Gingerbread Houses...

One of the things I love about Christmas is the smell of gingerbread. My mother was an expert at baking very thin, crispy, delicious gingerbread cookies, and I have yet to perfect that skill. Loving gingerbread, I also love gingerbread houses. I tried baking one from scratch years ago, and my walls and roof did not match up at all! So, over the past few years, I have purchased the components of the gingerbread house, and then I just assemble and decorate it myself...little shortcuts come in very handy at this time of year!

My favorite gingerbread house kit is the one from IKEA. I like the size and quality of the house, and the price of $4.99 is pretty hard to beat! Now, the package does not include any icing or candies, but that doesn't bother me because I like to make my own icing anyway. I prefer very simple gingerbread houses, without much or any candy adornment so the IKEA kit is perfect for me. This year, IKEA also sold a gingerbread tree, so I purchased that too.

So, I set out to assemble and decorate two gingerbread houses for my little buffet in the kitchen eating nook. Here's what I had to start with:

I made some royal icing...just 3 egg whites, 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar, and 4 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar...easy, peasy! I began to assemble the walls...

And then....disaster struck! One of the walls fell off and crashed to the floor!

And one of the trees was broken inside the package! I decided to use my icing to patch the tree and the wall and see what happens.

Well, the tree held together pretty well, but the wall seemed very unstable to I decided to go with Plan B. I guess I could have just ditched the broken house/tree, but I have a thing about symmetry, so I really wanted two houses and trees! I remembered that I had seen a gingerbread house on pinterest that looked like a log cabin, made with pretzels. Voila...Plan B!

I went to work completing the one "standard" gingerbread house and turning the other one into a log cabin. Cutting all the pretzels custom lengths was a bit of a challenge, but I was determined to complete the project! (Maybe there is a little Norwegian stubbornness in my blood!). By the way, the scent of the gingerbread is wonderful as you work on the construction!

After way too much time into the evening....the gingerbread houses were finally completed! First, the gingerbread success, using some Norwegian details like hearts and swirls...

And, finally, the gingerbread house fail...Plan B...log cabin:

Sometimes the Plan B's of life do work out! And what initially seems like a failure, can have something good just around the corner...different than your original plan, but successful in an unexpected way.  

Does anyone else have a gingerbread house fail story? Would love to hear it! I hope you are having a little fun and using some creativity as you prepare for Christmas. As I worked on my gingerbread projects (marathon!), I enjoyed listening to one of my favorite acapella groups, Pentatonix. I'll close with one of my favorites, Little Drummer Boy:

I'm off to bell choir practice...hoping to "play my best for Him." With Christmas cheer, Gracia