Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hodge Podge Sunday ~ 7/2/17

Greg came home later than he planned to last night and I stayed up waiting for him. He was tired so I asked if he was still planning on going fishing this morning and he wasn't sure. We discussed a new launching place for his kayak. Well, not new but new to him and I showed him where it was on the map.

This morning, when I got up at 8 a.m., he was gone.  I hope he took that darn bag of ice with him and won't bring it back, lol!

I weighed myself this morning for the first time in several days and I'm down to 213 lbs!  Woohoo. 17 lbs lost since May 22.

I fed some of the cats (Male Cat and Mean Kitty didn't seem interested in eating this morning so we'll feed them later... otherwise the kittens will eat their food despite having their own!), and brewed a pot of coffee. There was about half a mug left of decaf coffee that I had brewed last night, so I nuked that and sipped on it while the new pot brewed. I'm out of the free K-cups, so I went to look in the pantry for a new bag of coffee and found a bag of Bustelo espresso ground coffee. Much stronger than what I usually drink, but it'll have to do.

Checking my email, I found a notification that Fold3 is offering free access to their entire Revolutionary War records through July 15, so I set about seeing if I could find any of Greg's ancestors in there.  I only lasted an hour and a half until I got frustrated and gave up.  One supposed ancestor (I had found the link to Greg's family on someone else's tree and those are so full of errors because people interpret documents improperly and jump to conclusions, which is why I don't publish my research online) was drawing a pension from the Revolutionary War but years later 5 of his childhood friends filled out affidavits that he had never served and his pension was suspended. I wonder what the whole story was and if he even was Greg's ancestor because there's just not enough information to make that determination.  Anyway, I stopped before I got sucked in by Genealogy again, because when that happens, I start being obsessed for days on end and nothing else gets done.

I did reach my 2nd goal in Swagbucks last night, a good start to the month of July. So this morning I'm running SB videos and hoping to make it to my 1st goal of 79 SB. It's 10 a.m. and I'm already halfway through.

I was starved at 9:30 a.m.. which is unusual for me, so I had breakfast early. I was craving cereal so I had a bowl of generic Cheerios with a banana and half a cup of whole milk.  This means that I'll be hungry for lunch way before 1 p.m. I might actually need to have my morning snack as an actual morning snack and now as part of my lunch, for once!

The sun is out this morning, but it doesn't look too bright yet.  It's wet aside and it's probably humid so I'm not sitting on the patio, Vivaldi and I are sharing the living room, he on Pandora and me on the futon.  Plans for the day?

  • Do the dishes
  • Finish my library book that's due tomorrow (I may just skip to the end as I'm not enjoying it very much)
  • Work on financial matters with Greg this afternoon (well, with Greg sitting in my vicinity and saying "do whatever you want" once in a while when queried!)
  • Ironing his clothes for a business trip he's taking in the later part of the week
  • Cleaning out my coupon organizer
  • Clipping new coupons and possibly organizing them too!

It's Sunday so I unlocked/uploaded new digital coupons (CVS, Publix) and printed new coupons via Swagbucks.  I kept screenshots of the pages showing how many coupons I was printing via Swagbucks because there is a new promo through 7/26 stating that you can earn 1 SB per coupon printed up to 80 SB and that they'll be awarded on 8/1. Yeah, yeah, yeah. There was another one that was supposed to have been awarded mid-June and I never got it, and looking back at my history, it looks like they never awarded the full amount of the awards in the past either. So now I'm keeping screenshots so I can open a ticket on 8/2 if I never get it.

CVS uploaded $1 in ECB to my account as my Spring 2% Reward. Woohoo, big spender, eh?

Speaking of big spender, Amex sent Greg a new offer for their Gold card, that comes with a $195/yr membership fee, BUT it's waved for the first year and if we charge $2K in the first 3 months, we'll get 50,000 Rewards points, which is a $500 Reward.  So... I was kind of tempted.  But we probably won't sign up for it because... $195/yr?  If we miss the timeframe for cancelling it, it's a whole bunch of money for what? Earning more miles. We don't travel by plane hardly ever.  Still, $500...

My BFF finally replied to my text about the Wawa free drink coupons and accepted them. She's been super busy working double shifts. An ex-colleague of ours with whom she's remained friendly is going to offer her some freelance work too, which is great, I hope it pans out for her!  We caught up a little more via texts, it'd probably been faster if we'd chatted on the phone but she knows I don't like phone calls, lol.  Her son will be attending UF in the Fall too so we are going to try to go out that week to drown our sorrows (probably over a cup of cheap coffee at Wawa!) because it'll be her first child moving out and my darling daughter. They were born only a couple of days apart but since she lives kind of far away from me (30 minutes) our kids haven't been friends since they were pretty little.

