MudPies for Vacation

March 17, 2003

MudPies for Vacation

These two weeks have been a challenge, as anyone with kids can imagine. I have Eli at home on vacation, away from school, schedule, and peers. Many of his friends are off to wonderful sunny places, leaving us behind in the cold, spring-wanting northeast. I have resorted to the next best thing: a tan from a bottle. In the meantime, I am faced with what to do to occupy my child for days on end, aside from a long weekend down in DC.

We began with playdough, with some glitter added for interest. We have moved on to Gooze in various colors. If you have never made gooze (ie: gak, slime, glue goo) you should. It’s incredibly weird and fun and begs you to play. It is a strange tactile experience. Finally, Sculpey has been our latest for when Emmett is napping. Eli has been inspired by the things we saw in Washington: space shuttles (from the Air & Space Museum) and Calder-like sculptures (from the National Gallery). The Sculpey comes in many different colors and is fun to work with and then bake.

I have wanted to cook things we can actually look forward to eating as well. Eli of course voted for chocolate chip cookies, I am still pushing for Easy Bread this weekend. It will be billed as the science experiment, as we can watch the effects of yeast as it feeds on sugars to make it foam and get the dough to rise. In the meantime, Eli has been munching on salsa pizzas- using salsa topped with Monterey Jack on mini English muffins from the BEST muffin place ever. If you’ve never had Wolfermans muffins- you must check them out and indulge. So far I’ve been a huge fan of the Tomato & Herb, and Cranberry Citrus, while Adam goes for the San Francisco Sourdough, and the Quattro Formaggio. The mini muffins are great for kids, and they also have all sorts of scones, spreads (Tart Red Cherry… mmmm) and tea breads.

I am really looking forward to Monday when Eli goes back to school!

Here are the recipes of this vacation.

This playdough lasts for ages. Just store it in a Ziploc baggie.
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp oil
Mix together the dry ingredients.
Pour water and oil into a pan over medium heat, warm, then add dry ingredients.
Stir and cook until it turns into a big lump. Cook a little bit more, then turn it out of the pan, let it cool a little, then knead it until it seems right!
Store in a ziploc bag. (don’t need to refrigerate)

A wonderfully tactile experience like no other. It oozes slowly, yet you can “break “ it apart. It is worth making two batches in different colors (one can be left white) as it makes it cool to watch the colors goozing together as you play with it.
This is NOT just for kids! If you are a grown up- make a batch and just try to not mess around with it- squishing and folding and pulling and smooshing it.

Mix in a large bowl:
1 cup glue
1 cup water
food coloring (plenty)

mix in a smaller bowl until dissolved:
6 teaspoons Borax (find in the laundry soap aisle)
2 cups water

Then pour the Borax mixture into the glue mixture.
It will kind of have the consistency of fondue at first, keep stirring, pour off the liquid and start handling it.
When you are done playing with it, store it in an airtight Tupperware-type container.
-recipe courtesy of the Beebe family

Beagle School Bread (a.k.a. Easy Bread)
This is a recipe that I used to make bread with preschoolers when I was doing my student teaching at The Beagle School in Saratoga Springs. It came out great. It makes one loaf. Use a little bit of basic bread baking skills here.

1 pkg. yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup water, warm

3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp butter

1. put yeast in water
2. mix dry stuff
3. add wet stuff
4. knead, let rise until doubled
5. punch down, put in greased loaf pans, let rise again
6. bake

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