Monday, October 31, 2011

Get Me To The Church on Time!

 We got all dressed up to watch Greg and Cindi become members of their church. They floored us by inviting all of us out to lunch at a wonderful restaurant.
 We very rarely eat out and almost never with the whole family so this was a really special treat.
In fact, the last time we had eaten here, was with this couple, at their rehearsal dinner 2 and a half years ago. Larry and I sat across from Cindi's parents so that we could catch up about their recent trip to England and Ireland!
This lovely meal helped us all to celebrate Jon and Meg's first wedding anniversary. 

We were wondering if we would be singing "Happy Anniversary, Baby" but it wasn't to be today.
We also had the pleasure of celebrating our own 29th anniversary on this same day.
After church and lunch, Larry and I scooted out to take a Fall ride together on this special date which means so much to us. Our destination was to see... 
the fifth largest pumpkin in the world ( according to the sign), weighing in at 1676 pounds! This pumpkin was grown in Pennsylvania. The seeds were removed from it yesterday, close enough to Halloween to keep it from beginning to rot too early. The seeds are highly prized. Growing a huge pumpkin is quite an honor. This farm market makes it a point to get the largest pumpkin they possibly can find each year. This season they  had about 10 pumpkins here, each weighing 300-400 pounds and sold them all at a pretty penny.
 I loved this beautifully carved pumpkin which had a timely phrase and picture on it stating " Bear One Another's Burdens." There is more than frost on this snow covered pumpkin!
The snow, the sunshine and the pretty autumn leaves made for such a nice view as we enjoyed the country scenery of beautiful old homes, barns and pasture lands while riding along together.


 Eve told us that she would be bringing her jewelery making supplies when they came up to visit and hoped that we could have some crafting  time with the ladies.
Did we ever!!!! We started making necklaces in the morning and continued throughout the afternoon and evening as the  different girls in the family stopped in to visit and hang out with us.
Being busy with our hands around a table allowed for some great socializing and creative fun. The guys were singing and playing guitars on the other side of the living room while we chatted.
Crafts are not something that I have yet made time for in my life. I was impressed with how relaxing and pleasant this was.

Eve was so patient and gentle with us as we designed necklace patterns from the large selection of different colored and shaped beads and pendants that she had brought with her. After we threaded our beads onto the wire, she attached the clasp to finish the piece. She did that with each one.
The beads were laid out in patterns in channels on the palette. We all especially loved the length of the finished  necklaces which does make a difference!

 Natalie's friends really enjoyed the craft and each made a necklace for themselves to take home with them.

 Meg was too busy crafting a little person to participate, but Tori and Cindi joined in.
 From the left, I made the pearl necklace, the next two with the crosses were created by Natalie as Confirmation gifts for our friends, the green one is for herself and Juby made the one on the right.
I made the red , black, silver and gold one for Tori and then obsessed for hours about mixing silver and gold together which was taboo when I was young. The girls assured me that this is indeed the latest style! She then arrived in time to make her own mixed pearl necklace. These seven pieces plus Kristy's, Cindi's and the three teen girls visiting us added up to twelve gorgeous necklaces in all! Thank you, Eve, for sharing your talent with us and for your generous gift of bead supplies.

Have A Seat!

 Eve surprised the guys and gals with custom made woven chairs in a theme close to each one's heart.

A lady she knows takes old frame chairs and restrings them using strong, colored rope. The quality is amazing. They are sturdy and very comfortable. She uses the money she makes  from doing this to fund mission trips.

For the girls,  Eve brought these black and tan chairs with a horse woven into the back. I love the checkerboard seats.
This is Sam's chair since it has the Roman Numeral IV in the bottom corner as he is the 4th son! The lady who made them told Eve that her biggest challenge is to find old frame chairs for re-stringing. Now I have something to keep in mind at yard sales and thrift shops! I will pick up any that I see and pass them on to this creative and worthy cause! Despite the enjoyment of sitting in these great gifts during the game on Sunday, The Redskins lost, again...

