Black Friday at home

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Everyone loves a good deal, but who wants to camp out in front of their favorite store just to save a few bucks? Who wants to miss their Thanksgiving dinner aka family reunion only to get into fist fights over the last Star Wars Battlefront PS4 and possibly get killed? Not me! No way!

So here’s what I do, I just sit at home and wait for the Black Friday deals to come to my inbox. and then buy stuff online and have them shipped to me, or enjoy them instantly online. I mean sure, it’ll take awhile to get to me, but you don’t really need those things until Christmas day anyway, right?

This is what I saved on. It’s only a few items, but it’s what I wanted to buy.

I got an email from Choxi about 2 weeks ago telling me they miss me. I bought an iPad for my partner last year and I also bought a phone for myself. So the email they sent me was a $10 coupon. I looked at what they had on sale and what was featured, and I found this cool bed or couch table for my partner for $49. Thanks to the coupon, I only paid $39 and with $2 shipping it came to $41. I bought it for him because he spends most if not all of his time on the couch holding his iPad, and I figured he could just put it on this table at an angle and he can just swipe without holding it. He can also push it to the side when he starts to get sleepy. A couple of months ago he fell asleep and woke up to the sound of his iPad crashing to the ground on the hard wood floor. I can’t remember how much it was to replace the screen. This will prevent that from happening again, I hope.

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Yesterday I got a Black Friday email from Groupon advertising this pet carrier and more. I was telling my partner the last time we went out of town that if I had a pet carrier that was like a suitcase and backpack, we could bring her with us. I went online looking for something, but they were just too expensive. I couldn’t pass up $20, so I had to buy this.

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Finally, I went on my PlayStation 4 yesterday and saw that they had a Co-Op sale with some games I was considering, but I really didn’t want them just because they were on sale. Their sale is up to 90% with a PlayStation Plus membership, but I waited. Today I opened the PlayStation store and saw their Black Friday sale, and the game I’ve wanted forever was there, and it was a very reasonable price. It’s normally $99, but it was on sale for $40. I just so happened to have $41 and change in my account, so I bought it and I now have $1.74 in my wallet lol.

The game is The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited. It’s the most expensive one they had. They had the one without all the extras for a lot less, but what’s the point when I’m going to have to buy all those extras later down the road anyway? I might as well buy the more expensive one while I have the funds in my wallet. And you can’t beat a $60 savings.

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This after I received an email from Microsoft telling me they are having a sale in the Microsoft store for apps, games, movies and music. It was a .10 cent sale. So I bought Imagine Dragons Night Visions album that is regularly $13 for only .10 cents. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

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I got to have a Thanksgiving meal with my partner and I didn’t have to camp out for days in the cold with a bunch of strangers who would probably beat the crap out of me over $5., and I saved $172. You honestly can’t beat that.

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Bread Machine Spiced Pumpkin Bread

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I bought a bread machine a few years ago from a thrift store for only $6, and I think it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made because I get to enjoy specialty bread whenever I want, at a fraction of the cost.

Every holiday season from October until December I make Spiced Pumpkin bread, and I thought I would share the recipe.

This is the recipe that came in the book that I had to download since it didn’t come with the bread machine. What do you expect? I found it in a thrift store. I was lucky it had all the parts and that it actually worked. They had some better looking machines that were missing the kneading paddle. Is that what it’s called?

I had to experiment with some of the recipes because sometimes you might get soft fluffy bread, while other times it might be hard and will leave a brick feeling in your stomach. If the bread is too hard, it’s because it didn’t have enough water. If it falls apart, you put too much water in it. This particular recipe says to add 1 egg and enough water to make 1/4 cup. Well, I learned to add 1 egg, plus 1/4 cup of water, and no more water after that.

There are some recipes that have raisins in it, this one does not, but I like to add raisins to it anyway. I don’t add the raisins in the beginning because it turns them into dust. I wait until the machine is finished kneading the dough, then I add the raisins, then the machine starts to knead again for about 15 or 20 minutes before turning off to let the dough rise.

One thing that I don’t like to do is to let the bread machine bake the bread because the container that it is in doesn’t give you a normal shape loaf of bread. I just let it knead the dough, then when it’s finished, before it allows it to rise, I remove it from the pan and put it in a regular bread pan and put it in the toaster oven at 150F for 45 minutes to rise, then I turn it to 350F to bake for 45 minutes.

I love this bread for 2 reasons. 1 it has a pumpkin flavor, and 2 because it’s sweet from the raisins. I like to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with this bread more than anything else. It just makes it better. I have had ham and/or turkey sandwiches, but nothing beats PB&J.

PS4 for Christmas

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My partner saw a commercial for Xbox One and asked if that’s what I want for Christmas. I told him I don’t want you to buy me an Xbox because they are way too expensive. He asked if I would play it and I said hell yes, but I don’t want you to buy it for me.

Up until that point it never even occurred to me that I might want a video game system for my TV. I mean, I’ve thought about it every now and then, but when I saw how expensive they were, the thoughts faded away. But now I can’t stop thinking about it.

This weekend is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are at least 23% off, but even still, they are way too expensive for me. The regular price of a PS4 is $520 and right now they are on sale for $400. That’s a lot of money to save, but $400 is also a lot of money to spend.

And I settled on PlayStation 4 because I already have PSP and they have much different selection than Xbox. For example Xbox doesn’t have Little Big Planet. I have some games that I love for my PSP that they don’t have anywhere else, like Jak and Daxter & Ratchet and Clank. It’s a brand, like Nintendo has Mario and Zelda and you can’t play those anywhere else. This particular game system has the Little Big Planet and Lego Batman 3. I mean don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE either Xbox One or PS4. I would be more than happy with either one of them.

Another reason I settled on the PS4 rather than Xbox One is because of the camera. I checked and the Xbox Kinect is $100 to $200. The PS4 camera is only $40. Huge difference in price. The only reason I would want the camera is so that I could use it for the dance games, which burn calories because it is cardio exercise. The Xbox One Kinect is more than just for exercise, in fact you can control your TV from what I understand, but I would probably never use that. In fact, if I did have that, every time I talked, Chip would ask me who I was talking to, so it’s better that I don’t have a game to talk to lol.

It’s a nice thing to think about, and I even created a Amazon wishlist for PS4, but I highly doubt I will ever be able to buy anything from that wishlist. Maybe one day, but probably not this day, or any time soon. If Santa “made” one for me, and it happened to be under the tree on Christmas morning, then I would be the happiest 44 year-old child the world has ever seen, but I highly doubt that would happen.

Week 27 with @Noom

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Today is day 1 of Week 27 and I am very happy to say that despite what I ate for the 4th of July, I actually lost weight this week.  So yay me!

We went to Golden Corral and the only thing I ate that day before we went was breakfast, so I was nice and hungry by the time we finally made it there at 4pm.  We haven’t been there since January 1st before I started my weight loss plan with Noom, so we wanted to indulge just once, and boy did we indulge.

I was good though.  I did have a few plates, but they weren’t packed with food and I logged everything on my plate.  I actually remember what I ate.

Plate 1: Salad.  I had lettuce, cucumber, chicken, olives and my dressing was light ranch.  I don’t care for vinaigrettes.  I know I should use those, but I don’t like them.  I topped it with some sunflower seeds.

Plate 2: Medium rare steak, penne pasta with a tiny amount of alfredo sauce, corn and spinach.

Plate 2: Another piece of steak Medium Well, broccoli, cauliflower and garlic biscuit.

Dessert: Apple pie, because who doesn’t eat apple pie on July 4th?

So all 3 of my plates were 799 calories according to the Noom app and my dessert was 297 calories.  My total calories for that day were 1387/1400.  I did end up eating a banana before bed which I didn’t log.

