Thank you for all the sweet wishes for TheSecondChild’s speedy recovery from his cat bite. He’s gone home now and all seems to be back to normal — or so he tells me. It was certainly a memorable Christmas for us — I’ll always remember it for the chaos. I was even so distracted that I forgot the dinner rolls for Christmas dinner. The shame! We got a beautiful snow on the 26th — and to prove that bad luck comes in threes, SweetiePie capped off our string by having a little fenderbender in the storm. All these pesky little inconveniences — but everyone is fine, so we really can’t complain!
How is your between week going? Are you finding any time to relax? This is one of my favorite weeks of the year — we have snow, no work, and I even had time to go take a fun little knitting class — more about that later. In the meantime, I’ve made it through pictures of our 2012 Gingerbread competition.
Team 5: TheSecondChild, CuteNiece2, and BestFriendofFirstandSecondChild. I’m not sure what was going on with this team, but I can say that we had to censor part of their house. Too political for our happy little blog here. As you can see, the topic involved taxes — very timely for the fiscal cliff mayhem going on in Washington now. They did have some very cute touches — unfortunately, you don’t get to see them all LOL!
Team 4: TheFirstChild and TheManoftheHouse. What is it with these men? These guys almost had to be censored too. They decided to tease the aforementioned BestFriend about a blurry picture that was taken of him dancing with a girl a few weeks ago. They blew up the picture and recreated the bar — changing the bar name from 8 Seconds Saloon to 8 Sexonds. Naughty Naughty. They did have some fun touches though — a disco ball hanging from the ceiling, a bucking bronco in the corner, a raised “wood” (ahem, shredded wheat) dance floor, and horses hitched outside.
Team 3: MyDadLovesMeBestSister, CuteNiece1 and BigDaddy. MyDadLovesMeBestSister is always very creative with her candy. They started out by creating a nativity scene with a manger and horses in the center of the house. Then, something happened and they changed their plan. Maybe making a statement not to worry about their house? They created the Don’t Worry Be Happy House. I love the sprinkles on their roof, the dog with his pile of dog bones, and their cute little people with the wild, colorful hair!
After the first round of voting, there was a tie for the Team1 and Team 2 houses.
Team2: CrazyBIL, CuteNephew, and CuteNephew’sGirl. CrazyBIL always decides to create alternate shapes with his houses and he ends up carving up the gingerbread pieces. They created a prison this time. Where did that come from LOL??? Maybe, everyone is getting tired of trying to think up new themes??? Anyway, they were very clever with the details. Note the spaghetti window bars and rails for the fences. And orange jumpsuits for the prisoners. They even had an escaped prisoner who ended up in a pool of blood. Very fun!
Team1: SweetiePie and Me. In honor of our trip to the UK this past summer, it seemed only fitting that we would make a UK house, don’t you think? We briefly thought about crumbling a bunch of gingerbread to make a mountain with exhausted climbers in the snow on the top. But then, we decided to go more decorative instead. That’s Big Ben in case you can’t tell, LOL. We tried to make The Eye out of pretzels, but it wouldn’t hold, so I piped some frosting on a cookie sheet and baked it at 200 degrees for 10 or 15 minutes. I was quite surprised when it worked. Anyway, SweetiePie very cleverly created the rows of bobbies and a double decker bus. Then she created a river and we made a mini London bridge.
Can you guess which house won in the run-off? It was Big Ben — Yay! I’m starting to think people vote for my houses as a reward for all the time I spend baking the gingerbread parts before Christmas. Either way, it’s very nice of them!
So, that’s it for another year. Thanks for your visit — I hope you’re ready for New Year’s and that you’re having some fun this week!
So? How’s that relaxing in-between week going? I’ve had a chance to read just a few blogs and it looks like lots of you are reading, resting and making plans for the new year. As it should be! We’re managing to lie around and play with Christmas toys a little, but mostly it’s been busy. Today will be the third (and last!) day of painting in MeMum’s kitchen — you may remember that I did the cabinets a long time ago, but the ceiling, walls and trim were never done. Finally, we’ll have that big job out of the way.
