Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Christmas Cleaning

I used to be in love with the Christmas cleaning schedule I discovered back in the 80s.  You know the one, where you started in August and deep cleaned your way to Christmas? No more. One, I don't have the time or energy to spend with that kind of cleaning during this time of the year, and two, my cleaning schedule just consists of doing what is needed just in time. When I see a need, it gets done. This is what works for me.

For your Pinning Pleasure!

That all being said, I do like to take some time to clean up for the Big Day.  I love this 12 Days of Christmas Cleaning because it gives me about a 30 minute task each day before Christmas.  I love that there is an element of deep cleaning, but nothing that takes a huge amount of time.  To make it all the easier, I have created a downloaded chart that can be hung on your laundry room door and with places to put checkmarks (I love checking things off a list!) Continue reading to hear details about each day.

Download for your own personal use only!

Overview:  I break down the cleaning into three parts:  General cleaning, a big project and a touch up project.  General cleaning is something you will want your regular supplies to do.  Think dusting, vacuuming and washing.  The big project is something you don't do often but do need to do occasionally. The touch up project is something that needs attention but doesn't take a lot of time.

Before you start your 12 Days plan, go through the house, room by room and use the three basket strategy to clean away clutter.  One basket is called Put Away, and this is just things that you want that belong in another space.  One basket is called Throw Away and thing that go in here are headed for the trash (or recycling.)  The third basket is called Donate and everything that goes here will be donated before you start. Once this part is done, you are ready to start your 12 Days of Christmas Cleaning plan!

Day 1.  Start with the master bedroom.  Your big project here is the curtains.  The curtains are dust trappers and will make your whole room feel cleaner right away.

Day 2.  Kids rooms are always hard because they get messed up right away.  The big project here is organizing toys. I suggest that you clear out all but three sets of toys. Keep the toys your child plays with daily.  That will make future cleaning easy, and it is just for 12 days!

Day 3.  The laundry room is so easy to skip. Don't! Just because it is behind closed doors doesn't mean that you shouldn't clean it.  The big project is to wipe down your appliances.  Clean the filters if you can.

Day 4 is the hallway.  The big project is to knock down any cobwebs you might have around the ceiling line and around objects hanging on the wall.

Day 5 are bathrooms.  I have 4 bathrooms to clean, so I always start with the powder room, then move to the bathrooms that are used the most.  The big project is cleaning the toilets.

Day 6 is the Kitchen.  You will doing some cooking and baking during this week most likely, so all we are going to do is wash down surfaces and clean countertops and floors.  The big project is cleaning appliances (the outside!)

Day 7 are back to the bedrooms.  The big project is to organize the closets, so that they are neat, but not the kind of organization where you empty them out and then restock them. Nope, you are going to clean up the fallen clothing, shoes, jewelry and arrange things neatly. Vacuum the floor and put in an air freshener.

Day 8 are the hallways again.  What's nice about this day is that it will probably will only take 15 minutes, so if you want to tackle the dining room, this is the time.  Dust, vacuum, cobweb removal!

Day 9  Bathrooms again!  This time the showers and bathtubs get the big clean!

Day 10.  We are back to the kitchen.  Clean your ovens!  That way cooking on Christmas will feel so nice, when you open the door to a clean oven!

Day 11.  Whole House cleaning.  It's the day before Christmas, and you will want the whole house to be fresh.  Vacuum and dust everything, mop floors, check the bathrooms and spot clean.  Tidy up the kitchen and check the dining room.  Spend no more than 90 minutes on this task. Engage the help of spouses and kids!

Day 12.  Merry Christmas!  All today is for is to have fun and make memories.  Your biggest clean up task is to recycle bows, paper and boxes!!

I hope this will be a helpful guide for cleaning at Christmas.  Keep it low stress, but feel like you are accomplishing something, too! I'll be following my plan myself, and posting it on Instagram~follow me at

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Remembering Your Passed Loved Ones at Christmas

Christmas is a big holiday in our family.  We all set aside schedules, and busy lives, to come together to celebrate.  Because we kept this holiday so special, we really missed those family members who had passed away before Christmas.  I am sharing with you some of my favorite ways to honor the memories of your passed loved ones at Christmas.

This adorable dish from Mudd Hutt on Etsy:

I love this saying printed on a block of wood (no credit found on Pinterest)

Or how about this awesone ornament from Amy's Bubbling Boutique?

I love these Memory Bears from FlowerCreek at Etsy.  I can imagine having the bear made from a shirt or a sweater of your loved one, and then having a special time to set these bears out under the tree, telling stories and remembering good times!

At our house we do something very simple.  We make an ornament using a photo of the person.  It is super simple: use quality card stock and cut out a frame larger than the photo.  Glue the photo onto the cardstock.  Punch a hole at the touch and run a ribbon through it to create a hanger.  Tie a knot at the end so the ribbon stays put.  Glue decorative trim around the photo.  On the back side, write the name and years born/died.  Hang on your tree and remember that loved one each year.

Honoring both grandmothers and my brother.

What do you do to honor your passed loved ones at Christmas?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Oreo Christmas Cookie Ideas

I have been in love with Oreos since I was a little girl.  These cookies were a staple at my house for many years.

I have always wondered where the name came from, and there are many thoughts about that.  My favorite is that it is a derivative from Oreodaphne, a part of the laurel family.  The original Oreo package had a laurel wreath on it, so the connection is pretty clear!

I have loved using Oreos to make my holiday treats.  The truffles made from oreos and cream cheese are my family's favorites. I love using the mint oreos to make these each Christmas. Do you have a favorite flavor for your truffles?

Here are ten of my favorite Oreo Christmas cookies.  Can you pick out just one favorite?  I couldn't!

Ten Oreo Christmas Cookies

Santa Oreos by Positively Splendid

Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies by Inside Bru Crew

Snowflake Oreo Cookies by A Pumpkin and A Princess

Oreo Rudolph Cookies by A Sparkle of Genius

Snowmen Oreo Cookie Pops by Spend With Pennies

Chocolate Covered Christmas Oreos by the Soccer Mom Blog

Oreo Snowball Cookies by Flour on my Face

Oreo Wreath Cookies by Premeditated Leftovers

Oreo Christmas Coal by Passion for Savings

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

DIY Ornaments to Start NOW!

I like to get a jump on my homemade ornaments for a couple of reasons.  The first is I am involved in an ornament exchange (this is an easy origami tree that I made for them last year!) that I have been participating in for over ten years!  We make a dozen or so of the same ornament, ship them to the organizer, then she ships them to us in time to open them on Thanksgiving!  It is so exciting to get that box!  Two, I am a part of an ornament exchange (last year I made this coastal ornament!) where we have a partner and we exchange homemade ornaments.  This will be my third year in this group!  Third, it gives me a long time to make them! 

Here are some DIY ornaments to start now!  Below is a list of ornaments that are going to be some of your favorites for this year!  I love to see what crafters can come up with each year!

DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

Mini Felt Camper Hoop Ornament by i Heart Naptime

Salt Dough Ornaments by A Beautiful Mess

Wooden Snowflakes by the Painted Hinge

Christmas Lama by The Country Chic Cottage

Mini Wooden Sign Ornaments by The Turquoise Home

3D Paper Tree Ornaments by Lia Griffith

Farmhouse Ornaments by Hip2Save

Letter-board Christmas Ornaments by My Sisters’ Suitcase

Birdseed Ornaments by One Little Project

Wooden Tree Succulent Ornaments by Craftaholics Anonymous

Which is your favorite?  I love them all!  Maybe I will make one of each this year!  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

My Christmas Crate

Christmas friends, have you heard of the subscription box called Christmas Crate? I absolutely adore them, and no one is paying me to say that! I discovered them about a year ago and signed up to receive a monthly box of Christmas goodies. It feels like Christmas each and every time I open one! Here were my goodies from last month. Chocolate peppermint cake, Christmas morning candle (the scent is incredible,) the planner I showed you last week, and my Santa watch!!

I reached out to the founder of My Christmas Crate, Kelli Girsch (Head Elf) to ask her a few questions for Christmas Tree Lane readers!

Christmas Tree Lane: I love My Christmas Crate. Tell me about that aha! moment you had for this idea!

Kelli: I grew up in a home that celebrated Christmas nearly year round. We had a "Christmas room" up all year (with a tree and lights) that felt JUST like Christmas even though it was scorching hot in thesummer months. I had been running retail businesses including online subscription businesses and
retail websites and thought... what if there are others who enjoy Christmas as much as I do? What IF
people really enjoy receiving, smelling and baking Christmas items and goods when they cannot be
purchased in store.... DO people miss Christmas like I do? And so we tested the market and to my
surprise, My Christmas Crate took off right out of the gate.

CTL: Where do you find your products?

Kelli: Our elves source products from around the globe year round. We try to accommodate a wide
variety of tastes and likes which is why it's wonderful to be able connect with holiday brands who
enjoy the same holiday vision as we do!

CTL: What are you looking for from a vendor?

Kelli: A vendor that can accommodate our need for larger quantities, has complimentary packaging,
fresh ingredients and sells holiday merchandise year round.

CTL: What are your Christmas must-haves or must-dos?

Kelli: Christmas cookies with the kiddos, Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Vacation (a must), hoppingin the car to look at Christmas lights, Making hot cocoa, Taking our "donation jar" that we collect spare change in all year just for the holiday season, vote on our favorite charity (last year it was the SPCA for shelter animals) and make our annual donation. My kids LOVE this tradition every year.

CTL: What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Kelli: Anything with TONS of frosting HA! Usually a classic sugar cookie with homemade frosting in Christmas shapes. We made ugly sweater Christmas cookies last year and it was a blast!

CTL: What's your favorite way to spend a weekend in Nov/Dec?

Kelli: Our family watching Christmas movies next to the fire with a Christmas tree gleaming in the room! Such a cozy feeling....

CTL: Can you give us a sneak peak at what we might be getting in the future?

Kelli: Welp, our elf lips are usually sealed pretty tight but we do release (one) sneak peek per month on our social media for our fans. Next month (August) we will be featuring "Christmas pillow wraps" that turn ANY ordinary pillow into gorgeous room décor! When we saw them, we knew our fans would love them!

Kelli, you are absolutely right, we will love those pillow wraps! Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to tell us a bit more about you and your business. Bringing such joy and happiness to others must be a fabulous feeling!

You can order your own My Christmas Crate here! Go and check out the website to learn more!  You can use code  XMAS5  to save $5 on your first crate!