I am a Downton Abbey addict, watching each episode several times and loving it every moment. With two small children, the more I watched Downton the more my life and the work of those below the stairs seemed to collide in my mind. "Oh, Mrs. Patmore is washing dishes again, I need to wash dishes." No wonder I love this show and these people. I realized I am living a life in service!
Are you living a life in service to your children? Here's how to tell.
If left to your own devices you would be sleeping, but you are in the service of another. You might not bring your child breakfast in bed, but when those feet hit the ground (or when you hear the yell from the bedroom) you are expected to jump into action.
During most meals you wish you could set up a serve yourself buffet because each of your charges is requesting something different.
You cook all the meals.
You wash all the dishes. Over and Over. Extra points if you do this by hand.
You have possibly been putting on the same clothes everyday for the entirity of your job.
You serve, often not eating yourself until well after the charges have finished.
You answer the phone.
You change their clothes, often several times a day.
You compliment their clever styling.
You are in charge of bath time.
You indulge them when they play "pretend games"
You play silly games with them, even when the rules and game play make no real sense.
You teach them the skills they need to make their way in the world
Obviously, you drive them anywhere and everywhere.
And last but not least, you carry a dead body for them.
Or you would.
I love listening to my mom talk about " attachment parenting", it cracks me up. "Why do they need to label themselves?" "I did all this stuff with my children, it isn't a movement, it's called being a parent that listens to your instincts" If only we all realized when we were 16 how full of wisdom our mothers are.
So I'm posting a series of My Mama's recipes and activities. They are right in line with what hands on attachment parents are doing right now but these recipes are from 30 + years ago. Tried and true; it brings me joy to share my mothers recipes with my daughters and you.
*There are a lot of playdough recipes out there. I have tried most of them as a point of comparison for my mothers recipe. This one yields what I believe to be the best playdough. The consistency is great, the color is vibrant, it lasts a long time.
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
Super easy to put together.
In a medium sized pot, dump all of your ingredients in*(see note about when to add food coloring) Mix it all together, I use a wooden spoon. Turn your heat onto low-medium and continue to mix over low heat until the dough starts to form in a ball. When you start to question if it is done, it is starting to look like dough, cook a little longer, always mixing. It starts to form the dough but is still sticky and wet, when it isn't very sticky/wet it is time to take it off. It looks like playdough!
*Note on food coloring: you can add the food coloring at any point you would like. If you are making large batches of one color, add it when you are cooking it because it is just less mess. The dough will be a ...uhm... dough color, so you can also make a large batch and break it up into portions and add the colors after it has cooled. It is messy, so if you don't want purple hands for the next few days, wear gloves for that method.
** Food Coloring Types: My mom used the regular liquid food coloring found in the grocery store. It's a great option and it's cheap. I've found that especially with Yellow and Orange, you need to add a lot of drops to get a vibrant color. So I have made an adjustment and started using the bakers Gel Food Coloring. Mostly because I do a lot of preschool projects at home and use a lot of food coloring. The Gel Food Coloring is more concentrated and you can use less for a vibrant color. I get the Wiltons Coloring at Michael's in the Cake Decorating Section. They also have a gel food coloring in small tubes now in the grocery store with the other liquid ones, it's not the same as the professional bakers coloring but it also works.
It will be HOT!
I take it out of the pot and transfer to a sheet of wax paper, I fold the wax paper over it and smoosh it flat as much as I can, cause it is hot. The I put it in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool down. At this point it is ready.
My mama stored our playdough in old frosting containers. It was the perfect size and good for storage. Of course when I was talking to her the other day about playdough she said "We didn't have those plastic Ziplock containers back then". Any airtight container will do, the plastic Ziplock ones or plastic sandwich bags.
Your Playdough will last weeks if you put it away after each play time. If you open it and find it is a bit sticky, you can roll it out with a dusting of flour just like you would a pie crust. If it is a bit dry, but not completely dried out, knead it with a bit of water.
Play! Play! Enjoy!
I took a break. I didn't do it on purpose but I think it was a subconsious reaction to the tragedy at Sandy Hook; the last post I wrote. I have spent the month celebrating Christmas and My birthday (which is also Christmas) with my girls. I have have had, in the past 4 months, visits from 4 of my favorite people and best friends in the world. Some meeting my girls for the first time. I have been cleaning and scrubbing and hanging pictures and organizing the crap out of this old house of mine. Alas, I miss writing.
Just because I haven't been posting, doesn't mean I am gone! Check out my posts in other places...
There are going to be numerous posts on blogs across the internet about the Tragedy at Sandy Hook. It's one of those moments in history that we will collectively remember forever. It's not something I would usually speak about because in this case, there are just no words. But like all parents I am left trying to wrap my head around the entire ordeal.
If you aren't a parent, I am sure it is still upsetting to hear about this unimaginable tragedy; but if you have children, it is amazingly upsetting. Most of us never met these students. We are not friends with their parents and until now, had never heard of Sandy Hook School. But these were our children, their classmates, their friends.
I imagine over and over in my head, these parents and children. They are us. There were lessons about holding hands when you cross the street, wearing a helmet when you ride your bike. There were talks about not talking to strangers and what police officers wear beacause knowing that means you know where to go for help. There were arguments and tantrums over not eating raw cookie dough, because it has raw eggs. There were songs sung in the bathroom as hands were washed with warm soapy water for the correct amount of time. Parents uttering "don't lick that" or "we don't play in the toilet". Parents yelling at children about never leaving the yard or porch, or eyesight of mom. Everyday, we all do it. We do it over and over and over and over, without ever thinking. We aren't thinking about teaching our children to be safe, it is just one of those natural parenting things that happens, you just do it.
There is a moment every parent has experienced that plays out like this: You are in public, you turn your eyes away from your child for a moment (usually to pay a cashier or answer someones question) and when you turn your eyes back your child is gone. This is the longest moment of your life as your heart feels like it has stopped and jumped into your throat just has someone has knocked the wind out of you. And, like most parents, you are lucky enough to turn your head the other way, locate your child and breathe. I can only imagine that the parents of the children we lost will be living with this feeling for the rest of their lives. I can not imagine the amount of strength it would take to go on. My heart breaks for them because there is nothing they could have done. There is nothing any of us can do to make sure our children are 100% safe 100% of the time. The best we can do is tell them we love them, every minute of everyday and hope for the best.