Thursday, September 23, 2021

I Broke My Frugal Shopping Rule

I've written quite a few times on how to save money on groceries, its almost like the main part of my blog, other than recipes, and one of the money-saving grocery shopping tips that is pretty much the most basic one is stay out of the grocery store. Grocery stores legitimately learn the best tricks to get you to spend as much money as possible, using psychology, etc... (watch this awesomely fun and hilarious Food Theory video that talks about these tricks) and therefore, the more times you enter the grocery store the more money you'll spend. Almost no one ever manages to leave the store with just that one thing because the stores are designed to make you spend money. Better get your shopping done all at once and then just leave! And if you want to go to more than one store because each store has better prices for specific things, then rotate- going one week to one store, one week to another, and buy things at each store for more than one week, because the more times you enter a grocery store, the more money you'll spend, even with a list.

But I broke that rule of mine recently. But only because I trusted myself, and knew I could trust myself in this manner...

Basically, the story is like this.

Tips For Weaning Your Baby On A Vegan Diet

Some people choose to be on a vegan diet, whether for moral, health, environmental reasons, or a combination of the above. Some also choose to do it for financial reasons. But while veganism is a choice that many people make, there are some factors to consider when weaning your child if you are intending to raise them on a vegan diet. Here are some tips regarding that.

Introducing your baby to solids for the first time is exciting yet confusing; it can be a challenge, especially if you are a first-time mom. If you are a vegan and want to start your baby on a vegan diet, it is possible despite what you may have heard.

The key is to choose the right vegan food to provide your growing baby with the necessary nutrients they need. You may be excluding some foods by taking a vegan diet, so you must take care to ensure you also don’t exclude the nutrients those foods provide from your baby’s diet. Vegan diets can lack Calcium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D because the primary source of these nutrients is animal food.

However, you can supplement these nutrients by feeding the baby supplements, especially Vitamin B12, only found in animal foods.

With that said, it's the same as with any other diet plan to start weaning your baby. It takes a lot of patience and consistency to get it right. Here are some tips if you want to start your baby on a vegan diet.

Why Foster Care Could Be Rewarding For You

I have some friends who are foster parents, and a few other friends interested in becoming foster parents. While this is not something I could do myself, at least not at this stage in my life, it is something you might be interested in. Here are some reasons from a reader on why and how foster care can be rewarding for you.

Foster care is a rewarding experience for many individuals.

It can be tough and emotional at times, but it also provides you with the opportunity to help children who have had difficult lives. If this sounds like something that would interest you, then keep reading to learn more about what foster care entails and if it's right for you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Homemade Toum Sauce Recipe- Lebanese Garlic "Mayonnaise" Spread

Mmmmm.... nom nom nom.

I recently was at my friend Tammy's house, and together with dinner she put out this lovely spread called toum, a dip, sauce, or spread made of garlic. Though I am quite familiar with and often enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine, I had never heard of nor had toum before that. But toum, pronounced toom, is spectacular. When Tammy served it, purchased from a local vendor, it was nearly identical to the texture of traditional mayonnaise, but it doesn't always come out quite that thick. However, if I'd have to describe it as something, it would be very garlicky vegan mayonnaise.

As someone who has made very many mayonnaise type dishes, from the standard egg based mayonnaise to vegan rice flour and mustard based mayo to my widely acclaimed flax based vegan mayonnaise (dubbed by TheKitchn as the most successful flax based mayo) and a whacko mayo type sauce made from foraged mallow seeds and even a vegan hollandaise sauce, I am no stranger to making these emulsified sauces, but even I was a bit skeptical about using garlic as an emulsifier. I mean who knew that garlic was even capable of being an emulsidier?

But since I ate it, I knew it could be done, and wanted to replicate it at home.

6 Tips for Improving Your Grades

My son is in high school and has a long travel day and a lot of extracurricular activities. Some of my friends are in college, many while simultaneously raising a family. These things make it hard to get good grades. Here are some tips from a reader on how you or your kid can raise your grades.

School isn’t easy, whether college or high school. Whether you're in college or your kid is in high school, there are so many stresses. On top of all the peer pressure and social politics, there is taking tests, writing essays, executing group projects and carve out time to study. Then there’s that part-time jobs you or your kid took to support yourself or to save up money for your post-graduation plans. Oh, and what about all the extra-curricular stuff, like sports and music?

It’s a small miracle anyone completes high school or college, let alone with good grades! Yet, if you want to continue on to the higher education of your choice, you need to make sure to keep up those grades.

If you or your kid want to ace your courses, you need a few aces up your sleeve. Below, you’ll find a few easy-to-follow tips for improving one's grades. No one can guarantee that these tips will improve one's marks (every learner is different), but they’ve worked for countless students in the past.

Without further ado, let’s hit the books!

How to Teach Your Kids to Spend and Save Responsibly

From day one, pretty much, I've tried to teach my kids to be money wise and responsible spenders, and I'd say it's pretty much been successful, though obviously the older ones have it more down pat than the younger ones. Here are some ideas from a reader on how you can help your children with this.

Raising a family is as rewarding as it is challenging, especially when it comes to dealing with money. As a parent, you want your children to feel safe and supported, including teaching them life lessons that they will be able to take with them as they grow and become more independent.

When it comes to money, it’s never too early to teach your kids about the benefits of making wise financial decisions, saving solutions, and to learn about other options. When you have a complete understanding of money, you have the tools you need to live a stable life. Teaching your kids these ideals will undoubtedly help them later in life.

Every day is an opportunity to teach valuable life lessons to your kids, and money habits are a great place to start.

