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.