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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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The Most Amazing Kids Toy EVER!!!!

Springfree TrampolineLook at this baby!  Isn’t it the most incredible looking trampoline?

We have been lucky enough to have a Springfree Trampoline* in our back garden for the past 4 weeks.  The house has been so quiet I have forgotten (almost) I have two boys as they have been out on it whenever they are not eating or sleeping.  They simply adore it.

Your kids will absolutely love it.

The trampoline comes with some great accessories such as a step to get on and off but far more fun as far as the kids are concerned is the ball and hoop that attaches to the top of the net.  AWESOME!

 

 

What’s so great about it?

It’s FUN!

The kids have been out playing on it every spare second and it is so great to see them enjoying themselves so much while getting a lot of exercise.  Three year old loves to kick his football round and round the trampoline going faster and faster.  I love the fact the ball doesn’t go over the neighbours fence.

I’m not sure if Springfee would approve but the trampoline makes an excellent creche for Babygirl while I did some gardening!  I just made sure that she was shaded and she happily bounced and played while I weeded.

The kids and I have spent a lot of time lying on our backs looking at the clouds and watching the birds and planes flying over.

Daddy and the boys watched the stars, curled up in sleeping bags on Springfee (as the trampoline is now called!)

I did my first full 90 degree swivel for 20 years on Springfree!

Springfree trampoline

The Technical Stuff…

The trampoline uses a unique system of flexible composite rods that lie beneath the jumping surface, at right angles to the jumping surface not horizontal with it. This means that there are no exposed springs to injure those bouncing on the trampoline.  This is the big selling point of the trampoline, it’s raison d’être.  Keith Alexander, creator of the trampoline explains that the rods take the place of springs and you can think of them as something similar to a fishing rod in that they are made of fibreglass and are bendy.  (But a lot stronger!).

  1. It is an extremely well made trampoline with:
    • Polypropylene mat tested to a 5000 hours UV resistance.
    • Stitching is covered by a yellow webbing (see the yellow lines on the trampoline!) that protects it from both UV damage and abrasion damage from people jumping up and down on it.  Stitching is one of the first materials to wear on a traditional trampoline.
    • The anti-climb net is of an extremely tough weave that is UV protected and very flexible.
    • The frame is made from the same protruded fibreglass rods that support the mat of the trampoline.  They are very strong yet flexible which means no injuries from hitting hard metal supports.
  2. It has a tough, 2 section zipper opening that is simple and easy to use.  You can open it one handed.  My three year old has no trouble trying to unzip or zip up the opening at all.
  3. It comes in different sizes and shapes to suit different space restrictions and budgets.
  4. Great accessories available.
  5. 10 year guarantee.
  6. Comes with easy to understand installation instructions as well as online instructional videos.

The Competition

Our old traditional trampoline is only 4 years old and look at the state of the poor thing, it’s basically a football storage area now.  I can tell you that the Springfee will not look like this in 4 years!

This traditional trampoline came with a very badly written install booklet.

Also, if the kids ran into the side with enough force they would hit the metal poles.

traditional trampoline

That was the pro’s.  Any cons?

The only recommendation I would give is to be aware of the edge of the jumping pad where it meets the net.  This is where the top of the rods meet the jumping pad.  It forms a fairly ridged ring around the base of the net.  This is no problem for older kids using the trampoline, but younger kids may bump themselves on it.  My little 3 year old bumped his head a couple of times.  No damage (to him or the trampoline!) but it is something to be aware of.  It certainly didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for Springfree.  Maybe Springfree Trampolines could secure the net to the inner of the yellow webbing rings which would go a long way to alleviating this…

Any suggestions I have?  Yes.  Springfee Trampolines can you make a SPF rated cover to go over the top of the trampoline?  Stops the bird droppings and leaves getting in and good for storage over winter.  And excellent for shade during Springfree creche duties!

Even better if the cover had some height to it so you could use it during play to stop the ball going over the net!

