Monday, December 10, 2018

The Beginner's Bible

Disclaimer- I received this Bible in exchange for an honest review. Although I was asked to review this product, all reviews are my honest opinion and I was not told what to write.


My mom didn't take us to church when I was growing up, but she still said goodnight prayers with us when she remembered. At the time, those goodnight prayers were my first pictures of what Jesus was like.

From time to time, I'd get other glimpses from the children's Bible that my grandma had in the toy room of her house.  She'd read it for us, but it wasn't something that I would pick up and read for myself because the paragraphs were long and not easy to understand. I always had to have my grandma translate it for me because I was just too young to really understand it.

Thankfully, my mom allowed my grandma to take us to church. We started going to Sunday school and Wednesday night children's church where we began to have a Christian foundation taught to us. God wasn't a regular in our household and it wasn't until I was in high school that my mom started going to church. If my grandma didn't take us to church or read us that children's Bible, I wouldn't have known much about Jesus and how important that he and God are in my life. Those nightly prayers that my mom recited with us would have just been about a man that we didn't know who lived up in the sky.

God, however, was working in our lives. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was younger and grew to know him as my Lord and Savior in my teens. I met my husband at a Christian college, so when we had kids, we really wanted them to learn about God and Jesus in ways that they could understand.

When they were born, we attended the church that I grew up in, but we moved when my oldest was four years old. We struggled to find a church that we liked that had a good children's program, at first, so I did my best to teach them and raise them up with Christian values.

One thing I did was download a children's devotional on my tablet and used that as a way to teach them. It worked, at first, but the app wouldn't go beyond a certain a point and my tablet eventually gave out, too.

The children's Bibles that we had for them when they were babies were worn out and falling apart, so I was very glad when I came across a company who offered to send me two Beginner's Bible's for kids. One was for me to try out, and the other is to give away to someone else.

Zondervan is the company who has printed many of the Christian Romance novels that I like to read and has branched out to make children's stories and bibles with their Zonderkidz brand and they are exceptional! The Beginner's Bibles that we received are very sturdy with their hard covers. The pictures are bright and colorful and easily attract kid's attention and also keep their focus.


I love that the characters are cartoonish and not just flat, harsh characters. The Bible that I would look at with my grandma had pastel characters that seemed hash. They weren't very welcoming like these happy, smiling figures are.


I really like that there is a table of contents. I'm sure most Bibles's have it, but look at how many wonderful stories are written in this Bible! Zonderkidz didn't skimp when they they did the final editing and printing of these books.




My favorite thing about this Bible, though, is how easy it is to read. The words are large and the stories are written with words that kids understand. If my kids ask me to read them these stories, I will, but they are able to sit down and read them by themselves and I'm not plagued by vocabulary questions because each word is explained in the stories.

My daughter likes to take it to her room and look and look at the pages. Whenever it's bedtime, they ask us if they can read before they go, and it warms my heart to seen my oldest read this book to his siblings.

I'm so glad that we received this Bible when we did. Christmas is around the corner and my kid's are old enough now to understand that we celebrate Christmas to honor Jesus' birthday. My husband's family always had the tradition of having one of their kids read the Christmas story aloud, and I'm excited to have that tradition incorporated into our home and the Christmas story in this Beginner's Bible is so precious that even my four year old is engaged and enthralled by it.

If you are in search of a Beginner's Bible for your children, I highly recommend this one. So don't forget to get The Beginner's Bible- Timeless Children's Stories!

For more news and updates on book releases, visit Zonderkidz.com or follow Zonderkidz.Beginners.Bible on Facebook for more news!

Do you remember your first Bible? Was it cute like this or was it hard to understand and uninteresting? What was it like?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Mom's Morning Mayhem

Disclaimer- This post may contain affiliate links which means that should you purchase something from one of them, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. 



Every morning, the alarm on my husband's phone starts to go off at 7:00AM and a minute later, the alarm on my phone goes off at 7:00 AM. Our phones must be a minute apart. I sigh as I roll over to turn it off. My husband's is still going. Since I know that once my husband gets into the bathroom, being able to go to the bathroom will have to wait for another fifteen minutes. So I get out of bed and head to the bathroom to relieve myself, wash my hands, and then wake the kids up, telling them that if they don't get up and go now, they'll have to hold their bladder until later.



