Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year, New Look

Happy New Years Eve!

I am trying to change things up around here at La Vida Dulce. I am also seriously thinking about joining June on her exodus to Typepad. But I am still researching stuff. It seems like the people on Typepad can do a lot more with their blogs....but anyway. I will be adding back the side bar widgets eventually as I couldn't get them to move when I put this new template up.

Last night we went to a beautiful wedding. My friend T. got married and it was awesome to be in the church we were married in, sitting next to our friends who participated and came to our wedding. Not to mention watching a dear friend marry someone whom she has waited along time to find. It was a really fun and beautiful wedding!

Tonight The Mister and I are going to be together to ring in The New Year. The kids are going to Grannies and we are going to catch an early dinner and a movie. We have a New Years Eve tradition to ring in the New Year all warm and snuggly under the heating blanket (Cookie) and snoring very loudly. I am sure we will not be breaking tradition this year. That is what happens when you hit middle age, your knees start aching, you complain about loud music, and the only time you are up at mid-night on New Years Eve is if you have to get out of bed to pee.

On New Years Day we are going over to my Mom and Dad's for Albondigas.

Albondigas is a wonderfully delicious meatball soup. And my Dad's recipe is THE BEST. This is a great improvement over the traditional hispanic soup eaten on NEw Years. I will never forget the years I lived at home when my Dad would wake up very early on January 1st to start cooking the Menudo.

If you have never had the privilege to experience Menudo cooking all day in your home, I will explain it for you: it smells so awful while it's cooking that as a kid I used to shut myself in my room, stuff a towel at the base of the door (to keep the odor from getting through the crack), and light a candle (which was forbidden because my Dad was always afraid we would burn the house down). The broth and the hominy always tasted good, but I just couldn't ever eat the tripe (see definition #3 if you are uncertain what this is) .

Albondigas is much better, and more aromatically pleasing, in my humble opinion.

What are you doing for New Years Eve? Whatever it is I pray that your New Year is terrific!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Recap - Part 2

Christmas Day:
On Christmas morning we headed over to celebrate with The Mister's parents house.

This is The Girl, who is patiently waiting with her brother and cousins, to open another round of presents.
This is my dear friend and sister-in-love, Mrs. Moofish.
I love this picture because it gives you an idea of how beautifully The Mister's mom decorates her tree. It's always lovely. After spending the first half of the day there, The Mister and I packed up the kids and drove the wonderfully short 13 minute drive to our house to do our own Christmas with the kids...and more unwrapping.

The Boy had guessed, immediately, what his present was by the size of the box. This is the "surprised look". I actually caught both he and his sister practicing the "surprised look" the day before Christmas.

The Girl opened up her gift but was actually surprised.
One of the reasons I loved this Christmas was because it was my first year to receive a gift, bought by The Girl without my help, from the school Christmas Shop. 2007 will go down in the books as the first year I received a 'Mom Mug'. I was very excited to receive it, but not as excited as The Girl was to see me open it.
I included this picture only because it shows The Mister's sense of humor, and his ability to wrap a good gift. My husband is a firm believer in duct tape. He feels that a man without duct tape is like like a women without shoes (A note from the Mister: Although if you are married to a man with duct tape, he can make you a pair of shoes.) If you'll notice, my gift (from him) is wrapped with duct tape. That gray corsage I am wearing was a bow made with duct tape. This was not the only gift he duct-orated. I almost didn't want to open the gifts because they made me laugh. But I am glad that I did, because one of the gifts he gave me is the new Martha Stewart cookbook. Yay!

OK, as I type The Mister is placing all the Christmas boxes back into the garage. The Christmas decoration are packed and my house is back into it's pre-Christmas state! Whew! I love to decorate, but when Christmas was over, it's time to move on. Now I can focus on making some Chex Mix for the New Years Day lunch at my parents house!

La Vida Dulce!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Recap - Part I

We had an excellent celebration this week. It was great to be here with family and not have to drive for 3 days to get here! Here is a recap in pictures. Since my family has always celebrated on Christmas Eve, and The Mister's on Christmas Day, I'll post in two parts:

Christmas Eve:
The scene: Christmas lights on; tamales cooking in kitchen; children saying "When is Santa coming? When is the party starting? When do we get to open presents?" for the 80 bagillionth time.

While we waited for Santa's arrival....

We played.

We Danced...

Well, most of us...

Finally, right on schedule, Old Saint Nick came to call...

We laughed.....

We cried...

And Santa asked me, as he does every year, if I have been a good girl.
Of course, I am always a very good girl.

The only bummer this year was that The Boy had a fever of 101 and felt pretty miserable.
To add insult to injury we asked him, a ten year old, to sit on Santa's lap for a picture.


And finally, we opened gifts.
Also, there was A LOT of tamale eating. I meant to take a picture, but I accidentally ate them before I remembered to take a picture.

La Vida Dulce!

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Christmas Day!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas Sweet Friends!

Dear Friends,

The cookies are made. The presents are wrapped. The preparation of the last month will soon be over. The anticipation is 95% of the fun isn't it?

I am going to be taking a blogging break for the next week or so. I may peek in sometime before the New Year, but then again, maybe not.

Before I sign off I have to tell you that one of the many things that has brought me joy this year is being able to communicate (even in tiny ways) with those who come to read this blog. I have kept up with friends that I might have lost contact with because of time and miles. I have also met new friends, and reconnected with friends that I would have liked to have known better.

I wish I could sit face to face with all of you together, even if you are lurker (both the lurkers I know about, that would be you CSG, and the lurkers I don't), and share some coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate)and laugh together over something warm from the oven. There wouldn't be child interruptions, or phone calls, or work schedules to keep us worried, and busy, and distracted. We could just hang out, The La Vida Gals, and really chat. Of course, that isn't how the blog works, but I am incredibly grateful for the way it facilitates relationship (and community) even in it's own interesting kind of way.

I pray that you have a Merry, Merry Christmas.

With love,
Kellie

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
~2 Cor. 13:14

Saturday, December 22, 2007

And the Winner Is....

Thanks for all of you who particpated in the Sign My Mothers Cast post.

Our winner is K2 in North Carolina with:

Went to Bora Bora on a cruise, came back with a tora foota and a bruise.

You all were awesome and if I ever break a foot I want you all to sign it.

K2, you have won a prize of your choice. An Apron? A Ballet skirt (I know you already have one!) or coffee (although I know you don't drink coffee). If none of these appeal to you I may just surprise you. Let me know what you think.

