A Glimpse of Our South Carolina Autumn

We are so fortunate to have enjoyed a simply gorgeous fall this year.  I guess all of the rain from the summer months did some good after all because the color on the trees this year have been more vivid than I ever remember.

God has definitely been showing His majesty this season!

I first visited this area when I was in college several years ago.  We were on chorus tour that took us through Asheville (where I first saw and fell in love with the Biltmore house) into Greenville.  At the time I didn’t think there was much to this area.  A few small colleges, but nothing really attracted me or many people I knew at the time.

Then we moved here with Audley’s job.

Greenville has changed so much over the last (dare I say it?….) 20 years!  They have completely revitalized the downtown, restoring buildings, bringing in business, creating parks and are competing to claim the title of the destination of Foodies everywhere.
{There are some amazing places to dine here!}
But one of the highlights of the downtown area is a gorgeous park in the midst of everything.  The Park at Reedy Falls has bike and running trails, areas for picnics, waterfalls, and attaches to the old cotton warehouse that has been revamped in to shops, and the amazing High Cotton restaurant.
{You dress up to eat here!}

It’s just a great place to go and relax, an escape from the Urban life, right in the middle of the city!


Over the weekend we enjoyed a little family downtime by spending the afternoon at the falls goofing off together and taking pictures.  It was a relaxing time for us all and we were truly able to enjoy some of our South Carolina autumn.


One of the last hydrangeas of the season.  I love the look of them at this stage.



The mood of my teenagers reflected the beauty and casualness of the day.  It was like we didn’t have a care in the world.

Couldn’t we all use more days like this?!






Even Audley & I got in on the fun during the day.

Honestly it has been too long since our family has enjoyed such down time.  With the hectic schedules of work, school, youth group and sports we tend to forget how important it is to have this time.  With a cold front moving in this week I don’t see too many more days like this showing up in the next couple of months.  It was so nice to get out and enjoy a bit of our area without really having to drive far.  And it was even more enjoyable to have this time with my precious family.

I hope you are having a beautiful autumn where you are!

Monsoon Noodle House

For Mother’s Day lunch this year we decided to enjoy lunch at a new to us restaurant in downtown Spartanburg, the “Monsoon Noodle House”.  We have heard great thing about it, and from what I could tell it had great reviews on UrbanSpoon (a great resource when you are wanting to check out a new restaurant if you are unsure whether or not you want to eat there).  Monsoon Noodle House has a 91%  rating with 281 likes which is most positive.

One advantage of early worship services on Sunday is that we can generally make it to the restaurants before other places let out.  We have been hearing about this place for a while now.  It reopened last spring after a fire destroyed it, so the restaurant has been packed  every time we have been by there.   It’s a popular hangout for many of the college kids from Wofford University, just a couple of miles away.

While Monsoon Noodle House filled up quickly after we arrived, we were the first through the door, which allowed for me to ask a few questions about the menu and snap a few quick pictures of the restaurant interior without random people in the pictures.

I love the environment as the restaurant itself is very open with a contemporary vibe.  If you don’t like sitting right next to strangers in a restaurant, this probably isn’t the place for you as the layout encourages you to mix and mingle.  Fortunately, I have very social kids, so this was just the right environment for us.

Each of the chairs had a “M” cut into it.  I thought it was rather neat.

I fell in love with the noodle display or as I referred to it as the “Wall of Carbs” which is actually a display of all the noodles you can sample here.  Unfortunately for me it was not a carb day (yes, I went to a place that specializes in noodles on a no carb day…), so my family partook in all of the sampling, constantly telling me how good it was.

As for the food, the staff was great to answer questions about what was in everything.  As is true with most Asian fusion restaurants there were lots of sauces and of course noodles.  You can choose your spice when it comes to the food or even make it vegetarian.  And they do not use MSG in their foods, either which is a real selling point for me.

There is something for everyone.

As difficult as it was, I kept to my diet and ordered Mongolian beef without the sauce.  Mongolian stir fry is all about the flavor of the onion anyway, which there was plenty of, so it was still quite good.

I didn’t eat the rice…. my kiddos enjoyed it for me.


Audley ordered his Mongolian beef with the sauce & absolutely loved it!  He also enjoyed the Potsticker dumplings.

And to top it all off, Audley ordered the Monsoon Wings which were fried chicken wing pieces with an absolutely amazing spicy/sweet chili sauce.

I did try just one of these …. they could be dangerous for my diet.

He loves to try new food, especially if it is Asian themed.

The kiddos each ordered something different.

Madeline started off her lunch with Thai tea which is a strong iced tea with cream.

I took a sip of this, too.  Then I told her to keep it away from me!

Lot’s of cream.

She and MacKenzie both enjoyed sesame chicken for their lunch.

Since their plates didn’t even have one grain of rice left on it, I assume that they liked it!

Bradley had Chinese hot tea with his lunch, which accompanied his Sukayiaki Udon.
This dish consisted of shrimp, chicken, scallions, mushrooms, snow peas and eggs.

It looked amazing!

Over-all I have to say we really enjoyed our lunch at the Monsoon Noodle House.  The service was fast and efficient, and the staff was very helpful in seeing that my sometimes picky needs were met.  I highly recommend checking them out if you are ever in the area.  And if you need added incentive, Monsoon Noodle house in right on Main Street and borders several great local shops and the beautiful Daniel Morgan Square.  You could spend an entire afternoon enjoying just three city blocks!

