Sunday, July 14, 2019

How I Got a Free 49 Inch Smart TV!

I hadn't planned on writing this post, but I was told by a friend that I absolutely must make it into a blog post, so here it is.

Here is how I got a 49 inch smart TV completely for free.

Until last year, I completely wasn't involved in my cell phone plan. Michael took care of it, found the deals, paid for it, and I really wasn't connected to it at all. Until we started the divorce process, and I transferred my account and number from a joint account to a separate account within the same company, lets call it company H. 

Every month I was paying 34 dollars for my cell phone which included unlimited calls, unlimited texting, and unlimited data, and I was pretty content with that.

Last year one day I needed to get my son Lee a phone plan ASAP, and the store where I got it had a plan with another company, company G. I paid 25 for his plan and it was a bit more limited than mine, but was enough for my son's needs. Maybe I could have gotten better deals, but I wasn't that pressed to look around for more. I was content.

Save Money by Lowering Transportation Expenses

Transportation can be quite pricey, especially if you live in an area like I do with high costs of cars and gasoline. Here's some ideas from a reader on how to cut back on your transportation costs.

Image by Peter H from Pixabay
Want to add more to your savings? Start by saving on your transport costs.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Easy, Vegan, Paleo, and Delicious

I first heard of tomato and watermelon salad from my friend, Rosie, and I have to say, I thought the idea sounded really weird. Fruit in a salad? And then I remembered so many other recipes I love that combine fruit with vegetables in a tasty salad, and decided to try it out. Since then this has been a staple in my house.
The nice thing about this salad, in addition to being super easy to make and suitable for so many different diets, from gluten free to paleo to vegan and people with allergies is that its also a good way to use up watermelons that aren't the tastiest. Once you combine it with the rest of the ingredients, it transforms from meh to awesome!

This salad is pretty uniform in color, which makes it a fun surprise since you don't really know what you're eating. One bite may be more tart from the tomatoes and the other a sugary watermelon surprise. Give it a shot, you might fall in love as I did.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Easy, Vegan, Paleo, and Delicious

4 Online Shopping Mistakes that Cost You Money

I love online shopping and find that I end up saving quite a lot this way. Here's some tips from a reader as to how to save money when online shopping, or rather, mistakes to be aware of that can cost you more.

The rise of online shopping has completely changed the way we shop. With a few clicks, we can have pretty much anything delivered straight to our front door without having to lift a finger - more often than not, for a fraction of the price in a shop. Although online shopping is pretty amazing and comes with a whole list of advantages, there are some drawbacks to the way we shop online, and some mistakes that you may fall victim to that can actually cost you money. So how can we avoid this? Take a look at these four online shopping mistakes that may be costing you money.

Making Homemade Ballet Shoe Cake with No Special Equipment

I'm really proud of myself for this cake that I made. My kids had an unbirthday party (meaning I never managed to make them a birthday party this year but still wanted to give them a party) and I decided with my girls that theirs would be ballet themed. As soon as this was decided, I already had an idea in my head as to how I'd be making their cake, and I think these ballet shoes cake came out absolutely adorable.

As you can tell, I'm definitely not a perfectionist when it comes to things like cake making, or in general, but I wanted to share with you how I made this cake so that you can make it too (and make it even more perfect if you want). It didn't take any special equipment or any special ingredients and was all made from scratch. Oh, and it was with all natural food coloring, homemade fondant, and gluten free.

How You Can Start Planning for Your Child's Educational Future from an Early Age

My children are getting older, and their adulthood is getting nearer and nearer. I do think about the future and the financial ramifications thereof. Here's some tips from a reader about how you can start preparing for your children's future.

As a new parent, it’s hard to imagine your child as anything other than that – a child. You’re busy being caught up in all their firsts, relishing in all those special moments of childhood, all while time is marching on and they are getting older each year. I mean, how many times have you heard parents exclaim “they grow up so fast”? Before you know it, they are in high school, preparing for college or university, and their whole future is before them. This is when many parents get that sinking feeling in their gut that they wish they had planned ahead, and found a way to have the money necessary for schooling.

So, even though your child is young right now, and university and college are the furthest thing from your mind, this is actually the best time to start planning for their educational future. Here we’ll take a look at some basic steps that you can use that will help in the planning process.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cooking Ρύζι τηγανητό, Ryzi Tiganito With a Greek Grandmother, Greek Fried Rice Recipe

When I think fried rice, I immediately think of East Asian recipes, Chinese or Japanese, with soy sauce and ginger or garlic, definitely not European, definitely not Greek. But when I was in Crete, staying at my friend Vera's mother's house, her mother Maria was cooking rice that looked interesting and quite different from how I usually make rice. I asked her to teach me how to make Greek rice, and she told me that there are many different types, but she'll teach me to make Fry Rice [sic] (in her heavily Greek accented English) called ryzi tiganito in Greek, spelled Ρύζι τηγανητό in Greek. This fried rice is quite different than any other fried rice I've ever eaten, we made it two different times together, and I've made it again since I got back home, and made sure it worked with our local ingredients.

The recipe originally is with butter, and the first time I made it was with butter and it was amazing, but the second time I tried to see if I can make a vegan version; we made it with olive oil and even though it wasn't traditional, Maria pronounced it perfect, and said she now plans on incorporating it into her repertoire of recipes.

Maria used quite a lot of butter/oil in the recipe when she made it; I significantly reduced it and it came out just as wonderful. but I will admit that it was even better with the larger amount. I've included both amounts in the recipe.
Maria said to use a rice called blue bell or blue bonnet rice, but upon doing research that is just regular medium grained rice. Any will do.

Cooking Ρύζι τηγανητό, Ryzi Tiganito With a Greek Grandmother, Greek Fried Rice Recipe

Help With IVA's in Northern Ireland

Debt is a problem that plagues many of our lives. There are many different solutions to getting out of debt. If you live in Ireland, an IVA might be worthwhile for you. Here's some more info from a reader.

Debt is usually in the form of credit and being in debt is more common than you’d think. A debt isn’t problematic by nature, but once it goes out of hand and you become unable to repay it, it’s bound to cause you some issues. It’s easy to determine if your debt is messing with your financial situation if you keep receiving missing payment letters, borrowing money to keep up with bills, feeling that a creditor is pressuring you, or facing legal action from creditors. Leaving a big debt uncontrolled can make it possible for creditors to legally sue you and even repossess your home. If you have a house with no mortgage or up-to-date mortgage, you’re risking losing the house if you choose not to repay your debt. An IVA is a very popular solution if your debts are over 12,000 pounds with no practical way to repay them. We’ll tell you how you can use an IVA to clear up your debts.

How it Works

Monday, July 8, 2019

Price Wars and My Amazing Shopping Deals

I love price wars. I really, really do. Because stores want to lure you to shop there, they have a lot of loss leaders, and then expect you to buy more expensive things once you're there.

I have a shopping center about a ten minute drive from my house that until now had one large relatively well priced supermarket in it, in addition to the two smaller but also chain supermarkets in my neighborhood, plus a super discount store only open a few days a week and without the largest selection of items.

In that shopping center, though, a new supermarket was opened by a large grocery chain, and oh boy am I reaping the benefits. Forget the fact that lines at the checkout counters are nowhere near as long as they used to be, now we have terrific price wars going on, with both stores trying to compete for you as a customer.

By shopping savvily, you can get some terrific prices.

How to Save Money When You Have Children

There are so many lifestyle blogs out there that give you suggestions on how to save money, that are completely not applicable to families with children. These ideas from a reader are specifically geared towards you, moms and dads, ways that you can save money, taking into account your family needs.

It’s no secret that no matter how much you love them, kids are expensive. Even without children, day to day living can prove to be hugely expensive, but when you have a little one to think about too this can become especially stressful. Of course, you don’t want your child to suffer because you’re trying to save money, and you’ll want them to have everything they need and more. The question is how can you actually save money effectively when you have little ones to take care of? With these top tips, you’ll realise it’s not so difficult, and no one has to miss out because of it.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

My Frugal Greek Vacation, Crete Day 6, Tsikalaria, Souda

My sixth day in Greece... honestly, there's not so much to write about. It was the day after I completed the 14 kilometer Samaria Gorge hike, more than half of it with a sprained ankle and an injured knee. The morning of my hike, the taxi driver bringing me to the gathering point told me not to plan anything for the day after the hike, because I'll be exhausted. And I thought I knew myself better than that, that I was this capable power woman, and don't tell me not to plan anything because I'll be ok and up and running about.

Yea, speaking of that...

My sixth day in Greece was spent nearly entirely in bed, in Vera's mother's house in the town of Tsikalaria, in the Souda (pronounced Sootha) municipality, a few kilometers from Chania.

My whole entire body ached.

See here's the thing. I'm not sure how much it ached simply because it was a strenuous hike, and how much it hurt because of my injury and then using other muscles to compensate for my injured foot during the last 8 kilometers of the hike. Literally the only part of my body that wasn't aching was my face...

I still don't regret doing the hike, though in the future I will follow my advice on how to safely prepare for a hike so I don't have a repeat of last time...

My friend Vera tried to find me a doctor, an orthopedist to look at my foot, but then I called my travelers health insurance and they told me that I couldn't go to a specialist first, first I needed to go to a regular doctor, and then if he refers me to an orthopedist, to go there, and if an orthopedist prescribes crutches, then they would pay for those all, but only in that order.

How to Properly Take Care of the Elderly

Although I'm still quite young, my parents are getting older, and eventually they'll be elderly and need to be taken care of. While that is still some years away for me, here's some tips on how to care for the elderly from a reader, that'll hopefully benefit some other readers.

