Tag Archives: arts and crafts

United in Play Dough – The Recipes that Kept me Employed and Sane

I know this is totally not on topic with the other stuff I have been posting. However, it may or may not give you a glimpse into my life, and I have a lot of people asking lately about ME. So here we go.

I joined a “moms” group where I was judged by my over exuberant balls out 10000 MPH personality, and my job choice as being beneath them. At first, it hurt me to be excluded. Then it angered me. I tried to join a conversation of women at a particular meet and greet, where I was there as a nanny. I had joined the group to keep my nanny charge in touch with his parent’s friends and their children. And when I made a comment contradictory to whatever it was they were discussing, one mom turned to me and said “I think I know a bit more about this. I went to school and studied this for 6 years. You are just a nanny.” The room went silent. I had already, in a short time, made my personality known. And my body language said it all. They all knew it was coming. So I told her all about me.

“I am college educated. I was in school for 5 years. I was one semester away from my FIRST bachelor’s degree when my father got sick the first time. His first coma and stroke of THREE after the meningitis. I thought I was going to lose him, so I took time off and joined the working world. While working full time, and helping my mother take care of my father, I continued taking a partial course load. I chose to take “low end” jobs as a nanny or daycare worker, because of the children. I was looking death in the face every day, and I wanted to see life. I wanted to see joy. Growth. Living. How better to do that than to help raise children? I also, in the midst of this, had a major health crisis and was told, at age 20, I may not ever have children. So I surrounded myself with the children of others and lived the joy.

Like you, many who meet me think I am uneducated and therefore, un-equal. Truth be told, I do it for one reason. Wonder. The absolute amazing wonder of children. The way a child can see a rock and be so excited because it “Is WHITE! And BUMPY! And the coolest rock EVER!” Or how they can see the sky and ask “Why is it blue?” How they learn something hurts by touching it instead of listening to your warnings, how they examine their toys to see how they work, or how they do things like use their toy tool set to disassemble their toddler bed at 2 in the morning. (Yep. Hurricane did that. Twice. At age 2.) And one thing I have learned from the kids is to NEVER judge someone. Meet someone new, be a little apprehensive, but be yourself and let your life shine. If they do not take you for who you are, make your own path, play in your own sandbox. Eventually someone else will want to play along side you. But never judge. You don’t know me until you ask.”

And slowly, after I walked out, head high, toddlers in tow, I started getting e-mails. From the other moms in the group who felt the first woman was way out of line. And they all started the same way. It was funny really. They all complained of one thing. They all missed my play dough. You read that right. My play dough. I am a huge hater of the stuff you buy. I read about the chemical make up of it and when I saw it is made with the same grade petroleum as in MOTOR OIL I had a problem. Kids eat this stuff. So I tried every single recipe in every single book I owned on children. And I hated them all. Then I thought back to the first family I worked for. We used to make it for the kids, all 11 of them, and it was amazing. So I spent hours in the kitchen trying to recreate it, and finally found it.

Years after the fact, I still get the occasional call or email for my dough recipe. Or for the directions on how we made homemade fossils. Or how we learned about how big dinosaurs really are with balloons and chalk. Last week I got an email from one of my earliest nanny charges. She has her own kids now. And she wants my play dough recipe. For my Meebear, and her new wee bear. Thanks for reading. The recipe is below.

❤ Mom T

Worlds Best Cooked Play Dough Recipe:

2 cups flour

2 cups water

1 cup salt

4 Tablespoons cream of Tartar OR Alum

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions: Bring water and salt to a slow boil. Slowly stir in flour, and alum until fully combined. Add oil and remove from heat, continuing to stir until it reaches mashed potato consistency. Remove from pan and place on a lightly floured countertop surface. Let cool for about fifteen minutes, then begin to knead. Continue kneading, sprinkling with more flour as needed to reduce stickiness. The trick is to knead knead knead! The more you work it the smoother it becomes. If it still seems a bit dry, sprinkle oil on 1 teaspoon at a time while working it in. Store in an airtight container. Some people feel it keeps longer in the fridge. Optional- add food coloring or kool aid to the mix while blending for color, but it may stain hands! 🙂

Next up- homemade fossils!

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