Painting our way into the New Year

We have been putting it off.  I'll admit it.  Our house has needed painting since we moved in and we just keep patching and "touching up" spots here and there.  Well, we have finally committed. Due to the extended vacation, or layoff, which John was given we decided we had the time.  Maybe not the money, but definitely the time.  It took John the better part of the week and a case and a half of stucco spackle to cover all of the cracks.  We picked out a color(Stone Manor) to complement our new xeroscaping and our gray roof.  This week after struggling elastomeric vs. latex we started.  So far we have yet to finish one side.  We have gone through 7 gallons of paint, several roller pads and three, 8 hour days of painting, and still we are less than half done.  I'll admit the thought of hiring someone to paint  the house looks better every day.  When you factor in the 5,000$ price tag, it does make you think twice.  We have had great weather and fabulous helpers.  There have been few complaints and there is always a child or adult willing to lend a hand.  Here are a few pictures of our helpers and a before picture of the house.  

With luck, and another 15 gallons of paint we should be done in the next week, I'll keep you posted.  


Random Act of Kindness

Just when I thought I was finished opening my Christmas gifts, what should appear in the mail...

A beautiful package sent by a HSKS6 friend.  It truly did lift my spirits to find a package peaking out of the mailbox at me. What a season for miracles!  Thanks so much to my Hogwarts friend for making my day!


Christmas Quilts

My quilting business had an upswing this December.  I was commissioned by three people to do quilts for Christmas.  My cousin Jessica (Hi Jess!)  was smart enough to plan way ahead and get all of her materials to me in plenty of time for me to complete this King size quilt! 

I was contacted in early December by a woman wanting a Queen size quilt done for Christmas.  I told her I was already working  on one, so the odds that it would be done for Christmas were slim.  However, being the quilting powerhouse I am, with the fortunate ability to not do any housework for weeks at a time, I completed her quilt...TA-DA.
One quilt left which is a stadium side blanket for a fraternity friend of John's, who had the unfortunate timing to contact me the week before Christmas.  That quilt I have just started on, and hope to have finished and shipped soon.  
I'll post pictures as soon as I know the recipient has received her gift. ( Nothing worse than getting a late Christmas gift that every one has seen but you!)  Happy Stitching Ya'll!


Happy 1st Birthday Ginger

Ginger turned 1 on the 24 th of December.  The kids were very excited to have her an actual number (not just Zero)  Although they do keep asking me how old she is in human years vs. dog years.  I have been asked so many times that I begin to confuse the two.  

Ginger had a Frosty Paws (dogie ice cream) and a beef bone and was never happier.  The candle that the kids insisted we put in her Frosty Paws  TOTALLY freaked her out (as did our questionable singing)  We will have to wait and see if the next birthday party sends her into a dogie anxiety attack.

12th Day of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me....

12 dozen homemade pasta noodles.
This year on Christmas Eve the kids wanted to make homemade pasta & we did (lots and lots of noodls)! Yummy.


11th Day of Christmas

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

11 Picture Christmas Cards...
Thanks to all who keep us up to date.  Merry Christmas.

10th Day of Christmas

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me.....

10 paper snowflakes. 
Emma has been going craft crazy since school let out.  These are the first 10 of about 50 paper snowflakes that cover the windows of the house.


9th Day of Christmas

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me....

9 Days of Posada.  (A Latin American tradition commemorating the search Joseph and Mary underwent to find a place to stay for the birth of Jesus.)
This was our first Posada as a family.  The kids have a Posada at school every Christmas.  It was great to hear them all singing the songs and saying the prayers, in Spanish no less.  At the end of the Posada there is a Pinata!  
What Fun.


8th day of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
8 Cookie Packages for teachers.

7th Day of Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me....

7 cardboard boxes. (One of great mysteries of Christmas.... The box is just as fun as the toy that came out of it.)


6th day of Christmas

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Six good friends. 
Theresa, Kimberly, Emma, Estephania, Fernanda, Regina

5th day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

FIVE  bottles of wine. 
(seeing as how today was the last day of school i'll be needing a few drinks come monday)


4th Day of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four knitted gifts.

3rd Day of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Three super hyper children (loaded with candy)

2nd day of Christmas

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two trains around the bottom of the tree (and why not!)

1 st day of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

One completly decorated tree..(only 2 weeks after it came home)


Sights, sounds & smells of Christmas

This weekend was busy, as usual.  It was also filled with holiday cheer.  Emma had her Christmas dance recital where she got to dress up as an elf and dance with her friends. (I ask you, What could be this great?)

  Daddy had the honor of being the parent who had to sit through 1 1/2  hours of Jazz, Tap, Ballet, and hip-hop.  While mom, froze her tush off watching Mark play the first of 4 soccer games this weekend (yup, another soccer tournament).   Mark and I listened and sang Christmas Carols all the way to Las Cruses and back again.  We stopped and got hot chocolate for the way home because we were both freezing (Ok, I got a pumpkin spice latte).  Mark and I had a really great time just talking, without the interference of my other elves.  Saturday,  Emma and I, went to my Quilting Guild's Christmas party.  Once again Emma dressed up as and elf, and was the hit of the party.  She was our Christmas Helper Elf, which made her the center of attention, now who wouldn't love that!  I received Honorable Mention for the Quilting I did on the Challenge quilt.  (Not to shabby for my first entry)   We drank mulled cider, ate way to many Christmas cookies and got to play several games involving fabric (I know go, figure.)    The boys spent the day in Las Cruses at a soccer tournament, where Mark's team tied both games 0-0.   We all sat around and watched The Santa Claus Movie on Saturday night.  Sunday it was time for some serious Christmas cookie making.  Since I had so many good helpers, it only took 1 1/2 times as long as it should.
 But the cookies were still scrumptious!  In between batches the kids set up the train around the tree.  Or should I say TRAINS.  They decided that this year we needed 2 trains, running in opposite directions (and why not).  Therefore we have no room under the tree for presents, and that is just the way it has to be.  Priorities!  


Oh , Christmas Tree

This year the Lincoln National Forest was offering a pass to anyone adventurous enough to want to cut down their own Christmas tree.  In the past we have cut down our own tree, but it has been many, many years.  With the kids getting older we decided this year we would try again.  We packed up the car with saws, ropes, work gloves, snacks, change of clothes, drinks, 3 very excited  children, their accessories, knitting for me and one puppy then we left.  Now, when you pack all that into a pickup truck you are bound to be a little crowded.  And so we were, so it was no surprise when the whining and complaining and fighting started only miles from the house.  I'll admit I was slightly concerned when John said, "we can go home right now!" and we hadn't even made it to the highway!  Soon they were settled and we managed to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to the National Forest.  Lincoln national Forest is in New Mexico just NE of Las Cruses.  We picked up our tree cutting permit and arrived, in Cloudcroft NM, relatively early on Sunday morning.   It was a brisk 42 degrees, 20 degrees cooler than we left the house!  Map in hand we drove down many a country road with the kids shouting, there's one!, there's one!, how about that one? as they spotted the "perfect" Christmas tree.  It dawned on me just at that time, what a difficult task we had ahead.  Ask any given number of people to pick out their perfect tree and  you will get a different answer.  We found a secluded country dirt road and parked the car and got out to go find our tree.

  I cannot put into words how extremely beautiful it was in the woods.  The ponderosa pines towered over us as the sun beams shot thru the branches.  Every now and then the kids would stumble upon a patch of snow that had been hidden from the hot sun.  We hiked, played in the snow, scouted for animals (saw a few beautiful elk, a couple of squirrels and evidence of deer) and generally had a great time, all the while discussing the trees we had come across.  After about 2 hours of hiking, Jack started to complain that he was cold,  Emma decided she was ready to go home and put up the artificial tree and Mark, hatchet in hand was more than ready to chop down the smallest sapling, just to get the chance to use the tools we had brought.  The party was over.  John made an executive decision and lead us back to a tree, "he had found earlier" (wink, wink) and we decided that we had found it!  The kids took turns "helping" to cut down the tree, trim off the dead branches and then carry the tree back to the car.  It was an all around group effort. 
 After a great day in the forest, we had our tree and were ready to head home!


knittin' a little somethin'

How can it be Thursday already!  Believe it or not I started this post 2 days ago!  I think the Holiday Season has defiantly speed up the clock.  I have been knitting, and sewing and knitting and sewing, you get the picture.  I have also been doing the usual holiday shopping.  I wanted to share a few knitting project that I have completed.  First the baby sweater and booties (first time I knit booties)
I knew I wanted to make Emma a shrug and I had the perfect yarn in my stash, but I could not find the pattern I wanted!  It was very frustrating.  So, I created a pattern!  Wow, my very first Kristin Original!  (cheers and applause)  I must admit it was a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.  I think I cast on at least 7 times before I got what I wanted.  The finished product is not 100% perfect either.  I have some modifications I need to make, sleeves are a bit tight on Emma, not that she cares!  But, overall I am quite pleased.   Once I knit another I'll try to post the pattern for all ya'll. 


Our 9 year old

Happy Birthday Jack!!

Yesterday Jack turned 9 years old!  WOW!  Hard for a mom to believe.  He had been super excited all week (if you can imagine).  He was tortured by me all week.  I kept his birthday cards, that came in the mail, hidden until his actual birthday!  Nothing like taunting a poor child. (Here it is but you can't open it! hahaha)  I think he was up with the sun rise.  Asking "When can I open my presents?"  from the moment he rolled out of bed.   We made it through the day, with an outing for pizza, baking a cake, 
( it is a model of a plant cell) and finally opening presents.  What a great day!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This thanksgiving we are having neighbors and friends over to celebrate the holiday.  Many people we know here in El Paso are not native to the area, or the State.  We find many who are in the same situation we are having no family close to share the holiday.  For the past few years we have gotten together with friends to celebrate the holiday. This year we are hosting.  Ugh.  I don't mind having people over, and I enjoy the company, the problem is I am not a good hostess.  It is an awkward situation for me and I always feel incompetent.  One thing is for certain we will have plenty of food!  And our decorations are top notch.  Emma has been busy cutting, pasting and coloring for days.