Follow our tips and tricks for teaching your kids how to spend and save responsibly.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Start of the New School Year

My girlies on their first day of school

As I wrote in my previous post, I had a really hard time in August regarding school for my daughter Rose this year, when I was told that the placement I wanted for her wasn't possible because there was no room left in the special ed class in the school I requested, and they insisted on putting her in a class in a school that wasn't right for her or our family, and then two days before the start of the school year I finally was told that they had room for her and she was accepted. I thought it was my local municipality who lied to me, but it turns out it was the municipality of the city where the school I wanted to send her to was located because they were reserving that last spot, waiting first to see if there was anyone from their city that needed a spot, but two days before the school year they let her join. 

Once that was taken care of, especially because everything was last second, I was told by my local municipality that they would take some time to arrange transportation for her to school (as is their legal requirement, as she is a child in a special education framework), so that meant needing to bring her to school every day by bus and picking her up every day.

Budgeting And Planning For A Future House Move: Here's What You Should Know

I abhor moving. In fact, it is one of the things in the world I hate most. But moving sometimes is necessary (and some people don't hate it as much as I do). If you do plan on a move, here are some things to keep in mind to make it easier.

The average American moves 11.7 times in his or her life. Moreover, in 2019, almost 10% of the population in the United States moved; that’s over 30 million people. On one hand, it is a joyride that includes scouting for a house, choosing furniture, and deciding colors. On the other hand, when not planned correctly, it might mean facing unplanned financial difficulties that add a bitter taste to the mix.

Whether you are looking for new horizons to start fresh in a new place or moving because of your job, here are the answers you’ve been looking for. Read on, organize well, and keep it a beautiful moment. A dream without a plan is a dream, but if you budget correctly, you can turn it into a reality.

What Parents Should Know About CBD for Kids

I first heard about CBD from a friend of mine whose son started having terrible, nearly non stop, seizures. He was in the hospital and none of the medications they gave him were helping. With CBD oil, though, her son's seizures finally stopped and he was able to live a normal life. CBD for adults is pretty well known by now, but what about for kids? Here's more on the topic.

Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is a chemical compound of the cannabis plant. CBD has been found to have benefits of medical and therapeutic use and has gained popularity in states where marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized for recreational use.

CBD derived from hemp plants is legal throughout all fifty states when sold as a dietary supplement without any Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. As CBD gains popularity throughout the adult population, some are also sharing the benefits of these magical plants with their kids.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Vegan Chickpea Based Laotian Larb Salad Recipe

When I had a bunch of lemongrass that I wanted to use up after thinning it out from my garden, my mind went immediately to Thai and Laotian food. Larb is a chopped meat salad from that region, generally made with pork, however there are many other ways to make larb. I made non vegan larb and it was wonderful, but I had my friend Jacob, who is vegan, coming to me for the same meal where I planned on serving the meat based larb, and I wanted to have a vegan alternative for it. 

I knew that larb was flexible, being able to be made from a variety of different protein sources, from chicken to beef to pork to turkey, but also could be made vegan. I searched and found recipes for larb made with tofu, mushrooms, seitan, and tempe, but I didn't want to make it with that. My vegan guest loves chickpeas, so I decided to experiment to see how it would come out with chickpeas.

Suffice it so say the experiment was a roaring success. I was so excited when I tasted it and saw how wonderful it was, because I knew it would be a great addition to the meal. My guest not only loved the dish but requested the recipe so that he could make it himself at home. This dish is not just for vegans to enjoy- it is a great low cost dish, gluten free, allergy friendly, and good for a variety of different diets. 

This recipe is based on a bunch of different larb recipes I've seen from around. They all have different ingredients but with the same general idea. Salty, spicy, sweet, sour, umami, and aromatic. Some recipes have mint, some lemongrass. They generally have shallots and fish sauce and lime juice, but to keep down the cost, make it vegan, and use what I had on hand, I used onion and garlic in place of the shallots, gluten free soy sauce in place of the fish sauce, and lemon juice in place of the lime juice. The end result is a dish whose flavor is very full-bodied and almost meaty, in a good way, my guest said. Feel free to add some mint to your dish, I just ran out by the time I made this dish.

This dish is generally served on a bed of lettuce or on rice. I made mine on rice since my lettuce turned out really bitter.

Vegan Chickpea Based Laotian Larb Recipes

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Purchasing A New Car In Atlanta – An Essential Guide For Buyers

Purchasing a new-for-you car can be stressful, but if you don't do it wisely you can have a lot more stress afterwards. Here's a guide from a reader on buying cars if you are based in Atlanta, but relevant to people all over as well.

When living in a big city like Atlanta, you can only benefit from owning your own car, whether it’s for driving to work and the store, or getting you and the family out for day trips or visiting friends and relatives. Buying a new car is not a simple decision though, as there are lots of things to consider. Are you going to sell your old car? Perhaps you want to trade it in? And what do you need from your new purchase? Here are some of the top things to do and keep in mind when buying your new ride.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Laotian Beef Larb Recipe - Delicious Chopped Meat Salad

I was working in my garden, preparing it for the winter, and part of that was pruning plants that had gotten too big. My lemongrass plant is gigantic, as no one really uses it, since I didn't really know how to access the part usually used for Asian cooking, and have even purchased some for cooking use, since I was that clueless. I also and am not a big tea drinker, the only thing I knew to do with the rest of the plant. (My dog, though, regularly chews off parts of the lemongrass stalk.) But the lemongrass plant was absolutely gigantic and definitely needed to be thinned out or it would take over my entire garden. Lemongrass, it seems, grows by making more and more shoots next to the original ones, and I pulled out a bunch of that new growth. Googling helped me realize what I needed to do to reveal the part of the plant used in Asian cooking- peel off the outside layers like an onion to reveal the softer inner stalks.

So I had a bunch of these now and had no idea what to do with them.

Asian cooking, obviously. Thai and Laotian recipes. I used some of them to make my delicious spicy curry laksa noodle soup. Other recipes I saw were Thai hot and sour soup, but there are only so many soup dishes you could eat at once. I also made green curry paste for use in various recipes.

But I wanted main course recipes with lemongrass. And then I remembered larb. Larb is a meat salad from laos and northern Thailand, and it often is made with lemongrass. I was pretty sure I even had a larb recipe already on my blog, and I looked and found that, in fact, I did. But I didn't want to go with the recipe I already had. I wanted to make a new and improved one. I looked at my old recipe and about 4 or 5 other recipes, each with their own twists and ingredient combinations, and decided how to make my own. To keep down costs and use what I had at home, I replaced the shallots, fish sauce, and lime juice with onion and garlic, gluten free soy sauce, and lemon juice. I also used mint that I had growing in my garden.

How to Start an Eco-friendly Furniture Business

Have you thought about starting a business but are concerned about the toll it will have on the environment? Here are some ways that you can start an environmentally sound furniture business.

The world needs to move towards environment-friendly and sustainable practices right now. Glaciers are melting, causing flash floods all over the world. This is more proof than we need that global warming is a very real phenomenon.

Any business being run today should be run responsibly, keeping in mind the environmental impact it will have. If you wish to start a furniture business, you must make sure it is eco-friendly. You must keep in mind factors like deforestation and carbon emissions that you may be contributing to. To help guide you on tips to build a business that is conscious of the current environmental crisis we have compiled some tips.

A Guide to Start your Food Blog

I love blogging. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't have been doing this for over 11 years already! If you were interested in starting a blog, or especially a food blog, here are some tips from a reader on things you might want to think about when starting it.

I read somewhere in a hilarious meme featuring Kevin, the minion. It read, “Friday is my second favourite word starting with an F. My first favourite is Food." And it stuck me with the lightning speed, that it is true for most of the population in the world.

What if you are passionate about making food as much as you enjoy tingling your tastebuds with a sweet Taste of Purple wine after decanting it for aeration into a glass. Starting a blog all about food may be a good way to converge your love into something that can make your identity. So, if you enjoy being in the kitchen, you can start a blog of your own with a little guidance.

Cooking food may be good for you and you might be interested in sharing your secrets and twirl to the recipes. It may make you feel all worked up in the beginning, but you will do just fine if you take it step by step. Therefore, we have collated all that you need to know in these simple steps.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Getting My Yard Ready For Winter

I'd planned on getting synthetic grass to put in my front yard, but never got around to it because I didn't see any on sale and didn't want to pay full price if I could find some on sale... And then promptly forgot all about it. However on my last grocery shopping trip, while waiting for my turn at the register, I saw someone with what looked like rolls of synthetic grass in her cart. I took a closer look, and in fact, it was, and she said that the grocery store was selling it, and pointed me to a section of the store that I'd missed. The price was terrific, 16 dollars for each 50 square foot (10 feet by 5 feet) roll. I bought 4, knowing that it would most likely be enough to cover the areas of my front yard that I wanted to be covered. Since my current tenants have use of my front yard as part of their contract, they chipped in for half the cost of this, as they also wanted it placed.

I have a procrastination problem, never remembering to get around to things that aren't urgent, but in the past that had caused me a lot of trouble, especially when I didn't get around to getting my yard ready for the winter and broke my trampoline and pool because of it.

5 Practical Giveaway Ideas For Your Next Baby Shower

When people are making a party, often they like to have party favors to bring home. When making a baby shower, here are some good ideas to give out, many of them frugal and/or can be made at home. 

Being pregnant is a marvelous thing. It would make the event even worth a thousand pennies if you and your partner have been trying to conceive for years. With that, having a baby shower is a wonderful event wherein you celebrate your pregnancy with people who are close to you.

There are plenty of things that you should look after as you plan for your baby shower. Apart from the activities and menu planning, you shouldn’t forget to provide your guests with something they could take home. This will serve as your gesture for appreciating their presence and celebrating the wonderful journey with you.

To help you out, listed below are practical giveaway ideas for your next baby shower:

Why You Need a Solicitor When Selling Your Business

When someone builds up a business, it takes a lot of hard work, effort, and money over a long period of time. Sometimes, though, they need to leave that business behind, whether because they decide to stop working for themselves, or they are moving and their business is location based, or for whatever other reason. Selling a business, then, is often the best option. If you are doing that, you want to make sure it works as favorably as possible for you, and using a lawyer would be most beneficial. Here is why. 

Making the decision to sell your business and embark on a new chapter in your professional and personal life is a big step – and, without the right resources and support on hand, one that will be made on rocky ground.

One of the best ways to keep from losing your footing at this vital stage is to work with a knowledgeable corporate solicitor. Not only will they always be many, many steps ahead of you in terms of what’s needed to complete the deal, but their practical experience and legal know-how can leave you feeling safeguarded against many of the pitfalls of selling a business.

Still need some convincing? Read more below.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Turning Blah Melons into Amazing Dishes

Enjoying a cantaloupe slushie while working

After I lugged home two heavy melons from the nearest city on my recent frugal grocery shop, you would think they'd have the decency to actually taste good, but unfortunately both my watermelon and my canteloupe would best be described as "eh". They weren't bad, per se, they didn't taste gross or anything like that, they just didn't taste particularly yummy. They were lacking any oomph. Their flavor was mild and bland. The best descriptive word I could come up with to describe my melons is insipid. They were just sitting in my fridge, without anyone particularly wanting to eat them, since they didn't give the flavor satisfaction that you'd usually expect to have when eating watermelon.

But I don't want to just throw out food that isn't spoiled. So I tried to see what would make my watermelon and my cantaloupe taste good.

