Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Ingredients for a fun & multigenerational Thanksgiving

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Make sure there is room and space for loved ones who may need it. (e.g. portable cribs, wheel chairs, walkers, oxygen tanks, etc.)
  3. Let people who want to cook – cook. (easy recipes)
  4. Don’t be opposed to catering.
  5. Check on any food allergies.
  6. Make sure the first-aid kit is up-to-date and well stocked.
  7. Have traditional Thanksgiving food and non-traditional dishes – it’s fun to mix things up.
  8. Play some games.
  9. Create a family BINGO to use as an icebreaker. Family members can text pictures of themselves – or you can grab a thumbnail from Facebook.
  10. Buy some mini Play-doh and use them as place cards. Loved ones’ names can be written on the top of the lids – or print some labels on the computer.
  11. Set-up a camera on a tripod so loved ones can take random pictures. If you want to be fancy – rent a photo booth.
  12. Set aside some time to have a Skype session with loved ones who could not join you during the Thanksgiving celebration. A “regular” phone call works, too.
  13. Create a festive playlist.
  14. Create a “list of thanks”.
  15. Appreciate the time you have together.

Happy Thanksgiving from our nest to yours!

This is not an endorsement for Publix.

Listen to your elders {wellness check-in}

I love Edith and Ellen!

They are adorable and bring about some friendly modeling of self-care – during this holiday season.

Many of us will be with relatives and loved ones later this week. As we are celebrating and appreciating our time together, it’s also a good time to do a wellness check-in.

Many people look at health and wellness as a private matter, and that may be true. At the same time, many of us need a gentle reminder to be proactive in taking care of ourselves – and I think when we are relaxed and in a loving mood – our active listening and openness is at its optimal level.

Here are a few steps to start a positive care and concern chat with a loved one:

  1. Wait until the loved one and you are well fed and well rested.
  2. Use “I” statements. (I was making a plan to take better care of myself and I was thinking…)
  3. Do not demand the love one to disclose information to you. (I plan to update my will. Is your will up-to-date? No? I can help with that if you want.)
  4. Emphasis the  importance of being proactive. (Health issues can be stressful, but I try to remember to stay on top of things and get things taken care of early – before there is a crisis.)
  5. Be an active listener.
  6. Understand this topic can be scary and intimidating. (I hadn’t been to the [insert type of doctor] for a while and I felt badly about this. Then I told myself I’d feel even more badly if I didn’t take a deep breath and just go in and get myself checked out.)
  7. If a loved one shuts down, let it go, and offer him/her another slice of sweet potato pie.

How do you do a wellness check-in with loved ones?


Link to commercial
 This is not an endorsement for Walgreens.

Fall break is over – now, what to do with that turkey?

Well, it’s time to go back to work, and that’s not all bad. It just…the fall break and Thanksgiving holiday have been so relaxing, fun, and full of uninterrupted time with my sweet family.

Some days we did not leave the house or leave our pajamas. It doesn’t really get any better than that.

My mother-in-law returned from her trip (a visit to her hometown) on late on Saturday. She didn’t say it, but I think she was thrilled to be home – back to our multigenerational home. She was smiling a lot and verbally reflected on how different she felt about her hometown (no negative feelings – just different and changed).

My kids were overjoyed to rediscover their grandmother on Sunday morning. Not to be so cheesy, but it really did warm my heart. The joyful squeals of happy children are very high on my “awww” list.

And now, as we get back to our regular schedule of living and work schedules until winter break – what are we going to do with all that turkey? (Did I throw you for a loop? Not intended at all.)

Even though the four of us (sans grandma) went out to eat for Thanksgiving, we did prepare a turkey (small turkey).

Here are the top recycled turkey recipes we love – and some we’ve already had since Thanksgiving:

Turkey quiche

Turkey quesadillas

Turkey pot pie

Turkey chili

Turkey noodle soup

Photos: turkey quiche, turkey quesadilla, turkey pot pie, turkey chili, turkey noodle soup


5 things we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving

On this day of giving thanks, each of us, in this multigenerational home, has listed five things for which we are thankful.

Why five?

Because there are five us.

(Since my mother-in-law is traveling, she send her “5 thankful” items via email.)



Daughter (11 years old)

Son (3 years old)



Gettin’ together to smile an’ rejoice,
 An’ eatin’ an’ laughin’ with folks of your choice; An’ kissin’ the girls an’ declarin’ that they Are growin more beautiful day after day;
 Chattin’ an’ braggin’ a bit with the men,
 Buildin’ the old family circle again;
 Livin’ the wholesome an’ old-fashioned cheer, 
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door And under the old roof we gather once more Just as we did when the youngsters were small; Mother’s a little bit grayer, that’s all. Father’s a little bit older, but still Ready to romp an’ to laugh with a will. Here we are back at the table again
 Tellin’ our stories as women an men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
 Oh, but we’re grateful an’ glad to be there. Home from the east land an’ home from the west, Home with the folks that are dearest an’ best. Out of the sham of the cities afar We’ve come for a time to be just what we are. Here we can talk of ourselves an’ be frank,
 Forgettin’ position an’ station an’ rank.

Give me the end of the year an’ its fun When most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done; Bring all the wanderers home to the nest, Let me sit down with the ones I love best, Hear the old voices still ringin’ with song, See the old faces unblemished by wrong, See the old table with all of its chairs An I’ll put soul in my Thanksgivin’ prayers.


