"While visions of sugarplums
danced in their heads..."
This month we offer whimsical ideas for celebrating
the holidays with children. It's a special time to get them involved in traditions
of the season. Allow them to help make cinnamon ornaments, which will also make
your home smell wonderful. And what better gift for small kids to give their
friends than homemade sidewalk chalk? 'Tis the season to celebrate. From my
house to yours, peace.
SPICEY CINNAMON ORNAMENTS
3/4 cup to 1 cup applesauce
1 bottle ground cinnamon, about 4 oz.
1 Tablespoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon ground nutmeg
Mix applesauce and spices to form stiff dough. Roll
to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Using a straw, make hole
for threading with ribbons. Allow to dry several days, turning at least once
a day. When completely dry, thread with ribbon and hang on Christmas tree. These
are not edible. Makes 4 small ornaments. Recipe mix can be doubled.
STAINED GLASS CANDY ORNAMENTS
Heavy metal cookie cutters
2 bags Life Savers candies
Preheat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheet with aluminum
foil. Spray cookie cutters and aluminum foil with vegetable cooking spray. Fill
inside of cookie cutters with a single layer of Life Savers using as many as
will fit. Bake 5 to 7 minutes until candies are melted. Remove from oven and
allow candy to cool about 2 minutes. Make a hole in each with a straw to thread
ribbon through for hanging. Continue cooling until cutters can be handled. Very
gently, pull cutters away from ornament. Thread with ribbon and hang on Christmas
tree or in windows. These are also edible. Makes 10-12, depending upon cookie
Note: This is a great project for kids. Allow them
to fill the cookie cutters with Life Savers. An adult should bake and remove
the ornaments from the oven, being very careful because they break easily.
HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS CHALK
6 cups plaster of Paris (do not pack)
2-2/3 cups cool water
Liquid tempera paint
2 empty paper towel rolls
Prepare molds by cutting paper towel roll into 4
individual tubes. Tape off bottom of each tube to form a cup. Pour plaster into
a container. Using a paint stick (or other disposable stick), stir until most
of the water is incorporated. Add liquid tempera paint, until you reach desired
color. Mix well, especially at the bottom. Add a little more water and the mixture
should begin to thicken. Stir well and pour into prepared molds. Remove molds
after chalk has completely dried, which may take several days. Makes 8 large
pieces of chalk.
Note: This project is very messy but a great gift
idea for kids to make for their friends. Chalk is to be used only on sidewalks,
as it is too hard for chalkboards.
Vegetable oil or spray vegetable oil
6-12 lollipop sticks
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon mint or other flavoring
4 or 5 drops of red or green food coloring
1 roll thin, shiny ribbon
Small Styrofoam tree-shaped cone
Grease small cookie cutters with oil. Also grease
cookie sheet. With a mallet, pound the end of the stick to flatten as much as
possible. Lay cookie cutters over top of about 1" end of thin lollipop
sticks, placing onto greased baking sheet. Mix corn syrup, sugar, and water
in heavy saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until sugar is
dissolved. Boil over medium heat (do not stir now) until temperature reaches
295° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in flavoring and coloring.
Immediately pour into cutters to depth of 1/8 inch. If candy mixture runs outside
of molds, gently push it back in with a lollipop stick that has been sprayed
with vegetable oil. Allow molds and candy to cool, then remove from cookie sheet.
Trim any excess candy. Wrap a tree-shaped cone with thin, shiny ribbon, attaching
ribbon at base with tape and winding it around to the top of the cone, covering
any foam area showing. Insert lollipop sticks into cone. This makes a great
centerpiece for a kid's party, and it's edible. Makes 6 large or 12 small lollipops.