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also in the kitchen helping, but most of the work fell to Amy. Now that might have been okay, but as you know, we have 5 kiddos. That's a lot of work.
But somewhere around 2014, Amy had an idea. After years of doing most of the work, Amy suggested that we start having the kids help with the meal. She would ask each kid what their favorite dish of the meal was, then have them help prepare that dish. It was a brilliant idea. Not only did Amy get some help in the kitchen, but she got to spend some 1-on-1 time with each kid as they learned how to prepare their favorite dish.
But when you're learning how to cook your favorite dish with the person who makes your favorite dish, there's no need to "get the recipe," you already know it. Down the road, when we gather for our family Thanksgivings, our hope is that the work of preparing dinner might be spread out as each kid (and their family) arrives to dinner bearing their favorite dish.
3. More time with the kids, less time in the kitchen.
We enjoy spending time with our kids, especially around the holidays. We actually look forward, and even plan, for how we spend our time together. That wasn't possible when we would spend all day in the kitchen. In fact, it drove Amy a little crazy. She would work like mad to get dinner ready, while the kids did whatever they wanted. By the time dinner was over, she was exhausted and missed out on the fun of the day. But when we cook together, it reduces the time spent alone in the kitchen and allow us to spent more time with the kids.
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4. Making it about family and time as a family.
A number of years ago, reality set in; our kids were growing up! Shocking, I know. But as our kids started becoming teenagers, we began to realize we were running out of time with our kids. If we weren't careful, our kids wouldn't be kids, they were going to be adults. So we decided to be more intentional with how we spend time with our kids. Naturally, the holidays became a focal point of how we spent our time together. We didn't want to see our kids scattering throughout the house on the holidays. Instead, we wanted to see them interacting with each other and with us.
Having the kids help in the kitchen gave us more time to be intentional. But it wasn't just as they helped in the kitchen. No, we found that we now had more to do things as a family. Last year, because the kids had helped prepare the dinner dishes, we had a couple of hours before dinner. So we got online and found some Minute To Win It style games that we could play with our kids. It was awesome! We played the games, laughed, and created all new memories together. You can check out our games by watching our 2020 Thanksgiving Family Special! We had so much fun, we're planning on playing some new family games this year!
What we learned was that we can set aside this time for something more than just football, TV, parades, food, and hours spent in the kitchen. Thanksgiving, and all other holidays, were opportunities to really connect as a family. All it took was recognizing that we wanted more time as a family.
Now this might not be the newest idea, but when we started preparing some dishes a day or two in advance, we found that we had more time to do family things. Things like our mashed potato casserole, or our layered jello, or the green bean casserole could all be made a day in advance. So that's what we did.
Amy worked with our kids, and the dishes that could be made early, we made early. Some of the items just needed to be heated up, while others needed the proper time to cook. But it was a tremendous time saver to have a number of our dishes ready to go prior to the big day. And we would say, it is worth it if you can plan ahead!
With Thanksgiving still a couple of weeks away, why not think about how you might be able to involve your kids in the preparations of the day. Or, maybe you are already doing so. If you are, tell us about it. Leave a comment below and share how you make your Thanksgiving day something the whole family can participate in and enjoy!
And as always, thanks for visiting!
- the higham family
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.