Today we spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the back porch with the grandchildren doing a project.....this was after having one grandchild spend the night on Saturday night.....going to church this morning......going for lunch with the whole family.....well, Maggie wasn't there for lunch, she had spent the night with a friend and caught up with us this afternoon.
After lunch we visited my 93 year old daddy, and AJ our oldest grandson (12) got to drive my Jeep up to daddy's (with me sitting close by)
Now....we live out in the country, so country folk do this sort of thing....we teach our young how to drive early......or actually, we indulge our grandchildren. No longer is it much of a necessity for youngsters to learn how to drive at an early age. When we were growing up, you learned how to drive early because you were always having to pull the tractor up in the field, or drive to the house for water...sure seemed like a necessity.
Anyway, I had thought how much fun it would be to put together one of the Candy Cottages that we sell on Trendy Tree, plus we really needed hands on with the product to really evaluate it.
The Candy Cottage, original style, is a re-useable gingerbread house made out of sturdy plastic that you snap together, decorate with frosting and candies. It's re-useable so when you're done for the occasion....you can just take it outside and hose it off! Sounds pretty good doesn't it)))) Well.....it really is!
Now it's been a while since I've decorated gingerbread houses. We've done it in the past with the grands....or some of them anyway.....but not every year. We used to make them when our daughter was growing up......any project is different when decorating with ONE child....versus three.....you can tell...right off the bat.....this project was destined to be ....well......a good memory....but maybe not the kind where birds were singing, the sun shinning and halos glowing.
We get started....
Aren't they a sweet looking bunch))) Well......hold your judgement for now...
Everything that you need for the Candy Cottage comes in the box.....just the plastic parts...and the instruction sheet. The box has great pictures on it for decorating ideas.....course we didn't need that....we had three heads all full of different ideas...
AJ being the eldest....was determined to be the "put together man" and Maggie would read the instructions.....the little one at this point was already whining ...."but what do I get to do!!!"
Slide together here.....snap together there....so far so good.
Roof goes on last.....a little disagreement here....but the instruction reader held fast.....and the roof when on as detailed in the instructions.
And there you have it......Candy Cottage put together.....no broken pieces.....no difficulty....it's sturdy....and you can tell by the look of amazement on the sweet children's faces....how proud and astonished they are....
Maggie, being the middle child.....policing the little one about staying out of the candy.
For simplicity's sake, we chose canned frosting....worked great....wasn't sure how many cans it would take, so we bought two of vanilla and one of chocolate. Wound up using most of one can of vanilla and about 1/2 can of chocolate.
We didn't have the paste kind of food coloring and had to use the liquid kind. The orange could have been darker but we just didn't plan far enough ahead of time to be fully prepared. Tinted one can of the vanilla half orange and half green. The other can will hold over until Christmas.....or the next happy occasion.
The canned frosting is really good for decorating since it is a little more forgiving than Royal Frosting. You can move things around a little bit if necessary with the canned frosting. Royal Frosting dries quickly.
It was sort of hard to really get the frosting on smoothly and I'm sure there is a way to do it, but we decided to go for a stucco look and just sponged the icing after we had spread it on with a plastic knife.
After the sides, front and back had been frosted and decorated, Matt finally got to put his "punkins" around the edge.....he had been hogging this bowl of pumpkins from the get go.
I think that's Mom in the background with the pointing finger......wonder what she was saying....... "dont eat any more candy..." "...hey you...no more candy...." "....put that candy down...".....well, some of that was me talking......."wipe off your hands..." ...."wipe off your face....I'm taking pictures..." I won't be surprised if my Christmas gift this year is addressed to "NeNe the Grinch."
The top was frosted last and sponged. I just took a clean sponge and cut it up into smaller pieces....so they could sponge and discard.
Maggie putting on some finishing touches to the roof and we're just about done. One of the first mistakes I made with this project was buying all fresh new candy. In the past, I kept a stash of candy in my kitchen cabinet that either got stale or out of date. Instead of throwing it away, I would keep it to use for decorating.
This bunch KNEW the candy was fresh.....candy corn, chocolates, gummy worms.....you could smell the stuff a mile away.....they ate not quite as much as they put on the house, but they ate enough. Some of it dropped through the cracks on the table and some of it was bagged up to take home when we were all done. I'm sure their Mom and Dad appreciated that.....but hey.....what are NeNe's for if not to load up their children with enough sugar to fuel a furnace.
As a grandmother....you learn how to handle projects like this.....get em in early, get it done....and send em home!
Ta da! All done!
Hands all washed....mess cleaned up.....and all smiles again. All in all it was a good project. The Candy Cottage is perfect for a quick and easy way of decorating a gingerbread house.
Now a purist.....isn't going to go for this.....the kind that bakes their own gingerbread walls and cements them together with Royal Frosting.....but a Mom like Carrie with three kids.....you bet! And when you can get the job done at NeNe's house....even better!
Guess I need to start tucking back some goodies.....they have visions of their Christmas cottage already.....