23 December 2013

Gingerbread Houses and My Village (with Printable Recipe Card)

A long time ago I wrote a post about a VillageIt takes a Village to raise a child, I quoted. But here in suburbia, where do you find a village when you need one? 

I was reminded of this post as I sat down to share these photos with you, of the gingerbread-house creation day we enjoyed on Friday. 
It started last year, with my friend Mel and I. We each got a cheap gingerbread house kit and spent the morning slapping icing and lollies around with our kids.
This year Mel said, Hey can we do that again? Because it was great fun for all of us, the mums and the lolly-lovin kids.
We made a date for when school was finished.
Then my friend Nic caught wind of our plans - Ooh can I jump in on that? she wondered. She'd been missing Mel and was keen for a catchup.

So on Friday we found ourselves surrounded by royal icing and sweets, constructing a gingerbread village....

Nic and I go back years; we met through kindy when our boys were three. I met Mel through Nic (I won't bore you with the details). For someone like me who moved house, town and school every year or two, went to ten different schools and doesn't have a childhood friend to her name - having roots in a community like mine is like Magic. It's a blessing, a benediction and a miracle.

My children have friends they've known since preschool. I have women in my life that I have history with. Not just these two darling ladies I built a gingerbread village with, but way too many others to fit in my kitchen (you know who you are; I love you all).

We hung out all day. Leisurely glued together the houses, while the kids decorated and ate gingerbread men (if you follow me on Instagram your feed will have been been photobombed with those snaps - sorry about that!). We ate lunch outside under the grapevine while the icing hardened, and then we set the kids to work on the decorating...

It was hilarious to watch how each family took a different approach. Nic's house, so methodical and detailed. Mel's house, so colour coordinated and pretty. And ours...? An explosion in a sweet shop.

Our house  (the explosion in a sweet shop)

Mels' House - so pink and pretty

Nic's House - a detailed work of art

As Dash said, before he randomly dripped icing all over the roof, "It's not about a competition, it's about having fun, right?" Yep, you've got it in one, son.

It was the best day of this Christmas season so far. 
Spending time hanging out with some of my Village, making a village. 

Stress-Free Fun Gingerbread House Creation

Why stress over creating a Gingerbread House from scratch when you can follow our lead and buy a $16 kit from the supermarket? Ignore the icing they supply with the kit and whip up a batch of Royal Icing.
Glue the base of the house together first; then leave to set for 20 minutes before sticking on the roof.
Leave for another 20 minutes to harden and then go to town decorating with the remaining icing and lollies galore.

Here's my printable recipe card for Royal Icing, along with a lovely easy recipe for gingerbread men.

Merry Christmas!
[right click to save to your computer then simply print]

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