We have discovered quite a few local eateries in the Greenville/Spartanburg area, so I hope to try out a few more this summer and share them.

I know this doesn’t seem like the ideal vacation get-away, but it’s a great area with a lot of local interests.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to check it all out someday!

Have a great weekend!

A Beautiful Mother’s Day

I truly hope all of my lovely friends had a wonderful Mother’s Day!  Around here things were a little different as it was the first time ever that I have not spent the day with my own beautiful Momma (who I miss so much!), but my own little family made it perfect and special for me.

After a wonderful worship service we found ourselves in downtown Spartanburg to check out a local restaurant, Monsoon Noodle House.  It had great ratings on UrbanSpoon (if you have a smartphone this is a must-have app if you travel a lot), so we were excited to try it!

While waiting on Monsoon Noodle House to open, I took the opportunity to shoot a few pictures of my little family, since we could not have asked for a more beautiful spring day!  We had a lot of fun hanging out in the beautiful Daniel Morgan Square.

It’s funny, I visited the Greenville/Spartanburg area back when I was in college and thought what a sad ending to a couple of historical old cities.  I’m a serious believer in preserving history, especially these gorgeous old Southern cities.  In the last 20 years these two cities have totally turned around and are revitalizing and rebuilding their downtowns.  Parks, restaurants, B&B’s local shops, cultural centers and growing universities have restored these beautiful and historic cities.  And the plans continue.
I absolutely love living here!


Daniel Morgan was a Revolutionary War hero from Virginia who made quite a name for himself at the nearby Cowpens National Battlefield.  This statue was placed in Spartanburg’s city square in 1881 in his honor.

I just love how South Carolina is proud of it’s history.

My kids were in rare form for pictures (meaning they cooperated … perk of Mother’s day, I guess) so we had a lot of fun posing on the square.

I can’t believe they are all teenagers now.


Daniel Morgan Square is so pretty.  From the hanging baskets down the street lights to the statues blending into the scenery, this particular Sunday in Spartanburg was almost like a scene from a movie!


And my teenagers were more than happy to let their personalities shine.



Even my son….. He insisted that he pose like his sisters.


Check out the Basset Hound socks he is wearing…..


I was quite spoiled for Mother’s Day …. from a most shocking and fabulous gift to lunch out and my girls cleaning the kitchen for supper.

One massage a month for an entire year!!  I told you I was spoiled!

Without a doubt, it was a beautiful Mother’s Day.

I’ll share details of the Monsoon Noodle House on Friday.  It was quite good and they did cook for my healthy palette so they get a good rating from me just for that!

Enjoy this beautiful spring day!

Greenville’s Saturday Market

While I think we have had exactly ten days of spring since March 20 (we’ve had a lot of rain & chilly temps), it has been just enough that one of our local growers markets has opened for market season!  Now if there is one thing I love better than growing my own food, is farm fresh and delicious produce bought straight from the ones who grow it.
In fact, I am a firm believer of skipping the produce section at the grocery store as much as possible during the late-spring, summer and fall months and hitting the local market on Saturday for food for our family.
Oh Absolutely, ten times better!
So much better than imported!
No way!
And the best part of all is we are supporting our local community of growers!
Yes, it is more expensive than the grocery store, but the quality & flavor of what we buy is so worth it!

Here is a peak of the opening Saturday of market season around here…..

Despite the threat of rain and chilly (OK, it was cold!) temperatures, the market area was packed!


The Saturday market is right downtown on Main Street.  Two blocks are closed off between Washington & Court Streets where vendors set up from 8:30-12:30 each Saturday beginning in May.


As we shopped we enjoyed the live entertainment by this local bluegrass group.
 How fun is that?!

Since it is still early in the growing season, fresh lettuces, strawberries, radishes, & asparagus were the common produce found.  There were a few very early tomatoes scattered about, as well as vendors sharing samples of produce they hope to have in coming weeks.





I loved the way this vendor chopped up several varieties of lettuce that could be purchased as a mix.  So pretty!



I love the idea of growing lettuce in a hanging basket!  Anyone can do this no matter how small a place you have.

Besides spring veggies (I missed out on the asparagus …. really disappointing), we found local grass-fed beef, South Carolina caught seafood, fresh organic chicken, and eggs.

The Spinning Spider Creamery had an abundance of fresh cheese and cheese spreads to choose from.

It was really hard to make a decision with all of the delicious flavors!


But, I finally settled on a Muntford Jack.  It was so good!

One of my favorite vendors of the day was the pasta tent.  There was a huge line so I knew this had to be some really good stuff.

So many wonderful flavors and styles of pasta, all of it made fresh with organic ingredients and gluten-free so everyone could enjoy it.  I can’t wait to cook with this in the coming week!


We splurged a little when we came upon one particular vendor.

We took one look at these gorgeous Strawberry pies and were sold.  It was definitely a treat, and oh my goodness how delicious it was!

MacKenzie Grace licked the pie pan clean!

Seriously, she did.

Other great vendors included local farmers selling starter plants, fresh cut spring flowers, fresh honey, homemade soaps, and artwork.  There was so much to take in!

One of the things I loved most about this little market is that each vendor must be approved.  Visits are made to their farms and facilities and they are verified to be South Carolina official.

I love it.

Do you have local markets where you are?