Sunday, June 30, 2019

My Frugal Greek Vacation, Crete Day 4, Chania

Today just finished my fourth day in my Cretan Greek vacation. One thing I'm absolutely loving about Greece is how laid back everything is here. Today, after a relatively late night in town last night, we slept in and had a pretty chilled out morning.

We, Vera, her friend Mariana, and I then headed into town to do a little self guided walking tour...

The first thing we saw was this memorial of a crashed ship...

And it was right near the sea.

Fun, Affordable ‘Camping Style’ Activities for Summer 2019

I went to sleep away camp when I was in middle school, but unfortunately its not something in the books for my kids because of finances... Therefore, I loved these ideas from Jenny on how to give your kids the feel of sleep away camp, without the expense.

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When summer time rolls around, many American parents choose summer camp breaks, which can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 per week. Parents in households relying on one income while homeschooling kids can find that accessing this amount of money for two or even three children every summer can be impossible. At the very least, they can put a big dent in their savings plan. If you have lively kids who would love to take part in camping-style activities and you want to ensure they don’t miss out, why not take the funnest camp activities and replicate them at home, with the help of your children’s friends?

Making the Most of the Natural Sites Around You

My Frugal Greek Vacation -- Crete Day 2 and 3, Chania

My second and third day of my Cretan vacation have been so wonderful, but been busy, so I've combined them into one post.

The one thing that I can say about the city Chania is that it literally exudes charm. 

Every place has been more picturesque...

Safety Practices When Doing Winter Activities

While it is very much summer where I am, on the other side of the globe it is currently winter... so if you want to go out and do some winter activities, here's some tips from a reader as to how to keep safe.


Winter sports are fun, but they can also be dangerous. Icy trails increase the chance of a bad fall, and that beautiful snowstorm can reduce visibility. Take extra caution during winter activities to make sure your entire family stays warm, dry, and safe.

Dress for the Weather
A good winter outfit will keep you warm during strenuous physical activities. Dress in layers to plan for the coldest possible scenario. If the weather warms up or if the activity causes you to sweat, remove the outer layer to reduce heat and prevent your clothes from getting wet.

  • Start with a thin layer of moisture-wicking material nearest to the skin. This will help absorb sweat and keep you dry while you exercise. Most athletic clothes fit this description.
  • The next layer is for insulation. Wear soft, padded clothes like wool sweaters or flannels. Use an amount of insulation appropriate to the weather and activity.
  • The outer layer should be waterproof. Winter coats and windbreakers will keep moisture out of your absorbent insulation layer.
  • Finally, remember to wear a hat and gloves. Use warm but breathable material; if your coat has a hood, find a cap that will fit underneath it.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

My Frugal Greek Vacation -- Crete, Day 1, Chania

I am running on fumes, because I got fewer than 4 hours of sleep over the past 24 hours, but I wanted to get this post up already, because I know many people are anxious to hear about my trip. As soon as I finish this, then I'll go to bed.

I had an early morning flight to Greece, so I slept in the airport, but didn't get many hours of sleep. Once we arrived in Heraklion airport, I had arranged with my hostess, Vera, to take the bus to Chania, the city where she lived, and it was quite easy. Everyone I met spoke English and was happy to direct me. I first took one bus to the city center, for 1.2 Euros, then took another bus from the bus station to Chania, that cost 15.1 Euros.

Everyone I met was so sweet, and I met lots of jokesters and people who loved to laugh.

The bus ride was quite scenic....

Quick and Affordable Fast Food Favorites at Home!

I love making homemade equivalent of restaurant dishes. Here's some recipes that fall into that category, sent to me by a reader. Hopefully you'll like them too!

We’re going to keep this short and sweet – here's a curated list of easy at-home family meals that will please everyone!

While bringing these recipes together we’ve taken quite a few things into consideration, including: cost, quantity, kid favorites, and accessibility. Each recipe is relatively easy to put together, geared toward the use of leftovers, and can be tailored to fit your personal preferences!

Frugal Shopping using Technology: Welcome to the Modern Era

I was talking to my best friend, Michelle, yesterday, and she was telling me about these new tricks she was doing to grocery shop frugally, while also saving time and energy. It fascinated me so much that I asked her to share this post with you, and she obliged. This is not sponsored in any way, neither of us get kickbacks. I just thought this was so fascinating and wanted to share it with you.

Frugal? Technology? The two don’t usually go together. But there are some slightly money saving techniques using tech that I utilize. I’m a busy full time working mom of two and my time is possibly even more valuable than savings. But I still have to keep the grocery bills down. Some things that I do may or may not work for you, and are definitely not as frugal as going to the open air market and getting stuff for free, but if you need a slight edge to the game and need to save time AND money, you have to strike a good balance between the two. This is about how to not go to any store, and save money anyway. This is also excellent for people who don't have a car. Cause you don’t have to leave your house.

How Frugal Can You Be About Owning a Car?

I don't own a car, but I know that for some people, having one is a necessity. Here's some tips from a reader on how to be frugal with your car.

Living a life of frugality comes with many fantastic financial benefits, but there are a couple of things in life that many people don’t naturally associate with frugality. For example, car ownership is seen as somewhat of a luxury especially when the frugal travel option is typically riding a bicycle or even walking. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that absolutely need access to a vehicle because it makes their life a lot easier. Thankfully, there are ways to still own a car and continue being frugal, and in this article, we’re going to offer you some fantastic advice on how you can do just that.

Should You Use Diamond CBD Oil?

CBD oil
If you've been living in the 21st century, you've probably heard of CBD oil, but you might not know much about it, such as what exactly it is, why people use it, what it is good for.

I first heard about CBD oil a few years ago. My friend's son, who I'd known as a healthy child, suddenly took a bad turn and ended up in the hospital with seizure after seizure. His childhood was essentially on hold, because his seizures were so frequent that he wasn't able to function. The hospital tried giving him so many different medications, but none actually worked for him. And that's when his mom discovered CBD oil. By giving her son regular doses, his seizures stopped, and he was able to have a normal childhood again.
If it sounds like a miracle drug, it pretty much is.
And for good reason.
CBD oil is a very effective treatment for epilepsy, but that is just one of its many benefits.

But what exactly is CBD, where does it come from, and does it get you high?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Preparations Before Traveling Abroad, a Checklist

I'm on my way to the airport now, and tomorrow early morning I'm on my way to Crete, Greece. My amazing friend Vera, who is visiting her mom there from New Zealand, paid for me to fly there and get this much needed vacation, not to mention hosting me for an entire week. It has been a long time since I've traveled, a whole year since I went to Romania with my oldest son Lee, and even longer since I last traveled on my own. This is the first time that I'm going abroad (or on vacation at all, for that matter) since becoming a single mom, and since getting a dog, and because of that, this is a whole new thing for me and I've felt completely out of the loop, like I'm forgetting some huge things... For that reason I wanted to make this post for others who also may be traveling for the first time (in a while or in a new situation) and want to make sure they got everything done.

So here's my check list /to do list that you should review before leaving on your trip.

5 Basic Maintenance Tips for Your Air Conditioning Unit

I didn't grow up with air conditioning in my home. And then I moved abroad and got married and we still didn't have AC in our homes. Finally our current home does have AC units, but I'll admit I am clueless when it comes to maintenance of them (I did figure out how to clean the filter though!) so I really appreciate this post sent in from a reader about how to take care of my units.

Air-conditioner's coils, filters and fins need regular cleaning and maintenance in order to function efficiently throughout its period of service. Neglecting basic maintenance practices usually result in a steady decline in both the effectiveness and efficiency of the air conditioning unit. There are a couple of things that you can do to prevent damage or unnecessary expenses which you can actually do by yourself.

When carrying out maintenance tasks, ensure you understand what you can and can't handle. If you are not well conversant with parts of the system, it's always advisable you hire an expert to do the maintenance work for you. It's obvious you are carrying out maintenance to help your unit operate for long, but improper handling can cause serious problems too. Below are a few DIY tips that will better your air conditioning unit.

Clean air filters regularly

Monday, June 24, 2019

Quinoa and Beet Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe -- Vegan, Easy, and Delicious

I mentioned in a different post how there's this restaurant that I like to sit at and work sometimes, and one of the few things on their menu that I can eat is this salad. I previously shared the recipe for one of its components, sweet and sour quick pickled beets, which has gotten wonderful reviews from people who tried them out.
I had guests this weekend, and one of the things I served for dinner was this quinoa salad. Their response was "I've never liked quinoa before but this is delicious" and "Can I have seconds?" What is especially nice about it is it is super easy to make, pretty frugal too, and looks fancy. Win win situation for all.

