  • Reminder to self: I need to remember to inventory my seeds before next Wednesday as the seed displays are up at Dollar Tree!

  • And something I hadn't seen before: Dollar Tree store coupons! 

  • I went to ABC Fine Wine & Spirits to price the whiskey that Greg drinks.  We each have an Amex offer for $15 off $75 that I had uploaded to our cards. I figured that if I could get the whiskey cheaper there than after the 10% discount at Winn Dixie, I would stock up at ABC.  It was going to be cheaper so I stocked up. I had to purchase 6 bottles to meet the requirements of the Amex offer, which was credited to me in the form of a $15 statement credit immediately. I also gave them my ABC Customer Loyalty number, which apparently resulted in my getting an additional discount off each bottle, which I wasn't even aware of until I got home and looked at my receipt (woohoo!) and accumulated 78 points towards the 300 points necessary to receive a $2 voucher.   This makes each bottle $3 cheaper than at Winn Dixie ($1.47 cheaper without factoring in the Amex offer). I'm tempted to go back with Greg to get 6 more bottles on his Amex to get his $15 statement credit, and then we'll be stocked for hopefully the whole year.  Since I count the whiskey in my grocery budget, I'm definitely over budget for the week, but I'll be careful to back out the cost of my monthly budget for the coming months. I charged my $83.45 to my Amex for 1% back in Rewards. I had checked Ibotta first to see if there were any rebates for that brand, since you need to have the cashier scan your phone to get the rebates automatically at that store, but there weren't any. I also priced the rum to see if it would be cheaper because Greg had said he'd drink rum if it was cheaper, but it wasn't.

  • My next stop was RaceTrac, where I gassed up my SUV for, yikes, $2.33/gallon, which is cheaper than the RaceTrac station closer to my house.  I charged it to my Discover card for 5% back in Rewards.  I earned loyalty points on my app and got a new receipt with which to take a survey and get a freebie.  I went inside to use the ladies' room and redeem a survey reward code for a free doughnut for my son.

As I redeemed the code, the assistant manager asked me if I wanted an additional receipt with which to take a survey so I said "Sure!" and he handed me a whole bunch!  Back home, I counted twelve receipts, woohoo! That means 12 more freebies for us :)

  • Next stop was the Vet's as I needed to pick up the kitten food that I had ordered. Since I hadn't used them, I turned in the free samples of Advantage II multicat that they had given me for the kittens when they were smaller, as they exceed the weight limit for that dosage now, and asked if they might have free samples for the next size up. They did so they gave me three of them :)  I won't apply them unless we see fleas on them and if we don't use them up, I'll return them and ask about samples for the next size up.

However, only 1 of the 4 bags of kitten food that I had ordered had come in and apparently it's on back order and they weren't told when they would be back in stock. So I might need to go buy some from Petco in the meantime. I also ordered another back of cat food for the big cats and I'll pick it up next week.  So my OOP was much lower than expected, at $13.99 and I charged it to Amex for 1% back in Rewards.

  • I stopped by Save  A Lot because I wanted to get Halo clementines but they weren't very nice and also my $0.50 coupon had expired yesterday so I left them there. I did get a package of bologna for my son since Aldi didn't have any and also a dozen of eggs, that were 50 cents cheaper than at Aldi.  My OOP was $1.98 but I used a Visa card that I had received as a rebate refund so it was all free to me.   On my way out, I found $0.26 on the ground!  Woohoo!

  •  At Walgreens, I needed 2 get some batteries for Greg's scale. It takes those big round and flat ones and those are expensive at $7.99 for 2 batteries!  Since there is an offer to get a $5 digital gift card if you spend $15+ on Energizer batteries in one trip this month, I decided to also buy some C batteries since they were on sale and I had noticed that most of ours had expired a number of years ago. I redeemed (2) $1.00/1 coupons found in the inserts that I received with the paper on Sunday.  My OOP was $19.38 but I will get $5 back and I earned 190 Balance Rewards points. I charged it to my Amazon Chase Visa for 2% back in Rewards.
Note: not all stores are included in that promotion for the gift card,
specifically Lowe's and Home Depot are excluded, as are Target and Walmart,
 if I remember correctly. You might need to look it up if you're thinking
about taking advantage of that offer.
  • My last stop was at the Post Office.  I mailed an 8 x10 photo of Oldest Son to my mom, a postcard to my great aunt, the check to my ex-BIL, and purchased 20 stamps for France (the price is the same for postcards or letters apparently and they're Forever Stamps) and then 5 books of Forever stamps for the USA so I head off the price increase coming up soon.  My OOP was a whooping $75.31!  I charged it to Amex for 1% back in Rewards.

  • I noticed that the coupon for the free monthly 32 oz fountain drink at RaceTrac had appeared in my app :)

  • Back at home, I opened the windows for the kitties as it was cool outside.

  • CVS emailed me a coupon for 20% off my purchase so I uploaded it to my ExtraCare card.

  • I printed some coupons that Boxtops4Education had emailed me.

  • I submitted a rebate to Checkout 51 that was credited to my account right away.

