Friday, December 16, 2011

More Christmas Gift Ideas

     In a previous post I've mentioned how I started putting together Christmas gift ideas in August. I felt if I started looking out for sales many months before the holiday, buy a few things here and there every pay...its not a tough as trying to buy everything for everyone the entire month of November and December. I prefer to give presents I don't mind receiving myself  :)

     The pictures below is not all I got since August, just an example of what I have and what I did with them. I found out that when you buy stuff from Bath and Body Works (BBW), you can ask for their clear plastic bags, tags and ribbon...its free!! So every time I shopped at BBW, I asked for a few bags, tags and ribbon. Perfect for last minute gifts. 

     Oh, the ribbons used below are my own...I wanted them used up. These are going to be Teacher presents!!!

 from left to right: be Enchanted body lotion (2oz), Cranberry Woods (1wick) candle,
and a Mrs. Clause Apple Pie scented hand sanitizer (1 oz) 

 The things in this picture is same as the first one except the candle is Cranberry Pear Bellini (smells YUMMY)
and lastly the candle on the left is Apple Crumble (1wick, smells YUMMY), with a Vanilla Cookie scented hand sanitizer (1oz, smells like real cookies!) and the body lotion is Charmed Life (2oz, discontinued)

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with Bath and Body Works, nor am I compensated for this. I love their products and all opinions made are my own.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cooking in Bulk

     As a busy mom, cooking in bulk is one of the ways I save time. It could be anything. I could buy 10 pounds of ground meat, brown all of it with chopped garlic and onions. Let it cool and split it into one or two pound packs and freeze it. That way when I feel like making a dish that requires ground meat, all I have to do is toss a pack in the pot/pan and cook with sauce (like spaghetti). Since the meat is already cooked, it saves me so much time.

     Another way I do is making big batches of pancakes (see below). I figured since I have my griddle out to make pancakes,  I'll make a big batch of them and freeze. I do not mix the chocolate chips into the pancakes as I think it would make them too sweet. I prefer to put 5 pieces of chocolate chips in each pancake. I usually end up making about 50 pancakes, which depending on my kids moods, can last almost two weeks. I'll let them cool, bag them up in a ziplock and the kids can get their own pancakes from the freezer and microwave them for about 30 seconds each. They have pancakes for breakfast during the week and sometimes as snacks. What a way to teach them some independence!

My griddle has space for 5 regular sized pancakes 

with enough room for me to flip them over

cooling them down while waiting for the rest before bagging and freezing

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Angel Tree

     'Tis the season for giving and this year my family has decided to participate in the Angel Tree program at our church. Every year around Christmas time a tree is set up in our church lobby decorated with paper-shaped snow men, trees and angels. On the decorations are wishes from families and children as well as instructions on how to 'deliver them'. We picked three tags. One is for a 10 year old boy, another is for a 7 year old girl and the last wish was toiletries for women. The requests are to be placed under the tree unwrapped with the tags (seen below) attached to them about a week prior to Christmas.


     I was able to get some shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and deodorant to go with the women's toiletries tag. A Disney princess art set that Ali picked went with the girl tag and another regular art set that Matt picked went with the boy tag. I sure hope our recipients like them!    

     I felt it was a good way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas, to show our children how to be charitable. It makes them realize that not everyone is as fortunate as we are and it is a way of making someone else happy. Christmas is not just about receiving something, it's also about being thankful that we have enough and sharing our blessings with those in need.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Love Weekends!

     I love weekends, especially the ones where we plan to do nothing. I can sleep in if I want (as much as Sofi will let me of course), I really enjoy times when we 'play by ear' the things our family will do.

     As Ted works long hours at times during the week, weekends are a great time for us to bond as a family. We cook and eat meals together. It's when the kids get to play with daddy, or for us to watch movies on cable together. Ted is pretty good about caring for the kids while I get a much needed break and watch my shows in our bedroom or even nap. I am always so thankful.

     I don't know what this weekend holds, but I sure am looking forward to it!!

Home for the Holidays

     We are heading home for the holidays....YAY! Where is 'home' you may ask..New York! I am soooo excited to fly back east. I met hubby in New York, our two older children were born there and my immediate family still lives in the east coast of the United States. We've relocated to the west when Ted was offered a position here. I hope and pray this is I really miss the east. It's in my blood :)

     I've done some Christmas shopping for family and friends here in Los Angeles and hoping to be done wrapping everything a week before we leave. We have two weeks before we leave for the holiday and it seems whenever we are going somewhere, the last week is always so hectic. I am also loading up a few goodies to give to my own family and friend in New York. It will be so cool to spend time with my parents, siblings and friends. I am thrilled to have my children and my sisters children together this holiday season. All the kids are older now and they're always doing something or saying something funny.

     I am beyond giddy with excitement! I love the cold weather, I love the snow, even if little old me has to shovel it. I love, love, LOVE being home for the holidays!