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Archive for the ‘Activities for Children’ Category


When you’re looking to turn a classic recipe into something so irresistibly delicious, there’s only one thing to do … add a kick of cake mix. Dry cake mix lends a delicious cake batter flavor to the dough, filling, and icing of these totally incredible (and totally easy!) cinnamon rolls. Whether you’re serving them up for a big day or just adding a bit of oomph to your weekend breakfast table, these Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls are totally fab!

Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 1/2 cup very warm water
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow cake mix (I prefer Betty Crocker.)
  • 2 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup yellow cake mix

For the icing:

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cake mix
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 3-5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Pour the water into a very large bowl. Whisk in the yeast. Then the sugar. Allow the mixture to rest for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the salt, olive oil, and 2 1/4 cups of the flour. Sprinkle just enough flour over the dough until it becomes pliable enough to knead. Knead the dough until it becomes soft and elastic. Cover with a clean cloth and set aside, allowing the dough to rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Drizzle butter across the dough, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and cake mix. Roll tightly into a roll, then slice into 2″ pieces with a sharp knife. Place rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and allow them to rise for 15 minutes more before putting them in the oven and baking for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a stand mixer, beat together all icing ingredients until a spreadable frosting is formed. Drizzle over hot rolls. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles. Serve and enjoy!

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April Fool’s Day is this Saturday – here are some fun jokes to teach your kids in the holiday spirit, as well as the history behind it.

April Fools’ Day happens on the first day of April, but do you know why we play tricks, gags and practical jokes on one another? Find out here!

April Fools’ Day is about more than playing jokes and pranks. That’s just the most fun part of the day! Check out why we’re all so mischievous on April 1st. In the 16th century, France celebrated the New Year just like we do today, except they partied on April 1st. In 1562, Pope Gregory changed the calendar to the one we use today and from then on, the New Year began on January 1st. Lots of peeps didn’t know about the new calendar, or they ignored the new calendar and kept celebrating on April 1st. Everyone else called them April fools and played tricks on them.

Here are some fun ideas for jokes:

  1. Put food coloring in milk.
  2. Superglue coins to a sidewalk. This works best on an old, worn sidewalk.
  3. Go with a couple of friends, stand near some busy street corner – stare and point up at the sky. Watch the reactions of people around you!

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Every holiday is filled with holiday themed candy, candy and more candy…so why not decorate your hard-boiled eggs with candy? Get inspired!

What You’ll Need:

– Corn syrup or royal icing (see recipe below)
– Any kind of candy

How to:

1.  Hard boil your eggs.
2.  Let your eggs cool.
3.  Dip your eggs in corn syrup and then roll in candy OR use icing (almost like its glue) and attach various candy elements to make it totally edible.
4.  Use the egg carton to let the eggs dry with their sugary decorations

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Recipe for Royal Icing:
Royal Icing is a pure white icing that dries to a smooth, hard, matte finish. Besides its lovely finish it also colors beautifully which makes it a favorite of professionals who use it not only for frosting cakes and cookies, but also for intricate piping of decorations (flowers, borders, and lettering) on eggs! There are two ways to make royal icing. My preference is to use one made from a mixture of confectioners sugar (powdered or icing), lemon juice, and raw egg whites. However, because of the risk of salmonella when using raw egg whites, some may prefer the recipe I have included using meringue powder. Meringue powder is a fine, white powder used to replace fresh egg whites and is made from dried egg whites, sugar, salt, vanillin and gum. You can purchase it on line, in cake decorating stores or Michael’s or Joann’s.

To make a small batch, beat together one large egg white, one teaspoon of lemon juice, and about 2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar, or until the frosting is stiff (like a meringue) and of piping consistency. Then place the icing in a piping bag, fitted with a small plain tip, and pipe a border around the outside edges of the cookies. Let it dry completely before covering the surface of the cookie with royal icing.

It is important when working with royal icing to keep it covered (with plastic wrap) as much as possible as it dries out very quickly. Another way to prevent a crust from forming on the icing’s surface is to add a few drops of glycerin (glycerol) to the icing. Glycerin is a sweet, odorless, clear, and syrupy liquid (chemically an alcohol) that comes from fats and oils.

For Royal Icing with Egg Whites:
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until combined. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth.  (If your icing seems runny, using a small knife, push the icing to the edge of the egg. If the icing runs off the edge, thicken the icing by adding a little more confectioner’s sugar. Conversely, if the icing is too thick, add a little water.) The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air.  Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

For Royal Icing with Meringue Powder:
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder until combined.  Add the water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes). If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water. To cover or ‘flood’ the entire surface of the egg with icing, the proper consistency is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.

