Today we got in a full day of quality time with Grandma Charlotte (a.k.a. ‘Gma Char’). It involved a Granville Island visit, some shopping, several tea parties, plenty of cuddles, and a giant Costco trip. All in all, I’d say it was a pretty great day. Here are a few photos I took along the way.
Today I had barely finished mentioning making play dough and my little Lulu had already retrieved her apron.
Now, I have always been a fan of the 2:1:1 recipe (2 parts flour to 1 part salt and 1 part water). It’s fast, it’s easy, and it really only requires having two ingredients on hand. I’ve used it through many, many years of babysitting, nannying, and teaching without even considering giving another recipe a try. That is, until I decided to give this “fussy” recipe a go this Christmas. Yes, it requires both oil and cream of tartar – not to mention cooking – but if you’ve got the ingredients, extra time, and patience to let it cool, it’s totally worth it. It’s soft, super pliable, and lasts for a ridiculously long time. Plus, it’s really not that hard.
Here’s what you need: Some flour, salt, cream of tartar, vegetable oil, water, food colouring, and a cute little sous chef to help you along the way.
First things first, pour your water in a large pot.
Next, add your salt. Preferably into the pot. But hey, whatever works.
Then, add your cream of tartar.
And your food colouring. (Of course for this little one, purple was the colour of choice.) Give everything a little stir.
Then, over medium heat, warm the mixture until hot, but not boiling.
When hot, add your oil and your flour, cup by cup.
Don’t worry if it looks all chunky and gross. We’ve used this recipe several times and we’ve always experienced this stage. It’ll all work out in the end.
When you’ve added all of the flour, give the dough one final stir and plop it out onto a well-floured counter. Sprinkle some extra flour on top if the dough appears sticky. Be careful – it’ll be very hot still.
Once it’s cooled, kneed the dough well, incorporating all of the extra flour.
Then give your munchkin a chunk and let her go to town.
Fun for hours!
Here’s our slightly tweaked version of the recipe if you want to give it a try:
5 cups of water
2 1/2 cups of salt
3 TBSP of cream of tartar
5 TBSP of vegetable oil
5 1/2 cups of flour
Mix water, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and food colouring in a large pot. Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly until mixture is hot.
Add oil, then stir in flour a cup at a time, mixing in between each addition. Mix until playdough pulls away from pot and is no longer sticky.
Dump dough on a well-floured counter, let cool a bit, then knead.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for several weeks.
Today we hosted Gracen’s second mamas and munchkins Valentine’s tea. It was a very different scene than last year’s party where us Kuwait mamas sat around a blanket of rolly polly babies while chatting and sipping on hot coffee. This morning was wonderfully chaotic, and by the end of it, I think all of us mommies had worked up a sweat. Just goes to show how much things change in one year. Here are some photos from this morning’s mamas and munchkins tea, complete with three curious and busy toddlers and one adorable 6 month old.
Usual post-nap scene. A cozy blanket, books, and a little snack.
Errands, round two.
(On a side note, we can’t go to Superstore without going to see this little duck. He’s been the only duck amongst a crowd of bears since we moved to Vancouver 6 months ago, and Grae loves him. Every time we walk through the doors, she starts signing ‘duck, please’ and proceeds to point you in the right direction. We stop by, she visits with him, and that’s that. Not quite sure what we’ll do when the duck eventually finds a home one day…)
This morning Gracen proudly took her Grandma Charlotte and Grandpa Dave to the last Play Gym session of the year to show them what’s it’s all about…
She had to show them how she and her Papa drive the little pink Plasma Car, of course!
As soon as we got home, she slipped into her favourite purple sneakers and donned her Mardi Gras-esque beads. She’s fashion forward like that. She doesn’t look too happy in this photo, but rest assured that she quite enjoys sitting in bins while being slid across our tile floors. It’s almost always her idea.
Later in the day, still wearing her purple sneaks and beads, but with sunglasses now added to the mix, she tried pistachios for the first time. It was love at first bite.
Doesn’t get much cooler than this, now does it?
Our evening included skirt-less love for a diaper-less Bubba…
And relaxing by our very dead Christmas tree. Not quite sure what we did wrong, but it’s been that way for almost a week now. It gets more and more droopy / sad looking each day, so let’s just hope it holds out until Christmas.
Today Gracen and I used my old trusty recipe and whipped up a batch of play dough. Despite getting flour EVERYWHERE, she was a fantastic kitchen helper. She even picked her own colour – this marvellous shade of puke green. Although it might not have been my first colour choice, she loooooved the finished product and happily poked (okay, more like stabbed) at her play dough pancakes for a good long while before wanting to move on to something else.
Sunset, the community centre closest to our house, always hosts fun events to celebrate the holidays. We had registered for their very popular ‘Lunch with Santa’ event long ago, and today was finally the day that it took place.
There was plenty to see and do, and right away Gracen set out to visit each of the inflatable characters.
Since we arrived before the event actually started, it was calm enough for G to actually bounce inside the castle for once.
Soon after, things got WILD inside the bouncy castle (as they always do), so we resorted to our usual bouncing on the outside edge technique. Not to worry, Grae doesn’t mind one bit as long as she’s jumping around like a monkey.
After a sufficient amount of bouncing, it was off to the arts and crafts area to decorate a paper gingerbread boy. Grae loves crafts, and I think she would have cleared out the entire stock of pom poms and goggly eyes had I let her.
There was much too much excitement around to actually sit down and eat properly, but we gave it our best shot anyways. Santa arrived ringing his bell part way through the meal and we all went over to visit with him for a quick minute.
Although Santa wasn’t a hit with Grae, the band certainly was. She was completely and totally enamoured with these high school kids who played several carols for all to enjoy.
This was as still as she sat the entire time… What can I say? This little doodle loves music. :)