Exploring Greeneville, TN

Last weekend, we jumped at the chance to explore Greeneville, TN with our friends. Here’s a quick guide…


Don’t miss Pal’s frenchie fries and peachy tea. (Eat at the only Pal’s with indoor seating at Greeneville Commons too!)

Pelican’s Snoballs on Tusculum Blvd is an excellent treat on a scorching summer day!



Andrew Johnson Historic Site is located in downtown Greeneville and was well done! Park Rangers host free tours where you can learn not just about Johnson’s home, life and politics, but also local Civil War history. The kids took advantage of the Junior Ranger program and had a blast.


Davy Crockett’s birthplace in Limestone, TN is about 20 minutes outside Greeneville. It was also interesting, maybe just a little less so than AJ’s house. It was hot and humid, so the animals (chickens, pigs, and ponies) on the homestead were quite fragrant, but the park rangers on the site hosted a corn silk doll craft that saved the day.


Early Sunday morning, we hiked Margarette Falls. The rocks on the trail were slippery and the elevation change was challenging for me but not for anyone else! I can be a bit of a safety patrol, but the others put up with my complaining and we finally made it to the top waterfall, about a mile and and half straight up! Overall the moderate hike was scenic from beginning to end and totally worth the effort. The only grumble (aside from mine) was the lack of bathrooms at the trailhead, not even a port-a-john.



We stayed at the Hampton Inn because we knew late Saturday we had some extra time to let the kids swim, so we needed a hotel with a pool. But if I didn’t have kids with me, the General Morgan Inn would have been my top choice. Built in the 1880s and renovated around 1996, the hotel is the perfect place to stay for a historical getaway.

Happy travels to you!




We Did It!- Giant Wall Hanging!

My daughter and I finished her wall hanging!

She picked shades of blue and aqua from the bulky yarn section of Joanns, and it took about a hour or two last Saturday to pull it all together.

We used these instructions from A Beautiful Mess, and the most complicated part was the wire and hanging the piece. Altogether about $50, but we have a lot of yarn leftover, so we could have economized a bit better.

Happy Crafty Monday to you!


Birthday Revelations

  1. I might not be a “yes” parent, but I am a strong “maybe.” Being open and embracing new phases helps me see my children as individuals. Perfection is hard to relate to. I pick realistic role models and that’s also the kind of mother and friend I want to be.
  2. I love a good plan and a list of tasks. It soothes me to write it out, even if I lose or abandon it.
  3. Exercising feels good. When I trained for the half marathon, I got to a place where running quieted my mind. I am back to being out of breath, so I would like to get to that place again.
  4. Keeping a gratitude list is an awesome way to keep my mind focused on positivity. Sometimes it’s just in my head, sometimes in a journal, but always it gives me peace.
  5. I need a creative outlet. I love knitting, escaping in books, and sketching out plans on how to achieve different goals (and just permission to let my mind wander for an hour works just as well).

Another year, another list (it feels so good to write it out, try it!!!)


On the needles currently:

Entrechat Shrug

Summer Planning

My kids have 10 weeks of summer. When they aren’t at camps or family vacations, they roughly spend the first half of the day with me, then the second half of the day with my mother. They usually do quiet, crafty activities while I work in the mornings, then she takes them to the pool and other fun places in the afternoon.

During the school year, every family member has chores and routines that keep us all accountable and the household running moderately smooth. I like to have a plan going into each summer week as well. The plan is loose, but it’s enough stability to provide boundaries.

So along with some chores, we go to the library each week and I ask them to write in a journal at least once a week. I also give myself a weekly theme and try to come up with some craft ideas, some book ideas that I reserve at the library in advance, a field trip idea, and throw in some recipes that we want to try. It’s loose, but with a little structure.

Here’s some of the weekly themes we are kicking around: Yarn, Kindness, Jewelry, Painting, Sculpture, Paper, Patriotic, Wildflower, Beach, and Water. My goal this summer is to encourage their creativity (and try not to go insane with the messes that are made).

Do you also purposely change the household pace in the summer?


Easy Monday Dinner – Fat Sandwich

My husband and I lived in Charlotte, NC many years ago, and when we reminisce about our time in the Queen City, it is often the food. Not sure if it was really so special, or if it was that special moment of a marriage before kids when you had extra time and money to splurge on good food.

We both worked in Southpark and I can’t remember the name of the place but it was in the shopping center adjacent the mall, near the Park Hotel, and it was one of my favorite lunch splurges with my coworkers. The best thing on the menu was a simple steak sandwich served with fries, and we called it the “Fat Sandwich.” I can’t remember why, maybe because it was so hearty you wanted to nap the rest of the afternoon, but it was delicious. Here’s the quick way I recreate this, making a simple Monday night dinner for my family:

Fat Sandwich- Serves 4

  • 1 decently thick NY strip steak, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • hamburger bun (optional)

Heat the olive oil and saute the onions and peppers until golden. Set aside on a paper towel.


In the warm skillet, melt the butter and add the steak. On med-high heat sear each side to suit your taste. It usually takes 2 mins each side to sear but leave the middle pink. I do this in batches to make sure it is all evenly cooked.


After removing the steak, drop the bun into the steak drippings to brown briefly. My husband and kids prefer no bun, so this buttery toasted bun is the last step for mine alone.

Variation- We have also added zucchini to the onion saute and served over rice, as well as served in tortillas with cheese and salsa.

What is your favorite quick and delicious food? Do you also reminisce about BK times (before kids)?

Main photo of Mark and I (BK times) in a visit to Asheville, NC




What’s Working

In between this dodging this crazy spring weather, with work, school, and home life echoing Mother Nature, we are managing to do a few things that bring us peace and joy. Here’s a short list:

Have you listened to the Goop podcast? The opening episode features Oprah, talking about Maya Angelou among other things. This is excellent food for a good, long walk or car commute.

Eating more good vegetables. If there’s one great thing about spring in the south, it is shelves full of excellent produce in March, making it easier to sustain a “protein plus three” diet. It isn’t local, but it won’t be long before we can get much of this at our farmer’s market, and this pleases me so very much.  Eating the rainbow has helped me miss the flu and other viruses that have been passed around too much the past few months.

Spring Cleaning- I ordered both a clean out bag and a donation bag from Thredup, and tring to sort through 6 bags (!) of clothes that the girls and I purged cleaning our closets these last few months. When we shop this year, I will remember these piles of clothes and try to make more responsible purchases.

What is working for you this month?



Anger, Frustration, Hopelessness, Sadness, Fear, or Joy?

Share your feelings with someone today. Listen to someone today. Empathize today. And try again tomorrow. Teach your children to do this by modeling love.