Gingerbread Houses and Priceless Moments.

This was going to be my previous post. But then a bunch of school children were killed by a gunman, and I couldn’t stop crying long enough to write about gingerbread houses.

Now that I have momentarily composed myself, I am going to attempt it today. This is the stuff that helps us heal, anyway, isn’t it? It is good to mourn with those who mourn. But then it is also good to look around and find joy in the moments we spend with those we still have. It helps me to look at these pictures, and remember the reasons why I am beyond thankful for these, my littlest loves, and how I want to savor every moment I get, with them.

Last week, one day, I rounded them up, herded them into my van, and took them to their Grandma’s house, where we decorated and adorned miniature gingerbread houses, with all manner of food coloring and sugar-laden delights. Can we say, FUN?!

Two of them were my sister’s kids, whom I adore, and one of them was my very own Beanstalk, whom, well. We all know how I feel about her!

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I assembled the miniature houses, the night before, so that it would be easier and less mess for all of us. I purchased four, pint-sized containers of whipping cream, (Hey. It was the only thing I could find in that size!) and dumped out the cream, washed them real good, (cuz the last thing we want is gingerbread houses that reek of sour milk!) and then pasted graham cracker squares onto them, using this royal icing:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/royal-icing-recipe/index.html to hold them in place. Turns out it was the perfect consistency for the job and the frames held up really well to the bumping and poking and sticking they endured, later.

I should mention that I cut about an inch off of the bottoms of the cartons, so that a half cracker fit perfectly on each side, which also gave it a better proportion and made it cuter. I was a bit hazy on the the actual assembly, when I started on these things. All I had to go off of, was the one that Ari had brought home from school, a week earlier, and then promptly ate, before I had the chance to inspect it closer. So, of course I learned all this by trial and error: at first cutting the crackers to fit into the odd size, pasting, ripping off, then cutting the carton, and starting over.

By this point, I was already relieved that I had decided to do the assembly ahead of time, and not while all three kids were waiting impatiently to decorate their houses. I highly recommend doing it this way, for that reason! All they really want anyway, is to squish the frosting and plop the candy onto their “house. ”

So…that’s what we did!

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Well, first we stuffed our bellies full of soup, to try and put a damper on the amount of sugar we would ingest or otherwise “get high” on, while we did the other.

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Oh my. Look at all that candy! And look at those smiles! I gave them each a pastry bag, filled with vegan buttercream frosting. I figured that at the very least, my child might not have a stuffy nose for two weeks, if I kept the dairy out of the frosting. Nevermind all the “stuff” that’s in the candy! But hey, at some point, it becomes more about damage control, than actually making it healthy!:)

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Some of them needed a little help from me, to get things started.

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And others, needed NO help, at all!

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I am quite positive that I had just as much fun as the kids did.

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Even this guy couldn’t resist, jumping in! (He just so happened to be “working” there!)

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We squished alot of frosting and ate way too much candy.

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But here we are, with our finished gingerbread houses!

P.S. All of this happened while “Maggie” was galavanting around other parts of the country, and while we missed her, we sure made some good memories at her house, while she was gone.:)