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Monday, July 27, 2020

Homemade Nectarine Zucchini Chutney Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan


It was 3 am and I was hungry. I looked in my refrigerator and saw some rice, and I knew I wanted that, but I needed something yummy to go with it. Then on the shelf next to the rice I saw some nectarines and thought- chutney! Chutney is delicious, and the sweet and sour spice filled condiment was exactly what I was craving on my rice. Since I also had a bunch of zucchini in my fridge, I thought to maybe combine them with the nectarines for the chutney. But first, I wanted to make sure the idea wasn't too preposterous, so I googled to see if such a thing even existed, and saw one recipe with both those (along with apples) so I felt reassured that it would be good.

Lets just put it this way. The chutney wasn't the quickest thing to cook at 3 am, but by the time it was ready, it was so, so worth it. Just as delectable as I'd hoped. This would have been even better with some red lentil dal as well, but I was out of red lentils at the time.

While I made this with nectarines, I'm sure that it would taste just as terrific with peaches instead of nectarines. I made this with white sugar, but feel free to use whatever sweetener you have and enjoy.

It's allergy friendly, naturally vegan and gluten free, and if you use a paleo approved sweetener such as honey, it's also paleo approved.

Homemade Nectarine Zucchini Chutney Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan

Friday, July 24, 2020

How to Make a Pretty Homemade Mask Easily- No Sewing Machine Needed


I've shared plenty of tutorials in the past for hand crafted items, but in 2019 would never have expected for a post from 2020 to be about making your own mask, but the world as we knew it changed this year, so it is what it is.

At first I was using disposable masks, until I bought my first set of store bought cloth masks. The shape that they were in was quite comfortable, and it stopped my breath from misting up my glasses, but what I got was just slightly too small for me and it was irritating on my ears. Additionally, the type of material that it was was quite hot, and since masks are required when leaving my home and it's quite hot here, I needed something that was more manageable in the summer.

Last time I was in the city, I stopped at a fabric store, and picked out this black and white polka dot fabric, bought a meter for $5.75. I love polka dots, especially black and white polka dots, and wearing them on my face sounded much more fun than my plain black mask or my disposable ones.

Once I got home, I lay my mask onto the fabric, and traced the shape of the mask, adding an inch all around each side to make room for sewing, and also to increase its size a bit. I cut out one, then used it to trace another one, then flipped it over to make two more ones the reverse shape.


This used less than 1/6 of the fabric, so this same $5.75 worth of fabric can make six masks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Best Things to Give A Frugal Couple For a Baby Shower


A big part of many people's pregnancies is being able to have a baby shower with their friends and family, and with Coronavirus changing the world, this may not seem possible. But there are innovative ideas that have popped up, and baby showers are still an option, whether its for your first or your second baby.

In addition to games and food, a part that has been integral at baby showers has been gifting, so I thought I'd put together a list of items a frugally minded couple might want as a gift at their baby shower. Of course, all of these are personal, and not every frugal couple will want all of these, but this list might be a good starting place for a couple to create a wish list so that their loved ones might know what would best help them. This list is something specifically that will help people save money with their children in the long and short term.

Of course, if you're not having a baby shower and are expecting a child, these are things you might want to stock up on anyhow, because they are useful to have around.

Things to Consider When Buying Your Teenager Their First Car

My oldest son, my teenager Lee, was in the room with me, and he saw that I was posting this post sent in by a reader. His reaction? This isn't relevant locally because cars cost so much, so even having one for the family is a big deal- we don't have one- so we aren't likely to buy one for our teenagers. However, for those of you who live where cars are more affordable, here are things to consider if you plan on buying your teenager a car.


Getting the first car for your child can be complex and nerve wrecking. You want to get the safest, most reliable car available but also do not want to go over your budget. This article will discuss the top 5 things to think about when buying your teenager their first car.