I started earning the Microsoft Rewards credits for the day on the laptop, which encouraged me to get on my recumbent bike... I usually earn the mobile credits while biking.

I biked for 46 minutes (8 miles) and planned my food intake for the day, entered it into MFP, earned the MS Rewards mobile credits, caught up on blogs, clipped the coupons that I had just printed.

I was then ready for my 2nd mug of strong espresso coffee, and while I nuked it, I unloaded the dishwasher in preparation for doing the dishes later on.

In the meantime, I've reached my 1st Daily Goal in SB and now I'm aiming for my 2nd Daily Goal (150 SB)

I re-read my mortgage pay-off statement and wrote down a timeline of what needs to happen when. Then I scheduled a couple of reminders on my Google Calendar. I'm not sure whether the amount stated included the automatic debit payment scheduled to have hit on 7/1 so I'll wait until that payment is credited to request another pay-off statement and see if the amount has gone down or not.  Then I'll send the payment via Express Mail because I'm anxious to get all of this taken care off ASAP.

Greg came home at 12:30 p.m. and he's understandably pooped.  He loves the boat launch that I told him about because he gets to kayak in a very windy and shady river for a while before reaching Lake Louisa, which is huge. He said there were lots of fish in the river, but unfortunately the boaters that came very frequently made it impossible for him to fish in peace.  He caught a mud fish and had to release it.

He had leftovers for lunch.

I entered my new weight and today's exercise into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 180 BR points.

I made my lunch. I ran out of turkey but I still had a precooked chicken breast that I had roasted earlier in the week so I used some of it to make a chicken spinach wrap.  Between no protein for breakfast, exercising, and drinking strong coffee, I developed a headache, so I took a generic Tylenol. I don't like taking pills but I know from experience that my headaches rarely go away on their own and then I keep on suffering. So today I'm being more reasonable :)

Speaking of being reasonable, I was checking out the Amazon Lightning Deals and added 2 deals to my cart... and then thought better of it and removed them.  I did add an Instant Pot to my wishlist, though, so at Christmas time I'll have something to suggest to Greg.  I have almost all the appliances it replaces, but if I could save space, that would be great too.

Greg is having Youngest Son mow the lawn every weekend this summer. Each time, I put $15 in a "Chores" account that I keep on Google Sheets.  It will be invested in his 529 Savings account at the end of the year.

My free Fourth of July floral arrangement that I made at the library this past Monday looked a little droopy, so I added water to the container. I hope the flowers last until Wednesday!

Greg decided to go work on the front porch gutter (he's taking down the old, crummy and leaky one and replacing it with the brown gutter we picked up a couple of weeks ago) so I'll wait until he's done to do the dishes since I want to watch the Great British Baking Show and be "zen" while I do the dishes and not hear banging noises, etc.

I drove to RaceTrac to get Sodapalooza refills for Youngest Son, Greg and myself, and when I got back, I went outside to prune some roses.  I ended up threading the electric cord into its new reel (I had to modify the reel slightly for it to work with this particular extension cord), harvesting some serrano peppers, taking pictures of the garden, refilling one of the bird feeders... and then I pulled some weeds.

The guest basil baby plants are growing... there are more than that, this is just one spot! I have to be careful of where I walk on the berm now.

The mint is loving all the rain! It smells good but I never use it for anything. I just like brushing my'
fingers against it. Maybe I should feed it to Princess to counter her bad breath!

I collected these dried seedheads from the oregano pot. I need to see if I can collect the seeds for next year.

Poop, the trimmer made a big hole in my milkweed pot. Next time it's dry, I'll need to fix it with... duct tape, of course!

I'm really hoping these are all baby milkweed plants and not just weeds.

Hello lizard!

A few months ago I took pity on my aloe plant (that had been given to me several years ago and was in a pot way too small for it) and divided it. I had planted the baby plants in the backyard but with the drought and me forgetting to water them, they died... or so I thought!  I spotted those under the kayak stand... but too late as I had ran the trimmer under it. They look sturdy enough, though. If they can survive a one-year drought, surely they'll regrow some leaves!

Another one in another spot. That one, I saw in time!

I'm hoping those are new nectarine branches shooting out from the base of the trunk of the tree I almost pulled out because I thought it was completely dead. They look like nectarine leaves... but they might be weeds. So I'm going to wait to see what happens.

