Thanks to Peggy Fox, WUSA-9 News, for hosting me in studio to go over the “MomTini Lounge Top 10 Tips for a Family Touchdown this Thanksgiving.” Here’s the segment:
As promised, I’ll outline the tips here, along with some bonus treats for The Lounge.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan – No surprise here, I’m a planner, and holidays are the perfect time to amp it up.
• Whether it’s planning ahead for the big meal or researching some family activities for the days off school, spending some time in advance always pays off.
• Make lists; shop in advance before key items run out; make a family game plan.
• Cook in advance as much as possible.
• Prep (set the table, set out serving stuff, or cook the day before so you aren’t running around like a turkey on Thursday.)
2. Share – and celebrate – the burden
• Don’t be shy about letting family & friends bring a dish or two.
• Fellow mom friend Nicole, Mom Since 1997, took this a step further and had guest bring copies of their gourmet recipes and then distributed a family cookbook.
3. Go casual
• Jeans (loose – not the night for skinny jeans!) & paper plates are my favorite Thanksgiving combination. The first time we did this, it felt like cheating, but within minutes, it felt LIBERATING, and I enjoyed much more time with our family.
• Get some fun Thanksgiving designs or decorate the table with some leaves from outside or arts & crafts the kids made to make it personal and fresh. For young kids, a good distraction idea is to set them up while you cook, and let them know how important their contribution is to the holiday meal.
4. Set Expectations in Advance
• Talk to kids about who is coming over for dinner, how everyone is related if distant relatives are coming over, and how you want them to behave. Maybe you can make a Family Tree if you haven’t already – that way, you show AND tell!
5. Dining Room Daycare
• Anytime kids and adults get together to eat, it can be stressful, especially if the kids are young or have short attention spans. Set yourself up for success here so everyone can enjoy the evening.
—> Favorite tip: Think about setting up an activity station near the adult table so younger kids can do arts & crafts or maybe put together a Thanksgiving show to perform for the adults.
• One year, we had lots of little kids, and I put a huge King-sized sheet on the floor with lots of safe toys – stuffed animals, baby toys, etc.
6. Teamwork is the best Turkey Recipe — An exhausted hostess is just no fun. Build in support up front so everyone is hands on.
• Kids of any age can help with cooking or preparation. I loved putting the kids on the counter to help mix, prep, knead – and they got so much satisfaction helping out. As kids get older, you may need to be more direct in your request. Here are some ways them can help: set the table; decorate place cards; play games with younger cousins.
• Kitchen gadgets are loads of fun for kids of all ages – especially the mixer or blender. It’s got motion & sound effects all in one – who needs electronic games?!
Let’s break down the holiday name – THANKS – and GIVING…
7. Thanksgiving is all about Giving Thanks
• Think about sitting around the table as a family and taking turns saying what you’re most thankful for.
• Assign a note-taker, and keep a journal year to year.
• It’s really fun to see what your kids are most thankful for, and how that changes over time.
8. Thanksgiving is also about GIVE-ing
• Especially now, when the economy is in a slump, it’s sad to have a huge feast without thinking of those less fortunate.
• Because this is the season when homeless shelters get a lot of attention, they tend to be overwhelmed with helpers.
• Think about volunteering this weekend and also planning more times to help throughout the year.
• Also, you’ve got some time off of school – clean out your closets, and bring boxes of clothes to others who need them. The holidays are around the corner – kids can fill boxes of toys they’ve grown out of to reinforce how lucky they are and to share meaningful treats with kids who don’t have as much…
9. Capture – and Preserve – Family Memories
• Make some time to get pictures…while the lipstick is fresh! 🙂
• Think about taking the picture in the same place each year as kids get older.
• Also – a video interview is lots of fun. Let your kids play producer, and interview relatives.
10. Create Thanksgiving Traditions
• I have to give a big shout out to my friend Jackie’s Turkey Bowl. She gets a bunch of kids together to play football, and loads the back of her car with a Kiddie Tailgate.
• Great photo opps, and great for the kids to run around in the morning to burn off some energy.
Before I sign off with a delicious Thanksgiving treat, I want to say “thanks” — to each of you…this “Lounge” is a dream come true for me. To research and write about topics I find fascinating for my own family and others is LOADS of fun. It lets me get back into my journalism shoes again and again, and as a Parenting Reporter, I find something new every day. Thank YOU for reading, for sharing these articles with other moms, and for being MOM-TASTIC Lounge’ers! Have a wonderful, fulfilling, and delicious holiday with your families!
Ruth’s Homemade Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potato Mixture
Amount Measurement Ingredient Name
3 Cup Mashed Sweet Potatoes
1 Cup Sugar
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Each Eggs, well beaten
1 Stick (1/2 cup) Butter
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/3 Stick Butter, Melted
1. First, combine Crust Mixture in mixing bowl and hold on the side.
2. Combine Sweet Potato Mixture ingredients into a mixing bowl in the order listed. Combine thoroughly.
3. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
4. Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture.
5. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.
Also check out Peggy’s Video Blog at DC Moms Like me.