Sunday, October 9, 2016

Halloween Gingerbread Houses - 2016!

In 2010 my oldest granddaughter and I spent a leisurely Saturday morning decorating a Halloween gingerbread house. Our Christmas season is so busy, our kids and grandchildren have so many things to do and places to go. I thought it would be easier to make gingerbread houses at Halloween instead of Christmas. I felt that doing a gingerbread house would be a great way to spend quality time together, learn some decorating skills, and start a tradition with Nana.  Her little sister was only 2 then so we didn't include her that first year.  Since then I've acquired another granddaughter. (I also have a grandson but, at age 20 months old, it's not time to turn him loose with candy and icing!) That first house was a breeze, with only the two of us working on it.  I don't think I quite realized what a job it would be to make multiple houses each  year!

Thankfully, their Papa is quite handy with tools and can build pretty much anything.  I make the dough, cut it out with a template, and bake it.  I make the royal icing that he uses to put the houses together. We do make quite the team! Each year we get a little smarter.  This year I made an extra copy of the template.  After the pieces were baked and dried, he trimmed them to size based on the template (they seem to spread out during baking!) Doing this meant everything fit nice and neat and it didn't take long until we had the houses assembled.

Our oldest granddaughter was at Girl Scout camp so couldn't join us on our chosen decorating day.  On my to-do list is to make one more house for her. So I just had the two younger girls.  Due to all sorts of scheduling issues, we planned this session for a Friday evening. I should have thought that through a little more. By Friday evening, after a long week of school for them and work for Nana,  we were all a little on the tired and cranky side.  We persevered but I think the morning sessions work best!

What I'm finding especially enjoyable about our annual tradition is how their decorating skills are improving and how their creativity is growing.  At first, they had to be guided along with ideas of how to decorate the roofs, walls, etc. Their Mothers and I would have to work the piping bags filled with messy frosting. Now they are thinking on their own and coming up with some really cute things! Their piping skills are getting better, too! I also enjoy the camaraderie between the girls, how they share ideas, encourage, giggle and laugh. These are times that will bind cousins and sisters for life!

My kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it during this process.  We have bowls of colored icing everywhere, including on us, open bags of candy and cookies, and candies and sprinkles on the floor.  It all cleans up, though it did take me an hour to do so!  Another reason not to do this on a Friday night, it was past Nana's bedtime, too!

We already have our marching orders for next year, the girls told Papa they want chimneys on their houses next year! 

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