Vintage/Retired GS badges and memorabilia
Fall Fun by Rae’s Creations
With fall comes cooler weather, hot chocolate, and baggie sweats. It also comes with amazing activities to explore and try your hand at. We will be touching on just a few of these wonderful activities.
Flowers – do 5 activities.
Triangles – do 7 activities.
Circles – do 9 activities.
Rectangles – do all activities.
1. Fall starts with Football and Cheerleaders, Friday Night Lights and Tailgating. Tailgating parties are parties held in the parking lots of large events to celebrate, such as football or baseball games, concerts, or other large events. The tailgate party is focused around the “tailgate" (or back) of a pick-up truck and usually involve cooking on a small grill or barbecue, and adding salads, drinks and snacks. Sometimes an entire parking lot is turned over to tailgating parties, other times it's confined to people's vehicles. When the tailgate revolves around football, it's also traditional to bring along decorative items such as flags and wear their favorite football team jerseys and clothing. As well as being a good excuse for a party, tailgating friends can sit in the parking lot and enjoy the game together. Attend your local high schools Friday Night football game and cheer on the home team. Get a group of your friends, and their parents, together and set up your own tailgating party in the parking lot.
2. Learn how to knit or crochet to make yourself a scarf, hat, or blanket! See about earning the Rae’s Creations Knitting & Crocheting design. Send pictures of what you make to Rae's!
3. One of the best things in the Fall is warm apple cider with cinnamon and cake donuts! Find a cider mill near your home and have your parent’s take you for a tour. Take a deep breath as you walk through the apple orchard. That wonderful smell is magnified inside the Mill where they are processing the apples for a warm cup of cider for you. If there are no cider mills near you, find one on the internet and learn about processing the apples into cider. Go to the store and buy some apple cider, cinnamon sticks and honey. When you get home, with adult supervision, warm the cider and add a little honey and use a cinnamon stick to stir. Don’t forget your cake donut for dunking!
4. Autumn leaf color is a phenomenon that affects the normally green leaves of many deciduous trees and shrubs by which they take on, during a few weeks in the autumn season, various shades of red, yellow, purple, black, orange, pink, magenta, blue and brown. The is commonly called fall colors. In some areas of the United States "leaf peeping" tourism is a major contribution to economic activity. These leaf peepers take trips to the North, between the beginning of color changes and the onset of leaf fall, usually around September and October to see the magnificent colors in the trees.
Take a walk through the park with your family. See how many different colors of leaves you can find. When you get home, help rake the leaves in your front yard and then jump right in the middle of the pile! If you live in an area that does not have leaf color changes in the fall, go to the library or research on the internet and find pictures of the leaves changing colors. Go outside and collect about a dozen leaves from your yard and create a picture with them. You can paint the leaves any color that you want and then glue them onto a piece of construction paper.
5. Halloween is just around the corner. Get a group of your friends or your family and go to a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and pick out a couple of really nice pumpkins. If they have a corn maze, try it out. Take a hayride around the pumpkin fields and make a necklace with Halloween colored beads. How brave are you? Brave enough to go through a haunted house? What other fun activities do they have?
6. Let’s decorate those pumpkins we bought the other day. How are we going to do it? Are we going to cut scary faces and bats or are we going to paint each one or are we going to do both? Decide how you want to decorate your pumpkin and set up a place to do it. What are the different ways? Make sure to put down papers if you are doing anything indoors for easy clean up.
7. Now that you have decorated your pumpkins what are you going to do with all the stingy guts and seeds? You can sort out the seeds and roast them in the oven to eat. How about making some pumpkin slime? Ask an older family member if they remember roasting pumpkin seeds and see if they still know the recipe. Try the recipe and see if it’s what they remember. You will have to look up a recipe at the library or on the internet. Once you have found one you like, make some Halloween Pumpkin Slime.
8. Halloween was great and the candy even better. What can you do with your pumpkins beside let them rot on the front porch? How about canning the pumpkins and save them for a pumpkin pie in July! Try this easy recipe and see how you do.
Canning Pumpkin the Easy Way
A pressure canner
Jars and Lids
1. We need to cut the pumpkins into cubes. This is the “hardest” part of this whole process. Cut the stem out like you are getting ready to carve a jack-o-lantern. Cut the pumpkin into four or five wedges. Use a spoon to scrape out the pumpkin guts.
2. Peel the pumpkin. For thin skinned pumpkins you can use a vegetable peeler. If you are dealing with pumpkins with a super-hard rind, you will need a sharp knife to remove the peel instead. Watch your fingers!
3. Cut the peeled pumpkin into 1-inch cubes.
4. Place the cubes in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for 2 minutes, then place the pumpkin cubes into hot jars. Avoid smashing down the cubes as much as possible!
5. Cover the pumpkin cubes with the leftover hot cooking liquid, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
6. Add lids and rings and place into your pressure canner. Process quart jars for 90 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. Process pint jars for 55 minutes at 15 pounds pressure.
7. When you are ready to make pumpkin puree, simply open a jar, strain out the liquid, and mash!
One quart jar of drained, mashed pumpkin yields around 2-3 cups of puree.
9. Make personalized Thanksgiving place mats for everyone at Thanksgiving dinner! Create a thankfulness tree for your dining room and fill each leaf with something you feel grateful for. Help make Thanksgiving dinner. Make some fun vegetable trays to set out.
1 Bunch Celery - halved lengthwise and cut into 4 inch pieces
4 Medium Red Sweet Peppers - halved and sliced (Sve 1 slice for the face)
4 Medium Orange Sweet Peppers - bottom trimmed and saved - halved and sliced
4 Medium Yellow Sweet Peppers - alved and sliced (Save 1 slice for the face)
2 Medium English Cucumbers – bias sliced
1 Bunch Radishes - thinly sliced
4 Medium Carrots - peeled and bias sliced
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes
2 Cups Hummus
2 Black Beans, Capers, or sliced Black Olives
1. Arrange the first 7 vegetables (through carrots) in that order on a tray in the motion of a rainbow with the celery being the outer layer. Arrange tomatoes in a circle around the cucumbers.
2. Transfer hummus to a re-sealable plastic bag. Snip the corner off of the bag and pipe hummus in quarter-size tear- drops in the center of the "rainbow", overlapping as needed.
3. Place reserved orange sweet pepper bottom on top of hummus, cut side down. Place beans on pepper, using some hummus as glue, if needed. Trim reserved yellow sweet pepper slice into a triangle and place on turkey face as a beak. Trim reserved red sweet pepper slice to a 1-inch piece and place under eyes.
10. Tapping maple trees is an age-old activity, the process is not complicated, and you can easily learn everything you need to know in one season. Once you have the tools assembled, it really takes less than 5 minutes to tap a tree.
Step One: Identify and Mark Your Trees
Hard maples, also called sugar maple, black maple, or rock maple, have the highest sugar content and produce the best tasting syrup. You can also tap the red or silver maple but the sugar content is lower so you’ll have lower syrup yields and longer boil times. Folks also tap the box elder tree and the finished product has a heavy, sorghum-like flavor.
The best time to identify a maple tree is in the summer or fall when it is in full leaf. Maple trees all have the same characteristics with slight and subtle variations between each subspecies of tree. Consult an illustrated tree reference guide for more details.
Step Two: When to Tap
The tapping season varies from region to region but generally starts in early March and lasts until mid-April. When the sap starts and stops running depends greatly on day and nighttime temperature fluctuations. Watch the weather forecast – sap starts flowing when the temperatures are below freezing at night but climb to the 40°F and above range during the day. If this freeze/thaw pattern is predicted, get out and tap your trees! Don’t be tempted to do it early, though, as this could cause the sap to freeze in your spiles which could damage your equipment and the tree. Remove your taps when you have enough sap or when the tree buds out as that can lead to an off or “buddy” flavor in the finished syrup.
Step Three: Drilling the Taphole
No matter what system you choose, the drilling procedure is the same. The only variation is the size of drill bit needed – most of our kits use a 5/16” spile so that is the size drill bit you’d need. Select a wood-boring drill bit and mark it with tape or a marker at 1½” from the end. This mark will show you where to stop drilling so you only go into the sapwood. Pick a spot on the tree trunk approximately four-feet off the ground below a large branch or above a large root. If using a bucket or jug that will sit on the ground, be sure your tubing will reach the bucket even after the snow melts underneath it. Drill at a slightly upwards angle into the tree and do not go deeper than 1 ½”. Shavings that come out of the hole should be creamy or light yellow and sap will most likely start running immediately.
Step Four: Inserting the Spile
Once the hole is drilled, you simply insert the spile, gently tap it in with a hammer until it feels snug, and attach your bucket, jug, or bag to collect sap. This tap will stay in the tree for the entire season.
Step Five: Collecting Sap
Each day, you will come back to the woods to collect your sap. Sap left sitting in buckets can grow bacteria – this is not harmful as the sap will be boiled but the bacteria will eat away at your sugars which will affect the syrup’s taste. If you can’t boil your sap every day, it can be chilled for a few days until you’ve collected enough to cook. Normally, a single taphole produces between one quart to one gallon of sap per flow-period (which can last a few hours or more than a day.)
Step 6: End of Season Chores
Once you’ve collected enough sap or the trees bud out, simply pry the spiles from the tree with a small claw hammer. The taphole will heal over the summer and the same tree can be tapped year-to-year, although you cannot reuse the same taphole. Thoroughly rinse all of you equipment – do not use detergents – let air dry and store away for next season.
If you are unable to tree tap, find a video to watch and learn!
11. Make your own Maple Syrup.
How to Process Maple Sap into Maple Syrup
The sap you have collected now has to be concentrated into maple syrup. This is done through the process of boiling it. You simply boil the sap until enough water is removed and you are left with pure maple syrup. This process generates a lot of steam so it may be worth doing it outside if you can because your kitchen can quickly fill with steam. Light your stove or turn it on and let your sap boil away. Keep a close eye on it as you do not want your pot or pan to boil dry. After enough sap has been added it will start to darken and turn the golden color of maple syrup. So how do you know when it is done?
How to Tell When your Maple Syrup is Done
When you are boiling your sap and making maple syrup you know it’s done when it reaches 66% sugar (the measure of sugar is known as brix). If the syrup is just for your own use we suggest using a thermometer. Put a candy thermometer in the boiling syrup and when the temperature reaches 7 degrees above the boiling point of water (219 F) it is generally finished. Be careful though as the boiling point of water changes with barometric pressure and altitude. It is a good idea to boil a pot of water on the stove and place your thermometer in the water to see what temperature the water is boiling at. Do this once a day and you should be good to go. Don’t be too worried about burning it. Just be careful not to let your pot or pan go dry. Maple syrup that is under 66 brix (below 66% sugar) has too much water in it and can go moldy. Syrup over 68.5 brix (68.5% sugar) can start to form crystals. So watch your thermometer and go from there. You can also buy an inexpensive hydrometer specifically for maple syrup that will tell you when it’s done but the thermometer is the easiest method. Another really easy way to tell when it’s done is to simply dip a spoon or long edged utensil in the boiling syrup. Lift it out and watch how it runs off the end. If the syrup "aprons" off the end you know it’s close to being done or is done. Again, if maple syrup is not the correct sugar content it can start to ferment. So knowing your sugar content is crucial if you want to bottle and sell your maple syrup, but if it is just for your family and friends it is not as crucial.
How to Bottle Maple Syrup
Once your maple syrup is finished boiling it needs to be packaged. If you just made a little it is best to pour it into a pitcher of some sort and put it straight into the fridge. Keep it refrigerated and it should last for as long as you can keep from pouring it on your pancakes or use it to replace refined sugar in recipes.
Replace Refined Sugars with Maple Syrup
If you made more than you can use or you want to give some away, your maple syrup can be poured into glass mason jars or other glass containers. Always try to use new, clean glass containers. The maple syrup has to go into the container hot (at least 180F) and the cover needs to be put on immediately. Once the cover is securely on, the container should be turned upside down so the hot maple syrup will sanitize the cap. If you do package your maple syrup hot but you are not sure of the exact sugar content it is best to keep it refrigerated. Syrup below 66% sugar that is left unrefrigerated will start to go moldy or ferment.