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FMS Community Newsletter #117 Nov. 2008
Holiday Help Cont . . .

In this issue, we will touch on the tasks we have rattling around in our head in the fast-paced days before a holiday. The myriad of things we need to do can take a toll on healthy, organized people, imagine the toll it takes on those of us who are sick!

The suggestions below touch on tasks that weigh heavy on our minds, and lesser details that sneak up on us as our guests arrive for dinner.

Please feel free to print this information off if you should find it useful, you may also make copies for friends, co-workers or support groups. If you put a “D” next to a task you wish to complete it will remind you that this is on your to do list. If you put a “C” next to a task, it will denote that it is competed.

     Take out china, silverware, serving pieces and linens you plan to use and wash them at least a week before the big day. Assemble them in an out of the way location and cover with a sheet or other dust barrier.

     If  you have a close group of friends, see if you can interest them in one or two days of cleaning parties, at least a week before the holiday. Spend a few hours at each home doing the heavy cleaning as a group. Make sure you take time to share your favorite beverages and snacks as you work.

     Clean indoor and outdoor entryways early so you are not gathering dog leashes, skateboards and other items as your company enters the driveway.

     Clean your stovetop early and avoid cooking dishes that make a mess, such as deep fat frying.

     If you have older countertops, apply a coat of turtle wax or another quality car wax. This will seal your counter top and create an easy to clean surface as you cook.

     Keep a pair of scissors in the kitchen to open stubborn packages, eliminating the need to strain your upper body.

     Pull heavy pans and bowls from upper cupboards the day before and leave in an easy access area. The same rule applies to items you need to retrieve from an attic or basement.

     Reserve a chair or stool in the kitchen area so you can take frequent breaks from standing.

     Dust surfaces eye level and below as anything higher will not be noticed by guest.

     Empty compost scrap bins ahead of time so they are not lost in the shuffle, resulting in unpleasant odors.

     If your family refuses to leave your guest towels alone and they trample your bathroom rugs, gather the linens you wish to use and set them aside in a safe place. Having them clean and ready will enable you to lay them out minutes before your company is due.

     Check all indoor and outdoor lights and replace bulbs as needed, avoiding unwelcome interruptions or safety hazards.

     If possible, empty a pantry shelf and assemble all non-perishable items needed for the day in a central location.

     Take time to sit down with your menu and make sure you have all needed ingredients for your dishes, avoiding stressful last minute trips to the store. This includes foil, plastic wrap, roasting pans, butter, shortening, spices, herbs, salt and pepper. Don’t take anything for granted, double check your supplies. Make a shopping list as you check your recipes and go out only once to secure the needed items, better yet, send someone else to pick up the items.

     Prepare yourself mentally for the possibility that your guests may offer to help with the clean up. Let them, and have the needed tools in place such as Tupperware, plastic wrap and refrigerator space.

     If you expect overnight guests, put a small ice chest filled with bottled water and soft drinks next to their bed so they will not roam the house looking for a drink, possibly waking you from your slumber. Lay out anything they may need in advance, such as towels, soap, tissues, toilet paper, aspirin, antacids, books, magazines, alarm clocks, puzzle books, stationary, pens, pencils, travel size bottles of shampoo and toothpaste.

     Keep breakfast for overnight guests’ simple, serve things you can store ahead of time. Offer muffins, donuts, cold cereals, coffee, tea and juice. Nobody expects you to cook breakfast the day after turning out a fabulous holiday meal.

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