Sunday, December 27, 2009

Recycle your e-waste event

Bring your old computers, televisions, phones, and other electronics to Chilhowee Park and dispose of them properly on Saturday, January 23, from 9-3. --info from Ijams Nature Center.
P.S. If you like the above photo, check out more ways to use your old computer here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A book order

Today I pre-ordered two books I've been looking forward to reading.

This book is all about natural hair care for people with tightly curly hair, particularly biracial hair. The author struggled with her own hair for years and finally embraced her curls and learned how to manage and grow them. You can read about her journey by visiting her Website (or by clicking the link to your right if you're on my blog page).

The second book I ordered is called The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow. Durrow's book is described as "a timely and moving bicultural coming-of-age tale about the daughter of a Danish immigrant and a black G.I. A beauty with light brown skin and blue eyes, she attracts much attention in her new home. The world wants to see her as either black or white, but that's not how she sees herself." Read more about her and her new book on her Website.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The best of forwarded e-mails

Remember when you used to receive e-mail forwards? I don't generally think of those days fondly, but I do remember the following story and think it's a great laugh... By the way, if you miss e-mail forwards, someone's compiled all of them for you at Forwarded Funnies, which is where my search for little leroy led me.

Little Leroy

Little Leroy went to his mother demanding a new bicycle. His mother decided he should take a look at himself and the way he acts.
She said, "Well Leroy, it isn't Christmas and we don't have the money to just go out and buy you anything you want. So why don't you write a letter to Jesus and pray for one instead."
After his temper tantrum his mother sent him to his room. He finally sat down to write a letter to Jesus.

Dear Jesus:
I've been a good boy this year and would appreciate a new bicycle.
Your Friend,

Now, Leroy knew that Jesus really knew what kind of boy he was (brat). So he ripped up the letter and decided to give it another try.

Dear Jesus:
I've been an OK boy this year and I want a new bicycle.
Yours Truly,

Well, Leroy knew this wasn't totally honest so he tore it up and tried again.

Dear Jesus:
I've thought about being a good boy this year and can I have a bicycle?

Well, Leroy looked deep down in his heart, which by the way was what his mother really wanted. He knew he had been terrible and was deserving of almost nothing. He crumpled up the letter, threw it in the trash can and went running outside. He aimlessly wandered about depressed because of the way he treated his parents and really considering his actions. He finally found himself in front of a Catholic Church. Leroy went inside and knelt down, looking around not knowing what he should really do. Leroy finally got up and began to walk out the door and was looking at all the statues. All of a sudden, he grabbed a small one and ran out the door. He went home, hid it under his bed and wrote this letter.

I've got your mamma. If you ever want to see her again, give me a bike.
You know who.

$10 gift card to Earthfare

Awesome deal at Earthfare! I'm going to stock up on some vitamins!
Be sure to sign up for emails next time you visit Earthfare.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kashi & more at Big Lots

I shopped again at Big Lots this week and found the following items--great for noncouponers, especially:

Kashi fruit & grain bars, big box of 6 raspberry chocolate, 6 pumpkin pie, and 12 of my favorite: dark chocolate coconut. (but when I opened and tried one, it was a bit drier than usual) $8.00

Cascadian Farms cereal, Honey Clusters, 10.75 oz, $2.30

Kashi Honey Sunshine (2 box package) $4.00

Earth's Pride organic soy milk, original & vanilla, 32 fluid oz, $1.50 (non refrigerated)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cheap fun for little ones at Knoxville Center Mall

Kiddie amusement ride.Image via Wikipedia

Does your child have train on the brain? Stop in at Knoxville Center for a ride on the train for only $1. Yeah, it requires a stop at (gasp) the mall, but it's well worth it. My toddler was still talking about it the next day.

(West Town unfortunately doesn't have a train.)

For more train fun, visit UT Garden's Holiday Express, a 4,000 square ft miniture garden railway. The railway depicts East Tennessee railway history from the 1930's to present day.

Cost is $5/person. Visit UT Gardens for more information.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday at Amvets Thrift Store

It'd be nice to run around tomorrow and get cheap electronics, games, and the like, but I can't afford that kind of stuff at any (new) price, so I'm excited that Amvets (American Veterans) Thrift Store will have everything in the store at 50% off for Black Friday. Amvets is located just off Asheville Highway at 4105 Holston Drive in the Burlington community of East Knoxville. Phone: 524-8498
Amvets tends to have 50% off sales around most major holidays.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Buy sweet potatoes today for later

Take advantage of great prices now on sweet potatoes/yams.

33 cents/lb at Kroger
29 cents/lb at Food City

Don't just buy enough for Thanksgiving, buy all you can use for the next month or two. They'll last that long if stored well. Mine stay in an open box under my kitchen table, at around 60 degrees. Ideally, they should be at 55, but my basement gets too cold. Whatever you do, don't put them in the fridge.
I'll use them for... sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes, an African stew recipe and more, then I'll cook, then freeze, the rest.
Mmmmmm, mmmmmm!
For recipes and info on sweet potatoes and/or yams, visit here and here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

50% off at Lowes

Lowes currently has daffodil, tulip & a few other varieties of bulbs 50% off. At Knoxville Center Lowes, the bulbs were located just inside the store near the shopping carts. I love flowers!
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

best pizza in town?

