Saturday, December 12, 2009
Don't mind the kitchen witch in the picture, she's always hanging in my kitchen.
Samuel made this last year in school. It's supposed to contain a picture of him but I don't have one that small.
This is my kitchen tree.
This is the paper chain that Addison and I made a few days ago.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I have more than one favorite i'm afraid, which is horrible for the waist line. My favorites are sugar cookies (decorated or not) and peanut blossoms. My favorite to make are the peanut blossoms. They aren't really difficult and there's no rolling and cutting out.
I'll be sharing all my favorite cookie recipes in the coming days!
Monday, November 30, 2009
I am finished with all the gift buying for the kids, minus stocking stuff. I need to pick up a few more things for the stockings but i'm not sure what those will be. I still need to shop for Chad. I only have 2 things for him so far and no clue what else to get him, let alone what the heck to put in his stocking.
I'll be back later with pictures of the decorating!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
•Write and address final one-fifth of Christmas card List this week. Mail all cards by December 10.
•Complete the final one-fourth of gifts to make this week. If the gifts have not been completed, put them away for next year. Add any needed replacements to the master gift list.
•Complete gift shopping. Wrap and mail send-away gifts by December 6.
•Plan holiday parties using free printable party planning forms. Plan the event with the party planner form, track and record RSVPs on the guest list, and keep the lid on finances with the party budget form.
•Begin a family Advent observance. Use an Advent wreath, calendar or daily family activity to underscore your spiritual values.
•As a family, broaden your own observance by learning more about other holiday traditions.
•Record each year's special traditions on a holiday tradition tracker form. Add new ideas, and record your family's reaction. Keep the memories alive!
•Set aside favorite holiday books, music and video for use during the season. Print a Holiday Favorites inventory form to remind you of what's in the family library.
•Does your family collect holiday figurines, houses or collectibles? Print a Holiday Collections form and inventory Christmas collectibles for your Christmas planner.
•Order poultry or special roasts for any holiday meals held in your home.
•Cultivate a calm and quiet home during the height of the season. Turn the television off, and substitute reading one evening each week.
•Complete interior and exterior decorating. As a last touch, decorate the front door as a symbol that you are ready to celebrate!
•Get resolved! Consider New Year's resolutions carefully, and maximize your chances of following through by writing them down on a New Year's resolution form!
January 5, hold a holiday debriefing. Record impressions, memories and solutions to guide next year's holiday
Sunday, November 22, 2009
•Write and address one-fifth of Christmas card List this week.
•Make one-fourth of gifts to make this week.
•Set up holiday tearfiles. Use tearfiles for ideas for holiday decorating. Save for next year!
•Inspect and inventory decorations. Record results on our holiday decoration inventory. Check light strands for cracked or broken bulbs. Add needed replacements to the master shopping list.
•Does your family give children new ornaments each year? Preserve the memories along with the gift. Use printable ornament memory record pages to keep the gift alive!
•Prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, baking desserts and salads ahead.
•Give thanks on Thanksgiving Day!
•Check in with family members at Thanksgiving celebrations. Ask for gift suggestions, and arrange to share or contribute to holiday meals.
•Begin interior and exterior decorating
Monday, November 16, 2009
The kid's put up their Christmas trees in their rooms yesterday with mommy and daddy's help. They look great! Even Eli has a little mini pre-lit tree in his room. I'll take pictures and post them later.
I'm still debating on whether to start decorating the rest of the house. It's extremely tempting, especially since there are several houses in my neighborhood that are already decorated fully outside (probably inside too). I want to just crank up the Christmas music and go to town but we'll see. Maybe i'll start with the kitchen and work from there. But I have to clean first.
Back later with pictures.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
•Write and address one-fifth of Christmas card list this week.
•Make one-fourth of gifts to make this week.
•Fill out a holiday menu planner form for each remaining holiday meal that you will serve in your home. Check serving pieces, and write the contents on a Post-it note. Make it easy for other to help!
•Inventory the freezer, and record contents on the freezer inventory form. Plan to eat from the freezer this week and next week, making room for holiday meals and holiday goodies. Use food budget savings to stock up on holiday staples.
•Start planning holiday baking with the baking planner form, and be alert for supermarket specials. Try to buy nonperishable holiday foods this week and next week for all upcoming holiday meals.
•Do a mini-freezer cooking session to put 5 to 10 pre-made entrees into the freezer. Use these meals on busy December evenings.
