Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fall Fest Weekend

 This photo was taken yesterday during the Fall Fest.  Its the only one I took yesterday.  I KNOW!  We had set up lovely tables for food -with  pumpkins, lanterns, flowers.  People started arriving, some whom I don't see on a regular basis.  Lots of hugs and chatting.  Tim took the first hay ride out and they had a great time.  More arrivals.  Everyone was in a happy mood.

Then the clouds began to move in.  A storm was on the way.  You can see some of the dark clouds in the photo above.  Tim took a second hay ride group out.

We started to roast hot dogs, lots of them to feed the huge crowd now assembled.  We had kids playing everywhere, moms, dads, grandparents, talking and enjoying themselves.  

The wind picked up and people started to sense, that the storm was really going to happen.  Everyone went into 'lets move everything inside' mode and quicker than quick the food was all in the kitchen on the table and counter.  I was still roasting hot dogs, and when I came in I tried to get a bit of organization in the kitchen, so people could fine plates, napkins, forks, and coffee stuff, then I let it all go.  It was more important to visit with our friends!

Our friends are great.  They were just happy to be together, and didn't mind being inside where it quickly became WARM from all the hot air!

Everyone had a super time, even though there was no candy toss (we bagged it for each of the kids) and no outdoor movie.  They played instead and when the rain stopped, many went out and ran around again.

Some of the adults went back out to enjoy a fire and enjoyed the cool air the storm had brought in.  See the unusual thing about the weather yesterday was that it is usually cold (everyone bundles up for the hay rides).  Yesterday we had sunny skies and nearly 80 degrees on October 30th.  When the cold front moved in we had temps in the low 60's or upper 50's.

And so you've had to 'see' the Fall Fest through my words, and not photos, and I am sorry for that.  If I find that others' took photos of things, I'll share them!

This morning I opened my living room curtains and this is what I saw.

My Red Sunset Maples are at their peak!

I also want to say, Happy Birthday! to my wonderful mother in law!  She is 95 years old today!  We'll be traveling to visit her Thanksgiving week, and we can't wait!

Isn't she lovely?  See you soon, Mom!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fall Fest

Our family hosts an annual Fall Fest at the end of October or the beginning of November every year.

We always have a hay ride - Tim uses our truck to pull a big landscaping trailer loaded with hay bales and people!  Our neighboring farmer is kind to allow us to use his fallow fields to do our hay rides in.

We always have a bonfire and cook hot dogs and s'mores.  Everyone also brings, side dishes, desserts, and drinks.  This is a fun gathering every year and we always get a big turn out.

We always do a candy toss!  We break the kids into age groups and I get to toss candy!  What could be more fun than that?!

Last year I had a popcorn bar, that didn't seem to get much attention.  It could have been the location, but this year we are doing a hot cocoa bar.  It will be down near the bonfire with all the food, ensuring it gets attention.

We bought caramels, starlight mints, and red hots to add to the cocoa for different flavors, and we'll also have cinnamon and cayenne pepper, too!  Oh and I bought two bags of micro marshmallows - the teeny tiny ones - to put in the cocoa!  Rachel and I are going to make a sign with ideas for making different kinds of cocoa with the add ins!

Also returning this year is the outdoor movie.  This was a huge hit with the kids and some of the parents!  We showed 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' last year, since we held the Fall Fest on November 1st.  This year it is going to be October 30th, so do I show 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' or the Thanksgiving one again.  We shall see!

Our family looks forward to hosting this every year, it's so fun!

Do you have any annual traditions?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Day Is Off To A Great Start

One thing I have desired of the Lord,

That will I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble

He shall hide me in His pavilion;

In the secret place of His tabernacle

He shall hide me;

He shall set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 27:4 - 5

This was part of my morning reading, the whole Psalm and a few chapters of Romans.

Then I got a text with this pretty girlie in it!

Miss Isla

Great way to start my day!  Hope yours is just a good!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Late October

Sunday was a beautiful day.  Chilly in the morning, but sunny and mild in the afternoon.  We went to lunch, then went to a local park with a few walking paths, a small playground, and soccer fields.

Rachel and I played in the park on the swings, while Tim, Sarah and Kyle kicked the soccer ball around.