This recipe is vegan and gluten free, and somewhat allergy friendly (as long as you aren't allergic to sesame or nuts). I highly recommend it.

I've given instructions for one serving of this salad, but the exact proportions are really not important, and you can play around with it and make a much larger dish just by increasing amounts of each item.

Quinoa and Beet Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe -- Vegan, Easy, and Delicious

Fun Labels Are Here

I remember when I went to sleep away camp as a child we needed to put name tags in everything, and I remember ordering something through the mail, but it was the days before the internet so we didn't really have much choices and what arrived was really bad quality. Today though, there's so many more options for labeling things. Here's some more, from Nancy Evans. 

Personalizing your child's things has come so far. Do you remember the days growing up of carrying your lunchbox with your name scribbled across the top? The dull Sharpie marker could only do so much, and if someone had bad handwriting, it made personalized items look even worse. These days there are better ways to personalize and make labels last so items don't get lost. They can also look nice at the same time.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Saving Money on Bras

Sorry gentlemen, this post is just for the ladies.

I've written before about how important a properly fitting bra is, and I've gotten specifically fitted to get a bra that fits me well. But I've gained weight and my weight redistributed itself a lot and it got to the point where my bras were all really, really painful on me. But it is so hard as a single mom to justify spending more money on yourself, and though I had budgeted the money for it, I still couldn't bring myself to buy new bras, because it felt frivolous.

Eventually, though, someone knocked some sense into me and told me that I deserved to not be in pain from my undergarments, so I went to the one store locally that I know does a good job fitting for bras.

4 tips to help you (both) survive sleep regressions.

My youngest is five, and I'll admit, still doesn't sleep through the night. But at least she only wakes up once, which is so much better than when my kids were babies. I remember how difficult all the middle of the night wakings were. If your kids are still at that stage, here's some tips from a reader to help you survive.

Surviving Sleep Regressions - For you and your Little One

Is your 3-month-old suddenly waking up more frequently? Or going back to old sleeping patterns after they were just starting to sleep well?

Sleep regressions are quite common, but still something that most parents of 3-4-month-old babies dread.

Luckily, there are ways to overcome these irregular sleep patterns and ensure that both your baby and you get a good night's sleep.

Step 1: Create A Comfortable Sleep Environment For your Baby

Your baby needs a quiet and dark room to cultivate a healthy sleeping habit. Make sure your baby's room is adequately sound-proofed so household noises and outdoor disturbances don’t get in the way of sleep. Using white noise can also help drown out any unsettling noises.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

4 Ways To Potentially Get Out Of That Traffic Ticket

Sometimes I think about getting a car... but then I realize that one of those things I get to enjoy by not having a car is a lack of traffic tickets. If you do have a car and this is an issue for you, it can get to be quite pricey. Here's some suggestions sent to me as to how to get out of your traffic ticket.

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Getting a traffic ticket is definitely not on anyone’s daily to-do list and can put a dent in your budget. Even if you are an excellent driver, the chances of breaking even the most minor traffic law are not unthinkable. It could be not using your turn signal, or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. It can happen to anyone.

Either way you slice it, getting a ticket is not a fun experience and can be quite costly. For example, a speeding ticket in New York can be as little as $100, or cost in excess of $600. Not affordable! After getting stopped in Shenandoah, LA, I used Louisiana Speeding to help me out.

The good news is that there are a few ways you can make a traffic infraction simply disappear. It takes a bit of know-how and persistence, but definitely achievable. Even if you gave the money to pay a ticket, it’s best to keep it off your driving record and insurance policy.

If speeding tickets are something you want to avoid, then a radar detector is the best solution. Check out this Escort IX review for more info. Going back, here's a quick guide on four ways to get out of a traffic ticket. Let’s dive in!

How to Naturally Treat Cherry Eye in Your Dog (Vet Approved)

My dog, Snickers, (who yes, is back home safe and sound, if you missed my previous updates) is generally a healthy dog with no problems at all. But a few days ago my son noticed that her left eye was quite pink and swollen looking, and because of it there was mucus coming out of it.

