Thursday, January 29, 2009

HFCS & Mercury


Please click on the link above to read more about HFCS.

It is in just about everything. Soft Drinks, ketchup, steak sauces, cookies, bread, buns, rolls, frozen foods, bottled teas, juice "drinks", yogurt, ice cream, popsicles, etc. Unless you put forth a huge, label reading effort every day, you can't avoid it and now they are saying it contains mercury.

Ma Ingalls did not have to worry about this junk. She had more important stuff to worry about...could they afford flour and sugar, tea and coffee, etc. to last the winter? Would hail or a tornado wipe out their harvest? How would they stay warm during the long winter?

Now, I am not saying that I want to have no electricity, gas heat, or my swimming pool. But I do think that so called modern foods are bad for us and our health and the health of our children will suffer.

I think if everyone started reading labels, they would be very surprised at the frequency HFCS. The higher on the ingredient label HFCS is, the more that product contains. I would definately urge you to start reading labels if your child has any behavior or school issues, sleep issues, etc. What they eat affects their entire body...just wish I knew how much this mattered when James was little. We might have been able to avoid medication. (We did know that caffeine affected him, so he got one happy meal coke a week.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WARNING Stay Alert in Mexican Restaurants

It was a scary birthday dinner! After a full fun time of eating fajitas, chips and dip, and refried beans, my so called amigos at the restaurant snuck up behind me and stuck a big red hat on my head. They started singing, then offered me a bite of a sopapia. As I started to eat it, they gave me a PIE in the face!

What a mess!

But it was tasty!

Andy knew it was going to happen, he had the camera ready. I am going to find an embarrassing picture of him and put it on here soon so you can all laugh at him too!

Why Homeschooling?

I began my homeschooling journey 12 1/2 years ago with a 6th grader, a 2nd grader and a 5 month old baby. My 6th grader was in public school for 6 years and was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. These were both pretty evident, but still hard for this Mom accept. I love to read and struggled and cried with this child who found it so challenging. His last 2 years in school were in a small, private Christian school. The smaller classroom size and less distractions were great for him. We were able to discontinue the medication for hyperactivity and he became much more confident. After Amy was born, I wanted to stay home from work and be a mommy. So, losing my income meant that we couldn't afford the private school tuition anymore. Putting him back in public school was not really an option for us. We had been told that he would be put in a "self-contained" classroom with other special ed kids and not mainstreamed into a regular classroom. That made up my mind quickly...homeschooling it was. Both boys quickly adapted to being at home and doing school at the kitchen table. We joined a support group and got to participate in lots of activities with other families.

Both boys played tennis and bowled on homeschool teams/leagues. We participated in Christmas craft fairs, field days, and they both went all the way through Boy Scouts (tiger cub to Eagle Scout). We went to homeschool day at 6 Flags in GA, made numerous trips to Disney World, and went to Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. James was able to "catch up" his learning and graduate a year earlier than if he had been in a public school classroom.

Homeschooling is a 24 hour a day, way of life, not just an educational choice. This is something I didn't fully understand when we started this journey. You learn to get along with your family through thick and thin, good and bad, richer or poorer, etc. (kinda sounds like marriage vows). We have had the thin, bad (horrible) and poor times and sometimes they happened simultaneously. But we have also had many joyous, happy, fun, encouraging and family strengthening times. Praise the Lord, the good times are much more plentiful than the bad times. This togetherness is what Greg saw with me and my 3 when we made the move to Miss. He didn't understand homeschooling or what it involved but he watched and kept an open mind.
I would continue to homeschool and his would continue in public school.

Our first full summer, the younger 3 kids (Katie, Will and Amy) and I did a unit study on the 4th of July. It was very interesting and we found lots of resources on the internet to use. Do you know when or for what reason the Liberty Bell was rung at 2AM? (Hint: it has nothing to do with the beginning of the war.)

By the 2nd summer, Will had also joined our homeschool classroom. and by the end of the 2nd summer, Katie joined us too. We have had a great time learning and growing together. The 3 of them have formed a close bond and are friends as well as brother and sisters. Now, life is not all rosy and full of laughter...they still bicker and argue, complain about lessons or chores, etc. But on the plus side, they are learning accountability, staying on task, and loads and loads of history. Katie brought up her ACT score by 6 points the last time she took it and she will get to graduate a full year early. We can go at our own pace and her pace is faster than most. She is in her 2nd year at home and has completed 3 math books.

