Saturday, July 15, 2017

Caribbean-Style Saturday ~ 7/15/17


  • I ended up cleaning all 4 litter boxes last night as Youngest Son was busy studying his French class online. I reused a bread bag for the upstairs litter box cleaning and then just used the kitchen trash bag for the other 3 downstairs before taking it out to the large trash bin.  Might as well get started doing all 4 since Youngest Son will be gone for 2 weeks and I'll have to take over his cat chores :)

  • I stayed up a little but only to fall asleep on the couch, watching "Law & Order". They were actually showing episodes I don't remember ever seeing so I'm annoyed that I fell asleep, lol!  I woke up at 1 a.m. and went to bed and didn't wake up again until... 7:09 a.m.  Explorer had nestled himself in my armpit and was purring and purring and kneading my boob with his claws. Ouch.  I used the bathroom, tried to go back to sleep, and then ensued an hour-long battle with him because he was needy and really annoying, chewing my cables, launching at the wall to catch an invisible gnat, going under the bed and poking at the mattress and at my pillow that was overhanging a little. I kicked him out of the bedroom twice, yelling at him, and twice he was gone just a few minutes and then came back, crying very loudly so I would let him in.  Greg didn't get up to kick his little butt so it was all up to me.  Every time I'd let him in, he would find refuge under the darn bed (now I'm starting to miss having the mattress on the floor!), out of my reach, and start annoying me again. Meanwhile Princess had come in too but she was stretched out on the bed, watching the whole circus and being very good. Anyhoo, the last time Explorer cried at my door, I opened the door with my bath towel in hand and swatted him with it, which scared him enough that he ran downstairs. Alas, it was 5 minutes before I was due to get up anyway. So now I'm cranky.  Of course now that I'm downstairs, he won't give me the time of day.

  • I earned a few SB and the PC-based Microsoft Rewards. I left myself a reminder to work on the mobile MS Rewards when I get home this afternoon.

  • Where am I going? To the "Eat and Grow Caribbean-Style" workshop at the county's Extension office in Tavares. It's about 30 minutes away.  I paid $15 to attend but I should be getting a hard cover cookbook out of it too. I hope they'll have good tips on how to grow Caribbean crops in Central Florida.

  • I cooked breakfast before I left, my usual. Today I substituted an English muffin for the fruit and I added sugar free strawberry spread to it. I bought the English muffins on 50% off clearance at Save A Lot last week and froze them.

  • I drove 30 minutes to the Lake County Extension's office for the "Eat and Grow Caribbean Style" workshop.  It took place in an auditorium and there were several dozens of people attending.  There were 4 speakers: 2 master gardeners who each talked about 3 crops, a lady who was born on one of the Caribbean islands but raised in the US Virgin Islands and who also talked about what she grows and who brought samples, and a couple of agents from the Extension office, one of whom was moderating the presentation and very helpful in answering questions and the other who talked more about nutrition for all those various crops and how to use them. Everything relied heavily on Powerpoint Presentations and I wish they had given us handouts with more details but I'm glad I took lots of notes because they didn't.  The one lady from the Virgin Islands did give us a handout on sorrel (i.e. roselle), along with some roselle seeds and samples of roselle jelly and tea.  We were given information about growing pineapples, bananas, avocados, mangoes, papayas, star fruit (carambola), red sorrel (roselle), cassava (yucca) and sugar cane. It was very interesting and all the experts said that instead of growing the avocadoes, mangoes and papayas from seed, we should purchase cultivars (i.e. grafted trees) from reputable tropical plant nurseries because all the trees that produce the fruit that we buy for those varieties are grafted trees. Growing the seeds will NOT result in the same fruit as the fruit we had obtained the seeds from....Hmmm,  I also learned that a papaya "tree" is actually not a tree. The master gardener had brought a section of a trunk and it was mostly hollow!  It's actually a big stem.  They advise to plant at least 3 trees "together" (although they have to be 7 to 12 ft apart and not near any structures or power lines because they can grow to about 33ft in height!) because there are male, female, and bisexual trees and only the bisexual trees will self-pollinate to produce fruit.  If you plant 3 trees, chances are at least one tree will produce fruit, according to them. I guess it's kind of impossible to tell if a tree is male, female or bisexual.  I took a lot of notes!  For reference, here is some information from the UF Extension Office:
  • I did get the cookbook, which contains some recipes using the crops we discussed but is mostly a cookbook to promote agriculture from Florida so contains just regular recipes like pot roast. After the presentation, we got to have some samples.
Tropical Gazpacho Soup, Mango and Avocado Salad, Sorrel Jelly and Sorrel Tea

I got to take home this cookbook, dried sorrel calices and three sorrel (roselle) seeds.
  • Before getting home, I went to RaceTrac and got a Sodapalooza refills for myself.

