You need helpers.
You need molasses.
You didn't need this lemon rind, did you?
You need to lick the beaters.
You need to let the dough chill for a day because also you need a break. Then you need to account for all your cookie cutters.
You need to roll things out.
(You need to be very strong if you are going to use the marble rolling pin.)
Look at you being a human person, Geneva. PRESSSSSS.
Should I not be eating this? Because I'm eating it.
Anyway. We let Geneva pretend she was doing stuff, and she was all like Oh yes I am really big.
And Eleanor cut out cookies with MUCH QUICKNESS while I cut out the house parts and baked them to the consistency you would like delicious chewy cookies baked to. Oh future me, just give them like two more minutes in there. Anyway whatever the cookies were super good.
Last year, we decorated the walls in the morning, but this year we had morning plans motivated by bouncy castles so we decorated in the afternoon MORE MISTAKES because Eleanor continues to be driven by a 'more is more' decorating philosophy.
I mean. Her walls are amazing and I wouldn't change them but they should have been left to dry for at least a few more hours. Also? I miffed on the icing and didn't make it mortar-y enough. MORE SUGAR next time. Sterner stuff.
Anyway. We assembled the house after dinner and the soft, delicious walls just BOWED AND BENT under the weight of their own deliciousness (and also like a ton of M&Ms) and Eleanor was like, Hey! You put my wall in upside-down! And Joel and I laughed and then one of the walls bent completely inward and broke and I had to take the roof off and Eleanor muttered 'This isn't a very good Christmas' and Joel and I laughed again because Eleanor feels things on the complete ends of the spectrum, and then Eleanor started to question my methods and things got ugly for a bit and words were exchanged and I spilled a glass of water that I was using to hold up a wall and it ran all over my roof panel and we took the thing apart and left the walls and the half-shingled roof to finish drying overnight and I cut out some cardboard pieces and glued them to the undersides of everything after the kids were in bed. Desperate times.
Anyway. The next day, I made a stiffer icing and assembled the house pieces while the girls were napping, and then Eleanor and I finished shingling while Geneva helped by gobbling any spare shingles she could find.
We made the awning that the front wall was too weak to support into a dog house.
We planted a grove of suckers saved from Eleanor's Halloween stash.
We installed some gumdrop lamposts in front of the house (we've been reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and are very into lamposts) and then we made it snow.
Four days and a lot of missteps but we've refined our technique, and the final product is a DELIGHT.