5 Top Essential Tools Used In The Garden

I love having a garden, but it also is a lot of work. In addition to all the time entailed, you do need to make sure you have proper tools, both to keep you safe and to minimize any potential injury. Here are some important tools to use when you have a garden.

Have you ever thought of making use of the outside space around your home? Gardening can be a wonderful idea. Gardens connect human beings to nature. Having a garden around your home ensures the air you breathe is clean. Gardens act as air purifiers by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen which is important to human beings.

Gardens also produce fresh and natural foods that are very healthy and you can ensure that they are organic. Space should not limit your gardening, some people come up with kitchen garden ideas like planting your crops in buckets or sacks. Have a look at some of the tools you can use in your garden and how to maintain them.

What software should a new business invest in?

As someone self employed and never an employee of another company since I was 19, I know how difficult it can be to be your own boss. But once you involve employees it can be another whole kettle of fish. That is where software comes in. Good software can be the difference between your business going swimmingly and floundering along. Here are some ideas from a reader about the best types of software to get if you're running a business.

The months leading up to the launch of your new business are an exciting time, but they can be some of the busiest you’ve ever experienced too. With so many things to think about, different types of software might not have even entered your mind. But investing in the right kinds of software can make all the difference to your day-to-day processes.

While the types of software you need will depend on the type of company you’re planning to run, there are some systems that offer universal benefits to most industries. Here are just a few:

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Another Amazing Frugal Haul

“Am I allowed to say that looks heavy?” my physical therapist asks me as I walk into my appointment, pushing my collapsable metal shopping wagon, filled with my recent grocery shop.

“Yes, I know, but I don't have a car, and I can't shop online and get prices anywhere near this good.” Which is why I had that heavy wagon with me. She understood, even though she probably didn't approve, since I was coming to get her help with my chronic back pain, and pushing a heavy wagon isn't exactly helpful to that.

Lately grocery prices, especially produce prices, have been preposterous everywhere I am shopping. Even the usual cheap/discount grocery stores.

However, there has been one place that I have been consistently been able to find decently priced groceries- right near my physical therapists' office. I'll call this the "Yes!" store (since its name in our local language is similar). So I planned on going there before my session, and this time came prepared with my wagon, so I wouldn't injure myself too much carrying everything in my arms and on my back (not to mention risking ripped bags spilling everywhere). 

Yes, this isn't good for my body, but until I have the ability to rent a car to bring with me grocery shopping and other places, I don't really have so much of a choice whether or not to carry heavy things, because I am unable to order everything online unless I'm willing to pay exorbitant prices, which I am not. So heavy shopping it is. But my wagon does make things easier, at least.

6 Pieces of Medical Equipment You Should Have In Your Home

With the Covid pandemic still rampant all over the globe, more than ever it can be important to have your own medical equipment at home. This means that if you are in quarantine with suspected Covid symptoms, you can still check what is going on with your health and not need a team of people in full hazmat suits to check what is going on with you medically (from personal experience). This equipment can also prevent you from needing to go to urgent care, where you might be exposed to people who are sick, and endanger yourself.

Image by Mufid Majnun from Pixabay

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned during the global pandemic, it’s that we need to take control of our own health. With hospitals and GPs at full capacity, an increasing amount of people are realizing the importance of having essential medical equipment at home to monitor our general health and detect issues early.

There are certain pieces of inexpensive medical equipment that all of us can purchase for our homes that we can use to alert us to common chronic health issues such as diabetes, cardiac arrhythmias, and hypertension. Of course, it’s still crucial that you and your family have regular checkups from a GP and seek professional medical advice in the case of severe illness, but taking more accountability to our health can make your doctor’s lie much easier. By having these devices on hand, we can listen to our bodies, pick up on changes, and provide our medical practitioners with detailed information on our symptoms.

Here are five essential medical devices you should have in your family home.

The 5 Medical Devices Every Family Home Needs

How to Decorate a Party for the Smallest: Preschoolers Birthday Celebration Ideas

I always have fun making birthday parties for my kids. I usually try to do it on a budget and simply, but that doesn't mean those aren't fun. Kids, especially at a young age, are quite easy to please, especially when you use a little imagination and go with what they are interested in. Here are some ideas from a reader on making your kids' birthday parties a blast.

Preschoolers parties are a lot of fun…for kids. But what about their parents? Decoration seems like an important step in every party, and it can transform a wonderful party to absolutely stupendous. How do you throw an amazing preschooler party for your child and their friends without having to rent a venue? Here are some celebration ideas for you!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

About "Frivolous" Expenses, Emotional Flashbacks, and Reserving Judgment

I know a lovely woman who is involved in a lot of community work and charities. She recently reached out to me, knowing finances have been tighter for me, and told me that there is an organization that is happy to fund a grocery shop for people who could use the help, on condition that they send in a receipt and that it isn't spent on frivolous stuff.

She told me that in the past, upon receiving the receipt, the organization didn't reimburse a specific family because they felt that they were being wasteful since they bought a six pack of Coca Cola. For that to not happen to me she told me to stick to basics, produce, chicken, fish, milk, cereal, rice, pasta, and things of the sort and not include frivolous things.

I wasn't sure what would count as 'frivolous' stuff by this organization so I kept asking her questions, like if ground beef was ok, cheese, cheap wine, etc… and she gave me an answer for each one.

I definitely appreciated the financial help, but honestly trying to figure out what would be accepted as necessary and what would cause me problems because they viewed it as 'frivolous' stressed me out to no end.

Setting Up Your Child for Success

As parents, we all want our children to be successful, but there is no guarantee. However, we can make it more likely by taking specific steps from when our children are young to help guide them in that direction. Here are some ideas as to how.

Do you want your child to live their best life? As parents, the answer is almost always a resounding yes! While you're busy working hard in your day-to-day life, you know in the back of your head that all that you do is for your child's success in the years to come.

