Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Keeping Your Kids Positively Occupied

During the summer and any other break most parents have a hard time keeping their kids entertained without technology. Here are some ideas from a reader about non-tech ways to keep your kids entertained.

We all want our kids to be as happy and fulfilled as possible. We want to give them as much opportunity in life as we can. We want to get them started out on the right foot with well rounded childhoods that they can look back on fondly. Of course, this can all be easier said than done. Parenting can be difficult and sometimes, alongside the other stresses of day to day life, we can end up keeping our little ones occupied with simple things that don’t require too much of our input. This is understandable. We have work. We have relationships to maintain, fitness regimes to keep up and interests of our own to pursue. But it is important that you do your utmost to keep your kids occupied in a positive and productive way that you can get involved in too. Of course, different kids enjoy different things. You may find that one child prefers a completely different type of activity or area of interest to another. But what is important is that you find what each of your kids enjoys and that you nurture this. This will give them a source of joy in their lives and can aid with their overall development too! So, how can you go about keeping your kids positively occupied? Here are a few suggestions that will help you along the way!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Crisis Averted

Please excuse me while I get personal with you for a bit... Since I've never, ever shared personal stuff about myself on here before... lol...

Today I had a crisis that felt like it reached an impossible magnitude. Causing me to get to a really bad emotional state. Well, the fact that you're reading this is all you need to see to know that the crisis was averted.

Let me start at the beginning.

I was talking to my son about my blog, and he mentioned something about the header of my blog looking like it was 10 years old, like it was made when he was a baby, pointing to the cartoon baby in the header. I told him that that wasn't supposed to be him, as he was already a toddler when my blog was started, his brother Ike was a baby, but it was just supposed to be a generic baby in a cloth diaper to show that I wrote about both motherhood and frugal and green living. Either way, he said, it needed updating. 

He then continued and mentioned that the layout seemed behind the times as well. Lee wanted to know why I didn't revamp my website, but instead kept it the same for nearly a decade. He brought up the fact that already a few years ago I had started with some ideas about upgrading my header, but never ended up doing it, and asked me why not.

Renting or Buying: Which is the Most Frugal Option?

Discussions about whether it is best to rent or buy a house are all over, with each person arguing that their side is the only correct one. However, there are pros and cons to each of them- here are some sent in by a reader below for some food for thought.

Photo Credit: Dhruva Mehra

Are you looking to choose between buying a home and renting one out? There’s plenty to consider, so here are some pros and cons for both to help you decide…

One of the biggest life goals out there is to buy a home, but the real question is whether this option is the best for you and your situation? After all, it can be extremely expensive, and you have to wonder whether it’s all worth it.

For those looking to buy a home, there are government incentives. For example, help to buy scheme solicitors can help you to make the most of your money through buying a new build with a low deposit.

That said, buying a house today is extremely expensive, and not right for everyone. Especially if you’re not looking to settle down just yet, and want to travel the world, think again. In this article, we’ll provide some pros and cons for both options to help you with making your decision.

The Pros and Cons of Renting a House

5 Realisations That Can Help You Pay Off Debt

Do you have debt? Do you want to pay it off? These 5 realizations about debt sent from a reader can help you out.

Photo credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Almost all of us have been in debt at one point or another. The question is, how can you pay it off? These five realisations you need to make before doing so could help you out…

Are you in debt, and finding it hard to think about anything else? Perhaps you’re struggling to pay it off, and need a bit of a reality check? Well, you’re not alone.

The problem with debt is that it’s a cyclical thing; when one person goes into debt and doesn’t pay their debtor, they then end up in financial trouble. So, if your business is in the middle of recovering debt from a limited company and in need of some advice, or a start-up who has gone too far down the rabbit hole, you came to the right place. Alternatively, if you’re an individual who has stumbled down the mortgage and credit card path, don’t go anywhere.

In this article, we’ll be breaking down five important realisations you need to make before you can hope to pay off your debt. So, if you want to learn a little more about what debt really means, read on…

Monday, August 2, 2021

The Best and Tastiest Travel Friendly Sandwich


I am absolutely exhausted. My whole body aches. But I am really on a high. Today I went with my eldest, my son Lee, to an amusement park. First time I was at one for at least 15 years. We had a blast. I want nothing more than to just fall asleep. But I wanted to leave you with a post first.

It's a short one.

But it's a good one.

I want to leave you with the absolute best travel friendly sandwich, one that I have made multiple times for myself and my kids and it is a hit every time. We had them today at the amusement park and they lasted from the morning, when I packed them, until lunch time and even until dinner time. They didn't get soggy or gross. Just deliciousness. And it isn't just good for traveling. It is, hands down, my sons' favorite sandwich. And I don't blame them.

Here it is.

It's simple.

How to Select the Right Home Fire Insurance on a Tight Budget

A long time reader wanted to share this post with you and it makes me feel guilty, because I do not have proper insurance on my home and that can really screw me over in the long run. I gotta get my act together and do it ASAP. For those that are trying to get fire insurance but are trying to save costs, read more to learn about it.

Managing your household budget is all about paying attention to the little details. No cost goes unnoticed, and every expense must be justified. Living a frugal lifestyle encourages you to save whenever and wherever you can so that you have more to spend on yourself and your family. But when it comes to fire insurance coverage, you have to tread carefully before you start adjusting your policy.

Every year, the cost of your home insurance policy increases. Finding out you have to pay more yet again can make it tempting to ask your broker about trimming your premiums. But that can have unintended consequences and cost you if you ever have to make a fire damage claim.

Heartwarming Ways To Make Your Presence Felt Without Breaking The Bank

18 months later and Corona is still kicking our butts. Some of us have gone so long without seeing loved ones and want to give them a long distance "hug". Here are some ideas from reader, John, on how you can do so without spending too much money.

If the last 18 months has taught us anything it is that we should do all that we can to stay close to friends and family, whenever we get the chance. Many of us have been unable to see our loved ones for a long time, and many still can’t foresee when they will be able to embrace each other as we once did. To those who are far removed from their loved ones, gifts which make their presence felt are a great way of staying close and showing that they care. Here are some ideas which you may consider, that will ensure that your friends and families feel your presence.

Giving My Daughter The Haircut She Wants- Revisited

It isn't perfect but that's the best part about mom haircuts,
we can snip off the little bits we missed later.

Those of you who have been long time readers of my blog may remember a post from nearly six years ago to the day (no kidding, I just looked up that post and it legit was posted on August 3, 2015, I did not plan it this way!!!) when my daughter Anneliese, then 3, wanted me to cut her hair and give her a pixie cut. I talked then about how she had begged me to give her a short, and in her words "boy" haircut, and it was difficult emotionally for me because I loved her longer hair and wasn't a fan of short hair on girls. However, I decided to respect her bodily autonomy and when she said she wanted short hair, it was something that was her choice at the end of the day, her body, and it affected no one but herself and hurt no one, so I was willing to go along with it. I did find it cute in the end, even if it wasn't my first choice.

How apt that this same exact situation came up exactly at this time and it was on the table yet again. My ex told me today that he wanted to cut Anneliese's hair short into a pixie cut because he felt long hair was too difficult to take care of. He tried to convince her that that was what she wanted for her hair, that it would be simple to take care of, and she looked good like that years ago, and he nearly had her convinced. 

But I knew my daughter better, to be honest, and I knew how much fun she had playing with her hair, making various hairstyles, and in general really enjoys experimenting with various beauty trends and hacks. If she'd have a pixie cut she wouldn't be able to play with her hair much, definitely not style it the way she does now, and if she'd regret it, it would take at least a year, if not more, to undo. 

Before picture, from earlier today.

If she'd want a pixie cut, and it was actually her idea, not someone telling her how to cut her hair, and she thought about it for a while and still wanted it, I'd respect it. When I cut my daughter's hair like that before it was after she'd been begging me to do so for a while. I don't want to listen to a passing whim if it isn't easily reversible. If it is something she still wanted in a month I'd be willing to do it, even though I didn't like the idea.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

When Considering a Career as a Medical Office Assistant, Here's What You Need to Know

If you need to earn more money for your family, you might be considering finding a career. If you've heard about becoming a medical office assistant and didn't know what it entails, here's some more that you will want to know about this potential future job.

The job market for Medical Office Assistants is growing exponentially. With this increase in opportunities, it is clearly a great new career field with long lasting potential. The thing that most people don’t know about becoming a Medical Office Assistant is exactly what you’re supposed to do and what you’ll learn as a medical office assistant. That’s why we put together a quick guide to cover the tasks you will be expected to complete during your new office assistant training.

Exciting Outdoor Activities for Spending Memorable Time with Kids on Weekends

When people think about outdoor activities with the family, they generally will think about summer. However, there are quite a lot of outdoor activities that work well with kids even during the fall. Here are some ways to spend time outdoors with your children while building memories.

Right now it is summer, but soon the temperature will be dipping, and the daytime will be decreasing. But there are many ways to enjoy yourself with your children before the time comes to dressing up warmly. Indeed, fall is the best time to enjoy outside as it is not too cold or hot. After shelling out a week in the classroom, children can utilize this time to release some surplus energy. Make the best use of this fall weekend.

But before planning any outdoor activity, it would be wise to check the weather conditions on websites like https://www.tomorrow.io/weather/. Checking weather conditions beforehand ensures that you enjoy an uninterrupted time with your kids. You can also check the air quality and pollen spread on these sites to make sure the conditions are healthy enough for your little ones.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Planning a Fun Summer on a Budget

Sometimes I miss homeschooling my kids. We weren't bound to a school year schedule and could take trips whenever suited us. However, now with all my children in school we only have off around the holidays and summer break, so any trip we do is then, with all the crowds and packed buses and it is really stressful. However, my kids still want to go on trips and do fun things.

In order to do that and provide an enjoyable summer for my kids, I have to balance a lot of things together. For example, unlike last year, I can't rent a car (hopefully temporarily, waiting for some bureaucracy stuff to go through) so whatever we do needs to be accessible by public transportation.

Then there's the fact that my back has been so terrible lately that I can't do anything that is labor intensive and that takes out hiking, which otherwise would be a great frugal activity for the family.

Add to that the fact that my children have gotten to the point where I have little kids and big kids and they aren't generally interested in the same things. My oldest two are almost 14 and almost 12, going into seventh grade and tenth grade and are teenagers in every sense of the word. Then my younger two are 9 and 7, going into first and fourth grade, and are quite children. They like 'playing' with their friends while my older boys are at the 'hanging out' stage with their friends. In short, they don't generally like the same thing so finding something that suits them all is tough.

