There's 8 days to Thanksgiving and 35 days to Christmas. Pretty soon everyone's houses are going to be filled with relatives whether you like it or not. Don't get me wrong. Having family around is great but extended stays have a way of heightening our emotions which can make us do things we don't always think through. Luckily for you, my family is large and extended and it is a guarantee that someone will get mad at the other person over something so tiny no one will remember it or somebody will get stressed to the point of a full explosion. Whether your outburst ends up as part of the family history album or not remains to be seen but the following ideas should help avoid it as much as possible.
The most obvious is easy. Walk away from the situation or confrontation before anything escalates to something you or the other person can't take back. There's only one thing you've got to keep in mind. If you're the smart one and decide to walk away the person you're fighting with isn't going to let you get away that easy (unless in the rare case that they actually do). They're going to try to keep it going but you've got to take the power away. Leave the room, let everyone cool down, and maybe gently approach the topic later. Trust me, you'll both be in a much better headspace if you both take the time to back away from the situation and see it in the other's perspective.
Does anyone remember mom's rule: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all? Spoiler alert: mom was right. This is on of the few full-proof way to avoid everything. Sometimes it's best to keep your thoughts to yourself or discuss them in private. When the whole family's around things can turn sour fast then there's no going back and you've got to ride the wave all the way to the end. If things get tense just remember they're only here for three days.
Are you the person who frets about sleeping arrangements and space? If you are, read this next paragraph carefully. Where everyone's going to go is probably the worst part of the entire lead up to Thanksgiving or any holiday in general--especially if your house is smaller. However, there is a plan to this problem that not many people think through. The key to this plan is to start from the top and work your way down. It's nice to envision your house layout in your head or on paper so all the rooms/spaces can be visualized. If you have guest rooms, use those but you can always kick the kids into someone else's room. My sisters both have queen beds. Every time there's a large amount of people, two are put in one of their rooms and then they move to the other's (Alexis to Kenzie's or vice versa). Next on the list is air mattresses. They may not be the most comfortable but they get the job done. The next bullet point on your mental checklist should be personality types. As in, who likes to just sleep on the furniture. My sister Ashley sleeps on the couch every time this so my mom doesn't worry too much about her. If you eliminate the people on your list based on that personality, a lot of people should be eliminated. If you're still in need of space it's time to turn to your basement/rec spaces. You'd be surprised how many people can fit.
It seems we're missing the most important piece of any holiday gathering. Cooking the actual meal! If you go out for dinner instead of giving yourself a nervous breakdown trying to cook for a big group, in a short time period, and perhaps in a really tiny kitchen, you needn't worry about this part. However, if you do cook at home, first of all, god bless you and second of all, stick with me a little while longer because you're really going to wish you had. I have one key rule- Organization and delegation! Before any cooking begins, find everything you're going to need. Bowls, pans, pots, tongs, whisks, mixing spoons, measuring cups, etc. If it's all laid out beforehand, a ton of time will be saved. You don't have to dig things out or wonder if you even have it after that last school bake sale. Tempers are probably high at this point. Don't make anyone boil over for something dumb if you can avoid it by having everything ready to go. After your utensils are ready, delegate jobs immediately. So and so's chopping the carrots, so and so's skinning the potatoes, and so on. That way, your kitchen can run like a factory assembly line. From box, to pan, to oven, to plate, to mouth, etc. Who knew prep time and cooking could be so so simple?
The important take aways because I know some of you got lost at some point. The steps to a stress-free holiday (one can hope) are:
#1: Walk away from the conversation if you or the other person are getting a little heated. Come back together after you've chilled out. A mostly tension-free holiday is the best thing for everyone.
#2: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Mother knows best and she's usually right. Follow her rule from the get-go and you won't even have to deal with step 1.
#3: Start from the top and work your way down. Sleeping arrangements are an unnecessary stress. Think about all the rooms in your house and move some people around. Don't forget to filter people by their personalities (Who's cool with the couch?).
