Tag Archives: family

Sometimes You Have to Crawl

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The Real Test

Announcement:   I cleaned the bathroom!

I know. You’re thinking, And??

You haven’t written a blog post in weeks… and you cleaned the bathroom?  That’s it?

Listen.  I don’t think you understand.  I cleaned the bathroom.  Here’s what that looks like in my world:  Sometime around 7:45 yesterday morning, I’m sitting on the couch, feeding a baby, trying in vain to also drink my coffee and read the John Piper devo app on my phone.

Side Note: you need to get the John Piper devo app on your phone!

Anyway, I say “trying in vain” ‘cause let’s face it.  After all the kids are up, coffee and devo is spotty, at best.  

And, of course, since I’m feeding the baby, Carson has to go potty.  Now.  Like, right now.  So I send him off and task the older boy with helping him.

And alas, minutes later, there’s pee on the floor.

::I’m sorry, I know, I said ‘pee.’  This is just going to be one of those posts today, okay?  Nothing poetic here.  If it had been a girl, it would have been ‘tee-tee’, but it was a boy, so there was ‘pee’ on the floor.::

Anyway.  So Christopher (thank God for older boys, am I right?) cleans the pee off the floor, but I decide right then and there to clean the bathroom.

Well, after I finish feeding the baby and getting breakfast into my tribe and drinking only half my cup of coffee and forgetting where I put down the mug… then I get right to cleaning the bathroom.

Two hours and seventy-five interruptions later, I stand back and admire the fruit of my labor.  It’s quite possibly the cleanest and most peaceful room in the house.  I think briefly about shutting myself in there the rest of the day. True story.

But wouldn’t you know, a little while later, one of the kids waits to the very last mili-second to go to the bathroom, so I ended up cleaning the toilet and a section of the floor again.  (This time it was tee-tee. Ahem.)

I stand back and admire my work.  Again.

About half an hour later, I’m helping Carson in the bathroom and this time he makes it like a champ.  No accident.  But – much to my dismay – I notice a smell lingering with the lovely aroma of scrubbing bubbles… It takes me a minute of sniffing around to find a spot I’d missed earlier (what with the seventy-five interruptions, eh?).

So I quickly decide I’m going to spray down the entire area again (you know, with the seat up and all) and make double-sure it’s all extra clean.

After I spray it all down, I call for the older boy to bring me some paper towels, but he doesn’t hear me.  So I retrieve them from the kitchen and when I get back to the bathroom, I find that one of my children is a ninja.

She has somehow made it past me and into the bathroom and because she – like her sister before her- has waited until the very last mili-second, she doesn’t even bother with putting the toilet seat down, and just sat on the rim – sat on the rim, on the cleaning spray for crying out loud – and this does not end up working like she’d thought…

So after cleaning up ‘tee-tee’ again

I stand back and admire my work.

Again.

I have four bank boxes stacked up beside our desk, waiting to be moved to storage, and two boxes of files waiting to be put back in their places… a new stack of school paces waiting to be placed in kids’ folders… and a beach bag full of miscellaneous receipts and photos and study notes, waiting to be filed…

::because – you know – your junk looks less like junk when it’s collected in a bright, pretty beach bag, am I right?::

…not to mention the pile of laundry on the couch, the three baskets waiting to hit the washer, the kids’ closets needing cleaning out, or the floors that haven’t been mopped since before Christmas.

But by golly, the bathroom is clean!

That one accomplishment seemed to take me half the day and was wrought with frustrations.

And the bathroom isn’t the only area of my life that feels like that.

I have a John Piper app on my phone for a reason.  Because some days it’s the only way I’ll get a little Scripture rattling around in my head… and hope it will get planted in my heart…

I can hold that app open on my phone and read a line or two while I’m nursing the baby… and read and think about the next line or two while my phone is sitting there on the kitchen counter and I’m coring apples to go with lunch…

There’s this picture in our bathroom.  A framed 4×6 snapshot sitting on the window sill – of Jeff and me in a different era of our life… we were with half our team, camping out for the weekend on a mountain side in the himalayas.  He’s got me thrown over his shoulder and we’re both wearing our hiking fleeces and our headlamps.  And it was nightfall when our friend Chad snapped us with his camera – caught this moment frozen.  It’s too dark in the picture to see the landscape or the tents behind us.

