Today was “meet and greet” for my kids before school starts Monday and I really enjoyed meeting their teachers. My boys walked up with a smile on their faces and shook hands with their new teacher, the one they’ll spend nearly everyday with for almost an entire year. I noticed every teacher had their own unique presentation of asking for additional supplies they need that go beyond the rather detailed supply list each student is instructed to purchase. One of my son’s teachers had a cute flower pot with each flower as a different need in the classroom – science kits, an electric pencil sharpener, gift cards to amazon, target and other items to help make their classroom even better.
I deeply appreciate a creative, well organized teacher that can lead 20+ kids to a love of learning. It’s a hard job. They need stuff in the classroom to make learning fun, interesting and help tell stories. As a parent, I want to help provide it. They spend a lot of time with my kid and make a life long impression, so any contribution I’m able to extend, I do.
Here are a three back to school lists to remember. Teachers and homeroom parents are staying organized using ThingToBring to know who is contributing what to an ongoing supply list, party or fundraiser.
1. The Year Round List – Date the event for the last day of school and keep an ongoing list of items needed in the classroom – tissues, glue, sanitized wipes, etc. Everyone on the list will be notified when a new item is added and someone signs up for something. Parental camaraderie helps keep the classroom stocked all year long without the teacher having to personally ask for it.
2. Classroom Parties – Create a sign-up sheet for the Halloween, Holiday and Valentine’s parties. Add the arts and crafts, games and snacks you need. Your previously invited parents will be saved from your Year Round List so it’ll be fast and easy to create new lists.
3. Fundraisers & Donations – Our school does annual can drives, auctions, shoe drives and more. At times, classrooms put together baskets, or a collection of items that specifically represent the class. It’s nice that the list is open for all invited to see. This helps parents support each other and reach out if it appears one needs help gathering items or financially needs help with their own child’s supplies.
The needs haven’t changed and the lists are long. Teachers don’t have a supplied budget for classroom enhancement and back to school lists. They lean on parents for support. In fact, majority of teachers purchase student supplies with their own money as reported by The Journal from a recent study. According to the report, teachers expect to spend a total of about $500 on school supplies by the end of this school year, 47% of which will come from their own pockets. I’ve watched every teacher I know stretch an inch into a mile with creativity. They’re experts on conserving resources based on the experience of not having much.
It’s hard to ask for stuff. Let technology help ask for the items needed with a list in ThingToBring so your kids can gather, create, give and learn more often. Getting the kids involved by participating in the list assignments gives them responsibility and they actually might get a kick out of using the iOS or Android app to add items they’d like in the classroom (of course with teacher approval) . . . the ipads and xbox may have to wait for larger contribution back to school lists.
Is your backyard the perfect place for a summer cookout? Mine is – I have a beautiful, large oak tree that shades the entire yard with plenty of space for the kids to throw the ball around. The screened patio is great to hang out, grill out, watch a game on the patio TV or listen to my summer playlist. As you can see, I’m going to take advantage of the outdoors and have family and friends over for the best summer cookout. I’ve compiled a fantastic menu with recipe links and options for each course as well as games to make my backyard party even more memorable. Are you coming over?
As the host, I tend to stress about getting everything ready and making the event perfect. It feels so much better answering the question from my friends, “what can I bring” with a signup list ready to go with ThingtoBring. I use the iOS app more than the site to keep track of who’s bringing what to this summer cookout.
Here’s my selected menu along with links for other options:
Cocktails. I always start here! I recently watched Tiffani Theissen mix up a Peach Texas Tea with Tequila and had to give it a try. All I can say is YUM. Delish also offers up other no-fail summer cocktails.
Appetizers. I love a good, light caprese salad with fresh mozzarella and ripe tomatoes with a fresh, right from the farm olive oil, but any of these apps from Bon Appetit will do just fine by me.
Meat on the Grill. I’m in Tampa, so I’ll be choosing a fresh caught grouper from our Gulf. I love how Grilling Companion compiled the most popular grilling recipes based on the top 10 grilling cities around America. Choose your main course to fit your location for a fun, local touch.
Sides & Salads. Everything is better with bacon and this BLT Pasta is a must for my summer cookout. Potato salad, corn on the cob and other cookout side staples are organized nicely to choose from thanks to the food network.
