Prom can be ridiculously expensive, with some students spending more than the average monthly income for a four member family. The Arbutus Improvement Association is helping out this weekend by giving away prom dresses. There are more than one hundred available. More information can be found here: http://baltimore.craigslist.org/zip/4391349072.html
There are a ton of free recipe sites around but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Betty Crocker site. Not only are there tons of recipes but they are laid out in an easily searchable format. And they frequently have lots of coupons. There are currently more than 120 dollars worth of coupons available now. http://www.bettycrocker.com/coupons-promotions/coupons/default
For now I leave you with this recipe for Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin. Just the thing for the fall season. The site even goes so far as to tell you which local grocery stores have recipe items on sale. For me there are three stores with butternut squash on sale.
Some of the Best of Tor.com is now available for preorder for the terrific price of zero dollars and zero cents. I've read a few of the short stories before and they are all the kind of terrific storytelling we expect from Tor. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/10/pre-order-some-of-the-best-from-tor-dot...
My mom used to go off on little rants about Bisquick. She said it was only flour and baking powder (I have no idea if there is any truth to this) and it was ridiculous to pay such high prices for a product that only saves on step in the baking process. She would have loved the idea behind these do it yourself mixes.
According to the Loving Life for Less blog the idea is you do the mixing of dry ingredients in advance, put them in a jar and attach the instructions. Then you're set for the next few times you are going to cook these things up.
I might be tempted to get some extra containers and make a bunch of jars worth of mixes. Slap a nice label and a ribbon on them and you have a nice but inexpensive gift.
FEMA has an interesting page with good information about what to do post disaster. (Although it's really best if you read it before a disaster, so you're prepared.) It talks about dangers, like animals that take over your house, how to get assistance and what to do healthwise to recover, including signs of stress to watch for.
It's only about eleven pages so a pretty fast read.
Just a quick reminder that if your circumstances change you should reevaluated any credits or assistance you receive. If you lose your job while your kids are in school they may qualify for free or reduced lunches. If they are in college they may be eligible for more financial aid.
Conversely if your financial outlook is better then you should check to make sure you still qualify for any assistance you or your family is getting. Some entities don't care, they go by your financial situation at time of application, but others require any change to be reported within a week or so.
Yvette Nicole Brown from Community shared a link to this terrific article on how to get important legal and financial situations organized. Called Rhonda’s Rules: A Woman’s Guide to Getting Her Affairs in Order, it's a list of things that many of us put off for too long, or for forever. Written following the loss of a dear friend, the piece covers planning that will make a crisis easier to deal with. Topics include personal, which includes wills, financial, which covers everything from trusts to insurance, professional, and children.
The last one can be the hardest to do. In general we don't like to try and make plans for the care of our children when we are out of the picture, but we also definitely don't want them being pushed into a household with a different method of childrearing and moral values.
The list is a bit overwhelming, covering a lot of ground, so if you feel like you can't tackle it try doing one thing per day. It will take a while but you'll eventually get it done with minimum stress.
Losing a pet can be incredibly difficult. Trying to decide if and when euthenasia is the best choice for your pet can be even more difficult. We have rats for pets, which have short lives and get cancer if you look at them funny. But they can thrive and be happy even with tumors as big as they are. So at what poiint are they in pain? My vet is fantastic at giving us advice and tips on what to look for - both signs of them enjoying life and signs that they have become too ill and in pain to have a good quality of live.
But not everyone has that sort of advice available. This is where the ASPCA pet loss page is a huge help. They have two FAQs as well as a page dedicated to advice on how families can cope with the loss of their pet. And they have a pet loss hotline which offers:
Assistance with the decision to euthanize.
Comfort and support at the time of euthanasia.
Help with grieving the loss.
Advice on dealing with children, the elderly or disabled individuals who are facing a death of a companion animal.
Helping the surviving animals in the household to cope.
Assistance in establishing a relationship with a new pet.
I'm a big fan of the zesty commercials, which is written from the female gaze, instead of the male gaze that permeates so many ads. (Think women in bikinis promoting beer.) Kraft has released a cookbook, which is laid out more like a pin-up calendar, featuring recipes that use Kraft dressings. Like the commercials the images and text are hilarious. You can download it for free here: http://www.getmezesty.com/cookbook.html
May from EnviroHealth Consulting, Inc. has some great info on her site http://www.mold-control-on-a-budget.com/index.html She has DIY tips for handling mold yourself, as well as guide to figuring out if the job is too big for the average homeowner to tackle. I ended up on her site after my kitchen sink sprung a leak.
My favorite part of her site is the Green House page which includes a lot of information on what we can do to make our homes healthier. Many of them are fairly simple but may not have occurred to you on your own. http://www.mold-control-on-a-budget.com/documents/65.html