Friday, June 30, 2017

Last Day of June! Friday 6/30/17



So I ended up going to bed really late last night, 1:30 a.m. I think, but I slept pretty well. I had turned off my 6:30 a.m. alarm to let Greg fend for himself, but Explorer woke me up at 6:28 a.m.  Then he and I cuddled and fell back asleep, until Princess showed up and tried to (and succeeded in) wedge herself between him and me, and then THEY cuddled and then they started bickering and then I calmed them down and then I had an armful of cats, while just laying there. It was pretty much heaven, especially since I didn't have to pee for once. But, I still decided to get up at about 8:15ish because things needed to be done.

  • Plan my food intake for the day   DONE
  • Exercise DONE
  • Record today's food intake into MFP WILL DO AFTER DINNER
  • Do the dishes 
  • Reinstall Windows 10 on daughter's laptop with Microsoft Answer Desk's help HOPEFULLY TONIGHT
  • Review Walgreens and CVS ad previews DONE
  • Work on new shopping list DONE
  • Finish reading my library book that is due Monday
  • Take Wawa survey DONE
  • Explore Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services webpage and get started on process WILL DO THIS WEEKEND WITH GREG
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Write and mail postcards to my mom and great aunt DONE
  • Back up all pictures to my external drive IN PROGRESS
  • Figure out where I was in the process of backing up my external drive!
  • Pull weeds  IN PROGRESS
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Find two books to donate to The Little Library when I go to the eye doctor
  • Balance the checkbook DONE
  • Cut up Greg's old sheet for rags
  • Iron Greg's business clothes for his trip next week
  • Vacuum the downstairs VACUUMED THE LIVING ROOM, HALL, AND EXERCISE ROOM
  • Sweep and mop kitchen
  • Clean upstairs litterbox DONE
  • Mend some items from the mending basket
  • Draft an email reply re: daughter's FL Prepaid/Scholarship ongoing saga DONE AND SENT
  • Take Youngest Son driving
  • Vacuum fridge's coils
  • Go through mortgage pay-off statement and make timeline
  • Cut my bangs DONE
  • Finish trimming the backyard (by AC unit and shed, around trees) DONE

SUCCESSES AND FAILURES
  • I hadn't set aside any leftovers for Greg to take to work today since I was busy with the laptop problems and then I forgot about it. I didn't get up with him but it looks like he might have made himself a sandwich.  Woohoo!

  • When I turned on MY laptop this morning, after powering it off completely last night, it started with a very loud kind of grinding noise, as if the hard drive was spinning very fast and very noisily. It's never happened before and I just got the laptop this past December!  The noise stopped after I logged in to Windows and the desktop appeared. I powered it down again and then turned it back on and this time it started normally. Phew but I'm worried.  Arrgh, technology stresses me a lot these days. My stress level had gone down after talking to the Microsoft Answer Desk rep last night and knowing they were trying to help us and then it shot right back up again this morning.

  • What is NOT helping my stress?  The fact that the owner of next door's house (he/she is renting it to the couple who lives there right now) is over at the house and has his pick-up truck parked very close to our house (still on his property) and is blaring country music from the radio. It's been going on for quite a while. Our house is on a crawl space and the booming music just can't be ignored because of the amplification. I turned on Pandora on the Vivaldi channel and upped the volume quite a bit but I can still hear the thumping and it's starting to really get on my nerves.  I don't want to get into yet another fight with the people owning the house (I've called the cops on them several times in the past when they lived there) but this is not right.  No one but you want to listen to your crappy music, whether it be country, rap, classical, pop, jazz... be respectful of your neighbors!

  • By the time I got dressed, fed the cats, checked my emails, replied to blog comments and brewed my coffee, it was close to 9 so I hopped on the recumbent bike and got 55 minutes of exercise (10.3 miles).

  • I used another free k-cup collected from one of our Holiday Inn Express (or was it Country Inns and Suites?! I can't remember) hotel room during our trip to brew a small pot of coffee.

  • While I was on the bike I...
    • Started planning my food intake for the day (I'll be making Beefy Tortilla Pie for dinner, a recipe from "501 Delicious Diabetic Recipes".)
    • Caught up on the news and blogs
    • Earned the Microsoft Rewards mobile credits
    • Updated several of my apps
    • Reviewed an app

  • Once I was done biking, I made my usual breakfast.  This time, I just threw away the egg yolks.  I also brewed a pot of decaf.

  • There were no nCraves available this morning and my 1st daily goal is 105 SB.  I really doubt I'll reach that today, much less the 2nd goal of 200 SB, seeing that I'll need to spend the evening reinstalling Windows on my daughter's laptop.

  • Daughter has nothing to do without a laptop today so she volunteered to take her brother to Michael's. I accepted. I love spending time with Youngest Son, but I have stuff to do here. PLUS...

  • I just remembered that it's Friday and there's a Law & Order Marathon on ION TV :)

  • I earned the PC Search Microsoft Rewards credits.

  • I wanted to get started with establishing a relationship with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services online but I'd feel better if Greg was here since our account is under his name anyway so I texted him to ask that he spends time with me this weekend on this. He hates financial stuff so I told him he could just read his Kindle next to me and I'd keep him updated on what they were asking me. He agreed.

  • Daughter and Youngest Son left to go to Michael's. She also wants to research food prices at Aldi and Target.  I told them to get lunch and charge it to my Discover card.  I also printed a 40% off coupon for Michael's and gave it to Youngest Son.

  • As for me, I finally remembered to cut my own bangs when I passed the bathroom. 


  • Then I headed to the backyard to finish trimming it. It's so hot outside, I'm exhausted after just about 45 minutes! I was thinking about trimming the front yard this weekend, but we don't have an outlet in the front of the house and I don't think our extension cords would be long enough, and I can't leave the front door open when plugging it indoors because then the cats would escape.  Oh well.

  • Ah shoot!  I took the Wawa survey with my Wednesday receipt and forgot NOT to print the coupon since I was going to forward it to my BFF, who still hasn't replied to my text, though.

  • Ncrave videos showed up in my line-up so I started playing the automatic ones. I'm in a better position to reach my first goal now!

  • I finished planning my food intake for today so I would know what I could have for lunch (same as usual, plus 4 Reduced Fat Thin Wheat crackers today!) and went to prepare it.

  • So the kids ended up eating at Panera's... arrgh, I wish they had told me before they left as I have gift cards for Panera's!  They charged about $17 to my Discover card. I'll only earn 1% back in Rewards (or maybe not even that much because I haven't used my Discover much this year).

  • I balanced our checkbook. I like seeing our forecast in the following month so I can judge whether we'll need to transfer money from savings to make sure the bills clear without running into problems or not. I have a lot of "hidden cushions" hidden in there, but we've cash flowed all the expensive car repairs and tune-ups and the 2-week trip so far, so at some point I'll have to transfer some.

  • The kids came back and Youngest Son reported saving $10 with the 40% off coupon I had given him. Woohoo!

  • I reused a bread bag to clean the upstairs litter box.

