Family Adventure Day- Belvidere, TN *GIVEAWAY*

Winners have been chosen in this giveaway, please see below and thank you!

Family Adventure Day Builds Stronger Families

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Several months back we were about at our wits end with stress and work and we needed to get away. Going on an overnight trip usually wasn’t an option due to the expense and responsibilities at home and so we decided to declare the day a “Family Adventure Day” and took off for a day trip full of fun together.

That day was a huge success for all of us. We got to unwind and relax together. We sang silly songs in the car and the kids filled the time in between with talks of what was going on at school and plots for the next family adventure. Since then, we’ve gone on a family adventure most weekends, with the exception of a few weekends when I was typing feverishly away to finish up my book. I’ve been wanting to share some of our adventures with you from time to time here on Southern Plate in hopes of encouraging other families to have their own adventure days, so I’m really excited to bring you this post!

I’m also bringing you some great resources that will help you find adventures close to your home to enjoy with your family and friends.

A Family Adventure Day doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. The most important factor that has to be in play in order for it to be a family adventure is that all four of us have to do it together – AND we call it a “Family Adventure”.

How to find your next Family Adventure:

We do tend to gravitate toward family adventure activities away from home but I’ve found there are COUNTLESS activities available for little to no charge if you just know where to look. Some of the resources I use are:

  • Factory Tours USA - One of our favorite things to do is tour factories but we’ve only toured two so far. I hope to get to see a lot more of them in the future and I’ll let you know when we do!
  • Local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau - These have GREAT ideas. I like to look up cities near me and send for their information packet to keep on hand.

How to make Family Adventure Day A Success:


  • Call it an “Adventure”! Having a special name for it sets the time apart as special right from the start and helps remind us that the day’s focus.
  • Have A Soundtrack! I recently purchased three Veggie Tales albums from iTunes and we have a ball singing them on the road. The kids keep saying “turn this one up!” We also have a family theme song we like to listen to and sing. It’s silly, fun, and I like to play it whenever we’re together to help solidify this as “our” song. I know one of these days they’ll hear it and memories of our time together when they were younger won’t seem so far away. Sometimes I even create soundtracks to go along with our day. All of these things help to make your time together more “intentional” and memorable, adding to the experience.
  • Talk it up ahead of time. One of the keys to a successful Family Adventure Day is making a *big* deal out of it! If the kids have their heart set on seeing a movie, plan in advance by putting it on the calendar and counting down the days. Talk it up! On the day of the theater trip, get up early and spend the whole morning amping up the excitement. Rather than saying “Oh hey, let’s go see a movie later today” you’ve created your own buzz and given your children ample time to really look forward to your time together.
  • Unplug. I’m the world’s worst about “needing” to stay connected by constantly checking my emails on my cell phone. I try to unplug, though, as much as I can when on a Family Adventure Day. Show your kids they are a priority and put your family first. Business and friends can wait while you show your family their importance by example.
  • Scrapbook your adventures or post photos on your blog – this gives the kids bragging rights about the time you spent as a family later and helps preserve the memories. It might also encourage others to start their own Family Adventure Days, creating a positive ripple effect stemming directly from your family!

Other Family Adventure Day Ideas (just to get you started!):

The following make great Family Adventure Day ideas as well. The most important thing is to set aside this time special just for your family and focus on each other.

  • Movie day at home (make popcorn on the stove top together!)
  • Picnic
  • Feeding ducks
  • Spend a morning making cookies at home and then deliver them to friends and neighbors
  • Lunch and walk around at mall
  • Explore your yard. See how many different types of leaves you can collect (watch out for poison ivy), and how many different species of bugs you can find. Katy Rose loves to collect roly polies and earthworms (such a little lady!).
  • Ice Cream Outing!
  • Grocery trip: I know this may sound a little lame but we’ve gotten groceries together as a family adventure and had a great time doing it. When Brady planned his meals for the week we all went shopping together. Each child got to have special input on what we bought and when we came home we made supper together as well. The kids favorite part was making the brownies for dessert. I usually try to get groceries on my own so the kids felt like it was a treat getting to help me shop.
  • Local events and festivals: We mostly have these in the fall all clustered together. The month of October is absolutely bursting at the seams with things to do in Alabama!
  • Visit a local doughnut shop and watch them make doughnuts – then sample the wares! (If y’all don’t have a Krispy Kreme near you, I actually think this one is worth the move!)

