Homeschooling: Why We Chose this Adventure

My son has been in public school since PreK. He has done a great job in school even though he has had to work twice as hard as other kids because he has some learning challenges. He is sweet, kind, generous, and his teachers have all told us that they love him. He also has a rare disorder called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. It’s a mouthful and he knows all about it. He even did a powerpoint with one of his teachers in seventh grade to share with his peers. If you didn’t know that he had a rare condition you might think he is on the autism spectrum but he is not. He does get very excited about certain things, he tends to get along really well with younger kids, and has a speech delay. I have been asked before what kind of accent he has. Over the years he has had fantastic teachers. You may be asking yourself why we chose to homeschool this year since it sounds like he has had such a great experience up to this point. Well, I will tell you.

Over the last several years I have been a substitute teacher at the elementary and middle school levels. I have gotten to bear witness to how schools have changed since I was in high school. There are wonderful teachers in our districts and there are many, many wonderful kids in our district but it only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. Unfortunately for our teachers this means they spend so much time having to discipline “that one kid” that the 26-30 other kids in the class miss out on instruction time. I have a child with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). He needs the extra help. Since out district is pretty much one hundred percent inclusion that means that the kids that have IEP’s for emotional disturbance and other diagnosis for harmful behaviors are included in all classes. In the last few years In School Suspension was taken away so even if a kid is sent to the office for “restorative discipline” they are back in class ten minutes later with a sucker and pat on the head. I have seen a kid body slam another kid, go to the office, and come back in ten minutes. The victim then has to continue sharing space with the attacker.

When the time came to start thinking about where my son would go to school I started subbing at the high school level so I could see things from the inside. You can go to all of the open houses you want but you don’t really see the school from the inside. I went to our zoned school for two days. Kids were vaping in the halls, I walked through a group of kids making plans to beat someone up later, and saw a kid screaming in a teacher’s face. I went to an artsy magnet school, when I told the office who I was subbing for they laughed in my face and gave me directions to the Dean’s office. I went to an early college high school which was pretty good but you have to meet certain test requirements. I went to a school that had internships that I thought would be amazing but they wouldn’t let the freshmen in the hallway with the sophomores because there were too many fights in the halls. Honestly, if my son was going to be in honors classes I probably would have let him go to our zoned school. The classes are smaller and there are fewer behavior problems. But, he has an IEP so he is in inclusion classes with the general population which means he misses out on actual learning time. I should point out that my daughter goes to public school but it is a magnet school with test requirements so it is hard but she is thriving there.

When homeschooling started to become more of an option I was terrified. I want the very best for my kids like every other parent. For him, this is the best option at the moment. He gets the extra time and attention he needs to up his skills. He gets to spend time with other kids at tutorial.

For our homeschooling we have an Umbrella School that takes care of maintaining his transcript and he goes to tutorial for Science, Spanish, and Band. At home we do History, English, PE, Bible, and Algebra 1. First semester went pretty well. All A’s and B’s. We are changing a few things up for second semester and I hope they are helpful for him. I realize everyone does not have the option to homeschool and I am thankful that we get to be on this path!

Dog Fights and Good Neighbors

We live in a neighborhood that is often referred to as Mayberry. We have lived in this neighborhood for quite some time and have pretty great neighbors. I can jump on the group page and ask if someone has a roasting pan and someone will come through. We have had the same neighbors to the left of us the entire time we have lived here. These neighbors have always been good and kind to us. They also love animals. They rescue dogs and make sure the dogs are well loved. Often our dog will run up and down the fence line with one of their dogs. Most of the time it seems like they like each other and are playing.

Who’s a good girl?