As I try to sneak down the stairs to start the kid's breakfast, I hear little feet lazily shuffle to the bathroom. Sometimes there is an argument over who goes first, but usually there isn't. After I descend the first small flight, my youngest stands at the top and cries for me to come back; he wants me to give him a piggy back ride down the stairs. I groan and say, "Can't you walk down by yourself?" He cries some more and shakes his head. I turn around and walk down another step which ignites another scream from him. I give up and climb that step again, holding my arms out for him to jump. It's only four stairs to the top of that flight, so I know he'll make it. He shakes his head "no" and points to the step beneath him. I really should tell him to use his words, but I know that it's better to just sit down and let him climb on my shoulders, otherwise the whole morning will consist of meltdowns.



That's usually how my mornings start. Sometimes I make it all the way down the stairs before my four-year-old notices I’m gone. I don't even have to ask anymore what everyone wants. It's usually the same; the oldest wants pancakes, the middle child wants toast with Nutella, and the youngest gets what I give him. To save time, I make a large batch of pancakes during the weekend and freeze the rest that we don't eat so I can microwave it throughout the week.

Everything usually goes well until it's time for the kids to sit down and eat. We have a very specific seating arrangement... No one sits next to each other because when they are together, the kids either play or fight instead of eating. 

I really should get up much earlier to prepare things because this has only gotten worse. Generally, I would give the kids their food in the dining room and then go to the kitchen to pack lunches and load the dishwasher. This was the plan that always worked last year, but now, I have to sit at the dining room table to make sure they are eating. 

My oldest was diagnosed with ADHD last year. He's very social and when he hasn't taken his medicine, he doesn't follow directions. So, even when I'm sitting at the table with my kids, observing them eat, I am still constantly reminding them that they need to keep eating. Eventually, crazy mommy comes out, you know, the one who's voice is high pitched and words are jumbled because she's so frustrated, she can't speak correctly.



I don't mean for her to come out. It's like once I became a mother, I suddenly became like Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. I start out the morning tired, but sweet, then it's like after the tenth time of saying, "Leave your sister alone! Stop teasing your brother!" I turn into the evil witch that I play as when I'm playing with my kids... Although it's no longer funny, it's serious. My voice is raised and just when I think that I'm going to completely lose my mind, my husband swoops in from the bathroom, all showered and clean, like Mr. Darcy climbing out of the lake at his home in Pemberly and tells the kids, "Listen to your mother." And guess what! They listen to him. His voice isn't booming or particularly deep, but it contains some type authority that my voice somehow lacks. 

Then, like magic, my kids suddenly know what to do with the food placed in front of them. They know how to put their uniforms on and how to brush their teeth. They even know how to put on their socks and shoes. I'm convinced that my husband is the Great and Powerful Oz. You do what he says! 
Once he leaves for work, however, things fall apart all over again. The kids are either yelling at each other or they're playing together nicely, but they aren't listening to me when I say that it's time to grab book bags and head out the door. I shouldn't be surprised that the kids are tardy again for the twentieth time since school started a couple of months ago, but I walk outside and say with disbelief, "I can't believe we're late, again. Please get into the car. Hey! Get in the car, please. GET IN THE CAR!" It's really just the darndest thing.

I think I read somewhere once, that kids behave the worst with their moms. Something about them feeling comfortable with them. I'm glad that I'm someone that they trust and feel comfortable with, but every once in a while, I would also be glad for no morning mayhem.

Does anyone else have similar mornings? Ugh!



Friday, November 30, 2018

How Getting a New Camera Changed Our Picture Game

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something on here, at no extra cost you, I may earn a small commission. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 



One of the things that I have always loved doing with my family has been getting my kids' pictures
 taken each year.

When my first child was born, I took him to our local Walmart picture studio for every month of his first year... except for that one month because I was mad about how that previous month went.

I never really went overboard with the price, because at the time, I could get a picture package for a single picture from anywhere between $5.99- $9.99. (Did I mention this began almost 9 years ago?) Here and there, we'd purchase a bigger package for special occasions, but mostly, we stuck around with the cheaper one because my husband and I were freshly out of college and our jobs, at the time, didn't pay well.
He's cute, but why did they tilt him like this?

When my second born came into the world, we tried to get her pictures done, but somewhere along the line, Walmart's studio left the building. But not to worry though, because grandma two and a half hours away had a picture studio that offered a similar package and their pictures were done very well and the experience was 100x better than Walmart's was.

Unfortunately, that meant that there were pictures that we just couldn't let go of because we needed singles photos of each child and we also wanted family pictures with them. This meant that we could only purchase a package once or twice a year because a $200-$300 portrait package just isn't in our "amount we want to spend on anything" budget.


When my last child blessed us with his presence, I did a terrible job of keeping up with pictures. I know how my youngest sister must feel now, being the hidden child. The child that there was no record of... ok... My youngest isn't really a hidden child because we took many pictures from our phones, but the chances of getting those printed and handed out has dropped to like a mere 10-15% chance of doing it.

So, about once a year, we began getting pictures taken of the kids to pass out a Christmas gifts- Surprise! You're getting a coffee mug with my kid's faces on it every year until the day you die... Well, we do make picture books and notepads, too.

Unfortunately, for us, the picture place closed so we tried to do another portrait place over in . Shaumburg. The pictures were cute, but the we didn't get much for our buck.



So this year, I decided I would try to take our own pictures. My daughter had a fall tea party and one of the things that I thought would be fun to do was to set up a picture station. I bought a plain white table cloth and taped it to one of our walls and then taped some fall decorations on to it as a photo drop. The idea was cute and if you squeezed everyone together, you might be able to get a good photo without the kitchen or the tan wall being in the picture, but the picture quality wasn't professional with my camera phone and my camera was slow in making some shots.


As you can see, the picture isn't focused well and it appears to be a little grainy. It's still alright because when I look back at older photos with older phones, those pictures are almost always blurry or just awful.


I also noticed that the camera on my phone doesn't focus on what I want it to. So when I went to Starved Rock and Matthiessen to hike, I told my husband that I would like a new camera. A good one. A professional one.



At first, he told me that it wasn't something that we could really do, especially since we have our phones to take good pictures with, but I think that after taking pictures of the outdoor scenery and seeing how the photos didn't do the colors and details of the outdoors justice, he began to mull the idea over.




I would leave little hints about how my blog could use some more professional looking photos and how we didn't really have any pictures to hand out at Christmas, this year, and then one day, I got an email from him while he was on his break at work.

He sent me several pictures of cameras with all of the details about what they came with and all the specs and wrote, "Would you like this as an early Christmas present?" After much debate and talking about the expense and telling him that I would be ok with something smaller, he said, "If we're going to get a camera, we're going to do it right."

Who can argue with that logic?


So now, we have a camera.  The camera above and it came with ALL of that fancy stuff. It's one where I have to turn the lens to zoom it in and our and focus with it. One that gives me a manual option- options that I should remember from my photography class I took 12 years ago... hahahahahaha- it also gives options for outdoors, sports, different lens and their attachments. I can take photos, good photos. I need to practice.



She really is that pale. This is a few days after she got over the flu.





I'm still getting the hang of it, but I think that this is going to be one of the best purchases we make, this year. So be prepared for more pictures, because I'm going to be taking them!

Closing Questions for you!

  1. Is anything stopping you from taking awesome photos?
  2. What tips, if you have any, would you give for someone who is a newbie at taking pictures?
  3. What are your must have photography items?
  4. If you edit your photos, what are the best free or low cost programs to use?
  5. What kind of pictures do you like to take? (Please keep them clean as this is a family friendly site. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Let Mom Experience the Holidays, Too!





As an adult, I have this new respect for my mom and my grandma who worked in the kitchen the whole day on Thanksgiving and even on Christmas to make sure that everyone had a favorite dish to eat on Thanksgiving. For one thing, food is EXPENSIVE and for another thing, it can take a long time to make those dishes.

Now that I'm hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, I realize how time consuming it really is. I felt that I missed most of the Christmas cheer and celebration, last year, so this year, I vowed that it wouldn't happen again.

How Do You Give Yourself Extra Time?


  • Prepare Dishes ahead of time- Prepare any dish that you can the night before. A few weeks ago, I posted 7 different Easy to Make Thanksgiving dishes. Almost every single one of those can be prepared the night before. Then, about 30-40 minutes before the meal is to be served, slip those in the oven (If that's where they go) and voila, you have most of your morning to do what you want to do. 

