Viewing category ‘do more with less’


Thanksgiving leftovers? Here’s what to do with them

Categories: Frugal Living, cooking, do more with less

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It’s 9 p.m. The dishes are done. The kids are eying the extra pie, calling dibs on it for breakfast. The dog is looking longingly at the bones left on the table. And I’ve got about a metric ton of leftovers in the fridge and freezer.

What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

I think we all pretty much know what to do with what’s left of the turkey — use the carcass for soup, make a congee (a thin rice porridge), chop the meat into salad or stews, etc. (and if you need more inspiration, you can adapt some ideas from these suggestions for what to do with leftover roast chicken). Pies and Cakes equal breakfast the next day. But what about the rest of those Thanksgiving leftovers? The green beans? The mashed potatoes? The stuffing?

The internet is vast, so you can find the recipes that suit your family best. But here are a few great ideas:
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My family’s vegetarian adventure

Categories: Hacking Life, cooking, do more with less

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Back in the day—that is, long before he and I were together—my husband was a vegetarian. So much so that when his first child was born, back in the early 1990s, he fed her soy butter and “not dogs” and lots of tofu.

By the time his youngest child was born, though, in the mid-2000s, he was letting the baby lick steak off of a fork at the dinner table. So when the kind folks at Tribe Hummus and Veggie Patch offered to let my family try a bunch of vegetarian goodies in honor of October being vegetarian awareness month, I thought that perhaps those long-dormant vegetarian tendencies might surface again.
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Post-holiday help with leftovers

Categories: Hacking Life, Making Time, Uncategorized, cooking, do more with less

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This year was only the second one in nearly two decades in which I did not cook all or most of a ginormous feast for Thanksgiving. The first time was last year, and then I missed it so much that I cooked everything the next day, just so I could have leftovers to munch on. This year, I made two side dishes and didn’t miss cooking the main part much; my brother’s in-laws sent us home from their house with an ample supply of leftovers.

But you may be staring down half a turkey and a quart of cranberry sauce and wondering what to do with it all, let alone the sweet potatoes and the mashed potatoes and the rest of it. Here are some suggestions:
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How office supplies can save the day

Categories: Frugal Living, Hacking Life, The Juggle, Uncategorized, do more with less

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A couple of years ago, I hemmed a pair of pants while I was at the office –  while I was wearing them. I am proud to say that did not accidentally sew my cuff to my sock (don’t laugh, I’ve done it before) (oh, fine, go ahead and laugh, it’s funny), and I still think it was an example of one of my finer moments in multitasking.

I happened to have planned ahead that time, and brought a small sewing kit to work with me. But how often do I happen to have a sewing kit when a clothing conundrum strikes at work? Almost never, that’s how often.

So, in general, it’s office supplies to the rescue for me. Here are five ways that the stuff in your desk drawer can save the day – and you don’t have to be MacGyver to make it happen.
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Getting rid of all the candy (without eating it or bringing it to work)

Categories: Frugal Living, Parenting, The Juggle, do more with less

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The costumes have been put away (or, at my house, tossed on the floor because everyone wants to play dress-up later). The pumpkins are still sitting on the front step, faces mostly removed, masquerading as “Harvest Decorations” — in spite of the fact that I don’t decorate (sorry, Martha Stewart). The only trace of Halloween in my house right now, a mere two days after the big night, is the 4,000 or so pounds candy that’s sitting in my kitchen.

My kids, they scored.

My husband has been steadily chipping away at the mountain of Almond Joys, and my 4-year-old has told us in no uncertain terms that the Kit Kats are “the very best treats EVER” and that he will be VERY SAD if they disappear. My 6-year-old is fond of fruity, gummy, chewy things. But everything else? Fair game.

Aside from bringing it all into the office — which I’ve done before, along with everyone else who works there, and it is not a pretty sight — here are five tricks for using up all of those Halloween treats:
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Traveling for business? 10 things to know

Categories: Career, Hacking Life, The Juggle, do more with less


On my very first solo overseas trip, I spent three hours standing around a deserted airport in Bombay (it was still called Bombay, back then), waiting while my luggage sat, unattended, on the tarmack. On another trip, I plugged a borrowed laptop computer (borrowed from my employer, that is) into the wall in Hyderabad and watched, dumbstruck, while the outlet popped and sizzled before I yanked the power cord out of the wall.

On other trips over the years, I’ve ripped my luggage, packed wayyyy too much, packed wayyyyy too little, misplaced a passport, lost my purse, been unable to change money (pre-Euro) (who knew that Belgian Francs and French Francs weren’t interchangeable? Not me, then), had killer headaches and no medication in sight, and been inappropriately dressed while sight-seeing — all things that could have been prevented, if only I knew then what I know now.

But you can learn from my experience — and, of course, share your own in the comments! Here are some other things I wish I’d known the first time I traveled abroad by myself. And if you’re about to start traveling overseas for business, it might be good to print this out and pack it in your carry-on.

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’tis the (cold and flu) season. Here are 5 natural ways to cope

Categories: Frugal Living, Hacking Life, Uncategorized, do more with less

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A confession: I snore. Like a lumberjack. So much so that my husband keeps a flat speaker under his pillow, permanently tuned to NPR. And when I am sick, it gets much, much worse.

How bad does a sinus infection have to be for someone who has a fear of getting water up her nose to consider flushing out her sinus cavities with lukewarm saline? And then actually do it?

This bad, apparently.
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Reduce, reuse, recycle — really

Categories: Frugal Living, Hacking Life, Making Time, Uncategorized, do more with less


I had a housework-related epiphany of sorts the other day, and realised two things:

1.) My well-documented tendency to clutter isn’t about hording but about time management. A gut-wrenching first-person story about hoarding, written by my friend and former colleague Mike Rosenwald for the Washington Post Magazine, made this clear to me: It’s not that I can’t bear to part with things, or feel a need to own multiples of things, but that I feel like I don’t have time to sort through it all and so I save it until such time that I do. And, let’s face it: All working moms know that huge chunk of free time isn’t coming soon, no matter what the researchers say. So I might as well get to it.

2.) The biggest thing preventing me from clearing out the clutter was the fact that our storage areas are already full of stuff I probably don’t need to keep anymore. And I need to empty them out before my husband has a cleaning tantrum and does it for me.
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On mixing money and marriage

Categories: Frugal Living, Hacking Life, Uncategorized, do more with less


My husband and I have never merged our money. It doesn’t make sense for our blended family to also have blended finances, so in order to keep our assets and financial obligations and liabilities separate, we keep our financial accounts separate as well.

According to many marital and financial advisers, this is a recipe for disaster. “If you are keeping two separate accounts, then I seriously want you to reconsider the vows that you took with your spouse,” writes Erik Folgate at Money Crashers. “You stood up at the altar to show that you are dedicated to becoming one cohesive unit that functions together.”

But some financial experts have found that keeping separate accounts is becoming more common: people are marrying (or remarrying) later in life, they point out, and more women are outearning their husbands. And with credit scores having become so important, it makes sense for each spouse to build and maintain a credit record in his or her own name.

All I know is: It works for us.

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Coping with the Working Mom’s Witching Hour: Dinner in 15 minutes

Categories: Frugal Living, Hacking Life, Making Time, Parenting, do more with less


I call it The Working Mom’s Witching Hour: 6 p.m. or so. The kids are ravenous, I’m cranky, we’ve all just gotten home from work and school and childcare. It’s tempting to hand them a snack just to keep them from gnawing on the furniture, but then they won’t eat dinner. The food-o-sphere is rife with meals that you can make in 30 minutes or less, but what if you don’t even have a half hour to spare?

In our family, take-out isn’t often an option. Aside from the fact that our budget is tight right now, three of our five kids have food intolerances or allergies, which means anything with gluten is a no-no. That rules out pretty much anything that’s ready-made.

So how does The 36-Hour Day household cope? Here are my five go-to meals that can be made in 15 minutes.
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