patriotic playfulness

July 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm (craftiness n' colors, independence day, sensational summertime)

“Star-spangled happiness and banner waves of pride.”

-Cherishe Archer
I realize that it’s been ages since I put a craft up here, so here’s a super quick and simple one! This is easy enough for the littlest little in littleville to help with, but ours were napping late that day, so it fell to the bigger littles to show us how it’s done. . . (did that confuse you? Try being me for a day ;))
All you have to do is go to town with some paint and about a million coffee filters! It doesn’t get much easier than this!
T and A were going through a period of preschooler angst at the time (that was a difficult month or two to live through, as they’re normally best buds), so I intentionally only put out ONE paint pot of red and ONE of blue – with only two brushes and NO water for rinsing between color changes. After I sternly threatened warned them that craft time would come to an abrupt halt if I even heard the slightest hint of a squabble, they were forced to politely ask and wait their turns as each finished using their current color. They did beautifully, and for a blissful moment, all was well (they have since resolved their differences, and play nicely together again – for the most part).
Try to convince the kids to leave a bit of white on each filter (they prolly won’t, though), and sprinkle glitter ‘stars’ before the paint dries if you wish (we always want glitter)!
Once the paint is dry, give the kiddo’s some scissors (depending on their age and ability) and have them cut the edges of their filters just a bit. When you’re done you’ll have made  a fat fringe around the outside, but still have a solid center. Then take 3 or so of your pretty coffee filters (add an all-white one if you wish), poke a hole through the center of each one, and ‘tie’ them all together with pipe cleaners to make a firework flower!
You can leave each flower separate, if you wish, or bunch several together like we did to make a huge bouquet.
The girls had a fantastic time making these, and we made tons extra so they could destroy a few running around the house and using them as pom-poms and still have enough extra to put on display.
So EASY-PEASY! And the girls were so proud of their beautiful bouquets!
Before I forget, I have to post about the FLAG COOKIES! I stumbled across them on Laura Flower’s blog called The Cooking Photographer (obviously her cookie pictures are waaaaay nicer than the ones I almost forgot to take). She calls them Berry Raspberry Icebox Cookies, and I am copying her fantastic recipe here so that I can find it again next year!
2/3 cup butter, nearly melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs
2 pouches (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
Red food or icing dye
Blue food or icing dye
1 tablespoon raspberry Jell-O
1 tablespoon berry blue Jell-O
1. Line an 8×4-inch loaf pan with waxed paper, extending paper over sides of pan.
2. In a stand mixer beat butter and eggs together. Add the sugar cookie mixes and beat until just combined.
3. Divide the dough into three equal parts and place in bowls. Set one part aside.
4. Add raspberry Jell-O and red dye for color (You’ll need quite a bit or they’ll be pink) to one part. Knead with your hands in the bowl until the Jell-O is mixed in then pick the dough up and finished kneading folding the dough over with your hands until combined. Repeat with berry blue Jell-O and blue dye.
5. Divide the doughs in half again to make 6 layers. Pat a red dough into the wax paper lined pan. Press gently with the back of a dry measuring cup to even out the dough. Next, pat the plain dough between your hands to form nearly the size of the pan. Press the plain dough into the pan over the red layer. Repeat with blue, red, white and blue.
6. Fold the wax paper over the cookie dough and cover with foil. Refrigerate for several hours until firm.
7. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
8. Once chilled, dump the dough out into a cutting surface.
9. Remove dough from pan and trim edges. Cut log into ¼” thick slices. Then cut slices in half to form squares.
10. Place cookies on sheets 1 1/2 inches apart. Freeze sheets for 10 minutes to retain shapes if desired.
11. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are no longer wet looking and are very lightly golden on the sides.
12. Let cookies firm up on the cookie sheets for a couple of minutes then move to a cooling rack.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
This is a fun recipe that kids really can have a great time helping with – plus they’re TASTY! The first batch we made just as instructed, and they were delicious! (Hint: if kids are helping, put the dough, food dye, and Jello into a large Ziploc bag. They can squish it all together through the plastic, and hands stay clean :)) This recipe is great for littles, because they get to have the fun of mixing the dough and coloring it, then a break to run the wiggles out while the whole thing is chilling for the next stage.
Then a friend of mine tried it . . . she misread the instructions, added the entire packet of Jello, and still got good results. So the second time I added twice as much, and they were so yummy! T was napping this time around, and I lost my mind and decided they’d be way tastier if they actually looked like flags!
I am not a huge fan of sugar cookies OR Jello, but the combination was so good that I can’t wait to try making them again with other yummy jello flavors mixed in!

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