Saturday, December 13, 2008

I LOVE Days Like This!

Thanks to each and everyone of you who gave suggestions for new games. As of this morning I ordered five, YES! 5!!!, new games for under the tree. You'll have to wait until after Christmas to see what I chose since inquiring minds want to know, and read here with hopes of learning secrets!

Thursday evening brought freezing rain our way, but soon gave way to snow, which is semi- rare in these parts. The roads were slick and school was canceled. Mac had been scheduled to take an out of town trip for a state-wide Beta convention, but that was canceled as well. Ahhhh... all four of my children were home on a weekday!

Homeschooling never gets canceled, but the beauty of it is the flexibility to take our time getting started in the morning if we want to. This means that the children bundled up and ventured into the snowy outside. They weren't disappointed. First was some intentional slipping around on the ice covered driveway, followed by a snowball fight. Then there was a half-mile walk that took far longer than it should have due to the treacherous walking conditions. Then there was the unintentional slipping on the driveway that left someone with a big goose egg on the back of their head.

Meanwhile, back in the house, I was busy in the kitchen. We had scheduled gingerbread house decorating for Friday evening. I contemplated buying a kit several times, but we were decorating three homes. At $10 apiece, it was more than I wanted to spend. So, I dug out my recipe Thursday, and mixed up 3 large batches of gingerbread dough. Into the refrigerator it went. I pulled the dough out at 6:30 AM, and began rolling, and cutting. I cut enough pieces for 5 houses. And then I made about 3 dozen gingerbread boys and girls. There's no way I spent anywhere close to $30 on all of that dough. And, I have two houses to give away to good friends. Assembled, and ready to be decorated, but left candy free for their decorating pleasure.

I finished the baking around 10 AM, and decided to decorate the boys and girls. What a fun activity that proved to be. I started making all the boys to look the same, but quickly tired of that. Each little cookie needed to let his own personality shine! Some boys looked very dapper, and some were just slobs. Oh the shame of it!

Mac begged me to let him decorate just one boy. "Please, Mom?"

And so I handed over the bag for the last cookie. He tried to make his little fellow wink, but the icing spread. To cover the mistake, he gave him sunglasses. And what goes better with sunglasses than a Peace shirt? Clearly, this boy is NOT from Ginger Valley!

Autumn made the remark that "Mom's cookies are better than yours."

"Yea, well, Mom cooks better than you do but you don't hear me complaining when you make supper. "

Yes---the sibling love was all around!

THEN, Mac was feeling left out because he's eating low-carb and the sweet, spicy smell of gingerbread was permeating the entire house. He looked at a recipe, and decided to make it using soy flour and Splenda. Hmmm... that didn't turn out too well. The dough was sticky even after several additions of more soy flour, and he got frustrated, throwing the dough on a cookie sheet and placing it in the oven. "They'll still taste good...."

Ummm.... I promise, this is not cat puke, and Mac informed me that they didn't actually taste good. "They're kinda like a sponge. They taste sorta like you spilled some ginger, wiped it up with a wet sponge, and ate the sponge."

Collin remarked that he loves it when I bake when Mac's home because Mac always makes me laugh really hard, and then every one's in a good mood.

We had a grand time pairing up the gingerbread boys and girls, and creating a storyline with them. We have Jon and Autumn:

And several more happy couples who are attending a Christmas dance in their small town: Ginger Valley.

Mac then declared that it's a good thing he's not made of gingerbread because he bites his fingernails, and would get into trouble real quick when he tasted so good. Collin added that no dogs could live in the valley because if they licked their owner's face trouble would ensue. Yes, my kids are creative all right!

I glued the houses together with royal icing, and let them sit until after supper.

Meanwhile Mac went to work, and Jon arrived. He'd been looking forward to this all week. I started covering an ice cream cone with royal icing for trees. Autumn was making one too. Our hands got tired, and the guys asked, "How do you do it? We'll help!" So after a brief instruction period they set to work, and boy were they good at it! Who knew that Verne and Jon could make such nice icing leaves!

We decorated in teams: Verne and I, Autumn and Jon, and Collin and Abigail. More sibling love.

Those two argued over nearly every detail, and I threatened to send them to bed .

It's such a joy to watch someone who has never experienced activities like this. Autumn's house was put together with precision.

In the end, we had a wonderful day. Crazy, busy, and wonderful!


Darlene said...

Wow!! Sounds like great family time! What a blessing! Complete with a little bickering to remind us all that no one is "perfect"! Those are some awesome gingerbread houses!! Jon is a great addition to the family. You don't want to know what I thought that soy gingerbread was though...

Lydia W. said...

Mrs. Tracy, It looks like you guys had a blast... I have to admit, I am just a tad bit jealous. We still don't have any snow here. Hopefully, the Lord will bless us with some for Christmas, though. :)

Last year, my mom bought a gingerbread house kit, and I was put in charge of making it. (with help from all of my siblings, of course!) Unfortunately, it didn't turn out quite as well as we had hoped. :) We had a blast though, and it still tasted good... despite the fact that it didn't look anything like a house. :)
Thank you for sharing this post!
~Lydia W.

Gena said...

Y'all did a wonderful job! I think it is awesome that even the guys participated.

Also, those snow pictures are just beautiful. I wish we would get some of that down here. We never get much of anything, though. I'm so glad you had such a great day.

Christian Homekeeper said...

Beautiful!! I love snow and miss it because we lived in Alaska 8 years and now in WA we just get a lot of rain UNTIL tonight! We got snow, a little over an inch so far and its still snowing.....even though it was night, we played in it and threw snowballs lol. =0

The gingerbread houses look lovely also!


pearlsoftruth said...

They look too good to eat! Love the snow pictures...

Terri said...

What a wonderful time you all had. Tracy, would you be willing to share your recipe for the gingerbread house and boys? I bought a kit this year and it was a disaster. The children put the house together, decorated it and it promptly collapsed!

Heartathome said...

They turned out so well and that is such a wonderful family activity. I think it's terrific that even the guys wanted to get in there and help out.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Wow, that sounds like fun - thank you for sharing! I've never seen cookies like these. :o)

Abounding Treasures said...

Sounds and looks like everyone had a great time!

The snow photos were fabulous and so were the gingerbread people and houses :o)


Jodi said...

Oh, your snow looks gorgeous. Do you know, we didn't get a flake! It snowed all around us. I told the children I felt like we lived in the hole of a powdered donut! ;o) Do you still have any on the ground or is it all gone?

You all look like you had so much fun building Ginger Valley! I especially like the picture of Jon standing on the bench ~ lol. He's a serious architect!

lady jane said...

Wow! Just - wow!

What a nice story, one for the memory books, Tracy. :o)

That soy gingerbread...? um. gack!

Cathryn said...

Hi Tracy ~ I'm a home schooling mom for the past 15 years here in Kentucky. I got such a kick out of reading your gingerbread post. So very funny. You have such a way with words and the pictures just added to it. It was a nice peek into your world. Your children sounds like true "characters" that are a treat for you to have around. It was a blessing to read. Blessings ~ Cathryn in Kentucky