Then we walked around a lovely pond.

We decided to have a campfire that evening, so we invited Nate and Kayleigh and the girls, and my mom and dad to come over.  None of us can resist a campfire.

Yesterday was a lovely day - I shot video while Rachel was driving to my moms house.

Last night our first freeze was forecast, so I brought in my delicate plants.

Good thing I did, since this is what greeted me this morning

I'll be spending some time over the next few days cutting the flower gardens down, and preparing the beds for winter.  This month has flown by, and this weekend is our annual Fall Fest that we host here on our property.  Then it will be a few weeks until our Thanksgiving and then right into the Christmas season!

The year is marching on, and there is a beauty in every season.  As much as I love my flower gardens blooming with lovely things, I love them in the winter too, when they are all at rest.

On another note - our election cycle is nearly over.  Two weeks until we vote.  How we have gotten to the place in our nation where we have these candidates as our main options is astounding.  It didn't happen overnight, we've been heading down this slippery slope for years.  I am thankful that I know the God who puts rulers in their places, and also holds me in the palm of his hands, and hides me under the shelter of his 'wings.'  I trust Him for my future, for my today.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Eating Dinner Together

 It's always been important to us as a family.  Breakfast is a staggered affair (as each family member wakes up on their own)and lunch is eating leftovers or sandwiches when your hungry.  But dinner has always been a meal to eat together.

When all the children were younger, Tim worked shift work and sometimes our main meal together was at lunchtime.  I treated it just like dinner time - it was our main meal for the day and I cooked, and we set a nice table.

More recently, since Rachel started working and Tim started his own business, both last year, having a meal together has gotten more challenging.  Rachel is mostly not here at dinner time, and sometimes Tim doesn't get home until late.  Sometimes we wait for him, like we did last night though that means we are eating at 7:30 pm.  

Still we do our best to have this time together.  When Kayleigh and Kamryn lived here, and both Lindsay and Emma were still at home, we often had twelve to fifteen people at our dinner table every night!  That was only three years ago!  Dynamics change in a family.  Lindsay and Joseph got married, Emma went to SC for school, Nate and Kayleigh moved to their own place nearby, they got married, our friend Denny got a job driving a truck and he is not usually here anymore, my parents don't always stay for dinner on Tuesdays.

Sometimes it is only four of us at the table like,  last night, but we still set the table, and had a meal together.  It's important that the younger children still have this time with us as a family.  We talk about everyone's day, the kids tell Tim what they learned about during our school time, he might share something he read in the Bible that morning.  There is often laughter at our table.

Changes can be hard but they are inevitable, so it's best to embrace them.  Once we got used to the smaller group for dinner, I realized that I had more freedom in what we had for meals.  Its inexpensive to order a pizza now, and the kids love it when we decide that we will all do 'dinner theater' and watch a movie together while we eat.

No matter what we end up doing for dinner, we try to use that time to connect with each other and build bonds as a family.  In fact the kids are so used to us eating together, that when Tim and I are going out for a business dinner or something, the kids get so excited to do what they want for dinner that night!

Tim and I are getting eased into the empty nest.  We are already getting practice as during the summer the kids are all gone to Ultimate Frisbee on Wednesdays.  We've made that our date night.

What about you? Has having a meal together been an important thing in your family life?  If you are empty nester's now, do you still sit down together for a meal?  Still have date nights?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Behind The Scenes Of The Wedding

All of my photos are behind the scenes wedding photos.  As the decorator/floral designer/helper for the wedding, I didn't get a chance to take many photos during the service or reception.  During the service I was happy to sit with Tim and some friends and to enjoy seeing Ruth and Gary remarried.  God is good.

Here is our fellowship room - the kitchen is off to the right behind those 'temporary curtains.'

 Ruth had an inspiration photo of the centerpieces from Pinterest that she liked, 

and we made it happen on her budget.  I used the cylinders we had from Emma's wedding, and we chose silk petals over real.  They looked wonderful.

The tables also had mints, nuts, butter and rolls on them before the wedding ceremony started.

I did a sweetheart table for them.  This was such a hit with their family and guests and everyone came to visit with them at their table!

