Saturday, March 16, 2019

Does Couples Therapy Always Work? Should It?

If I had a dollar for every problematic thing people said to me once I announced that I was getting divorced... I'd be richer than I am today. People are so full of opinions about whether or not I should get divorced, even without knowing any details about our relationship or the reasons for divorce. I've even had people attempt to "stage an intervention" to try to tell me that divorce is the wrong answer and I'll regret it forever if I divorce.
But some people are less forceful, but just still inappropriately express concern about the state of affairs, asking me if I tried going to couples' counseling, and when I told them we did, but it didn't work, nearly always, the follow up question is "Was he abusive?"

So I want to talk a little bit about that.

Not about Michael and myself, because frankly, that's no one's business but our own, but the general concept of abuse.

3 Frugal Ways to Protect Your Family from Household Pests

Nothing quite as gross and alarming as seeing your home, your safe haven, being infested by a variety of pests. Here's some ideas from a reader on how to prevent them.

Having a pest problem at home? Let’s face it, pests are more than a nuisance, they can also spread disease and put the health of your family at risk. The first thing that comes to mind when you encounter pests is to rush to a nearby departmental store and grab commercial poison and traps. But these things can easily cost a fortune.

If you’re on a budget, go the DIY way. DIY traps and poison are the best way to rid of household pests next to hiring a pest control company. Here are some very affordable ways you can deal with a pest problem at home.

Clean up to Prevent

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Restaurant Style Chicken Chop Suey with Bok Choy and Mushrooms Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Easy

I have had a really emotionally rough and draining past few days, and today I just felt like what I needed was some Chinese food takeout. Self care is important to me, and with such a strong desire for it, I would have gone to get some, only I was already running late and didn't have time to stop off someplace that had Chinese food takeout.
Since I anyhow was going to the grocery store, I decided that I'd make myself a homemade version of Chinese food takeout, and picked out some ingredients for it. I had this idea that it would be with mushrooms, bok choy, and chicken, without such a strongly flavored sauce, and was thinking maybe along the lines of moo goo gai pan. In the end I decided on chop suey, and found this recipe using exactly those ingredients.
I played around with the ingredients and came up with this yummy supper that, overall, didn't take too much time to make start to finish, and filled that Chinese food craving for a fraction of the cost of store bought, an added bonus.

While it seems like it is complicated and hard because of the multiple steps, it really isn't difficult at all.

I may play around with this recipe in the future, perhaps adding a touch of sweetener to this, but it certainly hits the spot as is.

This is totally a loose guideline and if you have other veggies you like to use in stir fry, you can play around and switch out the veggies for whatever it is you like, as long as you keep the other ingredients the same.

Oh, and did I mention this is gluten free, easily can be Paleo, and is allergy friendly? Totally a keeper.

Restaurant Style Chicken Chop Suey with Bok Choy and Mushrooms Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Easy

How to Find Legal Help When You Can't Afford a Lawyer

Going through divorce, I am lucky to have a lawyer through legal aid that is really wonderful, but I know how expensive lawyers can be. Here's some ideas from a reader on what to do if you can't a lawyer.

Lamentably, there are times in life when things don’t go according to plan. Many times that involves lawsuits. It’s inadvisable to take on legal business without a lawyer. What do you implement when faced with constitutional action? What if you don’t have the ability to afford a lawyer to accept your case and adequately represent you? It may be you can afford an attorney, but the lawsuit is for such a nominal amount of money, it doesn’t make economic sense to hire a lawyer. What options do you have that can solve your problem?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Self Care Via Swimming

I posted this on my Facebook wall, and everyone there loved it, and told me I should share it further, and put it on my blog. So here it is. This is the definition of self care for me.

I learned to swim from when I was very young, breezing through the various levels of the American Red Cross swimming lessons. By age 12 I'd passed all the levels, and looking for something else to do while my siblings took lessons, I joined the pools synchronized swim team. I loved it so much; while I did ballet on land, my body felt big and clunky on the stage, but in synchronized swimming, water ballet, no one would tell me that my body is the wrong shape or I wasn't flexible enough. I was like this little water nymph, feeling right at home in the depths.

The Right Tools Can Help You Make Money Online

Want to earn some extra cash? You can do so online, providing you have the right tools. Here's how. with some tips from a reader


Do you have a small business, or do you work from home? Have you ever thought about trying to make money online? According to the New York Times, some 43 percent of people in the United States work remotely at least sometimes — and that trend is only growing.

While there are many reasons why “home offices” are on the rise, one contributing factor is that working online is just easier now than ever before. Whether you want to work for yourself, sell goods, or work remotely, you need to have the right tools to make it happen.

Here are some of the tools that make it easier for people to make money online.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Versatile Fruit Blitz Cake Recipe: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Refined Sugar Free Options

Versatile fruit blitz cake made with gluten free flour mix, apples and pears, flax seed egg replacement, and sweetened with date syrup
For this recipe, I'll have to credit my bestie, Michelle, who originally got it from a cookbook by author Marci Goldman. However, the original recipe, called "Cherry Blitz Cake", because it is a cake that can be made in a cinch, has been changed so much, first by Michelle, and then by me, that it barely is similar to the original cake.

