Category - Home Sweet Home

First World Problems
All Is Calm: April
All is Calm: March
Stir Crazy
All Is Calm: February
All Is Calm: January, Part 2
Christmas is Over, time to plan
California Dreamin’
Another Cruel Summer
The Other Shoe

All Is Calm: April

All is Calm: Christmas Planning Year Round

Yes, I know it’s May.  Good grief already!  Life is just getting in the way over here.  I guess that’s why I like to have a plan in place so that I can get back on track.  So let’s just pretend that this post was written two weeks ago, OK?  And let’s also just assume that May’s pages will be on time.   Onward…

Christmas Planner Apr

This month I have 4 new pages for you.

The Craft Supply List goes with the Crafts Planner from February (links to previous pages will be at the end of the post).  In February, we listed all the Christmas crafts we hope to make.  If you haven’t already, get the patterns and instructions for those crafts and print them out or make copies. Stick them in sheet protectors or a poly folder made for binders so that they are all in your Christmas Planning Binder for you to find easily.  But first, list all the supplies you will need on the Craft Supply List.  This is now your master shopping list.  Watch those Sunday ads and if you have a smart phone, get the app for your favorite craft store.  They usually have a coupon and you just have to show the cashier your phone with coupon and there’s a code they will enter.  Nice!  I’ve provided space for you to write the store name and the quantity of the item, if you need it.  Once again, every 5th line is red which is to help you group list items together.  If that’s not helpful, just ignore it. So once your Craft Supply List is complete, you are ready to shop!  But make sure you have one designated spot for your supplies so that you can find them again!  Maybe use one of the note pages I’ve made for my All Is Calm series and write down where you’ve stashed that stash.

Next up is the Family Fun page. This one goes with a page back in January where we listed the things that make our ultimate Christmas.  Write down the family activity, where it is, the cost and any relevant notes. Maybe you like to see the Nutcracker on a certain weekend, or have a cookie exchange with your daughter’s friends, or go caroling with your church.  Whatever it is, write it down!  You can search for family Christmas activities or Christmas bucket list to get some ideas of what other people do. Don’t forget to look at the list you made back in January and include those ideas, too.

The Projects for Kids page is for you to list the kid-specific plans you have.  I’ve made space for the project name, the source (book, magazine, website) and supplies needed.  You should add the supplies to the appropriate shopping list, like the Craft Supply List from this month or the master Shopping List from last month.  I’m hoping that this list will keep me from letting some things fall through the cracks this year.  I always have so many great plans…in my head! Maybe this is the year those plans become reality.

The Holiday Pantry Inventory is the same Pantry Inventory that you can purchase in my Etsy store, but prettied up for Christmas.  Some baking and cooking staples have a long shelf life,  so you can buy them on sale ahead of time.  The trick is to remember what you already have.  Just write down the name of the item and circle the amount that you have.  And here’s another tip, non perishables can be stored somewhere other than a kitchen.  Grab a container and find space anywhere you can.  Just make a note right on the inventory sheet so you can find it all again.  If you have food in bags, like brown sugar or chocolate chips, just make sure you store them in a sturdy plastic box with a lid and keep it off the floor.  You wouldn’t want any critters to get to them.

All of this month’s pages are available to download here: Christmas Planner April

The previous month’s pages are here:

January, Part 1
January, Part 2


All is Calm: March

Whew!  I’m a little late with this month’s pages because I was without my computer for about a week while we disassembled our entire office to make room for a new desk.  Pictures for that, later!


I really can’t believe it is the end of March already.  And yes, I do say that every month.  First off, go back and add some notes to your Year in Review page for March. Did you go anywhere interesting during Spring Break?  My boys started taekwondo in March, so I’ll make a note of it – and future ranks will be noted throughout the year.  So when it comes time to write our annual newsletter, I can be sure to mention it.

Today I have 3 new pages for your Christmas Planner.  These are prettied-up pages of what I’ve used for years to prepare for Christmas cooking and baking. The first page in the file is a notes page, which I always throw in, just in case you need it and so you don’t have to go looking for it in an earlier download.

Christmas Meal Planning Pages

Holiday Recipes Index

I love to make lists, obviously.  This page is for you to write down the names of all the holiday recipes you’ll be using.  There is a line under the title for you to write a category, like cookies, breads, candy, Christmas dinner – whatever will make it easier for you.  Then write in the recipe name and the source.  The source can be your recipe box, the name of a cookbook, a Pinterest board or other online recipe site.  You can also do a page of recipes you want to try, and if they are a success, add them to your index.

