Friday, November 13, 2009

Snow Day

The kids didn’t have school today. It wasn’t because of snow though, just an end of the quarter break for teachers. It was rainy, gray and cold. I wanted to take the kids to the Aquarium today because it’s inside and fun and free since we have a membership. The kids didn’t want a family day, they wanted a friend day. So we scrapped the Aquarium and everyone had a friend over except Maren and Annie. They were not okay with that.

As the morning wore on I found the kids were suddenly sitting in front of the TV. Jenna and Abby were bickering a little. I thought I should really do something with these kids. I remembered my Family Fun Magazine. I subscribed to it years ago when I was still a parent that cared. I still liked giving them creative time and interactive play.

I quickly decided I didn’t like the magazine because it made me feel like a bad Mom. Yes it does. The suggestions sent in by the readers are obviously people who have only one child, are major over achievers or have a nanny. So I quit subscribing to it and yet it still comes. I think it is basically an advertisement for Disney at heart but it does have great ideas in it. I’m trying to be a Mom who cares so I thought we’d do a project or two.

There is no snow on the ground here yet, but we made snowmen inside. Enter snow dough. The only things you need are flour, salt, water, oil, cream of tartar, paint or food coloring, glitter and peppermint extract. I happened to have everything on hand because I’m a Mom who cares.

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1 cup flour

1 cup water

1/2 cup salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons white tempera paint

1 tablespoon white or iridescent glitter

A few drops of peppermint extract (optional)

Put everything in a pan except the peppermint.

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Cook and stir until it clumps together like play dough. Turn it out onto waxed paper and add peppermint extract.

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After it cools a little, knead it and play. We made 7 batches. I ran out of paint and we started using food coloring. That worked just fine. You can keep it for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

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I think one of my problems with doing activities with my kids is wanting to stick to the plan. It’s called snow dough because it’s supposed to be white. Like snow. When they wanted to start making it pink, green and blue I wanted to protest. Because it’s supposed to be white. Like snow. I’m learning that I just have to let them be creative and have fun. What’s the big deal? If I really want it my way, I can make some more after they go to bed and play with it all by myself.

I also despise the mess. For instance, when you fail to specifically tell your two year old to pour the water in the pan and she pours all the water in the big storage tub of flour turning it to paste. I was tempted to be frustrated. It seems that would be a good time to throw in the towel, abandon them mission and turn on the TV. Somehow today I just laughed. It was a simple mistake. I could’ve let that ruin all our fun. And it was fun. Lots of fun. They played and created for hours. Then I cleaned up for hours.

If you make this with a bunch of kids you might want to be prepared for this.

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I served lunch and drinks and snacks. After that was all cleaned up I was starting to feel tired and a little cranky. Yet they wanted to paint because destroying my kitchen twice before 1:00 p.m. was not enough. So five girls painted. Including my two year old. She had paint in her hands, hair and mouth. I was getting paint and paper and water and paper towels. True works of art were being formed. There were discussions about what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Another thing I’ve learned that will never make it into Family Fun is that even though I’m all about conservation, I like disposable things for painting. From the dollar store. Like plastic tablecloths, plastic cups for paint and water. That way all I have to do is wash the brushes and wrap everything else up in the tablecloth and trash it.

And also, don’t take pictures during painting projects. That can be disastrous.

A bath was being run for the small paint monsters. As I was washing them up, Annie said, “We did lots of things today.”

I replied, “Yes, we did.”

She said, “It was the best day ever!”

In my mind, a rainy day at home could never top going out to do something. But I’m not as smart as my kids. It was the best day ever.

I couldn’t agree more.

So when the renewal notice comes for the magazine, I’m sure I’ll renew just to make sure we have more days like today.


The Bergman Family said...

"when I was still a parent that cared..." HAHAHA! You crack me up. Believe it or not, the Family Fun people called me last night, offering helpfully to renew my subscription for the low, low price of 77 cents an issue. I probably would've said no had they not called me on THE SAME DAY that Gracie made the oh-so-fabulous snow dough (and then asked me in the car on the way home, "when can WE do that??") What are the ODDS?? :) Not only did you do these projects with your own gaggle of kids, you included their friends! You're such a brave -and terrific- mom!

Steph VG said...

Sounds like sooooo much fun - for the kids (not QUITE as much for Mom who cleaned it all up, but I know it was worth it for "the best day ever" comment!)!

Another one for the "Wow...REALLY???" file: we used to have the EXACT SAME SET OF POTS AND PANS.