•Prepare for drop-in visitors. Collect hospitality supplies: cheeses, crackers, frozen desserts. Hide from hungry family members using creative labeling.
•Simplify baking chores: organize a Cookie Swap. Invite 6 to 12 guests to bring as many dozen cookies as there are guests. Swap so that each guest leaves with a lavish assortment of holiday goodies. Freeze immediately, marked as "liver and onions."
Sunday, November 8, 2009
•Write and address one-fifth of the Christmas card list this week.
•Review and renegotiate adult gift giving. Can you simplify your family's "unwritten rules? Draw names and set a price limit for a gift exchange. Could your family dispense with adult gifts in favor of gifts to charity or family service project?
•Finish all catalog and online shopping. Print our catalog / Internet tracker page to keep track of catalog purchases.
•Finish making all gift lists.
•Use a three-hole punch to add a large manila envelope to the Christmas planner notebook. Place all receipts in the envelope to track purchases, provide for returns.
•List all gifts to make. Be stern! Make your list and cut it in half--there's less time than you think. List needed materials and add them to the master shopping list. Begin on "to make" gifts this week. You must make one-fourth of your gifts each week.
•Swapping with friends is a great way to share holiday gifts, crafts and decor. Will you swap with other members of online communities? Track swaps with free printable Swaps Tracker and Swaps Directory forms for your Christmas planner.
•Plan Thanksgiving Dinner using the holiday menu planner. Order turkey. Check serving pieces, and write the contents on a Post-it note. Make it easy for other to help!
•Keep tight tabs on the holiday budget. Add gift purchases and other expenditures as you make them.
•Set up a wrap and mail center. You'll speed gift wrapping and parcel mailing with supplies all in one place.
•Schedule family service projects, or sign up for church charity efforts.
•Reserve baby-sitters for December's nights out.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
•Divide Christmas card list into five groups. Write and address one group this week.
•Make a holiday budget. Work together with your spouse to set a comfortable level of holiday spending. We make it easy with our printable holiday budget form. Add a printable master shopping list to speed errand days.
•Do your visual field a favor with a quick decor declutter. A clean sweep now makes holiday decorations all the more impressive!
•Set up a holiday housework plan. Print our chore checklist form. Post it publicly and hold family members accountable for delegated tasks.
•Make a family wardrobe check. Fill out the family wardrobe worksheet, and put any "To Buy" items on your shopping list.
•Print a master shopping list, to organize shopping excursions through the holiday season.
•Do you keep a gift closet, adding new gift items year-round? Take inventory now, before you shop for holiday gifts. Use our printable gift closet inventory form.
•Establish good health habits to cushion you and your family from holiday stresses. Focus on regular bedtimes, proper diet, mild exercise and stress reduction.
•Perform a tabletop check. Inventory serving pieces, table linens, china and flatware. Check store flyers for sales. Will you be ready to set a pretty holiday table?
•Schedule family haircut appointments.
•Check smoke, carbon monoxide detectors on Time Change Sunday. Change the batteries and test detectors to keep your family safe.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
* Make the promise! Spend 15 minutes each day this week to get organized for Christmas.
* Get comfortable for holiday planning--create a Christmas holiday planning center.
* Set up your Christmas planner in a notebook or three-ring binder.
* If you're using a clear pocket binder, print the cover and spine pages. Insert in pockets of your clear-view binder.
* Add blank lined pages for any notes and records.
* Make or designate a holiday planning calendar. For your Christmas holiday planner, print the Countdown plan calendar. Want more flexible calendar forms?
* Add monthly planning calendars as needed.
* Begin at the beginning: review your family's holiday values. Print and record your findings on the holiday values page.
* Gift-buying looms! Start a master gift list. Print the master gift list form and use it to record purchases and home-made gift items.
* Begin a Christmas card list. Locate addresses, and consider making a computerized Christmas card address list for maximum time savings. Or, print a Christmas card list for your Christmas planner notebook.
* Print a home spruce-up worksheet and complete the holiday home spruce-up exercise. Plan and schedule any pre-holiday home improvement projects.
* Will your family travel this holiday season? Make travel plans and reservations this week.
* Will you host houseguests this year? Make arrangements for any overnight guests.
* Make an appointment for family photo sessions for holiday giving or photo Christmas cards.
* Schedule carpet cleaning now! As the holidays approach, business picks up. Call now for your choice of appointment times.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Week 1: Get Organized
Week 2: Reality Check
Week 3: Gifts and Giving
Week 4: Get Cooking
Week 5: Decorate
Week 6: Celebrate
You can find all the details about this awesome plan at Organized Christmas. I will be implementing this plan and posting my progress each week along with the check list for that week. Join me?
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
This website has instructions on how to make star Santas, gift tags, marshmallow snowmen and more.
Amazing Moms has instructions for hand and foot reindeer, sparkling snowflake ornaments, wreaths and more.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Basically you take a tin bucket and put in a Fuji apple, an individual thing of caramel sauce, and a small packet of crushed nuts. Decorate the tin with ribbon or stickers, etc.
These could also make great party favors for a holiday get together.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
You'll need wooden skewer sticks, big marshmallows, and dipping chocolate (can be almond bark, white or dark whatever floats your boat) and sprinkles or colored sugar.
Thread the marshmallows on the skewers then dip in chocolate and use sprinkles. Stick skewers in a piece of styrofoam to let set then cover with cellophane and add a ribbon. You could include this in a hot chocolate gift kit or put in a stocking.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
This is from the Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Click here to see it.
How do you store your ornaments?
Mine are all wrapped in tissue paper and put into big plastic tubs. Not very safe storage really because anything could get broken easily, although we don't use very breakable ornaments I guess. This year I might try this idea.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
1/2 c. cornstarch
2 c. cold water
Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Add the water and mix. Cook over low heat, stirring all the time, until well blended-about 5 minutes. Remove from stove. Cool. Pour into plastic or paper cups. Add a little coloring to each cup. Add a drop of dish soap, stir and use.
Friday, July 24, 2009
1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 c. water
Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a pan and heat it. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook for 3 minutes stirring until a ball forms. Drop on some foil and let cool. Knead until a nice consistency. Store in a zip-loc. Add food coloring if you want.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
3/4 c. cinnamon
1 c. applesauce
1 T. nutmeg
1 T. ground allspice
1 T. ground cloves
Stir together all ingredients. Roll out to 1/4" thick. (Dust counter and rolling pin with cinnamon to prevent sticking) Use little cookie cutters to cut Christmas shapes. Place the shapes on wax paper and poke a hole in the top of each for hanging later. Allow the shapes to air dry for several days (or bake for several hours at 250 degrees) turning often to prevent curling.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Another awesome website is Magical Holiday Home. There are many, many other Christmas lovers at this site and they all have such great ideas to share. But it's more like a home on the net to be quite honest. I consider all the people there great friends even though we've never met in "real" life. It's not only about the holidays either, there is a daily thread to discuss your plans for the day and then how your day went or give updates throughout the day. There's never a dull moment and always lots of posts to read and enjoy!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Snowflake got angry at Edward and Bella for some reason and decided to teach them a lesson. She strung them up with garland and then hung them upside down from the ceiling fan. She sat on the end of the garland to make sure they couldn't escape.
Edward and Bella decided to try their hand at flying and got stuck on the fan cords.
There were more antics such as the elves having a tea party underneath the tree with Addison's tea set. Also Edward decided to check up on Samuel's homework one morning before school.
What were your elves up to last Christmas?
Sunday, July 19, 2009
When I was young every Christmas Eve my dad's side of the family had a dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. It happened every year no matter how bad the weather. We used to draw names and exchange gifts but that faded over the years when we started to get older. My grandma and grandpa always gave us an envelope with $5 in it as well. I remember driving out to the house, my aunt and uncle lived out in the country, and looking at the lights here and there. It was so magical just driving to their house in the dark of Christmas Eve searching the sky for any strange object that might be Santa. It was best when it was snowing. I love to watch the snow fall.
When I got into my teens my mom would let me have a very small glass of Asti Spumante with her on Christmas Eve before bed. This was something that was shared just between us.
Does your family have any traditions for the holidays? What are they?
Saturday, July 18, 2009
If you have a holiday blog and it's not listed in my sidebar, please leave a comment with your link and I will get your blog added ASAP. Thank you!
Friday, July 17, 2009
There is the Holiday Grand Plan which usually begins the last week of August I believe. You can find all the details here. There is also the Houseworks Holiday Plan which is an 18 week plan.
