Saturday, September 29, 2018
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - I'm thinking Holidays already
Before you quickly switch to another blog to read, there is a reason for my early Holiday post! For one thing, October begins this week and I've always thought Thanksgiving seemed to come immediately afterwards. I want to take in all the pretty leaves as they change color (hopefully it will be better than last year) but I blink and it is time to purchase food for the Thanksgiving menu. (It is time if you live in Canada!)
There is also the need to think ahead if we are making any of our gifts. No matter what a recipe may say, I have found it takes a good two months for vanilla beans in vodka to turn to vanilla extract. If I want to make Christmas cards, I must start now to have an enjoyable process rather than throw things together because they need to go in the mail next week.
Tempus does fugit...
Most of my Holiday planning is budget related. When the kids were young, I thought of Christmas gifts all year as I would find an item I knew one of them would enjoy. Sometimes at an arts and crafts show in the summer, or visiting the amusement park's gift shops on vacation, or simply noticing when a new book by a favorite author had arrived at the book store. It helped my budget and allowed more thought to go into each gift.
My Holiday planning this year is a lot about baking and what I need for those recipes. So when I do my usual stock up shopping for the month next week, this time I will add items like butter for the freezer, perhaps a bottle of vanilla (since I'm not making my own from scratch this year), a bag of dried cranberries, etc.
When I do most of my grocery stock up like I do, that means there are only three "shopping days" until Christmas gift season. So I will be stretching out the baking budget over three months. Last year I ended up doing very little baking compared to past years. However, because butter freezes so well, I was happy to have extra for baking well into Spring. The dried fruit I didn't use lasted and I still have frozen cranberries. Nothing goes to waste.
I've been on a spice and herb replenishing task for awhile already. It is far cheaper to replace one or two each month than have to buy a lot during the Holidays. Before I shop next week, I will check the yellow pantry to see if any of what I call "Christmas spices" need to be replaced. I replaced my Kroger tin of apple pie spice a couple months ago already (I like that spice blend more than the pumpkin pie spice blend for most recipes.)
As far as the few crafts I still work on, I took advantage of post-Christmas sales for card making supplies last year and made a couple small purchases at the preseason sales at Hobby Lobby this year. So all, if not most of the items I need are on the shelves already, many purchased at 50% off.
I'm hoping this post is not a loud wake up call but instead a gentle reminder that the Holiday season is just around the corner. A lot can be accomplished a little at a time to save the budget and one's sanity. Not that it has ever been an issue here. No, never. ;)