How To Have A Stress Free Family Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s that time of the year again. Time to be grateful and give thanks for all the blessings God has bestowed upon you. It’s Thanksgiving! And we all want to celebrate it with the least amount of stress possible.

First stop and think about of the preparations you would like to do yourself, or should I say, feel up to doing yourself. Don’t plan to over exert yourself, by having to cook for a huge crowd.

By anticipating how you will feel, will help you determine how many people to invite. We know that we are expected to invite family, so do so. But also know that not all of your family will show up. Some of them, who might be married, or engaged or whatever, may be having Thanksgiving with their inlaws or friends.

Be understanding, and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, and besides it makes less work for you. The less work, the less stress. Now make a list of those who are coming, and let’s move on.

Now you want to decide on the menu. Do you want to do a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, or something totally different? I suggest doing a traditional dinner. It would be a lot less stressful. Now don’t plan on doing the entire meal yourself, by all means get some help.

By that I mean, do a pot luck. Let the family know that you will be taking care of the turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and the mac and cheese. Ask them to bring something, and you should give them suggestions, so they don’t all bring the same thing.

This will eliminate some of the pressure off you. They can bring a salad, some desert, beverages, even some paper plates and utensils. That’s right, I said paper plates, it’s family, they won’t mind. And it will make clean up so much easier for you. Now that’s a stress buster in itself.

Don’t leave out your husband and kids, they should help too. Since you are doing the preparations of food, have one of them, set the table for you. Maybe your husband should do that, if the kids are small.

Let kids help you with clean up. If you used paper plates, they can gather the trash together and take it out for you. They can clean the table off for you, husband can mop floor if needed and the work is done quick and easy. And if family volunteers to help, by all means say yes.

Now that dinner has gone well, and everyone is happy, before family leaves, say a prayer together. Thank God for allowing you all to assemble together once again, and pray that everyone makes it home safely. After they leave, put your feet up and enjoy the rest of your holiday relaxing, no stress.

Gardening For Health

Around the world, people are discovering the physical and mental health benefits of digging in the dirt.

New findings from The Impact of Home and Community Gardening in America, a survey from the National Gardening Association, indicate that gardens in America are more popular than ever before. An estimated 7 million households in the United States will grow their own fruit, vegetables, herbs, and plants this year, a 19 percent increase.

The growing desire to grow is thought to be part of the economic turn in the country; gardeners are discovering that their gardens can produce higher-quality, lower-cost produce. Whether they realize it or not, the simple act of planting, tending, and harvesting has significant health benefits.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Gardening has been a go-to for achieving mental well-being for decades. The non-profit U.K. gardening organization, Thrive last year published independent research that says gardening can not only help a person’s overall well-being but can improve the health of those suffering from a disability or mental illness.

Thrive reports that 31 percent of the disabled people surveyed believed gardening helped their overall health, and one in five say it helped during a period of mental or physical illness. Studies have also shown health improvements for patients with dementia, schizophrenia, and depression.

Health Benefits for Young and Old

In recent years, school gardening projects have been increasing in popularity, in which a school or class maintains a garden as an academic activity. A report published in the edition of The Journal of Environmental Education surveyed the literature on U.S. school gardens. The results found that school gardening can improve students’ test scores and school behavior and assist teachers in academic instruction.

A study published in HortScience discussed older adults in Kansas that found gardening improved their health in areas like hand strength and self-esteem. Such recent gardening research details that gardening can be used to meet the Centers For Disease Control’s requirements for physical activity.

For older adults, this can include 2 ½ hours of moderate activity per week, along with muscle-strength training activities two or more days per week, or alternate equivalents. The CDC also offers recommendations in weekly activity levels for both adults and children.

The importance of gardening for older adults is that it is an exercise regime that they can keep up consistently. Gardening offers a variety of tasks and activities that change depending on climate and seasons. Older adults can lead a more sedentary lifestyle, and tending to a garden can offer exercises such as digging holes, pulling weeds, carrying soil, or even pushing a lawnmower.

Getting Started

Organizations like Thrive suggest that potential gardeners start with what type of garden would benefit their situation, environment, or climate. Houseplants are a suggestion for the novice, while those looking for more involvement should consider volunteering at a local community garden.

Essential Tools For Gardening

Gardening can be as simple or complex as each individual. There are, however, a few tools no gardener should be without. Following are some essential gardening tools.

With the number of gardening products available to gardeners on the market, how does a new gardener decide what’s truly necessary? Not all tools are created equal, and not all are efficient at doing the job for which they are intended. This article explains which tools you will need. Use the right tool for the job, and you will have many years of efficient, easy, and happy gardening.