I’ve also had time to weed through the many pictures of the annual gingerbread competition. We had a wonderful time again this year with lots of laughs. I’d like to congratulate my cute little family this year — we didn’t have one. single. collapsed house. WooHoo! They’re becoming real pros at the construction. There were lots of groovy little details too — several of which I don’t have good pictures of because you have to remember to take them before the roofs go on the houses.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly ( ;-) ) present to you the Houses of 2011:
Team 1: SweetiePie and CuteNiece1. Santa’s Workshop. SweetiePie is a real pro with the icing and this house was adorable. They have Mr. and Mrs. Claus out front and a super cute elf workshop to the side of the house. All the elves were at their stations working away. (The icing on the bottom right pictures says “Elves enter here —>”) I loved this happy cheerful house!
Team 2: CuteNiece2, CuteNephew, and BigDaddy. With BigDaddy on the team, we knew it was going to be pretty funny. They decided to do TheFirstChild and SweetiePie’s future house. The house where they have a bunch of children. The house that is falling apart. The front door is off of the hinges, the roof is cracking and one of the unruly children has started a fire at one of the corners of the roof. CuteNephew very cleverly carved the burned portion of the roof and then held it over the stove to get the charred look. The other unruly children are climbing on the roof and have crashed the family car into a tree. The created a pretty cute interior too — there’s a beautiful striped carpet and big screen tv (bottom right picture). And, of course, TheFirstChild is parked on the sofa watching that tv.
Team 3: TheManoftheHouse and TheSecondChild. This was the team that started the trend into irreverent houses five years ago when they made a frat house. They decided they should finally clean up their act and make a church. Being an all-male team, they were a little spare on the frosting, but they had some clever touches. We all wanted to know why the people were squished behind the bench. Don’t be silly — they’re kneeling and praying. I love the little bell in the steeple!
Team 4: MyDadLovesMeBestSister and CrazyBIL. CrazyBIL is a physical therapist so they made a model of his clinic. The small touches to their clinic were SO cute. They had workout tools everywhere — I loved the dumbbells and the pile of broken crutches behind the clinic. They also included a parking lot to one side of the clinic, and my very favorite touch, an outdoor yoga class (middle picture) to the other side of the clinic. Their proudest touch was the lighted candle inside — CrazyBIL created an open chimney so that the candle smoke could escape. Unfortunately, after awhile, the gingerbread started to get soft so we had to blow the candle out to avoid a cave-in.
Team5: TheFirstChild and Me. We stumbled around trying to think of something that would have most of it’s contents outside of the house. We finally settled on a tree farm. Which sent TheFirstChild (and the rest of us) into fits of laughter remembering an old high school tree farm joke. So, we iced up the house and planted trees everywhere. Then popped in a few tree-shopping families (one with a candy cane sled).
Great fun again this year! We held our traditional vote. Can you guess the winner?
Team 4′s Physical Therapy Clinic came in third, only lagging by one vote. Then Team 1′s Santa Workshop and Team 5′s Christmas Tree Farm tied for first. So we had a run-off.
Go Team 5!!! We only beat Team 1 by a vote and I really think their frosting work was superior. Plus, I think we won due to all the memories and laughter this house generated.
So, that’s it for this year. I can’t believe how quickly the year has passed. I probably won’t get back here for a few days so I’d like to wish all of you a Very Happy New Year! Stay Safe and Have Fun!!!
Whew! I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s weekend. It sure whizzed by quickly — in fact the whole Christmas break is just a blur to me. As much fun as it was, I’m thinking it will be good to get back into a routine. Thanks for all your fun comments on my blogiversary giveaway (if you missed it, the drawing is still open until Jan. 7th, just go HERE.) It’s been really fun reading all of the comments, especially from those of you who are just discovering blogs. There are so many wonderful blogs out there — prepare to be inspired!
Anyway, lots of you mentioned the annual gingerbread competition. You’re all so cute — thanks for being interested! I’m sorry I made you wait so long, there just hasn’t been any time to go through the pictures. I didn’t think we were as inspired as last year, but we still had lots of fun. So, let’s get to it!
Team 1 was supposed to be MeMum, CuteNiece1 and TheSecondChild, but TheSecondChild had to work late on the 23rd, so he wasn’t able to come home until the morning of the 24th. We jokingly refer to this group as our crazies and we laughed that the team draw put them all together. I think they had big plans to make a psych ward, but somehow that changed when TheSecondChild couldn’t make it.