In our travels we have visited George Washington's Mount Vernon, John Adams home in Quincy, Mass, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, James Polk's home and Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, MO. We have walked the battlegrounds of Antietem, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Brices Crossroads, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, and many others whose names have escaped me right now. We have seen coins being minted in Philadelphia and paper money printed in Washington DC. We have spent hours doing the Junior Ranger programs at the above mentioned places and many more. We spent 3 hours in FordsTheatre and honestly, just walking into that place can give you the chills. When we see anything about Lincolns assination on tv, we remember walking all over that theatre. We loved the Smithsonian Museums in Washington. The National Archives was very exciting....seeing one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence. The National Art Gallery was unforgetable! I had a class in high school about different artists and one of them was Degas. Now I didn't remember the details of his paintings before hand, but they quickly flooded back to my mind, lets just put it this way, he doesn't paint clothes on people. We didn't linger long there. We toured the capital and the Library of Congress. And really cool, was our visit to the Supreme Court. Court was in session and we got to sit in on about 5 minutes of it. We have seen Niagara Falls, toured Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. We have seen Plymouth Rock, Lexington and Concord. We have toured the Gateway to the West Museum in St. Louis, eaten fresh cheese curds and cherries in Wisconsin (yummy to both) and enjoyed almost every minute of our journeys. I say almost because we did do way too much on our first Wash. DC trip and ended up exhausted and with bad leg cramps. You can and cram too much into a trip.

The kids are now trying to convince Greg that when we study WWII that we should go to the Pearl Harbour Memorial. Hummmmmmmm, sounds good to me, but we can't float the RV across the Pacific Ocean. We would like to do Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

This year, the 5 of us are going to an Indian Reservation in Oklahoma on a Mission Trip and we are going to Disney in the fall. Most of our other trips are bonuses with traveling for Gregs work and I don't know what is in the plans for this year with that.

The biggest compliment I could get came 2 weeks ago when Katie and Amy both told me, they wanted to homeschool their own children. That made it all worth while!

I love being with my children, I love experiencing new things with them, I love working with them through problems and finding solutions, I love playing games with them, I love to hear what they learn and research (just because they wondered about something), I love their help on projects. We are a family designed and brought together by God.

I am very thankful for the freedom to homeschool my children!

Happy Birthday


You are the best husband, father to our 7 blessings, leader of our family and provider.

You plan and take us to wonderful places (Niagara Falls in picture on the left, Williamsburg, VA, many national parks, the beach, and this year Disney World), you are great at doctoring broken toes, you take time to play paint ball with the boys, you can remodel a kitchen and back porch in spite of our help, you are making great grades in your Masters classes, you are my back up teacher in times of need, you encourage us and cheer us on, you are generous with me and the children, and you brighten our days! Oh yeah, and you taught me how to put pictures on our blog!

I Love You!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

I was going to type about hfcs but Stoneyfield Farms sent me an email with all the info, so I just copied and pasted it to my blog. I am not endorsing the company, but I do agree with the findings. You can find all kinds of information about this and other food additives, if you just search on the google sites. Any website associated with the Corn Growers would not give you accurate information. The Corn Refiners Assoc. commercials on tv currently, are full of untruths. HFCS is not the same as sugar and it is not natural in any way. They are trying to sell you a product and are not going to tell you its unhealthy or unnatural for you. What they will try to do is tell you how bad everything else is, in hopes that you will switch to them. A good book to read is "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. She rips the food industry apart and tells the truth about the "food" that you are eating. I put food in parentheses because the packaged and boxed stuff we are eating is so lacking in nutrients that it has to be enriched and its not really food anymore. the more processing a food has, the less it is like the original product. It would be much better for all of us if we ate food the way the Lord created it and not so much of the mess that people have turned it into. This is what the whole foods movement is about. There is lots of information out there, if you just look for it. Then you can decide what is right and best for your family. I won't try to convince anyone that this is the best for everyone. But also, don't try to convince me or the kids that hfcs is fine, this is what we have chosen for our familyand my kids have become avid label readers.

Now after saying all of that, we are not there yet. We have switched to lots of organic food. At least it doesn't have the additives. We love to go to Chick Fil A and get lunch, or drive through Wendy's and get a burger. And the kids still get the occasional soft drink, but these are not everyday happenings, just a special treat. But we have made some major changes in our lives and our diets.


High Fructose Corn Syrup - natural or not?
Vicki Koenig, MS, RD, CDN

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Hi Fructose Corn SyrupWhile health professionals and researchers debate whether High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is or isn’t unhealthy, many are also debating whether HFCS is natural or not. Is it healthy? Is it natural? Let me shed some light on this.

HFCS is not found in Nature
HFCS, widely used as an inexpensive sweetener, is made from genetically-modified corn. It’s processed by 3 different enzymes to take it from cornstarch to a liquid sweetener. One or two of the enzymes are produced by a bacterium which is also genetically engineered. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that HFCS that’s processed with synthetic fixing agents is not natural. Some HFCS may not have contact with these agents and can be called natural. Still, it’s hard to think of HFCS as natural after its complex processing using enzymes and acids. There is also no organic form of HFCS available because organic standards prohibit the use of GMOs in agricultural practices.

Since Stonyfield Farm uses only natural and organic ingredients in its products, they’ve selected naturally milled organic sugar, also known as evaporated cane juice, as its natural sweetener. Naturally milled organic sugar is a much less processed form of cane sugar. The processing uses less energy and produces less waste than refined white sugar or HFCS, so it has some additional environmental benefits too.

Less sugar in Stonyfield yogurt than you might think
One of the most common questions I get asked as Stonyfield’s Nutritionist is “how can you put so much sugar in your yogurt?” It’s important to note that the amount of sugar listed on the nutrition label is not all added sugar. The amount listed also includes the milk sugar lactose (a natural part of milk), natural sugar present in any fruit used, and added sugar. That’s why 6 oz of plain yogurt has 12 grams of sugar, yet no added sugar. It's the lactose!

HFCS - similar to Sugar?
Previous research suggested HFCS was possibly responsible for the U.S. obesity epidemic. However, new 2008 research indicates this is not true. HFCS and sugar are similar in chemical composition. They both contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose in similar amounts. They can both be found in nutritionally-deplete products like soda, candy, juice drinks, jams, ketchup and packaged baked goods. Is it inherently the sweetener, the foods themselves or the overall amount of sweetener in the diet? The source of sugar does not seem to be the issue. The truth is we eat too much. The increase in HFCS in the U.S. diet mirrors the rise in obesity but likely did not cause it. Even IF HFCS is metabolized similarly to sugar, it doesn't mean I recommend it.

Sugar isn’t all bad
Sugar can be used to make healthy foods more appealing. For many, added sugar in healthy food like yogurt makes the taste enjoyable. Otherwise, they might not eat it and get the benefits of calcium, protein and probiotics. If you’re going have a sweetened food, it’s best to choose a naturally-sweetened, healthy one. That’s why I recommend that you avoid foods that contain HFCS.


Friday, January 23, 2009

My Kitchen is the Heart of my Home

My kitchen is really the heart of my home. We bake almost all of our cookies, bread and muffins from scratch (after we grind the wheat for the flour). We cook at least 6 meals a night from scratch at home. We homeschool at the kitchen table. And the kitchen counter is the perfect height for me to cut out fabric. When the school stuff is cleared off the table, it is used for crafts or games. So, we are in the kitchen almost all day.

This week, my kitchen has gotten a major overhall. Greg blogged about my small oven yesterday. The thermostat in the oven is quickly fading into oblivion. It has a mind of its own and you can't change it. You could only cook on 1 rack and only if its in the middle of the oven. If you were brave enough to put anything on the bottom rack, you quickly learned your burned everything it came in contact with. Last week, it even burned some hot dog buns and they were on the top rack. Go figure! I guess it figured out its time was running out. Of course, it must have gotten all my hints "this is your last bread loaves and then you are being replaced".

Enter my new is beautiful. It is white, with a flat top cooking surface (5 burners) and a much larger oven. It is even convection!!!!!!!!!! It has 3 cooking racks and so far it doesn't have a "do things my own way" attitude. We have cooked cornbread and garlic bread in the oven. And we boiled water for spaghetti noodles for dinner. It is nice to have my kitchen relatively back in my possession...I have been cooking dinners in my crockpot on top of my washer in my laundry room this week. Next week, we will really get to break the oven in. It will be time to fill the cookie jar and bake more bread.

