The hardest part about the holidays is the prep. The prepping of the house & dinner with an active child & disease or challenge. It can literally wipe you out. Looking back now on my life pre JPouch, I don’t know how I did it. My colitis flared up something fierce every single holiday season with the weather change and the stress. The best way to go about it is organize yourself and your family and DELEGATE! DELEGATE! DELEGATE!
Don’t be afraid to let people help you. Call a few younger cousins over who are out from school to come over and help you chop up the vegetables, whisk the dessert batter and clean up. Everyone gets an assignment to help with the things that you just can’t do. Here are a few tricks I use.
1. Prep everything and store in storage containers. My grandma is the queen of prep! You would swear she worked in some sort of kitchen, because she gets started days ahead with the chopping of garlic, bell pepper, onions, etc. Bake the cornbread for the stuffing, wrap and put away. And use easy mixes like Jiffy or Marie Callendars mix which are supper yummy. I love using ziplocs so as to not take too much room in the refrigerator. I also LOVE using the food processor for chopping up veggies. There are so many different sizes for your needs and they are a true investment!
2. Use a stool. A lot of time is used standing up at the counter mixing, chopping and kneading. So why not do it sitting down? I love using a stool, it makes life so much easier! I use a stool that is a little smaller than the counter so that I don’t have to bend over. My favorite one is the red retro stool with a back. My auntie Nannie had one of the original ones, and it always reminds me of helping her out in the kitchen.
3. Incorporate the kids. It’s actually easier than you thought. They can use their fingers to lay or put filling in the desserts. Or you can just keep them in the kitchen with snacks so you can keep an eye on them. I like using the FunPod from Luca & Company. It’s sturdy and the kids love it. You can raise the or lower the levels and easily move it around the kitchen. Or if they are still in the highchair bring the highchair in there with you and lay out snacks or toys on the tray. Add some music and your kids are completely occupied and involved. I also love the new Highchair Organizer! It’s a little sack that has compartments for wipes, snack, bottles, etc. Easy to pack some snacks or arts and crafts in so you don’t have to keep getting up and down. I snagged this picture from The Highchair Chic who has a bunch of photos showing you how you can use the Highchair Organizer.
4. Delegate dishes. Don’t do it all on your own. In my family we gather at my grandma’s house and once you’ve started your own family you are obligated to bring a dish. And whatever it is, it’s your speciality. I bring roasted veggies and maple roasted squash (just because I’ve never really been able to cook much more than that during a flare). My uncle Bryan gets the HoneyBaked Ham. My mom is Macaroni & Cheese and yams. My grandma does the rice & gravy, Stuffing, turkey and greens. My cousin Ronda brings the peach cobbler. My cousin Jodie brings the Billy Dee Pie. When Nannie was living she made the ambrosia. My aunt Lonnie made mirliton (which is my dish this year) whenever we were at her house. Everyone has an assignment and it makes it fun. I love eating everyone’s dishes and it doesn’t fall on one person. It’s truly a family effort. Takes a lot of the pressure off.
5. Hire a clean up crew. It’s actually not as expensive as people think it is, and I know a lot of people who do it. It doesn’t have to be an extensive clean up, but you can get someone to come in, sometimes at the last minute to just clean, dust and help you set the table. Or just clean up. I’m not rich by any means, but there are times when I just can’t clean, lift and vacuum. I put aside few extra dollars from the Starbucks frivolous fund to make sure my house is cleaned for the holidays. There are also companies that are eco friendly OR what I would do is I would have them use my own eco-friendly cleaning products and steam mop. Ask some of your mom friends, I’m sure they can recommend someone to you.
Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll! Be safe! Hope it’s stress and flare free! Really take the time to enjoy the holiday and the meaning behind it all. It’s time for family, food and love. Enjoy!