This past weekend my nephews and my little man made (and by “made,” I mean “assembled from a pre-fabricated kit”) a gingerbread house.

Or, I should say: my nephews and I made a gingerbread house. The five year-old just screamed and laughed a lot.

It was clear about five minutes into the deal that we had us a Hoopty Gingerbread House on our hands, because the left wall caved in. Then the roof started to separate and fall off to the side, and then the icing, MY WORD, THE ICING, WHY WON’T IT MIND?

But just look at these sweet faces:


They made me want to finish the silly thing.

Sort of.

Because here’s something you may not have known about me: any exceedingly detailed task, like filling in a gingerbread tree by USING ICING TO ADHERE LITTLE BITTY PIECES OF CANDY TO THE SURFACE OF SAID TREE, FOR INSTANCE, makes me want to throw all the candy on the floor and smash it with a sledgehammer and then blow up all the tiny candy residue with a stick or nine of dynamite.

So I picked my battles. Candy on the roof in an abstract pattern. No piping the icing in a design because I’d prefer to avoid a pre-Christmas nervous breakdown.


Really, a gingerbread house would be so much more fun if you could paint it. With Magic Markers. And if doodles counted as decorations.

Make it merry, y’all.

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  1. I have the same type of aversions. That’s why the kids & I just decorated cookies instead. Those little balls of sprinkles were enough to make me crazy…..those little suckers run all over the place.

  2. Your gingerbread house is lovely!

    We haven’t done the assemble your self house since Wilton started selling the pre-assembled ones. But this year, my 9 year old son was throuroughly frustrated at the shoddy workmanship of Wilton – the house was a little croocked! ;-) And, he now insists that we go back to assembling one our selves. He even suggested we do it completely homemade! Nooooo!

  3. I think we got the same gingerbread kit on the Hoopty aisle at Sam’s. Because ours caved AFTER it was decorated in it’s finest.

    And my kids? The laughing stopped when it fell apart. They actually cried. REAL tears. They take this hoopty-making very seriously.

    But I’m with you on the smashing and losing it.

    The holidays, they do bring out my best.

  4. That came out really well. I haven’t tried making a gingerbread house yet but I think that might be a good project for next year. This Christmas just came up on me too fast.

    Merry Christmas!!!

  5. Almost holiday tragic about the hoopty house – what I’m wanting to know – is do you want us to upgrade to Pro Photobucket Today? ’cause it surely does appear that way when one visits you. I’m not sure it will fit in my schedule – because a nap is seriously demanding face time right this minute,

  6. OK I came back by and the eleventy seven tiles of advertising for Photobucket pro upgrading are gone so I’m sure everyone will assume ( or realize???) I’m just nutso. Sorry — they were there just ten minutes ago!

  7. Too tedious!

    But it turned out great!

  8. This– “makes me want to throw all the candy on the floor and smash it with a sledgehammer and then blow up all the tiny candy residue with a stick or nine of dynamite.”–made me laugh!

    I had no idea you were Wile E. Coyote… none at all. Hee hee!

  9. I agree with you…”made” one a few years ago with the oldest grandchild..was super hard to not get frustrated…they don’t think things thru when “they” “make” those things….you express things so well…always makes me laugh…Blessings on your Christmas celebration.

  10. um, yeah. i actually own a sledgehammer and know of its whereabouts…which keeps me from attempting these little beauties. you’re a brave woman, ms. boomama!

  11. What fun…we are making our “store-bought kit” gingerbread houses tomorrow morning. I am hoping to avoid the pre-Christmas nervous breakdown as well. Merry Christmas to you…

  12. Been there done that with the icing thang. Refrigerate the icing pouch before use. MUCH better icing obedience.

  13. I applaud you! I think y’all’s house looks great and what patience to even attempt this with 3 young boys!! Bravo!

    Merry Christmas!

  14. My little boy and I made our first gingerbread house yesterday and I have to say, your results look strangely familiar. Merry Christmas!

  15. We made our first (and hopefully last!) gingerbread house last year, and it was full of drama! Kids were whining because the walls didn’t stand up, I was whining because the walls didn’t stand up! I just don’t see how anyone can get those things to look perfect??!!??

  16. I love the – we’ll call it a candy mosaic – on the front walk. It looks lovely! Well done on not losing it during the process.

