Thursday, February 23, 2017

Baking Day! ~ Thursday 2/23/17

Another rainy day in Central Florida, which means that I don't need to water my garden, the rain barrel is full to the brim and the temperature is down.  In other words, a perfect day to stay home and listen to the Sinatra station on Pandora while pondering which chores to do or library books to read!

28 years ago today I started working for the Walt Disney Company. My ex and I had only been married a few weeks and I thought I'd work for Disney for a few months until I found something better.  I ended up working for the company for 15 years!  I've been a stay at home mom for close to 13 years now, but I always keep a soft spot in my heart for February 23.   I still have dreams about my last team calling me to tell me that the Florida Disney Animation Studios are reopening and they want me to go back to work and, in my dream, I'm so excited. I really loved my co-workers and I'm sad that we all lost contact.  As a matter of fact, I ended up deleting their contact info in my phone when I was backing it up a couple of days ago because it's probably obsolete and it's been so long.  Now, I'm afraid that I will forget their names as my memory is really that bad. But oh well, I need to let go of some things so I have room for other things both in real life and in my memory as well :)

We had a little "drama" at about 8 a.m. as Greg and Youngest Son both started texted me at the same time, one to tell me he was stuck in bad traffic on the Florida Turnpike and the other to ask me to look for his math book, which is missing.  Of course, I started texting the wrong person when replying.  By the time I had gathered information about the turnpike crash to relay to Greg, he had already passed the accident scene, and my son decided he probably left his book in his math class yesterday and will look for it there. I hope he finds it!

So I suppose I should spend the day trying to catch up on chores... poop. Notably, I need to do last night's dishes since I didn't do them.  If I wait until mid-afternoon to do them (as I did yesterday), then I pretty much guarantee that I won't do them right after dinner.

It's so easy to fall back in bad habits.  Not drinking water, not exercising, not doing the dishes right after dinner, not logging my food in MyFitnessPal, hence not counting my calories... arrgh.  It's always so much harder to get back on the horse, why is this?  Back in January I was marveling at how easy it was for me to do all of this. Back in January, I mostly didn't mind biking at 9 p.m. on weeknights. Nowadays, I have lost my mojo, no matter how much encouragement I hear or what promises I make :(

So I have my exercise clothes on right now and maybe I'll bike this afternoon. I have to catch up on 2 episodes of "Spy in the Wild" and I need to finish reading Kiplinger's.

Better get to it, then!

  • Defrost meat for dinner DONE
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift this week (tomorrow if it doesn't rain, before my daughter leaves to go to her dad)
  • Bake PB cookies DONE
  • Bake a pie DONE
  • Cook, purée and freeze 1 pumpkin
  • Update French blog DONE
  • Mop bathroom
  • Vacuum living room
  • Make my bed  DONE
  • Turn bread heels into bread crumbs
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits DONE
  • Input weight into WHBRHC  DONE
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time  DONE
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) DONE!!!
  • Do the dishes DONE
  • Put the laundry away  DONE
  • Watch "Spy in the Wild"
  • Clean fridge - cleaned the bottom shelf, cleaned the "main" shelf
  • Sweep the downstairs bathroom
  • Vacuum the upstairs bedrooms
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son (after pediatrician apt)
  • 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 DONE
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only) 
  • Finish moving/reinstalling missing software on new laptop 
  • Read one of the library books
  • Clean upstairs litter box  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
  • Vacuum the fridge's coils
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Inventory the freezers
  • Reorganize the gardening supplies area in breezeway
  • Purge file cabinet in progress (through "credit cards")
  • Take RaceTrac surveys DONE
  • Move fonts from external drive and reinstall on new laptop
  • Take my measurements
  • 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
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Sit down with my daughter and show her how to file her taxes
  • Start on our tax return
  • Schedule an outing to P.E.A.R. Park and ask them about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Write letter to my great aunt, with pictures
  • Put son's vaccination records back in safe place
  • Plant the tree
  • Learn how to use my new camera in progress
  • Wash litter boxes DONE

  • Youngest Son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • Despite the rain, school drop-off went very well and I was home by 7:10 a.m.

