An Updated About Me and My Blog

Hello there and welcome to my about page. It has been far too long since I updated it last, and it was about time. If you've been reading my blog a while you will probably know about most of these updates already, but for the newbies I wanted to introduce myself and share what this blog is about.

This blog was started 14 years ago when I was in a time of great financial crisis. I had heard about a woman who blogged about her extreme frugality and made money from her blog and I loved writing and felt I had a lot of great ideas to share so took a gamble and started this blog. I was truly penniless then- the 10 dollars to buy the domain name was 10 dollars I didn't have, but I took the risk and I'm so glad I have. 

Fortunately, this blog has been part of why I was able to improve my life and my finances. A win win situation for everyone. I share ideas and help other people, while helping myself at the same time. I got a magazine column out of this blog, published 4 books, 3 ebooks and 1 print book, and I started teaching classes on foraging wild edibles after local people saw me write about what I forage. I also make money via sponsored posts on this blog, but I try my best to not have any sponsored posts containing links for things that go against my morals, and I make sure that there are always more quality posts from me than sponsored posts. The money that this blog brings in is why I can keep this up and dedicate as much time to my blog as I do.

So my finances have greatly improved and I no longer practice the extreme frugality I did at the start of my blog. I'm fortunately no longer penniless, but am sticking with the name.

My focus of my blog, now, therefore is money mindfulness. I finally changed the header to reflect that!

The way I define money mindfulness is being aware of how much money you have, living within your means, while making sure that your money gets spent on things that are important to you, while saving money on things that aren't, but most importantly not letting money slip through your fingers and not knowing where it went, or seeing that it was spent in ways that do not reflect your values and what is important to you. For everyone this looks different. 

For me, for example, it means spending money on therapy and physical therapy, both for myself and my kids, and going on frugal tips and vacations, but buying groceries from the scratch and dent stores that are banged up or past the sell-by date, foraging, and doing lots of DIY. For other people, frugality and money mindfulness would look very different, and that's ok. More than ok. That's how it should be. There's no one size fits all answer to how you should spend or not spend your money. What I write about is how I, personally, save money, and where I spend it, but that doesn't mean that you should do the same. My blog is just to give people ideas, suggestions, and support, but do what works for you and your family, please.

I go by the name Penny on my blog, but that is a pseudonym because I keep my identity, location, and some other information about myself private for various reasons, but most importantly to make myself relatable and not to be seen as some sort of foreign culture blog. I grew up in the US, in Cleveland, Ohio, but live in a non English speaking country, so I've got a lot in common with most of the readers here, and I want to highlight what we have in common instead of what is different. The name Penny just came about because it's short for Penniless, what people originally called me on the blog, but Penny is a much nicer name, don't you think?

I have 4 children, let me tell you about them.

My oldest goes by the name Lee, on this blog. At my time of writing this, he's 16, but since it takes me forever to update this post, by the time you read this he may be older. He's a computer programmer and an incredible artist, and a kind and helpful soul. He's currently in the 12th grade.

My second son is called Ike on my blog. He was diagnosed with autism and ADHD at the age of 6, and after many years at a school for kids with ASD, he seems just like your average neurotypical kid. He's a bookworm like his mom, loves learning just about anything he can get his hands on from history to politics to geography to law and more. He has very strong morals and a sense of justice and he stands up for it!

My next kid is my first daughter, Anneliese. She's 12 years old and is an all around talented girl, great with art, makeup, singing, and she does terrific and funny impressions. She was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 10 and now is in a class that is helping her out with that. She's a sensitive kid and because of that is really good at empathizing. She understands topics way above her age and she's a pleasure to have long conversations with.

My youngest is Rose, 10 years old. Rose was diagnosed with autism and ADHD at the age of 4 after she constantly was seeking sensory input in all sorts of fun and interesting ways. She also is in a school for kids with autism and has been since the age of 5. She is incredibly acrobatic and a gifted artist. She loves to help and is a wonderful friend.

We have a beautiful and gentle and really special dog, Snickers, who is 7 years old. She's a cross between a few breeds- her mom was a border collie lab mix, and we assume her dad has at least some corgi in him since she has many corgi features. She's absolutely an emotional support and therapy dog for the entire family and she has the patience of a saint when dealing with some of my children.

And as for me? I'm a single mom and if I had to share my three biggest passions, it is adventure, friends, and helping people. Adventure expresses itself in my life by a love of travel and new experiences. But since for a long time I couldn't afford any travel, I'd "travel" via my food and cook foods from many different exotic locations around the globe. Fortunately a few years ago I learned how to travel quite frugally and started going on vacations in random countries to where I could get cheap airline tickets, and since then I've traveled to Poland, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, England, Austria, and Greece. I also love adventure in my life and try to take my kids on trips around my country and to new places and have new experiences and make wonderful memories with them.

