Soft as a Cloud Playdough – The Real Story

Soft as a Cloud Playdough 2

So I have seen this Playdough in lots of places around the net and thought oooh only 2 ingredients – smells nice – apparently feels amazing – LETS MAKE IT!!

So today we did, and it is super cool, soft, beautiful on your hands, easy to make, smells divine…..BUT…… Yep there is a but! Not a big one but its there as a warning to the first timers nonetheless!

First I will give you the lovely heart-warming photos and ingredients to encourage you to try this – and I DO think you should try it, it is quite a cool wee activity and my kids LOVED it with lots of oohs, ahhs, its so smooth, squishy, light and cloud like……

Ingredients

2 Parts Cornflour
1 Part Conditioner

Soft as a Cloud Playdough 1

I used budget conditioner in the first instance – no point using up large quantities of nice salon conditioner on Playdough!!

Now what I found was with this Budget Conditioner was that I needed to add heaps more cornflour as it was really runny – almost another whole cup! So I recommend adding a tablespoon of cornflour at a time until it becomes dough consistency.

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I made a second small batch with a slightly better conditioner and did not need to add much more cornflour at all so it does have some bearing on the results.

I made one large batch of the original and then kneaded in different colours to small portions of it – and the kids loved playing with it – its so soft, light and a really delightful texture to work it.

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So here is the BUT….. it is really messy to mix – cornflour is so light and dusty that the front of my shirt was a mess when I was done – as was the floor beneath me! White dust as far as you can imagine – also I now keep finding tiny little white handprints around the house!

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When I made this a few weeks back the kids played with it outside and it barely lasted half an hour before it was crumbling and dried out – today was much better but still I am not sure how long this would last if not put away. We have since wrapped ours in plastic wrap so will see what condition it is in when we use it again later.

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This all being said – if you are ok with mess (my floor did need a mopping so that wasn’t a bad outcome!) and happy with a bit of trial and error then I do recommend you give this a try – 1 cup of corn flour & half a cup of conditioner was what I used on the purple batch and that was a nice amount for one little one to experiment with.

Important Side Note: While us Mums on blogs might give you these ideas for activities never for a minute think that all is smiles and delight, clean houses and constantly happy kids – Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha excuse me while I gather myself – this is so often not the case, my kids are normal, they fight, they whinge, they love their Mum but sometimes might not like me very much, our house is a mess more often than it is show home ready, but as long as happy sounds outweigh unhappy ones I think I am doing ok…..well today anyway….. 😉

Let me know how you get on.

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Thanks for reading today…..now I am off to search for more cornflour handprints…..

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Make your Own – Sponge Water Bombs!

Sponge Water Bombs 1

I have seen this idea in lots of places on Facebook and thought what a great idea! Who doesn’t love a water fight in summer – but water bombs take sooooo long to fill, are fiddly and the fun is often over quite quick! And THEN you are left with hundreds of little pieces of balloon everywhere that you are still finding months later!

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Well this idea will stop that forever! Within minutes of me finishing these and filling a few buckets all 3 kids (and not long later my husband) were all outside – each with their own bucket having an epic water fight……our poor neighbours….. te he he! The best bit was they could carry on for ages, never ran out, there is no mess, they were soft so no tears, and the bombs can be set aside for the next time – have I convinced you yet???

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The ingredients are simple – all you need is budget kitchen sponges, rubber bands and scissors! I have seen people use string, fishing line, even cable ties – but our very old seen-better-days rubber bands did the job perfectly and makes these so easy to assemble!

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I cut my sponges widthways into approx. 15mm pieces (rough guess no perfect measuring here!) then in order for the colours to mix well I set them up in a pattern.

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Then you wind the rubber band around the middle – aiming to tightly wind the band around until it is tight as you can get it – the sponge pieces will then form into a ball – you may need to adjust the pieces to get them into ball shape.

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Then go ahead and make lots more – I used the budget brand so this whole game would have cost around $8 for all the sponges I purchased – cheap fun that you can use again!

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Then – and this is the important part – you fill a few buckets of water and place them several metres apart – then call the kids and watch the wet fun squealing madness! So perfect for a hot day.

