How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Combine a few common kitchen ingredients and watch them inflate a balloon without your help!  This fun hands-on experiment is a great way to learn about chemical reactions and encourage a love for science in your child.  The two combined ingredients create carbon dioxide, which is what inflates the balloon.  The balloon doesn’t contain helium, so it won’t float.

How to Inflate a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 1: Pour a little vinegar into a plastic bottle. Choose a plastic water bottle, or another bottle with a narrow neck. Pour 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of vinegar into the bottle, using a funnel if you have one. Use white vinegar, also called distilled vinegar, for the best result.

  • You can try this with any kind of vinegar, but the inflation might take longer or require more vinegar to work. Other types of vinegar tend to be more expensive as well.
  • Vinegar can damage metal containers, potentially adding an unpleasant taste to food and drink stored in that container. If you have no plastic bottles, use a high-quality stainless steel bottle to minimize the chance of this happening. Weakening the vinegar with an equal amount of water might also help, and won’t prevent the balloon from inflating.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 2: Use a funnel or straw to put a little baking soda into a limp balloon. You can use any shape and color of balloon. Hold it loosely by the neck, with the open side of the balloon facing towards you. Fit a funnel into the neck if you have one, then pour about two tablespoons (30 mL) baking soda into the balloon, or just fill the balloon about halfway full.

  • If you don’t have a funnel, you can place a plastic straw into a pile of baking soda, put your finger over the top hole of the straw, then poke the straw into the balloon and lift your finger. Tap the straw to get the baking soda to fall out, and repeat until the balloon is at least 1/3 of the way full.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 3: Stretch the neck of the balloon over the top of the bottle. Be careful not to spill the baking soda while you do this. Hold the balloon’s neck with both hands and stretch it over the top of the plastic bottle containing vinegar. Have a friend keep the bottle steady if the table or bottle is wobbly.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 4: Lift the balloon up over the bottle and watch the reaction. The baking soda should fall out of the balloon, through the neck of the bottle, and into the vinegar at the bottom. Here, the two chemicals will fizz and react, turning into other chemicals. One of these is carbon dioxide, a gas, which will rise up and inflate the balloon.

  • Shake the bottle gently to mix the two ingredients if there’s not much fizzing.

How to Blow up a Balloon with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Step 5: If it doesn’t work, try again with more vinegar or baking soda. If the fizzing has stopped and the balloon still hasn’t inflated after you count to 100, empty out the bottle and try again with more vinegar and baking soda. The stuff left in the bottle has turned into other chemicals, mostly water, so it can’t be used again.

  • Don’t go overboard. The bottle should never be more than about 1/3 full of vinegar.

 

How does this work?

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Just about everything around you is composed of molecules.  Often, when two different molecules react with each other, they break up and form entirely new molecules from the pieces.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Learn about baking soda and vinegar. The reactants, or substances that reacted with each other in the fizzy reaction you saw, are baking soda and vinegar. Unlike many ingredients in your kitchen, both of these are simple chemicals, not complicated mixtures of many chemicals:

  • Baking soda is another word for the molecule sodium bicarbonate.
  • White vinegar is a mixture of acetic acid and water. Only the acetic acid reacts with the baking soda.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Read about the reaction. Baking soda is a type of substance called a base. Vinegar, or acetic acid, is a type of substance called an acid. Bases and acids react with each other, partially breaking apart and forming different substances. This is described as “neutralization” because the end result is neither a base nor an acid. In this case, the new substances are water, a kind of salt, and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, a gas, leaves the liquid mixture and expands throughout the bottle and the balloon, inflating it.

  • Although the definition of acid and base can get complicated, you can compare the differences between the original substances and the “neutralized” result to see there are obvious changes. For instance, vinegar has a strong smell and can be used to dissolve grime and dirt. After being mixed with baking soda, it smells much less strongly and is no more effective at cleaning than water is.

How to Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Study the chemical formula. If you’re familiar with some chemistry, or curious about how scientists describe reactions, the formula below describes the reaction between sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3 and acetic acid H C2H3O2(aq)NaC2H3O2. Can you figure out how each molecule splits apart and reforms?

