Friday, October 10, 2008

Homemade Hairbows

I made my daughter (and a couple of her friends) a collection of hairbows when she was 16 months old. We still use a lot of the same bows today, although some of them desperately need to be thrown out, they've been worn so much. My mom brought my ribbon box down to Costa Rica when she visited us recently, so now I can finally replace some of them and make some new ones.

Recently, I made 2 sets to go with my daughter's new preschool uniform (yes, here in Costa Rica, even the preschoolers are required, by law, to wear uniforms). I took pictures as I made them...


  • 1/2 inch ribbon (I like using grosgrain ribbon…Michael’s has a great selection…see my notes at the end about choosing ribbon)
  • alligator clips (I used to be able to get these at the craft store, but they stopped carrying them. My mother-in-law bought me a big box, though, at a beauty supply store)
  • glue gun, fray-stop (fabric liquid-for the end of the ribbons), thread and needle

There are three types of bows that I have made: 3-loop bows, simple bows (see any of the 2-tone bows in the first picture), and straight clips.

Step 1: cut ribbons to length and seal ends of ribbon with fray-check

  • straight clips: a 5 inch piece OR cover the whole clip
  • simple bows: a 5 inch piece, a 1.5 inch piece, and a 7 inch piece (with angled edges)
  • 3-loop bows: a 5 inch piece, a 1.5 inch piece, and a 17 inch piece (with angled edges)

Step 2: use the glue gun to glue the medium piece on the alligator clip. If you are doing a straight clip, you’re done.

Step 3: fold your ribbon and sew it to keep it in place (the sewing was an important discovery for me…it doesn’t need to be extremely strong, just enough to keep it from slipping)

  • simple bow: form a traditional bow and sew in the center with a needle and thread to hold in place; go to step 4

  • 3-loop bow: fold bow into 5 even folds; sew up through the center (only once) and let your needle and thread hang while you arrange your bow. (This step changes a little if you want the same side of the ribbon facing up because you are using a ribbon with a pattern only on one side. Instead of being able to just fold it over, you will need to turn it when you are folding it. See the light green, dark blue, and red w/orange dot examples in the collage above. )

Spread out the 3 loops on each side, place the top and bottom layers of the ribbon (the cut edges) out to different sides so that the bow will be reversible. Then sew back through the layers of ribbon to hold them in place. Pinch the layers so that the outside ribbons will curve under the bow; finishing sewing to secure and tie off your thread.

Step 4: glue your bow onto the center of the clip (if you have made a simple bow, pay attention to the direction…when the bow is used, you will want the cut edges pointing down. What side will your girl wear the bow on? If you are making a set of two…make sure that each faces a different direction so that one can be worn on either side of the head)

Step 5: place a dot of glue on the top center of your bow. Press the center of the remaining piece of ribbon on top. Open the alligator clip, and put a dot of glue on the underside of the bow. Fold one edge of the center ribbon around and under. Put another dot of glue in the same place, and secure the other end of the ribbon.

Other ideas:

  • For really thin hair, glue a tiny piece of hook Velcro on the top part of the inside
  • For a bigger bow, cut your main piece longer and fold it back and forth more times. Or add a second color of ribbon (same width or thinner).
  • Glue the bows on a ponytail holder or a headband
  • Take a stretchy cloth headband. Sew both ends of a 1-inch piece of matching ribbon to the center. This gives you a place to clip on any of the bows you’ve made …changing the headband to match your outfit.

Cleaning and repairing: I’ve had to hand wash a couple of my bows (back in the avocado in the hair stage of eating) and they have turned out ok. A few have even survived the washing machine when they accidentally get tossed in the laundry. The most common repair that I have had to make is re-gluing the piece of ribbon that is covering the clip itself. One option would be to make it longer and have it wrap all the way to the inside of the clip…the downside of this is that it makes it harder to slip into your child’s hair…which is why I just choose to fix them instead of preventing this most of the time.

Ribbon choices: The colors you choose really depend on the wardrobe of your girl or whomever you are making bows for. The most frequently used bows in our house are the pink ones. Others have been made to match specific dress outfits and are now rarely used. My favorite bows are the brown bow with the pink center (simple bow) and the red bow with the white stitching (which we have lost…and I ran out of this ribbon…how sad). How can you pay for all those different spools of ribbon...a couple of ideas: use coupons and sales, share ribbons (and cost) with a few friends, or offer to make sets for a few friends - at $1 per bow, they are still getting a much better deal than they can get in a store (this last option is what I ended up doing and paid for all my materials), use them as gifts.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Online Education - learning at home

No, this isn't a post about homeschooling your children...I'm sure that will come in the future...maybe next year. This post is about continuing to educate home. The number of resources available on the internet is astounding.

Want to hear more about what you studied (or wanted to study) in college...listen to podcasts from Universities across the world.

Want to learn more about theology or biblical history without going to seminary...listen to entire semesters worth of classes on your Ipod while you are cleaning the house or folding your laundry.

A couple of drives back and forth to work/school/the store/playgroup could get you through an entire lecture series from your alma mater.

I recently started to listen to lectures from an apologetics class from Covenant Seminary. I was curious what else was out there, so I started searching...and guess what...almost every large university has some type of educational podcast or lecture series online.

I've started compiling a list of different here to see the whole list. Anything to add?

Just a couple:
Continuing to exercise your mind is a wonderful thing. God gave us minds that are curious about so many things...what are you curious about?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Homemade Playfood: Sweets

So, I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and now a slight addiction to sewing playfood. Since my daughter also has a sweet tooth, and her birthday was a few weeks ago...everything lined up just right for me to work on this project. I have cookies, donuts, and cupcakes (one of which matches the actual m&m cupcakes that I made for her birthday). This is probably my favorite playfood project thus far. A little of this was done on a machine, but the majority was done by hand...but that gave me more time to listen to online apologetics lectures from my husband's school while I was sewing.

The cupcakes follow the same pattern as the muffins from my last post; the only difference is sewing yummy frosting and decorations to the top instead of fruits or vegetables.

For the donuts, I had to come up with a new pattern (to be attached in the near future). I found this tutorial for the donuts that helped a lot. The eclair is pretty easy since it is just an oval. So, with all of them, the donut was sewn and stuffed, then the icing was decorated, then finally, the icing was sewn onto the donut. I found two tricks that made the donuts easier (1) on the donuts with a hole in the middle...I cheated and just machine sewed really near to the edge on the interior hole...yes it shows a tiny bit, but my daughter hasn't mentioned the imperfection while playing with it, so I figure it's fine. (2) Second trick: If a hole is completely covered up, no one will ever know it is there...and it can save you a lot of time (this is a trick I learned from this site while I was sewing mama pads).

So, this means I sewed the outside circle (wrong-sides together), turned it right-side out, sewed the inner circle on the top of the fabric...then I cut a 1 inch slit that I knew would be covered by the icing. I jammed in plenty of stuffing then hand stitched my hole closed. At the time, it looked like donut surgery...but you can't tell the difference now, because it's covered by the icing.

I used the same trick on the eclair, but since there was no donut hole in the middle, I actually used the "hidden stuffing hole" to turn the fabric right-side-out, too (this is what the mama pad site used this technique for).

In the end, I think I liked the donuts best out of all of these.

Last, but not least, the cookies. Directions: cut two circles and an icing blob; sew icing blob onto one piece of cookie with sprinkles; sew two cookie circles together, pausing to stuff slightly before finishing. Definitely the easiest of these sweets.

Awww...look how happy she is opening her bakery box on her birthday.

And...she's actually played with them since!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Homemade Playfood - Muffins

My last post was a birthday present for my nephew...but both my little ones have summer birthdays; so there are more birthday posts to come. These muffins were for my son's 2-year-old birthday a few weeks ago. I took pictures along the way when I made the last one since the pattern finally had my approval (my pattern was a work in progress...I made the carrot one first; it's kind of blobby...the zucchini and blueberry are better, but still possess some blobbiness). are the pictures and instructions (see the bottom of this post for color/flavor ideas).

Cut the pattern out of felt (or whatever fabric you are using). To those of you that are playfood purists, just pretend that I used beautiful soft wool felt. To those of you that are on a budget or can't find wool felt...go to the craft store and buy the little squares of acrylic felt; yes, you'll be able to feel the difference, but your kids will probably just be happy to have playfood and won't care that it's not made with the best of the best. I've said before...find any fabric from any project and make it work.

The first thing you need to do is sew the little things on the top...whatever you choose to put on it. This one is a banana muffin. My banana is a second piece of the same color felt, and I've sewn it on with 3 strands of embroidery floss with a blanket stitch. At the end I added a little brown thread to finish off my banana.

The next step is to sew together the four sides of the second piece. I've done this part by hand and I've done it with the sewing works well either way; it's a lot faster with the sewing machine, obviously. Turn this piece right-side-out so the seams are on the inside.

Lay the circle on top of the bottom, and sew a blanket stitch with embroidery floss (all 6-strands) around 3/4 of the circle (the top edge of the bottom piece lays flat against the circle when you do this so that you are folding the edge of the bottom piece out and sewing the two edges together).

Leaving the long floss hanging off to the side, fill the muffin with rice on the bottom (for weight) and stuffing (fabric scraps, stuffing from the fabric store, cotton balls, old socks, whatever), then blanket stitch the remaining edge to finish your muffin.

The picture at the top shows my banana, carrot, blueberry, and zucchini muffins, here are some additional ideas:

Apple - red or green muffin with an apple on top
Strawberry - pink muffin with a strawberry
Wheat/bran - light brown with wheat stalk on top
Lemon, Lime - yellow or green with a slice on top (see my zucchini, and picture it with half a circle)
Pineapple - yellow muffin with a pineapple on the top
Cranberry-orange - orange/peach muffin with an orange slice and/or cranberries on the edge with cranberry colored thread
Blueberry-peach - same concept as the cranberry-orange with different colors
Chocolate-chip - light brown muffin with dark brown spots

or....CUPCAKES...use the same pattern to make chocolate or vanilla cupcakes with icing on top. I've made cupcakes, donuts, and cookies for my daughter's birthday coming up in a few more on this later.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Homemade Toys: I-Spy Game

I like to give homemade gifts if I have time to make them. This one was for my nephew's 3rd birthday earlier this summer. I got this idea from other moms that make homemade toys; it's an I-spy game/toy. Earlier this year when I was making these, I was searching for something to hide inside them, and I found my answer at JoAnn's. They are buttons! They carry them in so many different shapes (cars, school supplies, animals, foods, sports, flowers, etc) and they are a perfect size for this type of toy.

To make the toy, I used fleece that I had around from other projects. The great part about the fleece was that I didn't have to worry about finishing the edges; I just left them plain. I cut my shapes in two layers, then cut the "window" in one piece. For the window material, I used the clear, flexible packaging that I got with some kids toy (sometimes sheets come in this type of packaging or you can buy some at the fabric's just clear vinyl). I sewed my window in, pinned the two parts together, then stitched most of the way around the outside leaving a 3 inch hole to fill it. I put my button shapes in and filled it with lentils (You could also use rice, beans, small pasta...I guess the assumption is that no one would ever put an I-spy bag into a boiling pot of water). Don't fill it too tight, you need to be able to squish the stuffing around. Sew the last few inches closed, and the toy is finished.

Not that it was necessary, but I decided to make cards to go with these so that my nephew knew what he was looking for. One bag has animals, food, and school stuff in it; the other one has things-that-go and sports stuff in it. I downloaded clip art to put together cards, printed them out at home, then laminated them (if I were doing it again, I would have printed them on cardstock or glued them to a card...they're a bit too flexible). The cards also allowed me to personalize the gift for Luke and give him the directions.

Happy Birthday, Luke!
(My sister tells me that she put one of these in the car for Luke; it's a great thing to play with when you are stuck in a carseat.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Homemade Frappuccino

We are now living in a country that grows a good amount of the coffee that Starbucks uses, but there is not a single Starbucks here....I agree with them (there's not much market for a Starbucks here), but I'm on my own for Frappuccinos...and I've found something that works really well (and doesn't cost $4 a cup).

Step 1: Brew 2 cups of coffee (or wait for the day that no one wants to finish the last 2 cups in the coffee pot).

Step 2: Add a big spoonful of powdered milk
(If you are in the States, you will only be able to find fat-free powdered milk...if you are overseas like us, go for the good stuff, 2% or more).

Step 3: Add sugar, flavored syrups, hot chocolate powder to taste.
(I like Ovaltine in spite of it's annoying commercials, since it doesn't have hydrogenated in Costa Rica I buy the one in the orange idea what it's called since I immediately dump it into the frequently depleted cannister that I keep going)

Step 4: Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze it.

Step 5: When you are ready to drink it...put the cubes (half or all) in the blender with milk. It's a good amount for 2 people.

