Organized Christmas

House and Holidays Plan Week 4: Close to Home

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on September 21, 2014

Here come the small fry! This week in the House and Holidays Plan, our hearts are close to home as we tackle the children’s rooms.

Empty nest or child-free family? Use this week to deal with any bonus rooms or areas in our home—or take a free week!

This is also the week we bring a little bit of reality to our dreams of a holiday house, with the Seasonal Spruce-Up exercise. Designed to get our head out of the clouds and our pocketbooks firmly anchored, the exercise cuts through Furniture Flyer Fog and brings sanity to preparing the house for the season.

Finally, in holiday prep, we’ll start on stocking stuffers, plan Halloween costumes, and begin working on Christmas cards or letters this week.

Close to Home Week Assignments

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Holiday Grand Plan Week 4: Master Bedroom

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on September 21, 2014

Week Four of the Holiday Grand Plan sees us move into the master bedroom to deep-clean and cut clutter.

As the season changes, we rout out the closet and organize clothing. We'll prepare to dress the family for holiday photo shoots, dinners and parties. Our holiday prep tasks center on home-made gifts, and we'll begin budgeting "to-buy" items week-by-week.

Ready? Let's get organized with the Holiday Grand Plan!

Master Bedroom Week at the Holiday Grand Plan

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House and Holidays Plan Week 3: Me and Mine

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on September 15, 2014

Properly appointed, the master bedroom can be an inviting oasis of calm in the midst of Christmas commotion—but not if it’s choked and cluttered and cramped! Welcome to Me and Mine Week at the House and Holidays Plan!

During the next seven days, we’ll declutter, organize and clean the master bedroom. Our goal: to create a refreshing space for renewal and rest during the busy holiday season.

This week’s holiday prep assignments see us focus on Christmas cards, set up a gift closet or gift box, and schedule some personal “me” time into the holiday season.

Me and Mine Week

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Holiday Grand Plan Week 3: Entry / Foyer

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on September 15, 2014

Welcome to Week Three of the Holiday Grand Plan: Entry/Foyer Week!

This week, we tackle deep-cleaning and decluttering our entryway or foyer, to create a welcoming home for holiday guests.

Holiday prep chores focus on baking and kitchen as we plan our baked goodies and start stocking up for holiday meals. More printable forms help our Christmas notebooks grow.

Ready? Let's get organized with Entry/Foyer Week at the Holiday Grand Plan!

Entry/Foyer Week at the Holiday Grand Plan

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Puzzler Puzzle Mat: Make-It-Now Gift

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on September 10, 2014

Every parent knows the story: jigsaw puzzles are fun to work, but tough to work around. What's the solution to tying up table tops or floor space with a puzzle in progress?

Its a Puzzler! This one-seam easy-sew puzzle mat allows puzzles to be worked at will, then rolled up and stowed away between play sessions. It's crafted from a short length of craft felt and a recycled gift wrap roller.

Make them in multiples for the holidays. The Puzzler puzzle mat is perfect for teacher gifts. Paired with a new jigsaw puzzle, the Puzzler Puzzle Mat makes a special family gift.

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House and Holidays Plan Week 2: Calendar and Creativity

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on September 7, 2014

During the holidays, it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed—and that goes double for those planning homemade holiday gifts! Time to tackle calendars and creative spaces in the House and Holidays Plan.

This week, the Plan’s holiday prep assignments focus on the bones for efficient holiday planning: calendars. We’ll work on time management and scheduling this week, as we put holiday prep chores on the fast track.

Our Houseworks focus: creative spaces. ‘Deck the halls’ is easier when you have an efficient work area for crafts, gifts and gift wrapping. What’s the state of your creative space?

Whether a sewing corner or a quilting room, a rolling crafts cart or dedicated arts-and-crafts closet, spend this week decluttering, organizing and cleaning out the creative spaces in your home.

Calendar and Creativity Week Assignments

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Holiday Grand Plan Week 2: Question Week

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on September 7, 2014

Week Two? It's all about questions during Question Week in the Holiday Grand Plan.

