Monday, November 30, 2009

Almost finished.....

So, the decorating is ALMOST done. I still have some work to do in the kitchen but hopefully it will be done today.

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

Christmas Countdown Week 6: Celebrate

To Do This Week:

•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

Christmas Countdown Week 5: Decorate

To Do This Week:

•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

Christmas trees

I snapped some pictures of the kid's trees tonight and wanted to share.
This is Samuel's tree with his special spaceship ornament and penguin ornament he picked out.
This is Addison's tree. She also has two special ornaments but you can't really see them.
This is Eli's little tree. It's the pre-lit tree I sent to Chad last year while he was in Korea.

It's snowing!!

I'm happy to report that it's snowing here this morning. We have the potential to get up to 5 inches of snow by tomorrow. I would gladly welcome it. We have all the food, diapers, formula, etc. that we need to be holed up in the house! It won't come to that i'm sure, but it's a nice thought.

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

Christmas Countdown Week 4: Get Cooking

To Do This Week:

•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

Christmas Countdown Week 3: Gifts and Giving

To Do This Week:

•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

Christmas Countdown Week 2: Reality Check

To Do This Week:

•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.