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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Give Your Bathroom a Facelift on a Budget

I am really excited to share this post with you. Fortunately, living in a brand new house, our bathroom is quite beautiful (if I may say so myself), and hopefully soon I plan on sharing pics with you. But I know what it's like to live in an older home especially with a bathroom that is far from ideal, so this post filled with lots of affordable ways to give your bathroom a makeover, from the most basic to the more extreme, depending on your skills level and budget. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Have you been through this motion? However often you clean your bathroom, it always seems just a bit too tired and never quite shines as you would want it to? Maybe it is time to remodel it. Companies such as Plumbing Plus of San Diego offer a wide variety of choices. However, remodeling can be a costly endeavor and not everyone can afford it. Yet, there might be an easier, more affordable solution. Give your bathroom a facelift where it counts. This article contains several ideas for refreshing your bathroom without much investment.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Authenticity and its Pitfalls


Some of you might have wondered about my post last month, and about the relatively infrequent posting on my blog since then...

I'm authentic on this blog when it comes to sharing my lifestyle choices with you, even lifestyle choices that may be very different from the norm. This is an extreme frugality blog, and I do other extreme things, so yes, I'm daring to be authentic here...

But I get pushback. Sometimes I get criticism, and that I can usually take, because I'm confident enough in what we do and that our lifestyle is the right one for our family. But sometimes I get such cruel responses, attacking me and my character and my morals and everything else I hold dear... and that's when it makes me do a double take and question sharing so much.

I was reading a book by Brene Brown (awesome speaker, writer, etc... look her up on Youtube to see her Ted talks if you haven't yet) called "The Gifts of Imperfection; Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" and came across this segment that spoke to me so much, you have no idea, especially as it relates to this blog, and inspired me to keep on being me and authentic, despite the kickback I inevitably will get. Because that is the price for connecting, and I've connected to so many of you readers via this blog, and I wouldn't want to give that up for the world.

And now here's what Brene said.

Friday, July 14, 2017

BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee and Garlic Recipe- Inspired by Trader Joe's

My sister in law visited from the United States, and brought me along some gifts that I really appreciated- some spice mixes from Trader Joe's. One of them was this delicious coffee and garlic spice rub that I loved to put on nearly everything, though baked chicken was my favorite... but as with these types of things, I eventually ran out of it...
I decided to try to mimic the recipe, and reading the back gave me a good idea of what was in it. However, I found this link to a copy cat recipe for it, and then modified it to use what I had in the house. I left out the orange/clementine peel, but you know what? I think it's just fine without it. Can I say it tastes exactly the same? I don't know, but it's great, and my kids just wanted to sit there eating the spice mix plain, its that good.
Feel free to use this spice mix on pretty much anything you want, such as roasted veggies, chicken, fish, beef, etc... It doesn't need to be barbecued- just baked is fine, or even sprinkled onto your food right before eating.
This is a vegan and gluten free recipe, and depending on how you make it, it can also be paleo (if you use coconut sugar).

BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee and Garlic Recipe- Inspired by Trader Joe's

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Foraging Wild Edibles in Poland- With Lots of Pictures!

Having never stepped foot in Poland before, I assumed that going there, I might recognize one or two different edible plants, and maybe do a drop of foraging. I was not expecting to recognize most of the plants there, with them being things I regularly forage locally, or plants I'm familiar with even if I didn't forage them myself.

Here's just some of the many, many, many edible plants I saw in Poland. I saw the vast majority of them the the first day in Poland, in the Jastkow village in the countryside outside Lublin, but saw very many wild edibles in the city of Lublin, proper, as well as in Warsaw.

When I first was being driven from the airport to the rural airbnb where I was staying at, at around 3 in the morning, I saw these giant leaves growing all along the sides of the country road. I couldn't identify them 100% because it was dark and the speed in which we were driving, but I saw that it was absolutely the most common plant I could find in the countryside. I suspected it was a type of dock/sorrel/rumex species, but decided to check it out better in the morning.

When I had a chance to walk and bike through the country side, I took a better look at this plant and saw that it was not dock, but rather horseradish!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Poland Trip- Day One, Sorta

It is currently 3:15 am Polish time, and I'm tired. I just decided that I want to write a blog post every day of my trip (or nearly) so I'll keep this short and head straight to bed, so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow for my bike trip through the country side.

This morning I wrote a menu for the family for while I'm gone, all easy to make foods, and then finished packing the last of my stuff and headed out the door. I specifically went to a change place in town instead of converting money in Poland or at the airport to get better rates. 

After that, I headed to the airport bus that goes straight from the city center to the departure terminal. It was very cheap, only $4.50.

I got to the airport really, really early. I mean super early. As in instead of getting to the airport 3 hours before my flight as they recommend, I arrived 6 hours early... Ok, plenty of time to relax and get things done (pick up my travel health insurance card, my sim card, etc...), but the flight ended up being delayed by 2 hours, so turns out I arrived to the airport 8 hours before my flight took off!

Once I finally got onto the plane, I was pleasantly surprised to see that despite my paying only 47 dollars round trip for my flight, the airplane was decent. It was a Boeing 737, I specifically asked as my son Lee is obsessed with airplanes.


The flight was decent. I talked with some of the people on the plane, made a few friends, including some that want me to stay in touch.


I took this picture of the plane so that Lee, who will be reading this blog post to follow along with my travels, can see what the airplane looked like.


