Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Our Latest Frugal Accomplishments in Quarantine

So, I've been under quarantine at home the last two weeks, and now there's a shut down so no leaving the house. In some ways, this can be a more expensive time, but being at home, there are so many DIY things we're able to do to save money, with all this time, and sometimes needing to do DIY because we can't bring in a professional to do it for us.

So I made this list of frugal things me family and I got up to these last three weeks, mostly in quarantine. And I'm sorry its taken so long for me to post, its just so hard for me to focus with everything going on. I have lists a mile long of things I want to post, and I'm going to try to get them up soon.

Here's what my family and I did to save money these last three weeks, nearly without leaving my house.

A Complete Guide to Using Coupon Codes

Times are hard and everyone's looking to save money. Couponing is one of those ways we can do it, and luckily, we can coupon even without leaving our house, even internet shopping. Read this post from a reader to find out more.

Prices are rising across the board, while unemployment rates are growing. It’s only normal to want to assert some control in these situations and the best way to do that is through slashing the costs of day-to-day life. For instance, you can reduce your gas prices; reduce the price of services like landscaping, cable and even for your utilities. However, you also have to consider the general everyday items that you need. This includes food and maintenance items.

Moreover, there is only so far that sacrifices can go. You need to maintain a regular life while still saving some money. You can’t stop eating - or even worse, start eating poorly - and stop maintaining your home and yourself.

But how should one do this while still staying comfortably within the budget?

Well, there are many ways. And couponing is at the heart of them - click here to learn more about couponing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My Great Scratch and Dent Store Visits and Other Important Things I Did Today

Today I finished my 14 day quarantine after coming back from Austria, and was able to leave the house for the first time. I finally was able to take care of my tooth which was causing me problems, but there was talk about our public transportation system being canceled, and all unnecessary stores shut down, which made me really stressed out, because how would I get to the dentist without buses, and how would I do my important grocery shopping, things that I couldn't get delivered to my house and my local stores don't sell.

So I decided to rent a car from a local person so I could be assured that I'd be able to go to the dentist, and while I had the car, I would do some more important grocery shopping. However, since I don't regularly have a car, when I do have one, I like to take advantage of it and use it to its fullest extent. That means that I wasn't just going to go to the grocery store and the dentist, but I'd be going to the scratch and dent stores as well.

In the two scratch and dent stores I visited today, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

Can you save money with a home warranty?

Things break. Paying for them when they do is expensive, and can be a big burden on home owners (which is why some people choose to be permanent renters, so that their landlords can take care of that hassle). One way people deal with these expenses is by having a home warranty. Read on to see what a reader has to share with us about the topic.

Being a homeowner can be so expensive. That’s why people are trying to find new ways to save money. One of the most significant cost is repairs. If you own expensive home appliances and systems, you know that a single repair can cost from a few hundred to a few thousands of dollars. Obtaining a home warranty is one of the ways to secure your budget. Read on and find out more about it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Delicious and Easy Sweet Cheese Pancakes Recipe

This recipe is very different from most recipes I post. First of all, I never tasted this. Secondly, it isn't particularly frugal or particularly healthy.  Nor is it gluten free, dairy free, or egg free (it's all those, basically). But I made it yesterday for my kids for lunch and they devoured it, and told me that I have to share it here on my blog. This is high in protein, and since I got the cheese free, it was frugal for me as well. They make soft pancakes that hold together well. My kids told me they were less sweet than cheesecake (the flavor I was going for) but sweeter than regular pancakes.

Note, this is quite a large recipe; if your kids are less famished than mine, or if you're a smaller family, you might want to halve this recipe, or even make just a third.

Delicious and Easy Cheese Pancakes Recipe

How to Experience Wellness and Still Save Money

Take care of yourself! Do what you can to boost your body and mind during these hard times with these frugal ideas, sent in by a reader.

The wellness industry is on the rise. Interestingly, the practice of wellness has been with us for ages now but more and more people in Canada are becoming “hooked” on it. Maybe companies have simply become better at marketing wellness products. Regardless, it’s understandable that consumers want to feel well and that they’re willing to spend money to do so. However, unknown to many, there are ways to save dollars on popular wellness practices.

