Friday, December 12, 2014

The Mess of Christmas

These recently-tested Christmas lights are waiting for my Christmas tree to arrive, but they look messy. I need to put them in a plastic bin or go get my Christmas tree and put them on ASAP!

My recent Christmas decorating has made my house messy and cluttered. Time for me to put away the decorating supplies I'm not going to use, finish decorating, and clean up so my house is lovely again!

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Need to sweep leaves off your front porch or back deck?
  • Does your entryway or front hall need sweeping or vacuuming? Mine has leaves and muddy dog footprints on it.
  • Any Redbox movies to return? Christmas cards to mail out? Need to pick up a movie for the weekend?
  • Any library books that need to be dropped off?
  • Fill up with gas for the weekend; pick up cash at an ATM if you need pocket spending money.
  • Is there fresh fruit in a bowl in your kitchen or on your dining table, waiting to be sliced and eaten?
  • Do you have tissues in your purse, car and coat pockets?
  • Tidy your house for the weekend. Empty or fill dishwasher; wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters; swap out for clean hand towels and kitchen towels; empty trash and recycling bins; refill toilet paper as needed; toss out dead flowers and replace with fresh if possible;

TODAY'S PROJECT: Cleaning Up After Christmas Decorating

My mail table is only supposed to have outgoing mail, incoming mail, library books and DVDs, car keys and one decorative candle on it. This is not ok!

This year I am taking my sweet time decorating for Christmas. I'm hosting our family Christmas Eve this year again, but not throwing a massive party like I did last year. Because I'm not throwing a big party, I'm not panicking and rushing to decorate. I'm getting a few things out here and there and setting them up. But in the meanwhile, my house is becoming cluttered by half-full decorations boxes, strands of Christmas lights laying about, tape and rolls of gift wrap, and piles of yet-to-be-wrapped gifts. I also have an unofficial "staging area" in the kitchen of holiday foods I intend to bake or cook. Those should be put away in my cupboard! I suspect I'm afraid I'll forget to make them if I don't keep them in sight. An entire guest bed is covered with clean towels I need to fold, sheets I need to put on the bed, and several gifts I need to wrap - plus the supplies to wrap them.

I think that perhaps because I'm taking my time, my house has gotten messier than it would have if I had simply devoted an entire weekend to decorating and being done with it. Then I would have cleaned up all the mess of Christmas decorating.

My dining table is not supposed to be covered in stuff! Time to clear it off so it's usable for meals again!

So my project today is cleaning up my Christmas decorating mess! I'll finish decorating, put unused lights back in their storage containers, and put storage bins back in the garage. I can always pull them out if I suddenly feel the need to add more decorations as Christmas Eve approaches. I'll clean off my kitchen counters, clean off the dining table, restore the mail table to its normal functionality, and get lights off the floor of my living room. I'm babysitting a friend's kid tonight so can't take the time to go get a Christmas tree. But I should be able to accomplish all these - plus wrap some gifts and restore my guest room to ready-for-company status, in under an hour.

I'll be better able to look forward to my Christmas Eve hosting if I know I have a lovely, uncluttered house to welcome people into!

Do you have any Christmas related messes to tidy up?

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Salted Caramel Tea

When I think of a delicious tea I enjoy, the word "salty" never enters into my mind. But I'm curious to try this seasonal tea, since I like caramel so much! Since I don't care for peppermint and I'm allergic to cinnamon, this is about one of the only seasonal teas I can enjoy.

Salted Caramel Tea, from Bigelow Teas

LOVELY BLOGS: The Best of This Life

This blogger (Emily, from Ottawa) concentrates on gluten-free and vegan cooking recipes, healthy living, travel, parenting, and hosting parties. She also has a helpful section on journaling. There are a lot of sponsored posts and giveaways here though, it's a bit distracting trying to find actual content such as this nice post on 3 ingredient chocolate cornflake clusters.

http://www.bestofthislife.com/

LOVELY BLOGS: The Old Design Shop Vintage Image Treasury

This blog offers one really lovely vintage image every day. They're out of copyright, of course, and the blog curator has really great taste. It doesn't feel like they're just repackaging old images from clipart CDs or whatnot. In fact, I'm quite impressed that the blogger posts the source of their image (which vintage magazine it came from) nearly every time! Posts lately have been seasonal images like this one, but recent posts also include Victorian images and some recipes. What an extremely useful resource!

http://olddesignshop.com/

LOVELY FOOD: Duncan Hines Holiday Velvets

My nephews and I just made a similar layer cake using a mix by Duff. It tasted good and was nice and moist, but I suspect the Duncan Hines one would be even moister - I have had good experiences with their mixes. I may whip up a cake like this for our Christmas Eve celebration!

Duncan Hines Holiday Velvets Cake Mix, on Amazon

LOVELY HOME: Method Home's New Seasonal Scent

I'm almost positive the other shoppers at Target could hear me exclaim two or three aisles away, when I discovered a shelf of Method Home's new Honeycrisp Apple products. I was delighted to sniff them and not be overpowered by a cinnamony scent. This is clean and fresh and crisp apple, not disguise-your-pet-scented-home apple. I picked up the laundry detergent and have been using it enthusiastically on my many loads of weekly laundry. I also got the countertop cleanser as that gets used a lot around here, but I skipped the hand soap - due to my eagerness for seasonal scents, each bathroom is more than well stocked with hand soap at the moment.

Honeycrisp Apple, at Methodhome.com

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Cranberry and Mint Rum Punch (Foolproof Living)

Cranberry Apple Crisp (Baking Bites)

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins (Bright Eyed Baker)

Gingerbread Surprise Beignets with Spiced Mocha Hot Chocolate (Half Baked Harvest)

Grand Marnier Chocolate Truffles (Alexandra Cooks)

Kahlua Hot Chocolate Marshmallows (Bakers Royale)

My Christmas Meltdown Came Early (The Life of Bon)

The Non-Skiiers Guide to Ski Towns (NY Times)

Pecan Linzer Cookies (Annie's Eats)

Slow-Rise Panettone (CHOW)

The Three Best Types of Cookies for Mailing (The Kitchn)

What Happens When Kids Don't Have Internet at Home? (The Atlantic)


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