Tag Archives: holidays

Self-Care (for Sanity’s Sake) Through the Holidays

The holidays are here, whether we are ready or not.  It seems like the year just started, but it is almost over.  The holidays, while they can be wonderful, are tremendously stressful.  Don’t let them be – there are things that you can do to put the joy back in the holidays and keep your sanity.

 

NOTE: I also want to say at the outset that if you suffer from depression, please talk to someone – a friend, a family member, a coworker, or anyone that you trust.

 

  • Eat healthy meals before going to parties.
  • Moderate your caffeine and alcohol intake – too much of either will leave you feeling bad later, and also dehydrate you.
  • Get enough sleep.  Go to bed earlier than normal at least once a week.
  • Evaluate any “obligations” that you are facing.  Just because you have done something in the past doesn’t mean you have to continue.
  • Family can be stressful.  It is important to spend time with people that you ENJOY, family or not.  Also, recognize that old patterns reappear under stress, so be aware of that in interactions with family.
  • Say “No” – and mean it.  Remember that NO can  be a complete sentence – you don’t have to explain.
  • Take short breaks to fit in a walk or other forms of exercise.  Not only will it help with possible weight gain over the holiday, it is an excellent stress reliever.
  • Watch how much you spend, to avoid making the start of the new year a more stressful one.
  • Make sure your routine stays the same, or as close as possible.  Keeping a regular routine makes rest/sleep easier, and also helps keep you in balance.
  • If you have stress management techniques that you use in other circumstances, pull them out and use them. Find what works for you and stick with it!
  • Prioritize.  Look at your activities and do what is most important to you.  Don’t worry if less important things don’t get done.
  • Take a time out for yourself – away from noise, stimulation, and things that need to be done.  They will still be there in five, ten, fifteen minutes.
  • Relax and be present in the moment – not worrying about the future, not worrying about what happened in the past.  Enjoy the family around you.  Enjoy the smells of the holiday.  Enjoy the sounds of the holiday.
  • Simplify.  Cut your to-do list in half.  Send fewer cards.  Exchange fewer gifts.  Say NO to a few occasions.
  • Stay flexible; things can change at the drop of a hat so be ready to change.
  • If you have too much to do, delegate.  Ask for help from those around you.  You do the best you can; remember that.
  • Don’t bake six types of cookies if two will do!
  • Laugh.  Hang on to your sense of humor and take care of it.  Look for the funny in life – there is plenty of it out there.  Find some funny websites and look at them first thing in the morning, or any time you need a giggle.
  • Let go of the “ideal” Christmas and enjoy the one around you.
  • Do non-materialistic things with friends and family.
  • Be aware of your breaking point and step back before you reach it.  Step away and take a break.  Avoid those things that push you close to your breaking point, even if it is family.  There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Chose your battles; ask yourself, “Is this worth a fight?”
  • Keep expectations realistic.  Don’t look for a Brady Bunch Christmas if your family tends to be more boisterous.

If you get stressed, stop and ask yourself, “Is it worth this?  Am I doing this to myself?  Is there something that I can do to make this fun again?”

 

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10 Good Sites for Thanksgiving Information, Ideas, and General Sanity-Saving Tips

Garfield-Holidays

A Great Thanksgiving Planner

This planner starts with a two weeks before and breaks down various tasks that should be completed within each time frame: one week before, the Monday before, and so on.  It is enormously helpful even if you aren’t quite that…organized.  I know my own weaknesses and I know that I won’t do all of these things, but I still admire the detail.  I highly recommend taking a look – I think it could inspire you to make your own planner.

Mary Organizes Thanksgiving Planner

This is a very nice blank printable that you can fill out yourself.  The blog entry describes the intention of each section and is very helpful. It has sections for each course of a meal, area for shopping list of things you can buy a head, one for perishables to get the day before, and so on.

Cat Christmas

Holiday 7-Week Planner

This lovely list will help you spread the tasks surrounding both/all of the holidays out a bit so that you can actually catch your breath and spend some time with family!  What a concept!

Need to know how much to make for Thanksgiving?

That is a great printable for you, if you are in doubt as to how much food you need for your crowd.

A Girl and A Glue Gun has some terrific ideas listed – with credit given to other locations that she found some of the crafts.  One of the cutest is “Roll a Turkey” – you roll dice and for each number, draw a specific part of the turkey.  Kids should LOVE this one!

Buzzfeed is quite a source of fun, merriment, and…who knew, Thanksgiving tips.  Here is a fantastic list of 17 Life-Saving Thanksgiving Tips.    I had never seen a number of these and think they sound like they would make a big difference.

Car Hacks, Tricks, and Tips provides all of the above for those families traveling by car over the holidays.  Some of these ideas (like silicone cupcake molds in drink holders to make cleaning easier) are all-season and things that I had never thought of; I highly recommend taking a look at the list.

Erin, from My Frugal Home, has a very handy list of how long specific Thanksgiving leftovers stay good.  That is enormously helpful.  I’m going to go print my copy now and put it on the refrigerator!

Country Living Magazine is a source for a lot of helpful ideas, recipes and the like.  Thanksgiving is no different from the rest of the year.  Go take a look at these!  Tips from Country Living!

Smart Savvy Living has 10 tips to keep your Thanksgiving organized and help you stress less.  Some are obvious – make lists – but if you follow these, it WILL decrease the stress and help you have a more enjoyable holiday with the people you care most about.  Isn’t that the true point?

I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Fall Leaves

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52 Ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts

  1.  Gift basket: cup and saucer, tea, cookies, and sweetener in a nice basket
  2. Foot care basket for the mother on her feet a lot: lotion, scrub, moisturizing socks, and fluffy socks in a nice basket or tin
  3. A gift basket with several of her favorite treats
  4. Gift certificate for dinner to her favorite restaurant and an offer to babysit for the evening
  5. Stationery and tea gift basket for the letter writer
  6. Wine and cheese gift basket for a romantic and/or relaxing evening
  7. Book or books that you know she’d like, with a book mark and a book light
  8. A weekend at a bed and breakfast for a peaceful, relaxing weekend on her own.
  9. Gardening set – there are a lot available on Amazon and in other online shops (as well as gardening centers in most cities, I’m sure)
  10. Take a class together (cooking, wine, computer class, whatever shared interest you might have).
  11. Handmade card from her children or grandchildren
  12. A letter describing all the things about her that you love
  13. For your wife: take the kids out for the afternoon and let her enjoy her home in peace and quiet
  14. A meal cooked and cleaned up by the children and the other parent
  15. List 12, 52, 365 of your favorite memories together.
  16. Clean the house.
  17. Give her a day at the spa.
  18. Cook Mother’s Day Brunch.
  19. Candy bars wrapped in a special, cute printable wrapper (there are some to be found online and of course, you can get creative with markers and crayons and plain paper)
  20. Really high thread count  sheets
  21. Egyptian cotton towels
  22. A notebook with letters between her and the children
  23. A hug
  24. A memory jar
  25. Box of surprises (little things that she likes, wants, or needs – wrapped individually).  Let her open one every so often throughout the day!
  26. Print out her favorite family recipe in a nice font, on nice paper and frame it.
  27. Ask what she really, REALLY wants for Mother’s Day.
  28. Take a picture each Mother’s Day and create a keepsake at some point with all of the pictures.
  29. Start a fun tradition to celebrate with the family.
  30. Order her favorite, hard-to-find treat online.
  31. New gardening tools
  32. New cooking tools
  33. Make tea cup candles (Here is a lovely blog with instructions (and all sorts of other interesting ideas, I might add): http://thefrugalgirls.com/2012/03/how-to-make-teacup-candles.html ).
  34. Fingerprint charm (here is an example: http://diaryofamadcrafter.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/fingerprint-charms/ , another blog that looks like fun!)
  35. Homemade flavored oils
  36. Box of sunshine (here is a good explanation, for those who hadn’t heard of this before: http://happymoneysaver.com/send-a-box-of-sunshine-to-brighten-someones-day/ )
  37. Gift box for the letter writer: stationery, stamps, envelopes, perhaps a seal with wax and a nice pen.
  38. Crocheted, knitted, or sewn cover for their cell phone.
  39. Take her out for tea or coffee and conversation.
  40. Let her do nothing for an entire day, if that is what she really wants.
  41. Take the time to really listen to her and make her feel special
  42. Make coupons: “One week of taking the trash out without complaint”, “One Free Housework Day on the Weekend,” that sort of thing.
  43. Craft supplies for the crafty mother in your life
  44. A movie, popcorn/candy, and soda in a large bowl for movie night
  45. Coffee sampler and a large mug.
  46. Decorate a frame and put your child’s picture in it.
  47. Take her on a picnic.
  48. Make a personalized gift: a calendar with family pictures, a hardcover book with pictures, a blanket with family pictures (I’ve used Wal-Mart for these and gotten GREAT results).
  49. Frame a child’s drawing.
  50. Take her antiquing in a quaint little town.
  51. Plant flowers for her in the flower beds.
  52. Make her lunch for a week and include a love note.

