Wednesday, June 21, 2017

First Day of Summer ~ Wednesday 6/21/17

Happy first day of summer! You would think it's winter here, just looking outside as it's all gray and overcast at almost 8 a.m.  However, as you find out when you take a step outside, it's also oppressively hot (the AC was already running when I got up at 6:45 a.m.) and very humid despite the fact that it didn't rain yesterday. I wonder if it's moisture brought up from the Gulf by Tropical Storm Cindy, that is supposed to hit the coast of Western Louisiana/NE Texas today.

The scale loved me back today so I feel a little chipper than yesterday morning despite the lack of sunshine.  Today is Shopping Day but I'll hold off to get going until after 11 a.m. as I want to exercise and watch Law & Order: Criminal Intent first.

My daughter is driving back from Gainesville later on today.  Youngest Son is probably going to spend the afternoon at the library as they have organized Teen activities.  I'll need to balance my checkbook and do the dishes. Nothing exciting, really. I'm missing being able to hike in the mountains, to tell you the truth!

  • Put the recycling out for collection - DONE
  • Go grocery shopping DECIDED TO GO TOMORROW
  • Pick up kitten food DECIDED TO GO TOMORROW
  • Stop by Petco to redeem free coupons DECIDED TO GO TOMORROW
  • Stop by Panera to have $10 bonus gift card problem remedied DECIDED TO GO TOMORROW
  • Start dinner in the crockpot  DONE
  • Finish doing the dishes DONE
  • Plan my food intake for the day   DONE
  • Exercise DONE
  • Look for the article I had saved about what to do once your mortgage is almost paid off PRINTED IT!
  • Transfer money to New Car Savings (waiting for Greg's next check so I can confirm his raise amount)
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Write and mail postcards to my mom and great aunt
  • Write and mail postcard to a friend DONE
  • Edit another Vacation post 
  • Freeze peppers and eggplants - FROZE THE PEPPERS, will probably compost the eggplants
  • Clip cats' claws
  • Put laundry away DONE
  • Clean upstairs bathroom DONE
  • Pull weeds 
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • File new coupons in organizer DONE
  • 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
  • Input all receipts into my spreadsheets
  • Balance the checkbook
  • Put new sheets on our beds DONE
  • Wash Youngest Son's bedding with mine
  • Cut up Greg's old sheet for rags
  • Iron Greg's business clothes
  • Vacuum the downstairs
  • Mop kitchen
  • Find a bed for me (IKEA?)
  • Clean upstairs litterbox DONE

  •  I weighed myself again upon waking up and this time I'm down almost 2 lbs. Shrug (but I did a victory wiggle in my head!)

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • There was a black cat hanging around Greg's truck and, as I looked at it to make sure it wasn't climbing in the wheel well, I saw another kitty's head sticking out of there! Oh no... I snapped a quick picture to show Greg and then went outside to shoo them away. They ran as soon as they heard the front door.  They're young cats but not kittens. I couldn't tell if the black one was the same one that has a collar and that hangs out around here a lot, but the tabby one was new. Grrrr. And no, I don't take care of strays. I have 6 cats that were strays and that's the extent of my lifesaving efforts. I don't feed strays and actually I wish people would stop doing that as it only contributes to the problem of them multiplying.  And I'm not trapping them either... because, people, I don't even do my darn dishes so let's be realistic about the chances of my taking on the responsibility to trap neighborhood cats...  I do need to call Animal Control to see if they could drive by more often (they never seem to drive by anymore, I used to see them at least once a day) but even that seems like something that I probably won't do. So you get to hear me whine about the neighborhood's stray cats :)  I guess I'm one of the people who also contribute to the problem?  Probably?

  • I'm earning Swagbucks with videos and earned some Microsoft Rewards on the laptop. I'll work on earning the mobile ones when I'm biking later on.

  • Spurred by a comment from Bless, I went to research the link to the map of the Free Little Libraries throughout the world, only to find out that they apparently changed their mapping system and in the process lost a lot of information for a great number of Free Little Libraries (the ones near me don't show up on the map at all). They say they contacted the stewarts of the libraries to ask them to reinput their Little Library's information into their database but that a great many number of them didn't reply.  Well, poop.   I guess next time I'm downtown Clermont, I'll need to tell the people from the yarn shop which is sponsoring ours about it so they can reinput their info.  It's kind of surprising that the organizers of the site hadn't thought to back up their data before migrating it...