Gather up all  those family favorites and start writing them down on the Holiday Recipes index.  And while you’re at it…

Holiday Grocery List

Add the ingredients for each recipe to the Holiday Grocery List.  Sometimes Christmas goodies require ingredients that you don’t use any other time, so you need to make sure you write it down on this list.  You don’t need to write down basic staples unless you use a lot of something.  For example, I go through a lot of butter, powdered sugar and flour over the holidays.  Keep a running total of how much of those kinds of things you need and add the total to the grocery list.

When you have finished, you will have a master shopping list that you can refer to year after year.  I keep my master list in my binder and copy it to our weekly shopping list as we get closer to the holidays.  Also, when these things start going on sale, you can plan your shopping accordingly to get all that sweetened condensed milk for the best price.

Holiday Meal Planner

This page is to help you plan out your big meals.  We actually have a traditional Christmas Eve meal as well as a big Christmas Day dinner.  Hmm, we have some Christmas breakfast traditions, too. Make sure that all your big meals have their recipes and ingredients included on the recipe index and grocery list.  Then use the meal planner to make sure you’ve got everything covered.  There is enough room to write the recipe name, along with the person making it. You can start filling this page out now, especially if you menu stays the same every year.

And since we’re thinking baking and cooking, now is a good time to assemble a Christmas Cookbook.  You can copy or print out all your recipes and put them in their own little binder.  Or you can put them in different section of your holiday binder.  If you make a cookbook, you can use the recipe index as a table of contents.

This can be a time-consuming project, so that’s all I have for you this month.  You can download the Holiday Meal Planning Pages here: Christmas Planner March

So tell me, how are you liking these pages?  Do you think they will be helpful when we get closer to Christmas?  Is there a particular planner page you’re hoping to see?

Stir Crazy

We have lived here for 4 1/2 years, which is an eternity in Army years.  This is the longest we’ve ever lived anywhere.  I’m getting a little stir crazy.  It’s time to shake things up a little.

I never dreamed this would happen to me.  When I was growing up, we moved 3 times.  Once, we relocated to a new city.  Then we bought a new house, moved into a rental for a few months while the new house closed, then moved into it.  I was the only person I knew who moved.  It wasn’t traumatic but it made me feel different.  All I wanted to do when I grew up was to live in one house for the rest of my life.

So I married an Army guy.  An Army guy who was supposed to finish his commitment, then go to law school and set me up in a lifestyle to which  I was looking forward to becoming accustomed.

Yeah, so 4 years turned into 5 and if you’re going to do five, you might as well do 10.  And if you’re going to do 10, you might as well stick it out til 20 and get retirement benefits.  Which is exactly what we did, and moved 9 times.  Nine times!!!! An average of 2 years per assignment.

And now it’s been 4 1/2 years in the same house and I need a change.  I’ve been on Pinterest and somehow I’ve convinced my long suffering husband (sorry dear, payback for all those moves) that we need to rip the carpet up in the living room and replace it with hardwood.  And rip up the carpet on the staircase.  And if we’re going to do that, while we’ve got the banister down,  we might as well replace the balusters with wrought iron.  All 89 of them.  And paint the laundry room, dining room and the whole interior, actually.  New front doors would be super nice, since our front porch looks so grand.

Here are the inspiration photos  for all my upcoming projects.  And don’t worry, I’ll be sharing this whole journey right here on the blog!


  • Staircase Remodel
  • Tiffany Blue Laundry Room
  • New Front Doors
  • Wrought Iron Balusters
  • Paint Books on the stairs
  • Interior Paint Colors
  • Change from Brass to Bronze
  • Create Gallery Wall

That ought to keep us busy for a while, don’t you think?

Original source photos found here:

Staircase Remodel
Laundry Room Makeover
New Front Doors
Wrought Iron Balusters
Books Painted on Stairs
Interior Paint Colors
Brass to Bronze
Gallery Wall

All Is Calm: February


Here we are at the end of February already! Did you remember to make some notes on your Year in Review page for January?  If you write a year-end newsletter, you’ll be glad you did!  Don’t worry if you forgot, when you print out this month’s pages and add them to your planner, you can write some things down at the same time.

Speaking of this month’s pages – I’ve got 7 for you!

Christmas Planner Feb2

Cover and Spine

I’ve made you two covers for your planner, one says Christmas Planner and one says Holiday Planner.  You can slip it into the cover of your binder or use it as a cover page, or even as a divider if your Christmas pages are in with the rest of your planner or in your household binder. There’s also a page with spine inserts to match.  Just trim them down to fit your binder.  As always, there is a notes page for all your random thoughts and to-do lists.

