Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Dreaming About Construction

When we bought this house about 5 years ago, I thought it would be the perfect house for us. The perfect home for us to grow with. We would start out with a 3 bedroom apartment, one for the kids, one master bedroom, and one office/guest room. The kids were younger then, and I figured that we could have the kids share a bedroom for a point, and then as needed, separate the boys and girls. We own two floors but rent out the upper floor as a three bedroom apartment. We designed the layout so that, as our family grows, or as we need more space, we could take a bedroom or two from the rental and rent out a smaller apartment, of course, bringing in less money then to cover the mortgage.

I didn't think, though, that I would be dreaming about construction. Not quite so soon, anyhow. The construction that we want to do isn't something quite so big that we'd need Northernmat.ca's industrial access mats as we might have needed if we built a home from scratch. It's not even construction that we would need to get appproval to build, because we'd be keeping the outside of our home the same. But construction nonetheless.

And my kids keep asking me about it. 

"When are we doing it, Mommy? When will we be building, Mommy?"

"I don't know, I don't know," I keep answering them. "But hopefully soon."

"Will we start tomorrow?"

"No, definitely not that soon."

"Then when?"

"I don't know."

CBD Oil For Heaves In Horses

I find alternative medicine fascinating, especially ones that are scientifically backed, like herbal medicine, and CBD and medical cannabis are a special interest of mine. One thing I've learned, though, is that cannabis is absolutely poisonous to dogs. So imagine my surprise to learn that CBD oil is used for some animals- specifically horses- medicinally. I am happily sharing this knowledge with you that I got from a reader.

A common, chronic condition threatening horses' performance and health over the long term is heaves. Once the illness develops, there is no cure. But if caught early, it is possible to manage the symptoms and potentially minimize them in order to decrease the damage to the lungs. If it has progressed to a severe state, management can be challenging and stressful for the equine, hindering the animal's ability to breathe.

Cannabidiol (CBD Oil) For Horses

While not officially approved for use in animal feed or food for human conception, as far as that's concerned, CBD's popularity is expanding to the horse species. Equestrians are hoping to supplement their equine's healthcare with the non-psychoactive, nontoxic compound to potentially ease symptoms of specific conditions and calm instances of stress. 

What No One Tells You About Divorce

My parents are divorced. Both sets of my grandparents are divorced. I have quite a few divorced friends. And yet, as someone going through divorce (yes, still going through, this is taking a while...), I realized that until I went through this myself, I had no idea what it was like. There's so many things I didn't know. So I wanted to share with you my thoughts on "what no one told you about divorce".

It takes time. Yea, that. I really had no idea how long the process could take. Fine, got that one out of the way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Why I Abhor Multi Level Marketing Schemes and "Businesses"

Please excuse my hastily put together image. Yes, its someone putting money in the trash, because, at best, thats what MLMs are.

Today I want to talk to you about a topic that is near and dear to me. A topic that hits home for me, very much. A topic that is misunderstood by many. And a topic that I feel is extremely important to talk about. With some embarassing confessions included. 

It is the topic of multi-level marketing, also known as MLMs.

Before I get into it, I want to say that I am all for promoting small businesses. While there are perks for working for large businesses (I have to say I definitely am jealous sometimes of my friends who work for Google), there are many benefits of working for yourself, having your own business. I, myself, am someone who works only for myself- it is what works best for my personality, lifestyle, being a single mom and a stay at home mom, and previously a homeschooling mom. And when people want to build up their business, I'm happy to give them tips, discuss technicalities of it, like the best ways to accept money, whether with credit card processors such as NAB, or wire transfers, or paypal, and tips on how to deal with clients as needed and stand your ground when important. (Do you know how many times a day I respond to emails saying "My prices are non negotiable"?) I've also been known, occasionally, to advertise for my friends businesses.
But one thing I will not do is help anyone who runs a multilevel marketing business. And in fact, not only will I not help them with their "business", I often will have as little as possible to do with them, and may even unfriend them.

Let me tell you a story.

It's an embarassing story.

One I don't think I've ever told anyone before.

But it's important. And that's why I'm going to air my dirty laundry for the entire world to see.

Remember how I've written before about when I was completely broke

Well, broke people can get really desperate, and out of desperation, make bad decisions. Hoping that it'll make their situation get better. But, of course, it gets worse.

So there was this guy who approached myself or Mike, I don't remember. And he said that he had a business opportunity for us, something he can do on his own time, and it is able to make a great deal of money. 

He invited us to meet with him in this lobby of a hotel, where he'd explain to us how it works.

He had a whole slideshow prepared. First about the product, and then about how this business opportunity works.

You pay a certain amount of money to join and buy products. Then you sell those products to other people. And make profit. But you make even more profit if you show other people that they can make money with this, because when they sign up to be sellers, you make a profit, and make a cut off all the sales they make, and then if people join in under them, they can make a profit off them, and you make a profit off them as well, and so on and so forth.

And then the product. Well, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Supposedly it was this "patented" technology that was this tablet that you stuck in your fuel tank of your car. And it made your car burn fuel more efficiently, and you get more miles to the gallon. So however much money you spent on these tablets, you saved more money on gas, or so the story told.

It sounded great, we were desperate, I have no idea where we got the money to join because, as I mentioned, we were strapped for cash, and we tried to sell these tablets. I hit up the taxi stands in the city, because taxis use a lot of gas, and if they could spend less money on gas, they'd be making more money, and they'd love this product, recommend it to their friends, and buy more. Yay!

Only, no one bought. 

The only one person who did buy was my former sister in law.

And I don't know if its connected or not, quite possibly yes, but not long after she did so, her car engine overheated, caught on fire, and her car blew up.

Only casualty being the car.


If there ever is a story more apt that shows why multilevel marketing schemes are bad news, its this one. 

And yes, I'm embarassed that I ever was part of this. Which is why this is the first time I'm ever telling this story. 


So, what exactly is multilevel marketing, and why is it so bad?

Multilevel marketing is also known as network marketing or referal marketing are a modern day pyramic scheme that dupes people into making the owners of the business rich while everyone else just loses money. 

As I mentioned in my story above, you always have to spend money to join. And you generally have to keep paying money to remain a seller, often on a monthly basis. Of course, for this you generally get "product" but the products are typically inferior, but more on that later. But since that doesn't generally make enough money, you're encouraged to find people to join the company "under you" also called the "downline" so that any money they make, and any people they get to join under them, you'll also make a profit from.

So, you have a product. Quality to be discussed below. You often have lots and lots of products. That you spent lots of money on. And to sell them you need to find clients.

Do you know how often I get contacted by random people that have my number? A lady I met in the supermarket once. The parent of kids in my kids' classes. That person who I talked with at the playground. A neighbor I once borrowed something from.

Usually if I get a call from someone I'm not expecting, I already know how this conversation will go. The first two minutes, if I'm lucky, they might be making small talk. "Hey, how are you, how's it going? How are your kids doing? What's new with your life?" And then comes the "punch line". "So, have you heard of this company 'Forever Living?'" "I found this product that makes my life so much better and I wanted you to benefit as well." "Are you looking for a way to increase your earnings?" And even if its someone that you do talk to occasionally, it turns your relationship into something where they want something from you, like when a relative who never calls you all of a sudden wants to strike up a relationship so they can sell to you.

By being involved in multilevel marketing schemes, you end up trying to turn everyone into a client. Because that is what you need to do in order to not lose money. (More on that in a minute.) Every interaction turns into a sales pitch. Every Facebook post and Instagram post turns into a sales pitch. Get togethers, classes, and parties are very thinly veiled sales pitches. Everything they write, its because they want you to buy into their company. They post pictures of them sipping lattes or on cruises with hashtags and pithy quotes about them "living the life" because of this MLM company. They post pictures of them with products in the background "Just a pretty picture of myself" but really trying to get you to buy their product. These sales tactics are so insidius that people refer to MLM salespeople as huns (in reference to both the aggressive huns, and the fact that they usually approach you referring to you as honey when trying to make a sale). 

But, as annoying as this is, and as socially problematic as this is (no way to get people to hate you more than get involved in this irritating sales tactic), these products are problematic as well. 

I don't even know what the name of that tablet that makes your gas bills lower, but if it were any good, don't you think it would have become famous? Been marketed the "normal way" instead of getting the lowly people on the street to do their work for them? 
Other companies that are MLM, like Lularoe, have inferior quality products at extremely jacked up prices.
Or you can even have companies like DoTerra, that sell essential oils, which isn't something I oppose, but the prices for essential oils through them is ridiculously more than buying from a company like NOW Foods or anything available on Iherb or Amazon. 
Or Melaluca which sells tea tree oil products, which you can get much cheaper through any other health food source.

Anything thats a good product that you can get through an MLM, you can get cheaper, and generally better, NOT through an MLM.

But then you have companies like Optavia, who have a product that is dangerous. A "meal supplement" that they get you to take and eat very few other stuff. They basically put you on a dangerous starvation diet, that not only can contribute to eating disorders, but messes with your metabolism and can permanently harm your body.

And then because what they do is already becoming known as dangerous, they market themselves not under the name Optavia, because people are already skeptical of Optavia, but instead say they're "health coaches" and profess themselves to be professionals about nutrition and health, when all they are professionals are is in conning people into buying dangerous products. They post pictures of themselves and others with bags of sugar representing to people how much weight they lost, without mentioning the name of the company they're promoting, or the dangers involved in it, not to mention the very hefty price tag.

These people don't just content themselves with marketing to people on their feed and people in their social circles, they often message people who share pictures about themselves or talk about anything, trying to market their "weight loss products" which in addition to being extremely intrusive, can be very triggering to people who have eating disorders. Randomly messaging strangers to tell them their body isn't good and you can sell them a product to fix them and you're a "professional coach" is reckless endangerment.

Then you have the people who sell essential oils who claim to be professional healers, when again, they haven't learned anything other than which products to attempt to sell for what. They don't actually have an education in this, to know which essential oils are fine, which are helpful for certain things, and which are actually dangerous and contraindicated for certain people and situations. They just want to make sales.

So in addition to all these aforementioned problems with multilevel marketing...


Article after article after article after article after article after article shows study after study after study with proof that 99% of people involved in MLMs lose money from it.

So in addition to alienating people, losing friends, pissing people off, and doing dangerous things, it isn't even a good way to earn money. It is a lose, lose, lose, lose situation. Nearly everyone I know that has been involved in MLMs in the past regrets it, other than a few that still buy into it, for the simple reason that MLM companies use cult like mind control techniques.

I abhor, detest, hate, say any bad words you want MLMs because MLM culture is to prey on the weak and vulnerable and screw people over when they are in their worst situations. 

In the past, you could have maybe said people are naive and don't know better, but anyone who has any connection whatsoever to the outside world can see article after article about the dangers of these, and people who choose to go ahead with these anyhow are knowingly engaging in predatory dangerous behavior and I can't say enough about bad things.

If you are a reader of my blog and you DO work in MLM, its not too late. Stop marketing Forever, Scentsy, Jamberry, Avon, doTerra, ItWorks, JuicePlus, Herbalife, NuSkin, Shaklee, Beachbody, or any of the other numerous MLMs out there. Stop trying to make back what you spent in the company (no, its not an investment) because you won't ever make it, and if you do make it, it's only by conning other people. 

Yes, I know, its hard to be strapped for cash. And if you are starting a business, I'll help you out, maybe give you tips and advice, maybe promote you, maybe use your services. As long as you're a legit business.

But if you're an MLM hun? Well, expect me to call you out on it. Because MLM is a dangerous predatory practice and is not a viable "small business". Period.

Free Lambs Heads and What I Did With Them

This post contains graphic pictures of lambs heads. You have been warned. Don't read on if you will get grossed out by pictures.

I recently had a conversation with someone about veganism, or rather, why I have no plans on ever being a vegan. I've written about it here before on my blog, but while I care about animals wellbeing, I put my own health and wellbeing above animals, and my body needs animal meat to be healthy. In an ideal world, I'd either grow my own free range animals which I then slaughter humanely, or I'd be a hunter using either a rifle or a crossbow with lighted nocks hunting the truly free range animals. Or buying meat from people who do the same with their meat. But unfortunately, my finances and life circumstances do not allow me to do that.

 So I get my meat the conventional way. The supermarket. But because I do, after all, care about animals' lives and acknowledge that they die for me to nourish my body, I try my best to make sure to use the entire animal and not to let any part of the animal go to waste, so that if it does die to feed us, at least I won't take part in wasting it. This means that I will eat the "weird bits" from animals, and think it is especially important to do so. Even and especially if other people think it's "gross".

You're Never Too Old To Chase A Dream

I remember when I was in college way back when there were some 60 year old people in my class. These were people that never had the opportunity to get a college degree, but decided it was important to them, either as a goal in and of itself, or for a career change, and they decided to pursue it. They are a constant reminder to me that you're never too old to chase a dream. Here's some more from a reader on the topic.

