Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mike's Farm, Beulaville, NC

We had the best time visiting a wonderful farm in a quaint little farming town this Friday. It was a 2 hour drive but well worth it for a fun filled day. We heard about the farm because Greg recently worked on an agro-tourism shoot and filmed there.

For $7 the kids got to go on a halloween hay ride and pick out a pumpkin, learn how an apple cider press works and sample some fresh, learn how they used to do things on a farm in the olden days (like cooking in a kettle hanging over the fire, washing clothes, making their own soap etc.) check out all of the animals, jam to some live country music with Cowboy Earl, and visit the country store. (There were several school groups there, but after we bought our ticket they just tell you where to go first and work you into a group that rotates to the different areas. Not sure if they have the same activities on Saturday, so if you go, you may want to call and check into that)

We hung out and took our time, had a picnic lunch and drank old fashioned soda from glass bottles. Then, at 4:30 we went to the family owned and operated, family style restaurant (also on the farm) and had the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had in my life! I think I tasted a little sour cream in it along with the cheese and it had this really fine bread crumb layer sprinkled over the top. I am already craving some! According to Greg the pecan pie made him want to punch someone, it was so good. I tried it and it was delicious and I don't usually go for pecan pie. They also served fried chicken, corn, pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and buttermilk biscuits with apple butter and molasses.

Well worth the trip everyone! If you decide to go, make sure you go to the restaurant by 4:30 when it opens and you will get right in. Restaurant is only open Thurs, Fri, Sat. I think.

They also do a 30 minute Christmas hay ride in the evenings starting December 1st with Christmas lights and a live nativity. We may just have to go back and get some more Macaroni and Cheese :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Best Buds

Parker and Meadow are turning into such great friends!! They have always loved eachother but maybe they appreciate eachother a little more now that Parker is in School. Meadow misses him a little bit sometimes.

It tickles me to pieces when they tell eachother they love eachother for no apparent reason which happened twice this week out of the blue. Both times I overheard it from the next room.

They are also partners in mischief and fun. As you can see from the pictures below it didn't take long for this photo shoot to deteriorate, but they did have a great time being goof balls. :) Well, what can we expect after 3 hours of trying to be reverent at church?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just for fun

Pig Personality profile test:

On a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, take about 3 minutes or less to draw a pig.

That is all of the instructions you get.

When you are finished (no peeking!) find out what your piggie means here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hike Video thanks to Robert Caldwell

Pictures are wonderful, but nothing captures quite like video.

Thanks Robbie!

P.S. Musicians are The Avett Brothers - incredible band.

Panthertown Valley Hike from Robert Caldwell on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What I learned at the Farmer's Market

Parker's Kindergarten had a field trip to the Farmer's Market on Friday and I got to help out but forgot to bring my camera. The class split into groups and did an A-Z scavenger hunt and we actually sort of found something for every letter. Quality produce was a stretch for Q as was eXcited children for X but hey...we only had 40 minutes. lol

I talked to a man who was selling big nice pumpkins and he said that he usually starts them from seed indoors in early July and lets them get a good start and then plants them outside.

Harvest is 90-120 days depending on the variety. Pretty easy to grow. Will grow anywhere on earth except for Antartica. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Punkin' Heads go to Tweetsie

The kids had the best time at Tweetsie with Grandma and Grandpa Winters this weekend while we were hiking. We love that they took pictures!!

Thanks again for taking such great care of the kids!! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When through the woods and forest glades I wander...

Every October we dust off our hiking gear and with much anticipation prepare to go on a hike with a great group of guys. Mostly guys that Greg knows from work. Some of the wives come along too. :) We aim for early October because the weather is still nice and you get the beautiful fall color in the mountains.

This year, there are 8 of us and I am not the only girl this time - hooray! Phillip planned a great hike in Panther Town Valley on the edge of Nantahala National Forest in Brevard (The land of waterfalls). We had the best time and really loved being out of the world for a couple of days and out in the beauty God created for us to enjoy. Of course none of this would have been possible without Greg's parents watching the kids (Thank you, thank you!). The kids had a great time hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa at their house and at Tweetsie Railroad! Toot-toot!

Day 1

Drove to Brevard and up Cold Mountain (Yes, the setting of the book!) left the cars near the entrance to Panther Town National Forest and hiked a couple of miles in to the gorgeous School House Falls. We were able to walk behind the falls as well which was really neat. The weather is far (rain expected). The leaves are beautiful even though the colors are not quite at their peak. After hanging out at the falls for a while, we hiked another 30 minutes and found a great spot to camp in a grove of white pines. Robbie, Greg and I set up the same claustrophobic, 3 man tent that we shared last year. Good times :) Then we ate dinner (Subway from down the road earlier and soup heated on the propane stove). After that we hung up the food bag, A.K.A. bear pinata, and sat around chatting. Paul suggested a game of cards and we were just getting started when it started raining pretty hard. So it is 9:00 pm and we are tent bound. Rob says he wishes he was watching Ghost Hunters on his ipod which he left in the car. Greg said he wished he was laying in a tent listening to the rain. lol. I think it is a pretty good time too. We were all pretty tired so it didn't take long for the rain to lull us to sleep.

Day 2

I slept pretty good last night. Lost my camping pillow half-way through the night and couldn't find it in the dark so I used my jacket instead. It rained off and on all night but we stayed dry!

