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!
As a season ticket holder, I am generally very optimistic about my USF Bulls. Given the many upset wins we have had over the years, I am convinced we can beat anybody on any given day. However, I am also a realist, so I knew we were in trouble when the number 4 team in the country (Florida State) was coming to town. You see, this was the highest ranked team we have ever played and given the fact that FSU is a more established Florida football program, we knew the sellout crowd would be split pretty evenly. So if we didn’t have the advantage in the stadium, we needed to make sure we did in the parking lot. That meant we needed to really blow it out and win the tailgate! Even though the game didn’t work out in our favor, the party did and we won the tailgate by a landslide.
Our tailgate planning started as usual, with an “anchor” protein around which we wanted to build a menu. I had dedicated myself to smoking 12 pounds of pork shoulder overnight, so I needed everyone else to make the sides while I grabbed a power nap before the game. I created an online sign up sheet for our party and my awesome tailgating partners did the rest. The pork was amazing, we all ate too much and then entered the stadium fat, happy and optimistic about the game.
I’m still working out the kinks with ThingToBring, so I keep running in to new features I need to add to make my party planning life easier. This week’s realization was that we need a way to let attendees add new friends. When you send out a sign up sheet for something like a tailgate or picnic, inevitably someone is going to want to ask “mind if so-and-so comes too”. Of course the answer is yes, but then the follow up is always “what can they bring”. So I need to work on a way to let “so-and-so” be added to the sign up, but in a way that doesn’t let people go crazy and start spamming people (spamming bad, party good). Maybe a way to let the organizer approve the addition of a friend prior to the invite being sent out?
It is August and I live in Florida, so that means just walking to the car is an opportunity to sweat off a few pounds. However, August does mean that the “dog days of Summer” are soon coming to an end and always gets me thinking about those cooler days and picnics at the park. Yeah, I am so obsessed with the thought of cooler days ahead that I am already making my sign up sheet for the first picnic of Fall. It is never too early to start, right? I won’t send it out to my friends and family just yet, but I can certainly start planning my ultimate picnic menu.
So now I give you my ultimate picnic sign up sheet. This isn’t final yet, but it is a good start. I still have a few weeks before anyone will feel like spending an afternoon in the park, so this will probably change. I’m sticking to traditions for this first one because nothing kicks off a good picnic like the smell of charcoal burning and some burgers and hotdogs waiting to hit the grill. If I can plan far enough ahead of time, I might add some BBQ ribs to the menu.
What would be on your ultimate picnic sign up sheet?
I am pumped for football season and equally as important, tailgating season! You see, I have an unhealthy obsession with tailgating. We have a group of 32 seats with friends for all USF Bulls home games. That means we get to attend games at one of the nicest NFL stadiums in the country, Raymond James Stadium. Ray Jay also is a great place for tailgating, with lots of grass, trees for shades and the most important element of all….plenty of port-a-potties!
This is the time of the year when I start planning my tailgating menu for each of the 6 home games. I know, a little obsessive, but I can’t help it. Now that I finally got ThingToBring launched, I have a way to create an online sign up sheet containing all of my menu components that I can share with the tailgating crew. They can check their email, click through to the sign up sheet and sign up to bring a thing to the party.
I have been looking over some of my old recipes on GrillingCompanion.com for some menu ideas. One simple tailgating menu I am definitely planning using ThingToBring for is a DIY quesadilla bar. Flank steak is my favorite steak and my favorite way to prepare it is by marinating it in some citrus and cilantro (here’s a great recipe for it). So I’m thinking I will supply the steak (and of course, the grill) and then my online sign up sheet on ThingToBring will contain the other items we need to make this a kick-arse quesadilla jam:
- flour tortillas
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
- shredded lettuce
- peppers (poblano, jalapeño)
- guacamole (http://www.grillingcompanion.com/guacamole-recipe/)
My plan is to supply the steak and man the grill. People can put together their quesadilla and I’ll stick it on the grill to melt the cheese and toast the tortilla. Easy tailgating recipe that allows everyone to eat, even if they show up late (I’ll just keep the grill warm). Best part is I can tell everyone what to bring in one place and then use Thing2Bring for iPhone all week to monitor who is signing up for what on my sign up sheet! Go Bulls! Eat quesadillas!
The BBQ ribs are looking good and looks like I don’t have to go to the store! I can just sit back, watch the Olympics (women’s volleyball on right now) and tend to the ribs. Just checked our cookout sign up sheet and it looks like all of our friends are bringing everything else! This is what I like to see:
Time to go flip the ribs! Go USA!
I’m going to ignore the fact that a large majority of the users of Thing2Bring at this point are my friends. I’m also choosing not to use this fact as some sort of indication of my friends’ bad habits. Disclaimers aside, the item that most often ends up on an event’s sign up sheet up to this point is BEER! From Lagers to Porters, the event planners have overwhelmingly indicated that beer is essential for their event and they are asking their friends to sign up to bring it themselves.
Again, I’m not judging and I agree, beer (and bacon) makes most things better. I’m just stating the facts! Stay thirsty…