Holiday Grand Plan 2009 — List Week

It’s here! The Holiday Grand Plan from Organized Christmas begins today. Can you believe Christmas is just over four short months away?

First thing to do is head on over to Organized Christmas and start printing out your calendar and your weekly checklists.

This week we are to get the front porch area cleaned up.

Holiday Prep to be done this week:

1) Print the Holiday Grand Plan calendars for reference

2) Make the following lists:
— Gifts to be given, amount to spend (include family, friends, school, church, etc)
— Christmas card list (computerize it!) Print list and update it, if needed. Decide how many cards are needed.
— Visits to make
— Parties/Entertaining
— Menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, other parties
— Goodies for Sharing/Gifts. Decide how much needs to be made and divide it between the weeks from now through December 1.
— Favorite Meals of Family members for freezing ahead.
— Long-term shopping list divided into: canned foods, perishables for each holiday, linens and dishes, decorations, etc.

3) Create a Christmas planner notebook to organize holiday planning. This week’s printable forms from Organized Christmas.Com include:
— Master Gift List
— Christmas Card List
— Baking Planner

Let’s get started and make this a peaceful and stress free holiday season!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Share a Recipe Sunday — August 30th

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that Amanda made our family’s favorite sugar cookies. I figured I would post the recipe today. I love it because you do not need to refrigerate OR roll the dough. I am ever the time saver. I hope your family enjoys them as much as my family does!

2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you like other flavors try lemon or orange extract)

Preheat over to 350 degree. In a small bowl, stir flour, baking soda, and baking powder together (I use a whisk). Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the flour mixture. Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Let stand on the cookie sheet for two minutes before moving to cool on wire racks.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Saturday Somethings

Today has been a relatively quiet day at the zoo. Richard is working a 24 hour overtime shift. I hate that he is gone, but we love the money. LOL

Douglas had a doctor’s appointment. While he was there I headed over to the pool store for a new pool cover since ours was destroyed last winter when a large tree branch blew on it during one of the nor’esters we get. I lucked out and it was on a great sale.

After his appointment we did a quick trip to Walmart to get a few things. Diapers are a necessity right now. (The potty training adventure will begin shortly. I am SOOOOO looking forward to it — NOT!) Then we headed home. After lunch, I sat down with everyone to go over the past two days of school. I found out that some supplies were needed. I love how the school supply lists are never correct.

While the girls were napping Mandy baked some sugar cookies that are a favorite in our house. After the girls got up we loaded everyone up into the van and headed over to the Super Walmart. We found what we needed and were actually able to get out of there within an hour. I think that is first for use. We had very few “stupid” comments.

Since it was 6PM by this time I decided to treat the kids to a McDonald’s meal. We haven’t done that in months. Since it is such a rare treat, they have been very thankful. Right now they middle four are taking showers and watching the Wizards of Waverly Place movie. Then they will be heading to bed.

I hope you all had a relatively quiet Saturday too!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Friday Catch-ups

One week of college is down for Liz. It has definitely been a week of firsts for her and learning how to manage on her own. Thankfully she is managing quite well.
The other day Maggie picked up a toy phone and brought it to me and said “Call sister Liz.” It was too cute. When I told Liz she almost cried. I think homesickness is starting to kick in a little for her. I know everyone around here is feeling a little bit of a loss too.

The others started school yesterday so everyone is adjusting. Mandy is in 10th grade, Douglas is starting 6th grade, which starts middle school here so he is dealing with a new school, a lot of class changes, lockers and riding a bus. Becky, Emma and Patrick started 4th grade.

The three little girls missed having their older brothers and sisters around yesterday. They keep calling for them. When everyone arrived home they were tackled by the three littles. It was cute.

Over the next couple of day I am going to establishing the the school year schedule. I have children in 3 different schools, which means 3 different school start and end times and 3 different times people are getting up to get ready or arriving home. The past two mornings have been quite hectic. Hopefully by next week things will be settling down. Yesterday afternoon was spent filling out five sets of back to school paperwork. One would think in this day and age you would be able to do most of this type of stuff on online. Enter the family info once and be done. It would have definitely helped the writer’s cramp. 🙂

I hope you are are enjoying the back to school rush.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Big Changes at the Zoo

Sorry I haven’t posted for the past week. We have been having some happenings going on at the zoo. The major one, and the thing that took the most time was getting our oldest prepared and off to college. She has officially become a college freshman as of last Sunday.

But before that we were literally rearranging the house. Liz’s room has now become the “babies” room. She made sure that happened before she left since she wanted to be here. That was bittersweet. Richard and I now have our room back after almost 3 years of sharing with my girls. Needless to say I didn’t sleep very well that first night. Almost as bad as the first time a baby sleeps through the night.

Then two days later we packed up the car and headed up to Mount Saint Mary’s. They have a wondeful family oriented Move-In Day for the freshman. You pull up to the dorm, lots of people label the boxes, unload the car and then carry the items up to the dorm room for you. We were able to quickly get her half of the room in some semblance of order. Then we headed over to the cafeteria for lunch. After that the girls decided they were tired and done so at 3:00 we left Liz there and headed home. Again a very hard thing for a mom to do. I am extremely proud of her and know she will do well.

We have been talking frequently as she is making a lot of new friends, learning how to be independent and manage her time. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the semester goes for her.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday — Figuring out what you need


You have now decided you want to start “prepping” and building a supply of food and medicines and you not sure how to figure out what the heck you need for your family. There are several websites out there to help you.

One that I can recommend is Millennium Ark. This website is definitely for the hardcore prepper that is out to prepare for the end of the world. They have one tool that I love. It is this spreadsheet to help you figure how much of what items you need to store. It has a section that you fill out for the number of people that live in your house and for how many weeks you want to prepare for. It runs in Excel (or you can download OpenOffice which is a shareware program that lets you run Microsoft Office programs).

There is a one year supply list here. It has a one year supply for one adult. It includes costs. The rest of the site is once again a hard core prep site so you are warned. 🙂

Over at Cooking Traditional Foods there is a section on Food Storage for those with food sensitives and allergies. KerryAnn also has a spreadsheet similar to the one at Millenium Ark to help you with your food storage needs.

Another great resource for getting started is the Simply Living Smart website. They have wonderful resources.

The most important thing to remember is to store what you eat, and eat what you store. That way the food is used and rotated, and nothing is wasted.

Come on join us at PrepWise to learn more.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Wonderful Weekends

It has been a busy weekend! Saturday I went to my Weight Watchers meeting. Liz had to have a CT scan of her sinuses since her sinus infection is still rearing its ugly head. Then after that the middle four were invited to a birthday party — an hour away from here. It was a pool party and they spent four hours in jumping into a pool or lounging in a hot tub. They had a blast and came home very tired puppies.

Today we went down to visit Richard’s parents. They moved about 2 years ago to a retirement community. I hate to say it but it was the first time we have been there. Between the children being ill and the travel distance it hasn’t been high on the priority list. They live about 2 hours away from our house, but the roads we have to travel are some of the worst to travel around Washington, DC. Travel went smooth until we hit the “mixing bowl.” What should have been about a 10 minute drive took almost 45 minutes. Once we got there, we had a great time. We got to see their apartment and had a tour of the facility, complete with teh finches in the nursing home part of the building. It is a very nice place.

The Sunday buffet was great. They had an omelet bar, a salad bar, a continental breakfast bar complete with bagels and lox, and a stir-fry bar. The carving station was complete with a whole suckling pig, to which my children said “GROSS!” They also had fried shrimp and the little ones all got to try it. Maggie and Abby liked it, Marian wasn’t sure about it. Of course the favorite thing was the chocolate cake for dessert. After eating, we went for a very hot walk around the complex’s lake. Then we went back to the apartment and sat for a bit before heading home. The ride home wasn’t too bad since most of the traffic was going the opposite direction.

Now all of the older children are in the pool cooling off and having some exercise after being cooped up in the car for hours and being on their best behavior at Grandma and Grandpa’s. If anyone is hungry, we will let them fix a sandwich in a bit.

I hope you all have a a wonderful weekend too!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Finding Freedom Friday — Back to School

My children all head back to school on the 27th of this month. So we are in the midst of purchasing back to school supplies. This is the time of year that I really look for sales and try to stock up for all the supplies we will need for the entire year. I purchase pencils and notebook paper by the box when the sales start. Crayons too.

I also don’t purchase the children an entire back to school wardrobe. They don’t need it. The weather is still hot for another month or two so shorts are still worn. I start to purchase the winter clothing over the next couple of months when the sales start.

Going back to school does not have to break your bank. It takes a little planning and forethought.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Christmas Countdown

August 30th starts the Holiday Grand Plan over at Organized Christmas. So head on over there and take a look and start printing out your notebook. The Holiday Grand plan is an 18 week program to get your house and your life organized for the holidays. I started following the grand plan about 4 years ago and I love it! It makes the season a lot less stressful for our family. I encourage you all start it.

If you think the 18 weeks is too long for you, they have a Christmas Countdown that starts the last week of October and goes for six weeks.

So pick a plan, and let’s start getting ready for the holidays!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome