Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Little Bit of This and That ~ Thursday 2/9/17

This picture has nothing to do with my post, but it made me laugh :)

The kittens like to cuddle next to me on the couch in the evenings, so when Princess laid down on the pillow next to me last night, I laid down too and then Explorer came to curl up against my tummy and next thing I know, it was an hour later, Greg had gone to bed and I was left downstairs on the couch. I guess we must have looked very comfy!

But I dragged myself upstairs anyway and Explorer ended up sleeping with me. He was good and didn't try to wake me up until about 6 a.m.

So the "cold front" that we're supposed to experience is on its way and it'll actually be 70F/21C tomorrow.  It feels warm and humid this morning but I turned off the AC and opened the windows.  We have rain in the forecast, about 40% chance at 9:00 a.m. but I doubt it'll be much of anything.

I'm waiting for the AC maintenance guy to come between 8 and 10 a.m. to perform the annual (ahem, it hasn't been done in a number of years, though!) maintenance on our heat pump.  At some point, I'd like to watch the 2nd episode of "Spy in the Wild" on PBS and I plan on ironing Greg's clothes as I do that.  Otherwise, I have that 7-day library book that I need to read so I'll probably spend most of the day doing that.

As usual, I'm posting my To-Do List so I can keep myself motivated.  I've had "make an appointment at the dermatologist for my son" on my list for a long time, but I'm taking him to the pediatrician for his annual check-up very soon so I've decided to hold off on making the dermatologist appointment until after we see the pediatrician.

I do need to set that timer and try to accomplish as many tasks as possible in 15 minutes, but again most of the tasks that I'd like to do are upstairs and I'm waiting for the maintenance guy... years ago I disabled the doorbell and we actually have 2 front doors so I need to be downstairs to hear him knock.  I'm hoping he'll be coming sooner than later.

  • Put the laundry away DONE
  • Turn bread heels into bread crumbs
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits DONE
  • Input exercise and weight into WHBRHC DONE
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time  DONE
  • Do the dishes (AFTER DINNER)  
  • Clean fridge - cleaned the bottom shelf
  • Sweep the downstairs bathroom
  • Vacuum the upstairs bedrooms
  • Sweep/vacuum the main stairwell
  • Add bleach to furnace drain line for maintenance (will do after maintenance apt on Thursday) not needed, the tech drained the line.
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son (after pediatrician apt)
  • Download all January pictures from my phone and camera to external drive
  • Back up external drive to its own external drive!
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Do my foot exercises 2X
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  
  • Find USB drive (NOT an SD card!) and clear it so Teen librarian to put photos of Youngest Son on it
  • Read 7-day library book!
  • Read e-library book in progress
  • Make sure Greg assigns specific funds to his IRA account 
  • Move missing Music files from External Drive to my Laptop 
  • Move/reinstall missing software on new laptop in progress, moved all the files to the External Drive
  • Trying syncing my phone on new laptop
  • Back-up my phone
  • Reset phone to factory settings
  • Upgrade to newer iOS
  • Clean litter box upstairs  DONE
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Read new issue of Kiplinger's in progress
  • Wash kitchen windows
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Reorganize the gardening supplies area in breezeway
  • Purge file cabinet in progress (through "credit cards")
  • Finish ironing Greg's clothes while watching "Spy in the Wild"
  • Take RaceTrac surveys  DONE
  • Make lemon poppyseed muffins or/and lemon squares with the "grapefruits"!
  • Move fonts from external drive and reinstall on new laptop
  • Return the 3 library travel books
  • Take my measurements
  • Sign up for Personal Capital?
  • Start French blog for my mom and sister DONE
  • Look into transplanting hyacinths in garden - Moved them outside since Explorer has started to jump on mantelpiece :(
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Try to hit my 1st Daily Goal on Swagbucks DONE
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Sit down with my daughter and show her how to file her taxes

  • My son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • The school drop-off went very well again :) We're still listening to Rossini's Overtures in the morning because I keep forgetting to switch the CD. I finally brought it back in and the next CD will be Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet".

  • On my way home I stopped by RaceTrac and exchanged a survey reward code for a free éclair donut for my son's after-school snack.

A couple of hours later, this is how I found the donut.  We have a sugar-addicted kitten. I don't know which one it is. I smelled all their breaths but it was inconclusive.

  •  I turned off the AC and opened the windows. I plan on keeping them open as long as possible, which is probably until mid afternoon as it's supposed to get up to 78F today.

  • SavingStar credited my account with the 25 cents that I claimed for buying bananas yesterday.

  • My 1st SB goal is 80 SB. I was trying to play videos, as I always do, but my laptop has already frozen twice this morning as of this writing and it's getting on my nerves.  I've been at it for 90 minutes already and I've only earned 20 SB and I'm no longer running the darn videos so I might not make my goal today. However, 20 SB is better than nothing.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.

  • I entered my weight and last night's biking into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 180 BR points.

  • Another update from the Lake County Sheriff's office was emailed to me this morning. Apparently a clerical error was committed and the offender was actually never released and is still in jail. I am very pleased with the law enforcement's reply to my concern and their follow-up and let them know :)

  • We just started a new gallon of whole milk so it's not ready to be stretched with water yet, but I only used 1/2 a cup of milk and added 1/2 a cup of water to my bowl, so as to not only stretch the milk but also cut the calories used in my breakfast :)  Does this mean I can have cake today?  Just kidding. I didn't make any.

  • One of my metallic loaf baking pans had gotten rusty and the last time I baked something in it, I could taste a metallic taste in the baked good. I had bought it, years ago, at Dollar Tree.  I think the $1 has definitely been well spent but it's time to throw the pan away. I was considering buying a new one, but truth is I have a 2nd one (made of aluminum, it doesn't rust) and 2 smaller ones as well.  And our household is about to get smaller again when my daughter moves out. So I don't really need another pan.  I'm going to save myself some clutter and money and not replace it.

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

  • I also noticed this morning that I had a new coupon in my RaceTrac app for a BOGO Snickers bar.    I love getting new coupons, even when I don't plan on using them, lol.  I don't think I could combine that with the BOGO manufacturer coupon that is currently available on the Snickers bars as I don't think you can use printable manufacturer coupons at RaceTrac :(

  • I charged the heat pump maintenance call to my American Express card. I'll earn 1% back in Rewards.

  • What is it with me that I never notice how dirty and dingy my house is until someone comes over. On another thought, it's probably why I don't like having anybody come over, and I actively discourage visitors, ha.  Anyhoo, as soon as the maintenance guy left, I had to remedy some stuff:
    • I wiped down the pantry door. It's painted white and since everybody seems to grab the door itself and not just the door handle, it gets grimmy.
    • I wiped down the fridge doors, dishwasher door, microwave door and wall oven door with my homemade window spray and a reusable window cleaning cloth that I had saved from one of my oldest son's part-time jobs (he always came home with those in his pockets and threw them away at home, so I'd fish them out of the trash and have been washing them and reusing them for years!)
    • I also wiped down the glass doors on my kitchen cabinets and wiped off some of the grease that had accumulated on a few of the doors.  Good grief, I want a new kitchen. I don't need one, but it'd be nice to have a brand new kitchen. But since I don't want to pay for it, we're keeping the old crappy one :)
    • I swept the kitchen

  • I went upstairs and set a 15-minute timer and tried to accomplish as much as I could within that timeframe.  I really like that challenge!  Two of the kittens tried to help.  They weren't very helpful, though :)
    • Put the laundry away
    • Added an extension cord to my pedestal fan and routed the cord behind furniture
    • Aired out the upstairs
    • Cleaned the upstairs litterbox (reused bread bag to gather the contents to be disposed of)
    • Started purging my filing cabinet
I guess they were dusting the window screen...
  • I got a SB search away for 21 SB that was a Collector's Bill... phew, finally some progress!

  • And then I was notified that I had gotten the 20 SB bonus for having collected all 5 Collector's Bills. Yay!  

  • I was only a few SB away from meeting my 1st goal so I started playing videos again, keeping my fingers crossed that my laptop wouldn't freeze again. It didn't and I met my 1st goal. Woohoo!
  • I signed Greg and myself up for the April through June Bonus Discover Rewards.  The eligible categories will be Home Improvement Stores and Warehouse Clubs. We don't have any warehouse club memberships, but I will update our cheat-sheet for that quarter to reflect that we should use Discover when shopping at Ace Hardware, Home Depot, or Lowe's.

  • For lunch, I made myself two egg salad and avocado sandwiches with 2 Flatouts that I had gotten for free at Publix, a little bit of light mayo, 2 hard boiled eggs (free from CVS a few weeks ago) and a $0.37 avocado (SAL, last week). I also had 1/2 a papaya ($0.79/lb at SAL last week and it's on sale this week again).

  • My daughter and her BFF drove to their college class and plan on going to RaceTrac afterwards to take advantage of the free cup of ice cream (up to $4) each with their app :)

  • I printed some coupons that Boxtops4Education emailed me.

