Gingerbread Houses

We hosted a small gingerbread house party this weekend with a few college friends. I spent the week making the houses from scratch and baking them in a mold we bought from the Pampered Chef. Turns out this mold is quite the novelty item as we discovered it was only made in 1992. I guess we were pretty lucky to find one on good ol' ebay!

From left to right, top to bottom, we have:
Marit & Tim Oberle - very cute house, complete with smoke in the chimney! Tim added fun lawn details, like a patio, a pond with swedish fish, a lamp post and a junk pile!
Mitch and Colleen - most candy-bedecked house of them all with nice patterns on the roof! Unique use of chimney as a walkway, and surprisingly sturdy for all the slanting walls!
Evan & Carolyn Pierson - interesting combination of precision and wild creativity.... C tended to the house while E made room for the dog in the backyard (note the doghouse at the right). Mailbox and gate complete the front of this snow-gabled cottage.
Dub (Andrew) - the first eco-friendly gingerbread house on the block! The solar panels are the highlight of this one, but the slide down to the patio is a great feature too! Note the gingerbread man pegged by a snowball. What a happy gingerbread community!

**You may need to click on the collage to view each house up close**

Christmas Decorations

We got our tree this past Sunday and had fun decking out our place. Last year we walked to get our tree in the snow, and we could have repeated that fun tradition this year since we have our share of snow, but alas, it was freeezing. We ended up driving to get our little tree at a local farmer's market-type establishment. I wanted to go to a tree farm to cut one down, but once again, just a little too cold for that this time. 
The 3 poinsettias were purchased on Black Friday at the Home Depot just up the road... at 6am! That's right, we were the crazies out and about that early morning. But we weren't at Best Buy stocking up on electronics... we were picking out $1 flowers, haha! You can see Evan... er.. Mr. Pierson sitting at his desk grading tests! What a good teacher. After doing the tree we had some leftover lights so I just kept going and decorated the whole living room... perhaps a bit over done? Hahha... but you can only do this once a year! Evan whipped up some banana bread tonight and I baked a gingerbread house so it is smelling oh so festive in Apple Valley tonight : )

Christmas Cookie Bake

Here are some pictures from our Pierson Cookie Bake held Thanksgiving Eve. It was a good thing we all had full bellies before the baking began! We made a total of 11 cookies/treats I think... I may have lost track! I don't think I have ever made so many cookies at once! Now we all have our stash of Christmas treats - I froze half so we can spread out the fun. What a fun tradition to begin! Hopefully we'll do it again next year! I think it would be fun to gather all the recipes and put them in a book somewhere so we can remember all that we did... and keep on adding to the list! YUM YUM! Here is what I remember:
1 - classic sugar cookies w/2 kinds of frosting
2 - krumkaka (Norwegian cookies)
3 - Russian Teacakes/Snowballs
4 - Peanut Butter Cup cookies
5 - Haystacks
6 - caramels
7 - (white) chocolate covered pretzels
8 - chocolate covered ritz peanut butter cracker sandwiches
9 - Pretzel, pecan, caramel clusters (I made up that name as I don't remember)
10 - gingerbread men
I feel like there were a few more! What am I forgetting?

Thanksgiving festivities

We drove down to Evan's grandparents' in Goodhue, MN for Thanksgiving, joined by the rest of the immediate Piersons and some other extended relatives. After a wonderful meal we were tempted by the whipped cream to play this fun (and messy) little game! video video
Did you catch what happened in the second video? Beth (Evan's aunt, Mary's sister) hit her whipped cream to the ceiling, and Mary's landed in Beth's hand! Hahaha, they couldn't have planned it better!

My Lucky Husband!

For Riley's 21st birthday last weekend (Nov 30) we drove to a small town called Flandreau right over the border into South Dakota. The attraction? A "cash tunnel" in the town's casino! If it is your birthday month you can stand in the glass cylinder and try grab as much cash as you can, fighting the wind - but you only have 20 seconds! It just so happened to also be Evan's birthday month so he got to participate as well! There is $700 flying around the machine, and only 2 100-dollar bills, but Evan was lucky to grab one of them! Here is a picture of him concentrating on stuffing that 100-dollar bill into the box. (Sorry it is a bad picture... this is a polaroid the casino took since we weren't allowed to snap photos). Although it was a long drive, it was worth it. Besides spending some quality time with the Piersons, we got to meet up and visit with our good college friend Erin Mercer!

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