Sunday, April 14, 2024

7 Food Festivals Worth Traveling For In Europe

If, like myself, you consider yourself a foodie, and you also really enjoy traveling, you might decide to try out local delicacies when traveling, so you can experience the culinary specialties of the region. But if you time it right, you can travel to different locations and get to experience, not just their food, cuisine, but an entire food festival. Here are some you might want to consider when planning your travel dates. Bear in mind that, depending on the popularity of the event, transportation and lodging there might be more expensive at those dates.

Many people who love food would like to take a culinary journey around Europe. With its rich culinary heritage, various foods, and vivacious cooking customs, the continent offers several experiences for one to enjoy. Numerous food festivals across Europe make it possible to fully immerse oneself into the continental gastronomic mosaic. From local to international dishes, these events exhibit European cuisine at its finest. Consequently, if you are an epicurean who is always in the mood for new experiences, then look at these seven such prandial gatherings on different shores of this continent. Prepare yourself for a gustatory adventure without parallel as you taste your way through those offerings.

Here Are The Food Festivals Worth Traveling For In Europe

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Raising a busy kid in the old Eastern Europe - Some parenting tips from George Nikolov’s journal

When my daughter, Rose, was born, I was hoping for a calm, easy baby, but she was anything but. I know how challenging it can be when you have a child that is a whirlwind of energy. George Nikolov had a son just like that, and ABV Publishing wrote a book based on his journal about how he parented his son, who ended up becoming a world champion in Ju Jitsu.

What we learned while publishing a children's book based on George’s journal

George, a lifelong teacher and educator in Bulgaria, along with his wife, had taught many students and influenced their community for years, advising parents on various parenting topics. Then, a surprise baby boy arrived.

Born on a summer day coinciding with the final medal ceremony of the Moscow Summer Olympics in the USSR, George saw this as a good omen – their son arriving just in time for the medals.

By 9.5 months, their sleep-deprived and exhausted son started walking. George and his wife, feeling like zombies, envisioned him as a future athlete, perhaps even an Olympic champion.

Raising children is no easy feat, but raising a child with boundless energy can be overwhelming. As the boy grew stronger and more active, George and his wife found themselves startled, shocked, and outside their comfort zone. Their parental frustration mounted. George kept a journal for 15 years, often questioning why their pedagogical approaches weren't working. He'd write in despair, unsure of the path their fearless and perpetually bruised son would take.

In the 1980s, Bulgarian parents took pride in active children, especially boys. Roughhousing with a giant stuffed bear, sparring with relatives and friends – this was how a healthy boy was supposed to behave. However, being the child of two educators, the parents expected their son to be constantly reading. George, despite seeing his son's physical potential early on, harbored academic plans for him.

Despite loving reading, their son had little patience for quiet activities. This lack of patience extended to the musical instruments (a piano and an accordion) they owned. Sitting still drove him stir-crazy, leading him to prefer activities like leaping over furniture, climbing trees and street signs, or exercising with an expander.

Not only was the son energetic, but he also displayed a wide range of interests. To his parents' frustration, however, as George recounts, the boy was inconsistent, trying and dropping different hobbies quickly tiring of them after the initial excitement.

The only constant interest for George's son was physical activity. He loved being strong and fit, often flexing in front of a mirror or showing off his pull-ups in the neighborhood.

After George's passing, ABV Publishing had the privilege of working on his journal. Based on this journal, they published a story retold through the eyes of George's son, a now-established Bulgarian athlete, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, and successful coach. The book, titled "Born for Medals: How I Was Getting Ready for the Top," is a children's book (ages 5-8) illustrated by the talented Bulgarian artist Elina-Melina Bondokova and available on Amazon.

George lived to see his son win his first medal during a junior wrestling competition. He wrote of his immense pride that day, filled with happy tears. His energetic son was an achiever, his muscles working hard to secure his first medal.

Many more medals followed, thanks to constant training and practice, as well as the unwavering support of George and his wife. Though they didn't always understand their son's drive, they never gave up on him. They encouraged him to try his best in his various interests and hobbies, including judo, karate, and fishing.

The story of the Olympic medal omen became a family tradition, often finding its way into the boy's dreams where he envisioned himself standing on the highest platform of the podium, raising the Bulgarian flag. This blend of "aiming-high" pedagogy, typical of the educational system where the two teachers were trained, and a touch of superstition about good omens, helped this energetic boy stay out of trouble. His energy was channeled productively – his extra energy was spent at the gym.

He didn't become a teacher, musician, or professor, but he developed his natural potential to the fullest, reaching goals in his area of greatest interest – physical activity.

Parents and educators can utilize our book, "Born for Medals" (also known as "The Medals") in several ways. Children can read it independently; the text is easy and fun, suitable for a "My-First-Book" experience. However, the text is presented in cursive to maintain the style of George's handwritten journal, and young readers might not be familiar with cursive yet. In this case, we recommend helping with the text or encouraging the reader to guess the text based on the illustrations on each page.

Another way to "read" with an energetic child is to follow the illustrations and tell the story of a busy boy growing up in 1980s Bulgaria. This would be a perfect opportunity to ask children to add their own stories and pictures.

Since the book's subtitle is "How I Was Getting Ready for the Top" and ends with the question "How are you getting ready for the top," parents, guardians, and educators involved in rearing busy children might find it useful to end the read-aloud session with a discussion about the child's plans and dreams. At this point, the child's dreams may not overlap with those of the adults in their life, but it will be a great moment for us, the adults, to learn as well, to accept the differences, and be okay with them.

Even when he was very young, George's son would dream of being on top, of being a champion. His dreams came true, why wouldn't the dreams of your little busy ones come true, too?

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Increasing Your Savings and Boosting Your Income with Bitcoins

Ever feel like your wallet is stuck on repeat? Bitcoin might sound complicated, but it's digital money that you can actually use to save up or even make some extra cash. This post will break down Bitcoin, so you can see if it's the key to unlocking your financial future.

With a growing economy, it has become more and more challenging for parents to save money. Adding to that, the constant cycle of paying bills, taking care of kids' needs (education, health, and other miscellaneous expenses), and planning for a secure future can be overwhelming. But what if we told you there's a way to boost your income, and that too, from the comfort of your own home? Today, we'll delve into the fascinating world of Bitcoins, a cryptocurrency that has been shaking the financial world with its massive potential and volatility.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

A Bunch of Free Books- Again!

I'm a voracious reader. Reading is one of my favorite things to do. Growing up I'd go to the library every week or two, getting a huge stack of book, and then after I'd devour them, I'd replace them with an all new stack.  

Living in a non English speaking country, where we don't have the same expansive public library system as I had growing up in the US (interlibrary loans, how I love and miss thee!), I used to periodically go to the second hand book store, buy some books, and then sell them back after... but it was an expensive "library" since I was only getting a fraction of the money I was spending back each time I sold them. 

I was so thrilled when I found out about our "little free libraries" locally. Not so little, though. There are more and more locations, many of them in old bus stops, which were converted into libraries with shelves and shelves of overflowing books and referred to as bus stop book stops. The ones I tend to go to are in neighborhoods with lots of American expats, so a large majority of the books there are in English. And they've become some of my favorite places to visit.

While I absolutely have my favorite authors and genres to read, fantasy and science fiction, I enjoy most genres as long as the books are readable and at least somewhat interesting. I don't particularly want to spend money on books of all genres- these days I tend to only spend money on very specific fantasy authors (Brandon Sanderson is my all time favorite) and some self help books (Brene Brown is a favorite there). But if I don't have to pay for it? Sure, I'll give it a chance to read it.

Friday, March 29, 2024

The Primary Benefits of Owning a Home Versus Renting

As a relatively new homeowner, who thought I'd never be able to buy a home, it was never even a question of whether it was a good idea to buy a home, but rather if I'd be able to. Locally prices are constantly increasing for rental apartments- our first apartment's rent more than doubled in price in the 5 years we were living there, so if you stay in one place you just pay more and more and eventually get priced out and need to pay to move. And landlords are individual people that often do terrible jobs and you suffer because of that. But now I'm a home owner and a landlord and I see that being a home owner does come with extra costs that you don't originally realize. However, I'd still take being a home owner vs renter any day.

Homeownership has long been a pillar of the American Dream. Around the country, millions of individuals, couples, and families strive to buy their first home so they can experience the privacy it offers and put their money toward something that will benefit them in the future.

The decision between buying and renting is not an easy one. Renting is much more flexible because you are likely locked into a lease only for the next year as opposed to a 30-year mortgage. Additionally, you do not have as much of a burden to take care of the property, as repairs and major improvements can be handled by the landlord or property manager.

Buying the home so that you become the owner comes with a much different list of responsibilities. However, many would argue that the benefits outweigh the costs. Let’s talk about those benefits and why they are so convincing for those who want to own a home.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

10 Tips and Strategies That Will Help You Secure the Best Deal Possible at a Car Dealership

When buying a car, you can either buy a second hand car from a private seller or buy new or used from a car dealership. If you aren't careful, you may end up paying far too much for a car. Here are some tips to make sure you get the post possible deal when you go the dealership route.

To be a licensed driver, a person must put in the time and effort. Anything less would mean getting stuck without a license and taking and retaking their written and driving exams, which is frustrating. The next step for most people after becoming a licensed driver is usually buying a car. First-time car buyers should put in the same determination they did when preparing for their license exams to get the best deal possible at the car dealership. For car buyers wondering how to do this, here are ten tips and strategies they can use.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Figuring Out a Solution for my PTSD Triggering Problem with Luroy Slats for my Ikea Malm Bed

I freaking hate PTSD, especially Complex PTSD, which is caused from long term trauma (often the result of abuse or war), because it makes my life infinitely harder. (What does this have to do with my bed? Read on.)