Today was to be a post on making tamales but with all the broken feet and sick kids around here we bought them from a very good tamale making friend! The Boy, who was sick last weekend, managed to make it through the last week of school only to get sick again this morning, so we are keeping him full of decongestants and Gatorade, and praying that nobody else gets this stuff before Christmas!

Well, it feels late, although it is only 8pm. I will be posting tomorrow and then taking a blogging break until the New Year, so I won't say Merry Christmas until then...

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Last Thing

Y'all, I am totally procrastinating.

The cookies have been baked. The kitchen is tidied; my sewing/craft area has been organized and cleaned. The kids have cleaned their rooms and they are enjoying some R&R in front of a movie. I have been to the gym, and to Mrs Moofish's house where we decorated cookies with all the little Moosfishes.

In a last ditch effort to postpone what must be done, I even went to the store, with my children, on the Friday before Christmas! Although I did toss around the idea of getting up at 5 am tomorrow so I could shop in "without-the-kids" peace. But shopping with all the other grouchy Mom's who hauled their children to buy groceries won out. Hands down. No questions asked. We're talking critical, borderline desperate, avoidance here.

(And for the record, I wasn't even the tiniest bit grouchy. Oh no! Not me. When The Boy and The Girl decided that they should play the "shut-your-eyes-and-let-me-lead-
you-through-the-store-as-if-you-were-blind" game (they can't keep from running into people with both eyes open), I spoke to them in my sweetest tone and with the loveliest Christmas disposition.

I said, "THE NEXT CHILD I HAVE TO EVEN LOOK AT, MUCH LESS SPEAK TO, WILL NOT ONLY BE GROUNDED TODAY, BUT FOREVER!!" Of course this was done very quietly, and with a smile on my face, so that all the parents around me would think I was asking "Would you like brown sugar and cinnamon PopTarts, or Cherry?"

OK, so that might have been a bit grouchy. Grouchy enough for me to feel the tiniest bit of guilt as they very quietly and obediently walked on each side of the cart through the grocery store, as if someone had just canceled Christmas.

When we got back from the store It was still here, waiting. That one small thing that must be tended too. Why does It seem like such a huge undertaking? Because It isn't fun. It isn't creative. It isn't festive, or lovely, or sparkly. It isn't warm. It doesn't smell like coffee. Oh for goodness sake! I just need to hang up this keyboard and go.

I have to clean the bathrooms.

Don't you feel sorry for me?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Three-Hour Tour

"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny Ship....."
Almost two weeks ago I posted from my Mom's office. A "while the cat's away, the mice will play" sort of post. Well, my mom wasn't just out of the office, she was out of the continental United States. She and my Dad left over two weeks ago for a 14 day cruise of Hawaii and the islands of the South Pacific.

If she had a blog, she would have a tale to tell. Because in 14 days she only got off the boat twice.

You may have heard about that big storm that blew through the Hawaiian islands about two weeks ago. Apparently, it was so bad that the first three days of their cruise they were not allowed to get off the boat. They were finally able to dock around the third day in Hawaii for about 6 hours. Then it was back to sea for a couple days to get to Bora Bora, Christmas Island, Tahiti and a couple of other islands of the South Pacific.

(For some reason when I say the names of these places the Girl from Ipenema play in my head)

Well, after many, many days at sea they were finally able to get off the ship at Bora Bora. Unfortunately, there wasn't a ship-to-land dock. Instead the cruise ship set anchor in the water and a tiny ship "parked" along side the big one was to ferry them to land. As my Mom stepped from the cruise ship a wave came and jolted the smaller craft and she ended up tearing her Achilles tendon in her left foot. She then spent the rest of her vacation stateside (on the ship.)

I was hoping that perhaps the silver lining in this whole story was that the ships doctor was as cute and smart as Dr. Adam Bricker of the Love Boat (he was quite the ladies man you know). But alas, it turns out that he was a middle aged German doctor, with a deep voice, who said things like this: "Everyzing iz going to be lov-e-ly. Zis iz just lov-e-ly." Which highly irritated my worried father, who felt that any other adjective would better describe the situation with his injured wife.

My mom didn't seem to notice whether the doc was cute or not. I guess, when the inside of your leg is shredded, your writhing in pain, and far away from home, you don't take time to assess the cuteness of the ships doctor. Go figure.

I bet you are thinking that there isn't a silver lining in this story...but I assure you there is....

If you have seen the movie Steel Magnolia's as many times as I have this line will sound familiar to you:
Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy
will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.
-Annelle
Well, my Mom's personal tragedy did not interfere with her ability to bring back good presents.
She and my Dad never travel without bringing home loot, and even with all the hardship that came with this trip, they did not disappoint. But I will post about that later....

I did mention yesterday that I wanted to turn this post into a contest of sorts. You see, my mom is not allowed to walk on that leg at all for 4 weeks, and is now sporting a rather beautiful, red, fiberglass cast. When she came home from the ortho doc on Monday she immediately handed a Sharpy to the kids and asked them to sign it. I told her that I didn't want to sign it yet, but I wanted to find some Sworavski crystals and glue them on first. Then I wanted to think of something really funny to write on the cast, cuz anybody can just sign their name, but someone with a sense of humor and a Bedazzler could make that cast a masterpiece.

I thought about writing:
I went to Bora Bora and the only thing I got was this lousy cast.
But, you know, that line is pretty much already used. So that is where you come in:

Think of something funny I could write on her cast. Something clean, of course, but something that could lighten up the fact that she went on a 14 day cruise in paradise and came home with a broken leg.

Saturday, around noon West Coast time, my Mom will vote on her favorite. I will write the winning saying on her cast and put some sparkles on it and take a picture for all to see. To sweeten the pot I will give something away! I don't have anything made at this moment that I can give away, but when you comment you can let me know if you want a ballet skirt for your little ballerina, or an apron for yourself or I will send you a 12 oz package of my favorite coffee . (Shipped after Christmas, of course!) Just let me know when you comment what your winning preference will be.

If you aren't inclined to think of something funny to be immortalized on fiberglass you could just raise her spirits by commenting. Her name is Karen. And pretty much "surfing" the net will be the only two footed activity she will be allowed!

Happy thinking!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fudgy Confession

Today was (is) my baking day. I am taking a little "time out" right now because I am very hungry and my stomach was starting to convince my brain that fudge really could be a nutritious lunch. I made some vegetable soup, but I have to be honest (and this is very hard to admit) I didn't actually want to eat the fudge for lunch because...well... it's slightly gritty.

Some of you may remember a random poll I posted last year about how I like my fudge to taste and feel when I am finished making it. This year The Mister is going to be very happy, because he will get to eat the fudge he has wanted me to make every year since I married him. I have had the hardest time making fudge on electric stoves. They just don't have the precision heat control needed when making candies.

Actually
, I did it on purpose as a sign of sacrifice. Yes! That's it! I made that fudge as a kind of token, that I, his beloved bride, would sacrifice my homemade Christmas fudge for My Man.

You know, now that I think about it, that really should be in the wedding vows:

Do you promise to love, cherish, honor and sacrifice your
Christmas fudge at least every other year for this man?

Cuz y'all! That is love with a capital L!

Speaking of love....Mrs. Moofish and I had the greatest time shopping together last night. At one point I had to make an intentional decision not to look at her, because we got to laughing so hard that I really thought I might pee in my pants. Right there in the check out line. I don't think the cashier thought we were funny. But we thought we were h-i-l-l-a-r-i-o-u-s.

I have to tell you that we had a couple of "Squeal with Delight" moments that can only be appreciated by people who actually don't care if other people around you think you are completely off your rocker. And some of you reading this will think the next sentance borders on nutty, but one of the moments when we actually clapped our hands (and I think we may have hugged), was when I was passing the butter isle (to get to the coffee creamer) and....oh! I hope you are sitting down, .....butter was on sale for .99 cents a pound! .99 cents people!

Unfortunately, there was a two pound limit, but since we are homemakers that never look a gift horse in the eye, we threw our packages in the cart, did a high five, and skipped like school girls to the frozen vegetable isle. It's the simple things that make us happy. Which is why we can laugh at all our own jokes.

Before the grocery store, we had hit the craft store, the mall and of course The Store of The Red Bullseye to finish up some Christmas shopping. I was actually finishing my Mom's shopping since she had a very unfortunate accident and will be off her feet for awhile. I will be posting about that tomorrow, and it will be a "contest" of sorts so come back!

Whew! Lunch break is over so it's back to my kitchen.

La Vida Dulce!

Our Christmas Story - Part 3

We've taken a trip to the past and future...but what about today?

Let's start with a story...I found this story but it did not give the name of the author. Please note I did not write this story!

Christmas in Prison

During the time when trouble with the Communists was first beginning to be a problem in China, two missionaries were returning from a preaching trip when they were captured. It was Christmas Eve and they had been hurrying, hoping to spend Christmas Day with their families. The captors stripped them of all their belongings, including their Bibles, and put them in a small room together, forbidding them to speak to each other. The men did not know whether they would be allowed to live through the night, whether or not the captors would kill them, and they worried for their families who did not know where they were. The night passed and early on Christmas morning, one of the men had an idea. While the guard was looking the other way, he pulled bits of straw out of his mattress and spelled out the word "Emmanuel." His friend looked at the letters and his face lit up. Emmanuel - God with us. God was with them even in prison. This communication lifted the men's spirits and they were able to wait out the remainder of their imprisonment in peace and joy. After the men were released and reunited with their families, this Christmas became their most memorable. They had learned that the importance of Christmas is not that we are with our families - although that is wonderful - but it is that God is with us - God sent His Son to earth to be with us.


This story encourages me! Christmas carries so much emotion and sometimes those emotions, (although very real when we're feeling them!) can side track us from the truth of Emmanuel - God with us.

Like Christmas 6 years ago. Being 8 months pregnant we couldn't travel to Arizona but I wasn't sad about it because we were celebrating our first Christmas in our new house (and first home) and I knew that my parents would be coming to see me when the baby came. The Boy was a cute as could be. I was carrying new life! Life was good! The emotions I felt were joy, love, and cheer! We can add those to our list from Part 1.

But sometimes those emotions aren't always happy.

Like the year when I was 18. We had had a family crisis that brought 17 years of Christmas celebration with extended family to a screaming halt. That year my parents, brothers and I celebrated Christmas alone. At the time, I felt responsible for all the ugliness that resulted in this separation. And although I felt grateful that I wasn't completely alone that Christmas the emotions I felt that year were fear, rejection, loneliness, and grief. And I assume that my family had similar feelings. That year the emotions would not allow me to see past my circumstances.

How I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish the 33 year old Kellie could go back to that 18 year old and say: "Emmanuel! Kellie. God is with you! God is with your family! You have a future!"

Do you know someone who needs to hear that this season?

Perhaps it is you?

Maybe your circumstances are awesome this year. For instance things are going well for my little family this year. We anticipate my parents’ arrival this weekend and things at the moment are going very well (and I can't resist saying I have a new baby nephew who is just perfect!)
However, I know that I could have remembered "Emmanuel-God with me." When I was trying to find a parking spot among those crazy Christmas drivers!

Perhaps we might remember "Emmanuel- God with us." when we travel long distances with small children and the family pet. Maybe it's when we are relating with family members who are a little more difficult.

I don't know where you are "emotionally" this year...some may be filled with joy and excitement and some maybe struggling...but we can be comforted when we remember:

Emmanuel. God is with us.

He was there in our past.

He will be there in our future.

He is with us now.


Two days ago I gave a definition for a baby. Here is a revised definition:

The Baby King

He was born in a stable, the smallest member of the barn. He was born there at the perfect time, to make love stronger, the home assured, the past forgiven and the future worth living for.

He is Emmanuel. - which means "God with us."
Matthew 1:23

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gingerbread Houses


Last night was the annual decorating of the Gingerbread Graham Cracker houses.

In years past I have made the Gingerbread walls made from a template The Mister draws out, but every year I feel so awful throwing out the equivalent of a pound of butter and all the ingredients (not to mention elbow grease) that goes into the houses. In the December 2006 issue of Martha Stewart there is a very lengthy article for these houses that I had remembered so we did crackers instead. These were really fun because there was minimal prep time and we could get down to the fun part: the candy.

Although I have to say, The Mister has both the patience and a way with a serrated knife, because cutting graham crackers into the right shape (without crumblage) take both. (I just totally made up that word, crumblage).

Above is The Misters houses.
Below is The Girls house. She preferred to have a lined walkway to her home in lieu of two home cramped on tiny lots. The Girl likes her decorating space.
Pictured below, is The Boy's houses. I am particularly amazed by his candy people. An idea he came up with entirely on his own. So creative are the people I live with. (I will explain why that last sentence sound a bit Yoda-ish.)

Since The Boy was running a high fever all weekend, we watched 5 out of the 6 Star Wars movies in a 48 hour period. The Boy, very sick was he. Gatorade and Star Wars makes better it does.

Also, since we are talking about Star Wars, can I tell you how irritating it is when the young people in this household say they want to watch the third Star Wars, but they are not talking about Return of the Jedi, which is the third movie made, but the sixth in the trilogy. I wish I could have ten dollars for the number of times we have had this conversation:

"I 'm in the mood to watch Star Wars, Mom"

"OK, which one are you in the mood for?"

"The second one"

"OK, Empires Strikes back it is!"

"NO!!! MOM!! Empire Strikes Back is the 5th one! Attack of the Clones is the second one."

AUUGGGHHHH!!!

However, being a mature and responsible parent in this household, I am here-and-ever-more declaring that THE first movie is, and always will be Star Wars. So there.

OK. I'm glad that I have that off my chest.

Back to houses...

The Boy really wants me to say that The Animal in your left is a penguin, one of his favorite animals. The animal on the right is actually "not and animal , Mom. It a snow man." Oh, sorry. There is also a creature on the top but he didn't make the cut in this picture. That's Blogbiz for you.

This last house is the back side of my house. My theme started out as "The Griswold's Buy Property Next to Martha Stewart". What I ended up with was, "Gingerbread Houses Are Not Your Element, Your Kids Are More Talented Than You"

Our Christmas Story - Part 2

Christmas Future – Our Home

I love it that through scripture we can take a trip to the past, to gather hope for the future!

Yesterday our definition for a baby was that “he makes the past forgotten and the future worth living for”. Today we will see that the message of Emmanuel, Jesus, the baby King, is that “He makes our past FORGIVEN, and the future worth living for.”

The infant Christ gives us a future worth living for because when we make a choice to believe that he is the Son of God, who was sent to free us from sin, then we will get the privilege to someday celebrate His birth in heaven, God’s home, sitting at His table, sharing Christmas with Him face to face!

Home…another word we can add to our list of words that describe what Christmas means to us.

You’ve heard the words, “I’ll be home for Christmas…If only in my dreams”. As my little family has literally moved across the country in the last 10 years I have had to re-think and re-adjust my concept of “home”. When someone asks me where I am from I sometimes struggle. I am an Arizonian by birth, I love Texas, I am raising two little natural born Texans, and I have a growing love of the Southeast. Home to me is where my family is…but even that is hard as my family is scattered! Home is a soft place to land. For me that’s being in the presence of those whom I love. What if my parents no longer lived in Arizona? Would Arizona still be home?

I have come to realize that home is a place of heart. Here is what helps me when I struggle with the concept of Home:

“But our citizenship is in heaven.” Philippians 3:20

God’s Word says that for those who choose to believe in Christ our citizenship is in heaven. Arizona is where I was born, but it is not my home. When our family moves on from our little corner in the southeast my heart will break. I will grieve as I did 9 years ago when my parents dropped us off at the airport bound for Texas. I will feel “homesick” as I still feel now for Texas. But this baby called Emmanuel gives me, and you, a future worth living for! And it’s bigger than Arizona…and if you can believe it…it’s bigger than Texas! (Do I hear an Amen?!)

The future worth living for is eternity in God’s home.

We can anticipate a grand Christmas with Christ because right before he was about to be arrested, beaten and crucified he speaks to his disciples and says:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:2-4

Christ is saying, “Trust me!” There is a future for you!” Our future promise: Emmanuel- God with us!

When we choose to believe that that sweet baby King is who He says He is we become royalty in Him. He gives us a future worth living for in heaven, where we will celebrate His birth and life and sacrifice with Him!

It is OK to anticipate and look forward to it! As a matter of fact is meant to give us great encouragement. We can learn from Abraham, known for his great faith in the Lord. He was asked by God to leave the land of his father. He packed up his family, left the only home he ever knew and lived life believing God was who He said He was. And in the book of Hebrews we are reminded that Abraham anticipated the day when he and his family would all finally live in their true “home”.

… for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. - Hebrews 11:10

The idea of anticipating the future reminds me of the first 5K I ran. My friend Jenifer and I were very excited. The weather was perfect, the adrenaline was pumping and all was going very well. Around the first mile we finally had an even pace and we felt good. All of a sudden a boy around the age of 15 realized his shoelace were loose, so instead of running to the side of the road, he squats down right in front of me to tie his laces. I had to do some split second thinking and hurdled this youngster! Then at about the second mile I realized that buying new running shoes three days before the race was probably not the best choice I had ever made. They were starting to rub blisters on the bottoms of my feet. But we ran on. Having a third of the last mile left I was beginning to get really tired. About this time Jenifer started to really pick up her pace. I, not wanting to be dusted, picked up to keep up! I say, “Goodness Jen, you really saved your energy for this last bit didn’t you?” To which she replied, “No. Actually, I am getting pretty tired. But I know that finish line is just around this next corner.”

This little 5K race packed big lessons for me. Jen kept the end goal in mind. She let it encourage her, motivate her, and helped her to finish strong. Isn’t life just like a marathon? Everything is great and things are going just as we had planned; then suddenly we have to navigate over unexpected hurdles. Sometimes we make choices that cause “blisters” in life, things that may cause a little (or a lot!) of pain, and we have to live with the consequences of those decisions. Sometimes we just get tired, and we want to quit. But this is when we must remember our future! Run with the future in mind!

We can run the race knowing that because of Christ we have an assured future.
We have a place to call home!

Christmas Future – An eternal home where we will live the
face-to-face reality of:
Emmanuel. God with us.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tomorrow: Christmas Present!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

How The Christmas Story... (* see note!)

...Becomes Our Christmas Story - Part 1

(*This was originally posted two years ago. I was asked to speak at the Ladies Christmas Party at church. This is what I said, except I will break it up into three parts and post over the next three days.)

If we were asked to give one-word descriptions on what Christmas means to us, the thoughts or themes that come to mind might look like this:

Peace, Family, Hope, Love, and Traditions

Just to name a few.

I also have a few one-word descriptions that pop into my head as we approach this exciting time of year. I will be adding them to our list as we go along.

As I sat down to pray and study for this devotional I began to have a Charles Dickens sort of theme begin to run in my head. I began to reminisce about the joys, and sometimes heartache, of Christmas’ past. As I studied I began to get excited about Christmas Future. Yet I am also aware that this is December 2005, it is important to be grounded and truly living in the present.

One of my very first thoughts (that I will add to our list) when I think about Christmas is: Baby. This has always been a focus for me because I have had a great love for babies for as long as I can remember! Growing up we had a very small manger scene that I used to play with. It had glass figurines of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. My favorite piece of that manger scene was always the baby Jesus. There is just something incredibly hopeful, sweet and new about a baby.

I found this definition about babies:

A baby is a small member of the home that makes love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, the bankroll smaller, the home happier, the clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.

If you are a parent you know this is true! Mary and Joseph could probably shake their head in agreement with this statement and yet they knew that this baby King, named Jesus, was a promise fulfilled by God.

