Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How To Holiday Shop with Ease & Giving Thanks

Don't worry, be Happy!  Just like my smiley pepper.

I have so much to be grateful for this year; I can't believe it was 18 months ago that I started writing this blog, time has flown by.  I could never have imagined I was going to make friends all over the world.  Friends whom I look forward to checking up on, staring aimlessly at their amazing creations, and feeling such sorrow and joy when they do.  I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for all of you that have entered my life; you have added something to it that I didn't even know was missing.

I'm spending every extra minute this week getting ready for the holiday and I was hoping maybe a peek in at how I get ready, might help you with the crazy overwhelming tasks that come with the holidays.

People (I won't name names, but you know who you are) used to make jokes about the amount of things I like to try and get done.  Getting things done for me has nothing to do with excess time on my hands or being Type A or anything like that.

I like to be organized and make a plan and then write it down.

In order to make sure I don't have to go back over and over again (besides, that is what Hot Dog Dude is for) to the grocery store and get into a fist fight with someone over the last carton of heavy whipping cream. I like to make a list and categorize it by sections in the grocery store.  I'll have it in hand as I stroll up and down the aisles, checking off items as I throw them in the cart.  Maybe you noticed mine is not alphabetical; I like to live a little on the wild side.

A grocery list can be really easy to throw together if you write up a menu beforehand.  Then all you have to do is a quick rundown of the recipes in your mind and fill in the blanks.   Be sure and leave yourself a little wiggle run in your menu for a kitchen failure.  If that seem insurmountable, go for a ratio of half homemade and half pre-made. 

Keep your pantry well stocked with essentials, such as 8 different types of flours and 13 different types of sugars.  Please don't tell me I'm the only one who worries that I might need to make a dish that calls for all 8 of those flours at the same time.  Laugh if you want, but I'll be baking bread and whipping up cookies when that next big one hits, because I have all the items in my panty ready to go.

My sister-in-law watched my house one weekend and the first thing she told me when I returned was, "You label your panty"?  Doesn't everyone, I thought to myself.  I'm still scratching my head over that one.  Do you think my pantry is cause for alarm?  I did discuss it with my therapist and she wasn't overly concerned.

I guess this is just what works for me and keeps me from being stressed over the thought of preparing a huge meal with lots of components for a large crowd.  

That way the joyous time I like to have when company comes over doesn't hinge on having a meal that just about killed me to make.  I want to enjoy that we are all together and that we are all well and that we have smiles on our faces as we talk about what's been going on in our lives and where we hope to go in the future. The food is just icing on the proverbial cake.

Be kind to yourself and enjoy your family and friends this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


p.s.  If you are making a frozen bird this year and haven't started thawing it yet; quit reading this and run to the freezer and move it to the fridge.


  1. Hey Gina,I have pantry envy! I love your menu, it's spot on in my book, yummy delicious how I love Thanksgiving!! All my best wishes to you and yours this weekend, oh and don't forget Go Niner's!!

  2. Thanks Patty, you have a wonderful one too. Yes, Go Niners!

  3. Gina- I need a pantry intervention. Are you available? I try to be organized, but sometimes that doesn't always happen, LOL.

    Have a great Thanksgiving with your family. Your menu is outstanding!

  4. I'm with Becky...LOL. I try, but you've got me beat. Great hints...I actually do organize my shopping list by areas of the grocery store...I just don't type mine :)

    PS...have a great Thanksgiving...and I want to see all those lovely desserts on your blog in the future (minus the emergency gummy bears ;))

  5. Where do you live? Do you make house calls? I need you. My kitchen needs you. I always go to the store with a list - written of fourteen post-it-notes. Wishing you and yours a gracious and flavorful table filled with thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Have a great Thanksgiving, sweet Gina! I'm letting everyone else do 99% of the work this year...so I'm a guest instead of the hostess with the mostess!

  7. Wow I want that giant pantry. I actually cleaned mine out today and trashed a whole bunch of opened, burst, useless bunch of crap :) I like to seperate my groc list by dept also but I don't type it and print it on beautiful cardstock ;) Post it's baby!!!

  8. oh man..you are so organized!
    Have a lovely and delicious Thanksgiving!

  9. My birthday was Monday and my husband git me a label maker! !!! Finallly! I'm in heaven :)

  10. Post It's Gerry, why didn't I think of that, very compact.

  11. Oh crap! BRB I gotta take out the turkey...seriously. That is hilarious and I am so glad you said that or I would have to hear screams from my other half tomorrow a.m.

    I love the smiley pepper! And I love that you can relate to all the kinds of flour and sugars. I get comments from people that come over and they get banned from my kitchen. I don't see them complain when they get treats made with said ingredients...

  12. I really really love your pantry; I am so happy to know I am not the only one with lists...can't live without them. I have to tell you I have 4 sons(adults now and they do like mom) they need lists to get stuff done.
    Your peppers are adorable!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  13. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  14. Happy Thanksgiving Gina! I am missing your laughter a lot. Can't wait to be back to see you and the ladies. I was just thinking to myself that I hope one day I will have a big kitchen and a pantry filled with all sorts of stuff. Being organize and labeling item is key. Makes looking for things so easy. Great advise, and I know this is something that will help me in the future. Huggss,, Jo

  15. No wonder, you and I have gotten along so well, since day #1 when we first met on our blogs, Gina!
    You were always such a good friend to be so supportive, and we finally got a chance to meet in person, in SF...I am so thankful for that, and to have you as a friend!
    I see your Marinara sauce on the pantry shelf, so organized and everything in its place! I tend to be a good organizer, always making sure that my pantry is well stocked, and up-dated, but yours is more spacious, and neater!
    Hugs, to you!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you, and your loved ones!

  16. Happy Thanksgiving Gina! thank you so much for showing us how you get everything you do done! You do have to be organized, I wish I could say I was...sigh
    I love your pantry! If I ever wanted to label mine, I'd have to organize it first...lol

  17. I love this! You are not only the "Queen" you are also the "queen of organization"!
    I don't label my pantry, but should...I do alphabetize my spices, but discovered one morning, after sprinkling cumin in my coffee (it was supposed to be cinnamon!) that I need to leave my "cheater readers" in a place where I can find them...I now have a large purple rubber band around the cumin! ;)
    I do make a list much like yours and it makes it so much easier to do it by the categories. Now if I could only remember to take it with me when I go to the store! Oy!!!!!!!

    I'm so grateful for you, my fun, sweet, generous, and talented friend. God has placed some wonderful people in my life this past year!I am extremely grateful and you are one of the blessings that has enriched my life!

    Happy Thanksgiving! xo

  18. oh bella you are such an inspiration!!! I truly am thankful for the blessing of your friendship and hope you had a marvelous thanksgiving - sending much love to you today...p.s. I loved the chicken soup with pastina, i totally grew up on pastina (did I ever tell you I'm originally from Long Island?) - big hugs to you today - and your pantry rocks!

  19. Hi, Happy Thanksgiving Gina.
    I have the same opinion about blogging. What a beautiful things I have friends and friendship all over the worlds. The world is becoming smaller. I also like your recipes and photos and writing.
    I'm Sare from Türkiye. See you.

  20. Gina you are so funny! Can you please come over and make my pantry look like yours? Yours look so good while mine is a complete mess. Hope you had a great thanksgiving and that everything went as planned. Are you going to post your thanksgiving meal as well? Can’t wait to see what you’ve made.

  21. You pantry is WOWW!! Love the happy peppers:))) They will stick in my head for sure:)) Have a happy Holidays, Gina!!! Can't wait to see more of your beautiful posts!! xoxo

  22. I'm so jealous of your pantry. Mine is just a 2X2feet pantry :(
    I have ALL my pantry items labelled. I'd be lost if I hadn't.
    What types of sugar you have? I thought a couple of minutes and still can't come up with 13 types. Could you please share? Thanks!

  23. Gina this is such a sweet and helpful post. I too am so thankful for the wonderful friends I've made as a result of my blog. I'm also smiling to myself because I also love lists and organization. Good thing you can't see my desk though because it needs a little work today. As Patty said, I also have pantry envy. One day when I have one it will look and be labeled like yours. Hope you had a beautiful night.

  24. Wow, you are so organized! And your Thanksgiving menu sounds so good - that's a true feast!

  25. Happy Thanksgiving, Gina! Hope you had a wonderful celebration with family,friends and
    delicious meals too.

  26. Oh I wish my pantry had labels. I do have it well stocked so that I can make family favorites at a moment's notice, but I don't have the labels. Would you want to come organize? :)

  27. A great post :) Love the smiley peppers!

  28. You are so organized Gina! I wish I could be that organized....I'm working on it!

  29. Happy Thanksgiving Gina! How wonderful to see how organized your cooking plans are. I loved reading this post. xoxo.

  30. Wow you are so organized! My pantry is straight out of a horror movie :(

  31. Man, I am SO jealous of your pantry! I don't have a pantry in my apartment, and it's horrible! I am used to having tons of storage for things like 13 types of sugar, but we picked out an apartment in a rush this time so we are stuck with what litte cabinet space we have. Nice job on your organization!


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