Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weekend Relaxation ~ Saturday 6/24/17

Last night, as I said goodnight to the kids, I announced that I planned on sleeping in this morning, so I turned off any and all alarms and notifications on my phone that might ring or beep before 9 a.m. and took my Kindle to bed with me.

I was in the middle of watching an episode of "Forensic Files" when Explorer came by and just sat on my Kindle!  I guess someone was wanting attention! So I turned off the Kindle and put it away and we cuddled. Then I slept and I was surprised, this morning, to find that I slept well despite all the coffee that I had drank during the day.

However, my plans to sleep in were derailed, again, by Explorer. He insists on putting his cold little wet nose on my nose in the mornings when he wants me to get up and play with him!  And he's relentless!  Meanwhile Princess was nestled again my thigh and fast asleep. I pushed him away several times, and then he investigated my nightstand, found my hair band, and started batting at that. I took it away from him. Then he started jumping at the window, trying to get the mini-blind cords.  Finally I had to get up because he was just making too much ruckus. Dude, the door is wide open, go downstairs and play with the other cats, why do you have to wake ME up?  Yes, there was food in his bowl, he just wanted me to be awake.

It was 7 a.m.  Arrrgh.

Greg had gone kayak fishing on the Clermont Chain of Lakes earlier on.  The weather forecast said it was going to be a dry day today as TD Cindy was sucking the humidity away from Florida. I should be outside on the patio! I hope Greg remembered to put on sunscreen this time.

Then I noticed that one of the mini-blinds was just dangling there. Explorer's many attempts to get the cord finally broke one of the tiny cords that holds the mini blinds up.  Arrgh. Now I need to take it down and attempt to fix it. That darn cat! He's incorrigible. Discipline doesn't work, he's not afraid of me and just does cute things when I try to be tough with him.  I'm a total pushover when it comes to him, Greg was just commenting on that recently because I've always been the disciplinarian with the older cats so now they're just letting me do whatever and scamper when I tell them to. But not him. He gives zero f-u-c-k-s.

So now I'm up. It's already 9:20 a.m. and I don't have a plan save for having to do the darn dishes at some point today. I have zero motivation!  I'm not posting a To Do List, it's the weekend :)


  • I lost more weight, woohoo!

  • I slept well last night despite all the coffee intake from the previous day.

  • But Explorer broke one of my mini-blinds. I'm hoping I can fix it. Mini blinds aren't super expensive but it irks me to have to replace it since it's closed all the time so it should never break. Ever!

  • I remembered to warm up the rest of the free large Wawa coffee from Wednesday and I also dumped in the small sample cup that I had gotten for free from Wawa as well. It was a little bitter but not bad.

  • Then I brewed a pot of coffee using a free K-cup of Starbucks Morning Blend coffee that I had received in the mail. I don't have a Keurig so I just open up the K-cup and measure out 2 scoops of coffee for my "4-cup" regular coffee machine.  I really do not get the K-cup thing. Aside from the possible advantage of being able to brew a different flavor with every cup without having to store many different bags of coffee, it doesn't save you any time (the steps to fill up the Keurig and brew a cup of coffee are still pretty much the same as with a regular coffeemaker, and I'm quite sure it doesn't save you any money. On top of that it's horrible for the environment, all those little plastic cups! But that doesn't deter me from requesting the K-cup freebies so I'll just shut up now :)

  • I started playing Swagbucks videos as soon as I woke up and I'm already at 47 SB earned out of my 50 SB first goal. nGage videos ran out just now but I suddenly got nCrave videos in my line-up so I'm running the "All You Can Eat" automatic nCrave videos until they quit on me along with the "laptop guy" videos. I'm at 2,061 SB so getting closer to that $25 GC!

  • Nan had left me a comment about her grandsons' high school music teacher quitting unexpectedly and so Band Camp being in limbo, and the high school having a hard time finding a replacement. She knew that Oldest Son is a professional (or semi-professional) musician and wondered if he might be qualified and interested. I have no idea since we're not on speaking terms, but I did research the job posting and emailed it to him, along with sending him a text to alert him since the posting closes tomorrow.  It would be a very long commute for him (2 hours on crazy busy I-4 and I-95) so I don't think he'll be interested but maybe he'll know someone who is.  

