December 20, 2010

Gingerbread House

Remember winter week on SYTYC?? I made the snowman glove dryer.  Well, it was actually the backup plan - I originally was going to go with a "Anyone Can Make a Real Gingerbread House" type of entry.  But in the process I failed and thought, ugh, on to plan B.  But since I did it, and it's a craft, I'll share with you guys (plus, I can't get voted off my own blog for a lame craft!)

Growing up we always made Gingerbread houses.  They looked great.  My mom made the church and my brother and I each got a house that we decorated, under her supervision.  I've made them as an adult and they've looked great and were fairly easy.  I don't know what happened this time (the pressure of the competition?!?)  First, mix up some dough - I love how my recipe is hand-written from my mom - before the computer was an everyday part of life.  I forgot molasses and then tried to knead it in by hand at the end - that's where it all started to go wrong.  But I pressed on.

With the mix-up in ingredients, the dough was REALLY thick and hard to roll out.  I just went with it - mistake two - I should have just started over.  I pressed on.  Use pattern pieces and cut out shapes.
The gingerbread cooked up weird because it was so thick - I started to have my doubts about the project.  I made sucker stuff to fill the windows.  I don't have a candy thermometer and so the goo wasn't hot enough and never set up. Ugh.  I scraped all the goo and tried again - about this time my husband suggested moving on to the backup plan (snowman dryer here we came!).
I told my mom I didn't know how hot my candy was and she told me a great tip - you take some of it and drip it into a cup of water - if it immediately makes a "hard ball" (hence this is called "hard ball" stage) then it's ready.  Why didn't I know this earlier??  After pouring it into the windows, using yellow to simulate light, add a drop of food coloring and swirl it around in the church windows to simulate stained glass.  I dropped in way too much and the church windows are blackish - another fail.
I have a board with a hole in it I use each year.  You build the house around the hole and then you can put a night light up in it the house, through the hole, and with the light on the inside the windows will glow - very cool.
When putting pieces together with the rock-hard icing (cement icing - it doesn't taste good, but holds great) use cans for a few minutes to stabilize the houses.  Mine didn't fit well because of the thick gingerbread and the way they grew weird when they baked.
And so, with slanty houses, I thought, time to give up!  I turned it over completely to the kids.  They had a blast.
And so now we have this kind of gingerbread village instead of a fabulous, intricated, well-designed one.  I'm okay with it.
Although I do have to share some pics of my aunts AMAZING gingerbread house - she does one every year and they are fabulous!!!  Obviously, kids don't help with hers....
 Look, there's even an inside - do you see those donuts?!?

Now, waiting for the fun part that comes after Christmas - demolition!  Here's my oldest (now 8) when he was 3:


About Author:

Mandy is a craft blogger who loves to blog and enjoys all things crafty, sewing, and DIY - she feels that if she can do something, you can too, and provides tutorials to help you along the way. She loves being a mom to 4 awesome kiddos and blogs from the Kansas City Area. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or Google +

7 Fabulous Comments:

Girl make them out of graham crackers and save your sanity!! :) Love this post BTW!! :)

Good to know that everybody messes up once in a while. I've never made it past the graham cracker stage so to me, this is amazing!

I like your slanty houses. More realistic I say! Good for you for pressing on girl. What a fun tradition!

I have a brand new linky party going on! I would love to see you add to it!

Your houses are awesome!

Thanks for linking up to to TOO Cute Tuesday.

I started out from Operation Org to see your craft room mess. Mine may be worse (wink). I can't wait to see what you do.
Love that you made GB houses with the kids. You can see mine on my blog.
My kids are grown so I think you had more fun.

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