Holiday Prep 101

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As a busy mom and a full time realtor, I have to be super organized when it comes to the holidays.  As mothers, we already have a ton on our plates….we juggle taking kids to and from school, to their after school activities and sporting events, we have to make dinner, do laundry, dishes….the list never ends. That same list just continues to grow during the months of November and December and in order to stay sane, I have a few helpful tips to share below.

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ORDER GROCERIES ONLINE – I started loading up my cart 2 weeks ago. I selected my order date and time ( believe me, available delivery spots fill up fast so reserve your slot ASAP) and have been adding items as I think of things I will need. I started with home goods; i.e.) toilet paper, water, soap….all the goods I will need for my guests and home.  Then I add groceries needed for recipes and meals.  Most online ordering allows you to add items up until the day before delivery.

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The Love & Lemons Cookbook

REVISIT RECIPES – We all have some favorite recipes, either  family traditions or basic staples that we love to make.  Start reviewing and organizing those recipes and notes a few weeks out.  This allows you plenty of time to adjust your menu or look for new recipes.  Just don’t forget to look at each ingredient to make sure you have it on hand (spices and herbs often to get forgotten) and then add to your online grocery list.

fullsizerender-2Inspo from HomeGoods

CONFIRM HEADCOUNT – The holidays always throw us a last minute curve ball and more often than not, an extra guest finds their way to your table.  Do take a few hours to layout seating and table arrangments.

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COMPLETE YOUR TABLESCAPES – I reuse a lot of my plates and decor for gatherings.  My plates are neutral and I have metallic chargers for under.  My linens are white, my candle holders & votives are mercury glass and my vases are clear.  From there, I add the color of the season or holiday with smaller plates, florals, napkins, pumpkins, pinecones, pine, etc. to create the story or theme I am going for. I usually start creating my tablescape 2-3 weeks out so I have time to buy an extra table cloth or accessory if needed.

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ORDER DESSERTS AND FLORALS – I love to cook but I can’t do it all and in all honesty,   my local bakery makes my favorite desserts.  Cross another item off your list by ordering these  goods and having them ready for pick up the day before your gathering. You can do the same with florals from your market.

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HAVE GIFTS ON HAND – A few years ago, I had a sweet neighbor (new to the neighborhood) stop buy with a really nice gift for our home.  She came by to introduce herself and wanted to wish us a Happy New Year.  I was so sad that I didn’t have a little something for her.  Obviously the holidays aren’t about buying someone a gift just because they gave you one, but I love to give – even if it’s  just cookies or a card. Throughout the year, as I am shopping for upcoming birthday gifts or I find a great sale on one of my favorite items, I make a purchase and hold onto these extra little goodies to give out as needed.  Sometimes it is as simple as my kids needing a last minute gift for a party or for a friend having a bad week that I am meeting for lunch.  I do the same with cards, as I find some favorites, I buy and use throughout the year.

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BUY HOLIDAY CARDS NOW – There are a ton of discounts on picture cards starting the end of October, beginning of November.  Plus many sites offer free shipping this early.  Don’t wait till the 2nd week of December and pay full price + expedited shipping.  This is an easy project to do while watching tv or in bed once kids are tucked away.  Some of my favorite sites: Tinyprints.com, Shutterfly.com, Minted.com

Happy Holidays from my family to yours! WW

HELPFUL HINT:  To save money and time, organize a cookie swap in your neighborhood or amongst friends.  This is a great way to get a lot of cookies made for not only your home and kids but to give out as gifts.  It also allows you time to be with friends and family and try new recipes. 

Buy Cookie Exchange Boxes Here      Rectangle Cookie Exchange Boxes

Spritz Cookie Exchange Kit   3 Dozen Holiday Treat Boxes

Holiday Decor that will last for 60 days

My favorite time of the year….FALL!!  I love everything about fall – pumpkin spice goodies, fall candles, layering clothing, the little bit of bite in the air on my daily walk and most importantly, fall decor!!! 

However, fall is a very short time frame and for me, I want to maximize my fall decor from October 1st to November 30th, without having to swap it out.  Below are my favorite examples of fall decor that works for both Halloween and Thanksgiving so you only have to decorate once.  Here’s to saving time and money!

Photos by Love Lock Key

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Photo by Rachel Parcell
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Photo by At the Picket Fence
Colorful mums and different types of pumpkins help play into both holiday vibes, aiding you to only decorate at the beginning of the fall season.

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Photo from Eleven Gables

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Spotted at Home Stories by Beth

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D.D.D. by Taryn
Many of my buyers and friends aren’t huge fans of color (they love neutrals). If you worry about your home clashing with your decor, experiment with white mums and white pumpkins that allow you to stay neutral.

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Photo by T. Lane Designs Limited

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Photo by Shelterness
If you have a large wrap around porch or entry, play it up with different types of squashes and pumpkins in a tiered approach to create height.

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Photo from Faded Velvet

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Spotted on Shelterless

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Vintage Home Love
Add a little more drama by incorporating a corn husk or two.  You can do this in both a large or small space; just keep in mind that you will need more husks in a larger space.  If you only have room for one, make sure it’s not too wide.

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Spotted on Shelterless

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Photo by Thrifty and Chic
Use of faux leaves to create garland and wreaths definitely makes your entry festive for both trick-or-treaters, as well as your turkey day guests. 
These Halloween Porches were too cool not to share. Just make sure to put the scary stuff away November 1st. Have a fabulous Fall! 💕 the Within Walls girls!
Photos by WithinWalls.com

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Photo by WithinWalls.com

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Photo by WithinWalls.com