Like so many others, I get about a bazillion ideas from Pinterest.  My holiday pin board is my favorite right now, and I’ve been utilizing it like maaaaaaad.  But when it comes to trying out creative pins, mine hardly turn out like the pictures.  Take this turkey for example:

Pinned Image
image from eatingwithfoodallergies.com

And here’s mine. I had to talk myself into believing it was, in fact, a turkey. As I hovered over it, I called my husband over.
“Come look at this for a sec, will ya?” I asked. He came over, he stood next to me, hovered… and I waited for him to say, “Ah HA! It’s a TURKEY! Aren’t you just the cleverest wife in the whole wide holiday world?”
But he didn’t say anything.
So I said, “Its supposed to be a turkey.”
“OH! I see it!” Then he took out his camera phone and took a picture like every good husband should do.

The downside to the veggie turkey was that no one ate any of it because they didn’t want to mess it up. So it all came home with me.

I can’t figure out why mine looks so loud and their turkey looks so simple… Maybe I try to hard? In any case, it’s hardly enough to stop me from trying more pinteresting things. Take this, for example:

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image from houseography.blogspot.com

A gingerbread house party!! I took one look at that and DIED. I wanted to do it so badly! They had the plans all laid out and it seemed to work like clock work. Surely I could pull it off!

My entire life, my mother has always, ALWAYS had a REAL gingerbread house at Christmas time. The day after Thanksgiving, while other women were out shopping and while my Dad was out rounding up cattle, she would work methodically in her kitchen. She would mix and bake and glue and decorate… and it was magic. It was ALL magic. Her gingerbread house windows were made of crushed Jolly Ranchers and looked like stained glass… My Dad had long ago made my mom a special board with a light in the center of it. Mom built her house over it, and when night fell she would turn the light on in her gingerbread house. The candy windows would glow, and if you leaned in close enough, you could inhale the cinnamon and clove scent that wafted from the gingerbread walls. Just like a Nativity Scene and a Christmas Tree, our gingerbread house was a Christmas constant. Oh, how I love it.
When I married my husband, we went back home for Thanksgiving one year. After my Dad and husband left on the round-up, my mother set to making her gingerbread house. My heart should have liked to DIE for longing, and she let me make a small pattern gingerbread house. Her Love Shack pattern, she called it, on account of the heart-shaped windows. I was thrilled. I learned a lot about gingerbread house making that year with my mom right by my side, guiding and coaxing me. Luckily that year was the year I started blogging, and I have an account of that day.

      Here’s an excerpt from my Thanksgiving blog post of 2005 -the first time I had ever made a gingerbread house:


      Mom and I built separate gingerbread houses the second day of the round-up. She’s the goddess of gingerbread, and she taught me her tricks. I built a small hut, and she built her traditional gingerbread house. My house looked pretty pathetic. If I had a nickel for everytime mom said, “It’s okay. Frosting will fix it,” I’d have enough money to buy my husband a digital camera! After my mom had flattered me with, “Oooh! How pretty!” and, “Aw! Cute!”, I began to think that my hut resembled the Taj Mahal -just a little. The fact that the roof was crooked and the chimney was only on 1/3 of it(that meant that 2/3 of it was hanging off) suddenly didn’t matter. I floated on cloud 9 as I decorated my misshapen heart windows and broken candy cane sides. Just when I had convinced myself that my hut looked pretty amazing, my little brother decided to take a peak at it. As only a nine-year old can, he told me the truth. He gazed at it for a minute, gave me a sympathic smile, wrapped his arms around me and said, “That’s okay. It’s your first one.” He was right. It looks pretty sad, but like mom said, the frosting fixed most of it, and the broken candy canes and crooked roof are all pretty much endearing. Everytime I look at my hut, I remember Thankgiving at home.

Okay, now. Since then, I’ve made a house every year (I think). I don’t make them the day after Thanksgiving like my mom does. I hope someday I will, but for now I just make them whenever the opportunity arises. I’ve gotten better over the years.
Here’s the one I made in 2008 for The Boy’s first Christmas:

This year, I decided to try out my mom’s pattern. The FULL-sized gingerbread house AND I decided to invite some friends over so we could have a gingerbread house decorating party. In my mind it played out so perfectly. There was Christmas music, and cheery warmth in the kitchen to combat the chill in the outside air. There were sweets and frosting and laughter galore!
We certainly had laughter galore, so that’s something.

While making the gingerbread this year, I forgot one simple fact: substitute dark Karo syrup for some (or all of) the molasses so the gingerbread is more sturdy. As it was, our gingerbread was NOT sturdy. I invited out friends over at 3 and then texted them, begging them to come over later because I was running behind on baking.
They came and I STILL wasn’t ready. I was rushing around the kitchen, baking and apologizing, cutting and apologizing.
I finally was able to glue their house, but I broke it in the process. I glued it back together and then broke MY house. I baked more pieces to fix my house (on account of GLUING it back together not working) and then I broke the new pieces.
It. Was. Catastrophic.
But like I said… laughter galore!
My husband grabbed the camera and started snapping pictures.

Gingerbread was everywhere. We named this house Scarface:

And then we trashed it:
I tried starting over, but I broke everything again. I joked that everything I was touching was turning to crap.
I guess that’s MY magical power.

My counters were a mess, complete with the pizza coupon we didn’t use to order pizza that night. Have I ever told you how horrible I am at couponing?
And here’s my reminder… molasses? Bad.

There is a happy ending to this story. Thank the gingerbread heavens for that. I regret not getting any pictures of actual PEOPLE from our gingerbread fun, but here’s our friends’ houses. They had a little one for their boy and a Love Shack for themselves.
Here’s the little guy’s house:

And here’s their house. Jamie made the house cute while her husband worked on the yard. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? We’re all very traditional around here.

Jake even made a swing set which I’m still thoroughly impressed over:

Every gingerbread boy and girl should have a candy cane, Twizzler, and sugar wafer swing set in their back yard:

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful:

And heeeeeere’s our house!

My house smells like a gingerbread house, but there’s none to be seen. I feel like one of those women who saute onions in butter to give the effect of having slaved over the stove all day… the scent is all for show.
But we did have a great time, and we did have some great pizza that I insisted on feeding them on account of our having held them hostage for so long in our home, forcing broken gingerbread houses and candy at them.
They’re such good sports. Jamie, if you were here right now I’d ASK permission to take a picture from your facebook. But you’re not, so I’m just going to snag one. It’s nothing personal, I just think I need a picture to go along with your houses.
Also, you all won the gorgeous lottery and then made babies. People need to see this.

Hello, models. Thank you for having babies.

Okay now. Memorize their faces.
Close your eyes.
Picture them holding a gingerbread house.
Ta-da! Suddenly it doesn’t matter that we forgot to take pictures with people in them.

Thanks for the fun, Jake and Jamie!!! I’ll never forget our very first Gingerbread House Party. Things always go so well in my mind, and then reality hits: I’m glad it hit with you guys!

I should be going back to the drawing board to start a’fresh. But I’m going back to the holiday pinterest board instead. There’s gotta be something else for me to butcher… there’s gotta be! In a few weeks I should be posting pictures of our gingerbread house.
Don’t hold your breath, though.


  1. Oh I am so happy you blogged about us! I feel like a supastar! In all actuality I loved how the night went. So much laughing and giggling, and of course Scarface!

  2. Yay you blogged about us! I feel lika a supastar! And that was so stinkin much fun, really! So much giggling and lauging and of course Scarface!

  3. Well for goodness sakes! I commented twice! Silly me. . .

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