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One of the surest ways to arrive at any holiday with less stress is to create a plan for the day, including the week leading up to the actual holiday. For Easter the timeline starts on the Monday prior to Easter Sunday, giving you six days to finalize holiday preparations. By hopping through one or two tasks a day you’ll get it all done and have time to actually enjoy the holiday with your guests. Here’s a suggested countdown. Happy Easter!Read More
Who can believe that January is nearly over, and our next holiday is just two weeks away? Never fear … with just one task or two a day beginning February 1, you’ll sail through Valentine’s Day on Cupid’s wings.
Here’s your day-by-day countdown to keep on track over the next two weeks. Be sure to add the tasks to your planner.
1 – Add a few touches of Valentine’s Day around the house: a wreath on front door, a collection of red and pink and white candles on a sideboard, or a heart-shaped dish full of fragrant potpourri on your night stand are just a few ideas. The “LOVE” votives shown above are surprisingly easy and oh-so-affordable.
2 – Make a list of the Valentines you wish to send. Purchase greeting cards and children’s Valentines to hand out at school, or use an online service like hallmark.com or Plaxo to send your cards for you.
3 – Not sending greeting cards this year? Schedule e-cards today for delivery on the 14th.
4 – Read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, each a perfectly crafted romance. No time to read? Download an audiobook on sites like iTunes and audible.com and listen during your commute or on the treadmill.
5 – Make heart-smart snack mix. Combine 1/3 c. each of three kinds of dried fruits (dried cranberries, diced dried apricots, raisins, or dried cherries, etc.) and 2/3 c. each of roasted nuts and seeds (try a mix of almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds). Package 1/3 c. portions in snack-sized zipper bags and stash in your desk, your tote and the kids’ backpacks.
6 – Plan your Valentine’s Day menu and make your shopping list. Purchase non-perishable items today, and the perishables on the 13th. Dining out on the big day? Finalize plans and make reservations.
7 – Plan the table decorations for your Valentine’s Day dinner. Layer red table runners or placemats with silver charger plates, your favorite china, red roses grouped in a small silver bowl and plenty of candles. (Tip: Tie clear votive cups with pink or red organza ribbons and use unscented candles so the scent of your delicious dinner won’t be overpowered.)
8 – Mail Valentine cards. (Remember that first class postage went up a penny on January 28, 2013.)
9 – Purchase chocolates to surprise your co-workers or friends. Indulge in a piece or two of dark chocolate yourself!
10 – Enjoy a bubble bath surrounded by candlelight, perhaps with a glass of wine or Champagne (pink of course!). Or, add an ounce of Chambord® raspberry liqueur to a flute before topping off with bubbly.
11 – Have kids sign their Valentines for distribution at school.
12 – Make heart-shaped mini cakes or Valentine’s Day cookies. Or, try these crisped rice heart treats!
13 – Shop for perishable food items for tomorrow’s meal.
14 – Spend time with your Valentine or host a chocolate tasting party with your girlfriends. A viewing of Pride and Prejudice is likewise in order!Read More
National Handwriting Day is coming up on January 23, but get out those pens now to write a note of thanks or send a Valentine’s Day wish to U.S. troops. The non-profit group amillionthanks.org forwards cards, notes, letters and even emails to military personnel serving at home and abroad, or who may be injured in hospitals.
The deadline for Valentine messages is January 15.
Founded in 2004 by a high school freshman, A Million Thanks quickly reached its goal of sending a million cards to military service members, and to date has sent more than 5 million messages.
Anyone can write a message of thanks and appreciation for the troops’ military service. There are a few rules, though, such as no confetti or glitter, and no negative messages. A complete list of guidelines, as well as sample messages, may be found on the organization’s website.
Take your completed notes to a local drop-off center (click here for locations), or bundle your cards and notes in stacks of 50 and mail them to:
A Million Thanks
17853 Santiago Blvd. #107-355
Villa Park, CA 92861
The group accepts cards, notes and letters all year, but there are deadlines for holidays. Here’s a complete list:
- Valentines cards and letters: postmarked no later than January 15.
- Memorial Day themed cards: postmarked no later than April 15.
- Fourth of July themed cards: postmarked no later than June 1.
- Thanksgiving cards and letters: postmarked no later than November 1.
- Christmas/holiday cards and letters: postmarked no later than December 1.
This is a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation for our military personnel, and is a good activity for schools, church groups, families and individuals alike. If you know a service member who would like to receive mail, submit his or her address to AMillionThanks@aol.comRead More
Several friends asked about the floral arrangement I made for New Year’s Eve after I posted a photo of my table on Facebook, so I thought I’d share how I made it. The technique may be adapted for any number of holidays or occasions, from baby showers to Easter.
1. Start with a large, clear cylindrical vessel about 7 inches high and 6.5 inches wide. I used the small Bosphorus Bowl from Pottery Barn.
2. Add about 1 inch of base material; here I used kosher salt to mimic snow.
3. Insert a jar, about 2 to 2.5 inches wide at the top and just lower than the edge of the outer vessel. I snagged a gravy jar from the recycling bin.
4. Fill the space between the jar and the vessel with small glass ball ornaments or other filler.
5. Add water to the jar almost to the top. Arrange a dozen roses (these are from the grocery store) in the jar. Be sure to cut the stems at an angle with a sharp pair of scissors and remove any greenery and wilting outer petals.
6. Fill in the arrangement with greenery. I picked up the evergreens shown at the grocery store, but any evergreens will work.
7. I completed the arrangement with a few noisemakers tucked in here and there for a bit of interest.
All in all, it took about 15 to 20 minutes to make this arrangement. I like it so well, I think I’ll try it for Easter with artificial grass as the base material and jelly beans for the filler. Baby’s breath or statice could substitute for the evergreens with pink roses or tulips. Hmmm. I’ve just inspired myself!Read More