Friday, December 2, 2022

12 Scenarios Where You Might Need Your Emergency Fund

I was discussing budgeting with my son today, and he asked about my emergency fund and what types of things I use it for. I reminded him about the car accident I got into this summer (completely totaled the rental car) and unfortunately needed to pay the large deductible. Emergency funds are so important and everyone should have them. Here are some situations where you might find yourself needing your emergency fund.

An emergency fund is an important tool in managing your finances. It's a dedicated account that you can draw on if an unexpected expense arises, such as a medical bill or car repair. But there are some instances where it might be okay to use your emergency fund—though they should be used judiciously. In this article, we'll explore 12 scenarios where it can make sense to tap into your emergency fund. By understanding when and why it's okay to use your emergency fund, you will be better prepared to handle financial emergencies without putting yourself at risk.

12 Scenarios Where You May Need Your Emergency Fund

Have no qualms about asking for what is rightfully yours!

Sometimes we're owed money but don't know it, or don't know how to go about getting it. Other times we feel guilty about getting the money we deserve. Here are some of those times. You don't need to feel guilty.

To put it another way, just because you're young doesn't mean you can afford to ignore your health and avoid doing what you need to do to keep it in top shape. The standard of living you maintain is just as crucial as your physical wellbeing. You could think that no one will take you seriously as a claimant because of your age. However, if you need to hold the liable party accountable for your loved one's death, it must be taken seriously.


The first thing you should do to protect yourself financially in the event of an accident or illness is to get health insurance. Although it's an added cost you'd rather avoid, medical insurance will come in handy if you ever end up in the hospital. Can you fathom being hit with unmanageable medical bills? If you carry insurance, you won't have to worry about paying for any damages out of pocket. Don't forget that staying in good physical shape can help you avoid the need to file any claims at all!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

A Chore System that Actually is Working -- My Spin on Chore Sticks with Popsicle Sticks with Points

Before I get to this post, I need to say that if you've heard of "Chore Sticks" before, from what I've seen my method is quite different than the other ones I've seen online, so don't assume that you've seen it already; read on.

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The Messy House Problem

My house has a mess problem. By nature, my ADHD makes it really hard for me to focus on cleaning my house- I'm very scatterbrained, which actually has benefits for me in some ways, but definitely poses large challenges in other ways. People keep try telling me to just "clean as I go" but that feels impossible to me. I've tried multiple times to attempt that but my brain doesn't really allow me to do that.

Add in health issues and other stressors. While I was the stay at home parent throughout my marriage, I dealt with 9 months of nausea and puking (yay hyperemesis) and then once my kids were born I dealt with very challenging high needs babies and toddlers who didn't necessarily get much easier as they got older. This definitely caused tension in my marriage, as my then husband felt that since I was the one home all day long, I should be the one cleaning and organizing the place, but as hard as I tried I simply wasn't able to do as good of a job of it as he wanted, so he ended up pitching in a lot with the cleaning and organizing.

As a single mom now, it is all on me to get the house clean and keep it that way, or get my kids to help. Over the years I tried many different ways to get my kids to help around the house, but they all had their down sides, and all of them petered out because... guess what? ADHD makes consistency hard for me too!

Now it has been more challenging than ever to keep my place clean, since it I've been dealing with significant mental health issues and my body simply doesn't cooperate. Not only does doing most housework cause me immense pain, when my anxiety is bad (and it has been pretty bad lately) sometimes even doing basic life tasks is too much, let alone keeping my house up to snuff.

But while I don't have my ex at home grumping at me about the messy house, I have my sons, who are old enough to appreciate and desire a clean house, and are frustrated enough about the state of the house. I mean, don't get me wrong, I also don't like a messy house, and when it gets messy enough my anxiety gets so bad and it makes it even harder for me to function. But that appreciation for clean doesn't make it any easier for me to be neat.

I want to clarify that my sons do help around the house. They, since I separated from my ex over 4 years ago, have been the ones to take out the garbage. (I've taken out the garbage very, very few times since then.) They pitch in to clean up with various things, as do my girls, but they get frustrated because they feel like their sisters aren't helping as much as they are, and therefore the boys have to pick up the slack. (In the case of my kids, my boys are the older ones, 13 and 15, and girls 11 and 8.5, so its not about the genders, but the ages.) My daughters also have a hard time with neatness and cleanliness (yay ADHD and autism) and in general, it's just a situation where lots of people are frustrated. 

Things needed to change.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Common Mistakes People Make Early On In Any Relationship

Are you trying to find a new partner, possibly post divorce? Here are some things to keep in mind, common mistakes that people sometimes make when starting out in a relationship. Avoid these and hopefully your relationship will be successful.

Relationships are difficult things to navigate aren’t they? Particularly if you’re carrying that little bit more baggage, have children in tow or just coming out of a messy divorce. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find love.

In fact, far from it. The person you want to spend the rest of your life with could be just around the corner. However, there are certain things you may wish to avoid early on in a relationship.

There are so many common mistakes made in the early stages of a relationship, and here are some of the biggest you want to be avoiding if you’re just entering the dating scene…

How To Start A Successful Law Firm

One of my kids really wants to become a lawyer. When you're a lawyer you can work for others, or you can start your own firm. Here are some tips on how to start a successful law firm, but honestly, these same tips apply to almost any business that you start.

Starting your own successful law firm doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might initially imagine, as this guide contains some of the most important steps that you need to take in order to turn your dreams into a reality today. So, what are you waiting for? Read on if you want to discover more about how you can go about building your own brilliant law business in no time at all!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Attempting to Keep Kids Safe From Harm on Social Media

Raising kids in the era of social media is really, really difficult. We're in uncharted times, when children are growing up with smartphones and tablets accessible from the time they are babies, with technology all around them, and the rules that worked when we were younger no longer work for our children. As parents we want more than anything to keep our kids safe, but with social media arises so many issues, from physical safety to emotional safety, as well as keeping kids safe from inappropriate content, including those with values contrary to the ones you promote in your home.

