Life, How To's, and Other Various Ramblings

Ice Cream Dough July 24, 2013

As previously mentioned in other posts, it is hotter than hot here. Maybe it is because we are freshly relocated and this is our first summer below the Mason Dixon…but I personally think it’s just HOT.  It’s so bad that the other day I asked my little one to come outside with me and he ran excitedly to the door, stopped short of crossing the threshold and then he said “Mama…it’s too hot! I’m going to color!”. This is coming from the child who lives to be outside.  Unfortunately part of the conditions for living in the complex we live in is no swimming pools or hoses. This is not cool…literally or figuratively.

Now I am faced with finding things to keep him occupied inside…and have a limited budget for new products at the moment. Can you say “challenging”?  I set to scouring Pinterest for new ideas and I found this one .

How could it possibly be as cool as it seems? Well, trust me when I say that it is! We are just cleaning up from 90 minutes of hardcore playtime.

Since I have this need to eyeball most measurements when it comes to things like this, I know I didn’t make it exactly right but we came darn close. And the best part is that it cost me less than a $1.

We dumped approximately 1 ½ cups of cornstarch into a mixing bowl. Then I took all the conditioner samples I have laying around the house. I figured out which ones would smell similar and took to squeezing 9 little packages into the cornstarch. I started to mix it and instead of coming together as a dough, it was mealy. I added  water about a teaspoon at a time until it started to come together as a dough. Once it got to the consistency I liked, I divided it into three equal(ish) balls and placed them in their own little containers.  Then I added about half a pack each of Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Flavor Packets. They worked GREAT! Added a nice color and even made the dough smell like something other than conditioner.

We gathered all of the little plastic ice cream cones we have for the boys kitchen set, various dishes and “Toppings”. After the spread was all set up we went to town. It was a great way to pass the time without any kind of screen in front of us and he thought I was actually letting him play in ice cream. Crazy kid….



PS….sorry that the photos are all of smooshed ice cream. It really does ball up nice and look like ice cream but someone in these photos couldn’t let them stay looking pretty. He needed to smash them all. Boys…






Ice cream dough 1




How 2 Cups of Flour and 2 Cups of Water Saved My Sanity April 22, 2013

By the time the milk paintings were complete, I thought that B was ready to calmly face the world. HOLY MOSES WAS I WRONG!!

What to do? What to do?

Then I remembered reading a post a while back about “Magic Playdough” The woman who wrote the post makes astronomical amounts of plain play dough every year for the first day of school. She separated the dough into individual balls (saving two balls to use later), pushed a well into the top and added 7-10 drops of food coloring into the well. Then, she took took the two balls she had held back, and used little pieces to plug the hole in the others. The goal is to have a collection of plain colored balls that look like there is nothing special about them. She then wrapped them up, added a little note about “mix and mash and if color should appear, it will be a great school year”. I thought this was adorable and wanted to try it at home…sort of.

We obviously did not need 50 balls of play dough so I scaled the recipe WAY back and added a little extra something to it. Here is what I came up with.

Magic Play Dough

2 cups of flour

2 cups of water

Lavender Essential Oil

place all ingredients in a pan on the stove and cook slowly (while stirring regularly) until it comes together and looks like dough. When it is done, place it on a piece of wax paper and knead it until it is nice and smooth. Divide into 6 balls and put two back. With the remaining 4, use your thumb to push a well into the balls. Add 7-10 drops of food coloring per ball. Fill hole with pieces of dough from extra 2 balls and GENTLY form them so that they look like a plain white ball of dough.


As the dough was cooling, I lined the table with some wax paper and taped it down and got some plastic silverware and other small things that would make fun imprints in the dough.


Then I unleashed the wild child on his first real encounter with play dough…

We mushed, and folded, and mushed and folded and mushed and folded and mushed and folded…


And ended up with these (I would add more red food coloring next time)


It took no time for him to discover that it smelled good (and all that lavender helped calm him down…like, whoa)


And it felt good


And because I made it, I knew exactly what was in it and I didn’t freak out when he did this…


Let the games begin…





And THAT is how 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of water (and a little Lavender Oil)  saved my sanity!

The dough will store nicely in ziploc bags and keep for quite some time. Best use of flour and water I have seen in weeks!


PS: As I sat, enjoying the quiet stillness that this activity blessed me with, I couldn’t help but think that this would make for a GREAT party favor for your little ones birthday party…especially if it is a Magic theme!


Milk Painting

I knew this morning when I woke up that it was just going to be one of those days. When the boy woke up he solidified the fact. He was INSANE all morning! I decided to take to my arsenal of kid projects (aka pinterest) and occupy every possible second of his day. I stumbled across “Milk Paintings” ( These were fun and a great way to use up some old milk that we had sitting in the fridge. They were really easy as well.


All you need is:

Milk (2% or whole)

A plate

food coloring

cheap liquid dish soap




Pour a thin layer of milk onto the plate



Add a few drops of food coloring to the milk



Slowly drip a few drops of the dish soap onto the plate and get ready. The magic happens quickly. You go from the picture above to this:



To this:



to this:



When the swirling stopped, I handed the little one a fork and let him experiment with mixing colors:






We made three or four different paintings and he enjoyed every second of it!




It started out so simple… March 25, 2013

And it became a HUGE mess!

While my boy and I were out at Kids Fest this weekend, we stumbled upon an activity center that had gallon bags full of shaving cream and food coloring. The kid LOVED it and it was simple enough that I knew I could replicate it at home, which is exactly what we did this morning.

It started out simple enough. Gather a few gallon zip seal bags, a can of shaving cream and some food coloring.

I let the kiddos spray the shaving cream into the bags and choose the colors they wanted to use. (Shockingly, they both wanted to use the same colors. Now, had I suggested this, it would have been the beginnings of WWIII, but since they did it on their own, it was the best idea they had all morning!)

After sealing the bags, they set to squishing…


…and pounding…

and adding more colors.

Then they realized that we could OPEN the bags and play with the stuff inside which meant I better act fast. I stripped them down to their skivvies and plopped them in the tub. Lord above did they have fun. From this point on, it all got a little fuzzy. There was slipping and sliding, giggles, splatters of shaving cream flying and LOVELY artwork being created right before my very eyes. When all was said and done, we ended with this scene…..


















If you ask the kids, it is the best thing they have done EVER and they would like to do it when we get together again tomorrow. MOM on the other hand thinks that this much excitement should be experienced once every few months!




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Life, How To's, and Other Various Ramblings

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Life, How To's, and Other Various Ramblings