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!


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.


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

Front door.
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.



Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

Try Not To Cry While Reading This Post

A heartwarming and heartbreaking story.

nunerys0331 In 2009 Ben Nunery married his wife Ali.  They  bought their lovely new family home together and had decided to have their beautiful wedding photos taken there.  Tragically, Ali died 2 and a 1/2 years later of cancer.  She left behind Ben and their daughter Olivia.

Deciding on a fresh start Ben sold the house.  But before he left he decided to recreate his wedding photos with his daughter, in memory of his wife.

The pictures are loving and beautiful.  They pay homage to his wife and are a permanent reminder of the home the little family of three shared.

Here are Ben’s own words.

Saying Goodbye….Again.

The last two years have been a rollercoaster of emotions to say the least.  There have been ups and downs to such extremes that it leaves me wondering how I’ve managed to piece together anything that resembles a normal and happy life.  But, hindsight being what it is, I can look back now and recognize the progress I’ve made as a grieving widower and a single father to an amazing little girl.  These past two years have had no shortage of emotional hurdles to overcome, some small and some large, but none as big as saying goodbye to the home that Ali and I built together.  The home we started our married lives together in.  The home we brought Olivia to after she was born.  The home we turned from a shabby little fixer upper into an award winning showcase property (according to the Price Hill Press!).  In many ways it felt like the last vestige of the life that we set out to build together.  It felt as though leaving that house would be the first step in a new life that Olivia and I would build together. . .without Ali.

We said goodbye to Ali two years ago but her presence has remained undeniable in that house.  Every square inch of it was carefully and thoughtfully decorated by her and it was as if she had never left.   I remember, in the days and weeks after she died, it was impossibly difficult to live there day in and day out with constant reminders of the loss we all suffered.  I walked around the house with blinders on just trying to avoid looking at every little item that she left behind.  And slowly those reminders of the pain turned in to little moments of comfort.  I knew she was gone but I could look at her things, all those untouched little artifacts, and know that she was there with me.   I found comfort in bottles of shampoo and drawers full of socks and jewelry still neatly organized.  But always in the back of my mind I knew I would eventually have to say goodbye to the shrine that I was building up in my mind just like I had to say goodbye to her.

Ali and I bought our house on the day before our wedding and we thought that having some of our wedding photos taken in the empty house would be an appropriate and memorable way to commemorate such a big step in our lives (see the original wedding day session here).  As wedding days go, it all happened in a blur, but those images represent some of the happiest moments in my life.  It was the beginning of what we planned on being a long and happy life together.  And so, when it came time to pack up the house and schedule the movers, I struggled with the thought of saying goodbye and walking away without something to commemorate such a big step in mine and Olivia’s life.  Having world-class photographers in the family is a nice perk that I try not to abuse, but I managed to sneak into Melanie and Adam’s busy schedule and we set out to once again do a photo session in that empty house.  Only this time I would have a different partner, although one just as beautiful.   It was fun and strange and sad and comforting and just about every other emotion you can think of.  And, it wasn’t until I drove away that the significance of what we had just done hit me like a ton of bricks.   These would be the last memories in that house.



Side by sides from the original photo session on our wedding day.nunerys023nunerys022nunerys014
nunerys008nunerys019nunerys025nunerys027nunerys017 nunerys031

I did it for me.  I did it for us.  I did it so I would have something to show for the love and beauty that occupied that house for a short time in our lives.  I wanted to be able to show Olivia the place where her mother and I started our lives together and dreamed of raising children.  I thought it would be much harder to say goodbye in this way, but as I sat in the driveway, ready to drive away for the last time, I realized that it’s just a house.  The memories of Ali don’t live in that house.  They live with us, in our hearts.  We take them with us wherever we go and they will live with us in our new house too.  A house is just a house.  Yes, I will miss it but I still have the memories of Ali and I still have Olivia, the most precious evidence of the love Ali and I shared and still share.  Since Melanie posted the photos on her blog, many people have asked me how I felt while doing that photo session.  What I want them to know is that this isn’t a story about grief and loss and hurt.  Yes, I’ve gone through those emotions and still do but that’s not what I want people to see in these photos.  This is a story about love.  The pain is nothing compared to the love that I feel for Ali and Olivia and that’s the story I want these pictures to tell to Olivia in the years to come and anyone else that sees them.  The pain will subside little by little but the love never will, no matter where we live.   Our lives will continue down a curvy and uncertain path but Olivia and I will be able to look at these photos and know that for a short time there was a place where I was the luckiest man in the world, even if just for a little while.