There are many ways you as a parent can help your child reach success. The environment they grow up in besides their own home, like in daycare facilities like Raising Stars, also plays a big role in shaping how they grow up.

Here are some things you can do today to set the foundation for your toddler's happy and successful future.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

How to Make Your Kids More Creative With Technology

Many people have this idea that kids using technology is the antithesis of creativity. But I've seen with my kids, especially my oldest, just how much technology can assist your kids in their creative endeavors. Here are some suggestions from a reader as to how it can.

We live in an age where technological advancements are inevitable, and we, as consumers of that technology, are expected to adapt. Technology is both a gift and a curse, especially for children. When used correctly, it can turn them into talented creators rather than blind consumers. Providing your kids with the right tools is extremely important as it helps empower them to explore new areas and take new risks. Children these days are doing all sorts of amazing stuff, from dominating on YouTube to creating digital art. Your child might just be as creative and looking for the right ways to express that passion and interest. As a parent, it is your job to provide them with the appropriate method and method so they can get creative with technology. If you are unsure of where to start, don't worry, as we are here to help.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Why Getting Life Insurance ASAP Is Important for Frugal Parents

I love sharing posts about how I've flubbed up or am currently messing up. Ok, I don't love it, it is embarrassing, but a) if I make a mistake at least I want you to learn from it and b) you can see I'm human just like you. So this post is one of those things, about a mistake I have made because I thought pushing it off wouldn't be a big deal but now it will end up costing me much more money. In short, life insurance for parents should be purchased ASAP and not pushed off.

Let me tell you about my situation.

Way back when, when we were extremely non well off financially (ok, that is a severe understatement) the thought of getting life insurance, or any other insurance beyond health insurance (which is practically free where I live) was not something we felt we could even consider. When you can barely afford to buy food or pay rent, insurance seems very much like an extra. We couldn't add anything else, no matter how important, to our expenses.

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Difference Between a Car Warranty & Car Insurance

Warranty, insurance, same difference, no? Wrong. When it comes to cars, this is especially so. If you've been looking into getting a warranty on a car and aren't sure whether there is even a point if you have insurance, read more about this to learn the difference.

Car warranties and car insurance policies are two very different types of cover for your vehicle.

Whether you’re looking for the best extended car warranty to pair with your insurance plan for maximum protection or if you’re unsure if you need a car warranty at all, you should know the difference.

Generally, warranties will cover mechanical breakdowns and manufacturer’s defects on your vehicle, while insurance policies will cover damage to your car, other people, or property after you are involved in an accident.

Let’s take a closer look at car insurance and car warranties, and the differences between them.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

How To Organize A Cooking Contest

Are you a fan of cooking and cooking shows like I am? In fact, I was nearly on a cooking show once but fortunately realized that they intended to screw me over and got out of it. But cooking contests are still great fun. There are many ways to do cooking contests, one can be as a way to earn money by making it in a venue and sell tickets to it, and another way can be as a low cost social event with friends. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to organize a cooking contest, either as an income source or as a fun get together.

When it comes to the culinary world, there are few events that are as exciting as a cooking contest. It is an event where masters of their craft are pitted against one another, and they strive to show their skills in a show of incredible precision, timing, and creativity. However, organizing such an event could be quite a challenge. Here are some tips on how to organize a cooking contest.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Easy Scallion Rice Recipe- Gluten Free, Vegan, Soy Free

I am always looking for things to do with leftover rice. Last week I had some rice that not only was left over, it was starting to dry out. I needed to make a starchy dish for a meal, and since I had a lot of scallions at home, I decided to check the internet to see if a dish such as scallion rice exists, and what types of ingredients people usually put in it. I struck gold and found so many different examples, and this recipe is what I put together inspired by all those recipes. It has very few ingredients but the taste is complex and delicious and it was such a hit. I will definitely be making this again and again. Did I mention that it is super easy and allergy friendly and vegan and gluten free and just all around a good recipe?

I highly recommend this recipe.

Easy Scallion Rice Recipe- Gluten Free,  Vegan, Soy Free

Preparing For The Future: How You Can Ensure You’re Ready For A Rainy Day

It can be hard to live within your means in the best of times, but what happens when an emergency comes up? That's when people get into big trouble and start accumulating debt and getting into a financial hole that is hard to climb out of. A way to avoid that is to have a rainy day fund, or an emergency fund, to help you when those times come up. Here's some more about why you'll want one, and how to make sure you can make one.

If the past 18 months has taught us anything, it’s that life can be completely unpredictable. While it is impossible to prepare fully for global crises like the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to have a plan should the worst happen. Saving for a rainy-day fund can be the ideal way to achieve this.

Having a rainy-day fund will also help give you peace of mind for the future and help you learn about good financial management. This article will explore what a rainy-day fund is, how you can build it up and ways to save and earn money to add to your fund.

How To Go About Making Your Estate Plan

No one wants to think about death and dying. But as adults sometimes we need to do what is difficult, and if we don't take care of it now, we might be causing trouble for ones we love down the line, potentially causing them to lose money. Here's something about estate planning from a reader, to help you plan this and leave your family in the best situation when the time comes.

Do you have a plan for if something suddenly happens to you? For instance, you could be incapacitated by an illness. You could end up in a coma. Or, you could pass away. All of these scenarios and more could leave your loved ones in a very tough situation.

Your assets need to be protected and thus your family. This is especially true if they rely on you for your income. Because anything can happen, you need to have a plan for your estate. How your money gets distributed is a very important thing to have happen if you pass.

Before you go and talk to an estate planner like the attorneys at Frame & Frame, you should know a few of the basics as to what it involves.

