Sunday, October 21, 2018

40 Year Class Reunion

Last night was my 40-year class reunion.  I was on the fence about going right up until the last minute.  Call it social anxiety, or a challenge for my introverted self, but I am happier staying home
most days.

The reunion was in the planning stages back in April of this year, I had all these plans to get back on track with diet and exercise to bring my best self to the reunion.  The plans were well intended, and on occasion, we did get to the gym but truth be told, there was no real success with weight loss. Eh.  I can live with it.

We arrived at the event location, checked in and picked up our name tags.  It took me a minute to locate my name tag, as I was not sure if it was listed by my maiden name or married name.  It was listed by my married name, with my maiden name included.

Most of the people chatted in the lobby of the venue while other classmates were arriving.  It was interesting to see how people were interacting. There were those who kept to themselves watching others. And then there were those who were like butterflies and mingled successfully with just about everyone.  Just like high school!

What I noticed for me is that I recognized more people than recognized me.  It could have been that this was my first reunion and they were unsure who I was.  I could have been that I had gaps of attendance during my junior year of high school and I had a fall from grace from my clique that was mostly the involved in everything group because of those absences. I found that once I got a car, I would rather go shopping then go to school. It is a wonder I did graduate.
Me between two friends from junior high.
Even though I am on the shy side, I did go up to many individuals and reintroduce myself to them and have a brief conversation.  The majority of the ones I did chat with or had more in common with attended my elementary and junior high school.  It seems I remembered them more than they remembered me.  That was fine.  I did see and chat with several of my closer contacts from high school and we were able to catch up a bit. 

FaceBook helped us to stay connected and see a peek into each of our lives on a regular basis.  We had the commonality of talking about watching each of our families grow up on FB and that was a part of our conversation and helped with the awkwardness, at least for me.

After all is said and done, I will try harder to stay in touch, as in face to face conversations with a couple of friends.  These girls were friends from junior high and I still feel a special connection with them.  For me, when you are young, raising a family right out of high school and working like crazy to keep things afloat there really is no time for the friends you had in high school.  All of my energy was directed at my family.  I think that is true for many of us. 

Overall, attending the reunion was a positive experience and I so appreciate the effort of those that worked so hard to make it a success.  It was a challenge for my social awkwardness, but as they say, "fake it until you make it" and I have that skill down pat. 

Will I go to our 50th reunion?  Yes, I will.  If the good Lord sees fit to keep me here on earth I will make the best of each day He gives me and give Him the glory.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Catching Up

We had a large unplanned expense this week that happened when I went to the dealership to get my oil changed.  They were going to rotate my tires but the service guy came back and said two of my tires were very low tread, (I kinda knew this already) and the other tires were cupping.  (this explained the loud and rough ride.)

So, with my regularly scheduled oil change, we added the purchase, installation, and alignment of four new tires. Expensive, yes.  It came to $1048.00. Meh.

On the plus side, the ride is much smoother and definitely safer.  In order to maintain better tire care, I will be getting my tires rotated every 7000 miles or every other oil change in order to extend the life of my tires.   I use to do regular tire rotation on my Camry, but I fell off the wagon with our Santa Fe.

Yesterday, we started painting our house, specifically the back wall before the pool cage/screen is
Paint on back wall of house 
installed.  The paint was bought months ago when the summer rains and heat prevented us from getting any painting done.  It is much cooler now, well at least for us in Florida (about 65 degrees in AM and warms up to 85 degrees in the afternoon)

Next week, it will be significantly cooler and I hope to get more of the painting done.  If we finish the back wall before the screen is installed, I will be thrilled.  I am so looking forward to cooler weather.  We haven't had our Fall yet. 

The first half of the month has been busy,  and I am grateful for that.  Staying on track with everyday chores and the grandkids afterschool events keeps me focused. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Grocery Shopping Week 1 Oct 2018

When you track your grocery shopping you get to see just how many times you go to the store. Sheesh!

We had hoped to keep the weekly grocery spending to $150 a week.  We were close, but there is definitely room for improvement.

Oct 1 Publix     $29.74
Oct 4  Publix    $19.47
Oct 4 WalMart $51.64
Oct 5  Publix    $17.41
Oct 6 Aldi        $45.92
Total                $164.18

The weekend was a busy one.  We celebrated our daughter's birthday with a visit to Epcot, and in, ride our fast pass rides and get out.  The kiddos are usually pretty pooped out by then.

Sunday, we went to SeaWorld for a couple of hours.  We were able to see a couple of shows, but we did eventually get rained out.  Tropical storm/Hurricane Michael is sending us it rains bands as it approaches the Panhandle region.


  Oatmeal and butterscotch cookies were on my mind and I spent most of the afternoon putting them together and baking.  The weather is getting cooler, temps in the high 80's so it felt like the perfect baking weather at least for Florida.

Add caption
They were a hit with the family and  I am glad I froze some for later as they did not last long.  I may have eaten too much cookie dough.  I do love cookie dough.  Guilty pleasure.

Tomorrow, the kiddos start up with their activities.  The girl has ballet and tap and the boy has boy scouts.  I really enjoy taking the kids to their after-school activities.  Its just extra time that we get to spend together. Luckily, my hubs will be taking the boy camping in a couple of weekends.

How was your weekend?  Busy or relaxed?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Today's Grocery Shopping Oct 2018

This morning I had a chance to run to WalMart and Publix to pick up a few items.  I had coupons from last week and I also had a few Ibotta and Checkout51 that I wanted to use.

Ibotta had Sweet Hawaiian Pillsbury Grands "free after offer" with a limit of 5.  I had a coupon for $1.50 off of a purchase of three.  After an earning of $6.54 from Ibotta  My referral code is mr4aea   You get $10 and so do I!
I made $1.50 from the coupon. 

Unless Ibotta decides that I should be penalized for using the coupon. That may change.

I also earned $0.50 for Palmolive Ultra Strength dish soap, $0.50 for Breakstone's sour cream and $0.25 cents for any item.  Total Ibotta earnings $7.79

CheckOut51, I earned $4.00 back on BicSoiel disposable razors and was able to use a coupon for $3.00 off $5.97.  That was a moneymaker for almost $2.00.

And then I scanned both receipts in to Fetch Rewards for points that can be redeemed gift cards.  WX8BV is my referral code!  You get points and so do I!

 I also had coupon savings $8.50 at Walmart.

IBotta dollars: $21.54
Checkout51:  $5.30
Fetch Rewards:  11,061 points

I picked up some BOGO's at Publix with a saving of $13.96 on BOGO's.  No coupons.

I earned $2.00 for the Lance crackers and Honey Maid Graham from CheckOut51.

Do you use all these reward programs successfully? 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

National Night Out

The kiddos, their mom and I went to National Night Out in our local community last night.  The event was at the lake in downtown.  We went early, right as it opened as parking can quickly become an issue.
The kiddos met Daisy the Bloodhound

The weather is still warm, but the humidity was not as high as it was the last couple of weeks.  We managed to walk through the event, visit many booths for free samples of food, goodies for the kiddos which was mostly pencils, and small toys.  The local police department had an obstacle course for the kids and that was a bit hit with everyone.

After spending about an hour and a half, we left the event and headed home.  The kids had fun, and overall it was a pretty good night.

Dinner was leftover chili from Monday, there still enough left for me to take to work for lunch today.  Today's dinner is grilled pork chops and grilled zucchini.  Putting the meals on my calendar has helped greatly with dinner planning.

After work, I will be taking one of the kiddos to the allergist for weekly shots, then maybe, just maybe I can get the yard mowed and liquid edged.  Since going back to work, the yard has been getting a bit scraggly.  This may be the last time we have to mow as the grass is barely growing due to lack of rain.  During the summertime, I was mowing every 5 days just to keep up with the growth.

Our exterminator is coming out today after work for our yearly service.  It has been probably two years since we have had him come out.  He treats the house and if we see any more bugs, they come out and retreat at no cost.  Usually, we don't have to call them back.  The one-time treatment does thew trick. We skipped last year as we were dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Did you participate in your local National Night Out?  How was it?  Would you go back next year?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Menu Plan Monday

The weekly menu is on the calendar and here is what we are working with, and will it change?  It might. 

But, having it wrote down on the calendar in the kitchen will help when I walk in the kitchen from work and wonder what the heck I am going to fix for dinner. 