Edgar Albert Guest

Being Thankful card


Last minute Thanksgiving- quick and easy recipes to help you get ready

It’s Thanksgiving eve and some folks are just getting around to planning their menu, creating their shopping list, and thinking about decorating.

Nope, no judgment from us, we want to help. We believe in working smarter and not harder, and sometimes, if it weren’t for the last minute, not much would get done.

My multigenerational family is always up for trying a recipe that is easy to moderate in difficulty. We have spent this fall season trying out all kinds of tasty fare.

Many of the cooking projects involved a three and eleven-year-old helping out. I only mention this to amplify the fact that all cooking is not hard or scary. It can actually be fun and relaxing, even when you are pressed for time. (Trust me…I didn’t even know how easy it was to make homemade whipped cream before I met my husband. I thought the only choice was Cool Whip or the aerosol stuff. I know, I know!)

We have created a list of recipes that are simple, elegant, and hard to mess up. You can take comfort in trying out some of these recipes and knowing the food will taste and look great. Your family and guests will think you spend a lot of time planning for Thanksgiving.

It’s all right if you want them to think that, but as I have mentioned before, the holiday season should not be filled with stress. Ask for help and support. What a great opportunity to spend quality time together – cooking and sharing a lovely meal.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting online or picking up the phone to make dinner reservations for Thanksgiving. (Just saying.)

Hubby comments:

Preparing the Thanksgiving meal just requires confidence.  If you don’t have confidence start by acting like you do and follow the success tips below.

  1. Plan a menu but keep it simple.
  2. Simplify the meal by reducing the number of items prepared – this will help out when the oven gets full and additional items are waiting for space in the oven.
  3. If you are just starting now, you are too late for a frozen turkey.  Pick something else that is simple (e.g. turkey breast or ham). Both are easy and only take a fraction of the time to prepare.
  4. Use an oven bag for turkeys.  They work wonderfully – shorten the cooking time – and provides a nice juicy main course.
  5. Make desserts and cranberry sauce this evening.
  6. If you must have every possible side dish, either cook the turkey in an electric roast, fry the turkey or get some accessories for your oven to stack side dishes.
  7. Try at least one thing different on the menu – something that might not be considered traditional Thanksgiving faire.
  8. Involve everyone living in the house – tasks can be distributed to even the youngest kids, grandparents, men, and even guest staying overnight.  Think of this as a sharing opportunity that all will appreciate. (Provide aprons!)
  9. If you are cooking a turkey – ignore the temperature from other recipes.  Most side dishes require the same temperature or are forgiving if you use anything between 350°F and 425°F.
  10. Secret tip: use a ramekin to prepare a small sample for tasting especially if you prepare anything the day before – it pays to be the cook.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Sauce

Macaroni & Cheese

Candied Yams


Sweet Potato Pie

Pumpkin Praline Pie

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Cranberry Bog Cocktail

cranberries, mac & cheese, candied yams, sweet potato pie, cranberry bog


Tips for a stress-free holiday

Ahhh, the holiday season, it’s here and we are completely in it. This is time for families to celebrate and spend time together, which sounds wonderful, right? Of course it does, but families often have to be mindful that time spent together can also lead to various forms of stress and perhaps a little chaos.

As a multigenerational family, we try to keep things low-key, fun and relaxing in order to actually enjoy this festive season. Sometimes we are successful and other times we fall short. In order for us to do well in having a stress free holiday gathering, we all have to remember why we are doing what we are doing.

Are our activities and actions for show or are we really trying to reconnect with each other? Does one person (or a select few) have to be in charge of the cooking and cleaning, or can we all pitch in? Do our holiday plans allow us to create fun and sustainable traditions or are we creating traditions that do not honor who we are as a family?

These are the types of questions that guide my multigenerational family’s thinking as we enter the holiday season. Stress is not fun and is often avoidable. We work hard to keep stress at bay, especially as we reflect on all the things that make us feel thankful and grateful.

This year, for Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law is traveling out of state to visit her other children, grandchildren and siblings. (She just sent me a text that read: “No body scan. No pat down. Same old stuff. Quiet. No lines.”)

So the four of us (me, hubby and our two kiddos) will have a quiet and low-key Thanksgiving. We went to the library and checked-out some cookbooks. Since we are on vacation and just hanging out, we plan to do some fun cooking and try out some new recipes.  For us, that will be fun and we will be able to spend time doing an activity that we all enjoy.

For our actually Thanksgiving meal, we made reservations and will be dining at a local restaurant and letting them take care of all the planning, table setting, cooking and cleaning. How’s that for a low stress Thanksgiving?

As you enter this holiday season, stay mindful of the people you love. That thought process should keep you in a comfortable and low-stress state of being.

If, by chance, you find yourself moving into the stress zone, think about these tips offered by Dan Fox, MA, LPC:

  1. It may be vacation time, but there are still plans to be made and work to be done, so it pays to talk about the time together in advance.
  2. Try having a family meeting to brainstorm how to get through these challenges and to envision the exciting part of the days ahead.
  3. Take good care of yourself.
  4. Keep aiming for “comfort and joy,” but remember it’s natural to feel some stress and frustration.
  5. Your family needs you well rested and functional more than they need you to have arranged every detail to perfection.
  6. You can also take good care of your family by maintaining some positive routines.
  7. If you find the chaos of the season has infiltrated your family, take a breath or a break and think about the big picture.

photo 1, photo 2