How to build your safe pantry

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Everyone knows that with food sensitivities and special diets that eating WILL become a chore! However, I believe that preparation is the key to success for your health!

You couldn’t possibly be able to come home late from work and put together a quick meal if you’re gluten-free and all you have is regular pasta in your pantry!

Recipe for disaster!

 

You need a plan!

You need to have on hand everything you could possibly need to throw together a quick, healthy and yes, a simple meal.

So, what do I do?

I stock my pantry. (And my freezer and fridge) with “SAFE” staples. The things I need and always fall back on, so when life throws you a curve ball and that detailed lasagna you wanted to make with that expensive special gluten free lasagna noodle can be switched for a quick stir-fry when time is of the essence!

 

Below is a list of MY staples. Yours may be different, but I hope that it will be helpful for you if you’re just starting out a new way of eating. In my case everything has to be gluten-free.  So, I try to find products that my non-gluten-free family can enjoy as well.  In order for me to stick to my diet they have to eat the same way. (There’s no way I am making two pots of pasta or two different stir fry’s!) I can only do so much, so it’s eat it or starve!

San-J Tamari Gluten free soy sauce
Barilla Gf pasta
Great Value gf pasta (It’s actually really good!! Found at Wal-Mart)
Presidents Choice gf pasta (Found at Loblaws)
Asian rice noodles ( I find these in the international food sections)
Cans or jars of your favourite pasta sauce (Read the label!! I found a few no-no ingredients in some)
frozen stir fry veggies (Costco has a great blend)
frozen veggies of all kinds
frozen fruits
cans of beans (or dried beans home cooked and frozen in small portions)
spices and seasonings (Read labels carefully!)
jumbo costco sized bag of rice
quinoa
instant broth cubes (read the label, not all are gluten free!!) I use these to make quinoa otherwise it tastes like cardboard!
gluten free bread or buns, keep them in the fridge or freezer
cans of tomatoes, I use the less salt variety

After scanning many recipes for gluten free baked goods, I noticed a trend to a handful of regulars, so with my trusty Bulk Barn near by I stock up on enough to get me through a few months.

* Note: many who are severely Celiac should not buy gluten free flours from the Bulk Barn because of cross contamination. Bulk Barn had actually removed the gluten-free labels on these flours and starches because they cannot actually prove that they didn’t come into contact with gluten-rich products! The scoops alone could be switched around even if they’ve been washed!

 

Anywhooooo, the best way to get this done is to start slowly!

Always Remember to Write on the Tag What it is you are bagging up!

Here is a list of my gluten-free baking supplies:
arrowroot powder
amaranth powder
rice flour
teff flour
potato starch
potato flour
tapioca starch
almond flour
coconut flour
sorghum flour
guar gum
xanthan gum
corn flour
corn meal

 

* Note #2- a lot of these powders are white or off white, so not only should you label the bin code on the Bulk Barn tag, but write the name on the other side so when you get home you will know which is which! I ended up putting brown rice flour into my sorghum jar and sorghum into brown rice and never noticed until they were both side by side on the cupboard. they are very slightly different shades of beige!

 

I bought cute jars from Ikea that fit nicely on top of my cupboards to store all these flours. I also have them labeled! Technically, I should have them all refrigerated to keep them from spoiling, however, I use them quite often and have not had any problems!

 

This is how I keep my pantry ready for anything!  I have recipe books and Pinterest, of course! I try to keep an open mind to make what my family likes, but sometimes I just have to make foods that only I will eat.  It makes more work for me but in the end I have containers of extras to eat for lunches during the week.  One way to sabotage your efforts is to not be prepared with easy to grab foods!  The next best thing to help you keep at it is to have a menu plan! While you may not eat exactly what you wrote down for Monday on that particular day, it helps give you an idea of what you CAN make with what yo have on hand!

Dollarama Grocery Challenge- Budgeting Series Part 2

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Hi There!

Welcome to the Dollarama Grocery Budget Challenge!  Where you eat lunch, dinner and dessert or snacks, from foods purchased at the Dollarama!

I thought I would continue from my last post with a few examples to help you get your creative mind in action!

