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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Filling Prescriptions?

I need some help. We're converting our health insurance over to an HSA plan. The only medication I regularly take is my birth control pill. Since they will no longer be $10/month with the new insurance plan, I'm searching for ways to get discounts on prescribed drugs. I know I could try the natural birth control method via counting, but we've already had 2 surprise babies, so I probably shouldn't try that route! :)

Have you heard any good advice?
Do you know good websites/books that I should read to glean more info?
Is there a place where adults can get free birth control pills?

Many questions today. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'll be hosting a booth at an early holiday shopping event Saturday 11am-4pm in Nashville. The Women's Expo is a free event that promotes local women business owners, and they have all kinds of cool products. I'd love to see you, if you have time to stop by!


The Women's Expo is back and right before the Christmas season!

Come support Nashville business women Saturday November 3rd from 11-4pm. Enjoy all the shopping you can get done for your family and friends while avoiding the traffic and crowded malls during the Holiday shopping rush!

Products such as hand-made gifts, jewelry, purses, candles, embroidery, sewing, quilting, make-up, skin and health care, soap, candles, baby apparel, children's books, Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Homemade Gourmet, Southern Living Home, clothes, as well as services like catering, photography, teeth whitening, massage therapy, home repairs, scrapbooking, children's music lessons and more!

Visit for a chance to win a basket full of goodies from the vendors. There will also be door prizes given away at the event. Admission is FREE and delicious snacks will be sold by the Youth Group!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tis the Season to Clean Your Closets

Ivy at HomeEc 101 just wrote a great post about changing out kid's clothes each season. I love her system, and I follow a similar system, but I've never taken the time to write it out. Go Ivy!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cash for Schools

If your local grocery stores make donations to schools based on receipts that you place in the school box, then consider this change in plans.

Instead of going to the bank to pick up cash, use your debit card to make a small purchase (a pack of gum) and access your cash. You won't be charged any additional fees, as long as you're making a purchase. And it greatly benefits your school of choice. If you get $100 cash back, then that's another $100 purchase that counts toward your school fundraiser!

So I might not buy tons of popcorn, chocolate and wrapping paper during the school fundraisers, but I can definitely help in this way!


Monday, October 22, 2007

Ghost Jugs part 2

I finally took a picture of the ghosts we made last weekend. We copied the idea from Family Fun magazine (the link is in a post from a few weeks ago).

I think they're so cute! We put them on the front porch & they're easily visible from the street at night. It's a happy & super cheap way to celebrate the light-hearted part of halloween.


Meaningful Gifts

My mom loves painted tshirts and sweatshirts that reflect the seasons. I started painting them for her 15 years ago, so she has accumulated quite a collection. Since last Christmas, she's lost 50 lbs through Weight Watchers (go mom!!!), so none of her shirts fit her anymore.

So I surprised her with a new fall shirt for her birthday. For the first time, I included a scriptural message on the bottom of the design, so she could silently affirm and encourage others throughout the day.

I forgot to take a picture of the full shirt, but you can at least see the design. The little strips on each side of the picture are masking tape, which secure the shirt to the countertop during painting.

Happy FALL!

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Free Directory Assistance
1-800-FREE411 is free nationwide directory assistance. It's a free call from home or cell, though you will be billed for airtime on your cell (like normal calls).

Sponsors pay for the costs via 15 second advertising messages (about 15 seconds). According to their website, "Ads are usually based on your search request. Say you’re looking for a local pizza place. We might play you a special offer from Dominos."

They will give you the phone # you request, or even connect you for free.
So if you're driving around & don't have a mini yellow pages in your car, now you have a free way to find the information that you need. My friend Mary, who usually googles info I need when I'm out and about, will be grateful to be off the hook! :)


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Putting things where you always need them

Making the best of use of my time sometimes means putting things in odd places. I was thinking tonight about some of the items in our house that are quirkily placed in order to help life run more smoothly. I'm not sure why I think the items are placed quirkily, except that my mom didn't put them there, and my friends don't put them there. Who defines quirky, anyway?

  • Hairbrush in the powder room, for last minute kid's combing on the way to school/church
  • Gum in the basket beside the door, just in case :)
  • Sunglasses hanging on the rack beside my keys (beside the garage door)
  • Candles and matches next to the jacuzzi bath and the dining room table
  • Rags and workgloves in the mudroom/laundry room
  • Plastic grocery bags and cleaning rags under the bathroom vanity
  • Sharpie marker in the sippy cup cabinet, for quick labeling

What are some of the oddly-placed items in your house that work really well for you?


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yummy Brunch Treat

Today was my day to take a brunch item to share at my new Bible study. I always get nervous about choosing the *perfect* dish, but I actually enjoy the excuse to try new baked goods. Today I made Baked Dutch Pancakes from Cooking Done Light's blog. They were very easy and pretty healthy for a brunch item. The ladies enjoyed the treat, and all asked for the recipe. It was fun to share Cooking Done Light's blog with them, when they asked!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Free Rice

I just found a really creative website through Sunshine's School. TheFreeRice site gives you a chance to test your vocabulary skills (mine are terrible!), and donate rice to hungry people around the world. That's a much better incentive than standardized tests!

