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Five fun ways to make holiday memories with your child


hol-five-fun-ways-to-make-memories

(BPT) – The holidays are a special time of year for everyone, but through the eyes of a child, it can feel like pure magic. Parents and caregivers looking to make this holiday extra special should spend less time worrying about trinkets under the tree, and instead, focus on spending quality time with their families. To make this holiday the best yet, consider these five festive ideas for bonding and creating unforgettable memories together.

Watch a favorite holiday movie together

From Frosty the Snowman to Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer – everyone has a favorite holiday movie they remember from their childhood. This year, relive those fond memories with your child as you snuggle up on the couch together. Don’t forget to gather the movie night essentials such as popcorn, holiday cookies or a mug of hot chocolate topped with Hot Cocoa & Cream PEEPS. Snap a picture of everyone together and share the joy!

Organize a holiday scavenger hunt

Santa’s elves escaped the North Pole to have a little mischief in the yard or in the house. It’s up to you and your child to find all the things on Santa’s scavenger hunt list. Before kids wake, hide fun holiday items around for the ultimate holiday scavenger hunt. A pinecone, candy cane, star and red bulb are just a few examples of what you can put on the list.

Bake with a cultural twist

Baking holiday cookies is a fantastic tradition for kids and adults alike. This year, in addition to your favorite recipes, add a new one inspired by your cultural heritage. Try Lebkuchen from Germany, Melomakarona from Greece or Alfajores from Argentina. A few minutes online and you’ll find the perfect recipe to expand your holiday cookie platter and help kids delve into their family history.

Embrace the spirit of the season

The holidays are a wonderful time full of wish lists and present exchanges. This year, help kids understand the joy of giving back by volunteering together. Whether you buy presents for a family in need, write holiday letters to the troops or help at a homeless shelter, you’re showing kids that it feels just as good to give as it does to receive. Plus, the experience will leave a positive impact long after the holidays are over.

Make an ornament keepsake

Let children’s imaginations take flight and embrace the spirit of the holiday season by creating a special ornament together. With a few simple supplies, you can create a cute and customizable ornament that will remind you of this special project each year as you pull out the decorations. Make a few extra and let your child give them to grandparents, teachers and friends.

Try this simple guide for fun and festive Snow Globe Christmas Ornaments:

Supplies:

PEEPS Christmas marshmallow shapes: Gingerbread Men, Trees, Snowmen or Reindeer

DIY ornaments

Tape with a holiday design (washi tape)

Miniature seasonal props

Loose glitter snow

Hot glue

Popsicle sticks

Ribbon

Bells

Directions:

Best practice: Select which PEEPS you want to use in the ornament, remove from packaging, and let sit overnight.

1. Start with one half of the ornament. (DIY ornaments typically sold in a set of halves.)

2. To create a platform for the PEEPS to stand on, take a Popsicle stick and cut it so it rests across the lower third of the inside. Secure the stick using hot glue to the inside of the ornament.

3. Prop your selected PEEPS shape on the Popsicle platform and secure with hot glue.

4. Add festive miniature props such as the mini-Christmas tree and candy cane shown above, secure with hot glue.

5. Let the ornament stand for 10 minutes.

6. Add enough loose glitter snow to the finished half of the ornament to hide the Popsicle stick.

7. Connect the front half of the ornament and carefully secure with hot glue.

8. Add the tape with holiday design (washi tape) to cover the seam of the ornament or add bells and ribbon to the outside of the ornament.

Caution: glue gun can be extremely hot. Parents should supervise at all times.

For more holiday inspiration visit marshmallowpeeps.com.

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City vies for placement in Guinness Book 2012


By Lois Allen

 

The City of Cedar Springs is vying to set a world record in an effort to put the city “on the map” once again by making it into the Guinness Book of World Records for 2012. On the first of April, all groups, including non-profits, organizations and local businesses, as well as the city of Cedar Springs, the Cedar Springs Library, local police department, and yes, even The Post will collectively begin eating Girl Scout Cookies.

The City is aiming for the title of “The most girl scout cookies consumed by one town in one day,” category. To even qualify, a total of 50,000 cookies must be eaten within 24 hours, according to Guinness officials.

The purpose of the event is to not only help the Girl Scouts, a wonderful organization for young girls, but also to give Cedar Springs a new identity. The city could be dubbed the Girl Scout Cookie Town. It’s fun to say—try it! “It just rolls off your tongue like a thin mint!” said Belinda at The Post.

If you need to get your cookies, sorry, the girl scouts have been deployed. However, the Post has about six boxes left. First come first serve!

If you already have your boxes, get ready and get your cookie face on!