  • NaHCO3(aq) + HC2H3O2(aq) → NaC2H3O2(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)
  • The letters in parentheses show the state the chemicals are in during and after the reaction: (g)as, (l)iquid, or (aq)ueous. “Aqueous” means the chemical is dissolved in water.

If you enjoyed this experiment and are looking for more great hands-on learning, click the links to check out our other science experiments, science kits, learning & discovery kits, and homeschool resources.

 

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How To Blow up a Balloon With Baking Soda and Vinegar.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

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Helpful Tips For Raising Responsible Kids

Sometimes it can feel like we’re just grasping at straws when it comes to raising our children right.  Teaching your kids responsibility can seem extremely difficult, but these simple tips will successfully help you raise responsible young adults with minimal stress and frustration on your part.

Tips For Raising Responsible Children

Before we start, I just want to preface by saying that if you’re a stay-at-home parent, you are absolutely NOT allowed to feel guilty for having your kids do chores that you are capable of doing yourself.  The point of being a parent is not to cater to your child’s every need, but rather to teach them how to fend for themselves so that the transition from responsible child to responsible adult will be painless.  That being said – here are some helpful tips for teaching your child to be responsible.

1.)  Start them early!  Try to start teaching your child responsibility at a young age.  Toddler age is best.  If you wait too long to start teaching your child – it’ll only confuse them and make it a more painful process.  So don’t wait!

2.)  Teach with your actions.  Don’t just TALK to your child about responsibility – show them  through your actions!  Use the word “we” a lot, like saying this when you’re done with dinner: “Okay..now we’re all going to put our dishes in the sink.”  Ask loved ones and babysitters to do the same so that there’s no confusion.

3.)  Let kids help you.  Kids actually like to help!  They like to feel useful and important. Make them feel like they’re needed and that they have an important role to play by asking them to help!  You’ll be surprised at how willing they are.

4.)  Edify and thank your children.  Positive reinforcement is key.  Say things like: “I’m so proud of you for doing _____!”  or “Thank you for _____!”  They’ll develop a sense of ownership for these tasks and it’ll build their confidence.  It’ll also help them take initiative when at school or in other situations.

5.) Give them praise, time, and self-confidence rather than rewards.  There is a time and place for rewards, but this is not it.  Give them your time and boost their self-confidence with praise and positive edification instead.

6.)  Teach about consequences by enforcing rules.  Consistency is key for this point.   If your child refuses to pick up their toys, calmly let them know that as a consequence, they won’t be able to play with these toys the next day if he leaves them out.  This makes it their choice and reinforces the value of responsibility.

7.)  Provide a structured routine with a positive end.  Kids thrive on structure.  Instead of offering rewards, set a positive end to their routine.  For example, your child must eat breakfast, put their dishes in the sink, and brush their teeth before playing their favorite game.  The game is not the reward, but rather the end of the routine.

8.)  Recognize effort rather than perfection.  Your child may not make their bed perfectly, but it is the effort involved that counts.  Don’t expect perfection!  Eventually they’ll learn the value of a job well done, but right now what counts is that they’re making a good effort.

Instilling responsibility in your child may seem hard, but what about parenting is easy?  Teach your child responsibility now, and it just may end up being one of the greatest gifts you could give them.  Follow these tips to help raise your child into a responsible adult.

Check out our Parenting Resources section at JM Cremps for books designed to make your parenting adventure a little easier and more enjoyable!

Fun Science and History Experiment: How To Make a Fossil

Have you ever been out on a riverbank or hillside, and stumbled across a fossil?  What is it about fossils that fill us with immediate awe and cause us to contemplate the passing of time?  Maybe the reason they capture our attention so well is the sense of mystery surrounding them.  What time period was this particular fossil alive in?  What did its surroundings look like?  What kind of organisms were alive and nearby then?

Fun Science and History Experiment: How to Make a Fossil

Fossils combine two very interesting fields: Science and History.  The beauty of both of these fields is that they cause us to question things that we usually take for granted.  As we well know, children are the most engaged when  they’re given hands-on activities to take part in.  Teach your child about fossils, and instill in them a life-long fascination with the life that came before us.