We have our festive napkin rings..

Our turkey cutouts.

And our Thankful leaves.  

Every year since the kids knew what it meant to be Thankful we have had a Thankful book, tree or leaves.  I enjoy the fact that this is a tradition that they initiate.  It makes me proud to know that they are thankful.  (Because often it is not to obvious.)

We wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and hope to see you all soon.

To: God.com 

Dear Lord,
Every single evening
As I’m lying here in bed,
This tiny little Prayer
Keeps running through my head:
God bless all my family
Wherever they may be,
Keep them warm
and safe from harm
For they’re so close to me.

And God, there is one more thing
I wish that you could do;
Hope you don't mind me asking,
Please bless my computer too.

Now I know that it's unusual
To Bless a motherboard,
But listen just a second
While I explain it to you, Lord.

You see, that little metal box
Holds more than odds and ends;
Inside those small compartments
Rest so many of my friends.

I know so much about them
By the kindness that they give,
And this little scraps of metal
Takes me in to where they live.

By faith is how I know them
Much the same as you.
We share in what life brings us
And from that our friendships grew.

Please take an extra minute
From your duties up above,
To bless those in my address book
That's filled with so much love.

Wherever else this prayer may reach
To each and every friend,
Bless each e-mail inbox
And each person who hits ’send’.

When you update your Heavenly list
On your own Great CD-ROM,
Bless everyone who says this prayer
Sent up to God.com


quilts,Quilts, QUILTS

Quilts, quilts and more quilts.  This past 2 weeks I have been a busy little quilter.  I have made several new quilts to post on my etsy shop, made and quilted a wounded warrior quilt and made another circular needle case. 

Table runner
Gift Package wall hanging
The Challenge Quilt

Wounded warrior Quilt 

I have been so busy quilting, that everything else seems to have fallen by the way side.  I'll admit I am the type of person who will gladly put off cleaning the kitchen until the morning to have a few hours of quilting in quiet.  Yet, in the morning I trudge downstairs and dive into the pile of day old dirty dishes.  Usually, I am very good about setting limits for myself.  Small attainable goals that once reached, I move on to a "Mommy Job."  You know the jobs that no one else does that mom has to do, like laundry, cooking, changing the toilet paper roll.  This weekend I don't know what came over me but  I just didn't care.  I went to bed Sunday knowing that no matter what else didn't get done, I had bound 3 quilts!  I had not done all my mommy duties and the world was still OK.   Monday morning, I am sad to report things did not continue to run smoothly.  Mark had no clean school pants, oops.  Jack couldn't find any clean gym uniforms and Emma had no clean socks.  Double Oops.  But did I mention that I had bound 3 quilts!


The Great Debate

Sunday mornings are great.  Everyone is quite lazy, we make a big breakfast, read the paper and the kids hunker down with blankets and watch cartoons.  This morning was no exception.  The feature of the day was a Tom and Jerry marathon.  The kids love Tom and Jerry, as did I as a child.  When you become a parent you realize how much violence is portrayed.  When you get down to it the whole cartoon is really just fighting.  As a parent you begin to wonder if this is such a good thing to expose young minds to.  We watched it and no one wondered if that violence contributed to the violence elsewhere.  This morning I was surprised to wander back downstairs and be drawn into the debate between my two youngest.  

"Mom, who do  you like best, Tom or Jerry?"  Jack asked.
"I always liked Jerry."  I answered in truth.  Although I do have a certain fondness for Spike.
"Emma and I were just thinking we like Jerry best too!" Jack continues, "Tom can be so mean."
Emma chimes in, "Yeah Tom does all kinds of things to Jerry.  Like try to eat him!"
"But, Emma" Jack argues, "Sometimes Jerry does stuff to Tom for no reason. And that is mean.  I mean Tom is just doing nothing and them Jerry ties his tail to something and tries to get Tom to chase him and them BAM Tom is hit on the head."  
Didn't Jack just say he liked Jerry best?  Now he is defending Tom?
"Well, you might do that do if some big cat tried to eat you."  Emma adds.
" No Emma, he wasn't trying to eat him.'  Jack defends
"Well,  maybe the day before he did." Emma adds to her defense.
"Emma, No, Tom can be mean but you cant do something to someone unless they do it first." Jack rambles on.  Ah, the logic of a 9 year old.
"J-A-C-K!" Emma whines, "I wasn't saying that."
At this point Jack turns to me, rolls his eyes,  and says, "Mom!  Emma wont believe me!"  As if somehow I am supposed to resolve this.  And I realize that he is defending Tom, for no other reason than to argue with Emma!  
"Jack, this is called a debate.  You cannot always get people to agree with you.   Sometimes you just have to present your facts and let them present theirs."  I return.

To which he promptly ignores me and says.  "See that right there Emma," as he points to the TV  "Jerry just did that to be mean."

"I know."  says Emma, "but, it's funny."
And isn't that the point? Or is it?