Do you ever feel like you're too old to go and chase the dream that you want to? As though life has passed you by and you've settled down so much so that you feel like this is you now. It's one of the most common misconceptions that anyone can have. Your life is controlled by you and you can change your path at any time. All it means is that you have to put in some serious extra time and effort to make sure that you get there. Even if you have a car on finance, a house to pay for, and food to put on the table for children, you can still chase your dream. We're our own worst enemies when it comes to decision making, especially when it comes to big changes in life. We, as humans, are creatures of habit, and it's those habits that we're seeking to change today. We're going to show you exactly how you can do that! Keep on reading to find out more.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

What It's Like Having a Dog, Two Years Later

This summer was 2 years from when we brought our dog, Snickers, home. Getting her, while something I've wanted my whole life, was a more or less "split second" decision. One day I'm talking with my son Lee about getting a dog, the next day I talked with my therapist about whether or not it was right for that stage in my life, the next day I found her, and the day after we brought her home. I wasn't incredibly prepared for it, and some people, when making a spontaneous decision such as that, end up regretting it, and then try rehoming the dog not much later. Which makes me sad, because that is traumatic for the dog, not to mention for the family. But fortunately, spontaneous and all, getting a dog was absolutely the right decision for our family, and I couldn't ask for a more perfect dog. After 2 years, and off the "honeymoon high" I just wanted to share some of the ups and downs about having a dog in our family.

First of all, the biggest thing is the love. Having a pet like Snickers just means there's an extra being to love in the home. No, I don't consider her my baby- I had four babies, and raising them is quite different from having a dog. But I don't love her any less, it's just a different love. The kids all adore her, though if I had to specify, I'd say Rose and Lee probably spend the most time with her. But she is an integral part of our family, and I've never regreted for one second getting her.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Don’t Buy These Baby Items Second Hand

I'm a big fan of shopping second hand, especially when it comes to items you won't be using for very long. But as this contributor shares in their important peice, for some items, you do not want to be shopping second hand. This is especially true for your fragile newborn infant. Here's more. Here's to keeping safe!

We all know that raising children is expensive, and before they’re even born it’s easy to spend a small fortune on all the essentials you’ll need before they make their grand entrance. So, it makes perfect sense to try and save money where you can, especially when these baby things will become obsolete within just a few short months. 

One of the quickest and safest ways to buy secondhand items is via friends, social media, bidding websites, forums and of course apps that are dedicated to second-hand sales. However, there are some items that parents should be wary of buying second hand. If you’re a new parent for the first time, you may be wondering what is safe to buy used and what’s not. Here we’ll explore the secondhand items you shouldn’t buy for your baby.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Celebrating Milestones, Corona Style

I was going to start this blog post writing about what the hardest part of life during corona, but as I was writing it I realized that it would be kinda silly to write what is the hardest because there are just so many challenging parts about this time period and picking just one is a fallacy. However, one thing that is definitely challenging about corona times is when you have a milestone that is a once in a lifetime (hopefully) event, something that you've probably been planning for for years, and then all your plans are for naught because they aren't possible in today's world. While some people chose to push off the event (though not everyone wants to wait indefinitely, because who knows when life will go back to normal?), most people decided to go ahead with the celebration, but in a very different and/or abridged way.

For example, my dad got married during this whole period. For a while I'd seen people post videos of their corona weddings, and I thought it really was beautiful. In my community, weddings usually are big affairs. Mine was "small" with under 200 people. But of those 170 or so people, do you know how many of them I'm actually truly still close with? 2 of them. Period. Others I haven't spoken to for years, others I don't even know how to get in touch with them if I want to, or they're just passing acquintances. When I think about how much money was spent on my wedding to please all these people that I really don't care at all about now, its ridiculous.

7 Reasons Why You Should Let A Tutor Teach Math To Your Children

I've been a math tutor. I've been homeschooled math so I got taught one on one. I had a tutor when I was learning a particularly hard portion of math. And having been with all that, I can tell you just how different math with a tutor is than math in a classroom. If your children are struggling with math, and math isn't your strong field, here's why you might want to consider get your child a math tutor. Oh, and even if you are good at math, often it is much easier to get children to sit down to learn with a tutor than with mom or dad.

Math is one of the most important classes students take. The skills acquired from this course are becoming increasingly critical in determining a student’s level of success in high school and the world beyond. This explains the level of distress felt by many parents when their children struggle with their math classes.

Many students will readily admit that math is their least favorite subject. As a matter of fact, some will give any excuse just to skip the class. It’s no wonder that math is one of the most commonly failed subjects. This may be because most students find it difficult to memorize long lists of formulas, or because the subject builds quickly on previous concepts and it's very easy for students who fall behind in one topic to become lost and unable to understand future topics.

Teachers often find it difficult to tailor their lessons to suit each student's style and pace because of the large number of students they have to teach at the same time. This is why many parents are hiring math tutors to coach their children and help them better understand the subject. Read on to see the various reasons why you should hire a math tutor for your child.

Importance Of Hiring A Math Tutor For Your Children

Saturday, September 19, 2020

I Really, Really, Really Want A Car


By the amount of reallys in the post title, you can probably get an idea of how much I want a car. For some it might surprise you and for some, not at all.

For years, I've been writing on this blog about life without a car. How I manage. How I do things by bus, by foot, a combination of those things. I've written about why I'm fine not having a car, why I don't desire a car, what issues there may be with having a car, how I structured my life to not need a car.

And yet.

I really, really, really, really want a car.

So, the reason I was able to handle living without a car for so many years was because I chose to live in a place with a very good public transportation system. Frequent buses, very cheaply, directly, more or less, to where I needed to go. And my kids were homeschooled and all was fine, because we went on trips when everyone else was in school, so we never really needed to deal with the bus system when it was really full. And I was working from home very part time only. I had time, lots of it, on my hand.

But then my kids went to school. All my kids are in school in another city. Three out of four of them have rides there in the morning and back in the afternoon, and one takes the bus. And if they miss their ride in the morning, they either are stuck at home for the rest of the day, or I have to spend hours taking them to their various schools by bus. This isn't good at all.

Additionally, now that they're in school, any time we want to take a trip is during a time that everyone else in the country also has off, which means the buses are ridiculously packed, which either makes it a very unpleasant journey, or simply impossible. More on that in a second. Which means we pretty much don't go on trips. And it sucks.

But then, corona. And everything else.

So our bus companies have laws about how many passengers they can take per ride. Even when it's not corona time, since my stop is the second to last stop on the bus's route before it leaves my town, often the bus gets filled before it gets to my stop. And if the bus is full, they just stop by and don't pick is up. Period. 
When it's vacation, this happens all the time. When its rush hour, it happens all the time. The likelihood of getting a bus when you actually need it is very low if you're traveling at all when other people travel. This didn't use to be such a problem for me because I'm a late riser so I traveled during less peak times, or, when homeschooling, we chose to go on trips during the school day instead of summer vacation. But with the kids in school and wanting to go on trips during vacation times, or if I have appointments during peak time, I'm more or less screwed. Bus after bus after bus is likely to pass without them letting anyone on.

