Category Archives: Mama and Baby

Woodinville Toddler Group (World’s Best) Playdough Recipe

Lucas and I belong to a fabulous co-op toddler group/school in Woodinville. This past year was our first in the program, and he and I both made a lot of great friends. Going to school each Tuesday morning was a definite highlight of our week. We already are looking forward to school starting again in September! I particularly benefited from the parent education class every other week and learned a lot of valuable parenting ideas, tips, and techniques. As the mom of an energetic and opinionated two-year-old (I know, what two-year-old isn’t …), those things are invaluable!

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The program fosters an strong sense of community and support among parents and little ones, and has given Lucas a terrific place to learn and explore though a variety of curriculum. Each week, parents take turns making a new batch of playdough for the class. Playdough is a great way to strengthen the muscles of the hands to improve fine motor and bilateral coordination skills. And, obviously, it’s just a lot of fun. Who doesn’t love playdough?!

Our school’s homemade playdough recipe is seriously the best I’ve ever come across — and that’s saying a lot, since my mom made a mean batch of playdough back in the day. I made the current batch Lucas is playing with back in April and it’s still soft and pliable, but stands up well to modeling and shaping. Hasbro has nothing on WTG!

If you live in the area and are interested in checking out Woodinville Toddler Group, please visit our website. Several of our classes still have openings for the 2013-14 school year. We’d love to have you join us!

Woodinville Toddler Group’s Traditional Playdough Recipe

Mix together in a large pan:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups water (with food coloring or liquid water color added)
  • 1 cup regular table salt
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar

Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is the texture of soft mashed potatoes and pulls away from the side of the pan. Remove from pan and knead lightly. It may be lumpy, but will become smooth when kneaded. Cool and store in an airtight container. A favorite time to play with dough is while it is still warm!

Fun add-ins:

  • Food extracts such as peppermint, anise, orange, or lemon
  • Spices such as pumpkin pie, cinnamon, or cloves
  • Packages of Kool-Aid also are a great, easy way to add scent and color
  • Texture added with coffee grounds, rice, or colored aquarium gravel
  • Add visual interest with glitter

Enrichment:

  • Experiment with blending colors by starting with white playdough and knead in additional color
  • Try supplying popsicle sticks, pasta, or small plastic animals for poking and playing
  • Make impressions with potato mashers, forks, cookie presses, or hands and feet
  • Discover how to use a garlic press or child-safe scissors
  • Run toy cars through playdough to make tracks
  • Add items from nature; small branches, sticks, or stones

Playdough offers endless possibilities for creativity. It’s more than cookie cutters and rolling pins; experimenting with dough can ease tensions, develop small muscles, and allow opportunities for creative problem-solving.

Did you know? Rainbow Crafts of Cincinnati, Ohio, originally introduced Play-Doh brand modeling compound to the public in 1956 (and it only was available in a sickly, off-white color)!

Milk Makin’ Oatmeal-Flaxseed Lactation Cookies

When I went back to work after having Lucas, I pumped my boobs off to meet my daily breastmilk quota. It was difficult and stressful, but I discovered a few things along the way that really helped my supply, namely these lactation cookies. They’re also just dang tasty, whether or not you’re breastfeeding. Tell your husband not to worry if he can’t help himself and eats a few, he will not spontaneously lactate. Promise.

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There are a lot of recipes for similar cookies floating around. I combined a few and after many, many batches, think I have the recipe perfected. I’m due with our second baby this October and plan to have a large stash of this dough in the freezer before our little one arrives. I also like to make them for new moms as a baby-welcoming gift. (And if you just don’t feel like baking, you can buy the Milkmakers brand of pre-made cookies. I hear they’re yummy, but haven’t tried them myself.)

Lactation cookies help boost milk supply with three key ingredients; oats, ground flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast. My lactation consultant originally recommended this recipe, which also details why all of these ingredients are so important for nursing moms. I like to use coconut oil instead of butter, since the lauric acid it contains has beneficial antiviral, antibacterial, and parasiticidal properties that support the immune system of both baby and mama. If you just want a terrific, fiber-rich cookie recipe, feel free to leave out the brewer’s yeast.

Milk Makin’ Oatmeal-Flaxseed Lactation Cookies

Makes about 2 1/2-3 dozen.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3 T. brewer’s yeast
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In KitchenAid or other stand mixer, slowly mix together coconut oil, sugars, eggs, peanut butter, applesauce, vanilla extract, ground flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast until mixture is smooth.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mixing on level 1-2 until almost combined. Then, one at a time, add in oats, cranberries, walnuts, and chocolate chips, and mix until the dough comes together with no streaks of flour remaining.
  5. Drop 1-inch balls of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving a little room for the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set.
  7. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To freeze dough, flash freeze dough balls on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Once frozen, place individual dough balls in Ziploc bag to store. Bake from frozen, adding 1 to 2 minutes to final baking time.