Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Mom Turns the BIG 7-0 Today!

Is 70 old?  Not if you are Elaine Arnold!  Happy Birthday to my mom.  The best mom ever.  The most selfless woman I have ever known.  The most giving mom (both of her time and otherwise!).  The best grandma. (like get on your 70 year old knees and play kind of grandma)  The best DIYer.  The best gardener.  The best thrifter.  The best sea shell collecter.  The best seamstress.  The best craft room organizer.  And last but not least -the best online scrabble player.

My dad just texted this picture yesterday.  Always up for an adventure,  they hopped on a plane to Florida to escape the winter madness that is Ohio. 

She is celebrating all week long, luckily with an overnight in Atlanta on her way back from Florida.  If a seventieth birthday isn't reason enough to break out the gold silverware flatware, then I don't know what is!! 

We will be anxiously awaiting you mom! All 70 candles burning!  We love you!  Thanks for all you do!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly Wishes #8

How is it Monday again?  Let's take a look at how horrible I did in fufilling last weeks wishes.  (Disclaimer: if I continually do not meet goals I may need to rethink this series on the blog.  Could start to get depressing)  What can I say?  but the week just got away from me and then we were in Asheville. 

1.  Drop rug and faux fur bed spread off at cleaners.  I could give excuses and I will.  The dry cleaner I use changed the drop off day for rugs from tuesday to Monday.  My plan was to drop it off Tuesday morning (why would I do it earlier?) and I called just to see what time they was then I learned the news that would make me fail at this wish of mine.  This wish of a clean rug.

2.  Put away the multiple baskets of clean folded laundry that is sitting in my room.  Yes! Success!! There is more on the horizon though.

3.  Organize our office/guest room  Oh I organized, but it is not finished.  

4. Paint twin spindle beds.  Yes!  Sort of.  I painted one bed.  I only need one right now. I should have wrote bed instead of bedS.  Can I still have this one guys? 

5.  List things to sell on Craigslist.  No. And I have no excuse.

Ok.  Let's start fresh...

This Weeks Wishes

1. I will get my rug to the cleaners this week! Damnit!!

2. Get gold flatware out of the box and use it!  I was so excited to buy this stuff [before Christmas] and it has been sitting on top of my fridge still in the boxes.  This must change.  I have decided that eating will be more exciting off a gold fork!

3. List Mateo's bed on Craiglist so I can bring newly painted bed inside!  

4. Set up date for kitchen cabinets to be painted. This is exciting guys!  The house across the street from us [that has been deserted for 5 years] is finally being renovated.  I met the guy who made the custom cabinets and he also refinishes cabinets.  How convenient that his truck just pulled up in front of my house?!   He came over and gave me an estimate and I said yes.  I saw his work and it's good! I don't want to look around and compare, I just want it done!  Oh what a bright difference white cabinets will make!  He was booked all of January, so hopefully next month I will have a "new" kitchen.

5.  Get my compost bin put together Guys, this has been a year coming.  Pallets are outside just waiting to be put together.   I was tossing my compost into a corner of the yard but Ernesto was not down with that.  It is just rediculous that this gardener is not using all of her reusable waste.  Embarrassing more like it.  It's just too easy to not do.  Plus I really liked seeing my bucket under the sink fill up.  The fact that all that will turn into the best soil I could use on my veges/flowers makes composting a no brainer.

Ok that is enough for this week.

I hope you guys have a great week...and get some shit done!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

First Photo Dump of the Year

You may have seen a few of these already on my Instagram, but here are some random shots of what has been going on with us so far this year. 

Cold days are for haveing fun in the bathtub!

Gotta wear shades!

Also been painting a lot with watercolors.  I think we have a budding artist on our hands.

Mateo is the sweetest with little babies.  They are about the only thing that keep him still and quiet.  My friend Lucy's little Eloise made an impression on him.  "I want a baby sister!" he proclaimed.  Me too:)

I have been doing some thrifting (shocker!) and scored quite a few things. I found this vintage oil painting for a few bucks at one of my fave thrift stores [by Mateo's pre-school] and I wasn't sure where it was going to go but bought it anyway (story of my life). 

After leaning against a wall in the living room for a few days I realized it would be perfect on my mint walls in the master bath.  (which have nothing on them yet) and I was right.  It's been making me happy.   The frame is just ok, kind of old world-ish,but I just ordered these sea urchins and I think they will compliment the painting.  (since they are more modern)   Once those are up I can finally show pics of the bath. 

This mid century lamp for $5 was a no brainer.  Needs a shade though.  Probably going in boys room. 

This pink leather is beautiful color and in great condition, but really it was the chunky gold hardware that sold me on this Coach bag at the Salvation Army. $20?  How could I not?

I know, I can't be stopped with the brass animals crustaceans either.  I have a problem. 

Zoo Time!  So glad we live walking distance to the zoo.  It's an easy and entertaining afternoon out.

And with a stop at the coffee shop for ice cream these guys are happy!

There are no words for this perfect face.  Or maybe too many words.

One cold day, we headed to Phipps Plaza to check out LegoLand.  

And although he boys had a great time, I would pick one of the indoor playgrounds over this for a morning out.  It was great entertainment, it just didn't wear them out as well.  Still, a good time. 

My parents missed us so much, that a week after Christmas they flew down to our house for a few days.  We had been telling Kyja about Fabric World, so finally she got to experience it.  

She found a lot of fabric for all of the clothing she is going to sew.  I was not as lucky.  I was hunting for velvet for my bed and although I found some nice colors, I need roughly 10 yards and these were less than.  The silvery-gray was my number one choice.  Kicking myself for not buying it anyway...surely I could have used it for something! Pillows! Duh! 

Make this Mediterranean Salad.  Que rico!

I forget what magazine it's from but here it is. Just "Chop and Drop" as Rachel Ray would say.

Speaking of food, our neighbor works for Lagunitas Beer now, but was an executive chef for 10 years.  He invited us to a beer and food tasting where he designed a 7 course menu.   Here he is in action.

Gorgeous scrumptious food. One of my favorites was this Massaman Curry with a potato pancake.


These brussel sprouts did not suck either

Also was a nice date night.  We are trying to squeeze more of these in this year. 

What have you guys been up to? 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Christmas Light Pros End Another Season!

I can ALMOST rejoice that we are finished working this year.  No, we aren't installing anymore obviously, and we have taken alomst everyone down too.  But!  We do have a couple businesses that like their lights up all winter with a take-down in the Spring and a couple that keep them up year round.  That is Ernesto's deal though:)  

My part?  Show me the money!!  I do have a handful of payments still to be collected.  People just need reminding. Heck, I am one of them.  I had a dentist bill in San Diego from over the Summer that hadn't been paid.  Yikes!  I always pay my bills, I just needed to be reminded.  Anyway, as soon as I collect all $$  we can be officially done!!!!

This was our best season ever!  And although we have been able to say that every year, this time we doubled our usual amount of NEW customers for the season.   And for all of those new customers, that is less than half of the estimates I actually sent out.  Yeah we were working hard!  

Ernesto wanted a new truck.  I discouraged it for years, but finally it made sense. 

His new Toyota Tacoma is more practical, seating up to 5 worker bees.  Plus we can actually put carseats in it.  

His old Toyota Tacoma is off in Asheville with tio Brrrian now. I still remember when Ernesto bought that thing 10 years ago.  He paid $3k for it and bought several ladders.  Why are you spending that money?! You are going to start hanging Christmas lights??  

Little did I know. 

If you have ever wondered how our little business works, here goes.

Ernesto starts installing lights in mid-October for our existing customers.  We need to get them out of the way so when we start getting calls from new customers we have time to install.  Every new customer wants there lights installed the next day.  

Most of our new customers are calling the week before and after Thanksgiving.  I did pretty well lining up help [at home] this year, but I was alone the week before and I about died!  Customers heard a screaming kid on the phone more than once...and that's not professional.  BUT IT IS MY LIFE.

We can get any kind of lights, in any color.  Customers buy the lights from us the first year and we then guarantee them for 3 years.  When we take them down in January the lights are theirs to keep (and store).

In the last few years, how we do business has changed.  Technology.  Google maps is the bomb.  I am no longer driving all around Atlanta to give estimates.  I still do meet some potential customers in person, and I actually love that part.  I know my way around Atlanta.  And DAMN are there a lot of neighborhoods/houses I want to live in!  I love meeting new people too, plus putting a face with the name is important.  

Mostly though, just give me your address and 98% of the time I can see your home online and email you an estimate.  Have some trees your would like wrapped?  Text me some pictures.  My iphone is my right-hand.    Potential customers get quick responses and I don't have to change out of my cozy clothes.  It's a win-win!

A good percentage of our new customers come from referrals.  This is the best.  Google brings us the rest.  Again with the technology.  Years ago we would put signs along the road of neigborhoods we wanted to work.  One year we even paid to run a commercial.  But alas, referrals are where it's at.  

We do a lot of rooflines, but the trees are the most popular.

All white lights too.  I guess a memo went out that you have to do white lights in Atlanta. 

 Oh wait!  Here is a red tree.

Seriously though, we do have some customers that use colored lights, but white lights are the norm.  Im not knockin' it either.  White lights are so pretty and magical.  I just love how they look. 

Oh and if you want your columns to look like candy canes we can do that too.

I don't think Ernesto is going to want to actually hang the lights forever, but I have a feeling he wont need to.  My prediction is that in a few years these little monkeys will be ready to work.  

What are the child labor laws these days?

So that's it!  The Christmas Light Pros in a nutshell.  Thanks to everyone who helped us during these few months of craziness.

You know we are finished when you see this going on at 1pm at Casa Espinoza.

Now, what to do the rest of the year??

We are now planning on making a plan to plan the plan for the year.  In other words, I will let you know what we are doing as we do it.  It's the Espinoza way.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly Wishes # 7

Maybe this series should be called "Bi-Weekly Wishes," or "Whenever I Want to Post Wishes."
Nevertheless, here we go!

Before Christmas, my wishes were:

  1. Finish decorating for Christmas 
  2. Bake Christmas cookies 
  3. Publish 3 blog posts 
  4. Drop off rug to cleaners   
  5. Take Mateo for a haircut  
  6. Whip together a little Christmas Soiree  

All happened minus taking the rug to the cleaners and you can see a few pics of each in my iphone picture dump post.  I added separate posts for Marcelo's monthly pic, my Christmas wish list and pictures of Santa too. 

This Weeks Wishes

1.  Drop rug and faux fur bed spread off at cleaners.  Gonna try this one again.  When I bought my living room rug (on craiglist duh!) it had been in a kids room and it was dirty.  $80 isn't cheap for a professional cleaning, but it came back to me looking like new.  Totally worth it.  That was 3 years ago.  Yeah, it's long overdue.  Fur bedspread is white.  I have two kids.  Need i say more?

2.  Put away the multiple baskets of clean folded laundry that is sitting in my room.  Laundry is a never ending hole in our house.  Can anyone else relate?  The washing and folding we can keep up with, it's the putting away part that drags on for days weeks.  

3.  Organize our office/guest room  Guys, I bought this campaign furniture set (a year ago!) which has storage o' plenty.  I now need to put things into place.  Total disarray as depicted in top pic.  This room WILL BE functional and pretty one day!  Not this week, but I am going to put several hours into it and see where we stand. 

4. Paint twin spindle beds.  You haven't even seen these beds yet (unless you follow me on instagram) but a few months ago I scored a matching set of twin spindle beds. (headboards, footboards & rails!) for $150 at a thrift store.  They are the real deal!  Need to switch out Mateo's current bed.  Its a campaigner and although very cool, has sharp edges and harsh [brass] corners.  We have already got one potential forehead scar so this needs to be gone...which leads me to number 5.

5.  List things to sell on Craigslist.  I don't just BUY people!!  Its easy to sell too. Ok so why haven't you listed these things that you have wanted to sell Cindy?  Oh be quiet.  Must sell: Mamaroo baby swing, stove/microwave set, Mateo's bed, Ernesto's metal bed cover for his truck. clearing out for new incoming! more on that later:)

Hope you guys have a great week and GET SOME SHIT DONE!!!!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

2014: A Year in Review

They say that time flies.  I never knew how fast until Mateo was born.  It seemed like I was taking those monthly photos every other day.  Even though I have not had as much time as I would like to keep this here blog up and running lately, I am so happy for what I do have written/documented.   Because "they" also say you tend to forget things and I know that it true for me.  I can't tell you how many times I have had to reference my blog. 

I started looking back over 2014 and was quite amused.  We really had a great year.  A lot of adventures!

Let's take a look, shall we?


We survived the winter ice storm that shut down Atlanta for a week...but just barely.  With appliances on the fritz, pipes bursting and vomitting kids, it was tough week! A week from hell.

And even with the shitty weather I managed to bring in a couple Craigslist scores: a double BOB stroller and this 7 piece campaign furniture set


Ernesto and I had a little Valentines Day bake off at our "in-house" dinner date.  

We spent a week on the Weeki Wachee River in Florida with my parents.


We stayed home the whole month!  Whew!  I made an Easter egg tree and worked in the garden! 


April was jam packed with fun!  We met Ernesto's padres in NYC 

From there, we drove down to Washington DC.  Such a wonderful trip!

I flew up to Ohio for a girls weekend with Kelli and Jenny.  So fun! Also first couple nights away from my babies!  Kelli modeled Zafiro Jewelry in a professional photoshoot

For Easter, my brother Tim and his two boys came to visit us.  It was their first time meeting Marcelo.


My sister Jenny flew to Atlanta to help me sell my jewels at the annual Inman Park Festival.


Marcelo and I flew to Ohio for the annual girls day at the Navarre garage sales while Mateo and Ernesto flew to San Diego.  It was the first time being away from Mateo for more than a couple nights.  I didn't like it.

We flew out to San Diego to reunite the family.  Happiness!

We spent a few weeks with mis suegras in sunny San Diego doing the usual.  (Part I)


Ernesto and I completed 13 years of marriage!!  Whaaaaaa?!  

We flew to Ohio for a week of family fun!

It truly was a Summer vacation: camping, picnics, bike rides, ice cream, festivals, cousins playing, and thrifting quality family time!

Marcelo turned one on that trip too!!

We celebrated his birthday with an airplane fiesta!


 We had visitors!  

My neice Kelli came down to help me get organized. (yes, that is how the model looks in the am!)

My parents flew in for no particular reason... and we had no plans. my dad decided he would make a picnic table! It's great!  Thanks for being antsy dad! 

I scored a couple things on Craigslist, one being this new daybed (that converts into a king)....for all my guests! 


Another Arnold week,  But this time a week long family vacation in a cabin on the Mohican.  This video montage says it all.  

We spent as much time as possible at our neighborhood pool and hung out mucho with our neighbors who were about to move.  Good times!


I started a blog series called "weekly wishes" to help me get shit done!  Not totally working, but im trying.

I sewed a teepee.   

 Mateo turned three!

There was a Garbage truck birthday party.

 The next day we flew back out to San Diego for some family fun and [not as hot as Atlanta] sun. (Part I & Part II)

primos and more primos

Our kids made it to Sea World for the first time...and had a blast!

October - December

Ernesto started installing lights and the craziness that is The Christmas Light Pros began.  It lasted until Dec 15.  

Best. Year. Ever. For lights.  (but we say that every year!)

Visitors/helpers were in and out.   Tio Brrrian stayed for the season.  Kyja for a couple weeks, Cariza for 10 days.  Parents for a week.  All to help manage the house kids while this girl was talking to customers and writing estimates.

My kids logged more tv/movie time this season than possibly their whole lives.  (Marcelo for sure)

Sad but true.  This is being curbed now in the new year.  But I have to admit, I still need this crutch called media or it would be crazy town.  All.  Day.  Long.  And....Ain't nobody got time for that!

We did get Thanksgiving day off!  (and I think one rain day too!!)  A relaxing day with several adults (Brrrian, Kyja, Rob, Fenella, us) and two little rascals.  Oh and the best pie ever! 

When the madness was over, we did get to see Santa 

Then flew up to Ohio for a very Merry Christmas!

New Years Eve was laid back and chill.  So glad we could spent it with [at least some] family!

One year we will get everyone together! Right hermanos?

What a year!  It seriously flew by!  I love doing these posts (even though it took me over 3 hours to put together) just to reminess all that went on.  What can I say? It was a good year.  Im loving life. 


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