So first of all, while the original cake is cherry cake, this cake can be made with whatever fruit you like that cooks well. The ones I make most are with apples and pears, but consider using any of the following: apples, cherries, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, etc. This is a great recipe to use up soft fruit/fruit that are on their last legs. I don't bother peeling my fruit for this, no need.

Second of all, the original recipe is with white flour, but based on lots of experimentation, it works just as well with spelt flour, whole wheat flour, gluten free flour mix, whatever floats your boat.
Third, while the original called for white sugar, this also works with liquid sweeteners like honey, date syrup, jaggery syrup, in addition to other granulated sweeteners like coconut sugar, brown sugar, etc... Even if you're afraid that they'll make it too liquidy, it won't. Even if the batter seems like it'll never get thick, it will. Feel free to use whatever sweetener you prefer to use, without adjusting the flour or other liquid amounts at all.

Fourth, while the original recipe calls for orange juice, you can use any juice for this or even water.
Fifth change is making it vegan. You'd think that a recipe that calls for four eggs wouldn't easily be converted to egg free, but this works with flax seed egg replacement as well!
Lastly, there's a specific order you're supposed to put in the fruit and the batter but I don't bother with that!

This cake is just super awesome, and everyone who eats it enjoys it. It is a moist cake, and you can make it in a bundt pan, loaf pans, 9x13, cupcake tin, etc. My son, who eats gluten, told me that this was the best gluten free cake I ever made.

So with all that preamble, here's the recipe!

Versatile Fruit Blitz Cake Recipe: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Refined Sugar Free Options

Friday, March 8, 2019

Making Cash With Apps & The Internet

Looking for some ways to make some extra cash? Here's a post by a reader with a bunch of different suggestions of platforms where you can sell your items over the internet.

Pretty often we use apps and the internet just to buy things. Pop-up offers with 10% drag us into making a commitment we weren’t sure that we wanted. Or that sneaky email that follows up and lets you know the items are still in your basket, 24 hours after the items have disappeared from your thoughts.


But the flip side of that is that it has probably never been easier to sell your own stuff either. Apparently, we all have around 4 thousand (whatever your local currency is) of things in our homes that we just don’t use. Not to mention those of us with the skill to make, create and design. If you’re in the market to buy a car rather than sell, then consider visiting Car-Buying-Strategies.com for the best tips.

According to some of those big online retailers, people spent around $453 billion online in 2017, and that is meant to rise year on year. In fact that $453 billion was a 16% rise from the year before. Interested in reports then here you go - Amazon Report / eBay Report.

Mobile apps have been a key player in the massive increase in the speed at which people shop and the amount they spend. Websites being hooked up to the one-touch PayPal or Apple pay, make transactions quick. Maybe a little too quickly for the consumer, but not for the companies they are buying from. Impulse purchases at 3 am are more prevalent than ever.

Which is good news for you, actually, if you are going to start selling things online.

It makes sense for you to look at the rough capabilities of the websites and what it is going to cost you to sell things. After all, selling on any of the platforms is going to see them skim the cream off the top.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Marriage Therapy is Cheaper Than Divorce?

Apologies in advance for what is going to be an emotional post. To be honest, I'm already tearing up writing these first few lines, can't wait to see what will happen by the end.

As someone whose marriage was on the rocks for years (but tried my best to cover it up or make it work), and also had really tight financial situations most of the time, I can't tell you how many times I've heard people use the phrase "invest in your marriage because it's cheaper than divorce" in various permutations. Either they're talking about spending money on date nights, or when I told them that the messiness of my house was a big source of tension between us and they told me to pay for cleaning help, they'd talk about how it's a worthwhile investment, because "its cheaper than divorce". Or when talking about how expensive marriage counseling is, being told that it's worth it, because its "cheaper than divorce".

I mean, people really mean well when they say such things.

There is definitely a point to that.

Marriages are hard work. And just giving up on a marriage, when there are things you could do to save it, because finances are getting in the way, isn't necessarily the right decision. It is worth trying to save a marriage instead of letting finances be the reason you give up, because people are right, divorce is expensive.

I've also heard people say things like "getting cleaning help is cheaper than therapy" or "self care is cheaper than therapy" when justifying why they are spending on something as "extraneous" as that.

But you know what my problem is with those phrases?

How to Be Money Smart in 2019

A few months into the new year, and hopefully if you had finance related resolutions, hopefully you've managed to stick to them. If not, here's some more ideas from a reader how you can be money smart this year; its never too late to implement.

The cost of living is on the rise and, for many people, this means money is tight. Regardless of your financial situation, having more money in the bank (and your pocket) is never a bad thing. A new year is always a great time to make some changes, so why not create goals which will positively impact your budget? Here are a few simple ways to be money smart this year.

Save Your Spare Change

Being mindful of your spending is the first step to making financial changes. Those little things add up, and $5 here and there for a coffee doesn't sound like much, but do this 10 times a week and there goes $50. If you get yourself a KeepCup and make your own coffee, the money can stay in your account and earn interest. Other ways to save your spare change could include taking a packed lunch, buying second-hand goods, swapping processed drinks with water and making the most of genuine specials. Even something as simple as stretching your hair appointment from 4 weeks to 6 will save you money over the course of a year.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Paleo Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe; Easy, Gluten Free, and Delicious Thai Hot and Sour Soup (Vegan Option)

One of my favorite things to do is recreate foods that I've eaten at a restaurant at home and in a way that is suitable to my diet (gluten free, egg free, etc). So far I've done it with Chinese restaurant food: pineapple chicken, corn soup, sesame chicken, moo goo gai pan, Middle Eastern: shawarma, falafel, Italian: three cheese sauce, pizza, and Thai: curried noodles with chicken, corn soup and lots more. Now I'm adding to the list of Thai restaurant foods with this addition to my repertoire of Tom Kha Gai soup. I've eaten it a few times in restaurants and it is delicious, but the last time I tried ordering it in a restaurant it contained gluten, which left me disappointed and therefore I recreated it at home stupendously, which leaves me very excited.

Tom kha gai literally means chicken galangal soup, galangal being a relative of ginger with a similar taste. Though less authentic, you can make this soup with ginger, as I did, and it'll still taste great. I actually did a few things that weren't so authentic for this recipe, using coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce instead of fish sauce, and using lemon juice in place of lime juice, plus leaving out the kafir lime leaves.

This recipe is actually not from one specific place, but after reading so many different recipe posts, as well as what makes this different from tom yum soup (tom yum has no coconut, among others), I came up with this recipe that is pretty awesome. I don't know if it tastes exactly identical to the stuff in the restaurants, but its pretty close and, honestly, relatively easy to make. I've seen some recipes that call for the addition of Thai basil and cilantro to the recipe, but I didn't have Thai basil, and couldn't even find my dried regular basil to add to the recipe and it was amazing without it. If you have and want to add, feel free, though, as I mentioned, it isn't necessary.

The way I made this recipe is completely paleo, other than the rice noodles, which you can leave out; it is wonderful without them too. While I used the specific vegetables mentioned below, feel free to add whatever vegetables you like at the end, such as cabbage or snow peas or bok choy, or even leave them out. This recipe is versatile; play with it as you like.

You can even make this vegan if you use vegan consomme instead of the chicken broth. I'm sure it'll also work great with vegetable broth but I haven't tried that yet.

Paleo Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe; Easy, Gluten Free, and Delicious Thai Hot and Sour Soup

Why it’s important to keep on top of your credit report

I live in a country that doesn't have credit scores, but I know how important a good credit score is for people who live in countries with such a system. Here's a post from a reader on why you keep on top of your credit score.

Credit reports are a lot more than what they appear to be. It is not all about making sure that we can get credit if we need it. For others, it’s about making sure that we pay our payments on time and we hold a clean record. So it is important to view your credit card reports.

But did you know, that lenders view your credit report, should you want services in the future? If you have a house mortgage or if you decide to change your gas and electricity supplier and in some circumstances,even when applying for a job, your credit report tells a lot about you.

Your credit report, is not about a simple yes or no answer. Over time it has moved away from this simple process and nowadays it looks at your rate of risk. The report tells financial institutions, if you can borrow, and how much money you can have.

So why is it important to keep on top of your credit report?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Super Easy Vegan Babka Recipe

For those of you who've never had it, babka is a delicious Eastern European Jewish yeast risen cake that is filled with various, traditionally, either cinnamon or chocolate, and then twisted together to make a delicious dessert. If you've never had babka before, think of a fluffy cinnamon bun, except its made into a giant loaf. And sometimes its with chocolate filling instead of cinnamon. Sounds delicious, right?

If you look up babka recipes, though, the long and involved recipe and ingredient process is enough to turn off anyone, especially someone who's never had it before and isn't sure if its worth the effort. And they're heavy on the butter and eggs and dairy, so less frugal and also not vegan or good for people with allergies.

Fortunately, thanks to some advice from friends, I've learned that you can make babka super easily, and it can take as little as only two "ingredients".

The recipe is quite flexible, and even the technique is pretty flexible. No, this recipe is not gluten free. It is vegan though and frugal, and a hit. I made this for my son, Lee, when he wanted a treat, as well as for a recipient of a Secret Santa game we're playing in our community.
I do have a gluten free vegan babka recipe to share with you, but that'll have to be for another day.

Here's how you do it.

Super Easy Vegan Babka Recipe

5 Essential Tips to Keep In Mind While Pregnant

Pregnancy isn't easy! While I'm not pregnant now, I had four pregnancies, each very difficult. Here's some tips from a reader how to be more healthy and comfortable during your pregnancies.

So you have a bun in the oven? Congratulations! Concern and emotions are bound to flow your way at this exciting time. It will seem like you cannot get away from smiles and well-meaning advice from every relative, friend, and even strangers. The world is full of information on every subject. It is normal (especially if you are a first-time mother) to feel overwhelmed and confused by the never-ending bits of information coming from every corner.

A healthy mom is important during pregnancy since she will bring to term a healthy baby. Proper nutrition, adequate exercise regimen, enough rest and sleep are all geared towards pregnancy. Having less stress on your life and environment, plus support from your loved ones are important things, for you to aspire to have at this time of high expectation. Here are five conventional wisdom for a healthy and mostly bearable time during pregnancy.

Friday, February 22, 2019

A Bedtime Solution For My Kids That Actually Works!

To say I've been having sleep issues with my kids since day 1 is an understatement. When my oldest was over a year old he was waking up every 45 minutes and would only fall back asleep while nursing, the entire night long. I was at my wit's end which convinced me to sleep train him, even though it went against everything I believed as a mom at the time. From that point, the sleep issues changed over time, but not once did I have an easy time with bed time.

The latest, though, hasn't been easy. Especially with my topsy-turvy schedule due to divorce related things and work, the kids have not been going to sleep consistently and easily, and they fight me about it. Bedtime with the kids constantly was involving fights with the kids, with them refusing to go to bed, and then once in bed them insisting on me lying down with them, them not falling asleep often for hours, fighting with each other, hurting me, etc.
Every night bed time has been a battle. And has been for years. And since the kids fought so hard against going to sleep, I often wasn't finished taking care of the kids until well past 10 pm and often closer to 11 at night as well.
Yes, it was hell. It meant that I didn't get enough down time. I didn't get enough alone time. And it meant that I needed to stay up later than I should to do any unwinding, which made me too tired. And my stress load was increased tremendously because of it. There was a cascading effect.

I've been taking my kids to therapy since the divorce process intensified, and in addition to seeing the kids regularly, the therapist is also meeting with me to help me improve things with them from my end, and one thing she said she'd help me with was bed time.

I didn't really believe the therapist would be able to help me. I'd tried so many things throughout the years. Sticker charts. Bribery. Getting angry. Threats. Ignoring. Bed time routines. Nothing seemed to help and I felt pretty helpless.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

8 Foolproof Party Ideas For Surprising Your Teenager

My kids love birthday parties, but we haven't reached the teenage stage yet. Here's some ideas from a reader to make your teen the most awesome birthday party ever.

There is no doubt that teenagers are some of the pickiest people in the world. Unfortunately, as much as you love them, planning a successful surprise party has never been easy. Whether you are celebrating a special achievement or surprising them for their birthday, there can sometimes be stressful obstacles along the way. Yet, this doesn’t mean it has to be impossible. In fact, everything can be organized perfectly and easily when you bear in mind some fool proof party ideas. These are guaranteed to put a smile on every teenager’s face.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

My DIY and Frugal Tiny Romantic Bedroom

In honor of Valentines day, I wanted to share a post that I planned on sharing with you for a while already, but never got around to it because it was still a work in progress. But now, finally, with Valentines day looming, I got the push to get what I needed to get done (as much as I could anyhow) so I could share it with you today. Though we are in the process of getting divorced, I still don't think it diminishes from the fact that my bedroom is a romantic bedroom, even if there isn't currently romance happening there.

In our old apartment, our bedroom was the storage room for nearly the entire house. There was no storage space in my house, nor space period, so things were piled up higher and higher in our room and everywhere. Instead of my bedroom being a peaceful enjoyable place to be in, it was the room in my house I least liked, and I avoided being in it whenever possible.

Once we planned to move to our new house, I said that I'd make my bedroom a wonderful room, a room that is enjoyable to be in, my little haven. In addition to that, since Mike hated going away, I never really got to go on these romantic vacations to these honeymoon type suites that I'd seen in advertisements. I decided that it would be cheaper, and nicer, to just design my bedroom as if it were one of those romantic getaways, so I wouldn't need to "get away" to have that nice time, but have it in my day to day life. That way every day could be a romantic stay-cation.

The thing is, I had two very big issues to contend with.


We were on quite a tight budget for this.

And space.

The master bedroom in our house is literally the smallest room we have.

It is 85 square feet total.

I tried to figure out how to make this teeny space my dream bedroom, my haven, my romantic spot, a place where I'd want to spend time, and made me feel happy and smile and have nice dreams.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Decluttering And Packing Up His Stuff

I mentioned a few months ago that Mike and I were in the process of getting divorced.

It's really been a huge upheaval in my life for more reasons than one, to put it lightly.

Mike moved out a few months ago, but didn't take more than the bare minimum with him, since his living conditions were still temporary.

While my current home is nearly twice the size of my last one, it is still quite small for our family of five (about 900 square feet) and therefore can get quite packed and cramped relatively quickly.

A friend came over the other day to try to help me out, and she suggested that we pack up Mike's things and declutter and organize my bedroom. This was a really good suggestion, because my room is the smallest room in the house, and having an extra person's belongings in it just made it harder to live in. Additionally, my friend pointed out that packing up his things and moving them out of my bedroom would make me feel freer emotionally, without having all that excess mental baggage in my life and in my personal space.

She was right.

We spent an afternoon packing and packing and decluttering and reorganizing and it feels so good.

While doing that, I also decluttered my things, removing clothes and other things that I no longer use, and put them in a bag to give away.

And when that was done, I reorganized the kitchen, taking out all the mountain of cleaning supplies Mike had purchased from under the sink, none of which I use (I'm a dish soap, baking soda, toilet cleaner, and floor soap kind of girl). I asked him if he wanted them, and he said he didn't, so I gave them all away to people in my community via a local giveaway group. And then I reorganized under the sink so I could store my towels there, as well as cleaning supplies that I do use.

I would love to say that my head feels so much freer with out all these stuff in my space, but unfortunately that isn't the case. I still have all of Mike's things packed up waiting to be picked up either by his brother or family members or by moving professionals. In the meantime, until that happens, my storage space is filled to the brim with all those things.

But even though they aren't out of my house, getting those things out of my living space definitely felt like a nice positive step in the right direction, in helping me get closure, or at least as much closure as I can get while still going through the divorce process.

It was quite an emotional experience, I must say, and it did put me in a funk afterwards. I was warned by my friends that it could happen, and it did. So if you are going through something similar, be kind to yourself and understand that packing up the possessions of a former loved one of yours can stir up lots of emotions, and give yourself time to feel.

There still are even more of his things in the house that I'll need to pack up still, but this was the big bulk of it, and I'm glad I got it done.

My Visit to the Book Stop for Free Books

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies.

There really is nothing like a good book. In my opinion anyhow.

One of the things that I miss most about living in the States is that locally we don't have a good public library system. Some parts of the country have better than others, but where I live there is just a small public library, with no options of reserving books, no card catalog, and of course no concept of interlibrary loans. On top of that, because I don't live in an English speaking country, most of the books in the library are in the local language, and there's maybe a bookcase or two of English books at our library. The likelihood of you actually finding a book that you're looking for at the library is slim to none.

To say that I miss our libraries growing up is an understatement.

How to Make Your Princess Look Amazing as a Flower Girl Without Breaking the Bank

As one of the first in both my family and Mike's family to have kids, my children were both flower girls and ring bearers at our siblings' weddings. Here's some tips from a reader on how to keep down the cost while not detracting from this special day.

Flower girls and ring-bearers are the cutest little munchkins that add sweetness to the uber-romantic event of a wedding. It is a little girl's ultimate chance to get enjoy all the limelight, attention and feel like her favorite princess character from a Disney movie or a fairy tale. So many girls love getting dressed up in beautiful clothing, and being a flower girl is quite a wonderful experience for them.

As a parent, however, it can add a lot of stress to your life, figuring out how to dress and accessorize your little girl. However, don't this stress, including the financial stress, have you turn down the opportunity. Although people will tell you flower girl dresses cost a fortune, you can easily get your daughter dressed as a beautiful flower girl without breaking the bank.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Gluten Free Pancit Bihon Recipe -- Filipino Rice Noodle Stir Fry

My friend Juli, of cooking blog Pandemonium Noshery, who previously shared her recipe for curried carrot soup with us, taught me about this dish called pancit bihon. I was lucky enough that I got to have her make it for me one time when she visited my house, and it was very tasty. As Juli writes, it is quite versatile and easy, which meant that when I was looking through my fridge today for ideas of what to make, and I saw some red peppers on their last legs, and zucchini that had seen better days, I knew I could use them to make this dish, along with some sea beet I picked from my yard. It was terrific!
To me, this seems very much like gluten free lo mein, to be honest. But I like the fact that this is meant to be made with rice noodles, so this is the authentic Filipino recipe when made this way, and not a "mock up".
I personally liked this better with a bit of hot pepper flakes added to my dish.

This is one of my favorite dinners to make. It's super fast and it tastes delicious. It's also cheap and flexible, all the makings of a great recipe. The vegetables are whatever you wants, or happen to have around. Make sure that harder vegetables like carrots are cut in to thinner pieces so they cook the same.
I like to make this with leftover meat, usually a roasted chicken or for this particular picture leftover turkey, which is also a great way to use up leftover turkey. However, if you want to you can saute sliced raw meat after you cook the onions but before you add the veggies just as easily. You can also leave out the meat and add vegan proteins or skip that to keep this dish vegan.
If you have leftover cooked veggies those can be thrown in too at the end so they don't overcook. I've thrown in leftover cooked peas and carrots and it worked beautifully.

Gluten Free Pancit Bihon Recipe -- Filipino Rice Noodle Stir Fry

7 Ways Being Treated for Alcohol Addiction Makes You a Better Parent

7 Ways Being Treated for Alcohol Addiction Makes You a Better Parent

I enjoy an alcoholic drink now and then. But for some people, alcohol is a problem, something that they are addicted to, and it wrecks your life. Here's some thoughts from a reader on why it is imperative to get treated for your alcohol addiction especially when you're a parent.

Dealing with an alcohol addiction can be tough to overcome. Being an alcoholic for several years and constantly going after it without hesitation can stop you from living your best possible life. Being young and drinking often is usually not a big deal because there aren't children to watch over and take care of when you go home intoxicated. The main problem is when you do have a family to watch over and you need to make sure you are there for them.

Being treated for your addiction means you will be a better parent, and you need to make wise choices so that you can break this habit of yours.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Easy Terrific Gluten Free Vegan Pizza Recipe

I made pizza with my kids a few times recently, and my kids have loved the recipe I've been using. Today when we went to make pizza, I decided to have Ike practice reading the recipe I was using, and he noted, as we went through the recipe, that I wasn't actually following the recipe I had written. "You should rewrite the recipe the way you actually make it, so that other people can also have this pizza recipe, since it's the most delicious recipe" he told me.

And so, here it is.

It's not that different from the original. But it's cheaper. And easier. And its egg free, so it is allergy friendly and works as a good gluten free and vegan pizza crust.

Highly recommended.

And quite easy.

P.S. A few times recently I bought gluten free pizza at restaurants. The crusts were so awful, they tasted just like eggy stuff, and not like a real pizza crust. It was such a pleasure to actually eat good pizza crust, made with ingredients I had in the house, and that was easy to make. This recipe is a keeper.

Easy Terrific Gluten Free Vegan Pizza Recipe

How to Save Money While Getting Your Prom Dress

Prom is a special time, but the dresses for it can be especially expensive. Here's some ideas from a reader as to how to keep the costs down.

Prom night is usually very intense and emotional moments in a high school student's life. It is that moment that they conclude basic education and step up to the real world as adults. For these, it is very important for this transition moment to be made worthwhile and live up to the expectations of the student.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Gluten Free Vegan Oreos or Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Recipe -- Easy and Frugal

A little while back my family was gifted with a bunch of free Oreos.
Only they're gluten, and 4 out of 5 members of my family don't eat gluten, so my eldest, Lee, got them all to himself. My other kids were envious, and I told them that I'd make them gluten free Oreo's instead. To be honest, when I told them I'd do that, I wasn't quite sure how I'd do it, but had confidence that I'd figure it out.

Every day when they came home from school the kids asked me if we could make Oreos today, but my life was too hectic and it was hard to find time to do that.

However, finally I got around to making them, and the kids really enjoyed them.
You'd think they'd be super hard and complicated to make, but they were pretty real world. Not only were mine gluten free, they were also naturally vegan. You can make these with gluten if you eat gluten.
Ok, I will admit, they don't taste identical to Oreos. But they are certainly delicious, and pleased my Oreo deprived kids. They also pleased our gluten and junk food eating house guest.

When trying to figure out what type of cookie to make, I knew I wanted something thin and crispy, so went with my thin mint cookie recipe as the base, just leaving out the mint, and with some other adjustments. It worked beautifully.

Oh, and note that the only special ingredient here was coconut oil. The rest are all standard kitchen ingredients, so it is very budget friendly.

Gluten Free Vegan Oreos or Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Recipe -- Easy and Frugal

3 Ways Parents Can Find Extra Cash

We all know what it's like to be tight on cash. But how can you bring in extra cash if you're a busy parent? Here's some good suggestions from a reader. Hope they help!

Image via Flickr by Homedust

Are you looking to add a little extra income to your household? Bringing in more money can ease some of the financial burden of covering expenses for your family. You might even be able to use the additional income to save up for something important, such as college education funds, family vacations, or home upgrades. Here are some of the top ways parents can find extra cash.

Pick Up Extra Work

Taking on a bit more work can pay off if you're able to fit it into your schedule. Ask if overtime is available at your job, or pick up a part-time job on the side. For more flexibility in your schedule, try contract work that you can do at home (such as freelance writing, taking online surveys, or building websites). The gig economy also presents lots of opportunities for flexible part-time work with options such as Lyft and TaskRabbit.

Remember to carefully report any income you make from a side gig, especially if it's done on a contract basis. You'll have to pay taxes differently for some of these jobs. Set aside part of your earnings for tax payments, or set up an installment agreement with the IRS to avoid straining your family's finances. If you're not sure how to pay taxes on your freelance work, ask a professional for guidance.

Cut Back on Expenses

If it's challenging to find extra time in your busy day for more work, consider cutting back on your expenses to come up with the extra cash you need. Plan each meal carefully, and use coupons to make the most of your grocery budget. Review your bank accounts and credit card statements to look for regular purchases you could cut from your monthly budget, such as streaming services and subscriptions.

Ask about discounted rates on your utility and cell phone bills. If you or your kids need new clothes, shop at a thrift store first before you head to the mall. When you make lots of small efforts to spend less, it can add up over time.

Sell Stuff Online

Do you have a knack for making cool or stylish items, such as artwork, jewelry, or clothing? If so, you might as well make money off your hobby by selling your creations online. Websites like Etsy make it easy to put products up for sale and reach a large audience.
Another option for selling things online is to get rid of the things you no longer need or want around the house. From furniture to electronics to toys, you can sell just about anything online. Craigslist, LetGo, and OfferUp are three user-friendly options that help you sell stuff locally. Depending on what you're looking to sell, you might want to look into apps or websites that focus on a specific type of product, such as Poshmark (clothing) and Gazelle (electronics).
Making extra money is a great way to support your family. And with strategies like the ones listed here, it doesn't have to mean sacrificing your lifestyle or spending less time with the ones you love. Try these tips to earn additional income this year.

See my disclaimer.

All About Our Recent Family Trip

I posted before about our planned family trip and now that we're home, recovered, and back to normal life (or at least as normal as can be when one kid has a broken finger and stitches), I wanted to share how wonderful our trip was.

When planning our family trip, my first goal was looking for a place that was bus accessible and had things to do indoors in case there was bad weather, and was someplace we hadn't previously been on a trip. I narrowed it down to a few different cities and then searched for suitable accommodations for our family, looking for a place that looked pleasant but wasn't too pricey. Of course all the places I checked out were quite expensive since nothing that can host a family of five is actually cheap. I ended up finding a stunning vacation rental apartment on booking.com that wasn't too badly priced, and booked it for two nights, planning that we'd be on our trip for three days and come back before bedtime on the third night.