Related- How to Have an Easy Thanksgiving with These Easy-to-Make Side Dishes


  • Do take out- If your family is happy with ordering out there may still be restaurants open that day, but before deciding to do that, check around your area to see if any of them do offer that. 
  • Don't prepare so much food- I know this seems silly because Thanksgiving-especially- is about being thankful, but also the food spread. If you can find just a few dishes that everyone likes, do that instead.
  • Potluck style- You're already offering your house as a place to gather. Make the turkey and have guests or other family members prepare a dish. As your kids get older, involve them in the cooking.
  • Already Prepared Food- Not everything needs to be homemade. If you can throw some frozen vegetables in the microwave and you want to, do it! Buy that pie that's already made! 
  • Take Turns to Host- If you always host and you don't mind giving up the title to someone else, ask someone else to take over from time to time. If you feel guilty, bring a dish to pass.
  • Use Fake Dishes- Did you know that you can buy fake china? I discovered some Premium Plastic Plates at Sam's Club a few years ago. They look like the real thing, but you don't have to wash them. Just recycle them. I know this can be wasteful, but it really does save you time and you don't have to worry about whether or not you have enough dishes or silverware to serve your guests. 

Prepare Your Food Station Ahead of Time

There's nothing more frustrating than figuring everything out at the last minute. Figure out your game plan! What will you do when it's time to eat? Do you have a place for the food to go?


  • Make room for food- We have a dining room. We try to fit the main dishes in the middle of the table, but it doesn't fit all of it. We end up putting a card table to a side with less foot traffic and put desserts and side dishes on it. If there isn't enough room, put the dessert in the fridge or some other place that's safe from animals and people bumping into it. 
  • Move things around- If you are having guests, the house can get easily crowded. If you can, temporarily move your furniture around so that there is ease of moving around. 
  • Ask Someone to Set the Table- We use our dining room table for everything including socializing. It's difficult to play games or talk when you're doing it over empty dishes. I usually put out a nice tablecloth, maybe some pretty centerpieces, and then leave the rest of the table open. When I know the food is just about ready, I ask my kids to help set the table. Since we have family and friends, I really don't care too much about how it looks after because they still love me for me.
If you have a plan, you don't have to hurriedly scramble things together and keep your wits about you.  


What to Do With the Extra Time that You Get?

Do what you love to do with your family.

Examples:


  • Play board games- My kids are just getting to the age where they can enjoy and understand some of my favorite board games. We're not quite ready to play Monopoly yet, (maybe Monopoly isn't the game to play on a day when you're supposed to be thankful) but Battleship is pretty easy to play. 
  • Make Crafts- Construction paper is really one of my favorite things to use for crafts. You can make hand turkeys or pilgrim hats. Last year, I cut out a tree trunk and then a base for leaves. Then with red, yellow, and orange construction paper, I cut out tear drop shaped leave and each of us wrote five things we were thankful for, then taped them to the tree for a thankful tree.








































We made Turkey puppets, this year. We have Peg Leg Joe, Princess Turkey, Bat Turkey with a cold beak, and Turkey Robin.
  • Watch Movies- It doesn't have to be a Thanksgiving movie or a Christmas movie, just find a movie that you, the kids, and the rest of the family enjoys and pop it in. 
    • Pop some popcorn and add some M&Ms for a special treat.
    • Snuggle up with warm blankets.
    • Drink some hot cocoa! My favorite is Land O' Lakes Hot Cocoa. 
  • Play Some Games with the Adults- It's ok to NOT do everything with your kids. If they are busy watching their own movie or playing without killing each other, play some card games or other games that you don't get to do normally. Moms and Dads- you spend so much time with your kids, it's ok to have adult time. Some of my favorite, and sometimes not appropriate games to play are:
    • Cards Against Humanity- not suitable for children or playing with your grandparents, unless they're dirty minded or politically incorrect.
    • Apples to Apples- This is family friendly. There is a judge who either gives you a word or a description and everyone else who is playing either plays the word or description that they think fits that word best and the judge picks which one is best. 
    • Risk- Like Monopoly, this can cause your family to be estranged. 
    • Scrabble- This is a game that your kids can play if they aren't competitive. It teaches them how to read, spell, and learn new words for their vocabulary. 
Eat!


