Friday, March 3, 2017

Coffee Breath ~ Friday 3/3/17

Photo found on Etsy

I slept like a rock last night and wish I could have slept longer!  I was so tired when we got home, it was very hard for me to finish my post.  As I re-read previous posts, I find that I very often complain of feeling exhausted and I'm sure it's due to the fact that I'm not drinking enough. Water, that is.  Because my life really isn't that strenuous!

It was chilly this morning when I took my son to school so I put on a light jacket. It's also sunny with a bright blue sky, yay!  I want to go sit outside but for now it's a little too cold. The indoor temperature dropped from 71F to 66F when I opened the windows and I saw we have an advisory for Fire Weather until noon as the winds are stronger than usual.  I shall go sit outside soon, though. It's 8:30 a.m. right now.

The darndest thing happened with my coffee this morning but before I get to this, I need to explain the title of my post... so I brew my coffee as soon as I get up (I have a small coffeemaker that only makes 2 cups' worth), sip on my first cup while I wait for the time to take my son to school, and then leave my mug on the futon's arm as I drive to school, to finish it when I come back.

This morning, Greg asked me if I had left my coffee out because when Tabby Kitty went to give him kisses to wake him up, he had coffee breath!  I was joking that Greg probably thought "Nathalie?! You've lost some weight and ooooh... you really need to shave your legs!" lol.  Those darn kittens.

Anyhoo, the weird thing with the coffee is this: I use milk in my coffee.  This morning, when I poured the milk into the coffee, it immediately curdled!  The coffee didn't taste bad so I just started drinking it, but thinking that I'd have to throw away the milk, to which I just added water just a couple of days ago and which has a sell-by date of 3/9 so it shouldn't be curdling yet!  As I reached the bottom of the mug, the curdles became too much and I threw away the rest of the cup and went to inspect the milk.  The milk is normal. Not curdled, not smelly. Normal.  Huh. So I thought maybe it was a chemical reaction with the sweetener that caused it, as I used a Splenda "pill" this morning instead of the other sweeteners at my disposal.  I rinsed my cup, poured myself a 2nd cup of coffee, added some milk without adding sweetener... and the milk curdled again!  I have no idea what is going on!  It's the same coffee I've been using for several days.  I had to throw away that mug-full too (arrgh) and I brewed a new pot. This time I used some milk from a brick of shelf-stable milk and it didn't curdle, so obviously the problem is with the milk itself, but I'm having it in my cereal and it's completely fine and NOT curdled!  So I don't know what's going on. I felt like I was on Candid Camera or something.

I'm definitely at the perimenopausal stage, as my period is late yet again. TMI but it translates in my telling Greg that I didn't think I'd want to go kayaking this weekend because who wants to be in alligator-infested waters when she's bleeding, right?  Not me.  So we'll probably postpone our purchase of the kayaks, I think.

I don't have any big projects today save for: planting the tree that I received at the beginning of the week since I still haven't done that. Greg suggested I plant it in the front yard, close to where we had a large oak tree taken down several years ago. I wonder if I'll be able to dig a large enough hole due to the roots that are probably still in place, and also I need to try to avoid the old phone cable, which was buried by the phone company.  We no longer have a house line, but that's no reason to dig through the cable.

I also want to write that letter to my great-aunt and update my French blog. Oh, and I want to bake lemon cupcakes.  We'll see how much I get done.

  • Bake cupcakes DONE
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift 
  • Clean bathroom ceiling
  • Make my bed DONE
  • 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
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) DONE
  • Vacuum Youngest Son's bedroom
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son
  • 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) 
  • Read one of the library books in progress
  • Clean upstairs litter box 
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Finish reading previous issue of Kiplinger's DONE
  • Read new issue of Kiplinger's DONE
  • Wash kitchen windows
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Inventory the freezers
  • Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
  • Take RaceTrac surveys 
  • Take Driscoll's surveys
  • Take my measurements
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Move coffee table back to living room
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • 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
  • Mail letter to my great aunt
  • Update French blog DONE
  • Mend sliding door window screen
  • Finalize and mail letter to UPS CEO (add Amazon's comparison)
  • Plant and water the tree
  • Purge the coupon organizer I'll do it this weekend as I realized I have quite a few coupons expiring on 3/3 and I want to make sure I don't purge something that I might need between now and then.
  • Make sure I get answer from the Educational Foundation director re: Daughter's scholarship after what paperwork to fill out she'll probably answer next week since they have a big event his weekend
  • Finish calculating our Net Worth DONE
  • Track my and Greg's IRAs for the IRS
  • Do the shredding DONE
  • Fix the brakes on my bike again
  • Download all February pictures from phone, Canon camera, and Panasonic camera to external drive
  • Trim cats' nails
  • Mail Boxtops to former elementary school DONE
  • Get the hummingbird feeders out of storage
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Greg rid of cardboard boxes on the front porch
  • Make sure all pictures from the Canon camera are saved to external drive and then wipe out the memory card, format it for the Panasonic camera and swap memory cards
  • Keep track of Greg's paystub in my spreadsheets DONE

