Monday, January 28, 2019

Christmas Villages!

Life has gotten in the way again! So here it is the end of January and I'm finally finishing up our Christmas posts. 

In 2017 my Aunt Donna contacted me and asked if I wanted to have a few of my Grandma's Christmas Village houses. I remember being at my Grandma's house (my Dad's mom...she's still living, but she has Alzheimer's) and looking over every single detail of the houses. I loved them and of course was super grateful that she offered. So Aunt Donna packed up 5 houses and sent them to me. 

When I got the box I was so excited to open it. I didn't know exactly which houses she chose to give me as she split them between me and my cousins. Sadly only 2 of the house made it during shipping without any damage. I was just sick! I hated to text my Aunt and let her know so I didn't say anything. A few weeks later she asked and I told her what happened. She felt so bad about it. 

At this time I couldn't throw out the houses, but I also didn't have the time to put them back together. It was honestly a daunting task! So many pieces!!! So I just put the box out in the garage and sort of forgot about it. 

Then Christmas 2018 came around and Michael brought in the box so I could get the houses out that weren't broke. I still wasn't up for putting the broken ones together, but the kids were so insistent! I tackled one house while Michael worked on the other 2. We were able to fixed them better than I thought we would be able to, but of course they aren't perfect. 

It's been so nice having the TV mounted on the wall since it now opens up this whole area for use as my Christmas Village. At first I just set them up there since I didn't have any accessories yet. These are the 5 houses that my Aunt gave me plus one that I found at Value Village for $2.99!!!

Shortly after setting them up I went to Wal-Mart to see if they had the things I needed. I was able to get a roll of snow, a bundle of trees, a gazebo, four light up lamp posts and some people. I also ended up moving one of my Grandma's houses into the kitchen since it was just too crowded for 6 houses and everything else. 

The house on the left is the Craft shop. The house on the right is a Victorian house that was one of the broken ones. The only thing you can really notice is the crack on the left side of the roof. The kids say it just looks like a string of white Christmas lights. 

The house on the left is the Canine Pet shop and then the cute gazebo and the light up lamp post. I love the lamps, but they are battery operated and they go through batteries like crazy. So for the most part I left them turned off unless we had company. I'm really hoping to find some that can be plugged into a USB plug. Also love the kids that are having a snowball fight!!! 

The house on the left is just a regular house. I did let the kids put down some of that sparkly snow, but I didn't let them get too carried away. 

Here is the house I got at Value Village. I was so excited because it's called Black Bear Lodge. The kids love Black Bear Diner so they thought that was cool! 

Sprinkling snow! 

Side story: 

On January 5th I took Kim out to Queen Mary's Tea Room for her birthday. She got to wear a tiara! 

The food was yummy! Here is our sorbet....and a tea cookie. My favorite thing I think was the carrot ginger soup.....YUMMY!!! 

Such a beautiful day to celebrate my beautiful friend! 

During our time together we got to talking about everything that had been going on since the last time we got together. Kim mentioned that her Dad had just recently purchased a new battery for their Honda Odyssey and that reminded me to tell Kim all about our crazy battery situation. 

I have to back up a bit to tell this part though! A few months ago the button that turns the radio on and off had stopped working. It wouldn't push in far enough. It was super frustrating, but we had been dealing with it. Thankfully the volume would still go up and down. 

Right before Thanksgiving I had the oil changed in our van and found out that our battery needed to be replaced. Michael honestly doesn't trust the dealership so he wanted to go to the Auto Parts store to see for himself. Michael had taken a day off during the week so we had a date day together. We went out to lunch and then decided to stop and get the battery checked. Sure enough it was bad! So Michael got a new one right then and there. They even installed it for us. Once it was all done Michael got back in the van and started it up. The radio didn't turn on because the battery had been disconnected. For Honda's there is a safety feature where you have to turn the radio on and then input this special code to get the radio to actually work. Super....the button to turn the radio on wasn't working! 

Off to Car Toys we went to see if they could help us figured it out. The guy was super nice and he said there wasn't much they could do. Mainly they are taking out old radios and putting in new so they don't have to be gentle...he said they pretty much break the old radios getting them out. His suggestion was to take it to the dealership. 

While we were driving home I called the Dealership and made an appointment to take the van in, but I also wanted to find out how much the part was going to cost. If it was something outrageous it might end up being cheaper to get a new radio. The guy in the parts department said the button that wasn't working would cost $40. Not bad. 

When I was talking to Kim she mentioned that her hubby Micah had just recently worked on his brother's Honda Odyssey radio so he might be willing to look at it for us. When we got back from tea I actually dropped Kim off and then drove away completely forgetting out it and then I circled back to ask if Micah would mind checking it out. He was all for it. 

Micah actually showed me how to get the panel off that gives you access to be able to remove the was super cool! 

We set the panel on the dash for safe keeping. 

Right in the middle of this picture is a screw that's way down there that has to be removed in order to take the radio out. 

Micah brought my radio into the house and he also had his brother's old radio as well since they ended up having to purchase one from a junkyard. Micah is always great at figuring things out. He was really wanting to get to the bottom of it. At first he was trying to access the button from the back, but then he figured out that wasn't working. He had an idea of how to get the button off, but instead of trying it on my radio he tried it on the other one first. He tugged really hard and the button came right off. So he did the same thing to my radio as well. He was looking around trying to see what might be the matter and that's when he said...."Wait a minute" and then he tipped the radio over and out fell this....

This teeny tiny piece of plastic. I have no idea how it broke off, but it got stuck under the on/off button and made it so the button wouldn't go all the way down. I was so crazy happy and grateful! Micah got the radio all put back together and put in the van and it was all fixed. Yay for not having to take the van to the dealership!!! 

What might this have to do with Christmas Villages though?? While Micah was working on the radio I was just chatting with Kim about Christmas decorating and I mentioned the Villages and she looked at me and said, "You have a Christmas Village? Let's go downstairs!"

Kim had 5 houses that she had been holding onto that were her Mom's, but she never would put them out. She ended up giving all 5 to me!!! Left to right - Schoolhouse, General Store & Train Station. 

Church and a Fire Station. 

So I had a super amazing time celebrating my best friends birthday, got my van radio fixed and doubled my Christmas Village all in one day. It was such an amazing day!!! 

It took me a few days to figure out how to set them up since the TV cabinet didn't have anymore room on it. Jackson ended up bringing in these two end tables we had in the garage and putting them right in front of the TV cabinet so we used those. 

I ended up going back to Wal-Mart to buy more snow and I found these brick walkways. I didn't putt out the train station since I didn't have a train. 

As well as the house there were other things in the boxes like a few people and trees. 

I loved this clock that was in one of the boxes. I bought the family decorating the tree. 

Owen or Jack I can't remember set it up so it looked like this tree had been chopped down by the woodsman. It was quite clever! 

The Black Bear Lodge got a horse drawn sled and rider. 

We moved a few things around from there original location. Like having the kids throw snowballs at the other kids that were trying to make a snowman. 

It was so much fun having a Christmas Village just like my Grandma and I can't wait to add to it every year. Michael is planning on building a table top to sit on top of our TV entertainment cabinet to give me more space. The next additions I hope to make is an Inn and a skating rink where the people actually skate. I love those!!!