During this week, we'll continue making lists and planning our holiday. We'll get in touch with our values through important questions. In the cleaning component, we tackle the living room, decluttering and deep-cleaning to prepare for holiday entertaining.

Ready? Let's get organized with the Holiday Grand Plan!

Question Week at the Holiday Grand Plan

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House and Holidays Plan Week 1: Planning and Paperwork

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 31, 2014

Are you ready to make a plan ... to celebrate Christmas in a clean and organized home?

This week, we kick off the House and Holiday Plans, a week-by-week program to help you clean house, cut clutter, and prepare for the holiday season.

When it comes to moving toward better organization at home, one job comes first: organizing planning and paperwork. Where do you go to pay bills, keep a calendar, or handle the mail?

Whether it's a dedicated home office or a rolling file cart under the dining table, it's time to declutter, organize and clean the planning area.

A holiday prep bonus: we'll set up a Christmas organizing planning center this week, so we can move ahead with holiday season preparations. We'll begin printing a Christmas planner, and take the first steps toward a serene and stress-free season.

Ready? Time to tackle planning and paperwork in the House and Holidays Plan!

Planning and Paperwork Week Assignments

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Holiday Grand Plan Week 1: List Week

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 31, 2014

Week One is List Week at the Holiday Grand Plan!

During this week, we kick off holiday prep with lists, lists and more lists. We'll print helpful calendars and forms for Christmas organizing and begin to create a Christmas notebook.

This week's cleaning focus is the front porch: We'll clean and organize the area around the front door so that our home will be ready to welcome visitors during the holiday season.

Ready to jump into List Week? Let's get organized with the Holiday Grand Plan!

List Week at the Holiday Grand Plan

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Dust Pan Cookies

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 30, 2014

A sweet and simple gift celebrating friendship, Dust Pan Cookies are easy to make and give.

With a humorous poem and an unexpected presentation, this all-occasion gift is suitable for family, friends and neighbor gifts.

Free printable gift tags containing the Dust Pan Cookies poem makes it easy to share!

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Cut the Crazy: Choose a Holiday Plan

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 28, 2014

What's the best road to calm and joyous holidays? It's all about the plan!

Preparing for Christmas with the help of a step-by-step plan makes quick work of seasonal chores, and leaves plenty of time, energy--and money!--to celebrate the season.

Here at Organized Christmas, we're home to the Web's oldest holiday plans: the Christmas Countdown and the Holiday Grand Plan. We're also bringing you two newer plans for Christmas organizing: the House & Holidays Plan and the Rudolph Club.

Which plan is right for you? Check out these options to get ready for a stress-free Christmas:

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Adult Journal in a Jar: Make-Ahead Gift to Print

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 27, 2014

Looking for an easy make-ahead holiday gift? It's a journal in a jar!

Jumpstart journal writers with a quart-sized canning jar filled with folded strips of paper. Each one contains a single thought provoking journal prompt. Paired with a pretty blank book, a Journal Jar makes a great gift.

We've made it easy to craft your Journal Jar. Free printable journal prompts have colorful legends and graphics to make a pretty gift. Add a free printable gift tag for a professional touch.

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Too Early to Think Christmas? Starting Now Makes Sense!

Ah, September! The month brings brisk mornings, fall colors, back-to-school ... and deck the halls?

In a word, yes. Summer's end is the perfect time to think ahead to the holiday season; start Christmas planning now, and you'll reap abundant benefits come December.

Here at Organized Christmas we hear a deafening chorus of objection: "But it's too early to think about Christmas! I can't get ready until I feel the holiday spirit!"

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House and Holidays Plan begins on Sunday!

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 26, 2014

Labor Day weekend ahead! School bells are ringing, football fills the airwaves and September looms. Will the holidays be far behind?

Sure, you're dreaming of the perfect Christmas--then you open your eyes to reality. Looking around the house, it's hard to imagine how to cut the clutter, manage fall cleaning and prepare for Christmas all at once.

How will you bring the current state of domestic chaos into holiday readiness: clean, organized, prepared?

It's time to kick off the House and Holidays Plan! Week by week, we'll deep-clean, declutter, and prepare for the holiday season in small, sustainable bites.

Along the way, we'll create a personalized Christmas planner to simplify the holidays--and online HHP communities provide motivation, inspiration and fun.

The fun starts Sunday, September 1! Will you be ready?

House and Holidays Plan

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Make Confetti Bean Soup In A Jar

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 18, 2014

Savory Italian herbs spark this hearty, easy bean soup. Paired with Texas Cornbread Mix, this duo is just the thing for cold winter weekends!

Better, it's a good keeper, so make this gift-in-a-jar ahead for holiday giving. Unlike cookie jar gifts, Confetti Bean Soup won't go stale in storage.

Makes 12 gift jars at a cost approximately $2 per jar.

Includes free printable gift tags.

Make-Ahead Holiday Gift: Melt-and-Pour Soap

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 14, 2014

You've seen them everywhere from crafts fairs to bath boutiques: pretty handmade gift soaps. Clear and colorful or rich with natural additives for beautiful skin, they're a welcome holiday gift.

Best of all, they're easy to make using melt-and-pour soap. Heated in the microwave, clear or opaque glycerin soap base is combined with colorants and fragrances, then poured into molds to harden. When cool, soaps pop right out of the molds, ready to use.

Follow the soap-making tips and soap starter projects linked below to help you master this squeaky-clean craft.

Patriotic Gift In A Jar: Red, White and Blue Brownies

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 13, 2014

Three cheers for the red, white and blue ... brownies in a jar!

Looking for a quick summer gift with a patriotic theme? Try this recipe for Red, White and Blue Brownies In A Jar.

An easy-to-make holiday or hostess gift from Ball's summer crafts ideas, you'll be the hit of the Labor Day celebration with this sweet treat:

Red, White and Blue Brownies In A Jar

(In .pdf format; you'll need Adobe Reader to view file)

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Dreamsicle Cookies In A Jar

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 8, 2014Description

A favorite hot-weather sweet sparks a great gift in a jar: Orange Dreamsicle Cookies!

Taking the name--and flavors--of a cool summer treat, Orange Dreamsicle Cookies are punched up with vanilla baking chips and a burst of citrus.

Layered and decorated with a pretty gift tag, Orange Dreamsicle Cookies In A Jar are perfect "just-because" gift or gift basket item.

We make it easy with a free printable gift tags.

Ingredients 1⁄2 cup powdered orange drink mix (Tang) 3⁄4 cups granulated sugar 1 1⁄2 cup vanilla baking chips 1 3⁄4 cup sifted flour, all purpose 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder 1 canning jar, quart-size with lid and ringInstructions

Sift flour before measuring, then stir in baking soda and baking powder.

Layer the ingredients in a clean glass wide mouth quart sized jar. For each jar, layer 3/4 cup granulated sugar, then 1/2 cup powdered drink mix, then 1 3/4 cup flour (mixed with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder), then 1 1/2 cups vanilla baking chips. Tamp the first three layers firmly to compact ingredients.

Attach a copy of Orange Dreamsicle gift tag, or create your own tag using the recipe instructions below.

Orange Dreamsicle Cookies Recipe

Preheat oven to 375°.

Empty jar into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg (slightly beaten)and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until well-blended

Form dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until tops are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack until completely cool.

Makes 2-1/2 dozen

Notes

More information: Tips to Make Gifts in a Jar

Printable Gifts in a Jar Gift Tags Orange Dreamsicle Cookies Gift TagHoliday Recipes: Seasonal Gifts & Crafts: 

Santa Saves: Six Back-to-School Bargains for Holiday Giving

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 6, 2014

With summer winding down, school is on the way--and so are rock-bottom prices on back-to-school needs!

During late summer, office supply stores engage in penny price wars, while discount stores bring racks of school supplies front and center ... and cheap!

Back-to-school loss leaders--products sold below cost to attract sales--are hot and heavy in the supermarkets these days--and even the crafts stores offer a variety of binders, stickers and backpacks at sharply reduced prices.

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