Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How does your garden grow?

I haven't been blogging much lately because I've been so busy gardening! Pictured is my daughter by the garden. I always garden with sunflowers because they are so magnificent. Even if nothing else grows, glorious sunflowers will loom large over the rest of the garden and provide food for wild birds in the fall. (Remember the dying husband's comments about sunflowers in the movie Calendar Girls?) Sunflowers are also useful for shade. They help provide shade (heat relief) for the other plants, which is especially helpful for squash & zucchini. Next year, I will be more careful how I place my sunflowers so that they will shade my squash better than this year.

This year I'm using tarps to give some relief to my cucumbers and squash. Below, I'm 5' 2,'' gives you an idea of how tall they already are. Last year, the highest measured at 11 feet tall. The rusty car is Yellow Bird, she's a 1976 Honda Civic. I'm a firm believer that we should all own something older than we are that's in good working order.
I make room for pretty flowers too. Zinnias are now in full bloom, and marigolds are just starting to open. I plant marigolds throughout and around my garden as they are natural bug deterrents. You can also see the straw mulch I use from Bob Due's terraced farms. I place it (or regular mulch) on top of newspaper and cardboard to keep down weeds, retain moisture and add nutrients to the soil each year. I add leaves on top of the garden in the fall.

Above are cucumbers, squash and corn plants. I also have tons of tomatoes planted this year. (Many thanks to my friend Sarah for loaning me some tomato cages.)
What will I do with all this food? I just made my first ever batch of pickles--12 pints worth. I sure hope they taste good!

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Smart Shoppers" to cover saving money at the grocery store

Example of an American grocery store aisle.Image via Wikipedia

If you are new to couponing or you attended a large workshop and left feeling overwhelmed, this Smart Shoppers series is the place for you.

Their next meeting at Burlington Branch Library will be Monday, July 12 at 6 p.m. The topic is Grocery Shopping Tips. "We'll delve into our local grocery stores, find out who doubles coupons, how much they double and find out how to work the sales with our coupons to maximize our savings," says Julie Piller, who will be leading the meeting.

Handouts from the previous meeting will be available.

Please contact the library at 525-5431 or email to let her know you're coming.

Bring any coupons you'd like to share for an informal swap after the meeting.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Burlington Branch Library Park underway

Burlington Branch Library will soon boast an adjacent park. The park has been delayed significantly, but now construction is finally going strong. The East Knoxville library is only a few years old, and with the addition of the park, it will be a like a parent's dream: Park + Library = very happy child.

Above photo was taken about one week ago. The library is the red brick building to the right. The area to the left is the upcoming park.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Clearance items at East Target

I went on a shopping trip to East Target tonight and found several clearance items of interest.

Weleda baby and Method baby products such as shampoo & body wash, lotion and bubble bath are being clearanced (phased out?). These items are in the baby section near Burt's Bees and California Baby brand products.

Also on clearance on an inside end cap by the dog food were organic items such as Newman's Own dog food and PetGuard dog food products.

We have used the Pet Guard Mr. Pugsly's vegetarian peanut butter dog snacks for our pups, which they enjoyed.

Though I'm sad to see Target clearing out these items, I do hope someone gets some great deals on these products.

Speaking of dog food, Blue Frog has some ideas for how to make your own.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fake Doritos coupon circulating

When I first attended a large coupon workshop, a woman in attendance turned to my friend and me and proceeded to whisper about how you could purchase a different item than a coupon intended. She had found out about decoding barcodes. Though my friend and I laughed about it later, it's really no laughing matter because these kind of shoppers hurt future deals for the rest of us.

Recently, there's been a fake coupon circulating in e-mails for a free bag of Doritos. The company has put out a warning about it, read here.

I thought this was very interesting because apparently the coupon scanned and worked at retailers. Any time I'm taken to a site or see a coupon that doesn't look quite right, I just pass on the deal. Sometimes people will also post a pdf image of a coupon, which isn't legal either.

That said, sometimes consumers don't even realize they are using a fraudulent coupon.

Here's a link to an excellent post on Moms Need to Know about coupon ethics.

As for me, I'll skip on eating those Doritos, free or not.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm thrilled about backyard hens!

I'm thrilled Knoxville is joining other cities with progressive thinking about both our food and pets. Personally, I've always enjoyed having hens as pets. The eggs are just a perk!

In the upcoming weeks, I'll be posting more about keeping hens. In the meantime, here's a previous post, "who wants some cheap eggs?"

Below is a gift I received last year for Christmas--as you can see, I love hens!

Sign up for savings at your favorite restaurants, stores

With Father's Day coming up, I'm reminded... to remind you... to sign up at all your favorite eateries for special offers and coupons. For example, I received an e-mail from Marble Slab for a BOGO offer for dad on his special day. (sign up in your local store)

Though chains often have loyalty programs, don't forget all your local eateries as well. Often, small places will not have on-line programs, so you'll sign up at the facility if they have a loyalty program.

While you're at it, remember to ask your auto repair facility if they have an e-newsletter, and your pet supply store, your tattoo parlor... you get the idea!