It is a lovely fall morning! For breakfast we made blueberry granola and hot chocolate and then packed up and hiked around the back of Cold Mountain to lovely Warden Falls. After that we crossed Sassafras Gap and had some lunch, (PB&J!). We got rained on for a little while but it stopped as soon as we got our rain gear on of course. :) Next we climbed the aptly named Sassafras Mountain. We saw sassafras growing everywhere. Rob pointed it out and we dug up some of the roots and shaved off the bark. The roots totally smell like rootbeer! It actually used to be an ingredient in root beer until it was banned by the FDA in 1960 because it caused liver damage in laboratory animals. I read that on Wikipedia after I got home and after Greg and I had chewed on some for at least an hour. lol. Anyway, just hiking with it in our hands and smelling it made us ridiculously happy and it reminded Greg of when he was a little boy.

The trails here are not blazed and there are so many side trails and old logging roads that getting around can be a little confusing. We also figured out that we were using an old map but we have managed to find our way around and after a couple of wrong turns we made it to two different beautiful overlooks. After that we reached a large stream and had to take of our boots to wade across and get to the shelter we are camping in tonight. The water was freezing but it felt great on our tired feet! The shelter we are staying in is a large, well built, A-frame shelter. We set up our tents in the shelter because there was plenty of room and it offered added protection and warmth and because we didn't want mice to crawl on us. :)

Greg was kind enough to get dinner going while a few of us walked down to the river to check out some pretty little falls in the beautiful gloaming light. Then back to the shelter while the sun put on a spectacular setting.

Dinner tonight was dehydrated teriyaki chicken (so good!) and a snickers bar for dessert. Snickers bars are the best food I have ever tasted when I am hiking. I love them! I wish I brought more. I brought 4. hahaha.

After dinner we wanted to make a fire, but the wood was too wet. We found a bag of tea-light candles someone left in the shelter (trail magic!) and Phillip lit them all around the shelter and it felt like Christmas. :) We visited for a little while but everyone was too tired to continue our game of cards so we called it a night. Greg walked around blowing out the candles in the shelter and told us later that he felt like he was tucking in all of his children (everyone in the shelter) on Christmas Eve. There were probably 25 little candles to blow out. In the tent Rob said "It does feel like Christmas because I can't sleep, except there is nothing in the morning to look forward to." That cracked us up! I think we are all a little sore this evening and we are sleeping on a wooden floor tonight which actually feels harder than the ground. Rob's good knee has been bothering him and James' ankles are bothering him but they have been troopers!! Also tonight we couldn't stop laughing because there were so many people around us snoring in different octaves. It was like a snoring symphony. One person's snore had the intonation of a question every time. It was hilarious. Rob and Greg put in ear plugs and I had to try really hard to think about something else and finally sleep came.

Day 3

Oatmeal for breakfast and then a 3-4 mile hike down the mountain. Everyone is getting excited for a giant chinese buffet for lunch! We heard about it from several other people who have been to this area. But first! Lots of pretty scenery and a detour to two other waterfalls. At one point on the trail today there was a lot of micah and other shiny rocks that made the trail look like it glittered. It was so pretty! At another point there was a stream that flowed parallel to us on the same rock we were walking on and that was very beautiful too. I think the next falls we hiked to were called pothole falls. They were awesome and they were not the easiest to get to. Getting up close to a waterfall is such a different, powerful feeling. It is hard to explain. It's like you can feel the energy of it and it makes your chest expand. Other neat things we saw today: a very interesting spider, fuzzy yellow caterpillar, bright orange salamander, green salamanders, a mushroom that looked like an apple pie (I wish!), and some neat areas that would be great to take the kids back to. Shallow pools near a fall that they could splash around in in the summer time. :)

Chinese Buffet here we come!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pretty little miss on the dinosaur trail

We visited the recently opened dinosaur trail at the Life and Science Museum in Durham with Meadow after her dance class and it made for some pretty cute pictures. :) She loved the trail and we wished it had been a little longer. However, Greg worked on a commercial for the opening of the trail and at the cost of $90,000 to create each of the larger dinosaurs, we totally understand why the trail is as long as it is. Parker was at school during Meadow's special birthday outing, but we will take him back to visit as soon as he tracks out.

Here is our cutie Parker with Blackbeard at the pirates exhibit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New crime reporting website

The Apex Police Department issued a press release about a new website. It is a nationwide crime reporting website, so it should work for any town or address.

The CrimeReports service is free to the public and allows citizens to receive automatic daily, weekly or monthly email alerts if/when crimes occur near their home, office, local school, etc. Citizens can also view reported crime activity on an easy to use map for any location within Apex Police Department boundaries. Crime incident data is updated nightly and includes:
• Incident type
• Date
• Location
• Distance from citizen’s address
• Event identification/case number
• Brief crime incident description will be a valuable tool to those in the community who want to stay informed about what is going on in their neighborhoods and empower citizens to work with the police department to address neighborhood crime issues.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pumpkin Juice

Greg's Mom visited last weekend and made this recipe while she was here. It was so yummy that I think we'll make it a fall family tradition. Enjoy!! P.S. This would also be great to serve while watching/reading Harry Potter :)

Pumpkin Juice

1 heaping tsp. canned pumpkin (more or less to taste)
2 cups apple juice
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 T honey
2 dashes of the following spices:
(can add more or less to taste)

Blend together, chill or serve over ice. Shake to mix again before re-serving.

Also found this recipe online that looks good but I haven't made them yet:

Pumpkin Pasties Straight From the Hogwarts Express (a.k.a. My Oven)

Pie Dough for 2 double-crust pies
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Roll out dough and cut into 5-inch circles. Mix the remaining ingredients together until well blended. Drop 2 tablespoons of filling onto one side of each dough circle. Dampen the edges of the dough with water, fold one side over the other and pinch to seal. Vent by cutting a small slit into the top of each pastie. Brush with beaten egg if desired and place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Makes 12-14 pasties.

The Author said "These are so good that I may not ever make another pumpkin pie during the holidays."