Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

To me there is nothing quite like the scent of gingerbread at Christmastime. We always make gingerbread cookies at Christmas, and now, houses. My sister's fiancee's family has a tradition of decorating gingerbread houses every year, and we loved the idea. So we set to work. First, we sought out a candy store that carries old and new, in order to procure an unbelievable quantity of candy (really, an embarrasingly large amount). Then, we set to work making the gingerbread dough, and baking the individual pieces for the houses (I simply make a template and then cut the pieces out with a sharp knife).

To glue together the houses, we use boiling sugar. It sets almost instantly and is near impossible to break.

We made 3 large houses (one for our family and the other two families, dear friends, who joined us) and two smaller ones (just 'cuz). Then we laid out the bowls and bowls of candy and the kids (six boys ages 10 and under) went to work! The kids had a great time and we had just as much fun helping and watching. And it didn't take me long to scrape up the remains from the kitchen floor, which amazes me.

Budding Triathlete

On the day we moved from Arizona, we first went to StarPointe (community center/pool) for a kids triathlon - Ryan's first! He competed in a run, bike ride around the lake (two laps) and then swimming.

He started out strong...but then later during the bike ride, after all the kids had gone by on the second lap, Ryan was nowhere to be found. I started to get worried - I wondered if something had happened to him? Why was he not coming around? After a very long time, he finally was coming up the last leg of the bike ride, tears streaming down his face. He had gotten a flat tire! And yet, he continued to ride...or try to anyway. I would have quit, but not him. He didn't even get off the bike. He actually pedaled it all the way, as hard as it was for him. He came in last, but he was first in tenacity!

Stretching before the big race.

And they're off!

Now to the bikes.

This next picture is after the second lap - when he rode most the lap on a flat tire. The man next to him stuck by him the whole time, encouraging him. We found out later that the event staffers were radioing each other about the problem - but that "this kid still wants to finish".

Following that grueling bike ride, he jumped into the pool and did his swimming laps.

After all that, he still ran to the finish line. Disappointed, but undeterred!