Buoyed by the success of the cookie party, I decided to host a Gingerbread House party.
Ok, first I tried to sign up for the gingerbread workshop at Viking, but in the time it took them to tell me they could squeeze me and the monkeys (Satchel, 7 and Jiro, 5) into one of the sold out classes, I had a friend, the multi-talented Christiana Leibovich, offer to come help us.
I could not, however, convince Christiana to make the gingerbread. "We can just use graham crackers!" she said.
I knew that Satchel and Jiro, who had previously made gingerbread houses at the Pink Palace with their dad and grandmother while I was home with a broken leg a couple years ago, would not be satisfied with graham crackers.
On a craft supply run to Michael's I noticed a gingerbread mix and cookie cutters especially designed for making gingerbread houses. On a whim, I purchased two boxes and the cutters. The monkeys and I raided the dollar store and bought tons of candy for decorating. My friend, Colleen, who I had invited to join us, offered to make the icing/cement.
Then I got over-confident and invited several more friends (and their kids) to join us. (I may have failed to mention that part to Christiana. Shh!)
I spent the whole day cleaning the house instead of making gingerbread. When I finally made it, there was a learning curve. First, I learned that the $7 box of mix contains one small packet of spices and one large packet of flour and that I am a sucker. Second, I learned that I wasn't going to have near enough gingerbread for each kid, much less each family, to make a house.
Good thing I bought two giant boxes of graham crackers!
In the end, we used a combination of gingerbread and graham crackers. Christiana's expertise (and good humor and patience) proved invaluable. She made sure everyone's house had all of the needed components and that they were all nicely decorated and securely glued in place.
Every kid in attendance, except Jiro (who I was helping!), ended up with a nice, unique, house covered with candy—and love! Due to their fragility (our icing got a little warm), the gingerbread houses all stayed at my house. Jiro quickly scooped them up in an under-the-table-eminent domain deal with his mom.
Photos by Chip Chockley