Saturday the four of us made a gingerbread house together. Cute, huh?
Charlotte had been asking to make one of these for a few weeks, so I picked up a kit. I have a wonderful gingerbread cookie recipe, but it makes deliciously soft cookies. Definitely not structural. And by the time we would have bought half a dozen kinds of candy, we were better off with a kit.
Doing this with a 5-year old and 2-year old was fun and frustrating. Trystan insisted on doing everything himself. Charlotte wanted half of the decorating done by us grownups, but to her specifications. And my husband spent about twenty minutes perfecting all of the wall and roof edges with a plastic knife so that we would be able to put the pieces together (a habit from days of assembling model kits when he was a kid, I suppose).
In the end, the house went up, got decorated. Half of the decorations are annoyingly precise and detailed, thanks to my husband (I say 'annoyingly' because I don't have the patience for that kind of work, not because I don't appreciate the end result. The mound of gumdrops by the front door are actually 4 hand-carved gumdrop people--2 tall, 2 short, all clasping their gumdrop hands in a joyful circle. I'd have just bought gummy bears.). The other half of the decorations are stuck on with thick layers of icing and little sense of proportion, pattern, or continuity, thanks to Charlotte and Trystan. I think I was mainly in charge of squeezing icing glue onto gumdrops and peppermint circles, and distributing sprinkles evenly amongst the children's workspaces.
Actually, Trystan mainly worked on the 6 "bonus" ornaments. 4 were snowmen and are hanging on our tree. The other two were tree-shaped, and the hanging holes got filled in with icing and candy. So they're now landscaping for the house.
As we were working on this project, I had a bit of foreshadowing, given the intensity with which we all worked on our parts. I bet that in 3 or 4 years, I'll be buying (or making) 4 separate gingerbread house kits so that each person may decorate and build his/her own house to his/her own specifications.
Maybe I need to find a new, structural, gingerbread recipe after all.