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Our First Family Adventure Day to Falls Mill in Belvidere, TN

September 2009

I’ve never lived more than ten minutes from the Tennessee state line and so I’ve always said that I claim dual citizenship between Tennessee and Alabama. Therefore, I’m gonna claim a little bit of bias when I tell you that Tennessee is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Rolling mountains, rock bottom creeks, and green as far as the eyes can see. A day trip in the outdoors in Tennessee just can’t be beat.

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And if you don’t believe me, check this out. Falls Mill is about an hour and a half from my home in Belvidere, Tennessee.

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It’s still working mill that you can tour and then enjoy the grounds, having a picnic and taking family photos that will be cherished for a lifetime.

mullinsThe dog in this photo is named “Timber” and the kids took to him immediately. We’ve promised them we’ll take them back to see him as soon as it gets a little warmer outside.

But this adventure started before that, when we drove through Huntsville on the way and stopped over at Mullin’s Drive-In to eat. My mother ate at Mullin’s when she was a girl and I remember sitting in their booths with my two pony tails ordering a hamburger. If you’re a Huntsvillian, nothing beats Mullins! I also love that I can order a hamburger with a side of grits…

And now back to Falls Mill…

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For a very small donation you can get bread to feed the fish, or in our case, Timber.

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We sure did love you, Timber. Hope to see you soon (I’m almost out of grits…)

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There are all sorts of other critters in the crystal clear water, though.

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and others on the rocks!

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This is Brady, Katy, and Katy’s doll which she named “Clumsy”.

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Me and my babies:)

(and Clumsy)

We had such a relaxing and wonderful day. We’ve had many family adventures since this one (which I’ll bring  you in the future) but our trip to Belvidere is still our favorite.

fallsmill13The inside of the mill is fascinating and the coolest part is that they still stone grind their own grits and meal here. Do you see the belts and wheels in the ceiling over Brady’s head? Those are constantly moving as a result of the water wheel, its really a fascinating system to watch as everything works together to grind the corn.

This is the ONLY place I use grits from if I can help it. I haven’t found anything on the grocery store shelves that even comes close.

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Katy does like to pose, as she demonstrates here inside the mill.

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We usually try to get the kids a small souvenir of our adventure.

Sometimes we get post cards, brochures, or a unique bit of candy, but on this trip I was the one who got the special treats!

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Every family adventure trip for me is B.Y.O.D.D.P.

(bring your own Diet Dr Pepper)

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Notes about Belvidere, Tennessee

You can learn more about Falls mill by visiting the Falls Mill Website.

When you leave Falls Mill, be sure to drive the few miles to go to The Swiss Pantry, a Mennonite owned grocery and bakery. This is one of the highlights of our trip as well. Their bread and cheeses are delicious and the kids like to pick out homemade cookies or whoopie pies. They will also sell you some of their own sourdough bread starter if you ask, and happily give you the recipe!

To help you get started with your Family Adventure Day,

I’m offering the following giveaways!

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One person who comments below will win a $25.00 iTunes gift card

to help you get started on your Family Soundtrack!

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THREE others will receive one of my personal FAVORITE DVDs,

Veggie Tales Ultimate Silly Song Countdown.

Every single member of my family loves this DVD (including Ricky!).

Whoever wins this one can sing in their kitchen just like I do here at Bountiful. My classic favorites are “His Cheeseburger”, “Love My Lips”, “Yodeling Veterinarian Of The Alps”, “Dance Of The Cucumber”, “Endangered Love”, and “The Hairbrush Song”, among others!

*This giveaway isn’t sponsored by any company, it’s just from me to you.

To enter, tell me what you think you’ll do on your next Family

Adventure Day in the comments below.

Did you get any ideas from this post? I’d love to hear them!

Don’t have children? That doesn’t mean you don’t have a family!

Friends are family we choose for ourselves, so tell me what adventure you’d like to have with them!

I’ll choose a winner this Friday, March 5th, and post it here as well as include it in an email to my subscribers.

Congratulations to the following winners!

iTunes gift card:

Amy H (email contains “weluvhmsc”)

Videos:

Nikki (email contains “Nikki320″)

Lisa in Memphis (email contains “izon”)

Christina (email contains “80″)

I’ll be sending you all an email today so you can send me your mailing address! Thank you all so much for participating and stay tuned for more family fun giveaways from my family to yours!


The car trip can draw the family together, as it was in the days before television

when parents and children actually talked to each other.

~Andrew H. Malcolm

I’d love to work together with y’all to help promote Family Adventure Day because I believe strongly that Family Adventure Day Builds Stronger Families. If you feel as I do that the key to stronger families is focused time together, please link to this post on your Facebook pages!

Free Holiday Recipes!

thanksgiving-collage

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Click here to visit my Holiday Menu Bonanza Post with photos and links to *70* recipes! 

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Comments

  1. Lisa in Memphis says

    I love reading your new posts! Just brightens my whole day and makes me so grateful for my own beautiful family.

    We have an 8 year old daughter and 15 month old twin boys. Our family adventure day this weekend consisted of breakfast together, our daughter choosing a place to eat lunch, 1st hair cuts for the boys (they were so good and too cute for words), and then grocery shopping together, deciding which of Christy Jordan’s recipes Mommy will try this week, :) I made the home made pancakes yesterday and they were a big success, and now I’ve got steak tips in the crock pot. We (my husband especially, lol) all love this blog.

    Our next family adventure will be a trip to the zoo. Memphis has a wonderful zoo and I can’t wait for my boys to experience it.

  2. Lawana says

    I’ve been wanting to go visit a local German Baptist home site in my home state of Mississippi. They cook and serve every day, but there is no phone so to make an appointment you have to write a letter. They live very similarly to the Amish. I’m drafting my letter right now. It will be a great family day!

  3. Wendy says

    Christy, I have always wanted to tour the Great Salt Mines in Hutchinson, Ks. They are 65 stories below ground and 67 miles long.
    I am claustrophobic but I think I’ll be OK, beside I really would like to see it.

  4. debbie says

    loved your post and your pictures, they were great! my husband and i went to the same grist mill about 4 years ago and we loved it, we got some of the grits and brought them back with us too. we are planning a family adventure with all 5 of our grandchildren this june while school is out. we’ll have to make it a 3 day trip because it’ll take us at least 6 hours of driving time but we want to take our time and make plenty of stops with them along the way. we’re taking them to mooresville up in north alabama, can’t hardly wait to be with all 5 of them.

  5. Melissa says

    I would like to take the kids to all the local landmarks. We live in the Northern Neck of Va and we have Robert E Lee’s birthplace, George Washingtons Birthplace, Colonial Williamsburg and so on with in driving distance. We also have a few state parks near by. Cant wait for warmer weather to enjoy these this year.

  6. says

    Our next car trip adventure will be yet another trip to Ohio to see hubby’s family. Every time we take that voyage, it’s never the same as before. We have a great time and giggle about the silliest things. I think it’s the main reason we look forward to all holidays when we get to go see them. The car ride is always a great start!

  7. Theresa L. says

    Hi, Christy! I just have to say that Tennessee is also my MOST FAVORITE of states!! Believe me, if I could drag my hubby out of Virginia, Tennessee is where we would be!!! Since “family fun days” with my four sons are distant memories now, what with all four being grown and out-of-the-nest, we have fun planning adventures with the grandchildren now! Although they live in Mississippi, when they visit here, there is no end to things to see and do (mostly making history FUN) here in Virginia!!

  8. Kelly says

    Christy,

    It’s really nice to see you doing such fun stuff with your family. Families are so important and the love you share with each other just cannot be beat. We too cannot afford long expensive outings so my idea of a fun family day is either a hike on the nearby trail where our bulldogge can also join us and a picnic lunch. Another great day of fun is a small local zoo, which is free of charge. God’s blessings.

  9. says

    Our next family adventure will be in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinberg TN, IF our kids get their Easter break. Of course, that doesn’t look too likely with all the snow days and more called for tonight and tomorrow. I would like to ask though…”Oh where is my hairbrush? Oh where is my hairbrush?” I will be singing this for the next day or so now! I love my VeggieTales!

  10. Dona Perkins says

    This may not be very exciting, but we are going as a family to the Fort Worth Zoo this Thursday and spending the day there together! We would LOVE the Veggie Tale CDs…my kids and I enjoy irritating my hubby with our singing! :)

  11. Kim Lloyd says

    Christy, being from Alabama, I don’t travel much. I haven’t been out of the border states except for once to visit family out of town for a funeral. My son is about to turn 3 and we haven’t been on any family outings since he was born other than just around town local stuff. So, I would looooove to start Family Adventure Day, especially since is likes to see new things like me. Thanks for sharing your tips with us!

  12. kathyh says

    I live in CA and I’m learning about what good Southern cookin is all about from you. Thanks very much for all the hospitality as well as the recipes!

    Since they are many family adventure opportunity days here because of nice weather we sometimes take it for granted but we are going to a transitional home for the homeless in downtown LA.Looking forward to spending time with the people and reading to the children.

