Author Archives: Jen

Blog Giveaway Roundup – August 29, 2014

Blog Giveaway Roundup

Welcome to our weekly giveaway roundup! Every Friday, we offer you the chance to share your giveaways. If you love to enter giveaways, be sure to browse the selection below.

Blog Giveaway Roundup

Good luck! If you’ve had any blog giveaway wins this last week, feel free to let everyone know about them by leaving a comment below.

Hormel Ready-To-Go Proteins Help You Get Dinner on the Table Fast! #newfromhormel #CollectiveBias #shop

Get dinner on the table fast with #newfromhormel Everyday Scratch and Hot Sandwich Meals. #collectivebias #shop

Disclosure:  This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

My kids headed back to school this week. The lazy days of summer are over and it’s right back into a very busy schedule with marching band practice, scout meetings, and all the kids’ other activities. In spite of how hectic life can be at times, I still like to have a home-cooked meal on the table every night for my family. Fortunately for me, there is help!  With new Hormel Everyday Scratch and Hot Sandwich Meats I can get a delicious homemade meal on the table in no time at all.  With Hormel’s ready-to-go proteins, I can whip up my favorite casserole and get it in the oven in a jiffy.  Which leaves me more time for other things – like helping with homework, and playing taxi driver to my kids :)

I recently had the opportunity to try varieties of both of the #newfromhormel products – Everyday Scratch and Hot Sandwich Meats.  I picked them up from Kroger on the way home from an open house. By the time I got home, it was already late and the kids were hungry.  So I was extremely grateful that the Hormel Hot Sandwich Meats are heat and serve.

Get dinner on the table fast with #newfromhormel Everyday Scratch and Hot Sandwich Meals. #collectivebias #shop

I warmed the Hormel Philly Style Steak on the stove top while I prepared a veggie and heated some twice baked potatoes I had made earlier.  I was able to get dinner on the table in just 20 minutes – much to the delight of my kids who claimed they were starving!

Each tub of Hormel Hot Sandwich Meats makes 4 generous sandwiches.  They are fully cooked already, so you just need to heat them on the stove until they are piping hot.  To make things even quicker, you can also microwave them.

Get dinner on the table fast with #newfromhormel Everyday Scratch and Hot Sandwich Meals. #collectivebias #shop

We served our Philly Style Steak on crusty french bread and topped it with muenster cheese.  The Philly Style Steak Hot Sandwich Meat includes sauteed peppers and onions in a flavorful sauce.  I wasn’t quite sure about the sauce, but it adds so much flavor and helps keep everything moist.  It made for a quick meal that was both delicious and quite filling.

In the future, I definitely want to try Hormel’s other varieties of Hot Sandwich Meat when I literally have no time to cook.  Also available are

  • Buffalo Style Chicken
  • Tequila Lime Chicken
  • Tequila Lime Steak

Today, I had a little more time to prepare our meal, but with it being the kids’ first day of school, I didn’t want to spend all afternoon in the kitchen getting dinner together.  So I used Hormel’s Everyday Scratch Rotisserie Style Chicken to help me quickly put together one of our family’s favorite casseroles – Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Bake.  Here’s the recipe…

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Bake Recipe

  • 4 cups prepared rice (I use quick cooking brown rice)
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1 package of Hormel Everyday Scratch Rotisserie Style Chicken, diced
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 oz of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Get dinner on the table fast with #newfromhormel Everyday Scratch and Hot Sandwich Meals. #collectivebias #shop

In a 9×13 inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray, layer the rice, broccoli, and chicken.  In a small bowl, mix the cream of chicken soup with the milk and pour over the top of the casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with the shredded cheddar and return to the oven for 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese.

Get dinner on the table fast with #newfromhormel Everyday Scratch and Hot Sandwich Meals. #collectivebias #shop

The nice thing about this simple recipe is that you can use it as a template and mix things up a bit.   I switch things up from time to time, substituting a different vegetable, cheese, or cream soup.  It’s delicious no matter how you make it.  In the past, I normally just use leftover chicken to make this recipe, but I have to say that the seasoning on the rotisserie chicken lends a nice flavor to this recipe.  So I think I am going to use it from now on when I make this recipe.

