Chocolate Houses! Gingerbread Houses! Making Christmas Memories.



We will start with Chocolate houses!

Diane and I got together for an unstructured* Christmas play date!  Yaaaay!

And we spent the afternoon blissfully playing with and giggling over our chocolate house kit that Peggy from Chocolate Craft Kits had given us during a recent visit to her "doll house". 

She is renovating a lovely old home in Portland and turning it into a chocolate workshop. In the meantime, she sells her kits on line.  (I had her ship one to my son and grandson - more about that in a moment!)

The kits include all the house pieces cut from very good quality chocolate. ( I have that on two very good authorities - my son and my husband!) Also included is a base foundation, and two tubes of candy glue - one chocolate and one white!

The candy glue is totally cool.  When you remove the tube from the kit it is rock hard, but after warming in a hot water bath for a few minutes it becomes soft and is easily squeezed from the tube!

Diane didn't waste any time putting the house together!

Personally, I think she was anxious to get to the decorating part!  She was like that when we built gingerbread houses - nothing's changed!

Since the day was unstructured, we hadn't made any specific plans. We decorated with what was on hand.

Peggy had given us a package of molding chocolate.  And this is just about the coolest stuff on the planet!  You can do almost anything with it!

First, we rolled it out very thin and used the cutters from my Linzer cookie kit to make tiny hearts and flowers.  We were definitely behaving like 10 year olds by this time.  Give us a few ounces of molding chocolate and we can entertain ourselves for hours - giggling all the time!  Each new cut out, each new idea - more gleeful chuckles!

As with gingerbread houses, it is with chocolate houses!!  The roof is all important!

Then, once we had a most excellent roof, we began adding details all around!  We both really loved the pink, white, chocolate color scheme!

Finished!  But only because we ran out of molding chocolate! 

I love Diane's snow man and her little bows on the window sashes.  And I love my "Raggedy Ann" shrooms made from carved Hersey's kisses and little dots of molding chocolate!

As I said - I had Peggy mail a house kit to my son so he and my grandson could put one together. And being the fabulous son that he is, he sent pictures to his Mother!

He sort of got the front piece on backwards but it still works! Looks like he remembered everything he learned when we made gingerbread houses together!

I didn't think to send candy - so the 'boys' went candy shopping together and decided to stick with a chocolate theme! 

The fact that the house got this far before being consumed is a miracle!

But not a miracle for long!  I understand the roof is gone!



And then the sad tale of my gingerbread house disaster
! I've made it for 40 years without a gingerbread disaster so I guess it was my turn!  I don't know what I did wrong but my gingerbread house pieces were so fragile and brittle they either shattered when I breathed on them or they were completely welded to my cookie sheets.

Needless to say, the night before I was to decorate houses with Antonio and his sister, Sophia, a disaster of this magnitude brought on more a few tears!

My husband came to my rescue!  He remembered my friend Chris had a near gingerbread disaster last year, and he remembered her solution! So he ran to the local market, purchased two kits and proceeded to build me two beautiful gingerbread houses!

He has never built a gingerbread house in his life!  And just look at him piping on that frosting!

The children loved the houses!  And the aprons and chef's hats I made for the occasion!  Antonio wore his apron backward - not a fan of the gingerbread pattern! Sigh!

Find the pattern and instructions here at Michale Miller blog - making it fun!  Beautifully designed by Joanna of Stardust Shoes, the instructions were very well written and easy to follow. Thank you, Joanna, for helping make our holiday brighter!

Gingerbread chef, Antonio!  Looks like a pro the way he handles that tube of frosting!

Sophia will definitely be an interior decorator!  So meticulous about how she placed every piece of candy.

I loved Antonio's Christmas lights!  There would have been more strings, but as it turns out, he has a particular fondness for the candy he chose for the lights and consumed most of them before he could finish stringing lights!

Sophia chose gum balls and red hots for her lighting display!  And I love how she placed trees and gingerbread men and a path in front.

Thank you for playing with me today!

*unstructured

I believe that everyone needs an "unstructured" day once and a while.  It is the very best way to rest, nourish yourself and recharge your batteries.

An unstructured day is a day you set aside for yourself and make absolutely NO plans.  NONE.  When your unstructured day arrives, do only what you want to do in that moment.  Even if it is nothing.  Sleep if you want to sleep.  Go to a movie if it strikes you to do so.  Eat chocolate cake for breakfast if you want it.  Watch old movies all day.  Make an ornament for yourself if you want to.  Make soup!  Bake cookies!

