Thursday, November 19, 2009

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

So, I haven't made this pumpkin pie recipe before but this is the one I am going to use next week. It is the number 1 rated pumpkin pie recipe on, it uses condensed milk rather than evaporated milk so be sure to purchase the correct one if you decide to try it.

Here's a short Thanksgiving poem which showed up in my inbox today. Thought you might like it!

A Thanksgiving Poem

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious,
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Have a wonderful day,
Smart Mom


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Classic Pecan Pie

This morning my kids and I planned our Thanksgiving dinner menu, it was pretty easy because we tend to like the same menu each year but it is fun to talk about it and anticipate the yummy flavors. So, you're right I haven't shopped for Thanksgiving yet, I'm planning to do that later today or tomorrow. I really don't stress about Thanksgiving, I find it a fun meal to prepare.

Anyway, after giving you a recipe for pie crust a couple of days ago, today I want to share my favorite Pecan pie recipe. It is on our menu for next week and I am so looking forward to it. Before I made pecan pie for the first time I thought it would be really difficult to make so I was hesitant to try it. I was so wrong! It is delightfully easy to make, and mine have always turned out good. Most pecan pie recipes are pretty similar, I have always used the one from the Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book (not so new however, mine is almost 20 years old!). Here it is:

3 eggs
1 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups pecan halves
Pastry for single crust pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare pastry for single crust pie according to directions, line pie plate with pastry trimming to 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate; fold under extra pastry. Make a fluted or scalloped edge.

For filling, in a mixing bowl beat eggs lightly with a rotary beater or fork till combined. Stir in corn syrup, sugar, margarine or butter, and vanilla. Stir well. Stir in pecan halves.
Place a pastry-lined 9-inch pie plate on the oven rack. Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes.
Remove foil; bake for 20-25 minutes more or till a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool pie on a wire rack. Cover and chill to store. Makes 8 servings.

Smart Mom's notes:
I always use extra pecan halves, probably about 2 cups total. Also, I typically pour the filling into the pie plate, cover the edges with my pie crust shield or foil, then carefully transfer it to the oven. I don't like trying to do all that over my hot oven. Sometimes I leave the edges covered for longer, and just remove the shield/foil during the last 10 minutes so that the crust doesn't get too done. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream!

Smart Mom


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Easy as Pie

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to bake and eat pie; I love pie (I would choose it over cake any day of the week), and my favorite is pecan. If you have never baked a pie, don't be afraid to give it a go, homemade pies are way better than store bought, you can really taste the difference. Thankfully, the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies served at Thanksgiving are easy to make.

Start with a good recipe for the crust. You can buy ready prepared crusts, that's ok, but my preference is to make it yourself, it doesn't take that much time, and for Thanksgiving I definitely recommend making your pies the day before.
Here is an easy recipe for pie crust which works well for fruit pies. It is enough for one double crust ,or two single crust pies.

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup butter flavored shortening
ice water (approx 1/2 cup)

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Gradually mix in ice water 1 Tbsp at a time until a soft dough forms.
Divide into two equal portions and roll out onto a well-floured pastry mat.

Tips for successful pastry:
  • Keep the ingredients cool, ice water is best. Shortening can be chilled if you like although I don't personally do that.
  • White sugar or confectioners sugar can be used. Dough will be slightly more sticky with white sugar, however.
  • Don't overwork the dough; mix quickly and handle as little as possible to avoid the pastry becoming tough.
  • Use a lightly-floured pastry mat and rolling pin. Make sure your rolling pin is long enough and of sufficient weight to roll the pastry evenly.
  • Roll the dough from the center, turning a quarter turn after each roll to ensure even rolling in the shape of a circle.
  • Roll pastry to form a circle 1" larger than the size of your pie plate.
  • Transfer the pastry to the pie plate by gently rolling it over your rolling pin and unrolling over the plate. Gently press pasty into the pie plate. 
Specific baking instructions will vary depending on the type of pie you are baking. I will share my favorite pie recipes with you in the coming days.

Good tools are helpful in the kitchen, I was a consultant for The Pampered Chef for a number of years, so I have a well-stocked kitchen. I highly recommend their products, I get great results with their pastry blender and stoneware deep dish pie plate. If you need a consultant to purchase from I would be happy to recommend one for you.

Happy baking!
Smart Mom


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Turkey Tips

If you are planning to serve turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, it is worthwhile to spend a little time researching and planning so that you can be assured of a moist, delicious turkey.

Turkey has acquired quite a reputation over the years and it's not all been good! I'm sure you've heard many a turkey tale and enjoyed laughing about it over the Thanksgiving meal. Early on in our marriage, my husband and I dined out on Thanksgiving because our turkey was still frozen. I have fought with turkeys to remove the giblets and neck from the cavity (don't know why they have to put those in there anyway... I never use them!), and then tried to hold onto the slippery bird in the sink while rinsing it out. No, this is not a task for the faint-hearted, but take courage these trials can be overcome and after cooking a few turkeys you will find out it's really not that complicated or difficult to successfully cook a turkey.

Well, there are numerous suggestions and tips to assist you along the way, I'm going to refer you today to the Butterball website, because they really know their turkey and it looks like they've got their act together. They have a complete Thanksgiving Guide, I recommend you check it out and get lots of tips for planning a great Thanksgiving celebration. They also have some great calculators to help you with:
  • How long to thaw?
  • Planning perfect portions
  • How long to cook?
I'll be bringing you some more Thanksgiving tips and recipes in the coming days so be sure to subscribe to my blog to stay in touch, and of course I always love to hear from you!

Smart Mom


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Friday, November 13, 2009

The First Thanksgiving

As a homeschooling parent, I have learned to look for opportunities to teach my children in a variety of ways. It is so fun to make the most of holiday celebrations and bring history to life as we follow traditions passed down. Thanksgiving is one of those wonderful celebrations, it truly provides a learning experience, an opportunity to teach and reinforce the history of this nation to our future generations.

Here is a nice resource on The First Thanksgiving. I received the link to this website from another mom on a homeschooling Yahoo group, and when I checked it out I immediately thought it would be a great resource for me to use with my children. So I want to share it with you also; perhaps you have not seen it and would enjoy it, even if you don't have kids to share it with. Also, I know some of my readers are not in the US, so maybe you don't know that much about the history of the Thanksgiving celebration - I really didn't before I met my husband and moved here. It is always good to learn something new!

So take a look at The First Thanksgiving there are student activities and lots of interesting facts. I hope you find it useful!

Smart Mom


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Amazing Offer for Cooking Light

Just have to share this special offer with you. I rarely buy magazines because I think they are over-priced and typically are full of pages of advertisements, but I do enjoy browsing a magazine for the relaxation benefit. Plus I love to look at new recipes and try some out.

So when I saw this deal for a 1 year subscription of Cooking Light for only $5, I wanted to share it with you. That's 90% off retail, and only $0.42 per issue. I consider that a good deal! The offer is only valid through this Saturday, so don't wait, you can even give a gift subscription to someone else!

Smart Mom


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Countdown to Thanksgiving

Just in case you didn't already know, I am not originally from the United States. I was born in Scotland and moved here to the US at age 22 with my husband, who is American, and at that time was in the US Navy. I miss my home country but have really enjoyed living here and experiencing this different way of life. So, I did not grow up with the tradition of Thanksgiving  but it is one which I was happy to adopt and celebrate, and I love it. (I have been amazed over the years at how many people here have asked me if we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.K., I have to remind them it is an American holiday!)

Well, it is only 2 weeks until Thanksgiving so it's time to get planning. Do you have a traditional turkey dinner? We are having turkey this year, my hubby isn't crazy about turkey but my kids and I love the whole turkey meal. I promised to cook roast beef the day before Thanksgiving to keep my husband happy - he can eat leftover beef instead of turkey if he wants!

So... having said all that, I will try to share some Thanksgiving tips and recipes for you over the next 2 weeks, and I really would love to receive your input. Please share your tips and favorite Thanksgiving recipes with me. I will gladly give you credit and/or link to your blog posts if you have them.

