Saturday, September 10, 2016

House and Holidays

Photo from

It's the end of week two of the H+H plan over at Magical Holiday Home. The focus: organizing activities and setting up a creativity area.

This week many of us have been decluttering our creative spaces to make room for craft projects, writing lists, planning holiday meals, signing and addressing Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, everything.  The two areas where I do most of my creating, planning and whatnot are at my dining room table or at my desk in the guest bedroom.  I tackled my desk area a few weeks ago. Let me tell you, my desk area was a job and a half.  PAPER!!!  That's all I'm going to say about that. I know you know what I'm talking about.  But it's all good now. I can actually see my desk lol.

I do have several craft projects I will be working on - all decorations, no homemade gifts this year.  However, I have not been to the stores to pick up supplies needed.  Mainly because I have been focusing on fall projects that I am currently working on. My goal is to have the supplies by the end of this month. By then all of my fall projects will be completed and I can begin focusing on my Christmas projects.  I have to have them done before Thanksgiving weekend, which is when I start putting up my Christmas decorations.

In addition to creating a nice work area, we're working on our seasonal calendars. There's parties, family photo sessions, travel arrangements, maintenance schedules, school plays/concerts coming up.  Having all of that on a seasonal calendar is perfect to avoid missing something very important or worst, double booking.  My seasonal calendar has been done for weeks.  I just update as needed.  And as for traveling, I never travel during any holiday and I don't have any family coming in town.  Besides the majority of my family members live nearby.

Lastly it's time to get that shopping list together.  My list is tucked in my purse and I've already started picking up stocking stuffers.  I've also started my holiday layaway at Walmart.  I have a three page list so the sooner I started the better.  My list has everything from craft supplies, to gift ideas, to baking supplies.  Some of the ladies at MHH are almost done all of their gift shopping.  They were lucky enough to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones throughout the year.  Very impressive. Wish I could be that good.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New Look

Well it seems Santa and his merry elves over at Magical Holiday Home have been quite busy.  Check it out!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Whoa Is Me

Just a quick message of apology.  In an attempt to publish comments from readers to my blog, I accidentally hit 'delete'.  Not paying attention to what I am doing. Bummer!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Added More to the Freezer

I tell you, I have been on a roll with this freezer meal plan.

Today I added a meatloaf and meatballs for a Baked Meatballs with Mozzarella recipe.  Mmmm.  It's going to be delicious.

I also bought a 2lb bag of frozen flounder fillets to make Fish Po Boys, several bags of frozen shrimp and a bag of salmon fillets for another recipe I want to try.

Now my freezer is packed to capacity.  Couldn't add another thing if I tried.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Freezer Meals

As it gets closer to the holidays, you find yourself very busy.  Shopping for gifts, going to holiday parties, planning for visitors,etc.  Throw that in with every day life and you can become overwhelmed.

Before I joined the groups Organized Christmas and Magical Holiday Home, when the holidays came around, I found myself eating a lot of greasy fast foods and sweets.  Working a full time job and part-time job or working full-time and going to school at night, I didn't have time or the strength to come home and cook a meal.  OC and MHH taught me that having dinner prepared ahead of time gives me one less thing to worry about. Not to mention keeps a few extra dollars in my pocket.  I will admit there have been a couple of times where I didn't make meals ahead of time or I didn't make many (last year being one of those times) and I regretted it.  That's not happening this year.

So after doing some thinking and making a list of meals I want to have in the freezer, I went to the grocery store and started picking up ingredients.

I bought a 3 lb roll of ground beef, which I cut into thirds.  One lb is prepped for a taco ring I plan to make. I made burger patties with the second pound. And the third lb I mixed with ground sirloin for hotdog sauce. With a pack of chicken thighs I have a meal for pineapple jerk chicken in the freezer.
From a family size pack of chicken breast I have gyros, chicken cheese steaks and several single serving size roasted garlic chicken white sauce pizzas.  I split a 3lb roll of ground turkey in half to make a pot of chili and a cajun lasagna.  I also have some egg rolls, crab cakes, and salmon cakes frozen.

I am so happy with what I have done so far.  I've never done this much prepping before. Ever!!! And there's still a few more meals I want to make like, jambalaya, a chicken & biscuit casserole and stuffed shells.  
But you know the one thing I really would like to make?  Lobster bisque. I love, love, love lobster bisque. Mmmm, yummy!