You could use this site:
  • for a homeschooling lesson
  • practicing for the ACT/SAT
  • on a date with your spouse when the kids go to bed
  • just for fun
If you click on their FAQ button, you can also read more about hunger and poverty around the world. The more we know, the more likely we are to take action in little and big ways.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Love Song

Here's the youtube link to the song my sweetheart referred to in his blog yesterday. Lifehouse's "The First Time". I think we played it 10 times yesterday. Youtube is great for free music!

Free Pumpkins

Meredith at LikeMerchantShips made the cutest pumpkin topiaries with her son this week. Here's the finished product, but she has a great picture tutorial on her blog.

I'm babysitting for a friend this weekend, so I have 5 children ages 5 and under in the house. With an artsy friend coming to help tomorrow, we might tackle this project together!

If you don't read Meredith's blog regularly, you should definitely consider adding her to your bloglines. I always look forward to her daily posts on entertaining, cooking and decorating on a shoestring budget!

We made the topiaries today, and they are super cute. We made them out of pizza boxes (thanks for the suggestion, Meredith), painted partly with Crayola paint for the 2 year olds, and partly with acrylic paints for the 5 year olds & adults. We stapled them to a yardstick and they're sitting on our front porch. It was a lot of work, so I sprayed them with varnish to help them keep for future years.

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Lunches, lunches, oh my!

Sometimes I'm at a loss over what to pack my kindergartner for lunch. I like to stick to the rule of protein, fruit, vege & dairy items, but it's sometimes hard to choose portable & healthy foods that are easy for him to eat quickly during lunch. (My son can sometimes be an incredibly slow eater, but he has a big appetite!)

I've saved Rebecca's post on lunches for 6 weeks. I especially loved her link to Kraft's lunchbox builder. Their ideas include puzzle sandwiches, pinwheels and tuna dippers, just to name a few. When I have the energy, it's fun to be a little creative with lunches. And it's one way to say "I love you" to my son, while he's at school!

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Friday, October 12, 2007


I am greatly encouraged when my husband is romantic. I know it's kind of silly, but the whimsical attention to detail really makes me feel loved. He surprised me with his blog entry tonight. It was a very sweet reminder of the time we first started to fall in love. And I love him even more today.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

If you need some creative inspiration when you start carving your pumpkins, visit Publix Preschool Pals' page of pumpkin stencils. I don't usually use the stencils to do my actual carving, but I like to add my creative touch to their basic ideas. We won't carve our pumpkins for a few more weeks, but I love thinking about it!

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Big Lots 20% Coupon

I like shopping the clearance aisles at Big Lots. I've found lots of good deals on home decor, toys, healthy/beauty products, gardening products, and groceries. Lately, my strategy is to head straight for the grocery clearance shelves for great deals on cereals, crackers, breads, ethnic foods, juices, and snacks. They even have baby food jars for a quarter!

But shopping gets even better when they offer their rare coupons - 20% off your entire purchase! You can print your coupon for this week's shopping here.

Happy shopping!


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Yummy, Healthy and Easy!

I found this recipe for Ratatouille Pasta at allrecipes. Since my boys loved the movie Ratatouille this summer, I thought it might be a good way to sneak new veges into their bellies. Our plans changed a little bit, but my hubby & I LOVED the dish. It's very pretty, and we will serve it for guests in the future. It was even better when paired with a yummy glass of wine!

2 cups diced peeled eggplant
2 cups sliced zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups uncooked spiral pasta (I used fettucine tonight)
1 cup sliced onion (I used 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (I'll add more next time)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Dash pepper
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Place eggplant and zucchini in a colander over a plate; sprinkle with salt and toss. Let stand for 30 minutes; rinse and drain well.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, saute the eggplant, zucchini and onion in oil until tender. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, garlic powder, basil and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese on top, then cover until the cheese melts. Serve over pasta.


Letter Factory DVDs
Last week I blogged about the great quality and educational value in Leapfrog products. Kendra at Peschoolers and Peace just posted about a great deal on Leapfrog DVDs. Leapfrog Letter Factory and Talking Words DVDs are $3.24 (which includes shipping!) at Think birthday and Christmas gifts!


Friday, October 05, 2007

BOO in the Neighborhood

I was puzzled when the doorbell rang at 7:30 last night. We went outside to find three little orange buckets of halloween treats and a Halloween poem. Reading further, we found out about a little game that our neighborhood plays. What a fun tradition for October!

