Friday, January 31, 2020

The Money Smart Way To Get a New Car, Part 2



Yesterday, I shared my friend Michelle's amazing post on how she got her terrific car for cash, for a very low price, and getting something quite amazing. That part included steps one to three, how to find the car in the first place, but once you find the car, it doesn't end there. Here are the next steps.

Fourth: Go and see it. At least twice I drove out (a friend had to give me a ride, or an Uber) to see a car, and the car had a check engine light on, or some other issue with it not disclosed in the phone call. That’s why it is imperative to go out and see the car. Or I would go out and check the heater and air conditioning and it didn’t work. Or to find out what exactly it had in the car (stereo, tape deck etc). Or to see how many scratches and dents it had. Investigate everything: see it from all sides, check the wipers and everything work, see if there are any issues.

How Solar Panels Can Slash Your Electricity Bill

Where I live, it is pretty standard for homes to come with solar panels. Our solar panels just heat our hot water, but even that is significant energy savings. More and more people are adding solar panels to their house to save money on electricity, and most people find it pays off, even if they end up taking a loan to pay for the solar panels. Here's a post from a reader on why you might want to consider getting solar panels for your home.


Thanks to modern technology, we can help improve our lives in ways we could not even just decades ago. One of these ways is by improving the use of our utilities. By implementing solar panels into our home use, we can help reduce our electricity bills. Outside of just reducing electricity bills, and how this happens will be discussed in depth, we can also improve our carbon footprint. Using solar panels is a good way to improve our eco-friendliness and help commit to positive change in environmental standards, even if it is just a small start.

If you want to know how solar panels can slash your electricity bill, check this information out:

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Money Smart Way to Get a New Car


My best friend Michelle recently bought a car and she was telling me how she did it, and as I was listening to her, I was fascinated and full of admiration; it seemed like a really smart and budget conscious way to get a car, and I felt my readers deserved to know this information, so I asked her to write this post to share with you. As someone who never owned a car, I can't speak about this from personal experience, but I know that if I ever would buy a car, I would definitely follow this process. Of course, much of it is US relevant, but a lot is helpful information no matter where you live.

Thanks for this post, Michelle!

__________________________________________________________________________

I was left off of a lease policy that belonged to someone else, and I needed a car, asap. I did not have more than $6,000 to spend on a car, and I needed one as soon as humanly possible. But I didn’t want to throw money down the drain.

Building a Playhouse: Is it Cheaper to Do it Yourself?

Did you grow up with a playhouse in your backyard? Did you always want one as a kid? Have you considered getting a playhouse for your kid? If you have been considering that, you might wonder if it is cheaper to build one yourself. Here's some ideas to consider the costs if you want to DIY this.


Providing your kids with a playhouse is a luxury. Instead of spending all day indoors, they will get to have a space of their own where they can invite their friends and play with their toys. As you realize how a playhouse will make your kids happy, social, and more willing to go outside, you will start thinking of having one in your backyard, but as you start shopping for one online you will find the smallest playhouses start at $200. This is why you should consider building a playhouse on your own. If you have adequate construction skills and the proper tools, then you can certainly build a playhouse without spending a lot of money.

But before you decide on which design you are going to build; you’ll need to consult with your children first. It is their playhouse after all. There are multiple designs, they can choose from and they can even help you in building it.

Here are a few simple designs that won’t cost you a lot of money.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Delicious Vegan Artichoke Tacos Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Paleo Option, and Frugal

 

I love eating out. Seriously. For years, I did it very rarely, maybe twice or three times a year, but at a certain point more recently, I realized that my mental health required me not needing to cook every single meal I ever ate, so I started budgeting in eating out to my monthly budget. 

However, as much as I enjoy eating out, sometimes its less the experience of eating out, and more that I taste some really amazing foods that I've never had before, and then I have fun trying to recreate those dishes at home, so that I can get restaurant quality food without needing to pay restaurant prices.

So one time not so long ago, I ate out at this Mexican place with my kids, and I got a few different dishes, all wonderful. But this one particular dish, these vegan artichoke tacos, oh they were swoon-worthy. Literally I felt like crying tears of joy as I took each bite. It was, to put it mildly, out of this world amazing.
Next time I was in the general area, I went back to that place so I could have that taste of heaven again. It was just as good as I remembered.

The thing is, though the prices weren't too bad, this restaurant is far from my home. And I can't go to a far away city every time I want something this delicious.

And so, as I like to do, I tried recreating this at home.

Well, first I tried making Tex Mex artichoke and chicken, which gave me a lot of the similar flavors, but wasn't as amazing as those original tacos.

I have some masa harina in my cupboard, and each day I said that I'd make my own homemade corn tortillas, but I never got around to it. It's really difficult locally to find gluten free tortillas, so if I wasn't able to make them from scratch, it wasn't happening. Yes, I can get hard taco shells in specific stores, but they are very expensive.

I'd heard about one store that sells fresh corn tortillas, and today I made it there. I brought home some and knew that today would be the day.

And they were amazing. Definitely heavenly, but one tiny notch less perfect than the ones from the original restaurant, if only because their tortillas had a nice had crunch, but when I tried to crisp these up enough to crunch, they started cracking. The taste was perfect, but had I had that crunch, it would have been identical to the swoon-worthy artichoke tortillas.

Oh, and if you're not vegan? Still have these. These are tastier than meat tacos, in my book. Well, as long as you enjoy artichokes.

And if you do eat gluten, feel free to use wheat tortillas for this in place of the corn ones.

To make this paleo, simply use some crunchy iceberg lettuce to make a wrap instead of a tortilla, or use coconut wraps.

Delicious Vegan Artichoke Tacos Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, and Frugal

The Benefits Of Assisted Living

Have you heard the adage "Be nice to your kids, they'll be choosing your nursing home?" Because right now, that phrase is more relevant to me than this post, especially since my parents are only in their sixties. However, those of you more advanced in age or with parents of an older age may be thinking of it, so I hope you enjoy this post. And even if you are nowhere near the age, if this is something important to you, it is something that you can start saving up for now.


As you start to age, your mental capacity will start to decline, and your body becomes more susceptible to illnesses and diseases. You’ll have less energy and endurance during this time of your life, making it challenging for you to accomplish simple tasks and maintain your daily routine.

