My confession for the day: I used to watch Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals almost daily when my kiddos were younger and still took naps. I loved that show. Every once in awhile, she'd put together a meal that she called "takeout at home" - or something along those lines. Anyway, the premise is making restaurant favorites in your own kitchen, thereby saving money and retaining control over the ingredients you put into the dish. My "go-to" dish (another nod to Rach there) that fits this bill is Nachos. This is one super easy, pretty cheap meal that's way healthier than the eat-out variety.

Last time that we talked about single parenting, we discussed how you can land your ideal job. But once there, how can you keep that job when you're the sole provider for your lovely but needy children?

As we continue to define investment terms, we come to technology stocks and emerging markets. Each of these terms is similar in that they define a type of stock that could be important to your portfolio, but each term is also different from the other. Let's take a look at what each entails.

Technology Stocks

Many single parents may find themselves starting a first career later in life than others. 'Cause, let's face it, juggling raising children on your own with working, going to school, cleaning, getting dinner on the table and keeping your sanity in check can be a huge feat that can take many years to complete.

It's that time of the year again. Kids have left backpacks and school books behind and long summer days stretch on for hours, just begging to be filled. Moms and dads are trying not to pull their hair out because it's barely July. You know - it's summer. If you're looking for things to do with your kiddos you both can enjoy that won't break the bank, read on for two frugal options for cheap family summer fun.

Hit the Lanes

When you're looking for a home, there are standard real estate listings like single family homes and condos. Then there are your non-standard listings. The ones that can seem like a mega-deal...or a killer trap. One such non-standard listing is a home on leased land, and this type of home purchase can come with some perks and some dangers. Let's take a look at this type of real estate investment a little more closely.

What is a Leased Land Home?

Independence Day is one of our nation's greatest holidays. There's just something about fireworks, hot dogs, hamburgers and bomb pops that brings out our pride in the USA, a collective pride and patriotism that spreads across parades, air shows, firework celebrations and even the lowest key family grill outs. It's hard to resist the call to patriotism when kids are sporting flag face paintings and scrunchy patriotic top hats, when ten-foot tall Uncle Sams roam the parade route, when family and friends gather to celebrate our nation's birthday.

With Independence Day just around the corner, you may be wondering what you can bring to a potluck cookout. And of course, with our busy lives, we all want to prepare something that is quick, simple and patriotic. Enter the flag-themed dessert pizza! It's quick, easy, somewhat frugal and impressively themed. Oh, and it tastes pretty darned good. With all it's got going for it, this dessert is sure to be a hit. So here's all you need to know to make and decorate a patriotic dessert pizza:


2 (18 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough

As we continue to look into the specific challenges that single parents face, we come to the topic of family finances when you're the sole provider. And I've got to admit, it's tough. Single parents must find childcare and provide for their family, many times without any assistance. That can be rough...but thankfully it is possible. Let's take a look.

My husband and I enjoy a near-gourmet meal once in a great while. Yes, I said near-gourmet; in our part of the Midwest, the closest five-star restaurant is three hours away. This leaves us with the option of either dining at the three- to four-star restaurants in our area or making the long three hour trek to Chicago. For us, staying home makes much more sense...and it's so much easier on the pocketbook.