  • Then I vacuumed the living room, hallway and exercise room.  Afterwards, I asked for Youngest Son's help in putting a futon cover back on one of the two futons that we have in the living room. I had washed it over a month ago but never put it back on.

  • I did make my first Swagbucks goal after all, woohoo!

  • My daughter received the mailing that she was expecting regarding the 2+2 Scholarship that I had won for her. Unfortunately, what she got doesn't answer any of the questions that we have.  Worse, it shows that instead of being the account owner of the Florida Prepaid plan in which the scholarship was deposited, someone at the Educational Foundation is the account owner and she's merely the beneficiary. This is going to cause significant paperwork to have to be hunted and coordinated between several people every semester for my daughter to receive money back from either that or Bright Futures. Based on our experience so far with the foundation, that is not encouraging. So I wrote a long email to the stakeholders in the situation, copying my daughter, outlining the background of everything, the concerns that we have, the questions that we'd like answered ASAP and strongly suggesting that the best outcome for everyone would be that they transfer ownership of the prepaid fund to my daughter, period. Of course, everyone is out for the long holiday weekend, so it'll be Wednesday at the earliest, if I'm being optimistic, before we have any answers.  I expect she'll go to college and we still won't have straight answers. It's so frustrating.

  • I cooked dinner early because I thought it would take me much longer than it did.  Thankfully, Greg left work a little early too, although I'll still have to reheat the Beefy Tortilla Pie that I cooked.  I shouldn't have assumed that I had all the ingredients, though. I had to substitute cannellini beans instead of the light red kidney beans that I was supposed to use, and white wine vinegar for the red wine vinegar I was supposed to use.  I hope it's still good!  I'll make a side salad to go with it.

  • While I was cooking, a sudden very strong gust of wind picked up and we heard a loud noise upstairs. I sent daughter to check her room and I went outside and saw 2 medium size branches on the ground, one that hit our roof and then our yard waste bins. I didn't want to stand under a tree with falling branches in a windstorm so I did go outside the porch to inspect the roof, but I expect it'll be OK...

  • I'm publishing this early since I expect to be on the phone with Microsoft in a couple of hours and then dealing with reinstalling Windows 10 on my daughter's laptop. Wish us luck!

Have a great weekend everyone!  Do you have any plans? I think Greg and I are going out to breakfast tomorrow and then picking up the new-to-us couch from the thrift store.  

An Unusually Socially Active Day for Me ~ Thursday 6/29/17



I was going to name this post "The Laziest Day Ever" but then I did a couple of chores so I guess I wasn't lazy enough for this title :) It's 8 a.m. and I have no inspiration, we'll see what the day will bring.

I didn't read my book in a bubble bath last night. Instead I made a new page on the blog to centralize the resources that I have found so far for the Diabetic Exchange Program, in case someone is looking for this.  You have to go to the blog to find it and it's at the top right under "pages".

Then I went to bed and fell asleep watching an episode of "Forensic Files".

Greg had told me he has a business lunch scheduled for today, so I warned him that I probably wouldn't get up before or even with him since there was no lunch to pack. He always encourages me to sleep in so he was fine with it.  I slept OK last night and then of course some cat made a terrible racket at 6:45 a.m. which woke me up anyway.  I laid in bed, petting a kitten, checking my emails and news on the phone, and then, since I wasn't falling back asleep, I earned the mobile Microsoft Rewards. Might as well!

Then I indulged in a long shower, put away the laundry and cleaned the upstairs litterbox.  So much for not doing anything today :) Which segues me into my To Do List.

  • Plan my food intake for the day   DONE
  • Exercise DONE
  • Record today's food intake into MFP DONE
  • Do the dishes DONE
  • Prep onion and zucchini for breakfasts DONE
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Write and mail postcards to my mom and great aunt
  • Back up all pictures to my external drive
  • Figure out where I was in the process of backing up my external drive!
  • Pull weeds  IN PROGRESS
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Find two books to donate to The Little Library when I go to the eye doctor
  • Balance the checkbook
  • Put the laundry away DONE
  • Cut up Greg's old sheet for rags
  • Iron Greg's business clothes for his trip next week
  • Vacuum the downstairs
  • Sweep and mop kitchen
  • Clean upstairs litterbox DONE
  • Mend some items from the mending basket
  • Draft an email reply re: daughter's FL Prepaid/Scholarship ongoing saga ON HOLD, waiting to receive the "card" that's coming her way
  • Take Youngest Son driving
  • Vacuum fridge's coils
  • Go through mortgage pay-off statement and make timeline
  • Reply to Tara's message DONE
  • Email my mom DONE
  • Email my brother DONE
  • Text my BFF DONE
  • Cut my bangs
  • Finish trimming the backyard (by AC unit and shed, around trees)

SUCCESSES AND FAILURES

  • Greg is getting fed for free at work today, hooray!

  • We have more rain in the forecast for this afternoon. While my garden is saturated, we're still behind our yearly rainfall and our lakes and water table need it.  Of course, I'm delighted that I won't have to water the garden today :)

  • I earned the Microsoft Rewards for today and I'm playing JunGroups videos in Swagbucks. No nGage or nCrave videos are available this morning, I hope they're available later on as my 1st daily goal is 97 SB. Update: at the 11th hour, I was able to finally surpass my 1st Goal and I'm just 6 SB away from meeting my 2nd goal so I'm running nCraves again, trying to meet it before I finally go to sleep!

  • I remembered that I had that free 24 oz cup of French Vanilla coffee from Wawa in my fridge before I brewed a pot this morning, hooray!  I love their coffee.

  • Dinner tonight will be turkey meatloaf so I'm defrosting a pound of Jennie-O ground turkey that I had bought on 50% off clearance at Save A Lot.  I considered defrosting 2 lbs to make a larger meatloaf, but the leftovers aren't getting eaten as fast as they used to now that I don't eat them for lunch so I'll just make a small one.  I'll use a bunch of collard greens (still from the huge bag I bought at 50% off 2-3 weeks ago now!) instead of spinach.  I'll make some mashed potatoes to go with it and serve some of the dinner rolls that I bought at 50% off yesterday.  I need to pre-cook all of this so I can watch the Vanguard webinar for which I signed up, that starts at 7 p.m.  7:00 p.m. is usually when I put dinner on the table!  Greg will pick up Youngest Son from the library on his way home and they've been instructed to start dinner without me. I'm putting an alarm on my phone to remind me to precook everything.

  • I looked at our Eating Out/Ordering In numbers for June and they're pretty darn good, considering that we spent $500 in both April and May...  we spent $118.87 in June.  Of course, some caveats:
    • It doesn't include any of the meals that Daughter and I had on our trip since that falls under "Travel - Food"
    • Greg and I had a date but most of it was covered by a $50 gift card that we had bought last year.
However, it does include:
    •  $52.57 for dinners that Greg and our son enjoyed when my daughter and I were away
    • $12.12 for 2 lunches that Greg didn't pack (he bought lunch at work)
    • $4.17 for when I had breakfast out with my BFF
    • $35.30 for when we took Greg out for Father's Day breakfast
    • $15.01 which was mostly the tip for our date dinner at Carrabba's
Since my June grocery expenses were down $107.10 compared to budget, it means that, for the first time in a looooooong time, we actually almost made the monthly Food Expenses budget of $400 ($411.77).  Woohoo!

  • The Betty Crocker's Diabetic Cookbook that I bought used on Amazon was apparently owned by smokers. Bleh.  The book smelled bad.  I read a tip online that resellers often put books in Ziploc bags with dryer sheets, and since the book is oversized, I put it in a clean kitchen trash bag, put a couple of dryer sheets in between some pages, threw a couple more in the bag and tied it in a knot. The trick said to leave the book in there at least 8 hours. I'm going to leave it in there for several days.  I'm skeptical that the smell will be completely gone as the paper seems to have been imbibed, including on the inside pages, but we'll see.  I've had the dryer sheets forever since I typically don't use those, and I'll reuse the trash bag when I'm done with the project.

  • Speaking of reusing bags, I reused a bread bag to carry the contents of the upstairs litterbox to the trash bin this morning.

  • And speaking of reusing bags part 2, I was reading a blog post recently in which the author said she had stopped bringing her reusable bags to the grocery store because the bagger only put one or two items in each bag, resulting in having to use plastic bags for the rest of the items anyway.  So now she's back to using plastic bags. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??! Why in the world would you not instruct the bagger to fill up your reusable bags?!  If I only brought one or two bags with me and I end up buying more than I planned, I tell the bagger to fit as many items as possible in the reusable bags and leave the rest unbagged. I always have tons of reusable bags (mostly received for free) in my car so I just bag the stuff when I get to the car.  I also carry (free) cardboard boxes in my trunk so if I happen to not have any bags, I put everything in the boxes and then bag the stuff when I get home to carry it to the kitchen (or just carry the boxes depending on how heavy they are).  It bears repeating: if you forgot your reusable bags at home and you used a car to go to the store, just put your groceries in your trunk and then place them in bags once you're in your driveway!  Having forgotten your bags at home is really not an excuse, just my 2 cents.   A good way to not forget your bags is to put them back in your car as soon as you've unpacked your trunk. If you're too lazy to do that, like me, then put your bags next to your purse so the next time you drive somewhere, you can grab them at the same time as your purse and put them in the car.  If you don't have reusable bags but would like to stop using plastic but are on a tight budget and can't afford to buy reusable bags, be creative!  Back when I was little and went shopping at the supermarket with my mom, we brought duffle bags.  French supermarkets don't bag your groceries and don't provide plastic bags (at least back when I was growing up). I still don't like it when a supermarket has baggers to be honest. I get that it provides jobs, but I like bagging my own stuff and I do if a bagger isn't at the register when I check out. Then I wave them away if they approach :)  You could also use pillow cases.  If you're self-conscious about bringing those into the store, again: leave them in your vehicle (if you have one) and then bag your own stuff once you get back to it.

  • I do end up with some plastic bags, sometimes, too, however. It's mostly either when I take Greg's or the Focus to go shopping but I forget to grab my reusable bags from my SUV before leaving, or if I go out with Greg and we end up doing some shopping. He has a pick-up truck so leaving the groceries to roll around in the truck bed isn't ideal (I'll usually put them in the back seat, but sometimes there is something else in the back seat).  I really need to hide some bags in his truck somewhere. I had put a couple of bags in the trunk of the Focus but they were never replaced after we used them.  When I do have plastic bags, I reuse them for the litter boxes most of the time, or my daughter uses them as trash can liners in her bedroom.

  • I downloaded free fonts to my laptop last night via Google Fonts.  I had been meaning to do this since I got this new laptop back in December. I wish Blogger (a Google product!) would let us use different fonts than those that come pre-installed with the templates, though.

  • SavingStar credited my account for the 30 cents off the La Liberté yogurt and the $4.00 spent on Butterball turkey sausage. And then of course today they start offering a $0.75 rebate on the sausage, but I've already submitted my receipt and you can't submit receipts twice. Grrr.

  • Out of the blue, my left knee has started "twinging" on its own, usually when I'm just standing around. What?! I've lost weight, I've been exercising, what do you want, knee?!  It didn't hurt when I was heavier and hiking up and down mountains so I don't know why it's hurting when I'm just standing there on flat ground. Perhaps it's signaling that it would like me to resume hiking. I'd love to, as I miss going on hikes with Greg on the weekends, but it's just too hot and humid for me. It's not as much fun to hike when you're suffering!

  • I checked the nCrave page again before getting on my recumbent bike and I'm glad I did because the nCrave videos appeared and I was able to start the "All You Can Eat" automatic videos, yay!  Now I can earn SB while I'm biking and doing other things.  Woohoo! Oh crap, I just finished typing this sentence and the videos crashed :(  I selected another set of nCrave videos that seem to be able to play without me being there, although I don't think it's unlimited :(

  • A couple of hours later... it's 11:30 am.!  I got on the bike a little bit past 9 a.m. and got so busy that I didn't see time fly by and biked for  70 minutes and 13 miles. Woohoo! While I was biking, I did all this, in no particular order:
    • I tried planning my food intake for the day but I didn't have the recipe for the turkey meatloaf at my fingertips (it's a recipe I clipped from a magazine) so I couldn't finish it.  Only lunch and dinner vary every day and lunch only varies according to what I have left after planning dinner.  I'll work on it after I eat breakfast.
    • I caught up on blogs and emails
    • I typed a reply to a message I had received from Tara in MFP a couple of days ago (I kept forgetting to do that!)
    • I emailed my mom to ask her if she had gotten around to ordering the French instructions for the AC unit
    • I emailed my brother from Marseille to ask if he and his GF had made plans for their marriage and if the previous owners of their mountain home had moved out with all their animals (they kept a farm on the property)
    • My son's BFF's mom texted me out of the blue!  She's a former co-worker of mine from years ago. We had lost touch and then our sons ended up being best friends and our daughters played on the same volleyball team. Nuts, eh? Anyhoo she works for Disney and was sent to work in Disneyland Paris for a year so her family moved to Paris with her last summer. She told me they just came back (well, she has to go back for a month but her son and husband are back for good) and wanted Youngest Son's contact info for her son since he changed phones and had lost it.  We exchanged new contacts and made plans for she and I to have breakfast together next week. I'm so excited for Youngest Son who missed his BFF and to be able to catch up and ask her about her year in France!
    • I got an email from Wawa that Reward members are getting free coffee rewards every Wednesdays in July. Woohoo!  I go shopping on Wednesdays so that's perfect for me!  I'm going to text my BFF to ask her if she wants me to forward the survey coupons to her during that month since she's not a Rewards member (she has trouble with her phone so she can't sign up for the app).  Update: I texted her but I never heard back from her.
    • I read one Money Diary on Refinery29.

