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Our list of 100 things to be prepared for the holidays

I know it may seem early to some, but with the early arrival of snow at our place and the excitement of the holidays approaching, I thought I would make a list of all the things I like to do to prepare for a fun and less stressed holiday season.


100 Ways to Prepare for Christmas
Six to Eight Weeks Before:
1. Make a list of people you would like to have gifts for.
2. Pick a gift theme.
3. Plan out any gifts that need to be made by hand ahead of time.
4. Design your holiday card.
5. Get your holiday cards printed.
6. Check your addresses for holiday card mailings.
7. Prepare your envelopes for mailing.
8. Start collecting items for stocking stuffers.
9. Sort your decorations, replace any hangers or bulbs prior to they day they are needed to
10. Plan any holiday parties you will be hosting.
11. Book your hair appointment with your favorite stylist for upcoming holiday parties before
the rush.
12. Set up your Advent Calendar.
13. Donate any old toys, clothing, items to charity.
14. Start pulling out decorations to add to your home decor.
15. Deep clean your home in preparation for winter.
16. Book your dog sitter or kennel if you will be traveling over the holidays.
17. Gather holiday movies.
18. Make a holiday playlist for everyone to enjoy.
19. Get your chimney professionally cleaned and ready for the winter.
20. Make Christmas Pudding.
21. Buy stamps for Christmas Card mailing.
22. Take stock of your pantry.
23. Replenish any pantry items you will be needing.
24. Put your snow tires on your car, get it winter ready.
Four Weeks Before:
25. Visit a Christmas Tree farm near you to support local farmers.
26. Book your live tree if you are renting one.
27. Do any meal prep that can be done ahead of time and put in freezer.
28. Start your cookie baking and freeze cookies.
29. Order any gifts that need to be delivered to avoid the rush.
30. Grab a turkey when they go on sale after Thanksgiving and freeze for Christmas.
31. Write a letter to Santa.
32. Mail your letter to Santa.
33. Make some hostess gifts to bring to holiday parties.
34. Light a fire to enjoy while decorating.
35. Design your holiday table centerpiece.
36. Write your annual holiday newsletter.
37. Mail your cards on December 1st
38. Purchase your favorite wines and spirits ahead of time.
39. Each week add a few items to your grocery list to add to your pantry for Christmas.
40. Plan a holiday brunch for the day after Christmas.
41. Invite friends for a cookie swap.
42. Put up Christmas Lights
43. Put the Advent Calendar out.
44. Decorate outside of your home.
45. Put up your tree and have a trimming night.
46. Decorate inside your home.
47. Get the family new matching holiday PJ’s.
48. Call the local food bank to see what is needed for holiday hampers, pick up a few things on
your next grocery visit.
49. Pick an Angel and deliver a few unexpected gifts for this child or adult.
50. Plan a day to help at the local soup kitchen, make it a team effort.
51. Make a homemade gingerbread house and freeze until closer to Christmas.
52. Prepare any gifts for teachers, bus drivers, dog walkers.
53. Mail any packages that need to travel far.
54. Make sure you have enough wood for the winter for the fireplace or a bonfire.
55. Decorate your stairwell.
56. Gather branches to make a Christmas Wreath for your door.
Two Weeks Before:
57. Do a ten minute tidy and clean every day to keep your home visitor ready.
58. Plan an impromptu night of caroling.
59. Prepare thank you basket on your porch for delivery drivers dropping off parcels (think,
water, sodas, snacks…)
60. Defrost your gingerbread house.
61. Decorate your gingerbread house with your favorite candies.
62. Sort out gifts that you have made or purchased and see if anything is missing.
63. Wrap gifts that are ready.
64. Clean the guest room.
65. Prepare any linens for guests coming to visit.
66. Plan your menu for the week leading up to Christmas.
67. Deep clean the kitchen.
68. Make salt ornaments with your kids.
69. Trim the tree with cranberry and popcorn garland.
70. Host a baking night for the fresh baking that needs to be done.
71. Hang your stockings.
The Week Before:
72. Go for a drive and admire the holiday lights.
73. Go for a walk in town to see the decorations.
74. Go Ice Skating.
75. Take the toboggan’s out for a ride (weather permitting).
76. Pick up any last minute items that need to be fresh from the grocery store.
77. Figure out if any gifts are missing and be sure to finish them up.
78. Finish any wrapping of gifts.
79. Make the hard sauce for the Christmas Pudding.
80. Host a bonfire night.
81. Have a “Random Act of Kindness Day” ~ make sure you aren’t stressed or busy that day,
carry around gift cards for coffee (or something fun) hand them out to people who look like
they could use a smile.
82. Decorate the table with your centerpiece.
83. Make Tourtière for Christmas Eve (freeze).
84. Make Christmas Punch.
The Day Before:
85. Do one last tidy through the house.
86. Turn the NORAD Santa Tracker on to watch where he is visiting.
87. Wrap any last minute gifts.
88. Cook ahead any of the dishes that can easily be reheated (potatoes, squash, stuffing).
89. Make homemade egg nog.
90. Stuff the stockings.
91. Enjoy Tortière for dinner.
92. Go for a walk with the family.
93. Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas” or another favorite holiday movie
94. Prepare a breakfast Strata for the morning.
95. Set the table.
96. Set your coffee maker to brew first thing.
97. Prepare a plate of cookies for Santa.
98. Read the ‘Night Before Christmas’ together before bedtime.
99. Go to midnight services on Christmas Eve.
100.Go to sleep knowing you are fully prepared to enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

Categories: Uncategorized

Single Serving Apple Crisp

two baked apple crisps in white ramkins sitting on a white napkin with red ribbing, a red apple sits off to the side

Apple Crisp season is upon us!! The apples are ripe on the trees and ready for the picking. A favourite in our house is Apple Crisp (although my Grandma called it Apple Betty) and while I love to eat them, I don’t always love to make them, peeling apples, getting everything ready and make it, only to have left overs for days.

So, through the magic of Pinterest and my Grandmother’s recipe, I have created a single serving Apple Crisp. You can make it in the microwave, toaster oven or regular oven. And you can make it in a ramekin, a mason jar or a mug, the choice is yours!!

peeled apples sitting on a cutting board

fresh apples, peeled and ready for baking

All you need is one medium apple to make a single serving, well that and some oats, flour, butter, spices… you get the idea. You can truly just make one serving if you like. I made four so I could test out the different jars and cooking methods and hopefully my family will enjoy for dessert tonight.

Baked Apple Crisp in a white ramkin, sitting on a white napkin with red ribbing.

Baked Crisp

I had to test out ramekins and mason jars in addition to microwave and oven.

two mason jar apple crisps with a red apple and a white napkin with red ribbing on it

Baked Apple Crisp in Mason jars

This on was microwaved. It was almost exactly like the baked ones, the crisp, just wasn’t really crispy, like you get from the oven, but completely enjoyable for sure. Especially if you are away at school and only have a microwave to use, you could so easily impress your friends with a quick crisp.

Apple crisp in a ramkin with a spoon, red apple in the background

Microwaved Apple Crisp


Serves: 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2-3 minutes in microwave, 30 minutes in 350ºF oven or toaster oven

Apple Filling:

  • 1 apple (peeled, cored and cubed) {other fruit may be substituted, pear, peach, berry…}
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 1tsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1tsp orange juice

Mix dry ingredients together, add apples and apple juice, stir, place into jar, ramekin or mug (make sure you mug is oven safe if using in oven)


  • 1/3 c quick oats
  • 1tbsp flour
  • 1tbsp margarine or soft butter
  • pinch of salt

Mix dry ingredients, cut butter into the oats mixture with a fork or your hands (I prefer hands). Place on top of apples.

Microwave for 2-3 minutes on high or bake in oven at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Enjoy! Garnish with vanilla ice cream or just enjoy plain!

**Please use oven mitts when removing from microwave or oven, dish will be hot and filling will be hot as well, use caution when eating.

Categories: Uncategorized

Irish Tea Cake

annaepp.com-Irish-tea-cake-web-1Irish Tea Cake anyone? I do love a good tea party. Ever since I was young and my Mom would allow a tea party it was always a lot of fun and a real treat. Visiting my Scottish grandmother meant that we had tea often and it always seemed to turn into a bit of a party.

Fast forward to having a daughter to share my love of tea parties with and here we are. Since she was quite young she would host tea parties. In her room, outside, on the floor in the family room…wherever and whenever she could she would host a tea party. Even if it was just her and I.
annaepp.com-Irish-tea-cake-web-7We have the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa and they hold a High Tea. One of our daughters friends was going for a birthday party so I got all the questions. And then realized that I had never taken her! What have I been thinking? Since we can’t go yet, I figured I would make some tea treats to enjoy with a nice cup of Earl Grey. First up was the Irish Tea Cake.
annaepp.com-Irish-tea-cake-web-9Not too sweet, not too dense, not too dry, just right. The perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. At first our daughter was wondering where the icing was, but once she tasted it with the sprinkled sugar she understood. It would have been too much to put icing on it. Although, when fresh strawberries and raspberries are out, we will be sure to make this again and enjoy with a bit of each.
annaepp.com-Irish-tea-cake-web-11Want to try it for yourself? A simple, quick and easy recipe that you can whip up in no time for guests to enjoy, or just for a random Friday.

I followed this recipe from Let’s Dish Recipe’s that I found on Pinterest. I had made one in the past, but couldn’t find that recipe and this one was as close as I could get. Enjoy!



  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Fresh berries and whipped cream, for topping (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch round pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the batter alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutess, then turn out onto a serving plate.
  6. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar. If desired, top slices with fresh berries and/or whipped cream.


Categories: Recipes