Saturday, December 20, 2008

Simplify the Season. Celebrate the Savior.

Most importantly, we all know the true meaning of Christmas is celebrating Christ’s birth, so I would like to end “Simplify the Season” by quoting Scripture from Luke 2:8-20.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Thank you for joining me on your journey to Simplify the Season. I look forward to hearing from you about what worked and what didn’t on your Christmas trek to a less complicated/less demanding holiday. May you find time to “ponder things in your heart” this season as Mary did on that very first Christmas.


I look forward to seeing you in the new year.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Interesting Sanity Savers

I paid no attention to the dates on the tidbits (as the dates have all pretty much passed!).  I did find the content interesting enough to share with you.  Thank Oprah for me next time you see her.

Have a Happy Weekend!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Squeezing in a Simplified New Year.

Christmas is almost upon us, friends!  This certainly has been an exciting season, thus far.  We are starting lots of new traditions with our son.  Every year he gets new Christmas pjs and we make a photo ornament.  We go places and see shows that only happen at this time of year – living Nativity, ice skating shows, elf village at Winter Wonderland, Nights of Lights.  We also continue some of our favorite childhood traditions – like riding around on Christmas Eve to see great Christmas light displays.

To all of you who shared your Christmas memories and traditions in the last blog posting, Thank YOU!  Making cookies, talk of Santa, church services, singing carols, and sipping cocoa are all idealistic for this time of year; very Norman Rockwell!  For one of you, sharing your traditions has won you a special Christmas gift!  Kaber, you are lucky #4 to comment, so you are this month’s winner!  Send your mailing address to and your gift card will be in the mail!  I know how much you love your Panera Cafe breaks, so your next beverage will be on me!  Congratulations, Kim!

We do still have one more week after this one to talk about Christmas.  Next week’s Simplify the Season post will be THE ONE MOST IMPORTANT post about Simplify the Season, so stay tuned.  For this week we are going to take a little detour to New Year’s.  I will keep each item as short as possible.  I have many things to cover and we will be revisiting some things at a later date.  If there is something you want me to cover in more depth in the future, PLEASE leave a comment to that effect. 

New Year’s Eve

  • drink lots of water
  • eat snacks at home
    • 1- to avoid over eating
    • 2- to have something in your stomach
  • drive safely

New Years Day

  • hosting a brunch?
    • pick a theme
    • keep it simple
    • serve good luck foods/go international

Resolutions –

  • Build on last year’s strengths
  • Make resolutions Attainable
  • Make your Goal specific
  • Give yourself Short Deadlines

Coming Up

Dec 21 – The very BEST part of “Simplify the Season” is revealed.

Dec 28 - The Aftermath of Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday is “Simplify the Season” Contest Day

This is a time of year when many of us give and give and give of ourselves even more than usual.  There are school functions, church functions, social functions, family obligations and they all happen in this short time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day!  This is a busy season!!!  All the more reason to join the Simplify the Season Band-wagon, right?  This is quite possibly my favorite part of Simplifying the Season! (Yes, even more than shopping!)  Before we go any further I want to remind all of us that it is important to take time for ourselves… especially in this busy season.

For the longest time I thought I didn't have the time to do things just for me. I thought that it was selfish to make time just for me.  I am a fairly low maintenance gal.  The extra five minutes daily in the shower, visiting a local gift/antique shop ALONE, the weekly self-manicure, the monthly massage appointment, taking a few evening minutes to read a book or watch (even part) of a movie - all make me better.  I'm a better servant, a better spouse, a better mom, a better friend, a whole better me when I do these things. 

Don't forget about you this Christmas Season.  Make a plan. Put it on your calendar. Don’t neglect time for you.  And because I love to hear from each and every one of you… let me know about your favorite thing for you!  I had one busy mom tell me that she will hide in the bathroom with a book or magazine for 15 minutes just to keep herself sane!  No matter how big or how small, remember to take care of yourself.


While you have your planner out sliding in some time for yourself, hedge your bets.  Schedule a day this week to pay bills, balance your checkbook, do the filing, catch up on phone calls – all the little mundane tasks that you usually do all month long.  Even with a Simplified Season, things can and will sneak up on you. 