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52 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

  1. Write a note on a napkin or small piece of paper for your spouse’s or child’s lunch.
  2. Do a chore for your spouse.
  3. Cook your spouse a nice meal (their favorite).
  4. Cut out heart shapes and write little notes about what you appreciate the most.
  5. Send a letter of love to your parents.
  6. Send a thank you note to someone you appreciate.
  7. Really listen to someone who needs it.
  8. Do something nice for yourself.
  9. Color with your child.
  10. Make Valentine’s Day cards.
  11. Print out a love poem in a nice font on nice paper for your loved one.
  12. Leave love notes around the house.
  13. Fill a cute mug with red and white candies.
  14. Put together a “romantic movie night” basket – movie, popcorn/candy,  beverage (or a more romantic combination of wine, cheese, and a romantic movie).
  15. Unplug and spend time together as a family.
  16. Write down the story of who you met your spouse for your children.
  17. Cut sandwiches into heart shapes.
  18. Bake Valentine’s Day cookies with your child.
  19. Make a CD of love songs.
  20. Cook a romantic dinner.
  21. Make heart shaped muffins or pancakes.
  22. Frame a love quote or poem.
  23. Give someone you love a red scarf.
  24. Make heart-shaped pins for your loved ones.
  25. Buy a simple, inexpensive bouquet and put into a vase.
  26. Make a set of personalized “coupons”.
  27. Give a candy bouquet.
  28. Make a Valentine’s shirt by tracing your children’s hands on the shirt with fabric paint – good for grandparents or parents.
  29. Make a booklet of love poems or quotes.
  30. Really simple: just spend a quiet evening together.
  31. Write a letter to someone you love; children specifically love getting mail.
  32. Leave an affectionate note on the mirror for your child or spouse.
  33. Make a garland of hearts and decorate your room, your child’s room, the dining room…
  34. Leave flowers on a friend’s front porch.
  35. Make a jar of quotes for someone.
  36. Make a bookmark for a book lover.
  37. Give yourself a gift – time to read, write, play games, play ball, sit still…
  38. Make  Valentines messages to wrap around candy bars.
  39. Using candy kisses and stickers, make a Valentine’s matching game and play with your kids.
  40. Put a message in a bottle and decorate the bottle.
  41. Decorate your child’s bedroom door with hearts, one per day.
  42. Make handmade hand-warmers.
  43. Make heart envelopes.
  44. Do “14 Days of Valentines” – 14 small gifts, one per day up to Valentine’s Day.
  45. Make handshaped Valentines for grandparents.
  46. Make paper fortune cookies with messages.
  47. “I dig you” – attach a bag of goodies to a plastic shovel.
  48. Make a Valentine’s door hanger with a pocket to hold goodies.
  49. Get a small bottle of honey, decorate it, and attach a note – “Bee Mine”.
  50. Make Mommy and Me journals that you and your child can write messages in and pass back and forth between you.
  51. Put together a list of date ideas on strips of paper, place in a nice vase or decorated jar – so that you and your spouse have date ideas for those nights when you are indecisive.
  52. Get a box of donut holes and add a note: “Donut you know I love you a hole bunch”.

 

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100+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I started thinking about how to fill stockings for my children (and possibly my spouse) and I realized that I had no idea what to put in a stocking – for a boy, a girl, or my husband.  Sigh.  So…I thought I’d do some looking and make a list of various things that I thought were good ideas and share with others.  Why should all of us have to do the searching and digging?  At any rate, I hope this helps.

I tried not to repeat suggestions, but some are appropriate for any or all of the categories.  In addition, some of these items are good for either gender.  I also did not break these down by age ranges, either, so some are obviously meant for young children and others for teens.

I also welcome additions or suggestions so please comment!