Monday, March 23, 2020

So, Have You Thought About Meds For These Times?

Ok, let's do some real talk here.

I'm on psychiatric meds. Have been for a few years now. Two different ones. And they make my life so much better.

Like night and day better. Like I forget a dose one time and I totally regret it, because I see how much better it makes my life. Like they work for me so well, that my life is so completely different, that I don't ever want to go off of them. It's like when I was eating gluten I lived with a constant stomach ache, and my base line was pain, and I didn't even realize it, but when I went off gluten, I finally understand what it was like to live without any pain. And now that I'm on meds, I finally know what its like to feel "normal" and not with so much mental anguish every single day.

I used to be opposed to the idea of medication. I mean, I don't want to feel numb. I want to still feel my life, and not walk through it like a soul-less zombified person. As depressed and anxious and not well as I was doing, I was even more afraid that medication would somehow diminish my existence, make life less somehow, and make it worse than before I took meds. Add to that my desire to do things naturally, treat myself via a healthy diet and all that jazz, and not want to feel like I was a cop-out, turning to quick fixes. I only finally was willing to take medication when my mental state got so bad that I was not functioning in my day to day life and I reached a critical stage.

But when I finally went to a psychiatrist, and spoke to him, he reassured me about medication. That the point of medication wasn't to take away my feeling, wasn't to numb me or reduce my essence. The analogy he gave me about how medication works was that it simply increases your reserves, increases your tolerance and ability to deal with hardship.

And finally, that, combined with his reassurance that he didn't want me on medication for the rest of my life, but wanted therapy to heal me to the place that I wouldn't need meds anymore, convinced me to try psychiatric meds.

And as I mentioned, they've been life changing for me.

Everything You Need to Know About Teen Spending Habits

As the parent of a nearly teenaged kid, I've noticed that even if you raise your kids money conscious, teenagers have their own way of doing things and are likely to make choices that you wouldn't consider to be financially savvy. However, I'm certain that parents' money lessons aren't in vain, and what we teach kids and teenagers has the possibility of rubbing off on their spending habits, and prevent them from getting into financial trouble already at a young age. This post from a reader explains what teen spending habits statistically are, and it is a wake up call what we are up against, to teach our kids money smarts while their social circles is telling them to spend it all.

Teenagers are an exceptional age group that live in fantasies and spend money generously as compared to the other age groups. Research reveals that girls spend money more than boys and this spending increase between the age of 13 and 15. However, few spending habits are universal and constitute a significant portion of their parent's income. At the same time, some teenagers also undertake a part-time job and spend money according to their salary.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

My Dishwasher Finally Works! And How I Fixed My Blomberg Dishwasher's Drainage Issue E01

Warning, this post contains gross pictures, because the inside of a dishwasher that was filled and then never run doesn't look good, especially once the dishwasher tab starts melting everywhere.

When I came back from Vienna last Wednesday evening, I was very frustrated to see that my Blomberg brand dishwasher wasn't working. It kept on making a draining noise, even when it wasn't on, and whenever I tried to turn it on, it gave me an E01 error message.

So my first thought was to call a dishwasher repair person, but being in quarantine I am not able to do that, so I turned to the internet for help. However, the internet basically told me that E01 had to do something with the drainage, which was a great help (sarcasm intended) because I could hear it constantly attempt to drain even though there was nothing in it, even when it was off.

Fun Things To Do At A Dinner Party

I love dinner parties and like to host them on a semi regular basis. And while "just" having a meal is great, sometimes you want to have some plan of things to do at the party. This post sent in from a reader is chock full of great ideas for your next dinner party. Or you can even do them at home with your family over dinner!

Dinner parties are an excellent way to bring people together and enjoy a good conversation over meals. They can be formal for business conversations or a simple casual potluck with a few friends. Nonetheless, you can achieve a whole lot of things over dinner. All you need is to choose the right set-up that suits your guests’ preference and personal style to make the party lively and enjoyable for everyone attending.

