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!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

National Doughnut Day
Friday, June 1

Customers will get a FREE doughnut of their choice.

Let's see - will it be a krueller, a creme-filled chocolate-covered doughnut, or one of their seasonal specials???

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Picnic Dinners?

My oldest son is playing baseball, and his practices/games often fall during the dinner hour. I've had to get creative about portable dinners for our family. Amy's recent post at the Aldi Queen reminded me about a great pasta salad recipe we had at last week's game:

1 16oz. package rotini
½ bottle light Italian dressing
1 green pepper, chopped
2 dozen pepperoni slices, quartered
4 chicken breasts, diced
8oz cheddar cheese, cubed

Cook pasta according to package directions, and cool completely.

Combine all ingredients, and voila, you have an easy picnic dinner. This keeps well for leftovers, though it sometimes needs a little more dressing to freshen it up.


Buying Books

All Discount Books is the only price comparison tool I use when shopping for retail books. You enter the keyword, title, author or ISBN#. They compare new & used prices at over 100 online retail sites, then they provide a list of retail stores with the book price and the total cost including shipping. You click directly to the store to order the book at the cheapest price. It's fast and oh-so-easy to use!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Color Your Home Green by Tara Brown

You can hardly turn on the T.V. or pick up a newspaper without seeing another mention of ‘going green’. The environment is a hot topic and people are beginning to embrace the idea of safer more environmentally friendly products for their health and home.

A 2003 study done by Mount Sinai School of Medicine found an average of 167 chemicals in the bodies of volunteers. Of those chemicals, 76 cause cancer in humans/animals, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system and 79 cause birth defects or abnormal development.

In addition, according to the EPA, most homes have 2-5 times higher concentration of hazardous chemicals indoors than outdoors due to numerous cleaning and personal care products and stay at home moms are 54% more likely ( according to a 15 year study) to contract cancer than those working outside of the home b/c of continued exposure to harmful chemicals.

If the products we use to wash our dishes, clothes, hair, body, floors, counter tops have toxic chemicals in them, then as we eat off of those dishes, touch those surfaces, wear those clothes etc., our bodies are absorbing those chemicals.

Find out about possible chemicals in your home or look at the line of “green” products available for healthy homes. You can also call me for more information at 615-330-8575.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Building Community

We hosted our first community party in our new neighborhood tonight. The popsicles & ice cream party was a huge success. Since we moved in November, I've been taking the kids door-to-door to meet the neighbors. I've recorded their names, phone #s and email addresses in a little chart on the computer. Friday morning, we put homemade invitations in 16 mailboxes. 50% of the families came, and they were so grateful for the opportunity to meet one another. We hope to gather people together again later this summer.

We were fortunate to be welcomed into our old neighborhood by the Sheppard family, who hosted watermelon parties for neighbors throughout the summer. They created such a wonderful feeling of community through their extension of hospitality and friendship. They were a light of God's love in a world where neighbors rarely know one another's names, much less anything about their personal lives.

Our family is committed to carrying on their legacy in our new hometown. We want our neighbors to know one another. This will create a safer and friendlier community for our families, and it will give us the opportunity to share God's love with them.

How have you seen people build community and friendships in their neighborhoods?

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Toasted Almond Chicken
(Southern Living Easy Weeknight Favorites)

I made this for company this weekend - it was soooooo yummy!

1 ½ pounds thin cut chicken breasts
1 - 2.25 ounce package of sliced almonds
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of orange marmalade
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon of Paprika
3 tablespoons of butter
Chicken flavored rice

Open the package of almonds and put them all in a small skillet on medium heat with butter until they’re brown and toasted. Put half the chicken in a skillet on Medium high heat with 1 ½ tablespoons of melted butter and brown both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Set chicken aside on a plate. Brown the other half of the chicken and set it aside on the same plate. (It will not be fully-cooked yet.). Mix heavy cream, Dijon, and orange marmalade in the same skillet on medium heat. Add the chicken back in right away. Sprinkle with paprika (I only use a dash – put more if you like spicy food.) Add the toasted almonds. Cook on medium for about 10-15 minutes (until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce is thick.) Stir occasionally. Serve over chicken flavored rice.


Cheekwood's Special Summer Exhibit features Ten Classic Children’s Stories. There are hands-on activities at each storybook setting, where families can explore the home of The Three Bears, see a giant spider, plant a bean at Jack’s house and much more! All Children 17 and under admitted free on Saturdays through September 1.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ziplock Bags are a Mom's Best Friend

TheOptimizedLife wrote a great post with 25 ideas for using ziplock bags of various sizes. While they are not incredibly environmentally friendly, they sure are handy! My mother-in-law usually sends gift boxes full of goodies wrapped in ziplock bags, so I always keep a stash of gently used ziplocks to re-use in future packing.