I know that most people are not that excited about their kitchen appliances, but I am thrilled with my new oven. Part of the renovation was also new countertops, which got completed today, and I am getting 2 pull out drawers for one of my cabinets, for all my pots and pans.

Many thanks to Greg and his parents, Bob and Dot for all their work in my kitchen. The kids and I continued with our lessons and schedules. I was apprehensive about the distractions but the kiddos got everything done and got to help some on the renovation project.

Someday, I will blog about our wheat grinding for fresh flour, our quest to eliminate high fructose corn syrup and msg from our diets, and all of our other strivings for healthier living.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kitchen Project - Momma's New Stove - Day 1

Isn't that a sad sad oven? And it's small too. The bad part is that it doesn't keep the same temperature all the time. It decides what it wants to do when it wants to do it. SO TIME TO GO!

Momma got a new stove for Christmas!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

The problem now is that her old cooktop was 36 inches wide and her new one is 30 inches wide. So she gets new counter tops too.

On day one we took out the old cooktop and the cabinets. We had to rebuild the 36 inch cabinet and make a new 30 inch opening and build up the counter tops. We also had to put in a new electric outlet for the stove and get the wiring set.

At the end of the day, Mom was able to cook her first batch of cornbread in her new spacious oven.

And it was good Too!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Morning

This morning was a very special day at church for the Jackson Family. Katie and Will were both baptized this morning. They had an early meeting with our Pastor. Katie told him about her salvation experience and that she had never been baptized and wanted to take that step today. Will confirmed his salvation experience and prayed with the Pastor to make sure and remove all doubt. We are all very proud of both of them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hot Sauce

From reading lots of different blogs, I know that many families have their special entrees and side dishes that they like. But my family is very different and most meals are accompanied by a vast selection of hot sauces. Our cabinet currently contains 26 different varieties of hot sauce - in my mind this is extreme! We also have duplicates of some of these 26.

In our travels, we look for new hot sauces. 2 "different" places we have found sauces are Cozumel, Mexico and El Progresso, Honduras. The least expensive sauces definately came from Honduras. At .50 to .75 per bottle, we can afford bunches of different sauces. (At a grocery store in Honduras, they had all the sauces shelved any hot sauce, chili sauce, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce was on the shelf beside Cranberry Sauce...they probably don't know what cranberry sauce is. I got a chuckle out of this)

We usually put bottles of hot sauce in the boys stockings for Christmas. Allen started the "Christmas morning taste test". It involves vigoously shaking the bottle, uncapping it, putting some on the end of your finger and tasting. Then the girls and I watch and see how long it takes for smoke to start coming out of their ears. So far, Will and James have not jumped on board with this tradition but Rob, Andy and Allen all participated this year.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Today the kids and I went bargain hunting. We started at Target and hit the clearance racks. We got 5 shirts for the girls and 2 things for Will and a pair of winter gloves for Greg for $20 total. Then we went to Kohls about bought the 2 pairs of long shorts and 3 skirts for $22. These things were all 90% off the original prices and since they are both wearing ladies sizes, this was a phenomenal deal. Of course, it was kind of funny to buy this stuff for this summer when currently the temperature here is 35 degrees. But, it will get hot again.

Then off to Chick Fil A for lunch...where we used lots of our calendar coupons. They are very gracious to let us use as many coupons as we want to and they take expired coupons!

But here comes the biggest bargain of the day......drumroll please.......the kids love the Wilton Gingerbread House kits that are $10 or $12 dollars before Christmas. Today at Walmart we bought these kits for .25. Yes, you read that right one quarter for each kit! We never eat the houses, just use them for decorations. We are going to store them in a Rubbermaid container (to keep out bugs) till next Christmas. We were thrilled with this find.

We have come up with lots of stuff to share so over the next couple of days...the computer may be putting in some overtime.

Friday, January 9, 2009

We made it to Friday!

Well, its finally Friday. This has been a long week. Its been difficult to get back into the "school" routine after taking the month of December off. But we did it!

Its Friday night...the bathrooms are clean, the beds are changed, the floors are vacuumed, the freezer and fridge are full of food (shopping today at Kroger and Walmart), and we had yummy homemade pizza for dinner. And all the school lessons were completed for the week. The best part is.....tomorrow is Sat. and we can sleep a little later and just do stuff we want to do.

Yesterday and today were gorgeous here in Tiki Town. We even hung our clothes out on the clothes line to dry yesterday. It did take all day for them to dry but they dried. This weekend it is supposed to rain again. It would be nice if every week or so in the summer, we would get these torrential downpours to refill the pool. But if this happened in the summer it would probably be accompanied by a tornado. And I really don't like to hear the tornado sirens.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

ITS A JOB! Our Son got a JOB!

I remember how happy I was when Andy finally quit needing diapers. It was just like getting a raise at work. We were so proud. More money in the budget for hamburger helper back then.

But today, he got his first "REAL" job! HIP HIP HORRAH! (3 times really loud) He is going from spending our money to making his own and paying his own bills. This is really like getting a raise.

Andy will be working with a major beverage company providing transportation between the warehouse and the retail establishment. It's not the number one beverage company. But they do try harder.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Made $200 Today and Lost Weight Too

Andy and I made $200 today. OK, we didn't really make it, we worked on his truck and didn't have to pay our mechanic. His battery died. We replaced the battery last night. Today, the truck still didn't work like it was suppose to. So we tested the alternator, and sure enough, it was bad. Autozone sells a new one for $100. Our mechanic (who is on a first name basis with us) wanted $323. With 4 older sons, we have a fleet of experienced previously titled vehicles and visit our mechanic at least once a week. We got our picture on the wall as customer of the month last December.

We decided that we could replace the alternator for the difference $223. And we were right. One trick with the pulley on the belt, and two bolts later, we had the part out and replaced. Fortunately on that big F-150 truck, there is plenty of room to work on the engine.

I have a new weight loss plan. I went to the dermatologist today for my annual checkup. He took off one mole for a biopsy. Just watching the pounds melt away! We are going to trim our nails and get a hair cut before the next weigh in. How much does an appendix weight?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to Real Life On Tuesday

Tomorrow is our back to real life day. The routines start in the morning at 7:30 am. The kids have to get up shower, dress, make beds/straighten rooms, and eat breakfast. Amy and Katie clean out the dishwasher and put everything away and reload the breakfast dishes. Will feeds and waters the dogs. All this will be done before 9. Oh yeah, I forgot about brushing the teeth.

Then we will meet in the living room and read our bible verses for the day, read about our State of the day (we are working through the 50 States in the order they were admitted to the Union), and reading over our new History book (Civil War to current times).

Then its down to the real work...math, language, independent reading (either their individual book or their book of the Bible they are reading through), journaling, and working on their Science for their co-op class. Hopefully this will be done by noon. Noon-1 is our break for lunch. 3 days a week after lunch they will cycle through typing, Spanish, music theory, and instrument practice. Everything except instrument practice is on computers, yeah!

Every Friday is our "different" day. They will have Science co-op classes every other Friday. These are labs and the kids love the experiments. Then its home ec day...they wash their bedsheets and remake the beds. They also, clean the bathrooms and vacuum the upstairs. Those specific duties rotate every month. Then we play games or just relax. It did take Will and Amy several weeks to realize that playing Yahtzee (which they love) is actually math! Ya gotta be sneaky when you can. I did relent and let them add up their scores at the end of the game on the calculator.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

WOKs Up Doc?

Dad's making a huge mess in the kitchen again. We are getting a new stove for Christmas, and to get ready for that, we began cleaning out the cabinets. Look what we found, our old WOK!

It was hiding in the back of the cabinet behind the Tupperware, curly potato cutter, and our collection of thermoses.

Our creation for the evening was Stir Fry Steak. We grabbed a bag of mixed veggies and a bag of mixed peppers and onions. (Kroger has them on sale this week in their 10 for $10 sale). We put some coconut oil in the bottom along with some sesame seed oil, some soy sauce, and some garlic sauce. After heating up the oil, we threw in the veggies and got them hot stirring occasionally.

The steak was from left overs. (We only buy it when the Kroger butcher puts it in the quick sale section.) Donna cut them up into strips and we added the meat to the veggies. We added some salt, pepper, and yellow curry and let everything get hot. Donna fixed some rice (brown organic) and we spooned the stir fry on top. I added some red curry paste to my rice cause I like it hot and spicy!

