Friday, October 30, 2020

French Fry Tuna Casserole Recipe- Super Easy, Gluten Free, and Delicious

I almost feel ridiculous sharing this recipe, because, in my books, it isn't really a recipe, because it is so simple. However, since I've made it a few times recently and it's a hit with my family, I decided to share it. This isn't a particularly frugal recipe, however, it isn't so expensive either, and it is very quick to make, no knives needed, no dishes needed, and if you use a disposable pan it is absolutely no mess. 

This is something I've been relying on since I've been having some health issues that sap me of all my energy, but I still need to feed myself and my family. This is an entire meal in one with carbs, veggies, and protein, and it tastes great too.

Nearly everything in it is either frozen or canned, so you don't need to chop up stuff, and it's all shelf stable, so these things are easy to have on hand if you can't make it to the grocery store often.

I based this off a tuna noodle casserole I've made since I was a kid, but instead of noodles, I use French fries so there's no separate step of cooking the noodles, and so its one pan, and gluten free.

French Fry Tuna Casserole Recipe- Super Easy, Gluten Free, and Delicious

Killer Tips for Buying Children Playground Equipment Online

With Covid, even families that until now didn't have backyard play equipment generally consider investing in some, for safety reasons, and things to do during lockdown. If you are one of those families considering doing so, here's some tips from a reader with things to think about.

Did you know that play is a vital aspect of your child's life? It is during the game that your child gets to develop physically and learn social skills. The playing equipment give's your child a conducive environment during playtime. Before buying any playground, equipment online should consider the children's age and developmental stage to use the equipment. Your play space should be child-friendly, which can only be achieved by purchasing the play area's right equipment. Besides, you can use the children's taste and preference to buy the equipment. These are the tips you need to consider when buying playground equipment:

How To Become The Ultimate DIY Parent

I'm a big fan of DIYing in all sorts of ways, either for fun, or to make something for your family that you need instead of buying it, or fixing your broken items on your own instead of paying a professional. DIY saves money and can be quite enjoyable as well. But not everyone knows how to DIY. Here's some tips from a reader on how to become a DIY parent. 

When you first think of the word DIY, you might assume that it requires a lot of hard work. However, while this can be true in some cases, there are many benefits to doing things yourself. You can save yourself money and create unique items that nobody else in the world has!

In this article, we are going to be talking about how you can become the ultimate DIY parent. Sound interesting? Then keep on reading!

Monday, October 26, 2020

How To Manage Estate Taxes

Recently, the topic of wills and inheritance has come up a lot in my life, in discussion with others. One thing, though, when people talk about inheritance, is that often the aspect of estate taxes doesn't get brought up. Yes, the government takes a huge cut out of whatever is left in people's wills. Therefore, smart planning ahead can ensure that the government gets as little as possible and the most will go to your loved ones. This post from a reader is filled with some good ideas as to how.

Realistically speaking, preparing and planning for your family’s future can be a lot of things to think about. From drafting some legal documents to designating your heirs and beneficiaries, these things can be very overwhelming. Not only that, but you certainly have to take care of the estate taxes associated with estate planning. Typically, without a good estate plan in place, you’ll end up struggling in managing your estate taxes.

So, if you don’t want your estate taxes to be a burden, keep reading this article to learn how to manage them efficiently.

What Are Estate Taxes?

The Five Love Languages- It's More Complicated Than You'd Think

My friend Babs and I were discussing the Five Love Languages- are you familiar with that book, or even just the concept? The book is a great resource to figure out how you, your partner, your loved ones, and your children are best able to receive love, as well as how you naturally express it. There are so many ways of expressing love, but if you show love one way, but it is a way that doesn't speak to the one to whom you are trying to show love, you'll fall short, and the token of love won't be accepted and they won't feel loved and everyone will be upset. Therefore, it is good to know what your love languages are as well as that of others.
The five love languages are:
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Receiving Gifts
These are pretty straightforward, so I don't think I have to get into them via explaining what each of them are.

During my conversation with my friend, she brought up the quiz for the five love languages, and suggested I take it, and to be honest, the results left me a bit surprised. 

On the test, I got 37% acts of service, 30% receiving gifts, 13% words of affirmation, 10% quality time, and 10% physical touch. Probably what left me most surprised was how high gifting was on my list. Or that words of affirmation weren't higher on my list. 