Image Source: https://images.pexels.com/photos/1877350/pexels-photo-1877350.jpeg
The concept of aging is something that we have to come to terms with at one point of another. The hardest being that many of us will have to watch the closest people to us age before our very eyes. It’s challenging to say the least, and require that we understand what is the proper way to care for the elderly. This will often entail changing your life or making drastic life choices in order to accommodate their comfort and well being. So what are some things that you can do in order to properly take care of someone that is elderly?

Friday, July 5, 2019

Making Banana Flower Salad

On my trip to Greece, most of the food I saw being sold was pretty standard, not things that made me go "huh?" Other than this. This was in Vera's mom's fridge and I had never seen them before. Her mom called it banana hearts, which Vera told me is a banana flower, and that you can use it as a vegetable.

4 Ways A Better Water Faucet Can Lead To a Quicker Home Sale

 Are you looking to sell your home? If you are, you might want to consider replacing your water faucets, as this can help you in the sale of your home. Here's some ideas from a reader as to why.

There are many layers and bits and pieces of what makes a good and quick home sale possible, and some of these points are probably things you’ve never even thought of to be important or at the top of the list in terms of effectiveness for a sale. What we’re going to focus on here is how a better quality water faucet can actually have a big role to play in having a quick and fruitful home sale.

Preparations for a Safe and Successful Hike

I used to go hiking often as a kid and especially as a teenager, but as an adult my hikes in general have been for shorter durations. I'm not the most experienced hiking as an adult when I need to take all the responsibilities for myself. When I hiked last, a 16 kilometer hike, on Monday, I injured myself which wasn't great. But I also learned some valuable lessons about things to do to prepare for a hike. Here's what I learned both this last hike and from previous ones, that I wanted to share with you to help you have as effective of a hike as possible.

Take twice as much water as 'they' say to. Best to have more water and need to carry that extra weight than run out of water in the middle of a hike. Especially if you are hiking during the summer or a place without running water, dehydration is probably one of the most dangerous thing likely to happen to you. The amount of water recommended is for the amount of time they think it'll take you to go, but if any emergency comes up or something that causes it to take longer, the amount of water you need will increase. Don't skimp on the water. It's not worth it. (Speaking from personal experience.)

How to Turn Your Signature Recipe Into Business

Some people are very particular about their recipes, not wanting to share them, guarding them as a close secret. I'm the opposite, I love sharing recipes with people, as you can see from the hundreds of recipes I've shared on this blog so far. But lets say you do have a recipe that everyone raves about, and you are considering turning it into a business. Here's some thoughts from a reader to consider.

You have a signature dish that everyone loves. It has been passed down from generation to generation and every time you whip it out, everybody says you should start selling it.

A lot of people have gone down this route and turned a casual dinner party advice into reality. It may sound romantic, but it is possible to turn a well-loved homemade dish into an effective money making enterprise. Read on to know how to turn your recipe into the perfect business opportunity.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

My Frugal Greek Vacation, Crete Day 5, Samaria Gorge

Yesterday I had quite a day. Originally we'd planned on going to the pink beach in Elafonisi, but because of bad wind, we decided to ditch that. Samaria Gorge is a hike that is really special to Crete, and in fact, is the longest gorge in all of Europe, and has some amazing sights, but we hadn't planned on doing that because Vera isn't physically capable of doing that hike, but she decided to send me on it anyhow without her. And I'm so glad she did, because it was absolutely amazing, stunning, and breathtaking.

However, I chose this picture of a T shirt I saw being sold at the end of the hike to be the header of this post... for reasons you'll see clear further down.

My day started really early with a taxi into the city center, to catch a private bus to Samaria Gorge at 6:10 am.

I intended to sleep along the way, but the view was so breathtaking that I wanted to take it all in.

Healthy Food Choices For Healthy Teeth

I used to have perfect teeth... but as an adult, my teeth have been causing me issues. At first my children had teeth issues, but fortunately they've been improving as of late. I really appreciate these tips from Nancy Evans about how to keep your teeth healthy, via eating well.

Image source
Parenting looks different from home to home. It is not easy and people establish their own way of doing things. Some parents are a little more lenient where food and snacks are concerned. They don't have too many rules about what to eat and what to avoid. Other parents are sticklers when it comes to what their children eat. In these homes, there are set do's and don'ts about what are appropriate snacks and what is being served for meals. Then there are those homes in between; a little of this and a little of that is fine.

Whatever rules you have in your home about food, one thing is certain: there are certain types of foods that are good for your child and their teeth, and there are foods that are not. Choose carefully which foods your child eats, as the wrong ones can cause a lot of tooth decay. Also, make sure they are getting to the dentist for their checkups. Make sure you have a dentist that offers complete dental care such as Canyon Crest Dental.

This article will discuss some of the good and bad foods where teeth are concerned. Let's begin with the good.

Foods Good For Teeth

Sunday, June 30, 2019

My Frugal Greek Vacation, Crete Day 4, Chania

Today just finished my fourth day in my Cretan Greek vacation. One thing I'm absolutely loving about Greece is how laid back everything is here. Today, after a relatively late night in town last night, we slept in and had a pretty chilled out morning.