Making fossils is a great way to get your child involved in science and history in a creative, fun fashion. It’s cheap and easy to create your own replicas with a minimum of skill and material. Get started today with these simple steps.

How to Make a Fossil: Step 1

Step 1: Gather your materials. This can get a little messy (especially if there are children around), so lay down some newspapers, put away any objects you don’t want to get gooey, and grab your essentials. You’ll need:

  • A small natural object (shell, leaf, bone, etc.)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Small disposable dish or Tupperware container (such as a margarine tub)

How to Make a Fossil: Step 2
Step 2: Choose the object you want to make a fossil of. Any object from nature works — shells, leafs, and animal bones are all good choices. If you do choose a leaf, make sure it’s not dry and crackly. It must also fit in your container!

How to Make a Fossil: Step 3

Step 3: Coat the object with petroleum jelly. This will keep the object from sticking to the plaster when you try to remove it. Coat it thoroughly!

How to Make a Fossil: Step 4
Step 4: Mix plaster and water in a bowl. Follow the directions on the plaster of Paris packaging. Mix them together thoroughly and let the concoction sit for a few minutes without stirring.

  • You should need about 2x more water than plaster, but you can adjust the ratio as you see fit.

How to Make a Fossil
Step 5: Press the object into the plaster of Paris. Be careful not to push too hard! Now your part is done; all it has to do is dry. Set it aside and revisit it tomorrow; drying will take at least one day.

How to Make a Fossil

Step 6: Remove the object. After you’ve waited 24 hours, pop your natural item out of the plaster of Paris and voila! There’s your fossil! It’s just like a shell was enveloped in soil for thousands of years, disintegrated, and left behind this image.

For other hands-on and fun Science activities, you won’t want to miss our ultimate Science collection!   Learning has never been this much fun.

 

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make a Fossil.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

The Origin of Snowshoeing – Sherpa Snowshoe Kit Product Review

Over 4,000 years ago in places around the world like North America, Europe, & Asia, people began using snowshoes because of a basic need to explore new places and find food during the winter.  Over the years the sport evolved into mainly a recreational activity.  Now, it’s become a beloved winter pastime for those living in northern climates.  And no wonder!  Those trails you walked during the summer and fall are transformed into something entirely different when covered in inches of snow.  You’re able to walk in a winter wonderland without the struggle of trudging through tons of snow.

Traditional snowshoe maker, c. 1900-1930.
Traditional snowshoe maker, c. 1900-1930.

The Origin of Snowshoeing - Sherpa Snowshoe Kit Product Review

The Sherpa Snowshoe Kit you can find at JM Cremps is designed to exceed any recreational snowshoer’s expectations by having absolutely everything you need all in one convenient pack!

In this day and age it seems to be so difficult to find a product of good and lasting quality.  Luckily JM Cremps is committed to bringing you high-quality products, and the Sherpa Snowshoe Kit is no exception!  Our Quik Clik II™ ratcheting binding makes these snowshoes effortless to put on and take off.  Shock absorbing poles will assist you on your adventure. The ultra durable HDPE decking ensures that this shoe is one to last and be passed down for years of hassle-free snowshoeing.  All the features of this snowshoe are great, but the real surprise is getting such a well-built, lightweight shoe at such a great price!

Sherpa Snowshoe Kit
Sherpa Snowshoe Kit – Available at jmcremps.com

This kit is perfect for beginners AND beyond.  Get rid of that cabin fever and get outside!  Winter has never been this enjoyable.

If you’d like to purchase a Sherpa Snowshoe kit, visit jmcremps.com.  Don’t forget to check out our other winter adventures as well!

Saying “Thank You” Instead of “Sorry”, and Other Tidbits for 2017

Hey folks – it’s already 2017.  Crazy, right!?  As New Years is a time of reflection, a lot of us have probably sat down with pen and paper and after some careful thought, written down a few resolutions for the new year.  After some reflection of my own, there were a few important things that stood out in my mind.  Both good and bad experiences serve to help us grow, and these are a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the past year that may help you as well.

