Saturday, January 8, 2011

Super Easy, No Cook, Homemade Play Dough

I discovered this super easy, cheap to make, no cook, homemade play dough recipe on a website called I had made homemade play dough in the past, but the recipe I had required cooking and then cooling of the dough. This recipe is SO much better because it's super fast to make and requires no cooking! I'll never make it any other way again! This is a great recipe also because it's incredibly cheap to make. It's much more affordable than store bought, and you can control the colors you want by how much food coloring you add. I used the new NEON food coloring and my daughter just loved the bright colors! This is a great rainy-day project!

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
food dye (any color)

This will make one batch of dough. Make as many additional batches of dough for each color you desire.

STEP ONE-- Add ingredients:
Measure out 1 cup of four, and pour it into the bowl.
Then, measure out 1/2 cup of salt, and add that to the bowl, too.
Fill the measuring cup with 1/2 cup of water and pour it into the mixing bowl.

STEP TWO-- Mix ingredients
Using a spoon, mix up the ingredients. Mix it until it's not too watery or flour-y.

STEP THREE- Add food coloring

Add a few drops of food dye to the mush. Then pick it up and start kneading it. You can add more food dye to improve color if desired.
My daughter loved the bright colors of the neon food coloring!

STEP FOUR-- You're Done!
If the dough is a little sticky, knead a little bit of flour into it.



Wear gloves when kneading the food coloring into the dough. The food coloring will stain your hands.

I made one batch and left out the food coloring. My daughter made her creations and then I baked them on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for 1 hour. After they cooled, she painted them. This was a fun way to keep her creations forever!

I made a batch of play dough but left out the food coloring. My daughter made this adorable octopus and I baked it in the oven at 200 degrees for one hour. I let it cool completely and then she painted it.

Here's the finished painted project! Now you can keep your kids cute creations forever!

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Own "State of the Union"

If you read my previous post on Setting Goals for 2011, you know one important trait successful people have is they WRITE down the goals they want to achieve. There is something about putting pen to paper that helps to solidify information in our brains and gives the information more value. I saw this principle played out time and time again when I was in college: the most successful students weren't necessarily the brightest students, but they were amazing at taking notes in class!

I think the best example of effective goal setting is the President's yearly State of the Union Address. First, a review of the previous year, both the successes as well as the failures helps to define the current state of the union. Before we set our new goals, we should do the same and take time to honestly review the prior year. What worked and what didn't? Next, a well written list of goals for the upcoming year is created, highlighting all the President and his team want to accomplish. Second, the President shares those goals with those who will hold him accountable, in this case the Congress. And lastly, he must take action in order to move his agenda forward and reach those goals.  Obviously, there is great benefit in writing down your goals, sharing those goals with others (for accountability) and then taking action on those goals. In other words: WRITE IT, SHARE IT, GET TO IT!!!!

I spent some time after everyone went to bed and the house was quiet to write out my goals for the upcoming year. Being a person of faith, I spent some time in prayer, seeking wisdom and guidance before I wrote even a single word. I believe we each have a purpose, and I want my goals to align with that greater purpose. Then I spent time thinking about the person I want to be. I want to be a good example to my girls. I want to be a loving and supportive wife. I want to be a reliable and trusted friend. I want to be a charitable and giving person. I want to work on certain areas of my life with greater discipline, such as my health and finances. Then I included some really ambitious goals, ones that even I think are going to be really tough to attain, but these are GOALS and if I make them all easy to attain, what's the point?

I wrote them out with a Sharpie: no erasing, no going back....permanent marker, permanent changes. I ended up with 14 Goals for 2011. I know most goal-setting experts would say no more than 10 is ideal, but I want to be ambitious, to stretch myself. After all, if I aim for the stars and hit the moon, that's going to be quite an achievement! Then, I stuck the list up on the fridge for all my family to see. I want their accountability, I need their accountability and I want them to know they are reason I'm striving to reach these goals in the first place.

I hope you'll write out your goals for 2011, share them with your family and take action! Momma's are amazing people! Create your own "State of the Union". Set some goals, achieve them and amaze yourself!

There is joy in the journey!

Thanks friends!

(a.k.a. NW Momma)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where Do You Want To Go in 2011?

I'm EXCITED for the new year! As an avid believer in goal-setting, I love the feeling the new year brings, a chance to reflect on the past year and start planning for a fresh, new one. As we turn the page on the new year, the first question you and I must ask ourselves is:

Where do I want to go in 2011?

If you haven't thought about this, then I can assure you, you won't reach your goals. How can you navigate the ship of your life if you don't know where you're going? The old adage says, "Most people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan"... and it's really true! As moms, we are the LEADERS in our family. As such, we need to think about where are we leading ourselves and our families in this new year. Good leaders, whether in business, politics, or any endeavour all share some basic common traits:

1) An effective leader HAS A CLEAR VISION of what they want to accomplish.

Do you have a clear vision of want you want to accomplish both individually and as a family in 2011? Do you want to volunteer more? Help out at your child's school more? Save more? Get out of debt? Get your health, finances, relationships in order? Do you want to work on strengthening your marriage, increase your time with the family, learn something new? You need to spend some time thinking about your goals and have a CLEAR VISION of what you want to accomplish.

2) An effective leader listens to INPUT FROM OTHERS.

Talk about these goals with your spouse and kids! Getting input from the whole family helps to define a shared vision and common goals you can all work toward. Imagine the lessons learned while striving toward a shared family goal and the wonderful sense of accomplishment you'll all share when you all reach that goal!

3) Effective leaders WRITE IT DOWN.

Whether you write your goals in a journal, on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge, or create a family poster highlighting the goals for 2011, all effective leaders record their goals by writing them down. Keep them where you can be reminded of them easily. This provides daily encouragement, keeps your goals out in front of you and keeps you thinking about them on a daily basis. It also provides some accountability as you share your goals with others by making them visible, (which makes them more concrete) and gives others the opportunity to ask you about them and how you're progressing!

4) Effective leaders DON'T GIVE UP. There are going to be challenges ahead as you work toward your goals, but effective leaders don't give up. They are successful because they push through when others would just give up and say it's too hard. Anything worth having is worth working hard for! All the best things in life require hard work and dedication: a good marriage, happy, well-adjusted kids, financial independence and security, etc. And here's the hidden benefit: we appreciate things more when we have to work for them. If it's just handed to us, we rarely attach much value to it.

I hope you'll look at yourself in a little different way in 2011. I hope you'll see yourself as a LEADER in your family. I hope you'll use some of these techniques of effective leadership to move yourself and your family toward important and meaningful goals. I hope 2011 is your best year yet!

There is joy in the journey!

Thanks friends!

(a.k.a. NW MOMMA)