Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thinking

I just finished cleaning most of the house (since my parents get here tomorrow) and a friend sent me an email that now has me deep in thought. This kind of thinking is the distracting kind where it is difficult to think of anything else...

Company

I love when people come to visit us. 1) I love to have company and 2) We always manage to make noticable progress on the house b/c we have a goal.

The house is starting to feel more like home and I have even ventured into the basement to try to find some "decorative" things that I had forgotten we owned. It is amazing how little things really make the difference and make a house feel like a home.


Mom & Dad will be here tomorrow and I am very excited. Daniel is taking TH/FR off so that he and my Dad can get some work done. They are going to tackle the master bathroom. The plan is for them to build the shower pan so that it can be tiled later. They will also have to move some of the plumbing since we are enlarging the shower. Then they can install cement board in the shower and there is a lot of drywall work to do - all of the closets and also the wall b/t the MBR and MBA. If they have time there are plenty of little things to work on. I am so excited b/c the end is seemingly in sight for the house!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Christmas In July

Today I participated Christmas in July - an activity where the congregation I worship with provided lunch and gifts to a men's homeless shelter in downtown Charlotte. The shelter is called The Charlotte Rescue Mission and it is for recovering alcoholics who are also homeless.

My specific role was to help cook and serve lunch to 130 men. I, along with 9 others, donned santa's hats and joyfully wished everyone a "Merry Christmas" as we served them lunch. The men got a kick out of us - wishing us a "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year" in return. After lunch, we mingled with the men before gifts were passed out.


This was my first visit to a homeless shelter. I was amazed that this particular group of men were so seemingly "normal." I realize that this is not the norm and that some homeless people have severe problems, but it was a good first experience for me and I was definitely touched today.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Spider Web

When we got home tonight from our daily Lowe's trip, we noticed a huge spider web between the Pathfinder and a tree. On closer inspection we noticed this rather large garden spider spinning the web. I don't think that I have ever seen a web being made. The actual process is pretty amazing.

Tea Parties, Dress Up & a Feather Boa

Who knew that dressing up and having a tea party as an adult could be fun? This afternoon I attended a "tea party" at church for the women's mentor group. I really wasn't sure that I would have fun, but I went anyways.

When I got there, there was a table covered with every type of hat that you could imagine, as well as a chest full of gaudy, over-the-top jewelry and feather boas. It was every little girl's dream (except maybe mine).


As soon as I came in, the older women informed me that I had to dress up. I found a floppy, khaki hat that I liked. Then the women told me that I needed more so I picked out a pretty shell necklace. Minimal and I still felt like me.


Then one of the elder's wives told me that I still did not have enough and handed me a red feather boa and a big, chunky, yellow fish necklace. We all looked pretty crazy.


We learned about where tea came from (first in China and then transported to England via the Portuguese and only for aristocrats originally). We had a traditional English tea and a chance to visit, followed by a devo. I was surprised to find myself enjoy the event (even though I had to wear a boa)...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Shrek the Third and a Big Thunderstorm

We saw Shrek 3 tonight. It was cute. Throughout the whole movie we kept hearing thunder rumble - there were times I wasn't sure if it was the movie or outside. It turns out it was outside.

When we came out of the theater, the rain was a
torrential down pour. Sheets of rain is not quite adequate to describe the down pour. Daniel was a gentleman and ran to the back corner of the parking lot to get the car and came and picked me up.

Lightening, thunder and rain so hard you could not see the road the whole way home. I love thunderstorms, I just hope that we don't end up with another downed tree!


I received a call from Sporting News
this afternoon. They are a company from St. Louis that just got relocated to Charlotte - they put out "year books" for Nascar and all of the professional sports teams (hockey, baseball, basketball, football, fantasy football, etc) as well as college sports. It seems they are interested in me, which is interesting... we will see.

We are hoping to make some decent headway on the master bathroom this weekend - hopefully we will finish gutting it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Coloring Books, Silly String & 20 Kids

That was what I had in order to direct a video announcement for my church. On August, 18, 2007, Providence Road Church of Christ, along with the Gateway YMCA are sponsoring a Book Bash. The Book Bash is an event where kids who cannot afford school supplies will come to the Gateway YMCA where they will receive a book bag and supplies for the upcoming school year.

