Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Holiday Prep – Already?!? October 31, 2009

Serving Hot CocoaBy Julia Pantoga

Don’t come complaining to me about those crowded mall parking lots in December. I’ll be home drinking hot chocolate or cranberry vodka with friends. You can be there too, with a little advance planning.

Last year I went all out to give you timely holiday prep tips and I have little to add this year, so here’s a list of all the holiday prep articles from last year:

holiday cookiesGiving Away Baked Goods

Holiday Roll-out Cookies – Part One
Holiday Roll-out Cookies – Part Two
Holiday Roll-out Cookies – Part Three

Packing for Holiday Travel

Holiday Entertaining Made Easy

Great Baking Gift Recipes

Decorating Your Home

Handmade Gift Ideas

Super Yummy Fast Fast Party Snacks

In order to kick back in December, here’s a list of things to start this week:
1. If you are going to give away baked goods:

             a. Decide what you are going to make (last year I gave away little gingerbread cakes, this year is all cookies, I’ll share my recipes with you in a few weeks.)
             b. Start collecting containers for putting the baked goods in (see photo below)
             c. Keep your eye out for sales on specialty ingredients (If you are using commercial candy in your holiday baking, you will probably find it on sale on Sunday, November 1, the day after Halloween)

gift containers

Containers I have accumulated so far, for less than $30

     2. If you are going to make decorated holiday sugar cookies, make the dough and freeze it now.

     3. If you are going to send holiday cards:
              a. Go through your list to make sure you have complete addresses for the entire list.
              b. Pick out the holiday cards you are going to use (I KNOW you have them because you bought them right after the holidays last year like I told you, right?) Put the card box next to where you sit to watch TV. Put a pen in the box and print out a list of everyone you will be sending cards to. During commercials, address the envelopes. Be sure to put the pen back in the box. I have learned over the years that addressing the envelopes is a big job and there is no reason you can’t do it in advance and make writing cards that much more pleasant.

Finally, it is never too early to begin making bags of Super Yummy Fast Fast Party Snacks and start storing them in your freezer to grab on your way to a party!


Domestic Goddess: Packing for Holiday Travel October 26, 2008

Filed under: Domestic Goddess — rebmas03 @ 3:40 am
Tags: , , ,
Pack Bathroom Bag

My bathroom bag is always packed.

By Julia Pantoga

Between this time of year and January, I take several lengthy driving trips to visit friends and family. Because I am typically away for 3 or 4 weeks, and I am doing so many different things and seeing so many different people, packing for these trips is a big project. But, I lead a life full of obligations at home, so I never have much time to pack. Hence, I have developed various systems to make the job easier and to make sure that I don’t forget things.

Packing List

Packing list

Keep a List

I keep a running list of things I need to pack. This list includes everything I might need in every circumstance. I also keep a short list in the corner of the things that I need to remember for this specific trip (e.g. cranberry relish recipe for sister). I keep this list handy on my computer and update it as the trip approaches, and I remember things. Right before the trip, I print this list out and refer to it carefully while I am packing. I put a line through things that I don’t need for this trip and check things off as I put them in the “staging area” for my packing (which is usually my bed). If I pack anything that is not on my list, I write it on my list and, if I may need it for a future trip, I add it to the master list on my computer.   When I leave the house, I fold the list and put it in my purse. I then have a checklist to use every time I repack along the way.

Pre-packed Bathroom Bag

Have Some Bags Always Packed

My bathroom bag is always packed. I don’t pack bathroom items such as: toothbrush, shampoo, hand lotion, deodorant, etc., because I have duplicates of all of these in my bathroom bag. The main disadvantage of this system is that my bathroom bag is heavy, as it not only contains a toothbrush, but sunscreen, insect repellant and a host of other emergency items. The great advantage of this “system” is that when I return home late at night, I don’t have to unpack my bathroom bag to find my toothbrush. All my “home” bathroom items have been left in their usual spots.

Here’s another tip—put really nice products in your bathroom bag–shampoo and conditioner that smell so great, that showering is a treat. As you are driving at odd hours, sleeping on different couches every night and adjusting to other household’s routines, you need to remind yourself that you always take care of yourself. No robber would ever realize it, but my bathroom bag is one of the most expensive items in my car when I travel.

In addition to my bathroom bag, I keep an extra workout bag in the car, complete with extra sneakers, water bottle, sports bra, swim suit, etc.

My Bags Are Packed

My Bags Are Packed


My own strategy is to pack a lot of small bags that I can handle myself. If I have help loading and unloading my bags (and I usually do), helpers that are bigger and stronger than I (a category that includes most adults) can carry multiple bags at once. But, if I find myself in a situation where I have to handle my luggage myself, I can handle my own bags with multiple trips.

Leave Your House Ready for Your Return
Every time I leave any dirty dishes when I am going to be away for any length of time, I regret it terribly when I get home. Pe-ew! Wash all your dishes, take out the garbage, sweep the floors and generally pick up the house before you leave.

The best tip I ever got about traveling is to change my sheets right before I leave. Nothing says, “Welcome Home!” like a fresh bed.

Welcome Home!

Welcome Home!