Monday, January 21, 2013

Cabin Fever Cures: Snow-Dough 2 Ways

Winter in Nashville is unpredictable.  Right now, we're coming off a beautifully mild couple of days and we've been taking full advantage of them outside.  But the weeks before then were rainy, with roller coaster temperatures bringing sniffly noses and cranky moods.  Being cooped up inside doesn't ever improve one's mood, and so I set out to have some wintry crafts ready to keep the kiddos busy.  Since snow is rare here in Nashville, I decided to bring the snow inside for some fun little activities.  First up, we've got some glittery, snowy homemade play dough.

 I went with my go-to no-cook play dough recipe for the initial attempt, and threw in some peppermint extract for some extra zing. 

Here were the results:

Now, I didn't think it looked too bad and neither did Sarah and Will.  Sure, it was more like the snow you're supposed to avoid in the woods, but it had GLITTER and one of my favorite aromas.  However, my FB peeps pointed out its less-than-appetizing looks, so I went back to the drawing board. 

All smiles, haters.
So, here's version #2:

It's really a clay recipe, but I'm going to see how long it lasts in an airtight container.  Because it's made from baking soda and cornstarch, it's a purer white and silky-smooth to the touch.  I used two teaspoons of peppermint extract, and it was not nearly enough. This recipe does take color a lot better, giving off a truer hue.  But, you have to cook it.  Ugh.

Here are the recipes for both versions, adapted from Vicki Lansky's Feed Me! I'm Yours.  These are so versatile as play dough, and you can use version #2 for clay hand- and footprints, Christmas ornaments, or everlasting snowmen (which we might be doing in the near future).

Version #1 No-Cook  (Dirty Snow) 
Mix together:
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1tsp. alum
2 Tbsp. Peppermint extract
Up to 1/2 cup of water*

Slowly add in the water to the rest of the ingredients until the mixture has the consistency of bread dough.  If you want to add some color as well, put several drops of food coloring (or tempera paint) into the water before you mix it in. 

Version #2 Stovetop Silky Snow/Clay
Mix together:
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups baking soda (1 lb.)
1 1/4 cups cold water
A whole bunch of Peppermint extract

Mix peppermint extract and water together in a saucepan.  Add in the dry ingredients and stir the ingredients together for about 5 minutes, until it looks like mashed potatoes.  Trick your husband into almost eating it for dinner ("Why are we having mashed potatoes with tacos?").  Pour the mixture out onto a plate to cool and cover with a damp cloth.  Like I said, this is supposed to be clay, but we're going to see how long it lasts in a Ziploc.

Seriously, between cooking play dough and making soup, I'm getting really, really good a making roux-like substances.  Except for almost burning the play dough tonight. 

At least the yak and the wolf like playing in it...

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