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Let there be peace on earth… and let it begin with our house! :)

Let there be peace on earth... and let it begin at our house!

“I want to do the icing!!”

“NO! Mom said I could do the icing!”

“You’re not giving me any candy so I can decorate!”

“You’re hogging all the candy!”

“Mom! I saw her eat a piece of candy!”

I was finally feeling a little better and had promised the kids we’d turn on Christmas music, make hot cocoa, and decorate a Gingerbread House. I had visions of how fun and memorable it was going to be.

Instead, one child ended up in their room for half of the decorating, another child was almost in tears, and I wanted to chuck the whole thing and send everyone to bed.

Sigh. Such is life some days.

To all the tired mamas out there, I just want you to know that you are not alone.

There are days when it’s not pretty, it’s not quiet, and it’s certainly not all picture perfect.

But this is the stuff that life is made up of. The good, the bad, the cranky, and the messy.

And in those difficult moments when the kids are acting up, I have a choice. I can choose to be overwhelmed and frustrated (and some days, sadly, that’s my first response!). Or, I can choose love, stay calm, and, yes, sometimes declare an early bedtime. 😉

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  • Oh thank goodness someone else feels the same way. My eldest is off preschool for 4 weeks and I had these visions of Christmas being such a special time where we would make cookies and bond. Instead he’s been sat in front of Christmas movies while I pace the house trying to get our new baby to sleep.
    Yay for the early bedtime!

  • Leigh Anne Swarbrick says:

    I still remember the night before Easter one year where my siblings and I got sent to our rooms before dinner for doing who knows what. I was certain it meant no dinner that night or Easter treats the next day. But later my mom appeared at my room with dinner (eggs and toast) and we still got our Easter baskets the next day. How you respond to them makes all the difference and they won’t forget your acts of love!

  • BethB says:

    Ha ha ha!!! We don’t do gingerbread houses because I get tired of the arguments about not eating the house. Cookies. Then they can eat them and it’s done with. 🙂

    So yes, I love this post!

  • Stacey says:

    Thanks for posting. This weekend we had one of our own incidences similar to this with deciding what we were going to do first on our vacation. It ended with us all 4 ending back in the hotel room to calm down and regain ourselves for 2 hours. We decided that the next day we would have a strict schedule and that there would be no choices/options for the kiddos. The second day was much more pleasant. We(parents) think perhaps crankiness, the unknown, and overstimulation of the vacation is what caused a 10 and 11 year old melt down. Thank God we are now home and our on a strict no-school schedule to avoid the melt-downs.

  • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I TRIED for 4 years to do the gingerbread house thing (with a kit) and my kids would eat half the frosting, nothing would stick together and they would fight over the candies, pick them off and they both hate gingerbread! This year I just decided that it wouldn’t happen. Their grandparents ended up making an impromptu visit so I picked up an ugly sweater sugar cookie kit and let them do it with grandma. It was perfect! Yes, lots of kits in my world…I pick my battles! I spent 7 hours the prior weekend making Oreo truffles for mine and my husband’s coworkers. Saved me a bundle so the kit was a no brainer for this mama ?

  • Sheila says:

    I always bought each child their own gingerbread house kit! Totally worth the extra money if you can spare it. We always had a great time and they have pictures in their scrapbooks through the years of their creations! Success! If only we could have mastered family game night as well. One child or another was always a sore loser. We finally gave up?

    • I love this! Thanks for sharing!

      • Annette says:

        or you can do what they do in preschool and use a small milk carton and graham crackers and icing. Less expensive and easier and each child can make their own.
        Thanks once again for the realness.

      • Anna says:

        they also have those village kits… 4 or 5 much smaller gingerbread houses. everyone can have their own and it takes much less time to finish.

    • pamela says:


      This is what we do in our home, as well. Each child gets their own gingerbread house to decorate. No fighting. No arguing.

      I did an experiment one year … and bought the houses after Christmas on clearance, and froze them in the deep freezer. They were perfectly fine to decorate a year later.

      • Tia says:

        Awesome! I love after-Christmas sales. Thank you for this idea!

      • brittney says:

        I always buy the kits after Christmas and I don’t even freeze them. The stuff in those kits is made with so much different stuff to preserve it, it’s fine for even without being frozen. We have a gingerbread house from a kit that we made at least three years ago and the thing still has no mold or anything. Makes me certain I don’t want to eat any of that stuff but it doesn’t keep my daughter from sneaking bites.

  • Tiffany says:

    This is exactly why every year we get gingerbread TOWN kits. There are mini houses/shops and enough for everyone to do their own little house. There’s also a rule that you can eat your house whenever you want. But when it’s gone, that’s it and no one else is required to share. Of the four houses in our little town this year, only one, lonely, de-candied house remains. Let’s face it, we teach and discipline enough on all the other days, buying town kits are like a Christmas break for mothers. Hope you’re feeling MUCH better by Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Naomi says:

    I have to admit I giggled when I read your post 🙂 it sounds like my days a lot recently and it is so nice to know not everyone else’s kids are perfect either. Thanks for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly!

  • Stephanie says:

    We opt for a box of graham crackers and each child makes a pseudo gingerbread house with graham crackers, icing, sprinkles, and whatever little bits we have around (mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc). It’s fairly inexpensive and fun to see each child’s creativity!

    • Jessica says:

      Exactly what we do at our house!