Also I've been thinking... Several weeks ago I made Greek marinated chicken with rice seasoned with turmeric and cumin with a yogurt sauce and Sriracha, and baked chops in the oven with small red potatoes and green beans. Oh, they were so good. They may go on the list too.

Friday, August 12, 2016

It's Never Too Early

For planning, that is...

So I'm sitting here and I'm thinking of all of the things that will be going on for the remainder of this year.  Wow!  I already have quite a bit of stuff going on.  How WILL I cope? Lol  Anywho...

I was with friends last night watching our Ravens first pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers (We won!) and we got on the subject of birthdays and trips and even Christmas.  And I'm like, "I better make sure I get all of this new information written down so I don't forget and over book myself."  So glad I printed a few blank calendars the other day and started making notations.  I made notes of stuff like when I want to start shopping for Christmas gifts, the weekly Home&Holiday prep plans, when to purchase food for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, even doctor's appointments and truck emissions. You name it I've got it noted.  It's going to be busy around these parts real soon and I am going to need to be on my toes.  I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to be rushing around, last minute, trying to get things done.

The calendars are just a rough draft for now.  When I can get some color ink for my printer I will dress them up so they will look pretty in my notebook. Or maybe on my fridge, hmmm.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Christmas Trees

Yep, it's me again!

For the past week or so I have been doing a lot of thinking, writing and typing...trying to get things in order for the upcoming holidays.  Since yesterday I have been all over Pinterest - and the web in general - looking for new ways to decorate my little palace (while using what I already have).  So far I've found some awesome ideas.  Can't wait to decorate.

All of this research has me thinking about my Christmas trees.  I have a total of 10 trees.  Yes 10!!!  I have a tree in every room from outside my front door to out on my balcony. Even the bathroom gets a tree. A couple of rooms, like my kitchen and living room have two.  I stopped putting the tree out on the balcony, though, once those nasty stink bugs started showing up a few years ago.  Was scared I would bring them in the house - lol.  But in the last year or so it seems that the birds and whatever else have gotten accustomed to their taste and I don't see them but once in a blue moon now.  So I may put the tree back out there this year.

I'm thinking about my trees because most of them are table-top.  I really don't want to use them anymore.  They take up space on my tables and whatnot and I could use those spaces for something else.  So I've decided that I am going to give some away to Good Will or whoever wants them and replace them with 6ft trees.  I bought one on clearance for $5 at Wal-mart last year (They're only like $20 regularly).  The height is just right, they can sit in a corner on the floor and they're narrow so they won't take up a lot of space.  Two of the table top trees will go to the office.  I have the perfect spots for them.

As you can see, I'm really pumped this year.  Let's just hope I don't run out of steam... Til next time.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Holiday Baking

It's me again. Coming to you live from my office.  I have some down time so I thought I would share what I've been doing since my last post.

Because it was just too hot out this weekend to do anything, I stayed in and worked in my planner gathering holiday decorating ideas, to-do craft projects, and dessert recipes.  Boy do I have a list of goodies to bake this year!  One dessert I am excited to make, I made for a 4th July cookout.  Not to brag but I did  pretty darn good.  They devoured it!!!  It's called "Red Velvet Trifle".  I found the recipe through Pinterest on a blog called Artsy Chicks Rule and here is where you can find this AMAZING recipe.

My masterpiece

I tweaked it a little.  The recipe called for white chocolate kit kat candy bars.  However I could not find any in the stores (Not a fan of white chocolate anyway). I usually don't see them til around Halloween.  So I used the regular milk chocolate kit kat bars.  Artsy Chick also had a choice between using white chocolate or cheesecake pudding to mix with half of the whipped topping.  I think she used the white chocolate, but like I said, I really don't like white chocolate.  It tastes too sweet to me. So I went with cheesecake.

When I make this for Christmas I will increase the amount of whipped topping used with the cream cheese and pudding mix (may have to increase the amount of cream cheese and pudding as well).  I ran short when I got to the top and so you can see some of the cake peaking through.  I think it's because the bowl I used is larger than the pretty bowl Artsy Chick used.  If you look at her trifle, none of the cake is showing through on top.  

For the topping I crumbled cake and kit kat bars I had leftover. Artsy Chick mentioned she did this when she made the trifle again.  This is going be the centerpiece of my dessert table and probably the first thing to go. lol

Besides the trifle I have my tried and true cookies on the list. You know the chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, sugar, and gingerbread cookies...But there's also some new cookies, an ugly sweater cake and a new way to make oreo balls recipes added to the list.  Can't wait to get started.

Well, here's my list.   The ones with an * are new:
  • red velvet trifle *
  • banana balls*
  • brown sugar pecan cookies*
  • ugly sweater cake*
  • cheesecake thumbprint cookies
  • red velvet peppermint cookies*
  • chocolate cookies
  • egg nog cookies
  • fun-fettie cookies*
  • gingerbread cookies
  • gingerbread reindeer balls* (as opposed to the regular oreo balls)
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • peanut butter cookies
  • almond/cinnamon cookies
  • oatmeal/raisin cookies, and
  • sugar cookies
I will come back throughout the remaining months to share the results of the new recipes as well as give links on where you can find them.  Some if not all of these could be done now and frozen. With this heat though the baking bug won't hit me until sometime next month.  But you never know (wink).

So on that note I will stop here.  Be back soon.  BYE!!!

Friday, August 5, 2016


Hey it's me!  Back and ready to get the ball rolling with the upcoming holidays.

I know it's still summer but I am so over all this heat.  And this is coming from a summer baby (July).  Any who, I recently reconnected with my friends over at Magical Holiday Home and just in the nick of time.  House & Holiday and Holiday Grand Plans are about to begin and I need to be on top of at least one of them if I want to have an awesome holiday with my family and close friends.

So far, for the last couple of days I have been working on my gift list and shopping list.  My gift list is nearly completed.  I just need ideas for 5 more people (out of 27).  Not too shabby, wouldn't you say?  My mom is usually one of the ones whom I never have any idea of what to get.  But not this year.  I came up with the perfect gifts that are going to knock her socks off.  I'm having a fleece blanket made with a picture of her, myself and my brother. And on it, it will say "A family can only develop with a loving woman as it's center."  Found that quote on Google somewhere. Then I will have a picture without the quote framed as well as a picture of her, myself and my grandmother.  I lost my grandmother back in 2012 and I felt this would be nice for her to have on her wall (Three generations).  Now tell me I'm not the woman! lol  So psyched!!!

Some other ideas I came up with - I've done before but with different people - are:

  • reader's basket
  • movie basket
  • bedtime basket (for two of my little cousins)
  • a white basket
  • perfume gift set, and
  • gift cards (for my best friend's two daughters)
The white theme basket is just a bath set but everything's white.  It will include a bath robe, slippers, body wash, aroma therapy candles, sugar scrub, a relaxing cd stuff like that.  That is always a well received gift.  Thinking....never done one for a man, hmmmm.

Okay back to what I was saying.

My best friend loves Belgium waffles.  That's what she gets anytime we go out for breakfast.  She's been talking about getting herself a waffle maker, but has yet to do it so I'm going to get one for her...and a really good one!

My cousin told me her son is now into Legos so I have that on my list. Then there's clothing like a nice dress for my cousin who wears them a lot now that she has gone back to church.  A new jacket for my uncle... Sorry just got a text from my niece.  I wanted to find out what her son is into these days and she just responded Pokemon.  Check another person off on the list.  It's down to four people, FOUR!

You have to forgive me with all of the jibber jabber.  I am just very excited this year for the holidays.  I haven't been this excited in a few years.  I still celebrated and was happy but not like this.  It's been a minute since I've felt like this.

Oooh one more gift idea I need to mention.  I'm putting together a baby basket for the newest member of our family.  I got the idea from Pinterest (Like where else would I find such awesome ideas lol).  Here's a picture of what I want to copy.  Isn't it cute.  Can't wait to get started on that one.

My shopping list is nearly 2 pages full and I'm sure it will grow a little more.  I hope to get started on the shopping part by the end of this month.

Well that's all I had on my chest today. LOL  Gotta go! BYE!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A New Year!

Well it's a new year and I am already thinking of Christmas 2016.  Actually ideas began coming to me on Christmas day.  I've started my master shopping list and the first thing I added was a digital camera.  I do not want to miss any holiday memories like I did in 2015.  Even have a menu selected.

My resolution for 2016 is to get back to the days of making plans and actually carrying them out.  And not dragging my feet,waiting til the last minute.  I spend a lot of time with family and they tend to get me off track.  Well not this year. I can be with them and still work on my holiday plans (I hope).

So I have my monthly Dayminder to make notations for all events, goals I want to complete and whatever else comes to mind.  My holiday planner notebook to keep ideas, lists and budgets.  Not to mention my mobile phone to add alarm reminders for what I need to do and when I need to do them.  Yep, I really want to do better this year.

Wish me luck.