We, Vera, her friend Mariana, and I then headed into town to do a little self guided walking tour...

The first thing we saw was this memorial of a crashed ship...

And it was right near the sea.

Fun, Affordable ‘Camping Style’ Activities for Summer 2019

I went to sleep away camp when I was in middle school, but unfortunately its not something in the books for my kids because of finances... Therefore, I loved these ideas from Jenny on how to give your kids the feel of sleep away camp, without the expense.

Image source
When summer time rolls around, many American parents choose summer camp breaks, which can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 per week. Parents in households relying on one income while homeschooling kids can find that accessing this amount of money for two or even three children every summer can be impossible. At the very least, they can put a big dent in their savings plan. If you have lively kids who would love to take part in camping-style activities and you want to ensure they don’t miss out, why not take the funnest camp activities and replicate them at home, with the help of your children’s friends?

Making the Most of the Natural Sites Around You

My Frugal Greek Vacation -- Crete Day 2 and 3, Chania

My second and third day of my Cretan vacation have been so wonderful, but been busy, so I've combined them into one post.

The one thing that I can say about the city Chania is that it literally exudes charm. 

Every place has been more picturesque...

Safety Practices When Doing Winter Activities

While it is very much summer where I am, on the other side of the globe it is currently winter... so if you want to go out and do some winter activities, here's some tips from a reader as to how to keep safe.

IMAGE SOURCE: https://unsplash.com/photos/oh-Vw6UIYxI

Winter sports are fun, but they can also be dangerous. Icy trails increase the chance of a bad fall, and that beautiful snowstorm can reduce visibility. Take extra caution during winter activities to make sure your entire family stays warm, dry, and safe.

Dress for the Weather
A good winter outfit will keep you warm during strenuous physical activities. Dress in layers to plan for the coldest possible scenario. If the weather warms up or if the activity causes you to sweat, remove the outer layer to reduce heat and prevent your clothes from getting wet.

  • Start with a thin layer of moisture-wicking material nearest to the skin. This will help absorb sweat and keep you dry while you exercise. Most athletic clothes fit this description.
  • The next layer is for insulation. Wear soft, padded clothes like wool sweaters or flannels. Use an amount of insulation appropriate to the weather and activity.
  • The outer layer should be waterproof. Winter coats and windbreakers will keep moisture out of your absorbent insulation layer.
  • Finally, remember to wear a hat and gloves. Use warm but breathable material; if your coat has a hood, find a cap that will fit underneath it.

Friday, June 28, 2019

My Frugal Greek Vacation -- Crete, Day 1, Chania

I am running on fumes, because I got fewer than 4 hours of sleep over the past 24 hours, but I wanted to get this post up already, because I know many people are anxious to hear about my trip. As soon as I finish this, then I'll go to bed.

I had an early morning flight to Greece, so I slept in the airport, but didn't get many hours of sleep. Once we arrived in Heraklion airport, I had arranged with my hostess, Vera, to take the bus to Chania, the city where she lived, and it was quite easy. Everyone I met spoke English and was happy to direct me. I first took one bus to the city center, for 1.2 Euros, then took another bus from the bus station to Chania, that cost 15.1 Euros.

Everyone I met was so sweet, and I met lots of jokesters and people who loved to laugh.

The bus ride was quite scenic....

Quick and Affordable Fast Food Favorites at Home!

I love making homemade equivalent of restaurant dishes. Here's some recipes that fall into that category, sent to me by a reader. Hopefully you'll like them too!

We’re going to keep this short and sweet – here's a curated list of easy at-home family meals that will please everyone!

While bringing these recipes together we’ve taken quite a few things into consideration, including: cost, quantity, kid favorites, and accessibility. Each recipe is relatively easy to put together, geared toward the use of leftovers, and can be tailored to fit your personal preferences!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Frugal Shopping using Technology: Welcome to the Modern Era

I was talking to my best friend, Michelle, yesterday, and she was telling me about these new tricks she was doing to grocery shop frugally, while also saving time and energy. It fascinated me so much that I asked her to share this post with you, and she obliged. This is not sponsored in any way, neither of us get kickbacks. I just thought this was so fascinating and wanted to share it with you.

Frugal? Technology? The two don’t usually go together. But there are some slightly money saving techniques using tech that I utilize. I’m a busy full time working mom of two and my time is possibly even more valuable than savings. But I still have to keep the grocery bills down. Some things that I do may or may not work for you, and are definitely not as frugal as going to the open air market and getting stuff for free, but if you need a slight edge to the game and need to save time AND money, you have to strike a good balance between the two. This is about how to not go to any store, and save money anyway. This is also excellent for people who don't have a car. Cause you don’t have to leave your house.

How Frugal Can You Be About Owning a Car?

I don't own a car, but I know that for some people, having one is a necessity. Here's some tips from a reader on how to be frugal with your car.

