A Little Grace with Your Thanksgiving

Fall leavesWe’re having 20 people here for Thanksgiving. We just bought a new-to-us house, and since we have the largest gathering space, we are now committed to having every family gathering here ad infinitum. Which is great for a few reasons (no, I’m not being sarcastic).

One, I’m gluten free, which means I get to make an entirely separate Thanksgiving meal for myself. Yay, more pie for me! But also, boo, because I have to be careful if I sample anyone else’s dishes. I don’t want to be sick for three days. It’s nice not to schlepp a whole meal over to someone else’s house and worry that someone will use the gluten-y knife to cut my gluten-free pie. If you have food allergies, you know what a minefield these kinds of gathering can be.

Two, I have a son with autism. With 20 people, even people he likes, it can be too much. Having his own space to retreat to when he’s feeling overwhelmed makes the situation easier on him, and me.

Everyone has their own memories, views, and expectations¬†about holidays, especially one centered around food such as Thanksgiving. Special dishes, traditions, and memories infuse this holiday. But keep in mind that for people with any kind of special need–food, emotional, recent loss, far-away family–holidays can be a bit tough. Treat everyone with a bit of extra grace this time of year, because you never know who will need it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Power of Paint and Prep

Painting!

I enjoy painting. Or, rather, I enjoy the results created by paint. Paint is the cheapest way to remodel your house and give it a fresh look.

And I don’t mind the actual painting itself. I find it soothing. However, I’ve learned over the years that I will be patently unhappy (read-obsessively) with the results if I don’t take the time to do the part I don’t care for all that much: the prep work.

Ugh.

So first, I take the before picture. I’ll want to remember how transforming paint can actually be. You might need this motivation to get through the prep part.

Then you need to do two things. Remove EVERYTHING. And clean EVERYTHING.

This is the boring part. So I usually do one section at a time. Right now, I took all the decorative objects and curtains down and removed the hardware. Then, I’m going to give it all a good cleaning. I personally like TSP (or a TSP substitute) because it’s a degreaser and deglosser and it really cuts any crud that would make your new paint not stick nicely. However, it is a chemical and you need to wear gloves with it. There is a probably a non-chemical alternative involving vinegar, but I just haven’t bothered to investigate that yet.

After I’ve washed the walls, I can go back and spackle any holes or dings or scratches in the parts of the walls that have dried. Sand down the high spots and bubbles from the last paint job. Wipe down again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

It helps to either listen to one (or several) of your favorite movies or your favorite music. Enlisting company helps, too!

Reward yourself after this step is done. It’s the least fun and it makes everything look worse before it looks better, but it’s sooooooo important. Did I make that clear enough?

Our House

Finally, a picture of our house. We’re mostly settled in, pictures up on the walls and boxes unloaded. We have more flowers on the porch than when I took this picture. There’s also a deck off the back and a two-car detached garage that you can’t see in the photo. All in all, we feel very blessed to have this house.

Don’t know if this means I’ll be blogging more or not, but hopefully!