Archive for February, 2012

A recipe – Sweet Hearts

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Going through my recipe box, I came upon a recipe from days of yore.  When the boys were young,  this cookie appeared in the cookie jar from time to time.

It is a recipe that I clipped from the newspaper and taped to an index card.  No idea of what newspaper or the date.  I would say that this recipe is about 35 years old.

Sweet Hearts – these are rolled sugar cookies with a twist.  They have rolled oats (oatmeal) added to the mix.  I learned from trial and error and laziness that it also works well as an ice box cookie.

Ice box cookies are my favs because it is handy to keep a roll or log of dough in the frig or freezer and pull it out to slice 12 or so and come up with a quick, warm afternoon treat.

Finally, the recipe:

3/4 cup butter or margarine (I use half butter and half margarine.)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

dash of salt

1 1/3 cups rolled oats, quick or old-fashioned

Beat butter until creamy; gradually beat in sugars.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.  Mix together flour, soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture, mixing well.  Stir in oats.  Chill several hours or overnight.

When I turn this mixture into ice box cookies, I chill the dough for two hours, and then I shape it into rolls or logs and put it back into the refrigerator to continue chilling.

For rolled cookies, roll to 1/4 inch thickness on board dusted with powdered sugar.  Cut with heart-shaped cutter which has been dipped into confectioners sugar.  For ice box cookies, cut 1/4 inch thick slices from a log of dough.  Add sprinkles, if desired.

Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake in preheated 350 oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.  Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes.  Cool on rack.

After the cookies have cooled, frost, if desired, with powdered sugar frosting and top with sprinkles or colored sugars.

This cookie is a crisp sugar cookie with a chewy middle.  The oatmeal and brown sugar add an interesting variation to the regular sugar cookie taste.

Yield:  5 dozen cookies

And here is a plate of cookies that I just sliced off and baked for you.

I have so many recipes that I have used over the years to bake treats for my children and grandchildren.  I shall be sharing these recipes with you publishing one on the 4th Wednesday of each month.

Did you notice that in this month – February 2012 – we have FIVE Wednesdays?  Yes, it is Leap Year.  We all have an EXTRA day this year.  How will you spend it?  Of course, if you are employed, I imagine your employer will expect you to show up as per usual.  I, as a retired person, have decided that on this EXTRA  day I shall do something unusual.  What will I do?  No clue yet.  I’m pondering.  No blog entry next week because I’ll be out doing “the unusual.”

Thank you for visiting Grandma in the Mailbox.  I hope you stop back again.  Enjoy your EXTRA day.  Have a fun Leap Day.

F-E-B-R-U-A-R-Y

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

“F-E-B-R-U-A-R-Y, February second month am I.”  Sorry that you couldn’t hear me sing as I wrote out this song from my childhood.

When I was in second grade, our class presented a program for the WHOLE school.  When you are in second grade and you are going to perform before everyone including those big 7th and 8th graders, this is quite a scary experience.

Our teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, put together a program about the month of February.  For a short month it is stocked with many birthdays and special events. Each of us was assigned a day in February.  We only had 25 pupils in the class so we “borrowed” 3 from 1st grade to help us out.

Our teacher told us what was special about each day of the month.  Many famous people were born in that month and of course there are other holidays, too.  Each student was assigned a day of  the month and became the center of attention as he or she stated why that day was special – e.g. birthday of Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera.   I happened to be given the 14th – Valentine’s Day.

I was so excited.  I was given a poem about Valentine’s Day to learn that I would  recite as part of the program when we reached February 14.

The class stood on a three tiered set of risers for the performance.  As #14 I was on the second tier.  We practiced every day for a week to get ready for our big show.  One day at practice disaster befell me.  As I came down from the riser, I slipped and fell.  A tooth cut the inside of my mouth.  Blood and tears.  I was more embarrassed than hurt.  No stitches were required.  No tooth loosened.  Just embarrassment – and an immediate fear of going up and down the riser.  (Truth be told to this day I am not a fan of bleachers.  That in-grained memory from the past must haunt me still.)

Performance day arrived.  We all filed into the room and climbed to our places on the riser.  We sang our introductory “F-E-B-R-U-A-R-Y. February second month am I.”  Then each of us became the center of attention as we told why our day was special.  We ended the program again singing our tune.

The audience – especially our parents – enjoyed the show.  No encores.

Both of my granddaughters like to hear stories about when I was young.  Recently when I was with the children, we were looking at February on the calendar.  My 9 year old granddaughter pointed to #14 on the calendar and said, “Grandma, that is your day.”   My 6 year old grandson asked why that was my day.  Then my granddaughter proceeded to tell him all about the event – my poem, my falling and the song we sang.  Wow.

The memory lives on.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  Next week I’ll share a cookie recipe – an old timer.  It is one that I baked for my sons when they were young.  I hope you visit again.

 

 

Valentine Place Mats

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

I have made a Valentine treat for my grandchildren that will not go into their mailboxes.  I’ll deliver these to them personally.