Yesterday their newest dog had Houdini’d himself into our back yard. My neighbor was actually already out shoring up the spot but I didn’t know their dog was in our yard when I let our dog out. I came out to horrible barking and crying and broke the dogs up. On first inspection everything seemed fine so I took our girl in the house to settle down. That is when I discovered she was bleeding…at four on a Sunday… Since we have never had to take our animals to the emergency vet clinic I wasn’t sure where to go. I went and found my neighbor and let him know that our pup was bleeding and asked if he had suggestions about where I should take her. My neighbors did the same google search I did and then handed me their debit card. I just about cried. Like I said we have been neighbors for a long time. They were as worried for our dog as we were.

My daughter and I loaded our old lady into the car and took off for the emergency clinic. Quite a few cars filled the lot when we got there so I figured we were in for a bit of a wait. We arrived at five and left and 1:15. Everyone in the waiting room was quite friendly and wanted to talk about what was going on with their pets. Several others dogs were brought in with more emergent cases than ours. Apparently open wounds are priority two. The vet had to sedate our dog so she could find all of the wounds because being fluffy makes finding wounds more difficult. Before the sedation she asked if we wanted them to do CPR if our dog’s heart stopped. uh…. My daughter and I have been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy so she realized I was basically being asked about a DNR. The vet was very good at giving us information on how expensive it was to do CPR but also that it only works in 3-5% of dogs and if they are as old as our dog they do not go home well. So I said no. My daughter held it together until the vet left the room and then let her tears take over.

A quiet moment in the waiting room

My daughter was reassured when we could hear our dog in the back being a very unwilling participant in her care. We did recommend a muzzle because she is 75 pounds and has puncture wounds. After they finally got her sedated we were able to watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and an episode of Boy meets World before they came back to tell us they were trying to wake her up.

Our pup finally woke up enough that the vet was able to get her in the car but she was still groggy. We were able to get her out of the car when we got home but her back legs seemed to not be working so when we got to our front steps she just sat down and wouldn’t go any further. After pushing, pulling, getting treats, and cajoling I had to get my poor hubs out of the bed to help. He has been feeling terrible the last few days so I felt awful about getting him up but my daughter and I could not get her in the house. If it was summer I would be tempted to leave her out in the backyard. But it is not so we had to get her in. My hubs managed to make a sling out of our heavy duty picnic blanket and carry her into the house all the way to her bed. It took a good 30 minutes to actually get her in the house.

Now we are dealing with medicine. This is the dog that over the years has accumulated an impressive history of things she has stolen and eaten. She loves peanut butter (xylitol free of course) so I put her medicine on a spoon with peanut butter but she will not touch it. She is still very groggy but my hubs said that when he came down this morning she got up and went to the door to go do her business. So she can get up it just might be later today before I can get meds into her.

Wearing a tshirt instead of a cone because she already has a little trouble with the stairs

Back to neighbors. If you don’t know your neighbors go meet them today. Plan an event, go to coffee, take treats. This could have gone a very different way yesterday and I am thankful we have wonderful neighbors and that know us and love our animals and kids as much as we do.

I Heart Books

Each year I have been challenging myself to read more books. A few years ago it was 50. Last year it was 100. I beat last year’s goal by 3 books! I read a combination of the PopSugar list, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club, and the books for my neighborhood library book club. This year I will likely do the same but have added the free reading list from Modern Mrs. Darcy. I think often of writing my own book but with so many on the market to read I get overwhelmed wondering if anyone would take a second glance at a book by me. I know, stop with the excuses already! What is on your list to read this year? I would love to hear your recommendations! Without further ado, here is my list from 2019. May you find some inspiration for your reading goals.

