Today I decided to make salt dough ornaments with the girls, because that would be a fun, easy project which would result in lovely Christmas gifts for their grandparents and great grandparents. Just think of the nice family bonding we can do; sitting around the table, listening to Christmas music, painting our ornaments! It will be heartwarming and memory building!
Ha. Ha. Ha.
I start off the project by mixing 2 cups of gluten free flour with 1 cup of salt, then slowly adding 1 cup of warm water a little at a time. That makes the dough a little too sticky, so I add a bit more flour. Perfect. So far, so good. This is when I remember that we had to get rid of our rolling pin when we de-glutened the kitchen back in July. I remember that a friend had posted about using a wine bottle in place of a rolling pin once, but we don’t drink, so that wouldn’t help. Oh, wait! Chev brought home an empty wine bottle from work a while back, because she wanted to try that thing where you turn a bottle into a glass. (Yeah, that’s never going to happen, but I don’t like to smash her dreams.) So I dig out the wine bottle and we are in business. I flour the counter and roll out the first ball of dough.
This is when all hell breaks loose.
Ellie sees the dough and thinks “COOKIES,” and freaks out when I won’t let her eat any. Laurel, the little sneak, takes advantage of my distraction to steal a bit of the dough. Amazingly it doesn’t taste very good. Which she lets us know in no uncertain terms. Much to our entertainment. Ellie, however, is not convinced, so we let her taste a bit as well. You would think the dough made of fire for the way she spits it out and runs screaming from the room.
Once the tasting of the terrible dough is finished, the fighting over who gets to pick out the next cookie cutter commences. “I want Frosty!” Ellie tries to grab the reindeer. “No! No Rudolph! Frosty!” Ellie tries to grab the Santa. “I WANT FROSTY THE SNOWMAN RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!”
I finally manage to get all of the ornaments cut out and put on trays. Laurel excitedly runs over to the table, asking for her sprinkle sugars. I explaine that the ornaments don’t get sprinkles, they get painted, which only excites her more. There is nothing Laurel loves more than painting. Then I dropp the bomb. The ornaments have to bake for two hours. That’s right, folks, I have the pleasure of explaining to two three year olds that they have to wait TWO HOURS until they can decorate the ornaments. And of course, being the sweet and level headed angels they are, they accept that fact and go off to play patiently for two hours.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
I wish. No, instead I have a double tantrum on my hands. Laurel throws herself down on the floor, sobbing that I am a mean momma. Ellie starts throwing everything she can get her hands on. In a desperate act to distract them I put in Polar Express for the umpteenth time. Mission accomplished. Thank God.
Fast forward to the one hour baking mark: Oh shit! I forgot to put the holes in the ornaments, for the strings to go through! The good news is that you can, in fact, still stick a straw through the ornaments at the one hour mark. The bad news is that you are going to burn you fingers doing it. The worse news is that your toddlers are going to think that the ornaments are finished because you have taken them out of the oven, and then throw yet another tantrum when you tell them that they still have another hour to bake. But, the holes are in the ornaments, so the crisis has been averted.
Finally, the oven beeps and I can put the ornaments on the cooling rack while I get the paints ready. Now, you can paint them with kid paint, but I’ve seen the comparison pictures, and acrylic looks WAY better. So I break out my good paint and put little blobs on paper plates for everyone to use as pallets. I only have black, white, and the primary colors, however, so I have to mix the secondary colors. Holy shit. You would think that I was murdering puppies from the way Laurel freaked out about me mixing the colors on her paper plate. “NO MOMMA! DAT’S MY PAINT!” For the love of God, kid, do you want green? Yes? Then shut it and let me work my color-mixing magic.
I divvy up the ornaments, set out all of our supplies, and we start to paint. I put Chev in charge of helping Ellie, which basically means that it is her job to make sure that Ellie doesn’t eat the paint since I’m not sure if it’s non-toxic. And to keep her from painting herself (a task which Chev failed at miserably) while trying to get at least a couple ornaments painted before she loses interest. Laurel is fairly self sufficient and really just needs supervision to make sure that she doesn’t start painting herself or the table. I get to paint some of the nicer ornaments. Everything is finally going well. Well, for me and Laurel it is. Chev is fairly OCD about things, so helping Ellie is somewhat akin to water boarding for her. Which is why I make her do it. Its good for her to deal with messiness and chaos. But all in all, this is the point where everything calms down and it starts to feel like a Hallmark commercial. I can even feel the cockles of my heart warming up.
Alas, all too soon Ellie is done. Oh so done. Done enough to dump the dirty dish of water that she and Chev have been rinsing brushes in all over the floor and herself. On the plus side, it helped to rinse some of the paint off of her stomach and legs (because painting is a diaper-only event in our house.) After Chev cleans her up and sends her on her way, things settle down again. Chev is happy because she gets to paint a few ornaments. Laurel is banging them out like a champ, even if she is a bit pissed that I won’t let her paint them all black. (Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like black ornaments for your tree.) I finish up my ornaments and start cleaning up.
I notice that Ellie is being very quiet. Where is she? Oh no, she’s in the kitchen. With the ornaments. Please don’t let her be breaking them!
And you know what? She wasn’t breaking the ornaments.
And I actually felt my heart grow three sizes. ❤ ❤ ❤