Tidbits to Make 2017 The Best Year Yet

1.) Family is top priority.  Life gets crazy.  Life gets hectic.  But sometimes you have to let the laundry pile up and dishes accumulate while you play “Pirates” or some other imaginative game with your 2 year old.  These are memories they’ll cherish forever, while that basket of clothes..well..it’ll just have to be patient.  Maybe set aside a family game night once a week to get the whole family together and involved in some fun activities!  If you’re looking for the best games out there – try JMCremps’ extensive collection of board games, card games, & more.

2.) Little goals are key.  Sometimes the mountain of things we have to get done can get overwhelming.  Break everything down into little goals (it might help to write it down) so you can create a series of little finish-lines.  According to a study by Thai Nguyen, completing these little goals actually releases dopamine, which motivates you to take action towards your goals, desires, and needs!  For me, it’s even more satisfying when I can cross it off of a list.  Don’t forget to create a new goal before you’re done with your current one.  This ensures a consistent pattern for experiencing dopamine.

3.) Soak it in.  Vow to live more in the moment this year.  It’s a bit startling to think that each moment is fleeting and unique, and will never come again.  Each moment is precious, so be THERE for all of it.  Be thankful for all of it.  Put your phone down until you’re by yourself.  Show your loved ones that the time you spend with them is very important to you.

4.) Say “thank you” instead of “sorry”.  Instead of apologizing every time you mess up, try saying “thank you” instead.  If you’re late to a meeting with a friend, saying “thank you so much for waiting for me!” instead of “so sorry I’m late” sends out a much more positive message.  Of course there are times when an apology is necessary, but I’ve found that giving gratitude instead an apology to another person leaves both sides feeling better.

5.) Get outside.  This one should be obvious.  Put aside more time this year to get out into the great outdoors and get some fresh air.  I don’t need to quote scientific studies for this one..it’s obvious how much better we feel when we take the time to go do some kind of outdoor activity.  Spending time out in nature can boost your creativity and cognitive function.  Not to mention the vitamin D we get (however little it may be in winter.)

I hope you’re able to use these tidbits to help improve your life even a tiny bit.  Let’s make 2017 the best year yet!

Science Experiment For Kids: How to Make Glowing Water

Looking for ways to pique your child’s interest in Science?  Let me tell you; hands-on experiments are the way to go!  There’s nothing like an erupting volcano or glowing water to really get their curiosity piqued.  Speaking of glowing water, here’s an easy way to make glowing water with just tonic water and a black light.

Pique Your Childs Interest In Science With This Experiment

Step 1: Pour tonic water into a clear container. Believe it or not, plain old tonic water glows under a black light — quite brightly, as well. To get this effect, start by pouring some tonic water into a container where you can see it. You can add it by itself or dilute it with water. However, the more water you add, the dimmer it will glow.

  • Tonic water is available at most local stores and supermarkets for just a few dollars. Be sure to get tonic water, not club soda or soda water. The bottle should say “with quinine” or something similar.

Pique Your Childs Interest in Science With This Experiment

Step 2: Shine a black light on the tonic water. All you need to do to get tonic water to glow bright is to illuminate it with a black light. Be sure to dim the lights in the room before you do this or it will be more difficult to see the glowing effect.

  • Black lights are available from specialty party stores (like Spencer’s, etc.) or online. The price for the black light often depends on its size and brightness — basic lights can cost as little as $20 or less.

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-1-36-11-pm

Don’t worry about drinking the tonic water.  Making tonic water glow with a black light makes it look very strange, but it doesn’t make it poisonous, radioactive, or harmful to drink in any other way. However, tonic water is often high in calories and sugar, so enjoy it sparingly.

What’s Happening?

The Simple Explanation: The ultra violet (UV) light coming from your black light lamp excites things called phosphors. Tonic water and the dye from highlighter pens contain phosphors that turn UV light (light we can’t see) into visible light (light we can see). That’s why your water glows in the dark when you shine a black light on it.

Black lights are used in forensic science, artistic performances, photography, authentication of banknotes and antiques, and in many other areas.

The Detailed Explanation: Black light (also known as UV or ultra violet light) is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum also includes infrared, X-rays, visible light (what the human eye can see) and other types of electromagnetic radiation. A black light lamp such as the one you used emits a UV light that can illuminate objects and materials that contain phosphors. Phosphors are special substances that emit light (luminescence) when excited by radiation. Your water glowed under the black light because it contained phosphors. If you used a highlighter pen then the UV light reacted with phosphors in the dye. If you used tonic water then the UV light reacted with phosphors in a chemical used in tonic water called quinine.

There are different types of luminescence, they include fluorescence (used in this experiment, it glows only when the black light is on), phosphorescence (similar to fluorescence but with a glow that can last even after the black light is turned off), chemiluminescence (used to create glow sticks), bioluminescence (from living organisms) and many others.

For other fun and interesting Science experiments like this one that will most certainly fill your kid with an unquenchable thirst to know more, check out some of our other blog articles on Science here.  We’ve also got some of the most fascinating science kits on the face of this planet at JMCremps.com.

 

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How To Make Water Glow.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Silent Night: The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce, 1914

On a beautiful, crisp moonlit night in 1914, voices rose up in the frosty air, carrying out over the bleak expanse of no-man’s land to reach the trenches of the opposing side.  This is the heartwarming story of the Christmas Truce that happened during WWI.

The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce of 1914
An artist’s impression from The Illustrated London News of 9 January 1915: “British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches”

Perhaps it was a bit of curious Christmas magic that caused the truce to simultaneously break out over parts of the western front.  Maybe it was the message in the songs sang by both sides on Christmas Eve, speaking of peace on earth, good will towards men.  Regardless of how it started and why, two-thirds of German, French, Belgium, & British troops – about 100,000 men – participated in this Christmas miracle.

Most accounts say that it happened with the singing on Christmas Eve.  As Pvt. Albert Moren of the Second Queens Regiment recalled, it was “a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere.”  Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade described it with a bit more detail:

 

quote

The following morning across the trenches, German soldiers emerged, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English.  Allied soldiers warily left their own trenches to greet them.  In other places, Germans held up signs that read “You no shoot, we no shoot.”  Throughout that Christmas day, troops from both sides exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons, and hats.  The truce also allowed both sides to bury their own dead comrades, whose bodies had lain for weeks on no man’s land.  One account mentions a British soldier receiving a hair cut from his pre-war German barber.  Other accounts speak of a pig-roast, impromptu soccer games, and other festivities.

The truce didn’t happen across the entire western front, however. In some places the fighting continued.  While other moments of peace happened over the course of WWI, none came on such a scale as the Christmas truce of 1914.  In one of the most violent times in history, for such a truce to happen is a truly remarkable occurrence.  The truce is symbolic of the human desire for peace and humanity.

We hope this story warmed your heart this chilly Christmas like it did ours.  If you enjoyed this story, be sure to check out JMCremps collection of other wartime stories.

 

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Making holiday crafts with your children just might end up being a favorite holiday tradition.  It can also be a great way to keep your children occupied so you can get some things done that you haven’t had time for.  Holidays can be a hectic, busy time, and making these paper christmas trees can also be a great way for you to unwind and collect your wits for the next wave of crying children, relatives, or whatever else is thrown your way!  Not only are paper Christmas trees beautiful, they are also easy to make and a lot of fun to decorate.  A craft both adults and children will enjoy.  Let your creative juices flow, and have a great time!

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 1: Assemble your materials. You can keep your tree simple, or get as elaborate as you like by decorating it with paint, glitter, stickers, paper cutouts, or anything else you can think of. This is a great project to do with a group. Supply the construction paper and a variety of decorative materials, and let everyone’s imagination run wild!

  • Green construction paper (or any color you like).
  • Scissors.
  • A marker.
  • Clear tape.
  • Decorations for your tree; popular choices include glitter, stickers, ribbon, colored paper, confetti, etc.
  • Craft glue or glue dots to affix the decorations.
  • A hot glue gun and glue stick to affix the topper (optional).

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 2: Cut two identical tree shapes out of construction paper. Begin by stacking two pieces of construction paper together and folding them in half. Then use a marker to draw a half-tree shape on the outside of your paper stack. Finally, cut along the lines through both sheets of paper. You will now have two identical tree shapes.

