Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Countdown to Turkey Day!

If you are inviting tons of people over for a Thanksgiving dinner, having just your family or travelling somewhere else, there is always prep involved. If you are like me, I hate rushing and scrambling at the last minute, so this year I'm trying to plan ahead instead of find myself behind. The day of Thanksgiving, I really want to be able to enjoy my guests and not be running around trying to keep everything together. SO here is a list I've come up with to help me keep my head on my shoulders! Let the countdown begin!

10 days and counting{Nov. 15}

  • Finalize your menu (at least what you are cooking if your guests a bringing sides and deserts). Use this dandy worksheet:: {Home Ec 101} By the way Heather is amazing, she's also got great ideas so head on over there and read up!
  • Gather ALL your recipes and put them in one place. A File folder, binder (or use your binding machine to make your own Thanksgiving planner ;) Use this Recipe maker Free! And this worksheet!
  • Start your Amish Friendship starter, didn't know you were making this for your guests did you? This year I am giving guests a starter and sending each family home with a mini sample loaf!
  • Homeschoolers:: decide NOW next week will be an easy one, give yourself permission to take it easy and enjoy cooking with the kids (as I walk away from the mirror after talking to myself!)

Day 9{Nov. 16}
  • Making shopping list (with all your nicely gathered recipes), make sure you shop your cabinets first!
  • Final shopping for non perishable items
  • Start cleaning out the fridge and freezer and making room! Cook with what's in there and don't restock things you don't really need! Clean out any food that is growing, items that are expired or that your aren't using.

Day 8{Nov 17}
  • Start thinking about the little ones visiting. We are having lots of kids of different ages join us (as well as our own clan). I think it's best to plan ahead! Will they be seated with parents or at a "kiddie table", how many are coming, how many boosters and highchairs do you need (consider asking parents to bring those if necessary) will babies need a place to sleep/nap? Do nursing Mom's need a quiet nursing area? Maybe considering have chicken nuggets and other kid friendly foods on hand that you can easily prepare.
  • Kids craft ideas! It may seem crazy to try and stick craft activities in such a busy day, but having things ready for them to do will knock out the boredom and maybe stop them from tearing apart the entire house.....(or maybe not!) You can print off some simple Thanksgiving coloring sheets or go with something a little more crafty. I would keep it relatively mess free ie: no paints and glue! 
  • Gather some things for the adults to do as well. The game of Pit is always a hit, but maybe a puzzle or a board game would be nice to have on hand!

Day 7{Nov 18}
  • Start thinking and gathering decorations. Pull out all your holiday candles, table clothes, etc. Launder anything that needs it or buy those fancy paper plates and napkins! What ever you decide think about it now so you aren't scrambling trying to decorate the night before! Use Paperglitters Free printable fall kit! (in the kit there is a sheet of black and white fall cartoons that I am planning on printing off on label paper for the kids to color and but out and stick on construction paper as a placemat~mess free fun!)
  • Assemble any decorations you need to.

Day 6 {Nov 19}
  • Start any major cleaning projects you've been meaning to tackle. The toy pile in the living room, the cluttered bookshelf you want cleared, the shoe mountain by the door! Make a list and start cracking on those things  that you'll want looking good by the big day. 
  • Make your Sweet Potato Casserole and freeze (you can freeze this for up to 3 weeks~ see you could have started weeks ago!)
  • Assemble your Holiday Punch and Freeze in a round bowl that will fit in your punch bowl (double check!!)
  • Whip up some great dips for those coming early to watch Football! You can Freeze these and pop them in the crock pot Thanksgiving morning! Oh and Borrow this book from your library!
Day 5 {Nov 20}
  • Shop for last of perishable items needed (consult your master list from day 10!)
  • Start working on cooking timeline, use this one from Life as a Mom
Day 4 {Nov 21}
  • Print and assemble your thank you boxes and recipe cards for Amish Friendship bread (If you aren't doing this you could take the day off!)
Day 3 {Nov 22}
  • Start your Deep Cleaning. Fly lady has some very complete lists of how to clean each area of your home!
  • Thaw your Turkey (or Turkeys!!) in the fridge.
Day 2 {Nov 23}
  • Brine your Turkey!
  • Make your Cornbread and hard boil your eggs (if you are making homemade stuffing)
  • Start setting up your tables and chairs (if you need to borrow some, this is the day to pick everything up!)
  • Make a final headcount.
  • Start that Jello desert! Around here it's called "The Red Stuff" Oh so Yummy!
Day 1 {Nov 24}
  • Make your pies 
  • Finish your "red stuff"
  • Put together the stuffing (except for raw eggs and Turkey broth)
  • Make your Mini Amish Friendship Bread Loaves (now you are wishing you would have done this, really)
  • Pull your Sweet Potato Casserol and Dips from the Freezer and put them in the Fridge
  • Peel and Chop Apples for this Pie
  • Do a final straighten of the house before you go to bed so the littles don't undo it so quickly
  • Decorate the table!
Thanksgiving {Nov 25}
  • Follow your Timeline you filled out on Day 5
  • Put your punch in a bowl, pour Club soda over the frozen mixture!
  • Give your house a quick Swifer Vac and check the guest bathroom again to make sure it's stocked and clean!
  • Light your candles and enjoy your guests!
  • Get your Jesse Tree out and have your first Family devotion in preparation for the Christmas Season! (That post is coming up soon!)
Okay so now is your chance to let me know what I have forgotten! I am praying this plan will help lead up to a stress-less holiday this year! I love Thanksgiving, so we are looking forward to having guests in our home this year.

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