  • Greg was working on the front porch gutters again and told me he had already driven to RaceTrac for Sodapalooza refills twice that morning :)

  • I made my lunch and then Greg announced that he was going back to RaceTrac for more refills! He will miss the last 2 weeks of Sodapalooza due to his trip so he's trying to make the most of it today.

  • I ended up earning the MS mobile Rewards during a break in the presentation this morning.

  • In the mail, I found the $10 Dunkin' Donuts gift card that I had ordered via my IHG Rewards program (Holiday Inn Express).

  • Greg is packing the truck for his trip. I'm not motivating to do anything!  There's a marathon of Law & Order: SVU on ION TV today so I have that playing and I'm perusing my To Do List (avoiding the "do the dishes" line!) to see if there's anything I can do from the couch, LOL.

  • Never mind, I went outside to check on my garden and started pulling weeds. It was hot and I didn't have a hat. I pulled weeds for maybe 20 minutes and I'm exhausted and there are so many left. I can't re-mulch the berm unless I first lay down more cardboard to prevent weeds from growing.  Same with my gardening area, the cardboard I had laid down 2-3 years ago has now disintegrated and all the weeds are growing willy-nilly.
A couple of butterflies were being very chummy...

I don't think that the vincas I transplanted will survive... I didn't water them today and it didn't rain.

The little Bibb lettuce head growing in the mulch got a little bigger.

Greg spotted this partially eaten baby snake on the patio... either a bird dropped it or a stray cat had itself a snack.

The underside was very colorful. We have Eastern indigo snakes and also black racers and I'm not sure which was this one.
  • I checked the Target RedCard Mastercard and the refund still hasn't been credited.

  • I felt like a petulant 4-year old who hadn't taken her nap this afternoon. I was bored and tired, sighing, not knowing what I wanted or didn't want, and generally driving Greg nuts!

  • For dinner,  I cooked cheeseburgers for the family, and I made a small taco salad for myself. In the end, it probably would have been "healthier" for me to make a hamburger too, lol.

  • Greg and I watched episode 6 of the 4th season of The Great British Baking Show. Now I want cake!


My kittens are French food connaisseurs... guess who got into the crêpes this morning?!
Princess enjoyed the very comfy pillows on the futon all afternoon...

And all evening!

  • Received a $10 Dunkin' Donuts gift card from my IHG Rewards account
  • 5 Sodapalooza refills for Greg, from RaceTrac
  • 1 Sodapalooza refill for myself, from RaceTrac
  • Seeds and dried calyces of roselle from an Extension office volunteer
  • Samples of a couple of dishes from the Extension office
  • I slept well.
  • Breakfast was an egg white omelet with onions, zucchini and spinach and an English muffin with 2 tbsp of sugar free strawberry spread.
  • I had a small sample of gazpacho, 2 crackers and 3 tbsps of mango salsa at my gardening seminar.
  • Lunch was a chicken spinach wrap, the rest of the Cabbage and Smoked Sausage dinner from last night, and 1/4 of a papaya.
  • For snack, I had a chocolate chip banana muffin with a cup of coffee, and later on I made a strawberry shake. I need to remember to defrost the strawberries in the morning because I don't like the frozen consistency when I forget to defrost them!
  • Later on I had a piece of light string cheese.
  • For dinner, I had a small taco salad with lettuce, tomato, light sour cream, and guac.  Then I also had 8 reduced fat Thin Wheat crackers to stave my craving for cake!

