Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Making Greeting Cards with my Daughter ~ Wednesday 7/12/17

  • I went to bed at 11 a.m., Explorer woke me up a couple of times during the night but only because he was coming to snuggle against me and I was hot!  However, once again I couldn't face getting up at 6:30 a.m. to see Greg off so I slept in until 8:30 a.m. and really had to make myself get up too! Either my bed is too comfy or there's something going on with my body.  I do feel tired when I wake up, though, so maybe I'm coming down with something?

  • I had assembled Greg's lunch last night and left him another note so he only had to put it in his lunch bag and he did. Hooray! He'd rather eat leftovers than go to the cafeteria anyway as he's been very busy at work, trying to get everything done before he takes two weeks off.

  • I had an email reply from my brother from Marseille this morning. He and his fiancé are still at their mountain home... they have to bike several miles to get a cell phone signal, there isn't any TV reception and the satellite dish hasn't been installed, the internet is "25 years old" and he'd have to pay, gasp, 33 euros per month so he's not getting it (about $38 as of now, we pay about $58 here for cable internet with really slow upload speeds but he pays only 13 euros per month for fiber internet in Marseille!), the closest supermarket is 45 minutes away by car, the closest home improvement store is an hour and a half away by car. The previous owners left them a large freezer, a small fridge and several other things and they're planning on going to a village-wide yard sale on Friday to hopefully get more stuff to furnish the house. However, he also re-injured his back (he has bulging discs, I believe) while trying to move in the stuff they brought in from Marseille.  Arrgh. He sounded happy though. He said he'll tell me more once he's back to his fiber internet and will send photos too.  I'm happy for them!  He's ecstatic that the views are magnificent and the area is super clean, something that he says is hard to find these days in France. I believe it, I was aghast with all the graffiti left everywhere, even on the sides of barns in the middle of fields,  when I went back a couple of years ago.

  • SavingStar credited my account for the $1.10 I earned on the Renuzit cones on Sunday.

  • For breakfast I had a bowl of generic Cheerios with a brown banana and half a cup of whole milk.

  • I checked the new Aldi and Save A Lot ads for the week. I'm going to stop by Aldi this afternoon to grab a couple of things, and Save a Lot tomorrow since they'll be having a 3-day sale with eggs at just 49 cents a dozen...

  • My daughter and I are about to leave for our field trip to Mount Dora today. We're supposed to try a French restaurant for lunch. I'll figure out my food intake for the day afterwards.

  • So we drove the Focus to Mount Dora, for better gas economy and also because it's easier to park in Mount Dora with a smaller car.  I wanted to stop by the Nature's Own Bakery Outlet in Tavares to check it out, but I missed it :(

  • In Mount Dora we got free parking on the street. It was hot and muggy and not busy at all. As a matter of fact, shades of Asheville, a lot of business were either closed for the day (?) or out of business.  My daughter was hungry so we went straight to the French restaurant she wanted to try, at 11 a.m.  We asked to sit outside on the patio despite the heat, because it looked cute. We were the only customers.  The waiter wasn't French.  I have my doubts that anyone French actually worked there at all either in or out of the kitchen.  I ordered a hard cider and my daughter ordered water. The waiter came back to say they were out of cider.  Hmm.  The menu page for the salads stated that they were served with a side salad?!  I questioned the waiter and he said they weren't and nothing else was offered, even though a side salad would have been included if I had ordered a cheaper sandwich.  Hmm. I ordered a smoked salmon salad wth dressing on the side.  The salad was OK, not great. My daughter liked her chicken and tomato sandwich.  I gave the waiter a heads-up that we would order creme brulee as a dessert. He came back to say they were out of creme brulee.  Hmm.  We ordered a crepe with Nutella, strawberries and whipped cream to share. The whipped cream was more like Cool Whip, the Nutella tasted like chocolate syrup to me. The crepe was seriously underpar.  I took one bite and told my daughter she could have it. Seriously, I wasn't impressed at all and I won't be returning.  I charged the almost $40 OOP to my Discover card for 5% back in Rewards.

My salad with smoked salmon. It was $15.95 for a bunch of Romaine lettuce, a couple of tomato slices, almost dessicated grated carrots, a few cuke slices, 4 small slices of bread with cream cheese on top and just a tiny bit of dill. At least, there was a good amount of smoked salmon (more than I had expected).  It was OK, certainly NOT a French salad though.

