6 Foot Gingerbread House (cardboard; not cookie)

One thing that I really do miss about my life before I had Ez, was working as a preschool teacher. Being able to create different play spaces for the children each month and theme related to what they would be learning about. Now that Ez is a little bit older and I am able to play with her more and more, running around the house, peek-a-boo and imaginary play!

How excited was I when the huge rollout for Starbucks’ Holiday merch came in and there was 2 GIANT boxes and endless others. I couldn’t help but take them home, already having the dream of one day making Ez a giant box fort. Then the holiday season rolled around, it completely embraced me and here we are!

Ezra’s Gingerbread House

Materials

  • 2 Extra large boxes / 2 medium / 2 small
  • Exacto Knife
  • Duct Tape
  • Clear Tape
  • Red / White Acrylic Paint
  • Paintbrush

STEP 1 : B O X E S

The first thing you want to do is find two large boxes, about the size of a mini fridge or an ottoman, for your base. You can use smaller boxes and attach them together, but in my opinion, if a toddler is running through it, you need some sort of stability! THINK B I G. I taped them together at the top to get ready for the next step! TIP : I got my boxes from Starbucks, you could also go to furniture stores, that way you know the boxes are clean and dry! 

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Step 2 : T R A C E  I T  O U T

The second step is to trace out how you want your house to look. Pinterest, google, search out different ideas for what you want to create. I chose to do two windows, different shapes, a chimney and a door. TIP: When I was sketching out the shapes for the roof and window, I did it from the opposite side that would show on the outside, so it didn’t matter how many times I re-drew. TIP #2 : Find an item in your house to trace some of the more finer pieces. i.e. large whicker basket for the roof window. 

Step 3 : M A K E  T H E  C U T

After you have all of your pieces ready and sketched, it’s time to cut them out. I found that it was really hard to cut across and so simple to cut top to bottom because of the grooves in the board itself. But at the end of the day, the only one judging will be your child, and there will only be screams of joy! Remember to make the chimney and the mailbox. TIP : I cut all of the pieces out and cut the window slots afterwards, it was too awkward to try and cut little squares out of a large piece of board!  

CHIMNEY : When you are making the chimney, it’s tricky to get the right angle so I suggest cutting it out how you think but make it EXTRA LONG so then when you need to adjust and trim, you have space to.

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SCALLOPED EDGING : I made this separately after I had completed the base of the house, I had some extra pieces. It was really on a whim, just remember, bigger is better, more playful and play-like!

Step 4 : R E I N F O R C E

You’ve cut all the edges and pieces, now to reinforce any extra pieces that may need to stay folded or bent a certain way. I used TONS of duct tape here and clear tape for the outside. TIP : I used other pieces of cardboard to make those long straight lines to make sure they would be equal

Step 5 : P U T  I T  T O G E T H E R

When I was putting it all together, I actually had to reinforce a couple pieces with an extra piece of cardboard on the inside of the roof. I used only duct tape on the inside for extra support and clear on the outside. TIP : Save the roof until last, you will want to paint it first and separately. Already being attached to the house is too awkward!

Step 6 : P A I N T

Paint the roof first, you can do lines, scallops or even bricks if you like! This is also the time that I painted the chimney and entire scalloped trim so that it would be dry by the time I was done the house. Paint the edges of the home, doorway, window frame and any other additions on the house. When I painted the chimney, I painted all the edges and then let it dry and sized after. Don’t forget about your little mailbox!

Step 7 : E N J O Y

Fill your gingerbread house with teddy’s, plush blankets and everything cozy! One thing that really brought this Gingerbread House home (even though I don’t think I’ve ever added one on a cookie house) was this amazing fire play set from Nixilauroo. (The marshmallow has a MAGNET in it to attach to the stick!! – MIND-BLOWN) Head on over to their site and check out the HUGE variety of play sets they have, colours and even prints! And if you’re still perusing through after the fire sets, search for their brand new teddy bear hoodie. You won’t be able to resist! I know I couldn’t!

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Take care and enjoy playing in your gingerbread houses! Please tag me on insta @stumblinggrace and let me see YOUR creations you’ve made for your littles. I would love to see your creativity and have some inspiration from you!

 

XO Cassandra

Apple Cider Sippin’ – Recipe

apple cider ingredients

WELCOME! to THE best apple cider you will ever make. I honestly cannot believe how YUMMY this was! I am also not one to declare to the world that something is THE BEST, unless it really is. so here you go!

Now this was the one that intimidated me. When I first set out to put this post together of my favourites for the fall, one staple for me is apple cider, and yes, the powdered ones. This time though, I wanted to try and actually MAKE the cider. So here we are!

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I am embarrassed to admit this, but I am quite the snob when it comes to apple and orange juices. I love the raw, pulpy, hand squeezed taste. My absolute favourites are ‘Simply Brand – Apple Juice’ and ‘Tropicana , Some pulp, Orange Juice” LOL! If you love cider as much as I do well then this will be a treat! Here is the full recipe to this delicious Apple Cider, Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

Serves 10-12

• 1 orange

• 1 lemon

• 10 apples (a mixture is good — we used Jazz apples and Granny Smiths)

• 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

•  1 small piece ginger, peeled and sliced

• 1 teaspoon all spice

• 12 cloves

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•  3/4 cup brown sugar

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Instructions:

1. Peel the zest off the orange and lemon, being careful not to peel off the white pith (as this is very bitter). Cut all of the white pith off and discard, then cut the orange and lemon into slices (don’t worry about the seeds — they’ll be sieved out later).

2. Cut the apples into quarters.

3. Place the orange and lemon slices and peels into the slow-cooker pot along with the apples, cinnamon, ginger, all spice, cloves, vanilla extract and sugar. Pour in enough cold water to cover everything.

4. Turn the slow cooker to high, place the lid on and cook for three hours.

5. After three hours, use a potato masher to mash the fruit into the water, then place the lid back on and cook for a further 30-60 minutes.

6. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a large jug and serve immediately.

7. Alternatively you can cool, cover and refrigerate until needed. Simply reheat in a pan when ready to serve.

Have a recipe you’d like to share? or maybe your very own spin on Apple Cider? I would love to hear about it and add to my recipe book!

XOX

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40’s Lemonade Stand – Styled Shoot

 

A few months ago, myself and Natalia, The Venture Creative, were having a goals and inspiration girls night and came up for the vision for this shoot. We started to prep and plan different styled shoots, ideas for promotional materials, products we would like to review and companies that made our hearts jump and skip a beat! And thus, the ’40’s Lemonade Stand’ was born.

40’s Lemonade Stand Highlights:

  • Mason Jar/Lemon Sugar Cookies
  • Local Shops & Products
  • 14 Lemons
  • DIY Lemonade Stand
  • Ethical Visions & Support
  • Sweet&Sour faces
  • First Date – Sharing a Sippycup
  • 40’s Themed Outfits

 

Now my first concern here was, where and how and when am I going to make a Lemonade Stand, and from what? Do I go the route of a large wooden pallet, two wooden crates, or buy one.

**Enter Superhero-Handyman-Hubby**

I explain my thought process to Kenz and the different ways I could go about making the Lemonade Stand and his response, “I’ll just make one!” I think I just fell in love all over again. He took a bunch of left over wood we had from taking apart a bunk bed a few months back, (he also used this for the backdrop at Ezra’s First Flamingo – check it out), and went to work! I could not believe how perfect and beautiful it is! *insert happy cry* While he was building it, he had the face of it complete and I was thrilled! He then told me he had a lot more to do because he wanted it to be sturdy for Ezra and her cousins to play with for a long time to come. He added extra supports, squared it off and made sure everything was tight and secure. What a great man he is, always bringing my dreams to life! I will be making a separate post for your very own DIY Lemonade Stand in the near future so keep your eyes peeled!

We had so much fun with this shoot, involving all three of our children was difficult but so much fun! Luckily we had both of our husbands there to help rangle the kids and make them smile. We really lucked out with the weather that day, the entire week before and after had been in the high 20’s and this day just happened to be overcast. The perfect day for a summer shoot out in the sun.

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When I first started searching for who I wanted to involve in this project, there was a couple that came to mind right away and a few that I stumbled upon and am absolutely in LOVE with. Seriously, after you’ve looked through all the beautiful photos by Natalia Reardon Photography, scroll down to all the amazing LOCAL shops involved.

Through planning and executing this vision of the Lemonade Stand, I got to meet some of the makers behind the scenes. I had Kara from Nest&co Handcrafted over for a cup of tea when she brought over the adorable romper photographed above. I think this may be one of my favourite parts of organizing these style shoots is meeting and learning about the shops, how they came to fruition and the passion that keeps them going.

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Planning, Prepping and Preparing. 40’s theme, think bonnets, knee high socks and pearls. PEARLS! I remembered I had seen the most adorable mommy and me sets from Baby Bear Design just the other day, I rushed over and behold, there they were, perfect for the girls. Amy has a serious amount of awesome chewellery, teethers, children’s & adult apparel and she has big things coming down the shoot, check her and BabyBearDesign out here!

THE Bonnet. I originally was introduced to Fawn & Lace through Tara Teng, she posted a photo of her little girl in one of her bonnets and I was instantly in love! I contacted Parla and explained the vision behind the 40’s Lemonade Stand and if she would be interested in being involved. Now HERE is the real reason I wanted her beautiful bonnet to be featured in our shoot, to raise awareness and to promote what she is doing behind the scenes. Not only are her bonnets made from recycled materials but for each bonnet that is purchased, she puts $5 of your purchase towards women at risk and survivors of trafficking. Whaaaat? If you can’t already tell, this woman has such a huge heart and is doing amazing things. Go check out her handmade bonnets now and help support not only locally made and sourced items, but for women who need all the help they can get.

Here’s where you can pick up yours, but be quick! They’re only put out in limited releases. Her next release date will be at the end of July.

I got to meet another amazing shop owner along the way, Kim, grandma to Mia and one of the makers behind Mia’s Mocs. They’re goal and driving force is to provide great quality moccasins at affordable prices for new moms, moms with large families, low income families, families with special needs children and military families. You know those moments that just kind of catch you off guard, that you’re not expecting but it is such a joyful surprise when it does? This happened when I ran up to the door to meet Kim, and we ended up chatting for about 20 minutes about her daughter, grand daughter, my little Ez and the goal of Mia’s Mocs. It’s such a joy to get to know the makers, a snippet of who they are and who you are supporting and promoting. So thank you Kim and Alyssia!

The beautiful banner of lemons hung on the Stand was made by Little Sprout Creations and in the midst of her own hustle and bustle of putting together her daughter’s 2nd birthday, her shops 1st Birthday AND a giveaway, she still put time aside to make sure these lemons made it to the shoot. What a gem Jen is, the passion she puts behind her product and customer service is unreal. Thank you Thank you!!

Arn’t these cookies beautiful? Well, if you we’re wondering, yes they tasted even better than they looked! How is that possible? I couldn’t have imagined these cookies looking any other way. DesignerCookies really outdid themselves for this delicious treat for our littles, even though I’m sure they ate way too many during the shoot! Designer Cookies is a cookies company that makes custom sugar cookies to order based in Metro Vancouver. You can order yours here.

Seeing a photoshoot, and very much a project, come together and to fruition filled me with so much joy and excitement for the ones to come. We’ve got some amazing stuff down the shoot and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

XOXO

Here’s a couple post-shoot shots of Ez… How could I resist?! Is there really anything cuter than a naked babe in a basket?

 

Contributors

Photographer : Natalia Reardon Photography

Lemonade Stand : Hubby DIY

Lemons & Mason Jar Cookies : Designer Cookies

Lemons Banner : Little Sprout Creations

Black Striped Paper Straws : Party City

Ezra’s Outfit

Lace Bonnet : Fawn and Lace

Yellow Floral Romper : Nest & Co. Handcrafted

Knee High Socks : Petite Littles

Pearl Necklace : Baby Bear Design

Grey Mocs : Mia’s Mocs

Kylan’s Outfit

Fedora : Joe Fresh

White Dress Shirt : Joe Fresh

Bow Tie : Little Beau Boutique

Suspenders : H&M

Khaki Shorts : Joe Fresh

Socks : Petite Littles

Brown Mocs : Mia’s Mocs 

 

Eliana’s Outfit

Sun Hat : Gap

Pearl Necklace : Baby Bear Design

Dress : Nest and Nurture