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Bah Humbug…

Christmas comes but once a year and with it brings a lot of cheer… This may have been true once upon a time, but the sad truth is Christmas is now all about crowds of people everywhere you go and money, money, money! I find myself longing for the first week in January and a sense of normality back in my life… Errands like running to Target for tea bags used to be quiet and simple, no lines of people with their carts full of toys!

Christmas should be about the joy of giving a simple gift, but instead we go crazy to give the newest gadgets, fanciest boots and most expensive games to our children… I am as guilty as the next person for doing this, Blu and Mabel want an iPhone 5 and a mini iPad, and I would go to the ends of the earth to get this for them, but in my heart of hearts I wonder what will they want to get next year as they seem to have everything and they are only 11 and 13!

I look at my 18 month old Florrie, so innocent and unwanting and I wonder what this modern world with all it’s iPhones, iPads and all sorts of branded products is doing to us!

With my soap box moment over, I will move onto more normal December topics… Menu planning is at it’s best with my new fridge/freezer in place and organized, I am not over shopping and using everything in there before I restock up again, it worked well last week and then inspired me to do the same with my pantry cupboard, so now that is organized and only stocked with products we need… Lets see how long I can keep it looking this way as I’m loving being organized for once!

The house reorganization is coming along now, with my parents being here to help out I feel like I am finally making progress, the rooms as they are now are working out well for us, the dining room table is now a much used item in our house, the comfy sofa by the kitchen is a permanent hang out for my Dad now and Paul is loving his new work from home office situated conveniently next to the kitchen so he can have his many cups of Tazo Tea throughout the day… Project change the house around… Done and successful!

My menu plan for this week

Saturday – tomato and lentil soup with grilled panini’s
Sunday – chicken pot pie with steamed broccoli
Monday – endive and ham gratin (James Martin), homemade rolls and a green salad
Tuesday – veggie and lentil stew, grilled spicy sausages and chili, cilantro dough balls
Wednesday – cheesy turkey sausage slow cooker spaghetti and garlic bread
Thursday – potato and bacon gratin (James Martin) with steamed cauliflower and broccoli
Friday – chicken Posole (Mexican stew) breadsticks and salad

So far this week we are completely on schedule for every meal, thanks to my Mum being here to help!

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Black Friday… Love it or hate it?

In my head I’m a very organized person, or that’s how I would like to be anyway. In reality I am very unorganized… Thanksgiving has been and gone, so that means one thing, Christmas is just a few weeks away! I had ideas of all presents being bought, wrapped and sent back to England, leaving me just my own children to sort out! In reality I have the presents sitting on my dining room table awaiting paper and ribbon and then their final trip to the post office!

My house is exactly the same, I have thoughts of being the most organized person, but in reality it never happens… Well now I have a new plan, well a stolen one actually… Set myself daily tasks, nothing too big so I get swamped, set my timer and go to it… Lets see if it works and I get a clean tidy house along with more rest and relaxation time for myself!

Thanksgiving dinner worked well this year, once again I stole a great cooking idea form the domestic semi homemade goddess of food network, Sandra Lee… Yes you have guessed my idea, a semi homemade Thanksgiving dinner, it felt a little like cheating at first but it worked out well, Trader Joes stuffing mix, who needs to be cubing bread for stuffing when Trader Joes has done it for you, then added to it spicy Italian sausage meat, chopped onions and celery, at this point I thought pecans would have made a good addition, but you have to remember I have fussy eaters in my house! I bought Costco ready made mashed potatoes, which by the way are delicious and then added my own pot of creamy mustardy potatoes to it… The left overs went on for days! Black Friday dinner is becoming a tradition in our house… Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich, meat, stuffing and gravy all warmed in a crusty roll… Yummmmm, a family favorite now!

I am not usually a Black Friday shopper, in fact I usually stay as far away from the shops as possible on this day of the year, but this year was totally different, Florrie has had a cold and been waking a lot in the night, so at 4am on Friday morning I found myself sitting in bed reading my iPad, next thing I know Paul had joined me, Florrie was back to sleep again… We looked at each other and said wouldn’t it be fun to go shopping right now, so we did! The trick was to keep Florrie asleep from the house to the car, so with my iPhone as a flash light, we did not want to wake up the whole household, we carried our sleeping baby into a freezing cold car fast asleep… Then we headed off to Best Buy and the mall for a fun early morning shopping trip, and of course a salted caramel mocha in Starbucks… It has to be done!

As much fun as Black Friday was and the savings we made this weekend were good, I will not be repeating it again! I was very disappointed with the deals in the mall, there was nothing special to ever make me get up that early again, Best Buy on the other hand had some great savings if you wanted electrical goods, we managed to get a $1500 Samsung 55″tv for $800 and we are in desperate need of a new refrigerator, we have been looking for weeks now as ours is not working properly, we decided to wait for the Black Friday deals and we are glad we did, although we did order it on Saturday, so technically not Black Friday, but the deals were on for three days and we saved $1300 on a $3000 fridge/freezer… Bargain!

Happy Holiday shopping…

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