Popcorn and Playdough: Part I

There is something special about going to a relative’s house when you’re a kid, isn’t there?  Be it a grandparent or an aunt or uncle.  Moreso than just a person who loves you, spoils you and sends you home, it’s a change of scenery.  A change of pace.  A new adventure, if you will. 

I loved going to people’s houses when I was little.  And this one thing you can be certain of- when going to a home without kids, you know where the toys are (or at least the items of interest).  Do you still remember where the toys were?

At Grandma and Grandpa’s, it was the closet in the sewing room.  Or the cupboard in the kitchen with all the games. 

At my other Grandma and Grandpa’s old Victorian house on the corner, they had a little closet under the stairs FULL of toys!

My Great Aunt’s was a favorite as well, because hidden in one of the octagon-shaped end tables next to her couch was the big plastic baggie full of Legos!  No relative ever went wrong hiding Legos in the house.

Why is it that those little, simple memories are the ones that stick the best? 

When my mom was a little girl, she remembers going over to this same Great Aunt’s house (her Aunt, of course) and getting a special treat that they never got at home- a small glass of Coke! 

And I must ask:  Are we trying too hard to make big impressions on our kids when really the things that will last in their hearts are the little, simple things?

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

That said, the sweetest, simplest, most wonderful memory of going over to my Grandma’s house was when she would make playdough.  I don’t think she ever had a single yellow tub of that storebought stuff.  She had a tried and true recipe, some food coloring (my cousin and I took turns choosing the color) and a bag full of toys.  That was all we needed.

A few weeks ago we were stuck inside on a hot day (or maybe it was raining) trying to think of things to do and this memory came back to me.  So I decided that the Pickle and I were going to make playdough.  I let her help me pour in the ingredients and she even chose the color!  Blue.  Then she watched in wonder as I pulled a new toy out of my pot-o-wonders.

That first playdough experience was magical… and lasted at least half an hour.  Now, kept sealed in a plastic bag next to her crayons, it is something she asks for and enjoys playing with, just like I did when I was little.  And I confess, I do a lot of playing with it, too.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Never made your own playdough (or forgot how)?  Please enjoy my Grandma’s recipe and share it with a small person you know.

Play Dough
1c. flour
½ c. salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
Put in sauce pan.  Add:
1 c. water
1T cooking oil
Flavoring (optional)
Food coloring (optional)
Cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until mixture pulls from side of pan.  Knead immediately.  Store in an airtight container for several weeks.
I only make half a batch at a time.  It’s enough for one set of little hands.  Multiple hands may need more!

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