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Successfully pulling off a surprise party can be one of the best feelings in the world! Not only are you celebrating one of your favorite people, but adding in the element of surprise can feel extra exciting. 

However, planning a stellar surprise party for adults is no small feat. From figuring out how to get your special someone to their own surprise party to picking the perfect location, there are several party planning tasks that can make or break a surprise party. Before you start scheming your surprise party, consider the following tips to plan a thoughtful event that everyone will enjoy.

1. Choose the right venue.

Where you host is one of the most important aspects of a surprise party. The task at hand: find a venue that is accessible to party attendees and in alignment with the person you’re celebrating. Does your guest of honor love art? Host a painting party at your local paint and sip studio. Do they love video games? Find an arcade that can accommodate all of your guests. Are they into the outdoors? Host a picnic outdoors in a nearby park. By considering their personality, likes, and dislikes, you can settle on a venue that feels personal to them. 

2. Create an inclusive and thoughtful guest list.

One thing hosts often forget when planning a surprise party: this party is for your guest of honor (not you). So be sure to think through who the person you’re celebrating would want to include! Since you can’t outright ask them, spend some time thinking about who’s important to the person. The guest list can include a mix of family members, friends, and coworkers. Don’t forget to consider any new friends that your guest of honor has made! Make sure you know who the person wants to be there and, more importantly, who they don’t. Don’t make the critical error of inviting someone who may not be welcomed with open arms by your guest of honor.

3. Discreetly deliver invitations.

When it comes to invitations, consider how you’ll deliver them. Electronically through email? Via text? By mail? Whatever you do, do not give away the surprise to the person you’re celebrating. Make sure you tell guests that this party is meant to be a surprise so they don’t spill the beans. In addition to important details, like what time to arrive and the location of the party, you could also include any dress code requirements and what they should (or should) not bring, including food, drinks, and a gift.

4. Plan a fun activity for your party!

One of the best ways to bring a crowd together is an activity (or a few!). Make sure that your party has an on-theme activity that everyone can participate in. For example, if your guest of honor loves art, then having everyone participate in a guided canvas paint class can allow guests to unleash their inner artist! 

Whether you decide to hire a DJ or coordinate a scavenger hunt, create an activity that everyone can participate in. Centering your party around a core activity that honors the person you’re celebrating can bring guests close together and ensure everyone has a memorable time!

5. Don’t forget to include bites and sips!

Food and drinks are essential to any party. After all, you don’t want your guests to participate in party activities on an empty stomach. To pull together the perfect menu, consider the time of your party to determine whether you’ll need a meal or just appetizers. Then, choose food and drinks based on the surprise party guest of honor’s personal preferences. Be sure to include options for guests with dietary restrictions.

Bonus tip: if you are planning the party at a restaurant, you can pre-order the food and drinks so that everything is ready when the guests arrive. 

6. Determine how to get someone to a surprise party. 

When it comes to how to plan a surprise birthday party for adults, one of the hardest challenges is getting your special person to their very special party without giving away the surprise! Here are a few ways you can get your guest of honor to their own surprise party:

  • Plan an activity with the person that leads them to the party location. 
  • Enlist the help of a close friend or family member of the guest of honor to bring them to the party without arousing suspicion.
  • Arrange for a fake event or meeting in the same location as the surprise party and have the guest of honor attend it.
  • Create a decoy event at a different location and have the guest of honor attend it, then have someone bring them to the surprise party location.
  • Have the guest of honor meet you at a specific location and tell them that you need to make a quick stop before going to the actual destination, which is the surprise party.
  • Have a backup plan in case the guest of honor figures out what’s going on, like pretending that the party was actually for someone else.

Getting your guest of honor to the surprise party is part of the fun, so have a blast coordinating this sneaky part of your surprise! 

Let Painting with a Twist Help You Plan Your Surprise!

Surprise parties can be a blast for everyone involved, but if they’re not planned out well, they can quickly become a headache — or worse, the surprise can get spoiled! Before you start questioning yourself by asking, “Are surprise parties a good idea?” rest assured, they ARE a great idea! Better yet, Painting with a Twist is here to help bring your brilliant idea to life! When you organize your surprise party with the help of Painting with a Twist, you’re sure to take away the stress of keeping the party on the right track! It’s as simple as making a reservation at one of our studios and bringing the people, snacks, and drinks. We’ve even got the clean-up covered! Get in touch with your local Painting with a Twist studio to start planning a special surprise party for your favorite friend.

Spring break is right around the corner! If you’re forgoing a pricey family vacation and staying in town, you may be wondering how to keep your kiddos occupied for an entire week (without breaking the bank). Well, you’re in luck! There are several ways to create a memorable spring break at home. All it takes is a little bit of planning — and a splash of creativity —and you’ll be sure to create a magical week your children won’t forget. 

How to Create a Memorable Spring Break at Home

Before diving into the list below, remember: you know your kids best. When making at-home spring break plans consider their personal interests, age, and individual capabilities. Some ideas may be a better fit than others. With that said, here are 8 spring break themes and 52 activities for kids during spring break that your children will love! 

1. See how many hours you can clock outside.

There’s something magical about the outdoors. Giving kids a chance to explore nature brings out their natural inner curiosity about the world around them. During spring break, see how many hours you can spend outside with your kids. Here are a few ideas to keep them occupied in the great outdoors:

  • Go on a hike.
  • Picnic at a park.
  • Play nature bingo.
  • Start a rock (or shell or leaf, etc.) collection.
  • Go kayaking.
  • Press flowers.
  • Play sports outside.
  • Ride bikes/scooters.

