Kid’s Activities when Mummy is Poorly No. 1 – Playdough

This activity series is for those days when you feel like utter rubbish but the bambinos still need entertaining and you have limited amount of energy but just enough to at least try to avoid binge watching Peppa Pig all day.

First up is playdough. Elsie absolutely loves this and would rather play with playdough than go to the best park in the universe that serves all you can eat ice cream with sprinkles. Please note, this isn’t my recipe. I found this on HomeSchool Creations but will be adding a few insights of my own.

There is a fair amount of cream of tartar in this recipe. If you are making this as a one off then you will need a box of sachets from the supermarket. 6 sachets is 2 tablespoons. If you will be making this more often, I’ll include a link in the ingredients to a big bag that cuts the costs down. This is an affiliate link so if you do purchase I will get a few pennies from the sale at no cost to yourself. If you choose not to add the cream of tartar you will have a crumbly dough that will work but not have the elasticity of playdough and may involve wailing on small people’s parts due to it not fitting through the playdough ‘chine and making noodles. From experience, it’s not worth the tears, use the cream of tartar.

This is a good article if you are interested in the sciencey bits behind playdough.

I will also include a link to purchase KoolAid. This is an American drinks thing (I’ve drunk it, it’s not great and I certainly wouldn’t give it to kids) that comes in a sachet. Whilst not really fit for human consumption it does give a great colour and smell to the dough and you can use it to dye yarn! Bonus! It can be a bit pricey so we save this for special. If you don’t want to use KoolAid then normal food colouring will work as well. Or you could leave it plain.

Koolaid Playdough

Grape is my favourite for colour and smell.

If you are planning on making this regularly (it does keep but you might not always want to use it again) then chuck a bag of value flour, a cheap bottle of vegetable oil and a bag of value salt into your trolley next time you go shopping. It doesn’t need to be posh stuff.

Right, enough waffle.

You will need:

110g Plain flour
75g Salt
2 TBSP Cream of tartar
A sachet of KoolAid or a few drops of regular food colouring. I like Wiltons gels. A little goes a long way.
230ml Water
1 TBSP Veg oil

A saucepan
Wooden spoon
Medium to large mixing bowl

What to do:

Place the flour, salt, cream of tartar, KoolAid and water into a saucepan and mix until combined. If you are using food colouring and want it all one colour, add this to the water first before putting in the saucepan. If you want multiple colours from one batch, leave the food colouring out at this stage.

Place the saucepan onto a medium heat and stir whilst adding the oil. It will take a little bit of stirring to combine it all. Keep stirring the mixture until it starts to form a dough. You want to take it off the heat before it gets too hard to mix but not too early that it’s still sloppy. It should be about the consistency of firm mashed potato.

Leave it to cool a bit. Remember this step. Mummy is no fun with burnt fingers, especially if she’s already feeling grotty.

Scoop the mixture out of the pan with the spoon and place it in the mixing bowl. I find it helps to add some hot water to the saucepan at this point to let it soak a bit, it’s then really easy to clean.

When the dough is cool enough to stick a hand into without swearing you can start to knead it. I do this in a bowl first as it can be a bit sticky to begin with. About 3-4 minutes of kneading later and you have a dough for your cherubs to play with leaving you some time to sit on the sofa and feel grotty.

If you are doing multiple colours, split the dough into even pieces and squish into flat disks. Place some food colouring into the centre of the disk and then fold the dough around it. Keep kneading and folding until the dough is fully coloured. You will end up with coloured hands for a few hours, just pretend you’ve been wrangling unicorns.

You can add all sorts of things to playdough, glitter is a favourite here. You can add a few drops of essential oil or a little bit of vanilla essence. This is not an edible mixture, especially if you are adding essential oils so only use with little ones who have got past the “everything must go in my face” stage. I’ll be adding a taste safe recipe soon.

The dough should keep for a few months in an air tight container. Ours lasts about a week depending on what it gets used for, what she’s stuffed in it and whether I can face picking all the bits out of it.

What have you added to yours? Do your kids have a favourite tool to use? Let me know in the comments or on one of my social media jobbers.

Happy making.

Kx

Ding! Ding! Round Two!

Morning all!

In my last post in October last year I made an apology for having neglected my blog due to having a small child. I then proceeded to do naff all about it for the next nearly 6 months.

These past few months have involved further neglect to quite a lot of aspects of my life due to extreme tiredness and a lot of throwing up. Two weeks after the last post I found out that I was pregnant! After 18 months of trying for our second child and having pretty much convinced myself that it was never going to happen we got our much waited for positive.

We’re halfway through now, the sickness stopped on Sunday and I had my first cup ( read bath) of proper English tea on Monday morning and failed to projectile vomit over the kitchen. One of my simple but very much enjoyed pleasures is a nice strong cup of tea in my favourite enormous mug and five minutes of quite contemplation.

I wouldn’t say that it is deeply philosophical thinking. If it’s the first cup of the day, it happens around half 7. Thoughts can include anything from ” How can someone watch the same Shimmer and Shine episode 4 times in a row and not have their brain ooze out from their ears? ” to “I’ve got a fridge full of veg that needs eating. How can I hide it in something edible?”.

Lately though it’s been more along the lines of “My house looks like a bomb’s gone off in it, there’s only three of us, maybe we should just move before the baby arrives and not unpack anything.” As tempting as a completely empty house with neatly stacked boxes sounds, I have had to remind myself that this is supposed to be a stress free pregnancy (unlike the last one, moved house, got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, left work, had a baby).

