I don't really have a valid excuse, other than the usual "my life is so crazy right now" thing. ;) The holidays were nuts, Hubby's work shifts have been all over the place (night shift, day shift, away from home for a week shift, etc.), I've been working on several projects...the list goes on. And, to be honest, the farther behind I got, the harder it was to get back to the blog. (I'm really good at avoidance when I'm overwhelmed.) ;)
I knew it was time to shape up and post SOMETHING when someone left a comment on my Facebook page today, asking if my blog was still functional. :}
So, Merry Christmas and Happy 2017! (Hey, at least I posted in time for Valentine's Day...a whole three weeks early!)
As usual, I have several posts in the works (when do I NOT have posts in the works?), part of my aforementioned avoidance/overwhelmed thing. ;) I thought for this post, though, I'd briefly share a bit of what I've been up to since you last heard from me, and then share a few things I'm looking forward to.
Our family had a lovely Christmas together, though it was quite different from years past. For one thing, this year Christmas was held at my mom and dad's house instead of my aunt's. Due to financial issues related to medical issues, my aunt had to move this year, so her home was no longer available to us. It was a bit crowded, but we survived just fine. ;) It was great to all be together once again. And I have to admit, there was something special about spending Christmas in the home of my childhood, thinking back on old memories. :)
Watching Papa's train go around the base of the Christmas tree.
All ready for Christmas morning!
Interestingly enough, I didn't bring a doll or toy to Christmas this year. It was all I could do to get the people in my life packed. ;)
I did manage to get pics of the display the girls and I set up for my mom's living room, though. :)
The girls all got Pullip dolls this year, which was super exciting for them. Middle Gal got a "Make it Own" Pullip set, and did a fabulous job customizing her doll.
Pretty good for an almost eleven-year-old. ;)
This got all of us on a doll customizing kick. I've admired the YouTube tutorials of doll customizers such as Nicolle's Dreams and Dollighful, but aside from a few feeble attempts at customization, I've never really taken the plunge.
This January, I did, and for a couple of weeks, that was pretty much all we did. The girls' dolls are still in progress, but here's how my first one turned out:
Ever After High Raven with face paint removed.
It was a LOT harder than it looked on the tutorials, but I'm super pleased with her. :) Can't wait to share pics of the girls' dolls, too!
The doll customization was brought to a screeching halt, however, when at this month's doll club meeting, I discovered that the doll club would be meeting next at my house on February 1st. Eep! Time to put the dolly stuff on hold and clean the house.
But, of course, I couldn't just do things the easy way, clean things up, and be done with it. No. I had to do the whole, "Blech!!! My house is a mess! I can't find anything! I have too much stuff! The girls have too much stuff!" thing and embark on a major decluttering adventure.
Which has pretty much taken up the entire month of January. Especially since I discovered black mold on one of my walls. :(
A great shelf I found at Goodwill for just $10...perfect for the younger two girls' room!
Our newly organized doll customization/craft center.
The still-in-progress part. ;)
I'm hoping to do some eBay sales in the coming weeks (probably after the doll club meeting), but I feel bad even saying that since I've been talking about eBay sales for months now. Sigh. I really need to get more organized. I'll let you guys know if I actually get my act together and get some stuff listed.
In the midst of all of this excitement, in early January, it snowed for the first time in three years! We had a wonderful time playing outside. I got a few great doll and toy photos, too. :)
The girls took doll pictures, too. This is Middle Gal's...
...this is Little Gal's...
...and this is Oldest Gal's.
I got some incredible fan mail from my online friends Treesa and T.K.Wilson. I feel horrible that I haven't done a Fan Mail Friday post about it yet. But girls, please know your gifts were loved and appreciated. You both brightened my day so much. :) And don't despair. I WILL get that post up as soon as I can...possibly after the doll club meeting, as all of my time right now is being spent in frantic cleanup. ;)
Boy, this was one of the things that killed me as I sat on the sidelines, trying to get myself to jump back into the fray. Sooo many new toy releases have been showing up!
