Category: Family Fun

Apr 23 2017

Rib Country BBQ

On a recent family trip to Helen, Georgia we stopped at Rib Country BBQ for dinner.  Their BBQ smelled delicious as we were exploring downtown Helen.  The girls ate a kids Rib Basket and Jake & I had a shredded Pork BBQ.  The meals were very filling and delicious barbecue.

The restaurant had a choice of indoor or outside seating.  Since it was a warm evening we chose to eat outside on the deck.  A band was playing during our dinner which was nice.  The kids loved watching all the tubers coming down the river past the restaurant.  We set on a table overlooking the river.

The kids had so much fun eating dinner and watching the tubers go down the river that they asked if we could go tubing as well.  We didn’t realized they were already tubing with the water still being chilly.  Most of the people going down the river were fully dressed except for their feet which most have flipflops or crocs on which made me feel better about not getting fully soaked.  Plus the tubes had the bottoms in so you didn’t have to have your backside in the water the whole way which should keep us warmer.

Overall:  We recommend the food, atmosphere, service, and entertainment at Rib Country BBQ.  If you enjoy ribs or BBQ this is a great place to eat. The price was reasonable too.

Photo Credit

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Apr 22 2017

Fun 2 person game!

On a recent trip Jake picked up the game called Trambahn from Mayfair Games!  It was a fun 2 person game to play.  I didn’t win, but had a blast playing it.  It comes in a small hard box even though it is technically a card game.  It is a game that you will most likely want to play on a table because the cards will be spread out throughout the game.

The game is built to reflect Munich around the end of the 19th century.  Each player tries to build and expand their own tramways while new routes are being created, stations are built, and existing routes gain additional trains.  The game take about 30 minutes.  The rules are easy to understand and it is fun to play.

Thankful for a husband who enjoys playing board and card games as much as I do.  Also, grateful for the opportunity to stop and play a game together every once in awhile.  It is a fun and relaxing time together.

If you are looking for a fun, easy, two player and card game you should check this one out!

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Apr 22 2017

Beautiful with the wood, large windows, and open floor plan!

My husband and I recently had a weekend away in Cleveland, Georgia while the girls were on a school field trip to Charleston, SC. The Oasis Cabin we stayed in was beautiful!  It was in a great location with the peacefulness of the woods and mountains while conveniently located near Helen, Georgia if you wanted to go out to dinner or exploring.  We ate at the Cowboys & Angels restaurant while in Helen which was very good.  It was a much needed weekend away together.

The cabin was perfect and furnished with a lot of fun extras.  It had simple yet beautiful decorations, not the typical “bears, fish, and other cabin decor”.  The bath robes were very comfortable and we enjoyed playing several rounds of pool together.  We played board games, ate out on the deck, and relaxed together.  We could occasionally hear the construction workers who were building a couple of the surrounding cabins, but nothing too distracting.

There were some cleaning issues that we had with the cabin, but after emailing Cedar Creek Cabins with the information we originally felt like it was worth visiting Cedar Creek Cabins again to see if the experience is better.  Now we are not sure if we will visit any of their cabins in the future.

We are still very thankful for a special weekend together.  We went home refreshed and relaxed!  Just wish the people taking care of the cabins followed through with their promises and that the cabins were cleaned better.

View from the pool table – looking towards the kitchen and bedroom areas

PROS:

  • Gorgeous cabin with a spacious floor plan, huge windows and a lot of nice features
  • Pool Table & Board Games
  • Fairly Private Back Deck
  • Charcoal Grill
  • Keurig Coffee Machine was really nice + they left a few coffee K-Cups to use as well as a re-usable one if you brought your own ground coffee
  • Washer & Dryer
  • Blender – wasn’t aware of this one prior to arriving, but we love smoothies
  • Plenty of Storage for Food & Snacks in the cupboards
  • Comfortable King Size Bed
  • Super Soft Bath Robes
  • Automatic Recliners in the Couch
  • Fireplace
  • Jacuzzi Bathtub the huge tub that was really comfortable, does take awhile to fill up though!
  • Large Walk-in Dual Shower
  • Hot Tub on Deck nice, but needed more chlorine had a mildew growing in it by the second night so we did not get into it again after that night
  • 2 TV’s – one over the fireplace and the other by the bed & jacuzzi tub
  • Nest Thermometer was easy to use
  • Landscaping looked freshly done and really nice (new mulch)
  • Nice Loveseat Wicker Furniture on the Deck could sit or lay down on it.  We played games on the deck, ate snacks, and relaxed
  • Small Community Playground – it was small and a little faded, but was a nice touch for any families coming to visit with small kids.
  • Nice neighborhood – We felt safe enough to walk through the neighborhood and found several other families doing the same as well.

