Sunday, April 26, 2015

Accidents Happen

A week and a half ago we received a call from our son, "Mom, I've had an accident".  Deep breath here, okay he's calling so that's a good sign.  I asked if he was okay and he said yes so was everyone else, but the car wasn't.  I told him cars can be replaced, I was just glad the people were okay.  He said where he was and Kevin headed over because from the sounds of it he'd need a ride home.

Turns out it was in an area of construction and when a construction vehicle pulled out suddenly from the side of the rode it caused a chain reaction of braking.  There was a large landscaping truck in front of him who quickly pulled to the right to try and get off the road as he hit the break, so he didn't hit the car in front of him.  Cameron had a barrel barrier on the right side of him and oncoming traffic in the narrow construction lanes so as he hit the brakes the right side of the car clipped the back left side of the truck.  Things would have been okay if that was all that happened.  The truck was like a tank and didn't sustain damage, and Cameron's right side would have needed fixing.  Unfortunately that wasn't the last of it.  As the truck pulled further up and off the road, Cameron turned to move in that direction and was struck from behind by a woman who hadn't seen the vehicles stopping.  Her car pushed the front of our Vue right into the side back panel of the truck, again not showing any damage to this tank of a truck, but crushing in a large V pattern the front of the VUE and the front of her car.

Poor VUE

Kevin waited with Cameron as all the reports were taken and the tow trucks arrived, then drove Cameron home as the tow truck dropped off our poor car.

Despite the fact it has low mileage and the engine wasn't damage, there was so much front end damage and  with the age of the car (a 2003), and the fact that they don't make Saturn's anymore the insurance company totaled the car.  Truthfully not unexpected by us, so we'd already started checking out our options.  After a couple sleepless nights, too much thinking and searching online, we used our insurance companies buying service to shop for the model we picked out as our best option, and went to the local Ford dealer for our new Fiesta.

Our new Ford Fiesta - good safety rating and great gas mileage

As the title says '"accidents happen", and thankfully everyone walked away from this one for which we are very grateful!!

Cameron does like his new ride.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's Blooming?

This has been a busy month building garden beds, the hoop house over our tower garden and vertical garden system, hydroponic systems using the Kratky method and still completing the fireplace.  I'll post pictures of our other projects as we complete them, but since I'm so behind in updating this blog I thought I'd share a few pictures of some of the pretty flowers as plants and trees in the yard begin to bloom.

Hope you enjoy!!

Pomegranate blossoms

Hoping to get pomegranates to eat

Purple Queen (Tradescantia pallida)

Sea Grape blossom

Canna Tropicana

Cranberry Hibiscus (Edible Gardening - leaves are good in salad or cooked like spinach)

Dutch Iris

Nasturtium (edible gardening - flowers and leaves great in salad with peppery taste)

Orange tree blossoms

Pineapples - blooming from pineapples I grew from the tops of store bought ones after we ate them

Love these!!!  Will let you know how they taste after they're large enough to harvest.

That's it for now - happy gardening!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hannah's 11th Birthday

Today is Hannah's 11th birthday!!  Can't believe how fast time flies and how grown up she's becoming.  We've had to work around Cameron's crazy busy school schedule in order to include him in birthday activities.

Cameron got home at 6 last night so we ate a bit later and he served cake

Since new classes started for him just Monday we weren't sure what his schedule would be until late Sunday afternoon.  Originally we thought he'd have the day off and wanted to plan a family outing, but sadly he has class today, so with Hannah's okay we had a pizza dinner and cake last night, and we'll let her open Cameron's gift before he has to leave for class today.

Our birthday girl

Then to celebrate we're taking the girls to see the new Cinderella movie.  We've heard it's good and it should be a lot more fun than school work, so we'll make up school later and enjoy a birthday out.

Happy Birthday Hannah. ~  Love you Mom, Dad, Cameron and Lauren. ~

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hannah's Recital

Hannah and her friend Arielle before the performance

On Sunday Hannah had her violin recital a day she's prepared for these past few months.  All the practicing, the two rehearsals with the other kids and the nerves were coming together for this performance.  She was both excited as well as dealing with the butterflies in her stomach.

