Organized Christmas

Reindeer Poop: A Silly Stocking Stuffer To Make

   December 5, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice, so what does he leave for naughty little girls and boys? Reindeer Poop!

A silly stocking stuffer (of dubious taste!), Reindeer Poop is easy to make with this simple recipe, Reindeer Poop poem, and free printable Reindeer Poop gift tags.

Mix up a batch today to get a seasonal giggle from coworkers or family members.    Read More >>

Christmas Blessings Mix Recipe

   December 4, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Count your blessings with Christmas Blessings Mix! Small bags of snack mix, each ingredient reminds us of a holiday blessing.

Bagged in favor-sized gift bags and decorated with a holiday poem, Christmas Blessings Mix brings a festive touch to your Christmas celebrations.

Share them with church friends, co-workers or family for a meaningful gift.    Read More >>

Oatmeal Scotchies In A Jar

   December 3, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Family favorite for after-school snacks, this kid-pleaser cookie mix in a jar makes a delicious holiday gift.

Adapted from the recipe at Nestle's Very Best Baking site, Oatmeal Scotchies in a Jar features layers of oatmeal, brown sugar and butterscotch chips that look as good as they taste!

Includes free printable gift tags.

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Make Room For Santa: Pre-Season Toy Declutter

   December 2, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Holidays ahead! About this time of year, it's a good idea to contemplate the toy situation in your child's room. Adding Santa's bounty to overstuffed kids' rooms is a recipe for January clutter disaster.

Clear the decks and cut kid clutter with a pre-holiday toy clear-out!

It's a fact of modern life. Children's playthings have exploded in number, size, and complexity, while children's storage options have remained static. Just try storing a Happy Meal collection in the average toy box! Even the best-organized kid's rooms can easily drown in today's toy avalanche.    Read More >>

House & Holidays Plan Week 14: Storage Week

   December 2, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

December's here and with it, the fullness of the holiday season. This week in the House & Holidays Plan, decorations shine bright as we prepare a welcome home for the holiday season! 

As we remove decorations from storage, we'll focus on the storage space they call home the other eleven months of the year.

In holiday prep, the season moves toward full swing with the coming of Advent. It's time to begin Advent observances, complete gift shopping, mail send-away gifts and work on holiday decorating.    Read More >>

Easy Holiday Gift: Chocolate Coffee Spoons

   December 1, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

A simple gift for the coffee lover in your life, Chocolate Coffee Spoons will give a sweet taste of mocha to the morning brew.

Wrap these chocolate-dipped spoons in holiday cellophane, add a pretty ribbon and stand several on-end in a new coffee mug for a quick, homemade gift ... that's sure to please.

Bundle them with a packet of Snowman Soup for an easy stocking stuffer!

Try these recipe variations:

We Whisk You A Merry Kissmas: Easy Print-and-Give Stocking Stuffer

   December 1, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Ready to share Yuletide greetings ... with a clever twist? This "We Whisk You A Merry Kissmas" stocking stuffer is a sweet surprise for the chocolate lover in your life!

A homemade Christmas gift, a "Kissmas Whisk" is easy enough for children to make and give--and with ingredients from the dollar store, it's inexpensive to make.

Makes a great teacher gift, stocking stuffer or office Secret Santa present.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 42: Holidays Ahead!

   December 1, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

We did it! Time to look ahead to the holiday season ... because it's here!

For the past six weeks, we've been preparing for Christmas together. We've assembled a Christmas planner, organized gifts and giving, and conquered holiday chaos in the kitchen. Each day, we've pondered new innovations and old traditions, moving ever closer to our goal: a serene, joyous holiday season.

This is not to say that we're all ready! I'd venture that 98% of us still have more to do. Not only is this no surprise, but it's normal. That's why the Countdown ends where it does. There's still time to complete holiday preparation, and nearly all of us will need it.    Read More >>

Cranberry Hootycreeks Cookies In A Jar

   November 30, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Pretty, festive and easy to make, Cranberry Hootycreeks make a welcome holiday cookie-in-a-jar gift.

Dried cranberries and white chocolate chips give a seasonal spin to these chunky oatmeal cookies.

To make, you'll layer flour mix with oats, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips and chopped nuts for a pretty jar gift; we make it easy with a free printable gift tag!

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Low-Cost, No-Cost Ways To Celebrate Christmas with Kids

   November 30, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Cutting costs at Christmas doesn't mean celebrating like Scrooge. It's not about what you buy--it's about what you do!

Putting "celebration" at the center of the season--and taking the focus off of gifts and giving--can be the key to happy holidays that don't break the bank.

