Monday, July 24, 2017

A Successful Monday ~ 7/24/17


  • I went to bed super late last night (1 a.m.) but I slept so well!  I only woke up at 6 a.m. to use the bathroom. Both Explorer and Princess were comfy, stretched out in bed with me, and we all went straight back to sleep afterwards and I was the first one to wake up at 9:30 a.m. or so!  I'll tell you, those black pleated paper window coverings are great!  The room was noticeably darker, not perfectly since I leave the bedroom door opened by a foot so the cats can leave and go use the litter box in the hall (and there's a night light there for Greg's benefit since he wants to make sure he doesn't step on a cat in the middle of the night as they like to lay down on the carpet in the hall), but dark enough that the kitties were... sleepy, hahaha! So it was definitely worth the $12+ tax that I spent on those window coverings.

  • My daughter got home safely last night and we both said "I missed you!" at the same time when she got home and then sat down at the kitchen table and chatted about the weekend.  Neither of us did much of anything but we still had things to chat about, the way mothers and daughters do, you know, and boy how it's hitting me right now that soon we won't be able to do this anymore because texting just isn't the same and since she'll be sharing an apartment with other people, it won't be the same either.  It's just another transition in life but it's inescapable and, while I'm happy for her, it's also making me sad... and missing my own mom.

  • So, as I posted in my Day Book this morning, I'm not even pretending that today is going to be Domestic Monday.  I'll just clean on Friday since Greg and our son will be back on that day.  I chatted with him last night for a bit and they'll be leaving OH tomorrow and heading back to Florida, although he wasn't sure yet of which route they would take and what they would visit. As he said, he's going to look for the coolest temperatures and the least chance of rain!  I'm excited that they'll be back a whole day earlier than I thought they would and no, not just because it means that we can watch and catch up on Game of Thrones earlier, LOL.

  • It's past 11 a.m. on Monday 7/24 and the Swagbucks Team Challenge Swag-up awards that were supposed to be awarded on 7/21 still haven't been awarded. I think that's so unprofessional.  I only have enough SB to redeem for a $5 gift card so that's what I'll do in order to get credited for the 100 SB award (when it's available) and then I'll probably start running videos again to try to increase my overall earnings and get some gift cards for my daughter.  My first daily goal today has dropped to 30 SB and I earned an 11 SB Search Award so maybe I'll meet that goal today again.

  • I got on the scale this morning and while my weight is still slightly up from my overall lowest weight since I got on this diet, it's only by 0.4 lbs so hooray! BUT: I've only lost 3.8 lbs this past month so clearly I need to get back to exercising daily.  Grumble, grumble!

  • I had another bowl of generic Cheerios for breakfast with the last brown banana. Hooray, no food waste and no baking required (because right now, I'd probably eat all the muffins!).

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.  Inching my way to that $5 Amazon gift card :)

  • Oh wow, that was quick!  The 1st season of "Psych" that I had put on hold at the library is already waiting for me (it had to come in from the Leesburg library so kudos to their staff for being so on the ball on a Monday morning!).  It's doubly great since I'm going to the library in a couple of hours to attend my free floral arrangement class anyway, so it saves me a trip and hence, gas!

  • Alright, this might sound gross, but boy those espresso beans (both the chocolate covered kind and the ones I'm drinking in my morning coffee) seem to work wonders on my bowels.  I'm starting to wonder if, instead of just being fat, I was just full of sh*t.  Ha.  So... I might just have to go to Trader Joe's (or CVS since I got those on clearance at CVS back in April or May) and load up on the chocolate-covered espresso beans!

  • Thanks to a comment Susan left on Laura's blog, I remembered that I have a bag of spinach in the freezer.  Since I finished the bag of "good" spinach yesterday, I'm going to defrost this one and hope that they won't be too mushy upon defrosting (probably being too wishful, but we'll see...).

  • I'm also defrosting a package of chicken breasts that I'll roast tomorrow morning for the rest of our meals this week.

