Monday, February 27, 2017

I'm Throwing Myself A Party: 3-Year Blog Anniversary! Monday 2/27/17

... because it my blog's third anniversary today!  Where does time go?  It's been so much fun writing about my days and then re-reading all about them once in a while, sharing ideas about frugality and other things, chatting with regular readers, and it's become a much larger part of my day than I anticipated! I have fun doing this and I'm thankful for the wonderful people I've "met" through blogging.

I'm not supposed to have cake so I guess I won't be baking one as scrumptious as the one in the picture, but I do want to bake something for my son's after-school treat so I'll probably make muffins or cupcakes. It'll clear the pantry a bit too as I think I have a mix. Yeah, I'm not fancy this way.  And sorry about not having any giveaways. I don't monetize the blog and I don't have anything to give away except dust bunnies and cat hair :)

I really want to go sit on the patio because there are tons of birds singing this morning!  But it's Domestic Monday and I have a s***load of stuff to do, including trying to knock off some of my February goals, recap my grocery spending for the month, etc.  Waaa, I'd rather play with the birdies!

  • First:  inventory fridge DONE
  • THEN draft a menu for the week DONE
  • Defrost meat for dinner no need, I'll use up leftovers
  • Bake muffins or cupcakes DONE
  • Work on shopping list  in progress
  • Do the laundry DONE
  • Fold the laundry
  • Put the laundry away
  • Research state park for a hike this weekend
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift (next week) 
  • Mop bathroom
  • Clean bathroom ceiling
  • Vacuum living room
  • Make my bed DONE
  • Turn bread heels into bread crumbs
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits DONE
  • Input weight into WHBRHC DONE
  • Sort coupons
  • 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 this weekend's dishes DONE
  • Watch "Spy in the Wild"
  • Clean fridge - cleaned the bottom shelf, cleaned the "main" shelf
  • Sweep/mop the downstairs bathroom
  • Vacuum the upstairs bedrooms
  • Vacuum living room
  • Vacuum the exercise room
  • Sweep the kitchen DONE
  • Sweep the cat room
  • Sweep the breezeway
  • 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 2X
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only) 
  • Finish moving/reinstalling missing software on new laptop DONE
  • 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 I decided that since I haven't needed them in 3 months, I probably can do without them :)
  • 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
  • Print new car insurance cards DONE
  • Schedule credit card payment
  • Record receipts into spreadsheets DONE
  • Summarize February Food Expenses and post in progress
  • Update French blog
  • Email my mom DONE
  • Email my brother to ask about the house hunt DONE
  • Mend sliding door window screen
  • Plant and water the tree 

  • Youngest Son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • The school drop-off went very well and I was home without a hitch!

  • Daughter is at her dad's until this afternoon so I'm saving a little bit of money by not feeding her breakfast or lunch today.

  • I opened the windows to air out the house this morning since it was nice and cool (in the mid 50s). It'll get warmer this afternoon (81F).

  • My 1st daily Swagbucks goal is ridiculously high (135 SB) but they're celebrating their 9th anniversary today so there's a special Swago board that gives you spins on a Spinning wheel and you can earn extra SB this way.  I might try to participate but I have so many things to do, I don't know if I'll have time.

  • I reused a newspaper's plastic sleeve to collect and dispose of the contents of the upstairs litter box.

  • I washed Greg's bedding in cold/cold. I'll spread it on the patio furniture to air dry.

  • I used our thrifted Brita pitcher to filter water for the cats (cheaper than buying spring water as we have very hard water which I think contributed to Male Cat's urinary blockage several years ago).

  • I scraped the inside of the jar of peanut butter almost clean and made myself a PBJ for breakfast with 2 heels of bread and some peach preserves that have been in my fridge too long.

  • I scrapped the inside of a jar of Gatorade powder that Greg wouldn't have scrapped and used my thrifted  Green Canteen metal bottle to mix water 14 oz of Gatorade that I shall drink this morning.  I need to drink more liquids and I wanted to use up the Gatorade powder (even though I don't care for it) = win-win!

  • I saved 2 bread bags to use to clean the upstairs litter box later on this week.