I mean, don't get me wrong. The fact that these were the percentages of my quiz doesn't mean that I don't need someone to tell me "Penny, I believe in you, you've faced more difficult things and you made it through, I believe you can do it this time as well" when I'm struggling. Or that I don't enjoy quality time with people I love. Or that I don't crave hugs desperately. Most people probably need all these things, but the question is what is more important to them.

And for me, its acts of service. And gifting.

What is most surprising for me, actually, is that I have gotten these from people in the past, and it didn't do a single thing for me. In fact, I often resented when I got gifts or acts of service from specific people, so I thought maybe those weren't my primary love languages.

More Answers and More Questions

To say I haven't been having an easy time lately would be putting it mildly. I already wrote about the medical issues plaguing me, and how I started getting some answers, but today, I found out some more answers, and instead of just reassuring me, they are getting me even more confused.

Last time I wrote about my dizziness, headaches, and exhaustion. And how I went from one doctor to another and did blood tests, and bottom line is I was told that I needed new glasses, and today I picked up my multifocals. It definitely is an adjustment to get used to them, I was old that in advance, but just as I'm sitting at the computer and typing this post, I can already see how they're helping, as it is much easier for me to focus on the computer screen with these glasses vs my old ones. I was told it can take a week or two to get used to them, but just seeing how much easier it is to sit at my computer, or to read books, already is helping (the rest of the time, or when shifting where I'm looking, currently are making me more dizzy, but I know its a process so I can deal with that).

But in addition to that, today, after nearly two weeks of trying to wake up early enough to actually make it to the blood test in time (we can only get them before 9:30 am and I've been getting the kids out to school and then back to sleep), I finally did it, and though all the results aren't in yet, I got enough answers to confirm that yes, my thyroid definitely is a big contributor to my health issues as of late.

How to Co-Parent After a Divorce: Finance Edition

Finances and divorce is such a complicated topic. Veronica Baxter, a legal assistant and blogger, working with Lee A. Schwartz, Esq., a busy Philadelphia divorce lawyer, wrote this post to shed some light on the topic for you.

Going through a divorce is hard, no matter how old you are, the reason for the divorce, or how long you were married. However, going through a divorce is especially challenging when there are children involved. Whether your children are young, teenagers, or even young adults, a divorce is going to be hard on them. If you are in the midst of divorce, or you have already finalized your divorce, you are likely already aware of that. In addition to it being emotionally challenging for you and your children, it is also financially challenging.

As you and your ex-spouse learn how to raise your children as two separate entities, rather than as a team, it’s important that you do your best to think about finances for your children in a practical way. You must learn how to co-parent financially for the sake of your children. Whether you are in the process of learning the ropes when it comes to co-parenting, or you are looking for ways to improve your co-parenting tactics in regards to money, this post will be able to help you.

How Do You Handle Expenses While Co-Parenting?

Sometimes handling expenses while co-parenting can be a difficult task, especially if your ex-spouse isn’t cooperative or receptive. With that being said, here are some tips to help you co-parent successfully when it comes to finances.

Pay for the Things You are Legally Required to Pay for

This is perhaps the most obvious way to co-parent successfully in regards to finances. Every divorce is different, and depending on what the court decides, as well as what your child custody lawyer proposes, you and your ex-spouse will both be legally responsible for paying for different things. When most people get divorced, oftentimes one of the parents has to pay child support to the parent that is predominately raising the child/children. If the parent that is responsible for paying child support does not, he or she could be fined or face jail time. If you are in charge of paying child support, it will make your life easier to make sure you simply just pay it. Though you may not agree with the fact you have to pay child support, it will be in your best interest to pay it and then seek further legal assistance. Paying what you are legally required to pay for will make co-parenting- in terms of finances- as stress-free and straight forward as possible.

Keep Your Child’s Best Interest in Mind

No matter what, you need to keep your child’s best interests in mind when it comes to paying for things after a divorce. You and your ex-spouse should do your best to split things equally throughout the duration of your child’s life and should both work to make sure your child has all that he or she needs to live happily and comfortably. In addition to child support, you should still do what you can to assist in extra expenses as long as you are able to. Some additional expenses that you should assist in paying for with your child’s best interest in mind include:
  • Extracurricular sports or activities
  • Doctors visits/procedures
  • College
  • Clothing
Likewise, be sure to always provide a safe and clean environment for your child to live or visit, depending on whether you have full custody or not. Be sure that your child has enough food, a place to sleep, a place to bathe, appropriate grooming necessities, and that he or she is not in the presence of anyone that could be considered dangerous.

