Georgia State Parks Open on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day 2014

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Georgia’s State Parks Open on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

This holiday season, walk off that extra slice of pie with a heart-pumping hike. All of Georgia’s state parks are open Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day for visitors to enjoy peaceful scenery and active outings. While the park entrances are open, most offices will be closed as park staff enjoy the holidays with their families as well.

State parks are a great way to showcase Georgia’s natural beauty to your out-of-town visitors. For just $5 parking, guests can take a stroll around a sunlit lake or enjoy the horizon from mountain overlooks. Trails range from paved paths to challenging all-day treks. On New Year’s Day, nearly all Georgia State Parks will host guided “First Day Hikes” to kick-start healthy resolutions.

Georgia also has numerous state historic sites that make relaxed family outings this season. While closed on major holidays, most are open before and after these days. Dahlonega Gold Museum, Etowah Indian Mounds and Fort King George are just some of the locations that tell Georgia’s rich history. At New Echota, learn about the Cherokee nation’s capital, and at Roosevelt’s Little White House, see the cars FDR drove with hand controls.

During November and December, be sure to stop by state park gift shops for a selection of outdoor gear, books, toys and clothing. Parks even sell gift cards which make perfect stocking stuffers for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list.

If the holidays find you needing a longer escape, spend a few days in a fully equipped cabin, funky yurt or modern campsite. Some parks are offering winter specials such as stay-and-play golf at Richard B. Russell or yurt discounts at High Falls. For a list of all deals, visit www.GaStateParks.org/specials. To find a park or historic site near you, visit www.GaStateParks.org/map. Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites are operated by the Department of Natural Resources. For a free brochure, call 1-800-864-7275.

Information was provided by Kim Hatcher, Georgia State Parks

GA State Parks & Historic Sites Celebrate Traditional, Old-Fashioned Holidays 2014

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Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites Celebrate Traditional, Old-fashioned Holidays
ATLANTA, November 21, 2014 – If shopping-mall Santas and crowded parking lots have your family feeling “bah-humbug,” plan an outing to one of Georgia’s State Parks or Historic Sites. Dozens of parks across Georgia are hosting old-fashioned holiday celebrations that will remind you of yesteryear. Below is a sampling of events, and the latest calendar can be seen at http://www.GaStateParks.org/events. Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites are operated by the Department of Natural Resources. To reserve cabins, campsites and yurts, call 1-800-864-7275 or visit http://www.GaStateParks.org/reservations.


Metro-Atlanta

Christmas at the Cabin
Saturday, December 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Red Top Mountain State Park – Acworth, GA
Yuletide celebrations of the 1800s come to life as demonstrators take you back in time to Christmas at the Vaughan cabin. Santa will be available for families to take their own photos and for special Christmas visits. $5 parking. 770-975-0055.

Northern Georgia

Lights Up on the Lake
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. – December 5 – December 28
James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park – Summerville, GA
Enjoy a drive through a winter wonderland at the picnic area by the lake. Several lit scenes will grace the roadside as we welcome the coming of the holiday season. If you would rather walk, park at the office and cross the boardwalk into the festivity of lights. $5 parking. 706-857-0826.

Holiday Tours at Hardman Farm
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – December 7 – December 14
Hardman Farm – Sautee Nacoochee, GA
Tour the “Big House” at Hardman Farm, gently dressed with simple holiday decor from the natural world. Tours are available at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. An additional 5:00 p.m. tour will provide an opportunity to see the candle-lit house at twilight. $8 Adults, $7 Seniors 62 and over, $5 Children 6-17, $3 Children 5 and under. 706-878-1077.

Christmas by Candlelight
Friday, December 12 until Saturday, December 13
Chief Vann House Historic Site – Chatsworth, GA
In 1805, Cherokee Chief James Vann opened his new brick mansion to the Moravian missionaries to hold one of the first Christmas celebrations in the Cherokee Nation. To honor this tradition, visitors are invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of a 19th century Christmas in one of America’s best-preserved Cherokee Indian homes. $4 – $6. 706-695-2598.

Victorian Christmas
Saturday, December 13, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Traveler’s Rest Historic Site – Toccoa, GA
Visits Georgia’s last standing stagecoach inn while halls are decked with decorations reflecting the Victorian Era. Historical interpreters dressed in period style clothing will be on hand to help you experience the inn as an 1830s visitor. Free hot cider and teacakes will be served. $3-$5. 706-356-4362.

Caroling Through Victoria Bryant
Saturday, December 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Victoria Bryant State Park – Royston, GA
What’s better than Christmas parties? How about caroling, hayrides, homemade ornaments and cookies? $2 for the hayride, $5 per photo for Pictures With Santa. $5 parking. 706-245-6270.

Christmas Tree Lighting
Saturday, December 13, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Vogel State Park – Blairsville, GA
Join us for the 11th annual L\lighting of a 35-foot live Blue Spruce. There will be caroling, hayrides, Santa Claus’ visit, bonfires and refreshments. Please bring an unwrapped gift for a child 0-12 years of age; no toy guns or knives. The donations will help the Union County Sheriff’s Office toy drive. 706-745-2628.

Middle & South Georgia

Christmas at A.H. Stephens
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. – December 5 – December 28
A.H. Stephens State Park – Crawfordville, GA
Tour the new 10-acre event field and visitor center area which has been beautifully decorated by a host of site partners, volunteers and local businesses. $5 parking. 706-456-2602.

Christmas On The Lake
Saturday, December 6, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Florence Marina State Park – Omaha, GA
Make Christmas decorations out of natural ornaments such as pine cones, sweet gum balls, magnolia seedpods and seashells. We provide all the materials you will need. Then bring your wish list as pictures will be taken with Santa Claus. $1 – $5 plus $5 parking. 229-838-4706.

A Jarrell Plantation Christmas
Saturday, December 6, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Jarrell Plantation Historic Site – Juliette, GA
Greenery from the woods decorates the 1847 plantation house and 1895 farm house. Learn to make simple paper decorations. Enjoy homemade spiced cider cooked on the wood burning stove and old style cookies, and warm up by the fireplace for music and stories. $4-$6.50 478-986-5172.

Festival of Lights and Frosty 5k Race
Saturday, December 6, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Seminole State Park – Donalsonville, GA
Celebrate the park’s 3rd annual Festival of Lights with a visit from Santa, inflatables for the kids, crafts, music and food. For the Merry Mile and Frosty 5k, come dressed in holiday attire and you may find your picture on our Facebook page. Registration forms available from Friends of Seminole, our Facebook Page and the park office. $5 parking. 229-861-3137.

Christmas Comes to Liberty Hall
Saturday, December 13, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A.H. Stephens State Park – Crawfordville, GA
Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens’ home, Liberty Hall, will be decorated with styles of the Victorian Christmas past. Come enjoy Victorian Era games, music, role players, our Confederate museum. Refreshments will be served. $1.00 – $5.00 706-456-2602.

Candy Cane Express Train Ride
Friday, December 5, 10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
Tuesday, December 9, 10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
Thursday, December 11, 10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
Monday, December 15, 10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.
SAM Shortline Train – Cordele, GA
Enjoy a popular excursion with an hour and ten minute layover in Plains. The town will be all dressed in its Christmas wrapping and ready for your visit. Free candy canes for every passenger. Santa will be aboard for the ride. Buy tickets in advance. 229-276-0755.

Lake Paddle with Santa
Saturday, December 13, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain, GA
Join Santa’s flotilla on Lake Delanor. Hot chocolate and cookies included. We provide Santa and basic paddle instruction for canoe or kayak. Register in advance. $15 plus $5 parking. 706-663-4858.

Christmas on the Pond
Saturday, December 13, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
General Coffee State Park – Nicholls, GA
Join us to usher in the holiday season. Visit with Santa, enjoy storytelling, hayrides, a marshmallow roast and homemade refreshments. Donations appreciated. $5 parking. 912-384-7082.

Christmas at the Park
Saturday, December 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Reed Bingham State Park – Adel, GA
Celebrate Christmas with lights, decorations, hot chocolate, refreshments, Christmas crafts, music, a silent auction, and a guest appearance from Santa. $1/craft $5 parking. 229-896-3551.

Holiday Crafts with Santa and Sleigh-Hayride
Saturday, December 20, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park – Pine Mountain, GA
Join up with our picture perfect Santa and his elves at their workshop. Create holiday ornaments and crafts to take home. Enjoy music, hot chocolate, and a 15-minute hayride around the campground. Pay in advance at office and bring receipt. Cash only at the door. Meet at Group Shelter below Lake Delanor dam. $6 ages 4 and up $5 parking. 706-663-4858.

Coastal Georgia

33rd Annual Plantation Christmas
Friday and Saturday, December 5 and December 6, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site – Brunswick, GA
This magical experience will demonstrate how Christmas was celebrated on a Southern rice plantation during the 1850s. Take a candlelit stroll down the old carriage road and enjoy candlelit tours of an antebellum plantation house, hot wassail and cookies, Civil War re-enactors, Christmas carols and a special appearance by Santa Claus. $5-$8. 912-264-7333.

A Colonial Christmas at Fort Morris
Saturday, December 6, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Fort Morris Historic Site – Midway, GA
Get away from the over-commercialization of the holidays and visit Fort Morris for a more peaceful celebration. Join park staff for colonial refreshments, a yule log, bonfire, 18th century music, caroling, dance and firing of the Christmas guns. Free admission sponsored by the Friends of Ft Morris, Flemington and Liberty County. 912-884-5999.

Colonial Christmas at Fort King George
Friday, December 12, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Fort King George Historic Site – Darien, GA
Join the garrison for a traditional dinner in the soldier’s barracks and an evening of colonial-style Yule Tide jollification. Menu consists of traditional colonial Christmas fare. Event ends with a cannon firing. $35 for dinner. Reservations required. 912-437-4770.

Luminary Night with Santa
Saturday, December 13, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Skidaway Island State Park – Savannah, GA
Bring your children and pets for pictures with Santa. Enjoy a walk along our enchanted luminary trail and take a hayride around the park. Sip on hot chocolate while decorating cookies and making holiday crafts. $5 picture, $2 hayrides. $5 parking. 912-598-2300.

Colonial Christmas at Wormsloe
Sunday, December 21, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Wormsloe Historic Site – Savannah, GA
Participate in activities such as caroling, burning of the yule log, dancing to live period music, and other holiday observances of the colonial period, including games and refreshments. $4.50-$10. 912-353-3023.

Information was provided ot me by Kim Hatcher, Georgia State Parks

Nescafe with Coffee Mate

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Any coffee drinkers in the house?  Starting each day with a rich cup of coffee can easily make a day seem more manageable! Add in a little Nescafe French Vanilla with Coffee-Mate and you get a little taste of heaven in not time at all!

As a mom who is on the go, I do not always have time to brew a fresh pot of rich coffee.  Nescafe + Coffee-Mate is a 2-in-1 coffee and creamer combo that is easy to use!  All you do is add hot water to 2 tablespoons and stir!  That is it!  Then you are left with a delicious cup of coffee to enjoy!

I had the opportunity to preview the French Vanilla flavor.  Once prepared it was delicious.  So creamy and smooth and just the right dose of sweetness from the French Vanilla.

Available in these flavors

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Want a coupon to get 75 cents off?  

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Connect with Nescafe

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Website | Facebook | Twitter

Disclosure: I received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.  

Bluebee Pals! Fun for the WHOLE Family!

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Its that time of year where kids are making their holiday wish lists and moms are searching for unique gift ideas. Were excited to introduce you to a new revolutionary toy that will receive a seal of approval from moms and kids! Moms, meet Bluebee Pals, a new Interactive Bluetooth® Enabled Plush Companion and Learning Tool from Kayle Concepts.

Bluebee Pals is a huggable plush toy that sings, reads and answers phone calls. The advanced technology includes lip synchronization allowing the animals mouth to move while singing and reading your childs favorite storybooks or learning apps. You can even surprise and entertain your family and friends when you use your Bluebee Pal as a wireless speaker phone! Bluebee Pals are available in 5 adorable characters: Leo the Lion, Lily the Lamb, Winston the Puppy, Riley the Zebra and Sammy the Bear. You can find Winston the Puppy at Toys R Us this holiday season and the whole gang is available on www.bluebeepals.com.

Bluebee Pals are available at Toys R Us this holiday season!

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Follow Bluebee Pals on Twitter and Instagram and like them on Facebook!

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Susie’s Hope DVD Review & Giveaway

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I have the perfect movie for animal lovers to watch!  You will fall in love!
About the movie: Run time 105 minutes
Based on the true story that successfully passed Susie’s Law in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers, Susie’s Hopebrings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing reflect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna resumes the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as thyey lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, The Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.
About Susie:
Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and event won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year!
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Want to win your own copy of Susie’s Hope?
GIVEAWAY OVER
Winner is Wendy of Alaska 

Disclosure: In accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” 

Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

The Song’s Awaken Love Devotional Review & Giveaway

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Do you remember what is like when you first met your spouse?  There is nothing like this time when you both give freely to one another. I know I sometimes reflect back on this time and wish that there was some way I could recapture that time.   To relive that sweet time!  As many couples know and have experienced challenges set in when life gets hard and remembering what it was like to put others first seems to be a distant thing of the past.

Putting God at the center of your marriage should be our main focus.  When we do this our marriage can flourish as God intended it to.  Thankfully there are many wonderful resources available to couples to help do this.  One such resource is The Song Couple’s Devotional.   This devotional is a 6-week book for couples that can help awaken love in your marriage. With daily relationship insights and prayer points drawn from the Song of Solomon, this devotional will help you grow your relationship with God and one another.

Inspired by the Song of Solomon, The Song is both a full-length movie (see trailer below) and resource for churches to explore God’s plan for relationships, love and marriage.

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About the author:  Kyle Idleman is the Teaching Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, the fourth-largest church in America. Author of the award-winning and bestselling book, not a fan., and presenter of eight of City on a Hill’s curriculum series, he regularly speaks at conferences and events around the world. Kyle and his wife DesiRae have four children.

Be sure to check out the website.  There are so many wonderful tools available here such as quizzes and printable study guides.  A wealth of material is waiting for you!

Check out this resource website!
Check them out on Twitter!
 
Check them out on Facebook!
Want to win your own copy?
GIVEAWAY OVER
Winner is Erin of CA

Disclosure: In accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” 

Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Holiday Gift Ideas from the Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

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Holiday Gift Ideas From Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites:
Getaways, Gift Cards & Golf

ATLANTA, November 12, 2014 – Georgia’s State Parks can make holiday shopping easy for the outdoor lovers on your list. Give them 36 lakes, 13 Indian mounds, eight golf courses, three forts, one train and a swamp when you wrap up gift cards and memberships for some of Georgia’s most beautiful places. Below are a few gift ideas that will last long after the egg nog is gone.

Gift Cards
Gift cards can be used for campsites, cabins, yurts, golf, retail shops, historic site admission, boat rental and numerous other outdoor activities. Cards come in any denomination starting at $5 and can be re-loaded for continued use. They may be purchased in most state park offices or by calling 1-800-434-0982. For a list of participating parks and details, visit www.GaStateParks.org/gift-card.

Annual ParkPass
Perfect for frequent park visitors, the Annual ParkPass provides unlimited access to 47 state parks with no $5 parking fee. For just $50 — or $25 for seniors 62 and older — pass holders can return again and again to enjoy hiking, fishing, paddling and relaxing. To purchase an annual pass, stop by a state park office, call 770-389-7401 or email CustomerService@GeorgiaStateParks.org.

Membership to Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
A “Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites” membership helps protect Georgia’s natural and historic resources, while providing valuable discounts. Membership levels begin at $55 for an individual and include the benefits of a free Annual ParkPass, a free night of camping or round of golf, historic site admission discounts and additional perks. Visit www.FriendsofGaStateparks.org or call 1-888-948-2092.

Books, Hiking Sticks, Stuffed Animals and More
Many of Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites have gift shops filled with inexpensive presents for all ages, including nature books for children and travel guides for adults. Hiking and camping supplies, t-shirts and hats, toys and stuffed animals, and themed décor will make outdoor lovers know that thought went into their gift. History lovers will appreciate items from Etowah Indian Mounds, Fort King George, Roosevelt’s Little White House and other historic sites. To find a nearby gift shop, visit www.GaStateParks.org.

Golf Getaways
Natural scenery and diverse layouts make Georgia State Park golf a sought-after gift. Links lovers will appreciate a getaway to one of the eight state park courses. Package prices vary, depending on accommodations ranging from campsites to cabins. For details and the latest specials, visitwww.GaStateParks.org/golfing.

Georgia Natural Resources Foundation Donation
Make a gift in someone’s name to this 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the preservation of Georgia’s natural and cultural resources through projects, activities and programs. To learn more about this foundation that works closely with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, visit www.georgianrf.org.

For help in planning a holiday staycation for friends or family, visit www.GaStateParks.org or call 1-800-864-PARK (7275). Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites are operated by the Department of Natural Resources.

Information from Kim Hatcher from Ga State Parks