But, if you need some examples, here are some of my personal favorites:
Cutie Tooties cloth diaper store
Aquarium fish supply
Lee's Specialtee Honda & Acura repair
(a shameless plug for my family's business!)
The Disc Exchange
Home Depot's garden club

You can also begin listing brands and products you use and get on their lists as well--from Burt's Bees to Proctor & Gamble, everyone wants your business. Tweak your choices to the places/brands you use the most to cut back on the amount of email you receive. Alternately, you can keep an eye on deals through money saving blogs. Let them go through all the emails and post the deals. This works great for places like Kohl's, which sent me way too many emails with too little savings for me to be a subscriber, but doesn't work for places like Earth fare or the Home Depot Garden Club because I need to be able to print the coupon they specifically send to me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

$100 worth of clothing for $50 at Sears

I was hoping this deal would come up again this year, and it did! Buy $50 of men's apparel at Sears and mail in a rebate form to receive a $50 card good on more men's apparel at Sears. I'll be getting work pants for my husband who is always ruining his work pants by working! That is, he ruins his 8-5 job pants by wearing them while working around the house--paint stains, asphalt/tar stains from driveway repair, paint thinner spots, dried concrete stains, rips--you name it, he does it!

My first thought on this deal was, I wonder if Kroger has Sears cards so that I can get 100 fuel points?, but Coupon Katie has an even better idea--check it out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What to do with that Ace Hardware coupon in the school coupon book?

Ace Hardware logoImage via Wikipedia
Do you try to use coupons from other stores at Home Depot? I have, and sometimes the clerk says "yes" and sometimes it's a "no." But, apparently, the answer should be "yes." I've also used Home Depot Garden Club coupons at Lowe's when Home Depot hasn't had what I wanted. Again, I always ask the clerk beforehand, and if he or she says "no," I just accept they they are new hires and visit a different line or check out at the service desk.

But, back to how to put that good coupon to use!

Recently, my step dad told me that when opened his wallet to pay for his purchase and the Home Depot check-out clerk noticed his Lowe's coupon, she said. "Oh, I can accept that coupon!" Furthermore, she said, "I can take Ace Hardware coupons too!"

So, don't forget to use those Ace Hardware coupons in your school coupon books before they expire, and now you know you have more ways than ever to use them.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Overwhelming Summer

If you're like me, your schedule is slammed with all the events taking place this summer! So far, one area I've neglected, besides signing up for the reading challenge, are children's library events. Here's a reminder list of remaining dates & times for FREE events going on at your public library.

A visit from the Knoxville Zoo
June 15, Cedar Bluff Branch at 4:00 p.m.

June 17, Powell Branch at 11:00 a.m.
June 22, North Knoxville Branch at 4:00 p.m.
June 23, Farragut Branch at 1:30 p.m.
June 24, Halls Branch at 4:00 p.m.
June 25, Fountain City Branch at 1:00 p.m.
June 28, Norwood Branch at 2:00 p.m.
July 7, Lawson McGhee Library at 3:00 p.m.
July 7, Murphy Branch at 11:00 a.m.
July 8, Sequoyah Branch at 3:00 p.m.
July 12, Howard Pinkston Branch at 3:00 p.m.
July 15, Karns Branch at 2:00 p.m.

Magic by Michael Messing

June 9, Farragut Branch at 11:00 a.m.
June 9, Farragut Branch at 1:30 p.m.
June 10, Burlington Branch at 11:00 a.m.
June 10, Karns Branch at 2:00 p.m.
June 11, Fountain City Branch at 1:00 p.m.
June 14, Norwood Branch at 2:00 p.m.
June 17, Murphy Branch at 11:00 a.m.
June 21, Howard Pinkston Branch at 3:00 p.m.
June 22, South Knoxville Branch at 11:00 a.m.
June 22, Lawson McGhee Library at 3:00 p.m.
June 23, Bearden Branch at 11:00 a.m.
June 24, Carter Branch at 2:00 p.m.
June 24, Mascot Branch at 4:00 p.m.
July 8, Powell Branch at 11:00 a.m.
July 15, Sequoyah Branch at 3:00 p.m.
July 20, Cedar Bluff Branch at 4:00 p.m.
July 22, Corryton Branch at 10:00 a.m.
July 22, Halls Branch at 4:00 p.m.

Music with Sean McCullough
June 10, Halls Branch at 4:00 p.m.
June 17, Mascot Branch at 4:00 p.m.
June 21, Burlington Branch at 6:30 p.m.
June 24, Sequoyah Branch at 3:00 p.m.
July 6, South Knoxville Branch at 11:00 a.m.
July 6, Cedar Bluff Branch at 4:00 p.m.
July 21, Bearden Branch at 11:00 a.m.
July 21, Farragut Branch at 1:30 p.m.
July 22, Powell Branch at 11:00 a.m.
July 23, Fountain City Branch at 1:00 p.m.
July 26, Norwood Branch at 2:00 p.m.
July 29, Corryton Branch at 10:00 a.m.
July 29, Karns Branch at 2:00 p.m.

I also recommend looking over lists of activities at the libraries nearest you, have fun!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lisa Ross Birth & Women's Center walk for healthy babies

This weekend, I'll be at the 7th annual Lisa Ross Birth & Women's Center's Walk for Healthy Babies. The event is June 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Victor Ashe Park in Northwest Knoxville.

Not only is this an excellent business to support, it's also where my sister and own daugher were born. It's a great place to be pregnant.

This year, they have added a 5K Fun Run in addition to the one mile Family Walk. Registration is $15 per adult for the Family Walk and $20 per adult for the Fun Run. Registration includes an event T-shirt and a picnic lunch!

To register, e-mail your name, address and phone number to (Yikes, I better do that right now!)

Regal's Free Family Film Festival complete listing

In hot summer days to come, you'll be glad you printed out the schedule below. Selected G or PG movies start at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival. Tickets and seating are on a first-come, first-serve basis and are limited to theatre capacity. Visit the Regal website for more information.

Knoxville Center Stadium 10

3051-B Mall Road North

Knoxville ,TN 37924


06/08/2010-06/09/2010 Tale Of Despereaux - DP (G)

Shrek The Third - DP (PG)

06/15/2010-06/16/2010 Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - DP (G)

Over The Hedge - DP (PG)

06/22/2010-06/23/2010 Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel- DP (PG)

Monsters Vs. Aliens - DP (PG)

06/29/2010-06/30/2010 Kung Fu Panda - DP (PG)

Planet 51 - DP (PG)

07/06/2010-07/07/2010 Charlotte's Web - DP (G)

Bee Movie - DP (PG)

07/13/2010-07/14/2010 Barnyard - DP (PG)

Surf's Up - DP (PG)

07/20/2010-07/21/2010 Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs - DP (PG)

Hotel For Dogs - DP (PG)

07/27/2010-07/28/2010 Flushed Away - DP (PG)

Open Season - DP (PG)

08/03/2010-08/04/2010 Imagine That - DP (PG)

Where The Wilds Things Are - DP (PG)


West Town Stadium 9

7600 Kingston Pike

Knoxville ,TN 37919


06/08/2010-06/09/2010 Charlotte's Web - DP (G)

Barnyard - DP (PG)

06/15/2010-06/16/2010 Bee Movie - DP (PG)

Planet 51 - DP (PG)

06/22/2010-06/23/2010 Flushed Away - DP (PG)

Surf's Up - DP (PG)

06/29/2010-06/30/2010 Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs - DP (PG)

Hotel For Dogs - DP (PG)

07/06/2010-07/07/2010 Imagine That - DP (PG)

Open Season - DP (PG)

07/13/2010-07/14/2010 Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs - DP (PG)

Kung Fu Panda - DP (PG)

07/20/2010-07/21/2010 Tale Of Despereaux - DP (G)

Monsters Vs. Aliens - DP (PG)

07/27/2010-07/28/2010 Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - DP (G)

Over The Hedge - DP (PG)

08/03/2010-08/04/2010 Shrek The Third - DP (PG)

Where The Wilds Things Are - DP (PG)


Pinnacle Stadium 18 & IMAX

11240 Parkside Drive

Knoxville ,TN 37922


06/08/2010-06/09/2010 Charlotte's Web (G)


06/15/2010-06/16/2010 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (G)

Shrek 2 (PG)

06/22/2010-06/23/2010 Rugrats The Movie (G)

Shrek The Third (PG)

06/29/2010-06/30/2010 Wallace and Gromit (G)

Madagascar 2 (PG)

07/06/2010-07/07/2010 Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (G)

Bee Movie (PG)

07/13/2010-07/14/2010 Muppets From Space (G)

Shark Tale (PG)

07/20/2010-07/21/2010 Polar Express (G)

Hotel For Dogs (PG)

07/27/2010-07/28/2010 Kit Kittredge: American Girl (G)

Prince And Me (PG)

08/03/2010-08/04/2010 Tale of Despereaux (G)

Monsters Vs. Aliens (PG)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

Deceptively simple way to get this cookbook for only $3: Big Lots!

There are plenty of copies available at the Broadway location (for now), but I don't know about other locations.

This cookbook has recipes for meals like grilled cheese, brownies, etc that include pureed vegetables. Of course, not all of them will be useful for me in a vegetarian home, but I'm always interested in increasing the nutritional value of unhealthy foods that I crave. For example, in her book, she has a recipe for Ranch dip that includes Navy or Great Northern beans or pink pancakes with beets. My daughter loves pancakes, and the only thing she might like more are pink ones!

Now, my first thought was why would I want to hide veggies when my kid already eats them (most of the time), and shouldn't I be simply serving the veggies? Yes and no. Yes, I WANT to serve veggies more, but no, sometimes push comes to shove, we have no time or veggies available, and we go with grilled cheese sandwiches.

The author suggests making purees in advance, then storing them in the freezer to throw into recipes as needed. I imagine I'll make 15 or so recipes from her book, which is beneficial, but the value of the ideas I've gleaned for how to make food more nutritious far surpass the number of recipes I will try. Definitely a good purchase.

Read about some controversy over this book: USA Today article. (Image from USA Today article.)

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