Donate a Coat at Burlington Stores to Help those in Need #CoatNotes

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but it’s really cold here in East Tennessee. In fact, schools were delayed this morning a couple of hours because of the bitter cold (that we aren’t used to). As I was laying in my warm bed this morning cuddled up with my little ones under covers I couldn’t help but think about how blessed we are. Although, my kids might get cold running from the house to the car or from the car into church, homeschool group, etc they will be bundled up in a coat, hat, and gloves. They might feel a little cold, but they won’t be freezing. As hard as it is for me to comprehend, many kids won’t have a coat today or this winter for that matter.

This reality hit me really hard at an outreach program at our church a couple of years ago. We set up a toy store at Christmas with brand new toys for families who wouldn’t be able to otherwise pick out toys for their children. I knew that many people couldn’t afford toys for their kids for Christmas but I wasn’t prepared to see kids with short sleeve shirts and sandals on their feet literally freezing in the middle of winter. Knowing my kids always have a winter coat, and sometimes more than one, it broke my heart.


So, when I was contacted by Burlington stores about their 8th annual Warm Coats for Warm Hearts Coat Drive I couldn’t wait to participate. Sadly, 45 million Americans live in poverty and with temperatures dipping well below freezing, the need for warmth and coats is a must!


This past weekend, my family and I rounded up our extra coats that no longer fit and made a trip to Burlington Stores to donate. Since most of us have extra coats lying around, I wanted to encourage you to do the same. As a thank you, Burlington Stores is offering 10% off your entire purchase for each coat donated. Plus, each coat donated helps local families in need. When you donate your coats, make sure to snap a picture and upload it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CoatNotes. By doing so, your story could appear on ABC’s Good Morning America. To locate a store in your area click here.

Donate a gently-worn coat at your nearby Burlington to help those locally in need. And when you do, receive Burlington’s thanks – 10% off your entire purchase.

Burlington, a national off-price retailer offering style for less with up to 65 percent off department store prices every day, continues to help local communities stay warm with their annual Warm Coats and Warm Hearts Coat Drive. Donated coats stay locally within each store community and are given to those most in need. With each coat donation, customers receive 10% off their entire purchase as Burlington’s thank you. A great way to give back and save money at the same time! Visit the Coat Drive site to learn more and where you can donate by 1/19/2015.

Burlington Stores sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.

Meaningful within Your Means #holidaymeans

The holidays can take a lot out of us and in the midst of all that joyful hustle and bustle, we can end up overspending. That’s why Suntrust Bank want to help us be meaningful within our means. Any bank can talk to us about just money. They want to turn the conversation to a different currency and ask us to think differently this year. It’s about depositing hope, instead of checks. And withdrawing stress, instead of cash. It’s about indulging in the currency of kindness and giving more than we receive.

Because the things that mean the most to you, are well within your means.

Now that I am grown and have children of my own I often reflect on childhood memories during the holidays. Interesting enough, none of my memories necessarily include gifts. Instead, holiday traditions come to the forefront of my mind.. Since we don’t live close to either one of our families, we’ve incorporated traditions from both of our families as well as created new ones of our own.

One of my favorite traditions is my mom’s homemade Christmas breakfast. When I lived at home, she made the same breakfast every Christmas morning. After we opened up our presents with my immediate family both sets of grandparents would come over and we would all share breakfast together. I always loved having my entire extended family together sharing a meal together while making memories. It was also my absolute favorite breakfast. Now that I have my own family, I prepare the same breakfast on Christmas morning. Even though our families don’t live close enough to join us, I always think of them while enjoying breakfast with my family.

One thing I have learned, if I’m not careful I can make a holiday meant for joy and peace to instead to be stressful all in the name of creating traditions for my families. In fact, I’ve been on a mission the past couple of years to simplify our holiday. With the added stresses of finances, traveling to see family, gift buying, and everything else that goes into the holiday season it’s so easy to get off track. As adults we spend A LOT of time trying to recreate those feelings and memories we had as children. While we may succeed, we also tend to create a lot of stress while money is just sucked right out of us. Meaningful within Your Means is a challenge to try or do something differently this year so that we can avoid a case of the “overs-” and create lasting meaningful memories of the holidays.

There are 3 “areas” of this challenge. Try and do something from each area.

1. YOU – no one’s holiday is going to be enjoyable if you are not able to enjoy it yourself. You need to make time for yourself daily/weekly.

a. Liberate – Skip that ritual that stresses you out!…newsletter style holiday cards, baking 50 dozen cookies, Griswold style Christmas lights…)
b. Let go of perfectionism.
c. While you may have an iron clad budget, do you have a holiday budget? Use the holiday planning guide to make sure you have accounted for all those expenses that sneak up through the holiday season…going to 6 holiday parties can get expensive! What is the going rate for a sitter these days? Going away? Need to board a dog or get a pet sitter? $$$
d. Manage expectations early on – this is one that can have the biggest impact to your budget. Gift giving…everyone, draw names, nothing…you need to soon so that everyone is on board

2. TOGETHER – Being with family and friends is what the holidays are all about.

a. Do something together as a family every week in Dec – something FREE. Drive around and look at lights, hot chocolate and holiday specials night, look for community activities to participate in, family tacky sweater day…
b. In lieu of gifts, you and your friends do something together as a group. Potluck at someone’s house, reservations at that great new restaurant everyone has been wanting to try.

3. GIVE – there are many opportunities to give during the holidays. This is also a great time to teach children the importance of giving. This is something that also makes a great TOGETHER activity, giving your time to volunteer as a family.

a. Instead of gifts, make a donation to a charity that is important to you. You can make one large one in honor of all your friends and family or divide up into groups (family, different circles of friends –work, neighborhood, college etc) and make smaller donations to a few groups
b. Ask your church or a church in your community if they know of any families that need a little “extra” this season and put together a care package for them to be delivered anonymously.

My daughter and I volunteering at the “Magi Project.”

Personally, I am accepting the Meaningful within our Means challenge for my family. With a brand new baby this year, I’ve got to be intentional, otherwise I’ll end up stressed. I’ve included my personal commitments below:

YOU – It’s all about simplification for me this year. I’m not stressing about mailing out the perfect Christmas card to friends and family. Honestly, the added expense is just not in our budget this year. It’s smarter to stick to our budget and be intentional in all of our commitments to reduce stress. (Here’s a link to a holiday budget planning spreadsheet to help ensure you stay within your means!) We will have a brand new baby this year, I can easily let go of perfectionism. I just want to create meaningful memories with my family.

TOGETHER - Since neither of our families live close by I want to be intentional to get together with friends during the holidays to celebrate the season. I’m committed to keeping it simple, and not creating added stress with fancy meals. With our families, I’d like to focus on creating memories and experiences together as a family instead of focusing on gift giving.

GIVING – Giving is my favorite part of the Christmas season. We always incorporate giving with our children. We also volunteer time at our church to help with benevolence ministries. I am committed to continuing this tradition with our family.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They want to help you reduce holiday stress through tools, advice, and inspiration that encourages you to make your holidays meaningful by spending within your means and focusing on meaningful experiences.

To get started visit

Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

Let’s Talk Pregnancy Cravings & Morning Sickness

Thirty-seven weeks at my baby shower with my sweet friends, Kristin and Sarah.

As most of you already know, we are expecting our 3rd baby any day. So, morning sickness isn’t too far from my memory. I don’t know about you, but in all my pregnancies I’ve always experienced morning sickness. It usually hits me around 6 weeks and continues until at least 14-16 weeks. I don’t know who initially coined the phrase “morning sickness” as what I have experienced lasts all day long and through the night as well.

Twenty-two weeks pregnant with my broken foot and crutches playing putt-putt with my family. I was determined not to let it slow me down.

During this pregnancy I was extremely nauseous about 22 out of 24 hours of the day for the first 14 weeks. Then, it began to fade. I also broke my foot on the day I turned 14 weeks, so it might have been that my foot just hurt worse than the nausea. I did find a couple of things that helped give me a little relief that I thought I’d share with you in case they might be helpful. Also, I was recently introduced to Sea-Band Mama products which sounds amazing! I wish I had known about them earlier especially since they are drug free.

What I found to help with morning sickness:

•Eat small frequent meals throughout the day every 2 or 3 hours. I found that large meals didn’t settle well and if I allowed myself to get really hungry the nausea was worse.

•Hit the pavement. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but if I made myself push through the nausea and go for a walk it made me feel better. Of course, once I broke my foot this option was off the table and I really missed it. I found that I also had more energy when I was able to get out and go for a walk.

•Avoid spicy foods. Bland foods and bread seemed to settle best for me.

•The new Sea-Band Mama line, from the maker of popular motion sickness line of Sea-Band products, was developed for pregnant women, including drug-free morning sickness wrist bands and anti-nausea ginger lozenges – now available at CVS. (So wish I had heard about this earlier in my pregnancy! That’s why I’m sharing with you!)

As long as I’m sharing about my pregnancies I thought I’d let you in on my crazy cravings during this pregnancy. Usually, we eat very clean and healthy foods like fresh fruits, veggies, and lean protein. We eat very little boxed/packaged foods, fried foods, sugar, or white flour. Note, I said usually. None of those foods sounded good to me during the first 4 months of this pregnancy. Instead, I craved French Fries, yeast rolls, mashed potatoes, and cookies!! Once I got past twenty weeks, healthier foods sounded good to me again although I have to admit that the other cravings I have mentioned have also stuck around. Thankfully, I have still been very careful with portion control, which has helped keep my weight gain down.

If you are suffering from morning sickness or know someone who is, pass along this information about new Sea-Band Mama drug free anti-nausea wristbands and ginger lozenges available at CVS. For more information, make sure to take a peek at this YouTube video here or Sea-Band Mama facebook page here.

For more information about Sea-Band® Mama and to learn more about morning sickness visit 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sea-Band Mama. The opinions and text are all mine.

Choice Hotels: How to Save Money on Holiday Travel

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ShopatHome. All opinions are my own. You can read my full disclosure here.


We love to go on weekend getaways whenever possible. It’s important to us to stay in a family friendly hotel when we do.  The past two times we have gone on a weekend adventure to Pigeon Forge we found a great hotel, Main Stay Suites part of Choice Hotel. Not only was the hotel clean (SUPER IMPORTANT), but our room came standard with 2 beds, a pull out couch, and a kitchen. We loved the extra room with the pull out couch for our growing family as well as the full kitchen. We didn’t cook during our stay, but we really enjoyed the full sized fridge. Not to mention, it was comparable, or cheaper, in price than most of the other hotels we inquired. We’ve also stayed in several of the other Choice Hotels I just mentioned Main Stay Suites specifically since we have stayed there recently and were so impressed with our accommodations. Besides Main Stay Suites, Choice Hotel, offers many different hotels across the country. Having so many locations makes it easier to find a Choice Hotel while traveling.

Choice Hotels

With the holiday season upon us, I know that many of us will be traveling to see family and friends both near and far and looking for family friendly hotel accommodations that are affordable. I thought it was the perfect time to highlight an additional way to save money when booking holiday travel. Neither of our families live close by and with the added expense of traveling during the holidays we are always looking for ways to save extra money. By using ShopAtHome to book a Choice Hotel we can gain additional savings through coupons and Cash Back. If you haven’t used ShopAtHome to book travel before, you are missing out on a great opportunity to earn cash back off the total amount

How do you use ShopAtHome? Follow our step by step tutorial below:

1. Go to by clicking HERE
2. In the top right hand corner, click “sign in” if you already have an account or “sign up” to create your free account
3. In the search bar type “Choice Hotel”
3. You’ll see a couple of different options, click
4. Choose your favorite coupon, then click visit site. A tracking ticket is automatically generated that will track when you make a reservation.
5. Sit back and wait for your check to arrive in the mail. You’ll earn cash back!


Kmart Fab 15 Toy List + FREE Holiday Shipping!


Check out the Kmart Fab 15 Toy List this year – and get ready for some great deals on these items!

Free Shipping Bonus

When you Buy One of the Fab 15 Toys below and purchase online you’ll upgrade to a Shop Your Way Max for 6 months where you’ll get FREE 2 Day Shipping! Plus, you’ll be entered to the Fab 15 Sweepstakes and win all the Fab 15 Toys. Shop Your Way Max how I got lots of our toys shipped FREE last year!


Check out this year’s Kmart Fab 15 Toy List:

1. WWE John Cena Cardinal 31″ Figure, $29.99

2. Doh Vinci Style and Store Vanity, $14.99 (with #10 coupon)

3. Kidizoom Smart Watch, $49.99

4. Simon Swipe, $14.99 (with #12 coupon)

5. FurReal Get Up an Go-Go My Walkin’ Pup, $49.99 (with #11 coupon)

6. Transformers Electronic Grimlock & Optimus Prime, $12.99

7. Lego Guardians of the Galaxy Starblaster Showdown. $19.99

8. My Little Pony Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks Stage, $27.99

9. Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll, $34.99

10. Sleep Time Lambie, $17.9 with #7 coupon)

11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lil’ Dune Racer, $159.9 (with #3 coupon)

12. Zooner Dino, $89.99

13. Paw Patrol Deluxe Lookout PlaySet, $34.99 (with #7 coupon)

14. Nerf Zombie Slingfire, $17.9 (with #6 coupon)

15. Barbie Holiday Doll, $34.99 (with #8 coupon)

You’ll notice the mention of the coupons. You can find two full pages of coupons on page 44 and 45 of the Kmart Toy Book. If you have not received your Kmart Toy Book 2014 you’ll want to head to your local Kmart!


- Thanks to TheFrugalFind for putting this list together!

3 Tips and Tricks for Dressing Babies & Toddlers on a Budget


In just a couple of weeks we are adding a new addition to our family. As excited as we are to welcome our new baby girl, she won’t come without added expenses such as diapers, wipes, baby food, and clothing to name a few. Babies grow SO fast in their first year of life! Unlike my older kids who pretty much stay in the same size clothing for a year, babies outgrow several different sizes. Garanimals clothing line at Walmart is perfect for us frugal moms who don’t want to compromise quality for affordability. I’ve included a couple of my favorite clothing pieces below that will be perfect for our new baby girl.

We all know how fast infants grow. This 21-piece set would be a perfect way (on a budget) to start out.

Us southern girls love monogramming! This little t-shirt would be so cute with a big monogram across the front.

We can’t forget denim leggings! Such a cute outfit paired with the t-shirt above at an incredible price. These are just a couple of items that really caught my eye but you’ll want to check out the prices for yourself! I’ve included 3 tips and tricks below for dressing babies and toddlers on a budget.

3 Tips and Tricks for Dressing Babies & Toddlers on a Budget

1. Buy pieces that are interchangeable. For example, purchase several different color combinations so that outfits can mix and match instead of one outfit that doesn’t match anything else. By doing so, you’ll feel like you have a lot more outfit choices and won’t get bored so quickly.

2. It goes without saying that babies can be messy. Even though they don’t typically wear clothes out, they often soil their clothing. Make sure to treat stains as quickly as possible to avoid permanent stains. Throw a stain stick in your diaper bag along with a large zip lock bag to make treating stains on the go easy. By taking care of the clothes you already have, you’ll potentially avoid having to buy extra.

3. Get the most bang for your buck by purchasing affordable and quality clothing lines. Dressing babies and toddlers doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, you can buy good quality at affordable prices. Be sure to check out Garanimals brand at Walmart.

Take a peak at this quick video below, it completely cracked me up! Doesn’t it feel that way? You go to bed one day with a tiny newborn and wake up the next and have a giant toddler?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Garanimals. The opinions and text are all mine.

Diaper Need Awareness Week + Win a Month’s Worth of Free Diapers #diaperneed

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huggies. All opinions are my own. You can read my full disclosure here.
diaper need

Recently, I shared with you that we have a new baby girl on the way due in November. So, we have lots of diapers in our future. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that 1 in 3 US moms suffer from diaper need? I can’t even imagine. Although, diapers will be an added expense to our budget, I know that we can provide diapers for our baby girl. States across the US have taken notice of this growing problem, and 14 states have issued official proclamations in support of Diaper Need Awareness Week September 8-12. No parent should have to worry about the next time their baby will have a clean diaper to wear.

diaper need awareness week

In honor of this, Huggies is donating diapers to babies in need for every use of the hashtag #diaperneed. How can you help?  For every tweet or RT using #DiaperNeed, Huggies will donate diapers to babies in need! Simply, click HERE to tweet and spread the word and tweet about diaper need.  You can also help by donating your Huggies rewards points to The National Diaper Bank Network HERE.
Additionally, Huggies is sponsoring a giveaway on Time 2 $ave! Huggies will also make a donation of a one-month supply of diapers to a diaper bank in the giveaway winner’s local community. Make sure to follow the directions to enter below and win a months worth of FREE diapers from Huggies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cooking with Kids

cooking with kids ub
When I was little, my grandparents kept me during the day while my parents worked. They had a huge garden we spent a large part of our summer days. As you could imagine, we enjoyed our time in the garden and preparing meals using the produce we had grown. I’ve been cooking as long as I can remember, or as we say it in the south since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