A while back, Knoxify had a post asking readers who serves the best pizza in Knoxville. I couldn't believe how many of the places I had not only not tried, but not heard of. I recently received a tip that Earth Fare in Bearden has excellent pizza, so I tried them out on Friday... it was DELICIOUS!!! I had their Mediterranean, so check them out--better tasting, I would argue, and much better priced than Tomato Head's comparable pizza.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Are YOU her mother?

When I was pregnant, my husband told me he was glad I’d soon have someone close to me who looks like me. To be more specific, he said he was glad no one would question my relationship to her. Boy, was he wrong.

Though my husband is white, he does not have blue eyes, but my daughter has the deepest, bluest eyes imaginable—to the point that strangers stopped us to comment on a regular basis while she was a big-eyed toddler. Her skin is fair, about the color of honey, and though it’s darker than most Caucasian skin, it’s the subtle contrast between mine and hers that people notice and apparently that difference exaggerates in their minds. Her hair is still very “toddler,” short with a few curls in the back and a light brown/dirty blonde color. (If you are on my blog now, she is pitured to the right.)

I’ve noticed that while her father holds her close to his face (such as on his shoulders), the skin color difference between them is also apparent, but a little more subtle than the difference between mine and hers.

A friend of mine with the same looking family has two children who both have brown eyes and dark hair, and she gets the same reactions from strangers. Since her children do not have blue eyes or light hair, it seems that reactions from strangers are mostly about skin color.

The first comment that bothered me came from a family member. The person asked, “have you gotten any comments yet?” Though I knew what the person was getting at, I asked, “about what?” The person repeated, “Have you gotten any comments… since you’re black and your daughter is white?”

Wow. So that’s what that person sees? Though asking that question wasn’t necessarily mean or wrong (though I suspect it was for the person’s amusement), I was taken back by the skin color contrast that the person “saw.”

Another person, a random cashier, asked, “Is that yours?” I thought she was talking about a piece of merchandise my child must be holding, but no, she was referring to my human child. And another stranger sent her daughter over to me in a play area to ask if I was my child’s mother. The girl wasn’t far away when she tried to quietly mouth the answer to her mother.

Mostly though, people are either better at masking their question or they are just being friendly or curious. They’ll say something like, “Oh, she must have her daddy’s eyes,” or they’ll just ask, “where does she get those big, blue eyes?”

And even if people do ask in a way that I deem rude, that doesn't mean I'm interpreting their actions correctly. I could be completely wrong. Obviously, it's a sensitive topic to me.

So I’m torn. Do I answer rudely or politely? Should I see it as a learning opportunity for the asker, or should I just leave them more confused than before they asked? The questions will probably continue for a while or maybe forever, and I need to be prepared. Because of all the questions I’ve gotten, I’m never completely caught off guard, but that doesn’t mean I always have something witty filed away.

Sometimes when they ask, like when a nurse did at a doctor’s office, I act startled and stunned that I’m being asked such a question.

The only witty responses I’ve thought of so far are:

Q: Is that your daughter?
A: funny, no one ever asks her father that.
A: no, I picked her up on aisle five.

I’m not the only kind of parent this happens to. A few parents like me or ones who have adopted children who look different from themselves may experience similar instances.

An example that comes to mind is from a passage from Danzy Senna’s “Caucasia.” A biracial character, who is light with straight hair, and her black father are playing in the park when the police arrive wanting to know what he’s doing out with this young “white” girl.

I know some parents might not think this is a big deal or that I’m overreacting. Or perhaps, some think I’m confusing regular “is this your daughter?” questions with rude ones.

Maybe the following will help: Imagine you and your child (no spouse present) are holding hands, walking in a park… oblivious to the world. You pause at a park bench, resting your feet and smiling at the stranger on the opposite bench. But the stranger looks at you, then at your child… then back at you, and continues with a furled brow. As you begin to wonder what’s going on, the stranger’s face registers full disgust, the stranger’s lips purse and out comes, “are you her mother?
I know the difference.

It’s not as if experiences thus far are as nasty as the above example, but hopefully it helps explain what I don’t like about the question—the possible racism hiding beneath. Another way to think of this—and all of the stupid questions from complete strangers I get (with “what are you?” being the most common)—is the wheelchair analogy a friend of mine thought of.

Imagine you are in the frozen food isle at Kroger, piling some ice-cream in your cart. Next thing you know, another customer rolls by. You wonder why the person is in a wheel chair. But, you don’t just wonder, you ask! The customer is just riding by and you turn, see him or her, and say, “no offence… uh… pardon me, but I was just wondering… why are you in a wheelchair?”

Seriously? Have you ever asked someone that? I imagine there might be some situation somewhere that someone can think of where it’d be an appropriate question, but…

So, why do complete strangers ask if I am my child’s mother? And, what is the best response? …keeping in mind that it is not my goal to hurt people, but nor do I necessarily feel an obligation to provide the answer they are looking for either.

