Tuesday, March 26, 2019

I Made A Bed From Scratch All By Myself!

For those of you who've been reading my blog for a while already, you've known that I have a done a lot of building with wood before; much of my furniture is made from scratch. The thing is, all the projects were either done by my soon to be ex husband, Michael, completely, or as teamwork between myself and him. I learned how to build as a kid, having done various projects together with my family, including building a clubhouse in our backyard. And then being married to Michael who is really talented with building meant that I picked up a lot by osmosis, including how to use various tools that we didn't have when I was growing up. We built lots of furniture together, but in many of the cases, I helped with the planning and measuring, but the actual tool use was by him, with me holding the pieces together.

So a bed in my house broke. It was a bed that Michael and I built together, but when we were building it we were in a rush and only were using materials we had around the house, so we really didn't build it properly. The frame wasn't made from strong enough wood, and we kept saying we'd build it better someday, but that someday never came, and first it cracked and instead of rebuilding we just reinforced it with more screws and the next time it broke with more supports, but eventually it just completely disintegrated.

That bed needed to be replaced, and friends of mine suggested that I just buy a new one, or get a secondhand bed, but I didn't want to do that for quite a few reasons: even a cheap bed second hand bed would cost a lot once I pay movers to bring it; because of the dimensions of the room I needed the bed to have very specific dimensions, and because of the storage kept under the bed I needed it built a certain way. So I decided that I'd rebuild it. I knew how to do it because I'd been part of planning and building five beds already, and I had the right tools and know how to do it.

The Secret to Prioritizing Health as A Family

Want to make your family's lifestyle a more healthy one? Here's some tips from a reader how.

It is no secret that your health is incredibly important, and it must be properly looked after. You don’t only want to take care of your health, but that of your family’s as well. After all, you want your loved ones to live a long and happy life. The question is, how can you all achieve this?

This article will go over the steps you can take, otherwise known as the secret to prioritizing your health and wellbeing. You can start by better understanding the importance of living a healthy life in the first place, and then focus on cooking healthy meals, working out, taking care of your mental health, and visiting your doctor for regular check-ups as well.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Does Couples Therapy Always Work? Should It?

If I had a dollar for every problematic thing people said to me once I announced that I was getting divorced... I'd be richer than I am today. People are so full of opinions about whether or not I should get divorced, even without knowing any details about our relationship or the reasons for divorce. I've even had people attempt to "stage an intervention" to try to tell me that divorce is the wrong answer and I'll regret it forever if I divorce.
But some people are less forceful, but just still inappropriately express concern about the state of affairs, asking me if I tried going to couples' counseling, and when I told them we did, but it didn't work, nearly always, the follow up question is "Was he abusive?"

So I want to talk a little bit about that.

Not about Michael and myself, because frankly, that's no one's business but our own, but the general concept of abuse.

3 Frugal Ways to Protect Your Family from Household Pests

Nothing quite as gross and alarming as seeing your home, your safe haven, being infested by a variety of pests. Here's some ideas from a reader on how to prevent them.

Having a pest problem at home? Let’s face it, pests are more than a nuisance, they can also spread disease and put the health of your family at risk. The first thing that comes to mind when you encounter pests is to rush to a nearby departmental store and grab commercial poison and traps. But these things can easily cost a fortune.

If you’re on a budget, go the DIY way. DIY traps and poison are the best way to rid of household pests next to hiring a pest control company. Here are some very affordable ways you can deal with a pest problem at home.