After the first 8 kids played it was Hannah's turn.  They had all just met once with the pianist the day before and while the piano accompanying the students added to their chosen pieces, it also served to throw many of the students off a bit and Hannah was one of those.  All of them rallied to push through and complete their pieces which was really impressive.  Hannah played the theme from Jurassic Park for her solo.


Following her solo were 6 more solo's, a trio of two violins and a cello playing together and a quintet that played a country piece called Johnny's Hoedown that was a change from many of the more classical pieces of the day.

Then it was time for the group to perform the William Tell Overture.  This was something Hannah was really looking forward to, but was concerned with holding up her part in the orchestra.  Here is a video of their efforts, Hannah was so excited at the end that she can be seen jumping for joy.


The group preparing to play

Getting ready - excited and nervous

The final two pieces were played by their teacher who played the kids choice of Let It Go, from Disney's film Frozen and Vivaldi's Four Season piece Winter.  With that we ended a wonderful day.
We surprised Hannah with flower, purple of course, at the end and gave her a bouquet to give to her teacher for all her efforts.

Hannah's relieved to have this over, but also a bit disappointed that she doesn't have anything to prepare for and look forward to.  We've assured her there will be plenty of more opportunities in the future as this is something she loves and wants to pursue.

Hannah with her flowers in front of the Sanford Women's Club were the event was held

I was so impressed with this whole group.  All of the kids had only two opportunities to practice together before this performance.  There were all different skill levels and once they were together with the guidance of their teacher Yvonne Bennetti they really put their best efforts forwarded and we all were able to enjoy the results.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lauren's 10th Birthday

It's Lauren's 10th birthday today and she's now joined the double digit club age group.  No more single digit birthdays,  Kevin says he now has two "double digit midgets", with both Hannah and Lauren.  Cameron's a bit too tall to fit in that category.

We had a quiet day celebrating at home.  Lauren wanted McDonald's for lunch, so we picked that up. Grandma and Poppie came over later for cake and ice cream, and for opening presents.

Opening her presents

Hannah played happy birthday for Lauren on her violin

One of the gifts she wanted is the movie Big Hero 6, so we'll be watching that for movie night tonight.  She's currently busy with Hannah playing with some of her new craft items.   Baba and Grandpa called from California to wish her a happy birthday. All in all it's been a good day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fireplace Update 4 - Airstone Installation

The progress on this phase of the fireplace, has taken a bit longer with Kevin's time and schedule having to be divided with work and school projects, so he actually accomplished a lot in a relatively short amount of time, when he did have the time to work on the fireplace.

After going to Lowe's in Port Orange to pick up the Airstone, we made a trip to a local stone yard to choose some thinner pieces of stone in color assortments we liked and would work with the colors in the Airstone.  After sorting through all the bins, we took a couple of carts and picked out our stones, then took them to be weighed and check out.  Once home we hosed the dirt off them and brought them inside to lay out in possible positions covering the brick on the hearth.

Found our stones at Pebble Junction in Sanford

Some of our stones drying after being sprayed to clean.  Love some of the colors in these.

Once we made sure we'd have enough to cover the space, I took a picture for reference then removed them and stacked them behind the couch. Now it was time to start installing the Airstone.  The instructions recommend beginning from the bottom up, so the stones can support the ones above them as the adhesive dries.  The problem with that is the uneven base and wanting to make sure everything was level.  To make sure the stones didn't slide down the wall before the adhesive set we had to create a makeshift brace to hold the heavier pieces in place until they were dry enough to stay put. Kevin's level, a spare piece of wood and our antique ash box did the trick.

Stones laid out to begin to get an idea of how they might work, then we'll have to cut some to fit just right.
First Airstone going up

Adhesive gets "buttered" on the back

Our low tech support system for the stones

As I mentioned above Kevin had to work on this project as his schedule allowed, but when he got busy on this he made progress very quickly.

All that's needed to cut the Airstones is a hacksaw, though a masonry blade on a chop saw would be easier on the arms!

The first side's almost done along with the top rows

Almost done

TA DA!!!

With the Airstone now in place our next step is to lay the stones on the hearth, then it will be time to build the mantel.

We'll have to fill the gaps in the base on each side made when we removed the old fireplace

Stone hearth pieces stacked behind our couch waiting for installation

We're liking the results so far.