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Seaweed Art Cards
  • You will need:
    2 lbs. firm apples cut into quarters
    1/2 cup apple cider
    1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
    2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1 tsp. ground cloves
    1 tsp. ground allspice
    Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

    Place the apples, cider and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pass through a food mill. Return to saucepan and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook over low heat and stir occasionally, until very thick and dark brown, about 2 to 3 hours. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

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  • Now that the kids are out of school you will need fun activities to entertain them and keep them busy and occupied. When my children were small they loved to finger paint, which, as you all know, is  messy. When the weather got warmer, I would put my girls in their bathing suits and give each of them a paper plate “palette” with several  dollops of finger paint colors. Then I would put a  white  shower curtain liner on the driveway and let them paint away. More often than not they ended up painting each other, but I didn’t mind. At the end of the day I hosed them down along with everything else.  They had a blast. It was moments like that, watching my children experience sheer creative joy that I thought to myself, “Do not for one minute ever tell me that you did not have a wonderful childhood.”

    Note: Make sure the finger paint is washable. I have learned from experience that certain colors, like green, don’t always come out. Just in case, make sure you and your kids wear clothing that you don’t mind getting a few stains on. Happy painting! If you try this project, please write in and leave a comment so we can all hear about how much fun you had.

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  • Another great group activity for a birthday, play date or class project.

    Materials:
    Small clay flower pots
    Tile grout
    Trowel or knife to smooth grout
    Decorative objects like tiles, sea glass, sea shells, beads, acorns etc.
    Damp cloth

    Give each child a small flower pot and some tile grout to smear on the outside of the pot. Explain to them that they are going to decorate the outside of the pot with the objects. They can cover the entire pot or make a pattern. It is up to them to use their own imagination and creativity. Once the tile is set and the objects are secure, gently wipe away any tile grout that is on the decorations. If you have time, you can take this project one step further by planting flowers in the pots.

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  • This is a great activity for kids to do at a birthday party, especially a sleepover, and it also makes a wonderful gift for grandparents. Can be transferred onto a sweatshirt too.

    Materials:
    Plain white T-shirts (cotton/poly blends work best)
    Fabric crayons (available at craft stores)
    Plain white paper
    Iron and ironing board
    Piece of cardboard

    Using the fabric crayons, have the children draw a design on the piece of paper. Set your iron on the cotton setting and place the cardboard between the front and back of the T-shirt. Place the design on top with the drawing side down. With the iron, apply an even pressure across the entire design. Remove the paper and the design will be transferred onto the shirt. Tip: Remind the children that the design will be reversed so if they are writing words or a message they should write it backwards because the finished result will be the mirror image of the original. Caution: Children should be warned that the iron is hot and adults only are to touch the iron.

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  • This is a quick and easy fun project you can do with all those extra buttons you have lying around the house. If you need more, you can always buy them in bulk at craft stores like and Beverly’s. This project is also a perfect birthday party activity. Can be adjusted for a seasonal activity using season themed buttons like heart shapes or Christmas trees.

    You will need:

    • 1-inch wide elastic
    • Strong needle and sewing thread
    • Scissors
    • Assorted buttons in various shapes and colors

    Cut a piece of elastic about 2 inches longer than your wrist. Before you start, think about a design or theme idea. You may want buttons of similar colors like all primary colors, all pastels or just black and white. Buttons in the shapes of flowers or bugs could be a garden theme. Try all square or all round buttons. You get the idea. When you have a plan, start sewing the buttons onto the elastic leaving an inch blank on either end. Overlap the edges of the elastic and sew the ends together. Make sure you use a lot of stitches so your bracelet is secure. When you are finished, sew on more buttons to cover the stitches.
    Note: You can use 2 or 4 holed buttons as well as shank. Sew the holed buttons on first and then fill in the blank areas with the shank buttons.

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  • Create musical hanging chimes with a few simple materials  found in the hardware store.
    Materials:
    Small embroidery hoop or stick
    Large nails of various sizes
    Fishing line or sturdy string

    Cut a length of fishing line, tie one end under the head of the nail, and secure the other end to the embroidery hoop. Continue tying the nails around the hoop at regular intervals until the frame is full. When finished, strike the nails gently and listen to the bell-like chords. Then hang it outside and let the wind create soft, gentle tones

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  • Homemade Valentines are much better than the store-bought kind and these butterflies are truly unique.

    Materials:
    Red or pink construction paper
    Red string licorice
    A stick of gum
    Valentine stickers and heart shaped sequins
    Markers or crayons.

    Cut heart shapes from the construction paper and place on either side to the gum to form wings. Secure with tape or a heart-shaped sticker. Using two pieces of string licorice, fashion antennae and tape in place at the top of the stick of gum. Decorate the “face” of the butterfly with mini heart stickers or sequins. Have your child write a Valentine message and sign her name on the wings.

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  • You won’t need a special heart-shaped muffin tin to make these muffins.

    Materials:
    Your favorite muffin recipe
    Muffin tins
    Muffin or cupcake liners
    Marbles or marble-sized rolled up balls of foil.

    Line the muffin tins with the liners and prepare your favorite muffin or cupcake recipe. Fill the liners with the batters.  Place the marble or foil between the liner and the edge of the muffin tin. Bake as usual. As the muffin bakes the batter will pull away from the sides and form a heart shape.

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  • Pretzels are fun snack to make with your children. Why not fashion them into heart shapes as a healthy alternative to the traditional Valentine chocolates?

    Ingredients:
    1 cup warm water
    2 T sugar
    2 pkgs. fast acting yeast
    1 egg
    3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
    Kosher salt

    Stir the yeast, water and sugar together in a large bowl until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside for about 15 minutes or until the yeast gets foamy. This is called “proofing”. Afterward, stir in the flour a little at a time until the dough is stiff.  Remove dough from bowl and knead on a floured surface for five minutes. Shape dough into a large ball and place in a buttered bowl. Cover with a dish towel and set in a warm place to rise until it is doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, punch it down. On a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a rectangle. Cut fat strips and shape into heart shaped pretzels and place on a baking sheet. Beat the egg with a fork and brush onto the pretzels. Sprinkle on some kosher salt and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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  • This makes a great Valentine room decoration. Use extra long yarn and hang them from your child’s bedroom ceiling.

    Materials:
    6 pieces of construction paper, 3 pink and 3 red
    Scissors
    Glue
    3″ piece of yarn
    Stapler

    Cut 5 identical hearts from the pink paper. You can draw then free hand or trace a cookie cutter. Just make sure they are all the same size. Stack them one on top of the other; then glue the yarn along the center fold of the top heart, leaving the extra yarn on the top for hanging. Staple along the center fold of all five hearts. The staples should be in line with the string. Fold over half of each heart so that the hearts fan out. Next, from the red paper, cut out 5 smaller hearts about half the size of the larger hearts. Glue them inside each of the “pages” of the larger hearts.

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