Holiday Baking Simplified Pull Apart Cinnamon Bread

Does the smell of warm cinnamon bring holidays to mind?  Do you want to share some holiday treats with friends and helpers?  Here is one of our family’s favorite holiday treats that is special for the holidays.  It’s Pull Apart Cinnamon Bread, aka Monkey Bread, made with ready made biscuits. Enjoy!

 

 

 

pull apart cinnamon bread

Holiday Gifts 2020

 

holiday gifts 2020

 

At long last It’s the holiday season. Many of us have been waiting for this joyful season (cue the Hallmark movies) while mucking through the year. While experiences are my preferred holiday gift, this year we are challenged with safety measures in groups and in person experiences.  With that in mind, here are some ideas for organizing gifts for the 2020 holiday season.

 

Indoor Garden

Fresh herbs add a lot to your home cooking. The gift of an indoor garden spices up cooking for the chef and diners. These gardens come in all shapes and sizes.  You can grow your own herbs all winter.

 

Pantry organizing IDesign Bins

Keep things practical this year with clear containers to organize your pantry. It’s a gift focusing on function.  These clear bins make it easy for your family to stay organized too.

 

Charging stations 

In 2020 we have learned the value of curating social media and getting a good night’s rest.  Purchase a common charging station for your kitchen to keep everyone’s devices overnight.

 

Weighted blankets

These cozy blankets have been a hit for several years. This year they are more popular than ever to help you get to sleep or take a nap.

 

Delivery Meal Kits

Have you been cooking for multiple people since March and look forward to someone else prepping and cooking.  Delivery meal kits can be a gift for the chef in your family.

 

New family card and board games

We have been spending a lot of time with our families. Enjoy a new board game such as Exploding Kittens to add strategy and laughter to family time.

 

Share your ideas here for your family and friends!

 

 

 

A New Normal Holiday Season

new normal holiday season

 

This year the holiday season will be different. Holiday celebrations will be smaller and more intimate. Temples and churches will have different ways to celebrate the meaning of the season with zoom.  There will likely be less holiday travel.  No matter these differences, there are meaningful ways we celebrate together as family and friends. It’s an even better reason to be organized this holiday season.

 

Family planning

A meaningful holiday starts with a family meeting about what is most important to each family member.  Some of these may be different this year.  Acknowledge the differences and sadness about this.  Think about what will make this year special. Be open to new ideas and new ways to celebrate. It remains important to add all these dates to your family calendar.

 

Family travel

A greater percentage of families (51%) are choosing to stay home this year. It’s a family to family decision. If you decide to travel, remember your wellness packages with extra hand sanitizer and multiple face masks.

If you find that you need a new way for your long distance family to gather here are a few ideas.

If you are travelling, there are ongoing changes to restrictions. Be sure you are knowledgeable about these changes.

Family gifts

This may be the best year to change up your gift giving. It may be making this a smaller budget, deciding the number of gifts you are giving or deciding to donate to charity instead of gift giving. Be thoughtful and intentional about what you are sharing.

Homemade gifts have a special meaning during the holidays. Set aside time for your family tradition of making homemade gifts together or start a new tradition.  Cooking, baking, canning, sewing or other crafts are a wonderful way to spend time together and share your holiday joy.

 

Family dinner

Everyone can be a chef during this year’s holiday dinners.  Divide up recipes and every can cook (and clean) together.  Your family of chefs can complete like Chopped with unusual ingredients.  It’s a great year to teach your family how to roast a turkey or make your family’s special toffee recipe.

 

Family time outside and in

Especially this year, plan family time outside. It can be taking part in a virtual fun run, taking a walk on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a family football or soccer game or any other outdoor activity. Running around and enjoying time outside will give everyone a change to get some energy out or get energized.

 

No matter the new normal, now is the time to delegate to your family.  Everyone can wrap, decorate, cook, bake and team up.  Make assignments early so you are organized and can enjoy the time together.

 

 

I wish you a very merry holiday season filled with an abundance of joy and meaning.

 

 

 

Thankful. Grateful.

thankful. grateful

 

This year has been a year of challenges and changes in our country and our community. We have the power to live every day being thankful and grateful. Gratitude is powerful and can make your life better in so many ways. It’s creating new habits that reinforce being positive, gracious, kind, thankful and grateful. Here are many simple, small ways to start or continue showing and sharing these qualities and values.

