Giveaway: A Day Out at the Highland Games

This time of year in Nashville is full of fun, with festivals happening every weekend. The Tomato Fest, The Greek Festival, and the Celebration of Cultures are just a few of our family’s favorite events.

Another festival has returned to the calendar for the second year in a row. The Middle Tennessee Highland Games will take place at The Hermitage September 10, and our family is excited to check it out this year.

Hammer Throw. Photo courtesy of The Middle Tennessee Highland Games.
Hammer Throw. Photo courtesy of The Middle Tennessee Highland Games.

The marquee event of the Games is, of course, the Scottish athletics. The caber toss (throwing giant logs), the Stone Put (throwing giant stones), and the Hammer Throw (throwing giant hammers) are among the feats of strength performed by men (and women!) in kilts.

I’m most excited about the music, which includes performances by several pipe & drum corps plus Laura McGhee, The Secret Commonwealth, and The Glengarry Highland Dancers.

New this year to the festival is a kids area, including arts & crafts and mini-athletics! This is designed to be a family-friendly and dog-friendly event, and the festival recommends bringing blankets and chairs for the most comfortable experience.

Advance tickets are $13 for adults and $5 for ages 6-12. Day-of tickets at the gate are $15 for adults and $7 for ages 6-12. Discounted Hermitage tour tickets are available as well.

And now for the best part — a giveaway! I’m offering four tickets to The Middle Tennessee Highland Games and The Hermitage to one reader. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below and plan to take the whole family out for a day of fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was written in partnership with The Hermitage and The Middle Tennessee Highland Games, who graciously have provided festival tickets for my family and for this giveaway.

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9 School Supplies Still Made in the USA

Each year when I post about sustainably made school clothes, I often hear another question — what about school supplies? As a certifiable school supply geek, buying new pencils and pens is one of my favorite parts of back-to-school shopping. Happily, we don’t have to look far to find school supplies that are made close to home. Here are 9 school supplies still made in the USA:


1. Crayola Crayons and Markers


2. Elmer’s Washable School Glue


3. The Write Dudes USA Gold Pencils

4. KinderMat Preschool Nap Mat

5. Mead Five Star Notebooks

Top Flight College Rule Filler Paper

nullPilot EasyTouch Ball Point Pen

nullOxford 4×6 Index Cards



Bic Permanent Markers, Fine Point

Double checking labels is a great idea when shopping for supplies, as many companies source from more than one country. For example, most Elmer’s school glue is USA-made, but their glue sticks are made in China; some Crayola products are made in the USA, but others are made in Brazil.

As I shop for the new school year (or have the urge to buy a shiny, new gel pen!), I’m excited to find so many terrific products made right here in the USA.

Do you love shopping for school supplies? Are you, like me, addicted to shiny pens? I’d love to hear about your finds and experiences!

Some affiliate links are used to support this blog. 

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2016 Guide to Ethical School Clothes

School Rules: 2016 Guide to School Clothes
Pictured: Standard School Attire from City Threads with an Everlane Mini Backpack


The lazy days of summer are closing for our family as we prepare the boys to head back to school. Gap, Old Navy, and Target are popular stops for standard school attire around here, but whenever I can I try to add some ethical credentials into my boys’ wardrobes.

Second-hand shops are still my favorite way to stock the kids’ closets with school attire. I love thrifting, so I keep an eye out for quality clothing as I shop at stores and consignment sales throughout the year. I did NOT relish the idea of taking two boys shopping with me this summer, however, so I just placed my first Thred Up order to fill in a couple of closet gaps.

A new find for me this year is City Threads, which specializes in made-in-the-USA basics. I order City Threads items from Amazon where they often are on sale. The pants we’ve ordered from City Threads use a lighter fabric than what I’m accustomed to seeing, so I’ll be interested to see how they hold up with daily use. City Threads also is a great source for  undies — the quality is terrific, and organic options are available.

American Apparel is still on my list for dress code attire. I’m becoming more comfortable with the company as they rework their image and practices. We’ve enjoyed some of our school clothes from American Apparel, while other items have been terribly mis-sized. I recommend trying them with caution — be sure you can return your order in case of fit issues.

Remember my epic backpack search when my first son started kindergarten? With boy #2 starting school this year, I was gearing up for another search. However, the little guy made a wiser choice than his mama and decided he wanted his brother’s old Patagonia backpack. Big brother, who has moved onto an R2-D2 backpack that is now threadbare, asked me to patch his backpack rather than buy him a new one. Wisdom from the kids! In case you ARE looking for backpack options, I’ll let you know that I was eyeing the Everlane Mini Backpack as well as some sale bags from Timbuk2. Honestly, though, I’m relieved to stick with what we have.

So what are your back-to-school shopping secrets? Are you a mender, a thrifter, or a spoiled-by-grandparents-er (ahem — we know something about that)? How are you preparing for the school year?


Referral links are used in this post to support this blog. 

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