And last but absolutely not least is cost. I have a lot of expenses now and to be honest, if I were homeschooling I'd wait with the trips until things were less tight. However, this is the only chance I get so it's now or never, so doing it now and trying to keep down costs.

Lavender Pillow And 5 Other Essentials For Exhausted Parents

I'm an exhausted parent. I'm exhausted period. Who isn't exhausted these days? Sometimes, though, its not just that we need more sleep but we struggle falling asleep when we actually have time available to sleep. Here are some tips from a reader that parents and anyone else can use to help them catch the most winks.

Parenting is a beautiful journey. But, behind the happy smiles of the children looking satisfied, well-taken care of, and well-fed are exhausted parents. The moment your baby is born, the exhaustion felt by parents just multiplies a hundred-fold. This is a uniform feeling whether you’re stay-at-home parents, or also juggling work.

The downside to this exhaustion is that if it’s left to progress, it may leave the parents cranky and moody the next day. This can affect the entire mood of the family. The children’s happiness as well. Health-wise, exhaustion leads to possible serious health issues in the long run. Parents deserve a break, too. And, while going out regularly may sometimes not be an option, there are still many ways you can pamper yourself, even when you’re just at home. You just have to make use of the products out in the market that can help you navigate better through exhaustion, parent anxiety, sleeplessness, and other stressors you may be feeling.

Take it easy. Here are five essentials you may want to consider using, to help you better cope with your exhaustion:

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Achieve All-Star Productivity at Work With These Tips

My long time colleague Nancy Evans sent me this post on increasing productivity and it hit me hard. I have a really hard time being productive- I'm always distracted by every little thing. Thanks ADHD! I'm hoping to use these tips to maybe be more productive. Hope they help you too.

Improving productivity at work not only helps us accomplish more during the day, but feels great inside and out. Getting a few brownie points with the boss never hurts and they certainly love employees who are on top of things. 

Knowing we're ahead of schedule and on target serves as motivation to keep on, keepin' on. Yet, many people find productivity at work a major challenge they'd like to improve. People who work at home find even more challenges with their daily productivity. However, achieving all-star productivity status at work requires few sacrifices, but instead, a commitment to change bad habits and pick up better ones along the way. Start your trek to all-star productivity with these tips.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Easy Blueberry Vinaigrette Recipe- Gluten Free, Paleo, Allergy Friendly

When my kids are away I try to get some self care in, and for me that usually entails a good meal, some nice wine, and a good book. Recently I had a hankering for a delicious salad, with the right balance of flavors and textures, and when I saw frozen blueberries in the store I knew that I would be using those in my salad. I made a delicious blueberry vinaigrette and it was so wonderful. 

While I used a variety of different veggies with arugula in the picture shown, afterward I had it with just arugula and nothing else and it was wonderful- the sweetness balanced the spiciness of the arugula perfectly. If you want to make the perfect salad with this dressing I would use arugula and maybe some slivered almonds. Alternatively, or maybe some combination of the two, I'd also try it with spinach or mixed baby greens, a salty cheese like goat cheese or feta, walnuts, and thinly sliced purple onion.

This vinaigrette is perfect for most diets- this is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free, paleo, GAPS legal, and allergy friendly. If you use a sweetener that isn't honey (it probably would be fine with jaggery syrup or any other liquid vegan sweetener) it would be vegan as well.

I can't recommend using fresh blueberries for this, only frozen ones, as frozen ones sort of burst open slightly and let their juices out in a way that fresh wouldn't, and those juices are important for getting the blueberry flavor into the dressing. If you have fresh, just freeze them for this.

Easy Blueberry Vinaigrette Recipe- Gluten Free, Paleo, Allergy Friendly

How Can I Help My Child to be Less Impulsive?

Impulsivity is a common issue with children. When they are first born they have no knowledge of the future, they want things and they want them now. As they get older and learn the concept of time they can wait a bit more and more, but as toddlers they are definitely quite impulsive. Over the years, however, there are ways that you can help your child learn to be less impulsive, which a kind reader elaborated on for us below. However, if you find that this is a big challenge for your child, know that this is common with ADHD, for example, and there are ways to help your children with this, from special therapies to medication. But if this is just normal kid impulsivity, read on to learn more on how to help curb it.

There may be occasions where impulses get the better of all of us, from financial decisions, right down to unhealthy snacks. Helping your child to learn how to curb any urges now can keep them a lot safer in the future, particularly when they are faced with peer pressure, as well as the freedom that comes with being independent from primary caregivers. Although babies and toddlers may be expected to only care about their wants in the moment, they are never too young for you to start showing and teaching a bit of self-control.

4 Common Mistakes That Can Sabotage the Debt Snowball Method

Dave Ramsey talks a lot about the debt snowball method, which he considers to be the most effective method of paying off debt. Although effective, there are some common pitfalls that people who attempt to do so end up falling into. Here are some thoughts from Stefanie Gordon, a finance enthusiast on what those issues are and how you can avoid them, to help you get out of debt faster.

Debt can feel overwhelming, but certain payoff strategies, like the debt snowball method, can help you gain control of your finances. However, these tactics are payoff blueprints to follow—not bulletproof techniques.  

If you don’t have the self-discipline to control your spending or if you forget to pay the rest of your bills, the debt snowball strategy won’t work for you. And before long, you may be searching for tips on debt settlement or how to consolidate debt with bad credit

 To avoid payoff plan failure, here are 4 common mistakes you should try to avoid. But first, what exactly is the debt snowball method?

