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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Reindeer Games

We’ve had guests here at the T&C house since December 23, so I apologize for the scarcity of posts.  I hope you enjoy this slightly updated missive from last year.

“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year,” pledges Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Quite possibly the Mister embodies this remark as no one else.  He loves Christmastime, and closing the door on the season is always a little bittersweet. 


Although Christmas as a holy season lasts twelve days, concluding with Epiphany on January 6, practically—including for reasons of fire safety—it’s time to begin putting away the decorations.IMG_2875   The Christmas tree, particularly, is looking a bit careworn.  At the beginning of December, our tree looks like a lovely young woman dressed to the nines for a gala.  By the end of the month, the tree reminds me of a tottering dowager grandmother,  sporting two spots of rouge and a crooked lipstick application.  Her eyes are still twinkly, but all she can really think of is getting out of her dress and stockings and heels. 

As much as I enjoy Christmas, I’m looking forward to the clean, fresh start of the New Year.   Shoving everything in random boxes and getting the goods out of sight will only lead to aggravation and stress next Christmas, however.  It is more than worth the effort to put things away thoughtfully.  Toward this end, we bought Rubbermaid containers and labeled them for Santa’s eight reindeer.  Each year, when it’s time to decorate, we start with Dasher and finish with Blitzen.  I keep a list on my laptop of what is in every bin, print it out, and keep it in my holiday notebook.  When it’s time to put it all away, I jot notes on the list and then I’ll update that on the computer in the next day or two.  It looks something like this:

Prancer (dining room):

old ornaments for silver bowl

pine boughs for sideboard

glass beads

antlers and greenery for side table

When we pull these items out, we put anything they might be replacing (candlesticks, Imari bowl) into the appropriate bin for storage during the holidays.  I know it’s hardly rocket science, but it’s a tried and true method for us.


Here, the reindeer bins are in the playroom, waiting to be filled on January 2nd and returned to the “Christmas Closet.”

I love having everything organized for this Christmas yet to come, and so I take a few minutes to straighten the holiday linens and serving pieces, as well.

I’d love to hear your favorite tips for storing and organizing your holiday decorations!


  1. I think I might make lists of everything too this year...just not while I am putting it away lol! I am sure there is a rainy July day that will be perfect for that project :O)

    I keep everything in stuff, villages, kitchen stuff, linens etc.

  2. Great way to organize things- we got everything in the attic only to realize we left out the stocking hangers. Thanks for sharing a wonderful idea. I really need to make a list for next year.

  3. WOW - your organizational skills and efforts are mindbogglingly admirable. This is most definitely NOT my forte - but am taking note of your suggestions!!

  4. Over the last couple of years, we've accumulated the red & green Rubbermaid containers that are perfect for storing Christmas decorations. In fact, I should probably get one more! Happy New Year!

  5. I love your reindeer system of labels and lists. I never would have thought of that!


  6. Although mine don't have cute names, I do have each vine labeled on the outside as to what room they belong in. I also put all the gal and, wreaths, etc. in black leaf bags and put a tag on the outside as to what it is. I did all this last year and it was so helpful!

  7. We have a Christmas Closet, too :)

    Great blog!

  8. Yes this is a super way to organize! Thanks for all the great tips.

  9. you are a marvel of organization and
    wit. if i had an ounce of energy, i
    would copy you. THIS Christmas
    soaked me for all i am worth. :)

    i adore your comparison of your tree
    to a lovely young lady who aged a
    bit prematurely.

    happy new year!


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