Luckily for us, the rental apartments owners said that we could bring along our dog, which meant we didn't have to find or pay for a dog sitter.
However, because I wanted to go to places where dogs weren't allowed, I wasn't sure it was the best idea to leave Snickers in an unfamiliar apartment alone for many hours, so i asked a friend who lived in that city if we could leave her with them while we went out, and they agreed. They have another cute dog, Melody, who snickers got along with beautifully, so Snickers had a lovely doggy play date each day while we went out.

Top 10 Affordable Vacation Destination Trips for the Spring - Fun Tips

Planning a vacation this spring? Here's some budget friendly suggestions from a reader.

Planning a spring destination escape, whether for a week or just a few days is easy especially with tips on affordable destinations with cool weather. Here are 10 affordable spring to-go destinations for you to consider.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Our Trip to the ER

Today I had planned on writing about and sharing about our family's 3 day trip, after we got home late last night.

But the universe had other plans.

My sons were fighting, and in the process a heavy metal door slammed open, crushing my 9 year old son, Ike's, finger between the door and a cement wall. It was bleeding and looked so horrible and I knew it needed immediate medical attention.

Immediately I rushed out with him to attempt to go to the local doctor, only to discover that the clinic was closed. So we walked to the bus stop to take a bus into the city.

How to Look More Fabulous Even On A Tight Budget

If looking fabulous and stylish is important to you, here's some suggestions from a reader how to do that without breaking the budget.

The year started on a high note. The only downside is the financial crisis that has hit everyone's pockets. Living on a budget is not easy, but you don't have to look poor while at it. You can wear cheap clothes, shoes and accessories, but still look fabulous.

Here are tricks to help you look good on a simple and inexpensive budget.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Our Upcoming Family Trip

A picture of the apartment where we'll be staying

Right now I was supposed to be getting ready and packing my bags for a trip to the airport. A few months ago I booked tickets for a vacation for myself. I was to fly in to Frankfurt Hahn Airport in Germany tomorrow, take a bus to Luxembourg and stay there for the weekend at a a hostel, after which I was going to continue by bus to Paris, stay at my friends' house in nearby Versailles, and spend the next few days touring Paris, before heading back by the airport next Thursday.

Alas, because of many reasons, all divorce related, this trip is no longer an option for me to take. And unfortunately, my airfare (fortunately not too much) is non refundable. And my hostel still needed to be paid, as there was a non refundable deposit.

I was really down about not being able to go on this trip, especially as I really get excited about planning my trips and my itineraries, and I felt that just staying home and living my life like normal when I was supposed to be on my trip would be too painful, so I tried to figure out some alternative options.

Budgeting for Baby: Spending Tips for All Your Baby Needs

While I'm not currently in the baby raising mode, with four children, I went through that multiple times and I know that there are many potential expenses and also many more ways in which you can be frugal. Here are some tips to keep down the costs for your baby from a reader.

According to a report from the USDA, the average middle-income family with kids will spend between $12,000 and $14,000 annually on child-related expenses. Babies aren’t cheap, we all know that. But there are a few things you can do to lessen the burden so that you’re not struggling to make ends meet when baby arrives. In this guide, we’ll help you determine how much you need to raise baby in her first year and provide you with some useful tips you can employ throughout baby’s life to help make your dollars go further on baby clothes, food, diapers and more.

Pre-Baby Spending: What to Budget for Baby’s First Year

Monday, January 14, 2019

Giveaway Winners!

I'm really excited to share the winners of last week's giveaways!

We have two lucky winners!

One winner, to celebrate my ninth bloggaversary is for my cookbook, Penniless Foodie in the Wild; Adaptable Recipes for Foragers and Frugalistas!

7 Small Changes That Promote Big Budget Savings

Sometimes to save money, it takes a lot of time. Sometimes, though, there are simple changes that can save money. Here's some tips from a reader.

The new year has arrived, and that means that people from all around the world are looking for positive ways to make a change to their daily routine. Since money is an issue that we all deal with on a somewhat regular basis, it makes sense that you might want to make one of your resolutions about your finances.

The good news is that if you do want to make a big difference to your budget this year, that doesn't necessarily mean making huge changes to your life. Although working an extra job or selling your unwanted items can lead to great results, there are a lot of little things that can make an impact too. Here are some of our favourite options.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Easy Paleo Chili "Cheese" Fries Recipe with Chocolate Chili and Dairy Free Cheese Sauce

A few months back I went out with friends to eat, and I ordered chili "cheese" fries (with non dairy cheese sauce), and it was so delicious. Since then, I've made it so many times at home; it's become a bit of an obsession here. The reason for that is it is super easy to make, relatively frugal, my kids all enjoy it, and it tastes amazing.

I was in a rush yesterday and I made the chili portion of this recipe in under 20 minutes start to finish (yes, including cooking time). Making the french fries and the fake cheese sauce takes longer, but I like to have the fake cheese sauce on hand in my fridge to pull out as needed, and if you don't have time to make fries for this, the chili and cheese sauce also is amazing as chili "cheese" toast.

