Monday, June 30, 2008

And, we're off!

Today is the start of Magical Holiday Home's Christmas in July, or what I'm calling 31 Days of Rudolph!! That means I have 31 days to prepare for Christmas. My list of plans are posted below, in case you missed it!

Today is calendar day. I'll spend some time working on plans for December-making notes of special dates, scheduling pictures, etc and also planning a few parties! I love to party!!

Additionally, this month I hope to be able to post every day, at least a short post. The boys are on board with this--well, the little ones are, anyway! I hope to post a few decorating and party tips and hints, some menu and recipe ideas and just spread general Christmas cheer! Don't forget to click on the blog ring links on the sidebar-you'll find a wealth of info on these Christmas crazies blogs! So nice to be in good company!! Also, Ginger has all kinds of cool things going on over at MHH! Check it out!!

Today's tips come from the 2004 edition of the ezine, Celebrating Christmas. If you haven't discovered this little gem, check it out!! It is chock full of tips, ideas and recipes and they even have an archive for earlier issues. I have downloaded each and printed them out for my files, and I always save it on a flash drive to have for reference on the computer.

Here's some ideas from an article entitled 101 Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas: (My notes are in parenthesis.

*While you are baking for your family, bake a few extra cakes to use as gifts. Round and square shaped cakes never go out of style, but if you're baking for kids, considering investing in some fun shaped pans. (My Mom made pound cakes for gifts one year, and presented them in stockings-how cute is that?)

*Quick breads are easy to make and are also popular Christmas gifts. (Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap them again in either plastic or cellophane and tie each end with a curling ribbon to make it look like a big candy piece-Festive!!)

*Fudge is another quick and easy thing to make. (I have a great fudge recipe that I'll post later. It's fun to make it and pour it into large cookie cutters-lay the cutter on a piece of waxed paper and pour the fudge into it. Let it cool, then wrap the candy filled cutter in plastic wrap and tie it all up with curling ribbon.)

*Decorate a diary or notebook with any form of art that you are good at-scrapbook, photos, whatever-and present as a journal. (Check out the printable journal prompts and create a journal jar to go with your gift at Organized Christmas. Just go to the printables menu on the sidebar, click and print! )

Maybe that will get the old creative juices flowing!! More to follow!

Merry, Merry!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Rudolph Day Eve

Tomorrow is Rudolph Day! I can't wait to put on a Christmas movie and do a little work on my notebook. It needs to be decluttered and tidied up a bit.

I'm also planning on making a list of supplies I'll need for next week-first week of Christmas in July!! Whoo hoo...stay tuned...there's SOME FUN coming!

Merry, merry!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Already, Some Changes!!

Ginger posted a really cute craft over at MHH for the week of July 13...Post it Note stands. They are terribly cute...and look easy enough for even me to do! So, I'm thinking I'll add them in somewhere...I worked on the altered drink boxes yesterday...they are simply drink carriers from the Sonic, covered with scrapbook paper. I had one drink carrier (from an impromptu Sonic Blast and Milkshake run Saturday night!) and a package of 12x12 paper, so I used a piece of cardboard and made a pattern. Then, I just cut out the pattern pieces from the scrapbook paper, paperclipped them together and put them in gallon ziplock bags to make "kits" for the days I'm working on those. I guess those directions are kind of sketchy, but stay tuned...I have pictures that I'll post on the days that I'm working on them. I plan to use them to present homemade food items...quick bread loaves, jars of apple butter, drink mixes in jars...whatever I decide to give. I may use them for breakfast baskets for our siblings and friends. The only problem is that once the paper is glued on, you can't collapse the carton, so storage may be an issue. The way I'll get around that is that I won't glue the end pieces just yet, just the sides, then collapse them for storage, and glue the ends on when I get ready to prepare them for giving.

The paper I've used is vintage looking and kind of old fashioned, so I'm thinking when I present them I'll use raffia instead of ribbon to foofify them and make them oh, so pretty!

I am very excited about Christmas in July, in case you can't tell! I am hoping to create another list for mid-October through mid-November to finish up...Sarah (my niece) is planning a wedding for mid-October, so I'll be a little bit busy until then....she's a great deal like me, so I'm very scared!! LOL!!

Merry, merry!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Christmas in July schedule-31 Days of Rudolph!

