I remember doing gingerbread houses when growing up, and when my Mom speared this horrendous affair, I had such fun and felt such Christmasy feelings. Of course often she didn’t have the energy for such an endeavor till after Christmas. I do remember pestering her…”When, when, when are we going to do ginger bread houses?
Well, every year varies in what you feel up to doing, but we do like to do some variation of gingerbread houses. There are the graham cracker kind for the simplest and the full blown houses for the more ambitious. I do recall we did a full blown house when we had Milly. Maybe one other time. Other years I have cut out a flat 2-D shape of a house to decorate.
As far as houses go, melting sugar over hot heat makes a great glue, but I’d just as well assume hot glue, as its easier to control and less liable to burn your fingers to shmithers. Also, you have to do many batches of sugar as it burns once over the heat and re-melted. Yes if I ever do a house again I’ll just use a hot glue gun to stick it together. And tell my kids not to eat the seams. Who devours their entire gingerbread house, anyway?
Then there’s the patient standing each wall and letting it dry…but don’t we get impatient.
But I think the gingerbread nativity will be our new tradition.
Two years ago, I made a nativity and it was very beautiful, and folksy. A mommy project however and thats not really fun for every one else. (Remember while cutting out the ginger bread to cut out the windows, then put in some jolly ranchers and it will make charming stained glass windows.) The second year I was able to use it again, barely, but the third I looked in the box, and it looked like sawdust…seriously, I don’t want to know what happened. Here was that nativity:
(This photo comes from her blog. Go to her blog Mom’s School to find correlated activities, stories, and more about the Jerusalem activity.) *Aren’t those pretzels a darling idea?
Candy can get quite expensive, but from the dollar store, you can buy 5 bags…now isn’t that frugal? Maybe your dollar store even has a package of graham crackers.
If you are going to GingerBread Premavera like we, it is easiest to:
Day 1: Make the dough. (I might do a left over dinner that night, or pizza from a store, so that there isn’t anything extra that would add to your stress over the top.)
Day 2: With the kids, roll out and cookie cutter. They can do gingerbread men, wreaths and bells while you cut the stable and the nativity characters.
Sorry I won’t go into tons of details, if you can’t figure it out from the pictures, you’ll have to blog search for a similar idea from someone nicer than me.
~Stable is 1 big rectangle and 2 smaller rectangles
~Cut out 3 silhouette characters of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. I’ll admit it would be nice if I would include a pattern. Maybe when I get nicer I will do those for you. (Or when my last child is like…say, 5).
~ Cut out triangle props to prop up in the back Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.
~Cut out 1 or 2 Jerusalem cities copying April’s Jerusalem above.
Decorate the pieces.
Here in we used a suggestion from this website which gave a recipe for the royal frosting and suggested painting it on with a paint brush. Brilliant. Half the nightmare of a ginger bread house is the blasted frosting and the bags that spill out one end and clog on the other, or spill both ends and clog on one end…and dry out and yada yada.
Just add a speck amount of water as my kids would say, then stir and add a bit more if you need, you want it thick but stir-able. Then try it and it may need a bit more water. If it gets too thin, stir in more of the thick stuff from your big pot, or another good consistencied bowl.
And if you are making the cookies flat and they won’t be propped up, here is a yummy and healthy icing recipe made from honey. (Fun blog for kids.)
(But if they will be standing the candy will slowly run off the house.)