  • Youngest Son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • The weather is so cool, I aired out the house and I'm hoping I can keep the windows open for most of the day as our high is supposed to be 70F/21C.

  • I'm playing Swagbucks videos to try and earn a few SB today. My 1st goal is 90 SB and I'm at 1,836 SB total.

  • I could get free coffee from Wawa today with my app, but I don't have any errands to run anywhere near Wawa, I don't think, so I'll forego the free coffee, sob.

  • Brr, the breeze blowing through the house was so cold, I had to put on a sweater and close some of the windows!  The kittens are liking the colder weather, though, they're doing quite a bit of running around.

  • I tracked Greg's paystub on my spreadsheets.  He had shares vest a couple of weeks ago that increased his income (although not his paycheck) and the taxes we pay. They're not listed a line item on his paystub so it I don't track those numbers paycheck by paycheck, I end up underestimating how much money he earns and pays in taxes during the year and wondering why his employer is saying he made that much more without us actually getting the money in the bank throughout the year! And if I try to project our tax return (as I liked to do prior to him getting stock options!), then my numbers are way off. This allows me to better understand what income is imputed to him and why we end up paying in taxes throughout the year.

  • I had scheduled an automatic transfer of Greg's 2016 raise to our savings account each time he gets paid so $80 was sent to our savings account yesterday.

  • Remember when my son and I tried to join a Meet-up group last week to play Dungeons and Dragons?  There was another long-time player from another D&D group who had also signed up for this game and who reached out to me after I left a comment stating how disappointed I was that no one had taken the time to note that this group had indeed been dissolved 4 months ago. That was really nice of him, especially since he referred me back to the group he belongs to but their games didn't work with our schedule at the time.  He sent me a direct message via Meet-up today to let me know that his group is starting a game on Saturday evenings and while tomorrow's game is full, we could sign up for next week's game!  That group looks much more organized and their Meet-up site has a lot of information so I forwarded the email to my son to ask if he wants to try it again.  Update: my son really wants to attend and I'm waiting on a reply to a question that I sent that other member before we sign up!

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards.

  • Our Net Worth increased by 3.11% last month. I have no idea whether that's good or not, but it's an increase so it's not bad, lol. I saved it as a pdf and emailed it to Greg so he can look at it.

  • I clipped the Boxtops for Education neatly and mailed them to our former elementary school.

  • Time to get ready for next week's shopping trip!  I had already cleaned out the Google Sheets spreadsheet that I use to track what I want to buy and the coupons and gift cards that I want to use in preparation for next week's trip, so today I looked up the ad previews for CVS and Walgreens next week and added what I planned on buying to my spreadsheet.  I had commented on Laura's blog that I hoped the Diet Dr. Pepper would be on sale at CVS and it is, sort of ($3.33 a 12-pack if you buy 3) so I'll plan on getting that (hopefully they'll have 3 of them, the Diet Dr. Pepper goes fast) and I'll get milk there as well ($2.79) and possibly eggs ($0.99) if I need any.  It's worth nothing that Walgreens will have a $2 off a gallon of milk store coupon in their ad (at least in Central Florida).  I can't remember how much they charge for milk when it's not on sale but if it's like CVS, then it's $3.99 a gallon. That would make the gallon $1.99 which is a very good price for Florida. But since I'll get mine for free at CVS after gift card, I'll skip going to Walgreens. It's almost time for me to stock up on cereal for the kids again but the sales aren't great right now so I'll wait.
  • Also, looking through last March's posts earlier this week reminded me that the butter went on sale at $1.99/lb at Aldi last year right before Easter so I'm hoping we'll have another sale in 2-3 weeks.  This year Easter is on April 16.  I plan on stocking up some more if it goes that low.  However, the price before the sale had been $2.49 back then whereas it's been $2.99 since the holidays both at Aldi and Save A Lot so maybe the sale price will only be $2.49 this year.  I guess we'll see.