This is a picture of Santa in early September!! Who knew that he works at Kringles in Branson, MO??!!

Here's my tentative schedule for Christmas in July. Things may change as the month progresses...we all know that "real life" tends to get in the way more often than not. Also, I may change things to go along with Ginger's plans over at MHH. I know she has some crafty things going on over there, but honestly right now my plan is work on some things that I'd already decided to do for gifts. However, I could change my's been known to happen! So, here's how it looks right now!!

June 30-Calender jumpstart day. I'll prepare a calendar and small notebook to use this month

July 1-Plan party menus

July 2-Make shopping list for above menus, with a section for non-perishables and a check off box for when they are purchased, as well as a note about where they are stored.

July 3-Make one altered clipboard

July 4-Celebrate the USA; make one altered drink box (details later)

July 5-Buy at least 8 stocking stuffers-limit $1.00 each

July 6-Make one altered drink carrier

July 7-Make one clipboard

July 8-Make and bake salt dough ornaments for our tree and for gifts-do this in the afternoon/evening, after it's cooled off a bit

July 9-With the boys' help, paint and glitter half the salt dough ornaments

July 10-Paint and glitter the other half of the ornaments

July 11-Buy 8 $1 each stocking stuffers

July 12-Make one altered clipboard

July 13-Make one altered drink carrier

July 14-Make one altered clipboard

July 15-Make one altered drink carrier

July 16-Make salt dough ornaments and bake (see details on July 8)

July 17-Paint and glitter ornaments

July 18-Buy at least 8 $1 stocking stuffers

July 19-Monthly themed family breakfast-theme-what else-Christmas in July!! I'm going to use my Christmas linens and dishes, and have a tiny decorated tree for the centerpiece

July 20-Make altered clipboard

July 21-Make altered drink carrier

July 22-DIBS-Dry Ingredients in Bags Setup-idea from the ever creative Christmas Creations over at MHH...we'll put together the dry ingredients for quick breads to bake for gifts and holiday snacking...I'm going to vacuum seal mine and put them in the freezer

July 23-Plan daily menus for December, with calender of events in mind

July 24-Make shopping lists for December menus, separated into non-perishables and last minute buys...the plan is to take this list to Sam's and start purchasing what I can as early as possible, continuing throughout the fall. Goal is to have all non-perishables purchased by mid-November

July 25-Celebrate Christmas in July by purchasing at least 8 $1.00 stocking stuffers and buying a new dress up outfit to take to Chicago! I'll try to make it one I could wear for a Christmas party, if possible

July 26-Jonah's birthday party at the lake!

July 27-Jonah's actual birthday...not sure what will happen this day!!

July 28-Make altered clipboard

July 29-Make altered drink carrier

July 30-Make Magic Reindeer Dust-vacuum seal or put in gallon ice cream bucket until time to package for individual giving

July 31-Leave for Jewels by Park Lane conference in Chicago!! Look for stocking stuffers/gifts at airports and in Chicago!!

Wow! If I get all of that done, I'll be in good shape!! Next time I'll list supply lists for my crafty projects!

Happy Christmas planning!!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Christmas in July

As I mentioned before, Ginger over at Magical Holiday Home is planning a month long Christmas in July event. The whole purpose, of course, is to spend some time getting ready for the real deal a mere 5 months later! I've been working on a few ideas for my own Christmas in July to go along with Ginger's fabulous plans. For each week she has a movie planned, a craft, a chat with specific topics, and several other things. I am going to try to use this time as 31 mini Rudolph Days and do at least one thing Christmas prep related each day. It may be a tiny thing, but I'm going to work hard at getting as much done as possible. Here's a tentative list of things I might work's that for evasive!!

+Shopping-I want to get at least 31 stocking stuffers purchased this month...that's a trip to the dollar store per day!
+Make several drink mixes (see recipes below) and vacuum seal them for later.
+Purchase jars for presenting mixes
+Make homemade apple butter
+Make homemade jalapeno jelly
+Participate in Ginger's crafty plans
+Decide on menus and make shopping lists
+Watch Ginger's movie of the week
+Read Christmas novels
+Celebrate with Christmas breakfast

Not sure what else I'll do, but that's sort of the starting point!

Merry, Merry!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Goodies from Gooseberry Patch!

