There are certain things I really enjoy doing with kids. Baking. Reading. Singing entire conversations as though we are in our own personal opera. (Amazingly, my kids don’t even find this embarrassing.)
And then there are the activities I’d just as soon avoid. One of those is putting together gingerbread houses from scratch. From precision cutting to holding all the pieces precariously in place while the frosting dries, I find the process tedious at best and a crumbly, sweaty mess at worst.
Still, I don’t want to deprive my kids of this time-honored tradition, which they seem to think is fun. So I’ve come up with a solution: purchase gingerbread house kits for the kids who are old enough to wrangle ’em on their own:
…and come up with an alternate plan for the kids who are are too little to know better. So I decided that two-year-old daughter Clara could make a gingerbread “house” of her own.
The supplies? Simple. Graham crackers, a variety of holiday-themed sprinkles, and Pillsbury Easy Frost.
I squirted a little of the soft, light Easy Frost in a bowl, gave her a plastic knife, and let her go to town. First she spread the frosting on the graham crackers…
Then, she was ready for the sprinkles. After a generous dusting, we were ready to assemble the “house”. For the sake of ease, I decided we would make a gingerbread tent instead. Just two crackers leaned against one another, with a little Easy Frost to hold them together…
But here’s where things stopped going according to plan.
Because Clara was having so much fun tasting the frosting that she disassembled the tent as soon as it was made so that she could lick all the frosting off the crackers.
But that’s okay…
Because all that spreading, sprinkling, and licking? It kept her occupied for a good half-hour while her brothers struggled with their houses…
Which gave me plenty of hands-free time to help them. And really, that was the point in the first place.
Well, that, and the frosting. Of course.
I figure those gingerbread houses will fall apart in a year or two, but these photos of Clara will still be adorable ten Christmases from now. Which makes taking the easy way out feel that much more worthwhile.
Do you have any holiday baking shortcuts or lazy-mom strategies?
Thanks very much to Pillsbury for sponsoring this post and for providing Pillsbury products for me to have some fun with.