Eight steps to simplify your Thanksgiving
Mary Piasta-Valluzzo and son, Bobby
Thanksgiving can sometimes mean endless things to do, including trips to the grocery store. All of this busy clutter can get in the way of what is really important – spending time with friends and family.
Of course having kids makes shopping even more exciting. If you’re like me, you might want to be as efficient as possible. So, here are eight ways to simplify your holiday:
• Plan out your meal and shopping trips today.
• Purchase non-perishable items during your next trip to the store. Doing so will minimize the time that you spend in the store the days before the big event.
• Consider preordering parts (or all) of your meal. Is it really worth making that pie from scratch when there are amazing local options at affordable prices? Studebaker Cheesecake makes a pumpkin cheesecake that is to die for.
• Save money by purchasing private label brands.
• Minimize trips out of town by taking advantage of local pricing. For example, Whole Foods has their private line of goods called 365, which is comparable to prices at Trader Joes, while also meeting higher quality standards. Whole Foods 365 foods will have no artificial ingredients or hydrogenated fats, so it makes shopping quicker as you won’t have to read the labels as closely.
• Look for local deals. Local grocery stores run specials. For example, Whole Foods runs a weekly one-day sale on Fridays.
• If you intend to cook, make a schedule. There are lots of things you can do days before Thanksgiving to lessen the amount to do on Thanksgiving day itself. For example, you can make pie dough, and some sauces including cranberry days in advance.
• Lastly, delegate. If you are hosting, ask folks to bring a dish along to share. After all there’s no reason to be a superwoman this holiday and do it all yourself (you’re already a super parent).
Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble.
This holiday season the Modern Mama is keeping track of all the kid friendly events - here's what she's got so far:
November 19-20 (Nov. 19 - 2PM & 7PM, Nov. 20 - 2PM) -- The Nutcracker @ Lincoln Theater, 100 California Dr., Yountville, Cost $20, $25, $30 Call 707-944-9900 for tickets
November 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m. - Dreams of Toyland Exhibit at Napa Valley Museum, Opening Reception- Free for members; $5 for non-members.
November 20, 11-3 p.m. – Victorian Christmas Crafts Workshop, Gen. Vallejo’s Home, Sonoma. Crafts, music and food. Adults are 3$, children are FREE, craft projects range from $.25-1.00.
November 25, 2-6 p.m. – Festival of Lights, Yountville. Santa, entertainment, ice carving, wine tastings and more. For more information visit http://www.yountville.com/images/stories/articles/chamber-articles/visual_library/FOL_FACT_SHEET.pdf.
November 25, 5 p.m. - Downtown Santa Rosa Winter Lights Tree Lighting, Free Children's Activities in the square beginning at 5pm including interactive exhibits by the Sonoma County Children's Museum on the Go, crafts, card making and balloon animals by Silly Lilly the Clown! Don’t miss the Free pictures with Santa at 6.
November 26, 4 p.m. - Lighting of the Snowmen, Cornerstone, SonomaDecember 2, 6 p.m. - Snoopy on Ice Tree Lighting and Show – Snoopy Ice Arena, Santa Rosa
December 3, 5:30 p.m. – Santa visits the Plaza and the city’s tree gets lit. Hot chocolate and candy canes served.
December 3, 6 p.m. - Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, Petaluma River – Viewing best at Petaluma Mill or Golden Eagle Shopping Center
December 3, 7 p.m. - Holiday Parade of Lights, Gurneville, CA – Parade of lights with more than 100 entries.
December 3, 7 p.m. - Napa Valley Lighted Tractor Parade in Calistoga
December 4 – Santa’s Workshop, Tim Cain Concert and Raffle hosted by Sonoma Valley Mother’s Club. With a play area for mini elves, crafts for little elves, and libations for big elves, there are crafts, music, entertainment and food for elves of all sizes. This event is for Club Members only, so be sure to sign up for the club at sonomamothersclub.org and RSVP to this amazing event.
December 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Santa and Friends Brunch, San Francisco Zoo; for more information visit https://sfzoo.worldsecuresystems.com/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=76638
December 4, 12-3 p.m. -- Hanukkah Hootenanny, Judd Hill Winery, Napa, Latkes and libations. Call (707) 255.2332 for information
December 7, 4 – 8 p.m. - Altimira Holiday Gift Faire, Altimira Middle School, 17805 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.
December 9, 7 p.m. -- A Victorian Christmas with John Doan, 55 Presidents Circle, Yountville - Holiday, Performing Arts: Emmy-nominated guitarist and composer John Doan puts a new twist on the standard Christmas concert with original American instruments including the harp guitar, ukelin, chartola and classical banjo. Fee: $10 Adults/$5 Members/$2.50 Children, Call 707-944-0500.
December 10, 4 to 6 p.m. - Carolers, Sonoma Mission Inn, Sonoma.
December 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Santa at Gazebo in-front of Whole Foods Market, Sonoma.
December 10, 2-5 p.m. - Ringing in the Seasons at the Napa Valley Museum – Enjoy music by Covenant Chimers, make ornaments and decorate cookies. Call 707/994-0500 for reservations.
December 10, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 p.m. - Christmas at the Mission, Sonoma, Must get tickets (free) on November 19. For more information visit http://www.sonomanews.com/News-2011/Free-Christmas-at-the-Mission-tickets-available/
December 11, 11:30 a.m. - Christmas Party & Kids Concert, Unity Church, 4857 Old Redwood Hwy. Santa Rosa
December 11, 4 p.m. - Festival of Carols Concert St. Helena, 1428 Spring St., St. Helena.
December 12, 3-5:30 p.m. - Napa Valley Wine Train Santa Express, Ride the express train with Santa. Fee: $30 - $40 per adult; Call 8004274124 for reservations.
December 17, 11:30 and 1 p.m. - Dream Circle Holiday Concert with Tim Cain, Judy Nee, Cindy Cohen & Christoper Smith - Discovery Museum, Sausalito. Call (415) 339-3900 for tickets.
December 16 and 17, 4-6 p.m. - Carolers, Lobby of Sonoma Mission Inn
December 16 – December 23 - Children’s Fairyland Winterland, Oakland’s Fairyland, holiday themed storytelling, arts and crafts; with appearance by Santa. Fee: $8 each adult & child over 1
December 21 & 22, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Breakfast with Santa, Big 3 Restaurant, Sonoma – Call 707/938-9000 for reservations
December 23, 4-6 p.m. - Carolers, Sonoma Mission Inn
December 24, 4- 6 p.m. - Carolers & Mrs. Claus, Sonoma Mission Inn
December 26 – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Kwanzaa Celebration, Discovery Museum - Free concert 11 and 1
December 28-30, 4:30-5:30 p.m. - Free children’s activity and tastings for parents (wine, port, desserts), Sonoma Mission Inn
December 31, 9 a.m. to noon- New Year’s Noon Celebration for Kids, Discovery Museum
November 19 - January 29 (Wed-Monday 10am-5:00pm) -- Dreams of Toyland Exhibit at Napa Valley Museum- Opening Reception, Saturday, November 19, 5:30-7:30 pm. Free for members; $5 for non-members. 55 Presidents Cir, Napa. Visiting Exhibit costs $10 Adult, $2.50 children
November & December - Weekends Starting November 26 & 27, 10:30, 11:30 and 12:30, Weekdays 9:30, 10:30, 11:30 December 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, Gingerbread Architecture Fundraiser, Discovery Museum Preregister online at baykidsmuseum.org