Monday - Chili with rice and cornbread

Tuesday - Leftover Chili

Wednesday- Grilled Pork Chops
Grilled Zucchini

Thursday - Western Omelets with Toast

Friday - Chili Dogs

Saturday -  BLT's

Sunday - Salmon and Brown Rice

What about you? What's on the menu plan at your house this week? 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

October Goals 2018

Monthly goals are hit or miss for me.  I have good intentions at the beginning of the month then things sometimes go south.  My last Monthly goal post was in April! How's that for consistency? 

Oh well, I still want to keep trying to do better and keep things on track. 

  • Keep dining out to $150 
  • Keep grocery shopping under $600  Fingers crossed! 
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis 
  • Come up with a side hustle, maybe look at eBay again? Eh, maybe not. 
  • Continue to seek part-time employment  Accomplished in August.  Working full time in a local school. 
  • Rebuild  short-term savings account to $1000


  • Weekly dinner with grandkids, daughter, and son in law 
  • Have two date nights with my mister 
  • Visit the oldest son, and take him lasagne 
  • Chat middle son weekly 
  • Participate/assist with getting grandkids to weekly activities. 


  • Walk at least 45 continuous minutes a day.  Get in 10,000 daily steps total.   It is still in the 90's, hoping Fall will bring cooler weather.       
  • Lose 8 pounds  
  • Strength training at gym 2-3 times a week 

  • Continue to seek part-time employment   Accomplished in August.  Working full time in a local school. 

  • Make two new recipes 
  • Spend time with a friend (time to use that Disney Pass)
  • Take depression glass to a consignment shop
  • Continue to research paternal side of the family 
  • Daily reading of Jesus Calling and bible study 
  • Find a hobby that explores the creative side but does not break the bank :-)
  • Read at least one new book a month. 

Time to get busy with these goals.

 I straight up " borrowed" this format from The Hawaii Plan.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday This and That

 Happy Friday!  End of the week is here,  five weeks of school are in the books with 31 more weeks of school remaining.  Not that I am
tracking the time or anything...

Work is going well, the daily routine is becoming more comfortable, the students are becoming more familiar with me and all is good.  I am thrilled with my 6 hr a day schedule, it is just enough.

So far this week, except for Monday when the water line to the house was cut, we have eaten all meals at home and have packed our lunches for work.

Tuesday morning, I  did a quick search on the internet for a crockpot meal that contained cabbage and sausage. This particular recipe from Salt and Lavender is one I used as a guideline to put it all together.

I used what I had in the pantry with regards to tomatoes, added canned beans at the last hour instead of dry beans, all in all it turned out pretty good.   Leftovers provided another meal as well.

 Gym days were only Monday and Tuesday.  I was just too tired to make it the rest of the week.  With work and after work activities, I have been able to get most of all my steps in.  

In our effort to update our home with both necessary improvements and bucket list improvements (pool) we are adding a whole house gas powered generator.   Yep, more stuff to buy and pay off.   But, a whole house generator is almost a necessity when you live in a state that is routinely affected by hurricanes. 

The gas company was here yesterday installing the gas line from the street to the house.   We pulled a permit from the county and now we have to narrow down the choices for the appropriate generator.  

 The insurance company for the rental house is sending an inspector for the roof to see if we can qualify for a new roof due to hail damage.  Fingers crossed.  We are hoping to upgrade the windows, after a new roof and then remove carpet and buff out the terrazzo floors that original to the home.

Then.... we can put the house on the market and sell it.  I am ready to move on. The house has been a part of my life since I was 10.  The proceeds will go towards our retirement and paying off improvements to our current home.  

Stopped by Publix on Wednesday, I had to pick up items for lunches, and managed to spend $100.  I picked up other items too, but with what we have on hand I should have enough for the next several days.  I also scanned my receipt on my Fetch app and picked up several hundred points.  I am now at 10,000 points again.  I use my points for  Target gift cards, there are other options for gift cards, but Target is  my favorite for now.  If you would like to get started with Fetch. its easy  You just scan your shopping  receipt and  receive points . Fetch Rewards  WX8BV is my referral code!  You get points and so do I!

What is your go to app to save money grocery shopping?   

