I've been making gingerbread houses with my own children since they were really little, too. I wish I could say I just let them do their own thing and go to town, but I'm not quite that evolved.... yet. (There's always hope, I guess). I usually buy the store kits and add lots of other candies, too. I put the houses together and then let the kids decide how they'd like to decorate. Then I help them a little, OK a lot, placing everything on the houses.
It's really a lot of fun -- a whole day, usually, of family togetherness. The kids look forward to it, too. They're asking from Thanksgiving on, "Mom, when can we do the gingerbread houses?"
Last year we bought the little gingerbread village and the train set in addition to two full-size gingerbread houses. It was quite a project! But I loved how it turned out. How much fun is it to make a whole gingerbread town! And I finally got a little smarter last year and saved most of it by packing it in ziploc bags and putting them high on a closet shelf.... safe and sound until this December.
I can't wait til later this week when we carve out some time from our busy holiday schedules to make a few more houses to add to the collection. And maybe this year, I'll even ease up on the control-freak mama thing and let them do it themselves..... or I could always just wait until next year!
Linked to: Some What Simple, House of Hepworths, The Shabby Chic Cottage, Beyond the Picket Fence, Life as Lori, Blue Cricket Design, Me and My Bucket, Domestically Speaking, Just a GirlSkip to my Lou, Tater Tots and Jello, CRAFT, Todays Creative Blog, Under the Table and Dreaming, Between Naps on the Porch, The Tidy Mom, Craftomaniac,, The Idea Room, Tip Junkie, Making the World Cuter, The Shabby Nest, Fingerprints on the Fridge