In Season December 2013

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

Jesse Berberich

Reindeer Games

For an easy-to-make ornament that the whole family can enjoy creating, consider the Rudolph Ornament Craft courtesy of www.kaboose.com. What

You’ll Need: •1⁄2 sheet of light brown craft foam •2 glitter gold chenille sticks •2 medium wiggle eyes •1 red glitter pom pom •6-8 inches of ribbon •White craft glue or hot glue gun •Scissors

What To Do: Cut two, tear-drop shapes from the craft foam for the head. To make the ears, cut a small oval, then cut it in half lengthwise. To make it easier for younger children, either draw the shapes onto the craft foam for them, or cut out the shapes yourself ahead of time. Bend each chenille stick in half, then bend and twist them again to form two antlers. Glue the ears toward the top of the round end of one of the tear drop shapes. Glue antlers to the top of the same oval shape. For the hanger, fold ribbon in half and glue the open ends together in between the two antlers. Glue the second oval shape to the back of the first oval to create the back of the reindeer’s head. This sandwiches the ears, antlers, and hanger, giving the ornament a finished look. Glue on wiggle eyes. Glue on red pom pom for nose. Allow to dry completely.

Healthy and Delicious

December 19 is Oatmeal Muffin Day! Enjoy the day with this recipe, courtesy of www.allrecipes.com. These treats taste good and are healthy for you!

Ingredients: •2 eggs •2/3 c. brown sugar •1⁄2 c. vegetable oil •1⁄2 c. milk •1 c. all-purpose flour •3⁄4 c. instant oatmeal •1 tsp. baking powder •1⁄2 tsp. baking soda •A pinch salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 12 muffin cups. Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, and milk in a bowl until smooth. Form the batter by stirring flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into wet ingredients. Fill the prepared muffin cups with batter. Bake until tops are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. This should take about 20 minutes.

Customized Cards

Spark up a little fun this holiday season with personalized products from Spark and Spark. With a wide assortment of themes available and a philoso- phy of “embracing life’s moments,” Spark and Spark’s impressive cards make those memorable holiday moments that much more magnificent! Visit Spark and Spark at www.sparkandspark.com to see all the company’s wonderful items.

Best Brownies

Celebrate National Brownie Day on December 8 by whipping up a batch of chocolate treats with this recipe from www.allrecipes.com.

Ingredients for the brownies: •1⁄2 c. butter •1 c. white sugar •2 eggs •1 tsp. vanilla extract •1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder •1⁄2 c. all-purpose flour •1⁄4 tsp. salt • 1⁄4 tsp. baking powder

Ingredients for the frosting: •3 Tbs. butter, softened •3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder •1 Tbs. honey •1 tsp.vanilla extract •1 c. confectioners’ sugar.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch-square pan. In a large saucepan, melt 1⁄2 c. butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Beat in 1/3 c. cocoa, 1⁄2 c. flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Do not overcook. Make the frosting by combining 3 Tbs. butter, 3 Tbs. cocoa, 1 Tbs. honey, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 c. confectioners’ sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm for a yummy treat.

Celebration Time

Whether your family will be enjoying the festivities in public or from the comfort of home, there’s no better way to ring in the new year and celebrate the one you’re leaving behind than with these homemade, noisemaker shakers from www.spoonful.com.

What You’ll Need: •Ribbon spool •Pencil •Masking tape •Dried peas or beans •Acrylic paint •Colorful stickers.

Directions: For each one, first see if the holes in the sides of your ribbon spool are covered by the ribbon’s labels. If so, use a pencil to poke through the label over one of the holes; if not, cover one hole with masking tape. Next, pour a handful of dried peas or beans into the spool through the open hole; then seal the hole with tape. Finally, coat the shaker with acrylic paint, let it dry, and decorate it with colorful stickers.

Serene Winter Scene

Nothing will look better as the centerpiece for your holiday decorations than this homemade Winter Village Scene craft courtesy of www.activityvillage. co.uk.

What You’ll Need: •Small cardboard boxes •Brown paint •Black card •Silver card •Cotton wool •Silver glitter •Twigs •Sticky tack •Large sheet of card for the base •White glue

Directions: Paint your cardboard boxes brown, and leave them to dry. Cut out some rectangles of black card the length of each box, fold them in half and stick to the top of the boxes to form roofs. Cut out some windows and doors from black card and glue these to your buildings. Put your buildings on your large sheet of card. Add to it a frozen pond cut from silver card, some paths cut from black card, and some twigs stuck upright in sticky tack as trees. When you are happy with the way it looks, glue everything down. Cover the rest of the card with glue and adhere to the cotton wool snow. Add dribbles of glue along the roofs and trees and cover with glitter to create frost.

This column appeared in the December 2013 issue.