  • I organized the dirty dishes to wash them later on.  I bought 2 sink pans last week on Amazon, and while they're smaller than I thought they would be (well, I knew the dimensions and my sinks are kind of smallish so I couldn't get larger ones, but I thought they'd be much deeper), I fill one with hot soapy water and the other one with just hot water and wash the dirty dishes in the soapy water while rinsing them in the plain water pan, before air drying them in my out of order dishwasher.

  • I boiled 8 eggs to use up a carton of them. I love egg salad sandwiches and they're cheaper than buying lunch meat (although I do buy that for Greg and our son). I can also eat the eggs as a quick protein snack so I really like having hard-boiled eggs in the fridge. I'll reuse the water to refill some of the indoors pineapple jars once it's cooled off.

  • I set out the drying racks on the back patio so I'm less likely to get lazy and decide to use the dryer!

  • I harvested several grape tomatoes and a couple of serrano peppers. One of them was already rotting, though, so I composted it.

  • I hung Greg's bedding outside to dry on the patio furniture.

  • I noticed that one of my patio guest vincas (they replanted themselves in between some of the pavers and  have left them there!) has developed a flower!  Woohoo!  I was just looking at them a few minutes ago and thinking that they might not flower at all.  So that's a good surprise and they're 100% free!

  • I just peeked at the over-the-air TV listings (I shouldn't because I have chores to do! Oh well!) and Law & Order: Criminal Intent is on in 25 minutes!  I guess I'll be taking a break :)  I'll do something on the laptop while watching it, though. Update: well I missed the first 10 minutes because I was busy commenting on other people's blogs and then I went to inventory my fridge and switch the laundry... so I guess I'm not really watching it, lol.

  • I did a large load on cold/cold for the clothes that will go in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting (Greg's T-shirts and the bath towels).  All the other clothes and laundry was washed in one "super" load on cold/cold and I'm going to hang them outside to dry once my show is over :)

  • I inventoried what was in my fridge and took a quick look at the freezer to determine what I need to use up this week and what I might be able to use for meals.

  • I noticed that Explorer was sitting on top of the shredder (itself perched on top of a 3-drawer plastic chest that I am storing on top of the coffee table in the exercise room!) so I was trying to take a picture of him (he was reaching up to something on the ceiling!) when I heard the shredder kick on!  I rushed to rescue him before he shredded his own tail or something!  I guess the shredded had been left on the "auto" feeding mode! Silly kitten. He was nonplussed, just looking down and wondering what the noise and hoopla was all about!

  • I wrote a dinner menu for this week, using up mainly what I already have on hand.  I just realized, however, that I forgot to take into account that my son and I will be gone on Thursday night so I might need to revise dinner plans for that night. Or cook it in the morning. We'll see.

  • I hung most of the laundry outside to dry.

  • I made Maple Brown Sugar cupcakes, using up a box of Pillsbury Cake Mix I had bought on clearance at SuperTarget either last year or in 2015, I can't remember. I've had half a can of the maple brown sugar frosting (also bought on clearance at the same time) in my fridge for a year, so I will use that to frost them.  I used a muffin tin that had been given to me by a friend when she moved out of state and silicone muffin cups that I had purchased. I like them. It cuts down on the paper liner waste (although I still have plenty of those to use up!) and the cupcake don't stick to them last they do with the paper liners.
Mine didn't look that good, though :)

  • For my lunch, I heated up a bowl of leftover butternut squash soup, made a hardboiled egg and guacamole sandwich (using a Sandwich Thin bought on sale with coupon, the guac was free after sale and coupon, the egg was free with gift card) and had the 2nd half of the papaya (bought on sale) that I had cut on Saturday. I ate my lunch while "The Rockford Files" was playing on over-the-air TV and I caught up on more blogs and the news.

  • My daughter texted to ask if she might be able to come home after dinner so I agreed.  So that's another meal I won't feed her, which means more leftovers for Greg's lunches :)

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and reached my goal so I ordered a $5 Amazon gift card, which was emailed to me immediately. Woohoo!  Greg wants to order a squash racket so this will help bring the cost down.

  • I entered my current weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned another 20 BR points.