Assisted living can be a great option so you can continue to function even as a senior. With this service, you can still live on your own and follow your usual routine because a caregiver will assist with your day-to-day tasks. Assisted living can also mean living in retirement homes, independent living facilities, retirement care facilities, nursing homes, and supportive housing.

You’ll have to spend money to pay for assisted living costs, but this payment is actually cost-effective as you’ll be able to enjoy the following benefits:

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Telling Your Kids About their Autism- The Benefits of a Label



Having two children on the autism spectrum and befriending many parents of autistic kids, I realized that I have a very different approach to dealing with their autism than many parents do.

I grew up with autism. I have quite a few family members on the spectrum. In fact, more than 50% of my immediate family is on the spectrum, and that includes my family of birth as well as the family I am raising. Autism is not something remotely foreign to me.

And yet, it was something that I had to learn more about. For so long, I thought of autism as just a collection of issues people had, and any bad traits that the autistic people I knew had, I associated with autism, and assumed they were part and parcel of that identity and diagnosis.

When I first suspected my son Ike was autistic, I was very torn. I didn't want him to be autistic, because I didn't want him to have the negative traits I associated with autism. Fortunately, I talked to some good friends who also had quite a few autistic family members who had a vastly different experience with them as I did, and it helped me realize that what I assumed was autism was actually not, and that autism is very different than what I had originally thought it to be, despite growing up surrounded by it. It also helped me become a lot more accepting of the idea, and eager to learn more.

And learn more I did. I learned so many things about autism that other people don't generally talk about. I learned that autism is not something bad or wrong, its just a different way their brain works. And just as there are many different types of hair colors and eye colors, no one better than the other, there are many different types of brains, some autistic, some not. This is part of the neurodiversity movement, something I've learned about, and because of it, I no longer pathologize autism, but realize that it is simply a different way that their brain works.

Ways To Step Up Your Book Keeping Game

As someone who runs a business, I am hopeful that one day I may grow large enough to hire employees and need to take care of the more complicated aspects of business. For now, though, my bookkeeping is pretty simple and straightforward, and the more complicated parts, I leave to my accountant.
For those who run businesses, here's some ideas from a reader on how to improve your bookkeeping.




Bookkeeping is certainly one of, if not the, most important part of a business. When your financial records are not organized, not easily accessible, and doesn't constantly update, your business can go haywire. Whether you are doing bookkeeping for a business or for a household, knowing how to create a solid system for your cash flow will help you in all financial aspects.

Bookkeeping is not an easy task and needs a lot of time and attention. It also requires rigid accuracy and an understanding of basic accounting. Many times, bookkeeping is merged with accounting, in the sense that money earned and paid can be analyzed to make critical decisions. Assets, liabilities, and equity are used in both, with bookkeeping basically related to identifying, measuring, and recording financial transactions. Depending on the nature of your business, you have to pay employees, vendors, contractors, lenders, taxes, and a lot more. Literally, every cent made and every cent paid must be recorded.

Keep reading to know how you can enhance your bookkeeping system so that the numbers of your business or household are always ready at hand when you need them.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Homemade Restaurant Quality Korean Beef With Mushrooms and Broccoli Recipe -- Delicious, Easy, Gluten Free, Paleo Friendly, Allergy Friendly


My favorite food to make is my own riffs off of restaurant meals. This goes way up there. I haven't been eating so well lately, because I've been busy, and today I felt the need for a really good home cooked meal that would nourish my body as well as my soul. I headed to the supermarket knowing exactly what I would be making- beef with broccoli, but then as soon as I saw the mushrooms I decided to add them to the dish as well.

This dish is not one of my more frugal ones. I did try to make it somewhat more frugal, by comparing the cost of the beef. I price compared the frozen minute steaks with the pepper steak at the butcher counter, and the pepper steak worked out much cheaper. The frozen stuff was $12.54 a pound, and the fresh stuff was $9.07. However, after making the dish, I do think that in the future I'll buy the frozen stuff, because it is sliced so thinly that it goes further, making it seem like there's more meat in the dish than there actually is. This is why its important not just to figure out cost per pound, but also price per dish comparing different ingredients, because we eat with our eyes as much as we eat with our stomachs.

Anyhow, I priced how much this meal cost me. It cost me $7.70 for the beef, $2.00 for the mushrooms, $2.00 for the broccoli, a total of $11.70 for those, the most expensive ingredients. The other ingredients costs are pretty negligible, so lets round it up to $12.30. This was enough for about 5 servings of the size you'd get in most restaurants, maybe six. So even though it wasn't the cheapest meal, this is definitely restaurant quality, and works out to be about $2.50 per meal, whereas it would probably be 5-10 times that price in our local restaurants.

I served this to guests, who've eaten a lot of my cooking and love it, and they proclaimed that this was the best meal of mine they've ever eaten. And that its not just restaurant quality, but highest caliber restaurant quality, and named the most pricey restaurant in my area.

Breaking The Bank: Money Myths You Must Stop Believing

We all want to make smart financial moves. But sometimes the commonly accepted "truths" about money might actually be steering you wrong. Here's some money myths you might want to rethink.


There is no shortage of bad advice out there - and falling for it could cost you money. We all grow up hearing the same money tips: Invest early, spend less, and save more. Although most of this guidance is helpful, there is plenty of widespread financial advice that isn’t true. Usually, other people, like parents, give you poor guidance, but you might steer yourself in the wrong direction too. With that in mind, here are six terrible money myths that could break the bank.

An Awesome Frugal Haul From the Scratch and Dent Store



Scratch and Dent Stores, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Ok, scratch that (pun intended), because literally every single item I buy at a scratch and dent store is one of the ways in which I love them, and at this point, its numbered in the thousands.

But seriously, today's frugal shop from the scratch and dent store just reaffirmed to me why I love this style of shopping ever so much!

First off, I will be clear and point out that the stuff in this picture are part of what I purchased last week, and then from two stores today. But that doesn't matter, because they're all from scratch and dent stores. (And I'd do bigger shops, but I still don't have a wagon- I went to the store that I like and they said maybe in a few more days they'll get one.)

Is Building a Home More Expensive Than Buying One?