– Ben

See the full photo session here.


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

The Children Three Day Rule

the three day rule

No, I’m not talking about the old dating chestnut, but a technique I use to introduce my baby to new patterns or things.  I have my ever wonderful sister and brother-in-law to thank for this pearl of advice, given to me early in my parenting ‘career’ and it is something I have found very useful ever since.

It sounds a little stringent, but basically in our experience it generally takes 3 days/nights for a baby to get used to new routines or things.  For example, when you move baby from your room to their own, or when you take away the dummy (oh, thats a whole other post in it’s own right!) or when you introduce a new food you need to persevere for a period of three days before it will generally be accepted by your little one.

Now you may be lucky, and have success with your changes immediately, but generally, as we know, little ones do not take well to the unfamiliar or the different, they like repetition and to know what is coming so with anything new you are introducing you need to give it time to become familiar.

This means that you are going to have to battle through the tears and/or the sleepless nights for three long days and nights, until the little one understands or at least accepts the new routine.  Always try your utmost to persevere with kindness, patience and good grace; remember it is as difficult for your little one as it is for you.

But at the end of the 3 days I find that my baby is, if not happy, is resigned to continue  to continue as if the new routine has in fact, always been this way.

Perseverance is key!


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.


© 2012 Simone L Woods

Parents’ 10 most useful baby products (according to Which?)

Baby products you need

Parents’ 10 most useful baby products

This is an article from Which? who surveyed thousands of parents on what were the most useful products for baby.

There are so many baby products designed to make life easier for new parents, it can be hard to know which will help and which will be a waste of money. To help you find the baby products most likely to make your life easier, we asked 2,005 parents to tell us which products they bought and whether they found them useful or useless.
Besides the essential baby products, such as pushchairs, child car seats and cots/cotbeds/cribs/Moses baskets, we’ve rounded up the 10 most useful baby products as rated by our parents.

If you’re in the process of buying a pushchair or child car seat, make sure you take a look at our pushchair reviews and child car seat reviews to find the safest and most comfortable for your child. If you’re not yet a Which? member, you can sign up for £1 and unlock hundreds of reviews across the site.

Most useful baby products

1  Stair gate

Stair gates were rated as the most useful baby product, with more than 70% of the parents we asked saying they owned one. If Stairgateyou’ve got stairs in your home, or a kitchen that you want to keep young children out of, a stair gate can be a safety essential.

Stair gates can range significantly in price from around £15 to £100. But a higher price doesn’t always mean you’ll get the best. See our stair gate reviews to find out which we rate as Best Buys, and check out our guide to buying the best stair gate.

2  Baby changing bag

the best baby changing bagYou could use any old bag to carry around your baby products when you’re out and about. But the advantage of a specifically designed baby changing bag is that it usually has different compartments to help you find what you need quickly, and many come with a foldaway changing mat. The parents we surveyed certainly appreciated theirs.

You can spend as much as you like on a baby changing bag. Prices start from under £20, but you could spend over £250 on a designer one.

3  Audio baby monitor

Audio baby monitors allow you to hear your little one when you’re not in the same room as them. There’s a wide range of baby monitors available, from basic sound-only monitors to video baby monitors (also in our top 10 list). Audio ones can cost anything from under £20 to over £60.

We’ve tested both audio and video baby monitors on sound quality, range, battery life and ease of use. Find the best one for you with our baby monitor reviews.

4  Electric steam steriliser kitbest baby bottle steriliser

Using an electric steam steriliser kit can be a quick and easy way to sterilise your baby’s bottles, whether you’re using formula or expressing milk. Typically costing around £30 to £100, they are quick and fairly easy to use.

To find out more about baby feeding products, from bottles to bottle warmers, take a look at our guide.

5  Microwave steam steriliser kit

As well as electric steam steriliser kits, microwave versions are also popular. Microwave steam steriliser kits are more compact and tend to be cheaper than electric ones. They typically cost around £20 to £50.

6  Video baby monitor

Best baby audio monitorVideo baby monitors are more sophisticated than simple audio monitors – not only can you see your baby, but some also have night vision and can be hooked up to your PC, TV and/or smartphone as well.

We’ve got plenty of advice on choosing a baby monitor in our guide how to buy the best baby monitor, plus you can find out which models we rate as Best Buy baby monitors.

7  Baby sleeping bag

Baby Sleeping Bag with Travel Bag

Baby sleeping bags are ‘wearable blankets’ designed to be worn by your baby at night, instead of using traditional sheets and blankets. They typically cost between £10 and £20 and will last until your baby is around 18 months old.

Take a look at our guide to find out about baby bedding and other safe sleeping tips.

8  Digital ear thermometerThe best baby thermometer

The ear is considered to be the most reliable place to get a consistent reading of internal body temperature. A digital ear thermometer can give you a quick temperature reading for your child, and help you identify signs of fever.
They typically cost between £10 and £40. Read our reviews and advice on buying the best ear thermometers.

9  Baby bouncer chair

A baby bouncer chair allows younger babies to experience a seated rocking motion, and some models are even suitable from birth. They typically cost between £20 and £70 and were much more popular with parents than door baby bouncers (which can be found in our top 10 least useful baby products list).

For buying advice and safety tips on play equipment for babies and toddlers, read our guide.

10  Travel cot

Travel cots can be folded up, placed in a bag and taken with you if you are travelling with your baby. They can cost anything from £20 to over £100 and can also be used as a playpen.

If you’re thinking of buying one read our guide on how to buy a travel cot.

Our research
We surveyed 2,005 GB parents aged 18+ with children aged under five. The survey was conducted online in February and March 2014. We asked parents to rate each of the baby products they’d bought on a scale on 1 to 10 for usefulness. These are the 10 baby products that were ranked as the most useful overall.

What do you think of this top 10 list? Are there other baby products you couldn’t live without? Let us know on Twitter, @WhichHome

If you would like to have your say on anything from baby products to bank accounts and help us with our research, join the Which? Connect panel. It’s open to all Which? subscribers.

More on this…
Make sure your baby is safe with a Best Buy child car seat
Choose the best pushchair for you and your baby with a Best Buy pushchair
Find out all you need to know with our guide to having a baby: what you need and when


Mamasimx About Me

Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

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20 Free Activities To Entertain The Kids
10 Ways To Inspire Your Kids

The Top 10 Things Children Really Want Their Parents To Do With Them

what children really wantThis wonderful article by Erin Kurt (originally appeared here).

It’s a great reminder to us.  It is really easy to forget it is the simple things that ‘feed’ our kids most.  This is one top ten list I plan to put into action…. more often.

What do you think matters most to your children? You driving them to lessons and practices, or is it the smile and hug you greet them with after school? If you guessed the latter, you are correct.

Sixteen years of teaching and giving the same assignment every Mother’s Day has led me to the exact same conclusion. You see, every Mother’s Day I would ask my students to give me advice on being a mother. They were to think about things their mother or guardian did for or with them that made them feel happy or loved. The classroom would go silent as the students wrote intensely for longer than they had ever written before. Often smiles would appear on their faces as they reflected on the happy experiences they were remembering. After reading their responses I would add to my list all the ideas they mentioned. Surprisingly, many of the responses were the same. Year after year, in every country I taught, and in every type of demographic, the students were saying the same things and had the same message: It’s the small things that their mothers did that meant the most and that they remembered.

Many moms today feel as if they are not good mothers unless they are racing around, shuttling their children from lessons, to practices and back to lessons again. I’ve had mothers tell me that they want to give their children every opportunity they did not have. While this thinking might bring the mother some comfort, it really does not do the same for their child who is potentially feeling overextended, stressed and tired.

After speaking endlessly about this topic with my students, it became clear to me that children today are involved in too many activities and are in turn becoming less in touch with themselves and their families. In addition, my students told me they really wished for more time to “just play”. Of course many of them enjoy their extra curricular activities, but it is not necessary they said to be allowed to do everything. What they enjoyed most, and what made their hearts happiest was when their mothers did simple things for or with them.

Here is a list of the top ten things students around the world said they remembered and loved most about their mothers.

  1. Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in and sing me a song. Also tell me stories about when you were little.
  2. Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately.
  3. Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around.
  4. Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy.
  5. At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend.
  6. At night talk to me about about anything; love, school, family etc.
  7. Let me play outside a lot.
  8. Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show together.
  9. Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care.
  10. Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag.

Children are incredibly wise and tend to see the world more simply than we do.

Perhaps it is time we start taking their advice. Maybe we would all feel a little less stressed and be satisfied with the fact that doing little things really is… good enough.


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

Letting Your Child Be Sad

sad child


A timely article by Sarah Fernandez exploring the consequences of raising our children ‘wrapped in cotton wool’.  See her blog here.

