Monday, December 19, 2022

Gingerbread Overload

Even though I am the one who bakes all the gingerbread houses from freaking SCRATCH, none of the kids ever wants to be on my team for our family gingerbread house competition (we are in teams of 2, which we will have to rethink when Minnie gets older) because I am actually pretty terrible at CONSTRUCTING gingerbread houses.

We build them and then take pics for FB to choose our winner, and this year, DOROTHY AND I WON!
Even though Ben and Jack’s house was WAY WAY WAY more solid, neater, and better decorated:

Look at that marshmallow fence! 

Dorothy and I had a royal icing frosting bag problem that we could never really recover from, and things got STICKY. Plus someone was really forceful with her marshmallow and gum drop placement, and OUR WALLS KEPT CAVING IN.

Moments after we took our social media photos, this happened:

Harry and Cooper’s house was also perfectly constructed, neat, and adorable, and they were … not happy with the results of our social media vote

They were happy with how delicious their house was, though, and they’ve both been eating it for the last 24 hours. Ben said it looks like they have a raccoon problem.

Dorothy was so sad about being on my loser team when we informally assigned teams that she insisted we draw names out of a hat to pick teams fairly, and then she got on my team anyway! HA HA HA.
Intense construction
Why yes, she did swoop in to eat the house after the roof slid off. WHY NOT?
They know in their hearts that they’re the real winners, even though they actually got third in the FB voting.
Definitely the house made of bricks and so sweetly landscaped.
Drinking Coke and eating their decorations. Like you do.
No, but really, royal icing is gross.
OMG they’re twins.
(It was  pretty delicious).
Honestly, this year’s competition was a great way to talk to the kids in concrete terms about the differences between social media and real life. Dorothy and I had a house that crumbled to pieces, but we took a couple of excellent photos, so it looked like a winner. But also, what’s real life anyway? All the houses will be gone soon, and we’ll always have the picture. So meta.

Every year I am like ugh I should just buy kits and then no one will complain that they got the thick roof (Dorothy and I so got the thick roof), but then I smell the houses cooking, and I am sold.

Also, if you separate the prep from the decorating, it’s no more mess than a boxed house in the moment of decoration.

I made royal icing, but Ben also wanted cans because he had no faith in the glue-like properties of my icing, but that stuff dried ROCK SOLID. (Dorothy and I had an explosion out the top of our bag and had to use a knife instead of a frosting tip, and ours never dried. Blergh.) Coop put the extra frosting to good use
I made a double batch of dough, so there was plenty left for Minnie to get in on the gingerbread act the next day. I make the houses thin and crispy, but I like my people soft and fluffy with buttercream frosting— so delicious. AND SO ARE HER LITTLE HANDS AND WRISTS.
She selected her tiny rolling pin at the baking store we visited for more frosting tips and bags and our cardboard squares for the house, sugar trees, etc, last week, and she put it to good use yesterday. She also wanted to try the big one.

All of the kids have worn that little Company Store apron (it says naughty on one side and nice on the other), and we actually have 2 because we have always had toddler pairs before, but Minnie is the LONE TODDLER— sob!)
Luckily, Cooper (who takes a vacation from brushing his hair on the weekends) is always available for my frosting needs because I am actually getting sick of baking things— just in time to make Santa cookies **whomp whomp**


  1. When do you sleep, Sarah?

    I love so much about this post. The conversation (what a great launch point!) about online vs. real-life realities.

    I love all the homemade gingerbread houses. I love how much you do as a family. I love all the sugar and can just imagine how great your house smells.

    So fun.

    But, also...when do you sleep? (I assume rarely, is the answer?!)

    1. Oh, I wish I slept more!! But it is KIDS who prevent it, not STUFF. Minnie is up in the sixes, and the big two want to hang out with us (adorable!!) until almost 11

  2. My brother- and sister-in-law do a pumpkin carving competition every year at Halloween and I might slip this story about your gingerbread house competition into conversation on Christmas to see if I can get them to do another silly competition every year!

    1. Ben's cousins do an awesome pumpkin contest, and I always want to do that, too, but we are just now getting to the era of kids who can carve their own-- maybe next year...

  3. I am impressed that you MAKE your gingerbread houses! I have only bought them from Target. I bought one for my mom and son to work on together while we were in Mexico. We facetimed them that day and Paul was like, "let me give you the bad news - one side of our house is a disaster." Then he showed me the most perfectly decorated house. My mom said, "he seems to be a bit of a perfectionist - I wonder where that comes from?" (me - it comes from me). My mom did all the frosting work and Paul put the pieces of candy on. But it really was a work of art! But it's way easier when the house is constructed for you!!!

    1. I love to bake-- it's really handy around the holidays LOL

  4. Wow that is so cool that you make Gingerbread Houses from scratch. That's a step up for sure!