In addition to the Rotisserie Chicken, there are five other Hormel Everyday Scratch varieties that can help you get a head start with your favorite recipes.

  • Flame Seared Carnitas – I am thinking of using these for taco night!
  • Flame Seared Chicken Breast – would be great for any casserole or recipe where you need cooked chicken
  • Fusilli Pomodoro with Grilled Chicken – for all your favorite Italian dishes
  • 6-Cheese Macaroni with Grilled Chicken
  • Roasted Garlic Cheese Risotto with Grilled Chicken

Although the main benefit of these products are that they can help you get a meal on on the table quickly, I think you will also appreciate that these refrigerated entrees contain no preservatives and have 0 grams of trans fat.  As a mom who tries to feed her family wholesome, nutritious meals, I can definitely appreciate that.

New from Hormel at Kroger

Want to try new Hormel Everyday Scratch or Hot Sandwich Meats for  yourself?  Both can be found in the refrigerated entrees section at your local Kroger.  At the Kroger Marketplace here in town, the refrigerated entrees are found on an island (or at least that’s what I call it!) in front of the meat counter.

Money Saving Coupons

What’s even better than Hormel’s delicious new Everyday Scratch and Hot Sandwich Meats saving you time in the kitchen?  Saving time and money of course!   Here are two coupons you will want to print before heading off to the store. (Both coupons expire 30 days after you print them and they are available until 10/31/14.)

So that’s twice in the past few days that Hormel has helped me get dinner on the table quickly – first with their Hot Sandwich Meats and then again with their Everyday Scratch ready-to-go protein.  I am definitely going to keep a couple of varieties of these on hand for those nights when I just don’t have much time to cook. We busy moms can use all the help we can get!  So tell me…  Which of Hormel’s new varieties are you most interested in trying?

This is Where I Leave You – Coming to Theaters September 19th

Coming to theaters September 19th, This is Where I Leave You is based on the hilarious and poignant best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper and features an ensemble cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda.

Most of the time, we go to the movies as a family.  Every once in awhile though, my husband and I enjoy a date night by ourselves.  We usually grab dinner and head to the theater to watch a movie.  One of the movies we want to see on an upcoming date night is This is Where I Leave You.  It is based on the best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper,  and will be hitting theaters on September 19th.

About This is Where I Leave You

When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.

 

Coming to theaters September 19th, This is Where I Leave You is based on the hilarious and poignant best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper and features an ensemble cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda.

This Is Where I Leave You Stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard and Jane Fonda.  It was directed by Shawn Levy and was produced by Paula Weinstein, Shawn Levy, Jeffrey Levine; Executive Producers Mary McLaglen, Jonathan Tropper.  This dramatic comedy is rated R, so you will want to save this one for a date night when you have a sitter for the kids.

Be sure to check out the movie trailer for This is Where I Leave You

Join the Book Club!

Coming to theaters September 19th, This is Where I Leave You is based on the hilarious and poignant best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper and features an ensemble cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda.

I don’t know about you, but whenever a movie comes out that is based on a book, I always like to read the book first. If you are going to be reading This is Where I Leave You before you see it in the theater, be sure to join Warner Bros. Pictures’ #TIWILY book discussion on the film’s Facebook page each Wednesday, and take part in the conversation for a chance to win signed movie posters and a trip to the premiere in Hollywood!

To learn more about this movie, be sure to follow the hashtag #TIWILY or visit the following websites:

Be sure to check back in a few weeks as we will have a fun giveaway to help celebrate the release of this film.  One lucky winner will receive a $25 Visa Gift Card so they can see the movie in the theaters, as well as a tote bag and mug.

