Sunday, January 3, 2010

Make Your Own: Play Dough!

After spending a small fortune on play dough and accessories, I finally put my foot down and stood up to the opportunity to take matters into my own hands, no pun intended! As a new mom, finding D.I.Y recipes or ideas that are worth while is a full time job! Luckily with my 3 year old starting preschool and being asked to help out by making batches of play dough for the class, the perfect formulation landed in my lap! Before that, I had tried a few different versions and this is by far the best. With this recipe there is no more food color explosions on hands and clothes, it lasts a good while in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware, there's room for creative expression, it's super cheap, makes for great gifts, less worries about pitching grimy stuff after awhile, and it smells like memories of your own childhood!!! Perfecto!!! Bring on the imagination and hand dexterity!!!

Straight from Jake's Preschool to your home,
Make Your Own Play Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar (buy in bulk- it's cheaper and you WILL need it!)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 package of unsweetened Kool-Aid mix
glitter (optional but awesome!)

Add dry ingredients to a heavy pan or dutch oven. Add water and oil to combine. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until dough forms into a thick, creamy mashed potato consistency. Don't let sit unattended or hard clumps will form. Remove from heat, let cool a few minutes. While still warm, take out of pan and knead a few times to bind. Cool completely and then store in an air tight container.

I usually make 2-3 batches at a time to have enough for sharing, tossing, taking baggies on the road for eating out!!! It's fun to let your child pick out the Kool-Aid packet choosing the color and then deciding on a coordinating glitter color. It makes it more special and custom!!! I also keep any play dough containers and add my own dough. Reusing butter containers is an option too!! Plus, as a gift it goes great with a small rolling pin, some cookie cutters, and cute plastic place mat!

Have Fun. Be Creative. Bond with your kids. Let yourself Play!!!

Happiness is a Beautiful Place in Your Mind

With the start of the new year, there is a sense of something bigger happening. There is no set moment that the winds of change come blowing through one's life. This just happens to be a coincidence of calender timing. But, it's true. I can smell it. I can hear it whispering in my ears. I can feel it down in my bones. It makes me stand differently, makes me breathe deeper, makes me hopeful, makes me focused. It's these moments that those fears of my overwhelming finiteness take a pause to the confidence and courage building a new foundation of possibility in my spirit. Even though this wind has blown through my yard before, this time is different. This time I am more aware and more vulnerable.

I spent the first few decades building up my super power of self protection. I learned to fortress my heart, sharpen my tongue, and stay three steps ahead of anyone I couldn't fully trust. Pain is a powerful motivator. After reigning, rather successfully, as queen of a calculated kingdom, I have fallen from my thrown. I no longer have the energy or desire to keep the walls around my little piece of heaven so guarded. The time has come to decide, to choose. The time has come to change my story. I never quite liked it anyway. I am sick of justifying. Tired of making excuses. Exhausted by the beliefs my fragile former self created out of desperation to make each day a good place to stay. After shredding all those chapters of my biography, barely standing on one leg in my own life, feeling raw, emotional, weak, pathetic, ignorant, used.... it's time to feel brand new! But, the creations of one's mind can be a powerful place to play. You can't just upgrade from one day to the next. It takes a mountain's worth of turns to realize YOU are capable of molding a new reality in your own life. More than anything you need to give yourself the ultimate control to make those tough executive decisions. Once you hand over the keys, rebirth can begin. It's like taking the blue pill and seeing your matrix for what it really is... a perception of one's reality.

For me, that time is now. I am ready to create. I am ready to live my true reality, fulfill my truest purpose. I am willing to put in the sweat equity. As I stand here at my crossroads, Jedi in training, I have realized like every Zen, Buddhist, Christian, story has told me before, that happiness is not a acquisition or a prize at the end of long hard day. It's not a breath taking sunset, or even a smile from loved one. It's more than a perfect moment, more than a blissful breathe. It's a decision, a spark. It's letting go so life will flow in. It's becoming one with everything and nothing at the same time. It's cracking yourself wide open so all the predisposed expectations, experience altering judgements, self-created stories, can finely rip away from who you really are and who you are meant to be. Only after you detach from the ego you spent your entire life attaching to can this overwhelming sense of calm, faith, security, and stillness wash inward. Once this trust of knowing you are standing in an amazing opportunity blooms within, you finally can begin to free yourself enough to just... BE! Then, the past doesn't matter and the future becomes more beautiful than worry some. When you stand with both your heart and your mind firmly in the present unattached to your ego or your story, love can fill you with your purest potential and life purpose. This cleansing allows for a wonderful new journey. A path towards inner peace, outward compassion, pure lightness of heart, and a joyful mind. What more could we want? From that place, all else is awesome!!!

So as this year adds momentum to a journey predestined for light-speed growth, I plant one foot into my present. It's time to let go of hopes and hold on to truths! Believe me, I still have a few more turns to go before I can fully detach and rebirth a perception full of peace. Until then, I am aware that today and definitely tomorrow the happiness I've been seeking lies so much closer than I could have ever imagined. My happiness, my joy, my light is merely... a beautiful place in my mind! The time has come to write a new story!