As for the matter of our little contest… share with me your favorite family tradition.  It can be a tradition you remember from childhood or one that you have started with your own family.  Share all week long, if you like.  The contest will close at midnight EST Saturday December 13, 2008.  A random drawing will be performed and the winner will be announced in Sunday’s weekly blog.  Start sharing!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Life really is Beautiful!

When I checked the mail yesterday, I got a surprise.  The Winter Issue of Life: Beautiful Magazine!  The best part for me?  I'm mentioned in it!!!!!!  There's an article on pantry organization and writer, Kathy Eastman, interviewed two organizers  (me, FL and Kim Bauma, GA).  I love the photography in this publication.  I want to frame almost every page!  If they sell this magazine in your area, let me know what you think! 

I just wanted to share my joy.  God is good!  Life is full of unexpected joys... large and small.  Thanks for sharing the joy with me.


Make sure you come back tomorrow for contest day!  I just couldn’t wait one more day to share this excitement with you!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Playing Simple Santa

One question I’ve gotten lately is…. “Now what do we do with all of these wrapped gifts?”

By this point in time, many of you have decorated and put up your tree and the gifts will live there.  For some homes the gifts are not seen until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  Thus the question of What to do with the wrapped gifts arises.

After gifts are wrapped you will need a place to stash them. Those needing hand delivery (like teacher gifts) can go into a box/bin in the car – if you have chocolates in there and it is going to be some time before they are delivered, you may need to find a cool dry storage place out of the way in the air conditioning – linen closet or laundry room… or maybe just in the corner BEHIND the tree. Just keep those “gifts on the go” separate from all of the other under the tree gifts… just don’t forget where you have hidden any of them. If you are likely to forget where you stashed them, make a note in your agenda/planner/PDA.  Popular hiding spots – closets, behind furniture, attic, a friend’s home, under beds.  What’s your favorite gift hiding spot?

Keep in mind that if you have little peepers peeking around OR if you just want to keep at-home gifts separate from to-go gifts, you can always use a different wrap to differentiate - by person or by location of gift opening.  If you use candy cane wrap for Sally’s gifts and Santa wrap for Joey’s gifts but do not put tags on them, you will know who they are for, but Sally and Joey will not know at which ones to peak!  If you use gold wrap only on all of the gifts to go, you will know which ones to grab for traveling.


Out with the old.  In with the New.

Take time now, this week, before the kids are home for Christmas Break, to weed through the toy bins.  Look for books and toys you KNOW they’ve outgrown.  For older children, talk with them about giving to others and the joy that it brings to share things that they no longer use.  And if that doesn’t do the trick, you can always tell them that Santa won’t give to little children with tons of toys already; he only gives to the children who have space for new things.

I especially love the “One in-One out” rule of organizing for this time of year.  If you have overzealous friends and family gifting your children at this time of year, this may not be completely practical, but stay with me.  There is a simple YEAR ROUND rule or organizing that states, for every beautiful and useful item you bring into your home, one item needs to depart in order to make room for the new.  If you buy a new pair of shoes, then an old pair needs to go out.  If you could not resist a new handbag, book, toy, electronic devise – then an old item should depart in order to make room for the new.  Simple rule.  No excess.

For those of us with generous friends and family members, there is the option of toy rotation.  Leave some of the toys out for your children to play with now and box the others up for a few months.  When the children start wanting new toys to play with… Voila!  You bring out the toys that you put away from Christmas and box up some of the toys that they have been enjoying.  Keep the same number of toys in rotation so that you are not overwhelmed with a great mass of toys. 

If the toys you are taking out of rotation are things that your kiddos are truly no longer interested in, it is ok to go ahead and donate those things.  They have the fond memories of playing with the toy and it can move on to be loved by another child.  If you are attached to the toy, take a picture of your child playing with it for one last time and let it go.

Since our last mid-week contest was so much fun, we’re doing another one!!!  Tune in Friday, Dec 12 for the details.


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