Here's a copy of the directions, so you can start the game in your neighborhood. :)

The air is cool, the season fall,
Soon Halloween will come to all ghosts and goblins,
spooks galoreTricky witches at your door.
The spooks are after things to do,
In fact a spook brought this to you !!!
The treats that came with this short note, Are yours to keep ,enjoy them both .
The excitement comes when friends like you ,
Will copy it & make it two,We'll all have smiles upon our faces,
No one will know who "BOO"ed whoses places !!
Just two short days to work your spell,
Keep it secret ,hide it well.
Please join the fun, the seasons here .
Just spread these "BOO's" & Halloween cheer .

Include a sheet of paper that says:

You have been BOOED! Please keep it going by following these directions:

Enjoy your treat
Place the BOO sign on your front door or visible in a window
Within 2 days, make 2 copies of this note, make 2 treats & 2 BOO signs
Secretly deliver to 2 neighbors/friends without a BOO .
Keep an eye on nearby front doors to see how far and fast it spreads by Halloween.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mommy Secret = Mommy Fellowship

Not just play group fellowship (which is also great), but deep life-sharing fellowship grounded in Scripture and prayer. School@Home just wrote a post about her prayer and encouragement group.

For years I stayed away from women's groups because women can be so caddy and gossipy. The women in small group Bible study have given me a fresh perspective on the power of women gathering together. My 2.5 years with them has been a HUGE blessing.

We have studied scripture so deeply through inductive Bible studies in the Old and New Testament. We have provided meals for one another during times of trial. We have supported on another through the births of 10 babies and the miscarriage of one baby. We have loved a mom with an autistic child and the single mother of an adopted son. We have seen job changes, house floods, moves across the city, and school scares. We have prayed for one another, cried with one another, and rejoiced triumphantly.

I've moved 35 minutes away from my small group, so I'm trying to find a similar fellowship with women closer to my house. I went for my first Bible study (Beth Moore - Daniel) at a church close to my house on Tuesday, and I enjoyed my time there. The 7 women range from 33-75, so the intergenerational mix will be a great learning opportunity for all of us.

I pray that you also will find a group of women for fellowship, Bible study and prayer. It will strengthen your faith, and allow you to share your faith with others.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

For Nashville moms:

A playday to honor the founders of Fundom Kids
Saturday, October 6

Fundom Kids will only be open for 3 more weeks, so MusicCityMoms has coordinated a playday to tell middle Tennessee families about a great place their families can play this month. It's also a great way to say thank you to the Gifford family for creating such an amazing play place for children, and to offer encouragement to them as they struggle with losing their dream.

WSMV news channel 4 will be there to cover the Fundom Kids story between 3pm and 4pm on Saturday, so your little ones might even make the evening news!


God Knows Best

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey...
I asked for health, that I might do great things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things...
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise...
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God...
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things...

I got nothing I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among men, most richly blessed!”

Roy Campanella

I love that poem. It makes me laugh when I think about our week. My eldest son (5) vomited several times Saturday night. My husband and I prayed for his healing and our family's health. I was naseaus all day yesterday and a little bit sick. Then my middle child threw up last night. Dare I continue to pray for health?

Lessons learned with toddlers vomiting:
Keep a bowl by the bed, in case they can't make it to the toilet.
Put a towel over their pillow & sheets for middle of the night clean up.
Wake up your spouse - one of you can clean, while the other one comforts the frightened child.
Lysol is one of your best friends.
Wash hands, wash arms, wash faces, wash toys. AND PRAY!

Energy Bills

Did you know that you can improve energy efficiency and conserve energy by timing the use of your household energy? According to the Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, we should try not to use electricity - especially for dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers - between 2pm-8pm. That's when energy demand peaks, so that's when it's most expensive to distribute power. They also have a list of 20 more ways to conserve energy.

I can do my laundry and dish-washing in the mornings and evenings - can you?
With natural sunlight, I can leave most of my lights off during the day - can you?

The little things add up, so let's do our part!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Extreme Home Makeover for a Family in Need

Marcy Payne helped start Happy Tales Humane, a wonderful no-kill animal shelter in Franklin, TN. Marcy was diagnosed in 2000 with Lou Gehrig's disease, which kills 50% of it's victims within 3 years. She has chosen to live, and is still doing so 7 years later. She is a mom to 2 children, now ages 13 & 18, and while she is still very much alive, she is a quadriplegic on a
ventilator, and lives in a hospital bed in their living room. They have what would otherwise be considered a nice home in Franklin, but it is not at all handicap accessible, and their lives are very difficult.

They live on prayer and donations. Rob quit his advertising job to take care of her 24 hours a day (they are one of the best examples I have seen of "for better or worse") and while they feel lucky that they have not lost their home, they are also certainly not in a position to make needed handicap upgrades.

Rob has decided to petition Extreme Home Makeover for help and he is currently working on the video application. They need thousands of signatures to help stand out from the thousands of other applicants, and right now they have around 4500. If you have not already done so, if you would consider signing their petition I know they would really appreciate it, and if you would pass it along to anyone else who might be willing to quickly sign, that would be great. It only takes about 30 seconds. Thank YOU!!!

You can also read their story at