The chili can be eaten however you like; yesterday my kids had it over pasta. It's great with cornbread, rice, or even plain. Just one thing to note; because I eat this on other foods, it's got a bit of a strong flavor. If you want to eat it plain out of a bowl, I suggest adding approximately half to one cup of water, or to taste, to thin out the strong flavors.

I know, the concept of cocoa powder in chili probably sounds weird, but chocolate chili is a thing, and you don't taste the cocoa per se, it just makes it a much richer and even more delicious flavor.

Feel free to play around with this recipe. I usually don't even measure things and just throw it all together. I use grated zucchini in mine to add veggies that are more hidden, and because my kids won't eat cooked peppers, but feel free to add any vegetables you like to this, and just chop them instead of grating if that's how you prefer this. If you prefer fresh onion and garlic, use the equivalent of that instead of dried.

I haven't tried this yet with ground turkey or ground chicken, but I'm sure it would also be great with that.

If you didn't get around to defrosting your ground beef before you started, you can even do this with meat that is frozen solid. It will just take longer. Stick the beef in the pan with the zucchini and a drop of oil, and put it on low, and as it cooks and defrosts, break it up into smaller pieces.

Easy Paleo Chili "Cheese" Fries Recipe with Chocolate Chili and Dairy Free Cheese Sauce

How to Stop Getting Sucked Into Sales

It doesn't matter how good of a deal something is. If we don't need something and buy it unnecessarily, it's a waste of money. Here's some suggestions from a reader how to stop getting sucked into sales.

It’s fair to say we all love a bargain. With the rise of Black Friday, Boxing Day sales and January sales, it’s easy to be tempted into splurging. This year, American shoppers spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours on Black Friday. While there are some great deals to be had during sales, a lot of us get sucked into buying items we don’t need in the heat of the moment, putting a strain on our finances. Here are some top tips that will help you avoid over-spending during retail sales.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Farewell to Homeschooling

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. After 11 years of homeschooling, it's time to say farewell.

In light of that, I wanted to write up a post chronicling and summing up our family's homeschooling journey, something I've written a lot about on this blog.

I was homeschooled for a year in high school in a very intense academic way. I was so turned off by the idea of homeschooling and never would have done the same if not for the inspiration from my friend Avivah, who homeschooled all of her 11 children at some point or another. I was so enamored by the way she was raising her children and the positive effects homeschooling had on her family that, when I eventually decided to homeschool my children, I was very excited by the prospects.

Originally I got into homeschooling because of the lack of what I felt were suitable schooling options in my area for our family, but the more I learned about it, the more I cherished being able to teach a child in a way that is suitable to their unique nature, to specialize their schooling for them. I also got excited about the concept of unschooling, where you follow a kid's interest and teach them in a way that they enjoy and when they want to learn, so they retain a love of learning.

Cheap Ways to Protect Your Kids from Germs this Winter

This winter hasn't been the easiest one for our family. First one kid and then another has been sick, and so have I been. Just today Ike got diagnosed with Strep throat when I took him in for an ear infection and puking. I need to listen to this advice from a reader on how to not keep on getting sick!!!

Winter is a special time, especially for kids who like building snowmen, learning how to skate, or going on ski resort vacations. But winter is also a popular time for germs and diseases.

As parents, we want to keep our children safe and happy. To avoid illness as well as exorbitant healthcare costs, here are some frugal ways to protect your kids this winter, from lowering your heating bill to exploring cheaper treatment options from an international or Canadian pharmacy referral service like Rx Connected.

First Things First: Cold Temperatures Do Not Cause the Cold

Cold viruses do. There are hundreds of different cold viruses and adults get 2-3 colds per year on average while healthy kids can get 8-12 colds per year. Chances are, you’re exposed to these viruses every day.

…But Do Stay Warm

Friday, January 4, 2019

Our Holiday Season This Year

As the holiday season is wrapping up, I wanted to reflect upon how it was for our family this year and what we did. December is such an awesome time of year with so many holidays, some for pretty much everyone, no matter what religion you are, and even if you don't celebrate any religion, with the holiday spirit in the air and the beautiful lights and happiness all around, it is still amazing. So I just wanted to stay Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, Happy Kwanza, Happy Solstice, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays, whatever else you celebrate. I hope any time off you had was meaningful and spent with people whose company you enjoy.

I think more important than any gift is time spent with people we love. Money is a little tighter because of being a single mom, so my children didn't get loads of gifts this year. Instead, I tried to spend as much time with them as I could, making memories.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Happy Ninth Bloggeversary and a Giveaway!

I am really excited to share that as of yesterday this blog is 9 years old, and I'm now in my tenth year straight of blogging!

Last year in June I wrote the blog post that I intended to write on January 2, but life got in the way, reflecting on the evolution of this blog, but I must say that even since then so much has changed.

I wanted to do a quick sum up of how my life and my blog evolved since I first started it. I'll talk about the stages.

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids From Having to Take Sick Days This Season and a Giveaway!

We've been sick far too often this winter! Here's some tips from a reader on how to keep from getting sick! Make sure to check out below for details about and to enter the giveaway!

No one likes to take sick days, but during the winter and holiday season they almost seem inevitable—especially for our little ones. During this time of year, schedules seem to get busier and the germs seem to spread easier than ever. Here are some easy, natural ways you can help your kids stay healthy at home and wherever else they’ll go.

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