Those of you who know me or read my blogs regularly know that I am a huge fan of Gooseberry Patch books. I love the whole shabang-their catalog, their booklets, their Christmas books-I understand #10 is now available! Whoo Hoo-and their cookbooks. Since I've been reading a Christmas themed novel and have gotten into the spirit, I thought I'd list a few little hints and ideas from their "Christmas Crafts" booklets. These little gems are very inexpensive-about $6.00 or so-and are just jam-packed with ideas, projects and fun!! If you haven't seen them, check out their website. Cute, cute stuff!

Here's some things I thought you might enjoy, in the heat of June!

Non-traditional gift wrap ideas:

*Tuck a packet of cocoa, a holiday mug, a spoon and a fragrant orange in a bright red stocking cap...a fun way to give a yummy gift!

*Tie big individual popcorn balls up in clear or blue plastic wrap...add a silver chiffon ribbon with long ribbon streamers...neat neighbor gifts!

*Wrap a box in shiny white paper-glue half a styrofoam ball on the box. Decorate ball with snowman button eyes and mouth...add a bright red ribbon bow-tie under his chin! (Isn't that just the CUTEST idea ever???)

*Spray paint or sponge green paint on an old clay pot-tuck in a raggedy piece of burlap and put a tiny evergreen in the's a natural!!

Winter Warmers to share:

*Hot Cocoa Mocha
3 c. hot cocoa mix
1/2 c. instant coffee
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. mini marshmallows
Quart sized canning jar with lid

Blend hot cocoa mix, instant coffee and spice together. Pour mix into jar, top with marshmallows. Tie on a copy of these directions:

Add 3 tablespoons mix to 2/3 cup boiling water. Stir and enjoy!!

Note: if you blend the cocoa, coffee and cinnamon in your blender it gets really fine and powdery and dissolves like a dream in hot water! But, obviously, you should do this before you add the marshmallows!!

Vanilla Cream Coffee
1 c. instant coffee powder
1 1/4 c. powdered coffee creamer
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 t. vanilla powder (cake decorating section of craft store)
Quart canning jar with lid

Blend all dry ingredients together. Pour mix into jar...tie on a copy of these serving instructions:

To enjoy a cup, simply add 2 tablespoons of mix to 1 cup boiling water.

There are some really cute canning jars out now...look for the ones with the red gingham checked lids-very cute, and all they need are a red bow and a sprig of holly to look jolly!!

Here's my favorite Gooseberry tip, ever. I've been making this for about 8 years now..and I always share with the kiddies in our one has ever told me they are too old for it! I make it in a gallon ice cream bucket in September or October and then when it's time to give, I just scoop it up into zipper bags, add a little hand-made tag and give it to a Christmas believer!! It works, too. We sprinkle this on the porch and yard every Christmas Eve just before bed, and Santa ALWAYS comes to our house!!

Magic Reindeer Dust

Oats (I get the cheap stuff)
Glitter (you can get edible glitter in the cake decorating section-safer for animals like birds and reindeer!!)

Mix together well, then attach a tag with individual gifts:

Magic Reindeer Dust
Come December 24th, as Santa flies here from the North
Here's what you do, it isn't hard...
Just sprinkle this stuff in your yard!
The sparkles draw old Santa near
and oats attract his 8 reindeer
Then just you wait-they're on their way
P.S.-Happy Holiday!!

More good stuff coming later!!

This picture is not from Gooseberry Patch, but from the Ladies' Christmas Brunch at my sister in law Kim's church last December. My friend Mandi and I are planning on organizing one of those at our church this year! This was our centerpiece on our table. It's the Original Snow Village Wedding Chapel that I received as a wedding gift. It's my favorite piece!

And, finally...Ginger, our Christmas guru over at Magical Holiday Home is planning a HUGE Christmas in July event--all month long!! Fly over there and check it much fun!! I'll be here to give some details of what I have planned, as well! I'm just thinking of it as 31 Rudolph Days!! Yay!!!

Merry Christmas planning!

About Me

I love to cook, decorate, entertain and plan the holidays. I'm wife to one handsome man and mom to three handsome boys, I love God, my family and my country. I'm the one at the small town parade waving the American flag!! Almost all the holidays are celebrated at our house, and we like it that way!!