In Season September 2011

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

Alanna Weissman

A Grand Old Time
The Sunday after Labor Day is Grandparents Day. Encourage your kids to show their appreciation for your parents and in-laws by sending grandparents a handmade card. Even better, kids can give the card to Gram and Gramps in person after inviting grandparents on a family outing. For ideas, visit www.grandparents-day.com.

Pup It Up
The last week of this month is National Dog Week. If you have the proper resources, adopt a pooch in need from an animal shelter. The sites www.aspca.org/adoption and www.humanesociety.org spotlight some of the many great resources available for making dogs part of your family.

Way to Play
Looking to share the magic of music with your brood? Let the clan know it’s National Piano Month. In honor of the occasion, catch a concert, register your kids for piano lessons or pick up some instructional books on tickling the ivories at www.samash.com.

Book Smart
A perfect incentive to celebrate your children’s smarts the month they return to school, National Library Card Sign-up Month runs until the final day of September. Commemorate the holiday by visiting your local library to apply for a library card for your child. It will be useful well into adulthood.

Say Cheese
September 5 is National Cheese Pizza Day. Head to www.thesneakychef.com to try your hand at cooking Mac ’n’ Cheese Pizza. This kid-friendly yet deceptively healthy take on the childhood favorite offers an awesome cooking activity­ and meal for kids and kids at heart.

Baby Blue
Celebrate National Blueberry Popsicle Month with this low-fat recipe from www.about.com that makes four popsicles.
Ingredients:
•1 c. fresh blueberries •3 Tbs. sugar •¼ c. water •6-oz. fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
Directions:
Heat blueberries, water and sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat until blueberries pop— about 4-5 minutes. Mash the blueberries and pour into a 2-cup pitcher. Allow to cool a little. Stir in vanilla yogurt. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 4 hours.

Butterscotch Bliss
On September 19, National Butterscotch Pudding Day, whip up this simple butterscotch pudding cake from www.cooks.com.
Ingredients:
•1 3¾-oz. pkg. butterscotch pudding •2 c. milk •1 pkg. yellow cake mix •1 pkg. butterscotch morsels •½ c. chopped nuts
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare pudding with milk as directed on package; cool. Stir into cake mix and blend well. Pour into greased and floured 13x9x2-inch cake pan. Sprinkle with butterscotch morsels and chopped nuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Animal Antics
If there’s an animal lover in your home, then mark your calendar for the third week of September, National Farm Animal Awareness Week. Show your family’s love for the adorable critters by logging onto www.pettingzoofarm.com and seeking out a petting zoo in your area.

Apple a Day
Indulge on September 17, National Apple Dumpling Day, by savoring the fruits of your labor after baking this yummy dessert fix from www.momswhothink.com.
Dumpling Crust Ingredients: •1 pastry for 2-crust pie
Syrup Ingredients: •1 c. granulated white sugar •2 c. water •3 Tbs. butter (softened) •¼ tsp. cinnamon •¼ tsp. nutmeg
Filling Ingredients: •6 apples (peeled and cored) •½ c. granulated white sugar •1½ tsp. cinnamon •1½ tsp. nutmeg •2 Tbs. butter (softened)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll pastry slightly less than 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 7-inch squares. Bring syrup ingredients to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes. Put apple on center of each pastry square. Fill with mixture of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Dot each with a teaspoon of butter. Bring points of pastry up and over apple to overlap. Place a few inches apart in baking pan. Pour 1 cup hot syrup mixture around dumplings. Bake for 45 minutes. Just before serving, pour rest of warm syrup over dumplings and consider serving with cream.

Excellent Elephants
On September 22, aka Elephant Appreciation Day, honor the endangered animals by creating elephant paper bag puppets. Download templates and detailed directions from www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mbagelephant.htm.

This column appeared in the September 2011 issue.