My other partially dead nectarine tree.

This might be the only orange we get this year.

I got annoyed at all the weeds growing through the cardboard layers and the mulch, and then I saw...

That one of them was actually a sweet potato vine...

A bunch of them are baby vincas

There's a head of lettuce growing there!

And this is a tomato plant!  I'll tell you, I'm so excited that five years after I've started gardening, I can FINALLY distinguish weeds from some other plants!

Serrano peppers!

My harvest. I left the smaller green ones on the plant for now.

Why is it that NO vegetables have grown in this plot in the past 4 years or so but weeds are growing there without any problems?!

I took pity on the beans that are growing on their own (I didn't even plant them!) and that were being
choked by weeds and pulled out all the weeds. And then I pulled out all the weeds in the other 4 empty
beds.  I'm sure I'll have to do it all over again in a week or so but it felt nice to do it and my garden looks much better.

I had just come back inside when Greg said he needed to go to Ace Hardware to get some lumber and might need to run into Clermont if Ace didn't have what he needed. So I grabbed my coupon organizer and purse and went with him because I was tired of being home!

(Un)fortunately, Ace had the lumber he needed and we charged it to Discover for 5% back in bonus rewards, and also earned some Ace Rewards points.  So we were home pretty fast!

Daughter baked some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for her brother from a cookie mix I had bought on clearance a few weeks back. It smells so good in the house!

I decided to go back outside and pull some more weeds. It was so hot but it was so nice to be out with my hands in the dirt!  I completely weeded the bean patch (and then planted more pole beans... I don't think they know it's 7/2 and the envelope said to plant them through June here in Central Florida) and adjacent garden beds.  I also pulled weeds from in between the beds.  August is the start of the "Fall" gardening season although it's still way too hot. I won't be able to start seeds indoors this year because of the kittens so I might need to buy plants from Lowe's.

I planted 40 cents worth of pole beans, we'll see if they grow!

I also trimmed the hedge on the side of the house because I had started having to duck a little to walk past it.

Back indoors, I had to restart my laptop because it had gotten sluggish due to all those videos I'd been running and I was still 4 SB away from my 2nd goal.  When I restart it, I always get an error message saying "There is no email associated..." but I never know where the error message is coming from. So I looked it up today and apparently it's a Microsoft Office error message. I found some suggestions to run the Office Repair Tool, found instructions on how to do that on the Microsoft website, did it and hopefully that fixed it.  I won't know until I reboot my laptop again.

It's 5 p.m. and the sky is getting dark. I hope it rains since I planted beans!  I did water them a little but not too much since I was thinking we'd probably have another rainstorm.

Dinner tonight will be burgers and tater tots for Daughter and Greg, a chicken sandwich and tater tots for Youngest Son, and I'll have some Beefy Tortilla Pie leftovers.  I'm too tired to tackle the dishes so we'll use paper plates and I'll do the dishes as part of "Domestic Monday" tomorrow. Ditto with the ironing. I guess I'll need to work on the Vanguard stuff tonight after we watch the latest episode of The Great British Baking Show.

I've reached my 2nd Goal in SB, yay!  I'm a little over 1,500 SB and I need 2,200 for a gift card, plus I'll get my June bonus in a couple of days. I really need to go to Walmart and use those gift cards!

Well, Greg came back all playfully indignant that I had been outside to tell him to get back inside because it was thundering. I reminded him of what had happened the last time I had gone outside while he was working on the porch to ask if he needed help (he yelled at me).  Then he informed me that he was going to put his tools away and then drive to RaceTrac and that if I wanted a refill, then I needed to come with him. Hmm, I didn't make him come with me to get the refills earlier, but OK, I'll go.  I grabbed Youngest Son's cup too. By then it had started pouring, but we were both sweaty from all the work we had done and declared we were still going and then would take showers as soon as we got home.  We got soaked!  I warned him that dinner would take a while because I needed to bake the tater tots so I offered for us to pick up McDonald's for him and the kids instead, but he said he'd rather have my burgers (awww...) so after we came home, we each took a quick shower and then I started cooking.  My daughter ended up wanting a chicken sandwich as well so I was able to use up the whole chicken breast and just made 2 burgers for Greg (one of which is for tomorrow).

I hadn't realized that he's planning on working from home tomorrow (well, he only has one meeting so he'll mostly be off) so he can continue working on installing the new gutter. And then he's off for the 4th, of course. So we'll do the Vanguard thing tomorrow or Tuesday because I'm tired.

After dinner we watched the 4th episode of GBBS, 4th season.

Middle Son texted me in reply to a text I had sent yesterday. We chatted about his job, which is going OK. He has an interview this week to be cross-utilized at Disney's Fine Arts Photography.  He also told me that he and the roommate with whom he did get along were approved for an apartment in Clermont and that they're moving in on September 1st. Yay!  So my daughter moves away mid August, but Middle Son will be living just 20 minutes away (and right around the corner from Aldi!) just 3 weeks later!  I'm so happy about this. I probably still won't see him much, but my chances of seeing him are a little better than they are now :) It'll be a better commute for him since there aren't any tolls to get to Disney World from Clermont and also he doesn't have to drive on I-4 (which is the worst). His film buddies are in Clermont and he grew up here so he likes the area.

And to end this post, here are some pictures of my kitties :)


Tabby Kitten is like "wut?"

Princess (who hasn't been cuddling with me for the past 3-4 days I don't know why she's mad at me!)

Male Cat and New Kitty, who is really enjoying having the mattress there, but I'm getting rid of it nonetheless!

Mean Kitty was hiding in the donation box...

But then she came out to get cuddles from Youngest Son :)
I hope you had a nice weekend! 


  1. That is a very impressive weight loss, Nathalie! Congratulations!

    Love all the volunteer seedlings you are finding! Your berm is going to be one huge flower bed!

    Aw, look at all those kitty cats! They are all so cute!

    1. Thank you! I'm excited about the basil because the bees love it! However my berm is going to look like heck now, so I'm kind of torn about it. I wonder why it didn't happen the previous years...

  2. Potatoes and eggs are boiling for potato salad- then I'll do some paper work, deliver some goodies and head for Sis's. Yes, she wanted to celebrate the fourth today haha. I usually spend the night of the fourth at her home but she has today and tomorrow off and has to work Wednesday so...oh well. I guess we will be grilling brats and I also made some coconut cupcakes. I halved my recipe and only made 16 since I had the little pies. We all love coconut and this recipe has buttermilk, butter...oops I forgot you're dieting. Me TOO starting tomorrow hahaha. Really I have been eating too much- my main problem is portion control. Honestly, I don't eat a lot of my baked goods. the job? I work with folks who have disabilities- I make sure they get the services they are supposed to get. Medicaid pays for more medical and a waiver pays for other things like someone to take them shopping, help with budgeting, cleaning, doing laundry, personal care if they need it, etc. To get on the waiver, you must have autism, cerebral palsy, willy-prader, down syndrome, spina bifida, phelan-mcdermid syndrome or an IQ below 70. They range in age from the teesn to 65! Well, potatoes are done so guess I had better slip the skins off! Have a good fourth.

    1. Sounds like a challenging yet rewarding job for which you're well suited, Nan! Enjoy your celebration with your sis and watch out for those portion controls, lol.

  3. Yum -- I love oatmeal cookies and when I read this post I immediately wanted to go bake some. They are not really on my meal plan right now, though. :)

    I am impressed by your ability to recognize plants! Who knows how many real plants I've gotten rid of over the years, all the while tenderly looking out for what turned out to be weeds.

    1. LOL, I've done the exact same thing! I've learned to let them grow a little so I can make sure they're weeds. But yeah, nurturing weeds thinking they were veggie seedlings? Totally did that!

  4. Have you thought of pulling the plants from the berm and transplanting them to that empty garden bed? Or is it too hot this time of year to be trying that kind of thing? Maybe when the weather becomes cooler and rainier you should try removing them and placing them where they ought to be. Then you could put more mulch down like you wanted to.

    I'm glad that Middle son got the apartment that he wanted with his friend. And even though he will be living closer to you does not guarantee you will see more of him, but there is a chance. Sounds like your weekend is off to a great start.

    1. Well, no I hadn't thought about it but that's a great idea! I should probably pull all the vincas that are growing in between the patio pavers too because it was cute a the beginning but now it's just looking weird. Thanks, Susan!

  5. Don't feel bad...there are years when we only get one or two oranges on our tree. One year we had tons of lemons on our lemon tree, the next few years, nothing. Go figure.

    It'll be different with our papaya tree, you just wait. We'll bring you TONS of papaya!

    1. Let's hope the power of positive thinking is indeed a thing!

  6. CONGRATS on your weight loss! One of the HARDEST things I have ever done!! You should be SO proud of yourself and your hard work!!!


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