May 26, 2009

Tried it Tuesday

You know, I love Stumble Upon and web tutorials and how tos. They literally make my heart happy, but I started realizing that while I LURVE all of these things we don’t really DO anything of the things I end up lurving. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make sure this summer is still fun for the Princess and Littlebit while realizing that we’ll be more tied to the house than last year with little Baby Bee. I have a three pronged approach that includes something I’m calling Fun Friday, this pool and Make it Monday (which will turn into the Tried it Tuesday blog post series). If I can keep it up, it’s a win-win; entertained kids and entertaining (I hope) blog posts.

I plan to share our Fun Friday lists as well so you can use them for ideas of fun things to do with your own kiddos (albeit it will probably be more useful if you have girls because, well, I have girls).

So, what did we try over Memorial Day weekend?

1) Microwave Playdough as featured on Suddenly I See (this actually didn’t end up on Link Love Friday but I love it just the same). I try never EVER to buy playdoh. There’s just no reason. First off, the kids combine the damn colors and then we have brown and….brown. This makes me very unhappy and then I have two options; feel unhappy about the rainbow of brown or throw the whole thing out. The second doesn’t seem that wise as while playdoh isn’t hugely expensive, it gets that way if your color combining kids can only play with it once before it’s brown. The second reason why I don’t buy playdoh is because homemade playdoh is one of those things that’s inexpensive to make and comes out as good or better than what you buy in the store. The only thing was, I hated cooking it on the stove. Standing there. Stirring. Waiting for it to make a ball. Kneading the food coloring in while the dough was still super hot and staining myself and the cutting board pink or blue or green or yellow.

If you have a Kitchen-Aid mixer the process gets even more simple. I combined my dry ingredients in the bowl and let it blend with the mixer attachment. I then added my water and let it continue to mix. Then I pulled out my dough hook and let it knead. I split the dough into three and then colored two balls. I let the dough hook start mixing in the coloring and the Princess kneaded it the rest of the way in on the cutting board.

Age Factor Except for the possibility of splashing themselves with hot water (so if you have a splasher, you may need to take that step) nearly every step in this process can be done by kids of any age. Little ones can dump ingredients into the mixer bowl and anyone can knead.

Easy Factor About 12 minutes start to finish. Moderate mess. Cheap. Letting the dough hook mix in the initial wet food coloring meant minimal staining on the cutting board and no staining on hands.

Proper storage will keep the playdough soft for some time. Use a tupperware container with a snug fitting lid or ziploc bags. Right now the girls are shaping away with their own hands, but cookie cutters are fun too.

2)Cookies and Cream Rice Krispie treats from Picky Palate.. Come on. It’s like a Hannah Montana song. The best of both worlds. Super simple, family favorite dessert PLUS chocolate PLUS cookies?

Really easy to make. Of course, all you’re really doing is adding in the Oreo cookies. Rice Krispie Treats are probably the world’s most simple dessert. My picture isn’t as pretty as the one at Picky Palate, so if you want see this as food porn, check there.

Age Factor The Princess could have made this entire recipe herself. The bowl we were mixing in was too small, so she needed some help. Littlebit probably would have made a substantial mess, but if that doesn’t bother you, go for it. The toddler set can totally stir and pat.

Easy Factor Super simple.

3) Homemade Topsy Turvy planters from Instructables.

Even the Princess was impressed by how many times you could recycle a plastic bottle. We drank the pop (well, my Bunco group did), we’ll use the bottles to grow our plants (one heirloom tomato, one sweet pepper) and then after the growing season has ended the bottles can be recycled again. Adding to this is how VERY low cost this project is. You probably have everything at home but the plants. We had to buy duct tape, because we’re yuppies like that. We even recycled the nails from a small tear down project that Big Daddy did.

Age Factor Honestly this project isn’t little friendly. The Princess had trouble feeding the string through the holes I punched, and she’s 9. She was able to wrap the tap and careful cutters could cut the bottoms off the pop bottles after mom or dad started the hole with a knife. She was able to wrap the tap and filled the bottles with dirt, but the careful job of feeding the tops of the plants through the tiny openings would be better done by a grown up. Littlebit was napping but short of helping load in the dirt and watering, this project was too advanced for her.

Easy Factor The toughest project of the day. The Princess got frustrated trying to feed the yarn through the holes and the bottles rolled around when she was trying to load in dirt. Time wise it probably took us about 30 minutes, which isn’t much more than planting the two plants in question would have taken and we don’t have to weed as the season progresses.

Well, there you go. Hope you enjoyed my first Tried It Tuesday. Did you try anything new this week that you discovered on the web? Recipe? Craft? Activity? Let me know!

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