Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gloomy Day Project

So, I have found 2 fun new places in the wonderful world of internet this past weekend. I have introduced myself to Pandora (free) internet radio. .and have been bouncing around for 3 days now, high on MercyMe holiday radio!! What a great concept!! I know, all of you probably already know all about it and now understand what a techno-geek I REALLY am!! Our desktop sits at our desk in nearly the center of our home. .so I can blast it from there and hear it quite well. .playing ALL of my very favorite Christmas carols ALL day long. .and into the evening. If you HAVEN'T been there. .check it out at pandora.com.
The other place that I spent a couple hours browsing last Thursday afternoon while I sat on the couch next to Cami as we watched Beauty and the Beast. .was a neat place called Pinterest. The girls from work finally convinced me to check it out a couple months ago or so. Unfortunately, I don't get to go there very often (time factor, you know), I forsee that it could be very addictive. .so many new ideas and recipes to try out.  My favorite spot is the food and drink section, but I finally looked around under a few different categories. One of the recipes that I found very interesting was a recipe for playdough using J-E-L-L-O!! I have made my kids homemade playdough many times in the past, always using my mom's recipe from when we were small.
I promised Cami that I would wait until she got up from nap on Friday to make it up. The clouds were so thick and the wind was cold that day that we had no intention of even leaving the house. .so this made the perfect project!
You mix all the ingredients in your pan (the recipe follows at the end of my post) and whisk it until it is smooth. Cami picked cherry jello for hers and Devin wanted orange jello for his.
If you have never made your own playdough before. .it can be a little anxiety provoking before it all comes out right. You cook over low to medium heat and stir constantly for a few minutes. First it gets a little thick at the bottom and coats your spoon in little lumps like this. .about the time you start wondering what the HECK you haven't done right. .and reread the recipe as you are stirring those nasty little lumps around your pan! Don't worry, you are on the right track!
Then it gets a little thicker, and pulls up from the bottom. .and you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Finally, you will be able to pull it all to one big lump like this one. You might notice that I changed my whisk out to a spoon as it started to thicken. The whisk worked much better to get the flour lumps out, but then it started sticking in my wires as the whole thing started thickening.
The dough gets dumped out onto a wax paper piece and you knead some flour into it to dry it up a bit.
It gets kneaded just like bread; fold it in half. .
. .and push it away, continuing that process until the dough is "good." I didn't measure, but I'll bet we kneaded about 1/2 cup extra flour into the dough. .and it might have taken a little more. .one would just have to use one's good judgement for this process.
The orange one smelled much like child vomit as it was cooking up. .good thing I work with body fluids as a way of life, I didn't notice the red being that nasty smelling. The finished products don't smell much at all. .and not anything unpleasant.
Cami and Devin dug out the play dough tools and toys. .
. .and made an afternoon of it.

We drew the names of two of my small neices for Christmas. My friend Sara is whipping up some pint-sized aprons for them each, and I found some one-piece small purple silicone spatulas to go with them. I am thinking that I will fix up two sacks of the dry ingredients needed to make this playdough to go in a little "gift set" for them each. I'm thinking they'll love it!!

It would also be fun to add to a mixing bowl with some cheap cookie cutters and a plastic rolling pin; really. .the possibilities are totally endless here. .birthday gifts. .stocking stuffers. .school treats. .daycare providers (just had to throw that out there Becky!!) ;-)


Jello Playdough

1 cup white flour
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp cream of tartar
3 oz package of jello
1 cup warm water

Mix all ingredients together in a large saucepan and whisk until smooth. Turn stove to low heat and cook, stirring constantly until it gradually thickens into a big ball. Place on a piece of wax paper to cool. Knead about 1/2 cup extra flour into the dough until it isn't so sticky anymore. Can add extra food coloring or glitter at this time. Store in the refrigerator.

 One of my friends from work wanted me to bring her some photos of my Christmas decorations. .so I think I will highlight some of my unrelentless decorating strategies on the blog sometime this week. Who knows, maybe it will inspire someone out there. I also broke in my new candy thermometer during naptime Saturday. .creating about 7 pounds of peanut brittle and some toffee. .so at the request of my blogging friend Bonnie. .I will share a recipe or two.

Wishing everyone a GREAT week!!
21 more days until Christmas!!

5 comments:

  1. Oooo, I love the colors from the jello! Will have to try that. Also LOVE Pandora. Esp the year that I made a Christmas station! Too bad it won't load here in slow internet land.... boo hoo.

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  2. Hi Melanie! Looks like a fun day messing with the playdoh. Does that stain at all? And would the neighbors think I'm weird if they caught me playing with that stuff??
    :D
    STILL no snow up here. I think Sue in Nebraska took it all!
    :(

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  3. WOW! I love it! We have tried play dough a few times, but it was a big fat fail each time we've tried. We will have to try your recipe!
    I, too, have fallen into Pinterest love! I have found the most adorable kids Christmas crafts and ideas! What did we do before the internet?

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  4. Oh man! For a second there I thought you were saying you broke your new candy thermometer...I'm like, what? how the heck? And then I re-read it! LOL! I am excited to see these recipes!! Especially the toffee! I really want to make that and I never have! I had a friend that used to make it and bring it in to work at Christmas-time and we devoured it!

    By the way, that is a really cool recipe for playdough! I can't believe it! I never knew you could make that. Very, very cool!!! I was laughing about the smell of the orange jello!! pukey! hahaha!! Glad it doesn't smell when it is all done and ready to be played with!

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  5. This looks very interesting. :)

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