10 Holiday Celebration Timesavers

10 Holiday Celebration Timesavers

Celebrating the holidays is a wonderful family time, but complicating the celebrations is easy to do. With a house full of children and the many responsibilities of a day, I wanted to share these 10 holiday celebration timesavers to ease the stress – and workload. Nothing fancy- just simple shortcuts to save time.  Perhaps one or two of these ideas will help you in holiday preparation or celebration!

10 Holiday Celebration Timesavers

1. Plan your work; work your plan.

Even if you’d not typically a planner, taking a few moments to write lists can save a ton of time in the long run, whether it is for meals,shopping, or a schedule.

2. Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper.

3. Keep the decorations simple.

Candles are always easy and elegant. A fresh wreath makes a huge impact.

4. Prepare Christmas breakfast ahead of time.

Whether you choose an overnight casserole or simply bake the muffins and freeze ahead, having at least some portion of Christmas morning breakfast prepared allows for more time to enjoy family.

5. Reflect before running “out to the store.”

Can I do this task at a more suitable time in regards to traffic, work hours, etc?

6. Simplify your holiday schedule.

Allow  time margins to enjoy each event, rather than rushing from one to the next.

7. Prepare wrapping supplies and print gift tags in advance.

Whether you are a “wrap as you go” person or a “do it all at once” person, having your supplies in one organized place can be pivotal. You can find a wonderful set of free printable gift tags with Bible verses right here.

8. If you need to mail items, do your best to make one trip for cards and all packages.

9. Limit the number of “new” holiday activities.

Trying five new cookie recipes may not be the most efficient use of time. Drop it down to two and then try the others later in the winter when time is not as tight.

10. Capture teaching moments in the moment.

Use the cuddles around the fireplace for meaningful conversation! Here’s a simple example of making the most of the moment to simply embrace the true reason for the season.

And there you have it- just a few ideas for holiday celebration timesavers!

Do you have a holiday celebration timesaver that keeps you sane?

We’d love it if you’d share it!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


The Naturally Clean Home

This week’s Ultimate Healthy Living ebook bundle includes several books on natural cleaning.

Once you start using vinegar and especially essential oils to clean, I don’t think you’ll ever go back to bleach and Comet.  I’m especially in love with using lavender and citrus oils as I clean.  Now “clean” doesn’t smell like chemicals, but like true scents found in nature.

If you’ve been wondering how to get information or get started on natural cleaning, this bundle has some great resources!

One website I’ve gone to a number of times is DIY natural.  I’ve found their cleaning recipes and information to be helpful and effective.  Now their book is available in this bundle!

Green Living EbooksDIY Natural Household Cleaners includes:

  • 60+ tried and true money saving, natural homemade cleaner recipes for your kitchen, bathroom, laundry, wood, windows, walls, air, and more.
  • We give you a list of the simple, inexpensive, and non-toxic ingredients needed to get started… you most likely own many already.
  • Access to our discounted “Essential Oils Starter Kit” taking away all guesswork from using essential oils. Note: the coupon code in the book for an additional 5% off has expired because it was leaked on the Internet.
  • You can save hundreds of dollars every year, the more recipes you make the more you’ll save.
  • You can make hundreds of dollars every year by making these recipes and selling them at your local farm markets, food co-ops, etc.
  • You control the ingredients and know exactly what is going into your cleaners.
  • You’ll be teaching children stewardship and creativity.
  • You will lead and inspire others in positive change.
  • You will expand and improve upon your skill set.
  • Reject a consumeristic mindset and rebel by creating and doing the right thing.
  • Decrease your reliance on store-bought products.

Another book you’ll get with the bundle on natural cleaning (and natural everything else) is Green Your Life.

Green Your Life is a basic guidebook for anyone interested in living a greener and more natural life!

It is 250+ pages organized into 5 main categories:

  • Cleaning
  • Personal Care Products
  • Baby & Child Care
  • Around the House
  • In the Marketplace

Each section includes practical, easy to make changes that you can begin implementing right away to move your family toward a natural and eco-friendly life!

More books in the bundle that will help us learn about green living are:

Some of the benefits to natural cleaning that I’ve experienced are:

  • cost-effective
  • child friendly
  • therapeutic scents

In the bundle, you’ll also get 12 weeks of mentoring sessions!  Included in those sessions is one on greening your home and one on using essential oils.

What a great way to get started living green!

A Better Holiday Season

During the holidays it can be hard to focus on what really matters.

Before Thanksgiving some of us start planning our Black Friday shopping, which now can begin on Thanksgiving night.  And am I the only mother who has made the mistake of focusing more on what foods she’s preparing instead of the family for whom she’s cooking?

Then there’s Christmas; we might have every intention of celebrating Advent all month with the kids, but that can get overlooked when December hits full force.  Our imagined peaceful nights by the fire turn into Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas programs and Christmas baking.

A Simpler Season ebookJessica from Life As Mom addresses these tendencies in her holiday ebook:  A Simpler Season.   Jessica’s book walks us through how to make this holiday season a relaxing and enjoyable few months.  Her book includes:

  • creative ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s
  • over 150 pages of content: ideas, recipes, and inspiration for planning a special holiday season with your family
  • 70+ printable pages: calendars, to do sheets, inventories, and planning pages
  • games and activities to do with the kids
  • 24+ family activity cards to print and do over the month of December
  • printable recipe and gift cards to help you make edible gifts
  • a variety of family devotional ideas to explore with your family
  • a list of children’s books to enjoy as well as extension activities to do with your children after the reading
  • family-friendly recipes for the each of the winter holidays
  • questions to get you thinking about how you really want to spend your time this year
  • easy downloadable format in pdf or on kindle

Jessica’s book is one of 86 ebooks that you’ll get with this year’s amazing Healthy Living Bundle.

You’ll also get several other ebooks to help you focus on simplifying and planning.

Get this entire ebook library, plus bonuses and 12 mentoring conference calls for $29.97
Have questions?  Find FAQs and the fine print here.

 Ruth Schwenk Signature

4 Practical Tips To Make Life With Kids Easier

I have five kids.  That’s a lot of logistics to juggle.  I know many mamas have more and there are many solutions to the little dilemmas we all face.  Here are a few solutions that I’ve worked out.

{One thing about being a mom, we learn to be flexible.  These solutions change with family size, parent preference, children’s ages, and all of the other factors we deal with.}

towel hooks

1.  towels

Towel Dilemma 1:  how many towels are on the towel racks after bath time?  at my house, not many.  They’re all lying on the floor, strewn throughout the house.

Mama says:  “Child #1, put away your towel!”

Child #1:  I did!

Mama:  Child #2, put away your towel!

Child #2:  I did!

And so on.

Solution:  If everyone has their own color coded towel you never have to guess which child’s towel is on the floor!  Also, it’s possibly more hygienic (if there is such a thing in a house where everyone shares air and toilets and sinks and just about everything.)  Also, the kids love having their own towel!

(I got these towels at Target for $5 each.  A steal for sanity!)

Towel Dilemma 2:  little hands are not dexterous at folding and replacing towels on towel racks.

Solution:  Coat hooks work great in the bathroom, you can hang more towels than most towel racks, and the towels dry faster.

simple closet organizing

2.  the coat closet

Dilemma:  Little hands can’t reach the traditional level closet racks, and have a hard time hanging sweatshirts and coats up anyway.

I struggled with this one forever.  Until I had three, I periodically hung up everyone’s sweatshirt from the pile on the floor, or I kept them in everyone’s own room.  Then I just let all the sweatshirts nest in a big pile on the floor of the coat closet.  This was not ideal.

Solution:  those little plastic self-stick hangers you can get at Walmart or Target or wherever.  I bought a few packs and went to town on the coat closet.  I hung them around the inside of the coat closet at child level and on the closet door.  If the sweatshirts get unruly it’s an easy chore even for my two year old.  But most of the time the sweatshirts are now hung!

drinking cup placemat

3.  drinking cups

Dilemma:  Half-way through your day there are about 500 plastic character covered drinking glasses from your kitchen counter to the front porch.  You need an extra dishwasher just for the drinking glasses!

Solution(s):  I’ve seen some pretty cute solutions.

#1:  homemade placemat (made by my sweet niece back when we only had three kids).  This works well at my house.  My kids love having a spot for their own cups.

#2:  assigned drinking cups.  You can write names on the cups using Sharpies or buy one color for each child.  Kids love this, too.  Everyone loves having their own cup.

#3:  this crazy neat drinking cup tile thing that I’ll never make but love from Bee In Our Bonnet.  Now that I see the tutorial it doesn’t look that hard.


toothbrushes4.  toothbrushes

Dilemma:  yuck.  When it’s time to brush teeth I’m not sure there is a good solution.  Our bathroom is small and no matter how few children I send to brush their teeth at one time, when all is said and done there is toothpaste everywhere.  Ideally, I would like to keep all of the toothbrushes in one of those little cups with separate holes for each brush but a) they don’t make them with more than four holes and b) Tinkerbell and Spiderman toothbrushes don’t FIT in the holes. It seems so sanitary, though.

Solution #1:  No more brushing teeth.  Who needs it?  They’ll probably get cavities anyway.  But just in case my mom reads this I’ll offer my real solution…

Solution #2:  (and this is imperfect, but it’s what I’ve got) I keep all toothbrushing supplies in a kitchen cabinet.  High enough that toddlers can’t reach them.  The children brush their teeth in the kitchen where there is more room and for some reason less toothpaste when all is said and done.

Solution #3:  my friend makes homemade toothpaste and her kids don’t love the taste, so they just use a very little bit.

Solution #4: This super cute little organizer my friend Kara has for her kids.

What little tricks have you learned that make life a little easier?

(and if you figure out how to get everyone to replace the cap on the toothpaste, I’m all ears.)


Christy, One Fun Mom

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