Looking for a a Fun, Free, Outdoor Family Hobby?

Are you looking for a family hobby that is free? How about a family hobby that encourages everyone to get outside for exercise and fresh air? Does your family need more quiet time? Would you love to spend time learning with your kids in a fun way?

We’ve found a family hobby that is for the birds. Actually, it was inspired them and the many ways they have fluttered into our lives and offered us unplanned lessons just for being there with our eyes open.

Bird watching is filled with science lessons as kids explore the habits and habitats of birds, notice the changing seasons and learn to identify and classify birds. It’s fun to bird watch and notice which birds prefer which types of trees and to try to investigate their diets.

Math is fun when you’re counting the number of birds you see at a bird feeder or during a walk. In bird watching, counting really counts! Your family can participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count, each February or The Christmas Count, from December 14 to January 5th, annually. These projects are fun, free and require as little or as much time as you want to dedicate. You can visit www.birdsource.org to participate. There is also an “ebird” program that allows you to enter sightings from anywhere, anytime!

Kids are more likely to read about subjects that are interesting to them. Get kids hooked on bird watching and there is a lot of fun reading out there. Your local library will have many bird watching books. Bird Watcher, published by DK can be enjoyed by all ages. Even young children enjoy the awesome photos and short articles in “Birds and Blooms” magazine and websites such as the www.audobon.org are fun filled and informative too. Interesting art and photos that attract readers usually accompany birding publications.

While kids will learn more about the social habits of birds and other wildlife when watching, they’ll also develop some important social skills of their own like patience and respect. Birds reward those who are willing to be still and quiet. Kids can also learn responsibility as they keep hummingbird feeders, bird feeders or birdbaths maintains and the birds always reward those efforts.

Whether they are sketching the birds they watch, photographing them and making a scrapbook or building and painting birdhouses, bird watching offers lots of opportunities for the whole family to use their creativity.

Does everyone in your family have a favorite sports team? How about a favorite movie character? Does each of you have a favorite pizza? Why not spend some time getting to know the native birds in your area and let each family member discover their favorite bird and become that species biggest fan!

Bird watching is great way to get outside and learn together. Most importantly, bird watching offers a fun opportunity to bond with the others from your nest!

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Top Ten Childrens Movies

My list of top ten Classic Children’s Movies:

Mulan: One of my absolute favorite children’s movies. The loyalty, love, respect and courage characterized in this movie are phenomenal. In addition to being funny, entertaining and exemplarily, the movie brings a sense of empowerment and encouragement for females. Mulan’s bond and respectfulness towards her father/family and friends is truly admirable! I thoroughly enjoy watching both Mulan and Mulan II.

The Sound of Music: A wonderful, entertaining movie with excellent and memorable music. As a child, I loved to watch the movie because the story was interesting and I truly loved the music.

Bambi: Bambi was very emotional and serious to me as a child. Even as I child, I admired the characters, the bonds they developed and the loyalty they shared towards each other. The movie is colorful, sweet and fun.

Mary Poppins: Mary Poppins is very entertaining. The music and story line is enjoyable and there are a lot of scenes that one, child or adult, can’t help but to smile about. The songs and scenes are pleasant and memorable.

Shrek: This movie was the first movie to take the princess fantasies to realistic, down to earth level where the princess wasn’t “perfect”. The movie was funny, entertaining and creative. The lesson I got from it was that I should be proud of myself and I should be “me”, not who everyone wants me to be. I really enjoyed this movie and think of it often in terms of the lessons I think it encompasses.

Beauty and the Beast: This is a beautiful, imaginative movie that brings regular household items to life and makes them fun and interesting! The music and scenes are memorable and wonderfully entertaining. The story of the Beast and Belle is romantic and there are many humorous scenes.

ET: In a family of four children, we all watched this movie over and over again. The movie was interesting. The Alien kept us interested; the story was funny and creative; the bonds developed between the children and ET were interesting and admirable. The movie was funny, sad, exciting… all anyone can ever expect from a children’s movie.

Mac & Me: This isn’t a movie I hear about often but loved as a child. This movie, like ET, was funny, sad, exciting, all in one. It was creative and really made an impression on me in terms of treating others fairly and respectfully despite of difference which are beyond anyone’s control. At the end of the movie, the Aliens, Mac and his family, are made US Civilians. It’s a great movie and every entertaining.

The King and I: The King and I was a movie that I enjoyed very much! The children were humorously mischievous and kept the movie interesting and exciting. The romance between the King and the nanny was sweet and the whole idea of a missing parent, etc. is and idea a lot of children can relate to. The changes in the father’s behavior throughout the movie made it emotional as well but the overall feeling of the movie was pleasant, sweet and happy! The music and scenes were wonderfully entertaining and enjoyable!

All Dogs Go To Heaven: This was a great movie that comes to mind often as I and other members of my family have lost our beloved and dear dogs/pets. This movie is funny and sweet. The music and scenes are entertaining and who doesn’t love DOGS!!? Well, anyone that doesn’t will once they see this movie!!

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Tennessee Outdoors is the Good Life

I may not have much money, but I sure am rich. Yep, living in East Tennessee really proves that the best things in life really are free. Where else can a working class man have access to beautiful lakes, mountains, blue-ribbon trout streams, and prime hunting grounds, all less than an half hour’s drive from the city? Yes, from Chattanooga to Bristol, Tennesseans from all walks of life can claim the good life right in their own backyard. I submit to you, dear reader, but just a few stories about just how good my life is in this wonderful state.

House Mountain, the only true mountain in Knox County, stands proud and stoic in the northeastern part of the county, just outside of Corryton. Over the years, I have taken many long hikes up its steep slopes, my exhausting treks always rewarded with many spectacular views. I’d say my favorite hike has to be when I took my 7-year old nephew Jordan on his first real climb. House Mountain is not exactly a skip through the daisies, so I wasn’t even sure he’d make it all the way. I must say, with each new level bringing an exciting new adventure, it made him want to keep going. The July heat did not discourage him at all; he only stopped once, and that was just for a drink of cold water!

When we made to the summit at 2100 feet (about 1000 feet from the base), I took him to the edge of the North Overlook just so he could appreciate just how far he had hiked. At first, he was nervous about being so close to the edge, but after I held on tight to his hand, he stood there amazed at the beauty of the view as he watched the buzzards riding the updrafts, flying so close that we could even see their eyes. This was a great moment for us both, and he could honestly say he had accomplished something most people would never put forth the effort to do. Yes, as we went from overlook to overlook, gazing into the endless vistas, we knew the good life was all around us!


A few weeks ago, my brother-in-law Willis invited me to go out on his boat on the Tennessee River for a little fishing. We knew each other for a couple of years, but never really spent time together, so I guess neither one of us knew what to expect. All we knew about each other is that we liked to fish. I waited to meet him at the Pilot station on Rutledge Pike, and he pulled in around 1:00 that afternoon in his pickup, pulling behind him a very old 14 foot green aluminum boat. As soon as I saw that rustic little dinghy, I knew I was in for a great time! When I got into the truck with him to go to the launch, he looked at me with a big ol’ grin on his face and said to me, “Brother, I ain’t got but this old boat. We’re fixin’ to do some REDNECK fishin’!”
“Brother”, I replied, “IS their any other kind?”

We launched his craft at Three Rivers, a primitive little ramp in the City, right at the junction of the Tennessee, Holston, and French Broad Rivers. The water was smooth and glassy, and the sky bright and clear. We cranked up the little ol’ outboard, and blazed across the water up the Holston, to a little spot he knew under some low hanging Poplar and Cherry branches. We didn’t have

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Best Fall Movies for Children

It seems that the box office lineup this fall has one theme: to recycle old movies. This is a good thing though and it is better than you think. I say that because these movies are not just reproduced, they are beefed up.

For example, take the re-release of both Toy Story and Toy Story 2. This time around they are going to be shown as a double feature. And the best part is, it is re-rendered into a 3-D film, using only the best state-of-the-art technology. Imagine seeing one of the classics come to life on the screen, and out of the screen. Toy Story 3-D is a limited engagement that begins on October 2, 2020. Also to be made as a 3-D movie, Toy Story 3 will be released at the big screen on June 18, 2010. Can’t wait that long? Catch a sneak peak of the upcoming movie during the trailers at the Toy Story double feature. It will be the perfect time to introduce, or re-introduce your children to Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the gang. This heart-felt kid’s movie shows the meaning of friendship and how far a group of misfit toys will go to find and bring home their friend. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 feature the voice talents of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen.

Another remake isn’t that of a movie already made, but it is based on a famous book. Where the Wild Things Are was written in 1963, and is all about creativity and imagination of a child. The adventures are endless when time and travel aren’t an issue. This movie will captivate audiences of young and old alike and will bring the book to life right in front of the viewer’s eyes. This movie will encouragement those who haven’t read the book, to share it with their children. For those who have read the book, this will provide a chance to compare how correct the movie was in comparision to the book. Big names in this movie include James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, and Mark Ruffalo. Where the Wild Things Are has a scheduled opening date of October 16, 2020.

This fall promises to feature some new movies worth watching, and to experience some familiar movies in a new three dimensional fashion. These movies should provide you and your family with a pleasant entertainment experience and the notion that all things old can be made new again.


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