When people think of PTSD flashbacks they tend to think of the stereotypical ones where you relive the traumatic event, often with your senses involved, such as visual, auditory, or more. But sometimes there are flashbacks that you don't realize are flashbacks; it took me many years to learn that what I was experiencing was PTSD flashbacks. Emotional flashbacks are intense emotional responses triggered by situations, because your brain gets triggered and thinks that you are back in that traumatic situation, which makes you relive those emotions that you had then. I never understood why I'd react in ways that were "overblown" compared to what actually happened, and felt so stupid about reacting that way, but knowing that it is a PTSD response helps me be just a bit more forgiving to myself. 

When I separated from my ex, I built myself a single bed using some wood I already had from the bed we'd had while married, and some reclaimed wood. A little later I was having back issues and my physical therapist told me that I needed to get a better mattress (mine was at least 20 years old) because the sagging mattress was bad for my back. So I spent money on getting the best and firmest Ikea spring mattress I could afford, because I knew my back was worth the money.

However... all was not good.

Once I had my newer mattress, the flaws in my homemade bed were clear. I must not have sanded down the slats on the bed enough, because the bottom of my brand new mattress was ripped up along the slats. Whenever I needed to pick up the mattress to put on sheets or whatever, I would get so triggered and start having emotional flashbacks. I'd hear the voice of my abuser degrading me, saying things like I'm so irresponsible, I don't think things out, I destroy things, I cause money to be wasted... and I knew I couldn't continue to have that bed. The bed was triggering me a lot. So when I got approved for disability, I used some of the money I got to buy myself a new bed. A bed that wouldn't trigger me the same way.

Or so I thought.

Monday, March 25, 2024

At What Age Does Child Support End in California

As a divorce woman whose kids are slowly nearing adulthood (my oldest graduates high school this June!) the concept of child support and when it ends is something I think about. When does it end? When should it end? If a kid is still living at home and their parents are still paying their expenses, does it make sense that suddenly all child support ends at 18? What is fair? What happens in reality? Well, the answer for that is it depends where you're talking about. This is the story in California.

California has set up some clear rules for child support to make sure kids get the financial support they need from both parents. The origins of California's child support program go back to 1872, when California first adopted the Penal Code, which made failure to pay child support a misdemeanor, later increased to a felony.

But when does child support end in California? And what are the consequences if you fail to pay it? In California, determining the age at which child support obligations come to an end is based on several factors that protect the child's financial well-being. While the usual rule is that child support ends at the age of 18, there are exceptions, such as high school graduation and the presence of disabilities.

In this discussion, we will explore the various factors that can affect the duration of child support and the potential consequences of failing to fulfill this financial responsibility, highlighting the factors and considerations for parents at this significant milestone in family dynamics.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Navigating Divorce: Understanding California's Divorce Laws

Life throws curveballs, and sometimes those curves lead to relationship changes. Whether you're navigating your own divorce or supporting someone close to you, understanding divorce laws can be eye opening. Every location has its own rules, and this post about California's divorce rules is helpful for anyone who lives in California, or may consider moving there, when their marriage is rocky.  Some of these rules are relevant to all 50 states and some are different. For example, California is one of only 9 states where all marital debts and assets are divided exactly 50/50, regardless of circumstances.

As of 2023, the divorce rate in California is estimated to be 35-50% for first marriages and 60% to 70% for second marriages. California is a "no-fault" divorce state, meaning you don't need to prove wrongdoing by either spouse to obtain a divorce.

The most common ground for divorce is "irreconcilable differences," where the marriage is deemed to have broken down, but keep in mind that every situation is different, and if you're considering getting a divorce, before making any decisions, it's important to familiarize yourself with the divorce rules in California. While you may already know some basic information, a few things may surprise you.

In this article, we will look into five major aspects of California divorce laws that you may need to be aware of. From property division to spousal support, child custody, residency requirements, and alternative dispute resolution options, we will share valuable insights to help you confidently understand the divorce process.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

How to Repurpose Leftover and/Or Imperfect Rice

In general I'm not a picky eater. I am willing to eat most foods, no matter how weird... but one of those few foods I'm actually picky about is rice. It needs to be made perfectly or I really can't tolerate eating it. Of course, rice happens to be one of those foods that even many good cooks can't cook properly. And even though I know how to cook rice just fine, from time to time I get a batch that just flops for whatever reason.

I hate to waste food. So if rice flops, I try to see if there are ways to salvage it and use it in a dish that will mask the imperfections. Here are some ways I've found to repurpose botched rice.

How to Repurpose Leftover and/Or Imperfect Rice

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Is Buying Hearing Aids Online a Good Idea?

I like shopping online since it allows me to price compare and get things cheaper than I can usually get them in person, or sometimes find things that I can't even buy locally. Even some medical items I get online, such as ankle and wrist braces for my wonky joints. But I've learned that not every medical device should be ordered online, even if you can. For example, progressive lenses are finicky enough that buying them in person is important. Hearing aids are similar- here's why you should buy hearing aids in person.

Image by vecstock on Freepik

The convenience of online shopping has revolutionized the way we purchase everything from groceries to gadgets, and now, even medical devices like hearing aids. With a few clicks, you can explore a wide array of options, compare prices, and read reviews before making a purchase.

However, when it comes to exploring the best hearing aid solutions, buying online isn’t a straightforward decision.

Let’s explore the important considerations involved in purchasing hearing aids and why, ultimately, scheduling an appointment for a personal fitting might be the better choice.

Monday, March 18, 2024

10 Commonly Spread Myths About Addiction

Growing up, despite not hanging out with the "best crowd", I was nonetheless sheltered enough from the world of addiction that I never personally witnessed drug use, and was extremely shocked when I found out 3 years ago that some schoolmates of mine from high school were busted for running a drug smuggling and money laundering scheme in my hometown. Then I heard from my kids recently about the drug and alcohol problems that some of their classmates and social circles have, and it gets very concerning. Even if you think addition isn't something you need to know about, it is. People get much wrong about addiction, and it is important to be educated about it to keep you and your loved ones safe. Here are 10 myths about addiction that you might have heard.

There are many myths about addiction. Some contain a grain of truth, but others are fabrications. We’ll discuss some of these myths right now.

Addiction and Dependence Are the Same Thing

If you’re talking about drug or alcohol dependence vs. an addiction, you should know they’re similar, but they’re not the same thing. If you’re dependent on a drug or alcohol, you’ll have a hard time functioning without it. If you’re addicted to something, though, you will go into physical withdrawal if you are deprived of it.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Why I Make and Drink Lots of My Homemade Sports Drinks And My Calculating Savings

Last July, I went to the EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) expert in my country. I still plan on writing up about that visit because I found it very enlightening, but for now, I want to share one of the changes I have made to my life since then. 

Through this doctor it was confirmed that I have POTS, a type of dysautonomia, and the treatment of that, among other things, is to stay very well hydrated as well as making sure to have enough salt. Though she wrote on my paperwork that I should drink 2-3 liters a day, I've discovered through trial and error that I really do best with ideally 4, but at least 3 liters per day.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Sleepover Sensations: Elevating Kids' Rooms with Versatile Bed Options

Living with a family of 5 in a 900 or so square foot home means that bed space is at a premium, and as it is we need space saving measures to have enough room for the beds for the kids and we've used different configurations over the years, from loft beds to bunk beds to trundle beds, and more. Right now if the kids want a sleep over, we pull out the mattresses that are under their beds and use them. But if you aren't already using space saving bed configurations, here are some ways that you can make more room for your kids to be able to host friends when they have a sleepover.

Sleepovers are a cherished childhood tradition, offering kids the opportunity to bond with friends, make memories, and experience a sense of independence. When it comes to creating the ultimate sleepover setup, having versatile bed options is key to accommodating guests comfortably. In this guide, we'll explore a range of bed options designed specifically for sleepovers, ensuring that kids' rooms are equipped for hosting memorable and enjoyable slumber parties.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Quick Tips To Organise Your Home After A Long Vacation

I love going on trips. But coming back from a trip can be wonderful too. But the unpacking part is probably the hardest thing for me and I'm sure others as well. The fact that things can be up in the air and rushing last minute before you leave means that... you come home sometimes to what can feel like a disaster and not a welcoming place. (I understand why my ex always wanted to clean the house before we left on a trip, but it doesn't work for me... but it has its perks.) Then on top of that, dealing with all the laundry, etc... It took me a bit more than a few days, to be honest, to get my house back in order after our recent trip to Cyprus. So, if anyone would appreciate these tips, its me. I hope you find these post vacation home organization tips useful!

Alright, globetrotter! You've just returned from an epic vacation filled with adventure, relaxation, and perhaps a few too many souvenirs. Now, reality hits hard as you face the chaos of unpacking and organizing your home. Fear not, intrepid traveler, for I've got the ultimate guide to turn your post-vacation chaos into domestic bliss.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Traveling to Cyprus to Get US Passports

The only picture I could get of this whole thing- the self addressed stamped envelopes at the local post office to the mail forwarding company, since security was so strict so no pictures, even from outside.

I have mentioned enough times in my recent posts that we went to Cyprus to get American passports because it has become impossible to get appointments at my local American embassy for far too long, I'd heard about a friend who did this, and I decided to do the same. Since then, I have been asked for more information on how I did this, and what the steps entail, so I decided to compile that into a blog post for you.

There are a few parts involved in getting the passports.

First, there is the step of making the appointments. They have many available appointments, but I didn't see the option to make appointments much in advance. To make an appointment, you want to go to the American Embassy in Cyprus's website for all the information needed including necessary documents, and then from there you are directed to this website to make appointments, where you'll need to pick the country and location, then pick what type of appointment you need, then the date. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Hemp-Derived THC products: 5 Things to Know

As a chronic pain sufferer, as well as someone with anxiety, I know how much cannabis products can be helpful. I was lucky enough to get a medical marijuana license but many are not. However, even if you don't have a license... there are THC products that can be made with hemp (Yes! It surprised me too!), that are legal even without a cannabis license in many places. Read on to learn more about this.