Friday, July 23, 2021

Easy Gluten Free Vegan Ginger Snaps Recipe - Frugal and Delicious

When I want to make a dessert I often think about cookies since they are easy to eat and relatively non messy in general, but I usually am stumped as to what kind to make. The last time I wanted to make cookies I had the idea to make ginger snaps as they can be made using ingredients you usually already have in the house. I looked at a previous recipe for ginger snaps that I posted but then decided to update the recipe and this is what I got. 

Since these have ginger in them, and not just a small amount, I was hoping that they would be mostly for me, maybe shared with my older and less picky kids, but all my kids devoured these and told me I definitely need to make them again. So now I'm sharing them with you so your family can also enjoy them as my family did.

Easy Gluten Free Vegan Ginger Snaps Recipe - Frugal and Delicious

6 Ideas To Create A Child’s Birthday Gift

When it's your kid's birthday, you can go to the store and buy them a nice gift, or you can make a gift personalized just for them, and often they are cheaper as well, but they can be very beloved gifts. Here are some ideas from a reader on DIY birthday gifts for children.

Birthdays are one of the most anticipated celebrations by children, next to Christmas. Especially if your kids know that their birthday is coming up, they get all excited about the cake that they’ll have, the colors of balloons that they get to play with, and the gifts or new toys that they’d love to unwrap. That’s why it’s a big deal for parents to plan a big birthday party for their children every year. Sometimes, some parents get too wrapped up in planning fancy birthday parties for their child that they almost overlooked their child’s gift. So, how about your child’s gift? Have you thought about it thoroughly?

If you’re thinking of giving your child new clothes, they may not like receiving them at all. After all, kids their age don’t care much about their clothes or their fashion. Their mind is still centered on playing games, collecting toys, or eating sweet treats. Thus, it’s best to focus your gift on something that’s still within their age’s interest.

To help you out, read on below for more ideas for kids gifts that they’ll definitely love:

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Broccoli, Bok Choy, and Mushroom Stir Fry with Beef Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

My kids are at their dad's for the weekend, so I decided to take advantage of that and make something nice for myself that my picky eaters wouldn't eat. I love bok choy and mushrooms and stir fry and broccoli and meat and my kids would turn up their nose at that. So I went to the store and got the necessary ingredients and cooked it up just as my kids were heading out the door. 

Of course as soon as my sons saw what I was cooking they salivated and said "Mommy, you better make this exact recipe when we're at home." Right. Because my daughters would never touch this (except possibly the broccoli), but it doesn't have any ingredients that my picky son won't eat. I agreed to make this again when they're at home, but then my son said "Mommy, please make sure there are some leftovers, it looks amazing."

This recipe is pretty simple to make (ok, relatively speaking compared to other stir fries) and is gluten free and in general is pretty allergen friendly other than soy and sesame.

I like my veggies crisp in my stir fry so I make sure not to cook them too much but if you like them softer just increase the cooking time.

Broccoli Bok Choy and Mushroom Stir Fry with Beef Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

Friday, July 16, 2021

Starting a new business? Things to consider

Sometimes, no matter how frugal you are, there just isn't enough money coming in for your family. What you do then is try to increase your income. For some people it entails getting a job but for others it involves working for themselves, starting their own business. Here are some things to consider when starting up with something new of your own.

Starting a new business can be a daunting process. There are so many different considerations that you need to make. From the name and objective of your business to the structure and pay of your employees. You should think about the customers you would like to sell to and how you can scale your business. All of these things can side-track you from where you want to be. This article will hopefully help you streamline the process of your business and help propel your business forward into the future.

Friday, July 9, 2021

No, Seriously, You Do Not Get It

Hi there readers. Recently a few things happened to me that made me want to write something about it on Facebook, but then I thought this would probably be a better place to write it, so I could reach more people because I think it is a topic that is important to talk about.

People really don't get it. They think they do, but they don't. People have no idea what it means to be a divorced woman, a divorced mom, etc.

I was assigned a psychologist through a certain means that I cannot elaborate on, and the first time we met she turned me off so much that I never really wanted to have anything to do with her again. As I was talking about things in my life, being a divorced mom, she tried to tell me that she understood what I was going through because she was a widow. As our conversation progressed she kept on reitterating to me that she understood my challenges since she has been through similar as she is a widow.

How to Accept That Your Child is in the Autism Spectrum

When I found out my second son was autistic, I was in shock. Well, I was in denial before that, because I didn't want to see it. Once I realized that yes, it was autism, it definitely took me time to accept it and come to terms with it, but fortunately, I had some wonderful moms of autistic kids who took me under their wings and helped me out, and now I see how amazing my two autistic kiddos are and I wouldn't change them for the world. This following piece is a collaboration between myself and one of my readers, and hopefully it'll help you if you recently found out about your child's diagnosis of autism. 

Realizing that your child is on the autism spectrum can be painful. There are so many dreams that you had about your "perfect little family" and then reality is different and you realize that things will look different than what you'd hoped for. Sometimes people blame themselves, even though autism isn't anyone's fault. There’s no point in assigning blame. Your child needs you. Focus on how you can guide your child while facing developmental problems. Here are some tips to help you accept the situation.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

From Climbing Trees To Hunting Culture: Free Family Activities That Are Plenty Of Fun

It's important to spend time together with family, but sometimes the fun activities you would like to do together are rather pricey. Here are some great free and fun family activities that have another perk- they're all in the great outdoors. 

