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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

What's your Christmas morning game plan?



lampoon.jpgChristmas morning may look like a breezy time on the Hallmark cards, but it can be meltdown-worthy mess if you aren't careful. Toys packed in vacuum sealed plastic "clamshells" that require a jackhammer to open. No batteries. No breakfast ready. The coffee isn't ready and you REALLY need it, the camera's batteries aren't charged.

Face it, Mommas, you need a survival kit. Here's what's in mine:

A pair of heavy-duty kitchen scissors: Trying to liberate a toy from its packaging is time consuming and often painful if all you have is those those wimpy scissors with the orange, especially with an eager kid breathing down your neck. Keep a pair of the Rambo shears handy and/or a pair of wire cutters to snap through those plastic-coated wire ties that keep toys in their place inside packages. A reader once suggested the an as-seen-on-tv "Open-It" tool that is scissor-like, but is made for opening tough packaging. It also has a blade (with a cap) for cutting through the big stuff.

Batteries: Lots of them in all denominations. Warehouse stores like Sam's Club often have good deals on variety packs. Consider putting batteries in toys before you wrap them so they are ready to go.

Notebook: Have a notebook and pen handy so you can write down what they kids got and from whom so you'll know who to thank and for what. Better yet, give it to them when you are done so they can write thank you notes.

Here's where advanced planning really pays off. Do these steps the night before and your day will go much smoother:

  • Put the coffee grounds and water in the coffee pot the night before, so all you have to do is flip the "on" switch in the morning.
  • Put out the camera and charge those batteries.
  • Make breakfast the night before. Assemble one of these breakfast casserole recipes, and our favorite Monkey Bread (Because you tear into it like a pack of monkeys) as well as a platter of fruit the night before. In the morning, you throw them in the oven to cook while you open presents and then sit down to a yummy breakfast. That will carry us well into the afternoon.
  • Pre-load software content to say your child's name (such as programming LeapFrog toys)
  • Consider opening and assembling toys ahead of time and putting them in gift bags so kids can get to them easily.

I got this Monkey Bread recipe, also called Overnight Cinnamon Coffee cake, from the newspaper. And I love that you assemble it the night before with frozen Parker House rolls and overnight it thaws and rises beautifully. It's my family's favorite.

Monkey Bread

1 package 24 frozen Parker House rolls
1 small package instant butterscotch pudding mix
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup pecan pieces

In a greased Bundt pan, place half of the frozen rolls, powdered pudding mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and pecans. Repeat with the remaining amounts.

Cover the pan loosely with foil sprayed with Pam, top with a clean towel and allow to sit overnight on a counter. The dough will defrost and rise. (If in the morning it has risen over the top of the pan, poke it with clean fingers, and it will fall back.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 4:04pm]


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