Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Stock up on your holiday gift bags now to save money

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1:03 1 Comment

Buying gift bags can really add to your holiday budget.  And when you wait until closer to Christmas, it will be harder to find those inexpensive gift bags and you will be stuck paying more for them.  And as a bonus, nearly all store-bought gift bags come with a tag attached to the handle, so you don;t have to spend extra money on gift tags or cards. 

Take a tally of the gifts you have already purchased and see what you need to either gift wrap or gift bag them.  Then hit your local dollar store or other place that is known for cheap gift bags, and buy what you need now…. you can even get ahead of the game and wrap them after you buy the bags too, saving you time when Christmas gets closer and there never seems to be enough time. 

Still have some gifts you need to buy?  You can also stock up on a few extra seasonal bags – or you can get some generic solid colored bags that would also work for birthdays, anniversaries and any other gift-giving ocassions you may have coming up.  Silver is always a safe bet as is most shades of green and red. 

Don’t forget the tissue paper if you top the gift bags with colored tissue paper.  The seasonal colors always seem to be sold out at the dollar store by the time December rolls around, and it can be very hard to make a Christmas gift look festive when hot pink tissue is peeking out of the gift bag!

Don’t forget white tissue paper works just as well.  So when you purchase any clothing items, even if they aren’t for a gift, ask for a bit of tissue paper.  Then you can save it for topping on Christmas gift bags too… or use two of your freebie white tissue papers and one colored one in the middle, so you can save a lot of money this way too.

 When should you start?  Now!  Black Friday is when you will start to see the least expensively priced gift bags start to sell out.  And let’s face it, it is far better to pay $1 a bag this week than $5 a bag a week before Christmas when the stock of bags has been picked over just about everywhere.

This was posted under category: Holidays, Shopping Tags: , , ,

How often should you baste a turkey?

Saturday, November 15, 2008 3:10 3 Comments

You have probably heard that basting frequently results in a better turkey that is much more moist and juicy than its non-basted counterpart.  But did you know that basting a turkey actually does little to make it less dry?

Basting your turkey has only one purpose – to give the skin that golden roasted turkey color to the skin that most people associate with a perfectly cooked turkey.  But frequent basting has a significant downfall.  Every time you open the oven, it loses heat.  This means it will take that much longer for your turkey to cook since everytime you open the oven for basting, it will take time to bring it back up to temperature.

So you should leave basting for the last hour of cooking, and not do it too frequently.  This way you get the benefits of basting by having that golden skin, while not prolonging cooking time significantly – something that can definitely put a crimp on your Thanksgiving dinner plans, especially if you have everything planned to when the turkey should be done before you started opening the oven all the time for basting!!!

If you want to have a juicier turkey, consider one of the self-basting turkeys instead, where there is a seasoned broth mixture injected into the turkey below the skin.

This was posted under category: Cooking, Holidays Tags: , , ,

How do self basted turkeys work?

Friday, November 7, 2008 2:28 1 Comment

It is just about time to start all those Thanksgiving preparations, and it probably includes buying a turkey.  And you’ve probably seen self-basting turkeys in the supermarket but didn’t quite know what exactly that meant.  Sally Kenmore from WA sent us this question, so we set out to get the answers.

Self-basting turkeys are turkeys that have been injected with liquid broth mixture including various seasonings and spices into the meat of the turkey, which results in a turkey that is noticeably jucier since the broth has been injected right into it and one that has added flavors.

The downside is that often they are injected with a mixture that includes additives and chemicals, which some families don’t want added to their turkeys.  It often will add a significant portion of salt to the turkey, which is an issue for those watching sodium level intake.  The label will list all ingredients added to the turkey via injection.  And to get into the nitty gritty, a self-basted turkey will have about 3% added to the weight by the added basting solution.

This was posted under category: Cooking, Holidays Tags: , ,

Start buying your holiday groceries now to get the best prices

Saturday, November 1, 2008 4:11 3 Comments

Yes, we all know how it makes so much more sense to buy Christmas presents early, but people never seem to think about the advantages of starting your Christmas grocery shopping early too.  If you waited to buy all your ingredients until the week or two before Christmas, you would not only be spending a fortune, but you’d also be dealing with a crowded grocery store full of people all trying to get their Christmas grocery shopping done to.

And, when you start your grocery shopping early, you can take advantage of the sales in the weeks leading up to the holidays and picking up items as they go on sale.  This makes much more sense than buying them the week before Christmas when not as many grocery items will be on sale – and might not be in stock, causing you to go to even more grocery stores during this chaotic time.

So MomsBudget has made this handy printable that all busy women will love! 

All you do is plan out your holiday menu, and then go through each recipe, writing down all the ingredients that are non-perishable.  Then, in the weeks (or even months!) leading up to Christmas, all you need to do is check your holiday grocery list with the grocery flyers to see if any of the needed items are on sale that week.  And you can bring the list with you incase you find any “in-store specials” that were not advertised.  And as you buy each one, check it off so you know you have it.  An don’t forget to see if you have any coupons that you could use for any of the items on your holiday dinner list.

Ready to get started?  Get the free printable here.  And don’t forget to recommend this to other busy moms so they can take advantage of all the free printables too… not to mention the joy of getting most of the holiday grocery Christmas shopping nearly done with!

This was posted under category: Grocery shopping, Holidays, Printables and worksheets Tags: , , , ,

12 Homemade gift bags for Christmas season

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 16:12 4 Comments

We thought we’d post this one early, since some of them are crafted by hand (such as knitting) that you need lead time on! 12 different holiday gift bags you can make yourself.

Knit your own Knotted Felted Gift Bag
This pattern is a MomsBudget exclusive, and super simple to knit and felt, and you can make it in a wide variety of colors to suit the person you are giving it too. Can easily be knit in an evening, then felted. Ravelry link.

Christmas Gift Bags (along with cards, keyrings, magnets and more)
Done by Sarah, a Stampin Up demonstrator, the gift bag is really cute with a cut out to see the present inside. Scroll down to the gift bag. I didn’t see instructions on this one (I looked, but if anyone finds the link, please tell me!), but you can get inspired by it.

Purse in a Box Bag
A spin on the Box in a Bag (original tutorial can be found here) but I quite like the way Andrea (another Stampin’ Up demonstrator) did hers.

Tri Fold Cookie Gift Bag/Boxes
Another style of gift “bag” with a cutout. And a great ineexpensive gift idea too, giving someone homemade cookies, along with the recipe so they can make their own too.

Gorgeous Gift Boxes using Old Cereal Boxes!
This one is absolutely ingenious from Under the Inkfluence, and will be using it as a craft for my daughter to make gift boxes. Also includes specific info on paper, stamps and scrapping accessories used for each one they show on the site. More pictures here.

Christmas gift bags with Matching Gift Tags
This one is super easy for kids to do, they are stamped onto plain

Cloth Gift Bags
If you sew, here is how to make cloth gift bags, with ideas on embellishments too.

Bonkers for bags & boxes
Not specifically for Christmas (although you could easily make them Christmas themed), these boxes include cake slices, purses and Chinese food takeout containers as gift boxes. Includes information on the Accucut die cuts used.

Christmas ornament stamped gift bag
Another cute bag from aother Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, a really cute gift bag you’d pay crazy money for in a place like Hallmark.

Placemat Gift Bags (or purse!)
The detailed instructions are here (but the pictures woefully small, and you must register to get the pattern)

Gift bags from envelopes
Straight from “why didn’t I think of this”, here are instructions for making cute gift bags from envelopes.

Make your own Gift Tags
Kristen has put up some images of some gorgeous gift tags she has made, you can definitely use them for inspiration to make your own! A great one for scrapbookers who have lots of leftover little bits and pieces from scrapping.

This was posted under category: Crafts, Holidays Tags: , , ,