Safety Then Vs Now

When I was a teenager we were told very strictly not to meet people online, since people could be pretending to be anyone and you couldn't trust that the person you are meeting online is who they said they were. We were told stories (possibly made up) about people who showed up to meet strangers they met online only for them to turn out to be completely different than how they made themselves out to be online only to be kidnapped or murdered. So when I was online, meeting people on forums, I pretended to live in a different country than that in which I lived, and didn't give away personal information unless I was talking to a friend of a friend or someone else whose identity I could verify.

Webcams and video chats changed things because then you could see who you were talking to, and then the advent of Facebook changed things a lot more, because you got to see people's real names and their friends and find out who you know in common, so you can verify people's identities, so there's less of an issue of there being threats of strangers lying about who they are in order to cause us harm.

Today the issues with social media are even more complex to handle, in my opinion. And it really is hard to figure out what to do with it vis-a-vis your kids.

Using Shopkick -- An Easy Way to Earn Money While Shopping

Money is tight for most of us. And while we can try many ways to save money, we also need to make money. But making money takes time, and many of us are swamped whether with our children, our jobs, or our lives in general, and don't have the time to spend to make money. 

Enter Shopkick, an app that give you rewards, known as kicks, for what you already are doing anyhow, or other very easy things. These kicks then translate into dollars used for gift cards at a variety of different stores and companies. Basically that means... free money, without needing to expend valuable time and energy. You might even have fun while doing so!

So, how exactly does this work?

First, you earn kicks doing some very, very easy things.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

How Coupons Help To Fight Inflation

Ugh. Inflation. I read recently that if federal minimum wage kept up with inflation, it would be a little less than twice as much per hour as it is now. Inflation is currently quite high, in large part due to the pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine, among many other things, and the people who feel this impact the most are those in low income households, who are finding it harder than ever to make ends meet. In times like this, we frugal people need to do what we can to lower our costs somehow, and using coupons is a good way to do that. Here is how coupons can help you fight inflation.

It is no secret that the cost of living has been on the rise for years. Inflation has caused prices for necessities to skyrocket, and it seems like no end is in sight. One way that people have been fighting back against inflation is by using coupons. Coupons allow consumers to get a discount on the products they need, which helps to offset some of the increased cost of living. In this blog post, we will discuss how coupons help fight inflation and how you can use them to save money!

4 Ways To Teach Your Child Kindness And Gratitude

As parents it is our job to impart our values to our children. Teaching them to be kind and gracious people is a very important thing to do. But to do that, we can't just talk, we have to model it in action. Here are some ways we can teach these to our kids.

Children are slowly growing up and adjusting to the world they live in, and they’re also gradually exposed to more people. Humans are social species, meaning we have to interact with one another as an intrinsic need. These interactions form relationships and connections with people that we may treasure during our lives.

Learning how to be kind and gratuitous is one way to maintain these social relationships. Kindness, in technical terms, is defined as choosing to do something good for other people, motivated by a person's genuine and pure intentions. This choice can be as simple as doing a little favor for a friend or something significant such as contributing to a cause or a donation pickup in Long Beach. Either way, the goal should be leading to the greater good with the best intentions at hand.

Gratitude is the quality of showing appreciation, mainly when the person receives an act of kindness. Social interactions are give-and-take processes; being thankful and appreciative after receiving service from others lets the other person know that their efforts are recognized and warmly accepted.

These two qualities comprise a person's most fundamental social etiquette — being human. To be human is to connect with other people, and these connections are established and kept once a person learns how to communicate their needs and appreciate when they’re met, while also providing for others.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Juli's Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, and Frugal

I love ways to repurpose leftovers. Chicken frames are often leftover after people make a whole chicken and they are a great base for soups. With Thanksgiving just passed, people still have leftover turkey, many have turkey frames, and I'm sure those would also be amazing for this soup recipe from my friend Juli. (And since she has shared so many recipes here already, I decided to make her her own tag for posts so you can find them easily.) I hope you like this. Can't wait to try it myself!

Hey again! It’s me and I am sharing one recipe we have made a few times in the last few months and really enjoy. I’ve been on a kick where I get a whole, already-roasted, chicken from a local grocery for $5. They are fairly large which means that I can use the chicken for dinner and then the frame for a second dinner. That means I am feeding 6 people twice and only spending $5 on the protein. I dunno about you, but we are pinching as many pennies as we can and we have found this is one way to do that easily.

I’ve tried to get creative with how I use and then reuse, the chicken. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to share a few more of those ideas with you but for today I want to talk about this recipe. This is one is based fairly loosely on a Greek chicken recipe we love. It has the lemon and pepper, and the artichoke that I really enjoy in that dish but in a soup instead of baked in the oven. To start with, caramelizing the lemon juice and reducing it adds such a great flavor to the soup without overdoing it on the acidity and throwing the balance off. It’s got a tang, but it’s not sour. So you have the flavor from that, and then since I so like some sour in my soup I add a little more back at the end for some zip.

Feel free to change it up however you like. I like to roast veggies but you can skip that step and boil them with the rice. I like the char the oven gives them but it’s not required. Then you can leave out the rice and replace it with a small pasta. Or leave them both out for a lower-carb option. And then the veggies are infinitely customizable. You can add more or leave them out to suit your tastes and still enjoy the flavors.

Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe

Friday, November 25, 2022

7 Important Estate Planning Documents To Put Your Affairs In Order

No one likes to think about their death, especially if they're younger, such as in your thirties like I am. I mean, how likely is one going to die in their thirties? But unfortunately that isn't a guarantee. The way the world is now, people often die at a young age, whether from mass shootings, terror attacks, or car accidents. Even sometimes people drop dead from previously unknown health issues- a friend of ours just a few years older than I am suddenly dropped dead mid conversation a few months back. These things are scary to think about and we might want to avoid thoughts of our mortality, but when you have children, it is especially important to make plans for your death. And hey, in some cultures, preparing for your death is a good charm for a long life. Here are some important things to know about putting your affairs in order before you die.

Planning your estate in the event of your death might seem like a morbid activity. It is difficult, especially since it means coming to terms with your mortality. Apart from that, you would also have to deal with a lot of paperwork and attempt to understand legal jargon. That doesn’t mean you should avoid planning for your estate. Studies show that 67% of Americans don’t have an estate plan. Not having an estate plan can burden your loved ones, and you would have no say in how you would like your assets to be distributed. So, what should go into your estate plan? Here are some important documents to include, and this article will help you understand why you need them.

How To Keep The Spark Alive In Your Relationship?

When you're first starting to date someone, or when first married, things are all new and exciting. But as time goes by, and you need to also live your "real life", especially once kids get into the picture, you might find you're putting less and less time into your relationship and it may become all about the mundane things enough. Here are some ideas to keep the spark alive in a relationship that is going on for some time.

A relationship naturally goes through different phases over the years. For example, you may have encountered certain family obligations or financial problems that shifted your focus elsewhere. So the 'spark' may disappear in your relationship, especially if you are not working on it.

Do you remember the last time you had an interesting conversation with your boyfriend or husband, or you both went on a dinner date?

A little 'spark' is essential for keeping and maintaining a forever relationship. What is this 'spark'? It can be otherwise called 'chemistry' or the strong connection. You can better describe it as that feeling of butterflies in the stomach. It's the current that passes through the body when your lover touches you. Now: 

Although this feeling may dim and gradually disappear, you can get the 'spark' back too. So couples who want to know the secret recipe to keep the spark alive or bring the spark back in their relationship, this article can help.

Ways to Keep Your Relationship's Spark and Romance Alive

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Beyond Overwhelm- How to Get Out of the Overwhelmed Rut Using CBT (and Not Toxic Positivity)

When someone is struggling, often people think that the way to help them is with platitudes, and encouragement to just be happy and look at the positive, but this can be problematic, and honestly doesn't help. This is called toxic positivity, and one of my favorite speakers and authors, Susan David, talks a lot about why it is problematic and the harm it causes. If you want to learn more about toxic positivity, here is an interview with her on a podcast on the subject. (Transcription is included for those that can't listen.) 

But when you're overwhelmed, it can be debilitating and stop you from functioning. So how do you manage it? There are many different ways to approach it in a healthy manner. CBT is one of them. Here is how my friend Leia deals with feeling overwhelmed, based on a CBT approach. Hopefully, you'll find it helpful, because, come on, who doesn't feel overwhelmed and like everything is too much, at least sometimes?

Every time my aunt (*family member changed to protect their privacy) hears me say “Im so overwhelmed” she calls me out on it. “You aren’t overwhelmed, you have a lot to do with limited resources”.

Um, nope. I actually do feel overwhelmed. And heres a tip, never tell someone how they do or don’t feel. You’re either being insensitive or patronizing and neither of those things are kind. Feelings are an automic domain. You feel whatever you feel and that feeling is your truth.

As someone who overthinks and sees potential disasters in the simplest of circumstances, overwhelm is a pretty constant companion.

She sits on my chest and clouds my focus. And everytime she takes a seat in my brain, I want to pull the chair out from under her and see how she likes it!

I don’t like her very much, this Ms. Overwhelm. And she’s shown up again. She’s loud, she’s invasive, she brings the heat and creates panic. I have so much to do, I don’t really want to deal with her on top of it all.

After years of CBT experience, I try that angle.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

6 Things To Consider When Selling A House During Divorce

As someone who owns a house and is in the last stages of the divorce process, the one in which we take care of our assets including a jointly owned house, this post on things to consider regarding the sale of a house during divorce is very apt. I hope you find it as enlightening.

If you and your spouse are contemplating a divorce, you may find yourselves wondering whether to sell your home. Especially if the value has risen in recent years, as most properties did, you could find yourself sitting on a substantial amount of equity. Those funds can help both parties start fresh, find new housing, and begin their new lives.

However, divorce proceedings can complicate everything, and this is no exception. Before you take steps to prepare to list your home for sale during a divorce, consider these six questions.

Five Family Friendly Activities to Do When Visiting Pigeon Forge

I love going on trips, whether local or abroad, and either alone or with my family. I always love learning about new great places to visit, and even if I don't visit there I at least can explore it via the internet. Whether you've heard of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, or not, here are some interesting things you can do there- maybe you'll decide to make a trip there with your family.

Regardless of age, you will never forget the time spent and moments shared with family. Even after a long time, most people can recall the details of their family holidays, what they did, and how excited they were about it.

Families often choose places to have fun together and create lasting memories. Spending quality time with family is a beautiful opportunity for your children to meet new people and strengthen relationships.

Understanding what your children like is crucial, and so is knowing what you can do to relax and have fun. As you plan a trip with your family, pick a location to experience all those feel-good moments.

No matter the age of your children, we have a vacation option that will provide you with a perfect combination of relaxation and entertainment.

Pigeon Forge - A Place to Create Fun-Filled, Lasting Memories

Friday, November 18, 2022

My Ridiculously Easy Slightly Nutritious Go-To Meal -- Gluten Free Comfort Food

It is kind of ridiculous that I'm posting this, but I'm trying to be honest about where I am in life... But I've been having a hard time in so many different areas, either in physical pain or emotional or just thoroughly exhausted, so productivity and energy levels are pretty slim.

But even so, I still need to eat, and I still need to feed my family. My family is easy enough to feed though, toast and eggs go a long way (and lets pretend they eat enough vegetables on those days, but at least they eat lots of fruit), but since I don't eat gluten or eggs I don't have that go-to.

However, I "chanced upon" this meal I have been making regularly when I went away for a week and ended up with corona... I had purchased some gluten free instant "ramen" which was actually just rice noodles with chicken soup mix, and to make it a little healthier, so it at least had protein, I added cheese. Then add green beans and voila.

Yea, that's basically this. "Chicken" noodle soup with cheese and green beans. But with rice noodles. 

Hits the spot. Nice comfort food, soothing with a sore throat or upset stomach or cold day, or just an "I can't be bothered to do more complicated cooking." It has carbs, it has protein, it has a vegetable. It has fat. Voila, well rounded meal. And other than dairy it is allergy friendly. Yes you can make this without cheese to make it more allergy friendly, but then you don't have protein. And it isn't expensive to make, unlike most super easy meals to make.

But let's make this written as an official recipe, so I can pretend I'm being a professional recipe blogger.

Ridiculously Easy Cheesy Noodle Soup -- Gluten Free Comfort Food

Thursday, November 17, 2022

How to Sell Your House on a Budget

Selling your house is a good way to make money, right? Not necessarily. Even if your home went up in value, there are a lot of costs involved in selling a home that can eat away at your profit if you aren't careful. Here are some of the things you can do to keep down those costs, to be able to get the most money after expenses from the sale of your house.

Selling your house is expensive. Although you make a lot of money at the end of the process, you’re bound to spend a few dollars (or more) along the way. It would be an impossible task to cut all costs, but there are certainly ways to save money. Just because you’re on a budget, it doesn’t mean that selling is out of the question. This article will take you through a few steps to take if you want to sell your house whilst spending as little as possible.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

3 Essential Things to Know About Walk-In Baths

Dealing with physical as well as mental disabilities I've been aware of how many things are needed to make places disability friendly. A very common issue people with disabilities face is difficulty bathing. There are many different ways to make a home more accessible for bathing, and a walk-in bath is one of them. Here are things you might not know about them.

Walk-in tubs are convenient for many people, not only those with mobility issues. They suit the needs of most people who love a quick soak in the tub. Walk-in tubs are also ideal for young children. They have built-in seats, and some are heated for additional comfort. With walk-in tubs, the user can sit while bathing and performing other personal hygiene activities. Moreover, they can relax their muscles while in the tub. One of the primary features that make walk-in tubs a good choice for many people, including young children and the elderly, is the ease of going in and out of the bath. Users do not need to climb up the side of the bathtub.

What you Don’t Know About Family Meals

My friend Yaffi is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, and to help take off some of my stress load I asked if she could write something for you. Here she elaborates on what makes a family meal a good one, why they are important, and what they should include. With my kids in two different households and coming home at all different hours, with packed schedules. family dinners can be hard to do, but at the bare minimum we have two a week, but try to have at least a couple more. 

Hi! Let’s chat about family meals. They are good. Tons of benefits. All the good stuff.

To contrast, eating Red Vines alone, while hiding in the pantry is not good. For starters, Twizzlers are so much better.

I said what I said.

But I want to focus on what you don’t know about family meals. Stick with me here. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (from laughing, obviously), and you’ll maybe possibly think that you’re doing ok already.

How do I know you’re doing ok? If you’re still with me, caring about your child’s nutrition is not the first good thing you’ve done, nor the most recent. Caring is a constant. Sometimes it’s a balloon and other times it’s a heavy suitcase. But you’re here and I’m here and we can lean on each other through the absolute scam joy that is parenting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Looking After Mental Health When Dealing With Illness

As someone dealing with chronic illness and running in circles of people also dealing with them, I know very well how much one's emotional wellbeing is affected by these health issues. However, it isn't only the one who is sick that is affected, but also their caregivers. Here are some ideas about how to take care of your emotional health when dealing with illness.

Whether it’s you who has the illness or it’s a family member or loved one who has been diagnosed, it can be a blow to the stomach. It’s something that can often take people by surprise, especially when the prognosis is uncertain.

With any illness, going through the motions emotionally can be challenging. There can be many ups and downs experienced. With this being said, here are a few ways to look after your mental health when dealing with an illness.

Take it all day by day

When it comes to an illness, the best thing to do is to take it day by day. After all, depending on the diagnosis and the outcome of the prognosis, it might be best to take each day as it comes.

It’s better to do this than to think ahead or try to plan for something that at this point, feels very uncertain still. If it’s a loved one, then try to offer that same advice. Although it can be easier said than done when a person has the illness, it’s good to take each day as it comes with as much energy as possible.

Help those who are affected

It can be hard to see those you love, go through an illness that strips away their personality. There are such illnesses that do this, with dementia being a prime example. For those who have older loved ones, dementia is often part and parcel of those at a certain age.

In order to get them the help they need, understand the illness and what might be able to help ease their pain or suffering. For example with dementia, those with the disease can get a gps dementia tracker. This can be highly effective in helping keep track of loved ones, should they become confused or lost at any point.

Make a plan to overcome any future hurdles

There are going to be challenges along with any illness no matter how good or bad the outlook might be right now. Those challenges are going to require a lot of moral support for those going through it. From chemotherapy for cancers to physical rehabilitation after an infection.