Step 6: Keep your eye open for the next pot of unfinished coffee and repeat.

My kids usually try to steal some of this from me when I'm making it...I'll have to come up with a coffee-free version sometime. Our empleada says it tastes like ice cream :-) Since it isn't made with plain ice, it stays good even while it's never gets watery at the end.

Take that Starbucks...I can live without you!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Homemade Milk

Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of a healthy nursing relationship with my little guy. I thought that I would post today in honor of all the mom's that are making milk at home daily.

Did you know that the World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby's life and 2 or more years of breastfeeding in addition to receiving other healthy food?

The American Association of Pediatrics says: Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother, especially in delaying return of fertility (thereby promoting optimal intervals between births). There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.

For more information on breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding, visit:

Other interesting information about breastmilk:
Breastmilk can be used to heal: eye infections, cracked nipples, scratches, bug bites, ear infections, sinus's also great for anyone with low immunity. Check it out!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Homemade Playfood - Bag Lunch

More Playfood Pics - this was last year's Christmas gift for my kids (I made one for my niece and nephew, too)... a sandwich with roast beef, tomato, lettuce, cheese and whole wheat bread...carrots and sugar snap peas...and a yogurt. The grilled cheese sandwich was a piece of bread that didn't turn out as I made it into grilled cheese. I bought some soft wool felt for the lunch bags, and for the rest I was able to use my left over fabric from other projects and old clothes.

The inside pieces of the sandwich are all one or two layers of fabric...nice and thin. The lettuce needs to be a stretchy fabric so that you can pull it (stretch it) while zig-zag stitching over the edge...this makes the crinkle effect on the edging.

The bread is stuffed with automobile microfiber towels (I use these for so many things - cloth diaper stuffing, nursing pads, mama pads...and bread). This makes the bread light and fluffy. The grilled cheese bread was stuffed with two layers of washcloth. This worked, but it was I changed my plans for the sandwich bread and used this stiff piece for grilled cheese after I finished the rest of the project.

The carrots and snap peas are stuffed with the fleece scraps I made while cutting them out. For the snap peas, I cut scraps of fleece into strips, tied them in knots (little balls), then put four or so of them in each snap pea...the finished result is that you can feel the "peas" inside each one...and see them, too.

The yogurt was a pain to make., and didn't turn out as well as I had hoped...I didn't include it in the gift, and I only made my kids got it (just like the grilled cheese, they kind of get the parts of the project that are functional, but never quite worked out). I did add one thing to the yogurt that I have always been happy I did...the lid is attached to the bottom piece with a 3 inch piece of ribbon. This way I'm not always trying to figure out where in our house the lid is hiding.

All it needs now is something like chips (like these) or cookies (like these)...there is always next Christmas, I guess.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Homemade Mixes

Here in Costa Rica, I can't always find some of the things I grew up with...for example, no one seems to sell Aunt Jemima's Whole Wheat pancake mix. This is not really too much of a shock, I had a hard time finding it in the States at times. Since, to me, whole wheat pancakes do really taste so much better than regular ones (even if I don't buy the >$4 bag of chocolate chips that the Walmart-owned store wants to sell me down here), I've resorted to putting together my own mix with a little help from Better Homes and Gardens. I'll put the recipe below, but my main point for this post is how surprising it always is to me at how few ingredients some of the mixes on store shelves have. How much extra time does it take to add 7 ingredients instead of just 4. Some mixes save us a lot of time; some can be whipped up at home in less than a few minutes. Keep them in tubs, give them as gifts in little bags or in jars, or just make a single batch.

On the other hand, there are some things that we have tried to replicate with a mix down here, that just don't cut it. Josh tried a spice mix he found online for chili powder (a rare sighting down here), and it just didn't make it. I was going to include it when I got around to writing this post, but I don't want you trying it. It's not worth ruining a good batch of chili. And Josh found the one store that sells overpriced imported chili powder; so we're past the chili powder emergency.

Do you have any good mixes that you would like to share? Put them in the comments; I would love to try them.

Whole Wheat Pancake Mix

For each cup of whole wheat flour, add:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 salt

Store in an airtight container/bag in the refrigerator or freezer (don't forget: whole wheat flour will go bad over time if it is not kept refrigerated or frozen ... so, this mix will, too).

