Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two Days Until Thanksgiving


I wanted to watch the snow fall today. So instead of working downstairs in my dark and cramped office, I am doing my work upstairs in front of my windows. I lit a fire, piled my work onto the coffee table, and made sure I have plenty of hot Earl Grey tea in my mug. It's a cozy way to spend my workday!


Pumpkin Candles, on Sale at Pottery Barn

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Try to get your grocery shopping done very soon. The closer it gets to Thanksgiving, the crazier the stores get. Try to plan ahead so you don't have to run to the store at the last minute on Thanksgiving.

  • Pick out an ice cube from your freezer, smell and taste it. Does it taste fresh and delicious, or has it picked up food smells? Make fresh ice if needed (unless you plan to pick up Party Ice bags for Thanksgiving). Empty, scrub and refill your ice cube trays, or empty out your icemaker box and let it start over. With 2 days to go til Thanksgiving, your icebox should be refilled in plenty of time.

  • If you're hosting the meal, check over your menu plans. Do you have the traditional Thanksgiving foods coming? Turkey (or veggie alternative), sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie? Corn, if that's your tradition? Plenty of food for any vegetarians who might show up?

  • Do you need to do any laundry, launder table linens or hand towels? Tablecloth needs to be ironed perhaps?

  • If you have overnight guests coming, do you have breakfast foods in the house? I don't often eat cereal, so I need to remember to at the very least stock milk and Cheerios. I also want to be sure to have orange juice to offer the next morning.

  • Clean off and sanitize your home telephone (and cellphones if you have time). I don't know about you, but my cell phone gets covered in makeup and my kitchen phone gets grimy fingerprints on it. Because of the holidays, your phone is likely to get a lot of extra use this week - calls coming in, relatives borrowing the phone to call out. A quick wipedown and some Windex will do wonders.

  • What movies will you show family members while they wait for (or recover from) the Thanksgiving meal. Can you find your DVDs and have them ready?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Thanksgiving Preparations


Meri Meri Thanksgiving Cupcake Kit, on Amazon

If you're traveling out of town, rather than hosting at home, you still might want to join the rest of us in tidying our homes today. That way you'll come back after a long, tiring journey, to a shining clean, relaxing house.

CLEANING:

We sorted and organized our kitchens last month to prepare for the holidays. Now I don't know about you, but I let my normal maintenance cleaning slip a bit, and I have a bit extra work to do to get my kitchen ready for the holidays. Oops. Otherwise, I'm doing pretty well. My counters are cleared off and got spritzed with citrus cleaner last night, and my cupboards are still pretty well organized. The dishwasher is empty. My kitchen floor needs to be scrubbed and mopped. Finish what you have left to do in your kitchen, and let's move on to our dining rooms.


DINING ROOM:

Start by clearing off your dining table, if needed. Don't just move mail to another table, making a mess for another day. Now is a good time to stop and organize it, pay bills, file things and burn or shred those pesky credit card applications. Dust off and polish your dining table, then set it with your tablecloth, tablerunner, placemats or whatever you intend to use for Thanksgiving or even for your next upcoming meal. Eat your next family meals at a restaurant, or in front of the TV for a treat - we can't afford to mess up our set tables with the holiday coming up so close!

Look around your dining room and see what else needs to be done. Do you have furniture to dust? Have your windows been washed, inside and out, in the last month? Dust and clean off your dining chairs. While doing so, remove them from the area and vacuum or mop the floor under your table. If you have time and someone to help you to move your table, it makes it a lot easier to clean the floor. Do a last check to see if there is anything in the dining room that doesn't belong (shoes, toys, clutter, dead houseplants?).

Do you need to have a box of Kleenex handy? Every year it seems at least half the table breaks down crying when we start the "What are you thankful for?" discussion.
(Do you know what you're going to say when this inevitable discussion starts at your table?)


Windsor Forest Home Fragrance Oil, at Crabtree & Evelyn

Finish by spritzing the room with home fragrance, and setting the table with some pretty fall-colored candles. Put out any last fall decorations you might nave wanted to put up. It's a day too early to get fresh flowers for the table if you are hosting a meal, so hold off.


FAMILY/LIVING ROOM:

Let's move on to the living room, where it's likely our guests will retire with aching bellies, for hours of football, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, or chatting and visiting. Dust, remove clutter, vacuum, wash windows, clean off coffee table, fold throws. Be sure to dust off the TV screen.

Does your family have a particular movie they watch on Thanksgiving? "Home for the Holidays," "Planes Trains and Automobiles," "The Sound of Music," or "Wizard of Oz" perhaps? Do you have kids' movies ready to go? Make sure you know where your DVD movies are and have them accessible.

Do you have children coming to visit? Get out toys, books, and games - maybe store them in an attractive basket in a corner of the room.

Refresh houseplants and toss any dead ones. Does your fireplace look neat and tidy? Set out a magazine or two or coffee table books, and finish by spraying your home spray in the room.

Tomorrow I'll be working on my guest bathrooms so they are ready for company.

Keep your spirits up and don't get overwhelmed. We still have a couple days until the holiday. Don't forget to make time for yourself for some down time every day. A happy mom makes for a happy home. Build in some magazine reading time, bath time, or even mindless TV watching for a few minutes a day. The more private time you give yourself, the better a hostess you'll be during the holiday week. And remember.. Thanksgiving doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful.

LOVELY BLOGS: Big Red Kitchen


I think you will love Robin Sue's cooking blog. Here's a snippet of her entertaining philosophy: "Perfection is pride stepping on your creativity. Paper plates are essential. Write "welcome" in the dust rather than waiting for a clean house to open your home. Laugh when your guest's child vomits on your couch because next month your child will pee on your girlfriend's sofa."

She's recently blogged about Thanksgiving Wassail, yummy yams, and savory corn pudding for Thanksgiving.

http://www.bigredkitchen.com/

LOVELY BOOKS:


"Casual Gatherings and Elegant Parties at Home." I throw so many parties, but that doesn't make me an expert on doing it. I love reading party inspiration and party planning books for their ideas and advice. This one suggests party lists and timetables, offers tips on outdoor parties, gives ideas for wine and cheese parties, and helps you prepare in order to be ready to host a party at any time. And of course because this is an Emily post book, there's a list of to-dos and "no-no's" as well as party etiquette tips.

Emily Post's Get-Togethers, at Amazon

LOVELY TV: Skating With the Stars


I don't watch "Dancing With the Stars," because I'm not that interested in dancing. Figure skating, however, I'm hooked on. So I'm disappointed that I missed ABC's premiere last night. (I was too distracted dealing with snow and babysitting the neighbor's dog and watching "The Event.")

The show's judges include Dick Button and the fabulous Johnny Weir. The celebrities include Bethenny Frankel, Sean Young, and Vince Neil.

I'm hoping I can watch the episode online at ABC's website today when I get a bit of time.

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

How to Get Through a Power Outage (Seattle Times)

I'm Thankful for a Thanksgiving Checklist (The Bella Life)

Thanksgiving Checklist (Savory Seasonings)

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