The thing is, I do enjoy talking about these kinds of topics… just not with random strangers who might be asking because they are uncomfortable with my family’s appearance.

So, seriously, share your ideas & thoughts!

(but please hold the “I’m so sorry this happens…”)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra at the library

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra's string quartet will be performing at our local libraries. We attended these performances last year and really enjoyed them. Kids of all ages may attend and admission is free! I saw this on

Clinton String Quartet

November 3, 10:30 AM at Sequoyah Library
November 4, 10:10 AM at West Knox Library
November 5, 11:00 AM at Karns Library
November 6, 10:15 AM at Fountain City Library
November 10, 10:00 AM at Burlington Library
November 10, 4:00 PM at Farragut Library
November 13, 10:30 AM at Powell Library
November 14, 11:00 AM at Borders Books
November 18, 11:00 AM at Cedar Bluff Library

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baby Bookworms this Tuesday

Meeting twice a month is going well for the Baby Bookworms group at Burlington Branch Library. If you are looking for an activity on the first & third Tuesday of each month for your 0-2 year old, this is the place for you! 10:30 a.m.

readImage by brungrrl via Flickr

Free Zoo Day

A Pair of Ecuadorian Amazon Red-Lored  ParrotsImage by Crispin Swan via Flickr

Since I don't yet have a membership, I'll be at the zoo on Saturday, November 14 for free day.

Free Zoo Day is from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. There's no charge for admission or parking, but the zoo is requesting donations of non-perishable food items, hygiene items, and new unwrapped toys for Mission of Hope, which serves the Appalachian region. Also requested: dry Purina brand puppy and kitten chow for the Young Williams Animal Center.

Knoxville Zoo Location: 3500 Knoxville Zoo Dr, Knoxville 37914
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time to plant trees & shrubs

I live at home improvement stores lately.Image by Fuschia Foot via Flickr

is currently offering 25% off all live plants (with a few exceptions like tropical & seasonal plants). Meanwhile, Home Depot has select trees at 50% off.

Contrary to popular habit, fall is the time to plant, so now's your chance to save $$ if you need trees/shrubs or a maybe a few polar pansies.

I recommend going first to Home Depot, so you can get 50% off, then check Lowe's for anything else you need.

Be sure to check Mayo's Garden Center or other similar stores for savings.

P.S. Don't bother looking for Dogwood trees at Lowes/Home Depots at Knoxville Center or Clinton Highway... we bought the last one!

Pink DogwoodsImage by cindy47452 via Flickr

Friday, October 9, 2009

Organization Ideas

Valentine's Day Shoe BoxImage by CraftyGoat via Flickr

Every once in a while I click on a link in the many emails I receive. I enjoyed this article from Mambo Sprouts on organizing your home with what you have. It's not so long that I couldn't read it all, but not so short that I didn't find any ideas.

For example: though I've often read to decorate shoe boxes, I never knew how exactly I'd do that. I just needed someone to spell it out for me: leftover fabric or wrapping paper. OK, I can do that. Before, I was picturing a nightmare with pieces of construction paper.

While you're at the site, be sure to sign up for their coupons. Mambo Sprouts will snail mail you a coupon booklet each season, and they have printable coupons as well.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A while back, asked if readers knew of any coupon deals at Wal-mart, which immediately reminded me of a deal I've found. Like she mentions, I too don't care for shopping at Wal-mart, but I do buy a few things there from time to time.

Kotex puts out a coupon for liners every so often,--$0.75 off one or $1.50 off two--and so long as there isn't a minium quantity size listed, you can purchase the $1.00 pack of liners for only $0.25 each. There are several varieties available to choose from as well.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

BIG Lots deal on organic baby food

Big Lots, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

Why do I so often forget about Big Lots?? I stopped in yesterday evening and found several Christmas gift ideas for the little one. After that, I cruised the food isles and found several deals on items that were overstocked or phased out of grocery stores. One being Healthy Times organic baby food for about $0.30 a jar (if memory serves me correctly).

I visited the Big Lots in South Knoxville--their shelf was full (many jars of carrot and apple available).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Questions people ask me

What many people sometimes don’t understand about being biracial is that… wait…well, actually there’s a lot people don’t understand, but ONE thing many people don’t understand is that being biracial attracts public scrutiny.

These “strangers in public places” often feel compelled to speak, not just look. The interaction may be positive, negative or otherwise.

Sometimes they are trying to figure out “what” we are—or to what group we identify—or how on earth we are connected to a family member next to us. Or maybe they want to tell us that they know someone who is biracial too.

A while back, though, I got a comment that was a pleasant first. Checking out at Home Depot with my sister, the cashier said, “Oh, are you sisters? You look a lot alike.”

I don’t mind conversation, though yes, I’d just prefer to check out in peace, but it was nice for someone to see us as sisters and see our resemblance.

But, why did she feel compelled to ask—yep, you guessed it: she (white) also has a biracial (black & white) sister like me.

Of course all people get questions from time to time. And, usually I only take the time to discuss the rudest ones.

Now, does anyone else have a question for me?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Half off deals--how many are there?

