Guess what we did yesterday? Yup that's right. Gingerbread Houses!!!! Woohoo!!! It Was So Much Fun!
The last time we did this was four years ago and at that time I said that it was going to be an annual event. Clearly I lied. Well I didn't lie. At the time I absolutely meant it. And I don't even know why we did not do it every single year afterwards because we loved doing it. But the fact of the matter is that we did not. So maybe it'll be like the Presidential Elections, once every 4 years.
The previous Gingerbread House Decorating Day, our kits were such that first we had to built the houses. All the pieces necessary were in the boxes, but that had to be put together first. Yeah, that was a real stumbling block for me. I do not have a knack for construction at all. No matter how hard I tried, my house still came out a little wonky. Tim's was perfectly square and went together both quickly and neatly. Mine, not so much. I had royal icing everywhere before I put one single bit of decoration on the house.
So this time, we learned from that experience and bought houses ALREADY constructed. It was a Great step forward. I highly recommend it. All we had to do was the fun part, the decorating! Yeah! We augmented the little bits of candy that came in the kit with other stuff. Random things that mostly, Tim bought although I did add a few things myself (like M&M's of course). As Tim stood in the candy aisle, he was thinking, "Oh this could be used for...whatever...and that could be used for...whatever else". When I stand in the candy aisle I think..."I could eat that" which is why I bought the M&M's. It's the same policy I have for selecting Halloween candy. If something edible is going to be leftover in the house, I prefer that it be something I am willing to eat.
So in this endeavor, step one is to protect my tabletop with my awful looking but very useful (and cheap - dollar store, thank you) plastic table cloth, covered with layers of newspaper. Then the product becomes unboxed and the extra candies added to the center of the table. It's within easy reach of everyone, but still gives us room to work. I cut part of one of the boxes off and glued it to the bottom of my house so I had some "yard" to play with too.
See the cute little dormer above the front door of the house on the box? Yeah, I couldn't figure out how to do that. All the pieces were included in the kit but nope, didn't happen. I wasted at least fifteen minutes trying to figure it out before discarding that idea.
We worked, we talked, we hummed little hums. Occasionally I broke into song and/or dance. I ate a lot of M&M's and made a huge mess. It turns out that the lovely big bags of royal icing that they include with the kit (It says "over 1 lb of icing and candy" on the box - well nearly a pound of it is just icing which is awesome!) is in a squeezy tube thingie. And if you squeeze too hard well, the icing just pours out around the spout. Dang. I ended up using a table knife and sometimes my fingers to put on the icing so that it didn't go to waste. Extra Messy but effective!
But that also meant a super yucky work area on my end of the table. Honest to god, whenever I get up from the table all around my plate and my chair looks as if a 2 year old was eating there instead of a house-broken adult. I'm like Pigpen in the comic "Charlie Brown". Just a natural born slob. But I'm a clean slob. I always police my area. I'm permanently on KP.
Anyway, we took our time and had great fun and when we were done I had to sweep, vacuum and wash the floor. BUT it was totally worth it and now we have Christmassy Centerpieces for the table.
Tim's gingerbread house is, once again, the best looking. He takes his time, starts off with a plan and is incredibly neat and tidy while doing it. I had no plan at all, did it on the fly, made a huge mess and finished well before he did. But! While his is a work of art, mine of one of great enthusiasm and that counts too.
I'll show you the finished products. Tim's first;
And now my house:
So here is my recommendation, if you don't mind a bit of a mess, go for it. This was probably the most fun thing we've done this Christmas Season yet. It was such a fun and creative and an oddly relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And bonus, we got to eat our weight in leftover candy. Big Yay! This time we will make more of an effort to repeat it next year. And the next. And the one after that too.
Long Live the GingerBread House Project!! May this please become a real annual event!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.