Better, when it comes to kids and Christmas, cheap is good! Simple, inexpensive family activities can be as meaningful as pricey Nutcracker tickets--and no need for scratchy dresses or dress-up suits.

Try these no-cost, low-cost ways to celebrate the holiday season with kids:    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 41: Focus on Traditions

   November 30, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Christmas. For many of us, our picture of this holiday is a static one: we've "always" done this or we "always" do that.

Indeed, that idea of tradition and stability and connection is one of the deepest and most meaningful themes of the holiday!

I make Aunt Bill's Brown Candy or Mim's Texas Pralines because my mother did, my grandmother did, my great-grandmother did.

Celebrating that connection is wonderful, but don't let it blind you to the very real fact that Christmas also changes.

If I compare our current Christmas celebrations to my childhood holidays, I find that today's rejoicing is longer, faster, more intense and more expensive. Not better or worse, but different.

This is, I humbly submit, as it should be. Children grow. Families change. On growing older, many of us explore new spiritual depths, finding meaning in different places.    Read More >>

Layered Mix Success: Tips for Making Gifts in a Jar

   November 29, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Interested in making layered baking mixes in a jar?

While pretty, these gift mix recipes can leave people asking lots of questions.

How do you get all the ingredients into the jar? How do you make sure the finished product tastes as good as it looks? How far ahead can you make these gifts?

You've got questions? We've got answers! Try these tips for successful Mason jar gifts.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 40: Plan Holiday Parties!

   November 29, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Will your family celebrate the holiday season with a party?

It's an occasion that can fluster the most experienced hostess--and if you're new to the art form, you can experience a royal case of the jitters.

We've got some tips and printable planning pages that will get you started, because hospitality goes to the heart of the holiday season. Extend yours today, with these ideas.

To Do Today

Plan holiday parties using the Holiday Party Planner.    Read More >>

"Gimme, Gimme" v. Doing Good: Teaching Children to Give

   November 28, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Recently, I eavesdropped on an online discussion about teaching children to give.

The original writer was a concerned, conscientious parent of a preschooler. This father shared his plan to teach his daughter about holiday giving. They would, he wrote, sort through the child's toys and set aside several toys "to give to needy children."

An admirable effort, I thought--until he set forth the rest. He hoped to locate a charitable agency that would permit his daughter to hand her toys directly to the child who would receive them. This way, he felt, his child would learn what giving meant in a direct and unambiguous manner.

I stared at the screen and asked "What is wrong with this picture?"    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 39: Teach Children To Give!

   November 28, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Today's guest editor, Cub Reporter Perry Bear, takes on a ticklish parenting dilemma.

How do you teach children to give during a holiday focused on receiving?

Today's essay focuses on how to model and teach giving during the season.

Perry has a suggestion, too, which is not so bad for a little teddy bear!    Read More >>

Make a Gingerbread House!

   November 27, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Are you looking for holiday crafts for kids? Try a gingerbread house!

Making a gingerbread house with a mold and melted bark coating is so easy, anyone can do it! Well, maybe a kid can do it, with a little help from grown-ups with the parts that require sharp knives and the microwave.

Here's what you'll need to make a gingerbread house.    Read More >>

Christmas Countdown Day 38: Make Room For New Toys!

   November 27, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

Santa's coming ... will there be room to store new toys?

Adding Santa's bounty to overstuffed kids' rooms is a recipe for January clutter disaster--and don't even try to tell this Nana to scale back on presents for the grandchildren. Bah, humbug!

About this time of year, it's a good idea to contemplate the toy situation in your child's room.

It's a fact of modern life. Children's playthings have exploded in number, size, and complexity, while children's storage options have remained static.

Just try storing a Happy Meal collection in the average toy box! Even the best-organized kid's rooms can easily drown in today's toy avalanche.

And nowhere is the clutter more apparent than at Christmas. Time for a sneaky/secret/flat-out toy reduction!    Read More >>

Simplify Holiday Traditions: Do Less, Enjoy It More!

   November 26, 2018 by Cynthia Ewer

"Tradition" is a powerful force that sometimes pulls an unsuspecting family along in its wake. Do your holiday traditions serve your family, your values and your spiritual beliefs--or are you running a tired and joyless circle each holiday season in the name of tradition?

To cut stress during the season, don't wait to give your family's holiday traditions a stiff scrutiny.

Give some thought to your family's holiday traditions well before the season is full upon you. Try these ideas to simplify your family's traditions--and deepen the season's joys!    Read More >>

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