2. Plan an at-home staycation.

You don’t need ski slopes or a tropical beach to have a wonderful family vacation. You can plan a getaway — right inside your home! Get out your fluffy robes and slippers and turn your home into a hotel. Here’s how:

  • Transform your kitchen into a restaurant.
  • Dress in vacation clothes.
  • Create a spa at home.
  • Go to the “beach” (aka: the bath).
  • Have a themed movie night.
  • Set up a dessert bar.
  • Have a hotel night with robes and slippers.
  • Get dressed up and take family photos.

3. Set up an art studio for your little artist. 

Children are innately creative. This spring break, tap into your child’s right brain by creating an art studio at home. Gather your art supplies and create a lineup of art projects to let your mini-artist shine!

  • Purchase an at-home paint kit! (You can order a paint kit online and pick it up at your local Painting with a Twist.)
  • Create a giant loom. 
  • Create mosaic art with beans, tissue paper, beads, etc.
  • Do a paper mache project. 
  • Paint on large cardboard boxes.
  • Draw a self-portrait.
  • Create chalk art outside.

4. Go camping in your backyard.

You don’t have to drive to a campsite to go camping during spring break — simply set up a tent in your own backyard! There’s something about hopping into a sleeping bag and snoozing outdoors that feels exciting to little ones. Gather your gear and have your camper help with the following activities:

  • Pack an overnight bag.
  • Set up a tent.
  • Eat dinner outside. 
  • Create a bonfire together. 
  • Roast marshmallows and make s’mores. 
  • Tell stories and sing songs around the campfire. 
  • Go on a night walk with flashlights.

5. Turn your home into a science lab. 

Let your little scientist conduct experiments at home this spring break! Here are some easy DIY science projects to do at home. For added fun, you could get your little one(s) a lab coat and safety goggles to help them feel like a real scientist. Happy experimenting!

  • Create a DIY lava lamp.
  • Turn milk and vinegar into plastic!
  • Make slime!
  • Write with homemade invisible ink.
  • Make ice cream in a bag.
  • Collect bugs outside (don’t forget to let them go free!).
  • Make homemade kinetic sand.

6. Write, practice, and perform a play.

Whether you want to spend a day putting on your production or the entire week of spring break, putting on a play can help your children tap into their inner creative side. Plus, while your kiddos are crafting a theatrical production, they’re also exercising teamwork and problem-solving skills. It’s a win-win.

  • Write your own script together.
  • Gather props.
  • “Build” a set. 
  • Make costumes.
  • Practice your lines.
  • Create programs for your audience.
  • Sell drinks and snacks at a concession stand.
  • Put on your big performance!
  • Have an afterparty for the cast.

7. Be a tourist in your own city.

Venture beyond your daily bubble and explore the city you live in. You may discover new family favorites or learn something you never knew about your town!

  • Go to a farmer’s market.
  • Visit a local museum. 
  • Pop in and paint at a local art studio.
  • Check out books at your local library.
  • Go on a tour of your town.
  • Eat at a popular restaurant.

8. Send kids to local day camps.

Whether you’re a working parent, want to enrich your kid(s) with extracurricular activities, or you simply need a break, sending your child to a local day or week-long camp can be a fulfilling experience for them! If you’re searching for spring break kid activities near you, Painting with a Twist offers single-day and full-week Kids Camps during Spring Break! At our Kids Camp, our campers paint, make crafts, eat snacks, and make friends. At the end of Spring Break, we feature an art exhibit featuring the paintings campers created during class. Explore a Painting with a Twist Kids Camp near you today and register!

Plan Ahead for a Memorable At-Home Spring Break

Just because you’re staying in town for spring break doesn’t mean that your children have to be bored. There are endless ways to have fun at home and in your local city. Here at Painting with a Twist, you can find different options that work best for your family. From our full-day and week-long Kids Camps and pop-in hours to our at-home paint kits, your kiddos can explore their creative side while making lasting memories. Explore options online or stop by your local Painting with a Twist to learn more!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to think about how to make your sweetheart feel extra loved. Instead of booking dinner at your favorite restaurant (again), you might be brainstorming unique date ideas for Valentine’s Day. After all, there’s no better way to connect with your person this Valentine’s Day than to plan a date that feels tailor-made to your relationship!

How to Plan a Unique Valentine’s Date

To plan a date that will really sweep your partner off their feet, spend a bit of time pre-planning. After all, the best-laid plans require a bit of forethought. Walk through the following steps to plan a Valentine’s date your partner will never forget! 

1. Think About Your Partner’s Love Language

According to Dr. Gary Chapman’s popular book,  “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts,” there are unique ways people express and receive love. Knowing how your partner receives love can help you get creative when planning the perfect Valentine’s date! 

If you’re not quite sure what your partner’s love language is, take the opportunity to get to know your partner better. Ask them to take an online quiz or use their zodiac sign to determine what their love language may be. Once you have a grasp on how your sweetheart receives love, you’ll be better equipped to plan a date that makes them feel seen.

2. Consider When Your Date Should Take Place

Optimizing the time of day for your date can maximize your partner’s energy and ensure they’re having a memorable time. Is your partner a night owl or an early bird? If your sweetheart wakes up at the crack of dawn, a late night dinner date may lull them to sleep. Instead, a Valentine’s day date may be better suited for their energy. 

Fun Ideas for Valentine’s Day Dates

  • Ride rollercoasters at a nearby amusement park.
  • Go horseback riding at a local equestrian center.
  • Schedule a daytime wine tasting (or cheese tasting or coffee tasting or [insert your-partner’s-unique-interest]) tour.
  • Pop in and paint a canvas together at your local paint and sip studio.

Alternatively, if your partner is a night owl, they may prefer a late-night escapade. In that case, explore date night ideas that start in the evening. 

Unique Valentine’s Date Night Ideas

  • Sign up for a couples paint night and co-create a beautiful work of art! 
  • Plan a progressive dinner, starting with appetizers at one restaurant, the main course at the next, and dinner at a final stop. 
  • Roast marshmallows around a fire pit and make s’mores.

