Tag Archive 'Christmas'

Dec 12 2010

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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.

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Dec 22 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Make Christmas Breakfast Special with these Tasty Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon RollsChristmas morning is memorable no matter how young or old we are. Add to the memories of this special day by sharing The House Plan Shop’s favorite, savory cinnamon rolls with your loved ones for Christmas breakfast.

 

Bed & Breakfast Cinnamon Rolls

 

Ingredients:

2 packages of dry yeast

1 egg

1 tablespoon salt

3 tablespoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons milk

½ cup white sugar

1 ¼ sticks butter

1 ¾ cups warm water

2 cups brown sugar

5 cups flour

Powdered sugar

Chopped pecans optional

 

Directions:

1.    Combine yeast with water in large mixing bowl.

2.    Add white sugar, 3 cups flour, egg, ¼ stick softened butter, and salt and mix well.

3.    Add remaining 2 cups flour and mix to form soft dough.

4.    Place in a greased bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

5.    The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

6.    Roll the dough into a 10”x30” rectangle.

7.    Cut the remaining stick of butter into pats and place them in rows covering the dough.

8.    Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the dough and butter.

9.    Starting with one of the long edges, roll the dough tightly into a tube shape.

10.  Cut the dough at 2” intervals with a sharp knife, place into a greased round or oval baking dish.

11.  Bake for 15-25 minutes.

12.  While rolls are baking, combine combine milk and powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl until it is a spreading consistency. (Slowly add powdered sugar so the icing doesn’t get too thick.)

13.  Remove the rolls from the oven and ice with powdered sugar mixture.

14.  Top with chopped pecans if desired.

 

 Please visit our blog next week for more holiday recipes.

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Dec 15 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Live Green: 8 Earth-Friendly Ways to Celebrate the Season

Natural Christmas Decoration‘Tis the season to be jolly….and wasteful. A recent report stated Americans will create an extra 25 million tons of waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Think about it. Wrapping paper filling trash cans. Light displays spiking electric bills. Trees jamming up landfills. And the list goes on. But THIS holiday season can be different. The following suggestions will help you change your habits and start a new tradition, celebrating the holidays in amazing earth-friendly fashion.

 

Turn Down the Amps – Leaving your holiday lights on 24 hours a day can significantly raise your energy bill. Use a timer for your light displays ensuring they are not left on all night. Also, when strands of lights wear out, replace them with LED lights which use about 90% less energy than standard mini-lights.

 

Candle Glow – The holidays are the perfect time to light up your home with candles. A decorative arrangement of tall and short candles in a room is usually enough to eliminate some, if not all, overhead lighting. Not only will you save electricity, but the candles will be part of your décor. Furthermore, with the heat from the candles and your own body heat, most rooms will warm up nicely over the course of an evening allowing you to lower the thermostat. The result – you’ll save on your energy bill. Remember to use caution around burning candles.

 

Use Natural Décor – Use locally grown items to decorate your home. Fill a basket with pinecones you collected at the park, and use it as a centerpiece on the dining room table. Snip a few branches from an evergreen bush or tree and create your own wreath for the door. Add pinecones and a bow or tuck citrus fruits into it for a pop of color. Make your own garland for the tree with popcorn, berries and nuts, for example.

 

Cut your Card List – Over 2.6 billing holiday cards are sold each year and most end up in the trash. Trim you card list by just a few recipients and send them an e-card instead. You’ll save on postage and reduce waste. When sending traditional cards, choose cards made of recycled paper. As for the cards you receive, cut them up, they will make great gift tags for next year.

 

Trim Creatively – There is no need to buy all new tree trimmings every year so you can have a new holiday look. Instead, create homemade ornaments. Make popcorn and cranberry garland or pinecone ornaments. Better yet, swap decorations with a friend each year. You’ll always have a fresh look.

 

Consider Alternative Gift Wrap – With so much wrapping paper ending up in the trash each year, use your imagination. Wrap gifts with other items like a colorful blanket, a furry scarf, a T-shirt. Anything that covers your package can work as gift wrap. Or, have your kids decorate used brown paper grocery bags. Put gifts inside the bags and staple them shut. As for the gifts you receive. Open them carefully saving the paper for next year’s wrapping.

 

Reuse Trimmings – Place a container in the middle of the room. Ask everyone to put bows, boxes, gift bags, and ribbons in the box for use next year.

 

Recycle – Face it. Gifts come with lots of wrapping and packaging. As you open gifts, recycle what you can, plastic, paper, cardboard, etc. Don’t stop there. Recycle your tree as well. Check with your local government or municipality. Some places recycle trees into mulch, others use them for animal habitats in parks and lakes. However you choose to recycle your tree, do it responsibly. Make sure all ornaments, hooks, tinsel and light strands are removed. Artificial trees can be recycled too. If you’re tired of your artificial tree, donate it to a church, community center, shelter or another place that decorates for the holidays.

 

The holidays are exciting, fun, and they are major waste makers. Now is the time to do your part and start changing the holidays for the better. These environmentally-friendly holiday tips will get you started.

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