June 24, 2009

The Best Homemade Playdough Recipe EVER

Posted in Days of my life at 12:23 PM by Robin

You gotta love the life of a stay-at-home mom.  Sometimes there is time–too much time–for introspection and reflection on the deeper things of life, and there is time to write long, deep-thinking posts about these things. Other times, all you can think about is “What can I do to keep these kids busy and out of my hair long enough for me to take a shower?” If you haven’t guessed, summer vacation is upon us, and I definitely fall into the latter category right now.  I have felt guilty for being unable to post very often lately (although I do have time to check in on Facebook a couple of times a day–that takes a lot less effort! So, if you miss me, you can find me there!), so I thought I’d take just a second to share with you all one method of keeping the kids busy.

My mom used to make homemade playdough for us pretty frequently, but it was always full of salt and consequently very rough and scratchy.  Plus, it dried out and got crumbly very quickly. Store-bought play-doh isn’t much better. Happily for me, I found this awesome recipe online somewhere. It is smooth, easy to kead and mold, and doesn’t dry for days! We left a whole pile out overnight without a cover, and the next day the top was kind of dry, but we kneaded it up a bit and it was just fine again.  This stuff kept all three of my kids occupied for three days solid–even the ten-year-old! We made it like two weeks ago and it is still sitting in my fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap.  We haven’t pulled it out in a few days, but it still feels fairly soft to the touch.  I’m not sure if playdough can spoil–it never usually lasts long enough to find out!  Anyway, great stuff, give it a try, then sneak off and take a really long shower.play_dough_color

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a large saucepan, mix together

3 cups Flour

1 1/2 cups Salt

3 cups Water

2 TB vegetable oil (I used canola, I’m sure it doesn’t matter)

1 TB Cream of Tartar

Food coloring or unsweetened Kool-Aid pkg for color.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and gets too thick to stir (about 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool until it can be handled. Place on counter or wax paper and knead several times until smooth. Store in an air-tight container.

I haven’t tried cooking this yet, but if you try it, let me know how it works!

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June 5, 2009

Hey Everybody! FREE CHOCOLATE!!!

Posted in Days of my life at 3:22 PM by Robin

My favorite OTC candy (that is, candy that you can buy at the grocery store and don’t have to go to a specialty gourmet store for) is Dove chocolate.  Mmmmm, that’s good stuff. Dark or Milk chocolate, sometimes it’s the only thing that will satisfy me when I need a real chocolate fix.  Imagine my joy and surprise when I found out today that Mars Co., the makers of Dove, is giving out coupons for FREE CHOCOLATE! They are using this campaign to promote the fact that they, unlike Hershey’s and several other chocolate manufacturers, refuse to compromise on their ingredients despite the recession, and continue to offer products made only with with real cocoa butter.  Some of you might remember how I blogged about this particular outrage several months ago.  Anyway, I would like to commend Mars on the quality of their products and thank them for becoming enablers in helping to “feed” my habit!

For those of you interested, read this for the press release, or click here to register for a coupon for free a full-size sample of real chocolate. Yummy!  mars-real-chocolate-relief

May 27, 2009

Is It Worth Saving The World If I Lose My Mind?

Posted in Days of my life at 7:57 PM by Robin

bag

So, thanks to the indoctrination of all those pesky liberal environmentalists, I occasionally try to go along with certain ideas that are supposed to be more “green” when it doesn’t really inconvenience me in any way, or, even better, seems to be a more effective way of doing things, green or not.  One of the things I’ve noticed being promoted down our throats is the re-usable canvas shopping bag.  They’re everywhere you go, now–Albertsons, Wal-Mart, even Home Depot.  They usually cost a dollar, have the store’s name on the front, and are supposed to cut down on the expense and environmental damage of millions of plastic shopping bags.  I thought I’d give them a try, but didn’t want to buy a bunch all at once, so I decided that every time I went to the store, I’d buy one.  After having increased my collection to six or seven bags from three or four different stores, I have decided there are pros and cons to this idea:

Pro: I HATE plastic shopping bags.  I feel guilty throwing them away and Andrew insists that we keep some on hand anyway,  “just in case we need them”, so we end up having a stash of plastic the size of the refrigerator stuck in our pantry cupboard. Anything to replace the darn things is a great idea in my book.