Living a life of frugality comes with many fantastic financial benefits, but there are a couple of things in life that many people don’t naturally associate with frugality. For example, car ownership is seen as somewhat of a luxury especially when the frugal travel option is typically riding a bicycle or even walking. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that absolutely need access to a vehicle because it makes their life a lot easier. Thankfully, there are ways to still own a car and continue being frugal, and in this article, we’re going to offer you some fantastic advice on how you can do just that.


Should You Use Diamond CBD Oil?

CBD oil
If you've been living in the 21st century, you've probably heard of CBD oil, but you might not know much about it, such as what exactly it is, why people use it, what it is good for.

I first heard about CBD oil a few years ago. My friend's son, who I'd known as a healthy child, suddenly took a bad turn and ended up in the hospital with seizure after seizure. His childhood was essentially on hold, because his seizures were so frequent that he wasn't able to function. The hospital tried giving him so many different medications, but none actually worked for him. And that's when his mom discovered CBD oil. By giving her son regular doses, his seizures stopped, and he was able to have a normal childhood again.
If it sounds like a miracle drug, it pretty much is.
And for good reason.
CBD oil is a very effective treatment for epilepsy, but that is just one of its many benefits.

But what exactly is CBD, where does it come from, and does it get you high?

Preparations Before Traveling Abroad, a Checklist

I'm on my way to the airport now, and tomorrow early morning I'm on my way to Crete, Greece. My amazing friend Vera, who is visiting her mom there from New Zealand, paid for me to fly there and get this much needed vacation, not to mention hosting me for an entire week. It has been a long time since I've traveled, a whole year since I went to Romania with my oldest son Lee, and even longer since I last traveled on my own. This is the first time that I'm going abroad (or on vacation at all, for that matter) since becoming a single mom, and since getting a dog, and because of that, this is a whole new thing for me and I've felt completely out of the loop, like I'm forgetting some huge things... For that reason I wanted to make this post for others who also may be traveling for the first time (in a while or in a new situation) and want to make sure they got everything done.

So here's my check list /to do list that you should review before leaving on your trip.

5 Basic Maintenance Tips for Your Air Conditioning Unit

I didn't grow up with air conditioning in my home. And then I moved abroad and got married and we still didn't have AC in our homes. Finally our current home does have AC units, but I'll admit I am clueless when it comes to maintenance of them (I did figure out how to clean the filter though!) so I really appreciate this post sent in from a reader about how to take care of my units.

Air-conditioner's coils, filters and fins need regular cleaning and maintenance in order to function efficiently throughout its period of service. Neglecting basic maintenance practices usually result in a steady decline in both the effectiveness and efficiency of the air conditioning unit. There are a couple of things that you can do to prevent damage or unnecessary expenses which you can actually do by yourself.

IMAGE SOURCE; https://unsplash.com/photos/f1f-FQj0k0U
When carrying out maintenance tasks, ensure you understand what you can and can't handle. If you are not well conversant with parts of the system, it's always advisable you hire an expert to do the maintenance work for you. It's obvious you are carrying out maintenance to help your unit operate for long, but improper handling can cause serious problems too. Below are a few DIY tips that will better your air conditioning unit.

Clean air filters regularly

Monday, June 24, 2019

Quinoa and Beet Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe -- Vegan, Easy, and Delicious

I mentioned in a different post how there's this restaurant that I like to sit at and work sometimes, and one of the few things on their menu that I can eat is this salad. I previously shared the recipe for one of its components, sweet and sour quick pickled beets, which has gotten wonderful reviews from people who tried them out.
I had guests this weekend, and one of the things I served for dinner was this quinoa salad. Their response was "I've never liked quinoa before but this is delicious" and "Can I have seconds?" What is especially nice about it is it is super easy to make, pretty frugal too, and looks fancy. Win win situation for all.

This recipe is vegan and gluten free, and somewhat allergy friendly (as long as you aren't allergic to sesame or nuts). I highly recommend it.

I've given instructions for one serving of this salad, but the exact proportions are really not important, and you can play around with it and make a much larger dish just by increasing amounts of each item.

Quinoa and Beet Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe -- Vegan, Easy, and Delicious

Fun Labels Are Here

I remember when I went to sleep away camp as a child we needed to put name tags in everything, and I remember ordering something through the mail, but it was the days before the internet so we didn't really have much choices and what arrived was really bad quality. Today though, there's so many more options for labeling things. Here's some more, from Nancy Evans. 

Personalizing your child's things has come so far. Do you remember the days growing up of carrying your lunchbox with your name scribbled across the top? The dull Sharpie marker could only do so much, and if someone had bad handwriting, it made personalized items look even worse. These days there are better ways to personalize and make labels last so items don't get lost. They can also look nice at the same time.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Saving Money on Bras

Sorry gentlemen, this post is just for the ladies.