  • Daughter said that she was going to go back to her dad's this weekend because Middle Son is indeed moving back to this dad's house after the "sharing a house with younger friends from Universal Studios" fiasco, and my ex wants him to take over my daughter's bedroom.  I sure hope he's making him pay rent this time.  So she needs to go pack up her stuff. It'll also allow her to figure out what she wants to take to college from that house.  I think she's going tomorrow and Monday so Youngest Son and I should still be able to go driving with the Focus this afternoon.

  • So when I bought the 6 cases of Diet Dr. Pepper on Wednesday, I saw that there was an offer to get a free Dr. Pepper T-shirt with the purchase of any 3 specially marked Diet Dr. Pepper products. I checked out the details and ALL I had to do was text a picture of the 3 UPCs to a specific number and wait 24 hours for them to validate my picture. I was scratching my head because all the UPCs are the same so I could conceivably piece a picture with 3 times the same UPC code... and also they don't require any receipt. Whaaaaat?  Anyhoo, I took a picture with 3 of the cases and texted it on Thursday. Late last night, I received a text to confirm that my picture had been approved and a code to redeem on a website.  I then was given the choice between several designs of T-shirts. Of course I wanted to get one as a surprise for Greg, so I picked the one with big fish in the front. If anything, he'll wear it at home :)  There are other designs that I find funny, especially the one with the unicorn, but he'll never wear that.  Anyhoo, my order was completely free, including shipping!  The T-shirt was valued at $23.  What's even better is that I can submit UPCs up to 10 times.  I could cheat but I won't. However, I did buy 6 cases with those "special" UPCs so I am going to take a picture of the other 3 cases and submit that one as well.

  • I receive the Amazon Prime membership newsletter via email a couple of times a month (I think). It alerts me to all the benefits that come with our Amazon Prime membership.  This month again they tout the fact that you can read the most recent issue of several magazines for free. In the past I wasn't interested in their offerings but this month they seem to include a lot more magazines. One of them is The Family Handyman and the current issue seems to have an article about "double duty pub sheds" so I'm forwarding that to Greg (we share the same Amazon account). Greg built our shed totally from the ground up, on his own, several years ago and we joke that he now has a passion for sheds :)  If you have a Prime membership and would like to receive this email newsletter or any of their other newsletters (they have a weekly one about Prime Videos that I didn't know about so I just signed up for that one too), head on over to this page.

  • There was another article in the Orlando Sentinel today confirming that Bright Futures' highest award will indeed cover 100% of tuition and fees for 2017-2018, which means that the recipients who qualify will get $6000K, plus $300 for books each semester, plus money to cover 2018 summer classes. I forwarded it to my daughter.  UF told her they take money out of any Florida Prepaid fund FIRST so I'm hoping that would mean she gets all that Bright Futures money deposited to her bank account since the scholarship that I won for her is in the form of a Florida Prepaid fund.  We're having trouble getting the proper information from the Educational Foundation who administered the prize in order to access that fund, but the director forwarded us an email conversation to my daughter and it seems that the Florida Prepaid people also screwed things up by matriculating the fund for 2018 instead of 2017.  So I want to draft an email to both the contacts at the Foundation and at Florida Prepaid to check on the status of all of this and to make sure that Daughter is given the accurate information to access the account (right now she can't access it at all with any of the account numbers they gave her!) because she needs to be able to figure out what is available to her for the next few years and make decisions based on those funds.  I'll email my draft to my daughter and have her send the message from her account so it doesn't look like a helicopter parent is taking over. It's just that she's not used to having to deal with situations like these and is afraid of ruffling feathers. I don't care about that since I WON the scholarship so she's definitely entitled to it and they need to get their shit together.  At this point it looks like she won't be able to use the Siemens scholarship that she would be receiving from her dad's employer via the National Merit organization since she said the rules are that you can't get cash back for it.  I'm wondering what good those scholarships are, then, because surely someone who qualifies on merit is possibly going to be offered several other merit-based scholarships (as she would have if she had attended UCF) so why wouldn't you just give it to them as cash? It seems like bait and switch to me.  Anyhoo, I guess it's a better situation to be in than to have to take on student loans, eh?

  • So the bed frame I'd want to buy from IKEA is $239. Originally I thought they only had it in black, which kind of bummed me out because I didn't want a black bed. But they also have it in white, which I think would look better in my small bedroom that's painted kind of a sage color with white trim. The other furniture in there is "eclectic" and either unfinished wood, painted a darker green than the walls or a light maple color. It's definitely in stock at the Orlando store, which is an hour's drive from here. Tolls will probably be at least $5 each way. We hate the whole IKEA "experience". However, they want $139 to deliver it to my house. So that's a no-brainer, I need to go pick it up from the store. Maybe my daughter will want to come with me this afternoon.  She loves IKEA and she'll be needing to furnish her college room soon (there's no IKEA in Gainesville).  I printed the page that shows the location of all the parts that come with the bed frame. Why they wouldn't all be packaged together, I don't know. I hate IKEA.  There's a Rooms to Go in Clermont so I just checked their website and they don't even sell full-size beds. They have a choice of 4 full-size headboards and they're all hideous. So no.  I could wait to try to find a used full-size bed at Habitat for Humanity ReStore, but the non-frugal part of me wants a new bed. Is that bad?  90% of my other furniture is either from thrift stores, Target, Kmart, or Wood You.

  • But, but, but!  I just checked the Target website and found this platform bed base for a mere $86.99 AND there is a 10% off code AND I'd get an additional 5% off with my Target RedCard AND free shipping (I'm pretty sure) AND I wouldn't have to go to freaking IKEA on a weekend, wasting several hours of my valuable time. And I don't care if I actually have a bed, bed, I just want to be off the floor to minimize the chance to get a roach in my bed again. What to do, what to do? Well I spoke with my Daughter and even though she started by exclaiming "I loooove IKEA!", she said she didn't feel like going there and doesn't really need anything for her room just yet. So Target it is. Woohoo!

  • So I went through Swagbucks to score 2SB per dollar spent.  After all discounts, the base cost me $79.59. Woohoo!  I can always find a headboard somewhere if I decide I want one. I don't like footboards, I always bump my thighs against the corners and it hurts.  I should get 149 SB. Update: Swagbucks confirmed just a few minutes later that I'll be received those SB. Woohoo!
  • I cooked my usual breakfast. It's almost 11 a.m. so I'm running way behind today. Oh well, weekend prerogative. Greg texted that he's so far from the launch that it'll take him another 2 hours to get back to the truck. The fish aren't biting but I guess he's enjoying himself.  He did put on sunscreen and packed extra PBJs so he's set.  As for me, it's L&O: SVU Marathon Day on ION TV so that gives me 2 hours to watch the show without Greg scowling at me. I really do not like the actor who plays Captain Cragen, though, I think he's a terrible actor.

  • I took a picture of the other 3 cases of Diet Dr. Pepper and submitted my picture to the promotional text number.  In case you want to participate, here is a picture of the promotion graphic on the case. I suppose that if you want to buy Dr. Pepper soda in other sizes, you'd need to find the bottles/cases with the same logo though. I won't post the UPC since it'd be encouraging people to scam. Still, whoever put that promotion together really screwed up, I think. I checked the rules and you can request 10 promotional codes per person.

  • Sometimes I'm the Queen of Procrastination.  It's past noon and I still haven't done the dishes nor do I have any motivation to wash them right now.  I did want more coffee so I brewed a new pot using another free K-cup from Starbucks (House Blend this time, they all taste the same to me) and while it was brewing, I unloaded the dishwasher and put away utensils from the drying rack.  Then I vacuumed the scummy water at the bottom of the dishwasher, wiped it with a rag cut out from an old bath towel, and added vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher, which will prevent nasty odors when the water that drips down there becomes scummy again (because I'm not breaking out the Shop Vac every time I empty the dishwasher, people!). Then I dumped the nasty water in the invasive groundcover that's encroaching from our neighbor's yard and set the Shop Vac to dry in the disinfecting rays of the Florida sun. It might not be as humid as it usually is but it's still pretty darn hot outside today!

