Friday, December 26, 2014

Leisurely Post-Christmas Cleanup and a Relaxing Vacation

My kitchen got thoroughly trashed on Christmas Eve. I've done most of the hard clean-up stuff, and now I'm slowly taking my time with the dishes that must be washed by hand

Are you still surrounded by family or out of town visitors today? Still celebrating? Or working hard to clean up after a festive meal or two?


  • Garbage control! I don't know about you but I have a ton of recycling piled up in my kitchen that needs to go out; plus a pile of shirt gift boxes that can go in the recycling bin. The trash cans in all my bathrooms, and especially the one in my kitchen, need to be emptied too. How about you? Think of how fresh our houses will smell with all the trash gone!
  • Speaking of fresh, I'm going to spritz a round of cranberry scented room spray about my house today.
  • I feel a bit overloaded with heavy, rich foods. Today is a fruit and salad day for me, how about you? I still have some yummy rich food leftovers to snack on though, but I will make sure I have fresh fruit cut up and available.
  • Anybody you weren't able to call or text on Christmas? Let's do our catch-up phone calls today.
  • I challenge you to really quickly take on one five-minute task to beautify something in your home today. Hang a picture that's been propped against the wall for weeks; thoroughly clean out a vase that has unsightly plant residue in it; shine a copper kettle with lemon and baking soda; scrape candle wax off your mantel or floor where it may have dripped; etc.
  • Have you taken holiday or Christmas cards around to your neighbors yet?
  • Need to water your Christmas tree? Mine is looking dry!

TODAY'S PROJECT: Christmas Cleanup

My Christmas tree the way it looked a couple days ago, before a tornado of small boys attacked their presents joyously!

Today is a work day for me, but a light one. I work at home, so I am taking breaks every hour to stretch, refill my water or teacup, and do a quick cleaning project. My projects today include:

  • Finishing cleaning up the kitchen from Christmas Eve dinner.
  • Vacuuming dog hair out of carpets and off of laminate flooring.
  • Cleaning up wrapping detritus from the living room.
  • Boxing up presents to drop off at friends' houses.
  • Making the bed in the guest room with fresh sheets for tomorrow's incoming overnight guest.
  • Baking a batch of gingerbread cookies for guests to enjoy before we all get tired of holiday cookies! I put this task off last week, oops.
  • Tidying the family TV room.
  • Resetting the bar and "drinks fridge" so they're ready with sparkling clean glasses, alcohol offerings sorted and easy to find, and mixers at the ready in the garage fridge.
  • Cleaning all three toilets and four bathroom sinks in the house.
  • Swapping out bathroom hand towels and bathroom floor mats for fresh clean ones.
  • Starting my thank-you notes for gifts!

Here's where I confess I've been putting off my Christmas Eve cleanup for too long! I know if I would just go in and get it done, it would be over with. I just seem to be wanting, for now, to do a little here and a little there.

All the food got put away, and we've run a few loads in the dishwasher already so we have enough dishes to eat off of and the kitchen isn't smelly. I just used so very many "hand wash only" fancy dishes for that meal, that there is a lot of hand washing ahead of me. Not just plates, but wine glasses too! I'm going to try to make it pleasant - light a Christmas candle (I'm trying to use up and enjoy my green candles - red I can save to use again for Valentine's Day), pour a glass of wine (just one glass for young ladies who have a cold coming on!) and play Christmas music (which I'm not sick of yet!)

To improve my attitude today, I'm rereading this part from "At Home with Madame Chic" (which is our Lovely Living Book Club book for March 2015):

"Rather than thinking about it as a chore, incorporate the cleanup into the flow of the day. The usual energy of the morning is bubbling and filled with excitement. Use that energy. You might as well tackle it with a positive attitude. Sing while you do it. Dance while you do it. Choose to be happy with what you are doing now." (p. 133).

I don't normally like to be home alone on a Friday night if I can help it. But tonight I feel like I have a little cold coming on, and want to lie around relaxing and go to bed early to kick it. Tomorrow I'm taking friends to a 21 and up movie theater to see The Imitation Game. I'm so looking forward to it, and if staying home tonight and going to bed at 8pm is the price I have to pay to enjoy it, I'm game.

LOVELY BLOGS: Lessons From Yesterday

Ana lives in an old farmhouse with her husband and four boys. She blogs about "living a richer, more joyful life by learning from the past, and using the modern tools we have to simplify our lives." Recent posts I've enjoyed include "Our Civil War Christmas Tradition," a peek at what she's reading in December, her post on "Natural DIY Skincare That Really Works", and how she decorates her two Christmas trees. (I usually do that too - two trees - one silly one for the kids and one elegant one for me!)

LOVELY FRAGRANCE: Dresser-Shaped Candle Tins

Oh my gosh! These are so charming! I already am a big fan of Seda France's candles. Now I've discovered they have a line of candle tins shaped like vintage boudoir dressers! So cute. The scents include L'Ambre (amber), French Tulip, and Japanese Quince. Oh I wish I had seen these before Christmas so I could have gifted a couple to good friends who might find these as darling as I do!

Boudoir Collection, from Seda France

LOVELY WEBSITES: What's That Book?

If you have fond memories of a book but can't remember its title or author, use this resource to help you find it. The book lovers here help you find long-lost books in the children's book genre, science fiction and fantasy, fiction and non fiction areas. Or if you know a lot of books and want to lend your expertise, browse around and see if anything sounds familiar!


The Case for Square Pie (The Atlantic)

A Christmas Day Cocktail: The Clementine Sour (NY Times)

Classic Christmas Dishes for Academics (Oxford American)

Couscous Hanukkah Fritters (

Fruit Cake Fritters (Mario Batali)

Gingerbread Cookie Pie (A Cozy Kitchen)

How to Turn Candy Canes into Peppermint Syrup (Mystery Lovers Kitchen)

A Look Back at a 29 Year Old Issue of 'Better Homes & Gardens' (The Atlantic)

Random Acts of Coffee (The Atlantic)

Trend Watch: House-Shaped beds for Kids (Apartment Therapy)

12 Fun DIY Ways to Use Up Leftover Wrapping Paper (Gleam It Up)

What Can Be Done About the Inefficiencies of Giving Gifts? (The Atlantic)

Why Thoughtful Gifts are the Worst Gifts (Washington Post)

Winter Shandy Punch (101 Cookbooks)

--Copyright 2014 Lovely Living

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