December 25, 2012

Gingerbread House Extravaganza 2012

Gingerbread House Extravaganza 2012 was a huge success. And once again, many thanks to the Mc family for offering up their home for the event. Their kitchen has a lot more counter space than ours, but I always leave feeling guilty for leaving them with such a mess at the end of the evening.

This year, the Mc family made a village of little houses. Each person was assigned a color and decorated his or her house with candy in that color. I was very impressed with this coordination and  the preparation Mary Ann put into organizing it. It turned out wonderfully well. I loved each house, but I got a kick out of watching Joss' decorate his. That little four year-old knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted it done. And, he told me all about it in great detail as he did it. His excitement was contagious. You can read more about the Mc creations and see great photos here.

My gingerbread pallies
Last year for Christmas, the Mcs gave us two books on gingerbread houses. I chose a saltbox house from one book and Katie and the boys chose a Spanish mission-style church from the other. 

I was in the mood to do a historical building, and I have always liked saltbox style homes. There are several around Provo dating back to the early days of the city. A saltbox is a building with a long, pitched roof that slopes down to the back. A saltbox has just one story in the back and two in the front. If you look at the house from the side, it's asymmetry and roof line resemble a wooden lidded box in which salt was once kept.

I was most pleased with how it turned out, especially with my stone work on the chimney and around the base of the house. This pattern was either very easy, or I'm getting better at gingerbread house construction. My roof didn't collapse like last year. It may have boosted my confidence enough to try something really challenging for next year. I've got some ideas in mind, but I won't share them yet. I don't anyone to get their expectations too high.

Unlike last year, I remembered to leave a hole in the back to insert tea lights to light up the windows of melted hard candy.
Katie and Tomas built a Spanish mission church out of graham crackers and frosting. This reminds me of how all fourth graders where I'm from have to build a replica of one of the California missions out of sugar cubes as they study California history. Tomas worked very hard on the garden in front. Liam's contribution was the taco shop next door—perfect for those hungry monks. The colorful ribbon hard candy added a very authentic touch. I also liked his gum drop cactus. Katie's detail work with the well and the cart was also impressive. 

Another sign of a successful gingerbread experience is the amount of candy bits stuck to my socks at the end of the evening. I admit it's not as much this year as in past because the kids are getting older and not as prone to drop or throw everything on the floor. However, it is a true sign that a good time was had by all.

OK, that does look a little gross. Sorry.

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