Friday, July 17, 2020

How To Kickstart Your Budget, Especially When Divorcing


Two years ago I made a big life change. I decided to divorce my husband and start a new life on my own without him. Among all the complications that were part of divorce, the thing that concerned me the most about this new chapter of life was finances. How could I possibly manage financially separately, when together we were struggling, especially since two households are more expensive to run than one?

I was really afraid, and this, honestly, was what kept me in an unhealthy marriage longer than I should have been. However, I spoke to lots of single moms whose finances improved tremendously after divorce, and they reassured me that it is not only possible but likely that once I'm out of an unhealthy situation, I'll be able to grow in so many ways and improve my finances in ways that I couldn't while married. And that, combined with lots of therapy, helped me decide to make the decision to leave.

6 Kitchen Hacks to Save You More Money

If you need ways to save money, here's some tips from a reader on things you can do in the kitchen to help you save money.


Coming up with new ways to save money isn’t always easy, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. You might want to save for a holiday or are currently in-between jobs. Whatever the reason be, there are some great hacks to help you along the way. In this article, we’ll discuss six kitchen hacks to help save you more money.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Exciting News For My Son Lee

My beautiful teenager, Lee.

Language has been an issue in my home for quite a while.

I'm an American, my ex is South African, both of us native English speakers, living in a country whose national tongue is a language that is not English. To make this less complicated, I'll refer to the locally spoken language as Elvish.

Growing up in the US, my mom spoke to us in Elvish at home, so that we grew up bilingual and more or less fluent in both. But though I speak Elvish, it is not as comfortable for me to speak as English, and I wanted my home to be a place where I'm fully able to express myself and have no language barriers impeding on my relationships. Additionally, my ex and I both agreed that it would only be beneficial for our kids to speak English in addition to Elvish. So we made the decision to make our home an English speaking one.

We assumed that, even though we were homeschooling,  because society all around us speaks Elvish, my kids would pick it up through osmosis, and through hearing us speak in Elvish when out of the house, but when that didn't happen, we decided to send our oldest two, Lee and Ike, to a local school that spoke Elvish, when Lee was in first grade and Ike in preschool.

It worked. Sort of. Lee acheived a basic level of fluency in Elvish, but Ike did not. Ike learned only one word in Elvish the entire year. This set the stage for us finally discovering that he has autism; he had no language delays with English, but the language delays were profound in the second language. From when he got his diagnosis, he ended up in a school for kids with autism that had a lot of one on one instruction with speech and many other things, and they helped him more or less catch up in Elvish. (He's still not mother tongue level fluent, but he's very much improved.)

How Can You Remove Shattered Patio Door Glass?

As someone who likes to DIY, I always like to learn new ways to take care of things on my own instead of paying someone to do it for me. These instructions from a reader on how to replace glass if your patio door shatters was very instructive and helpful (even if you don't have a patio door to replace- did you know that bread is a great way to pick up tiny glass shards? I didn't know, but this post taught me!). Hopefully your door won't shatter, but if it does, hopefully you'll find these instructions helpful.

Having patio doors in your home, overlooking your carefully maintained lawn, can bring so much color and joy to the home - allowing tons of natural light while offering great views of the outdoors. However, the beauty of patio glass doors is more pronounced when there’s no crack or chip in it. As with all glass doors and windows – they lose their beauty when shattered.

Although patio glass manufacturers find it a habit of using toughened glasses like tempered glass for their products, which makes them thrice as strong as ordinary glass, they are not completely shatter-proof. On a strong impact with wind and heavy objects, they shatter.

REMOVING SHATTERED PATIO DOOR GLASS, while not a difficult task, can be a pain in the rear if you have no idea how it’s done. The first step will be cleaning out the shattered glass particles to avoid further damage and injuries to your kids and pets. Following the simplified and easy to follow steps below, you can do the replacement yourself so that you can resume enjoying that beautiful view.



Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Beware Misleading Sales Practices


Recently I went grocery shopping, and one of the most important things on my shopping list was shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. I walk into the grocery store, and the first thing I see when entering is a huge sales rack, showing exactly that on sale. "It's only $6.85 for three of them!"

At that point, I was contemplating putting those in my cart then and there. But I walked on. And then I saw another display of the same exact thing, and this time, my train of thought went like this:
"Great price, I think. Wait, what does that actually cost per bottle? Oh, that's $2.28 per bottle. Pretty good... I think. Oh wait, is that actually a good price?"

Then I walked on to look at the aisle of shampoos, conditioners, and body washes, and that niggling voice in my head proved correct. Other brands of shampoo, not on sale, were actually significantly cheaper than the same items that were having their "amazing prices" boasted all over the place. No, one wasn't name brand and the other knock off brand- they both were equal quality and more or less the same. And I'm the type of person that knows about sales tricks, knows about price comparison, and yet I almost fell for it. Fortunately I caught myself in time.

Beware misleading sales practices.

What Should You Do If Your Child is Hurt At School?

 We all want to keep our kids safe. But then we send them to school where we can't keep them under our watchful eye. But what happens if they get hurt at school? My son, Ike, broke and dislocated his arm at school, but fortunately it was a quick healing and we didn't pursue any legal action. But what if something more serious happens? This post from a reader explores your options.


As a parent, you expect your child’s school to be a safe place. Unfortunately, there are rare instances where your child might be hurt—and it could be more than just a scraped knee on the playground. These are never good circumstances, and it’s easy to understand why any parent would dread a phone call from the school stating that your child has been hurt.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about how school injuries work because your child was recently hurt or are just doing your research to prepare you in the event of an emergency, the following tips will help you better understand the circumstances surrounding accidents at school—and what you can do about it. Here’s what you need to know:

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What’s the best way to split custody?

As a parent going through divorce who wants the absolute best for my kids, what is best for the kids regarding the divorce plays a big factor into my decision making process, and its why I involve a family therapist to help this go as smoothly as possible. She has a lot to say about what is best for children regarding custody and visitation, and this post sent in by a reader also offers some interesting information on that as well.


There is no doubt that divorces are one of the most frequent, traumatizing experiences that affect children disproportionately more severely than adults. It makes sense. A child cannot be expected to understand the reasoning behind such a decision, however sound and logical it may be.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Easy Baked Tex Mex Taco Rice Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan Spanish Rice


You know me, I'm all about saving money when it doesn't impede on my quality of life. And though some people think its sacrilege to put rice in tacos, since you don't actually need it, I like to put it in, because it stretches the meat nicely, tastes good, and makes your tacos more filling, so that you don't need to spend as much on expensive ingredients to enjoy a delicious meal. You also can use this as the base for a burrito bowl, put it inside a burrito, or just eat it as a side dish. It's flavorful yet goes well combined with other dishes. I just topped mine with some leftover chocolate chili and homemade salsa and it was terrific.

I based my recipe off this one, but adjusted the quantities of the spices to my liking, added veggies to it, and made it a baked recipe, and it's terrific.

This recipe as written is gluten free and vegan, and costs very little to make. It's very versatile. I highly recommend you make it.

Easy Baked Tex Mex Taco Rice Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan Spanish Rice

3 Tips To Make Your Home Heating Bill More Affordable

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere and in the depths of summer, we probably are thinking only about how to keep cool, and not about how to warm up. But the winter months will be here before we know it, and it's good to be prepared in advance. Here's some tips from a reader on how to make sure that when that time of year comes around, your bills will be more manageable.


The amount spent on heating per household continues to climb. With American households facing a 25 percent increase in power bills, many of them will be looking for ways to manage those rising costs. Even before the increase, 31 percent of households struggled to afford their energy bills every month, and in harsher seasons like winter, household heating bills can average as much as $661, according to the American Gas Association. If you are trying to find ways to keep the heat on in your home and your heating costs low, here are some frugal tips to keep your heating bill in the green and make your home energy efficient in the process.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Watermelon Basil Agua Fresca Recipe, Agua de Sandia -- Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan


Agua frescas, literally meaning "fresh waters" in Spanish, are non alcoholic drinks popular in Central America, Mexico, and the USA, and they are made by blending fruit, cereals, flowers, or seeds with water and sugar. 

