Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving turkey appetizer with fruit cheese skewers

Assessing Your Thanksgiving

How was your Thanksgiving?  Was it successful?  Did you forget anything?  Do you wish you could have done something differently?  We’re here to help with our printable Thanksgiving Assessment Form.

Printable Thanksgiving Assessment Form

Now that the day is over, take a few minutes to assess the success of the holiday.  Use our printable Party and Event Assessment Chart to analyze your Thanksgiving, so that next year turns out even better. Just click on the link below to print our assessment form:

Party and Event Assessment

Party and Event Assessment Chart

Assessing the event

Be sure to think about all of the phases of your day:

  • Set up: decorations, plates/napkins, flow of room
  • Planning: guests, time of gathering
  • Meal: food, timing of appetizers and main course

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Were the right people invited?
  • Should you have included or excluded anyone?
  • Was there enough time for guests to talk and socialize?
  • Were you happy with the food preparation and selections?
  • How did the beverages work out?
  • Did you have enough to serve?
  • Did the dessert work out well?

Did you truly enjoy the day?  Is there anything you could do differently next year to make the day more enjoyable?

Thanksgiving Dinner Table

What went well on Thanksgiving?

Start by thinking about the successful part of your Thanksgiving.  Think about:

  • What went really well?
  • Are there things you would keep the same?

Jot down your top items that made your Thanksgiving a success.  These are the items you will want to repeat again next year.  There were several things that went well for us:

  • Inviting the right mix of people. There were lots of laughs, and everyone had a great time.
  • Asking guests to bring an appetizer and a dessert.  Everyone wanted to bring something, so we concentrated their efforts toward appetizers and desserts. This meant we didn’t need to worry about preparing any appetizers, or storing all of the fruits and veggies in our refrigerator – since the turkey took up so much space.  It also meant that our guests could be creative.  Check out this appetizer which is a turkey made out of fruit and cheese skewers:

Thanksgiving turkey appetizer with fruit cheese skewers

  • Using our cooking timeline.  Our social hour ran a little long since one guest showed up extra early and another was 30 minutes late. Since everyone had a great time, it wasn’t a problem. Just glad we had our cooking timeline set up. We were able to easily adjust it, so that everything was ready at the same time.

Thanksgiving Sample Cooking Timeline

  • Having a landscaper lined up.  Here in New England, it snowed. It was that heavy, wet snow. Luckily, we spoke with our neighbor in October. He knows to plow our driveway if it hasn’t been done when he drives by. This was a nice treat on Thanksgiving Day, since we had enough to concentrate on that day.

What didn’t go well on Thanksgiving?

Next, it’s time to think about things that just didn’t work:

  • Were you prepared for everything?
  • Did you run out of anything, or forget something?

Write down the things that went wrong, so that next year you can make some changes.  Here’s what we need to fix for next year:

  • Gather our special utensils ahead of time. On Wednesday, we realized our meat thermometer broke last time we used it. That meant a trip to the store during rush hour to buy a new meat thermometer.

Thanksgiving small floral centerpiece

  • Decide on who will bring the centerpiece. We purchased one, and one of our guests brought one.  They were both beautiful, but we could have saved a little money with only one centerpiece.

 

Thanksgiving small floral centerpiece 2

Things to do next time

Lastly, write down a few things you want to do next year.  By documenting your thoughts now, it will make it much easier for next year.  Here are the changes we will make:

  • Ask guests to bring an appetizer or a dessert. It felt like we had an awful lot of food, since our guests brought an appetizer and a dessert. 🙂
  • Buy a new gravy boat. Since we have new “everyday” dishes, we opted to use those for Thanksgiving. However, we used a gravy boat that didn’t quite match the festive look of our table.
  • Purchase another three-quart pot. It was much easier to make the stuffing in a larger pot, which we borrowed from a relative. It would be worth having another one on hand.

Happy planning!

Here is our article on Planning Thanksgiving Dinner.  It includes a Sample Thanksgiving Menu, Blank Menu, Thanksgiving Cooking Timeline, and Thanksgiving Grocery List.  Just click on the link to read more:

Thankgsiving Dinner

Planning Thanksgiving Dinner

Preparing for a Snowstorm

If a winter storm is headed your way, you’ll want to make sure your household is ready.

Two days before the winter storm

To avoid the crowds, there are a few things you’ll want to do two days prior to a winter storm:

  • Take inventory and go grocery shopping.  Think about which non-perishable items you want to have on hand.  Don’t forget pet food, baby supplies, prescriptions and cash.
  • Fill up your cars with gas.
  • Do laundry.
  • Turn the refrigerator to the coldest setting, in case of a power outage.

One day before the big storm

The day before the winter storm, take care of the following things:

  • Set up area with radio, flashlights, and lanterns
  • Complete “Backyard patrol” (one last chance to clean up after your pets)
  • Confirm access to gas grill and wood on patio
  • Move cars to one side of driveway (to make for easy snow plowing or snow blowing)
  • Make brownies or apple coffee cake for guys who shovel; newspaper carrier
  • Charge all devices (cell phones, ipad, laptops etc.)

Here is a printable Winter Storm Checklist to help you prepare.  There is one sample checklist, and one blank one for you to personalize.

Winter Storm Checklist - Its Going to Snow

Winter Storm Checklist – Its Going to Snow

 

Websites

You may also want to check out the following websites which offer tips on preparing for a winter storm.  Just click on the links to access the site.

1.  http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/beforestorm/supplylists.asp

This website reviews the winter advisory terms to know.  It also provides helpful tips on food, water, heating, and vehicle safety.  The checklist format will help you confirm everything is covered.

2.  http://www.huliq.com/10473/food-safety-important-issue-during-winter-storm-preparation

This website explains food safety in detail.  You’ll want to know these rules in case of a power outage.

Stay safe everyone!

Here are a few more articles you may enjoy:

What’s In Your Emergency Food Bin?

Are you ready for the cold virus season?

Stomach Bug Strikes Again: Is Your Pantry Stocked to Handle a Stomach Bug?