Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

There are certain things that make us feel at home and open the floodgate to Christmas’s past.  There are a few presents I remember receiving growing up, but most of my fond recollections are centered on traditions and activities that made Christmas what it was.  Barry Manilow’s Christmas cd, finding every hidden present and "accidentally" spilling the beans, Polar Express by the fire and my Dad’s promise to catch Santa every year are a few highlights…but my Mom’s graham cracker gingerbread houses bring back those sentiments stronger than ever.

The night before our school parties, my Mom would stay up forever- melting sugar, assembling walls and roofs and stacking graham cracker houses until our kitchen was covered with enough for a few classrooms.  By the time she she finished, her fingers were blistered, she was pretty tired, and probably needed an entire year before she could look at another box of graham crackers.  But on that day I sat a little taller in my seat…they were the hit of the classroom party, and I had proof that my Mom was pretty cool.  

I figured this year was the year to take a page from my Mom’s book.  Gracie and Maddie’s little buddy, Capri, came to join in and the three of them were in sugar heaven.  I was grateful for the years of watching my Mom make houses, although I did burn my fingers a few times.  The houses were the perfect size for little ones; they could be fully decorated before attention spans ran out or too much candy was consumed.

I look forward to creating new and keeping some of my favorite traditions alive with our girls.  It was nostalgic watching Gracie pick her favorite color gumdrops and look for the perfect spot for her teddy graham.  As a child I was pretty excited that I had the fun Mom who could whip up some great crafts…but watching my girls decorate their houses today gave me a sense of gratitude for my upbringing.  It’s easier now to see the dedication and thought that went into giving my sisters and me a loving childhood, filled with fond memories and moments of feeling special.

So to wrap up my trip down memory lane, today was sweet and simple.  Maddie loved the marshmallows and got more and more into it watching Gracie, who was equal parts giddy with the decorating and with the eating.  Life is simple for these girls, there is joy and excitement to be had, and what better way to have it than with a big sticky, sugary masterpiece!

A Quick How To
1.  Melt sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring to make sure it doesn't burn.
2.  Take individual squares and dip two sides in sugar to make an "L".  Repeat to make another "L"
3.  Take both your "L's" and dip unjoined sides in sugar to make a square.
4.  Take two more squares, dip one side and form the peak of the roof.  Let cool and then dip unjoined sides and attach to your square.
5.  Let cool before frosting.
6.  Get decorating- canned frosting (love it dyed), gum drops, lemon drops, sprinkles, marshmallows, go crazy!

**Check out more pictures over here!

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