Merry Christmas! Are you having fun yet? :)
If not, here's an idea that I think is appropriate until New Year's at least.
We made gingerbread houses a few nights ago. In the past, we've done gingerbread houses the hard way (homemade royal icing and homemade gingerbread pieces) and the easy way (canned frosting and graham crackers). This year, we tried a hybrid approach that worked really well--homemade icing and graham crackers.
The icing only takes about five minutes to make, but it allows the pieces to stick together sooooo much better than canned or buttercream frosting.
A recipe for it is here or here.
I've found the best way to use the icing is to fill individual sandwich-size ziploc baggies and snip the corner off. Voila! Your own icing bag.
I love the feeling of having our whole family in absorbed silence, doing something at the same time.
Usually that only happens when we are eating an especially good meal :).
I bought a few $1 bags of candies, some M&M's and we used up the last of our Halloween candy to decorate these beauties.
So, they turned out something like this.
Kidding, kidding. This is a picture of a group of gingerbread houses one of my best friend's mom did for the Salt Lake Festival of Trees about five years ago. She is a gingerbread artist (pronounced (ar-TEEST, in case you're wondering). So amazing and precise.
This is how ours really turned out.
My house. I loved my dutch door and rail fence :).
Damon--a demented but proud decorator.
Sawyer, who was so excited he was in constant motion (even as I tried to snap his picture).
Lukas, who made me take about 7 pictures of his house, to capture the different angles.
Sophie, whose house was probably the most detailed, and who totally hogged the red and green M&M's :).
Maybe next year I'll make real gingerbread again*. But I have to say that spending only 10 minutes (rather than 2 hours) for my family to have an hour and 1/2 of fun together is a pretty good trade-off.
What about you? Have you made gingerbread houses this year?
*Or, I might buy the ones at IKEA--I saw them there the day after we made ours. $3.99 for a whole house of gingerbread pieces (not including candy and icing, which I like to buy myself anyway).