Posts Tagged ‘gingerbread’

Unique Box of Holiday Treats

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

box-of-holiday-treats

My daughter sent a unique box of holiday treats to her aunt last Christmas because she wanted her aunt to feel special. We bought an inexpensive box that looked like a book, and we painted it. (It looks brown like a cardboard box before it is painted.) You can get a box like this at any craft supply store.

You can use tempera paint or acrylic paint, whatever you have on hand. First my daughter drew the design with pencil on the box. Then she painted it. She had to paint the back of the box on a different day so that the paint on the front would be dry.

Since it was Christmastime, she decided to draw a cute snowman standing in the snow. She used white for the snow and light blue for the sky, highlighting the words and accessories with red paint.

box-treat-craft

After the box was finished, we made some marble fudge (with white and dark chocolate swirled together) and decorated a gingerbread man. Lastly, we added a bag of candy, including chocolate gold coins, Hershey kisses, and mini chocolate bars.

Christmas-treats

When the package arrived at her aunt’s house, she was pleasantly surprised, and she most definitely felt loved!

The Gingerbread Man: Hands-on Activities

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

the-gingerbread-man-hands-on-activities

One of my daughter’s favorite books is The Gingerbread Man, so we decided to do some hands-on activities to bring this book to life! We decorated gingerbread men, put on a goofy stick puppet show, made a little pillow and a flip book, and ate some pancakes in the shape of the gingerbread man.

the-gingerbread-man-activities

Decorate gingerbread cookies:

First we decorated gingerbread cookies. This activity is great for all ages. You can bake the cookies yourself, or you can buy a set of gingerbread cookies already made at the store. You will need white icing, which you can dye several colors with egg dye. You will also want to decorate with chocolate chips and any other small candies. You can often find kits around Christmastime that include the cookies, the icing, and the embellishments all in one box. (You can decorate a gingerbread house, too, where the little old woman and the little old man can live!)

the-gingerbread-man-puppet-show

Put on a goofy stick puppet show:

Using the cookie that you decorated as the main character, re-enact The Gingerbread Man story. My daughter used table place mats for the backgrounds for her show. She also drew the little old woman, the little old man, and the gentle brown cow on some stiff white card stock paper. She taped popsicle sticks to the backs of her stick puppets.

She grabbed a small bear from her room and a gray wolf puppet to play the part of the red fox. We were going to make a river out of a blue blanket but forgot. You can see for yourself how much fun we had re-enacting this fun story:

Make a small pillow of the gingerbread man:

You will need brown felt, brown thread, and some buttons. This is a simple sewing activity that small children can enjoy. You will find instructions on how to make this fun project here:

gingerbread-man-pillow

Make a gingerbread man flip book:

Staple some pages together, and use gold or brown construction paper to make your flip book. You can have your child re-tell the story either in words or in drawings on the pages. For more information on how to make this booklet, go here:

gingerbread-man-flip-book

Make shaped pancakes:

Why not finish your Gingerbread Man unit study with a fun pancake meal? You can use a cookie cutter in the shape of a gingerbread man to cut out the shape from large pancakes. Use chocolate chips for eyes and buttons, and use chocolate syrup for the mouth and background. For more instructions on this activity, go here:

gingerbread-man-pancake

I hope you enjoyed all our hands-on ideas for bringing this book to life!

decorating-gingerbread-men

Deluxe Gingerbread Houses

Monday, December 15th, 2014

deluxe-gingerbread-housesLook at these deluxe gingerbread houses! It’s incredible what people can build out of gingerbread, frosting, pretzels, and candy. Every year there is a gingerbread house competition at the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane, WA, and every year I’m impressed.

If you look at the first picture, there is a treehouse structure with a pretzel rope ladder. There must be some form of candy that looks like rocks, because it was used to build a lot of this scene. The sign says “Jellystone Park,” and Yogi Bear is included in the scene. A pretzel cabin and a camping area with tents rounds out the scene.

deluxe-gingerbread-houses-2This one is obviously about famous landmarks. They used mainly plain gingerbread, with frosting and candy embellishments. The sand at the bottom of the pyramids is undoubtedly crushed graham crackers.

gingerbread-houseThis is a nice gingerbread house. The roof is covered with mini-marshmallows, as well as the snowy ground. Chocolate garage doors, pretzel embellishments, and a shoelace licorice candy fence surrounds the scene.

gingerbread-waterfallThis waterfall scene is so extravagant that its ingredients are out of my league. I think fondant was used, and I hear it is difficult to work with. Nevertheless, it is a gorgeous scene!

gingerbread-snow-sceneOkay, this one is more manageable by real humans. The snowy scene incudes two dog sleds with dogs, a regular gingerbread house with pretzels for logs, and white frosting covering the ground and Oreo cookies for a hill in the background.

gingerbread-pickup-truckThis scene is fun. It has a pick-up truck driving up a ramp to the cabin. Even though there is snow on the ground, there is greenery around the house, probably shaped out of fondant. It looks like the basic structure of the pick-up truck is made out of graham crackers, covered by fondant.

gingerbread-carHere is another scene that is ridiculously complicated and impossible for mere humans like us to attempt. I’m sure the creator of this one is an expert with fondant because the car that is in the air is a masterpiece of perfection!

If you want some humorous tips on building gingerbread houses:

If you want to see how I failed at building a simple gingerbread house:

 

Cookie Nativity Scene Fiasco

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

cookie-nativity-scene

As I was listening to the “Fun Bonding Activities for Christmastime” workshop I gave last year, I realized that I had promised my readers to put a pathetic picture of a gingerbread cookie nativity scene on my blog. (Well, I didn’t say it was going to be pathetic, but I said I would put it up even if it was pathetic, so you could point and laugh.)

Thankfully I found some nativity cookie cutters at a yard sale over the summer. Then I decided that I don’t like gingerbread, so I made a sugar cookie recipe instead. Bad idea. Part of what I hate about gingerbread is that it’s as hard as a rock, so it’s easy to construct buildings out of it. Well, I baked two huge sugar cookie triangles and put chocolate frosting on both sides. Very messy. Then they broke, right in my hands. (If you click on the picture, you will see it close-up. I tried to glue it back together with more frosting, but it was still precarious.)

cookies

I frosted the nativity characters in white, even though you could use brilliant cake dye colors to clothe them in brighter colors. The reason I used plain white was that the entire structure was about to collapse, and time was of the essence. Then I stood the figures up in the goopy icing.

I ran out the door, taking the kids to Awana and having a lovely date night with my husband at a nice Thai place. When we arrived back home, the entire cookie nativity scene had collapsed. Unfortunately I got no picture of the collapsed structure for you to laugh at, because my children all asked if they could have a piece, and they broke the thing apart and started eating it after I said, “I guess so.”

cookie-nativity

So here is what I’ve learned through this fiasco:

Tip #1: If you are making a gingerbread nativity scene instead of a gingerbread house, make sure you use gingerbread. Also, the gingerbread is brown and already looks like a stable, so you don’t need any icing.

Tip #2: Get a cake pan lid and cover it with aluminum foil. Then slather it with an entire bucket of chocolate frosting, so that you can stand the cookies up in the goop without the figures falling over.

Tip #3: Decorate the nativity figures before assembling the structure, in case the structure is about to collapse when you assemble it.

Tip #4: Have a sense of humor. This will come in handy when you come home from Awana, just to find that the cookie nativity scene has gone through some sort of natural disaster.

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