battery cake5 Easy to Make Valentine’s Day Gifts

By Beth Engelman

This Valentine’s day don’t let economics get in the way of having fun with these quick, easy and inexpensive gifts you can make with your children.

Battery Cake

For the dad who loves his gadgets, nothing says I love you more than a battery cake! This cake is simple to make, does not require baking and most importantly, is utilitarian.

You will need:

•10 C Batteries
•14 AA batteries
•16 AAA
•Double stick tape
•Ribbon (2 ½ inch width works best)

Directions:

To make layer 1: Bundle the C batteries into a round circle. Secure batteries with double stick tape. Wrap ribbon around the outside of the battery bundle.

To make layer 2: Repeat the same process as above, only this time use AA batteries.

To make layer 3: Repeat the same process, using AAA batteries.

Assemble the cake by carefully placing the layers on top of each other. Make sure layer 1, which is the largest layer, is on the bottom. Add a string of sequins, beads or peals pearls to the ribbon if desired. You may also choose to add a Phillips screwdriver “candle” on the top.

Chocolate Covered Goodies

If you like the idea of giving cake more than the idea of giving batteries, try making a platter of chocolate dipped goodies. Once you gather your ingredients, the recipe is a snap to make and almost as fun as eating the finished product.

You will need:

•1 bag (12 oz) chocolate chips
•1/4–cup vegetable shortening
•For Dipping: Chose items that are sturdy enough to be dipped such as pretzel rods, banana pieces or pound cake.

Directions:

Melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler, over low heat. Immediately pour melted chocolate in a bowl and start dipping. To add variety, roll the chocolate covered ends in colored sprinkles, almond pieces, or crushed candy cane. Place treats on a wax paper and cool in the fridge until hardened.

rocksCharades Rocks!

For the family member who loves games, “charades rocks!” is the perfect gift. It is also a wonderful activity to play during family gatherings and parties.

You will need:

•15-20 rocks, look for ones that are light in color, with at least one flat side
•A Sharpie pen or permanent black marker

Directions:

Work with your kids to come up with 15-20 titles of books, movies and TV shows. Using a Sharpie or permanent black marker, write one title on each rock. Place the rocks in a cute box and let the games begin!

Homemade Play Dough with Action Figures:

Play Dough can be fun for children of all ages, especially if cool action figures are involved.

You will need:

•1-cup flour
•½ cup salt
•2 teaspoons cream of tartar
•2 Tablespoons oil
•1-cup warm water
•Several drops of food coloring
•Airtight container such as Tupperware or Ziploc storage container
•Plastic action figures such as animals, insects or pirates which are available at any party supply store or toy store.

Directions:

Stir first 5 ingredients over low heat until thoroughly mixed. Remove dough from heat and add a few drops of food coloring until desired color is achieved. Knead dough until smooth. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container, adding action figures for a play dough adventure gift that is sure to delight.

Chicken Noodle Flowers

Give someone special a gift that is sure to “peas” with a “souper” flower arrangement. Fill an empty (and thoroughly washed) soup can with flowers. It’s the perfect way to say “you mean more to me than chicken soup,” which to me is always a compliment.

Supersaver Tips

1. When making the battery cake — buy the batteries in bulk at a superstore
warehouse or club. Most batteries have a 5-7 year shelf life so you can always
use the remaining batteries at a later date.

2. A good idea when making a large quantity of chocolate dipped goodies is to store
the treats in empty (and unused) pizza boxes, which can easily be stacked in your
refrigerator.

3. A fun way to make a cute box for charades rocks is to cover an old shoebox with
wrapping paper or use Modge-Podge (available at most craft stores) to cover the
box with pictures, postcards or photographs.