Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

saintpatrick.jpg

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope today brought you more kisses than pinches, shamrocks and rainbows, and laughter and blessings. Tomorrow, I will return to writing about the process of finding a good balance in life and using our time wisely. But today, I wanted to write about a little bit of mischief and a little bit of fun that took place in our house.

On the eve of March 17th, legend says that a “leprechaun” travels from the green hills of Ireland to the green hills of New England to play some harmless tricks while the children sleep.  The “leprechaun” was back and at again this year. “Lenny” made a mess of things. He turned the toilet bowl water green, spread green and white feathers in the bathroom, wrote a message in green sugar sprinkles on the kitchen counter, and left a little note with a small treat.

After the excitement of the tricks wore off, the kids and I took a few minutes to make a new batch of playdough. I added a few extra drops of water and oil to my basic recipe. I think that this made the playdough’s consistency smoother and easier to work with than past batches. Don’t forget the GLITTER!! The glitter is the best part. 🙂 I added two whole tubes of each color.

 Glittering-Green Playdough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus a few extra drops)
  • 1 cup of water (plus an added tablespoon or two)
  • green food coloring (I like the gel coloring)
  • fine green and gold glitter (at least two small tubes)

In a medium saucepan whisk together the dry ingredients. Next, mix in the water, oil, and green food coloring. Stir until a thick batter is formed. Cook the mixture over a low heat until a thick dough forms. Spoon the playdough onto parchment paper or a plate. Knead until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of dough. I usually double the recipe for use with three kids.

greenglitterplaydough

There is much more to this holiday than leprechauns, parties, parades, and pots of gold. My favorite part of the day was reviewing the life of Saint Patrick. What an amazing man! What a story of faith, answered prayers, and very bad circumstances turned to good for God’s purposes and His glory.  I could tell you the details of his story myself but it may be more entertaining to watch them. I found this Veggie Tales video on the life of St. Patrick. If you have a good sense of humor, you might like it. If Veggie Tales makes you cringe, you may want to Google his life. Either way, I think learning about Saint Patrick will inspire you.

 

 

So until tomorrow,

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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PS: I am in love with the little “Lenny” note (see above pic) that I purchased from Caravan Shoppe. This is not a paid compliment, just well deserved praise. The Caravan Shoppe is a small business, run by two young families who specialize in digital downloads for home, family, and fun. Their work is creative and affordable. Check them out here! http://caravanshoppe.com/ 


In our house, Christmas is not over until January 2. Only then is the tree allowed to come down, decorations stored away, and the Christmas music turned off until the next year. Before we say goodbye to Christmas, here are two of my favorite Christmas (playdough) recipes. They smell good enough to eat!

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Candy Cane/Peppermint Playdough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract (more or less to your liking)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • red food coloring
  • white glitter

In a medium saucepan whisk together the dry ingredients. Next, mix in the water, oil, and the peppermint extract and stir until a thick batter is formed. Cook the mixture over a low/medium heat until a thick dough forms. Divide the playdough in half.  Turn out the halves on parchment paper. One half leave “white” and sprinkle clear glitter over the top. Knead until smooth. Add red food coloring (we use the gel type) to the other half. Knead until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of dough.

Candy Cane Playdough
Candy Cane Playdough

 

Gingerbread Playdough

Gingerbread Playdough

(originally from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle )

Note: With three kids, I usually double the recipe so each one has more than enough to play with.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • dash of orange

In a medium saucepan whisk together the dry ingredients. Next, mix in the water, oil, and the orange extract and stir until a thick batter is formed. Cook the mixture over a low/medium heat until a thick dough forms. Turn out on parchment paper and knead until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of dough.

PS  I think of the gingerbread recipe as more wintry than “Christmasy” and make it all winter long.

Gingerbread Playdough

 

Two of My Favorite Playdough Recipes


A Visit To Hawaii From Home-Tot-Time Tuesday

Aloha Summer

Today was our first official day of homeschool and part of me really wanted to write about our first great day of school. BUT another part of me felt obligated to pay homage to the “Summer of Fun” and close out our summer with a respectful farewell.

In the beginning of the summer, I wrote an article called My Summer Plan that MOPS International published on their leaders blog. In my article, I declared that this summer would be a time for me to lighten up, be more carefree, notice goodness around me, and go on new adventures. After I wrote that article, the girls and I created a Summer Bucket List and we started making plans to have some serious FUN.  We wrote down whatever their hearts desired- big or small- it did not matter. This was a dreaming list.  When the list was complete, we posted it on the fridge and looked to see what we wanted to do first. Most of the activities were easily achievable–icecream, the beach, stay at a hotel- those were things we normally do in the summer. But there was one item on the list that I knew would involve some creative thinking. Item- GO TO HAWAII!!!Summer Bucket List

This was my youngest daughter’s contribution to the list. I knew we could never afford the planes tickets, the hotel stay, or find the time for a real trip to Hawaii; but I did not want to stifle her enthusiasm to add her thoughts to our bucket list. If we could not get to Hawaii, I would bring Hawaii to us.

