Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: Lake Winnie

Hello dear readers! Today’s destination is, I hope, a fun one. I went here many times as a child and always loved it. As a family, we went here instead of Six Flags. Shocking, yes I know. Today’s destination is Lake Winnepesaukah, or as it is more commonly know, Lake Winnie.

For those of you who don’t know, Lake Winnie is an amusement park in Rossville, GA, just south of Chattanooga, TN. It was opened by Carl and Minette Dixon in 1925 and was named after the Native American word Winnepesaukah, meaning bountiful waters. They purchased 100 acres surrounding a 9 acre lake. It was originally home to the largest swimming pool in the southeastern US (22,000 sq ft) but was later removed. The boat shoot ride, designed by Carl Dixon and opened in 1927, is the oldest mill chute water ride of it’s kind still open in the United States.


The original Boat Shoot, still in operation. 

Flat rides were added in the 40’s and 50’s, and the first roller coasters were added in the 1960’s. The most iconic of these, the Cannonball, is a wooden roller coaster added in 1967. This is one of the first “big kid” roller coasters that I ever road. One time, my brother and our cousins were riding it, and because there was no one else in line the operator didn’t make us get off. He actually sped it up and we jumped the tracks coming back into the station. It was fantastic and I still carry fond memories of this coaster everywhere I go. The coaster actually has a top speed of 50 mph, a 70 ft vertical drop, and 2,272 ft of track spanning three quarters of a mile. It’s only 90 seconds but oh so worth it. Other rides here include more modern coasters now, as well as many kiddie rides.

2013 saw the addition of the SoakYa water park, a 5 acre expansion for the park. The park is set up like a classic American Fair, with a midway featuring food, rides, and games. It also has an outdoor concert area called “Jukebox Junction”. A lot of people will tell you that the park is outdated. Personally I think that it’s classic. I enjoy the fact that it reminds me of a simpler time. It’s not as new fangled or complicated as Six Flags but I feel like that’s really just part of it’s charm.

If you’re ever in the area, do me a favor and give it a try. Reserve judgement for yourself. You can find all the info you need, such as hours, ticket prices, and more here. Do you have memories here? Share them with me!

“I’m looking at her. She’s sitting across the room on the couch, book in hand, arms pressing down the blanket that wraps her body. Lost in words, but sensing my gaze, she looks over the pages and smiles. Then her eyes and mind return to another world, while her heart stays here with me.” – Dean Jackson

“She understood that the hardest times in your life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another.” Sarah Addison Allen

“Do I have to spell it out for you, or scream it in your face? The chemistry between us could destroy this place.”

“Watch carefully, the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.” – Atticus

“Don’t let the heart that didn’t love you keep you from the one that will.”

“Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”

“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.” – Ernest Hemmingway

“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” – Oscar Wilde

“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis



Writing 101: Day 16 – Search Your Stats

I think I’m doing pretty good at posting what my readers like to see (if you think differently, please let me know), so I’m going to answer the questions at the bottom of that post.

If you were forced to make your blog private, would that affect your writing? No, not really. I started my blog like it was basically private anyways. I still write not expecting people to read it, so I don’t think anything would really change. I might post more detailed posts sometimes, but that’d be about it.

Overnight you discover you’ve gained 50,000 blog subscribers. What would you write for your next post? My post would certainly thank everyone and welcome my new friends and neighbors. Next, I would do my best (and use my stats) to figure out why I had suddenly went viral and gained so many new subscribers. I would add more of whatever it was to the new post. That’s about it, I think.

Over night you discover a strange stat. Write about what you see and what happens. I’m pretty sure the above covers that. lol

Writing 101: Day 13 – A series of Vignettes

I gotta admit, this one stumped me for a bit. I’m still not sure about it, but I’m going to do my best.

She lays in her bed, staring up at her ceiling. She stares up at the glow in the dark figures on her ceiling. Small stars, large stars, comets, and galaxies. She looks to the heavens and see light in the dark. She has stars in her eyes. They’re mesmerizing. She takes a deep breath, unable to sleep, and tears her eyes away from the stars.

She awakens in a flash of light. She has stars in her eyes. Groggy, it takes her a moment to realize where she is. She didn’t sleep well and her face shows signs of her constant worry. She resigns herself to her day and heaves herself out of bed with a sigh. As she heads out the door, she has a million things running through her head. She looks to the heavens and sees light in the dark.

