Wow! It's cold! We made these back before Christmas. They were also photographed back then, and have long since now been eaten all up! I just baked loaves of gingerbread. (the dark, spicy kind; nothing like cutout cookies.) My recipe is a modification of the one in Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, which would make a nice quick winter read.
We just cut the loaf into thirds, and sliced off a few edges to make houses. This way, there was no trying to use frosting to glue together crumbly or cracking cookies together-- what an exercise in frustration that would be for little kids! This way is also quick for littles with short attention spans.
Anyway, frost and decorate with whatever's on hand. Ever seen those "natural" food colorings in pretty bottles at the co-op? Just a word to the wise; they alter the flavors of the frosting. Makes sense, I suppose. Just be warned. I think this pinkish-one tastes a bit beet-ey.
Today, Gibbie crawls into the kitchen: "Mama, I'm a woodchuck! I'm gonna bury this bean! Mama, it's turning to spring, and do you know what woodchucks do in the spring? They turn into COWS!"
Later, in the bedroom, the cow morphed into a penguin. Betcha didn't know that cows turn into penguins when they grow up, huh? I think he might have picked up on my habit of piecing together bits of information gleaned from I've-forgotten-whence and authoritatively dispensing semi-factual information. I don't mean to do it. I intend to always tell him when I don't know the answer to a question, but what can I say?
I think a lot of real things also just seem incredible, as in not quite believable. Like, caterpillars turn into butterflies? Water and ice are the same thing? Rabbits change color in the winter? No way!
Or the circus? We just read a book about a circus, and after I closed it, Gibbie looked at me and said, "that's just pretend, Mama." I explained that there really are circuses; they are big shows, with lots of people doing tricks with costumes and animals like elephants to ride on, and they have the show in a big tent, and people come to see it.. yada, yada, yada...
Gibbie totally didn't buy it. "But it's not [real] outside of the book." Sensible kid.
Stay warm inside your own little cabin!