A Recipe for Christmas Fun

Way back when when I was a Pampered Chef Lady, I earned a stoneware gingerbread house mold. My oldest two daughters, the only kids at that time, were 2 years old and 4 years old. That was the first year we made a gingerbread house. We have made one every year since- with the exception of last year.

This year was the first with the grands. The grands are 4, 3, and 2 years old. Their mamas, the two toddlers from the beginning of this story, are 27 and 25 years old. That is a lot of gingerbread houses! That is a lot of really great memories.

Traditions can be a tricky thing. There can be a lot of pressure to continue traditions handed down to you and they can feel like a yoke. Those same traditions can also make you feel grounded, like you know who you are and where you came from. I don’t want my kids to ever feel like the things we do every year are a yoke. If we outgrow certain things, I don’t want them to feel guilty that things needed to change. But, I also want them to have a thread to hang on to that runs all the way back through their history.

The gingerbread house is one of those. It is also my tradition. They can develop new things with their own children, but this gingerbread house mold and this tradition belongs to me and Tony. Mostly me, he was usually at the station when the house was made. My family that I grew up in never made a gingerbread house, we have lots of other traditions. So this is a “new” thing. If someone wants to carry on the gingerbread house when I am gone, that is fantastic. If they don’t want to, that is okay, too. I will have made all the memories that I am going to make by that point and it will be their turn to make the memories they want. But, they will be able to look back at this blog and see pictures and know who I was- at least a little bit. I think that is the best part of traditions- the imprint it makes on family history.

I have included the recipe for the gingerbread just in case you wanted to create a new tradition.



  • 3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp (7 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
  • ½ cup (125 mL) vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sugar
  • ½ cup (125 mL) molasses
  • 1   egg


  1. Whisk the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, and cloves together in a medium bowl.
  2. Use a hand mixer to beat the shortening and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the molasses and egg and beat until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until fully combined.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and divide it into 2 portions. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for 30 minutes. Use the dough to make cookies with cookie cutters or press into mold.

Christmas Outing 2011

The Ross Family 2011

Each year we take a little excursion to do some Christmas “event”.  For several years when the older two were little we would go to Marshall, TX.  Then, we did some other events like ICE at the Gaylord Texan or the Polar Express in Grapevine.  Some were more fun than others, but all our outings have been fun.

This year we went back to Marshall.  As best I can remember without getting out the scrapbooks, we haven’t been there since Sierra was 18 months old and I was pregnant with Jonathan.  Well, Jonathan is now 10 years old!  My, My, time really can get away from you.  Sierra and Jonathan were very excited about their first ice skating experience.

I have to say, when we were hitting Marshall before it was neat, the courthouse was always a sight to see, but that was about it.  They would put up the ice skating rink and a few other odds and ends but not much more.  That was then.  Now, there is a lot of things for the kids to see.  The lights around the courthouse were set to music and that was awesome!  I really recommend taking the family to Marshall for Christmas fun.  Tonight was cold!  It really felt like Christmas ought to feel.

As for the ice skating…. We had so much fun.  We probably all looked like wounded ducks, but we laughed and laughed.  Savannah took to it pretty quick.  Of course Tony acted as if he did it all the time.  Cheyenne was going great until she busted her knees and called it a night,. I am sure the knot on her knee will heal soon!  Sierra did get it, she said she would do better in a bigger rink since she didn’t know how to turn.  As for Jonathan he stuck to it.  By the end, he had it down.  Thankfully he didn’t mind all the ice and snow stuck all over him.  I busted with grace twice, its kind of hard to have a complete wipeout when you don’t get more than 12 inches away from the wall.  All in all, we did pretty good.  Most everyone looked like we did.  It was easy to pick out those that did not grow up here.

If you get to Marshall, there is a really good Mexican place on the square.  Casa Tamasa was quite good and priced great.