  • After I was done, I chatted with Youngest Son and Daughter who had both gotten up.  Daughter and I made plans to do a couple of side day trips when Greg and Youngest Son go camping.

  • I made breakfast (egg white omelet with onion, zucchini, mushroom and spinach, and a small banana). Today I'm going to try to drink more water and also to write down the liquid intake. I've been lax with this over the past week and I know I didn't drink as much as I should have, which is probably a reason why my weight has been going up again, I'm sure.  Trying to turn all of this into lasting habits is hard. But recognizing the pitfalls and acting before it's too late is key.  I'm also realizing, once again, that the whole blogging every day thing is once again turning into an excuse for me not to do as much as I should be doing.  So once again I'm thinking that perhaps I'll go back to more succinct and weekly updates... we'll see.  It's so hard to find the right balance, especially when I want my blog to be a diary for myself, you know?

  • Instead of throwing the egg yolks away, I made some "scrambled eggs" for Youngest Son with them, I added a little water and some shredded cheddar but without the whites the consistency was weird. I'm not sure if he ate them, I'll have to ask. (ps: i forgot to ask and he didn't mention it...)

  • I had to throw away some milk that had spoiled (Greg alerted me to it last night but didn't throw it away and was very proud of himself since I have asked him repeatedly to let me decide if I should throw it away or use it for something) and also a cup of Activia yogurt that was almost 5 months past its sell-by date (the consistency becomes weird and neither Greg nor I will want to eat it).

  • I cut up half the large onion and a zucchini for the next few breakfasts.  The rest of the onion went into a reused zipper bag that I have washed many times over.

  • My mom replied that she looked at the instructions again and found the section in French. However they still haven't connected the unit because now the temps have dropped by 20 degrees Celsius (like in Canada!) and now she's back to wearing a sweater. But she told me not to worry because she's sure it'll get very hot again soon and the AC unit will turn out to be very useful :) However, all the controls on the unit are in English so she needs to familiarize herself with all the buttons. She doesn't speak English :) I'm going to suggest she asks my brother from Paris to translate all the buttons in French and stick little stickers all over the panel next time he comes to visit :)

  • My brother from Marseille replied to my email.  Oh my.  The couple who sold them the house was super nice and buying another house in another part of the country. They both quit their jobs in anticipation of moving away.  When it looked like their closing date on their new house wouldn't correspond with my brother's closing date, they asked if they might keep on living in the house that my brother had just bought for a couple of weeks past the closing date. Red flag all over the place, as far as I'm concerned but I kept my mouth shut because my brother is famous for thinking he knows better than everyone else.  Plus the previous owners had been very nice, introducing my brother and his GF to everyone in the village and being very patient with the sale of the house. Anyhoo, my brother and GF said "of course" and didn't have them sign anything or charged them rent.  So now, the previous owners have had some problems with their loan to buy their next house and so can't move and have nowhere to go. They still haven't gotten rid of the animals either, apparently. They asked my brother if they could store their stuff in the downstairs apartment and in the barn and my brother said yes, but he's telling me that he's getting more and more upset about the whole thing. My brother blows up quite easily so... it's not going to be pretty because he feels that he is getting the run-around (we're almost a month after closing now and the couple keeps on evading  him when he asks if they have secured temporary lodging anywhere else).  He has rented a truck to move his and his GF's stuff in this weekend and is bracing himself for some unpleasantness.  I told him that he needed to have them sign some official lease of some kind, even if it's just for a week, with a specific move date in there and have them pay rent.  I also shared with him that in the USA, depending on the state, people who live in your house at your invitation or with your knowledge can secure tenant rights even if they don't pay rent and then it can be very hard to evict them due to tenant/landlord laws so he needs to research the situation in France.  I hope everything turns out to be OK for them, though.

  • My daughter shared that Oldest Son passed the test he was taking in Gainesville this morning, which will allow him to be an elementary school music teacher in the Fall. I'm happy for him. I told my daughter to inquire (without telling him it came from me) whether he'll have the opportunity to sign up for getting paid over 12 months instead of 10 months. Sure, it reduces your monthly pay but it also allows you to not go without a paycheck over the summer when school isn't in session.  Not all school systems offer that option, apparently, but I've heard of it through online forums over the years and I think it'd be a great thing to do when you're young and maybe not very disciplined with money?  I have no idea if he and his GF are or not, I just think it's a good idea.

  • Amazon Prime Day will be on July 11 but they are already offering discounts on Amazon Unlimited Music and also Kindle Unlimited memberships.  Greg currently subscribes to Microsoft's Groove for music ($9.99 per month) and Amazon Unlimited Music would only be $7.99 per month for us and $0.99 for the first 4 months.  The Kindle Unlimited membership would definitely be an example of lifestyle creep but Greg reads only e-books and sometimes is frustrated by the selection of free books that interest him. He reads a lot!  We share the same Amazon account (not a Family account, we just both use the same login) and the Kindle Unlimited allows you to download up to 10 books at the same time, so we could both use the membership if it came to that. I prefer "real" books to e-books but at least it'd be something, like the Unlimited Music, that we could both use (although I use Pandora on the Roku or local radio stations via Tune In or IheartRadio so I wouldn't use the Music subscription).  I emailed him to see if he'd like to sign up for either/both at those good prices. The Kindle Unlimited membership is discounted by 40% if we sign up for 2 years.


  • I went outside to prune some roses and ended up pulling some weeds and then getting my electric trimmer out and trimming all around the berm (it was so overgrown) and around my vegetable garden patch. Also, behind the hedge and the house were it was so overgrown, I was afraid to end up stepping on a snake since that's the route they take. I felt bad cutting down flowering weeds because the bees and other flying insects seem to love them, but it was time. It was also hot and I was sweating buckets and since I was wearing my yoga capris, the lower end of my legs was getting quite a beating from flying weeds and stuff.  The worst was that before I even started, I had to untangle our super long extension cord, arrgh.  By the time I was almost done, the trimmer didn't seem to cut much anymore so I checked the plastic thread and it looked like I might be out. So after I put everything away, I cleaned the trimmer and took that assembly spool apart to look at what I needed to buy. I figured I'd order a spool from Ace Hardware for store pick-up (to get the Swagbucks!).  But after all that, I still had plastic wire in there, it just wasn't advancing on its own.  So I pulled on it, and now I have plenty. But I was hot and I had put everything away so I figured I'll go out again tomorrow if it hasn't rained.
I trimmed this overgrowth all along the berm today.
  • The extension cord had gotten tangled again but I was too hot to deal with it outside so I threw it in the Cat Room and moved to the Cat Couch to untangle it in the cool AC.  Youngest Son was sitting there at his PC and asked if he could help. I thought of it a second and asked him to come with me to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore because I wanted to see if they might have a spool for the extension cord but also because I wanted to buy a replacement couch for the Cat Couch (it's time, ours is 23 years old, disgusting and I'm stick and tired of the couch cover on it that nobody ever puts on nicely) and a long dresser for my bedroom if I found any of those. I needed the muscles. He agreed. I offered to buy him lunch in return at RaceTrac or McDonald's but he refused.