I assumed she had a dog version of pink eye, or conjunctivitis, so my first step was to put colloidal silver drops on it, as they're antibacterial and antifungal and they're a super quick and easy treatment for treating pink eye in humans.

But though I put on the drops a few times, it didn't heal and still was pink and swollen and looked yucky. Tonight, therefore, I sent a picture to our amazing vet (available even late at night and for home visits in emergencies) and he told me that it was cherry eye, and to google it a bit.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

How to Make Authentic Sun Dried Tomatoes

Last week I wrote about making fruit leather dried in the sun, and about my attempts to make sun dried tomatoes that way, and since I just brought them inside today, I wanted to share my experience with you.

The more I do this, the more I'm fascinated by how easy and simple it is. Making sun dried tomatoes is even quicker than making fruit leather. Anything you want to dehydrate can be dehydrated in the sun. I mean, this is the oldest method of food preservation that there is out there, and it wasn't one that was done with any fancy equipment.
Which means its perfect for the frugalista who doesn't want to buy fancy things.
(I'm thinking now, though, if I wanted to make jerky, if I could still dry it this way. Or if animals would come and eat it. Or if it would spoil before it could become dry. How did people do this in the past?)

So how did I do it?

Avoiding Allergies on Vacation

Fortunately my family doesn't deal with bad allergies (other than Mike) so these aren't such issues for myself, but for those that do, these tips for dealing with allergies on vacation that a reader sent to me will hopefully help you out.

Five tips on avoiding allergies if you plan to go on a long drive and vacation with your family

If your immune system is hypersensitive to natural substances in the environment, chances are you have a relationship with allergies which you are not very fond of. This thorny relationship can blossom arbitrarily at any time and place and without warning. Every season brings with itself its own set of allergies, and allergies can also result from widely present natural substances in our environment. A substance that is totally harmless for some can turn out to be a nuisance for those whose immune systems are sensitive to those particular substances. These substances include pollen, dust, mould, fungus and animal hair.

My Latest Goodies from the Clothes and Houseware Share

I'm teaching a private foraging and cooking class this Thursday to a group of nature minded tourists coming to visit my country. I've gotten good enough at identifying and teaching about edible wild plants that I am able to just go to an area, even if its an area I've never been to before, and teach a class there and cover so many different edible plants. However, when it comes to my foraging and and cooking classes, because what is available changes from season to season and year to year, before I teach a class that entails a portion in which we cook plants that we forage together, I first go check which plants are growing then, so I can plan our menu accordingly.

On Monday I went to check out the location where I intended to do my foraging class on Thursday, and after finding wonderful amounts of amaranth and dock, which I can use as the bulk of my greens with which to prepare our meal, I realized I had a decent chunk of extra time before my next appointment, so I called the lovely woman who runs the clothes and houseware share in the neighborhood there and popped in for a visit.

I'm never disappointed when I go there, as the place is bursting with wonderful goodies, all free, all that people got rid of because they were decluttering. This time, though I had only 30 minutes in which to peruse, I still came home with wonderful goodies. More time would have yielded me even more wonderful things, only I didn't come with my usual collapsible wagon that I bring when I tend to bring home lots of things, so this really was the limit of how many things I could take with me.

How to Throw an Awesome Corporate Party on a Budget

I love throwing a good party, and love doing fun DIY things. But when throwing a corporate event, parties need to be at a higher caliber, and one might think they aren't able to do that themselves, let alone cheaply. Here's some ideas from a reader on how you can still throw an awesome corporate party on a budget.

If you’ve ever been tasked with the job of planning and coordinating a corporate party, then you know how hard it can be to please everyone involved. It takes time and patience to plan corporate events, and while a big budget usually translates into a slightly more lavish function, it isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money to ensure your guests have a good time.

Think about the key components of a corporate event. You’ve got the venue, food, entertainment, guest speakers, party favours, and decorations. The size of your group will have a major influence on how and where you spend your money, and there you can always find cost-effective ways to throw a great party.