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Long Saga For School For My Daughter

The school situation for my daughter, Rose, has never been easy. Ok, I take that back. Finding a preschool for her was relatively straightforward, but not long after she started preschool she was diagnosed with autism, and when we tried to get her into a school for autistic kids I was told that I needed a second diagnosis first... and then we went through hell including being reported for social services for taking her for evaluations... but eventually that got resolved once the national disability insurance (I have no idea how to officially translate the name of this government body) gave her their own evaluation and agreed that she has autism. 

Once that was done, we were able to get her accepted to what is considered to be the best autism school in the region, that people move to this city to be able to send her to that school. Finally, for kindergarten she was in this school and she really thrived with all the therapies. I knew, however, that once she went to first grade the amount and quality of therapies she'd be getting would diminish tremendously, and I didn't want her to only have one year in that wonderful program, so despite being really bright, I decided to keep her back a year and she repeated kindergarten, and had a wonderful year.

First grade should be easy, no? Her kindergarten class was entirely girls, and they almost all were moving on to first grade. 

Only it wasn't.

Good Reasons to Try Your Hand at an Online Business

There are so many wonderful things about working from home. Many of those work at home jobs are online. If you're trying to figure out how to make money without leaving the house, you might want to consider an online business. Here are some more reasons why you might want to try an online business.

For many people around the world today, the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and starting up a business is a great ambition that can seem almost unreachable.

Increasingly, however, more and more would-be entrepreneurs are becoming actual entrepreneurs, by trying their hand at online businesses of one sort or another, which offer particular unique benefits as opposed to certain more traditional business models.

Here are a number of good reasons to try your hand at starting up and running an online business.

Friday, August 20, 2021

How to Take the Stress Out of Moving House

Moving literally is my definition of hell on earth. I hate it with a passion and I always do it terribly. Some people that I know are superb movers and they manage to make their moves stress free and pack and unpack well, and, to be frank, I'm somewhat envious of them. Here are some tips from a good mover on how you can limit how much stress will be entailed in your moving homes.

Moving house is stressful, no doubt about that, however, there are steps that you can take to significantly reduce the stress of moving house. One of the best ways of reducing the stress associated with moving house is to plan, and in this article, you will learn some simple strategies to cut the stress associated with moving in half.

Here are some stress-busting tips that will facilitate the whole moving process, making it hassle-free and seamless.

Monday, August 16, 2021

An Exciting Discovery!

I ordered some clothes for my children from a cheap online local retailer, and to save money instead of paying extra for home delivery, I had it be delivered to a pickup point in the nearest city. When went to pick up my package when I was anyhow in the city for an appointment, I got a pleasant surprise.

It was a brand new store, and guess what? It is a scratch and dent store! It is closer to me than any other scratch and dent store. When I was there that time the proprietor showed me around his store, and while he had lots of different types of items for really low prices, the part that spoke
to me was the food, because we need to eat, and cheap good food is my game. He was apologetic that he didn't have so many different types of foods, and mentioned that it depends on the shipments that he gets, but that the supply keeps on changing.

I told him that I knew exactly the type of store his store was; I am very familiar with them and how they work, because I try to make shopping at these types of stores a regular part of my routine. 

The shopkeeper started showing me what he had in stock and then tried to explain that the dents and packaging don't affect the inside and the food is still good. I had a good laugh about that, honestly, because I've even written a blog post explaining that exact information to readers back in 2016. I know that expiration dates aren't regulated and that bulges in cans are dangerous but dents are only a problem if they dent enough that they crack, even slightly. And none of the food there fit into that criteria, so we were good to go.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

4 Wardrobe Tips to Dress Your Tween Girl This Summer

Teens are hard. Tweens are hard. But they are also wonderful, even if tweens are at the stage where they need to proclaim their independence. My daughter is a tween and it gets interesting trying to balance her desires for how she wants to dress, what I permit her to wear, what I want to spend money on, etc. Here are some tips from a reader for dressing your tween girl.

If you have a tween in the house, you know just how challenging it can be dressing them. They can be a bit choosy, their styles seem to change overnight, their fashion icons are virtually unknown to you, and it’s impossible to stay ahead of the trends and styles that appeal to them. Let’s not even get started on the seasons...how do you swiftly move their style between summer and winter while maintaining some sense of cohesion?

During the summer, your kids are going to have a lot of free time on their hands, and spend time hanging out with friends and enjoying time off school. It can be challenging to come up with outfits for this busy season.

That being said, dressing your tween in summer doesn’t have to be such a difficult experience. You can get really creative and actually turn it into a fun bonding experience where you get to see how your little girl is becoming her own self-determining person in her own unique way. So how do you dress your tween girl well this summer?

Follow these simple tricks, and you might actually enjoy a fun fashion time!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Leasing vs. Buying a Car: Which Costs Less?

I have not owned a car of my own ever. Yes, my parents had cars when I was growing up, but I, myself, never had a car of my own. However, with my health situation the way it is, there's a bigger and bigger chance I'll be getting a car in the future. So I'm happy to have this information from a reader on whether it is more cost efficient to lease or buy a car. 

Car ownership has long been a core aspect of American life. But leasing has been steadily growing in popularity. While leasing does have its benefits, is it actually cheaper than buying a car outright?

Monday, August 9, 2021

My Extra Frugal Grocery Shopping Trip

Lately groceries have been quite expensive locally, especially produce. In the past I set myself an upper price limit for what I'd pay per pound for produce but it is nearly impossible to follow that because nearly nothing is under that price.  This has been a discussion on a local frugal forum I run because this is relatively widespread, but a few people mentioned that they do find good sales for produce in specific stores. Its just not any stores that I regularly go to.

