Posts Tagged ‘candy’

Ginger-Ale House

I made my first gingerbread house this past Christmas. I am fifty-seven years old and had never made one, so I decided that would change. I informed my children, who are now 28 and 26,  it is never to late to begin a tradition, and that when they came home from eastern Europe and New York City to stay with me over the holidays, we would be making gingerbread houses….beer included in the mix.

I have been researching gingerbread houses and even have a board on pinterest on the subject. If I was going to create a gingerbread house, I really needed to know what the hell I was doing.

I started by looking at recipes for creating the gingerbread walls and roof for the house and I thought to myself, “Oh, hell no.”  No, this gingerbread house newbie was going to have to buy kits this first year. The thought of mixing and rolling and baking on top of my Christmas cookies and planned dinner was too much for me.

So, I found kits at Walmart. I also started accumulating candy and stuff to put on the gingerbread house. I bought other bases because I wanted to have room to make a yard. I was ready.

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The best part of this was the fact that my kids, now grown, seemed to be excited to put together a gingerbread house. When they were small, I was so busy getting ready for a Christmas Eve sit- down dinner at our house for 25 people, baking cookies and cleaning, that I just never thought about gingerbread house building.  It took us a while to get everything cooked and ready. I even used china and didn’t think about using plastic bowls or plates for salads or desserts until I was just tired of  it all.  So, our gingerbread house building I guess had to wait.

Better late than never.

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My son has been living in the Republic of Georgia and already had plans to alter his gingerbread house. He was thinking of Georgian architecture and went to the kitchen and came back with a knife. He sat, studied, and then began manipulating his walls and roof. He was smiling, so I knew he came up with an idea.

Alex, on the other hand, jumped right in and began icing her walls to the base. She remarked several times she was going to win. Before we started, we decided we would post our houses on my facebook wall and ask my friends to vote on the best gingerbread house. No one would know who built what house. Alex was on a mission to win.

I, on the other hand, was dealt a blow when my gingerbread house was missing the icing bag. Really? Strike one on momma’s house. I tried to improvise by getting a zip lock bag and cutting a hole in one of the corners. Total fail. I made quite the mess.

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We had a lot of fun though.  After Alex spent a lot of the time bragging about how her house was going to win, disaster struck….sort of. She put so many round little balls on her roof, that her roof slid right off the house. It was too heavy. She used a few choice curse words and then just sat and looked at her award winning gingerbread house.

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So, her roof became a side yard. She exclaimed that she was done, but then grabbed a few gingerbread people and started icing them on as the roof. It left a hole in middle. As she finished her bottle of Blue Moon beer, she placed it into the middle of her house and proclaimed her creation, “a ginger-ALE- house.”  Way to recover, young grasshopper.

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Adam, meanwhile, changed the whole thing and created a drive-in. Yes, a drive-in movie theater. I was ready to start calling him Gingerbread Fred as he had pieces of gingerbread lying on the table with no direction in mind. And then it came to him. The result was creative and so very cute.

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I loved his result! It’s a Wonderful Life was even playing at the gingerbread drive-in and the scene where George tells Mary he would lasso the moon for her was on the screen. He had little cars with the speakers by the car and I just loved it.

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So, we were done. I was pretty proud of my first gingerbread house.

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It was a basic house, but I liked how I made the icicles. I also put tootsie rolls as logs.

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Now it was time for the judging. We cleaned off the messy table and lined up the contest entries.

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I then put it on Facebook, where my friends obliged and immediately began voting. People were also guessing who they thought each gingerbread house belonged to. Most of the people thought I made the drive-in, Alex made the cottage, and Adam made the beer hall. It was fun. I won, of course, but  as I got votes for “best workmanship,” the kids both received kudos for being creative.

In the end, our first gingerbread house building was a success, minus my icing fiasco.

I smiled when Adam said he wanted to do it again next year.

Gingerbread Fred will be thinking ahead.

Alex, on the other hand, will probably take a more modest approach and wait until her house is done before bragging.

And I am just happy I had both of my children on the same continent, spending an evening with their mom making memories.

Success.

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Trick or Treat, College Style

I love fall. It is the best season of the year. I think it is because I love to wear socks. Well, I mean, I love the leaves changing, and football, and wearing sweathshirts with shorts. Above all, I love Halloween. I have so many Halloween stories, I thought I’d better start now to get them all in.

Halloween was fun in college. The year was 1976 or 1977. Can’t be specific. I already wrote a blog about dressing like the Three Blind Mice. We had parties to attend and costumes to throw together. We went to grape and grain parties. We went to swamp water parties. All I know is that we scooped our cups in a metal washtub thingy and sucked on the fruit, because that’s where all the booze was concentrated. Or so I’ve heard.

Yes, we worked hard to celebrate Halloween. But, there was something we forgot one Halloween. We forgot about the true meaning of Halloween. Yes, that’s right. We forgot to buy candy.

My roommate, Pat, and I were home alone. We had no idea it was October 31. The parties were all held the Friday and Saturday before. It was Monday, October 31. Just another day. But, we were oh so wrong. It was Halloween, after all, for the CHILDREN.

Pat and I were sitting on the couch, minding our own business, when the doorbell rang. I answered the door. There was a little girl standing there, very witch-like. “Trick or Treat”, she said, and held out her bag. Her mom was standing at the bottom of the steps. I was shocked. I mean, like seriously shocked that there would be a little witch with a green face and long black hair at our door.

“Just a minute sweetie, ok?” I sort of shut the door and looked over to Pat, who didn’t hear the sweet little witch cherub say those popular words this time of year. “Trick or Treat.”

“Oh Shittttt.” I paced around like I had to go to the bathroom. “Shit, Pat, It’s Halloween. We have a trick or treater.” Pat ran to the door like I was a liar and the little girl thought we would be back already with mounds of candy. She held out her bag again.Except we had nothing. Pat had cigarettes. Couldn’t give the kid cigarettes. That would be promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. Giving bags of candy is oh so much better. We were running into each other trying to get to the kitchen.

I yelled. “Look in your purse. Do you have anything like a pack of gum?” I was frantic. “How about money?”

I yelled back into the other room that you can’t give kids money. It was HALL O WEEN. It had to be candy. What the hell were we going to do. Telling her to get the hell off  of our porch you devil worshiper was not an option. We had to prevail.

Maybe we should just perform a trick for her and send her on her way. I mean, it is Trick OR Treat.  We should get the cards.

I found something. Pat laughed and said, “You can’t do that.”  Oh, yes I can. Times a wasting. I told Pat to distract her and talk to her while I shoved the item down into her bag so she wouldn’t know what we gave her. Yeah, sure.

I took my find back to the front door and apologized to the child. While Pat asked her a question about her outfit and waved to her mom, I shoved the popular Halloween item into her bag and quickly shut the door.  Oh, Dear God, maybe she wouldn’t notice. Her bag was pretty full.

Pat and I quickly shut off the porch lights. We could not have this happening again. We both moved the drape over our door window back a bit and saw the little witch take the item out of the bag and show it to her mother.

And that was the year I gave a sleeve of crackers for Halloween.

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