Super soft bathrobes!

CONS:

  • Check the Dishes prior to using!  We found a lot of dirty dishes that had been put away, possibly from the previous renters, but most of them should have been noticed by the cleaning staff.  For example – Several of the knives in the knife rack on the counter were very dirty with chunks of food on them.  Multiple items (plates and cups) in the cupboards had food chunks on them and the bowls had liquid in them.  If you opened the silverware drawer it was obvious by just looking that the silverware was not cleaned prior to being put back into the drawer.  After pulling out several dirty items we ended up washing everything before using it.  Thankfully we brought extra dishwasher soap and a bunch of disposable items because we ended up running all the silverware and a bunch of dishes through the dishwasher prior to leaving.  If you are going to require guests to wash the dishes prior to checking out then the housekeeping staff really should do a quality inspection of the dishes when cleaning the cabin to make sure that they are actually clean prior to the next guests arrival.  Honestly, it was gross and would have been an easy thing to correct while housekeeping was already in the cabin cleaning.  We realize that it was most likely the previous guests that put dirty utensils, pots & pans, and serving items back in the cupboard, however, it was pretty obvious just by glancing that the dishes were put away dirty especially when opening the silverware drawer or pulling a plate out of the cupboard or a bowl with standing water in it.  No one wants to wash dirty dishes from the previous guests in a cabin while on their vacation.
  • Top rack of the dishwasher was missing the right end cap causing the rack to come off the roller or get stuck in place.  Wasn’t a big deal other than it made using the top rack of the dishwasher more difficult to use.
  • Bring extra toilet paper! We had 2 partial rolls of toilet paper that was supposed to last for 4 days for 2 people (the one on the roller was almost gone and the one on the back of the toilet was already half used).  We ended up getting more toilet paper to get us through the weekend.
  • Fireplace thongs would be very helpful when maintaining the fire.  Not a huge problem just would make it more convenient for the guests staying in the cabin.
  • Basic Cooking Supplies especially if you plan to cook.  Maybe we cook more than the average guests or have stayed in cabins with a lot of “extras”.  There was no cooking spray, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or pyrex dish or pie plate to cook in.  One jelly roll pan and a set of pots & pans was it for baking.
  • Ability to be a Gated Community, however, the gate was never locked (even though we were given a gate code) and we were in and out multiple times every day
  • Rough Road with a lot of large pot holes the last half mile or so to the entry of the entrance.  This is probably more of a county maintenance issue, but visitors need to be aware of the road condition as it is one you’ll want to the cabins so take it slow to avoid potholes.
  • Some construction noise. This cabin community was obviously still being built.  Several cabins next to us were still being built, overall the noise from construction was minimal (mostly hammers, saws, and normal construction noises).  We could hear one of the workers radios playing if we were outside, there were several port-a-potties near our cabin, and they did work on both Saturday and Sunday so there was construction activity even on the weekend.
  • No Cabin Signage. Had to call them to figure out which cabin it was because there were no signs and we drove around the entire complex twice.  They told us where it was located and said that the construction workers had knocked over the sign and one was on order.
  • Need updated directions. Followed the directions exactly, but it appears that they have added more cabins and roads since writing the instructions because they did not lead to the correct cabin.
  • High Speed Internet – while they did have internet it did drop a few times or was really slow.  It may have been from all the construction around us because we noticed it most on Friday of our stay.
  • Landline Phone – while it was nice having the phone in the cabin we got multiple phones call from people trying to solicit money and/or services.  After a day we ended up unplugging the phone because the only time it rang was when someone was trying to advertise their services and we had our cell phones that worked decently while at the cabin.

Overall we had a refreshing and relaxing time together.  The cabin itself was gorgeous and other than the kitchen the rest of the cabin was fairly cleanThe housekeeping not checking the dishes and the property managers failure to follow through with their promises were our biggest disappointments, really all else was minor and expected with a new community.

We contacted the property managers and they were apologetic regarding the dirty items in the cabin.  They also offered to give us a discount on our next stay in any of their cabins.  We let them know that we were staying at another one of their cabins again in April with our kids.  Gave them the dates, the cabin we were staying in and everything, but never heard back from them again regarding the discount.

