Lex insisted we use real gingerbread this year. I found a recipe and baked the gingerbread and cut out the pieces and it did work for the most part. It is pretty clear I'd never baked gingerbread before, so the aesthetic sort of reflected the learning curve involved. But, if you put enough frosting and candy on top of the super-thick walled gingerbread fortresses, all those flaws are hidden anyway. Next year I'll have a bigger mixing bowl, more baking sheets, and cooler house plans.