When we purchased our house 3 1/2 years ago, it was as part of a building project. A construction company already was in the process of building a large amount of apartments, and they were approximately a year and a half away from completion. We bought as part of the project instead of buying something already built, because doing so was the lowest cost way to buy a house locally, and we were able to make changes in the plans before it was fully built to our specifications. Buying as part of a project is cheapest here, and the earlier on in the project, the cheaper it is to buy. The down sides, though, are that you have to pay for the house before it is ready to move in, which can be taxing on the budget, especially if you are paying for rent while also paying for the house being built. Other people build not as part of a project, but completely on their own, and that is much more complicated. This post sent in by a reader expands on the issues and expenses that may come up when building your own home.



Many people want to build their own homes instead of buying one. While some enjoy the laboring and toiling involved in building their own homes, others do it as a sort of romantic gesture. Some will actually do it because it’s cheaper, especially in an economy where acquiring a home is expensive. So, is it actually cheaper than just buying your own home?

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Here's What Frugal Accomplishments I Had This Week!



Yay, a frugal week in which I am proud to share what frugal things I accomplished without feeling weird about sharing only a small list. Of course, not every week is like this, but each time I did a frugal thing this week it was fun to "add to my tally" of frugal things.

So here's what I did this week.

Frugal in the Kitchen:

First off, I did a lot of making food from scratch, restaurant type foods. Some people might say "hey that's not a frugal thing, everyone makes food" but I'm adding it to the list because if my food is so darn good that it makes me feel like I got a better meal than I would at a restaurant, and it fulfills that eating out itch I have, then its frugal in my books.

How To Pick The Right Personal Loan For You

Before I go on with this post, I need to say that I am anti taking on avoidable debt. Sometimes its necessary, sometimes there are emergencies, but please, if at all possible, cash flow your expenses and make sinking funds to prepare for future "emergencies" so you don't need to take a loan.
However, sometimes it is inevitable, especially with medical issues that come up, or sometimes it can be a financially smarter move to take a loan out at a lower interest rate than what you're paying elsewhere. If you've thought it through and taking out a personal loan is the right thing for you, here's how you make sure you pick the right one for you. 




A personal loan can be a great and convenient way for many people to ease off financial strains or even a way to improve their quality of life. Whether you want to settle a past debt, applying for a master’s program, or looking forward to going on an expensive vacation, a personal loan can be a solution for all your financial struggles or aspirations.

Before moving on to explain how to pick the right personal loan for you that would fulfill your needs, let’s first get started by defining what a personal loan is and how to choose the right one for you.

Heavenly Gluten Free Vegan Ooey Gooey S'mores Brownie Pie Recipe, Decadent, Fudgy, and Delicious Lava Cake



The recipes I've been sharing the past few days, the graham cracker crust, and the fudgy brownies, have all been leading up to this moment. This masterpiece of decadence and deliciousness, out of this world and absolutely scrumptious.

I have my friend Felicity to thank for this.

Not long ago, I was at Felicity's house, and she made this delicious looking dessert. I asked her what it was and she told me that it was s'mores brownies, graham cracker crust on the bottom, brownies in the middle, and marshmallows on the top. She apologized that it was gluten and I couldn't eat it, but that was totally fine with me, because I knew I'd be recreating this at home.

And I did. With guests. And it sorta flopped, because I was converting graham cracker pie crust recipes and brownies recipes, both made with butter, into oil,  so it was very oily, and I overcooked it and burnt the marshmallows but even though I thought I flopped it, my kids and my guests devoured it and loved it and said that they didn't think it was a flop and told me I have to make it again.

So I played around with it a lot, trying to get it just right. Lots and lots of batches of brownies and I ended up with these amazing brownies, and then put it all together again.


Can I just say absolutely heavenly?

Should You Use Free VPNs or Not?

VPN's stand for Virtual Private Network and its what people use if they want to block where they're using the internet, for a variety of reasons, but the most common, at least among my friends, is to be able to change their location to have access to websites and services that are location specific and restricted in specific places. (For example, my friend who went to China used a VPN to access Facebook, because Facebook is blocked in China.)

As my readers like to save money, we probably have all considered using free VPN's. Yes, I have, I just never got around to it. (Thankfully.)

Here's some reasons why free VPN's are a pretty bad idea.


VPNs are getting more and more popular, so it’s no wonder a lot of people are having a hard time saying no to free VPNs.

I mean, the deal sounds pretty sweet – who wouldn’t want to get all the perks a VPN has to offer without having to pay for it?

Well, you do know how the saying goes – “Nothing is free. Everything has to be paid for.”

That’s especially true for free VPNs.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Super Fudgy Gluten Free Vegan Brownies Recipe with Oil and No Weird or Expensive Ingredients


Ok, lets pretend that my brownies were not made in a disposable aluminum pan. I know, I know, its not so photogenic. I even tried to take it out of the pan for a picture, but this is fudgy gooey brownies and that means that it doesn't cut nicely and this is the most photogenic it is going to get. I'm not going to apologize for using disposable pans, because I've been doing a lot of kitchen and recipe experimentation this past week and I simply didn't have enough pans that weren't disposable, especially when I was making multiple batches of brownies to get them just right.

So this brownies recipe is based on a lot of trial and error. When I'm looking for a brownie recipe, I have a lot of stipulations which makes it quite hard to find a good recipe. Number one is that it's gluten free. Number two is that its egg free and dairy free. Number three is that there's no butter or margarine in it or any other solid oil. Number four is that it is made with cocoa powder and not baking chocolate. And number five is that it is fudgy and not cakey.

With all that, are you even remotely surprised that I have been having a hard time finding a brownie recipe that actually does what I want?

So this recipe started off from another recipe that I don't even remember anymore because I had to change it up so much to veganize it and use oil instead of butter, etc... But after lots of trial and error, I got a brownie recipe that now will be my staple.

Oh, and it doesn't have chocolate chips in it either. Not that I mind them, but that just adds to the list of required ingredients to have at home to make them and I'd rather not.

I hope you like this recipe, it took a lot of heart and soul.