I have made place mats that they can use during the Valentine season.

First, I bought some day-glo card stock.

Then I searched for some children’s Valentines that all the children would like.

They all love the Pixar movies so that was a perfect choice.   A few years ago when they were younger and had diverse interests I made placemats using princess cards, My Little Pony cards, Bob the Builder cards, and Wiggles cards.  Everyone  received his/her favorite on a place mat.

Now that they are older and can read, I typed up some blurbs to add to the place mats – blurbs about the movies.  ”Which movie did you like best?’  ”Which movies are these characters in – Sulley, Bullseye, Dash, Ramone, Violet, Finn McMissile?”  ”Name something funny in each movie.” “Which movie would you like to see again?”  ”Which movies are these characters in – Rex, Linguine, Marlin, Jessie, Dory, Russell?”  ”How many Pixar movies can you name?”  (Yes, I have watched many Pixar movies with my grandchildren.)

Why the blurbs?  Sometimes at breakfast the children eat by themselves at the table while their parents are getting ready for the day.  My grandchildren can read the questions and tell their sibling the answers.  If the whole family is dining together, everyone can talk about their favorite movies.  I didn’t put names on the place mats so they can trade them whenever they want.

I put 4 Valentines + some blurbs on the piece of card stock with photo mounts.  Then I added Valentine hearts to decorate the place mat.

I covered the back of the card stock with a piece of clear Contact paper.  Then I covered the front of the place mat with clear Contact paper.  I trimmed the edges.

And voila – place mats for the grandchildren.

I think my grandchildren will enjoy reading the Valentines, reading the questions and talking and laughing about their favorite Pixar movies.   It will be fun to give them their surprises before Valentine’s Day.

Thank you for visiting Grandma in the Mailbox.  I hope you visit again. Next time I’ll be reminiscing about a February back when I was a young girl.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Hope that you have some special cards in your mailbox.

Welcoming the Year of the Dragon

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Recently I went over the river to visit my grandchildren who live 3 hours away.  We always have a craft activity when we get together.  Since Chinese New Year was just around the corner, I suggested that we could make dragon masks – masks for the whole family.

My 6 year old grandson was quite excited because his class was planning a parade for the Year of the Dragon.  He said that he would take his mask to school to wear it in the parade.

I found two really great dragon patterns on the internet.  Below you can see one of them.  Actually the masks were available in color or black and white.  Since we were going to color masks, I printed the black and white ones for my grandchildren to use.

dragon masks coloring 231x300 Chinese New Year Printable Craft: Dragon Animal Masks

I found the masks at:  http://www.animaljr.com/chinese-new-year-printable-craft-dragon-animal-masks/

We got down on the floor to work on the masks.  I had brought along felt pens, colored pencils, and crayons for the children to use.

My granddaughter used colored pencils.

My grandson liked the bright, bold colors of the markers for his masks.

They each colored two masks so everyone in the family would have a mask to wear.  We taped a soda straw at one side in the back of the mask to use to hold the mask when “wearing” it.

My grandchildren were eager to model their masks when they were finished.

 

In addition to the masks we made fortune cookies out of circles of felt.

How to Make a Fortune Cookie Craft

I found the instructions for the fortune cookies at:  http://familycrafts.about.com/od/asianeastcrafts/ss/fortunecookie.htm

The instructions suggest using a glue gun to put the cookies together.  I instead opted to use felt glue.  First, you fold the felt circle in half and glue the top, middle edges.  It took a few minutes for this to dry so the children had time to write fortunes to slip into the cookies.  I had brought along a list of fortunes if they were stumped for ideas.  However, they went right to work writing fortunes.  They also  included lucky numbers.  They had great ideas and funny fortunes.

 

The website shows a video for assembling the fortune cookies.  You slip in the fortune and then gently push up the center of the cookie while you pull the two ends down together and glue them.  This was not a simple process so Grandma got to do the final gluing of the cookie.  I had brought along snap clothes pins that I used to hold the ends together until the glue dried.

At the end of the afternoon when the whole family was together, my grandchildren distributed the masks and they sat for a Year of the Dragon portrait.

Then the fortune cookies were handed out and everyone pulled out a fortune and read it to the family.  Laughs and smiles.  We had only made 4 fortune cookies so I didn’t have one.  My granddaughter said that I needed a fortune anyway so she wrote a fortune and gave it to me.

My fortune:  If you take a picture of a mermaid and she winks at you, that is good luck.”  She also included my lucky numbers.  I won’t share those with you since I just might use them to play the Lotto.

Such a fun visit, but it was time for me to slip back into my car and go over the river and home again.   As I drove home, I smiled thinking of our craft time, of playing school, and of playing the board games Hungry Hippos and Dinosaurs Extinct.  My mouth watered as I remembered our trip to the coffee shop to pick up an assortment of bakery treats so that we could have a pastry buffet for breakfast as we watched Kung Fu Panda.

Thank you for stopping by Grandma in the Mailbox.  Back to thoughts of Valentine’s Day.  I hope you stop by again soon.