I go to physical therapy generally once a week in a city near my house. Last time I went to physical therapy I decided to pop in to a supermarket that is right near there, because I needed a drink and something to eat. (Silly me, I didn't eat or drink before I'd left my house and I was desperate.) When I was there I was shocked at how good the produce prices were. Most of the produce was on sale at ridiculously low prices, unlike anything I'd seen recently. And tuna? It was cheaper than I've seen tuna in years! 

I had a dilemma. I hadn't intended on coming grocery shopping so I was without a cart. Do I ignore these stupendous prices because I didn't have a cart, or do I find a way to get them home even so? While I could have paid for a taxi, even if just to take me to the closest bus stop, that cost would have negated some of the savings, so I was loathe to do that.

I decided anyhow to push myself, buy the groceries, even if it meant pushing my body and taxing it (and potentially injuring it, just on my way home from physical therapy). Fortunately, I made it home without injury and with a full fridge without spending a lot of money.

Here's what I got and why.

6 Small Business Ideas for Busy Mothers

Sometimes people make the parenting decision to be a stay at home mom. Other times it is the financially most feasible decision. But it can be challenging to live without a second income. Here are some ways that one can earn money even while being a busy mom taking care of children. (And just how perfect is this stock photo?) Or even if you aren't a parent and have a full time job but need supplemental income, here are some additional ways to make money part time.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Being a mom is a full-time job and certainly keeps you on your toes. However, sometimes, you may want to find a way to make some extra cash. Not only is this helpful for your family, but dedicating time to do something you love can be great for your mental health.

Starting your own business is a excellent choice, as it allows you much more flexibility and control over your hours. But what options are out there? 

Below we are going to take a look at six small business ideas for busy mothers.

Let’s get started!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

How to Trim Your Family’s Grocery Budget

Even though my blog is about frugality in general I spend a very large percentage of it talking about food and lowering costs there. The reason being that we all need to eat and we do it regularly and whether we spend a little or a lot on groceries can make a bigger impact on our monthly budget than conserving electricity and its effects can be seen immediately. Here are some tips from a reader on how to lower your family's grocery bills.

Running a household often feels like your list of expenses is never-ending. From after-school activities to holidays and shopping for back-to-school, balancing your family’s budget isn’t easy. In many cases, your grocery bill is likely accounting for a significant portion of your monthly expenses, which means you may be utilizing fast and easy payday loans to help curb temporary cash shortages. If that’s the case, there are several creative ways to streamline your grocery budget without sacrificing delicious home-cooked meals.

Before you make your weekly trip to the supermarket, take a look at these tips and tricks and learn how to save some easy money.

Pan Seared Steak with Mushrooms and Rosemary Recipe- Easy, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo and Allergy Friendly

Some recipes I feel guilty about posting, because I know there are some readers here who are struggling with the very most basic of grocery expenses, and then I go and post an expensive recipe. But I've been told that even with that, I should still post the occasional more expensive recipe because everyone deserves a treat, and even people struggling with grocery bills might decide to splurge on special occasions. Anyhow, that is something that I do too, and often when I splurge on a special occasion or when I need to do something nice for myself as self care I prefer to do so at home because I can get much more for my money that way than in a restaurant.

So this.

It's something I made for myself when I needed a pick me up after a hard week. I got some steaks from the meat counter at a local grocery store and had them slice them thinly. At first I didn't realize how many steaks I'd get from a certain amount of meat, but once I saw how thick each one was I had them slice each in half so I ended up with twice as many steaks as I thought I'd have.

I wanted a simple way to make these steaks that their flavor would shine through while not eating meat that only had salt as seasoning. I decided to go with mushrooms and rosemary because that was what was speaking to me at the time, and it was absolutely the right decision. It tasted heavenly. And, confession, because how could I do this with steak... it actually tasted good as leftovers reheated!!! I know, that's like blasphemy when it comes to steak, but I like blaspheming with my food. 

Most people don't want to eat at home when they want something nice for a special occasion/self care because of the amount of work and time it takes to make nice food from scratch, so this gets extra points because it was also pretty easy and quick to prepare, making it an easy choice for me. 

I use rosemary I forage in my neighborhood for this.

This recipe works for gluten free, and paleo diets and is free of most common allergens.

I made 3 steaks and that is why I wrote the recipe that way but it's quite flexible in terms of amounts, just not time.

Pan Seared Steak with Mushrooms and Rosemary Recipe- Easy, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo and Allergy Friendly

Books With a Purpose That Can Help Shape Your Child’s Future

I like teaching my children emotional resilience and regulation, and I find these skills are able to be taught in a fun and engaging way using books geared towards that purpose. I was asked to share with you readers about these three books from Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream publishing which attempt to do exactly that. Teach them about emotions and how to handle them. Exactly up my alley and hopefully up yours too.

3 Children’s Books to Help Your Child Live Their Best Life

It can be easy to forget that our children are sensitive and emotional beings. Just as they are experiencing the world, they are also taking information in and processing big emotions and new, exciting things. Sometimes, that information can stay with them for long after childhood, and it can have a big impact on the person they grow up to be.

Puppy Dogs & Ice Cream Books is here to ensure that every child has good, strong values to carry with them as they grow, along with strategies and tactics they can use to battle anxiety, stress, and confidence, and strong life-long values and lessons that they can use to live their best lives.

If you’re interested in taking a look at some of the books we have to offer, we’ve broken it all down for you into three sections down below!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Keeping Your Kids Positively Occupied

During the summer and any other break most parents have a hard time keeping their kids entertained without technology. Here are some ideas from a reader about non-tech ways to keep your kids entertained.

