published Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Construction zone

IF YOU GO

* What: Gingerbread house workshops.

* When: Nov. 23-Dec. 23 (registration required).

* Where: Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St.

* Admission: $25 members and $30 nonmembers.

* Phone: 648-6045, 648-6040.

* Website: www.cdmfun.org.

SCHEDULE

* Nov. 23: 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

* Nov. 24: 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

* Nov. 25: 2 p.m.

* Dec. 1: 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

* Dec. 2: 2 p.m. (full)

* Dec. 8: 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

* Dec. 9: 2 p.m.

* Dec. 15: 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

* Dec. 16: 2 p.m.

* Dec. 22: 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

* Dec. 23: 2 p.m.

Around this time, for the last eight years, the Creative Discovery Museum gets into the house-building business -- with a little help from volunteers. Over the next five weeks, visitors will find all the tools they need to construct their own gingerbread houses.

The workshops start this weekend. They are generally held twice on Saturdays and once on Sundays. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend also means that Friday, Nov. 23, is included in the available dates.

Each workshop will accommodate 30 people, said Carrie Fitzsimmons, public relations coordinator. Workers are limited to three people per house. Advance registration is required.

"We don't have an age requirement," Fitzsimmons said. "However, for families to be able to enjoy it together, we recommend preschool and older," she said.

The workshops have proven to be fun for children and parents and have become "a tradition for many families in our area," she said.

To set the mood, seasonal music plays in the background, and cookies and hot chocolate are served.

"It is a wonderful way to get families in the holiday spirit," Fitzsimmons said.

The houses are constructed mostly of sugary ingredients, but they're not really edible.

"You don't eat them, although our small participants enjoy tasting the icing during the workshop," Fitzsimmons said. "To curb the excitement of eating the house, participants are given a gingerbread cookie to decorate and eat."

The houses have a short shelf life if left out, but if stored properly can last much longer, according to Fitzsimmons.

"We have actually had some people save them for a whole year," she said. "They can be stored for a limited time, but since they are made of sugar, it would be challenging to preserve them for an extended amount of time."

An added bonus for participants is that the staff handles the cleanup.

"Parents can relax and enjoy time with their children," Fitzsimmons said.

Payment for the workshop is due upon registration and does not include museum admission, she said.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill. Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/karennazorhill.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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