We had a CuteFriend of the boys’ stand in for TheSecondChild at the last minute. CuteNiece2 was working late so CuteFriend and MeMum started building the house. CuteFriend had never built houses with us before and as he was constructing the house, MeMum was often heard to utter “just wing it”. They were having a terrible time and when CuteNiece2 arrived, she rolled up her sleeves to get things straightened out, but by then, CuteFriend was also saying “just wing it”. Sadly, “just wing it” wasn’t terribly effective and their house collapsed and they threw in the towel.
Team 2 surprised us with an adorable American Eagle house in honor of CuteNephew’s new job at our local American Eagle store. He and SweetiePie made a wonderful team and they did a great job. They left a roof off so that the inside of the store could be seen with all the clothes and mirrors. I love all the special touches on this house – especially the swirly frosting. Very, very cute!
Team 3 was TheManoftheHouse and me. We did a camera shop and didn’t even manage to finish our house. We wanted to put lots more frosting on the front and back and a line of kids waiting for Santa photos, but I spent most of the first hour fixing bad frosting bags for everyone (note to self: use plastic bags next year). While the initial construction on our house was drying, TheManoftheHouse was busy building that adorable little camera on a tripod.
Team 4 was CrazyBIL, TheFirstChild and BigDaddy. Their house started out looking suspiciously like last year’s house and when BigDaddy was spotted making a sleigh, someone asked them what they were making. CrazyBIL said a Sleigh Wash and we all started laughing. It WAS just like last year’s house. The funny thing is, before we all started, the three of them discussed whether a sleigh wash had ever been done, and none of them could remember one. After that discovery, they changed course and made people going into the sleigh wash or something or other. There was serious cheating going on when they ripped off a big hunk of cotton from my nearby snow village scene and used it for smoke coming out of the chimney.
Team 5 was MyDadLovesMeBestSister and CuteNiece2. They made a super cute art studio and I can’t believe I didn’t manage to get a good shot of the front of the house. Look at those adorable little topiaries that MDLMBS made from Lindor truffles and Reese’s peanut butter cups. Those were my favorite touch from all the houses. Followed closely by the cute little pretzel easels featuring Christmas art work. Oh So Clever!!! They left the roof off of their house too (ok, it might have kept falling off) and it made for perfect views into the arteeeest studio.
And the winner by votes? The Camera Shop. I’m thinking it was either a sympathy vote because we ran out of time or because everyone loved the little tripod camera. We gave the prizes (movie tickets) to the runner up team — SweetiePie and CuteNephew.
So, there you have it. We’re all running out of ideas for houses, so hopefully it won’t be even more downhill from here!
Finally, I’ve managed to get the gingerbread houses together. I’ve been a lazy bum this week — just hanging out and not doing much at all. It seems like I’ve cleaned a lot, but you’d never know it by looking around here.
This year’s competition was pretty tough. The top players came prepared with a theme in mind, which made it really fun. The good news is that everyone kept it clean this year (no strip bars or frat houses!) The bad news is that everyone kept it clean this year — which translates to: not as funny. Everyone topped the creativity scales and had a really good time though, so it was all worth it!
TheManoftheHouse and I were the defending champions from last year and we came in Dead. Last. Not one vote. It was fixed! We didn’t really have a plan, but when I saw the pretzels, I thought we should do a log cabin in honor of our pioneer ancestors. And every log cabin has a clothesline outside, right?
My nephew brought a guest to the competition (a girl! – she had fun, she’d never made a gingerbread house before) and they made the Tinsel Town Theater. You’ll notice that Up is currently running on the marquis and there is plenty of popcorn and candy for all the people standing in the ticket line.
Between the next two houses, I can’t remember who came in second and who came in third. (I’m sure SweetiePie knows though!) CrazyBIL and my youngest niece teamed together and created Santa’s Sleighwash. Check out the cupcake liner door flaps and the dirty sleigh going into the sleighwash and the clean sleigh coming out of the sleighwash. So Clever!
TheFirstChild and SweetiePie always have a theme and this year was no different (we’ve decided next year that the honeymoon is over and we’re going to split them up.) They made a Jump School to commemorate the fact that they went skydiving in August of this year (and lived to tell about it). Oh So Cute! Look at the little skydivers and the airplane. And doesn’t SweetiePie have pretty icing-writing?
And Tah-Dah! The First Place winners this year were MyDadLovesMeBestSister, BigDaddy, my oldest niece and TheSecondChild. (Ha! I’m thinking they won due to being the biggest team – I’m not bitter or anything LOL!) MyDadLovesMeBestSister achieved her Master Gardener status this year, so to celebrate, they created a Garden Shed. The flower pots and little candy trees on the front are enough to melt any voter. Not to even mention the compost pile, butterflies on the left side of the house and the Koi Pond behind the house. Congratulations Team Garden Shed!
I’m so proud of my little family. When we first started decorating gingerbread houses years ago, they used to slap the frosting on the houses and make a big mess. I love seeing how much thought and creativity they put into the houses now!
So. On to the New Year! I’ve bemoaned the fact that November and December flew by. And 2009 too. But to heck with that. What happened to the last decade?
Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were partying at the turn of the millennium??? As I look forward to 2010, I just have one big wish — I want time to Slow. Down. That one big wish would facilitate all the little ones (more family time, quilting, knitting, reading, yadda, yadda).
And one other big wish for all of you — a Happy and Healthy 2010. Happy New Year!!!
Christmas is over already? It came and went so fast I practically missed it. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Thank you so much for all your great comments over the last week. I usually try to answer all of them, but I’m so far behind this year that I’m going to have to skip it. I started to read a few blogs this morning, so hopefully I’ll catch up with all of you before New Year’s Eve.
As I mentioned last time, we had our family’s annual gingerbread competition on the 23rd. Our houses this year reflected the kind of Christmas we had — chaotic! I think MyCrazyBIL’s heart attack and the power outage that had everyone living here for three days sort of threw us all off this year. Despite my best intentions, I didn’t have time to make the gingerbread until the day of the 23rd, so it didn’t have a lot of time to dry out. That caused problems in the roof department for a few of the houses. The houses weren’t as pretty as last year, but the males in the group lived up to their rowdy reputation. Read on at your own risk! (If you’re brave enough, you can click on each picture to make it bigger too.)
The team of MyCrazyBIL and my nephew were the first to have roof failure. They tried to compensate by creating a pyramid type house, but it just wasn’t cooperating. I think they should get an honorable mention for best use of candy wrappers in an attempt to cover up the crumble-age. They also indicated that some sort of candy bomb went off in the backyard which critically injured the marshmallow snowman.
MyDadLovesMeBestSister and my youngest niece also had roof failure, so they compensated by building an open-air gingerbread house. And if you have an open air house, it only makes sense to have a camp fire in your living room. They get a BIG prize for creativity in the face of disaster!
Last year’s defending champions, the bride and groom, always build a house with a theme. They got married last year, so it was a wedding chapel. In honor of their med-school suffering this year, they built a hospital. Complete with a helipad and an injured patient in a wheel chair. They had good roof and gable pieces but they decided to cut them up for a non-traditional gingerbread house shape.
Last year, I was teamed with my oldest niece and TheManoftheHouse was with TheSecondChild. We swapped this year in an attempt to break up a rowdy all male team. Shockingly, it didn’t work, and my sweet and innocent niece was happy to create a strip bar with TheSecondChild. Rumor has it that it may have been her idea. Naughty, Naughty! Even worse, they took third place in the voting.
Coming in in second place were MeMum and BigDaddy who had a cute little house. They decided to have the main entrance be on the side of the house and they created a drive in house. We weren’t sure exactly what sort of drive in it was though. I love their gumdrop Christmas lights.
And the first place winners this year were TheManoftheHouse and me. I decided that since the bride and groom always have a themed house, we should have one too, so naturally it had to be a quilt shop. (‘Cause I knew there was no way TheManoftheHouse was going to agree to have a Blog House LOL.) In keeping with the mess that was this year, we petered out before we got the back of the house decorated. We did, however, manage to get the all-important sale table of fabric strategically placed out front where all who passed by would notice!
Oh, and here’s a close-up of MeMum and BigDaddy’s star on top of their house. They get kudos for best use of a Christmas cookie.
So, our houses were very messy this year, but we all had a great time. There was a TON of laughing and joking around. And it wasn’t long before someone’s fat little hand was pinching the goodies off of the houses!
Coming up next — a blogiversary!
Thanks for stopping by!