Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christmas Countdown Begins!

Woohoo! Sunday kicked off the Christmas Countdown over at Organized Christmas and I for one am glad it's here. I came to a point where I didn't know what to do next. This week were getting organized and most of the suggestions for this week I'm proud to say were done weeks/months ago.

Every day were supposed to spend at least 15 minutes getting organized. I have spent most of the year doing this. (LOL) I turned my computer station into Holiday Central. There I have my notebook planner, computer, wrapping supplies, and other essential items needed. Above my computer station I posted a copy my my holiday calendar as a reminder of what I will be doing over the next two months. I have scheduled in parties, shopping trips, family activities, cooking, cleaning, decorating, etc.

Other things we are doing this week:
  • Put together a gift list...mine's has been done since January.
  • Create a Christmas card list. This year I will have lots of cards to send out due to members at MHH joining in the Christmas Card Exchange. I think we're near 40 members. This is going to be so much fun and I already reserved a place for everyone's card.
  • Plan/schedule pre-holiday home improvement projects. The only improvements I need are to have the ceiling in my living room painted and new blinds for the bedroom windows. I will speak to management at my apartment next week to get these scheduled.
  • Start planning now if you will be traveling over the holidays (If not done already). I never travel out of town during the holidays. I love to be home during this time and lucky for me most of my family lives nearby (anywhere from 5 to 35-40 minutes away). My brother being the farthest as he and his family just moved into their brand new house in Pennsylvania (Just over Maryland State line) in August.
  • Make arrangements for overnight guests. As I've said everyone lives nearby so I don't have overnight guests. Oh, just remembered I do have one cousin who spends the night with me. She and her son always spend the night at my house Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day she spends the day with her father's side of the family. I need to call her today.
  • Make appointment for photo sessions. I sent out photo cards of me to family last year. This year I'm going to print photo cards of my nieces and nephews, have each one sign the cards and send them to family members. I just thought of this idea (LOL).
  • And finally, schedule carpet cleaning. It's suggested that you make appointments now as cleaning company's schedules get very busy this time of the year. I do this myself along with cleaning my living and dining room chairs.
Later this week I will do the family holiday values and home spruce-up exercises. The spruce-up should be short and sweet as I've just finished giving my apartment a thorough deep cleaning. Once Thanksgiving is over I just take down the fall decor - making way to start putting up Christmas decor. I love doing the family values exercise. That wasn't always the case. The first time I did the exercise, it seemed very hard to do. It took me days of thinking about earlier Christmases and what was great about them and what was not so great about them because I had nothing documented to fall back on for inspiration. That's why I'm so glad I found CEO Organized Christmas. Now each year I can look over exercises from the last 4 or 5 years and see how my holidays are a little more organized and most importantly how I am able to actually enjoy them and not feel overwhelmed or stressed. Now I know what recipes were a success or failure, if my family enjoyed themselves at the annual Christmas Eve family dinner...if they liked their gifts, did I stick to my budget, etc.

I'll post the results to the exercises later this week.

Monday, October 20, 2008

An Interesting Read

I've been very busy lately with working two jobs. Right now I'm playing catch-up. I just updated my Rudy Day Blog and now I'm reading blogs of my MHH buddies. There's one blog I visited which gave helpful tips on how to survive the holidays with family. I realize that for many the holidays can be painful and stressful. Please read this post as I hope it will help anyone who may be dreading the upcoming holidays. God Bless!

I'll be back with hopefully some exciting updates to share. This coming Sunday starts the Christmas Countdown over at Organized Christmas. I really need this countdown to get me back into the swing of things. Right now I feel like I don't know what to do next.

Where Has The Time Gone?

I was just over at cmerth's blog when I noticed that it's been 3 weeks since my last post. I can't believe we only have 66 day's and Christmas will be here. I have been working so much trying to earn extra money, to make sure that Christmas is extra fun this year that I've all but put the holiday on the back burner. I haven't followed the HGP for the past two weeks and I missed the Fall Tour of Homes. :o( Not to mentioned that the Christmas Countdown starts this upcoming Sunday. So I've decided to stop working so hard and get focused (again!)

I'm taking the day off tomorrow from both jobs. First thing - finish the tasks on my list from HGP. I think this week is the kitchen. I have to give my kitchen a good cleaning out but since it's small hopefully it shouldn't take much time. I've already emptied out the fridge/freezer. It's nearly completely empty. I need to reorganize the food cabinets, sort through expired spices and baking supplies and purchase supplies, move my Christmas dishes from the top shelf of the cabinet down to where they can easily be reached once the holidays are here. Give my floor and oven a good scrubbing, stock the fridge and freezer with easy/quick meals on those nights I don't have time or feel like cooking and other cleaning organizing that needs doing. Then I'll revisit the list for the previous weeks and see what needs to be completed in each area. I know I won't get everything finished tomorrow. What I don't finish will be worked on Wednesday and Thursday evenings as I do not have to work at my parttime job. I want to get the cleaning completed before the countdown begins that way I can focused just on the holiday planning.