  • I read more Money Diaries on Refinery29 dot com.  I love reading about people's lives and how they spend (or misspend!) their money.

  • Greg finally got home. He's tired! He shared great pictures though, I'll probably post one on Monday's Day Book since I'm usually scrambling to find a picture I haven't shared yet!

  • He said he was tempted to stop by Lily's on the Lake and get himself some fried calamari to go since he was right there, but he didn't. Go frugal hubby!  I run down my long morning of doing nothing to him, mostly stories about our cats, of course :)

  • Winn Dixie sent me an email with some digital coupons to upload to I did that, just in case, as usual, and hopped on over to the Plenti site to see what other offers I might want to activate "just in case".  Nan uses Plenti a lot so we were discussing that in the comments this morning. It doesn't cost me anything but a tiny bit of time to upload/unlock offers so why not do it?

  • I submitted Amazon seller feedback on several orders I had placed over the past couple of months.  

  • I stopped Greg from eating strawberries because I use those for my shakes, but I pointed out that we have 4 pints of blueberries. He loves blueberries and they have fiber so they fill him better. He didn't protest :) Then I went to make my morning snack/lunch combo and discovered that quite a bit a strawberries had started to spoil.  So I went through all 3 remaining pounds to make sure I was using all the ones that had started to spoil.

  • For my salad, I remembered to use the fat free vinaigrette packet that I had gotten from Zaxby with my salad during my trip. I hadn't used it!  Yeah, it's healthy and frees up room on my small countertop, where I had put it not to forget to use it but of course I kept on forgetting to use it anyway!

  • Daughter went to visit her BFF.  I reminded her that I wanted to take Youngest Son driving this afternoon so she walked there instead of driving. Good grief it's just 2 blocks away!  I know it's hot but come on, why would you drive there? In her favor, she didn't protest :)  She went to watch the first season of Game of Thrones since her BFF hasn't seen it and I turned her into a GoT devotee. Last night she asked to borrow my Blu-Ray set but I turned her down. I love my daughter but she forgets things over at the BFF's house all the time and Greg and I would be very upset if our set ended up scratched, broken or missing altogether.  However, since I contacted HBO last year and they very nicely re-issued me the digital codes for all the seasons that I had purchased on Blu-Ray (which is all of them but season 2, because I was too short-sighted and didn't realize that we'd only be watching it on Blu-Ray from then on!), I had been able to redeem the codes on Google Play.  So I created a Family Group on Google Play, invited my daughter to it, and placed all 5 seasons of GoT in the Family Library.  So they'll be watching GoT on the laptop over there and my Blu Rays won't go missing :)

  • I just noticed that I've gone beyond my 2nd Daily Goal on SB thanks to those automatic nCrave videos which are still going gangbusters. It's almost 3 p.m. and I just finished lunch!

  • I was going to make Pecan-Crusted Tilapia for dinner tonight because the kids, who don't care much for fish, actually like that recipe a lot.  However, when I went to calculate the exchanges for me... yikes. So instead, I found a recipe for white fish baked in an aluminum foil packet with vegetables and a sauce made with white wine in the diabetic cookbook that I bought at Goodwill last week ($1.99!) and that will fit in my overall exchange plan for the day. I think I'll just cook my own portion in the toaster oven and will make the Pecan Tilapia for everyone else. Couscous and veggies will be the side dish.  I could make the Seasoned Grits but the kids don't really care for those.

  • I told Greg that once I reached 10% of my starting weight lost, I wanted to treat myself to a Tropical Lemonade from Lily's on the Lake to celebrate. He mentioned that it didn't contain that much alcohol so it's hardly worthy of a celebration and that I should get something like a milkshake from McDonald's instead. Yeah but I looove those Tropical Lemonades and I don't like milkshakes from McDonald's!  Plus I make my own healthy and delicious milkshakes at home every day and I want something different to celebrate :) I'll probably have fried calamari too since I know he'll order that!  But I'm only at 6.6% of weight loss so I still have a ways to go...

  • At about 3 p.m. I had Youngest Son practice his driving the Focus. Once again we drove the 15 minutes on rural back roads to the Van Fleet trailhead and then drove 15 minutes back home. He gets better each time, only stalled the car twice today :)

  • I dropped him off at home and then drove to RaceTrac where I refilled my Sodapalooza cup for free (he didn't want a refill).

  • In the driveway, I found a plastic sleeve from the Orlando Sentinel promising savings inside. I found the sales circulars for Aldi and Publix and a Redplum coupon insert. Yay, free coupons!

  • The plastic sleeve will be reused to hold the yucky contents of the upstairs litterbox when I clean it next.

  • I checked the mail and found a sample of B12 vitamin from PinchMe. Freebie :)

  • Greg had gotten on his PC to play videogames so I turned "SVU" back on (I'd switched to classical music when he came home from fishing).

  • Not feeling like being especially productive, I'm back to reading "Money Diaries".

  • The Dr. Pepper promo people text me that my 2nd photo has been approved with a new promo code. This time I ordered Greg the Dr. Pepper "Gaming" T-shirt.  Another $23 T-shirt for free, with free shipping. Woohoo!

  • I texted my daughter to find out if her BFF liked GoT and if she was coming home for dinner, but they haven't been watching it due to the BFF having a headache and she will be having dinner there again!  I suggested that next time she ought to bring dessert or something. She liked the idea. This is the 2nd time this week that they're feeding her!

  • So Greg and I apparently had a miscommunication about when to go eat at Carrabba's this weekend because I was thinking lunch (cheaper) and he was thinking dinner.  At about 5:50 p.m. tonight, he asked me when we were getting ready to go to Carrabba's... well it didn't take long to convince me since I'd been reading accounts of millennials living in NYC or Chicago and eating out every single meal and thinking that they were darn lucky that they didn't have to cook, lol!  Since my daughter was eating at her friend's and I know that Youngest Son isn't a fan of going to restaurants, we agreed that we would leave him at home, especially since I was planning on ordering one of the three chicken dishes that would allow us to get a free to-go spaghetti and meatballs order.

  • So that's what we did. The restaurant was very busy but we only waited 15 minutes for a table and ended up getting a booth (hooray!).  Our server was nice but a little frazzled. Our food was delicious!  I skipped eating any bread and I drank water. I had the Italian salad with light balsamic vinaigrette on the side, and then the chicken marsala and I paid extra to get grilled asparagus on the side.    Greg didn't eat all the bread so we brought the leftovers home to our son along with the free spaghetti and meatballs. We had a $50 gift card that we had bought at Home Depot (of all places!) late last year because Amex had a promotion whereby we would get a statement credit ($15,  I think) if we spent $50 at Home Depot (or maybe it was $75).  So after our gift card, our OOP was $4.15 plus the tip and I tipped 20% off the whole amount of course.  We had a great date with great food!  
But $19.49 for a breast of chicken and a salad (the asparagus was $1.50 extra) was very steep, I think!
  • I had planned on then driving to the RaceTrac station that has the ice cream bar in Clermont and redeem 2 coupons for free waffle cones (they came with our Sodapalooza cups) but Greg was full and I suspected that I had probably gone over my calories for the day so we just drove home.  Then I had also wanted to stop by the RaceTrac by our house to see if we could redeem Greg's app coupon for a free Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich that expired today, but we completely forgot about it and then it was too late.

  • So back home we gave our son his dinner and he was really excited about it all, LOL!

  • And then Greg and I capped our evening by watching episode 2 of season 4 of the Great British Baking Show on the PBS app of our Roku (biscuits/cookies!).

