We are now just a couple days away. Thanksgiving is looming in the background - I can just see the turkey staring at me with his beady little eyes. Well, not really - I don't know where his head is but I do know some guy shoved poor old Tom Turkey's neck up his butt. Now THAT'S a bad day! I guess maybe putting that into perspective makes me want to complain a little less about retrieving the darn thing. Over the last few years I've realized that dealing with life's stressors is mostly about perspective. I realize that even when things are at their toughest in my life, there are people that have it SO much worse.
Here are some things I'm doing around my house this year that are helping me keep the stress level a bit lower and the fun factor WAY up there!
1. I'm hosting the big meal this year. Yep, that's right. For some reason, this calms me. Let me tell you a few reasons: if my boys act up, they can go to their rooms. I control the menu, so I KNOW I'll get my sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and plenty of pie. (This is NOT the case at other family member's houses who don't even serve the items I mentioned. Yes, crazy. I know.) Also, it means that even though we've moved 9+ hours from our last home and 24+ hours from my parents I'll still see family. They love us enough to fly down and bless us with their company.
2. I'm limiting the menu. While there are a few staples that I HAVE to have (like above mentioned sweet potatoes), there are usually 10 million new recipes I want to try. I have decided that I just can't. And honestly, do we need three kinds of potatoes? Do we need 5 different kinds of salads? Not in my house. I'll have a total of 8 people eating here, so far. (If you are near by and have no family to eat with, come on by! No, seriously.) With 8 people eating, I'll still have enough food to feed them all at least two or three times. See, I limit the menu, but double the size of the dishes. :D
3. Clean like a mad woman TODAY. Yep, after this post gets completed, I'm putting the apron on and making mad dashes through the house until it's clean or I drop from total exhaustion. Well, that's only partly true. I enlist the help of my kiddos! Con-Man will have two rooms upstairs to clean - where all of the toys accumulate. Monkey-Man will pick up toys downstairs and put them in the color coded baskets we have at the base of the stairs. The Chief will help with laundry and dishes. And the older two are responsible for scrubbing their own bathrooms.
4. Bake Tomorrow. Most years, I've cooked and baked everything on the big day. I love how all the smells mingle together. Well, this year I'm baking cookies, making the mashed potatoes and baking bread tomorrow. (More about the bread in a little bit.)
5. Admit defeat and just buy it. I cannot make pumpkin pie. I've tried and tried. Last year I made my last attempt. I baked that stinkin pie for 4 hours. FOUR HOURS!!!!! It was STILL soupy in the middle. I cannot bake pumpkin pie. It's the one dish I fail at. I can handle that - one dish out of hundreds, right? Not a bad average. So I buy it. Why stress out and try to beat something into submission when you can just run to the store for it? Can't cook at all? You can get a complete cooked meal for about $50 - what a bargain when it means you don't scream at everyone, pull all your hair out and end up eating turkey so dry it resembles the one on that National Lampoons Christmas movie.
6. Give. It really helps me with my own stress levels when I can stop and think about someone else who may be going through a rough time and give to them. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate - you can just stop and call a friend that is lonely, send a card or two out to family you haven't talked to, donate some food to a charity that could feed the hungry. Well, this year we are participating in National Tie One On Day! I'm very excited about this. Tomorrow I'm going to bake a few loaves of bread. Just a simple little tried and true yummy wheat bread recipe. I'll wrap the bread up in a cute little apron and tuck a note inside. My note will tell the person that I'm thinking of them, that I pray for them and that I hope they know how much they mean to me.
7. Have fun! I know that when Thursday comes, I'll be busy running around in the kitchen. I'll have to balance the food, my kids, visiting with my family, etc. But in the middle of it all, I've got games already printed out to play with everyone! I've also got a simple craft for the kids to do while they are waiting for food. I will gather everything we need today so it's one less thing to do on Thursday.
This year, I'm so thankful for every little aspect of my life. Things are never perfect, but we are healthy, happy and very blessed. I give thanks to God for all these blessings and pray that every single one of you has what you need, what you want and what you love in your life.