Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Parkside Cabin Rentals – Gatlinburg, Tennessee

October is a wonderful time to visit the mountains of Tennessee. The tree leaves adorn the mountains with an array of beautiful colors. The air is crisp and clear. The sun is still bright and warm. It is much too beautiful outdoors during that time of year to be cooped up inside a hotel room. A cabin nestled deep inside the Tennessee woods beside the river is a much nicer choice. Too expensive? Not at all!

Park Side Cabin Rentals in Gatlinburg, Tennessee offers a variety of rental cabins appropriate for groups of all sizes. Whether you need a small cabin just large enough for a couple’s romantic retreat or a cabin large enough for an extended family vacation, Park Side Cabin Rentals has just what you need.

Parkside Cabin Rentals – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living (Tina Truelove)

Parkside Cabin Rentals - Gatlinburg, Tennessee

My husband and I enjoyed a two night stay in a small, one bedroom cabin. We did an online search for an inexpensive place to stay in the Gatlinburg area and came across Park Side. Small cabins rented for about $94.00 per night. I thought the price sounded too good to be true but we needed a place to stay and all hotel rooms were booked. Larger, more luxurious cabins were too expensive and the photographs posted online looked appealing so we decided to “take a leap of faith” and we booked the cabin.The staff was very accommodating. We were going to be driving into the area during the “wee hours” of the morning. When we explained that we would not be there until about 3:00am, they accommodated us by leaving a key with a map and directions to our cabin outside in a box by the front door. There would be no staff available upon our arrival.

We reached the office building and spotted the large, white envelope with our names written on the front. We were exhausted and eager to reach our cabin and get some rest. We did have a difficult time finding the cabin at first. The road leading to the cabin was not well lit and we did not recognize any of the landmarks indicated on the map. We wondered how old the map was and how much the area might have changed since the map was printed. Becoming desperate, I searched the paperwork for a street address. Finally, on the back page, was a street address that I plugged into our GPS unit. According to the unit, we needed to turn around, but the trustworthy machine indicated that we would reach our destination within five minutes. I was relieved that we had not traveled too far out of the way.
We pulled up the cabin and I immediately wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. I am a “clean freak” and very picky about where I stay. Cleanliness is everything to me when I am away from home and the outside of this cabin did not appear satisfactory. I reminded myself that it was “pitch dark” outside so maybe it wasn't as bad as it looked. We were exhausted and we had no place else to go unless we turned around and drove three hours back to our home. We resolved to unload our belongings and made our way around to the front door. We could hear the sound of the rushing water of the river below and I wondered what it would look like the next morning in the morning sunlight. The lighting on the porch was very dim so we had to feel our way to the door lock. I wondered exactly what we were feeling our way through, but decided that as long as the bed was free of bugs, I would survive the night.
We opened the door to the cabin, turned on the light, and I stood there for a moment, exhausted but in awe of our surroundings. The little cabin was absolutely adorable. It was simple, clean, appealing – nothing like the outside had indicated. There was a leather couch on one side of the room and a table with four chairs on the other. On the far wall, between the comfy looking couch and table, was a gas fireplace. On the fireplace mantel sat a television set and a basket which held magazines. The windows were protected by wooden blinds. The kitchen area was well kept. The refrigerator was nice and cold and the utensils inside the drawers were clean. The light inside the bathroom and the wooden towel rack were both cracked, but the toilet and tub were clean and ready for use. The cracked light didn’t really bother me. After all, cabins are supposed to be a little rustic. We made our way into the bedroom where we found a double bed adorned with a quilt which featured bear and deer habitats. The bed had a “tree trunk” frame and was equipped with matching night stands and lamps. There was a dresser at the foot of the bed. On top of the dresser was another television set. We pulled the quilt cover down, fluffed our pillows, and settled into a night of peaceful sleep – what was left of the night anyway.

The next morning, we walked onto the front porch and enjoyed the beauty of the river just down the embankment in front of the cabin. There was no walkway to the water, but just standing there looking over the porch railings into the water and listening to the sound of the rushing water was pleasant enough. We spotted an outdoor grill which had been lined with clean aluminum foil. We decided to put that to good use later that night. There was a large hot tub on the porch. It was covered and clean. Later that night, after enjoying grilled burgers from the newly lined grill, we decided to try the hot tub. Our only “complaint” was the hot tub. The water was much too hot. We tried to find a way to turn the temperature down, but we were unsuccessful. We both love hot water and usually enjoy hot tub temperatures as hot as we can stand, but the water inside that particular hot tub was so hot that that it could have caused burns. Our cabin did not include a washer/dryer unit, but we did not ask for one. Other than that, our stay at the small, riverside, Park Side Rental Cabin was most enjoyable.

