My BFF, Amy, is my one friend who regularly (once every 2-3 years) visits us, no matter where we live: Chicago 2009, Georgia 2012, Houston 2013 & twice 2016. And she lives in ROMANIA!!! She makes an effort to stay a few days on her way to see family also in the States. (She's American, married a Romanian man, lives there now, & has 2 sons.) It's always crazy to me to think that the only long-distance friend I see here is the one who literally lives the furthest away!!! :-P I feel so blessed that she can make the effort to travel, and I pray SO HARD that one day I'll get to take my family to Europe and be able to stop off for a visit once at HER house!!!
She arrived here this last week for Christmas stateside, and she said she really wanted our kids to do our annual gingerbread houses together. ❤ This year I had already planned to do gingerbread houses very differently: the last few years, the humidity has been so high that the roofs & walls collapse before we're finished even decorating. It's a ton of time & effort that goes to waste: I have to bake my gingerbread house mold twice to make each complete house, and it takes about 45 minutes for each bake, so we are looking at over six hours of baking to make four gingerbread houses, if I take no break. Over it. Especially when I saw this mold for $5 at Michael's:
They make cupcake-sized houses, there's enough for everyone, and I can use my favorite deep, dark gingerbread baking mix from Trader Joe's!