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.

Advertisements

How To Naturally Improve Concentration and Focus in Your Child

Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or not, you have likely struggled with the issue of a child’s lack of concentration at some point during your parenting years.  Of course we know that children are curious, energetic discoverers.  This is natural.  However, some children struggle more than others.  Many frustrated parents don’t know where to turn for help.  What if there were some simple antidotes and tools you can use to improve concentration?  There is.  Of course no solution will work for everyone, but we think you’ll find the following suggestions extremely helpful.  Your sanity will thank you!

How to Naturally Improve Concentration and Focus in Your Child

So, how can you motivate and improve your child’s focus?  There are several different tools available.  In the beginning, it’s best to try them all to see what works best for you and your family.

1.) Attend to physiological needs.  Ensure your child gets 9 hours of sleep every night.  Reduce sugar intake & increase protein levels (lean meat, almonds, & eggs).  This stimulates dopamine which makes concentration easier, particularly for lethargic kids.  Taking frequent breaks for exercise will have a similar effect.

2.) Remove distractions at home.  Make a list of things that may prevent concentration (i.e. noise, people, lighting, fighting, tiredness, & hunger). Then go through each distraction and come up with a solution.  Make sure you implement those solutions daily!

3.) Create the right mood for concentration.  Playing calming background music, placing a fish tank (with fish) in the environment, and reducing fluorescent lights have all been proven to be successful in creating the right mood.

4.) Introduce sequencing & organization activities (i.e. following recipes, setting the table, and putting things in alphabetical order.)  Board and card games help as well.  Chess has proven to be particularly good for improving focus long-term. Their minds become incrementally stronger, alleviating the concentration problem, and in many cases, almost entirely curing it. The study of chess also instills patience and can help a child’s attitude.

5.) Find out which activities your child focuses on best.  Some kids do best with hands-on activities, and some do best with a lot of visual cues.  Look for activities that your child gets lost in for hours.  These activities can enhance your child’s concentration levels.

These are only a few of the tools we’ve found helpful through the years.  I’m sure there are many more that you’ll find that will work in your home. Before assisting your child with their concentration habits, pay close attention to their pattern of concentration and observe if there are any obvious links between diet, energy pattern, sleep, and your own behaviors.  Remember to lead by example!

Concentration can be improved and made automatic.  Picture the first time you drove a car.  No doubt the prevailing, panicky thought in your head was, “How on earth can I focus on all of this stuff at the same time?!”  After enough practice, your brain built pathways of concentration, and the task of driving has become a smooth and easy one.  Take action today and make the process of learning a lot more enjoyable for both you and your children!

Book Review – The Dangerous Book for Boys

Whether you’re a boy of 8 or 80, you’ll love The Dangerous Book for Boys!  The title sounds a little intimidating, but be sure to dive in a bit before making a snap judgement.  In these days of video games and battery powered toys that do everything except buy themselves for you, today’s unimaginative kids need to learn how to PLAY again. This book is filled with good old-fashioned, get-off-the-couch, get-out-of-the-house and get dirty ideas.

Book Review - The Dangerous Book for Boys

A perfect way to stay out of trouble but still have fun, The Dangerous Book for Boys covers essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age old question of what the big deal with girls is. In this digital age there is still a place for knots, skimming stones and stories of incredible courage.

This book recaptures Sunday afternoons, stimulates curiosity, and makes for great father-son activities. The brothers Conn and Hal have put together a wonderful collection of all things that make being young or young at heart fun—building go-carts and electromagnets, identifying insects and spiders, and flying the world’s best paper airplanes.

As one reader put it, “It is perfect tinder for a young mind to fan the flames to the fire of personal wonder for the rest of their lives.”

You won’t want to put it down!  Pick up a copy today at jmcremps.com, and be sure to take a look at The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things To Do, and The Pocket Dangerous Book For Boys: Things To Know.  Happy reading!

Download Your Free Summer 2016 Family Adventure Guide

Let’s face it. Sometimes it can be a bit of challenge to keep the kids occupied all summer long.  As summer drags on and the excitement immediately following the end-of-the-school-year wears off, you may notice that your kids gravitate toward their devices more and more.  Instead of spending the afternoon running around the neighborhood or building forts in the backyard, you may find them on the couch with their eyes glued to a screen.  If the amount of screen-time is beginning to creep up, then it’s time to download the JM Cremp’s Summer 2016 Family Adventure Guide.

In it, you’ll find some creative ideas to keep the kids busy as well as some good parenting advice.  Oh, and there’s also a valuable coupon inside valid at www.jmcremps.com.

Happy Adventuring!

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 11.58.53 AM
Click the image above to download your free copy today!

How to Break Your Kid’s Technology Addiction the Fun Way

Are you part of the generation that remembers when a few old blankets were the makings of a perfect hideout, and the most drama you had to deal with was whether to baseball, ride your bike, or pretend you were a cowboy?  If you are, then it can be quite a challenge to see your perfectly healthy kids curled up on their bed with an iPod in the middle of a beautiful summer afternoon.  Believe me, I feel your pain!

Adventure for Boys
A 2010 Kaiser Foundation Study found that children and teens on average spend almost 8 hours each day on entertainment media.  The naked truth is that technology is here for the long haul, and your child’s love of it isn’t going to go away anytime soon.  Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to break their addiction to electronics and rekindle their adventurous spirit.

First, encourage them to explore those things that interest them, and to do so in a hands-on manner.  If your child loves science, then get him/her a simple science experiment kit, and let them learn first hand.  If they loves bugs, get them a bug magnifying kit and let them get down and dirty in the mud.  If it’s a fascination with the outdoors, then a basic survival book and a Pocket Tool will be the beginning of a life-long love of the outdoors.   It’s been proven that on the whole kids, especially boys, thrive when they can learn by “doing”, and there’s no better time to start than when they are young and full of curiousity.

The second thing you can do to inspire your child’s love of learning and adventure is through story-telling and reading.  Inspiring true stories such as I Pledge Allegiance or The Civil War Graphic Novel 2-Book Set can inspire your children to do and achieve more than they ever thought possible.  Fictional stories about heroes and warriors can broaden their world and teach them to dream big and reach for their goals.

Third, be a good example.  Be active yourself, so the next time you encourage your couch potato to get outside and explore the world they live in they can’t say, “But you never do!” Better yet, be active and learn together as a family.  Take the time for a family hike or an afternoon together at your local historical society.  Go camping for a weekend or even a night in the backyard. Whatever your chosen activity, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow together as a family.  A love of adventure may start when you are young, but a true adventurous spirit never withers.

To find thousands of ways to inspire a passion for learning and to ignite an adventurous spirit within your children, visit www.jmcremps.com.  Request FREE copy of our Adventure Guide Catalog today, and you’ll discover why over 100,000 families rely on JM Cremp’s as their go-to resource for hands-on activites, ideas and toys to enhance active imaginations, fun gear for outdoor adventures, parenting resources, and educational tools for creative learning.

The point of all this is to swap your child’s addictive electronics with a few simple replacements that are engaging, appeal to their interests, get them moving, and challenge their minds.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, but it will take a little effort in the beginning.  Then again, most things that are rewarding take some effort, but they sure are worth it in the long run!