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December 20, 2013

Families craft gingerbread houses, enter competition

With frosting in hand, Christen Scofield, art specialist, helps the Woolery Family put together their gingerbread house Saturday. Each piece of gingerbread siding was glued together using a royal icing.

The spicy smell of gingerbread filled the inside the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Arts & Crafts Center Saturday as Families came together for the fourth annual “Gingerbread House Day.” They had the opportunity to sign up for a morning or afternoon three-hour session to build their sugary architectural creations.

“That’s what we’re here for is to promote and support Families, so any Family activity is a good thing,” said Christen Scofield, art specialist.

For MWR Arts & Crafts Center personnel, the week prior to the event meant more baking than crafting. According to Mark Smedley, recreation assistant, it took four days of non-stop baking to create the structural pieces for the gingerbread houses.

A gingerbread house can’t take its form without frosting. This year a new recipe was used to prepare a royal icing, which uses confectioners sugar and egg whites. Smedley explained the importance of using this particular type of frosting.

“What the royal icing does is it will harden, unlike a buttercream icing, which will stay soft,” he said.

In addition to the sweet “brick and mortar” of the house, Families had many options to peruse for decorating the final product. Children picked out candies ranging from gumdrops to Skittles®, even decorating the cardboard the houses stood on.

Christina Hansen and son Alexander, 6, decorate the rooftop of their gingerbread house Saturday at the Arts and Crafts Center. In addition to candy, Frosted Mini Wheat cereal was a popular choice for decorating the houses.

For Christina Hansen and her son Alexander, 6, making a gingerbread house at the Arts & Crafts Center has been a tradition for the past three years.

“We love [making gingerbread houses]; we’re glad MWR has this program,” Hansen said, adding that the staff working on the houses are friendly and helpful coming around to share ideas with Families about the project.

Alexander explained his favorite part of making the house was eating it afterwards. For children participating, this was perhaps the greatest temptation of all — not sampling any of the project.

On Monday, Families had another opportunity to display their houses in Murr Community Center’s gingerbread house competition. The entries could be made at the Arts & Crafts Center, at home, or a combination of both, but needed to be made exclusively by the contestant.




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