  • You can make a large tree by using two full-size sheets of construction paper, or you can cut one piece of paper in half.

How to Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 3: Cut slits in the tree shapes for joining them together. First, find and mark the vertical center of each tree by folding it in half vertically (fold the pointed tip of the tree down to the base of the tree,) then lightly crease or mark the center. Finally, cut a slit in one tree from the top down to the center mark, and cut a slit in the other tree from the bottom up to the center.

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 4: Join the two shapes and form the tree. Slide the two pieces together along the slits so that the middles match. Then use a few small piece of clear tape at the top and bottom of the tree to hold it all together. Finally, fold the tree open so that it stands on its own.

How To Make a Paper Christmas Tree

Step 5: Have fun decorating your tree! The sky is the limit with this step; be as creative as you like. You can use paint or glitter glue to add sparkle, or even “flock” your tree. Cut ornaments out of colored paper using scissors or a hole punch, and glue them to the tree. Create a garland out of metallic thread or ribbon, and don’t forget a tiny star or angel on top.

  • You can use the same 3D cutting/splicing method you used to create the tree to make a 3D star or angel for the top.
  • Hot glue works best for attaching things to the point of the tree.

 

The instructional portion of this article was provided by wikihow, a wiki building the world’s largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make a Paper Christmas Tree.  Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Say Hello To The Best Gingerbread Cookie Out There

Picture this: the presents are all wrapped and under the tree, the kids are asleep dreaming of peppermint sticks and puppies, the stars twinkle overhead  in the frosty air, and all is peacefully silent and still at last.  As you plop backwards onto the couch, what do you reach for on the end table at your side?  Why, only the best, most delicious, delectable, iconic Christmas treat there is out there.  Grandma’s Ginger Cookies of course!  Whether setting them out for Santa on Christmas Eve or adding them as a staple food to your diet throughout the entire holiday season, folks will be raving about these cookies until next Christmas rolls around.

 

Best Gingerbread Cookies

Grandma’s Ginger Cookies

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces) (tip: Crystallized ginger comes in pkgs in the produce aisle or in the spice aisle)
  • granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 ¾-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a minute or two, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy, but don’t eat too much! You’ll want to save room for dinner after all.

How to Teach Your Children the True Spirit of Christmas

In the rush of the holiday season, it’s good to take a step back and remind not only yourself, but your littles on what the true spirit of Christmas is all about.

The True Spirit of Christmas

Of course as parents, we are setting an example for our children with everything we do.  If they see us stressed and harried running around shopping for gifts the entire season, what does that imprint on their mind?  That the holiday season revolves around gifts and material goods.

The true spirit of Christmas is that of giving, caring, and compassion. It’s up to you to teach your little ones about the spirit of the season. Here are some tips that should help you:

  1. Have Discussions – When it comes to learning, repetition is always a good thing!  Every time they seem to be getting a little too caught up in what presents they’ll receive, you may want to remind them that Santa doesn’t bring everything.  It may also be helpful to redirect their thinking towards how they can help others – having your children participate in selecting items for a toy drive and collecting canned food for the needy may be a good place to start.
  2. Donate & Clean Out Old Toys – The holidays are a perfect time to sift through your children’s old toys and get rid of what they don’t use.  Have your children help!  Explain to them that there are some kids who won’t receive gifts at all that year and they have the power to give them something this holiday season.
  3. Get Family Members On Board – We all know how Grandparents love to spoil their grandkids!  Talk it through with them and enlist their help.  With the same message being sent from all adults in their life, a child will be much more likely to remember the lesson taught.
  4. Utilize the Media – There are several great children’s television programs that address the matter of giving back.  If the theme comes up, use it as a teachable moment!  Your child is likely to be much more receptive of this subject when Sophia the First has provided a bit of a baseline.

Here at JM Cremps, we believe Christmas should be a peaceful, joyful time filled with laughter, good food, and the best of memories with those you love. If you’re looking for ways to spend more family time together, don’t forget to check out JM Cremps collection of board games, card games, & more!  You’ll turn those snowed-in evenings into the best times you’ve had all winter.