  • Start your day with a daily mantra or with meditation focusing on gratitude.
  • Notice the small things in your life and comment. You will increase your mindfulness and your gratitude.
  • Capture photos about what you are grateful for on your smart phone. Look back to remind yourself of these moments.
  • Text or email a friend or family member each day to share how much you appreciate them and why they are special to you.
  • Thank people who are serving you or helping you.
  • Sharing a blessing over your food with your family or companions at a meal.
  • Make a note in your daily planner or bullet journal of one moment of gratitude that day.
  • Have a family “huddle” before your kids head out to school and talk about what you are grateful for that day.
  • Write in your gratitude journal each evening as a prelude to bedtime.
  • Review your day before bedtime and acknowledge your gratitude.

I am thankful and grateful for our connection. Our work together, ideas we have shared and moments we have spent are all what makes a difference. I wish you an abundance of blessings this year and the opportunity to share how grateful you are for these blessings.

 

 

Get Organized with Holiday Lists

 

Get organized with holiday lists

 

Lists are useful for making sure you have all the details covered. No need to remember every detail because you have it captured on your list. You can be more productive with a list because it keeps you moving forward with each step.

 

Holiday lists keep you organized during the busy holiday season.  Some are lists you keep all year and some are specific to this time of year. All require updating, some at the beginning of the season and some at the end of the season.

Here is a run down of the list of holiday lists that I keep.

List name

What is this list

and why use it?

How to use this list effectively

Month to use this list

Holiday card list Holiday card list for friends, family and colleagues Add names to this list all year long. Update each January with additions and deletions October
Gift list Gift list for the holiday season, includes those who receive homemade treats Update with items purchased all year and other items in gift closet November
Holiday party and dinner guest lists List of those attending your holiday party, Thanksgiving or your holiday dinner Invite family and friends for holiday dinners. Guests like to know they are included early so as to make other arrangements if necessary. November
Menu List of items you are making for your holiday party and/or your holiday dinner Create menu then create grocery list December
Homemade treat list List of items you are making as holiday treats Review recipes and purchase containers. Make treats one weekend. Delivery treat the next week. December
Travel list List of travel plans by person Review itineraries for travel and purchase travel arrangement. Share with your holiday hosts and other family members. October
Packing list List of what to pack to travel during the holidays List your toiletries, attire, shoes, electronics, and other travel items. Add specific items for winter and holiday travel All year, updated before winter travel
Contact list Names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of family and friends Use for a variety of uses all year long and during holidays All year

 

As you can see I am a list lover! Here are other lists to use too!

 

Hassle free Holidays for Families with ADHD

 

Hassle free holidays for families with adhd

 

Holidays are merry times for families.  For moms, dads, and family members with ADHD, there can be glitches with planning, timing, and finishing up in time for family time together. When it comes to family events, executive function limitations interfere with holidays in the ways we celebrate, the gifts we share and the time we spend with family.  Here are solutions to create hassle free holidays for families with ADHD.

 

Problem: Everything is important during the holidays. What do I do first and when do I do what? It all seems overwhelming.

Holidays can be magical and meaningful with planning. That planning starts with a calendar.  Ask your family about their special family traditions.  It’s tempting to say yes to everything, but the key take away is to limit your plans, decorating and parties. Once your family weights in, be sure all the family has access to the calendar to know the final plans and be a part of the fun.

 

Holiday plans require more time to complete. Start early on all holiday activities. It seems too early to start your holiday planning in October but it is not. For cards, take the photo in October, choose cards and have these printed in early November, and address the cards the week of Thanksgiving.    For gifts, go through your gift closet in October, finalize shopping in November, then mail presents the first week of December.  As you can see, October organizing and planning is key to holiday success. Set a deadlines for each task. A deadline will help you focus your time and energy.

 

Problem: There’s so much to do! How do I do it all?

There is no way to do it all during the holidays.  It’s also not possible to be the only family member decorating, gift giving and baking.  It’s time to look for help. Ask your family to partner with you, working in pairs to accomplish tasks. There’s many ways to get help around you.  There’s on demand delegation. You can find help with online tools to hire extra help at this time of year.  Take the semi-homemade approach and take help where you can get it from pre-cut groceries and delivery services. Ask teens who want to earn money for help with small tasks.  Be open to asking for help and accepting the “not completely perfect” solutions. When you spend extra time on a task, be sure it is valuable enough and worthy of that extra effort.

 

Problem: I can’t find the perfect gift for everyone on my list.

Find creative solutions to gift giving. Rather than many homemade gifts, choose one gift that includes an experience. Keep your gift giving for those who are especially close. Choose a small gift card for those who are service providers. Choose an organizing gift that can help you stay organized all year long. Order online in order to save time and money.  There are many ways to share the joy of gift giving.