First, there's Half-off Depot, which I've written about before now. They feature numerous Knoxville businesses and restaurants offering certificates that will cost you only 1/2 their value. The best way to take advantage of a 1/2 off deal is to purchase one for a store that you already planned on using or could use for a gift or special occasion. I can't stress the prior statement more: just because it's half off doesn't mean you should buy it. Sure, it requires some planning and some would rather not be bothered, but I believe planning your finances is the way to financial happiness (The Simple Dollar).

For a good use recently, my husband and I purchased a $20 certificate for only $10, then used it to eat at half price at one of our favorite spots, Sitar Indian Restaurant, for our anniversary.

Second, there's, which has similar deals, but frankly, I haven't used them yet because they only have limited offerings.

Third, there's halfoffthursdays, which features new offers on Thursdays. I check for upcoming offers and mark my calendar, since some of them go very fast.

Fourth, there's local radio stations, such as WNOX-FM offering certificates. On WNOX, the offers begin on Fridays at 9 a.m. Other radio stations offer deals at other times--Stir-fry cafe goes on sale tomorrow.

These are all I can think of for now, but it seems like there's more--let me know if you know of any more.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home Depot's Garden Club

Each time I recieve a coupon from Home Depot in my email, I make a note to myself to post something. Now, finally, I am. Go here to join Home Depot's Garden Club. They don't send too many emails, and the coupons are worthwhile whether you plant a mum or two or have a full garden and over-the-top landscaping complete with a pond and waterfall.

For example, today's coupon that I'll definitely end up using is for shrubs--buy one, get one free (limit one).

Those who know about my problems with a nearby landfill might be wondering why I'd be buying shrubs when I plan to eventually move... and the answer is to block the view! I'm thinking Holly.

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Earthfare Specials for September

September Specials

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nearly every purchase has a cheaper option

In my quest to save money I've realized I know one thing that's nearly always true--there's usually a cheaper option. So, for any purchase, step back.... pause... and ask yourself: should I really buy this item for this price?

Perfect example: my husband's cell phone recently died. He's hard on phones. When he gets a brand new one he might as well just flush it down the toilet, use it for fetch with our Lab, then attach it to his car from a string and drag it 40 miles on a gravel road... so when his phone died too soon for us to renew, I knew a used one was the best option.

Photo: My phone appears nearly new next to his mangled mess.
I remembered that a friend on the same network had an extra phone she didn't need. I called her, but didn't reach her. I panicked...aaaggghhh! We had to have a phone! We can't live without a phone!

So, I checked an on-line company that someone I knew had used: <---don't use them. Long story short: I ordered a phone, it didn't work, they promised to send another, didn't send one... they don't offer money back, and so on... probably just lost 70 bucks because of impatience. And wouldn't you know, my husband's co-worker just got a new phone and gave his old one to us. Just like that. So easy. So free. What should I have done? Well, I could've posted a note on my facebook account, I could've sent out a few e-mails, I could've asked strangers on the street, and in all likelihood, we'd had a phone that same day if I hadn't panicked. How many of you have old phones sitting at your house right now you'd been happy to see put to good use? You know the phone, too good to throw away or recycle, just sitting there... and you keep thinking to yourself... "I ought to sell that thing on Craig's List" but you haven't. There's usually a cheaper, or even free, option... when you take the time to consider your situation. Clothing. Furniture. Cars. All things we buy used all the time, so often, in fact, that whole industries are based on used clothes, cars, furniture, appliances, houses... But what about everything else? Here are some random examples from my life where I realized I could find a cheaper or free option. Carpet (cheap). My house has hardwood floors, but with the addition of baby, I realized I wanted some softer areas. Instead of buying expensive rugs, I just bought remnants from Fraziers. You can get any number of large or small sizes of varying quality and pay as little as $12 or as much as $200. They have a whole area devoted just to remnants, just ask when you go in.

Seeds (free). When it was time to plant my garden this year, I realized it'd cost me $20 just in seeds because I wanted so many different plants--zinnias, cucumbers, okra, watermelons, sunflowers, zucchini, marigolds, green beans, peas, etc--and I didn't want very many of each plant either. I mulled it over and realized I could just ask my mother, who plants a large garden every year, for a few seeds of each of the items she was also buying.

Coupons (free). Many couponers buy multiple copies of the Sunday paper to get to the good stuff--the coupons. I just get my parent's coupons from their paper and from a friend couponer who gives me her extras.

Fertilizer (cheap). I have two fish tanks, a 30 and 75 gallon, and I have 30+ houseplants. One day I put two and two together. When I siphon the yucky muck from the bottom of my fish tanks... I put that into my houseplants. Sorta free, but I do have to pay to keep up the fish.

Photos: some of my many house plants.

Gift bags (free). Next time you receive a gift from me, it'll be in one of the many gift bags I've received over the years. I recently realized--while decluttering--that my emotional attachment to gift bags ends now.

Photo: that's an 18-gallon container stuffed full.

VCR (free). Plenty of people have given their video cassette tapes to McKay's Used Books & CD's, but not me. I keep all my favorites, whether on disc or tape, so when our VCR died, I thought about how like the above cell phone example, plenty of people had VCR's they were dying to get rid of. Sure enough!