I remember sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen, smelling lunch cooking all morning and not being able to wait to taste test her famous green beans or Lima beans. My friends were always shocked at all the vegetables I loved, but that is what I grew up eating and cooking with my grandmother. I remember my aunt picking me and my cousin up from school and asking if we wanted to stop at Wendy’s for french fries on the way home. My response? “No thank you Aunt Orlyene, when I get to Mama Knight’s house I’m going to eat some fresh collards.” I know, what kid prefers collards over french fries? Seriously!

As I got older I realized what a gift I had been given. Not only did I know how to cook, but I loved vegetables and other healthy foods. Now that I am a mom, I really enjoy cooking with my kids. In fact they like to call it “kitchen chemistry.” You won’t find us doing very many craft projects, science experiments, or art projects around here. Instead, you’ll find us in the kitchen cooking together. Besides everyday meals we always celebrate a new season, holiday, or birthday by whipping up something special in the kitchen together.

According to University of Michigan’s Project EAT, kids that learn to prepare healthy meals with their parents form healthier eating habits compared to those who are not taught cooking skills. I have found this true in my family, as we cook together we talk about what kinds of foods fuel our bodies and how important it is to eat healthy meals.

Many times, if people didn’t grow up with this skill taught to them, they may not know where to begin with their own kids. This may seem intimidating at first, but just know that it is never too late to start. If you want your kids to eat healthier, but haven’t included them in helping prepare meals, you can start tonight. In fact, I’ve included a quick list of tips below to guide you along the way. I understand that cooking with kids can be stressful, especially if the proper preparation and expectations, so this list of tips can help ease that stress.

So what benefits are there to cooking with your kids? Well, I have found that cooking together opens the door for great communication and connecting. Not only do they share their hearts with me, but I a can also sneak in a math lesson or two without them realizing. Such skills include measurement, fractions, addition, reading comprehension, and sequencing. Additionally, when they are older they will know how to cook and won’t resort to quick fixes like fast food as easily.

If that isn’t incentive enough, why not use this chance to cook with your kids to enter the The Ben’s Beginners ™ Cooking Contest? After all, everyone loves a fun challenge! You can read details here for a chance to win $15,000 and a cafeteria makeover to your child’s school (homeschoolers are also eligible) and be the star of your household!

So are you ready to begin? Before you get started make sure to check out my helpful tips below!

Cooking with Kids - 10 Helpful Tips


  • 1. First, decide on a kid friendly recipe together.
  • 2. Next, have your kids gather all the ingredients that they can easily reach, while you get out the rest if needed.
  • 3. Make sure you've got the necessary tools handy such as measuring bowls, measuring spoons, cutting boards, etc.
  • 4. Know your limits and allow your kids to help in a way that is age appropriate.
  • 5. Make cleaning up part of the process by teaching kids to clean up as they go. For example, put ingredients away as soon as you are finished with them and dirty dishes and silverware in the sink.Otherwise, you'll have a huge mess to clean up all by yourself, plus you are helping to teach lifelong habits.
  • 6. Expect a bigger mess than if you were cooking by yourself.
  • 7. Decide what will drive you crazy in advance and avoid it at all cost. I've tried letting my kids crack eggs, however for this season it's going to be my job. Digging out egg shells and cleaning slimy eggs off the floor sends me over the edge, so in my family I'm the one in charge of eggs.
  • 8. Celebrate your kid's accomplishments. Let's all agree that if you've got little ones helping in the kitchen, then whatever you are cooking is going to look like they've helped. You might not win the most beautifully plated award, but the smiles on their face for a job well done is well worth it.
  • 9. Don't cook together on days when you've lost all your patience by 10am. You know those days, we all have them! Use good judgment, wisdom goes a long way.
  • 10. Enjoy! Relish every moment connecting with the incredible children that you get to do life with.

Cooking with your children makes for a great beginning! Visit and click on The Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest page to learn more!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Uncle Ben’s. The opinions and text are all mine.