In Season April 2013

Warm and creative ways to celebrate the month's holidays.

Melissa Marciano

Speak Out About Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month. Since the 1970s, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness. Educate yourself and show support by wearing an observance puzzle ribbon available at www.autism-society.org. Events can also be found online.

April Food’s Day

A delicious and creative way to trick someone on April 1 while paying homage to Earth Day is with this Dirt Cake recipe. For more treats, check out www.allrecipes.com.

What You’ll Need: •32 oz. chocolate sandwich cookies with crème filling •Food processor •½ c. butter, softened •1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened •½ c. confectioners’ sugar •3½ c. milk •2 3.5-oz. packages instant vanilla pudding mixture •1 12-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed •Flowerpot •Artificial flower (optional) •Trowel (optional)

Directions: Chop cookies to a fine consistency with a food processor. The white cream should disappear. Mix butter, cream cheese and sugar in bowl. In a large bowl, mix milk, pudding and whipped topping together. Combine pudding and cream mixtures. Layer in flower pot, starting with cookies and then cream mixture. Repeat and then chill until ready to serve. Further your creation by adding an artificial flower and trowel.

National D.E.A.R Day

National D.E.A.R. Day— Drop Everything and Read— reminds families to make reading an important part of their everyday lives. Many schools practice D.E.A.R on a daily basis, but April 12 is the official event date as well as author Beverly Cleary’s birthday. To learn about participating, visit www.dropeverythingandread.com.

Think Green

On April 22, celebrate Earth Day, which encourages the movement of greening schools and everyday activities to promote concern for the environment. By becoming more eco-friendly in schools, communities and homes, we can create energy-efficient ways for all to thrive. Learn more at www.earthday.org.

Crafty Corner

This Earth Day, create The Rain Stick from www.kidactivities.net.

Supplies: •1 cardboard paper towel roll •Toothpicks •Glue •Tape that can be painted •Uncooked rice •Paint

What to Do: Poke holes into the side of the paper towel roll. Have children stick toothpicks through the holes and glue each end of the toothpick. Next, tape one end of the roll closed. Filter rice into the remaining open end, then tape it closed. Children may paint their sticks as they see fit. Last, cut off the toothpicks that protrude from the tube.

Pass Me the Sweets

This Passover, gather around the table with new and tasty desserts from Paula Shoyer’s The Kosher Baker (Brandeis). Baking delicious desserts for the holiday is no longer a struggle without ingredients such as butter, cream, milk or yeast. Shoyer offers recipes that include easy-to-find substitute ingredients, which have become family favorites. To purchase, check out www.paulaspastry.com.

Ready for Relaxation

Looking for a way to relax? Yoga may be right for you. Learn to breathe, stretch and calm your body and mind through this exercise. As the weather warms, experience your flow outdoors.

Creative Tykes

Help kids create their own Bird’s Nest Snack treats to share at school or at home. Find more ideas at www.kidactivities.net.

What You’ll Need: •⅓ c. butterscotch chip morsels •1 c. chow mein noodles •Wax paper •Spon •Jelly beans

Directions: Melt butterscotch morsels in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add chow mein noodles to melted morsels and mix. Shape mixture into individual circles on wax paper. Use a large spoon to make an indentation in the center. Let “nests” harden. Add jelly beans to use as candy bird eggs.

This column appeared in the April 2013 issue.