This is what our kitchen looked like Sunday before Christmas. And pretty much on Monday, too... and not much different on Christmas day. This year, the kids were way into baking, even more than last year, and Jules even made the pizzelles all by herself from start to finish. Em and Sam are working on our baking center—a part of the counter a few inches lower than the rest, making it easy to roll out dough with leverage and having the added advantage of being perfect kid height. Yes, Em decided to get in the baking spirit by dressing in her colonial attire. She does love to be in character.
This year, we added gingerbread houses to our repertoire, something we've been wanting to do for a couple of years, but never quite found the time. Once she heard this, our generous friend Madeline insisted we borrow her stoneware gingerbread mold since they would be away over the holidays. (We've considered holding it hostage to get them to visit in the spring, but that wouldn't be very nice, would it?) It took all day Christmas eve to bake enough pieces for three gingerbread houses. By evening, they were cool enough to begin to assemble.
We cut down some egg cartons to place in the middle of the house, giving us some structure to work against. Before dinner, we made some royal icing and glued the houses together, giving them plenty of time to dry before decorating. By the time we were done eating, everything was set to go. The kids had a blast, and we all decided that this was the perfect way to wile away Christmas eve—it gave us all something to focus on besides just the anticipation of Christmas morning!
Everyone had fun eating and decorating, and by the time we were done, Sam decided we should make a gingerbread house for every holiday occasion, already making plans for his Valentine's house.
Of course, the next day (note the sleep mask from Santa) the girls decided that their houses weren't quite done after all, and they spent another afternoon decorating, this time with colored royal icing for garland and windows.
The finished products from left to right: Julia's house, Em's house, and Sam's house. I'm looking forward to making a Halloween house next year—yet another wonderful idea of Madeline's.