  • My daughter asked if she could drive into Clermont with her BFF as they wanted to go to Michael's and Walmart and asked if I needed anything there. I told her I didn't and yes she could go.  Youngest Son expressed interest in visiting Michael's so I offered to take him there tomorrow.  Date!

  • Youngest Son and I drove to the ReStore thrift store. It's only 5 minutes away from my house so it's pretty convenient! Of course I was busy chatting so I completely missed the turn and had to make a U-turn, hahaha. Also, I forgot my phone at home (that almost never happens to me!) so I had Youngest Son text my daughter to warn her I didn't have my phone with me.  What really bothered me is that I had just added something to my Thrift Store wishlist this morning and I was darned if I could remember what it was. And of course, I keep my list on my phone!  Arrgh.

  • Anyhoo, as soon as we entered the thrift store, I saw the green couch that Greg and I had eyed a couple of weeks ago when we went there. He thought it looked OK and had offered to come back with Youngest Son to get it after I measured the space to make sure it would fit, but back then the price was $120 and I decided to not rush into getting it.  Today, the couch was marked down to... $50!!!  I still hadn't measured the space at home (I had forgotten to do it before leaving the house, I don't know what's wrong with me today, I was just too impulsive in my decisions!) so I had Youngest Son lie down on it since I kind of know how he fits on our current couch. Human yard stick, lol.  He did it reluctantly because if there's someone who likes change even less than me, that's Youngest Son. We've had that couch there his whole life and he uses it as a foot rest, to cuddle with the cats, sometimes to play on the Xbox... he wasn't too happy that I was talking about replacing it. Well, tough luck.  I do carry a small measuring tape in my purse, so I measured the couch and the SUV to see if it would fit. It would have length-wise, but it was too tall.  So I asked if I could pick it up on Saturday and they said that I had 3 days to pick it up including today so yes.  Woohoo!  When I came home, I texted Greg and asked if I could borrow the truck tomorrow and have him drive my SUV since I thought he'd go fishing on Saturday morning and he's gone for HOURS, but he said he would go fishing on Sunday instead. So he and I will pick it up on Saturday. I put a reminder on my phone. We'll put the old couch out by the curb on Tuesday morning. I just checked our city's website and I don't even need to warn them.  They'll pick it up for free. Also, mattresses and I'm going to finally put that extra twin mattress that's been in my room for months out on the curb next week too, because...

  • I needed the room against the wall for the new-to-me 8-drawer dresser that Youngest Son and I picked up from the ReStore thrift store!  I paid $45 for it (down from $55).  Dressers don't seem to last long at that thrift store so I didn't want to take the risk that someone would buy it before the next price decrease. It's not perfect, there are finish issues and pieces of the "veneer" are coming off on the bottom of the sides, but I don't care.  Youngest Son and a thrift store volunteer loaded it into my SUV and then Youngest Son and I locked the kittens in the bathroom again at home, and carried the dresser upstairs after I cleared out the landing. He wasn't sure I'd be strong enough but I took out all the drawers first which lightened the load considerably (the dresser is mostly wood, only the back is particle board) so it wasn't too bad, even though our stairs are really steep and narrow. I went up first and had him carry "the bottom" so he did most of the work anyway. He's a strong young lad!
My new-to-me dresser, which matches my wood floor pretty well!
  • Then we let the kittens out and I set about cleaning the dresser with a rag and my Parsley Plus degreaser.  I like its smell.  I wiped the dresser down thoroughly and then placed 2 dryer sheets in each drawer. I'm going to leave the sheets in there for a week or so.  I should have left it outside, sanded it and then refinished it, but it's raining so often these days, I'll probably have to do it in the winter. However, now that it's in place, I probably will never do that, hahaha. I'll just put stuff on tops of the stains :)

  • One of the drawer pulls came off because the screw was too short to hold it in place. I looked for a replacement screw in my catch-all "tool box" where I keep the odd screws and nails and other hardware that we collect from things we throw away and found something that works alright. Woohoo!

  • I also found a package of felt pads that I had bought on clearance at CVS many months ago so I put a pad under each corner of the dresser so I could adjust its position without scratching the wood floors even more than they are now.


  • I'm very pleased with the dresser!  I'll be able to store clothes that are in the tiny closet that I rarely access because it opens up to a tiny crawl space under the edge of the roof and I'm paranoid that one of the cats will decide to jump in there to go explore (Princess jumped inside the dresser while I had taken the one drawer out to fix the pool!) and also because that closet isn't insulated at all so when I open the door, it's like the door to hell has been opened because it's so dang hot in there (I made a door draft stopper with cat litter in an old pantyhose leg, encased in a sleeve that I sewed on my sewing machine out of an old bedskirt and that helps keep the heat in the closet without the room becoming hot as well).

  • The thrift store didn't have any spools for the extension cord.  I was going to order one from Ace, but now I'll wait until Saturday. Since we're going back, I'll check again then.

  • After all that, it was past 3 p.m. and I still hadn't had lunch!  I made myself my turkey wrap, ate 12 cherries and my strawberry shake.  I didn't have a salad today, I'll just have it tonight.

  • Youngest Son walked to the library to go animate his D&D Club, since it wasn't raining. Greg will pick him up on his way home.

  • I just realized that my Trash pick-up day is Tuesday and it'll be July 4th so I called City Hall to verify that the trash will be picked up Wednesday instead. It will, so I wrote a reminder on my Google Calendar with an alert to put the couch and mattress out on Wednesday morning instead.

  • After all of this, do you know what really stinks?! The fact that I'm pretty pooped and that I still have to precook dinner now and also do the darn dishes.  Crap.


  • Earlier today, Produce For Kids emailed me an offer to print up to $3.75 in produce coupons to use at Publix so I was pretty excited. But when I tried accessing the coupons, I got a blank screen. So I emailed them and this afternoon their director of digital marketing reached out and asked me to email her some screenshots so she could see what the problem was. I did and she said she'd contact the coupon company to see if they could troubleshoot it but in the meantime, emailed me a direct link to the coupons, which I was able to print that way.  Come to find out, the coupons were distributed via SmartSource, and I haven't been able to access SmartSource via Chrome for months!  I've had to access and print their coupons via Edge.  So I told her that and maybe someone at Smartsource will be able to fix the problem later on?  Anyway, I was pretty impressed with Produce For Kids.

  • 5:45 p.m.: I collapse in a heap on the futon!  I've baked the meatloaf and rolls, made mashed potatoes from scratch, and done all the dishes.  I watched a little more than one episode of The Great British Baking Show on my Kindle Fire while doing all that, which really helped me keep up the pace. I'm exhausted now, though!  My Vanguard webinar is in a little more than an hour.

  • The automatic nCraves stopped for me several hours ago and I'm only at 81/97 SB right now. Aaack. I need to earn about 20 to go over my first goal.

  • A Slickdealer alerted me to the possibility of having an offer on our Amex for $5 off a $20 purchase (statement credit) at certain local small businesses designated as "Members' Favorite".  Greg's account had it so I unlocked it and 3 of our favorite and very local restaurants, for once, are included.  Woot!  Date night coming right up!

  • While I was logged in, I realized that we had over $100 in Rewards available so I redeemed them for yet another CVS $100 gift card, which will allow me to keep our groceries under budget since that's where I buy our milk, cereals, and Greg's Diet Dr. Pepper :)

  • At 7 p.m., I listened to the Vanguard webcast entitled "Do You Need a Financial Advisor?" and at the end of it and after discussed it with Greg, our conclusion is that yes, we definitely do need a financial advisor, and we're going to sign up with Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services.  Here is a link to the Vanguard library of past webcasts, btw, which I believe is accessible to anyone.  Here are my take-outs from the webcast tonight, in case anyone had been wondering the same questions:
    • All Vanguard Financial Advisors are Certified Financial Planners and they all operate with a fiduciary duty (which means they look after your interests, not their own personal interests). Vanguard's mission statement is "Do right by all clients."
    • They are interested in helping you write down an investment plan and then advise you on how to achieve the financial goals that you have set in your life such as paying for college or retirement or estate planning.  They can also help you figure out how to spend your money during retirement because it's complicated.  It might be more to your fiscal and/or tax advantage to first use funds from taxable accounts vs. non-taxable accounts, when to take Social Security, and all that good stuff.  Greg and I definitely need help with the tax aspect of the beast!
    • Some financial planning firms use financial planners who work on commission and personally actively manage your investments.  Those firms typically charge at least 1% (or more) of the funds they manage, per year, in fees, and typically also a commission based on transactions.  At the other end of the spectrum, you have so called "robo" financial planning which only uses technology to manage your investments and typically their fees are the lowest (because no humans are involved).  Vanguard uses a hybrid approach of heavily using technology to keep their costs low but also using human financial advisors to answer questions, provide guidance, and manage your investments if you so chooses.
    • The cost of this service is 0.3% of the value of any managed asset, per year for portfolios worth at least $50K all the way up to 5 million dollars.  This includes their reviewing your portfolio every quarter, based on your sign-up anniversary date, and rebalancing services should they be necessary. You can call them at any time to ask questions, etc. 


  • As I was typing these notes, my daughter came down with her laptop (almost brand new since I just bought it for her in May after her former laptop crapped out following a Windows 10 update). Guess what?  A Windows 10 update had asked to install itself and she said OK and subsequently her laptop kept on getting the BSOD which means "the blue screen of death". Greg exclaimed that she must have downloaded something unsavory that put a virus in her laptop and didn't offer to help at all (he spent close to 48 hours trying to help back in May, but nothing worked, including trying to reinstall Windows 10).  So I had her tell me what she did, looked up instructions on the Microsoft website, we followed their instructions, and in the middle of this, we kept on getting the BSOD and then the laptop would reboot itself. Sometimes we'd get the BSOD just a couple of minutes after it had rebooted itself, sometimes after 15 minutes.  Nothing that we tried worked.  So in desperation, and based on an old forum answer, I looked for the Microsoft help desk and found the Microsoft help page where we could use a digital assistant to troubleshoot, and since nothing worked, it eventually offered to connect us to someone.  I gave my cell phone and they called me back after just 1 minute.  The tech, AJ, was so nice. He took control of my daughter's laptop remotely and tried to see what the problem was, but the laptop kept on getting the BSOD.  So he asked if I had an 8G flash drive, took control of MY laptop, and created a Windows 10 install "disk" on the USB drive. That took a while and he explained that the only step left was to completely reinstall Windows 10 on my daughter's laptop but that she wouldn't lose any of her files.  However, the "Level 2" of Customer Support are the ones to guide us through this so he scheduled for them to call me back to do this... tomorrow (Friday) at 8 p.m. Also he explained that since we're having the problem on a laptop that came with Windows 10 pre-installed, there wouldn't be a charge for the help we're receiving. Phew!  He also made sure to give me the Microsoft's phone number in case I need to call them with questions in the meantime.  It was a frustrating experience because he was stumped himself, but at least it validated that it wasn't a virus as he said a lot of people are having the problem but a lot of times it's worse than what my daughter is experiencing. I'm not sure if he said that to make us feel better :) Anyhoo, good thing that she wasn't in the middle of taking a test or anything!  She went to bed at 11:30 p.m. and I stayed up to make sure that everything was fine with the Windows 10 file being downloaded to my laptop. It just finished downloading and it's now close to midnight, so I spent about 3.5 hours trying to help her and I know she'd been trying to fix her own problem for a while before that.
Aaarggh, the fact that you included a sad face on your BSOD doesn't add any
humor to the situation, Microsoft!
  • Now I'm all keyed up and I can't go to sleep!  Meanwhile, Greg had his own work emergency that required him to get on his work laptop and fix a big problem, so it's just as well that he didn't try to help us or he would have been very grumpy.  He still had to listen to the whole thing since I had AJ on the speakerphone the whole time!

  • So I forgot to mention that after talking to Greg about the Vanguard webcast, we discussed whether or not signing up for the Kindle Unlimited Plan made sense and Greg concluded that it didn't so we won't do it.  However, he is interested in the Amazon Music Unlimited Plan if it means that we can save $2.00 a month compared to Microsoft's Groove, so we signed up for the 4 months for $0.99 offer, which will then start charging us $7.99 a month if we don't cancel.  

  • It's been a long day, but I feel that I've accomplished quite a bit, even though most of what I did do wasn't on my To Do List to start with. Life is like that, isn't it?

FREEBIES
  • Greg had a business lunch at work today
  • 6 Sodapalooza refills between Greg, Youngest Son and me
  • A $100 CVS gift card was ordered by redeeming our American Express Rewards
  • Free Microsoft phone assistance with my daughter's Windows 10 problem

How was your Thursday?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Another Shopping Day Goes By ~ Wednesday 6/28/17



If you were hoping that one day you would not have to read about my cats, how tired I feel, or how I don't feel like going shopping, well today is not the day!

Explorer has several methods that he uses to wake me up: crying, jumping on the nightstand to molest the mini-blinds, putting his cold wet nose on mine, nipping my arm.  Last night, he used all of them.  Consequently, I'm tired, even though I fell asleep on the couch before 9:30 p.m. and went to bed at about 11 p.m.  I didn't get up when my alarm rang and then I cuddled with Princess because she's a cutie in the mornings and then with Explorer because he's a stinker and he was trying to be a cutie too. OK, he's a cutie too. An annoying one at times, but loving.

So I'm still in my PJs and trying to decide when to go shopping. I don't want to go, as usual, but I must. A couple of different things for me today: I'm skipping CVS, I'll be gassing up the SUV at Wawa, and I have to swing by the pharmacy to get my son's prescription refill.

I asked Greg to take the recycling bin down to the curb before he left because I wasn't sure I'd be dressed by the time they came to collect it.

