The Simple Joy of Holiday Baking Part 4

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Christmas & baking go together like hands in gloves. There are so many delicious things you can bake for your family or friends that it can be hard to know where to begin. Of course, time can be so short during the busy holiday season that it might be difficult to find the time to do any baking at all. You could always buy your Holiday goodies but that can be very expensive. What’s a Mother to do?

Jean Ann & Simple Joy to the rescue. This week, Jean Ann offers you tips, ideas & recipes to help simplify your Holiday baking. Continue your Holiday baking tradition or begin a new tradition in your family when you make Holiday baking a Simple Joy!

Christmas Countdown C -18

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Create a Wrapping Station

Gift wrapping can be something of a pain but there are ways to make it easier. I like to create a wrapping station so I can find everything needed when it’s time to wrap. Especially if it’s my family doing to wrapping. I like to make sure they can find everything without me having to search for all the items needed.

First, I take a small plastic container & go around filling it with the small items needed to wrap gifts. Scissors, tape, tags all go in the container.

I use a medium size box or container for ribbon. I have a selection of curly ribbon that I put in the box. I use a tall box or wrapping paper holder for all the wrapping paper. Finally, I use a container or empty box for the gift boxes that might be needed. Mr. D & the Child like to get creative when it comes to wrapping gifts, especially Mr. D. So I have an assortment of boxes at hand to help him!

As you are gathering the necessary items, this is a great time to make certain you have enough tape, ribbon, boxes & paper to do the job. Shop now for the items you need. Stores are already running out of Christmas items as people are shopping early for the best selection.

Now, create your station. I have a small, very small table I have used in the past but this year, I plan to use my small desk that sits under the breakfast bar in our home. There is room around, behind & over it to set up all the tools necessary to wrap. It is also a short walk from the desk to the tree making it easy to add wrapped presents to the others under the tree.

It’s easy to create a wrapping station. Make sure everyone know this is the place to wrap presents so the scissors, etc don’t wander off, leaving YOU searching when you want to wrap presents. Easy gift wrapping is an easy way to reduce Christmas stress for you & your family this year. Take a bit of time to prepare & everyone has reason to celebrate!

Christmas Countdown C -20

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Christmas Decorating

I know many of you have already decorated your home for Christmas however, these tips help you whether you have everything in place or everything still in boxes.

I always say “Work Smarter, Not Harder!” This means planning. Before you do any decorating, sit down & create a plan to determine what you want to do, where things are going to go & what you need to move to accomplish this. You want to have an idea where your tree is going to go & where you are going to put any furniture that the tree displaces, for example.

You should also go through your decorations to make certain nothing is damaged or needs replacing. Mr. D always tests his lights before he hangs a single strand. this ensures he doesn’t waste any time putting up a strand of lights that doesn’t work. While we are in rather balmy SoCal, many of you live in colder climates. You want to spend time INSIDE testing those lights & deciding where outdoor items are going to be placed before you head out into the cold.

You also want to check your decorations before you purchase anything new. I know how much fun it is to pick up bright & shiny new decorations each year but that expends a lot of money & can take up a lot of space, neither of which may be affordable to you & your family. Perhaps a few new items added to your existing decorations can help brighten up your Holiday home without spending too much.

Your home is more inviting & lovely this time of year. Take time to create a plan, inventory your decorations & test any electrical items & you will save time, money & patience in the long run. Ah, that’s a real simple joy!

Taking the Stress and Fear out of Thanksgiving

Celebrating Thanksgiving

November has begun! Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, followed by Christmas. I know this causes a lot of stress for some of you. The Holiday season holds no joy as you struggle to prepare for all the events & celebrations while trying to keep up with your regular tasks & schedule. I was one of those moms, praying for January 1 to arrive. Wishing I could just climb into bed & pull the covers over my head until the new year finally made its appearance. Then I learned how to take the stress out & put the joy back into the Holiday season. It isn’t tough but it does take commitment. Most of all, it takes planning. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

This Holiday season, I want to help you reduce your stress. Beginning today, I am offer a selection¬†of information designed to help you prepare. The information comes in a variety of formats: blog posts, podcasts, videos & books. Don’t find the info you really & truly need? Contact me & ask. I will do my best to find the very thing you need.

You see, I REALLY like the Holiday season. I like the celebrations. I like the decorations. I like the baking. I especially like the fact the Holidays are a time when I am especially thankful for my family, my friends & my very special relationship with the Lord, a time when I can celebrate the birth of Jesus with my family & friends! I want this Holiday season to be a celebration for you also! Let’s work together to take the stress & fear out of the Holidays this year! Let’s make the Holidays a Simple Joy!

Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas Advent Series Introduction

We may not associate fear with Christmas but it’s there nonetheless. We are so afraid we won’t get everything done, we might forget something, we might mess something up, and on and on and on. We want everything to be perfect while knowing that we can only do so much. No wonder our stress level goes through the roof as we prepare for Christmas!

This year, I want to help you enjoy Christmas more. I know God didn’t send His Son to cause any of us stress. He wants us to celebrate the birth of His Son with great joy in our hearts. To help you accomplish this, I have created a new Advent series. Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas is designed to help you eliminate the fear that spoils your Christmas and help you fill your life with faith and joy.

Each Sunday, I offer a detailed lesson for my daily Advent lesson that accompanies the lighting of the Advent candle of the week. Each of these Sunday lessons is taken from the birth story, the four times an angel brought a message of hope to an individual and the world.

To help you strengthen your joy during the week, I am offering a brief daily podcast, on this channel, sharing a verse to help eliminate your fear and offering my thoughts on the daily verse.

I LOVE Christmas. I also know, however, how incredibly stressful it can be for women. This season, let’s celebrate together, strengthening one another in faith and joy!