Super Fudgy Gluten Free Vegan Brownies Recipe with Oil and No Weird or Expensive Ingredients

Businesses to Try for People with a Tight Budget

When you're short on cash, the answer people generally have is "then go get a job". But some people have been in the job market for a while and can't find anything suitable, or they need to be home for whatever reason, like they are taking care of children or other reasons. People in such situations often get sucked into dangerous and costly multilevel marketing schemes, which I'll talk about in a future post, but for now, I wanted to share with you some jobs you can do from home, without needing to invest a lot of money, if at all.



Like most people nowadays, it’s likely that you’re always on the lookout for ways to smartly manage your finances. With the increasing life demands, your paycheck rarely holds up until the end of the month. You occasionally find yourself having to rethink your weekend hangouts with your friends because you just cannot afford it anymore. Add to all of that your life-long dream of being a business owner.

You should not put the brakes on this ambition on the account of not having enough finances. People are usually hindered by either their lack of ambition or lack of drive when thinking about starting up their own business, but not by money.

If you’re still on the fence about what kind of business to start with your limited budget, below you will find some interesting ideas that will not cost you an arm or leg to initiate:

Update on My Kids' Schools



As someone who used to homeschool, then sent to school, then homeschooled again, then sent some to school, and then sent the rest to school, I've definitely shared a lot with you about the educational journey my family has been on. Add to that the two kids with Autism and our journey for special ed, and it gets even more interesting.

I shared with you what happened with Rose's autism diagnosis and the fact that she got into a terrific school for kids with autism and that it's been really wonderful. I also shared my horror when I was reported to child protective services by the child development clinic for pursuing an autism diagnosis for my daughter, because they decided she didn't have it and that my getting my daughter evaluated was harmful for her enough for them to report me to CPS for abuse. Just a quick update on that- CPS paid me a home visit and I showed them all the paperwork I had about Rose's diagnosis, etc... and they officially closed the case. I'm still wondering if there's a way to go after the child development clinic because what they did was beyond horrible, but I'm not sure yet what, if anything, I can do about that.

Anyhow, so that's what is going on with Rose this year and I am very thrilled with her school. She has regular OT, speech therapy, socials skills classes, play therapy, hydrotherapy (yes, they have a pool in her school for that!) and her class is entirely made up of girls with autism, which means that her class is literally designed for her! She has a platform swing and a mini trampoline inside her classroom, they provide wobble sensory seats for the kids to use and many teachers and helpers so there is lots of one on one attention. And of course they don't do ABA, but instead use a DIR/Floortime approach instead. Rose is also thrilled to go to school and never wants to miss a day!

Tips On How To Help Your Dog Stay Healthy

When one has a pet, it becomes family and as with all family members, we love them, care about them, and want to keep them healthy. But to keep dogs healthy is not necessarily the same way that we'd keep humans healthy, so here are some important tips from a reader on preventative healthcare for your pooch.


It’s a common notion for pet lovers to treat animals like their own flesh and blood. That’s the main reason why sometimes, in your desire to give the best for your pet, you tend to spoil them. While this is your way of showing how much you care, too much love can kill them.

What then is the right way to ensure that you keep your dog healthy, and how do you keep the balance? These and other factors to ensure your dog’s overall health are presented below.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Graham Cracker Style Crust Recipe With Oil


They don't really sell graham crackers where I live, other than specialty stores that import American products, but even they don't have gluten free graham crackers. What they do have in more places, though, are graham cracker crusts, and those are some of the few things I have missed since going gluten free, because there are some foods that are just so much better with graham cracker crusts, and I pretty much don't like most other pie crusts.

Recently I was at my friend Felicity's house and she was making a dessert. I asked her what it was, and she said she was making mock graham cracker crusts, using tea biscuits and a bit of cinnamon. So then I got the idea to make my own graham cracker crust, only I didn't want to use butter or margarine as she did, so I went to the internet and found out that you can make such a crust with a liquid oil as well- they used olive oil, but I was going to use something more neutrally flavored, sunflower oil.

Ways To Find Legal Help Without Wasting Too Much Money


As someone going through divorce and with many friends around the world going through divorce, I realize how lucky I am that locally I am eligible for free legal aid through the government and don't need to pay cash for my great lawyer. However, if your income isn't low enough to be eligible for legal aid, or if that isn't an option where you live, here's some other ways to get affordable legal help.


“How and where can I find affordable legal help?” is a question that might cross your mind. For any of dozens of reasons, you can find yourself in dire need of a lawyer, but don’t have the money to afford one. Unlike many other situations, when you need legal advice or representation, you can’t put it off because legal matters affect your present and your future life.

While you are guaranteed the right to a free attorney, this doesn’t apply to the civil courts in the USA. Civil cases usually entail disputes between people, which may also include complaints about services, for instance. You would have to depend on yourself to find affordable attorneys. Fortunately, there are few ways you can hire legal help at an affordable price.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Update About My Biolomix Blender, 2 Years Later


Literally 2 years ago I shared that I purchased a heavy duty blender from Aliexpress, a Vitamin knock off called the Biolomix blender. I shared a review of it not long after it arrived, but 2 years later, I still get questions about my blender, whether I still like it, whether it was worth the purchase, if I'd recommend it to others, etc...

Today, my friend Rachel asked me about my blender, which was perfect timing, considering that it is currently on my mind.

So, to put it short, do I still recommend this blender, now that I've had it for 2 years? Do I still think it was worth the money?

A reminder, it cost me $108.81 including shipping for the blender, two jars, a dry jar and a wet jar, and a tamper. The Vitamix equivalent would cost nearly 10 times that amount locally, and costs 4 times that in the US, from what I'm told.

The answer? A resounding yes. Yes I like it. Yes I still use it. Yes, I think it's worth it. Yes, you should get it.

But there are caveats.

Ready to Get On Board to Self Care? Here are Things You Can Gift Yourself

Self care is super important. Don't neglect yourself, thinking you aren't worth it, especially if you make sure that your family members get what they need. If you have decided that you want to do some self care, and your love language is gifts, show yourself some love by getting yourself something nice. Here's some ideas of how you can gift yourself. 



Often times we will give gifts to other people for their birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and during the holidays. It can be very rewarding giving gifts to your family and friends but sometimes you need to spend a little money on yourself, so you can be happy and enjoy life to the fullest. Self care products are some of the best gifts to get yourself because they will help with your overall well being and keep you healthy. If you are ready to get on board and learn about some of the best self care gifts then check out some of these great options.

