Cinnamon Ornaments: Easy Craft for Kids (and Last Minute Gift for Relatives)

As evidenced by this post and the post preceding it, I am a procrastinator. Between this craft and the stove top potpourri gift you can throw together gifts and activities to make the holidays easy and fun (and better smelling). The nice thing about this craft is it can be baked simultaneously with the stove top potpourri and it keeps the kids occupied.

What You Need

4.16 oz Container of ground cinnamon (or two smaller containers)

3/4-1 cup Plain applesauce

Cookie cutters (of your choice)

Yarn or string

A very sharp pencil

What To Do

  1. Mix the cinnamon and applesauce in a bowl until it forms a ball. You will probably need to use your hands. Start with 3/4 cup applesauce and add more until all the ground cinnamon is gathered up into the ball. Please don’t use more than 1 cup applesauce unless you have more cinnamon.
  2. Divide the ball into 4-6 pieces. Use a rolling pin or glass bottle to roll each piece between two pieces of plastic wrap until the dough is 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Remove the top layer of plastic and use a cookie cutter to cut out your desired shape.
  4. Use a sharp pencil to poke a hole into the top of the ornament. Make sure the hole is clear of dough on both sides.
  5. The kids will love “drawing” on the ornaments with a really sharp pencil. At this point you can encourage them to decorate the ornament for a specific person such as a grandparent. Easy gift from the grandkids!
  6. Bake the ornaments on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 200F for 2.5 hours.
  7. Let the ornaments cool on a rack.
  8. String yarn through the top.

img_3874

Advertisements

Stovetop Potpourri: Last Minute Holiday Thank You Gift

One of my favorite thank you or neighbor gifts to give during the holidays is a homemade batch of stovetop potpourri. It is so easy to make and always a well received break from the endless parade of holiday sweets. This is a fun gift to throw together and you can be as creative as you like with the pairings. I am providing a recipe for what I put in this year’s batch, but feel free to add or take away ingredients as suits your fancy. This year I decided to crank it up a notch and oven dry my own orange slices; usually I just throw a whole lemon or orange in the bag with directions to slice it. Enjoy the aromas and save a batch for yourself!

What You Need

Oranges (1/2 per gift)

Cinnamon Sticks (2 whole per gift; you will break them in two to create 4 per gift)

Cloves (1 tsp per gift)

Bay Leaves (2 per gift)

Cranberries (1/2 cup per gift)

img_3885

What To Do

Combine the ingredients in a bag with directions to slice the orange 1/4 inch thick, place the ingredients in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer over low heat. Add water as needed. I used plastic gift bags and leftover yard to tie it up. Simple, easy, no fuss. If you want to go an extra step, consider drying out your own orange slices.

Drying Out Orange Slices in the Oven

  1. Preheat oven to 200F. Low and slow is best, but if you are pressed for time you can crank it up to 250F and try it for 2.5-3 hrs instead of 3.5-4hrs.
  2. Slice oranges 1/4 inch thick. Calculate about 1/2 orange per gift.
  3. Lay oranges out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Blot dry with paper towel.
  5. Bake for 3.5-4 hrs at 200F/2.5-3hrs.
  6. Turn them at least three times. This will also allow you to monitor the oranges in case some start to burn.
  7. Let them sit overnight (or longer) in the oven after it is turned off. This allows them to dry out even more.