Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Santa Clause is Coming to Town... Before You know it.

So, back to school time is drawing to a close. We all know that this is the time of year when summer ends, and we gradually settle back into our school year routines, just in time to wake up one morning and realize it's a week before Christmas! (oh no!)
So, how do we minimize that after Thanksgiving panic that inevitably sets in right after the pie settles onto our thighs? Answer? ~ START NOW.
That's right, now.
Make your list first. Don't forget teachers, bus drivers, mail man, etc. I like to use a spread sheet program. It makes it super easy for me, but whatever works for you is fine.

It doesn't need to be elaborate, just a few rows for names, and a column for each of these items: name, gift, cost, store or website, and a column to check it off when you get it.

There are 12 weeks until Thanksgiving. If you start your list now, and buy one gift a week, and one extra a month, you could make a huge dent in your list before turkey day. Most of us could probably get moms and dads, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc, completely out of the way before the holiday rush even starts. This way, after Thanksgiving, you can focus on your immediate family (especially toys for small children).
Although you can make real progress shopping early, make sure you check your store's return policy before buying! It would be a shame to buy clothing for someone, only to have it not fit, and then be unable to return it after Christmas. Many stores have a 180 day return policy, and this would work out just fine.
If you get started now, and play your cards right, you could be sporting flannel pj's and eating a turkey and stuffing sandwich on black Friday, instead of having a panic attack in a line with a 45 minute wait time. Sounds good, right?
Then, get going!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Yummy New Meal I Accidentally Discovered

I found a coupon for that new Philadelphia Cooking Creme, and since I would get it pretty cheap after the store doubled it, I decided to give it a try. On the back of the package is a recipe for a pasta dish you can make. I headed back to the store a few days later, with plans to try the recipe for dinner. I got a bit side tracked when I drove past a Longhorn steakhouse. They must have been cooking bacon, because the smell from the street was heavenly. Needless to say, after that I had bacon on the brain.
This is the recipe that I put together while I wandered around the store. It was so yummy, my husband asked for thirds!:

1 pkg bacon, cooked
1 container Philadelphia Cooking Creme
1 cup grape tomatoes
3 cups Farfalle pasta, cooked
1/4 cup Romano cheese
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup broccoli

Heat cooking creme in skillet. Stir in bacon, broccoli, and pasta.

Quarter tomatoes, and chop fresh basil. Stir in cheese, basil and tomatoes. Serve immediately.