3. Decide Whether to Stay In or Out

Another deciding factor when planning an original Valentine’s date: is your partner a homebody? If so, there are several creative ways to plan an at-home date night that’s full of memories. Just some words to the wise: an at-home date night may require you to purchase materials ahead of time. Give yourself plenty of time to plan a memorable evening in!

At-Home Valentine’s Date Ideas

  • Plan an at-home spa night, complete with face masks and massages! 
  • Paint a masterpiece together with an at-home paint kit
  • Rent your loved one’s favorite movie series and host a movie marathon on the couch.
  • For board game enthusiasts, plan a two-player game night in.

4. Consider Their Personal Interests

Is your significant other an athlete? A movie buff? An art collector? Tap into their personal passions and craft a unique Valentine’s date with their personal interest as the theme. Not only will this make your boo feel loved, it guarantees they’ll have a great time during your date.

Creative Valentine’s Dates

  • Challenge your athletic partner to rock climb in a local climbing studio.
  • Take your art history buff to a nearby paint studio to create their own work of art.
  • Sign you and your foodie significant other up for a cooking class.
  • Take your goofball to a local comedy or improv show. 

5. Sprinkle in Special Moments

No matter how you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, go the extra mile and add a few personal touches to make your date feel extra special. Consider the following ways to sprinkle in personal touches leading up to and during your Valentine’s Date. 

  • Give a small gift that represents a special memory, a significant place, or an inside joke.
  • Write a heartfelt message — in a card, in the book jacket of a favorite novel, on a giant posterboard… share your words in a way that feels personal to your loved one. 
  • Come to your date extra prepared with a bag of your partner’s favorite snacks. 
  • Make a playlist of your significant other’s favorite songs or songs that remind you of them. Play this playlist during your date.
  • Send thoughtful texts leading up to your date. 

Paint With Your Partner This Valentine’s Day

Whether you decide to stay in or go out this Valentine’s Day, consider painting with your significant other. It’s scientifically proven that creating art together triggers your brain to release oxytocin, also known as the “love” hormone. 

Luckily, Painting with a Twist offers options to book an in-studio paint date night paint for those who want to sip wine and paint in a group setting. Alternatively, if you’re craving some one-on-one time with your partner, Painting with a Twist also offers Twist at Home Paint Kits, an all-in-one kit that allows you to create art in the comfort of your own home. Simply order a kit and pick it up at your nearest Painting with a Twist studio. 

No matter where you decide to paint on your canvas, you’re sure to have a memorable time with your loved one. Make something special together this Valentine’s Day at your nearest Painting with a Twist.

Want to ring in the new year with your colleagues? Whether you’re planning a mid-day office celebration before everyone heads home for the holiday or an all-out, all-night new year’s bash for your company, make it an event to remember with these workplace celebration ideas and tips!

How to Plan a New Year’s Corporate Party

First things first, think about what purpose you want your new year’s party to have. Do you want a no-strings-attached celebration where colleagues can simply relax and enjoy non-work time together? Or do you want a corporate event geared toward team building and boosting employee morale? Different company cultures lend themselves to different types of parties, and you may have different needs from one team to another, too. Keep your main goal in mind as you plan, and be sure to ask for input from coworkers.

Whatever you’re planning, stay mindful of common corporate party planning mistakes, such as:

  • Hosting an after-hours party at the office. No one wants to feel like they’re working on New Year’s Eve, so choose an off-site venue if you’re planning a party on December 31st.
  • Not communicating clearly about the party. Send out invitations 3-4 weeks in advance (more if possible!) since many people’s calendars fill quickly during the holiday season. And be sure to include details like dress code, food and drink arrangements, and any pertinent activities (like a physically-inclined team building activity) so guests know what to expect.
  • Not having an agenda or activities for the event. If you expect your coworkers to entertain themselves solely by standing around and talking to one another, your New Year’s office party may be short-lived. Consider planning a unique teambuilding activity, hosting party games or a trivia tournament, or even hiring a band or DJ to keep your guests engaged.

Ring in the New Year: Corporate Event Ideas

If you’re in charge of planning the New Year’s office party this year, try these corporate holiday party ideas for an event that’ll have everyone talking when you get back to the office.

Give your party a theme.

Some people think of a sparkly ball drop and glamorous attire for New Year’s Eve, but why not change it up completely? Choose a historical era, a country, or even a movie or TV show as your party theme — it can be completely unrelated to New Year’s! Encourage guests to dress up accordingly and go all out with food and decor that align with your aesthetic.

Treat everyone to lunch during the work day.

Want to keep things chill when you’re celebrating a new year at work? Have lunch catered the day before everyone is out of the office. Team members can enjoy a leisurely lunch while they reflect on the past year and look ahead to their career goals and New Year’s resolutions. This idea is even better if everyone can head home early to enjoy time with family.

Take a class together.

Instead of the usual get-together over food and drink, why not host a private cooking class or painting event for your team? Learning something new can offer a much-needed brain break from work, plus it’s a unique and memorable way to welcome the new year with your colleagues.

Host an awards ceremony.

You could go the traditional route and show appreciation to your employees with awards and gifts. Or, you could change things up and have employees nominate each other for silly awards, superlative style to keep the mood light and festive. Ask for nominations a few weeks in advance and have everyone vote at or before the party.

Throw a virtual event.

Is your team working remotely, or maybe scattered across the country? That doesn’t mean you have to skip a New Year’s celebration! Many activities can be adapted to a virtual format, like a video-led cheese or wine tasting or a virtual paint event.

Kicking Off the New Year at Work: Painting with a Twist Makes It Easy!

From ensuring your team members feel appreciated to starting the new year with high morale and excitement, event planning for your work team can be stressful. At Painting with a Twist, we can help take the load off your shoulders. You bring the food and drinks, and we’ll set up everything else for your employee team-building event. Your team can create art, bond, and get excited for the fiscal year ahead in a casual atmosphere. Book your team-building event at a Painting with a Twist studio near you for the ultimate New Year’s company outing!

new year painting

Every family celebrates the holidays in their own special way, but sometimes it’s fun to add your own special touch and put a new twist to the festivities. If you’re looking for unique ways to celebrate Christmas this year, try these fun, non-traditional ideas that’ll keep you and yours in the holiday spirit.

1. Give Time, Not Gifts

Start a new tradition this year that celebrates the generous spirit of the holidays by donating your time to a worthy cause. Gather your family or a group of friends together and give back to the community.

Try volunteering at your local food bank, or seek out volunteer opportunities near you. This non-traditional Christmas gift idea can make the holidays a happier time. Not only will you spread holiday cheer to those you serve, but volunteering your time together is a great way to bond with those you love most.

2. Save a Tree, Decorate Something Else

Rather than cutting down a fir tree this Christmas, why not leave it to grow for another year? Cut down on holiday waste and swap out your typical tree with some non-traditional Christmas decorating ideas. With a spark of imagination, you can easily turn a blank wall, a spare ladder, or even a coat rack into a glowing tribute to the holiday season. Just don’t forget to place your presents at its feet!

3. Try Out a New Skill

The holidays are a great time to relax and enjoy new experiences. This holiday season, maybe you’d like to explore your artistic side. For a unique way to celebrate Christmas this year, you might try out a paint night with friends and family. Not only is it a great way to spend time with loved ones and learn a new skill, but in the end, you’ll have a ready-made gift for someone special!

Here are a few other ideas for non-traditional activities:

  • Sign-up for a holiday cooking class
  • Throw a Christmas crafting party – Our At-Home Paint Kits are perfect for this!
  • Take a cider- or cocktail-making class

4. Try Out a Non-Traditional Christmas Dinner Menu

Let’s face it, Christmas dinner and Thanksgiving feasts have way too much in common. So, why not try out a few alternative options? Add some spice and variety by celebrating with food from a different culture. Or, put out a poll of everyone’s favorite everyday dish and experience something new. Seeking out non-traditional ideas for Christmas dinner can help make your holiday celebration deliciously tasty and something everyone is sure to remember.

5. Host a Friendsmas Party

If you don’t live close to family members, a great non-traditional Christmas party idea is to host a Friendsmas Party. You can pick a Christmas party theme to make it even more festive — ugly sweaters are always a hit — and have everyone make an easy recipe to contribute to the holiday meal. Add a few fun holiday cocktails to the menu, and you might just have an evening that will make you renounce traditional Christmas dinners altogether.

6. Get Active for the Holidays

It’s no secret that the holidays can often lend to some unwanted weight gain. This year, flip the script and make the opposite true. Get outside for a fun, lighthearted Santa Run, hike, camping trip, or bike ride, and burn off some yuletide calories.

7. Exchange Gifts with Laughter

Skip the stress and financial burden of shopping for presents that your giftees may or may not need, and instead, host an event full of holiday games and cheer. After all, it’s not the price tag that matters most during the holidays. It’s the beautiful people and memories made with those you hold dear that truly make Christmas special.

8. Have a Gift Scavenger Hunt

Spice up Christmas Eve or Christmas morning with a holiday gift scavenger hunt. Hide your gifts around the house and write up some fun clues that will lead them all around your home (and even outside, if you don’t live somewhere too cold!). If you have small kids, you can draw up a treasure map where ‘X’ marks the spot for a memorable gift-giving tradition.

9. Host a Private Holiday Party at Painting with a Twist

Are you ready to breathe new life into the holidays and reconnect with the magic of the season? Why not book a Painting with a Twist Private Event at your nearest studio, and enjoy a Christmas evening of painting, sipping, and joy? All you have to do is grab your drinks of choice, rally up your attendees, and show up ready to have an amazing, unconventional time! Book today!

From preparing the perfect dinner to ensuring your décor is pristine — hosting Thanksgiving can be stressful without the right preparation. Stay on top of your Turkey Day to-dos with these checklists, timelines, and other useful tips for hosting during the holidays.

Thanksgiving Hosting Checklist

1. Send Out Invitations

Are you having family over or hosting a Friendsgiving? Set a date, make your guest list, and create an invite. And unless you prefer mailing paper invitations, consider sending e-vites instead. By going digital, you avoid trips to the post office, licking stamps, and undelivered invitations. Whichever option you choose, we recommend delivering them to your attendees about 3-5 weeks before the event.

2. Plan for Food & Drinks

Choose your menu and determine how much food you’ll need based on your anticipated guest count. Provide a few options of beer, wine, and fun fall cocktails and mocktails. Want to save a little cash while also diversifying your drink and food options? Suggest that your guests BYOB and designate different side dishes for attendees for a small potluck.

You’ll also want to gather all the tools and supplies needed to make the meal a hit. Long ahead of the big day, gather the cooking tools and gadgets for all your cooking needs (i.e., spatulas, thermometers, and additional pots). For the meal, you’ll want to ensure you have the necessities below:

  • Napkins and table linens
  • Appetizer plates
  • Dinner plates
  • Dessert plates
  • Utensils
  • Glasses
  • Serveware

3. Choose Inspiring Table Decor

Keep it simple, especially when decorating the table. You’ll want plenty of room for all your dishes. Consider the following ideas to brighten your Thanksgiving table décor:

  • Add a festive tablecloth or runner and coordinating cloth napkins.
  • Implement bud vases with flowers or mini pumpkins for a centerpiece.
  • Add votives or candlesticks to set the autumn mood.
  • Include a decorative table setting with nice dishes, glasses, and silverware.
  • DIY your own handmade place cards.

