Sunday, April 14, 2024

7 Food Festivals Worth Traveling For In Europe

If, like myself, you consider yourself a foodie, and you also really enjoy traveling, you might decide to try out local delicacies when traveling, so you can experience the culinary specialties of the region. But if you time it right, you can travel to different locations and get to experience, not just their food, cuisine, but an entire food festival. Here are some you might want to consider when planning your travel dates. Bear in mind that, depending on the popularity of the event, transportation and lodging there might be more expensive at those dates.

Many people who love food would like to take a culinary journey around Europe. With its rich culinary heritage, various foods, and vivacious cooking customs, the continent offers several experiences for one to enjoy. Numerous food festivals across Europe make it possible to fully immerse oneself into the continental gastronomic mosaic. From local to international dishes, these events exhibit European cuisine at its finest. Consequently, if you are an epicurean who is always in the mood for new experiences, then look at these seven such prandial gatherings on different shores of this continent. Prepare yourself for a gustatory adventure without parallel as you taste your way through those offerings.

Here Are The Food Festivals Worth Traveling For In Europe

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Raising a busy kid in the old Eastern Europe - Some parenting tips from George Nikolov’s journal

When my daughter, Rose, was born, I was hoping for a calm, easy baby, but she was anything but. I know how challenging it can be when you have a child that is a whirlwind of energy. George Nikolov had a son just like that, and ABV Publishing wrote a book based on his journal about how he parented his son, who ended up becoming a world champion in Ju Jitsu.

What we learned while publishing a children's book based on George’s journal

George, a lifelong teacher and educator in Bulgaria, along with his wife, had taught many students and influenced their community for years, advising parents on various parenting topics. Then, a surprise baby boy arrived.

Born on a summer day coinciding with the final medal ceremony of the Moscow Summer Olympics in the USSR, George saw this as a good omen – their son arriving just in time for the medals.

By 9.5 months, their sleep-deprived and exhausted son started walking. George and his wife, feeling like zombies, envisioned him as a future athlete, perhaps even an Olympic champion.

Raising children is no easy feat, but raising a child with boundless energy can be overwhelming. As the boy grew stronger and more active, George and his wife found themselves startled, shocked, and outside their comfort zone. Their parental frustration mounted. George kept a journal for 15 years, often questioning why their pedagogical approaches weren't working. He'd write in despair, unsure of the path their fearless and perpetually bruised son would take.

In the 1980s, Bulgarian parents took pride in active children, especially boys. Roughhousing with a giant stuffed bear, sparring with relatives and friends – this was how a healthy boy was supposed to behave. However, being the child of two educators, the parents expected their son to be constantly reading. George, despite seeing his son's physical potential early on, harbored academic plans for him.

Despite loving reading, their son had little patience for quiet activities. This lack of patience extended to the musical instruments (a piano and an accordion) they owned. Sitting still drove him stir-crazy, leading him to prefer activities like leaping over furniture, climbing trees and street signs, or exercising with an expander.

Not only was the son energetic, but he also displayed a wide range of interests. To his parents' frustration, however, as George recounts, the boy was inconsistent, trying and dropping different hobbies quickly tiring of them after the initial excitement.

The only constant interest for George's son was physical activity. He loved being strong and fit, often flexing in front of a mirror or showing off his pull-ups in the neighborhood.

After George's passing, ABV Publishing had the privilege of working on his journal. Based on this journal, they published a story retold through the eyes of George's son, a now-established Bulgarian athlete, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, and successful coach. The book, titled "Born for Medals: How I Was Getting Ready for the Top," is a children's book (ages 5-8) illustrated by the talented Bulgarian artist Elina-Melina Bondokova and available on Amazon.

George lived to see his son win his first medal during a junior wrestling competition. He wrote of his immense pride that day, filled with happy tears. His energetic son was an achiever, his muscles working hard to secure his first medal.

Many more medals followed, thanks to constant training and practice, as well as the unwavering support of George and his wife. Though they didn't always understand their son's drive, they never gave up on him. They encouraged him to try his best in his various interests and hobbies, including judo, karate, and fishing.