#4: Organization and delegation. Prepping your kitchen beforehand and giving each person jobs is the best way to get from kitchen to plate in no time.
You've seen it here so it must be true. Thanksgiving just got compressed from stress to no mess in four easy steps! Don't limit them to just Thanksgiving though. If you have the tools, why not use them in every other major family gathering. You'll be thankful later. That's all for this week! I promise I will get back to a regular schedule this week so look out for a new post (or two to end the month on track) this Sunday!
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Happy Sunday everyone! This weekend's been a long one and I promise to tell you all about it a little later but I need to relax first. What better way to relax then with some books! It's time for a very unexpectedly popular series: Caroline's Book Club. For my new readers, every month I talk about five books I really enjoy or that I think you'll enjoy. This month's selections are sure to put you right in your comfy place. Whether that's by the fire or under a fuzzy blanket!
Starting off the list at #5 is The Swap by Megan Shull. Two teenagers, Ellie and Jack switch bodies after what they thought was a harmless joke. While waiting for the switch to be reversed, both have to figure out their new lives and how some gender stereotypes just aren't true. Each chapter flip flops between Ellie and Jack's perspectives, offering readers a look into the pressures boys and girls face when the curtain goes down.
#4 is a classic read everyone loves. Even if you've never heard of it, Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea will definitely capture your heart. Narrated from the perspective of five fifth grade students- Jessica, Alexia, Peter, Danielle, Luke, and Jeffery, each chapter tells you more about each character's background as well as how their new teacher Mr. Terupt affects their life, both inside and outside of school. However, an accident in the snow changes everything and each person has to find a way to cope. While dealing with the outcome of their actions, Jessica, Alexia, Luke, Peter, and Jeffery lean more just how much Mr. Terupt has impacted them and how similar they all are when the layers are pulled back.
Taking the #3 spot is The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan. This is actually the first book in a series of five (four have been released at the present date) books all based on Greek and Roman mythology but takes place in modern times. There's plenty to keep you busy and the series overall is fast-paced and told with plenty of humor. This particular installment is based on Apollo and his quest to reclaim his spot on Mount Olympus. Apparently, even gods can annoy their parents to the point of being kicked out of the house. Who knew?
Coming in at #2 is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling. The Harry Potter books are another series that I enjoy very much. I got them on December 25th and finished them on January 24th if you need some context. They're very long and kind of hard to recap but since I only listed the first book, I'll recap the first book. Harry Potter learns he is a wizard on his 11th birthday and later learns that he is famous because he survived Lord Voldemort, the worst dark wizard there ever was. Slowly, he and his friends notice odd things after they arrive at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In short, their suspicions lead them to the Sorcerer's Stone, which makes the owner immortal. However, Voldemort is also after the stone so he can rise again and become more powerful. The book ends in a battle but you'll only find out the outcome if you read the book. My lips are sealed.
Rounding out this month's book selection is The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Lennie and her sister Bailey are best friends. However, when Bailey unexpectedly dies from a sudden heart episode, Lennie's world is thrown into a tailspin. She and Toby, her sister's boyfriend and fiancé, begin a relationship stemming from their shared grief. Lennie later meets Joe. A new boy at school whom she also falls for. Joe shares her love of music and helps Lennie forget about her sadness. Caught between grief and a fresh start, Lennie struggles to begin her new life without her sister. To cope, Lennie writes about her life with Bailey before her death as well as her feelings after and leaves the pieces in parts of town. This story of grief, love, acceptance, and growth is something that every person is going to love.
That wraps up this month's picks! Let me know which ones you enjoyed and any of your other favorites!
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The Blog in a Nutshell
Hi! Welcome to Fashion Fun and Extra, a blog run by Caroline Hill. A wheelchair user, podcaster, little sister, writer, and more, Caroline's unique view on life allows readers to take a glance into something they don't experience everyday. Told with humor, realness, remarkable wit, and a special kind bluntness, no blog will fail to entertain!