How Blu Tack Saved Me Over $50 and Lots of Time



So a few months ago I shared how one of my plain toilet seats that came with my house broke, and I used the chance to update my toilet seats to something that is in line with the color scheme that I have for my bathrooms. I mentioned, though, that after they arrived I realized just how impossible it was for me to actually install it myself, due to the shape and size of one of the bathrooms, and my lack of dexterity for another.

I started installing the toilet seat in my bathroom, the one bathroom where my body actually fit, but because of my clumsiness and the need to get the different parts aligned exactly a specific way, I was having lots of problems.

I've included an image of instructions on how I was supposed to put it together.


As I mentioned in the previous post, it may seem pretty simple, but it was much more complicated than it sounded, specifically because I was working against gravity, and only had to do everything one handed because of the angle. I needed to somehow get piece number 2 to stay up while I put on the bolt, and oh, it doesn't show you the washer that needs to be there too. And that you need this "key" type thing to screw the bolt in under the toilet. And while I was fumbling around the first time, piece number one got lost, as did piece number two, falling into a crack between my toilet pipes and tiles, irretrievable unless I the tile to retrieve it.

But somehow I managed, sort of. I ended up adding an additional washer and using a piece from the toilet seat I just removed to get one of the screws on, and then was stuck with the other screw and hired a professional to come do it, and because he was already coming to my house to do something else, he ended up charging me $40 per toilet. But had he done just one, he would have charged more, because he takes a minimum charge per home visit.

Anyhow, I thought my toilet seat issues were done, but unfortunately the job I did screwing that one side in, with the missing pieces, really caused issues. It wasn't tight enough and it caused the bolt to slide around so much that it no longer held the toilet seat in place. The toilet seat refused to stay on the toilet, even though I kept hooking it back into the hooks. And then because of all the sliding around, different pieces from the seat broke off, and the lid separated from the seat. I had a fix it guy come to my house to fix something else and I asked him to take a look at my toilet seat and see how it can be fixed, and he told me that because too many pieces were missing, it wasn't fixable. (I finally found out what happened to the missing pieces- one of my kids flushed them down the toilet when they fell in.)  

Basically, every single time I'd use the toilet I'd get really irritated, because the seat had no cover and was floating on nothing and my bathroom became a source of frustration.

I decided to buy myself a new seat, found one that looked better quality than the one I had before, and today I arrived.

I nearly hired a professional to install it, and then I had an epiphany. Recently when shopping, I decided to pick up some Blu Tack aka sticky tack. Today, I realized that with some tack I could install the toilet seat myself, clumsy me, one handed and all!

Is Forex Trading Worth the Risk?

If you have money in savings, you might have thought to invest it and grow your money. There are many different ways to invest, and some of them are stocks, and others is forex trading. Both of them can be pretty risky, so this post sent in by reader Joel explains how Forex works and tackles whether or not it is worth the risk. At the end of the day, this is just my two cents- consider it a gamble, and don't invest money you can't afford to lose.



Forex trading allows for the exchange of international currencies, and like it's stock market counterpart, it is associated with a level of risk. A lot of speculation occurs within foreign currency exchange given its high level of volatility and liquidity, but this doesn't mean it doesn't have a place in your investment profile. If you're interested in reaching your investment goals and using Forex trading as a medium, you might be evaluating the risk and reward of these platforms.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Homemade Vegan Nasi Goreng Recipe, Delicious Indonesian Fried Rice, Gluten Free, Frugal, Paleo Option


Growing up, as far as I knew, there was one dish called fried rice. And it was made the way my dad made it. Rice. Veggies. Soy sauce, chicken broth, ginger, garlic, sugar, vinegar. That's it. And supposedly its origins were in China. But then I learned there are infinite varieties of fried rice, mostly Asian, oh, and on my trip to Greece this last summer, I found out there is also a Greek rice called "fried rice".

This type of fried rice, Nasi Goreng, is Indonesian in origin, though they do make it around the world, and it is a staple in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands. I only learned about it recently, when I saw someone say that it was her favorite dish, and looking it up, there are so many varieties of it, each recipe as different as the next. However, there were some things I noticed that made it different than the "standard" Chinese fried rice that I grew up in.

Number one, is the fish. Nasi Goreng nearly always has shrimp paste, and sweet soy sauce called kecap manis. Secondly, there are many varieties that have candlenuts in it. And then it often has ketchup or tomatoes in the sauce, and it also often has nutmeg and turmeric in it. (I thought to myself "why nutmeg?" but then saw a video on Indonesia where it explained that it is one of its national crops, so that started making sense to me.)

These flavors together sounded wacky and far fetched to me, to be honest. But if its such a common and popular food there and around the world, it must taste good. I already learned to overcome reluctance to put tomatoes with soy sauce (as I was taught as a kid) when I learned about Japanese yakisoba noodles, but still this combination threw me for a loop.

After having learned about the trick of putting ground nori in recipes instead of shellfish to give it a fishy taste for my laksa recipe, I decided to give it a try here.

I will admit, I was a little bit apprehensive about trying this out, so I made it when my kids were in bed and just a small enough batch for me, so that in case it didn't taste good, I wouldn't have a lot of waste.

But oh boy, my apprehension was for nothing. It tastes amazing and wonderful and I had enough left for my kids to try it and they were sad that there wasn't more and asked me to please make it again. Which I will, especially now that I overcame this hurdle and see just how delicious it can be.

Picking Up New Furniture To Liven Up A Room

Sometimes, for whatever reason, you need to change up how your home is. Some people think that you need to do an entire renovation to fix up your home. But sometimes just changing some furniture can make the entire environment look different. Here's some tips.


Of all the aspects of interior décor, furniture is among the most important ones. Your home’s curb appeal, functionality, and convenience largely depend on the pieces of furniture you choose to place in the various rooms. But just like anything else, furniture pieces succumb to wear and tear over the years, thus needing replacement. Also, it may reach a point where you decide it’s time to give your interior décor a major makeover. When moving to a new home (which may be bigger, smaller, or have a different décor design), the need to get new furniture may also arise. But sometimes you just feel that your old furniture makes your home look boring and you decide it’s time to liven the space up and give it a fresh new look. So how exactly should you choose furniture pieces for the various rooms? Here are some tips you want to read on the considerations you need to make when picking up new furniture to liven up a room.