 

Problem:  I am worn out before the fun begins.  I want to enjoy the holidays too.

Holidaze sets in early with too much to eat and too little sleep. Holiday fun is diminished with too little self care.  Be sure to keep true to your routines during this busy time of year. It’s easy to pass on the routines when you might miss out on fun.  Routines and self care make sure that you truly enjoy your holidays.

Give yourself the gift of extra self care. Extra self care looks like an afternoon to read your favorite magazine, a soak in the tub with lavender, or an early bed time.  Extra self care pays off in being ready to have fun.

 

Hassle free holidays start with knowing where the hassles begin and how to address these ahead of time.  Knowing your options and resources make a difference for holiday times.

 

Holiday Organizing Gifts

Holiday organizing gifts

 

If you are the practical, functional kind of gift giver, this post is for you!  Organizing gifts are the most cherished! These gifts give back to your recipient in so many ways.  Your gift gives a feeling of order, clarity in life, and an organized space.  Here’s five of my favorite holiday organizing gifts!

 

Chalkboard menu

Chalkboard menu

Every family loves to eat! Plan your weekly menu and share it with your family with a chalkboard menu in your kitchen.

Corkboard Cork board

Families have lots of reminders and invitations.  A family corkboard keeps everyone on track.

 

Hooks

Decorative hooks

Hooks help everywhere! Decorative hooks can be used in a hall for a landing strip, bathroom for towels, bedroom for bags and more! Amazon dot

Amazon Dot

Amazon Alexa helps you make lists, order groceries and much more!

 

Tile  Tile

Tile’s remote system helps you track the stuff you lose.

 

And that’s a wrap for the stuff!  I always encourage holiday gifts that are experiences instead off stuff. If you decide you must give stuff,  make it practical and functional this year!

Inside Secrets and Holiday Tips Used by this Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant

holiday tips

Holidays come around each year and each year we are looking forward to the real joy of the holiday. How do we professional organizers and productivity consultants make the holiday merry and bright? Here’s tried and true tips we use!

  • Organize as you decorate and undecorate.  Donate unused decorations right after the holiday. This way you are not storing decorations another year and you are keeping only what is most important and treasured.  Use an ornament organizer and mark your bins with specific contents to make decorating easier and more fun next year.
  • Start early if you decide to send holiday cards. Have your family photo ready by October.  As you receive cards, update your holiday card list.  If you decide to keep your cards for the next year, here’s a way to keep them year after year.
  • As you are going through the holiday season, make a note in your smart phone about what worked best in terms of holiday hacks. These are inside secrets you learned as the season progressed.  Here’s an example. Our Houston Zoo Lights are fabulous and you need to purchase tickets that morning in case of weather glitches and to be sure tickets are available that day.
  • With new and traditional recipes, make a note on the recipe what small changes you made.  Each year I make cream puffs and I have notes on what worked best with oven temperature and ingredients.
  • Keep your Christmas receipts together in a ziplock and ask for extra receipts for returns. You will eliminate hassle with returns.
  • Check in with your family on what family traditions to keep and what has gone by the wayside. Spending an evening relaxing at home and getting in bed early helps everyone enjoy the season.

Wishing you a very merry holiday season!

 

Keeping Extra Organized and Productive throughout the Holiday Season

 


 

Holidays add extra to our lives.  Whether it’s extra fun, extra work, or extra time,  there’s much more to think about and do.  When you are running on extra everything, keeping extra organized and productive this holiday season are critical.

 

Extra rest

We don’t think of extra rest at this time of year.  How can you add extra rest with an earlier bedtime?  Perhaps it’s an extra nap that is needed?  Think first of how to add extra rejuvenation to your week.

 

Extra help

It’s as simple as buying the cookie tray rather than making a dozen cookies.  Get extra help this season in any way you can, from food prep, home cleaning and extra hugs.   You will appreciate having this bonus.

 

Extra planning time

Schedules get criss-crossed this time of year.  There are multiple simultaneous events.  Be sure you double and triple check your plans and planner.  You will be happy to know what is planned by capturing it on your device or on paper.

 

Extra spiritual time

Holidays are about a greater meaning.  Keep the joy of the season in more than sprit by devoting time to devotion.   That can be reading, prayer, or meditation time for you as you seek the meaning of this time of year.

 

Extra work scheduling

The end of the year may be a big wrap up time for projects.  Schedule extra time to do a solid wrap up of what you have worked on this year.  Take extra time to let go of extra drafts and extra paper.

 

Wishing you EXTRA joy this holiday season!