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I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine did 😀

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Honey Rice Bubble Slice

This is such a kiwi classic! Most New Zealanders will remember this and it is such a simple recipe and quick too!

Honey Rice Bubble Crunch 1

This is also my Mum saviour – the perfect thing for when the kids tell me at 7.30am that they are supposed to take a plate to school today for a shared morning tea or I realise that I was supposed to take a plate somewhere and totally forgot! Its easy, the ingredients are always in the house and it can be set and ready to take in half an hour if need be! Whether you call them Ricies, Rice Bubbles or Rice Krispies this is a very handy recipe!

You can either use it as a slice or use cupcake cases for something fun for a party.

Ingredients

125g Butter diced
125g Sugar
2 Heaped TBSP Honey – I use clover honey
4 cups Rice Bubbles

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Method

In a large sauce pan gently heat the butter, sugar and honey over a low heat.

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Be sure to scrape the sides occasionally so the sugar does not burn. Stir constantly to ensure it does not stick at the bottom until it begins to boil then with occasional stirring allow to boil for approx. 4 minutes. You will notice the colour and smell begins to change and the consistency becomes slightly sticky.

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Remove from the heat and add the Rice Bubbles and mix well. Pour mixture into a lined 20 x 20 slice pan and set aside or pop in fridge to cool.

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Once almost cooled remove from pan and slice into desired size pieces. Alternatively use cupcake cases and spoon the mixture into them and set aside to cool – if you use a second spoon to scrape off the mixture you will save burnt fingers!

I hope you enjoy this recipe – our kids love it as a treat and it always goes down well at parties – for adults and children alike!

Honey Rice Bubble Crunch 2

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The Best Macaroni Cheese – With a Twist

Macaroni Cheese 4

I was never a fan of Macaroni Cheese growing up – too often it to me tasted of well Macaroni & Cheese! A bit bland and not something I would seek out. Well this has all changed with a few additions and jazzing up my basic recipe. The secret to mine is adding sautĂ©ed garlic, mushroom & bacon and the flavour is just lovely.

Ingredients

400g Macaroni Elbows (can use any pasta – this day I needed to top up with spirals!)

8 bacon rashers sliced
10 – 15 button mushrooms sliced
1 heaped tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp butter

50 g Butter
2 Heaped Desert Spoons Flour
2 cups of Full Milk
Salt & Pepper to Taste
2-3 Cups Tasty Cheese – or whatever hard cheese you prefer

Method

Cook Macaroni in boiling water according to packet instructions until al dente – different brands will cook to slightly different times. Once the macaroni is cooked drain and set aside.

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Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat and once melted add the flour – this will form a paste, cook for a few minutes until the paste begins to slightly foam & change consistency – do not allow to brown. If it looks too dry a little more butter or too wet a little more flour – you will eventually know the amounts with your eyes closed!

Using a whisk slowly add the milk to your flour & butter paste, I add half a cup at a time and whisk well in between – this ensures no lumps in your sauce.

Once all the milk is added simmer on a low heat until your sauce starts to thicken, stir often to ensure it does not stick on the bottom of the pan. Once your sauce is the consistency you desire – nice and thick so it coats the back of the spoon and falls in long slow ribbons, add salt & pepper to taste and set aside.

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While the sauce is thickening pop 1 tsp butter in a frying pan and brown off the diced bacon, once this is crispy I add my mushrooms, the remaining butter & the heaped tsp of crushed (or fresh) garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through.

In a large casserole bowl or dish add the drained pasta and the bacon mushroom mixture together & set aside.

Add all but 1/2 a cup of the cheese to your white sauce – the more cheese you add the more ‘cheesy’ and gooey your Macaroni will be!

Pour the cheese sauce over the Macaroni/Bacon and mix in well.

Sprinkle over the remaining cheese in top and back for 15-20 minutes in a moderate oven until the top is a lovely golden brown.

Yum! Cheesy, gooey, bacony, garlicy, mushroomy goodness! Perfect comfort food!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have.

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Easy No-Cook Playdough

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Here it is – the traditional favourite of playdough recipes. All the ingredients can be the budget brand at your local store so no need for using your best flour or top brand salt! And of course this is a No Cook playdough so even better!