Which bring us to:

Christmas Past - Emmanuel God with Us

I love the book of Isaiah. I often find myself there in times when I need encouragement. Perhaps this is because Isaiah was known as the prophet of redemption. He spoke of Christ’s birth long before He was born. God used Isaiah to foretell the future of what was to come. In Chapter 7 we see Isaiah encouraging Ahaz, the King of Judah, whose enemies are plotting to over throw him. God has told Isaiah that this plot will not be carried out but Ahaz must stand firm. The Lord says to Ahaz in verse 10 of the Seventh Chapter:

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz,  “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”

Here we see that God is saying: Ahaz! from the depths to heights I am with you!

Ahaz refuses to ask. But God in his perfect plan and mercy gives him a sign anyway. Through Isaiah these words are spoken:

“ Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” –Isaiah 7:14

This is the fun part…Now we get to flip to the bible to Matthew 1 and take a peek at how the future for Ahaz and the house of King David is to perfectly unfold.

18 this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
 because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel”
—which means, “God with us.”

Emmanuel. God with us.

God’s Word is trustworthy. We can believe Him. When we see things that were predicted in Scripture past, it is always fulfilled in the future. I love the richness of the words of God that we have just read. It reminds me that long before Christ came as a tiny babe we can see God had a plan. It was not hidden from Ahaz and his people- nor is it hidden from us. God’s plan of salvation was born in a stable. So that plain, unroyal people like you and me could approach him and receive the gift that came in swaddling clothes.
This baby King, the Son of God, grew to be a man who would offer us the greatest gift…Himself. He would willingly die to save us from our sin, and rise from the dead to give us a future; to prepare a home for those who believed that his gift was real.
So that we might always know Emmanuel – God with us!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tomorrow: Christmas Future!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pamprin Kind of Day

I don't have much time because I am heading out the door in exactly 5 minutes to be a chaperon for The Boy's class to the History Museum. The exact same one I went to almost 25 years ago...We'll see if anything is updated. I am taking my camera just for you. Aren't you lucky?

I try really hard not to get too personal on this blog, because quite frankly I am certain you don't want to hear it, but I have to tell you that this morning I woke up and my face was bloated two sizes bigger than normal; and my attitude was less than chipper. Yesterday I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, because I NEEDED them. I ate....a lot of them. I lost count after four. Quite frankly it's easier that way. Although my clothes fit fine, I am completely and totally sure I have gained 25 pounds over night. This morning I felt like crying (not that pretty, tears-gently-rolling-on-the-face cry, but the wailing, looking-really-hideous kind of cry) because we were out of banana's, and I eat a banana with my cereal every morning, now my routine is off and the day is just ruined!!!

Who's feeling a little hormonally dramatic today? Even The Mister gingerly asked if perhaps he could get me a couple of Pamprin this morning to drink with my bucket of coffee. And the really awful thing of this whole morning was that he was right.

After 12 and half years of living with a hormonal housewife, he knows how to approach me without complete throwing me off the edge. Which, in all honesty, on a morning like this, is a well honed talent, if you want to know the truth. Actually, this whole feeling hormonal thing is new to me. I never really had dependable PMS until my 30's. Honestly, when people complained about it, and excused there ugly behavior because of it, I didn't really think it was real. Trust me, it's real. I have the ugly to prove it.

I am glad that The Mister puts up with me, cuz if I was married to me, well, let's just say that I would have kicked my rear out a long time ago. That's because my gift is mercy. Can you tell?

So now I am about to get on a bus with eighty-five 4th graders and remember why public educators should be knighted, or sainted, or whatever you call people who have the courage to teach our children, much less take them out as a group in public.

I better go find the Pamprin.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Morning!

So it's 4 in the morning and I am wide awake.

Actually, I have been awake since three o'clock. I laid in bed for thirty minutes hoping to be lulled back through a REM cycle, but my mind began to spin, and think, and dream...only not the asleep kind of dreaming.

At 3:35 I finally got out of bed and came in here (to the kitchen) and switched on the coffee pot, because I can not be held responsible for anything I say, do or type until my blood is running at least 40% hot caffeinated beverage (with a splash of cream). So here we are...

It's not that I even have anything good to say, it's just that I hate to be up so early by myself. So I thought I would wake y'all up too.

This used to happen to me as a kid on sleep overs. I'd be the first one awake and then be bored out of my mind with what to do until everyone else woke up.

I am going to log off though and go read underneath the Christmas tree. Since we put the tree up my Nest has gone unused and is looking a bit lonely, but reading and spending some time with the Lord under neath the soft lighting on the Christmas tree only comes once a year, so the Nest will have to wait.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Mom Might Give Me A Consequence

When She Read This...

After my visit to the gym this morning I ran over to my parents house. I had told my Dad that I would clean out and organize his pantry for him.

For some reason, even though it is only the two of them, they like to buy canned items that they will never want to finish eating in their life time. A couple years ago when I cleaned out they had like nine cans of cranberry sauce. When I found them I imagined my Mom pushing her cart through the isle every week, seeing the cranberries and thinking, "Hmm, cranberries on sale. You can never have too many cranberries." And she'd throw them in her cart.

Today I didn't even find one can! Which is very odd since we are in between two holidays that cranberries are readily eaten in our family. Of course they are tradition at Thanksgiving, but we also eat them with our tamales at Christmas. I cannot even believe that we will actually have to buy them this year!

Anyway, today I pulled out a box of powdered milk, of all things, with an expiration date of November 2004.

The sad part is that I personally have cleaned out that pantry at least twice since 2004, so I guess part of the laugh is on me.

Taking out that box from the very back of the pantry reminded me of a time when I was between 8- 10 years old and my mother suddenly decided that we had to drink powdered milk. I have never enjoyed milk by the glass, but have always eaten it on cereal. I can remember that it tasted weird to me and that it had this strange bluish hue to it.

I am vaguely remembering that there was some sort of milk crises in the late 70's or early 80's. Was anybody else forced to drink powdered milk back then too? Does anybody remember what that whole thing was about?

I want you to know that if there is ever a canned green beans crises, I will be selling them from my Dad's pantry for a mere $20 bucks a can. Unless you are starving or something, then I would totally give them to you, but I must warn you, you'll never know how long they've been there.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How Old is Old?

It started out as a pretty typical scenario. The Boy hops into the mini-van after school.

The Question:

How was your Day bud?
The Answer:
Mom! Some guys from the electric company came to school today and taught us some really cool things! They taught us that electricity is really lazy and will try to find any way to get to the ground. Even if that means going through a human. They told us stories of people who have really been hurt, some even killed, by electricity. Some of the stories were really sad Mom, but I think that they had all these stories because they have been working for the power company for a really, really, long time. Some of them were really old mom, like 32, or something!
I ask you, do you remember when 32 sounded really old? I remember babysitting as teenager and thinking the Mom's of those kids were old....when I look back at it they were all probably about 32, or something.

That young Whipper-Snapper Me would think today's 35 Year Old Me was ancient!

Monday, December 10, 2007

On Company Time

Normally I am a rule follower. But, I have always wanted to blog from work.

Well actually, I always blog from work, since my primary work is in the home. However, some of you may know that I work for my Mom's real estate company as her assistant to support my glitter and coffee habits. Glittering stuff and drinking coffee that is....lest you think that I mix the two together. Which would be really weird. But I digress...

Anywho, (anywho? I never say that in real life) I am working today, but my mom, uh, my boss, isn't here , so I am blogging at work and feeling very mischievous. You can tell I need to get out more.

I better get to work because not only am I blogging on company time, I am also leaving early. My sweet friend J, who also happens to be married to my brother, had a birthday yesterday and I don't know what says carry-out-sushi more than a friends B-Day. So that is what is on the agenda for today.

But before I leave can I have myself a little rant? Good.

Y'all are always such good listeners.

A few weeks ago I found this inverted tree by accident on the web. I thought it was a joke. A very expensive joke. Apparently it is not, because we saw a duplicate of it at the hardware store this weekend. For the record, the tree is as ridiculous looking in person as it is on the Internet.

People, DON"T MESS WITH THE CHRISTMAS TREE! It drives rule followers like me crazy.

All right I'm finished. Carry on.

PS: Boss Mom, I know you read this blog. It only took me 7.5 minutes to post. I will adjust the time sheet accordingly, trust me.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Resolutions and Random Poll - December

I know the New Year is still several weeks away but I always like to make two resolutions each year. A spiritual goal, or resolution, to think about what ways I can intentionally seek God in the coming year; and a personal goal, to improve something in my life each year.

I have a friend who each year picks a fruit of the spirit to focus on and apply to her life. Every year when I ask what it is she will focus on I cringe that it might just be "patience". Praying for patience always scares me just a bit...I would hate to have things thrown my way that would require me to actually practice patience! :)

Years ago when she told me of this yearly practice she happened to be focusing on 'gentleness'. She felt being gentle in words, and sometimes actions, didn't always come naturally to her. She desired to be more gentle in her approach with her young children and her husband. That year I watched her begin to wear gentleness with such grace and ease that it could have only come by consistent prayer and devotion to God's Word. It got me to thinking....

So I began to pick something to focus on each year too. Last year I decided that I would read through the entire bible in one year. Although I have read a good portion of the bible over the years (some books like Psalms, the Gospels, and Romans more than others!), I had never committed to reading the whole thing all the way through. Especially, when some parts in the Old Testament could be a little dry (like big chunks of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

I have managed to make it through, although I am two months behind (that move across the country in the spring distracted me a bit). I do plan to finish though!

This year I have decided that one area (although there are many others!) of spiritual discipline that I am sorely lacking is in scripture memorization. So this year I have decided that this will be my focus for the year.

Our church conveniently has a short verse listed on the bulletin every week and so I will use that for my guide. If I happen to miss church I will select from a memory list that is in the back of my bible.
I will hopefully keep my memory verse updated in the upper right hand corner of the blog.

I am also pondering a specific personal goal this year, but since I am still uncertain about it, I think I will keep it to myself for the moment.

Here is the La Vida Dulce Random Poll for December:

Do you make New Years Resolutions? What will this years' be?

Have a great Weekend!

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Know This Isn't a Craft Blog, But....

I have been in a total Crafty-Zone. I love taking 2 yards of material and turning it into something fun. I developed a love of aprons several years ago.

Why do I love aprons? An apron signifies everything I love about being a home maker. They represent hard work, baking, femininity, hospitality, etc.

I started making aprons a while ago, you may remember this post. Then I found the tutorial for D-ring aprons and made those before Thanksgiving. I then decided I might try my hand at a gathered waist (which scared me in the past). In my head I was picturing an apron for entertaining; An apron that one could wear while throwing a party or something festive.

I took out my scraps. You'll remember that old Ralph Lauren duvet cover I made into this and this. I also had a bridesmaid dress I wore to Mr & Mrs. Moofish's Wedding (13 years ago!). It was a satin dress in a beautiful creamy caramel/gold color. This week I took scissors to it and used both fabrics to try this tutorial. I tweaked a few things (to make it fully reversible) and it came together like magic; much better than I picture in my head. I realized that this apron (in the last picture below) was going to be really cute, and when I finished I realized I had just made my gift for the eldest Moofish Child.

Of course, it was so cute I decided Jasmine Cat would need one too. So I made another one (a bit smaller) and monogrammed it.

Of course, I wanted one! Something in Christmas colors. (Can i tell you a secret? The Christmas Apron I really wanted was this one, but for $85 I think I might have to figure out how to make it myself.) The one pictured below is actually another Christmas gift, but I have another one in que that is Just For ME! I'll post pics when it's done.


I really wanted you to see how it ties in the back, because the girl in me, likes a Big Ole' Bow, but I wasn't about to take a picture of my rear and post it for all the world to see...so here it is on a tacky hanger.



Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lots O' Nothin'

Please tell me salsa is a vegetable. Because I eat so much of this stuff it borders on obsessive. I ran out of my favorite salad dressing last night and seriously contemplated using salsa as dressing.

I have complained about Costco, but one of the main reasons I will not give up my card is the fresh, chunky, salsa they sell by the bucket. I love this stuff. Not in an "as much as I love my children" kind of love, but close.

Anyway, this salsa is always yummy, but every once in awhile I buy a bucket that is extraordinarily delicious. I don't know if it's more spices, yummier tomatoes or extra garlic, but whatever it is, it's awesome.

The normal criteria for lunchtime decisions are: Quick and Easy. This week I have added, Something I Can Pour Salsa On, to the list.

Yesterday I took a leftover chicken breast from dinner the night before, sliced it up and rolled it in a tortilla (Y'all know I love a good tortilla), with a scoop of salsa. Today is much the same only with black beans instead of chicken.

I was thinking about making taco's for dinner, to go with the salsa.

It's a sickness, I know.

This week seems to be moving at a snails pace, which considering the projects and laundry I have to fold is probably a good thing. But geesh! Is it only Wednesday?

