homemade playdoh

there is no scarcity when it comes to palydoh recipes.  especially on pinterest.  but the other day when i was going through some of my pin boards, there was one in particular that caught my eye.  it said it was the absolute best.  which, i know; of course it said that!  but what sold me is that this woman in particular uses it in her classroom and it was supposedly incredibly soft.  ok, so i gave it a shot.  and i'll even share the tweaked recipe with you exactly how i made it! 

so hair ya go!
homemade playdoh
what i did was i halved the following recipe and made one half in one pot and the other half in a different pot at the same time.  this way, you can make two different colors at once and not be slaving away in the kitch all day.  it also works perfectly to divide it between two kids!  also, you want to make sure that you use gel food coloring (as opposed to regular liquid food coloring)!  i got mine at target.  gel food coloring results in prettier, brighter, and bolder colors!

full recipe:
4 c all-purpose white flour
4 c lukewarm water
1 c salt
2 tb vegetable oil
4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp preferred color of gel food coloring
glitter (however much or little you want - it does not get all over the place!)
2 tsp avon skin-so-soft bath oil

half recipe:
2 c all-purpose white flour
2 c lukewarm water
1/2 c salt
1 tb vegetable oil
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp preferred color of gel food coloring
glitter (however much or little you want - don't worry, it does not get all over the place!)
1 tsp avon skin-so-soft bath oil*

halve the full recipe and combine all of the ingredients (minus the bath oil) in two medium-sized pots over medium heat.  make sure one pot has one color, and other other pot has a different color!  incorporate and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the moisture is absorbed and the contents resemble a playdoh consistency.  feel free to add more or less food coloring (before it's done) depending on how you want the color to look.

turn each set of dough out onto a large cutting board and let cool for a few minutes.  once cooled (the dough will still be warm, so be careful), add a teaspoon of bath oil to each dough and start kneading until the oil is incorporated.  form each color into a disc and cut in half (or thirds or fourths depending on how many kids you have).  now each kid has their own of each color!

*i imagine you can also use baby oil.  either way, they will make the otherwise funky-odored playdoh smell great!  this is also what makes the dough very soft, pliable, and squishy - so don't leave this out!

voila!  you're done and your kids are ready to start playing away!  my kids played with the playdoh for hours.  and they are ages 6 and 8.  playdoh is not just for preschoolers!

i purchased plastic containers at the dollar tree to store the playdoh in.  they had 4-packs of 2-cup sized containers.  the playdoh fit perfectly in them.

i made red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white.  so yes, four different batches!


us lately

"whatcha doin' molly?"
"just thinking about gracie."
gracie died almost exactly one year ago.  we haven't even brought that up recently.
oh, my heart!
i turned the table 90 degrees and this is now my view. i spend most of my day in this very spot so changing it up is necessary!
i'm usually on that bandwagon of people who don't like mondays.  but this particular day wasn't so bad.  especially when i get to sit with my legs up, tea in hand, AND a good read.  whaaaaaaat?
feeding the birds!  i love doing this around Christmastime.
he's adorable with a needle and thread.
the final product.
(pink) milk and cookies for a special little lady.
on saturdays eric goes to the nursing home up the road to read scripture to a few lonely women.  one week he'll take julian, the next week molly.  this was molly's week. a few days ago she took it upon herself to wrap one little gift for each special woman. they were her own toys.  she gathered them this morning and they headed out together.  when they got there they learned that one of the women they've been seeing for months has passed away.  eric asked molly if she was sad about it and she replied, "yeah...but she's a lot happier that she's in heaven."  then they sneaked into where the woman's room was.  molly prayed for her and opened her present for her and left it on the nightstand.  we razz molly oftentimes for being very much head-in-the-clouds and spacey.  but she surprises us with her keenness.  my heart is seconds from exploding right now.......

look how they fell asleep!!  heart breakers.
sailor boy.  rockin' his dad's dixie cup from his navy days. 
i apparently have a Christmas tree collection now.  i made that tin cup one yesterday.  pinterest is inspiring the crap outta me this Christmas season. 
what our morning looks like before school starts.
look at this list molly made.  it cracks me up.  she put together this list of what she wanted to do at our little slumber party.  i just love how we look mad during our pillow fight and tug-of-war.  and a water drinking contest???  what?!  too freaking funny. 
that's us on the right making chocolate chip cookies that night.


december list

lists are my life.  if i don't make a list, internally i am fa-reaking out.  my to-dos overwhelm me until they are out on paper.  or, in this day and age, my paperless app. 

here is my list for the Chrsitmas season!
  • watch white Christmas on Christmas eve.  this is a yearly tradition of ours.
  • finish gift baskets
  • go to the mall as a family and get our shopping for each other done.  i love doing this!
  • finish wrapping presents.  my least favorite.  i mean, i actually really enjoy wrapping gifts and making them look pretty.  but not when there are sooooooo many gifts.  because then it's just daunting.
  • see big eyes and into the woods in the theater with shelb & deric.
  • tokyo and dragenettis with shelb & deric!!!
  • decorate Christmas cut-out cookies
  • photo adventure when there's a good snow.  including snow-heavy branches and the train tracks by my house.
  • sledding
  • ice skating
  • Christmas crafts with the kids
  • finish advent strong (we haven't missed a day yet!)
  • read Christmas stories daily
  • other movie musts:  charlie brown Christmas, elf, polar express, how the grinch stole Christmas, rudolph, the nativity story, and frosty the snowman!
  • hot chocolate dessert nights
  • baking & candy-making day with the kids:  ohio state buckeyes, salted caramels, almond butter-cookies, amaretto snowballs, peppermint patties, and oreo truffles
  • winter parade


