December 30, 2022

2022 Christmas and Surprise Party Recap

 Christmas 2022 has been put to bed *dusts hands* and now I am in recovery mode.

As much as I love Christmas, this year I'm kind of glad it's behind me.  This year, for some reason, I was frazzled, disorganized and felt frantic every single day since Thanksgiving; which is not the way I want to feel for the entire run up to the big event.

But, that's just how it was this year.  What are you gonna do?  Learn from it, I suppose.

Despite my panic, it all turned out fine and was lovely.  As it usually does.

So, now that you know that; let's turn to the few things that worked for me this year.

Freezing cookie dough.  This was a HUGE time-saver for me and something that I will definitely be doing again next year.  In fact, I will probably freeze even more dough next year.  Although, I don't think the spritz cookies would do that well.  So, I'm thinking I will make a batch soon, freeze it and see what happens.  Either it won't work or it will.  We'll see.

Amazon.  I know.  But here's the deal, buying most of the gifts from Amazon meant that they all showed up on time.  Even better?  The few things that I had to return?  So easy.  And only one (non-existent) line to stand in.  That kind of convenience makes it worth it for me.  I HATE returning things on a normal day.  Returning things after Christmas?  I don't even want to think about it.  On Wednesday, I popped into The UPS Store with the items (unboxed), showed them the UPC code and walked out the door in under five minutes.  Again, convenience - worth it.

The other thing that I think I knocked out of the park was this gift...

Not their names, obviously.
But maybe future blog names?

I was so happy with how this gift turned out.  Not an plug/ad in any way, shape or form.  If I remember correctly, I bought this from Wedding Tree Guestbook on Etsy.  They had many beautiful items and the shipping was free and quick.

Turning from Christmas and onto the surprise party for my friend two doors down.  In a nutshell, we missed it completely.  

I was gutted.  Around 8:30 pm on Wednesday evening, I got a text from her husband; while I was sitting on the couch, in my pajamas, watching a movie with The Husband.

The text said, "We are upstairs."  And instantly, I knew.  For whatever reason, I had thought the party was on Thursday; which I thought was odd since her birthday was on the 28th.  I was SO convinced that I had even sent him a text on Monday night to confirm what time we should be there on Thursday.  He responded with 7:00 pm.  No mention of Wednesday (not that we are blaming him - this is all on me).   I was so upset and when The Husband absolutely refused to entertain the idea of getting dressed and heading over to at least make an appearance, I immediately (and unfairly) transferred my irritation with myself to him.  It was not a happy evening in this house, let me tell you.

Although, she tells me it's okay and that it's fine.  It is NOT fine by me and I'm still mad at myself for this mistake.

But now it is time to face the New Year.  I look at all your posts and you are already there; but much as with Christmas this year, I'm already running behind on facing the New Year; well, I still have tomorrow to do that, I suppose.

December 22, 2022

A Christmas Snafu Avoided...narrowly

The last of the Christmas gifts landed on the porch yesterday, much to my relief.  I set the boxes aside and went about my day, wrapping up the last of the baking so that treats could be delivered to the intended recipients today.

Late last night, I sat down to open the boxes and wrap a few gifts.  I had ordered a few things intended for the stockings.  Of those things ordered were novelty Christmas socks for Man-Child and The Fiancée.  The one pair I ordered for Man-Child was fine.  Blue with Santa's all over them.  Cute, right?

Then I pulled The Fiancée's socks out of the box - the ones with a very cute pattern and what I thought was prancing reindeer.

Friends.  Those reindeer are NOT prancing.

What I am saying is that these are not socks that are Rated G.  

My husband about fell over when I showed him the socks.  And wondered HOW I mistakenly ordered X-Rated socks.  This is what happens when you are in panic-buying mode, people.  I looked at the tiny pictures of the novelty socks (without reading the titles because...they are Christmas SOCKS, for crying out loud!) and just assumed that this particular pair was another cute pair of socks.

So, I guess I am now the proud owner of Reindeer Getting Frisky socks, since I obviously can't put them in her stocking.

And now, I am picturing a day, far in the future, the children will be cleaning out my things after I am gone and coming across these socks....

December 18, 2022

Even more Christmas chatter...

It was with great satisfaction when I proclaimed to my husband late this afternoon that I was officially done with gift buying (minus the stocking stuffers).  And immediately after making such a bold statement, it dawned on me that, no, I WAS not done.  Somehow, I had forgotten that I still needed two gifts for my friend two doors down.  One for Christmas and one for her birthday!

And then it was back to the computer to search for inspiration.

She and my mother-in-law are usually the first people I focus on when I begin shopping.  Usually, I know exactly what I am getting each of these two women who are so very dear to me.  But this year, for some reason I was having trouble finding the just right gifts for my friend.  And so, I kept putting it off.

Luckily, I found something for both the holiday and the birthday.  I'm positive the holiday gift will arrive on time but I'm a little apprehensive about the birthday gift.  On the plus side, I've ordered from this particular Etsy store before and she's always been very reliable about getting things shipped quickly.

Speaking of my mother-in-law, she called me today to thank me for her Christmas gifts.  As usual, she told me that she was calling me first because she knew that I did all the work (just one of the many reasons I love her so; she GETS it!).  After we hang up, she turns around and calls The Husband.

The gifts I buy her always feel (to me) like I am cheating.  I think I spent maybe a total of about $40 but she was delighted and told me that I'm the only one who knows exactly what she wants.  And she loves the fact that I wrap each and every item up.  In fact, I think that's what she loves the most.  

She doesn't want anything.  She doesn't want a new sweater (if she does, she buys it).  She doesn't want personalized note cards.  She doesn't want jewelry.  She doesn't want a candle.  All she wants are little treats.  And every year that is what I buy her.  The Jelly Bellies that she enjoys so much.  Flavored coffee.  Nail polish.  Hand lotion. My almond bark.  Perfume. Nuts. Chocolate.  Just little things that she uses and enjoys.  Things she doesn't have to store or clean.

Some times I wonder if I am the only that listens when she says doesn't want "stuff."  Occasionally, instead of little treats, I used to send her an elaborate gift basket - which I know she appreciated.  But once, a couple of gift giving events ago, she mentioned that she loved the gift baskets but she loved my treat boxes more (luckily, for that event I had given her the treat box).  And from that moment on and until the end of time, that is what she will get; even if it feels like I'm cheating.

There is still baking to be done.  Gifts to be wrapped.  Stocking stuffers to be sourced.  

I vow that next year will be different.  That I will jump on the early bandwagon with Nicole and get things done earlier.  

It was made quite clear to me that next year, I won't have a choice really but to jump on that early bandwagon, as the kids have set a tentative date for the wedding, November 18.  So literally, we will have a wedding one weekend, Thanksgiving the next, and then be thrown head first into the Christmas rush.

Oh my God, it's a wonder I'm not breaking out in hives just thinking about how chaotic that will be!  

And on that note, I will close (because really, I should be wrapping gifts instead of posting nonsense).  I may or may not (no surprise there) post again before Christmas.  And, in the (very likely) event that I don't, have a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and know that I consider each and every one of you in this little community we have built to be a gift in my life that I treasure.


December 10, 2022

Christmas progress

But first, guess what landed on our front porch the other morning?

If you guessed that vacuum cleaner, you would be right.  After The Husband took it to Mailboxes & More (which refused to take it), we have set it aside as we ponder what to do about it now.

Finally, finally, I am gearing up and getting things ready - I was getting worried because I had been procrastinating in a way that would make a professional procrastinator proud.  My fingers have been flying over the keyboard and packages keep landing on the porch (and, other than that wayward vacuum cleaner, they have all reached their intended destination).

The tree has been up for a couple of days, but half the lights weren't working (of course they weren't).  In order to spur myself into getting it decorated, I ordered a string of lights (as well as another space heater, so I can quit dragging the one around as I go from room to room) for curbside pick up this morning.

When I saw the notification that the order was ready this morning, I headed out.  Only to come home to discover that the one strand of lights wasn't going to cut it.  Determined to get that tree done TODAY, I headed back out.  And now, thank goodness, the tree is done.

My vacation starts on Tuesday, and I am expecting to finish up the shopping, baking, wrapping, shipping, etc. without the pesky invasion of work.  Oh sure, work will pop up that needs doing; but I won't be tied to the computer as I am trying to complete these tasks.  I will get to it when I get to it.