I love spending time with friends and my good friends are like my family and I cherish them. I also like helping people, and this blog is because of that. Even before I had this blog, I had another blog where I shared ideas, because I like to help people. I try to teach people how to save money, how to budget, how to forage.

A few years ago I came to terms with my mental health issues and trauma that I've been through that I'd been in denial about, and started going to therapy and it's been a big part of my life. Since then I've written a lot about mental health on my blog and have been a big advocate in destigmatizing mental illnesses and encouraging people to get help and take care of their mental health. I've also created some facebook groups for people with mental health issues.

As part of my journey of healing my mental health, I realized that my marriage was not good for my mental health and initiated the divorce process in the summer of 2018, and I officially got divorced yesterday, April 6, 2021. I talk a lot about divorce and single motherhood here and work hard to help get people out of unhealthy and/or abusive marriages, and have made some online support groups for local single moms.

In the last few years I've been diagnosed with some fun health issues, mostly stemming from my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a genetic issue that affects the soft tissue in your body which is widespread so the problems show up everywhere. My biggest issues come up with my joints in my pelvis and spine acting up and moving bones out of place causing everything to spasm and cause me pain. I also have POTS, which causes me to get dizzy and exhausted. For this reason and my mental health issues, I was approved for disability last year.

I have been gluten free for over 12 years because of stomach issues and avoid eggs and eat minimal dairy, so most of the recipes I share here are also gluten free but also many of them are vegan because of my dietary limitations.  Oh yes, recipes. I love, love, love sharing recipes with everyone and probably 1/4 of the posts on my blog are recipes. All four of the books I've written so far have been cookbooks. 

I love cooking but I hate cleaning, but love a clean home, it just isn't something that comes easily to me at all. 

I am a blue and purple haired non conformist body positive intuitive eating fat mom, strive to be as authentic as possible, and I blog about what I'm passionate about. Since what I'm passionate about changes over time and over the years, I can't promise that what I blog about now will be what I blog about in the future. But for those who want to follow my journey, this blog is where it's at.


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hi Is the reason why you can't tell us where you live because you homeschool and it's illegal there?

    1. Pretty sure it's just plain stupid to disclose your location on the internet....for any reason

  3. Congratulations!
    And I am telling you from experience (my own failure) I have raised myself "normal American kids" under American standards ( I am not American, my husband is)
    And with what have I ended with? With selfish children with an enormous sense of self-entitlement and unwilling to make sacrifices neither for themselves or for others. I have only realized this after seeing how much better my friend's children (who have been raised in frugality, discipline and order) have turned

  4. JUST found your site, busy at work but will explore more later. KUDOS to you for protecting your privacy - VERY difficult to do in this day and age. Kudos too, for your frugality AND for sharing what you learn. Live simply so others may simply live! and then teach us how! thanks!

  5. Hi, very similar to our life. We are going to home school our to children and Am so excited. They are only 2 and 4 at the moment but we do lots of little projects at home on our farm like at the moment we are raising 4 chicks and watching the caterpillars on swan plants grow- they love it. A really proud moment of late was seeing "father Christmas" at the science centre and when he asked my 4yo what he wanted for Christmas my son thought about it for 30 seconds then said "that's ok, we have plenty of stuff".... Every parent in the queue was raising their eyebrows in surprise! I think the best and easiest way to achieve this is by getting rid of the telly - easy as

  6. Just stumbled upon your blog, and am really enjoying it! We are soon to be first time parents, and are facing a lot of the same challenges and excitement. Love hearing your story!

  7. Thank you for your site and frugal suggestions.

  8. Thank you for your smart and frugal suggestions!

  9. I try to remain anonymous online more lately too, there just seem to be so many people who live to mock/attack online...I suppose it's easy to vent your spleen or something.

    I teach underprivileged gifted kids as my volunteerism now I can't afford to give money away, one little 11 year old wanted to know everything about how to make money to help his mother ( who has sorely neglected and abused him ) I went home and asked my rather privileged 18 year old if he would get a job to help me pay down my mortgage- his look was priceless!

    I do think a lot of people are going to have to wean themselves off their consumer addictions- to everything, entertainment, fast food, constant medications and medical procedures...and maybe they will grow up and demonstrate better values as a result.


