Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a safe and happy wonderful day. Don't eat too much turkey (Gobble, Gobble).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another Productive Day

I'm sitting in the livingroom right now listening to the Hannuka song by Adam Sandler. The easy listening station in my area started playing Christmas tunes. Nothing but Christmas songs from now til New Years.

Yesterday I decorated my foyer and hall areas. First I sat up my nativity scene on the table in the hall. I placed two candle holders on each side of the scene. Then across from the table is a cd cabinet where I placed my singing penguins and snowman. My neighbor bought it for me two Christmases from Hallmark. Last year I received the singing snowmen. Not sure where they will go yet. I couldn't find my knitted socks that I usually hang on the doorknobs in the hall and foyer so I hung some cute signs I bought from Dollar Tree. I really hope that I didn't throw them away when I was getting rid of old decorations. I've looked everywhere for them. Right next to the coat closet in the foyer I hung a cute broom. I wrapped clear lights around the two topiaries which sit right behind the front door in the foyer. They sit on either side of a wall mirror. And on the mirror I attached a large bow.

Today I worked in the kitchen. I have a gingerbread theme in this area. I outlined my cabinets wth lights. Then I decorated one section of the counters with a gingerbread Christmas village, another section with two large gingerbread people holding flour and sugar sacks. On the center counter I have a Santa cookie jar - another Christmas from my neighbor. I even hung some gingerbread men above the sink. They are made to hold treats but I just stuffed them with tissue paper. On the kitchen table sits a 3ft Christmas tree. I only have the lights on right now as I think I threw out the garland I use for the tree. Now I'll have to buy new garland before I add my gingerbread ornaments. Under the tree I have several gingerbread figurines. I also have figurines displayed on top of the fridge. Speaking of the fridge, I took a few of the gingerbread ornaments and taped them to the freezer door. At the sink is my gingerbread kitchen rug. And hanging from the center cabinet is a gingerbread wreath I made. One I get the garland and add the ornament, my kitchen will be complete.

Tomorrow I think I will work either on the livingroom or bathroom.

I hope to be done decorating my entire home by Sunday. On Monday I will try to post pictures.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Time to Decorate!

Last week during Get Cooking Week I spent some time going over one last time my menu for the annual family Christmas Eve. Dinner. I made a few changes to the menu. Instead of doing ribs I've decided to do a roast. I made roast beef last month for Sunday dinner with carrots and onions and it was so good. Last year I bought Bruce Lee wings from Cross Street Market that my family truly loved. Many of my family members had never heard of these wings. I was recently asked by some folks if I would be serving them again this year so I've added them to the menu. That's about all I did for that week.

And now for the moment I've been waiting for. (Drum roll)


I am on vacation this week so I started setting up my Christmas decor. Over the weekend I cleaned my place and put away all of my fall decorations. I normally wait to decorate Friday after Thanksgiving but since I will be going elsewhere I decided to take them down.

I started with the balcony. I hung up my multicolor icicle lights and wrapped the bannister with garland and lights. I made a new garland for the bannister using two types of pine garland, pinecone garland and berry garland. Then I wrapped them with multi color lights. I originally planned to use the garland around my front door but thought it would look better on the balcony - and it does. I even set up a 3 ft tree in a corner and hung up my new huge wreath I made at the end of last season. Now the only thing I have to do out there is hang my grapevine wreath on the wall (Which I forgot to do yesterday) and replace the tablecloth on the patio table. A large artificial poinsettia will be the centerpiece for the table.

Today I decorated the diningroom. I decorated the table with a white damask table cloth then draped a red damask tablerunner on top. Next I sat out my red charger plates and topped them off with red glass dinner and salad plates. At each setting I put out my red wine glasses and holly pattern water glasses. Since I broke my centerpiece I took a hurricane vase and wrapped a berry garland around the base. Then I have 4 beaded cone-shape trees cornering out the centerpiece. At either end of he centerpiece I have tree topper Santas - one dressed in the traditional red and one dressed in white. That's all I've done to the table so far. I still have to pin my miniature wreaths to the backs of the dining chairs. Plus I still have to finish setting the table and put a candle in the hurricane vase. I wrapped garland around the chandelier and switched out the cream shades for holiday shades. I took a small table from the livingroom and placed it in the corner where my curio used to be (got rid of it) and placed a 3 ft tree on it. I have lights, ribbons and red glass ornaments on it but want to add some novelty ornaments like Santa. I think I may have some in one of the other totes. I found some really cute tree skirts in Dollar Tree last year for a final touch. The skirt is perfect for table-top trees.