I know for a fact that there are many reasons why planning for a week can be hard, and budget is the Number 1 reason on my list.  I want to be able to make whatever I want, when I want it, but there are too many things that make that an impossibility! So, that makes your grocery budget and its flexibility( or lack there of) incredibly important!

So, I am going to assume that healthy eating is important, and that you have no specific dietary restrictions other than cutting out the crap!

I am also going to assume the you are short on time as well as cash, so getting what you can all in one shop is helpful.  Generally, I wouldn’t advocate that kind of grocery shopping because splitting your shopping to get you the best quality and the best price are very important tips to keep in mind. Plus Dollarama doesn’t carry foods like cow’s milk, eggs or cheese. (But almond and soy milk are available!For $2 a carton!)

But this is just one week, and it’s a game. So there!

I’ve included a picture here of the menu I devised based on what I found this week at the Dollarama.  I hope you can see it clearly!

Here’s a break down:

Monday Lunch is sandwiches.  Depending on what you like you can have pbj’s or tuna, chicken, ham or lunch meat…all available at the Dollarama, including wonder bread!(in some locations)

Monday Dinner is Pasta with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese and dessert is a pudding cup.

Lunches from now on will be leftovers from the night before, so always make a bit extra at dinner for this purpose…if not you’ll be eating sandwiches again!

Tuesday Dinner is stirfry.   You can get rice, canned veggies and canned chicken breast pieces and even soy sauce! Simple.

Wednesday dinner is Indian Chickpea Curry!  Adventurous and easy!  Again use the rice you already bought, 1 can of coconut milk, some spices (this shop does have individual spices if you need to buy them),a can of tomatoes and a can of chickpeas! Done!  Click the link for a recipe or go online to find one you like!  Dessert can be another pudding cup.

Thursday dinner will be more simple. I find that by this time of the week I am tired and don’t want to cook anymore!  So soup with extra pasta and crackers on the side!  Of course, this means you’ll be hungry again before bedtime rolls around so instead of dessert, have a lighter snack of hummus and crackers.  Dollarama does sell premade hummus, and it’s okay, but if you have a blender and a couple of dollars more then buy the tahini, can of chickpeas, garlic powder and lemon juice and make your own.  It will be much better!

Friday dinner will be breakfast for dinner!  It takes more time, but you don’t have to wake up early tomorrow, so indulge tonight!  Make pancakes!!  (this is assuming you have milk and eggs if not then you can make any of the meals from earlier this week to enjoy again!)  Dessert can be canned fruit drizzled with maple syrup!

Saturday dinner will be tuna burgers!  This is a recipe I came up with for my kids.  Crush crackers of any kind, mix with the drained tuna.  I added pureed veggies to get my kids to eat more veggies, but you can use canned veggies for extra texture.  For flavour you can add bb-q sauce, or ketchup.  Squeeze the patties together and fry on a non stick pan.  Enjoy with a side of veggies and pasta or rice.  Later on you can have some popcorn and chocolate with a movie!

Sunday dinner will be pasta salad.  You can use pasta and canned veggies and salad dressing tossed together. you can even rinse diced tomatoes and add them as well!  Dessert can be cereal marshmallow bars (Like rice crispy squares, but use another cereal instead)!

 

So now comes the question how much is this going to cost?

Just under $50!!

This does include the cost of the ingredients to make your own hummus, if you buy the pre-made, then you’ll spend less there, too.

 

I have to say that there are a few things that I feel could lower your weekely bill, too.  If you were to keep an eye on your local grocery store flyers you may get for a cheaper price…those would be great prices for your pantry building challenge (Coming Soon!)  I think these prices can reflect feeding 2 people comfortably.  Therefore more people means a higher price tag, but you can use simpler recipes with less ingredients than these! For example they have KD for $1 each, two boxes with a side of veggies and you’ve got a meal to feed four people for $3! Instead of the $4 the Indian Curry will cost you!

 

Not Too Shabby!!!

 

So, would you try this out for one week? What is you grocery budget for the week normally?  How would this help you save money for something else?

Download my free menu planning worksheet and try it! Your Wallet will thank you!

Keep me posted!  Take a picture of your menu plan and your grocery haul!  Let me know how it’s going!

Take care and Be well!

