#SpreadsheetThanksgiving

After a series of unlikely events and somewhat by default, I’m hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow for my grandmas, my sister and her family, Jenny and her family, Jenny’s brother and his family, and Jenny’s mom and dad. Add Kate, Sam and Andy and that’s 21 people.

I know what you’re thinking.

But I promise this does not involve spaghetti in a crock pot.

It does, however, involve spreadsheets. Lots of them.

I have a spreadsheet for the seating chart, one for the ingredients for each dish, one for my grocery list, and one that has pretty much everything else.

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I’ve also got a to-do list for today and tomorrow, and a timeline for tomorrow broken up into five minute increments.

Issues, I haz ‘em.

I have been researching the hell out of Thanksgiving for a month or so now… I’ve read the entire internet and quizzed UP and his wife about how to make stuffing, gravy and cranberry relish, but every time I see an alternate version of something I’m planning to make or a no-really-THIS-is-the-best-way-to-cook-a-turkey pin, I nearly veer off course.

Take, for example, Monday night when I read an article about how to spatchcock a turkey. It started to sound like a really good idea, so I turned to Jenny for advice.

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So, needless to say, this is going to be interesting. I’m tweeting and instgramming the experience using #SpreadsheetThanksgiving, so if you need a laugh or reassurance that someone is screwing up a meal more than you are, I hope you’ll follow along.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Your Happy Pre-Holidays Board Game Review

One of my favorite things about the approaching holiday craziness is…that my favorite game-makers from the Wonder Forge always ask me to review some of their new games. YAY! I love this because I love playing their board games with my kids. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know that’s true, and you also know I love using games to help my kiddos who have or have had speech delays – Jonah is currently still in speech. This time around I picked two games with Jonah in mind and one for the big kids. First up – the Tickety Tock Chime Time game for Jonah.

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This game is a lot of fun! The reason I chose it is because there are a variety of cards you draw as part of the game that have activities on them (for example: pretend to walk a tightrope) that you have to do. This is great for teaching Jonah to follow directions and since the activities are silly and fun, he enjoys them. As a matter of fact, he gets a little impatient to get to the cards, so I’ve modified the way we play a little bit, but I think most older three-year-olds will love it just the way it is. I highly recommend it, it’s really fun!

For Joshua, I picked out Marvel Avengers: Slide Strike! – but Sophie loves it too!

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This is really fun because it involves both strategy and surprise – not to mention Joshua’s favorite Marvel characters. Plus, every character combo that battles against each other yields a different outcome. So, the game is really different every time you play!

The last game I reviewed is super super fun – Dr. Seuss Charades!

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Jonah loves, loves, loves Dr. Seuss, and I’m always trying to get him to pretend, so this charades game is PERFECT! Plus it involves a little instruction-following too which is always good. Sophie really gets into this game too and we love to play it together – the whole family enjoys watching Jonah play this, he’s so cute because he’s having so much fun!

Well, that’s the low-down on three of the new games from the Wonder Forge this holiday season, but there are plenty more where that came from! Check out all their games at their website – they even have Frozen games if you’ve got a Frozen fan (like most of us!)

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Working Mom Brain

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Up until this past August, I had been a stay-at-home mom with teeny tiny bits of part time work here and there for years.

Now, I am a work-at-home mom with LOTS of part time work. I work close to 30 hours a week, but since my off-work hours are filled with preschool runs and carpool pick-ups, I don’t really feel like I have a part-time job, because I quite literally have zero downtime during traditional working hours, and most nights I work an hour or so after the kids go to bed.

But it’s not bad. Really, I am enjoying my job SO MUCH. So much that sometimes I feel guilty about it!

I’m still trying to figure out how to balance all this, and it’s recently gotten a tad more difficult because our carpool for the big kids fell apart. Before, I would try to be done working by the time they got home at 3:30 (on days I don’t have a sitter), but now since I leave the house to pick them up about 2:15 or so, I am usually not able to be done working. This is because for the previous four hours I’ve had Jonah home with me and after I get him from school I take about an hour to do our work time together on speech and make and eat lunch. Then he’s running around playing while I am working. So it gets accomplished more in drips and drabs on these days, but I am not ready to have more childcare yet. I only have Jonah home with me for so long before he will be a “big kid” too!

Anyway, so, it’s going fine. But it is different. It’s much different than being a mostly stay-at-home mom, and the biggest difference is really that my brain is more stressed than ever. I’ve claimed “momnesia” for years and “pregnancy brain” when applicable, but now I definitely have a new phenomenon going on: “working mom brain”. Because now I am acting like I have dementia in areas both personal and professional.

Here’s a prime example: this morning I came downstairs to find that my coffee was not ready and the dishwasher was full of dirty dishes. I always set the coffee pot and run the dishwasher before I go to bed, and in my mind, I totally did these things last night. So I was confounded when they weren’t done. “I could’ve sworn I did this last night!” I said to Bobby. “Well, you did them the night before…” he offered. And it’s true. But dangit it’s like I remember doing these things last night!

Another great example: everyday I write up a few things for the For Every Mom newsletter (which you should totally sign up for, it’s an email list of our top stories for the day – so convenient!) so yesterday I was writing Sunday’s newsletter and I put in not one but TWO stories I’d ALREADY FEATURED in today’s newsletter! It’s not like I featured them a week ago. I had written that newsletter less than 12 hours before. But already forgotten that I put those stories in. Two out of four stories. Luckily I caught my error before I sent it on to be published. YEESH. Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting these things out loud…#dontfireme.

In any case, I am hoping I can get my brain functioning a little better soon. I know work-life balance is a myth. Especially when you work at home and you have to kiss boo-boos and change peed on clothes (not mine) and make snacks while you’re in the middle of something…

But if I start trying to start the car without the keys in it, or forget to pick the kids up from school – something’s gonna have to give!

Got any advice for me? Besides buying ADHD meds off the street? Because I’m not doing that.

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