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Last Minute Christmas To-Do’s

19 Dec

It’s Not Too Late!

OK, it is just a week before Christmas and you are not ready.

Where do you start?

What do you do?

busy christmas

Before you throw your hands up and surrender, stop for a minute and evaluate what you CAN get done to make this holiday memorable. Here is a step-by-step guide on guide you through so you get the basics done before the holiday.

santa - xmas list

Make a List and Check it Twice

The first thing you should do is make a list of what you need to do. Let’s face it, you don’t have time to run around like a chicken with your head cut off!  Every minute counts and the more organized you are, the more productive you will be.

I am including a copy of a last minute To-Do list to be sure you get the basics done.

last minute - decor

Last Minute Decor

It’s not too late to make the house look festive

There are just a few simple steps (ok, except the step abut putting up the tree) that can be done in just a few minutes of your time.

Hang Wreath on Door – 5 minutes – tops

Hang Stockings – another 5 minutes

Candles in the Windows – 10-15 minutes – depending on how many windows you have in your house…

Set up Tree – whether real or artificial, this is a ‘must do’ for the holiday! Although this isn’t a 5 minute project, setting up a tree this weekend is a perfect opportunity to spend time with family

Cookies for Santa – don’t forget to put the cookies out for Santa! And a glass of milk! And don’t forget carrots for the reindeer!

Gifts Under the Tree – the final touch to make Christmas morning special

last minute - errands

Last Minute Errands To-Do

The better you are organized when leaving the house, the more effective your errands will be. Before you leave the house, make sure you take with you any coupons or lists you have. One of the biggest time-savers I have found is being able to buy stamps AND gift cards for many retailers right at the grocery store. So you may have to be a bit flexible when it comes to store selections or gift card amounts, but seriously, IT’S JUST A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!!

Get Tree – chop one down, get one pre-cut at a lot, buy an artificial one – whatever you prefer

Pick Up Christmas Cards – if you ordered them online, swing by the retailer that is printing them for you

Shop for Gifts – If you live near a Wal-Mart or Target, you can seriously knock off a bunch of your list in these type of department stores…

Shop for Meals (don’t forget cookies for Santa & carrots for reindeer!) – Hmmm, one trip to the grocery store can help you with: food, beverages, items to include in a gift basket for a hostess, gift cards, stamps

last minute - correspondence

Last Minute Correspondence

Last Minute Correspondence For everyone that thought it was just way too later to properly wish your family & friends a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year – it’s not! The US Postal Service is working really hard to help folks spread their holiday cheer, but you need to ACT FAST so your wishes get there in time.

Christmas Cards – If you live near a store that offers a 1 hour photo service (Wal-Mart is my favorite for price, quality and speed) you can easily create a Christmas card in the comfort of your own home on their website. Don’t think you need to go through all the hassles of taking a picture of the kids all dressed up in their Holiday finest to get this card done. Lot’s of folks use family pictures from their vacation, or from when they cut down their tree, or any other time of the year when everyone looked happy. My standby holiday card includes a collage of my son playing basketball, baseball and football…

Facebook/Twitter Post wishing everyone a Merry Christmas – While Christmas cards can be sent to your closest family & friends, a lovely heartfelt post on Facebook or Twitter can reach more distant friends.

Thank you notes to staff – A must-do for this time of year. Taking a few moments to write a heartfelt card expressing the gratitude you have for your staff goes a long way for making them feel appreciated. The key here – handwritten notes. Your staff will know and appreciate that even at this busy time of year you took the time to focus on them.

Thank you notes to customers – Another must-do for this time of year. A heartfelt card expressing the gratitude you have for your customers is necessary to maintain relationships you have taken all year to build. If possible – handwritten notes to your largest customers. For companies with many, many customers, a printed card will have to do – if possible, a handwritten signature perhaps?

last minute - miscellaneous

Last Minute Miscellaneous Tasks

Last Minute Miscellaneous Tasks You could probably write a list of things you want to get done that is a mile long, but there is no sense getting caught up in the miniscule details that won’t let you enjoy your family time this holiday. Focus on the biggest things and be happy! Key words there – FOCUS and HAPPY!!!

Write up a menu and shopping list – remember, the better your list when leaving the house, the more productive your time will be while you are out and about

Wrap gifts – prioritize your gift wrapping by doing the gifts that need to be handed out first – teachers, bus drivers, staff – and then move on to the gifts for your hostesses and finally your family since those gifts will be given out last. And yes, you won’t be alone if you are wrapping gifts after the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve!

Put out cookies for Santa & carrots for reindeer – don’t forget to do this before the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve! You don’t want to give anyone an excuse to get out of bed on Christmas Eve because they realize they forgot to leave a treat for Santa. Especially if the elves are still wrapping gifts!

Follow Santa on a Santa Tracker – There are several apps and online websites that track Santa’s journey around the world on his way to your house. This has proven to be the best way to get kids to bed on Xmas Eve! They have to be asleep so Santa can actually come!!!

last minute - gifts

Last Minute Gifts

Sorry, I had to save the biggest task for last…

Last Minute Gifts Gift buying can actually take the longest time of all the tasks you have left to do. Remember that the most memorable gifts you can give are possibly to most unexpected. A generic gift card is nice for most folks, and I certainly love to get a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, but have you ever thought to give a gift certificate book to the local car wash, or how about the local movie theater? Gas cards are also a nice treat that most folks might not think of.

Keep in mind that people who get gifts from many folks (teachers, bus drivers, hair dressers) might very well appreciate even the ‘generic’ gift card over a tchotchke (aka chachki) item like a Worlds Greatest Teacher mug filled with hot chocolate fixings… although the hot chocolate might be nice, they really don’t need 30 mugs from this Christmas alone….

Here is a list of the people you may want to remember at this time of year:


School Teachers

Religion Teachers

Bus Drivers


Cleaning Lady

Postal Worker

Garbage Removal

Hair Dresser

Door Man



Kids (from parents)

Kids (from Santa)



Grab Bag Gifts (Gift Exchanges)

Don’t forget to have a few extra gifts stashed away for that awkward exchange when someone hands you a gift and you just weren’t prepared to give them something…. some items that you can have ready include – bottle of wine, gift cards, tin of cookies and nice ornaments. Go as far as actually wrapping these gifts (including a bow) and marking them with a post it note with the contents. This will help to disguise the fact that you didn’t think there would be a gift exchange with them this year….

Merry Xmas-Happy New Year from BGP

This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.


DIY Stocking Stuffer Ideas

12 Dec

If you can believe it, Christmas is less than two weeks away!

But no worries, there is still time to pull together some inexpensive but thoughtful stocking stuffers for the members of your family.  Here are some of our favorite ideas from some of our favorite blogs:

The following are fun ideas to make the magic of Christmas even more fun for the Toddlers in your life:

Minnie Mouse Button Hair Clips from Architecture of a Mom:

minnie_hairbow (6)

Gingerbread Playdough from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle:

Gingerbread Playdough

Cozy car caddy from Homemade by Jill:

cozy car caddy

Busy Bag: Velcro Sticks from The Tip Garden

Busy Bag - Velcro Sticks

Here are some fun tips to stock the stuffings for the Tweens/Teens in your life:

Cord Rollup Project from Brit & Co.

Cord Rollup Project

Pipe Cleaner Pencil Topper by Chica Circle:

Pipe Cleaner Pencil Topper

Ribbon Bookmarks from The Partiologist:

Ribbon Bookmarks

Fabric Scrap Key Chain from Craftiness is not Optional:

Fabric Scrap Key Chain

These last suggestions are appropriate gifts for Anyone on your List:

Felt HandWarmers from Henry Happened

Felt HandWarmers

Washi Tape Pencils from The Pink Doormat:

Washi Tape Pencils

Cord Bracelet from Thanks, I Made It:

DIY Cord Bracelet

Poured Glitter Tin Candles from Something Turquoise:

Poured Glitter Tin Candles

Hot Chocolate on a Stick (yum!) from

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Do you have any ideas for DIY stocking stuffers that you can share with us?  Please let us know by leaving us a comment.

