Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Biking On the West Orange Trail: A Date with My Daughter ~ Wednesday 4/12/17

I'm getting bored with myself, always recounting the same things day in, day out, so I might go back to a mostly weekly format for a while, as it seems to help me sum up my days a little more succintly. I don't know, we'll see.

Today would normally be my shopping day but my week has been rearranged so as to have several dates.  Today I'm having a date with my daughter. We're going biking on the West Orange Trail and then having lunch in Winter Garden.  The weather is supposed to be "fair" and the high, 80F/26.6C.

Explorer let me sleep until 5:30 a.m. today and then he started licking me all over, I guess that was his way of saying "You stink lady, go take a shower!".  I managed to stay in bed and fall back asleep until my alarm rang at 6:10 a.m. and then I took a long shower because I didn't want to smell like kitten breath, ha.

I didn't do the dishes the past couple of nights (bad Nathalie!) so I have that awaiting me today. Common sense would dictate that I do them first thing in the morning so I don't fret about it all day, but here I am, back on my patio, with my mug of coffee. Listen, the days when I can do this are going to be far and few soon, so I'm determined to enjoy them.  I have until 6 p.m. to do the dishes :)

  • Defrost meat for dinner No need today
  • Make menu for the week - I think I'm going to fly by the seat of my pants this week.
  • Put CVS and Aldi receipts in my wallet
  • Return items to CVS and Aldi 
  • Enter receipts in all spreadsheets
  • Measure patio table to see if Lowe's umbrella stand would fit under it DONE. I don't think it'll fit.
  • Clean upstairs bathroom sink and mirror, and toilet
  • Scrub the bathtub 
  • Research state parks to visit this weekend
  • Declutter the printer stand in progress
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift - ON FRIDAY
  • Take Youngest Son to get a haircut - Greg is going this weekend, I'll have him take Youngest Son with him
  • Clean bathroom ceiling 
  • Clean hallway ceiling right outside the bathroom
  • Make my bed 
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits DONE
  • Input weight into WHBRHC  
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time
  • Unload dishwasher DONE
  • Do the dishes from last 2 days DONE
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) 
  • Take one mattress and the bed to the thrift store?
  • 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 
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only)  Took a 9+ mile bike ride
  • Clean upstairs litter box  Did it late last night
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Inventory the freezers
  • Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
  • Take RaceTrac surveys DONE
  • 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
  • Ask Discovery Gardens staff about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Go to airport to cash in my euros - I will go drop off Greg at the airport next month and do it then
  • Mend sliding door window screen - get cat resistant screening material?
  • Plant and water the tree
  • Plant the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant
  • Track my and Greg's IRAs for the IRS
  • Download all February and March pictures from phone, Canon camera, and Panasonic camera to external drive
  • Reply to blog comments  
  • Purge the dresser in the upstairs hallway
  • Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
  • File all the pending documents
  • Use brush on fridge coils
  • Schedule maintenance appointment for my SUV
  • Try making yogurt in yogurt maker
  • See if can mend Youngest Son former backpack straps
  • Read a library book in progress
  • Contact Juliet to schedule lunch this month
  • Preserve the peppers that are on my counter
  • Take cuttings of the basil and root them
  • Take cuttings of the jasmine and root them
  • Ask to take cuttings of the neighbor's hibiscus and root them
  • Sew headphones in place
  • Add bleach to furnace line
  • Order 2nd hose reel DONE
  • Print copy of insurance card and give to Youngest Son to put in his wallet
  • Fold laundry
  • Put laundry away
  • Schedule credit card payments
  • Get apples out of the fridge DONE
  • Put recycling bins out - DONE

  • Last night Windows 10 alerted me that it was about to update itself, right as I was in the middle of uploading pictures for my post. Thankfully I had the option to delay it a little. So when I went to bed, I turned off the laptop completely so the updates could be downloaded while I slept.  Of course, they're not installed until I turn the laptop on again but I remembered to do that first thing upon getting up so they could install themselves while I did my first morning chores and I didn't have to be frustrated by the amount of time that it took.  It worked like a charm.

  • Youngest Son dressed up in business attire to go to school today to earn extra credit for 2 different classes. He even brushed his hair!  I think I need to review how he irons his pants, though, because he said he ironed them but they didn't look ironed to me.

  • He packed a lunch and I drove him to school. He'll ride the bus home.

  • I didn't need to pack a lunch for Greg, I just took his lunchbox that he had left at home yesterday out of the fridge and made sure he had it with him when he left this morning!

  • I had to put the recycling bins out this morning and I finally relented and dumped the sour milk that was in the fridge and that was much too sour to use in anything.  I used to be able to reliably buy 2 gallons of milk a week, then Greg stopped eating cereal so I went down to 1 gallon. Then the kids, for whatever reason, stopped eating cereal too, so then I went to 1/2 gallon. Now Greg is eating cereal again and I've had to pull the UHT milk from hurricane supplies stock because I had ran out of milk. Arrrgh!  The gallon is on sale at CVS this week so I'm going back to buying 1 gallon.

  • I'm not defrosting meat for tonight. We'll have spaghetti and meatballs with some salad.

  • I checked the new ads for Aldi and Save A Lot and adjusted my shopping list.  Aldi will have a rain barrel on sale next week that I might get, if I can convince Greg to install over bit of gutter around the back of the house.  If you missed the butter on sale last week, Save A Lot has it for $1.99/lb this week with a limit of 2.
Aldi this week, The onions are on sale and I need some!

Aldi NEXT week

Save A Lot this week

Save A Lot this week too
  • Swagbucks had automatic videos for 1 SB a series this morning again so I've been playing those.  I have a little over 1,500 SB, it would be nice to be able to reach 2,200 before the end of the month but I don't see it happening.

  • Even though my son and Greg declared the Peach Melba Dump Cake "delicious!", they haven't been eating it, so I guess it's up to me... breakfast, anyone?  Don't mind if I do.  Yeah, I think I've given up on that freaking diet. I'll be a fat 50 year-old. Yes, I am pathetic, thank you.

  • My daughter has to go see the Guidance Counselor this morning to go pick up her invitation to the Top Scholars luncheon (why they didn't mail it, I don't know...), along with an application to a scholarship that I guess she's qualified to request?  I don't have any details yet.  Since the Guidance Counselor won't be in her office until 11 a.m.  we'll go there first, and then on our bike ride and lunch.

  • So Starbucks gave up on trying to entice me to come and earn "stars" by making purchases in order to earn enough to retain my Gold Level for a year, and just gave it to me.  Hooray?  I rarely go to Starbucks and now that my BFF prefers the Wawa coffee (cheaper, better!), I might never go back?! Well, I still have a few bucks on my app so I suppose I should use those up.  Anyhoo, thanks, Starbucks!  I'll try to use my free birthday coupon this year, maybe.

  • Hey, Discover Card holders!  The Kohl's Discover Deals offer is working again!  Check your Discover account(s) to see if you have the $10 off $30 offer at Kohl's  in Discover Deals, and then enter it manually in your Kohl's app (Wallet section). I had it in both my and Greg's accounts so I have another $20 in free money to spend at Kohl's, woohoo!  Since I had the $5 in Yes2You Rewards, that gives me $25 to try and find a mattress cover.  I'm going to have to go in person, however, since there's no free shipping code right now :(
  • I called my vet's office to order 4 more bags of kitten food.  I wish they'd give me a discount for ordering several bags at once (or that Royal Canin would sell it in large bags!).

  • I emailed my friend the children's librarian from my library to ask when she will need the Jr. Friends of the Library to help with the set-up and break-down of the Summer Program activities this summer. My son is part of that group and can earn (even more) volunteer hours that way.  I think he's already over the 100 hours of volunteerism needed to qualify for Bright Futures, but it's a good way to get him out of the house this summer and to have him practice driving too since part of the activities will be held at the Civic Center in the next town over.

