Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Back Home! (Monday 6/12 recap)

Hi everyone!

Just a short (ha!) post to let you all know that my daughter and I got back home safely. We've actually been home since Sunday night.  Our trip went fantastically well, for the most part, and we had a great time.  Oh, and I also managed to lose 1 lb despite eating every.single.meal. "out". Woohoo!  As of yesterday I was down a total of 10.6 lbs since I've started following the Diabetic Exchange diet.

We left Florida when a drought was still going on and it was brown and hot.  We came back to daily downpours, green and overgrown lawns, and gray skies. And oh, the humidity is back. Hi there, freaking humidity, I didn't miss you one bit :(

Yesterday was spent recuperating, kind of, from 2 days of long drives. I'll go into the details of our trip at some point but probably not today.  Greg did cook some dinners but he and our son also ordered in a few times. I had left the house in disarray (i.e. not cleaned!) because, as I told Greg, "if something happens to me, you get to remember me every time you look at a dust bunny!" and I came back to the exact same house, only a little dirtier.  He did do the dishes, though.  But no one seemed to mind that the cat litter boxes needed to be completely emptied, washed, and refilled. Instead, they just cleaned out the pee and poop and added more litter.  Washing the litter boxes is my job, you see.  I do that about every 3-4 weeks. Well, the 4th week fell when I was gone and neither of them noticed that the house smelled very strongly of cat pee.  They got annoyed at Princess when she started pooping outside of the box, but it didn't occur to them that she was doing that because the cat boxes really needed to be completely washed!

So on Sunday night, at 11:30 p.m. or so, I was outside in the dark, washing out 4 litter boxes because the stench was so horrible that I couldn't breathe properly. Yuck.  The cats were very grateful, though, and there hasn't been any pooping on the floor since (good thing they were still peeing in the boxes, though!).  Also the house smells nicer, although with all that rain, our old house smells musty.  I'm going to attempt lighting a Bath & Body Works candle today, hopefully the kittens won't try jumping on the mantelpiece.

Speaking of the kittens, they're huge. I swear they doubled in size during my absence!  We missed the cats so much.  Don't tell Greg but I think that I missed my kittens a little more than I missed him. I mean, I was talking to him on the phone every day, but I didn't get to talk to the kittens :)

This is how New Kitty fell asleep on her couch last night!  Silly cat.
When we got back, they all acted skittish, but once I cleaned those litter boxes, they seemed to remember who I was, lol.  When I woke up on Monday morning, Explorer was back sleeping by my head and Princess by my feet. Greg said they had looked for me the first night, but after that they had settled downstairs even though they had left the door to my bedroom open.  Anyhoo, I cuddled and cuddled with them yesterday morning, and then Tabby Kitten came in as well so we had a love fest.  So much so that I didn't even get up with Greg yesterday morning, I just stayed in bed and cuddled with kittens.

Later on yesterday morning, I looked in the fridge and realized that I needed to go grocery shopping. So I grabbed my coupon organizer (that was almost useless since I hadn't cleaned it of the expired coupons and hadn't added new coupons yet) and headed to the stores.  Here is what I did:

  • Save A  Lot:
    • Papaya was $0.99/lb so I bought only one. I also got clementines at $2.99 for 2 lbs and a 32 oz bag of collard greens on 50% off clearance for $1.25.  Corn was 3 ears for $1 so I got 4 ears.  The cashier, I realized later on, only charged me for 1 ear!
    • They had a lot of meat on clearance. I got 4 lbs of Jennie-O ground turkey for $1.64/lb, a beef bottom round roast for $2.49/lb, and a thin sirloin tip steak for $2.84/lb
    • Lastly, they had their off-brand bottle of ketchup on sale for $0.59 each so I got two.
    • My OOP was $20.84, more than I had planned on spending there but it's not often that I find meat on clearance anymore. I charged the OOP to Amazon Chase Visa for 1% back in Rewards.

  • RaceTrac:
    • I just gassed up my SUV at $2.23/gallon and earned loyalty points on my app. I charged it to Amex for 2% back in Rewards, and got a receipt with which I will earn a freebie after taking the survey. I have so many RaceTrac receipts waiting in the wings, it's not even funny!

