Last week I committed to babysitting our friends two kids along with my own for last evening BY MYSELF. So, I figured I better plan something good for them to do so I wouldn't be chasing six kids around the house all night.
I decided that since I needed to make some cookies for Thanksgiving, I would make them gingerbread and then I could get the kids making gingerbread houses. I have fond memories of making our own gingerbread houses as kids, so I thought it would be fun.
I started Friday night making the batter. I doubled the recipe thinking that would probably be enough. I even cut out little forms for the individual pieces, so the cutting would go faster. I made them little so they could each have ALL the creative control. Something I've learned from having four kids: they all want to be in control, and make it well known loudly to me (and sometimes the neighbors I'm sure!).
After I got half way through the dough, (and realized I'd need another double batch, yuck!), I started wondering why I had committed to doing this for six kids, four houses would have been a little easier. And, I could have rented them a movie or something for Saturday evening. But, the kids had already been told so I soldiered on.
After I cooked all the house parts and made the incredibly sticky icing, I realized that the act of actually putting the houses together might be a little too hard for the kids. It was even tough for Phil and I to do it together (Yes, he got dragged into it). So, we assembled six houses on little plates. The I panicked because I was running out of powdered sugar and wasn't going to be able to make enough icing for the kids to decorate their houses. Poor Phil had to run to the store right before he had to be at his poker game to get me more sugar.
When the kids arrived, my kitchen looked like a sack of flour exploded in it. Dirty dishes everywhere! Do you remember in Sleeping Beauty, how the kitchen looked after Meriweather attempted to make a cake and they started fighting over the color of it with their magic wands? Mine looked worse! Anyway, at least the table looked nice. Six little houses set up with carefully organized candy dishes set around them. I also made the kids their own little sandwich baggies of frosting with the corners cut off. I thought the worst was over...
Actually they did very well, it was just incredibly messy. Most of the kids were able to decorate with just a little instruction from me. Jackson (who's three) and I shared a house and decorated it together. I was even able to step back a little and take a few pictures. I'll post them on here next weekend. I have to finish the roll in my camera, which I will do on Thanksgiving day, before I can develop it. Yes, I haven't made the jump to digital yet. But I'm waiting for the camera I want to come down in price.
I won't go into the clean up except to say, it's Sunday afternoon, and I still haven't finished. I told myself, next year, I'm buying the kits! Phil wrote me a sweet note, telling me he appreciated all the time I spent to share something special with the kids. Isn't he great? But I still never want to see another gingerbread house as long as I live. Maybe by next year, I'll be up for it again....