  • I had hit the 2,200 Swagbucks while I was gone and I considered redeeming them for a $25 Amazon gift card. But then I remembered what I said yesterday about paying in full for my Amazon orders so I can earn 5% back with my Amazon Visa card so I decided to just get another $25 Walmart gift card. At some point I do need to go there and get some groceries with my gift cards, lol.

  • Redeeming Swagbucks triggered the 60 SB bonus from the last Team Challenge, which was credited to my account. Yay!


  • Two Dr. Pepper T-shirts for Greg with a promotion marked on the cases that I purchased.
  • Ability to read the latest issues of several magazines for free via our Amazon Prime Subscription (I think the selection changes every month).
  • A free Sodapalooza refill (free refills through July)
  • An unexpected coupon insert left by the Orlando Sentinel in my driveway :)
  • A sample of B12 vitamin from PinchMe
  • Daughter is eating dinner at her BFF's (freebie for me as I don't have to feed her!)
  • A dish of spaghetti and meatballs to go from Carrabba's with an email promotion
  • Ordered a $25 Walmart gift card from Swagbucks


  • I lost another 0.8 lbs!  WOOHOO! My mini goal at this point is to lose 10% of my previous weight. There is a significant health advantage to losing 10% of your previous weight. Back in the day when I did Weight Watchers, you got a special magnet to celebrate that milestone.  I should get myself something when I do reach it. I don't know what, though. I don't need anything. Well, a bed, I suppose.
  • Breakfast was my usual egg white omelet with onion, zucchini and spinach. I also had a cup of papaya.
  • Lunch was a turkey roll-up (1 oz of Black Forest turkey on Aldi on a whole wheat tortilla from Save A Lot, with a tbsp of light mayo from Aldi and some spinach bought on sale from Publix), a salad (romaine lettuce and cucumber from Aldi, a packet of fat free vinaigrette left over from a vacation dinner at Zaxby), 3/4 cup of blueberries (on sale this week at Aldi) and my strawberry shake (whole milk from CVS so free to me with gift card, water, strawberries from Aldi and a scoop of powdered stevia from Aldi).
  • Afternoon snack was a whole wheat hamburger bun with a tablespoon of Earth Balance spread and 4 Thin Wheat crackers.
  • Dinner ended up being at Carrabba's!  I had an Italian salad with just a tbsp of light balsamic vinaigrette and chicken marsala with grilled asparagus.  Later on I had a yogurt.

Princess cuddling my forearm in the morning...

Explorer enjoying an afternoon belly rub and cuddle

I had fun with Tabby Kitty's picture from yesterday because Greg said it looked like it could be his LinkedIn
profile picture!

I wasn't the only one who relaxed today... our three older cats enjoyed their own (messy) couch for most of the afternoon.

How relaxing was your Saturday?


  1. Congratulations on the weight loss! That is excellent! But that Explorer is naughty, isn't he? Loved the picture of the three older cats all napping in a row on the same sofa. So cute! Hope you are having a relaxed Sunday, as well.

    1. Thank you, Bless, I'm so pleased with my diet :)

      Yes, Explorer is very naughty. He's also very spoiled. We can't stay mad at him because he's just so darn cute.

  2. Great price on a brand new bed. Great deal on the two T-shirts (absolutely free). You brought home dinner for youngest son (absolutely free) going out to the restaurant for a celebratory dinner. Way to go.

    Please excuse me not congratulating you on your extraordinary weight loss as I tend to jinx people.

    I do like Greg's LinkedIn profile picture.

    1. You did jinx me by trying not to jinx me, as my weight went back up over the weekend, but I'm staying the course! SO THANK YOU ANYWAY, SUSAN!

  3. Great job on scoring two free T-shirts for Greg!

    And I'm cheering you on the weight loss - you are my inspiration! I've lost about 5.5% of my previous weight, so I'm starting to think of something for my reward/celebration once I reach that 10% goal. Maybe a weekend trip away, or something like that.

    1. Thanks Pixel! I'm cheering you on as well! 5.5% is awesome, you're almost halfway there already! A weekend trip away sounds nice... where would you go?


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