And then corona happened. 
To minimize the spread on public transportation, and to ensure social distancing is somewhat possible, they started limiting the amount of people allowed on the bus at once, which is about half the original number allowed on the bus.
You can imagine that however bad it was to travel during peak times before corona, its infinitely worse after. And not just during peak times. At pretty much all times. I took a bus at midnight and the bus driver wouldn't drive because too many people got on the bus. At freaking midnight! 

The only way to avoid this was to go to the first stop of the route. Which, in my town, is a 15 minute walk up hill, in the heat, to take the bus before it gets filled up. 
Only everyone else is doing that as well, so often even at the first stop, after exhausting yourself going that far, there's a possibility that the bus will be too packed to allow you on.
And then if you're in the city, there's the same problem coming home. So it doesn't matter what stop you're closest to, you will need to first take another bus to the first stop of the route, so there's actually a chance that you will be able to get on. But oh, that midnight bus that wouldn't ride because it was too full? That was at the first stop on the route.

And I haven't even gotten to lockdown yet.

However bad the bus issues are during corona, during lockdown, there's no buses on weekends, and during the week the buses run at half schedule?
Already very full buses.
Half amount of people allowed on them.
Half the amount of buses.

And lets not even talk about the germs circulating on the bus.

It's bad news.

Did I mention that my kids go from my house to their dad's house and back again using public transportation???? The switches were happening every day beforehand, but because of how terrible the public transportation issues were, we decided to switch to their dad days be all in a row so they wouldn't have to go through that too often, but even that wasn't so great and didn't really work during lockdown.

So during our first lockdown period, the kids were with me the entire time. It simply wasn't possible to rely on public transportation to switch them back and forth. We are now in our second lockdown, and the same is happening.

I mean, life without a car now pretty much is hell. And we have no idea how long this corona situation will last. It may be quite a while, since it'll take a long time until a vaccine will be ready, and then the likelihood of it working is still up for debate (especially since corona immunity doesn't last???).

And then I haven't even added up the time issue and the mental health issue and the money issue.

As someone who is supporting my kids as a single mom, my time is precious. My energy is precious. My resources are precious. Walking to the start of the route plus the time the extended route takes is at least an extra 35 minutes of my time on the way to the city, plus the energy it takes. On the way home, it adds an hour to my way. All this is time that I cannot be working or recharging.

Then there's the jobs that I can only do if I have a car to get there, because I simply cannot get to them via public transportation, or public transportation comes so rarely that it is unreliable. This includes my foraging classes, painting apartments (which I've started doing for pay), and some small scale takeout I've been doing.

For this reason, I've been renting a car as needed. I figured renting a car each time would be much cheaper than owning a car, since cars are expensive here, but part of the expense in owning a car here is extremely expensive gas, which I anyhow need to pay for when renting a car. But I was doing that, even though the price added up.

And then the summer came, and the price of the car rentals went up, because they were in demand, and I realized that I could barely justify the larger expense of the car rentals, so I didn't rent a car the entire summer (other than our one trip camping) so I wasn't able to take on a lot of jobs.

My dad who is a frugal master, and my best friend Michelle who is also amazing at frugal calculations, both commented to me that with the amount of times I was renting a car, I should look into buying one.

And now I'm really considering it.

Because without a car, life is really untenable, especially with corona, especially as a single mom.

I was afraid of the costs, but I found out that I could buy a used car for 1/4 of the price I thought it was. And that the cost of maintaining a car here isn't as expensive as I originally thought.

So now I am facing some tough decisions.

Do I get a car?

I need to add up how much I've spent on a car over the last year and see how that compares to owning a car. 

I need to calculate how much more money I'd be able to earn if I had a car, and factor in my mental health and those benefits as well.

I have lots of thinking to do.

But I can't make any decision yet, because certain things are coming up in the future that might severely negatively affect my finances, and I can't make a large financial decision until I know what the results will be.

But I really, really, really, really want a car.

I'm praying that this can become a financial reality for our family.

Nutritional Deficiencies Commonly Associated with Neurocognitive Conditions and ASD

As a mom of two kids with ASD, I found this article sent in from a reader really fascinating. I hope you do too.

What is ASD?

ASD stands for “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” and describes a set of neurocognitive conditions that may appear within the first three years of life. While an exact cause of the disorder is yet unknown, early indications may manifest in infants. Symptoms such as a delay in talking or reduction of speech, disinterest in social interactions, an aversion to physical touch, or a difficulty with eye contact may be indicative of ASD. For more information and help regarding raising a person with ASD or any other neurocognitive conditions, My Spectrum Heroes contains all of the most up-to-date information and tools to help you be a successful caregiver [1].

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Age Old Free and Easy Fix

 About half a year ago, my dryer stopped working. It turned on and heated up, but wouldn't turn anymore. I hired a fixer to come fix it, but a few days after he fixed it, it stopped working again. This was during our Corona lockdown and he couldn't even come fix it. But then lockdown ended and he fixed it again, but then after about two weeks it stopped working yet again. Each time it was the same part that broke, and after three times and enough money invested in "fixing" it I was done. I didn't want to throw good money after bad so I decided that three strikes and it was out, and I bought myself a new dryer.

So my dryer was a big expense and it wasn't one I had been planning on (my dryer still was relatively new- only 2 years old) and I had just paid a few times to get it fixed.

On top of that, I had lots of other expenses, and money has been tight for various reasons.

And then my new dryer stopped working.

Saving Money as a New Parent

Want to save money as a new parent but think all the frugal advice out there doesn't apply to people with children? Here's some ideas from a reader on how new parents can save money.

Being a parent comes with so many costs. From food to nappies, clothing to toys, you want your child to have the best possible start in life. It may seem like you are forever paying out for the latest, newest, and the best, but then items are hardly used, if at all. For this reason, you may want to pinch the purse strings.

Parenting also brings about a new sense of danger. There are items that would be bought due to safety, so having the best might be paramount. One example of this would be when buying an infant car seat. You want to ensure that the seat you buy will follow car seat laws and, more importantly, protect your baby should a car accident occur – click the link to speak with a Mobile based auto accident lawyer if you do find yourself in a collision.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

What Are the Benefits and Effects of Using CBD Gummies

A friend of mine recently had a birthday party, and for her birthday, she was gifted with an awesome gift- CBD gummies. CBD oil is very medicinal and legal even in places where cannabis isn't otherwise legal, and gummies are a great way to get them into you. Here's some more info about it from a reader.

Many people want the benefits of using CBD oil but not everybody likes the earthy and sharp taste it sometimes has. For those people, CBD edibles are an interesting alternative that allows them to get all the health benefits of CBD oil without the strong taste.

