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Scattered Squirrel

Scattered Squirrel: November 2012

November 30, 2012

Holiday Planner and Link Party

Hi everyone!  Happy last day of November.  I can't believe that the year has gone by so fast.  The final countdown to Christmas starts tomorrow, and I got my planner put together just in time!

I want my Holidays planner to be something that I can use year after year, and I tried to keep that in mind when I created the printables for it.  I want it to act as a family reference book, as much as I want it to act as a planner.  Like all good reference books, I needed to keep the ability to customize and add to it.  Keeping all of that in mind, I gathered up my supplies.

My Supply List:

  • Binder
  • Page Protectors
  • Divider Page
  • Printables
  • Large Repossitionable  Post-It tabs
  • Medium Repossitionable Avery tabs (not shown in picture)
  • Sharpie for labeling tabs
  • Pen for filling out printables
I made the divider page by trimming scrapbook paper to fit the page protector, and added the "Christmas" label with double sided tape.  I just quickly made up the label on the computer and cut it out.

I added a Post-It tab onto the divider because I plan on adding other holidays into this planner.  I used subsection tabs across the top to make it quick and easy to find the info I need.

Because a few of the subsections were a little larger than others I added the Avery tabs to the side, again, to help make it quick and easy to get to the info I need.

Here's how I grouped everything together.

On the other side of the divider page, I tucked in the Getting Ready checklist.  I figured this one need to be right at the front.

Across from the Getting Ready checklist are my Decorations Master List.  So when I open my Christmas section, this is what I see:

I decided to follow up these with the Greeting Card Tracker.

On the other side of this printable is the Address Book printable.  (not shown) And then the next starts with the Gift Giving Tracker.

Followed by multiple pages of the Gift Buying Guide and Wishlist.

Then comes Family Favourites.  I put the Favourite Goodies and Favourite Dishes printables back to back for this one.  I think this section might grow to include more items, but I'm not sure yet. And just after those is the Food and Entertaining section.

This section started with the Holiday Menu planner followed by the Cooking Plan and Baking List...

And in the back pocket of the binder I tucked in a few copies of the Decorations Box Labels.

That's all there was to it.  It took more time to photograph than it did to put it together. 

Every time I open my planner, it makes me smile.  I feel like I'm approaching this holiday season with more of a plan, and in a strange way, having that plan, makes me feel as though I can handle the spontaneity that inevitably crops up, without fear, worry or regret, and there's nothing better than being able to drop everything for some spur of the moment seasonal fun!  

So, who's up for a link party?  I can't wait to see what holiday stuff you've been up too, and if you haven't been up to anything holiday related, that's ok too, link up another post of your choice!  There are two rules, please don't link up any give-aways, and please try to check out one or two of the other links.  That's it.  This party is open until the end of the year (December 31st, 11:59 pm PST)  Link up as many times as you would like!  It you want to link back to this post, that would totally awesome, but it's not necessary!

Serenity you

Linking up at
Serenity you

Freedom Fridays

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November 28, 2012

A Couple of Holiday Checklists

Hi everyone, how is your week going?  Can you believe how fast November is coming to a close?  I can't!  But at the same time, I also can't wait for Saturday.  I'm so eager to get going on the holiday decorating, but I'm being really good, letting the anticipation build.  I've almost finished putting together my Holiday Planner.  I only need a couple more printables to complete it.  These printables were a PAIN to make.  Actually, the making of them was pretty easy, PRINTING them was the pain.  For whatever reason, one of the fonts I chose decided that it would let me print every letter but the letter "I" unless the "I" was immediately to the right of an "F".  Very weird.  I tried everything I could think of, and finally decided to give up the fight and change the font.  It was one of the strangest things I've come across yet with the printables.

Anyway, after all that fiddling around, I'm here to share with you the final two printables for the holiday planner.  The first one, I have to admit, probably should have been one of the first ones I made.  I just didn't think about it until the other day when I was going through list after list of stuff to do.  I had one of those "Duuuh!" moments, and decided to compile all my little lists into one big list.  What were the lists for, you ask?  Ummm.... everything I need to do to get ready for the holidays.  (I am hanging my head right now.)  I couldn't believe I didn't think to make this before.  Every year I do the same things to get ready for the holidays, and every year I write out a dozen new lists so I don't forget.  No more!