Monday, September 10, 2018

Made It to the Gym This Morning

The Citrus Tower with stormy clouds rolling in tonight.
Yes, I was up at 4:00 this morning and on my way to the gym by 4:30.  It was surprisingly crowded at that time in the morning.  Who knew?  I stayed for an hour and then headed back home to get ready for work.  I am planning to again tomorrow.  I am hoping the added physical exercise will make me tired enough so I can sleep better at night.

We had a significant hail storm in August of this year.  It did a number on our rental home located about 40 minutes from us.  The area is still recovering from Hurricane Irma and finding a reliable roofing company is not that easy.

I have been in contact with a second roofing company since the first company I contacted has not responded.  The deductible is $500.  I will be calling again tomorrow!  I really need to get the ball rolling and get that roof fixed and or replaced.

We lost this beautiful tree due to Hurricane Irma

We ate at Chick-fil-a tonight.  The plumbers that plumbed in the pool this afternoon cut our main water line.  They left and didn't tell the office, our sales rep, or us.  They just turned the water off and left.  I called the office, the sales rep and sent emails.   It came down to my husband coming home from work and fixing it himself.  If we had to wait for the company or a plumber, we would not have water all night.  It was annoying, inconvenient, and three hours later we now have running water again.

Accidents happen, but at least fix it!

Tree was removed due to safety issues 

The tropics are with named hurricanes and potential hurricanes. Florence is making her way to the Carolinas as a category 4,  I hope it weakens as it approaches.   It was this time last year that we were enduring Hurricane Irma as she passed through.  I set up my safe room in our walk-in closet.  Blow up mattress, blankets, flashlights, charged up  cellphone, and snacks.

I am hoping we don't have to prep like that again. It can be unnerving because the storms are so unpredictable.

How is the weather where you are?  Are you dealing with unpredictable weather as well?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Woke Up Dizzy

Woke up dizzy this AM, like wobble down the hall dizzy.  Maybe it's my sinuses, the weather, or I don't know what.  Anyway, I am taking it easy this morning until it passes.

Four weeks into the new job and things, for the most part, are falling into place.  I can successfully navigate my schedule, which involves going into several classes daily to assist the kids I am working with.  The classes are the same, but the daily times are different.  It should stick sooner or later

Last week was busy with work, activities with the grandkids and a visit to Hollywood Studios.  The grandson participates in Boy Scouts (meeting on Tuesday evenings), and YMCA basketball, (practice on Thursday evening and game on Saturday) and the granddaughter will start ballet/tap on Tuesday afternoons. 

Their mom works as a Nurse Practioner, 7 nights on from 7PM to 7AM and then she has 7 nights off.  My husband and I step in on the weeks she is working to help with getting the kids to their activities.  We really are blessed to be a part of their lives.

My husband helped with chores last night.  He did the shopping and cleaned the kitchen.  I did laundry, vacuumed /mopped the whole house and changed the kitty litter.  It is so much better when he steps up and contributes.  Only took about 40 years.... lol

Today, I had planned to make it to church, probably not going to happen and then we were going to Epoct for a couple hours.  That still may or may not happen.    Still waiting on the dizziness toget better.

Have a great Sunday!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day to you and yours.  I am enjoying this three day weekend finishing up chores around the house, laundry, yard work, wash the dogs and getting ready for a new work week. 

We have completed three weeks of the school year, with 33 more weeks to go, but who is counting? :-)    I am finding my groove so to speak at work, the teachers I work with are also better utilizing me for the benefit of the students.  I do enjoy my job, and as the school year progresses, I think I will like it more and more.

But, that does not mean I am not looking for another job.  I have 10 years in the state retirement system, and I would like to increase my retirement income from the state.  To do that, I would need to seek employment in a higher paying position for at least 3 years.  The FRS. Florida State Retirement bases your retirement pay on your 3 highest years salary.  As a teacher assistant, my pay is not that significant.   Retirement is always in the back of my mind, isn't it?

The oldest son (39)  is changing jobs.  He called me Friday to let me know.  Reading between the lines, he was terminated from his position because he would not sign a paper regarding a dispute.  I know he has been struggling (mentally and emotionally) at work and in his personal life.  Well, he has been struggling a lot lately in general.  He will not go back to his doctor ( whom he says knows nothing) and get back on his anxiety meds.  When he did take the meds a couple of years ago, he was in good spirits, happy and able to deal with life.  Now that he is off the meds, he struggles and is defiant when it is suggested that he go back on them. 

