In the kitchen, we can build a snowman

Powdered Doughnut Snowmen

Doesn’t this face make you smile?  As soon as I saw this idea on Pinterest,

I knew I needed to make these with my little men.  One look at that little chocolate dotted face and knew that our family needed this snowy man in our life….and that he needed to have rosy cheeks.  If you were standing outside all day long and make of snow, I’m 100 percent positive that YOU would have rosy cheeks as well.

Look at them all clustered together on a pretty pedestal. Personally, I can’t help but giggle when I see them.  On a side note, for that snowman hat in the middle of the pedestal, I used the same chocolate dipped marshmallow on an Oreo idea that I shared in Thanksgiving post, just leave off the buckle for a plain top hat.

The base ingredients for this food project are these little guys:

One bag of powdered doughnuts was more than enough to make my boys their own snowmen and a little igloo (not shown – long story).
Other ingredients you need are:

  • White chocolate
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Shish kebab sticks
  • An orange candy of some sort.  I used an orange dot on the snowman above just cut one end into a tip and worked the cut end into a smooth point by rubbing it between my fingers.  Master Chef Noah opted to just plop an orange Skittle in there.
  • Optional: Candies for “buttons” (as shown in the above snowmen) and petal dust if you too think that rosy cheeks are a must.
  • A dull knife
 Melt your white chocolate candy coating according to the directions on the package until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Joining us today for our foodie project is my oldest chef, Noah who will be instructing you all today on the fine art of making a powdered sugar doughnut snowman.

As you see, Chef Noah has cleaned his hands and has gathered his ingredients on a sheet of wax paper so any mess will be contained.

The first thing Noah needs to do is pick out the three best powdered sugar doughnuts from the pile.  He doesn’t approve of any cracked doughnuts for this project.

Noah does a trial run of what his snowman will look like by laying them vertically on his workspace.  He wants to be sure that these doughnuts are up to par.

After they have undergone his scrutiny and passed his final testing, Noah then slides each doughnut onto the shish kebab stick.

You will be using the white chocolate candy coating as glue, so get a tiny bit on the end of your dull knife and fill the top doughnut hole with white chocolate.  Before it sets up, place the orange candy into the white chocolate.

Continue adding small amounts of white chocolate where the eyes and mouth will be placed or as Chef Noah has illustrated, just dump a bunch of white chocolate all over the top doughnut.  Place two mini chips for the eyes above the orange nose and form a smile with the mini chips under his nose.

Such concentration displayed by my little chef during this delicate procedure.

Continue to add buttons down the “snowman’s” front, let it set up and there you have it!

Banana Snowman

My little overachiever decided to make up his own snowman project to be included in this month’s post.

The ingredients list:

  • Banana
  • Raisins
  • Pretzel Rods (though sticks would have been easier to use and would have been a better size)

First step:  Peel the banana and immediately start acting like a monkey.

After Mom finally calms you down and gets you back in your seat again, use your dull knife to cut the banana.

Look at these sweet fingers.

Line up three banana slices.

Stick mini chocolate chips in place for his eyes and mouth, raisins for his buttons and rods for his arms.

Two fun recipes for you to share with your little ones this month.
Rachel Skvaril, Sugar Artist
www.fondantflinger.com
And don’t forget to visit Fondant Flinger’s Etsy shop to order your Valentine’s Day cupcake toppers; the perfect addition to your cupcakes for those class parties!

Review: Over and Under the Snow

Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal

“Under the snow is a whole secret kingdom,
where the smallest forest animals stay safe
and warm.  You’re skiing over them now.”

As the young girl and her father enjoy a  day of gliding through the quiet woods on skiis, she is unaware of the world beneath her.  Deep in tunnels, holes and caves, hibernating animals lie cuddled up against the frigid cold in nests of feathers, leaves and fur.   Together they notice tracks of animals still hunting for prey that might be found.

You’ll see the winter home of deer mice, voles and bumblebees, and learn where squirrels store their food. They have an interesting way of finding it later when they’re hungry! And did you know that a Red Fox can actually hear a mouse moving under the snow? That is not good news for the mouse!

Along with the interesting pictures, you will learn a lot about winter animals in this book. Even though YOU live over, it’s sure fun to find out what is under!

Mary Byrne Kline

 

Create a Button Snowflake

This project begins with my mom’s old sewing box.