We highly recommend them if you are ever in the Gatlinburg, Tennessee area. There are other cabin rental companies with much more luxurious cabins, but for us, price is of most importance and Park Side offers nice, clean rentals for an affordable price.
Their brochure lists the following amenities (Be sure to ask for amenities that you desire because not all cabins contain all amenities ):
1-5 Bedrooms, Sleeping 2 – 17
TVs, VCRs, PlayStation 2
Indoor Wood burning/Gas Log Fireplaces
Decks With Charcoal Grills
Hot Tubs
Rustic Furniture
Full Kitchens
Pool Tables
River Views/Mountain Views
Outdoor Wood burning Fireplaces
Game Room

Contact Park Side Cabin Rentals by phone at: 1-866-747-6181 or 865-436-5053
Park Side Cabin Rentals Website:

Park Side Cabin Rentals
125 Dudley Creek Road
PO Box 54
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Labor Day Activities for Kids

Labor Day Activities for Kids
Image Credit:  Free-Photos - CCO Public Domain Image - via Pixabay

Why Celebrate Labor Day?

In 1894, Labor Day became an official national holiday in the United States. Labor Day is a special day set aside to honor American workers for all the hard work they do each day. In the world of education, teachers use Labor Day as an opportunity to teach their students about various careers. Teachers usually accomplish that task in the form of thematic units such as “Community Helpers.”

Families might celebrate Labor Day by going camping or organizing a picnic. There are many ways to celebrate Labor Day and teach children about the holiday. However one chooses to enjoy Labor Day, many American citizens are able to enjoy the day by doing no labor at all.  Instead, they choose to relax with family and friends.

Parents and teachers can take time on Labor Day to teach children about many of the careers that make up the workforce in the United States.  It is impossible to cover all areas of the American workforce but the following ideas will help children learn about a few while parents and teachers can teach them to appreciate all American workers.

Postage Stamp Heroes

Ask the children to identify the images on several postage stamps and discuss the reason that particular person is famous. What job did that person do? Do this with several postage stamps so that various historical figures and their professions are identified by the children. Then ask the children to think of someone they know who works hard every day doing a particular job that was not discussed during the postage stamp discussion. Instruct the children to create a postage stamp honoring the person they chose and the job that person does. Display the stamps in the school hallway or classroom to honor those professions on Labor Day.

Appreciation Cards

Whether at home or at school, children can express their appreciation for the adult workers around them. Talk to the children about people who impact their lives and the jobs they do. Some children will tell you about a firefighter or a policeman they know. Other children might name a doctor or a nurse. Some might discuss a favorite professional athlete or the mechanic who works on the family vehicle. Still other children might name their teacher or the mom who works hard all day at home to take care of her family. So many working adults, inside and outside the home, affect the lives of children every day.

After leading a discussion about those people, ask the children to create a special card for the person they chose to discuss. Give them ideas about how to express their gratitude, but allow them to use their own words and decorate the cards themselves. If possible, obtain addresses and teach the children how to address envelopes. Take the children to the post office to mail the cards or ask a mail carrier to visit the classroom and discuss his job with the class and then collect the cards to mail for them.

Career Dress Up Day

Organize a “Career Dress Up Day.” Ask each child to think of the job they might like to do when they grow up. Tell them to come to school on a pre-determined day dressed for that career. If the children are older, perhaps third, fourth, or fifth grade, allow the children to develop and present a presentation to the class explaining the details of the career he or she chose to represent. In the meantime, have various speakers visit the school to discuss their careers with the class. Be sure to include a diverse variety of jobs. Include professionals such as doctors and attorneys and businessmen, but also include mechanics, bus and truck drivers, clerical workers, retailers, etc. Remember to discuss with the children the importance of all sorts of jobs and job types. Remind them that it takes all types of jobs and all types of people to do those jobs in order to keep America and the communities around them functioning every day. Don’t forget to stress the importance and value of every citizen, including the importance and value of every child.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Games for Kids

Summer Games for Kids
Summer Games for Kids

Summer Games for Kids

After spending the winter indoors, children need the benefits of outdoor games. Outdoor summer games for kids provide children with exercise and opportunities to participate in social activities while developing large and small motor skills. In addition to skill building, summer games provide an opportunity for kids to cool off and just have fun whether at school on a playground or at home in a back yard with neighbors.


Take the kids outside for a game of Barnyard. Designate one child as “It.” Instruct “It” to think of three barn animals. If a large number of children choose to participate, “It” may choose a greater number of animals. Tell “It” to whisper the name of an animal to each child, rotating the animals so that several children represent the same animal. Call out “Go!” Each child must walk around while imitating the sound of the animal whispered into his ear. While imitating animal sounds, the children must discover other children who represent the same animal and herd themselves together. The first animal group to herd together wins.

Dribble, Dribble, Dribble, Drench

Play “Dribble, Dribble, Drench” the same way as “Duck, Duck, Goose,” — but with water. Provide a group of children with a cup or medium-sized pitcher of water. Have the group sit in a circle and choose an “It.” “It” walks around the group while dropping one or two drops of water onto each child’s head while saying the word “Dribble.” She continues until she finally yells “Drench” as she dumps the rest of the water onto a fellow player’s head. The drenched child chases “It” around until she captures “It” or until “It” finds her way to an empty spot to sit. If the drenched child fails to capture “It,” then the drenched child becomes “It.” Otherwise, “It” remains so until captured by a drenched playmate.