It's all wet outside, it rained so much, again, yesterday!  It's probably going to rain again this afternoon so I directed Youngest Son to ask his sister for a ride to the library if I wasn't home yet and it was raining.

I followed Live & Learn's advice and didn't get on the scale this morning.  I guess I'll wait a few days and see what happens. I do like that the daily weigh-ins allow me to reflect on what might be going right or wrong. Right now I'm thinking that even though a lot (most) of the coffee that I drink is decaf, I might want to make sure I just drink plain water (bleh) because I'm feeling tired a lot, so I'm wondering if perhaps that's having a negative effect on me.

  • Plan my food intake for the day   DONE
  • Exercise
  • Go shopping DONE
  • Pick up prescription refill DONE
  • Gas up and pick up free coffee at Wawa DONE
  • Input receipts into spreadsheets DONE
  • Submit receipts for rebates DONE
  • Take recycling bin down to the curb ASKED GREG TO DO IT
  • Record today's food intake into MFP DONE
  • Do the dishes 
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Write and mail postcards to my mom and great aunt
  • Back up all pictures to my external drive
  • Figure out where I was in the process of backing up my external drive!
  • Pull weeds  IN PROGRESS
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Find two books to donate to The Little Library when I go to the eye doctor
  • Check to see if I need to purchase more Prevident toothpaste DONE
  • Balance the checkbook
  • Put the laundry away IN PROGRESS
  • Cut up Greg's old sheet for rags
  • Iron Greg's business clothes for his trip next week
  • Vacuum the downstairs
  • Sweep and mop kitchen
  • Clean upstairs litterbox 
  • Mend some items from the mending basket
  • Draft an email reply re: daughter's FL Prepaid/Scholarship ongoing saga ON HOLD, waiting to receive the "card" that's coming her way
  • Take Youngest Son driving
  • Vacuum fridge's coils
  • Go through mortgage pay-off statement and make timeline
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES

  • I reheated the last of the decaf coffee left in the pot from yesterday for my first mug and brewed a pot of regular coffee with a free K-cup from the Holiday Inn.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • I started playing the automatic nCrave videos in Swagbucks, as I didn't feel like clicking on the other ones. I hope they last the whole day as my 1st goal is 102 SB.

  • I hate the new Google News page. Surprise?  I really don't like change, but especially when it's for the worst. They tout that it's "more readable" but it's not. All this white space is hurting my eyes, who don't know where to focus to read what I want to read. Again, more scrolling, less choice (modules on the right that I can't get rid off, I don't want their stupid tags or "checked facts"). Between yesterday and today I've sent them at least 5 feedback messages about my discontent as I keep on discovering more and more things that irk me. They should take a page from Feedly and let the users truly personalize their viewing experience.

  • Youngest Son told me he was going to the library early today because they're having a pizza party and, as he said "free lunch!".  LOL, he's so my son :)

  • I planned my food intake for the day. Today, the difficulty is in planning the times at which I'll eat since I have to go shopping.

  • I checked the new Aldi and Save A Lot ads. Arrgh, Aldi had changed their site too.  I want to see next week's ad in the format in which I would read it in real life, not just a list of the deals they've "found".  My brain doesn't register those! Anyhoo, not much that got me excited. I'll buy more strawberries from Aldi (yay!) and I'll get a cantaloupe only if I can't get papaya at Save A Lot. I prefer papaya. The corn is a better price at Save A Lot (5 for $1) but I think we might be sick of corn.



  • The bank emailed me that the big check I had sent to the mortgage company was cashed in, so I checked to make sure the mortgage company had credited it, and it had!  Woohoo!
  • While I was at it, I requested the pay-off statement. It's actually lower than I expected (for some reason I thought they'd tack on another couple thousands of dollars in "fees" but they didn't) and our escrow has about $2,600 in it so we should get that money back within 20 days of paying off the mortgage. I do want to pay it off sooner than later because we have both the property taxes and the homeowner's insurance due in the fall, and I'd rather have enough time to tell them to mail ME the bills instead of sending them to the mortgage company.  So I think I'll go ahead and use the funds from our "New Car Savings" account to pay off the mortgage by 8/1.  I need to read through the pay-off statement and make a list of things to do.  The good news is that they'll accept a personal check, I don't have to scramble to get a cashier's check. 

  • I made breakfast.  I forgot to add minced garlic since I don't have any onion and it makes a big difference as it's a tad bland. Today I used zucchini, portabella mushroom, and collard greens in my omelet. I'm having the last of the papaya too.

  • I researched the difference between a CPA, Financial Advisor and Registered Certified Financial Planner and decided that the last one is probably the type of person we need. I checked the Vanguard email about tomorrow night's online seminar again and one of the presenters is indeed a CFP® so I went ahead and signed up for it. Hopefully we can just use Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services to consolidate our investments and avoid the Stupid tax.

  • The ransomware problem is spreading and getting worse. I decided to run Windows Update on my laptop, just in case, since the article mentions that Windows issued new security updates. My laptop said that I was updated as of 8 a.m. this morning but when I clicked on "Check for updates", a new one started downloading.  It's very slow going so I guess I'm not going shopping anytime soon... however, I just read up on that particular update and it's not even related to this security update. Arrgh.  Well, actually it only took about 15 minutes and I'll reboot the computer later on as I need it to keep running those automatic nCrave videos while I'm out shopping.

  • So I left for my errands at just after 10 a.m. and was back at about 12:30 p.m.  Here is what I did:
    • Save A Lot: 
      • I was very disappointed that they didn't have any papaya...
      • They also didn't have the cheaper whole wheat tortillas
      • I bought one large onion at $0.99/lb (so $0.76). I could have bought 3 lbs for $1.89 at Aldi but the onions have gone bad for me this summer before I could finish them so now I'm only buying them one at a time.
      • I also got a dozen large eggs for $0.79 (they were $0.99 at Aldi)
      • The Heinz BBQ sauce was on sale at $0.89/bottle so I got a couple. I wasn't sure if it was a good deal or not, not the Aldi BBQ sauce was $0.99 so I guess I did OK.
      • I found 2 packages of boneless, skinless chicken thighs on 50% off clearance ($1.04/lb)
      • I also found a package of dinner rolls on 50% clearance ($0.60) and two packages of English muffins on 50% clearance ($0.64 each)
      • My OOP was $9.94 and I charged it to Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards.  I should have used one of the Visa gift cards that I had bought from Youngest Son, though.  I need to use those up!

    • Aldi:
      • It was super busy today, I don't know what happened!
      • I spent $17.22 on non food items (cat litter, kitchen trash bags) and $46.57 on food items.  
      • I'm going to try and post a Grocery Shopping post with more details for those of you who, like me, love to read about other people's grocery trips more in details!  I haven't done that in a few months.
      • I paid for the $63.79 OOP with my Amex for 3% back in Rewards.
      • I forgot the brick of Neufchatel cheese that I meant to return at home though :(

    • Wawa:
      • I braved the very VERY annoying music and commercials at the pump (need to remember to bring some type of headphones?) and gassed up my SUV for $2.079 per gallon.
      • I obtained a receipt with which I will take a survey in a few days in order to earn a coupons for free 24 oz coffee that I will redeem next week.
      • I went inside to redeem my current coupon. Today they did have cardboard sleeves but no small sample cups :(  I grabbed 4 cups of half and half and 4 packets of sweetener too.  I'll drink the coffee tomorrow and use the half and half in a recipe at some point.

