Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Bowl Party Ideas For The Family

Super Bowl Party Ideas For the Family

Step 1

Send out invitations to the kids and families that you want to invite to the party. You can create your own invitations by printing a clip art image of a football onto brown card stock paper and writing the details of the party on the front of football.


Decorate the snack table with a tailgate theme. Place a blanket over your table and decorate with small footballs and plates, napkins, and utensils that represent the colors of the teams playing in the Super Bowl.


Provide a huge drink container (like that used to throw on the winning coach at the end of the game) filled with lemonade or some other cold drink. Set out plastic cups and let kids have fun getting their own drinks during the party.


Make hot dogs ahead of time and wrap them individually in aluminum foil, just like they do at the concession stands in stadiums. Put out some condiments, chopped onions, and relish for kids to add to their hot dogs. You can also make French fries and place them in paper cups, just like a real concession stand. Don't forget to put out potato chips, dips, and pretzels.


For dessert, make up a batch of cupcakes. Use green food coloring to color white icing. Pipe on the green icing, then use white icing to make lines and draw numbers on the cupcakes. Use small candy pieces for footballs.


Since kids are usually not interested in watching the entire game, plan some activities that they can do. One idea is to play a "Super Bowl Commercial Scavenger Hunt" game. The commercials are often the best part of the game. Before the party, write down the types of commercials typically shown during the Super Bowl, such as soda, fast food, and car commercials. Give children the list and have them cross off the commercials as they come on. You can also let the kids vote on their favorite commercials and have different categories, such as funniest, most creative or worst.


Another fun game to play for kids and adults is "The Secret Word" game. Pick a word that your guests are not allowed to say while the game is on. This could be the name of the opposing team or the word touchdown. Give each guest five football stickers and each time they hear someone say the secret word, they can take a sticker away. The person with the most stickers at the end of the game wins. Prizes can include pom poms or a football.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pantene Beautiful Lengths

Did you know that is takes 6, 8 inch ponytails, yes 6 pontails to make 1 wig??

My sister just donated her hair after growing it for months! What a great life changing event to be a part of for another women!

When you make a Pantene hair donation to Beautiful Lengths, you are contributing your hair to women who have lost their hair during their battle with cancer.

The Pantene Pro-V Beautiful Lengths campaign collects hair donations from throughout the United States and Canada. The hair collected is turned into wigs and distributed FREE to women suffering from the loss of their hair due to the effects of chemotherapy needed to fight the cancer that is ravaging their bodies.
The hair collected by Pantene is crafted into beautiful natural hair wigs. Working in collaboration with the American Cancer Society
, The Entertainment Industry Foundation and Hair U Wear, the wigs are given to women battling this terrible disease through one of the American Cancer Society’s many wig banks.
The average price of a well made human hair wig
is approximately $1,200 and most insurance companies cover only a small percentage of the cost, if anything at all.

For many of the women receiving a wig from the Pantene Pro-V Beautiful Lengths campaign, the chances of having a well made human hair wig seemed impossible as the illness often causes finances to be exhausted.

If you are interested in finding out more about the hair requirments and/or finding out how to put together a Cutting Event, please visit

Together, we are making a difference!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

great tips for you!

Spotless Microwave
The best way I have found to clean a microwave oven is to put a large measuring cup filled with water inside and let it come to a close boil. The steam loosens any particles left behind, and all you have to do is grab a paper towel and wipe it clean. Works like a charm!

Easy Tick Removal

Here's an easy way to remove ticks, especially if you're dealing with a wiggly child or pet, or cannot reach it easily with tweezers. Apply a generous amount of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and hold it there for 15-20 seconds. The tick will come out on its own and will be sticking to the cotton ball when you remove it. It works every time, and no trauma!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Peanut Butter

Organic or Not....Stop using peanut butter!

Major national brands of jarred peanut butter found in grocery stores are not affected by the PCA recall.