April Fool.

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Girl Scout cookies hit the street


Girl Scouts across northern and western Michigan are gearing up for the annual Girl Scout Cookie Program, which kicks off January 22 and runs through April 16, 2011.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country, generating over $750 million for girls and communities nationwide. But, the program is more than just a fundraiser; it helps girls gain the courage, confidence and character to become tomorrow’s leaders.
“Girls look forward to participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program each year because it’s not only fun and exciting, but it’s a real world business experience,” said Taryn Myers, product sales director for Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore.
In fact, the core of the Girl Scout Cookie Program focuses on teaching girls five essential skills including goal setting, business ethics, money management, decision making, and people skills—all of which will help girls in their future, whatever they choose to do.
“It takes a lot of confidence for a girl to go up to someone and ask them to buy a box of cookies,” explained Myers. “What a great way for girls to learn people skills and build their confidence.”
This year, Girl Scouts can also track their goals online and even become part of a safe, online Cookie Club asking their friends and families to purchase cookies. And because girls are now even more Internet savvy, they can secure orders through social networks; however, Girl Scouts cannot collect money online for the purchases.
Girl Scout Cookies are $3.50 a box, and all proceeds stay within the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore council to help fund girl-led programming. A portion of the proceeds also goes directly to the girls, whether individually or in a troop, for service projects, trips or to participate in special events.
During the 2011 Girl Scout Cookie Program, Girl Scouts will continue to support the community by offering the Gift of Caring option to all consumers, where they can purchase cookies and elect to have them donated to the Gift of Caring charity.
“Gift of Caring is a great way for those individuals who may not be able to enjoy the cookies for dietary reasons or other reasons to support the girls and give back to the community,” explained Gloria Lara, chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore.  “The girls have the choice to donate the cookies back to the council-sponsored charity or they can choose a charity of their own.”
This year, the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore is proud to partner with Michigan Blood as the official council-sponsored Gift of Caring charity.
The 2011 Girl Scout Cookie Program starts with initial pre-orders from January 22 to February 14, 2011. Girl Scouts will also be selling cookies at various Cookie Booths throughout the council’s 30 counties in northern and western Michigan. Cookie Booths will take place March 26 through April 16, 2011.
The Girl Scout Cookie varieties include Thin Mints, Samoas, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Dulce de Leche, Thank U Berry Munch, and Tagalongs.
For more information on the Girl Scout Cookie Program including nutritional information please www.gsmists.org/product-sales/cookies.

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Sweet Ways to Celebrate the Season


Jenny HarperIt’s true – the kitchen is the heart of the home. Ever notice how people always gather there? Whether baking treats, making dinner or spending time with family and friends, the kitchen is my favorite place to be. Since my day job is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens, you can bet I love to stir things up. This column lets me pass along to you some of my best recipes, tips and baking secrets.

Family Features

Some people may have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads during this time of year, but I have other sweet things on my mind. It’s such a fun time of year to bake cakes, breads and cookies and share them with friends and family! Here are a few ways you can celebrate the season by baking:
•    Host a Cookie Exchange – This is a great way to bring different families together for an afternoon or evening of fun. Everyone brings at least a dozen of their favorite holiday cookies to share. Then they can all create their own delectable cookie plate from all the yummy treats available.
•    Have a Family Baking Night – Get everyone involved in the holiday fun by baking up some special cookies together. Let the kids help make some simple sugar cookies, and then set out a bunch of toppings like sprinkles, chocolate morsels, colored sugars and frostings. Everyone can express their inner artist and create their own cookie masterpiece.
•    Make a Special Plate for Santa – Santa does work up an appetite on his big night, so putting out a plate of cookies is a good idea. You can use a special Christmas plate, one of your own pretty dishes, or even let the kids make one by decorating a paper plate with pictures and messages for Santa. Giving him some of these chocolate-studded Mini Chip Snowball Cookies will certainly put a smile on his face!

For more sweet, seasonal cookie recipes, visit www.VeryBestBaking.com.

snowball cookies

Photo courtesy of Nestle

Mini Chip Snowball Cookies

Makes 5 dozen cookies

1 1/2     cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4     cup powdered sugar
1     tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2     teaspoon salt
3     cups all-purpose flour
2     cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi-        Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
1/2     cup finely chopped nuts
Powdered sugar

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
BEAT butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour; stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers.

Nutrition Information per cookie: 120 calories; 70 calories from fat; 7g total fat; 4.5g saturated fat; 10mg cholesterol; 50mg sodium; 12g carbohydrate; .5g fiber; 6g sugars; 1g protein

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.

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