Even at 96 years old, Mom was sewing on buttons and hemming drapes that were just a bit too long.   “I think this blouse would look better with short sleeves.” she said as she examined the blouse that her then 91 year old sister had sent her.  Mom was all about repurposing.  She was “green” before her time.   And she saved buttons – oh, did she ever save buttons.  I sometimes worried that she would actually remove the buttons off of garments before donating them to Goodwill.   I remember our extra large mason jar full of buttons – so that we could add a missing button to dad’s milk man shirts at a moment’s notice – buttons of all sizes and shapes.  Read more…

I haven’t thought about those buttons for years, until last week when my daughter and I were looking for a sewing needle and the only place I knew that had a chance of having one was… mom’s old sewing box.  We did find a needle and that’s when I saw all the buttons.

I remembered an ornament a friend of ours had created this year for their family Christmas tree.  I thought it might be fun to recreate the ornament using Mom’s recently discovered buttons for our January Fireflies Presents theme – S is for SNOW! [coming soon]

Materials:

  • craft sticks
  • buttons
  • hot glue gun or thick tacky glue (for younger crafters)
  • white paint
  • ribbon for hangin’ or a dowel for stickin’
1.  Glue the four craft sticks together.
2.  If you paint your craft sticks white, you won’t have to worry about seeing the sticks between your buttons.

3.  The finished product.   I love the various shades created by using Mom’s old buttons.   All that is left is gluing it to a dowel or ribbon for use as a plant or window ornament.

This is a fun and easy project to do with young children.  It will take extra time when using tacky glue instead of hot glue gun.   Why not make a few, put them in some purchased house plants, and deliver with your children to a local nursing home or hospital?

Mary Byrne Kline [our Fireflies blog book reviewer and the author of “Reflections] has the best Grandma-name ever:  Button!  I’ll let her share in a future post, how that precious name was given to her, but I’ve always thought it was the best name ever!  This snowflake creation is for “Button” Byrne Kline and for the woman responsible for so many rich family memories in my life – my button-saver; my Mom.

Deni Corbett

Masterpiece: The Magpie

“The Magpie” by Claude Monet, 1868.

When we think of Claude Monet we think of impressionism, but does this look like Monet’s typical impressionism to you?  It looks perhaps like a beautiful snow scene many contemporary artists might even paint today.  In this painting created in 1868, the “Father of Impressionism,” Claude Monet, shows us his more realistic side.  “The Magpie” was painted before his famous “Impression Sunrise” painting, below, which first exhibited in 1874 in Paris in what became known as the First Impressionist Exhibition,

Notice the difference in the color palettes of these two paintings.  “Impression Sunrise” is mainly a warm color palette, reflecting the warmth of the sun with its colors.  “The Magpie” is mainly a cool color palette, displaying icy cold blues, violets, greys, and white.  Monet was living off the coast of Normandy with his family in Etretat at the time he painted this beautiful snow scene of “The Magpie” in 1868 plein air (French, meaning “in the open air.”)  My fingers are cold just thinking about painting this outdoors!  

The cool blue-violet shadows in “The Magpie” angling downward to the right instead of cutting straight across the picture plane, give us something to lean into and chew on for a bit, happily digesting its truth.   The pie-sliced sunlit snow in the front or foreground shows us footprints in the snow that stop just before the ladder the raven sits on.  Your little students will giggle if you ask them this question:  “I wonder what happened to the person whose footprints we see?”  They will probably come up with all sorts of funny stories you can write down in your teacher’s journal or parent/grandparent diary!

Did they disappear into the snow or perhaps take a leap of faith off of the ladder into the snow and then wander off the page?  I am sure Monet added them for visual interest and did not expect such us to wonder such things!

The lone raven on the ladder is assuredly our focal point.  His singular black figure against the white snow in the position of authority falls directly in one of the golden sections or sweet spots of our composition.

Contrast “The Magpie” painting to one of Monet’s snow paintings completed five years later in 1873 entitled “Train in the Snow:”

Here are a few more questions for you to engage with your student(s):

  • In the painting “The Magpie,” what colors do you see?  How about the colors in the “Train in the Snow” painting?  (Note both use similar colors, but the values, or how dark and light the colors are, remain different. ) 
  • Do you think “The Magpie” painting was painted on a sunny day or a cloudy day? 
  • How about the “Train in the Snow,” painting?  Was it painted on a sunny day or cloudy day? 
  • “Which painting, “The Magpie” or “Train in the Snow,” do you like better?”  “Why?”

Enjoy sharing these paintings with your student(s) and learning more about the Father of Impressionism, Claude Monet!

Blessings,

Laura

Laura Bird Miller, artist/art instructor
www.laurabirdart.com