Sylvie

Running out- Budgeting Series

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Dollarama Challenge

I am challenging you today!   We are nearing the end of the month, money is tight and you are still hungry!   Not many people think outside the grocery store box when it comes to grocery shopping.  that is usally why people complain about how much food costs!

Here in Canada we are not blessed with many chains to choose from that offer more bites for our dollars.  I envy blog posts for those in the U.S. that can shop for a family of five for a whole month and spend $200!

There are a few chains that have lower prices, but buyer beware: longevity of these foods are not a consideration!!  I also have to warn you that sometimes you can find meat cheap, but it may not be Canadian.  This is an issue for a whole different post that I may never get to.

Any-who, back to the stores* that sell food here in Ottawa (not going over to Quebec):

  • Loblaws
    • Independant
    • Great Canadian Superstore
    • NG cash and carry
    • No Frills
    • T&T (Asian)
  • Metro
    • Food Basics
  • Sobey’s
    • FreshCo(Price Chopper)
  • Produce Depot(which is exclusive to Ottawa)(Produce and meats are cheaper not dairy or shelf stable items)
  • Giant Tiger
  • Whole Foods
  • Costco
  • Dollar Tree
  • Dollarama

 

  • Note that there are major store names with the black bullet point, and other names with a white bullet point, well the white ones are all owned by the name above it with a black bullet point.
  • Those names italicized are the cheapest available.

 

 

Back to my point!  These are all available here but most are expensive enough to make you sweat- a lot if you have to pinch your pennies! Yup, I made the joke, there are no pennies left in Canada!!

So, challenge you to make as many meals as you can from shopping at Dollarama!

Using the free download below, plan your meals for a week using what you have in your pantry and what you can get from the Dollarama.  Try it out!!  Share your haul! Post me a picture of your menu and the items you purchased to my Facebook page!  Let’s keep this conversation going!

Menu Planning

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In our busy lives it’s really hard to eat well and on a modest budget.  If you have the right tools you can make it easier!  That’s why I’m here!  I can help!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent many hours scouring the internet and subsequently many fabulous blogs that tout the benefits of meal planning.  Well, I hate doing it!  I am terrible at it!  You sit down with every cookbook in your arsenal and a few dozen of your favourite blogs and recipe sites open on your computer or tablet and try to fill in a whole month’s worth of meals.

The hard part is trying to anticipate everyone’s schedules.  Then there’s those days when nothing goes right!  How about a sudden snow storm! Or the very worst thing to happen to your family…viruses!  Nothing kills a menu plan and a fridge full of perishable food more than a virus screaming its way through your family!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why it works and how it should work.  I find it the same as an actual budget- really hard to stick to.

I like variety, and spontaneity and find that a month already mapped out is constricting!  I actually look at the plan for the day, week and month and decide that I don’t like any of those options!  Can I get any more self-defeating?  The whole purpose is to ACTUALLY save time AND money!  I know I need to work on this!

 

Life is a work in progress!

 

So, that being said I am including a free menu planning printable for you to use!  I hope you find it useful!  I purposely designed it to be one week and only one week!  That way there is less pressure!  And the bonus is after a few weeks, you can shuffle them and create new menus!

Weekly Menu Plan

This is my newest creation!  I designed a menu plan that works for one week!  It contains a shopping list, a pantry list, a legend, and a future planning list.  Inside there are detailed instructions on how to use this file!

I hope you like it, but if you feel that there is something missing that could be uber useful, let me know and I can add it in!  Leave me a comment with a picture of your chart! I’d love to see what you’ve done and what you’ve been eating!

How to Start a Successful Blog

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Seriously? How many of these posts are out there?

It seems like everyone who has a blog that has thousands of followers have posts just like this.  It also seems that they are the odd percentage of bloggers that post their monthly income reports to show staggering amount of money earned just by doing (point 1; point 2; point 3).
So, here I am with my little beginner blog trying to read ALL THOSE DAMN POSTS!! And it occurred to me there seems to be one large mistake that they all make…

HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?

 

I know that list of this app, or that affiliate program, or that plug in is in fact useful for us to know. But, I want to know how does it actually get you money?  Because the “really good ones” cost money, which i don’t have.



