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DIY: The Thanksgiving Jar

Posted by Courtney Lynn/Supersize Family Kitchens on November 6, 2017 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


DIY: The Thanksgiving Jar + Free Printable



Several years ago, my sister Chelsea introduced a new holiday tradition: the Thanksgiving Jar. It’s a visible way of counting our blessings, and now it appears every November first. Basically it’s a jar with a pencil and strips of orange and yellow construction paper—but it’s what inside that’s important.

From November first until thanksgiving, everyone in the family writes down whatever they’re grateful for, signs their name, and puts them in the jar. The blessings can be serious or silly or by famous people or childhood imaginary friends. (Dolly Parton may or may not have thanked plastic surgeons last year. I may or may not have written that one.) Then at the big family Thanksgiving dinner, we each take turns pulling a paper out and reading it out loud. Around here, we believe that anything can be a blessing, even a belly laugh at a joke in the Thanksgiving jar—no fuddy-duds allowed!

Only one rule: you can’t read one that you wrote! So If I pull out one of my own, I have to put it back. Besides, it’s more fun to hear someone else read “Courtney is thankful for hunky TV cowboys."

In this post, I’ll walk you through how to make your own Thanksgiving Jar, and I’ve included a free printable of the label that I made for mine! Plus, I’ll tell some of my favorite blessings from previous years.



The Thanksgiving Jar

You’ll need:

A mason jar. Pint size will work, but a quart is better if you have room for it. We use a plastic jar because it’s safer around little ones.

Simple decorations. A ribbon around the top is good. I made a label for mine, and I made a printable with 4 different labels you can cut out and affix using double stick tape. Download it here. (Please use for your own personal use only.) Someone please notify me if the darned link doesn't work. 

Paper cut into slips. Orange and yellow are good fall colors, but whatever.

A pencil.

Directions are practically unnecessary, but here they are: Pretty up the jar with simple decorations. (In the picture above, I made a simple printable label and attached it with double stick tape. You can use sticker paper if you have it. The ribbon is a scrap of canvas drop cloth.) Place the jar, paper, and pencil in an easily accessible location (near the food is always a good choice) and encourage everyone to participate. Grandparents, moody teenagers, little ones, and even visitors should be told about the Thanksgiving Jar.

Speaking of little ones, they may not be able to write their own blessings, so always be available to write it for them or help them with their spelling.


This is what the printable looks like, but it's too small to print. Download the full-size one here.


We also never throw them away after Thanksgiving. Every piece of paper goes into a ziplock baggie with the date written on the bag. Maybe 20 years from now we’ll reread them again and laugh and cry and remember.

I’ll get you started by sharing a few of our past blessings:

Horses—Halle Jo

Reruns of 80’s tv shows--Courtney

Fried food—Halle Jo

Freedom—Judson

McDonalds happy hour—Chelsea

Hallmark movies—Dwayne

Rubber gloves—Ben the garbage man

Cookies and cream candy bars—Jaxie

Coffee creamer—Courtney

Salt-free seasoning—Chelsea

Thanksgiving dinner—Halle Jo

Paper parasols and potpourri—Courtney (I did not write that btw. I believe it was Chelsea’s handwriting.)

Milk and Pepsi—Leo

Clearance racks—Chelsea

Food—Judson

Hot tubs—Jeremy

Almost everything—Judson

Insulated tumblers—Chelsea

Thanksgiving—The Pilgrims (this was actually written by Halle Jo)

God—Judson


And my personal favorite from last year….

Life, love, and the pursuit of bearded men—Courtney



How To Remove Fake Blood From Your Kid's Skin

Posted by Courtney Lynn/Supersize Family Kitchens on October 31, 2017 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

How To Remove Fake Blood From Your Kid’s Skin

 



Halloween is over, and I know what you’re thinking: “How in the HECK do I get these fake bloodstains off of my kid?????”

Two words: Baby oil. I tested out fake blood and baby oil on my own arm so I could see the results firsthand.

First wash the stained skin with soap and water to remove any surface residue. Then douse a cotton ball with baby oil and start scrubbing. Not too hard, though—at first my arm was bright red so I thought it was still stained, but then I realized I’d been scrubbing like a mad woman. After a few minutes the redness was completely gone.


Depending on the brand of fake blood, how much was applied, and how long the stain has set, it may take a couple of tries to completely remove the red blotch. One application will at least noticeably lighten if it doesn’t remove it completely. 

In case you haven’t heard, you can join my e-mail list here. You'll get new recipes and fun DIY stuff straight to your inbox every week, plus I'll send you a free e-cookbook, "The Frugal Family's Guide to the Kitchen." Some of the recipes are from my published cookbook, The Supersize Family's Guide to the Kitchen, but many are exclusive, previously unpublished recipes.

How To Dry Kale

Posted by Courtney Lynn/Supersize Family Kitchens on July 31, 2017 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (0)

How To Dry Kale


Kale is having a big moment right now, and there’s a good reason why. The health benefits are amazing! Kale has more calcium than milk, more iron than beef, and 10 times more vitamin C than spinach! #superfood The hardest part for me is finding ways to eat it. I’m not a salad person and I don’t really like fresh kale on sandwiches. But for the last year or so, I’ve been eating kale almost daily: in soups, on hot dogs, in casseroles, and yes! Even on sandwiches! How? Dehydrated!

The process is simple: Dry it in the dehydrator for 24 hours or until crisp, then crumble it into a container with a tight-fitting lid. You can use the food processor if you want, but I just use my hands to grind it up. It’s easy to rehydrate. For soups, just stir it in on the stovetop. In a casserole, mix in with the wet ingredients (soup, sour cream, or whatnot). On a sandwich or hot dog, sprinkle it on the way you would oregano.

The process is easy, and here are the step by step directions. (If you're reading this on e-mail, you may need to go to www.supersizefamilykitchens.com to see all of the pictures.)

You can pick the kale off a plant, or buy a bag of kale at the store. It doesn’t matter. Layer it on the trays of a food dehydrator. Try to keep it in one layer per tray but it’s okay if it overlaps a little. The stems are thick and hard as a rock once dried so you can pull the leaves away from the stems now, or wait until the leaves are dry before you take them out. Turn on the dryer and let it dry for 24 hours or so. It dries so slow that you don’t have to check on it, and it won’t burn to a crisp. (I forgot to take a picture of the fresh kale on the tray, but it’s easy to do.)

Get a jar or container and a tight-fitting lid ready. Turn off the dryer. The machine may be warm so you can let it cool for a few minutes so you don’t burn your fingertips.

Take the kale out of the trays. Remove the stems if you didn’t earlier. I just put a few leaves in the palm of my hands and crumble them into the bowl. You can also give it a whirl in the food processor.


Put the lid on the container, and you’re done. It will last indefinitely if kept out of direct sunlight. A cabinet is best. It sounds too easy to be true, but it’s not. If you’re new to drying vegetables, kale is a great place to start, but don’t stop there! My sisters also dry peppers and tomatoes. What is your favorite vegetable to dry?

How To Stretch Slightly Small Shoes

Posted by Courtney Lynn/Supersize Family Kitchens on June 29, 2017 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

How To Stretch Slightly Small Shoes


Who else has a pair of shoes that’s just a tiiiiiny bit too small? For me, it’s these cute flats that someone gave me for Christmas last year. They’re just a little bit too snug and I’d never even took the tags off… until my sister Halle Jo told me about a trick she’d found that really works! She’d stretched a pair of high heels using this method, and so I had to try it on these.

Note: This works on shoes that are just a little bit too small, not 2 or 3 sizes. No matter how cute they are!

Here it is, step by step, and it only takes five minutes. (yes, we did these photos outside because my bathroom is a half-remodeled mess.)


You need:

1 pair of slightly small shoes

2 pairs of socks

1 blow dryer

Step 1: Put on 2 pairs of socks, then squeeze your feet into the shoes.



Step 2: Turn the blow-dryer on the hottest setting and turn it on the shoes for 2 minutes. Try to get them evenly heated all over. Wiggle your toes and move your feet a little.



Step 3: Turn the dryer off. Let the shoes cool completely while still on your feet—it shouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 minutes. Keep your feet moving so the material doesn’t shrink.

Step 4: Take the shoes and socks off, then put the shoes back on.

Well, is that cool or what? They fit!