The nourshing part of this is not so much about what you do but rather that you live in the moment and do only what strikes you in the moment

For Diane and I - we set aside an unstructured day to be together.  But we made no plans.  We simply showed up and let the day unfold.

 

Just now catching up on your

Just now catching up on your feast of Christmas posts and of course you didn't disappoint. Pam, your blog is always a wealth of ideas and I loved reading about traditions around the world. Let me add the picture of Diane decorating the gingerbread house is a beauty; I bet you took it. (And I have serious envy of those long eyelashes of hers!)

Dear Pam; I have set aside

Dear Pam;
I have set aside this unstructured time to catch up on your wonderful site. It's rewarded me with great photos and a really entertaining story that puts me SO in the festive mood, I want to run out right now and get a gingerbread house kit! Isn't is amazing how kids have a natural talent for decorating and color and they have definite ideas about what they want (apron inside-out)? Cheers to Kirby! He really came through (again!). I'm really glad you and Diane got some time together. Is she such a precise craftswoman, or what?!

On to the next post...

Happy Chrismas and Merry New Year, my friend.
xo

It's about time you girls got

It's about time you girls got together to play! The houses are all adorable. I'm inspired by your Posada post to at least get up in the attic and bring down my crèche which seldom sees the light of day. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful daughter. You are both so inspiring.

I love the idea of an

I love the idea of an *unstructured* day, especially a shared one. And, chocolate houses?!?! I'm not sure I'd ever get mine built. I almost nibbled my screen looking at the photos of yours. :)

How fun! We are decorating

How fun! We are decorating gingerbread houses this weekend. I've been hoping that the gingerbread turns out, it didn't last year! Now I know what to do if it doesn't!

I totally want a chocolate house! Yummy. We are listening to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory right now and the part about the Chocolate Palace for the Indian Prince is fun imagery.

Oh, I forgot, I was going to

Oh, I forgot, I was going to give you a link to our photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/17261684@N00/4189119856/

The chocolate houses are

The chocolate houses are soooo cool! This is a timely post for me for a couple of reasons. One, I made gingerbread houses on Sunday, and two, I listened to the podcast interviews with you (all three of them, including the gingerbread house one!) yesterday while I was working around the house.

This was my first year baking my own gingerbread for a house, and the method we ended up using worked great: I made the gingerbread dough (with my 2 & 3 year old) one day, my husband made a house template and cut out all the pieces and baked them, then I assembled them with my 3 year old son. My sons weren't really so interested in the decorating part (they got about 2 pieces of candy stuck onto the house and then just ate the candy and watched me work!). I went crazy and pretty much stuck candy on every clean surface, so little to no gingerbread is showing on the house!

Looks like all's well that

Looks like all's well that ends well. I love the chocolate and gingerbread 'structures' that were the result of your 'unstructured' day. Such fun, and good memories for all it looks like. Thanks for sharing with us.

 That was the Best. Day.

 That was the Best. Day. Ever! I seriously needed that unstructured time, and it was so much fun to just play like that with you for a while. It felt like those weekends when I was little and we'd build our gingerbread houses.

Thank you one million times!

I love it!!! Your chocolate

I love it!!! Your chocolate house is brilliant, and I'd give a million bucks to have been a fly on the wall to watch your unstructured day of fun unfold. :)

And I love the gingerbread houses. I'm sorry you had the frustrating experience of things not working, but look what fun that lead to! Go, Kirby! And the kiddos look as happy as ever. I love the aprons, and especially the chef hats. They are so lucky to have you!

love love love love love! :)

Such fun! Your chocolate

Such fun! Your chocolate house is beautiful! This might sound weird, but it kind of reminds me of a Louis Vuitton bag or something...hahaha. Wouldn't that be awful? Louis Vuitton printed chocolate for chocolate houses? 1,000 bucks a kit!

Sorry to hear about the gingerbread fiasco. I'm glad your hubby came to the rescue. Hubbies are great like that, aren't they? Decorating looked such fun! xoxo

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this crafty family post. How sweet is Kirby to help out?! And what fun you had with both children in different ways. You are truly enjoying the spirit of the season.
I just had a moment to listen to your podcast and as I explained to Diane, you sound just how I imagined you sounding - how strange is that? I loved listening, it made me feel like I was right there with you.
Thanks for sharing it with us :)

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