Easy and Delicious Gluten Free Vegan Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Recipe from the Pantry- Allergy Friendly

Fortunately I have quite a lot of food in my house, enough to last a while, with the stock built up over a long period of time, mostly things purchased when they were on sale, so that I could shop from my pantry instead of paying full price for things from the grocery store. Though I do have animal proteins at home, I am trying to stretch them out, so I am making more meals vegan these days.

For that reason, when I was organizing my pantry and saw the TVP flakes, I knew I wanted to make spaghetti with "meat" sauce. TVP, short for texturized vegetable protein, is a byproduct of making soy oil, and is used as a meat substitute because of its meaty texture. It's often used to secretly stretch ground meat (our local stuff often lists "with added vegetable protein), and can be really, really cheap. And unlike many other meat subs, its totally gluten free.

A friend of mine asked me why I don't just make spaghetti with ground meat instead of this, and the number one benefit of this over that is cost. The package of TVP that I bought cost me 95 cents, and I used less than half for this recipe, so basically 45 cents for this, vs however much about a pound of ground beef would cost, and being that its about $4.50 a pound for ground beef on sale locally, and $6.50 when not on sale, this is between 1/10 and 1/13 of the equivalent with ground beef, so I'd say its definitely worthwhile. Other benefit is that this is all shelf stable and can be kept long term, so its great to have the ingredients on hand and shop from your stockpile in emergencies.

So does it taste good? Definitely. Does it taste like meat? Not particularly, but even meat sauce has more of a strong tomato sauce taste to it than a meat taste, so I didn't feel much was missing. And while most fake meat sauces made with lentils or beans or nuts have an after taste, this didn't have that. I'd say it was neutral meat flavor-wise regarding taste, but in terms of texture, it definitely has a meaty feel to it.

If you're just vegetarian and not vegan, this tastes even better with cheese added to it, but it is quite fine even without it. Or if you're vegan and not looking to make this as cheap as possible, feel free to add your favorite vegan cheese to this.

Easy and Delicious Vegan Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Recipe- Allergy Friendly

Caviar Collections by Global Seafood

We live in rough times, when people around the world are stuck at home because of coronavirus, and if you have a special occasion, such as a big birthday or anniversary or other special milestone, you might want to do something nice for it, but can't go out to a restaurant or do something else to leave the house. This, then, is the perfect time to bring luxuries to your home to celebrate at home in a special way. What better way than caviar? Check out what Global Seafood has to offer.

Caviar and spoon

Caviar is basically fish eggs (also known as fish roe) from the sturgeon fish family, scientifically known as Acipenseridae. Black caviar is a specific type of fish roe that comes from sturgeon.

They are particularly delighted to offer you the best option, to buy caviar, Black Pearl brand. Look around at their wide variety, including natural or fish farm-raised caviars.

Black Caviar is not only a delicious and classy treat, but it is also very nutritious and has wonderful health benefits, and is a great way to celebrate your special occasion

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How To Stock Up Effectively and Frugally For an Emergency Shut Down

One part of my stockpile. Top shelf- rice, various kinds of pasta, from rice pasta to bean thread pasta to corn pasta to wheat pasta, and couscous. Middle shelf, pretzels, cookies, sardines, TVP mince, and miso my dad made. Bottom shelf, corn meal, beans, lentils, dried mushrooms, baking goods like vanilla, baking powder, carob powder, gelatin, coconut flakes, flax seeds, curry paste. Underneath the shelf, oil and wine and a refill canister for our Soda Stream.
I must admit, I have been more than a little frustrated lately. As someone who's been in extreme financial difficulty, and been utilizing this method of bulk shopping on sale to lower my grocery costs, even at the expense of living space, and I've been mocked for it, and had to defend myself when people implied I was a hoarder, that my priorities were wrong, that I was being foolish to "tie up my money in food". But now that there's this situation happening, this same lifestyle that was something that I have had to defend is now something people want me to write about, teach them how to do. And part of me is sore about that, I'll admit. And part of it makes me want to not write this post and just tell people off.

I wrote on Facebook about how I'm well stocked in case of a total shut down (which we seem pretty close to, my government has announced that it will be likely shutting down within the next few days) and people have asked me to please write a blog post on how to stock up on enough essentials for a few weeks (or more) on lockdown.

