In Season January 2013

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

Jesse Berberich

Cuddle Up

The Happy Husky from Build-A-Bear is the perfect item to help you and your family stay cozy this winter. Dress the furry friend in a hooded sweatshirt, snow pants and other winter attire. Or, keep it simple and dress him in a blue “Let it Snow” sweater. Find a location at www.buildabear.com.

Have Your Cake!

Celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day on January 27 by feeding your inner cocoa lover. Start with Heritage Chocolate Cake, courtesy of www.hersheys.com.

Cake Ingredients: •⅔ c. butter or margarine, softened •1¾ c. sugar •3 eggs •1 tsp. vanilla extract •2 c. all-purpose flour •½ c. Hershey’s Cocoa •1 tsp. baking powder • ¾ tsp. baking soda •½ tsp. salt •1½ c. buttermilk or sour milk

Chocolate Fudge Frosting Ingredients: •⅓ c. butter or margarine •⅔ c. Hershey’s Cocoa •2⅔ c. powdered sugar •⅓ c. milk •1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cake Directions: Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two, 9-inch round baking pans. Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with buttermilk to butter mixture, beating until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pans. To make sour milk, combine 4½ teaspoons white vinegar and milk to equal 1½ cups.

Frosting Directions: Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Add cocoa, stirring constantly until smooth. (Mixture is very thick.) Remove from heat; pour into medium bowl. Cool slightly. Add powdered sugar alternately with milk and vanilla, beating to spreading consistency. Recipes yields about 2 cups of frosting.

Presidential Prestige

To commemorate the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, revisit America’s history as seen through the White House’s windows. Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out (Candlewick ) is a fantastic anthology of short stories, essays, speeches, comics and personal reflections with contributions from more than 100 renowned authors and illustrators. A vital resource for families and classrooms, the book is available at www.candlewick.com.

Crystal Creations

Receive a flurry of compliments by making Sparkling Ice Crystals. Find details at www.familyfun.go.com/crafts.

Materials: •6 12-inch white iridescent pipe cleaners •Clear sunburst beads •Needle and fishing line •White iridescent pom poms

Directions: Cut 6 pipe cleaners in half to create 12 pieces. Hold 11 pieces together and tightly wrap the last piece around the middle of the bundle, twisting its ends to secure it. Spread the pipe cleaner pieces into a star burst shape and thread about 5 beads onto each pipe cleaner to form a snowflake. Using the needle, thread pom poms onto the fishing line. Tie the snowflake to one end of the line and display.

Cherished Memories

Bring the clothesline in from outside and impress guests by using the line to display family photos. To make, string a yarn line along a wall or over a table and use clothespins to hang snapshots for a formal occasion or easily switch it up to display kids’ artwork after a day of creative fun. For all the steps on how to create your picture holder, visit www.wikihow.com/make-a-picture-clothesline.

Get Crafty

Decorate the home for winter with Balloon and Yarn Snowballs. Find this fun and easy craft at www.kidactivities.net.

Directions: Blow up a balloon to the size of a softball. Cut 2 to 3 feet of white yarn and put it in a bowl of Elmer’s glue. Take out the yarn and begin wrapping it around balloon. When finished wrapping, sprinkle it with white or silver glitter. Hang the balloon to dry for 24 hours, or until the glue is dry. Once dry, pop the balloon. Voila! A pretty snowball to hang from your ceiling or on branches.

Beautiful Snowscapes

Seeking a unique way to create cards, decorate your home or have fun this winter? Look no further than this craft for Snowscapes, courtesy of www.theholidayzone.com/winter/arts.htm.

Materials: •Dark construction paper •White chalk •Winter stencils (see “Preparation.”) •Cotton balls

Preparation: Create winter stencils in advance for young children.Trace winter shapes onto cardstock or manilla folders. Carefully cut out shapes. Cut winter design from cardstock or heavy paper.

Directions: Place stencil on a sheet of dark construction paper. (Paper should be at least 2-inches larger than stencil on all sides.) Use chalk to trace around stencil. While still holding stencil firmly in place, gently brush chalk line toward edges of paper with cotton ball. Remove the stencil. The shape is defined by a crisp line, but surrounded by soft snow-like shadows.

This column appeared in the January 2013 issue.