I’m Back Get ready to Rock and Roll with CuisinebyEileen

Having taken some time off from blogging for a variety of reasons (most importantly, not enough hours in the day!!) I’ve decided that 2014 is the year I’m going to really get going on my blogging and hope eveyone who reads my posts passing them along to everyone they know or have ever met!!

My first foray back is my hommage to entertaining  and the do’s and don’ts that go along with it. Stay tuned for bigger, better, and more delicious post

No matter what your religious preference and practice (and even if you just see football as your religion) it’s pretty much a given that you’ve heard of the 10 commandments.  5 great do’s and 5 pretty awesome do not’s of  all encompassing guidelines on how to live a life that, while not guaranteed to avoid problems, at least will give you a road map on how to navigate some of the trickier issues of existence.

While I would, of course, never in 2013 or 5774 years (depending on which calendar you’re using) claim to have the same insight as the author it struck me as important that, at this time of year, a make you smile, nod your head a and say, oh yeah, I can do that 10 Commandments of Entertaining Priorities might just be appropriate.

  1. DO serve food with meaning and purpose.  HELLO, YOU DO NOT NEED 7 DIFFERENT DESSERTS. Put one less pie or cookie or even cake on the table. Nobody needs the calories. Instead, take the same amount money you would use to make it and donated to smaller, LOCAL organizations that produces immediate, tangible results. A food pantry, a homeless or battered women’s shelter. How about you give  $20 to a student you know who is struggling with debt or deliver a fruit basket or the fixings for a great meal to a family of an active duty service man or woman who  serve and protect and who we can never thank enough.
  2. DO Power down the electronics for at least an hour a day, every day. Actually have conversations and interact with your family, face to face, at a table, with a meal. Use your ears not your fingers to communicate. Say please and thank you and show your kids how manners work. Sure there’s probably an app for that or a very funny YouTube video on how to really talk to your parent/child/significant other but come on. The art of conversation starts with “so tell me about your day, your life, your work, and your hopes your dreams”, Get the picture? Ask about what’s going on and then LISTEN and HEAR and RESPOND.
  3. DO Write down the family recipes and pass them along this year. Teach your kids and grandkids exactly how to measure a pinch and a dollop and a smidge. Nothing says I love you like handing over the bowl and beaters with half the batter still clinging to the sides. Invite everyone to watch and help and take pictures. PASS OUT THE RECIPE TO EVERYONE WHO EVER ASKED YOU FOR IT. A recipe isn’t special; it’s just a memory, if nobody can make it after you’re gone.
  4. DO have fun non alcoholic options available. While liquor seems to be an essential in many celebrations some people struggle, especially at holiday time, with over indulgence. So much stupid stuff (verbal and physical) and accidents can be attributed to “being over the legal limit” so try opting out or limiting what’s available to the not so hard stuff. Try serving sparkling grape juice, apple juice, hot cider, punch or even fancy ice cream or coffee drinks; make them the stars of the beverage table. I’m not saying no way, no how, never to alcoholic but rather not during the day, not when anyone is going to be driving and especially if there are kids around.
  5. Do remember those people who make a difference to your kids and thank them. Teachers, especially deserve a big thank you. From my teacher friends I get the following advice. Any gift is fine but if you’re asking please don’t give a sweater, or a picture frame or even a book, even if you think they will like it. Yes the thought is nice but think about it. Do you really know their size? Color preference? Allergies? Average class size 26 to 35. What would you do with 26 picture frames or sweatshirts or pencil holders???? I suggest a gift certificate to a department store, grocery store, coffee shop, bakery, movie tickets or book store. The best present is one they can pick out themselves.
  6. DON’T JUDGE. Easier said than not done. So what if your 3rd cousin walks in the door with a new tattoo sleeve that has pictures of hello kitty on it or your father in law has decided that this is the year of the handle bar mustache.  Family party time is NOT the time to voice your concern, objection or even curiosity as to personal choices, no matter how much the significance escapes you. Save your questions, objections or even rampant curiosity for a quieter more private one on one meeting with whom so ever has given you pause.
  7. DON’T PLAY FAVORITES. Invite the forgotten neighbor, or friend whose family is out of town. Does it really matter if you can’t stand your sister in law’s parents or your son’s girlfriends step father? Ask yourself if they’re so unredeemable you need to cut them out of your life. If not, be the bigger person. Suck it up and put on your game face and say, let’s get together. Everyone needs to feel they are wanted even the obnoxious. I’m not saying invite someone you’re not overly fond of to dinner but rather, unless someone is so toxic they can’t be around small children or pets invite them share just a small part of the holiday. A cup of coffee in the afternoon or a quick “come on over for dessert” goes a long way to bridging a strained relationship or building a new one.
  8. DON’T FORGET TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Acknowledge and thank yourself for all that you do. Take a moment to appreciate the unique way you contribute to the betterment of your family, work, and the world in general.  Indulge in a nap, a massage or even a piece of chocolate just because you deserve a moment in time for the world to revolve around you.
  9. DON’T SWEAT THE CLEAN UP. Those dishes and laundry will be there in the morning. Nobody cares. I’m not saying let they house fall to rack and ruin and anticipate a call from the Hoarders TV show but just let some of your cleaning take a holiday too.  Spend the time with your friends and family and shove the stuff in the dishwasher, hamper under the bed or under the rug. At the end your life are you really going to say, “Gee, I wish I’d done more loads of laundry and I really regret not making my bed”? Don’t think so.

10. DON’T FORGET THE THREE MAGIC WORD. They are not, pass the salt, move your butt, pick it up, and even put that down or please and thank you (although those last two are kinda important). The words I LOVE YOU are some of the most powerful on the planet, no matter the language. Put in the effort to form the words and say, for no particular reason other than you can “l love you, I appreciate you and my favorite how did I get so lucky to have you in my life (I often ask my kids if they know how lucky they are to have me as a mom but that’s not quite what I’m getting at)?” Use the words to say what’s in your heart, I guarantee, they will be the best gift you give this year.

 

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