Home made playdough

Once again inspired by The Artful Parent, Audrey and I made some playdough today. Here is the recipe from her site. We made only half the recipe because we were low on salt and cream of tartar, which, frankly, I'm amazed we had at all since I don't have any idea what the heck it's for.

So we halved everything, and then halved it again so we could make two different colors at once. I've also see this done with the food coloring added once the dough is taken out of the pan and this might be a good idea if you want to make a lot of colors at once. I would have just made one color if Audrey hadn't insisted on making her sister's favorite color (blue) in addition to her own (pink). They are always watching out for each other.

Here is the original recipe:

5 cups water
5 cups flour
2 1/2 cups salt
3 Tablespoons cream of tartar
10 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Food coloring

Mix water, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring.

Cook on low heat, stirring regularly.

Add oil, then flour. Stir until playdough pulls away from pan and is no longer sticky.

Dump dough on counter, let cool a bit, then knead.

Instead of their playdough tools, I gave them some random kitchen tools. The ice cream scooper was the biggest hit.

Audrey pretended to lick that ice cream for quite some time and even if she managed to eat some, at least I know it isn't toxic!

Put on a Musical

Inspired by The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, Erika decided we should put on a musical. We recruited Audrey and practiced while Corey was away on a business trip so we could surprise him when he got back. The musical was "Fairy Friends" and was about two fairies who secretly help people by finding things that they have lost. The plot is all Erika, I would have gone with something more along the lines of Godot.

First, we made a backdrop:

Then we rehearsed:

And made handbills:

Then we set the stage and made room for the audience (of one):

There are no pictures of the actual musical because, of course, there is no photography allowed during a show. We decided on three very short scenes and the girls remembered their parts better than I expected. Of course, the dancing went on a little longer than in rehearsal, but it was fun to see them so caught up in the moment.

After the show the proud actresses took their bows:

Make a Puppet

Puppets are awesome, right? Yeah, they are. The Detroit Institute of Arts had a puppet performance by Preston Foerder (whose website I can't seem to find) and the girls and I headed over with some friends. The puppeteer came on stage dressed like a janitor with all the likely tools and then proceeded to tell stories from Grimm's Fairy Tales with his puppets, which he made on the spot from mops, dusters, bags, and socks. The kids learned that you can use everyday things to make something truly spectacular. After the show the museum had a puppet making workshop for the kids. They provided scraps of material, yarn, markers, glue sticks, googly eyes, and the cut off fingers from canvas gloves, which provided the base of the finger puppet. Great idea, right?! Go get some gloves at your local hardware store and let the kids go nuts!

The kids each made a few puppets and then found a way to put on a puppet show right then are there! We will definitely be doing this again soon.

Our visit to Santa was kind of anticlimactic. This was the first year that Erika agreed to talk to him, so I was kind of excited. She sat on his lap for the obligatory picture, told him what she wanted (a porcelain Cinderella) and was done with it. There was no magic in her eyes. Audrey didn't even really want to get near him, but agreed to go sit on his lap if Erika went with her. She asked for some bells and looked quite suspicious of the whole thing.

We cut out snowflakes from tissue paper on the 2nd of December. There are no pictures because I was too busy folding paper and assisting in cutting.

We were supposed to write letters to Santa the next day, but the girls didn't seem interested, so we didn't. This is supposed to be fun, right?

On Saturday we got our Christmas tree! That morning I started searching for places to cut down our own tree, but then I remembered that it was cold out, and that it was a 45 minute drive each way. The "lot" tree is perfect and we aren't all covered in sap. Now I just have to remember to water it.

On Sunday the girls and I went to see the Nutcracker with their Mimi. We magically ended up with front row seats and the girls loved it. Erika was enchanted and hardly blinked. Audrey asked a lot of questions very loudly. I know that we will do this every year and love the tradition of it.

And that brings us almost up to date. Yesterday we made ornaments for the tree. Erika and I made some salt dough and cut out holiday shapes while Audrey napped. In the afternoon the girls painted their ornaments.

If you want to try this yourself, here is a salt dough recipe. And here is The Artful Parent's glittery version of the ornaments.

And finally, today we are going to a local coffee shop to donate a few toys to local children whose parents are unemployed.

And how about you? Holiday shopping done? Tree trimmed? Lights up?