Entries in Gingerbread Houses (5)

Monday
Dec112017

Gingerbread House Party with a little help from IKEA

 

It is Gingerbread house party time - one of my favourite days of the year.  We gather together - friends & family,  from baby to oldie - and we build gingerbread houses.  If youhaven't tried it yeat, I urge you to get started.

Head to Ikea to get a flatback gingerbread house kit, bring your people around your table and get creative.

 You need lots of coloured sweeties - jellys, chocolates, cola bottles, jelly teddies, chocolate fingers - the more sweets, edible sparkles and sprinkles you have the better.  Who knew that icecream waffers could become solar panels or jelly beans could become a choir singing outside the house.

The icing is easy - although its not recommended to eat it as it has raw eggs in it.  Use a mixer with a paddle beater to get air into the mixture, do not make your icing in a blender as it will not get to the required consistency.

You need lots of icing bags and spatulas to get the icing into the bag.  I find disposible bags the easiest to use.  

To make the icing - 

Icing: Stir 250 g icing sugar, 1 egg white and 5 ml lemon juice/vinegar to a smooth, quite thick paste. Apply with a piping bag (can be made out of parchment paper).

A choir of gummy bears singing carols outside the gingerbread house.

 

Folks get very competitive! Suddenly everyone wants to make the best house possible.

Look at how two brothers get creative differently.

 Children are so creative and making gingerbread houses is a time for them to be free, messy, wild and just enjoy going for it.

THere's such a sense of pride with the houses.

 There is a real sense of joy.  Ikea has packaged what the Swedes know about bringing people together, getting cosy, staying warm, and having fun together by building gingerbread houses.  Get yourself to Ikea and stock up on the houses then get your gang together between now and December 31 to build gingerbread houses.

Sean our judge gave prizes out to everyone who took part - at Christmas everyone is a winner.

Get your Gingerbread houses at Ikea, plan a get together and have fun enjoying your initate creativity.

Send us some of your Gingerbread House pictures, and we will share them.

Happy Christmas, 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt and Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

Monday
Dec122016

Gingerbread Houses - Ikea flat pack gingerbread house party

 

My table was covered in sweets.  There was icing on the floor and the walls.  Sprinkles had got into places you couldn't even begin to image.  It was noisy, joyful and sugary.  Friends and family gathered around my table for the Cahill's Annual Gingerbread House Party.  


Here from Granny's and Grans to babies, Grandpa's, Daddy's, Uncles, Aunties, Toddlers and little people gathered to build a Gingerbread Village.

Everyone is welcome round my table to build their Ikea Belfast flat pack Gingerbread House.  

Decorating with a stash of sweets that would have made Hansel and Gretzel smile. 

 Some worked to a theme - with careful construsction and an eye for symmentary.

 

 

 Others were more eco-consciou inserting solar panels and a wood pile for their log burning stove.

 

 There was laughter and smiles from all involved.  There is nothing like the joy that comes from creating with your own hands a project made entirely of sweeties.

 Others too a more hapzhard approach to decorating their houses.

 That's the thing about decorating - its personal and open to interpretation - there is no right way to decorate a gingerbread house - there is no perfection.  There is only fun and laughter, sugar highs and for some a little competition.

 Proud Mummy's and sons, with a house of splendid construction.

 

Careful thought and imagination come to the fore.

Christmas music pumps out of the stereo - we join in singing around the table.  Some come dressed in festive spirit.

Icing goes everywhere - this is a messy business.  Who cares?  Certainly not me, I want everyone to embrace their inner creative and have fun.  Ikea supply the flatpack gingerbread houses, we supply the sweets and the icing - how the house is decorated is up to you.

 

Sweet secret tip - always build the house before adding sweeties, otherwise it will collapse.

Laughter and seriousness.

 

Candy canes are perfect fonder and decorative.

 

Little one's like to take part and try the sweeties.

 

Others like a seat beside the Christmas tree for a story, while the kitchen mayhem continues.

After all that creativity, it is time for a toes up - and dinner.

Champ, cocktail sausages in a sticky cranberry, honey, seasame and chipotle glaze.  Spinach salad with cranberries and goats cheese.  Everyone is craving savour food - dessert is not welcome.

 

 

 

 

 


Building Gingerbread Houses from Ikea is one of my favourite parts of Christmas.  Why don't you have a go with some little or older people in your life this week.

 

It really is the best fun you will have.

Merry Merry Sparkling, sprinkly Gingerbread Christmas,

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

Monday
Dec142015

#GingerbreadHouseParty

Christmas one of my favourite times of year.  The season when we can bring people together to be jolly. It's a mandatory part of the Holidays, didn't you know?  Having fun, choosing joy, laughing and of course, building Gingerbread Houses.

Each year we host a #GingerbreadHouseParty were around our table young and old, babe and Grandparent, Mums, Dads, and Aunties gather to turn Ikea's flatpack Gingerbread Houses into creations of fun and beauty.

Sugar, gingerbread, sweets, sweets and more sweets.  What could possibly happen but fun and laughter?  I love having people round my table whether we are creating or eating together, the secret is bringing them around the table and chosing to have fun.  To say, sure there will be a big mess, but nothing that everyone can't tidy up, and the mess, is always worth the fun, because messes aren't remembered.  Great times with flatpack Gingerbread Houses from Ikea are.

 

It never fails to amaze me how each person with the same basic ingredients a flat pack gingerbread house, icing, sweeties and lots of sprinkles, can create houses of such colour and fun.  All different, all made with love and care, all asking us to engage for a while with our creative.  Our innate creativity.

The smiles and giggles from the children as well as the adults cause me to smile, time and time again, when I look at the photographs and remember how much job everyone had together.

Making gingerbread houses is serious business - its sticky, funny and entertaining.  This is real life at Christmas and it is good.

People together laughing.  Proud of what they created.  Sharing moments of joy.

Feeling excited about what has been built from the ground up.

 

Having a sense of achievement when the houses are completed - this is my masterpiece.  Look what I made, a gingerbread house.

Placing everyone's houses together creates a Gingerbread House Village.

Sprinkles and candy, sugar and snacks - can there ever be enough glitter?

 

 

 

Christmas is a time for joy and laughter, and sweet memories everafter.  I'd love to encourage you all my lovely readers to build a gingerbread house this year, and tweet/instagram the pictures.  I would just love to see your creations.

Memories are all the tiny moments of our life.  The times we chose to get together and huddle, to create and made room for fun.  These gingerbread houses all win prizes because they are all innate expressions of creativity.  We are not after perfect instagram moments of life, because those moments are curated and exaggarerated, they aren't real.  We are after fun and joy.  Choosing Christmas as a time to come together, to spend time with one and other, and of course to eat a little bit of sugar, not a lot, a little.

Ikea have a great range of sweets from pick n mix, to chocolates, jelly strings to snowmen marshmallows.  To have a gingerbread house party, gather sweets, lots of little colourful sweets, some flat pack gingerbread houses, make some icing, bring in the candy canes, and build your house, then decorate with sweets.

Go on - create a Gingerbread Village - have a Gingerbread House Party with a little help from Ikea.

Can't wait to see your gingerbread houses - #gingerbreadhouseparty

That's it for now,

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
Dec042014

How to have a Gingerbread House Party

The best christmas Gingerbread House Parties are the one's where both the adults and children, roll their sleeves up, get icingy and creative.

We host a Gingerbread House Party every Christmas - it has become one of the Salt and Sparkle Christmas traditions.  We use the fantastic flatpack Gingerbread Houses from Ikea then build them up ourselves.

The secret is to assemble the house before starting to decorate it.  The Ikea Gingerbread House's come complete with flatpack instructions, these are the best gingerbread houses on the High Street, with a good spiced sweet gingerbread, and a firm crumb which allows them to withstand being built, and laden with icing snow and sweets.

On a chopping board covered with tinfoil, or other flat surface, use royal icing made with egg whites (this creates a sort of sugar cement) assemble the house, being careful to hold the pieces in place.

 

Use lots of icing on joints to really stick them together.

Use either strong piping bag or have a selection of disposable piping bags with different nozzles ready to use.  Always make the icing in a kitchen mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, or with hand beaters, because if you make it in a blender, the icing goes gloopy and doesn't harden properly.  Have lots of damp sponges and kitchen roll on hand, as the icing goes everywhere, and this is part of the fun.

Use silicone spatulas lightly coated with oil to spread the icing

Coloured small sweets and candies, like gummy bears, hairbos, jazzles, smarties, m&ms, dolly mixtures, jelly mixtures and beans, as well as crushed chocolate, sprinkles and glitter are best for decorating.  Use small ramakins or plastic containers to place the sweets in.

 

Icing does go everywhere!

 

 

 

Houses can be decorated with a range of themes, but the more colourful the better at our Gingerbread House Party.

Use gel pre mixed icings to add messages to your houses, like Happy Christmas, or in this instance, #TeamNigella.

 

Adults love making the houses as much as Children do.

10 top tips to throwing a Gingerbread House Party

 

  1. Invite a wide range of ages, children, adults, teenagers, and toddlers - this makes it a really inclusive fun party, that everyone can get involved in.  We build our houses, then have dinner together, sing carols and watch a Christmas movie - it's a whole day affair
  2. Pick up several flat pack Gingerbread Houses from Ikea - these are the best gingerbread houses on the high street disposable and strong icing bags, bags of icing sugar and egg whites
  3. Buy a large selection of small colourful sweeties like gummy bears, hairbos, jazzles, smarties, m&ms, dolly mixtures, jelly mixtures and beans, skittles, as well as crushed chocolate, sprinkles and glitter are best for decorating.  Also get some premixed writing icing in different colours, we usually get green and red, some edible glitter and lots and lots of sprinkeles. Buy more sweets than you think you will need.
  4. Ask your guests to bring a chopping board, or piece of flat wood covered in tinfoil and some bags of small sweeets.  Guests can decorate the foil "garden" outside the house to resemble ice rinks, sweetie forests or little gardens
  5. Lay a large table with a wipe clean cloth (or disposable plastic cloths, which make the clean up very easy), arrange the sweets in the middle in small ramkins, at each place lay out gingerbread houses, icing bags, damp cloths
  6. Make the icing using 2 egg whites to 400g icing sugar
  7. Get adults and teenagers to help small children construct the houses
  8. Start to decorate the house with the sweets and glitter
  9. Take lots of pictures
  10. Let the houses sit for about an hour before transporting them home.

Houses are edible, but because raw egg white has been used we don't recommend eating them.  Our houses usually last about two weeks.

Our Christmas Gingerbread House party is one of my favourite activities every Christmas filled with holiday cheer and memory making.  

 

 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Dec162013

Gingerbread House Party with a little help from Ikea

Ikea sell the best Gingerbread Houses on the market.  The packs contain the walls, roof, gables, and chimney of the house, and each bit is made of crisp, lightly spiced gingerbread.

Children love being creative - and they adore spending time with family and friends making gingerbread houses at Christmas.  

A Gingerbread House Party is a really fun way to spend the weekend before Christmas.  Assemble some children, adults and prepare to have a blast.

All you need to gather are a range of sweeties - small and colourful are best - pop them into small bowls and glasses, arrange in the middle of the table within easy reach of the children.  Ikea do a range of jellies and pick n mix.

I also put out edible glitter, hundreds and thousands and other sugarcraft Christmas decorations.

Make Royal Icing using the powedered sugar and an egg white, according to packet instructions - having used lots of icings, I have always found McKinney's to be the best.  I make my icing in my Kitchen Aid, with the paddle beater, as this creates a firmer icing them making it in a food processor.

The icing is firm and thick, it will split cheaper icing bags - so get bags that are made from a strong fabric and not plastic.

Cover trays in foil, to build the houses upon and allow each child with the help from an adult to create and deocrate their houses to their hearts content.  

Improvisation with an icing bag made out of a sweetie packet.

Adults have as much fun as children.

Sometimes the icing ends up in tummies and not on the gingerbread.

Building the houses can be a little tricky, but with patience and laughter, it works.  Allow the foundations to set before putting on the roof.

Children love to be in control of the icing bags, and they create marvellous houses, which they are so proud of.

The pride on the children's faces when they finish their houses is mighty!

Gingerbread village.

Gingerbread House Parties are fun, festive and full of laughter.  Creativity runs in the blood of children, and giving them the opportunity to create and decorate their own houses gives such a sense of accomplishment and pride in their creativity.

Go on, head to Ikea stock up on Gingerbread Houses, invite children and parents and throw a Gingerbread House party this Saturday or Sunday, its a real antidote to the madness of the High Street at Christmas.

Send us some of your pictures, and we will share them.

Happy Christmas, 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt and Sparkle = Life Remarkable