  • I unlocked a couple of new rebates on SavingStar.

  • I resurrected an old blog I had started in French for my family back in 2007. I was active on it from 2007 to 2010 and haven't visited it since so I'm going to have fun revisiting photos of my kids back then!  It's restricted to my siblings and my mom, and I re-invited them to it, explaining that I was going to try and post pictures of my walks, cats, and sometimes my kids, every weekend. We'll see if I stick to it! For now, I posted pictures from our last 3 walks and some of the kittens as well. I need to take more pictures of my kids!

  • I guess this is a frugal success but the teacher who is the FBLA advisor never replied to my email and the paperwork for the state convention is due tomorrow and needs to be notarized too.  My son couldn't ask him questions today because the teacher didn't come to school.  So I guess he's not going to the convention and I just saved $150+ plus the gas and tolls to drop him off and pick him up.  He's not heart-broken about it.

  • I harvested a few tomatoes and green beans and one serrano pepper from my garden.

  • Greg picked up our son from the library tonight, it's pretty much on his way home and saves me a trip in the middle of cooking dinner.

  • For dinner I used 2 cans of tuna, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar to make tuna patties (makes 4 large ones) and I used all my carrots (2.5 lbs) and 1 lb of parsnips to make a side dish.  I used my new KitchenAid mixer to whip the Trader Joe's UHT cream into whipped cream and I served strawberries and cream for dessert.

  • Discover Bank notified me that they had gotten our check and the money had been transferred. Phew! But when I log into our regular bank's savings account, the money is still there?!  Upon further investigation, we can access $200 of our money as of tomorrow but the bulk of it won't be available to us (and won't earn any interest) until 2/21, apparently; I put a reminder on the calendar to check the new account on that day.

  • Gas:
    • to drive my son to school
    • and tolls for Greg's commute
    • for my daughter to go to her college class
    • to drive my son to the library

  • Preventative maintenance on our heat pump.  There was a relay switch that showed wear and tear and that will eventually fail and cause our unit not to work, so I had the maintenance guy replace it.  I figured, it's money spent now but savings overall since I'm avoiding a 2nd service call fee (over $100) if/when it fails. We've had the unit for a number of years so it's time to treat it right :)  I can live with the shower dripping but no AC in Florida?  Not a good thing at all.

  • Swagbucks is getting on my nerves with their buggy videos and their surveys that rarely seem to credit properly.  I'm thinking it's just not going to be a priority anymore again.

  • I lost my mojo this afternoon. I didn't read my library book OR do many chores.  Arrgh.

  • Heat Pump Maintenance: $147.95 ($79.95 preventive maintenance and $68.00 for the relay switch contactor)

  • an éclair donut from RaceTrac, with a survey reward code
  • my daughter redeemed her coupon for $4 worth of free ice cream at RaceTrac
  • she also redeemed a survey reward code for a free hot dog

  • Fed the kittens
  • Packed Greg's lunch
  • Prepped his breakfast
  • Drove my son to school
  • Got him a snack
  • Worked on my rewards programs
  • Met the maintenance guy and explained the latest problem with heat pump
  • Input some expenses in my spreadsheets
  • Took customer satisfaction surveys
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Wiped down some kitchen cabinet doors
  • Wiped down pantry door
  • Cleaned doors to microwave, dishwasher and wall oven and the side of fridge and doors
  • Cleaned the upstairs litterbox
  • Added extension cord to fan and routed it properly
  • Put my and Greg's laundry away
  • Aired out the upstairs
  • Started purging the file cabinet
  • Did all the shredding
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Emailed my family to invite them to my French blog
  • Posted photos for my family on my French blog
  • Texted my friend to confirm lunch tomorrow
  • Drove my son to the library
  • Cooked dinner and set the table
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Washed pots and pans by hand

  • Sleep was good!
  • Breakfast was a bowl of Rice Krispies with fresh sliced strawberries and a cup of ~2% milk
  • Mid morning snack was a piece of string cheese
  • Lunch was two egg salad and avocado sandwiches, half a papaya
  • Afternoon snack was some saltwater taffy, 2 slices of bread, string cheese. I was hungry all day.
  • Dinner was a tuna patty and whipped carrots and parsnips. Then some strawberries and cream.
  • Water consumption was not good, again. I just can't get the motivation to start drinking it again.
  • Exercise was...
  • Foot exercises were performed.
  • For a cooler day today and being able to open the windows
  • For being able to be a homemaker!
  • For having the funds necessary to perform regular maintenance on our heat pump
  • For a friendly, reasonable, not pushy and dependable maintenance company. We've been their customers for almost 15 years!


