Gingerbread Cookies

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The first day of the year always seems like the perfect day to nest, perhaps not even to get the kids out of their pajamas, to let everyone sleep in a little later (we made it to 7!) and of course, for baking or other food fun. Today, Travis woke up having dreamed about cookies, so we quickly set about making real ones, using a recipe from his Raddish Kids Holiday Traditions kit.


For the cookies:

  • 3 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses

For the icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain non-dairy creamer
  1. To prepare the dough, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the Ener-egg and molasses; beat until combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until you form a dough.
  4. Divide the dough into two equal portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.Gingerbread Cookies (1)
  5. Once chilled, dust a cutting boat with flour and roll one portion of the dough to about 1/4-inch thick. (Note: alternatively roll the dough thinner for crispier gingerbread, but we like ours a bit soft and chewy). Raddish provided a gingerbread cookie cutter that made generously-sized people! Gingerbread Cookies (2)
  6. Place the cookie shapes on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Gather the scraps of dough and repeat until the sheets are filled, then bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes.Gingerbread Cookies (4)
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the icing: whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and creamer. Add more powdered sugar if your icing seems too thin or more creamer if it seems too thick. Raddish also provided a piping bottle, and Travis loved using this to apply the icing! That meant some of our gingerbread people had big globs, but some featured more traditional eyes, smiles, and buttons.

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These made for the perfect winter snack! We made up silly gingerbread man rhymes while he noshed and learned more about the history of gingerbread houses from the recipe card. Happy 2020!

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Straws in a Bottle

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Looking for a quick and portable way to entertain a toddler? This game takes up no space at all, which makes it ideal for airplanes, dinner tables, or just on the floor at home in a pinch.

I used a clear empty water bottle and gave Veronika an assortment of colored straws that she could place inside. Bright colors make this particularly fun, so we used turquoise and sparkly ones.

Of course first she just wanted to screw the bottle cap on and off.

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Then I showed her how to aim one straw at the bottle at a time and drop it inside; letting go is equally a part of the lesson here. Veronika got the hang of it quickly!

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She loved fitting in all the straws…

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…after which there was the fun off dumping them back out.

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When the bottle was full of straws, we could put on the cap and shake it like a maraca.

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Then you can dump and start all over again, making this the game that keeps on going. Later she found other toys around her playroom to slot the straws into.

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There’s tons of fun to be had here, with the lowest tech components possible.

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Magnets on a Cookie Sheet

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Veronika is finally old enough that I’m comfortable letting her play with magnets; I hesitated even to give her large ones, previously, since she liked to put everything in her mouth. Now, it’s her hands that are busy, and this is a classic toddler activity that will entertain your little one for ages!

I set out a round cookie sheet and gave Veronika an assortment of magnets. These included a set of letter magnets as well as some chunky fruit-and-vegetable magnets we have.

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Picking up the magnets is great for exercising little finger muscles. Then there’s that element of magic for kids when they feel the pull of the metal cookie sheet attracting the magnets back on.

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She had fun simply taking the magnets on and off for a while. You can also make things a little educational by spelling out a few simple words, or sorting magnets by color.

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But mostly, I just let Veronika have free reign with this one.

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Big brother jumped in to helpfully spell out some words, too!

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How do you like to play with magnets at home? Please share in the comments!

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