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Friday, May 24, 2019

Look Who We Found!!!

 

Look who we found!!!!

We were so worried about our dog and the kids were petrified that she'd be hit by a car or something...

An hour ago we got a call from a girl who isn't a dog person but thought they found her. She sent us this picture of her and I wanted to be doubly sure it was her because we had a few false alarms (never knew there were so many dogs that looked like her) but wasn't her. She put me on loudspeaker and I called her and she reacted by barking so we knew it was her.


The friend whose house she ran off from went to pick her up from the girl who caught her, and then another friend picked her up until we were able to get her. 

And then my dad, whose house we have been staying at, drove me to pick up Snickers from this other city even.... 

We're currently in the car on the way back to his house and we're so relieved and can finally breathe.

I'm not sure who is more excited, Snickers, me, or the kids. 

I especially wanted to say thank you to everyone who posted about her, shared pictures, scoured the neighborhoods by foot and by car, and just in general did what they could to help us get her back! 



Bad News


Yesterday the kids and I were going on a family trip, and from there going away for the weekend. We had a lot planned and were bringing our dog along, but since she wasn't able to come to some places we were going (like a BBQ for single moms and their families) so I found a friend willing to watch her for a few hours in the city where we were staying.
Unfortunately, while we were at the barbecue, I got a call from the dog sitter that the dog ran out their door and they chased after her and weren't able to catch her, and eventually she ran out of sight. 

Secrets To Have A Frugal Wedding On A Budget

Wedding season has begun, and many of my friends are planning their weddings now. As you all know, weddings can get extremely pricey, often causing large amounts of debt. There are ways, however, to keep down the price. Here's some tips on a reader on how to do it. 


A wedding can sometimes be a very expensive affair. In recent years, marketing and advertising campaigns have convinced grooms and brides into throwing large amounts of cash in this event. The average wedding will now run you roughly twenty thousand dollars or so. However, you really don't have to financially throw down the equivalent of a house down payment or a brand new car to celebrate the beginning of your union. There are several ways you can, costs when planning a wedding that doesn't necessarily translate to being cheap. Hereinbelow are a few secrets of how you can make this happen.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Out with the Old and In with the New Books!


For a while, there's been a project I wanted to get done, but it was very daunting. The bookshelf in my kids' room was so beyond horrible, stuffed to the gills, books shoved in every which way and on top of each other. I love reading, but seeing that bookshelf that way made me not even want to touch it, because I could never find what I wanted, and the likelihood of things coming tumbling down onto me when I pulled out a book was quite high.
I tried doing it one day when I had a friend over, but I didn't manage to get it finished in that time, and the pile of books on the floor and the couch was too much for me to handle, so all that happened was those books got shoved back on the shelf in an even worse situation than before.
Not pretty.
The other day though, the kids were away at their dad's, and I had free time. I decided that I'd tackle that bookshelf once and for all, and get rid of all the books I don't want, and organize the ones that were there so the kids and I could find what we wanted. The biggest issue was the amount of schoolbooks I had on the shelf, that I'd collected over the years thinking I'd use as part of my homeschooling, but then never ended up using for various reasons, and now they're all in school and won't be needing those books, so they're just a waste of space. I made a huge pile of all the books that I didn't want, those school books, kids books that I felt were so badly written so I didn't want to read them, books that had bad memories for me attached to them, and set them all to be given away.

Smart Ways to Invest Your Money in 2019

If you work hard and earn money, then budget well and don't spend so much, you might be lucky enough to end up with a nest egg of money, some savings. You can just keep it in the bank where you may earn a small percent interest, or you can make your money work for you and bring in larger returns via investing. This post by Nancy Evans gives some ideas how you can do that.



