Last year we decided to do a gingerbread house for the New Year since it's such a boring holiday and there are always lots of other things to do around Christmas. I learned from last year and made sure to cook our house pieces until they looked almost burned this year so they would stay nice and crisp. And, although the royal icing worked fine last year, this year I decided to make it in smaller batches so it would work even better (last year I made one big batch and it just doesn't store well so was a bit runny by the time we actually decorated the house).
I made two houses this year as we invited some friends to come decorate with Gareth. Unfortunately, Malcolm woke up from his nap before I got a chance to take a picture of the house the boys decorated on their own and which we sent home with our friends. But here's the house that I decorated with some help from the kids:
The boys actually helped me do this half of the roof and I think their side looks better than mine - they care less about if they're making a mess in the process and were totally willing to just toss the candies on, so ended up with better coverage. And I made an attempt at icicles this year. Not a good one, but an attempt. Malcolm wanted to destroy and eat the houses immediately, so I'm lucky I got these pictures. That kid is a nightmare when he sees candy, so we've had lots of tantrums over the last few days since we won't allow him to eat very much of it.
We got a puzzle of Seattle for Christmas, so that's what we worked on for New Year's Eve. We let Gareth stay up for a bit to sample the cheese and crackers - a double creme Brie, a Maasdam, and a Welsh cheddar. Gareth like the cheddar and the Maasdam best, though he did eat all of his slice of brie as well. We've been letting him watch Dr. Who, so we watched an episode of that while he was up. Not a good show for puzzle working because the show is actually good (and I hadn't watched all of the first reboot season before), so you spend too much time watching the show. After he was in bed we switched to the new season of 24 that they've got out, expecting it to be quite shallow and poorly written but still mildly entertaining, which is perfect for puzzling. And we were right. We were able to focus primarily on the puzzle while just listening to the show, looking up occasionally to watch a chase scene or explosion or comment on the insipid dialogue or the predictability. Anyway, here's our 2014 puzzle, finished yesterday: