Ever find yourself really wishing you had more time to get ready for Christmas... December just seems to SNEAK up on you? Well, maybe we can make a difference... together!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

lists.... Lists.... LISTS!

Yes I LOVE lists.... that is NO surprise to most... there are LISTS everywhere! :) But I only LOVE them, when I get to actually "CHECK" something off! It is a visual thing for me... gotta know I'm makin' progress... :)

Today, as I was reviewing my "lists" for the month of February, I remembered something that my 8 year old said to me this year... and of course I just HAD to do it, but it was a "last" minute thing, and when the "remembering" came back to me today, I decided I better ACT on it! (It's gettin kinda scary that if I don't WRITE things down, when the "THOUGHT" hits, sometimes it is gone forever...never to be "THOUGHT" of again....) So, (because I was driving) I pulled over into a parking lot, opened my 2010 calendar (good thing I had it! :) ) and starting "JOTTING" my "LISTS".....
(don't worry, I just transferred it over to my 2011 planner :))

When my oldest daughter got married, for their first Christmas, I wasn't really sure what to do for them.... A few weeks before Christmas an idea came to me to do a "BOX" filled with her FAVORITE things. Being that this was her first year not only away from home, but she was preparing to move "far" from home. They were going to be moving out of state and she was really having a hard time. So, I thought that "maybe" it would help her to feel a little bit of "HOME" on Christmas morning and to take with her. I decided to do the "BEST" I could for her husband as well.

So I found a good sturdy "box"... (I used boxes from the reams of paper from my work... they are VERY useful boxes!) The next year... I decided to do it again... and now~ A traditions has been born... I have done it every year since. I tried to make "note" of things that she and he would mention through the year that they liked.... like, "hot chocolate mixes", "OREO cookies", "SALSA" (homemade of course), and "CHIPS" (he has a favorite brand), etc... she loves "JELLY-BELLY Jelly Beans", NEW socks, Homemade Strawberry jam, Anita Stansfield & Nicholas Sparks books, they both LOVE Disney Movies, word search books... etc... So, I would just keep the list from the previous year and add to it... sometimes they would mention things that they were in need of like "flashlights", dish rags, q-tips.... sometimes silly things, sometimes their favorite "junk foods", even things that they could do together.... or even things you just don't think about until you "need" it... so I would add them to my list. I think that they have enjoyed it. One year, they both love "lap blankets" so I made them each a "lap blanket" out of fabric that was completely their personalities. It has always been something that I look forward to doing for them. I wondered if my son-in-law thought we were "CRaZy" for the "WEIRD" gift... a box of "stuff"... but, I think overall he either "tolerates" us or he really likes it. I'm going with he "LIKES" it... :)

Well, this past Christmas I had to add 2 more "My Favorite Things" boxes for my son and his wife... as I was making my list and reviewing it, asking my other children to help me because I started too late and needed them to help by listening when either of them would mention something that they liked or needed and my 8 year old said, "Mom, why don't I get a box of my favorite things?".... I didn't have a answer other than... "well, because you still live at home" and she said "Well, I still have favorite things.".... She was right. So, I immediately started to prep "My Favorite Things" boxes for ALL of the kids...

This year, I had them all save their "favorite things" gift for the last - and they opened them together. I think that this is now becoming a family tradition. I LOVE doing "My Favorite Things"... I think it is going to be MY new favorite part of Christmas... (or at least running a close race with the stocking... Not everything "fits" into the stocking...) I found it interesting that this year they were "asking" for things in their "favorite things box"... like the homemade salsa, jam and even bottled peaches! (I just gave them a case of bottled peaches and told them they have to return the jars if they want them refilled the next year. :)) OH and HOME-GROWN and MADE pickles! Trevor LOVED my pickles this year! FUNNY BOY!!! This works really well with my "homemade" Christmas!

Today, I picked up these boxes at IKEA for next year... ($7.99 for 2 - DEAL!) I'm so EXCITED! Blue for the boys... Red for the girls... I think I'm going to "collect" the boxes back every year so I can just break them down and re-use them.... good idea don't you think? :)

I think I'm going to make a large ribbon for each that has their name on it and another one that says "MY FAVORITE THINGS".

EWE!!!! I'm so excited! If I keep my LIST handy... I'll be able to easily CHECK things off it this month! YEAH!!!

I'm so GLAD that this THOUGHT hit me today! It's going to be a great "MY FAVORITE THINGS" year!

What would your "favorite things" box contain... if you had a "favorite things" box... ???

OH... I think I'll have to "hint" for a FAVORITE THINGS BOX!

Oh! Don't forget to read the next post... there is a SNOWBALL fight going on! and I KNOW you want to be part of it... HURRY!!!! The fight is about to start!

Friday, January 28, 2011

AND.... the fight is on!!

It's a SNOWBALL fight!

I love this idea! I got it from CREATIVE HOME EXPRESSIONS but....I'm afraid that I'm going to have to change her game up just a tad....

The SNOWBALL fight that she is starting is to pick 5 of your blogging buddies and MAIL to them a SNOWBALL! and... THE FIGHT IS ON! The "SNOWBALL" is to be made of anything you want.... (Can I just say my mind is going 90 miles a minute!)... I'm afraid I won't be able to sleep tonight! OR any night until I MAKE them! BUT because I don't know 5 blogging buddies MAILING addresses - I can't just SURPRISE you with a SNOWBALL fight in your mail box...

So... here is how I'm going to CHANGE the game a little.... (and I hope I'm not disappointed... I hope I have at least 5!) The first 5 to leave a message under this posting, (be sure to include your email address) I'll be oh so happy to THROW a snowball at you! :) (Then I'll remove your email address from the comments)... THEN... get ready... don't turn your back on me.... :) This is going to be FUN!!!!
Once you accept the SNOWBALL fight, just post a SNOWBALL fight on your blog or just send out 5 snowballs to your blogging buddies with the following information:

Once you receive your SNOWBALL you will need to write a POST about it and set up a link back to me on your blog. THEN keep your eye on CREATIVE HOME EXPRESSIONS site and she will be hosting a LINKY (in the next couple weeks) where you can post your SNOWBALL for everyone to see!
Be sure to take a picture of your SNOWBALL before mailing it! 
(She probably explains the SNOWBALL fight much better than I...you may want to read her post for more information)

I can't WAIT to see what kind of snowballs everyone comes up with!

Who wants to FIGHT???? :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011


and 3 days!!! 

Ok - have you noticed that little guy over on the right??
The jolly little fella that is "waving" ever so kindly and looking so eager to cheer you up?
Have ya noticed him? 

I decided I better take inventory and check my lists... see what I SHOULD have accomplished this month, what I HAVE accomplished this month and where I need to direct attention for the next month. 

I will say, this month has been a bit HECTIC - and if it is any indication of what the year is going to be like... I'd better get on a schedule and stick as close to it as I possibly can....

 so.... REVIEW....

Purchase CALENDAR/Day planner - CHECK
Activities - THAT WORKED - Evaluated
Gifts - THAT WORKED - Evaluated
Activities - THAT DID NOT WORK - dropped!
Gifts - THAT WERE NOT A HIT - dropped!
New "THINGS" to add to 2011 Christmas
Activities - Listed
Gifts - Listed
Decorations - Listed / Some purchased
Themes for trees - listed / some purchased
House Decorations - inside - listed
House decorations - outside - listed
Draw Names for 2011 - CHECK
Start gift list - CHECK :) (so excited!)
Set budget for 2011 - CHECK
Set monthly goals - CHECK
Review Monthly Goals - checking!
Review Progress for the month - CHECK!

NOW! It is time to put those LISTS into ACTION!!!!
I just want to take the month off and get it all done!
Is that possible?
It would be so nice!

How are your goals coming along?
Have you made your lists and are you checking them twice?
I myspace layoutslists!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An AMAZING lady!

You just need to click on over and see what and amazing friend I have :)
I just LOVE her! She is so talented! SOOOO creative!!! So thoughtful!!!