There are a number of good options when it comes to investments in 2019. One of them is the stock market. The trick is to start small and to gradually scale the market.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

My Recent Scratch and Dent Store Shops

My last trip to the scratch and dent store one ended up amazingly, discovering a great treasure: super frugal gluten free vegan raspberry cookies that my family devoured. I had some free time the other day between errands, so decided to run to the scratch and dent store in the hopes that I'd be able to buy more of those cookies... but unfortunately they only had a few of the packages there, so I emptied out the rest of their very small stock, but some is better than none.


They also had toasted sesame oil, three bottles for $5.71, so I bought three of them, since that is something so extremely expensive locally and this is a better price than I can get anywhere.

3 Ways to Make Extra Cash for a Working Mom

We all know what its like to be short on both cash and time. Here's some tips from a reader on how to make some extra cash, even as a full time working mom.


Do you find yourself running low on cash but it seems as if all you do is work? You could find many ways to make an extra income that does not require hard labor. It can be hard for mothers to find time and energy to work another job to make another income. Today, it is quite popular for people to turn to side jobs to make ends meet and the internet provides countless options for that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Juli's Gluten Free Pasta Salad

My friend, Juli, over at Pandemonium Noshery has so many great recipes to share with people from around the globe. This is one of her own unique creations, though, that she was kind enough to share with us. Looks delicious!


Have you ever hear anyone say "Necessity is the mother of all invention"? This recipe is proof of that. I had little left in the house one night and didn't want to make a late night trip to the store the night before a long day out but I also didn't want to leave my kids and my friend who was watching them with nothing to eat. And so I threw together what I had and hoped for the best. Since then I have made it quite a few times because we loved it so much.

Gluten free pasta, at least the kind I am familiar being made with different ingredients doesn't react the same way as wheat pasta. Instead of making the penna the night before and chilling I make right before and use water to cool to toss with the salad to keep the pasta from getting a dry and weird texture.

Juli's Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Monday, May 13, 2019

5 Classic Coffee Drinks That Are To Die For

I used to never drink coffee; loved the smell but hated the taste. Over time however, I learned to love it and even crave it and started drinking it on a regular basis. Unfortunately, coffee didn't do such good things for my mental health so I needed to completely cut it out, and now miss it. I do though occasionally have fake coffee with caffeine free substitutes. However, for those that love coffee, here's some great ways from a reader to enjoy it, and I'm sure many of these can be made easily at home.

Are you a big fan of coffee? If so, you are not alone. Millions of people wake up to a fresh cup of coffee every day. Of course, you have some people that like to mix things up a bit. They do this by adding extras to their coffee. Some go as far as to switch from traditional coffee to other drinks that have coffee flavors. What are the five classic coffee drinks that Americans love? Continue reading the article below to find the answer to this question and much more about coffee.

Frappuccino


Americans flock into convenience stores and coffee shops every day to get a frappuccino. This coffee beverage is very unique; in that it is part of Starbucks’ ice blended coffee drinks. Customers can add toppings to their frappuccino to enhance its flavors. These toppings include sauces and whipped creams. If you are looking for a coffee drink that will wake you up, do not look further than the frappuccino.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Who Actually Deserves Charity? Who is Really in Need?


I'm in a local Facebook group meant to help people there who are struggling for whatever reason, and one of the things that is really wonderful is that instead of p
eople selling things that they want to off load, usually things are offered for free on that group, so that others can benefit. It seems that some people in the group got upset, and there was a to do about it, because some people were upset that people who "didn't really need it" and "didn't deserve it" were taking help meant for "more worthy people", that things weren't just being given away to anyone, but to people in need.

So, I don't want to talk about that specific group and the to-do there, because I didn't see what went down, or the circumstances behind the posts there, but, inspired by that, I did want to talk about the concept of who "deserves help" and who "really needs it" and things of that sort. This is a topic that is especially meaningful to me because at many times in the past and even currently, I've been on the receiving end of charity, and I wonder how many people look at me and my life and say "Oh, she doesn't really deserve it" for whatever reason?

People are really judgmental, that's for sure. I know that in the past I really was judgmental, and its something I'm working on not being that way anymore. I think I've even written a post before about someone asking me for charity to pay for their children's diapers and formula, while I was cloth diapering and nursing so I didn't have to spend money on that. But as I go through my journey in life, I am starting to see more clarity about things like that, and how someone might seem to be rolling in dough actually can be struggling, etc.

I'll start with saying that poor people don't always look poor. Thankfully we live in an area that there are so many people that give away really nice things that one can be dressed to the nines without spending a cent. I know of some people whose self worth is very wrapped up in how they look, that they aren't willing to look like a charity case, and they've been known to go without food because they don't have money, but still will wear a fully made up face and be dressed really nicely. If clothes are something that matter to you, shopping thrift stores and getting things from places such as the clothes and houseware share and dressing in hand me downs can mean wearing only name brand perfect things, and makes you look like a moocher taking things that you "don't really need" but is far from the truth.

Money Making Ideas: Smart Ways To Boost Your Income

As a single mom, needing to be self supporting, I've come to realize that I needed to increase my income instead of just finding ways to be more frugal. Here's some tips from a reader on how to increase your income.

Nowadays, everyone is feeling the pinch. We live in an expensive time, after all, and whether we like it or not, things aren’t going to get any cheaper. In fact, they’ll almost definitely become more pricey. People who want to improve their finances usually start by trimming their expenses, but cutting costs like this will only make a difference for so long. This is why you should start looking for ways to make money too. There are lots of ideas to choose from, many of which require very little effort. With that in mind, here are thirteen smart ways for you to boost your family income.


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

My Latest Extremely Frugal Grocery Trips at the Scratch and Dent Store and Beyond

A few days ago I went shopping at two of my favorite stores, scratch and dent stores, where you can get so many delicious goodies for extremely cheap, because their packaging got messed up or they're past their sell by date.
I was really excited to show you the pics from my shop, because what I got was certainly phenomenal deals for great products, and then I did another shop at a 'regular' cheap grocery store and wasn't going to share about that shop.... And then I thought, why only share the 'extra special' shops with you and not my 'real life' shopping habits as well, so, here it is. My extra frugal shopping trips' results as well as those from my 'regular' frugal (ish) shopping trip.

How To Stay Safe On A Motorcycle Trip

Where I live cars are really expensive, and gasoline is also ridiculously priced. For that reason, many people locally opt to use motorcycles to get around instead of cars. However, frugality at the price of safety isn't good, especially as motorcycles are known to be more deadline than cars. However, if you do want to get a motorcycle, pay attention to these tips by Nancy Evans, on how to ride one as safely as possible.



Thursday, May 2, 2019

Dogs: The Best Natural Remedy for Anxiety

I love our dog, Snickers. She joined our family almost a year ago, and she has made such a big difference. She's been so wonderful on so many counts, but I definitely see what a big impact she has on the emotional health on everyone in the family. The biggest part, honestly, is that my sensory seeking kids, instead of using me for all their sensory needs get it out on the dog which makes me much more sane and less stressed out. Additionally, Snickers is amazing for hugs or cuddles or even to cry into her fur, depending on what I need.
Here's a post from a reader on how dogs help with anxiety, and how you can make your dog considered an emotional support animal.


Looking for a natural way to manage your anxiety?

That's an easy one...

All you need is a dog!

How Do Dogs Help With Anxiety?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

That Bagel Recipe, Morality, and Accreditation


Having been accused by some people of being immoral and unethical, I feel the need to defend myself.

As the author of a few published cookbooks who had recipes stolen and put in other published cookbooks without the slightest accreditation myself, I know just how awful that is. When I've created original content, figuring out some awesome things by myself and had my content literally copied word for word onto another blog with zero accreditation, I contacted the author of that blog, as did a bunch of readers of this blog, and that author then edited her post to include a link to my post with its original content, and it's actually been such a great source of traffic for my blog. So what originally left me quite annoyed at my content literally being stolen actually turned out for the good.

