Easy Homemade Playdough

I often struggle with coming up with activities to do with H. You know, fun activities that stimulate his mind… and aren’t too messy. A few weeks ago I watched my nephew C for the day. I made sure to have a bunch of activities planned: we went to story time in the morning, then to the park, lunch, nap, and then… what? I decided to make play-dough. I’ve done it before with the neighbor kids and it’s always a hit. I wasn’t sure if H would enjoy it yet, but it’s super simple to make so I decided it was worth a try.

It takes about 5-10 minutes to make it and then another 10 to cool down, but really it’s not too bad. I put it in the fridge, and it may have been even less than 10 minutes to cool. H (who is 19 months) wasn’t in love with the play-dough, but he did enjoy putting his fingers in it, smooshing it, and throwing it (of course). He also enjoyed looking at the fine art pieces deformed animals I created. C (who is 3) loved it. He loved smooshing it, cutting it out with cookie cutters, building animals and looking at my animals. He seriously could have played with it for hours, I think. I cut him off at one so we could go outside and play for awhile and because H was getting bored. I’m a mean auntie.

All in all, I definitely think it was worth it. I’ve brought it out once other time since then, and H still feels the same way: he plays with it for around 10 minutes, and is then bored. But, really, I think that’s just his age. I like the mess to play-time ratio though, especially since the play-dough should last for many more play sessions. Plus, it’s just really fun to have an excuse to play with play-dough!

You can dye the play-dough any color you want! I used just regular liquid food coloring – I used green at C’s request. I also added a few drops of mine essential oil . You can add any scent you want, extract or EO. Just add it a few drops at a time until you get the scent you want; you don’t want it to be too overpowering. You can also add glitter for some sparkle! (I didn’t)

Play-dough

  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbs cream of tarter
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • I cup water
  • Food color
  • Scent
  1. Mix everything together in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.
  2.  Cook, stirring constantly, until dough forms a ball. At first it won’t look like it will, but trust me – it will happen, and you will know it.
  3. Knead until smooth and then allow to cool. Store in a sealed container so it doesn’t dry out.
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I love applesauce! I love the flavor, I love the texture, and I love how versatile it is: is it a breakfast or a snack or a side or a dessert?!  I also really love that Toddler  H will eat it! He will actually eat raw apples as well… well, he chews them up, sucks the juice out and then spits out the pulp. I guess the texture is too hard for him? But he gobbles this applesauce right up! He doesn’t even want to use a spoon he’s so hell-bent on shoveling it into his mouth! And since there’s no sugar in this recipe… that’s a good thing!

The apples for this applesauce came from our apple picking trip. This is actually the second batch of crockpot applesauce I’ve made with them! (We picked around 15 lbs!) You can use whatever kind of apple you want depending on what type of applesauce you want. If you want tart, use granny smith. If you want it sweeter, use a fuji or a gala. We picked a variety, so I’m not sure exactly what went into mine but I think it was mainly ambrosias & jona golds. Possibly. Or not! I love to leave the sauce chunky, but if you prefer it smoother, by all means dump it in a blender and whiz away. Also, I like my applesauce heavily cinnamonny-& clove-y. If that’s not your bag, leave out altogether or tone it down to fit your tastes. You can always add more at the end, but you can’t take away!

Toddler H helped by pulling out the pots and pans. And filling them with dog food.

I love this applesauce warm on its own, cold mixed into plain yogurt, and I also use it as a filling for hand pies. I’m sure there are a million more ways to use it, too! You can also freeze or can it, but even a huge batch like this never lasts long at my house!

Easy Crockpot Applesauce

  • 12 cups of apples (about 18-20 small apples), peeled, cored, and cut into quarters or eighths
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • few dashes ground cloves
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  1. Dump everything in the crockpot and cook on low for 8+ hours. (Trust me: you don’t need any water, the apples have plenty – and nobody likes watery applesauce! Oh, you do? Well, then dump in 1/4 cup of water then!)  When they’re soft enough, mash with a fork/potato masher to the consistency you prefer. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  2. Try to not make yourself sick shoveling spoonfuls repeat
    edly into your mouth.

Be sure to check back next week when I check off another item on my Fall 2012 Bucket List and post the recipe for my apple “cup-pies” and hand pies!

Apple Picking

Apple Picking! The first thing I get to check off of my Fall 2012 Bucket List! Of course… we actually did this the weekend before I made the bucket list… But, don’t you ever put things on your list just so you know at least one thing is going to get checked off? You do? Good! I think we all do that. And if you don’t, well… aren’t you Miss. Superiority!

I wanted to go apple picking specifically so that I could make applesauce for H. And I’m glad we went when we did – they were almost out of apples! It was a really fun day. We actually got out of the house early: by 10! And then H slept the whole  hour and a half drive there. When we got there we paid for our bag and then took a tractor-drawn wagon ride to the orchard. At first I was disappointed because there were a shit ton of people, but once everyone dispersed amongst the rows it really was quite peaceful and you pretty much felt alone.

After we had wandered around and picked our fill of apples, we hitched another wagon ride back to the store where we visited the hard cider tasting room! And then Rob & I each got a glass and sat out on the patio sipping cider and relaxing. Oh, and H knocked my phone off the table and shattered the glass. Yeah. Oh, well! I’m gonna get the glass the replaced. Besides that little glitch, we had a wonderful time! I can’t wait to go back next year!

(excuse the shitty eyephone pics, of course I forgot my camera!)

Fall 2012 Bucket List

It’s finally OCTOBER!!! I thought this day would never come. I mean, sure, it’s still in the 70s & 80s here… but I’m optimistic that colored tights, knee-high boots and cable-knit sweater weather is on the way. I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon and make my family a fall bucket list. I’m sure my husband is going to be THRILLED! I’ve recently instituted a “go do a family activity every weekend” rule and I know he pines for days of just lounging on the sofa. But, that’s what the dreary days of winter are for! Fall is for enjoying those last few weeks of sunshine and frolicking in the crisp cool air!  He’ll get over it.

At any rate, he will enjoy looking back at our fall escapades once winter fully sets in and we’re stuck inside during the dreary (ok, maybe not so dreary…) Georgia winter. I know I will! And I hope you enjoy your fall as well! You can click here for a printable PDF of my bucket list! Let me know all the fun stuff you do from it!