The Zarb Homestead

Living natural and healthy on a simple budget

World Record Holder – ME! August 28, 2013

Last year I was a part of a worldwide Secret Santa gift exchange via the website Reddit. For those who are not aware of event, it is where people from mostly the United States, but also many around the world, are secretly matched up with someone in order to buy them a Christmas present. The person can provide as much or as little information about themselves as they want. They do not know who their giftie is. They will be matched up with a different person to send a gift to, thus being totally anonymous.

The person I got randomly matched up only gave me this information; “I love anything that has to do with the American Flag and/or cats. I love unusual/unique t shirts (size medium). I also like anything reddit/meme/rage comic related.” This was going to be a hard one to buy for. I had to get creative, I got him a cat shirt, I wish I had a picture of it, some Reddit sticker and a cat toy. The goal is to spend a minimum of $20, but you may go as high as you please. I ended up spending around $30 plus the cost of shipping.

Once the person receives their item, they post pictures or write a little about what they received. My person unfortunately did not post any pictures but did write this little note; “The cat t shirt was great, in fact I’m wearing it right now. The reddit sticker is awesome and the little cat toy is great too. Couldn’t have asked for anything better from a secret santa.” It makes you feel good that they got and liked their gift.

Not everyone match is completed. Some people never receive their gift due to many reasons but the main one is their gifter did not send it. If you are feeling in the holiday spirit then you can sign up to be rematched with someone. You will not receive a gift but it makes you feel good about yourself to give to someone who sent their gift but never received one in return. I was one of those people but I was lucky enough to get rematched. My rematcher sent me this sweet note “Hello there. Don’t worry I got this” and he/she did.  A few days later a received my gift in the mail!



My giftie stood me up and someone was nice enough to rematch and send me an awesome gift so I signed up and did the same. This time my new match was just as hard as the other to buy for. The only information he gave was “Hi, my name is Gavin and I am a recent college graduate. I love technology and i am a little bit of an audiophile. I am a redditor, but I am a lurker because I feel like I do not have anything interesting to contribute.” What did I get this guy? Well, I sent him some Star Trek Slippers that made tribble sounds when you walked in them from 🙂 I thought it was a great idea but he never posted anything about them until about a month later I received this message “hey, shoulda sent this a while ago but thanks for the awesome gift! I was ACTUALLY thinking of buying some slippers because hardwood floor during the winter is.. ew. I come home after a day of work to find a package with slippers. =D Totally made my day. I hope your SS gave you something awesome. If not, at least you have made my Christmas pretty awesome.Take care!!”


Reddit was trying to beat to their own world record from last year and we did!  For secret santa 2012, we now hold a new Guinness World Record for 44,805 participants successfully completing the largest online secret santa game! Just think about that for a minute: 44,805 internet strangers from 130 countries put their faith in one another and exchanged gifts. It is a big deal and I was part of that. Below is a sample of the reward I can receive in the mail but unfortunately it is $25 plus another $13 to ship so I am going to pass on ordering it since we have the little one on the way and money is tight right now.

Here is my Guinness World Record Award for 2012!

World Record Holder


Circle G Ranch July 25, 2013

We took my parents to Circle G Ranch for the first time a few months ago and sadly I have been so busy I haven’t been able to blog about it yet. This place is starting to get pretty poplar to the locals and I think this is mainly due to it always being on Groupon for 50% off. We went on a pretty weekend day, and so did everyone else. There were a lot of people there thus meant all the animals were not that hungry and many didn’t even come up to your car. Some did near the middle and the end  of the drive and of course the stupid Emu that I can’t stand was hungry. It wasn’t good as it has been for me in the past but I’ll have to go again soon.

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Tennessee Aquarium Weekend Adventure July 21, 2013


As you can see from the pictures above, this weekend getaway was a present from a secret friend. I am part of a gift exchange program via Reddit and someone just happens to get my name and was also from TN. This was a extremely enjoyable gift and it gave us a much needed break from all the stress we are going though right now. So, we awoke on Saturday morning and jumped into the car and headed down to Chattanooga, TN for the day.

They have added on to the Aquarium since we last had been there 6 or so years ago. They now have another building full of saltwater fish and animals plus they still have the fresh water river building close by. It was a packed Saturday and there were several children running around like they had no sense about them but thankfully the children grow tired of the fish by the time we got to the second building and many were sleeping. It was loud, a bit smelly, and packed but it was to be expected on a scorching weekend day.

After the tour of the two building we grabbed a snack at Bluewater Grill and waited for our IMAX  3D movie to start at 7:00 pm. As my Reddit friend suggested, we choose to see Flight of the Butterflies. Wow, this is a must see film. We really enjoyed it and all the children in the theater were amazed by it and keep quiet the whole time, about an hour. We had a coupon for a free chips and cheese at Big River Brewery co. so we headed there for a great dinner. We didn’t arrive home until close to midnight but it was worth it. Felt good to get away.

If you are ever in the Chattanooga area I would check out the Tennessee Aquarium and for $6 more add on the IMAX. We had a great time and I think you will too.

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Grimm Testing New Waters July 3, 2013

Filed under: Postaday2013 — Sheena @ 10:15 pm
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We recently adopted a new member of the family, standard poodle puppy named Grimm. We mainly expanded the family due to our crazy  Husky, Maya, needed a better playmate because the Yorkie, Mr. Mal, is getting too old and grumpy to keep her entertained. Grimm, or as we like to call him Grimmers, fit right into our  little zoo pretty well. He does like to chase the cats around the house but we are working on that. Mr Z. decided to see if he would like the water since he is a a gun dog. Here he is at Ijams Nature Center showing off his skills.



Happy Campers: Indian Boundary May 22, 2013


My favorite place to camp is Indian Boundary in the Smoky Mountains. I have been camping here since I was 2 years old. Whatever you are looking for in camp site this place has it including fishing, volleyball, picnic area, beach, hiking, kayaking, biking, lake and over 85 campsites with electric hookup. It is the best place to be in nature with still modern comforts of restrooms with warm showers along with a country store that has everything you need if you forget something. There is no cellphone reception and of course no WiFi for the “yippee” campers. If you are looking for spectacular mountain views, glimpses of wildlife, and a peaceful setting then you need to visit Indian Boundary.

They are open from April 19th through November. Gate opens at 6 AM and closes at 10 PM. They will lock you out but if this does happen to you, like it did to us, then you can set up camp in overflow for the night. It is $20/day per camp site. With the maximum of 5 people per site and 2 vehicles. You can make reservations online at

We stayed Friday-Monday and since there is not any cellphone reception we had no clue a frost was working its way to us. It was in the 20’s one night but we stayed nice and toasty in the pop up with the small space heater running. Along with 2 inches of rainfall on Saturday and the cold on Sunday we still had a great time. Below are some pictures from our trip.

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Happy Campers: Defeated Creek Campground April 28, 2013

Last weekend, we took our new-to-us pop up camper to middle Tennessee to get away from it all. I reserved the campground on a few weeks prior hoping it would not rain us out again like it did a month earlier. Turned out to be a prefect weekend weather wise. The only downfall was the low at night got to be about 38 degrees. It was a bit chilly but we had a small space heater to help keep us warm and it did a great job plus we kept snuggled up near the  camp fire that was going all night. Once the sun came out and took the bitter chill off everything it turned into a bight warm day. We were able to go fishing on the lake and got to try out our blow up kayak for the first time. My mother-in-law got to join us one night and I think she enjoyed herself also. Hopefully this was just one of many camping trips to come this year.

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Fun at the Zoo Weekend April 11, 2013

Filed under: Postaday2013 — Sheena @ 10:48 am
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Over the weekend the husband and I enjoyed our day at the Knoxville Zoo. It is a prefect sunny 68 degree day, a great day to spend outdoors. Once the zoo closed, 6 pm, we were served a BBQ dinner under the white tent thanks to Elanco and Pettersons’ Vet Day at the zoo. This zoo is lacking in size in comparison to others, but it is decent and always improving. They are building on and will have some new attractions soon.  Here are a few photos I snapped along the way.

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