Archive for July, 2014

Tax Free Weekend 2014 is here!


Tomorrow (August 1) begins Tennessee’s Tax Free Weekend! Clothing and school supply purchases of $100 or less are tax free, as well as a computer purchase of $1500 or less. Here’s the official site for more info.

Add comment July 31, 2014

Starbucks: bonus stars on Frappuccino drinks, loaf cake

Through July 30 you can get bonus stars on your purchases of Frappuccino blended drinks and loaf cake at Starbucks! See above photo for details.
Thanks, Jamie!

Add comment July 24, 2014

Huge clearance sale at The Emperor’s Nearly New Clothes 7/26


The Emperor’s Nearly New Clothes, a children’s consignment shop in Greenback, is having its Fall/Winter clothing premier on Saturday, July 26 from 8 a.m. -6 p.m. Lots of winter clothes will be stocked, and most summer clothes will be marked down 20-50%. The Emperor’s Nearly New Clothes is located at 6710 Morganton Rd. in Greenback, TN 37742. For more information call 865-856-2229.

Thanks, Janet!

Add comment July 24, 2014

Discount Days at the 2014 Tennessee Valley Fair, plus a giveaway for a family 4-pack of tickets!


UPDATE: The winners are #47 Brooke W., and #14 Crystal. Thanks so all who entered!

Are you planning on attending the 2014 Tennessee Valley Fair September 5-14? Admission tickets, ride armbands, and concert tickets are discounted through September 4, so if you plan ahead, you’ll save money! The fair also offers a number of discount days, which are as follows:

Opening Day Special – $1.00 Admission!
Friday, September 5, 2014
In celebration of our 95th year, fairgoers can enter the Fairgrounds on Friday, September 5 for only $1! Discount begins at 3:00 p.m. and ends promptly at 4:35 p.m.

Tailgating Day
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Wear University of Tennessee colors and get $1 off each adult admission.

Scout Day
Saturday, September 6, 2014
All current Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts (18 years and under) receive FREE admission with proper identification. Come enjoy activities just for Scouts and earn a special patch.

Guidebook $3 Off Coupon
Monday, September 8 – Thursday, September 11, 2014
Take advantage of $3 off an adult admission (w/ coupon) when you come to the Fair on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  Coupon available in our 2014 Guidebook or exclusively from Metropulse or the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Student Day
Monday, September 8, 2014
Students 12th grade and under receive FREE admission from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Sponsored by: Fox 43 and Hot 104.5 FM

Senior Home Assistance of Tennessee Senior Citizen’s Day
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Seniors age 65+ receive FREE admission all day. Special entertainment, events and contests for seniors in the Pepsi Community Tent.  To download our official 2014 Senior Day brochure, click here.
Sponsored by Senior Home Assistance of Tennessee.

Penny 4 Arts Day
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Students 12th grade and under participating in the Penny 4 Arts Program offered by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Greater Knoxville receive FREE admission from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  (Participants must obtain voucher from Penny4Arts website)

Tennessee Education Lottery Day
Thursday, September 11, 2014
$3.00 off adult admission with any non-winning Tennessee Lottery ticket.
Sponsored by: Tennessee Education Lottery

Tailgating Day
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Wear University of Tennessee colors and get $1 off each adult admission.

Hometown Heroes Day
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Current and past military, policeman, deputy sheriffs, firefighters, first responders & current teachers receive FREE admission with proper identification.
Presented by: Regions Bank / Sponsored by WBIR Ch. 10 and WIVK 107.7 FM

**Please Note: Discounts cannot be combined with other offers**
Questions? Call (865) 215-1471


The generous folks at the Tennessee Valley Fair have given me some family 4-packs of tickets to give away to you all! Here’s how to win my first giveaway for a family 4-pack. I will pick two winners who will each receive 4 tickets!

Required Entry:

Leave a comment on this post and let me know if you’ve ever been to the Tennessee Valley Fair. That’s it!

Additional Optional Entries:

You can do each of the following things for an additional entry in the giveaway. You can only do each of these once, for a possible total of 5 entries. Please leave a separate comment for each method of entry. If you only leave one comment then you only have one entry, as each comment is numbered and I randomly choose a number. Make sense?

This giveaway ends at midnight EST on Friday, July 25. I will choose two winners on Saturday, July 26 using and will contact them via email. Giveaway open to US readers only.

Disclosure: I received passes to the fair for my family plus additional passes to share with my readers. Tickets will be mailed out to winners at the addresses provided. I cannot be held responsible for any problems with postal delivery. All opinions stated in this post are my own.