January

  1. Faith, Hope, Light: Art of the Stained Glass Window Running Press
  2. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) by Scarlett Curtis
  3. Crazy, Rich, Asians by Kevin Kwan *
  4. Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as a Spiritual Practice by Belden C. Lane
  5. Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown *
  6. Bone Black by bell hooks
  7. A Long Walk to Water: based on a true story by Linda Sue Park
  8. The Book of the KellsAn Illustrated Introduction to the Manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin by Bernard Meehan
  9. City of the Lost by Kelly Armstrong
  10. My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
  11. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
  12. Night Shift by Stephen King

February

  1. Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
  2. Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden *
  3. Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado
  4. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
  5. Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss
  6. Watching You by Lisa Jewell
  7. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
  8. If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss *
  9. The Great Outdoors: A Users Guide by Brendan Leonard
  10. Bad Call by Mike Scardino *
  11. Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, Milla Vane

March

  1. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
  2. Reckless: My Life as a Pretender by Chrissie Hynde
  3. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  4. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah *
  5. Homeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started by Erica Arndt
  6. The Mad Feast by Matthew Gavin Frank
  7. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  8. Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure
  9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  10. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys *
  11. The Nature Fix byFlorence Williams
  12. The Library Book by Susan Orleans

April

  1. The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
  2. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  3. Backyards and Boulevards: Words from the Neighborhoods of Nashville *
  4. Gmorning, Gnight little pep talks for me and you by Lin-Manuel Miranda *
  5. The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart*
  6. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion *
  7. Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of your Child’s Education by Susan Wise Bauer
  8. Selected Poems by Walt Whitman
  9. The White Darkness by David Grann

May

  1. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  2. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
  3. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
  4. The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler *
  5. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
  6. The Night Tiger by Yangszu Choo*
  7. From Scratch: A memoir by Tembi Locke *
  8. You’re Not Lost if You Can Still See the Truck by Bill Heavey

June

  1. lord of the flies by william golding *
  2. Dumplin by Julie Murphy
  3. Freefall by Jessica Barry
  4. The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  5. The Au Pair by Emma Rous
  6. The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss *

July

  1. Still Lives by Maria Hummel
  2. The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
  3. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  4. Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore
  5. Homeschooling for Dummies by Jennifer Kaufeld
  6. Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days by Nancy Lande
  7. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  8. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
  9. A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson*
  10. Gray by Pete Wentz

August

  1. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry*
  2. What Would Dolly Do? by Lauren Marino
  3. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera
  4. American Pop by Snowden Wright
  5. Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon
  6. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  7. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  8. Cole and Sav: Our Surprising Love Story by Cole and Savanah LaBrant

September

  1. The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
  2. A Murder in Music City by Michael Bishop*
  3. You’re on an Airplane by Parker Posey
  4. Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati*

October

  1. The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
  2. Nashville Scenes from the New American South by Ann Patchett
  3. The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn
  4. Southern Lady Code by Helen Willis
  5. Letters to the Church by Francis Chan*
  6. The Leveller by Julia Durango
  7. The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

November

  1. Fair Play by Eve Rodsky*
  2. Surviving Nashville by Stacy Barton
  3. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
  4. Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey*
  5. The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by William Cuppy
  6. Love Does by Bob Goff*

December

  1. Gullah Images by Johnathan Green
  2. Gullah Home Cooking by Sallie Ann Robinson
  3. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
  4. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
  5. Gullah Folktales from the Georgia Coast by Charles Colcock Jones Jr
  6. Cooking the Gullah Way by Sallie Ann Robinson
  7. The Scottish Food Bible by Claire Macdonald
  8. Dreamers by Yuli Morales
  9. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  10. The Second Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith

Happy 2020!

Good morning and welcome to 2020!! I hope you had time to reflect on 2019 and what you want out of this new year. Like everyone else 2019 was full of ups and downs but compared to 2017 and 2018 I feel like there were more ups than downs for sure.

Last night we rang in the new year a little bit differently and then exactly the same. You might have heard of a tiny little show called Hamilton? Well, the show finally danced and sang its way to Nashville and last night was opening night. The tickets were not cheap but I am appreciative of the way TPAC handled them. You had to go pick your tickets up at the box office or get them on the app. If you got them on the app they were not available until 90 minutes before the show and forwarding was not available. They also had warnings on the website that said that tickets from 3rd parties were likely fakes. I don’t know about you but I am pretty tired of legalized scalpers buying up all of the tickets for everything and marking the prices up.

So much fun!!

Anyway, we got downtown about 5:30 partially because we didn’t know if the tickets would show up on the app so we were going to head to Will Call and also because we wanted to find parking and knew that there were a bunch of road closures. Lucky for us the tickets showed up and none of the road closures were near where we wanted to be. Of course all of the meters that are free after six were blocked off for the Music City Eve party in Bicentennial Mall. On our way to TPAC we discovered Caesars Pizzeria (No, not Little Caesars). It was right on our way to the show so we stopped in and picked up a pizza. They seemed to be a bit short staffed but once our order was taken our Italian pizza and cheesy breadsticks made it to our table fairly quickly. I think we would likely eat there again if the opportunity presented itself. They are pretty much open most of the night. After dinner we still had plenty of time to make the short walk to TPAC and take a bunch of pictures along the way.

TPAC was packed last night and it was the first time I have seen them use metal detectors and security at the door. I wonder if that was just a New Year’s Eve precaution or a “this is our biggest show of the season” precaution, or if it is a new protocol. Since you had to go to Will Call or use your app the lobbies, staircases, restrooms and every other space were all packed. It was hot but the crowd did a good job of staying calm and waiting for doors even with sweat trickling down their faces…and by their I mean me. We finally made it in to our seats in the loge and got settled with just a little time before Aaron Burr stepped to the front of the stage and began the show. We were entranced from the first moment of the show to the last.

A little crowded on the Loge Level before doors

One of our 2019 adventures was to start homeschooling our son for high school. He is taking a US History Class and the beauty of him getting to see Hamilton is that it counts as a field trip for him. He will be writing a paper about it as well partially because it falls right in line with some of the history he has learned over the last semester in his lessons. It feels like a good end to his first semester of homeschool.

Once the show was over were were able to pick up my daughter’s sweet friend so she could spend the night and another friend and her daughter made their way to our house to watch the Nashville Note drop. These are best friends that have been joining us for several years to ring in the new year. We have a few fireworks leftover from 4th of July but ended up not using them due to the amount of fireworks and (if you believe the neighborhood watch page) gun shots already being set off in the neighborhood. After the ball dropped the kids asked if we could watch a couple of episodes of Friends since it was slated to be removed from Netflix at three am. We made sure to watch “The One with the Cake” in which Chandler and Monica tell Emma it is 2020 and they hope she is enjoying her nap. Um…Friends fans, and friends that have kids turning 18 this year…how are our children the same age as Ross and Rachel’s daughter?

Happy New Year!!

We wrapped up our night about two in the morning. The snacks were put away, friends went home, and we all crashed into our beds with dreams of what this year holds.

We get an extra day in February this year. An extra day to be awesome! We have a Presidential election this year which gives each and every one of us the opportunity to get out from behind our computer screens and talk to our neighbors with cool heads and calm demeanor. I’m not saying don’t be passionate about whoever you support but try to talk to and listen to each other without judgment. My daughter will be old enough to vote this year. I want to be an example of kindness, thoughtfulness, and love for others that she can follow. My son will be of driving age this year. Watch out world! We have a lot of change happening this year and I am excited to see what adventures that will bring! How about you? What kind of adventures do you see for yourself this year?

Brightside Bakeshop

You already want to make a trip, don’t you?

This morning I was downtown and the name Brightside Bakeshop popped into my head. After wracking my brain for a few minutes I remembered stepping into Barista Parlor in Germantown a couple of weeks ago for a Whiskey Caramel Latte and seeing towering brioche pastries. I consulted my trusty Google map and discovered I was not far from the bakery. It is just off of Porter Rd. in East Nashville. I will say if you want a Hipster village to hang out in, this is the place. It is like almost every business used the Hipster Name Generator to name their business. Examples: Hunter and June, Apple and Oak. It made me giggle to see there is even a giant mustache bike rack out front. I need to head back over to the area so I can check out all of the neat stores.

