Saturday, April 1, 2017

Not Planning on Being a Fool (But Ended Up Being One Anyway!) ~ Saturday 4/1/17

I don't like pranks or feeling stupid or being mean, so April Fool's Day has never been a favorite of mine and I usually try to stay home to avoid all of that.  But this morning I did get fooled for a very short time by Google when I clicked on their "Introducing Google Gnome" link.  LOL. For a second I was thinking "well, this really is the end of civilization!" because I'm so not into Siri of Google Home or any type of AI.  But then I realized that it was a prank and I laughed.  Here is part of the promotional campaign.

Very imaginative, hahaha.  I almost want them to come up with such a thing as a Google Gnome so I can dress it up and use it as a bird bath!

Greg called me last night to say goodnight but I had fallen asleep on the couch and I was all groggy so we really didn't say much. I spent an OK night, woken up by various kittens and my bladder at times, no nothing out of the ordinary, except that Tabby Kitty started crying behind Greg's door because he wanted to go sleep with him, so I had to call him to mine and then noise was made but apparently I scolded the wrong kitten. I don't know, I was half asleep.  Explorer was pretty insistent on my getting up at 8 a.m., though, so I dutifully did and fed all the cats.

I don't want to do anything today.  I have lots of tasks left over from March and now new tasks for April have popped up too and I just want to go back to bed and ignore all of this!

It was cooler this morning by a couple of degrees and yet the windows were fogged up (first time this year!) so I'm not opening them at all. It's a sure sign that it's getting more humid outside, although I'm not sure why since it never did rain.

I don't want to post a To Do List seeing that it's the weekend, but if I don't post it, nothing will get done at all, so here goes:

  • Redo kitchen wall calendar DONE
  • Make new credit card cheat-sheets DONE
  • Print (in color) and laminate cheat-sheets DONE
  • Enter directions to Lakeland and state park in GPS DONE
  • Contact Pixel to confirm tomorrow's outing DONE
  • Prep fanny pack for tomorrow DONE
  • Declutter the printer stand
  • Refill the self watering bins
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift 
  • Take Youngest Son to get a haircut
  • Clean bathroom ceiling 
  • Clean hallway ceiling right outside the bathroom
  • Make my bed
  • 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) 
  • 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) 
  • Clean upstairs litter box  
  • 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 
  • 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
  • Schedule an outing to P.E.A.R. Park DONE
  • Ask PEAR Park rangers about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Go to airport to cash in my euros?!
  • Mend sliding door window screen - get cat resistant screening material?
  • Plant and water the tree
  • Water the pineapples
  • Add water to indoor pineapples - I think I might compost them.  I really don't want to plant them, after all, and I don't have anyone to give them to.
  • 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  DONE
  • 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
  • Purge plastic containers from kitchen cabinets
  • Schedule maintenance appointment for my SUV
  • Finalize March Food Expenses post DONE
  • Mop kitchen 
  • Vacuum living room
  • Get Youngest Son to sign up for French I on FLVS ask for start date after AP exam (May 11)  - reminded him to do this today or tomorrow
  • Get change so I can give Youngest Son $5 for the McDonald's gift card
  • Renew library book DONE
  • Try making yogurt in yogurt maker
  • See if can mend Youngest Son former backpack straps
  • Enter receipts into my spreadsheets DONE
  • Bake bread in breadmaker?
  • Make crepes for snacks?
  • Work on April goals
  • Schedule Amex payment
  • Update Net Worth Report spreadsheet in progress
  • Read a library book DONE
  • Deadhead the roses
  • Redeem medium drink free drink RaceTrac coupon before next Saturday DONE

  • I drank the free "French Vanilla" coffee from Wawa for breakfast this morning, yum!

  • I earned the Microsoft Rewards credits for the day. I'm getting closer to that $5 Amazon gift card!
  • I played automatic videos in Swagbucks. My 1st Daily Goal is 40 SB and I'm at 21 SB at 9:40 a.m. so hopefully I'll reach it and get a tiny bonus.

  • Greg called and we chatted about our cats and how we slept, old people's stuff :)  He's just staying at his daughter's today and enjoying his grandson who will be turning 1 in a couple of weeks.  I suggested he stay and extra day but he says he's too busy at work. I reminded him that the Discover Bonus Rewards on gas ended yesterday so from now on, we need to use American Express for our gas expenses and I texted him a reminder too so he can look it up when he gets gas tomorrow.  We'll only earn 2% in Rewards instead of 5%, boo hoo hoo, and since my daughter only has my Discover card, we'll earn pretty much nothing on her gas purchases because I don't spend enough on Discover any more to qualify for even 1% back in Rewards, I don't think.

  • I want to spend time reading a library book today so I don't know how productive I'll be at my other tasks :)

  • The 1st of the month means that the new offerings for the KindleFirst program are up. Since I am an Amazon Prime member, I get to pick one of the offerings for free. So far, I think I've ever actually read one of my picks and it wasn't great. Anyhoo, as is often the case, I picked the thriller. This time it's a legal thriller.

  • Yesterday the kittens knocked over a decorative tin that I keep on the large kitchen window sill.  When I picked it up, it rattled so I opened it and found several envelopes of Folgers' "one cup" coffee. You steep it like tea. I know I got those for free several years ago (after coupons) and I must have stashed them in the tin because I didn't have any other place to put them.  So I'll be sure to be using those soon!  I put them back by the coffee maker so I don't forget.  They have to be at least 10 years old!

  • I redid my Kitchen Wall Calendar. It's a medium size dry erase board with a blank monthly calendar pre-printed on it and I update it with the current month's kid and family activities since my family refuses to consult a Google Calendar. Actually it's helpful as I gaze upon it while we eat dinner and I'm reminded to discuss various plans and events with Greg and the kids.  I bought the calendar at Target several years ago. Then somehow it fell off the wall and broke. I fixed it. It fell and broke again and then it looked really bad so I bought a new one a couple of years ago. Not as frugal as using a Google Calendar, but I like that I can just erase it and start anew every month, without having to use ink or paper to update it.  I got the dry erase markers for free from Staples with some Rewards.

  • I didn't do the dishes last night so this morning I organized my dirty dishes into piles that make sense to me. It clears the sink and the countertops pretty well and never looks like I have as many dishes to clean as it does when it's all piled up willy-nilly, which is encouraging!  I was actually going to wash them but then I went outside to empty a dinner glass into one of my rose bushes. I noted that all was peaceful outside (no neighbor mowing... yet!) and that the temperature in the shade that was still covering the back patio was very nice, so I hurried up to go get dressed (I skipped the shower but I'll shower tonight!) and set up camp outside on the patio with my laptop, camera, mug of coffee, phone and library book. Within 30 seconds of sitting down, I was rewarded with a hummingbird at one of my feeders. Woohoo!  So I guess I might just sit here all day or until some neighbor's ruckus chases me away :)

  • I remembered that I got the garden utility cart yesterday and just sat the box down on the patio.  It needs to be assembled. I thought to myself "Oh crap, yet another thing for me to add to my To Do List" but then I summoned my inner sexism and decided that it was a task for the man of the house so I'm going to leave it for Greg to do.  I rarely, if ever, give him a "Honey Do" list so I'm not going to feel guilty about this!

  • 11:00 a.m. Well, that didn't take long... one of the neighbors is out there with the leaf blower!  Arrrgh. So much for my quiet Saturday in the backyard.

  • I earned 50 KFR points by entering bonus codes WHOO-PEEC-USHI-ONPT and TRIC-KYTI-PSBY-TONY into my Kellogg's Family Rewards account.

  • Every quarter, I make new wallet-size cheat-sheets for Greg and myself so we know which credit card to use at which store over the next quarter. I like us to maximize our Rewards since no two cards are the same and Discover, for one, changes its bonus rewards every quarter. I never use to do that until about 2 years ago, which I regret! Of course this only works because we pay off all our cards in full every month.  I will print them in color and laminate them and give one to Greg to keep in his wallet.

  • Kohl's emailed me that they rounded up my Yes2You Reward points and issued me a $5 Reward good through the end of the month. In a few days I should be able to see if we will get another $10/$30 Discover Deals on one or both our Discover cards,  and then I will wait until there is a new free shipping code and hopefully a 30% off code to order either a full-size sherpa blanket (mine are too small!) or a full-size mattress cover for my new mattress.

  • I'm wondering if I should offer to Youngest Son to go kayaking on the lake near our house.  I'm not sure the kayaks would fit in my SUV... maybe we should try to load them up, see if it'd work.  I'd have to remember to bring a blanket to cover the seats since they'd be wet once we're done...

  • I confirmed tomorrow's hiking outing with Pixel. We both can't wait! It'll be so much fun to meet her :)

  • SavingStar released 20 new offers so I unlocked several of them, you never know, even though I mostly shop at Aldi nowadays.

  • I checked my Swagbucks ledger at 11:30 a.m. and I have reached and exceeded my first goal. Yay!  Since the automatic videos are still playing, I'm hopeful I'll earn a few more today.

  • I renewed a library book online so as to avoid any late fees.  Sometimes technology doesn't necessarily make things easier, but being able to put on hold and renew library materials online, that's awesome!

  • It's getting warmer, my allergies are giving me a sinus headache, it's lunch time, and I really ought to enter last week's expenses in my spreadsheets so I can publish my March Food Expenses report... I think I'll head in.  I want to stay outside but it's a little bit windy so my receipts would go flying all over the place!

  • I offered to Youngest Son that he and I try to fit the kayaks in my SUV after lunch and, if it worked, go kayaking together in the afternoon, but he said he didn't want to. Well, poop!  So I made my lunch and settled myself in the living room with one of my library books, a translation of the novel "So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood" by French author Patrick Modiano and the Tony Bennett channel playing on Pandora, softly in the background.

  • For lunch I defrosted a container of cranberry almond chicken salad from Aldi. Yes, I had discovered that it was quite fattening, but it can't remain in the freezer forever!  It already tastes a little freezer-burnt. Darn. Plus I'm pretty sure that I froze several containers of it.  I also made coleslaw with the rest of the small cabbage that I had bought at Save A Lot last week and the last of the Marie's Coleslaw dressing.  And I had the last clementines and the rest of the chocolate cherry liquor cake that I had bought yesterday at Aldi.  I guess I'm not going back on my diet today!

  • I read my library book. It was quite a short book, actually, which is good because it wasn't good and it was pointless. Like someone recounting a dream to you that makes sense to them but not at all to you and the description goes on and on and you couldn't care any less.  Ugh.  On to the next library book needing my attention: "Sleepy Head" by Mark Billingham.

  • I met my 2nd Swagbucks Daily Goal, woo!

  • I completed most of the Net Worth document for April 1st. I need to wait until Monday or Tuesday for my mortgage payment to be applied so I can see the current outstanding amount.  Based on my preliminary findings, our investments performed mediocrely this past month. But at least there is some growth.

  • I checked what rebates I might be able to redeem for yesterday's groceries and apply for a $0.25 any cereal rebate from MobiSave. It was credited to my Paypal account within minutes.
  • I entered all the receipts that had accumulated last week into my various spreadsheets and finalize my March Food Expenses Report. Oh we ate out so much, ugh.
  • And then I turned around, told the kids I didn't feel like cooking dinner, and we ordered Domino's pizzas.  That's the being a fool part of my post.  Arrgh. However,  I used a coupon to get 2 medium pizzas for $5.99 each and we all went to pick them up. We stopped by RaceTrac, where my daughter and I redeemed our app coupons for a free medium drink each and I used a survey reward code to get another free medium drink for my son.  Since I went to Domino's myself, I was able to pay with my Amazon Visa card to get 2% back in Rewards. Also, I earned 10 points towards a free pizza.

  • I helped my son request French I on Florida Virtual School.  He needs 2 years of a foreign language in order to qualify for Bright Futures and college admission and he decided that he wanted to study French so he can communicate with our family over there.  Our son doesn't offer French so his only option is to take it online, as his sister did, via Florida Virtual School which is available and free to all Florida students.  We requested his start date to be in May, after his AP exam so he can start his class over the summer and hopefully get a lot done before the Fall semester.  I emailed his Guidance counselor to make sure she knows to go into the system and approve the course.

  • Greg called in the early evening so we got to discuss our days. He had a good time playing with his grandson and reading him a book too :)  Greg used to do that with our kids when they were little, he really was hands-on at the playground and at bedtime.

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

  • I checked the ad previews for CVS and Walgreens and updated my shopping list for next week.

  • Greg spent about $57 at Ingles Supermarket (groceries for his daughter)
  • Domino's: $12.82 (dinner)

  • A legal thriller e-book from the KindleFirst program
  • $5 in Yes2You Rewards from Kohl's
  • 3 medium fountain drinks at RaceTrac with app coupons and a survey reward code

  • Fed the cats
  • Caught up on the news
  • Worked on my Rewards programs
  • Talked to Greg on the phone
  • Texted him reminder about gas expenses
  • Chatted with Youngest Son
  • Picked a free ebook and downloaded it to my device
  • Updated the Kitchen Family Calendar
  • Organized the dirty dishes
  • Went outside to enjoy my backyard!
  • Updated the cheat-sheets for the upcoming quarters
  • Confirmed tomorrow's outing with Pixel
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Unlocked new rebates
  • Read a library book
  • Recalculated our Net Worth
  • Printed and laminated cheat-sheets
  • Entered all receipts into my spreadsheets 
  • Finalized my March Food Expenses report
  • Ordered dinner :(
  • Went to pick up dinner and drinks
  • Helped my son sign up for a class on FLVS
  • Emailed his Guidance counselor
  • Programmed my GPS for tomorrow
  • Talked to Greg on the phone
  • Got my fanny pack ready for tomorrow
  • That I was able to have several birds visit my backyard before the darn neighbors decided to use the leaf blower.  
  • For a lovely and quiet day at home with my kids (who did their own thing) and my kitties.
  • For being able to afford eating out when I don't feel like cooking.
  • For whoever creating FLVS, which allows all Florida K-12 students to take courses online for free.

NATURE: In My Backyard

It was so awesome to hear the familiar humming of a hummingbird's flight, realized that there was indeed one just hovering over the patio just a few feet away, grabbing my new camera that is much faster than the old one, and being able to snap away while the hummer was feeding before it flew off!  Hummingbirds are terrific!

You can see part of its tongue sticking out from its beak.

Immediately after its departure, I noticed a dove on the ground in the shade of the backyard, looking for bugs,  I guess.

At the same time, I realized that the squirrels had come out to play!  A couple of them were chasing each other around the kayak stand that Greg built. One of them decided to give us a free kayak inspection!

He was actually licking the dew off the kayak!

Then the Red Bellied Woodpeckers decided that it was breakfast time. Or maybe lunch. It is getting closer to 11 a.m.!  There were 2 of them pecking at the old oak tree at the same time.

I had to chase a squirrel away that had gotten into the cardinal feeder while I was distracted by its siblings' playful games!  Oh, they are crafty!

Meanwhile, I spotted a white ibis flying over my yard, at the same time as the neighborhood was suddenly filled with the cries of the Northern Cardinals.

A male did land on my cardinal feeder and started munching away but I could only see its tail from where I sat.  I'm sure it and its siblings and cousins will be back repeatedly. However, I ended up going back indoors so I didn't see them today.

Cardinal butt!
Are you having a good weekend? Any plans for tomorrow?


  1. We won't see humming birds for a couple of months,so it was nice to see pictures of the one at your feeder. Hope you continued to enjoy your weekend. We all need a slower weekend sometimes. Unfortunately, I had to work today, so it was busier than I liked.

    1. I'm sorry you had to work on a Saturday! I've been hoping to see more hummingbirds but my timing must be off. I did refill the feeders today so hopefully they've been visiting.

  2. Love all the opportunities that are offered to your children's education in your state.

    1. Yes, people love to bash Florida and especially our county since education is really underfunded, BUT my daughter was able to get her AA entirely for free (including the books and other study materials), our school district is one of the ones really challenging students to take AP classes and we have a really good passing rate too, and Florida Virtual School is available to all K-12 students for free. I've been super impressed with all the teachers that my kids have had via FLVS too, as parents are required to have monthly phone or email conferences about their child's progress in each class. And I think our state universities are all pretty good as well and much more affordable (although still too expensive, in my view!) than other states'.

  3. I have read your posts, but I am behind with my commenting! Sorry about that! Love the kayak inspecting squirrels! Love all the wildlife visible from your backyard, Nathalie. Thank you for sharing the pictures.

    1. Please don't worry about commenting on every post! I don't even do that anymore :) I knew you'd get a kick out of that squirrel though!

  4. ...wallet-size cheat-sheets... <-- What a clever idea!!!

    And I love all your bird pictures...especially the hummingbird with its tongue sticking out!

    I'm really late in catching up with your blog...but it's for a happy reason. My son, his wife, and my youngest granddaughter announced their visit a few days ago and I've been cleaning out the bedrooms for their stay (why do guest bedrooms turn into storage dumps???). They are coming tonight - I'm staying up late waiting for them (they ran into traffic, surprise, surprise). What better way to pass the time than catching up with you? I may not get back here until next week, since they will stay until Sunday.

    1. Don't worry about "being late", I've been a huge procratinator with my own blog comments and commenting on other blog recently, so I totally get it and don't mind at all!

      Ohhh, a surprise visit from your son and family, how exciting! This is the little granddaughter who's only 3 or 4, right? I hope you have tons of fun times with them! Enjoy!


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