63 comments July 23, 2014

TN residents: Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies for just $10, through Labor Day

Through Labor Day (September 1), Tennessee residents can visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg for just $10! You must bring a valid TN photo ID, and must mention this promotion. This offer is only valid at the ticket counter, and is only good for the Gatlinburg location.

Thanks, Tracy!

Add comment July 23, 2014

Summer music round-up: fun albums your kids (and you!) will enjoy

My daughters and I have been listening to some fantastic music this summer. Here’s a summer music round-up of our favorite releases for kids (and adults!) to enjoy:

Through the Woods from The Okee Dokee Brothers
This fun CD/DVD combo is filled with Appalachian-style music that the Okee Dokee Brothers created while on a month-long trek on the Appalachian Trail. It’s categorized under bluegrass, but there’s some folk-style music too. There is also a “field journal” with notes on their travels that’s fun to read. This is a follow-up album to the Grammy-award winning Can You Canoe (which you can listen to for free here if you have Amazon Prime) and is just as much fun! Highly recommended, even if you don’t have kids!

Just Say Hi! from Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could

I was recently introduced to the genre of music known as “Kindie,” which is indie rock for kids. One great kindie album that we currently love is Just Say Hi, from Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could. We listened to this one at my daughters’ birthday party and it definitely added to the fun! It sounds like one of the bands I would have gone to see in college, until you realize that all the lyrics are kid-friendly! I was trying to think of who to compare Brady Rymer to, and the best I could do was this: he’s a mix of Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Jerry Lee Lewis. This is another CD I listen to in the car when the kids aren’t there! Go here for a preview.

Simply Fantastic, from The Secret Mountain
The Secret Mountain releases their second picture book-with-CD introducing children to classical music, by pianist and educator Ana Gerhardt. I previously reviewed The Secret Mountain’s first classical music book/CD combo, Listen to the Birds, and I love this one just as much! The theme of this book is fantastical creatures, and the musical selections involve stories of ghosts and goblins, fairies and elves, witches and wizards. Although Simply Fantastic was released in the summer, it seems like a selection that would really be appropriate around Halloween. My daughters, who scare easily, were a little afraid of some of the drawings, so we’ve mainly been listening to the CD, and will be saving the book portion until they’re older. This book and CD are a really great way to get kids interested in classical music!

Listen to these fantastical musical pieces here, and go here for a video preview.

Aqui, Alla, from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
I love introducing my kids to music in different languages, and we’ve really been enjoying the new Spanish-language album Aqui, Alla, from Latin Grammy award-winner Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band! Although we don’t speak much Spanish in my house, the fun energy of these songs needs no translation. This CD blends Chicano rock, indie pop and Tejano styles (I had to look that up; I’m not a musical scholar :)). Go here to listen, and stay tuned for the debut of a new English language single, “Shimmy!”

Love Bug, from Raffi
Raffi’s first children’s album in 12 years was released on July 15th. I’m 33 years old, and I was raised on Raffi, so he has been entertaining preschoolers for a very long time! One of my earliest memories is listening to Baby Beluga with my mother, and I was excited to introduce my girls to Raffi! With the first note of the title track, the child advocate’s warm and loving voice draws you in. (For you musical-types, NPR’s Tamara Keith notes the Tom Waits influences in this CD.) Raffi writes good, classic music for preschoolers, and this CD is no exception. View this adorable video if you want to know what a “Love Bug” says, and get ready to shake your sillies out.

Raise Your Hand, from the Not-Its

The Not-Its are another example of a Kindie rock band, and this album sounded, to me, like Chrissy Hynde was singing songs about cats and haircuts to my kids. (Which is a good thing!) The songs on this album sum up the experience of being a child: waiting for your mom to pick you up from school, raising your hand and hoping desperately to be called on, falling and skinning your knee, or the attempt to make a funny video of your cat. My girls loved the lyrics of these songs! (And I especially loved the song for parents, Hey 80s!).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this summer music round-up and have found some new CDs to play for your kids (or when you’re alone in the car…I won’t tell!)

Thanks to the above artists for providing me with a copy of their CDs for review. All opinions in this review are solely my own. Links in posts may be referral links that help support this site. Read my disclosure policy here.

Add comment July 18, 2014

Knoxville Children’s Theatre presents Thumbelina through July 27

Knoxville Children’s Theatre will present a clever new re-telling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale Thumbelina. The play will be performed July 11 through 27, Thursdays and Fridays at 7 PM; Saturdays at 1 PM and 5 PM; Sundays at 3 PM.

The show is KCT’s 59th full-scale production and features 12 young actors in the cast.