People rush all around her. Things move in super speed while she feels like she’s stuck in molasses. She tries to speak to them, but they just brush her off as if she doesn’t exist. Suddenly, she hears a voice calling her name. She turns, smiling as she spots her friend. Suddenly, she has stars in her eyes. She looks to the heavens and sees light in the dark.

They lay in a field, the remains of their picnic scattered around them. Quiet words are whispered through the still night. No matter how much they talk, she always feels there is more that needs to be said. But she can’t bring herself to say it. The weight crushes her. She wonders how she will ever fix everything she has messed up. Silent tears slide from the corners of her eyes and work their way down her face to her ears. She looks to the heavens and sees light in the dark.

She lays in bed again, staring up at her glow in the dark universe. She thinks again, as usual, unable to stop. But her thoughts tonight are lighter. The night is beautiful and tomorrow is a new day. Anything can happen. She looks up to the heavens and sees light in the dark. She smiles slightly, sighs contentedly, rolls over, and falls quickly to sleep.

Writing 101: Day 12 – Word Counts and Chocolate Pies

Hmm. Today’s assignment is all about word count and changing it up. I know there’s a word counter at the bottom as I type, but I can’t say I’ve ever really paid attention to it. I had to go back and look through my old posts just to see what my average word count per post is. Does that make me a bad blogger? I’ve always just written until I had nothing else to say or until I felt like I had reached a good stopping point. Looks like that’s around the 500 mark for me.

So I guess that this post needs to be longer than that. So, I’m going to tell you a story.

When I was little, my parents worked all the time. My brother and I spent a lot of time with my Dad’s mom. We’ll call her A for short. She and my grandfather had been divorced since before I was born, so she lived alone. She was more than happy to keep us and we were more than happy to see her. She loved to cook with us.


One of my favorite things that she taught me to make was her family’s chocolate pie. It was a recipe she learned from her mom, who learned it from her mom, ect. It’s one of those go-to family recipes that every Southern family seems to have. It’s made for holidays, birthdays, and funerals.

She would start by tying one of her home made aprons around me and tying my hair back. Then she would tell me what ingredients to gather; sugar and flour in their respective bowls from under the island, cocoa and vanilla from the shelf, and milk, butter, and eggs from the fridge. They would all get put on the counter with a large mixing bowl and a sifter.

She would help me carefully measure the sugar, flour, and cocoa into an old sifter that she’d probably had since she was a young woman. It squeaked with every turn. We would sift them together three times to make sure everything was incorporated. Next, it was on to the stove. She would slide a kitchen chair up to the stove for me to stand in and then get the cast iron skillet that belonged to her mother. My parents still have it.

Before we started making the filling, we would take a fork and poke holes in frozen pie crusts. Then we put them in the oven to bake while we made the filling. The first step was to heat the skillet and melt the butter. Then, she would slowly add the dry ingredients while I stirred. It looks really grainy, like sand, but it will all come together.

The next step is to add the eggs and milk slowly and stir constantly. We would take turns stirring while she told me about her grandmother, mom, growing up in the Depression, and how special these pies were when she was a kid. Once the mixture is thickened, to about the consistency of chocolate pudding, you add vanilla and pour it into the cooked pie shells to let it set.

I couldn’t have been any older than 4 or 5 when I started learning to make these with my grandmother. She did it all by memory so it took me a while to remember the exact measurements. My grandmother passed away a few years ago after a terrible bout with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I miss her terribly, as she was when I was a child. Making these pies with her and seeing the light in her eyes is how I always choose to remember her.

I now make these pies for my dad and his brother, the rest of my family, and my boyfriend’s family. They are well loved by everyone. I smile whenever someone tells me how delicious they are because it makes me think of what my grandmother always told me about them: “Such a simple thing, but it always brings the family together and makes them happy, even if it’s just for a minute”

Making them is such a bittersweet thing for me. I love to bring joy to people just like my grandmother did, but thinking of her makes me miss her terribly. She was the kind of lady I aspire to be and she was always proud of me, no matter what. She was kind to everyone and did her best to take care of everyone. Was she always so perfect? No. I know she wasn’t. She got a little vengeful in her divorce from my grandfather, she was stubborn, and stuck in her ways. But she was my grandmother and I loved her.

If you’re younger, or even (and especially) if you aren’t, please take time to spend with your grandparents and parents. They will teach you more than just a chocolate pie recipe. If you listen, they will teach you about life.

What is your favorite memory of one of your family members? What is your family recipe/specialty?

P.S. From my family to yours, here is my Nana A’s Family Chocolate Pie:


  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 2 rounded Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 rounded Tablespoons Cocoa powder
  • 1 rounded Tablespoon butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon Vanilla extract.
  • pie shells
  1. Sift together flour, sugar, and cocoa powder in small container until well blended.
  2. Melt butter in cast iron skillet. Add dry ingredients and mix lightly.
  3. Beat the eggs and then add milk. Stir together and then slowly pour into skillet, stirring continuously.
  4. Stir until mixture begins to bubble and thicken.
  5. Remove from heat and add Vanilla extract.
  6. Pour into baked pie shells and allow to set before serving. (It’s just as good at room temp as it is cold the next day.)
  7. A meringue is optional, but we never did it because it isn’t a huge hit in our family. So if you want to add one, just google how to make it. 😉

Blogging 201: Day 6 – Dig Deep into Social Media.

I’ve mentioned before that it’s a little awkward for me to try and “build a brand” for this blog because I feel like a brand is for more focused blogs who write for a specific audience. But I’m trying. I took this course to learn things and I’m going to do my best to learn from it.

I’ve decided to use my Pinterest to dig into social media. I created a board specifically for this blog but you are free to browse any of my boards. I plan to use the blog for this board to link to any places I talk about, recipes, books, or shows I mention, and for any other general ideas that  I plan to blog about.

How are you digging into Social Media?

Writing 101: Day 11 – To Write or Not?

That’s a question I ask myself every day. The past couple days, that answe has obviously been a no. I’ve been avoiding burn out, but I’m actually burned out on a lot of things. Work, family drama, and just general day to day stuff. I feel like I’m super stressed and in a rut.

I’ve been working on trying to make a difference in that. Last night I just unplugged from my laptop and my phone and spent time with my boyfriend. We weren’t completely unplugged. We watched Silver Linings Playbook and caught up on the Jenna Marbles (our favorite YouTube personality) videos we’ve missed. It was good for a laugh.

Normally, to combat burn out, I’ll do some yoga (assuming I have the space), read a good book, listen to music, go for a drive, and bake. I like to do things that require my brain to refocus elsewhere and therefor keep me from thinking about all the things I’m burnt out on.

What do you do to combat that feeling of being stuck in a rut? What’s your tow truck?

Also, I have to figure out who to contact for the second part of this assignment :(. If anyone is just itching to help me out, I’d like to hear from you.

Writing 101: Day 9 – Reinvent the letter format


To the open road,

You and I have always had a love affair, as far as I know. We were introduced so long ago that I don’t even remember when we met. I was taught to love you by someone else, but that’s ok. It just means that I got to learn your secrets earlier than most. Even though I learned to love you through the eyes of another, the way I love you now is completely my own.

I may be a great homebody but I just can’t stay away from you. Your draw is more addictive than any drug and you tease me on my way to doing the mundane things I must do every day. I know all the great places you can take me to and all the beautiful sights you can show me and it makes it so difficult to leave you. There are more than miles to you.

 I will never understand those who take you for granted. Those who are always in such a hurry to use you and leave you. Those who constantly complain about your imperfections and blemishes. I’m sorry. People can be terrible like that. They just get in such a hurry that they forget about the small things in life.

Not that you’re a small thing. Two wheels or four, you’re one of the best stress relievers on the planet for me. Who else can show me the things you can for free (gas not included, because that’s not your fault)? Thank you for taking me to new places and showing me things from a different perspective. Thank you for making me feel at home, no matter how many miles away you carry me.

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We’ve done a lot these past 24 years. We’ve seen a lot of places we may never get to go back to, and that makes me a little sad. We’ve seen a lot of places we gladly go back to. And you’re just as awesome every time we go. Sometimes we go just for you.

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Some parts of you are famous all over the world. And we meet people from all over the world while we’re there. Like the memories above. Those last ones? Anyone who’s ever been there or read about it knows where they are. I’m sorry for sharing so many pictures. But I hold our times together close to my heart.

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Thank you for being the one thing that I can always count on. Whenever I need to just get away, you’re there for me. You never ask questions and you’re always happy to have me. Close to home or far away, thanks for being there.

P.S. Sorry (not sorry) for all the pictures.

Writing 101: Day 8 – Expand a comment.