Children today spend less time outdoors than previous generations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that children aged 8-18 are in front of a screen for an average of 7.5 hours for recreation and entertainment. The benefits of playing outside far outweigh the perceived risks that parents fear. Outdoor play supports and develops the physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing of children, and is an economical form of recreation. Here are some free or low-cost activities that the whole family can enjoy outdoors.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

A Guide to Making Luxury Meals From Home

Simple food can be delicious, but sometimes you want a fancy, luxurious meal. For some people going to a restaurant is the answer for this, but sometimes (depending on your reasoning for wanting such a meal) making these meals at home is also an option, and the same amount of money can go much further. This actually is one of the reasons I like foraging, because I get some specialty "expensive" ingredients for free for my fancy dishes. Here are some tips that a reader sent on how you, too, can create fancy dinners at home.

With restaurants being closed for such a long time during the pandemic, many of us have had to resort to home cooking for special occasions. And even with things beginning to re-open, there is undeniably a certain satisfaction with creating a quality meal yourself. If you’re not an experienced chef, though, you might be wondering what you can do to truly boost your cooking up a notch. Believe it or not, there are in fact plenty of things you can do to make your dishes stand out when they need to, without needing to be a professional chef. Here are a few useful tips for when your cooking really needs to shine.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Unfortunately Needing to Cancel My Trip

I am bummed out. :(

My trip to Venice which I was really excited about, unfortunately no longer will be happening. 

Since I went to Vienna last March right before Covid got out of control I haven't left the country. (In fact, I came home a day early because all the flights I could find on my original departure date were canceled and the only ones home were one day earlier than I had planned on leaving.) I really love my trips abroad without my kids- the exploration of a new place, change of environment, and a break from my kids does a lot for my mental health, and it recharges me in a way nothing else does.

I was waiting until things finally calmed down enough that travel restrictions were lifted so I could go to another country without having to quarantine there (because what is the purpose of traveling to another country to be stuck in a hotel/airbnb) and finally when I saw that restrictions in Italy had eased, and I was able to find tickets super cheaply, I jumped on it, even though I'd need to take PCR tests before I left and upon returning. Big deal, anything to be able to travel. Knowing that with Corona things still could get dicey I paid extra for flexible tickets just in case.

Monday, June 28, 2021

6 Ways to Save Money on Gas for Your Car 

Gas is expensive. Even if your car is cheap and you have cheap insurance and you do all your repairs yourself, you still need to pay for gas and there's a limit to how much you can price compare for gas. So how do you keep down your costs? See some ideas shared by a reader.

Maintaining and running a vehicle is one of life’s biggest expenses. In fact, it can feel as if filling up your car is constantly draining your bank account. While some people choose to purchase a new vehicle with better fuel economy to fix this, it isn’t possible for everyone. Luckily, there are still a few things you can do to save some extra cash.

Want to learn more? Let’s get started.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

6 Strategies to Win More Without Wasting Too Much Money

 Gambling is a controversial topic, I know. But I maintain that as long as you don't have an addition, and view expenses on gambling the same as any other recreation/blow money and you budget it into your budget, it can fit into a frugal person's lifestyle. But if you are spending money, here are some ways from a reader as to how to make that money go further and maybe even make some money?

Slots have changed a lot in recent years. If you haven't been to a retail casino or visited an online casino website recently, you will be surprised to see just how sophisticated slots have gotten.

Of course, one thing about slots hasn't changed. It's still a challenge to win money when playing slots. Why? The house always has the advantage. In terms of online and live casino slots, the house's advantage could be upwards of 5%. With that kind of advantage, you, as a player, need to use certain strategies to increase your chances of winning.

Here are six strategies worthy of your consideration.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Should You Have Your Child Skip Grades?

In general I think having kids skip grades is a terrible idea. I'd wanted to write this post for a while, at least the past year, if not longer, and I had intended to call it my anti skipping manifesto. However, over time I've mellowed out a bit and do think there is a time and place for skipping, even if it is not ideal.

Why am I so against skipping grades, one might ask? To be honest, mostly from personal experience.

I skipped grades. And not just one, but 2 or 3 depending on what you consider skipping. And after what I went through, I think having kids skip grades is very problematic.

Lets first talk about why people have their kids skip grades.

How to Give Your Child A Good Healthy Diet on a Budget

Healthy diet? Isn't that really expensive? That is what people generally think. But there are ways to cook on a budget that are still nutritious and healthy and will give your children a nice healthy start in life. Here are some ways to do that, shared by a reader.

Nothing is more precious to a person than good health. As parents, we are responsible for the health and well-being of our children as we want them to grow up to be healthy, well-balanced individuals. Giving your child the best start in life doesn't mean that you have to throw lots of expensive foods and activities at them. There are ways you can give your child food health on a budget, and here are some of them.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Money Management Tips for Parents

Budgeting is hard. Finances are hard. So many finance blogs and tips out there do not take into account many of the needs that parents have when it comes to finances. Here are some tips from a reader with money management tips specifically for you, the parents.