4. Add a Few Home Accents

If you haven’t already, take some time to spruce up your home. You can either become a full-fledged fall decorista or keep things light and simple with these tips.

5. Devise a Timeline

Develop a game plan to keep you cool and stress-free. You’ll want a week-by-week Thanksgiving prep list so you’re well-prepared. Need a little help? Check out the Thanksgiving Dinner Checklist below.

Thanksgiving Dinner Prep List

2 Weeks Before Thanksgiving

  • Plan your menu. From turkey to pie crust, you’ll want to create your menu and gather the recipes you’ll need. Keep reading for menu ideas.
  • Make a shopping list of décor, food, and beverages. Go through all the recipes and include everything you need on the list.
  • Purchase other essentials. Make sure you have the right linens, dinnerware, drinkware, serving dishes, and kitchen equipment.
  • Plan the table decor. Any preparatory steps you take now will only benefit you in the long run.

5 to 6 Days Before Thanksgiving

  • Confirm the guest list. Reach out to confirm your RSVPs so you know exactly what you’re working with.
  • Get turkey, all non-perishable groceries, and beverages. You’ll want to start prepping early to avoid the inevitable grocery store chaos.
  • Put the turkey in the refrigerator. Believe it or not, a frozen turkey can take up to 5 days to thaw.

2 to 3 Days Before Thanksgiving

  • Clean the house. Make sure you have a clear workspace in the kitchen. Vacuum, sweep, dust, and spruce up the areas where your guests will be gathered.
  • Make your final grocery store run. Double-check (and triple-check) your list.
  • Prep any side dishes that will stay fresh. Cut and dry out the bread for the dressing, make the pie and cranberry sauce, and assemble casseroles so they are ready to go in the oven when the turkey comes out.

1 Day Before Thanksgiving

  • Set the table. You’ll be glad to check one more thing off the list ahead of time.
  • Chill the drinks. Put beverages in the refrigerator or cooler with ice to chill.
  • Prepare the turkey. Season or brine the turkey and return to the refrigerator overnight.
  • Prep the kitchen. Run the dishwasher so you have an empty one for all the dishes that’ll accumulate the next day.
  • Relax. Take some time to rest and relax — it’s going to be a big day!

Thanksgiving Morning

  • Make the dressing. Use part for stuffing the turkey if desired, and bake the rest for the fan-favorite side dish.
  • Cook the turkey. You’ll want about 45 minutes to 1 hour before you serve to let it rest. Cook time will depend on the weight of the turkey, so follow recipe instructions carefully.
  • Bake the casseroles. When the turkey comes out, it’s time for the casseroles and dinner rolls to go in. Start boiling your potatoes. Then, use dripping from the turkey to make the gravy.
  • Make the mashed potatoes. Whip up the mashed potatoes when the other side dishes are just about ready to come out of the oven. Cover and leave on the stovetop to keep warm.
  • Serve! Divvy up everything into serving dishes and load up the table. If the dessert needs some time in the oven, you can go ahead and pop it in — don’t forget it’s in there while you’re enjoying your meal! Finally, carve the turkey.
  • Thanksgiving dinner is served!

Thanksgiving Hosting Hacks

Food & Beverage Calculator

Use this cheat sheet to estimate how much food and drink to prepare.

  • 6-8 bite appetizers per person
  • 1-2 oz grains per person
  • 1-2 oz (undressed) salad per person
  • 1.5-2 oz salad per person
  • 5-6 oz potatoes per person
  • 4-5 oz vegetables per person
  • 6-8 oz of (uncooked) turkey per person
  • 1-2 rolls per person
  • 1-2 servings of dessert per person
  • 1 non-alcoholic drink per person drinking alcohol
  • 2-3 non-alcoholic drinks per person not drinking alcohol
  • 1 bottle of wine per two guests
  • 2 beers the first hour + 1 beer each additional hour per person
  • 3 liquid drinks per person

Approx. Turkey Cook Time

See the chart below for a general guide to cook-time based on the weight of the turkey, oven roasted at 325 degrees F.

  • 8 to 12 lbs: 2 ½ to 4 hours
  • 12 to 14 lbs: 3 to 4 ½ hours
  • 14 to 18 lbs: 4 to 5 ½ hours
  • 20 to 24 lbs: 4 ½ to 6 hours

Thanksgiving Menu

Here’s a classic Turkey Day menu (and a few recipe suggestions) you can use for inspiration. Bon appetit!

Appetizers

Main Dish

Side Dishes

Dessert

Do Thanksgiving with Painting with a Twist

Put your own special touch on Thanksgiving décor this season by stopping by your nearest Painting with a Twist studio. Between checking off this list of Thanksgiving to-dos, you can Pop-in and Paint a one-of-a-kind autumnal painting that your entire family will gobble up. Find your nearest location today!

thanksgiving prep

Jack-o-lanterns are perched on porches, and Halloween-themed wreaths are on front doors. But something is missing. When the sun sets, you’ll want to make sure your haunted house shines as the eeriest on the block. Ready to put a ghoulish glow on your Halloween decor this season? Get inspired by these spooky DIY blacklight Halloween decoration ideas.

Note: While some of these decorations might glow in the dark, you’ll want to use blacklights to make them really pop – especially for blacklight Halloween parties. You can get blacklight bars, projector stage lights, and even blacklight disco balls to spice up these eerie embellishments.

Scrawl a Few Midnight Messages

Did you know that laundry detergent glows under blacklight? It’s true! Laundry detergent manufacturers add brightening agents to their products so that your clothes look extra bright after a wash. This also means that laundry detergent doubles as the perfect paint for your glow-in-the-dark Halloween decorations, DIY style.

Take a cup of laundry detergent and a paintbrush to create some creepy messages on your driveway, door, walls, or anywhere else you’d like – “HELP,” “DANGER,” and “KEEP OUT!” are always good options. These messages will glow under the blacklight, and they’re easy to wash off come November 1st. Plus, they smell great!

Create a Glowing Graveyard

It’s easy to create a few tombstones with a bit of foam or cardboard and gray paint. But when the sun goes down, your handiwork is impossible to see. It’s easy to turn these simple DIY tombstones into glow-in-the-dark Halloween decorations.

Create the “inscriptions” on your tombstones using glow-in-the-dark paint or markers (which you can purchase from most craft stores). You can also use packing tape to outline the tombstones – yes, packing tape glows in the dark! Once the sun sets, you’ll have a creepy, glowing cemetery lighting up your front yard.

Cover Things in Spooky Spiderwebs

Come October, everyone decorates with huge fake spiderwebs. How do you take yours up a notch? Make sure that yours are glowing under a black light. Once you’ve hung the webs, position a blacklight underneath them for optimal spookiness. If necessary, you can brighten them up by using a bit of your laundry detergent paint.

Set Out the Spine-Tingling Table Settings

If you’re hosting a Halloween party, you can have a lot of fun with your snack table. Grab a pack of glow in the dark table settings, or make your own with fluorescent tape, paint, markers, and stickers. Create centerpieces with things like glow sticks or neon bouncy balls, and experiment with how things look under the blacklight. Take your spread to the next level by serving up some fluorescent foods – glow-in-the-dark snacks and drinks are a must!

Paint a Few Paranormal Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins may be the tradition, but it doesn’t get any easier than slapping on some paint. Grab pumpkins in various sizes and decorate them with your glow-in-the-dark paint. Take things to the next level with intricate designs and patterns, or just paint them solid colors. After all, almost anything looks cool under blacklight. Place your fluorescent pumpkins throughout your house or yard for a fun alternative to candle-filled jack-o-lanterns.

blacklight painting

Hang Up Some Menacing Artwork

Nothing screams host with the most than displaying original blacklight artwork at your Halloween party or as everyday Halloween décor. At Painting with a Twist, we’ve put a spooky spin on traditional paint nights with our Blacklight Events. You’ll put a smock on, we’ll turn the lights off, and one of our talented instructors will walk you through your painting step-by-step using our special fluorescent paints. You’ll leave with a one-of-a-kind piece of black light Halloween décor.

Throw a Blacklight Bash at Painting with a Twist

Want to host a Halloween blacklight party without dealing with the blacklight party set-up and clean-up? Host a Blacklight Event at Painting with a Twist to give your friends a unique Halloween experience. Just show up, and we’ve got everything covered. Sip on your favorite drinks, brush up on your painting skills (or learn a new hobby altogether). We agree. It’s time to create some extra spooky glow-in-the-dark paintings – and memories – with your bestest pals. Book an event at your local Painting with a Twist studio today!

Football is on, the temperatures are dipping, and Halloween décor is on the shelves. Yes — fall is back! If you’re having a hard time getting into the autumn spirit after sunny summer days, use these 6 tips.

1. Make Seasonal Swaps

Wondering how to get into the fall mood? Start by making a few swaps in your home environment. From your closet to your kitchen, making a few simple exchanges could be all you need to jumpstart autumn vibes.

Stash away your bikinis and board shorts in favor of cozy cashmere crewnecks. Take stock of your closet and donate items you no longer love. Then, push your summer items to the back and organize your drawers to make space for your fall favorites.

This season is all about snuggling up and settling in. Create the perfect place to nest and rest by replacing your light summer quilt and sheet set with a plush-down comforter and flannel sheets.

The swaps don’t stop there! Scent is one of your most powerful memory triggers. If you’re looking to get into the fall spirit, now’s the time to start reaching for fall-inspired flavors and scents — think pumpkin spice, cinnamon, warm vanilla, or crisp apple. Pull out your favorite fall recipes and enjoy the tastes and textures of the season. You’ll be feeling all the fall warm-and-cozies in no time.

2. Cocoon Your Home

Summer brings with it sunscreen-soaked days capped off by late-night barbecues. Or, perhaps, shuttling the kids to and from activities. But after the summer pool days and beach escapades subside, it’s time to prepare for a seasonal transformation. But how exactly can you get in the fall mood and prepare for the changing of the seasons?

Stary by cocooning your home. In nature, a cocoon is a safe environment that can provide comfort and isolation — all while providing its inhabitant with the proper conditions for transformation.

You can create your own cocoon at home by embracing cozy blankets, dreamy mood lighting, meditative sounds, stress-relieving scents, or familiar flavors. Essentially, you’ll need to gather everything that gives you “feel-good vibes” and turn your space into the ideal place for a little R&R. After all, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season will be here before you know it!

3. Embrace Warm Fall Hues

Once the leaves start changing color, it’s time for your seasonal decor and wardrobe to follow suit. Get in touch with the shifting seasons by adorning your home — and yourself — with a fall-inspired color palette. Shy away from crisp high-saturation shades and embrace muted earthy hues that mimic your surroundings. Not sure where to start? Popular fall shades include burnt pumpkin orange, cinnamon red, marigold yellow, moss greens, and chocolate brown.

4. Go “Back to School Shopping”

Remember the excitement of picking out a new backpack ahead of the start of classes? Or determining which color folder best matches each subject? Get excited about the fall season by taking advantage of seasonal sales and embracing the concept of back-to-school shopping — even if your days in the classroom are far behind you.

Channel your inner child and reward yourself with a handful of new fall clothing items, new home office supplies, a new lunchbox or work bag. Don’t need to stock up on fall essentials? Treat yourself with new hobby supplies or a few self-care items. (We won’t judge if you can’t resist picking up a few pieces of Halloween decor, either.) With your new goods in hand, you’ll be motivated and excited to take on the cooler weather and shorter days ahead.

5. Form a Few Fall Checklists

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as striking through one of your “to-dos.” So, why not get organized and prepare for the season ahead by compiling a fall checklist (or three)?

Fall Maintenance

Start by outlining any home maintenance tasks you’ll need to complete this fall. For example, you may need to prepare your home for cooler weather by cleaning the gutters, swapping out your air filters, planting bulbs in the garden, closing up the pool, or purchasing mothballs for your closet.

Holiday Prep

Whether you’re preparing to entertain in your home or head off on a cross-country road trip to visit family, the holidays will sneak up faster than you think. Create a list of those you need to buy holiday gifts for early and start shopping now. The earlier you start, the easier it’ll be on your wallet and your nerves — nobody likes the pressure of completing a last-minute gift run. If you’re planning on hosting, make a list of your must-have ingredients and anything else you think you’ll need, whether that be décor, extra flatware, or the perfect fall place settings and tablescape décor.

Fall Fun

Not all fall checklists have to be so practical. Plan out all the fun things you’re hoping to accomplish this autumn and outline them in a checklist! Perhaps you want to head out for a cool fall-weather hike in the woods, plan a bonfire with friends, visit your local orchard for apple picking, don lederhosen at an Oktoberfest celebration, or cheer on your alma mater at a football game. Outlining and prioritizing your favorite fall activities is sure to get you in the autumn spirit — and ensure you don’t miss out on all the fun and festivities.

6. Set Your Seasonal Intentions & Goals

Each season presents a new opportunity to embrace change — and to create the life you desire. Spend some time setting goals and thinking about what you’d like to accomplish this autumn, whether that’s learning how to code, getting in an extra 10 minutes of stretching in the evening, saving cash by cooking rather than ordering out, or by honing your creativity in a painting event.

The start of a new season is the perfect time to dream big and create goals for yourself in all areas of your life: both professional and personal. No matter what intentions you’ve set for this season, you can use the SMART goal method (that means creating goals that are sustainable, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) to pave a path towards success. With your new goals in place — and a plan for how to get from point A to B — you’ll step confidently into autumn.

Get Fall-Ready With Painting with a Twist

It’s time to spice up your creative side! Head into your local Painting with a Twist to create a one-of-a-kind piece of autumn-inspired decor and strengthen your creative abilities. Gather your nearest and dearest or make new friends at one of our fall painting events. Under the guidance of one of our talented instructors, you’ll paint, sip, and enjoy the ultimate autumn experience, all while creating an art piece that adds to the fall aesthetic of your home.

paint a pumpkin painting

After a long, leisurely summer, it can be hard to get back into your family’s school year routine. Whether your child is counting down the remaining days of summer or dreading their return, one thing is universal: the more abrupt the transition, the harder it becomes.

Don’t wait until the night before to start prepping your family for the upcoming school year. Make the transition into your school routines seamless – and even fun – with these pro-parenting techniques.

Why Worry About Routine?

Routines are comforting. When children have structure in their lives, they know what to expect each day. When big transitions happen – whether that’s a move, a trip, or heading back to school – routines offer predictability and normalcy amid the chaos. By easing your children into things with these back-to-school routine tips, the first day of school will feel a lot less intense.

Back to School Morning Routine

Start waking them up earlier.

Soon, your children won’t be able to just roll out of bed whenever their bodies decide. Help them prepare for earlier mornings, both physically and mentally, by waking them up slightly earlier each day. If they’re currently getting up at 9:30, wake them up at 9:00. Then 8:30. Then 8:00. Before long, getting up at 7:00 won’t be such a stretch!

Have them “get ready” for each day.

Superman pajamas aren’t exactly school-appropriate, so it’s time to get your kids used to getting dressed in the morning again! Instead of letting them lounge around in their PJs, ask your kiddos to put on “real” clothes in the morning.

After breakfast, have them brush their teeth. Even if your little ones have nothing to do for the day, it’s helpful to remind them what it’s like to get dressed and ready to go. It might be helpful to create a back-to-school routine checklist where they can see, step by step, what they need to accomplish each morning.

Prioritize eating a good breakfast.

Over the summer, your children may have gotten used to eating a late breakfast or skipping the meal altogether. Get your entire family back into the school year groove by serving breakfast right after getting dressed. As a family, collaborate on a “menu” of easy, nutritious meals that can be prepped in advance. This is great practice for getting out of the door on time.

After School Routine

Plan and prep some yummy after-school snacks together.

What is it about coming home from school that makes children absolutely ravenous? Give them something to look forward to after their first day of school by planning and prepping some delicious after-school snacks together. Having a fridge stocked with grab-and-go snacks make for an easier school week (and less hangry children!).

Set up their homework/study station.

It’s hard to be organized in a disorganized space. Set your child up for success by tidying up their space prior to their first school days. It’s helpful to create a designated spot for homework and studying, whether that’s a desk in their room or a quiet spot in the dining room. Stock it up with everything they might need, whether that’s mechanical pencils and workbooks or protractors and graphing calculators.

Back to School Night Routine

Set a reasonable bedtime so they get enough sleep.

It might cause a few fights at first, but setting a bedtime is essential. Luckily, if you’re waking your children up earlier, they’ll likely be ready to go to bed earlier, too! You don’t have to switch from 10 pm to 8 pm right off the bat – just make sure you’re gradually inching up bedtime to get it more in line with their school schedule. Keep in mind that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children 6 to 12 years old get 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night!

Start laying out clothes and packing the backpack the night before.

Have your children start picking out their outfits before they go to bed each night. The night before the first day of school, have them pack their backpacks as well. By selecting clothing and ensuring they have what they need, your mornings will go much smoother.

Don’t forget to make it FUN whenever possible!

Prioritize family time.

Soon, busy schedules will make it harder to spend time doing fun activities as a family. Plan a few end-of-summer outings to savor those last school-free days! Family paint events at Painting with a Twist are a great way to get out of the house and try something new together. Your children can learn some new skills and express their creativity – and, best of all, you don’t have to worry about the dreaded post-craft clean-up! Trade in the screen time for some easel time, and your family will make some summer memories to last through the school year and beyond.

kids painting event

Create gifts for their new teachers.

Get your child excited to meet their new teacher (and ensure they make a great first impression!) with a back-to-school teacher gift. Attend a family paint night or grab a Twist at Home kit, and your child can create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece – perfect for displaying in their brand-new classroom. Not willing to part with their creation? Check out these other gift ideas!

Offer praise and encouragement.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your children won’t adjust in a day, either. Acknowledge the progress they do make, even if it’s just brushing their teeth without prompting or getting ready for bed without complaints. Surprise them with a loving note in their backpack or lunchbox on their first day. A new school year is a fresh start, and you can help them see the positives with a little encouragement.

Make Back-to-School Fun at Painting with a Twist!

Get your children excited for the school year ahead! Whether you’d like to have your kiddo gift their new teacher with their very own DIY artwork, spend a little family time before schedules get busy, or get their creative juices flowing before the start of the new academic year, Painting with a Twist’s Family Events offer a great way to do each of these things. Find an event near you today!

By some miracle, you have 48 wondrous hours off from parent duty. Maybe your little ones are spending the weekend with a friend, or the grandparents are craving quality time with their favorite grandchildren. Whatever the reason, a kid-free weekend is a rare opportunity to enjoy some much-needed “you” time.

If you’re out of practice when it comes to relaxing, not to worry! We’ve got some ideas for how to spend your weekend, whether you want to enjoy it with your partner, friends, or solo.

Set aside quality time with your partner.

You and your partner are alone for an entire weekend, and you’re looking for things to do without the kids! Don’t let the opportunity for some quality couple’s bonding time pass you by.

Between diaper changes, emergency grocery store runs, and the general grind of daily living, you likely feel a little out of touch with your S.O. Take advantage of this kid-free time and rekindle the romance with these ideas.

Plan a day trip.

Break out of your routine by taking a day trip to a nearby town or city. Create a playlist from the good ‘ole days and remember the journey you’ve taken to get to this point with your significant other. A day trip is the perfect low-stress way to feel like you’re on a baecation while staying close to home.

Book a hotel.

If you want to extend your day trip or just want to enjoy the luxury of not doing the cleaning for a night, book a hotel for you and your partner. This is a wonderful way to escape your daily worries and focus on just the two of you.

Have a date night.

Enjoy ice cream at your favorite creamery without the stress of wrangling kids, or make reservations for a more formal sit-down dinner at a five-star restaurant. Maybe you both want to explore your artsy side with a Painting with a Twist couples night. Choose a date night that fits your personality as a couple and simply enjoy one another’s company.

Visit your local art museum.

Chances are, your town has multiple cultural offerings that you haven’t had time to explore now that you have kiddos. Rather than just sitting at home with your partner, why not explore a local nature center or museum? Getting out and doing something new can make all the difference in rekindling the flame in your relationship.

Plan an evening with friends.

It’s moms’ night off! And if by some outstanding miracle your kid-free weekend overlaps with your besties’ free time, it’s time to celebrate. Plan a girls’ night out — or in — with these activities.

Get artsy.

Explore your creative side with your besties at a Painting with a Twist Girls Night. Relax and enjoy a glass (or two) of wine while creating a unique painting that will serve as an excellent memory for your kids-free weekend.

girls night painting

Host a sleepover.

Nothing says girls’ night like an adult sleepover. Have your best female friends over to enjoy the peace and quiet of your kid-free house. Make a list of your favorite rom-coms and settle in with a few bottles of wine, your favorite takeout, and the best grown-up conversations you’ve probably had in years.

Throw a party.

You’re free from mom duty! How often does that happen? Gather your crew and throw a mommy rager like never before. From mimosa brunches and goddess parties to black light events at Painting with a Twist, the possibilities are endless!

And if you’d rather not spend your weekend hosting and planning a party, let us help. All you need to do is call up the crew, grab your favorite beverages, and book an event — we’ll handle the rest.

Enjoy some alone time.

If it’s just you on your kid-free weekend, and it’s time to spoil yourself. You don’t have to worry about what anyone else wants, period. You can do all the things you love without worrying about pleasing kiddie palates, short attention spans, or trying to fit in a nap. Here’s how to embrace your kid-free weekend, solo.

Meet up with a friend.

It’s no secret that maintaining friendships as an adult is hard, but it’s even harder when you start a family. When you’ve got kids, it’s hard to spontaneously decide you want to get a coffee with a good friend or go out for a happy hour drink. Take advantage of this opportunity, and reconnect with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.

Just relax.

When’s the last time you had longer than a few minutes to relax without being interrupted by a kid’s request for milk or hearing someone complain about being bored? It’s probably been a while. This weekend, instead of looking for things to do near you without kids, just enjoy the silence. Sit in a comfy chair, crack open that book you’ve been meaning to read, and escape into the world between its pages.

Take a wine tasting class.

You probably haven’t had time to hone your wine-tasting skills since your little wonders came into the world. And while you won’t have time to become a master sommelier in one weekend, you can definitely improve your basic wine knowledge at a wine-tasting class.

Explore the wonders of pinots and sauvignons on your own, and leave the winery feeling a little more relaxed and knowledgeable once the day is through.

Enjoy a Kid-Free Weekend at Painting with a Twist

A kid-free weekend opportunity doesn’t come often. Make the most of it by joining a Painting with a Twist event near you today! Whether that’s with your significant other, girl squad, or solo, there are plenty of opportunities to truly enjoy some much-needed downtime. Book an event or Pop in and Paint — with no reservation — today!

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