  • I earned another 50 KFR points by entering bonus codes SPRI-NGPT-SINB-LOOM and 25PT-EAST-ERBA-SKET in my Kellogg's Family Rewards account.

  • I took two RaceTrac survey and earned 2 new freebies. My daughter and I will redeem them for free drinks this afternoon. Update: we forgot to go to RaceTrac so I left them in my fanny pack for the next time I'm out and about.

  • I printed a Special K cereal coupon from the Kellogg's newsletter.

  • I really like our hose reel so I decided to order another one for the other hose at the corner of the house. Soon our backyard won't look like a redneck backyard anymore!  The same model that I bought back in January from Home Depot for $67.99 was now $79.00, but there was another model (without the storage place that I don't need but with a swivel base that I wish our first one had!) for $67.99 so I ordered that one.  I went through Swagbucks so I'll earn 3 SB per dollar spent (or about 203 SB), got free shipping, and charged it to my Discover Card for 5% back in bonus Rewards.

  • I checked Slickdeals to see if there was a free shipping code for Kohl's and realized that there was and they had also posted a 30% off code (both good through 4/15), so I ordered myself a mattress cover.  I went through Swagbuck (6 SB per dollar spent right now so... 18 SB, lol), used the coupon codes and the $25 in Kohl's cash that I had in my wallet and the mattress cover cost me $3.74, charged to my Kohl's charge. Woohoo!

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.

  • My daughter and I left on our date at about 11 a.m.  As planned, we stopped by the high school first, where she picked up her invitation for the luncheon and the form to fill out to see if she can get a $500 scholarship from CenturyLink that's reserved for students planning to major in STEM studies in high school.

  • Then we drove to the West Orange Trail.  We biked and walked a total of 9.8 miles (round trip, 59.33 minutes on the bike, we took it easy!) and had a delightful lunch at the Plant St. Market in Winter Garden.  My daughter wasn't too hungry so she ordered some popcorn chicken that was served... in a popcorn container! She also had a lemonade. There was quite a bit of chicken, which was a surprise. Her meal cost $6.66 and she got free refills on her lemonade.  I had a "Dirty Butcher" sandwich from the butcher stand.  It was pricey but very good. I also had a Vitamin water.  My lunch was $12.76.  Then we shared a delicious nutella-filled "braid" from the German bakery stand. After our meal, I went back to buy 2 more for Greg and our son. I asked the baker what kind of bread he used and he said "croissant dough". Hmm, so so good!

  • We took a scenic route home and had a great time chatting on the way. 

  • Back home, we chatted with Youngest Son and I did the dishes!  Woohoo! Meanwhile my daughter gave the kittens some much needed attention and exercise with the long stick with the feathers on it. They go crazy for it!

  • Now it's time for some Law & Order marathon on Ion TV.  I might even fold the laundry!

  • In the mail, I received the free sample of Natural Valley Granola Cups that I had requested from one of the General Mills newsletters.

  • PinchMe has been sending me several emails to remind me to use the "100% gratuity Barilla coupon". I guess that's the coupon for the pesto that I used several weeks ago.  Today's email included a link to request the coupon if we had misled it. So I used the link to tell them that if they had any extra coupons, I'd take one. You never know!

  • For dinner I make spaghetti and meatballs and a side salad. I also cut up the cantaloupe that I had bought last week.

  • As has become our habit, Greg and I watched Seinfeld after dinner. Much laughter was had!  However, we had to interrupt our show watching to watch Tabby Kitten and Princess amuse themselves with the "ball chaser" toy. They were so funny! Princess has some moves, with both paws! It's like watching kids play foosball or something.

  • HomeDepot dot com: $72.75 (hose reel)
  • Kohls dot com: $3.74 (mattress cover)
  • Bakery: $10.50 (dessert, snacks Greg and Youngest Son)
  • Lunch: $19.42 (Daughter, myself)

  • Starbucks granted me the "Gold Level" for another year without me having to actually earn all the stars needed for this. I'll get free refills on coffee and tea (while in the store) and a freebie on my birthday.
  • $20 in Kohl's cash via Discover Deals
  • Free refill on my daughter's lemonade (we didn't expect that!)
  • Free sample of Natural Valley Granola Cups 

  • Fed the kittens
  • Prepped Greg's lunch
  • Got his lunchbox out of the fridge
  • Drove my son to school
  • Took recycling bins out to the curb
  • Loaded broken umbrella stand in SUV
  • Installed bike rack on SUV
  • Made sure Greg took his backpack to work
  • Made plans for dinner
  • Reviewed my To Do list
  • Looked at new shopping ads and adjusted shopping list
  • Loaded new Discover Deals offers in my Kohl's app
  • Ordered kitten food from vet's
  • Replied to my brother's email
  • Emailed children's librarian
  • Took Customer Satisfaction surveys
  • Ordered new hose reel
  • Chased squirrel
  • Ordered a mattress cover
  • Worked on Rewards programs
  • Dropped off my daughter at the high school to see Guidance
  • Went on a bike ride with my daughter and took her to lunch
  • Texted with Middle Son
  • Chatted with Youngest Son
  • Did the dishes
  • Brought the recycling bins back to the house
  • Checked the mail


Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal must have had a long to do list today as they were out and about early and eating breakfast at barely 7:20 a.m.!

For the first time this year I saw the Squirrel Highway (aka the electric cables crisscrossing our backyard) being used by the squirrels :)

But the rascals were distracting me so I wouldn't notice the other squirrel that had jumped on the cardinal feeder!  Well I did see it (or rather heard it) and wen to chase it off. He didn't think I meant it so he just started climbing the little tree next to it again, so I had to walk all the way over there so he knew I meant business.  I know they eat the seeds when I'm not in the yard, but I'm not going to let them think that I'm OK with it!

I moved my chair a little because my view of the cardinal feeder was somewhat obstructed, and as soon as I did this, a hummingbird showed up and I was able to take a ton of pictures (which I hope turned out!) and then a Mr. and Mrs Cardinal (or perhaps their best friends) returned for more breakfast too.

"Hey! What are you doing there? It's a hummingbird feeder!"

"Shoo! Shoo!"

"I see I have to do everything myself!"

"Ruby throat super power!"

"Ruby throat, red tail... I'm sick of being brown!"
And boy, there is traffic on the Squirrel Highway this morning!

I don't know why the weather app says it's going to be a "fair" day today because right now it's gorgeous!  The sky is bright blue, the birds are singing everywhere, the sun is slowly brightening the backyard... bees and wasps and butterflies are already up and at them (oh and yesterday I saw a ladybug on one of my veggie bins!) and the neighborhood cat has been slinking around already. You know who I haven't seen in a while?  The kittens' mom... and also that black and white cat that was hurt. I hope it means he had an owner, after all, that's taking care of him.

There's a squirrel eyeing my tomatoes... probably a distraction technique as he is just sitting there without moving... I'd better be on my guard, those squirrels are devious!  I had time to type up this whole sentence and he's still there, no moving a muscle. You'd think it's a lawn ornament!

I can hear a Mourning Dove nearby. I wonder if it'll ever come feed at the cardinal feeder like its cousin last summer!  I've had several hummingbird visits since the first one today. I wish there was a way to tell those birds apart.  I'm always assuming it's the same one coming back for more... same with the cardinals.

There was drama at the Squirrel Highway as a squirrel was running down the cable and a dove had decided to land on it.  The squirrel barreled straight through the dove who went to perch herself on the other cable. The squirrel then tried to decide whether he wanted to barrel through her again, but then I guess it realized that the cable led to the porch... where I am sitting, so it thought better of it.

