Last night, the kids built a ginger bread house with Liz, my brother's wonderful girlfriend. She brought over the kit and they set to work. There was all sorts of Christmas fun happening around building this candy house. As you can imagine, it is quite difficult to build a gingerbread house without eating the treats! So we brought out the Nutella, extra graham crackers and "Fruity Snacks" (sticky gummy bears, but made out of fruit) as decoys. The kids were able to build the house while eating treats as well. While the kids and Liz spoke English to one another on this endeavor, I found myself consciously trying to use Spanish to help them build. "Primero, mezclamos el huevo con el azucar..." (First, mix the egg with the sugar) or "Usa la cuchara para poner la mezcla en las galletas..." (Use the spoon to place the mix on the cookies) o "cuidado que derramen esas cosas en el piso!" (careful not to spill those things on the floor!) There was a flurry of discussion about the materials we used and some negotiating about where to put the different parts of the house. I do have to admit that I was the only one using Spanish in the house, but pleased that this fun activity generated much conversation. As Samway and McKeon write: “People learn language because they are in real situations communicating about important and interesting things.” Making a gingerbread house with people we love was definitely important and interesting!