Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Tune-Up: You've Got Mail!

That's right! You've got mail! and you probably get it every day like me. The question is, do you want to reach in your mailbox and get it out? My husband usually checks the mail as part of his routine when he gets home from work, so I don't get a close-up look at it too often. However, last time I was working on the flowers around the mailbox, I noticed the icky condition of my mail container. My mind immediately thought, "I wonder what the mailman thinks about this!" The outside of my home and the mailbox is really all there is to testify of my cleanliness to the mailman. Disgusted by the green growing on my white vinyl mailbox, I got out the cleaning supplies and shined it right up!

Now it looks fresh and clean! Of course, I try to keep on close watch on it now to make sure it doesn't reach such a state of grossness again - yes, grossness is a word today :)

If your mailbox is wood, it may need a light power wash, stain, or coat of paint. Whatever kind of mailbox you have, make sure it stays clean!

Happy Cleaning!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Cookie Dough Cheese Ball

Parties, Parties, Parties! I love all of the festivities that center on Christmas, and I LOVE to try new and unique recipes for those party goodies! Thanks to Pinterest, I have tried lots of new recipes so far this season, and by far the crowd favorite is the Cookie Dough Cheese Ball. I've made it three times already - YUM! Naturally, I thought I'd share this fantastic recipe with my readers!

Cookie Dough Cheese Ball:

* 1 (8oz.) package or cream cheese, room temperature
* 1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/2 cup powdered sugar
* 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed
* 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
* crushed graham crackers

* Blend together first 3 ingredients until creamy; add powdered sugar and brown sugar, blending well.
* Fold in chocolate chips; cover and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours.
(It is important for the cream cheese and butter to be room temperature, but no warmer. If you melt too much in the microwave, it won't turn out well.)
* Shape dough into ball; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
* Roll in graham cracker crumbs before serving.
* Serve with Teddy Grahams, graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, or anything that you think will taste delicious with the dough ball! Enjoy!

Let me know what you think!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Seven Steps to Squelch Holiday Stress

Whew! I just finished my December calendar and planning...I have one night open in December...Wow! There is so much going on this time of year! I love it, but it can be very easy to get frustrated in all of the holly jolly if you don't plan ahead. I'm sure you have a few Christmas parties to hit, Christmas programs to see, a church Christmas program, and then of course, family to visit and gather with. My December is full of all of these things, and I want to enjoy them! In order to avoid stress throughout the Christmas season, I plan out everything before it starts. In order to help you, I've compiled a list of steps to reduce Christmas stress.

Seven Steps to Squelch the Stress:

1) Write every event down on your calendar. 

My husband gave me a Shutterfly calendar last year for Valentine's Day, and I write every event that I know of down on it and plan from there. Once you can visualize your days, breaking them down into manageable tasks becomes more simple. 

2) Make a list of all the baking you need to do for the whole month.

Include parties, home movie nights, meals, food gifts, and of course any family gathering food items you will have to make. 

3) Make a list of grocery items you need to buy. 

I normally don't buy everything at once because of my couponing cycles, but trust me, you do not want to run to the grocery store every other day for something you forgot last time. Meticulously make out a list of everything you will need to use for the month of December.

4) Shop for groceries.

Ok, yes this is simple and connected, but going to the store and buying everything on your grocery list is a different chore. Plan a time (probably longer than normal) to go get everything on your list. 

5) Tackle the gift list. 

Use a cute and functional printable to help you keep track of whom you need to buy for, what you bought, and how much it cost. Here's a few that I found helpful this year. Christmas gift plannerKids Gift PlannerMaster Gift List

6) Plan a Christmas Shopping Day (or two, or three).

The key is to set aside specific time to go down your gift list and purchase the items on it. If you have to visit several places, plan a few days and shop at stores close together instead of going all over town in the same day. This will save you time. 

7) Plan individual calendar days.

Leave time for special Christmas events. Schedule a night to decorate the tree. A day or night to wrap presents. A family Christmas movie night. Write these things down and SCHEDULE TIME for the things you need to do. Schedule when  you need to bake something. For example, I want to take some baked goods to my nursery worker crew. So, I put on my calender when I need to bake those items. This keeps me from forgetting my plans and prevents me from last-minute rushes. 

December has plenty of deadlines, but carefully preparing and planning will help you meet those deadline with ease. Stay organized so that you can beat the Christmas chaos and have time for the important things!