Three things I learned about gingerbread houses - FamilyEducation

Three things I learned about gingerbread houses

December 12,2008

Yesterday afternoon, T. and I snuck in a quick trip to the grocery store before we picked L. up from school. During final exams week, our house not only falls into a state of messiness and clutter (who can clean when they're knee-deep in grading?), but we tend to run out of necessities like food. While we were trying to find some bakery bread for L.'s lunch, T. spied a kit for making a gingerbread house.

"Look Mama!" she exclaimed, "A Hansel and Gretel house!"

She was a little worried about whether the kit came with a gingerbread witch, but I explained that there was no evil witch in the box, and she persuaded me to buy it. The last time we tried to make a gingerbread house, T. was just 11 months old, and L. and I were mainly in charge of the project. I felt a pang of remorse in the store that all these years T. had been denied the joy of making one of these with me, so I bought it for her (nothing like maternal guilt--especially where the second child is concerned). When we got home later that afternoon, the kids had forgotten about the house so I put it up on the top of the fridge, hoping they would continue to forget until the weekend, when we would have more time. Of course, as luck would have it, T. remembered the house at exactly 6:25, only about 15 minutes before bath time.

She's a tenacious girl, too. All my attempts to put her off the house failed, and T., using her best pleading voice and her best soulful eyes, convinced me. As we set about putting it together I remembered two things about gingerbread houses:

1) The people who make the kits NEVER include enough icing. The last one we did was from Trader Joe's and I had to supplement the icing they included with a tube of my own. The gingerbread was also stale that year.

2) They fall apart.

When we first assembled it, the house looked like this:

(Doesn't it look so storybook perfect?)

After we had assembled it all, I left the room for about 30 seconds to use the bathroom.

"Mama come quick!" T. hollered to me from the kitchen. When I raced back, I found the house had completely fallen in on itself. We attempted a repair with the leftover icing (again, not enough!) but then part of the roof split in two under L.'s efforts to stick it together to the walls. "Maybe from a natural disaster?" L. suggested.

There was little we could do. The more we tried to fix it, the more the gingerbread broke apart. Maybe there is something to making it a little stale, instead of nice and fresh?

(Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread survey the damage that was their home.)

We had to resort to this:

Maybe it was a wasted $12.99, but the whole experience made me remember one more thing about gingerbread houses:

3) They are super fun to eat.