Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My New Frugal Wardrobe Makeover that Hides my Mummy Tummy

I have a confession to make. I currently weigh more than I've ever weighed in my entire life, other than perhaps when I was 9 months pregnant. And even then, I maybe weighed one or two pounds more than I do now.
There's a bunch of reasons why I weigh what I do now, and those reasons aren't as relevant as the fact that I am about 40-45 lbs overweight and most of that weight is in my central region. I am attempting to lose the weight again, via exercising and eating better than I have been, but I accept that this is not going to be a quick fix, and I'm trying to learn to love my body, and I'm not actually upset about how much I weigh now, however...
I'm kind of sick of all the comments about "my pregnancy". Usually its innocuous comments, like the person on the street who stops me and blesses "me and my baby". Or the person who asks me when I'm due. And while it doesn't offend me, because honestly, I do look pregnant (about 5 or 6 months along, depending on the day and outfit), and I know the people asking me aren't being malicious, at the same time, I do find the comments annoying.

Basically, it comes down to this. I have a belly. Partly due to a mostly healed diastasis recti left from giving birth, and part simply from fat situated on my belly. And because I have a belly, I have the uncomfortable luck that when I wear tighter clothes, people assume I'm "showing off my belly" and therefore must be pregnant, and when I wear things looser on my belly, people assume it's maternity clothes and I must be pregnant. It's a "lose lose" type situation. Most of my clothes fit one of these two categories, which is why I get pregnancy comments on an almost every day basis.

In the winter, I did manage to figure out one type of clothing combination that worked really well at drawing attention away from my mid section, and therefore it stopped the pregnancy comments- knee length pencil skirts, shirts, and long open cardigans (especially with vertical ribbing), and I feel really good in those types of outfits and get lots of compliments on them.

The problem though is that summer is nearly here, and it is too warm for me to be wearing cardigans, even lighter cardigans, on a day to day basis. And all my summer clothes fall under the aformentioned categories of too tight-must be showing off my belly, or too loose-must be maternity clothes.

I took to the internet to ask style advice from fashion forums, what is the best style of summer clothing that minimizes attention to the belly area, that won't make me look pregnant, and won't be too hot.

I got suggestions to go especially with long shirts, so they won't stop directly at my belly, which therefore calls attention to the area. People suggested T-shirt dresses, peplum tops, wrap shirts and dresses, and loose drapey tops.

Your Complete Guide To Diversified Investing

Dave Ramsey talks about many stages of smart money management. It starts with building up an emergency fund, paying off debt, and then building up 3-6 months of living expenses as savings, and then investing. Unfortunately we're not at the investing stage yet, but for those that are, here's a guide from a reader about how to do diversified investing.

With the health of the economy in question, more and more consumers are seeking out different alternatives to supplement their income. Some individuals have even looked to the stock market, whereas others have took on part-time jobs. Neither option is a bad one, but with the right investment strategy and know how you can make a bundle of money with half the work. Unfortunately, the only problem is that the stock market is risky and it can take years to develop the perfect strategy. Luckily, this is where diversified investment can come in handy.

What Is Diversified Investing And How Does It Work?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Crispy Salmon Skin Bibimbap Recipe- Gluten Free, Easy, and Delicious

Recently, I was cleaning out my freezer, and discovering all sorts of goodies that I had stashed away there, like the containers of cooked fish that I deboned myself from free fish bones I got at the market. And I also found lots and lots and lots of salmon skin that I got free from the market. 
I brought home the salmon skin because I know just how delectable salmon skin can be. I mean, hello, they even sell salmon skin sushi in fancy restaurants, so obviously it is good.
Anyhow, as I defrosted my salmon skin, I turned to the internet looking for ideas of what to do with it, and honestly, I came up short. Even a hunting and fishing group that I'm in, that usually has terrific ideas for what to do with such "food scraps" wasn't helpful, and they suggested using it as bait to catch something else. 
Not helpful. (They also suggested a recipe that involved first dehydrating it and then frying, but that was more work and time than I was looking for.)
But then I found this idea for crispy salmon skin rice bowls, which they called a "poor man's sushi roll" (avocado is far from what I'd call "poor man's food" especially with how much it currently costs locally), but my brain took that idea and flew immediately to bibimbap. 