  • I went to heat up some coffee and ended up sitting on the cat couch, chatting with my daughter. Male Cat settled himself on my lap and then my daughter and I observed the kittens at play. We laughed so much!

And now for my next trick, I will cut this kitten in half!

Let me stop you right there...

Tabby Kitty really likes the new Cat Couch. Observe New Kitty rolling her eyes.

Now they're all wondering what he's looking for!

Love the positions they take to fight!

This one too :)
  • After a while, I went into the garden to take some pictures since it hadn't started raining yet, and, as always, I ended up pulling weeds for about 30 minutes. If only I spent that much time doing the dishes, I'd have a clean counter by now :)

Those transplanted vincas won't survive but...

New little vincas are growing under them already so it's not a loss at all!

This sweet potato vine is loving all the room it has to spread!

Little lettuce head still survives!

The little tomato plant that's growing in the mulch by itself?  It's sprouted flowers!  Yay!

The pole beans keep on growing.

And the first flower is about to bloom!

But those darn tiny worms are trying to destroy the plant so I crushed them in their little leafy beds!

This was a basil seedling up until yesterday, grrr.

It's hard to spot the weeds in my basil forest but...

They were there!  I spent some time pulling them.

And they were also camouflaging themselves under the sweet potato vine.
  • I harvested my first pineapple of 2017, hooray! It's the small one that was growing in the pot on the patio. It's small but it finally smelled so sweet, I knew it was time to harvest it.  I'll have some later on.

It's so satisfying to harvest food from your own garden, especially food that grew for free!

The rest of the pineapples are larger and not quite ready yet.

Although this one is starting to get damage (from the rain or the sun?!) so I might need to harvest it
and hope it's sweet enough to dehydrate it.
  • My daughter is going to spend some time running errands with her BFF this afternoon and the BFF is driving.  She (the BFF) is flying to KY for 10 days tomorrow to get some experimental surgery done on her stomach.  If the experiment works, she'll have to go back at some point for more permanent surgery which, hopefully, will provide her some relief.

  • For lunch, I wasn't very inspired.  I grilled a portion of tuna steak that I had defrosted last week and also defrosted a container of brown rice.  I thought "I should have some vegetables too" but didn't feel like eating a salad so I opened a can of light red kidney beans, rinsed it, and put half a cup on top of the rice, after I sprinkled it with "Fiery 5 Peppers".  On the rice, I used a tiny pat of whipped butter that I had brought back from a restaurant somewhere.  Then I had 2 clementines. It doesn't look like much, but I hope it'll keep me full until snack time after my class :)  UPDATE: for an "uninspired lunch" this was pretty darn good!  I'll need to see if Aldi still has those tuna steaks in the freezer section. At $4.99 for 3 small steaks, it really wasn't bad at all and the size is just perfect not only for me, but also since my daughter won't be living here soon, and I'll only have to feed the three of us :)

  • The agent for the UF Extension Office sent a survey about the Grow & Eat Caribbean Style class that I took last week. I was excited to reply because they're a random prize being offered for participants, along with the chance to take another extension class for free. It was part of a whole series of classes so actually the survey seeked to capture how many people changed certain behaviors as a result of the classes. However the survey was very much flawed, as the only answers one could choose were to indicate a degree of change that had been effected by the class(es).  In my case, the class didn't change ANY of my behaviors: I already don't use much water to garden, grow part of my own food, have changed my eating habits and eat the recommended fruit and vegetable portions for my diet, read the nutritional labels on the food that I purchase, etc.  I really dislike giving dishonest feedback and especially when the results are going to be used to justify something. Don't you?  So I emailed the agent with my specific objections and I hope that they redesign the survey. I expect that I won't be winning anything any time soon :)

  • I checked my SB ledger again at right after 2 p.m. and this time the Swag-up award for last week's team challenge was there, waiting to be claimed, but the site was having a lot of problems. Finally, I was able to redeem 500 SB for a $5 Chili's gift card that I'll give to my daughter as she enjoys eating there, and the 100 SB Swag-up was credited to my account :)  So I started running SB videos again because now I'm motivated to earn more gift cards for my daughter LOL.

  • I'm hearing thunder again. What do you want to bet that it'll start storming right as it's time for me to go to the library?!

  • I entered a bonus code on Kellogg's Family Rewards (HAPP-YSUM-MERT-OYOU) and earned 100 KFR points, woohoo!

  • It wasn't raining when I left for the library but it poured while I was in the class!  And thankfully it was over by the time the class ended. Yay!

  • This time the class was being led by the husband of the local flower shop owner. I love that shop, even though we rarely (if ever) buy flowers, because they are great supporters of our schools and local youth groups. I thanked him for this and he confessed that they don't spend any money on advertising, they just support all those events with free arrangements and plants and word of mouth works great for them.  What a nice guy, too!  He taught us how to build the green base for any arrangement, using whatever greens you have in your backyard. He did bring us some ferns and other greens from his shop and his own property and then showed us how to use whatever flowers to turn it into a themed arrangement (Christmas, etc.).  All of the attendees were really nice and friendly, too and we all had a good time.  A lot of them had come at the last class. Sadly, this is the last offering for this year.

  •  We were able to bring home the green base that we built for free, and also a colorful ceramic bud vase in which we used more greenery.

  •  The instructor was showing us ideas of other plants you could use and had this Shrimp plant cuttings. He explained that hummingbirds loooove those so I asked if you could root the cuttings. He replied that he wasn't sure so I asked if I could have one of his cuttings to try it myself and he gave me both. Woohoo!  Once home, I cut them in bias, dipped them into rooting hormone, and planted them in a small pot that I had just sitting in the backyard.  I reused a clear plastic bag that Greg had brought back from his gym to make a "greenhouse" over it and tied it around the saucer with a rubber bank.  This will help keep the plant out of the curious kittens' reach too (although... I just found them on the countertop again, sniffing around).

Princess was already stalking my plants!  Later on, she knocked the bud vase down but it didn't break.
But she was scolded very loudly, and thoroughly and I hope she learned her lesson.

I hope it roots!

  • After the class, as I was loading my arrangements in my trunk, the instructor came running after me in the parking lot and also gave me a cutting for this unusual plant (he's not sure what it is either, he grew his own from a cutting he took from a customer's house!) that we had all admired, and told me to just root it in water in a window so I just stuck it in the bud vase that had been holding the remnants of my previous arrangement (I had rinsed it and filled it with clean water, of course).  I hope the cats do leave it alone.
This is actually called a Zig Zag Plant or Devil's Backbone.  I found a blog entry that givesmore information about this species.

  • I picked up my DVD set, and since I can never leave a library without borrowing at least one book, I grabbed a Nora Roberts book that was displayed by the checkout counter. We'll see if I read it and if I finish it. I use to really love Nora Roberts, I read over 100 of her books, but I haven't been a fan in a long time. I guess we all go through phases, don't we?

  • I checked the donation box for coupon inserts but there weren't any.

  • On my way home, I stopped by RaceTrac and got my 2 Sodapalooza refills and also redeemed an app coupon for a free 24 oz hazelnut coffee that I'll drink tomorrow morning.  I also grabbed 4 packets of sweetener and 4 creamer pots. I picked the chocolate caramel flavor and I'll use it in my decaf coffee. 

  • For the first time ever, I declined getting a receipt from RaceTrac for a item that didn't cost me anything, since the new "freebie" requires me to buy something. I have an envelope FULL of RaceTrac receipts for which I haven't taken the surveys yet.

  • Meanwhile, my daughter texted me that she and her BFF were going to Chili's after their errands.  So she won't be eating dinner at home since now she's full. They made plans to run more errands tomorrow as well  since the BFF isn't flying out until 10 p.m.

  • Back home, I checked the mail and found a large box from PinchMe dot com with the latest samples I was granted.  Arrgh, I guess I didn't need to buy a lint roller for my daughter last week! Oh well, with all our cats, it's not like we won't use it :) I set the cat food away for either my BFF or my neighbor and the granola bites for Youngest Son or Greg since my daughter doesn't like cinnamon-flavored stuff.

  • I went to the garden to cut some bleeding heart vines for my arrangement, and also got a cutting from a vinca for the bud vase arrangement. The colors of the vase kind of clash with the pink of the vinca, I wish I had picked a pink vase but there were only 2 pink ones and everyone wanted the pink ones!
It was humid so my lens got foggy!

I guess that when I clip my Japanese boxwood bushes, I might make "arrangements" with all
the clippings?  LOL.
  • A ton of mushrooms had popped up in the backyard since this morning!
Those were everywhere!
  • I also found another chrysalis!  It's not the same one from the picture I took a couple of days ago and it's empty so I'm hoping another monarch survived!
It looks like a beautiful piece of jewelry!
  • The milkweed plants are definitely growing back some foliage!
Ah nature!  Where there's a will, there's a way!
  • I had left the automatic nCrave videos playing while I was in the class, so I reached my 1st daily goal. Yay!

  • Cranky old me contacted the UF Parent Association to ask them to STOP emailing me. I didn't sign up for the emails and they don't provide a way to unsubscribe, which I believe is against federal guidelines. It irritates me to no end to get emails from them inviting me to attend the Student Convocation (where students will be lectured on what it means to be a Gator, etc.) and such events. They're encouraging helicopter parenting!  I very strongly believe that going to college is NOT and SHOULD NOT be a family experience.  It's a chance for young adults to fly with their own wings and start their own life. Good grief, if you're not going to cut the apron strings then, then when?!?  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.  For the record, my daughter wouldn't want me to attend such events either!

  • Carrabba's sent me an email (to which I HAD subscribed!) to let me know that their offer for "Buy a lasagna, bring one home for free" offer starts tomorrow through 7/30!  I asked my daughter if she liked lasagna and she does, so we made plans to have lunch at Carrabba's on Thursday after we visit the Appleton Museum.  I'll have to remember to tell them I'm part of the Dining Rewards program as well, as I have a $5 coupon to use, although I don't know if I can use both offers at once.

  • I checked the Appleton Museum site for prices and hours and saw that I could save $2 on my daughter's admission so I asked her to make sure to bring her college ID with her on that day. I checked Groupon to see if there were any deals on there but there is nothing :(

  • I wasn't sure what to have for dinner since I haven't cooked the chicken yet (it's still defrosting) so I got a container of macaroni and taco meat out of the freezer and defrosted it in the microwave.  I added a little bit of reduced fat cheddar cheese to it and made my strawberry shake since I didn't have a snack this afternoon. Well, I should say I didn't have IT for snack. I had the rest of the espresso beans for snack :) Now they're all gone. Woohoo!

  • I put on the first DVD of Season 1 of "Psych". I'll plan on watching that tonight, as I catch up on blogs and a couple of subReddits too :)

  • Aaaand, I just made my 2nd Daily Goal in Swagbucks, woop-woop!

  • A floral arrangement class at my local library, including the floral arrangements that I took home!
  • Cuttings from a couple of plants from the class instructor :)
  • A book and a DVD set that I borrowed from my library system (free to me so I count those as freebies)
  • Two Sodapalooza refills from RaceTrac
  • A large coffee with a RaceTrac app coupon, along with sweetener and creamer
  • A pineapple from my garden, that regrew from a pineapple top. I had bought the original pineapple probably at Save A Lot for no more than $0.99 :)
  • A box of samples from PinchMe
  • I ordered a $5 Chili's gift card from Swagbucks

To Do List
  • Plan today's food intake REUSING SATURDAY'S PLAN
  • Exercise 
  • Record today's food intake into MFP 
  • Make crepes or pancakes with sour milk
  • Empty dishwasher 
  • Do the dishes 
  • Make vet appointment for 2 oldest cats' check-up
  • Explore Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services webpage and get started on process 
  • Create Greg's online Social Security Account (with him) and update my documents
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Trim bushes in front of the house 
  • Transplant ferns from bin into front yard 
  • Transplant all basil seedlings from berm and patio to the empty garden beds 
  • Pull weeds from planter near house/hose
  • Pull weeds from berm ONGOING
  • Pull weeds from garden area ONGOING
  • Pull weeds from rose planter 
  • Lay down more cardboard on top of mulch
  • Mulch the berm again
  • Mow the lawn
  • Edge the berm
  • Decide what to plant in the garden this fall and where
  • Clean all litter boxes DONE
  • Feed all cats in the morning DONE
  • Feed all cats in the evening DONE
  • Dust Cat Room and Living Room
  • Vacuum living room
  • Sweep and mop kitchen 
  • Sweep Greg's bedroom 
  • Sweep daughter's staircase 
  • Mend some items from the mending basket
  • Take Youngest Son driving (on hold until he comes back)
  • Vacuum fridge's coils
  • Explore Will and Power of Attorney forms on LegalZoom and discuss with Greg
  • Find a good picture of our cats and order bag from Shutterfly for Daughter with freebie code
  • Check to see if received answer from UF Admissions re: filling out SSAR/Application in 10th grade
  • Check to see if received answer from high school 10th grade Guidance counselor re: biology honors and PERT test application/deadline
  • Inventory what batteries we need for hurricane season
  • Finish the 2014 Powerpoint document for Daughter
  • Add clip art to all 2012, 2013 and 2014 pages that I created and print them
  • Tape the Strength Training videos and put on dedicated SD card (once the large TV is reconnected)
  • Put bleach in furnace drain line for maintenance
  • Pour Drano down kitchen sink for maintenance
  • Scrub the WHOLE shower (including ceiling)
  • Clean exercise room vent
  • Vacuum kitchen vents
  • Fix kitchen sliding drawer
  • Wash bathroom and hall ceiling, door jamb  (wear old clothes)
  • Write letter to Target CEO (once refund has been issued)
  • File paperwork
  • Call SunTrust and Chase re: bonds
  • Reconcile FSA records to make sure we're not missing money in the account
  • Add Osmocote plant food to hibiscus and roses
  • Check on beans and papaya seeds (daily) and water as needed  CHECKED AND HOPING IT'LL RAIN
  • Order rain barrel from Home Depot
  • Declutter the old coffee table IN PROGRESS
Have you ever propagated any plants from cuttings?


  1. I'm glad to see you had such a successful day! Love the pictures of the kittens playing. Did Tabby Kitty find what he was looking for? Maybe he hid a snack in there for later?

    Look at you harvesting pineapples from your garden! Your garden looks like it is doing well with all the rain you've been getting. How are your papaya seedlings doing? Mine shriveled up for the heat. :(

    Your vinca flower actually picks up the pink ring in your vase.

    Hope you have a lovely day, tomorrow.

    1. I'd also like to know what he thinks he's going to find in the couch! He doesn't dig around, he just likes sticking his head in there, I guess. He was very active yesterday and then the other two were joining in too, and they were all chasing each other around the house and especially around the couch, it was so funny. New Kitty couldn't have rolled her eyes further in her head, she was like the very disapproving big sister!

      My garden is looooving the rain. Now I'm wishing that I had planted tomatoes although they might not have survived the first few months of drought. The papaya seedlings are doing well for now, I really need to read up on when to thin them because of course I'm not going to keep all of them! And then I'll need to secure 3 very large pots until it's time to plant them in ground, if they ever get that far. I'm still waiting for the roselle (red sorrel) seeds to germinate. The lady said she plants them even as late as now and still has plants by November that she can harvest (although the harvest will be lesser than if she had planted them earlier in the year). I think that in the past I planted mine in very early spring and also I had scored the seeds, but of course in nature the seeds don't get scored so I'm hoping this won't be a problem.

      You are very observant there is a small pink ring on the vase. My mom and grandma would love that case as their favorite color is/was orange. I don't really care for it myself but I wanted to give the chance to someone else to pick the 2nd of the pink vases (there was a little girl taking the class with us).

  2. I am so envious and fascinated by your pineapples. I would love it if I could grow some. I started a top a couple of years ago and it is growing. However, I don't think it will ever get big enough to produce fruit in our colder climate. I have it in a pot and it spends the summers outside and the winters inside. I think it needs to be outside all year to produce fruit. I haven't given up on it yet, but I'm not hopeful.

    1. You might be right. According to the master gardener who talked to us about growing pineapples and grows his in pots, they love well-draining soils (i.e. sandy soils!), love water but do NOT love having their roots sitting in water (water only once a week during dry summer months, every 2 weeks in drier months). They can get root rot if you overwater them. They love the full sun. If temperatures drop to under 30F, you have got to protect them or they will die. Fertilize them with 6-6-6, 1 to 2 oz every 6 to 8 weeks at first, and then increase the dosage as the plant grows. Their pests are mealy bugs, scales and nematodes. He also said to use quite a large pot because the smaller the pot, the smaller the fruit it will produce. The pot that held the one I harvested yesterday was quite large, IMO, but I think a larger one that the one that holds small trees at nurseries would be better. I have a couple of plants growing in smaller pots that I haven't transplanted and those have never flowered despite being in the same location as the ones that I planted in ground.

    2. I have to add, though, that I've never fertilized mine and they're growing extremely well in extremely poor soil (pretty much 100% sand) so I'm not sure that fertilizing is absolutely necessary, but maybe it would spur some growth since your temps aren't as high.

    3. Thanks for the info. After I repotted this one, it's leaves aren't as green as they used to be. Although, it's still growing. I'm pretty sure that roots are dry, but I'm going to give it a good once over.

    4. It might be due to the time of year? Mine don't have as dark leaves as they did in the winter either. Some of them are yellowish. I was thinking at first that it was due to the drought we were having, but now it's raining regularly and the leaves are still yellowish. They're not sitting in water since they're planted in sand, so I'm not sure what the problem is, if there is one. Perhaps the leaves turn yellow at the same time as the pineapples do? In your case, I'm wondering if it's a lack of nutrients and/or a problem of being root bound?
      I found this site that has good information (especially towards the end of the article) for you. He's talking about possibly using grow lights when the plants are in your house, an option that I was thinking about for you but forgot to mention. Forget what he says about the plant becoming 6 ft in height and in diameter, my largest ones are probably 4 ft in diameter at the most and come up to my knees, only (planted in ground).

    5. Thanks for giving the dimensions of your plants that are producing. That gives me an idea of what size is needed. I read that the size of the plant is more important than the age of the plant in being able to produce fruit. Mine is nowhere that size.

  3. I think learning how to do the greenery is maybe the most helpful flower arranging class, ever! Now you have a template for pretty much anything you want to do. I appreciate a really nice floral arrangement and love cut flowers, but I don't make getting them a priority -- although I'm thinking about allotting for some in my grocery budget since they make me happy.

    I hope your pineapple is delicious!

    1. That's exactly what the instructor said! That it was the hardest thing about learning to do floral arrangements but that once you got the hang of it, you could make pretty much any arrangement. He was talking about using whatever greens you have in your yard and I kept on thinking "well I have ferns and weeds!" but after looking around yesterday, I do have several "wild" greens things growing that aren't necessarily weeds that I could be using. He also said that if we go to his store, we can buy anything we see in his cooler that's not earmarked for a special order, even if we only want 1 daisy. It's within walking distance of my house, so maybe once in a while I'll treat myself to a couple of flowers so I can make an arrangement :) He's also sell the green foam, greens, etc.

  4. Well...thank you (I think) for the tip on the chocolate-covered espresso beans. If it's like medicine, the calories shouldn't count, right? *Off to get some*

    The pictures of the kittens on the couch are hilarious!

    1. Greg and I were just laughing at those pictures of Tabby Kitten on the couch again last night, lol. Kittens are the best.

      And yes, I think we SHOULD definitely be able to not count the chocolate because it's definitely medicinal. And now I'm craving those again. But there aren't any in my house...


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