Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gingerbread House

One of the reasons I wanted to do the Advent calendar with activities is that it actually encourages me to do some of the things with Vivian that I may otherwise think "Oh, I can do that tomorrow instead".  So, we actually decorated a gingerbread house this year.  Rowan and her Mom Jenny came over to join us.

Lots of fun was had, and we'll definitely do this again next year, however, there are some important lessons that I've learned  :)

(1)  Which Kit To Buy
I had initially bought a kit that contained several small gingerbread houses, but those needed to be separated first before the houses could be built. Apparently, I'm not very skilled in that department.  In fact, Will called me a home wrecker  ;)  So I ran out (literally an hour before we were going to decorate) to buy a kit for a single big house that came in individual pieces.  The kit also came with a plastic base with grooves to aid in the construction of the house. Definitely something to look for next time!
Exhibit A: Home-wrecker
(2)  Construction Timeline
Make sure the house is constructed at least one hour before decoration begins.  Or risk the roof sliding off and/or the walls collapsing.
Exhibit B:  Partial Building Collapse
(3)  Set Up
Instead of sorting the candy by type, give each child a bowl with a mixture of candies to decorate with.  Prepare enough icing (colored icing is a big bonus - see Exhibit B above) and cover the table in plastic.  Get the kids half naked.  They are not old enough to feel the cold yet. It all makes for easy clean-up.
Exhibit C:  Final Preparations
(4)  Icing vs Candy
As it turns out, the girls got even more into the icing than sticking the candy on the houses (although they enjoyed that, too).  Way too much icing and candy was consumed.  Record (and play on a loop): "Please don't eat any more icing.  It's the glue to hold together the houses, it's not for eating.  Please stop eating the candy.  It is for decorating."  Better yet, stop calling it "icing" and "candy" and start referring to "glue" and "decorations".  Oh, and you can never put enough icing, I mean, glue on a gingerbread house.  Ever.
Exhibit D1: Drown the snowman in icing

Exhibit D2:  Amount of icing = amount of snow forecast (but luckily not received)

Exhibit D3:  Icing, icing everywhere!
(5)  End Results
Fabulously decorated houses.  Next time, I'm going to let Vivian do the icing (I had started it this time, but quickly conceded everything) and the decorating.  Can't wait to see what the next house will look like.
Exhibit E: Vivian's finished products

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