FDA and CDC recommendations for consumers include:

*Do not eat products that have been recalled and throw them away in a manner that prevents others from eating them.
*To determine if commercially-prepared or manufactured peanut butter/peanut paste-containing products (such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream) are subject to recall, consumers are urged first to visit FDA’s website and check the searchable database of recalled products.
*For information on products containing peanut butter from companies not reporting recalls, consumers may wish to consult the company’s website or call the toll-free number listed on most packaging. Information consumers may receive from the companies has not been verified by the FDA.
*If consumers cannot determine if their peanut butter, peanut butter/peanut paste-containing products or institutionally-served peanut butter contains PCA peanut butter/peanut paste, FDA recommends that they do not consume those products.
*Persons who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter are advised to consult their health care providers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's For Supper Ya'll? Baked Tilapia with White Wine & Herbs

Baked Tilapia with White Wine & Herbs

2 fresh Tilapia fillets, approximately 8-10oz each
150ml (1/4pint) medium white wine
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons freshly chopped mixed herbs
6 salad onions, diagonally sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2oz butter
1 teaspoon cornflour, blended with a little cold water
2 tablespoons creme fraiche

Arrange the Tilapia side by side in a lightly oiled roasting tin or ovenproof dish.
Pour over the wine, then sprinkle over the chopped garlic, most of the herbs, the salad onions and seasoning to taste. Place half the butter on each fish.

Cover with a sheet of lightly oiled foil, seal in the fish then bake in a preheated oven 350F, for 30-35 minutes.

Transfer the Tilapia to a serving dish and keep warm. Pour the juices into a pan, stir in the blended cornflour and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the creme fraiche, pour over and serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining herbs.

Cooking Time: Approximately 35 minutes Serves: 2

Recipe from American Tilapia Association

Friday, January 23, 2009

Treats from the Kitchen

Tip of the Day: Packing Baked Goods To-Go

By Sarah Meyer Walsh

When giving loved ones baked goods as gifts, I like to make sure the packaging is just as beautiful as the food is delicious.

One of my favorite sources for wrapping up loves of lemon pound cake or banana bread with chocolate chips are the Wooden Gift Baskets from The Bakers Catalogue.

They are practical and super cute with just a plain grosgrain ribbon running along the outside. AND the best part… They are oven-safe - so pour the batter right into the liners and when they come out of the oven just wrap and give to your sweetie!

Other packaging items to try are:

Bake-and-give pans are a festive way to give a gift from the heart: baked treats.

8” ring pans are 2 ¼” tall.
Perfect for fruitcakes, pound cakes, coffeecakes, holiday sweet breads, and more.
Bakeable, food-safe stiff coated paper pans are free-standing.
Simply bake, cool, add an overwrap, a bow, and you’re good to go.
Set of 12 pans.
Twine and accent band not included.
Oven-safe to 390°F.

Make your holiday treats the “star” of the table!
Bakeable, food-safe stiff coated paper pan holds the equivalent of an 8” round pan.
Ideal for brownies, bars, buns, coffeecake, or the sweet of your choice.
9” x 2 3/8”.
Set of 6 giveaway pans.
Oven-safe to 390°F.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Aunt B's Angel Cookie Company

I was honored today to receive an email from the owner of Aunt B's Angel Cookie Company. By word of mouth, Terri Rowe heard of The Divas In The Kitchen and is eager to start her chapter in Frederick Maryland.

Please check out Terri's website at and see how she is making a difference in the lives of others!!

The inspiration behind Aunt B’s Angel Cookies is to honor the
spirit of generosity and the love of charity.

Just who is Aunt B?

She is a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a Nanny, a friend.
She is understanding. She is kindness. She is caring
She is everything she believes we can be.
She is LOVE.

Aunt B’s Angel Cookies are presented in loving memory of
Beverly Carter
and to continue the legacy of unconditional love that
she shared with everyone she touched.

With that inspiration, Aunt B’s donates a portion
of it’s profits to Hope Alive, Inc. A “Haven for Hope” for
homeless women and children.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How to make a picture board

I thought I'd share the instructions on how to make a photo board because it, really is super easy and I think it's a great project because it's pretty and very useful.


1. cut piece of light plywood or MDF board1/2 yard/meter of fabric or more depending on your board size. You want enough to wrap about 2 inches around back. 1/2 yard/meter or more of light quilt batting 4 yards/meters of ribbon of choice. I recommend something a little stronger so it doesn't give out under the tacks, 1 pack of upholstery tacks

*Tools Needed: Saw to cut the wood, Pencil, Ruler, Drill and large drill bit, Iron, Staple gun, Scissors, Hammer


1. Decide how big you want your board and cut wood to size.
2. Decide if board will hang portrait style or landscape. On the top edge use the ruler to find your mid point, and about 1 1/2 inches down from the edge make a mark. This will be where the board will hang on the wall from the nail.

3.Use the drill to drill a hole at your mark.

4. Iron fabric nice and smooth.
5. Lay fabric on a large surface right side (that's the good side, or the side with the print) down on the surface.
6. Center the quilt batting on the fabric.
7. Center the board on the fabric and quilt batting.
8. Time to staple! NOW, this is very get the board equally smooth, you want to pick a side as your start point. Pull the fabric and batting fairly tight and staple it to the board. Go to the side directly opposite and do the same. Do the third side, and then the fourth. You should have one staple in each side's center.
9. Continue to pull and staple around the board, working out from the first staples you put in. Don't forget to keep moving around the board!

10. Turn the board over. Good work so far, but you're not quite done yet.

11. Time to place the ribbons. Decide roughly where you want your ribbons to go and how far you want them spaced. Starting with the longest pieces cut ribbon to size, making sure you have about 2 inches of ribbon on each end to wrap around the board back, and lay them on the board on the diagonal. Do this for all of your pieces. This is just to get a visual.

12. Set all your ribbon aside, but in an organized fashion!
13. Starting with the longest piece(s), lay the ribbon on the board. Hold each end in place and flip the board over, then place face down on your surface. Tack down one end with staple gun. Pull other end taught and staple down. Do this for all of your ribbons working out from largest to smallest.
14. Turn the board over so it's right side up again. Your ribbons should be criss crossing over the board.
15. At each ribbon intersect you want to hammer in an upholstery tack. This will tighten the ribbon even more and make it so your pictures won't slide out.
16. TA DA! You now have a beautiful photo board! Good job.*If you don't want to use upholstery tacks you could use some short nails and then glue gun whatever you wanted, like buttons over the nail. You would just need to flatten the nails on the back of the board so they don't rip your wall apart. I hope you have fun with this. We would love to see pictures of any boards that people make. I know I don't have exact measurements for things so it might be a bit hard for people that like that, but it's just the way my brain works - nothing really exact, just sort of feel it through. Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Green in the Bathroom

How to Go Green: In the Bathroom
[compliments of Planet Green]

The bathroom is the room where we begin and end each day, with a variety of cleaning routines designed to help keep us healthy. Odd then, that the room in which we clean our teeth, our skin and the rest of our bodies (not to mention dispose of our waste) is often filled with toxic chemicals, and, even then, not very clean itself. So, how do you stay clean, promote good health, and go green in your bathroom?
As with many sustainable lifestyle subjects, when it comes to going green in the bathroom, one hand washes the other. Eschewing excessive water use -- and thousands of gallons of wasted water -- avoiding a deluge of disposable trash, and a myriad of toxic cleaners supposed to make the room "safe" for your use, all can come from a few simple steps that combine to help you live greener in the bathroom.
So, to make your bathroom a greener place, we've compiled a bevy of tips to help clear the air, go with the low-flow, and keep the toxics out of your way. Changing up your habits and greening your bathroom will help make the planet greener, your home healthier, and your personal health more robust.

Check out to learn about the 10 Tips listed below!

Don't Let So Much Water Go Down The Drain
Flush the Toilet with Care
Ditch Those Disposables
Think About What Goes in Your Sink
Clear the Air with Green Cleaners
Take Green Cleaning into Your Own Hands
Keep Your Skin Free and Clear with Green Personal Care Products
Go Green with Towels and Linens
Shower Yourself with a Safe Curtain

Maintain Your New Green Ways

Monday, January 19, 2009

What's For Supper Ya'll? Chicken with Champagne - ooh la la!

Chicken with Champagne


Feel free to use dry white wine in this recipe if you don't have the Champagne.

4 boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 green onions thinly sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup Champagne or dry white wine
1/4 cup pecan pieces, optional
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Wash chicken pieces; pat dry with paper towels.
Combine flour, Creole seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a food storage bag. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat lightly.

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine butter with olive oil. Add chicken pieces and brown lightly on both sides. Add green onions and cook for 1 minute longer. Add champagne and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Simmer briskly, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender.