Speaking of baking, this year, I did have the fore-thought to make up two batches of cookie dough and froze it right before Thanksgiving.  I have never frozen cookie dough before - so we shall see the results are acceptable.  If successful, I am going to plan to do this again next year for even more batches, as that would be a huge time-saver.  

In addition to usual Christmas prep time crunch, the male half of our friends two doors down, is planning a surprise birthday party for his wife.  As luck would have it that falls three days AFTER Christmas.  He quickly realized that he was in over his head and reached out for help after he sent texts to family and friends asking them if they could come.  And they all said yes.  Of course they did.  Everyone loves her.

So in addition to crafting this post, thinking through the remaining gifts to be purchased and all the household chores that need doing, I am currently participating in group chat with him and his mother-in-law regarding the menu.  I was just beginning to suspect that he bowed out of the chat since she and I have been discussing the options and he hadn't piped up at all.  That is, until just before I wrote that last that sentence.

I do know that he doesn't text much; so I imagine he is hiding somewhere in the house two doors down trying not to let her see him texting and make her wonder what is going on.  And just as I typed THAT last sentence, he texted that she keeps asking who he is texting!   So I imagine, for tonight, our planning is on hold.  Maybe I should tell him to set his phone to mute when participating in future clandestine group chat planning sessions?

December 2, 2022

It's Moments Like This That Tells Me Blogging (in some form or another) Will Always Be With Us

 So, if anyone is counting (and I am), we have been in this house seven years in February.  Remember this detail because it is key to what's been going on around here.

As I am sure we all know, when you purchase - or rent - a home that had previous owners/tenants for a while there you will still receive their mail for a time.  But, generally, it all gets sorted out eventually and the only things you will continue to receive for them is junk mail.  

And that's not a big deal - we can all spot junk mail a mile away and it just lands in the recycling.  Odds are they aren't going to miss it...because it is JUNK mail.

So imagine our surprise when we discovered that a vacuum had been delivered to our front door.  At first, I thought, "Oh, The Husband must have lost his freaking mind and ordered a vacuum cleaner for me as a Christmas present."  But even he knows the rules, unless I specifically ask for an appliance of any kind, they are not Christmas gifts.  Although, I'm not going to lie, I HAVE been wanting a new vacuum cleaner - but I have not uttered this desire to him.  And, this particular vacuum would not have been on my radar anyway.

So when I questioned him about the said appliance he noted that it was addressed to one of the previous owners.  

And we don't have her forwarding address.

So the vacuum cleaner sat there as we pondered how to handle this issue.

And then ANOTHER box landed on our porch - again addressed to one of the former owners.  We looked at these two things and pondered on how to handle both of these boxes.  We finally decided that The Husband should take these boxes back to the Post Office and explain what happened and let them figure it out.  Which he did.  And as he left the house he said, "How much do you want to bet that these come back to us?"  And we laughed and joked about how the vacuum cleaner would be ours then.

My question in this whole saga is HOW in the hell did these boxes land on our front porch in the first place?  As I mentioned, we've been here almost SEVEN years and, as if any of us could forget, there was a VERY LONG lockdown in place during some of those years.  A lockdown which had everyone buying just about everything online.  And yet, during that lockdown we never received not one, much less two, packages for this previous owner.

And now here we are.

It's baffling.  The one box was from a popular department store.  I know that this owner has children, who were very small seven years ago.  And I also know, from experience, that very small children grow very quickly.  And that, back in the day, I spent quite a bit of money at this department store acquiring larger sizes for my once small, but quickly growing, child.  So, I would imagine, that this owner acquired quite a bit of children's clothing from this particular department store during the lockdown.  I know I would have.

So, if that's the case, one would think they would have changed the delivery and billing addresses of their account back then.

And I am also imagining, that this person is looking at the tracking info - which is surely telling them that the items have been delivered - and wondering what in the hell is going on - pretty much like we were when these items landed on our porch.


I kid you not, as I was in the process of editing this post, guess what showed up on our front porch?  The box.  (Not the one with the vacuum, unfortunately .  I'm guessing that will show up tomorrow.  At this point, it wouldn't surprise me) *sigh*  The Husband just carted it back to the Post Office where, hopefully, this time it will either land at the previous owner's new address or back to the place whence it came.

And that is how I know blogging will never completely go away.  Because life keeps throwing up these random, baffling things which practically BEG to be blogged about.