The story of the Olympic medal omen became a family tradition, often finding its way into the boy's dreams where he envisioned himself standing on the highest platform of the podium, raising the Bulgarian flag. This blend of "aiming-high" pedagogy, typical of the educational system where the two teachers were trained, and a touch of superstition about good omens, helped this energetic boy stay out of trouble. His energy was channeled productively – his extra energy was spent at the gym.

He didn't become a teacher, musician, or professor, but he developed his natural potential to the fullest, reaching goals in his area of greatest interest – physical activity.

Parents and educators can utilize our book, "Born for Medals" (also known as "The Medals") in several ways. Children can read it independently; the text is easy and fun, suitable for a "My-First-Book" experience. However, the text is presented in cursive to maintain the style of George's handwritten journal, and young readers might not be familiar with cursive yet. In this case, we recommend helping with the text or encouraging the reader to guess the text based on the illustrations on each page.

Another way to "read" with an energetic child is to follow the illustrations and tell the story of a busy boy growing up in 1980s Bulgaria. This would be a perfect opportunity to ask children to add their own stories and pictures.

Since the book's subtitle is "How I Was Getting Ready for the Top" and ends with the question "How are you getting ready for the top," parents, guardians, and educators involved in rearing busy children might find it useful to end the read-aloud session with a discussion about the child's plans and dreams. At this point, the child's dreams may not overlap with those of the adults in their life, but it will be a great moment for us, the adults, to learn as well, to accept the differences, and be okay with them.

Even when he was very young, George's son would dream of being on top, of being a champion. His dreams came true, why wouldn't the dreams of your little busy ones come true, too?

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Increasing Your Savings and Boosting Your Income with Bitcoins

Ever feel like your wallet is stuck on repeat? Bitcoin might sound complicated, but it's digital money that you can actually use to save up or even make some extra cash. This post will break down Bitcoin, so you can see if it's the key to unlocking your financial future.

With a growing economy, it has become more and more challenging for parents to save money. Adding to that, the constant cycle of paying bills, taking care of kids' needs (education, health, and other miscellaneous expenses), and planning for a secure future can be overwhelming. But what if we told you there's a way to boost your income, and that too, from the comfort of your own home? Today, we'll delve into the fascinating world of Bitcoins, a cryptocurrency that has been shaking the financial world with its massive potential and volatility.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

A Bunch of Free Books- Again!

I'm a voracious reader. Reading is one of my favorite things to do. Growing up I'd go to the library every week or two, getting a huge stack of book, and then after I'd devour them, I'd replace them with an all new stack.  

Living in a non English speaking country, where we don't have the same expansive public library system as I had growing up in the US (interlibrary loans, how I love and miss thee!), I used to periodically go to the second hand book store, buy some books, and then sell them back after... but it was an expensive "library" since I was only getting a fraction of the money I was spending back each time I sold them. 

I was so thrilled when I found out about our "little free libraries" locally. Not so little, though. There are more and more locations, many of them in old bus stops, which were converted into libraries with shelves and shelves of overflowing books and referred to as bus stop book stops. The ones I tend to go to are in neighborhoods with lots of American expats, so a large majority of the books there are in English. And they've become some of my favorite places to visit.

While I absolutely have my favorite authors and genres to read, fantasy and science fiction, I enjoy most genres as long as the books are readable and at least somewhat interesting. I don't particularly want to spend money on books of all genres- these days I tend to only spend money on very specific fantasy authors (Brandon Sanderson is my all time favorite) and some self help books (Brene Brown is a favorite there). But if I don't have to pay for it? Sure, I'll give it a chance to read it.

Friday, March 29, 2024

The Primary Benefits of Owning a Home Versus Renting

As a relatively new homeowner, who thought I'd never be able to buy a home, it was never even a question of whether it was a good idea to buy a home, but rather if I'd be able to. Locally prices are constantly increasing for rental apartments- our first apartment's rent more than doubled in price in the 5 years we were living there, so if you stay in one place you just pay more and more and eventually get priced out and need to pay to move. And landlords are individual people that often do terrible jobs and you suffer because of that. But now I'm a home owner and a landlord and I see that being a home owner does come with extra costs that you don't originally realize. However, I'd still take being a home owner vs renter any day.

Homeownership has long been a pillar of the American Dream. Around the country, millions of individuals, couples, and families strive to buy their first home so they can experience the privacy it offers and put their money toward something that will benefit them in the future.

The decision between buying and renting is not an easy one. Renting is much more flexible because you are likely locked into a lease only for the next year as opposed to a 30-year mortgage. Additionally, you do not have as much of a burden to take care of the property, as repairs and major improvements can be handled by the landlord or property manager.

Buying the home so that you become the owner comes with a much different list of responsibilities. However, many would argue that the benefits outweigh the costs. Let’s talk about those benefits and why they are so convincing for those who want to own a home.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

10 Tips and Strategies That Will Help You Secure the Best Deal Possible at a Car Dealership

When buying a car, you can either buy a second hand car from a private seller or buy new or used from a car dealership. If you aren't careful, you may end up paying far too much for a car. Here are some tips to make sure you get the post possible deal when you go the dealership route.

To be a licensed driver, a person must put in the time and effort. Anything less would mean getting stuck without a license and taking and retaking their written and driving exams, which is frustrating. The next step for most people after becoming a licensed driver is usually buying a car. First-time car buyers should put in the same determination they did when preparing for their license exams to get the best deal possible at the car dealership. For car buyers wondering how to do this, here are ten tips and strategies they can use.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Figuring Out a Solution for my PTSD Triggering Problem with Luroy Slats for my Ikea Malm Bed

I freaking hate PTSD, especially Complex PTSD, which is caused from long term trauma (often the result of abuse or war), because it makes my life infinitely harder. (What does this have to do with my bed? Read on.)

When people think of PTSD flashbacks they tend to think of the stereotypical ones where you relive the traumatic event, often with your senses involved, such as visual, auditory, or more. But sometimes there are flashbacks that you don't realize are flashbacks; it took me many years to learn that what I was experiencing was PTSD flashbacks. Emotional flashbacks are intense emotional responses triggered by situations, because your brain gets triggered and thinks that you are back in that traumatic situation, which makes you relive those emotions that you had then. I never understood why I'd react in ways that were "overblown" compared to what actually happened, and felt so stupid about reacting that way, but knowing that it is a PTSD response helps me be just a bit more forgiving to myself. 

When I separated from my ex, I built myself a single bed using some wood I already had from the bed we'd had while married, and some reclaimed wood. A little later I was having back issues and my physical therapist told me that I needed to get a better mattress (mine was at least 20 years old) because the sagging mattress was bad for my back. So I spent money on getting the best and firmest Ikea spring mattress I could afford, because I knew my back was worth the money.

However... all was not good.

Once I had my newer mattress, the flaws in my homemade bed were clear. I must not have sanded down the slats on the bed enough, because the bottom of my brand new mattress was ripped up along the slats. Whenever I needed to pick up the mattress to put on sheets or whatever, I would get so triggered and start having emotional flashbacks. I'd hear the voice of my abuser degrading me, saying things like I'm so irresponsible, I don't think things out, I destroy things, I cause money to be wasted... and I knew I couldn't continue to have that bed. The bed was triggering me a lot. So when I got approved for disability, I used some of the money I got to buy myself a new bed. A bed that wouldn't trigger me the same way.

Or so I thought.

Monday, March 25, 2024

At What Age Does Child Support End in California

As a divorce woman whose kids are slowly nearing adulthood (my oldest graduates high school this June!) the concept of child support and when it ends is something I think about. When does it end? When should it end? If a kid is still living at home and their parents are still paying their expenses, does it make sense that suddenly all child support ends at 18? What is fair? What happens in reality? Well, the answer for that is it depends where you're talking about. This is the story in California.

California has set up some clear rules for child support to make sure kids get the financial support they need from both parents. The origins of California's child support program go back to 1872, when California first adopted the Penal Code, which made failure to pay child support a misdemeanor, later increased to a felony.

But when does child support end in California? And what are the consequences if you fail to pay it? In California, determining the age at which child support obligations come to an end is based on several factors that protect the child's financial well-being. While the usual rule is that child support ends at the age of 18, there are exceptions, such as high school graduation and the presence of disabilities.

In this discussion, we will explore the various factors that can affect the duration of child support and the potential consequences of failing to fulfill this financial responsibility, highlighting the factors and considerations for parents at this significant milestone in family dynamics.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Navigating Divorce: Understanding California's Divorce Laws

Life throws curveballs, and sometimes those curves lead to relationship changes. Whether you're navigating your own divorce or supporting someone close to you, understanding divorce laws can be eye opening. Every location has its own rules, and this post about California's divorce rules is helpful for anyone who lives in California, or may consider moving there, when their marriage is rocky.  Some of these rules are relevant to all 50 states and some are different. For example, California is one of only 9 states where all marital debts and assets are divided exactly 50/50, regardless of circumstances.

As of 2023, the divorce rate in California is estimated to be 35-50% for first marriages and 60% to 70% for second marriages. California is a "no-fault" divorce state, meaning you don't need to prove wrongdoing by either spouse to obtain a divorce.

The most common ground for divorce is "irreconcilable differences," where the marriage is deemed to have broken down, but keep in mind that every situation is different, and if you're considering getting a divorce, before making any decisions, it's important to familiarize yourself with the divorce rules in California. While you may already know some basic information, a few things may surprise you.

In this article, we will look into five major aspects of California divorce laws that you may need to be aware of. From property division to spousal support, child custody, residency requirements, and alternative dispute resolution options, we will share valuable insights to help you confidently understand the divorce process.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

How to Repurpose Leftover and/Or Imperfect Rice

In general I'm not a picky eater. I am willing to eat most foods, no matter how weird... but one of those few foods I'm actually picky about is rice. It needs to be made perfectly or I really can't tolerate eating it. Of course, rice happens to be one of those foods that even many good cooks can't cook properly. And even though I know how to cook rice just fine, from time to time I get a batch that just flops for whatever reason.

I hate to waste food. So if rice flops, I try to see if there are ways to salvage it and use it in a dish that will mask the imperfections. Here are some ways I've found to repurpose botched rice.

How to Repurpose Leftover and/Or Imperfect Rice

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Is Buying Hearing Aids Online a Good Idea?

I like shopping online since it allows me to price compare and get things cheaper than I can usually get them in person, or sometimes find things that I can't even buy locally. Even some medical items I get online, such as ankle and wrist braces for my wonky joints. But I've learned that not every medical device should be ordered online, even if you can. For example, progressive lenses are finicky enough that buying them in person is important. Hearing aids are similar- here's why you should buy hearing aids in person.

Image by vecstock on Freepik

The convenience of online shopping has revolutionized the way we purchase everything from groceries to gadgets, and now, even medical devices like hearing aids. With a few clicks, you can explore a wide array of options, compare prices, and read reviews before making a purchase.

However, when it comes to exploring the best hearing aid solutions, buying online isn’t a straightforward decision.

Let’s explore the important considerations involved in purchasing hearing aids and why, ultimately, scheduling an appointment for a personal fitting might be the better choice.

Monday, March 18, 2024

10 Commonly Spread Myths About Addiction

Growing up, despite not hanging out with the "best crowd", I was nonetheless sheltered enough from the world of addiction that I never personally witnessed drug use, and was extremely shocked when I found out 3 years ago that some schoolmates of mine from high school were busted for running a drug smuggling and money laundering scheme in my hometown. Then I heard from my kids recently about the drug and alcohol problems that some of their classmates and social circles have, and it gets very concerning. Even if you think addition isn't something you need to know about, it is. People get much wrong about addiction, and it is important to be educated about it to keep you and your loved ones safe. Here are 10 myths about addiction that you might have heard.

There are many myths about addiction. Some contain a grain of truth, but others are fabrications. We’ll discuss some of these myths right now.

Addiction and Dependence Are the Same Thing

If you’re talking about drug or alcohol dependence vs. an addiction, you should know they’re similar, but they’re not the same thing. If you’re dependent on a drug or alcohol, you’ll have a hard time functioning without it. If you’re addicted to something, though, you will go into physical withdrawal if you are deprived of it.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Why I Make and Drink Lots of My Homemade Sports Drinks And My Calculating Savings

Last July, I went to the EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) expert in my country. I still plan on writing up about that visit because I found it very enlightening, but for now, I want to share one of the changes I have made to my life since then. 

Through this doctor it was confirmed that I have POTS, a type of dysautonomia, and the treatment of that, among other things, is to stay very well hydrated as well as making sure to have enough salt. Though she wrote on my paperwork that I should drink 2-3 liters a day, I've discovered through trial and error that I really do best with ideally 4, but at least 3 liters per day.