(BPT) - The cold winter months are full of opportunities to celebrate, or just to gather and bring some cheer into everyone’s lives. During this super busy time of year, staying on top of your family’s everyday needs can seem overwhelming, much less having friends or family over for get-togethers. The good news is that with a little planning, you can save yourself stress and have everything you need to be able to relax and enjoy the occasion, whatever it may be!
Take a kitchen inventory
Every family has go-to staples they need on a weekly basis, all year round. To make sure you don’t run out of any must-have items, do a quick tour of your kitchen and list what you know you can’t do without on any given week, along with the quantities you usually go through. Your list will be unique to your family, but may include items like a gallon of milk, a loaf or two of bread, a carton of eggs or boxes of pasta. Hosting guests for more than a couple of days? Double your list.
Plan your menus
For special holidays, dinners or other occasions when you plan to entertain, make a menu well ahead of the event so you can check your recipes and make sure you’ve got everything you'll need. If your recipes call for fresh ingredients, plan to pick them up close to the event date. Make a note to yourself on your calendar or planner so you won’t forget.
Make the time to shop these essentials well ahead of any holidays or busy weekends, so you won’t be hustling through crowds to fill your cart while you're stocking up. This helps relieve stress, even if you need to do a last-minute run for a few key items. Better yet, skip the store all together and order online.
One-stop shop when you can
To avoid running around town, find one grocer you can depend on for value, quality and everyday low prices near you. That way you can get everything you need in one location. For example, Save A Lot is the go-to grocer not only for everyday items, but it’s also the ultimate entertaining destination — with quality ingredients, national brand products, farm-fresh fruits and vegetables and USDA-inspected meat cut fresh in-store — plus all the baking items you’ll need for the holidays and beyond! You can find great-tasting, high-quality private label brands like Ginger Evans baking products, as well as a large variety of the biggest national brands. To check out weekly deals or find a location near you, visit SaveALot.com.
Organize your kitchen
Before you begin a big cooking or baking project, it helps to know where everything is. Are all the baking supplies in one cupboard or drawer? Can you keep specialty items such as holiday-specific ingredients in one place, so you'll see at a glance how much you’ve got? Try posting a notepad or mini whiteboard inside a cupboard or on the refrigerator door for anyone to jot down when you’re getting low on any item — just be sure to get in the habit of checking the list before ordering groceries or going out shopping!
Get some help
You don't have to do it all yourself. Can you enlist family members to help you with food prep, clean-up, table setting or decorating? Even young children can take on simple tasks, with a little direction — and they love to contribute. It really helps to lessen the load, and also builds a feeling of camaraderie when everyone pitches in.
With these tips, you're bound to feel more prepared and ready to relax and enjoy more time with family and friends.