  17. GET THE WILTON PRE-ASSEMBLED ONES! We had one of those and three of the other kind. At the end of it all, we had 1 assembled house and various pieces strewn about the table. They’re too heavy to stay together!

    No sledgehammers, but I seriously considered it.

  18. My kids ended up making the walls of their ginger bread house (which kept falling down) into GIANT gingerbread cookies. The holidays are all about improv.

  19. Okay, I see a couple of people have already said so, but let me reiterate….get the pre-assembled gingerbread house! It saves you a lot of grief. Then just let the kids go at it while you play on the computer. ;o)

  20. The house looks awesome, and Alex is not even a little man anymore, he’s just a dude! He’s so grown up! I’ve decided that next year I’m going to gingerbread-house it up with my nieces and nephews, but I’ll construct the houses beforehand and let them decorate. I’m shady like that.

  21. Ohh.. we did the exact same one! I have a pic of it a couple of posts down in my blog. And yes, it got all hoopity on me, but we persevered to MAKE that darn thing stand. And then… I came downstairs and left my boy with it. Cause if I was up there, I’d be doing it, cause it would have to be perfect. And it’s not perfect, and yet it’s my favorite one we’ve ever done. Do ya think God looks at us the same way?
    Merry Christmas!!!

  22. Ha! Oh, I can so relate!! I posted on my blog about our gingerbread house endeavor, too. Whew! Those kits should come with some kind of warning label.

  23. You did better than me. We bought one and it’s still sitting in the box. Don’t know if or when we’ll put it together. May just have to eat the candy and pitch the rest. lol

  24. LOVE the gumdrop placement! And I’ve figured that if I look at 2.6 a day I’ll see all your Tour of Homes stuff by next year’s tour! Whew!

  25. I can’t stand how the icing slides all over the place! What a mess sometimes! We made reindeer cookies instead of a gingerbread house! Way quicker!

  26. I had a similar experience with the same kit. It became blog worthy as well and our story is listed on my blog ( Your house looks great by the way & just think of the memories you created!

  27. What I love are the etched in lines that seem to shout out at you, MY WORD! THE ICING! SHOULD GO HERE!

    I think the gingerbread house day was the first time my kids heard me use the phrase, “I need a smoke break.”

    (And I don’t smoke.)

  28. I totally love the title of this post, Sophie. Adorable.

    And…I bought exactly the same kit for Cameron. Mandy’s mission, should she choose to accept it, is to keep the little stinker occupied tomorrow morning, building this dreamhouse, while I maybe actually get something accomplished around here. LOL

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  29. When I was the youth leader at my church my job at the Advent workshop was the gingerbread houses (about 60 of them). Of course, the first year I was there I was told “this is the way we have always done the gingerbread houses” and then was given detailed directions on what to do. Let me just say it was a failure- none of the houses would stay together, kids grabbing at candy, mucho frustration by all involved (especially me!).

    The next year I had my youth group join me at church the day before and we pre-assembled those houses. We made small houses out of graham crackers. My brother owns a bakery and made up 5 gallon buckets of icing for us. We made up individual bags of icing and individual bags of candy. It ended up taking most of the day but that year was a SUCCESS for the gingerbread houses at the Advent workshop. I continued that tradition for 10 years until we moved chuches. But, I have great memories of those prep sessions with my youth group kids.

    Anyway, next year try graham crackers. Two halves for the sides. Two whole ones cut to a point (start the cut at the middle line of the cracker) for the front and back and two half ones for the roof. Make your own Royal icing (or get your brother to make it for you…oh wait, that’s what I do). Assemble them the night before and let each kid decorate their own!

    Now that I wrote all that let me admit that I have yet to do a house with my daughters- probably should have done it this year. But, they are only 2 and 4 years old so I don’t think I have caused them too much mental anguish yet. Maybe we’ll make them next year!

    PS- Sorry this got a bit long!

  30. Oh my goodness, do I ever feel your pain. This may have already been mentioned, but Wilton sells a pre-assembled gingerbread house…all you have to do is decorate. We found ours at Walmart this year for $10. May have been the best $10 I spent this Christmas. :)

  31. Kudos, it looked great.
    I haven’t tried one since the disaster of ’79 when my Mom and I destroyed one, and half the kitchen.
    Good times.
    Merry Christmas!

  32. My husband is a pastor and one of our members bought one for the kids to make… she said it would be SO fun… Feeling obligated and fearing she would ask the kids if they had fun making it, I tackled this dreaded project last Saturday.

