Cheater Gingerbread Houses

1 01 2010

Who cares if it’s after Christmas and we’re making our little cheater gingerbread houses now?

Amber over a Kids Craft Weekly had issued a challenge back in November to do some sort of activity advent calendar for December. I was inspired by the idea of focusing on the little things and accomplishing all those little holiday activities that seem to slip through my fingers year after year while I’m busy shopping or cleaning. I even came up with a design involving used office supplies and a list of what holiday activities I really wanted to accomplish. Unfortunately, I never followed through with my calendar.  However, the list remained. It focused me and I’m happy to report we got through many of the items on that list.  There were a few that weren’t done before Christmas, but then I found myself at home with the kids for a few days on their winter break and so I thought – who cares if it’s after Christmas? We can still hit a few more of those items on my list! So we made gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, a tub of frosting and random holiday candy I had picked up for this purpose weeks ago.

I made the little house forms up myself. I tried to be sneaky and do it while they were busy elsewhere but they caught me. My intention was to let the frosting set a bit so the houses would be more sturdy for little hands. However, they were having none of this waiting business. So I set them to filling bowls with candies and bringing those to the dining table amidst constant request from them to test out the little candies. Eleanor was constantly watching her brother for how to react to this bazaar occurrence of bowls of candy in our house. Certainly not our norm. All things considered, I was surprised by how little candy we actually did eat. It quickly became the focus of decoration instead of food.

First I demonstrated how to use the frosting as glue asking the kids for input on which candies to use then I set them loose. Seth loved making all the decisions himself and mastering the plastic baggie of frosting.

Eleanor scoured the mostly red, white and green candies picking out every last hot pink hard candy she could find. She then had me covering every little inch of her roof with dots of frosting. I’m surprised the thing is still standing under all the weight. See it tipping there?

I have always wanted to make little “gingerbread” houses out of graham crackers so this made me incredibly happy. Maybe next year we’ll try a wonderful cardboard one like this!

Want to know a few more activities we really enjoyed over the last few weeks?

  • Cutting paper snowflakes – Seth LOVES this
  • Watching christmas movies while eating loads of popcorn
  • Teaching Seth how to draw triangle christmas trees and circle snowmen. I would say things like “draw a green triangle, now put a little brown square underneath – what do you see?” You should have seen his eyes when he realized he had just drawn a christmas tree. For a boy who used to think he can’t draw and is now finding out that he can this was a perfect activity while waiting for our dinner at a restaurant.
  • Making our own holiday cards (yet to be mailed)
  • Reading piles of holiday books – to me, christmas is also a time to explore other religions and cultures. And reading books adds a fun element to finding out what a latke is for instance. Even better when it’s a bit of tongue in cheek like Lemony Snicket’s “The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story” or Sandy Lanton’s “Lots of Latkes: A Hanukka Story“.
  • Driving around to see fantastical, and sometimes obnoxious, holiday lights and decorations
  • Putting up a christmas tree
  • Baking cookies (even if they were the pre-made dough kind)
  • Making orange pomanders – just love that smell

No matter how you spent the last month of the year, no matter which holidays you choose to partake in – if any, I hope you had a good one and took the time to enjoy the little things with the people you love. They are what matters.

I wish you all a happy New Year!




4 responses

1 01 2010
painted fish studio

whew! i got tired reading about all of the good things you’ve been doing! love the little houses. happy new year!

1 01 2010

Cute little houses — and kids. The Vermont Folklife Center hosts a gingerbread house competition each year and the only rule is everything except the base must be edible. Most of the buildings entered are made of graham cracker squares so, officially, it’s not cheating if you can eat it :)

This year, our advent activity was the alphabet, one letter each day — though one of these days, my daughter is going to rebel and demand her years of missing chocolate trinkets (and hallowe’en candy). But until then, I’m pleading innocent.

1 01 2010

These are great… love the houses, the photos and the kids! And you’re hardly cheating… the decorating and creative part of all the fun. Happy New Year to you and you’re family too!

8 01 2010
Sarah Salo

I just love reading your sight. Inspires me to think about doing things. :)
It’s proof starting your own blog was well worthwhile.

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