  • I checked the new Aldi and Save A Lot flyers online. I'll be buying blueberries (or "blueb'ries" as they say on the Great British Baking Show, which drives me nuts!) and raspberries today.  Save A Lot doesn't have any produce that I want this week and I'm stocked up on meat.  I wish I had remembered to buy whole wheat tortillas there yesterday, as they are cheaper than at Aldi, and it would have saved me a stop today. Maybe I'll just make do with what I have on hand.

  • We've adapted to life without ice quite well since our icemaker died a few years back, but there are times when having ice would be nice, such as when one of us has an injury.  Aldi will be selling a tabletop icemaker next week, which tempts me, but at $80, it's so expensive... and I do keep a bag of peas in the freezer that we keep on reusing for injuries. So perhaps I can forget about the icemaker.  I really don't have the counter space for it anyway.

  • I worked out an itinerary for my Shopping Trip so as to maximize my mileage and my time.

  • I planned my food intake for today. I also started dinner in the crockpot. I'm making Chili with Turkey and Beans from the Crockpot Hearty Soups, Stews and Chilies cookbook. I substituted the onion and celery for a couple of cups of collard greens.  I was too lazy to figure out the exchanges, not knowing how many servings were in the recipe, so I headed to the My Food Advisor page on the page to see if they had a rough estimate for turkey chili.  Only the page hasn't been loading for me for several days :( So I emailed their webmaster to ask if the problem could be fixed. I hope so.  I did notice that they have a policy for linking back to their site. Wow, you'd think they'd want people to link to their site?  I might have to take down the links that I had provided for your information when I did my own research.

  • Anyhoo I ended up using the exchanges noted for a different chili in one of my diabetic cookbooks. I should have thought to use that recipe instead!  But chili is pretty much chili, there isn't a ton of variation from one recipe to the next.

  • Well I'm off to exercise...

  • My friend texted me to cancel our walk date tomorrow since she has things to go for her kids. We'll reschedule later on.  This frees me to go shopping tomorrow morning so I think I'll do that... I'll swing by Publix to get a couple of things that go on sale tomorrow.  Plus today is the Law & Order marathon on ION TV, so yay!

  • I earned the rest of my MS Rewards while I was biking, caught up on blogs, entered my food intake into MyFitnessPal via their app, and finished flipping through the latest issue of Kiplinger's Magazine (I have a free subscription). I tore 2 articles that I want to keep, including one about people who buy a 2nd home in Florida and want to be able to declare being a FL resident in order to avoid paying state taxes in their (former) home state. Some northern states (MN and NY were mentioned) are really cracking down and making homeowners prove in much detail that they actually live the majority of the time in Florida.  It actually has good information that could benefit us were we to purchase property out of state (something I could see us doing at some point. Greg wants to move but I'd want to keep our Florida residency so as to not have to pay state income tax!).

  • While I was biking, the automatic nCrave videos allowed me to reach my 1st daily goal in Swagbucks, woo!

  • I cooked my breakfast and prepped another zucchini for the rest of the week.  Since I'm only using the egg whites, I'm keeping the yolks in a container in the fridge. I need to bake something to use them up!  I have some bananas so I might make some banana bread.
  • I decided to freeze all the serrano and jalapeño peppers that I had harvested whole. I used one of the smaller freezer containers that I bought at Aldi before my trip. I love those because I can write in pencil on the lid and then erase it when I change the contents.

  • What's the point of getting free samples if you don't use them, right?  A while back I had gotten a couple of free samples of FiberChoice drops but one of them remained on my countertop for several months and was driving me crazy because I kept on forgetting to use it. So today I just added it to a bottle of water. Decluttering and it was only 10 calories.

  • The sun came out... and was hidden was encroaching clouds just as fast :(

  • Youngest Son got up and we chatted for a little bit. Princess came to greet him and ended up taking a nap next to me on the futon.  I had my lovefest with Explorer at 4 a.m. so he's ignoring me now :)
Awww, she is so adorable!  She has the worst breath, though!
  • I received a promotional email from Lowe's which also including some teasing information about the military discount now being permanent (and not just on some holiday weekends) in-store and online but you need to register for a My Lowe's account (free) and submit the pertinent information for them to verify your eligibility. We never had a My Lowe's account because the only advantage used to be that they tracked your purchases and I didn't need them to do that. But hey, 10% off (with many restrictions) is great so I went ahead and registered for an account in Greg's name since he's a veteran. And I can also get the discount as his wife. Woo! Of course, we just spent over $100 on gutter supplies there last weekend :(

  • I entered my weight into WGBRHC. I didn't bother entering my exercise for the day since you can only earn 1,000 points per month for exercise. I'm not even sure that I can still earn 20 daily BR points for weighing in.  Ugh, I liked their previous site better!

  • I changed the sheets on our beds with the sheets that I had bought at Goodwill last week for $3.99 each. They're pristine!  While I was doing that, my daughter called to update me about Preview.  So I was looking at a stain on my sheet that I was removing, wondering what that was, when I found... a squished Palmetto bug between my sheet and my mattress. GROOOOOOOSSSSS!  So now I'm thinking I need a bed because as much as I love sleeping with the mattress on the floor, I don't relish those bugs in bed. Nothing prevents them from climbing in there with me but I think we have lazy bugs.  The funny thing is that I think I must have squashed it with my big butt buns of steel since it was about at that level...

  • So daughter reported on Preview and it sounds like it was a big waste of time!  Remember, this is a Preview event only for students who have already obtained their A.A. Well, most of those kids' state colleges haven't sent their transcripts to UF yet (they have until 7/21, I think), hence UF has no record of what credits they've earned (only that they've earned their AA, since they had to attend a special Preview event) and won't let them register for the classes that have pre-requisites even if they have earned the pre-requisite credit at the state college. But they HAVE to register for a whole schedule anyway... so she had to register for a bunch of BS classes and will have to change everything (and hopefully get into the classes that she really needs!) once her transcripts have been received.  Apparently it's the same process every year, which is madness!  You'd think they would schedule Preview later on in the summer, then!  On top of that, she couldn't get answers from the Bursar yesterday, as I might have already reported, about the order in which her scholarships will be disbursed, since they haven't received official word from the state that Bright Futures will pay 100% of tuition and fees next year. Usually they disburse funds from any Florida Prepaid fund first (which is how the scholarship that I had won for her several years ago is structured) and then disburse funds from Bright Futures.  So she still can't figure out her budget for next year either because she doesn't know if she'll be getting money back from any sources which would allow her to pay for her room, books, etc.  As I told her, I'm glad I didn't go because I would have raised my voice. I get very irritated by inefficiencies like this! So it's much better for my daughter to handle it on her own.  She didn't score well on the math placement test but she's hoping that, by studying between now and late July, she can take it again and place higher because right now the counselor told her that even if people earned the pre-calc credit in state college (which she did), if they score low on the placement test, they typically fail if they go straight into Calculus. The thing is, she was told NOT to study for the placement test... so she didn't. But she really wants to take Calculus in the Fall because of her grand plan for the rest of her schedule.  We'll see what happens.

  • I'm rethinking buying toilet bowl cleaner at Dollar Tree again, that stuff is just blue water with a vague chemical scent.  I think I'll stick to Clorox or Lysol from now on...  I did use some of the lavender scented Lysol wipes that I had gotten for free after coupon from Dollar Tree last year, to clean the bathroom sink and also the toilet seat. They smell so good that I might splurge for those in the future. Might as well enjoy cleaning, right?

  • I drove to RaceTrac to refill my and Youngest Son's Sodapalooza cups for free, and I also redeemed a survey reward code for his lunch (Monterey Chicken hot roller grill item).

  • I reached my 2nd goal in Swagbucks and nCrave automatic videos are still playing, woohoo!

  • Carrabba's emailed me an offer to get a free to-go spaghetti and meatballs if we order one of three chicken dishes that I like, so I forwarded the email to Greg asking him if we could go since we have a Carrabba's gift card... maybe we can celebrate having sent so much money to our mortgage company :)

  • For my lunch, I once again used part of the chicken breast that I had cooked and rinsed when the Pyrex that contained it was broken.  It's funny how long a chicken breast lasts when you can only eat it in 1- or 2-ounce pieces!

