When my husband came home from work. And told me that the next day would be his last at his job. Hence, we went into immediate emergency cost-cutting mode. And we quickly learned that the easiest place to slash the budget. Therefore, in principle, was one of the most painful in practice: our food expenses.
We love food—eating it, cooking it, talking about it, sharing it. And an embarrassingly large percentage of our budget went to food—good ingredients, kitchen equipment, eating out.
But there was no choice, so the red-alert budget went into effect for almost six months. Hence, we lived on one freelance income. Thus, one unemployment check, and rapidly dwindling savings. Here are the choices we made that kept us from overdrawing the bank account during that time.
Cooking From Scratch, With No Shortcuts
One real luxury that came with my husband’s unemployment was time. Even though he’d enrolled full-time in school. Hence, he still had more time and flexibility than when he was at his job. So forget canned beans—we’d cook from dry. A whole pot of soup would cost pennies. And feed us for days (and was way better than with canned beans). No more pizza dough from our favorite pasta shop—we had flour and water and yeast.
So we made our own. Whereas before we’d shopped for weeknight meals around convenience. Thus, pre-chopped this, pre-washed that. Hence, now it was all about buying ingredients in their most basic form. So long, bags of cauliflower florets. Hello, heads of cauli and a knife!
Trying New Things And Making It Fun
There was definitely some emotional stuff that went along with the stress of the money situation. To keep our spirits up we tried to look at menu planning as a challenge. Thus, like you might see on a cooking competition, and made it adventurous when we could. Our nephew once gifted us a rabbit he’d hunted; we’d never cooked a rabbit, but why not learn? (We fried it up and served it with carrots.)
When we’d find a great cookbook at the library. Thus, we’d make something we’d never have time to when both of us were working. Treating it as a series of experiments, almost like a competitive event. Hence, how low can you go with dinner on a dime as your motto? Made it less dismal and more exciting.
Eating At Home
Of course this made the biggest difference. Eating out is expensive. We made an exception for a good friend’s milestone birthday dinner, and with our new frame of mind, were aghast at how much a basic dinner cost. With our new perspective it was downright appalling to spend many, many meals’ worth of funds on just one dinner… that wasn’t even very good!
Now, full disclosure, as a food writer there were a handful of times I was invited to media events or “hosted” dinners, so I did get to have meals out a few times. (Trust me, I really appreciated them! But some I had to turn down because we couldn’t afford what the tip would be on a multi-course fancy dinner.)
Limiting Meat And Dairy
Cutting back on expensive meat wasn’t that hard; as former vegetarians we’d gone years without it and never got into a daily habit with it. Oh, but cheese? I won’t lie… I had some low moments standing in the cheese section at the grocery store when all I wanted was a nice, gooey wedge of brie but it wasn’t in the budget. For that matter, very little cheese was in the budget.
Store-brand shredded mozzarella for pizza, maybe, but snacking cheese? It was too rich for our blood. So were my beloved Yasso frozen yogurt pops (one of the first things I bought when we were back to a more flexible budget!). We limited red meat, especially, to once a week, if that, and made it extra fun; if burgers were on the menu we’d also fry potatoes, roast Brussels sprouts, and slather everything in homemade Shack sauce (we weren’t going for health points here!).
You’ll Be Amazed On How Much You Saved Money From Electric Bill By These Hacks
Decreasing the amount of energy you expend at home isn’t just good for the environment. Hence, it can be good for your bank account, too.
According to a study from SaveOnEnergy. Thus, the average American spends a whopping $1,460 a year on electricity and $421 on natural gas; numbers that are expected to rise by 2 percent in 2018.
Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to reduce your daily energy use. SaveOnEnergy assessed several energy saving hacks.
You will be amazed on much you really can save every year. And the likelihood that you will actually take advantage of them—and the results might surprise you.
Replacing Light Bulbs
According to SaveOnEnergy’s research. Hence, simply replacing all of the incandescent light bulbs in your home with energy-saving ones. Thus, like LED bulbs, Therefore you can save you an astonishing $180 a year.
Even more shocking to learn is that despite this statistic. Hence, only 50.2% of Americans will actually switch their bulbs. Thus, mostly 25-34 year old females living in the northeast and western parts of the U.S.).
Washing In Cold Water
Turns out washing your clothes in cold water can do more than extend the life of some your clothes, it can save you some moolah too!