Whether you are a new parent, or you have had children for a while, money is probably a concern for you. Maybe you are worried about saving money for your child's college education, or perhaps you have simply felt financially stressed since your kids were born. Perhaps you want to send your child to space camp or get them gymnastics lessons. Maybe you'd just like a bigger nest egg to help protect your family. The tips below can help you better organize your finances and manage your money better as a family.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Why The Internet is Such a Useful Money Saving Tool

One of the most well known names in the past for teaching about how to save money was Amy Dacyzyn because of her Tightwad's Gazette with her subscription monthly newsletter for ways to save money. Back in those days if you wanted to learn a way to save money, it was through tips from a friend, reading books, or sharing ideas with larger audiences via newsletters such as those. 

These days, we have it so much easier. There are so many other ways to learn how to save money, and most of those rely on the internet. Here's why the internet is such a great resource that we are lucky to have to help us save money.

Saving Money Via the Internet

Let's start with the simple things. Hey, you're here, which means you know about the myriad websites such as this one where authors like myself share their tips to their readership and I can impart to you my exhaustive knowledge about how to save money. Ok that was a joke, a kidding pat on the back, but really, I also use other websites to learn other ways to save money. 
Around the house and my day to day life I generally know how to do things, but for example when traveling, like for my next month's trip to Venice, I just search the internet for frugal things to do in Venice and I get many different sites with many different ideas on how to save money there and am able to compile my own list which I then will share with you when I return. In the past, you could only ask individual friends who had been there for their knowledge or hope that someone wrote a guidebook, but now the wealth of knowledge about the world, including many ways to do things cheaply, is at your fingertips, many via blogs like this one.

Dog Proof Your Home By Following This Guide

As someone who loves her dog but last week her dog stole a whole expensive steak out of the pan before dinner and who found a half eaten loaf of bread under her blanket, I can assure you that dogs are adorable but really big trouble makers. They're animals, howe4ver, and you can't hold these things against them. You need, however, to dog proof your home to prevent these things from happening.

Dogs such as teacup Frenchies are known to be playful and curious animals. So it comes as no surprise that over 63 million American households have a dog. Unfortunately, the average home has numerous hazards for curious dogs. So when it comes to bringing a new puppy or dog into your home, ensure that you practice your due diligence when it comes to securing your bathroom, kitchen, garage, and your yard.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Helpful Depression Analogy And What Can Help Ease The Pain

I have discussions a lot with people regarding mental health, depression, etc... I also am a big proponent about talking about how medication has been helpful for me and made a huge difference in my life.

One of the concerns I hear from people about medication is that it will change someone's personality and make them not them anymore. That their depression is just who they are, and you can't change someone's essence. And if you do manage to take away their depression you will take away all their feelings and they won't be a "real person" anymore.

The other day I was having a discussion with a person who had this concern, and I came up with an analogy that I think works really well to explain how depression works, how medication works, and other things related to depression.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

How To Get Kids Interested In Sports

Some of my favorite childhood memories were playing sports. I was on softball leagues for at least 4 or 5 summers growing up and they provided me with such joy. In today's age, though, sometimes it is hard to get kids to want to be involved in sports, because they would rather just play on a phone or computer. But sports are important for so many reasons. If you want to get your children interested in sports, here are some helpful suggestions from a reader.

Sports can be a fantastic hobby for children. Playing sports is, of course, good for their health, but it can also teach them important skills like discipline, good sportsmanship, and teamwork. If you’re also interested in sports, playing or watching sports can also be a good way to bond and spend time together as a family. How can you get your kids to be interested in sports?

Kidiosity- A Fun and Helpful Tool for Parenting

I've been a mother for 13.5 years and I've often thought that parenting should come with a manual. Even though I feel pretty well educated and informed on how to be a good parent, sometimes things come up that really throw me in for a loop and I am floundering and wish I had some type of guide.

In addition to that, with our busy lives and all our stresses, it is important, still, that we make time for our children, to show them that we love them and care about them, that they matter to us, and that they are important parts of our lives. Some parents are chock full of ideas as to how to spend this time with their children, and others are too stressed out to come up with good ideas to do with their kids, and this is where Kidiosity comes in. 

Kidiosity, both a website and an iOS app, was developed by its creators as a way to solve a common problem in today's world- the disconnect between parents and children. Its goal is to help strengthen families and better prepare children for success in life. It does this via three different methods:

Practical Tips To Start An E-Commerce Business On A Budget

There are only so many ways you can stretch a penny before you simply cannot anymore, and sometimes the solution instead of being more and more frugal is to increase your income. One of the most common issues is people need to work from home and an e-commerce business is a good way to earn money and often from home. Let me just clarify, I'm talking about actual e-commerce with you being your own boss and not, absolutely not, a multilevel marketing scheme which will just be flushing money down the toilet and will not help you financially. Here are some tips from a reader as to how you can start an e-commerce business without breaking the bank before you end up making a return on your investment.

Starting an e-commerce business is one of the most budget-friendly startup ideas out there. Even so, if you're hoping to get an e-commerce business off the ground on a tight budget, there are several practical ways that you can stretch your budget while you're getting started. To help you start raking in profits without much capital, we have listed these practical money-savvy tips.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Minty Baby Peas Recipe- Easy, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, and Vegan

I had this recipe in my to post list for almost two months, but forgot about posting it until I purchased more baby peas and was going to make it for dinner tonight. Baby peas are much tastier, in my opinion, than regular peas. They are sweet and tender, and if prepared right, completely not mealy.