So tell me…  Have you heard of the movie This is Where I Leave You?  Will you be seeing it when it comes out to theaters on September 19th?

Disclosure:  I will be receiving a gift card in exchange for sharing information about this upcoming film.  No other compensation will be received.  All opinions stated are my own.

Celebrate National Waffle Day with Van’s!

Celebrate National Waffle Day with Van's Waffles.

Did you know that August 24th is National Waffle Day?  Our family just loves waffles for breakfast – especially Van’s waffles. With no artificial ingredients, no hydrogenated or GMO oils, and no high fructose corn syrup, Van’s frozen waffles are one convenience food that I happily serve to my family. I just pop them in the oven for a few minutes while I mix up some scrambled eggs. It’s a quick and easy breakfast that’s healthy too.

Our favorite variety of Van’s Waffles is their multi-grain waffles. They are packed with 8 whole grains – whole wheat, oats, barley, brown rice, rye, quinoa, amaranth, and millet. Plus they taste great and our whole family enjoys them.

Celebrate National Waffle Day with Van's Waffles.

In honor of National Waffle Day, I thought I would share some of our family’s favorite waffle toppings. I like to prep a bunch of toppings and set them out on the table and let everyone top their Van’s waffles exactly how they want.

Celebrate National Waffle Day with Van's Waffles.

My husband and I like to keep it simple – fresh strawberries and blueberries, drizzled with real maple syrup. Yum!  Sometimes we mix things up a bit and use fresh peaches.   In the winter, I sometimes take frozen fruit, add a bit of honey,  and heat it on the stove until it begins to break down a bit.  It makes a yummy sauce that is also great for topping Van’s waffles.

Celebrate National Waffle Day with Van's Waffles.

My middle daughter loves to top her waffles with peanut butter, bananas, and a drizzle of honey.  My son and youngest daughter are partial to topping their waffles with chocolate hazelnut spread and fresh strawberries.

No matter how you top yours, Van’s waffles are a quick and healthy breakfast.  So tell me… What are your favorite waffle toppings?

And now for a fun giveaway…

Enter to win a Van's Waffles Prize Pack that includes 4 free product coupons and a tote bag.  The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends September 1, 2014.

In honor of National Waffle Day, Van’s Natural Foods wants to bless one A Heart Full of Love reader with a Van’s Waffles Prize Pack. The prize pack will include 4 coupons for free Van’s Waffles and a tote bag. Entry is easy through the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends September 1st at 11:59 pm EST and is open to US residents age 18 and older.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I will be receiving Van’s waffles coupons in exchange for this post. No other compensation will be received. All opinions stated are my own.

Protect Your Child’s Belongings With Mabel’s Labels

Help protect your child's school supplies from loss or theft with a label pack from Mabel's Labels.

Last year, my youngest daughter was forever having her school supplies stolen out of her desk.  I must have replaced the entire contents of her desk three times at least!  As a penny-pinching mama, that just made me angry.  Not with my daughter of course – it wasn’t her fault.  They switch classes, so there are multiple kids sitting at her desk.  I alerted the teacher several times, but they were never able to figure out who was taking my daughter’s supplies.

With 3 kids, back to school time can be quite expensive in our house.  I think we have spent over $200 so far in the past few weeks on school supplies alone.  After spending all that money, I definitely want to make sure that my kids’s belongings don’t get stolen this year. So I had the grand plan this year to label everything with a sharpie marker, right down to the individual pencils.  Would it be effective?  Probably, but it wouldn’t look all that great.  Thankfully before I broke out the sharpie, I was contacted by Mabel’s Labels about a review for one of their label packs.  I think my daughter is a bit relieved that all her new school supplies get to be a little bit more stylish than just being labeled in marker!

Help protect your child's school supplies from loss or theft with a label pack from Mabel's Labels.

Mabel’s Labels was started by a group of moms who know all too well the frustration of replacing a child’s belongings after they are lost.  Mabel’s Labels offers high quality, waterproof,  personalized labels and tags for the stuff kid lose.   From sippy cups, to school supplies, to electronics, chances are Mabel’s Labels offers a tag or label that can help protect your child’s belongings.

One thing I love about Mabel’s Labels is that their products stand up to normal wash and wear.

  • Skinny-Minis™ are dishwasher and microwave safe
  • Tag Mates™ are washer and dryer safe
  • Shoe Labels and Teeny Tags™ are waterproof and UV resistant

Help protect your child's school supplies from loss or theft with a label pack from Mabel's Labels.

I received the Stylish Scholars label pack to review.  I had it personalized with my daughter’s name.  I love that they offer labels for older kids who have moved on from bottles and sippy cups to iPods and cell phones!  The Stylish Scholars pack can be used on school supplies, water bottles,  backpacks, electronics, and more.  You get to choice the design, colors, and font.  

The pack I received included

• 40 Skinny-Minis™
• 50 Tag Mates™
• 16 Round Labels
• 2 Teeny Tags™

Help protect your child's school supplies from loss or theft with a label pack from Mabel's Labels.

So my daughter and I have been busy personalizing all her school supplies.  The Skinny-Minis and Teeny Tags were just perfect for fitting into small spaces like on the handle of her scissors or the center of her ruler. I may have gone a bit overboard with the labeling though, as evidenced by my daughter’s exasperated sigh when I went to label each pencil with a Teeny Tag :)

At any rate, my daughter just loved the fun dot design on her labels. As for me, I am looking forward to less school supplies to replace this year since everything has been labeled with my daughter’s name.  If you have a child heading back to school, I highly recommend you check out Mabel’s Labels.  They are a great way to help protect your children’s belongings from getting lost or stolen.

Want to learn more about the different products Mabel’s Labels offers?  Visit their website MabelsLabels.com.  You can also follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.

So tell me…  How do you protect your child’s school supplies from loss or theft?  Have you ever heard of Mabel’s Labels?

Disclosure:  I received a pack of Mabel’s Labels to facilitate this review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions stated are my own.

 

The Maze Runner Hits Theaters September 19th #MazeRunner

Based on the young adult best-selling book by James Dashner, The Maze Runner hits theaters on September 19th.

Even though I am far from a teenager, I have really been enjoying all the young adult action books that have been made into movies lately.  I recently found out about another one that looks like it is going to be a big hit.  The Maze Runner is based on the best-selling book by James Dashner.  From watching the trailer, it looks like it is going to be action-packed!  I can’t wait to take my take my 16 year old son to see it when it comes out to theaters on September 19th.

About The Maze Runner:

When Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D. Only by piecing together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the maze can Thomas hope to uncover his true purpose and a way to escape.

Based on the young adult best-selling book by James Dashner, The Maze Runner hits theaters on September 19th.

The Maze Runner stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen, and Ki Hong Lee. It was directed by Wes Ball and produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen.

The Maze Runner is rated PG-13. My daughters may be a little bit young to see it yet, but I know my son will enjoy it. In fact, when I told him about it, he immediately asked to get the book so he could read it before the movie comes out!

Be sure to check out the movie trailer for The Maze Runner.

To learn more about this film, follow the hashtag #MazeRunner, and be sure to follow the movie’s social media channels.

Also be sure to come back here the week of September 8th for a fun giveaway. You will have the chance to win a copy of the book and a gift card so you can go see the movie.

So tell me… Have you read The Maze Runner? Will you be seeing it when it comes out to theaters on September 19th.

Great Deals on Crafting Supplies

Stampin Up Weekly Deals
Stampin’ Up has some great deals this week on paper crafting supplies.  Included this week are the  Petite Purse Die, the Rosette Die, the Fancy Fan Embossing Folder, the Wildflower Meadow Embossing Folder, the Envelope Liners Framelits, Natural Cotton Ribbon, and the Tea Time Digital Kit.

I’ve had my eye on the Rosette die for awhile now.  I will have to order one while it’s on sale.   The purse die would make such cute party favors for a little girl’s birthday party.  You could fill it with candy or treats.  So I might have to pick up that one too while I can save a bit

Click here to see all the current Stampin’ Up Weekly Deals.

Stampin Up Big Shot Sale

I also wanted to let you know that if you have been considering purchasing a die cut machine, now is the time to do it.  Through August 31, Stampin’ Up is offering a stamp/die bundle set for FREE when you purchase a die-cut machine.  That’s an awesome deal!  Or if you already have a die cut machine, like I do, the same bundles are 15% off.

Click here to learn more about this Big Shot / Bundle Deal.

Happy Crafting!

Celebrate National Lemonade Day at Red Robin and Join the Fight Against Childhood Cancer

Help Red Robin celebrate National Lemonade Day and join the fight against childhood cancer.

Nothing is more refreshing during the summertime than a tall glass of ice cold lemonade, except maybe a Freckled Lemonade from Red Robin!  Did you know that August 20th is National Lemonade Day?  I didn’t either until recently.  This year, Red Robin restaurants all across the US are  helping to celebrate National Lemonade Day by giving a little something back.

Help Red Robin celebrate National Lemonade Day and join the fight against childhood cancer.

On August 20th, participating Red Robin restaurants will be hosting lemonade stands.  Guests can try samples of their Freckled Lemonade, which is a yummy blend of Minute Maid Lemonade and sweet strawberries.  In addition, Red Robin employees will also be collecting donations that will go directly to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a charity that works to help find a cure for childhood cancers and raise awareness.  Any Red Robin guests who donate $5 or more will receive a yellow bracelet that they can wear to show their support.

If you have never heard of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, it was started in 2000 by 4 year old cancer patient named Alexandra Scott.  She wanted to have a lemonade stand to raise money to find a cure for all kids with cancer.  Alexandra passed away that same year, but her legacy continues with the foundation bearing her name.  To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has raised over $80 million and helped to fund over 450 pediatric cancer research projects.

Help Red Robin celebrate National Lemonade Day and join the fight against childhood cancer.

Want to help celebrate National Lemonade Day with Red Robin and join the fight against childhood cancer?  Here’s how you can help, even if you aren’t able to visit a Red Robin restaurant on August 20th.

  • Make a donation directly to AlexsLemonade.org.
  • Visit a Red Robin Restaurant anytime and purchase a Freckled Lemonade.  A percentage of the proceeds from every Freckled Lemonade sold goes to Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
  • Purchase an Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation eGift Card at www.redrobin.com/giftcards.
  • Purchase Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Merchandise from the Red Robin website.

In addition, every time Red Robin opens a new restaurant, ALL proceeds from Freckled Lemonade during grand opening week will be donated to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear of a child with cancer, it breaks my heart a little.   So I love that Red Robin restaurants are lending a hand to help support this wonderful charity.  To learn more about Red Robin and the ways they are helping Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, be sure to visit RedRobin.com/ALSF.  (The website will be live August 18th just in time for National Lemonade Day.)

Help Red Robin celebrate National Lemonade Day and join the fight against childhood cancer.

I had the opportunity to visit Red Robin recently and try one of their Freckled Lemonades.  I had no idea what a Freckled Lemonade was beforehand, but was pleased to discover that it was a blend of lemonade and real strawberries.  So yummy! You can have as many refills as you want so I might have been swimming in lemonade by the time we left :)  The nice waitress even gave me another in a to-go glass.   So you are getting a delicious glass of ice cold strawberry lemonade and a portion of the sale goes to support a worth charity.  That’s a win-win situation in my book!

Help Red Robin celebrate National Lemonade Day and join the fight against childhood cancer.

I had actually never been to a Red Robin before, but was really pleased with their selection of gourmet burgers.   My husband, who would eat a burger for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if he could, was in heaven!  Their burgers are huge and they come with bottomless steak fries.  Which means you can have endless refills.  We didn’t take advantage of it, because we were stuffed,  but it’s great that they will bring you more if you want.

