A Gingerbread House That Avoided Pinterest Fail Status

As a child, I always wanted to decorate a gingerbread house.  So, when I saw a friend’s pictures of her decorating a beautiful gingerbread house in Bangkok with her daughter last year I made a mental note of it and contacted her last month to find out where she and her daughter designed that beautiful house.

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Now, you might be asking why I didn’t just bake my own gingerbread and attempt to construct a house that we could decorate at home.  I’ll tell you why. Because me making and constructing a gingerbread house would surely result in an epic Pinterest fail, kind of like this bad boy:  Gingerbread Fail.  So, to save me a lot of heartache (and my children a lot of disappointment), we made reservations this year to take part in a Gingerbread House Workshop at the Sheraton Grande.  It was the perfect holiday activity; not only for Logan, but for his grandmother and for me (and coincidentally, the first time any of us had ever constructed and decorated a gingerbread house).

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Using our box as a foundation

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Construction in progress!

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Almost ready to decorate!

Upon arrival, there was a place setting for each child with a paper box that contained everything that the child needed to construct and decorate his/her house.  A friendly — and patient — pastry chef then showed the children and parents how to construct the house around the paper box using gingerbread pieces and loads of icing (note:  I think Logan ate more icing than we used to construct the house –which, in both cases, was a HUGE amount).  After the chef helped make sure everyone’s houses were stable, children had free reign to decorate their homes with a multitude (I’m talking A LOT) of different types of cookies, marshmallows, candy canes, chocolates . . . pretty much any and all types of candy you can image.

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Ahh, to the best part — sticking the candy on

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Intense concentration

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Logan’s creative Smartie window decor

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The adorable candies provided for the rooftops

I would highly recommend this activity to anyone who will be in Bangkok and is looking to do some gingerbread house-decorating next year.  The staff at the Sheraton Grande was fantastic, I was able to choose my date and buy the workshop voucher on the hotel’s website, it was a very child-friendly event (complete with a visit from the hotel’s Christmas elephant), my three-year old loved it, and we brought home a beautifully-decorated gingerbread house.  No disappointments whatsoever and a new and fun experience for all – just how I like it.

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Gingerbread house decorating and a Christmas elephant? We’re sold!

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Receiving some Christmas love

And I’ll have you know that the gingerbread houses don’t last that long – we made ours at 1pm today and  the candy was already taking a hit tonight after dinner.  So much fun!

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Logan, proud of his creation

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Kate getting in on the action

Here is the link to the workshop online:  Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Gingerbread House Workshop.  I found that the hotel’s FB page and the Bangkok Events Calendar was also helpful when planning our outing this year.

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The “Real” Santa

I can’t believe I am already reading books to my children about Santa, drumming up excitement about his arrival, and best of all, will be playing Santa early on Christmas morning.  What is happening?  How am I getting this old so quickly?  Wasn’t it not that long ago that I, myself, believed in Santa, and my parents went out of their way to climb a two-story house and jingle sleigh bells outside my window (which I never did hear, much to my father’s dismay)?

We’re spending Christmas in Bangkok this year and as I write this on December 17, we have already visited with four Santas.  That’s right, four  Santas.  Four Santas who did not all look alike (to be fair, the first and fourth Santa were the same guy, but still . . . ). We are, after all, part of an American community living in Asia, so I guess Santa diversity should be expected.  However, after telling my 3-year old that we were going to see Santa for the third time this year,  he asked me a very pointed question – “Is it the real one this time, mommy?”  You can imagine my surprise as I fumbled to find an answer.  “Well, sweetheart, none of these Santas are the “real” Santas.  They are all Santa’s helpers.  The “real” Santa comes on Christmas.”  I didn’t take me long to calculate in my head just what was going on in my three year-old’s mind:  why are we seeing so many Santas, and if there is one “real” Santa, why do all of these Santas look so different from one another?”

It is amazing how clever our little ones are.  Why should I for a minute think that my smart three-year old would think that all of the Santas we’ve visited with are the same person — and moreover, that all are the “real” Santa?  And if his questions continue to be so intuitive, how will my husband and I ever keep up?  Not just with mythical traditions like Santa Claus, but with all kinds of things in life that they are still too young to know about and understand the real reason for?

Parenting.  It is certainly not for the faint of heart, nor the creatively slow.

And by the way,  I can still remember clearly when someone divulged the Santa-isn’t-real secret to me.   It was during a ride home from first grade in the back of one of those 1980’s station-wagons with a neighborhood friend named Carrie.  Carrie Wood, to be exact.  My mom was so mad at Carrie she wanted to punch her in the face.

So good luck with those holiday traditions out there and don’t forget just how quickly the wheels in our toddlers’ heads are turning.

Here is our 2013 in Santas so far:

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Our first Santa 2013 encounter: AmCham Holiday Party

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Second Santa 2013 encounter: Logan’s pre-school

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Third Santa 2013 encounter: Ikea

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Fourth Santa 2013 encounter: Embassy Holiday Party

Alcohol-infused Cake Bites and Ice Cream Sandwiches

Say wha?  Yes, it’s true.  One of our favorite bakeries in Thailand – Sparkles Cupcakery (Sukhumvit, Soi 53) – is coming out with some new delights.  I was fortunate  enough to be part of a private tasting last week that included alcohol-infused cake bites and ice cream sandwiches.  The cake bites are petite, moist and delicious; the ice cream sandwiches – made using Sophie’s signature soft-baked cookies – are absolutely divine.  So you all better be ready, because more amazing dessert options are coming your way in this magnificent city.

For more on Sparkles Cupcakery, check out this review:  Amazing Cupcakes Delivered to Your Door (Dangerous, I Know).

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Popcorn, Sofa Seating, and The Best Kids’ Movies Out There: The Happiness Theater

School’s out, which can only mean two things . . . complete exhaustion for mommy and lots and lots of fun for Logan!  During Logan’s first week of summer break, we’ve done the following:  Siam Ocean World, Kidzoona, Benjasiri Park, Chamchurri Square, Play Time, Fourth of July parties, swim play dates, jello jiggler-making, ahh and it’s making my brain hurt trying to remember everything, but trust me, it was A LOT.  And on Friday, when I was getting a little desperate for new ideas and needed a little break myself, we tried out the movies.  That’s right – our first mother-son movie date.  Where?  At the Happiness Theater.  Yeah, you heard that right, the Happiness Theater.

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Popcorn, check. Drink, check. We’re ready to go!

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Kidzania: All Shades of Awesome

Logan and I are *just* back from Kidzania.  ALL KINDS OF AWESOME.   I am so excited about this place that I am writing about it immediately so that you don’t waste a minute partaking in the magic that it is.  Kidzania is – literally – an entire village for little people.  It is a fantastical place where kids can try their hand at any number of trades, from being a postal courier or dentist to an airline hostess or firefighter.

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Firefighting awesomeness

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