Speaking of squirrels, I've had to chase one from the feeder repeatedly this morning. It looks at me as it's on the feeder, sees me approaching and stuffs its face with as many seeds as it can before bailing out, lol. It reminds me of the kittens who know that we don't want them eating the big cats' food, and yet will eat it, while keeping an eye for us and waiting until the last second to run away before we can swat them on the butt. Shameless!

One last shot of a hummingbird... I love their cool little iridescent feathers!

It sat at the feeder, just 5 feet away, for a good 5 minutes!


I brought my point-and-shoot camera and my phone, but I barely took any pictures since I had just posted pictures of the West Orange Trail this past Saturday.   We biked twice as long as Greg and I walked, and it was lovely.  The trail is mostly shaded and there's a slight incline/descent in some parts.  Being Wednesday, it wasn't as busy as it was this past weekend, but there were still a few people biking and walking.

Once we got to Winter Garden, we secured our bikes in front of City Hall since the bike racks were free and walked around a little, trying to decide where to eat lunch.

The pergodas in the middle of the trail, covered in wisteria. So lovely!

Flower planter in front of City Hall.
The chalk drawings from this past weekend's festival were still there so we took a look around. These were my favorites:

We looked at a couple of restaurants. My daughter said she had a stomachache and didn't feel like eating much. I decided that we should check out our options at the Plant St Market building, hoping it wouldn't be as busy as last weekend.

It wasn't!

This is the "Make Your Own Mac'n Cheese" place that I had mentioned last weekend.  They weren't open today. I took a picture of the board.  At $9 a plate  + $2 per protein + $0.75 per topping, that's some expensive Mac'n Cheese!

We didn't eat there. My daughter ordered Popcorn Chicken from "Five Thymes Five", as well as a lemonade. The chicken was delicious, pretty plentiful, served in a paper popcorn cornet (fun!) and only $5 a serving!

I had a sandwich called "The Dirty Butcher" (so, you know, I'm gonna tell Greg that I had myself a dirty butcher at lunchtime, lol!) from the "The Local Butcher and Market". I can't remember what all was in it but it was Boar's Head meats and cheese, jalapeƱos, sriracha mayo and red onions. I forgot to take a picture of it!

We picked a table outside because the weather was gorgeous.  We were lucky to find a table in the shade of large oak trees. The side street that terrace faces isn't being used too much for now so it was nice and quiet, although the lot next door is under construction for more commercial buildings, but the construction workers were also out to lunch.

For dessert, we had spotted some delicious looking (and huge!) Nutella-filled "braids" in the refrigerated case of "The Plant St Market Bakery" as soon as we entered the building, so we bought one to share.

This is only a third of the whole thing!
It was so yummy that I went back and bought 2 more to bring home for Greg and Youngest Son.  The baker sounded German (and had some German stuff lying around) and was super nice. I didn't chit-chat, though I did ask him what kind of bread he used for the braids and he said "croissant dough!" Yum! We'll definitely be back!

We were so comfy sitting outside!  My daughter didn't want to leave!  But she had work to do and I knew that I needed to do the darn dishes. I offered for her to remain there and I'd bike back to the SUV and drive to Plant St Market to pick her and her bike up, but that shamed her (her old 50 year-old mom having more energy than her!) into biking back with me. She wanted to "go slow" so we did, but we got so busy chatting that when we got to the parking lot we both exclaimed "Already?!? but we didn't even pass the 'Noles building!" which, we actually had, but we didn't remember anything of our ride back, lol.  I think it's a sign that we had a great time!

I can't wait to go on another bike ride!  Especially if there are delicious baked goods at the end :)


  1. Nice bike ride! I bought a really nice to me bike when I moved here but I gave it away a few years ago- I always felt guilty riding when I should have been walking my dog. Now I tell myself I'm too old! Vow here: at 6 AM I am starting the taxes LOL. I always procrastinate with them and it never takes me over an hour, even with my business expenses. Oh well- they will be done today. Not much going on here- yard work and ordering the new fridge. I have no meetings today or tomorrow and really can stay home. Love your pictures.