  • SavingStar ended up crediting me not only for the $2 for buying 4 cans of Progresso soup, but also with the $1 for buying 2 cans of Progresso soup, even though I only bought 4 cans?! They did that with Advil at one point, crediting me for ALL the Advil offers even though I had only bought 1 (pretty large, admittedly) bottle of it.  So yay!

  • I'm playing Swagbucks videos to earn a few SB but I won't consciously try to meet my 1st goal of 99 SB.

  • I was just looking at my SB ledger and noticed that yesterday they credited me 75 SB for taking a survey back in November?!  How odd... but, okay!

  • The Thursday paper did find its way to my driveway this morning. I recycled it but kept the plastic sleeve which, once dry, will be reused to gather the contents of a litter box.

  • Speaking of which, I reused a bread bag to clean out the upstairs litter box this morning, and saved another bread bag to do the same thing in the next few days.

  • I had about half a cup of coffee left from yesterday's pot so I mixed it with freshly brewed coffee from this morning.  I've used up all the free packets of sweetener from various restaurants so I started using the free Truvia Nectar that I have accumulated recently.  Sadly, it it not calorie free :(

  • I didn't stop by RaceTrac this morning as I plan on baking Peanut Butter Blossoms with the peanut butter dough that I had defrosted a couple of days ago. I also need to do something with the patty of pie crust that I defrosted. I might make a pumpkin pie for Greg as he's getting on my nerves by losing weight so much faster than me :)

  • Microsoft Rewards featured another opportunity to earn 500 credits in a few weeks by "telling my story" so this time I chose to tell about how Greg got inspired by me and is earning credits too. Then I told him about it and he completed the same activity.  My app tells me that I earned all the credits for today, but there is a 50 credit quiz on my laptop's dashboard that is giving me trouble so I emailed them.

  • I baked 2 sheets of peanut butter cookies with the dough I had frozen at Christmas.  I felt lazy so I didn't add the chocolate kisses. Oh well.

  • I also baked a pumpkin pie using the dough patty that I had defrosted a couple of days ago and a can of pumpkin purée with a sell-by date of 2015 :)
Yes, I know that I'm a terrible pie maker. My crusts always look awful AND burn even though I use a pie crust protector thingie!
  • I was able to request a free sample from the Betty Crocker e-newsletter, yay!  I also printed 3 coupons that they emailed me.

  • Microsoft replied to me that they had credited me with the 50 credits that I was unable to earn. Woohoo!

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 BR points.  I think they might have made some changes to the program as this popped up when I logged in, but I'm not sure.

  • This, apparently, is new, though.

  • For lunch, I made myself an egg sandwich but I used guacamole instead of mayo since I need to use it up.  I also has a large side salad, 4 clementines, and 2 PB cookies.

  • I looked at next week's ad previews for CVS and Walgreens and adjusted my shopping list. I was disappointed to see that the only milk on sale at CVS was the half gallon, on sale for $1.99 but actually, this is great!  I can buy just 1/2 a gallon of whole milk, mix it with water right away and reused the previous gallon jug (after rinsing it) and only spend $1.99 for milk on my gift card. I usually only stretch the 2nd half of the gallon that I buy.  

  • I scheduled a check to be sent from my bank to our city's utility department for our water bill ($62.36), which doesn't cost me a dime in extra fees.

  • My free Arbor Day Foundation tree from Duke Energy came in!  I need to figure out where to plant it since I can't put it in or near my veggie garden... it's a tree that flowers but also provides shade.

  • My new camera came in, woohoo!  However, the battery needs to be charged for 2 hours before I can start playing with it. I hadn't ordered an SD card to go with it but I have a spare 16G card and might just use the 32G card that I have in my Canon Point and Shoot right now.
Ooh, it has a "soft image of a flower" mode!  No bird in flight mode, though.
  • I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned survey reward codes for 2 more freebies.

  • Middle Son emailed me a picture of Greg that he took on Monday night that's wonderful!  However, the file is tiny so I won't be able to get it printed as an 8 x 10 next time there is a free coupon so I asked him to email me a larger version of it.  

  • Middle Son and I are getting together to walk walking tomorrow morning, albeit in East Orlando since his car broke down :(  He'll show me how to use the camera. It'll also help him since he wants to test it and see if he should get one like that for himself.

  • So I read (most of, there are a lot of functions that I will never use!) my new camera's manual and tried taking pictures. I really hope Middle Son helps me because I have to say that so far?  I'm not very impressed.  The zoom isn't better than my Canon point and shoot, I don't think, although it does take pictures faster.  The ones I took looked great on the camera's display but not so great on my laptop?!  Arrgh. I'm probably doing something wrong.  It does have a way to upload the pictures to my PC via Wifi  but I couldn't get it to work.  Finally someone in a somewhat related YouTube video wrote a snippet of a comment about the shared folder needing to have the permissions set to "write" and not just to "read" so I did that and it worked!  Others were talking about having to create a new user on the laptop, etc. I'm glad I didn't do that. Anyhoo, it'll only work if I only need to transfer a couple of pictures because it would take a long time to transfer the 50+ pictures I usually take when I go on a walk!

  • My son decided to walk to the library (I guess he didn't want to drive?!) and I was busy with the camera so I didn't argue. Greg picked him up on his way home.

  • My daughter gassed up the family car, charged it to my Discover card so we'll earn 5% back in Rewards, and I gained yet another receipt with which I will earn a freebie.

  • I was busy updating my French blog so I didn't start dinner until about 10 minutes before Greg and our son got home. However, I had decided to make an omelet instead of a frittata, so that worked out just fine. I used a package of diced smoked ham that I had in the fridge and the rest of the shredded cheddar, along with 10 eggs, including the rest of those that had a sell-by date of a couple of weeks ago :)  To go along with it, I made a big side salad and served wedges of naan bread.  For dessert, our son had a piece of pumpkin pie. I tried enticing Greg with one but he refused because he didn't exercise today! Arrrgh. Meanwhile, I had several PB cookies today.

  • I did the dishes right after dinner, hooray!

  • Gas:
    • to drop off my son at school
    • and tolls for Greg's commute
    • for my daughter to go to her college class

  • I ate several cookies.

  • We watched a couple more episodes of Season 1 of the Jim Gaffigan Show and I really don't like it.  I don't like the woman who plays his wife and his act is funny on stage but as a dad/husband personae, it's tiresome.  I won't be buying Season 2 :(

  • Tolls: $25 (Greg's Sunpass account replenished itself)
  • Water/Sewer/Recycling: $62.36 (payment actually scheduled for later on this month)
  • RaceTrac: $10.86 (gas for family car)

  • I request a sample of Nature Valley Peanut Butter Cups from the Betty Crocker e-newsletter
  • A great portrait of Greg from Middle Son

  • Fed the kittens
  • Packed a lunch for Greg
  • Prepped his breakfast
  • Drove my son to school
  • Put the laundry away
  • Made my bed
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box
  • Aired out the house
  • Caught up on blogs and commented
  • Worked on Rewards programs
  • Looked for accident information for Greg
  • Looked for math book for my son
  • Emailed Microsoft
  • Put the dry dishes away
  • Did the dishes
  • Baked cookies
  • Baked a pie
  • Washed 3 cat litter boxes and refilled them
  • Cleaned and put away the toilet snake
  • Scheduled a bill payment
  • Balanced my checkbook
  • Updated my spreadsheets
  • Requested a sample
  • Printed coupons
  • Replied to Microsoft email
  • Emailed Greg and my daughter
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Played with my new camera and read the manual
  • Researched how to use the Wifi function
  • Updated my French blog
  • Cooked dinner
  • Put away the dry dishes
  • Did the dinner dishes
  • A safe commute for all of us despite the rain
  • For a new camera!