Ideas for Girls

  1.  DVDs
  2. Journal
  3. Dice or card games
  4. Nail polish
  5. Nail decorations
  6. iPod case
  7. Scarves and gloves
  8. Golf balls/tennis balls/hobby items
  9. Really soft socks
  10. Coloring books
  11. Colored pens/crayons/pencils
  12. Jewelery
  13. Craft kits
  14. Puzzles
  15. Gift cards
  16. Stickers
  17. Candy
  18. Small notebook
  19. Pretty night-light
  20. Christmas ornament
  21. Homemade cookies
  22. Key chain/watch/etc.
  23. Magic 8 ball
  24. CDs
  25. Bubbles
  26. Hair clips

Ideas for Boys

  1. Die cast cars
  2. Thumb drive
  3. Action figures
  4. Colored pencils
  5. Drawing pad
  6. Model car kit
  7. Small Lego kits
  8. Specialty toothbrush
  9. Seed packets
  10. Silly putty
  11. Temporary tattoos
  12. Calendar
  13. Hand puppets
  14. Stylus
  15. Handheld games
  16. Travel size games
  17. Fuzzy slippers – or character slippers
  18. Gold-wrapped chocolate coins
  19. Flashlight
  20. Bubble bath
  21. Playdough
  22. Tubes of plastic animals
  23. Animal crackers/fruit treats/ fruit roll-ups
  24. Character pajamas or underwear
  25. Lifesavers storybook
  26. Hair gel

Ideas for Women

  1. Lipstick
  2. Candles
  3. Burt’s Bees products
  4. Lotion
  5. Perfume
  6. Essential oils
  7. Gift cards
  8. Chocolates
  9. Games
  10. Sampler size alcohol
  11. Small bottle of wine
  12. Fancy soap
  13. Body scrubber
  14. Face mask (eye cover)
  15. Heat/cool socks
  16. Hot tea/cocoa/coffee
  17. Wine cork candles
  18. Chopsticks
  19. Battery checker
  20. Charging key chain
  21. Spool for earphones
  22. Pumice stone
  23. Beaded book mark
  24. Camera memory card
  25. Nice pen
  26. Bento box
  27. Cell charger
  28. Ear warmers
  29. Movie tickets

Ideas for Men

  1. Money clip
  2. Ice scraper
  3.  Multi-tool
  4. Book
  5. Playing cards
  6. Cork screw
  7. Pocket kite
  8. Shot glasses
  9. Travel alarm
  10. Games
  11. Bartender’s Guide
  12. Flash drive
  13. Universal remote
  14. Mints
  15. Cookies/candy
  16. Ear buds
  17. Computer mouse
  18. Soap (“manly”)
  19. Knit cap
  20. Silly toys
  21. Lip balm
  22. Team can/bottle cozy
  23. Lottery tickets
  24. Handheld electronics
  25. Tire gauge
  26. Magazine subscription
  27. Novelty ice trays
  28. Throwback T-shirt
  29. Keychain screw driver
  30. Glasses repair kit

 

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Really Useful Websites – November 2011

Rainy day ideas – since fall and winter can have plenty of days that are “inside days”…

Fall Holidays

  • http://www.kaboose.com/ is a family oriented website that has so much to offer.  They have Thanksgiving things up now (like http://holidays.kaboose.com/thanksgiving/) but there are also sections entitled Fall Family Fun 2011, Kaboose Games, and Kaboose Features.  There are also sections on Food, Health, and so forth.
  • www.holidays.net – this is a fantastic site.  There is a section for fun and wacky holidays, a holiday blog which contains blurbs on holidays as they come up, holiday travel, as well as one for holiday recipes.  There are also crafts for various holidays as well.  Very well done and enjoyable.
  • http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0909585.html.  This is a nice list of holidays around the world, with a blurb about the holiday and other links to related subjects.  The base site, however, is the real draw.  There is such a wide variety of things on the site.  There are sections on the fifty states, holidays in the US, people, science, math and money, and country profiles, among other things.  It is a wonderful resource.
  • http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving.  History.com is wonderful overall, but I really do like this section.  There are links to related people, events, and themes.  There is a nice history of Thanksgiving in the US, including links to article son the Pilgrims, Plymouth Colony, and so much more.  If you enjoy history and really want to know more about the background, this is the place to start.
  • http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Thanksgiving.shtml.  This site is brief but has good links to travel tips, food tips and safety, and so forth.
  • http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/thanksgiving/index.html.  Where else to go for recipes?  Of course, there are many places to go, but this is very nice.  There is a section on Holidays and Parties that has a nice selection of articles on turkey recipes, various sides, wine-friendly meals, and more.  There is even a section on gifts.

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October 2010 – Interesting or Useful Websites

Ok this month, I can’t say the sites are exactly USEFUL or exciting, but hey, they are thematic!  That counts for something, doesn’t it.  Actually, they do provide some interesting alternatives to common issues: sweets for children, for example.  And if you like history, I found some interesting history-related sites.  So…here are this month’s websites:

  • October Celebrations
    • National Arts & Humanities Month – the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the United States.  It was established in 1993, to encourage Americans to explore arts and humanities.  Here is President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation.
    • Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  The Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP) is now a diverse partnership of “local, tribal, state and national domestic violence organizations and networks.”  They work toward collecting, developing, and distributing resources necessary to continue educating the public and working toward prevention of domestic violence. This website is such a wonderful source of information; they have a section for campaigns, about the network/partnership, materials that are available, video resources, and links.  Of course the provide a number for people in trouble to call – as well as a way to contact them.  Please take a look at this site – it may help you or someone you know.
    • Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  There are a lot of sites with helpful information on breast cancer.  One important thing to remember – that frequently gets overlooked – is that men can have breast cancer too.  Everyone needs to pay attention to this disease; the best way to fight it is to detect it early.  The National Breast Cancer site above is a wonderful source of information and there is a lot to learn.  For example, I had no idea there were so many different types of breast cancer.  There are FAQs, a list of myths, and a description of stages and types.  In addition, they have pages on ways to help, communities, and a blog.  There is also a newsletter.  Please go take a look – I bet you’ll learn something like I did.
  • Historic Events
    • Smithsonian Magazine has a wonderful section on This Month In History but the whole site is interesting.  You can spend quite a bit of time perusing it.   It has sections like:
      • History and Archaeology
      • People and Places
      • Science and Nature
      • Videos
      • Games and Puzzles
    • Another good site is BrainyHistory.  It lists events that took place on this day in history, birthdays, events by year and by month!  Apparently you can also add “Today in History” or “Today’s Birthdays” to your own site, but I couldn’t actually do that since I don’t have a site at this point!
    • On This Day is an interesting site as well.   It has Famous Birthdays, Today in History, Today in Music History, as well as many other sections that are pretty specific:
      • TV History
      • Middle East
      • World War II
      • U.S. Civil War
      • Sports sections
      • There is also a section for recommended books.
  • Halloween
    • Costume ideas
      • Costume Idea Zone.  This looks like an interesting site.  There are some cute ideas right on the home page and then there are different sections: unique costume ideas, couples, groups, traditional, and quick and easy. There is a section for advice and inspiration and tips.  I will say I got a pop-up as soon as checked out the site.
      • What better place to start than Halloween.com?  They have it all – forums, chat, screensavers, crafts, masks, stories, and so on.  This also includes cute last-minute ideas.  I really enjoyed checking this site out.  There is even a section on Halloween News.  Lots to see!
    • Traditions
      • A good site is Religious Tolerance.  Their page on Halloween traditions include Celtic traditions, traditions developed since then, origins of Christian holy days, traditions in numerous countries.
      • History.com has a good Halloween section as well.  There are videos, a photo gallery, and some interactive things.  There are links to related articles like pumpkin facts, and Halloween Around the World, as well as Haunted Historic Places.  The rest of the site is excellent as well, for history buffs.
    • Alternatives – Here are some links that I found for alternatives to Halloween for those who choose not to participate in Halloween:
      • Christian Alternatives.
      • Thrifty Fun has some interesting ideas, particularly if you want to do something a little more educational.  Their Halloween Alternatives article is here.  The rest of the site is interesting as well.  There seem to be tips, pets, requests for help, contests and more!
      • Here is an interesting article on alternatives to all the sweets for Halloween.
      • Modern Mom has an article on party favors that are less sugary or not candy.
      • Family Education has a short article on 10 alternatives to candy that I know my 5-year-old would love.  I will say that I got an advertisement every two pages or so, just as a heads-up to anyone who goes to check out the site.

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