  • I input all my receipts from the past few days in my spreadsheets.

  • I earned 100 KFR points by entering bonus code FREE-PTSW-ARMU-PNOW in my Kellogg's Family Rewards account (exp 3/17) thanks to a poster on Slickdeals.

  • I unlocked new offers in MobiSave and Ibotta.

  • I printed a few new coupons via Swagbucks and fired up the old laptop to print a few more.

  • My son borrowed my bike to go to the library for his volunteer shift. Exercise for him, gas savings for me :)

  • I took 3 RaceTrac surveys (for 3 different stations) and earned survey reward codes that I will redeem for 3 freebies.

  • So I'm in the middle of an a major meltdown about a UPS driver once again claiming that they can't find my house to make a delivery (See "Failures"). In the middle of all that, Amazon gave me an extra month of Amazon Prime to make up for the fact that I'm not going to be getting my packages on time. (Who knows if I'll get them tomorrow!). I replied that it was very nice of you but this wasn't an Amazon failure but a UPS failure and that they should put pressure on UPS to get this solved because it's starting to affect their own bottom line. It's such a small drop in the ocean, I'm sure no one will care, but it's bothering me. However, after reading my "Failure", can you see why I'm writing to the UPS CEO?  It's not even Amazon's fault and they're giving me a month of Amazon Prime and apologizing, while the UPS "customer service" rep talked over me, didn't listen and hung up on me... and that's after they failed to deliver my packages and lied about the reason why!

  • I used the tomatoes that I harvested from the garden and a few I had harvested last week in the salad I made tonight.

  • After dinner, Greg and I watched a couple more episodes of the Jim Gaffigan Show (since I had bought, we feel we kind of have to finish the season).

  • Gas:
    • to drive my son to school
    • and tolls for Greg to commute
    • and tolls for my daughter to come home

  • Electricity:
    • to run the dryer for Greg's Tshirts and the bath towels
    • to run the AC again starting at 2:45 p.m.

  • A cat has been throwing up this morning and I don't know which one. I hope it's not Princess. She threw up a couple of times last night but it looked like she had a small piece of tinsel caught in her throat that she eventually hacked out.  But then her little nose felt warm and she was cuddling more than usual so I don't think she was feeling good. I worried about her all night, especially when she woke me up at 2 a.m. by crying from under my bed, but I think her claws might have gotten caught in the plastic mattress cover (we store a spare twin mattress under my bed).  Anyhoo, eventually she got in bed with me and she was acting fine this morning. But now I've found more throw-up (although this time it's food and the older cats tend to wolf their food down and then throw it back up again, at times) and I don't know which cat isn't feeling well :(

  • I killed the first roach (i.e. Palmetto bug) in our house for 2017. Ugh. I hate those but we don't spray pesticides inside the house (or outside, save for wasp and hornet spray) so we have to live with "nature". I texted a picture of it to Greg who replied "it's Springtime!".

  • I noticed that the kittens have managed to scratch the sliding door window screen so badly by attempting to climb it, that there is a large hole developing about waist high. I'm going to have to research how to mend that.  In the meantime, I'm leaving the sliding door closed. Sorry, kitties.

  • I got another notification from Amazon that my package was "undeliverable", just like it was a couple of weeks ago when my daughter was expecting hers. I'm on the phone with UPS because it's unbelievable that the same driver might be at it again! This time, I'm complaining to the national number and she said she would arrange for it to be re-delivered today, but then she put me on hold and said the local customer center would call me back within the hour, which means I'll speak to the same woman I had last time, more than likely, who had defended the driver by saying that she didn't "see" him trying to get out of work and questioned just how easily it was to find my house.  Have I mentioned that I'm PMS'ing?  It's not going to be a pleasant phone call. I hate incompetence and especially when people lie to hide their incompetence or laziness.  Update: well that call didn't go well at all. I couldn't remember if the lady who called back was the same one I had talked to the last time or not, but I suspect that it was as we went beating around the bush again about my house number and so on and so forth.  She kept on talking over me (oh, I HATE that) instead of listening and when I asked if they could at least research whether it was the same driver as the last time, she ended up hanging up on me!  And then I realized that my problem is actually affecting TWO separate packages from Amazon so I have drafted a letter to the UPS CEO, waiting to see if the packages are delivered tonight or not (I'm 100% sure they won't be, there is no way that driver is going to show his face once that lady calls him to tell him I'm a bitch). I've also contacted Amazon to report the problem and explain that it's not an Amazon problem but that it's affecting their business so they need to contact UPS and find out what the heck is happening. Oh I am so pissed off about this.

  • I threw away a mostly full bag of organic rye flour that had a sell-by date of 2012. It was rancid!

  • No Spend Day

  • Earned 3 freebie codes from RaceTrac by taking surveys for 3 different stations.
  • An extra month of Amazon Prime because Amazon is an amazing (ha!) company and apologized for a situation that isn't their fault!
  • My daughter brought back some pizza from her dad's because they had bought too much for dinner :)

  • Fed the kittens
  • Packed Greg's lunch
  • Prepped his breakfast
  • Cleaned up cat vomit
  • Drove my son to school
  • Aired out the house
  • Chatted with Greg
  • Charged my camera's battery
  • Worked on my Rewards programs
  • Made my bed
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box
  • Collected the trash and recycling from upstairs
  • Washed Greg's bedding
  • Aired out the upstairs and my son's room
  • Collected dirty laundry throughout the house
  • Filtered water for the cats and refilled their bowl
  • Organized the dirty dishes to wash them later on
  • Boiled eggs for my lunches this week
  • Cleaned the kitchen table
  • Set out the drying racks on the patio for later on
  • Inspected and photographed the garden
  • Harvested some tomatoes
  • Killed a roach
  • Caught up and commented on blogs
  • Inventoried the fridge and surveyed the freezer
  • Put away my dSLR camera in its case
  • Rescued a kitten from shredding his own fur
  • Wrote a dinner menu for the week and printed it for myself
  • Hung the laundry outside to dry
  • Baked cupcakes
  • Input receipts in my spreadsheets
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Contacted UPS about the missing package
  • Did the dishes
  • Frosted the cupcakes
  • Swept and fake mopped the kitchen
  • Brought the dry laundry back inside
  • Contacted Amazon about the missing package
  • Wrote a letter to the UPS CEO about all the missing packages
  • Printed coupons
  • Moved more documents from my old laptop to my new one
  • Took Customer Satisfaction surveys
  • Cooked dinner
  • Took the trash can down to the curb
  • Remade Greg's bed with fresh linens
  • Put the dishes away
  • Did the dinner dishes
  • Watched a show with Greg
  • For Middle Son finding a used car to purchase and my ex lending him the money to do that
  • For my Daughter's safe return from her dad's


I had to recharge my new camera's batteries this morning (my replacement batteries come in today, so happy about that!) so I grabbed my Canon Powershot 4500 to go photograph the garden.  I kept hearing a hawk in a nearby tree but didn't catch a glimpse of it, but the other birds have fallen mostly silent :(

I guess the roses didn't mind that I pruned them so much!

We have a ton of those beggarticks in the front and backyard, which means that Greg is itching to mow them down :(

The bean plants that wouldn't die. They're not very plentiful though, probably because I have
been very lax with the watering.

The pineapples are coming along.


Princess taking a nap next to me this morning.

Explorer has an obsession with Greg's socks. This morning he was bored with the 2 pairs
that he brought downstairs in the middle of the night, so he got himself a pair of black socks :)

I was airing out the house and somehow Princess got into the upstairs bathroom and squeezed herself behind the bottles of shampoo so she could keep a better eye on me in the garden down below!

Did you have a productive Monday?  Are you ready for March to start already?


  1. Happy 3 year anniversary to your blog! So glad you got to celebrate with cupcakes! I hope you get the UPS situation sorted out! Very poor customer service. I once received a package that was meant for someone in the other block! Same house number, but different road names! Her name and phone number were on the shipping label, so I called her and she came over and collected it!

    1. Thank you! We very often get mail for our neighbors, but that's USPS. I did get the packages, although I'm quite sure they delivered them today while I was upstairs doing some chores and didn't even knock on the door and then marked them delivered yesterday. Now I want to get cameras for the front of my house!

  2. Congratulations on your three year anniversary. Finding blog friends is the best. That's something I didn't anticipate when I started my blog.

    A couple of years ago, a Walmart near an Aldi's here, remodeled and opened up a grocery store part. Since then there has been a price war going on with milk. Aldi's is always cheaper, but both of them have cheaper milk than anywhere around. So I think price comparisons have been going on between them for a while.

    1. I didn't either... I never imagined that anyone would actually read mine and bother commenting and reading it some more!

      Our Aldi is almost next door to the Walmart SuperCenter but they certainly don't war on prices... milk at Walmart was almost double the price than at Aldi, the last time I checked. But it's good that Walmart is feeling the pressure, I think. That's the whole point of competition, isn't it? I wish we had the same thing going on with the utilities and internet providers down here.

  3. Happy Blog Birthday!! How exciting -- I think making cupcakes to celebrate was a great idea. Did you like that flavor? I've never tried that kind of cake mix before.

    The UPS mix-up would have me livid. I get this vein in my neck that starts to pulse when I get really angry and I can totally feel it starting to twitch just thinking about this! I hope that your letter to the CEO gets some positive results.

    My Monday was busy! Somehow I always have quite a bit of studying to do before class, which makes things feel hectic.

    1. Thank you! Yes, that flavor was very good. I had bought 2 boxes of it back then so I already knew that we liked them. I don't know if they still make it, though.

      I feel so relieved that you would have gotten angry too, Laura. You seem like such a cool and collected person. I go from zen to pissed off in just seconds but I think it was definitely justified this time.

      I'm in awe of you going to grad school and working and also managing your household, husband and pets!

  4. Congrats on your third anniversary and I don't think one can have too much cat hair in their lives! �� Hope your ordeal with UPS gets resolved quickly. I'd be boiling over as well if that happened to me. The days are zipping by--my little granddaughter just had her fourth birthday. Hard to believe March is almost here.

    1. Thank you and happy birthday to your granddaughter! I'll be happy to ship you some cat hair if you want some more, lol.

  5. Good morning. I am anxious to hear what the outcome of UPS is. I get a lot of packages every week for the business. I have everything shipped to the house because our studio hours are so sporadic and I don't want them leaving packages at the door. Our house got black marked by the UPS driver for our attack dog. My father does own a dog and it has been a bone of contention for us for various reasons over the years. However, supposedly our dog had attacked the driver. I asked for a police report and none was made. I asked for a copy of the work report on this, and none was made. I asked for proof of medical injuries sustained in this attack none were available. I asked for a description of the dog. The dog was described but it wasn't the one that my father owns. It was the neighbors. It was suggested that I have my business packages shipped to my business. I told them that they had no right to blacklist me or any house on our street unless the police have been called and a report filed. We started getting our packages again. All of these things were said to me by the local customer service person. I knew what questions to ask based on my conversation with corporate. You may get further along by writing to corporate

    1. Oh my goodness, Sandie! Good for you for getting this resolved!
      I always contact Corporate when I have a problem at the local level. I don't play the "let me talk to your manager" game, I just go straight to the top and let it trickle down. CEOs need to hear what's going on in their companies. As a matter of fact, when I told Greg the whole story last night, he said "I can't believe you didn't write to the CEO!". Well, I had, I just hadn't mentioned it to him, hahaha. He knows me so well :)

  6. I am bug-phobe BAD! If that would have been in my list of accomplishments, if sould have looked something like this:
    *scream and ran like a lunatic and caused roach to die of a heart attack.
    *cleaned up sheetrock where bullet wholes went through while trying to kills rock
    *called my bug guy (who comes out once every 3 months)to come back out although it has only been 2 weeks since he sprayed.
    *started patching sheetrock holes in order to repaint.

  7. Happy blogaversary!

    The situation with UPS would tick me off, too!

    1. Thank you! And you remind me that I really need to finalize my letter to the UPS CEO and get it sent out. Wouldn't you know that they didn't have any problems finding my house after I complained, or to deliver the next package 2 days later?


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