The above examples don't begin to touch on the amazing savings one can get with coupons. If you still haven't ventured into the couponing world, I urge you to do so. An example: for the last few weeks, my new best friend and I have been scrapbooking once a week. That stuff's expensive, but... A.C. Moore will email you a coupon each week, print one on the bottom of your receipt and give you another in the Sunday paper, Hobby Lobby emails a coupon, JoAnns, Michaels... Scrapbooks and More will match competitor's coupons once a week and usually have their own coupon in the school coupon books.

We also need to print out some of those millions of digital pictures we have. Shutterfly can't seem to stop themselves from offering me 50 free prints time and again--all I pay is shipping. Walgreens gave me 25 free prints when I bought 25 this week. Offers abound--find the one that's right for you.

Everything we purchase might have a cheaper or free option. About to throw down money on something? Wait! Let's put our heads together first and see if we can think of a cheaper option.

Finally, many thanks to everyone I've alluded to in this post!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Insect repellent cures eczema?

At only a few weeks old, my daughter began getting dry patches on her legs. The doctor said, "oh, winter is so hard on new baby skin."

At a different doctor's office during her 18 month old check up, the nurse practitioner said, "oh, summer heat is so hard on baby skin."

Something isn't adding up?

My daughter's dry skin patches, or eczema, have been present to varying degrees ever since. I tried a few things here and there, but mostly in the beginning I kept her moisturized with Eucerin moisturizing cream. Before long, I noticed the patches would go crazy--spread up her legs and turn red--after being in strongly chlorinated environments like pools. This summer I kept her away from fountains and pools at the cost of many a playdate. In addition, only a few weeks ago, she hopped in the creek at Fountain City Park, and her skin reacted. Who knows what's in there?

When we went to the beach this summer, we camped, so she wasn't in chlorinated water at all. Her eczema disappeared right away even though we were eating the same foods. Since our return, I've been putting Vitamin C and sea salt in her bath water, (Vitamin C neutralizes chlorine) and her skin has been decent but not great.

Now for the news: Burt's Bee's "All Natural Herbal Insect Repellent" cures eczema??? Well, I tried it out--for the insect repellent effect--and the next morning, her skin was smooth and soft. The only other time it looked and felt that good was after our beach trip. So, what to do now?

I made a trip to Earthfare, discussed it with a helpful employee and came home with Mommie Dots "ReNewed Bebe Vegan Butter Balm" which states: a "soothing atopic remedy for eczema and severe dry skin."

So far, it's great, but not as strong as the Burt's Bees. Please note I've only had it for one day. I had planned on buying some of the same essential oils in the insect repellent, so that's probably what I'll still end up doing.

The bottom lines are: doctors weren't helpful at all, my girl has some sensitive skin/allergy seemingly to external not internal causes, and this is probably going to take a while to figure out.

By the way, the only place I know of to get the Burt's Bee's spray is at Lowe's, and it worked much better than those other natural brands I've tried. I wasn't completely mosquito proof (I had to put it on thicker), but the daughter was.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Baby Bookworms at Burlington Branch Library

True for any major city (I hope!): the public library is your friend.

Mine saved me from postpartum depression. Ok, so that's an overstatement. But, when my daughter was about four months old, I heard about a program called baby bookworms, bb, at our libraries. I also heard that the 11:00 bb at Fountain City branch was The One, so we went and faithfully attended. At times, attending bb was the only thing I looked forward to for the week. My baby was always calm and happy while there. The charismatic storytime leader thrilled us with interactive songs, big pop-up books, finger plays, and playtime on a blanket of toys afterward.

She's still doing that now, but word has spread. Our baby bookworms storytime has gotten crowded! Other moms have told me about bb at other library branches--some good, some not so good. So, when I finally made it to a new once-a-month story time at my closest branch, Burlington, I was excited.

The best news is that it will now be held twice a month. Beginning in September, it's the first and third Tuesday at 10:30. The time and day are a perfect match for me and the little one. To recap:

Baby Bookworms
Burlington Branch Library (East Knoxville)
1st and 3rd Tuesdays
10:30 a.m.

(September 1 and September 15)

Here's more good news about Burlington Branch Library: a park is being built adjacent, so soon, you can have a picnic right after storytime. Many thanks to Town Hall East for helping the park plans happen!

Don't feel left out--8-5 working moms and pops can also have fun at the library. Lawson McGhee offers an evening storytime at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday, which we have attended and enjoyed.

Find a storytime or event that's right for you:

See you at the library!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Coupons, Barnes & Noble gift card with purchase

Image representing Barnes & Noble as depicted ...Image via CrunchBase

To take advantage of this offer, visit this page.

Take A Bite Out Of Reading

Back to school just got a bit healthier as Earth’s Best joins with other Hain Celestial Group organic brands to nurture healthy reading habits!