    • Pharmacy:
      • I picked up the Rx refill that I had ordered yesterday and paid for the $75 co-pay with my Health Federal Savings Account Visa card (pre-tax dollars).
    • Publix:
      • I got some cash at the ATM and paid a $2.75 ATM fee but USAA will refund it to me next month.
      • I checked my lottery ticket but hadn't won anything... it had expired so I wasted another $20 in buying a advance ticket for the next 20 drawings . Yes, it is wasted money but you don't win if you don't play so... I play a little :)
      • Then I agonized for a few minutes whether to buy a tube of Garden Gourmet ginger paste or not. I love that stuff because when I buy fresh ginger, I can never get it the right consistency for my recipes and then it goes bad.  But Publix charges you an arm and a leg for them: $4.29!  I did have a $0.55/1 coupon from a tear pad that I had grabbed a few months ago so it helped a little.
      • I also bought 2 Butterball turkey sausage links, on sale at $2.00 each. Save A Lot now charges $2.29 for them.  I used (2) $0.75/1 printable coupons.
      • My next two items were 100% free to me because I used digital coupons that I had uploaded to my digital coupon wallet: a loaf of Arnold Buttermilk bread ($4.29) and a cup of La Liberté yogurt ($1.79)
      • The La Liberté coupon ended up being for $1.99 so I made $0.20 :)
      • Plus SavingStar has a $0.30 rebate on it. I submitted my receipt and we'll see if they accept it since I used a coupon.  Also, I submitted the UPCs for the 2 sausage links since there's a "1 or many" offer. It expires next week, though, and I have no plans to buy more Butterball items at Publix. It doesn't cost me anything to load up the info from my receipt, though.
      • So my OOP was $6.04 and I charged it to Amex for 3% back in Rewards.

    • Walgreens:
      • I bought a bag of Black Forest organic candy on sale for $2.00 and received a $2.00 Register Reward.  I had to pay for the $0.14 in tax, though.
      • I also bought a box of Mike & Ice sour candy on sale for $0.99 and received a $0.99 Register Reward. I also had to pay the tax on it.
      • When the cashier rang me up, at first, I used my Amazon Visa card to get 2% back in Rewards.  But the Register Rewards didn't print!
      • The store manager came over and took a long time to get things to work properly. He had to refund my purchase and then ring them up each in their own transaction for the RR to print. He said that it happens sometimes, two RR that are supposed to print will actually cancel each other out.  That had never happened to me before...  but when  he did that, I blanked out and charged the new transactions to my Amex instead of my Amazon Visa!  Ugh. So I'll only get 1% back in Rewards.

    • RaceTrac:
      • I got Sodapalooza refills for Youngest Son and myself
      • I wanted to redeem a Sodapalooza coupon for a free 1 oz Jack Links Steak meat stick but they only had the 2 oz.  The cashier told me that "the truck is coming tomorrow" but they never seem to know if they actually ordered a specific item. It's like "the truck" delivers stuff and they have no idea of what will be on it until it gets here. I've had the same speech at Walgreens and CVS in the past, and from store managers to boot!  It's a mystery as to who orders what in those stores...


  • Then I went home!  Youngest Son had walked to the library since it wasn't raining. I unloaded everything by myself because my daughter was cleaning her room and it doesn't happen all that often so I didn't want to interrupt her, lol.

  • I consolidated 3 loaves of bread into one and saved 2 bags to use when cleaning the upstairs litterbox.

  • After I put everything away, I made my lunch: a turkey and spinach wrap, a Romaine and cucumber salad with light balsamic vinaigrette, 12 large cherries, and the strawberry shake that I should have had for morning snack.  My daughter had leftovers from last night's dinner. 

  • I submitted my Publix receipt to Ibotta ($0.25 for any item) and SavingStar ($0.30 La Liberté yogurt) and Ibotta credited my account right away.

  • I ate my lunch while watching the Law & Order marathon on ION TV.  It'll be playing right until the time Greg gets home :)

  • The $25 Walmart gift card that I ordered from Swagbucks came in today, woohoo!  Now, to make myself go to Walmart...

  • I tracked all my receipts into my spreadsheets, which helps tremendously in knowing where our money is going and identify areas on which we could improve.

  • Youngest Son walked back from the library. He had a great time playing board games with his friends and eating free pizza ;)

  • I sliced the loaf of whole wheat bread that I made in the breadmaker yesterday  and reused the parchment paper and Ziploc bag that I had used for the previous loaf.  Greg's bag of ice for his non-existent fish harvest is ticking me off because it's taking so much space in the freezer that I can't freeze my slices of bread. I think I'm going to tell him "No, don't freak out but... there is no longer a bag of ice in the freezer...". I need to get him reusable ice packs, I suppose.


  • The nCrave videos allowed me to reach my 2nd Daily Goal in Swagbucks without having to do much at all, woohoo!


  • Books, books, books!  Today I received my copy of "The Simple Path to Wealth" from Amazon (I bought it new but used my Microsoft Rewards gift cards to get it for only $0.28), and my used copy of the 2003 edition of Betty Crocker's Diabetic Cookbook. I had borrowed it from the library and when I flipped through it, most recipes sounded delicious and super easy to make with ingredients that I stock up anyway, so I look forward to start using those recipes to get the whole family a little healthier along with me.

  • I received a pack of sample pads from U Fitness by Kotex so I gave them to my daughter.

  • I printed a coupon for BOGO shakes at Steak'n Shake in case Greg and our son would like one.

  • Arrgh, it's almost dinnertime and I really don't feel like cooking, much less fish. It's so easy but it's so smelly.  But... I did. Yay me!

  • I had forgotten to earn the Microsoft Rewards for today but I just remedied that!

  • The kittens are so big now :)
Look, I grew kittens!
  • Greg is having a business lunch tomorrow. Free food!

  • We watched a couple more episodes of "Peep Show" on Amazon Prime Instant Video after dinner.

  • After that, I plan on reading the rest of my library book, probably while taking a bubble bath.
FREEBIES
  • Free lunch for Youngest Son at the library
  • A 24 oz cup of French Vanilla coffee, 4 cups half and half and 4 packets sweetener from Wawa, with survey reward coupon
  • A loaf of Arnold buttermilk bread, with digital manufacturer coupon, at Publix
  • A cup of La Liberté yogurt, with digital manufacturer coupon, at Publix
  • Six Sodapalooza refills between myself, Youngest Son, and Greg
  • I received the $25 Walmart gift card that I had ordered from Swagbucks
  • I requested a free sample of Dove shampoo and conditioner
  • I received free samples of U Fitness by Kotex