This brings up some new challenges. By this point it’s too late to be starting the long term project of stockpiling. Stockpiling now will cost you a significant amount more than it would have a month or so ago. It will also be difficult because stores are shutting down, and most people especially, now don't have the extra money to be spending on several weeks worth of groceries versus their normal spending. Add to that that going to stores now to buy things is exposing yourself unnecessarily, but online delivery will take a long time since stores are so overloaded that for most people the next available date is over a week or two away.

Space-Saving Ideas to Freshen Up Your Small Home

With people stuck at home for the forseeable future, many people might be getting irritated by things in their house and/or realize what things aren't working for them, especially if they have a small space. These are some good ideas from Nancy Evans on how to maximize your small space, and you can either get these done while stuck at home, or put them on your to-do list for when things return to normalcy.

Concerned with a lack of space and style in your small apartment, condo, or home? You don't have to be. Make an impact in your small space by maximizing every square inch of the room. A few simple adjustments are all that it takes to maximize space and find more room available. Homes, apartments, and condos get an incredible facelift and aesthetic boost with the space-saving ideas below. Even with a strict budget in place, the ideas below offer an affordable way to enhance your small space and add a decorative touch to your space.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

5 Essentials When Hiring a Dumpster Rental 

I like to consider myself pretty well informed about lots of things, but dumpster rental? I'm pretty clueless about that. Hopefully you'll learn as much as I did from this post sent by a reader about things you need to consider when renting a dumpster.

Whether it is a full-scale demo project or a massive garage clean-up you’re gearing up for, you will need the safest and most efficient waste disposal system possible. There are many rental services tailored to very particular needs. For example, household junk is best collected with smaller trucks while bulk debris should be removed with roll-offs. So how do you make sure you’re making the right choice and hiring the best dumpster rental service for you?

You can find a sample of dumpster types and their respective functions by clicking here. But remember that choosing the right dumpster is only the first step! Let’s examine the other important factors you should consider:

Great Educational Websites for Kids of All Ages- Screen Time Suggestions For Kids That Teach, Part 1

I have never shunned screen time. As an unschooler, I believe that learning comes from everywhere, and text based learning is far from the only useful knowledge that can be gained. Screen time works for me and my family and I don't limit it. I find that with limitless screen time, my kids regulate themselves and put away their screens because its not this forbidden fruit that they must eat up as quickly as possible, because they know its always there when they want it.

But even those that don't share my views on screen time are letting kids use screens more than they generally would, because of schools being shut down because of coronavirus, and many parents are desperate that if their kids are using tablets, phones, and computers, at least they should be doing something educational with that time. I highly recommend letting your kids have some screen time if you want to keep your sanity intact during this corona-schooling time.

Here is an extensive list of educational screen time suggestions that you can use during this time, so that you don't need to be constantly entertaining your kids, but they'll still be learning and hopefully having fun at the same time.

I will admit that because I stopped homeschooling my kids by 6th grade, and now that my kids are in school all day I don't encourage them to watch educational shows when they're home, so many of these suggestions are for younger ages, but I asked my boys in 5th and 7th grades for suggestions of educational things that they currently enjoy and I've included those on the list, as well as things that I enjoy watching and older teens probably would enjoy as well.

Great Educational Screen Time Suggestions For Kids of All Ages

Monday, March 16, 2020

Keeping Sane While Corona "Homeschooling"- My Advice as a Veteran Homeschooler- Part 2

I previously wrote this post on what the difference is between homeschooling and "corona homeschooling" and that what is going on now around the world with school closures is much harder than homeschooling ever is, and people need to be kind to themselves, because everyone is going through a rough time.

However, for people with their kids home and being responsible to educate them and entertain them for the foreseeable future, many for the first time ever, we who have experience homeschooling our kids probably are a bit more prepared for this, so I wanted to share some of the knowledge I gained through my years as a homeschooler, which can hopefully help you keep more sane during this time period, and keep your family life more happy and running more smoothly. For the purpose of this post and to keep a difference between standard homeschooling and what is going on now, I'll be referring to this as "Corona-schooling" instead of homeschooling.

I know that what I am writing will be controversial, and especially can get teachers upset at me, but my priority is helping people weather this storm and not just on grades. You can disagree with me, but this is my advice based on years of homeschooling.

