Throwback Thursday: Gingerbread House in 2010

You guys, I can’t believe we’re two weeks away from Christmas and I’m this behind. We don’t have a Christmas tree yet (the doves are on two small artificial trees in the office) and we’ve not built our Gingerbread house. We’re barely getting Timmy moved each night and I missed both the first and second Sunday of Advent at church.

December is going too quickly, or maybe I’m too busy, or both. Whatever the cause, I’m going to slow things down this weekend, otherwise I’ll blink and it will be 2015.

Here is seven-year-old Jeremy starting on our 2010 Gingerbread house while Salem supervises:

TBT Gingerbread



Ramshackle Gingerbread

This year I resolved to spend as little money as possible on the annual Gingerbread House, simply because I’ve been known to overdo it and have mounds of leftover candy laying around until Easter. (Here is last year’s house. All of those M&Ms wound up on my hips.) So, I selected seven one-dollar bags of non-threatening candy and decided to find other decorating solutions from the pantry (like cereal and Annie’s Chocolate Chip Bunnies). The result is a make-shift gingerbread house that looks… okay. Jeremy and Jackson love it, which is the point, but I know we could do better. Considering I spent $7 on the project, I won’t complain.

Plus, there’s no leftover candy. My waistline thanks me.

Somewhere Underneath All the Candy…

I promise there’s a gingerbread house in there.

Usually my gingerbread creations are far more organized and meticulously decorated. This year, we just threw it all on there (as you can see). We originally called it a Ski Lodge, but there are no skis, no lifts, and certainly no mountains. (You can hardly see the doors and windows.) Alas, this structure could just as easily be called a Gingerbread Shack.

Behold, the Last Week

Today begins my last week of being the Features Editor for Amarillo Magazine. Leaving my job was an inevitable decision considering our attempt to move back east, however it’s coming sooner than later since our house still hasn’t sold. The crux of the matter is that to sustain my current momentum would mean to suspend myself in an unending web of stress. Juggling the job (which requires more time), the book (which requires more time), the boys (which definitely require more time) and my health (which could more attention) has been like a carefully balanced walk on a high wire. Holding a stack of teacups on the end of a stick. Blindfolded.

Because Michele needs a full time helper, because the book needs to be finished as soon as possible, and because I cannot bark at the boys anymore in the afternoons, it was time to choose. Despite all of these reasons, I’m still very sad about it. I’m doing my best to be grateful for the time I was given, for the opportunities I had while I was there and for the friendships I built along the way. But as we all know, it’s not always easy to remain in a state of gratefulness.

This past weekend was meant to be shared with my dear friend Amy. She was to come to Amarillo for the first time and her flight was booked. However, on Thursday she became quite ill and it was the right decision for her to cancel the trip. I gave it no second thought. Instead, I just wished to be closer to her so I could help. Perhaps another opportunity will arise before we move.

My efforts to scrounge up some Christmas cheer paid off as I wandered around World Market yesterday. Amanda came to watch the boys so I could browse in absolute silence. What makes World Market so delightful this time of year is that it’s almost reminiscent of a Christkindlesmarkt, a German open-air market nestled in big city squares. Upon seeing the glass ornaments and tins of Lebkuchen, I’m instantly transported back in time to the magical wonderment of Christmases in Germany. I can almost smell the Nuremburg bratwursts on the grill and the warm, spicy scent of gingerbread and Gluhwein wafting from underneath the heated tents. While World Market doesn’t taste or smell like my memories, the sight of its decor is similar enough to bring those comforts to the surface.

And just like that I miss my parents.

I left World Market with the last gift for my Secret Santa, a few rolls of owl print wrapping paper, olive oil and wine. It is a true sign of my own restraint that I didn’t leave with much, much more. Like a dining room table, for instance.

The boys and I will celebrate the end of the school semester and the end of my career at the magazine this weekend by building our annual gingerbread house. While I know there are a slew of packaged cookie houses to buy these days, I won’t hear of it. Instead, I will break out my most favorite gingerbread book, pick a set of plans and together we’ll construct our sugar structure from scratch.