Five DIY holiday activities
for the whole family
(BPT) ¡®Tis the season for baking and crafting
- the perfect ways to feel festive and bond
with loved ones of all ages. From trying new
recipes to creating crafts that will be cher-
ished for years to come, plan a date for some
holiday fun and let the memory-making with
friends and family begin!
These five festive projects will inspire laugh-
ter and good cheer while helping you mark
the season with togetherness:
PEEPS Snowy S¡¯mores
Classic s¡¯mores get a holiday makeover
with a tasty and adorable twist thanks to
PEEPS(R) marshmallow and its fun seasonal
shapes. Just follow the simple instructions
and everyone will enjoy a delicious treat.
Don¡¯t forget to make a few extras to give
away! See instructions below:
Curated by Good Housekeeping magazine on
behalf of PEEPS(R)
Servings: 3 Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: less than 1 minute
9 ct. pack of PEEPS(R) Marshmallow Snow-
9 graham cracker squares
1 pack of mini candy canes
6 chocolate squares
1. Turn on the oven broiler and place the
oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a
baking sheet with foil.
2. Break the graham cracker and the choco-
late bars into squares.
3. Arrange six graham cracker squares on
the baking sheet and top each with a square
of chocolate. Place a PEEPS(R) Marshmallow
Snowman on top of each chocolate.
4. Place the tray in the oven for 35 seconds.
Check to see how toasted the Snowmen
are - they should be slightly puffed, looked
melted around the sides, and begin to form a
golden-brown crust on top. If they don¡¯t look
melted enough, leave them in for another
5 to 10 seconds. Keep a very close eye on
them and use extreme caution when broil-
ing PEEPS(R) and pulling them out of the hot
5. Remove the tray from the oven and im-
mediately begin to build the PEEPS(R) Snowy
S¡¯mores by stacking two melted PEEPS(R)
topped graham crackers.
6. Finish off with a clean graham cracker and
top off with a PEEPS(R) Marshmallow Snow-
man. Adhere the Snowman to the top of the
graham cracker with a dab of melted choco-
late, and then adhere the candy cane to his
hand with chocolate - to appear as if the
Snowman is holding the candy cane.
7. Break up a candy cane and sprinkle bits to
the melted chocolate and PEEPS(R) Marsh-
8. Make sure to enjoy while the treat is still
The family tree gets a thoughtful update
in this project that serves as a reminder of
what matters most during the holiday sea-
Use cardboard or poster board to cut out a
tree trunk and branches to hang on the wall.
Food & Dining
Pg 9 - The Sunshine Express
families and pets in need, Hill¡¯s has partnered
with VCA Charities, the philanthropic arm of VCA
Hospitals, to support the organization¡¯s Pet Food
Pantry program. The program¡¯s goal is to provide
healthy, nutritious pet food to families that could
not otherwise afford it. Created in 2010 in Venice,
California, the program and participating pantries
have served more than 1.5 million meals to pets in
30 locations across the U.S. and Canada.
¡°Many people feel financially tapped out after the
holidays, but helping families and pets in need
doesn¡¯t have to cost a lot,¡± Fuller says.
Here are six simple ways you can help families in
need care for their pets in the New Year:
* Have you ever bought a bag or case of pet food
your pet wouldn¡¯t eat? Consider donating it to
your local food pantry.
* Many pantries provide volunteers with printed
paper bags to use in gathering food donations. Ask
your local food pantry for some donation bags and
drop them off at homes in your neighborhood with
a note asking for pet food donations and let your
neighbors know when you¡¯ll be back to pick up the
filled bags and deliver them to the food pantry.
* Contact your local homeless shelter to find out
what they need to help care for the pets of the
homeless people in your community. Donating
extra blankets and pet sweaters could help keep
those pets warm throughout the winter.
* Shelters for victims of domestic violence may
need help with temporary housing for pets of
families in transition. Contact your local shelter to
see if they have a fostering program that needs
* Seniors who no longer drive may have trouble
accessing regular veterinary care for their pets.
Check with your local senior center or county¡¯s
senior services to see if you can volunteer to drive
seniors and their pets to veterinary appointments.
* Contact your veterinary clinic or others in your
area to see if they have programs in place to pro-
vide free or reduced-cost medical care to pets in
need. You may be able to donate cash or supplies,
or simply volunteer your time.
¡°When families are struggling with food insecu-
rity, homelessness, financial hardship or transi-
tion, they need the unconditional love of their pets
more than ever,¡± Fuller says, ¡°By helping provide
for pets, you¡¯re also doing something good for the
humans who love them - and that¡¯s something you
can feel good about all year long.¡±
Then cut out leaf shapes with
construction paper and ask each
person to write down what they are
Then share with each other before
adhering the leaves on the branch-
es to create a one-of-a-kind family
For a holiday theme, place an ever-
green tree on the wall and decorate
with paper ornaments with nota-
tions of gratitude instead.
Every person is unique and so is
the size and shape of their hand.
Outline each person¡¯s hand on
green felt and cut out individually.
Then use glue to adhere the hands
together in a circle shape to create
a wreath, adding in a few red
circles for berries or a bow if you desire.
Alternatively get a white canvas and green acrylic
paint from the local craft store, then gather ev-
eryone together and paint the palms and under-
side of fingers and press each family member¡¯s
hand firmly on the canvas to create various prints
in a beautiful wreath shape.
Cups of joy
Want a simple project that is as much fun to cre-
ate as it is to give?
From neighbors and the mail-carrier to teach-
ers and school friends, it¡¯s easy to show you care
when you create a treat that lets everyone enjoy
a cup of joy.
Simply get packets of classic hot chocolate and
PEEPS(R) marshmallow in seasonal shapes like
gingerbread men, snowmen and holiday trees.
Tie them together with a bow and add a tag with
a holiday greeting or fun saying like, ¡°You¡¯re our
favorite ¡®PEEP¡¯le, thanks for being great neigh-
Kids love to play with clay, so they certainly will
enjoy creating salt-dough ornaments.
All you need is flour, salt and water to get
Look up ¡°salt dough ornament recipe¡± on the
internet and you¡¯ll find quick and easy recipes.
Traditionally, you¡¯ll roll out dough and cut with
cookie cutters before baking and painting.
You can also make three-dimensional ornaments
like snowmen or people, too. Get creative by us-
ing household utensils like a garlic press to create
hair or beards.
Spending time with loved ones is the best part of
the holidays. Let these five DIY activities inspire
your friends and family to get together and feel
the joy of the season.
Helping Hungry Pets Helps Humans
Year-round ways to help pets
and their families in need
(BPT) Approximately 48 million Americans face food
insecurity every day, according to Feeding America, a
non-profit organization and network of more than 200
That means they, and their pets, face uncertain access
to a sufficient amount of affordable, healthy food.
¡°People who face food insecurity should not have to
sacrifice the unconditional love and companionship
pets bring to their lives,¡± says Joann Fuller, U.S. Shelter
Engagement Manager for Hill¡¯s Pet Nutrition, ¡°Most food
pantries also accept pet food donations. So when you
drop off a bag of dog or cat food, you¡¯re helping a fam-
ily in need take care of their best friend.¡±
Recognizing the need to provide year-round help for