Communication is Always Key

Like most things in life, communication is always key. You and your ex-spouse will have to- likely more times than not- put your differences aside and discuss finances. If you and your ex-spouse get along well, this will be no issue. On the other hand, if you and your ex have a rocky relationship, you will need to work at creating positive and healthy communication. Perhaps plan one day a week where you both talk on the phone about your children and current finances. Or meet up once a month to do the same.

Make it a point to be open about your financial situation and expectations. Do you think your ex could be paying for more? Tell him or her. Are you struggling financially right now? Make this known. Has child support been late or has your ex not contributed anything to your child? Address this issue. Regardless of what you need to talk about financially, make sure to do it in a calm and clear way; this will allow you to communicate in a healthy way and to co-parent to the best of both of your abilities.

Do Your Best to Co-Parent in Terms of Finances

As you and your ex co-parent, it’s likely that you will hit bumps in the road and that not every day is going to be easy, and it’s likely that some of the issues you may end up facing will have to do with money. Therefore, it's important that you are as prepared as you can be when it comes to learning how to co-parent and also manage the finances that go along with it. Keep these few tips in mind, and if you are currently struggling with co-parenting and managing finances, consider reading books specifically on this topic, doing further research, or even talking to a financial advisor.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Frugal Accomplishments This Past Week

I haven't done one of these things in a while. Partly laziness, and partly feeling like I haven't done anything frugal thats worth sharing. Because my life just was... not particularly frugal. But after a cooking session that was ridiculously frugal oriented, I realized that I wanted to share that with you, and with that, I also came to the conclusion that I have so many other frugal things I did this past week. Ok, I'm also including things that my son did that helped me save money.

Coup the Stress in Your Life by Using CBD

Stress!!!! Ahhhh!!!! I've definitely felt this way far too often, especially lately. Did you know CBD oil can help with your stress levels, as well as many other things? This post from a reader expounds on how CBD may improve your life.

Time is the only thing that we can’t get back. So much of our life we stress over the little things and we don’t know how to deal with them when they get here. Finding solutions to these problems isn’t an easy thing to do but what if I told you there is a product that was made just for that reason. That product is CBD and all forms of CBD including CBD hemp flower, CBD tincture, CBD oils, and many more. Let me explain how CBD can reduce the amount of stress in your life. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Easy Asian Inspired Edamame Salad Recipe, Gluten Free, Vegan Options

Last time I went grocery shopping I bought a package of frozen edamame, originally planning on just serving it defrosted with a bit of salt, as I usually do. But when I got home, I decided that I really wanted to do something else, and a salad sounded perfect. Since I associate edamame with Asian dishes, I decided to make this salad with ingredients typically found in Asian cuisine.

I have to say, this recipe came out absolutely amazing. So amazing that, though I shared a bit with one of my kids, who agreed it is terrific, I ate the entire thing, and I think I might have gotten a bit of a stomach ache from eating that much in a small amount of time.

But seriously, if you're a fan of edamame and Asian flavors, make this one. This recipe is gluten free and vegan if you use the gluten free and vegan options listed. 

I was inspired by this recipe when I made mine.

Easy Asian Inspired Edamame Salad Recipe, Gluten Free, Vegan Options

Those Little Things Kids Do That Bring Parents Joy

Parenting can be exhausting and grueling work, and when the kids are very young, can even feel thankless at times. However, it is also one of the most rewarding things, especially when your kids do things that really bring a smile to your face. Like tonight, just lying down in bed watching a movie while cuddled up with my daughter was one of those perfect moments. Here's a list of things sent in from a reader that kids often do (especially more and more as they get older) that can really make you feel appreciated as a parent. 

Life is busy, and many parents can forget to appreciate the little moments that bring them happiness. Children often do things that delight you, whether knowingly or unknowingly. These moments can be fleeting, and you might not realize their importance until you get some free time alone. A close bond with children is a gift that should be cherished. Parents often give their kids the gift of experiences to make them appreciate the family bond but they don’t realise that children can give them the same gift too. Here are just a few of the most common small things that children do that bring parents happiness.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Answers, Finally, to the Health Issues Plaguing Me

By the end of this post, the relevance of this picture will be made clear.

I want to apologize on my slacking on writing posts lately. I've been going through a lot lately, had my kids full time lately, and on top of that, have been having quite a few health issues that were a mystery.
My symptoms were exhaustion, dizziness, and splitting headaches. I'm generally tired but this took my exhaustion to another level. You can probably imagine how hard it is when your body wants to sleep 20 or more hours a day and whenever you get up the room spins and your head pounds, and even lying down doesn't fix it.

When I reached out to my doctor, he wouldn't let me do anything until I took a corona test but getting one done was easier said than done. We have corona drive in/walk in testing places, but none of them are within walking distance of my house, and in quarantine, I wasn't allowed to use public trasportation or take a taxi (or so I thought), so I had to arrange a test at my house. However, even getting the referral to an at home test took time, then it had to get approved, and then someone had to call me to arrange it, but two weeks after my virtual doctor's appointment, no one had even called me to arrange it, and no, I wasn't able to call them to arrange it either. But I reached out to officials from my local municipality who offered to help make that quicker, but heard nothing back from then either.

At this point, I was very stressed out, and knew that while I was waiting, suffering, I wasn't able to get anything else ruled out- no one would test my sugar or my blood pressure, which could have been the cause for that. So I mentioned something to a friend, and she gave me a blood pressure cuff to borrow. 

Then, one night at 1 am, when I was feeling exceptionally dizzy and headachey, I took my blood pressure and it was sky high- 230/170. I tried measuring it again and again to see if it was a fluke, and while it varied slightly, it remained very high. I asked friends for advice, and I learned that blood pressure that high is called a hypertensive crisis and needs immediate medical attention because it can be the sign of or cause a stroke or a heart attack. 
However, people suggested that it might be the cuff, so I asked if a paramedic could come and test it for me, but was told that since I was in quarantine (because I was waiting for a corona test) no one could come to my house to check me, and my only option was to call an ambulance. So they did, and when the ambulance came, all suited up, they measured me, and the number they got on their cuff was also nearly the same as the one on my at home blood pressure cuff. It was then decided that I'd be going to the emergency room, so I packed my bag, expecting the worst.
On the way to the ER, 15 minutes into the ambulance ride, my blood pressure was still high but not as sky high as before.
And then in the ER, I was in the corona "biological ER", and finally got my corona test. (Oh my gosh, that hurts.) And they tested my blood pressure. And it was normal. And they gave me a blood test and a chest ex ray.
But since my blood pressure wasn't high in the ER, I wasn't a priority for them, so I just mainly sat around playing on my phone. After spending a few hours in the ER, at 4:45 am they told me I was being released. Without corona results yet, which they told me should take only 2 hours. How was I supposed to get home? Well, you can take a taxi home, they told me. I thought I couldn't because I was in quarantine. They told me legally I was allowed to take a taxi with all the windows open and masks on the whole time.
I got into a taxi, knowing it would be an expensive ride, but what other option did I have, went to draw cash (since I wasn't assuming I'd need a taxi back so didn't have cash with me) and then as soon as I got back into the cab after drawing cash the taxi driver said he found out he couldn't take me because he had heart issues, and drove me back to the hospital. No other taxi driver wanted to take me because I was in quarantine, and just as I was about to get all worried (no public transport, no taxis, how else???) one taxi driver agreed to drive me home. Yes, it was expensive. I paid $85 for the ride because of the distance and time of night. And I was told that since I didn't get admitted to the hospital, I'd have to pay both the emergency room and the ambulance fee since I didn't have a referral (how exactly was I supposed to get a referral at 1:30 am?). And that would likely be another $575. But even if that was the case, I didn't regret going, because better safe than sorry. Better pay that much to make sure you aren't going to die than die at home from a stroke or heart attack.

The next day I tried reaching my doctor for him to give me a referal to the ER retroactively (it sometimes works) but he didn't call me back after I left a message with his secretary, and there were no available appointments with any doctor until the next day. Oh, and in the meantime, I got results from my corona test. Thankfully negative. So I could actually finally go in to see a doctor.

Lots of people had all sorts of ideas about what was causing my health issues. I must have blood sugar problems, because I'm fat. I must have blood pressure issues because I'm fat. I probably eat too much salt. This is all probably because I'm fat. Of course, you see a fat person with some health issue, it must be their fatness to blame.

Why Should Residents Use Skip Bins Newcastle?

If you're interested in reducing waste and have to pay for garbage collection locally, or if you're doing construction, you may be interested in getting your own personal dumpster, called skip bins, down under. Here's some reasons why you might want your own, and why it's an environmentally and monetary friendly option. 

The Australian government issues stringent regulations for waste management that not only businesses struggle to keep at a level of efficiency, but residents in Newcastle must maintain following the proper protocol. The idea is for each person to reduce their waste as much as possible to decrease the amount being disposed of in the landfills.

In an effort to stay organized, services such as 1300 Skip Bins Newcastle provide containers that can be filled with a variety of different types of debris, junk, clutter, furniture, anything that needs to be cleared out.  People can either rent these on a personal or a commercial basis. Generally, homeowners generate rubbish while landscaping, fall cleaning, or through renovations to their house.

Using skip bins such as what you can get when you use a skip hire in Coventry to manage waste in any type of scenario, whether industrial or residential, makes disposal much more affordable, easier, and less time-intensive than attempting to perform any heavy work with simple trash receptacles and garbage bags.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Advice for Juggling A Nursing Career & Parenting

The work life balance is definitely hard with kids. But while we'd love to just say people should be a stay at home mom, that isn't feasible for so many people in so many situations. So how do you figure out that work life balance with kids when you're in a profession such as nursing? This post from a reader gives some good ideas that are relevant to nursing, as well as many other professions.

One of the biggest challenges that many nurses face is juggling their profession with parenting, and it certainly can be difficult, although not impossible. The two can complement each other well. Many of the best nurses are parents and best parents’ nurses because there are similarities such as care, time-management, and good communication. It can be stressful, especially when you have long shifts to cover and then have to look after the kids at home. With this in mind, here are a few tips for juggling nursing and parenting so that you can give both your all.

Friday, October 9, 2020

The Best Investments For Lockdown Sanity

Corona, Covid, the Rona, the plague, whatever you call it, it sucks. It sucks because in addition to all the people that have died, in order to prevent more deaths, so many staples of our life have been removed. So many things that were things we relied on to have happy, healthy, and sane lives have been snatched away, which is leading many people to have difficult and stressful lives. 

Everyone's life is stressful during corona for different reasons. If you're single you might be craving company. If you're a teacher, trying to work via zoom is really hard. If you work in the health care field, the stress of possibly catching or working with very sick patients can take a huge toll. If you're out of a job or have decreased income because you're in an affected industry finances difficulties can make this really difficult. 

But as I am not in those situations, I want to talk about things that have been a big investment for my family's sanity during lockdown, as a family living in a smallish house with 4 kids, as a single parent, working from home.

Brilliant Ways to Give Your Home a Relaxing Atmosphere

I hated my old home. Especially at first. The fact that it was so small definitely didn't help, but the fact that it was not to my taste at all made it even worse. I remember how much enjoyment it gave me to give my home a makeover. I'm happy to share these tips from a reader with you on how you can transform your home the same way.

Regardless of how long you’ve been living in your home, or if you are just moving into a new place - it’s always a struggle to decorate and make space feel like home. It all comes down to your personal preference, are you a maximalist or a minimalist, or somewhere in between? It all plays a big part in what makes your home feel like a home for you. Here are some brilliant and easy ways to give any space a makeover and turn it into a true sanctuary! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

3 Easy Ways to Save on Car Insurance

I decided that I want to look into getting a car when I am able to swing it financially. So this piece sent in by a reader on how to lower the cost of car insurance is something that interests me- hopefully it'll be useful to you too!

Car insurance can get expensive and make up a large portion of your transportation budget. However, it isn’t set in stone, and there are tons of things that you can do to reduce your premiums. In some cases, you may have advantages you weren’t even aware of. You can also make small adjustments that could make a big difference in how much you end up paying. If you're looking for a reputable insurance provider that offers affordable policies, check out Downunder, Youi. Here are some easy ways to save money on car insurance.