Think about how family members and friends who can help pitch in and help out when that person needs assistance.

Keep up communications

Communications are important to keep when it comes to those going through a tough time. A simple phone call or a surprise visit could be just what that person needs to get them through a particularly challenging period of their illness.

A person going through an illness needs a network of support and those who are willing to communicate throughout.

See a therapist

Where it might be a struggle to talk to people you know, see a therapist. This can be the case for the person suffering from the illness and anyone who is experiencing a loved one going through it.

Looking after mental health is important and it’s something to prioritize when one finds themselves with a life-altering illness.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

How To Plan And Execute A Successful Business Event

I have wanted to run a business event, an event to promote my book, a tasting event with recipes from the book, with the book on sale, of course, but I never got around to doing it. For those of you who are trying to figure out how to make an event to promote your business and do so successfully, here are some ideas you can consider.

Events are a great way to get your business in front of potential customers and partners. They can also be a great way to build loyalty among your current customer base. However, an event can be a wasted opportunity for your business if not planned and executed well. Therefore it is essential to put some time and effort into ensuring that your business event is successful. So here are some tips on planning and executing a successful business event.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Making A Frugal and Fun Book Nook and Sensory Area

Do you have a small space in your house that you aren't sure what to do with it? A book nook is a good idea to make, because you don't need a large space for it and it can turn into a great and comfortable resource. My friend Cheryl made one, and she was excited to share with you how she made it.

We had a space in between the steps and the wall for luggage in our apartment. It was a place that was messy and an eyesore because we don’t have a storage room. My husband decided that we should do something cute with the space and make it into a reading clubhouse.

Once he gave me the idea, I ran with it. We are kinda book people and a bit creative so this was right up our alley. I first started by doing a purge of all the things we didn’t need to keep so that I have more space to work with. I then went on Amazon and ordered a beautiful wall decal of a sprawling family tree which had space for pictures for $18.95. I went through my photo album and picked seven pictures that would be good for a communal family space, I used contact paper to cover them so that they would stay as well as blue tack to not ruin the paint.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

How to Have a Good First Date?

If you're divorced like I am, you might be thinking about getting into another relationship, but it can be a daunting thought especially if you've been out of the dating ring for a long time. The first date can be the most intimidating of all. Here are some tips on how to make sure that your first date goes as well as possible.

When you meet someone new, the first thing on your mind is to know if there’s a spark between you. To figure out if the person is worth your time, you begin with a first date. It’s a short, casual meeting to judge the person as a potential partner in the future. But how do you have an excellent first date? Moreover, how do you ensure there are no awkward moments and that it goes well? We reveal everything about how to have a good first date.

1. Plan ahead

The best way to ensure that you have a good first date including with people from around the world, such as with Russian women looking for men, is to plan ahead. It makes perfect sense to do so because you can avoid any awkward moments. You can plan your outfit, setting, date place, and even conversations. You can also be sure to have enough time for the date. If you don’t plan anything, you leave a lot to chance. You might not have the right outfit, you could get stuck in traffic, or you could be late. Anything can go wrong, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Should I Get a Baby Monitor with Extra Features and Uses?

When my kids were little, I co-slept with them. But for parents that don't, especially if you have a larger home where a baby may be sleeping a little further from where the parent is, a baby monitor can be very helpful. New baby monitors often have extra features, but are they worth it? This piece below explores that.

When purchasing a baby monitor, it is best to consider what other features are available on the models that you are considering. We all know that a baby monitor is used to keep an eye on your baby while they sleep in another room. You can also use a baby monitor to communicate with your child if they wake through the night, with most newer models acting like a two-way radio.

However, there are some current models of baby monitors that offer other features to help you to look after your child and soothe them overnight.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Insalata di Riso Recipe -- Italian Rice Salad -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Frugal and Adaptable

My friend Juli of Pandemonium Noshery and I have been bonding over our love of international frugal cooking (among other things) for a few years already, and I've shared a few of her recipes here already. She inspires me in the kitchen. Since I've been feeling overwhelmed a bit (ok a lot) lately I asked Juli if she had another recipe she wanted to share with you, and she had this delicious looking one. I can't wait to try it out.

Hey! It’s Juli again and I am so happy to be here. I wanted to share something we have been eating all summer long. Interestingly, I first heard about the dish in a local cooking group Penny added me to years ago, so it seems only fitting that she is letting me share it with you all.

So what is Insalata di Riso? Well, it translates to pretty much what it looks like, Rice Salad. It’s an Italian Dish that is eaten through the summer for a light meal. But I’ve discovered it’s great all year round, especially when you want something delicious and easy to make. It’s also great as a leftover makeover and a fridge cleaner. I love using this recipe as a way to use up leftover rice that I might not have enough of for a whole meal on its own, or I want to elevate it, or both.

As I mentioned it’s great for cleaning out the fridge too. Most of the individual items you only need a little of and not any one of them is going to make or break. It’s the variety of pickled items and fresh veggies that are the heart of this dish. Sometimes I swap around the tomatoes, have a handful of cherry tomatoes? Throw them in! Leftover chopped salami? That too! Really, it’s ideal for after a party when you have leftover charcuterie. I have a local charcuterie business so I have these items on hand, when I get low or want to use stuff up, or have a party, I chop up all the extra tidbits on hand and have a whole new meal. Any type of olives work, anything extra you have pickled on your board can be thrown in. Use it all! 

If you don't have pickled artichokes that is fine; if you have frozen artichoke hearts you can try cubing them and tossing them in.

Vinegar is anything you have on hand and like, I use a very not Italian vinegar and opt for German 13 herb vinegar. The extra flavors in there really go so well with it all. However, if I don’t have it on hand I can say from experience that white vinegar and apple cider vinegar both work.

