STOP THIS INSANITY! Keep the Holidays Sane (And FUN!)

Hey you guys this is Josh and Carolyn With hope steady family and welcome to This week's episode of The Pantry chat Food For Thought This week we're going to be talking About how to keep keep the holiday Season sane and we're back here laughing Because at this moment our house does Not feel sane and we feel very Unqualified to be talking about we have No clue so So this is an exploratory discussion Right No we we're having a big pie making day Upstairs with a lot of young ladies Enjoying themselves making pies and They're right over our head which is Great it is good holiday cheer but along With that there's all kinds of other Things we got four inches of snow last Night and things have to be plowed and Yeah and uh and you're not exactly Well you can see what I thought I was Going to be doing this morning I didn't Even realize we were filming this Morning so I got up thinking I was gonna Go out uh hunting uh this morning but We'll make it out this afternoon and we Have one more are let's see fourth Daughter Brianna it's her first year Hunting so trying to get her her deer This year I think that's our second Daughter but you know fourth child right Yeah for those of you guys who are

Joining on podcast and you can't see Josh is in camo from head to toe pretty Much right now and sporting the uh North Idaho Fall men's look right here this is Kind of the normal wear that you see on Men in North Idaho pretty much um this Time of year so here you go it's a Fashion statement Okay well we're out a little out of form This morning we don't even have a Question of the day or anything but That's okay we're just gonna go for it So so yeah yeah exactly what have you Been up to what have I been up to well Today specifically plowing snow yes yeah And Um getting ready for hunting for the day Been out hunting a little bit not too Much but gonna have a little bit of Availability here so excited for that Um yeah just getting ready for winter Really we had this first snow coming and I have a feeling that it's gonna stay Usually this time of year Um we get and we've actually had snow on The ground for three weeks four weeks Now a little bit yeah yeah a little bit But then we got a bit last night and I Just usually it'll snow in November and It'll go away in the first week or two In December we'll be we'll clear up and Then the snow sets in mid-December That's that's a been a pretty normal Pattern for us yeah it feels different

This year and I I've got a feeling that It's not that was just going to stay so We've been just really working to batten Down the houches and get ready for us no Yeah and uh just all kinds of pieces Around the property it chains on the Tractor for plowing because I think it's Gonna be a lot of snow actually Um you know it's all a guess what do I Know but trying to be prepared so really It's just been getting ready for that And Um was filming with Dr Patrick Jones Recently that was really cool for the School of traditional skills gonna be a New class coming out yeah that's Exciting that is exciting that's going To be an herbal first aid class and that Is that's very cool so it's first aid It's basic first aid yeah but so there's You know standard thing splinting Dealing with cuts Burns eye issues all That stuff that you know it's just basic First date but Applying herbs to deal with healing with Stopping bleeding with dealing with pain Really really cool he's a super new guy Excited for that and that class will be Coming out in January of course we'll Let you guys know yeah but yeah that's Kind of been been it here what about you I I've just been trying to keep up with Everything I know we get a lot of Questions about how pregnancies going

Everything's going fine just coming Along I'm about 20 moving towards 26 Weeks pregnant now so End of second trimester I'm almost into The third trimester I just got you know This is the first time I've had a lot of Pregnancies this is the first time I've Ever had a pregnancy app on my phone It's a very fascinating you know who Decides what is it today the baby is This I think we're at a rutabaga Rutabaga yeah somehow the baby is Supposedly the size of a rooted Vega Right now and next week it's going to be The size of a leak Who decides these things is completely I I actually don't think that they know Their vegetables very well I don't say They're they're a vegetable person not Like a geologist yes that's true I That's a good thing because I would not Have a clue but um but yeah and I just Got the notification that I'm I'm pretty Much at a hundred days until my due date So we're yeah we're counting down the Days now so are you liking the app for The moms and maybe you and Lacey talked About this I don't know but I don't Think they did are you liking the app But you're saying it's the first time You've ever had one I feel like it's Very silly helpful or just kind of yeah If you're a first-time mom then it Probably has a lot of good answers to

Questions but Um but mostly I just do it for the Entertainment factor of figuring out What kind of vegetable we have this week So Uh so yeah anyways that's that's been Kind of silly but um but yeah so I'm Doing well well in that front morning Sickness is totally gone so thankful Luckily once I leave the morning Sickness it it's gone it does not Um last which is good because for some People it goes on for a long time so Then you know we've just been really Working on getting a lot of school done A lot of homeschool done wrapping up the Preserving we've had different butcher Days the last couple of weeks yeah we Finished forgot about that we finished Up our butchering and except for any Venison that comes in yeah with the Sheep yep we got a couple sheep into the Freezer and Um and so we're kind of dialing down now We just have a have to have a big grind Day and we have to do a big rendering Day and then we'll kind of pretty much Be calling a good except for you know Venison that comes in so hey we made Some bacon yes we did something we've Done our own in Hawaii yeah we make Bacon the way Brandon sheared does Farm Said meat Smith yeah it's actually who We learned from you know it's been a

Little while since we've done that Because we've been sending out to Butcher it's been so busy but we just Really don't like it as well as just you Know processing ourselves and really Getting things the way we want and Getting this bake in this one so I'm Excited right the bacon is hanging and Should be good to go in a couple weeks Yeah I think we can eat it anytime and In about three days if we're going to Smoke it we can smoke it and that's what I'm kind of rooting for I really like a Good smoked bacon so just gotta see what We have for uh you have to cold smoke it So you want to make sure you can't like Throw it into your smoker and let it get Hot you have to do it in a cold and so You have to make sure there's no heat Associated or very little heat Associated with the smoke so you have to Kind of have a different setup and Um it's not hard to do you just have to Set it up yeah to do it so it's a little Bit of a different setup than we have Just kind of ready to go off you know we Can do that we've got a Traeger so it's Just setting it up over the trigger you Wouldn't want to do it in it that would Be a Hot Smoke which we don't want to do But we'll like hang it from the eaves Hang the bacon from the eaves and have The Traeger below it and open that sort Of a setup so that you're getting the

Smoke without the heat is the way you Want to do that sort of stuff I don't Make a promise but It's worth a video we'll see if I can Get set up for that that'd be cool that Would be cool because it's really pretty Simple it's one of those things that Seems a little scary or complicated but It's pretty cool I'm not yeah you can Really DIY it very easily good okay well No question of the day so we're going to Jump right into the topic which is how To keep the holidays sane and you know This is something that As I speak to more and more people in my Generation and younger a lot of people Have really bad memories associated with The holidays actually a lot of stress a Lot of scramble and a lot of family Tension is like kind of people's stories And so more and more people are like I Don't really want to have anything to do With that and so for me I take that Personally as a challenge to change that Pattern and say you know all of these Should Do's all of the you know what we Have to have our houses look like it has To be perfect all of the the running Around to this and that and the other It's having a negative effect and people Aren't walking away with these great Warm fuzzy memories of you know family Time together and the holidays there's Just a lot of pressure yeah a lot of

Pressure you know even the gift giving It's great of course we want to be Thinking about others and we want to but Sometimes it's just like so much Pressure because you feel like you have To do so much with limited budgets and You feel this pressure and you feel like You're failing if you can't get it all Done on and you can't get everybody Something of equal value or whatever and It starts to feel lost and I know I Resonate with that I feel that you know Over the years of just like oh my gosh This is such a pressure thing I want to Do something nice for people but you Know yeah and and then you get to yeah It just it gets overwhelming I think it Gets overwhelming and I think that Though but dads take this on too we want To do all the things even if we're Taking that pressure on ourselves Because we think we're doing something Positive for our family you know Creating Traditions or or doing Something really nice for the family and A lot of times you know sometimes let's Be real sometimes getting dinner on the Table is taking pressure right like we We make those decisions all the time That okay we can do a little more work We can be out of our comfort zone we can Be a little stressed to make something Happen for our family but I think in the Case of this we have to be really

