Not last weekend, but the one before,
24 hours of gingerbread, and more!
We mixed, and we rolled, and baked all day.
Assembled, and frosted, and toiled the night away.
The house was so big!
The roof sort of slid…
Bracing, and more frosting helped the pieces stay.
All silliness aside, this was quite a learning experience. For me, and for my little student. We started out optimistic. We researched designs and we printed the recipes for gingerbread and frosting that were provided to us. We mixed the dough and into the refrigerator it went. So far, so good. When it was time, we rolled. Still smooth sailing. Except… gingerbread dough is one of the stickiest I’ve ever worked with. At least ours was. We followed the directions and threw down plenty of flour. Then mixed in more flour. And threw down another sprinkling. Put the dough back into the fridge when we weren’t working with it. You get the picture. As soon as it got slightly closer to room temperature, it wanted to stick like glue. So, the trick, it seems, was to keep it chilled and sprinkle plenty of flour under and on top of the dough.
We rolled the dough out and then trimmed it to match the template we had chosen. When we tried to transfer it to the cookie sheet, it got tweaked out of shape and we had to start again. We tried again. The gingerbread would either stretch, tear or stick to the table! Finally, we decided to roll it out in the pan, cut it down to match the template, and remove the extra dough. No more moving the pieces. But baking distorts the gingerbread a little too. If I do gingerbread again, I’m baking it, then cutting the cookie to match the templates while it’s still cooling and a bit soft. At least I think that would work better than cutting the gingerbread and then baking it.
Putting the whole thing together was a whole other animal. We started adding royal icing and sticking parts together, only to realize they had distorted a bit when baking. This meant that corners didn’t match and the roof didn’t contact the sides of the house in enough spots to allow the frosting to adhere. By this point, my whole back was just aching times 1000 and as the night wore on, I seriously entertained ideas of pitching the project in the nearby garbage can and picking up a gingerbread house kit the next morning, lol. But that wouldn’t have been very fun for my kiddo (plus, he had wanted to do the highest level of competition and the idea of a kit felt like cheating), so I kept my thoughts to myself and trooped on. Fortunately, my wonderful hubby stepped in and trimmed all the frosting coated pieces down with a knife. Messy, but helpful 🙂 Then we piled on more frosting and started sticking everything back together. Still the roof wanted to sag in the middle, so hubby made a cardboard brace to stick inside. You can see it if you look in the windows and door.
Once all of the structural issues were solved, things got more fun. Tanner decided he wanted to frost the entire house. He chose to add blue food coloring to the frosting. He made a giant marshmallow snowman for one side of the house. We added angel gingerbread cookies to the front and reindeer gingerbread cookies to each side of the roof. A couple of funnies:
1. When we were decorating the front of the house, we realized that Tanner’s dad had put the front panel on upside down. There was no way I was taking it all apart again to fix that little issue, so there it is, haha.
2. After I sent Tanner to brush his teeth and make his way to bed, we found this marshmallow piece on the back of the gingerbread house that looked like someone had taken a bite out of it and then stuck it to the house. I almost took it off and threw it away, but thought I better check first. Turns out, my kiddo had spent a few minutes laboriously picking out tiny pieces of this marshmallow, trying to make it look like a chair. 🙂
Monday morning, Tanner, Tristan, Tianna, and I loaded into the van and drove out to pick up my dad. I invited him to go along because I thought it would be fun to have him along. It turns out, it was a really good thing he was there. He was so much help. He carried the gingerbread house in so I could help my littlest gal make her way inside. Then, he helped Tanner try out ice skating. Tanner decided once around was enough for him. Then there was pizza and juice for lunch. Nice, right? And, at the end, they gave recognitions/prizes for some of the entries.
The event took quite a bit longer than I anticipated and when it was finished, we had to rush out of there to meet up with hubby. He scheduled an appointment for the same day as this event and needed me to pick him up. In the rush to get out of the center, Tanner left his coat. We didn’t realize it until later that night. We had to go back and retrieve it the next day. Anyway, we drove directly to the clinic where my husband was waiting with our oldest boy. My dad took my van and my littlest kids home with him. I kept Tanner with me so he could work on classwork while we waited for Troy. When we walked into the clinic, Troy had already been called back to his appointment and our oldest boy was zonked out in a chair in the waiting room – it looked extremely uncomfortable but he was very deeply asleep. I eventually got him to move to a chair near me and he laid his head on my lap and slept throughout the entire appointment.
When hubby was cleared to leave, we walked out to his car and I drove his car up to my dad’s house. We loaded all the kids up in the van, leaving hubby’s car at my dad’s overnight. That meant the next morning, we took hubby to work in Clearfield, I picked up breakfast for the kids, drove Tate to his school in Ogden because we weren’t back to our house in time for him to catch the bus, picked up Tanner’s jacket from the Ice Sheet since we were in Ogden anyway 😉 popped into the Roy post office quickly on the way to Tristan’s school, then back here to do Tanner’s school day, back to Clearfield to pick up hubby from work, and on up to dad’s again to pick up the car. Phew! That was more driving than I normally do all week, lol.
Now that the gingerbread event has come and gone, it’s been all about schoolwork, cleaning, and crafting again around here. Lots of Christmas gifties to finish up. Are you crafting some of your Christmas gifts this year? Looking for a fun, fast little knit to add to a present or hang on your tree? I pinned down a minute last night to add a free pattern to the blog. It’s a pattern for 3 little ornaments that I put together last year. They are created using a fine gauge loom. Grab your copy of Christmas Card Capers and make some merry! Hope your holiday season is joyful and bright!