When I was a kid I hated peas. Like really really hated them. But there was one way my mom would make them that I enjoyed, and I shared that recipe here (back when I was 9 months pregnant with Anneliese!). Then I grew up and my taste buds matured and now I like peas all ways, and will even eat canned peas as a snack. But baby peas are still my favorite type of peas, and in my opinion, are things even pea haters may like. They don't need so much flavor and definitely should not be cooked a lot, or they will get mealy. This recipe uses only a light amount of seasoning to highlight the baby peas' delicious flavors. I hope you enjoy it.

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, allergy friendly, and vegan, and it is a delightful side dish.

Minty Baby Peas Recipe- Easy, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, and Vegan

How to Find The Most Practical and Professional Cooking Tips Online

Growing up, when we wanted a recipe, we looked in cookbooks. Of course, some cookbooks were purchased as is, others were a collection of recipes written on index cards that we collected, and yet others were cut out from magazines and newspapers. However, these days we have so many more options and ways to learn cooking, because of the internet. Here are some ideas sent in by a reader about how you can learn to be a better cook using tech.

If you have a passion for cooking and love to whip up delicious food from time to time, you must always look for opportunities to update your skills. Even as a home cook, you may take the art of cooking quite seriously and strive for perfection. There is a certain level of discipline and practice required in cooking that you will be able to find out with the help of websites like Prepared Cooks.

If you are looking for some vital tips that will help you sharpen your cooking skills, you can try several online avenues. Here are a few ways you can find the most professional cooking tips online:

Money Problems You Might Be Facing And How You Can Fix Them

Wouldnt it be nice if no one in the world had money problems? Unfortunately that isn't the case and there are far too many people who are struggling financially and have different types of money problems. Here are some common money problems and some suggestions on how you can fix them, sent in by a reader.

Everyone is going to experience money problems at some point in their life. This is not something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of because we will all be in this boat at some point. The more important thing is how you face the problem, how you come up with the solution, and how you manage the situation as a whole. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the money problems that you might be facing, and looking at some of the things that you can do to fix them. Keep reading down below to find out more.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

My Upcoming Trip to Venice!

Recently, one of my kids, I forget who, asked me "If you could have any job in the world, and it didn't matter what degrees you had, and you didn't have to worry about money or any technical things, what job would you want?" It didn't take long for me to answer "Travel Blogger". And then I added that luckily, I almost do that. I blog about living frugally, but now I also write about my frugal travels when I manage to go on such trips.

Of course, it doesn't help that Covid got in my way, and also made me worried that I would never be able to travel internationally again on a budget, because I worried that all the frugal airlines would go out of business and I'd be priced out of international travel. But fortunately, my fears were unfounded.

I went into the year of the Covid lockdowns having just come back from my trip to Austria, mostly based in Vienna, but also taking a one day trip to a place on my bucket list- the Alps. (I definitely plan on going back to the Alps and for longer, but that was a delightful day trip.) To be honest, it made it much easier for me to tolerate the year of more or less being stuck at home after having been abroad for a week and a half just prior to that.

But more than a year after that, the travel bug has returned. And fortunately, with it, ease of travel restrictions to other countries.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Tracking your kids with a smartwatch - the future is here!

In some ways I am anti tech. Ok, not really, I just hate learning new tech. But I love the concept of smartphones. I love how it gives my kids independence, and my favorite feature of those is the GPS aspect, because I don't have to worry about where my kids are and them getting lost. GPS trackers for kids are wonderful inventions. Here is some more info from a reader on the topic.

When you don't know where your kid is, it's difficult not to be concerned. We'll show you how to locate them and save your sanity with the help of a GPS smartwatch for kids.

It just takes a few seconds for certain children to become distracted. If your kid vanishes from view, they'll normally reappear in a blink of an eye. Yet you can't help but be concerned.

Then, when they're old enough to walk home from school on their own but they're not really aware of the time, there's no reason to fret if they're a little late. After all, friends can be consuming. Strangers, on the other hand, can be too.

When you don't know where your kid is, it's difficult not to be concerned. However, there is now a remedy to this issue: smartwatches. What kinds of child trackers are there?

Dealing with Bad Behavior in Young Children

Intervention for children with bad behavior at an early age is very beneficial for both the child and the family. The early years are when children are exposed to much of what they learn, and it is at this time that they pick up a lot of the key social and emotional skills that will shape their future behavior.

Research has shown that intervention at an early age often increases the chance of correcting whatever bad behavior a child might be exhibiting, and preventing further issues later in life.

The first thing to look out for before taking intervention steps are red flags.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Thinking About Purchasing Glasses and How to Do It Money Smart

Glasses have been on my mind lately.

First of all, my son Ike recently started taking fencing classes and while he loves them, he was finding it hard to wear glasses when he was wearing the mask, so he asked for contacts. I wasn't sure it was the best idea, because he is only 11- his brother got contacts at 13 and 11 just seemed young to me for that responsibility. In the end, I decided to go ahead. 

When Ike got checked before getting contacts, I found out that his prescription changed yet again. Since I was in a rush when I was getting him those, I ended up holding off on getting him a pair of glasses and just got him contacts, planning on going back to get him glasses to wear when he isn't wearing contacts. But once I started thinking about it, I realized I already had the prescription, no need to buy locally- I can get from a cheap online glasses place.  I'm thinking of getting him from Smart Buy Glasses that have cheap glasses for as low as $7 with a free prescription. (Turns out I wasn't so wrong about responsibility with contacts and ages- he lost 2 contacts, one from each eye, within the first few days he had contacts. Fortunately, since then he hasn't lost any.) And I am thinking that in the future I want to price compare contacts locally with online- I get online would be significantly cheaper.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Preparing For My Sister's Upcoming Wedding

My little sister Lizzy is getting married next week. I... Uhm. Am really bad with dates. Like really, really bad. And I also have a bad memory. Combine the two and I either don't remember things, or I remember them incorrectly.