Careful to go actually I'm doing the Opposite for my family because I'm Creating I'm adding to this pressurized Scenario mom stress dad's stressed you Know you stressed right into the new Year when you look at the credit card Bill or whatever it is that you've done I know a lot of people have that problem And so really taking a serious look at What what's the point like why are we Doing this Is it just because all of the Better Homes and Garden magazines are on the Grocery store rack and they're marketing To us really well and we feel like our House has to look like that Or we feel like we're a failure as a Parent or a part of society if we're not Jumping in and doing all of the things And you know all the things are great A Lot of times they're church activities And their family activities in there you Know play group or homeschool activities Or school activities you know there's Just all the stuff but there's always Another activity there's always another Thing so so why are we doing this and I Think people probably have different Reasons and we're we've said holidays But I think we're kind of talking about Christmas here particularly coming out Of Thanksgiving I think most of us most People I talk to love Thanksgiving I Think one of the reasons is because it's

Not commercialized it's not high Pressure I mean it's a lot of work you Got food on the table but it's generally People you love coming together and Enjoying a meal together and being Thankful I mean it's pretty simple so But we move past that and we get into Christmas and then there's all the Pressure and why are we you know why are We doing this and you know I know for us It's it's Christmas it's about Jesus It's about celebrating the birth of our Savior and so I think we have to come Back to that yeah and I understand some Of you out there maybe that's different But that's really the Heart of Christmas And where it starts and that's what it Is for us and for many of you and so I Think we have to come back to you know That that's the why we're celebrating Something because of this gift of life That we have how do we respond to that Or think about doing things differently In this context that's become so Commercialized and pressurized right and Coming back and focusing on that yet Still celebrating and and enjoying the The heart of that celebration with People you know what the big answer to All of this is and it's the hard answer That we don't always like and that's the Word no No just no it actually gets easier the More you do it

Um but a lot of that is just to start Saying so like looks like she'll give Some examples so no can be positive is Where you're going what are some Examples of saying no as a maybe a Positive and that benefit that's gonna You know Bring back pressure and help us focus on The why it's the the no we can't make it To that event and no we can't make it to That event and no we're not going to do That other potluck but instead Protecting your Um sanity and your family sanity and a Special time together to actually focus On the real reasons no we don't all need To buy gifts no I'm sorry we love the Mailman but he doesn't need a gift just Like everybody other person who's Affected your life this year he should Be getting tokens of thankfulness all Year long but you don't need to go out Of your way to make sure everybody has Everything Um during the holiday season or you can You can minimize those I think you can You know somebody can write a nice Little card Merry Christmas card yeah And write one you guys and I know I come From the generation or at least my my Parents and grandparents love cards and Cards are cool and and as part who made Card can be an inexpensive way to share The chair but but cards these days five

Seven dollars a piece you know I know I Struggled with that when we were getting Started it was like how in the world do We afford to send a card to everybody Let alone gifts to all the people in our Sphere and so I I think that's one That's a good no it's like you know you Can send something out digitally to Everybody you get the kids together and Make a few handmade cards if one goes to A family some good things to do where You're bringing people together and Making it a fun experience it doesn't Have to be all as perfect as a Hallmark Card is right but you can send some love And some some Christmas uh cheer and Wishes to somebody without spending you Know without that pressure of spending You know easily 200 just on cards yeah You really can and I think that that Really hits at the heart of it is Bringing people together to do the Things that take the pressure off so Instead of just you know let's do a Holiday craft or a Christmas craft with The kids make the cards you're gonna Send out make the cookies that you're Going to hand to everybody you know that You're going to put out for the mailman Or for that you're gonna do like do that Together and make that a holiday event a Mainstay holiday event because that Creates fun memories you're making Something together you're able to sit

Around and laugh let go of the high Standards they don't have to look like Martha Stewart cookies like they're not They don't have to be perfect let it go You don't need five different colors of Icing to put on your unless that's what You love doing you know but but it's Okay to drop the standards and to make It about doing things together and not About this perfect picture of everything So I want to clarify that though because You're talking about saying no to going And doing events you know doing things But then we're talking about doing Things together so I think there's what What's in all of that is there's this Balance of like you don't have to go do Everything right but pick carefully the Things that you can do together with Family and even with friends in a way That brings it together makes it joyful But isn't so much that you're just Feeling like I gotta go here I gotta go There I gotta go this I gotta go to that And I'm getting run over right I think That's what that's how that yeah I I Absolutely yeah that's exactly what I'm Trying to say there and Um you know bringing the family together Early in the season and voting on or Getting everybody's like have to event What's the one thing that if you did This holiday season this Christmas Season

