Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Two Bears Farm!

Happy Halloween to you from the boys:

And from the pets:

And from Paul and I:
May you have a fun and candy-filled day!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

H is for Hermit Crab

Pierce has been eagerly waiting for the day his kindergarten class would do the letter 'H'.  His teacher promised that on the day that they talked about 'H' he could bring Misty the hermit crab to school.  On the night before Misty was to go to school, Pierce was supposed to be practicing writing the numbers.  Somehow, he got slightly diverted on his homework. 
 Luckily, it appears from the note that came back that Pierce's teacher had a sense of humor about the unsolicited note he wrote on his number homework.

Pierce carefully packed Misty into her carrying cage and was ready to take her to school.  Misty didn't say one way or another what she thought of the bus ride.
When Pierce came home, he said that all the kids wanted to take Misty home.  He said that he told them they had to be very quiet around her and to just tell her "Hello".  He said that all the kids drew pictures of Misty that day, and Pierce himself brought a picture he'd drawn of Misty home. 

I'm pretty sure Pierce will be talking about the day Misty went to kindergarten for a very long time. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cort and Reid get to Take Their Lunch to School

Guess who started eating lunch at school a couple of times a month?  Why Cort and Reid!  Yes, they are doing lunch bunch some Wednesday afternoons.  They love eating lunch with their friends.  Here is what I packed for them recently:
They each had ham and cheese rolls on whole wheat bread (with Halloween picks), olive skewers, pretzels, grapes in a spider muffin cup, and a bear biscuit.  They ate everything except a couple of pretzels! 

For more fun lunch ideas, check out Muffin Tin Mom

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Few Substitutions...

Do you know I've completely stopped buying flavored waters for Pierce's lunch this year?  It's one way I've been saving a little money and reducing waste.  Luckily, our water at home comes from an underground stream that feeds our well, and it's really delicious.  And sometimes I give Pierce an extra treat by flavoring the water for him.  I love the NuNaturals Stevia flavorings - it only takes a few drops and doesn't have any sugar.  Pierce loves the lemon and orange flavors.  I like the vanilla best.  The twins are just excited any time I flavor their water regardless! 

NuNaturals sent me some new products to try recently.  Reid and I made brownies using their Presweet Tagalose (which is safe for diabetics) to replace the sugar.  It even contains prebiotics to feed healthy bacteria in the stomach.

Course the m+m's we used on top do have sugar, but overall I felt better about the amounts the boys were getting in these brownies, and they tasted great. 
Reid was really proud of his decorative artwork, and his brothers were impressed as well that he helped in the creation of these mini brownies. 

Disclaimer:  I've really enjoyed trying the NuNaturals products to find ways to reduce the amount of sugar we're eating.  They recently sent me some new products to try, but I wasn't under any obligation to blog about them. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Farm Days at the Homestead Creamery - Rural Thursday

I've blogged plenty of times about how much we enjoy going to the Homestead Creamery for ice cream.  Well once a year they open up their farm for Farm Days, and this year we made a point of attending.

It was very well attended.  The boys wanted to head to the petting zoo first thing.  The goats were friendly and I liked that they didn't head butt the kids.

This little calf was also very friendly, and the twins gave him lots of extra petting. 

There were free samples of Homestead Creamery milk in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.  This picture kind of looks like Pierce is eyeing Reid's strawberry milk, doesn't it...

Local merchants attended with various wares for sale.  Paul really liked one of the local coffee displays with free samples.

We watched several blacksmiths at work and looked at some hand forged tools from the middle part of the 19th century.

We watched them making apple cider, and they also had samples available. 

I enjoyed watching several men turning wood.  They had beautiful pieces available to buy - I really liked the wooden snowmen ornaments.

And of course, you can't go to a creamery farm and not be prepared to see plenty of cattle!

This one was taking a little dip in the stream.

Pumpkin roll samples.

Finally, we ended the day with some ice cream.  It was messy.  Very messy.  In some cases, messier than in others.

But a little ice cream mess doesn't stop the fun.

Who wants a cute little garden shed like this one?

Look at him.  I think he's proud of his messy face, shirt, and pants.  

Overlooking the farm, on the walk back to the car through a field of turnips.
What a great (and free!) way to spend a Saturday morning!

It's Rural Thursday!  Time to link up with Nancy from A Rural Journal and myself with your tales or pictures of the rural life.  Just grab the code below the button and paste it into your blog.  Then come back and add your url to the linky.  Please remember to visit the blogs of at least 5 other participants and leave them some comment love.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

FeverAll and Cold Pack Giveaway

Until you experience being a parent, you don't realize how much you will worry when your little ones are sick.  That inability to immediately fix their ills will tear at your heart.  Scary high fevers, persistent coughs, vomiting - all these things will give any parent plenty of worries when their children are young.  It's unavoidable, but I always feel like I'd do anything just to make them feel a little better.