I just wanted to add that I specifically was inspired to write this after seeing so many of my friends share on Facebook how much stress they're under, trying to school their kids, and how some of them feel like they're falling apart and losing their minds. So this post was written with them in mind, tips on how to deal with this situation, with your sanity as intact as possible.

How to Keep Your Sanity While Corona-Schooling

Pain That Parents Should Never Ignore

As parents, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Either because we don't prioritize our health, or because we think we're making a big deal out of nothing. However, there are some medical situations and pains that should not be ignored- here's some you should definitely be taking seriously.

Yes, we get it. Parenting isn't easy and it's going to be a test of both your sanity as well as your health. It's easy to simply write some pains off as pain that all parents experience over the course of raising a child. However, there are certain pains that should never be ignored because they can be signs of more serious health risks.

So, what are some pains that you should never ignore?

Tips for Maintaining a Kiddie Pool

Summer is nearly upon us, and if you were thinking of ways to entertain your kids at home, kiddy pools are a great choice. Here's some tips from a reader on how to take care of your kiddie pool.

For most parents, having a kiddie pool doesn't seem to be a difficult thing. It's small and it holds a small amount of water. You don't have to pay a fortune or spend a whole lot of time to maintain it like you would a basic swimming pool.

However, underneath all the surface-level simplicity is the fact there's actually a lot more you need to do to keep it in the best condition possible.

After all, your kids deserve not only fun, but also safety and enjoyment. That said, here are a few ways to maintain a kiddie pool in time for the spring season.

Corona "Homeschooling" isn't Homeschooling- My Thoughts as a Veteran Homeschooler- Part 1

Ok, I said I'd keep posting like usual here and not just about coronavirus, because, you know, to be able to have distractions from the ridiculousness that is most people's lives currently, but today something was on my mind and I just need to get it out.

It seems like most people I know have kids home from school now, because of school shut downs from around the world. And it seems to be for an indefinite period of time for now. So many people are talking about homeschooling their kids now, their homeschooling schedule, etc... The word homeschooling is thrown around, people talking about having wanted to homeschool in the past but realizing from this situation that homeschooling isn't for them...

As a veteran homeschooler, who homeschooled all of my kids on and off from birth until the middle of last year (when I was forced to send my son to school because of my divorce proceedings), I have some things to say about this "trend" of talking about homeschooling.





Friday, March 13, 2020

How To Get To the Alps From Vienna, Costs, and How to Do it Cheaply- My Frugal Trip to Vienna, Day 6, Part 2

Ok, I'm back at home and in quarantine for the next 12 days, made it back just before flights were all canceled (they told me I took the last plane out of Austria to my country for the indefinite future), and now schools have been canceled for the foreseeable future. So that's fun. But instead of focusing on that, I'll be sharing more posts with you about my trip to Austria, and as promised, today I'll be writing about going to the Alps from Vienna, specifically to the location called RaxAlpe (because it is the cheaper place open in the winter with public transportation there), how to get there, how much it costs, what you can do there, etc... And of course, how to do it as a family.

Read more about my trip there, what I did, how much I loved it, why I went there, in this post.

So first of all, the reason I'm writing this post is because I couldn't find much of this information on the internet in English. It may exist out there in German, but most tourists won't be speaking that so it's not so helpful, hence this post.

Ok, so to get to the RaxAlpe, you need to go to this station called Payerbach Reichenau by train. Though I was able to buy tickets from the WestBanhoff train station, I had to go to the Vien Meidling train station to catch the train from there (the stop on the U6 underground was called Meidling, and not the Am Schöpfwerk stop that shows up if you put Vein Meidling into Google Maps). It had more stops within Vienna, but I don't know all the stops it has.

3 Best Foods You Can Eat as a Recently Turned Vegan

If you're a recently turned vegan, you might be unsure what the best foods you can eat to keep your body healthy and strong. Here's some tips from a reader.

