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:

Monday, July 27, 2020

Homemade Nectarine Zucchini Chutney Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan

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

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

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

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

Homemade Nectarine Zucchini Chutney Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan

Friday, July 24, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Best Things to Give A Frugal Couple For a Baby Shower

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

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

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

Things to Consider When Buying Your Teenager Their First Car

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

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

Friday, July 17, 2020

How To Kickstart Your Budget, Especially When Divorcing

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

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

6 Kitchen Hacks to Save You More Money

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

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

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Exciting News For My Son Lee

My beautiful teenager, Lee.

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

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

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

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

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

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