Monday, December 29, 2008

Maintenance Monday

It's been a while since our last Maintenance Monday. I think, May 12th to be exact.

Maybe it's the daunting task before me of "de-stringing" my tree of its 1,150 Christmas lights and hundreds of ornaments. Maybe it's my feudal attempt to straighten the house and to find a home for each new toy delivered by Santa. Maybe it's the mountain of laundry waiting for me or the excitement of a new (more organized) beginning that comes with the anticipation of a new year. Whatever the reason, today just feels like it ought to be a Maintenance Monday.

For Robin (WELCOME!) and other newcomers checking into our site for the first time, today's Maintenance Monday will give you a glimpse into this fun community and provide a long list of reasons you ought to check back in again tomorrow... and the next day... and the next... and the next. For returners and lurkers, it will jump start your brain in the event you took a short HLA hiatus for the holidays.

Those of you holding out for the agreed-upon creative idea of the day, have no fear. We will finish on that note.

As for maintenance. No particular order. Just a messy stream of consciousness.

Next Week's Secret Ingredient: Nicole and Maureen go head to head this week, battling with this week's secret ingredient - Parmesan Cheese. Mail snacks no later than Tuesday afternoon to assure entries get to Struble Suds by game time on Saturday, January 3.

First ever forfeit: We already knew that Richard had the first fumble of the season by not submitting his entry for brown sugar. It seems Tera's entry also did not make it to Struble Suds by yesterday's game time. If Tera's submission doesn't make it by this afternoon we will call a do-over and allow Tera and Richard to resubmit for the game on January 3. The turnaround is quick. Consider it a Hail Mary.

Candy bar names: Saturday's team builder was fun. If you didn't have time to visit, it's not too late. One of the things we did in honor of yesterday's celebration of National Chocolate Day was to submit our ideas for candy bar names. Check some of them out: Avalanche, Scrump-didile-umptious, Marvel, Rapture, Kraver Killer, Masterpiece, Gigglebar, Divine Delight, 10 (as in perfect), and Brain Freeze (to be eaten frozen), So You've Had a Bad Day, and Time Out. Have one to add or want to tell us which is your favorite? We'd love to hear.

Winner of the National Chocolate Day Prize: Speaking of National Chocolate Day... Peggy wins Saturday's prize by guessing 8 as the exact number of blue M&M's in my package. Look at what she wins...
Christmas Brain Bank: It's not too late. Last week on 12/22, we had a post titled, "Act II, Scene I." The purpose of that day's entry was to capture your thoughts on all the things you want to be sure and remember to do NEXT holiday season! I promised that if you contributed your ideas and tips, I would be sure to reintroduce them to you next year on the day after Thanksgiving. That will be plenty of time to make good on your ideas and the entire HLA community will benefit. If you haven't added something to our list, we'd love to hear what you have to say. Please make your post in the comment section of 12/22, so we can keep the ideas together.

Pregnant women: Our list of pregnant women who want to participate in January's virtual baby shower is growing. If you know someone, please pass their name along and we will send an official invitation. The party is scheduled to take place January 26-31. Send their name to me at

Drink Coke: We are a little more than a month away from our campaign to gather as many Coke Reward numbers as possible. Remember, we are collecting reward numbers for a friend of Heather's (loyal reader) who has been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Coke remains one of her friend, Julie's, favorite vices and the reward numbers will allow Julie to purchase items she otherwise could not afford. Email reward numbers to

Helping Hand Project: Tera or Sue, we would love an update on how delivery of highlowaha items went to the family we adopted this holiday season. A final tally of money raised and gifts delivered would be fun to hear!

Help Me Shop Til I Drop: As many of you might have heard me mention, Matthew (my four year old) decided he wanted to invite Santa Claus to his birthday party in April. At first I dismissed the idea, but then I quickly fell in love with it. The possibilities are endless. Fake tree; lights; lawn art; Christmas plates; napkins; Christmas games such as pin the nose on Rudolph, musical chairs to Christmas carols, and a Green pickle scavenger hunt; crafts such as decorating Christmas cookies, and top the party off with a visit from Santa! I LOVE IT! Now. Here's what I need from you. Help me brainstorm. My days of 70% off are limited. What should I be sure to buy before holiday stuff disappears?

And now, for our agreed upon creative idea for the day. I am in the throws of packaging up our Christmas stuff (I am leaving for a week on Saturday). Here are a few Christmas decoration storage tips I've heard over time. Feel free to share whatever tricks you have up your sleeve!

If you are considering a Christmas in July this year, be sure to bear this in mind while packaging things up.
  • Package all the things you'll need at the start of the holiday season in a separate box. Items might include your advent calendar, tree stand, Christmas cards, Christmas CDs, or whatever else you might need.
  • Label your boxes 1 of 10, 2 of 10, 3 of 10, etc.... This assures you know how many you are looking for next year.
  • As Peggy suggested, take the extra time to make detailed lists of what is contained in each box. You will applaud your efforts next December.
  • Wrap candles in old socks or knee-high stockings to prevent scratching. Naturally, store in a cool place.
  • Store smaller ornaments in egg cartons.
  • Wrap garland around empty wrapping paper rolls.
  • We wrap our Christmas lights around old rolled up newspapers (which we reuse year after year). What I really love about this is reading what was happening around Christmas 7 or 10 years ago.
  • A few years ago, in preparation of our move to Texas, we ordered a box of packaging paper from U-Line. I love having it on hand for everything from crafts projects to rewrapping my Christmas ornaments.
How about you? What creative suggestions do you have for "wrapping up" this holiday season with a nice neat bow and all?

Signing off until tomorrow...

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