A Tale of Two Houses

Every year, the kids beg me to buy those gingerbread house kits. Every year, I give in. It’s like I forget about the huge mess they make. Or, maybe I think the joy they get from decorating the houses outweighs the annoyance of sweeping up bits of candy for weeks afterward.

Yeah, I definitely forget about the mess 😛

A couple days before Christmas, the kids got out their kits (I learned years ago that they could not build one house together.) I was working, so it was a great excuse to stay out of their project. I like things tidy, so my presence would’ve put a damper on their fun anyway (I think my younger son had more frosting on his jeans than his house.)

My older son (he’s 12) presented his masterpiece, complete with candy cane arch and candy walkway. The showoff even made a guest house out of regular graham crackers:

01-07 Gingerbread1

My eight-year-old son was frustrated that his house wouldn’t stay ‘glued’ together. I heard his aggravation, but he didn’t ask me for help, so I stayed away. When he did come get me to look at his creation, he presented it as a “gingerbread house in a tornado”:

01-07 Gingerbread2

I found this interesting, because it seems as we get older, we tend to color inside the lines, so to speak. I like my younger son’s creative spin (haha, spin… tornado… never mind) because it reminds me that things don’t have to be perfect to be visually interesting.

This is a reminder that once in a while, I should take the opportunity to toss the rules and let my creativity just happen.


44 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Houses

  1. hadhopeamy January 8, 2015 / 5:32 AM

    I made a gingerbread house at school for a competition. I had never made one before and we had to make the gingerbread pieces ourselves as well. Out of 40 people I managed to come second and guess what… I didn’t even get a picture!! I took a picture of my choclate prize but not the actual thing, damn! 😦
    I love how creative both of your sons have been in creating their gingerbread houses. When I was eight i would have been too frustrated to even attempt to finish a house never mind come up with the great tornado idea!
    It looks like they had a great time, happy New Year 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 8:08 AM

      Oh, I’m sorry you didn’t get a photo of it. Coming in second, it had to pretty awesome! I guess you’ll just have to recreate it, haha 🙂

      They both were creative- I mean, not many people build a guest house, or create a backstory for a house that didn’t turn out as anticipated. Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy new year to you, too 🙂

  2. suzicate January 8, 2015 / 5:39 AM

    Your younger one has spunk, imagination, and determination! Yay for him! I don’t have enough patience to attempt gingerbread houses…good job to both boys!

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 8:08 AM

      I’m deficient in patience, too. Something I’m constantly working on, Suzicate 🙂

  3. nrhatch January 8, 2015 / 5:54 AM

    Haha! I love that *SPIN* on things! And good for you for not rushing in to offer help before he sent out an S.O.S.

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 8:10 AM

      It was SO hard not to go in there, but I have a tendency to take over things to “do them right” so I’m working on staying out of things more. I did laugh when he was so excited about his ‘tornado house’. I thought this post was fitting for today, since my “baby” turns nine 🙂

      • nrhatch January 8, 2015 / 9:16 AM

        Happy Birthday to your little guy!

  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) January 8, 2015 / 8:32 AM

    I think chaos oft breed creativity… so I think your younger son did a great job salvaging his creation… 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 9:05 PM

      If all else fails, create a back story 🙂 Glad you stopped by, Bjorn!

  5. Sean January 8, 2015 / 9:30 AM

    I can relate to your younger son. Gingerbread houses just don’t like me although they look neat when built correctly. I do like the creative side he chose to go with. He could have added some touches from the Wizard of Oz like a pair of legs sticking out somewhere. Did your oldest son add a swimming pool? Maybe he is hinting at something. He did a good job and getting everything to stick as it should. I like how he made it enough of his own. You have some talented kids Janna. Definitely forget the mess as it can be cleaned up later, maybe a few minutes after it is made but later. At least they weren’t shoving the candy up their noses. I did have to groan a bit at the pun. Take care and I think you need to write a little more 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 9:09 PM

      My problem with these projects is that I envision my end result looking like something Martha Steward would do, and then it ends up looking like, well, a house in a tornado and I wind up disappointed. The pair of legs? That’s totally something you’d think of! They cleaned up their own mess (although I think there might still be frosting on the underside of the table) so it wasn’t too bad for me. I appreciate the nice words, Sean. I’m hoping writing shakes loose soon. So far, not much suitable for blog posting or anything else.

  6. Emilio Pasquale January 8, 2015 / 9:44 AM

    My wife seems to share at least one of your tendencies. She is always trying to help. Some might call it a control issue but I’d rather not. Happy birthday to your “baby”. Any birthday plans?

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 9:12 PM

      Good you look at it that way, Emilio! I have a tendency to like things done my way, so it’s a conscious effort to back off. We got him a cake for his birthday. When we see my parents this weekend, we’ll probably go to dinner at a restaurant of his choice.

  7. Debbie January 8, 2015 / 5:11 PM

    Love this, Janna. My former sister-in-law always made a gingerbread house at Christmastime. It was a fantastic creation, every nook and cranny accounted for, and far too pretty to eat! I’ll bet BOTH your sons served up delicious candy houses — love how you see your younger son’s edible creation as an opportunity to let creativity FLY!!

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 9:13 PM

      I could never eat a gingerbread house, Debbie! I think they like to do the houses because of all the candy they eat in the process 🙂

  8. Michael January 8, 2015 / 6:26 PM

    I like the idea of a tornado-stricken gingerbread house. Very novel. 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 9:14 PM

      I think he made it work, Michael 🙂 It was too funny not to share it here.

  9. joannesisco January 8, 2015 / 6:40 PM

    Smart to get separate kits for the boys!! … and it is interesting to see their creativity in action. Mess is required 😉

    • jannatwrites January 8, 2015 / 9:15 PM

      Yes, there was definitely mess involved, but they did a pretty good job cleaning up, Joanne.

      • joannesisco January 9, 2015 / 6:50 AM

        wow – they cleaned up! Boys are full of surprises 😉

        • jannatwrites January 13, 2015 / 8:36 AM

          Well, them cleaning up was part of the deal!

        • joannesisco January 13, 2015 / 10:44 AM

          Yeah – but my experience has been that this part of the deal isn’t usually executed particularly well 😉

        • jannatwrites January 14, 2015 / 9:46 PM

          That’s very true, Joanne!

  10. vishalbheeroo January 9, 2015 / 9:57 AM

    Like you said, remove the mind blocks and be free for creative juices to flow. Loove them all:)

    • jannatwrites January 13, 2015 / 8:37 AM

      Yes, I think sometimes our adult minds prevent us from tapping into the creative exploration we knew as children. Kind of sad, really. Thanks for stopping by, Vishal!

  11. chlost January 9, 2015 / 1:26 PM

    Oh, that boy is going to be a very successful something or another!

    • jannatwrites January 13, 2015 / 8:38 AM

      He’s nine and lots of big ideas, Chlost. We’ll see what is to be as he grows into those ideas, haha!

  12. pattisj January 9, 2015 / 2:08 PM

    I love that he was able to give his project a name. Very creative–hmmm wonder where he gets that from…

    • jannatwrites January 13, 2015 / 8:39 AM

      Gosh, Patti, I don’t know where he gets it 🙂 They both come up with entertaining things, but my older son is a bit more serious.

  13. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) January 11, 2015 / 9:45 AM

    Very cool! This is one project I have never attempted with my kids although my son got to make one in kindergarten and loved it. Love the creativity that it inspired in your kids and the tornado is just awesome!

    • jannatwrites January 13, 2015 / 8:40 AM

      There are some things that go over my threshold of messy (like in preschool when they would play in colored shaving cream, smearing it all over the table.) This is one thing that as long as I’m not watching the mess happen, I can go with it 🙂

  14. Imelda January 11, 2015 / 4:00 PM

    The important thing is your 8 years old enjoyed the activity and his work. I like his perspective. 🙂

    My husband buys those kits after they were put on sale. I always complain about the mess that I clean up but like you, somehow, I forgot about the clean up I need to do while the children are enjoying themselves. Often, those houses stay until they have been eaten. Ugh!

    • jannatwrites January 13, 2015 / 8:41 AM

      He was frustrated at first, but once he found an angle, he was okay. I’m glad your kids get to do them too, Imelda. There’s something magical in all that frosting and candy, I think!

  15. philosophermouseofthehedge January 14, 2015 / 2:19 PM

    Hmm, may have to look for those kits – fun activity for me if this miserable weather keeps up!
    Worked with 3-4 yrs olds for a bit experimenting with those little brains – they are quite wonderful people, little kids. Their thoughts may go in a while different direction than you expect if you give them the materials and the reins. Mostly ending up with quite wonderful results ( you do have to see like a child to appreciate.) I love that tornado effect. Nothings more fun than a kid thinking.
    (shaving cream. Must use very big flat pans or cafeteria trays…set it and the kid inside a big flat box on the floor or bath tub…although shaving creme really cleans countertops well….)

    • jannatwrites January 14, 2015 / 9:50 PM

      Those gingerbread house kits are fun- when the pieces cooperate! Kids do have such creativity 🙂

  16. Tessa January 14, 2015 / 9:08 PM

    What a fantastic story and the houses are cute. I loved the story of the tornado. That kid has imagination!

    • jannatwrites January 14, 2015 / 9:52 PM

      Thanks, Tessa! Yeah, he comes up with some funny stuff sometimes 🙂

  17. Heena Rathore P. January 15, 2015 / 11:43 PM

    Awww.. such cute houses and the tornado one looks great! Your kids are really creative!

    • jannatwrites January 16, 2015 / 12:11 AM

      Haha, yes, they have big imaginations, Heena!

  18. agjorgenson January 18, 2015 / 3:05 PM

    So many lessons in life to learn, and so many come from the youngsters!

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