  • I submitted the rebate to Energizer online (text Holiday5 to 811811 for details).

  • My son was volunteering at his Dungeons & Dragons Club tonight so I asked my daughter to drive him to the library and I will go pick him up since it'll be too dark for him to bike home.   Update: Greg was in the vicinity around that time so he picked him up instead :)

  • Both and Greg gassed up their vehicles today and charged the fill-ups to our Discover cards for 5% back in Rewards. My daughter also accrued loyalty points on her app. Greg is having problems with his and didn't think to give my phone number instead. It also means that I gained 2 more receipts with which to earn freebies!

  • I recorded all my receipts into my spreadsheets for accurate recordkeeping and expense tracking.

  • Dinner was the Chinese Pork Roast, white rice and I made a quick stir-fry with some baby carrots and the rest of a head of cauliflower that I had bought for Christmas. I used some teriyaki sauce and my daughter declared that it was excellent!  I also baked a container of buttermilk biscuits from Aldi but there was 7 biscuits left and the kids didn't care for them. Plus I have another container of them in the fridge!  They're 50 calories each so maybe I'll just have one for snack every day with some jam or something.

  • I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned reward codes for 2 new freebies.

  • Greg agreed to go crabbing on Saturday (yay!) and we decided to bring our son with us since we'll be 2 hours away.  I had him tell our son who responded with all the enthusiasm we thought he would show :)  So I make another reservation for the free program.

  • I exercised for free at home by using my recumbent bike while listening to 1.5 episode of "Frasier" on Netflix (and laughing my head off at times!) and catching up on Feedly.

  • I totally unexpectedly was able to reach my 1st SB Daily Goal after all, woohoo!

  • Gas and tolls for Greg's commute
  • Gas to drive to my BFF's and then to go do my shopping
  • Stocking up on such things as whiskey and postage
  • Gas for my daughter and BFF to run their errands
  • Gas to drive my son to the library and pick him up at night

  • I felt very tired after I put the groceries away, even though it was far from being a big shopping trip. I think waking up all those times prevented me from sleeping well and then my period is making it worse, I always feel much more tired (could be that my iron level is low due to that).  So I think I was overly optimistic in listing chores to do other than going shopping and then just working on the computer. But oh well, I have to listen to my body too and not overdo it. I'm getting older!

  • My daughter gassed up the family car near our house, not realizing that it was 7 cents a gallon higher than in Clermont, where she had just been running errands. For a while both stations were charging the same price but as a rule of thumb, I had told her to always gas up in Clermont because it's definitely always cheaper there! She had forgotten.

  • Late last night I received a notice that one of our Sunpass had recharged itself for $25 (electronic tolls).

  • Today was a very spendy day since I ran all my errands and stocked up on a number of things.
    • Aldi: $40.77 ($16.21 in food, $24.56 for toilet paper and cat litter)
    • Dollar Tree: $3.21 (2 bottles dandruff shampoo, 1 pair rubber gloves)
    • ABC: $83.45 (6 bottles of whiskey)
    • RaceTrac: $33.78 (gas for SUV)
    • Vet: $13.99 (kitten food)
    • Walgreens: $19.38 (batteries)
    • Post Office: $75.31 (stamps)
    • RaceTrac: $13.48 (gas for Focus)
    • RaceTrac: $47.99 (gas for the truck)

  • I think I did pretty well with my grocery budget, considering... I spent $89.13 out of my $100 weekly budget after all rebates.  It breaks down as follows:
    • Baking: $0 (none bought)
    • Beverages: $68.45 (6 bottles whiskey)
    • Breads: $5.58 (3 loaves white bread, 4 packages naan, 2 packages Sandwich Thins)
    • Cereals: $0.00 (2 boxes Special K Red Berries)
    • Dairy: $3.45 (1 gallon whole milk, 4 cups fruit yogurt, 32 oz plain yogurt)
    • Pantry/Dry Goods: $3.14 (4 cans Chunky soup, 2 cans mini ravioli)
    • Produce/Juice: $5.72 (bananas, cucumber, zucchini, grape tomatoes, carrots, 1 package Dole Fruit Mixations)
    • Proteins: $3.79 (chicken nuggets, bologna, 1 dozen eggs)
    • Snacks: -1.00 (2 boxes Special K Red Berries cereal bars)
  • A Powerade cap (found on the ground)
  • $0.26 (found on the ground)
  • Twelve extra RaceTrac receipts = 12 new freebies!
  • Plus I'll earn 3 freebies with the receipts that we received for gassing up our vehicles today
  • My monthly fountain drink freebie coupon appeared in my RaceTrac app today

  • Fed kittens
  • Packed Greg's lunch
  • Packed my lunch
  • Sharpened my best knife and trimmed the roast
  • Mixed a batch of spice mix
  • Got dinner started
  • Earned some credits for my Rewards programs
  • Went to my BFF's and chatted for a few hours
  • Ran my errands/grocery shopping
  • Aired out the house
  • Put everything away
  • Fed the kittens
  • Submitted rebates
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Fed the cats
  • Recorded all the receipts into my spreadsheets
  • Cooked dinner
  • Unloaded the dishwasher
  • Reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Took customer satisfaction surveys
  • Made another reservation for the crabbing event
  • Exercised