Bibimbap, as I've written about before, is a Korean rice bowl filled with pretty much anything you have on hand, and why not crispy salmon skin?

The Coddling Couple - A Guide to Safely Introducing Your New Baby to the Outdoors

Image Source
As soon as your baby is born they become the most important thing in your life. Being so tiny and fragile, you vow to do everything in your power to protect them. For this reason, many parents are hesitant to initially take their newborns into the outdoors. However, by taking a few simple safety precautions, you can all enjoy what nature has to offer.

Avoid busy city streets and crowds, your baby’s immune system will take a while to develop and you don’t want them getting sick from being around highly populated areas. Instead take them to parks, reserves, national parks, and on bushwalks. It’s not natural for a baby to be cooped up inside, so rug them up, take them out and let their senses enjoy all the beauty of the great outdoors. They may just teach you to appreciate it more as well.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Video and Review of My Biolomix Blender and Dry Jar

I've written a few times already about my brand new high powered blender, the Biolomix blender that came with a dry jar, to be used as a grinder, and is much cheaper than the name brand equivalent- the Vitamix.

Many people have been skeptical about buying something like this that is from China, questioning whether you can trust the electronics, etc... So here I'll give my full 100% honest opinion of it, no holds barred. Keep in mind I make nothing from anyone buying this, no commission, didn't get this free or anything, so it's not biased at all. (While I would love to get a kickback from sales of this, Aliexpress has an affiliate program but it doesn't cover this blender, unfortunately.)
I just like to help you save money and get good deals.

So first, I want to say that it was a pleasure working with the seller; I got my order very quickly.

Secondly, I don't live in the US; my plugs and voltage of my electricity are quite different than that in the US, and I really like that Aliexpress gives you the option of choosing what type of plug to order, what voltage, etc... so I don't need to use a converter or transformer for this like I do for the rest of my heavy duty appliances, which makes using it a breeze (not to mention cheaper, because if I didn't have a transformer, I'd have to buy one if it ran on American electricity, and transformers are really expensive).

Thirdly, I like that there are many options when it comes to ordering it- you can choose the color, you can get just the blender, you can get an extra blender jar, you can get an extra blade and socket, you can get a dry jar, etc... I ordered a dry jar, which is meant to be used for grinding grains to make flour.

Determining How To Choose A Doctor

I have been very lucky when it comes to doctors for my family. At first, I used one physician who also saw kids and also saw adults, and he was very respectful of my family's less conventional health care choices (he was totally chilled out about my homebirths and even saw my infants before I could get them covered by medical insurance, without charging me for a private visit), but unfortunately he stopped working locally. Then I switched to another doctor who was also great and respectful, but he moved away. Luckily though, not long after, I switched my kids to a new doctor who is beyond amazing, friendly, caring, responsible, thorough, respectful, etc... My husband and I see another doctor who has been spot on with many diagnoses and coming up with good solutions. Fortunately, we're lucky in this sense; not everyone has as much success with doctors. Here's a post from a reader with her suggestions on how to chose a doctor for your family.

Many Angles To Consider

My Astonishingly Cheap Recent Grocery Shop

I love getting cheap groceries; I get this extreme excitement when I feel like I'm beating the system, getting groceries for so much cheaper than the standard price. I usually manage to get great prices, but sometimes the price I pay for what I get astonishes even me. This last grocery shopping trip actually was about 2 weeks ago, but I was so busy and didn't have a change to write up about it since then, but it was so amazing that I couldn't skip it and just had to share with you.
I feel like what happened on my shopping trip highlights not just that knowing certain skills about how to shop frugally, and knowing where to shop, are only part of the picture, but another useful part is becoming a regular at these cheap places, building up a relationship with the shopkeepers, which in turn allows you to get extra special deals for their steady clients.

Renting Vs. Buying: What are the Costs Associated with Both?