You could hire an entertaining company for the budget conscious and plan your even far in advance in order to get the best rates on rentals, catering, etc. Want to know how else you can throw an amazing corporate event while keeping cost in mind? Read on.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Using the Sun to Dehydrate Fruit Leather

It's been hot lately. Like really hot. Like people were joking that the weather had a fever and needed to see a doctor, because the temperature was above what a human body's fever would feel like, hot. We've been roasting. And complaining. And thanking the makers of air conditioners every single day.
Fortunately the temperature the past few days has at least been slightly more tolerable, even though its still hot.

I saw my friend Jessica post on Facebook about dehydrating fruit leather in the sun, and I thought it was a really cool idea, because if we're going to suffer from the heat of the sun, let's at least try to benefit from it as well, no?

3 sure-fire ways to maximise your income

Saving money is great, but even better is if you can manage to increase your money. If you need some ideas how, here's some suggestions from a reader.

There a ton of quick, easy ways to manage your money correctly, including cutting costs on weekly shopping by choosing where’s cheapest for each item, spending less on takeaways and cooking more meals at home, and even looking at ways to cut your energy bills, such as putting lights and heating on timers, and investing in a smart meter.

And yet, despite this, it does often feel like we could be doing more with the money we make. For those interested in perhaps making a little bit extra on top of their current salary, here are some ideas to think about for investing both your time and money to optimise your income.

Utilising your home
It might seem strange, but taking a look around at what you have in the home is a good place to start. Selling your second-hand gadgets, appliances and alike has never been easier, with sites like eBay and Facebook’s new marketplace feature. Mobile phone recycling is an easy and efficient process, so see if you’ve got any lying about in the drawers.

For parents, de-cluttering your child’s room can again be beneficial, and a good learning experience for the young ones. Studies have shown that children with fewer toys are likely to think more creatively, so it’s worth doing, so long as you aren’t selling-on their favourites!

Got a hobby or craft that you like to do in your spare time? Why not see if there are any ways to monetise your creations? If you have the materials and equipment set up, sites like Esty allow you your own market stall online, selling anything from jewellery to replica medieval weaponry.

Investing your money

Have a portion of disposable income that you’re wondering what to do with? Putting that money into an investment could be a smart, long-term way of transforming your current earnings into something greater. Making a stock market investment is as simple as it has ever been, as with smartphone integration, your purchases and forecasts are only a finger tap away.

  • Remember: Investment is clearly not without its risks. The cliché saying  may sound like something you’d find on a fridge magnet, but it’s true, and you should invest in something you feel comfortable with.

Thinking of putting some funds away for your children, perhaps to help them with study fees or later life? A long-term savings plan would be an investment they will surely thank you for, and passing on the lesson of saving is also a great way to teach your child a real-world skill. It may seem trivial, but presenting your child with a Piggy Bank is also a great learning experience that will teach them about saving for themselves.

Property investment, for those with the initial money to spend, can also prove to be a lucrative venture. Admittedly there is a higher barrier to entry that for those just wanting to make a little bit more each month, but with burgeoning markets in a variety of areas, becoming a landlord is an exciting prospect.

Off-plan investment, the practice of purchasing a property whilst it’s still in planning stages, is also an interesting way of getting early-bird access to emerging areas that are promising, but still in their infancy. Companies such as RW Invest employ VR technology that gives investors from far-and-wide the opportunity to get a more accurate view on what their property will look like, thus resulting in a more well-rounded and informed decision.

Working for an additional wage

Again, using your existing skills and talents in the online sphere is a great way of making a bit of extra money from the comfort of your own home. Online surveys, market research and freelancing can earn you a modest amount without compromising your current work hours too much. If you have a knack for graphic design or video editing, sites like Fiverr are excellent for putting yourself out there to help on others’ projects.

If you fancy getting out of the house, flexible secondary jobs as delivery drivers for services like UberEATS and Deliveroo can be a good secondary option, especially if you live in an area where those services are popular, such as a bustling city.

See my disclaimer.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Foraging Wild Amaranth; Wild Edible Green and Pseudo Grain

I really love when there's a plant that I forage and can write about that literally grows around the world. It makes me feel really connected to people around the world and in various cultures, despite our differences. Today's plant that I wanted to talk about, slender amaranth, is exactly one of those. I saw a map about its worldwide distribution and it shows that amaranth grows in every place on the globe other than the extreme north and south parts of it. Not surprisingly, its used as a staple crop in many parts of the world.

I've written before about local foraging, and how some plants are super well known among the native foragers here, such as purslane, wood sorrel, mallow, and mustard, and yet there are other plants like black nightshade, cactus paddles, and amaranth that no one local seems to forage for whatever reason. For years I knew how to identify one of the varieties of amaranth that grows around me, but until I finally met someone locally who foraged it, a family of immigrants from Mexico who called it quintonille, I was hesitant to try it. Finally I got over my hesitation and amaranth has been a regular part of my summer foraging.

Where I live it doesn't rain in the summer, so foraging can be a little bit harder, because not so many things are growing in the dryness. Fortunately, over time I've discovered plenty of summer forageables, from amaranth to lambsquarters to cactus paddles to black nightshade and purslane and much more. Amaranth is one of those plants I can find year round, but locally it seems to grow to its full capacity in the summer.

There's posts on this blog in which I've talked about foraging amaranth before, I've included recipes using amaranth before, but I've never actually written about on how to identify it and use it, and figured that its now time to rectify that.

Going To University: Healthy Body And Healthy Mind

I love my smartphone; while I thought I managed just fine without one in the past, now that I have one I couldn't imagine what I'd do without one. The apps on it make my life so much better. I have to say that my favorite apps, other than social media ones are the ones for journaling, and the ones used in conjunction with therapy.

One type of modern tech that everyone seems to be making the most of today is the app. There are so many different apps available nowadays for people to download. There is quite literally something for everyone due to the sheer number of applications available on different smartphones. Just a few of the different types of apps featured on such phones include; social networking apps, note-taking apps, spiritual apps, shopping apps, video and image editing apps, weather apps and mapping apps. All of these apps can be beneficial when going to university.

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In this blog post, we are going to take a look at how you can maintain a healthy mind and body at university by revealing some of the best fitness apps and spiritual apps.

Nevertheless, before delving into the exciting part it is, of course, crucial to ensure that you have a high-speed internet connection if they are going to download and utilize their apps to the optimum level. You will also need a good and cost-effective SIM deal, which provides for students specifically. After all, most students don’t have much money to spare while at university.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I Have Mental Illnesses And I'm Not Ashamed

I am mentally ill. In my local language, the term used unfortunately translates to "sickness of the soul." I prefer the term "having mental illness" or rather, in my case, having mental illnesses, because I have more than one. 5 diagnosed ones, to be precise, not counting my diagnosis of ADHD which I personally consider more neurodivergence than mental illness.

You might ask why would I publicly write such a thing? Why would I taint myself like that especially in such a public forum while I'm going through divorce? Why shoot myself in the foot like that?

I'm doing it because by doing so, I'm publicly calling out those that tell me that it is something to be ashamed of, that those strings of letters attached to my name are but another scarlet A for adultress emblazoned on my chest. That these multiple diagnoses, the way my brain ticks, are a moral failing of mine, a flaw in my essence.

How Natural Gas Help You Save Money

We all want to lower our utilities bills, but how do we do it? A long time reader gives a good suggestion: switch to natural gas. Is it cheaper? This post explores how it is. Fascinating.

In the world of today, the cost of living is ever-rising, and one of the most annoying recurrent expenses happens to be electricity. Without proper caution, energy bills can turn out to be a pain in the back, especially if you’re a big family. But thanks to advancements in technology, you can actually keep your energy bills low without affecting the comfort and functionality of your home.

Among the many energy alternatives available, natural gas is arguably one of the most affordable fuel sources, especially used in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 60% of homes in the United States use natural gas as their primary heating source. This is mostly due to the many advantages of natural gas, including the fact that it is a cleaner energy source compared to other fossil fuels such as coal. But in a nutshell, what is natural gas and how can it help you save money?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

My Jungle of a Garden

I started writing this post a while ago, while everything was lush and green. Now its the drier season and my garden is mostly brown and dead, but I still wanted to share this with you, so I hope you don't mind that it is a bit out of season. Those who live in cooler climates or where it rains year round will probably find these things growing now, so it's not so bad.