Passport control was literally a cinch. Someone on the plane from Belarus, neighboring Poland, was telling me how much his visa cost, and I was wondering how much I'd have to pay for mine. 
Nothing.
They literally looked at my passport, didn't say a word to me, just scanned it and stamped it and that's it.

The arrivals hall was not what I expected. I don't know what I expected, but not this. Then again, after 2 am so....


Interesting and amusing and comforting and weird to see those rental car services I'm familiar with from the US, Avis and Hertz, in Lublin too...


One thing I've noticed so far- Poland has lots and lots and lots of doors. Every hallway has a door at the beginning and end of it. I was told by my airbnb host that it is to keep out the cold. But it's just weird to see so many doors...

Pleasantly surprised to see this nursing room in the airport right near the bathrooms.

My airbnb host picked me up from the airport- even nicer as it was at 2:30 am, and brought me to the place.

The room where I'm staying for $13 a night is large, comfortable, etc... even if its not necessarily my style decor. 


In the morning I'll explore more.


The bathroom is gorgeous but no pic of it yet...

So far spent today on this trip?  $4.50 on the airport bus, $23.14 on my airfare, $45 on my cell phone service plan, $13 on my airbnb, $11.34 towards my host for the ride from the airport, and $4 for orange juice and vodka as a treat for myself on the flight. $100.98 so far. I plan on keeping a running tally for the duration of the trip.

 And now, time for bed.

Gnite!

Hopefully will update tomorrow... (Or rather... today.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Getting Ready for My Trip

Sorry I haven't been so talkative lately, still trying to figure out certain things about this blog... but in addition to that, I've been pretty busy lately doing all sorts of stuff, including teaching various foraging and shopping classes around and more importantly, getting ready for my trip!

I leave tomorrow for Lublin, Poland, and I'm really excited. My itinerary changed from what I'd originally planned- instead of just staying in the Lublin area, I'm taking a double decker bus to Warsaw where I'll be spending two days, before coming back to Lublin by train. I already found out details about the public transportation and purchased tickets.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Importance of Taking Care of You, and My Latest Frugal Shop


I remember one time I took my kids out for ice cream, and someone tsked me for it, saying "Aren't you supposed to be frugal?" When I think about misconceptions regarding frugality, that is always the first story that comes to mind. Many assume that to be truly frugal, it means never spending money on anything that isn't absolutely necessary. But here's the thing- I don't believe in that kind of frugality. In fact, I am loathe to even call it frugality, because my definition of frugality is far different. It's living within your means, not spending more than necessarily on things (getting the best deals you can on them, if possible), and cutting back on things not important to you so that you have the money to spend on things that are.

There's a lot of discussion about wants vs needs when it comes to frugality, and where money should be spent, but I think its fallacious to ignore the fact that wants can be emotional needs, and we can't dismiss our mental health state, and how being in a good place mentally is not only very important, but also gives you the headspace to be more frugal, or make more money (or both).

A friend of mine recently bumped into me on the street and was saying that she feels guilty when she sees me because she is spending a lot more than I am on many things, and she had an expense that she was pushing off because it wasn't frugal, and because of that, was increasing the stress load in her life tremendously every single day. I reassured this friend that she didn't need to feel bad about spending the money, even a large amount of money, on something that would significantly affect her life for the positive- frugality is not stinginess, and there's no point in being frugal if you don't use the money you save to improve your quality of life. (That is a big part of my thought process behind why I'm spending money- frugally, but still spending money- on a vacation abroad next week that I feel is necessary for my mental health and to improve my qualify of life.)

Frugal dating: how to have a perfect date almost without money

My husband and I have been making an effort to go on more dates lately, and not just the twice a year type thing that we'd been doing until now. The thing is regular dates can be expensive and if you're trying to regularly go on dates, either the price tag can get pretty hefty, or you might decide to push off the dates because of the cost. If you can date without spending much money if at all, you'll hopefully get the benefits without the drawbacks. A friend from Planetofbrides.com kindly shared with me some interesting ideas about frugal dating for everyone. These scenarios are suitable for first dates, anniversaries, and for married couples that look for ways of brighten their everyday life.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I'm still here

For those of you wondering why I haven't posted anything in the past while... I'm still here. I just have been doing a lot of thinking. As a result of various things going on in my life, thinking about how I run this blog and why, and if I plan on making any changes to it for the future. I don't have an answer yet and hopefully will go back to my regular scheduled programming soon, I just can't tell you exactly how soon.
Thanks for your patience.
-Penny

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Planning an Exciting and Frugal Vacation Abroad

Destination: Lublin. Photo credit Lukaszprzy
I recently learned about a site called SkyScanner.com, which allows you to find cheap flights around the world. Unlike many price comparison websites where you need to put in a specific location and specific dates, SkyScanner lets you put in your departure location, and then from there on, it's flexible. You can pick a specific location or choose "Everywhere". You can choose specific dates, or you can ask it to show you the cheapest dates.
So of course I plugged in my location, and since I didn't have a specific location in mind, or a specific date, I just left those open... and found something that astounded me. Flights from my closest airport to Lublin, Poland, for 23 dollars each way. Yes. That is including taxes and fees and all that. Its a no frills airline, and it is only on specific dates, but I said that that is too amazing of a deal to pass up.
So I booked it.

From July 5-July 10 I will be on vacation in and around the general Lublin, Poland area.

Dom mansjonarski w Lublinie (2009-06-12)

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