Dessert. It’s hot. It’s summer. Dessert at my party will be cold, fruity, and sweet. Raspberry icebox cake is my choice. I love fruity desserts. These are a few runner-ups on my list. Maybe I’ll assign 2 or 3 desserts in my ThingToBring list. You can never have enough dessert, right?
Add a couple of game options and you’re party planning will be done. Water balloon dodgeball and lawn jenga are a ton of fun but don’t forget about slip and slide wiffle ball and traditional horseshoes. Of course, you can find all the outdoor cookout games your heart desires on Pinterest.
Create ways to share fun, quality time with your family and friends. There’s no need to stress when you’re the host when you use ThingToBring. Let us know how your summer cookout goes.
We love Super Bowl gatherings – cheering for our favorite team, watching the clever commercials, hanging out with good friends, but most of all, we love the food! Snacks, sides and main dishes will be devoured while all eyes are on the TV. Whether you host the party or go to one, you’ll likely have a dish or two to make. Get acknowledged as the winner of the SUPPER BOWL with the best potluck recipes.
These are our favorite dishes for the big game.
The Snackadium. This is so impressive. Bring your ‘A’ game with this chip/dip/sandwiches/treat replica of a stadium. It’s sure to put points on your side of the board from HomeandHeartDIY.
Chili. Choose white chicken chili or a hearty beef, but a football game just isn’t the same without chili. These are highly rated favorites on Food.com.
Chicken Wings. GrillingCompanion.com has the best grilled sriracha chicken wing recipe. Sriracha sauce is a magically hot and delicious hot sauce from Thailand. This recipe is perfectly balanced with a little honey, lime juice and butter for a deliciously spicy, but not painful wing sauce.
Pork Sliders. There are so many great recipes, especially for the slow-cooker. Really. Throw on some coleslaw and you’ve got a win on your hands. A nice variety posted here on Pinterest.
Brownies – Keep it classic. Fudgy and chewy. If that’s too boring for you these are the cutest desserts and snacks compiled by Buzzfeed.
Our top 5 choices can help you score big with your friends. Gathering is fun and easy when everyone shares in the planning. Get bonus points for being tech savvy and use the ThingToBring site or app to make this Super Bowl not just about football, but a SUPPER BOWL with the best potluck recipes.
Your December weekends are filled with gatherings among friends, family and co-workers. Don’t get caught up in the moment and prevent yourself from having a lingering office Christmas party mishap. Follow our top 5 tips so you aren’t “that guy.” Your reputation will thank us.
- Don’t Spike The Eggnog.
Sure, have a glass or two, but when you drink too much in mixed company, you’re bound for a fail. Before you know it, you’re the self-proclaimed comedian telling inappropriate jokes in front of your wife’s boss creating quite the lasting impression.
- Secret Santa Gift Gone Wrong.
If you’re doing a gift exchange, stay conservative. Get a candle, snowglobe, spirits, a scarf – here are some suggestions from Bustle. Just stay away from the gag gifts because you think you’re funny – fake poop, underwear and definitely stay away from the adult entertainment store. You’ll have a rep damaging photo on social for eternity guaranteed.
- Caught Empty Handed.
Don’t go to your office Christmas party empty handed – ask what to bring in advance. Don’t get complicated with your dish. Stick to easy meals and crowd favorites. Suggest to the host a potluck sign up app or service like Thing to Bring so everyone can complement each other’s dishes. Not bringing anything = loser.
- Mistaken Identity.
So your co-worker and girlfriend are wearing similar dresses . . . look before you smack. Accidentally smacking your co-worker on the backside thinking it’s your girlfriend will almost always end the party with an unhappy spouse and call from HR.
- Squatting Is For Ducks.
Never be the last one to leave. If your hosts are yawning and washing dishing, the night is over. Pick up on the cues and time it so you’re not the first one to run out but definitely not the last.
Get an invite next year by following our top 5 tips to prevent an embarrassing office Christmas party mishap. Enjoy as much time as you can with family and friends and have a safe and happy holiday!
