Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections on 2009

I certainly have a lot to be thankful for, and much of it happened in 2009!  This year, I moved back to the home planet, changed my life for the better by becoming a mother to the uber-sweet, funny, wonderfully delicious Patrick, became a happy working mom, and bought my dream house.  Seriously?  Could someone pinch me, please?!  I hate to come across as braggadocious, but sheesh... after a few years of really struggling, I would like to think I was DUE.  :)  I'm so grateful for all the wonderful blessings that I have received, and want to thank the universe, my friends, family, and God for making those things happen.

I certainly hope that 2010 is just as fruitful and successful for my little family.  Best wishes to all my Mer Show readers and your family and friends.  Let's hope that 2010 is a wonderful new start for all those families out there affected by this crappy economy and that a new year brings new life to those suffering in any way.

And meanwhile, have a fun and safe celebration tonight.  Farewell, 2009 and welcome 2010!!

Love, Mer

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Wow, what a Christmas!  I hope you all had a great holiday, as well!  Patrick's first Christmas was filled with lots of love, food, memories, gifts, giggles, and activity - definitely one to remember.  I don't have pictures pulled from my camera yet, but promise to get those up shortly.

My parents, brother, and his dog arrived Wednesday the 23rd and my second cousin Janie came that day, as well, to spend some time with us.  We had a nice time - I hosted a little pre-Christmas party with my artichoke dip, mini burritos, mini quiches, wine, desserts, and all kinds of goodies.  It was a great way to break in my new dining room stuff - it looked so pretty all dressed up for Christmas... I was so proud!

The rest of our days were spent cooking, taking care of and playing with P, wrapping presents, watching Christmas movies, parades, talking, etc. etc. etc.  It was a nice Christmas with everyone here.  Even with Paco, Matt's doggie, who helped the Hall household reach a new level of havoc!

Some of my favorite presents this year were a Crock Pot and recipe book for it, Bissell Green Machine (steam cleaner), gorgeous cookbooks, a Oreck Hand Vac, and a bike trailer to cruise around with P.  Who would think I'd get so excited over cooking and cleaning?? LOL!

In other news, I received an allowance from my hubby to spend on the house for Christmas!!   I decided to buy bedroom furniture - Z Gallerie is having a 15% off sale right now, so I pulled the trigger on a set that I've been eyeballing.  I went a tiny bit over budget, but Sheridan let me off the hook.  Can't wait to see it in person!!!  Whatcha think?

Things are back to normal now and it's time to start thinking about putting away all the decorations, the tree, and DIETING!!  Oh good God, the dieting... I weighed myself this morning and I gained SEVEN pounds in December.  OOPS!  My pants are about to pop from being so tight right now... Operation Fatass is definitely ON.  So far, not so good - I had 2 cookies with my coffee this morning.  Gotta work on that!

Patrick is a bit ill and has been for the last few days.  He had Hand, Foot, and Mouth about 10 days ago and appears to be healed from that, but has a really runny nose and I'm afraid some of it has infected his ear (he's tugging at it), so he's at home today and I'm taking him to the doctor shortly.  Pray that we get him fixed up - he's been so miserable the last 10 days!!  :(

So now the New Year is upcoming and the next things to consider are:

1. Several visits from friends and family in the coming weeks
2. Patrick's first birthday party on 1/23
3. New Year's resolutions!!!  Specifically, getting back into the gym and shedding this holiday weight, networking more for work, and making time to see friends I haven't seen in a while.

I'll post pictures soon from Christmas!

Love, Mer

Update at 5:30 p.m.  Patrick still has Hand, Foot, and Mouth and two raging ear infections.  One more ear infection before long and we're going to have to chat about inserting tubes.   :(  Cross your fingers that my baby boy feels better soon, please!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bakefest 2009

The cooking bug has struck me just in time for the holidays!  Here are the recipes of the cookies I plan to make today -  I highly recommend both - they're always a HUGE hit!  I actually won a cookie-baking contest with the first recipe about 7 years ago.  (Did you know I am so domestic?)

Love, Mer

Raleigh’s Best Ever Cookies (from the Raleigh Junior League cookbook "You're Invited")

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (18 ounces) crunchy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 (10 ounce) bag M&M’s or Reese’s pieces
1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine first 9 ingredients and mix well. Mix in oats. Stir in chocolate and candy.
3. Drop by tablespoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, on a greased baking sheet.
4. Bake for 10-13 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
5. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Mer's Amended Toll House Recipe

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup milk chocolate morsels
1 cup white chocolate morsels (sometimes I substitute these for butterscotch morsels and Sheridan goes nutz)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, white and brown sugars, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 

Bake for 9 - 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.  Serve and take all the credit!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas at Our House

A few random shots from The Mer Show household this Christmas season.  Enjoy!  

Does anyone else have beavers and fish on their Christmas tree???

How about Jack in the Box holiday balls from several years ago?  :)

Picture of my late kitty, Dylan.  Gone, but never forgotten!

Have no idea what this thing is.  (Wedding present.)

Beautiful snowflake with no picture in it.