Meanwhile, toast pecans for 2 to 3 minutes in a small dry skillet over medium heat; set aside. Add cream to the chicken and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer. Add parsley and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve chicken with the sauce and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of toasted pecan pieces, if using.

Serves 4.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Perfect Cup 0f Coffee


Few quests in human history have so captivated men and women from around the world than the search for the perfect cup of coffee. Yes, believe it or not, coffee connoisseurs have dedicated entire lifetimes in the pursuit of finding that one cup of the most heavenly coffee ever made. If you're like most people, however, you're just looking for an easy way to make a great-tasting cup of coffee to help get you started in the morning. The following 10 Timeless Tips to a Perfect Cup of Coffee should help you on you your mini-quest.

1. You Get What You Pay For
When it comes to coffee makers, quality counts. If you buy the cheapest coffee maker on the market, chances are you'll end up with an equally "discounted" flavor in your cup. To assure yourself of great tasting coffee day after day, check out the Bunn, Cuisinart, Mr. Coffee, Krups, and Senseo brands. Alternatively, check out a French press. For that personal cup of coffee, you can never go wrong with a French press!

2. Clean as a Whistle
You wouldn't cook your favorite entrée in a dirty pan, would you? So, why are so many people surprised by how bad their homemade coffee tastes when they use the same coffee pot every day out without ever cleaning it? Try baking soda and water for great cleanse after every pot you make.

3. It's All in the Bean
If you aren't grinding your own coffee, where have you bean? The best tasting coffees come from freshly ground, top quality beans. You can savor the flavor of gourmet barista-style coffees right in your own home by simply grinding up small batches of your own brew. To top off the perfect cup, you'll want to use Arabica beans-simply the best in the world! Store your beans and ground coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dark place at a temperature between 50º and 70º F.

4. Roasted and Toasted-Making the "Most-est" Flavor
Once you've decided upon the highest quality beans, you'll want to consider how you like your beans roasted. Roasting releases the flavor of the bean and helps determine whether your coffee is mellow, rich, or smooth. Experiment with a variety of roasts and choose which one you like best!

5. Grind It Up
Despite the fact that many store-bought coffees say "For All Coffeemakers," selecting the right grind for your coffee maker is key to crafting that perfect cup. A general guideline for grinds includes:
· Automatic drip: medium grind· Plunger or French press: coarse grind · Percolator: coarser grind · Espresso maker: fine grind

6. What's in Your Water?
When it comes to coffee, fresh is the name of the game and, believe it or not, fresh water will make a world of difference in every cup. Think about it: Since your coffee is 99% water, you'll want to make sure you choose the best tasting water you can find. Bottled, distilled, or purified water seems to do the trick for H2O-conscious countless coffee connoisseurs.

7. Measure It
To assure yourself of perfection every time, you'll want to make sure you spoon out the correct amount of coffee grinds. Of course, your personal taste preference should be the ultimate judge, but a general rule of thumb is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water.

8. Bling, Bling in Your Coffee?
While we're not talking diamonds or platinum, using gold (or stainless steel) mesh filters in your coffee maker will go a long way toward keeping your cup of coffee tasting great. Many paper filters release bleaches, chlorine, and dyes that can leave you with a bitter cup of coffee. If you must use paper, go with unbleached filters for the best results.

9. Brew It Up Right
A key to great tasting coffee every time is making sure your water is "off the boil"-a fancy term that simply means "not quite to boiling." To achieve this water temperature, bring your water to a boil and then let it cool down for few moments (195-205° F) and you'll assure yourself of a perfect cup every time.

10. Drink It Down in Style
Drink your freshly brewed, gourmet coffee in a glass or porcelain mug. Unless you like the bitter taste, avoid reheating your coffee in either the microwave or on the stove.
If you keep brewing with these ten timeless tips in mind, you're sure to find your cup runneth over with great tasting coffee every time!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quick Grocery Store Guide

What do I buy? What don't I buy? Organic that is......

Choose Organice for these items especially for infants and children.

Here is an easy list for you to keep in your purse and eventually memorize~

Apples, Cherries, Imported Grapes, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Strawberries

Bell Peppers, Celery, Lettuce, Potatoes, Spinach

Monday, January 12, 2009

What's For Supper Ya'll? Gumbo!