Navigating the complex terrain of hemp-derived THC products requires a solid grasp of the essentials. What once was a niche market has blossomed into a diverse ecosystem, offering a broad array of options to consumers.

But how do you discern between choice and quality? What legal landscapes must one navigate? These questions aren't just idle curiosity; they're integral to making informed decisions in this evolving industry.

Understanding these products goes beyond mere familiarity with cannabis culture. It's about being savvy with what goes into your cart - both virtually and physically. So let’s buckle down and explore five critical facets every consumer should consider before stepping foot - or clicking their way - into the world of hemp-derived THC offerings.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

9 Commonly Abused Substances and How They Affect Your Body

I have a close relationship with my children, and they are open with me and talk about the pervasiveness of drug abuse in their social circles. Unfortunately, too many of their schoolmates and peers abuse drugs and alcohol, and from talking to my friends, it is unfortunately far too common. While some drugs can have safe potential uses as long as not overdone, such as Ritalin for people with ADHD, benzos for psychiatric issues, and small amounts of alcohol from time to time, many people, especially impulsive teenagers, don't use them responsibly and can endanger themselves. Educating yourself about these commonly abused substances and the effects they can have can give you the information to educate your children which can hopefully keep them out of harm and guide them towards healthier choices amidst peer pressure and societal influences.

The unfortunate reality of today’s world is that drugs are everywhere. Their effects on individual drug users and American culture more broadly vary, but all of them have negative impacts. This article will look at nine commonly abused substances and how they affect people’s bodies, in particular.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Frugal Family Winter Trip To Cyprus - The Itinerary - Part 1

If this is the first post you're seeing on the topic, I'm doing a series on our frugal winter family trip to Cyprus. In this post, I'll be sharing with you what we did in the first part of our awesome family vacation, when we were based in Paralimni, on the eastern coast of Cyprus. 

I'd made a family meeting with the children when planning the trip to see what types of activities they most wanted to do on the trip, then looked at the list I'd made of potential winter activities in Cyprus to create a potential very full itinerary of things to do, taking into account the proximity of each activity to one another and where we'd be staying. I knew there would definitely not be enough time to do everything on the list, but I included extras so we could decide as the trip went along what we'd want to do then.

We were supposed to land in Larnaca, Cyprus in the afternoon and we hoped we'd be able to see something of Cyprus on that first day. Unfortunately, our flight was delayed so we landed in Cyprus later than we originally planned. They made us check the cabin luggage, so we needed to wait at the baggage claim carousel. Then the representative from the car rental place that was supposed to meet us at the Arrivals area wasn't there right away, but eventually we found him.

By the time we were in our rental car, it was already quite late, and we had a bit of a drive ahead of us, since we were staying in Paralimni, all the way on the eastern peninsula of the island. But because of the time, I was worried that we'd only get to Paralimni after the stores closed, so we stopped at a Lidl (a relatively cheap European grocery chain) in Larnaca for the first few days' groceries before heading to Paralimni to our AirBnB. We settled in, ate supper, and tried to go to bed early so we'd have energy for the big day ahead.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

3 Ways to Make the Job of Cleaning Less Daunting

Cleaning is my bane. I can't think of things I like doing less than cleaning... other than maybe going to the dentist. Or taxes. But it's unfortunately necesssary. So anything that makes getting it done less scary is helpful. Here are a few things you can implement to maybe make things just a little less daunting.

Navigating the Teen Years: How DBT and CBT Can Support Your Teen's Mental Health

6 years ago I went through a very big mental health crisis and while it was a time in my life I would certainly never want to repeat, because of how bad of a situation I was in, I enrolled in an intensive DBT course through my psychiatrist's office. And it was life changing. Not only did that help me in my healing process from all my trauma, it also gave me tools that are so useful, not only in my day to day life with my own issues, but in parenting my children as well. I use DBT and CBT skills that I learned in therapy to help my children cope with my own challenges. Author Isabella Finn wrote a book teaching teens to use CBT and DBT skills called Essential Coping Skills Workbook for Teens which is really exciting, and she wrote this post to introduce you to the concepts of DBT and CBT and how you can use them to help your children thrive.

The teenage years—when your world revolved around acne, braces, and emotions that felt like hurricanes. Remember those days? The awkwardness, the confusion, and the question of why your locker seemed to double as a trash can for chewed gum.

Now, fast forward to today's teenagers. They are grappling with the usual adolescent challenges and navigating a digital world fraught with social media fame (or shame), soaring academic expectations, and a relentless barrage of curveballs from life itself.

It's no wonder they sometimes resemble ticking time bombs, trying to balance flaming chainsaws while riding a unicycle over a shark tank (albeit with slightly less dramatic language).

You're not alone in this emotional upheaval as a parent, guardian, or concerned adult. You can be the lighthouse guiding them through the storm. And guess what? You've got what it takes!

Is your teenager giving you a hard time with mood swings and struggles? Don't worry; here is a secret recipe for dealing with grumpy adolescents.

Forget therapy jargon; think of this as equipping your teen with secret weapons. We're discussing cool stuff like managing stress, boosting happiness, and mastering emotions.

The famous author and psychologist Dr. Seuss once said,

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”

Let’s help your teen steer themselves toward happiness and success!

Here’s a guide for you on supporting your teen's emotional well-being—a partner on this bumpy journey, complete with insights, practical tips, and just enough humor to keep things light (because, the fact is, parenting teenagers can be downright hilarious, even in the midst of head banging moments).

Monday, February 12, 2024

Our Budget Winter Family Trip to Cyprus - A Wonderful Success

I'm currently sitting above the clouds, at the top of Mount Olympus writing this post. My kids are busy playing in the snow while I sit here enjoying the cool weather. I know better than to try to walk around on slippery snow because my balance isn't great as it is, and because of my EDS, any injury from such a fall can cause long term damage. But just sitting enjoying such a view and the crisp air does so much for my soul and I feel close to a state of bliss, no exaggeration.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Mastering Astigmatism Management: Practical Tips for Effective Care

I never knew much about astigmatism, to be honest. I was diagnosed with a minor astigmatism as an adult, after more than 15 years of wearing corrective lenses. Once diagnosed I knew that it meant something with severity and angle, but of what, I didn't actually know. When a friend told me that her really high astigmatism made her vision really bad, despite her official number being lower, and that it affected her depth perception and made driving challenging for her, I really didn't understand, and decided to learn more about it, and discovered this really helpful video breaking it down

Because I have been having vision issues lately, I went to an eye specialist who mapped out my eye and specifically my cornea, and I found it fascinating, especially since the results looked like what you'd see on thermal imaging pictures, and I could see from the red spot where my astigmatism was. While managing my astigmatism is as simple as getting glasses, for some people, like my friend, it is a bit more complicated and needs some more hands-on management. If you or your child has been diagnosed with astigmatism, especially if it's more severe, read on to learn how to manage this challenge.

Astigmatism, a common vision condition characterized by an irregularly shaped cornea, often leads to blurred or distorted vision, headaches, and eye strain. This article aims to provide practical advice for individuals on effectively managing astigmatism.

Monday, February 5, 2024

What To Consider When Buying Air Filters Online?

Like many, I've faced the frustration of not knowing where to turn when my HVAC unit became unusable due to a lack of replacement filters. We've been suffering since I can't turn it on since the last time I did it was spitting balls of ice and dirt. Fortunately, our guest author shares valuable insights and solutions to help you avoid the same predicament and hopefully, I'll now be able to solve mine. Join us as we explore the journey to finding the perfect filter and restoring functionality to your HVAC system.

In today's digitally driven world, online shopping has become the preferred method for purchasing a wide range of products, including air filters. Whether you're looking to replace the filters in your HVAC system, vehicle, or any other appliance, the convenience of shopping online offers numerous benefits. However, with convenience comes the challenge of ensuring that you're purchasing the right product that meets your specific needs. This is particularly crucial when it comes to something as essential as air filters. In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when buying air filters online, with a focus on custom air filters.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

We're Off to Cyprus!

We're so excited! The family and I are off on our trip to Cyprus - our second trip together abroad - the last one was in December of 2019! I went abroad last March of 2020 and I really have missed the enjoyment and soul nourishment of my trips abroad. 

To get ready for our trip I bought 3 carry on size suitcases- though we can take 5 on the plane the car we're renting can only hold 3 in the trunk. I shopped around until we found the cheapest place and am happy with our choice.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Syrian Inspired Green Beans Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Allergy Friendly, and Easy

I wanted to make pasta for my children, but I was trying to come up with an idea that would be a little less boring than just the average pasta and tomato sauce, so I decided to make something based off of this Syrian recipe for djaj wa rishta, chicken with tomato sauce and pasta, just leaving out the chicken. But since I made it with glutenous pasta, I couldn't eat any of it, but the smell of it was tantalizing. 

I decided to play around and see if I could make green beans with this very same idea, same spice combination, etc... It was terrific. I don't think I would have come up with this on my own if I hadn't first made my kids their pasta, and I'm glad I did. Just a note- depending on how you want to eat this dish, you may want to include or more less green beans. If you want to eat this as a topping on rice, for example, you may want less green beans so the flavor is stronger, but if you want to eat it plain, I'd add more green beans to make the flavor more mild.

Syrian Inspired Green Beans Recipe -- Gluten Free, Vegan, Allergy Friendly, and Easy

Thursday, January 25, 2024

The 7 Best Tips on Budgeting for Single Moms

Living on a budget is important for everyone (the size of the budget differs for everyone, but even well to do people should still budget their money, or they can go bankrupt) but when someone is a single mom and only has one income to provide for her and her family, it is extra important. Here are some budgeting tips that single moms can benefit from (as can everyone else). 

Single moms face countless responsibilities, and managing finances in accordance with the needs of the whole family is one of them. If you're a mommy feeling overwhelmed by budgeting, let’s sort it all out. Explore 7 practical budgeting tips for single moms to master frugal living, stretch your budget, and find some income-boosting side hustles. Here’s a look at a few smart strategies to simplify budgeting and secure your financial future.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Our Long Awaited Family Vacation -- To Cyprus!

My family and I are really excited. Honestly, I'm not sure who is more excited, myself or my kids. I haven't left my country in 4 years, since I had to return home a day early on my trip to Austria in March of 2020, since all the flights afterwards were being canceled because of Covid, followed by a long lockdown and shutting down of borders. And 4 months before that, I had taken my kids on their first family trip abroad (and first time abroad for my younger 3, period). 

Going on vacation abroad has been a panacea for me. In 2017 I traveled to Poland on my own, my first time going abroad since moving to my current country in 2006, other than a short work trip back in 2011. It was during the lowest point I got to in my mental health journey, and it had such a healing effect that I made sure to go on such trips regularly. Frugal trips, certainly, but I had been so burnt out by my giving my all to my children homeschooling them and dealing with their special needs and had no time for myself, that even the cheap and non luxurious trips I took provided such healing for me. Between July 2017 and March 2020 I traveled to Poland, Belgium, Romania, Greece, US, England, Bulgaria, and Austria, and every second of those were so healing for me. Romania was with my eldest son, Lee, and Bulgaria was with all my kids.

And then everything stopped because of Covid. And lockdowns meant we were stuck together more. I tried booking tickets between then and now, but new waves of Covid and airport shut downs canceled them including my planned trip to Venice that never happened... 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Building a Nurturing Environment to Help Your Special Needs Kid Thrive

Parenting is a journey filled with joys, challenges, and countless growth opportunities. When a child has special needs, the journey takes on a unique set of challenges. Understanding and navigating these challenges is crucial for fostering an environment where special needs children can reach their potential. Whether special needs or not, parents can play a pivotal role in helping their child's development, but this can be extra important with a special needs child. 

The challenges of special needs children encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from cognitive and physical limitations to social and emotional struggles. Every child has a unique set of challenges, and many times they have more than one type of special need. When parents first find out that their child has special needs, it can be challenging, because as much as parents hopefully will love their kids no matter what, parents all have dreams of what they hope parenthood and their children will be like, and when they find out that it won't be so, they sometimes need to mourn the loss of a dream, before they can then move on to accept the challenges that come along with the blessings in their child's life. Educating oneself on the specifics of each of their child's disabilities is very important, as well as joining support groups with other parents, where we can vent and get advice and assistance from people who've been on similar journeys.

Monday, January 15, 2024

New Blog Look, Theme, and More

My new page profile image on my Facebook page.

So... does something look different around here?

I should hope so.

I changed a lot about the design of this blog, from the layout of the sidebar, to the menu options across the top, updated the about me section, fixed the subscription option that had been broken and I hadn't noticed, so please subscribe.. oh, and did you notice the new header?!?!?! 

I really needed to update that header... like years ago. A graphic artist friend made mine for me not long after I started out, and it was beautiful and it reflected what my blog was about then... which in many ways was nothing like it is now. 

The image had a baby in a cloth diaper, homemade pickles, homemade bread, solar cooking, baking soda... all representing the extreme frugality (and mom of babies) that this blog was about back then. 

My life has changed a lot since then. I'm no longer in dire need of saving every last cent that I'd need to cook using the sun. My youngest has been out of diapers for... 8 years... I don't live extremely frugally anymore. And the logo having the words "A Rich Life on a Minimum Wage" no longer is relevant, because I don't live off a minimum wage. 

Crafting a Gaming Paradise: Budget-Friendly Tips and Upcycling Hacks for the Ultimate Gaming Room

I'll admit, I'm definitely not a gamer. I didn't grow up as a gamer or with any gaming devices, and I don't have any in my house, unless phones or computers count. Many people, though, find gaming to be a good source of enjoyment for them and their families, and they may want to create a dedicated gaming room. If you want to do that, you might think that this automatically has to be an expensive endeavour, but with some thrifting, upcycling, and other frugal hacks, you can create a gamer's paradise on a budget.

In the world of gaming, having a dedicated space that is both immersive and comfortable is a dream for many enthusiasts. While the idea of creating the ultimate gaming room might seem financially daunting, fear not! In this blog post, we will explore creative and affordable ways to transform your space into a gaming haven without breaking the bank. Better yet, we'll delve into the world of upcycling to breathe new life into old items and elevate your gaming room to new heights.

The Ultimate Guide To Throwing A Wine-Pairing Dinner

There's not much that I enjoy more than feeding people a good meal and watching them enjoy it, especially if it's a crowd of people that aren't my immediate family. Going out with friends for a nice meal is terrific, but it can be pricey if its a nice meal. You can make a fancy dinner at home for less than you can get in a restaurant, and often a very fancy meal at home is still cheaper than a less fancy meal at a restaurant. Of course, if you don't enjoy cooking, then this obviously isn't for you, but if you're like myself, a wine pairing dinner can be done quite frugally, especially if you purchase the wines on sale (they don't spoil so you can stock up on each when you see a good price) and the same with meat or fish (they both also freeze well uncooked) and use seasonal produce. 

So, let's say you want to have a wine pairing dinner (I might want to do that next month when I turn 36!), here is how you'd do it.

Wine pairing is an art that turns a regular meal into a memorable dining experience. When the right wine meets the right dish, it creates a harmony of flavors that can elevate the taste of both. It could be a romantic dinner or for a large group of friends but either way, it will be better by picking the perfect wines to match the food.

Imagine a perfectly cooked steak of American Wagyu beef paired with the wine that best compliments it. You’ll have a dish that was already good in its own right become something much more memorable. In this article, we will go over what you need to know to pair wines with food.

13 Wild Edibles I Found Outside Therapy Today!

I arrived at therapy a little early today (since I'm the type to run late, I try to aim to arrive 30 minutes early, just to be on the safe side) and as I was about to enter the building I saw this beautiful patch of wood sorrel, one of my kids' favorite wild edibles, and honestly, the favorite of many kids. It is one I foraged as a child, I just called it sour grass. When I teach it to my foraging students, I mention the 3 heart shaped leaves reminds you that children, including 3 year olds, love this plant. It was raining lightly, after some recent heavy rains, and I decided to take the opportunity before my class to see what wild edibles were growing in the typically green yard of my therapy building. I was not let down.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Moving On a Budget - Tips for A Low-Stress, Cost-Effective Smyrna Move

Are you moving soon? Moving can be a real pain in the butt, a big stress, and quite expensive. But there are some things that can remove some of the pressure and cost. My guest author has some terrific ideas, which you can read below, but there's another idea I wanted to include.

When moving to a house, especially with different dimensions, you might be tempted to buy new furniture to suit the new place, either because you want to start new in a new place, or to suit the new layout better. However, a move as it is is expensive, and adding the cost of new furniture on top of those expenses can make for a really expensive month (or two). If you can make do without new furniture or appliances in your new home, that will obviously save the most. But if you just hold off temporarily, so you can look around for sales, second hand items, etc... you can comparison shop leisurely, without needing to worry about it arriving immediately in your new home, and you'll be more likely to get items that suit your home well without spending as much money.

Read on for more ideas.

Are you moving soon? Preparing for your move now can help save you a lot of stress and potentially even some money. Opting for a professional moving company, asking friends for a favor, and taking advantage of discounts are just a few great ways you can save on your upcoming move.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Charred Honey Sweet Potatoes Recipe and Technique

I've been to some weddings and other fancy catered events that had sweet potatoes cooked to perfection. Soft and creamy in the middle, crisped up and lightly charred edges. I'd tried making it at home many different times, but it never came out quite how I'd wanted it. But after the last event I went to and had these amazing sweet potatoes, I knew I had to figure it out. And I did. I was so excited about it and I'm thrilled to share it with you. 

If you're the type of person that just looks at ingredient lists and not instructions, you'll be disappointed in these, because the instructions matter almost more than the ingredients.

These make the perfect side dish, and since they're gluten free and allergy friendly, you can serve pretty much anyone with them, as long as they aren't low carb. And while I haven't made it this way yet, I am absolutely positive you can replace the honey with jaggery syrup, date molasses, or maple syrup and get very similar results, with a delicious vegan end product.

Charred Honey Sweet Potatoes Recipe and Technique

Friday, January 12, 2024

6 Things To Plan For Before Starting A Business

There are a few main ways to make sure your expenses don't exceed your income. One is to lower your expenses. The other is to raise your income. Ideally you want to do both. Make more and spend less. You can get a job, another job, or a higher paying job, or you can start your own business. Of course starting your own business can be a very risky way to make money, because you can also lose a lot. So it is important to make plans to help start your business off on the right foot. Or you can start small and start a business without too many expenses and then scale up as you get bigger.

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey is an exciting venture, but the road to success is fraught with financial intricacies that can spell disaster without proper guidance. The significance of working hand-in-hand with a professional accountant cannot be overstated.

Failure to navigate the complex financial landscape with professional insight can lead to financial mismanagement, compliance issues, and missed growth opportunities. In this intricate dance of profits and losses, having a seasoned accountant by your side ensures that your business not only stays afloat but also thrives.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Lost My Facebook Page- New Facebook Page

I can't believe it- my Facebook page was hacked yet again, and these hackers are posting pornography yet again. I am disgusted, but I can't delete it because I have been locked out of access to it. I don't know how/if I'll get it back again, and if I will, I will be deleting it, because if this can happen twice, it can happen again, and I would never want that to happen again, and I'd rather lose everything on that page than have pornography being posted under my blog name.

So I made a new Facebook page, and will be updating it and making it hopefully as good and even better than the last one. Please follow me there, and unfollow the porn showing old one.


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