November 30, 2011

Preparing for the Holidays: "Christmas is Here! Last-Minute Ideas"

A long time ago (not that long ago, but it seems that way for me) I did a series featuring the book Queen of the Castle.  I thought since baby is here (I'm scheduling these posts out) that I'd recap the holiday part of the book.  So every Wednesday you'll get some great tips on prepping your heart and home for the holidays.
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This week's chapter in Queen of the Castle is titled "Christmas is Here! Last-Minute Ideas".  Author Lynn Bowen Walker shares a few fun stories about past gingerbread house bombs.  She lets us in on a little secret -- graham crackers!  Our family has never made gingerbread houses. I don't even go there.  I know my limits.  Instead we have a blast rolling, cutting and decorating sugar cookies.  A few years in a row we made gingerbread cookies until I wised up and realized that no one...not. a. one.  likes gingerbread. Well except me, but I really don't need to eat 4 dozen gingerbread men, women, and children.  So we decided to make sugar cookie cut-outs from scratch.  It was back-breaking mixing and rolling, etc., so I've had yet another realization that we will decorate cut-out cookies we use good 'ol Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix from now on.  It makes the process ten times easier. Yes, I love home made sugar cookies but if you want someone other than Oscar the Grouch in the kitchen then try the mix.  It's o.k., really.  *wink*

Now, if you really are planning on gingerbread houses, Lynn suggests the following essentials:  graham crackers, tubs of white frosting (you'll need glue of some sort!), and lots of decorations such as M&M's, jelly beans, chocolate chips, Tootsie Rolls, gumdrops, Life Savers, Tic Tacs, mini marshmallows.  There are a gazillion possibilities!

Lynn also suggests a cookie swap for some baking variety in your home.  I've always thought that was a great idea!  I may have to do that some time...

Lynn also suggests to start thinking about inexpensive gifts for babysitters, teachers, neighbors, etc.  Hand made gifts are great and I personally think consumable gifts are the best.  Jams, jellies, cookies, breads, treats, soaps, bath salts, etc. are great!  It's something someone will use...if not the receiver of the gift then certainly someone in their home.  Check out my soaps for sale on my etsy site HERE.

Lynn shares a few reminders of things that need to be done and soon!

*Mail Christmas packages

*Put card writing into high gear

*Wrap gifts as you purchase them. Save receipts in one place.  (I've got a lot of shopping done, but none wrapped.  I need to get on that soon!  Or I'll end up being a night owl a few days before Christmas...we don't want that!)

*Make wrapping paper.  Use brown paper bags, old Christmas cards, etc.  (Since early fall we've been asking for brown paper bags...a few rubber stamps and ink and there ya go!)

*Wrap gifts with oversized artwork your kids may have made at school.

*Start Advent wreaths or calendars.  (My tutorial is HERE and they are for sale HERE... just sayin' *wink*)

*Buy extra nylons if you're attending any dress-up holiday parties.  (Tights for your little girls, too!)

*Make sure the kiddos have appropriate clothes for whatever outings you have planned.  (If everyone but little Lucy has a Christmas shirt she'll feel a little left out...better make a list and check it twice!)

*Plan Christmas menus.  (I plan on posting my December menu here soon...and a Christmas menu post, too!)

*Get kids to help decorate.  (This year everyone helped!  This is our Thanksgiving weekend tradition!)

Enjoy the next month or so of activities...
soak it all in and enjoy it with your family like it was your 
first and your last Christmas. 

- - -

"So Jesus said to the twelve, 'You do not want to go away also, do you?' 
Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.
We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.'"  
John 6:67-69

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