      And I take pics immediately, then let the kids eat them whenever they want (within reason). The houses never stick around long, but the kids enjoy the building and eating most. Also, sometimes I pre-distribute the decorating goodies, to minimize fights and so I can control how much sugar is soon going into each child’s tummy. 🙂

  • Kim says:

    I didn’t have a very good day either and it was our first official day of Christmas break. We didn’t do much, argued about homework (yes, my son’s school sent home a packet to do over break and hey, I am not thrilled either kiddo) screen time, etc. Not how I wanted to spend the day. It got better in the evening though and tomorrow I plan on doing some fun stuff with him. Here’s to a better tomorrow!!

  • Somedays are really fun with my little boy, some days are so hard 🙁

  • Jamie says:

    We had a super rough day here, too. Adjusting to being off of school on a cold rainy day was not fun for any of us. Praying for a better day (with better choices for all of us) tomorrow!

  • My idea of a homemade gingerbread house is hot gluing graham crackers to a shoebox then letting the kids loose with leftover Halloween candy & some icing. (And this year, we skipped it altogether which is great too!)

    I hope you enjoy your evening and that their attitudes have calmed down for you 🙂

    • Christa says:

      That is exactly what we do at our house too!! I have two older kids and two younger kids so we team up and including us (mom and dad) have 3 teams of 2. After the decorating is complete (younger two love this!) I let the older two put pictures on facebook (older two love this) to have a vote! With different competitions we all win something and friends and family get to see the mess we make.

  • Ha, same story over here today! I could feel the tension building as I was getting the decorating supplies in order. In fact, I was mentally chanting to myself “do this joyfully, do this joyfully”. Every year the cookie decorating is just ripe with expectation and sprinkles and…messes. Lots and lots of messes. But we survived. Even in those not so smooth moments we make memories, messes clean up, and we still get to eat the decorated cookies! 🙂

  • ashley lamb says:

    Sounds similar to my house last year. We had a big house before. this year I bought a town at walgreens. Very little arguing. also Walmart has a cookie cutter that makes mini gingerbread houses. i bought it and I was going to make some houses for kids to decorate at cub scouts but I haven’t used it yet. We all have good days and bad days.

  • JJ says:

    We had a major moment yesterday. Glass bottle slammed into my lip because two littles were fighting over it from my epantry package–ha! One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve heard when angry and ready to scream is to whisper{and talk r.e.a.l.l.y. slowly}. It calmed me down and them. And I didn’t feel like a jerk afterward. But the glass cleaning bottle did get put away from little hands’ reach. 😉 Then we made lunch together. Eating helps everyone, right? 😀

  • Kerri says:

    I may attempt to make gingerbread men cookies with my children tomorrow. Or I may skip it entirely. It will be a game day decision depending on their moods. ?

    I felt bad for not giving my children the wonderful experience of making Christmas cookies. I have wonderful memories of all the Christmas baking my mother used to do when I as little, but I realized this year that she used to do it when we were at school. She would save one little ball of dough for us to help with so we could say we helped. But the other 6 dozen cookies were made and baked long before we ever walked through the door from school. She is a very wise woman!

  • I am a first time mom, my daughter just turned 2. I began reading your blog as I was up late one night just after she was born”nurse surfing” as I liked to call it. This might sound cheesy, and I apologize if so, but reading your thoughts and your blog has really shaped how I am as a parent.

    Beginning the journey of being a parent knowing,acknowledging, and practicing that I have a choice on how to react to situations has made me feel more fulfilled and successful as a parent…even on those days when I do end up choosing to be flustered and frustrated. Rather than the knee jerk reaction of yelling or scolding, I always (try to) take a second to calm, think, then react.

    Thank you for that!

  • Amber Woods says:

    Exactly what happened at our house. I thought surely it would be a fun event since the baby was napping, but the 3 year old wanted to eat everything and the 10 year old got super possessive of the whole project. It didn’t turn out perfectly, but we all survived.

  • amy says:

    Our kids love the tradition of making gingerbread houses, but the past few years they’ve spent more time fussing at each other about who’s turn with the frosting it was and how so and so was using all the candy. I preempted the complaints this year by explaining that traditions are meant to be enjoyable and fun. If we couldn’t do it with that attitude and without fussing, we would put it away for the rest of the day and try again tomorrow. We did have to put it away the first day, and no one was happy with me, but the second day was so much fun. Everyone was talking, smiling, and sharing. Sometimes an opportunity to try again later or another day can make all the difference.

  • Denise says:

    When my 2 were little I used to split the house and the candy in half before they started. Each one could decorate their half of the roof, their door and their wall any way they wanted with the candy they had (and didn’t eat) The houses they created looked a little funny some time but it cut back on the arguing.

  • JEnnifer Caldwell says:

    I just love reading about other families who’s lives aren’t perfect 🙂

    We had Christmas with one side of the family last night. Currently my 5 and 7 year old boys are in their room, refusing to clean the huge mess it’s become. So far I’ve taken away two presents and their candy bags from last night. Yeah, fun.

    We solve the gingerbread house problem by each kid getting their own kit. Sharing and working together are foreign words in this house, sigh.

    thank you for the laugh and sigh of relief

  • Jill says:

    I totally understand!! We have five kids, and nothing is simple or smooth! 🙂 But somehow, it’s beautiful.

    Thanks for keeping it real. 🙂

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