She is ONE amazing lady! And I adore her!  She is a wonderful mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter and CRAFTY woman! If you find yourself running out of time... and you need something that is just "THOUGHTFUL" for that hard to get for person.... this is where you wanna run to! If you don't see exactly WHAT you are looking for.... just drop her a line... guaranteed! She'll be able to "pull it out of her magic hat" and save the day for you!  Did I mention that
she is just AMAZING!?!?! 

What are you waiting for? CLICK already!!!  You're gonna love her!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January... here we go!

First things first...
I purchased a planner! I'm so excited!
(I used my dessert contest winnings for my new-cute little planner) 
and I am so anxious to put it to the test! :)

I have officially decided that JANUARY is my GET ORGANIZED month!
As I was taking down and putting Christmas away this year (which was much later than I usually do, but I just simply was "pooped" and had no energy to do it any sooner).... I ended up creating a tad bit more work for myself than I wanted - but in the end - I think come Christmas - it will be so worth it!

I cleaned out and organized EVERY Holiday bin I have.... even had to purchase a couple new ones (Lowes had them buy one get one free - DEAL!).... I even managed to hit a GREAT clearance sale at Walmart on New Years Eve - that I just couldn't pass up - (I know... I shouldn't - but I did.... (I used my birthday money - it's all good! - it is something I really wanted!)  After tossing broken holiday decorations and such - I needed to replace a lot.. and what better way than to do it at 75% off!?!?! DEAL!!!!

I spent just $46.04 and purchased a hundred or more ornaments, 16 battery operated candles, 2 sets of a 2&3 foot trees (one for each of the girls to put in their bedrooms), and saved over $175.00.... not that I would REALLY have saved that - because I would NEVER have spent it at the original price in the first place (if that makes any sense!) .... but with what I purchased, I will be able to decorate 3 full size trees and 3 small bedroom trees! I'm so excited! I was SOOOO happy!!!

Then, I decided it was time to start working on my planner... the ORGANIZING of oneself....can be TRICKY! Especially for me, when I can't seem to stay FOCUSED very long in one area... I get side tracked SOOOO easily!  (I think I have decided where my son gets his A.D.D. from.... :) )

So... here goes.... this is what my LIST consists of so far....
I will be focusing on 3-4 of these items every month... 
If anyone cares to join me.... :) 
Or of course - make your own list ... 
then join me!

1-Make sure we take time each day to focus on the REAL meaning of Christmas
(this may be through scripture study, or stories, music etc.)
2-Spend QUALITY time with the family
3-Make time to serve others
4-Plan a holiday budget - not just on gifts - but on EVERYTHING
      a-family gifts
      b-food / entertainment
      c-friend / neighbor gifts
      d-decorations / music
      e-extended family gifts
      f-cards / wrapping / etc.
5-Make decoration plan for inside and out - budget if needed
6-Create gift list - supplies needed to make them / items needed to purchase
7-Update Christmas card list
8-Purchase stamps / gift bags / wrapping paper / tape / ribbon
9-Sign & mail Christmas cards - set a dead line - and STICK to it!  (this is one of the hardest things for me! I have a drawer filled with cards from years past - that NEVER made it to the mailbox...because of one missing thing... the STAMP! I never seem to have $$ by the time I get around to mailing them... so I'm going to determine how many stamps I need and then see how many "books" it will take - then purchase that many between now and October!)
10-Plan Christmas Parties (I really want to get back to having the get-togethers that we use to do! I really miss not having any parties to attend during the month - I've decided that those PARTIES just help me to "feel" the Christmas spirit!..and it makes the month enjoyable too!)
11-Schedule some time off of work - TAKE SOME TIME OFF WORK!
12-Set "pre-trial" deadline for gifts to be done
13-Set "FINAL" deadline for gifts to be done! and STICK to it!
14-Purchased Gifts must be purchased by Sept 30 2011 -
15-Purchase Supplies needed for any gifts by end of JULY
16-Set "ALL WRAPPED UP" deadline date - and stick to it!
17-Plan holiday meals
18-Shop for holiday meals & baking items
19-Set aside Christmas baking days - starting in Oct.
20-House Cleaning -
     a-set deadline dates for "MAJOR" decluttering, carpet cleaning, furniture cleaning
     b-prepare a "daily holdiay" chore list - start it in Sept. to get everyone in the habit and stick to it!
21-Review advent calendar activities - make changes - get calendar prepared.
22-Plan festivities for December (dates and guest lists etc) 

