Creating gingerbread houses a sweet treat for kids
By Tina Johansson Special to The News-Sun December 16, 2012 4:36PM
Lindenhurst Saturday, 12/15/12 Michele MacLennan, of Lindenhurst helps 4-year-old, Jared David, of Lindenhurst as he decorates his gingerbread house during Saturday morning's workshop at the Park District. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 15, 2013 2:11AM
Children had a sugar-coated morning at the Lindenhurst Park District when they participated in a gingerbread workshop at the facility on Grass Lake Road on Saturday.
Parents of the kids ages 4-10, many of them siblings, paid a fee for their youngsters to decorate gingerbread houses.
The shell of a house — four gingerbread walls and a roof put together with white icing — was provided, as well as at least a dozen different candies, and several hues of fluffy frosting. The kids needed only their imagination to complete the task of decorating.
Instructor Michele MacLennan, a former music teacher with the park district, said it was the first time she had the pleasure of heading up the popular gingerbread project.
“Maybe this will inspire moms and dads to make gingerbread cookies when they get home,” she said.
A resident of Lindenhurst, Katie Kozuch who usually works with the Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County at the Zion Park District in Zion, offered to help at the gingerbread-house project and was busily opening pouches of white icing for the kids.
James, 9, said he had never made a gingerbread house before. “I wanted to do this because I thought it would be fun, and it is,” he said while placing red- and silver-foiled chocolate treats on the roof’s peak.
Brothers Andrew, 6, and Jared, 4, carefully alternated hard peppermints and soft gum drops onto their houses. “I like candy, and sometimes I eat some of it while I’m doing this,” said Andrew.
As 5-year-old Patrick suddenly broke into song — “Jingle Bell Rock ...” — others bobbed their heads as they decorated.
Veteran gingerbread house-maker Danika, 9, created the tallest chimney out of green- and red-sugared gum drops. “I like to do this, because I like to eat it later,” she said.
Isabella, 6, approved of her swirls of white and pink frosting for her roof. “I think it looks nice,” she said as she commenced on making a marshmallow door.
The girls in the group snatched up the candy penguins handed out by MacLennan. Others opted for snowmen, reindeer or chocolate Santas to guard the outside of their gingerbread creations.
Jackson, 5, was with his mom, Judy Strong. “He didn’t really want to come at first, but now that he’s here, he’s having fun,” she said. “We go to a lot of programs here. The park district does an outstanding job.”
Parents furnished boxes and cookie sheets for the gingerbread houses to be transported home. Some of the children including, Jackson, were planning to complete their holiday-themed weekend by riding the Polar Express on Sunday starting in Grayslake and traveling through Lindenhurst to Fox Lake, then back.