Holy cow! First place in the gingerbread house competition!

I blogged a bit before about our intent to build a gingerbread house as a homeschooling project this week, then enter it into our city’s annual competition.  Honestly, we did this with zero expectation of award;  our desire was just to participate.

There were three categories — one for kids 12 & under, one for teens and adults, and one for a group.  I entered ours into the group category.

I did most of the icing, and I stood up the walls, but the boys did virtually all of the rest of it.  They sketched out ideas, read books on gingerbread house-making, they chose the template, they helped make the dough and roll it out, they made decorating design decisions, the did most of the decorating…  It really was a group effort.  My inner sometimes-perfectionist threatened to rear its head and take over all the layout and correct a gloppy mistake, but for the most part, I let the boys’ ideas trump mine, and I let their glops alone.

We were planning on attending our city’s tree-lighting and assorted festivities (including ribbon-awarding) last night anyways…  but when someone from the city called to let me know we’d won first place, I knew we had to get there.  It was a bummer, because my hubby was running late, heading home after working for part of the day in a city 40 miles away…  so we ended up running up literally just as they were announcing our names.  So, the boys didn’t really get that tension/excitement buildup that comes from anxiously waiting to see if your name is called.  (I hadn’t told them that we won.)

Still, it ended up being a fantastic night…   The ribbon is now quite rumpled from the boys (and Audrey) admiring it.

The house is gluten-free, dairy-free (GFCF), nut-free and peanut-free.  I used a cookie recipe I devised, royal icing, and candy bought from Walgreen’s.

Here’s the gingerbread house progression:

Before:

Cutting out the templates:

Audrey supervised:

Cutting out the dough:

The bare house, assembled:

Ethan adds some candy:

I ice some windows:

Knowing that my spelling is an issue of pride, and to keep me humble about both that, and about the house, God saw to it that, in a gingerbread-induced stupor, I misspelled “allergen.”

The house is done!

We’re all pleased:

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About Karen Joy

I'm a homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 17, 15 and 12 years old, and three girls: 8 and 5 years old, and our newest, born in June 2013. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I am a natural childbirth advocate and fledgling birthing class instructor. I'm a CSA coordinator for a local organic farm, Crooked Sky Farms. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on December 8, 2007, in Celiac Disease, Christmas, Contests, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Dairy-free, Homeschooling, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. That is soooooo great!!!

  2. oh! How could that NOT have won first place?

  3. Wow Karen, that is amazing!!!

  4. How exciting, Karen!!! That house is great! And what a cute picture of all of you. :)

  5. What a great time it looks like everyone had. Very pretty!

  6. Wow! That looks like so much fun, and the house is great!

  7. It’s beautiful! You all did a wonderful job!

  8. Congrats on your win – the house looks amazing! : )

    Thanks for posting your recipe alterations too – I came over here to email you and ask if you had ever altered this recipe for gingerbread houses and cookies and found your post already answering my question. We’ll be making our gingerbread batch next week. Your lovely recipes have helped put some of the fun back in our Christmas : )

    Michelle @ http://inlifeofachild.blogspot.com

  9. Your gingerbread house is wonderful. I have a new blog and website about celiac disease (for About.com), and I’m wondering whether it would be OK with you if I ran an item about your gingerbread house, with a picture of it? I’d also like to either reprint your recipe, with your permission (and I’d give you credit and link to you, of course), or else just link to you (if you don’t want me to reprint it). Could you let me know what, if anything, would be OK with you? I’m new at blogging… I hope I haven’t offended you. Thanks very much, and congrats on your win!

  10. This is awesome!!!!!!!! I had to chuckle about allergan because God loves us being humble. :) I am so happy for you and for the boys and how you were able to show others that you can have a rocking gingerbread house that is allergen free and boys can bake and homeschoolers are so cool. Congratulations!

  11. looksgoodinpolkadots

    That house rocks! I can’t wait to try out this recipe! I was in the middle of modifying the recipe we have used in the past… but I do believe I will try yours instead.

    I am struggling with finding enough candy treats to decorate with that are free of dyes, artificial preservatives and flavoring. Hopefully we will round up enough to still have a colorful house!

  12. That’s fantastic!

    We’ve actually made up your GFCF dough tonight (well, my 12 year old coeliac daughter did), before I saw this post.

    We’re making a nativity scene with it tomorrow (stable, cows, sheep, wise men and camels, shepherds, crib, Mary, Joseph, stars …). It won’t look anything like as grand as your house! But I suppose that’s appropriate, for a stable …

  13. Michelle ~ I’m sorry you’ve all been sick! I hope you have a blog story to share about making gingerbread. Your daughter is hilarious, and your insight into her is touching.

    Nancy ~ We already e-mailed, but thank you for including the story. (Found here for anyone who is interested: http://celiacdisease.about.com/b/a/000019.htm )

    Kiva ~ Ah… humility. I have a love-hate relationship with it. :D

    Polkadots ~ Yes, I do believe finding candy that fit your particular diet would be more difficult than the gingerbread itself. :( I did find quite a few sources online, though…

    Lucy ~ We e-mailed, too… I will be looking for nativity cookie cutters for next year!!!! I love the GFCF gingerbread nativity idea. Are these the ones you have? http://www.bayvillagestore.com/nabaset.html

  14. Yes! Thats it! No longer available here in the UK, as far as I can see …

    I’ve posted pictures of our nativity scene here: http://www.free-from.com/blog/?p=349

  15. Oops – I’ve duplicated with a trackback from my post, which appeared when the page refreshed …

  16. very cool!! I haven’t made a gingerbread house in ages!!!

  17. YAY! finally a gluten free ginger bread recipe and pictures of finished product. thank you :)

  18. This is awesome. I can make my son one this year praise God!!

  19. I’m so excited to have found your blog! I am also in the Phoenix area. My 4yo is gluten free and wants to make a gingerbread house so bad! I can’t wait to make this wth my kids.

  20. Oh my gosh I just did a search today for “gluten-free gingerbread house,” not actually expecting to find anything, and here you are, my gluten-free gingerbread house hero! Can’t wait to read more on your website and try this recipe! Thanks! -Kelly

  21. That’s great!! Being gluten intolerant, and not truly celiac, I forget about having to remove gluten and wheat even from craft projects. I’m thankful that cross contamination isn’t health threatening to me. Congrats on finding a creative and successful way to make holiday traditions your own, and safe at that.

  22. Thank you for sharing. You all did a beautiful job! We recently became a gluten free household and plan to make this as a new Christmas tradition. My kids 5,3 and 19 months will love it!

  23. Congratulations! It’s beautiful!

    Heidi Saxton
    Extraordinary Moms Network

  24. This is incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Karen, your house is amazing! We stopped homeschooling 2 years ago due to life circumstances and I miss it soooo much, esp. because of projects like this. We still make gingerbread houses each year together, though, and I needed a gluten-free recipe this year – thanks so much! (We used Sonlight, too – love their approach!)

    All the best this Christmas season,
    Danielle, from NH

  26. This recipe is DELICIOUS. And crunchy! My nephew and I just completed our 2nd annual gingerbread house using this recipe, and it is outstanding. We sub GF buckwheat flour for the amaranth because it’s easier to find in this area. We also trimmed up the roof a bit because it was too big for the design we had in mind.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hannah, that is excellent!! Thank you for re-visiting with some positive feedback. I LOVE THAT!! It really makes blogging worthwhile when I get a comment like yours. Blessings to you, and merry Christmas!!

  27. I love your blog! My dad is an architect of many different gingerbread patterns, so there’s a tradition in my family. Then, a long time ago, I saw a gingerbread puzzle in a Martha Stewart magazine, and was so taken by the idea that my husband built us a big copper puzzle cookie cutter! On the puzzle, I have iced quotes by children, such as my four year old son’s “round yard Persian mother and child” (known to most of us as “round yon virgin, mother and child”)along with an illustration (a fluffy Persion kitty with her kitten in a garden). Dear family friends join us between Christmas and New Year’s, piecing the puzzle together, and then eating it up. It’s a great party game! These days, my son and I both find ourselves gluten-free, for a wacky variety of symptoms. It’s time to change our recipe. We’re so grateful to find yours!

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