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Thanksgiving With the Kids

Thanksgiving is nearly a week away and if you haven’t stocked up already, it’s time to start the dreaded grocery shopping process.  If you’re attending the get-together, well, lucky you.  If you’re hosting, it’s important to start planning ahead so that your Thanksgiving party can go off without a hitch.  Begin planning your menu now so that you can casually shop for the items on your list.  Guilty of waiting until the last minute myself, I can tell you that the wild goose chase for that one item you need while weaving through the crowded aisles is never any fun.  In fact, I’d go with awful.  Plan ahead.  Your stress level will thank you.

Now, the next issue is, what to do with the kids?

In keeping with a Thanksgiving tradition, more than most of the men in your family are planning to set up camp on the couch.  Perhaps even two TV’s will make their way into the living room for maximum football enjoyment on this momentous occasion.  While I’m sure our forefathers would be proud, have them keep an eye on the little ones while you’re in the kitchen.  If it’s a bigger family party, older cousins are also great at managing the tykes while the meal preparation is in full swing.

If it’s a smaller Thanksgiving get-together, have the kids help you cook.  They can mash potatoes, arrange a veggie plate, and sprinkle on casserole toppings.  When it gets closer to mealtime, have them pass out place cards or slips of paper at each setting so that people can write down what they are thankful for.

Plan some fun activities to keep the kids entertained. There are lots of cool crafts ideas to choose from; but if crafts aren’t your thing, simply have them trace/paint their hand to create the classic turkey art or have them create streamers (just make sure a supervisor is present).  Cut out strips of colored construction paper ahead of time so that they can link them together with tape/a stapler.  For added fun, buy some feathers, glitter, pipe cleaners, and paint.  The activities can serve as décor once they are finished!

Lastly, if it isn’t in your plans already, a kids table is always a great idea.  To keep the kids from getting too restless, have activities set up to keep them seated throughout the meal (here’s hoping).  Instead of throwing on a tablecloth, line the table with a roll of paper and provide crayons in cups.  On second thought, you could place some Styrofoam in a terracotta pot and stick the crayons in there. Voila, a funky and useful centerpiece!

Do some prep-work ahead of time to really enjoy spending Thanksgiving with the kids.  Helpful hint: casseroles almost always taste better the second day so spread out your cooking/baking to help offset the time spent in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day!


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