The presentation was... like something I would have done at home, which isn't a praise, I'm afraid :)
  • We walked around Mount Dora a little bit, visiting a couple of stores.  We stopped by the little bakery that my daughter had liked so much so we could get a more satisfying dessert, but there was a sign that they were out of town and would be back the next day. Arrgh.

  • So we decided to head out to the library early. I figured we would check out the butterfly garden next to it and then the Friends of the Library store at the entrance of the library and that's what we did.  A lot of the flowers at the butterfly garden were done blooming, but there still were some and I was enchanted, as I had been when I visited last July.  This year, it was very overgrown but I loved it.  
Red passionvine

I think this is blue sage 
Don't know what this is but it was COVERED in bees!

Huge purple passionflower

My picture didn't turn out as gorgeous as the reality but it was so, so pretty!  HUGE passionflowers and pale pink hibiscus, and red flowers too.

This flower was about as large as my head!

Cassia Popcorn

This was intriguing... yellow flowers and a white leaf right at the front of the branch.

Another shot of it. I have no idea what it is.

Blue Ginger

I didn't manage to take any photos of butterflies!
  • We ventured into the Friends of the Library's store. I was hoping to maybe find some TV shows on DVD (they had a couple but nothing I was interested in) or more diabetic cookbooks (they didn't have any). My daughter did find a DVD of "The Incredibles" so I bought it for her to take to college ($2).

  • Then we went to the class that I had signed us up for, "Making Greeting Cards". It was... something!  The attendees were mostly older people who didn't seem to understand the simple instructions of gluing part A on part B, etc. but they were very nice and had a good time.  My daughter was sitted next to an older woman who kept asking her for help so she helped her very good naturedly, I was proud of her.  Susan, I don't have the patience for making cards. I could have done the whole thing in 10 minutes tops, not the hour and a half it took and I was ready to just move on, lol.  The design was OK, I'd rather make the kind of cards YOU make though, if I had to make any cards. The best part for me was running the card stock through the embossing machine because I love the result. If I had an embossing machine at home, I'd emboss my coupons, my toilet paper, everything!  LOL.

One of my cards (I didn't really like this design at all)

My daughter's 2nd card. We embossed the card with those raised dots. She did a great job "distressing" the flowers with a sponge and ink. Mine didn't turn out quite so nice.
  • Despite all my moaning and groaning, we really had a good time today and enjoyed our day and time together :)

  • After the library program, we drove to the closest Panera's. Youngest Son called us to say he was walking to our local library to attend the teen program with his friends. He mowed the backyard at his dad's request.  At Panera's, I got my daughter and son a pastry each, and myself a small coconut macaroon. My daughter and I were thirsty so we each had some iced tea. I picked the plum hibiscus something rather tea because it was unsweetened (0 calories) and I used 2 packets of sweetener in it.  I paid with my Panera gift card so no money out of pocket today for this and I earned a "visit" towards my next reward.  Honestly, I should have remembered to pack a snack and some water so I was disappointed in myself but oh well.  There wasn't a RaceTrac on the way home and I was too thirsty to wait (because of the smoked salmon at lunch!).
My bite-size coconut macaroon. It had a chocolate base.
  • I had meant to drive to Clermont to stop by Aldi, refuel the car and redeem my free Coffee Wednesday Reward at Wawa, and then go to Walgreens, but we were tired and the sky was super dark over Tavares so I declared we were just going home.  It started raining.

  • Then I remembered that my Walgreens Register Rewards expired today so we decided to go to Walgreens anyway, it's just 3 miles from our house so it wasn't too bad. At Walgreens, I had planned on getting 2 boxes of Lucky Charms (on sale for $1.88 each) and redeem (2) $0.50 printable coupons and then my 2 Register Rewards, but since those are considered coupons too, I needed to buy 4 items to redeem 4 coupons so I bought a couple of candy bars on sale for the kids. My OOP was $1.25 and I paid with one of the prepaid Visa gift cards that I had bought from Youngest Son last year so no money out of pocket today.  When we got home, I submitted my receipt to SavingStar to get $1.00 back on the two boxes of cereal.

  • On the way home we stopped by RaceTrac and I got myself and Youngest Son free Sodapalooza refills.

  • I checked my RaceTrac app and my free medium drink coupon for July has been credited to my app, woohoo.  I have 30 days to redeem it.

  • I received the $25 Walmart gift card that I had ordered from Swagbucks.

  • Youngest Son walked home and was on our street when thunder and lightning made their appearance. I went to check the mail... the sky is dark to our East, as usual, I think the rainstorms will bypass us again, grrr.

  • In the mail I got:
    • a 20% coupon for CVS along with the details of what I had saved at CVS since May 2016. It doesn't include the fact that most of my OOP was completely free the whole year since I paid with gift cards earned via our American Express Rewards program!

    • an offer from TinyPrints to get 10 free thank you cards with free shipping to celebrate the fact that they're now under the Shutterfly library.

  • SunTrust emailed me back that I need to call their Series EE Bonds Division to discuss getting them to verify my identity for the purpose of getting my bonds cashed. Ugh I hate phone calls... but since my BFF needs to be there to verify my info and she's a SunTrust member, that might be the best option if they'll do it. A reader clued me on the fact that she had done it at a Chase bank without being a member, so I researched local branches and there IS one in Clermont!  So I'll give them a call too. It would be further than SunTrust for my BFF though.  Thanks, Jax, for the heads-up!

  • I checked Ibotta for new rebates and there was a new rebate for $0.25 any item so I submitted my Walgreens receipt for it. Woohoo and they credited my account right away :)

  • I received an email confirming my enrollment in Carrabba's Dining Rewards program with instructions on how to receive $5 off my next visit there.  I wonder if I can pair that with the Happy Hour promo they emailed about yesterday...

  • For dinner, I cooked "Cheesy Chicken Skillet Dinner" from the Betty Crocker Diabetic Recipes Cookbook. It was super easy, especially since I used the previously cooked chicken breasts that I cut up in pieces, and very good!  Greg even mentioned how he had liked it.  The only change I made was using 1 cup of regular taco shredded cheese instead of 2 cups of reduced fat cheddar cheese because Aldi hasn't had the reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese in the last couple of weeks.  Also on the plus side, I didn't have to use any oil since the chicken was already cooked. I used EVOO from my Mister to sauté the veggies so the amount of oil was pretty insignificant (changing my exchanges from 1 fat to none) and it didn't have any pasta or rice, which was great since I had the macaroon and also 4 small pieces of "French" bread in my salad at lunch. So I don't think I went over my starch exchanges at all, although I think I did go over my meat exchanges but oh well.

  • I harvested some green onions and two jalapeños left on a plant that is probably dead now.  The green onions were used in tonight's dinner.

  • I did the dishes right after dinner (I had unloaded the dishwasher while dinner was cooking). Greg had to work so I turned on the Law & Order marathon on ION TV.

  • I realized that since it hadn't rained, I needed to go water my papaya seeds and bean seedlings so I went outside at 7:45 p.m. It's really the ideal time for this as the sun has come down and it's not hot, but at the same time, the mosquitoes are out!  I used a cat litter jug that I kept refilling at the rain barrel to water the seeds and seedlings, the roses and hibiscus, the red canna and milkweed pot, and all the flowers and herbs on the berm.

  • Arrgh, I panicked because instead of 7 Monarch caterpillars today, I only had 3 left!  They've eaten ALL of the foliage and flowers so I thought I'd do some research to see what they eat so maybe I could make a butterfly house for them and protect them from the birds, which I suspected had eaten the other 4. However, I found this article that states that they ONLY eat plants from the milkweed family and that when the caterpillars is ready to become a chrysalis, it will travel quite far to find a safe place to start the transformation. So I really hope that's what happened (and hopefully Youngest Son didn't mow them!) and that they're safe and sound somewhere and becoming butterflies and I left the remaining three on the milkweed stalks. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • (4) Sodapalooza refills for Greg
  • (1) Sodapalooza refill for Youngest Son and (1) for me
  • Attended a free "Making Greeting Cards" class at the library and came home with 4 cards (2 for myself and 2 for my daughter)
  • Received the $25 Walmart gift card I had ordered from Swagbucks
  • A coupon for a free medium drink appeared in my RaceTrac app
  • A coupon for a free any size coffee appeared in my Wawa app (but it was only good for today and I didn't redeem it)
  • Coupon codes for 10 free thank you cards and free shipping from TinyPrints
  • Greg remembered that he had gotten free candy from his hotel in Vancouver last week and he gave it to the kids

  • Gather recycling and take bins down to the curb DONE
  • Plan my food intake for the day 
  • Exercise
  • Record today's food intake into MFP 
  • Order cat and kitten food
  • Go on field trip with Daughter DONE
  • Run errands after field trip DONE
  • Submit receipts for rebates DONE
  • Input receipts in my spreadsheets
  • Do the dishes DONE
  • Make banana chocolate chip muffins
  • 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) 
  • 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 seedlings from berm and patio to the empty garden beds (next week)
  • Mulch the berm again (next week)
  • Decide what to plant in the garden this fall and where
  • Clean upstairs litterbox 
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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  DONE
  • Order rain barrel from Home Depot (find gift card first!)
  • Declutter the old coffee table IN PROGRESS


  1. First of all, yes I am alright. So much has happened this past week I haven't had time to write two words. But I will try to send out a post this afternoon before I cut the grass AGAIN.

    I love that Butterfly Garden in Mt. Dora. If that is what it looks like with most of the flowers spent, then it must be absolutely magnificent at its peak.

    When I first started making cards, I went to quite a few card making classes to figure out what supplies would be the most needed and to pick up different kinds of cards. I like to make cards with a lot of mats and I do like embossing cardstock. When my grand daughters come, I let them cut out some 4x5 inch mats in different colours and with different embossing patterns (I have about 20), so they can take them back to BC for matting their photos or making cards themselves. I laughed when you said you would emboss everything; but doesn't your T.P. already come embossed?? Anyways, I agree with you about how slowly the classes can be. The instructor can only move as quickly as the slowest participant, so sometimes it can really drag. But when you get some experience behind you, you won't need to attend any classes. I made a card using the sketch of the second card you did. When the birthday recipient has received it, I will post the picture of it.

    I hope you "made" some Monarch butterflies.

    1. I'm glad you're OK, I'd been wondering about you but then I saw your post from yesterday. The butterfly garden is small but so cool. I read an article recently that said they were going to redo it and I think with the help of a landscape architect. I don't know why, I think it's great now. I wish our library or town had something similar.

      To be honest with you, I don't think I'll make more cards. It was fun to do with my daughter, but I'm just not the type of person who enjoys crafts for more than 10 minutes, LOL. Better to know this before I go spend hundreds of dollars at Michael's on a Cricut and embossing machine and all kinds of embellishments :) I'll just continue to marvel at yours!

  2. Nice cards! Obviously you were ready for a more advanced card making class! Or one of shorter duration. It was nice of your daughter to help the older lady. Did your daughter enjoy the class? Ha, ha, embossed toilet paper!

    Too bad the French restaurant was so disappointing! On the positive side, the lack of crème brulee and the poor quality crepe meant you were able to remain on your healthy eating diet!

    The pink flowering vine looks a lot like coral vine or Antigonon leptopus; it used to grow wild along the roadside fences in Sri Lanka when I was growing up. I don't know what the yellow flowered tree with the single white leaf at the end is, though.

    Lunchtime Bless (who needs to return to work!)

    1. Yes, she did enjoy the card but mostly because we were laughing so much, she and I. She would have liked to personalize the cards more but time was limited at the stamping machine and the older ladies weren't really patient. She did pick a stamp that said "Hi" for her card, when everyone else just used "Thinking of You" and the lady "helping" with the machine wasn't too enthused, lol.

      You're right, I was able to not eat yummy things so I guess that was a plus?! But for the money I spent, I wish it had been much better.

      Thanks for the info on the coral vine. I'll have to see if someone (a volunteer) knows the name of that yellow-flower tree next time I go there.

  3. Don't you just love passion flowers? I found a place here in Lakeland where a bunch of them are blooming in a back alley; I'll have to go back on a Sunday with my macro lens and get some pictures.

    I love reading about your trips and the stuff you do with your daughter...only having three sons makes me realize that I missed out on all the "girly" stuff you can do with a daughter. Now I have three granddaughters, but they all live far away. Oh well.

    1. Yep, I love passionflowers, they're just so intricate, aren't they? I need to try to grow some here but then maybe I won't be so excited about seeing them in other places, LOL. Can't wait to see your pictures with your new macro lens.

      It has been nice to have one daughter, to be honest. I love my boys and, while she mostly was a tomboy who loves sports when my sons don't, she also always was into baking and art so we could do fun stuff together. Maybe you should ask your kids if one or several of your granddaughters could come spend a few days on their own at your house during school holidays? My favorite vacations were always the weeks spent at my grandmother's in the summer.


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!