Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gingerbread houses.













Chip made the gingerbread dough from the recipe in the book shown here. I saw that it was available for purchase at amazon.com for about $5.99 a couple of days ago. There are templates for the houses we made and some for trees too- which we've made in previous years. My own opinion is that this recipe is easy and tasty- as compared to the Martha Stewart one we made a couple of years ago. Her recipe has some black pepper in it and none of my kids really liked that savory flavor burst.
All that to say I will try to post the recipe for the houses and frosting here. But only if I can squeeze that into my free time. =) Otherwise I recommend that you google gingerbread houses and just take a chance on making one that sounds good/easy to you!
This whole gingerbread-baking tradition is one that was passed down to us from Chip's side of the family. Over the years, his mom, Grandma Karen, has always made elaborate houses. She instilled the love of baking the dough from scratch into both Chip and me, and is to credit for the tradition we now are carrying on with our kids.
Teagan got in on decorating a big house with Grandma the year I was pregnant with Wyndham and we were just moving/settling into our home in Gaylord, MI. She helped make our home smell and 'feel' like Christmas that year, when likely I would have just done the minimum if it had been up to me.
The next Christmas was the first Christmas season without Teagan, and we were able to be 'home' in Minnesota with family for a bit just before Christmas. (We actually spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the American Club in Kohler Wisconsin and tried to relax and enjoy the day despite our pain and loss that year. I could write a lengthy post on how we came to do that, but I'll skip it for now and finish writing about gingerbread houses.) So, we were back in Minnesota and thankfully, Grandma Karen still had the ability to bake and decorate gingerbread houses. In fact, I think that was the year she spent about 3 days baking all the pieces- she outdid herself with the big houses and massives amounts of candy! Brock was able to get in on the decorating and I think that was the longest he actually sat at a table for us in months. Leave it to Grandma and candy to help him through some of his post-traumatic stress issues. =)
Ever since then, it just feels 'right' to make houses together. Whether at home in Minnesota or at home here in Michigan. Our family has found that baking and making them on Thanksgiving Day/weekend is a fun activity to do together and it sort of kicks off the Christmas season in our home.
The kids had a really great time with the decorating this year. They were all at such capable ages to do their own designing and they even listened to our instructions about how much of the candy they could eat. I think we could almost call that a Christmas miracle!

12 comments:

Red Door said...

How fun! I can't wait to start doing this too.

Kyra said...

I agree that it is a wonderful tradition. I love your village! The details on the roof look great. I made a train this past weekend. It does go rather smoothly and their never any mistakes. The kids are sooo proud.

jewell said...

The first year I made a gingerbread house was before kids and when I had it all put together it caved in. I cried. Since kids, we have done the already baked kits and they work out so much better for us. The girls, even though teenagers, still enjoy making them but Adam just steals all the candy he can get :) What a wonderful memory for kids and mom & dad too.

Jean Anne said...

This is a great tradition. Thanks for the info. I think the library in the next town has it but they are closed today. Fingers crossed!
What cute houses and I love that your husband is the one who bakes and makes. Your memories of Teagan making them are special. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

The houses look wonderful! I'm so impressed by Chip's craftiness, we just get a gingerbread house kit from Costco. :)

jsprik said...

wow, they turned out great. what a fun way to get the family together!! and you can eat them, too!! what a great idea!!! hugs and prayers...

Tonya said...

How cute are those gingerbreadhouses?! I need to do that w/my kiddos this year.

I nominated you for a blog award! You'll have to check out my blog for instructions.

Susan said...

I can't wait to do this with my two children. I think they are still a bit too young at 3.5 and 2 but maybe next year..they look so festive!
Sue Simpson

Hopesrising said...

Oh my just looking at those gingerbread house brings back so many memories!! What a fun day!!
Thanks for sharing Jody...Such a beautiful family!!

Anonymous said...

HOW SPECIAL!!! and Dad was in on it too!! HOW NEAT!! Might have to try one this year-never done it before. My 7 year old would love it! TFS! <>< Amy

mary h. said...

Those houses are great! I really like Brock's shingles.

Melissa said...

Wow, their houses are beautiful and unique! Such a great job!!! We cant wait to hug and kiss you all when you are here soon!!!! :D
Love, Melissa