To make the pancakes:
1 cup of pancake mix
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil

This makes about 8 pancakes (or if you don't have a griddle because you left it in the States because of airline bag-weight limits, it makes about 4 huge pancakes, one by one, in a medium sized skillet).

Yummy Add-ins (anything dry can be added directly into your mix...this is especially nice if you use it as a gift...anything moist should wait until you make the pancakes)
  • chocolate chips (of course) or any flavored chip
  • apple bits
  • nuts
  • blueberries (mmm....blueberries...I can't buy these anywhere down here) fresh or dried
  • craisins
  • m & m 's (my daughter's personal favorite and one she talks about having when Grandpa makes her pancakes) - best added to the pancake after pouring it into the pan, otherwise the color runs away and the pancakes look scary

Playdough Update

I've updated my earlier homemade playdough post with pictures and fun add-ins. Check it out!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Homemade Playfood - Pancake Breakfast

This project was one of my first attempt at homemade toys…I made a playfood breakfast set for my daughter’s third birthday.

If you do much sewing, you probably have a small collection of fabric scraps that are too small to be of little use for other projects. I have many, and now, most of them find their way into playfood or other toys (either on the outside or as stuffing).

This playfood breakfast includes three pancakes, two sausages, two eggs and a slice of watermelon. I also made a griddle (that is a grill on the opposite side) so that my kids would have somewhere to cook the food.

Pancakes – any tan colored fabric would work, just serge or zigzag over the edge. I believe these pancakes have a circle of an old washcloth in the middle as stuffing…any fabric would work to stuff them, though. You could also add a darker sploitch of fabric and a little square of white or yellow on top of one of the circles prior to finishing the edges to represent syrup and a butter pat.

Eggs – for this one you need white and yellow fabric scraps. The yolk is zigzag sewn on the white (I used a tiny amount of stuffing under the yolk), then the white fabric is shaped, then serge or zigzag over the edge.

Sausage – use a long rectangle of brown fabric, sew the long edges together, then turn inside out to create the cylinder. Hand-sew one end closed, stuff and then finish off sewing the other end of the cylinder.

Griddle/Grill – For this I used two rectangles of gray flannel (old pajama pants, I think). After backing one with two layers of an old washcloth (the size of the inside rectangle), I zigzagged on the black lines for the grill. Then I put the gray pieces faces in and sewed around the outside, leaving four inch gaps on both ends for the handles. The four-inch holes give you a place to turn it inside out as well. After turning it right-side-out, I zigzagged two lines around the interior of the grill/griddle. This left a tube around the outside. I used a pencil to stuff this tube with fabric scraps around both sides of the grill. Finally, I made the handles (two semi-circles each, sewn together, turned inside out and stuffed), tucked them into the holes at each end and secured them with a straight stitch, then a decorative zigzag stitch.

Watermelon – this one was the hardest for me, since it isn’t flat or a tube. I sewed the red semi-circle to each white semi-circle, then I zigzagged the black seeds on. Next I put the two semi-circles red side in, and sewed along the straight edge. Lastly, I sewed the green “skin” on with the watermelon inside out, leaving an inch or sew to turn it right side out. After stuffing it with random fabric scraps, I hand sewed the inch closed. This similar method could also be used for cantaloupe or honeydew melon, apple slices, oranges, or pear wedges.

(One general tip – when I was stuffing this watermelon, I just used an assortment of fabric scraps. The day after giving it to my daughter, my then 13-month-old son dropped it in the toilet. I had no choice but to wash it…very, very well. When I did this, some of the colors from the stuffing fabric bled out on to the white portion of the watermelon. I now know that I need to stuff with fabric that won’t bleed any darker than my outside fabric. It’s fabric playfood…I should have expected that it would need to be washed at some point.)

I didn’t have any patterns for these, so I just made my own out of paper, then transferred to the fabric. When it comes to playfood, most of the shapes are so simple that you can just sketch them out yourself. I will have plenty more playfood posts in the kids are really into it right now.

Here are some of my favorite playfood links (Some are for purchasing playfood, but I just use them for ideas. Many of them are made with wool felt, which is great for playfood…but I still use my scraps most of the time, because it’s free.):

Have fun!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Homemade Stain Remover

Ok…this one doesn't truly have "homemade" status…but I was just reminded of it today, so I thought I would share. One of the best stain removal methods is 100% natural, readily available, very effective, and completely free…the SUN!