This is a little difficult for me. If you’ve stopped by my blog before, especially in my Blogging 101 posts, I tell you a little about why I am a bit…reserved… in my comments. And I don’t really know how to expand on the beautiful comments that I’ve been left, but I do remember posting about my 5 month long bathroom re-do on our (first) “move in ready” house. So, I’ve decided to update you on that!

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This was what our bathroom looked like when we purchased our house. What you can’t see here is the shower, that is directly to the left of the person taking the picture. The door into the bathroom is to their right. That large “box” is hiding the hot water heater. The main reason we wanted to change our bathroom is the fact that the washer and dryer would have to set on opposite walls, and we were purchasing front loads that we really wanted to stack. This was to free up some floor space in our bathroom.

WP_20150430_19_10_23_ProWP_20150609_18_55_27_ProWe took down all the paneling and started taking down all the plywood so that we could put the plumbing in the wall, instead of in front of it. We also removed the water heater. We had hoped to use it for a bit longer but it was from 1999, so calcified that it wouldn’t drain, and nearly completely rusted through on the bottom.


Here we’ve completely replaced all the plumbing with pex (sharkbite), we’ve moved the washer hookup so we can stack it with the dryer, and made the vent go up as close to the roof as possible instead of out at the floor. Those large black wires you see? Those are from the new sub-panel that will control the new tankless hot water heater. There is so little crawl space above the ceiling that those wires are now hidden behind the crown molding. You gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

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On this journey, we couldn’t reuse the old paneling because we had moved things. The big orange box store discontinued our paneling 3 weeks before we went to buy more. So we had to buy it unfinished. You can see the difference in the top picture, but we put some semi-gloss polyurethane on it and it’s much better. The second picture is our lovely (and expensive) 5.2 gallon per minute tankless water heater.

The third is our new floor. Well, kind of. There was a fake half wall behind the toilet that hid all the plumbing. Once we got the plumbing in the wall, we had to put flooring down because there wasn’t any under where the half wall was.

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Here you can see how close our washer and dryer are to our sink. Please ignore that the delivery team plugged them into what is obviously the wrong outlet. In the second picture, you can see what an incorrect install ( missing half the stacking kit) looks like. I’m glad to say it has been fixed and I’ll post the after pictures later. 🙂

Not exactly the assignment, but oh well.

Writing 101: Day 7 – Hook ’em with a quote

“Don’t ever think you’re alone here, We’ve just been trapped in different hells, and people aren’t against you dear, they’re just all for themselves.” -e.h.

Writing 101 has asked us to use a quote to introduce our blog post and to take inspiration from. This quote is from e.h., one of my favorite people on the internet. You will see me post many, many things from her. You can see all her talented work here.

This quote stuck with me the instant I read it. We all go through things in our lives, and sometimes they just start to wear us down and make us feel alone. It’s easy for us (or me, anyways) to slip into a depression thinking that I’m the only one who is going through tough times. What is important to remember is that this is a nasty little trick our brain plays on us. It’s simply not true.

We are all going through our own hells and challenges and we also tend to think that everyone around us is just out to get us or to prove how badly we are doing in our lives. This is also false. They aren’t out to get you, but they feel the same and think you’re out to get them. So they aren’t trying to hurt you or anything, they are only trying to protect themselves.

So, the next time you’re going through something and you think no one is on your side, just stop. Take a breath. Relax.  And remember that everyone is only looking out for their own heart, same as you.

Writing 101: Day 6 – Space To Write

Writing 101 has asked us today to write about the space in which we write, what we write with, and what we want and need in our writing space. This has changed for me in the past few days, because I have moved houses. It’s not a big change though, just the physical address.

I used to write sitting on my futon, beside my boyfriend, while watching tv (or watching him play video games) in my room at my parents’ house. Now it’s pretty much the same, but in our living room, in our new house.

I write on a toshiba laptop. It was a best buy special about 6 years ago and it’s had surgery a few times but it has served me well. It’s got a back lit keyboard that’s great for the late night blogging I’m so fond of.

Life for me has been chaos for a while so I’m not really one of those people who has to have perfect quiet to write. I write in the midst of whatever is going on around me. Focusing in the midst of chaos is a good practice for all areas of life.

I’ve left a contact form here because I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to ask me any questions, request a specific topic, or just let me know what you like and don’t like. Thanks again, neighbors and friends. 🙂