Here is my Getting Ready checklist!

free printable, holiday planner, checklist, things to do, list, gift unwrapping kit checklist

It's pretty straight forward, just a list of things I need to remember to do to get ready for the holidays.  Because this is a "help me be prepared" list, I also included my checklist for our Gift Unwrapping Kit.  I know that sounds weird, but every year we seem to need the same things, and every year I forget about them until they are needed and them I'm scrambling on Christmas morning.  A couple of years ago we started corralling all the most needed things together and it made for such a calmer morning that I don't think I could ever go back.  As the years go by, I add to the list of things we need on hand, like bandaids and polysporin.  I don't know about in your home, but in ours, someone usually ends up cutting fingers on cardboard boxes (that would mainly be me!) getting paper cuts from the wrapping paper (...again, that's mainly me) or slicing open a finger because she's rushing through cutting up potatoes or something else ... ok, so it's me!  I'm a clutz, bandaids and polysporin are a must to have on hand! 

And if you're wondering about some of those items on the end of the list, like checking flashlight batteries and filling the propane tank, let me explain.  We used to live far up in northern BC.  Power outages were not uncommon, especially in the winter.  You just never know when you might need to fire up the grill and move the bird outdoors to finish cooking.  Just because we're now in southern BC doesn't mean I need to be any less prepared.  

The last printable was actually inspired by a conversation I had a while ago with my best friend.  We were talking about all the things you need to remember when hosting a party, and how if you don't do it often, or haven't done it in a while, it's easy to forget some of that stuff, even the simplest things can get overlooked.  While we're not planning any parties, as yet, I don't want to find myself unprepared, so I whipped up a Hostess Cheat Sheet, to remind me of all the little things I might forget about.

free printable, holiday planner, checklist, party planner,

This one is pretty simple.  I usually start a week out from the party date, so I wrote down everything I would need to do and sort of broke up into increments that I felt were manageable.  Hopefully this will help keep holiday get togethers and parties more stress free!

And there you have it, the last of the printables for the Holiday Planner (I think... you'll be the first to know if there's more!)  I will be back on Friday with pictures of the finished product, and I'm inviting everyone to link up their own holiday posts, anything holiday related is welcome!  Can't wait to see you there!

Are you ready for the holidays?  Have you started decorating all ready?  What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

Linking up at:

The DIY Dreamer

Organize and Decorate Everything        In Designer Jeans
Organizing Made Fun

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November 27, 2012

Lighthouse Park

This weekend Travis really wanted to get out and do something just for fun.  No errands, no rushing around, just get out and have some nice relaxing fun with the boys.  

Our destination was Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.  It's a beautiful park!  It was so relaxing walking through the trees.  We didn't make it to the lighthouse, because someone (me) chose the wrong path to take.  :-(  But we're planning on going back, leaving earlier and spending a good few hours wandering around.   One of the plus sides to this park, is that we didn't have to pay to park, which, so far, seems like a rare treat in the Lower Mainland!

Here's some of the pictures I took while we were there.

Liam was having fun leading the way!

The trees were so tall, it felt like a whole different world.

We got there late in the afternoon, and the sun was sinking low in the sky.  It looked so beautiful as it peeked through the trees.

Ferns, moss, mushrooms and more were there in abundance.

Our teen contemplating climbing up.

We made it out to Juniper Point.  The bark on many of the trees had been worn away from the wind.

My boys, checking out the horizon.

The sun was getting ready to set.  It was such a beautiful scene.

One of my favourite pictures of the day.  

It was a great way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.  It's nice to get away from it all for a little while, and just enjoy doing something together as a family.  If you're in the area and looking for an easy hike and some fantastic views I strongly suggest checking out Lighthouse Park.

Do you ever go on mini escapes to local parks?  Do you have a favourite family spot?

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November 26, 2012

Holiday Decorating and Some Printables

Hi everyone, I hope you all have had a great week and weekend!  To my American friends, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  It was a busy week, here in my little world.  Between cold/flu season rearing it's ugly head, a Teddy Bear picnic requiring a homemade wagon for the parade, a Library field trip and so much more, my head has just been spinning.  Between all of this I've been tackling each room in the house, giving it a good once over before the holiday season really hits.  Next week is the big one here, on Saturday I can officially start decorating and playing Christmas music to my heart's content!

Because Travis was off this weekend, but not next, I decided to pull out the decorations so we could get started on decorating the outside, specifically the lights.  We won't be turning them on until the 1st, but we wanted them ready  to go.  So, I pulled out all the boxes and bins and then had to go through them all to find where I put what.  Oh dear!  While it was fun to go through everything, it was time consuming.  So time consuming that we never did get to hanging up the lights.  It just took too long to find the outside ones amid all the boxes.  I wasn't too impressed with how I put things away two years ago.  (last year we went out of town for Christmas, so we didn't decorate) After all that grief, I decided that I need to do a few things differently from now on.  Firstly, I need to organize our stuff better, as in, I think I need to group it into categories, like indoor and outdoor.  Maybe even take it a few steps further, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.  I also want something that I can look at as reference.... I want a Master List.  Since my packing list worked so well for our move, I decided to adapt it for the Holiday Planner, and I made an Indoor and Outdoor one.

free printable, holiday planner, home management binder, organizing, packing list
free printable, holiday planner, home management binder, organizing, packing list

They are pretty straight forward.  Each box is for a different storage container or box, and it keeps track of what is stored in it, where I'm storing the box/container itself (we have two spots where we store Christmas decorations) as well as a spot for priority.  That spot is more for when it comes time to store everything away until next year.  What I usually put up first will be the last things put away, so they are the first things that come out.

