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Decorating for Christmas

December 3rd, 2018 No comments

Friday (11/30) after cleaning I put together a new Christmas scene on top of the CD cabinet with all new decor I picked up from a few places this month.


(Click to enlarge)

I really love how it came out! Total OOP was $26.10 before tax. Breakdown is as follows:

Reindeer – $13 @ Home Goods
Merry Christmas sign – $3 @ Target
Big silver glitter tree – $2.10 @ Walgreens
Small silver glitter trees – $1 each @ Target
Nutcracker – $3 @ Target
Red berries – $1 each @ Dollar Tree
White table runner – $1 @ Dollar Tree

I also bought this cute Santa gnome from Target earlier in the month.

I really don’t care for gnomes normally but every time I was looking around their Bullseye Playground I’d see him and think he was so cute, so I finally gave in and got him since he was only $5.

Oh, and we can’t forget the seasonal pillowcase set I purchased earlier this year. Switched the fall one to winter:

Saturday (12/01) morning we headed over to Bath & Body Works to get a few candles since they were on sale for $8.95. I was pretty shocked to see how crazy crowded it was in there at 8 am. Despite the long line it only took about twenty minutes to buy my two candles (both Marshmallow Fireside because I really don’t like most of their scents). We then headed to Walmart and Target. While at Target we met with a guy who was buying our Xbox 360 drum set for $15 via Offer Up. We bought it for around $12 and paid $7 for the drumsticks (which I included in the sale) so not bad considering we were only out $4 for a few years of use. We never used it anymore because it was hard to master. I’m happy to have the space it frees up in the closet.

I got a chance to play with the Nintendo Switch at Target and was really liking it. I tried Mario Kart but I could see myself liking the Bomberman game (at least the battle mode) but I’m not sure it’s worth spending $300 on the system and who knows what else on games.

After shopping we had a quick breakfast before taking Wookie in for her annual exam and vaccinations. She got the three year rabies shot so while the total bill was higher than last year (just under $300, yikes!), we won’t have to do that test again until 2021. Her exam also included the Bordatella vaccine which is annual, as well as parasite tests so those will have to be repeated next year. The vet did say her teeth didn’t look as bad as I thought so we probably won’t have to take her for a dental until next year which is nice. She was given pre-meds to prevent her from having a reaction to the vaccines which worked like a charm as she didn’t get sick at all.

After her appointment we brought all the Christmas decor out of the garage and decorated the inside of the house while listing to Christmas music.

We are loving the new 7 ft slim tree we got on clearance for $15 next year. We also bought a red tree collar to replace the tree skirt Wookie ate last year. She won’t be able to chew on that!

We took our time setting everything up so it spanned about three hours total. This is probably the earliest we’ve decorated for Christmas in a very long time. It definitely helps having a tree that doesn’t crowd the living room so it probably won’t bother us having the tree up for nearly a month long like it has in the past. Plus we don’t have to shift things around in the dining room like we have in the past.

Sunday (12/02) we did a little shopping but decided to skip a trip to the Apple store like originally intended. We had made a deal earlier in the week that if Joe pulled the trigger on ordering a new laptop for $800, then I would upgrade my phone in lieu of us exchanging gifts, but now I’m not so sure I want to do that. He already ordered the laptop though so he’s been bamboozled haha (although not intentionally).

As I’ve mentioned previously, I want to have a nice phone for our planned Disney trip in early 2020 and while the phone itself would be fine, I worry the battery won’t be great since at that point it would be around 14-15 months old. I could get a phone now and then trade it in for the newer model next year, but that seems rather wasteful so I’m really hesitating. I do want a new phone, particularly for the improved camera, but I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot regarding our trip. I keep going back and forth on this. I wish the iPhones weren’t so damn expensive these days. I thought my iPhone 6 was pricey at $400 and yet the 256GB iPhone XS, which is the model I’m interested in, is $1150!!! Ugh. As of this writing I am probably going to hold off until next year October. Let’s just hope my phone holds out until then. I haven’t updated to iOS 12 because I’ve heard it slows the phone down, plus I would lose an app I use daily. The problem is some of the apps I use sometimes require me to update them to keep using them and I worry at some point they won’t work with iOS 11. Hopefully that doesn’t happen until next year!

After shopping and getting a few treats from Trader Joes, we stopped at PDQ for lunch and split the Grilled Hawaiian and Pimento Crunch sandwiches, both of which were so good. We especially liked the Pimento cheese. We made a quick stop to drop off some donations for our dog park group before heading home to relax the remainder of the afternoon.

Today (12/03) Joe worked from home so he took a morning break so we could get some breakfast from McDonalds and go to Savers. I’ve been looking for a red sweater to wear on Christmas. Unfortunately it was a bust despite trying on a few promising sweaters. I did, however, grab two Vera Bradley items for a good price.

