Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cream cheese spritz cookies

I'm not a huge fan of pressed cookies in general, but these are good.  Not overly sweet, very nice for a tea or other elegant occasion.
  • 1 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • decorating sugar or sprinkles
Cream butter and cream cheese; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Stir in vanilla, then add salt and flour and mix until soft dough forms.  Chill.  Pack into cookie press and make cookies in desired shaped.  Sprinkle with colored sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes; watch carefully to prevent over-browning. 

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday School Baptism Craft

I've done this craft twice with Sunday School classes and it's been a big hit both times.  Today, my preschoolers made them as part of their lesson about Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch, but
it's adaptable for any baptism story (Lydia, John the Baptist, etc.) Or, draw a whale instead for the story of Jonah.  Older siblings of the preschoolers (up to high school age) were spied playing with the bottles after church.

This is a variation of the Cartesian diver.  For each craft you need:
  • 1 ketchup packet
  • 1 clear 16-20 oz. plastic bottle
  • Sharpie markers, or other waterproof brand
  • Masking tape (optional)
  1. You'll need to pre-screen your ketchup packets to find ones that are suitable.  I've had good luck with Heinz brands from Burger King and Chick-Fil-A. Drop them in a big bowl of water.  You want ones that float vertically while almost completely submerged.  Packets that sink to the bottom or that float horizontally in the top will not work.
  2. Have the kids draw a picture of the person being baptized on the white side of the packet.  Be careful using permanent markers with kids and be warned that they have a tendency to smear on the slick packet.  For younger kids, it may be better for the teacher to pre-draw the picture.  Be sure the image is dry before proceeding.
  3. Fill the bottle with water and gently push the ketchup packet in.  Fill with water to the top and screw the lid on tightly.  Securing the cap with making tape will discourage young hands from removing it.
  4. Squeeze the bottle gently and the ketchup packet sinks to the bottom. Release, and it rises again.  Great fun!