Archive for the 'Holiday Information' Category

Dec 12 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Practical Tips for Holiday Organization and Storage – The House Plan Shop

Want to have a little less stress this holiday season and for years to come? The House Plan Shop recommends these practical holiday storage and organization tips for everything from decorating to storing pieces and parts for new toys and games.

 

1.    Take pictures – If you like something about the way you decorated your home this holiday season, take photos. You don’t need to print your pictures. Simply save them on your computer and use them for a reference next year. Maybe you like the way you decorated your mantle, the new idea you tired in the den, or have a fabulous outdoor light display. The photos are all you’ll need to decorate the same way next year.

2.    Make room – If you have kids, it is no secret they are bound to end up with more treasures this holiday season than there is room to store them in your home. Now is the time to clean out and make room for new toys, clothing and other items that will soon be here. Involve your child in this clean-out process. Have them make a pile of toys they no longer play with or have outgrown. Separate toys into “usable” and “broken” piles. Donate good toys to charity and throw away or recycle anything that is broken. Do the same with clothing. You must make room in the closet or dresser for what is to come. Get rid of anything that no longer fits your child. Pass on usable pieces to a relative or friend that could use it, or donate it.

3.    Be wrap ready – There is no doubt you’ll be wrapping plenty of gifts this holiday season, so be ready. Purchase a storage container to hold all of your wrapping supplies and keep everything in one place. Collect ribbon, scissors, tap, gift tags, etc. and place them in a storage container. (Some storage containers are large enough to hold rolls of gift wrap and all of your other supplies.) When it is time to start wrapping, you won’t have to search the house for the tape or look for gift tags; you’ll know right where to find them.

4.    Be prepared – As a parent, you have a pretty good idea what toys and games your child will be receiving as gifts. If you anticipate anything with small pieces or lots or parts, have containers ready to go as soon as the gifts are open. You can use anything from Zip-Lock bags and repurposed butter tubs for smaller items to storage bins.

5.    Store for next year – When the holidays are over and it is time to pack up all the lights and decorations, store them in a manner that makes them easy to find and ready to use next year. Store all the items used to decorate a particular room in one storage container and label it “great room,” “kitchen,” “dining room,” etc. When it is time to decorate next year, you can tackle one room at a time and won’t have any problem finding the decorations you need. If you do print the photos mentioned in Tip # 1, you can store them in the storage containers with their corresponding décor.

 

The holidays can be a time of fun and enjoyment with family and friends, but we often get caught up in the hustle and bustle and become overwhelmed and stressed out. With these holiday organization and storage tips, you’ll be more prepared for the holidays giving you a little more time to relax and enjoy them.

No responses yet

Dec 07 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

The House Plan Shop: 5 Holiday Safety Tips

Step StoolThe holidays are approaching quickly and it is easy to get caught up in the festivities of the season, but this is no time to let your guard down when it comes to following safe practices. The House Plan Shop has five holiday safety tips for you to review. Keep them in mind this holiday season.

 

1.    Practice Fire Safety – Most residential fires occur during the winter months and with extra activities to attend and plenty of family and friends stopping by to visit, it is easy to forget about fire safety. If you burn candles in your home, keep them away from holiday trees, curtains, blankets, and walking paths such as the hallway and other high traffic areas. Most importantly keep them out of reach of children and pets. Do not leave fireplaces, space heaters, candles and stoves unattended. Do not use grills, generators or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, including the garage and basement. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.

2.    Prevent Injuries – Injuries can occur anywhere at any time including during the holidays. Use a step stool instead of furniture when hanging holiday decorations. Make sure your ladder is secure before climbing to the rooftop to hang holiday lights. Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

3.    Keep an Eye on the Kids – With so much happening during the holidays, it is easy to get caught up in a conversation with Aunt Jane whom you haven’t seen since last year or have fun participating in the events at a holiday party. But remember if the kids are with you, you must keep a watchful eye. Whether they are eating, playing or watching a movie with their cousins in the other room, you should know what your kids are doing at all times. Keep potentially dangerous items such as toys, food, drinks and other hazardous household items out of reach. Make sure toys and game pieces are used properly. If your kids have any food allergies, make sure to check out all food items and drinks that are served at any holiday gathering you attend and help your child make healthy decisions about what to eat.

4.    Practice Travel Safety – Whether your holiday travels take you across town or completely across the country, practice safe travel habits. Do not drink and drive. Always buckle up. Make sure your child is properly fastened in his/her car seat, booster seat or just buckled in properly according to child safety laws. Also, make sure your car is in good working order and be prepared for inclement weather.

5.    Be Healthy – The holidays can make it hard to follow your normal daily routine, so make sure you continue to practice good habits for your health. Wash hands often. Dress warm in cold climates and stay dry. Cook foods to their proper temperatures. Make sure to schedule some down time in your busy schedule to relax and regroup. Most importantly make sure the whole family gets plenty of rest.

 

These simple tips will help ensure you and your family will enjoy a safe holiday season.

No responses yet

Dec 01 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

The House Plan Shop: 7 Tips for Protecting your Home During the Holidays

020H-0003 House PlanWith the holidays quickly approaching, our focus turns toward celebrating the joys of the season making it easy to forget the holiday season is also a time or opportunity for potential burglars. So, while you are preparing for upcoming dinner parties and holiday gatherings, don’t forget to take time to protect your home. According to a retired veteran of the police force many people let their guard down during the holiday season thinking crime won’t happen to them. In reality, all of us are at risk.

 

So what can you do to protect your home? Below are seven tips to help protect your home and belongings during the holiday season.

 

1.    Get in the habit of changing your view on safety every year when you start changing your everyday home décor to holiday themes. And better still, modesty and simplicity is the best policy. Expensive holiday decorations and elaborate holiday light displays can signal to criminals there may be valuables inside your home making it worth the criminal’s time to break-in. Furthermore, leaving wrapped gifts under the tree in full view from exterior windows and doors make a welcome invitation for thieves. Instead of placing packages under the tree, keep them tucked away in closets and attics out of sight until the last minute. This is one of the easiest safety precautions to follow.

2.    Keep your home well-lit and well-groomed inside and out. Not only will your home look nice from the street but it is an important safety measure. The more lighting you have in your home and yard, the less places for criminals and thieves to lurk and hide. In addition, tree branches should be trimmed up at least six feet off the ground and shrubs and bushes trimmed down to no more than three feet tall. This allows a clear view of your yard from inside the house and from the street minimizing places for burglars and thieves to hide.

3.    Whether you are at home or out on a quick trip to the grocery store, keep all windows and doors locked including the garage door and the service door between the garage and the home. Burglars know the holiday season is an opportune time for breaking-in as many homes have extra valuables inside not to mention extra cash on hand.

4.    If you plan on traveling for the holidays take advantage of a home security system if possible. If you already have one, you’re in good shape. If you don’t have a home security system, consider installing one. It is a worthwhile investment. If you cannot afford a security system, set your lights and TVs on timers. Have them turn on and off in various parts of the home throughout the day and evening. Ask a trusted neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally to give the appearance that someone is coming and going from your home. Also ask a neighbor to collect the mail and newspapers or stop these services during the time you will be traveling. Notify your local police department and them know the dates you’ll be gone. Ask them to drive past your house occasionally. If you decide have a neighbor park in your driveway, identify the vehicle to the police.

5.    If you are traveling during the holiday season, only mention your trip to those who absolutely must know you’ll be gone. Likewise, do not post this information via social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It doesn’t take much legwork for potential burglars to identify you and figure out your address.

6.    In a similar manner, do not mention valuable gifts using social media. A post like, “Got a 52-inch flat screen,” becomes common knowledge instantly. If a criminal is watching your house, the minute you leave to go to work, the post office or a holiday party, your new flat screen is as good as gone.

7.    And for those who don’t use social media, don’t be so sure the public doesn’t know about your 52-inch flat screen. As soon as you put the empty box next to the trash can at the curb, the whole neighborhood will know what is inside your house. Be cautious when throwing away packaging from “big ticket” items. Burglars know what to look for. If they notice any packaging from valuable items with your curbside trash, you are inviting them inside. Instead of throwing away the whole box, break the box down. Cut it up in smaller pieces and dispose of it a little bit at a time as not to draw attention to it. If you can, recycle a few pieces of the box each week instead of throwing it away.   

 

While you may be looking forward to celebrating the holiday season, The House Plan Shop recommends you add these home safety precautions to your holiday “to-do” list.

No responses yet

Nov 18 2010

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

The House Plan Shop: Christmas Crafts – Make your own Christmas Ornaments

It is that time of year when we create gift lists and shop for the perfect gift for a special loved one or friend. Sometimes, the best gifts can’t be bought online or at the store. Sometimes the best gifts are homemade – created with our own hands, talents and ambition. Homemade Christmas ornaments are the perfect way to remember someone special this holiday season whether it is a co-worker, an old classmate, grandchild, cousin or friend. Kay’s Country Cottage recently posted a blog on how to make homemade holiday ornaments including salt dough ornaments and glass ball ornaments. Simple and fun, these easy crafts create memorable holiday gifts and add a little personal charm to your loved one’s holiday decor.

No responses yet

Dec 30 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Recipes for New Year’s Appetizers

Chances are you are either hosting a New Year’s gathering or attending one. And if you’re taking part in a special get-together, you’ll most likely be serving appetizers or brining a snack to the party you plan to attend. The House Plan Shop is here to help. The following appetizer recipes are some of our favorites. Happy New Year from The House Plan Shop! Enjoy!

 

Brown Sugar Smokies

 

Ingredients:

1 package of cocktail sausages

1 package of maple flavored bacon cut into thirds

1 cup packed brown sugar

Toothpicks

 

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.    Spray a 9”x13” glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

3.    Wrap each cocktail sausage with a third piece of bacon.

4.    Stick a toothpick through the middle securing the bacon and place in the glass dish arranging in a single layer.

5.    Sprinkle brown sugar over the top.

6.    Bake for 45 minutes or until edges of bacon begin to get crispy.

7.    Serve warm.

 

 

Pizza SticksEasy Pizza Sticks

 

Ingredients:

1 (11 oz) can refrigerated bread sticks

Thin pepperoni slices

Shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Pizza sauce

 

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.    Roll out breadsticks onto an ungreased cookie sheet and separate.

3.    Place two or three pepperoni slices at one end of the bread stick.

4.    Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

5.    Fold remaining half of breadstick over the top, seal the end and twist.

6.    Repeat for remaining breadsticks and arrange on cookie sheet.

7.    Mix together parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic power in small bowl.

8.    Sprinkle over the top of the twisted breadsticks.

9.    Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

10.  Dip in warm pizza sauce and enjoy.

No responses yet

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »