Sunday, January 03, 2010

Making Gingerbread Houses!

We made gingerbread houses last week, on Tuesday, when Gran and Grandad were here! This is something I was not willing to try with both girls at the same time, since I knew Cecilia would not be able to do a house on her own, yet she would want to do everything that Caroline was doing! So, Gran helped Cecilia while I helped Caroline.

We made the "gingerbread" houses out of graham crackers. I cut some to make the gable end pieces, and then we used royal icing (that had been in the fridge since this post - don't worry, we didn't eat any of it!) to hold them together. Gran, I bet you didn't expect that you'd be given house construction work on your Christmas vacation visit to our house! ;) It was a bit of a challenge to get them to stand up until the icing began to harden... they just had to be held in place for several moments. Oh, and the fact that the graham crackers were curved didn't help much. Thanks, Wal-Mart brand. But, for next year, I just scored a big gingerbread house kit from Sam's for $2.91! that's almost less than I paid for just the graham crackers alone! It helped to buy the decorations after Christmas - half off on the M & Ms and such - but the kit has all the candies and icing included. So, into the closet it went, and we will do it next year. And the best part is, I will be able to rationalize the "don't eat the decorations" rule based on the fact that it's all over a year old!

Caroline really got into covering it with as much candy as possible!

We put the houses on upside-down paper plates. We covered Caroline's in frosting so it could be sitting in a yard full of snow. She made "bushes" out of green candies and used M & Ms to make a path or sidewalk all around the edge of the plate. She told me where she wanted the frosting, and I would put it on, and then she'd stick the candies in place. Cecilia's interest did not last as long, obviously, but both girls ended up with cute houses.

Cecilia shows off her gingerbread house

Caroline with her final prouct - and icing all over her shirt and face!

And here they are, side by side, a lovely decoration for the Christmas season!

The graham crackers are a nice shortcut... one year, when they are MUCH older, we'll make gingerbread from scratch using the recipe from my former Girl Scout Leader. We made complete houses from scratch to sell in the church Christmas bazaar back when I was about a 12 year old Girl Scout... that was so much fun, but definitely better suited for older children! For preschoolers, the graham cracker ones - or a kit - are great!! It was fun and low-stress, and relatively low-mess!


Carrie said...

I am getting exhausted reading all your Christmas activities post! It is showing me just how much we didn't do this year that we usually do together :(
BUT, on a happy note... that is awesome that you got such a great deal on the kit. My mother in law has a tradition of making gingerbread houses with the kids, so I let her! ha ha!
When I have done the graham cracker ones before, I let the kids use icing in a baggie, which they actually do very well with at a very young age.

Sandra said...

I'm ready to build more gingerbread houses anytime. Lots of fun!!