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Welcome to Parenting Sweet! Parenting Sweet is a resource for parents and caregivers, featuring all the great opportunities in our region that make parenting sweet!

Appalachian Promise Alliance is Making Parenting Sweet

We have tips, information, practices, and parenting classes, sessions, workshops, support groups, seasoned educators, and friendships that can help lighten some of your load and make parenting easier. Wish you had an extra hand? A little help? A hack that makes things a little easier? Wondering if doing something different would help? Check out the Parenting Educator Network opportunities below in the November 2023 Highlights.

   Monthly Fun Poll

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?

Parenting Sweet helps us keep our five promises of caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to serve.

1st Annual Healthy Fall Festival

Saturday, November 4th, 2023

9 AM – 1 PM at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee (1020 Jericho Dr., Kingsport, TN 37663)

It’s going to be fun for everyone and a great way to kick-off the holiday season with a community celebration and an abundance of gratitude. Attendance is free for all!

Activities will include a healthy bag giveaway filled with turkey and produce, immunizations/vaccines/flu shots, health education and screenings, community resource information, kids activities, raffles, and entertainment.

Gems, Minerals, and Jewelry Show

Friday, November 10, 2023 – 10:00AM to 6:00PM

Saturday, November 11, 2023 – 10:00AM to 6:00PM

Sunday, November 12, 2023 – 12:00PM to 5:00PM

Appalachian Fair Grounds, Building 1 (100 Lakeview Street, Gray, TN)

The show will have geode cracking, bead stringing, pearl knotting, wire wrapping, mineral specimens, flame painting, stone setting, and more. All proceeds will be used to fund college scholarships.

Admission: Adults – $3, Students – $1, 6 and under – Free

Barefoot University Open House

Tuesday, November 7th, 2023, at 1PM

Surgoinsville River Front Park (39 Long Bend Road in Surgoinsville)

If you’ve been wanting to play with them, now is your chance to check out Barefoot University.

Families are invited to come do shelter building with the Barefoot University. Kids will use natural materials to build and play in shelters. Dress to get dirty!

This is a free event meeting creekside rain or shine!

We are all weather so dress to stay warm and dry!

Magic of Christmas Variety Show

Thursday, November 9th, 2023 – Saturday, November 11th, 2023 at 7PM – 9PM

Capitol Theatre in Greeneville

Join Ben the Illusionist, and cast in a heartwarming variety show for the holiday season. Family and friends of all ages will enjoy the juggling, comedy, magic, and music in this spectacular production. This one-of-a-kind Christmas show fuses the magic and wonderment of the Christmas season with comedy, dynamic circus performances and grand stage illusions. You won’t want to miss this once in a lifetime experience. Join Ben the Illusionist and cast for The Magic of Christmas!

Free Drive-Through Flu Vaccinations

The Carter County Health Department is partnering with the Carter County School System and the Elizabethton City School System to host “Flu-Thru”, a free drive-through flu vaccination event for students and their family members. Participants will remain in their vehicles throughout the process. Pre-registration is not required.

Hampton High School Parking Lot – Nov. 2, 2023 at 4PM to 6 PM

Elizabethton High School Parking Lot – Nov. 7, 2023 at 4PM to 6PM

Call the Carter County Health Department at (423) 543-2521 if you have any questions.

Thanksgiving Dinner Hacks

We have gathered 10 of our favorite Thanksgiving dinner meal hacks from across the internet to save you time – and stress – this holiday season.

  1. Have small tasks ready for wondering guests looking to help out. Family members and friends can open bottles, fill water glasses, hang coats, or anything else that will keep them out of the kitchen— or out of your way.
  2. Move all the appetizers and drinks out of your kitchen to keep guests from congregating in your work space.
  3. Let others help! Ask others to bring food or assist in the kitchen. If someone volunteers to help clean up, let them! A family dinner calls for a family clean up.
  4. Be prepared to give away leftovers by having to-go containers ready.
  5. Do as much as you can ahead of time so you have less to do when the time comes. Veggies can definitely be chopped the day before.
  6. Cover the kids table in kraft paper and set out crayons to keep them busy and cut back on clean up.
  7. Use Halloween pumpkins as Thanksgiving decor too! Hollow one out and fill it with greenery for a table centerpiece, or add ice to make a pumpkin wine cooler.
  8. Utilize your cooler. Fill it with condiments or drinks to make room in the fridge, or line the cooler with aluminum foil to keep food warm.
  9. Lay out and label serving ware with sticky notes to save time in those frantic last minutes of meal serving.
  10. Learn to let go. Nothing can be perfect, and that’s okay! Don’t let burnt rolls or fallen decorations spoil your holiday fun. Thanksgiving is about being thankful and spending time with the ones you care about, so enjoy yourself and and the memories you are making together.

Thank you to our sources for this article: Food Network, The Organized Mom, The Krazy Coupon Lady, and Making Lemonade Blog!

Thanksgiving Family Conversations

Holiday dinners are a great time to sit down and connect with family members, but sometimes it can be hard to keep the conversation going. Here are some interesting questions family members can ask each other to get everyone at the table talking.

  • If you could spend Thanksgiving anywhere, where would it be?
  • What are you MOST thankful for?
  • What brings you happiness?
  • What was the best part of your day?
  • What is your favorite food to eat on Thanksgiving?
  • What food do you like the least on Thanksgiving?
  • Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?
  • What is your favorite family tradition during the Holidays and why?
  • What is your favorite holiday?
  • What is the nicest thing someone did for you this year?
  • If you could go back in time, what moment would you most like to revisit?
  • What is one of your favorite things we played as kids?
  • What is your funniest memory about us growing up?
  • Which person here do you wish you knew better?
  • What was your most bizarre holiday purchase?
  • How did you celebrate Thanksgiving when you were my age?
  • What was your favorite thing about where you grew up?
  • What about my mom/dad drove you bonkers when she/he was a kid?
  • If you could live in any decade of your life again, which would it be?
  • If you had an extra hour every day, how would you spend it?

Thank you to our sources for this article: Wilmington Parent, Real Simple, The Pinning Mama!

“It’s well worth our consistent and continued effort as parents to model and teach our kids to practice gratitude… If we – and our kids – constantly dwell on what’s going wrong in our lives and in the world, we are left feeling anxious, empty, and depressed. But when we take time to count our blessings, we shift our mindsets and become happier, more grateful people. We start seeing more of the good in our lives when we’re looking for it.” – Audrey Monke, Sunshine Parenting

A Grateful Family is a Happy Family: 5 Gratitude Practices

  1. Daily Gratitude Sharing – Sharing one (or more) things we’re grateful for not only makes for a positive conversation but also helps us each – individually – grow our gratitude muscle
  2. Gratitude Jar or Board – For the jar, people jot down things they are grateful for and put the notes inside. On a specified day, empty the jar and read the notes so the whole family can reflect on individual and group blessings. A bulletin board is a more visual way to show thanks. Simply tack the notes up as you think of things you’re thankful for.
  3. Thankful “Warm Fuzzies” at Thanksgiving – Each family member and visiting friend has an oversized place card at their dining spot. Throughout the afternoon and evening or by passing around the table, people write something they appreciate or are grateful for about each person. You can write just a few words or a whole sentence, but each person needs to write on everyone else’s card.
  4. Gratitude Journal – Sharing aloud, at dinner or bedtime (see #1), is ideal for young kids and those who don’t enjoy writing. A written alternative could be a family gratitude journal, completed by a parent or designated scribe, where everyone shares what they’re grateful for, and one person writes things down. This could be an alternative to having a family gratitude jar or gratitude board. Gratitude journaling is not something that has any benefit if the person writing is feeling resentful. Try having each family member list three things they are grateful for; this simple practice gets you focused on the good stuff to start your day .
  5. Giving to Others – Perhaps the best way to promote gratitude in our children and ourselves is giving to or serving others. This time of year (and all year long, for that matter) to participate in collection and delivery of food, toys for children, winter coats, and more. There are so many needy people – often right next door to us or in our own families – and reaching out to help others not only makes us more kind and compassionate, but also more appreciative of what we have.

Promoting an attitude of gratitude in our families can make a life-long positive impact on us and those we interact with.

Share the spirit of Thanksgiving with your loved ones all year round!

Family Playtime

The Children’s Resource Center’s Family Playtime is spreading across our region! It is now in available in Scott county, Hawkins county, and Abingdon. Join a Family Playtime session near you.

Thanksgiving Recipe Swap

November 15th at 2:00PM – 3:00PM

Thomas Memorial Library

You may come and bring a recipe of your choosing and swap ideas with others for your holiday meals. Cookbooks will be displayed for checkout. Light Refreshments will be provided for those participating. No reservations required!

DIY Sugar Scrub Making

November 14th at 11:30AM

Blountville Library

Register today to make DIY Sugar Scrubs in time for the holidays, to keep or give as gifts! This class is free but registration is required by November 9th. Call, visit the desk, or sign up online.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Sullivan County

The organization is looking for mentors age 23+ to volunteer 2-3 hours for 2-3 weekends a month as part of their Community-Based Program.

Nurturing Parenting Sessions

Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County are offering free sessions on the ABC’s of Parenting for caregivers, providing food and matching sessions/childcare for school-aged children.

Please call 423-461-4560 to register.

Upcoming Parenting Opportunities

Learn, question, and meet other parents and caregivers!

  • Registering now for Attached at the Heart 10-week parenting program beginning January 2024!
  • Family Playtime is expanding their services across new counties to foster strong bonds within families – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Tricities Parenting in-person meetup, Sundays at 4:30PM at the Parenting Sweet – FREE, ONLINE, IN PERSON
  • Prenatal Parenting Series at Ballad Health OBGYN offices and health departments – FREE, IN PERSON
  • Mom Power Series by Families Free – FREE, IN PERSON
  • AHH Babies breastfeeding in-person meetup on Fourth Tuesdays at the YWCA – FREE, IN PERSON

Visit the Parenting Sweet Program Catalog for Details and Registration or email! Don’t see a class you need? Let us know!

Cherished Mom presents: Mama-U

Join Mama-U and learn about maternal mental health. Plus, get rewarded with a coupon book filled with freebies and discounts upon completion.

For more information, visit or email

Building with the Lions

Families are invited to drop by the Jones Meeting Center at the Johnson City Public Library the second Saturday of every month between 10:30AM – 12PM for Building with the Lions. You can build creations using LEGO blocks and other construction materials. Your creations will be displayed in the Children’s Library. This program is facilitated by the Johnson City Lions Club.

Roller Skating Classes

Bristol Skateway and the Johnson City Family Skate Center will be holding roller skate classes this fall.

Cost includes skate rental and open session.

No registration required!

Non-profit Reading Challenge to Provide Appalachian Children with Books

The Appalachian Literary Initiative is holding a July ‘Reading for Literacy Challenge’ and Fundraiser to promote family reading and provide low-income children with books across Appalachia.

The Reading for Literacy Challenge is taking place in a free mobile app called FytFeed.

Are you a grandparent? 


Grandparent Workshop Series Bristol’s Promise will be offering a workshop series just for grandparents of children ages birth to five! Why? We love our grandparents! Whether you are “sharing the care” or a custodial grandparent, we recognize the vital importance of grandparents. If you or someone you know may be interested in learning more about this program, please submit your information here. Questions? Email Lily Royston ( Click to learn more!  

Free Reading Resources

Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Education to provide at-home reading resources for free to all Tennessee families of K–2 children to help young learners become stronger readers. Based on your child’s grade level, they will receive the At-Home Decodable Book Series, a collection of seven booklets containing 20+ exciting stories full of sounds and words to practice, and age-appropriate, high-quality Scholastic books. Click here to order your kit.

Parent Educator Network

The Appalachian Promise Alliance’s Parenting Network meets the third Thursday of each month at noon and works to support parenting education in our community by sharing efforts, communicating the value and importance of parenting education, and learning more about how we can better serve families. If you are interested in helping teach classes, mentor parents, or have parenting educator updates to share, please contact us!

The Wellness Center of Kingsport still has spots available in their swim classes! Anyone can learn to swim at The Wellness Center – no matter the age or skill level.

  • Group Swim Lessons: Children ages 3-12 | Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30 pm
  • Parent & Child Safety Swim Sessions: For ages 6 months to 36 months and a guardian | Saturdays, 9-9:45 am
  •  Preschool Group Swim Lessons: Ages 3-5 | Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1-2 pm
  •  Private Swim Lessons: All ages, adults included | upon availability

Fill out this form to sign up or request more information.

Babywearing Library and Coaching

Contact us to learn more!

Attached at the Heart Parenting Program

Sessions start again in January!

Register Now!

Prime Your Parenting with resources from Appalachian Promise Alliance

Series, groups, training and more!

Library, handouts, babycarriers, coaching, and consulting!

Coffee & Conversation for Grandfamilies

  • Support
  • Information
  • Resources

1st Monday each month at 10:00 AM
Memorial Park Community Center
Johnson City

 Looking for information or support?

Bristol’s Promise Parenting Education Network Programs Find a program that fits your needs! Click to search for free or low cost, morning or evening, online or in-person, first-time or veteran parent/caregiver, and more

Visit to learn more about: The Parenting Education Network, Bristol Family Resource Center, YWCA MOMS R US, Mom Power, Hope House, Frontier Health, Highlands Community Services, Breastfeeding Essentials, Ahh Babies – Appalachian Highlands Healthy Babies – La Leche League Breastfeeding Support, Cherished Mom, Attached at the Heart Classes, Twin City Reads, Buckle Up for Life, Doula by Donation, Sullivan County Family Services, Parenting Sweet, Tricities Parenting, Tricities Babywearing, High Country Doulas, ETSU Family Physicians, Bethany Services, TriCities Babywearing TN, Sullivan County Health Department, Strong Starts, TN Voices, and more.

Parenting Sweet is here to help make parenting sweet!

Parents get connected to support and information because learning about parenting and getting support does make a difference. If you would you like to continue receiving Parenting Sweet, you’ll need to be sure to sign up on the website. If you know a parent, caregiver, grandparent, or anyone who cares about children, share the sign-up link with them and help them find all that’s great for children and families in our community. Past issues and all the events are available anytime on the Blog.

Support for this program is provided by Ballad Population Health Community Health Initiative and Bristol Public Housing. Parenting Sweet Team: Samantha Gray, Lily Royston, Susan Turner, Emily Macbeth, Katherine Wilson-Thompson, Melissa Roberts, and Margaret Feierabend. Have information to share? Submit it to