Friday, January 25, 2013
Are you and the kids totally bored with winter already?
Are the below zero temps keeping you locked in?
Want something to do next weekend that doesn't involve football?
Why not try your hand at making candy creations?
Years ago my mom started the tradition we refer to as "gingerbread houses" but only in the loosest sense of the term. Well, we did try gingerbread houses. But quickly found out it was easier and much less frustrating to use graham crackers and sugar cubes. Apparently we are not engineers...
So every year we collect candy and other goodies for making these creations. A few months after all the major candy holidays, I empty our hoard into a large ziplock bag and stick it in the back of the cabinet for "gingerbread" time.
My mom and I also keep an eye out for fun things to add to the stash like the cool truck muffin mold she found and this gingerbread train mold.
A few of us pitch in with a couple boxes of graham crackers here and there.
Someone usually bring "good" candy and everyone knows not to eat the other stuff that is old. My mom makes a royal icing that is super stiff with meringue powder in it. Once it set up, its like cement - and also is not edible.
We usually pick a day between Christmas and New Year's when the kids are bored and some of us have time off work. The neighbors all come too. We put on a giant crockpot of chili and some salad for the day.
People come and go as they want and make their creations on trays or platters or cutting boards.
We did revive making gingerbread this year but didn't realize it really needed a day to air out and dry a little.
When everyone is done, all the leftover candy and sprinkles get packed away in a rubbermaid tub for next year.
The creations dry out for a few days and then everyone is able to come get them if they want to take them home. Otherwise they decorate my mom's house for a couple of weeks and then are taken to the garden in a smash-fest and allowed to decompose over the rest of winter.
A couple of times we have used granola bars, chips, crackers, cereal and other grains to create buildings that could be eaten safely by the birds and squirrels.
It is always a lot of fun and laughs. As much as the guys may have made fun of this tradition when we started it, they always end up sitting down and making their own creations too.
Posted by April S.