The Gingerbread House

We had a great time making our gingerbread house yesterday! This year, I got a Wilton deluxe kit (half off!), which has extra candy and icing (pre-made…I didn’t even have to mix it!), plus two gingerbread trees, and two gingerbread people, in addition to the house itself.










It is a very time-consuming activity, so I’m glad that it’s not something we do every year, but it sure is fun when we do make one!

2012-13 School Year–Week Fifteen

Christmas School kicked into full gear this week! We kept working on math (Ladybug finished her kindergarten math workbook…I don’t know what she’s going to do next!), and writing, but everything else we did was Christmas-themed.

On Monday, we learned about Christmas during the Elizabethan period, and made a favorite craft…stained glass Christmas trees. It’s been a few years since we’ve made them, and it was the first time Ladybug got to make one, so it was a lot of fun!


Tuesday’s theme as a Georgian/Colonial Christmas. Since we read about the use of pomanders at that time, I got out the cloves and an orange, and we made one  of our own. Bunny and Ladybug have decided we should always have one around, because it smells so good, and I can’t say I disagree with them!


Wednesday we learned about Christmas in Victorian times, and how those celebrations influenced how we still celebrate Christmas today. We read The Christmas Bird, which is a Christmas legend explaining how the robin got its red breast. Robins are a popular Christmas decoration in England, maybe because of this legend, or more likely because, during the Victorian era, the postmen wore bright red coats, and people used to call out, “Here comes the robin!” when they saw one. We made a robin craft, as well. I’m pretty proud of this one, because although it was simple, it was my invention. We used brads to make the wings and feet movable, and decided to glue the robins to a blue background to make it look like they’re flying.


On Thursday, we moved on to the Edwardian era, which, to be honest, isn’t that much different from the Victorian era. We did enjoy looking at An Edwardian Christmas, which has no words at all. It was amazing what the children could infer from the pictures, and the small details they picked up on! Sometimes, it’s nice to just look at a picture book, and let the illustrations tell the story. We also read about St. Lucia on Thursday, since it was her commemoration day.

We moved into a more modern era today, learning about Christmas during World Wars I and II. We’ve read Christmas in the Trenches pretty much every year that we’ve been homeschooling, and it remains a family favorite. To be honest, I had never even heard of the “Silent Night Truce,” before reading that story, but I think it’s one of the most amazing war-time stories I’ve ever heard. We also read some selections from Letters from Father Christmas. The last letter Tolkien wrote fit in especially well with today’s wartime theme.

Our big craft was making a gingerbread house…only the second time we’ve tried doing so. I was smart this time, and actually read the directions beforehand, so I knew to assemble the house the night before so it could set up before the children tried to decorate it. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug had a great time coming up with and implementing designs. It was a very fun, although time-consuming, activity!


Next week, we’re only having a few days of school. We’ll be finishing our Christmas in England unit with a look at modern English Christmas celebrations, having our traditional “Nutcracker Day,” where we’ll read the story and watch not one, but two different productions of the ballet (one of them being the Royal Ballet, of course!), and celebrating the first day of winter and having our Christmas tea party. After all that, we’re going to take a vacation for a few weeks…I’m definitely looking forward to that!

If I was Smart…

Here’s how I *should* have handled the whole gingerbread house issue:

I *should* have really read the directions, instead of just scanning them to make sure I had any items necessary to complete the project.  Had I done this, I would have realized the lengthy drying times between steps, and I would have just assembled the blasted thing after the children were in bed last night.  Actually, if I’m being smart, I would have made Ryan do it.  Then he could have done the laborious and time-consuming trimming of the gingerbread pieces so they would lie flat.  This was a process that made me want to use some four-letter words, but as the children were present, that was really not an option.

I *should* have had the house ready to go this morning, so that Turkey and Bunny could just enjoy decorating it, as that’s really the only part they can do.  They’re not allowed to use sharp knives, so the trimming was out, and they can’t hold the decorator bag, so they couldn’t pipe the “glue” icing on (although, I suppose they could have tried spreading it on with a butter knife, in retrospect, but I don’t know if that would have made the process easier or harder!).

Finally, perhaps I *should* have considered doing this the easy way, the way I did in school…with graham crackers instead of gingerbread…I don’t know, maybe it wouldn’t have been easier after all, but right now, it seems like anything would have been a better alternative to the way we’re doing it.

Now we have to wait to this afternoon to decorate the house, which is the fun part…Turkey and Bunny are being surprisingly patient, for which I am extremely grateful.