Preparing Heart and Home: Week 4

Happy Thanksgiving Week, you made it! We are in the home-stretch of our challenge series and, because I am sure you have plenty on your list of things to-do, this challenge won't necessarily add to it, but rather, give levity to the tasks already at hand.

I am also including a post from the same year which I felt might help inspire you as you look to get your bearings each day this week. So, without further ado.....

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Home and Heart challenge this week:

Thanksgiving is in a few short days.  Hard to believe it is almost upon us.  Even with no company coming there is a lot to be done before Thursday.  Whether dusting or cooking or plotting out the order of events.... it is all coming down the line and even with my little family, I find it helpful to remember the joy Jesus has placed in my heart and stay centered on doing these things for the right reasons.

It isn't about impressing anyone.  It isn't about tradition (even though we do have them).  In the midst of the holiday madness, it boils down to one thing: gratitude. 

So, my challenge for you and for me this week is to do each task, whether cleaning or cooking or... whatever else... with prayer in my heart.  To be thankful for those Christian brothers and sisters (and blood related family) God has put in my life and prayerful for those who haven't accepted Christ yet.  Each spec of dust, each freshly cooked dish, each moment praying for open doors and opportunities to share my hope in Jesus and prepare lost hearts to receive it.

I pray this challenge will help you to enjoy the prep time more AND the big event just as much.  To see those around you (even the challenging ones) as a great blessing and a great opportunity to share your hope and faith with!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Menu Monday: Thanksgiving Week Edition

The big week is here!!!  Thanksgiving prep will go into full-swing in my house.  Next year [2016] I hope to be starting sooner (we will have been settled for a full year by then!)  No company is expected this year, but that is ok.  We make our own style of fun.

Growing up, my mom and I always watched Macy's together.  "It isn't officially Christmastime until you have seen Santa coming down the street in the Macy's Parade" she use to say.  However, no longer having any network t.v. and the last decade or so Macy's just hasn't been the same sweet parade it once was... I decided to start a new tradition: Watch Miracle on 34th Street!  If my mom were still alive today, I believe she would heartily agree. It starts with a very old Macy's parade and ends with some Christmas miracles.  With that said, a typical no-company Thanksgiving day schedule looks something like this:

  • Rise and review my list of to-dos for the day while I take in coffee and sweet bread.
  • Put bird in (depending on dinner time depends on the order of the bird going in)
  • Watch Miracle on 34th Street while I do odds and ends jobs like cut potatoes for the mashed potatoes, iron buffet and table clothes and set-up platters with appetizers.
  • Clear ALL unnecessary counter-top tidbits to the pantry so there is plenty of prep space for turkey and other dishes.  This is when I pull out my roaster as well and get it ready to warm.
  • Arrange table with cloth and tablescape, set up buffet and serving platters (even for just us, I treat it like a special occasion with all the bells and whistles!)
  • Pre-measure ingredients and get pots placed on stove for all the various dishes.  This makes actual dinner prep go faster.
  • Make calls to extend holiday greetings to family far away 
  • Play a family game
  • Work on side dishes and begin the final dinner run where turkey comes out and all the hot stuff goes on
  • Have dinner
  • Watch The Santa Claus to kick off the Christmas season as a family
  • Clean up and start to take down Thanksgiving Decorations, making piles ready to pack first thing (I start Christmas decorating in the morning!!!)

Even for just us I buy the biggest bird I can get my hands on.  We have multiple nights of planned leftovers which is especially helpful as I start the Christmas decorating. 

This week...
In the midst of Thanksgiving prep we are taking the week off from school.  Ashley starts her first job, which is super exciting.  However, it will be just me and Brooke on a lot of the prep (Brenden is sick). I also need to use this time to help the girls finish painting their room, hanging shelves and getting the remainder of their boxes unpacked (Brooke is desperate to have friends over but her still 1/4 packed room prohibits it).  I also want to use some down-time to work on our Christmas newsletter since I plan to get cards mailed over the next week or so.... hopefully!


Monday... Typical daily chores, make fudge and possibly pre-mix Turkey cookie dough and refrigerate.  If my ambitions hold out I will also tackle at least one of the sweet breads. (I typically make Cranberry, Pumpkin and Zucchini) I will also work on sit-downs like newsletter (I have a toe injury I need to baby for a day or so). After dinner we are doing turkey disguises (see Friday's post).
DINNER: Leftover stew from our roast on Sunday and Fresh Bread

Tuesday... Make turkey cookies (see Friday's post), put together a Thanksgiving greeting to share with neighbors along with some of our turkey cookies and sweet bread. I may also get veggies, cheeses and summer sausage cut for the appetizer platters.  All these things will hold well in the fridge.  We will probably do our Charlie Brown Thanksgiving since this is the only day before Thanksgiving that Ashley doesn't work.  Kids have youth group this night if the predicted winter storm doesn't sweep through the area.  I will probably hang out in the coffee shop near the church and work on Christmas cards.
DINNER: Stir-fry Chicken

All pies will get baked today.  Any prep-work not finished so far this week will get done as well.  I will also make my cheese ball/pine cone and the cranberry salad I mentioned Friday and I will plot and plan my buffet arrangement.  Dinner will be quick, low-mess and stress free after a busy day of baking...
DINNER: Costco frozen Chicken and Cheese Chimichangas and fresh salad

The rest of the week will be leftovers!

It sounds like a lot.... well, I guess it is a lot! That is why spacing out the prep is so much more helpful. I spent too many years so exhausted by the time I sat down to eat that I couldn't enjoy the food I was consuming or be good company to my family. Now, I grab every hand available, get as much help as possible, and don't sweat the small stuff!




It is OK if a dish doesn't make it on the table or if the potatoes are lumpy! No one is going to remember a perfect dinner, rather, they are going to treasure wonderful fellowship. A good attitude helps everything go down with a lot more flavor!

May you have a renewed heart as you prepare your home this holiday season!

Grab your FREE Thanksgiving planner here, it can be very helpful as you seek to coral all the to-dos for the big day:

And visit this post, "Preparing Heart and Home: Week 1" for some tips on using the planner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *