Thanksgiving Prep

I think for the last two Thanksgivings, someone in our house has been sick. And this year, sadly, is no exception. Baylor started running a fever over the weekend and it is still going. Now Auggs has decided to join her. I’m currently spraying them and their room with Lysol while they nap and simultaneously popping zinc.

All the care taking and a lack of recovery from Peter being gone for SEVEN DAYS (more on his hunting trip later when I’ve recovered from my adventure in solo parenting) has left me with a little less zeal for Thanksgiving this year. It kind of feels like it’s snuck up on me. And I can’t summon the excitement I usually have for entertaining. However, the show must go on and as Peter pointed out, you can’t reinvent the wheel on Thanksgiving, which should make it easier to tackle. None the less, there’s still a very long list of things to get done before our 18 hungry guests arrive. Here’s what I’m doing to keep the urge to say screw it and open a bottle of wine for some day drinking:

1. Scale Back

We typically have dinner outside at the great table PW built for me a few years ago. But getting the patio, plants, table, table cloths, string lights, heaters, etc ready is a lot of extra work. So we decided to move inside. This might prove to be a terrible idea later, but it’s allowing me a lot less work on the front end so that’s a good thing. Prioritizing your to do list and or editing it is essential.

2. Create A Lot of Lists

I’m a list person any way, but the holidays call for many more lists and a lot more detail. I started a spreadsheet last year with tabs for each topic: guests, food, grocery list and a few recipes. That way I only have to amend each tab instead of redoing all the work. Keeping them each separate allows you to separate your thoughts and print each one individually.

3. Schedule 

I start a schedule about 2 weeks out based on how much work I need to do. I try to divide all the tasks so that I can do a few each day. This leaves a lot of room for last minute stuff and GASP! maybe even some down time. Starting ahead on cleaning votive holders, stemware, locating serving pieces, ironing napkins, etc is all essential to not loosing your mind the day before.

4. Ask For Help

Everything from some child care to bringing various dishes, ask for help. Most guests like to participate so let them bring their favorite dish. Just be sure to prioritize oven space and time for baking off vs reheating. Use crockpots for things like potatoes, sweet potatoes and green beans.

5. If You Can’t Ask, Buy Some Help

It’s often worth not only your sanity but your time to pay for some help. Yard maintenance, house keeping, professional laundering of linens, window washing and even store bought dinner are all great ways to make everything come together AND actually enjoy yourself!

 

 

Thankful

This perfectly sums up our Thanksgiving. Warm, beautiful, delicious. Family, friends and pumpkin pie.
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The rest of our weekend included:

Brunch with the lovely Karen and Patrick

Melissa (Missa) and Jullien’s wedding

Post reception, reception

Wedding brunch

Lunch with all my cousins, second cousins, aunts and uncles

Invoicing (bleh)

Full house Christmas decorating

Addressing and stamping 80 Christmas cards

It was a fantastic weekend. And completely exhausting. Yeah holiday season!

Thanks Mommas

I thought about writing a post that called out some of my friends for the amazing things that they do and that I admire them for. After starting a draft, I found myself worrying that I might accidently insult someone. Like if someone wrote about me “she works hard and keeps her house and family pulled together!” my first thought would be that’s so nice! I love when my friends lie to me and my second would be wait, but I am a good mom to my kids too, right?! People think that part too, right?? So I decided I would write out the things that I’ve learned from my momma friends sans names. Because at the end of the day, the lesson is the important part so here goes:

~Laugh. Make simple things funny. Instead of responding with an honest answer all the time, give a funny answer once in awhile. Your kids have their whole lives to be serious. Make them laugh now while they still think you’re funny.

~Work it. Work hard at your job and then work hard at giving your kids your full attention.

~Be cautious. They’re little and sometimes delicate  While it’s good for them to learn cause and effect (jumping off of the couch will hurt), it’s equally important to not let them learn the effect of their cause all the time.

~Give in. It’s ok to lose the battle BUT, lose graciously.

~Listen.

~Shut up. Don’t be quick to give the answer to their question. Let their imagination wander and ask them what they think the answer is and then be gentle when giving the real reason.

~Save the drama. You are not always going to win every day. Some days you’re just going to survive. Don’t dwell on the negative, look at the positive that happened in the day and then get ready to make the next day better.

~Rest. You are not a robot. It would be cooler if you were but since you’re not, let the laundry sit and you do the same.

~Be kind. Teach your kids that not everyone is as lucky as you are and that it is our duty to care for those around us.

~Don’t judge others. Mostly because we’ve all been that mom that is walking the SCREAMING kiddo into preschool while the baby is still in his jammies with a dirty diaper and blueberries on his face.

~Don’t judge yourself. Some days you’re the mom who got a shower AND both kids out the door. Some days you’re not. Both are ok.

~Laugh. A lot. Enjoy the simple things. Smile.

 

So thank you to all the lovely moms I get to call my friends. You are all an inspiration, whether you know it or not.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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So Very Thankful

Phew. After a full round of antibiotics for the team and a very busy yet fun Thanksgiving, I have some time to A. Breathe and B. post pics from Thanksgiving!

This was our 6th year of hosting and probably the least stressful yet. I think PW and I finally have a system that we have honed over the last years that starts weeks ahead of time but means the day of Thanksgiving is actually fun and not so crazy. Also I have slowly been accumulating the things we need for the day of so that I don’t have to raid my mom’s house for table cloths, silverware, serving spoons, plates…the list goes on.

This year PW built me a table that I have always wanted; it’s the same height and length of our outdoor furniture so when you smoosh the two tables together, it makes one large square with enough room to seat up to 20 (more on Peter’s craftsmanship soon…). It was awesome. No more people at one end of a very long table with no one across from them!

 

Fun paper table runners

The Munchkin  table

The outdoor living room

Chef Baylor’s fancy pie crust

Sarah’s cookies

PW’s new coozie collection…don’t ask because I don’t know. At least there was good Montana microbrews to put in them

Peter’s super delicious turkeys. They brine for 12 hours in a special mix he makes and then smoke for 6 hours.

Chef Wand

Thanksgiving is exhausting

Mason. Doing a very good impression of his father.

Cousins!

The Wischer Women…and Mason

Everyone at the BIG table!

 

Giving Thanks

Holy moly. It’s been a crazy week! Thanksgiving was one of the best yet  – after 5 years of hosting, I think we have feeding 20+ down to a science. We’ve gotten to see and spend time with old friends and lots of extended family. Baylor is officially BFFs with her second cousin, Abby. And is solidly convinced that her (step) cousins are the best.

Mother Nature threatened, once again, to rain on our parade. I literally stepped out onto our patio with my hands on my hips just daring her to keep sprinkling all over my beautifully set table. Thankfully, I have a very convincing “mom stare” and she backed off before my linens were soaked. In fact, the sun came out by the time all of our family and friends arrived with side dishes in hand. PW’s turkeys were the best he’s ever made and the entire evening was…relaxed. The everyone ate and then sat and enjoyed the beautiful Arizona weather, candle light and kid’s laughter.

{Mother Nature threatening to ruin my table!}

{Chef Wand}

{Chef Wand’s Turkeys}

{Titi and cousin Zoe}

{The hungry crowd}

{How many kids can you fit on a toddlers climber?}

{this many!}

{How do you make tree climbing more interesting? Do it in a tree not really meant for climbing and add fire!}

{A sweet note from cousin Madi about being thankful}

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too! I am very thankful for you reading, commenting and liking my humble blog 🙂