Patrick's first stocking with his first football sticking out - pressie from his Daddy!

P's chair with a special Christmas pillow

Lotsa Christmas cards - I love 'em!

Sleeeepy puppy on the new chairs.  It's his new fave spot!

P with his new soccer ball - another early gift from Daddy.  (Doesn't everyone let their kids play at the top of the stairs?)

Could have been a cute photo of P in his Christmas outfit, but Baci's feather duster tail got in the way!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Debate on Climate Change

I was reading an article today on the banter going on between The Governator and Sarah Palin (both whom I think totally suck, but that's beside my point) - those two are going at it on the subject of climate change. This, along with all the comments I've heard lately about "look how cold it is this winter - so much for global warming, what a crock"... have gotten me thinking about the topic. I am certainly no expert; I haven't done a ton of research on climate change, and believe it or not, I haven't even seen "An Inconvenient Truth" (although I'm interested in seeing it); however, I have a couple of thoughts on the matter.

It's true that icecaps are melting, polar bears are dying, and all that sad stuff... but what's causing it? Obviously, it's tremendously difficult to track down data that definitely determines whether or not the trends that we're seeing are caused by man. HOWEVER, what is so *horrible* about efforts to reduce pollution and toxins from being produced and released into our air, water supplies, and earth, protecting our natural resources, recycling, and living cleaner lifestyles? I honestly don't understand why people are so opposed to protecting our environment, *regardless* of whether global warming is tangible. Is it really so horrible to put controls into place for greedy corporations who would love to dump their manufacturing waste in rivers because it's cheaper than disposing of it responsibly or private citizens who don't care that their 1984 Buick Skylark is pumping toxic fumes into the air we breathe? What could that possibly hurt? Seriously.

So your taxes go up a bit to help with this effort? GET OVER IT. We live in the best place on earth - America - and everyone has to do our part to keep things going. I mean, I would love to receive 100% of the gross pay my employer pays me, but that just ain't the way it works, and worrying about taxes is pointless, because it is the way it is. Life is way too short about thinking that you're contributing to society TOO much... Really.

So whether or not you think that leaving all your lights on in the house all day, every day is killing polar bears, what could it hurt to turn them off, use florescent bulbs, dispose of your batteries and electronics responsibly, and buy recycled products (or whatever else you do to reduce your carbon footprint)?

Love, Mer

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fun With Cheerios

Patrick's new favorite thing to do is... THROW.  By the end of his bath, all his bath toys are outside the bathtub and a good amount of his "finger food" is on the floor.  Things are about to get VERY messy!  LOL

Monday, December 14, 2009

Granny's Chairs - AFTER

YAY, they're HERE!!!  After 3 weeks of being upholstered, Granny's chairs are here.  What do you think?  I adore them.  The houndstooth is a bit preppy, which isn't entirely in line with my super contemporary style in the house, so I might have to update my description of the house to... eclectic. hehehe

Now I just need the couch to arrive from Star Furniture (I called them this morning and they said it's not ready yet, with no hint of when it might be ready; boooooooooo) and the living room will look totally different!  I love the Lifesucker 4000, but she's going to live upstairs in the game room when the new couch arrives.

Once all the Christmas stuff gets put away next month, I'll have to reassess the house, and I think the next project will be draperies for the dining and living rooms, and paint and draperies for the office.  Eventually I'll get to the blank slate that is the master bedroom, but that's probably going to be a while...

Without further adieu, I present to you... GRANNY'S CHAIRS!

Close-up of the fabric.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Attempts at Christmas Photography

I don't think there's any explanation needed here, except...

Patrick 1, Mom 0.

Love, Mer

Monday, December 07, 2009

Latest Pics of The House

There's still a long way to go with the house, but here are a few pics of what we've done so far...

Welcome to our home!


Dining Room

Family Room (notice America's Funniest Home Videos in the background - haha!)
The green couch is being moved upstairs to the game room as soon as our new chocolate couch arrives in a couple of weeks, as well as my Granny's Chairs

Patrick's armchair in the family room...  :)

Patrick's Nursery - the other side of the room needs some work.  I ordered this to put on the wall behind his crib and have some more animal watercolors to hang behind his dresser/ changing table.

Very sad looking game room. Right now, it's our catch-all room and Patrick's play area - see his train-shaped tent that his Grandmommy gave him?

View of the great room (family/dining combo, with foyer in the background); this is all open to the kitchen, to the right.

Master Bath (love that Sheridan's toothbrush is in this photo, LOL!)

Very sad looking study - we have a long way to go with this room, but at least the desk arrived last week, so I have somewhere to work.

Even my Christmas tree needs work - I don't have anything to put on top!!  Working on that...

And our master bedroom literally is a giant space with a giant bed in it (we *love* the kind size Tempurpedic, by the way...) and a giant dog crate.  It's the least romantic bedroom EVER.  No bedding, no pictures, no design!!  HOWEVER, it is a lovely blank slate and after our tax return comes next year, it's getting pimped out.  :)  Any design suggestions are welcome!!!

Love, Mer