Decorations Planner

Next up is the Decorations Planner.  You’ve got to get up and walk around your house for this one, but you can probably count that as exercise, so it’s all good.  What you’re going to do is start at the front of your house and write down the room you are in, then under “decorating plans”, write down the things you put in that room.  You can use the red lines to help delineate your list by room, if that helps, or ignore them if it doesn’t.  Don’t forget to go outside, too!

My Decorations Planner starts off with our entryway.  I have garlands (2) on the stairs, with lights (need to be replaced), and a candy garland entwined.  I tied our Santa’s Marching Band to the small banister.  Nativity scene on the buffet table with random angels and the Jesse Tree.  The Advent calendar hangs on the wall.  I have some Santas in the same area, but I’m not too happy with their placement, so I made a note of that on the page.

So just cruise around your house, looking at each room or area and write it down.  If you remember that you didn’t like something, things need replacing, or there is an idea you’d like to try, write that down, too.  You might need to print this page back-to-back a couple of times.

Ok, enough exercise.

Do you have Christmas Pinterest board?  Now is a good time to start one. Later in the year when the Christmas decorations start appearing in the stores, you can reference your Decorations Planner page along with your Pinterest board and decide what new things you want to try.  Don’t worry, I’ll remind you about this again later. If you need some ideas, you can follow Christmas Pinterest board here: Lorri’s Christmas Board.

Crafts Planner

The Crafts Planner is another brainstorming page.  If you handcraft any gifts, it is time to get planning!! There’s only 10 months left, but we’re not going to panic.  Write down the name of the craft or project, the recipient and the supplies that are needed.  Make a note if you need to buy supplies or you have them in your stash.  Again, you can use the red lines to help separate projects.  And now that all our great craft our ideas are out of our heads and onto paper, we can better plan.  Watch those sale ads for the supplies you need and start crafting as soon as you can!  If you’ve got lots of crafts to make, you’re going to need to grab your calendar and start deciding start-by and finish-by dates for each one.  This worksheet has the potential to get really messy, so don’t worry about needing to transfer the information to a new sheet.

Another thing to do while you’re planning crafts is to locate the instructions.  Are they on the internet?  Go find them and print them out and add them to your Christmas planner.  If the instructions are in a book, write the name under “supplies”.

Family Gift Planner

Yes, there was a gift planning page last month.  Last month was about brainstorming all the people you could possibly need gifts for and some basic gift ideas. This one is specifically for family members who may get multiple gifts. Write the name, the gift you are buying or making, and where to purchase each gift. The last column has a W for wrapped and an M for mailed.  When those tasks have been accomplished, cross off the appropriate letter.  If you buy gifts all year, this list will help you keep track. You might want to come up with your own code for where you’ve hidden the presents and write it in one of the spaces in the w/m column.  MC could be master bedroom closet, G could be garage, B for basement, etc. Don’t forget to write down the code on a different sheet, maybe a notes page.

Here’s the link for February’s pages: ChristmasPlanner February

Go forth and print and plan!

All Is Calm: January, Part 2

All Is Calm:  Christmas Planning Year Round (with free printables)

I was only going to offer new Christmas Planning pages once a month, but in reading the comments from my first post, I realized that there were a few things that would be most helpful before January is over.

One theme from the comments was budgeting.  People want to budget better and budget earlier.  That’s such a great idea!  I created 2 pages that work together for Christmas budgeting.  First is a worksheet to write down items you need to purchase, the amount you want to budget, and the amount you actually end up spending.  I kept this form simple and generic (I’m going to keep saying that!) so that you can fill it in however you like.  If you want to write one line for “gifts”, you can.  If you need to be more specific and budget by name of recipient, you can do that, too.  Other things you might want to budget for include decorations, travel expenses, clothing, wrapping supplies, cards and postage, and craft supplies.

Christmas Planner Part 2

In this set, there is also a Gift Planner.  This is more of a brainstorming worksheet, where you can list every person you might want to give a gift to.  Family, friends, neighbors, kids’ coaches and teachers – list them all here.  Even if you don’t know future teachers’ names, you do know if you’ll need gifts and how many.  And if you do a gift or ornament exchange, make sure you write that down, too.  Even if you give a lot of baked goods, get that written down. This is all about getting information out of our heads and down onto paper!  Once you have a clearer idea of the gifts you need to purchase, make or bake, you can budget appropriately.  Oh, and don’t forget any charitable giving, like angel trees or Operation Christmas Child. (There will be additional gift planning pages coming.  Those will help you plan more specifically.

I also created a Holiday Spending Tracker.  If you’re super organized and start your Christmas buying early, you have a way to track that right now!