If you made a turkey or ham, it's going to be done cooking between 3-5 hours. (perhaps more if it's very large). It's going to need some time to cool, so after you take it out of the oven, throw in your other side dishes that were prepared ahead of time. I know some recipes give different times and temps. What I usually do is find the middle ground and adjust the time accordingly. As long as you're not preparing other meat items, what we're mostly looking for is that the dish is warmed through.


Have your kids set the table and then have everyone sit down and eat.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. Remember, this is the time to be Thankful, although we should always be grateful for what we have, but relax. Take it easy and enjoy the ones you love!

Don't let the busyness of these holidays ruin your quality time and enjoyment of the day!



Monday, November 19, 2018

The Wild Kratts Live 2.0- A Paw-some Review

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases you make can earn me a small commission at no extra cost for you. Although I coincidentally won some free tickets to this show, I was not paid or sponsored to write this post. All opinions are my own. 




With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to share with everyone something that happened to me that I was really Thankful for.

I got this wonderful opportunity and won some tickets to go see the Wild Kratts Live 2.0. I'd like to give a shout out to my friend Jessica, because without her, I wouldn't have seen the link to enter the give-a-way- Thank you Jessica!

If you've been following my blog, you know that my son has this amazing memory. He's knowledgeable in all the things that interest him and I've been asked by every one of his teachers where he gets his knowledge. They have even told me, "Your son could have taught this class today. You must read to him all the time." It's usually then that I smirk or chuckle, because truth be told, I read to my kids, but not every day and really, most of the things that they've learned about, they've actually learned from watching television.

When it comes to animal knowledge, my kids have learned most of what they know because of the Wild Kratts. (Thanks Netflix and Amazon Prime!)  So I was ecstatic when I got that tag on Facebook saying that I won the tickets.

To be honest, I had looked into purchasing tickets for this show closer to where I live, but I had no idea what it offered. I didn't know if there would be live animals and if it would just be like what you see when watching talk shows and a zoo keeper or other animal handler brings animals on stage or if it would be totally theatrical. With the cost per person, I was afraid to take the risk to buy tickets for a family of five and then have my kids be totally disappointed. So I held off on purchasing any.

Let me tell you this, My kids were so excited when I finally told them what we were going to see. I had kept it a secret from them until we were standing right in front of the theater.



My oldest is ever dramatic, just like me. So, I knew they'd be excited, but I didn't know if they would be interested in the show once it had started. I was very nervous because my youngest is only four and when we had taken him to his first movie in the theater several months before, he had swung from the bars that were in front of our seat separating our seats from the group below us. I didn't want him running up and down the aisles. Thankfully, that didn't happen. 

Once we got to the show, we realized that it was going to play along with the actual tv series. In order to understand what we saw, you'll need to understand what the tv series is like. 

The Wild Kratt's television series

If you've never watched the Wild Kratts, you can view a few of their seasons for free on Amazon Prime Video or you could watch them on PBS. The Wild Kratts starts every episode with the two, very real, Kratt brothers Martin and Chris. They each talk about different topics like "Why do moose look so weird?" and then talk about other animals who look funny and explain why they do. This little snippet is about two minutes long and they say, "Imagine what it would be like if we had faces like a walrus. What if?!?!" then they strike a pose and they turn into their cartoon versions of themselves. 

The Wild Kratt's crew includes Martin and Chris Kratt, Jimmy Z, Aviva, and Koki. Each crew member has an important part to play in the crew. Aviva is the inventor behind the creature suits, Koki does pretty much everything, and Jimmy Z is the tech operator who is basically the modern day Shaggy from Scooby Doo. It is Chris and Martin's job to research animals to find out why they are unique. With Aviva's creature power suits, Chris and Martin are able to transform into any animal and use their unique creature powers to save the day. So, in the Walrus episode, Chris and Martin transform into a walrus and with their tusks and special whiskers, they are able to find something hidden under the seabed floor that they wouldn't have been able to find if they were human. 

Unfortunately, in every episode there is some villain who tries to stand in their way. They have Chef Gourmand who likes to only cook and serve rare animals, Donita who is a fashion designer who only fashions her looks with animals and Dabio who is her not-so-bright sidekick, and Zach Varmatech who is an evil tech inventor that uses real animals to power his inventions and has his Zachbots capture the poor animals. It's up to the Wild Kratts to save the day.


The Wild Kratt's Live 2.0 

The show that we saw began, to my surprise, with the REAL Martin and Chris Kratt. I didn't know if it would really be them, or if we would see actors. So this was the first surprise. 