I'm sitting here at my desk looking at the boxes of Christmas decorations sitting on top of the file cabinets. I can't wait to start decorating my office. I'm doing a totally different look. I think my co-workers will be presently surprised. I especially hope to lift the spirit of one of them who shares the office with me. Her sister was diagnosed with Cancer back in early September or late August. On Columbus Day the sister went into cardiac arrest and was put on life support. The family decided to take her off this past Friday and she passed away. My co-worker has gone through a lot in the last few months and I just want to make her feel not-so-sad during the holidays.

Saturday is Rudolph Day. There's only one more before the "Big Day" in December - the day we celebrate the birth of Christ. I have to admit that I don't really do anything spiritually-wise and have been thinking of what I can do to change that. I will talk with my mother for advice.

As for this Rudy Day, I'm pulling out all my decorations. I will be checking lights, finish writing room decorating ideas, checking that I have all recipes in my holiday notebook, signing/addressing greeting cards all while listening to an instrumental holiday CD. I like to hang lighted garland around the living/dining rooms and hall. I have the larger lights that I wrapped around garland but this year I want to switch to smaller lights. I picked up a lot of boxes of lights at Walgreens on clearance after the holidays last year that I will use. The larger lights will go on my new tree for the balcony. Thinking now, I'll probably spread this day out to the entire weekend as I also need to finish my crafts.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Day Closer To Christmas

Today during my lunch break I went to the nearby Dollar Tree. I was in Dollar heaven! I went there to pick up some fall bushes to finish my topiary for the diningroom table. Wow did my eyes get very large when I saw the isles of Christmas decorations. I picked up some really cute photo ornaments for the office tree...and that was all (as far as Christmas was concerned). I will go back when I have more time to look although to be perfectly honest I don't need any more decorations...my family and friends will tell you. Just as I'm typing this I do need some ornaments to fill in my tree...wish I had picked them up. The photo ornaments are really cute! I only bought 6 as I already had a few from last year. They are green, gold and red - ornament, bell, Christmas sock, sleigh, Christmas tree, and wreath. They will hold wallet size (or maybe a little smaller) photos.

This year I'm decorating the whole office. I've got it all written out. I've brought in the decorations that I usually have in the master bedroom and will take the decorations I used last year in the office to use at home. I'm waiting for the other Dollar Store to put up their Christmas stuff. I see that they've cleared an isle so I'm assuming it will be very soon. (Everything in this store is not a a dollar though, but their Christmas stuff usually is.) Anyway they have the red and gold glittered gift box ornaments I need. I have some already but need more...I hope they have them this year.

Here's my plan:
  • Cover the main door and the head assistant's door with burgundy paper with gold lettering
  • Cover my boss' door with the coordinatin green paper with gold lettering.
  • Hang wreaths decorated with small gift boxes on all three doors.
  • Cover bulletin board behind my desk with snowman print paper. Cover the lady I share an the office with board with coordinating Santa print paper.
  • Cover our two desks with the green paper mentioned above. Add gold ribbon and bow to look like wrapped gifts.
  • Cover our two chairs with the big Santa hats. (It would be great if I could find one that was a snowman for my chair.)
  • Cover top of file cabinets with batting; decorate 3 ft tree with gift box ornaments, lighted red glass beaded garland, clear lights, photo ornaments, lighted star tree topper and coordinating ornamments - inside each ornament will be a picture of everyone in the office; The two smaller trees will sit on either side of the larger tree and will just have red lights and a large red glitter ornament as a tree topper; also there will be an animated snowman and Santa; along the front will be my small Christmas village pieces and maybe a few small wrapped gifts. I'm undecided about adding the gifts as I don't want the display to look to busy.
  • And finally...The bookcases: cover the fronts to mimmic a fire place; cover the top with red & white felt (The red felt will be cut into a pattern and layered over the white felt); a small tree will sit on top as well. We have baskets up there for work and they will be decorated with little velvet bows. To finish it off, our little 4 ft inflatable Santa that my boss brought in for us a few years ago will stand in front.
  • I will dress up the clock which is hung over the book case with a wreath
  • I need to find a place to display my altered Countdown to Christmas clippboard...When I finally get it done. Here's one that one of my MHH buddies made. Isn't it adorable. I hope mine's will look almost as nice.
Well that's it for now. I'll be leaving work in about 45 minutes and I need to start clearing off my desk.