How To Parent Today

Helping you be the best parent you can possibly be

Easy Gingerbread House Recipe To Make With The Kids

IMG_3061How To – Gingerbread House

An excellent recipe for gingerbread, and a simple sweet house. Make christmas a little more special – the kids will love it!

Ingredients

Dough
550 grams Honey
250 grams Sugar
125 grams Butter
3 Eggs
1000 grams Bakers (or bread) Flour
25 grams Mixed Spice
50 ml Water
16 grams Bicarbonate of Soda

Royal Icing
200 grams Egg White
1350 grams Icing Sugar
3 Drops Lemon Juice

Sweets to decorate
Icing sugar to shake over for snow effect.

Method

This recipe makes enough dough for 2 houses. I usually make 1 house and cut gingerbread cookies out of the second piece of dough. My 4y/o loves decorating the biscuits with icing and sweets while I decorate the house!

1. Heat the honey and sugar to 65 degrees Celsius. (Don’t worry if you haven’t got a thermometer. Just heat until the mix is melted and hot but not near boiling).
2. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix until 35 degrees Celsius. (or is neither hot nor cold when you touch it!)
3. Add flour, eggs and spice and work into a smooth dough.
At this point you can store the dough to mature – or keep going with the recipe.
4. Dissolve bicarb into the water and add to the dough. Mix thoroughly.
5. Roll out the dough to 4mm for base and walls and 2.5 – 3mm for roof.
6. If you wish you can now glaze the dough with a sugar syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water) and dock well (prick), both to prevent bubbles rising. I have done this in the past and the result is just as good. In my example here I haven’t.

In this example I have rolled all the dough to 4mm and baked the dough in sheets then cut it when cooked as this gives a cleaner edge. The roof pieces will be too thick so I carefully cut them in half (width ways) to make them lighter.

7. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for approx. 15-20 minutes.

To Assemble

1. If you have not already, cut out the pieces. Do this while the dough is warm. Don’t forget to cut a round window and a door. (See pictures) Cut the circle in half to form shutters.
2. Make up the royal icing. (Royal icing dries hard so keep in covered with plastic wrap.)
3. Put the icing into a piping bag with a medium plain nozzle.
4. Assemble in the following order:

Back wall.
Two Side walls.
Front wall.
Now, let icing harden for an hour, then

Roof.
Chimney.
Front door.
Shutters.
Now, pipe on more royal icing to decorate. Decorate with sweets before the royal icing hardens.
Finally, dust with icing sugar for fresh snow effect.

Another hint is to leave the dough to dry overnight. Cover with a clean tea towel and let sit. Cook the next morning. This gives the cooked dough a nice dry crust with a moist interior.

One last note, I once made a gingerbread house twice this size and you can see my hand written measurements on the diagram photo. If you are making this for the first time, please use the typed measurements in the diagram as reference.

Enjoy!

Mamasimx

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

1 Comment »

Top 10 Snowman Treats To Make with Your Kids This Christmas

melting chocolate snowmenMelting Snowman treats – how cute are they!  Recipe here.

choc snowmanSnowmen cake pops.  Of course!  Recipe here.

 

egg cup snowman to make for the kidsEgg-cup snowmen.  Yeah!  Recipe here.

snowmen with scarves to make with the kidsFrosty glass of milk snowman.  How cool is that?  Recipe here.

snowmen cupcakes to make with the kidsSomething a little different…… Recipe here.

snowman eggnog to make with the kidsEggnog snowman (adult or kids version!) Recipe here.

marshmallow snowmenWhat’s not to like with marshmallow snowmen!  Recipe here.

1205_kids_cheeseman_lCheesey snowman anyone?  Recipe here.

snowmen-melting-cookies-1Helllllllllllllpppppppp!  Great.  Recipe here.

The Snowman Ok, not edible.  But after the mayhem of the kitchen fun you will need to relax with your little ones.  and what better way than with this classic tale?  Buy at Amazon here.

 

1 Comment »

3 Top Tips To Help Mums Stay Sane These Christmas Holidays – Kids Activities

Keeping the kids entertained and yourself sane these holidays requires some forward planning.  Here are my 3 top tips for kids Activities.

  1. Investigate Free Or Low Cost Kids Activities

    See my list of twenty top free kids activities to entertain the kids here.  Alternatively do some surfing to see what is happening in your area.  Local government and councils, as well as other organisations and charities, often put on free or low cost activities (such as SureStart in the UK).

  2. Snack Drawer

    My kids want snacks all the time and I was getting tired of scrabbling around to satisfy them.  And they never need a snack when I have a minute, they want a snack when I feeding baby or on the phone.  So I decided I needed to get organised.  I emptied out one of the crisper drawers in my fridge and designated it for snacks.  One evening a week after the kids have gone to bed , I peel a bunch of veggies and fruit and put them in individual bags. I throw in some healthy cereal bars, dried fruits and hey presto instant stress relief.  Now when the kids need a snack I tell them to go pick one from the snack drawer.  They feel great getting it themselves and I don’t have to stop all the time to hand out more snacks.

  3. Mealtime Prep Entertainment

    It seems like my kids can happily entertain themselves for hours until I need to make dinner.  Then they suddenly want all my attention.  So I decided to give distraction a go.  One night I handed out a bowl of rice and various cups and other receptacles and the scales.  I told them to fill 5 cups/bowls with rice grains so they all weighed the same. 20 minutes later they were still busily transferring rice and I was able to make dinner. Some nights I throw a handful of straws on the table with sticky tape and they make animals and castles.  Another time I gave them spray bottles of water and cloths and they “cleaned” the glass doors. The kids will have fun and you will get dinner made.

    It takes a little planning but it is worth the extra minimal effort for a calmer, happier household.

    What are you doing to make your life easier?

Mamasimx

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

1 Comment »

Christmas Stollen Recipe – So Easy To Make With The Kids

Buttered, sugared dredged and sliced

Christmas Cake?  Don’t forget the Stollen Recipe!!!!

Stollen is a fruit bread/cake, delicious and moorish and something a bit different to have on christmas.  I’ve been making it now for quite a few years and it’s one of the christmas treats I look forward to each year.

During the festive season Stollen was traditionally given as gifts and quite often had to travel for weeks to reach its destination.  The fruit means life and the white enclosing sugarcrust represents the linen cloth.

The ingredients in the stollen should be of the best quality.
This recipe makes two Stollen ‘loaves’.

 

Ingredients

The Fruit Mix
110 grams     Arancini (or any candied orange peel)
110 grams     Citron candied (or candied lemon peel)
260 grams     Sultanas
35 grams       Roasted Hazelnuts, ground
25 grams       Glace or Sugared Ginger

Fermentation Dough
180 grams     Bakers (or Bread) Flour
30 grams       Yeast Powdered (or fresh)
170 grams     Warm Water
1 Teaspoon   Sugar (any type will do)
40 grams       Bakers Flour for dusting on top

Dough
320 grams     Bakers Flour
280 grams     Clarified Butter (Ghee) or unsalted butter.
(If the Stollen is being made well in advance then do use clarified as it does not dry out the Stollen as whole butter has a tendency to do.)

Remaining Ingredients
1/2             Egg yolk (sorry about that but do your best!!)
50 grams     Sugar (any sort will do)
Pinch           Salt
10 grams     Sorbex (Sorbitol USP) a simple sugar.  *See note below.
6 drops        Lemon Essence (I have used lemon juice on occasion)
2 teaspoon   Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon   Cinnamon ground
1/2 teaspoon Cardamon ground
10 ml           Rum
100 grams   Milk powder (if you dont have, just substitute milk for the water above.)

Marzipan Filling
200 grams   Marzipan
100 grams   Candied fruit (traditionally Arancini)
1 & 1/2        Egg yolks
Marzipan will become bitter when cooked if not combined with other ingredients.