I hope I never forget the looks on my kid's face when they walked out on stage. The joy and wonder that showed on them made everything worth while.

From the moment the two men started talking, my youngest was literally on the edge of his seat. His focus was on that stage and his face was right next to the boy in the seat in front of him. I had to keep moving him back so that poor boy had some space.

The Kratt brothers welcomed us and talked about how cool animals were. They asked the audience what their favorite animals were and everyone would answer all at once. My kids don't usually interact with the television, so I was surprised when they interacted with the Kratt's prompts.

Then it happened, the Kratt brothers asked, "What if WE could become these creatures? Should we use our creature power suits?" The audience said, "Yes!" The brothers then asked, "Which one should we become? I heard the cheetah. We'll try that first!"

The energy of the room was raised and excited "yays" rang throughout the theater. The Kratt brothers began to show us their creature power disks. Chris's was organized while Martin's were found randomly in his pack and one disk was even in his shoe. It was during the time that he was searching for the disk in his shoe, that Martin clumsily knocked all of Chris's and his power disks through the air and lost them all in the grass.

So, naturally, the brothers needed to shrink down to miniaturized size to find these disks. This is where the live show and the cartoon show combined.

I don't want to give away the show, but from here, the Kratts looked for the power disks and as they found them, they changed into some helpful creatures.



They battled and hid from some Zackbots and in the end, they found all the disks they had been looking for.

Conclusion 

The show involved the whole audience and even though some parts were slow because of the costume changes, my kids were still interested and engaged the whole time.

I highly recommend going to see this show if you have younger kids. My oldest is almost 9 and he was still very entertained. It didn't see to be too young for him. I'd say that the show is for kids ages four to ten.

We really enjoyed the show, even the adults. It was interesting and funny. It had a great mix between live and cartoon. It incorporated many of the same things the tv show has including the miniaturizer and Zackbots. A screen dropped down to give us information on different animals as well as show us the cartoon version of Koki, Aviva and Jimmy Z. So all of our favorites were there.


One thing that I wish I would have known is that the show offers VIP tickets. Since we won our tickets, I didn't know this. Each VIP ticket gets to do a meet and greet with Martin and Chris and that would have been something that we would have really enjoyed doing. Now I know for next time!


Since we saw the show in a town four hours away, I called my kids off of school and stayed at my parent's house since they were only an hour away from there. I was comfortable with this because I felt that it was an educational field trip of sorts and it didn't disappoint. 

Disclaimer: I was not asked to post about this show. The tickets that I won were totally coincidental and ALL opinions are my own. I am not getting paid to write this post.







Friday, November 16, 2018

Thanksgiving Shopping List

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I made you a list that you can download and print for free for easy to make Thanksgiving side dishes. To see the recipes and instructions, you can visit this blog post about How to Have An EASY Thanksgiving With 7 Easy-to-Make Side Dishes. For the free printable click here


Have a wonderful, easy, and happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2018

How to Have an EASY Thanksgiving With 7 Easy-to-Make Side Dishes





Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday (political things put aside) to celebrate each year with your family and friends. When I was younger, we would all go over to my Grandma's and we'd eat until we were too stuffed to move.

Now, as an adult with my own home and dining room, I like to host my own Thanksgiving dinner. The very first year we were in our home, we invited my husband's and my side of the family to come celebrate with us. I don't remember the number for sure, but I think we had 18 people to feed. We had our long dining room table and added a long folding table at the end and we fit snuggly, but we still fit!

We haven't had as many people come since that first one, but we still have a pretty big turn out and with that comes a lot of food and each person has that one special thing that they like to eat for Thanksgiving.

As a parent with young kids, hosting Thanksgiving can be a bit chaotic, but bringing your kids to another person's house can give you more anxiety than hosting Thanksgiving dinner, so I just choose to host it.

So how do you make it work for you? If you are hosting a multi-family Thanksgiving, cooking can be expensive and overwhelming. This is what we do in our family.

POTLUCK Style!!!

Usually, my mother-in-law will make the turkey, and I will make a ham. From there, we make a list of the dishes that we would like to have and we divide the list in half- or if there are more people joining us, we ask them the chip in by bringing a dish or two to pass.

If this appeals to you or if you are just looking for dishes to make even though you are cooking for your family by yourself, here's a list of our easy-to-make dishes that never seem to fail us.

You're going to notice a trend and that trend is, if it isn't easy to make, it's not making this list. 

Breakfast Pizza- What some people forget when it comes to big holidays is that we still need to eat earlier on in the day unless you're going to eat everything around noon, but we usually do our Thanksgiving dinner around 4 or 5 in the afternoon because some of our loved ones still work that day. An easy way to feed everyone is to make this Breakfast Pizza. It's super delicious and very easy to make. 
Click Breakfast Pizza for recipe. 

Green Stuff- Ok, the name sounds really weird and it's not very descriptive, but growing up, my grandma made this Jello salad (made with cottage cheese and Jello) that was absolutely delicious. It's not quite a dessert so we sometimes ate it with the food or we sometimes saved it for dessert time. This is a dish that you can and SHOULD make the night before so it has time to set. 

Click Green Stuff for recipe. 

It's super easy to make and you can make it several ways. For instance, in the pictures, I made it with strawberry jello instead of lime. 


Strawberry Jello Graham Cracker Surprise-  Since we just introduced a dish that should be made the night before, here is another one. 

This dish was a complete accident when I came up with it, but the accident turned into a marvelous creation. If you like Jello Pretzel dessert, you'll probably like this too. With everything blended together, it gives a rich, smooth taste with your favorite jello taste and the fruits added make it somewhat healthyish, right?

It's not a pie or a sea foam salad, but it's still absolutely delicious and easy to pass around your table.

Click Strawberry Jello Graham Cracker Surprise for the recipe

Corn Bread Casserole- With very few ingredients and even fewer instructions, this is the perfect side dish to add to your Thanksgiving meal. Cornbread is such a great comfort food and having it mixed with these other ingredients, your taste buds will be sure to love you. 


Click Cornbread Casserole for recipe. 

Green Bean Casserole-  This dish is probably my favorite in the side dish category. The dessert category is a whole 'nother thing. Before I moved on my own, my mom always made this casserole and I always thought that it must have been really difficult to make since it tasted so good. I was completely wrong. I kind of feel like maybe my mom had this smart idea to make cooking seem hard so that we felt thankful for her and to show our gratitude, we did the dishes. Who am I kidding, the dish washer did that for us. 
Click Green Bean Casserole for recipe

Candied Sweet Potatoes-  As long as I can remember, I have always loved sweet potatoes. My mom, who didn't cook often, would make this dish every Thanksgiving meal and if it didn't get made, I protested. 

Sweet potatoes, which are already sweet, hence the name, become even sweeter with this recipe. The ooey, gooey marshmallows add a great flavor and texture and the pecans can be optional- When I make it, I add them to one side so those who don't like the nutty flavor and texture can enjoy the potatoes without them. 

Click Candied Sweet Potatoes for the recipe.
Garlic Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes-  When I asked my brothers-in-law what side dish they wanted and had to have for Thanksgiving, mashed potatoes was the number one answer. Although I leave my mother-in-law in charge of potatoes and she makes hers a little differently, you still can't go wrong with this recipe. 
Click Garlic Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes for recipe. 
Conclusion

There are SOOOO many more dishes that you can make for Thanksgiving, but this is the easy list. Everything else that gets made for our family goes up in difficulty and I leave those dishes to my mother-in-law because she has the recipe and if it isn't easy, I don't want to make it. 

Thanksgiving is a time to feel thankful and I know that for me, it's hard to get into that mindset when I spend the whole day in the kitchen while the rest of the family is somewhere else in the house. 

You can prepare many of these dishes the night before and warm them up in the oven usually about a 30-45 minutes before the meal is to start. 

Just remember, that when making these dishes, make sure that you have time to prepare them and also have fun with your family.

Because these are so easy, don't stress out and enjoy the day.

If you want desserts, order a pie or something else that is already pre-made and only needs to sit on the counter to thaw.

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and to be with family. If you're too stressed out, you're doing it wrong, so do it right. Enlist some help! Have your kids set the table. Include them so that the feel responsible and like they had a part in making this celebration. 

Most importantly, Have FUN!!!!!

Also, because I'm so grateful for every single one of you, I've made this FREE Thanksgiving checklist just for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Beginner's Bible

Disclaimer- I received this Bible in exchange for an honest review. Although I was asked to review this product, all reviews are my honest...

Follow