Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

The other day I was at institute and our teacher told us of a service opportunity for the people affected by Sandy.  One of my teacher's friends in Delaware was collecting homemade Christmas ornaments to give to families that she had known while growing up in New York.  Being an FHE mom in my ward I realized that I could use this as my activity and force all my children in my group to be serviceable.   Double bonus!

One of the girls in my group came up with the idea of making salt clay ornaments.  She brought all the ingredients and some fun Christmas cookie cutters (making my life so very simple).  After watching this beautiful video about the Mormon helping hands to get us in the helping mood, we turned on the Christmas music, and got to work.  This project spanned two nights as we were on a bit of a time crunch with most people having homework to get back to - the first night consisting of making, shape creating, and baking the dough, the second night being the decorating portion.  Personally I think this would be a great activity to do with little children as they were really easy and still an absolute blast to make.

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water
Christmas cookie cutters (unless you're a pro and can make shapes it by hand)

1. Combine ingredients and knead dough for 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Roll dough out flat, and then use the cookie cutters to cut out the ornaments.

3.  Make a small hole for the string using a toothpick (we improvised with cocktail umbrellas because for some reason there were no toothpicks to be found in my house).

4. Bake at 300ยบF for about 20-25 or until golden. (Being the scatterbrain I am, I accidentally left the dough in the oven for an extra 15 minutes.  We had a lot of people over for my roommate's birthday and they all started saying.. "Ugh what's that burning smell?"  Realization finally dawned after about five minutes that the smell was probably my ornaments and I ran to the stove to take them out.  I found that they actually looked fine, so apparently there's a lot of room for error in cook time).

5. Paint and decorate as desired.  Acrylic paints work best, and you can use a varnish to make them shiny.  

We didn't have very many people show up the second day for painting due to other responsibilities   Because of this, we weren't able to take as much time on each ornament as we would've liked.  It would've been fun to not only paint, but add other things to the ornaments like tulle or ribbons.  I still think they turned out great.  I mean have you ever seen a cuter snowman?  I submit that you have not.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Usual I Presume?

I've always wanted to be a regular somewhere.  I think this fantasy comes from the times that I worked at a food establishment.  I'd look forward to the regulars coming in and breaking up the monotony of the day.  We seemed to share some sort of camaraderie as I'd ask them how things were going with their life. It was like we were holding real conversations!  Since then, I have really just wanted to be able to walk into some place, have the worker get a big grin on his or her face when they see me, and start preparing my order without even needing to be told.

Well today I'm proud to say that I became a regular.  Granted this didn't occur at a food establishment, but it was still just as magical.  For the past 6 months I've been going to the temple every Wednesday at the same time.  Although people have recognized me, for some reason the ladies who handed out the clothes never seemed to.  Today, I walked in, and the little old lady serving out those jumpsuits got a smile on her face in recognition.  Then to my surprise, she went and grabbed a jumpsuit without any prompting from me.  It was just as magical as I would have imagined it to be!  It was slightly disappointing to see that she had gotten my my size wrong, but you know, I'd rather be a regular and get the wrong thing, then not be a regular at all.