Each end of the room had a drink station.  Becky (from Hospitality Lane) and I decided to have the drinks be self serve.  It saved our young servers from having to refill drinks.

Several young people - early twenties to age 11 - acted as servers for the reception.  Daniel, Laura, Jane, Sarah, Kyle, Quinn, and Brooke served spinach salads, and then brought out the plates for the main course which was ham, potatoes, and green beans.  There was already a wonderful fruit cup on the table.

 The coffee carafe was not on the table yet but Becky even made the sugar 'pink' to coordinate with the brides colors!

 The cake was a replica of their cake from their first wedding 39 years ago.

Here is the bride before the ceremony with her bouquet.

 photo courtesy of Becky

And with her children Joy and Steve, who served as matron of honor and best man.

 I didn't get photos of the arrangements for the sanctuary at the wedding, but I took some this morning in my living room.  
 This was on the sweetheart table.

 The white hydrangea didn't hold up until this morning, but it was beautiful in the arrangements and in the bouquets.
Any of the 'holes' you see in the arrangements were where the hydrangea were.  I am so in love with these roses.  They opened beautifully and were just stunning.

Weddings are a lot of work, but they are so fun as well.  What a joy to help a couple celebrate such a significant moment in their lives!

I took a 'selfie' of myself in the kitchen during a lull in the work of the reception.  I used to hate to see myself in photos, but I'm growing to not mind.  I want to leave proof of being present in the lives of my children, family, and friends.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sneak Peek Of What I've Been Working On

The wedding is tomorrow, so today my crew and I set up the reception space. We filled cylinders with water and flower petals and floating candles, moved tables and wiped chairs and vacuumed.  We put on the tablecloths and napkins and flatware. We helped to hang curtains to hide the kitchen from the fellowship space where the reception is being held.  We pinned tulle on the chairs on the aisles and tomorrow I will add little pink sprays roses in little vials of water.

I made the bouquets today, and I'm pleased with them.  I also made two boutonnieres, that look great.

With the rest of the flowers I'll be putting together two floral arrangements in containers for the sanctuary.  

It all looks so pretty and I can't wait to show you.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wedding Work

I am working on details for the October 22nd, wedding that I am helping with.  I got all the tablecloths hemmed, thank goodness!  What a job!  

Now I need to get some items for the sweetheart table. Pinterest is a treasure trove of inspiration!

From Glam - 

To simple -
And everywhere in between.

Lots of flower inspiration, too!

Tomorrow, I am going to the wholesale flower place in the morning, so I can get the flowers into warm water and get them opening up.  I will be putting together two bouquets and two boutonnieres on Friday.

Late in the day on Friday I'll be setting the tables and putting the centerpieces on.

Here is a photo from when I was testing them out.  The bride is having pink and green for her colors, and saw this idea on Pinterest.

Lots to do over the next few days.  The wedding is nearly here!

I'll take lots of photos and share them with you on Monday!

Autumn Is Here

Though we are having warm, nearly hot weather this week.  Last week when I mowed I wore a light jacket.  This week I was in capri's and my short sleeves rolled up to avoid a 'farmer's tan.'

The leaves are changing in earnest now, and these are some photos I took today while mowing.

That crooked tree on the right really blocked my view of the red tree!  I'll have to take a walking tour of the property soon.

Our Red Sunset Maples are just beginning to turn.  They are always lovely.  I'll share them in a few weeks!

What is autumn looking like in your area?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Four Generations

Today was a family day.  It was a day for newborn cousins to meet, 
 Isla (eye-la) and Klaire 

Sister in laws to hold each others babies

 Four Generations - my mom, my son, his daughter and me

 Another set of four - my mom, my daughter, her daughter and me

Big sister holding baby sister on the right, and cousin on the left!

Our nieces (Tim's brothers' girls) came over today to hold the babies.  This is the only photo I have of them.  Here Shelly is holding her first cousin, once removed.  Shelly then Skyped with her dad and mom in Africa and they got to see the babies, too!  So cool!

Tim always called Emma 'his little package.'  I love this photo of his package holding her package!

Family is a beautiful thing.

Grateful for everyone of them!


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...