This afternoon some of the playgroup mums came over to share lollies and creative ideas in decorating gingerbread houses. We successfully kept the children outside for the main duration of construction and decoration, so it was a relaxing time of catching up, house construction and then angst in deciding which lollies to use.

Decorating gingerbread houses, December 2009
As we had bought our gingerbread houses as ready-to-assemble kits, all we had to to do was assemble them and "glue" them together with icing.

Assembling the four walls of a gingerbread house isn’t as easy as it sounds… you need three hands to hold everything in place while a fourth hand pipes the icing, and then those three hands have to keep everything in place for the next half hour while the icing dries. Working as part of a team was great, but it was a bit of a case of the blind leading the blind. Nevertheless, we persevered!

(Before we even began, I was stumped by the instructions on the back of the kit which gave a recipe for the icing and referred to a mysterious measurement of icing sugar known only as a dl. 4 dl of sugar. No idea what that is. So we worked on the ratio of 4 egg whites to 7 cups of icing sugar.)

Once the construction was complete, the fun part (decorating) could start. I had earlier decided on a minimalist theme, but the other ladies’ designs were much more colourful.

Decorating gingerbread houses, December 2009
We pooled a vast quantity of lollies with which to decorate our houses.

Decorating gingerbread houses, December 2009
K's house quickly became the delight of the neighbourhood children, with sparkling strings of lights on its roof and a garden full of lolly delights.

Decorating gingerbread houses, December 2009
L's house collapsed under the weight of the heavy snow/sprinkle-fall and was taken home in flat-pack style.

Decorating gingerbread houses, December 2009
I was very pleased with my carefully-colour-coordinated design until my daughters started eyeing off the the Hansel-and-Gretel-nightmare alternatives. (Then I thought, "I need sprinkles!" But I resisted...)

Decorating gingerbread houses, December 2009
"Come on in, Hansel and Gretel. I've been expecting you!" K's house was the outright winner in the popularity contest. (Notice the "smoke" coming out of the chimney? —genius!)