We held off posting the review because we wanted to give them a second chance prior to posting it.  We feel like they dropped the ball in a few ways and not convinced that it would be a company we would use again which is sad because they are within a reasonable driving distance from home making it a convenient weekend place to visit.  Plus the cabins could really be a wonderful relaxing and enjoyable place to stay especially if you don’t have to clean up the previous guests messes!

PLEASE for the sake of your future guests make sure that the cabins are cleaned better no one wants to pull out dishes with the last guests food on them AND don’t offer to fix issues or offer a discount on future stays if you do not intend to honor that promise.

View from the kitchen & dining area bedroom, jacuzzi tub, and shower

Relaxing on the deck lounge.  Comfortable and relaxing!

Decorations were simple and elegant.  Not the typical “cabin” decor which was really nice!

Loved hanging out with my man for the weekend!

Relaxing on the couch in front of the toasty fire!

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Jan 15 2017

As I sit here quietly for the first time in awhile I begin to reflect on my Grandma Doris and the multitudes of ways she impacted my life.  Part of me doesn’t want to think about life without you in it, but I realize that you will always be a part of my life story and many others. Even though it’s not easy there’s a time to say goodbye….I’ve never been good at goodbyes….

I learned many lessons from Grandma over the years.   You gave me the extra confidence to do or be anything I set my mind on.  Grandma Doris was truly a one-of-a-kind person.  She was unique and loved you in her own way.

Growing up whenever they could Grandpa Verlyn and Grandma Doris would take the time out of their busy schedules to come to see me and the other grand-kids participate in whatever sports, concerts, competitions, or activities we were involved in.  I cannot tell you how much this meant to me, just knowing that they cared enough to be there for me and be a part of my life and activities spoke volumes in my life.  They have a lot of family members and many spread out over multiple areas so I know it wasn’t always easy or convenient to make it to these events.   I never doubted their love (why else would they sit on those hard bleachers to watch us over the years).  You knew when Grandma Doris was there….her voice had a way of piercing through all the noise in the crowd and hitting straight into your heart.  She would be your loudest and proudest cheerleader in the crowd no matter how good (or bad) you were.  It was one of Grandma’s many ways of supporting and encouraging you to be your best.

As a kid we would spend our Christmas Eve’s  at Grandpa and Grandma’s house.  There was always an amazing spread of food, fun activities, games, gifts and fun.  The house was full of many family and friends on any given Holiday.  As kids we would often play in the basement while the parents would play games upstairs.   One of our favorite games was Ghost in the Darkness…can’t remember who came up with it, but it was fun!  If we got too loud or rough we would hear Grandma Doris’ shrill voice and her footsteps on the stairs, it was pretty amazing how quickly all kids were instantly on their best behavior as soon as we heard Grandma coming.  I have no idea why Grandma and Grandma went through so many deep freezers when we were kids, but it may have had something to do with the grand-kids using the top of the deep freezer as our safety zone in a variety of games we played while at their house.  Oops!

Grandma preferred comfort over elegance in her day to day life but enjoyed getting fancy for special events involving family and friends.  Grandma knew how to have a good time.

It was okay with Grandma if her house wasn’t perfect as long as everyone felt welcomed.  Anyone was invited to come join the fun adventures at her house whether they we family, friends, or even strangers.  If you needed a place to crash for the night, no problem, there’s always room for one more.   The more the merrier at Grandma’s.

Grandma wasn’t big on making fancy meals, but could make the best Mayonnaise Cake with Chunky peanut butter frosting.  Delicious! When it came to cooking, the quicker the better, as far as Grandma was concerned.

My family lived in Grandpa and Grandma’s basement for several years while my parents were building their house.   It was an adventure in itself, but gave me additional opportunities to spend with Grandma which is something I didn’t truly treasure until later in life.

Grandma was a bargain hunting, coke and beanie baby collecting lady.  I have often wondered over the years how many McDonald’s or other kids meals she and Grandpa have eaten in her quest to collect the special beanie babies or other cool toys!

Life is precious,  life is short.  May this be a time to reflect on the special memories, love, and fun times with Grandma Doris.   She has made an impact on the hearts and lives of those around her.  You were always gracious, giving, and had a strong personality Grandma.

I will always remember Grandma’s smile and cackle that came along with the twinkle in her eyes when she was having fun.  Her spunky personality, loyalty to those she loved, spirit of adventure, gift of hospitality, and so much more.

Whenever I see a chicken, I can’t help but think of you, if I ever have a house with a big enough closet I plan to leave my Christmas tree up year round (just in the closet covered with a sheet most of the year – think how much time it would save around the Holidays decorating and un-decorating….genius Grandma!)  You always amazed me how you could walk barefoot on the gravel roads, through sticker patches, and more.  We always knew when you were walking through the front door with your friendly “YooHoo! Anyone home!”  Many times stopping by to say “Hi” or drop off a batch of fresh eggs,  garden tomatoes or other items.   Disposable cameras, toasty warm home with a crackling fire in the winter, digging out slivers, and even Vicks vapor rub remind me of you.

Thank you Grandma for loving us and leaving your imprint in our hearts and lives over the years. I love you Grandma.  May you rest in peace today January 15, 2017 and forever.

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Jan 04 2017

Fireworks after the Greenville Drive Game!

With a new year comes a lot of excitement!  The feeling of a fresh start in many areas of our lives, planning for future events and adventures, new goals, and more!  Everyday is a blessing!  While we welcome in the New Year don’t forget to reflect on the many blessings that you have enjoyed over the past year(s).  I encourage you to initiate a conversation with your family (it can be during a family dinner, game night, or any good time when everyone is present).  During this family time focus on these three things as a family to start off your New Year right.  This time together will make a positive impact on the hearts and lives of each individual family member and is worth it:

  1. Reflect back the fun memories and blessings of 2016!  Often the hardest part with this stage is getting the ball rolling.  Before the family time create a list of several good family memories to get it started.  Mention one and let others input their memories tied into that event as well as start adding their own memories.  Give everyone a chance who wants to talk the opportunity.  If there is a pause bring up a different memory to keep them going.  Before long you’ll be laughing and the kids will be bringing up memories connected to the event or new ones that you forgot about.  This is a wonderful way to end a year and begin a new one.
  2. Take a moment to think about the tough times over the past year! While the harder times are not easy to deal with or will bring back sadness or emotions they still have an impact on our lives.  Sometimes during these times of discussion you realize that a family member is still struggling with something.  Whether it is grief over a lost pet or loved one, anger, frustration, or something else.  This is a good time to gauge how everyone is doing and give you an opportunity to encourage each other or help those family members heal.  The love and support you receive from those around you can make an incredible impact on your life as you continue to move forward.  Knowing you are not alone, you are loved, and you have a team of people who want to help you can help the family member heal more quickly.  (Do not use this time to point out problems with each other, but to talk about harder times and to encourage.  Some topics made need to be tabled for a later and more lengthy conversation)  It will give you a good insight into your children and some ideas of what to help encourage them with over the next few weeks as they continue to grow and heal.
  3. Look ahead! As one year wraps up and a new one begins it is a great time to set some goals both personally and as a family.  Use this time to set family goals together.  There may be some activities that the kids have been wanting to do, but you have been letting it slip not even realizing that it was very important to them.  The goals discussed during this family  time should be family related, although they most definitely have a personal impact on each family member.  Write these goals down and review them weekly or monthly or regularly throughout the year to remind the family members of what is important to the family as a whole.  This also provides a lead in for each of the members to think about their personal goals.  It allows a great opportunity to have a group of people focused on similar goals and encouraging each other along the way.  Some family goal ideas (eat healthier, regular family game night, monthly date night with spouse and each child, daily family devotions, learn a new skill together, plan a family vacation, weekly family night, quarterly family service project, etc…).  Make a point to write the ideas down and either make a decision that day or within a few days on the family goals.  Type up a list, print it or email it to each family member so that they can be reminded of the ways your family is working together to create stronger bonds, happy memories, and improving lives.

Setting aside a time when everyone is together can be difficult, however it is important.  It can be during a family dinner, game night, or another time when the family is together.  Make sure it is a convenient time with as little distractions as possible.  A time when everyone is more relaxed (not hungry, ready for bed, or trying to multi-task while having this conversation).  The reflecting on memories helps create a happy bond, the tough times allow family members to see that they are not alone and have the support of people who love them, and looking ahead gives you the opportunity to improve and grow into a better individuals and family unit.  If you do write down the family goals please do your best to follow through as much as possible because these goals are important to the members.

Life has a way of staying busy.  Taking the time to spending reflecting on good memories as a way has a way of bringing everyone together.  It may cause some laughter, tears, and healing.  It is good to be reminded of the many blessings in our life and to realize that we are journeying through this life together.   Yes, we make mistakes along the way, but we can can make the best of it and have a lot of fun too.  Many blessings to you and your family this 2017 New Year!!!

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