My Favorite Things 2021

Where Did The Time Go?

I like to pretend I’m still a kid, but the brutal truth is that I turned fifty this year. (I know, right? WTF? Fifty! Where did the time go?!)

(I swear, I must say “where did the time go” fifty times a day. Next to “what did I come in here for”, it’s my most frequently uttered phrase.)

How is it even possible that 2021 is almost over? I guess the same way it’s possible that I’m suddenly freaking fifty. The time… well, it… went. (Smell ya later, youth!)

Anyway, as is tradition, it’s time for my Annual Favorite Things Post. Curious what a fifty year old kid fancies? Keep reading for my favorite things of 2021.

Favorite Thing #1

Cricut Explore Air 2

cricut explore air 2 product photo

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a cutting machine that lets you… um, cut things. Like paper and vinyl and fabric. I bought it with the express purpose of saving money making my own wedding invitations. Turns out, I didn’t end up using it for my invitations (though I did DIY them and I will show you eventually), but I did make some pretty cool signs for my wedding.

a 1920s style sign saying "it is our wedding"

This isn’t a craft blog, but that doesn’t mean I’m not crafty. I totes am, so you can believe me when I tell you this is a really fun gadget and worth the money. The Explore Air 3 is out, so the pricing on the Air 2 has come down. It’s a great time to explore cutting crafts. (See what I did there?)

Favorite Thing #2

Keepsake Hands Casting Kit

casting of two hands holding hands in plaster

Speaking of crafts… When Schmoopy and I got married, we thought (okay, I thought) it would be cute to hold hands forever, so I picked up the Luna Bean Keepsake Hands Casting Kit. Can you even believe how much detail this mold captured in my fifty (!?) year old hand? (Perhaps a little too much detail…)

We got the couples kit for two hands, but they also have ones for families and babies. I think this is a super cute gift idea. I thought I might do a tutorial for it one of these days. Let me know in the comments if that’s something you want to see.

Favorite Thing #3

Gummy Vitamins

Gummy vitamin bottles

People approaching middle age (like me; I’m nearly there) should probably eat lots of veggies and crap to make sure they get all of the vitamins they need so they don’t get sick and die.

Since that’s not happening any time soon (The ‘lots of veggies’ thing.) (And hopefully the ‘getting sick and dying’ thing, too…), I’ve been taking these delicious gummy vitamin supplements.

apple cider vinegar bottle

I take Nature’s Bounty Women’s Multivitamins and Hair, Skin and Nails as well as Apple Cider Vinegar from Nature’s Truth. They all taste like candy, which is especially helpful in encouraging me to take them. Kids like candy… I like candy… And my skin has never looked better! (Except for when I was 25, before gravity came after me. Getting old sucks.)

* Check with your doctor before trusting me with medical advice. Because, really, WTF do I know? Damn it, Jim. I’m a blogger, not a doctor.

Favorite Thing #4


Holding a hamster stuffed animal Warmie on my lap

It seems the older I get, the colder I get, but who can afford to crank up the heat with oil prices being what they are? Who am I? Rockefeller? (My mom used to say that to me when I was a kid and I asked for luxuries. Like heat.)

Warmies are heatable stuffed animals. (I know, cute right?) This hamster is one of dozens of adorable species they make. I pop him in the microwave for a couple of minutes and he comes out all warm(ie) and smelling like lavender. Then I snuggle him on the couch while I watch…

Favorite Thing #5

Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso graphic image

I always like to include my favorite TV shows in these annual posts. Last year, I was raving about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (I can’t wait for that to return!) and a bunch of you recommended that I check out Ted Lasso.

Guys, you were not wrong! This show just makes me so freaking happy. For those of you who don’t know, it’s about soccer but it’s not really about soccer, because, like I could give a flying fig about soccer… Just trust me, OK? You’re gonna love it.

It’s streaming on Apple TV, which kind of sucks if you don’t have Apple TV, but this show is worth it to sign up, power watch the whole series, then cancel.

Actually, if you’re going to get Apple TV, The Morning Show is also worthwhile.

Favorite Things #6 & #7

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue & Project Hail Mary

book covers The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and Project Hail Mary

This year, I couldn’t decide which of these two books was my favorite. While they are both works of fiction and both very entertaining, the similarities stop there.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab, is written in a sort of flowery style that almost put me off the book entirely, but I resisted the urge to quit after the first few chapters. Once the story grabbed me, I was so glad I pressed on. It’s about a woman who makes a deal with the devil to live forever, but the price she pays is to be forgotten by everyone she meets.*

* Not to be confused with my yet-to-be written autobiography chronicling how everyone I meet is forgotten. (Have I ever mentioned my facial recognition handicap? Prosopagnosia. It’s a thing. I have it.)

Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir, is the most imaginative science fiction book I’ve ever read. Written by the same author as The Martian, Andy Weir’s writing is slightly immature, but I forgive him because the stories he tells are so damned entertaining! I don’t want to give anything away with this one. If you like sci-fi, you will love this book. Rumor has it is it’s being made into a film starring Ryan Gosling of “Hey girl” fame.

Hey girl, I love it when you read the book before you see me in the movie Ryan Gosling meme

Favorite Thing # 8

Surebonder Pneumatic Stapler

a green pneumatic stapler by suberbonder

I’ve got to give you at least one favorite tool, right? I mean, this is still a DIY blog, after all. In theory…

The Surebonder Heavy Duty Pneumatic Stapler is a handy, affordable tool for stapling with gusto. I bought it for an upholstery project that I never got around to (In fact, I can’t even remember what the project was… Also, what did I come in here for?), but I ended up using it on the siding for the crazy cat house I built. You do need an air compressor to use it though, so if you don’t have one of those (yet), here’s another tool I love that needs no fancy extras…

Favorite Thing #9

Maxcraft Stubby Ratchet Driver

stubby screwdriver with interchangeable bits

Every kitchen junk drawer needs one of these Maxcraft Stubby Ratchet Drivers because sometimes a little household job isn’t worth navigating through your messy garage to get to your tool bag only to find that all of your screwdrivers have gone missing.

This little guy feels substantial in your hand and has six different bits stored inside the cap. Super convenient, as long as it finds its way back to the junk drawer after using it.

This would make an awesome stocking stuffer, not just for men, but for anyone. Yes, ladies screw things too.

(Yes, I heard it.)

Favorite Thing #10

Foldable Travel Kettle

silicone collapsible tea kettle for traveling

Remember when I said I was old cold? My favorite thing to do when I’m cold, besides snuggle with my Warmie, is make myself a cup of hot tea. Of course, I have a regular kettle for home, but when I’m on vacation, I bring my foldable travel kettle with me and I’m able to enjoy tea in my hotel room like the cold old lady kid that I am.

Favorite Thing #11

Blistex Lip Vibrance

blistex lip vibrance lip balm tube

When I’m out and about and someone asks me ‘what’s wrong?’ out of the blue, it’s usually because my lipstick has worn off and I look like a corpse. That’s when I reach for the tube of Blistex Lip Vibrance that I carry in my purse (or in the pocket of every jacket I wear.)

This lip balm has a little bit of a tint, but the color is sheer enough where I don’t need a mirror to put it on. (And if I did, there’s a little one built in to the end of the tube. Huzzah!) SPF 15 and a little bit of color so I don’t look dead. What’s not to love?

Favorite Thing #12


Left center right dice game

My friends and I always have a blast when we play LCR, which stands for Left, Center, Right. Everyone ponies up three dollars to play. (The game comes with chips, but what fun is winning a pile of plastic chips? You can’t buy pretty things with chips…)

Each person takes turns rolling the dice to find out what to do with their dollars – pass them, pot them, or keep them. The game is over when one dollar remains. That lucky person gets to buy pretty things with everyone else’s dollars. Another awesome stocking stuffer idea. You’re welcome.

Favorite Thing(s) #13

Egor & Zero

Two cats lying on a bed near each other

Schmoopy didn’t make this year’s list (We’re married, so I’m stuck with him now anyway…), but the kittens make every year’s list! These two have been step brothers for about three and a half years now and I’m happy to report that they’re still getting along… adequately. No kitty snuggles, but no fighting either.

Egor is as cute as ever. I can’t believe he’s twelve meow! (Where does the time go…)

close up of cat face lying on carpet

And Zero has learned some new tricks, like sitting next to us on his own stool while we eat breakfast. He’s a smart boy.

Cat sitting on a stool

So, while they’re still not BFFs, they don’t let contempt for each other prevent them from sharing mommy’s lap. (That’s me under those kitty butts.)

Two cats sleeping

I wonder if they realize they’re actually snuggling with each other there… Silly brothers.

So, that about wraps up my list of favorite things of 2021. Happy holiday season, friends! Have you got any recommendations for me? Let me hear them in the comments!

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  • Katherine Davies

    Well, Happy late Thanksgiving! We had a lovely day here in France with turkey and trimmings, as they used to say.
    As I’ve told you before, fifty looks very good on you! I still can’t believe you’re really fifty because you look so much younger. Anyway, don’t worry too much because I predict you’re going to be young looking throughout your very long life which you won’t have to sell your soul to the devil to achieve.
    Your list is great. A couple of those ideas are ones I will happily steal.
    Finally, prosopagnosia. Whew. My husband has it but he refuses to recognize that he does (sorry).
    But he really does have it. In his case, he also thinks people look like other people whom they don’t look like at all – for example, he’ll see a stranger or an actor on tv and say to me “doesn’t he look like Bill?” when the person doesn’t even bear a passing resemblance to Bill. Do you have that bit, too?
    PS, your cats are adorable.

    • My Crappy House

      Happy Thanksgiving! It’s nice you still celebrate from abroad.

      Regarding prosopagnosia, from what I’ve gathered, there are different degrees. My particular affliction has to do with recognizing new faces. It takes me repeated significant interaction before I remember what someone looks like. I met my husband five times before I finally remembered his face! Some faces just won’t stick ever. Bill Paxton and Sienna Miller come to mind. I know they’re famous, but I couldn’t pick them out of a lineup. It’s especially weird for me because I love capturing likenesses with art. Ironic, I guess.

      The kittens say hi (meow!)

  • Joan

    Nice list! Glad to see you went from almost tossing the Cricut to enjoying it! I knew you’d like it! And, being 50 isn’t so bad, I’ve been doing it for four years now. However, when someone asks how old I am, I have to think about it (because, quite frankly, my brain refuses to believe my age) and I am startled when I have to speak the words out loud. It’s really an interesting phenomenon! I swear I was 18 just yesterday. Not to mention I still have the sense of humor of a 14 year old! LOL

    • My Crappy House

      Yes, thank you for your early help with the Cricut! I don’t think I ever figured out the issue with that particular design that wouldn’t cut right, but I didn’t have any trouble making the signs for my wedding, so it finally won me over that way. I’ve also made some iron-ons that came out really nice.

      Fifty just seems ridiculous to me. I remember when my uncles were turning fifty and they were so old! I’m not anywhere near fifty!

    • My Crappy House

      I know, I can’t believe how inexpensive it is! And it feels so substantial, like it’s made with metal inside, not junk. I used the little guy just tonight to install hanging brackets on a new TV. It comes in so handy!

  • Marilyn

    Great Post, I loved all your picks! You always teach me something with a side of entertainment, I LOVE finding your posts in my mailbox. Happy Holidays V and your cute family too!???

  • Sandra

    Happy 2022 to you and yours! Somehow I never got the notification for your post, thought I’d visit your site and am so happy to see your post! I am also a ‘71 model and don’t feel at all like I used to think a 50-year-old feels like. I have kids that are older than I feel ?. Great list, my favourite of your favourites are Egor and Zero, of course. We also have two feline step-siblings that pretend to step onto each other’s toes, but if there’s trouble they have each other’s back. Hope you’re doing much better and have a fantastic year!!

    • My Crappy House

      Happy New Year! I think we all deserve one, right? I’m glad I’m not alone in my fiftyness. It really did seem so old when I was a kid. I can remember my uncle’s “over the hill” 50th birthday party and he looked like an old man. I now realize, the older I get, the younger everyone else gets. Sixty looks pretty young to me now and sixteen is positively infantile. I can’t even believe we let those babies drive!

      I keep hoping that one day I’ll catch my babies snuggling, but it’s probably not to be. Still, I’m glad they figured out how to live together in peace. My husband swears they secretly love each other and would miss the other if they weren’t there. I hope that’s true.

      Thanks so much for your note. My year is off to a good start

  • Sandra

    I’m sure they secretly snuggle when you’re not around, just as I’m sure our two do as well. They always look embarrassed when I catch them lying on the same bed…
    Yes, we all deserve a good year, though our family has been kind of spoiled, lots of folks having it much harder.

    Hope it’s a good one for you career- and fulfillment-wise!

    Oh, my 18-year old sometimes tells me she feels like the only adult around when she’s with me ? I think she’s rebelling by being extra mature. I, however, seem to goof more the older I get – good thing I don’t care so much anymore what others think ?
    Thank you so much for answering, always like to hear from you!!

    • My Crappy House

      The older I get, the less mature I want to be. I’ve reached my peak maturity and now I’ll be getting sillier from here on out

  • Em Dirr

    Your posts are my favorite things.

    And because all things come back to ME, i feel you wont be able to sleep if I dont reply in kind.

    Also, i just turned SIXTY, so you and your beautiful skin can shut up. (Kidding about the shutting up, not the skin.)

    1) have one, have never used it ?. 2) aww. 3) is that the secret to your skin? 4) i’ll use your link to get my daughter one for her bday. 5) told you so (i think). 6) if i read, i would. hand stapling is for suckers. 9) junk drawer essential. 10) i coffee. 11) ordering. My own corpse lips thank you. 12) a stocking stuffer must. 13) we only have dog flavored pets…but love me a purring soft cat that won’t scratch or bite me.

    Thank you for putting in the long hours for my entertainment. A fabulous list to be sure! I read it at least twice before w/o l…came back today just bc you make everything funny. I also owed you one of my overbaked comments for the joy you/it provided.

    • My Crappy House

      You know, I wondered why I wasn’t sleeping well all of these weeks. Turns out it was YOU! Thank goodness you finally commented!

      I seem to be slipping into my old ways. I haven’t posted since November. Maybe it was all hinging on you commenting… My writer’s block seems to be dissipating as I type this… Please never leave me hanging again

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