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The Homemaker

Preparation is the key to a happy holiday!

The holiday season has a real potential to be the catalyst of a lot of stress. I would like to encourage you to spend 10-15 minutes a day planning for the upcoming holiday trio. You may want to get a clip board and leave it in your kitchen so as you think of things you can add them to your todo list. You will want to make a menu and a meal planning list for your holiday meal. Do it on the computer so you can just print it off each year instead of having to recreate it each year. Imagine a holiday where nothing is forgotten and no one is running fo the store for this and that. If it takes you 2 hours this year in 20 years you'll save a full work week (40 hours) worth of time! As we have time here at the homemaker we will continue to add to our online to do list to provide you with an example:
Don't feel overwhelemed remember we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Pray and ask for God's direction in your holidays! Again I pray like the Lord's ant you are able to keep busy and plan for your winter! Also that they would know us by how we love one another!  Many blessings!!! Kyle
Shopping List
Meal Planning
Leftovers meal planning (how not to waste 10lbs of cooked turkey)
Planning your meal about a month in advance can allow you to take advantage of weekly sales, start cooking and freezing meals, do as much preparation as possible before your cooking day and give you time to visit with your guests rather than being in the kitchen the whole day. (If you have never frozen your holiday recipes before, make a small batch now and freeze some. Try it with your own family before doing it for company).
If you decide to do all of your holiday cooking in one day, try doing your most complicated meals early in the day so your not rushing at the last minute to get everything on the table.
Make a list of nonperishable food items on your shopping list and start buying some things now so you don't have one large grocery bill around the holidays and you don't have to worry about something you need beign sold out.
To help cut costs of a large family get together, have each family bring a dish or few to make a complete meal. If you do this be sure everyone knows ahead of time what to bring so you don't just have 5 green bean casseroles as your dinner! Also, don't forget to ask someone to bring disposable utensils. We have started doing this with my in-laws and it's wonderful. It keeps one person from having a big expense and doing all the work. My mother-in-law usually does the ham, turkey, dressing and some desserts; I do the broccoli & cheese casserole, yams, sweet tea, after dinner coffee, and a dessert; my sister-in-law does green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and a dessert; and my husbands grandparents bring disposable utensils. We have a complete meal and each of us only has to prepare three dishes. I feel it is such a blessing to my mother-in-law and I feel better about being able to help. 
Remember, advanced planning is the key to a stress free holiday. If you're relaxed, your guest's will be too!

Preparing for Company

A basic Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
green bean casserole
mashed potatoes
pumpkin pie
ice cream or whip cream
This is just a skeleton menu. At our home we have 2-4 more sides each year. I make "Mosaic Sage Turkey" , a Martha Stewart recipe, candied yams, corn casserole etc... (I also use the green bean casserole recipe and pumpkin pie recipe straight off of the can!) So once you get the skeleton down customize ithe meal to fit your families likes and dislikes. Don't be afraid to try something new and different!

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