Friday, December 13, 2019

Getting Ready To Ski in Bulgaria- Day 3 Part 1

Skiing. I love it. I love winter, to be honest, love the snow, and all winter sports that I've tried. Growing up, I went skiing a few times, and got pretty good at it pretty quickly. The first time I skied, I started off on the beginner slope, then went to level 1 and then level 2 slopes all in one day (with level 3 being the highest). Then I went skiing with a youth group again. But then didn't ski for years, until 2 years ago, when I went skiing with some family members for one day in my country.

When I bought tickets to Bulgaria with my family, I looked into what Bulgarian tourism is well known for, I found out that skiing is a common reason why people visit the country. (That and casinos.) That definitely piqued my interest, because skiing! But our visit was planned from December 9 to 16, and I could not find out if that was late enough in the season for there to be skiing.

I asked my kids if they'd be interested in skiing while in Bulgaria, and they all were.

Are Frozen Donor Eggs the Affordable Infertility Treatment You Need?

As someone who always wanted children, I know I am blessed that I had four kids already at a young age, no infertility issues, no miscarriages, etc... But I know for many people, including many of my friends this doesn't happen nearly as easily, and infertility treatments can cause tremendous amounts of financial stress. A reader sent in this post, with information about a specific type of fertility treatment, that may be more affordable if you're looking to conceive. 

For many of us, our parents taught us the value of a dollar at a young age. They explained how to save our money and why we should do it: cars, homes, or “a rainy day” as the adage goes. However, all the money-saving strategies in the world can’t prepare most people for the cost of infertility treatment.

When you’re desperate to have a child, it can feel shameful to even think about the financial aspect. Unfortunately, possible treatments can be expensive and aren’t usually covered by insurance.
If you’re looking for the most reliable and affordable treatment, your best bet could be frozen donor egg IVF.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Day 2 of Our Family Trip in Bulgaria -- Lots and Lots of Fun

When I wrote up about my first day in Bulgaria with my kids, I mentioned how many things went not as planned, and how I learned my lesson about needing to tailor my trip to my kids taste and needs and be extremely, extremely flexible. I must admit that in the past, when I saw people taking their kids on trips abroad and then taking them to places like the zoo while there, I didn't see the point at all, since you could go to the zoo locally, and isn't the whole point of traveling to see new and different things?

However, I'm learning that my kids like the experience of going abroad, and even going to supermarkets and walking around is enough exploring of other places, but they would almost rather do things that are geared to kids, even if they aren't unique to those places.

So today, I did that. Friends recommended that I look into fun for the kids, even if its not location specific, because things are so cheap here that I can do them for a fraction of the price as back home.

The first thing we did this morning, after getting up and out early before we had to start paying for parking near our AirBnB was filling the phone plan on my son's phone so we'd be able to pay for parking via SMS in the paid parking areas.

Then we tried to go ice skating. Locally its hard to find ice skating, and when you can, it is very expensive. So why not here? Only the place we went to try and visit wasn't open until later on in December, so that was a bummer.

Flexibility, flexibility.

Moving To London? Here Are Some Ways To Live Cheap In London

I loved my visit to London, it was amazing. Here's a post from reader Tom about how to live in London on a budget, but to be honest, most of these tips also apply to those visiting. Hope you like these tips.

Living in London is a dream, but it comes with a price and a very expensive one at that. We all know that London is probably one of the most expensive cities and building a life without a strong financial job can be very difficult. Even if you have landed a job in London, it’s important to live on a budget during the initial months until you save enough money for future luxuries. And if your salary scale is less than the average amount paid in London, it is necessary to skimp on money until you get a higher paying job.

To ease your stress, we have a few suggestions on how to live cheaply in London while moving.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Day 1 in Bulgaria with My Family- A Day Full of Lessons

Today was... a day full of lessons. All sorts of lessons. About interesting things and frustrated things, and while I would love to say it was an amazing, tremendous, stupendous day, to be honest, more than anything today I felt frustration. However, out of all that frustration came lessons, and with those lessons hopefully ideas on how to improve things for the future.

The lesson that started the day was about Bulgarian parking... which I must say, is quite ridiculous.

Last night as I got my rental car from the company, I asked them what the parking rules were. They told me that there were green zones and blue zones that cost money, and other places were free. Locally, we have something like that also. Blue and white striped curbs is for pay, and red and white striped is illegal to park, and non marked are free.