I've written before about how important a properly fitting bra is, and I've gotten specifically fitted to get a bra that fits me well. But I've gained weight and my weight redistributed itself a lot and it got to the point where my bras were all really, really painful on me. But it is so hard as a single mom to justify spending more money on yourself, and though I had budgeted the money for it, I still couldn't bring myself to buy new bras, because it felt frivolous.

Eventually, though, someone knocked some sense into me and told me that I deserved to not be in pain from my undergarments, so I went to the one store locally that I know does a good job fitting for bras.

4 tips to help you (both) survive sleep regressions.

My youngest is five, and I'll admit, still doesn't sleep through the night. But at least she only wakes up once, which is so much better than when my kids were babies. I remember how difficult all the middle of the night wakings were. If your kids are still at that stage, here's some tips from a reader to help you survive.

Surviving Sleep Regressions - For you and your Little One

Is your 3-month-old suddenly waking up more frequently? Or going back to old sleeping patterns after they were just starting to sleep well?

Sleep regressions are quite common, but still something that most parents of 3-4-month-old babies dread.

Luckily, there are ways to overcome these irregular sleep patterns and ensure that both your baby and you get a good night's sleep.

Step 1: Create A Comfortable Sleep Environment For your Baby

Your baby needs a quiet and dark room to cultivate a healthy sleeping habit. Make sure your baby's room is adequately sound-proofed so household noises and outdoor disturbances don’t get in the way of sleep. Using white noise can also help drown out any unsettling noises.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

How to Naturally Treat Cherry Eye in Your Dog (Vet Approved)

My dog, Snickers, (who yes, is back home safe and sound, if you missed my previous updates) is generally a healthy dog with no problems at all. But a few days ago my son noticed that her left eye was quite pink and swollen looking, and because of it there was mucus coming out of it.

I assumed she had a dog version of pink eye, or conjunctivitis, so my first step was to put colloidal silver drops on it, as they're antibacterial and antifungal and they're a super quick and easy treatment for treating pink eye in humans.

But though I put on the drops a few times, it didn't heal and still was pink and swollen and looked yucky. Tonight, therefore, I sent a picture to our amazing vet (available even late at night and for home visits in emergencies) and he told me that it was cherry eye, and to google it a bit.

4 Ways To Potentially Get Out Of That Traffic Ticket

Sometimes I think about getting a car... but then I realize that one of those things I get to enjoy by not having a car is a lack of traffic tickets. If you do have a car and this is an issue for you, it can get to be quite pricey. Here's some suggestions sent to me as to how to get out of your traffic ticket.

Image source
Getting a traffic ticket is definitely not on anyone’s daily to-do list and can put a dent in your budget. Even if you are an excellent driver, the chances of breaking even the most minor traffic law are not unthinkable. It could be not using your turn signal, or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. It can happen to anyone.

Either way you slice it, getting a ticket is not a fun experience and can be quite costly. For example, a speeding ticket in New York can be as little as $100, or cost in excess of $600. Not affordable!

The good news is that there are a few ways you can make a traffic infraction simply disappear. It takes a bit of know-how and persistence, but definitely achievable. Even if you gave the money to pay a ticket, it’s best to keep it off your driving record and insurance policy.

The following four ways to get out of a traffic ticket can serve as your quick guide. Let’s dive in!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

How to Make Authentic Sun Dried Tomatoes

Last week I wrote about making fruit leather dried in the sun, and about my attempts to make sun dried tomatoes that way, and since I just brought them inside today, I wanted to share my experience with you.

The more I do this, the more I'm fascinated by how easy and simple it is. Making sun dried tomatoes is even quicker than making fruit leather. Anything you want to dehydrate can be dehydrated in the sun. I mean, this is the oldest method of food preservation that there is out there, and it wasn't one that was done with any fancy equipment.
Which means its perfect for the frugalista who doesn't want to buy fancy things.
(I'm thinking now, though, if I wanted to make jerky, if I could still dry it this way. Or if animals would come and eat it. Or if it would spoil before it could become dry. How did people do this in the past?)

So how did I do it?

Avoiding Allergies on Vacation

Fortunately my family doesn't deal with bad allergies (other than Mike) so these aren't such issues for myself, but for those that do, these tips for dealing with allergies on vacation that a reader sent to me will hopefully help you out.

Five tips on avoiding allergies if you plan to go on a long drive and vacation with your family

If your immune system is hypersensitive to natural substances in the environment, chances are you have a relationship with allergies which you are not very fond of. This thorny relationship can blossom arbitrarily at any time and place and without warning. Every season brings with itself its own set of allergies, and allergies can also result from widely present natural substances in our environment. A substance that is totally harmless for some can turn out to be a nuisance for those whose immune systems are sensitive to those particular substances. These substances include pollen, dust, mould, fungus and animal hair.

My Latest Goodies from the Clothes and Houseware Share

I'm teaching a private foraging and cooking class this Thursday to a group of nature minded tourists coming to visit my country. I've gotten good enough at identifying and teaching about edible wild plants that I am able to just go to an area, even if its an area I've never been to before, and teach a class there and cover so many different edible plants. However, when it comes to my foraging and and cooking classes, because what is available changes from season to season and year to year, before I teach a class that entails a portion in which we cook plants that we forage together, I first go check which plants are growing then, so I can plan our menu accordingly.