  • I drank 2 cups of water after getting up
  • Breakfast was a bowl of generic rice crispers with half a cup of ~2% milk and half a cup of sliced strawberries, and I'll be drinking coffee with my BFF.
  • Lunch on the go was my packed egg salad sandwich on a potato bread Sandwich Thin, 3 clementines, and a Special K cereal bar. I drank water.
  • Afternoon snack was a piece of string cheese and the rest of the coffee from this morning.
  • Dinner was a piece of Chinese Pork Roast, a cup of white rice and about 1/3 of cup of stir-fried veggies.
  • Exercise was 38 minutes on my recumbent bike (6.65 miles)
  • Evening snack was decadent since I had a lot of calories left to eat for the day, so I had (Bonnie cover your eyes, it probably doesn't work with the diabetic exchange plan!) 4 of the leftover biscuits from dinner with about 3 tbsp of raspberry jam between all of them.  I still have 127 calories left to eat so I might also have a yogurt so I can have eaten enough calcium.
  • Today I drank my entire huge RaceTrac cup of water (it holds 6.5 ups), plus another 1.5 cups at dinner, plus my 2 cups of coffee. No wonder I had to pee many many times today!  I hope I sleep better tonight and my bladder doesn't wake me up too much.

  • That Greg's and my relationship is as strong as it is as I see people struggling in theirs
  • For friendly cashiers and fellow shoppers
  • For another cool day that allowed me to open the windows when I got home (the AC didn't come on today at all)
  • For my daughter readily agreeing to drive my son to the library because I felt very tired
  • For readers willing to share their resources and giving me pointers :)
How was your Thursday? What was your biggest accomplishment today?


  1. Sounds like you had a very full day with visiting your friend and running all those errands! Well done on taking your lunch, coffee and snack with you rather than buying, keeping to your shopping lists, and staying under your calorie limits!

    My biggest accomplishment(s) for today were doing office work, going for a walk, and taking a nap!

    Hope you have a good night's rest and wake up feeling less tired.

    1. Sounds like a full day for you too, Bless!

  2. I like seeing all those Dones at the end of lines on your list! Yesterday was not a good day on my end I only do three quarters of my goal of steps. This is because I was stuck on two phones and computer trying to deal with staffing issues. I'm still amazed at how I'm supposed to honor our contract as the owner of the business yet all of the subcontractors who signed the contracts feel that they don't need to honor their end of the bargain's. Ultimately the situation was resolved but it left me mentally and physically exhausted.

    1. I like seeing them marked "Done" too! Dang, Sandie, I don't know how you deal with all this. Stress like this leaves me exhausted too. I just got very angry at my daughter and now I feel wiped out. I have to go cook dinner and I still have the laundry to fold, haven't exercised yet, only drank half my water... ugh. I'm glad you were able to resolve the situation, though. Here's to a better day tomorrow!

  3. You had another very successful day. What a lovely way to end a shaky having coffee and a nice long chat with your friend. It was enough to energize the rest of your day and the shopping errands that lay ahead. You scratched off a lot of items from your to-do list and your list of successes is nice and long. Your shopping was amazing. My day today (Friday) was not very productive, but I have the weekend to make up for it. I won't count it as a fail.

    1. Thanks, Susan. I really think that limiting my TO DO LIST to what ought to be priorities for the day seems to work better for me than my old way of doing it. I still get distracted by other tasks that weren't on the list but at least it's less been of a "oh boy, look at all the stuff that I need to do". I'm hoping that I can get enough crossed off that I can progress down my list of goals for the year and add back the stuff that I didn't do on last year's TO DO list.

      You did a lot. Going to visit your husband, bring him a treat, keep him company even if it's just to hold his hand, that's not nothing. You have other things on your mind than housework and chores. I think you'll be re-energized as your son clears out some of his belongings from your house this weekend. HUGS!

  4. Some of the best things in life are free, like long chats with a girlfriend over some coffee (or as it happens in my case, some wine)!

    I have the same breakfast every. single. damn. day (well, except for Sundays): oatmeal with flax seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and a few walnuts, cooked in skim milk; then I add frozen blueberries to it. This way, I never have to think about breakfast. And it's very inexpensive. And it makes up for all my dietary sins that I commit the rest of the day... :-p

    1. I was just thinking this morning, while pondering whether to try the Diabetic Exchanges plan or not, that I really enjoy my bowl of rice crispies with some fruit in it, in the morning. I used to think plain rice crispies and milk was boring and gross but I don't know if it's the Aldi brand or what, but I'm really really liking it. Plus the kittens lick my bowl when I'm done and it's not unhealthy for them (no sugar). So I think I'll stick to that. Maybe some oatmeal at some point because I really do need to eat down the stuff in my pantry and I have steel cut oats in there, as well as the quick cook type. I love frozen blueberries in my oatmeal. I have some of those in the freezer so I ought to eat that soon.


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