  10. Hello I just want to congratulate you on this amazing blog ! I'm trying to be more frugal myself and I read a lot about this subject these days, so I can find advice and tips from "people who know" !
    Frankly I am amazed at everything you do. Your frugal charts for instance, so useful ! And so many other things I would never have thought of !
    Congratulations, you're an inspiration!

  11. Hi Penny,
    I am a mother of two girls and grandmother of 4 children. I was born and lived in Venezuela until 1974 when I came to live in the US. I get the feeling that you and your family live in South America. I just want to say congratulations for a job well done and that I am so jealous because unlike you, my daughters live far away from me and for that reason I feel that I have been robbed of the privilege of having a close relationship with my grandchildren. I perceive you as a woman who determined what was important to her and took all the actions needed to make it happen. I love cooking so much and appreciate and thank you for your generosity in sharing your time and knowledge with other people. Muchas gracias!

  12. Thanks for your ideas and recipes. I think what you are doing is great. You are very wise!

    Thanks again!

    Jim O

  13. Hi Penny,

    I cut gluten out of my diet as well. The result is amazing, and I'm not even a celiac.

    The problem with gluten these days is the common wheat flour 99% of the world use is what we call "Semi-Dwarf strain" wheat. It is a completely man-made and unnatural form of wheat. It is a product of hybridization and genetic mutation by chemical means in the 1960s.

    If we just go back to the older (natural) form of wheat such as Spelt, Einkorn, Millet, etc... we wouldn't have nearly as much gluten sensitivity problem we have today.

  14. I came across your blog while looking for reinforcement of my "make-do", re-cycle, re-purpose philosophy. While I am not in your target audience, (I am childless, retired with adequate pension and cushion of savings), I applaud your values and look forward to reading more of your posts. Since the media is based on advertising new products, the pressure to consume is everywhere. Thanks for sharing!

  15. to say that your food isnt chemical is funny lol...
    glucose, protein, water, pretty much all things you will find on every food....all of them have chemical name and off course theyre chemical hehe

    Nice blog btw,

  16. What a fabulous site - just found you. I might not comment often but I'll certainly read and visit as much as I can : ) So much to read and learn!
    Merry Christmas. Love Angela X

  17. I understand that you don't want to disclose your location, I am very private myself, but knowing which country you live in would be interesting as it does make a difference for the actual cost of living ...
    I don't live in the US, wasn't born there either, and some things are way more expensive here than there while other things are cheaper ...
    Just a thought :)
    But other than that I enjoy reading your blog!
    Thank you,

  18. In response to Anonymous "to say that your food isnt chemical is funny lol...
    glucose, protein, water, pretty much all things you will find on every food....all of them have chemical name and off course theyre chemical hehe"....
    plants don't have chemical names, they have botanical names

  19. Super Blog....I enjoy reading it and have been referring to it quite often...I have learnt a lot..please keep it up...Christmas is approaching...Cheers...Neil

  20. Hi, just found this gem of a site. I used your washing soda/baking soda recipe and loved your introduction. I wrote some books, Queen of Penny Pinching and Queen Housewife and Mama on a budget. I added your blog into my first book as a reference. You are wonderful and I will read the rest of your stuff and get ideas for my life. I have a family of 4 also and we have downsized and simplified at length. I love being frugal (not always great at it) and encourage everyone out there to enjoy an easier, debt free life. I also intend to home school. Thanks for the advice on privacy as I am trying to decide on a blog or website.

  21. Penny, this blog is outstanding! Truly high quality lifestyle advice and a great philosophy that I can SO relate to. Keep up the good work!

  22. Appreciate what you are doing. Greatly respect your mindset, determination and openness to share! You are doing a fantastic job from what I have seen so far AND you are beautiful..inside and out! What a lucky husband and children you have! Blessings and admiration from back in the states!

  23. I am confused. I saw one of your posts on a FB group we share. I was interested. I clicked on it, which bought me to your FB page, with your real name on it. From there, I clicked on to this blog, penned under a
    pseudonym. Remaining anonymous or?

    1. Feel free to email me at and I'll explain.

  24. Penny, I am a grandpa and married to my best grandma friend (49 years now - goodness!) and just wanted to say that one of our kids has 4 kids of her own. As I read about your 4, you could have been describing our daughter's 4 kids....seriously similar....lots of neuro diverse stuff but oh my goodness, they are SO lovely and kind and creative. Bless you!

  25. Hi Penny,

    I randomly came across your website while searching for recipes on Google which redirected me to your frugal-traveling blog posts. So inspiring and funny! You definitely know how to make the best out of any situation! You seem like a pleasant person and I enjoying getting to know you and your family as well as your values. Bookmarked, I will be following you!