The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Makes about 3 cups

 

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Commercialism and marketing always centers around Easter in the March and early April months, but often times, Passover is not celebrated enough. This year, Passover, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the week-long celebration of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, Jewish families and friends celebrate Passover with a seder, or ritual meal, during which the story of Moses and the Exodus is retold through words and symbolic foods. Traditionally, after the seder meal is eaten, the family patriarch hides a piece of matzoh, known as the afikomen, as a symbolic dessert. The child who finds it receives a small prize. In this variation, each child makes his or her own bag, which is filled with a piece of matzoh. The bags are hidden, and each child must find his or her own bag to get a prize.

Make your own afikomen bag that is personalized to the children and family celebrating Passover at your home. See below for this fun kids craft!

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April Fool’s Day is this weekend….There’s no chance of breaking the yolks when you cook up these eggs for April Fool’s Day with or for your kids or even to serve to daddy before work! That’s because they’re actually dried apricots — a tangy complement to the sweet marshmallow egg whites. I can’t resist a good practical joke – as everybody knows, there’s no business like monkey business.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 12 marshmallows
  • 2 dried whole apricots

DIRECTIONS:

1.     Place a piece of aluminum foil on a flat working surface and then grease the surface of the foil with 1 teaspoon of the butter.

2.     In a small saucepan, melt the second teaspoon of butter over low heat. As soon as it has melted, add the marshmallows to the pan and turn up the heat to medium-low. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the marshmallows are completely melted and have just started to bubble.

3.     Immediately remove the pan from the heat and spoon the melted marshmallow, in 2 separate blobs, onto the greased foil. You have to work fast, before the marshmallow begins to solidify again.
TIP: When spooning the melted marshmallow onto the greased foil, work quickly, using the back of the spoon to spread out the “egg white” a bit.

4.    Shape 2 dried whole apricots and gently press each one, rounded side up, into the center of a marshmallow blob.
TIP: To make a dried apricot look just like a dome-shaped egg yolk, use your thumbs to push the center of the fruit until it is concave.

5.     When the marshmallow has set enough to hold together, but before it stiffens too much, use a spatula to transfer the eggs to a breakfast plate.
TIP: Once the candy eggs have set, insert a plastic spatula beneath each one and, at the same time, use your fingers to gently peel the marshmallow from the foil.

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Make an adorable Easter bunny mask to dress up for Easter fun! This cute face mask is easy to make and can be dressed up however you like. Last one to make a bunny mask is the rotten egg (wink, wink!).

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These bright and funky eggs are fun for kids to make – I think I remember making them when I was in elementary school. They are a great party decoration if you are hosting Easter dinner too! If packed away carefully, they should last for years.

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Ten percent of 2- to 5-year-olds and 20 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds qualify as obese, according to 2008 data on U.S. children from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being aware of exercise guidelines for children can help you provide your child with the proper amount of physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, thereby preventing excess weight and multiple other potential health problems.

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Spread the luck o’ the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day with a homemade shamrock stamp. Use it to decorate paper place mats, coasters, tablecloths, or anything else your little leprechauns wish to dress in green. May your Saturday be as green as can be!




TOOLS NEEDED:

  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter (2 1/2 inches wide and long)
  • Potato, cut in half
  • Paring knife
  • Green acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Press a heart-shaped cookie cutter (ours was 2 1/2 inches wide and long) into the cut face of a potato half.
  2. With the cutter still in place, use a paring knife to cut the potato from around the heart (a parent’s job).
  3. Remove the cutter, then dip the heart into green acrylic paint and press it onto the paper. Repeat to make two more leaves, then use a paintbrush to add a swish for the stem.

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Saint Patti’s Day is BIG in New York! Teachers love to play games with their kids at school, people fill the streets in strange green costumes and everything and anything is colored green. Why not add the fun to your school hometown, play with kids in the neighborhood or even just your own family at home! Read below for 3 fun games that are no cost or little cost at all!

Pin The Shamrock on the Leprechaun

Supplies:

Big picture of a Leprechaun
A green shamrock, for each child, with adhesive on back and their name on the front
Blindfold

How To Play:
Blindfold the player, spin ’em around and let them try to stick the shamrock where it’s supposed to go. Give a prize for the player that gets the closest.

Irish Hot Potato

Supplies:

Potato
Celtic or Irish Jig Music

How To Play:

Sit the children in a circle. Hand one child the potato. Explain to the children that when the music begins they will pass the potato to the person on their right. When the music stops whoever’s holding the potato scoots out of the circle and playing resumes.

This game also provides a great opportunity to discuss agriculture in Ireland. Perhaps they could pass while you talk and when you stop (every once in awhile) the person holding the potato has to recap what you said.

Gold, Gold, Who’s got the Gold

Supplies:

A large gold coin (or create our pot of gold craft).

How To Play:

A child is chosen to be the Leprechaun and hides her eyes as a gold coin is given to a child to hide in his lap or behind his back. The Leprechaun then has three chances to guess which child has their gold coin. (All children hide their hands in their laps/behind their backs like they have it.)

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