When it comes to good habits, Earth’s Best and parents are on the same page. Just like eating healthy, reading is a good habit, and a great way to spend time with your kids. So when you purchase $15 or more of participating Hain Celestial Group products, you will receive a Barnes & Noble Gift Card. In addition to the Barnes & Noble gift cards, you will receive a complimentary Healthy Eating Tips bookmark and coupons for all participating Hain Celestial Group brands. It’s a great way to build your back-to-school book collection!
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Be an informed voter

A Candidate Forum is being held to present the 4th District City Council candidates to the community. The forum is being jointly sponsored by: Town Hall East, Alice Bell-Spring Hill, and Fountain City Town Hall. The forum will be held at the New Harvest Park Building, 4775 New Harvest Lane (near the new Target Shopping Center) on Monday August 10, 2009, at 7 p.m.

The format will include opening and closing statements by the candidates, and a question and answer period involving the audience. Community members are invited to attend and become better informed before casting votes in September.

Choosing your next council representative affects the City you call home.

Please join us and become an informed voter.

Who's running in the 4th district? Nick Della Volpe and Ray Abbas

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

East Knoxville's own "Secret Garden"

My daughter and I recently visited the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, which is within minutes of our home. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll and even found a cat in Knoxville's 44 acre "secret garden." The grounds are beautiful and provide a great place for a picnic or in my case, for my toddler to run around and let off some steam that day!

The gardens are actually older than Knoxville and began as a nursery.

"The year was 1786, the United States had declared its independence from Great Britain 10 years earlier and North Carolina was awarding land west of the Appalachian Mountains to its dedicated soldiers of the Revolutionary War and selling land to cover war debts. David Wessels Howell was one of the individuals who was awarded a piece of land where he established a plant nursery and orchard in the area that would later be known as Knoxville, TN."

--from the Garden's Website: History of the Howell Nurseries By Katie Steinhoff

The gardens and nursery were nearly lost for a housing project in 2001, but now, full restoration efforts are in progress. The board has big dreams for East Knoxville's garden space:

"Our hope is to see this historic landscape preserved, restored and expanded as a public garden, a community resource and as a tourist destination. We envision: every tree native to this region displayed along with rare and exotic species already established, pleasure gardens designed by nationally noted garden designers to create a collection quite extraordinary and significant to Knoxville, a bird sanctuary, areas designated for plant cultivation, meditation, water features, sculpture and ultimately an amphitheater for plays, concerts and festivals... The Gardens will provide a new and much needed dedicated “green space” for the community that surrounds it as well as educational programs for children and adults throughout Knoxville."

--from The Garden's Website.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thrift Store Sale

Thanks to Couponing in Critical Times for a heads up on an upcoming sale at the American Council of the Blind Thrift Store. They are offering 50% off during tax-free weekend, so for more details, click the above link.

The store is located just off Clinton Hwy next to Northern Tool & Equipment and across from my family's business, Lee's Specialtee.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thrift Stores

Knoxville has several thrift store choices, and a few of my favorite are:

Habitat for Humanity at 2209 North Central, 521-4909

Plenty of furniture and items for the home such as ovens, light fixtures, doors, and even used paint.

Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries, KARM at 3935 Western, 521-7766, 115 Sherlake (off Clinton Hwy), 690-0939, 4528 Chapman, 577-0404, and 3555 Emory, 947-1663.

This year they offered a 20% off coupon in Knox Co Schools coupon books. The coupon could be used once a month (two months remaining at this time). In addition to that, your receipt is good for 10% a future purchase. Their coupons are sometimes limited to clothing/shoes only, so be sure to check them.

Smart Cents at 5731 Western, 558-6187

Smart Cents currently lists a coupon in the Volunteer Coupon Book for 25% off your total purchase. Not only that, they advertise that they will honor all competitor's coupons!

And finally, my favorite:
Amvets Thrift Store at 4105 Holston, 524-8498

Amvets boasts the lowest prices day in/day out. Often, the store is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter; the store has no bathrooms and clothing is not cutely organized by color. But, they do have a big, full store with everything from books, games, and curtains to sewing patterns, cloth, kitchen utensils, and tables. Children's clothing--from the hideous to The Gap--is $0.89 an item. They have great hours: open seven days a week and most days until 8 p.m. Several times a year, they'll have 50% off everything in the store sales (usually around holidays).

Currently, on the back of your Kroger receipt from Asheville Hwy will be a $5 off a $20 purchase coupon. (It is not good on the purchase of children's clothing, however.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Target Coupons: Lesson Learned

Target CorporationImage via Wikipedia

Target coupons may be used on an item in addition to a manufacturer's coupon. So, if Target puts out a coupon for $1 off Bounty 6-pack paper towels, and you have a manufacturer's coupon of $.50 off, you can get $1.50 off the one Bounty paper towel 6-pack. Two coupons off the same item can make for some phenominal deals at times.

Target's Website lists the coupons in small print at the very bottom of the home page. Look for "grocery coupons."

My last trip to Target was embarassing. Some of my Target coupons didn't want to scan at first. It took several tries and by then the clerk was probably figuring I made the coupons myself with a crayon.

I printed them off one of the sites around that advertises a Target coupon generator. And I hadn't really thought much of it at the time, but now I realize they are probably not technically legit. Upon close inspection, I could tell an obvious difference in quality between the coupon printed off the site and the ones I printed off Target's home page. It appears to me that the ones from the site are actually a screen capture, which can then be saved, cut and pasted, etc to be used. No wonder they didn't scan well.