Part of my problem with the week is that we are currently having a "Neighbor" issue. They have many dogs who like to jump on the fence and look mean and menacing when we go into our back yard. To add insult to injury, they bought a puppy a month ago and at 5:30 AM and 9:30 PM they put the puppy in the back yard for about 30 minutes so that the whole neighborhood can listen to it cry and whimper and howl, VERY loudly. Needless to say, we haven't needed an alarm clock lately, but i may invest in some ear plugs so I can fall asleep at night.

These people will NOT be neighborly in any way. I have tried for 6 months now to make eye contact or to talk to them when they are out side, but they won't look at me or even acknowledge me when I try to talk to them, so I am unsure how to delicately tell them that their puppy is driving us insane. Any suggestions?

All right-y, lunch is over so I will get back to work!

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Motherhood Is Not For Sissy's


I was in the kitchen when The Girl walked in. I looked at her and said, "What's up, Buttercup?".

To which she sweetly replied, "Nothing much, Butterball."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Project # 2 - Completed!

All righty! The project is done. I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to hang it because with the candy inside it's quite heavy! Of course the first night of December we were at my parents house helping them decorate their tree, we got home late, and promptly forgot the advent calendar! We are back on track now! I just have to figure out what I am going to do with the counter top where that awful fake garland is sitting. I hauled it out in hopes for a good picture. It has seen better days, it may be time for new and improved garland! We shall see.

Today I went to Costco. That should tell you right there how my day has been. May I just say to the lovely Costco people, and the powers that make this city be: One Costco + 1 million people! = a very unpleasant Costco experience!!!!!!

Goodness, the old (but really fit) ladies that shop during the day here will take-you-out in a heart beat over bulk toilet paper. They will knock you down with the cart, Hit and Run style. Normally, when I go to Costco I put a smile on my face, use my best manners, and try to kill everybody with kindness while they push and shove and ram their carts up my @*%. I'm telling the absolute truth.

I used to love going to Costco. It would make me feel so Privileged American to walk into a store where I could buy coffee filters by the 300's. When I got my first Costco card I thought I was all that and a Venti Double Shot Vanilla Latte, Extra Foam. Who needs anything else when you have a Costco card, right? (Well, that and some credit at Starbucks, but I digress...)

I never understood why my Dad really disliked going there to shop. Now I know why. It sucks all the joy out of shopping when a million other people all are vying for the deals.

I have the bruises to prove it.

But, it's the Christmas Season, and I have my industrialized Cheerios and 8 gallons of milk (yes, 8); and we have an Advent calender that promotes eating a piece of chocolate every night while reading about the Truth of Christmas, so really? I cannot complain.

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Then There Was Five



I forgot to tell you that we did have a bit of Thanksgiving Drama around here when we woke up to Lenny the Beta fish "sleeping" at the bottom of his cookie jar. The Girl went through the grieving process in about 13.8 minutes:
  • Denial, disbelief, numbness - Mom, do you think he's just sleeping?
  • Anger, blaming others - Mom! That lady at the pet shop told me he wouldn't die until I was eleven!
  • Bargaining - Mom, since Lenny died, do you think you could buy me a new fish? Like maybe a catfish?
  • Depressed mood, sadness, and crying - Mom will you snuggle with me?
  • Acceptance, coming to terms - Mom, I'm sad that Lenny died, but it's probably good timing since you do all that holiday baking. You're gonna need that cookie jar!
OK, So maybe that last one was more my thought process, but she did come to accept Lenny's demise very quickly.

Lenny,

You were a good fish. It was nice having you hang out with me, on the kitchen counter, in my cookie jar, when I was doing dishes or cooking. You always seemed to appreciate when I cleaned out your bowl, even though I was promised that wouldn't become my job. I am thankful that you didn't howl, bark, roll in poop, or beg when you hadn't been fed exactly on time. You never complained, or woke me up at 3am to go outside. You were a good pet. I hope that (as quoted in Nemo) your ride down the Porcelain Express was everything a fish dreams about in his life. Thanks for the memories...

On Behalf of the La Vida Dulce Family,
kellie

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cool, Rainy Day

Guess who's wearing her tan corduroy pants and pink feathery slippers?

I have been working my little fingers to the bone trying to get projects done. If the blogging is a bit slower this month it will be because I need that hour (or two) to accomplish things around here.

On Monday I had all these little pieces of paper cut out to make paper ornaments to give away at an event for my Mom's business. Today I finally completed 24 paper flower ornaments.

Well, they still need a ribbon for hanging but that's easy! I wish I could get a picture that shows how sparkle-y they really are!

Glitter is good.
I still have 10 more I want to get done for teachers gifts, but those can hold off until....
...the Advent Calendar is completed. Seeing as how December 1st is in two days and I still have 10 pockets left to make, i figure this is next on the priority list. The good news is this project is very easy after you get the pieces cut out. And the simple, repetitive sewing is kind of peaceful-like. I had to put it down for about a week due to the ornament deadline and because I ran out of red embroidery thread. But as soon as I can get the glitter and glue off my hands I will pick up it back up.

On Saturday, after the Advent Calendar is hung on the mantle with care I will tackle this.....


...my sewing corner is full of material waiting to be made into stuff. I had a few things on order from J Caroline Creative which arrived last night (goodness that UPS guy works late!), so now I can get that finished and wrapped before I start on the next thing.

OH! But you know what makes all this seasonal activity SO! MUCH! BETTER!?

I found something wonderful on the Internet last week. Taste of Texas Coffee's
from H.E.B. For those of you not in on the Texas jive, this means that Kellie at La Vida Dulce is one happy gal!

When I found the website I ordered Taste of Austin to be delivered right to my door without pestering my sweet suppliers (Jen with one N, Lara, Becky, and Jane). I looked high and low to see if there might be the slightest chance that La Vida Dulce was back on the menu. It's not, but Taste of Austin comes pretty darn close. So I bought a bunch. Just like I did on December 31, 1999. Everyone was storing water, plastic sheeting and duct tape in preparation for Y2K. I stocked up on Central Market (HEB) tortillas, Rosarita refried beans, and La Vida Dulce coffee. 'Cuz if we were gonna be shut up in our homes with fear of anthrax I wanted to be prepared.

Anyway, I was so excited to find that I could order coffee online and actually share it with people this Christmas (instead of rationing like I usually do).....cause, friends, if we drink it I'll buy more!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Favorite Tree Ornaments - Part 1

Instead of dealing with the b'gillion projects I have lying all over the house, I spent way too much time trying to keep this blog entry down to 5 pictures. Y'all, I just couldn't limit my favorite ornaments to five. So I thought that I would share my favorites over the next four Tuesdays.

