Every Saturday, the Happy Faces team from Robbie’s Lottery will be showing one movie in one neighbourhood on the island, starting with the first movie “Finding Dory” on Saturday, January 21, at 7:00pm at the community centre right next to the basketball court in St. Peters.

The movie is FREE and everyone is invited to come and see it. Be sure you are there before 7:00pm as the movie will start on time and will continue until 9:00pm.

There will be FREE pop-corn, juice, water and perhaps ice cream. Kids will receive a small surprise – so be on your best behaviour. Parents of course are most welcome.

Check the Out and About each week (and the Kid’s Herald) for upcoming areas where the movies will be shown over the next six months!

The Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) is the national bird of St. Maarten – and is featured on both our coat of arms and our flag. They are a common sight on the island – resting in the salt pond or near the docks; and gliding in the sky over the coast.

Although the Brown Pelican is a large bird, it is actually the smallest of the pelican species. Its body is approximately 120cm long with a wingspan of over 2m. They weigh around 4kg and have a very long bill which reaches out over 30cm and has a pouch hanging down. Adult birds are silvery grey with a white head and often a pale yellow crown. In breeding season, they will develop reddish coloured feathers under the throat. They have black legs and feet. Young birds have a grey neck and are white underneath.

They are one of only two species of pelican which dive into the water from a great height (up to 60ft) to fish. It is an amazing sight; often they dive right below the surface of the water, bobbing up a few seconds later. The impact of the dive on the water stuns the fish and the pelican is then able to gather them in his bill pouch. The pouch is featherless and flexible and extends to store the fish while the pelican is hunting. The pouch can hold three times as much as the stomach of the bird. The pelican drains the water out the pouch before he swallows the fish. They eat mainly fish, but enjoy the occasional crustacean too. They can eat up to 1.8kg of fish per day. They like to hang around fishing boats – hoping to scavenge for scraps.

The pelican is quite ungainly and clumsy on land, but very graceful in the air. They are most often seen flying in a line, following each other, though on occasion they make a “V” formation in the sky. They are particularly buoyant in the water which means they can float well. This is because of internal air sacs below their skin and in their bones. The air sacs also protect them from the impact of the high dives they perform.

They are social birds, tending to nest in colonies or groups. The male chooses the nesting site then puts on a display to attract his mate. He collects the nesting material and the female builds the nest. Here in St. Maarten, pelicans usually nest between June and August. The most important nesting sites are the offshore islets, particularly Molly Beday and at Fort Amsterdam. Pelicans nest in trees and bushes, on cliffs and even on the ground. They build an edge of soil around the ground nests and line them with feathers. Tree nests are made from vegetation like reeds, grasses and sticks.

The incubation period for the chalky white eggs is about one month. Usually two or three hatchlings will be born, and both parents take care of them. They are born bald and blind. The chicks later grow a fine silky down before their feathers finally develop. They stay in the tree nest for about 80 days, whereas hatchlings in ground nests emerge at five weeks. During this time, the parents feed them regurgitated fish and they will continue to care for them for up to 10 months. If you see a nest, be very careful not to disturb it or go too near – pelicans are skittish around their nests and have been known to abandon them through fear of humans.

St. Maarten Nature Foundation has identified the threats to the Brown Pelican as being loss of habitat due to coastal construction, the reduction of available fish supplies and the risk to the birds from marine debris such as plastic bags and garbage.

Make a mini ‘snowman’

Have you ever wished you could play with snow? Well, how about making fake snow? You can use it to make a mini snowman and to create a snow scene for your toys. Ask an adult to help you.

Materials for snow

3 cups baking soda (approximately)

½ cup white hair conditioner (approximately)

Silver glitter (optional)

Materials for snowman

2 small twigs

1 cocktail stick

Orange marker

2 tiny pebbles

Ribbon or strip of material

Directions for snow

First, cover your table with newspaper.

Measure the baking soda into a large bowl.

Carefully add the hair conditioner.

Knead the mixture with your hands gathering it together and squeezing it with your fingers. The aim is to have fluffy snow that will hold together when you squeeze a ball in your hands.

If the mixture is too sticky and damp, you need to add more baking soda.

If the mixture is too stiff, you can loosen it up by gradually adding more hair conditioner.

When you are happy with the texture of the snow, pour it onto a large pan; and if you like, you can sprinkle glitter on top – it’s ready to play with.

For the snowman

Using your hands, make a ball of snow for the body.

Roll a smaller ball and stick it on top of the body for the head.

Make arms out of a couple of twigs.

Make the nose from the pointy end of a cocktail stick, painted orange.

Use tiny pebbles to form the snowman’s eyes.

Tie a ribbon or piece of material around his neck for the scarf.

Traditional Kwanzaa Benne Cookies

Benne cookies are cookies that are typically served at the Kwanzaa celebration. Benne is an African Bantu word for sesame seeds. The Bantu people believe that sesame seeds bring good luck. African slaves brought the seeds with them from Africa to North America in the 17th Century. The cookies are flat with a nutty and sweet taste. Ask an adult to help you in the kitchen.

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg, beaten

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

Method

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line two baking pans with parchment paper (or grease the pans very well).

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl; until pale and fluffy.

Add the salt, baking soda, vanilla and egg and beat well.

Add the flour and fold in with a spoon until well mixed in.

Stir in the sesame seeds.

Using a tablespoon; drop the batter onto the baking sheets, making sure the cookies are spaced well apart.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. They will be golden brown when they are ready. Watch carefully that they do not burn.

Remove the cookies from the oven; let them cool for just a minute on the pan – any longer and they will stick. Place them on a wire rack to continue cooling before eating.

Store the cookies in an airtight container to keep them crisp.

There is nothing more inviting than the smell of freshly baked homemade cookies. Butter cookies are a favourite, especially as you can cut the cookies into different shapes using cookie cutters. You can have fun decorating them with frosting and sprinkles of your choice. Don’t forget to ask an adult for help in the kitchen.

Ingredients

1¼ sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup fine sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2⅔ cups all-purpose flour (plus more if needed)

1 tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

Store bought frosting

Decorative sugar or sprinkles

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350º F and grease two baking sheets.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, until pale and smooth.

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well mixed.

Sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix carefully to form dough. (You may need to add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.)

Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

On a floured surface, roll out half of the dough at a time, until it is about ¼ inch thick.

Using cookie cutters dipped in flour, cut out your cookies and place on the baking sheet – leaving some space around each.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes until cookies are lightly golden at the edges.

Allow to cool before decorating.

Spread the cookies with frosting and decorate as you wish with decorating sugar or sprinkles.

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