This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Father’s Day Memories

13 Jun

by Rich Dunn

Many men will tell you that the gift that they would desire on Father’s Day is 5 – 6 hours of uninterrupted couch time with the clicker in hand in front of any sports event on TV… however that is just not the case.  The real gift that most REAL Dads want is to spend some good time with their families…

There are many fun and interesting things to do on Father’s day … A trip to the Beach … a trip to a Museum … or a trip to a Movie … BUT my favorite Father’s Day was the visit to our local Minor League team game.  The New Britain Rock Cats (the Minor League affiliate to the Minnesota Twins) have an event every Father’s day where the Dads and the Kids can have a catch on the field before the game.  One such Father’s Day remains one of my best memories.  In a homage to the movie Field of Dreams and as baseball is one the cornerstones of American culture, a day like this is a great Father’s Day idea.


My wife, son and I went to a game one father’s day a few years back and we were able to have a catch on the field with a bunch of other Fathers and Sons. My son was around 4 years old when we did this.  He is now 12 but it was a great day to spend with my family.

… The Dads gathering on the field with their boys hunting out a good spot for a catch …


Once we got or spot out in Left Field we had our catch … it is fun to compare the 4 yr old version vs. the 12 yr old version … I think that his form has not changed much even though HE has changed a bit …

… In the blink of an eye things change; He is now 12 … but his form is about the same …

First is The Wind-Up …



… and then The Throw …

and the throw


Once we finished our catch we got our seats on the 3rd base line …

ready to watch a Rock Cats game

To this day I don’t even remember who won the game … that is not important … but it is one of my favorite days …at the end if it is baseball … fishing … a movie … or the beach … hanging out for a few hours together on Fathers Day is the way to go!!

What special days have you shared with your family?  Share your favorite Father’s Day memories with us.

Rich Dunn is the husband/co-pilot/co-owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

I Got What I Wanted – Did You?

16 May

Hurray!  I got what I wanted for Mother’s Day!  Well, let me qualify that by saying “I’m in the process of getting what I wanted for Mother’s Day!!!”

As is every dream of every mother on Mother’s Day, my husband said “Let’s go to the stone yard and pick out the rocks you want.”  If you think is just plain mean for a husband to do to his wife on Mother’s Day, maybe it’s because you missed last weeks post – check it out here.

Mid-morning on Monday I hear the truck in the driveway:


Monday morning delivery….

 Now we just need these landscaping rocks to get from my driveway, to the appropriate parts of our yard…

Considering here are a few examples of the current state of affairs in our front yard:

One of the beds near the street...

One of the beds near the street…

A bed near the house - OUCH!!!

A bed near the house – OUCH!!!

I am more than willing to put up with not being able to park my car in the garage for a little while.

A little inconvenience is OK

A little inconvenience is OK

To his credit, my husband came home and started to work on the first bed right away.  Our priority system is to start with the worst/most visible areas (near the street) and work our way back toward the house which is not as visible to the general public just driving by…  Our house is set a bit higher than street level, although not up high on a hill by any means, but the little height gives us a little visual buffer when choosing where to start with this project.  After day 1, this is what it looked like from the front door:

Looks somewhat done

Looks somewhat done

I was impressed because there was a lot of work to do to get the old junk out of the bed before they could add the stones.    They worked until dark so I didn’t get a chance to go outside and check it out.  It wasn’t until the next morning when I looked outside from the 2nd floor of the house that I got a little bit of an aerial view to see there’s more work to be done:

Day 1 progress - aerial  view

Day 1 progress – aerial view

OK – so it needs more work, and now he has had meetings the past 2 nights so it’s still looking like this as of this writing.  Considering the before pictures, I am so thankful for this Mother’s Day present.  And if I wanted to, I could claim that I got A HUGE (pile of) ROCK(s) for Mother’s Day.  I can’t make that claim every year, but this year, I am grateful for it (them).

What did you get for Mother’s Day?  I hope it was just what you wanted.  Share your Mother’s Day presents with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of
Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Her First Mother’s Day? How to Make it Memorable…

2 May

After pregnancy, childbirth and a new born baby, a woman’s first Mother’s Day should be a memorable one.  Whether it’s your wife, your sister or your good friend, we’d like to share some ideas to help you make her day special.

Let her Sleep…

Woman Sleeping

Let her sleep on Mother’s Day

What new mother wouldn’t love to sleep in on Mother’s Day?  It’s amazing how a little more sleep can make her feel like a new woman.  After the last feeding at night, make sure you are ready to hop right out of bed once the baby starts stirring so they don’t wake up mom.  If she is nursing the baby, make sure you have a supply of breast milk, or formula, at the ready to feed the baby while she sleeps.  One missed feeding will not hurt baby or mom, and in the long run, a well-rested (well hydrated) mom can produce more high quality breast milk.  Turn off the baby monitor in mom’s room and take the baby to a location in your home where mom can’t hear a fussy baby.

Feed her…

Breakfast in bed is the classic Mother’s Day meal for Mother’s all around the country.  How fun for a new m


Romantic Dinner at Home – enjoy it together after the baby is in bed.

other to actually get spoiled by getting to experience this very traditional activity!  Just make sure that this meal doesn’t end with the ‘sitcom-esque’ butter in the sheets, or having to face a disaster of a kitchen that will take a ½ hour to clean after her ‘treat’.

Another option for ‘feeding her’ is to take her to a favorite restaurant that you may not have been to since the baby was born.  If going out is not really an option due to a lack of babysitting options, then get that very special meal ‘To Go’ and enjoy it together after the baby is in bed.

Show her the Memories…

Framed Picture of Baby and Mom

Framed Picture of Baby and Mom

Take a favorite picture of mother & baby and have it framed.  If you have a little advance time, you can make a photo book with all sorts of pictures of mother & baby.  There are tons of websites that have templates where you can just choose a style and ‘drag & drop’ your digital pictures right into place.  My favorites are Shutterfly and Snapfish, but there are TONS of options including Wal-Mart and Walgreens where you can go and pick up the book at your local store.

Send her to the Spa…


Total relaxation at the Spa….

There is no better way to have a new mother feel re-invigorated than to have her get away for a day to relax and re-charge her batteries while she is pampered at a Day Spa.  Send her with a sister or friend so they can relax and re-connect.  If a whole day isn’t feasible, then a massage, manicure, pedicure and a relaxing lunch will certainly do the trick.  Just be careful that you don’t plan something so elaborate that mom will be more stressed out for having to leave baby for a really long time – especially if the baby is very young and mom isn’t ready to let go.  If baby is very young, maybe your best option is just to send mom for a pedicure at a local salon where baby (and baby-sitter) can go along.  That way, mom can relax knowing baby is safe and doing well, but mom still gets a bit of pampering for herself.

Don’t forget the card from Baby…


Card from Baby to Mommy

Almost two years ago my sister delivered her first baby on Mother’s Day (5 ½ weeks early).  On the way to the hospital to meet my niece, we stopped off to get a Mother’s Day card.  I signed it to my sister from the baby.  Since the baby was in the NICU and my sister couldn’t visit her due to her medical condition, I must say that that card got quite the emotional reaction.  More than I intended, because there were a lot of hormones in play at the time, but I’m still glad her very first Mother’s Day was somehow acknowledged.

Whatever you decide to do for her First Mother’s Day, just remember, that becoming a mother is the best gift of all.  Share with us how you celebrated your very first Mother’s Day by commenting on this post.


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An Easter Story – Gift Mix

28 Mar

I found this wonderful gift idea that I found on  This can help you teach your younger children about Easter – it’s a super simple mix that you can put together with your children.  After you bag the mix up, you can have the kids hand this out to grandparents, aunt & uncles and friends.  Each time they hand a gift out, the kids can explain the significance of each of the ingredients.

Easter Story Mix

by Grace and Liberty from Nebraskacross with flowers


Gather the ingredients

pretzel sticks (represent the Cross)

Hershey’s Kisses (God’s love for you)

dried cranberries (the blood He shed)

vanilla wafers (the stone that rolled away)

gummy bears or jellybeans (your new life in Christ)

Get to work

1. Mix equal amounts of ingredients in large bowl.

2. Put into fun bags with the poem below. Give them to friends and neighbors as an Easter gift:kids with grandparents

The Cross where Jesus died,

The love for you He felt inside,

The stone He rolled away,

The life He brings today.


Easter is a gift, it’s true,

A special present from God to you.

We hope you enjoy this special treat

That makes this holy day extra sweet!


Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.