Finishing
100 grams   Clarified Butter
Dredge        Vanilla Caster Sugar (or plain sugar)

Method

  1. Wash sultanas thoroughly.
  2. Dice candied fruits
  3. Combine all fruit mix items together.
  4. Combine the fermentation dough items together except for the 40g Bakers Flour which you dust on top.  This feeds the dough and acts as a blanket!)
  5. Cover with a cloth and leave to prove for 30 mins in a warm place.
  6. Mix the butter and flour together.  Don’t overwork.
  7. Combine the fermentation dough, dough and remaining ingredients.
  8. Add the fruit mix and combine.  Do this by hand or the fruit will break up.
  9. Keep in a warm place to prove for an hour.
  10. Divide dough in half and roll out as per photo.
  11. Roll the marzipan into two ‘sausage’ lengths.
  12. Place on dough.
  13. Fold/Roll dough into traditional shape  (See photo.)
  14. Place on a baking tray that has been lined with 10 layers of newspaper and a layer of baking parchment.  This stops the bottom from getting too dark.
  15. Cook at 170 Celsius for 40 -45 mins.
  16. When cool, brush with clarified (or not!) butter and dredge with lots of vanilla caster sugar.
  17. Before serving dust heavily with sugar.
Note – My gas oven is not fan forced and only has heat from the bottom.  Consequently items brown very quickly on the bottom.  Therefore I often put quite a few layers of newspaper as added insulation under items to stop browning.

Enjoy!

Sorbex – This acts as a simple preserver to stop moulds if your keeping the Stollen for any length of time.  If you can’t get hold of it use glycerine instead (available from most supermarkets in the baking section or from the chemist).  Honey can be a substitute.

 

1 Comment »

Joys of parenting #436

Today’s top Mummy Moment…

CANT I EVEN GO TO THE LOO!!!!!!!!!!?!?

#fightingrugrats never give you a moments peace.

 

Mamasimx About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

2 Comments »

Possibility and hope – Human Universe

Learn to value the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake.
Learn to value the human race and take responsibility for our own survival.

Educate the next generation in the great discoveries of science. Teach our children to value the light of reason that banishes superstition.

If we do all that then there is a chance that this universe will remain a human one.

Our children and their children.

Oh wise, beautiful and uplifting words Professor Brian Cox.

Human Universe BBC2

No Comments »

Review – Mumkind: healthy Mum, happy baby

A few weeks ago Rob from Mumkind sent over some products from their range for me to try.

MumkindMumkind describe themselves as s a “new pregnancy nutrition brand designed specifically for mums-to-be and busy new super mums.”  Mumkinds’ website describes their mission as:

“Created by experts in the field of pregnancy nutrition and with support from midwives, Mumkind offers a new and simple way to make sure you are including a range of nutrients in your daily diet.  We all know its important to try and eat a healthy, balanced diet, but including Mumkind products will help you to ‘top up’ what you are already eating, because getting everything you and your baby need is not always easy.  All the products are carefully formulated to help provide nutrients where there is a tendency to fall short.”  Read the Mumkind story here.

They have a number of testimonials from happy customers and supporting comments from Dr Emma Derbyshire, a nutritionalist, and Dot Parry, an experienced midwife.

The Mumkind range includes:

prod1 Ginger Me Baby LozengesGinger Me Baby Lozenges -  Ginger & Chamomile lozenges, designed to help with the nausea and soothe and calm.  The lozenges are wrapped in clear wrappers and you are able to reuse the tub as it is microwavable and freezer proof safe.

  • Available in Sainsuburys.  Ginger & Chamomile lozenges 48g tub –  £3.49

 

prod3 Water Our Way   Water Enhancer Water Our Way – Water Enhancer - Similar to a squash or cordial, but apparently with no calories or carbs (the products use sweetener instead of sugar) the cordial contains Mumkinds’ blend of B vitamins to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Water Our Way helps you drink more water, keeps you hydrated and our blend of B vitamins helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Available soon on Amazon.  Mixed berry flavour water Enhancer 30ml (10 drinks) £2.99 

 

prod2 Bump to Baby Nutrition Bars‘Bump to Baby Enhanced Bars’ –  bar with 25% recommended daily allowance of all the nutrients that are essential during pregnancy (and only half the calories of a chocolate bar).