Pictured above is an angel that is probably about as old as I am. I cannot remember a Christmas without this bit of Pink Sparkly sweetness. Every year I take her out of the tissue layered box and just look at her. I have been mesmerized by this doll for over 30 years! My mom may know more about her story, but from what I am remembering she was made for us (me?) by the mother of one of my Dad's friends (got that?).

With every year that passes I think to myself that I could make an angel like this, but it just wouldn't be the same.

OK! so if Pink Sparkly Angel is the oldest decoration on our tree, the one pictured below is the most sentimental.


This ornament is not handmade. It is a sterling silver rattle that longs for some polish.

Here is the story...I babysat for a family with four girls. The two youngest babies were baptized at the church and after mass there was a sit down dinner and a party to celebrate. This rattle was set at each place setting. The date was May 8, 1993. It was at this event that The Mister and I had our first date. We gathered again at church one year and 360 days later on May 13, 1995. Those four little girls were our flower girls. Every year, I ring the rattle (it has a beautiful sound) and put it on our tree. Then I say, "An angel got his wings!" and the kids roll their eyes and say, "Yes... Yes.... The rattle from your first date. Can we have have hot chocolate now?"

When The Mister and I got hitched we got a lot of nice presents. The picture above (sorry it's blurry, I was fighting with the camera), and the closeup below (so you can see the detail), was one of those presents. A teacher friend of my Dad's crocheted these delicate snowflakes and carefully packaged them with directions on how to re-starch them when they needed it. I have only re-starched them once: The year The Boy decided to taste one and was delighted to find they all tasted like sugar. He carefully chewed on each one until the flavor ran out, and then he carefully placed each snowflake, a white chewy mound, deep into the branches of the tree. We couldn't figure out why he would do this until I read the hand written directions on how to re-starch the flakes when the got too yellow or limp: Place snowflakes in a mixture of 1 cup scalding water and 1/2 cup sugar. Lay flat to dry. Yup. He's got my sweet tooth.


In December of 1995 The Mister and I were living in a duplex on campus. The university was sponsoring a hot air balloon festival/fund raiser. The winners of the raffle would win a free hot air balloon ride. My uncle owned a balloon called The Potted Plant. We went to the balloon lighting (which happens at night) and my uncle told me that there was a chance his winners wouldn't show up in the early morning for their ride. If I wanted a chance to ride I was to show up at 5:00 am to help out and wait. His 'winners' stayed in bed and I got to fly.

After the ride it was tradition to drink champagne after landing. The picture above was the cork from the champagne bottle. My uncle turned it into a hot air balloon shape and wrote down the date and name of the balloon on the side. Such a great day.

I am so excited to share some of the others with you. If you have some of your own that you would like to share, please comment and let me know when you post...kind of like a cyber ornament exchange! Fun!

Tomorrow I may be brave and post pictures of all the various projects I have going here. I was too chicken to do it today. I am up to my eyeballs in fabric! and paper! and glitter! My house looks like a craft store explosion. AUUUGGGHHHH!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Weekend

While I sit here and eat my PB & J sandwich I thought I'd check in. I've missed blogging but I have to admit the break was great! But now I have to remember all the bloggy things that have come to my mind in the last week.


Y'all, Thanksgiving out in here in the desert was fantastic. Not only was there incredible food and fun with our family and friends, but the days after were awesome as well.

Friday was The Misters birthday. One of the gifts I like to give him is the ability to do exactly what he wants, without the need to plan and ponder, even if what he chooses to do feels un-productive and frivolous (to him, not me)! He never takes time to do nothing. He needs down time, but when he takes it he always has the "I-Should-Be-Doing-Something-Productive-Monkey" on his back, and that keeps him from enjoying his down time. But on his birthday he can do it and not feel bad about it, which is, as Martha Stewart says: A Good Thing.

Normally, on the day after Thanksgiving we decorate for Christmas, but that would require The Mister pulling out all the boxes and doing work on his birthday, so we postponed decorating festivities until Saturday. The Mister read all morning and hung out with the kids and I all afternoon and then we feasted on his dinner of choice: grilled steak and chocolate cake, served on The Red Plate. Then, in keeping of our Friday-after-Thanksgiving-tradition we watched It's a Wonderful Life after we put the kids to bed.

Thanksgiving weekend tradition also includes (as mentioned before) decorating the tree in our pajamas; watching the Sound of Music; crafting; playing games and reading. We even hiked up a little desert trail to the grocery store on Friday evening.Also, I haven’t done a lick of laundry since Wednesday of last week, which is why this post is going to be short.

What are your after Thanksgiving traditions?

Tomorrow I am going to share with you some favorite Christmas ornaments from our tree. Most of which are hand made. Our tree is not the most beautifully decorated but it has ornaments on it that have great sentimental value to me and my family. I can’t wait to show you! Until then…

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It's 10pm. We just got home from a terrific day.

To close this great day with family and friends, good food, red wine, laughter and joy, I am eating a small slice of pumpkin pie and then I will tuck myself into bed for some sweet dreams.

I pray that your Thanksgiving was truly a day of great joy for you. A day of thanks and giving.

This day marks the start of my favorite time of year. Let the festivities begin!

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas Spoiler

If you are related to me, live in the same town, and are under the age of 11, please don't read this post!

I have been working on several projects this past week and I though I would share.

Last year I found this tutorial at All Sorts. I had bought all the felt and supplies. I didn't end up making it but was so happy to find all the "ingredients" so I could actually make it before the 1st of December and use it as an Advent Calendar. Instead of just using the tags as a decoration to hang on the button each night, I am going to write a daily Advent scripture on the back of them. There will also be a piece of chocolate in each pocket for us to eat. I will be sure to post a picture when it's completed...only 21 pockets left to go.

These are two of the aprons that my nieces are receiving this year. I found this tutorial on line as well.
They are super easy, not very time consuming and fun!



The chicken apron was for The Girl. It was the first one I made. Poor Girl always gets the "Guinea Pigs" of all my creations!


This was a robot I made last year. I got the pattern from crafter blogger Wee Wonderfuls.
I have been reading her sight (along with Posie get Cozy) for several years now and they always inspire me! Anyway, this Robot and his Spaceboy (I don't have any pictures of him for some reason) will be made for my nephews these year.

Today I spent the day sewing and finishing up a few projects here while the Termite people were drilling holes into my house and drowning our little home eaters. Tomorrows porjects will include baking up some turkey shaped sugar cookies and homemade bread bread, and preparing for my little portion on Thanksgiving. Oh! and I also have to paint my toes since I will be wearing flip-flops with my Thanksgiving Outfit! ;)

La Vida Dulce!