A Hoe

Digging trenches is made easy work with a garden hoe. What’s more, you can use it to dig up weeds in the garden.

A Rake

A large metal garden rake can help to loosen the soil in your garden and to work soil amendments into the dirt.

A Hand Trowel

A hand trowel can be used in many ways, usually for planting small flower bulbs and plants in the dirt or for digging small holes. Also, use it for pulling and digging up weeds.

A Shovel

Use a shovel for digging larger holes in the dirt, such as to plant a larger area or a larger item such as a tree or shrub.

Gardening Gloves

Gardening gloves will protect your skin and nails from the damaging effects of dirt, grime, and chemicals you might be using in the garden. There’s nothing worse than getting dirt under your nails — and nothing harder to get out. Use gloves and eliminate the problem before it can start.

Pruning Shears

Pruning shears are essential in the garden for cutting flowers and herbs quickly and efficiently. They can also be used for light pruning, such as for smaller shrubs and plants.

A Watering Can

Use a watering can for watering smaller plants, such as container plants, as well as to precisely measure and apply fertilizers to your plants.

A Wheel Barrow

Use this handy tool to save your back and arms from lifting and carrying plants, dirt, rocks, and other heavy items to and from the gardening shed or around the yard. It’s also helpful when moving items from your trunk to where you want them in the garden.

A Hose

For watering your garden and spraying down tools, you’ll need a garden hose.

Be sure to clean your tools well after using them; metal tools will rust if put away dirty or wet, and it’s more difficult to clean caked-on dirt from gardening tools. A quick spray with the hose should eliminate most dirt from your tools; then wipe it down with a clean cloth before storing. Store your tools in a designated area for quick and easy access.

Clutter In Your House Clutter In Your Life

Is clutter causing you to avoid certain rooms in your house? Do you pile all your stuff in an unused room when you are expecting visitors? Do you sometimes feel like you are camping out in your own house?

If clutter rules your life, you may have a case of more than just too much stuff. Your inability to organize your stuff may be because you have emotional issues you cannot face, and so you cannot make decisions about the stuff they are associated with.

Maybe you have just resolved to deal with the clutter and organize your home. Great beginning, but if you want to tame clutter forever, you have to deal with the emotional issues at the same time. Here are some things you should do before you start organizing:

1) Take one room and write down everything you see in that room, including all the small objects in your pile of clutter. This may take you a while and may not be particularly pleasant, but do it; it’s important. Once the list is completed, figure out what kinds of things are on it. Is it mostly papers of a financial nature? Toys and other objects leftover from when your kids were younger? “Sacred objects” from a relationship that is long over? The furniture you purchase with your ex that does not fit with the new rocker and rug you recently purchased?

2) Now, you need a vision of what you want your home to be without the clutter. This is not some glossy House Beautiful photo shoot; this is a realistic vision of your own home, organized for your current needs. Now you want to record this vision, but doing a drawing or diagram, or by writing a narrative describing it, or by making a list of features you want it to have. The important thing is that it be a difficult exercise that forces you to confront the demons you have been avoiding, the hard choices you will need to make. It is critical to move some things out of your life to make room for newer, more appropriate things. Some things may have been appropriate once, but now they are taking up needed space in your home and in your mind. So cry a little if you have to, and make the hard choices.

Your mantra should be something like:

I will have a home that reflects who I am now and the things I cherish most. My home will support me in my quest for personal growth and happiness. Anything that is in the way of this goal must go.

3) You should certainly tell people about your project because you want to get their support. But it is important to do the actual work yourself so that you confront the emotions involved. If you do not do this, your clutter will come back, and you will find yourself going through this again and again.

OK, now you can go to Staples and buy a label-maker, a shredder, a box of file folders, and a box of trash bags. Plan to spend major time on this. Either set aside a week if you have that kind of time or some Saturdays and make dinner plans that do not include cooking.

This decluttering of your home and of your life may take a long time, and you may have to do it in stages. It is a lot more exhausting than most people expect, and you may not be able to do it all at once. Celebrate your progress as you go, and keep your spirits up. Your goal is a joyful life and a happy, vibrant home. Enjoy!


    1) If you want to explore this in more detail, I recommend two books: Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern and Getting Things Done by Paul Allen.
    2) If you experience serious emotional responses that are beyond your ability to handle, see a mental health professional; your life may depend on it.
    3) This is a deep, scary process, but an enjoyable one as well. OG into it with a positive and fearless mindset, and you will reap wonderful rewards!