In Season September 2012

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

Tasheena Carpenter

Thinking Ahead

With the hustle and bustle of back to school, make life easier by planning and preparing your meals as much as two weeks in advance Not Your Mothers Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook (Harvard Common Press). The tome offers more than 200 recipes for homemade frozen meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The author also offers time- and money-saving tips to help busy families.

Create a Banner

Welcome autumn with a festive banner from www.familyfun.go.com. Kids will have a blast finding the leaves and painting on the fabric.

Materials: •Cotton muslin fabric or old bedsheet, washed and dried •Washable glue, such as Elmers •Leaves •Paper plate •Plastic tub or sink •Plastic wrap or waxed paper •Acrylic paint •Wide paint brushes •Stick •Yarn

What to do: Rip the fabric to desired size. Cover your work area with the plastic wrap and lay the fabric on top of the covered surface. Place the leaves on the fabric and use the glue to outline the leaves. Then, add lines inside the shape for veins. Let the glue dry for 24 hours. Once dry, use water and wide brush to wet the entire piece of fabric. Put small amounts of paint on the paper plate and mix each one with a little water to thin its consistency. Brush the paints onto the fabric starting with the leaves. The colors of the paint should flow together. Paint the background and let the fabric dry for 2 hours. Fill the tub or sink with warm water and let the fabric soak for 20 minutes. Gently rub away the glue, rinse the fabric and allow it to dry. Lay the fabric down and place the stick across the top edge. Fold the fabric over the stick and glue down the edge. Tie the yarn around the ends of the stick for hanging.

Wing It

Instead of opting for a tradition cookout this Labor Day, make the Food Network’s Dijon Chicken Wings in the oven. Find additional instructions at www.foodnetwork.com.

Ingredients: •4 lbs. of chicken wing portions •¾ c. Dijon mustard •½ c. honey •3 Tbs. mustard powder •Kosher salt •Freshly ground pepper •½ tsp. grated garlic •Vegetable oil for brushing
Instructions: Position racks on upper and lower thirds of the oven and set to 450°F. Brush two large baking dishes with vegetable oil. Pat wings dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread in dishes and cook for 45 minutes, turning them halfway through. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl, remove the wings from the oven and toss with the mustard mix. Bake for 5 additional minutes until glazed.

Cultural Relativity

September 15 is the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month and is the anniversary of independence for some Latin American countries. If you are interested in multicultural education, visit www.diversitystore.com. The website offers posters, buttons, lapel pins, flags, musical instruments and cultural crafts.

Seasonal Makeover

Spruce up your home decor for the arrival of fall. The website www.goodhousekeeping.com suggests salvaging round and classic box graters from flea markets or eBay. Arrange the shredders in random order on a tray and surround them with autumn flowers and leaves. Place a votive candle inside each grater, light them and let them illuminate through to create a lovely table display. Candles may be substituted with LED lights if safety is a concern.

Nutty Idea

Take advantage of the season’s harvest and create a festive Nut Wreath from www.marthastewart.com.

Materials: •1 lb. each of walnuts, hazelenuts, almonds and pecans in the shell •Acorns (optional) •Hot glue gun •24-inch flat wooden wreath frame •Wide ribbon
Instructions: Glue walnuts in a 5-inch section in varying directions on one side of the wreath. Fill empty spaces by gluing on other nuts until the wreath is completely covered. Be sure to conceal the inner and outer edges of wreath. To finish, tie ribbon around your creation.

Natural Creation

While on a nature walk, collect different kinds of foliage and flora to create a leaf book, courtesy of www.allkidsnetwork.com.

Materials: •Bag to collect leaves •Clear contact paper •Construction paper •Scissors •Stapler
Instructions: While on your walk, collect leaves and flowers and place them in your bag. At home, cut two pieces of contact paper that are the same size, about an inch smaller than the construction paper. Peel the back off one piece of contact paper and place leaves on top in any pattern. Take the second sheet of contact paper and roll it over the first, avoiding any bubbles. Press the two pieces together well. Repeat until all the leaves are pressed. Decorate the two sheets of construction paper to use as covers of the book. Staple the contact paper leaf sheets between the two covers. Enjoy!

Tasheena Carpenter is an editorial intern.

This column appeared in the September 2012 issue.