As a mom, I hate to see him unhappy and struggling with his demons.  It weighs on me and I want to help....but I know that helping financially (which I am kinda already doing with letting him live in my parent's house at cost) is only enabling him.  When I sell the house, and he has to move, I wonder where he will go and if we will see or hear from him.  We probably will here and there, but he is the type to chose his friends as his "family" instead of his real family to hang out with.  That has been the case since he was a young boy.  Why would I think it would change now, I don't know.

When he is in these moods, he will always say, " This is just the cards I was dealt, and I will have to deal with it."  Ah... no, J..... It's the choices YOU made that put you in this place.  It is difficult for the whole family, we all want to spend time with him but it is not his choice. 

When do you say enough is enough?  Or, When do I say when enough is enough?

Enjoy your Holiday!  

Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday Stuff

Today started out with good intentions, very early in fact.  I set my alarm for 4:30 AM to I could get to the gym by 5:00 AM.  The alarm did go off as set, 4:30 AM and I promptly reset it for 6:00 AM.  Tomorrow is another day.

Work was good, my schedule is flowing smoothly and I am learning more and more about the kids I am working with.  It is fun and challenging to go between grade levels.  The kindergartners are a bit overwhelmed with all that is expected from them.  Kindergarten was not this hard, structured, or task oriented when I went.  Naps are a thing of the past.

I do have lunch duty daily and watch 14 classes total.  They dismiss every 5 minutes, so my time in the lunchroom goes quickly.  Luckily, I have two co-workers in the lunchroom with me.  For the most part, the kids are good.  As long as they are no food fights, the kids stay in their seats and they are not screaming, all is good.

Yesterday, I found all the parts to my FitBit and charged it up.  My goal is 10,000 steps a day and after a few laps around the driveway, I managed to hit 10,000.  I try to get most of my steps at work,
some days I do, some days I don't.  When I don't, I am out in the driveway walking to get my steps in.  Previously, I tracked with my health tracker on my droid.

Moving helps keep the knees limber.  When I just sit around, my joints get all jacked up.  Who has time for that?  Not me!

How was your Monday?

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Adjusting to the New Schedule

It's been two weeks and I have been working with grades Kindergarten through third grade.  My daily schedule varies each day between different teachers and their students.  I like the variety, so to speak as my day is not boring.

My day at home starts early, like about 5:45 AM.  I get up, maybe wash a load of clothes or finish takes boiled eggs in his daily lunch.  I also bake a pound of bacon at the same time I am prepping the eggs and put it in the fridge when it's done.
breakfast, boiled eggs, bacon with guac
putting up dishes, run the vacuum.  Breakfast is easy, I have two boiled eggs, and two pieces of bacon.  I use my rice steamer to prepare about two dozen eggs for the week. My hubs

I am pretty sure I spend more time figuring out what to wear every morning.  It's getting better, but I still will try on a couple of things before I can nail it down.  I try to dress cool as the temps are still in the 90's.  I prefer to wear sneakers as I get a lot of walking in. 

I also pack my lunch daily, which is pretty easy.  The school cafeteria has an affordable lunch for the adults, $3.00 for a full salad bar which includes a drink.  For now, I am content with bringing lunch from home.

My follow up mammogram results were inconclusive.  There are two calcifications seen, ( tiny, tiny little things) and the radiologist recommended a 6 month follow up. 

I went to Target today to get groceries, paper towels, toilet paper,  cat food, cat litter etc.  $147.00 later..... Uff Da.  For the most part, I find Target groceries competitively priced.  I will need to run to Aldi's for a few items, but that should be it as far as grocery shopping.

We are having an inground pool put in.  Big step, expensive, but it has been on our list for a long time.  After a lot of thought and conversations, we decided to stay in this home and fix it up like we want.  That includes a pool, a shop for the husband, whole house generator, new metal for the RV shed, )we don't have an RV, space is occupied by stuff. Mostly stuff too big for the garage.

Hope you have a great week!

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