This week I am grateful for family and family traditions.
When I was a teenager my family started making gingerbread houses. My mom had a friend who was the gingerbread house queen. She made beautiful, elaborate, gingerbread villages. She taught my mom how to make them (although we never were near as talented and elaborate as she was), and we made them as a family during those teenage years. As we all grew up and left the house the tradition kind of died out. The past few years, though, I've tried to keep up this tradidtion and share it with the inlaws.
We like to do them early so we can have them for the month. I have to admit that I was pretty stressed last week getting everything ready. I had to bake gingerbread houses, bake some things for Thanksgiving (luckily it wasn't at my house), make frosting, organize candy, set up extra tables and chairs, worry about keeping everyone happy, and the most stressful thing of all: get my house clean. I know- that's sad that it is such a chore for me to get a house clean, but for me it's a major accomplishment. If any of you have a secret to keeping your house clean, please share it with me.
As I was preparing for the gingerbread house day, the thought crossed my mind, "Maybe we should quit this tradition; it's too much work..." Luckily I have some very good inlaws who helped make frosting, picked up dinner for us all, and helped clean everything up after. It turned out to be lots of fun and good family time. The kids had fun together too. Later that night I thought, "That was worth it."
I think activities like this and other good family traditions strengthen the family. Something that I have learned, and am still learning, is that something of worth takes work and sacrifice. A good strong family doesn't just happen on its own. So, I'm going to try to remember that when I'm whining about this whole motherhood thing being too hard. I know it will be worth it.
This year I took pictures to document our Gingerbread House process. It probably won't be too interesting to you all- oh well ;)
1. Make the dough (this year I skimped a little too much on the flour- made the housed a little soft) I'm grateful for my Bosch!
2. Roll the dough and cut the pattern before baking. (I looked all over for one of these rollers and finally found it from Pampered Chef.
3. Cut and remove the pieces. You have to do this while it's warm or it gets hard and breaks. ( I feel like I'm doing a cooking show)
4. Make royal icing, put the house together with the frosting (attatch to a base too), decorate how you want. Sorry- didn't get pictures of all of that.
Decorating tips (I probably shouldn't give decorating tips): frost the roof with a butter knife and decora side at a time. Covering the edges with frosting (with a decorating tip) makes it look better.
The finished product
Grandpa with his Grahm Cracker house
Chelsy's family made some really cute houses out of cardboard
Decorating a store bought gingerbread house
I don't have a finished picture of this; it was really cute.