Chicken, Sausage, and Shrimp Gumbo

1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 green pepper, chopped

1 medium sized onion, chopped

2 cans (14.5 oz.) chicken broth

1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth

1 lb. boneless,skinless chicken thighs

1/2 lb. chorizo sausage, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped

1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme

1 Tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled & deveined

1 cup long grain rice, cooked as directed on the package

In a large soup pot, heat oil over med-low heat. Gradually stir in flour, and cook, stirring, until mixture is dark brown ~ about 15 minutes.

Mix the broth in slowly and blend until smooth. At the same time you start the roux start to cook the vegetables: In a non-stick skillet, over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until hot. Add celery, garlic, green pepper, and onion and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

To the roux-thickened broth add the stewed tomatoes, chicken, chorizo, herbs, salt, black pepper and the vegetables. Add 4 cups of dark beer or water and heat to boiling.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off any fat that comes to the surface. Add the shrimp and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the shrimp turn opaque.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What Can I Bring?

I found this great cookbook written by Anne Byrn. These recipes are great when you're trying to find something new and easy to bring to a gathering!

You'll never be stumped for potluck ideas when you have this handy cookbook around. It features more than 200 easy-to-tote dishes for any get-together from family reunion picnics to church suppers, along with tips for transporting and making big batches. You'll discover finger foods, hot and cold soups, salads, party main dishes, desserts, and a full chapter of loaves and other gifts from the kitchen. Each recipe includes Tote Notes (how best to transport the dish), Big Batch (how to multiply the recipe), and When You Arrive (adding finishing touches). The cookbook also includes super-quick "Grab & Gos" for each section and etiquette tips for working in someone else's kitchen.

Recipes include:
Asian Summer Rolls with a Trio of Sauces
White Corn Salad with Fresh Thyme
Oven-Barbecued Beef Brisket
Southern-Style Pulled Pork
Parmesan Chicken Rolls
Peach and Blueberry Crisp
German Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Sour Cherry Bread
Sun-Cooked Peach Preserves
and many more


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Soup Throwdown!

Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitchen Fundraiser

1st Annual Soup Throwdown

Set for February 7th!

3 local chefs will be cooking up their best soup. Come enjoy the soup and vote on your favoriteFeb 7th, 11:00-1:00 at Angels and Sparrows in Huntersville (behind New Friendship Church on corner of 115 and Ramah Church Rd)Meal includes soup, bread, drink, and dessert.

Togehter We Are Making A Difference!


What is it about January? As soon as the ball drops, your mind immediately turns to all the stuff you’re absolutely going to do this year. The thing is, they’re usually the same promises you made last year. Forget it been-there, tried-that. Commit to new ones that are less daunting, more doable and guaranteed to make you feel great.

What are your 2009 New Year’s Resolutions?

A few of my resolutions (or goals as I like to think of them) are:

*Enjoy each day and savor each moment with my 2 children
*Eat healthier!! I always say lose weight or go on a diet but this year is different although I do want to lose a few pounds I figure I need to start with my eating habits.
*Take more pictures of my family and friends. (Time flies… I need to capture more.)
*Read more. (I’m so busy that I don’t spend enough time enjoying down time or just me time.)

Now it’s your turn… what do you resolve to do this year?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

If you have not checked out this site, it is a MUST!! I love all the products I have gotten so far and love the fact that they donate back to our planet. Can't get better than that. They sell Eco-friendly bags as well as all kinds of bpa free drinking bottles.

This company has been fighting the massive over-consumption of plastic shopping bags since 2002 and have made a significant impact - inspiring hundreds of news stories and empowering individuals with practical products and activist tools.