Fun window decor

Lucky me, there was a parking spot right out front! The space is very small but the lady behind the counter was very welcoming and told me about the business. Andrea, the owner, was based at the Richland Farmers Market before opening at Porter East. You can tell she has had plenty of practice perfecting her pastries. Her bakery is a small batch bakery but will be opening a second location in the Nations in the future. The lovely girl with the yellow bandanna in her hair was enthusiastic and so excited about the possibility of a space where you could sit and see the baking magic happen.

My happy place

Brightside Bakeshop has sweet and savory pastries with brioche and croissant dough. I picked up a Churro Croissant for my hubs, a Sunshine Roll for my son, and a Chai-Spiced Pear Tart for me.

The prices were around $3.50 – $5 per item. That actually seemed pretty reasonable to me based on the size of the pastries alone, not to mention the work that goes into making brioche and croissant dough.

I started this post right before Thanksgiving, had company, and have now run headlong into December. While my brother and sister in law were here they stopped at Barista Parlor and also sampled the pastries available there. They were as impressed as I was.

If you get a chance stop by and check out this gem! I know I will be visiting again in the near future!

Surviving Nashville

For months my son has been asking to go on a mother/son date to the Melting Pot. The idea of getting to cook his own food on skewers in the middle of the table has been intriguing for quite sometime. My husband is not a fan because if you have ever been there you know how stinking expensive it is….and you have to cook your own food!! We had tickets to see the SpongeBob musical at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) so we made an entire night out of it.

Because we are surviving Nashville as it grows we made sure to leave with plenty of time to find parking before our 4:30 reservation and 7:30 show. Now, if I was smart I could have parked at the library and been done with it but I wanted cheaper! (Quick tip: If you park at the library during the day and go in and get your ticket validated your first hour and a half are free. In after 5pm and it is $15). We drove up and down the block near TPAC and saw a couple of open spots…with signs that said no parking starting the date we were there. We continued down to Commerce and saw a garage that said it was $28 unless we parked after 4. That lot was going to be $15 as well but it was not 4 yet so we continued down to a Premiere lot across from Panera. I checked the rate….$38. So, back in the car and we drove down the block and discovered a few non metered spots in front of a hotel. There was a no parking to the curb sign and we were behind that but on the other end there was a carriages only sign. I don’t believe the carriages run on Tuesdays so I thought we would be fine, and we probably would have been but what if we weren’t (there was a towing incident when we first moved here that still makes me uneasy)? So we drove a little further down Commerce to a meter. We fed enough coins to last until a little after five and headed down to 2nd and the Melting Pot.

Y’all…Nashville is hilly and I always forget that until I am walking (or running, I did a half marathon a few years ago and let’s just say uphill is not my friend). As our altitude decreased I knew our walk back to TPAC was going to take longer than our walk from the car.

Our dinner was spectacular, my date was charming, and we made it in plenty of time for our show with a stop off at the car to drop off an uneaten salad that my thoughtful son got for his sister to pack in her lunch the next day. I went into the SpongeBob Musical not really knowing what to expect. I knew there were songs by Panic! at the Disco, Steven Tyler, and They Might Be Giants. I had no doubt I would love the music. But, I have a confession…I don’t watch SpongeBob and neither do my kids. They get the memes because they are kids and understand that stuff but it has never been on our list of things to watch. Sure, I know who the characters are..I don’t live under a pineapple under the sea. But I don’t know the relationship of the characters to each other or if the characters in the play match up to the show. I will say my favorite act of the play was when Squidward sang “I’m Not a Loser”. When I went back to the playbill I realized the song was by They Might Be Giants, one of my favorite bands from high school. The staging, the lighting, the choreography for this particular song were outstanding. Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t see it because many people left at intermission. Honestly, what is not to love? A tap dancing, clarinet playing squid performs with a sea anemone chorus line! Check out the Playbill first look below.

