Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gingerbread houses and Christmas lights

We had a great Totally Terrific Tuesday Family Fun Night (TTTFFN) last night; we made gingerbread houses. No, I did not bake gingerbread – surely you know me better than that. I bought a kit from Walmart. It had enough gingerbread for five small houses as well as the frosting mix and an assortment of candy for decorations.

The first thing we had to do was figure out how the houses fit together. My lack of spatial reasoning made me wholly unfit for the task, but thankfully I married an engineer who’s really good at putting stuff like that together. Sean whipped out the directions and began showing Michael and Rebecca how to assemble their houses.

Amy and I focused on making the frosting. We tried this activity a few years ago and the frosting was a huge issue. It was too runny and our walls wouldn’t stay together. This time, though, Amy made a perfect batch of white and red frosting and expertly transferred it to the piping bags. That girl constantly amazes me.

We had the design down and the frosting was perfect, so Michael, Amy and Rebecca started building their homes. Michael, in classic Michael style, planned for a garage, and fashioned a car out of the frosting and four pieces of candy.

Amy meticulously placed each decoration in exactly the place she planned. She wrapped tissue paper around the base to make it look like her house was sitting on a blanket of snow.

Rebecca decided to put a candy garden in her backyard. So we had a summer house, a winter house and a garage.

We finished the houses and went to look at Christmas lights, which is my favorite TTTFFN activity. We rate the light displays, but our rating system has been haphazard. No more. Amy made a rubric where each house starts at a score of 5. Does the light display show creativity? Add a point. Lights on the roof? Add a point. Bushes blanketed with a light net? Subtract one point. Icicle lights on the roof? Subtract a point (Rebecca hates those for some reason). Nativity scene? Add five. The new scoring plan made the judging more uniform but we had a few disagreements on how many points should be added/subtracted for each item, plus my attitude took a dive when I realized the snow flurries were turning into a full-blown snow storm.

Even with the snow and minor disagreements, it was another great Tuesday night with the fam. TTTFFN makes Tuesday my favorite day of the week.

Reading the directions

I got the hang of the piping bag

Notice the car in the driveway?

Amy, cutting the tissue paper to make a snowscape

Rebecca and her garden and flowers