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

  • I updated my French blog for my family.  Looking at the number of visitors, it doesn't look like they're reading it at all, but I'll persevere for a while longer...

  • I had forgotten about the $10 in ECB that I had earned from CVS for taking a survey a few days ago!  It just came through via email so it looks like I'll be definitely getting that Diet Dr. Pepper for free next week, woohoo!

  • My lunch my daughter made herself a small box of generic mac'n cheese ($0.34). I had an egg salad sandwich (free eggs), the last ear of corn from last night, half a papaya ($0.99/lb) and a Activia yogurt (19 cents).

  • Instead of making cupcakes, I decided to use a cake pan so we'll have a 13 x 9 lemon cake for snack. I used a Betty Crocker cake mix that had been in my pantry for several months, and half a can of vanilla frosting that had also been in the pantry for... well I don't hope too long as I keep on telling my daughter NOT to leave half cans of frosting in the pantry (I want her to put them in the fridge instead) but she never listens.  Grrr. I hate it when I think I have a whole can of frosting in the pantry and then I go to use it and it's only halfway full!  Update: wow, this cake is delicious and the texture is heavenly!  I'm quite sure it's because I beat the mix for 2 minutes with my new KitchenAid Artisan mixer, as instructed on the box! In the past I always just beat it by hand until it was moistened, but the texture was never as light and fluffy!  And, yes, this means I did have a piece of cake. I'm definitely failing at the diet thing again.

  • I'm also cooking one of the pumpkins that I had bought for $2.99 at Save A Lot last Fall because I'm going to make pumpkin soup for dinner tonight. I'll probably also make pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie this weekend, so avoid having to freeze the purée.

  • I researched rolling over Greg's old 401(k) into an IRA. I wasn't sure if we would be impacted by IRA yearly contribution limits, but apparently there aren't any such limits for rollover IRAs.  (the source is another blog so I'm going to want to confirm this with the IRS itself). The main catches are that I need to make sure the check would be in the name of the IRA trustee, not ours, or we would incur a large penalty, we have 60 days to forward the check to the new trustee, and if the 401(k) was a traditional 401(k) but we roll it into a Roth IRA, then we would have to pay taxes right away so we would need cash on hand for this.  I don't think we have to worry about that because I don't think we fully qualify for Roth IRAs again this year, if we qualify at all.  The advantage of rolling the old 401(k) into an IRA is that we are limited to just 1 fund in the 401(k), whereas we would have many more fund options in an IRA. They're both in Vanguard so I'm not sure whether we would save on fees, but usually fees are lower for IRA accounts than for 401(k) accounts.  I need to discuss this with Greg.
    Note to self, sources are:

  • I was reading article about upcoming events in Lake and Sumter counties and noticed that the yearly WWII skirmish reenactment that we like to attend is this weekend!  I thought it was back in January and that we had missed it.  So we'll be headed to Bushnell this weekend as we all enjoy watching the skirmish and talking to the reenactors. It's noted that the cost is $3 per person so I guess our annual state park won't be enough to get us in.

  • I texted my friend who's now in real estate and going to be working with her mom who is involved in real estate at The Villages, to ask if her mom is a member of the Optimist Club over there and to suggest that she (my friend) might want to join. She's passionate about supporting the youth (former teacher and school administrator) and moreover I thought it might be a great networking opportunity for her.  In other news she and her husband sold their house and bought a new house just South of Leesburg. They'd been talking about moving to Orlando but they do want to remain somewhat close to Clermont. I'm relieved as I really like our monthly lunches but I wasn't sure if we'd be able to keep those if she moved "far away", lol.  As it is, she told me she got office space downtown Clermont so it'll really be easy to meet her for lunch and try some of the downtown restaurants! I have old Groupon certificates for a good lunch place there.  The original purchase value doesn't expire even though the promotional value did expire long ago, so I might finally be able to use them up!  I had bought them to meet my BFF for breakfast there as we used to meet there monthly, but shortly after I bought them, she started working full-time and Greg never wanted to go there so they went unused :(

  • Just realized that season 2 and 3 of The Great British Baking Show are on Netflix!  Woohoo! Greg tells me we've already watched Season 2. I don't care, it's a new date night for us as we loooove that show. I wish I could get my daughter to watch it with us, it's so much up her alley but she's always resistant to watching anything that I suggest (and then watches it a year or so later and then acts as if she was the one who discovered the show, lol!). Update: well poop, apparently we had already watched season 3 as well :(

  • I (finally!) received the new print edition of Kiplinger's (free subscription). I don't know why I'm excited as I haven't finished reading the previous issue yet!  Update: Done!

