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Crafting Valentine Cards, Gifts Made from Socks and Whoopie Pies on Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Cover of "Whoopie Pies (Cookery)"

Cover of Whoopie Pies (Cookery)

Read about talking about MLK day with kids, making curly designed Valentines, and the recipe for Whoopie Pies below!

The kid’s had off school today for Martin Luther King, Jr. day. I love these days where we can spend more time together doing activities or baking. I explained to the kids today how although King was obviously dealing with men being equal due to the white and black issues of the day, he really was a light for all races, genders, and in essence people to see each other as all deserving of respect, love, support and he truly believed in the fact that community building is so important. MLK day serves people around the US as a way to promote community service to others. When you serve others, you truly do show that you are treating them as someone who deserves your respect and that they are your equal. We talked about this while my son baked some whoopie pies he found a recipe for (chocolate pies with pink cream in the middle–yummy) and the girls and I sat at the table doing activity crafts/art as I will detail below.

Emma, my seven-year old, had recently obtained the February issue of the American Girl magazine and it is full of ideas for crafts and projects. It had a feature on Valentine cards and making them with “curly” art. This really took me back to my childhood. I remembered my mom purchasing supplies to make artwork and cards by twirling up little pieces of paper into shapes. I loved the look of this…colorful, abstract, modern, and unique. The magazine suggested curling the paper into circles then forming a heart out of those and also curling up hearts. I took it a step further with the circles from memory, and made cute little flowers with the circles.

Valentine Curling Cards

*Card Stock
*straw
*scissors
*glue
*ruler
*any other decorations you want

We took the card stock and I folded it in half for Emma for her to make grandparent cards, but for the rest I folded it in half, then again, then cut the 4 sections it made. Then I folded each of the 4 sections into little mini cards. These were the perfect size for Addie, my 3-year-old, or for school Valentine boxes and bags.

Then I used the ruler to draw lines on other card stock colors so I could cut it into long strips.

Curling

To curl, take the straw and cut a 1″ slits across from each other on the straw hole.  Then feed a strip you cut into the slits in the straw.  Next, start winding the strip around itself. Going all the way down the strip will make a circle.  To make hearts, curl halfway down the strip, then pinch the strip where you stopped into a “v.”  Then take the strip out and feed the other end of the strip into the straw to curl.  Then curl that end up to the “v.” You can make the hearts different shapes, with one side rolled more than the other. It is fun to make them unique!

The girls took the hearts and circles and just glued them to the pieces of paper. You can have them do this very neatly, also using a Cricut for the cards, or other heart cut-outs, but my girls like to do things themselves so they just used  a heart cookie cutter to trace hearts and color and glued on the curling shapes. Addie was a Valentine’s machine busting out card after card!! Emma took more time making big sized cards for her grandparents and a cute small one for her best friend Baylee.  After baking, Nassem came over and did a few cards himself with curly hearts. Since Addie made so many, she decided we are giving many of hers to lonely residents at The Good Shepherd Home in Ashland, Ohio. We hope this cheers up their Valentine’s Day, and at the same time they are relating to the MLK community building community service talk we had at the start of  our project. Nassem’s Valentines he will also give to the home. All three decided that since there is time, they will have plenty of days to make more cards for residents.  If your younger children tend to do lots of coloring and “artwork” consider taking these periodically to local homes instead filling the landfill!

To make the flowers, I showed them how to glue on the circle curl on the card, then taking one of the green strips and cutting off some of the strip to make a stem and glue it down from the circle. Two really small pieces of the green strip glued on either side of the stem make leaves!  You can even do these in bunches to make a floral arrangement!

This is a very simple project that you can do with your kids or get them set-up to do on their own. Of course, you can embellish them even more in all the crafty ways you know, especially if you are a stamper, card maker, or scrapbooker.

Supply Holders from Socks

After making the cards, Emma and I also decided to take a cue from another section in the magazine that detailed how to make holders for your pencils, pens, scissors, etc. from old jars by putting socks over them!  Emma found some of her socks to use to make these. Regular socks, not ankle socks, work best we found out! 

With regular socks, you just put the jar into the sock with the top of the sock resting at the top of the jar. Draw a line at the bottom of the jar right underneath the bottom so you can cut that off. Take the sock off and cut around the line, which should be the foot part of the sock.  Put the top part of the sock back on the jar and arrange it as you’d like it! Adorable!

For Emma, she wanted to use ankle socks. The above doesn’t work so well with ankle socks. So, we pulled the entire sock up onto the jar and the foot rested nicely as the bottom. In this case, I needed to cut off the top of the sock. This made for a cute rocker feel to the sock (Emma loves those rocker type gloves). She made 3 for her room and they are cute.

There was also an idea to make little hats and scarfs for your American Girl and we are going to also do that next, as well as head to the dollar store to find cute socks in bright, fun colors to make supply holders for family and friends.

And if your mouth is still watering over the Whoopie Pies, with frosting tinted pink for Valentine’s Day, here is the recipe for that!

Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

For the cakes:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

For the filling:
1/2 cup softened butter
11/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla
Red food coloring

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla extract.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer set at medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until evenly blended.  Add the egg and beat on high until smooth and creamy.  Pour half the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.  Add the milk mixture and continue beating until just blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat again.

Use a cookie scoop or spoon to place a heaping tablespoon of batter on to prepared sheet.  Line them up maybe 9 on each sheet. Slightly flatten each mound with a spoon. Bake the cakes one sheet at a time for 10 minutes (don’t overcook they should be moist and spongy).  Let them cool on the sheet for about 2 minutes then carefully transfer them to a rack to cool. Reline the sheets and do all the above again.

Using an electric mixer, beat all the filling ingredients together except the coloring. If you don’t have marshmallow creme (we didn’t), adapt the recipe to add more powdered sugar and a little milk to get a frosting consistency).  Fold in drops of red food coloring last to get the desired color you’d like.

To make each pie, smooth and spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the bottom of a cake and top with another.

They were SUPER yummy, you know I taste tested right away!! 🙂

If you’d like to make to give as a gift, use a plastic, clear crafting bag. Put one in the bag, then tie with a pretty pink or red ribbon, and attach a heart with a cherished message to your loved one or friend.

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