Small Hands in the Big World

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Adventures: Gingerbread Houses


At the rate we’re building, we’ll soon have an entire gingerbread village. This is one of our favorite holiday activities (it shows up in various forms in the advent calendar—sometimes just us making them, sometimes inviting friends for a play date/party variation).  I love the endless creative opportunities and hands-on process. The kids love enjoy that too but let’s be honest, some activities are really all about the candy…

Trader Joe’s stole my heart this season with their $7.99 Gingerbread House Kit that comes with adorable frosting figures. It is quick to build and wonderfully stable for little hands to dive right in and decorate without waiting for the frosting to harden. Also, this kit provided the best recipe yet for gingerbread house building (whip one egg white until peaks form, add 250 grams powdered sugar until mixed then add some lemon juice and water to achieve a nice thick sticky texture)—I will never go back to my old basic mix!
Some folks might miss the pre-made frosting that comes with some kits but an opportunity to lick the spoon is never missed in this house...
Look at those cuties (the frosting figures too)
So focused


While we're on the subject of Trader Joe’s… can I just tell you how muck I love that store? Let me count the ways with this list of some of our favorites this holiday season…
On the first day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, a fabulous South African Smoke Seasoning Blend (made from mostly paprika, no chemicals, adds a wonderful flavor to veggies or tofu)
On the second day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, Two Gingerbread Houses
On the third day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, tri-color Veggie and Flaxseed Tortilla Chips
On the fourth day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, four cans of organic beans (best price anywhere… even though I know that it would be cheaper and more healthy to make them from dried beans… working on doing that more)
On the fifth day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, 5 pounds of Juicy Satsuma Mandarins (easy to peel for the kids and oh so juicy and delicious)
On the sixth day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, Sesame Honey Cashews (William would eat these by the cup-full if we let him)
On the seventh day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, a 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bar with toffee, walnuts and pecans (great stocking stuffer)
On the eighth day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, Snap Pea Crisps (this would be Sara's snack of choice any time)
On the ninth day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, Organic 9 Grain Whole Wheat Bread (if you don't like your bread to be sweet, this is a great one!)
On the tenth day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, all my favorite nuts and seeds at great prices
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, affordable organic dried cranberries
On the twelveth day of Christmas, Trader Joe’s sold to me, delectable Soy Creamy Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
OK, so I actually consolidate my trips a bit more than my list suggests... but you get the idea. Much better than partridges in pear trees, don't you think?

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