Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's Novermber 30th, Is your Advent Calendar Ready?

December 1st can sneak up on us, can't it?  A late Thanksgiving can really throw me for a loop.  As in, December 1st is on Tuesday.  The Tuesday that is the day after tomorrow.  We have always had an advent calendar around here (or maybe even two) and most years I'm on top of things but this year, not so much.  So not on top of things that I bought our advent calendar last night. First time I've bought one. Ever.  With a 13, almost 14 year old I didn't feel so bad since she actually asked for this one and was thrilled I said yes. So, I've already put the guilt behind me.  But in the good old days gone by I would never have purchased an advent calendar.  I'm imagining it's November 30th and I don't have my calendar yet.  I've got the Elf on its Shelf but no Advent to be found.  What's a girl to do?

Christmas Book Countdown

I'll assume that you have all of your Christmas books handy. I loved this countdown when LM was younger.  Wrap 24 Christmas/Holiday/Winter books and each day have your kids unwrap one book to be read that day.  If you don't have enough books, check out thrift shops or hit the library (keep track of due dates though).  

Post -it Note Tree

London Mums Magazine

You could do this one 2 ways:  Write the date and something fun to do each day on a post it (trip to the park or library, bake cookies, watch a movie, etc.) and then place 24 notes in the shape of a tree (like above). Each day your children take off the note corresponding to the date and they get to partake in the activity of the day. You could also 'build' the tree each day - your child places the post on the wall (or window as shown above) and they will slowly see the tree come to life.

Dated Ornaments

A quick trip to the dollar store and you can have 24 Christmas ornaments to be placed on the tree.The last ornament could be a special one - maybe a star or manger scene.

Paper Chain

Remember those paper chains we made in grade school?  Bring them back as an Advent calendar. Like with the post-it tree you can either build it or take it apart.  Write an activity or bible verse on each chain.  

There's so much pressure on moms to create this perfect, magical Christmas for our families and sometimes there's just too much going on to get everything just right.  But we need to remember we do our best and our kids will remember whatever we do for them whether it's picture perfect or not. If we need to cut back on the extravagant Advent calendar and staple some red and green paper together then so be it.  Keep smiling and that's what will be remembered.

P.S.  If you want to burn the midnight oil and do something more elaborated I've got some great ideas here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Shop is Open...

I have opened a shop at Society 6.  I am super excited to share some of these fun holiday items with you!  There are pillows and prints and canvas and travel mugs.  Even clocks!  Head over and take a look.  I'd love to hear your feedback too.

I'm also open to your ideas - I have a bunch swirling around in my head but I love to hear what other people think and would like to see. I can do custom items too.  Or just switch out colors to match your decor.

These items make really fun and unique gifts.  And did I mention the free shipping?

I've ordered a few things from Society 6 in the past and have been happy with the quality and I'm sure you will be too.

I hope you'll head on over to the shop and take a look.  Thanks!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

10 Things to do on Black Friday (besides shop)

I spent too many years in retail to ever want to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving shopping.  All that traffic and pushing and waiting in line is great for retailers but not for me.  I actually went to W@lmart one Black Friday about 15 years ago.  I figured I'd zip in at 5 am, pick up the vacuum and TV and be back at home before my husband woke up.  This was before the days of being open on Thanksgiving day and even at 5 am, the store was packed.   Packed with mean, pushy, cart ramming shoppers.  I picked up the two things I came for as fast as I could (which wasn't all that fast) and vowed never to do that again.  Never.  Ever.

These days my Black Fridays are more relaxing and fun.  If you're looking for something to do this year besides hitting the mall, consider one of these activities:

  1. Put up your Christmas Tree.  This can be a fun family event and if you have relatives in town you even get some extra help!  Take pictures, too, and share them on the September Acres Facebook page. You'll find a post called 'Tree Trimming Party', pinned to the top.
  2. Write out your Christmas Cards. I love the day that I send out my cards.  It's one thing I've ticked off my to-do list and the task is not hanging over me as another thing that needs to be finished.  
  3. Bake. If you're a baker, Friday is a good day to get started.  Again, with relatives in town you may get some help and enjoy a day of family fun.
  4. Enjoy the outdoors. Take a hike or bike ride with the family.  If you're lucky enough to live near a ski resort, check and see when opening day is.  Many resorts try to open Thanksgiving weekend if there's enough snow (or they can make enough) but it's usually not super crowded this early in the season.
  5. Create an advent calendar. Advent calendars are always fun but I've seen some out there that cost a pretty penny.  Spend the day making your own advent calendar with your kids. You can find some fun advent calendar ideas here.
  6. Watch Movies. Spend the day in pajamas, eat leftovers and watch movies.  Pull out your favorite holiday flicks or just some fun movies your family loves but doesn't get to watch very often. You'll find some of my holiday favorites here.
  7. Go to the Movies. Pack everyone up and head out to the theater for a family friendly matinee. Or if you have a large group, pick a few movies that start and end at about the same time so everyone gets to see something they like.
  8. Take the Kids Swimming.  It's been pretty wintery already and a day at the indoor pool may be just the ticket.  Most towns have a rec center or Y pool so give them a call and see what their weekend hours are.
  9. Park Day & Picnic.  If you still have fairly warm weather, pack up some turkey sandwiches and the family and head to your local park for a day of play.
  10. Work on Holiday Crafts. Most of us have spent the last month or so pinning every cute holiday craft we've seen on line but most of us haven't done all any of them yet.  Do it on Friday!  Just remember to buy any supplies you need before Friday so you don't have to brave the crowds at the craft store.
I really look forward to Black Friday knowing that I have the entire day to do something fun with my family.  (disclosure:  my husband doesn't partake in most of these activities but I can find him in his chair watching the plethora of college football games that are on TV.  A win/win all around!)

What are your Black Friday traditions?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thanksgiving Free Printables...

Thanksgiving is a little more than a week away.  Cooking, cleaning, decorating.  Are you ready?

 If not we can help you a little bit with the cooking part with our recipe exchange.  There are a couple of yummy recipes that have been shared on our Facebook page.

Cleaning. We cannot help you with that by maybe the FlyLady can give you some pointers. :)

Decorating.  We always want everything to look nice when our guests arrive.  I have a free printable for you that can help a bit.  Print it out and pop it in a frame and you're set. (Just click on the image below, right click, save image as and print from your computer.  Print on card stock or regular paper.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Thanksgiving Recipe Exchange...

I don't know about you but I love to try new recipes although I don't do it a much as I'd like to.  I think that's because on the average day it's all I can do to get something on the table and I just don't make the time to look for something new.  Even when I meal plan and add a couple of new recipes to the menu each month I usually end up scratching it and just cooking what I know (spaghetti, anyone?)

Thanksgiving is a fun time to add something new because I usually have a little extra time with school being out and the excitement of the upcoming holiday season takes over.  So I thought this would be a perfect time to have a recipe exchange.  I'd love to see your tried and true recipes or even something new that you haven't tried but would like to.  I know there are many wonderful cooks out there with recipe boxes full of inspiration.

Please share your recipes in the comments here or better yet, on the September Acres Facebook page. Fell free to share more than one.

I will be posting my famous Pineapple Casserole on the Facebook page so head on over to check it out.  You won't be sorry.  (If you're not on FB don't worry, you can find the recipe here.)

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Thanksgiving is right around the corner (3 weeks away!)  

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year or visiting someone for the day?

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I am not a huge list maker.  I make a grocery list - which often gets let at home (anyone else?) - other than that I am hit or miss. I like post-it notes and use them in my Home Management Notebook for my "to-do's". I use index cards for making lists sometimes.  I have never quite gotten into using my phone or computer for my lists.  No matter where you keep your lists, they are a key to keeping organized.  

Try making lists to keep yourself (and your family) on track for some of these tasks:

  • Groceries- Saves money & time.  If you don't lose it!
  • Errands -Saves money & time.  And driving around in circles.
  • Cleaning/Chores - Clean Mama has some wonderful printables (some free) to help keep you on track.
  • Gifts - Saves money & time.
  • Holiday Greeting Cards - Keep track of who you send cards to each year and who you receive cards from if you'd like. I do keep this kind of list each year- it makes it easy to know who gets cards each year when you can just refer back to the previous year and if you keep addresses on the list it's a real time saver.
  • Party Planning - Saves time & money.
  • Meal Planning - Saves time & money.  It sure is nice to know each day what you're making for dinner.  I know a lot of people also list out what they are having for breakfast and lunch as well.
  • Packing for a Trip - You don't want to leave your swimsuit at home when you go to Hawaii (or maybe you since shopping is fun. Especially in Hawaii.)
Notice that so many lists can save you time and money?  

What kinds of lists do you make?