  1. Ooh, cookies AND a pumpkin pie! I am so jealous! I love pumpkin pie, with a big dollop of whipped cream, please! The very first time I made pumpkin pie, I used a regular pumpkin, boiled down, not the canned puree. I didn't realize I had to peel the pumpkin, first, though (or scoop the flesh out). I blended the whole thing, peel and all! The finished pie had an interesting texture, with bits of peel in it! :D

    Glad you got your camera; now you get to play around with it and have fun!

    Glad you are getting rain for the garden, Nathalie, and everyone had a safe commute.

    1. LOL, Bless, your pie story is too funny!!

      I hope you have a great Friday!

  2. HaHa Sorry but I just had to laugh at your pie crust. I taught my little sis how to make it Thanksgiving, 2015 and now she's a pro. My daughters are so not interested in baking! I just had a glass of buttermilk- I love it but most people can't stand the taste. Funny though because I'm not fond of yogurt. I'm starting to get tired of the fish/salad but I should be able to last another week... you'd think. Last night I just had to have a glass of wine too, but not too many calories. BTW my daughter, the grands and I are going to Disney soon. We have annual passes and decided to splurge just this once. Yep, we're staying at the Grand Floridian 2 nights. We usually stay a night or two at a value resort but we decided to splurge this year. I haven't had an annual pass for 3 or 4 years so we're planning on a few trips this summer. It's good exercise right?? I always tell myself most people my age are retired so I shouldn't feel guilty when I spend $$ but it's still hard when you're a frugal gal! I'm so glad it is Friday- this week has been busy but productive. We did get rain and the leaves are still there. Have a good Friday.

    1. It's terrible isn't it?! And it doesn't matter if I use a smaller pie pan, my crusts always look terrible. Even with pre-made, pre-rolled dough, I've never been able to make the "fancy" crinkling effect on the top. I'm kind of hopeless this way :)

      Oooh, I'm envious of you staying at The Grand Floridian! It's my favorite resort. I'm not sure if you were reading my blog last Fall when my daughter worked there part-time at the Grand Floridian Café. I was so excited! Then she quit after New Year's so she could concentrate on her school work, as she has a lot of it.

      After getting into the parks for free for 15 years, I can't bring myself to spend the money on annual passes. Oldest Son and his GF are Disney freaks and they have the annual passes and go there quite a bit from what I hear.

      It IS going to be great exercise, especially when you walk in the summer heat, hahaha. I understand feeling guilty about splurging like this, but you're still working and you're making memories not only for yourself but for your grandchildren as well so I think you should give yourself a break.

      Enjoy your last week of salad and fish, Nan! I really need to do what you're doing. I had salad twice yesterday though, so hopefully that countered the pb cookies I ate.

    2. I'll have to read about your DD's time there! My DD gets all the fast passes ahead of time and will have everything planned including dinner reservations if necessary and where we'll eat! She is super organized about those things. I had to give up the fish for a meal...I made some vegetable beef soup little sis texted she has lost 17 pounds since January 1st. She has been low carbing- no flour or sugar. Of course, she has never had to diet much in her life. She's turning 50 and the age finally caught up with her. She's a nurse and lives in Myrtle beach. PS your photography is awesome- my late husband was interested in it and had a great 35 mm (Cannon) camera. He enjoyed taking pictures and at one time even developed the film. I'd buy him a new lens every year for Christmas.

    3. Congrats to your little sister! 17 lbs... wow, I should give up sugar and flour too. But that means no bread, no pasta... no joy! lol.

      I read recently that they're reintroducing film cameras and sent the article to Middle Son. When I was little, I had a craft book for children that explained how to develop your own pictures and I so wanted to have my own little photography studio, but we were poor so I could have never asked my mom for such supplies. I had completely forgotten about that until I started typing this paragraph!

      PS: thanks for the compliments on my pictures (well, the camera's pictures, I had little to do with it save spotting the animals and flowers!) and I think having beef for one night is probably not going to derail you.

      Does your diet have a specific name or did you just decide to go all fish and salads for x amount of time?

      Have a great weekend, Nan! Any plans with the grandkids?

  3. I'm very interested in how your new camera works. I need a new one and am overwhelmed by all of the choices. Hope you and your son figure things out.

    1. It was overwhelming to me as well when I tried to figure out what to get on my own and I gave up. I mean, I think that most of my problems come from not knowing what I'm doing either with a point and shoot or a dSLR (definitely with a dSLR) and any good pictures I ever got were pure chance and the Auto Focus and auto everything mode on the point and shoot! I wasn't awake of "bridge" cameras so when Greg kept telling me to get a better camera, I would tell him that it would have to be a dSLR and that I already have one and I don't know how to use it.

      So the camera that I got is the Panasonic DMC-FZ300X. It was about $500 on Amazon. It's bulkier than a point and shoot but not very heavy, thankfully. It has dSLR modes and can shoot in RAW, but has a fixed lens so you don't need to buy several lenses. You can shoot in Macro mode and the zoom is about the same as my point and shoot, which had 40X digital zoom. This one should produce better pictures, however, according to my son, and of course now I forget why!

      It's pretty fancy with lots of buttons and I suspect I'll never use 90% of them! I like that I can flip the screen and it's a touch screen (so I can just touch icons on the screen to make changes and even operate the zoom, instead of pushing buttons here and there) or I can just use the viewfinder. It has interesting preset modes (such as shooting food or babies or night time landscapes, etc.) and also preset filters to play with if you like this sort of thing.

      Here is a review of it on PC Magazine,2817,2498707,00.asp

      Also, if you're interested in comparing two cameras' specs side by side, my son used this site. This links is to a comparison between the camera that I bought and another model by Panasonic. It was useful to look at this, although I referred to him to tell me which one would work better for my purposes and what I was willing to spend.

      So for me the real test will be when I actually take pictures on walks with Greg. I'm hoping all the fandangle options won't mean that it will slow me down even more, because one of the reasons why I wanted it is that its shutter speed is better and there's not a long lag in between pictures like there is on my Canon (thus allowing the birds to fly away before the camera could even take a picture).

      Sorry this was so long!

  4. This time of year is when I realize which of my resolutions had staying power and which require a bit more effort from me. Unfortunately my goal of physical activity every day is really falling to the wayside this year. Like you said, it is so easy to get off track. Oh well, I try to remind myself that every moment is an opportunity to do better.

    I love peanut butter blossoms. I didn't make any over the holidays and picked up a bag of Hershey's kisses specifically to make them at some point this spring. I bet they are good without the chocolate, too. :)

    1. You are so busy with school and your job, though! I don't have that excuse. I'm so annoyed with myself. But I am walking every weekend, which is something!

      The peanut butter cookies ended up being a little dry, I think I overbaked them. A chocolate kiss on top would have provided needed gooeyness!

  5. How come I wasn't aware of the Lifehacker website? I quickly checked it out, told my husband about it, and now he's watching "Jaws" because that's coming off Netflix in March. He thanks you (and so do I)!

    Be patient with yourself and the new camera - there's a definite learning curve. Start out in auto mode and then, one by one, experiment with the other modes and settings. You are lucky to have your son for teaching you. In-person tutoring is always better than boring, dry manuals! Oh, for birds in flight, the sports mode probably is best. And two of my cameras have WiFi capabilities, but I never use them. I just stick the SD card in my computer and copy and paste.

    1. I'm glad my post was useful to you and Dave!

      There's a "Animals in Motion" mode, I think and I can't remember if I tried it already or not. I use the Wifi to transfer the photos if I have 5 or fewer, otherwise I stick the SD card in the laptop, as you do. Somehow doing that seems like too much work for just 5 photos, hahaha.


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