So last night when I pulled up to where we were staying, I saw many cars parked, and grey and white striped poles, so figured that it was fine to park there.

Only this morning, when I got out, there was this boot on my car. Ha. Guess I couldn't park there after all?

6 Tips to Get a Car Loan with Poor Credit

I actually have no credit in America. (It's something I'm working on.) So if I'd wanted to get myself a car but didn't have the cash, I would probably have difficulty getting a loan. Fortunately, here's some tips from reader Jim on how to manage if you're in such a situation.

Driving your own car is by far one of the most convenient modes of transportation. However, getting a car loan with a poor credit standing may prove to be a challenging feat. Nevertheless, here are some tips to help you get your dream car, even with a poor credit.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Arrived in Bulgaria... At Long Last!

Today was quite a long day, I must say.

Last night, I stayed up relatively late getting last minute packing and preparation done for our family's trip to Bulgaria, and this morning we all were out the door and on the bus at 6:30.

To get to our destination, we had many legs of our journey, as there was no direct bus to where we needed to go.

First we took a bus to the nearest city, from where we were to catch a bus to another big city, and from there, catch a 3 hour bus ride to the airport.

How to Seamlessly Make the Move to Canada

As an American expat, I've often wondered if I wanted to stay living where I am now, or maybe move somewhere else. Friends of mine have talked about emigrating to Canada, because of how awesome it is. For those of you who are considering a move to Canada, here's some tips from a reader on how you'd go about doing that.

America’s neighbor to the north features both big cities like Vancouver and Toronto, remote areas like the Yukon Province, the French-speaking province of Quebec and the breathtaking oceanfront regions of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Indeed, individuals and families interested in moving to Canada have many choices when it comes to deciding where they want to live. However, those wanting to establish permanent residency in Canada or become full-fledged Canadian citizens must follow a basic set of rules and guidelines.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Facing Fatherhood For The First Time

Though most of my readership is female, I know there are definitely some men reading this too! If you're becoming a father soon, here's some tips for you from reader George to help with your transition.

Having your first baby will change your life forever. Fathers expect to have wonderful moments with their first newborn child, but they should be prepared for equally terrifying ones, too. The good news is, with emotional support and proper planning, you can manage this life-changing event with your partner.

Easy One Pot Baked Chicken and Rice Dish Recipe, Stuffing Inspired, Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly

Ever have a time where you have to feed your family, want it to be a nice well rounded meal with protein, carbs, and veggies, but you simply don't have time to be making many different things at once? That's when one pot meals come into play, but the best type of one pot meal is the kind that you throw together in minutes, and then toss into the oven, only to forget about it until its cooked.

I have made chicken and rice baked together in the oven, but the recipes I made had soup mix in it, something I'd prefer to avoid, and they also didn't have any vegetables in them, so they weren't completely a one pot full meal. This version, inspired by the flavors of stuffing, or traditional Southern dressing, was one I recently made. I placed the vegetables in sections, so that way my picky kids wouldn't complain. One section for the carrots, one for the zucchini, and one for the celery. But feel free to mix them all together if you aren't dealing with picky kids like I am.
Unlike other times I've made such a dish, because of the vegetables the chicken wasn't buried in the rice, so it stayed on top and was crispy, and it was the best version of this type of dish I ever had.

That said, my kids weren't huge fans of the sage, and I tried to do a short cut and skip peeling the carrots for this recipe, so that added a bit of bitterness that otherwise would have not been there.
Next time, because of my kids preferences, I plan on playing around with the spices and veggies- I'm thinking green beans, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. But this version is definitely great.

Easy One Pot Baked Chicken and Rice Dish Recipe, Stuffing Inspired, Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Memorable Places to Visit in the US

I talk a lot about the traveling I do and how I travel cheaply to different countries, usually using Skyscanner, and in fact, I'm leaving on a trip abroad in two days. People who live in the US sometimes get envious of my traveling, because international travel can be expensive from the US. I was asked to write a post about travel in the US, so put together a list of memorable places my family visited on trips to the US.

