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.

A LITTLE EXTRA FLOUR MAKES THIS DOUGH STURDY ENOUGH TO MAKE GINGERBREAD HOUSES, BUT ALSO WORKS GREAT FOR COOKIES. PLUS, THE SMELL OF GINGERBREAD BAKING IS DELIGHTFUL. (pamperedchef.com)

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

  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.

All That Glitters…

Beautiful Bunch!
Beautiful Bunch!

All that glitters may not be gold, but it sure is pretty!  Which is good, because the floors in my house glitter, the table glitters, my laundry glitters, and the interior of the truck glitters. It seems that when you work with glitter it just gets everywhere, kind of like sand at the beach.  As we prepared for the Canton Christmas Parade, I made signs for Cheyenne and of course a beauty queen needs sparkle on her signs- which is the source of all the glitter!

Miss Van Zandt County signs were not the only thing we made for the float.  Tony built me a small stable with a cross attached to it.  I have been wanting one of these for several years and it turned out just a great as I imagined.  On the cross I wrote “My Redeemer Lives” after all, what would Christmas be without the celebration of the birth of our Savior?  All along the rails of the trailer we attached bows of pine, cedar, and nandina.  A new use for duck tape was found along the way.  In areas where I could not wrap wire, the duck tape worked just great for fastening the greenery to the trailer.  It really turned out really pretty.  A bale of hay was placed in the stable and Sierra & Jonathan rode along.  Katie and Rylie, my lovely nieces, accompanied Cheyenne and sat with her.  They were dressed in the cutest red outfits with tutus.  My sister, Windy, always has them decked out right.

Jesus is the reason for the Season!
Jesus is the reason for the Season!

This was our first Christmas parade and although at the beginning I was really nervous about such an undertaking, it was not hard a bit.  The only thing “new” was the stable and that was built from salvaged lumber.  Everything else came from the land or was borrowed from Windy.  She had these really large ornaments that looked fabulous wired in with the greenery.  No one fell off or even looked like they might.  All of the greenery stayed in place along the parade route that started at the Jr. High and looped around the square.  I did also purchase an adapter that plugged into the cigarette lighter.  This powered the lights via an extension cord that was run out of the back window.  This little contraption is wonderful and will be used a lot to charge phones and laptops as we travel.

Getting the float ready
Getting the float ready

So, at 6:30 all the floats and other entries powered up and the procession began.  What fun!!  There was a record 50 entries in the parades this year and more people than I have ever saw came out to watch.  It was just so much fun to wave to all and have lots of people shouting out “Merry Christmas”.  What a great memory.  One little boy imp-articular made me laugh.  As we rolled by, he figured out what the cross said and began to shout, “My Redeemer Lives!”  it was awesome and I certainly believe it made God smile.  Then he looks at his mom and asks, “What is that?”  I like to believe that a seed of faith got planted.

Having fun!
Having fun!

After all the festivities were wrapped up, all anyone local who came to the parade came by the house for soup and cornbread.  That was really nice, too.  Not surprisingly, the boys ended up outside burning things in the chimenea.  Next thing I knew, all the adults had made it out there, too.  Not that it was cold and a fire was needed.  I was grateful the cold weather held off another day, dressing warmly was one thing I did not have to worry about.  Another Christmas season is passing by and we are making some really great memories.

May your Christmas Season be filled with joy and love.  And remember- Our Redeemer Lives!

Beautiful
Beautiful

Sierra & Jonathan
Sierra & Jonathan

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