Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of Parenthood

 

The day started off perfect. We picked the kiddos up from my parents’ house after a fabulous overnight. We stopped at Meijer’s and got a few odds and ends. Most importantly, boots for our son since the forecast called for 6 inches of snow. We didn’t want him to be the only one not enjoying the snow. (BTW we totally lucked out, one of the 6 pairs that were left on the shelf was a size 3, score!)

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Once home the kiddos managed to find their mittens, hats, scarfs, and snow pants with ease. And not one had to pee after getting all bundled up. I am telling you it was like that perfect euphoric day that moms’ only dream of…like an urban mom legend. Haha! Then we all headed outside to enjoy the beautiful snow that graced our yard.  The hubs cleared the snow while the kiddos and I got to work making igloos, snow angels, and more!

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We tend to gauge our outdoor time by the youngest. When her hat, mittens, and scarf are caked with snow and her face is a blushing pinkish red it is time to go in. So we all headed indoors. My husband took our son to a birthday party while the girls and I made hot cocoa and decorated the gingerbread house.

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I so treasured that time together. The girls and I talked about dolls, candy, and the future (immediate future, mostly Christmas and Valentine’s Day) our conversation took me back to my childhood. As I sat their frosting the house and placing one gumdrop on the house, one in my mouth, and giggling I suddenly felt like a little girl again. All my worries about getting everyone’s Christmas gifts, bills, laundry, etc. went out the window and I was totally encapsulated by the moment. I experienced pure mommy bliss. And thank goodness I did because the Mr. Hyde of parenthood was lingering just around the corner.

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My husband picked up our son from the party while I got dinner ready.  We planned on a movie night so that means pizza woo-hoo!  So the kiddos got their little tables out and placed them in front of the television. Our son returned from the party. He had a great time! I inquired about the food situation at the party. To which he replied that he had a little to eat but he was hungry for dinner. So we sat down and started to eat and watch Family Man (love that movie but there are definitely a few parts you need to fast-forward if kiddos are watching). Then it happened! Like a flip of a switch my mommy bliss was turned off!

Our 3 year old stated she had to go potty so she ran upstairs. Our oldest daughter started to complain, weep, and whine about her day and how it wasn’t fair that her brother got to go somewhere but she didn’t. Our son stood up and expressed that he wasn’t feeling very well. He made it up two whopping steps before vomiting everywhere!  He then expressed that he had already eaten a lot at the party (um, ya think!?) Meanwhile our 3 year old who has been trying to master wiping after going #2 managed to use an entire roll of toilet paper which shockingly did not flush. Oh the sounds! The smell! The horror! AHH!

Parenthood…in the words of Forrest Gump…you never know what you’re gonna get.  Surprisingly those perfect blissful moments make all those nasty, toilet clogged, vomit clean up, while listening to a child whine moments totally worth it! True?

National Gingerbread House Day

And I had but one penny in the world, thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread.

— William Shakespeare, “Love’s Labor’s Lost”

400 lb Ginger bread house replica of The White House, along with Obama family dog, “Bo”http://www.sessions.edu/notes-on-design/resources/shine-give-share-christmas-at-the-white-house/

National gingerbread house day also happened to fall on my hubby’s birthday so it was an extra special day. We started off by setting out all the candies in dishes to decorate the house.

Candy!
These make adorable shutters
More Candy!

Then the kiddos put on their Gingerbread headbands and ate their gingerbread men while they started to decorate the gingerbread house.

Yummy gingerbread men!!

While they were busy munching on their cookies, decorating, and sneaking a candy, or two, I read them The Gingerbread Girl.

The Gingerbread Girl, cute ready, highly recommend
He ran as fast as he could but she caught that gingerbread man.

Once the story was over they had a lot of wonderful questions regarding gingerbread and gingerbread houses such as; where did gingerbread come from? Why do we decorate a gingerbread houses? Does Santa decorate Gingerbread houses?

Kiddos decorating the house, they would place one candy on the house and then one in their mouth, and repeat.

Unfortunately I felt about as prepared to answer their gingerbread question as Governor Perry was when he was asked to identify the three departments he would eliminate as president. I just stood there racking my brain trying to recall any gingerbread facts or tidbits from school, but I had nothing.  So I told the kiddos that they have such wonderful questions and they’re questions that deserve a valid response so, I would do some research and get back with them later.

The first time Juli Carvatt of Clinton, N.J., made a gingerbread house she took home the Best in Show prize at the inaugural Gingerbread House competition held by Delaware Technical & Community College’s Culinary Arts Department at the Hilton Wilmington/Christiana.

Here is what my research unfolded……

An early form of gingerbread can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used it for ceremonial purposes. Gingerbread made an appearance in Europe when 11th-century crusaders brought the spice back from the Middle East for the rich folks’ cooks to experiment with. As ginger and other spices became more affordable to the masses, gingerbread caught on. An early European recipe consisted of ground almonds, stale breadcrumbs, rosewater, sugar and, naturally, ginger. The resultant paste was pressed into wooden molds.These carved works of art served as a sort of story board that told the news of the day, bearing the likeness of new kings, emperors and queens, or religious symbols. The finished cookie might be decorated with edible gold paint (for those who could afford it) or flat white icing to bring out the details in relief. In the 16th century, the English replaced the breadcrumbs with flour, and added eggs and sweeteners, resulting in a lighter product. The first gingerbread man is credited to Queen Elizabeth I, who knocked the socks off visiting dignitaries by presenting them with one baked in their own likeness. Gingerbread tied with ribbon was popular at fairs and, when exchanged, became a token of love. On a more practical note, before refrigeration was a twinkle in someone’s eye, aromatic crumbled gingerbread was added to recipes to mask the odor of decaying meat.

Frank Lloyd Wrights Fallingwater, http://andersoncab.wordpress.com/

The gingerbread house became popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their fairy tale collection which included “Hansel and Gretel” in the 19th century. Early German settlers brought this lebkuchenhaeusle – gingerbread house – tradition to the Americas. Source

The gingerbread house is huge, probably 15 feet tall, and contains 1,050 pounds of honey, 140 pints of egg whites, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 700 pounds of chocolate, 800 pounds of flour, and 35 pounds of spices. Photo by Brian Bennett.

And here is our Gingerbread House. Granted it will not be winning any best of show but we had the best time making it together and sharing in what hopes to become a great family tradition.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t the best of show but it get the first prize in my eyes because my little ones decorated it.