At this time, the best tip I can give you is start planning your Thanksgiving celebration.
  • Where will you spend Thanksgiving?
  • Will you invite guests to your home? If so, now is the time to extend those invitations, don't wait or they will make other plans!
  • Plan the menu if you are hosting the meal.
  • Decide if you will ask your guests to bring a dish to share.
  • How can you make the celebration extra special?
Don't worry if you can't answer all of these questions right away, just get started if you haven't already. Also, don't forget this is a time to give thanks, not just to eat a big meal. Visit me for Thirty Days of Thanksgiving at In All Your Ways each day this month to help direct your thoughts toward giving thanks.

Stay tuned.....

Smart Mom


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shopping Savings Tips

Well, I guess I have neglected my Smart Mom Savings blog lately,(sorry!) I've been kind of busy with my other blog In All Your Ways I am really enjoying it, if you'd like, take a few minutes to check it out. Of course I've been busy in many other ways too, however.... here I am and I wanted to share some tips today to help you out with your wardrobe.

Perhaps you are like me and you don't have an abundance of money to spend on new clothing, so in that situation, we have to stretch our dollars and still try to find ways to feel good about our clothing. I don't go shopping very often, however yesterday I was in the mall with my kiddos because they need some new boots for winter. It has been raining so much these last few weeks that I'm sure the snow is just around the corner so we went on a hunt for winter boots. I have to confess that I tend to get sticker shock in the department stores, the discount stores are more often in my budget. Anyway that got me thinking about how to get nice clothing items at a good price.
  • Never pay full price! If it's not on sale, it probably will be soon. Retail is very competitive business and most of the stores are offering sales on a regular basis. Check the sales fliers in the newspapers or online before you head out the door, you could save a lot just by waiting a day or two.
  • Look for discount coupons in your mailbox, that junk mail could save you money if you take a few minutes to sort through it before you toss it.
  • Keep it simple. Ladies, if you are buying for yourself and can't afford a lot of variety, choose classic style pants and skirts in black then liven them up with different color tops. You will then be able to wear black shoes, boots, purse etc. to easily match any outfit, therefore saving you money on accessories.
  • Resist the urge to spend a lot on the latest style. What looks really hip and trendy today will be outdated next year, and you probably won't want to wear it.
  • Check out the thrift stores and consignment shops if you have any good ones nearby. You may have to sift through to find something just right for you, but the savings could make it worth your time.
  • Don't pay for designer labels! Need I say more?
  • Check clothing labels for cleaning instructions, if it's dry clean only, consider whether you will want to pay for that service. I bought a comforter set on sale a couple of years ago without realizing it needed to be dry cleaned. At around $40 per cleaning, it was not a good investment, I won't make that mistake again!
Do you have any more tips to share? Leave a comment please, I'd love to hear them.

Have a wonderful day.
Smart Mom


Please remember to shop at Smart Mom's Store I appreciate your support!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Join Me for 30 Days of Thanksgiving

This is definitely a month to be thankful, so please join me on my other blog, In All Your Ways, for 'Thirty Days of Thanksgiving'. Each day this month I will be sharing a reason to be thankful.

Today is Day 1. I would love to have you give thanks with me .... hope to see you there!

Smart Mom


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daylight Savings Time!

Its that time of year again, the end of Daylight Savings (that is, of course, if you live here in the U.S.) So I thought I had better give you a little reminder, otherwise you'll be out of sync tomorrow with those around you.
I have to say I prefer DST in the fall because we get to put the clock back, which usually means for me that I get an extra hour of sleep. Can't complain about that!
Technically the time change is over night but we usually adjust our clocks before bed so that we don't forget in the morning.
If you choose not to use your extra hour for sleep, perhaps you can find another way to enjoy having one extra hour.... you could :
  • read a book
  • watch a movie/ TV show
  • spend time with friends/ family
  • clean your house (or not!)
  • pamper yourself
Whatever you choose to do I hope you have a blessed day and night!

Smart Mom


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just added... Smart Mom's Store!

I am among the many people who are looking for ways to replace and/or supplement their income. There are countless opportunities available, and of course we all have different circumstances so what works for one, may not work for another. Blogging is fun for me even though it takes time and effort, however on it's own it doesn't pay any bills.

I have just added an Amazon Store to my blog -"Smart Mom's Store". If you are not familiar with Amazon stores, it's pretty simple: my Amazon store lists hundreds of items that are sold on, you simply click on the link to my Amazon Store and begin shopping for items you want. As purchases are made, I earn a small commission! All payment transactions are processed by Amazon and they ship your products just as usual. So you get what you want and I get blessed by you!

With Christmas just around the corner, if you are considering purchasing any gifts online, please keep Smart Mom's Store in mind. I am offering many categories, from clothing to beauty products, electronics, video games, toys, music, books, DVDs, gift baskets and more, I think you will find something for everyone. Purchases are safe and secure and Amazon's pricing is very competitive. Also, many items qualify for free shipping, so please click on the banner above this post to enter my store and check it out!

Thank you!

Smart Mom


Monday, October 19, 2009

Warm Your Hearts and Home

Warm your home as you bake these yummy treats and warm the hearts of your family as you share special moments together on a cool day! Quick breads such as these are easy and inexpensive to prepare, and they will fill your home with a wonderful aroma. These recipes are also a great way to utilize an abundance of zucchini or apples at this time of year! Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread IV from I have made this bread quite a few times and my family loves it. It is especially good with some chocolate chips added!

Apple Bread also from This is also yummy, I had some Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle from The Pampered Chef which I sprinkled on top before I baked it. Adding cranberries would be another nice alternative.

Make the most of it:

  • Be sure to serve up your family's favorite hot beverages - tea, coffee, hot cocoa, apple cider along with these breads.

  • Bake extra loaves to share with friends/ neighbors. A warm loaf of bread is a gift of friendship!

  • Bake extra and freeze some for another day.

  • Invite friends over to visit and share your freshly baked breads.

Have a great day!

Smart Mom

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.

This is exciting progress, but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals.

• Women age 65 and older are less likely to get mammograms than younger women, even though breast cancer risk increases with age.

• Hispanic women have fewer mammograms than Caucasian women and African American women.

• Women below poverty level are less likely than women at higher incomes to have had a mammogram within the past two years.

• Mammography use has increased for all groups except American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“If all women age 40 and older took advantage of early detection methods – mammography plus clinical breast exam – breast cancer death rates would drop much further, up to 30 percent.”  (NBCAM website)

“The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely – once is not enough.” (NBCAM website)

For more information about NBCAM, please visit For additional information, please call one of the following toll-free numbers: American Cancer Society,

(800) 227-2345, National Cancer Institute (NCI), (800) 4-CANCER, Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, (800) 221-2141.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month program is dedicated to increasing public knowledge about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Fifteen national public service organizations, professional associations, and government agencies comprise the Board of Sponsors, who work together to ensure that the NBCAM message is heard by thousands of women and their families.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Energy-Saving Tips

The change in season with it's cool air makes being indoors so warm and inviting. My family enjoys being together in our family room with hot drinks - the kids are loving hot apple cider and freshly baked pumpkin bread! Mmmm... we are already looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas with all the fun activities, gift-giving and baking.
However, the fall and winter months bring something I'm not so fond of - higher gas & electric bills, so of course I'm always looking for ways to lower our expenses. Here's a few tips:
  1. Check out The Home Energy Saver website to find out how much the average home energy bill is in your area, then find ways to make your home more energy efficient.
  2. Use a programmable thermostat to manage your climate control; program your heating to meet your family's schedule and needs and avoid heating your home unnecessarily.
  3. Train your family to close doors and windows, turn off lights in rooms that aren't being used and to use less hot water. (I know... good luck with that!)
  4. If it's time to replace any of your household appliances, be sure to compare the energy efficiency labels before you buy. Also, check with your local utility company for any rebate programs being offered.
  5. Heating water can account for up to 20% of your energy bill, so do pay attention to how long you let the water run while you are doing dishes or showering etc.
  6. Set your outdoor lights on a time or dusk to dawn sensor so that you don't accidentally leave them on all day.
Keep looking for ways to save, those small changes can make a difference!

Smart Mom

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ok.. another giveaway..

Well, I just couldn't resist this one, so I had to enter and of course being the generous, tip-sharing person that I am, I figured I shouldn't keep the information to myself. Yes, I get an extra entry for blogging about it too!

Anyway, here it is: A giveaway at A Mom After God's Own Heart for Karen Kingsbury's new book, Miracles: A 52 Week Devotional. If you have never read Karen Kingsbury, I highly recommend her books, but visit A Mom After God's Own Heart and read her review.
She has 5 copies to give away and the giveway ends on October 31st. So what are you waiting for?


Friday, October 2, 2009

Get Free Admission to Disney Parks!

Want a day at DisneyLand or DisneyWorld but not sure you can afford the admission fees? Here's your opportunity to get free admission and to give back to an organization.

BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2010, when you sign up here to volunteer a day of service with a participating organization (and your service is completed and verified) you'll get one day admission to a Walt Disney World® or Disneyland® theme park, FREE! Disney wants to inspire one million people to volunteer a day of service.

Check it out, be sure to look at all the terms. You can sign up for e-mail reminders too!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall Checkup

As the weather starts to change (at least where I live) it's time to do some spot checks around your home to prevent costly repairs later and also to minimize your energy loss.
  • Check your gutters, get them cleaned out, look for any holes or broken/ loose areas, better to do maintenance now than during the wet season.
  • If possible, check your roof for any loose shingles. Be careful... only assume this task if you are physically able to handle going up a ladder onto the roof. If not, consider hiring a professional for an inspection.
  • Check the seals around your windows and doors. Use caulk where necessary to fill any air gaps and reduce your heat loss.
  • If you have ducting in your home, clean the vents and ducts if possible.
  • Put away any outdoor furnishings that would deteriorate with exposure to the fall/winter weather.
  • If you live in an area prone to snow and freezing temperatures, make sure you have outdoor faucet covers ready as well as a snow shovel and ice melt.
  • Make sure you have adequate insulation around your pipes.
  • Check your outdoor lighting, replace any burnt out lighbulbs.
  • Be prepared for possible power outages - locate flashlights, batteries, candles and other emergency supplies. Organize them in an easy to find location.
  • This is also a good time to test your smoke detectors and change the batteries.
If you have any other tips to share, please leave a comment, thanks.
Smart Mom


Friday, September 25, 2009

Freebie Friday...

Ok, so these are really freebies for tomorrow, but today is the day to be planning your weekend, right?

September 26 is National Public Lands Day and entrance to all 391 national parks is free!
How about visiting a national park for tomorrow; if you happen to be in the neighborhood... admission to all 391 National Parks is free! Get outdoors and enjoy the beginning of fall.

Geoffrey's Birthday Party  at your local Toys'R'Us store Saturday, September 26th from 12-3 pm. There will be activities, a parade and prize giveaways. So, if you can handle the stress- take your little ones there for a few hours of free fun (of course, your kids will ask you to buy them something... be prepared!).

Museum Day Visit this website to get your card for free general admission on Saturday, September 26 to participating museums! Sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine.

Have fun and a blessed weekend!
Smart Mom


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blog Giveaway at Webs4Success

Just a quick note today to share a giveaway on another blog I participate in. Enter to win a quick vacation getaway for 2 at a destination of your choice! Visit Webs4Success for all the details! There are many opportunities for gaining extra entries, go check it out!

Have a great day!
Smart Mom


Friday, September 18, 2009

Health-saving tips!

No doubt there is an endless supply of tempting goodies in the grocery store and on restaurant menus, many of which are laden with fat, calories and unhealthy additives and preservatives. If you have a family you probably want what's best in terms of nutrition and taste for them, yet perhaps struggle with balancing a healthy diet with your busy lifestyle. Here's a few tips today to get your kids eating healthy choices:

  • Make healthy food convenient. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter top, readily available for quick, easy snacks. Prepare cut veggies ahead of time ready to pull out of the refrigerator for snacking.

  • Get the kids involved. Let them help pick out fresh produce at the grocery store, they love to weigh items on the scales too. Also, recruit their assistance in preparing food at home, my kids usually enjoy the meal more if they helped to make it.

  • Provide fruits and veggies as part of your meals on a daily basis.

  • Set a good example. Don't expect the kids to want veggies for a snack if you are always eating donuts!

  • Eliminate sodas and sugar laden beverages from your shopping list. There are many healthy, tasty alternatives nowadays. My top recommendation, however, is WATER!!!

  • If you need to lose weight, be smart about it. There are a multitude of weight loss programs out there. Be sure you get adequate nutrition, systems such as Herbalife offer balanced nutrition along with a weight loss plan.

  • Get moving. Find ways to be active. This year for my birthday my hubby and kids bought me a Wii and several fun games to workout with. I am not a gamer and my family knows it; they all like video games so it was kind of funny for me to get the Wii. Anyway, we have a great time. I love the Wii Fit and the Wii Sports Resort. Also good for a workout is EA Sports Active and Gold's Gym Cardio Workout. Whatever you choose, have fun and enjoy an improved fitness level.

Don't put off establishing good, healthy choices for you and you family. Start now!


Smart Mom


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Most Precious Savings

Yesterday was Labor Day here in the United States which meant for my family that we got the day off work and school, in fact it meant a nice 3 day weekend, and it felt great! Over the last few years we haven't had a lot of days off due to the nature of our business and so now when we get them we try to savor them.

As we spent our weekend doing things together as a family and just casually hanging out at home, it reminded me of the importance of savoring the time we share and saving the memories we create. My family is at the top of my priority list directly below my relationship with the Lord, I love them and feel blessed by the special connection we have. So many times over the years I have heard people say to "enjoy your children, because the time passes so quickly", it is true. It is also unfortunate that we sometimes get so caught up in the busy-ness of life that we fail to take time just to enjoy each other, therefore missing out on creating and preserving memories.

I suppose we will all have regrets at some time in our lives regarding one thing or another, I hope that they will not be because we missed out on special times with those we love. Here are a few suggestions for creating and preserving good memories:

  • Spend time with your family

  • Look for opportunities to do things together

  • Treat each other with respect and honor

  • Encourage each other

  • Be forgiving of each other

  • Laugh together

  • Cry together

  • Take photos

  • Pray together

  • Create home movies

  • Take family vacations (if possible) or at least days at the park/beach etc.

  • Have family mealtimes

  • Enjoy each other

We don't all have picture -perfect home and family situations, but we can still try to create and save good memories with those who are special to us.

Be blessed.... and be a blessing!

Smart Mom


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cash in on Your Abilities

If you are looking for a way to make a little extra money, first take a look at your abilities. What is it that you enjoy doing and are good at? Maybe you like to make crafts or jewelry and are pretty good at it. Perhaps you bake the best breads, muffins and cookies in your neighborhood. Or, maybe you love to write, draw or paint. Are you a photography enthusiast?

Whatever it is that you like to do and can do well, consider turning it into a business opportunity for yourself.

  • If you like to craft, get involved in local craft fairs where you can sell your items, or organize workshops at a community center or church where you can teach others how to make crafts. If you do well and can produce a steady source of product, you may even consider selling your items online.

  • If you are a baker, you may be able to sell your goods at a local farmers market or even to family and friends in your community.

  • If you enjoy writing, consider submitting articles to newspapers or article directories. (There are many of these directories, I recommend doing a search and checking some out, I don't have a specific recommendation of one) Many businesses will pay to have articles written for them. You can start your own blog and potentially make some income through advertisements on your blog or by writing product reviews.

  • For the artist, there are many opportunities to promote your artwork, including web services which will put your designs on t-shirts, hats, mugs, etc. for you to sell. ( is one example)

  • Many individuals and businesses are looking for fresh photos for their websites. Take quality photos and submit them to photo services; depending on their terms you will get paid various amounts when your photos are downloaded. (Again, a search will bring you numerous options, just be sure to read the terms so you know exactly how you will be paid and how your photos can be used.)

These are just a few ideas, if you have any suggestions or success stories, please share!


Smart Mom

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Simplify your life

Where does the time go... has it really been two weeks since my last blog entry? Wow.. things have been hectic around here, I'm hoping to get it together here soon, and having said that I want to share some tips for simplifying your life to reduce your stress and save you energy!


Take stock of what is consuming your day. If you don't know where your time is going, keep a log for a day or two. Write down everything you do and how much time you spend on each task. You might be surprised at what you find.


Evaluate each item/task on your list and determine if it is a necessary/valuable use of time (obviously if you have a job to go to, you better not quit). Prioritize the use of your time. Time for fun and relaxation should be part of your day too.


Eliminate things from your which are unnecessary, add stress, or take away from any goals you have established for your life.

In addition you might want to consider these tips for simplifying your life:

  • discard junk mail as soon as you get it, to prevent piles of paper growing in your home

  • clean out your refrigerator and pantry

  • purge your e-mail inbox and unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer read

  • donate or sell unwanted items and clothing

Watch for more tips in the future. Be sure to let me know if you have any great tips to share too.

Smart Mom

Monday, August 17, 2009

Auto-matic Savings Tips

Take care of your car and you will also be taking care of your wallet! Here's a few tips to help you get the most of your money while you drive. Buying a car which gets good mileage is obvious if you're in the market to replace a vehicle, if not we can all do these:

  • Keep your car engine tuned and your tires inflated to their proper pressure. This investment can save you approx. $100 per year on gas!

  • Get regular oil changes.

  • Shop around for gas. Prices can vary a lot.

  • Use the lowest octane gas recommended by your car manufacturer.

  • Avoid fast starts and stops while driving, you will have long term savings of fuel and maintenance costs.

  • Don't sit in your car for prolonged periods of time with the engine idling. (If you're waiting for someone who went in the store, turn of the engine)

  • Don't speed..... the cost of the ticket is not worth it!

Be sure to buckle up and drive safely!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Look what's new!

Have you noticed the new widget in my sidebar? It is really cool, you can do a search for content, check out the visitors map and see who the recent readers have been (you might even see your part of the world!) So what is it? It's Lijit, and you want to know what else is cool... it's FREE! You know I love to be smart and save, so this had to be for me. I saw a similar type of widget on someone else's blog and I checked them out but they want $9.95 per month! Yikes!

I found the link to on Blogger and decided to get it, it was super easy to set up my account and get my widget here. You also get blog stats and more! You have to check it out, and those guys at Lijit have a sense of humor. I loved all their funny little comments during the download process... I guarantee you won't have more fun getting any other widget!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Time Savers for Tweeters!

I have to confess that up until about 2 months ago I was quite blissfully ignorant of Twitter. I didn't "get it", you know -what is the purpose?

Then I took a look at it because I wanted to increase my business contacts, so I set up an account .. or two, then I showed my hubby how to set up an account and we began to see the possibilities. It's possible to make contact with people you would have never otherwise encountered in your life. Have to say though, it's not all good. Not everyone shares the same values which is quite evident by the variety of tweets. I recommend discernment!

Anyway, the reason for my talk about Twitter is for those of you who do use it for business, as I'm sure you know it's quite easy to spend too much time posting tweets and search relevant keywords. Before you know it, your day has flown by and you haven't accomplished the other things you needed to do. It is advantageous to post tweets at at various times throughout the day in order to reach more people and become familiar to your followers, but it's hard to schedule the time for this.

That's when I came across , you can set up a free account and link all your Twitter accounts to it. Then you can decide if you want to auto-follow those who follow you, it will check your status for you every 8 hours, auto-follow and send a direct message to your new followers for you. You can also write your tweets and schedule them to post at a time you set. I do this for a series of tips that I post on one of my Twitter accounts, it allows me to offer tips to my readers 4 or 5 times a day but I can write them all within a few minutes in the morning then I don't have to worry about forgetting to post them later.

TweetLater also offers a Professional subscription with more features, it looks good and you can get a free 7-day trial but then if you want to use it there's a monthly fee. I am still using the free one because I like to save! However, check it out and see what you think. There's a TweetLater banner in my sidebar!

Just be sure that if you use TweetLater, you still go to Twitter and read the tweets of those you are following otherwise you'll lose touch with them and then.....what's the point?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Coupon Quandry

To clip or not to clip? That is the question. Will the savings really be worth the sacrifice of time and effort? Can you really save, or is it all a conspiracy to get you in the store and squeeze the money out of your wallet by tempting you with elegant displays of merchandise??

Ah... there is hope... once again, you must formulate a plan and discipline yourself to stick to it. Here's a few tips to get you saving with coupons.
  1. Get organized: Get a coupon organizer and actually use it!

  2. Look for some good coupon websites, there are many to choose from.

  3. Make sure you are receiving coupon fliers, e-mails etc. from the stores you frequent.

  4. Only clip coupons for products you know you use. Don't be tempted with the new items if it's not in your meal plan.

  5. Take the coupons to the store! (I know this sounds pretty basic, but honestly, have you ever left them at home? Don't do much good there, do they?)

  6. Watch for items already discounted in the store, you can increase your savings.

  7. Add to your stash of coupons each week and purge expired coupons from your organizer.

  8. Share with others. If you have friends/family who like to use coupons, create a coupon exchange group, pool extra unused coupons and each person can choose ones they want.

  9. Be generous. Look for opportunities to give to others!

I have used a few coupon websites with mixed opinions, you will have to decide which ones are for you. I like I have visited in the past and still get e-mails from them regularly. I tried and it's quite an impressive site but it requires a subscription and I didn't find very many products I use so it wasn't worth it to me.

To be honest I do almost all of my grocery shopping between Safeway and Costco. I use their coupons and savings card and try to shop wisely. I love to save money and really don't like to pay full price for anything. However, I also try not to stress too much about missing out on a great deal.

So, if you love to clip... keep it up...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Recommended Sites

It's so fun to see how many moms are out there in the internet community sharing their wealth of knowledge and wisdom with each other. I just recently got involved with a couple of "mom" groups which look great to me, so I thought some of you might be interested too. I don't receive any affiliate commission/benefits by telling you, I just wanted to share!

The Mom Pack, is a group where moms support moms in their businesses, to encourage each other and share ideas etc. You can see a logo in my sidebar which will link you to their website They have a yahoo group which you can request to participate in. I got a nice welcome when I joined to represent my own business.

MommySavers... I just stumbled upon this website and they have an amazing amount of ideas for saving and being frugal (puts my little blog to shame :( They have coupons, offers, blogs, forums and groups to participate in. I just became a member (it's free) and am looking forward to participating there too. Address is

I hope you enjoy checking these out to see if they might be for you.

Have a blessed day!

Smart Mom

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Need a break?

Can't believe it's been a week since my last post, you might think I've been slacking off, it's just that there's been so much else going on. Less than two weeks now until I start my kids back to school (homeschool). We have everything we need, I think, I'm just starting to get myself prepared now. I am anticipating a wonderful year...... summer has been a nice break and I wasn't really looking forward to getting back into school, but now that we're getting things organized we are all more excited about it.

I hope you got some great back to school deals, I can't believe I missed the 1 cent filler paper at Staples, I knew about it and planned to go in.... the week went faster than I did unfortunately. Oh well, good thing I still have 4 packs left from last year!

Anyway, if you are still on the lookout for savings ideas consider this... you like to go out with your hubby for a date but the cost of babysitters sometimes makes it hard to afford. Find a friend who also has kids and make a deal with her. You can alternate weeks where you watch her kids one evening for her and then the next week she takes care of your kids so that you can have an evening out. You'll save money and be a blessing to each other, the kids will probably love having a special evening once a week with friends too.

If you don't have a friend with kids of a similar age to yours, look for opportunities to get to know other moms, maybe at school, church or sports activities. Spend some time building relationships first so that you can be sure you can trust each other with your kids.

Well.... gotta go and get busy, have a wonderful day.

Smart Mom