Maybe that doesn't bother some people, but it sure bothered me. I don't hesistate to hand a stack of coupons to my cashier, but I want all the coupons to be legit for many reasons:

--It's embarrassing
--If they don't scan, I might not want the item, which means extra time and trouble for me and the cashier to void, etc
--Problems might eventually lead Target to discontinue their own coupons, or worse, to not accept any or very few manufacturer coupons.

Finally, this leads me to another issue with Target coupons. On coupon is stated: limit one offer per transaction.

What does that mean? I know some couponers are going in with muliple prints of the same Target coupon, and buying muliples of the same item with it. Are they doing separate transactions?

I am only using one per offer per transaction, which is my interpretation. For me, if it's a super deal, I'll dump my loot in the car and go back in once, maybe twice. Doesn't matter how cheap they are, how many boxes of Kashi cereal do I need, anyway? Chances are, by the time I need more, they'll be doing another sale and manufacturers and Target will all release coupons.

My worry is that Target is considering no longer issuing Target coupons. I have no basis, it's just a hunch.

I'm wondering what others think? Is it ok to use a screen capture of a coupon?

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Veg-O-Rama has tasty menu, inviting atmosphere

I finally ate at the much anticipated all vegetarian restaurant,Veg-O-Rama, last week! Before I discuss my visit, though, I'd like to share just how long I've been waiting for them to open.

First off, I would have no idea of their existence if I didn't happen to have a rental property in that area that we've been working on for months. One day in February or April, I remember seeing their large banner "Coming Soon" above their door. I was thrilled and began telling people about it and driving by to see when they would open. I scoured the Internet for details and found nothing. Finally, they posted a sign with a sample menu in the window stating "coming in May," (see post) but as June approached, May had been replaced with June. By then I was quite worried and stopped by to see if anyone was available to talk with. Lo and behold, they'd be opening in two weeks! So finally, the day came, and my parents, husband, daughter and I all enjoyed a meal.

We had French Onion Soup, Chili Dogs, Tofu Reuben, Grilled Veggie Skewers, and a Veggie Burger. I only managed to try two items in addition to my own because no one wanted to share. (That's normal for us!)

The food was tasty with original, distinctive flavors and beautiful presentation. Pricing was good, with the highest item at $10.95 and most items being around $7.95.

The atmosphere was inviting and cozy. This restaurant was not thrown together. The loving care that has been put into this new Knoxville vegetarian's mecca definitely shows. They have a comfortable dining set up and feature mostly booth seating. A couple cozy armchairs tempt as you first walk in, and a bar awaits you toward the back.

Missing from their menu were staple, hearty meals (especially for the semi-vegetarians like my stepdad): spaghetti or lazagna, black beans with rice or a stacked enchilada, but I don't know if that's a bad thing. And my only complaint, which I've purposely buried, isthat the portion sizes were on the small size. I am a big eater for sure, though, so I don't know how other visitors have felt. Meanwhile, I hope to return tomorrow for another great meal.

I eagerly look forward to future menu choices, a finished Website, and all the other stuff it takes to get a new business up and running. I'll continue to post on their progress, and I wish them much success.

I can imagine that in time, Veg-O-Rama will become a Knoxville standard, as distinctive as the The Tomato Head and as versatile as The Sunspot.

They are already as delicious!

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Free subscription to Vegetarian Times magazine

I've seen this deal listed on several blogs, and it's too good of a deal for me to pass up since I love their BBQ sauce on a Morning Star Farm's griller with a slice of grilled pineapple and pickles.

Annie's Naturals is offering a free subscription to Vegetarian Times magazine when you purchase two products.
From their site:
The free one year subscription (9 issues) to Vegetarian Times Magazine with purchase of any two (2) Annie’s Naturals or one (1) Annie’s Naturals AND one (1) Earthbound Farm bagged lettuce. Offer good in U.S only. Limit one subscription per household. Must be 18 years or older to win. Offer Expires August 1, 2009. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for subscription to start after offer ends.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Veg-O-Rama Restaurant opens Fri instead of Thu

Veg-O-Rama has a grand opening sign up now on the sidewalk announcing an opening of Friday instead of Thursday, as anticipated. So... finally... I'll get to eat there on Friday, July 10. Looking forward to it!

Eat for half price at Salsarita's & Sitar

Half-off Depot has several new deals up! Two I found intriguing: Salsarita's is offering a $20 certificate for $10 and so is Sitar Indian Restaurant--both are places I enjoy, so I'm excited. Salsarita's is about as close as I come to eating fast food, and my is it tasty. Sitar has a good lunch buffet, but I prefer a quiet evening dinner with one of their specialty dishes and delicious breads.

BOGO deal at Earth Fare


Monday, July 6, 2009

A conversation between WG and BG

an excerpt:

"I mean black people experience the reality of race everyday. White guys, like me, tend to think of ourselves as non-racialized, as if we don't have a race. That's a form of white privilege that you black guys don't enjoy in our racialized society. Of course, I'm not saying that white people are right to think of themselves as non-racialized. It's, in fact, part of our racial consciousness to think of ourselves as non-racialized, if that makes any sense."

