Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gingerbread Sweetness, Anyone?

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett

Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett (psst: if you follow the sidebars of this book you can make and bake your very own gingerbread recipe)

Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson/ Jane Chapman

One cannot read any of these delightful eye candies without setting out to decorate a gingerbread house at the Amen! of it all.

If you have children, you just can not not do it. It's almost irreverent to even think of not following through with a gingerbread house.

Gingerbread houses frightened me in the early days of parenting. This was in the 1990's when these ginger confections had to be put together and the four walls had to be protectively hoisted and anchored to secure the roof and let dry before complete collapse.

Followed by weeping children and anxious mothers.

I swore I would never enter that Hansel and Gretal portal of sugary deception. And so, in the early years of my parenting I obtained a gingerbread man cake pan that I used every Christmas.

He was easy and do-able. Bake the gingerbread in the pan then let the kids decorate it with whipped cream (which flutted nicely out of the spray can) and M and M candies.

Done! Delicious! Delightful results!

I still have that dear gingerbread boy but we don't use him near as often as we did in past days. I'm not even sure the youngest has been introduced to him because, starting after the younger two girls came along, something wonderful was created in the Land of Sweet Treats.

{Kayleigh with our first ever Candy Land game on Christmas morning}
After Chelsea came into the Gibson mix, boxes of pre-assembled gingerbread houses began to miraculously appear on store shelves.

Thus began a wonderful yearly tradition except.... the younger two grew, the older three became busy teenagers and young adults speeding through a revolving glass storm door. They didn't participate as often as they used to. I never worried though; these busy teenagers and young adults will return when their babies and toddlers are wanting to sugar-coat gingerbread houses and their world, and center them around home and table.

The Spirit of Christmas always comes full circle.

Yet this year was bittersweet. It was only Annie and she is the one who seems to have inherited the heart of her momma: loving tradition and baking and all things homelike. She wanted to make it last night but her sister and her two friends were busy. This morning she tried again and experienced the sweetness that a new family member brings into the mix.

She has a new sister-in-law who sat with her patiently and helped decorate that little hut. She even showed her a thing (or two) that she had learned from her grandmother (who made her wedding cake this past April) about decorating with confection.

The gingerbread house arrived broken which was a major problem which never quite got fixed, despite valiant efforts.  But Adrain helped make the tedious job of reicing and regluing a broken rooftop fun.

Here you can see the toothpicks and wooden cookies holding up our broken rooftop until it dried.

Annie said they actually look like the white ones in the front of our house. How true!

Two carpenters on the job are always better than one.


I had not planned to do our gingerbread books and theme this early in December but Annie couldn't wait on the gingerbread house tradition and I've always loved the stories of gingerbread houses hidden in secret woods and mice who find cozy homes inside of them and the smell of lingering gingerbread after the baking is done.

So much so, that a couple years ago I began collecting gingerbread themed Christmas items for my kitchen.

Speaking of which...

Something new... Ta-Dah!  :-)

Annie is now ready to jump to Cookie Week.

I begged her to please slow down.  One must take Advent slowly and deliberately.
Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel.  ;-)
Thus begins a Magical Month of Sweetness.

1 comment:

  1. I felt guilty about doing our gingerbread so early since I (now) know that Advent is supposed to be penitential and reflective. I feel like the other moms at church may be judging me for not saving all the sweetness until after Dec 24! However, we try to do it on the week we see the Nutcracker Ballet for children and wrap all the sugarplums and candy dreams together with that.


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