Christmas Cottage Creations

Gingerbread House, Frt., 2012

Gingerbread House, Side, 2012

This Post is Dedicated to Mothers and Daughters and the Design of Christmas Love. . .

We’ve been making these memories every year for many a Christmas. . .quiet evenings filled with candlelight, hot chocolate and Christmas carols floating in the warm celebration of family time. A fire burned slowly in the fire place and after we finished our sweet little Christmas Cottage, we would all sit down and giggle as we made smores at the fire place. We marked each Gingerbread masterpiece with a photograph. . .Took the pictures, had them developed and now we have a gorgeous collage of each one matted into one large frame, dated with the year. We take it out each Christmas and then add the photo of our current Cottage Creation.

Did you fall for the Holiday Hallmark Commerical??? Most real life does not look like those wonderful, glowing commercials! We all long for the perfect Christmas Collection of family moments! The truth is, I tried a Gingerbread house with my delightful daughters in the early years and it ended in tantrums of disappointments because their candy feel off, they ate more than they put on and then all four of them had sugar “high” at 10pm. I gave enough design orders the be saluted in my controlling effort to make a warm, happy Christmas memory. Was that my four loving girls, counting m and ms to make sure everyone got the same amount? Really? I guess the lesson on sharing was too “sugar coated” to get through to their little developmental selves. I tried with graham crackers and the whole thing collapsed before we got the roof on top. We have not had a fire in the fire place in forever because some sweet songbird built a nest and the smoke back draft filled the house last time we tried, and we keep forgetting to just simply call a chimney sweep. (Smores taste pretty good out of the microwave.)

Past years, I’ve been too busy, making my own kitchen creations, wrapping, another Christmas Party, etc. Things are different for me this year. A sweet friend, shared her gingerbread house mold. (The one I was always afraid to purchase cause I’d fail using it) It was the three younger girls idea to make a gingerbread house this year. (My thought life: uh oh, here we go. . .) Imagine this. . .I kept my mouth shut. (Except to tell them to use cake spray on the mold to get the pieces out). I just watched, kept my presence in the moment and said nothing. The house smelled like gingerbread (not by my hand), as pieces came out, they put them on wire racks to cool. Not to intrude, I took a little phone video. . .And just enjoyed their personalities play with the design.

Tired after another trip to Houston for new AFOs (Artificial Foot Orthotics), I held off fatigue to be a part of this moment in time. They invited me to participate with the front piece. . .God, how fun. . .you know how I love thresholds. How significant they have always been to me as I pass into the living space of another, or another steps through into the threshold of my life. I just looked at my piece for a while and nothing came to me. The other’s were busy, busy, busy. . .And then I thought. . .I’ve always wanted a red front door. (Okay, I know “red” again! Just put up with me!). Too conservative to break that color rule and paint my door red? Never could work up the courage. So on went my tiny red door and the knob. A few little add-ins. . . (Ashlyn had an infection in her wisdom teeth extraction, but pushed through for her sisters.) I enjoyed braiding the red (just can’t help it!) licorice into a house garland and pondering the cord of three strands is stronger. Why do I continue to rely on just one strand?

Ecclesiastes 4:13 A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Careful fingers, and a few stick pins to hold at critical points and it was up with smiles and quick photo to record the new moment. . .And then, they went to drive though Coffee Call to celebrate (yes, I let them go at 12 midnight. . .lock your doors and come tell me when you are home.)

No picture perfect moments in our house, but real messy attempts at design that reflects the love of Christmas.
Baby Jesus, we love you! Would you like to live in our Gingerbread House? Their are plenty of sweet treats for you!

P.S. If you want to try, recipes for royal icing hardens the fasted, but the squeeze, bagged, white, purchased icing really works much better than I would have thought!

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