Weekend House Party

 We were all looking forward to the last weekend of October because of the many exciting things planned for that time. Those plans provided a framework upon which a most delightful series of very fortunate events unfolded! This blessed time will be remembered as one of the nicest weekends I have ever had!
Although snow was predicted and it really felt like snow on Friday afternoon, we couldn't believe it would actually happen. God showed off His magnificence in a lovely steady fall of snowflakes throughout the day on Saturday. It was heavy and wet and stuck to the leaf covered ground and tree limbs. The power flickered on and off a few times and we prepared to loose it by storing water. Luckily, we never did have to go without.

Nothing's better than hunting in the snow thought our Greg, named after our visiting friend, but Tim wasn't as excited to have to cancel a big ATV adventure!
The paradox of having snow before Halloween was surreal! It was about 3-4 inches.
 Making music was high on the agenda. Lots of picking and grinning accompanied the singing of old favorites like "Can't You See....", " The Highway Song", " Ain't That America", "You Look Wonderful Tonight" and any others that came to mind. Greg D.'s laptop pulled up to lyric sites made it possible to finish those songs without having to hum through all the verses! We ALL sang the choruses!
These guys can harmonize and aren't bashful about singing out loud.  
Although Larry's knee, immobilized because of a twice torn meniscus and floating cartilage, was very painful, he succeeds in being a great sport!
Greg played and sang so beautifully a new song he's learned by The Zac Brown Band "Colder Weather".  He really treated us with this gift of self. Larry's late mother, Sally, came from a family who played live music regularly. I appreciate this wonderful way to spend time together that she passed down.
Needless to say, the kids were up, dressed in snow clothes and out the door early. We started a fire in the wood stove to dry all the wet clothing and boots.
Natalie invited some friends over for the day and they added to the fun, for "The more, the merrier!"
By God's abundant providence, we had plenty of good food, drinks and desserts to share. 

Fall foliage and fresh white snow are not often seen together! This was something to enjoy and remember!

A New Thermostat

I could no longer read our old thermostat because the degree lines were too small and it was located in a dark hallway. This would never do since I like to adjust the temperature many times per day! Curious, I happened to ask our good friend, Greg, how hard it would be to install a new thermometer. His response was, "Oh that's easy, about 15 minutes." That statement turned out to be the Kiss of Death for what was expected to be a straightforward project!
Because technology baffles me, I picked out a very simple thermostat that lights up with big numbers every time you touch it.
Greg offered to install it before he and Eve left town.
After over 4 hours of continuous, experienced and competent work, Greg diagnosed two separate problems with our heat pump and air handler. I had noticed it cycling on and off very frequently last winter. You could hardly feel any air moving in the house when it was running with heat or A/C. We considered repairing  the system but because it was 22 years old, replacement seemed like the best option.

Three different businesses gave us a free estimate for a new system. This helped us to become better educated on the theory of heating and air conditioning so we could ask good questions and compare apples to apples.

 Hoping to stay here for a long time, we went with the higher end model than just the basic.
Two young men were our HVAC expert's helpers. They did the heavy lifting and placement of the equipment.
We are very happy with this Rheem heat pump so far. The air flow is much stronger and it has to run much less frequently. It is wonderful to have heat and we are so thankful that Greg discovered that our system was broken when he did.We had no heat or a/c at all for almost two weeks but with this temperate fall weather, we didn't need either! It was much easier to have this installed in the fall than the bitterly cold winter.Won't it be great if this system lasts for as long as the one it has replaced?!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gallant Gutter Guys

 With leaves falling like rain, our gutters were filling up quickly and needed to be cleaned out. Larry's bum knee made it impossible for him to get on the roof. We weren't sure what to do when just then our son-in-law walked in and said that he'd be glad to do it!
 While the guys cleaned out the debris, we headed to the Home Improvement store to investigate a permanent solution for our lousy gutter coverage system which was inadequate.
This net filtered topper for only $2 per yard looked quick and easy.We were home in no time with supplies.
Tim jumped up and he and Jon installed these filters using " zip" screws recommended by the knowledgeable Lowe's dude.
The G-force had his tool kit set up and was sure that he was helping out.

It was frustrating for Larry to take an auxiliary role as he couldn't walk well. He hung out with the guys from the ground.

We were both so grateful to these young men who really helped us out. The gutters are clean and hopefully will require much less maintenance with these filter caps on.Thanks a million, guys. I hope it comes back to you all ten-fold.