Clean up to Prevent

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Restaurant Style Chicken Chop Suey with Bok Choy and Mushrooms Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Easy

I have had a really emotionally rough and draining past few days, and today I just felt like what I needed was some Chinese food takeout. Self care is important to me, and with such a strong desire for it, I would have gone to get some, only I was already running late and didn't have time to stop off someplace that had Chinese food takeout.
Since I anyhow was going to the grocery store, I decided that I'd make myself a homemade version of Chinese food takeout, and picked out some ingredients for it. I had this idea that it would be with mushrooms, bok choy, and chicken, without such a strongly flavored sauce, and was thinking maybe along the lines of moo goo gai pan. In the end I decided on chop suey, and found this recipe using exactly those ingredients.
I played around with the ingredients and came up with this yummy supper that, overall, didn't take too much time to make start to finish, and filled that Chinese food craving for a fraction of the cost of store bought, an added bonus.

While it seems like it is complicated and hard because of the multiple steps, it really isn't difficult at all.

I may play around with this recipe in the future, perhaps adding a touch of sweetener to this, but it certainly hits the spot as is.

This is totally a loose guideline and if you have other veggies you like to use in stir fry, you can play around and switch out the veggies for whatever it is you like, as long as you keep the other ingredients the same.

Oh, and did I mention this is gluten free, easily can be Paleo, and is allergy friendly? Totally a keeper.

Restaurant Style Chicken Chop Suey with Bok Choy and Mushrooms Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Easy

How to Find Legal Help When You Can't Afford a Lawyer

Going through divorce, I am lucky to have a lawyer through legal aid that is really wonderful, but I know how expensive lawyers can be. Here's some ideas from a reader on what to do if you can't a lawyer.

Lamentably, there are times in life when things don’t go according to plan. Many times that involves lawsuits. It’s inadvisable to take on legal business without a lawyer. What do you implement when faced with constitutional action? What if you don’t have the ability to afford a lawyer to accept your case and adequately represent you? It may be you can afford an attorney, but the lawsuit is for such a nominal amount of money, it doesn’t make economic sense to hire a lawyer. What options do you have that can solve your problem?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Self Care Via Swimming

I posted this on my Facebook wall, and everyone there loved it, and told me I should share it further, and put it on my blog. So here it is. This is the definition of self care for me.

I learned to swim from when I was very young, breezing through the various levels of the American Red Cross swimming lessons. By age 12 I'd passed all the levels, and looking for something else to do while my siblings took lessons, I joined the pools synchronized swim team. I loved it so much; while I did ballet on land, my body felt big and clunky on the stage, but in synchronized swimming, water ballet, no one would tell me that my body is the wrong shape or I wasn't flexible enough. I was like this little water nymph, feeling right at home in the depths.

The Right Tools Can Help You Make Money Online

Want to earn some extra cash? You can do so online, providing you have the right tools. Here's how. with some tips from a reader


Do you have a small business, or do you work from home? Have you ever thought about trying to make money online? According to the New York Times, some 43 percent of people in the United States work remotely at least sometimes — and that trend is only growing.

While there are many reasons why “home offices” are on the rise, one contributing factor is that working online is just easier now than ever before. Whether you want to work for yourself, sell goods, or work remotely, you need to have the right tools to make it happen.

Here are some of the tools that make it easier for people to make money online.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Versatile Fruit Blitz Cake Recipe: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Refined Sugar Free Options

Versatile fruit blitz cake made with gluten free flour mix, apples and pears, flax seed egg replacement, and sweetened with date syrup
For this recipe, I'll have to credit my bestie, Michelle, who originally got it from a cookbook by author Marci Goldman. However, the original recipe, called "Cherry Blitz Cake", because it is a cake that can be made in a cinch, has been changed so much, first by Michelle, and then by me, that it barely is similar to the original cake.

So first of all, while the original cake is cherry cake, this cake can be made with whatever fruit you like that cooks well. The ones I make most are with apples and pears, but consider using any of the following: apples, cherries, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, etc. This is a great recipe to use up soft fruit/fruit that are on their last legs. I don't bother peeling my fruit for this, no need.

Second of all, the original recipe is with white flour, but based on lots of experimentation, it works just as well with spelt flour, whole wheat flour, gluten free flour mix, whatever floats your boat.
Third, while the original called for white sugar, this also works with liquid sweeteners like honey, date syrup, jaggery syrup, in addition to other granulated sweeteners like coconut sugar, brown sugar, etc... Even if you're afraid that they'll make it too liquidy, it won't. Even if the batter seems like it'll never get thick, it will. Feel free to use whatever sweetener you prefer to use, without adjusting the flour or other liquid amounts at all.

Fourth, while the original recipe calls for orange juice, you can use any juice for this or even water.
Fifth change is making it vegan. You'd think that a recipe that calls for four eggs wouldn't easily be converted to egg free, but this works with flax seed egg replacement as well!
Lastly, there's a specific order you're supposed to put in the fruit and the batter but I don't bother with that!

This cake is just super awesome, and everyone who eats it enjoys it. It is a moist cake, and you can make it in a bundt pan, loaf pans, 9x13, cupcake tin, etc. My son, who eats gluten, told me that this was the best gluten free cake I ever made.

So with all that preamble, here's the recipe!

Versatile Fruit Blitz Cake Recipe: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Refined Sugar Free Options

Friday, March 8, 2019

Making Cash With Apps & The Internet

Looking for some ways to make some extra cash? Here's a post by a reader with a bunch of different suggestions of platforms where you can sell your items over the internet.

Pretty often we use apps and the internet just to buy things. Pop-up offers with 10% drag us into making a commitment we weren’t sure that we wanted. Or that sneaky email that follows up and lets you know the items are still in your basket, 24 hours after the items have disappeared from your thoughts.


But the flip side of that is that it has probably never been easier to sell your own stuff either. Apparently, we all have around 4 thousand (whatever your local currency is) of things in our homes that we just don’t use. Not to mention those of us with the skill to make, create and design. If you’re in the market to buy a car rather than sell, then consider visiting Car-Buying-Strategies.com for the best tips.

According to some of those big online retailers, people spent around $453 billion online in 2017, and that is meant to rise year on year. In fact that $453 billion was a 16% rise from the year before. Interested in reports then here you go - Amazon Report / eBay Report.

Mobile apps have been a key player in the massive increase in the speed at which people shop and the amount they spend. Websites being hooked up to the one-touch PayPal or Apple pay, make transactions quick. Maybe a little too quickly for the consumer, but not for the companies they are buying from. Impulse purchases at 3 am are more prevalent than ever.

Which is good news for you, actually, if you are going to start selling things online.

It makes sense for you to look at the rough capabilities of the websites and what it is going to cost you to sell things. After all, selling on any of the platforms is going to see them skim the cream off the top.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Marriage Therapy is Cheaper Than Divorce?

Apologies in advance for what is going to be an emotional post. To be honest, I'm already tearing up writing these first few lines, can't wait to see what will happen by the end.

As someone whose marriage was on the rocks for years (but tried my best to cover it up or make it work), and also had really tight financial situations most of the time, I can't tell you how many times I've heard people use the phrase "invest in your marriage because it's cheaper than divorce" in various permutations. Either they're talking about spending money on date nights, or when I told them that the messiness of my house was a big source of tension between us and they told me to pay for cleaning help, they'd talk about how it's a worthwhile investment, because "its cheaper than divorce". Or when talking about how expensive marriage counseling is, being told that it's worth it, because its "cheaper than divorce".

I mean, people really mean well when they say such things.

There is definitely a point to that.

Marriages are hard work. And just giving up on a marriage, when there are things you could do to save it, because finances are getting in the way, isn't necessarily the right decision. It is worth trying to save a marriage instead of letting finances be the reason you give up, because people are right, divorce is expensive.

I've also heard people say things like "getting cleaning help is cheaper than therapy" or "self care is cheaper than therapy" when justifying why they are spending on something as "extraneous" as that.

But you know what my problem is with those phrases?

How to Be Money Smart in 2019

A few months into the new year, and hopefully if you had finance related resolutions, hopefully you've managed to stick to them. If not, here's some more ideas from a reader how you can be money smart this year; its never too late to implement.