We all want our kids to be as happy and fulfilled as possible. We want to give them as much opportunity in life as we can. We want to get them started out on the right foot with well rounded childhoods that they can look back on fondly. Of course, this can all be easier said than done. Parenting can be difficult and sometimes, alongside the other stresses of day to day life, we can end up keeping our little ones occupied with simple things that don’t require too much of our input. This is understandable. We have work. We have relationships to maintain, fitness regimes to keep up and interests of our own to pursue. But it is important that you do your utmost to keep your kids occupied in a positive and productive way that you can get involved in too. Of course, different kids enjoy different things. You may find that one child prefers a completely different type of activity or area of interest to another. But what is important is that you find what each of your kids enjoys and that you nurture this. This will give them a source of joy in their lives and can aid with their overall development too! So, how can you go about keeping your kids positively occupied? Here are a few suggestions that will help you along the way!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Crisis Averted

Please excuse me while I get personal with you for a bit... Since I've never, ever shared personal stuff about myself on here before... lol...

Today I had a crisis that felt like it reached an impossible magnitude. Causing me to get to a really bad emotional state. Well, the fact that you're reading this is all you need to see to know that the crisis was averted.

Let me start at the beginning.

I was talking to my son about my blog, and he mentioned something about the header of my blog looking like it was 10 years old, like it was made when he was a baby, pointing to the cartoon baby in the header. I told him that that wasn't supposed to be him, as he was already a toddler when my blog was started, his brother Ike was a baby, but it was just supposed to be a generic baby in a cloth diaper to show that I wrote about both motherhood and frugal and green living. Either way, he said, it needed updating. 

He then continued and mentioned that the layout seemed behind the times as well. Lee wanted to know why I didn't revamp my website, but instead kept it the same for nearly a decade. He brought up the fact that already a few years ago I had started with some ideas about upgrading my header, but never ended up doing it, and asked me why not.

Renting or Buying: Which is the Most Frugal Option?

Discussions about whether it is best to rent or buy a house are all over, with each person arguing that their side is the only correct one. However, there are pros and cons to each of them- here are some sent in by a reader below for some food for thought.

Photo Credit: Dhruva Mehra

Are you looking to choose between buying a home and renting one out? There’s plenty to consider, so here are some pros and cons for both to help you decide…

One of the biggest life goals out there is to buy a home, but the real question is whether this option is the best for you and your situation? After all, it can be extremely expensive, and you have to wonder whether it’s all worth it.

For those looking to buy a home, there are government incentives. For example, help to buy scheme solicitors can help you to make the most of your money through buying a new build with a low deposit.

That said, buying a house today is extremely expensive, and not right for everyone. Especially if you’re not looking to settle down just yet, and want to travel the world, think again. In this article, we’ll provide some pros and cons for both options to help you with making your decision.

The Pros and Cons of Renting a House

5 Realisations That Can Help You Pay Off Debt

Do you have debt? Do you want to pay it off? These 5 realizations about debt sent from a reader can help you out.

Photo credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Almost all of us have been in debt at one point or another. The question is, how can you pay it off? These five realisations you need to make before doing so could help you out…

Are you in debt, and finding it hard to think about anything else? Perhaps you’re struggling to pay it off, and need a bit of a reality check? Well, you’re not alone.

The problem with debt is that it’s a cyclical thing; when one person goes into debt and doesn’t pay their debtor, they then end up in financial trouble. So, if your business is in the middle of recovering debt from a limited company and in need of some advice, or a start-up who has gone too far down the rabbit hole, you came to the right place. Alternatively, if you’re an individual who has stumbled down the mortgage and credit card path, don’t go anywhere.

In this article, we’ll be breaking down five important realisations you need to make before you can hope to pay off your debt. So, if you want to learn a little more about what debt really means, read on…

Monday, August 2, 2021

The Best and Tastiest Travel Friendly Sandwich


I am absolutely exhausted. My whole body aches. But I am really on a high. Today I went with my eldest, my son Lee, to an amusement park. First time I was at one for at least 15 years. We had a blast. I want nothing more than to just fall asleep. But I wanted to leave you with a post first.

It's a short one.

But it's a good one.

I want to leave you with the absolute best travel friendly sandwich, one that I have made multiple times for myself and my kids and it is a hit every time. We had them today at the amusement park and they lasted from the morning, when I packed them, until lunch time and even until dinner time. They didn't get soggy or gross. Just deliciousness. And it isn't just good for traveling. It is, hands down, my sons' favorite sandwich. And I don't blame them.

Here it is.

It's simple.

How to Select the Right Home Fire Insurance on a Tight Budget

A long time reader wanted to share this post with you and it makes me feel guilty, because I do not have proper insurance on my home and that can really screw me over in the long run. I gotta get my act together and do it ASAP. For those that are trying to get fire insurance but are trying to save costs, read more to learn about it.

Managing your household budget is all about paying attention to the little details. No cost goes unnoticed, and every expense must be justified. Living a frugal lifestyle encourages you to save whenever and wherever you can so that you have more to spend on yourself and your family. But when it comes to fire insurance coverage, you have to tread carefully before you start adjusting your policy.

Every year, the cost of your home insurance policy increases. Finding out you have to pay more yet again can make it tempting to ask your broker about trimming your premiums. But that can have unintended consequences and cost you if you ever have to make a fire damage claim.

Heartwarming Ways To Make Your Presence Felt Without Breaking The Bank

18 months later and Corona is still kicking our butts. Some of us have gone so long without seeing loved ones and want to give them a long distance "hug". Here are some ideas from reader, John, on how you can do so without spending too much money.

If the last 18 months has taught us anything it is that we should do all that we can to stay close to friends and family, whenever we get the chance. Many of us have been unable to see our loved ones for a long time, and many still can’t foresee when they will be able to embrace each other as we once did. To those who are far removed from their loved ones, gifts which make their presence felt are a great way of staying close and showing that they care. Here are some ideas which you may consider, that will ensure that your friends and families feel your presence.

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