This lasts really well and your imagination is the limit as far as the colour, smell & sensory textures you add to it. It is high in salt so not for use with little ones who will likely think Playdough is a tasty treat!

Ingredients

Playdough 1

2 Cups Flour
1/2 cup salt
2 TBSP Cream of Tarter
2 TBSP Oil – I use Canola or other vegetable oil
1.5 cups boiling water
Food Colouring, glitter etc etc if required

Method

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, cream of tarter and oil.

Add the boiling water and stir continuously until it becomes sticky and combines together, add the food colouring (and other ingredients such as glitter) and stir well again.

Once cooled enough to touch begin to strongly knead the dough, this is the most important step! Keep kneading the dough until it is no longer sticky – you can always add a tiny bit more water or more flour if you feel the consistency is not right after a few minutes of kneading – but give it time to do its stuff!

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This playdough will store for weeks in an airtight container – ours usually ends up with dirt, leaves, random crumbs or left in the sun before it gets to this stage but the reason this recipe is the most used one is the salt & cream of tarter help to prolong its life.

How many Mums have found themselves still at the playdough table long after the kids have left – seriously this stuff is great therapy, feels amazing and means a quick kids activity is never far away.

The mixture will be HOT when you first add the water so allow to cool sufficiently before you let little hands near it – but they will LOVE it when its warm to the touch.

Happy Playdoughing 🙂

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No Salt Playdough

I went to make playdough today and realised we did not have enough salt for our usual recipe! So a quick Google and I managed to combine a few different ideas and make up a recipe – no salt, no cream of tarter. So if your little ones eat playdough this might be a more palatable recipe for them!

Ingredients

No Salt Playdough 1

2 Cups Plain Flour
3 Tablespoons of Oil (15ml TBSP)
1/2 cup of Water
Food Coloring, Glitter, Sparkles etc to make it fun

Method

Combine the flour, glitter (if using) and 3 TBSP oil in a large bowl. Add a few drops of food colouring to the water then add to the mix. Stir well until combined and begin to knead hard with your hands, if you find it is still too dry add a little more water – only a tiny bit at a time. Knead well for at least a few minutes until the mixture is no longer sticky. This is the most important part to making playdough – the kneading!

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This mixture will not keep as well as the traditional salt mixture but in my house playdough is usually well used within a few days so no problem for us, especially with this recipe as you can use cheap flour and oil and this fun activity can cost very little! Store playdough in an airtight container when not playing with it.

I hope your little ones enjoy this as much as mine did 🙂 Let me know how you get on.

No Salt Playdough 3

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Summer Pasta Salad

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This is my go to dish for summer BBQ’s & pot luck dinners and is always popular – can be made with or without any added meat and really can have any additions of yummy in season vegetables you like! Almonds are of course optional in case of allergies – but add a lovely crunch and texture to the dish – can always serve on the side if unsure.

Ingredients

San Remo Vegeroni Shells
1 each – Red, Orange, Yellow Capsicums
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced roasted almonds
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup Best Foods Mayo
3 TBSP Honey Mustard Dressing
(Optional) Bacon or Ham or Cooked chicken diced or shredded

Summer Pasta Salad 2

Method

Cook Pasta shells until al dente according to packet directions – any pasta can be used, but this adds to the colour of the dish. Drain well and I rinse with cold water to ensure pasta cold ready to add ingredients to.

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Dice capsicums into small pieces, slice cherry tomatoes in half, slice almonds into small pieces – I love to prepare this all on one board – the colours are so good for the soul! Add your cranberries to the mix.

Summer Pasta salad 3

Today I used grilled bacon and sliced this into small pieces, its also a great recipe for left over ham or chicken – just dice into small pieces and add what you have to taste.

Combine your pasta, vegetables, meat etc into a large bowl.

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In a separate small bowl mix the mayo and honey mustard together and combine well – add to the pasta and gently stir to ensure pasta well covered in mayo/mustard mix.

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Cover & Chill until ready to serve.

I have also made this with basil pesto instead of honey mustard and its just as yum.

Enjoy 🙂

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Let me know how you get on with this recipe and post a pic to Facebook if you try it! 😀