Another one is the Christmas Countdown. This one begins in October and takes you to Christmas. It is a 6 week plan that focuses on all the necessary steps involved in your Christmas planning. Each week has a different purpose. I have personally followed this plan and find it extremely helpful in accomplishing all my holiday prep.
Also on the Organized Christmas website is information and free printable forms to make your own Christmas Notebook to store gift lists, ideas, plans, budget info, etc. Check it out!!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
3 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1 c. peanut butter
7oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes on medium heat stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter til melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla, stirring until melted. Pour into greased 13x9. Cool at room temperature.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
2 lbs. white chocolate
peppermint flavorings, optional
Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4 inch chunks or smaller. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate. Add peppermint flavoring, if desired.
Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or wax paper and place in refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
2/3 c. water
1 can pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin spice
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. flour
Combine sugar, oil, eggs, water and pumpkin. In another bowl mix spices, flour and salt. Add flour mix to sugar mixture and stir together just until moistened.
Grease 3 medium size loaf pans. Spoon in batter and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean. Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 2/3 c. flour
2 Tbsp. white sugar with 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Mix butter and sugar. Add egg and beat til creamy. Add baking powder, salt and flour. Shape dough into walnut size balls. Roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on greased cookie sheet. Use glass to flatten cookie.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream butter. Add sugar, gradually, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients gradually to creamed mixture.
Chill thoroughly. Roll on floured surface and cut in shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
* Watching the snow fall
* Seeing the trees covered in ice (so magical)
* Cookies!! Yum!
* Hot chocolate after being outside in the cold
* Christmas lights
* Children opening presents or playing in the snow
* The smells of cinnamon and spices
What are some of your favorite things?
Monday, July 6, 2009
1 package Oreo's
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 package Almond Bark white chocolate
*I like to use the Almond Bark because it's cheaper and you get more for your money than buying the regular white chocolate and it tastes just as good.
Put Oreo's in food processor, process until very fine. Place crumbs into a bowl and mix with cream cheese. Roll out mixture into marble size balls and place on cookie sheet. Put in refrigerator. When cold, dip in melted white chocolate. Put on wax paper to dry.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
The elves have done many things over the past 2 years. Last year I took pictures of all their antics to print and put into an album. This year I plan to do the same.
Now is the time to start planning antics and gifts to be left by the elves. In the past years I tried to plan things but mostly it was spur of the moment ideas.
We have 3 elves: Snowflake, Edward, and Bella. Honestly, I have no idea where they are so I better get started on finding them.
What do your elves usually do? Do you write letters from Santa regarding the elves? Let's share ideas!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed firmly
1 c. peanut butter
3 1/2 c. sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 T. milk
1/2 c. sugar (for dipping)
Chocolate stars or Hershey Kisses
Cream together shortening, 1 c. white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and peanut butter. Add flour, baking soda and salt and stir into creamed mixture. Add milk and mix.
Shape into 1-1 1/2" balls with hands. Dip in 1/2 cup sugar and arrange 2-3" apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly press a star or Kiss in the center. Bake 5-7 minutes longer.
Friday, July 3, 2009
All you need are cookie cutters in desired ornament shapes and some colored wire. You may have to experiment with different gauges of wire, some will work better than others. I forget what gauge I used last year but I think it was a thicker wire.
Make a loop with your wire and twist the bottom of the loop so it will stay. Then simply wrap the wire around the cookie cutter shape of choice. You can do this one of two ways. You can wrap it around once, remove the cookie cutter and then cut your wire. Secure the end around the twisty part at the bottom of the loop. Or you can wrap it several times, remove from the cookie cutter and then wrap a different color around it the other way to make it 3D.
If I can find a picture of mine i'll add it in later. I'm sure I have one somewhere.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter
1 c. molasses
4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
3 tsp. cinnamon
In a big bowl, combine butter and sugar with fork until smooth. Add molasses and egg. Combine. In another bowl mix dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir well.
Shape dough into ball and cover with plastic. Refrigerate 2-4 hours.Sprinkle flour on counter. Roll out to 1/8" thick. Cut gingerbread men and bake at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes.
*I always use red hots to decorate our gingerbread men. If you choose to do the same, make sure you put them in the cutouts before baking.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
It's such a pain to change blogs because the new address has to be given out, but here I am. Stay tuned for Christmas in July fun all month long. I'm going to try super hard to have a new post everyday and there might even be a giveaway at some point during the month. Enjoy!