There are four main components that need to be connected: the Raspberry Pi, the T-Cobbler breakout board, the serial LCD module, and the six pushbuttons. The Pi should not be connected to the power supply during these steps in case any wires get crossed.
Although it is not absolutely necessary, the T-cobbler makes working with the Raspberry Pi's GPIO pins much simpler. Some assembly is required for the breakout board (instructions for this are available at: http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2012/11/16/new-product-adafruit-pi-t-cobbler-breakout-kit-for-raspberry-pi/
It is important to connect the ribbon cable the proper direction. On the Pi, the red line of the ribbon cable should be attached closest to the SD card (away from the yellow composite video connector).
Once the ribbon cable is connected to the Raspberry Pi, the T-Cobbler should be placed on a breadboard as shown in the second image.