Monday, December 22, 2008

"JIJRBRED DAY" a photo essay by Joseph

That's what Joseph wrote on the family calendar.

What it means is "Gingerbread Day". With the snow days the last two days of school, I was in high stress mode with unfinished projects abounding (sorry Michael and Jon and your respective families - I hope to get your stuff out early next week!) I wasn't in the mood to spend a small fortune on candy and I certainly didn't have time to make the houses. I refuse to buy a kit (or 10).

Monday morning, I realized that nothing would change and it was time to do gingerbread houses. We like to have gingerbread parties, but the snow and late date made it so only Rachel had two friends over. It was still fun!

Now, we've had some really good years with gingerbread houses. One of my favorites was with the Stauffenbergs - GusGus made a trailer and another year a dog house with a bleeding postman (this year he made a dumpster, complete with a drunk peeing on the side). It was hilarious! But for the last three years or so, I find that by the time I've made enough house for friends and kids, I am not in the mood to make my own. That's okay. This year was very last minute, so it wasn't one of our more creative ones. I just did basic A frames houses, which the kids seem to prefer since it gives the most area for candy, and stacking on the candy seems to be the main goal.

I have fond memories of making gingerbread houses at my mom's house. My brother, Snookie, seemed to have a real knack for the darker side, with dead cinnamon bears as a main theme. It makes me proud.

So, I started with the dough, which is the BEST gingerbread house dough I have ever tasted. I love the dough. I eat the dough. I ate so much, I got a tummy ache.

Joseph was totally IN MY FACE and MY HAIR and MY EARS and MY HANDS and I knew I wouldn't make it. He might not either. So I gave him the camera. He took 91 pictures of me rolling out the gingerbread. Except for a few instructions ("Back up Mom, I don't want you in this picture") he was completely occupied.

He was very detailed. Here are A FEW of his shots. (Not every pictures makes the edit, right? You are welcome.)

The dough recipe is from a baker in our ward.

So I pound in the flour.

And then I roll it out with my broken rolling pin. I love my rolling pin. I wish it wasn't broken, but I love it and use it.

I cut out every piece with a knife by tracing my complex pattern.
Such as this one:
But I didn't make any outhouses this year. I just ran out of patience time.

Here they are cooling on the stove top.

At this point, I began to beg, "PLEASE GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!" When Joseph realized that the gingerbread had to cool and there was no action, he consented.
THANK GOODNESS!! I was at the end of my rope! It's important for kids to get fresh air every day.
Matthew joined him.

Later that night, I assembled the gingerbread by melting sugar in a pan and dipping the sides in the liquid sugar and sticking it to the covered cardboard and to each other. Be careful, it's hot! It's also the most superior way for assembling gingerbread houses. It's fast and strong.

At last!
Joseph begins his assembly.

Rachel, Clay, and Daniel ponder the possibilities ...

Daniel is a story teller. I don't remember what he was saying, but Clayton looks amused.

Ben was the lucky recipient of the one of the "special" gingerbread houses with an open air ventilation system and sky lights. He was determined to fill it in with frosting. After the frosting filled the house (nearly) he finally broke down and covered the structural flaw with candy bars.

Daniel working on balancing his candy canes. We had a discussion about physics. It is impossible to stick two candy canes upright with a dab of frosting on the end. I wonder now, if the melted sugar would have worked ... note to self ...

Larry HATES sticky. So I was very proud of him for sucking it up and helping Matthew assemble his house.

Joseph worked a couple of windows in his A-frame. Being cursed blessed with a perfect memory, he pined a little for past gingerbread creations. Time to move on.
Hmmm... this design should be no surprise to anyone who knows Rachel - perfectly symmetrical.

This year was great because most of the kids were able to keep the frosting IN the squeeze bag. Trust me, not scraping up the frosting out the top and putting it back in makes a lot of difference in my frustration level.

Larry put the frosting on the end of the candy and Matthew stuck it on the house. Success!

Just as Rachel's house was symmetrical, Sari's is kicked up a notch. Their houses define their personalities. By the way, Sari went on to make a dog for her house and then she scattered mini chocolate chips all around it and Larry put a cling-on on the dog and Sari said she was inspired by GusGus.

Clayton impressed us all with his ability to spell his name on the side of his house

Matthew with his finished house.

Ben with his finished house (and Joseph still hard at work in the background.)

Later that evening, Rachel's sweet friend, Courtney came over and made her house. She missed the general party, but we were glad to have her when we did.


  1. OK, what can I say.....ah...very creative family. Not sure where the "Jijrbred Day" got started but we have enjoyed it for years. This year we only had Teilani and her family here so it was fun to see the creations from the Sant family. Don't let the good times stop!!!!!

    Love you.

  2. Merry Christmas Tif.
    You inspire me :)

  3. i love the little poopie idea!! Good Job Sari! We're so related.

  4. You are SO the Kool Aid mom!