Insalata di Riso Recipe -- Italian Rice Salad -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Frugal and Adaptable

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

How To Protect Your Phone With A Handmade Case While Traveling

My joint issues make me have terrible balance, so I fall regularly. This means I've destroyed far too many phones, so I need to protect my phone as much as possible since I need it to function on a day-to day basis. I use a heavy duty silicon screen protector and a special phone case that is extremely durable and has bits protrude that minimize the likelihood of the screen from hitting the ground when it falls down. Most people don't fall or drop things as much as I do and therefore have as bad luck with phones as I do, and don't need the same amount of protection, so they have a lot more flexibility in what they want for a phone case. Here are some types of phone cases you may consider to use to protect your phone and why.

Photo: Josh Willink

Whenever I save some extra and have the possibility to travel together with my kids and enjoy a little weekend getaway, I always tend to realize that our phones are perhaps the most important personal belongings as they make our lives so much easier in almost all life situations, particularly when outdoors.

And when I think about it, my phone is my most trusted travel companion, communicator, navigator, and memory-maker. For those reasons, I definitely pride myself in taking the appropriate measures to protect it from being stolen or damaged when I pull out my phone in unusually hazardous places to check on the map or take a photo of my kids.

Have you ever had that unwished-for feeling? You know, the one where you helplessly watch your hard-earned smartphone slip from your hand in slow motion, feeling powerless as it drops to the ground and cringing when it makes a glass-shattering, terrifying sound? I have, and it’s awful, something that happens to many people and apparently is even more likely to happen when you’re away on a trip.

Nowadays, when we rely so much on our smartphones, we sometimes overlook the fact of how vulnerable they are to theft and external damage. Therefore, one should always take the extra steps to keep their phone safe while traveling, and there’s no better way to protect your device than to protect it with a rugged, handmade phone case.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Benefits of Instilling a Love for Books in Your Children

I'm a huge bookworm. One of my children is a reader like I am, one is not, and I'm working on instilling a love of reading in my other two. Here are some reasons you may want to get your children to love reading.

In his story ‘I Can Read with My Eyes Shut’, Dr. Seuss wrote: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Over the past two years, reading among children has increased by approximately 89% according to a report by Epic, a leading global digital reading platform. One of the most valuable things we as parents can do is read with our children. Reading not only transports children to fantastical worlds but also boosts their academic and emotional development in a number of ways. From boosting relationships and improving literary skills to teaching valuable life lessons, let’s have a closer look at just a few of the countless benefits of reading to your children from a young age and instilling a love for books in them.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Throwing a Wedding (Or Fancy Party) on a Budget

My friend Stephany got married and did it on a budget. I asked her if she could share with you how she did so, and she decided to share her expertise. She may not think she is an expert, but I definitely disagree.

I’m no expert, but as someone who recently threw one of these shindigs, let me tell you, wedding prices can range from the unbelievably expensive to the absolutely frugal, and some of the most frugal weddings are the most beautiful. Here are some tips to help lower your costs while still not sacrificing on your special day.

First, set your budget. Your absolute max budget. This is always useful for big purchases and helps you keep yourself on track. Open up a Google Sheets with it and record every single item there. Use multiple tabs to track price quotes for every vendor, and then use another tab to add it all up and make sure you aren’t going over. This is super useful.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

How To Reduce Expenses As Living Costs Increase

Ugh prices around the world have gone up and yet our incomes have not, so more and more people need ideas of how to cut back. Here are some ideas that can help with that.

The cost of living is increasing. As more and more families feel the pinch, it’s beneficial to look for ways to reduce expenses. In this informative article, we’ll outline some strategies you can employ to lower spending and decrease financial pressure.

Friday, October 28, 2022

How to Make Holiday Shopping for Your Family More Affordable

Holidays are a time when there is pressure to give gifts, but when finances are more difficult this can put someone under a lot of financial stress. Here are some ways you can make this gift-giving more manageable monetarily.

Some love holiday shopping while others hate it. No matter your feelings, it’s a good idea to create a financial strategy to make this process more affordable. It is still possible to give your loved ones meaningful presents without breaking the bank.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Hurrah For Free Books!


I love reading. Like love love love it. I've been a bookworm since about second grade when I got into Nancy Drew books, followed by all the Oz books by L Frank Baum and all the writers who continued after him. I used to go to the library regularly and take home stacks of books to devour.

Then I moved abroad to a place where English is not the spoken language, and the library system is far from good, no inter-library loans, and only a really small library where I live with very few books in English.

I started going to second hand book stores, but the price there added up quickly. I buy books online from places like BetterWorldBooks.com and BookDepository.com with cheap prices and free international shipping, but even that adds up. 

So when I can get free books, that's my favorite.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Relevant Infographics about Mental Health

I love a good infographic. Learning about something is much more inviting when it's done in a visually appealing medium as you find in infographics. Here are some infographics on mental health that you can learn from, with some ideas on infographics you can make.

Mental health is often misunderstood and shrouded in mystery. Many people think of mental health as something that is only relevant to those with "serious" mental illness, but the reality is that we all have mental health. Just like physical health, everyone has a unique mental health profile made up of our biological, psychological, and social factors. And just like physical health, our mental health can fluctuate throughout our lifetimes in response to different stressors and life events.

To raise awareness about mental health, making infographics about this issue is helpful. There are plenty of infographic templates that can be used as inspiration to create your own infographics on mental health. Let's take a look at some relevant topics you can use.