A conversation posted on Philosophy Talk on the biracial identity. View it here.

Achieving that 50% mark

Kroger logoImage via Wikipedia

On my last three trips to Kroger, I reached that dreamed-of promise land, where I saved 50% or more on my orders. The coupon high was as great as I had hoped—I called family members to brag, and forced my husband to examine the receipt and admire my mad couponing skills item by item.

I came to some important realizations about what it takes to score 50% off. Though I’d sworn off the rookie couponing mistake of buying something merely because it’s a good deal, I still hadn’t really taken to heart the advice of buying only what’s on sale.

Buying only what’s on sale—along with a few essentials—means you have to be stocked up on what you regularly use. Building your stockpile takes time, but eventually, you just don’t need that much each week. You also have to be willing and ready to plan your week’s meals around sale items. So, if broccoli is on sale, I might make baked potatoes, and so on. Also, if I have a coupon for a sale item, I stock up on it—if I have the money to do so.

I probably won’t reach 50% or better during the winters since I’ll be buying more of my produce at the grocery store than I am right now. I have cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, yellow squash & zucchini from my garden. (I’m not visiting farmer’s market’s much either.)

So, what did I buy?

Well, first off, I had to wait until Friday to shop because I was broke. That’s nothing new, but it did help me put more emphasis on saving.

I know if I shop in the mornings, I will find more manager’s specials: I bought a Kroger bakery whole wheat bread loaf for $1.79. Since it’s preservative free, it goes in the fridge, and we’ll eat it quickly. I also purchased a cheese loaf, which I froze for later (perhaps garlic bread?), and I grabbed a bagged salad mix for $1.99. Again, it should be eaten quickly, but that’s fine as I just finished it off for lunch today.

I also purchased some Over the Moon milk with a coupon for the husband, Kroger oatmeal that was on sale, bananas, a bag of potatoes...

Besides manager’s specials and basics, I also stocked up on some items with store sales and coupons.

I paid $ .50 each for organic lemonade by using a $.75 coupon on the sale price of $1.25 (thanks for the heads up on that sale, Candace!). I paid $1.06 for the large can of Bush vegetarian baked beans and a mere $.85 for Betty Crocker supreme brownie mixes (paper coupons, e-coupons, buy 10 get 3).

I spent a total of $38.50 + tax, but I brought home $81.93 worth of groceries.

So, we’ll be having brownies, beans and lemonade this week?

Not necessarily. The brownies don’t expire for a year, lemonade: same thing. I usually only plan two or so meals, and the rest just comes about. I always have rice, potatoes, pasta, tons of frozen, boxed & canned goods, and now that it’s summer, plenty of fresh stuff too. For instance, last night we ate purple cabbage from my mom’s garden.

Saving a ton can work for many. If you eat boxed, prepared meals, those go on mega sales that you can combine with coupons. If you eat mostly made from scratch meals with fresh veggies like we do, that can work also.

Who it won’t work for—those who have no room for storage, do not want to find, store and use coupons, or don’t want to worry with what’s on sale and/or plan ahead. Some just don’t want to be bothered and consider it a hassle. Of course, some on special diets may have trouble too.

But, I think many people can step up their game a notch or two and really see results that they will find worthwhile.

My mother always taught me to look at the price per unit and stock up when something is on sale, so what I’m doing now is throwing coupons in the mix… and it’s taken me to a much happier, restful place where I can afford what I need… and also afford some things I don’t need, like brownies! Yum!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Duck Duck Goose Consignment Sale

The Duck Duck Goose consignment sale for fall is gearing up, so it's time to get your stuff together! This sale is probably the biggest in our area and worth saving up for. It's often very busy, so plan accordingly--i.e. I find it's easier to shop without my toddler. Visit their page for more info.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Earth's Best baby food 3-day sale

This isn't a run-to-the-store-before-it-closes deal, but if you have some manufacturer's coupons, it's a good time to buy. Details Here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Earth Fare Specials for July


Free Couponing Class

Have you known me for a while and wonder why I'm acting so CRAZY about coupons all of a sudden? Find out what it's all about! On July 9, Coupon mommie is offering a free coupon class (which I meant to post sooner).

I really got into coupons when I attended a different class posted on Craig's List nearly a year ago. I'll always remember the instructor's advice that her mother told her: I don't have much money, but I do have a little time.

A little time is all you need to get started. One evening. July 9. Click Here

Earth Fare 4th of July Specials

4th of July specials at Earth Fare.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Because I love ice-cream...

Veg-o-rama set to open July 9

A table and chairs taunted me from the sidewalk. The front door was open. I got the car into a space, unloaded the toddler and headed in... too bad I didn't have my camera. So, again, here is the view from the sidewalk.

If you want an inside view (and some food!), the owner is planning hours of Tue-Wed (lunch only), and Thu, Fri, Sat (lunch & dinner) with a grand opening of Thursday, July 9 for dinner.

See you there!

For a map, google the location as: 1204 North Central Steet, Knoxville, TN, 37917, (865) 540-8346. Website address is