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A Clean House House For The Holidays

tips for healthier living

Getting Ready for Guests

A Clean House House For The Holidays, A Clean House House For The Holidays, A Clean House House For The Holidays

Oh, the holidays are upon us! If you have family or friends (hopefully) coming to visit, it’s time to get ready for guests!  There’s food to plan and shop for, cleaning to be done, and decorations to hang.  Busy, busy, busy!

Out of Towners

How many are coming? Whether it’s family or friends, having a number is a good first step.  How long are they staying?  Are more people coming after them? Planning is key, so let’s get a checklist going:

  • What are the dates of their stay? Are they staying with your family or elsewhere?
    • Do you need an air mattress or extra sleeping space? You might need to do some rearranging.
    • Do you need to borrow blankets and pillows from a neighbor?
  • How many kids? And their ages?
    • Do you need games and toys that get them up and moving? Having them all crowded around the TV playing video games isn’t a good idea, though that’s probably what they will want to do.
    • Will the kids be bunking with your kids? You might need to do a good sorting to make room!
  • Grown-ups…do you have enough spare bedrooms for them? Are all the linens fresh? Are there any special needs you might need to plan on?

 

The holidays with family tend to be fairly laid back.  Fuss enough so you can relax with them and not worry about if the bathrooms are scrubbed, but not so much that you’re stressed out.  This year has been a doozy anyway! Now is probably a good time to hire help with the cleaning. (Call early to get your ideal spot!  We fill up quickly this time of year!)  While they clean you can get ready for your guests by:

  • Cleaning out and making room in the fridge.
  • Organizing the pantry and food cabinets
  • Make sure you have enough dishes, or paper plates, napkins, and utensils.
  • If your family drinks adult beverages, stock up now (prices are great around the holidays!) at your favorite neighborhood liquor store.

 

Food, Food, Food!

No DOUBT the food bill is going to be a whopper and eating out is probably not an option with the pandemic. Hopefully, the guests will pitch in, but still…you want everyone to have snacks and satisfying meals, as well.  Things to consider:

  • Is this a big party…or a week-long gathering of loved ones?
  • Does anyone have special dietary needs? Do you need to ask about specialty foodstuffs like vegan or vegetarian options, so they feel included?  These kinds of foods are pretty readily available now.  They will appreciate your attention.
  • On the other hand, there are food allergies that you might need to be aware of and avoid as well. Having an illness or medical emergency can ruin a good gathering.
  • Somewhere in the middle is food for a crowd. The people-pleasing fare that is easy for you in the kitchen but delights all who are there to enjoy.

Fill in with treats and snacks that will remind them why YOU are the best relative to visit during the holidays.  Relaaaaax and enjoy it!!

 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@krakenimages

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Baking With The Kids

health and well being

Baking with the Kids

 

 

November!  The official ping on the grown-up calendar that the holidays, baking with the kids, and all things ‘family’ have begun.

If you bake for gifts, you know how daunting this can be.  There are people you work with, maybe employees and their families, friends, out-of-state/area family…the list can belong! One thing is for sure: cookies and homemade goodies are always a favorite!

Since cranking out a lot of tasty treats takes a fair while, get the kids involved!  It’s a great opportunity to score some fun family time and also teach them a few skills like measuring, mixing, frosting, and decorating.  Baking with the kids should take too much arm-twisting with all the sweetness and bowl-licking ahead!

 

Where to Begin?

First, gather the family around to make a list of everyone who will receive baked goods.  Are you mailing them?  Do you need gift bags or other kinds of packaging?  Do the kids have friends they want to include?  Their teachers? The neighbors?  Are you going to make special cookies for some people?  Here’s a checklist of to-do’s so all goes as smoothly (and as fun) as possible on a baking day:

  • It’s probably a good idea to make some freezer space to store some ingredients and finished products until they’re ready to be given out.
  • Do you need to clean the oven? Do this before it gets too cold outside to open windows for this process.
  • Mark the calendar for the day(s) you plan to bake, so all hands are on deck!
  • Clear space in the kitchen for mixing and decorating stations, and for cookies to cool.
  • Have a set of bulk recipes that can be done fast and furious for those “surprise!” people or if you’re not into baking that much.
  • Check that you have the right equipment or that what you have is in good condition.
  • Take the kids shopping for the ingredients. They love picking out big bags of chocolate chips or sugar. It can be a learning opportunity to understand how much things are, what ingredients go into making cookies, and why this is a cost-efficient way to give during the holidays.

Baking with the Kids

On the appointed day double check to make sure everything is ready:

  • Is everyone rested? This may sound odd, but things can devolve quickly if there has been some stress or illness. Is it a good day?  Or do we need to postpone?
  • Are our bellies full of good food first? Everyone is less likely to nibble away at the sweetness or have “hangry” outbursts.
  • Put on your favorite music! Do you like holiday music?  Show tunes? Rock and roll?  Turn it up and create a fun atmosphere.
  • Decide which child is in charge of what portion of the project. Do you plan to rotate to keep it interesting…and maybe keep kids from arguing? Of course, keep things age-appropriate, but also a little challenging so learning can happen.
  • Assembly lines help to make sure all the steps are followed properly, and you get good results.

 

Plan for mishaps like burned fingers or cookies, forgotten ingredients, and spills. Snap a few pics for holiday card making! It might be a good idea to have some backup cleaning help for the next day, but make it fun no matter what and you will make precious memories.

 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@americanheritagechocolate

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