Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wonderful Winter Book for Kids

Winter's Tale by Robert Sabuda is a magical book that takes the pop-up concept to a whole new level. Simple, poetic text pairs with intricate pop-up scenes complete with shiny, glittery loveliness. This book is really a piece of art I'd recommend to parents of slightly older children who can resist tearing the pages.

"Gingerbread" Houses

Instead of taking the time to bake separate pieces of gingerbread for a house, use graham crackers instead. For a pint size house perfect for a child, take three standard size graham crackers (like HoneyMaid brand) and break them in half to total six squares. "Glue" them together using royal icing (four for the sides and two for the roof) and let it set up on a small piece of cardboard covered in foil. Then take a variety of decorative candy and the remaining frosting and let your child decorate away. You may want to make an extra one for you to decorate as well!

You need:
-3 graham crackers
-foil covered cardboard base

-assorted decorative candy

-Royal icing
Royal Icing:
-2 egg whites (pasteurized, if possible)

-2 teaspoons lemon juice
-3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

Beat the egg whites and lemon juice together using an electric mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar at a low speed to mix smoothly. Store in an airtight container when not using (icing dries out quickly). To pipe onto the seams of the house use a plastic bag with the corner cut off or a piping bag.
*Please note that this recipe contains raw egg whites and is not recommended for little munchkins to eat. There are alternative recipes for Royal icing that call for substitutions if preferred.

Alternative Gift Giving

Here's a new idea for gift giving this holiday season. Give a gift that changes lives. MercyCorps has made it easy by providing a variety of Mercy Kits that go to help people and communities all over the world. Mercy Kits range from $16 all the way up to $2500 and outline exactly how your donation will be spent. You get a card (by mail, email, or as a printable PDF) to give to your gift recipient. Go to mercykits.org for more information.