Four score and hundreds of years ago! Let’s Celebrate Presidents’ Day this February 18 by engineering your own log cabin made of pretzel logs and peanut butter mortar!
Log cabins dotted our countryside hundreds of years ago, serving as a symbol of the American pioneering spirit. Nine United States presidents – Andrew Jackson, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and James Garfield – we all born in log cabins. Europeans settlers constructed the first log cabins in the American colonies around 1638, where there was plenty of good wood to use. Some of these simple but strong structures are still around today!
So how to engineering your own log cabin? You and your future presidential hopeful should gather:
- An empty half-pint milk or cream carton
- Pretzel sticks (no rods)
- Pretzel snaps (square shape)
- Wheat thins or wheat crackers
- Graham crackers
- Smooth peanut butter (*If there any peanut allergies, almond butter or cream cheese can do the same job)
HOW TO CREATE A LOG CABIN
Before beginning construction, perhaps paint or color a little rolling countryside for your home. We painted an old box left over from the holidays.
LOG CABIN FUN FACT: Andrew Jackson, our 7th president of the United States, was the first president to be born in a log cabin in South Carolina.
Next, rinse out your milk cartons. You won’t want a sour smell.
Grab your pretzel sticks. Measure them up to the side of your carton – they will probably be a little long. Cut with kitchen scissors.
Also, cut out your log cabin’s front door by breaking up a graham cracker. Don’t worry about crumbly corners – nothing has to be perfect! The early settlers did their best, too.
LOG CABIN FUN FACT: A reconstruction of James Polk’s log cabin is open to the public on his family’s farm in North Carolina. Polk was our 11th president and was the oldest of ten!
Next, take a spatula or butter knife and spread the peanut butter very thick on the side of the carton. We found working in sections – instead of covering the whole carton – made it slightly less messy.
Begin to stack your pretzels. Press them lightly into your peanut butter mortar. Place a window on the side for decoration if you’d like.
LOG CAGIN FUN FACT: The father of Franklin Pierce, our nation’s 14th president, purchased 50 acres of land in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, after the American Revolutionary War. Pierce was born on a log cabin there in 1804.
Continue along to all the sides of the cabin, rotating on a safe surface as you work.
Don’t forget the front door! We used a dab of peanut butter and a chocolate chip for the doorknob. FYI: Most log cabin front doors where situated on the south side of the house, to soak up as much sun exposure and warmth during the day!)
To tackle the roof, fill in the carton corners with extra peanut butter. Spread on lots and begin to lay the wheat crackers like shingles. The kids will delight in learning the “buildable” component for which the peanut butter allows.
LOG CABIN FUN FACT: In 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Kentucky, before moving to Knob Creek when he was two.
For the final step for your log cabin, grab a big chunk of pretzel or gather a group of sticks to make a chimney. All log cabins have a burning fireplace, so you need a place for the smoke to go!
Finished! Time to place our house in the countryside.
LOG CABIN FUN FACT: James Garfield, the 20th president, was the last of the log cabin presidents, born in 1831. Garfield and his family remained in Orange County Township in Ohio until 1859, where a replica of the log cabin still remains.
Log cabins and America have a longstanding history. Enjoy making your own little symbol of the early American pioneers!
Save it for later!
Sources: worldatlas.com, marthastewart.com