Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rolling out and cutting Gingerbread Houses

top photo: Miss A with the favored rolling pin. It's obviously so much better than the rest. :-)

I'm so glad I had a rolling pin per child. Of course, one was favored over the rest, but we only had minor complaints. And you thought she was too cute to complain!

Cutting out the gingerbread shapes. By the way, 7 year olds will have crooked shapes regardless of how many templates, rulers, pointers, and knives you give them.

See, I can cut straight. And, I used a toothpick to label my parts. After this I realized that was probably a waste of time considering that there are only 3 parts. Oh well.

Tomorrow we will make the royal icing and do some division and word problems while we sort out the candy and decorate our mini-gingerbread village.

More photos soon,
Mrs. P

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gingerbread Houses for Math

Today we are making gingerbread houses for math class. We will talk about shapes, divide and group candies, measure walls and ingredients in the dough and icing. We'll also get to work with temperature as we bake the pieces. The kids are looking forward to this yummy math lesson. We'll post pictures after we finish our creations.

Here is the pattern we are using so each child can make their own house.

Here is the recipe we are using. It is for a gingerbread house that you can eat. You could use salt dough, graham crackers, or even cardboard if you don't want to eat them.

Loreta’s Favorite Gingerbread Dough

February 20 2008 at 9:43 PM

Loreta Wilson (Premier Login Gingerbread)
Forum Owner

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cups molasses
2 eggs, beaten

In large saucepan, melt shortening on stove over low heat. While shortening is melting, in a separate bowl stir together flour, salt and spices (if using for cookies, add 1 tsp. baking soda). When shortening is half melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until completely melted. Add sugar, molasses and beaten eggs. Mix well and quickly (to prevent eggs from cooking). Add molasses mixture to flour mixture. Mix well. Dough will be soft. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to handle.

When dough is firm enough to handle, remove from refrigerator and let sit until room temperature (about an hour). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To prevent aluminum foil from slipping, wipe counter with wet sponge then smooth aluminum foil over damp counter. This will prevent the foil from slipping while dough is being rolled out.

Working with a small handful of dough (about the size of a baseball), roll dough onto aluminum foil that has been sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle dough with flour to prevent dough from sticking to rolling-pin.

Roll dough to about 1/8” thickness. Place gingerbread house pattern pieces onto dough and cut-out dough pieces (don't forget to cut out windows). A pizza cutter works great for cutting out walls and roof sections. Remove excess dough pieces. Lift entire piece of foil and place on large cookie sheet.

Place cookie sheet in oven. Check frequently to prevent burning. Bake until golden brown. Large pieces may bake as long as 14 minutes. Smaller pieces might take 6 – 7 minutes. Unused dough may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (bring to room temperature and knead briefly to use again). To prevent from sagging, I bake my roof sections until dark brown, almost burnt.

When dough pieces are done baking, remove baking sheet from oven. Quickly lift foil from baking sheet and place on a flat area for gingerbread pieces to cool. If pieces have distorted while baking, while still warm, run knife or pizza cutter along sides of walls/roof sections to create a straight edge. If pieces have curled up during baking, while still warm, gently push edges down to lay flat.

With gingerbread pieces still on the foil, let cool overnight. Next day – gently peel foil off of gingerbread pieces. You are now ready to assemble, or add windows!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas tree advent calendar

My older daughter is making a Christmas tree advent calendar. The pattern for the tree is here.
Instructions are here. I know it's a bit late, but she was sick all last week so we are trying to catch up on all the school she missed.

North Pole Freebies

The children are enjoying a little break from our usual curriculum and school work. We are still working on the skills needed but with a Christmas theme. This website has a number of worksheets with a Christmas theme. They are perfect for my preschooler and 1st grade son. I did google 5th grade Christmas lesson plans and found some Christmas word problems for her to practice. Somehow changing up the work just a little has made the school work more fun.

Mrs. P

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Helper Freebie

You can get a Charlotte Mason Christmas mini-unit free from Living Books Curriculum. It includes copywork, picture study, and yummy recipes. Just look on the home page for the presents on the left side of the screen. You will enter your email address and then it will take you to the free Christmas Helper. I started using this curriculum after listening to the authors on a Charlotte Mason online seminar. It was such a good seminar that I ordered one of the specials they offered. We are studying middle ages and I also purchased her unit for the Apologia Astronomy text. We will work on that in the spring. I have sick kids this week so I'm putting together all of my Christmas lesson plans. This freebie came in my email box today and it was just perfect so I wanted to share it for any other Charlotte Mason Home schoolers.