Friday, January 3, 2014

gingerbread and santa clause

There is always so very much blogging to do at Christmas time.  Ah, the pain.  The difficult life I lead.  But don't worry.  I am willing to sacrifice a life of leisure for you, my fine (and very few) followers.  
Before we get into gingerbread, can I just tell you how thankful I am for being near my family?  I'm not sure that my family is as excited as we seem to occupy a lot of their time (perhaps I have already stated this?).  But whether they are happy about it or not, we are thrilled.  And seriously, how could my nephews and nieces not be thrilled to have abundant time with their Auntie Carla?  Please, don't answer that......
Gingerbread house day!
It is an annual event for these kids - one that we have been able to participate in once before - 5 years ago maybe?  The eight cousins have always got together and done some building and decorating.  This year, we added another four, bringing the cousin total to a chaotic 12.  Throw in three sisters (in-laws), and a mom, and that brings us to a whopping 16 (the men and other sister surprisingly bowed out... I hope you read that with as much sarcasm as with which it was written).
Since our family unit has another annual tradition - a Santa Clause (yes, the "e" is supposed to be there) movie marathon, we figured we would go ahead and combine the two.  Watch a movie here, squirt out some royal icing there, watch another movie, stick a gumdrop to a dry ginger structure there..... You get the idea.
Before we got started with the official festivities, the kids had an impromptu game of spoons.  As they were having a dandy time and all ages were involved, it was not easy to suggest we watch a movie instead.  Seriously - how often to kids, ages 8 to 16, both genders, play well together, on their own initiative, and have a great time?  Ya, almost never.  So we held off on movie #1 for a while.

We did end up stopping the frivolity to start the movie but I do think it was well timed.... may as well end on an up note, yes?
Movie #1 started and was well enjoyed.  Then it was time for the gingerbread house building.  Kim, Lauren and I assembled the houses/train while Glenda got pretty much everything else together.  Then the kids went at it - Lucy and Riley had one house, Brooklyn, Timaya and Mia had another, Cade and Shandy had at the train and Jesse, Cole, Maddy and Alex did some small village houses.  Lauren stuck with more detailed ginger people.
Is it wrong to revel in someone's weakness?
Okay, ya, but what if that someone is your sister-in-law who is good at pretty much everything and everyone likes her because she really is a wonderful person and you often feel like a real loser when you are with her (not that she intends to make you feel that way because she is truly way too nice to do that on purpose) because you stink at most everything and so you look like a moron?  But she is so great that she always builds you up and is so nice and encouraging.
Well, okay, it is probably wrong but it is also really fun.  Especially when you threaten her that you are going to do it and then you actually do!  Ha!
I had heard stories from my sister about our sister-in-law's lousy gingerbread house making skills.  She suggested that this year we buy preassembled gingerbread houses so that the kids could just decorate them and not bother with assembly.  But did Kim and I want to lose out on an opportunity to revel in Glenda's one weakness?  No way.  We both bought kits that required assembly.  AND we forced her to assemble.  Just a little one.  Not a full sized house.  We are full of mercy and grace.
She started out okay - or so we thought.
But things rapidly went south and royal icing was growing scarce.  She may naturally hold her middle fingers out when bracing a house but it might have been a special (joking.... I'm assuming) message for the photographer who could barely get a clear picture because of camera shake due to laughter.
Then the cave-in.
She did manage to finally get something that somewhat resembled a house, if you squinted and jumped up and down when you looked at it (although we didn't really do that for fear of it crumbling before our eyes again).
Oh, and she also never used to be able to make ribbon curls either!  Two faults (although I believe she has recently conquered the ribbon - drat!).
Please note: for any of you concerned that I am being horrible, mean and nasty…..  I LOVE my sister-in-law.   Adore her.  I am very very thankful for her.  And she is so great that she can handle and laugh at this post and know that I am not serious about trying to embarrass her or do anything horrible to her.  In fact, all of the above is more, in my mind, about talking about how good and talented she is.  Everyone should be so blessed as to have Glenda in their life!  But she is still lousy at building gingerbread houses.

Lucy and Riley got the California Gingerbread house to work on.  It went through an earthquake and had to be repaired.

Maddy and Alex went a little crazy-rebel-teenager on us, with a large dose of completely hilarious.  Their first house - the coke house, complete with tagging (IT seems to be the only tagging that goes on around here - no idea what IT stands for, but in this case, being that it is spray painted on various building by hoodlums, I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean Information Technology.  I could be wrong.)

Then they got a house with cracks in it - kind of like the Californian earthquake house.  But this one became the crack house.
Then they decided they needed a crime scene house to round out the block.  The house was complete with blood splatter, body outlines and police tape.  Lots of red.  They were very festive like that.

Kim also bought an ugly sweater decorating kit.  Unfortunately the cookies weren't pre-made, so she had to get to work on that as well.  There were some lovely ugly sweaters made.

After the Extreme Home Makeover marathon, we went back to the other marathon.  The Santa Clause 2 played.  Then dinner of the traditional Slop and chips, then movie #3, with lots of sugar for dessert.

I'm pretty sure everyone had a great time.  I did at least and that is all that really matters.  Okay, maybe not.  I'm not that egocentric.  But I did have a good time.  But how could I not?

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