Winners have been chosen in this giveaway, please see below and thank you!
Family Adventure Day Builds Stronger Families
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:
- Roadside America – Fun website and lets you search by town and state.
- 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!
- National Register Of Historic Places -this website is a bit on the bland side but useful just the same, you just gotta dig around some to find the good places.
- 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!)
- 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!)
Our First Family Adventure Day to Falls Mill in Belvidere, TN
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.
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.
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.
The 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…
For a very small donation you can get bread to feed the fish, or in our case, Timber.
We sure did love you, Timber. Hope to see you soon (I’m almost out of grits…)
There are all sorts of other critters in the crystal clear water, though.
and others on the rocks!
This is Brady, Katy, and Katy’s doll which she named “Clumsy”.
Me and my babies:)
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.
The 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.
Katy does like to pose, as she demonstrates here inside the mill.
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!
Every family adventure trip for me is B.Y.O.D.D.P.
(bring your own Diet Dr Pepper)
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!
One person who comments below will win a $25.00 iTunes gift card
to help you get started on your Family Soundtrack!
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”)
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!