The purse was $7.50 and the wallet was $4.

Later in the evening we made a quick trip to Dunkin Donuts where I got some delicious Oreo hot chocolate before we went to Cosley Zoo to check out their lights because the Ozinga Merry Mixer was on site. We didn’t stay long though because it was seriously freezing cold out.

Categories: Excursions, Pets, Shopping Tags:

Sangria & Laser Queen

November 5th, 2018 No comments

Friday evening we decide to grab dinner from TacoMaya. A location opened nearby two months ago and it was already our THIRD visit because the food is THAT good. This trip I decided to try their sangria.

At first I didn’t think it was that great with all that orange flavor, but it was strong, and yes, yours truly got a bit tipsy from one glass. Call me a cheap date I guess. Our post-dinner trip to Target was all that more fun. We got a few things from the Halloween section since it was on clearance (50% off). I already put them away for next year but there’s a small orange ceramic bowl that says witch better have my candy inside and an all black skull.

Speaking of clearance, Saturday we went to Walmart and their Halloween stuff was also on clearance (75% off) so we got some orange crackling light bulbs and two projectors that will look really cool in the windows next year.

Saturday night we went to Cernan Earth and Space Center to see Laser Queen. I’ve never wanted to be high more in my life. The show was trippy enough straight but I can only imagine how cool it would be while on acid. Too bad those days are long behind me.

PLAYLIST
We Will Rock You
Bicycle Race
Another One Bites the Dust
Best Friend
Flash
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Somebody to Love
I Want it All
Stone Cold Crazy
Princes of the Universe
Killer Queen
Bohemian Rhapsody
We are the Champions

After the show we were treated to a short five-minute view of the night sky via their telescope which was pretty cool. I definitely want to go back for their full star shows. We get so much light pollution here you can’t see 75% of what’s up there. In places like Arizona you can literally view the Milky Way at night. How cool is that?

Categories: Excursions, Food Tags:

Halloween Houses & Craft Shows

October 29th, 2018 No comments

Saturday (10/20) we went to Willowbrook High School for their annual craft fair but left empty-handed unlike last year. I did see a few things I liked, including a little fleece jacket for Wookie that fastened with velcro (which she prefers over wearing something that goes over her head) but the only version in her size was cut a little crooked so I opted not to get it. I took the woman’s card and I might purchase a custom made jacket at some point since her prices were reasonable and she’s local.

Joe had to go to court twice that week (10/22 and 10/25) to get his old child support accounts officially terminated so they stop charging us $36 annually to maintain accounts that aren’t even being used. I really hate the state of Illinois and the hoops they make you jump through. He sat in the courtroom all morning and part of the afternoon that Monday just to get a stamped piece of paper that took less than five minutes to receive. Luckily on his return trip he only had to wait around an hour.

In between that was our wedding anniversary (10/23) so we visited the arboretum and had a nice dinner at Jameson’s Steakhouse.

This past Friday (10/26) we drove around Carol Stream to look at the houses decorated for Halloween.

On Saturday (10/27) after Joe donated some blood we stopped at Sonny Acres for apple cider donuts and a walking taco for yours truly. I swear their prices keep going up. A half dozen of donuts was $9 and my walking taco was $4. That will probably be our last visit since it’s not that much fun anymore as it always seems cold and there’s nothing to do if you don’t have kids. Doesn’t really matter anyway since the property is up for sale and likely won’t be around come this time next year anyway. That night we stopped at Just Kabobs for dinner and then went on the Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour in St. Charles. It wasn’t judging night (which was the previous weekend when the weather was super windy) and we started a bit early (before 6 pm) than usual so it wasn’t the same. We didn’t get out of the car and I didn’t bother taking any photos. Traditions are nice but sometimes they start to get stale, you know? Perhaps that’s a hint we should move…

Yesterday (10/28) we went to Oak Brook mall because I had an appointment with the Apple store to have my iPhone 6 battery replaced since they are only offering the discounted $29 replacements until the end of the year. They wouldn’t do it, however, since I had already had the battery replaced by Batteries+ last year. Something about liability and for the protection of their staff which I guess I understand but still sucks. I debated just upgrading my phone now but other than the improved camera, I’m not all that thrilled with the changes that have been made to the latest iPhones and I sure as hell don’t like the price points. I can’t stand Android, though, so eventually I will have to upgrade, but I’m hoping my current battery will hold out another year and I’ll get whatever the latest and greatest Apple has to offer in 2019. I want to have a good camera in my phone for when we return to Disney World in spring 2020.

Today I went to Savers and then met my friend for lunch at Pot Belly. I struck out at Savers even though I did find a sweater I liked. It was The Loft too, for only $6, but was made with wool and rabbit fur which was itchy and made me sneeze so I passed.

