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Monday, December 10, 2007

Puffy Paint and Purple Gingerbread Men

The cold and icy weather has left us engaging in indoor activities. I decided to try a recipe for "puffy paint" last week and got brave enough to plop both the kids at the table to get dirty in it. It didn't necessarily make a real nice "puffy" paint, but it did make the paint thick enough to minimize the mess made by a painting not-quite-two-year-old.

And then there's Little Miss Sweet Tooth. She's been asking since about August to make a gingerbread house again. Last year we made one out of graham crackers. It was a pain in the you-know-what and didn't hold together very well. I looked at recipes for home-made gingerbread houses, and frankly it didn't seem worth the work involved. Especially if there are no big gingerbread fans in the house. So I wimped out and bought a kit. It was totally worth it. It came with a prepared platform to guide the pieces in and all the house pieces were precut. There were just enough candy decorations (even after Daughter nibbled on a few of them). The only complaint was that there wasn't quite enough icing. I could have easily made more if I wanted to mess with it. But I didn't. So we made do.

No complaints from Daughter.

Then there was the sugar cookies. Yes, that IS PURPLE icing you see on her lips and teeth. I'll explain later. The princess getup? Doesn't everybody wear their best princess gown and tiara on the occasion of Christmas cookie decorating?

The intention was to bake the cookies and stick them in the feezer until the end of the week when we look forward to a visit with Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat. Daughter wanted to decorate the cookies with them. But she couldn't stand it and wanted to do "a few of them" and save the rest for Great Uncle Ron and Great Aunt Pat to help with. Daughter does not suck her thumb, by the way. Unless there is cookie icing on it.

And yes (if you look closely) that IS a MOOSE, a BUNNY RABBIT, and a CHICKEN and a HEART you see on the table. And yes, (if you look closely) that IS ORANGE and PURPLE cookie icing you see on some of the cookies. I can explain the moose to anyone who doesn't know me well enough to already know about my love affair with the wildlife of northern Idaho. My home is well decorated in moose in a wimpy attempt to cling to a piece of the Pacific Northwest. It's no surprise a couple moose made it into my cookie cutter collection. The bunny and chicken? I'm just really not sure about those. There was also a cowboy in the cutter collection, but the dough kept sticking to him so we gave up. My only explanation is that I inherited my grandmother's cookie cutter collection, and these were included. Daughter had to try one of everything. Including, of course, the Valentine's Day heart shapes. As for the purple and orange icing, only Great Aunt Pat fully understands this. Let's just say it's a "sweet" (pun intended) gesture towards her and her brother and their very intriguing color attractions.

Daughter has a wild creative streak, and so we simply must indulge, even if it means a completely eclectic and non-traditional Christmas cookie spread.


Tracy said...

Your kids are so cute! And that's a great looking gingerbread house!

Also, would you mind posting the recipe for the puffy paint? I would like to make that with my monkeys!

Jesse said...

I've never made a gingerbread house but have always wanted to-is it hard?

MGM said...

Puffy paint: equal parts white flour, salt, and water. That's it. I used 1 cup each. Then tint it with tempera paint. Be warned though, I wasn't real impressed with it. It give a bit of texture and makes it less sloppy to work with. That's about it.

I've never made a gingerbread house from scratch. I read some recipes this year and decides that it would be way too hard. Getting the pattern right and cutting the cookie pieces out and sticking them together so they fit well....yada yada yada. I tend to like projects like this, but it just seemed like too much. The kit, though, was a cinch! Highly recommended! Except that the one we used had some weird type of candy to decorate with. I think some of them were mini jawbreakers. Not exactly kid friendly.