I know that master lists don't always work for everyone.  Many people prefer to just use a label on the box. Well I thought of that too!  

free printables, decorations, organizing, holiday planner, home management binder

These ones print two to a page, simple cut along the dotted line in the middle.  There's a spot for listing what's in the box, a little checklist area in case you want to mark off what category of items are in the box, and I left space for a picture of the content. 

I'm now really excited for Holidays to get here!  I've only got a couple of printables left to share with you later on this week, and then I'll show you how I put it all together.  As always, to grab your copy of the printables click the caption under the photo.  

I hope you all are having a great start to this final week of November.  Can you believe how fast this month went by?  Are you ready for the Holidays?  Anything left on your to do list?  Have you started decorating or shopping yet?

Linking up at:

New Nostalgia                   A Bowl Full of Lemons
   The Fun In Functional @ Practically Functional - Wednesdays @ 8am   Organize and Decorate Everything

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November 20, 2012

Holiday Meals and More Free Printables

Is there anything more yummy than those special holiday dishes?  You know the ones I mean, the ones we wait all year long for; the ones that just don't taste right at any other time of the year?  For me they are right up at the top of my holiday favourites list, along with Christmas Music and eagerly awaiting Christmas morning when I get to enjoy watching the magic of the season sparkle in my kid's eyes.

Last year we were so lucky to be able to spend time with my Mom and Dad and brother and his family, and it was pure joy, but normally it's just Travis, myself and our boys.  Because it's usually just the four of us, we tend to keep things simple.  Over the years we've slowly added a few more dishes, bringing in our childhood favourites, trying something new.  But I really didn't have a system in place for keeping track of all of it, which is why when I decided to put together a Holiday Planner, I knew the menu part was going to be pretty important, and was more than likely going to take a few pages to encompass what I wanted.

One of these years I want to do up a BIG family dinner, and just like the baking and other goodies, I want to be able to include everyone's favourite holiday dish.

free printable, meal planner, menu, potluck planner

So, I made the above printable.  When I made this, I had two uses in mind.  The first, being a way to keep track of who likes what, and the second one being that this could easily be used as a potluck planner.

Of course, this will only go so far, what about the main holiday meal?  Well, I whipped up a little something for that as well.

free printable, holiday planner, party planner, meal planner, menu planner, checklist, guestlist

This is where I can keep track of what we're planning to serve, who we've invited, as well as what we're drinking, what I want to put on the table, (so I can make sure we have what I need, like say... candles!) and a place to jot down ideas or plans for place settings.  Plus a small area for those little reminders or other useful pieces of info that come along.

When it comes to making up a big meal, I know that having a time line, and a plan is always a good thing.  Many items can be made ahead of time, sometimes even a week or two ahead (depending on what you're making)  and I know that there are going to be things that I'm going to need to pick up from the store.  To help keep track, I borrowed a few ideas from my baking printables and combined them into my "Cooking Plan" form.

free printable, shopping list, check list, planner, recipe reference/index

This one is pretty self explanatory too.  Like with the baking sheet, I included a spot for jotting down recipes we're going to be using and where we will find them, as well as spot to mark down if we can make the recipe ahead of time.  There's even room to jot down how early we can make it.  I also included and undated 2 week calendar, because I can't see being able to make anything much further ahead than that.
And there you have it.  I'm hoping these babies will help us plan our Christmas meal a little more carefully, and maybe even be able to fit in a few more dishes that we always mean to make but never seem to have time for.  And when that Christmas yet to come arrives, I'll be ahead of the game!  
As always, to grab a copy of your own click the captions.  (not the pictures)  And if you have any trouble viewing or printing the PDFs, send me an email and I will gladly email you a copy of the ones you want.  I am working on a better way to bring the files to you, it's just going to take a little more time until it's set up.  Until then, if you have any troubles with them, please let me know.
So what do you think?  Will these help you?  Do you plan your holiday meals or do you wing it?  Do you have favourite holiday dishes that you look forward to year after year?

Linking up at:

The DIY Dreamer

In The Old Road

The Fun In Functional @ Practically Functional - Wednesdays @ 8am

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