Why am I writing this?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Homemade Paleo Bagels Recipe -- Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan Option


I haven't had a good bagel in far too long. Ever since going gluten free, it's been hard to get bagels, and when I do, they tend to be the texture of regular bread, just shaped like a bagel. I saw this recipe for gluten free bagels from Kosher Everyday when it was going around my Facebook feed, and it looked awesome, especially since it is grain free and paleo friendly, and suitable for the holiday of Passover. Most paleo recipes using almond flour also use eggs, which make them not suitable for me, but this recipe that I saw only used eggs for an egg wash, which I knew would be optional, so I decided to tweak this recipe.

While the recipe calls for tapioca starch, I didn't have any on hand, but had a lot of potato starch, so attempted to see if it would work. I'll admit, I was scared, because one of the steps involved boiling it in water, and I was sure it would fall apart, since it had no binder... But it worked! 

In place of the egg wash, I decided to use almond milk brushed on, but next time I think I'll leave them off.

The bagels are delicious, everyone in my family loved them!

Can I say they have the exact same texture as regular bagels? Definitely not. But they were definitely better than the previous gluten free bagels I've eaten, and I'd highly recommend them. And they made a delicious cream cheese sandwich.

While the version I made wasn't 100% vegan, you can easily make this vegan by using maple syrup, jaggery syrup, or date syrup instead of the honey.

Other than tree nuts, this recipe is free of the top 8 allergens, so its pretty allergy friendly too.

Homemade Paleo Bagels Recipe -- Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan Option

How To Secure A Pay Rise

Sometimes if you need to be bringing in more money, you don't need to find a new job or work more hours. Sometimes all that is necessary is to get your salary increased via a pay raise. Here's a post from a reader with suggestions as to how to do that.

Getting a pay rise can be one of those things that seems impossible. First of all, you don’t want to ask your boss for one, as you don’t want to seem like you’re being ill-mannered and pushing for too much. Secondly, if you’ve been working for the same amount of money for all of this time, then why ask now for a little bit more? However, when the cost of those essential items goes up, and your salary stays the same, you can feel like you’re being pulled further into financial disarray each month. Here’s how you can secure the pay rise that you need.

Image credit

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe -- Gluten Free, Paleo and Allergy Friendly



Lately, I really am loving easy recipes that end up with a complete dinner in one, and shepherd's pie is one of my favorites. Yes, some shepherd's pie recipes are complex and complicated with many different ingredients and steps, but I find my version to be quite easy, and it ends up delicious, and my entire family loves it. It ends up quite a lot on my dinner table, and in fact, I am making this again tonight.

If you want to keep this recipe even easier, you can use instant mashed potatoes for the top. Since I pressure cook my potatoes and keep them unpeeled I don't find that part hard, but feel free to use this shortcut if you want, just add the flavorings mentioned.

I like to stretch my ground beef with grated zucchini; I find it not only makes it cheaper, but also makes the meat more moist. Sometimes I added canned or frozen peas and carrots to my zucchini stretched meat, but not always (and depends on how picky my kids are being, because some don't want the peas); feel free to add that to yours to keep down the cost further, as long as you aren't trying to make this recipe paleo. Oh, and did I mention that this is allergy friendly, free of the top 8 allergens?

You can keep this even cheaper by making this with ground chicken or ground turkey instead of the beef, but I feel it generally needs more flavor if you do it that way, so don't skip the next step.

Lastly, I generally keep mine simple in terms of flavorings, but if you want to, feel free to add some ketchup or barbecue sauce to the meat mixture layer.

Oh, and by the way, if anyone wants to comment on my usage of a disposable pan, you're invited to either keep your mouth shut or to come over and wash my dishes.

Easy Shepherd's Pie Recipe -- Gluten Free, Paleo and Allergy Friendly

The Career Paths That Will Never Be Unneeded

I often think about what types of careers my children will get into one day. If you're trying to increase your income, you might think to retrain in another career. But how do you make sure that what you're learning isn't going to go obsolete? Here's a post from a reader about suggestions for careers that are likely to stick around, at least for quite a while.