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Hunter's Pancakes

My sister's family spent the night with us last night, and our 5 kids are happily running around the house. My brother-in-law treated us to his super yummy homemade pancakes. He even made Mickey Mouse pancakes for the kids! Here's the recipe:

1.25 cups all-purpose flour
1.25 cups buttermilk (if batter is too thick, add a little more after mixed together)
1/4 cup sugar
1t. vanilla
1t. baking soda
1t baking powder
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
Optional: 1T of brown sugar

Mix thoroughly and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Heat griddle to 325. Pour by 1/4 c onto griddle and let cook until bubbles form on surface and edges look slightly dry. Flip and cook for another minute. Serve with or without syrup.

Sugar & spice: 1t cinnamon and 1t pumpkin pie spice
Blueberry: 1T blueberries on top of each pancake, then flip


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hand Sanitizer

I just heard about an important precaution to take with hand sanitizer. Apparently it has a high alcohol content that can cause serious problems if a child digests it. This story comes from the mother of a 2-year old who went to the ER for alcohol poisoning from hand sanitizer. I double-checked the validity of the story on snopes.

I'll continue to use the hand sanitizer, but I'll make sure it dries thoroughly on the children's hands, and I'll be more careful about the access to the sanitizer.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Baby Carriers

I love my Baby Bjorn. I'm highly selective about baby gear, because I've never had a lot of room to store extra stuff. But the Bjorn is one baby tool that I can't imagine living without. Our bjorn has carried babies:


It's taken squirmy, alert and sleeping kids to:

grocery stores
amusement parks
shopping malls
baseball, football and basketball games

We've used ours for kids 0-10 months in Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, and Illinois. If I'll lug it across the country, you know I must love it!


Monday, May 21, 2007

Road Trips

We just returned from a long weekend at the beach with our church community group. We had such a wonderful time!!! Needless to say, the most challenging part of the trip was the 8-hour drive to and from Sea Grove, FL. I spent much time pondering the advice from Trophy of God's Grace's series on car travels. I only have 3 kids - I can't imagine travelling with her dozen! Here are her links with lots of travelling wisdom:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

The super-hardest part of the trip was helping my 2-year old cope with the stomach bug. Best tips (though I hope you never travel with sick kids!):
* cover the carseat with a sheet or towel
* use baby wipes to keep the child's head, neck and arms cool
* keep a bucket or a restaurant take-out container to catch any vomit
* pick up Gatorade at a gas station, to give (mixed 1:6 parts) in little sips
* pray for patience and quick travels!

Good luck with your summer travels! And may you all stay healthy in the car!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sadness in the World of Technology

In my desire to be ever-so-efficient in spring chaos, I started a load of laundry when I put the kids in the bath last week. It wasn't until 20 minutes later, when I couldn't find my cell phone, that I realized that my 5yr old had my phone in his pocket on his way into the house. Indeed, my phone was bubbling up inside the washing machine. Very clean, and very not-working. Thankfully, our phone contract ends in 3 weeks, so I'll be getting another phone anyway. Very sad!

We're also going on 3 weeks with no daytime internet. Something is wrong with our desktop, so I've been jumping on my husband's work laptop to do my work/blogging/email in the evenings. As I type, he is in the other room, trying to work magic on a 'new' used computer. I'm crossing my fingers.

So I'm feeling a little disconnected from the world. I'm very addicted to the cell phone (it's been my primary phone for 6-7 years) and the computer!!! What would I have done 20 years ago???

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Welcome Home Mommy!

I've been leading a service-leadership workshop in Charlotte, NC this week. My children missed me terribly much. How do I know? They saved such fragrant poops for me! I've been home about 20 hours. They've been awake for only 10 hours. And 2 children have already given me 4 poopie diapers! Not just the average diapers, but stinky stinky all-over-the-place diapers. I'll spare you the details. :) If this is the "welcome home", what's coming my way for Mother's Day? Yikes!!

Free Community Resources

You know how much I love to read Ms. Cheap each week in the Tennessean. She published a great article last week on resources offered by Agricultural Extension Service. She was writing about Tennessee, but I'm sure the services are similar around the country. Look at all these resources.

• Family Consumer Sciences programs: This includes classes and advice on what used to be known as "home ec,'' everything from homebuyer education to nutrition and food safety to radon and poisons.

