Friday, October 7, 2011

How to Host a (Relatively) Stress Free Thanksgiving

This Sunday I'm having Thanksgiving at my house.  I posted the menu HERE.  Well, the weekend is upon us, and like everyone, I haven't had much time to prepare in advance.  I don't want to be running around like a turkey with her head cut off (ahem), so I've got a plan in place to hopefully help me keep my sanity this weekend. With a little tweaking, hopefully this schedule could make Thanksgiving a little less stressful for you too!

Friday Night: List-mania!  I'll be making a grocery list, a to-do around the house list that includes cleaning and odd jobs, a list of items needed for the meal, and a time line for Sunday.  I'll be throwing in a few loads of laundry tonight to get it out of the way.

Saturday:  Up early.  I'm going to try to grocery shop before the crowds hit.  I've decided to go with a gluten free pie crust from a mix instead of a puff pastry crust for my turkey pie.  I did find some gluten free puff pastry recipes, but they look like they might take a few tries to get them right, and I don't want to be trying anything complicated this weekend. I'll pick up a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers for the centerpiece. 

Cleaning:  My husband and I will clean the areas of the house that aren't likely to get dirty between Saturday and Sunday.  I'll get out the plates, serving dishes, etc. needed for the meal, give them a clean and put them in the dining room for Sunday.  I'll take a few minutes to sweep the front porch and tidy up any dying flowers.

Cooking:  Since we're not doing a roast turkey, I can make the turkey pie the day before.  If you are doing a whole turkey, make sure you've given it enough time to thaw before it needs to go into the oven and then cook it the day you plan to serve it.    I plan on preparing the turkey pie, as well as the cranberry sauce and the apple crumble in advance, leaving very little for Sunday.  We have a lot of apples, so I may even make some homemade applesauce.

Clothing:  I always seem to end up frantically searching for something to wear on special occasions minutes before guests arrive, even if it's a pretty casual affair. This time, I'll lay out my son's clothes as well as my own the night before.  This includes jewelry and make-up.  

Sunday: Up early. 

Cleaning: Today I'll spend some time in the morning after breakfast cleaning areas like the family room and kitchen, that always look messy regardless of how often I clean them. Empty the dishwasher to make room for all the dishes coming later, make room in the closet for shoes and purses, and double check things like extra toilet paper in the bathrooms. 

Cooking:  I'll set the table in the morning and make the cornbread so that the oven is free in the afternoon for reheating the turkey pie and for the lamb.The salad I'll put together at the last minute.  My mom is bringing the lamb, potatoes and muffins.

Clothing: Hopefully my son will take a nap before everyone arrives.  I'll put him in his good clothes at the last minute.  Come to think of it, I'll put myself in my nice clothes at the last minute as well.  I have a knack for getting dirty at the most inopportune times. 

Then, I'll pour myself a nice cup of coffee, and take a few minutes to relax before the guests arrive.

Wish me luck!

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