That's Life

Gingerbread House of Horrors

It began with a blissful trip to Target by myself. Our Target now has a Starbucks inside, because the $5 item I went in to buy and walked out with $200 in must-haves wasn’t enough, now I need to indulge in a $6 coffee as well. Either way, it most certainly adds to my shopping experience (when alone) to have a warm cup of coffee to accompany me down each and every aisle.

It only took seconds for me to spot them, they’re well positioned at the front of the store. I quickly walked by willing myself not to look, but there they sat. Gingerbread houses. Now, if there’s two types of moms in this world…Amazon/Etsy moms and Pinterest moms, I fall squarely into the Amazon/Etsy moms category. I don’t deny it anymore. But on occasion, I convince myself that I’m up for a small crafting project. The kind that comes in a bright colored box, has ready-made pieces and frosting, clear instructions and exactly the right amount of decorations. Check me out Pinterest moms, no need to envy my creativity, we all have our strengths.

And so began my experience with the gingerbread house of horrors. I finished up my Target trip (you know, one hour and $200 later because I ran in for boogie wipes and tissues). I went home and as my children helped me unpack the bags and spotted the gingerbread project we quickly put everything away and sat down to assemble our masterpiece. A fun afternoon of crafting, naps were already complete and everyone was ready to have some good old fashioned holiday fun.

Set a timer, this will go quickly:

Owen, our 2 year old, immediately began pulling out all of the bags of candy yelling “have some!!!! have some!!! open it!! hold it!!” while Sean kept busy by squeezing frosting on every surface of gingerbread house that he felt needed it while informing me he’s a very good construction man. We tried to put walls together but I never got my hands free long enough to hold them together so that they would set in the sticky frosting. As a result, our house kept collapsing, over and over again. Suddenly both boys needed a snack. I washed my hands, got snacks, came back, resurrected a few sticky pieces and now everyone needed water. Repeat hand washing, come back with waters. Owen spilled his snack all over the floor, I got that cleaned up with the help of our dogs. Sean got sick of waiting for the house walls to be held together, declared the project “boring” and moved on. Before I could pull my thoughts together there were sticky frosting hands all over their play diner he was playing with. Owen began yelling to get down, and after I cleaned him off I went back to holding the roof on our gingerbread house while Owen pulled his kitchen stand over and helped himself to our advent calendar (otherwise known as his own personal stash of holiday cheer). I wrangle the sweets away, stick a roof on the house and put the project away for another day. A grand total of 7 minutes passed from the moment we sat down until the moment I picked it up, cursing under my breath, and set it on the counter.

On the one hand, I felt slightly defeated that this pre-made craft got the best of me, that my kids have a less than 7 minute attention span, that I now have an ugly brown house sitting on my counter until I decorate it myself. Even more defeated that I don’t quite get why you make a house of edible ingredients but in the end they’re not edible at all are they? So why not just make it of easier material to construct like actual glue, straight walls and sparkly decor? On the other hand, there was a slight sense of confirmation and acceptance that set in for me. I am most definitely an Amazon/Etsy mom. It felt good to have the dilapidated half finished proof that I self identified correctly and can now move on happily. I can go out and select the perfect matching green and red plaids for them to scream (I mean sit) on Santa’s lap in, I can make sure my house throws up snowmen and has a personalized advent calendar filled with fun treats for them and I can talk every day about the magic and wonder of Christmas. I can even (this year for the first time) manage to get Christmas cards out on time. I cannot, unfortunately, pretend to be the crafty mom who pulls off a completed gingerbread house with 2 and 4 year old boys. So I now must decide if I have time to finish the gingerbread house on my own or if I deem it a lost cause and throw it away. I consider it a win that I didn’t drag it out to the front yard and take a hatchet to it after it defeated me. Small victories.

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