Gingerbread Man Theme Day

I have been missing Mommy School.  A lot.  But let's be honest--Christmastime is a crazy time!  I haven't found a second to spare.  But I have wanted to enjoy some fun Christmas activities with Little Man.  So I compromised.  Instead of attempting daily activities, I decided to do weekly theme days.  It's basically an all-day party!

 

Last week, we had an entire "Gingerbread Man" day.

You might remember that we had a similar gingerbread party last year.  It's so fun to see how much more I can do with Little Man in just 1 year!  We had so much fun with last year's party that we decided to make this a tradition!

Little Man loves our Christmas book advent SO much!  Every morning he wakes up and runs downstairs to discover the latest Christmas book wrapped up under the tree. On this day, he woke up and found "The Gingerbread Man" story book.  He wanted to read this over and over again all day long.

We ate gingerbread pancakes for breakfast.  YUM!

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Gingerbread Houses {Pattern and Recipe}

Are you shocked?!  Here I am--sharing a bonafide tutorial.  Besides my craft room, the garage, and the basement, our house is looking surprisingly "together."  I feel justified in spoiling myself with a little blogging time today.  I have missed it!
One of my favorite holiday traditions is making gingerbread houses.  My Mom and Dad actually started this tradition while they were dating and have carried it on year after year for 32 years!  We save our stale candy all year long so we can bust it out to make gingerbread houses!  We are so anxious to display our houses that we usually make them the day after Thanksgiving so we can show them off as long as possible.
Now I have made gingerbread houses in many, many ways.  But if you want a house that looks better than the $20 gingerbread house kits you can buy, you are going to love this tutorial!  And no, I am not tooting my own horn--this is all my Mom's ingenious idea!  I am going to share her recipe and her pattern today.
Start out by mixing up the gingerbread according to the directions in the recipe.  Cut out according to the pattern, making sure that the edges are straight.  After baking, give these plenty of time to cool off and "glue" the pieces together using burnt sugar.  We hold each piece in place for about 1 minute to secure it and then let the whole house sit for 24 hours.  Trust me when I say--it will be rock solid.  (You can find all of the pattern and recipe downloads at the end of this tutorial.)
Using the frosting recipe provided, we fill up pastry bags and get to work!  We also water down the same frosting and use brushes to glaze our houses for a frosted, snow-covered look.  We lay out bowls of unwrapped candy for easy access.
This year we got together and made four houses.  Yes, that's right--four houses!  Each one of  the kids in my family decorated their own gingerbread house.  We like to joke that we are all perfectionists and we all have minor cases of OCD.  Even though we rushed ourselves to finish in just 1 hour, I think we have lots of beautiful results to show off! Here is some more "eye candy":
I love a good roof!
Yes, we even decorate the back.
This was our family's gingerbread house last year--I think it's my favorite one yet.  We created a chimney (Oreo's), a surrounding fence (stale granola bars), a snowman (marshmallows), and Teddy Gram cars.
The Twix in the back are supposed to be firewood.
We display our houses on a cardboard circle covered in aluminum foil.   You can also put your house on top of a lazy susan so it rotates.
Although every ingredient is edible, we only attempted to eat our gingerbread houses when we were quite young.  They get a bit...tough.  Plus it's too painful to eat such works of art!  Now let me share some more of my Mother's genius with you...
You can download your own gingerbread house pattern here.
You can download the gingerbread, frosting, and burnt sugar recipes and directions here.
Happy gingerbread-house making!
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