Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Planner

Look ahead, and plan ahead, for the Holiday season. Make a planner! Include these things in your usual planner, or grab one of your kids' old binders.


Calendar for November and December
Remember to write down Holiday parties for work, church, school, school Christmas concerts or Winter dances, baking parties, anything else you can think of!

Menus –
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Holiday Party, New Year’s Party, even Birthday parties (Natalia's birthday is two days after Christmas)

Recipes – Baking, etc.

Party plans

Gift list – include kid’s wish lists.

Card list – check off as addressed and sent. Do a few at a time. You don’t have to send them all at once!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


My sister Tara wrote a bit about it on her blog, but my mama is down with pneumonia and is in the ICU in Kansas City. She hates hospitals and doctors, and is pretty freaked out about the whole thing.

Needless to say, we're pretty freaked out around here, too. Mama is the thread that holds this crazy bunch together, and we can't even call her on the phone! Mellisa came over tonight and said that this is longest she's ever gone without talking to mom (2 days). Tara and Will are coming home for Thanksgiving. We talked about maybe not making Thanksgiving dinner, to wait until mom comes home and then have the meal then, but Grandma and Dad both said, "Let's just have Thanksgiving twice!

Well, we're praying for our mama, and hope that you'll say one for her, too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some ideas for taking the stress out of the holidays

-Make a budget and stick to it. Do a little bit of shopping each trip.
-Have a set number of gifts that are given to each child.
-Choose names and set a price limit. Instead of buying gifts for all siblings and cousins, you’ll end up with a lot less!
-Let grandparents and other relatives know children’s gift lists, and what you think is appropriate. They’ll usually listen.
-Shop on-line and take advantage of free shipping or gift-wrapping.
-Take turns with friends watching each other’s children for Christmas shopping.
-Make sure you have tape, tags, and wrap.
-Wrap gifts as they are purchased or have a gift-wrapping party with friends. Have children help wrap gifts. They love to be involved!

Cooking or Baking:
-Throughout November and December cook double for dinner when you can and freeze the extra portions. When you have a busy day, dinner is ready to be heated up.
-Shop ahead of time for non-perishable food items for Christmas meals and baking.
-Host a cookie baking day or cookie exchange with friends.
-When you have a free block of time, mix up a batch of cookie dough and freeze it. Then bake when you have time.

Christmas cards:
-Schedule picture appointment.
-Instead of doing newsletter yourself, have each person write a paragraph or draw a picture.
-Purchase stamps and cards ahead of time and address a few each night, or have older kids help.

-Get rid of decorations you don’t use or love!
-Pack up knick-knacks from house into Christmas boxes while decorations are out.

-Wash china or holiday dishes ahead of time (or use paper and plastic)
-Do you need anything dry cleaned?
-Make sure to buy film for cameras, or clear out your card, and charge up video camera.

Thinking these things out ahead of time can save a lot of stress. Especially if you're a procrastinator like me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How do you fight the “gimmes”, create traditions,

and trade seasonal stress for more joy?

By doing less, not more. By involving the whole family in decisions about what to do for Christmas. By deciding which traditions and preparations are a priority, and which are just continued because you’ve always done them.

This is from a class I taught at church a few years ago, and I’ve been going over the list again. My kids are old enough to help out with Holiday preparations and ideas, and we also held a family meeting with the grandparents, parents and my brothers and sisters to decide what we can do to streamline and simplify our Christmas. There were things that some of us did not want to copromise on or quit doing (Tara), but also things that we decided we did not need to do. We put it all to a vote, and voila; we have aplan. Here are some things to be thinking about right now.

1. Make a list of preparations for the holidays. They can include things such as:

Making gifts
Shopping for gifts
Wrapping gifts
Writing cards or newsletter and addressing
Helping at church
Holiday baking
Home decorations
Getting the tree
Decorating tree
Outside decorations
Hosting parties
Helping with school activities
Planning family gatherings
Making Christmas dinner
Making travel arrangements
Preparing for house guests
Volunteering your time

2. Spend some time remembering how you felt last Christmas as you were doing each of the tasks you listed. Put a star by the ones you actually enjoyed. Beside each one not starred, write down a few words that describe the reason for your dissatisfaction, such as:

Not enough time/money/family support
Didn’t enjoy this type of activity
Didn’t value this type of activity
My performance didn’t measure up to my expectations

3. Cross off responsibilities to do without, or check the ones to delegate.

This is a springboard for your holiday planning. Get your family involved! Have a family meeting. Don’t just delegate to them, spend time together as a family doing them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Countdown to Christmas 2008

We have been working on Thanksgiving and Christmas plans around here, and boy, with the time change and cold weather it's even beginning to feel a lot like winter. Pretty soon I will be posting some more advent calendar ideas, as well as cheap and easy gift ideas, holiday recipes, crafts, and a bunch more! So check back here tomorrow. I'll give you a peek at a new advent calendar.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God Bless America

After the election results last night, my little corner of the country was not celebrating. I wasn't doing a victory dance or high-fiving Andy. I sat and watched John McCain give a very touching, dignified and gracious concession speech, calling for the support of his victor. I sat and contemplated what Barack Obama's election to the highest office of our beautiful country means to me and to my family, my community, our state and the United States of America, and I'm worried.

Don't get me wrong, I have hope-

I have hope that everything will be OK, that the economy will turn around, gas prices will stay down, and that we can grow and prosper. I have hope that President-Elect Obama will do what is best for this country, and not bring us to a liberal, large government, "don't you worry, we'll take care of you now" mentality. I have faith that my Father in Heaven is watching out for me and for this choice country, for which our forefathers fought and brought to freedom so many years ago. I am grateful for a democracy in which everyone has a right to let his or her voice and choice be heard, and I hope the right choice was made.

I guess I will wait and see, just like the rest of the world. I will wait to see if Joe Biden's speculation that the rest of the world will test President Obama will be verified.

I will wait to see if he will reach across the party lines and try to work together with those he views as the enemy.

I will wait to see if he continues to include in the circle of his associates William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and others on the left fringe of politics. Maybe he will keep his distance from them. Maybe he has learned his lesson. Kind of like the straight-laced kid in school who likes to hang with the dangerous crowd. He got in trouble for it (although most people don't seem to care much who he surrounds himself by) and maybe he'll toe the line from now on.

But, like I said, I am hopeful. I'm hopeful that this will stay the land of the free and the home of the brave. And I hope that my doubts will be unfounded.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Did you Vote today?
If you haven't yet,
then what are you waiting for?
You can't complain about who is elected
if you didn't participate in the elections.

Monday, November 3, 2008

FHE Games

+ = FUN!

We've had so much success with our "Scripture Spoons" that Andy had the idea to play "Scripture Candy Land" tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Reflections of Christ

Because of the time change we were actually early to church this morning. I commented to Andy that wouldn't it be nice if we had a time change every Sunday, and he said that eventually it would catch up to us. Oh, well.

I have choir practice Sunday mornings at 8:15, and this morning we practiced the song we will sing for Thanksgiving "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing", which is a beautiful song.

Tonight while checking my e-mail, I received one from Deseret Book about a new book, Reflections of Christ. Photographer Mark Mabry first shot the photos for the Reflections of Christ exhibit as a way to promote the Mesa Arizona Temple's Easter Pageant. Reflections of Christ is fast becoming internationally known to people of many Christian faiths and the exhibit is currently touring the United States and Canada.

If you click here, you will find a video of some of those photographs accompanied by that song, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". Trust me, those few minutes will be worth it.
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