Last week was our last full week of “fun” before homeschool started and we started the transition into our “fall schedule”.  My parents had come for a visit. It was a Books on Hawaiiperfect time to “take a trip” to somewhere tropical. To prepare for  our trip, I borrowed books on Hawaii from the library.

Our favorite was Froggy Goes To Hawaii  by Jonathan London. I think we read it three or four times and laughed at the same places every reading.

On the day of the big event, I gave everyone their boarding tickets and we patiently waited for the time to board the airplane. Froggy got a boarding ticket too!

Play Boarding Tickets  Froggy Goes to Hawaii

I had the kids help me make Coconut Playdough. (I found the recipe at The Moon and Back Blog.)  I wanted a strong coconut smell so we added a lot of flaked coconut (almost a whole bag) to counter the smell of vinegar. This playdough recipe has good texture and the oil leaves your hands feeling soft. Coconuts seemed to be the favorite thing to make.

Coconut Playdough     Coconut Playdough  I   Coconut Playdough

As the kids were creating with playdough, I prepared dinner.  The menu consisted of ham, grilled pineapple, grilled potatoes & onions, mango salsa, and POI.  Poi is a Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the underground plant stem or corm of the taro plant (known in Hawaiian as kalo). It is a traditional part of Native Hawaiian cuisine and is produced by mashing the cooked corm (baked or steamed) until it is a highly viscous fluid. 1  I wanted a traditional dish at dinner and the recipe to make Poi seemed like it would not be too hard to make. I questioned myself during the recipe- it seemed too simple. Peel, chop, steam, mash, add water. It was suppose to turn a purple color (which I was excited about) but it ended up a gray color (which I was not so excited about.) It did not have a bad taste (like a sticky, gooey potato) but no one had a second helping. I was happy that we all tried something new.

Making Poi

The flight to Hawaii was delayed (a.k.a dinner was not ready) until 5:30 PM. At that time, we all boarded the “plane” and found our appropriate seats. After two rounds of “I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” (Merv Griffen) we had arrived in beautiful Hawaii.

Flight to Hawaii  Flight to HawaiiFroggy Goes to Hawaii

There were paper-leis to be made, palm trees to be decorated, and Hawaii coloring sheets to be colored. The weather was perfect and my husband found a great album of Hawaiian songs on Rapsody to add to the great atmosphere.

Paper Leis Decorating Palm Trees Craft Ideas- Hawaii Party

We ate and ate and laughed and laughed until the mosquitoes corralled us into the house. We closed out the night with a creative dessert that my parents provided. I was touched when I found out that they went to five stores trying to find gluten-free treats and palm trees to keep with the theme and a creative look .Hawaiian Night

What a wonderful way to close out our summer! I think I told my daughter at last ten times what a great idea she had to think to put it on our list! And she beamed every time I told her. The family all agreed that a “trip” to Hawaii needs to be a annual event at our house and a regular item on our Summer Bucket List. A Fond Adieu and Aloha to the  Summer of Fun 2015! Thank you for helping me rediscover fun and helping me notice all the good things right in front of me.  Next stop,  a”Fall for Fun.”

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PS The next day, we played Coconut Bowling (bowling was also on our Bucket List) Highly recommend this game. Highly recommend doing it outside. Coconuts are hard!

Coconut Bowling   Coconut Bowling

If you have serious competitors in your house, here is a Printable Score Card to use.

 

 

 

 


Tot-Time Tuesday ~Straws and Pasta~

Pasta and Straws

I am always searching for ideas that are easy and that keep my two-year old entertained for longer than one whole minute. I found this idea on Pinterest from Laughing Kids Learn. The author calls this activity “Pasta Threading.”  It is great for the development of little one’s fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills generally refer to use of the small muscles like fingers, hands, and wrists. Development in fine motor skills help with tasks such as stacking blocks, zipping zippers, turning book pages, holding a pencil, handwriting, and using scissors. As a child develops, they gain more motor control and can perform more sophisticated motor tasks. As a parent and teacher, it is important to provide opportunities for your little ones to practice these skills.

I had everything in the house that was needed for this activity.

  • Playdough  (Store bought! It would have been nice for homemade playdough but that is a project for another time. )
  • Straws
  • Rigatoni Pasta (Penne and Ziti would work great too!)

1.) I made a ball of playdough. 2.) I stuck straws in the playdough. 3.) My son placed the pasta on the straws. It was a easy as 1-2-3.  This activity kept him entertained for enough time that I could unload and load the dishwasher AND prepare dinner in the crock pot. After a while, he just wanted to play with the playdough and that was fine because playdough is another great activity for developing fine motor skills.

Pasta and Straws

TIP: When we do this activity again, I am going to have a larger area of play-dough available, more straws, different widths of straws, and different types of pasta. If I get really ambitious, I might use different colored pasta too! I think having some different options would have kept my son engaged for a longer period of time. (Maybe wishful thinking?)  And we could work on some other skills like color recognition, compare and contrast, sorting and attributes.

Pasta and Straws

You can find the original idea here:

 http://laughingkidslearn.com/2014/03/pasta-threading-activity-for-toddlers.html/