The holiday bustle is upon us and it is often difficult to find the balance of being able to get things done on our list while still appreciating moments with each other.
Parents have been asking me for my homemade play dough recipe. I believe play dough is a perfect, simple activity to take a break and do together with your children on a cold, wintry day.
There’s nothing like kneading warm play dough to brighten the spirit and soothe the soul. Here it is:
Homemade Play Dough Recipe
2 cups flour; 1 cup salt; 2 tbsp. vegetable oil; 2 tbsp. cream of tartar; 1.5 cups of boiling water; food coloring.
Mix dry ingredients – flour, salt, cream of tartar.
Stir food coloring in water and add with oil to the dry ingredients.
Stir vigorously until all ingredients blended.
Take out and knead until it stops being sticky.
Roll, punch, squeeze, create!
Are you receiving some holiday cards in the mail?
Instead of just quickly opening them and stashing them away in a basket, why not open one or two a night together as a family. Read the card, pass it around, talk about the family and friends who sent it. This is a simple activity that offers a sense of anticipation, togetherness and a strong connection to those who took the time to remember.
Turn down the lights and enjoy the quiet beauty of your decorated tree as a peaceful way to read a bedtime story. Many holiday books are available. Adding books that share how other families celebrate differently at this time of year helps in understanding other traditions. Sing a song or two before trundling off to bed.
It’s fun to make the most of this decorated lighted treasure in our home while it’s there. Some families plan a night for the whole family to sleep under its branches. Now that sounds like a cozy adventure!
Don’t forget the simplicity of walking in the neighborhood to see the glowing lights and decorations. There is something very special about being out on a dark December evening.
Put the kids in their pajamas, pull them in a wagon or, maybe soon, a sled for some cozy magic right near home. Delivering some handmade cards that the children have created to some of the homes adds another special dimension to this walk.
To save time and frustration at this busy time of year, try and have low hooks for children to be able to reach and hang their own jackets and snowpants on, a bin for each to put their hat and mittens in and a mat for their boots. By having things accessible and manageable, we are fostering their confidence, feeling of competence and organizational skills that will become a habit. (Not only of hanging them up, but of wearing them!)
The holiday- to-do list that you may be pouring over and have streaming through your consciousness should be reconsidered. Go over it and make sure what is absolutely essential to do and then start eliminating those tasks that take too much time away from your family.
A co-worker sent out a quote the other day that is worth considering –
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” Burton Hillis.
I think I like that.