And another month flies by! My trip to Canada was fabulous and I expect I'll bore you with details over the next few posts as I catch up.
But in keeping with the festive spirit I've decided to blog a bit out of order and (for now) skip the holiday and fill you in the annual official kick off of Christmas for me -- the Gingerbread House!
It began a couple of Sundays ago, as all the best days do, with an overflowing sleigh o' sweets (and this was before Caroline, Pat and the 4 Mini's arrived with more sweets). As is custom I had already baked the house pieces so they were ready for construction. (The cookie pieces need to cool down entirely before you try to build with them. Attempting to build before then will lead to collapsed walls and tears.)
I present the baked pieces -- complete with the best windows ever! They were made with some fancy snowflake cookie cutters, and the spaces filled with crushed Fox's Glacier Mints. For an extra bit of winter wonderland sparkle I dusted on a bit of white disco edible glitter.
Pat proposed that in the interests of protecting the planet this year's house should be an eco-gingerbread house and we all readily agreed and got to work.
Luscious Louis - our youngest construction worker at 6 - was determined to make 2 carpets this year. One for the inside of the house and the other to take home and eat later. As you can see from this picture the carpet he made for the house is a lovely Smartie carpet. He also made a comfy sofa with a couple of cushions and a Gingerbread Man to enjoy it all. Scrumptous Susie made the indoor tree and Marvellous Mads made the flat screen LCD television in the corner.
Meanwhile the outside of the house was coming along nicely. Gorgeous Gen and Caroline made a pair of snow people. The snow lady is a bit confused about the season in her bikini - but such is the magic of gingerbread-land. (The snowballs for the snow people are made from granulated sugar and teeensy weensy bit of water combined to make a mixture that resembles wet sand. You make the snowball shapes and let them dry out on the counter for a few hours or in a very low heat oven for 10 minutes. You can also use the sugar sand in molds to make other sugar shapes.)
Mads made this water well from nougat and some pretzels. Mads is 8 and I think she's a pretty amazing gingerbread artist already. In fact all of the Mini's are and I hope I'm able to keep up with their sugar skills over the coming years.
Gen made a skating pond, and Susie made these cute little ice skates that some gingerbread person left on the bench in their rush to get home for supper.
This is all well and good I hear you saying - - but what about Pat's dream of an eco friendly gingerbread world??? Fear not.
This year's house had solar panels on the roof... (There was a fair bit of discussion amongst us about what colour solar panels were and what they looked like. In the end we went with what we had. Allsorts licorice and a bit of white disco glitter.)
...and an outdoor wind turbine to provide all of their energy needs.
And of course, the gingerbread people manage their waste carefully so you can also see the green (for organic waste) and blue (for recyclables) bins at the edge of gingerbread-land to prove it.
Although the children were impressed by Pat's eco-efforts it is fair to say that at this time of year their minds run a bit more to the Santa side of things and Mads and Susie created this sleigh full of presents, pulled by a red nosed reindeer. How clever are they???
(And just beside the reindeer you can see Pat's final piece of eco-ginger - the green barrell for collecting rain water.)As always the afternoon is punctuated with a bit of singing and lots of laughter. We take a break every year while the roof sets to eat pizza and watch the 1966 animated version of the Grinch Most of us now know it by heart but we still watch in blissful silence.
Then we finish decorating the roof and putting up the fence before calling it a day. Many rounds of sticky goodbye hugs and kisses later and I begin trying to clear away the construction debris. Despite my best efforts I find bits of icing and sticky sweets in strange places around the kitchen for days afterwards -- and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season! Knitting talk next time.