Shopkins Happy Places Season 2!!
Now that I had some new Lil' Shoppies, I needed a way to display them. I found these great little shelves at Target for $5 each. I think they look great! :)
Twozies Season 2!!
I bought this one, Marianne, with some of my Christmas money. :)
And, of course, I can't possibly go on without mentioning all of the incredible Beauty and the Beast live action merchandise that's started popping up everywhere! As you can imagine, I've been oohing and aahing and making wishlists and generally feeling like a ten-year-old again.
My only B&tB Purchase so far: the Enchanted Rose Scene Playset.
While I haven't done any reviews yet, I've been very active on my Pinterest boards. ;) You can see my Beauty and the Beast 2017 Pinterest board HERE, and my Shopkins Happy Places board HERE.
For those of you who are wondering, my current plans are to purchase the Disney Store Belle (Yes, I know she's not the most attractive portrayal of Emma Watson, sadly. No, I will not go as far as to say that she looks like Justin Bieber.) ;) and the Disney Store Beast. Even though I think Gaston is the best of the Disney Store dolls, I don't think I'll be adding him and village Belle to my collection. At least for now. I also plan on purchasing the Toys R Us exclusive Belle and Prince set. (I'm so disappointed the Disney Store didn't do a Prince doll.)
I will most likely not purchase any of these until the girls' birthday trip in February. For those of you anxious for reviews, be sure to check out my Pinterest board, as there are several from other toy bloggers/vloggers there.
Plans and Road Bumps
I can't guarantee how frequently I'll be posting over the next couple of months, but I'll do my best to not leave you hanging again without fair warning. ;) I have some pretty involved writing and illustrating projects coming up (and a house to resurrect).
Also, I just received the news this week that my daughters' school, the same one Hubby and I attended K-12, which has been around for 51 years, will be closing its doors at the end of this school year. So, as you can imagine, in the coming weeks I'll be busy making phone calls and setting up appointments and school visits. For my brothers and sisters in Christ, please pray that we can make the best decision for our girls as we figure out where to place them next year.
Things to Look Forward To
On a brighter note, there are several upcoming events I'm very excited about.
First, I actually have the funds to purchase a Disney Store Limited Edition Doll for the first time in my life!! :D
It came about in a rather random way. Back in November, Hubby and I took advantage of an incredible cell phone upgrade deal through Best Buy which left us with around $900 in Best Buy gift cards...plus new phones. (Whaaattt?) ;D I used $100 of the money to purchase Disney Store gift cards. And now, I just have to wait for the perfect doll.
Originally, I had planned on getting a Belle doll from the live action film, but if the LE doll is anything like the regular one, I don't know that I'll be interested. That's okay, though. I'm going to take my time. Eventually, the perfect doll will come around, and then I'll be ready. ;)
As I mentioned before, in February we'll be taking the girls on their annual birthday trip to Roseville. It will be so fun to go to Toys R Us and the Disney Store and see so many of the new items I've seen online in person. And it's always a joy to spend that time with the girls, my mom, and my aunt. It's something we look forward to every year.
In May, Hubby and I will be taking an early anniversary trip to see The Phantom of the Opera in Sacramento! :D I haven't seen Phantom live since high school, when my friends all pitched in and bought me a ticket. It will be so fun to see it again and get away for an evening with Hubby.
Especially since this guy is the one playing the Phantom. (Gotta love that voice!)
Finally, I'm excited about Realm Makers, a writer's conference I'll be attending in July of this year that is specifically for speculative fiction writers. Sadly, I won't be making it to Mount Hermon this year, but I'm thankful I get to attend RM. We're staying at a hotel in Reno, and the conference includes a cosplay dinner and...a zombie apocalypse Nerf gun war. :} Not too sure about that part. Still, it will be great to join my friends Sarah and Rosemary once again for a new adventure. :)
I think that's about all for now. Thanks for hanging in there without me, guys. Hope you're having a wonderful 2017 so far. Here's to a great year, fun dolls, and fabulous friends. :)
And grinning puppies, too. ;)