Sometimes, you just gotta know when to let things go.
Mine are not pretty.
To be fair, I am not a baker. I am not a visual artist. I kid-craft. In 2011, the girls' uncles sent them a gingerbread house kit. Just follow the instructions and decorate as you will. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?
The icing was so thick, it clogged my decorating tips. The girls thought it was funny. Mr. B was gleefully texting his brother: "You made Danzel cry!"
I just wanted it to be as pretty as the ones my best friend's super-crafty SAHM made and brought to school every year. I was always so jealous.
This is our first gingerbread house.
My brothers-in-law sent us TWO HOUSES the following year. Making Danzel cry makes everyone else laugh.
But I learned from our mistakes the first time around, and our 2012 houses were much nicer, if far from perfect.
The uncles didn't send us any kits last year, and I certainly didn't buy one. But this year, Little Sis got a less-fancy, name brand candy kit for her birthday. As soon as the tree was up and the boxes were put away, they begged to decorate it.
My job was to put the main structure together. The girls insisted on doing all the decorating themselves. See those faces? They were saying, "Go away, Mom. Leave us alone, Mom. We got this, Mom."
The only icing on the house was there as glue for the little candies. This wasn't going to be a Pinterest-worthy gingerbread house, but it wasn't my kit. Let it go, Danzel.
No tears this year. It wasn't my house.
Oh, wait - there was a downside to letting the girls take over. You see, the real reason they wanted me out of the way was so they could pick off most of the candies and put them in their little mouths.
As I went to move the house to the girls' play table in the family room, I finally noticed the missing candies. "Nibble nibble, little mouse," I muttered in my best Joan Collins-as-witch voice.
But that gave me an idea.
You know those Madame Alexander dolls that sometimes make it into McDonald's Happy Meals? I've thrifted a few through the years, and a certain pair just happened to be lurking next to the fairy tale books in the living room.
Anytime I can tie fairytale goodies into my decor, you know I'm happy, right?
I thought I'd round up a few wonderful gingerbread houses in illustrated versions of "Hansel and Gretel" today. I have a tendency to judge the art from this story based on how delicious the witch's house looks. The Japanese puppet book from the My Tiny 3-D book series wins, I think, although the Paul O. Zelinksy house looks rather tasty.
|Clockwise from the Top: Arthur Rackham, The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, 1909; Kay Nielsen, Hansel and Gretel and Other Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, 1925 (taken from here); Jen Corace, Hansel and Gretel by Cynthia Rylant, 2008; Paul O. Zelinsky, Hansel and Gretel by Rika Lesser, 1996; Adrienne Adams, Hansel and Gretel, 1975; Gustaf Tenggren, The Tenggren Tell-It-Again Book, 1944; Rose Art Studios (Tokyo), Hansel & Gretel (My Tiny 3-D Book Series), 1960s; Joan Walsh Anglund, Nibble Nibble Mousekin, 1962; Jessie Willcox Smith, A Child's Book of Stories, 1911; Mercer Mayer, Favorite Tales from Grimm, 1982.|
And of course, you've just gotta love the classic Little Golden Book illustrations, both the original Erika Weihs edition from 1943:
and the Eloise Wilkin edition from 1954:
Okay, I've exhausted this post.
Anyone have a favorite version of "Hansel and Gretel"? A favorite gingerbread house illustration? Do you decorate gingerbread houses? Do you use a kit, or do you actually bake your own?
Okay, truth - I love to bake, just not decorate. And I really, really, really want some gingerbread now...
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