Homemade Fish Free Curry Laksa Recipe -- Southeast Asian Spicy Noodle Soup, Allergy Friendly, Kosher, Vegan Option


It's a cold and stormy night, and tonight I found the thing that makes it all worth it- a delicious rich and spicy soup, perfect for a night such as this.

I'm the type of person that sees a picture of a food and can imagine what it'll taste like, and ends up craving it, just from a picture, despite never having tasted it beforehand. A few weeks ago I heard about laksa for the first time, a curried southeast Asian soup, popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. I looked it up and found that it generally is made with shellfish, something that I personally don't eat, but did find a recipe for vegan laksa paste, the base for the soup. I literally had recipes for laksa sitting on my open tabs on my browser the entire time, so I wouldn't lose them, and to remind myself to make it, and finally tonight, after having been out in the cold rain and not having eaten the whole day, I decided to make it.

And it is superb. I combined a few different recipes, mainly this one and this one for the paste, and another one that I can't find for the soup, and the result is mouthwatering and scrumptious, perhaps my new favorite soup.

Oh, and it is also super easy to make, once you have the laksa paste. The laksa paste lasts a week in the fridge, but can be frozen as well. Or you can just buy it.

With the laksa paste, you can make a vegan soup or not- I made mine with chicken this time, but in the future plan on doing it vegan. And unlike most laksa recipes that have fish, this recipe works for people with allergies to fish and shellfish, as well as those who follow a kosher diet and don't mix meat and fish as found in many laksa recipes that aren't shellfish based. There's no nuts in this recipe, its gluten free, and I've included a soy free option so that this is free of the top 8 allergens, and the only common allergen in it is coconut. If you leave out the noodles, or use zoodles or spaghetti squash, this recipe is also paleo, and is low carb too.

Basically, this recipe is good for nearly anyone, as long as you enjoy delicious, spicy, and coconut. Highly, highly, highly recommended.

Oh, and lastly? I replaced all the hard to find or expensive ingredients with easier and cheaper ones, to keep down the cost. Still tastes awesome.

There are many different versions of laksa, but from what I see, this version is most similar to Cibinong laksa, from Indonesia.

P.S. If you're wondering what the taste is like, I do find a similarity between it and Thai green curry paste, with many of the same ingredients, but it definitely has differences, because the proportion of ingredients in the recipe are quite different.

Homemade Fish Free Curry Laksa Recipe -- Southeast Asian Spicy Noodle Soup, Allergy Friendly, Kosher, Vegan Option

Teaching Kids To Cook

My kids love cooking with me. They definitely enjoy it more than I enjoy them cooking with me, but I have them cook with me because despite the mess and the extra time, it teaches kids great skills, and I want my children to love and have the knowledge of cooking. Here's some tips from Nancy Evans on how to teach your children to cook.


Every parent wants to raise happy and healthy children. One of the best and most fun ways to ensure that your child is on the path to success is to ensure that they have a healthy diet. Eating healthy is not always easy with the many options to eat out and grab a quick bagged snack, but it can be. Children love to help their parents. One way that we can encourage healthy eating is to encourage them to help us cook.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Treating Myself For My Birthday



My 32 birthday is coming up. Exactly a month from yesterday. The holidays were really enjoyable together with my kids and friends, I had a great time, but I must admit, as a single mom, not in any relationship now, and without a close relationship with my family, the whole gifting thing was difficult for me. I got my kids gifts and we did fun things together, and even though we did a Secret Santa thing with the family and my son Ike got me something, it didn't fulfill my gifting desires. One of the hardest things about being a single mom, to be honest, is feeling like there's no one there to get me a gift, to think of me and say "Here, I thought of you and wanted you to have this".

A friend of mine just died and she was a single mom for many years, and one thing she taught me was that as a single parent, you need to celebrate on your own. Throw yourself a birthday bash, treat yourself to something beautiful, don't wait for someone "special" to arrive in your life and do it for you.

So I decided that for my birthday, I will make a fun celebration with my friends, and I will get myself a wonderful gift. So many times the gifts that I get myself, when I do get something, are super cheap and nothing special, or they are something that I need, which doesn't feel really like a gift. But this time, I'm going to tell myself "I am worthwhile" and "I'm allowed to spend money on myself" and not just look for something that is cheap, but something that is high quality, that I'll treasure.

One of the things I strongly considered was buying myself a pair of beautiful but dainty solid gold earrings, because nearly all the jewelry I have is cheap costume jewelry, other than a bracelet I got from Mike when we were engaged, and I do like high quality jewelry.



However, though this was a strong consideration of mine, I decided to nix this because my daughter, Rose, is always rifling through my jewelry and "borrowing" my earrings, and sometimes even breaking them. Beautiful jewelry for myself will have to wait until she is a little older and/or learns to not take my things without permission.

How to Increase Your Customer Volume Within a Short Span


People have all sorts of reasons to need to increase their income drastically. Do you have an unavoidable expense coming up? A new child? Are you getting divorced and switching to a single income family? Whatever the reason, it can be hard to find ways to make up the discrepancy in your current income and your desired one. Here's some ways that can help.


Whether fierce competition from other businesses in the industry has recently arisen or your company is relatively new, learning how to increase customer volume is imperative. In addition to encouraging more customers to shop with your business, you want to implement these changes as quickly as possible without compromising on service.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Frugal Accomplishments These Past Two Weeks



I'm sitting here, Saturday, trying to remember what frugal things I did this past week (and I realized I didn't even share one of these last week!!), so I can share with you, and I'm not remembering it most of it. I'm feeling like this was a very unfrugal week, but as I'm sitting here trying to remember, I'm also reminding myself that I worked a lot these past two weeks, many hours more than I usually do, so even if I didn't do so many specifically money saving things these weeks, overall they were weeks that were good for my bank account, so that's that.

But that doesn't mean I didn't do anything frugal, it just means that the frugal things I did do are different than what I do other weeks.

Is Gluten Affecting the Health of Your Family?

As someone who has been off gluten nearly 9 years by now, sometimes I don't even realize that some people aren't aware of gluten, what health issues can be linked to it, and how to avoid it. Here's a submission from a reader for readers that are less informed about gluten; hopefully it'll help you improve you and your family's health.

Don’t let gluten slow you down or affect the health of your kids and loved ones.

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Going gluten-free is a common trend these days. But for many people, it’s a necessity. If you’re one of the 18 million Americans who experience some form of gluten sensitivity, you’ll know all too well what we’re talking about.

Many people find that shortly after eating foods that contain gluten, they experience headaches, nausea, or bloated. While it is possible it’s due to overeating, many times these symptoms are a sign of something more serious.

The adverse effects of gluten can happen to anyone, adults and children alike. That means that if your child is frequently complaining of stomach and headaches, it could be a result of what they are eating.

No matter who may be showing signs, it’s important to take note of what the symptoms are and when they happen. If they become a common occurrence, it’s time to talk to your doctor.

By identifying the issue, you can take measures to begin improving your health and decrease the presence of these unpleasant symptoms. The first step is to gain a better understanding of gluten and what it’s doing to your body.

My Latest Frugal Shop



On Thursday, I realized that I needed to go grocery shopping. I had some spare time so I could do some comparison shopping, but I wanted to stay local as much as I could. There are two stores close to me that are walkable, and one has better prices for certain things, and the other has better prices for other items. Though I don't usually hit up both at once, this time I decided to do so.

First off, I went to the grocery store that has better prices on meat. They had a sale that many of the meat items would be discounted if you spent more than $60 on non sale items, but only 3 kilograms/6.6 lbs would be at that lower sale price.

I wasn't sure what to get, because lots of the items in the store that I wanted to get specifically were sale items, and what wasn't officially a sale item was low priced enough that I didn't think I'd manage to reach $60, but I looked around and tried to find items that I needed and would buy soon anyhow and use that to reach the $60.

How Do You Get Money From Your Life Insurance?

My best friend and ex recently reminded me that I need to take care of life insurance, beyond a communal one and a policy tied to my house, but frankly I'm clueless about this. Fortunately, thanks to this post, I am just a bit more knowledgeable on the subject now.


We live our lives hoping for the best, and we often believe that nothing can go wrong, which unfortunately isn’t very realistic. Things do go wrong. And that is something you need to be prepared for, or else you will needlessly suffer the consequences. The best way to be prepared is having insurance, whether that is a car, health, and/or more importantly, life insurance –– which is crucial if you are providing for a family as it will help secure them financially if you are gone. Still, even if and when you do get life insurance, things might not go wrong, not in terms of dying anyway. You might face some financial troubles that need an immediate solution. Well, in that case, you can get money from your life insurance, but how do you do that?

Friday, January 17, 2020

Buying Shoes For My Complicated Feet -- For Cheap!

Shoe shopping has not been easy for me, like ever. But it has gotten especially harder since I moved abroad. Shoe shopping has always led me to crying, because I can never find what I want in my size, and usually end up paying exorbitant prices for shoes I don't even like when I finally do find something that fits me.

When I was in the US in September, I stocked up on a bunch of dress shoes at Nordstrom Rack, and I'm really happy I did that, because now I finally have dress shoes that I like, that fit me, and are comfortable. (I only use a small amount of what I got, the rest is put away for when I need new shoes, and I'll just switch to some of the other pairs). I felt less of a need to buy sneakers for myself, because I can always go to the men's department for sneakers, which means that I can find them my size locally, even if they are expensive. I did look to see if they had good sneakers for myself while I was there, but I couldn't find anything specifically that was for my feet issues, so I decided not to just buy whatever.

Speaking of feet issues, about a year ago my feet were in incredible pain. I felt like the soles of my feet were constantly ripping, and my heels had sharp pains. This is a problem for someone who is working in cleaning, or teaching classes on her feet, or doesn't have a car. Ok, fine, painful feet is a problem, period, and it was making me very non functional. I went to a podiatrist who diagnosed me with plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis, and told me that my shoes were really bad for my feet, and were contributing to the issues I was having. He recommended that I get insoles for my plantar fasciitis and go buy myself some high quality name brand supportive sneakers, which, I'll admit, was hard for me to stomach, because I'm someone who grew up only ever wearing Payless shoes. But the shoes I was wearing were causing me pain. So a change needed to happen.

Personal Meat Slicers VS Knives

I want to start making home cured meats, but one of the things I was wondering about would be how to slice it like store bought deli meat, so that I could get the right texture and thickness that I wanted. This post sent to me comparing knives vs meat slicers offers me what to think about, and I hope you'll find it informative as well.


As humans, we love eating meat. Well, most people do. Our ancestors used to fight on the best parts of any animal that they catch. Cooking didn’t come until it fire was discovered, thus became the origin of the said activity. Even though there are a lot of other people who are trying to discourage others from eating meat, more humans around the world cannot live without it. We are known omnivores as we can eat almost anything that doesn’t have a poison. Some cultures even found ways of extracting poison and toxins from their food so that they can eat it safely. There’re still a lot of environmental and dietary implications of eating it according to this link, but for now people can’t have enough.

One of the best ways of enjoying meat is slicing through it first. Nothing can stop you from eating a hunk of meat and using your teeth to cut it. However, we are now living in a very different and more civilized era. You want to make sure that your meat is properly cut so you can eat it more politely.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Keeping Women's Bodies Healthy


I'll admit something. I grew up knowing more or less "how to keep my body healthy", but there's one thing that I knew very little about in terms of keeping it healthy. Specifically how to keep my womanly parts healthy. Over the years, though, I've learned much about it, and wanted to share with you things that I've learned, and hopefully you'll also be able to keep your body in a healthier state.

I find this is especially important because it isn't talked about much, and people feel uncomfortable going to gynecologists for internal exams and tend to avoid that. And since people don't talk much about their private parts and don't compare, there also is shame and guilt about bringing it up, and lots of questions of "am I actually normal"?

So to combat that, I wanted to address women's health in a post, to open up discussion, help combat stigma, and to help people reach optimal health.

First, I wanted to talk about avoiding UTI's.

The Basics of Potty Training Dogs

While I love having a dog, I knew that with four little kids, there was no way I'd have it in me to deal with potty training a dog, so when we got our Snickers, she was a year old and already potty trained. However, quite a few friends of mine are in the new puppy potty training stage, so hopefully this post will be helpful for you!