I grew up with a nice sized yard. In addition to having lots of space to play ball games on our spacious lawn and having trees to climb, we also grew so many different fruits and vegetables, from asparagus, snow peas, tomatoes, and chives to apricots and wineberries and raspberries and blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, cherries, you name it! Most of my fond childhood memories took place in our garden.

When we first were married we lived in an apartment with a yard. We rented it on a year to year basis, and since we never knew when we'd be leaving the apartment, we didn't want to invest in the backyard. And so it was just a jumble of weeds. We had chickens and built a coop in the yard, and finally in our fourth year there, we decided to try to grow some plants, and then right after that, things tanked quickly with our landlord and we ended up moving, leaving our brand new garden, and for the next five years, we lived in a teeny tiny apartment with no yard, and no porch even.

In those years, I dreamed of gardening. I wrote plans here on my blog about my dreams of a future garden. I attempted to do whatever types of container gardening I could.

And I failed pretty abysmally.

How to Make Money when Going to University

College students have a reputation for being broke, and for good reason. However, you can change that, by finding some ways to earn money while at university. Here's some tips from a reader how to do that.

Going to university can be a very daunting experience to say the least. If you want to help yourself, or someone you know make some money while at college then here are a few things that you need to know.

Share what you Know

They say that the best way for you to learn would be for you to teach. If you want to help other people, then it is always a good idea for you to tutor younger students. Teamwork can be very fulfilling and it can be a fantastic way for you to make money in college too. The best thing about tutoring other people is that it gives you the chance to brush up on your own knowledge and it can also be a good way for you to maintain your flexibility too. As you teach more and more people, you can then have them spread the word and this is all free advertising for you!

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Babysit, or Petsit!

Sweet and Sour Quick Pickled Beets Recipe -- Vegan, Gluten Free, Easy

There's this restaurant that I like to go to because its conveniently located, and has good Wifi, so I'm able to work while I'm there. But unfortunately, they don't have such a large selection of gluten free items on the menu. Fortunately, though, one of their menu items suits my dietary needs and tastes delicious. It's this quinoa salad that contains these raw pickled cubed beets, and is topped with a tahini dressing. These quick pickled beets are inspired by that, and are so delicious and great to have on hand to add to a variety of different dishes.

I'm trying to get back into the habit of bringing healthy lunches with me to work, but I specifically want things that are good cold. I bought a bunch of salad ingredients to use to throw together a quick salad before I head out for my day, and made a batch of these quick pickled beets to throw in my salad for an extra bit of pizzazz. Of course you can just eat these plain, because they're good enough to eat like that.

This recipe not only is easy, but is also gluten free, vegan, paleo, allergy friendly, etc...

Sweet and Sour Quick Pickled Beets Recipe -- Vegan, Gluten Free, Easy

Benefits of Teaching Your Children to Help the Elderly

I didn't grow up with grandparents around, but my children have grandparents who live in the general area. Most of them are not really elderly, but they are getting older, and I'm happy to learn from reader, Nancy Evans, about the benefits kids have by spending time with elderly people. In fact, this post makes me want to look into volunteering with some elderly folk in my area.

Parents who teach their children to show compassion for the elderly are giving them a gift that can help them grow to be a better adult. A child sitting next to their grandparent on The Perfect Sleep Chair, reading a story together, can have lasting memories. There are many benefits in helping your children manifest the desire to assist the elderly. Do you have an elderly relative in your family, whether it be grandparents, an aunt, uncle, or cousin that your family could help?

There are programs now in several countries that are closing the generation gap between the elderly and young ones. These programs have profound results for both the older person and for the children. The elderly are more positive and hopeful in life, and the children are more open to new ideas and well-rounded in their thinking.

What are some of the benefits your children gain from bonding with an older relative?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Recent Frugal Accomplishments

I've been super busy lately, but even with that managed to get frugal things done. I'm really proud of all the frugal things I did recently. Here's a sampling of them.

Produce to be used to make Turkish salad

How Writing on Paper Is Good For Your Mental Health

Technology is very fast replacing things that used to be done the old fashioned way. The emergence of smartphones, drawing tablets, and computers, which are mainly used for typing, is replacing writing on paper fast. There are numerous apps which ensure efficient typing at high speed and simple notes on digital devices. Interestingly, there are some in the personal development and productivity world that insists that one should write by hand. There seem to be hidden benefits which one cannot gain while typing on a device. We look further into why and how writing on paper is beneficial.