On Monday I went to check out the location where I intended to do my foraging class on Thursday, and after finding wonderful amounts of amaranth and dock, which I can use as the bulk of my greens with which to prepare our meal, I realized I had a decent chunk of extra time before my next appointment, so I called the lovely woman who runs the clothes and houseware share in the neighborhood there and popped in for a visit.

I'm never disappointed when I go there, as the place is bursting with wonderful goodies, all free, all that people got rid of because they were decluttering. This time, though I had only 30 minutes in which to peruse, I still came home with wonderful goodies. More time would have yielded me even more wonderful things, only I didn't come with my usual collapsible wagon that I bring when I tend to bring home lots of things, so this really was the limit of how many things I could take with me.

How to Throw an Awesome Corporate Party on a Budget

I love throwing a good party, and love doing fun DIY things. But when throwing a corporate event, parties need to be at a higher caliber, and one might think they aren't able to do that themselves, let alone cheaply. Here's some ideas from a reader on how you can still throw an awesome corporate party on a budget.

If you’ve ever been tasked with the job of planning and coordinating a corporate party, then you know how hard it can be to please everyone involved. It takes time and patience to plan corporate events, and while a big budget usually translates into a slightly more lavish function, it isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money to ensure your guests have a good time.

Think about the key components of a corporate event. You’ve got the venue, food, entertainment, guest speakers, party favours, and decorations. The size of your group will have a major influence on how and where you spend your money, and there you can always find cost-effective ways to throw a great party.

You could hire an entertaining company for the budget conscious and plan your even far in advance in order to get the best rates on rentals, catering, etc. Want to know how else you can throw an amazing corporate event while keeping cost in mind? Read on.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Using the Sun to Dehydrate Fruit Leather

It's been hot lately. Like really hot. Like people were joking that the weather had a fever and needed to see a doctor, because the temperature was above what a human body's fever would feel like, hot. We've been roasting. And complaining. And thanking the makers of air conditioners every single day.
Fortunately the temperature the past few days has at least been slightly more tolerable, even though its still hot.

I saw my friend Jessica post on Facebook about dehydrating fruit leather in the sun, and I thought it was a really cool idea, because if we're going to suffer from the heat of the sun, let's at least try to benefit from it as well, no?

3 sure-fire ways to maximise your income

Saving money is great, but even better is if you can manage to increase your money. If you need some ideas how, here's some suggestions from a reader.

There a ton of quick, easy ways to manage your money correctly, including cutting costs on weekly shopping by choosing where’s cheapest for each item, spending less on takeaways and cooking more meals at home, and even looking at ways to cut your energy bills, such as putting lights and heating on timers, and investing in a smart meter.

And yet, despite this, it does often feel like we could be doing more with the money we make. For those interested in perhaps making a little bit extra on top of their current salary, here are some ideas to think about for investing both your time and money to optimise your income.

Utilising your home
It might seem strange, but taking a look around at what you have in the home is a good place to start. Selling your second-hand gadgets, appliances and alike has never been easier, with sites like eBay and Facebook’s new marketplace feature. Mobile phone recycling is an easy and efficient process, so see if you’ve got any lying about in the drawers.

For parents, de-cluttering your child’s room can again be beneficial, and a good learning experience for the young ones. Studies have shown that children with fewer toys are likely to think more creatively, so it’s worth doing, so long as you aren’t selling-on their favourites!

Got a hobby or craft that you like to do in your spare time? Why not see if there are any ways to monetise your creations? If you have the materials and equipment set up, sites like Esty allow you your own market stall online, selling anything from jewellery to replica medieval weaponry.

Investing your money

Have a portion of disposable income that you’re wondering what to do with? Putting that money into an investment could be a smart, long-term way of transforming your current earnings into something greater. Making a stock market investment is as simple as it has ever been, as with smartphone integration, your purchases and forecasts are only a finger tap away.

  • Remember: Investment is clearly not without its risks. The cliché saying  may sound like something you’d find on a fridge magnet, but it’s true, and you should invest in something you feel comfortable with.

Thinking of putting some funds away for your children, perhaps to help them with study fees or later life? A long-term savings plan would be an investment they will surely thank you for, and passing on the lesson of saving is also a great way to teach your child a real-world skill. It may seem trivial, but presenting your child with a Piggy Bank is also a great learning experience that will teach them about saving for themselves.

Property investment, for those with the initial money to spend, can also prove to be a lucrative venture. Admittedly there is a higher barrier to entry that for those just wanting to make a little bit more each month, but with burgeoning markets in a variety of areas, becoming a landlord is an exciting prospect.

Off-plan investment, the practice of purchasing a property whilst it’s still in planning stages, is also an interesting way of getting early-bird access to emerging areas that are promising, but still in their infancy. Companies such as RW Invest employ VR technology that gives investors from far-and-wide the opportunity to get a more accurate view on what their property will look like, thus resulting in a more well-rounded and informed decision.

Working for an additional wage

Again, using your existing skills and talents in the online sphere is a great way of making a bit of extra money from the comfort of your own home. Online surveys, market research and freelancing can earn you a modest amount without compromising your current work hours too much. If you have a knack for graphic design or video editing, sites like Fiverr are excellent for putting yourself out there to help on others’ projects.

If you fancy getting out of the house, flexible secondary jobs as delivery drivers for services like UberEATS and Deliveroo can be a good secondary option, especially if you live in an area where those services are popular, such as a bustling city.

See my disclaimer.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Foraging Wild Amaranth; Wild Edible Green and Pseudo Grain

I really love when there's a plant that I forage and can write about that literally grows around the world. It makes me feel really connected to people around the world and in various cultures, despite our differences. Today's plant that I wanted to talk about, slender amaranth, is exactly one of those. I saw a map about its worldwide distribution and it shows that amaranth grows in every place on the globe other than the extreme north and south parts of it. Not surprisingly, its used as a staple crop in many parts of the world.

I've written before about local foraging, and how some plants are super well known among the native foragers here, such as purslane, wood sorrel, mallow, and mustard, and yet there are other plants like black nightshade, cactus paddles, and amaranth that no one local seems to forage for whatever reason. For years I knew how to identify one of the varieties of amaranth that grows around me, but until I finally met someone locally who foraged it, a family of immigrants from Mexico who called it quintonille, I was hesitant to try it. Finally I got over my hesitation and amaranth has been a regular part of my summer foraging.

Where I live it doesn't rain in the summer, so foraging can be a little bit harder, because not so many things are growing in the dryness. Fortunately, over time I've discovered plenty of summer forageables, from amaranth to lambsquarters to cactus paddles to black nightshade and purslane and much more. Amaranth is one of those plants I can find year round, but locally it seems to grow to its full capacity in the summer.

There's posts on this blog in which I've talked about foraging amaranth before, I've included recipes using amaranth before, but I've never actually written about on how to identify it and use it, and figured that its now time to rectify that.

Going To University: Healthy Body And Healthy Mind

I love my smartphone; while I thought I managed just fine without one in the past, now that I have one I couldn't imagine what I'd do without one. The apps on it make my life so much better. I have to say that my favorite apps, other than social media ones are the ones for journaling, and the ones used in conjunction with therapy.

One type of modern tech that everyone seems to be making the most of today is the app. There are so many different apps available nowadays for people to download. There is quite literally something for everyone due to the sheer number of applications available on different smartphones. Just a few of the different types of apps featured on such phones include; social networking apps, note-taking apps, spiritual apps, shopping apps, video and image editing apps, weather apps and mapping apps. All of these apps can be beneficial when going to university.

Image source
In this blog post, we are going to take a look at how you can maintain a healthy mind and body at university by revealing some of the best fitness apps and spiritual apps.

Nevertheless, before delving into the exciting part it is, of course, crucial to ensure that you have a high-speed internet connection if they are going to download and utilize their apps to the optimum level. You will also need a good and cost-effective SIM deal, which https://www.smarty.co.uk/ provides for students specifically. After all, most students don’t have much money to spare while at university.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I Have Mental Illnesses And I'm Not Ashamed

I am mentally ill. In my local language, the term used unfortunately translates to "sickness of the soul." I prefer the term "having mental illness" or rather, in my case, having mental illnesses, because I have more than one. 5 diagnosed ones, to be precise, not counting my diagnosis of ADHD which I personally consider more neurodivergence than mental illness.

You might ask why would I publicly write such a thing? Why would I taint myself like that especially in such a public forum while I'm going through divorce? Why shoot myself in the foot like that?

I'm doing it because by doing so, I'm publicly calling out those that tell me that it is something to be ashamed of, that those strings of letters attached to my name are but another scarlet A for adultress emblazoned on my chest. That these multiple diagnoses, the way my brain ticks, are a moral failing of mine, a flaw in my essence.

How Natural Gas Help You Save Money

We all want to lower our utilities bills, but how do we do it? A long time reader gives a good suggestion: switch to natural gas. Is it cheaper? This post explores how it is. Fascinating.

In the world of today, the cost of living is ever-rising, and one of the most annoying recurrent expenses happens to be electricity. Without proper caution, energy bills can turn out to be a pain in the back, especially if you’re a big family. But thanks to advancements in technology, you can actually keep your energy bills low without affecting the comfort and functionality of your home.

Among the many energy alternatives available, natural gas is arguably one of the most affordable fuel sources, especially used in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 60% of homes in the United States use natural gas as their primary heating source. This is mostly due to the many advantages of natural gas, including the fact that it is a cleaner energy source compared to other fossil fuels such as coal. But in a nutshell, what is natural gas and how can it help you save money?

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