We are hosting Thanksgiving for Robbie’s parents this year. Which is manageable because Robbie can somehow get a turkey plus sides on the table in under three hours and largely unassisted. He does well with sweet potato, green beans, corn, chestnuts and cranberries. I’m Australian and we don’t do Thanksgiving, so I leave it to the experts.

Robbie and I cooking together is chaos. Bennett puts all his energy into trying to climb inside the oven and Finn doesn’t stop asking to “help” with dessert until he has made himself sick on raw batter. So if I can just keep them out of the kitchen for a few hours tomorrow morning we should be in good shape.

We’re not at that stage in life where we can clean the house, prepare a five course meal and relax with a gin and tonic before guests arrive. We are at that stage of life where we can shove most of what we own in closets and under beds, stick the kids in front of the TV with some snacks and hydration (which we hate to do, but sometimes Max and Ruby are better parents than we can be) then order pizza.

And you know what I’ve learned goes a really long way? Lighting candles and putting on some jazz. Overload their senses and they’re less likely to notice the dirty floors. You know what else goes a really long way? Not trying to make everything from scratch. Which, I used to do. Five years ago I’d be horrified to see a Whole Foods pre-made salad being dumped out into a bowl at a party. Ina Garten helped me get over that a little and so did having two small children.

Hosting thanksgiving with small children is so much easier if you have a little external help. I’m okay with make some from scratch and buy some pre-made. Even Ina buys pre-prepared sides sometimes. I’m pretty sure she keeps Loaves & Fishes in business. But we are three hours from the Hamptons so that doesn’t help us. But an artisanal hamper curated by me and delivered right to my door sounds perfect for our busy family of four/soon to be five.

I usually hate gift baskets because they are essentially one quarter shredded craft paper, one quarter crap you’d never eat, a quarter crap you eat but wish you hadn’t and a quarter stuff that’s not bad but you’d never pay $120 for it. Mouth let’s you choose your own artisan, small batch, indie products from places like Vermont Creamery and Mikuni Wild Harvest. Perfect for holiday or host gifts but also for holiday parties you are self hosting.  I read the post a little late for this year, but I’ll be bookmarking it for TGD 2016.

 

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