Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Advent: Gingerbread traditions

Whew! Thanksgiving dishes were barely washed, and suddenly it's Advent already! I really hoped to be more prepared... but I'm doing my best. (I just wish my 2-year-old hadn't chosen November to give up the need for naptime. In case you wondered why I didn't blog all month.)

It's been a tradition the last few years for the boys to decorate a gingerbread house with their Nana and Papa soon after Thanksgiving. The weekend was busy with grown-up visiting, but yesterday my mom picked up a kit, and invited us over.

When my sisters and I were growing up, my mom baked her own gingerbread and used a paper pattern to cut out the roof and wall pieces. We got to eat the cookie leftovers while she used her homemade icing to construct the house. And then we all helped "glue" gobs and gobs of candies onto it. The nice thing was, it was still edible (at least by kid standards) after a couple of weeks decorating the dining room.

These days at Christmastime, you can hardly get out of a store without finding a ready-to-build Gingerbread House Kit, complete with icing and candy. And my mother has accepted the simplicity of the mass market. We'll get to baking next week. Yesterday we needed some instant fun.

So, Nana and the boys cracked open the box, set up the pieces and iced them together with the premade "mortar." Then they got to the fun part -- mixing the frosting and sticking as much candy onto the house as possible before it hardened. (And yes, she insisted they wear their chef's hats and aprons for the photos!)

The fun was over too quickly. "Can we eat it now?" asked the boys the second the house was finished. Um, since the candy is now cemented into rock-hard icing on stiff, stale gingerbread, I'm afraid that's a "no."

Fortunately, yesterday was only the beginning of our Advent activities. We have much more to do as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. Today I put up our first "Jesse Tree." We've never done this before, but I loved the idea, and the boys are the right age for it now.

I'll post about the Jesse Tree tomorrow, since I didn't get a photo of it today.


Kathy said...

Well Amanda, I did post the recipe for the real thing on my post, should anyone want to bother. Mom

Lift Up Your Hearts said...

I just learned about the Jesse Tree a couple days ago and love the idea too. Did you order a kit?

Leanne said...

Hi! I've been lurking around your blog for a while and have never commented. I find your stories and writing interesting and honest. I had to comment this time because we're doing a Jesse tree for the first time this year, and no one I've talked to seems to have heard of it. I picked up a booklet about it years ago, and just decided to go for it this year. So far, it's been great; the kids begged not to skip it last night even though we had a busy evening and suggested we skip one night! Gotta love that!

Crunchy Christian Mom said...

Thanks for delurking, Leanne! I hope my kids don't want to skip our Jesse Tree lessons either. We haven't done today's yet, because I overslept and had to get to the dentist and errands.

Emily, I didn't get a Jesse tree kit, but used some graphics I found online and will post later!

Mom, I'm glad you have the recipe still. Your gingerbread is the best! :)

Elizabeth said...

That looks SO fun!

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