Tiny Thumbelina was supposed to be married to Navarre, prince of the Pixies, but a mysterious sorceress has cursed her to lose her memory in order to have the prince for herself. Thumbelina has many adventures on her way home, escaping from an amorous toad, surviving a fall off a flying hummingbird, and getting assistance from a tarantula and a courageous fortune teller.. Meanwhile, the Prince is under pressure to choose a new Princess, and Thumbelina’s return may be too late to claim her crown.

KCT’s Thumbelina is a modern re-telling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, using elements of Homer’s The Odyssey, and the plots of many other familiar fairy tales, such as “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Princess and The Pea.” Famous characters from the worlds of The Odyssey (such as the soothsayer Cassandra) and Fairy Tales (such as Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood) combine into an unforgettably humorous and adventuresome tale.
Go here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Add comment July 16, 2014

Big Lots: 20% off everything July 12 & 13 (Saturday with Buzz Club card and Sunday with coupon)

July 12 & 13 Big Lots is having one of its occasional 20% off weekends, making it a great time to stock up on basic groceries! This is when I buy Nutella (it’s priced at $3, so after the discount it’s $2.40) as well as other grocery items I use a lot. I’ve seen 18 packs of K-cups before for $9, so $7.20 after the discount. It’s also a great time to make big purchases like furniture.

To get 20% off everything Saturday night after 2 p.m. you just have to have a frequent shopper card. They’re free and you can get one at checkout. Sunday you’ll need a printable coupon found here.

There’s also a $1/$10 coupon in the Blount County Schools coupon book you can use.

Add comment July 11, 2014

Review and Kindle sale: Captured on the High Seas, by Marianne Hering (Imagination Station book #14)

I recently had the chance to read Captured on the High Seas, by Marianne Hering (Imagination Station book #14). This fiction book was published on April 18, by Tyndale House.

About this book (from the back cover):

British warships battle with American privateers in this high sea adventure. Cousins Patrick and Beth have landed on the Royal Louis in the middle of the Revolutionary War. Cannonballs fly and swords slash. They’re captured! Now they face even more dangers. Will their new friend James Forten be sold by the British into the West Indies slave trade? Or will they all be sentenced to the overcrowded prison ship floating near shore where scores of prisoners die from filth and disease? Patrick and Beth help plan a daring escape as they witness firsthand the deeds of brave heroes who fought to make America the land of the free.

Final Verdict:

My family was recently introduced to the Imagination Station series, and we’re big fans now! My daughters are 5 and 7, and since this series is recommended for ages 6 – 9 we’re right in the target demographic. We’re fans of the Magic Treehouse series, and this series is much like that one, with two children traveling through time to complete quests and learn about history. This series presents everything through the lens of a Christian worldview, and we appreciate that. This isn’t a book adults are going to sit down and read without a 6-9-year-old involved, rather, the sentence structure is just right for kids to read alone. In my family I alternate reading pages with my 7-year-old. Captured on the High Seas is the second book in a three-book grouping about the American Revolution. I would recommend reading book #13, The Redcoats Are Coming, before this book, so you won’t be lost. Also, book 1, Voyage with the Vikings, is free for Kindle right now, so you may want to begin with that book so you’re familiar with the characters and the concept of the Imagination Station. Highly recommended for 6-9-year-olds!

If you’d like to check out Captured on the High Seas it is currently on sale for $3.82 for the Kindle version. (Regularly $4.99.) If you prefer a paperback copy, it’s currently on sale for $4.49. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

The featured product for this review was provided to me at no cost by Tyndale House. All opinions expressed are my own. If you’d like to sign up to receive review copies from Tyndale House, visit the Tyndale Blog Network site.

Add comment July 11, 2014

Highly recommended: get Peter and the Starcatchers on audiobook for FREE through 7/10

I’ve written previously about how absolutely fantastic the SYNC free audiobook program is and how you all need to be getting your free audiobooks this summer, but I wanted to highlight this week’s selection, because I LOVE THIS BOOK. This is my favorite audiobook they’re offering this summer, and I want every single one of you to get it for free.

Peter and the Starcatchers is a great retelling of the Peter Pan story – sort of a prequel – and it’s narrated by Jim Dale, who has the most magical voice. He’s the one who won awards for narrating the Harry Potter audiobooks. I kind of want him to narrate my life.

Through July 10, you can get the audiobook of Peter and the Starcatchers for FREE! Go here to get your free download!

You MUST download the audiobook by July 10, but if you do so, it’s yours to own forever.

The other free audiobook this week is Torn from Troy, by Patrick Bowman. It’s a retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. I don’t know much more than that, but it has a great cover, and it’s free, so worth downloading!


Add comment July 4, 2014

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