If you're an American citizen, depending on where you live in the US, these trips are usually doable at a relatively low budget, either through budget airlines, or via car trips, or a combination of the two. If you're a non American, you might need to apply for and get a visa to visit, but if you're from one of the countries that are part of America's visa waiver program, you can circumvent that process and file an ESTA application, applying for a Electronic System for Travel Authorization which will allow you to visit the US for work or for pleasure for up to 90 days visa free.

Growing up, my family went on lots of trips. I would say we were relatively well traveled. But I'd never been to any country other than the country where I live now and Canada. However, we did a decent amount of touring within my country. Much of them were via road trips from North East Ohio, but again, some we flew to and then rented a car there. These places are all really amazing, and if you can have a chance to visit them, definitely do it. Some of these I was quite young when we were there, but they stuck out in my mind.

5 Reasons to Start Making Pizzas at Home

Pizza is one of my kids' favorite foods, and honestly, its many people's favorite foods, for good reasons. However, once you factor in the price of ordering multiple pies of pizza, especially for those with larger families, it can be quite pricey. However, no reason not to make it at home! Here's some reasons why making pizza at home is a great idea, from a reader.

Pizza is one of the ultimate family foods. It's great for sharing, and the options for toppings are almost limitless (though some people take this much, much too far). Also, it's just so easy. You can order it as a takeaway or you can help yourself straight from the freezer after a long day, and it's always a crowd-pleaser with the kids.

Even though it's temping to order from the place down the street, it can be even more enjoyable to make pizza at home. It's worth that little extra effort for 5 reasons.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Frugal Accomplishments This Week

Every week when I write up my frugal accomplishements for the week I say "Oh I didn't do anything frugal this week, my list is skimpy" and then I actually write it up and see how long it is.

But this week, it really is quite a sorry looking list. My week was busy and I didn't have time to do many frugal things. Or the few frugal things that I did took up much of my time. Namely the Ikea building.

Here are the few frugal things I did do:

Alternative Baby Shower Ideas for Your Favorite Mom-to-Be

Are any of your friends or relatives expecting babies, and you're involved in planning their baby shower? Here are some ideas from a reader for less typical baby shower. Hope you like them!

Having a baby is a wonderful time for any expectant parent, but it can also be hectic. Not only do you have to go about your everyday life as before, but you also have to get ready for an entirely new person to come into your life, heart, and home. Things will never be the same again.

In most cases, an expectant mother will also be expected to throw a baby shower (or ask a friend to do it for her). These can range from a small gathering of close friends to a huge elaborate party. Now, baby showers are great, but some moms-to-be aren't as keen on the idea. Fortunately, in recent years, many 'alternative' baby showers have exploded in popularity, so there are a lot of ideas out there if a game of ‘guess what’s in the diaper’ is firmly off the table.

Delicious Scalloped Potatoes Recipe, Vegan, Paleo, and Gluten Free

Scalloped potatoes, also known as potato gratin or au gratin potatoes, or even potato bake, depending on where in the world you're from, are absolutely delicious. But if you don't eat dairy or gluten, whether because of allergies, or veganism, or because you're on the paleo diet, you might assume that this potato dish, generally made with milk, cheese, and flour, is off limits to you.

But not to worry, I've figured out how to make this delightful dish without any of those off limits ingredients, totally vegan and paleo friendly (if making paleo use the non soy or corn options listed), but tasting just as spectacular.

Note: If you are purchasing non-dairy milk from the supermarket make sure that it is completely "unsweetened" and not "lightly sweetened" or it will mess with your final dish.

This is a great dish to serve any time, whether with a casual meal or a festive one; it can be dressed up or down.

If you're a potato fan, I highly, highly recommend this one.

Delicious Scalloped Potatoes Recipe, Vegan, Paleo, and Gluten Free

Tips For Your First Nights With Your Newborn

My first son was born over 12 years ago, and I remember how amazing and new and strange those first few days with him were. Though I had experience with children, babysitting, etc... having my own child to take care of completely on my own was a little intimidating. For those of you currently at that stage of life, expecting your first, here's some tips from reader Allen West for your first few nights together as a family. 

There’s nothing on this earth more precious than a newborn baby. They’re the absolute epitome of love and innocence incarnate. It’s important, during the first few days, to establish that connection with the baby as a new parent. If you’re bringing home a new child, you have to safeguard that experience with everything you’ve got. While you may think at first that it’s a difficult and frustrating experience, it’s actually the exact opposite. It’s peaceful and beautiful. It’s the strongest connection one can feel with another human being. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind, especially if you live in a place with lots of stimulation around.

Here are some good tips for your first few nights with the newborn.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Sneak Preview of the Kids' Sensory Room Bedroom

I recently wrote about my plans to turn my kids' room into a sensory heaven that would meet my daughter's unique needs because of her autism and sensory issues.

Though the room is still in progress, since not everything has arrived, I already am seeing what a tremendous difference it is making so far.

Therefore, I wanted to give you a little sneak peek, instead of waiting until it was all ready and perfect.

The (Affordable) Price to Pay on Studying at an International School

I recently taught a foraging class to a group from our local international school, and then I learned more about international schools, something I really am very unfamiliar with. So here's some thoughts on how to keep down the costs for studying at an international school.

International school = rich people school.

Well, the above-mentioned statement basically sums up how people perceive an international school. But it is not actually exclusive for the rich people. Anyone with the guts and the brains can enroll here, as long as you have passed the exams and the requirements. What is absolutely true about this kind of school is the difficulty to get in. So if you have had an awesome privilege to enter in one, do everything in your power to stay in and find ways to sustain yourself while inside it.

Below are just some of the possible ways to help you get by financially during your stay in an international school. The tuition fee itself can be gut-wrenching to the pocket, but a scholarship on one can bring you even double the pressure. This can certainly make or break you. So here are some of the ways to help you survive international school money-wise.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Ike Got Glasses!

 I always tried to keep a back up pair of glasses for myself, in case something happened to my original pair, since I wear mine all day every day and don't currently have contacts in my prescription. However, about a year or two ago my prescription changed and while I got one pair of glasses on the spot, I never got back up pairs from ZenniOptical, as I usually do. And then, to my dismay, one day a few months ago, my glasses broke while I was cleaning them on my way to work one day. This sucked because with no back up pairs and my being unable to function without glasses, I had to go find a place that would be able to make me glasses on the spot. That meant, not only did I need to pay retail price for my glasses instead of the much more heavily discounted price for online ones, I also needed to pay a premium for glasses made on the spot.

And since those months ago, I didn't have a spare pair of glasses.

Last week, though, I had a dream that my glasses broke, but since I still didn't have a back up pair from Zenni I was screwed. Fortunately I woke up and took that as a reminder to get back up glasses from Zenni. While I was picking out frames, my 10 year old son was sitting on the bed with me, giving his input as to which frames I should pick, and casually mentioned that he doesn't see so well at school.

This was the first time I heard of it, but not incredibly surprising. I myself got glasses in third grade, and Ike is already in fifth. Mike also wears glasses. I said that since we had time that day, I would take him immediately to the eye doctor to get his eyes checked. And did that within the hour.

Tips To Creating A Business Website

As you all know, I have a website. You're on it. But when I first thought of making a website, I found it extremely extremely daunting. So much needed to be learned and figured out even before I could even start. Fortunately there were lots of templates available for me so I didn't have to go entirely from scratch. Here's some tips from a reader on how to create a business website if you're looking to go into that route yourself.

In this day and age, you can’t run a business without having a presence online. Even if you have office space in a building, you still need to be found. With the vast majority of people conducting searches on their phones while on the go, having a website increases your chances of them finding you.

Of course, just having a website doesn’t guarantee that you will attract customers to your business. It’s a start, but then you need to encourage them to stay on your page and check out what you have to offer. When it comes to creating your business website, there are many things you’ll need to consider.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Top 20 Ways to Repurpose That Leftover Turkey or Chicken

Thanksgiving, also known by some as Turkey Day, has come and gone. And for many of you, especially those who hosted large crowds, that means that after the date your fridge and freezer are filled with lots of leftovers, especially turkey. People often enjoy the roasted turkey at the Thanksgiving meal, but especially when you have lots of leftovers, the thought of eating it again and again, either plain or with the standard Thanksgiving sides of gravy and cranberry sauce, might sound less than appealing.

And so, I've compiled this list of ideas of ways to repurpose that leftover turkey without getting bored.

Of course, all of these can also be done with any leftover chicken as well, and are things I do regularly do with my chicken.

Here's my top 20 favorite ways to use up that turkey!

