Free Printable: The Thanksgiving Plan

Free Printable: The Thanksgiving Plan

The Thanksgiving Plan Preview

Fail to plan, plan to fail. Sure, it may be a motto for many things but it’s something that should be chanted as we enter the holidays. Especially Thanksgiving. Lists are key, math does play a part in what you serve and careful pre-planning will make your day so much easier.


One year, my mom was hosting Thanksgiving dinner for our immediate family, their family and guests of those who were single. With about 25 people in the house, several of us were running around the kitchen with purpose. The pressure to serve an incredible meal was on. A couple of the guests were the type of women who tend to do everything right in the kitchen. You know those type? They can just “whip up” something and it looks like a magazine feature. Why didn’t we ask them to cook? Hindsight is 20/20.

The final stages of meal prep were coming to a close and my aunt was making gravy… from scratch. She was stirring and stirring, adding more ingredients and then stirring again. The freaking gravy would NOT thicken up. So, as one of the perfect cooks went to her car to grab something (I was praying it was a meal), my aunt tossed the runny gravy down the drain, grabbed a can of pre-made gravy, dumped it into the bowl and started stirring by the time the woman made it back into the kitchen.


We planned ahead.

The gravy was excellent.


  • How many guests are you expecting?
  • Who is bringing what?
  • Do you have the meal planned out?
  • How does your grocery list look?

We’ve created thirteen pages of list-type organization for Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, we said THIRTEEN pages to keep you on track and always one step ahead.

Thanskgiving Plan Worksheets[ddownload id=12000]

It’s all free and it’s ready for download. Go for it!

tawsha connell

How to Host a Pinterest Party – Step by Step

How to Host a Pinterest Party – Step by Step

How to host a pinterest party | organized chaos online

I’m going on my second year of hosting a Pinterest party. I’d been thinking it would be a cool idea to get friends together and craft something up but I could never decide what project to do and who to invited to do that project because all my friends are so different.

Every year as the holidays approach, I’m reminded of my mom telling me about when she was little, her mom hosted a get together called BPFC. The meaning: Be Prepared For Christmas. The ladies would get together and sew their little hearts out in the months leading up to Christmas.

My Nana was a visionary! I wanted to do this.

At that point, the Pinterest party was born.

There are truly no rules to hosting a Pinterest party. You can just come up with a concept in your head and carry it out in a way that works best for your life.

Since “Just wing it” isn’t a sufficient ‘How-To’, I’ll break down how we host our parties.

pinterest party planning

CONCEPT: When planning my Pinterest party, I knew we would get together and work on projects for Christmas. It could be a gift or decor. Everyone coming to the party, chooses a project from Pinterest they would like to do (in the amount of time they will be at your house) and brings enough for everyone to try it.The instructions are typically to state how many people you expect at the party so each person knows how many people to supply with their chosen project. It sounds pricey but it’s actually not. You can choose yours according to the budget you’re working with. Having everyone choose their own project helps with the conundrum of coming up with something everyone would like to do. TIP: Keep your guest count manageable. 10 guests are plenty. For your party, you can choose whatever focus or theme you’d like.

chili bar by marigold mom

Chili bar by Marigold Mom
click image for more great (and affordable) party ideas

FOOD & DRINK: As the host, it is up to me to plan food and drinks for my guests. This time around, one of my guests actually wanted to cook for the party. Who am I to turn down that offer? We had chili. A creative and very do-able idea is a chili bar. It’s very cost effective. Add some cornbread to the sides and you have a nice meal. In keeping with the “bar” theme, tacos and salads work just as well. As far as the drinks go, you can be as plain or as fancy as you’d like. Hop onto Pinterest and search for party drinks or just keep it simple and put out bottled water, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. (party drinks HERE). TIP: Keep the food and drinks away from the craft area.

craft storage

craft storage option from the Container Store


PREP: Even though your guests will each  be bringing a project for everyone including the supplies, it’s likely someone will forget something or not realize they needed glue, ribbon, mod podge, etc, until the last minute. Beef up your craft supplies before they arrive. A list of things that are always good to have on hand are:

  • Glue Dots
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Paintbrushes
  • Cardstock paper
  • Xacto knife
  • Pencils and Pens

wood table setup

CRAFT AREA: All your guests will have questions for one another, will want to see what the other is doing and will be chatting it up like crazy. It’s a super-fun night so be sure you have an area where everyone can sit down close to each other. You can set your Pinterest party up at an extended kitchen table or even a folding table with a festive cover.

entryway clock

TIME: As fun as it is crafting it up with a bunch of great girlfriends, the length of time is important. This goes for both you and your guests. Of course they can stay longer but 3-4 hours is plenty of time for what you want to do.

did this on pinterest


  • NO KIDS: Unless your children are involved in the project or being watched by someone not participating in the party, it’s not advised to have children present. Why? They will want to do what you’re doing, be in the mix and distract you from being engaged in your project with friends. Plus, there’s a safety element that plays into it if you’re using scissors and knives.
  • NO BYSTANDERS: While it’s awesome to sit and visit with a friend, someone just dropping by to chat it up isn’t a part of the group’s activity and, just like children, will take your focus off what you’re doing.
  • NO IN-DEPTH PROJECTS: Keep it quick. If the craft can’t be completed in the time of the party, save it for something you do at home. A Pinterest party is self-contained. This means, whatever materials are brought into your party are the same materials that are carried out of your party. No overnight drying, coming back for phase two of the cutting, etc. Also, encourage your guests to bring a new project they haven’t tried before. I went to one party where a lady just brought some stuff she’d been working on and thought this was a good time to continue with it. The problem was that she just came to do her own thing while the rest of us were introduced to new ideas, suggestions, successes and fails.
  • BE VERY SPECIFIC: Are you asking that your guests bring guests? If not, state that in the invitation by letting them know you’re keeping it to a set amount. Your guests should be informed of every event detail so they can properly plan for the festivities.
  • HAVE FUN. This isn’t Martha Stewart. It’s so fun being around people who are trying these projects for the first time. Some of your friends will be those natural crafters who can make anything look good. Other friends are total Pinterest fails every time they try. It’s awesome. Truly.

Oh, yes. This Pinterest stuff is serious business!

Have you seen our boards? We can be found HERE. What’s your Pinterest account? Comment below so we can see inside your minds and follow your boards.

tawsha connell

DIY Outdoor Movie Night by House of Creative Designs

DIY Outdoor Movie Night by House of Creative Designs

I first “met” Haddy from House of Creative Designs last Christmastime on Instagram. It’s a crazy social media world we live in. Haddy was always doing some amazingly cute things with her Elf on the Shelf and I was getting into it at the same time. We just started chatting and have been in touch for a year, now. Since that time, Haddy has officially created House of Creative Designs and has an incredible eye for design (something I do not have) and is so stinking creative. When I saw her DIY Outdoor Movie Night, I asked if she’d be willing to do a guest post.

Friends, meet Haddy. Haddy, meet our friends. Let’s begin, shall we?

Outdoor Movie Night HOCd | organized chaos onlineFirst of all let me say this was super fun and I’m absolutely doing this again. My guests all loved it and demanded that we have one monthly. The bonus was how inexpensive and easy it was to create. It took just ONE WEEK to prepare.



DIY outdoor movie night


I literally had less than a week to make our very first “Outdoor Movie Night” happen. So the first thing you need is going to be a projector. We lucked out and just borrowed one from My aunt’s office and hooked it up to my laptop, then used some computer speakers to amplify the sound (optional). If you don’t have the same luck and would like to invest in a projector, I have seen some pretty good deals on and Amazon for about $200. The other option is renting. There are several online AV rentals companies and they typically charge around $55-$90 for a weekend.


The next main staple you’ll need is a screen. You don’t need anything fancy and you don’t need to spend a lot of money. Just head over to your linen closet or thrift store and dig out a stain free white sheet and iron it. You can also use a fabric shower curtain, drape panel, or a tablecloth – which is what I used. I used strong clips to hang it from the gutter off of the roof line but you can also run rope or heavy duty fish line or clip it to a fence.



For seating, a mixture of blankets, pillows and chairs will give your guests options.I would suggest writing instructions on your invites for guests to “Bring your own lawn chair”.

DIY Outdoor Movie Night | organizedCHAOSonline


Now for the fun stuff. Of course, movie night is not complete without popcorn. Why not a popcorn bar! Remember people like options and popcorn is cheap! To create this, I used an existing tablecloth and bought a couple of yards of burlap (cost less than $10) and threw that on top. I wanted my popcorn bar to be rustic and a bit vintage so I incorporated an old create and wire basket and made a wood popcorn sign. (more on the popcorn flavors under EMBELLISHMENTS & FUN TOUCHES)



The popcorn sign was also pretty inexpensive to make just using some old wood, nails, rope to hang it from the fence and paint. I wanted a bit of a wow factor so I decided to add little lights along the center of all the letters by drilling holes as evenly spaced as possible. I stuck the light bulbs through the holes and taped them down on the backside of the sign. This was my rustic approach to the DIY marquee sign.


Some of the staples you’ll need to pull off the popcorn bar are:

  • Bags
  • Bowls
  • Cups or boxes

…for the popcorn. This is where the Dollar tree comes in. They actually sell all the “Popcorn” labeled bags and plastic containers. They even have big serving bowl sizes to match. I, again, like to give my guests options. So I had some pre-filled bags of buttered popcorn for those who didn’t want to scoop their own. I put them in glass jars and a DIY sack (which was just a paper grocery bag I lined with butcher paper with burlap and twine wrapped around the outside).

The flavors of popcorn I went with were:

  • Butter popcorn
  • Chile lime popcorn
  • Moose Munch (recipe HERE)

I  had to add a jar of red vines – another movie staple. My bar was made to feed 15 people. For a larger group, I would suggest adding another couple of containers and a third savory flavor like cheese flavored popcorn. We also had other treats for guests to snack on like 7 layer bean dip served in individual cups and little finger foods.

outdoor movie night seven layer dip | organizedchaosonline

That’s it. Just start the movie and tell everyone to be quiet. A last minute fun touch I wanted to add was a chalkboard with the movie(s) that were playing. You can pick up a piece of plywood at Lowes for cheap and some chalkboard paint. Just remember when using chalkboard paint you need to make it 2-3 days before you intend to write on it.

If you like what House of Creative Designs has to offer, check out their other cool inspiration pieces and Etsy store. Like them on Facebook for more.

tawsha connell