Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Gingerbread Housing

Last year we gingerbread housed like a couple of amateurs. I'll reproduce my post from the now-defunct Food Riot one day, but suffice it to say that it took four days and two separate trips to the store, and there were tears involved at least once. But overall it was super fun and we ended up with this:

This year we took a page out of Josie's mom's book. Ok, it is like six pages, and it is a magazine. LOOOK at it.

If anyone wants to get me my own copy of Better Homes and Gardens: Christmas Cookies Edition from 1993, I am completely not joking. I want to make everything in it. This is Josie's mom's sacred gingerbread house text, and she entrusted it into my hands. It (and all of Darlene's notes in the margins) didn't let us down.

Eleanor at almost-three (shut up. I don't want to talk about it) is so different from Eleanor at almost-two. So reasonable! And careful! And dextrous! Look at her pour that (those?) molasses.

We only had enough flour to make half a batch of dough because I am still bad at planning, and that was afternoon and evening on the first day. On the second day, we went to the store for more flour (but not icing sugar because I cannot read ahead in recipes) and then while the girls napped I made more dough and enlarged and cut out the BHG template, which was finicky work but MILES easier than just trying to make something up when you don't really understand geometry.

We spent the afternoon rolling and cutting out house pieces (me) and shapes (Eleanor). I kind of just gave her the cookie cutters to keep her busy, but refer to my earlier comment about her dextrousness.

Part of the reason the house was so easy this time around is because I wasn't just winging it. BHG is all like, After you bake the pieces and while they're still warm, place your template back on them and trim any spreadage. Josie told me later that once, they forgot to do this, and regretted it sincerely.

Anyway, between Eleanor not being a total big giant baby anymore (seriously. Shut up about that) and GH being full of helpful instructions, we finished up the cutting and baking without any major disasters.

Today was Decoration Day, and as great as the last two days have been, this was BY FAR the best. We had to burn to the store for icing sugar because I am terrible, but still had SO MUCH MORNING left to squirt 'the glue' and stick things to it.

And like maybe you eat some bits. 

I even lured Joel out to decorate a wall, forgetting that either the one he was doing or the one Eleanor was doing would be hidden inside. Since it was Joel's only wall and Eleanor was THRILLED with it ('Good job, dad!), I had to hide what was arguably her best work. R.I.P., Eleanor's wall.

I assembled the house while the girls were napping, and goodness but there is a huge difference between actual royal icing and the wimpy garbage I bought last year. You just kind of put the pieces, and they stay. It's incredible.

I wish I'd been videotaping Eleanor when she came out from her nap. 'Whoah.' And good thing she's so helpful and nimble-fingered because Geneva woke up in a state and needed tending to (who's still a big giant baby, who is) and Eleanor had to do a surprising amount of the shingling.

Also the snowing.

The finished product is pretty alright. 

It's so LARGE and the corners all meet and there's festive junk all over the walls.

Next year I'll make it in a bigger tray so we have room to do a pathway and a fence and a pile of logs and so on. But we're pretty ok with how this year's turned out.


alice c said...

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without that moment when I think "Eleanor is ADORABLE" and send festive vibes across the ocean to you all.

Constance said...

Eleanor has such a fantastic life! Your Ggb house looks amazing!

Little Miss Sunshine State said...

Every single picture made me smile. You are going to LOVE Eleanor at 3. It is such a great age.

blackbird said...

It is
and I love that Eleanor sososo much.

dlgowan said...

Wow! You're an awesome Mom for putting that much effort into something so fun.