  • I started reading the new issue of Kiplinger's and while I tore several pages with information I want to keep for future reference, here are some numbers that are really eye-opening for me and that I am going to share with Greg.  I turn 50 this year but he turns 50 next year.
"In 2017, you can add $6,000 to your 401(k) above the $18,000 annual contribution limit, for a total of $24,000 for the year. If you invest $24,000 in your 401(k) every year starting at age 50, you will boost your retirement savings by more than $580K by the time you're 65, assuming a 6% return per year."
"If you invest $6,500 in an IRA every year starting at age 50, you would amass from than $157,000 in your IRA in 15 years."
 Guess who's going to make sure we contribute the maximum to those accounts?  Yet another reason to hurry up and pay off our mortgage! 

  • I used 1/2 a pumpkin, leftover homemade chicken stock + 1 cup of Better Than Bouillon, plain yogurt and spices to make a huge batch of pumpkin soup. It's more like pumpkin pudding as it's very thick!  I think I'll probably freeze at least half the batch for next week.  I also cooked grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.  

  • A couple of weeks ago, I decided that every Friday night will be soup and grilled cheese night, Wednesdays and Saturdays will be crockpot recipes (I'm tired, typically, on those days from shopping or hiking) and I'll grill burgers on Sundays.  That already makes meal planning a little easier :)

  • Our county's main industry seems to be more and more health services.  We are, indeed, in Florida, the state with the highest population of retirees!  Our high school is going to start offering a 2-year Health Sciences Collegiate Academy this fall, for high schoolers who want to major in Health Sciences and dual-enroll.  I received the flyer today and will be talking to my son about it. He abhors blood so he wouldn't want to work as a nurse or doctor but they also talked in the past of training database administrators specifically for the health industry.

  • After I did the dishes, Greg suggested we watch "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" on Amazon Prime. I agreed, but I can't stand Tom Cruise so I'm not too excited about it. Proof is, I'm typing this while the movie is playing, LOL.

  • SavingStar finally replied to my email that they credited my account for the Dial offer but that it'll take a couple of days to appear in my account.

  • Gas:
    • to drive my son to school
    • and tolls for Greg's commute

  • I had to throw away 2 mugs of coffee when the milk inexplicably curdled in it.

  • Well darn it.  I was reading the previous issue of Kiplinger's  and ran across a reply to a reader that states that this year the maximum amount on which we pay Social Security taxes rose in 2017 to $127,200.  So we'll be paying SS taxes on almost $10,000 more than we did last year.  I don't know anyone who wants to pay more taxes and that includes me, lol.

  • 7-11: Greg gassed up the truck so about $50? I don't have the receipt in front of me.

  • I received the $10 ECB incentive for taking a CVS Advisory Panel survey earlier this week.

  • Made my bed
  • Fed the kittens
  • Packed a lunch for Greg
  • Prepped his breakfast
  • Drove my son to school
  • Aired out the house
  • Chatted with Greg
  • Texted my BFF
  • Tracked Greg's paycheck into my spreadsheets
  • Worked on my Rewards programs
  • Replied to DM from a Meet-up member about a D&D game
  • Emailed my son and Greg about D&D game
  • Completed our Net Worth Report and emailed it to Greg
  • Worked on my shopping list for next week
  • Updated my French blog
  • Researched rolling over Greg's old 401(k)
  • Baked a cake
  • Cooked a pumpkin
  • Chatted with Son about D&D
  • Texted Greg about WWII reenactment
  • Texted Juliet re: Optimist Club
  • Finished reading last month's issue of Kiplinger's and read the new issue received today!
  • Cooked dinner
  • "Watched" a movie with Greg

  • For cool temperatures!
  • For a nice D&D player who thought to invite us to another game



    1. Ha, ha, too funny about Tabby Kitty and his coffee breath! We used to have a cat who always had to share my morning tea with me! I'd pour a bit to my saucer and she'd lap it up!

      That cake looks delicious and now my mouth is watering! It's hard to diet when you are baking such yummy looking treats for the family!