Edibles are essentially food products that are infused with CBD as one of the major ingredients. In the past, edibles were associated primarily with marijuana and the desire to get high, but now, with CBD being used by so many people for therapeutic reasons, CBD edibles can give you therapeutic benefits without the buzz often associated with the THC found in marijuana.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Should Frugal People Buy Junk?


I was trying to think of a good title for this blog post, but then I decided to just go with bluntness instead of flowery prose.

Story is like this.

I run a bunch of Facebook groups, including a local one for super frugal cooking. (And a local one for frugality in general. If you're interested in joining, send me a message to pennilessparenting@yahoo.com).
A few days ago, I shared a link to my post on my latest super frugal shopping trip at the scratch and dent stores and someone in the group wanted to know "Just curious why anyone who is shopping frugally would buy chocolate instead of searching out healthier, cleaner foods?"

I just want to sit with that question for a few moments.

Do you, when you think about frugality, think that it means only what is absolutely necessary?

Do you, when thinking about frugality, think that it only applies to destitute people, people who are absolutely poverty stricken, with barely any financial means, if at all?

Fun Doesn't Have to Break the Bank | Entertainment Ideas for Families on a Budget

When money is tight, it might seem that you have to sacrifice fun. But you don't need to. There are so many ways to have fun that are low budget, and even many that are completely free. Here's some ideas sent in by a reader.

Family activities don’t need to be expensive. There are lots of free and budget-friendly activities you can do with the whole family. It could be as big as volunteering for a cause together or as simple as jamming along to music at home. 

Here are a few more activities for you to do:

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

My Latest Scratch and Dent Store Extra Frugal Shopping Trips

With everything going on in my life, with summer vacation, corona, kids home a lot, busing issues, and many more things, I haven't been going to the city much to do my grocery shopping. It helps that I found a local cheap grocery store that does home delivery, making my life easier. But that means that I haven't been going to the city much, and therefore miss out on some ridiculously amazing deals from scratch and dent stores.

Well, earlier on in the week I ended up going to the city, and while I was there, popped in to a scratch and dent store and got some great deals. They had gluten free vegan wafers for 29 cents a package, at least 1/10 of their usual price in stores, so I bought 20 of them. They also had small cans of beans in tomato sauce for 29 cents a peice, at least 1/4 of their standard price, soI got 20. Additionally, they had milk chocolate bars for 70 cents which is half their going rate so I bought 8, and the shop keeper who knows me and likes to give me deals threw in an extra chocolate bar for free.

I came home, and decided to post about this shop. Not the biggest shop by far, but what I got was great deals.
However, I have to say, I was feeling a little sheepish about sharing this post. I mean, pathetically small. Just chocolate, beans, and wafers. But still was going to do it.

And then within the next few days I had to go to the city again for other errands, and this time I went back to the scratch and dent store- also the one that I got my previous shop from, and also another one. 

This time, I took another picture of my shop, and now I finally felt I had enough to post about. And got even better deals!


Factors Why People Choose to Live in Washington DC

As a kid, I visited Washington, D.C. a few times, and each trip was quite special. As an adult, though, I have many friends who live in DC, and I hear that it is quite a wonderful place to live. If you're thinking of relocating, here's some reasons from a reader why you might want to consider living in Washington, DC.

When we talk about reasons to live in a certain city, there are a lot of aspects to consider since we all ultimately have different priorities. But that being said, cities that have the most potential to attract people are the cities that have a wide variety of different aspects to offer. And what better city to talk about regarding variety than one of the world’s greatest and most historical cities, Washington DC. On that note, in this article, we are going to talk about just what factors make Washington DC such an attractive place to live in.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

A Solution To My Summer Problems At Last

Ok, I'm going to warn you, this post is going to get into TMI territory somewhat, so read further at your own risk.

Ok, I'm fat.

My thighs touch each other when I walk.

More like rub each other.

And each summer, when it would be sweltering outside, and I left the house, my legs would rub each other, damp, and get raw. (Also when during non summer times when there were times of the month with more dampness, if you catch my drift.)

Red and painful.

Chub rub. 


Whatever you call it, it would be painful to walk, because walking would make my raw legs rub against each other, making them more and more raw with each step.

So I'd end up doing this sort of waddle, doing anything I could to stop my legs from rubbing each other.

And then each night shower, scrub very well, because then sleeping would give my legs a fresh start, so in the morning I'd start from zero when I left the house, instead of partially raw and chafed to start the day, which would happen without a nightly shower.

6 Amazing Skincare Ingredients to Boost Your Complexion

Your face is the first thing most people notice about you. And when you have skin issues, it can be embarassing, because skin issues on the face might be one of the things people see first. Here's some suggestions from a reader about what types of all natural ingredients can keep your skin healthy and well.

When it comes to your face, you should only use the best products and treatments. Even if you are looking for a new face wash, always buy from a brand that does everything possible to make sure their ingredients are safe for your face.

We know it can be difficult to tell what brands are trustworthy. That's why we're here to tell you about trustworthy ingredients to look for in a brand's product.

These six ingredients will never fail you - you're guaranteed to buy products that contribute to glowing skin and a healthier body.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Got The Parenting Blues? Here Are Some Affordable Ways To Overcome Loneliness

Parenting isn't easy. In the past, people lived with extended family, and they had their support to help take care of their children, raising them together with other people doing the same. Now our world is so spread out, and parenting can feel incredibly lonely and isolating, especially when the kids are younger and we feel more trapped at home. For me, one of the biggest things to help me feel less alone as a parent was finding my parenting "tribe" through the internet, people with whom I could commiserate and ask advice. Here's some other ways, suggested by a reader, on how you can overcome loneliness as a parent.

Many parents say that nurturing their little ones is one of the most rewarding things that they could do in their lifetime. However, as most of their time and effort goes into caring and providing for their children, some parents tend to ignore the fact that they’re struggling with loneliness and isolation. New research indicates that 56 percent of parents with children under the age of five experience loneliness most of the time, and it’s even worse for low income parents. It’s true that parenting takes commitment, effort, and a lot of time, but it’s also equally important to acknowledge these feelings of loneliness and find ways to cope with them to avoid depression, feelings of resentment, or relationship fall outs. If you’re experiencing the parenting blues, here are some affordable ways to overcome loneliness.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Perfect Gluten Free Low Lactose Easy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe for Sensitive Stomachs, with Aged Cheeses

When we talk comfort foods, macaroni and cheese is probably high up on the list for many of us. Creamy goodness, rich and delicious, it is something most of us have positive associations with.

Though I loved macaroni and cheese as a child, as an adult it was something that was pretty much a no go for me. Gluten was out, and for quite a long time, dairy was as well. I made gluten free vegan mac and cheese and it was delicious, but to be honest, not quite as good as dairy mac and cheese.

Eventually, though, my stomach healed enough that I was able to eat limited hard cheeses (blue cheese, camembert, and brie were the first ones I was able to tolerate) and then over time my stomach got stronger and stronger, and now, while I can't have milk or soft cheeses that aren't fermented, I am able to have cream and cheeses such as swiss, cheddar, and parmesan.

And so, now that I am able to handle a greater variety of cheeses, I figured out a way to make delectable macaroni and cheese using these terrific flavorful cheeses and all things that don't hurt my stomach. It is amazing and I'm so excited to share this recipe with you. While this isn't a good recipe for someone with a milk allergy, if you are lactose intolerant there's a good chance you may be able to enjoy this recipe pain free. Its not lactose free, but it is definitely low on lactose.

And even if you can handle all sorts of dairy, this recipe is just so good that you should try it anyhow!

Perfect Gluten Free Low Lactose Macaroni and Cheese Recipe for Sensitive Stomachs, with Aged Cheeses

Various Resources to Help Finance Your Home Care

When parents get old and their children are already living their own lives, it is quite hard to live alone. Alone and aging can be a disheartening condition to live with. In many cases, elderly people choose or need to go to assisted living to help them cope. However, not everyone can afford or wants to spend so much money on such services. If you’re going to look for affordable senior home care, here are some resources that can help you manage your finances when it comes to assisted living.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

DIY Apartment Painting -- Instructions How To Paint an Apartment Step By Step -- Part 2

The main wall in the apartment we painted, once patched up.

Ok, so the other day I wrote part one of how to paint an apartment, includinga very thorough list of equipment you'll need However, even the most detailed equipment list won't tell you how to actually paint an apartment. So I'll go through this for you in steps. Of course, I'm not a professional, so some people might disagree with me on the order. But this is my thoughts based on my experience.

DIY Apartment Painting -- Instructions How To Paint an Apartment Step By Step -- Part 2

Monday, August 24, 2020

Benefits Every Veteran Should Know

If you or a family member are a veteran of the US armed forces, you are eligible for many things that you might not have known about. For example, since my dad was in the US Army, as his kid, I am able to get banking with a very good company that only works with people affiliated with the armed forces. Here's a list of some benefits that can save you money if you are a vet.

Within healthcare and education programs are little known benefits to improve the life of veterans. While the programs alone are substantial, numerous other programs offer more benefits to the veterans and their families. In addition to the veterans, qualifying family members benefit from the programs. Family members may include spouses, parents, and children. Children and spouses may benefit from training and education.

Transferring your education benefit is tax-exempt. Spouses and other dependents may qualify for healthcare benefits through several programs. The VA provides healthcare services such as outpatient medical, pharmacy, alcohol, and drug dependency treatment. A veteran who has a disability rating of at least 60% is deemed permanently disabled. The VA is needed to provide nursing home care for veterans with a service-related disability rating of 70% or more. You ought to find out the specific laws to find out what benefits may apply in your location. Here are some of the main benefits that veterans should consider.

Burial Benefits

Families are entitled to death benefits available to them when a veteran dies. The benefits may include payment to help cater for burial and funeral expenses. The burial benefits you may receive depends on a multitude of factors, including the veteran’s status. VA maintains eligible veterans and dependents buried in one of the national cemeteries. Burial benefits for a veteran in these cemeteries include opening and closing the grave, prolonged care of the gravesite, a Government headstone, and a burial flag at no cost to the family. Burial benefits available to the spouses and dependents include burial with the veteran, perpetual care of the gravesite in a national cemetery. The national cemetery administrations determine the veterans who are eligible for burial in the national cemeteries.

Mortgage Insurance Relief

Another feature of veterans’ benefits is that you do not pay mortgage insurance. Conventional home buyers in Arizona need to pay for mortgage insurance unless you make a down payment of 20% or more. The fee is an annual premium that is paid monthly to the borrower. This insurance helps to limit the lenders’ loss in the event the borrower defaults. The government guarantees the mortgage insurance. The federal government insures mortgage lenders if the borrower is unable to make the monthly payments.

Getting a home loan without making any down payment is compelling for many qualified veteran loan borrowers. Understanding your VA mortgage loans can be a pain in the neck, and that’s why experts at Jake Taylor Home Loans always insist that you involve a professional. Apart from utilizing the VA mortgage loan experts, you can make use of the VA mortgage app and calculators. This tool can assist your savings, cost, and payments on your mortgage. You also get the chance to compare mortgages from both brokers and bankers.

Long-Term Care

Long term care for the veterans and surviving spouses can be expensive. Many families struggle to afford a paid caregiver for the elderly or disabled people. If the person has served for a short 90 days in the armed forces with at least one day of wartime, veteran benefits may ease the burden of paying for long term care. There is a pension benefit as the aid and attendance that provides money to veterans who need to perform everyday activities. Attendance benefits help finance in-home care. Veterans or dependents are eligible if they require the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks. Some veterans need specialized help such as bathing, feeding, or dressing. Specialized help may include individuals who are impaired, bedridden, or residing in a nursing home.

Caregiver Support

Family caregivers give vital support to the health and well-being of veterans. Family caregivers provide specialized care for severely disabled veterans. Veterans eligible for the caregiver support program may have sustained psychological trauma, traumatic brain injury, or mental disorder aggravated in the line of duty. To be available for comprehensive assistance by caregivers, you must have enrolled for VA health services. A primary family caregiver receives a monetary stipend for providing personal care services. The allowance does not replace career earnings. Besides, receipt of the payments does not create an employment relationship between the caregiver and the VA.

Free Tax Preparation

Millions file their taxes every year, and there is a cost associated with filing taxes. Veterans and their dependents have access to free tax preparation services. You can take advantage of specific benefits when you file your individual income tax returns as a veteran. The internal revenue service through the volunteer income tax program has a dedication to helping all veterans. The IRS website provides several links to tax services that guide the veterans. The tax experts are very knowledgeable about tax credits and deductions and can determine a veteran’s eligibility.

Disability Compensation

Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly monetary benefit for veterans with disabilities. Veterans who have special medical conditions, injuries, or disabilities sustained during active military service qualify for disability compensation. You may receive compensation for post-service presumed to be related to circumstances of military service. Besides, the degree of disability specified compensates for the loss of working time from exacerbations. Veterans should provide service treatment records and supporting statements records when applying for disability compensation. Moreover, veterans with disabilities not caused by combat or are over 65 years of age receive disability pensions.

