It’s just a Phase

My first baby is now 17.  When he used to sit behind me in his car seat kicking the back of my own seat I used to get very irritated, but he made up for that as we sang songs together waiting in traffic, or planned his future as a firefighter.  The thought of a teenager was so far away.  I had no clue.

And then as middle school came and went I remember dreading the thought of him actually driving one day.  But now he is driving and it is awesome!

Although, I was reminded by a friend that when your teen starts to drive you lose that array of conversations able to be had while driving from one place to the next.  This is true.  I value that time.

But it also means potential for increased responsibility, freedom, growth, experiences, and gained confidence.

As I teeter back and forth from my driving, 6 foot, 17 year old who just arrived home from school unassisted, to my 3 year old who insists I help him pull up his underwear, yet not dare flush the toilet for him, I am reminded that everything about parenting is just a phase.

The BEST Homemade Playdough Recipe Ever

There was a time for me when the thought of making homemade playdough coincided with things like spinning yarn, milling flour and milking cows.  There was no way.  Why bother when you can buy playdough in a can from the store?

Well, after 4 children I finally learned – homemade playdough is awesome!  The number 1 reason I make my own playdough is because homemade playdough is so much cheaper than buying playdough in the store.

These are some other reasons why I now make my own playdough:

  • I can make a lot of playdough at one time.
  • I can make any color I choose.
  • Because it is so cheap to make I am not concerned with how my kids choose to use it.  Want to mix colors – sure, go ahead.
  • If necessary (because of allergies) I can adjust ingredients, like using rice flour instead of wheat flour.
  • Scents can be added.
  • It lasts a really long time.

Play Dough Recipe:

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1  tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup water
  • food coloring

Mix first 5 ingredients in a pan with a wire whisk until smooth.  Add food coloring.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 3 – 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a clumpy ball.  Remove playdough from the pot.  Transfer to lightly floured countertop and knead for 5 minutes.  After playdough has cooled transfer to a plastic bag or other airtight container.

Secrets for perfect playdough:

  • Always use Kosher Salt.
  • Be sure to whisk ingredients before heating until smooth.
  • Add scents to your playdough like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, essential oils, or extracts like vanilla, lemon, etc.
  • Add glitter to your playdough as you are kneading.
  • If your playdough is too gooey, add additional flour as you knead.
  • If you want to make smaller batches with a larger variety of colors, do not add the coloring before cooking.  Cook white playdough and add a couple drops of coloring to small batches as you knead.
  • If it doesn’t turn out perfect the first time, try again.  Make an adjustment.  My first mistake was cooking the playdough too long before transferring it to the counter.

Seriously, take my word for it.  Homemade playdough is easy to make, and so worth the little bit of effort it requires.

Enjoy!

Let Them Cook

I really enjoy cooking – most of the time…  I enjoy cooking when it isn’t necessary, or rushed.  So I guess that is very limiting, and why I always dread dinnertime preparation.

But, I especially love the fact that my kids love to help cook.  All of my kids love to cook.  I suppose there is something awesome about starting with parts and creating something whole.  And then of course the fact that they get to eat their (typically sweet) creation is always a plus too.

This morning I found this brilliant idea today over at HomeBasedMom.  This idea is mom genius.  Homebasedmom’s bread recipe for kids is started in a Ziploc bag.  Sure there will be some spillage, but for the most part all of the ingredients, stirring and kneading take place inside the bag.  And to give her girls even more ownership, this mom wrote the ingredients on the paper lining the table so that they were easy to read – brilliant.

So today we are going to make bread!

We have a Lego problem

How long has it been since you were vacuuming, or better yet, walking into your child’s room at night trying to be ever so stealth – and you step on a Lego?  Ugh.  It hurts just thinking about it.

Don’t get me wrong, Legos are awesome.  I love them.  Legos are one of the very few plastic toys I actually appreciate.  I love the fact that after the initial build (and loss of the instructions) Legos are a tool to inspire unlimited imagination.

But, it seems the number of children in the home correlates with the mass of Legos one owns.   We have a huge Lego issue in our house.

I think I am feeling inspired…

Check out these great ideas by Modern Parents Messy Kids for getting your Legos off the bedroom floor.

I have seen countless ways to organize Legos and really I have yet to decide which way is best.  But getting them off the floor is at least a start.  I like the idea of using many clear containers to store the Legos.  I especially like the idea of choosing shallow containers so that they are easy to transport and easy to locate pieces (as opposed to a deep container you would have to dig through).

Also in this post is a pattern for creating your own Lego storage mat.  I have called these storage mats Swoop Bags.  And I am thinking they wouldn’t just have to be used for Legos – Playmobils also come to mind.  Or, if you would rather skip the sewing part, you could also order a Swoop Bag from this Seattle based company.

And if you would like to organize further than just getting it all off of the floor, this is the advice I received after an interview with my very own Lego Maniac.

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Tips from Cam, The Lego Maniac:

  1. Definitely use clear containers with good snap on lids.
  2. Sort your containers in the following categories: Bricks, Mini Figures, Axles & Wheels, Plates, Motors, Tracks, Roads
  3. Sort Bricks by color.
  4. Build a shelf to display built projects.