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Honey graham houses have candy columns, edible eaves

December 08, 2010 | 08:58 AM
Lyons — Mrs. Suzanne Cowan's third grade class room was the site of a mini building boom on Friday.

And the construction techniques were pretty unconventional.

Each of her 18 pupils created a "gingerbread house" for the school's upcoming Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 11.

However, in this case, the term "gingerbread" refers to architectural ornamentation rather than construction material.

These houses were made of graham crackers, either plain or chocolate.

Using cake frosting as mortar, the youngsters secured their graham cracker walls to a prefab form of milk cartons.

Cowan said the houses worked into the class' mathematics chapter dealing with perimeter and area.

By the time all of the houses were completed, an impressive amount of materials, 22 boxes of graham crackers and 22 containers of creamy white cake frosting, (used for mortar and wall plaster); 110 milk cartons and countless pounds of candy corn, Dots, strawberry licorice, little gingerbread men, M&Ms, gumdrops, SweeTarts, even Frosted Miniwheats, (which can apparently be used as roofing material) had been used up.

Among some of the details, Skyler Matson put a television dish on his house, (because, quipped Cowan, "No gingerbread house should be without Direct TV.")

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And Nathan Goetz provided his new house with a gumdrop wheeled ATV, although it's probably not street legal.

It should be noted that not all of the sweets went into construction.

What was more impressive was the amount of parental assistance involved.

Every one of Cowan's students had at least one dad, mom or grandparent there to help spread the frosting, hang the drywall, graham crackers, and then add the candy details that made each of the houses unique.

"The parents are just fantastic," Cowan said.

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Even Cowan's mom, Ann Gainey of Wind Lake, was in the class to help.

At the start of the class, each of the students received a gift — a hand-made apron. Cowan said she and her mother made those 18 aprons the previous Sunday.

"It was a good way to spend a Sunday," she said.

Cowan said each year the classes at Lyons make special projects. It is the third-graders' duties to create gingerbread houses for the Dec. 11 breakfast.

The parents are invited for lunch and to stay and help their children with construction.

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Barb Robers said she took some time off from work to help her son, Alex.

"They're only little for so long," she said. "You don't get that many chances to participate."

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