There are quite a few careers in the world that have stood the test of time. Automobile engineering, marketing, and computer science to name a few. These industries have changed a lot but the need for professionals in this environment is stronger than ever. Parents have to encourage their children to do something they like. Preferably your kids will find something they can really pour their passion into and become successful. However the challenge is first to show them what kind of options there are out there. It's important to not be pushy and try to force them into a direction that you would like them to follow. So as you do explain the landscape of the professional world, show them what kinds of opportunities lie out there that they could do for many decades to come. Some career paths will never be unneeded by any company in any industry, so learning about them and how they have and will evolve will help you to answer some of your children’s questions.




Tuesday, April 16, 2019

My Amazing Free Haul from the Clothes and Houseware Share

Children grow so fast! It seems like just yesterday that I came home with so many new clothes for my kids, and yet, my kids keep growing out of them and telling me "Mommy, I need new clothes". Do that times four and you have quite a pricey proposition.
For that reason, I'm so glad that I know about a "clothes and houseware share" in the nearby city that lets you get whatever you need, absolutely for free, as long as they have it available.

Its like a second hand clothing store, only you don't pay a cent for anything. People bring whatever they want to get rid of, whether they're decluttering, outgrow clothes, or bought something they no longer want, and other people can take them home. The other difference between that and a second hand store is that, as this is all run on a volunteer basis, things aren't always "neatly on racks" or very well organized. I mean they attempt to organize it as well as they can, but they keep getting more and more donations, so there are often bags and bags to look through and sort instead of shelves to browse.
But it makes the experience more fun that way.
And it makes you feel like you won the lottery when you find something wonderful.

While I've known about this clothes and houseware share for a while, and even am in the neighborhood once or twice a week, I'm always in a rush when I'm there, so I haven't been able to take the time to go look for things, but today I was finally able to.

And though I'd originally planned on spending an hour or so there, I ended up spending quite a few hours...

And came home with quite a haul!
My kids and I are all really excited about what I got there. So many things! 

The woman in charge, when I asked her what she thought about statements I've gotten about being a "taker" when I bring home so many free things, she said that its quite ridiculous. If people don't take things, then they get overrun with clothes and other items, and it makes it unpleasant for everyone. The biggest help, she says, is to come and take things. Because then when other people offload their donations, there's room for them.

And when you're searching through the bags for things, you can also sort them out, making the place more pleasant for future visitors.

Here's what I brought home.

Here Is Why Modern Dermatologists Recommend Using Only Organic Beauty Products

I used to think that, in terms of health, it only mattered what you put into your mouth, but not what you put on your skin. Then I learned that your skin, as one of the biggest organs in your body, absorbs what you put onto it, and you need to be careful there. Here's some tips from a reader about how to choose healthy skin care products.


As a person who is very cautious about skin, it came to me as a shock when I learned the top beauty brands I trusted and regularly used were hiding away the true picture of what their products are made off.

It was only recently I discovered that nearly all beauty products in my drawer had harmful chemicals and additives added to enhance the product. It caught my attention when I was reading an article about parabens on the internet, a very common chemical used in beauty products of today. The thing that concerned me was that parabens are associated with cancer and the skin that gets exposed to this chemical has more chances of incurring cancer.

I knew I had to make an immediate change. I went to my dermatologist and she confirmed that typical beauty and skincare products indeed carried chemicals that cause hazardous health problems. She said the only way to keep myself safe from these chemicals is to go organic, and ever since that day, I have only bought organic beauty products.

Here are some reasons why modern dermatologists recommend using only organic beauty products.

Friday, April 12, 2019

My Recent Frugal and Extremely Frugal Accomplishments


Hi there everyone! I am so excited to share this post with you, about some frugal and extremely frugal things I did lately! I used to do this on a regular basis, and then my life got super busy and it felt like I didn't even have time to breathe, let alone do anything particularly frugal... But fortunately I've managed to breathe a little again, and because of that, I've managed to do these things and I'm glad to be able to share them with you, and hopefully inspire you to do some frugal things too.

