Goodbye, Christmas

It’s true. Christmas has finally left our house. (Well, mostly. The outside lights are still up – although not on – I’ll get those down when the weather cooperates a little more.)

It’s a lot of work to put the Christmas decorations up and it’s a lot of work to put them away, too. I find that it works best if I keep a system going each year.

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The first thing that I do? Take down all non-tree decorations. Mostly, that means that the fireplace mantel goes back to normal. But, we do have some Christmas decorations throughout the house that also get boxed up with the mantel.

Everything gets dusted before it gets packed up, the mantel is dusted and the rest-of-the-year decor goes back up (after it gets dusted, too.)

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(Time to pick up some flowers for those vases.)

Next up – time to take down the tree.

We do the girls’ ornaments first.  Their storage box also has a small tree that we set up in their room and a Melissa & Doug nativity that we set up by the tree.  The girls have many ornaments that have boxes (I keep most of the boxes) so the first job is to take out all of the boxes so that we can see what we need to find.

We start taking down the ornaments and match them up to boxes (if there are boxes).

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After the girls’ storage is down, it’s time for my ornaments and Ryan’s. I will admit, we have a lot of ornaments and if we lived in a larger house, I would probably have three trees. So, this does take some time.

Luckily, I had some help taking everything down and organizing it.

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Just like with the girls’ ornaments, we have to match up some to the box that they belong in. (I have one large storage container just filled with boxed ornaments.)

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Once the ornaments are all put away, then the lights come down. This tree was a pre-lit tree and, as you can see in the picture below, there are very few lights on the tree that still work. I add everything else.

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After the tree is down, it’s time to do a sweep and vacuum the living room. It’s always sad to put Christmas away, but it’s also nice to have some more space back in the living room.

Until next year!

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Spring Cleaning – Makeup

I am horrible at getting rid of makeup. Until very recently, I had bottles of nail polish that were old, really old, more than a decade old. With nail polish, you can tell pretty easily when it needs to be tossed. You know how old nail polish has a different texture to it? It seems thicker, more clumpy? Well, you know when you see that, that you need to toss it, right? It’s not always that easy to tell when other types of makeup are ready to go. But, I made it a spring cleaning task to go through my makeup bag and toss out stuff that was either 1) too old, 2) broken or almost empty, or 3) a color that I haven’t used in several months, or in some cases – haven’t used ever.

Along with my bag cleaning, I cleaned sponges and brushes. I know that there are pricey cleaning solutions out there for cleaning makeup sponges and brushes. What do I use? Liquid soap. I usually use either a mild liquid hand soap or baby shampoo. So much cheaper than the expensive cleaners and works just as well.

How do you know if your makeup is too old? I found this handy breakdown from Good Housekeeping that goes into detail about many different types of beauty products.  That’s what I used as my guideline as I went through my bag……

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The results? Yes, I have beautifully clean brushes and sponges…..but now I need to buy a lot of new makeup! Everything in the picture above, I threw away. I tend to hold onto makeup for way longer than I should. And that really doesn’t make sense because I tend to use a few go-to shades. Some of these that I threw out I haven’t used in a long, long time. And mascara? I need to get much better about buying new mascara! Expires after three months?! Oh man. Some of these I’ve had for almost a year! Gross!

Ink + Doll = Disaster

Big girl got a big present for Christmas. An American Girl doll! She already has a Bitty Baby but this was her first doll “that has hair that can be brushed.” It’s a big deal. She’s wanted one for awhile  so she was super excited when she opened her new baby.

Well, this was all great until I found the doll under a blanket and she looked like…..

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AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! She looked like she had had a run in with an evil tattoo artist! At some point, little girl had found a pen in their bedroom and had decided to decorate her big sister’s doll…….

Honestly, I thought that we were going to have to send baby doll off to the doll hospital and get her a new head. But, three days of light scrubbing with a paste made of baking soda and water and then letting her air dry lying face down (I was really paranoid that her eyes were going to get rusted or something) and she now looks like……

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She’s not perfect but big girl is just so excited that baby doll now looks much closer to normal.

What did we learn from this? Well, when mommy says things like “don’t leave pens or markers or crayons in your bedroom” it’s best to listen to mommy. And, American Girl has a very helpful site with care instructions in case your newest addition to the doll family is attacked by a pen.