Baking without losing your mind

Hi there. How is this holiday season treating you? Are you overwhelmed? Did you bite off more than you can chew? Boy, do I hear you. I am the queen of “well, sure I can probably add 6 more things to my plate” and I usually end up in a state of constant low-level stress, which results in me getting¬†massively sick either just before or just after family parties. I often ring in the new year with a cold.

This year, I’m trying to map things out a bit better. I have a planner in which I actually wrote down major activities I hoped to accomplish each evening. I’m actually staying on top of things, much to my own amazement, and feeling like I can tackle all of the things that I intended to get to by the time my parents and sister arrive on Sunday. What? Awesome.¬†One of the things I have plotted out is baking, and I thought I would share a few tips with you. These are not your “add the dry ingredients in 3 parts” sorts of tips. These are “here is how to strategize several different beloved cookie recipes across the space of a week without getting excessively dramatic” sorts of tips.

I mean, I’m not revealing ground-shattering things here, just how I bake things without going nuts. Read on.

Speedy little project – scarf organization

Oh man, this is a little annoying to admit, but we have a mouse in our house. Well, presumably, we have more than one, but then you’d lose the rhyme. We suspect it doesn’t help that we have an open wall in our living room (you’ll see it on the house tour soon, promise!), but we have some furry little buddies that pop in occasionally to check things out in our living space. We sometimes seem them darting out of the corner of our eyes, which has led to the discovery that while I am not scared of the mice, I will still squeal like a piglet when I’m startled by one, heh.

Their favorite place, however, is our coat closet, probably because for a time we were keeping tons of dog treats and food in there, so it was a little mousey smorgasboard. We’ve since learned how to store the food better, and moved most of the treats into a separate area, but they’d been having such a field day in the closet, that the whole thing needed a MASSIVE cleaning, which Tim undertook. He said it was revolting, and I believe him. He scoured and disinfected a bunch of surfaces, we discovered that mice will eat candle wax (whaaat?), and also that my computer-paper box full of scarves was a fun little place for them to take a nap. Ew.

While Tim was pulling everything out of the closet anyway, he decided it’d be an excellent opportunity to weed out some things to donate, so I went through all of the scarves and chose which ones I could part with and which to keep. Then everything got washed thoroughly, because again: ew. The freshly-washed keeper scarves then sat in a pile on the dining room table for a few weeks, as I tried to decide how I wanted to store them. Putting them back in a paper box in the closet didn’t seem wise. Even though Tim had managed to block off the easiest way for the mice to come in (a gap along the interior door molding), and we’d removed the food temptations, the most intrepid mice were still finding a way in through the light fixture (whaaaaat?) and while we knew they wouldn’t stay long without food, I still didn’t want to give them a cozy place to nap before they found their way back home.

More inside. I’m basically done with the mouse-talk now. Promise.