In the past few years, more and more individuals, especially youngsters, have turned vegan or vegetarian. Those who don’t know what exactly a vegan diet is, then it is important to know it is a strict form of vegetarianism in which all sorts of products derived from animals are totally avoided.
If you have recently turned vegan and want to know what you can eat to balance your daily intake of calcium, omega 3, and protein, then we have got you covered. In this article below, we have put together a few best foods you need to add into your diet as a vegan. To learn about them, continue reading.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

My Frugal Trip To Vienna, Day Six, My Day Trip to the Alps - Part 1

On my sixth day in Vienna I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine, and check off something from my bucket list- I visited the Alps. I think I've dreamed of going to the Alps since watching the Sound of Music as a kid. Though the Alps cover many countries in Europe, they don't reach Austria itself, so I took a train to a part of the Alps called Raxalpe. This was the most expensive day of my trip so far, but worth every cent.

When deciding where to go to the Alps, I found this very handy website that had information on the three closest Alps to Vienna, and how to get there. Schneeberg wasn't an option because they don't seem to have anything in the winter, so my choices were between Semmering and Raxalpe. What I loved about this website is it had information that Google Maps didn't have, about how to actually get to Raxalpe!

I knew I didn't want to go skiing (not that I didn't want to, but you know, its expensive) because I just went skiing with my kids in December in Bulgaria, but at the same time, I wanted to experience a different winter sport in the Alps. Semmering offers sledding down a long track, and Raxalpe offers snow shoeing.

What Kind Of Health Benefits Can I Get From Tropical Foods?

I love fruit. I love special fruit. I love trying new and exciting fruit. In fact, as a souvenir to bring home to my kids from my trip to Vienna, I just bought a bunch of new and exciting tropical fruit. But did you know they have special health benefits? This post from Nancy Evans teaches more about those.

If you are considering getting healthier and starting a diet, or maybe you are just looking for some foods that can give you great health benefits, you should add some tropical fruits to your life. Tropical fruits can sometimes be bitter, but adding in things like coconut flavor can sweeten the fruits up without taking away your health benefits. You might be surprised at how much your life will change for the better when you add tropical fruit into your life. Here are some of the first fruits you should try out and what they can bring to your life to help you live it a little better.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

My Frugal Trip to Vienna, Days 4 and 5!

One of the things I've had to internalize on previous trips of mine, some taken when I was dealing with the depths of my depression, was that as much as I enjoy trips, as much as I love traveling, and as excited as travel makes me, I can't expect my trips to get rid of my problems, my problems come with me no matter where I go. And that's ok. It meant that my trips weren't free of depression and panic attacks, but they were still great trips and awesome memories.

Now, though, thanks to good therapy and good meds, my depression has lightened up. But an issue that I have been dealing with a lot has been my sleep schedule, and specifically my difficulty getting up in the morning, and my extra need for sleep. Of course, silly me thought that now that I'm on vacation, I can just, by force of willpower, need less sleep, and wake up early, and run throughout the day. But the one day I tried doing that, my third day in Vienna, I ended up falling asleep in a boat ride that I paid money for, which showed me that I can't ignore my sleep needs.

Which is a bummer, because that means that I can't spend as much time each day doing touristy things, because by the time I wake up in the morning (or sometimes afternoon) I've slept away much of the daylight hours, and much of the hours that tourist things are open. Fortunately my trip here is a long one, so I can spread out my touring throughout the days that I'm here and don't feel as pressured to pack my days with so many things.

How to Cut Down Senior Home Care Expenses

If you have older parents, or are yourself getting older, you may have thought about senior care and the related expenses. This post from a reader aims to give more ideas about how to save money when it comes to senior care.

Living with an older adult that needs constant care can be expensive. If you are the primary caregiver, this means that you have to shoulder most of the costs. Home caregiving can significantly affect your budget. As such, you need to look for ways to cut down the costs. Here are some of them:

Friday, March 6, 2020

How to Help Your Child Learn on a Budget

If you want to help your children learn better, but you don't want to lay out a lot of money, here's some frugal ideas sent to me by a reader.

According to readingeducation.org, "Teaching your child how to learn doesn’t have to be expensive. While you may be tempted to fork out for extra-curricular lessons, there’s no reason why your child needs this type of preparation when you can equip yourself with the skills to teach them at home."

If you want to prepare your child for school, but you can’t afford outside lessons, let’s talk about five tips for helping your child learn on a budget.

My Frugal Trip To Vienna, Days 2 and 3!

I have been in Vienna already 3 days, and its been a great trip so far.

First off, I have to say that this is my first time staying in a hostel, and I'm sad that this is only my first time, because I feel like I missed out on so many fun things I could have done my last trips, because staying in hostels is so much more fun than staying in AirBnB's not to mention cheaper.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

My Frugal Trip to Vienna, Day 1, My First Impressions

Right after we landed in Vienna
So I'll have to keep this post short, as you'll see why in a bit. But I didn't want to be remiss on sharing my first impressions with you from my trip to Vienna.

Number one, why it's so short? Well, I had my flight at 11 am this morning, which meant that in order to get to the airport on time, I'd have to take the bus at 5:45 am from my house. I have a really, really, really hard time getting up in the morning, often sleeping through alarm clocks and not even realizing it. I didn't want to take a chance that I'd miss my flight, so instead I stayed up the entire night.

Yes, I ended up sleeping a little bit on the bus to the city, and more on the train to the airport (but I slept too deeply that I missed my stop and had to turn around and take the train back, and fortunately I gave myself extra time), then a little bit while waiting for my flight, and then some more on my flight. I had a row to myself but the chairs were uncomfortable when I tried lying down on all three, so instead I just slept sitting up, but not sure how long. Either way, I'm running on fumes now.

However, I had a great first few hours here, acclimating to the city, figuring things out, and settling in to my hostel, so I wanted to share about that.

Creative Ways to Say No

Parenting is hard, because we want to give the most to our kids, but its so difficult to find the right balance between giving our kids what they deserve and need and not spoiling them. The hardest is figuring out how to put limits, and to say no to our kids. This post, from Marie Miguel from BetterHelp.com helps people gain clarity with that struggle.

Saying no to your child can be difficult, especially if you know there's something they want and it's out of your budget. Let's say that your son is fixated on getting a giant lego toy, and you know that it's expensive. He wants it, and you want him to have it, but there are a couple of factors that contribute to why you can't give it to him:

1. It's not in the budget right now
2. You'd like him to earn the toy, which means he needs to do chores such as cleaning his room, doing his homework, and being on his best behavior

An effective and creative way to say "no" is not to use the word "no." Instead, say, "I would love for you to have that toy, and here are some things we can do to make sure you get the toy that you deserve." Instead of saying no, offer ways that your child can earn the toy or steps to take to get it. Saying "later" instead of "no" is another option.

Saying no doesn't have to be harsh

Let's say that you're out for a walk in the park and you go to the playground. You're there for a few hours and need to go home because there are a lot of errands you have to run. Your child asks for thirty more minutes at the playground, but you can't do it, because you have things you need to do. You can say, "I'm so glad that you had fun at the playground; right now, we have to go because there are things we need to do." You don't need to say the word no, and explaining can be a useful tactic that'll help you avoid feeling like you're too harsh. Kids are perceptive and understand things that you need to give them credit for comprehending. They're quick to ask "why?" which is part of the reason that explaining things can help.

Being accountable

When a child misbehaves, it's okay to say no to their request. One thing to make sure that you communicate is that they're accountable for their behavior. Let's say that your child wants to play video games, but they haven't been kind to their siblings. You can point out, "I know you want to play video games. However, you hit your sister, and that means that you don't have the opportunity to play your game. If you are kind to your siblings tomorrow and do your homework, you will have the opportunity to play your video games. There's a consequence for your actions." Kids need to learn that "no" can be a teachable moment. Parenting isn't easy, but it's essential to stick to it once you say no because kids need to learn about consequences so that they can engage in productive behavior.

Getting help with parenting in therapy

As parents, we're extremely busy. It can be hard to find time for self-care, but it's crucial to put your parental oxygen mask on before caring for others. Online therapy is a great resource where you can talk to a licensed mental health professional about parenting without having to commute to an in-person office. You can try a company like BetterHelp that offers licensed professional help to fit your needs. Don't be afraid to reach out for help, or even just a place to vent, because while you may feel alone or worried regarding your parenting concerns, therapy is a safe place where you'll feel heard and understood. Your therapist cares about your emotional wellbeing and wants to see you thriving. It's an excellent place for you to take care of your mental health, and get the support you need to be a healthy human being and a great parent.