So despite all of that, today I weighed in at 193.6lbs for a weight loss total of 69.4lbs since January 5th 2013.  My goal is to get down to 170lbs and I am at 74.62%.

I won’t be going to Golden Corral too often because that is a really bad place to go, but at least when I did go, I was responsible enough to eat my veggies.  Besides the pasta and the alfredo sauce, salad dressing, biscuit and the pie, I pretty much stayed away from all the bad foods that I used to eat there.  If we ever do get to go back there after I lose the rest of this fat, I know how to eat properly and I can make better decisions.

Huffy Nassau

Bright side, we went to Target yesterday and I saw the bike that I want to save up for.  I’ve been selling keychains and earrings on Etsy, so whatever I get from the sales of those things are going towards buying a new bicycle.  That is if people will buy them lol.  I have exactly $200 worth of merchandise in a box in my room and according to the Target website, this particular bike (pictured) is only $125.99 and is only sold through their website.  Although, the bike we saw at Target was blue and it didn’t have a price tag, but we assumed it was $200 just like the other bikes next to it.  I don’t care which I get, as long as it’s a good sturdy bike.  This one pictured is a Huffy Fresno.  Sounds good to me!

A bicycle is the perfect tool for exercise for me since I have back problems, which by the way I had x-rays for so I will get those results next month when I go back to the doctor’s office.  I can ride for hours and burn hundreds of calories and walking is too painful, so which exercise do you think is the better one?  I say cycling.

At any rate, this week was a good week for my weight loss and I look forward to where I will be next week, so until then..

Update: I am closer to that bike.  I have $67.73 saving up, so I just need a few more sales and then I can buy the bike.  I basically need to sell either a dozen pairs of earrings or 2 dozen keychains, and then I can buy it.  By the time I have the money saved up, the bike will be more expensive, or they won’t sell it anymore so I will end up having to pick another one, but that’s fine.  I had a different bike in mind, but this one has the rack in the back which I can put my Townie Basket on for grocery bags and it has a basket in front that I can also use for my Noom water bottle and for keeping the tire repair tools in.

Valentine’s Day is a legitimate cheat day

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Since my diet (new healthy lifestyle) began, I have completely sworn off candy, cakes, ice cream, cookies and anything that has a lot of calories and sugar.  I have made adjustments though so I can eat certain sweets as long as they are made out of healthy ingredients like oatmeal, fruit and peanut butter.  I normally have to cover my peripheral vision when walking through the seasonal, ice cream and cookie aisles at the grocery store to avoid temptation, but I have a mental block in my mind that I simply don’t want to eat junk, so I can look at it and not care about it.

Valentine’s Day was yesterday and I went to the store with the intention of buying some junk food because one day is not going to ruin my weight loss progress.  I didn’t find anything that I liked, so I bought the Valentine’s Day disposable cupcake tins with cupcake paper cups with hearts on them and some cupcake sprinkles.  I went to the cake aisle and I was going to buy the sugar free cake mix and frosting, but they we’re both sweetened with Splenda.  Most people would grab those because they have less calories, but I didn’t because Splenda gives me mad cramps in my stomach and I just can’t handle that.  I bought the Duncan Hines white frosting with a packet of Strawberry Shortcake flavor to mix in and a box of Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix.  That made 24 cupcakes.  I gave 1 of the trays to our tenant because they have 3 people living there, so they each got 2 cupcakes.  They were thrilled.

Besides eating cupcakes all day long, which I only had 6 (YIKES I know, right?), I also ate some chocolate covered strawberries which I had to skewer and freeze so I could dip them into Magic Shell chocolate which hardens when it comes in contact with something as cold as ice cream or say frozen Strawberries.  Those were good.  We actually still have a bunch of them in the fridge.

Of course I wasn’t a bad boy all day, I had my regular healthy bowl of cheerio’s with 1 banana and some soy milk for breakfast and my weight watchers frozen dinners for lunch and dinner.  I am allowed to have 3 snacks throughout the day, so I exchanged my healthy snacks for the cupcakes and the chocolate covered strawberries.

My day wasn’t a total bust, I only went over my calorie budget by a little, so I technically still had a good day.  I weighed myself when I woke up and my weight didn’t go up, it actually went down.  Although it will probably take a day before the cupcakes kick in, so I will just have to be extra good until my next cheat day which will be my birthday.  I don’t plan on cheating at all during Easter since I don’t celebrate it despite how much I love Cadbury eggs lol.  I will resist temptation since I have a mental block on it.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Can you believe that it’s 2012 already?  I mean, it seems like it was just summer and now it’s a whole new year.

Time to make a new years resolution.  I don’t know what mine would be.  I kind of feel like I don’t really need to make one, you know?  I mean, I only keep one out of 10 so why bother making one?  I could be positive and say I want to exercise more and lose weight, but wouldn’t that sabotage me?  Every time I exercise and lose weight I say I’m doing it and get a big head about it and end up getting bored with it and gain more weight.

So I guess the only thing left to say is that I will make my new years resolution something that I was already planning, which is publishing my book, which I worked for the last 6 months to write and edit.  So it’s not new, it’s just something I was already in the process of doing.  So there.  On top of that I will diet and exercise, I just won’t tell you about it out of fear that I will sabotage myself lol.

Yes that picture is of a Christmas coffee mug that I got back in 2005 with Kahlua and Egg nog.  I’m not a huge drinker and I only had 2 cups of that.  No I didn’t get drunk, I didn’t even get buzzed lol.  I just wanted the taste of something naughty in my mouth… I know you have to be laughing at that.

Well, Happy 2012.  Be safe everyone!

Happy Holidays 2011

I forgot to send out cards this year.  Oopsie!  So instead of sending our cards out late, this is what everyone is getting lol.  If you are wondering why it’s not a photo of us, neither Darrin nor myself are photogenic (we hate our pictures being taken) so you get to see our tree instead.  Hey, Darrin just got his new iPhone, I don’t want to be responsible for breaking the camera with my image LOL.  No but seriously, I would like to get a picture of us together but I’d prefer in a more professional setting.  Maybe in the year 2025…

Every year since the 90’s, I have spent Christmas with either my family, or with Chips.  This year we are going to stay home instead of traveling.  It is fun to drive south for the holidays, but Darrin just can’t get the time off.  I actually don’t mind staying home because I’ll be able to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special.  I would hate to have to wait for the next series to come on when it finally repeats.  That has happened every year too so I’m looking forward to finally watching it the day it actually airs.

Santa has already visited us, so we really don’t have much to celebrate anymore.  Darrin bought himself, or should I say Santa bought Darrin a new iPhone 4S with a 2 year contract with Verizon.  And I got some new underwear.  Yes, I asked for underwear lol.  That was actually what I really wanted so I’m happy.  I was down to 3 holey pair, so I was long overdue.  I would have asked for an iPod Touch 4th gen 16GB, but Santa has already spent too much money on one apple product, so I can wait to see if I get any money from book sales for that, or an iPad2 lol.

Speaking of my book, I had hoped I would have been finished with it by the day after Christmas but I am still in editing.  I finished my final edit, but then I went back to the beginning and have found more issues.  I am working on my final final edit so hopefully it will be finished by January 1st 2012.  I can’t promise anything because when I finish with my final final edit, I will of course have to read the whole book again to make absolutely sure it’s perfect before I publish it.  I don’t want even one word out of place or misspelled lol.

In case you are wondering, yes I have been working on this book for the last 6 months.  I actually started in 1989… started over in 1997… started over summer 2010 and only wrote 3 or 4 chapters.  Started over again in May or June 2011 where I rewrote the chapters that I wrote in 2010 and wrote the rest of the book.  It only took 2 months to write it, but it has taken me 4 months to edit it.  Writing is hard ya’ll!

Anyway, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all.