      Sounds like you had a pretty good day, overall. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

      1. Ha, I do remember you telling me that about your cat who drank tea. What a lovely morning ritual you two had :)

        I kind of was thinking of you when I posted the larger picture of the cake slice, hahaha. Of course you're having the last laugh as you keep on losing weight (way to go!) and this week I've put some on. Oh well :)

        I hope you're having a great weekend as well, Bless!

    2. I really enjoy reading your blog. You sure know a lot about taxes/investments. Let's see - frosting- oh no, don't use that canned chemical crap haha. It's so easy to make good tasting frosting from scratch! I finally got my sis to change- she makes a cake about every week for nephew!This morning I am taking GS someplace at 8 AM- hope he knows the address- while DD attends a workshop and soninlaw has baseball with younger GS (he's still just 12 and is in last year of little league). Then I need to return some capris I bought that are actually too big YAY! My unpleasant task for the weekend- try on swimsuits and decide if I need to buy a new one before we go to Disney. What could be more fun than to try on swimsuits UGH? As for your lethargy, I had the same symptom around age 50 and asked my doctor to test my thyroid- it was low and I've been taking Synthroid since then. I had to ask though! Since then my brother was diagnosed with the same 'condition'- hypothyroidism. I hope the D&D works out for you guys. Have a good Saturday.

      1. Aww, thanks for the kind words, Nan. I really enjoy your comments as well! I must be a great expert bullsh*tter as people always end up thinking I know a lot about subjects I really don't know much at all, hahaha. One day I was hired for a job that I, luckily, knew I was completely unsuited for just because I threw around some technical words that I had heard qualified people use, during my interview, and apparently the recruiter was even more clueless than I was :) I did turn down the job. I would have been in real trouble had I taken it! All of that to say, I really don't know much about taxes and less than zero about investing. I also don't like dealing with either but I feel that I have to keep abreast of certain things because Greg is even less interested than I am and, darn it, one of us needs to make sure that we have some money left for retirement (and I guess the one who isn't bringing an income is the one who should do it...). I wish it all wasn't so complicated and sometimes I wish I trusted people more so I would get an accountant and financial planner who could do it all for us!

        Good job on losing weight! That's awesome! Oh, I hate shopping for bathing suits too, especially with the harsh lights in the dressing rooms. I wish they would realize that we need dim, soft lights, hahaha.

        Thanks for the feedback on my lack of energy. It might very well be my thyroid. My dad has Hashimoto Disease (hypothyroidism) and from what I had read, it's hereditary especially between fathers and daughters. However, I don't like doctors, and don't want to take drugs, especially for the rest of my life, so I'm ignoring it. I'm aware of the consequences as well. I'm very stubborn!

    3. That's too funny! Greg got woken up by kitten coffee breath. :)

    4. Hi Nathalie! Have you recently run vinegar through your machine? The same thing happened to me when I ran vinegar through my Keurig. After the vinegar, I ran a whole container full of just water through it but it must not have been enough because it was curling my creamer to. So I had to redo it a few more times before it was ok. If that's not it, I don't have an explanation, lol. Have a good weekend!

      1. Thanks for the warning, Kris, but I hadn't ran vinegar through it. I wonder if maybe there was dish soap left in the mug since I do the dishes by hand now? It's a mystery!

        Thanks and have a great weekend too!

    5. Haha, I don't think my cats have ever been interested in our coffee. At least, not enough to actually taste it. We use covered mugs, though (more to keep it warm than to keep it safe). I am skeptical about water glasses left unattended!

      I've had the same thing happen with coffee and cream. I think sometimes the acidity level of the coffee might react with the milk? I don't know. It didn't make me happy, either, to throw coffee down the drain.

      1. Especially your precious Starbucks coffee, hahaha! I use covered mugs only for when I drink coffee in the car, but I might have to resort to this? I don't mind cold coffee. We have found our kittens with their heads completely down Greg's cup of water on several occasions! I suspect that will end once their heads get too large.

    6. ...who wants to be in alligator-infested waters when she's bleeding... OK, this made me laugh. Never thought about that, but then I haven't had to worry about this topic for a few years.

      I've had to throw out coffee because of "chunky milk." Made me mad.

      I had a cat who was obsessed with my peppermint tea, she almost was obnoxious about it. Then I read that catnip is related to mint, and it made sense. Luckily, nobody wants my coffee. Ha!

      1. I had no idea mint was related to catnip! Greg drinks peppermint tea once in a while in the evening but I don't think I ever noticed the cats wanting to drink it.


    Anything you'd like to add? Share away!