GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Sandra Hanna from smartcookies.com shares some kooky and affordable Thanksgiving tips, activities and items.
Squash Bowling instead of Touch Football
To make the pins: Attach vinyl sticker numbers to 10 butternut squashes. With painters' tape, cover portions of each squash to create stripes. Fill in stripes using acrylic craft paint, and let dry. Carefully peel off stickers and tape. Designate a lane, and set up the pins, placing lower numbers in front and higher ones in back.
Have each player stand about 15 feet away, grip a small pumpkin by the stem, and bowl. (Should the stem fall off after a few tries, players can grab onto the whole pumpkin.) Give everyone two turns, and award each player the number of points on the pins knocked down.
Real Social Games
Make old board games more interesting and play by your own rules! Love the game Gestures? But hate the "no talking rule"? Throw it out the window and play anyway. Making tweaks can bring new life to old games
Bonus - no need to have awkward conversations with that distant cousin when there's fierce competition going on!
Another idea - everyone puts their cell phones, i-Phones, smart phones, blackberries into the game box until the game is over. There's the Apple i-Phone's Face Time then there's REAL Face Time.
Photo Booth Fun
For $10, these printable photo booth props will be a hit and liven up traditional Thanksgiving family pics. Available on Etsy.com OR hit the dollar store for some props to make your own photo booth set.
Cooking Gadgets and Tips
Potatoes: Have a couple extra potatoes on-hand in case you over-salt a dish (for example, the gravy. Adding a cut up, peeled, raw potato can help absorb some of the saltiness.
Newspaper: It's for the leftovers! Inevitably you will be sending home guests with leftovers or storing leftovers in plastic containers. Sick of the smell of leftovers of days past, even when the container is cleaned? Just place some crumpled up newspaper in the container, cover and leave overnight. Give it another wash and rinse and voila - no more smell.
Multi-tier cooking rack: OK, it's not kooky, but it sure is useful. This tiered rack allows you to cook all your dishes at once so everything will be hot and done at the same time! Available at Williams Sonoma, $22.
Get to know your oven: Before your big dinner, find You don't know your oven's quirks and idiosyncrasies so you can avoid one dish that's under-cooked, another that's overdone and an evenly cooked bird!
Try the "bread test:" Arrange bread slices to cover the middle oven rack. Bake at 350° for a few minutes, and see which slices get singed?their location marks your oven's hot spot(s). If you know you have a hot spot in, say, the back left corner, avoid putting pans in that location, or rotate accordingly.
Onion Goggles: There's no reason to shed a tear when you have the proper eyewear. Just to remove them before guests arrive. $20, BroadwayPanhandler.com
Home: Use a walnut to fix scratches in hardwood floors and/or antique wood furniture. The oil from the walnut helps soothe the scratches to make them less visible.
Beauty/Fashion: Don't just eat your leftovers, spread them all over your face?
Sweet Potato Facial and Eye Rejuvenator: Sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A and antioxidents. They are also moisturizing and clarifying. Many facial topical treatments include ingredients that are derived from vitamin A, which aides in production of new skin cells helping to keep our skin soft, smooth and resilient. (If you are cooking sweet potatoes and adding a lot of ingredients for your Thanksgiving dinner (such as marshmallows), consider setting aside a couple of cups for this facial.)
Sweet Potato Facial
2 ounces cooked mashed sweet potatoes
1 tbs oats (oatmeal)
1 tbs raw sugar
1/2 tsp olive or almond oil (or any oil you have on hand)
pinch of nutmeg
Mix all of the ingredients together to form a thick like consistency. Adjust the ingredients if needed, add more oats to make it thicker or add more liquid (water or milk) to thin it out. Apply this mixture to face and neck, leave on for about 5-8 minutes. Use warm wash cloths to gently remove the bulk of the paste, then rinse with warm water, and gently pat skin dry.
For more information contact Sandra Hanna.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)