Infographic Samples and Topics to Raise Mental Health Awareness

Monday, October 17, 2022

Effective Home Remedies for Children with Conjunctivitis

Pink eye is a pain in the butt, especially because of how easily it spreads. If you or your kid are dealing with conjunctivitis, here are some things you should know. 

Conjunctivitis, better known as pink eye, is an infection of the conjunctiva of the eye. Your child wakes up one morning with a pink eye that is matted with crusty junk. What do you do? We’ve all been there, and learning your child has an eye infection, no matter how minor, can bring on fear. While it’s best to get a diagnosis from a doctor when your child first gets pink eye, there are some home remedies that can help if you are waiting for an appointment. If you would like to learn more about conjunctivitis, continue reading. This information will reduce your panic and help you get much-needed relief for your child.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

What's Been Up With Me

If you haven't noticed (how can you not?) I haven't been posting a lot recently, and I wanted to explain why.

First off, I've been dealing with a ridiculous amount of exhaustion, and sleeping took up so many of my hours. In the time that was left, I needed to take care of my kids and my house and feed everyone and with whatever little bit of time I could squeeze out after that I worked on my son's room that we were building ourselves. 

Each time I worked on building his room, I was more or less incapacitated for a few days after with even more unrelenting exhaustion and back pain that made it hard for me to function, and even to sit up at my computer.

I had to spend a lot of my energy trying to fight to get my daughter into the type of school that was right for her and it wasn't easy at all and involved contacting many government officials, despite the fact that as someone diagnosed with autism, the education department is required to find her an appropriate school and even bus her to a further district if there is nothing appropriate nearby.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Save Money on Your Living Costs with These Tips

Are you struggling to make it through the month? Here are some tips that you might not have considered when it comes to saving money.

Cutting your living expenses is something that’s become pretty urgent for many people. When you know you’re spending too much but you don’t know what to do about it, it’s easy to feel hopeless and panicked. But don’t worry because there’s always more that can be done. So if you feel that your living costs are currently too high, here are some tips and advice that’ll help you reduce them.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

10 Creative Ways To Make Some Extra Cash

While getting a job or a better paying job might be one way to increase your income, sometimes that isn't enough or isn't an option. Here are some more interesting ways to make money beyond the standard ways.

Looking for a way to make some extra money? Why not consider some of these creative options? Below are just a few alternative ways to earn money.

Monday, September 12, 2022

A New Mom’s Guide To Choosing The Right Daycare Facility

Deciding to entrust your child into someone else's care can be intimidating, and this guide from a reader can hopefully make this process less scary for you.

Becoming a first-time mom brings a mix of positive and negative emotions. You’re probably thankful for a blessing, a gift of life, bestowed upon you, but you’re also probably afraid at the same time. Those mixed feelings are normal; that’s what a first-time mom should feel.

Taking care of your child is a journey of a lifetime. It may be hard, full of obstacles, and a roller coaster of emotions, but it’s also fun, exciting, and fulfilling.

One of the toughest challenges of being a mom is doing multiple mom duties simultaneously. It’s nearly impossible to care for your child while working. So, you have no choice but to leave childcare duties to someone else, but it’s a big decision to ponder.

Leaving your child with someone else may not sound pleasant, especially for a first-time mom like you. One of the best options you have is enrolling your child in a good daycare facility like Lolo’s Childcare.

Choosing the right daycare for your sweet little angel can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to give your kids the best care possible while away.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Loving My Chronically Painful Body

I've been dealing with a lot of pains in my body recently, something I jokingly refer to as "musical injuries" because the injuries switch places (mostly) but the pain remains. And when I ask my physical therapist what I can do about it, she says unfortunately not much, because these pains are purely a result of my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), an inherited soft tissue disorder, and not anything I'm doing wrong.

  • I sit partially off my seat on the bus so that there is unequal pressure on my bum and my pelvis gets pushed out of place and then my bottom and back spasm so badly it hurts to move until my physical therapist pushes it back into place.
  • I slap a mosquito to kill it... And sprain my wrist. I scrub a pot with my other hand and sprain that wrist as well.
  • I drive a car and my ankle screams in pain from my pressing the brakes. My knee and hip hurt from that as well.
  • My daughter pulls my hand and my hand starts throbbing in pain.
  • Right now my ankle is hurting me a lot because I had a physical therapy appointment and she was showing me some exercises to do to hopefully help my ankle and knees not hurt so much, and even though she gave me really mild exercises they are enough to have me aching hours later.
With so many aches from living my everyday life, I've repeated to myself and others so often "I hate my body, I hate my body" and it can be really depressing. My son pointed out the incongruity in my words because I talk about body positivity and loving your body no matter what it looks like or what size it is, and then I say repeatedly that I hate my body.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Are You Making These Financial Mistakes?

So many times people think they are being money smart but they aren't. Here are some common financial mistakes people make- are you making any of them?

No one wants to make financial mistakes, especially when a lot of money is at stake. Unfortunately, too many hard-working people fall into traps like overusing credit cards, not earning a decent return on their investments, carrying too little insurance coverage, engaging in impulse buying, or ignoring the importance of credit scores. Here are pertinent details that help you avoid the most common and damaging money mistakes.

Living Off Credit Cards

The single biggest mistake young working people make is relying on credit cards to get through each month. In nearly every such case, people who dig the credit hole end up regretting it. The solution is budgeting. When you make a detailed monthly budget and pay off all card balances when they come due, the plastic curse will no longer be a problem.

Ignoring the Potential of Vacation Real Estate Rentals

Investing in real estate, particularly vacation rentals, can enhance long-term portfolios in several ways. The concept plays an even greater role in recessionary economies when stock markets are volatile and unpredictable. Working adults can sidestep risky securities markets and put their capital into tangible assets like real estate. Those considering a second home as an investment tend to focus on rental property.

However, vacation properties in resort cities or favorite holiday spots offer multiple advantages. Owners can rent out the homes for most months of the year and stay in them when they want an inexpensive way to travel. Others options include earning regular income on the holiday home and then moving into it full-time after you retire. Even homeowners with extra bedrooms in their current house can earn rental income and reap the financial rewards of owning their own home or a second one.

Being Under-Insured

It's theoretically possible to have too much insurance, but most working people err on the other side of the coin of having too little. Step one to resolve the insurance problem is to sit with a licensed agent and review your policies. It's common to have one or two types of coverage in good shape and a few others lower than they should be. The solution is getting expert advice from a trusted source, upping the limits on coverage areas where you need more protection, and then doing an annual review at about the same time every year.

Making Impulse Purchases

If you're an impulse buyer, consider making a detailed monthly budget and never shopping for anything without a written list. If uncontrolled spending is a serious problem, there are credit counselors who specialize in helping consumers who need extra help. Don't let impulsive spending wreck your financial stability.

Not Working to Improve Credit Scores

Check all three credit scores, one with each of the big three bureaus, at least once per year. Get help interpreting the reports so you'll know how to up your scores. If you find mistakes, contact the bureau directly and find out how to lodge a legal challenge to the error and have it removed from your record. Note that it can take about six months to correct mistakes on official reports.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

How to Get a Personal Loan with Bad Credit?

Listen, we all know that loans are not ideal in most cases. But there are some circumstances in which loans are necessary, and if so, here's what you can do so you can get that loan, even if your credit is bad.

You may have to find a strategy to make up the shortfall if your funds are insufficient to pay for major bills. A personal loan might be useful in this situation. Personal loans are among the debt types with the quickest pace of growth since they offer freedom, including reduced interest rates and the option to have a cash lump sum sent immediately into your checking account.

And, of course, applying for a personal loan with a good credit score is advantageous for obtaining better loan terms and conditions. However, many companies also offer options for people asking for a personal loan with bad credit. You can read more about it in the Upstart personal loans review.

Continue reading this article to learn how you may obtain a personal loan with bad credit.

Easy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies Recipe -- Dairy Free, With Oil

I was looking for a recipe for chocolate crinkle cookies and my friend Rachel gave me this recipe.  My son made a few batches of it and declared it the best cookie he's ever had. "The absolute best?" I asked him. He said it was up there, maybe a few others tied, but it was really amazing. So I wanted to share it with you.

Just a note- I tried converting this to gluten free and egg free and I just got a sticky mess (but it's quite possible that it was because I accidentally poured powdered sugar into the recipe instead of potato starch-- they look alike!-- and even though I tried to fish out the powdered sugar I must have missed some and that is possibly why it failed) so I'm not recommending those changes just yet, but I hope to tweak it and share a gluten free egg free recipe soon.

Easy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies Recipe -- Dairy Free, With Oil

Friday, September 2, 2022

How to Ensure Your Loan Is Approved

If you've have financial trouble, you might be stuck in a bind because when you are short of money desperately and need a loan to tide you over, you might not be able to get a loan becausae of your bad financial history. So here are some tips on how to ensure that your loan, when you need to get one, is approved.

Loans can be a great way to finance big purchases or consolidate debt, but before you can use a loan to your advantage, you need to get approved for the loan itself. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of being approved for a loan. In the current economic climate, being approved for a small company loan might be difficult and time-consuming. Only a lender has the power to authorize a small company loan. However, you can make changes to raise your chances of being accepted by the lender of your choosing. Here are some tips on how to ensure your small business loan is approved:

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The Benefits of an IVA

Debt can be so daunting when it piles up, adding so much extra stress into your life. If you live in the UK consider an IVA, and Individual Voluntary Arrangement, which can be a great solution for those struggling with debt. Haven't heard of an IVA, or don't know enough about them? Read on.

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement, or IVA, is a debt solution that can help you if you're struggling to repay your debts. You'll make an agreement with your creditors to pay back what you owe over a period of time, usually 5 years. Once the IVA is completed, you'll be debt-free.

An IVA is only available to people who live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The Scottish equivalent is a Protected Trust Deed.

There are many advantages of an IVA that make it an attractive debt solution for those who are struggling to repay their debts. Let's take a look at some of the top advantages of an IVA.

About a Bra

I was talking to my therapist recently about certain resentments that I was having towards my children asking for things that I thought were frivolous expenses, and she said that from what I'm telling her, the resentment stems from the fact that I don't spend money on myself that isn't absolutely necessary. I told her that that is definitely true, and that sometimes even things that are necessary I still often don't buy for myself. 

For example, I need special sneakers because of my problematic feet and the shoes I had were broken for a few months and I still didn't order new ones and made do with my broken shoes. (I finally made an order from Amazon a month ago and they are running late, but hopefully should arrive today.) The other thing I have been making do without was bras. 

I had been wearing bras from a company that I ordered online, but they didn't have a good fit and were not supportive, and since I have larger girls support is necessary. There is this store I went to locally that has good fitting quality bras, but the bras there aren't so cheap. I bought some there anyhow because they were good. 

When I went there last, I asked for cheaper good ones that are my size, and I got a bra that was about $60, which was on the cheaper end for the store there, and one that I liked less that was a little more expensive.

But I needed more than 2 bras, and I wanted to see if I could get them cheaper than what I paid locally, while not skimping on quality. I found the company that made my bras was located in Europe, and at the time, they were shipping internationally. I located on their site the exact bra I had bought in person and instead of $60 per bra it was $30, with free international shipping if you spent more than 75 dollars, and purchased a few of them, and I was very happy with them.

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