Life Insurance

The military provides life insurance cover for veterans as with active military duty. The VA offers low-cost life insurance options to protect your family. Veterans group life insurance provides insurance benefits for veterans as they are no longer in the service. Automatic payments to members who suffer losses from traumatic injuries are by service member group life insurance traumatic injury protection. Service-disabled veterans’ life insurance guarantees life insurance coverage for veterans with a service aggravated disability. Disabled veterans are eligible to have a premium waiver if you meet policy requirements. It is essential for veterans who receive a disability rating of over 70 qualify for more insurance coverage. Life insurance programs provide financial security, given the extraordinary risks involved in military service. 

The veteran affairs have a mandate to support the well being of the veterans and their families. Veterans play an important role in history and culture. It is vital to provide ideal benefits that honor the sacrifice and achievements of the veterans.

Friday, August 21, 2020

I Did Something Radical with My Hair!

I always hated my hair. 

My hair when I was younger was so straight and fine that when I'd put a pony tail in it, it would slip out. I would attempt to curl it with a curling iron and the curls would fall out after a very short time. 

As I got older, my hair got less "silky fine", and it even got a bit more body and shape, instead of just being pin straight, but I never liked it. 

Because more than anything else, my hair was boring.

Me? I'm not boring. I'm a dynamic, vibrant, vivacious individual. And my hair is just... not.




I tried so many things with my hair throughout the years and nothing made me like my hair more. I tried chin length hair cuts. Nope. I tried layered hair cuts. Nope. I tried growing it really long, and the biggest nope of all. The longer my hair, the more thin and stringy it looks.

If I could have designed the "perfect" hair for me, it would have been boingy curly hair. You know that hair that is just big and alive and that when you pull it, boings back like a spring? I was always envious of people with such hair. But alas, my hair was boring central.

I got so sick of my hair being so boring that I just wanted to hide it. It wasn't me. I felt like my hair made me ugly and someone I didn't like.

Eventually my hair annoyed me so much that I literally gave myself a buzz cut in a fit of frustration.

But that was even worse.

I wanted to feel pretty.

I wanted to feel feminine. 

But whenever I got all dolled up, my hair got in the way and ruined it all. Or at least that's how I felt.

I put out a cry for help on this fashion group I am part of, full of many people that know me, asking how I could transform my hair from something I hate to something I love. And nearly everyone had the same answer- add color! But no, not a natural color like blonde or red, but a fun color. A color that makes me happy. They nearly all said that it should be blue. Royal blue.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how right they were. Blue blue blue. Blue makes me happy. Blue makes me smile. Blue is fun. And that is what I wanted my hair to look like.

6 Little Splurges You Won't Regret

Once upon a time I was very, very, very, very frugal. I spent nothing on myself, and I mean nothing. No extras. No nothing that wasn't absolutely neccesary. And let me tell you, it wasn't good. It had a really bad affect on my mental health and even on my ability to be frugal, because at some point I just broke down and went on a shopping spree from the deprivation. 

Since then, I learned that even when I'm frugal, no matter how frugal I need to be, I make sure to include little luxuries into my life. Because those things are what make life worth living, and give you the strength to be frugal in all the other areas of life, as needed. Here's some suggestions from a reader on what you might want to splurge on, if you are otherwise living a frugal life.


Budgeting and practicing frugality is a full-time job. It's easy to get so fixated on saving money that you never allow yourself a little splurge here or there. It's particularly hard as a parent when you're always questioning whether you're spending money in a way that's ensuring a great life for your children.

There are in fact some things that are worth spending a little extra on. After all, if you're always buying the cheapest option, it's likely you'll have to replace household items more often. Spending a little more upfront can often save you money down the line.

Here are six things that are well worth splurging on.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

DIY Apartment Painting -- Equipment Needed --Part 1

My dad recently moved out of his apartment and as per the standard contract locally, he needed to fully paint it before he handed over the key to the next tenants. Instead of just hiring anyone to do it, he offered me the job. Now I'll admit, I've never painted an entire apartment before, and the last time I painted even a full room was when I was a kid, but I knew I'd be capable of doing it. Of course, before I decided to do it, I posted about it in DIY groups to ask for advice on how to do it and got some great tips. 

Now that I did it, I wanted to share with you how I did it. This post will be about things you need, the next post is about how to do it, and part three is things I learned.

Things You Need To DIY Paint an Apartment

What 2020 Has Taught Us About the Value of Real Estate

I recently read a bunch of things on how coronavirus changed the whole world, with a focus on economy but so much more. Here's a post from a reader on how it has affected the real estate market.

Coronavirus turned the world upside down overnight, plenty of businesses and companies are taking a big economical hit, some are even real estate agencies. A lot of people lost their jobs or got their pay cut in half, leaving them with no choice but to move out of their homes or apartments. Here are some things and consequences we need to consider during this global catastrophe.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Sauted Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe -- Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Easy

If you have some extra cabbage lying around, this is a terrific recipe that I learned from my mom. I'm pretty sure this style sweet and sour cabbage has some European origins, something she learned from her mom. It uses the types of produce that are cheap and easy to get in northern Europe where my family originates from, which means it's pretty frugal year round, but especially cheap when cabbages are in season, which is generally in the winter. (But to be honest, I find cabbage cheaply all the time.)

This recipe is not only easy and cheap to make, it is also tasty and is suitable for most diets, from paleo to vegan and most things in between.  I highly recommend it. 

Sauted Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe -- Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Easy

Amazing Things Modern Moms Can Do to Manage Their Money Better

When I started this blog, it was because I felt like so many of the money saving tips out there just werent relevant to me and parents in general, since there's a very different lifestyle that someone with kids lives than a childfree person or couple. Here's some tips from a reader on money smart tips that work for moms.


Being a modern mother is hard work and there is a lot to think about every day. One of the biggest factors that you need to make the most of is money, and working on how you deal with money. There are so many expenses and financial decisions you need to make as a mom in the modern world, and this is something that you need to keep in mind as much as possible.

Try to do as much as you can to have some sort of action plan that is going to help you when it comes to improving your financial situation. There are a lot of factors that play a part in this right now, and you have to make sure you focus on this. Here are some of the amazing things you can do as a modern mom in order to manage your money better right now.

Spiced Watermelon Kombucha Cooler Recipe -- Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan, Allergy Friendly, and Frugal

The other day I wanted to make myself a nice drink that wasn't water. And as usual, for inspiration, I turned to what I already had in the house. I had some ready homemade kombucha on my counter, and watermelon in the fridge, so decided to make myself a nice drink using them both. It hit the mark and is definitely something I'll be making again. 

This drink is not only absolutely delicious, it is suitable for so many different diets, whether someone has allergies, is gluten free, on a paleo diet, vegan, etc.  Try it, you won't regret it.

Oh, and did I mention how easy it is to make?

