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.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

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.