  • In the middle of doing my chores, I took a bread to sneak a couple of pictures of a male cardinal at my blue feeder. Hooray!

How was your day today?


  1. That cardinal is gorgeous! Today I spent money at the post office, Walmart, Aldi and bought lunch for my son and I. Nothing very exciting. It was warm but rain is forecasted for the next couple of days. Lucky you, having such good kitten helpers! Mae's helping days are over. She wants to be waited on and she wants it now! 😐 Glad your son is feeling better.

    1. Oh I saw a cat meme picture yesterday that sounds like it would be perfect for Mae! I'll have to see if I can find it again and post it on tonight's blog for you :)

      Not exciting is fine though, isn't it? Being frugal isn't all that exciting, most of the time, but boy don't we get excited when we see the money left over at the end of the month (hopefully!). You got to enjoy lunch with your son, that must have been nice. Did you eat in a restaurant or take it home?

      Enjoy all the rain! Sounds to me like a perfect time to stay home, read a book, watch a little TV, cuddle with a cat... maybe against her will! Have a great day today!

  2. You have such helpful kittens! They are adorable!

    I don't know about losing your mojo, but it looks like you had a very productive day. That's an impressive accomplishments list! I need to start posting a to do list, again.

    My day was good. I went to the office, came home and napped, made pancakes for dinner, returned phone calls, and chatted with my daughter. No housework done!

    Hope you have a lovely day, tomorrow.

    1. Yes, it is lovely to have helpful cats, isn't it? For instance, right this minute (excuse me, be right back...) Princess was "helping" me finish the bowl of cereal that I had put down so I could type this answer. Rascal!

      I didn't feel that I did so much yesterday and then I fell asleep on the couch just after 9 p.m. and didn't exercise!

      Hmm, pancakes for breakfast sound delicious. I envy the nightly conversations that you have with your daughter. Women always find things to talk about, don't they? Greg annoys me because if it weren't for the kids and myself chatting at dinner time, it would just be him and me staring at one another. He says nothing. I ask about his day and he says "it was OK". I try to probe him about what he's doing but he says there's really nothing happening and the job is just the job and there's nothing exciting to talk about. I'd take boring work stories, I don't care, I'm alone all day and the only "people" I talk to are the CATS! So now you know why I'm so chatty on the blog, lol.

      Don't feel bad about not doing any housework, you had a very full day! I can't imagine wanting to do housework coming home at 6:45 p.m. and still needing to cook dinner, feed the cat, etc. and then feeling exhausted. Maybe do some housework on the weekend instead?

      Have a wonderful day today, don't overdo it!

  3. The second picture of the eclair made me laugh. Lady Beast is obsessed with green things and will steal the tops of strawberries if I don't make sure they're thoroughly down the disposal. Meanwhile, Slim likes salty snacks like popcorn, tortilla chips and crackers. And Brutus will go after bread if I leave it out. I didn't really expect any of those particular food items to appeal to cats! :)

    1. Isn't it funny how they each have their own personality, isn't it?! Sounds like your kitties definitely know what they like!

  4. I smelled all their breaths but it was inconclusive. <-- Inspecteur Nathalie! :-)

    Fantastic photo of the cardinal!

    And now you have me wanting to set the timer for 15 minutes and do something! Well, after I'm done catching up with your blog. Let's not get carried away.

    1. Hmm, unluckily for you my Saturday post was short so you will be doing those chores much sooner than you might have counted on... *evil laugh*. Well, dang it, now you make me feel guilty that I haven't set the timer for 15 minutes today but... soon enough it'll be time for me to go cook so I'll count that as my 15 minutes of chores :)

      For some reason your "Inspecteur Nathalie" started me humming to Falco's "Der Kommissar" song (the German version was popular in France, not the English one), do you remember it? I found out only 2 years ago that he had died in 1998.

      But "Jeannie" is my favorite Falco song. Oh I love it. It's so sad. Well, I'm guessing since I don't understand one word of German... but I do understand the chorus in English, lol.

  5. LOL at Falco's "Der Kommissar" - the thing is that one of my co-workers mentioned it to me a few weeks ago, and I had never heard of Falco before. I've been away from Germany for so long, and I don't keep up with the pop culture. Now I have to go and google "Jeannie." I may not have ever heard that before, either!

    1. Well, I am crushed that you don't know Falco! He was Austrian, though. But he was somewhat popular here too and he sings an English version of "Der Kommissar". I guess you didn't know Nena's "Neunundneunzig Luftballons" either...


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