Lizzy is getting married on June 7, but we live in a country that writes dates with the date first and then the month. And I got a save the date from her months ago for 7.6.21 and though we discussed at the time that the wedding was in June, my brain remembered the number 7 and for months I thought the wedding was in July. And then 1.5 weeks ago (when I got the actual invitation, yea, we do things late around here) I was reminded that the wedding was in June, not July. Eek. Which meant that I didn't have much time to prepare for the wedding, and to be honest, I hadn't really set aside money in my May budget for wedding attire.

But what can I do? The wedding will be happening regardless of whether I had budgeted the money in May, so I decided to steal from my June budget for things for the wedding. But the other issue in not realizing that the wedding was so soon was that I didn't have time to order wedding attire from cheaper places abroad like I did for my brother Josh's wedding, because even with rush shipping there was no time for anything to arrive before the wedding. 

So I had 2.5 weeks to go wedding shopping for the whole family. And trying to do it on a budget, without negatively affecting my mental health? Oh yea, that's fun. And the girls' dresses needed to be white.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Parents, Here’s 4 Tips for Creating a Winning Offer This Summer

Finding a home for your family that suits your needs, is in your budget, and is in an area that you want can be pretty difficult. Now imagine finding a home like that and you wanted to purchase it, but someone else beat you to it. These are some tips from a reader on how to ensure that your offer is one that the sellers cannot turn down.

Summertime is probably the best time to buy a house if you’re a parent because school is out of session and transferring the kids to a new school is going to be much easier than if they were to try to do it while school’s in session. But, the problem with trying to buy a house in the summer is that you aren’t going to be the only one.

According to the 2021 first quarter survey released by Homelight, 53.5% of agents say this summer is going to have more active buyers than in previous years. When you combine this prediction with the very real fact that 97% of real estate agents are saying it’s a very competitive seller’s market, getting a seller to accept your offer is going to be a little harder. The National Association of Realtors reports that properties that were on the market in February received four offers on average!

The name of the game is submitting an offer the seller can’t refuse and we have four tips that’ll put your offer at the top of the pile.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

What Can You Use a Personal Loan For?

I abhor debt. Any debt that isn't a mortgage is debt that I abhor. However, sometimes there is no choice but to take a loan, sometimes there are expenses that you can't have expected or trying financial situations, however before you do take a loan, think long and hard about whether you need that loan or not. Here are some reasons why people think about taking a loan.

Even the most cash-savvy person can run into an unexpected expense that derails their financial plans. When no amount of saving or cutting costs can solve your problem, sometimes it makes sense to go for a temporary solution—a personal loan that will give you a cash infusion. Personal loans have pros and cons like all financial options, but it's important to understand all it entails before committing. Be sure to do your research because some personal loan options are better than others and will fit your needs better.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

How To Help Children Manage Difficult Emotions

I was having a discussion with a mom who was concerned about her kids' ability to emotionally regulate. Her kids would cry a lot over what she felt were 'stupid' and 'little' things (her words) and she felt that her kids blew things out of proportion. She was concerned that because her kids were always crying over 'trivial' things they'd never learn to manage their emotions. She endeavored to teach them the skill of managing their emotions by imparting what she felt were important skills. She told them that tears are precious and shouldn't be wasted on small things. When she saw that her kids are crying about things she felt were unimportant she decided to teach them a mantra to repeat to themselves whenever they were upset-to tell themselves 'I won't be upset about stupid things, I won't be upset about stupid things' over and over and over again until the message sank in.

Needless to say this wasn't working, and the kids didn't learn to manage their emotions with that "flawless" parenting advice. All they learned to do was to hide their painful emotions from their mother and feel guilty about their feeling sad.

I feel terrible for these kids because kids need to grow up in an emotionally validating environment. When people, especially children, get told that their strong emotions aren't welcome, it doesn't help their emotions become regulated or managed, it actually leads to them having many emotional issues as an adult, especially emotional regulation issues.

I tried explaining to this mother that dismissing a kid's strong emotions will only backfire and that there are healthier ways to teach a kid to emotionally regulate that actually work but this mom held steadfast and refused to hear reason.

So I decided to write a blog post about this instead, to help readers learn how to help their children self-regulate and manage their emotions.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

4 Tips for Cost-Effective Banking

I used to have a really frustrating bank. I got nickled and dimed for everything. Every time I'd use my money I'd get charged. Every time I'd deposit money I'd get charged. Every time I used my card I got charged. It was so annoying- I was literally paying to use my own money! Fortunately, I found another bank that was better, and found some other ways to make my banking more cost effective. Here are some tips on how to do that from a reader.

Banking can cause massive headaches for anyone. Simply navigating the different banks, their corporate jargon, and the different accounts offered is a difficult task at times. And this is without even considering the fees! When taking into account overdraft protection fees, ATM withdrawal charges, and other additional costs, unscrupulous banks can severely eat into your savings, if you’re not careful. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding a large chunk of your cash has been taken up by costly and avoidable charges from your bank. It’s consequently important, especially if you are currently low on savings, to practice responsible banking habits. Here are just a few ways you can make your banking more cost-efficient.

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