Please share if you've ordered from this site because it is always nice to have positive reviews of items before purchasing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What's For Supper Ya'll? Honey Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Dijon

Honey Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Dijon
This recipe serves: 4

1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup honey
1 lemon, zested, halved and juiced
4 cloves garlic
peeled1/2 yellow onion, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season inside and out with salt and pepper.
2. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan.
3. Roughly chop two sprigs of the rosemary. In a small bowl, mix together Dijon mustard, honey, chopped rosemary, lemon juice and lemon zest.
4. Place the remaining sprig of rosemary, a lemon half, the onion quarters and garlic in the cavity of the bird. Using a pastry brush, coat the outside of the bird with the lemon honey glaze.
5. Place the roasting pan in the oven and baste the chicken every 15 minutes with any remaining glaze. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 180° and juices run clear, about one hour. Remove and discard the skin. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serving Size: 1/4 of chicken Number of Servings: 4
Per Serving
24 g
7 g
2 g
47 g
Saturated Fat
1 g
333 mg

Friday, January 2, 2009

Putting Away Christmas

Putting Away Christmas: How to organize your holiday decorations

Ready to reclaim your house from Christmas? This is your online instruction manual to get you started on the task of putting away Christmas. Do it now, and you will be pleasantly surprised when you go to access your holiday decorations next Christmas. Our five step process to an organized holiday:

Group your holiday items into categories;
Obtain appropriate containers;
Label containers;
Number containers in order of use;
Other great holiday organizing tips!
Group into Categories

First, you need to come up with your broad categories for organizing your treasures. Remember you want to be able to find them easily next year so group them the way you think about your stuff. I have given you some suggestions below to help you get started.

Outdoor Decorations - these would include lights for outdoor trees, tree stands, spotlights, free standing decorations and wreaths.

Indoor Tree Decorations - strings of lights, tree stands, tree skirts
Tree Ornaments - individual ornaments - hand made and purchased
Holiday Cards - addresses, new cards, old cards that have sentimental value
Decorative Items - things that hang on the wall (wreaths & pictures), things that are decorations for a room (bath, living room, bedrooms, dining room), things that have to do with food and entertaining (platters, dishes, glass ware).
Linens - bed linens, pillows, throws, towels for the bath, kitchen towels, table linens.
Wrapping items - paper, bows, ribbon, boxes, gift bags, tags, tape, scissors, pens.
Children's books - my kids are older now so we take them off the shelves during the year and store them with the holiday items. Next to Christmas cards this is the first box down from the attic.

NOTE: Don't pack something away that you no longer love. This is the time to weed out the decoration or other items that you no longer like or need.

Obtain Appropriate Containers
Secondly, once you have sorted and purged any items you no longer want you can now find the best container that would best suit your needs. You can choose boxes made especially for ornaments, wreathes, Christmas trees and gift wrap. Some of my clients prefer the solid red and green plastic containers that are easy to distinguish from their other storage containers. Others prefer clear so you can see what is inside the box. Others prefer to use the original packaging that trees and other decorations come in, in addition to plastic containers. It is entirely dictated by your preferences.

Label the Containers
Third, label your boxes on the outside with the broad categories. On the inside make a master list of the contents. It can be as specific as each item described or it can be as broad as you like. The point is to make it easy to find that special something when you are decorating next year.

Number the Containers
Fourth, number the boxes in the order that you will bring them out the next holiday season. For example Box #1 could be all the Christmas and Holiday cards because it is the first thing you do at the beginning of the season before you start decorating. Box #2 might be the tree lights, stand and other accessories.

Other Holiday Organizing Tips
Finally some other ideas to think about to help you get your Christmas and holiday decorations put away organized.

Consider getting rid of decorations that you no longer use or want. Why not share them with a relative or give them to a charity? Don't pack something away that you no longer love.
You don't have to decorate using everything every year. This year we had 2 indoor trees with different themes and colors of lights. Next year we might have something totally different.
Buy containers only after you know what you need.

Separate out stuff for your kids now and add to it each year. This way it won't be such an overwhelming task. When I got married my mom gave me the box of ornaments and Christmas decorations that were mine. She had started separating out my sibling and my ornaments when we were in high school. Included in this storage box was family heirlooms as well as all those things I made in grade school.

Make note of what you are missing and put this list in Box #1. That way at the beginning of next year you can take your list to the store and buy yourself a new star or string of light.
You don't have to do it all at once. Maybe this year take the time to sort and toss the strings of light. Next year you can be more ruthless with the ornaments.

Easy Chicken Pasta

Easy Chicken Pasta

What's For Supper Ya'll?

White Beans, Pasta and Chicken
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner

Featured Charity of The Week

If you're looking for a cause...

American Red Cross