How to build a gingerbread house in 5 simple steps

Noah woke up the other morning and exclaimed, “It smells like Christmas!” He made a good point – our made-from-scratch gingerbread house doubles both as holiday decor and a delightful air freshener of cinnamon candy and spices.

This week I’m bringing you a new tutorial for kids in the kitchen. It’s called The After School Gingerbread Project: 5 simple steps. 2 happy kids. 1 edible house.

Constructing a gingerbread house from scratch is an activity my children look forward to all year. This Christmas, I decided to let them do it all by themselves. They had supervision, of course, but I was behind the camera 99% of the time. They did a great job! It was thrilling to see how much pride they took in their handiwork.

We broke the after school gingerbread project down into five steps that can each be done in under 30 minutes.

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Cheesy Irish Soda Scones

Written by Jan of Family Bites.

I have grand plans to host an Irish-themed Sunday dinner later in the month.

My husband’s grandparents were born in Ireland, as were my own great-grandparents, and I’ve been increasingly interested in learning more about the booming food culture of the Emerald Isle, specifically the regions that were home to our ancestors.

While we all know that potatoes are a staple in the Irish kitchen, I’m not sure it’s common knowledge that the country exports their prized dairy all over the world. The top-quality grass-fed milk produced by thousands of the nations farmers is pure liquid gold, and artisans are bringing the ancient methods of cheese and yogurt making to modern day Ireland.

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Merry Christmas from all of us

I lost track of time in the kitchen yesterday, cooking and baking with my visiting sister, while a stream of bright-eyed children, frisky canines, and hungry uncles passed through looking for handouts.

We boiled fresh Maritime lobster and folded it into buttered linguine, simmered a boeuf bourguignon for half a day, whisked together eggnog, and built a gingerbread house! As the snow continued to fall among the trees outside, I couldn’t help but stop to reflect on my many blessings and the joy of the season.

As we’re all whipping around with an apron tied on today, I’ll keep this post short and sweet. We couldn’t let the holidays pass without wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas.

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A holiday house tour

By this afternoon, we will be officially on holidays. Danny will have tidied his desk, picked up an excited Noah from school, and we’ll have welcomed them home with hugs and back thumps.  Two whole weeks of vacation begins!

We have snow on the ground and the Christmas cards are in the mail. Apparently a major snowstorm is on it’s way, but we have enough tourtiere and cookies in the freezer to weather the weather, whatever the weather. My refrigerator is packed with cream for eggnog, fresh apple cider for hot spiced cider and other staples as we’re hosting my sister, my brother in law, and their three dogs for the holidays and I like to be prepared!

For a little change, today’s post is a mini tour of our main floor and a few of my favorite holiday decorations. I tend to keep things very simple, and use a lot of natural elements when I decorate. I don’t like to buy a lot of things and prefer to work with what I have on hand, like my centerpiece of candles in used jam jars.

It’s rustic and homey, and suits our homestead just fine.

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Swedish Tea Ring

Written by Megan of Stetted.

When I was a girl, I never really noticed how the small moments of our ancestry touched our family celebrations. I only knew that my taste buds had not evolved to the point of being able to enjoy the spiced breads my grandfather would share, and that I could eat a lot of the fried fattigmund cookies that appeared at Christmastime.

Now that I have a child of my own, I’m wishing I had spent more time getting to know the foods of our family, from the Germans on my mother’s side to the English and Swedish on my father’s side. The Swedish part of me I find most intriguing – perhaps because it is a country I know little about to begin with. Wisconsin and Minnesota are full of people with Swedish heritage, but sadly it seems several of the Scandinavian traditions are going away as the last immigrants are leaving us.

This Christmas, I’ve decided we need to add back some of the “Old World” to our lives. Our morning will be spent opening presents, of course, but we’ll also sit down to a breakfast of Swedish Tea Ring, a sweet cardamom-flavored bread that appears on numerous Swedish tables all year long.

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