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The Gingerbread Nightmare
By Valerie Garner

Do you ever see those beautiful gingerbread houses during the holiday seasons that are so beautiful? They look so simple, and
look like such a fun project to do with the kids making gifts for grandma and grandpa. I could just feel it….soft Christmas
music in the background, the warm, spicy smell of gingerbread filling the air, the cozy warmth of the fire on a snowy day, and
my children and I building these luscious goodies sure to bless our family and friends, and all inexpensively as well.

That was the fantasy. Where was my mind? How could I forget about the little thing we call REALITY? Ever notice how professionals make things look easy? That’s the very mark of a professional.

The first reality check was the store. Money was very tight and these looked like a great way to give a quality to gift to several loved ones. After we did the shopping for the candy and the ingredients for these gingerbread houses, the bill totaled nearly $75. I almost fainted. (We could have bought some great gifts with that, or even bought beautiful gingerbread houses).

As for Christmas music, the children insisted upon the Chipmunk’s Christmas carols. Have you ever listened to more than 1 chipmunk song at a time? Have you ever noticed what that does to a brain?

The fire was nice, but then we had the fights over whose turn it was to stoke the fire. Two boys can fight over anything, and
anything involving work makes a worthy fight indeed.

We started with the dough, and that part turned out! It was SO delicious…..in fact we had to make more because after all of
us eating dough, there wasn’t enough for the houses. So….back to making more dough.

This particular dough had to be chilled, then rolled, then you cut pieces of the house out from a paper mold with a knife. Ok, got that part. We put it in the oven for baking, and half of the pieces burnt terribly. The other half were perfect, but you can’t build a house with half the parts. So…..we had to make MORE dough. By now, we’re not having fun anymore. It’s getting late and mom is beginning to want to get this mess cleaned up now.

We finished making new house pieces and it was like midnight, I had long put the children to bed and was cranky now at this point. The only thing to do now was to let everything cool (including tempers), and attempt the decorating tomorrow.

Whew….new day, it’s a wonder what a little sleep will do ya. Now we make the hard frosting that will act as glue to hold the pieces of the house together, time to build. Time for the fun to begin, boy are we ready!

We begin assembling the house, and half the roof piece breaks in two on one of the houses.

On the second house, we find the pieces to not match correctly. On a third house, we overcome all these first two obstacles, and now have great difficulty getting props to hold the house together while the “glue” dries, and it’s repeatedly falling apart and causing the oldest child to have a temper tantrum in frustration (mom too). Somehow through this fiasco, we end up with 1 viable house. (The others became, hard dog biscuit type things for the family pet). Oh well, she needs her Christmas goodies too, right?

We frosted the house and each child decorated half. The end result? A $75, UGLY gingerbread house that only a grandma (with apologizes from mom), would take and not be too insulted by. But, we did accomplish one of our goals….it was a memory. A memory we fondly call “The Gingerbread Nightmare.

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