Relay Races

Set an outdoor area up for relay races. Draw a starting line with paint or mark it with durable tape. Line the kids up in rows and give the first child in each row a spoon and an egg. At the signal, the first child in each row must travel to a predetermined spot while keeping the egg in the spoon. If a child drops an egg, he must return to the starting line and begin again. Once the child reaches the predetermined mark, he must turn around and go back without dropping the spoon and hand it over to the next child in his line. Each child continues until every child in his line gets a chance to participate. The first line to finish wins. The same procedure may be used with a potato, apple, orange or water balloon. The heavier or messier the item in the spoon, the more challenging the game.

Olympic Summer Games

We hope you spend lots of time outside this summer!  Learn more about the benefits of outdoor play for kids here.

Family Friendly Things to Do in Atlanta, Georgia

Family Friendly Things to Do in Atlanta, Georgia
Image Credit:  NoahHerrera - Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Things to Do in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia welcomes residents and visitors with a variety of activities for the entire family. Rich in cultural history, Atlanta offers museums, theaters, festivals, restaurants and parks to suit a variety of tastes. When planning a trip to Atlanta, consider a variety of activities for children.

Macy’s Tree Lighting
Plan to attend Macy’s Annual Tree Lighting. Family activities begin earlier in the evening, usually around 6:30 p.m. The event typically takes place Thanksgiving Weekend and includes appearances by various vocal artists and celebrities. Prepare to hear the Macy’s All-Star Holiday Choir sing a collection of Christmas carols.
The Georgia Aquarium offers enough activities to fill an entire day’s schedule. The aquarium features a shark tunnel and provides opportunities for a behind-the-scenes tour, a deep sea diver show, a 4D theater and various seasonal displays such as “The Titanic.” Check with Georgia Aquarium event planners for a full list of seasonal displays as they can vary.
Zoo Atlanta houses a large variety of animals and plants. Safely and well-maintained animal habitats offer visitors various views of the animals. Zoo Atlanta offers a variety of camps, scavenger hunts and a small amusement park for younger children. Parents can schedule birthday parties at Zoo Atlanta or sign up for various workshops.
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta offers opportunities for children to integrate learning with play. Exhibits allow children to play while learning about subjects such as water, solar and wind conservation and energy. Children learn about the concepts of farming and wildlife. Other exhibits offer children opportunities to explore and enhance creativity and problem-solving skills.
Plan to spend a day at Stone Mountain Park. Take the children on a train ride around Stone Mountain. Either hike or ride to the top of the mountain, where children can roam freely and take in a mountaintop view. Stone Mountain offers a variety of shops, small museums, animal exhibits, parks, picnic areas and a nightly laser show and fireworks.
Visit Atlanta’s World of Coke museum and learn about the history of the soft drink. The museum offers exhibits featuring a variety of media resources, including paper programs, videos and a 4D Theater. Allow children to taste various versions of the soft drink sold around the world. View a bottling line that actually produces a glass bottle of the soft drink for each World of Coke visitor.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Letters to God Movie Review

Letters to God Movie Review
Letters to God Movie Review

Letters to God Movie Review

If you are looking for a movie which teaches faith, hope, endurance, and strength, Letters To God is the movie for you. It is truly one of the best movies I have ever seen. Once you rent or purchase the movie, you will need to be sure to have tissues handy before you begin the film. Within the first few minutes, you will find yourself laughing, crying, and laughing and crying at the same time. You will likely remain in that state throughout the entire movie. Letters To God is a movie to be viewed by the entire family.

A young boy, Tyler Doherty (played by Tanner McGuire) battles cancer with the strength, courage, and hope that is rare in the life of anyone in his circumstances, especially in the life of a child. During Tyler’s battle, he writes letters to God which are really his prayers in written form. Tyler mails his letters to God and they end up in the hands of his mailman, Brady McDaniels (played by Jeffery S. S. Johnson) who is suffering trials of his own. Jeffery does not know what to do with the letters at first, but he develops a relationship with Tyler and his family, including Tyler’s mom (played by Robyn Lively). Tyler’s mother, grandmother (played by Maree Cheatham), and brother, Ben (played by Michael Christopher Bolton) all work together to remain strong for Tyler while facing their own feelings of neglect, selfishness, fatigue, and even doubt. Their faith is challenged.

I don’t want to spoil your movie watching experience so I will not reveal too much information beyond what I have already explained except to say that Tyler’s faith influences so many others around him, especially Brady, the mailman. Within this remarkable movie, faith is challenged, the gospel is shared with viewers, decisions are made, lives are changed, and faith prevails.

Letters To God is based on a true story.