• Soil testing: For $6 the Extension provides a box and instructions on how to take a soil sample from your yard and deliver it or send it to the central region office at Ellington Agricultural Center. In return you'll get a computer printout of your soil, along with lime and fertilizer recommendations.

• Analysis: If you have branches or leaves with mysterious disease or insect damage, or jars of sludge or bugs or just about anything else, your county extension office will analyze it at no charge. You also can take these things to the Central Region office lab at Ellington for analysis, but they charge $15.

• 4-H after-school programs and camps for children

• Horticulture program: Covers many facets, from general agriculture dealing with crops and livestock, to plant, insect and disease identification, to homeowner horticulture, to Master Gardener classes for all ages.

• Brochures: The service has hundreds of brochures that cover proper pruning to fighting childhood obesity, and many of them can be accessed at For mailed copies, call your county extension office.

**Excerpt from an article by Mary Hance, Ms. Cheap, in the Tennessean

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Sharing the Gospel in a Unique Way

We don't have cable at our house, so I had never heard of "The Way of the Master" until our friends came to visit a few weeks ago. Now I'm hooked!

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron teach people how to share their faith through natural conversations, guided questions and stories. They talk to nonbelievers about how we break God's law everyday, and we need the only Perfect Son to stand in our place at God's judgement.

I can't phrase it like they do, but they've developed free resources, a television show, CDs and books about their life-transforming style of living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. My hubby & I played on their website for an hour last week!

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Monday, May 07, 2007

"The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers"

Written by Crystal Bowman

Precious friends stayed with us from Arizona last week. My kids had a fantastic time with their four children, and the adults enjoyed staying up late talking about everything under the sun. Perhaps one of the greatest blessings, though, was gleaning wisdom from another family. If we take time to build relationships with one another, we can learn sooooo much! This book is one of the tidbits I picked up from our friends this week.

Angie says, "I love The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers. It is very basic but because it is short and simple the boys ask each night to do their "devotions". " After reading the short devotion, there is a verse and a prayer that Angie says in short phrases, so the children can copy her words. It's very sweet, very practical, and very powerful.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

More Mommy Affirmation

My phrase this spring has been, "Motherhoof is not for the weak-hearted." I feel much more like a soldier, than the teddy-bear mom I once romanticized that I would become. I think Godly motherhood is something in the middle.

On that note, I found Janel's article to be very encouraging. It's well worth a few minutes of reading with a cup of coffee.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Just One Club Card

Thanks to Personal Finance Advice, who introduced me to the Just One Club Card today. This free website consolidates a person's 18 million membership cards into one card. Actually, you can only use 8 membership cards, but that will slim your wallet quite a bit. What an awesome concept!


Friday, May 04, 2007

Saturday, May 19

Build A Bear is hosting a special day where your kids can make a bear for other kids. All bears made for this event will be donated to adoptive families, children in foster-care, and orphans around the world., through the Joint Council on International Children’s Services is proud to join with Build-A-Bear Workshop to raise adoption awareness. This effort is part of a month long celebration of adoption and service to children around the world.

Call your local Build-A-Bear, to confirm that they are participating. To find a Build-A-Bear location near you visit:

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Free Yoga Classes in Franklin!

There is a new YogaFit yoga program at the Factory in Franklin. They are offering a free trial period during the month of May. To sign up for the free promotion, just email Find out more about strengthening through yoga at

May class schedule:
Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 am and 5:45 pm
Saturday at 8:00 am

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Play Stations - the anitiquated kind

*My internet hasn't been working this week, and it's still acting iffy. It may be a week of very few posts!*

Happy children = engaged children. Not necessarily 'busy' children, because we all need periods of quiet and rest. But if we can teach our little ones to keep their minds and bodies engaged in various projects, then they can learn to be self-entertained.

Of my two boys, I have one with a tendency to be aggressive and one with a tendency two whine. I've learned, when either 'sin struggle' starts to shadow their behavior, that I better be ready to help them find a new activity. Just like a growling tummy lets us know that we're hungry, sometimes sibling squabbles tell us that our kids are getting bored or restless.

So I try to keep a list of play stations in mind, so I can encourage the kids to play with different things throughout the day. You can make your own list, by walking around the house, looking at the various play activities in each room. Be sure to include the toys that are usually ignored by the children. Include a balance of toys that do and do not need adult supervision. Include outdoor and indoor activities. List messy and neat playtime fun. Then you'll be equipped to help your children play happily (and healthily) all day long.

On our list of play stations this week:

Paint Mother's Day cards for Grandparents
Draw thank you cards
Felt book
Riding toys
Ramps for cars
Music makers

Happy playing!

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