How I’ve Managed To Get A Handle On The Holidays Without Going Crazy

If you’ve been checking out my blog, or my personal Facebook page, for any length of time you’ve probably learned that I’m a bit of an organization freak. But being that organized helps me from having anxiety attacks, forgetting things and feeling overwhelmed when I think of everything I need (or sometimes, want) to do.

We’ve been doing the Christmas thing with at least one kiddo for six years now. Year one was pretty easy – I mean, he was 10 months old! Year two we broke out Elf on the Shelf.  He didn’t pay much attention to it but I had fun setting it up.  By year 3 he was totally into the Elf, who we’ve named Chippy, but I was largely pregnant with our youngest so I was kind of an Elf parenting fail that year.

For year 4 I decided that with two kids I needed a better plan.  So I made a family calendar that starts on Thanksgiving and goes until New Years Day! Over the span of these past three years I’ve gotten better and better about what should be on it (at least for our family) so I’ve decided to go ahead and share it with you this year. I’m sure next year’s will be even better and I’ll do my best to share in 2019 too!

Not only do we do Elf on the Shelf, but we also do Random Acts of Kindness.  My plan this year is to have Chippy bring our RAK card for the day.  Finger crossed I’ll be able to get all of the cards made and printed and ready to go by December 1st!

You’ll notice that I also list things I want D and I to do to get ready, family activities and just general housekeeping items.  Feel free to ignore those – I just didn’t want to create a whole new calendar to share.

This year I’m sharing PDFs of exactly what I’m printing out for my family.  MOST of it is self explanatory, but some of the Elf ideas may not be.  I’ll link to those that I can but for some I just plan on doing a quick Pinterest search as I’m doing my prep for the week.

One “word of caution,” for lack of a better expression – please remember that I do this to keep myself sane and that I’m sharing it as an easy way to share ideas for the upcoming season.  In no way do I think you HAVE to do something like this, or anything at all, during this time of year.  Honestly, I LOVE doing it.  That’s just who I am! If the thought of planning out your holidays overwhelms you, but you REALLY WANT to do it – then this post is 100% made for you!  If the thought of any of this makes you want to curl up in a ball and never come out – just skip right on past this post! Go and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea or even a cookie in the bathroom if you’re having one of those days!




And now for a little extra help with some of these Elf ideas:

Elf Arrival Door: Whew this was a fun project, well, kind of! I found all of the supplies at Hobby Lobby (or one of those crafting stores – I honestly forget where I went!) and the kids LOVED it!

Kissing Booth and Taking Chippy With Us: It doesn’t get easier than putting an elf in a mason jar y’all!

Snowball Fight: This will always be one of my favorites for some reason!

Here is a link to a few other ideas I’ve done over the years – maybe you’ll get some more inspiration there!

If you’d be interested in me sharing a printable for the Random Acts of Kindness cards I plan on making let me know and I’ll try to get something posted before the 1st of December for y’all too!

I really hope that this whole holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving this week because the bird gets his or her holiday too!, is amazing and magical and everything you want it be!


A Freezer Friendly Recipe: Ham and Hashbrown Casserole

Ham and Hashbrown Casserole

NOTE: I wrote this FOREVER ago – like a year I think! – and never published it.  We’re not eating much, if any, dairy now, but I still plan on sharing the plan I used during my pregnancy with Andrew since it was pretty awesome for us – and SO many of my friends are pregnant right now!

When I was pregnant with Andrew I made a ton of freezer meals to have after he was born (like 46!).  I have every intention of blogging that plan soon because I was crazy OCD organized about it and I want to share.

I found SOOOOOO many recipes that are freezer friendly as I was planning for that time.  Most were a huge hit, some weren’t!  Others have been added to our monthly rotation and will stay there forever!

I’m not a huge fan of ham typically, but Darrin is.  This seemed like a simple enough recipe and one that would freeze well.  After a few tweaks, it’s become a family favorite.  I’m already looking forward to making it with our leftover Christmas ham in a few months (less than 3 months to go actually!).

Cheesy Ham and Hashbrown Casserole


  • 1lb cooked ham
  • 26 oz frozen hashbrowns
  • 2 cans of cream of potato soup
  • 8oz sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 TBSP Thyme
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop up the ham.


Combine all of the ingredients together, reserving 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese for topping.


Even spread into a prepared 9×13 dish.

(If freezing, here is where you’d wrap the dish up and put it in the freezer).


Top with the remaining cheese.


Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until bubbly and browned on top.

If making a freezer meal, when you’re ready to cook, remove from the freezer and thaw over night. Top with cheese. Bake for an hour at 375.  I like to write anything I need to add to the meal, plus the cooking instructions on tinfoil before wrapping so everything is right there on the meal!


The mustard and spices give it a little something special and add a unique flavor, while keeping the prep super easy!

This is totally the season for freezer meals – kids back in school, evening and weekend activities are going full steam and there is nothing nicer at 5pm than knowing all you have to do is pop something in the oven and you’ll have a home-cooked meal in an hour!