If you can believe it, in my entire life I have only made one gingerbread house. That was many, many years ago when my two oldest were middle elementary age. Until recently, I haven’t felt Jessie would enjoy it.
That may be my very favorite thing about coop, Jessie’s willingness to try different things and hang with them longer than she would if it was just the two of us.
When we arrived, Cindy (aka Nana) had everything set up and ready to go. She had taken the frosting and put it in a squeezable container that has a small tip. Like the kind you can buy for ketchup, but clear. You can see these in the first picture. This was so much easier for the kids to manage than the bag the frosting comes in.
Cindy’s family does gingerbread houses every year, so she’s a pro at this. She warmed the frosting slightly to make it easier to squeeze out. When it got hard to squeeze, we would put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm it back up.
Ashley, the oldest, was able to do her house entirely independently. She’s been doing these every year with her Nana, so she’s a pro too.
Jessie and Joshua both started out squeezing the icing themselves, but after a while needed help. If you’ve never done this, it really is work to squeeze that icing out!
Heather and I helped them with the icing and they put all the decorations on. It was still plenty of OT (occupational therapy), fine motor work. Holding the small pieces with a pincer grasp and putting it in place with the right amount of firmness. Firm enough to stick into the icing to stay and not pushing the roof too hard.
Cindy had purchased some other decorations in addition to those that came with the kit. Each of their houses was decorated slightly differently. Cindy had several types of edible glitter, which Jessie liberally applied to the roof once all other decorations were in place. She LOVED the glitter.
It took us about 2 hours to decorate our houses. That was a long time for Jessie to stick with it. She enjoyed it the whole time, never got bored or wanted to give up. The whole experience of working together and enjoying this time with our friends will always be a sweet memory for me. Oh yeah, Jessie enjoyed it too.
Jessie loves for me to display her projects in our home. She makes a lot of arts and crafts when she goes to her camps in the summer and I simply can’t put them all out. When I suggest she put some of them in her room she’s offended.
Her gingerbread house is proudly on display on the piano in our living room. I really will enjoy seeing it all season long. Buddy (aka Bad Buddy, our 7 month old curious kitten) has already been interested in it. He is interested in anything new. The small tree on the piano was knocked over and the gingerbread house turned differently than I had left it just a little while after I put it on the piano. He continues to earn his nickname almost daily.
A friend of mine told me that cats don’t like the scent of orange and that a little spray of orange cleaner on the lower limbs of her tree last year stopped her kitten from climbing her tree. I plan to buy some of that cleaner ASAP. I want to be careful and will use a small amount though because I caused my cat permanent neurological damage diffusing essential oils. What she used didn’t appear to have hurt her kitten in any way. She only sprayed a little on lower limbs.
Whether it’s gingerbread houses or other festivities, I hope you all are making sweet memories this Christmas season.