About the author

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Making Myself a Travel First Aid and Health Kit

Every time I travel, I find I get more and more experienced, and learn from my mistakes and am able to improve things over last time. One thing I've especially learned is having to do with taking care of my health while I'm traveling, getting better and better each time. The first time I traveled abroad as an adult alone I ended up in the ER with really bad insurance and big medical bills that I had to pay out of pocket before the insurance would even consider paying me back. I learned from there to get insurance that involves no initial outlay. 

Then on my trip to Greece, I sprained my ankle, and needed to get to a doctor for crutches, but even taking a taxi to reach the doctor (since buses weren't an option with my foot the way it was) cost a lot, and it ended up being cheaper to have a friend buy me a pair of crutches instead of paying for a taxi to get to the doctor which would be free with insurance to get crutches free with insurance. I learned that insurance only goes so far when you're injured, because you still need to figure out a way to get out of the house to get medical help.

And then on my trip to the US, I ended up sick and had to find a store to get stuff to help me heal, and paid through the nose for some immune boosting items and throat lozenges at a store near where I was, because I wasn't familiar with the area or where to shop.

And so, I decided that for this trip, I'd put together my own travel first aid kit, containing basic and maybe a little more than basic medical supplies for myself. While I probably can get all these items locally, there would be the hassle of finding doctors, needing to travel to find these things, paying full price, because I'm not able to buy things on sale or price compare in a new country. Plus this just saves the headache.

How to Create a Cost-Efficient Preparedness Kit

With coronavirus spreading to many parts of the globe, there is a lot of panic happening, and a lot of people interested in preparing for disaster. Here's how you can make your own cost efficient preparedness kit. Hopefully you won't need it!

Disasters can come in different forms, and knowing what to prepare for is very important. Nevertheless, there are items that should be in every preparedness kit. Various websites provide checklists of things you might need during an emergency. These websites are excellent resources to help you get going and provide ideas for kit material and other things you may not have thought of before.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you can prepare an emergency kit, regardless of your budget. The idea is to protect your family and your finances.

Keep the preparedness kit as simple as possible

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Asian Style Pomelo Lettuce Salad Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Easy

Sometimes, a salad is really amazing. And sometimes, it just doesn't cut it for you. The other day I made myself a salad, and I couldn't bring myself to eat it. I just didn't enjoy it. I thought maybe my body was telling me to eat something other than salad, but I looked at the lettuce in the fridge, and decided I wanted a salad, just not the one that I had.

Instead, I made a salad with lettuce and pomelo, and once I started in that direction, I was thinking that I should definitely go in an Asian direction, and I added some more veggies that I had, topped it with a soy sauce based dressing and peanuts, and it really hit the spot. I don't think I ever had a salad quite like it before, but it'll definitely be a repeat in this house.

This recipe as written is gluten free, vegan, and allergy friendly unless you're allergic to peanuts. If you don't have any of these ingredients, feel free to leave some out of sub something, like grapefruit instead of the pomelo, tangerine instead of orange, iceberg lettuce instead of romaine, etc...  This would also be awesome with bean sprouts added.

While this isn't an official Thai recipe as far as I know, this recipe shares a lot of ingredients and a flavor profile with yam som o, Thai pomelo salad, so that's cool.

Asian Style Pomelo Lettuce Salad Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Easy

5 Easy Home Renovation Ideas for the Modern Family

Living in my house already for nearly 3 years, I'm starting to get some ideas about things I'd like to do to change things up and improve my house. While I plan on sharing more details once I have more concrete plans and ideas, with you, here are some ideas from a reader on some home renovations you might want to do on a budget.

When you find yourself bored in the morning, ideas like making use of empty spaces in your house or building new shelves in your room start popping up in your head, but you might wonder as to where to start and what can work best for your house. Well, it’s simple. You have to start with what might be the most useful for you and your family, or what can be aesthetically pleasing to all your family members.

Here are 5 amazing ideas that will inspire you.