That’s it!

Having experienced the Springfree Trampoline it is now the only trampoline we would have.  It is certainly worth the investment.  Can’t recommend enough.

The trampolines start at $1119.00 USD or £935.00.

Springfree USA

Springfree UK

Mamasimx  About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

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How To Make The Best Playdough for Kids – Playdough Recipe

Playdough RecipeThis is a lovely Playdough recipe with the real Playdough feel!  If you keep it in a sealed container it will last for ages in the fridge.

Recipe

Ingredients for Playdough

1/2 cup of salt

1 cup of plain flour

1 tablespoon of cream of Tartar (a natural raising agent)

1 tablespoon of oil

1 cup of boiling water mixed with food colouring.

Method for Playdough

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and then mix vigorously with hot water.

To make it extra special, add.a few drops of essential oil like peppermint or lavender for a lovely smelling Playdough.

If you enjoyed this post you will also like:

20 Free Activities To Entertain The Kids

How To Make A Pretend Play Hair Salon from a Cardboard Box

Mamasimx  About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

3 Comments »

Jack And Jill Nursery Rhyme – Who Knew?

We all know the first verse. But did you know there are 2 more?

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper;
And went to bed and bound his head
With vinegar and brown paper.

When Jill came in how she did grin
To see Jack’s paper plaster;
Mother vexed did whip her next
For causing Jack’s disaster.

So there you go. Happy singing!

Mamasimx About Me
Don’t forget to enjoy your day

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4 Comments »

20 Free Activities To Entertain The Kids

IMG_0229

Here’s some activities to keep the kids entertained for the upcoming holidays.

  1. Fly a kite.
  2. Make a telephone from paper cups and string.
  3. Pasta and string and make some bling!
  4. Make paper boats and watch them float.
  5. Entertain with sock puppets from behind the sofa.
  6. Make musical instruments from tins, jars with dry rice and plastic bottles.
  7. Write letters and post them. (Ok not free exactly).
  8. Make a clock from a paper plate.
  9. Make paper hats from newspaper.
  10. See which items sink or float in a bowl of water.
  11. Bake something.
  12. Design and paint your own wrapping paper.
  13. Make paint butterflies.
  14. Make sheep out of toilet rolls and cotton wool.
  15. Make your christmas decorations.
  16. Make an autumnal picture from autumn leaves.
  17. Make a tent in the back garden.
  18. Make binoculars from toilet rolls.
  19. Make a cup and ball game with a paper cup and a conker on a string.
  20. Make up stories – write them down in your own story book and act them out.

Mamasimx  About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

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How To Make A Pretend Play Hair Salon from a Cardboard Box

When I saw this I thought what a fantastic idea.  Perhaps for those with a bit of time to spare though?  But it would make a great joint project for Mum or Dad and little girl.  Any little girl would be VERY excited I think.

Make A Pretend Play Hair Salon from a Cardboard Box

How to make a pretend play hair salonThis project has been rumbling around in my brain now as an addition to our dramatic play corner (which you can see here).

How to make a pretend play hair salon

All it took was a book sized packing box which I cut the front from. And two flat pieces of thick packing cardboard – one for the dressing table top and one for the back. I curved the edges of two corners to give the dressing table a touch of softness and wrapped it all up in some bright pink self adhesive book covering. The top and back were attached with a hot glue gun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hemmed a piece of white fabric to make the dressing table skirt which has created a nice hidey hole for storage. Then I hung a piece of ribbon down one side of the mirror as a clip holder.

How to make a pretend play hair salon

The mirror I attached with copious amounts of double sided tape (I would suggest buying a shatterproof mirror). I collected rollers, hair ties, headbands, a brush and comb and some little bottles for pretend potions. And then it was time to play…

How to make a pretend play hair salon

…and play…

How to make a pretend play hair salon

…and play…

 

How to make a pretend play hair salon

How To Make A Pretend Play Hair Salon first appeared here.

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Mamsimx

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

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