Friday, October 2, 2015

Find Out when Fall Foliage Colors Peak in East Tennessee

Fall in the Smokies
When the hot days of summer give way to cool autumn temperatures there is one thing that everyone wants to know. 'When do the fall foliage colors peak in East Tennessee?' is the question to ask. The answer to that question may surprise you. Fall colors peak in the upper and lower mountain regions at different times.

As East Tennessee natives, my family enjoys a mountain drive any time of year but autumn has a special glow. The air is cooler and it's easier for us to get out and enjoy the incredible East Tennessee mountains. Autumn hills are painted in natures colors of gold, red and yellow.

A common belief is that the colors peak in East Tennessee around mid-October. That's sort of true.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shop online to save money for holidays and birthdays

Every time I mention that I’ve ordered something else online, my husband shakes his head. You can order almost everything online these days. Some of my favorite “offbeat” purchases have included an inflatable boat for my daughter, a counter top dishwasher, doctor recommended vitamins and water filters. Don’t worry. I have also ordered the “normal” stuff of books, CDs and video downloads.

Of course, promo codes from sites like can go a long way to help save money. When it comes to grocery shopping, I also search out grocery coupons and coupons from manufacturers.
I have been caught off guard at how expensive college has become. My bookstore purchases at Pellissippi State set me back over $1,000. I still need to buy a graphing calculator. As you can imagine, anything that we can do to reduce our costs is a big help. 

Ordering items from online stores is often less expensive than shopping in big-box retailer stores. My husband and I are trying to be more frugal since I’ve returned from school. Buying off of the internet is also a lot more convenient. Everything is handled with a few clicks and without fighting the crowds. (A real time-saver during the holidays!)

Some of the other ways that we are saving money is 

  •  Trying to eliminate credit cards
  •   Cooking and freezing several meals at a time so we eat out less frequently.
  •  The school cafeteria lets us use the microwave even if we don’t purchase from the cafeteria. 
  • Freezing individual frozen meals is a huge cost cutter.
  •  Using coupons and promo codes for everything we can (both online and offline).
  • Looking for the cheapest gas prices we can find. However, driving across town to fill the tank for .05 less per gallon does not save money.
  • Trying to be good stewards with all of our resources.
  • Maintaining our vehicles as best we can.

I am open to other ideas on how to be more frugal. What are your tips? Be sure to leave them in the comments section.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Pellissippi State Faculty Music Concert wows the crowd

If you've been looking for quality entertainment, local colleges may fit the bill. The free Pellissippi State Music Faculty Concert was held on October 9, 2014 in the theater of the Claxton Performing Arts Building (Hardin Valley Campus).  The concert was a mix of classical music, pop and opera. 

Having been there, I can attest that the performance was excellent. If you want to see what you've been missing, here is the music schedule.

That the concert was required for all music students did nothing to distract from the friendly, upbeat atmosphere. Audience attire ranged from the traditional student uniform of jeans and t-shirts to Sunday go-to-meeting clothes. The music concert was also open to the community with the predictable result of a packed house. 

Selections included both voice and instrumental pieces that encompassed concertos, Appalachian Folk songs, and opera. A crowd-pleasing show tune medley was arranged and played by David Slack. A polyphonic arrangement of the “Sanford and Son” theme song included with melodies, had toes tapping as the instrumental group rocked the concert house. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

See fall foliage by traveling on a shoestring

A sluggish economy doesn't have to derail your fall break or fall foliage vacation this year. You can travel on a shoestring and enjoy a fun filled autumn getaway. The AAA automobile club is projecting that fewer travelers hit the road in 2013. Travelers on fall break or drivers looking to view fall foliage may be able to take advantage of special deals and incentives that make a vacation affordable.

My family has successfully traveled on a dime for years without sacrificing fun. (Actually, it's the only way that we can afford to leave town.) Shoestring travel is about choosing your destination and spending wisely without sacrificing fun.

Most of us know that sites like can help you get good deals. But, did you know that restaurant coupons