ThingToBring.com and ThingToBring for iPhone has been updated to make it easier than ever to send sign up sheets for volunteer events, potluck dinners and tailgates. Now you simply create your event and ThingToBring will create a link that you can email to anyone. The recipient uses the link to RSVP and sign up for things to bring. We ask for their email on RSVP so we can tell you who is bringing what to the event:
Gooey, crusty, delicious casseroles. Macaroni and cheese, green beans casserole with those delicious fried onions on top, gooey scalloped potatoes with a nice brown crusty top…I can’t stand it! Sorry, got a little excited there. I’m obviously a huge fan of this type of dish and I get absolutely giddy when I am invited to a potluck dinner. A potluck dinner is like a casserole fan convention and I am like the President of the fan club. I always come away with a few new recipes, often times “secret” recipes handed down through generations of Moms. The perfect excuse to pig out!
I have to say though, I have been to a few potluck dinners that were pretty big downers. The reason? Not enough food! I developed ThingToBring.com to prevent this kind of party catastrophe. Using the website or Thing2Bring for iPhone, a party planner can quickly and easily create a free potluck sign up sheet and email it out to all of their friends. The attendee uses the link in the email to RSVP for the dinner and then sign up for a “thing” to bring to the potluck. Don’t know or care what people bring and just want to make sure there is enough food? That is fine, your friends can add their own casserole as a “Thing” once they RSVP. As the potluck dinner planner, you just sit back and monitor RSVPs and who is bringing what to the party. Then, if need be, you throw a few more green bean casseroles in the oven the day of the dinner to make sure you have enough food for your guests. The sign up sheet does all of the work (except for cooking those extra casseroles, it is a website, that is impossible).
One other added benefit to the sign up sheet for your potluck is people can share links to their recipes. If the party planner has some recipe suggestions, he or she can add those to the invites that are sent out. If an attendee wants to add their own, they simply put in the website URL at the time they add their “thing”. After the dinner, all of the attendees can again click on the link they got in email and see the recipe to that awesome casserole everyone finished first! Sharing is good, right?
So make sure your dinner is a success, with enough casserole goodness to fill up all of those bellies. Create a free potluck sign up sheet using ThingToBring.com for your next dinner and know exactly who is bringing what!
Planning a pot luck, tailgate or cookout and want to spread the cooking chores to your friends? Or maybe you are planning your child’s birthday party and want to give Grandma, Grandpa and the rest of the family ideas on what toys to buy? Whatever event you are planning, creating a sign up sheet will allow you to answer the most common question every event planner is asked by friends that are attending. “What can we bring?”.
ThingToBring.com is a website dedicated to this very question. The original idea came from a frustration we always experienced when planning tailgating parties for college football. We are season ticket holders and share a section with 32 friends. That means we have some awesome tailgates! I am an avid griller and BBQ (I am one of the founders of GrillingCompanion.com), so I am usually the one that cooks for everyone. I am fine with that because one of my favorite things to do is to feed people! The frustrating part comes from trying to let my friends know what they can bring to help out. No one wants to be a free-loader, everyone wants to feel like they contributed to the party. So here’s what typically happens during the week leading up to a game. Friends would call another friend and invite them to the party. That friend would always get the question “what can we bring?”. Said friend replies “Steve is cooking, give him a call and ask what you bring”. I get the call, feel bad that I am even asking someone to bring something and to top it all off, I don’t really know who told who else to bring what! Game Day arrives and we have a great party, filled with whatever we cooked onsite and about 15 bags of chips, 5 pies and 4 dozen cookies. My cooler on the way home is packed with more stuff than when I arrived at the game, with all of the redundant snacks everyone brought because they felt they needed to bring something. I finally gained enough weight from the extra carbs to put my programming skills to work! The result was ThingToBring.com, a really simple and quick way to create and send a sign up sheet to all of my tailgating buddies!
Well, like myself, all of my friends are gadget lovers and we all carry around iPhones. The initial feedback I got from friends was that they really wished they could easily add Things for people to bring on their phone, whenever they thought of something else they wanted for the party. They (and I) also wanted a really easy way to check who is bringing what while in the supermarket while buying all of the supplies for the party. As a result, Thing2Bring for iPhone was born! Thing2Bring is a mobile extension of ThingToBring.com. Once you register with an email address and password, you can access, monitor, add things for people to bring, invite new friends, track RSVPs and who is bringing what for any sign up sheet you created on either the website or from within the mobile app. Everything is kept up to date so you and our friends know who is bringing the chips already (please, no more chips!).