Having recently bought our first home, and before that, renting for about 10 years, I've had many discussions with people about whether or not it is a good investment to buy a home vs renting, and here are some points that a reader sent in, about the costs of owning vs the costs of buying. I'd add a few points to what they cover. For example, when you are renting, your landlord is responsible for taking care of any repairs, but when it is your place, if something happens, you're responsible to pay for it. Yes, hopefully you have home owner's insurance and this won't come out of your pocket, but that is an extra expense that home owners pay. Another thing is the instability of renting- you may be stuck with a hellacious landlord who doesn't pay for repairs that they are responsible to pay for, and you'll end up with the repair costs yourself, despite being a renter. Alternatively, you may be forced to move, and moving costs are quite a lot. We ended up moving in the middle of our lease because it was such a bad apartment, and ended up paying double rent for a few months. 
So far, we've only been home owners for 1.5 years, and I find home owning to be vastly preferable, not only emotionally, but also financially. But here are some other points to consider.

Given the upfront costs associated with buying your own home, millennials prefer to rent. However, as they build their careers, start families, and save; most of them are choosing to buy homes. People who are nearing retirement are also choosing to sell their homes and rent or downsize to smaller homes.

Here are the costs of buying and renting that will help you to make your choice:

Monday, April 9, 2018

Swiss Chard and Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe- Paleo, Vegan, and Easy

While, in the past, I've posted very complex recipes that take many steps, my life more recently has become more busy and I've been turning more and more to quick, easy, and delicious recipes. Fortunately, people have shown an interest in these simple but yummy recipes, so even though the part of me that likes to make fancy and impressive dishes is sometimes loathe to share such "easy" and "basic" things, here's a recipe that has been requested by readers- Swiss chard and strawberry salad with balsamic vinaigrette. 

While it's written as Swiss chard and strawberry salad, this recipe is so incredibly versatile and I just use this as a base. In the past I've shared my formula for making the perfect salad from just about anything, and this recipe is based on that. It has the leafy chewy texture from the Swiss chard, has sweet and sour and a soft texture from strawberries, the crunch from the nuts and from the Swiss chard stems, etc... 

Based on that formula for making salads, you can see that you can just as easily replace the strawberries in this recipe with other fruit and it'll still come out amazingly. 

Recently I've been making this with pomegranate arils instead of strawberries; it works terrifically with mangos and peaches and apricots, clementine segments, etc... Essentially whatever sweet (and sour but not essential) fruit you have in season can replace the strawberries here, preferably if it's a soft fruit. 

Similarly, the Swiss chard (honestly, I don't even use real Swiss chard in mine; I use sea beet, the foraged wild ancestor) can be replaced with a variety of non bitter salad greens, such as spinach, lettuce, beet leaves, chickweed, lambsquarters, milk thistle (with the thorns removed), etc...
And while I used sliced almonds in mine most of the time, that's simply what I purchased on sale and have a lot of. You can use pecans or walnuts in yours, or sunflower seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, etc... or even leave it out entirely- it'll just be without that extra crunch element that I find makes a salad great. However, if you include red onion slices, that'll also add that crunchy element, so the nuts may be superfluous.

If you want to make this suitable for the auto-immune paleo diet, simply leave out the nuts/seeds and the black pepper and you're good to go.

Swiss Chard and Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe- Paleo, Vegan, and Easy

How to Keep Your Recipes Organized

Recipes... its what I'm known for. And I'm also the queen of disorganization when it comes to recipes, and that is with my recipes being posted here on this blog. You have no idea how often I am looking for recipe suggestions, and friends suggest certain dishes to me, and when I ask them for the recipe, they remind me that I have that recipe posted on my blog. Ridiculous, I know, right? I've gotta use these suggestions given to me by a reader to learn to keep my recipes organized!

When you’re a penniless parent, you watch the pennies with everything. This is no less true with cooking where you look for delicious recipes that can be reproduced to affordably feed the whole family.
If you’re good at finding new recipes or creating them yourself, then you’ll quickly have trouble keeping up with where all your recipes are stored. There’s also the risk of losing them. It’s a good idea to both protect them and keep them organized so they’re easy to sort through to find what you’re looking for.
Here are some ideas about how to keep your recipes better organized and safe.

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