  13. Kim says

    We live just outside a very historic area (Savannah, GA) so I thought we would take a day and just visit one of the Fort’s there. I have 3 boys so that is right up their alley! They have picnic areas and museums with all kinds of war memorabilia. There is also a History Museum here that would make another great day trip. I was so inspired from the email you sent that I even looked a couple of hours further from home and thought about the Mayfield Ice Cream Factory…my boys LOVE ice cream! We are always trying to find things to do around here and this has really inspired me to look outside of the box. Thanks!!!

  14. Nikki says

    My husband had an accident last year and his recovery will take minimum of 1 year. Needless to say, with the loss of his income we have had to be very creative in what we do with our 2 children. We have always loved the outdoors and usually spend the evenings outside or at the park. Seeing your trip made me remember a “Vacation” I had growing up. We went to a Lake here in Ga called Lake Burton and all they had to do there was fish—and eat. Now when you are a 10 year old girl growing up, vacation does not equal fishing, or at least it did not in my book. The only thing I found to do was to watch the frogs in the bottom of the lake–(I really enjoyed your pictures, it brought back great memories)

    For our next adventure I think we will take a road trip, Spring break will be coming up in April and my kids love the outdoors so I think we will pack a picnic and just drive, I think we will start at a place here in Georgia called the Yellow River Game Ranch, they have all sorts of animals that you can feed, the last time we went there there were 2 deer that were standing right at the door as we entered the place. My son was amazed and starting feed them. They just stood right there and allowed him too. The remainder of the time, he had ducks, squirrels, and birds following him around. Then we can leave and see what other interesting spots we can find. Seeing things through the kids eyes and watching the excitement they feel is the best part of being a parent and of roadtrips.

  15. says

    My baby boy is now in his second year of college. One of our favorite day trips was only about 20 minutes from home at an old grist mill that I stumbled upon. The mill was no longer functional but a historic place. There is a great hiking trail there and the creek runs by and we’d wade out in search of crayfish. It is just a beautiful and peaceful place.

    We also liked to visit historic battlefields and monuments. We live close to DC so we are blessed to have so many great places to go for the day or weekend.

    Once on our way home from my Daddy’s house in GA, we stopped and panned for gold in NC. There is always something fun to do if you look.

    I agree with you Christy, that it is best to keep it simple and just enjoy the special family time.

    Congrats on finishing your book!

  16. andrea says

    My girls are teenagers now and are a little more resistant than they use to be, but I love to take my nephews to a little cow farm called “Happy Cow.” They make there own milk and cheese and have fun tours for everyone. Every now and then you can catch the girls laughing and having a good time. Just don’t let them see you watching! I would love to go to your mill sounds fun and who don’t love a good hot buttery bowl of grits!! Can’t wait for the book! Can you quess what the hot christmas gift in Greenpond will be?

  17. Marie says

    We are from Richmond, Va. We are planning a day trip to go visit relatives in Lynchburg, Va. and then we will ride into the mountains and get on the Blue Ridge Parkway. My husband and I like to pack a picnic and stop to enjoy it at one of the picnic sites. This brings back so many memories for me. My six siblings and I would climb (many years ago) into dad and mom’s station wagon and go on this same adventure.

  18. Linder Richter says

    My children are all grown up now, but we hare starting to have grand-children. 15 year old Londyn, 14 month old Jayden and 4 month old Lily. We are planning a beach trip this summer with all 4 grown children, spouses and grand-children. Can’t wait for that. But my husband and I love to take “Family Adventures” ever so often. Our favorite place to get away for a long weekend is Lookout Mountain. Ft. Payne & Gadsden, AL has some beautiful waterfalls. Then I love (my husband tolerates) to drive over to Scotsboro and visit the Unclaimed Baggage Store. That’s pretty awesome. I have a suggestion for your Grocery Adventure with your family. My husband and I used to do this when our kids were little. Go to the grocery store and buy nothing but coupon items. Give each child some coupons and send them on a scavenger hunt to find those items. Another fun game is to take your grocery list and tear it into sections. Give each family memeber a section and let them find whatever is on the list. Anyway, just some fun ideas that we used to do.

  19. Jennifer says

    My twins got their first taste of the beach and the Splash Pad in Gardendale last year. I know we will be heading back to both just as soon as the warmer weather arrives!

  20. Deanie says

    What great pictures! Looks like you all had a fabulous time!
    Hubby and I like to take our 6 y/o grandson on day hiking trips and he just loves getting out and seeing new places.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I’ve talked before about the purpose of our Family Adventure Days and what a difference they have made in our family, so today I’m happy to bring you our latest adventure. When trying to decide on somewhere to go for our family day this past weekend, we had one thing in mind: it’s hot outside. With that thought, what better place to go than a natural wonder with natural air conditioning? [...]

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