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How to Make a Gingerbread House That Will Make Everyone Claw Off Their Faces With Envy: A Note From Mrs. World’s Strongest Librarian

Janette's Gingerbread Train 2010

Gingerbread Train

by Mrs. WSL

As you all know, Josh is into kettlebells. Well, I have a passion as well, but it’s for gingerbread.  I spend the whole year thinking about what gingerbread house design I’ll tackle for the holidays.  Really. In January, I can get this dreamy, far off look in my eyes and Josh will ask if I’m thinking about him, and no, sorry but no, it will be a gingerbread house design coming together.

It’s not my fault. His family has been making the houses since he was a teenager.  The house building started on the Friday after Thanksgiving with Josh’s mom and sisters sometime back in the ‘90s. They chiseled and hot glued graham crackers together into impressive houses.  On the day after Christmas it was Josh and his brother’s job to destroy the houses with a baseball bat so they would fit into the garbage can.

Gingerbread Store

Gingerbread Store

When I joined the family, I was inducted into “Gingerbread Day.” It was glorious. I helped to up the ante. Each year there has been some kind of innovation–real gingerbread, larger houses, lighted boards, glitter paint, etc. Now, gingerbreading (should be a verb) takes several days preparation and then a marathon push.  Since we don’t all live close together anymore, I’ve been meeting with Josh’s sister, Lindsey, to make our houses.

We met a few weeks ago for Gingerbread Day 2010.  I thought you might like to see some pictures.  Lindsey works for a cooking store and makes a house to display there as well as one for her own home.  I used to make more than one house, but then our entered the picture and having a toddler, well, you know. I’ve started to do some blogging about gingerbread over on hub pages, so if you want to see some more pictures, head over there to my post about Gingerbread house tips.

Oh, and by the way, I already know what I’ll be doing for gingerbread 2011.  Now I have a year to work out the details.

Gingerbread Row House

Gingerbread Row Houses

Any crafters out there reading my meathead husband’s blog? Have any of you ever made a gingerbread anything? I’d love to compare notes and see your pictures of gingerbread houses, just in case you’ve got ’em.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sue November 22, 2010, 6:00 am

    Dear Mrs. WSL… I love your designs! I have made only 1 gingerbread house about 30 years ago when my nephews were little. It was a craft project that we had done together with a recipe that I found in Woman’s Day Magazine – we winged it for the most part, not knowing what we were doing. I do remember using my sister’s tall drinking glasses to hold up the walls while we glued the sides together with icing. The drinking glasses were trapped inside until the day we dismantled the gingerbread house. Your story brought me back down memory lane… thanks for posting your story!

  • Todd November 22, 2010, 7:59 am

    Wow, the detail is insane. Very impressive, Mrs. WSL.

    • Josh Hanagarne November 22, 2010, 5:48 pm

      Todd, when am I going to see you in the gingerbread arena? Make a gingerbread gym and I will come train with you.

  • Heather November 22, 2010, 9:10 am

    Janette, the details are exquisite! I fear gingerbread, because this involves baking. Baking involves math. Math is not my forte. Myself, I’m a knitter. Halloween sweaters are my big thing, though. Halloween in general is my big thing. I start getting that dreamy look in my eyes around July. I am thinking of Halloween, though. But I also have some delightful Christmas sweater patterns, which I really need to try sometime. I don’t find holiday-themed sweaters tacky at all. I think they are fun to make, awesome to wear, and as someone who once worked as an elementary school librarian, Pre-K-about 3rd grade think these are some of the most awesome fashion statements going! You go, Mrs. WSL! They look great!

    • Janette Hanagarne November 22, 2010, 4:12 pm

      I think that holiday theme sweaters are awesome, too.

  • Kathy November 22, 2010, 10:09 am

    Love your gingerbread house. My family is from Denmark and one of my favorite memories is making a gingerbread house with my grandpa. My grandma would make these Danish Gingerbread drops called Pepper Nuts http://scandinavianfood.about.com/od/cookierecipes/r/peppernuts.htm

    • Janette Hanagarne November 22, 2010, 4:12 pm

      The pepper nuts look delicious!

  • Larissa November 22, 2010, 12:08 pm

    Yay!!! You got your spot on Josh’s blog!!! The only gingerbread house we make in this house is from a kit bought at Trader Joe’s. I love it because it’s an A frame house, which makes it super easy to put together. And all the boys really want to do is put on the candy anyway. 🙂 I’m going to head over to you other post to see the pictures. I am in awe. . . 😉

    • Janette Hanagarne November 22, 2010, 4:13 pm

      The kits definitely have their place. When Max is old enough to decorate a house, that’s probably what we’ll do, too. Thanks for the compliments!

    • Josh Hanagarne November 22, 2010, 5:47 pm

      Don’t be in awe. This level of detail comes with a high price. Her skills in design are balanced out by her utter madness in other areas.

    • Jeanette Swalberg November 22, 2010, 11:06 pm

      I have coined a phrase for those “obvious, why didn’t I think of that?!?” ideas that others share: Forehead Smackers. One can also have “Forehead Smacker moments”….thanks Larissa for the A-frame Gingerbread House Forehead Smacker! I am totally going to do this for my kids this year. We’ve been building Gingerbread Houses with the kids for a few years. One year I bought a couple of kits the day after Christmas for 50% off, traced the pieces for a template, and saved the little plastic bases from the kit so that I could make them myself in the future. You know, why spend big bucks for something that will be smashed on New Year’s Eve? (a basic kit costs $10. Yes, $10 is BIG bucks at our house)

      One of these next years I’m going to build a Gingerbread House just for me. :o)

      • Larissa November 23, 2010, 12:19 am

        lol Yeah they are great not only because they are easy to put together, but you have a big flat surface on both sides for the kids to put candy on! I’ve never thought about keeping the trays and tracing the pieces, though. That’s a good idea too! 🙂

  • pipinchek February 3, 2011, 11:05 am

    umm i dont do this kinda things i only do stuff with[PAPER] i know its boring. anyway yeah nice gingerbraed world you have there! if any of you play clubpenguin tell me on the comens here wich one is better clubpenguin or poptropica wiches who plays BOTH of them OR ONE of them.