Red Wine & Glue Sticks

Back to School Celebration

Beth PacykComment

I hadn't planned on getting this on the blog so timely (I mean I'm simultaneously working on getting my kid's first birthday party photos on here and they are 6, 4, and 2), but I got so many sweet messages when I shared a photo of our table setup in my Instagram stories that it gave me the motivation to get typing tonight. 

 You might be thinking, "surely a child doesn't care about these details" but you've clearly never met my daughter! I had her leave the room while I decorated and she delighted over every single detail — her favorites being the pencil vase and the chalkboard banner. 

You might be thinking, "surely a child doesn't care about these details" but you've clearly never met my daughter! I had her leave the room while I decorated and she delighted over every single detail — her favorites being the pencil vase and the chalkboard banner. 

My daughter starts big school tomorrow. Technically she's been in school for three years, but tomorrow she starts the full day program for first grade at our neighborhood school. I'll no longer be in the classroom regularly and I definitely won't have the same inside peek I had access to during our preschool and kindergarten years at the co-op school. When I saw other bloggers I follow hosting back to school meals for their kiddos, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate this new, exciting school year.

The menu was exceptionally simple — the first-grader chose boxed mac and cheese, grapes, carrot sticks, and chocolate chip cookies. What made it special was all in the details: grown up plates, a chalkboard banner, pencil vase filled with sunflowers, pencil ornaments, a tiny schoolhouse ornament, and pencil confetti. I found most of the supplies at the Target Dollar Spot and the rest in the teacher supply section. In all, I spent less than $15 on decorations that I plan to re-use year after year.

 I held pencils around a glass with a rubber band then wrapped ribbon around the band. Though I plan to do this again year after year, I didn't want to store the vase or waste perfectly good #2 pencils!

I held pencils around a glass with a rubber band then wrapped ribbon around the band. Though I plan to do this again year after year, I didn't want to store the vase or waste perfectly good #2 pencils!

I planned to make a ruler table runner using a leftover wedding table runner and this tutorial from Country Living, but a bad experience with a fabric marker left me digging in the garage for the other runners from our wedding. And you know what? The repurposed table runner worked out perfectly. It was more about celebrating our first grader than being Pinterest-perfect. 

 It was a feast of epic proportions — boxed mac and cheese, carrot sticks, grapes, and chocolate chip cookies.

It was a feast of epic proportions — boxed mac and cheese, carrot sticks, grapes, and chocolate chip cookies.

My absolute favorite part of the evening is when we each listed a goal for Maddie on the cardboard apples and read them to her during dinner. She loved creating her own goal and hearing our hopes for her — although I'm pretty sure she's not going to run across that unicorn Jack wished for her. I tucked the notes into her lunchbox for her to re-read at school tomorrow and I hope they'll remind her how much she is loved as she sets off on this great new adventure. 

Apple Wishes.jpg

Cheers to all of you heading back to school! What traditions do you have in your family to mark the beginning of another school year? 

Details

 

XO,
Beth

My Picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Kids, GiftsBeth Pacyk1 Comment

It's the most wonderful time of the year.... no, not the holidays. It's the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I'm not a fashion blogger, but I do love a good bargain. Today is the first day of the sale and I got at least half a dozen texts from friends asking for my favorites from the sale, so I decided to make it easy and post it all here for all to enjoy!

My overall impression:

The sale was good this year — SO good!  There was a ton of denim and fall shoes on major discounts. Lots of options from my favorite kid's shoe brand, and some pretty special beauty exclusives. All that said, I was disappointed with prices on the coats for kids — definitely not the same deep discounts I've seen the past few years. And shopping in my local store was INSANITY today. The staff was all super kind and the store was still very put together, but I was told earlier in the day there was a two hour wait to just try shoes on! Holy smokes! It was not a relaxing experience with three kids in tow. I tried on a few pieces I had been eyeing for sizing, but then we cruised home to shop online in comfort. 

My picks for moms:

There were so many great options to go about your mom day without feeling frumpy. Here's what went in my shopping bag at first pass today. 

My denim picks for moms:

There was So much great denim on sale I had to look at these separately. My go-to mom jeans are KUT from the Kloth. They are affordable, stretchy, and have a rise that isn't too low (or too high!)  I linked lots of options below and made notes in the captions.

My beauty picks for moms:

MAC on sale and that Donna Karan deodorant is seriously THE BEST!!

My jewelry picks for moms:

My mom go-to's: Anything Kendra Scott and bracelets that stack. Lucky for me, both were on sale!

My picks for kids:

Of course there were tons of adorable clothing options for kids. But my kids destroy clothing so I buy it for way less than what I would pay at Nordstrom. During the sale, I always focus on coats, shoes, and baby gifts for others. 

My picks for home and gifts:

I was THRILLED to see a Pendleton blanket make the cut. Tom gifted me one for our wool anniversary and I haven't been able to pull the trigger. I feel less bad that this one is so neutral and can hang out on our couch year-round.

IMG_3614.jpg

My picks for friends:

It must be a testament to my love of shopping that I received so many texts from friends asking for my personalized picks for them. I decided it would be fun to share them here with a little write-up of each friend. Shop their looks!

Caroline:

She's single and living downtown, working in a typical office. She wanted looks that can transfer from office to meeting friends at the bar for the game and she noticed her favorite underwear is on sale. (I haven't personally tried this brand, but she swears by them! 

NICKY:

She's a mom of four and works part-time at a non-profit that deals with trauma victims. She wanted styles that made her not feel like such a mom, but still allowed her to go from school drop-off to office to cross-fit and to lacrosse practice while still being comfortable. A fan of skorts (I'm working on it), she has amazing strong legs that are worth showing off! 

Kimberlee:

She's a mom of two and going through some major life changes. She needed looks that were easy to pull together, comfortable for everyday momming, and budget-friendly. 

LISA:

She's a mom of three boys and truly didn't need my help shopping but she's a kind friend. She had specific requests: faux leather pants, moto jacket, black pointed flats, and lace camis.  

Is there something you've been looking for? An updated work wardrobe? New nursing-friendly options? An outfit for an event? Please email or text me and I'd love to help you shop. My husband is so grateful to have me spend someone else's money and I truly love to shop and would love to help you out — just send me a message! 

XO,
Beth

Hail, Caesar (Salad)!

Beth PacykComment

If a meal hits the spot, I'm the type of person who can eat it over and over again for a week. This caesar salad is a summer constant for me, and my family frequently enjoys it throughout the year as well. I've made this salad four days in a row, so I think it's time to share the recipe with you!

My mom made this salad often when I was growing up. It's one of the few meals from my childhood that I still enjoy today (I was known to make Miracle Whip and Cheese sandwiches broiled in the toaster oven - so much yuck!).  I've decreased the amount of salt in the dressing, but other than that, it tastes exactly like mom made.

 Of course the staple of every caesar salad is some leafy green romaine lettuce. I cut away the bulk of the rinds leaving only crunchy lettuce. 

Of course the staple of every caesar salad is some leafy green romaine lettuce. I cut away the bulk of the rinds leaving only crunchy lettuce. 

Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 coddled egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (juice of 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Follow these instructions to coddle an egg - I almost never remember to remove it from the refrigerator to reach room temperature so I just boil an extra minute. I prefer it when a little bit of egg white starts to harden up.

Toss dressing with romaine, croutons, and freshly grated or shaved parmesan cheese. Most days I use bagged croutons, but if you're entertaining or have time to make your own, it's fairly simple. Butter one side of bread and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cut into cubes and bake on cookie sheets in oven preheated to 275 degrees for 45 minutes (really can be anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on the thickness of your bread) or until slightly browned. 

Note that this dressing contains no anchovies or anchovy paste, so you can serve it to any friends with fish allergies. Let me know if you tried this salad dressing and how it turned out!

XO,
Beth

 

 

A Wellie Wishers Inspired Tea Party

Beth Pacyk2 Comments

Did anyone hear there was a royal wedding yesterday? Well it just so happens that it was (equally importantly) Maddie's sixth birthday party as well. She chose a Wellie Wishers themed tea party and started planning it pretty much the day after her fifth birthday party. I was terrified to agree to a party at home; traditionally we've gone to plays with a very small group of friends, but I finally agreed if she promised to keep it to six friends. 

 The happy birthday girl!

The happy birthday girl!

Have you heard of the Wellie Wishers? They are a very sweet American Girl collection focused on friendship and nature. We've been enjoying reading the books and Maddie has acquired almost the full set of dolls thanks to saving her pennies and generous family gifts. When she requested a Wellie Wishers themed tea party, I knew it had to be in the garden and include crafts, dress up, and nature play. We had the benefit of time as she started discussing her ideal party a full year ago, allowing us to pick up pieces we thought would work with the theme as we found good deals. Even so, the bulk of the planning took place in the past month. I love taking a theme and running with it and this was a fun one to pull off! 

 The invitation set the tone for the party. We designed this invitation then printed and mailed it to the party guests. Who doesn't love receiving fun mail? 

The invitation set the tone for the party. We designed this invitation then printed and mailed it to the party guests. Who doesn't love receiving fun mail? 

Maddie had the idea of stations set up throughout the yard, so we discussed different activities that could take place at each one and realized we ended up with five — the same number of Wellie Wishers! We named each station after one of the dolls — Camille's Painted Birdhouses, Kendall's Flower Crowns, Willa's Tea Party, Ashlyn's Bingo Game, and Emerson's Dress Up Parade. As party guests arrived, they played in the playhouse and colored these wellie printables available as a free download from American Girl. 

  These free printables available on the American Girl website provided the perfect activity while we waited for all party guests to arrive.

 These free printables available on the American Girl website provided the perfect activity while we waited for all party guests to arrive.

We found inexpensive birdhouses at Michaels and purchased an acrylic paint (fast-drying and washable!) color to represent each doll. The party was two hours long, so we hit this station first,  giving the birdhouses time to dry before going home. 

 We named this station "Camille's Painted Birdhouses." Each guest had a birdhouse to paint, a paint palette and a brush at the ready. 

We named this station "Camille's Painted Birdhouses." Each guest had a birdhouse to paint, a paint palette and a brush at the ready. 

 I think the success of a themed party is all in the details. It cost only my time to create these paint labels naming each color after a Wellie Wishers character.

I think the success of a themed party is all in the details. It cost only my time to create these paint labels naming each color after a Wellie Wishers character.

Next the girls moved to the flower crown station. We used kits made by American Girl that had all the materials for each child to make a flower crown for herself and the doll. This activity required a bit of parent participation, but they got the hang of it fairly quickly. Most girls decided to not make the flower crown as full as the box directions suggested, so we had lots of leftover materials (you would need to pick up some extra elastic if you want to stretch the kit materials out).

 We used a boxed kit from American Girl for Kendall's Flower Crowns station. Each guest made one for herself and one for her doll. The wood rounds were purchased back in January at Kitchen Kaboodle - they were Christmas decorations available at a steep discount. We intended for them to be used as chargers on the tea party table, but both the birthday girl and I decided they didn't look right. They made charming workspaces for flower crown construction instead. 

We used a boxed kit from American Girl for Kendall's Flower Crowns station. Each guest made one for herself and one for her doll. The wood rounds were purchased back in January at Kitchen Kaboodle - they were Christmas decorations available at a steep discount. We intended for them to be used as chargers on the tea party table, but both the birthday girl and I decided they didn't look right. They made charming workspaces for flower crown construction instead. 

 I cut and pasted the directions onto cardstock that matched the other party signs. This is the only sign we didn't frame so it could be easily passed around the table. Flower crown materials were lined up in small Ikea buckets. 

I cut and pasted the directions onto cardstock that matched the other party signs. This is the only sign we didn't frame so it could be easily passed around the table. Flower crown materials were lined up in small Ikea buckets. 

The tea party! Undoubtedly the cutest and sweetest part of the whole party, and looking over the photos melt my heart. We found this mismatched floral china at the resale shop connected to our local library. They happened to be having an amazing sale the week we wandered in so we scored all the tea cups, saucers, platter, and tea pot for $15!! The floral plate set and tablecloth were Goodwill finds - we had a lucky scavenger day! We picked up two dozen pink roses from Costco and displayed them in a cheery yellow watering can we already had on hand.

 We were fortunate to find these tea cups and saucer sets at a local resale shop. The plates and tablecloth were found at Goodwill and napkins were leftover from a vintage chic baby shower I had thrown over a year ago. 