    1. Sorry I'm so late in replying, I've been a procrastinator recently! I hope you got your taxes done and don't owe anything. A new fridge, ooh that's exciting! I researched them a few months ago as ours doesn't make ice anymore and it's 15 years old but it still works fine despite the ice maker problem and we don't actually miss ice anymore so then I decided against replacing it. Where did you get yours from?

      Enjoy your Friday at home!

  2. I think it really nice that do these special outings with your kids. And even nicer is that, even though they're teenagers, they still want to do them with you.

    1. Awww, thanks! I get so excited when they actually want to do something with me, ha. We'll see how much my daughter agrees to "let" me visit her when she's in college.

  3. Hi Nathalie, Love all the flowers that you purchased. The hanging plants look really nice. All of them should attract butterflies and maybe some bees also. You asked about our weather up here. Well, we are about 55 miles north of Minneapolis so we are usually a bit cooler overall. This Spring has been slow on its arrival - really warm earlier on the season (even before Spring was officially here) but now the temps have been on the cooler side. We had 2 nights this past week that got down to freezing but warmed up a bit during the day. What we really need is sun. It seems as though we have been on the dreary gray side of things for an exceptionally long period of time. I'm sure it's happened before and I just don't remember, but it seems like this has been a long time without much, if any, sun. We also could use some rain. There is some expected tonight and into Saturday, but it's pretty dry and some communities around us have burning warnings out. Not good. Besides, if it has to be gray, why not rain. I shouldn't complain - I worry that summer will come with a vengeance with highs in the 80's and 90's and high humidity and massive mosquitoes. yeuck! Have a great weekend. We do not have special plans for Easter unless I get my usual last minute phone call from my dad - ;) - it's happened before. Ranee (MN)

    1. Ah that sucks! I'm with you, if it's going to be all drab and gray, I'd rather it rains because we need it so badly. We have no rain planned for the next 10 days at all and there are so many fires around that our governor has declared a state of emergency :( We barely got any rain last summer, usually our rainy season, I really hope we get some this summer, although no hurricanes please!

      I hope you have a great weekend, Ranee, whatever you end up doing!

  4. No...I lost my comment! Clicked on newer post before I clicked publish! Aaargh!

    I was saying it sounds like you had a lovely outing with your daughter. And that the Nutella braid looked scrumptious! And I liked the idea of peach melba dump cake for breakfast! I am thinking of making a dump cake, myself, for the dessert to take to my cousin's prayer gathering, next weekend. I've never made one before. I will see if the dollar store still has the apple pie filling - I was at the pharmacy next door to it, yesterday and should have checked! But forgot! I tell you, my mind is like a sieve these days! By the way, do you use just one can of pie filling or two?

    I know you said you were getting bored with writing about the same things every day, but I really enjoy reading about them! Loved that picture of the kitten with the feathered toy! And the one of the squirrel climbing the tree! Looks like he's checking to see if the coast was clear! And the squirrel on the wire is the dawn patrol, of course! Your back yard is such a fun place!

    1. Sorry you lost your comment, it's happened to me so many times before! Why can't Blogger autosave them like it does the posts?!

      I use 2 cans of filling for the dump cake, as per the recipe. Apple would taste good too!

    2. Thanks, Nathalie. I looked at some dump cake recipes on-line and most of them said 1 can of filling and I was thinking that's not a lot of pie filling for a 9x13 inch tray!

  5. Nutella-filled braids? German bakery? I know where we're going for lunch when we get together in your neck of the woods!!!

    Those sidewalk chalk drawings are so cool...especially the one with the cats!

    1. LOL, well that particular "bakery" is more like a small bakery counter so don't expect too much, but the baker is definitely German and very very nice. But, you did remind me that there is an authentic German bakery in Yalaha, which is about 25 minutes away from my house, so we should go check that out when you come over. And then you can try your hand at kayaking too!


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