My husband and I are going to be going back to Red Robin for National Lemonade Day to help support Alex’s Lemonade Stand.  Will you join us?  To find out if there is a Red Robin restaurant near you, please visit RedRobin.com/locations

Enter to win a $25 Red Robin Gift Card.  The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends August 20, 2014.

To help spread the word about the special National Lemonade Day celebration at Red Robin, one lucky A Heart Full of Love reader is going to receive a $25 Red Robin Gift Card.  Entry is easy through the Rafflecopter form below.  The giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older and ends on August 20th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Red Robin provided me with a gift card and information.  All opinions stated are my own.  The gift card for the winner is also being provided by Red Robin.

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Chattanooga

Planning a trip to #Tennessee?  Learn more about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga. #roadtrip #familyfun

We weren’t able to take a huge vacation this year due to some work we had done on the house, but we still wanted to get away for a few days to unwind a bit.  So we decided a short trip to Tennessee was in order.  It’s far enough away that we don’t get there very often, but close enough that  we can get there by lunch time if we leave pretty early in the morning.  Our first stop was Chattanooga.  Chattanooga is usually where we stop for the night on our way home from Florida, but we discovered there are plenty of fun things to do in Chattanooga that make it a great place for a little getaway.

Since we had a 6 hour drive, we left pretty early in the morning.  Any time we go on vacation, we usually hit the road around 5 am, so that we can be at our destination by lunch and still have plenty of time that first day for sight-seeing.  The kids usually go back to sleep, so we can drive for a couple of hours before stopping for breakfast.  We ended up getting to Chattanooga about noon.

Rock City Birdhouse inspired by the #RockCity Barns found throughout the midwest and south.  Planning a visit to #Tennessee?  Learn about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga  #roadtrip #familyfun

Our first stop in Chattanooga was Rock City.   If you live in the south or the midwest, chances are you may have seen a “See Rock City” barn along the highway.  Starting in the mid 1930′s, Rock City hired Clark Byers to paint advertisements on barns along major roads.  This continued until 1969. During this time, “See Rock City” was painted on over 900 barn roofs in 19 states.

It was one of those barn advertisements that led to our first visit to Rock City 20 years ago when Kevin and I were first married.  So when we were planning our vacation this year, we thought it would be fun to go back and see how it had changed.

The beautiful Lover's Leap at #RockCity.  Planning a visit to #Tennessee?  Learn about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga  #roadtrip #familyfun

If you have never heard of Rock City, it is located on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.  Rock City  is a park full of beautiful gardens, stunning rock formations, and gorgeous views.   Adults will definitely appreciate the natural beauty of the place, but that’s not to say that Rock City isn’t fun for children too.  Younger kids will definitely enjoy the Fairytale Caverns, the herd of white deer, and all the gnomes hidden throughout the park.   My middle daughter, who just turned 12, told me that Rock City was her favorite part of our trip.

You can learn more about Rock City at SeeRockCity.com

See seven states from #RockCity.  Planning a visit to #Tennessee?  Learn about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga  #roadtrip #familyfun

If you are planning on visiting the three main attractions on Lookout Mountain, I highly recommend purchasing their combo tickets.  We got the Triple Play tickets that included admission to Rock City, Ruby Falls, and the Incline Railway.  We ended up saving about $5 a person.  You can buy the combo tickets at the ticket booths at any of the attractions.  We got ours at the ticket counter at Rock City.

The famous train that inspired the song Chattanooga Choo Choo.  Planning a visit to #Tennessee?  Learn about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga  #roadtrip #familyfun

After visiting Rock City, we headed over to a famous Chattanooga landmark. I mean what would a visit to Chattanooga be without seeing the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?!  Although it was originally a working train that inspired the famous song, the train is now on display and the cars have been converted into hotel rooms.  How fun would that be to spend the night in a train car?  If we had not put off our hotel reservations until the last minute, we would have loved to stay there.

