Organized Christmas

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like ... Site Updates!

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on July 9, 2014

Warning! Site updates ahead!

It's that time of year for Webmistress Ming (author Cynthia's techie alter-ego!) and the Organized Christmas Elves. During the hottest days of summer, we hunker down under the air conditioning, and spruce up our site for the coming holiday season.

During the next couple of weeks, expect a few loose ends around the site. Behind the scenes, Ming and Webmaster Ryan will be updating forms and features--and sometimes, the process can get a bit messy.

We'll do our best to get all spiffed and ready as quickly as possible. But until then, bear with us!

---Cynthia

Site News

Make A Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper for the Fourth of July

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on July 2, 2014

Looking for popping-good fun for America's birthday celebration? Make a Fourth of July Jiffy Pop® Popcorn Topper!

Add our free printable template to a package of Jiffy Pop® brand pop-in-pan popcorn for an inexpensive "popcorn topper" craft gift.

Share with family, friends or coworkers to bring a patriotic "pop" to Independence Day gatherings.

American Gifts & CraftsPopcorn Toppers

July 4th Recipe: American Blessings Mix

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on June 26, 2014

It's a sure-fire hit for your family's Independence Day celebration: American Blessings Mix.

This easy recipe creates a simple snack mix favor to remind us of our nation's blessings.

Bagged in favor-sized gift bags and decorated with a patriotic poem, American Blessings Mix brings a festive touch to July 4th celebrations.

Follow the recipe below, and get packaging and assembly how-tos with our Blessings Mix Tutorial.

Free printable Blessing Mix gift tags make it easy to give your gifts a professional touch.

Blessings Mix Tutorial

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
  • 2 cups small pretzels
  • 1 cup candy corn
  • 1 cup dried fruit bits or raisins
  • 1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup M&Ms brand chocolate candy
  • 16 Hershey's brand chocolate kisses
  • printable gift tags
Instructions

In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except Hershey's Kisses.

Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup Blessing Mix in small cellophane treat bags. Add one Hershey's Kiss to each bag. Close bag with chenille stem or twist-tie.

Print 4 copies of the American Blessings Mix gift tag of your choice, or hand-write your own tags with the wording below.

Cut out tags, and attach one to each bag.

Makes 16 Blessing Mix gift bags.

American Blessing Mix Poem

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.
Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.
Nuts or seeds: Promise of a a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.
M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future.
Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Printable Blessings Mix Gift Tags American Gifts & CraftsSnack Mixes

June Rudolph Club Meeting

Recipe Round-Up!Posted by Cynthia Ewer on June 25, 2014

Welcome to the Rudolph Club: your once-a-month meeting to simplify your holidays and get organized for Christmas!

At Organized Christmas, we know that the holiday season can be fast and furious. Solution? Take a day once each month throughout the year to plan and prepare for a more-organized holiday season.

On the 25th of each month, we'll bring simple assignments and easy tips to try now for a simpler, more joyous season.

Over the year, you'll tackle planning and preparations to make the season lighter, brighter and less stressful come December.

June Assignment: Recipe Round Up!

Holiday foods are so much a part of the holiday season that it's hard to imagine a Christmas without them. No turkey, cookies, even fruitcake? Impossible!

As if the cooking weren't enough, finding and organizing favorite holiday recipes can be a chore. We're going to begin now to gather and organize holiday recipes! Goal: holiday cooking sessions will be just that, cooking--not a game of Hunt-the-Clipping.

Organizing recipes promotes creativity and enhances the spirit of the season. Bringing together all the family's tried-and-true recipes is a springboard to more exciting cooking. After all, if you're already making three kinds of chocolate cookies (brownies, chocolate chip cookies and Gramps' Goodies, in my case), new recipes based on fruit fillings will be a welcome addition to your cookie trays.

Finally, there's another reason for compiling favorite holiday recipes in one place: gift-giving. Home-published recipe books are a delight to receive, and easy and inexpensive to give.

This month, gather together the special recipes that your family enjoys during the holiday season. Don't restrict yourself to sweets! Do you make a special appetizer? Where is Grandmother's stuffing recipe? Collect all the stained cookbooks, slips of paper and scraps of index cards.

Next step: list and organize. We've got a free printable recipe planner to get you started. Use our form, or create your own computer file or planner page. List special recipes, and note their source by title and page. File your list away for the holidays inside your Christmas Countdown notebook. You'll be ready for cookie season!

But what if you're like most of us, with holiday recipes scattered among drawers and used as bookmarks in unrelated recipe books? Consider going one step farther, and organizing your recipes.

Computer-savvy users may enter holiday recipes into a recipe database software program. Or, if you have an eye to creating a recipe booklet for gift giving, you may choose to scan or type recipes into a word processor file. Then there's the old-fashioned way to organize: recipe cards written by hand.

Whatever method you use, the goal is the same: to record holiday recipes in a single location where they're easy to find, easy to read and easy to follow. Hint: many computer recipe software programs print recipes onto various size pages or index cards. Most versatile, 4"-by-6" index cards can be printed on many printers and slipped inside photo album pockets for an instant, easy recipe notebook. Pull them out of the sleeve to make notes or share with a friend!

Ready? June is a great month for a Recipe Round-Up! See you next month in the Rudolph Club!

June Rudolph Club Reminders:

Craft check! Have you planned craft gifts and decor items? Summer vacations, kid sports practices and lazy summer evenings are a great time to add crafted gifts to your stash, so haul out April's Gifts to Make printable planner form and get crafting.

Keep adding to your Holiday Letter. As outlined in the February Rudolph Club assignment, open a computer word processing file labeled "Holiday Letter". Once a month, add a quick summary of the latest month's events, memories and achievements. When November rolls around, you'll have a complete and contemporary record of the year's high points to include with your holiday cards. Set aside any photos that you may wish to include with your cards or letters.

Keep up with the Christmas Club Savings Plan. Check with your local bank; many financial institutions offer "Christmas Club" accounts that make saving easier. If not, begin your own Christmas Club by writing a check, however small, to yourself on the 25th of each month. Deducted from the running balance in your checking account, but not cashed, this practice can help create a welcome cushion for holiday expenses.

Monitor the progress of the Gift Closet. Have you added gifts this month? Record them on the free printable Printable Gift Closet Inventory Form in your Household Notebook or Holiday Organizer notebook. It's a one-page reminder of what's tucked away for the coming holiday season.

Frugal Finds for June Creative crafts for 4th of July

Independence Day is on the horizon! Bring sparkle to your 4th of July celebration with patriotic gifts and crafts. Try some American Blessings Mix to bring the meaning of the season home to family and friends.

Gifts and Crafts for Independence Day

Hunt summer's best bargains!

Keep a sharp eye out for "summer clearance" sales at craft, department and discount stores in the weeks to come.

Usually, summer merchandise goes on sale for the July Fourth holiday, and is sent to the clearance table shortly thereafter.

Summer toys like jacks, jump ropes and lawn games make great stocking stuffers for kids. Add a matched set of colorful plastic glasses and dishes to a picnic basket for a welcome gift for adults.

Don't miss the garden section: gardeners need gloves, small tools, and organizer buckets all year round, so stock up for gift giving when these seasonal items go on sale. And what child wouldn't enjoy receiving a bird feeding station and bird food?

Buy canning jars now!

Will your Christmas gift list include gifts in a jar? These popular layered baking mixes or journal companions require quart-sized canning jars. Buy canning jars now, while stocks are readily available for garden season.

Need more information about these popular make-it-yourself gifts? Find recipes, printable tags and tips here: Gifts In A Jar.

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