This summer the twins had a stomach virus that they caught on one of our adventures.  Cort was stricken first.  Cort is one of those kids who will spike a fever and then can't keep anything down anyhow - he won't let me near him with the oral pain relievers when he is like that.  I wish I had known about FeverAll when I snapped this picture of him on our living room floor - yes, he was so sick he fell asleep right there on the rug.

FeverAll is an acemtaminophen suppository.  It's an alternative to oral acetaminophen for pain relief and fever reduction.  It's been around for more than 30 years and is the only acetaminophen suppository approved for infants as young as six months (which means it would be perfect for teething episodes if teething upsets your little one's belly, like it did my Pierce!). 
There are different dosages for different ages, so you can find FeverAll for infants, children, and in Jr. strength.  One lucky winner will win a package of FeverAll (in the appropriate strength) plus a cool pack to have on hand for the next time you need it.  Please see the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win!

Disclaimer:  I have not tried FeverAll.  I was sent a trial package and a cool pack for review purposes, but as my kids have (thankfully!) not been sick, I haven't tried it.  I will certainly be grateful to have this on hand next time the stomach flu hits my house again - which will hopefully be a very long time from now. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Historic Harpers Ferry

Even though I was tired from the marathon, and my injury was painful, I wasn't going to let the opportunity to explore historic Harpers Ferry pass!  So after a shower and some refueling, I was ready to go.  We went to visit Jefferson Rock, which is on the Appalachian Trail.

From the rock, you can see the Potomac River, and some of historic Harpers Ferry.

This is the ruins of St. John's Episcopal Church. 

Isn't it beautiful?

An old community root cellar.  There were several inside this long rock wall.

I loved this building, because all around it there were signs that told you how to tell what had been there before.  It was neat to learn what archaeologists look for in old buildings.

General Store

I will always remember running through this part of historic Harpers Ferry as the sun was just starting to rise, and eagerly anticipating returning later in the day to explore. 

North vs. South

John Brown's Fort

The soldiers were cooking up some dinner.

Eating and chatting.

And we came to that footbridge that I had run over the morning of the marathon.  It is part of the Appalachian Trail.  The boys were excited to cross the bridge themselves.  I told them about how earlier that morning it had a layer of ice and was slippery.

Most hikers consider Harpers Ferry the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail, even though it isn't quite exact.  It's sort of a mental halfway. 
By this time, my leg was done, so we hobbled slowly back to the hotel, where the boys went swimming, and I ordered myself some more food! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Couldn't Resist the Pug Flag

I've always meant to link up with Barn Charm at some point.  I'm often driving by wonderful old barns in the country, but I never seem to have the time to stop to take pictures (or else I don't have my camera).  But when we were in Harpers Ferry walking past some of the historic houses, and I saw this little barn in the midst of a residential area, I had to take a picture.  I think it was the Halloween Pug Flag that drew me in.  Who can resist a pug flag?
So help me, I need a flag of a pug wearing a pirate hat and sitting on a pumpkin.  Even though I don't actually have a pug right now.  I've had a pug in the past.  That should count, right?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Visiting the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Paul and I have long dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail in its entirety.  I hope it's a dream that becomes realized in the retirement years.  We've read numerous books about thru-hikers, and were excited to see the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in person when we were in Harpers Ferry. 
 Inside we found a Hiker Lounge with computers, a couch, and drinks, and a huge map of the Appalachian Trail.  Behind the map, was a surprise for the boys.

They hopped right in this pretend shelter and played backpackers while Paul and I wandered around.

This is a bulletin board of all the successful thru-hikers from 2011.  Maybe one day my picture will be up there?

A sign from Katahdin, the mountain in Maine where the AT ends for the South-North hikers.

Of course, you don't expect to just find a bathroom did you?  On the AT, you'll be looking for a privy.
Paul picked out a poster, and we got a metal AT sign to hang in our cabin.  I also picked up a little surprise for my brother for Christmas, as he likes all things AT as well. 

What about you, readers....would you ever want to hike from Georgia to Maine?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Leaf Love for Leontien

Fellow blogger Leontien continues her fight against a very aggressive melanoma cancer.  The boys and I send Leontien our love and hugs and healing thoughts.  Know that we think of you often!

If you would like to participate in this event by posting a picture of the Fall leaves to show your support to Leontien and her husband, Bastiaan, you can do so here:

If you would like to read Leontien's latest post, check out Four Leaf Clover Tails.  She could use some encouragement from other bloggers, and everyone is welcome to join in!