To Do List
  • Plan today's food intake
  • Exercise
  • Record today's food intake into MFP 
  • Do the dishes 
  • 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
  • Continue checking Target's Redcard account to see if they credited my refund. Then schedule payment (due 8/2)  - Return was recorded, credit should be issued by 7/27?! Keep checking every day.
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Finish backing up all pictures to my external drive (when Greg and our son are on their camping trip)
  • Figure out where I was in the process of backing up my external drive!
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Trim bushes in front of the house (next week)
  • Transplant ferns from bin into front yard (next week)
  • Transplant all basil seedlings from berm and patio to the empty garden beds (next week) 
  • Pull weeds - IN PROGRESS
  • Lay down more cardboard on top of mulch
  • Mulch the berm again (next week)
  • Decide what to plant in the garden this fall and where
  • Water potted begonia
  • Clean upstairs litter box 
  • Wash all the litter boxes
  • Mend some items from the mending basket
  • Take Youngest Son driving 
  • 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
  • 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
  • Declutter this past year's school files and prep new files for this coming year
  • Check if there is any money in Daughter's school lunch account and if so, request that it'd be transferred to Youngest Son's - IN PROGRESS
  • 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 (check to make sure I have any!)
  • Clean the inside of the dishwasher
  • Clean exercise room vent
  • Vacuum kitchen vents
  • Vacuum the downstairs
  • Vacuum the upstairs
  • Fix kitchen sliding drawer
  • Wash bathroom and hall ceiling, door jamb (next week)
  • Write letter to Target CEO (once refund has been issued)
  • Call SunTrust and Chase re: bonds
  • Reconcile FSA records to make sure we're not missing money in the account
  • Write groceries post for the week IN PROGRESS
  • Freeze half the milk (waiting to clear room in the freezer!)
  • Add Osmocote plant food to hibiscus and roses
  • Check on beans and papaya seeds (daily) and water as needed  - CHECKED, DIDN'T WATER
  • Order rain barrel from Home Depot (find gift card first!)
  • Dehydrate apples (next week)
  • Declutter the old coffee table IN PROGRESS


  1. After attending your workshop, were you inspired to plant anything new?

    1. I've grown sorrel (aka roselle) a couple of years in a row but now I really want to grow more of it because the jelly I made from it was amazing. I also think I could grow cassava, only because the lady who grows it said she plants it and then doesn't do anything to it for a year before harvesting the roots. I like plants that don't need me to fertilize or water them. However, I suppose that I should start by buying cassava at the store and try cooking it to see if we'd actually eat it. I'd looove to have papaya, mango and avocado trees, but the problem with my backyard is that we have 2 power lines criss-crossing it so there's no ideal place for planting fruit trees. And it's the only place that gets the full sun that they require.

  2. Did you like the sorrel? I've never tried it, but it sounds interesting. I've taken to storing a lot of stuff in our microwave if I'm not planning on refrigerating it. So far the cats haven't figured out how to get open that door, anyway!

    1. The jelly I made from the sorrel (aka roselle) calyces that I grew was amazing! The flowers aren't very showy, they look like okra flowers. Alas the squirrels in my yard really enjoy the fruit too so the last time I grew it, I wasn't able to harvest any of it. I definitely would like to grow more. I haven't tried the tea. They sell it in the Badia spice section at Save A Lot, if you'd like to try it.

      How smart to store things in the microwave, and since my over the counter microwave isn't cooking anymore, I could definitely use it to store things until I replace it. The problem is that I might forget that they're in there...

  3. That mango and avocado salad looks like it was good; was it? Cassava is easy to grow from cuttings. The one thing I haven't seen Dancer do is jump on the kitchen counters. He'll stand on his hind legs and reach up, but he can't reach the counter and he has never tried to jump up, as far as I know. So I can safely leave food out on the counter. He will jump on to the dining table, though. Your crepes look good and those kitties have good taste. :)

    1. The salad was a little bland because they didn't add the red onion or peppers that should have been included so everyone could taste it. But it was OK. I like eating those at restaurants but I don't have the patience to make it at home, lol. If I have mangoes, I'm just going to eat them as mangoes, not include them in a recipe, especially since I'll be the only one eating it as no one else likes mangoes. Awww, Dancer, so cute. Explorer does that too, when I'm around. But if I'm not looking he'll jump on the table and other surfaces. However, I haven't seen him on the kitchen counter, mostly because it's usually covered in dirty dishes, hahaha (jk). I had left the crepes on the table and silly me thought that Cling Wrap would be a sufficient deterrent. I still haven't learned my lesson!

      They did mention that Cassava was very easy to grow from cuttings, but didn't give us any :( I think that for the $15, I would have rather gotten seeds or seedlings of each plant if we wanted to, instead of the cookbook!

  4. When we had cats living here, our microwave also served as one big bread box that held bread, buns, or bakery goods. Even though the cats are gone, I still keep food in there that doesn't need refrigeration.

    It sounds as though the workshop was definitely worth the money. It was interesting and you probably learned things you didn't know before, and you got a cookbook out of the deal. Way to go.

    1. I did learn a few things. I could have read them in one of the gardening books that I have, or online on the UF Extension website, but I just learn and retain so much better when someone TELLS me the info and I can take notes than just by reading. This is why I need Middle Son to continue showing me how to use my camera!

  5. Thanks for all the UF Extension Office links! I sent Dave the one about the papaya tree. He knew about the bisexual plant (that's the one he got), but already had thought about getting another one, since the one that we have seems to do really well in the spot where he planted it.

    1. Oh that's great! I wonder if you'll get any fruit this year.


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