Saturday, December 19, 2009

Martha Who?

I have been trying to savor and really meditate on the thoughts Ann is sharing and her challenge to be a womb, a dwelling place for God, this Christmas. And while a womb ultimately stretches in painful and scarring ways, when it is first dwelled in, it starts out so small, almost undetectable... then a little flutter. We too should remember to start small....

Martha Stewart soooooo does not live here!!!
Yesterday, we made a gingerbread house to celebrate the second O Antiphon. Making gingerbread houses with my children is a total act of love and sacrifice tiny though it may be. My perfectionist nature tends to like things organized and planned (and ultimately pretty) and if I can't have that, then I want nothin' at all! My kids like to stick random gummy bears on the side of the house for no good reason. That doesn't gel now does it?We didn't use to do these kinds of activities because I couldn't deal with the mess they created both on the gingerbread house and in my house. But motherhood is all about dying to self in so many little ways, isn't it? And the gingerbread house became an opportunity for me to let go and let them have fun. Learning to appreciate the beauty of their delight, I noticed it then spilled over their creation with a radiant glow. I could not match that.In the past, I have always purchased ready-made kits but being a worry wart, I never let the children eat their creation because of the fear that the ready-made royal icing might have raw egg whites in it (which most royal icing does unless you make it with meringue powder). See, a completely sane person would have just made her family new royal icing with the meringue powder she has sitting in her cabinet. : )

Did you know that you can use melted white chocolate instead of royal icing? You did? Well, why didn't you tell me? It firms up just as hard and as quick as royal icing. We cut out the pieces plus some decorative extras that they requested, baked them and then I saw to the construction of the house. I always do the construction because I insist that while it doesn't have to be perfect, it does have to stand! The children then used regular old canned frosting to glue the decorations on.

Shortcake asked for some furniture inside the house so we made a bed and a little corner shelf out of hearts. She decorated the bed with a marshmallow quilt and gum drop pillows and a tiny gummy teddy bear. I think this is my favorite part!!!
BigBoy wanted to decorate the tree which was a three sided piece that could stand on it's own.
He also helped with the smoke on the chimney.
My only contribution to the decoration... the icicles. I love icicles!!!
And the Pillsbury dough boy. Isn't he adorable? My grandmother use to tease that he was her secret boyfriend! We made some traditional looking gingerbread men to live in our cozy little cottage, but this guy just looked so much more joyful and excited to be here. I hope he's just as excited when the demolition crew takes over!


  1. It is absolutely lovely! Martha Stewart can keep her perfect creations! I'd much have the perfection of children's joy, love and creativity any day! (which is why our cookie plate is never quite martha-esque!)

  2. Well, I think it looks wonderful!! But I also totally get having to die to that perfectionism so that the kids can truly be creative and have fun. I. so. get. that!

  3. Wonderful creations! I hate the mess too.

  4. They are just as beautiful as your children think they are. You shame me! ;-)

  5. I love your house. And I love how children decorate. my children either like it all in astraight line or a crazy mess. thanks for the tip about teh white chocolate.

  6. I totally get the "if it isn't perfect (or at least pretty), I don't want it at all" thing. I fight that battle with myself, also.
    My question is, do you let the kids eat the house after a while? Ours has been up a week and the kids keep begging to eat it. I want to keep it as a decoration, plus, ewww, it's been up a week...

  7. Lisa,
    This is the first year that I have let them eat the house. In previous years, we would just use it as decoration. I only made them wait a day though.

  8. I love all the pictures of this ginger bread house. Too sweet! :-)

  9. Dear Charlotte,
    So did you use the white chocolate?
    Is that a home made house? How thick do you do the dough and what is cannned frosting?

    Having asked all those questions I love it. We are planning on making ours tomorrow and I hope we can use the white chocolate, that is if it hasn't been eated already.
    Thanks for the great post. I love it.
    God Bless

  10. Gae,
    Yes, we used melted white chocolate chips to stick everything together. I made the gingerbread and used the cookie cutters from a kit to cut out the shapes. It was about 1/8 to 1/4 inch think, I think. Canned frosting is the frosting they sell next to the cake mixes in the grocery store. Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines is what we have around here. It is usually too soft to do any kind of heavy decorating, but since it is softer, it is easier for the kids to pipe out and use themselves. It will stick things together and eventually dry to a harder consistency, but it is not a heavy duty frosting like royal icing. Hope that helps! I'm sure yours will turn out lovely!

  11. Your ginger bread houses are beautiful. Talking about baking, I have a question for you. I received a recipe for a bread called Hemin Bread and the starting dough. It claims to be Father Pio's bread. I did some research about it and found out is not true. Do you know anything about this bread?

  12. Yum!!! All these pictures are really making my hungry! lol!! My children also decorated (little mini) houses, but only using a kit and this turned out so much cuter. I LOVE the white chocolate suggestion. Next year! ;)


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!