5 Must Haves for Mom on a Budget Bloggers

Juggling a full-time job and a family life is huge, and with blogging on the side, how huge do you think it could get. There are times when things get so overwhelmingly hectic that a momentary hiatus from blogging is a welcome breather. That’s right, just surface out for a bit of air before diving right in again. This gives me the needed time to relax for a little while and organize my thoughts on just about anything.

With tons of mom-work to do, office works to finish,  and blog posts to write, I’m just so grateful that there are a few great things that are actually making my life as a mom blogger easier. Whats more is that these are all affordable, and if you are super tight on the budget, some of these have free versions which are already more than good enough. Mom on a budget like me couldn’t be for more happy and grateful.

Here are some of the things that are definitely useful for mom on a budget blogger like me.

  1. Adobe Lightroom CC. Photography enthusiasts, food and travel bloggers are probably familiar with lightroom.  It is an photo editing software that could be downloaded from the internet to a PC. My husband has got this as he is into photography. He loves it! It’s easy to use and very intuitive. I, on the other hand, do not have the patience to study the intricacies no matter how easy it is. However, I also  do not like presets. What I was looking for was an editing tool that is simple, handy, and gives quality results. And yaas! I found it, the Adobe Lightroom CC. I stumble upon it while looking for an photo editing tool at the App Store. It is super simple, the terms used are easy to understand. No need for an in depth study. And because it is a mobile app, I could edit my photos anywhere, anytime, both online and offline. I could work on my photos while waiting for my kids, or in between breaks in the office. Most of my photos here as well as my travel blog pauperslens are all edited using this.
  2. Adobe Spark Post. If you are looking for graphic designs and photo collages, yet got no time to sit in front of your PC or laptop; this is the app for you. It is a mobile app that allows you to create unique, personalized graphics for your blog, social media, and other businesses anytime, anywhere. It has hundreds of different, attractive, and beautifully designed templates to choose from, and each and every one of these templates can be personalized to your liking. I have several blog posts that I could not find an appropriate photo to go with, so I always turn to Adobe Spark Post for the needed idea. For example, Diverse Outdoor Activities for Children is a list type post; I have got photos for each activity but I needed one graphic or photo to show at the beginning of the post.

    mitchryan's blog
    created using Adobe Spark Post
  3. PowerDirector is a video editing app for mobile phones. What I have is a free version, nevertheless, it does what it is made to do and it does it well. It has the usual features of video editing app and more.  Splitting or cutting video clips is what I like about it,  simply because this is often unavailable in most free video editors I have came across so far.  And with so much fuss about  copywrite infringement in Youtube,  I’m glad PowerDirector has its own line of music that are free and Youtube ready.
  4. A smartphone is a blogger’s bestfriend! Phones have indeed become smart. Its functionality has exceeded far beyond its predecessors. Nowadays aside from voice call, smartphones are capable of video conferencing and more: blog, vlog, edit photos and videos, engage in social media, pay bills, research; the list is limitless.
  5. DesignCap is an online poster and flyer maker.  The poster I’m using for this post was made using DesignCap.  Lovely,  isn’t it?  There are plenty of templates to choose from.  I designed this poster in my laptop,  so it is easier to manuever in,  out,  and around the work space.  Personally I would prefer to save my photo in my computer before sharing it in social media. DesignCap allows you to do this which I am so glad for. Also,  you could design your business posters or flyers straight away without creating an account though it would be great to have one so you could manage them better. And most importantly, it’s free!

Here are some of its  features.

  • Hundreds of poster and flyer templates available 
  • Thousands of resources including clipart images, shapes, fonts, and backgrounds
  • Fully customizable that you can make your own unique poster and flyer
  • Convenient and quick: no download or registration required

Being busy and on a tight budget are not that bad after all,  thanks to these absolutely awesome blogging help.

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Mom on a Budget Strikes Again: Four-Ingredient No-Churn Avocado Moringa Powder Ice Cream

diy
Avocado Moringa Powder Ice Cream

We are a family of ice cream monsters. Yes all of us! We simply love ice cream. On special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and the Yuletide season, ice cream is a mainstay. An occasion would not be complete without ice cream.

Although commercial ice cream is affordable and can be easily bought from almost all supermarkets and convenience stores, I still want to try my hands on it. Anyways, it is possible nowadays to do it at home without any fancy machine. And of course there are hundreds of recipes available online, thanks to so many foodie bloggers out there.

I surfed the internet for a recipe that fits my finances. I found just what I need from Kirbie’s Cravings; her recipe only has three ingredients (avocado, condensed milk, and heavy cream). However, heavy cream on this part of the world is a luxury; it is so damn expensive! Since I’m a mom on a budget, I used evaporated milk together with the condensed milk instead of heavy cream. And I gave it a bit of a personal touch by putting in Moringa powder which my children did themselves. This is one creative way to feed Moringa to your child.

So here it is.

 

Avocado Moringa Powder Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 big avocado (mango)

1 can condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

Moringa powder (quantity depends on your preference)

 

Procedure

In a blender, add avocado, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and Moringa powder. Then hit that button.

Make sure everything is well blended. Freeze until solid, but give it a stir every now and then to prevent it from crystallizing. If you forget, it’s fine as long as it is well blended, it will still turn out delicioso!

 

Are you a big ice cream fan? Do you have any easy ice cream recipe I could try?

 

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Old School Socks Rag Rug: Mom on a Budget

Recycling and re-using are great ways to save money as well as contribute to a greener environment.

As a mom on a budget,  I’d recycle and re-used anything I could – old calendars,  magazines as gift wraps.  And I’ve always felt that old, loose school socks can still be made into something useful.  Whatever it is,  it couldn’t be given as pre-loved items or as thrift items.  It’s just not right.  Yet,  I still feel that it’s a waste if I just throw them away,  after all it’s cottony,  and some have these adorable prints on them.

I thought,  well,  why not make them into a rug.  So I did it,  the first try was a bit untidy.  As you can see the heels are tucked in but are not sewn in. The rug looks messy as the heels come out easily.  And notice, it’s hand-sewn because as it turned out the cordless, portable handy-stitch sewing machine I bought is a lemon.

Here it is.

diy rug
After realizing a few things from my first attempt, I made another one.  This time,  the rug looks neat than the previous one.

Here it is. 


So what I did here is,
1. Tuck the heel portion of the sock in and sew the socks together as shown in the photo (this is half of the rug,  make two). The number of socks will depend on how long you want your rug to be.
school socks rag rug
2. Sew the two halves together as shown here.

old school socks

This DIY old school socks rag rug is a pretty rough idea.  There are certainly a lot of room for improvement and creativity. If you happen to make a similar one please drop me a line about your creation.

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5 Amazing Changes to Your Living Room

Living room is the center of homeowners’ universe. It is the place where we spend most time and engage in conversation with our loved ones. Given this special purpose (both functional and emotional) it is the part of our home that matter the most.
Although people spend most of their life in this small room, they tend to neglect it awfully lot. Sometimes, you can see that interior design hasn’t been changed for decades and there is no indication it will be in near future.
Homeowners do not like addressing their living room as they often think that the costs will be too high. This isn’t always true. Sometimes, you can accomplish a lot with just a small investment. Let’s see what the best ways to do it are.

1. Adding a few mirrors
Mirror can do a lot for your space.
Due to its specific form and the fact they reflect things; you can accomplish various effects with them. In fact, mirrors are a cheap alternative to expensive paintings. Instead of decorating your whole walls with lots of paintings you can accomplish almost the same effect with one larger mirror.
Hollywood mirrors are especially neat. Besides the mirror itself, they come with lots of light bulbs that can deepen the experience for the viewer. You can start your mirror search by visiting HollywoodMirrors.co.uk where you will find a decent collection of illuminated mirrors for your home.

2.  Go for intricate wall paintings
Again, instead of getting paintings, you can paint a picture on the wall.
This form of art is really modern and artsy and it can be a good substitution to anything else you would’ve put on wall otherwise. It is something that sticks with a viewer and completely solves your problem.
However, do not do this yourself. It is much better if you get a proficient person to do the job. In the end, you wouldn’t like to repaint your walls again, wouldn’t you?

3.  Switching up things a bit
The oldest trick in the book is switching up your furniture. It might not be the best option and you can accomplish much more by simply purchasing a new set of items but it is by far the cheapest option at your disposal.
You should always try and reposition your stuff so that the room feels more homey. Try creating an oval shape with your sofas and chairs. This way, when your guests arrive, they will all be placed in a circle instead of rectangle. It is a small trick that most people neglect. However, it will have such a mental impact on your guests that they will feel as if you completely changed the whole room.

4.  Remove obstructive things from your windows
Here is a similar trick as the one with furniture.
You are not actually changing anything; instead you are simply removing excess things.
Most living rooms are exposed to the sunlight. There are likely windows or glass doors on one side of the room. Unfortunately, homeowners tend to ruin the atmosphere by adding curtains, putting plants near the windows or obstructing the view in some other way.
Natural light is great for your eyes and your psyche. Even if the light may seem overbearing at times, it definitely helps more than it makes the issue. So, make sure to introduce more of it.

5.  Buy new trinkets, refresh your photos
Everybody has small trinkets, items and photos in their living room. Although they may be important for us or remind us of something, think about changing them once in a while. If a photo is significant for you, you can simply relocate it to bedroom or some other area of your house. However, this swap as small as it may be is really significant for your living room décor.

These are certainly great ideas that work very well for living rooms.  What for other parts of the house, for instance the bathroom?

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Jumping on the Bandwagon on a Budget

It has been 7 years since I bought myself a decent phone.

The last decent phone I had was the Nokia N-72. After the robbery incident in our home, in which my beloved phone sadly got included, I never got myself to buy another phone in that price range and that time the Nokia N72 was around 200USD here in Thailand. And so I bought myself a call and text phone (Nokia 107) and said to myself it’s all I need.

Fast forward to the present, I was persuaded by my husband to get a new phone and keep myself abreast with the present times and also my longtime friend and companion, my trusty Nokia 107, was showing signs of conking out. As we went window shopping I was astounded by the sheer volume of choices. You got Samsung neck and neck with Apple. You got LG, Huwawei, Sony, Nokia, Oppo, and another Chinese manufacturer which I can’t remember the name. I was having difficulty choosing which one to get for myself. So I kept on calling off my purchase date.

To help me with my purchase my hubby asked me a few questions to eliminate some of the selections and narrow down the candidates.

1. How much are you willing to shell out?

2. What do you really intend it for?

3. Any particular designs, color, or quirks you like or hate?

Well, one thing is for sure, I do not want to shell out more than 300USD just for a phone. I need a phone that is big enough for me to check on my blog, Facebook, e-mails and whatnot,  without straining my eyes. It also should take very good photos (check them out here and join the phone photography challenge here) without me trying so hard at it. LOL!  With my budget I have ruled out any kind of i-Phone but I really do love how it looks and of course its quality. The Samsung J7 was our first candidate as it met all of the desired specifications. But after reading the online reviews giving us tons of negative feedback, we backed track a whole lot. After checking it out for ourselves it proved to be true. So we moved on to the next candidate, the “Oppo F1s” I have never used an Oppo phone before but I have heard that it is quite popular amongst the teenagers here in Thailand. They said if you can’t afford the i-Phone get an Oppo.

Now, I am a very skeptical person especially with brand names. I always ask or research about it until I am satisfied with all the information and give me an emphatic sound reassurance. Reading its users review at a very popular phone website gave us mostly positive reviews and opinions. So we checked it out and Lo and Behold. The feel of the Oppo is more premium than what you’d expect from a relatively inexpensive phone. With its metal body it gives you that heft of reassurance in your hand. It’s wide screen gives out crisp and clear images with rich colors. So there… We have narrowed down the specifications I have in mind. A phone within the 300USD price range, big enough to avoid any eye strain, takes good photos, and with the dashing looks of an i-Phone.

What things have you done or acquired recently to jump in the bandwagon?

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Ideas For A Small Bathroom

Mom on a budget

Even if you have a big house, you still might be constricted by small space in certain rooms. Usually, bathroom is the major culprit. This problem comes from the fact that we have to fit so many different items within this room. Each one of them takes a considerable amount of surface leaving us with so little space to move around. As you well know, this can pose a major problem given that bathroom is a place where we like to relax and take a nice shower after a long, hard day.

At the same time, this restriction poses a great problem if you wish to experiment and create something beautiful. Different rules apply when it comes to interior design of a small bathroom in comparison to a big one.
However, you shouldn’t be too concerned. There are some easy tricks which can help you arrange your bathroom space making it more functional.

1. Put mirror in a frame

There is a lot of clutter in small bathrooms. Because of this, we are restricted by the items which are within it. Even if you wish to decorate it, you will still have to consider various items and equipment so that you can make a sound composition. Instead of trying to make sense out of this chaos, you can try something completely different. Focus on one item and try to avert attention to it. Mirror is a logical choice. Most of us (consciously or subconsciously) look at the mirror as soon as we step into a bathroom. Use it to your advantage. Put a nice frame around it and make it the centerpiece of the room. By doing so, person will disregard all the other stuff and concentrate on this one item.

2. Organizing your make-up

Although you can keep your make-up someplace else, bathroom is the logical choice for it. However, if you don’t have enough space, it can cause all sorts of headache. Naturally, you will always put it in a cupboard or closed section in order to protect it from potential splashing. Small bathrooms can accommodate only small cupboards. Have in mind that besides make-up, you have to store various other objects inside such as clippers, spare soaps, deodorants, razors etc. Best way to get more space is to buy small plastic boxes for make-up. Now, you might argue that cases do the same job. But, there is a big difference. When make-up is in transparent boxes, you can easily see what you need and get it. This way you can avoid any mess which is caused when searching through cases. Also, it looks much nicer.

3. Rolling your towels

This practice is really common for hotels. Your probably noticed it over the years and wondered why they are doing it. When you are stacking towels one on top of another, you always have to take the one from the top regardless of which one you need. Otherwise, if you take the one from the middle or bottom, you will likely mess up the other ones. As a result, they will all look badly folded. If you wish to have a nice and cozy bathroom, you have to avoid this at all costs. After rolling your towels, you can put them vertically. This means that you can pick just the towel that you need, big ones for body, medium for hair and small for make-up. Simultaneously, by rolling them and putting them in a basket, you can make a nice arrangement. Your towels will look like a bouquet of roses which is enough of a reason to apply this trick.

4. Use boxes to your advantage

The biggest issue with small bathrooms is the way you are using ground space. In other words, your cupboards will usually be positioned under the sink or above it. In most of the cases, they will be floating around. This is a great thing as it gives you more space. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of space which can be used to store various objects. Use different boxes and place them on the ground level. Within them, you can keep spare toilet paper, detergents and other things which you seldom use. By doing this, you are accomplishing two things: you are both protecting them from water and other spills and keeping them out of visitors’ sight.

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