Saturday, December 10, 2011

Heads up to my reading friends and those looking for last minute teacher gifts!

Right now if you spend $30 on specific items at CVS you recieve a $10 gift card.  You can choose from Barnes and Noble, CVS, American Express, Macy's and others!

For instance, yesterday I purchased 12 boxes of General Mills Cereal that were on sale for 2/$5 and had coupons for each box.  The end total was $8 for all 12 boxes and Big Mama has one less gift to buy for the Little Mouth's school staff.

Good deals.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas, Friend or Foe?

You know that Joni Mitchel song they always play around the holidays?  The one that is actually kind of depressing, but since Christmas trees are mentioned in the first line they always play it this time of year...

You know the one..."It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees, putting up reindeer and singing of joy and peace...I wish I had a river I could skate away on..."

I have a secret.  That's sometimes how I feel about the Holiday Season in general.  Shhhh....don't tell.

Life is hectic and my iPhone pings several times a day with tasks still undone, parties to plan for, presents to buy, checkbooks to balance and savings accounts to empty. Not to mention the Christmas cards I haven't sent yet, the gifts we still have to assemble and the hours I've still got left to obsess about whether or not everyone will like the their gifts...

Maybe its just because I'm a grown up, but it seems I spend half my time wanting to push off Christmas because I'm not ready yet and the other half hoping it comes quickly so that I can clean it all up and stow away the tree until next year.

The Little Mouths and I do many things to make the holiday special, from attending the Night of Lights downtown complete with fireworks to holiday concerts and checking out the Gingerbread houses on display at the Grand Wayne Center. And we never miss the Fantasy of Lights in Franke Park sometimes even via a horse and carriage. But even with all of the festivities, I admit I feel a rising panic at the thought of all I have left to do.

So I wonder, when did I allow December become something to be dreaded, instead of cherished? When did the days start to fly by in a blur instead of dragging with breathless anticipation? Instead of excitement, is that dread I feel growing each time we open a new day on the advent calendar?

I'm not sure, but I do know I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel. I want to get a bit of that lost Christmas magic back.

Because of the way the kids Christmas break fell this year, they have an entire week off of school before Christmas. We've booked a week of our timeshare at the Christmas Mountain Lodge in Wisconsin, enrolled the Little Mouths in Ski School and scheduled a couple of brush up lessons for Big Mama.

This year, we'll usher in the season swishing through a white pine forest or bouncing down a hill in a big inner tube or snuggling with hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire.

I'm looking forward to it and I'm wondering if this might just be the start of a new tradition.

What about you all? What are you all doing to keep the Christmas Crazies at bay??

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rockin' Recipe -- Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I have tried to find a recipe for wonderful garlic mashed potatoes like the ones at Eddie Merlot's.

I have gone to this wonderful STEAK restaurant and ordered JUST mashed potatoes.  Okay, they had a little lobster stirred in...but to me, their Lobster Garlic Mashed and a Caesar Salad is just one short stop from heaven.

But I have never been able to duplicate them...even sans the lobster because the Little, Little Mouth is highly allergic and I don't want to have to break out the epi-pen.

I have boiled the garlic with the potatoes, oven roasted it in a clay pot, simmered it in cream and butter on the stove for three hours etc. etc. etc. But I've never found a way to prepare them that was even in the same stratosphere as EM's.

But last night, a friend came to dinner.  I boiled the potatoes in salty water and added just one ingredient.

Totally simply.  Total party in your mouth.

There's even a buy one/get one coupon out right now.  So good and thumbs up from Big Mama and Little Mouths alike!
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