You mostly see our faces, smiling.  Me thrown over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and him grinning back at the camera.  We’re so young and fresh and energetic.  Full of dreams and plans and ideas for the future.  The world our oyster.  Sure, there would be babies one day.  But they would be bi-lingual and immersed in the culture – and by golly they would be practically leading the masses of local children to the Lord by the dozens.  Our heads were filled with visions of mission work and published works.  And just, lots of works.

Now a decade later, “attempt great things for God” has become trying to get through the day without losing my patience with the kids, and also manage to knock out 3 meals and keep one side of my sink free of dirty dishes.

Sorry, Flylady, check back with me in oh, twelve years?  Maybe then I can work on making my sink shine.

If I can also manage to read a story to my kids and everyone has clean underwear – bonus!

Some days I think “Jesus, in my weakness you’re strong?  Well all I’ve got is weakness… so then I guess all I’ve got is Your strength, right Jesus?  So… how come every day is still a struggle?  Faith of a mustard seed can move mountains… so how come these mountains of laundry can lay my spirit so low?

And some days to think I was going to spin my story telling other souls how to walk with Jesus – it seems preposterous!  I’m the one who’s gone back to crawling.  

At the end of the day, the bathroom is dirty again, and the sink is full and the real test is this – did I love You, Jesus with all my heart?  Did I love others as myself?

Every day that’s what it will come to – this is the season we’re in.  God has somehow, in His way, brought us back to the basics, the foundation.

No matter what condition the house is in… no matter what discipline issues we’re dealing with, or how much ‘orphanage dust’ is flying around here… no matter what learning difficulties one of the kids is going through or how tired we are after 60-hour weeks… no matter how much the baby doesn’t sleep, or how many kids end up piled in our bed by morning.  At the end of every day, it comes back to those two questions:

Did I love Jesus today?  With all my heart?

Did I love my neighbor (the one who’s always blaring the loud music) – did I love the lady at Walmart, my children, my husband – as much as I love… me?

The little embers of those young dreams and visions are still lit somewhere inside me… I hope to walk that proverbial mountainside trail again – to “attempt great things for God.”

But to do that before ace-ing this test I get at the end of each long day – that would be premature.

Because most of the time – before you can walk – you gotta crawl.

How to Have an Imperfect Christmastime

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When the tree is lit with a single strand of lights – despite that the ‘experts’ insist I need about 300 more bulbs – I am already too weary to bring the box of ornaments down from the attic.

Someone tell me again – why is it we do this?  There isn’t going to be a single gift under this tree.  Hasn’t been for nearly nine years – that’s the way of things here.  So, why all this effort?

At least I wrap the ribbon.  The same ribbon that has snuggled our tree the last six years.  I love it for the golden stars, reminds me of the star-lit journey…

So when the sweet friend pops in unexpectedly and she’s holding stacks of wonderfully printed handwriting pages and crafts for my kids to do and these paper strips with the Names of God… I know.

She goes on about how she doesn’t know why she’s standing here, with the extra things she’s printed – how odd it would be that she felt the urge to bring them to me.  But I know.

So the shiny balls and sparkly stars stay in the attic this year.  And what was meant for an advent paper chain to count down the days – it’s counting up instead.  All around our tree.  All the things God IS.

I punch holes in those strips like there were holes punched in Him and we hang the Names of God on the tree just like God hung on the tree – because Christmas is only really celebrated because after he laid on the wood of the trough — then He laid on the wood of a tree…  There is only reason to celebrate His birth because of His death.

So we string up those attributes – the only ornaments on our tree.  And we see it every day as we sit at the table and break bread.