Dating Options for Single Parents

My divorce still isn't final, but even if it were, I am no where near the stage where I can even begin to thin about dating. However, many of my divorced friends are at that stage now, and they tell me how much harder it is to be in the dating world the second time around, especially once you have kids. Here's some tips from a reader about how to date when you're a single parent.

Love seems to be one of the most elusive concepts in the world. Some people just find it; a serendipitous experience only the lucky ones can experience. It can be a like the plot of a romance novel or a movie. Person A meets Person B, their eyes met and you can feel the electricity in the air. Both acknowledge that there is a connection but they want to get to know each other yet. There is conflict, third party, and more conflicts then afterwards they decide to settle down and live happily ever after. If only it was that easy, then everyone should have found someone already.

The reality is far grimmer: You need to actually work for it. Even then, there is no possibility or guarantee that you will actually find someone who will want to build a relationship with you. It’s not like a skill that you can just acquire experience the more mistakes you make. It also needs to have a little bit of luck for it to work. IF you think that there is only one person that is right for you, then maybe this assumption might be a bit off. After all, there are more than 7 billion people in the planet these days. It can be impossible to think that there is only one person that you can end up with.

Still, we choose to believe that it is the case for falling in love. It is considered as the closest thing we have to magic and it really does show its mysticism. For one, nothing can really every explain the process of falling in love. Of course, science has a logical explanation on how it happens. Basically, it is the activation of pheromones and hormones which stimulates the need to mate and the pleasure centers of the body. As this makes us feel good and turned on, we associate this feeling to the person that activated this process. However, there are certain gaps which are not fully explained yet, and there are still researches about this topic like this one here.

There are also societal practices which dictated how we fall in love with somebody. For time, interracial relationships were actually frowned upon by many cultures. They said that the children of this type of coupling were going to be cursed or something along those lines. In the same level of thinking, most aristocratic families in Europe engaged in incestuous relationships to keep the bloodline pure. It did not turn out well for many of them and many bloodlines were almost wiped out. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are also still suffering from the societal standards of marriage and relationships.

However, there is one stigma that doesn’t really make so much sense: dating single parents. There seems to be two sides with this one. There are some people who don’t like dating them since children are considered to be extra baggage. Others would also want to have children of their own and subconsciously trying to neglect the children of the previous relationship. On the other hand, there are other people who fetishize single parents because their idea of a “MILF” or “DILF” fantasy is now coming to life. There is just something about single dads and moms that makes them more exciting or tantalizing. Read more about this here: https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/gya389/we-talked-to-a-researcher-about-why-women-are-attracted-to-dilfs.

If you are a single parent, it can be really difficult to find the perfect date or even just a relationship without all of these notions. This is why we are here to help you navigate the dating scene with some tips to land the date that could turn to a forever kind of love.

Be Honest; What Are You Looking For?

There is nothing wrong with looking for a hookup. After all, we do have needs that can be quite complicated to get sometimes. If you just want a one night stand, make sure that you are honest about it both to yourself and to your potential partner. In this way, you can establish a sort of agreement between the two of you. On the other hand, you may want to have something more so you also need to inform the other person. A relationship needs two people for it to work; this is why it is important to have an open communication. You have a child to take care of, and that should be your priority.

Dating Sites Are A Thing

If you don’t want to go out to the bars or even get out of the house at all, why not try to register to a dating site? It seems to be a logical choice especially if your child is still quite small and needs your attention. You can always register to a mainstream website for more chances of meeting someone. Tinder, Match, Grindr and HER for the LGBT folks are actually great sites and apps that you can use. There are also dedicated dating sites for single parents that you can explore.

Don’t Ignore the Red Flags

One thing that you need to keep in mind when dating someone is the other person’s priorities and plans in life. Does it include your child or does he or she want more children? This will really depend on the situation. One really good example is when you want to talk about your kid then your date tries to change the topic. It can be warning sign that this person is not really keen to have your child in the picture. You can take it with a grain of salt, but it is better to be prepared now than sorry later.

Give Yourself Time

Dating is not for everyone, so if you think that you are not ready yet then don’t start anything. It isn’t a race so you can always take your time. You can always focus on your child and see him or her grows and develops as a healthy human being. Finding a relationship can come after, and you might be thankful of the time off the dating world as well.

Share This