At this point, we have “scratched our itch” when it came to the tailgating frustration and now I want to make it ever more useful for other event planning. I love the fact that people are using this for things I never even imagined. This Thanksgiving brought new users to the site and mobile app to help plan their Thanksgiving feasts. From looking at the data, it seems like most Thanksgiving planners opted to cook the turkey and outsource all of the casseroles. Pretty cool to see that people got a lot of use out of it for Thanksgiving. That’s what it is all about, solving your own problem first and then making it great for other people as well.
So give it a try for free and let us know what you think. What else can we do to make it easier to create and track your next event’s sign up sheet? What other features should ThingToBring.com and Thing2Bring have? There is a feedback button there on the right side of the website. You can anonymously leave suggestions and feedback if that is more your speed. Party on!
How often have you sent out invitations for your son or daughter’s birthday party and gotten the question “what are they in to?”? At first glance, creating a birthday gift registry for kids may seem tacky, but can’t you think of times when it would have helped you when you were rushing through the store on the way to the party because you forgot to get a gift? I know it would have saved me on several occasions! What about friends and family that can’t come and/or live out of town? Maybe they want some ideas that they can order online and have shipped to the special birthday boy or girl.
ThingToBring.com and Thing2Bring for iPhone can help. Simply create your birthday party invitation and add a few toys as “Things” that your child really likes to play with. You can also specify the theme for the party. If the theme is Star Wars, well, there are tons of ideas right there for birthday gift shopping. Then add the email addresses for the people you want to invite to the party. They will receive an email containing a link to sign up for Things to bring to your party. They can either sign up for the exact toy you added or use the list (or theme) as a suggested gift registry and buy toys that are similar. I can see that Spencer is in to Star Wars, but it looks like Nana is bringing that Star Wars Lego Storm Trooper set already. I bet he doesn’t have the Interceptor!
As an added bonus, how many times have you forgotten to jot down who brought what toy to the party? Remember that cold sweat that hits you when you are filling out the thank you cards and you can’t remember who brought the Nerf gun? ThingToBring allows invitees to add their own ThingToBring to your party. So if they are bringing something you didn’t have on the list, but add their toy to the list, you have a record of who brought what from the birthday gift registry! No more writing vague thank you notes!
You’ve got a lot of research to do now that you have that turkey thawing in the refrigerator. Should you smoke it? How about frying? If you are frying, make sure you read all of the warnings so you don’t create a poultry inferno (seriously, be careful)? How about a Bourbon glaze? You are hosting this dinner, so you need an excuse to buy a BIG bottle, right? Speaking of hosting, don’t forget those last few hours when you realize everyone is coming over and you and start to frantically clean the house. All of this planning and work and you haven’t even STARTED thinking about sides and desert, right? I’ve got a question. What is the rest of your family stressing over? Shouldn’t you get them to work on those casseroles and pies? I mean, there are a lot of delicious recipes out there just waiting to be brought to go along with your amazing turkey (I have faith in you, it is going to turn out great, soooo juicy). Get the rest of those slackers working too by creating a Thanksgiving sign up sheet!
I know you want to do everything yourself, but everyone else wants to contribute too. Everyone at the table this Thanksgiving wants to take their turn explaining how they came up with that recipe from scratch (they are lying). Don’t deny them their moment and take the side dish burden off of yourself at the same time. With ThingToBring.com, you can create a sign up sheet for Thanksgiving, your next potluck or any other event where you want to tell people what they can bring to the party. Don’t know what you want them to bring? That’s cool, they can add their own Thing to Bring when they RSVP on the site. Simply create the event, invite all of your family and friends and they will get an email saying they “have a Thing To Bring” to your Thanksgiving dinner. Once they click on the link, they can RSVP and then sign up for anything you listed as needed for the party or they can add their own super-secret mac and cheese dish. You just sit back, keep researching that turkey and sip on some of that extra Bourbon. Everyone else can spend their time online trying to find a recipe they can take credit for too. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole…..oh man, and the pies! I need to get to work too!