Um you would just feel like you've done Christmas you know and making sure You're hitting everybody's big one thing And then trying to not do any more Things than that really you know and That starts to cover it and that that Starts giving you a rubric for what to Say no to right it's like that wasn't Even on anybody's list so let's just not Do it yeah so that's a good one another Really really good thing to say no to That's going to Super reduce your stress Is the sugar This is the mom comment right we all Like the sugar it's a great excuse but The entire month of December cannot be An excuse all right this is just no I'm Not Because we don't feel well after we have An entire month From December 26th okay so you know I Mean sure open up the sugar have the Chocolates have all the goodies when it Comes down to the day or two days or Something like that but it everywhere You go is gonna have cookies so I can Buy two pounds of See's Candy instead of 10 this year is that what you're saying Yes please that would be wonderful we Love See's Candy so I always get Everybody and a couple years there I was Trying to get everybody likes different Things right and they go fast so anyways I think we'll scale back okay we also

Have 13 people in the household all the Time so we do easily consume more than Everybody else That's 13 pounds so the point is Choose the carrot sticks with ranch Dressing you know if you have to oh come On I'm sorry nobody's gonna come out Does that work can we have some like Salami and cheese or something but so at Least mix it in a little bit You can say no to the sugar and you Don't have to feel guilty you may have To stand your ground a little bit right Take good care of us and that's good But you will feel better when it comes Around to the end of the season because You know not only does that I mean gain weight you know drop your Immune system all the things that sugar Does for you but the other side of it is It is that excitotoxin which means that It is ramping up your own hormone system And it is creating a stress level in Your body whether you you're feeling it Offhand or not and you start doing that Day after day after day and then the Kids are doing that and your husband is Doing that the stress does ramp up and The activity ramps up and it becomes Harder to control and then you start Having bigger mood swings because people Blood people's blood sugars jumping all Of it do you see my case here I Absolutely do I do have to say is I'm

Not the one in the household that has a Problem regulating my control of Chocolate This is why we say no to it coming in The house because once it's there it's Hard to say no at least for me but um a Very very good point I think yeah just Regulating sugar and we do we all overdo It and it's got consequences yeah it Really does and it you won't feel well By the end of the season so let's talk About gifts a little bit yes because That's obviously a big one and it's a It's it is the season of giving and that Is a wonderful wonderful thing so I Don't want us to come off it's like We're you know not not about giving Right because we are but it it can be a Huge burden for people and I know for me When I was younger even before we were Married just you know that was big in my Family and so I felt this like burned or Run around and get all these gifts for All these people I didn't really have The money and so it was like super Stressful it was like ah why why are we Doing this Um and I like what we've done you know Which is we keep generally the gifts to The household you know we do we do Little handmade cards and we call people And we do things like that to to save Money but in the house and I know we've Probably talked about this some more

Before but the the Um what do we call that what's the name Of that the way we do the gifs the General cultural term is secret santa we Don't really do a lot of scenes so I Don't think we have a name for it but But it's it's an exchange really where Everybody blindly picks an aim out of The Hat you keep it yourself and you're Buying one gift for that person that you Get and so that means you're just in our Household you're only getting one gift You're not getting four or five or in Our case 13 right Um but and that helps you to focus on That one person and you know what our Kids have loved that they haven't Followed the gym or haven't they really Haven't bad and a matter of fact it's It's been a lot of fun to see the Creativity but we even saw stress in That especially as people got a little Older and they really want to get Something cool they don't know what to Do and they want to make the person Happy and so I love what you did this Year where we actually went around the Table and people had to think about Three things and there's a budget for us And right we set a budget each person Can only spend so much and so then each Person had to share three things that They would like to receive right and not That that's what has to be gotten but in