Spiced Watermelon Kombucha Cooler Recipe -- Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan, Allergy Friendly, and Frugal

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Basic Tips Every Dog Owner Should Know Of

I love having a dog. We've had our dog Snickers for 2 years now, and she is an integral part of our family life. But to say it's only a breeze to have a dog isn't true- there are some more challenging parts, so here's some tips from a reader to help you with some of those challenges.

Being a proud dog owner involves much more than simple, albeit sweet, cuddling sessions. Yes, having a dog that follows you around and comforts you when you are feeling down is pretty cute, but that does not mean that you do not have big shoes to fill as its owner! Because dogs depend on their human parents for basically everything, you need to make sure that you are up for the task.

It can be challenging for first-time owners to know what they should do to keep their furry friends happy, but fortunately, you do not have to sweat it anymore. With our simple guide and useful hacks, you can become the best and most dependable dog parent out there. Just keep on reading to know more.

Our Semi Frugal Summer Vacation- Camping During a Meteor Shower!

The last two years my kids and I camped together on the beach for a few days, and it was great. But my kids requested that this year we go camping in a place with water and trees, and not on a beach. So I told them I'd try to find a place. 

Then about two weeks ago a single mom friend of mine contacted me and asked me if I wanted to go with her to see the Perseid meteor shower. To do that, she recommended that we drive down to a location in the desert, a few hours drive from my home, and go camp there. Only she didn't have experience camping or have the equipment, so we agreed that I'd take care of the camping stuff and she'd pay for a stargazing tour.

Because previous times we camped on the beach, we only had sponge mats, which I didn't think would be soft enough on the hard ground of the desert, so I decided to invest in a bit more camping equipment- I bought some air mattresses to use for this. I also bought another two person tent so that we wouldn't be as squished. Additionally, I purchased some folding camping chairs, because with my body hurting the way it has lately, I didn't want to put extra strain on it by sitting on the ground.

This trip was somewhat frugal. Since we drove there, we needed to pay for the car rental and the gas, which wasn't so cheap. But then again, I didn't pay for busing there, which I paid for my previous camping trips, which also added up.

Then there was food. I bought food from a frugal grocery store near me, and overbought food, but what I overbought was all shelf stable so nothing is wasted. The food just came out of my normal grocery budget.

The new camping equipment did cost more, but I consider that an investment for future camping trips, so it wasn't just an expense for this trip. If I'd planned the trip earlier I could have bought the equipment cheaper and not just at the closest camping store to me, but it is what it is.

The camping site itself was free, and we were worried that because of the meteor shower, it would get filled up early, so we arrived early, but there was absolutely no one there.

4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Save Time and Focus More On Their Business

As a small business owner I know how challenging the work life balance can be. Here's some tips from a reader on how to balance those out by saving time on various work related tasks.

Many self-starting individuals these days have the drive and creative energy to become entrepreneurs and go into business for themselves. While almost every enterprising person is probably super excited about starting their own initiative or opening a storefront, they are typically strapped for time and tend to feel guilty for not being able to be more productive. The following are four simple ways you can control and manage your time better, thereby giving yourself a chance to focus on your business.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Great Outdoors – Affordable Activities For Scrimping Families

Summer for everyone is usually complicated, figuring out how keep families entertained, and even more difficult when you need to do it on a budget. This year, with corona restrictions and safety precautions it is even harder, but one thing that still works are activities in nature. Here's some frugal nature activities you may want to do with your family the rest of the summer.

When it comes to household budgeting, recreation is often near the bottom of the priority list. As CBS outline, 40% of American families struggle to afford their housing, utilities, food and healthcare, meaning that money for fun is often in short supply. While the consumer markets throw out countless products that shape the idea of what ‘fun’ is, what’s also true is that there’s a huge world out there begging to be discovered. With a bit of creativity, families can have lots of fun while still sticking to a stringent budget

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Bulgogi Style Beef Recipe; Korean Barbecue Steak -- Gluten Free, Paleo Option, Low Carb, Easy

I want to apologize for the slow posting rate; after exposure to someone with the coronavirus my family is in quarantine, and I have to say that it is extremely extremely hard for me to be focused and get work done while I'm in quarantine. One day simply bleeds into the next, every day feels the same, I'm silumtaneously bored out of my mind yet can't work up the energy to do anything. Add to that that I have a cold or something (waiting for a corona test) and that means that my productivity consists of making and drinking pot after pot of chicken vegetable soup, and not much else. Writing posts has been hard for me to do- this same post has been written sentence by sentence, word by word, over half a week already. Sorry for that. I will try to pick up the pace- I have hundreds of posts in the lineup to write, now I just need to get them done.

And with that prelude, I want to share this really amazing steak recipe. Of course, some people are of the opinion that a good steak doesn't need any seasoning at all- just plain meat and salt is enough. And while that is somewhat true- just because something doesn't need seasoning to make it good doesn't mean that such additions don't make it even better. And lets face it, I'm a frugal girl, I don't often buy "good steaks"- when I do buy steak its usually the cheapo stuff that is far from high quality, and you betcha it calls for something to make it better. I made this steak when making a special welcome back meal for someone special who moved back locally recently after a few years far away, and everyone, especially the 6 year old, devoured it, and wanted seconds and thirds and fourths. For them, I'll admit, I used the nice expensive steaks, but I make it more often with the cheaper steaks and it tastes just as wonderful, if a bit more chewy. 

This steak idea hails from Korea and is based on the dish known as bulgogi, which is a marinated grilled type of beef or pork. It, in my opinion, makes the most divine type of steak. While most versions of bulgogi are sweet, this one is low carb and sugar free. Also, bulgogi means in Korean "fire meat" because this meat was traditionally cooked over an open fire, but now people make it pan fried. I use my grill pan because then it leaves nice grill marks and I can pretend its over the fire while not neeting to fire up a grill. Another thing that differentiates mine from standard Korean bulgogi is that mine is cooked in individual steaks, while most bulgogi's steaks are cut into thin strips. Though mine is untraditional, I assume it can still be called bulgogi, and I highly recommend it.

Bulgogi Style Beef Recipe; Korean Barbecue Steak -- Gluten Free, Paleo Option, Low Carb, Easy

Ways to Keep Your Child Safe Online

As a mom of four kids who regularly use the internet, safety when using the internet is a very important thing for me. Here's some suggestions from a reader on how to keep your kids safe on the world wide web.

Photo by Roman Samborskyi

Seeing as how most of us are still pretty much on lockdown this summer, your children may wind up spending even more time than normal entertaining themselves online. However, while they might be able to stay safer this way health-wise, there are other dangers that may present themselves in cyberspace.

Rather than just worry and wonder about what your kids could be running into online, there are several things you can do to actively try to keep your kids safer online. They include:

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