3rd Annual Thanksgiving Cooking Timeline Printable

Every year I go on and on about how I don’t have double ovens, and then every year I do this post because it’s so helpful.  If you only have one oven like me, then you need this oven rotation cooking timeline printable.  It will save your life!  One of these days I’ll get double ovens, even if I do only use them on Thanksgiving, ha!

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It’s so helpful because it allows you to plan out when and how you’re going to put things in the oven to make sure everything gets cooked and is still hot when it’s time to eat.  Just click here or on the picture above to download and print out your free cooking timeline printable.

You can see the last two years printables here and here. Looking back I think my design skills have improved a ton too!

Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

Here are a few of my top tips when it comes to cooking Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Always cook things with the highest temperature first, so there is less time for the oven to cool down rather than heat up
  • Be sure to thaw your turkey WELL in advance
  • Brine your turkey so you can cook everything else while it rests and it won’t get dried out (brine recipe I used last year)
  • Do as much prep work as possible in advance (chop, cut, mix things the day before)
  • Bake pies a day in advance, they can sit for 24 hours and still be delicious
  • My favorite Thanksgiving recipes here
  • Check out last week’s post about a stress free Thanksgiving

What are your top tips for cooking Thanksgiving dinner?  Is there a favorite dish you must have? Please share in the comments below, I love seeing what you have to say!

I sincerely hope you have the happiest Thanksgiving surrounding a table full of delicious food that brings back memories and surrounded by those you love and those that love you!  I’ll be taking a little blogging break this week to spend time with my family.  I hope you can do the same!

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10 Ways to Host a Stress Free Thanksgiving

We’re a week away from my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!  Is anyone else as excited as I am?  I know some people get really stressed around the holidays though.  They can be stressful because of family, all the cooking, and gift buying, or expectations for everything to go right.  Well I’m here with a great list of ways to host a stress free Thanksgiving this year.

If it’s your first time ever hosting Thanksgiving, you’re in the right place to calm those nerves!  I’ve been doing it for almost ten years and while it does get easier with practice, you can have a great holiday even as a novice.

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1. Menu plan

If you’ve never hosted Thanksgiving before, or aren’t a very seasoned cook, the menu can be daunting.  Be sure to plan out your menu at least a week in advance.  Go over recipes, make a list of ingredients you’ll need and be sure to plan when you’ll need to start thawing the turkey.  Making a list is key!  You can get more menu planning tips here, including a great shopping list.

2. Set up oven rotations

Again with all the cooking, planning out what goes in the oven, when, and for how long can be consuming.  If you are like me and only have one oven, it’s a juggle all day!  Figure out how long everything needs to cook and at what temperature then you can plan when you’ll bake your dishes and in what order.  Try this oven rotation printable to help.  I’m also planning on making another one for you next week, just in time to start planning your oven rotation.

3. Celebrate with a potluck

If all the cooking and planning is just too stressful, then celebrate Thanksgiving with a pot luck!  Make the dish you’re most comfortable with, then ask everyone to bring everything else.  Pot lucks work best when there is a theme or assigned dishes for everyone to bring.  Be sure to let your guests know how many people (adults and kids) will be eating so there are enough portions for everyone.

4. Have a separate kids activity area/table

Hosting a variety of people can cause stress too.  If there are a lot of kids attending your Thanksgiving, give them their own space.  Setting a kids table is a great way to get them all in the same area.  Having activities to keep them busy when things are still cooking or after they get done eating will help keep them entertained.  Try having a small craft for them, or some special toys, a group game is a great way to keep them occupied.  Click here for lots of ways to entertain kids at a party.

5. Multiple TV’s

My husband and I always jokingly argue on Thanksgiving about who gets the TV.  I love to watch the Thanksgiving day parade, and he loves to watch football.  If you have multiple TVs there won’t be any arguing!

6. Exercise!

If you’re feeling extra stressed, exercise is a great way to reduce it.  Especially on a day where you’ll be consuming extra calories, getting a little exercise in benefits you in multiple ways.  There are so many ways to get in a workout when the gym is closed.  Try to find a Thanksgiving Day 5K, organize a football game, or do a circuit workout with the whole family.

7. Plan the seating chart

If family drama is typical on Thanksgiving, plan for it.  Be sure to sit people next to others that won’t start a family argument.  Telling people where to sit reduces the possibility of an argument breaking out and your stress level.

8. Limit alcohol

Sometimes the family drama can be fueled by a few too many glasses of wine, so be sure to limit how much is served.   Buy only enough alcohol for everyone to get a limited quantity.  Another way to limit alcohol is to make a signature drink so you can be sure how much alcohol is in it.  Cut back on how much liquor is in the drink and no one will even know!

9. Stick to a budget

Once you start planning your menu and preparing to serve a lot of people it can be overwhelming to see how much everything costs.  If spending the money is stressing you out, be sure to set a budget you’re comfortable with and stick to it.  If there are things that are out of your budget see if you can ask someone else to contribute financially, or get creative with things around the house to diy if necessary.

10. Be realistic

In the end, reduce your holiday stress by being realistic with yourself.  It’s ok if everything isn’t perfect, in fact, it probably won’t be.  And that’s ok.  Mishaps make for great memories!  As long as you’re with people you want to celebrate with and you can find something to be happy about, then the day is a success.

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving, aren’t too stressed, and get to eat lots of turkey and gravy.  Be sure to come back next week for your printable oven rotation sheet.  Happy planning, be sure to use some of the links above to get a head start on your Thanksgiving plans!

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The Anatomy of a Dessert Table

Once again, I feel like a “real” blogger today with my good friend and photographer snapping all of these dessert table photos for me. Check out her contact info at the end of this post.

I recently put together a dessert table for a party and thought, there is definitely a bit of a science behind this so I wanted to share some great tips with you.  I think there are four main things you need when designing or setting up a dessert table.  Keep reading to see all four of them and a ton more ideas too.

How to Set Up a Dessert Table

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1. Height

Be sure to vary the height of your desserts.  A good rule of thumb is to put the things in the back higher so they can be reached.  A variety of heights also adds a ton of interest to your table. I used some wood slices, different height cake stands, and a variety of candy jars to differ the heights of my table.

How to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdropHow to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdropHow to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdrop2. A Backdrop

To tie the whole table and party together use a backdrop.  Having a backdrop at your dessert table makes it a focal point of the party.  It also allows you one big area to go overboard with the theme.  And it makes all of your desserts pop.

For this dessert table I simply used some kraft wrapping paper as a backdrop and added some paper flowers and a super quick banner.  I’ll be doing a tutorial post on that banner soon.  I love that I could just write whatever I needed on the wrapping paper backdrop.

Other great ideas to make an easy backdrop are to use tablecloths, shower curtains, balloons, or streamers.  I love the use of decorated pallets at this rustic wedding as a backdrop.  Flowers, banners, and lights are also really great options.

How to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdropHow to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdropHow to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdrop3. A Table and Tablecloth

So this may be a no brainer, but to make a dessert table, you will need a table or something similar to set all of your desserts on.

Instead of just using a table think outside the box and use what you have around your home.  Try using a dresser, a collection of side tables, a bar cart, wine barrels, or a vanity as a dessert table.  Using something unexpected really adds dimension to your dessert table.

Obviously a tablecloth is a great way to tie into the party color scheme.  I highly recommend investing in a plain white linen tablecloth.  You’ll be able to pull it out for so many occasions and it looks so much better than a plastic, themed, throw away tablecloth.  I promise you’ll get your money’s worth out of it.

How to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdrop4. A Variety of Dessert

You can’t have a dessert table without the dessert!  I love all desserts, but having a variety ensures your guests will find something they like.  Mix it up with cookies, cakes, pies, cobblers, candy, cupcakes, or macaroons.  Not a baker?  No worries, your local grocery store has plenty of options for you.

I didn’t bake a thing for this dessert table, but picked everything up at the grocery store and didn’t break the bank.  I was excited to see so many options too.

How to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdropHow to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdropHow to set up a dessert table, dessert table how to, dessert table styling, dessert table backdropNow that you have the four critical parts of a dessert table, I’d love to see what you put together for your next party.  Be sure to tag @thedailyhostess on Facebook and Instagram so I can see all of your creations.

Do you have any other ideas that you feel need to be part of a dessert table?

Photos courtesy of the talented Tricia at Tricia June Photography.  Email for info at tjephotos@gmail.com or visit her Facebook page here.

 

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Tablescape Tuesday: Eucalyptus Centerpiece

Well folks, Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  Who is excited?  I love the holiday because it’s all about the food and just being together.  It’s such a cozy holiday with friends and family gathered around the table.  No party decor necessary.  But, I can’t let a holiday or get together go by without some sort of decor. Enter an inexpensive bunch of eucalyptus to pull this tablescape together.

Thanksgiving is a great time to put all your effort into the tablescape.   You’ll be spending a lot of time eating delicious food around the table anyway.  So today’s Tablescape Tuesday is an inspiration for your Thanksgiving table.

Thankgsiving tablescape with eucalyptus leaves, eucalyptus and pumpkin thanksgiving centerpiece, thanksgiving pumpkin table centerpieceI made this centerpiece for less than $15 and I am completely in love.  I bought the pumpkins and gourds to use as part of my fall front porch several weeks ago.  The bag full was less than $5.  Thank goodness the random hot fall days didn’t make them go bad.

Thankgsiving tablescape with eucalyptus leaves, eucalyptus and pumpkin thanksgiving centerpiece, thanksgiving pumpkin table centerpieceI later got the biggest bunch of eucalyptus from Costco.  You should have seen my face when I saw that they had eucalyptus.  I thought I had won the lottery, because a massive bunch was only $9.99.  Almost every bunch they had came home with me, but I restrained myself a bit.

I used what I needed from the bunch for an event I was planning, then had a lot left over.  So, right before we hopped on a plane for a quick trip to our hometown for my son’s baptism, I put this tablescape together.  Nothing like a deadline to make you jump into action.

Thankgsiving tablescape with eucalyptus leaves, eucalyptus and pumpkin thanksgiving centerpiece, thanksgiving pumpkin table centerpieceI laid the eucalyptus down the center of the table making sure all the stems were covered with leafy areas.  Then I placed the pumpkins and gourds randomly on top of the eucalyptus.  I wish you could have smelled the centerpiece.  So delightful and refreshing.

Thankgsiving tablescape with eucalyptus leaves, eucalyptus and pumpkin thanksgiving centerpiece, thanksgiving pumpkin table centerpieceI like that this centerpiece is low so you can still converse with all of your guests.  There is also plenty of room around the eucalyptus to place your favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

Thankgsiving tablescape with eucalyptus leaves, eucalyptus and pumpkin thanksgiving centerpiece, thanksgiving pumpkin table centerpieceThankgsiving tablescape with eucalyptus leaves, eucalyptus and pumpkin thanksgiving centerpiece, thanksgiving pumpkin table centerpieceFor the place settings, I used my trusty white everyday dishes and some neutral cloth napkins.  Although, looking back at the pictures it would have been a lot nicer had I ironed them first.  But you know, that whole plane to catch thing had me cutting corners.

I loved the touch of tying a name card onto a sprig of eucalyptus.  It ties into the centerpiece, but could also be a cute way to label leftovers for everyone.  Just tuck the stem with the name card into your wrapped up leftovers.  Last year I bought to go containers for Thanksgiving leftovers and they worked so much better than a bunch of paper plates wrapped in aluminum foil.

Thankgsiving tablescape with eucalyptus leaves, eucalyptus and pumpkin thanksgiving centerpiece, thanksgiving pumpkin table centerpieceThankgsiving tablescape with eucalyptus leaves, eucalyptus and pumpkin thanksgiving centerpiece, thanksgiving pumpkin table centerpieceWhile my husband was loading up our luggage I was feverishly snapping pictures to share this tablescape with all of you.    Does this make you want to run out and buy all the eucalyptus like I do?  I’m probably going back to Costco to see if there is more before Thanksgiving.  My only complaint is that this tablescape doesn’t last very long.  If the eucalyptus isn’t in water it dries up pretty quickly.

I hope you have a great Tuesday, and be sure to keep your eye out for bargain eucalyptus!

 

 

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How to Celebrate a “Birthday Month”

Happy November! I know we’re already a couple days in, but we needed a day or so to recover from Halloween.  We had a blast celebrating all day long with school parties, parades, and lots of trick or treating with friends.

I highly recommend inviting some friends over for chili and hot apple cider before trick or treating in your neighborhood.  That’s what we did and it was so much fun.  Now onto November!

I love November!  Thanksgiving, a time for gratefulness, the start of the holidays and it’s my birthday month!  Are you one of those people that celebrates your birthday all month long, just on your birthday, or not at all?  I typically just celebrate on my birthday, but my husband loves his birthday and loves to celebrate all month long.

So let’s talk about ways to celebrate all month long and do it in a way that’s not annoying to everyone around you.

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An Event Every Week Of The Month

Carry your birthday festivities throughout the entire month by doing something birthday related every week.  Now, I won’t judge if you want to throw a party every week 😉 but try some of these other options.

  • Do a charitable act, this is a great way to give back and not make your birthday all about you
  • Do an active activity like a 5K or color run
  • Send yourself or others bouquets of your birthday month flower, here’s a link to a great list of flowers for each month.
  • Host a trivia night, scavenger hunt, or board game night
  • Put together a roast in your honor, invite friends to tell a funny story or memory of you

Celebrate With Your Work Friends

Don’t leave the celebrating just to your personal group of friends, celebrate your birthday month with your work friends too.  You can do so by spoiling them!  Bring cupcakes, bagels, or donuts to work and you’ll have a great work day.

Try spreading the cheer out all month long by buying coffee for a different person each day.  Decorate the coffee cup sleeve for each person to personalize it even more.

Do a Birthday Month Photoshoot

What better way to celebrate yourself than with a photo shoot just for you?  A lot of times we get caught up getting family pictures or holiday card photos, and don’t take time to do pictures of just ourselves.  Need some inspiration to jump in front of the camera solo?  Try one of these ideas.

  • Recreate a photo from your childhood
  • A glitter or confetti photo shoot
  • Grown up cake smash
  • Boudoir photos
  • New headshots

What’s your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?  Would you try any of these ideas?

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Celebrating everyday!