While  you are visiting the Choo Choo, you can also see the largest HO model train layout in the US or do some shopping.  If you are into scrapbooking, there is a fun shop there called Little Lace Lady.  The women who work there are super friendly and they have a lot of scrapbook supplies for local attractions.  And there may or may not be a letterbox there :)

The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway takes you on a one mile trip straight to the very top of the mountain.Planning a visit to #Tennessee?  Learn about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga  #roadtrip #familyfun

We ended our first day in Chattanooga with a trip on the Incline Railway.  The Incline Railway is one of the world’s steepest passenger trains, traveling one mile up to the top of Lookout Mountain.  Your ticket includes a round trip.  Most people start at the station at the base of the mountain, but you can also board the train from the top station.  Just be aware that there aren’t as many parking spots at the station on top of the mountain.

The two trains of the Incline Railway are connected by a cable.  As one goes up, the other comes down.  They pass in the middle, with only a couple of feet separating the two trains.  The kids really enjoyed the part where the trains passed.

Once at the top, you can get out and explore a bit.  Trains depart every 15 minutes so you can take as long as you want to look around.  We climbed the stairs to the observation deck and took in the views of the city down below us.  For a special treat, plan your visit to coincide with sunset!  The view is just gorgeous.

Learn more about the Incline Railway at RideTheIncline.com

Ruby Falls is a fun cave tour that ends at a gorgeous underground waterfall.  Planning a visit to #Tennessee?  Learn about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga  #roadtrip #familyfun

The next morning, we got up early and headed over to Ruby Falls.  Ruby Fall is also located on Lookout Mountain.  It is a cave tour that leads you to a spectacular underground waterfall.

In addition to the underground waterfall, there are plenty of fun rock formations to see, including this one that looks like Niagara Falls. Planning a visit to #Tennessee?  Learn about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga  #roadtrip #familyfun

Along the half mile walk to the waterfall, the knowledgeable and friendly tour guide gave us a bit of the history of the area, and pointed out all the fun rock formations, like the Niagara Falls formation.   When you get to the waterfall, the main lights are turned off and the lights behind the waterfall change colors, creating some really beautiful photo opportunities.

To learn more, visit RubyFalls.com

While you are on Lookout Mountain, be sure to plan a visit to Point Park and learn about the impact Chattanooga had on the course of the Civil War.  Planning a visit to #Tennessee?  Learn about the best family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga  #roadtrip #familyfun

The last attraction we visited in Chattanooga was Point Park, which is part of the National Park service.  If you are a civil war history buff, then I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area.   Point Park is part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, which includes several historical sites in both Tennessee and Georgia.  Point Park is just a short walk from the top station of the Incline Railway.

The highlight of our visit to Point Park was getting to see a civil war cannon demonstration.  I knew it was going to be a loud boom, but I didn’t expect that I would feel the reverberation with as far away as we were standing.  We also listened to a very interesting presentation by a park ranger who explained the role Chattanooga played in the Civil War.  I never much cared for history in school, but now that I am an adult, I find it fascinating to visit historical places and learn how they shaped our country.

To learn more Point Park and the rest of the Civil War sites in the area, visit NPS.gov/chch/.

We only had 2 days in Chattanooga, as we were heading to the Smoky Mountains next to spend a couple of days hiking.  However, there were definitely other things to do in Chattanooga that we would have loved to see if we had more time.

If we had one more day, we would have definitely visited the Tennessee Aquarium.  We have been there before, and it is an amazing place to visit.  However since we have the Newport Aquarium about an hour from home, we decided to skip it on this trip.  Also in Chattanooga are an art museum, a zoo, the Creative Discovery Museum for kids, and an Imax Theater.  You could easily spend three or four days taking it all in if you had the time.

There is definitely lots of family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga and we had a great time during our stay there.  So tell me… Have you ever visited Chattanooga?  What was your favorite attraction?