Making Play Dough–Turns Out It’s Easy

Yesterday I made play dough. It feels like I should get some sort of mom award. Turns out it’s really easy, though, and I already had everything I needed: flour, salt, water, oil, cream of tartar, and some food coloring. Mix everything together in a pot, stir it until it turns into play dough. (For more specific directions you can see here).

The recipe seems pretty forgiving, too–I forgot the salt at first so just added it at end with a little water, reheated a bit, and it turned out great. Actually it seemed like it was coming out fine even without the salt, but I thought I better add it just to be sure I wasn’t wasting my time (and flour).

Side note: as it cooked the smell of the play dough suddenly gave me an acute flashback to being in kindergarten. I found myself huffing over the pot, transported back to that time. playdough2 Anyway, M and E loved playing with it. I took a couple plastic shapes out of their shape sorter and they particularly enjoyed using those as stamps. They were thoroughly entertained for at least 45 minutes stamping all the play dough. E also enjoyed ripping it into little tiny bits. They both liked making makeshift bracelets and hats. It was also, as it happened, the perfect activity for our new toddler table.

Also, if you bake play dough in the oven it hardens and you can paint it, which means theoretically I can finally make some ornaments with their handprints on them…

The only downside was they kept wanting to mash all the colors together and I kept trying to peel them back apart. Guess I’ll just have to let go of the whole red, green, yellow blue idea and allow that it’s all just going to turn into a purple blob. At the end I put it back in a tupperware and a plastic bag. Hopefully it will last us for many more hours of entertainment. playdough1


On Getting Our Car Keyed


March. They say it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. I’m not sure the lamb part applies to Pittsburgh, but the lion seems right. Though actually, I don’t think I’d characterize it as a lion or a lamb, but something in between, more like some teasing, pink-faced monkey that steals your glasses and disappears with them into the trees, infuriating and magical. Or maybe an exotic bird you can hear calling but which refuses to be seen.

Last weekend, as the thermometer pushed 43 degrees, D and I found ourselves sitting with the kids on the front porch, soaking in the rays of sunshine warming us through the bare branches of the sycamore across the street. M decided it was warm enough for no jacket and refused to put it back on. D and I had a beer, sitting at the little white metal table taking turns eating saltines straight from the roll.

On Sunday I was suddenly taken with the need to organize the basement, getting rid of junk and excess furniture. And I’m gripped with a passion to take up home repair projects which have lain dormant for months–build those radiator covers I’ve got the supplies for, repaint the walls, re-tile the fireplaces, try out stencils, hire contractors.

The other day, on the first sunny 50 degree day, I take the kids on a long walk. I spot the first leaf buds on a bush, not yet green, and the scraggly trees are suddenly full of cardinals. Snow melts into icy mud; the roads are full of gaping potholes. The kids scream the whole way home, refusing to sit in the stroller but too tired to walk, hungry but impetuously pushing away snacks.

And today we wake up to find someone has keyed our car, a ragged, angry zigzag across one entire side, from front bumper to back, like a thunder bolt. A spring electric storm, March’s idea of a joke.