The Thanksgiving Timeline

I had such high hopes of getting this posted and shared with you on Thanksgiving day, but a migraine the night before and family arriving earlier than anticipated set me back further than I intended.

While this is much too late for any Thanksgiving celebration this year, you could use it as a timeline for Christmas or save it for next year.

Here is everything that went into planning my Thanksgiving meal!

End of October:
Search recipes on Pinterest
Create menu
Create Facebook event to invite family
Ask family what they are bringing

November 5th:
order new dining room chairs
confirm with mom she is bringing two additional folding chairs
November 7th:
put in time off request for the day before Thanksgiving
November 10th:
write out grocery list
November 11th:
order table runner, napkins, charger plates, etc.
purchase ingredients that will keep (soda, craisins, pecans, brown sugar, flour, etc.)
November 12th:
pick up new dining room table
print copies of all recipes
November 18th: 
purchase second round of ingredients that will keep (eggs, milk, olives, mozzarella, celery, onions, bacon, sweet potatoes, bread)
cut bread into pieces, dry out on sheet tray
November 19th:
have carpets steam cleaned
assemble table and chairs
move old table into sun-room
November 20th:
make slab apple pie dough and refrigerate
make apple cinnamon cranberry sauce and freeze
make Bundt pan stuffing and freeze
November 22nd:
review grocery list
transfer cranberry sauce from freezer to fridge
transfer stuffing from freezer to fridge

*** The Day Before ** November 23rd:
5:45 am – wake up, get ready
6:15 am – grocery shop at Wegman’s for remaining ingredients; butter, herbs, green beans, apples, etc.
7:30 am – pick up turkey breast from Richardson Farms
7:50 am – return home, put away groceries
8:00 am – proof yeast and warm milk for rosemary dinner rolls, put butter out to soften, start first load of laundry
8: 15 am – realize yeast is not rising, toss out and start over
8:25 am – peel, core and slice apples for slab apple pie, coat with lemon juice to prevent browning
8:40 am – mix up rosemary roll dough, separate into roll sizes, let rest; put laundry in dryer, start second load
9:02 am – roll out dough for slab apple pie, assemble, cut lattice/leaves for top and finish assembly
10:00 am – brush rosemary rolls with butter, put rolls and slab apple pie in the oven
10:05 am – coffee and breakfast, 10 minute break; laundry
10:25 am – remove rolls and let cool, microwave sweet potatoes, cook bacon for topping
10:40 am – chop sage, mix up sweet potato topping
10:45 am – mix up filling for sweet potatoes, put into casserole dish
11:00 am – remove slab apple pie from oven, marinate mozzarella balls and cut up salami for Italian skewers, refrigerate
11:15 am – decide to skip the sausage stuffing balls
11:20 am – trim the ends of the green beans, blanch then put in an ice bath
11:30 am – mix together sauce for green beans, cook bacon for topping
11:45 am – hand husband vegetable peeler and dice up potatoes for mashed potatoes as he peeled them, put in a pot of salted water
12:15 pm – cut up carrots, celery and onion to go under turkey
12:20 pm – chop up herbs to go under turkey skin and mashed with butter
12:30 pm – rub butter and herbs under turkey skin, cover with an oven bag and put in fridge
12:40 pm – cook shallots for green beans, add green beans and sauce and warm up
12:45 pm – load dishwasher
12:50 pm – give squeaking cat attention
1:00 pm – clean guest bathroom
1:15 pm – sweep, mop, wipe down baseboards of sun-room; set table
1:38 pm – sweep and mop foyer, change out Scentsy in all warmers
1:43 pm – dust and polish living room
2:00 pm – put away all laundry, sweep and mop floor of laundry room, straighten up laundry room
2:30 pm – straighten up 2nd bedroom, vacuum living room, dining room and 2nd bedroom
3:00 pm – wipe down kitchen counters and baseboards, empty trash, scrub sink, reorganize fridge for space, sweep and mop floor
3:35 pm – change clothes, make self look presentable
3:45 pm – leave for manicure
4:00 pm – get manicure, drink coffee
5:15 pm – pick up dinner, stop at dollar store for toothpicks
5:30 pm – eat dinner, get hit with black spot-nausea-dizziness-head on fire migraine
7:30 pm – finally manage to stand – put turkey breast and stuffing in oven while wearing sunglasses and eating ginger candies
8:15 pm – remove stuffing
9:30 pm – remove turkey breast, let cool on counter
10:15 pm – transfer turkey to fridge, pass out in bed

November 24th:
6:00 am – wake up stuffy and with headache; take mucinex, migraine pill and drink 3 cups of water, return to bed
7:45 am – wake up panicked because its much later, feed cats
7:50 am – boil potatoes, drain and mashed, transfer to mixing bowl because arm is sore, whip potatoes, season and transfer to slow cooker on “keep warm”
8:35 am – assemble skewers
9:00 am – run dishwasher
9:05 am – move cat food and water into bedroom
9:15 am – set up a desserts table – slicing slab apple pie and placing it on tiered cake stand
9:30 am – put out cans of soda, get down ice bucket and place wine inside
10:00 am – realize sweet potato casserole was never cooked, put topping on it and return to fridge
10:10 am – pull down serving dishes, arrange over island, turn on Scentsy, light candles, scoop out litter boxes
11:40 am – figure out what to wear
11:50 am – shower and get ready for guests
12:10 pm – remember I never made gravy, frantically pull out ingredients and get it started
12:15 pm – aunt and cousin arrive, pull out green beans, stuffing and sweet potato casserole to let come to room temperature
12:30 pm – more family arrives
12:40 pm – more family arrives
12:45 pm – put out skewers and the deviled eggs my aunt brought, keep moving things around on the counter
12:55 pm – last of family arrives
1:00 pm – put sweet potato casserole and my stuffing and aunts stuffing into oven
1:30 pm – remove stuffing, add green beans and mac and cheese
1:40 pm – start assigning serving spoons and forks to dishes
1:50 pm – remove everything from the oven, put the sliced turkey in
2:10 pm – everything is on the counter, announce it’s time to get food
2:35 pm – everyone is seated and eating

Everything was delicious! The new cranberry sauce I made, the sweet potatoes and the green beans were hits of the day and I decided they are going to become the new standards for each holiday. My aunts cornbread and my cousins cucumber and onion salad were two of my other favorite dishes. Everyone was commenting on how organized the meal was as well and I have to agree. It was entirely more efficient than I expected it to be and I didn’t feel rushed or crazed even once! I actually had conversations with everyone and remember them!

A little before 4 pm, some family started to leave so the leftovers were dished into bowls and the dishwasher got started on an exhausting task. One of my friends and her husband and son stopped by. It was great to be able to sit at the dining room table and just talk with everyone. I think it was around six that everyone had gone home. Tom was too impatient to wait and had begun pulling out decorations before everyone had left so we were decorated for Christmas not long after.

I included the random parts of this timeline because life isn’t perfect. Migraines happen, cats need to be petted and sometimes you oversleep and forget to cook the sweet potato casserole. 🙂 But the meal still gets pulled together, everything is delicious and you get to hang out with family and friends.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and this crazy detailed list helps you to put together your next holiday gathering whether it be the first time or the 500th!


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