  • Available online – flavours – red berry & yogurt and Chocolate – £1.99.  (Currently out of stock apparently)

 

prod4 Night Night Baby Bedtime drink‘Night Night Baby Bedtime Drink’.  a hot drink with Mumkinds’ blend of key nutrients, each mug has 25% of all the recommended daily allowance of the essential vitamins, minerals needed during pregnancy. In Vanilla & Red Berry or Vanilla & Belgian Chocolate.Luxurious vanilla hot drink

  • Available online – flavours – hint of red berries and hint of Belgian chocolate – £6.99.  350g (14 drinks) (Currently out of stock also)

What did I think of the Mumkind products?

Mumkind

Mumkind very generously provided me with the Ginger Me Baby Lozenges and the Water Our Way drink enhancer.

I really liked both of the products.  The lozenges had a mild and very pleasant taste.  The ginger was not overwhelming and for someone who is not keen on chamomile, I could not detect chamomile at all to be honest.  I’m not suffering from morning sickness at the moment so can’t comment on the effectiveness in that regard.  But as a sufferer during all my three pregnancies I think the lozenges would have been very nice to suck on when the nausea was at its worse.

If your not a fan of the artificial sweetener flavour then you may want to give the drink enhancer a miss.  But if this does not bother you then the little bottles are handy to pop in your bag and contain enough of the potent cordial to flavour up a number of bottles or glasses of water.  I thought these were a great idea and handy for after pregnancy as well.

All in all I was impressed and would recommend.  The only minus I can see is the price; they are not exactly cheap.  But if you are planning on taking supplements anyway during or after pregnancy then as an alternative I think the prices are on a par.

The other point I would make is i think they are products to be enjoyed in moderation, not to be consumed constantly throughout the day….

If you go over to the Mumkind website now you can also win tickets to the 2014 Olympia Baby Show in London!

And a note to Rob at Mumkind – it would be nice to have the ingredients list for each product on your website. [Update – Rob has let me know that he is working on this as I type!]

 

Mamasimx  About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

If you enjoyed this post you will also enjoy:

How To Stop Baby Crying And Fussing When Dressing Them

Here Is Something You Don’t Hear Every Day From Your 6 Year Old…!

 

No Comments »

18 unequivocal signs you’re the parent of a toddler

Very funny post from Mumsnet…

 

18 unequivocal signs you’re the parent of a toddler

Dizzily thrilled if you get a post-7am lie-in? Prone to asking your colleagues if they’ve been to the loo before you head out to a meeting? If any of the following seem wearily familiar to you, then you must be the parent of a toddler

Do your pregnant friends know what they’re letting themselves in for? Could they benefit from a few expert tips? Why not let ‘em know about Bumpfest, Mumsnet’s first ever baby event; it will be packed full of info on what to expect from birth and your baby’s first months – plus food, (non-alcoholic) drink and goodies! Grab a ticket here (plus find out more about our group discount offer…).  

1. You automatically get excited and start pointing out the nee-naw whenever you hear a siren. Even to your workmates.

2. Waking up at 7.30 seems like a lie-in.

3. You are disappointed and apologetic when the level crossing is open and no trains are coming.

Click through here to Mumsnet to read the rest.  Very funny!

Mamasimx  About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

If you enjoyed this post you will also enjoy:

How To Stop Baby Crying And Fussing When Dressing Them

Here Is Something You Don’t Hear Every Day From Your 6 Year Old…!

No Comments »

A Healthy Happy Lunch Today For The Kids.

Slices of healthy, toasted wholemeal/granary loaf with ham and cheese, cucumber side and milk to drink.

healthy lunch for kids

healthy lunch for kids

Mamasimx About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

If you enjoyed this post you will also like:
20 Free Activities To Entertain The Kids
10 Ways To Inspire Your Kids

2 Comments »

A Healthy School Lunch!

healthy school lunch

Mamasimx About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

If you enjoyed this post you will also like:
20 Free Activities To Entertain The Kids
10 Ways To Inspire Your Kids

2 Comments »