Once you create a stockpile, you might have to get creative in order to find places to store it all. Living the Texas (where it gets HOT during the summer), the garage is not a good option for storing food, so I use any extra space I can find, such as the coat closet under the stairs, in the laundry room, and even under beds.
Things like canned veggies and cream soups usually hit their lowest price around Thanksgiving time. Using coupons, I can get them for about 25 cents a can, so I buy enough to last me until the next Thanksgiving. Baking items like flour, sugar, spices, etc. are also at their yearly low during the holidays.
Snacks and cereals usually have a "sale cycle time" of about 6-8 weeks, meaning that they will go on sale about every 6-8 weeks. I try to keep a 3-6 month rotating supply of these items when I can get them for free (like the fruit snacks) or really cheap (under a dollar for cereal).
We go through a LOT of cereal at our house. Cheerios are a favorite and they recently went on sale...with coupons I spent 77 cents/box (the 14 oz size). Some Honey Nut Cheerios boxes have a deal on them...buy two boxes get a FREE movie ticket (up to $12 value). With coupons I was able to get the Honey Nut Cheerios for $2.50/box, which is more than I usually spend, however I thought $5 for a movie ticket and two boxes of cereal was a pretty great deal! (If you want to try this deal yourself, look for the specially marked boxes of HN Cheerios at your local Target--it is the middle sized box. My Target started stocking a different box, but when I looked behind the front boxes, I found a bunch of the movie ticket boxes hiding in the back). Print out these coupons before you go to maximize savings!
Once everyone comes downstairs, they are allowed to check out their stockings. Then we all gather for a family prayer before unwrapping presents. In an ideal world, we take turns unwrapping presents, starting with the youngest and working up to the oldest. Everyone patiently waits their turn, oohing and awing over everyone's gifts. When Jayson and I went to bed the night before, I actually had visions of this occurring. Taking turns had worked great when we opened up the pj's and I decided that the quints were old enough to "get it". In reality, it was nothing like I had imagined. Instead it was complete CHAOS!
Kids were opening presents left and right, no matter whose names were on the outside. Kyndall and Rustin were the worst offenders (of course!). I think I said "It's not your turn!" and "That's not your present!" at least a hundred times. But, despite the madness, it was so FUN. While the quints didn't exactly get the whole "taking turns" idea, they DID understand the opening presents and they were so excited by everything that they opened.
Displaying their stocking surprises: Ryder, Kyndall, Rustin, Kaydence, Kassidy, Riley and Kaiya. The quints got "Sing-a-ma-jigs" in their stockings and Riley and Kaiya got juggling balls and a BYU wallet. I love that the Sing-a-ma-jigs came in all the quint's colors!
Kyndall opens her "doggie in a pink purse". I took the quints to Walmart one day and let them look in the toy department---the girl's saw these "Pucci Pups" and decided that was what they wanted for Christmas. I was sure that 3-years-old = fickle and that they would change their minds, but they never did!
After the present opening, we sat down for our traditional Christmas breakfast----little boxes of cereal, cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk. The little cereal boxes is one of Riley and Kaiya's favorite traditions, and it is one that has been going for at least three generations in my family.
The Whole Family
The "Adult" table with adults eating at it
After dinner, we pull out bathrobes, towels, sheets and whatever else we can find to dress the kids up as shepherds, angels, wisemen, etc and we reenact the story of Christ’s birth. This year was the first year that the quints kind of understood what was going on…..which meant that all the girls fought over who got to be Mary and both the boys insisted they had to be Joseph (or “Jofus” as they pronounce it). In then end, Ryder was Joseph, Kyndall was Mary, Kassidy and Kaydence were shepherds, Kaiya was the head angel, and Riley was King Herod’s priest. We sang Christmas carols as the kids acted out the story from the bible. I don’t think we are taking our act on Broadway anytime soon, but we all enjoyed the performance!
Group Shot---Everyone on Christmas Eve. I think it is amazing that we had 25 people there and everyone is looking at the camera! Something about that blinking light on those timer shots must be mesmerizing!
After all our guests leave, everyone gets to open one present, which is always new pj’s. Then we each choose a Christmas song to sing, starting with the youngest (Ryder) and ending with the oldest (Jayson). Next we take lots of pictures in front of the tree. Growing up, my brothers and my dad always complained about all the pictures we took, but my kids actually love it. We take pictures of just the girls, just the boys, Riley & Kaiya, timer shots of the family, and we always end with a “pile” picture. At one Christmas party I went to this season, we played a game and one of the questions was “What Christmas tradition could you not live without?” The Christmas Eve pictures in front of the tree were my answer!
The Whole Family---this one was going to be a pyramid shot (as we used to do in my family growing up), but making a pyramid in 10 seconds (the length of the timer) with five three-year-olds who have no concept of what a pyramid is, turns out to be impossible!
Following pictures, we had our family prayer, set cookies out for Santa and headed to bed. The kids were so excited this year I thought they would NEVER fall asleep!
Stay tuned for pictures from Christmas day!