The cost of living is on the rise and, for many people, this means money is tight. Regardless of your financial situation, having more money in the bank (and your pocket) is never a bad thing. A new year is always a great time to make some changes, so why not create goals which will positively impact your budget? Here are a few simple ways to be money smart this year.

Save Your Spare Change

Being mindful of your spending is the first step to making financial changes. Those little things add up, and $5 here and there for a coffee doesn't sound like much, but do this 10 times a week and there goes $50. If you get yourself a KeepCup and make your own coffee, the money can stay in your account and earn interest. Other ways to save your spare change could include taking a packed lunch, buying second-hand goods, swapping processed drinks with water and making the most of genuine specials. Even something as simple as stretching your hair appointment from 4 weeks to 6 will save you money over the course of a year.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Paleo Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe; Easy, Gluten Free, and Delicious Thai Hot and Sour Soup (Vegan Option)

One of my favorite things to do is recreate foods that I've eaten at a restaurant at home and in a way that is suitable to my diet (gluten free, egg free, etc). So far I've done it with Chinese restaurant food: pineapple chicken, corn soup, sesame chicken, moo goo gai pan, Middle Eastern: shawarma, falafel, Italian: three cheese sauce, pizza, and Thai: curried noodles with chicken, corn soup and lots more. Now I'm adding to the list of Thai restaurant foods with this addition to my repertoire of Tom Kha Gai soup. I've eaten it a few times in restaurants and it is delicious, but the last time I tried ordering it in a restaurant it contained gluten, which left me disappointed and therefore I recreated it at home stupendously, which leaves me very excited.

Tom kha gai literally means chicken galangal soup, galangal being a relative of ginger with a similar taste. Though less authentic, you can make this soup with ginger, as I did, and it'll still taste great. I actually did a few things that weren't so authentic for this recipe, using coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce instead of fish sauce, and using lemon juice in place of lime juice, plus leaving out the kafir lime leaves.

This recipe is actually not from one specific place, but after reading so many different recipe posts, as well as what makes this different from tom yum soup (tom yum has no coconut, among others), I came up with this recipe that is pretty awesome. I don't know if it tastes exactly identical to the stuff in the restaurants, but its pretty close and, honestly, relatively easy to make. I've seen some recipes that call for the addition of Thai basil and cilantro to the recipe, but I didn't have Thai basil, and couldn't even find my dried regular basil to add to the recipe and it was amazing without it. If you have and want to add, feel free, though, as I mentioned, it isn't necessary.

The way I made this recipe is completely paleo, other than the rice noodles, which you can leave out; it is wonderful without them too. While I used the specific vegetables mentioned below, feel free to add whatever vegetables you like at the end, such as cabbage or snow peas or bok choy, or even leave them out. This recipe is versatile; play with it as you like.

You can even make this vegan if you use vegan consomme instead of the chicken broth. I'm sure it'll also work great with vegetable broth but I haven't tried that yet.

Paleo Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe; Easy, Gluten Free, and Delicious Thai Hot and Sour Soup

Why it’s important to keep on top of your credit report

I live in a country that doesn't have credit scores, but I know how important a good credit score is for people who live in countries with such a system. Here's a post from a reader on why you keep on top of your credit score.

Credit reports are a lot more than what they appear to be. It is not all about making sure that we can get credit if we need it. For others, it’s about making sure that we pay our payments on time and we hold a clean record. So it is important to view your credit card reports.

But did you know, that lenders view your credit report, should you want services in the future? If you have a house mortgage or if you decide to change your gas and electricity supplier and in some circumstances,even when applying for a job, your credit report tells a lot about you.

Your credit report, is not about a simple yes or no answer. Over time it has moved away from this simple process and nowadays it looks at your rate of risk. The report tells financial institutions, if you can borrow, and how much money you can have.

So why is it important to keep on top of your credit report?