Saturday, January 2, 2016

Gingerbread Houses 2015

(note: for detailed directions on how to host your own gingerbread house party, visit this post)

After needing to take a break last year, we were back to gingerbread houses this year!  I needed to make 24 houses, so I mixed up 10 batches of dough:
After cutting out all the pieces I needed, I somehow had an entire recipe of dough leftover.  Fair warning if you're planning a party, this may only be because I've got my system down and have no wasted dough during the rolling process.  Thankfully, I kept that extra dough in the fridge until after the party, more on that later.
Do these pictures make anyone else think of the Weeds theme song?  No? Just me?

After much, "Is TODAY gingerbread house day?" from the five year old, gingerbread house day finally arrived.  It happened to coincide with a cold snap, so we had a hot chocolate bar set up.
Party number one was set up and ready to go!
Before long, icing and candy were everywhere and I was FREAKING. OUT.  I realized I had the right number of houses out for this party according to my list, but I was one house short.  In the moment this was fine because I was ready for a second party happening later in the day, so I just took one of those houses, but that left me one short for the second party.  A whole house short.  I've never been short before and I was so confused about what was going on.  Then I finally realized I had invited one child without adding their name to my list.  My own kids had already started decorating, so I couldn't even make a deal with one of them to give up their house and decorate later.  Thankfully, Josh manned the party and I was able to get that leftover dough out of the fridge.  I frantically rolled, cut and baked more pieces.

The kids up to their elbows in icing and candy were oblivious to the drama:
Secora was very serious about her house this year.  She eventually covered every square inch of that house:
My last minute house mostly cooled off and I quickly assembled it so it'd have about 30 minutes to set up.  That's it on the end on a foil covered board (because I was also out of cardboard bases).  The second group of kids was our girl scout troop, so I assigned that house to one of my cadettes that I know to be capable of self-control in any circumstance and warned her that it would hold up as long she was gentle with putting candy on:
Secora kept working through party #2 and thought she was done when we took this picture, but then got extra icing from some of the girl scouts by playing the "cute little sister" card.
Another "false finish".  She realized she could also put candy on the cardboard after we took this:
"Hmmmm........there might be space for one more m&m"
Sierra ate more candy than she stuck to her house, I think.
Sedona is still a fan of layering the candy:
Houses, houses, houses!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas Parade Fun

A few weeks ago, we took the kids out to the annual Christmas parade.  They look forward to this all year.  Being Texas, you never know quite what to expect for the weather.  We get anything from below freezing with rain/sleet on up to hot and sunny.  This year was a short sleeves and sunscreen year.

A friend gave them some cotton candy while they were waiting:
Sedona had to take a break from the sun and spend some time in the shade:
A yearly favorite.  Local dental hygienists always hand out toothbrushes
"I got my very own toothbrush!!"
Cool milk jug house
A new cajun restaurant's "float"
Santa is coming!  I think this might be the last year for Sedona and Secora has entered whole-hearted, "Santa is super awesome" belief
Later on, there was also an nighttime parade in the area.  We've never been able to make it to this one before, so the girls were excited to go see all the lights

Long exposure times in the dark make it really difficult to get non-blurry pictures of Sedona
A local high school band with glow everything added:

The dental hygienists again!  No toothbrushes this time, but lots of lights on their float

Habitat for humanity float:
HEB (our grocery store around here) always goes all out:

The milk jug house float was back with lights added on:
Another high school band:

"SANTA!!!!!!  I KNOW HIM!!"

And that sums up holiday parade season.  Next up: Christmas, backpacking, 2015 goals wrap-up and 2016 goals!


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