The gingerbread sub-division

If you lived here, you’d be home by now.

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Gingerbread houses.  They are not something to take lightly.  Holy cow, what an undertaking.  I remember decorating these with my Mom and siblings every year –  I don’t remember Mom staying up till 2am the night before cutting and baking all the pieces.  It’s possible that the reason I don’t remember this is that Mom is a lot better at time management than I am, but I choose to believe it’s because I was sleeping through the boring part just like my kids did.

Mom always used the recipes and instructions out of these books.  I have the complete set, (not sure I can describe the joy one feels when they find the entire library of craft books their mother used for all their childhood projects at the flea market for 10 bucks.  Sweet.) and went straight to them when I decided to do this.  One look at the gingerbread recipe (I have to use the candy thermometer? Really?) and I went to the net to find something easier.  What can I say?  I’m lazy.

My search led me here, which is just about the weirdest cookie recipe of all time.  It says right across the top “cook time: 2 hours”, and I guess it was my bad to assume they meant that’s how long it would take from start to finish.  If you scroll down to the bottom, you’ll find that they want you to cook this stuff at 275 for two hours.

The hell?

I’ve been making cookies for a long time.  Never have I heard such nonsense.  When the recipe had me start out making whipped cream, I should’ve known they were cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs right then and found a different one.  In the end, I cut a little cookie out of the dough and baked it at about 375 for 10 min and it worked out just fine.  Who comes up with these things?  And who doesn’t bother to read an entire recipe before she makes 9 cups of dough?  And who doesn’t just use the one her mother used for 30 years that she already knows comes out tasting good and is strong enough to hold up a house?  Anyway – onto the pictures.


By the time the kids woke up, this is what the gingerbread fairy had left in the kitchen – 3 bases, and 3 little stacks of house parts.  Violet immediatly went back to her room and switched her princess nightgown for these cookie jammies.  We’re all about dressing appropriately for an activity around here.

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Mom and Dad do the actual construction, while our eager little helpers crowd around, bumping the cardboard every 4 seconds. (I think you can tell a lot about a person, based on whether they use 72 blocks to prop up every part of their house, or the just stand it up and frost it and hope for the best.  For the record, they all remained standing.  Even with Earthquake Jonas in the room.)

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All put together and awaiting the delicate decorating hand of a four year old.

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At this point we took a break to decorate something like 83 dozen cookies.  Details and 47,000 pictures of that party can be found on the other blog.  Doing this gave the houses a couple of hours to set up, and when we went back to decorate they were strong enough to survive the kids.


Hmm.  Maybe just *one* more orange slice over here….

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The back of V’s house.  She completely surprised me with the happy face.  I love this kid.

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These two are “true loves” and they are “laying in the grass, looking at the clouds together.”  Joe made the one on the left.  Love that nose.

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The m&m’s here are a “giant snake that’s sneaking up on the true loves.”  It’s not all sunshine and roses with these houses.

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Jonas’s house. He was very interested in getting as much candy and green sugar as possible on the lawn, not so much interested in anything else.  Roof design by Joe.  (Whoa – what happened to Violet’s back there?  Mice?)

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And the house I made to give away.  Joe made that snowman for me out of my giant homemade marshmallows.  Lawn sprinkles by Jonas.  After we were done with the cookies, we dumped all the spilled sugar and chips and sprinkles that were under his rack into one bowl and called it the “party mix”.  Jonas seemed to think my house needed a bit more of a “party” vibe.

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Last one – artsy extreme close up of the roof.  These gumdrops look so pretty, and taste so awful.  Spice drops – I smite thee, spice drops.  How on earth do you defend a red, sugared, gummy candy that tastes like black jelly-beans?  Bleck.

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And that’s how we ended up with a gingerbread sub-division on our kitchen table.  Quick poll – does everyone out there agree that these things are to be eaten?  Because every single craft book or website I consulted during the great recipe hunt then had an icing recipe (we won’t even go into my panic attack when I read these.  Hopefully nobody will get salmonella.) and a section on “preserving your gingerbread house.”  The hell?  Preserving?  Like then you put it away and take it back out next year as part of your Christmas decoration.  Does this not seem like the absolute meanest form of kid-torture you’ve ever heard of?  I’d like to take a moment right here, to thank my Mother for never suggesting we “preserve” our houses.  For the love.

We’ve been eating these for breakfast.  Tis the season (to find your fat jeans.)

I hope everyone out there is behaving themselves.  Santa’s watching! 🙂


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3 responses to “The gingerbread sub-division

  1. Grandpa Vic says you’re having too much fun.

  2. a giant snake sneaking up on the true loves????
    thats awesometastic !!!

  3. Umm… it’s totally Christmas again, with no craft blogging. The heck? (And yes it IS Christmas… I’m listening to Christmas music all day everyday at work so therefor it MUST be Christmas.)

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