In but so it gives people ideas and it Helps them out a little bit if they're Just really stuck right I think that was Good because I think that relieved a Little bit of stress and pressure from Some people it did they were really Struggling like they want to get Something really nice for this person But they just don't know and of course It's hard to fit a budget and and so Everybody just sharing some ideas that Would fit into that budget that they Would like uh I I thought that was Really helpful and really neat so just To answer some questions that are going To pop up about this about what we're Talking about and clarifications all of Us in the household do it so the even The little kids Mom and Dad we only give One gift each to whoever we draw out of The hat so we're not giving a gift to Every child but everybody's going to Receive a gift now for the younger kids We do jump in and help them choose an Appropriate gift right that would Actually be a blessing to the the Recipient of the gift this year the Budget is at forty dollars for a gift Thirty dollars I was thinking Thirty I Think it's thirty dollars Um so this is tough these days it is Tough to get something good we're always Encouraging people to hand make make Things yep do something special for that

Person that they'll really like but Again the bonus of this and the real Benefit of this is teaching people how To focus on one person and how to give a Gift that somebody else is going to Really treasure and not just give the Gift that you find quickly or give the Thing that you have you know that you Want to give but rather to bless the Other person and so this I I gotta say This was really hard for me as a mom and You had suggested this I think for a Couple years before I was okay can I add To something to you before you go on Because there are past videos and stuff Where we've talked a lot about making Gifts and making gifts are great but in Our family is the fan family got large It became a huge burden especially for a Mom in the house to help all these Little people make a gift the project Just became huge and that became a huge Stressor and so I felt like we needed Something a little bit different that Allowed a little flexibility so she Wasn't having to guide everybody making So many things it went the other Direction so I think in a certain family Size that can work great you can you can Make things and that can be great but it Got a little big for us and it was hard To get done within the flow of Life Hence that that's where you especially If you see some of the old videos and

What you're about to talk to that's Where that shift is and going you know We've got to do this a little bit Differently not that people can't make Things we still encourage them to right But they have the freedom to to also buy Something or buy the parts to make Something or whatever absolutely yeah What was I about to talk about because I Forgotten when I was sorry to you It was that glitch can I blame it on a Pregnancy Yeah so anyways just wanted to clarify a Few of those uh those things oh no I Remember Um you know for me as a mom this was Really hard for me to think about going Away from giving each child a gift and Making sure each child felt loved and so We kind of came up with a compromise one Now like there's no looking back I am so Glad we have done this this has removed So much stress from our season totally Love it Um but right at that time when I was Really struggling with it what we did is We went ahead and we got everybody nice Stockings yeah and we do fill the Stockings up and the stockings we fill Up with just little things you know from Or knick-knacky you're useful yeah Little uh everybody in this house wants Rechargeable batteries you know that's Just a thing double a triple a

Rechargeable batteries so I usually Throw a couple packs of those in there And you know hand warmers for when They're out playing in the snow and Um you know little a couple of little Like goodies sweet goodies things like That a lot of times little keychain Flashlights or stuff like that that They'll use throughout the year that They really like having Um that's a place and then the other Kids now have figured out they they jump Into the stocking thing because a lot of Them will be like oh I really want to Make this thing and I want to give one To every every person and so they all do Their own contribution but then one of The big things that we started doing is We actually go to the grocery store like The day or two before uh Christmas and We get all sorts of fun tropical fruits That we don't usually buy and we pass Those Out Among the stockings and the Kids have come to treasure that moment Oh they love it when they get a mango or A kiwi they're all different which ones They like we just kind of like sprinkle Them around and get a whole bunch and Stuff you know finish filling the Stockings with that and maybe if your House you guys buy those things all the Time maybe that's not very you know Maybe that wouldn't be the thing maybe You'd have to think creatively about

What that is but in our house we're just Not bringing in tropical fruit all the Time for everybody so it's a big deal And it's a really you know widely look Forward to then we'll all take our fruit And go to the kitchen and you know Everybody likes nibbling on each other's And trying different things if they have Anything really outside the normal in The grocery store which sometimes they Do you know you get like dragon fruit or Star fruit or some of these fun Different things we make sure we grab Those and uh get those in there for a Lot of fun and they really love that and That stocking kind of contains that and Everybody works within that so it's not Everything big but it's these little Things and and so that spreads the cheer A little bit and it's a little fun People can drop things in there so it Adds to the other part of things we'll Often find like little army men or you Know things like that in the in there That the little kids contribute to the Stocking I want to talk about one more So we can because we're gonna get out of Time here and we've we've got another Appointment we've got to get to but um And I think that is the meals and Something that we've done that you've Done is to simplify the meals and it's Wonderful to have these big expansive Meals with so many different things on

It but it's a lot of work to cook and Prepare and so just simplifying the Meals you know yeah has been I think Very helpful in taking the pressure off The kitchen and the to-do list in in Just doing less yeah you know doing Doing less and not being afraid to get More help in doing it even when it comes Down to if you're going to do a big meal Maybe it's Christmas Day and you're Gonna have a big meal if you have guests Coming over make sure you go ahead and Ask them to bring something it doesn't You don't even have to tell them what to Bring you can just say bring your Favorite Christmas dish to put on the Table but even in your own house if you Have people who are old enough to cook Um maybe they aren't the regular chefs In the kitchen but they are capable give Them a you know this year you've got Green beans or this year you've got this And let them go ahead and participate And get involved in that to take the Pressure off the main chef and to make It a a learning thing where maybe you Can all be in the kitchen working Together and you can make it a fun Moment you know oh yeah loud Christmas Music and sing together whatever it is That brings joy to your family go ahead And indulge in that moment the cooking Together moment and getting help there And then getting it onto the table but

You don't have to have a week of Phenomenal meals You know tamales are great uh breakfast Casseroles beforehand you guys know me I'm all into the breakfast casseroles we Do the fancy breakfast casseroles for a Holiday week right but Um but we still want to make it uh you Know everybody needs to leave the week Rested and feeling joyful and Celebratory well and focused on the why Yeah and being able to ultimately focus On the why and of course it's about Family coming together but it's really About the gift of life that we have and If whatever we're doing takes us away From that then the question becomes why Why are we doing this and so you know Eliminate those things that are getting In the way of the why and the spirit and And then find out how to do the things That you want to keep in a way that Helps you focus on things and focus on Each other and enjoy that why together Yeah and you know what sometimes that Means you know and Um means you know a couple phone calls We don't even stress about the phone Calls if we don't talk to everybody you Know it's it's we've we have people Right here and I think that's part of it To start a work toward close is is it's Wonderful to talk to everybody you don't Have to talk to everybody on Christmas

Day no you can talk to them the next day Or the day before and spread that all Out and and just be able to be right Here right together and enjoy that why Yeah together and always be looking for Somebody who may not have a place to be And maybe Alone And um you know try and bring them into The family and bring them into the Festivities that can be really hard for People this time of year if they're Alone and there's a lot of things going On so just invite them to do the low Stress thing that you're doing you know Alongside you and if you're that person That's Alone look for things that you Can do around Um you know around the community and get Involved because there's a lot of Opportunities out there yeah and hey I'm Sure a lot of you guys have a lot of Great ideas so share them you know share Them in the comments below with other People we're just one house one group of People and as we said when we started we Don't have it nailed down it still gets Crazy Um but share your ideas and what you Guys do to you know get centered back on The why and make the season what it's Supposed to be about and that that helps Everybody we all get to learn from Seeing what neat things you guys are

Doing absolutely you guys have a Wonderful season a wonderful lead up to Christmas here I think we'll be here Again before I don't know but I can't Remember okay because we are taking the End of the year completely off of Publishing anything we're going to take A couple weeks off so we're gonna go Really quiet for a few weeks and we are Simplifying For That season and just Hanging out with family and um and you Know getting a little bit of time to Focus on Christ is the center of what's Going on in our life here and so Um so yeah we may disappear but we also Might have one more picture check coming Up I can't remember well we'll just say It now and we'll say it again Merry Christmas we're thankful for you for all Of you guys and for this last year Together and we're looking forward to Next year Merry Christmas if you don't See it if we do we'll say Merry Christmas again all right sounds good Bye