  • CVS: I did two transactions.
    • Food:
      • They had the large family-size boxes of Lucky Charms on sale for $2.99 so I grabbed 4 of them since I had a $10 ECB to spend (earned for doing a CVS Consumer Panel survey late last week) and  also redeemed a $1.00/3 insert coupon that surprisingly hadn't expired yet.
      • The milk was on sale at $2.99 a gallon even though it wasn't advertised in the flyer, so I got a gallon of whole milk.
      • The Jack Links jerky was on sale for buy 1, get the second for just $1 and I had (2) $1.50 off beef jerky CVS coupons loaded to my app so I got them for Greg. It'll be his Father's Day present from me.
      • I had a $1.00 off crackers CVS coupons in my app so I got Peanut Butter crackers but weirdly the register only deducted $0.89, grr. 
      • I also had $1.00 off chips so I got a small tube of Pringles for my daughter. It was $1.00 so they were free.
      • The OOP was $9.46 but it was all FREE to me since I used my CVS gift card earned with our Amex Rewards. I will also get $1.00 back from SavingStar (for the cereal).

    • Non-food:
      • I needed more Renuzit air freshener cones since I used the last ones to refresh the house after cleaning the litter boxes on Sunday night. They were on sale for $0.88 each and there was a sign that if you spend $15+ on specific cleaning products, you got a $5 ECB.  The Purex laundry detergent was on sale at $5.99 a large 100 oz bottle and included in the promotion and I was almost out of detergent so I got 6 Renuzit cones and 2 bottles of Purex and qualified for the $5 ECB. I'll use it on food items next time I shop there.
      • I had loaded a $2 CVS coupon for personal care on my app, and couldn't think of what to buy, so I got a bottle of CVS brand fluoride rinse since my son uses that daily on dentist's instructions.  So it cost me $2.29 after the coupon.
      • My daughter hurt her neck on a roller coaster on Sunday and I think it's whiplash :(  She's been icing her neck but I also spoke with the pharmacist who recommended the CVS brand of arthritis cream. It was $5.99.
      • My OOP was $26.91 and I charged it to Amazon Chase Visa for 2% back in Rewards (and got the $5.00 ECB for the cleaning supplies). I also got 20 cents back from Mobisave (cucumber, strawberries) and $0.25 back from Checkout 51 (asparagus).

  • Aldi:  
    • I got one non-food item, which was a cooler bag for Greg to take fishing with him. It's light and soft-sided so it's easy to fit on the kayak, and he can use it to keep whatever fish he catches and then he can hose it off too.  It was $7.99 plus tax.  I got a black one so it can get messy and won't be as noticeable but now I'm thinking that a lighter color would have been smarter since the bag is gonna get hotter, being black. Doh!
    • As far as food is concerned, I loaded up on veggies and fruit and frozen foods for Youngest Son's lunches such as corn dogs, chicken nuggets and meatballs. I also got ice cream bars for him. My daughter got on a healthy kick along with me when we were on our trip so she's trying to stay away from all the junk. I also got my son some sour worms and a box of brownies to make up for the fact that I hadn't brought him back anything from our trip.  Anyhoo, my total OOP was $70.13 and I charged it to Amex for 3% back in Rewards.

  • Walgreens:
    • I got a 30 oz jar of Welch's grape jelly, priced @ $2.49 and I redeemed a $2.00 Register Rewards for it.
    • As I was waiting in line, I noticed that the price tag for the Milka Oreo chocolate bars stated "*FREE" with some small print, none of which indicated whether it was a BOGO or B2G1 free offer or what. I figured maybe a RR would print that would make it free, so I asked the cashier, who had no idea. He charged me for the 2 bars that I had grabbed but after I paid, no RR printed so he called a manager. The manager was very young and had no clue. He ended up deciding that it probably was a BOGO offer and that the price tag hadn't been printed properly. There was nothing in the weekly ad about it at all. So he refunded me for one of the bars, plus tax. I kept them for my son.  Then when I got home I saw there was an Ibotta rebate on them so I got them completely for free PLUS somehow I qualified for a $5 Ibotta bonus so I ended up making $5+ on that transaction. Sweet!

  • Library:  
    • I returned the John Sandford book that I had taken on vacation with me. I did read it, although at first I had no time to read at all!  It was 4 days late (since I could only keep it for 7 days) so I had to pay a 40 cent fine. Better than having to go back to the back of the line to be able to read it, as it's several hundred people long by now!  
    • They had another book waiting for me, the latest Lee Child, so I got that. Apparently it's all the Jack Reacher short stories so it should be easy to read in 7 (well make that 6, now) days.
    • I also told the librarians that my son wouldn't be volunteering to shelve books on Mondays this summer as he's already volunteering on 2 other days and he has Summer Projects/Classes to work on.  I checked the donation pile but there were no coupon inserts to be had :(

  • RaceTrac: I went to the station near our house to get Sodapalooza refills.  I noticed that I had a coupon in my app for a free medium fountain drink that expired in a couple of days and also one for a free Bacon Ranch Chicken sandwich. I think you can only redeem 1 coupon per visit, so I got the free drink for myself (caffeine free Diet Coke) and used the 2 Sodapalooza cups to get Hawaiian Punch for my son. My daughter has decided she wants to avoid soda and lemonade so she donated her cup to Greg, who was ecstatic (he'd been using mine while we were gone). So it was all free.

So we spent $85.79 on groceries this week, which is under my $100 weekly budget but over my self-imposed $50 limit.  That does include a visit to Publix where Greg got a loaf of bread (almost twice the Aldi price!) and some chicken drumsticks.  Now that we're eating healthier, I have to let go of the $50 weekly limit, though.  

Once I got home and put everything away, I did nothing else the rest of the day than input all the receipts for the past week and a half into my spreadsheets. Oh my, that was a lot of receipts!  Our trip was expensive (we spent about $2,200 between the hotels, gas, food, and admission to various places) but it would have been at least double to go to France.

For dinner I baked an XL cheese pizza from Aldi for the men, and cooked a chicken breast for my daughter and me. We had chicken sandwiches and steamed asparagus.  Then I baked the other 2 breasts in the pack and this morning I pulled the meat from those. My daughter likes chicken sandwiches.

I didn't take a picture of my dinner but this was my lunch

Today, I'm having a hard time finding my groove again. I did get up with Greg, packed his lunch and prepped his breakfast, but I didn't do the dishes like I had been doing before I left on my trip, haven't showered yet, and haven't exercised although I had gotten in the habit of using my recumbent bike at 9:00 a.m. so I could watch "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" at 10 a.m. while eating breakfast.  I need to get going since I didn't have a "Domestic Monday" yesterday.  I have laundry to do, I really need to iron and I also need to put the trash out since they'll be collecting it later on.

Middle Son had offered to sign me in to Epcot tomorrow for my next Photography lesson, but I checked the weather and we're up to 65% chance of rain (same for the next 10 days!) so we decided to postpone until the weather improves.  Yesterday when I went shopping, the humidity made it miserable even though it wasn't even all that hot.  I think I'm going to put a hold on taking hikes as well and just use my recumbent bike for the time being!

Gray and rainy days also don't make for great photos, unfortunately.

Other freebies I got yesterday included:
  • a Petco coupon for a free bag of cat treats to celebrate New Kitty's birthday (I'll redeem it on an upcoming shopping excursion and pass it on to my BFF)

  • an e-book from Amazon about spying during WWII. Spies fascinate me!

Being home also means that I ran some Swagbucks videos so I could meet my 1st daily goal yesterday.

I did earn my Microsoft Rewards credits while I was on my trip and I was able to cash them in for another $5.00 Amazon gift card, which will be put to good use soon.

Well, that's pretty much it for yesterday.  I really need to get my butt in gear for today, though!

How are you all doing?  I won't lie and say that I haven't been reading blogs, but I didn't comment, sorry!  I need to get back to that as well.


  1. Hi Nathalie,
    Your time with the daughter sounds great! Sorry about my delay re: your diet (we were on vacation too). Good for you with all your success with the Diabetic exchange Diet. So happy it is working so well for you!!!! You have started off your summer with a bang.
    Take care,

    1. Hi Bonnie, how was your vacation? What did you do?

      Thank you so much for letting me know about the Diabetic Exchange Diet. I really like it so far and I'm done 11.6 lbs in total. I've been a little scattered since coming back but I want to get back into my routine and make sure that I drink all my liquids and exercise 45 minutes on the recumbent bike every day. It's too darn hot to go hiking anymore. I have several library books and some that I bought used on Amazon that should be give ideas for meals along with the exchanges as well, which is great. Anyhoo, thanks to you, I feel like I'm finally on the right path :)

  2. Welcome back! I'm glad the trip went well. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

    1. Thank you so much. Yes, it was pretty darn good :) I need to edit the notes that I took (good thing that I did that because I'm so forgetful, I can't even remember all that we did!) and pick the good pictures out of the bad before I'm ready to publish any trip account. We had pretty good weather overall, and we successfully avoided anything with 3 leaves, thanks to you!

  3. Welcome back! Glad you had a safe, enjoyable trip. Congratulations on the weight loss! You are doing so well! Bless

  4. Can't wait to hear about your trip! Congrats on the weight loss- I see the doctor Friday (had blood work today) and I think I might be a few pounds lighter than 6 months ago when I was there. I bet you missed the fellows and the kittys. GS is in Tennessee until Sunday for a mission trip- supposedly he is roofing but I told daughter surely they will be pretty careful with a 15 year old novice. I'm off for Daytona today- busy day today and tomorrow. Don't work too hard!

    1. Ooh, let us know how you do at the doctor's! I hope you lost weight too. My BFF's teen son also went to TN for volunteering to build houses over the summer via their church high school a couple of years back. She said he had a great time and he came back in one piece. Not sure if he did any roofing, though.

      I'm having trouble getting my butt in gear again this morning. Summer vacation does that to me and the gray weather isn't helping. Neither is coffee, sadly. The good thing about your busy days is that the weekend will come that much faster! Be safe on the roads, Nan.

  5. Welcome back! I'm looking forward to catching up with your vacation and photos!

    Congratulations on the weight loss...and keeping it up even during your vacation. The photo of the Milka Oreo candy bar reminded me just now that I have one sitting in the pantry, and enough calories left on my daily allowance that I could treat myself. I love those things...

    Gray and rainy days also don't make for great photos, unfortunately. <-- You can blame me for that...I bought a new camera, that's what triggered the rains. I've only been able to take it out once to take some pictures, during a brief break in the rains. I really should hire myself out to end droughts. Just go somewhere with a severe drought, buy a new camera, trigger rain, collect my fee.

    So glad to see you back!

    1. It's good that you're rewarding yourself! I did have crême brûlée and cake a few times during the trip so the 1 lb loss was even better :)

      Oh so what you're saying is that the long drought we had was because you selfishly refused to spend money on a new camera for several months?! Shame on you! Make sure you buy a new camera each Spring from now on!

      What did you end up buying?

  6. Your idea of recuperating is miles apart from mine. You went grocery shopping, input all your receipts and reward points, managed to get a pile of Freebies, and got a lot of errands run. I would feel good if I managed all of that in a week. I have lost a lot of "indoor" motivation. Maybe if I were passionate about housework, it wouldn't seem like so many chores. Mostly I can talk myself into going outside and doing yard work; but once I am inside, it is an effort to do anything. Glad you're back and I am enjoying the posts about your trip.

    1. Isn't the summer made for relaxing? Did you ever had your AC unit(s) put in? I'm with you, anything that I have to do indoors save for anything to do with my laptop or the TV seems like a big freaking chore and I don't want to do any of it. But I have to feed the family, and the dust and cat hair might not bother me as much if I was the only human living here, so I don't really have a choice... But today I did pretty much NOTHING. It didn't make me feel very good, though, more like a lazy slacker and I hate that!


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