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For the second year now, my kids made a gingerbread house as part of The Omni Grove Park Inn’s National Gingerbread Competition. It’s a pain-staking process that takes a ton of time. People think I’m crazy for doing it.
Each time we visited Asheville during Thanksgiving or Christmas we would go to the gingerbread competition an aww at the entrants. It’s am amazing event that really gets you in the spirit of the season. Once we moved to Asheville, I knew we needed to enter something ourselves!
The dining room was mission central. It looked like this for over a week. Chocolate pretzels, candy canes, gum drops, and a ton of other types of candies and decorations. And sprinkles. Tons and tons of sprinkles. They were everywhere.
Project management — there is a ton of planning to create a gingerbread house. You have to decide how large, what materials you’ll need, set a budget and create a timeline.
Budgeting –how much are you willing to spend? I have to admit this is a category that I glossed over this year. I didn’t set a budget, but did put a cap on supplies after I’d been to the store already. We try to get ingredient that are on sale or from the Dollar Store. This is an area we’ll improve upon next year and I’ll include the kids so they will have to do more pre-planning.
Time management — ahh, time management. We did not budget time wisely this year. The key design phase of this project overlapped with the birthday cake making week. MISTAKE!! At the end of this project I declared that if we don’t begin the gingerbread houses by October 1st, we won’t do them.
Art — the creative process to design a house is the most fun (well, eating is the most fun!). My kids each designed their own house on paper before we began. Then they learn to mix colors, create patterns, and artistically fill a space — it’s truly a mixed media project. What we’ll work on next year is the importance of a clean design — about making sure your work is clean and tidy and paying attention to the details.
Engineering — this is one of my favorite teaching moments in this project. How large should the structure be? What size do you need each piece? What material (i.e. gingerbread recipe) should you use for the structure. How will you get it to stand up? What materials should you use to glue it together and how think does the icing (i.e. glue) need to be? There’s a ton of math involved in building a house. How many sides do you need? How many pieces of candy do you need to cover the roof.
Once we completed them, we needed to transport them to the Grove Park Inn. Luckily, we live close by so we didn’t have too many bumps in the road to get over. Some competitors drive for hours to get there.