In an effort to get the message out that volunteers are needed to work the event as well as to donate items, we created a video announcement using kids from the congregation. The idea for the announcement was to have a group of "bored" kids decide to "bash" each other with books. The kids were great at making chaos happen. I provided them with coloring books and silly string and they all spontaneously went nuts. Then the children's minister came on the scene to find out what was going on and then proceeded to explain what the Book Bash was all about. They all did a great job and the filming on the announcement was a success (and very funny to watch). The children's minister did a fantastic job of getting the kids to do what we needed.

I am excited to see the finish product and am happy that we were able to utilize kids in the video.

The Tangible Nature of Books

I don't know that I will ever fully convert to replacing my tangible books with a computer screen or an ipod. There is something special about picking up a book and leafing through its pages, like it holds some secret that will only be unveiled as I read through it. 

I am currently reading the devotional book, The Ransomed Heart. Thomas Nelson publishers does an amazing job of designing their books. The well-designed cover and the layout of the interior of this particular book make me want to pick it up time and again. The best part of this book are its pages. The edges are jagged, like it is something old. The smell and feel of the paper are both things that I love. I know that not everyone is an avid reader, but there will always be something special to me about picking up a book, whether well worn or brand new.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend Warriors

I think we could qualify for a "Lifetime Weekend Warriors" award. This weekend we (meaning Daniel) ripped out the wall between the master bedroom and master bathroom in order to reframe it with 2x6 boards and insert a pocket door.

I did help. My jobs were to 1) take pictures of the process 2) be the gopher for all things that Daniel needed and 3) take measurements of the boards and cut them to size with the miter saw.


We have now gone from having a huge hole in the wall between rooms to a having a framed out wall with a fully functional pocket door. Horray for progress!


I also finished my last set of curtains for the house. Things are starting to look more like a home than a construction site which is good.


We are going to have to start calling our property the nature preserve. It is amazing that even though we live in the middle of a big bustling city we still have wild things all around us (and some not so wild things like the 4 neighborhood cats that think our property and porch belong to them). Anyways, we have lots of birds, lots of squirrels, a family of rabbits used to hang around until the cats showed up, a couple of chipmunks and tonight I noticed a racoon sitting on our chimney. It just sat there and stared at us for 5 minutes. We finally came inside and it was still sitting there. We are pretty sure we even spotted a fox wandering across the street one night - hello we are in a city!!! Anyways we enjoy having nature at our doorstep.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Identity Theft

On a lovely Saturday afternoon while you are going about your weekend business you do not want to receive a phone call that says, "Mr. Moore, this is your REI Visa Card, did you recently make a purchase at Home Depot in LA?"

This was followed by an explanation that someone in LA (Los Angeles or Louisiana does not matter since we are in neither place) attempted to make 3 separate purchases at a Home Depot $250 each. The first $500 was approved and then REI froze our card and gave Daniel a call.


Thankfully they are going to credit us the full $500 as well as send us new cards. The bad news is that we will be unable to use our cards for the next 7-10 days while we wait for new ones, but that is a small price to pay for a case of identity theft...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My New Cookbook

I love to cook and am constantly looking to try new recipes. I have recently started using my laptop in the kitchen and it has been wonderful. I have unlimited recipes at my fingertips and while I am waiting on something to boil or cook or set or whatever, I can check my email, blog or be on Facebook. I also love that I don't have to rely on one cookbook for my recipes. My favorite website for recipes is http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf but I also enjoy http://www.foodnetwork.com/.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"If Christopher Columbus has turned back, no one would have blamed him. Of course, no one would have remembered him either." - Unknown Author

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thank goodness for wheel barrows

This morning I fished hauling what was left of our fallen tree - all of the pieces of wood that are the right size for firewood. It took me about 5 trips with the wheel barrow, but it is all finished (it would have taken me much longer if I had to carry all of the wood in my arms instead of hauling it with the wheel barrow).

I really wasn't sure if all of the wood would make an entire new row of firewood, but it does. We now have firewood stacked behind our deck 3 rows deep. We are going to have to make an extra effort to get our basement finished before it gets cold this year so that we can actually try to use up some of this wood!


Wheel barrow is a strange word (the barrow part anyways). What does that mean/where does it come from?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ongoing Shoe Saga

I have been looking for the right shoe for my foot and it really and truly may not exist. I have ordered 6 different shoes off of Zappos (which is a wonderful internet company that will ship them to you next day for free - you can also return the shipments for free as well).

Anyways, the first order was a size 7 EE (EE = extra wide) and a 7.5 EE in two different styles. One style, the 7 EE was way too long for my foot and the other style was long and slightly narrow, so back they went.


The second order I purchased 2 new styles - a 6.5 EE and a 6.5 EEEE (really, really wide). Well, the EEEE were way too wide and the 6.5 EE almost felt right but are just a hair too narrow AND they are too short. So I guess I need a 6.75 EEE which does not exist.


I am tired of having numb feet from my shoes being tied too tightly or feeling like my shoes are going to come flying off because I had to make the lacing so loose. I am really not sure what to do at this point. I suppose I will try a 7EE of the style that almost fit but was too short at a 6.5.


Buying shoes really should not be this difficult.
Nice little rows of tree branches - they take up the entire length of our front yard.
 
Yesterday Daniel started the chore of cutting up the fallen tree in our back yard (he has Kevlar pants and a face shield to use when using the chain saw). Today we got up early and hauled it all out to the street and organized it in nice 3x3 foot piles so that the city will pick them up. This took most of the morning.

While we were taking care of this enormous task, our new neighbor from across the street came to introduce herself to us. She just graduated and is gettting ready to move in and a guy has already moved in. We are glad she let us know they were living there b/c we had seen a moving truck a couple of weeks ago but NO PEOPLE since then. We were beginning to think we were imagining the moving truck.


Also while we worked, a guy was sitting across the street in his SUV running for over 2 hours. Earlier in the day he had been parked in front of our house but moved across the street when we started working out there. He told us he was waiting for somebody. After 2 hours, he got out of his vehicle and told us that he was a private investigator checking up on someone about worker's comp. We were thankful that he explained what he was doing to us b/c we were feeling kind of weird that a stranger was just sitting in a running vehicle for no explained reason. He didn't ask any questions about any of our neighbors and we didnt press for more of an explanation.


Around 12:30, I hurriedly took a shower, wrapped a gift and then headed north of Charlotte for a baby shower for an old co-worker of mine. It was nice to get to see her again.


I am home now and we are getting ready to head to a BBQ reception for a co-worker of Daniel's who recently got married in St. Thomas. Should be a fun evening.

When Pigs Fly


I recently discovered Flat Earth Chips at the grocery store. The packaging was cool so I bought a bag without really reading what it was. My husband was rummaging through the pantry one evening and picked up the bag of chips and read the label to me "Do you know that this says 1/2 serving of vegetables in each serving?" That I did not know.

These chips taste great and are basically healthy (after all they are still chips). Their marketing is based on the saying "when pigs fly." Meaning that the impossible has happened - servings of vegetables and fruits in chips that taste fantastic!

You can now get your children (or husbands) to eat vegetables by serving them chips! Check out their website www.impossiblygood.com and pick up some Flat Earth chips the next time you are in the grocery store - I would highly recommend the Garlic and Herb Field ones.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday

Nice little rows of tree branches - they take up the entire length of our front yard.

Yesterday Daniel started the chore of cutting up the fallen tree in our back yard (he has Kevlar pants and a face shield to use when using the chain saw). Today we got up early and hauled it all out to the street and organized it in nice 3x3 foot piles so that the city will pick them up. This took most of the morning.

While we were taking care of this enormous task, our new neighbor from across the street came to introduce herself to us. She just graduated and is gettting ready to move in and a guy has already moved in. We are glad she let us know they were living there b/c we had seen a moving truck a couple of weeks ago but NO PEOPLE since then. We were beginning to think we were imagining the moving truck.


Also while we worked, a guy was sitting across the street in his SUV running for over 2 hours. Earlier in the day he had been parked in front of our house but moved across the street when we started working out there. He told us he was waiting for somebody. After 2 hours, he got out of his vehicle and told us that he was a private investigator checking up on someone about worker's comp. We were thankful that he explained what he was doing to us b/c we were feeling kind of weird that a stranger was just sitting in a running vehicle for no explained reason. He didn't ask any questions about any of our neighbors and we didnt press for more of an explanation.


Around 12:30, I hurriedly took a shower, wrapped a gift and then headed north of Charlotte for a baby shower for an old co-worker of mine. It was nice to get to see her again.


I am home now and we are getting ready to head to a BBQ reception for a co-worker of Daniel's who recently got married in St. Thomas. Should be a fun evening.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Daniel's Latest Accident

Thankfully this is nothing major (like the chainsaw accident) and it isn't costing us anything (like having to buy another car after he totaled the Altima, or his weekend in the hospital for the chainsaw incident or numerous visits to the doc for stuff in Daniel's eyes). However it did leave his bike unrideable and I had to go pick him up last night.

Here is the account (based on what he told me):


First of all, Daniel is fine. He was going around a turn and his rear tire slid out from under him - he managed to stay on the bike through the turn, aim it at the sidewalk and dismount over the handle bars into the grass. The rear wheel was really bent up and he could not ride it home. The wheel is unusable now, but thankfully he has a spare. He said that an older woman walking her dog asked him if he was ok and he said he was fine and then she told him that that was the most beautiful accident she had ever seen!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Going Green

I was in Barnes&Noble today and saw the book, "The Green Book." I have heard some hype about it as Hollywood always seems to have someone preaching on the how good it is to be green. So here is my two cents on how me and my husband try to be green on a regular basis.
  • We recycle: The city of Charlotte provides recycling bins for every home and they pick up our recycling every Tuesday (same as garbage day). It is really simple to recycle and we normally have as much recycable stuff as we do trash. Anything plastic, cardboard, glass or paper goes into our recycling bin.
  • Daniel rides his bicycle 3-5 times a week to work. This cuts back on emissions from a vehicle as well as not using up as much gas.
  • At the grocery store I do not put my produce in plastic bags, I leave it loose. I also recycle my plastic grocery bags - you can return these plastic bags to most grocery stores or put them in your recycling bin.
  • We turn our heat and a/c unit to 80 during the day in the summer and to 60 during the day in the winter. We also try to keep windows open when the weather permits. This cuts back on energy we use regularly and it cuts our energy bill tremendously (this one I learned from my parents).
  • We turn lights off when we are not using them - also learned from my parents.
  • I take short showers - 5-10 minutes. This is habit from all of the years I played basketball as a teenager and had to get ready at school with a limited amount of time between morning basketball practices and classes.
  • Most of the light bulbs in our house are flourescent bulbs - this conserves about 4 times as much energy as regular bulbs.
I have to admit that I have not read THE GREEN BOOK, but these are ways that we are lowering some of our bills as well as being green. What are some ways that you are green?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

2007 North Carolina Mountains Vacation Recap


Sleeping in a field at Palmetto Bible Camp

Here is a brief recap of our vacation. Wednesday we got up early and headed for our churches bible camp, Palmetto Bible Camp, to participate in a hike to High Falls. It was a nice hike of about 3 miles (all of which were uphill). We enjoyed hanging out with the teenagers. We stayed the day at camp and then experienced the fireworks display over the lake. Wednesday night we slept in a field at camp under the stars. 

Our cottage in Andrews, NC - we stayed in the smaller section in the left of the picture.

Thursday after breakfast we headed for Andrews, NC where we scoped out a possible biking route (which we ended up not doing), followed by lunch at a local joint (there were like 3 places to choose from) and then checked into Fernwood Cottage. The cottage was owned by former inn keepers from Brittain and the rental was immaculate.

