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Trader Joe's Gingerbread House Kit

Someone must have read my last post on the polar bear tea, because when I waltzed into TJ's three days after Christmas it was GONE. YESSS. But so was the other holiday tea I didn't get to try. Matter of fact, Trader Joe's cleaned up their holiday stock so ridiculously fast it was a little disorienting. Most of the holiday garb was gone, except for the trio of hot chocolates, the coffee sampler, and a few other random things. I did spot a lone box of the gingerbread house kit above the ice creams, which methinks someone returned because I haven't seen a single kit in stock at my TJ's since November. Poor abandoned kit, wondering why he hasn't gotten adopted like all of his other friends. Which means unless you stumble upon the lonely abandoned kit, you probably can't find another one in stores until next year. 




I picked one up a week after Thanksgiving but never got around to making the gingerbread house - but it turns out a bunch of my friends received this kit as gifts! When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade! When friends give you TJ's Gingerbread House kits, you have a gingerbread house competition! 

Included supplies:
- Ready-to-use gingerbread house pieces + a gingerbread tree
- M&M type candies
- Sprinkle-type candies
- Fruit gummies
- Icing powder + icing bag
- A cookie boy, girl, grandma, and dog

Not included supplies:
- Bowls, wooden spoon, aluminum foil, baking sheet/flat surface, that marshmallow Christmas tree, lemon juice/vinegar and water (for preparing the icing)


Before the actual decorating competition, our lovely hostess prepared all the icing according to the box directions. Assemble first and allow the house to dry for at least 30 minutes. 

DIRECTIONS
1. Fill the bag with icing, cut a small hole, and pipe into the holes of the base piece. 



 2. Attach "A-shaped" pieces to the holes. Have a friend help hold them up or rest the roof piece against the A pieces while icing the other side to attach the roof pieces.


3. Ice the space between the two roof pieces, because there will be an awkward gap.


Or in my case, it's a really awkward gap that ends up falling through the house and drips down the other side to create a cowlick. Manufacturer's problem or my problem? Who knows. Notice also the roof pieces will extend past the A pieces. So they're going for the modern beach house look. 


4. Allow to dry for at least 30 minutes before decorating.

-30 MINUTES LATER-

IRON CHEF STYLE COMPETITION- EACH 2-PERSON TEAM HAS 30 MINUTES TO DECORATE THEIR HOUSE WITH EMPHASIS ON THEME, USAGE OF THE INGREDIENTS, CREATIVITY, AND OVERALL PRESENTATION. 

Um yeah. That icing is not the friendliest medium, but it does dry to a chalky finish. And if you mess up while it's still wet, you can just lick your finger and wipe it off since it's theoretically edible.


That would be the "grandma" on the roof. 


This team, besides having super artsy people, apparently added a bit more water to the icing, which made it less stiff and easier to use. They also cut a smaller hole in the bag, which was handy for precise lines. That's the same reason why I choose the 0.5mm pens over the 0.7mm and 1.0mm pens for work! 


Team 1: The homey cottage look. A dusting of snow on the roof. A gummy chimney. A curved walkway. A heart on the side. Cute.


Team 2: The beach house. Look at that artistry. The candied arch. That boy...tanning in the front yard? And that would be granny scuba diving with the fishes. 


Team 3: Simple and clean. Color-coordinated M&Ms on the roof. Granny on top.


Team 4: Hansel & Gretel defeat the witch. Cuz the door is made out of her body, and her head is sticking out of the chimney. This is just a few steps away from Game of Thrones, y'all.


The winner? Y'all can decide. 

Pros:
- All-inclusive kit. I've never used a kit that included characters! So fun!
- Fast-drying time. Can't remember the last time I used a gingerbread house kit though, so I can't comment if this is true of other kits.
- That gingerbread smells so good I just want to eat it! And it has nice detailing! 

Cons:
- But you're not supposed to eat the gingerbread house. And if you eat the gingerbread pieces, there won't be a house. :(
- It's pretty messy. But that's a given
- That yard space is really small. Not much room for extreme landscaping. 

Durability? Well, I probably wouldn't leave it out for too long. It's made of sugar, sugar, and more sugar, which is bound to attract pests, dogs, or small children. 

Price? $7.99 per box. Not bad for an hour plus of messy fun. I have no regrets about this purchase, probably more so because of having made it into a competition with good company and not because of the actual kit. :P

TL;DR: Trader Joe's Gingerbread House Kit. For actual children and children stuck in adult bodies! Friends and batteries not included. Caffeinate as needed. 6.5 out of 10. 


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