Getting Organized for Thanksgiving by Pepper Phillips

food thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving for several reasons.

The food. Family. It marks the beginning of the holiday season for me.

Several years ago, I finally got smart about planning Thanksgiving Dinner.

I adore spreadsheets and use them for about every area of my life.

So, I designed a Thanksgiving Dinner spreadsheet to assist with the menu, the shopping list and a time schedule for getting the meal on the table at a certain time.

Since we like certain things to be served at our Thanksgiving Dinner, it isn’t changed. So I can use this menu every year.

First, decide what you are planning to serve and make of list of the dishes.

We have turkey, cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato souffle, cranberry cloud, green jello salad and jellied cranberry. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream is for dessert.

So…in the first column of my spreadsheet I have the dish listed. Let’s do one that’s been in my family for decades.

Green Jello Salad.  With a cut and paste it looks like this below. The numbers in the second column represent where in the store that item is stocked. Handy when making the shopping list.

The third column is the ingredient.  Fourth column is the order in which it is made. Fifth column is what I am supposed to do.

Green Jello Salad 2.46 Jello – Green – Double box or 2 reg. 1 Dissolve in two cups boiling water
Green Jello Salad 2.56 Crushed Pineapple – Can  20 oz. 2 Drain
Green Jello Salad 2.21 Cottage Cheese – Small curd – one medium carton 3 Mix with jello and pineapple – refrigerate – add topping when firm.
Green Jello Salad 2.66 Mayonnaise – 1/2 cup 4 Mix with cream cheese until smooth
Green Jello Salad 2.21 Cream Cheese – 8 oz. 5 Spread over jello.

And I do that for every dish.

For my shopping list, I sort the list by Column 2.

When it’s time to cook or assemble the dish, I go by Column 4.

This is an easy dish and can be made on Wednesday.

Try it and see if you like my method.



malsveta / 123RF Stock Photo

2014 – Planning Out the New Year by Pepper Phillips

Goals 2014

I admit I love lists…and spreadsheets.

In my computer I have a ‘House’ worksheet. It is huge!

Cleaning Schedule, Books I own, Books I read, To-Do list, Errand list (oh yeah, I have passed by the bank four times because I was thinking of something else while driving). Calendar for the year that runs down the page with Birthdays and Anniversaries keyed in and other important appointments. My Wal-Mart shopping list where the items are keyed in according to aisle…then they change things around and I can’t find anything.  Plus lots of other information I deem necessary to run my life.

Then there is my writing life.  I have several spreadsheets keeping track of my career.  Sales, Progress, Plan…some are new, designed by other wonderful women who love spreadsheets, and some are mine.

Yesterday I sat down and planned out the first six months of 2014. Which books I would finish or start and finish and the list is impressive. I hope I can stick to it this year. Last year was a dud in my book. I hit a brick wall on one book and it’s still not finished. However, it is down for February.

Right now I’m stalled on my NANO book, which isn’t nearly at 50k words, it wasn’t supposed to be that length as it’s a novella. Plans were that I would finish it by the end of the year. I have two days.

Can I do it? Yes, if I work like a demon for two days. But then there is other work, some of which I must finish today, so my morning is already planned out.

I’m comfortable with a list, it keeps me on track, they help me accomplish what I want to get done…like writing this blog for the day. It’s on the list.

I was telling a grandkid the other day that before my hubby and I married, we made a list of things we wanted to accomplish together. We hit every item on that list except for the last one. Instead of retiring to operate a hunting and fishing lodge, we expanded into something bigger but we still house and feed people.

I can’t imagine living without a goal to strive to…this year’s goal is to get my stories out there.

What are your goals for the new year?


Image credit: convisum / 123RF Stock Photo