Caring for two infants, feeding them, changing double the diapers and pulling “all-nighters” like it’s your sophomore year in college will leave any new parent feeling less than enthusiastic about offering to host Thanksgiving dinner.
But now you are staring out your kitchen window, watching your in-laws pull up, wondering how in the world you are going to entertain Uncle Eddie and his 5 kids…all while adjusting to life with two babies.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year where family comes together to celebrate, but they can also be a stressful time.
We have a few Thanksgiving dinners under our belt, a few of which were thrown together while our kids were tiny infants. Thanksgiving dinner can be stress-free, delicious and on the table before it gets cold with some planning, preparation, and organization.
How To Create the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner with Infants:
Create A Menu Early:
Write down what you are going to serve and stick to it! Try to avoid making changes to your menu after it’s been set. You don’t want to be running around the day of looking for ingredients to make some recipe you discovered on Pinterest at the last minute.
Make a Master List:
Start creating a master shopping list once you have set your menu. Organize your list by category: fruits & veggies, dry goods, meat, dairy, etc. Then take those items and organize by what stores you plan to do your shopping at. Organize your shopping trip accordingly, going to the store farthest from home first and finishing up close to home.
Utilize the Slow Cooker:
Almost anything can be thrown in a slow cooker, literally. Whatever you can throw in this bad boy will save you time, a ton of energy and simplify the cleanup process! Stuffing and sides are great dishes to make in Crockpot. This time saver is gold!
Prep Ahead of Time:
This is a lifesaver when it comes to cooking for the masses and may be the most important step when it comes to preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Prepare everything as early as possible and I mean as early as you can! Go as far as to lay out all of your dishes and serving platters ahead of time. Use sticky notes and place them on each dish assigning where you will plate each menu item. There is no sense in getting out too many dishes that only take up valuable counter space.
Chop & Store:
Chop veggies and such to store ahead of time. We like use our baby-free time (for a few days before the big dinner) to chop and pre-measure the dry ingredients from every recipe that will be served on Thanksgiving. This way, when the time comes, the most time-consuming steps have been done ahead of time. You’ll feel like you’re on a cooking show when the cooking starts!
Now’s the time to use your delegation skills. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to help out. If you have company in town, have them set the table. Make someone unload the dishwasher. Enjoy watching your sister’s kids vacuum the living room!
Without a doubt someone will say, “What can I bring?” or “How can I help?” Be honest and be direct. Sure you CAN do it all and sometimes feel like you DO in fact do it all. However, let others rise to the occasion and help out as well! It will undoubtedly take stress off of your plate.
Sure, Aunt Helen can bring the cranberries, it’s one less thing for you to keep track of!
Do you have a relative who struggles to boil water? Have them bring the whipped cream and wine instead! You can’t mess those up!
All of these organizational tips are great, but now you are wondering what should to do with your kids while you are playing Gordon Ramsey? Let me give you a few simple ideas!
What To Do With Your Kids While you Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner:
If you have guests, either give tasks to help with dinner preparations while you tend to your babies or give them your babies to hold, feed and change!
Don’t have any early guests arriving? Place your babies on the floor near you in the kitchen with spatulas, whisks and other safe utensils for your babies to play with. You’d be surprised how entertaining a silicone spatula can be!
Have older kids? Pick up games of football, hockey or basketball are all great and get the kids outside. Have a contest to see who can create the coolest robot using Magnatiles or build a steady structure with marshmallows and toothpicks! When the whining ensures, just remind them that there are always more chores around the house to help out with.
No matter how you tackle cooking dinner while you have newborn twins in tow, know this…chances are your guests will remember how you made them feel when they walked in the door, not how the meal turned out. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Remember to sit down and enjoy your meal and the holiday memories that come with it.