It turned out pretty tasty. One thing I will do different next time is to thaw the veggies first. They were frozen when I put them in the wok, and it took much longer to cook than it should plus it added unwanted water in the wok. I think pretty much any bag of mixed veggies works. We used a bag of mixed peppers and onion and the Mexican mix with broccoli and corn.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kinex Roller Coaster

The kids built a kinex roller coaster. Will got this for Christmas, but couldn't open it till he got home. With some help from his sisters, they got it built in one day! And it works.

I believe they have a goal to open their own theme park for really small people!

Hershey the Vicious

This is our guard dog Hershey. She is protecting Donna and Amy from anyone. Anyone that doesn't have cherrios that is. Show up and you will get barked at until you offer some cherrios, then you are in.

We took this picture at the top of New Found Pass which is the border of North Carolina and Tennessee in the Smokey Mountains. After the long haul up the mountain, we decided to give Buddy a break so his brakes wouldn't break. Donna needed a breather too. The windy roads were fun to drive, but kind of scary to ride.

Donna wants you to know that many of the windy roads didn't have guard rails and they dropped strait down the side of a mountain. It didn't help that Bob Segar came on the radio which always makes me drive fast. (The next time you get pulled over and the cop asks why you were driving so fast, tell him it was Bob Segar's fault. You'll still get a ticket, but at least you have a better answer than, "everyone else was going that fast.")

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pardon Us, We're Merging onto the Internet Super Highway

Donna and Greg are traveling! We are going to share some of our adventures as we go thru 2009. OK, we are going to start with our Christmas Vacation. Not going to charge any extra though, so relax. Donna and Greg lead a traveling band of home school kids and dogs. Katie, Amy, and Will are the students in our academy. We call it JAGS (Jackson Academy for Gifted Students) We have a logo and matching jackets. (check our online store) Donna is the teacher. Greg is the principal. Granny is the administrator. Mack is the official mascot, and Hershey is in charge of security. We offer a complete course schedule to get children out of our house. Donna is on her 6th algebra adventure. One of these days, she is going to get it.

So they won't cry about being left out of the first blog, we have 4 older kids too. James and Allen are working. Rob is going to college, and Andy is somewhere inbetween. I know, "what are you doing with all those kids?" We have a blended family. Greg, Rob, Andy, Katie, and Will lured Donna, Amy, James, and Allen to Tiki Town, Mississippi 3 and 1/2 years ago.

Our Christmas Vacation was a trip thru the Great Smokey Mountains. We left Granny's house after Christmas and drove to Franklin, NC. We were going to go gem mining, but they wanted $30 each. Uh, NO. So we hit the highway and drove to Cherokee, (or Cherryokee, as Will likes to say). Then we hit paydirt! We went gem mining in Cherokee. We found several rubies and sapphires and lots of dirt. The assayer said it was a 15 to 20 karat ruby. We'll see. But what a blast, standing in the rain, getting cold, trying to find a hidden jewel in a bucket of dirt. I highly recommend it.

From there we went into the Great Smokey Mountain Park. This was our first attempt at mountain climbing in our new RV, Buddy. He did great. Donna was a bit white knuckeled as we went on the switchbacks. Fortunately we did not run into any snow our ice, so the travels were fine. We crawled thru Gatlinburg and wound up spending the night camping at Cade's Cove.

Cades Cove is AWESOME! My great great great grandmother is buried there along with many of her kin. I didn't know her. Duh, she died in the 1800s. We are deffinately going back and doing the geneology thing when it is warmer.

After Cades Cove we wound up in Pigeon Forge and did some shopping at The huge knife store and a coleman outlet center. Our next destination was Chattanooga. On the way, we saw a sign for the Mayfield Dairy tour. We love doing factory tours. (Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Miller, Bud) We thought it was time for a dairy tour. Maggie the cow is huge. We got lots of pictures. Plus some fine Moose tracks ice cream.

"A vacation is just not a vaction unless you have one full meal that is just ice cream" Donna J. Got to love a woman that will let you eat ice cream for lunch!

When we got to Chattanooga, we tried to go to Ruby Falls. They were too proud of their elevator. Just didn't see paying $150 for an elevator ride into a rock hole. OK, we are cheap too, but that is for another story another day. We spent the night and headed for Chickamauga Battlefield. We enjoy doing tours of battlefields and junior ranger programs, but that is another story for another day.

At that point, we decided we didn't want to do laundry, and we were out of clean clothes, so it was time to go home.