Happy (belated) Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to everyone! I spent the first 2 weeks of November helping my daughter with her 2 little ones while her husband was away on a mission trip in Nepal. Being with my grand-babies is really special since they are in Austin and I am in San Diego. What I forgot about is, once you don’t have preschoolers any more (or kids in elementary school) you don’t have that all important preschool immunity built up in your system. So being around children with runny noses and coughs – you guessed it – I came down with a cold/flu or whatever is was/is. I rallied in time to host Thanksgiving, but the Friday after and since, has been an up and down battle with this silly cold. I even got a flu shot this year, then learned – this vaccine has been pretty ineffective on so many flu/cold strains floating around out there.
So my daughter was a great influence on me over those 2 weeks. She keeps very very, I mean very little! I am not saying that I am a hoarder – just have a hard time parting with sentimental things. So when I came home and while I was under the weather, I began going thru boxes of “stuff”. About 10 trips to the Goodwill and I am feeling much better about my current collection of “things”. At Thanksgiving we had all the kids home except Christina and her family, so I took the opportunity to have them go thru their boxes of stuff. Christina and I went thru her things via FaceTime. We are considerably lighter – the trash men are probably not that happy with us, but I know via Goodwill, there are others enjoying some of the things we really no longer need, use, or have reason to keep. Oh and I am by no means done – this is a looong journey.
How does all that relate to party planning – well before Thanksgiving I went thru my cupboards. Amazing what gets pushed to the back of the shelf. We also have shelving in our garage that holds additional food. As my son-in-law calls it “Grandma’s grocery store”. Really not quite that bad, but I have a husband that when something goes on sale – if buying 1 is good, 6 are better!! Actually I am quite grateful that he is a shopper and a great “deal” shopper. But we do not need any bar-b-que sauce, oh say until – 2020! One of the great things about going thru your cupboards is you will know everything is still usable when you need it. There is nothing worse than making a dish and you have checked to make sure you have all the ingredients, only to find out that one (or more) of the ingredients expired in 2015 or 2016! Oh yes – I filled multiple trash bags with expired goods. Pretty sad!
As you go thru your food, it also allows you the ability to organize what you have and move the items with an upcoming expiration date to the front of the line. So when it comes time for a party at your home or in this holiday time at someone else’s home, and you need to make or bring a dish, you can be assured that what you have in your cupboard is usable.
I will end with one funny story of my naivety of storing food. The house I grew up in had a large walk in pantry with a counter top in it, and that was all I knew. It never occurred to me that neither of my grandparent’s homes didn’t have pantries, so where did they keep their food? I move out for college into an apartment with 2 friends. As we got settled and bought our first round of groceries – all the things you take for granted because you come from a fully stocked kitchen and now you have to buy salt and pepper and the likes! Well I looked around our apartment and there wasn’t a pantry. So I called my Mom – “Mom, there isn’t a pantry – where do you put the groceries?” As she laughed – she said “In the cupboards”. “What?!!!!” I replied. Who knew!! How grateful I was to have that wonderful pantry growing up. And now I’ve learned to navigate the cupboards with the best of them!
As you go thru your cupboards (or pantry) and you have things you really won’t use or need, or you have an excess – donate to your local food bank or church with a food pantry outreach. And do it before the food expires! Most children who are on food programs at school, don’t have much to eat when school is not in session aka the Christmas break. Fill a bag and donate it today. I am going to do the same! Merry Christmas and happy sorting and cleaning out!
“Help others without any reason and give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.” Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart