Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Caving to the Green

In my last post I mentioned that I had "skipped" St. Patrick's Day. Well, I'm taking that claim back. There will be no St. Patrick's Day Craft Basket, but, I have caved, there will be green.

I have my daughter to thank for this shift in attitude.

In fear of the dreaded St. Patrick's Day pinch (clearly a big topic at school yesterday), my daughter carefully picked out today's outfit -- green from the inside out (I'm wishing I'd taken a picture of her at the bus stop this morning.) But, much to my surprise, she insisted on going to bed in this outfit, "Mama, it will be St. Patrick's Day at midnight while I'm sleeping, and I'm not going to risk getting pinched." And, so, she did. She slept in green from head to toe. Over breakfast she drew pictures of leprachans, shamrocks, rainbows, pots of gold and the word "OUCH". :)

After she loaded the bus with a big smile from behind those green sunglasses, I thought, "How could I not catch the spirit?" I wondered what I could do to surprise her this afternoon. I just couldn't stomach the idea of green food (though I'd glady take a green beer if one was handed to me.) And, then, it donned on me. Play dough. Green play dough. Perfect.

So, I promptly set to work to make some green play dough for her to play with this afternoon.

Play dough is great. (I remember with great fondness that on my daughter's first day of montessori preschool her teacher had made a bunch of playdough and said with a very serious face, "Play dough is a great ice breaker." So true. I vowed at that moment, I'd host a party someday with loads of play dough on hand.).

If you haven't tried making your own play dough, I HIGHLY recommend it. It is economical; it lasts longer; it contains real stuff; and it is much smoother to play with (oh, and it doesn't make crumbs the way the commercial stuff does) -- and, I'll admit the process of making it, including using food color and kneading is great fun for me.

If you Google "play dough", you'll find lots of homemade playdough recipes including ones that are entirely edible (e.g. peanut butter play dough). My favorite recipe is below. (If you like the idea of homemade play dough, but don't actually want to make it, I encourage you to look on There are many crafters making and selling homemade play dough, including gluten-free versions . There's even a few "play dough of the month" clubs--how fun!)

Homemade Play Dough


* 1 cup water
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup salt
* 1 tablespoon cream of tartar (This makes the dough last a long time.)
* Food coloring
* Saucepan
* 1 cup flour


1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.
2. Remove from heat and add flour.
3. Stir, then knead until smooth.
4. Store this dough in an airtight container or a plastic bag.

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