Where An Acupuncture Career Can Lead You

Frugal living is great and all, but sometimes you need to increase your income so you have more leeway in the budget, instead of just lowering your expenses again and again. To raise your income, some people decide to learn a trade, and studying acupuncture is one of them. Here's an infographic from a reader that shows you possible career options that open up to you if you study acupuncture.

Interested in studying acupuncture but unsure of where it can lead you?

After enrolling in a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture) with Endeavour: Natural College of Health, you will learn the necessary skills needed in the treatment of conditions such as neck and back pain, migraines, insomnia, anxiety and depression.

While you will possess the knowledge and expertise passed down from traditional Chinese medical practitioners, will you be able to forge a career as an acupuncturist?

Four popular paths for acupuncturists are outlined in the infographic below:

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Our Fun and Frugal Family Trip Today


Pic heavy post ahead!

In my country, today was a national holiday, which meant that everyone was off of school and I was off of work. To make it even better, the government decided that inter city public transportation would all be free. Originally I planned on just taking it easy, maybe doing a bit of housework today, but in the end, decided to take the kids on a trip to a beautiful desert oasis a few hour drive from where we live. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Post Divorce Therapy For The Sake Of The Kids


When people hear about couples' counseling, they usually think about couples that are trying to make their relationship work but are struggling, and that the goal of such counseling is to save the marriage or relationship and that if one decides to get divorced it is a failure. In recent posts I already knocked that notion, that divorcing isn't a failure and counseling doesn't fail if divorce is what ended up happening.

But what most people don't consider is that even once you decide to get divorced, joint therapy is still often a good idea.
If you are childless, or at least don't share a child with the spouse you're divorcing, you can often say goodbye and never see each other again. But if there are children in the picture, even once you divorce, you'll still likely be in each other's lives for a very long time.
For this reason, divorce counseling and post divorce counseling is something that is becoming more and more popular, and for good reason.

What exactly is divorce counseling, and how does it work?

How to Live Frugally with a Chronic Illness


Being ill can get expensive, and when your illness is a chronic one, this is an expense that won't ever go away. I have some dear friends with chronic illnesses, and therefore I really appreciate these tips sent from a reader as to how to live frugally with a chronic illness.

As if both your physical and emotional stress wasn’t enough, when you go through life with a chronic illness, you also have to deal with added financial strain. Chronic conditions, whether they’re caused by a mental health issue, cardiovascular condition, or physical or intellectual disability, are expensive. You have to worry about doctor’s appointments, medical devices, treatments, and medications. Your ability to earn money to support yourself (and your family) may also be compromised.

Fortunately, there are ways to live frugally with a chronic illness. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Imitation BBQ Pulled Pork From Banana Peels Recipe -- Gluten Free Vegan and Frugal Meat Substitute


You ever hear about something on the internet and it sounds so incredibly wacky and bizarre that you just have to try it to see if it works? Sometimes it comes out amazingly well (like cauliflower alfredo sauce) and sometimes it comes out so incredibly vile (like those cauliflower lemon bars, don't even ask).
A few weeks ago in a vegan eating Facebook group, I saw someone post about imitation pulled pork made from banana peels. Now I was intrigued, as it wasn't the first time I have heard of using banana peels in cooking; I even have a banana peel chutney recipe here on this blog. I didn't attempt to make it right away as I hadn't purchased bananas in a while, and when I do the bananas tend to be overripe which leaves the skin too sweet, but when I finally did buy bananas and they ended up being too green for me, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to test out this recipe.

So first of all, why eat banana peels? Well, according to this and many other places, they are a good source of nutrients and have other medicinal benefits. They've actually been used traditionally in recipes across the globe, mainly in Asia and South America. Secondly, it reduces waste and saves money.
But a bigger reason? Why not?