o Christmas tree

this year we waited until after julian's birthday and birthday party to put the tree up.  last year the kids convinced me to put it up before thanksgiving.  which, normally, i am not opposed to.  however, eric and i both lost our Christmas spirit early on last year.  so we blamed it on putting the tree up too early.
usually the kids help us assemble the tree and eric and i work together to string the lights and the garland.  this can be a frustrating task, but every single year i am very conscious to not lose my cool and get irritable.  i don't want my kids associating this fun, spirit-filled task with mom always getting mad.  the mood should be fun and even good bonding time.
this year shelby got to join us, too.  that is another thing i am making sure i am not taking for granted.  i've been hoping and waiting years for her to move close to us.  we all want to bask in this awesome blessing of her not only living close to us, but her living with us.  we just could not be happier that she is here!
the kids are finally at an age where they don't put all of the ornaments on one single bough.  halleluiah for that!
i was molly's turn to top the tree this year.  julian's memory is seriously impeccable.  he remembered before anyone else that it was her turn.  and, after looking through the blog at past Christmastime photos, he was right.  his memory never ceases to amaze us.
this year we have a brand new tree-topper.  we've always had a gold star.  which i liked, but i didn't love it.  i've been on the lookout for the perfect fit for us for the past couple years and just haven't been able to find the one.  last year shelby gave me a bunch of ornaments to decorate and craft with.  i pulled them out this year and there was this over-sized one that i was inspired to paint in bright rainbow colors.  sometimes when i dive into a crafting project, i don't love how the product turns out.  this one in particular i wasn't sure about during the process.  but once it was finished, we all loved it!  especially eric and the kids.  eric had the great idea of it becoming our new tree-topper. 
so, there it is!  it really is the perfect fit. 

i can't help it.  beautiful blurry lights?  yes, please!

how do you go about decorating your tree?  what kind of tree-topper do you have?  do you have traditions that go along with trimming the tree?


us lately

pinterest made me do it.
my favorite Christmas mix.  and Christmas cover art.  and Christmas song.  you can find some of the tracks here for free!

this apron from anthro.......my newest favorite thing.

little miss learned how to tie her shoes!

random dan.

we ordered pizza and put up our tree right after julian's birthday party!

this guy's the best ever.

so julian got a rad tent from his grandparent's for his birthday.  naturally molly wanted to sleep in it because he got to.  and he let her!  this is a shot of julian sleeping on her bed.  see her floral comforter underneath him?  i die.

our first time playing clue as a family!  this game is totally boss.

loving my rainbow scarf from the gap.

the hospital even decorates for Christmas!

books on cassette this particular morning.

i've been searching high and low for the perfect vintage toy car so i could do this.  

she is too much for me.
this is my take on a dream catcher.  i love how it turned out!!


eight is great

we enjoy celebrating the kids' birthdays over the span of the entire weekend that follows it.  otherwise, it's almost grievous for some reason.  we want to make the most of their special day and reflect on the past year and the actual day they were born as much as we can.  especially while having a blast!

friday (his actual birthday):
a warm embrace.

birthday goods!

birthday breakfast donuts!  because there's no better kind of breakfast to have on your special day.  he chose mostly bavarian cream.  too funny.

these two.......playing julian's new wii-u game we got for him.

we got him four things all together.  but - we told him he could open one present before breakfast, one before lunch, one before dinner, and one before bed. 

we also strolled through the Christmas village at irvine park!  last year when we went it was extremely cold.  i'm talking below zero.  so we drove through the whole thing and hopped out for fifteen seconds to take a few photos.  this year, on the contrary, it was very mild.  we were able to walk through as much as we wanted.  and even have a fun snowball fight (that i stayed out of, of course).  
my favorite lights will always and forever be the royal blue ones.  but the pink and purple ones are a very close second!
see the string of alternating pink and purple lights on the fence behind these two cuties?  that's what i'm talking about!  and there's that all-pink gazebo in the far distance that was sooooooo magical!
birthdays are exhausting!  this is so sweet, though.  julian's always been the one who falls asleep in the car.  apparently even at the ripe age of eight.  bonus:  now that he's "of age" he doesn't need a booster seat in the car anymore.  needless to say, he was STOKED about this.  what kids wouldn't be?  it's kind of a  milestone.

he chose to go to buffalo wild wings for his birthday dinner.  soooooo not my first choice; it's seriously the worst environment in my opinion.  but it actually wasn't that bad and we all enjoyed ourselves and the food.

cherry berry was his choice for dessert.  how can a kid pass up all of this candy topping?!

she is so angelic it hurts to look at her sometimes. 
he wanted funfetti cake for his birthday party.  so i made him homemade funfetti cake!  it was ah-may-zing!!!

and i found a new recipe for buttercream frosting which was the absolute BEST buttercream i have ever ever ever had!  that one's a keeper.  julian also LOVED it.  see evidence below.

here's the finished product:

we also went to see big hero 6.  we've been wanting to see it, and his birthday weekend was the best time to do so!

all five of us loved it (shelby included)!

after the flick, we went to culvers for some midwest junk food goodness.  complete with frozen custard!

she's a little ray of light, see?

they just kill me.


i have a hard time thinking about what kid of (non-alcoholic) drinks to serve at parties that aren't just soda crap.  i like to make arnold palmers but i can't make them every time.  so i searched pinterest and found that just simply adding club soda to raspberry iced tea will do the trick!  garnish with fresh raspberries and you look like martha.  and who doesn't want to be mistaken for martha?

party time.  excellent.

funfetti cake and cheetos.  nothing but the best. 
i only let the kids eat cheetos twice a year:  on julian's birthday, and on molly's birthday.  ha!  : )

that's a joyous face right there.

so that is that for a very fun-filled-to-the-brim birthday weekend. 
hope you loved your time and will remember these times in your memory forever, julian!