Saturday, October 19, 2013

Play Dough - the Natural Way

Homemade play dough brings back memories from rainy days in my childhood.  My mummy made all our play dough. When I think back it seems she made most of our play things.  It amazes me how much time must have been invested in the things that we owned as kids.  I'm simply not that crafty and have never even aspired to attempt homemade dolls, stuffed animals, activity books, puppets, or even bean bags.

I get inspired occasionally and then I do something really simple like this Play Dough.

You don't have to be a talented crafter or have lots of specialty ingredients.  Its just flour, water, salt, oil and cream of tartar and some coloring.

You might not have Cream of Tartar, you can make it anyway. It won't keep it's beautiful smooth feeling for quite as long, but it will still provide hours of educational fun for you little kiddos.
I like to use natural coloring agents, cause I am just like that, yah know.
I don't actually have any dyes in my pantry, so when I got inspired to make play dough I HAD to come up with an alternative.

Beet Powder = Pretty Pink
Turmeric Spice = Bright Golden Yellow
Spirulina Powder =  An Earthy Sage Green

Turmeric is easy to find in your local grocery store, if it isn't already in your spice cabinet.  The other powders you might have to order.  I get them from either Mountain Rose Herbs  or  My Spice Sage.  I use these powders to color food items that need an extra pop of color, since I don't use food dyes.

Mummy never used beet root, turmeric or spirulina powder to color our play dough when I was kid. She used the drops from those little McCormick squirt bottles, and you can use that too, if you wish. You might even leave it uncolored, and that's okay too.

I remember that sometimes Mummy would add extracts to make them smell nice.  Lemon, Strawberry, Vanilla....  

One day she made us a brown playdough and added Root Beer Extract to it.  It smelled so good, I remember closing my eyes and holding it in the palm of my hand inhaling that smell.  It reminded me of celebration because we had root beer only on birthdays or extra special events.
I am sure you know what I did next. Right?  
I tasted it, and I was so disappointed because it was perfectly awful. It didn't hurt me cause this is non-toxic dough, but it was horribly salty. I never ever tasted play dough again.
Funny, maybe that is the reason I never add scents when I make play dough.

My son told me today that  I  should have used coconut oil instead of olive oil "cause it smells nicer".  That is great idea and I will do that next time. 

 Natural Play Dough  

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 Tbl. of Cream of Tartar
1 Tbl. oil
1 tsp natural coloring like turmeric, beet root, or spirulina

Whisk it all together in a heavy stainless steel pan and cook over medium heat till it starts to come together into a thick mass. 

 Continue to cook, pressing and flipping it with your spoon, or your fingers if your like me. Just be warned, it is Hot!

 When thoroughly cooked, flip it onto the counter top and knead the dough until it is very smooth.  Let cool for a bit and then its ready for play.  

For storage, just seal the dough in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. It will last for several months.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Fall comes....

The sense of time slipping through my fingers leaves a strange ache inside.
The realization that my baby is three…

….. that it is October and all the summer flowers are gone except a few of the bravest and heartiest.
The leaves are changing color, and rustling in the wind outside my window.

... and summer is GONE. It hits me with an abruptness that feels rude. I can't quite grasp it, even though I know it's true.
I don’t think I knew we had summer this year. And how did I miss it?
I hate the sense of loss that I feel.... life seemed to be on hold ....but was really slipping silently away.
Now I wake to nights of cool eveningair, the occasional gentle rain andscattered thunder storms and the snuggles that happen because of these storms.
White linen curtainssway in the breeze revealing the pale flash of lightning in the dark night sky and a little afro puff is tucked under my chin accompanied by the sweet scent of coconut andmango hair cream .
There are little heels pressed into my stomach, Lex is “staying safe’ in Mommy’sbed. We listen to the distant rumble of thunder together. Its joy and pain all mingled together.
I want to stop time!

I want to be greedy with these moments and heap them uparound myself and hang onto them forever.
I am not a sentimental person, and these emotions take me by surprise. Somehow, I can't say how, I know it's good and I relax into it and savor it along with the edge of pain and the knot in my throat.
Is this the silver lining? The good that has come from places of deep darkness?
This change in me...
.... in the way the world looks from this new vantage point?