The Zarb Homestead

Living natural and healthy on a simple budget

Painting in Nashville November 7, 2011

Over the weekend we went to Nashville to visit with Phil’s mother, Linda. We haven’t been in awhile decided to pack up and leave on last Friday. We left the dogs at the house for the first time, we normally always just take them but my brother-in-law and his girlfriend were staying in town and didn’t care to watch them. I hope 🙂 Sometimes, it feels like we are parents of 5 children (3 dogs, 2 cats) and need to get away, alone, even for a few days away from the kids.

It was nice just spending time together even if it was just running errands and fixing things around the house. On Sunday, Phil left to meet up with his dad for half of the day which left me and my mother-in-law with nothing to do. She has taken painting classes before and I have always wanted to try one but never had the time. The class she normally goes to is called Sips and Strokes. You can bring your own wine and enjoy a painting class for $25. Sounds entertaining, but the painting they were doing that day was Christmas themed and I really didn’t want a Christmas tree hanging in my house all year long. Then, she remembered another place called Wine and Easel. It was pretty much the same idea but the painting they were doing was a coffee cup. Perfect, I could hang that in the kitchen. We signed up online and with a $5 coupon code it was only $20 + tax.

The class started at 2:00 and we arrived about 10 minutes early. There were about 20 people in the class and 2 art instructors. It was set up like a classroom with about 5 rows of tables on the right and left with 4 chairs per table. The canvas, apron, paints, and brushes were all ready set up for you. Once the class started, we were instructed to trace the cup and then you had free range of how you wanted to paint the rest of the picture. I was a little stocked. I thought we were going to be taught how to paint the painting but the teacher just kept saying “the painting should express who you are, everyone’s will be different.” I was thinking I hope this isn’t what I am; I bunch of colors smashed together and looking like a mess. My mother-in-law wasn’t enjoying her painting at all. She said she had never been to a class like that. Her instructors before would show you how to do each step and they took their time. Ours seemed like he was in a hurry and stood in front of the canvas so we couldn’t see a thing he was doing and his “assistant” never said one word to us. With all of that, I think our paintings turned out pretty good but we are going to try the other place next time.

My painting is on the right; Linda’s is on the left


“See Rock City”, We did! October 25, 2011

When you are driving down the interstate in east Tennessee you can’t go too long before you see a barn painted with “See Rock City”. I have seen this many times since I was a child and never knew what Rock City was. Over the weekend, Phil and I went to Atlanta, GA for a weekend trip and we ended up canceling our trip to the zoo since it was packed with hundreds of children dressed in Halloween Costumes, Boo at the Zoo, and went to see what Rock City was all about.

We took the exit off the interstate and took 1 mile trip up the mountain. Once we arrived I was surprised at the amount of people there. I thought it was going to be a little roadside attraction with maybe 30 visitors. There were about 100 people just walking around the entrance and the parking lot, I was surprised. We waited in line to get our ticket which were $16/person, not too bad, and made our way to the entrance of the Rock Gardens. There are 3 different paths you can take to Lover’s Leap, the main attraction, one was the green path, easy, second was the yellow, mild, and the red path, harder. Of course we take the red path; this path had more stairs and some very tight squeezes. The gardens contain hundreds of labeled local trees and plants. The trail also leads through a variety of bizarre rock formations, including the 1000-ton Balanced Rock and the Fat Man’s Squeeze.


After taking the garden path, you end at Lovers Leap. This is the place where you can see 7 states (TN, KY, GA, NC, AL, SC and VA) at once. Legend states that a Native American man who loved a woman from a rival tribe was thrown from the lookout when his love was discovered.  This is my try at a panarama view.

They have all 7 state flags displayed.

Since, it was October they were having Rocktober Fest. This = a very happy Phil.

Rock City also does bird shows at different times of the day. We just happen to catch the end of the 3:30 show. They feature different types of birds of prey and we got to see a baldheaded eagle, turkey vulture, and a screech owl.  I felt like a youngster again because I LOVE OWLS and the screech owl is my al time favorite. I waited in line with all the children to get my turn to pet the little owl. Oh, I loved it!

If you have children, you may want to check out Fairyland Cavern feature. This is a cave that features all the Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes.  I honestly found the place kind of creepy. They have all the different sets of fairy tales and the characters glow in a black light. They have nursery rhymes music in the background and it is  dark. Not my cup of tea. Would have made a great haunted house! 

We finally got to “See Rock City” and I got my little barn birdhouse!


Boarding the Titanic February 27, 2011

As a late Valentines day present Phil took me to the Titanic Museum in  Pigeon Forge, TN. This is a new attraction that just opened in 4/8/2010. It is a two-story museum shaped like the RMS Titanic and is built half-scale to the original ship. We have been wanting to go for sometime but never could justify the $25 dollar ticket per person, but it made a great Valentines day gift.

image When you enter, you receive a boarding pass with a name of a crew member or passenger and at the end of the tour, in the Titanic Memorial Room, you find out if you survived or perished.

imageThis who Phil was: Colonel Gracie (1 st class) on a trip without his wife and daughters. He had an interesting  survival story. He was in the water once the Titanic sank and got sucked in one of the smoke stacks that had fallen. However, once the whirlwind started in the ocean due to the suction of the boat, Colonel Gracie was shot out of the smoke stack and landed next to an over-turned life boat. He was the last person to be saved from the Titanic but due to his injuries  he received, he would die a week later.


I was  Augusta Goodwin: Mother of 6 and traveling 3rd class to America to find a new job for my husband who was an electrical engineer.  I thought it was ironic since Phil is also an EE. Mrs Augusta Goodwin, 43,boarded the Titanic with her husband, Frederick, 40 and six children, Lillian, 16; Charles, 14; William, 11; Jessie, 10; Harold, 9; and baby Sidney. The entire family was lost in the sinking. It was odd since most women and children survived and most men perished.

You are not allowed to take pictures inside due to copyright laws but I did find some online.


The grand staircase was designed to be used only by first-class passengers; if you were second or third class you were not allowed in this area. We were told a funny story about this grand staircase. The builder of the Titanic wanted the passengers in the first class to only have the best of the best and when they entered the Titanic he wanted them to be amazed. The grand staircase flooring was going to be marble however the builder sent it back because there was a new material that just came out and was more expensive than tile or marble. When passengers entered they would even bend down to touch it because they had never seen this great materiel before. The mystery flooring was linoleum. lol too funny 🙂 This room was built from the blueprints of  the one on the Titanic.

This was the first class smoking room. This was a male only room no women were allowed. If you notice, this is also the room that Leonardo Dicaprio did his famous  stretch of nude Rose. Also built to scale.

This is a picture of the Third class cabin. Beside this display was the story of me, The Goodwin family, They stated that this was our cabin and we fit 8 people in this small room. Also there was only 2 bath tubs for the third class passengers.

The picture with the girl climbing show the different slopes of the ship while it was sinking. Between the first and the second one is only 15 mins and just a few more mins between the second and the third, the third is a 45 degree angle. I tried to climb it a hold on, it wasn’t easy.

Als0, there was an Ice burg room; there you could touch an ice burg. This room was also were you could feel the temperature of the air and the water the night the ship sank. The air was 32 degree but the saltwater was a blistering 28 degrees. They told us to dip our hands into the water and move our figures around to get a real feel for it. I couldn’t honestly keep my hand in there longer than 20 seconds and once I removed them they hurt.  I couldn’t imagine having my whole body submerged. They said no one drown in the water they froze to death. You could only live in the water for 10 to 15 mins.