Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If Momma Ain't Happy...

Ain't Nobody Happy!  And this momma ain't at all happy.  She is quite miserable, indeed, and it is all because she is bedridden with a terrible cold.  Vick's Vaporub, Tylenol, Vitamin C, Germx, tissue paper, and the thermometer have been my faithful companions for the past three days (along with my laptop, books, phone, etc).  Feeling as sick as I am and with snow flurries starting to fall outside, I've gone into hibernation mode. Hibernation requires a warm and comfy cave, lined with goodies.   I've prepared my cave quite well, all in an effort to minimize my discomfort and boredom.  Here's my cave now.

Remember ladies, it's a cave!  The nightstand and headboard do not have to match, o.k.?!  Lol!  So, there on the night stand you see the above mentioned bottle of Germx, the Vaporub, the ghetto "Kleenex" (roll of toilet paper), and books. I've also got a small bag for trash hanging on the side there; been blowing my nose a lot!  On my bed, you can see my laptop, my phone, and....what is that??  Spools of yarn?   And what's that other thing?

That contraption? Well, allow me to explain.  It's a loom; a knitting loom.  I recently became very interested in learning to knit.  A friend of mine here, Betty, gave me a crash course on how it's done and let me borrow needles and yarn.  I started with so much enthusiasm.  Before long though, I realized that things were moving reeeeally slow.  After 4 hours of combined knitting time, I only had a 5in x 5in square and a terrible backache.  I considered giving up at that time, but then stubbornly decided to persist in my efforts.  One afternoon, as I sat knitting at the laundry mat waiting for my clothes to wash, I was approached by an elderly Cuban lady.  She was friendly and asked to see my project.  I showed her and with some embarrassment proceed to express my disappointment with the whole experience.  "My goal," I told her," is to knit blankets for my kids, but at the rate I'm going..."  She chuckled and proceeded to open a small bag at her side from which she pulled a beautiful baby blanket that she was knitting and was almost completed.  (about 2 1/2 feet in length) It was attached to a rectangular shaped contraption with pegs.   "This," she said "took me only three hours!"  Three hours??!!  I could barely contain my excitement.  How innovative!  "Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  We Bring To You Now, Knitting For The Impatient!"  Sign me up for that one baby!  Lol!  After getting a few details from her such as what the contraption was called (knitting loom) and where I could buy it (any craft store or Wal-Mart), we parted ways. (Well, we also exchanged phone numbers.  She was so sweet.)  The very next day I went out and bought my first loom.  With the help of the instruction manual and a few informative You Tube videos, I was knitting at record speed!! It is such a thrill to see your project taking shape so quickly and nothing matches the sense of accomplishment you feel when you see your children prancing around, looking adorable, wearing the finished product.  Wanna see what I've done so far?  Check out my precious models, showing off their new scarves/ hats.

Pretty neat huh?  To make the scarves, I used a rectangular loom like the one below...

and the hats with a round loom like this one...

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there is just so much you can do with them:  hats, scarves, throw/winter/baby blankets, stockings, mittens, shawls, place mats, runners, and much more.   Since I've been in bed and unable to do much else, I knit both hats in one evening! Can you believe it?  I've already bought a variety of colorful spools of yarn for Christmas gifting.

Speaking of Christmas, as many of you know, my family and I will be traveling south to Texas to spend this special time of the year with our loved ones.  We are impatiently awaiting our departure date.  The kids (mainly, I.D.) cried and cried when my parents left this past Friday. (well, yes, I cried too)  As The Hubs* and I held and tried to comfort, we repeatedly reminded them that in 15 days we'd be seeing grandma and grandpa again. We gave  I.D. the idea of counting down the days. The very next morning, as soon as he woke up, he immediately got a stack of 15 sheets of paper and wrote a number on each one.  He brought me the hole punch and a bracket to make a little booklet with the sheets, and every day they've ripped out one of the sheets to see how many days we have left.  Here's the booklet now; we've got 12 days to go!

* my husband

One last thing before I leave you.  I love decorating for the Christmas holiday, but unfortunately our Christmas ornaments were left behind (forgotten in the attic) when we moved up here. This, combined with the fact that we will be leaving soon, led us to decide that we'd forgo all the decorating this year.  (My mom already informed me that she wants the kids to decorate her tree when we get to Texas.)  This decision has not stopped me from feasting my eyes on all the beautifully decorated homes in Blogsville though. I'd like to share with you two adorable DIY ornament/decoration ideas that I ran across. Just click on the links for step by step tutorials.  First, this awesome fabric ball craft from the Fresh Crush blog.  Isn't it something?  Love it.

The second one is this amazing wreath made with coffee filters from The Nester.  I couldn't find a tutorial for it on her blog but I did find a great one on the Jones Design Company blog.  She made a coffee filter ball similar to the one above. (pictured below the wreath)

Noticing a pattern here?  Yep, round and poofy, that's what I'm diggin' this season. Lol! How about you?  Run across any neat craft ideas you'd like to share? Send them my way and I'll post them here for all of us to enjoy. Speaking of which,  just a quick reminder to you girls to send any pictures of home improvement projects, crafts, before and afters, etc. my way so we can all be inspired.  Love you and see you soon!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I've Gotta Be Quick!

Really gotta hurry! You wondering why the rush? :o)  Well,  my parents are here!  Yep, they are and every moment of my time with them is precious. My daily routines and activities have screeched to a halt.  My complete focus is on them.   We are all enjoying their company so much.   The only thing that dampens our joy is knowing that this time together will soon end.  L.M.M.  has become her grandpa's shadow and every time she sees him heading downstairs she frantically repeats, "Don't go home, wito.  Don't go home!"  It's heart wrenching.  I truly hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Below are a few pictures of our special evening.  Because we were so busy cooking up many delicious dishes, our table setting and decor is simple and, quite frankly, not great, (the kids also took it upon themselves to rearrange a few things) but the space was greatly adorned with love, laughter, and joy. :o)  As usual, the last picture is an endearing potrait of the Tremendously Terrific Trio.  Buh-bye ya'll!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Allow me to inspire you...

by sharing some amazing before and after pictures of Jennifer's lovely cottage. I've been a faithful visitor of her adorable blog, The Old Painted Cottage,  for almost a year now.  You will see from these pictures that she's very talented and her home is truly awe-inspiring.  We will begin with the living room, which she just recently redid. (See and read more about it here and here)  I will follow the living room pictures with kitchen and dining room pictures.  These two will most assuredly pull the oo's and aw's right out of you! (See and read more about them here and here)  Enjoy!

*Click on picture to enlarge
 Living Room Before

...and the breathtaking After!

From another angle...Before

...and After!

A few other pictures of this space for your viewing pleasure

Now, on to the kitchen. 

The "cringe worthy"

and the amazing 

 Dining Room

Wow huh?!   This is just a tiny taste of what you can see on Jennifer's blog so ...click on over there and feast your eyes on Cottage8 (read why it's called that here).

So, did this spectacular home transformation  motivate you to strive towards making your home come together in an inviting and lovely way?  I know it did me.  Speaking of which,  we were very busy over here in New Jersey last week,  preparing for the special visit of the girls, my dearest Lisa, Enny, and Bonnie.  Guess what we did?!  We painted the kitchen! Yep, we did.  Remember the dark paneling? (Eww!) Here,  this will help jog your memory.

Stay tuned to see how a little paint and a lot of tedious work have made a huge difference in this room!  We also hung curtains on our living room bay window, so I'll share pictures of that.  Lastly, I'll soon give you all the details of the past four marvelous days spent with the girls!   Love you!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Let No One Despise Your Youth...

...but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 James 4:12

October is Youth Month for Soldiers of the Cross churches internationally. Our youth leader for the northern region of the United States, Edwin Cruz Abreu (Tito), organized a special event that was held here in North Bergen last Sunday.  We had youth come from Maryland, Philadelphia, and Camden; a total of 60 people attended.  Due to the restricted space of our current location, we held the service at a nearby establishment.  We sincerely appreciate the generosity of the CuGino's Pizzeria and Ristorante owner and staff for their great service and kindness. 

After the special program and delicious meal, we went as  a group to a beautiful park off of River Rd. in Weehawken.  The park is about a mile from our house on the banks of the Hudson with a spectacular view of the New York City skyline.

Our sister Belkis Fortuna, a very talented photographer, took the following pictures of New York from the park that day.   The event was a real success.  In everything, may the Lord's name be glorified.

Moving on to another subject all together, I cannot contain my excitement!  My dear, dear friend Lisa, along with Enny and Bonnie, will be coming to visit me this Thursday! Lisa and I have been friends for over 10 years and have lived no further than a block away from each other for 7 of those 10+ years.  This separation has been so difficult for both of us, heart wrenchingly painful in fact.  I am overjoyed to finally be able to show her my new home, take her to the store where I buy my groceries, to the park where the children play, etc.  For so long, I've shared every aspect of my life with her and she has been so intimately acquainted with the details of my daily activities, that the thought of settling into my life here and not sharing any of it with her was unfathomable to me.   So, what if there is no QuickTrip here for us to go to at 2 am?  There's a QuickCheck baby!  Lol!  

The Lord has been so gracious and loving toward me, holding my hand through this whole separation process.  He allowed me to make the trip down to Texas 2 weeks ago, to enjoy the precious companionship of my loved ones.  Now, in 5 days, I will have my wonderful friend Lisa here with me.  My parents will then be coming to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday, along with my in-laws. A short two weeks after that visit, with the Lord's help, we will be traveling down to Texas with the whole family for Christmas!  You think that's amazing?  There's more!  My little brother will be traveling back with us from Texas after the holidays and will be here for a week or so.  Has not my Father been good, cushioning the difficult shock of isolation with these visits? The Lord is good. I've tried Him time and time again, and found Him faithful every time.  To Him be all honor, glory and praise for what he has done and is doing yet in my life.

**Now, I will just continue to pray for the Lord to bring my lovely sister, whom I also miss desperately, my "sister from another mister" Lisita, whom I love, my dear cousins Kaynita and Michelle, sweet Lulu,.....I could go on and on.  You think I'm pushing it? Most definitely not!  My God is a big God and if faith can move mountains, it can bring Texas to New Jersey!  Love you all!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Granny Room

Our house now has a granny room.  The kids are just amazed by all the interesting things that can be found there.  For those of you not acquainted with the particulars of a granny room, let me share them with you now.  For starters there is a toilet in the room! How's that for convenience? =)  In the corner, there's a recliner that looks normal enough until you start pushing the buttons.  Upon pushing the buttons, you will discover that this chair can lift about 2 feet off the ground to bring grandma to a standing position.  Every night, a drinking glass can be found on the night stand with floating teeth inside and that brassier on the dresser appears to have a breast attached to it! Gotta say, it seems at times that there is a very big infant living in this room.  There are big diapers, wipes, changing pads,a giant walker, huge bibs and that chair, with the wheels, looks a lot like a big stroller.  Yes, we've now got a granny room in our house and we are loving it. =)

As promised, I'd like to show you pictures of the room that we lovingly prepared for the grannies.  The pictures that I have to share were taken before they arrived, so you will notice that the above mentioned "cool granny stuff" is missing.  The room is on the first floor off the dining room. 

The first order of business was to find the furniture.  Grandma asked me to find the furniture for her.  We needed a bed (queen), a mattress, a nightstand, a chest of drawers, a recliner, and a lamp.  So, what do you think I did?   Yep,  you've got it....CRAIGSLIST!!  I found everything in a matter of days. Here is the break down of the items I found and their prices.

IKEA Bed frame in mint condition (no box spring needed)- $40
Mattress (pillow top)- $55
Lamp (retails over $100)- $25
Chest of drawers (perfect match to the nightstand) -$40
Orthopedic, electric lift recliner (retails over $500)-  $100 
Nightstand-  $Free.99  (one that I already owned)
Mirror (HomeGoods)- $30
Gallon of paint for chest of drawers and nightstand (Walmart- Country White) -$10
Gallon of paint for the walls (Walmart- ) $20
Bed in a Bag (Comforter, pillow cases, shams, sheets)- $40
Decor Knick Knacks (used things I already had) so - $free.99

Total spent - $360

Here's a picture of the Chest of Drawers before a little TLC...
 and many of you will recognize the nightstand. Here she is before her makeover.
Lastly, here's a picture of a little shelf I've owned for a while that I also painted and put up in the room.

You know what they say,  things gotta get worse before they get better.  You will see in the before pictures of the room that this is indeed true.  There was quite a mess in there as we took things out and brought others in.  It was also raining outside that day so all of our sanding and painting went on inside the room.  Thankfully the back door of the house is inside the granny room so we were able to open if for some much needed ventilation.
Alrighty, here it is...*drum roll please*...the great reveal!!  Ta-Da!





At another angle, with little shelf in the background...

(notice the the room was two different colors)


Here are a couple of side by side shots of the furniture/ shelf transformation.

Below are a few pictures of the amazing recliner.  You'll notice in two of the pictures it is actually in our living room.  We moved it there because Abuelita Angela loves looking out the bay windows during the day.  
She even sits in the recliner for church (yes, in the reclining position :o)
We are so very happy to have the grannies with us.  I now have a shopping partner (Abuelita Eloisa), the kids are speaking more Spanish every day, and if I feel lonely and need someone to chat with, Abuelita Angela ALWAYS has the time.  Please let me know what you think of the room redo.  Also, if you have any before and after pictures that you wouldn't mind sharing with us, of rooms you've redecorated or furniture you've redone, please email them to  me at staysee20@gmail.com and I will post them.  We all love a good ooo and aahh session, don't we? Plum tuckered out over here. Time for bed.  Love you all!