Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year! Farewell to Stinky Old 2021

Happy New Year's Eve! We have a big celebration planned for New Year's Eve. And by New Year's Eve I mean between 6:00 and 9:00 pm, the time before my husband falls asleep in his recliner. 

I put some meatballs and chicken wings in the freezer when I was making Christmas snacks and they are now warming in the slow cooker. We have unopened chips and even chip dip in the refrigerator. And, to celebrate, we are going to split the leftover bud light in a red aluminum bottle that is also in the refrigerator. 

Since none of our children are going out (I am guessing since I haven't heard anything), we are not babysitting! So my big plan, in addition to watching old reruns and crime shows on television is to keep working on my jigsaw puzzle. Something else I can't do when little people are here helping. 

It is titled garage sale and is just full of teeny tiny treasures. This has 1000 itty bitty pieces and I am obsessed. To make it more fun, many have been cut with the same pattern so they will fit together where they do not belong. I had to do the border over a few times and even now I know there is a problem.  I was up until (don't tell) almost 3 a.m. last night and really got a handle on it. I'm not so sure I will last that long tonight. 

Wishing everyone happiness and good health in the New Year. My plan for the new year is to reorganize my pandemic pantry. Especially since my December beef quarter was accidently sold out from under me and the replacement isn't traveling to the butcher until March. Not sure sure Mr Merry is excited about the quantity of casseroles in his future. But I am looking at it as an opportunity to use up what we have and plan better for the next restock. (Last time I was in survival mode and this time I will choose more what we will actually eat, rather than recommendations on what we should be eating, LOL). 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Ending the Year

We made it through our Christmas (Sunday, December 19). Four out of five of my children, 2 children in-law, 1 boyfriend (he's a keeper, the day before he was cleaning out her gutters, unasked), all ten grandchildren and the old people (I mean us). 

As usual I fixed enough food for a small country which allowed us to eat leftovers for the next week. I baked a ham, roasted a roast, casseroled two 9x13 of cheesy potatoes, mixed a huge macaroni salad, sliced and diced raw veggies, baked and decorated precut cookies from Gordon Food Service, crockpoted meatballs and chicken wings and welcomed an Arkansas green bean casserole, a charcuterie board, chicken gnocchi soup and cookie platter from my squad. 

We tell the kids not to get us anything, but as usual they did. I did score a win with the grandchildren. It is difficult to remain fair and even when they are aged 2-almost 14, but I wrapped something and told them it was a combination Christmas-Mimi Camp gift. The teens and tweens were apprehensive, but once everyone opened a season pass to Cedar Point (an amusement park and water park located near our home), there were lots of smiles. Here is Gramma Mimi explaining the gift in ambiguous terms while the teenager pretends to be excited. 

As you can see, it was also football Sunday. Luckily not any "local" favorites so people could pay attention.

The adults are supposed to ONLY bring a gag gift with a gift card for an exchange. My daughter and son-in-law live near an Amazon wholesale or something and brought two unmarked Amazon boxes that you can pick up at the loading docks. They are crammed with unnamed interesting items. The winners had quite the time unpacking them. There were some very hilarious items. Lots of Halloween decorations, lots of knick knacks, lots of small stuff. One box had several trays that either fit on a stroller or wheelchair (we weren't sure), children's vitamins and pop-its. The other box had ten times the items which included a $50 microphone set coveted and awarded to the thirteen year old and a large selection of see through underwear. The boyfriend comic said the "L" ones must be for Ladies and the "M" ones must be for men. The kids were so busy with the pop-its that they missed the uncles hanging them out of my reach on my curtain rods. I am pretty sure they have all been removed - the minute they left. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we enjoyed the peace and quiet and each other's company. 

We have been hosting sleepovers for working parents and overworked parents and have an unvaccinated two year old in a crib tonight while big sister went bowling. 

For New Years Eve we plan to stay home and enjoy each other's company while snacking on a shrimp ring and more marinated chicken wings I picked up at our butcher's while I was there for Christmas. 

Our county's covid numbers are through the roof. We have a police scanner and most EMS calls are covid-related. This has been another year to stay home and stay away from people. At this point I am not sure when we will feel safe venturing out. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Bah Humbug

Yes, we have reached that point in December here at the Merry house.  The bedroom project has not progressed any further. I still haven't found the tabletop trees I purchased last February and have spent way too much time searching for them.  

I have realized that my entire family will be here to celebrate on Sunday (five days away) and I need to clean the entire house, make a menu plan, grocery shop and prepare. I did drag the tree out on Sunday and it is decorated pretty sadly.  

I reached the point where the rest of the decorations are going to be stuffed under a bed. 

But, I did get the dollhouse decorated.  This has led to me spending my spare time making plans for changes next year. I am not happy with the garland on the windows, so I spent one night looking at options which will be delivered Thursday from Amazon. Because I am spending all my time decorating the dollhouse instead of my house. 

The attic is a workshop

The second bedroom is a workshop too. I'm pretty sure this has been rearranged since I took the photo. 

Elf quarters in the hallway. 

Santa is resting up for the big day. Pillows have now been rearranged to see him better. 

A reindeer is in the den planning the route. 

The living room has become gift wrap central. 

Now we have a kitchen and a kitchen. After these photos were taken I found a gingerbread house! And there was no room on the table in the first kitchen. And, well, there needed to be changes. So the furniture got switched, as did the accessories. I finally had to walk away and will re-plan for next year. 

I did find a photo I took of the gingerbread house. Because, that is what I would do instead of trying to organize for the 19 vaccinated family members and 2 babies who will be here in five days. 

My oldest daughter is the Director of Student Services for the nursing department at her university. She is going crazy dealing with students and parents at the end of term, some failing and organizing her part in graduation ceremonies for others. She also has 3 tweens who are in numerous sports, music and other activities this week. I have two teachers who are not only trying to tame classrooms, but have to dress their own children in themes each day while trying to get it together for their own Christmas, dad's who are working overtime and trying to pitch in, I can't even keep up with any of it.  We still rise at 6 am so I can make breakfast for elementary grandkids who catch the bus at my house, keep putting ornaments back on the tree that the day long toddlers remove and, if I get off the computer, I am starting my grocery list. 

Merry Christmas. And I will stop whining and start praying again for those affected by the terrible storms this weekend. My problems are so petty compared to the devastation of those souls. 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Decorating for Christmas in a Teeny Tiny Bathroom

We bought our teeny tiny 1050 square foot house when we were 19 years old. We were desperate to move to a home of our own and this was what we ended up with. Of course it was meant to be our starter home, but high interest rates and a recession coupled with five children in seven years meant we stayed. And when we built a 500 sq. foot room on the end (after the five children left), it became our forever home. 

We still have the one small bathroom, too. The master plan (which was to be completed four years ago when my husband retired) is to move the laundry room into the area created when we remodeled the kitchen, put a half bath into the old laundry room and then gut this puppy down to the studs. We are moving closer, as slowly as we possibly can. We replaced one of those shelving units over the toilet with these narrow shelves and I love them. Right now they are filled with little red trucks with Christmas trees. 

I found the shower curtain and hangers at Big Lots a few years ago. It goes so well with the wall color. The bottom sign also came from Big Lots, last year I think. The framed print is a calendar page, a gift from an old friend. My husband built this indestructible towel bar after tugging children destroyed several normal towel bars and hooks. It works well now as I brace myself climbing into the tub. I cannot wait until we have a walk in shower. 

The wreaths are new this year. This is a bump out into the closet behind it (my closet, as a matter of fact). There was zero storage in the bathroom originally and there is space for a small clothes basket under the shelves. Anyway, the wreaths. After I hung wreaths on every other cupboard door set in my kitchen, I liked them so much I ordered more on Lakeside. By the time they came, I decided I like the kitchen wreaths the way they were.  I cut off the gingham ribbons and made these red ones from the leftover strips from my bedroom garland. 

This is the partial wall by the door. The remodeling includes a wider door with a wider door frame. The door is currently sitting in my craft/junk room. Taking care of my parents was good instruction in everything I need to include in my forever bathroom.  I don't know what I had on this wall last year. I have hung Raggedy here for now. I know she is getting a little worn, but she was one of the last gifts my mother gave me, so I am keeping her forever. I am sure one of the Dollar stores has something truck oriented that will fit on this wall. I will stop by the next time I do a grocery run. 

Add a red throw rug and that's the bathroom! I did see that this year Big Lots has an adorable snowman shower set, but I am trying to resist. Now let's play "Eye Spy". Did you spot the basket of little boys underpants?

Miss Merry