Want Your Child to be Happy?  Let Them Feel the Opposite

In the July/August issue of The Atlantic psychologist Lori Gottlieb explores why she has so many patients in their 20s and 30s who have it all, but aren’t happy in her story “How to Land Your Kid in Therapy.” While the story is lengthy, it’s worth taking the time to read and to consider how you handle situations in which your child is faced with sadness and disappointment. It appears that a lot of parents are swooping in the moment their child so much as falls down on the grass, looking for learning disability diagnoses in order to explain why their child isn’t as good at math or reading as another child, and letting children quit an activity the moment they show any dislike for it. Gottlieb’s theory is that as a result these children are growing into adults who have “awesome” parents, “great” husbands, and “good” jobs, but they don’t feel happy. Not only that, but when they don’t get the job they want or something goes wrong, they have no idea how to handle it because their parents have always made sure that things are just peachy keen for them.

So many parents are so involved in making sure that their children always get what they “deserve” that some colleges are now creating a position for Dean of Parents to help control the influx of parent phone calls and are having to set up special events at orientation to separate the parents and children because the parents are lingering around and don’t want to leave the children. Oh, and did you hear the story about the Long Island, NY woman who stalked and threatened the baseball coach when her son didn’t make the team? Where do we draw the line?

“Suck It Up” Parenting

I like to say that I was raised in a house of “Suck It Up” parenting. Life isn’t perfect, and my parents made sure we knew that we can’t always get what we want. I remember not wanting to do any activities at one point when I was in grammar school, but my parents believed it was really important so they told me I could do whatever I wanted whether it was a sport or an art class, but I had to do something. They allowed me to have some control over what I wanted to do, but they weren’t going to let me sit by and let me do nothing despite my disappointment. Not only that, but once we committed to something, we were committed to it for the session. We were taught to finish what we started, and I think that is something important that I have carried with me into adulthood. There were no days off from school “just because” or even if we had a headache. We were expected to help around the house and with yard work whether we wanted to or not, and as a result I knew how to do things like put a dishwasher on and my laundry when I went off to college and eventually into my own house. And I’d say that my brother, sister, and I have all developed into successful, generally happy and well-rounded people despite our “imperfect” childhood.

Allowing Disappointment

However, recently I’ve struggled a bit with how to handle my son’s disappointment. Of course we never want to see our children hurt physically or emotionally. When his best friend from school didn’t show up to his birthday party, he was really upset. I thought about picking up the phone and calling his parents just to find out why they couldn’t make it (not to berate them for disappointing my son). But ultimately I knew that if they weren’t there, there was a good reason so there was no need for me to call them. Instead I just explained to my son that something must have come up, and we knew the boy’s dad had to work that day so maybe he had ended up working late. And I explained that rather than sulk around his party, he should enjoy playing with the friends that did come which he eventually did.

Later that week, my son wanted to buy a board game with a gift certificate that he received for his birthday. I dreaded this because he tends to get upset when he doesn’t win, and when we brought it home, the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should let him win so that I could avoid the meltdown that follows, but even that I knew was really for my own benefit and not his. I just didn’t want to deal with it. Ultimately, I decided that I would be doing him a great disservice and that he needed to learn how to lose gracefully. He is only five and I don’t want him to lose all the time, but I’ve found that playing a few rounds of the game so that he wins some and loses some has taught him to take losing in stride much better than he would have only a few weeks ago, and I think it’s appropriate for his age.

Life Isn’t Perfect

The bottom line is that no matter how much we protect our children, at some point they are going to have to go out into the world without us. There will hearts broken, sports teams they don’t make, friends who let them down, and colleges they don’t get into. It may even rain on their wedding day. It is just as important that we teach them how to handle what they will encounter on their own as it is that we do our best to protect them and show them how much we love them.


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

Sunday Humour – Kids Behaviour

MotherhoodMe (exasperated):  “Why can’t you have good behaviour?  You know you would get what you want if you had good behaviour”!

6 year old:  “No I wouldn’t!  I had good behaviour last night and you wouldn’t let me have McDonalds for dinner.  And I had good behaviour this morning and you wouldn’t let me have my Thomas sweets for lunch!”

Mmmmm all of this is true.  I am going to have to rethink my persuasive arguments.

Of course it bleedin’ obvious why kids misbehave.  Because 8 times out of ten they can’t have what they want, even if they do behave!

So what is the answer for good behaviour?  Tell me your thoughts.


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.

A Little Sunday Humour

exclmarkCount to ten moments…

While preparing lunch boxes as the boys eat breakfast.

Me:  “Your naughty behaviour is going to have to stop.  I’m not having the rest of the morning like this.  This is the third morning this week you have had very naughty behaviour.  I’m going to ta”.

6 year old sounding bored:  “Take a breath Mum.”


Don’t forget to enjoy your day.