If you get a chance to come to Nashville and have the desire to see a show, TPAC is your place. The Tennessee State Museum used to be located in the basement at TPAC but now has its very own building next to the Nashville Farmers Market. Aside from our parking fiasco the evening was fantastic! Please come visit! We need more theater goers to balance out the pedal taverns! 😉 The more that balances out the easier to survive Nashville!

My son has grown a ton in the last year!

As an aside: The other day I read a book called Surviving Nashville by Stacy Barton. It had several short stories in it that were rather tragic. The writing was lovely and Ms. Barton is a vivid story teller. I initially picked this book up because of the title but there was only one story that referenced Nashville. That was okay though because the stories were compelling.

Chasing the Milky Way

A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the Milky Way

Carl Sagan

Recently my dad decided to sell my daughter his faithful little blueberry of a car. Mom and dad are moving to Tennessee next year so they were thinking of things they could downsize and one of those was to become a one car family. At least for the time being. My daughter and I flew to Colorado for a very brief visit, to buy the car, and drive it back to Tennessee. My sister, Kim (The Adventures of Milling About) called to see if we would like to go try to take some pictures of the Milky Way. I am always up for that type of photography adventure so I packed my good camera and jumped on the plane. As luck would have it, my niece was home for the weekend so she and my daughter were able so spend some time writing together and freezing together while we looked at the stars.

Cousins back lit by a field of windmills and the Pawnee Buttes

A couple of years ago my family was at my grandparents farm in October for fall break in the middle of Michigan, kind of between the thumb and forefinger if you know what I mean. The area they lived in was surrounded by Amish farms and a lot of open space. Looking at the stars on the farm was a spectacular sight. One night we sat out and were amazed by all we could see until we saw something that kept glinting in one particular spot. It wasn’t the space station because that moves pretty quickly through orbit. I really like scary movies and story lines with aliens so we googled it then and discovered it was a Chinese satellite that had an erratic wobble just sitting there, rotating, and glinting in the light! No aliens. Side note: I just looked this up and apparently the satellite reentered the atmosphere April 2nd, 2018 over the South Pacific!

There is a Milky Way in there somewhere…no aliens just a bad picture of me.

Anyway, back to our Colorado adventure. My sister picked us up at mom and dad’s and we headed out into the wilderness. I have been to Estes Park and have hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park. When I think of Colorado I think mountains. I don’t think tiny back roads and plains but that was where our destination led us. As we headed out there was cloud cover but we could still see the moon so we were hoping the clouds would blow over. Before we hit the back roads, where we knew there would be no restrooms, we stopped at a Maverick services station. You guys!! Their slogan is “Adventure’s First Stop”! I know people in Texas love their Buck-ee’s but we were enthralled….by a service station! It was a hiker’s dream with murals on the walls. My niece is an artist so she seriously thought about trying to go in the men’s room to see the murals in there as well. So many adventurer details! Just in case we didn’t get to see the actual Milky Way we did buy a Milky Way to ease any disappointment that might crop up.

Maverick Women’s room

We probably would have checked out the men’s room if we weren’t itching to get to our destination and set up our tripods. Back in the car we went and made our way to the Pawnee Buttes Trailhead. On our drive out we saw a few cars but it was late enough that people were likely settled in for the night. The girls spent a lot of the drive talking in thick southern accents and wondering if we were going to be harmed in the wilderness. There may have been banjo sounds. Hopefully our giggling didn’t annoy anyone too much.

Blurry Windmill

We set up camp next to an old windmill and cow pond. Unfortunately for us the cloud cover did not go away so we tried to get as many fun shots as we could. Those included very dark shots of the windmill, attempts with a flashlight and remote to get shots of the four of us together, and some attempts at making us look ghostly..the last may have turned out the best.

Ghostly girls on the prairie
Ghostly sisters

It was really pitch black at the trailhead. We managed to walk through many cow patties without realizing it until we shone our flashlights around. I don’t get to spend much time with my sisters so this was a really fun trip to take with this one. Let me tell you, this sister of mine is as stubborn as all get out and when she gets an idea on her head she grabs on and doesn’t let go. I really admire her for that! She and my brother in law just sold their house and bought an RV to live in full time. Make sure you go check out her blog as well: The Adventures of Milling About.

Milky Way!

While we were a tiny bit disappointed to not see the actual Milky Way, we did see the Milky Way we brought, along with a raccoon, about 7 rabbits, a porcupine, a pronghorn, and an owl. This just gives us the chance to try again the next time we are out there for a visit!

Calypso Cafe

This one is for the locals or for those looking for a local place. The Calypso Cafe has 3 locations in Nashville. When we moved to Nashville 18 years ago this restaurant was based in Rivergate. That was the area where the mall was and quite a few restaurants. Eventually it closed and opened in other locations.

My daughter came to work with me today so she could earn some volunteer hours for National Honor Society. She helped out on an admin day for the non profit and she rocked it! Everything she worked makes life easier on the rest of us!

Jamaican Curry with St. Lucian Rice and Black Beans

We got done about one and decided to grab something to eat. I had never been in to this location but my colleagues and I had ordered in so I knew it would be amazing! I had BBQ chicken with spiced sweet potatoes and Boija biscuits. My daughter had Jamaican curry with black beans and St. Lucian rice. She was given the option to include sour cream and onions on her black beans to which she said yes. After the first bite she made the observation that sour cream and onion chips actually taste like sour cream and onion. I guess it is not too often one actually eats sour cream with onions. Everything we had was fresh and delicious! So, if you are in town to visit and want to go to a place the locals go check out the Calypso Cafe!

BBQ Chicken with spiced sweet potatoes and Boija Muffins

Davy Crockett Days

Davy, oh Davy Crockett. King of the Wild Fronte-er! You hear that line in your head don’t you?

My son is reading the Narrative of the Life of David Crockett for his English lessons right now. He is annotating and making sure he understands the words and themes. He enjoys the fact that Davy Crockett lived in Tennessee and that there is history here to see. A couple of weeks ago we went to the Tennessee State Museum and saw the tiny section on Davy Crockett but we were not satisfied. I did a little research and found out you can visit the Davy Crockett Cabin in Rutherford Tennessee. I also found out that last week was Davy Crockett Days! The only day we could go was Saturday, but that was a good day to go as the town was finishing up the celebration with booths and a parade!

Davy Crockett Cabin

Rutherford is about two and half hours away from Nashville and over an hour of that time is spent on tiny back roads passing things like the cows, stray dogs, fields, the army munitions plant, and not many other cars. It was the first real fall day after the last month of roasting so the drive was lovely. We even all wore sweatshirts or jackets! Hallelujah!

Davy Crockett Last Home

When we got to Rutherford the party was in full gear. The booths were all set up and we drove in straight down main street. There was one blinking light and one turn to get to the Davy Crockett Cabin. I saw on the website that it cost $3 for adults and $1 for kids but the gentleman at the door said that there wasn’t really a charge this week because of Davy Crockett Days. There was a jar on the counter though were you could leave a donation. The guide welcomed us and told us the history of the cabin…which turns out not to be the original cabin or location of the last place Davy Crockett lived. However, there is a photo on the wall of his original cabin and all of the boards that were used to build the current cabin are marked. In the 1930’s (it is very weird to me that in 10 years we will have to actually use 1930’s to describe the ’30’s!) when the Crockett cabin was being demolished the Mayor encouraged salvaging what they could to build a replica cabin with the original materials. Local families donated period pieces to furnish the cabin. While not completely original to Davy Crockett it was still interesting to see and to think about Davy Crockett living in that type of cabin.

Amazing house with so many inflatables

We checked out all of the nooks and crannies of the cabin which left us with about two hours to kill until time for the parade. That means we checked out the entire town and still had an hour and forty minutes until the parade. Rutherford is quite tiny but has a lot of charm and the people are incredibly friendly. We decided to check out all of the booths and discovered that they were almost all church booths selling food. There were also several booths in front of the shops selling all kinds of things. The drugstore had a table out front and I realized I had not planned very well as each booth only took cash. My husband and I pooled our resources and discovered we had $21 between the two of us. Even though the drugstore only took cash outside we were able to go in an make a purchase of a model cabin and drinks! Think Lincoln Logs only much smaller. Yay for one more literature related project! We made our way back to the booths to see what we could get for lunch on our extremely limited budget. Now, when you are in Nashville and eat at a food truck you can expect to pay quite a bit. For the grand sum of $18 we got a loaded baked potato with pulled pork, cheese, butter, chives, and bacon bits. A burger with fries and a drink, and deep fried Philly cheesesteak burrito fries and a drink. There were a few tables scattered around so I sat with two ladies who looked friendly while the boys were still in line for their food. The one lady had grown up in Rutherford and told me all about the car dealership her daddy had owned that burned down. She pointed out where some of the other businesses had been and regaled us with tales of climbing the coal elevator that was in the field where we were sitting. She also pointed out a couple of people she had gone to school with. There was even talk of donkey basketball in the school gym.

A pony, a child, and coonskin caps!

We still had time before the parade so we walked up the street again and found a place to sit on the steps of the Baptist church. (est. 1903) When the parade started I think we thought it would be super tiny but it was longer than we thought it would be. The police and firefighters came through. There were both middle and high school marching bands, ladies in coonskin caps, a dragster, and the Masters of Ceremony “Lila and Nancy”. Both sides of the street were lined with people who were excited to see their community in action. It was really fun to be part of the festivities of Davy Crockett Days! Once the parade was over that was it. The festivities were at an end and people started to disperse. One year after we were first married we went to the Hollywood Bowl for the 4th of July. Traffic was a nightmare and I envisioned a situation like that but it seems that we were the only out of towners actually leaving so traffic was not a problem.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, TN

We decided to head a different direction on our way home so that we could see the Eiffel Tower! Now, my hubs and I have seen the real thing but my kiddos have not. I’ll have to take my daughter back on a day she isn’t working so she can experience the magnificence of the tower in Tennessee’s own Paris! Paris, is lovely in the fall. The town square was very Gilmore Girlsesque with scarecrows all around. Think the episode where Rory and Lorelai build Bjork and Jesse destroys the chainsaw carved snowman. My son wanted a little treat so we were headed for A La Mode but alas it was closed. However, Stella Nera was open so we popped in to see what they had. We didn’t stick around to eat at the restaurant but did pick up a cannoli that was to die for! The town square and the Eiffel Tower are only a couple of miles apart so while my son was consuming the most delicious cannoli in Paris we drove over to the park. As expected there were several other tourists there taking photos and enjoying the romantic city of lights…oh wait that is French Paris. This Eiffel Tower is much, much smaller than the original but it was fun to see anyway. The town is called Paris, you must see the Eiffel Tower there.

Sweet Jordan’s

Our very last stop on our Day Crockett Days extravaganza was at Sweet Jordan’s bakery and ice cream shop in Paris. We were greeted by two sweet employees that told us about all of the different items. You could see someone making ice cream in the back and you could see the entire kitchen. There was also a play area for kids called Jordan’s Play park. We were there in the late afternoon so it wasn’t very busy but I could see it being very busy in the morning. Jordan has his story posted on the website and it is an incredible one. The company hires special friends and they are making an impact on their community. If you get to Paris check out Sweet Jordan’s and their mission.

By the time we got home we were exhausted but we had a really great day. History, community, treats, people and places with a mission. What more could you ask for? Have you been to any of these places? I’d love to hear your experiences as well!

My First Blog Post

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— Oscar Wilde.

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