the Penny Pinching Pastry Princess

Hi. My name is Nikki Palmer and I am an addict. My vices are baking and learning to be frugal. Now please don’t get me wrong … I’m no cake decorator and my dishes rarely turn out picture worthy, but I’m hopelessly addicted to trying new recipes. I mean, hey, just because I love that meatloaf recipe in my box doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try the next one I find because it might be better! My recipe box has more than tripled in size simply because I tried a new recipe and my guinea pigs loved it.

Becoming a coupon clipper has allowed me to test new recipes more often. I can’t wait for Sunday afternoon when I log onto Coupon Mom to print the deals I want to take advantage of. Next I grab scissors, paperclips and every coupon circular I have hoarded over the last few months, and commandeer the kitchen table for a twenty minute immersion into couponing. Here I combine coupons with my selected deals. This system provides for a wide variety of meals so dinner is never boring at our house! Seeing what items I am purchasing this week and taking inventory of what I already have in the pantry helps me create my menu.

Next I look for coupons that will expire this week because it really irks me to pay full price for something when I could have saved at least 55 cents or more! (Remember, Kroger always doubles coupons up to 50 cents.) Then it’s off to the grocery stores. I zoom up and down the aisles grabbing every deal I’ve got a coupon for and checking items off my grocery list. When I get the groceries loaded in the van and can finally look at my amount of savings versus the actual total, well let’s just say I get some pretty strange looks when people hear all the whoopin’ and hollerin’!

Between office hours, helping three children with their homework, and getting everyone to bed at a decent hour, I don’t have much time to cook dinner each weeknight, so Sunday evenings are spent pre-cooking anything possible for the week. While we don’t exactly slip into dreamland with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads, it is a great way to head into Monday. I hope you’ll join me in my quest to become more frugal and please feel free to pass along any tips you may have.

Meet Tina Torres

You have heard me mention her a few times, now get to know her a little bit better.

I met Tina through the Women’s Business Alliance of Richmond Hill. She and I have a lot in common – we are both wives, mommas, and self employed. She is my Pampered Chef Consultant and my friend.

Tina is a busy woman. Aside from all things Pampered Chef, she is very active in the school system here in Richmond Hill.

She started out as the room mom for her two younger boys. Not familiar with a “room mom”? These are the wonderful people that help your kids’ teacher coordinate activities with the other parents. Holiday parties, treat bags, field trips…you name it.

So, the room mom is the liaison for the teachers and the parents. Tina was really good at this. So now, she coordinates the room moms. Good thing too. She has tons of experience and helps out new room moms get acclimated to their new position.

Why a room mom? Tina loves being involved with the school and she has also had the opportunity to make a difference and create some great memories. One of her favorites occurred while she was assisting with the Accelerated Reading Program.

Just recently one student in a particular class had a lot of trouble reading and through volunteering with his class I was able to help him to increase his reading ability, which greatly improved his AR test scores. I remember him giving me the biggest hug after he was done and how proud he was after his accomplishment.

Tina is also very active at Savannah Christian Church, The Richmond Hill Bryan County Chamber of Commerce, eWomen Network, and the WBA.

She’s a woman to know in Richmond Hill.

Thank you, Tina Torres!

My Pampered Chef lady sent me these pictures.  They are taken at the Flag Dedication ceremony held last month for that big, beautiful, American Flag.  Her husband, Jason Torres, is part of the honor guard there.  I am working to try and find out who the others were.





Did You Know?

That the Bryan County Newspaper has an interactive blog site? Not only do they have one, but it is getting pretty heated active.

You have to create an account before you can participate, but it is easy to do and you can hide all your information if that suits you. It doesn’t suit Floyd Hilliard to do it that way. The Mayor pro-temp is very open about who is posting under the screen name floyd.

And you know me – I’ll tell you who I am, how to contact me, and what color crayon I am. But, that’s my personal preference. The option is left open.

Jump on over there and check it out. Learn what your neighbors are saying about

Did I mention there is a post or two about high school football and local politics?

Natural Madison

We come into contact with families touched by military deployments everyday in our area. We know of yellow ribbons, waving flags, and spouses going it alone, patiently waiting for the other half of their union to return.

Most of them will tell you they stay busy.

Jennifer will tell you she started a business.

When Chris deployed in 2005, Jennifer decided to take back up a childhood hobby – soap making. Her inventiveness turned into the online boutique, Natural Madison.

Jennifer creates her own custom scents and designs. What she has created is an all natural, homemade line of soaps, smells, and body items that will tickle your fancy.

I spent an hour smelling, feeling, wondering, dreaming, obsessing over all the great things she had put together – right there in her dining room.

  • How do you come up with the smells? Trial and error.
  • What did the first batch of hot chocolate taste like? Needed milk and sugar.
  • What’s Madison’s favorite thing? The chocolate chip cookie soap. He tried to eat the first one.
  • Do you do custom stuff? Of course!

Time ticked and I had to go. Stuck my Chocolate Raspberry Lip Oil present in my pocket, jumped in my van, thought to myself, “I can’t wait to blog this!”

Meet a local Documentary Filmmaker

Did you know Richmond Hill had one of those? Well, we do.

Meet Anne-Marie Miles and her dog Medaase. I’ll give you one shot to guess which one is the filmmaker and which one is the critic.

Sometime ago, Anne-Marie contacted me about the Women’s Business Alliance. She was planning on moving to Richmond Hill and was interested in learning about some of the groups here. So, I did what any person well versed in the art of Southern Hospitality would do – I invited her to lunch. And, because life is always better when Heather is serving the food, I took her to 606 East Cafe.

Anne-Marie is funny, quirky, creative, and an all around great person. I had never met a filmmaker before, so I had a lot of questions. The biggest one revolved around the scope of her career – what it was she actually did and who her ideal client was.

This one is kinda hard to explain because I’m such a such a talented, complex and mysterious woman… does that sound intriguing? Well, it’s really not… I’ve just been able to pick up a few extra skills since I graduated from college. So, I guess that makes me a “jack of many trades” – not ALL trades, just many.

The title I’ve been using lately is Documentary Filmmaker, but you could also call me a TV Producer, Writer, Narrator, or TV Show Host (and there are a couple more things I CAN do, but don’t really like to do).

I started out working in TV news, and after a few years I discovered that the local news industry doesn’t jive very well with my soul. So, I started working at a local PBS station and was able to work with what I was passionate about – nature and the environment. My time with PBS also taught me how to create and develop multi-media projects that include websites and outreach. I was also exposed to history projects and realized how fascinating history can be… but, after awhile my workload continually increased, my life experiences outside of work continually decreased, and my paycheck continually stayed the same!

So I thought to myself, “Self, why stay here and work like a dog for very little pay and even less appreciation, when I can do the same job on my own (and more importantly, on my own terms)?” In my mind – which I now realize is very small & confined!) there was no argument. So, I quit my job at the PBS station and started doing freelance work with the dream of becoming an independent Documentary Filmmaker.

Freelancing has some great benefits, but also has some great challenges. I’m constantly applying for jobs that I’m overqualified for – just to get the work (and the paycheck!). And, creating a documentary film independently has some major challenges – mostly, funding. So, I’ve been pursuing the documentary filmmaking in my spare time, with my own money, while searching/doing freelance work. Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough freelance work to support me and my documentary filmmaking hobby, so I decided to start my own production company. Even though this takes very little start up costs, it does take time, so I’ll probably end up working a part-time or temporary job until I can get enough clients for my business.

My ideal client (in the strictest sense of “ideal”) is myself. As a “creative”, I love the thought of being able to create something (ie: a documentary) that is uniquely my own and not having to alter, adjust or change it in order to please others.

That being said, usually the only “creatives” who don’t have to please others AND can still make money at it are already very successful in their field…
and they probably became successful by pleasing others.

So, who is my ideal client, you say? Anyone wanting to help fund a documentary just because they think the subject matter is important. Any environmental and historical agencies or groups that have a compelling message, interesting story, or a desire to educate their community.

You can contact to get in contact with Anne-Marie for projects or support.