We were fortunate to find these tea cups and saucer sets at a local resale shop. The plates and tablecloth were found at Goodwill and napkins were leftover from a vintage chic baby shower I had thrown over a year ago. 

The girls were adorable snacking and sipping tea with fine china. A flower cookie cutter made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches fancy and we snuck in some vegetables before the cupcakes came out. We held a family tea tasting party the week before the party and my kids decided on Trader Joe's Berries and Cherries herbal tea which I brewed extra strong for flavor before refrigerating.

 A flower cookie cutter made ordinary peanut butter and jelly sandwiches fancy and guests enjoyed Trader Joe’s Berries & Cherries tea.

A flower cookie cutter made ordinary peanut butter and jelly sandwiches fancy and guests enjoyed Trader Joe’s Berries & Cherries tea.

After lunch the girls moved over to the lounge area for a wild game of bingo. I created these bingo cards using a free bingo generator I found online (I unfortunately can't remember which one I used but there are a bunch available) and different Wellie Wisher images. The girls had so much fun they played quite a few games and I was unprepared by not having extra bingo cards at the ready! The game gave me enough time to clear the food off the table and wipe down the platter to display the cupcakes. Now we were ready for the yummiest part!

 I created this Wellie Wisher themed bingo card using a bingo card generator found online.

I created this Wellie Wisher themed bingo card using a bingo card generator found online.

A local market provided the cupcakes and the birthday girl picked out lemon cake with white buttercream frosting, sprinkles, and these cute butterfly toppers which were actually rings. Maddie really wanted to include a wishing ceremony — her idea was to have each chid write a wish and bury it with flower seeds in a pot full of dirt. When the flower bloomed, the wish would come true! As adorable as this ceremony sounded, I reminded her that candles burn quickly and kindergarteners don't tend to write fast. We decided instead to ask each guest to make two wishes in her heart, one for herself and one for Maddie, before the candle was blown out. 

 The birthday girl requested a wishing cermeony in which each guest made two wishes in her heart - one for herself and one for the birthday girl before the candle was blown out. 

The birthday girl requested a wishing cermeony in which each guest made two wishes in her heart - one for herself and one for the birthday girl before the candle was blown out. 

Once everyone was full of sugar it was time to run it off! We placed a bunch of dress up clothes in a basket next to our Wellie Wishers tent and the party guests changed before parading through the yard. They kept swapping costumes and creating games — many of the party guests commented that this was their favorite part of the party! 

 The birthday girl received this Wellie Wisher tent (that doubles as a theater on the back side!) as a Christmas gift. We repurposed her laundry basket to old dress up clothes - everything from butterfly wings to a pirate costume were found inside for pretend play and a parade. 

The birthday girl received this Wellie Wisher tent (that doubles as a theater on the back side!) as a Christmas gift. We repurposed her laundry basket to old dress up clothes - everything from butterfly wings to a pirate costume were found inside for pretend play and a parade. 

On their way out the door, each guest was given this American Girl goody bag that included a doll balloon, doll shirt, stickers and a party journal. We also added one of Maddie's favorite Wellie Wisher books, "The Riddle of the Robin."

 The party was held in the back yard, but party guests entered and exited through the front door where the Wellie Wishers garden party rules sign and goody bags were stationed.

The party was held in the back yard, but party guests entered and exited through the front door where the Wellie Wishers garden party rules sign and goody bags were stationed.

We all had fun and my favorite part is when Maddie threw her arms around my neck and thanked me for throwing her this party! It was a perfect Wellie Wisher day - full of friendship, laughter and fun! 

 Yard set up from tea table looking on. The Maddie's Clubhouse sign was a nod to the birthday invitation. I painted it a few days before the party after finding the plank sign deeply discounted at Michael's. It is now hanging on the door to her room. 

Yard set up from tea table looking on. The Maddie's Clubhouse sign was a nod to the birthday invitation. I painted it a few days before the party after finding the plank sign deeply discounted at Michael's. It is now hanging on the door to her room. 

 Our backyard isn't very large, but we had ample space for the five stations and plenty of room to move about. The banner in the trees is made of felt and was made by me for Maddie's first birthday party. I loved that it got some use again! 

Our backyard isn't very large, but we had ample space for the five stations and plenty of room to move about. The banner in the trees is made of felt and was made by me for Maddie's first birthday party. I loved that it got some use again! 

 I purposely set the painting station far away from the others in case of a paint catastrophe. The adorable scalloped edge tablecloth is made of thick paper and was found on clearance at Target. 

I purposely set the painting station far away from the others in case of a paint catastrophe. The adorable scalloped edge tablecloth is made of thick paper and was found on clearance at Target. 

 This playhouse and chairs are always in our back yard, but new flowers and the painted planked sign made it feel a part of the party's whimsey. 

This playhouse and chairs are always in our back yard, but new flowers and the painted planked sign made it feel a part of the party's whimsey. 

 Party guests painted birdhouses at the first activity station.

Party guests painted birdhouses at the first activity station.

 The flower crown kits available from American Girl required some adult assistance to get started, but then the girls were able to complete the craft on their own.

The flower crown kits available from American Girl required some adult assistance to get started, but then the girls were able to complete the craft on their own.

 The kits include enough materials to make two flower crown for each girl - one for herself and one for her doll.  

The kits include enough materials to make two flower crown for each girl - one for herself and one for her doll.  

 It was my pleasure to serve this sweet group of girls! 

It was my pleasure to serve this sweet group of girls! 

 Look at that pinky finger!  

Look at that pinky finger!  

 I used a plank sign found deeply discounted at Michaels and Sharpie markers to create this sign the day before the party.

I used a plank sign found deeply discounted at Michaels and Sharpie markers to create this sign the day before the party.

 These goody bags are available in the American Girl online shop - they included a doll balloon, doll shirt, party journal, and stickers.

These goody bags are available in the American Girl online shop - they included a doll balloon, doll shirt, party journal, and stickers.

 As a grown up, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of the party and lose sight of who the party is for. This little one collaborated all throughout the party planning process, even providing me a map of the backyard for station locations! 

As a grown up, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of the party and lose sight of who the party is for. This little one collaborated all throughout the party planning process, even providing me a map of the backyard for station locations! 

