Monday, February 7, 2011

STYLE: Vintage Holly Hobbie Lunchbox

I still have my grade school lunchbox, a metal Holly Hobbie number from Aladdin. It was made in 1979, and likely purchased in 1980 when I was five-years-old by my mom for me as I started kindergarten. I used it for at least ten years, and ever since my mom has kept it for me. It even still has my name written on a piece of paper taped to the top in my mom's handwriting.

I love the schoolyard rules printed on the inside and the fact that I still have the thermos. We recently got this from my mom's storage after all these years and Lucy was thrilled to take it with her to first grade, although she has no idea who that girl with the big blue bonnet on the front is.

It was strange to discover how much larger our plastic tubs are these days, which, not surprisingly, indicates how much our portions have grown since the 70s. However, Lucy is a small eater and, like many six-year-olds, super picky. She likes her lunch packed bento-style, with things in small containers, like slices of ham, mini carrots, and baby dill pickles. Instead of pulling my name tag off, we added a new sticker with her name written in my handwriting. After school she told me that the thermos leaked her water all over, so the janitor had taken it away to clean it up. My heart skipped a beat, as I found myself suddenly quite concerned about the whereabouts of my beloved childhood container. She got it back, wiped clean, the very next day, with both our nametags still attached, marking the love between generations of brown-eyed grade school girls and their mothers.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

KIDDOS: Homemade Playdough

Since Christmas, Alice has been really into playdough. She found our shoebox filled with all kinds of bits of old playdough, mostly mixed to a gray, dry lump. They worked for her, though, and she rolled and stacked and kneaded the stuff for hours. Finally, in our winter hibernation some inspiration hit and I decided to make our own. Honestly, I can't believe I've never made homemade playdough before. It's so easy, fun and inexpensive to create at home.

I found this recipe for the World's Best Play Dough via dig this chick and was smitten. It takes just a few ingredients from your pantry and cooks quickly on the stovetop. The only thing I changed in the recipe is adding just one or two drops of food coloring instead of 2 teaspoons as the recipe calls for.
We made all the colors in our food coloring box: red, yellow, green and blue. The dough is so soft and pliable and lasts much longer than the pre-packaged stuff. We store ours in old mason jars, but ziploc baggies or plastic containers would do as well.

We shared our new found fun with the other toddlers in our playgroup. While the mamas sat around drinking coffee and noshing, the kiddos sat happily at the kitchen table creating away. The best part about playdough is that everyday kitchen tools work great for sculpting - ice cream scoops, forks, plastic knives, cookie cutters, and rolling pins. My favorite new kitchen tool for playdough, however, is the garlic press; it makes super cool noodles or hair for your little sculpted creatures. The best part is that this has kept my insatiable preschooler occupied for hours and, while I might spend lots of time sweeping up dried bits of the playdough from the floor, its a great creative outlet.