Will’s family is visiting this week from Tennessee to meet Patricia and hang out with Julius who they have not seen in over a year due to the pandemic. Julius has been having a lot of fun with Sugar and Daddy O (Will’s parents) and loves the attention. He has decided Daddy O is his own personal playmate and drags him around to see his toys and conspires to sit next to Daddy O at dinner. Julius continues to reward us by saying adorable things that make all of us laugh with their unintended hilariousness.
The other day my mom came over to drop off Julius’ snow pants that we had accidentally left at their house at Christmas. He wore my snow pants during the previous snow storm which looked like a ridiculous pair of clown pants yet somehow miraculously stayed up. I think the sheer amount of fabric bunching at the bottom was what held them up. Before my mom dropped off the snow pants we had mailed out a package for my mom’s birthday. Julius didn’t quite understand the secrecy that is involved in birthday gifts, so when my mom got there he blurted out, “Meemah we just mailed you a package. It was some cameras.” I quickly shushed him, and told him that he wasn’t supposed to tell Meemah what the gift was. My mom tried to make him feel better by saying, “it’s okay, I didn’t hear.” To which Julius shouted in response, “WE GOT YOU SOME CAMERAS.” I could not stop laughing, I think the cat’s out of the bag there.
Speaking of presents, for Christmas my brother and sister-in-law warned me that their kids were going to give Julius and Patricia homemade gifts that cost less than a dollar each. They wanted their kids to understand that Christmas was about giving, not just getting. I thought this was a great idea, so we decided to do this with Julius as well. I decided that Julius and I would make a homemade play dough kit for my niece and nephew. To make it different than the play dough you can buy we decided to make gingerbread scented play dough. The recipe I used for the play dough is awesome, and feels exactly like play dough. I added in a dowel rolling pin, assorted buttons, jewels and rickrack for decorations, and a cookie cutter I got for $1 at Target. I then jazzed up some recycled mint tins, KFC single side containers and Thai food take out containers with my Cricut. Though I didn’t quite hit the $1 price range I think they were less than $2 each.
Gingerbread Play Dough Playset
I followed the instructions here to make a batch of play dough, and added the following spices with the flour: 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp cloves, 1 Tbsp nutmeg, 3 Tbsp ginger. These proportions are from my favorite Lebkuchen recipe. Don’t be afraid to adjust the spices as you are cooking since this play dough is all about the aroma. I also added a single drop of brown gel icing while the dough was cooking. Julius helped me make the dough, and he had a lot of fun kneading the play dough in a bag afterwards.
I reused little mint tins like these that I got from a convention to house some little decorations for the kids to play with. I jazzed up the containers using my cricut and the pattern I made here. It requires label paper (I reused the half-sheets from mailing usps packages), red, green and brown fine tip markers and the cutting tool.
I used the same pattern and label paper to repurpose some KFC sides containers as my play dough containers. They hold the perfect amount of play dough and are air tight!
The rolling pin I included with the set is just a 7/8″ dowel I cut into 6″ lengths and sanded down. Super simple and cheap.
The cookie cutters were only $1 at Target! They were most of the cost of the gift. If it weren’t a pandemic I would have shopped around for a pack of cheaper plastic ones, but on the interwebs, these were the cheapest ones I could find available for pick up or delivery.
I filled up the little mint tin with jewels, buttons and rickrack that I had in my craft supplies. I figured the jewels and buttons could be used as eyes or buttons for the gingerbread man and the rickrack looks like icing!
Julius and Finn seem to like their play dough! And Julius loves the puzzles that Ari and Finn made for him!