A mile high on the Cherohala Skyway - about 9 miles into our trip.

Friday morning we were up at 5:30 in order to head up to the Cherohala Skyway where we biked a total of 18 miles. The first 9 miles were ALL UP HILL. This was my first real experience road biking and the never ending hill was a bit of a shock. Once I got used to it, it wasn't too bad. The ride down was AWESOME. We both hit speeds of 36 mph on our first section down. Then Daniel left me and exceeded 40 mph on his bike - I was somewhat more cautious. It took us about 30 minutes to bike down 9 miles while it had taken us 2 hours to get to the top! We averaged 7 mph on the way up and 25 mph on the way down. The grade of most of the road was 9%. There were a few cars and motorcyclists out on our way up. On the way down there were more vehicles on the road but not too many passed us.

Tsali Trailhead

After we came off of the Skyway, we headed for Tsali Recreation Area where we changed the tires on our bikes from road to mountain bike tires and proceeded to bike another 12 miles on the Left Loop. Tsali is supposed to be one of the Top 10 mountain biking areas in the country. To tell the truth is was ok - not what we expected. It was good for beginners - not very technical.

View from the Tsali Trail
After all of the biking we were both exhausted, we stopped at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) on our way home for dinner on the river and to check out info for kayaking. We then went home and dropped into bed.

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Saturday we got up around 9 and headed back to NOC to rent a kayak. We were shuttled 8 miles down river and then kayaked back to the rental place. The Nantahala River was a lot of fun - lots of class II and III rapids. Thankfully they gave us wet suits because the water was 52 degrees F. I ended up soaked for most of the trip.

Paddling the Nantahala River in a inflated ducky kayak.
 
After our 2 hours of kayaking we were pretty exhausted. We had considered doing a hike but were pretty worn out and decided to go back to the cottage to rest instead. We enjoyed relaxing the rest of the day.

We slept in this morning and took our time getting home. Overall we had a lot of fun.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

No Rules, Just Right.

We had originally planned to head up to Damascus, Virginia on Friday afternoon in order to camp, then get up early Sat morning to ride the Virginia Creeper Trail.

 

It turned out we were too tired on Friday for the drive so we got up early on Saturday (5:30 a.m.) and drove the 3 hours to do the ride. We took our camping gear in case we decided to stay and camp Saturday night.
 

The Virginia Creeper trail is an old railroad line that has been converted into a bike trail. The entire trip is 46 miles round trip from Abingdon thru Damascus up to White Top Station. Most people get shuttled to the top and ride all the way back to Damascus.

 

We chose to start a little after Damascus and ride UP, eat a picnic lunch at White Top Station and then ride back down.
 
 

Most people just coast all of the way down as the entire trail is a hill. We found that we were actually going faster on our way up than most people went on the way down.
 
  
Our total mileage for the trip was 26.7 miles. We made it up in 2 hours. Lunch was hickory smoked tuna on crackers, fruit cups and trail mix. Coming down, we made it in 1 hour, passing over 100 people on the way. We had a max speed of 25 mph on our bikes coming down with an average of 12 mph for the trip (thanks to GPS tracking we know stuff like elevation gain, exact mileage and mph)!


 

We had a great time riding. The weather was overcast and a perfect temp. We were back at the car with bikes loaded by 2:30. It was starting to get humid and thunderstorms were threatening and we were pretty nasty, so we decided to drive on back to Charlotte.

 

We stopped at Outback Steakhouse on our way home. When we got out of our car, one of the To Go guys took one look at us and asked if we would be placing a To Go Order. Nope... we are dining in tonight :) Outback's tagline is No Rules, Just Right, so we should be able to come in dirty and sweaty to eat, right? Our ribs and chicken were awesome! You always appreciate a meal like that so much more when you have just come off the trail!

 

Recipe for a Happy Birthday │Jack's 6th Birthday Party

Over the course of the last six years, my idea for what is a good kid's party has evolved. And by evolved, I mean relaxed. ...