Saturday, December 24, 2011

Some Last Minute Fun--It's not too late!

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 :).

Brendan's was probably the most architecturally correct, complete with chimney, etc.

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).


  1. Heeeeee!  I'm finally getting caught up on all my favorite blogs and what do I see but some familiar gingerbread houses!  I love your family's too though-- they look like much more fun to eat.  I'll have to send you the picture of the last gingerbread house I made with the kids. It has a flat roof b/c I forgot to pitch the sides of the house.  Ooops.  I leave the gingerbread making to mom and let that be her bonding time with the grandkids. It's fun to see her have to "let go" of her perfectionism with them.

    Your family picture is gorgeous by the way-- you guys always look so pulled together and coordinated w/o being all "matchy-matchy".  Brendan did a great job-- I can't see any awkward head switcheroos.

  2. Hi Brynn! I thought you might enjoy that glimpse of gingerbread houses past :). I totally made the same roof mistake one year when I made real gingerbread houses. Soooo frustrating.

    Everyone, please forgive the private aside that is about to take place:


Please feel free to comment. I love to read what other people think!