Thursday, December 23, 2010

Month of Memories - December 23rd

Today I remember Gingerbread Houses.  I first remember making them with some old friends, probably when I was 6 or 7.  Mrs. Daniels would make large house pieces and real royal icing.  I remember it always tasted yummy since she used lemon juice as the liquid.  We would make some elaborate creations.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of those early houses, but as teens my sister Liz and I often carried on the tradition.  Sometimes we even had Gingerbread House decorating parties, which were a lot of work since we had to make A LOT of house pieces!  But it was so fun.  Here are some pictures from over the years.

This is from one of those decorating parties, in 1993 

Here we are hard at work assembling those houses.  As you can see, they are quite large!  On the right is Leticia, a Swiss gal who lived with us for about 6 months in 1995. 
I gave my house from 1995 to our Swiss friends, the Knechts.  We met them at a conference, maybe in 1994, and spent many of our holidays with them for several years, until they moved away a few years later.  
They were such wonderful people!
Like cake decorating, gingerbread house decorating took a long break while I was in college and such.  This the next one I remember making.  This was in 2004 and I had two of the neighbor kids over to decorate smaller houses for themselves.
I then transported my house from VA to Georgia by airplane.  No, it wasn't a regular carry-on size, so I had to ask the flight attendant to stow it on board in the "front closet," or whatever you call that.  It made it to GA with hardly a loose M&M. 
 Then, we did such a lousy job of eating it while spending Christmas with Philip's family that I then transported it by car to South Carolina to give it to my family.  I knew it would be quickly demolished by them, especially since my brother Tim (who was 15 at the time) was around. :)  Sure enough, it was at least 1/2 gone by the time our visit with them on the Clemson campus ended.  We met there because it was about halfway between Atlanta, where Philip's parents lived at the time, and Charlotte.

I don't think I've made another Gingerbread house from scratch since the boys have been born.  I have helped the boys make houses from graham crackers a few times, including this one in 2006 when Caleb was 3.

My only foray with gingerbread house kit was in 2007.  It was definitely easier, but nothing tasted very good, so I am not sure I'll do one again any time soon.  However, the boys definitely enjoyed the process.

 As the boys get a little older and their ability to decorate the houses themselves increases, I am sure the real gingerbread house will make a resurgence in our house.  Making them are some of my fondest memories from growing up.

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