Puppies can be a lot of work, and potty training them might be the epitome of the work associated with coaching your new dog. Don't worry if you’re having a hard time teaching your puppy, almost all dogs learn eventually where it's okay to go to the bathroom.

Keeping that in mind, there are a few basics to consider when you're instructing your pooch.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Accepting and Loving My New Fatter, Happier Self


The newer, fatter me. Never been fatter, never been happier. In my life.

I wear my belly like a badge of honor. And no, not because of birth. (But, ok, that does contribute to my belly.)

In a world that says weight and size are a determiner of your worth, I say no.

Currently, I weigh the most I ever have in my life.
And I'm proud of that.

Most of my weight is centered in my belly.

I get people asking me if I'm pregnant, "God bless your baby"s and questions of when I'm due. I usually tell people 'Not pregnant, just fat' and when they get all mortified I tell them that I'm not bothered by it, I know I look pregnant (diastasis recti and my fat contribute) but I tell them to please not make comments about other people's "pregnancy" because it's a very sensitive topic for many people.

So why would I be proud of this belly of mine?

Well, let me just say that even when I was my skinniest, I always had a belly. Even as a young underweight child, my belly protruded. I was chastised for it, told that I'm not working hard enough to tighten my abdominal muscles, and I strengthened them and tightened them and it still protruded.
Most likely bloat caused by my undiagnosed gluten intolerance.

Then I gained weight when I reached puberty, lost it when I was pregnant, but post pregnancy my belly stuck out despite my lower weight, as my abdominal walls separated when pregnant.

My weight went up and down over a few years and pregnancy, but the one constant- always looking pregnant.

7 Reasons Why Painting Your Home Is A Great Idea

I've wanted to paint my home for a while. Since I've had my own home, it was always white, white, white, and I hated it, but my landlords had a clause that we couldn't paint it another color. Now that I have my own home, I am thinking about painting the rooms, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Here's some reasons why painting is a good idea. Another one not mentioned is that some paints are wipe-able, which means that its easier to keep the walls clean.



Painting your home may seem like a large task to take on, and you may be wondering if all the time and money is worth it. Well, you may not know that painting your home can actually offer many benefits. Here are the top 7 reasons why painting your home is actually a great idea.

Quick Pickled Lemon Sauce Recipe, Middle Eastern Style -- Paleo, Vegan, Easy and Delicious

Quick lemon sauce served together with other fricassee fixings

Pickled lemons, also known as preserved lemons, are a condiment used all over North Africa and the Indian subcontiment. They are a primary ingredient in tagines, Moroccan stews, and they are used in fricassee, Tunisian fried sandwiches, in Cambodian soups, etc... I tried making pickled lemons the "real way" once, it was a ton of work to make, and then it had to ferment for a while, and after all that, I never was the biggest fan.

However, a bunch of years back I learned how to make quick "picked lemons" which don't require 3 months of waiting, and are less salty, less bitter, overall just have a better flavor, and I really loved them. My family loved them too, and we could down it really quickly, with bread, salads, proteins, etc...

But the thing is, they are chopped by hand. And they're lemony. Which means if you have any cuts on your hands, it burns. And it's just a pain to chop it small enough so that the peels absorb the flavor. So I tended to avoid making it.

But then I had an epiphany. Make it into a sauce!!!

Your Child's Mental Health: Top 7 Productive Ways To Improve It

Parents have so many different goals and dreams for their children. But as someone who struggles with mental health issues, in large part because of my childhood, my biggest goal as a parent is to raise emotionally healthy kids. And it isn't easy. The biggest chunk of my monthly budget goes on emotional health, but it is worth it. Here's some tips on how to improve your kids' mental health.


As parents, when presented with what you would like the most for your child, most of us want him or her to be both happy and healthy. Mental health is an important part of that because it encompasses both the emotional and physical well-being we seek for our child. Here we outline some effective ways you can navigate how to improve your child’s mental health.

My Last Scratch and Dent Shopping Haul



It had been a while since I shopped at a scratch and dent store. It didn't help that my nice, big and study, metal wagon broke and I only had little fabric weak shopping carts to use, and I still haven't been able to find a suitable replacement. Add to that that I've been busy and I haven't even made it to the city to do some frugal shops, only to the nearby (albeit frugal) grocery stores.

But the last two times I bought gluten free cereal at the grocery store, I paid full price and flinched, because for the last few years, it seems, I've never paid full price for gluten free cereal, always stocking up on them at the scratch and dent stores, for super cheaply.

So it was time to go back.

Tips for Saving on Healthcare Expenses

Healthcare can be really expensive! I live in a place with relatively low costs for healthcare, and even locally things can add up. But in places like the US without socialized medicine, prices can be exorbitant, so here's some tips on how to lower the cost.


Healthcare, no matter how you save up for it, will always be an unwanted expense. So, as much as possible, it’s best to find different ways on how to trim down the costs. Yes, it is possible to be frugal and healthy at the same time. Here’s how:

Thursday, January 9, 2020

My Thoughts on Prince Harry and Meghan's Decision


Harry and Meghan on Christmas Day 2017 (cropped)

Social media is abuzz with Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle, the Duke and duchess of Sussex, and their announcement about their decision to take a "step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent".

On my Facebook feed along I've seen comments by people saying that Meghan "bringing Harry down", that they are "counting the days till Harry realizes what an epic mistake he made by marrying Megan", that he is "turning his back on his country", that this is his legacy and she "knew what she was signing up for".

And of course the news is no different, with people saying that they are the "two most spoilt brats in history" and much else.

In short, it seems everyone and their mother (including the Monarchy) is extremely upset at their decision, and I wanted to weigh in with my thoughts.

I am sure, though, that when you saw the post title of this blog, you probably were confused, because my blog isn't about gossip and the latest news, so why am I getting into it now? What does it have to do with the topics I cover on my blog.

I have a list of posts ideas for this blog, and as I was scrolling through it the other day, I saw an entry entitled "What it's like to be famous" about my own experience being in the spotlight (which I still plan on writing about when I get a chance), and this is very similar to that, and it's something that felt very personal to me for quite a few reasons.

I quite admire the Prince and the Duchess and I have for a while, especially since they decided to become public about their struggles with mental health.