And lastly? Because people who don't eat meat are often looking for non meat substitutes, so why not diversify and find more options for that, especially one that is gluten free, legume free, and allergy friendly?

Friday, April 5, 2019

Sweet and Sticky Honey Garlic Chicken Wings Recipe -- Gluten Free and Easy, Paleo Option


I have been making sticky honey garlic chicken wings for years already, but I never actually followed a recipe and just winged it every time. It has to be up there among my favorite ways to eat chicken wings, if not my absolute favorite. After yet again deciding to make it and people asking me how I did it, I decided to finally write down my recipe.
It's pretty flexible, you can use whatever sweeteners you have available. This time I used a mix of honey and white sugar because that's what I had in the house (I only had half a cup) but you can use all honey, half honey half coconut sugar, half jaggery syrup half white sugar, all brown sugar, all coconut sugar, etc. Basically, don't use all white sugar, because you want something that gives it a richer flavor, whether a brown sugar/sweetener or honey, but you can cut those down with white sugar to keep it cheaper.

This recipe makes a lot of wings, enough for my family for two meals, or to feed a nice sized crowd; feel free to split this in half to serve a smaller crowd.

I love how frugal this recipe is; even using honey, the costs are still pretty low because wings are just about the cheapest meat out there, but if you use sweeteners like jaggery syrup its even cheaper.

Sweet and Sticky Honey Garlic Chicken Wings Recipe -- Gluten Free and Easy, Paleo Option

Thursday, April 4, 2019

I'm still here

Sorry I haven't posted so much recently. I'm still here. I'm just... having a bit of a hard time lately, and its hard to find time to focus to write. So much going on in my life making me stressed out, making me not have the energy to do beyond the bare minimum right now.

I'll be back.
Hopefully soon.
Please be patient with me.

Thanks,

Penny

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

I Made A Bed From Scratch All By Myself!


For those of you who've been reading my blog for a while already, you've known that I have a done a lot of building with wood before; much of my furniture is made from scratch. The thing is, all the projects were either done by my soon to be ex husband, Michael, completely, or as teamwork between myself and him. I learned how to build as a kid, having done various projects together with my family, including building a clubhouse in our backyard. And then being married to Michael who is really talented with building meant that I picked up a lot by osmosis, including how to use various tools that we didn't have when I was growing up. We built lots of furniture together, but in many of the cases, I helped with the planning and measuring, but the actual tool use was by him, with me holding the pieces together.

So a bed in my house broke. It was a bed that Michael and I built together, but when we were building it we were in a rush and only were using materials we had around the house, so we really didn't build it properly. The frame wasn't made from strong enough wood, and we kept saying we'd build it better someday, but that someday never came, and first it cracked and instead of rebuilding we just reinforced it with more screws and the next time it broke with more supports, but eventually it just completely disintegrated.

That bed needed to be replaced, and friends of mine suggested that I just buy a new one, or get a secondhand bed, but I didn't want to do that for quite a few reasons: even a cheap bed second hand bed would cost a lot once I pay movers to bring it; because of the dimensions of the room I needed the bed to have very specific dimensions, and because of the storage kept under the bed I needed it built a certain way. So I decided that I'd rebuild it. I knew how to do it because I'd been part of planning and building five beds already, and I had the right tools and know how to do it.

The Secret to Prioritizing Health as A Family




Want to make your family's lifestyle a more healthy one? Here's some tips from a reader how.

It is no secret that your health is incredibly important, and it must be properly looked after. You don’t only want to take care of your health, but that of your family’s as well. After all, you want your loved ones to live a long and happy life. The question is, how can you all achieve this?

This article will go over the steps you can take, otherwise known as the secret to prioritizing your health and wellbeing. You can start by better understanding the importance of living a healthy life in the first place, and then focus on cooking healthy meals, working out, taking care of your mental health, and visiting your doctor for regular check-ups as well.

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.

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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


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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.

Clever.

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.

Money.

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.

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