So I’ve decided to get ruthless with our “stuff”. It’s actually a lot easier to do now I’m in the right headspace. The first thing I’ve hit is my crafting stash. I pulled out all my fabric and have given probably half of it to the local Cancer Research shop. I have no idea why I was so adamant to hold onto it as I didn’t like it. It seems I had gone through a bit of a hoarding phase and been oblivious to it. Three quarters of my craft magazines have gone too. A lot of them I was holding onto because they had pretty pictures in but unless I was going to plaster them all over the walls so I could admire them every day, it seemed a bit pointless keeping them. I took those to the craft group I go to on a Wednesday morning. Lots disappeared there, along with some books I no longer had need for.

I’m already feeling so much better for it, I just need to decide what to tackle next! Hopefully I’ve got a good couple of months now before I start to get too massive so by the time this wee sproglet arrives we should be sorted.

The main difference between this pregnancy and the last is that I also have a 3 year old to keep entertained which, when all you want to do is sleep with your head in the toilet, is no mean feat. On Monday I’ll be sharing my favourite recipe for cheap homemade playdough. This has kept Elsie entranced for hours and, most importantly, doesn’t stink like proper playdough and cause Mummy to vomit all over her small person’s carefully crafted snail farm. Stay tuned for further kiddie activities suitable for poorly mummas and papas.

You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. That’s my limit for social media and Snapchat just confuses me. Hop on over and say Hi!

Kx

 

A little catch up

Evening! I’ve been hugely neglectful of my blog since having had my small person. I most definitely haven’t been meaning to but somehow life just gets in the way. You think you’ll have a few hours free next Tuesday or tomorrow evening and the small creature decides bedtime is a no go or you forget you have to go shopping and all of a sudden there’s no free time.

A couple of months ago I asked a large group of ladies to share their baby feeding journeys with me. The response was incredible and the stories more so. Over the next few weeks I hope to be able to share some information with you around feeding and the impact it has on us mummies. If anyone would like to share and has not done so, please do contact me at katie@buttonsandpickles.com . I want to hear from everyone, whether your child is 1 week old or 50 years old. 

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some pictures of things I’ve been working on. (FYI, that’s not my bump!)

You can catch up with the day to day goings on on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/elsieandbear and also on Instagram @buttonspickles

Much love,

Kx

Where’s the village?

Last year I wrote a post about me and motherhood. If you haven’t read it then you can take a gander here.

I was astonished by the amount of positive responses I received and the amount of women that contacted me to say that they were feeling the same and had no idea that other people were too. And that got me thinking.

Mental health is at last becoming a more talked about subject. But, that seems to be as long as you are talking about someone else’s mental health. Start talking about your own and the person opposite you will probably start looking a bit uncomfortable.

From an early age, when we tell someone that we are a bit sad or that we are angry, we get all manner of phrases lobbed at us and not a lot of listening happens. “Don’t be sad, it’s sunny out.” “Oh don’t be silly, man up!” And the WORST possible thing that can happen to an English person is someone answering anything but “Good, thank you” when you’ve asked how they are.

There is still a huge social stigma attached to sharing your feelings and “diseases of the mind”. You can be off work with a broken leg and no one bats an eyelid but heaven forbid that you are off with stress. The sad thing is that because of the way we are conditioned, that person who is off with stress will be instantly labelled by the majority of their peers. They will question what he has to be stressed about, “seems alright to me”, why he needs time off work to “deal” with it, maybe she’s just lazy? Why did they employ her in the first place, she’s clearly not cut out for the job.

Why do we do this? Why don’t we help to support that person rather than rallying the troops to vilify them?

Forgive me for a couple of minutes as I now appear to disappear off on a slight tangent and please, do NOT take this as a sob story. It isn’t.

When I was pregnant with Elsie, I was really looking forward to how close to other women having a baby would make me. You are supposed (that was my impression and expectation) to get this wonderful supportive village of women when you’ve had a baby. Almost as soon as it comes out, boom! Instant support and community. Some people get this, I didn’t. To say I was disappointed was the understatement of the century.

My nearest family/friends were over an hour’s drive away, there was no practical support. When my husband went back to work it was just me and the baby. All. Day.

I tried to go to baby groups, to find my village.  In my sleep deprived, highly emotional, no-one to talk to state I was now being told that my 3 week old should be having a nap right now, I should have got over my baby blues, baby X doesn’t feed that often, baby Y doesn’t need to do what your baby does, how can you not find the time for a shower everyday? Someone mentioned post natal depression, they were told it was just their hormones and because they were breast feeding. I didn’t feel supported. I didn’t find my village.

Slowly but surely it dawned on me that I hadn’t broken my baby and I wasn’t a dreadful mother because I did X instead of Y. I realised that most of what was being said was lies. It was mostly a cover up because no one wanted to be seen to be a bad mother. I got cross. Why were we putting each other down to make ourselves feel better and WHY were we lying to each other when we’d all had awful nights? Why was post natal depression such a taboo subject and why weren’t we helping each other?

When we become mothers our whole life is pretty much turned upside down, for every single one of us. It is, for most of us, for the better but it is a hard and bumpy ride. It would be made an awful lot easier if we helped each other through it.

Family life is busy. It’s noisy, screechy and full of washing and cleaning and work and bedtimes and dinners to cook. It’s splitting yourself between your work and your home, your husband/wife and your kids, your friends/extended family or trying to run everything single handedly and at some point trying to shoehorn sometime in for you. This can make us overwhelmed, undervalued and hugely resentful, of everyone and everything. I’ve even been jealous of the cat. True story, sooooooo much sleep and belly rubs.

All of us are busy trying to juggle things (and sometimes dropping them) and all of us have things going on that other people can’t see. Most of the time a you don’t need a solution to baby’s sleep problem or the fact that Oscar won’t eat his pees or will only wee in the vegetable patch, it’s a phase. Sometimes a mumma just needs a wee in peace and a hug. Hold the baby and give the hug.

Let’s build our villages back, ladies.

Kx