Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 14 Deck the Halls!

November 25th - December 1st

It's finally here!  The Christmas season is officially upon us, despite what most major retailers want us to believe. This month you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor!  As events and celebrations commence you can relax knowing the bulk (if not all) of your preparation is done.  Bask in the glory of your preparedness as you watch friends, family, and co-workers exhibit signs of stress and fatigue (in all humility, of course).  Rejoice, because this week you get to...

Decorate your house and yard

Prepare all packages for mailing

Mail overseas cards

Plan a fun family night- break out your favorite holiday movie and some of those delicious cookies that are stashed in your freezer and enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Week 13

November 18th-24th

Thanksgiving week is here!  We've prepped, shopped, cooked, baked, and now we're ready for the holiday ahead.  No doubt there is much to do in preparation for Thanksgiving day.  Don't save it all for Wednesday night or Thursday morning.  Let's use the next few days to make the holiday enjoyable, not just for your guests, but for yourself.

Get everything out for Thanksgiving- table linens, centerpiece items, etc.

Prepare what can be ahead of time.  Even chopping some onions ahead of time can help your meal preparation go faster.  Consider trying these make ahead mashed potatoes to help cut down on your food preparation on Thursday. Also, be realistic, is it necessary to bake cornbread from scratch for your dressing?  While your grandmother might notice, your other guests probably will not. :-)

Check your ingredients and jot down anything you are missing.  Don't forget to consider breakfast Thanksgiving day and the day after.  Make sure you've got some cereal or frozen waffles on hand to make it easier on you. Try to avoid shopping Wednesday evening at all cost!

Clean & stock your bathrooms and first aid kit- especially if you've got kids coming over.  It's always handy to have extra band aids on hand if the little ones will be running around.

Wednesday- Use a freezer meal, buy a bagged salad at the store

Deadline week- if your homemade gifts/crafts are not finished, put them away until next year and plan on purchasing gifts.  Let yourself off the hook and be realistic.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Week 12

November 11th-17th

We are coming into the home stretch.  With only 11 short days until Thanksgiving, we will soon find ourselves tying up those loose ends and seeing the payoff for all of our hard work.  Let's finish strong!

Make a batch of holiday goodies- This will be the last one.  If there's a special holiday treat you haven't made, but have been wanting to, this is your chance to do it.  After this week, your holiday baking will be complete!

Make 1 freezer meal- This will also be your final freezer meal.  Make a note on your calendar to use one of your freezer meals next Wednesday.

But at least one gift- Next Friday launches the official holiday shopping season. Purchase as many gifts as you can this week to beat the crowds.

Wrap and label gifts

Finish any home made crafts or gifts

Make place cards for Thanksgiving

Clean all serving dishes

Check and clean linens

Work on centerpiece if necessary

Make a 3x5 card for each dish- what goes in it, when it can be filled, & silverware needed.  Tape them to the appropriate dish. This is especially helpful if you will have extra hands in your kitchen.  It's difficult to finish last minute meal preparations with countless questions from guests willing to help but unsure of what to do.  This one step will make delegating much easier!

Finalize your Thankgiving shopping list- don't just work off your recipes.  Remember to add things like coffee creamer, butter, and other "extras".  Also, plan ahead for your Thanksgiving breakfast.  Buy some bagels or muffins to make your morning simple.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Week 11

November 4th-10th

I joked the other day about the fact that I went to bed on Halloween and woke up on Christmas.  But this is indeed how I feel.  On November 1st, I ventured out to my favorite box store to see what kinds of discounts I could find on their Halloween clearance and was disappointed to find that most of the Halloween goodies had already been replaced by wreaths, trees, wrapping paper, and other assorted Christmas items.  Around here we recognize and rejoice in the fact that there is a holiday between Halloween and Christmas and it will not get swept away in the Christmas frenzy.  We've already been preparing for Christmas so we do not need to feel part of the sudden rush to get ready in less than 2 months. We get to enjoy Thanksgiving!  Let's get to it...

Make one batch of holiday goodies-unless you are confident that you have enough.  If you're on the fence, make an extra batch.  You can always give more away.  But it's better to have too much than not least in my book.

Make one freezer meal- we are about to wrap this process up and start enjoying these meals.  If you've run out of ideas, make a pot of soup or grab a ready-made meal from Costco that you can stash in your freezer.

Purchase at least 1 gift- Hopefully you are making some headway on this.  If you've gotten behind, now is the time to hit it hard before the December rush.  Make November your chance to catch up and get ahead if possible.

Wrap & label any gifts you have purchased

Review and revise your Thanksgiving menu

Plan your table setting and centerpiece

Reserve or purchase any items that need to be borrowed or replaced

Purchase, clean, or iron holiday clothing

Finish addressing your Christmas cards

Send out your invites for Thanksgiving if you haven't already

Make appointments for your flu vaccinations- if your family regularly gets flu vaccines, get them taken care of as soon as possible to help avoid illness during the holiday season.  Also, stock up on vitamins as well as cold medicines and other over the counter medications.  Make sure you have tissues on hand too!