Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gingerbread houses galore

This holiday season, I had the good fortune of stumbling into not one but two gingerbread house projects. 

Actually, this is misleading. The honest truth, frankly, is that I did a healthy amount of crowing about how badly I wanted to make a gingerbread house, and two groups of people helped make it happen!

Part I
I'll start this story by giving thanks to Josh's sister-in-law, Dawn, who should be commended for not brawling me when I invited her children at Thanksgiving to make gingerbread houses with me at Christmas.  She came home from the store one day last week with a fabulous gingerbread house kit!  Lala and Loco and I immediately got to work.  The kids and I set up the house with the kit's frosting and let it set for awhile, but I'll set the stage for how the rest of the project went by noting that we flagrantly disregarded the gentle "wait 15 minutes before decorating" suggestion on the back of the box.

It started out very nicely!  (Note one of the kids flying across the background.)

There was a bit of a lean, though.

And early in the process, one of the gingerbread men required emergency surgery. So sad.
And then there was more lean. 

I am noticing Loco in the near background in all of my photos, and I'm not ready to rule that his actions did not contribute to our house's eventual demise.

Then it all went!  Luckily, my fellow homebuilders were the perfect audience for this.  In fact, as soon as we finished decorating, Lala and Loco asked if it was time to dismantle and eat it.

As you can see, they were not sad in the slightest when the whole thing collapsed.

Lesson 1: Wait 15 minutes.  Do not let eager children convince you to bend this rule.

Lesson 2: No stress!  The eager children are rooting for it to fall down!

Part II
Last night, my plane touched down at MSP, I scurried home, and within five minutes of opening the door, I had an apron on and was kneading dough for potica, a bread my family makes every year over Christmas. The gingerbread house was scheduled for potica intermission (i.e. while it was rising). I had received reports via text that my mom, brother and sister had already assembled the gingerbread house's structure, with at least one collapse, mixed results, and some profanities. 

Lesson 3: Gingerbread houses are hard to make.  They're just hard, okay?

It started out simply enough.  In contrast to my first gingerbread house adventure with Lala and Loco, there was no consumption of frosting.  My mom made this Very Effective frosting that was apparently not edible.  (That should not be called frosting then, should it?  Hmm.)  We let it sit, and sit, and sit - the lesson learned by all. 

Lesson 4: Let it sit for a long time before you decorate it!!!

Then we started decorating.  First, almonds for shingles.  You can get a good look at the windows here, a tip my mom learned from my grandpa: crush up Lifesavers or Jolly Ranchers and bake them in the cutout.  Voila!  Stained glass windows!

It got more and more serious. Sprinkles came out. Trees were made from ice cream cones.
The piping rolled on.

A tiger joined the fray.

Here's the final result, surrounded by my sister, her boyfriend, me, and my brother.

Believe me. I am staring at it right now, approximatey 20 hours post-construction. This thing is not falling down.

I s'pose the technical rubric for success means that only one house this year met the criteria, but heck, Lesson 5: I loved making both of them.

1 comment:

  1. Loco thinks that your gingerbread house looks dumb and the one you made here looked better-even if it did fall down. Just passing along the message. I personally love it!