How writing on paper is good for your mental health

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Homemade Turkish Salad Recipe -- Frugal, Paleo, Vegan, and Delicious

Locals, when serving a nice meal, like to put out a spread of meze, salads and spreads and other dips to eat at the start of a meal. Hummus, tahini, roasted eggplant salad, spicy carrot salad, and marinated eggplant salad are all common to find as part of this mezze, but there are two tomato and pepper cooked salads that are served and I wasn't quite sure how to explain the difference between them to people, but knew I definitely preferred one to the other. The first is matbukha, and the second is what is known as Turkish salad, and that's the recipe I wanted to share with you today. The thing is, this Turkish salad, doesn't seem to actually be a Turkish recipe. The closest thing I've found to it in Turkish cuisine is ezme, but that doesn't seem to be it. It's kind of like how French fries aren't actually French (but Belgian in origin, which is what I learned on my trip there).

This recipe, whatever its origin, is actually one of my favorites. It is sweet and sour, a little bit spicy, and just so chock full of flavor and delicious. It's great eaten with some freshly baked bread, put as a condiment on a sandwich, eaten with potatoes (as I did for supper last night), or just to add an extra dose of deliciousness to any food you're eating.

Though it has a lot of ingredients, this recipe was quite simple to make once you stocked all of them. Note, this recipe makes a very large batch, so if you don't want quite so much, feel free to halve it. This freezes nicely, and is great to make with past prime peppers and tomatoes.
Note, I included the vegetables by cup as well as by how many vegetables it took, so that way you can use oddly shaped/sized veggies here or ones that you needed to cut off the bad parts so weren't using whole veggies.

Added bonus, its vegan, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, and allergy friendly. 

Homemade Turkish Salad Recipe -- Frugal, Paleo, Vegan, and Delicious

Why an Inflatable Hot Tub is Worth the Cost

Locally, going to the swimming pool is quite expensive, and the beach is far from my home. For that reason, now that we finally have a yard, I've toyed with the idea of getting a backyard above ground pool for the family to enjoy in the summer. Now that I read this post by a reader, though, I'm wondering if maybe we should get one that doubles as a hot tub.

A soft hot tub or inflatable hot tub is a definitive garden luxury item that can be a wonderful addition to any home's backyard or garden regardless of how small or large that said space may be. It's fancy, it's portable, however, what most people tend to want to know is whether it's worth the cost or not. Just envision yourself completely relaxed in that cool water on a day during summer when it's particularly warm or alternatively submerging yourself in warm water on those cold winter evenings. Either way, this type of hot tub is so versatile you can use it in all weathers.

If you happen to be considering installing such a thing, arguably one of the biggest decisions you'll probably have to make is whether to go with the soft hot tub or whether you should go with a solid or static one. It's really not something that should be taken lightly and this is in large part why this article is here for you today. This guide from Linton's In The Garden will help give you a lot of insight on matters concerning things like the best inflatable hot tub products available to you. Anyway, for the moment, we have for you hereinbelow a few reasons why you should consider getting an inflatable hot tub set up in your yard or garden.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

My Latest Super Frugal Visits to the Open Air Market

Those of you who've been reading this blog for a while will probably remember many posts of mine in which I talk about my shopping at the open air market, and the amazing deals I've gotten there. Depending on the time of day you go, you can get such stupendous prices unlike anywhere else. However, in the last nearly year since I've been working full time to be self supporting as a single mom, I haven't really had so much time to go to the open air market, and quite frankly, I missed it, and the great prices there. 
However, two weeks ago I managed to make it to the open air market, and I was in heaven. 

5 Things to Consider When Finding the Best School for Your Kid

I'm in the process of trying to find another school for my oldest child, Lee, as well as starting the process for getting special ed for my younger daughter, Rose. Here's a post from a reader with things to consider when trying to find a school for your children.

Singapore is known to have one of the most competitive and high quality education system in the world. For expats who decide to move to Singapore with their family, finding a great school will never be a problem. However, parents want nothing but the best for the children. In this article, we will share some practical tips to consider when choosing the perfect school for the kids.