Are you planning a Wellie Wisher themed party? I'd love to hear about it! 

XO,
Beth

http://www.redwineandgluesticks.com/notebook/a-wellie-wishers-inspired-tea-party

Anatomy of a Thoughtful Thank You Note

Beth PacykComment

Yesterday I shared my favorite resources for thank you notes, but if you struggle with what to fill those thank you notes with, today's post is for you! 

After Tom and I got married, I was totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of thank you notes we had to complete from our wedding. He obliged to help (a task I had aways taken the lead on during our six year courtship), but I was a little shocked when I read his first thank you note. It went something like: 

Dear _____________,

Thank you for the _____________. We like it very much.

Love,
Tom & Beth

I teased him that I wrote more thoughtful notes in elementary school and he challenged me to develop a thank you writing formula for him if I wanted the task done any differently. I came up with one, he helped write thoughtful wedding thank you notes, and he's continued to write thoughtful notes in the years since. I'm calling that formula a success and I'm sharing our secret sauce with all of you today. I promise it will become second nature, this is just support to get you through the awkward beginner stage.

1. Thank you for the (gift). This seems obvious. Because it is. Never write a specific amount of check or cash gifted. 

2. How you plan to use the gift. If it was a cooking tool, what recipe are you most excited to make with it? If it was clothing, where do you plan to wear it? If it was money, say how you plan to use it, even if you're just saving it up for something down the road. My relatives love knowing that they are contributing to a trip or membership. 

3. A personal interaction from event. This one only stands if you are sending thank you notes after a large event like wedding, shower, or birthday party. Mention something you enjoyed doing with them (I had fun tearing up the dance floor with you, it was a blast cheering for you during the flag football game,  the dip you made was so delicious - I couldn't stop eating it...)

4. If there was no group event, expand on how you spent the holiday the gift was sent to celebrate (we enjoyed a relaxing day at home, we went out for margaritas at our favorite taqueria, we took advantage of beautiful weather and went for a bike ride...)

5. Thank them again for thinking of you and/or for their generosity. 

I'm no Emily Post, but this is a foolproof formula to follow to send out a thoughtful, mature thank you note. 

Thank you for reading this post, your thank you note is on its way!

XO,
Beth

My Favorite Thank You Notes

Beth PacykComment

I used to be on top of thank you notes, but with three kids and generous family and friends, I'm ashamed to admit how much I've fallen behind. I always manage to get them out eventually, but definitely not always in a timely fashion. Last year for Christmas, we used a service we had previously only used for birthday cards and I got those suckers done in record time! 

Ink Cards is an app you download on your phone or iPad and you can choose a photo from your collection and personalize the message. The service will print and mail your note straight to the recipients saving you a stamp and a trip to the post office. While we lose the thoughtful touch of a handwritten note, we are able to include a photo which adds a different personal touch. 

Last year I took the kids' photos with each gift as they opened it as well as a photo with all of them in front of the tree so we had plenty of options to choose from. I thought people might think we were a bit tacky for them being printed, but we got an overwhelming positive response, especially from older relatives, because they all loved having the photos so much. They cost more than traditional thank you notes for the convenience, $1.99 for a postcard and more than double that for a traditional card in envelope. We buy the credits in bulk when they run sales and use them all throughout the year for birthday cards, get well wishes, and thank you notes. Since I love you all so much, you can try the service and get your first card free

If you prefer a handwritten note, but still struggle to motivate your kiddos to get them done, we've used these free printables from Petite Lemon that feature a mad-libs style card for your kids to fill in. I print them on nice card stock for a professional finish. 

MadLibs_IG_Image_v3_bigger4.jpg

If you don't have access to a printer or what something better suited for all ages, this thank you postcard is lovely and they also make a mad-libs style classic card for kids with envelope. If you're a traditionalist, these kraft paper thank you notes come in bulk and can be used all year long for any age and gender. 

 

Hope these resources help you get your thank you notes out before the new year!

XO,
Beth

 

Answering the Question, "Is Santa Real?"

Beth PacykComment

If your a parent and you've done any amount of time on Pinterest searching for kid-friendly holiday activities, you've likely run across "The Santa Letter." It was a beautifully written exchange between mother and daughter first posted in 2010 on author Martha Brockenbrough's blog. The letter quickly went viral and it's probable you've seen the original or a variation of it. 

This year my kindergartener has started to ask a lot of very practical questions about Santa such as "How can Santa get everywhere in the world in one night?" and "Why does Santa bring more gifts to some kids than other kids?" I've tried to answer as best I can while trying to balance keeping the magic of Christmas for a child alive and feeling guilty about downright lying to my kid. Years ago when my daughter was a baby, I ran across Martha's Santa letter as well as this idea for graduating a child from receiving gifts from Santa to becoming a Santa themselves. I saved them in a file I call "Parenting Resources" and when the time is right, perhaps next year or possibly the following year, I figured I'll read them again and decide how to best proceed with my daughter.

But then last month I saw that Martha's viral blog post had been made into a book and I had to get my hands on it to see if this could be part of my plan for revealing Santa when the time is right.

Love Santa.jpg

The book is beautifully illustrated by Lee White and features pull out letters that Lucy writes to Santa and his responses back over the years.

Love Santa Letters.jpg

At the end of the story, Lucy writes a letter to her Mom asking if she is Santa and Martha's original letter is printed in the book as a response over several pages. 

IMG_2052.jpg

Because the book reveals that Santa isn't any one man as the myth has led children to believe, I won't be sharing this book with my daughter this year. But I'm definitely keeping it in mind as a wonderful way to tell the truth while still keeping the magic of the season alive once she is ready. If you're looking for a way to break the news to your child about Santa, I definitely recommend this book as a conversation starter!

XO,
Beth

Our Favorite Podcasts for Kids

Beth PacykComment

Heading over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house for the holiday? Break up the drive and keep your family entertained with these fun podcasts for kids. 

IMG_1906.jpg

Wow in the World

This science podcast is my kindergartener's favorite and mine as well because we're both learning! The two quirky hosts talk about recent scientific discoveries and reports in a fun and entertaining program.  They also have a website for more information when a specific story piques your child's curiosity.


Story Pirates

This silly podcast takes stories submitted by kid listeners and performs them as stories and songs. It's like peering inside a kid's brain and then handing the findings over to your most creative friend. 


Circle Round

Folk tales dominate the stories told on this podcast, but they are performed by celebrities the grown-ups can appreciate. I love how the narrator shares the origin of each story to allow for extension activity. My kindergartener loves to look at a map to see how far the story traveled to reach us. 


Stories Podcast 

Although I would say this podcast is less polished than the others I'm sharing, it is the most perfect for quiet time. Because it lacks the theatrics of the others, it's most like you reading a story to your kids. Some of the stories are modern takes of old favorites while others are original tales. 


After Maddie cut through the wire on an expensive pair of headphones, we learned that affordable headphones were the way to go for kids. We like these headphones because they are adjustable, comfortable, have volume control to protect tiny ears, and include a share port so you don't have to travel with a splitter. They come in a variety of colors and make a great gift, too!

We prefer to listen to our podcasts using the free app Overcast. It automatically strips long pauses out in talk shows and normalizes volume so every show and presenter is clear and at the same volume. You can also set up playlists to balance all the podcast requests in your family.

Hope you enjoy checking these out. What is your favorite podcast for kids?

XO,
Beth

Upcycling a T-Shirt Into a Dress

Beth PacykComment

I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, but my daughter is a princess all the way. It's difficult to encourage her to choose anything to wear that isn't a dress, the twirlier the better! When her school issued t-shirts to her class, I knew getting her to wear it would be a tough sell. I had a vision for turning it onto a dress, but I couldn't find any resources for people that were doing exactly what I had in mind. I ended up doing lots of reading, combining a few ideas, and some good old fashioned winging it!

T-Shirt Dress.jpg

The first version was a hit, and I've since made the t-shirt dress about half a dozen times. Some friends who follow along with me on instagram asked for a tutorial but it took me an embarrassingly long time to pull together.  Recently I hosted a few moms who were eager to try the tutorial and I'm proud to report that they all completed it successfully! Their success gave me the confidence to post the tutorial here and put it out into the world. 

For your convenience, I've made the t-shirt dress tutorial a free printable download. I hope you enjoy sewing for your littles and please tag me in your completed projects!

 

XO,
Beth

The Gift I'm Most Excited to Give

Beth PacykComment

I hit those Thanksgiving weekend sales pretty hard, but even with all those great deals, the gift I'm most excited about giving is recycled from last year and mostly homemade. I bought these Yes Cards from Caravan Shoppe last year for $4 and they ended up being one of my kids' favorite gifts. 

JackYES

You just download the cards, print them off on card stock, and fill in with activities you will say "YES" to when the card is redeemed. They are easily customized for children (or for spouses, friends, and siblings) of any age and interests. Here are the activities we added to this year's cards:

  • Extra book at bedtime
  • Manicure by Mom
  • Sleepover in sibling's room
  • Hot chocolate with whipped cream
  • Stay up 15 minutes late
  • Jam session with Dad
  • TV show of your choice
  • Choose a snack from the checkout line

If you are gifting to more than one kiddo, I recommend adding initials to the back of the card. The cards were such a hit last year, we had a yes card thief in the house! 

YesCardsTied.jpg

I hope these Yes Cards bring as much joy to your home Christmas morning as they did to ours!

XO,
Beth

Spreading Cheer: A Fun Way to Thank Your Delivery Drivers

Shopping, GiftsBeth PacykComment

Our doorstep starts to get buried in packages this time of year. We've made the decision to keep Christmas gifts simple for our children, but with so many other gifts to buy and the generosity of our extended family, we still end up with more than plenty under the Christmas tree. Last year a delivery driver told me that he always stops at our house because he usually has a package for us so he just automatically stops. After that conversation, I decided I needed to do a better job at thanking our delivery drivers for all their hard work. What better time than during the holidays?

 Add a cooler with drinks and snacks to your front porch to thank drivers for their hard work all year long. 

Add a cooler with drinks and snacks to your front porch to thank drivers for their hard work all year long. 

We created a fun note and left out a cooler of drinks and snacks. I had to refill it once or twice and it made me so happy to do something special for our delivery drivers when I often don't see them in person. This is an easy idea to recreate on your doorstep and I made it even easier by adding the note to drivers we made to my Etsy shop. I'll even customize it with your family name!

XO,
Beth

Teaching Gratitude

Beth Pacyk1 Comment

Let's face it, my kids are lucky. They wake up every day in cozy beds in their own room in a home with plenty of space in a safe neighborhood. They get to pick out clothes to wear from a closet full of choices to attend quality schools. They never question if there will be breakfast on the table or wonder where their next meal will come from. They have stable parents who own a reliable car and get to experience plenty of "extras" like dance class, outings to the theater, concerts, art studios, and professional sports games. Outside of the stuff, they have parents who are genuinely in love who spend lots of quality time with them reading, playing, and volunteering at their school. They have a large extended family who spoils them with visits, outings, and presents. These kids have it good! But in all that luck, it's easy to lose sight of our blessings and forget gratitude.

A few months ago, I started a gratitude practice with my kids. Every morning in the car on the way to school, we all say one thing we are thankful for. Just one thing.  Some days it's as simple as the amount of caffeine in my to-go iced tea, other days it's as abstract as the health of my family. My five year old daughter will choose friendships one day and her cute band-aid the next. My three year old son almost always says he's thankful for his lovey. Truth is, their answers don't matter as much as the practice. 

As we approach the holiday season and start building wish lists and are surrounded by the commercialism surrounding the season, I was searching for a way to help my kids strengthen their gratitude practice. I was excited to see a friend's gratitude tree that she picked up from the Target Dollar Spot, but they were long sold out. When another friend shared photos of her Turkey on the Table, I rushed to pick up our own. 

What it is:
A stuffed turkey with photo clips attached for you to attach cardboard feathers decorated with messages of gratitude, written by your family. It comes with all the supplies you need, plus a book teaching your family how to use the book (similar to the book that accompanies Elf on the Shelf). You are supposed to start on November 1st, but we got a late start. After all, it's never too late to say thanks! We made up for it by each filling out two gratitude feathers to catch up. Our turkey is looking mighty cute and I'm excited to watch his feathers grow. 

This is a Thanksgiving tradition your family can enjoy year after year (refill feathers available), it's a wonderful way to start the holiday season with a mindset of gratitude and service - each Turkey on the Table purchase provides 10 meals for Feeding America. Even more to be thankful for!

xo,
Beth

Halloween Candy Graph with Free Download!

Beth Pacyk1 Comment
Halloween Candy Graph.jpg

Still wondering what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy? My kindergartener is very excited about maths and graphs so I decided to harness that excitement and combine it with some sugar! She loved counting and graphing and my preschooler was able to help with the candy sorting. It is an activity that kids with pre-math to advanced math skills can enjoy. What's better than math with candy? 

IMG_0895.jpg

Download a copy of my Halloween Candy Graph to use with your kids! 

xo,
Beth

 

Planning an Eclipse Party - It's Not Too Late!

Beth PacykComment

Last month a friend asked me what I had planned for the eclipse. I looked at her like she was a crazy person. "I don't know what I have planned for dinner tonight, I haven't thought that far out!" Triage is how I organize my life - deal with each week, day, hour, minute at a time. Usually when we have grand plans, they get smashed by the needs of my littles. So I've learned to procrastinate a bit and still have been able to make wonderful family memories based on reading everyone's mood, rather than trying to force a planned good time through. Yesterday another friend asked about our eclipse plans when I realized that it was right around the corner and I still hadn't planned anything. Eek! Thankfully it's not too late to pull of a simple, but fun viewing party for my little family. 

We are located in Portland, Oregon, which will experience not quite a total solar eclipse, but 99.3% is pretty darn cool! "Experts" are predicting some of the worst traffic jams in Oregon's history so we'll be hunkering down at home and keeping our fingers crossed for a clear day. Use this website to check your zip code and learn how you'll experience the solar eclipse. No matter where you live, I hope you'll join us in celebrating the solar eclipse with these fun ideas. 

No matter where you live, you'll need a pair of eclipse glasses. We were able to pick some up from a local eye doctor at a bargain, but Amazon Prime to the rescue if you haven't bought some yet. Not all eclipse glasses are created equal, you'll want to make sure they are ISO and CE certified so you don't cause eye damage. 

Now for the fun stuff...

IMG_1471.jpg

Crafts and Activities

Sun, moon, and space crafts are fairly easy to find or dream up. I've linked to quite a few fun ones for all ages on my Pinterest board, but here are a few we'll be doing at home.

Food

I kinda love theme parties, but you could make just about anything on theme using a star, sun, or moon cookie cutter. Sandwiches, cheese, and fruit are instantly eclipse ready! Here are some ideas and recipes for snacks that looks out of world!

Music

Mashable already did the dirty work for us and created this total solar eclipse playlist. Any songs you would add?

Hope your family makes the most of this once in a lifetime event and it sparks your kids' curiosity about space and science!

XO,
Beth

Grilled Pizza!

RecipesBeth PacykComment

I've been saying for years that we should grill a pizza. Tom usually agrees and then time goes on and we remember that we are regular plebs and not Jamie Oliver and will probably burn the house down if we attempt it. But then in April I was visiting San Francisco where my friend Ali (who happens to be a talented professional chef as well as a passionate anti food waste advocate - you should follow her on instagram @endsandstems) grilled a crust to perfection as I watched (okay, stared) and I convinced myself that I could do this! I of course promptly forgot once I returned home until my neighbor turned friend showed me photos of her grilled pizzas last week and I finally added the ingredients to the grocery list.

Tonight I finally did it! Mind you, I've never grilled anything before so I was feeling pretty smug that I pulled it off. I mean, look at that beauty (the pizza, of course, not me)!

I made two pizzas: a BBQ chicken and a spinach and parmesan pie meant to satisfy a craving for Tomasso's in San Francisco. I tried a pizza dough recipe from an old Weber grilling cookbook and I think it worked perfectly. The Weber book suggested "direct medium heat" which made me panic a little because WTF does that even mean!? I read several tutorials online of time that all suggested different grill temperatures. Hmmmmm.... So for the first pizza I went with a grill heated to 550 which ended up being too hot. The second pizza I went for 425-ish which seemed to be just right. 

After making the dough and leaving time for it to rise, I rolled it out on a floured surface and then brushed it with olive oil. I'm not sure if I used too much oil or if the problem was a novice griller and/or too hot of a grill, but the first go at crust turned out a little chewy.  The second time around I lightly sprayed the crust with some canola oil spray and it worked perfectly. Then, I took the sprayed crust to the grill and tossed it on. I wait 2-3 minutes for the crust to lift easily and show grill marks on the bottom and then I pulled it off, grilled side up. Finally, I topped the crust with sauce and toppings then tossed it back on the grill with closed lid until the cheese was golden brown.

 The first pizza was far from perfect, but still tasty. I topped it with Pendleton BBQ sauce, rotisserie chicken, red onions and mozzarella cheese. 

The first pizza was far from perfect, but still tasty. I topped it with Pendleton BBQ sauce, rotisserie chicken, red onions and mozzarella cheese. 

 The second pizza was topped with regular pizza sauce and mozzarella before closing the lid to melt the cheese. In the meantime I sautéed spinach with olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic until it just began to wilt. Then I tossed it on top of the pizza with some shaved parmesan and let it cook another minute more.

The second pizza was topped with regular pizza sauce and mozzarella before closing the lid to melt the cheese. In the meantime I sautéed spinach with olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic until it just began to wilt. Then I tossed it on top of the pizza with some shaved parmesan and let it cook another minute more.

Weber Pizza Dough Recipe

1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

To make the dough: In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and water. Stir briefly and let stand until foamy, 5-10 minutes. Add the two cups flour, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Stir until the dough holds together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 5-10 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the ball to coat surface with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 1.5 hours.  

I hope these tips help from my trial and error, I can't wait to try this again with some new toppings! 

 

My Favorites from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

ShoppingBeth PacykComment

Since I've spent the last six years almost continually pregnant, nursing, or moving, I've needed to refresh my closet quite a few times. I love to shop but I hate paying full price. It isn't because I don't find quality items valuable, it's more like I can't stomach paying a fistful of dollars for clothes and accessories when there is work to be done on our home or trips I'd like to take with my family. This has made me a darn good bargain shopper and there are two times a year when I take it to a whole new level - Black Friday and the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If shopping were a sport, the Nordy sale and Black Friday would be my marathon. And I think I may have scored a personal best this year! 

There are so many great bloggers out there doing fantastic Nordstrom sale round-ups. They are constantly checking for restocks, doing personal try-ons, and generally totally on top of it! I'm not that girl. I'm just a mom on a budget who is trying to look as cute as possible without spending my kids' college tuition. Here are some of my favorites from this year, both for me and the kids.

 

 

I updated my momiform with some fresh tees, a new pair of my trusty denim boyfriends, and a cozy neutral cardigan I'll probably live in come fall. I also hit Zella leggings pretty hard. I'm hoping that these high waisted ones and the similar capri pair can replace my old Lucy hatha favorites that had a crazy price hike last season.

I think the biggest scores for me this year were in beauty where I found a trio of the best deodorant ever on sale. I also scored a giant bottle of the same scent lotion. To put it in perspective, I usually pay over $50 for a small tube and then ration it out throughout the year. Not anymore!! I also grabbed some lash boosting serum that reviews say work just as well or better than Latisse without needing a doctor appointment. 

I usually wait for this sale to buy the kids' new winter coats. The girl option is my favorite with fluffy lining and a much-needed hood. They updated the colors on the boy option this year but it is still reversible if your kid wants to pretend he got two new coats! I size up and so far we've been able to get two years out of each coat. The name brand coats also have a decent resale value when we're done with them so I can make part of our money back. Usually I grab back-to-school sneaks for the kids now, but they were both in good shape. I bet I'll regret not buying the next size of the first purchase that made me obsess over the N Sale in the first place, sparkly Pumas!

Lastly, at this point in my life I have so many friends having babies that I tend to grab great products when I see them on sale to stock away for the many baby showers I'll attend. This Honest Company gift set is filled with practical items at a fantastic deal. 

Happy shopping! 

 

A Love Letter to the House I Never Loved (Part 1)

HomeBeth PacykComment

Dear House on Viator Court,

It's not you, it's me. 

Before I met you, I dreamed about you.  I imagined myself with a supportive husband and darling, well-behaved children.  I imagined the space would perfectly fit our personalities and our needs.  I imagined a lush, beautiful property for my family to play on and a white picket fence to keep all our goodness in. So when we met the realtor on your cracked steps and noticed paint peeling off the house, I tried to keep an open mind.  When I noticed the stained floors, dated kitchen, retro bathroom and astro-turf covered backyard, I shuddered. You were more work than I bargained for. You were more work than I had time for, or more importantly, money for.

It's not that I didn't have a good imagination.  I could see that the space of the house would fit our needs.  But with a toddler and another baby on the way, I simply wasn't willing to take on so much work at once.  Unfortunately, we were running out of options in a hot property market.  We had lost 4 homes in bidding wars and the rentals we'd seen wouldn't fit our needs for more than a few months.  We were faced with the option to bid on this very imperfect house, or rent an even less perfect one. Tom and I took a step back and evaluated the house's redeeming qualities; it was in a fantastic school district, it was just over a mile to our village downtown (with access to a train downtown, library, and local restaurants), it had an unexpected fifth bedroom, it was triple the space we'd ever had in a rental, the three-seasons room off the family room was cozy and charming.  We made an offer.

Fifth time must have been a charm because we got the house.  It was the first house we ever owned, but that delightful euphoria of owning a piece of the American dream was stripped away when we built a to-do list.  It seemed like it was miles long! Brick patio in place of astro-turf, gut the kitchen, update three bathrooms, remodel the master suite, replace the downstairs floors, refinish the upstairs floors, new windows, replace doors and trim, paint exterior, add landscaping, fix the laundry list of problems revealed during inspection.... it felt like we'd never accomplish even half the list before our 30 year mortgage was paid off.

 Me and Maddie standing outside our new house on closing day.

Me and Maddie standing outside our new house on closing day.

The day we closed we went straight to work - my newly acquired baby bump barely noticeable as we ripped out carpets to reveal wood floors, took down shower doors, tore off bathroom countertops, and deep-cleaned every nook and cranny. It didn't take a visit to our accountant for us to know we couldn't afford all the renovations up front.  So we prioritized based on what would be easiest to have done before we moved in and what could wait a few months.  We decided to have the freshly-revealed but battered wood floors upstairs refinished and paint the whole house interior. We had a serious storage problem on the main floor, so I found a carpenter to build a mudroom locker bank with closet in our family room, which was located off the garage and currently being used as a playroom.

 We had a serious storage problem on the main floor, so we added this bank of built-ins with a cubby for everyone and a large closet with shelving for art supplies and hanging space for coats.

We had a serious storage problem on the main floor, so we added this bank of built-ins with a cubby for everyone and a large closet with shelving for art supplies and hanging space for coats.

 My favorite part about the lockers was the hidden side-panel.  It housed our key hook and a message board.

My favorite part about the lockers was the hidden side-panel.  It housed our key hook and a message board.

After these projects were complete, we had to stock away some savings before tackling the next round of professional jobs.  In the meantime, I kept myself busy furnishing the house and with DIY projects. It's amazing the difference that swapping light fixtures can make.  We focused the bulk of our small lighting budget on the kitchen and playroom fixtures, then used the remainder on inexpensive bathroom fixtures with the intention of updating again a few years down the road.  I refinished the upstairs bathroom vanities using Java Gel Stain and we later added new countertops and faucets.

 I didn't have the foresight to take a great "before" photo so this one is from the listing.  The kid's bathroom refresh was completed for less than $400 (quartz countertop, faucet, stain, mirror, light fixture, shower curtain, and bathroom hardware) and a whole lot of elbow grease.

I didn't have the foresight to take a great "before" photo so this one is from the listing.  The kid's bathroom refresh was completed for less than $400 (quartz countertop, faucet, stain, mirror, light fixture, shower curtain, and bathroom hardware) and a whole lot of elbow grease.

 We used the same materials in the guest room ensuite bathroom for bulk discount on the quartz and to keep a consistent feel upstairs.

We used the same materials in the guest room ensuite bathroom for bulk discount on the quartz and to keep a consistent feel upstairs.

I was tired of looking at our traditional fireplace - it just wasn't our style!  I decided to make it a little more modern with a few coats of paint.  It was my first time using Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax which was perfect for this project.  It also was the start of my love affair with my Annie Sloan round brush which is a must-have for any project with grooves.  It's pricey but it's proved it's value and saved me time on countless projects since I made the investment. I wish I had counted how many people told me that painting the fireplace would "ruin it."  I'm so happy I didn't listen because I loved it and the result complemented our decor so much better.

 Fireplace makeover with Annie Sloan chalk paint - no sanding was required, but I did a little for a perfectly smooth finish.  I completed this project in the winter, but my intention was to re-do the fireplace insert with an oil-rubbed bronze high heat spray paint.  I never quite got around to that project!

Fireplace makeover with Annie Sloan chalk paint - no sanding was required, but I did a little for a perfectly smooth finish.  I completed this project in the winter, but my intention was to re-do the fireplace insert with an oil-rubbed bronze high heat spray paint.  I never quite got around to that project!

Soon after the fireplace was complete, I started to go in baby-nesting mode.  Our daughter had never had her own room in our tiny San Francisco apartment, and I was determined to make her a glam room on a budget.  It started with a Moroccan wall stencil by Cutting Edge Stencils. 

 Painting this Moroccan pattern was easy with the stencil I bought from Cutting Edge Stencils.  I wanted something that was neutral, but fun, and it was important that it be able to grow with her because I do not love painting!

Painting this Moroccan pattern was easy with the stencil I bought from Cutting Edge Stencils.  I wanted something that was neutral, but fun, and it was important that it be able to grow with her because I do not love painting!

I found a Dania dresser and nightstand on Craigslist for $200.  They were in great shape and had the exact look I was looking for.  I glammed them up with some Rustoleum metallic paint and crystal knobs I found off Amazon.

 I'm always so eager to get a project started that I forget to take before photos.  Luckily Dania still sells this set so I was able to grab some stock images. 

I'm always so eager to get a project started that I forget to take before photos.  Luckily Dania still sells this set so I was able to grab some stock images. 

I finished these dressers just in time! About a week later, baby Jack was born and we took a much-needed breather from the projects around the house, fixing only what was actually broken.

(Come back tomorrow for Part Two!)

 

 

 

 

Hello, again!

Beth PacykComment

Is it me you're looking for?  We've had a whirlwind three months!  We sold our house, moved states (with 2 toddlers in tow), bought a new house, and survived a fire, flood, and MRSA. There has been lots on my mind to tell you and I haven't taken the time to write it all down.  This week, I'm turning over a new leaf and plopping down at the computer so I can share my experiences.  Here's some posts to look forward to in the coming weeks:

  • Staging a house to sell (mostly a reason to swoon over the finished house we left as I sit in a decidedly unfinished house!)

  • Selling our house by owner for over asking price in TWO days

  • Entertaining kids without technology on a 30 hour + road trip

  • A few new kids crafts

  • The app that is causing my marriage distress (Spoiler alert: 3M Cloud Library!)

  • Kid Lit book reviews

Pacyk Family

xo,
Beth

Kid Lit: A Book I Don't Mind Reading Again

Kids, BooksBeth PacykComment

Whew!  It's been awhile since I last posted and LOTS has been calling for my attention.  We're in the midst of preparing for a long-distance move so Tom and I are trading places on airplanes to house hunt. On his last trip to Portland, he stopped at the city's famous bookstore, Powell's, to grab a gift for the kiddos.

 Sleeping Cinderella by Stephanie Clarkson

Sleeping Cinderella by Stephanie Clarkson

He saw this book as a staff recommendation, but hesitated.  Did we really want to add another princess book to our collection?  The fine folks at Disney have been boring us with the abbreviated version of fairytales (Elsa and Anna were friends.  Elsa hurt Anna. Elsa stayed away.  Anna fell in love.  Anna's act of love saved their lives.  Elsa and Anna were best friends at last.) so we've been burned in the princess department to say the least.

Thankfully, Sleeping Cinderella is nothing like the princess books currently on our shelf.  It is sweet and clever with adorable illustrations.  Stephanie Clarkson tells a rhyming story of when the princesses all traded places.  It's one of the books I truly don't mind reading over and over again.  Lucky for us, Maddie agrees! 

Play Dough Activities

Beth PacykComment

It was a stormy Chicago day and I just didn't feel like packing the kids up and braving the rain today. So I busted out the play dough bin and we worked indoors on a few favorite projects: play dough porcupines and a fine-motor activity with spaghetti noodles and cheerios.  

Play Dough Porcupines 

My awesome neighbor came over one day during the winter and brought the supplies for these cute porcupines. All it takes is play dough, googly eyes, and either toothpicks or uncooked spaghetti noodles. Madeline's first versions included just as many eyes as spikes, so the porcupines quickly became monsters.  

  Madeline working hard on her play dough porcupine.  We traded the toothpicks for spaghetti noodles today so that Baby Jack could get in on the fun.  

Madeline working hard on her play dough porcupine.  We traded the toothpicks for spaghetti noodles today so that Baby Jack could get in on the fun.  

Play Dough and Cheerios Fine Motor Activity 

We learned about this awesome activity on a playdate, and we love it because we almost always have the materials on hand.  Just stick uncooked spaghetti noodles (I buy the pot-sized noodles from Target, but you could snap regular sized noodles in half) in the play dough. Add a pile of cheerios for your toddler to thread on the noodles.  

  Baby Jack enjoyed eating the Cheerios more than stacking them on the noodles.  

Baby Jack enjoyed eating the Cheerios more than stacking them on the noodles.  

Miss Tracy's Play Dough Recipe

We're still working through the boxes of play dough we received as Christmas gifts, but usually I make my own. I've tried a handful of play dough recipes that I found on Pinterest, but I never seem to find one that is just right - they are either too slimy or harden too quickly.  When Madeline's preschool teacher provided her recipe, I knew it was the perfect balance.  Here is her recipe:

1 cup flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1/3 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or unrefined coconut oil)
Food coloring (or unsweetened Kool Aid or Jello for scent and color)

  1. Mix together all ingredients, except the food coloring, in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over low/medium heat, stirring often.  Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring.  
  3. Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to gather around the spoon.
  4. Once the dough is not wet, remove and put onto wax paper or a plate to cool.
  5. After cooling (30 minutes) knead play dough for a few seconds.
  6. PLAY!

xo,
Beth