I am really trying to have a kid friendly holiday season. The advent calendar has been a huge hit with them, but kind of stressful for me. Mostly because sometimes we forget until its after bedtime. Usually by then I am already so wound up, stressed out and ready to dissolve into tears, that I swear to myself I will never celebrate Christmas for 25 days again.
The good and bad on gingerbread houses:
- Use a kit! I was so glad I did this! I can not imagine baking all day and then starting on the construction and decorating. I used ANNA’S -its Swedish and actually taste good too. It comes pre-cut and with instructions. It was simple to assemble.
- We invited the missionaries from church to make the houses; they are always happy and kind and I was really happy to have 2 extra adult hands to help. It would be a perfect thing to do with grandparents too.
- I loved that it uses up all the Halloween candy!!! This almost makes it a tradition worth keeping- jury’s still out on weather i can forget about the mess it made and actually repeat next year.
- The kit does not come with frosting- for some reason I thought it did. Luckily I have a ridiculously well stocked pantry and I whipped up a few batches of the hard cookie frosting~ See recipe below.
- The cookie frosting works great- like glue, but it seemed to be a mess to clean up. If it drips on the floor or gets brushed off the table once dry, it crunches and turns back into powder sugar… walked all through the house.
- Halloween boxes of nerds worked great as a pebble path!!!
- You don’t need any fancy decorator tips- a resealable sandwich bag with the corner cut (tiny hole) works awesome, especially for letting kids help.
- My kids are 8, and 3- big age span. The 8 year old wanted to take time, be careful, was very selective about what kind of candy was placed where. The 3 year old just wanted to glue down a million layers of colored candy on the roof. Both houses looked great in the end and the builders were proud. I might suggest constructing the houses ahead of time- the kids weren’t really interested in that part and were both so excited to have all that candy in their hands at one time.
- I was glad that I had purchased 2 kits (on sale supper cheap last year after Christmas).
- The kids wanted to eat the houses the minute they were finished. I tried to dissuade them from it (because the gingerbread was at least a year old) but seconds later it looked like a tornado had come through our little hamlet.
Wilton’s Royal Icing recipe:
Dries candy-hard, ideal for gingerbread houses.
3 tbls. Wilton Meringue powder
1 lb. (4 c.) sifted powder sugar
6 tbls. warm water
Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with heavy duty mixer, 10-12 minutes on high speed with handheld mixer.)
makes 3 cups