And finally today I set up my Christmas village. Since I gave away my curio, I decided to set the village in the hall but decided today to display them on the wall shelf that separates the diningroom and kitchen. First I lined the shelves with batting then I added the houses, trees and people. It turned out really nice. Then behind the scenes I place a couple of small candle holders and placed tealight candles in them. The lighting from the tealights should give the village a very nice glow.

Now I'm plum tuckered out. I have called it a day and have started clearing up. I feel good. So glad I took the week off. I have more time to get things the way I want with no rush to be finished by December 1st. I'm not sure which area I will work on tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Get Cooking Week

This week at OC it's "Get Cooking" week and with Thanksgiving a week away, there's lots to do.  Check it out here.  I'll be back later in the week with my progress.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gifts & Giving

As I've mentioned before I have about 40+ people to buy/make gifts for.  That's why it's a good idea to shop throughout the year if you're able to.  At Organized Christmas, this week Christmas Countdown talks all about gifts and giving.

My gift list is nearly complete. I think that my family will really enjoy what I got them this year. Here's how my gift closet is looking so far:

several scarf/hat/glove sets
EZ Bake Oven cookie maker
fuzzy bedroom slippers
Men's crew-neck tops
learning lap-top
learning games
board games
light and sound helicopter
fuzzy women's robes
sweaters and jeans
Massaging/warmer foot slippers for SIL
2  movie baskets
5 pc glass candle holder set
3 pc candle set w/mirror tray
2 fleece bath wraps for a cousin
several sets of pj's
An outfit for sil's mother
An outfit and playstation game for a boy cousin
A few craft items for a kids basket
A 'baby's 1st Christmas' ornament
Pair of jeans and pullover sweater for my oldest nephew
Hannah Montanna handbag
Make-up kit
Homemade Advent Calendar
Homemade teacup candles
Wine basket, and
Several ladies house-gowns

Earlier this week I was on and I saw some old tv shows on DVD that I plan to purchase for my uncles.  Ma & Pa Kettle series, Hawaii Five O seasons, Topper and Blondie.  They will really enjoy watching those.

I still wasn't sure what to get my folks.  Then I thought I would get my stepdad an ipod to take with him when he works out at the VA gym.  Then I remembered I had an MP3 player that I wasn't using so I gave that to him instead.  Now I've decided that I am going to get him a nice sweat suit. He wears them a lot when he's just hanging around the house or when out running errands.  As for my mom, still undecided.

Last year I fell in love with a store called Five Below.  Everything in the store is $5 or less. I found great computer games and stocking stuffers for my younger cousins.  I'm going again this year to pick up a few DVD games that the kids as well as the adults can play.  One of the games I plan to get is "Name That Tune". This will be the game we play on Christmas Eve.  I can see us all cracking up with laughter trying to guess the titles of songs. There's one about a mile away from my job. I may shoot up there on my lunch break.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reality Check Part 2

Well I had a productive second half of this week.  The first half I was feeling very tired and lazy and couldn't get much done. This week was my boyfriend's birthday and I did manage to make him a nice dinner: Fillet Mignon, steamed broccoli with a garlic sauce, baked potatoes and butterfly pan-fried shrimp.  He really enjoyed the dinner and his gift (a sweater).  Now that that's over and I've gotten most of my energy back, I am once again motivated to having a very nice Christmas.

Shopping for gifts today was great. I found a lot of great bargains. I made sure to take my shopping list with me that way I didn't stray.  In Walmart, I found new holiday air fresheners by Freebreeze. I bought the twin pack of Fresh Evergreen & Snow ($5), Mistletoe & Magic, andPomegranate Berry & Sparkle. I can't wait to use them in December. I stuck to the list and only bought what I set out to get.   Once home I sorted the gifts, then put everything into the gift closet and updated my gift closet list.  I had planned to do some baking but I was out longer than I expected. It was a fun day. I'm so very proud of myself.  So much so that as a reward I treated myself to some icecream. 