Con: Where do you store the darn fabric ones? They are quite big and bulky and do not like to lie flat.  I try to keep them in my car so that I don’t forget them when I go to the store, and they usually end up all over the place.  If I keep them in the front seat, someone’s going to end up having to step on them.  If I keep them in the back, the kids throw them all over the floor.  If I keep them in the waaaay back, they get mixed in with the big bag of stuff that’s supposed to go to DI and get squished and dirtied by the stroller stuffed back there.  Plus, out of sight, out of mind, and I will most likely forget about them back there.

Pro: Fabric is stronger than plastic, so you can fit more stuff in the re-usable bags (especially the new Wal-Mart ones, which are twice as big and only cost 50 cents), thereby cutting the number of trips in and out of the house unloading the groceries in half.

Con: Not all of these bags are created equal. Wal-Mart’s new ones are definitely the best, but other ones I’ve tried so far (like Albertsons) are floppy, flimsy, and almost tear if you have a lot of cans in them.  Also, they don’t fold up flat again, making them even more obnoxious to store.

Pro: I’m saving the Earth!

Con: Where do you put all those bags when you are pushing a shopping cart with toddler in the seat who likes to throw everything he can reach in the cart onto the floor and the rest of the cart will be totally filled up with groceries?  I do the majority of my shopping once a week, and so my average trip will have $100-200 worth of groceries in the cart.  If I put the bags in the bottom of the cart when I start, and then fill the cart up, there is no way I can get to the bags when it comes time to check out until the whole cart is unloaded, and if you don’t hand them the bags as soon as they start ringing you up, they will automatically start bagging your stuff in plastic bags, which renders your “I’m environmentally conscious” attempt obsolete.

Pro: The fabric bags stand up a lot better than plastic, so they fit better in the cart or back of your car.

Con: You look like a dork carrying ten big blue canvas bags into the store.

Now, if they could just figure out how to fit ten of those things in my purse, most of these problems would be solved!

May 20, 2009

Close Call

Posted in Days of my life, Deep thoughts, Family life at 12:48 AM by Robin

My grandparents made the Deseret News today, but not in a good way:

Manti Couple Rescued From Forest

It doesn’t sound like that dangerous of a situation at first, but you have to realize that both of my grandparents are getting close to 90.  My Grandma is very fragile and can barely walk unassisted. Their car was stuck at a steep angle, and she was unable to get out. My Grandpa is in relatively good health for his age, but he literally was out walking in freezing temperatures in the dark all night long.  He was suffering from shock and dehydration when they finally found him the next day.  I first heard the news around 1:00 PM, when they hadn’t found him yet, so he was probably wandering around lost for close to twenty hours.  Both of them thought they were going to die that night.

I am so thankful that the Lord was looking out for them and that Search and Rescue was able to find them.  I don’t have a real relationship with my other grandparents.  My dad’s mother passed away last year, but I was never close at all to her or his father. My mother’s parents were always the ones I thought of when I thought of my grandparents.  My Grandpa is such a catankerous but funny character. He was the sealer at our wedding.  His devotion and love for his wife is so touching. He keeps a picture of her from before they got married on his desk, and often makes the comment that she’s prettier now than she was then.  My Grandma is sweet and patient and so loving.  She is the only person in the world who I can truly say I have never seen lose their temper.  She has gone through so many health challenges lately, yet she just keeps fighting and making it through.  They are both a wonderful example of what I hope my marriage to be like fifty years from now.  I am very grateful the Lord was watching out for them and gave us a little more time with these special people.

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Max and Beth Call with Lily (nine months old)

May 18, 2009

Where Did It Go?

Posted in Days of my life, Just thinking... at 9:27 AM by Robin

Things I can never find at my house, no matter how many of them I buy (unless I don’t need them. Then they are always lying around in annoying places):

Nail clippers

Scissors

Kids’ shoes

Tape

Hair brushes

Girl’s hair clippie things in the appropriate matching color

Chapstick

Pens or pencils

Do you think there is a monster living in my house that eats these things?

April 29, 2009

Easy Come, Easy Go

Posted in Days of my life, Family life, Parenting at 3:58 PM by Robin

“That was nice of the lady at the craft store to give you a balloon, Lily. Here, let me tie it onto your wrist so you don’t lose it.”

“Noooo, Mommy! See, she cut the string really long so even if it floats up to the ceiling, I can still reach it.”

“Well, okay. You can keep it that way until we go out to the car.”

Ten minutes later.

“Okay, Lily, we’re going out to the car now.  Let me tie the balloon to your wrist so it doesn’t fly away.”

“Noooo! I don’t want to tie it my wrist!  I can hold onto it until we get inside the car!”

“Well…okay. But don’t let go!”

“I won’t!”

Ten minutes later:

“Okay, we’re home now, Lily. Let me tie your balloon to your wrist so it doesn’t fly away.”

“Nooooo! I don’t wanna tie it to my wrist!  I’ll be very, very careful!”

“Are you sure? It’s kind of windy out here and balloons can fly away very fast.”

“Noooo! I can hold it!”

Mommy turns her back to get James out of the car.

“WAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!  MY BALLOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!! I WANT MY BALLOOOOOOOOOON!!!!”

You saw it coming too, right?

April 23, 2009

Uglification Update

Posted in Days of my life, Girl Stuff, Just thinking... at 4:02 PM by Robin

Just in case any of you have been staying up nights, concerned about my self esteem levels since you read this post, I just want to assure you all that things are looking up.  My skin has finally decided to clear up (what did I tell you, four months later…), and I’ve been sleeping better, so my dark eye circles are diminished.  I’ve been going to the gym, although not as regularly as I’d like, and I’m down about six or seven pounds, which is not a whole lot, but is better than not losing six or seven pounds. (I actually got down to ten pounds when I was sick, but unfortunately, that’s never permanent.)

My hair is growing out of it’s terrible short do, and can actually be called curly again.  The baby fringe has gotten down to about the top of my ears now, which is long enough that it looks more like curls than a head full of cowlicks.  It also gives me a lot of body. Maybe a little too much body, especially on rainy days.  I kind of look like a poodle then.  But hey, that’s a lifelong battle. I also  just found a couple of cute blouses at Old Navy, and I’m feeling good!  Just wanted to let you all know!

April 20, 2009

Oops! Sorry!

Posted in Days of my life at 11:50 AM by Robin

virus1

I have recently been told that our family has become unwitting carriers of the dreaded Evil Martian Death Flu to the rest of the Lambert family.  I apologize most sincerely for infecting you all! We thought that we were clear on the morning of the Easter Egg Hunt. Everyone but Andrew was feeling fine, and he was only feeling mild symptoms at the time we came over, so I wasn’t even thinking of us being contagious anymore.  Unfortunately, this particular bug is the most contagious one I’ve seen in a while.  I think half our ward came down with it.  I know at least three other families on our street had it.  And I guess now the entire Lambert family has had to suffer through it this week.  Seriously, I apologize guys.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

It is kind of sobering to realize how fast a nasty bug like this can spread.  It’s no fun to go through, but I was just thinking how lucky we are that we do not have much experience with a contagious disease that is actually life-threatening.  Just think of what it would be like if instead of the stomach flu, it was the plague! Or a terrible influenza outbreak like in the early 1900’s, where many of the families that came down with the flu lost one or two family members.  We feel like we are pretty far removed from that today, with our antibiotics and advanced medical care, but there’s always a chance that it could happen again.  Scary.