  • I used another upcycled bread bag to clean up the contents of the upstairs litterbox.

  • I looked and looked for that Kiplinger's article from last year about what to do when you're about to pay off your mortgage but I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally I just googled it and did a little dance when I found it online!

  • The upside of searching for it through the mess on my desk is that it forced me to examine every piece of paper that had piled up on there.  So now I'm about to start purging the pile, stapling articles together and generally unclutter my desk, which was on my list of things to do... eventually.

  • I received an official invoice from the seller of the AC unit I bought for my mom on Amazon so I'm relieved that the order did go through. It has a French number to call if we have any questions so I sent the whole thing to my mom so she has the number if she needs it. My stepdad said he should definitely be able to rig something up.  In other news, she emailed me this morning that they apparently had a leak in the attic that went undetected for a long time as the ceiling had started sagging in places and they didn't know why. Now they built their house when I was 16 and I'm turning 50 this year, to give you an idea of how long ago it was. Well, they called the builder (a national company) to complain about the ceiling and they sent 2 guys who went into the attic but, unaware that there was a leak (?), ended up walking through the ceiling in 2 spots. Apparently they were able to patch the ceiling immediately but they still need to refinishing the whole thing (and I guess they're taking care of the leak as well?  I'm not sure). Anyway, holes in the ceiling notwithstanding, my mom's been really happy that they're taking care of it (I think she'll need to pay for the leak repairs, if course) and I'm amazed that a builder would still come to take care of things after 36 years!  

  • Earlier today I got dinner started in the crockpot. I used a 1-lb package of ground turkey that I had bought on 50% off clearance from Save A Lot last week, and canned kidney and black beans and tomatoes.  I also used 2 big handfuls of collard greens that I had also bought on 50% off clearance last week.  I think I'm going to start using those instead of spinach in my morning eggs since I have a huge 32 oz bag that I need to be eating!

  • Youngest Son walked to the library to attend the weekly Teen program with his friends.

  • I activated an offer for 4X the Plenti points for produce at Winn Dixie, "just in case". I haven't shopped at Winn Dixie in ages because their prices, like Publix's have been so much higher than Aldi's.  I checked their weekly ad and yep, their produce is more expensive so I won't be going.

  • My daughter called at about 4:30 p.m. to say they'd been released and that she was going to drive to her apartment complex to get an idea of the commute (she seems to have forgotten she'll be taking the bus!). She'll come home after that. She had offered to go to Trader Joe's for me to get some of the whipping cream in UHT cartons that I like, but I don't have a pressing need for it and she might get tempted to get goodies for herself so I told her not to bother.  She was full of enthusiasm about the recreational opportunities and possibly being able to get a job as a scorekeeper for the intramurals volleyball team.  I'm sure we'll be chatting some more tonight when she gets home!

  • It didn't rain again today, for the 2nd day in a row.

  • I received a box from PinchMe today with several samples.  I love samples!  I'll give the cat food to my BFF.

  • I have got to start doing the dishes early in the morning again as once again I find myself stressed about having loads of dirty dishes to do before Greg gets home all day. At least tonight I didn't have to turn around and start cooking right away, since dinner is in the crockpot!

  • Guys, I can't believe it but CVS sent me another Advisory Panel survey and this time I earned $10 in ECB and it was super quick too!  Woohoo!  I've made $25 in those surveys in the past 2 weeks!

  • Dinner was good and I have lots of leftovers.  There were few dishes so I just did them tonight, woohoo!

  • My daughter came home safely although she said she almost got clipped on I-75 (I'm not surprised, it's quite dangerous on that stretch).  We chatted about her experience for a while.

  • Sodapalooza refills
  • Monterey Chicken hot roller grill item from RaceTrac with survey reward code
  • Samples from PinchMe arrived in the mail
  • I earned 10 in ECBs thanks to a CVS Advisory Panel survey

  • I lost 1.8 lbs since yesterday morning's weigh-in?! Don't ask.
  • Breakfast was the same as yesterday.
  • Mid morning snack was the same as yesterday and once again eaten with lunch. I really should just call it "dessert"
  • Lunch was the same as yesterday although I used 2 oz of chicken instead of one and added some frozen blueberries to my strawberry shake as I was missing about 1/4 cup of strawberries.
  • Afternoon snack was a rather puny slice of homemade whole wheat bread with Earth Balance spread on it, so I also had 8 "thin wheat" crackers from Aldi with it.
  • Dinner was a cup of turkey chili with beans and 1/4 of a naan.  
  • Evening snack was a cup of plain yogurt with some sugar free apricot spread mixed in.


  1. Great on the weight loss. Wish I'd get serious about it- no fun at all for me LOL. My portions are too big and I like a glass or TWO of wine in the evening. I have to stop that. Hot here- was 91 yesterday. I need a vacation. I'm going to see if I can't get my June work done today and tomorrow. Have a good Thursday.

    1. I don't know if the wine is the problem... after all French people drink wine all the time but unless they stuff themselves with American-style foods, most of them aren't fat.

      Maybe get a little more exercise if you don't want to reduce your caloric input? Do you have a pool where you could swim?

      I hope you can take a vacation soon! Have a great weekend, Nan.

    2. NYC in July! We're looking forward to going. Yes, I should swim but I'm kind of over the pool. I have been increasing my walks in preparation for NY. I know my GS wants to shop so I imagine we will be walking a lot.

    3. That sounds like a good plan! Despite taking the subway, we walked so much when we were in Paris and I was glad I had lost *some* weight before we left so my knee didn't bother me as much and I could keep up with the kids. Since starting hiking with me, it's more like they have to keep up with me :)

  2. So the obvious question about your ice is do you use ice cube trays? We've never had a working ice maker and have always gotten our ice from ice cube trays. They're a lot cheaper than a table top ice maker although that might be fun.

    1. We used ice trays for a couple of years but my freezer is perpetually stuffed to the gills and no one liked refilling the ice trays/ Plus they would shift and water would drip all over the food (we have a chest freezer). Little by little I stopped making ice cubes and no one complained. Still, once in a while it'd be nice to have a few ice cubes. But yeah, $80 for a machine to make ice cubes is not something that I need :)

  3. Oh, dear! Looks like you've been adopted by two more cats! LOL!

    I hope your daughter is able to figure out her scholarships and funding before she needs to register and pay for that first semester.

    As for the ice cubes, I buy a bag of ice for $.99 from the grocery store and keep it in my freezer (I only have the freezer that comes with my fridge - a side-by-side thing). I have ice cube trays, too, but the bag of ice is easier.

    1. I probably should do that but I don't have any room in the freezers!

  4. Woo-Hoo. Samples in the mail.

    I don't use ice trays for all the reasons you gave Nathalie. If I have to have ice, I buy a bag of it. How much would it cost to have the ice-maker on the fridge repaired?

    1. Too much... our fridge is 15 years old so I wouldn't spend money on fixing the icemaker, plus now I use that space for storing MORE great deals such as the $1.99/lb butter from Aldi a few months back, lol.

      Greg did tell me this morning "Don't freak out: I bought a bag of ice and I put it in the freezer. I needed it for any fish I might catch when I went kayaking". LOL. I guess I cooked enough stuff that there actually was room in the freezer for a 5-lb bag of ice? I wondering if he threw something away...

  5. To tell you the truth, I couldn't live without ice cubes. We have an automatic ice maker, but if it broke, I'd have to use ice cube trays. I know I'm totally spoiled, but I drink a lot of water (other than coffee and the occasional glass of wine, it's the only thing I drink) and I like ice in it.

    When my scale does something unexpected (go up when I think it should go down, or up when I've been so on track), I blame it on atmospheric conditions. You know, higher air pressure has the same effect as more weight... *Shrugs*

    1. We've adapted. I was surprised that Greg adapted so well because he was the one using the ice for the most part. Now today we were in Lowe's and we saw a fridge on clearance for just $400 dollars and I was tempted, even though it was one of those stainless ones that I don't like, until Greg pointed out that it didn't have a water dispenser on the front. Call me spoiled, but I really like the water dispenser so I wouldn't want to go without one of those now, even for frugality's sake! But hey, thanks for reminding me that I meant to put an ice cube tray in the freezer tonight, I had completely forgotten! brb...

      LOL at your blaming the atmospheric conditions! "It's so humid in Florida in the summer, we just imbibe the water, like sponges!"


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