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FCE clubs, students build sweet structures
EllieWEB
Ellie Dixon has to sneak a taste of a peppermint candy cane. She and fellow preschoolers put the finishing touches on a gingerbread house made from graham crackers.

Whether large or small, gingerbread houses have a way of putting a smile on your face. There’s been a lot of housebuilding around the county, as students in various classrooms try their hand at creating, and members of various Family and Consumer Education Clubs have constructed houses to display at an upcoming gathering.
Baking gingerbread houses has been a Christmas tradition, and some are truly architectural wonders. From edible and creative houses, to gingerbread men and spiced loaves, the sweet blend of ginger, honey or molasses is hard to resist.
The ladies of the Bonner FCE Club have learned a lot about the many challenges of building a confection house, as they decided to construct a replica of the Black House. The historical home stands on Main Street and is the oldest residence in the city.
“It has been a challenge,” said member Teresa Priestley. “We were challenged because we had to figure what candy would work to look like bricks, as well as the actual design concept.”
The end result of their many hours of labor is a beautiful creation completed with both love and patience. They used Hot Tamales for the brick, sticks of gum for the walkway, coconut snow and a gingerbread base.
“It’s definitely brought our club together,” said Dianne Gillespie. “It’s been a lot of fun, and we have laughed more than we cried.”
Westwood Day School’s preschool and kindergarten students also had a fun experience decorating houses, as their teachers thought the experience would be a fun way to start the holidays.
“We read the book ‘Gingerbread Baby,’ and that got them interested,” said preschool teacher Tina Hobbs. “In the story they couldn’t catch the baby, so the little boy built a gingerbread house and the baby ran inside.”
Hobbs enlisted the assistance of her daughter-in-law, Ashley Hobbs, and they built the houses, but let the students add their own touches. Kindergarten teacher Catherine Bryant did the same, with both teachers supplying a large assortment of candies and lots of royal icing to complete the task.
“I thought this activity would be a fun way to celebrate the season,” said Bryant. “They will get to take their houses home to share with their family.”
The ladies with the Hickory Creek FCE group has spent many hours experimenting with gingerbread recipes and decorating techniques in an attempt to submit the perfect house.
“We have baked gingerbread to see which recipes will hold up best in our construction,” said member Janis Darnaby. “It has been a fun process, researching, baking and decorating.”
At one of their recent sessions much laughter and camaraderie was experienced as they each worked on different aspects of the house.
“It is really fun, constructing a gingerbread house,” said Darnaby. “Maybe more families could start this as a tradition for their family to enjoy during the holiday season.”