Categories: Excursions, Love & Marriage, Pets, Tech Tags:

Ferret Show & Carpet Munching Dog

October 13th, 2018 Comments off

Someone needs to slap me next time I start talking about how much I love fall. I mean, I do love the activities the season brings but I could really do without all the cold and rain. It’s not even 40 degrees today! It’s days like these I do wish I didn’t hate how brown Arizona is. I cannot wait until we’re in the position to become snowbirds so I can spend the winter months there instead of this godforsaken state. The worst feeling in the world, for me at least, is having frozen toes and around this time of year that’s all I have.

On top of that, due to the weather we weren’t able to check out the scarecrow fest last weekend. We did attend our friends’ ferret show (they have two which they enter into competitions) for a few hours since that was indoors. I also made two loaves of zucchini bread but even though I checked on them early, I still missed the super moist window so they turned out rather dry. Boo!

Joe is working all this weekend so there won’t be any glass pumpkin patch at the arboretum this year either. We have a birthday party later this afternoon to attend but I’m feeling apprehensive about that because kids will be there and I really don’t like talking to kids LOL.

Oh, and for some reason Wookie has decided to start tearing up and eating the living room carpet. It started approximately two weeks ago when she vomited bile on the carpet under my desk right next to her bed where she typically sleeps. I thought I had cleaned it up good but a few days later there was a quarter size hole where the vomit had been. I rolled my office chair wheel over the spot to prevent her from picking at it and a few days later when Joe was home upstairs working she created a second quarter sized hole! We went out that evening to Menards and bought a plastic runner to place over the holes to prevent any further damage. Now we’re kicking ourselves for throwing out the big roll of extra carpeting we had in the garage for years. Had we known we’d get a dog we’d have kept it. We can cut some carpet from the upstairs closet to patch it, but the problem is I caught her last night trying to rip a new hole somewhere in the vicinity. I was sitting on the couch and heard a strange noise and when I came around to my desk she was standing there with carpet fibers in her mouth. I couldn’t find where she had ripped them from, unfortunately.

Now I’m not sure how to handle this, but I don’t trust her being left alone downstairs anymore so she got locked in the kitchen last night. I could tell she didn’t like it but short of ripping up all the carpet and installing hardwood floors I’m not sure how to curb this behavior. I believe she’s only doing it when we are home which doesn’t point to any separation anxiety. More like boredom or her realizing she really likes it or something.

Categories: Excursions, Friends, Pets Tags:

Family Get Together & Barkapalooza

October 1st, 2018 Comments off

Friday (09/28) we went to the nearest Big Lots because I heard they had good fall decor. Well, there was some decent stuff but the prices were not as cheap as I was expecting so we didn’t end up getting anything. We also checked out a different Target to see if their Bullseye Playground had anything different than ours but alas, it did not. A Dollar Tree we don’t normally shop at was a bust too. But all was not lost when we tried a new restaurant my optician recommended called Taco Maya. OMG, the food was SO good. I had a mahi mahi taco and another specialty one and Joe got beef enchiladas. I can’t wait to go back and try some other unique flavors. The tacos are a little pricier than your regular Mexican joint but they are stuffed full of food and very delicious so the extra price is totally worth it.

Saturday (09/29) we donated a huge box full of stuff to Savers and sold some books and games to Half Price Books. We only got $5.25 for our efforts because the stuff was pretty old and outdated. I expected that, however, so it was no big deal. It just felt good to get more unused stuff out of the house.

We took Wookie with us to the Harvest Fest at a local park and bought some homemade treats from the Girl Scouts as well as two hot dogs and hot apple cider. Unfortunately they didn’t have any homemade zucchini bread this year so it looks like I’ll be making some in the near future; I’ve been craving it for weeks and was holding onto hope it would be at the fest again this year.

Saturday evening we went to my parents’ to celebrate my mom’s upcoming birthday. My cousin was there too. We had a good time (other than serving as tech support: helped my mom turn off closed captioning on her Netflix, fixed her computer, and updated my dad’s computer). By the time we had eaten and worked on the computers there was only a little time to play Uno before we had to head home so we wouldn’t be up too late.

Sunday (09/30) morning our friend K came by with her dog and we all went to Barkapalooza in Lisle. We weren’t sure if the weather would hold up since they were calling for rain but we only got a little drizzle just as we were leaving so it worked out perfectly. It was definitely one, if not the, biggest dog related fests we’ve ever attended. They even took complimentary photos for everyone which they posted on Shutterfly. Seeing all the happy people with their dogs was so cute! K came back to the house for a bit afterwards and then Joe and I just relaxed the rest of the day.

This morning (10/01) I decluttered the former rat room and started a new box of items to donate. It feels like it’s never-ending but I’d rather do it slowly now than have to rush through it when we eventually decide to move.

Categories: Excursions, Family, Friends, Pets Tags: