Storing Up the Good – A Yearly Blessing Jar Tradition

blessing jar 2014 prep with strips of paper

Sometimes we can forget all the good that has happened to us. The everyday upsets sometimes get in our way of remembering all the blessings that have occurred for us. I decided to start a new tradition this year in our family – A yearly recounting of all of our blessings from the past year. I decided it is a fitting January activity to start the new year out. Remembering what is good is an excellent way to start the momentum to more blessings and more happiness. For me gratitude is a basic foundation for happiness and creating more of what we want. This could be done any time of the year of course, but winter is a time that could use a bit of sunlight to shine in our darkest part of the year.

So let’s store or can up the harvest that we have reaped from this past year. Here is my idea of how to make this happen. Hopefully it will give you a start to designing your own format of how to “store up” the good stuff from this past year.

  1. Gather your family up and explain what you are wanting to do – Create a Blessing Jar for all the good things that have happened in the past year. These can be good things that have happened to each of you personally or to a family member or to your family as a whole. It can be larger highlights or it can be very small things that have occurred, maybe a small piece of progress toward something you are wanting. Note: You can of course just do this as a couple activity or for yourself as an individual activity. 
  2. For fun use a canning jar, such as a Ball or Mason jar for the storing or canning up of your blessings. Of course any jar with a lid will work. I would suggest a quart sized jar or whatever size you need to hold your blessings of your family.
  3. Have each choose a color of paper to represent their blessings they are adding to the blessing jar.  Have scissors available for folks to cut out their strips of paper. It can help for each person to add their name to their blessing so if in the future the family decides to look back at the blessings they will know who wrote them.
  4. As each person adds a blessing to the jar, encourage them to read it out loud so others can hear what they are seeing as a good thing that has happened to them in the past year. This can be a respectful witnessing of each others good feelings and acknowledging the importance of what has occurred for them. We might even reflect on what has been offered for the blessing jar. We can make a comment or ask a question to find out more about what made this so good for your family member.
  5. This can lead to thanks for these blessings or some kind of conversation about being grateful for all the good that has happened in the past year. This can also lead to a discussion about what we are wanting in the coming year. To keep it short or workable for children you can possibly have each person share one thing they are wanting for the new year. You want to keep this to be a positive experience for everyone. If you feel you are losing folks, it is ok to break the activity into two spaces of time or to simplify the activity. There is no wrong or right way to do this. The main goal is to share with one another the good stuff that is happening in your family and showing gratitude for these blessings.
  6. Mark the top of your jar with the year you are reflecting on and gathering the good stuff from.
  7. Store your “canned goods” someplace where you can access them when  you would like to in the future. Hopefully you can find a place in which you can each year add a new Blessing Jar. How cool will it be to add a new jar each year and see a growing collection of canned goods.

blessing 2014 jar final pic with papers in jar with lid in pic

I hope you will find your own version of reflecting on all of the good things that have happened for you and for your family in the past year. I think you will also find this activity to be a connecting one as sharing the good has a way of making us feel closer.  Best wishes for a wonderful new year ahead filled with opportunities and more blessings to come.

Cooking Together as a Couple or Family – The Perfect Activity for Fun and Connection


Cooking together can be an incredibly fun and connecting activity for couples and families.  Yes at times cooking can feel like it is a chore if we are tired and overloaded; especially, if we are doing it by our lonesome with no one helping. But together it can lighten this activity, infusing energy and time to talk and interact, something we all could use a bit more of. That said, if you are in an incredibly bad mood or need to be by your self, you may want to wait as some patience and tolerance is part of cooking together.

Cooking as a couple and cooking as a family will have some different dynamics. Cooking as a family with children requires more plan ahead and time alloted.  Cooking as a couple (if no children are involved) can be down right romantic and can be a bit more spontaneous. Just remember you may have different ideas on how to make something. Accepting this and avoiding being rigid as to how something should be made will help to keep it positive.

Here are some considerations in planning and cooking together as a couple or as a family. 

  • Including a planning piece can help to alleviate frustration and disappointment. Of course, at times everyone cooking together may need to be more spontaneous. But if possible, planning what you want and having the needed ingredients can sure make it a more smooth process.  Planning might include:
  1. What is on the menu? Choosing to plan this together can gain more cooperation and encourage a more team approach. This would of course be the most helpful if this is done before you do grocery shopping. Incorporating some things that each person likes can go toward a more satisfying meal for everyone. 
  2. If this is a family activity, are the dishes planned ones that have parts that the younger children can help with?  For example: tearing lettuce leaves, stirring a batter, throwing in specific ingredients, etc. 
  • Patience, tolerance and non perfectionism are some of the main ingredients for cooking as a family. Children are children and they will need to help according to their skill level. The process here is so much more important than the product. RELAXING and EMBRACING the MESS is part of it. 
  • Making sure there is enough time is important as children will slow the process.
  • Having a small healthy snack or appetizer before you start cooking may keep everyone more pleasant and patient.
  • If little ones are involved having a place set up that is safe for their involvement is important.
  • ENCOURAGING and PRAISING each other makes the process so much sweeter, whether it is as a couple or as a family. 
  • Planning a themed meal can be fun. For example: Mexican, Italian, etc or a Tea Party or a Backyard Picnic.

Note: As this is Memorial Day Weekend, you could plan a meal that honors a family member that is no longer with you, who has passed on. For example: Grandpa John’s grilled corn or Grandma Sue’s apple pie.  The idea here would be to include some dishes that the person was famous for making or a dish that they loved, etc.  This would encourage conversation and a time of remembering of our loved ones and their contributions to our food traditions. 

Happy Cooking!!!