I guess it is ironic, therefore, that this week I also had to take Lily and James to the doctor for some checkups, James for his 18 months, and Lily for her kindergarten exam.  James got two shots, but Lily had to have five, poor thing!  You always feel a little bit like a traitor, as a parent, when they ask you to hold the kid’s arms down while they stab them in the leg five times.  It seems worse when they’re older.  Poor little Lily, she was actually kind of excited to get her shots, because she just connects them with the sucker that she gets afterward.  I guess she didn’t remember what her flu shot last fall felt like (which is probably the reason why she was the only one of us that didn’t get sick–both she and James were the only ones who got flu shots, not that it did James any good!). Of course, there’s a big difference between one shot and five…

Anyway, I feel slightly better about putting my children through such trauma when I consider what people had to go through without the benefit of these vaccinations.  Andrew checked out the HBO miniseries John Adams a few weeks back, and there is a part in it when John’s wife, Abigail, decides to immunize her children against the smallpox, a new concept at the time.  The way they did it was to scratch off some of the pox from an infected person, make a small cut in the healthy person, and then rub some of the infectious pus into the cut.  I know, eewww, right? It was very risky because there was always the possibility that someone might get a full case of small pox from it and possibly die. But they figured that the possibility of catching the disease from another source, which was more likely to be disfiguring or fatal, was a greater risk.  It does make you appreciate modern health care much more.

So, again, sorry guys, for the sickness!  But I’m just trying to offer a little bit of perspective for you.  Next time, we’ll be more thorough in our quarantining.

April 13, 2009

Getting Back to Real Life

Posted in Days of my life, Family life, Parenting at 9:42 AM by Robin

Hey, how did you spend Spring Break?

Did you take the kids on vacation somewhere fun?  Or did you spend it cleaning up ten episodes of baby vomit? Or maybe you spent it lying on the sofa for 24 hours straight, fighting against the Evil Martian Death Flu, while certain of your kids were completely destroying the house and your other kid was moping around on the other sofa, yelling curses at the other kid for being the first one to get sick and bring the flu from Hell upon you all?  Did you feel incredibly guilty for being unable due to your incapacitation to help the Easter Bunny make his scheduled early Saturday appointment for your house, which has allowed your family to separate the spiritual and secular facets of Easter for the past two or three years, and had to do last minute shopping on Saturday night in order to not completely disappoint the kiddies? 

 Did you also feel incredibly guilty for promising your two girls new Easter dresses, but were unable to go shopping for them until late Saturday evening due to the fact that you were dealing with one vomiting child after another for the past week, and then finding that of the limited selection of dresses left in stock, only the really ugly dresses have sleeves on them anymore? Did your guilt continue because you bought the sleeveless dresses anyway because they were so cute, but you didn’t have enough money left to buy any of those little white sweaters, so when the girls wore their sleeveless dresses to church the next day, you wondered how many people were judging you for raising your children to be immodest and what a terrible example of a wife of a counselor in the bishopric you are? 

Did you spend Easter Sunday at home with just your family and only had a token pan of Cheesy Potatoes and ham for your Easter feast because you just didn’t have it in you to cook a big dinner or go visit anybody else? Did you finish off your whole unforgettable Spring Break experience by watching the classic movie “The Money Pit” and wondering why Shelley Long was being such a b$@%# to Tom Hanks when he actually got mad (gasp!) at the fact that she cheated on him (or thought she did)?  Did you then wonder if you were allowed to like Tom Hanks movies anymore since he has recently professed anti-Mormon sentiments?  Did you go to bed praying that you would not have to deal with more rain and possible snow storms for the next week?

You didn’t?  Huh.  Well, just wondering!

April 7, 2009

Go see my other blog!

Posted in Days of my life at 2:50 PM by Robin

Hey guys! Check out my new post on The Stepping Stone.

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