And sometimes we drink hot cocoa to soothe away the disappointment of not going to see Papa on his birthday – because the weather was too fierce.

That chocolate has a way of curling up the sad lips.

And we lay out the Advent book on the table and read it at night.  And the tree-lights reflect in all the little wide eyes as the story unfolds each night.

Tabitha’s Travels

And sometimes we double-up to make up for the night we missed when the day was too long and weary.  But I guess if anyone understands about a day being long and weary, it’s the One who knows about holes and trees.

And some days there’s nothing ‘holly jolly’ about the mess in this place.  The mess you can see, and the mess stuffed up in prideful hearts.  And some days the schooling only consists of reading aloud to listening ears…

And learning to enjoy new skills while your hands are busy making something for another.

Learning is Looming

And no, the stockings aren’t actually hung yet, but they’ll be ready… and no, there hasn’t been a gingerbread house, but there is a little manger in the nativity….

The one with only two wise men, because little hands dropped and shattered the third. I suppose even wise men don’t live forever.

At least Joseph only has a hand broken off…. or is that a shepherd.

The Broken Shepherd.

And on a quiet night I sit by twinkling white lights and hear snoring from the other room… and try to ignore the pile of laundry sitting beside me.   Because it isn’t about a perfect Christmas.

Thank God it’s about how He chose to come in to the mess of this life and on a quiet night like this the first announcement was made to a most unlikely audience – Good tidings of great JOY – here in the midst of the ugly imperfection – the Savior has come.

God.  With us.

Christmastime Around Here

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Are you joining me-  In all our imperfection?  Are you making this season different? Making room for more of Him?

We managed to get most of the sawdust swept away, the clutter moved aside, the laundry settled down {for now}.

We managed to get the tree up (that took an hour longer than I expected with about 372 artificial branches to attach – I vow that next year we will go real tree or nothing.)  So now our humble tree is lit, but the ornaments remain in storage another day… as does the nativity, and the stockings…

But we are celebrating Advent.  In gratefulness the past two evenings I’ve sat at sturdy, hand built table and run my fingers along the smooth boards while we watched the candle glow and listened to our Advent story.  And prayed for God to make much of Himself in our hearts and our home.

Our small, imperfect hearts and home.

You asked how we ‘do’ Christmastime around here… so come on… enjoy a warm drink and prop your tired feet up on my paint-chipped coffee table.  {Lots of cars and army men and tea cups and babies play ’round that table.}

Sit, I’ll tell you about it…

Christmas morning. It begins quiet.

Of course the kids are up early – just like every day – and they are excited.  Each one has a new book to unwrapa tradition my mother began when I was an eager kid on Christmas mornings…

New stories are unwrapped and pages are flipped while we sip on coffee and the aroma of breakfast makes our mouths water -cinnamon rolls – our traditional Christmas Morning Breakfast.  Sometimes from scratch, sometimes Pilsbury.

And then afterwards we gather ’round.  It’s time to pull the letters from our stockings.  Mom & Dad’s hold the most folded or rolled up paper treasures.  Nine years of Christmas Morning letters… one-by-one, we read our letter to each of the children.  Sometimes we read them letters from Christmas past.

Letters aren’t all we open this morning – we also open the Word.

We read the story from Luke 2.  The one both Mama and Daddy can recite by heart.

The gift we celebrate today is Jesus.  His grace.  His hope. The few small gifts that come wrapped in paper – they can wait ’til New Years.

Today we want nothing to compete for our hearts’ affection…

Maybe now the children will snuggle up on couches and re-watch the Nativity, even though we all watched it together the night before, while the turkey was cooking for Christmas lunch.

Granna will come.  Sometimes others will come.  Aunt and Uncle.  Neighbor.  Friend.  We’ll gather around the table for turkey and dressing – my grandmother’s ‘recipe’ {although she never really measured the ingredients.  Neither does my mother.  Neither do I.

We thank God for our meal – thank Him for the bread, and the Bread of Life… and around the table we eat and talk and laugh.

And we light the last candle.  The white one, there, in the middle.  It’s what we’ve been getting ready for these last four weeks.  We have our final Advent activities, almost sad that we’ll put it away until next year…

No one ever eats the pie right after lunch; we’re all so full.  {That’s my Mom’s recipe, and that one we do measure.}

Slowly we come away from the table.  Satisfied.

The kids will nap or have quiet time on their beds.  We’ll sit around with Granna {and sometimes others} on sofas and enjoy the afternoon coffee – we’ll eventually make it around to that pie.

And as the evening unfolds, we will reminisce.  We will talk about God’s goodness.

We will celebrate…. His coming.

 

 

It’s Not Too Late for Advent

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Here we are the first night of advent, and instead of lighting our candle tonight, and reading our story or making an ornament for the tree – instead we shuffle through sawdust on the kitchen floor. We skirt around power tools and try to keep the baby from eating wood chips.  We eat our meals picnic style on the floor and around the coffee table and piano bench.  And where there would be standing a Christmas tree – where there would be the soft glow of Christmas lights if we were that family who had it all together – there are stacks of homeschooling books and craft supplies that lost their home and got shuffled around when the re-arranging of the dining room and the building of our big farmhouse table began.

It’s day 2 of December.  First day of Advent.  And it ain’t pretty around here.

{ ‘Ain’t’ is what I say when I really want to emphasize something.  Because, being the grammar nazi that I am, I still believe it ain’t a real word.}

No, once again, this is not what I had envisioned.  But it rarely is.

That’s how life looks when you’re just a broken family in need of grace, just striving to put on the Armor every day and put one foot in front of the other.

And not trip because you’re a boy (or girl) wearing King-sized armor.

But I’ve learned that just because it isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean you ‘scrap’ it.

Our beautiful table finally finished, we’ll just begin our Advent tomorrow.  Maybe the tree will be up. Maybe it won’t.  Maybe the greenery and the wreath will be assembled.  Maybe it won’t.  Maybe there will be the soft glow of Christmas lights…. or not.

More than likely I’ll have a half-painted dining room wall, and the school books and craft supplies  will still be a cluttered mess, but we’ll celebrate Advent anyway.

We’ll celebrate His coming.

No, it won’t be perfect.  But come to think of it, that’s kind of how the birth of Christ was anyway.

Everything about the story of Christ’s entry into our earthly world was pretty much the opposite of perfect.  Instead it was unexpected.  Messy.  Scandalous, even. Ridiculous, if you want to get right down to it.

I mean really – the Word – the Creator lowering Himself to wear our skin and walk our dirt?

I guess if the Creator of the universe – the King of Kings – can be born to an unmarried young mother in quiet anonymity amongst some hay and animals – well then, I guess He doesn’t mind us celebrating His Coming in the imperfection of half-hung lights and a saw-dusty floor.

Because what matters is that we do celebrate.  We do remember. We do something.

Even if that something is just “Be still and know that I am God.”

Even if you’ve never celebrated Advent before – it’s not too late for you either.  It’s not too late to teach your family to celebrate His coming!  This – this is what we’re celebrating this season!

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!  

I heard someone today say that we as Christians have the most reason to sing Christmas Carols!  We are the ones to be celebrating His coming!

He has come!  He is coming!

Do it!  Do it late; do it imperfectly, just do it!

Don’t worry about having special books to read, or a special candle display.  You traditionally use four pink/purple candles (light a new one each Sunday in December leading up to Christmas) and a white candle (lit on Christmas day) – if you can get out today and get those, great.  But if not, just light a candle….

If you don’t have a special advent book, just read Psalm 23, for the first night.  And talk to your family about God being our shepherd.  And talk about why God might call us sheep.  And why do sheep need a shepherd?  And if you have some cotton balls and construction paper, let the kids make a little sheep ornament to hang on the tree.

Or if you’re looking for a little more, print out this beautiful free Advent Christmas Devotional from Ann Voskamp.

Make it more this year.  Not more lights or greenery.  Not more gifts or baked goods.

More of Him.  More of looking for Him

It’s not too late.

 

 

 

Letting Go… And Growing On…

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We lived in a small two-bedroom apartment.  And life was good.  Sometimes we didn’t know it, but it was really, really good.  Two baby girls, and each other.  A little home filled with things mostly handed down to us.

A little home filled with warmth.

I happened upon a table one day.  Scratch -‘n-dent on the Walmart sidewalk.  The little walnut-stained table and four matching chairs was so much nicer than what we’d had since our first year of marriage.  So I bought it on a whim and asked them to put a SOLD sign on it until I could come back with a truck.

It was so nice for our little family to sit around our ‘real’ table.

And the years passed.

Four years, maybe five.

Our family of 8 now squeezed around it, clear it was time to expand our arrangement.

So the husband began a building project.  And suddenly one night, without any ceremony, it was carried out.  Given to another cause.

And as I wiped it down and tucked in the chairs one last time… as I watched it being carried through the front door, my heart tightened.  And my vision turned to watery.

All those years.  So many memories.

The faithful, solid little thing earned more scars.  More scratches and dents.

From the cutting of Christmas cookies…

… to holding lego creations…

 

So many birthdays were celebrated here…

 

And moments like this…

 

And this…

Family and friends have gathered around this table too many times to count…

And as we get ready for another season…

I have to let go of what I can’t hold onto.

But sometimes you have to let go of something good and trust God for what’s around the corner.

 

Best Moment

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Melt My Heart

We had a semi-busy day planned.  For me and 6 kids – traveling to Vidor (45 minute drive) for a double birthday party.

For Jeff, continuing to work on our farmhouse table he is constructing out of Beech wood.  He took off work Friday and this morning so that he could finally begin to tackle this project.  (And thanks to our friend Chris, that just might happen before next weekend.)

I was at the {current, seating for 4} table, setting out breakfast bowls, and Jeff was just about to leave for Lowes to pick up some hardware.

Carson came bouncing into the kitchen.

“Daddy, you read Go Dog wid me?”  ( Go, Dog, Go- Dr. Suess)

Jeff: pausing “Sure, son.”  He puts down his keys.

Carson: {Kirk Cameron style} “YESSSS!!!!” Runs to the chaise lounge with his book.

He didn’t just rush through it.  He paused at all the right places, and used all the right voices, and asked Carson questions throughout the story.

I knew that no matter what else happened in the next 12 hours, that would be my favorite moment of the day.

And it was.

On a Cold Night in November

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I wonder if somewhere right now, there is a young woman who is thinking of a cold night in November… seven years ago… when she went into labor earlier than expected…

And birth came so quickly there wasn’t even time to leave the apartment…

When she bundled up the tiny girl baby… so tiny and thin… but eyes wide as a startled cat

When she probably had to call a driver to come get them, she and the small, wide-eyed baby…

Did she try to nurse the little babe at first?  In those new moments… Did she even know what to do?

Did she know, as they drove to the hospital, that she would choose to leave her baby… did she even know herself the illness they both carried…?

When they arrived at the hospital, did she worry that her baby was so small and frail?  And hours later, did it twist her heart to the brink of ruin when she left without her child?  Never to see her again.  Did she feel there was no other way?

Does she think of that night every year at this time?  Does she wonder?  

Does she know that it was six years before her baby girl had her first birthday party?

Or a single birthday gift?

Does she know that it was six years before anyone sang happy birthday or baked a cake for that baby girl?

Lena with her buddy Alik

Tonight does she even imagine that the tiny baby lives so far away… speaks fluent English… is just now learning to read?

How can she know that her daughter still rocks herself to sleep at night… because no one ever did?

Look at my necklace!

How can she know that her baby loves purple… and hot dogs and pizza and ice cream…. how can she know the tiny baby is now a tall, lanky girl who loves puzzles and would swing until the sun went down? 

Staying up late on her birthday

Does she wonder?  Does she carry a guilt so heavy it could bury her?  Do her arms ache for what she gave away?  Does she fear for the future?

How can she know there is One Who Sees All…. Who sees her?  How can she know there is One Who would hold her heart in His hands… One Who has already covered it all?

I wish I could talk to her tonight.  To help her lay her burdens down.  To let her see the beautiful life she gave… to help her know the abundant life that could be hers…

… this cold night in November.

 

What Do You {Want to} Know?

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Seven years of blogging.  I think it’s time for a little Q&A.

But first, let me tell you why I’m happy as a lark

Sunday is Jeff’s birthday, and Lena’s is coming up too, so we’re having a Double-Whammy Birthday Cook-out Saturday… I thought about renting a bounce house (‘space walk’, for those of you who grew up with me and real roller skate, not those inline things), and researched a few options in this area.  And then I realized if we were willing to spend $__ on a bounce house for one afternoon, we could spend nearly the same amount and get a trampoline that my kids would love for years.

And if I’m really honest, I really wanted a trampoline as well.  How else is a mother of six supposed to get a workout?

After all, it would give my kids a little something more to play with than the ONE swing (the other one is currently broken, and a bucket of rocks.

Ridin’ His Wagon to Town

So tonight after dinner, we took all the kids to Academy, and just started walking around.  They had no clue we why we were there.  They really enjoy that store anyway, because there are so many fun and exciting things- the guns, the toys, the bikes, the battery-operated cars…

But when we ended up standing in front of the boxed trampolines and they realized what we were doing, they could not contain their excitement.  I’m pretty happy about it, too.

Gather ‘Round

Surprising your kids is so fun, isn’t it?  Especially when they’re asking sweetly, “please, can we get a trampoline?  I really, really want a trampoline. Please with a cherry on top?” – when you’re planning all along to buy them one.  It’s why you’re there.

Hm.  There’s a spiritual lesson in that, I think.  But I’ll let it stew.  Time for Q&A.

However, we have to have some Q before there are any A.

Here’s where you come in.  You have to click the ‘reply’ link above this post, and leave me a comment.

So what questions do you have for a broken, messy mama of six kids?  A mama who used to be pretty crafty and DIY... a mama who’s been the only white face in a sea of beautiful Asian ones (and kind of forgot I was a minority)… a mama who crossed the ocean twice to bring home a brown-eyed boy and a hazel-eyed girl (who turns seven next week)…

What do you want to know?  Talk to me!

Meanwhile I’ll be assembling my new exercise equipment!

~Shannon

Winding Down a Long Hot Summer – Part 2

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I’m practicing my “who me?” look

Ah yes, we’re catching up with pictures.  Since Olivia was born in April, we’ve been busy with birthdays in June and September… and celebrating being home from Ukraine One Year… we’ve just enjoyed the lazy days whenever we can get one.

 

Growing up before my eyes…

There have been lots of smiles and giggling galore.

Sister Love

When God provided a way for us to purchase a Toyota Sequoia – a vehicle large enough to fit our family of 8 comfortably with no parents riding on the floor (not that we would do something illegal like that, right?) – we celebrated!  We took a walk from our front door to the seafood restaurant hardly a block from our house.  It was so fun to walk there (the kids thought that was wild – they weren’t around when we lived in China and walked everywhere), and fried seafood is something we enjoy just a few times a year.

No seafood for me yet!

We had a great time divvying up the food.  Actually, I had a great time eating the food.  And Christopher in particular loves fried fish!  He had it for the first time at my uncle’s house last Thanksgiving and he ate his weight in fried catfish… they’re already planning another fish fry for him this year.

I came to America to eat fried fish. I came, I saw, I conquered.

It’s not unusual for us to get some stares and comments while we’re out.  Most of the time it’s positive, and this time we were particularly blessed when a sweet woman came to our table and said they had been watching us and what a nice-looking family we have – how it was wonderful to see large families.  I don’t really think of us as a large family, but I appreciated her kind words.  We later found out that she and her husband had paid half our bill.  I was moved to tears.  And that night we prayed that God would thank them for us.  It’s a gesture I won’t forget.

Maybe it was this guy’s charm that brought on their good will.

Carson can nearly always be counted on to pull out the charm.

There’s another little one in our house who promises to be a charmer….

Sucking her fingers just like Lilly did.

… when she’s not Sleeping Beauty.  This was yesterday before getting ready for church.  Good thing we had an extra hour with setting back the clocks…

I didn’t even attempt to get us all standing still and facing forward.

I didn’t realize until yesterday afternoon that it was Orphan Sunday.  We had a baby dedication at church for Olivia, and also dedicated Christopher and Lena.  I nearly cried when our pastor gave them both a nice ESV Bible with their names imprinted.

What a way to wind down the summer… and if you think it’s odd that I’m talking about the end of summer when it’s November, just remember in the armpit of Texas, November means you can turn off the A/C on some days… and you can keep your flip flops out at least another month!

Be Blessed, ya’ll
(I don’t actually say that)
Shannon

 

 

MIY Monday: Play Doh!

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Simple No Cook Play Doh

I began today needing something that would ‘kill two birds with one stone’. (Wow, how’s that for a statement that is probably no longer politically correct? Ha! Well, just in case you’re an animal rights activist, please be informed I do not go around killing birds. Often. )

 
Anyways, today I needed something that would 1) Be special and fun for my kids, and 2) Provide a helpful Make-It-Yourself Monday post.
 
And here we are. Or here I am. You are there. I am here.
 
I really shouldn’t write these blog posts at 11:00 at night…
 
So, here’s what I came up with: Homemade Playdough
 
I used a simple, non-cook recipe I found on the web, and altered it just slightly:
 
– 3 cups flour
– 1/3 cup salt
– 1 cup water
– 2 Tbs. cooking oil
– 1 t. cream of tartar (optional to add to elasticity)
– food coloring (optional)
 
I’ll show you what I did and give you my review of this method at the end of the post.
 
Step One:
Mix Dry Ingredients. Then add water and oil.
 
 
 
Step Two:
Knead. Knead. Knead some more.
 
C’mon, give it some elbow grease.
 
Step Three:
Separate into balls and…
 
 
 
 
 
Add food coloring to the center of the dough balls. You don’t want to get the dye directly on your hands. I’ll talk more about this at the end of the post.
 
 
 
 
Adding the coloring to the already kneaded doh gives the play doh a more ‘marble’ look. This isn’t what I was going for, but my kids didn’t care.
 
 
 
 
After they played with it for a while, the color looked smoother, as you can see in the ‘cake’ Maggie’s making here.
 
 
Every day is a birthday in her world.
 
My Review:
This method is pretty simple, but I think I’ll try a cooking method next to compare. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, I’d put the dough in there to knead – I really had to work with this for a while, but really liked the texture of it when I was done. I didn’t think of using my mixer to do my work until I had already finished. That’s what I get for talking to my Mom on the phone while I was working!
 
If I use this non-cook recipe again, I will mix the food coloring into the water first, to give a more smooth, all-over color. And I’ll use more dye to make a richer color. But this means I will only have one color of dough, because I will not be making separate batches for every color.
 
While I wanted more vibrant colors, I did like that no matter how much my girls mixed the colors together, it didn’t turn to an ugly dark brown-purple, like regular play doh does.
 
 
Pretty. I sealed it up to play with again another day.
 
Finally, I liked the texture of this dough. And it was easier to clean up than commercially produced play doh. Plus, you can add essential oils to the mix. I think next time I’ll add lavender… maybe it will have a calming effect on my children. Ha!
 
This did keep my kids happily occupied for over an hour, which never happens with the other store-bought stuff. I think maybe that’s because they watched me make it, and it was like bread dough I sometimes give them to play with – so it’s more ‘realistic’.
 
Have any of you made play doh – tell me what you think!
 
Bless you all – Happy Monday, everyone!