So far... that is all I can think of ... but I'm sure that there will be more to come!  :)  But... with that in mind... I've designated JANUARY to be my CHRISTMAS ORGANIZE MONTH!

So, as I was putting away and throwing away things - I made a list of the things that I need to "finish" getting organized in the decorating department....

(I know it seems a bit ODD to do it right now, but honestly - it is a good time for me because I have my list for 1 and for 2 - it is FRESH in my mind what I need - and want! so I think it is a great month to organize my decorations!)
*Make ornaments for the FRONT ROOM TREE (I will be crocheting "snowflakes" then dipping in sugar water to stiffen them and sprinkling with fine glitter...)
*Make 3 tree skirts  (at least 2 for sure - I have one - but it isn't my FAVORITE!)
*Make Christmas Stockings for everyone! 
*Organize my "BOOK CHRISTMAS IDEAS" so I can go through and PICK what I want to do this year for gifts, decorations and such..... 
*Make at least 3 items (this month)  for "inside or outside" decorations....(I really am in need of some UP TO DATE decorations!)  

Anyone have any wonderful IDEAS they would like to share with me???

Well - that's it for January.... 
OH - of course the "GOALS" to the right as well...

I'm thinking I'm crazy... but we'll see how we do.... 
I really have NOTHING going on this month! 
So I should be able to ACCOMPLISH most if not all of this! 



Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it!  Another year has just whipped right on by....  I swear it just gets faster and faster every year.... must be because I'm getting older... I just don't know.... everything seems to just "WHIP" right by and I find myself dizzy, confused, delirious, and just plain exhausted..... age right? I'm going with that.... 

Well, I started this blog nearly a year ago - in hopes to keep me focused, organized and to have a much better, more enjoyable, more meaningful Christmas season than I had the previous year.  And although it wasn't exactly "PERFECT" - as "PERFECT" as my HEAD had created... it was better... a little more enjoyable... and a little more meaningful....but also, left lots of room for improvement!  I'm giving myself a C- this year... much better than a D- from last year! (and that is being generous!)

I'm starting this year off on about the same foot as I did last... so, who is in with me? I'm sure that most of you (if not ALL of you) did much better and probably passed the class with flying "A"s... but come on - a girl has got to have some buddies... a support system... right?  So, who will join me - who will coach me - who will step in and SAVE Christmas for me if I mess it up again??? .... Just kidding - you don't have to jump in and SAVE it for me... just pick me up and drop kick me ... that's all I ask... Sometimes it takes a bit to get these old muscles and bones moving again - I promise~it won't hurt... (I have much too much cushion... extra padding... it won't hurt...) really..... 

So, I've got my "BOOK" out from last year... and I'm checking it twice - and by the end of the week, I'll have my goals and projects  ready to roll!  The one thing that I KNOW I will do differently this year is.... better evaluation! I started out so good .... that is until LIFE took hold of me... BUT ~ not this year.... THIS year I will be checking it regularly... I am determined!  I got just a small "sample" taste of what I HOPED DREAMED and WISHED for this past Christmas ... I'm going to just SAVOR it THIS year! SO EXCITED! (but seriously, SLOW DOWN already!....)

We can do this! I CAN DO THIS!  Just 334 days (or 10 months, 4 weeks and 1 day-which sounds better?) until Christmas REALLY counts.... it will be here before we know it... so go get your notebook, or get a new one - and let's make sure we enjoy a 
little bit of HEAVEN in two-thousand eleven! 
(good one huh :))

I just love this.... 
It just puts things back into perspective...
Don't you think?

Santa and the greatest gift of all.