My kids are experts at getting stains on their clothes. Sammy (almost 2) excels at getting things like orange juice and tomato sauce on his nice light colored shirts.

Well, as it would happen, both my kids had some quality staining in the last load of laundry. After a round through the washer, each child had a shirt with a very visible stain on the front. They went into the soaking tub with detergent with color-safe bleach…nothing. They sat overnight for maximum soaking potential…NOTHING. They went into the next load of laundry to see if that would help…STILL NOTHING. I mean, not even a little dent in the visibility of the stain.

Then, I laid them out in the sun when I was hanging up the laundry (we just moved to Costa Rica and our apartment has no drier…yet). I came back an hour later and the stains were GONE! Not just lighter, but gone.

God sure made an awesome stain remover. AND it’s UV rays serve as a disinfectant at the same time (which is great since I have no hot water and no drier to do this for me).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Homemade Crayon Muffins

This is a craft that makes a great homemade gift for kids. It reuses broken crayon bits and makes them usable again. I’ve also collected crayola crayons that restaurants give away to the kids…that’s why most of the crayon muffins I’ve made are only red/yellow/green/blue combinations. If you had a preschool or church nursery with a boatload of broken crayons to get rid of, it would be a dream come true. Or…if you just want to get extra life out of a bunch of crayon bits, you could make single-color crayon muffins.

Here is my source for this one…

Basic instructions:

Remove all paper from crayons (I once read that it helps to soak them in water…but that didn’t work at all for me; it made it even harder. My suggestion is to use a knife to score a single line down the length of the crayon; then hand them over to your toddler to peel. J Mine spent an hour quietly at the table peeling crayons one time.)

(2) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

(3) Break the crayons into little bits if they aren’t already

(4) Place them in a mini-muffin tin; fill the cups, but don’t overfill them. (I’ve tried 2-4 colors per cup and they’ve turned out nicely)

(5) Place them inside the oven and TURN THE OVEN OFF!

(6) Wait for them to melt.

(7) Remove them from the oven and let them cool for a while on the counter.

(8) After the tops have solidified, stick the whole pan in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This will complete the solidification and make it so they just lift right out of the muffin tin without sticking.

Hand them to the kids to use or wrap them in cellophane to use as gifts, party favors, or anything else. I’ve given sets of them along with drawing paper as gifts. They tend to break in half after some use, but that actually makes them a little easier to use.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Homemade Playdough

I was given this recipe for homemade playdough from my daughter's preschool teacher. It is so easy and the feeling of warm playdough, fresh off the stove, is almost as good as squishing your toes in the mud was when you were a kid.

the Playdough receipe is as follows:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp. cream of tarter (or alum)

Add to dry ingredients:
2 cups water
2 tsp. food coloring
2 TBSP oil

Stir all together in pan

Heat on stove to when the dough starts to look firm. Stir frequently.

Remove from the pan on to the counter top and knead with your hands before playing with it.


When I've made playdough, I've thought about 2 senses...sight (fun bright colors) and touch (how soft the playdough recipe is). Thanks to my fellow moms at Mothering by Grace, I've been educated about the smell of playdough. Here are a couple of ideas for adding wonderful scent to your playdough:
  • add a bit of vanilla or almond extract (or any extract) to the playdough with the wet ingredients
  • add pepermint extract (pair with green or red food coloring, put in a baggie with a red/green ribbon, tie on a small Christmas cookie cutter and hand out as a little Christmas gift)
  • Or...if you want fruity smells...add a packet of unsweetened Kool-aid mix at the beginning (with the dry ingredients). This takes care of both the smell and the color (no need to add in the food coloring) The blue playdough above was made with a pack of Berry-Burst Kool-aid.
Other fun add-ins:
  • glitter (I mentioned this one to my daughter; she really wants to try it)
  • ???? (Let me know, I can't think of anything brain is full of Spanish reflexive verbs for my test on Monday.)

Adventures in Homemade

Over the past three years, I have discovered the value and fun of things that are homemade. The delight in my children's faces when they open cloth play food, the dolly sling, or play with fresh made playdough is only part of the fun (maybe the best part...but still only part). I have as much fun making things for them, for my other family members, for my friends and even for myself. It may not always be pretty; it may take a few trials to get it right and a few frustrations along the way, but it's still worth it for the fun and the adventure of homemade.