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…
What is the first thing someone asks when you invite them to a party? “What can we bring?”, right? If you are like me, you spend the entire week heading up to the event on the phone coordinating who is bringing what. Either that, or you just tell everyone you’ll handle all of it just to avoid the coordination nightmare. If you are like me and even if you do elect to become the who is bringing what coordinator, you probably end up bringing a lot of extra stuff just to avoid the ‘1 bag of chips for 30 people’ situation.
After years of frustration (ok, not TOO frustrating, I just like side projects), I finally decided I needed an easier way to create a sign up sheet for my events. I wanted to create something that allowed me to create an event either on my iPhone or online and then let me track who is bringing what and make changes from either my phone or a web browser. ThingToBring.com and the ThingToBring iPhone app are the results of this project and they are all about who is bringing what. Now I can easily create a sign up sheet for what I want people to bring to the party:
My friends get an email saying they “have a thing to bring” to my event. The email contains a link that allows them to sign up to bring something:
I just check ThingToBring on my iPhone throughout the week and supply the rest. Party planning perfection!
ThingToBring is all about who is bringing what to the party. No fancy themed graphics (I’m a crappy graphics designer anyway) or anything else that gets in the way of you creating a quick sign up sheet to send to your invite list so they can start contributing to the event. I like to have cookouts and I am obsessed with tailgating for college football (USF Bulls, GO BULLS!). My friends want to bring their favorite pasta salad and their amazing hummus and I want to empower them to do so. When I see someone at halftime and they say they want to bring their 10 friends to the next tailgate, I want to be able to pull my phone out of my pocket and add them to the next tailgating signup sheet. Bring all of the friends you want, here’s what you all can bring!