Tasks for Reality Week are now checked off on my list.
  • Budget:  I usually keep the same budget each year which in the last few years have been more than I actually spend for the holidays.  I set up my budget the same time I create my gift list.  
  • Holiday Housework Plans: Housework will be minimal (Thanks to HGP).  Just the normal, everyday cleaning as  is all that will be needed.  
  • Check Smoke Detectors:  Maintenance has been to all the units to check smoke/carbon monoxide detectors as well as change the batteries.  
  • Tabletop Check:  Throughout the month of December I use holiday decorated paper plates and napkins for everyday meals.  On Christmas Eve I pull out the real dinner plates, flatware and glassware, etc.  I bought a lot of dishes at Dollar Tree several holiday seasons ago. They are white with a Holly pattern trim. I even purchased several sets of matching salt/pepper shakers, and napkin holder and spoon rest. I love those dishes. To have come from the dollar store, they are holding up very well.I need to come up with a centerpiece for my dining table.  I made a nice holly centerpiece which had three glass candle holders with shades.  Last year while trying to bring it down from the closet top shelf, it slipped out of my hands, hit the floor and the candle holders broke into pieces. : (    
  • Christmas Cards:  Earlier this week MHH members received the list of names for the Christmas Card Exchange. I pulled out my Christmas cards and started signing and addressing them. I like to mail out my cards December 1st.  We have members all over the world participating in the exchange. It's so much fun getting mail from other countries.
  • Good Health Habits: 

Fall decorations will come down the day before Thanksgiving.  I have taken that whole week off and this year Thanksgiving is being held elsewhere. So I can take them down early and clear the way for Christmas decorating which always starts "Black Friday".  I spend the whole weekend decorating.  Thinking more about it, since I will be off all week, the fall decor may come down earlier than that, and I just may go ahead and start Christmas decorating. Perhaps doing the lights on the balcony and outside my front door. (It's always a good idea to start putting up outdoor lights before the temps get too cold.)

Friday, November 6, 2009


Fellow member Leann of MHH  is celebrating obtaining 100 followers to her blog!  Let's give her a big round of applause and congratulations.  In celebration, she will be giving away and very nice Christmas basket full of goodies.  Please check out her blog, "The Old Parsonage" on how to enter the drawing.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

More of Dollar Tree

I'm sitting at my desk searching my favorite web sites, looking at everything Christmas.  The boss is off today and so is the other lady I work with so it's a peaceful, relaxing day.  This weekend my cousin and I are going to do some holiday shopping.  I still haven't finish gift shopping.    We plan to visit several stores - Walmart, KMart, AC Moore, Michaels, Dollar Tree, Big Lots, and Target.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, Dollar Tree is my all time favorite store to shop in. I have turned so many friends, family and co-workers on to this store til it's not funny.  You can find so many stocking stuffers there. There's also gift wrap supplies and decorations for people like me who don't have a lot of money to spend.  Almost all of my holiday decorations were bought at Dollar Tree.  Several years ago I found these beautiful porcelain ornaments which I used to decorate the tree in the master bedroom last year. When I first bought them I had them on the main Christmas tree in the livingroom.  In other stores they'd probably cost a fortune. And these little Christmas village pieces are also Dollar Tree finds. Plus they light up!  Everything on this tree  (including lighted star tree topper, ribbon and tree skirt) in the guest bedroom are all Dollar Tree finds.  Even these wall plaques are from my favorite store.  I made this wreath with items purchased at Dollar Tree (including the grapevine wreath and wreath hanger).

If there is a Dollar Tree near where you live, you've got to check them out.  Where I live, we have them everywhere and believe me I have been to every one in Baltimore and the immediate surrounding counties.  I even make it my business to stop at the one we pass on our way to Ocean City.  Sometimes you can come across something in on store that the other store doesn't have.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reality Check

This week it's time to face reality. Are your plans for making the "perfect" Christmas putting your budget in jeopardy? Has everyday life forced you to changed how the holidays will be celebrated?  Now is the time to put things into perspective. It's time to get started on those Christmas cards, decide on your outfit for the office Christmas party, and if you will be hosting a party or dinner at your home,perform a tabletop check of table linens, dishes, serving supplies, etc.

I will be back later to let you know how my week has been going.  Also don't forget to read the articles CEO has posted at the bottom of this week's countdown.  Especially this article, "One Right Way to Celebrate? Wrong!"   I think you will like what it has to say.