All the helpful tips and suggestions are fab, but I must be daft when it comes to the odd inner workings of blogs, webs and income strategies, because it makes me more confused after reading them all.

I just spent all of last night reading each and every income report for the amazing blog makingsenseofcents, and am in awe of the dollar amounts I see there every month!  There is information about what she does to earn that, but how in the hell am I going to do that?

 

It also occurs to me that the big bucks are being rolled in on e-books and e-courses that teach specifically how to blog, or affiliate market, or whatever else!  Is that the clue?  I don’t really need to worry about how to blog specifically as long as I can sell you a class that teaches you?  That can’t be right, obviously. I mean many of these amazing ladies have been working their blogs for years!  It has to pay off, all that experience.

I know that this (slight) amount of frustration is coming from my impatience…I want to see dollars accumulating!  I want to see responses to my posts and feedback!  I want to see followers!

 

Breath….I am impatient!  So Sorry!!

 

I will figure it out….now I need to understand why I don’t see any ads from the Adsense account I linked to this blog.  Any ideas what I did wrong?  I went through the application, gave the proper web address…now what?

The Great Diaper Rash Spray That I designed!

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This post contains affiliate links!

 

Hey there, Momma’s!

 

I wanted to boast a little about a product that I designed and have been testing!  It’s none other than the No Touchy! Diaper Rash Spray.

I am sure that many of you have been tortured when your littles’ get a bad bout of diaper rash and your forced to rub thick, white globs of poisonous petroleum based products!  Then try not to cry when you have inevitably caused your baby more pain because of touching and pulling their delicate skin!

Let me tell you a little story.   My second son had an allergy to milk based formula, which of course we didn’t know right away!  So, his rashes were awful!  And to top things off his rashes became worse when we used anything with high levels of zinc!  He would see me coming with the tins and tubes of white glop and he would cry and repeat over and over “No Touchy, No Touchy, Mama, peeeese, no touchy.”  What’s a Mom to do then? I get teary eyed just remembering his little voice!

Fast forward a few years, and I had an epiphany!  I just wish it had come to me sooner!  I could make a product and know for certain that it was the best option possible because I would use only plant-based organic products!

I found a great company in Oregon, but after a year I couldn’t use them anymore, as they couldn’t ship across the border!  Then I found a great company based out of Toronto…perfect!  So, after tinkering with the ingredients I felt confident enough to try it out on my third baby that had just been born.  Eureka!  Not only did it work, it worked overnight with one application!  The more ferocious the rash the longer it did take, but there were no tears, no tantrums, no begging!  Even now, as my youngest is 5 and learning to take care of his bathroom needs, there are inevitably a few “misses” and a rash ensues.  Spray on this product and bam! by morning it’s gone!

I felt so strongly that I was on to something that I took a correspondence course in aromatherapy to learn more about essential oils!  It was fabulous!

 

It’s Not Only for Diapers!

 

I have used this to help a child (and myself many times!!) heal burns to the hands from cooking.  Heat rashes in the underarms, skin rubbing on thighs and even after a little bit too much exuberance with not enough lubricant (wink-wink)!  This heals them all!!

 

Yes, I am tooting my own horn!  Sure.  Why not?

 

I have had friends buy this from me, and have experienced the same benefits!  So, why not head over to Amazon and buy one for yourself!  Try it out and leave me a review!

 

Thanks Sylvie!

How to Treat Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis WITH Food

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Note:  Please do not consider this medical advice in lieu of direction from your doctor!  This is what worked for me.  It may not be right for you!

 

After my energy recovery from having my third child failed to actually recover I spent many hours on the web trying to come up with answers.  of course, as many of you know this is the most DANGEROUS way to gain knowledge!

I had false self-diagnoses of a myriad of diseases that had me dying within the year!  So, as any self respecting dying woman would do, I went to my doctor to have her confirm the bad news!

Thankfully, the news never came.

It turned out that one of the two thyroid hormones was drastically low.  If any of you reading this knows a thing or two about thyroid hormones you’ll know that they can be fixed with synthetic thyroid replacement…of course my problem was one was low and one was high!  Not quite normal parameters for a definitive diagnosis of Hypothyroid disorder.

So what does that mean?  Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

 

This is not a thyroid disorder exactly, but an immune system disorder confusing the thyroid genetic make-up with foreign invaders to your body and attacking it.  This causes hypothyroid symptoms, inflammation of the thyroid, unexplained weight gain, inability to lose weight, temperature management issues, severe fatigue.  Anyway, you get the point!

Then with a diagnosis in hand, you then ask “What now?”

The basic recommendation is to avoid gluten…at all costs!  Gluten has a genetic make-up almost identical to your thyroid so every time you eat just one cookie, or one muffin or bagel, you send a rush of antibodies through your system to protect against the dangerous invader!  the more often you take this hit the more likely you are to have goiter, your thyroid swells and inhibits your ability to breathe, swallow or talk normally.  Your neck feels tight and the lump directly in front of your voicebox feels sore and pronounced. Not at all cool!

My choice then was adopt a Gluten-Free Diet!  

Did you know that prepared gluten-free foods cost a serious fortune?  Holy Baloney!

 

I ended up learning as much as I could over the years prior to this diagnosis because my body gave me different signs that I wasn’t digesting wheat very well. (Strange, huh? It was almost as though this was an early sign that I needed to stay away from gluten.  But why I didn’t stay on the diet that time is another story!)

While the local Bulk Barn had all I needed in ingredients, I needed an arsenal of recipes to learn from!  I couldn’t afford to eat the prepared foods all the time, so I would have to learn to  make my own.  I am still trying to find bread recipes that don’t feel and taste like eating a dry sponge!

As hard as it is to stick to this way of eating, I noticed a problem.

I didn’t feel better!

I tried adopting the Paleo Diet.  It emphasizes meats, produce and some grains.  There are Paleo purists that don’t consume certain produce, dairy or even certain “Gluten acceptable” grains, but this was really finicky for me.

I had a melt down!  You see, my early teen years were plagued by the self-induced horror that is anorexia.  I never sought professional help, but somehow managed to get through by getting tired of being hungry.  But, I never really healed mentally.

Having to be incredibly nit-picky about every little thing was causing “My Diet” to be “My Everything”.  I have kids, a husband, and extended family, a small business, and multiple things i’m working on as potential income strategies….and no time to have “My Food” consume my EVERY thought.  It makes me anxious and agitated, therefore the melt down!

I still felt lousy, and exhausted ALL.THE.TIME!

Researching further about how food was causing my body to react I realized that Hashimoto’s is not the only problem I am facing.  I am facing food sensitivities and systemic reactions that are giving my body constant upheavals.  I have signs of joint degeneration in my knees. Yup at 38, my knees are those of an 80 year old.  Great..

Why?

Diet.  Hmm….so what causes inflammation in the joints?   Animal Products.  Interesting.

Now, I have to stick to a Gluten-Free-Vegan Diet?  Stress causes more inflammation and now this diet causes me stress….

How do you explain to meat eating Europeans that there is more to a vegan diet than a bowl of lettuce?  or that the potato salad from KFC is not actually a salad?? (Breathe…focus…problem solve)

When I stick to it for more than three days…i feel it works.  My knees don’t hurt as much, I have energy to spare, most times…and my gut health has improved!  I figured out a way to make it work without anxiety…keep the foods i need to eat, easy to prepare and ready to go!

A little bit of work in advance helps me make the right choice. And bringing my own food with my everywhere helps, too!

A Cheap Mom’s Guide To Vacationing in Vermont

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For the third year in a row, my family and I pack up the car and head down to Vermont for a vacation.  Every year we noticed how expensive this beautiful state is and every year we say the same thing “We should not be vacationing here!”

Well, that may not be entirely true!  It takes careful planning and prep work.  If you are creative enough and happened to choose your time during the warm season, then cheap may be an easier option than you think!

While we haven’t traveled to Stowe during the winter months, summer time can be fun, if it’s warm!  We were there the last week of August this year and it was cold!!  (FYI~ sweaters are not easy to find!!)

Anyway! Getting back to my point.  There are many alternatives for accommodations but many fill up fast so planning for a week in the summer is mandatory in January!

For example, Camping.   You can sleep in tents, for the hard core camper. Or use RV’s and campers, use state provided lean-to’s or even a cabin in a state park.  Vermont State Parks has a great website to book online from.  We booked a cabin for five days, while cooking has to be done the on fire or a coleman propane cooker it was more fun and a hellofalot cheaper than eating out every meal!

We chose a cabin at Lake Carmi, yes, it is at the very top of the state, but as Canadians, it was ideal because it was close to the border crossing off highway 108 (That’s right, not the 89! No hour-long wait times!)

 

Image result for lake carmi

Next to the park is a small town by the name of Enosburg Falls, and it has a Hannafords.  The prices at this grocery store aren’t crazy exorbitant, I can tell you we got steaks for dinner and fed five people and two dogs for $5!!  Meanwhile, when we stayed at a hotel for two nights in Stowe a small steak that barely fed 1 person went for $30!  U.S.!

So, now you’ve got cheap accomadations, bring your own bedding and equipement, but you’re only 45 minutes from Burlington, and an hour from Stowe, less if you choose to take the interstate, we never did.

And let me tell you about the GAS!!!!!

As an Ottawa native we pay a fair bit for gas!  We left town at $1.05 per litre and returned to see it at $1.30 per litre.  granted that is higher than normal.  Harvey has made an impact there, as well.  But, as I was saying, gas prices in Vermont averaged about $2.43 per GALLON!  Upon quick glancing it may seem as though Vermonters are paying more for gas, but look again….4 litres make up 1 gallon….so if we choose the lesser amount I showed above, I paid $4.20 for the 1 gallon of gas.

So, filler up! Especially before you leave the state!  We have to drive through Montreal to get home and they had prices in the $1.40’s!!! per litre!!

Now, I used many different online hotel searching/booking sites to get a great deal on a hotel for a couple of days after we left the camping site…think clean sheets, warm showers, wi-fi and tv for the kids!

After comparing we noticed a flaw in the system!   Many of the sites that claim to find you the best deal cheat you on those deals…read the information on the actual hotel info page before booking anything…there are hotel fees that are not included in the big bold prices tag that got your interest!  many of the sites had fees listed that the hotel will charge you upon arrival that caused you to end up paying more than another booking site that didn’t hide all those fees but included them in your quote.  So, be cautious!

Choose one hotel and compare on many sites, including their own!  Many times I have found a better deal by going straight to their own site!  If it’s not a busy weekend but weekday dates you are searching for, try just driving in, like we’ve done in the past.  I knew the rates online, and decided to let fate decide if we would stay in Vermont a few extra days or just go home…and ended up with an upgraded room for far less than the regular room we would have booked online! But don’t do this over the weekends…there are usually no vacancies anywhere!

Now onto food while staying in Stowe, Vermont!  Talk about freaking crazy insane!!  We grabbed the dining magazine and noted which restaurants were labelled as budget friendly…and had actually dined at that location on a day trip while still camping…not budget friendly at all!! We paid $80 usd for burgers, fries and milkshakes…not cheap at all!

There are many great dining experiences, and if saving money there is not your worry then go ahead and eat where ever you want…but if cheap is better then there are only a few options open to you that I found out this summer…

 

Shaws a grocery store at the outer edge of Stowe Village on Mountain road…but as it’s the only grocery store for miles, it’s not incredibly cheap, but much better than an $80 lunch bill.

How about your hotel?  Does it offer breakfast? Grab a few pieces of fruit and a couple of bagels and use them with your lunch!  You can actually build a bacon bagel sandwich and wrap it up to take with you! Use your refillable water bottles and fill with juice, then use your camping cups to share it.

Edelweiss deli on Mountain road, after the Smuggler’s Notch Resort but before you get to the main Village (On the right side)  they cook their own deli and have bread from a local bakery, and even have gluten free buns…while they are expensive (Think $10 for one sandwich) I have a solution!

Got your own cups? You should, you’ve just been camping!  Buy a bottle of juice to share.

Have four mouths to feed?  Get two sandwiches from the deli, and a loaf of bread and split the sandwiches outside at the picnic tables and make four for the price of two!  They are generous with the amount of meat they put in there so no one will feel their sandwiches are stingy.

Don’t forget to bring along a backpack filled with water bottles and snacks…smaller restaurant bills can be had if you’ve been snacking! you can get cheap snack at the grocery store, don’t think convenience stores will do you any good!  you pay for that little shop!

Also, try to keep your activities bills low and keep to hiking trails, free outdoor events, hotel amenities are great, too!  We recently stay at Innsbruck Inn and they have a pool, three hot-tubs, a tennis court, soccer nets, (and the equipment to use them), s decent sized lawn to run around with the kids and a play structure.  There is also free use of four bicycles!  This part is great as the property is adjacent to the bike trail that leads you right into Stowe Village! So check out your hotels amenities, there may be more than you realized!

 

This post contains amazon affiliate links.

I am not in any way linked to the Vermont State Park, Hannafords, Shaws, Edelweiss Deli or Innsbruck Inn and am not earning benefits by my recommendations.

The First One Under My Belt

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As I promised, I would update you often on the “Work from home Options” options that are available.  Granted it is still summer around here and the schedule is CRAZY!  I do hope that with the kids going back to school in two weeks that I can settle into a better schedule of research and implementation!

I have started with Toluna.ca (For Canadians.) There is a .com for Americans.  It is a survey site that earns you points for every survey that you complete, either fully or cancelled by the system based on the demographic questions you’ve answered at the beginning of each survey.

It is a bit tedious, so far, to be honest.  I think I may have gone through 10 to 15 surveys already and most run about 20 to 30 minutes.  While you can earn 1200 to 2000 points for that time frame, or alternatively 200 points if they don’t “need” you to finish the whole thing, it does take a lot of points to redeem for gift cards. It is a bit time consuming for a work online experience, that seems to give moderate return for the time investment.  However, as this post says this is the first one under my belt!

It takes 30,000 points to get a $10 gift card, $75,000 points to get a $25 gift card. There are many different retailers, restaurants and services that are available in gift card format, like Starbucks and Itunes.  But there is also another option that is not right up at the top: The Paypal gift card. At 60,000 points for $20 increment redemption it is possible to get cash outs.

 

There are also entries earned for every survey completed to earn large totals of points.  While clicking around I found a tab for Test Products, while there are no products available currently, it is an option with this company that you can be sent products that you test and review(and get to keep) So, as I achieve more with this site I will add updates to this post.

If you have been working with Toluna, leave comments below on your experiences with them!

Thanks a bunch!

Sylvie

 

**IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not earning anything from this post, nor any click throughs to Toluna that you may do.  It is entirely all my opinion and am not receiving any compensation.

Can I make $1000 a Month?

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Hi Friends,

In our never-ending world of Pinterest Posts showing off Blogging Income Reports where people are making well over $80,000 a month, surely I can figure out how to make $1000!

 

          Seriously??

 

I will spend my time reading the “How I did it” blog posts and all the “How you can too” posts.  I’ll try to keep detailed notes on all the steps and how they worked. (or how they failed!)  So far, I’ve encountered many posts about “How to start a money-making blog in 5 easy steps!”  Now let me tell you something…5 steps may SEEM easy, but for a beginner navigating the world of WordPress is riddled with many step-by-step guides and YouTube videos.  Yet, you can STILL easily SCREW IT ALL UP!

For example:

Choosing a Theme isn’t as simple as you think!  WordPress gives you an image and you are supposed to know exactly how your blog is going to look using that image…um…NO!  Then you spend hours trying to figure out how to make everything “fit” only to find out that it doesn’t have the options you wanted in the first place.  Or the page looks like a glossy magazine layout instead of a friendly blog page.

Don’t get me started (not yet anyway) on linking to Amazon!  I couldn’t even tell you what happened to me there, yet.  I haven’t figured out how I messed up that one…but monetizing with Amazon is hard.

It all seems too good to be true!  However, someone really is making money somewhere…I just wonder if the money they are making isn’t actually from their “blog” but from the posts and ebooks that teach you “how” they did it!  Do you see the difference?

 

So, I will start with this pre-fortune post and keep adding more as I Learn and Earn! If I am lucky enough to have income reports I will add them as well!  I can be hopeful, right?

 

Sylvie