SaveOnEnergy’s study estimates that hot water washes can cost you up to $60 a year—that’s an extra 5 bucks a month you’re wasting unnecessarily on energy.
Sealing And Insulating Windows
Of all the energy-saving measures you can incorporate into your home, it seems sealing and insulating your windows (with caulk or window film) to prevent outside air from coming in—and air conditioned air from going out—is the most cost-effective home improvement you can make.
According to SaveOnEnergy’s study, you can save up to $200 annually by closing off the seams inside your house. Too bad only 32.5% of Americans will make the effort to reap these rewards.
Shutting Down The Computer
Believe it or not, your home computers—no matter how small—are still a major energy drain. SaveOnEnergy estimates that you can save about $75 a year by turning off your desktop computers at night, instead of leaving it only idle.
What’s more, one laptop left on sleep mode can cost you $15 a year. No wonder one in every three people makes a point to shut off their computers when they’re not in use.
These 4 Simple Things Can Make You Happier At Your Home
Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life.
Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives — we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life.
It’s amazing how a few tweaks to our daily habits can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. Here are a few simple things you can do every day to feel happier at home.
Bring Every Room Back To “Ready”
I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul’s clever book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys. It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it.
This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)
Make Your Bed
In a popular post last month, I explained the many benefits of daily bed-making.
Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.
Start A One-Line-A-Day Gratitude Journal
Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, “What was the best part of today?”) Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude.
An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded. If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.
Display Sentimental Items Around Your Home
One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide.
Planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.
Top 4 Things You Need Stop To Do In Your Morning Rituals
As if getting out of bed in the morning wasn’t hard enough, we always seem to be bombarded with all sorts of distractions whenever we first wake up.
And while some of our morning routines are filled with healthy rituals to help jumpstart our days (10-minute meditation, anyone?), many of us also practice AM habits that aren’t so beneficial.
From hitting the snooze button to scrolling through your Instagram feed, here are four things you should avoid doing after you wake up in the morning.
Drinking Coffee Right Away
Like it or not, research shows that drinking a cup of joe first thing in the morning might be doing you any favors. Along with increasing your tolerance to caffeine.
Research shows that consuming coffee before 10 a.m. can mess with your cortisol levels—leaving you feeling groggier and more stressed than you would have felt if you’d waited.
Forgetting about breakfast
Whether you prefer egg whites, cereal, or skipping it all together, your morning meal plan should be whatever you (and your health provider) can feel good about. But you should be intentional about it.
Adhering to a strategic breakfast plan in the morning will help you better anticipate your schedule for the rest of the day and ensure you don’t get derailed on your way to work.
Checking Social Media
Along with being bad for your mental health, mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds right after you wake up
Is a surefire way to lose track of time (and your focus) in the morning.
We already knew that hitting the snooze button on your alarm will leave you feeling groggy the rest of the day, but it turns out that fragmented sleep is bad for your health too.
So instead of slapping the snooze button to score a few measly extra minutes of sleep in the morning, try going to bed a half hour earlier every night.
4 Surprising Morning Habits That Will Make You Healthier
The morning people are said to be the most successful ones. But this doesn’t occur without effort. The old adage will only be true once you adopt healthy morning habits to adopt as you wake up early every day. These are the things that healthy people do every day before 10 AM besides exercising and having a healthy breakfast. If you want to be healthy and successful, follow the advice.
Well, meditation is not for everyone, but before you roll your skeptic eyes, just remember that a healthy and effective meditation doesn’t have to be long and boring. You can even “meditate” by pausing for a moment to set your intention for the day. This activity will help you connect your body and mind. As you wak up, breathe gently. Four counts of inhaling followed by eight counts of exhaling. You will easily let negative feelings go if you adopt the healthy morning habits.
Staying away from phone
The healthiest thing you could do in the morning is probably staying away from your phone as fast as possible. Most people will reach to find their phones the moment they wakw up. While there is some use to this (knowing important messages as quick as possible), this is also very distracting. Learn how to set your priorities right. When you turn your phone on, you might get trapped in activities that will waste your time. It’s easy to check the phone with the hope of reading work-related Whatsapp messages but ending up scrolling Instagram endlessly.
Taking a shower
Do you generally take shower at night? You should probably change your schedule and make it part of your morning habits. First, it helps you feel more alert as you start your day. It can also stimulate your consntration if you add some peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil to your showering ritual.
Interacting with other people you care about
Once you have enough of your “you” time to regroup and recollect, spend time with people who support you, such as your family, children, or friends- they can even be your pets! Talk to the people who live with you or send a text to a friend you miss to schedule a coffee together after work sometime soon.
4 Dishwasher Mistakes That Are Very Common Yet Easy to Avoid
Dishwashing machine is created to make your life easier, so if you find yourself having to clean up the dishes manually once they are out of the machine, then clearly there is something wrong with the way you use your dishwasher. If you often find your plates, glasses, or cups still crusted with food remnants, oily, or cloudy with soap and water spots, you have probably been making these mistakes your habits. Fortunately, it is easy to change these bad habits once you know what you’ve been doing wrong.
Loading the kitchen utensils in all the same direction
If you want your utensils to be super clean, you have to avoid loading all of your utensils in the same direction. Don’t let your spoons spoon or nestle together with the forks. Because if they do, the water won’t get to every surface easily. It will also be nice if you have specific, slotted holder for your eating utensils.
Loading the dishes in the wrong direction
Besides the utensils, dishes should not be all loaded in the same direction, either. Pay attention to the sprayer arm which is located at the bottom center of te machine. Make sure that all of those pieces can be reached by the sprayer arms without any obstructions. You may try loading the plates so that they would face towards the center part of the machine. In this position, the spray can easily reach the plates.
Not cleaning the machine
So your glasses come out cloudy from the dishwashing machine? Probably, the dishwasher mistakes that you’ve been making is forgetting to clean the machine itself. Try cleaning it by adding a cup of white vinegar while empty then run the machine until it completes a cycle.
Not scraping the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher
The dishwashing machine is surely there to help, but it doesn’t mean you can just sitting lazily without doing anything. There is currently a debate about whether it is necessary or even recommended to rinse your dishes before loading, but you can just scrape the food remains to prevent your dishwashing machine being smelly because it is caught in the filter.
Richard Gere Is A Dad Again At 69, Welcome Baby Boy
It’s a boy! Richard Gere and his wife, Alejandra Silva, have welcomed their first child together.
The 69-year-old actor’s rep confirmed to E! News on Monday, February 11, that the couple recently welcomed a son in New York City. Gere is also the father of son Homer, 19, whom he shares with ex-wife Casey Lowell.
The Pretty Woman star and the 35-year-old publicist secretly tied the knot in April 2018. Hence, after more than three years of dating. Reports surfaced that Silva was pregnant in August 2018. A month later, she confirmed her pregnancy via Instagram.
“A very special moment just a few minutes ago … Getting blessings for our precious to come,” she wrote alongside a photo of Gere. Thus, who is a Buddhist. Also, the Dalai Lama placing their hands on her baby bump in the Netherlands on September 16. “We couldn’t announce it before telling HH Dalai Lama.”
Shortly after Gere and Silva wed, the twosome opened up to HOLA! magazine about their relationship.
“I have found the quiet and happy life that I have always sought,” the Runaway Bride actor said.
Silva added that Gere brought new meaning to her life. “I was a little lost, without light, and knowing him gave meaning to my life,” she told the mag. “It was feeling that someone was reaching out and showing me my true path.”
It’s the couple’s first child together since secretly marrying in early 2018. Gere, 69, has an 18-year-old son, Homer, from his previous marriage to Casey Lowell. Also, Silva, 35, also has a son named Albert from her previous marriage to Govind Friedland
The actor previously was married to model Cindy Crawford. Silva Gere shares a son, Albert, 6, with her first husband, Govind Friedland. Neither Richard Gere, who has no social media accounts. Nor Alejandra Gere has commented publicly.
The Next Mission For Mark Kelly Is The Capitol Hill
Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly announced today (Feb. 12) that he is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate in Arizona. The special election in 2020 will determine who will take over for the late Sen. John McCain and finish out the last two years of the six-year term.
Kelly announced his campaign in a video on Twitter in which he spoke about his family, his career. Also, the policy issues that drive him the most, like gun control, affordable health care, job growth, and climate change.
Before he became an astronaut, Kelly was a U.S. Navy captain. From 2001 to 2011, he flew four space shuttle missions. He is also known for his participation in NASA’s twin study with his identical brother, Scott Kelly. Hence, who spent nearly a year in space while Mark Kelly served as the “control” back on Earth. The goal of the yearlong study was to examine how long-term spaceflight affects the human body.
Four months before Mark Kelly’s fourth and final shuttle mission. Thus, his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Hence, was shot in the head during a mass shooting. Thus, killed six and wounded 12 others at a public event in Tucson, Arizona.
Kelly and Giffords have since been staunch proponents of gun-control legislation. In 2013, they created a political action committee called Americans for Responsible Solutions. Hence, to spark a national conversation about “balanced” solutions to gun violence. Or solutions that would preserve gun owners’ Second Amendment rights. Also, limiting the influencing power of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“I learned a lot from being an astronaut. Thus, I learned a lot from being a pilot in the Navy. I learned a lot about solving problems from being an engineer. But what I learned from my wife is how you use policy to improve people’s lives,” Kelly said in the video.
After retiring from NASA to help his wife recover from the shooting, Kelly became a bit of a political activist. But that’s not all this former astronaut has been up to in the past eight years. Kelly has authored several children’s books, including the “Mousetronaut” series (Simon & Schuster, 2012) and “Astrotwins” (Simon & Schuster, 2016).
Frost Quake 101
Is it cold outside? Are you hearing loud booms in the middle of the night? Don’t call the Ghostbusters—it’s probably just a frost quake. And while that sounds like the name of a claymation ice monster, it’s actually a real geological phenomenon.
A frost quake—or cryoseism, if you want to use the scientific name—isn’t a “real” earthquake, because it isn’t tectonic. Earthquakes happen when tectonic plates, the enormous sheets of Earth’s crust that move around at geologically slow paces, slip suddenly. Sometimes two plates slide past one another, or one plate may subduct beneath the other. These jolting movements are the result of built-up friction between the plates getting released all at once. They’re not affected by the weather. Tectonic plates exist in a whole other timeframe than our puny human one.
Sudden Release Of Pressure
Frost quakes are also the result of a sudden release of pressure. But, also the root cause of that pressure is very different. Therefore, more akin to the forces that cause potholes in roads than those that form mountains.
See, an important fact about water is that it’s less dense when solid. That’s why ice floats in your water glass or on top of frozen ponds. Hence, if ice were denser than water, as is the case for most solid versions of liquids. Therefore, our lakes would freeze from bottom to top. That fact is crucial in this case because it means that water trapped in the ground. Thus, expands as the temperature drops below freezing. This expansion forces the earth to shift and even crack. Most of the time, this happens very slowly. Potholes form because water locked inside the porous asphalt freezes. Hence, often multiple times over the course of a winter, and causes the blacktop to break up. Those bits then get washed away come spring or come out as cars drive over them.
By the same principle, water trapped deeper in the ground causes cracking and breaking. The difference between a frost-quake-worthy snap and the gradual crumbling of a pothole is in how fast, deep, and thoroughly the ground freezes. A review of the phenomenon from 2016 notes that “frost quakes form during the wintertime when the surface temperature undergoes a rapid cooling from above freezing to near subzero (degrees Fahrenheit).”
4 Real Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel for Skin
Aloe vera gel is something that people would use when they get sunburnt. It is very good at soothing scorched skin since it brings a lot of relief. But do you know that aloe vera gel also has a lot more advantages to your skin? Almost like a superhero, aloe vera plant contains antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Aloe vera gel can be used to treat various skin conditions and to improve its beauty, here are some examples of it.
Aloe vera gel is one of the best cure for sunburn. This is caused by the polysaccharides inside the aloe vera that helps skin repair and new skin cells form and grow. Besides, the cooling nature of the gel is soothing so it provides relief from the painful burn. After baking yourself under the sun for too long, you will need some aloe vera gel wonder that will treat your skin right.
Just like how it soothes sunburn, aloe vera gel will also help heals other irritation you have. Irritation caused by inflammation that comes with different skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. The compounds in aloe vera gel, such as acemannan, suppress this inflammation.
Aloe vera has an ability to kill bacteria, which might be the reason your skin suffers from irritation and forms acnes. Moreover, it also contains salicylic acid, which is an exfoliant. Aloe vera gel helps you to exfoliate the dead skin cells and unclog pores so it will be very helpful to treat your blackheads and pimples. Moreover, it also soothes the inflammation on the oil glands that might be overproducing and contributing to the acne.
Prevents dark spots
Just like the ability to heal you from sunburnt, aloe vera gel also prevents skin discoloration by suppressing the hyperpigmentation caused by the UV ray. With this mechanism, dark spots will be prevented.
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