This watermelon agua fresca, also known in Spanish as Agua de Sandia, is extremely refreshing, quick to make, and tastes amazing. It is also naturally gluten free and allergy friendly, and depending what sweeteners you use, it can be either paleo or vegan. Of course, if the watermelon is sweet enough you may be able to leave out the sweetener entirely. 

Watermelon Basil Agua Fresca Recipe, Agua de Sandia -- Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan

Are you sitting on a goldmine? Household items you can sell for extra money

Short on cash and not sure how to make things better? How about try to sell some stuff that you have in our house? This post from a reader  gives some good suggestions about the best types of items you can sell.



Everyone will go through moments in life when money is tight, and you may be struggling to get through each month. In times such as these, it can be very difficult to find work or additional ways to make some extra money. The global economy has been severely hit by the recent pandemic, and companies and businesses the world over are tightening their purse strings.

If you find yourself in the difficult situation of needing to bring in some quick extra money, then why not start in your own home. There are loads of household items that can be sold for good amounts of money, and you could actually be sitting on a pretty packet. It all depends whether or not you want to part with certain objects, but if you have a house full of things you rarely use, now might be a good time to consider selling some of it.

Below we will go through some of the most popular household items that sell well and often for a nice amount.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Throwing Good Money After Bad? My Biolomix Blender, Second Update



I wrote about my Biolomix blender from China, that I ordered on Aliexpress 2 years ago. Then five months ago when someone asked me how it was holding up, I wrote about it, and why I was still happy with it, despite having to order a new blade for one of the jars because the ball bearings part broke.

And then more happened. And I didn't update about it. After I replaced the blade on the jar it started leaking. I tried tightening it and it didn't help. And then the entire base of the jar fell off, blade and all.

Not good.

However.

Now what?

Friday, July 3, 2020

Adding Personality to Your Child's Room

If you want to make your kids' room nice, you might think that doing so would be extremely costly. However, here's some suggestions from Nancy Evans on how to update your kids' room without breaking the bank.



Decorating Your Child's Room

Decorating a child's room can be a fun but somewhat stressful project. You get to create a fantasy dream room for your mini you while staying on a budget. And whether you have a son or daughter can determine what options are available. Their age can determine how simple and childlike their room will be. But there are several things you can do to give their room some personality and make it unique to them. From paint to decor, furniture to the walls, there are plenty of ways to have fun and be creative.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

We Got a New Pool -- How Much It Cost and What We Needed



Growing up I didn't really know anyone with a backyard pool. I mean, I knew people with baby pools, wading pools that anyone over the edge of 2 or 3 wouldn't really appreciate, definitely nothing an adult or teenagers could enjoy. I assumed that in order to have a real pool you needed to be extremely wealthy, so never even thought about having one.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and my friend Libby, who, while not extremely frugal, is pretty money conscious, and isn't "rich" by any stretch of the imagination, tells me that she has a pool that her whole family uses. I was shocked, because, as I mentioned, pools in my mind were for rich folk only. But Libby taught me that you could have an above ground pool that fits in your backyard, which you then put away for the winter, and it is pretty affordable.

And so, it was a dream of mine to get one once we had our own backyard. But things happened and it never was a priority and I never got around to getting one. And then corona happened, and with everyone more or less stuck at home (even once things are opened, just for comfort's sake) I decided that this summer I'd be getting one.

And then I went to my scratch and dent store, and what do you know- they were selling a 3 meter diameter, 1 meter deep, round pool, for a very affordable price. So I got it.

We set it up, but I honestly was clueless about what I actually needed, and how many more expenses there would be involved, so I turned to friends with pools and joined various Facebook groups to learn more.

Here's what I ended up needing for the pool, and how much it all cost me.

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