The Traditions worksheet is one for the whole family.  Write down every single thing you do to celebrate Christmas.  Advent calendar, daily advent readings, decorating the tree, lights on the house, caroling, baking, whatever…write it down.  Make sure all your family members get a chance to add to the list.  Then as a family, prioritze the list!  You’ll notice I added a line down the left of the page.  That’s the space for you to assign each item a priority level. The whole point of this worksheet is to see if there are things that can be dropped when the season gets stressful, or maybe even dropped altogether.  Once you’re finished, just stick it in your planner and let it percolate.  We’re going to come back to it later.

The last page is for those of us who write newsletters to send out with our Christmas cards.  It’s a Year in Review page that lists all the months with just a few lines underneath.  Again, how you use this is  up to you.  I’d recommend writing just one line per family member each month.  Record milestones, accomplishments or other noteworthy events. When it comes time to write your newsletter, get this worksheet out and write it up.

I also added the Notes page to this download.  As you’re working on these pages, you are likely to think of other things we haven’t talked about yet.  Write down all those ideas as you think of them so that they aren’t lost to the chaos of everyday life.

Click here for Christmas Planner Pages, Part 2.

My question for you today is, what is the most beloved Christmas tradition in your family?

Christmas is Over, time to plan

We packed up the last of the Christmas decorations today (don’t judge), pushed the armchairs back into their normal places, and sighed wistfully at the now naked staircase. Yes, my friends, Christmas is over. So that means…it’s time to plan for next Christmas! I know, I’m crazy. But I’m a big fan of the All is Calm Christmas and that takes some planning. I made some rookie mistakes this year and found myself needing to have a little lie-down every so often, so I wouldn’t get too stressed.

Not that having your daughter star as Clara and Fritz and having your son make Eagle Scout isn’t stressful enough, but throw in some holidays and birthdays and…excuse me me while I go lie down for a moment.

Ok, I’m back.

So I’m going to try some thing new this year and I would like for you to come along for the ride. There’s likely to be free planner pages in it for you!

AllisCalm4I’m going to start planning for next Christmas right now and sort of spread the thoughts and plans out over the year. My goal is to reach December in such a state of calm and collectedness that all I have to do is flip on the fireplace (it’s gas) and sit down with a nice cup of eggnog and listen to Christmas carols. Of course, whether this happens or not remains to be seen, but it sounds good, right?

Here’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to sit down and think back to the holiday season.  Then we’re going to write down the things that worked, the things that didn’t work and the things we wished we’d done better.

No beating yourself for not pulling off the Perfect Family Christmas, because that’s never going to happen anyway.

Look, here’s a lovely printable planner page to help you! Christmas in Review There’s 2 pages, the Christmas in Review page and a notes page.  Stick them in your home management binder or under C (for Christmas) or H (for holidays) in your A-Z file.  Or start a new Holiday Planner!  There will be more pages coming, including a cover/divider.


And here’s where I’m taking a risk. After you’ve filled out this worksheet, come back here and tell me what was the best thing that happened during your holiday season and what is one thing you wished you could have done better. Don’t leave me hanging with no comments, ok?  I’ll go first.

California Dreamin’

Dear Philip,

Let”s redo the front of the house to look like this one.


And put a deck coming out of our bedroom, with a wrapping stair case, like this.


And enclose the front yard like this.


It might be a good idea, what with the drought and watering restrictions to have less lawn and more…something like this.


You know, since we have to fix the gutters anyway.

The Other Shoe

Ah, just were things were going so well.

Or were they?

We’ve been living with the shadow of a furlough hanging over our heads. Philip may or may not be forced to take one unpaid day a week until October. We should know for sure by the end of the month. But then again, thats what they said last month. It’s sure going to put a crimp in the finances.

Meanwhile, there is some work we’d like done on the house. Quite a bit, actually, but it is all cosmetic. We were discussing our options for the kitchen, which has new granite counters but the original boring, stock cabinets. The previous owners did that. I don’t know why they didn’t upgrade the cabinets, too. I’d like to remove the soffit and extend the cabinets up. Just as I was discussing this and looking up, I noticed it. The Bulge of Doom. Directly under a bathroom.

I pointed to it and said, “We have water damage.”

You could almost see years of life draining away from poor Philip.

Ever the optimistic and helpful one (stop laughing!) I suggested that since we’ll be tearing up the ceiling, it would be a good time to put in pot lights or a sun tube. Somehow that didn’t cheer him up.

I guess I shouldn’t mention that if we’ll be tearing up the bathroom floor, we should really get new bathroom cabinets and counter tops. And for continuity, we should probably do the other bathrooms, too.

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