Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has brought me so much joy! I want to encourage other moms on their journey, I'll share motherhood tricks, spotlight tips I've learned from friends, and I hope you will share your ideas. I will focus on secrets that help families stay balanced, healthy, frugal, creative, and closely knit. I will also share favorite fiction and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed. Many blessings to you on your mothering journey!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Reconnecting and Renewal

I'm a firm believer in taking 'time out' for your soul on a regular basis. My favorite place to relax and renew is at my uncle's cabin in the middle of nowhere on Norris Lake. It's like my own personal outdoor sanctuary and I love it! My parents and my 3 sibling's families will all join us there, so we'll have many hours to reconnect and build friendships as we ski, play, cook and laugh together. I'll be back online next week. Happy Fourth of July!

TN State Parks are FREE again!!

Now I don't have to wait until Wednesdays to walk at Radnor Lake - I can go anyday I want to without paying the $3 access fee. Starting tomorrow, all 54 of TN's parks will once again be free to visit. Not that $3 is a big deal, but it sure is nice to freely enjoy all the beauty. To find a park near you, visit

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

We love ice cream!

Everyone in my house loves ice cream - especially when it's free! If you sign up for Baskin Robbin's birthday club, you'll get an email coupon for a free scoop of ice cream during the week of your birthday - what a great treat! They won't hound you with junk mail, but they do occasionally send buy-one-get-one free coupons for their products. Hooray for cool treats in the middle of a super-hot summer!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Toddler Coloring Time

My 17 month old loves to color pictures, but I was spending a lot of time bending over to pick up the coloring page and crayons. Not a big deal for most people, but not so comfortable for pregnant mommies! I finally figured out a little trick - I take 2 pieces of scotch tape to secure the edges of the coloring page, and presto, no more bending over to pick up the paper! Now if I can only figure out how to keep the play-dough on the tray...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

1/2 Price Gift Certificates

Two Nashville radio stations offer great 50% off promotions for local restaurants and attractions. They usually go on sale on Friday mornings, and they sell out fast. Some of their recent promotions include Goten Japanese Steakhouse, Green Hills Grille, The Red Door, Sunset Grille and LaPaz.

Another conglomerate of radio stations offers different deals each month, but the restaurants are lower scale than the above offers:

What a great way to stock up on anniverary, birthday and Christmas gifts! Or it's a great reason to go on a date! If you know of other offers like this, I'd love to hear about them!

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Once Around The Block Kids Sale

This west Nashville-based kids consignment sale focuses on giving back to the consignors, volunteers, shoppers and our community. They offer a 75/25 split and a $5 waivable fee with lots of perks that allow you to get up to 100% of your profits. They also allow you to re-use tags from past consignment sales, so it's not as much work to you! They give back to the community through the Moms Helping Moms program. It's a great place to sell your gently used items and stock up on inexpensive clothes/games/toys for your kids! Perhaps my favorite part is the free crafts table that keeps my kids safe & busy, while I shop in a clean place that's full of good deals!

Fall Sale Dates:

Wednesday and Thursday
July 26th-27th

Friday (1/2 Price most items)
July 28th

For more information:

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

I just read Ms. Cheap's guide to summer activities. WOW - I was completely overwhelmed with all her free activity ideas in middle Tennessee! It's nicely categorized into sections such as nature, art, music.., so it's easy to scan. Sometimes the Tennessean puts their articles into archives, where you have to pay for articles, so you might want to save this list on your hard drive.

I don't know if every newspaper has a "Ms. Cheap" columnist, but ours is one I read several times each week!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Finding Great Deals

I've becoming addicted to checking Vicky's Deals Blog. From reading her daily list of sales/coupons, I've gotten a free Sephora lipstick, free ice-cream, a free footprint-making kit for my kids, and some great deals on family gifts. Keep up the great work Vicky!!


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Catching Memories on Film

We made our semi-annual trip to the WalMart Portrait Studio for pics of the kids yesterday. This was an extra-special trip, because the grandparents from Phoenix went with us!

Their $9 photo package usually includes one 10x13, two 8x10s, two 5x7s, four 3.5x5s and 16 wallets. There is no sitting fee, and they often run specials. Every two weeks they offer free family portraits! If you sign up on their mailing list, your kids will get birthday coupons for cheaper packages. I've heard that they'll honor these birthday coupons (and other promotions) past the expiration date, so it never hurts to ask!

The one catch to staying super cheap with this pictures is patience. The photographer will take as many pictures as you want, but the first picture you say that you like is the picture they will use for all your basic package prints. They will continue to take 6 more pictures, and you will have the option to purchase aditional print packages of these photos. I always try to be super-disciplined, but even the extra packages are inexpensive compared to other studios.

Happy photos!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, June 22-25

Jeremy Kelton, from MidtownPCA in Nashville, has led several work trips down to the Gulf this year. The next planned trip will include people from several different churches in the Nashville Presbytery. If you want to go and/or can spread the word to help victims of the hurricanes, please see the website, and get signed up!

They will be working with families whose homes were devestated, but no special skills are necessary. It'll probably cost $20 per person per night for lodging and 3 meals, plus gas money for the carpooling there and back, plus some more for a few meals out. Learn more and sign up on

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Peanut Allergies
One of my mommy friends (Toni) coordinates part of our church nursery program. She hears about peanut allergies all the time, and parents are always looking for lunch tips without nuts. One of her nursery families (the Wares) suggests spreadable cream cheese and jelly on bread. I love cream cheese (especially when I'm pregnant!) and anything with sugar, so this is sure to be yummy!


Monday, June 05, 2006

Desperate for Date Time!

For us, the cost of a night out plus babysitter usually ends up meaning we just don't go out! We would love to have regular times set aside as a couple and my friend Shannon thinks a co-op might be a feasible way to make this happen. This is the plan she has devised:

-6-8 couples are involved
-Each couple picks one Saturday night per month to "work" with another couple
-Each couple gets to then drop off their children and go out the other 2 or 3 Saturdays (depending on the # of couples who participate)
-Timing on Saturdays is 5:30 to 9:30
-Babies can go to sleep in pack-n-plays, while older children rest on mats.

The children should enjoy it as much as we will, because they get to play with their friends while we go out. I look forward to the accountability for spending quality time with my sweetheart!

If you've experimented with other co-op set-ups, I'd love to hear more. We can't wait to try it!