    It was a kit similar to yours… but since my girls are 7 and 3 (and, of course, we did this during the 1-year-old’s nap), I assembled the house and then let them decorate it. I put some of the icing on the roof and then plopped it along the edges or wherever they wanted candy to go… and it looks similar to yours, also! The girls loved it.

    And, of course… that lady wasn’t even at church the next day so we could tell her we made it!

  33. Oh so true!!
    I stayed away from the Gingerbread house making b/c I am so not craftsy and felt it best not to be involved
    HOwever I noticed my mom taking over when the boys had too much icing on one side of the roof and the wreaths not sticking as they should – LOL
    Have a very Merry Christmas sweet Sophie and may God bless you with much joy, peace, love, and blessings!!

  34. Looks VERY SIMILAR TO MINE hmmmmmm. :) Merry Christmas!

  35. We had a Graham Cracker House building contest with the youth. By golly they take it serious! There was a castle with a moat make out of Big Red and Skittles with tiny Teddy Grahams floating in it. It looked like vomit. We had a Santa on a roof with a keg and a unicorn house. The girl’s concoctions were more normal.

    I personally don’t have the patience to even attempt to make even a simple house.

  36. I can so relate to the gingerbread house story… we resigned ourselves to scooping the icing with a knife and spoon. And smearing upon said house. With nine million rolling candy pieces upon the floor. The end.

  37. I admire your bravery and you crack me up. Dynamite, I mean, girl. You probably have a few left over roman candles from the 4th that would do the trick!
    But let me just say, “Ain’t no way.” I get ticked off just trying to make my very ugly, but tasty Christmas cookies. I’m trying to keep Christ in my Christmas, but I think His Holiness would have to leave the room with a fit of rage that I would have over a gingerbread house, so ummm, yeah, NO!!!

  38. Haven’t done one of these for years – my nest is empty and grandkids are too small, maybe next year. HOWEVER, I would be the one, hours after the children had abandoned the project, following the directions, my face inches from the page, using every piece, in the correct order, and trying to make everything perfectly symmetrical. And THEN I’d want to smash the whole thing. :)

  39. Just wanted to stop by and say Merry Christmas, Sophie!

  40. Merry Christmas!

  41. Those taste like the cardboard boxes they come in. My husband’s aunt had one today at Christmas. You should have seen the look on her face when she bit into a hunk of it!

    Pick off the candy and eat it. Smear some peanut butter over the whole thing, sprinkle some birdseed on it and put it out for the birds. Merry Christmas little birdies!

  42. What would Martha say?!

  43. Oh, I can so relate. We had the same gingerbread house kit! I did get the pieces to stick together and started trying to make it look gorgeous, like the ones on Food Network, but my 4 year-old sweet boy kept reminding me “mommy, you said I could stick the candy on.” With a sigh of resignation, I gave him the icing back and retreated to a safe distance. He worked diligently for an hour (completely uncharacteristic of this child who can’t sit still long enough to watch an episode of Veggie Tales), but he ended up with a cute little house that would send anyone in a sugar coma. I learned a lesson from all this…..I will NEVER be a cake decorator, I just don’t have the patience!

  44. I found your blog by visiting Pumpkin Patch.
    I saw a gingerbread kit at Albertson’s yesterday. I was considering including it in my many holiday projects.
    Everyone did a terrific job on your house.

  45. Two words…HOT GLUE!!! It’s a good thing!

  46. Just catching up with you after our family’s version of “fun” at Christmas time, which might or might not inlude two of the four of us getting strep throat and my little man ending up with scarlet fever just as an extra bonus! I LOVE your gingerbread house, sister. It rocks.

  47. Your gingerbread house turned out perfectly adorable. You get full credit, as my teacher friend likes to say, and many AUNT/MOM POINTS.

  48. We hot glued ours!! The hot glue gun out a the Happy Birthday Jesus Party with 5 toddlers was pretty funny though… note: next year hot glue the house before the guests come over!!
    Love that you have compassion in your sidebar. I’m new to blogging and didn’t know they could do that. We have sponsored a child since we got married and we will be sponsoring another one this year after my hubby’s raise.
    Great blog!

  49. I love this gingerbread home; do you mind sending me the recipe would love to make this part of our family tradition, as we have a grand baby now and I am rethinking alot of family things…. love me