Posted by JB on Tuesday Oct 14, 2008
Under Soapbox Mama
With autumn all around us, this is the perfect time for a hodgepodge of great and fun things all about leaves, colors and the essence of autumn. Enjoy!
Hand print and finger print crafts always make wonderful keepsakes. Here’s a fun way to celebrate the coming of Autumn while preserving your child’s size and age at the same time.
What you’ll need:
• White construction paper or card stock
• Orange construction paper
• Acrylic or poster paint in green, brown, orange, yellow, tan and red
• White craft glue
How to make it:
1. Line work surface with newspaper and place white construction paper in the center.
2. Start by showing the child where you want to place his/her arm on the paper, you will be painting the bottom of the forearm, palm and all fingers.
3. Use brown paint to cover bottom of forearm, palm and all fingers, use a generous amount.
4. Help child carefully lay their arm and fingers down on the paper, fingers extended. Hand should go in the center of the paper to allow room for the leaves. Gently press down and roll each finger, palm and arm onto the paper. Lift arm straight up into the air.
5. Wash paint off arm and hand and dry completely.
6. Place a nickel sized amount of each color paint into a paper plate. Have child dip their finger into the paint and onto the paper creating leaves of all different colors. The fingers on the paper are the branches, so put the leaves at the end of the branches and all around them.
7. Use a paint brush to add some grass at the bottom of the tree.
8. For older kids, add a few flowers in the grass. Use a small dot of paint on their finger to create the center and flower petals. You can even add a little squirrel in the tree by dotting on a head, body and tail! Use a black marker to dot on the eye. You can also add a few “falling leaves” by dotting two or three colors falling from the branches and use a marker to add a few squiggly lines indicating motion.
9. Make a frame from the orange construction paper by gluing around the back edge of the picture.
• This project has fun variations for Spring as well. Make all the leaves green using two or more shades, then add red dots for apples or white and pink dots for flowers. Use a construction paper color for the frame to match the season.
• It’s best to show children a finished project first so that they understand what they are trying to create. This will make it easier to envision their own picture.
• Be sure to have a bowl of water and some paper towels handy for cleaning off fingers.
This craft activity is from one of my favorite sites, Kaboose. Thanks to Amanda Formaro for the great idea.
For those who love pumpkin, I am sure you won’t be able to resist this recipe.
This recipe is from Debbie Vassil who submitted it to How To Eat a Cupcake.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Makes 23 cookies (11 pies + 1 leftover cookie to eat!)
1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (2 3/4 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder (2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (1 tsp)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (4 1/2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (1 1/2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (1 1/2 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp (2 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar (1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon molasses (3 Tbsp)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (2 tsp)
2 large eggs (4)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup buttermilk (1/2 cup)
Spiced Cream Cheese Filling (my own recipe)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk dry ingredients (except sugar) together in a medium bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add pumpkin puree.
Mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beating until just combined.
Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart, leaving enough room for dough to spread.
Bake for 13 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Cool completely on wire racks before filling.
To make the filling, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until blended. Add sugar and spices. Beat just until thickened and well blended.
I rolled some in toasted chopped pecans and some in mini chocolate chips. They’d also be super good topped with dried cranberries like those raisin creme pies you can get at the grocery store. Thanks Debbie, these were SO great! There were no leftovers!
After letting the electric mixer do most of the work, I like to finish the batter by hand.
I used a medium (#30) cookie scoop to make sure they were all the same size.
While they were cooling, the house smelled SO nice!
Tada! Autumn deliciousness!
Of course with the amazing colors donning the trees comes the fun and delight of cleaning all the leaves. Since most of don’t have the handy-dandy leaf blowers of the professionals, here are some useful tips to make raking leaves fun and enjoyable.
First of all, get your kids and have them join you. Just being outside with your children on a crisp fall day will feel good and make the task feel more like fun then work.
Make sure you have a proper rake that is strong and in good condition. Often this tool is left laying in the garage awaiting those few times it is used. An old rank can bend or break under pressure. Invest in one with wide tines that bend slightly and has a good sweep.
As for sweeps, shorts strokes are more effective than long ones. They gather more leaves, using less energy.
Make sure to rake with the wind, not against it.
Start at one end of the yard and work backwards, closest to the area where you can clean up and dispose of the debris. Then create small piles that are easy to gather and put in bags.
Designate your first pile as the one and only pile the kids can play in.
Bring with you your camera or video camera for some really great pictures filled with happy smiles and vibrant fall hues.