Rainy Day, Pâte á Modeler – A Mom to Mom.

May 16, 2009 | On Motherhood, Recipes | 17 comments

Rainy Day Play-Do.

Mom, what is the most recent FUN memory your children have with you?  Not when did you have fun with them (after all, tucking them in some nights is fun!) but when did they have fun with YOU?
The “Parisienne Farmgirl” enigma covers all aspects of my life.  (If you are a new reader, what I mean is the wide contrasts in my personality and interests).  I am a creature of routine and order.  I am also someone who loves spontaneity and craziness.  Both I think are well suited to motherhood.  Children thrive on routine and I believe they function better in an orderly environment over chaos but they also need the freedom to be crazy!  I don’t mean swinging from the crystal chandeliers on a fruit role up induced sugar buzz.  Moms, they need to see us be crazy and spontaneous.
Around here we try to mix Mom’s obsession with a clean house and picked up toys with a healthy dose of “Friday Night Dance Parties”  – this is when we let Aidan stay up “late”  and make a pizza with Momma and  we turn on Pandora.com and dance around the kitchen.  Would I rather throw him in bed at 7pm after a long week?  Sure, but occasionally you’ve got to make a memory.
I imagine it means more than we know for children to see their parents simply relax and shake off the “shoulds” every-once-in-awhile.  When we went on vacation (TWO YEARS AGO) I realized that Aidan had probably never seen us so relaxed.  I realized what a bloody shame that was.
How many times a day do I say to my kids, “Come on”  “Hurry up”  “Let’s go” – all with the routine and “shoulds” of the day.  And we keep a VERY low schedule but sometimes I hear my own voice and think, “Why don’t you back off a little?”  
What does a child care how fast he puts his shoes on?  He has a lifetime to care about that.  And why in the world is it so important to me?  Is that extra 15 seconds going to ruin my day?  Surely if it is than the problem is with my household and time management.  
Do you know how much we can bless their day when we just relax and chose to cherish the moments of helping put shoes on?  What an opportunity to be tender when we slowly practice making a bed together?  ‘Look into their eyes and savor the little mug that we are cleaning with a washcloth instead of trying to do it as fast as we can?  There is a time and a place and a reason to teach order and timeliness but our children will have a lifetime to be rushed and feel the healthy weight of responsiblity. Our home should be a relaxing and comforting for them as we want it to be for ourselves.
Our Mom routine, our desire to keep the floors clean 24 hours a day to tuck the kids in but not before my sink is scoured – these are all noble things.  I think homemaking and keeping the house tidy is a very important aspect of a family’s sanity.  Organization and cleanliness are things that make our house run like a well oiled machine.  But, would it be so bad to go straight to the playroom after dinner?  Would it be so bad to jump up from the table and shout, “Race you around the block!” ?  
Heaven forbid that the times when I set my agenda aside to the delight of my kids are only few and far between.
 I remember the night my Dad made popcorn on the living room floor with NO LID!  I am sure popcorn grease was not in the original design of my Mom’s perfect Mary Emmerling country living room but it sure was fun! … An even more special memory – the night he drove my friend and I home from the farm and once the conversation turned to Princess Diana’s birthday being that very day he grabbed his gigantic, mounted, prehistoric “car phone” and to our delight called Buckingham Palace and let us speak to the operator who took our message to wish her a happy birthday!!!  Can you imagine how much that must have cost him???  But it was unplanned, it was spontaneous and it was ridiculous.  (It was in that spirit that I coordinated meeting my beloved Princess years later!!!)
A lifetime ago I nannied for a little boy who came from the perfect house.  Organized and proper.  One perfect summer day a warm rain began to fall as we drove home from an errand to which I exclaimed, “Quick!  Role down your window and put your arm out and feel that lovely rain!”  The little guy no more than four years old had to be convinced to put his arm out and let it get wet.  “My Mom would never do that.” he said.  Now, this little boy had a very, very good Mom.  But why should a little rain water be so outlandish?  Should we not teach our kids the joy of a summer rain falling on our skin over the importance of the dryness of our cars interior???
A lifetime later Joel and I (pregnant) and Aidan were on a walk around the block with snarly gray clouds above when all watery hell broke loose. I have never been outside before or since during such sheets of rain.  There was no thunder or danger so Aidan and I took our time getting home and getting properly SOAKED!  And once we got home we played on the porch for a half an hour.  Did the kitchen floor get trashed full of mud drop and sticky wet pine needles?  Did we have to peel off soggy clothes?  Of course, but that was close to two years ago and Aidan still remembers, “that time we played in the rain.”
No one likes a clean house as much as I do or peace and quiet after a long day but it’s not all about me is it?  My kids need to freak out, jump around, get dirty and splash in the mud.  After all, what does it REALLY MATTER if they make a mud puddle with the hose?  Would I rather them in the house watching “Dora the Explorer”? Would I rather that they grown up to be adults that can not function on a spontaneous basis?  Thankfully, they don’t even know who Dora is.
It was in the spirit of setting my own agenda and desires for an immaculate maison aside that  I decided to bust out the cream of tarter and food coloring for a little homemade play-dough during one rainy morning this past week.  Even though my kitchen was clean and “my list” was long.
And oh, you should have seen my kitchen floor an hour later!!!!!  
Here is the recipe for the next time you are feeling a little adventurous and let’s all encourage each other to remember my funny and “inappropriate” advice:
“Be sure to pick up all your quarters.  Be sure to drop a few every now and again too.”

1 Cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar (for my second batch I only had one tablespoon left so I subbed the second with a tablespoon of lemon juice and it worked OK)
1 tbsp oil
1 Cup water

Combine ingrediants in a pot and heat over medium high heat (adding food coloring before heat)  Cook until it reaches a claylike consistency.  If it’s a little dry upon cooling add a little oil and knead it in. 

Home made Play-Dough last for months if kept in a zip lock bag.  


  1. Old Centennial Farmhouse

    You are SO RIGHT. The kids remember the spontaneous moments and NOT the trips to DISNEY (double ick to Disney, anyway! I’d rather go see what God made…like the mountains and the seas…!). I used to enjoy the days when we would get the Fisher Price toys all out (the ones like the house, the farm, the garage, the airport, all that and have them all over outside and we’d play for HOURS!
    Thanks for a great, great post! Sometimes as a busy mom (I did it, too!) our TO DO LIST rules instead of our HEART.

  2. Parisienne Farmgirl

    Double ick to Disney? Ouch, I love nature but darned if I am not a Disney nut!!!
    I remember, we had the AirPort! The F.P. toys today are not as cool AT ALL! I wish I could afford to get all the old ones off ebay!

  3. Anne Marie

    I just bought the old cinderella and sleeping beauty at a garage sale (score) – the old ones! – kids haven’t even ever seen them (and oldest is 12 🙂 hee hee)

    I sat and read the whole post girl, and have to say…if I was right there- I’d be giving you a BIG hug and probably be crying with a “hallelulia” – did I spell that right?

    p.s. we too dance – hilarious –
    and belt out songs so loud that I’m sure the neighbor a mile away hears –
    have a good one!

  4. *The Beautiful Life*

    Oh you are speaking my language here…life moves too fast to begin with and too often our kids are just thrown in along for the speedy ride. Living in the moment can be hard when you have little ones, but you NEVER, EVER regret it. MY “little one” is now 18 and you know what? Yesterday she danced around outside in the pouring rain — hitting every possible puddle she could find. She came back in soaking wet — and with a HUGE smile on her face. She now lives “in the moment” — she didn’t grow out of it. Mission accomplished. 😉

    Thanks SO much for this post!!


  5. Mount Belly Mama

    What a great post and I will remember this forever! I actually ask myself those kinds of questions with my husband actually. When was the last time HE had fun with me. You know, where I wasn’t worrying about finances and being perfect. Sometimes you just got to let go and let loose.

  6. Berlin Deluxxe

    My son loves our “piano nights”. We hook up our PA system, dad on the trumpet and vocals and him on the trumpet or piano. We sometimes have our musician friends come over and we have a night filled with jazz and wonderful anecdotes. Very much of a modern day speak easy. But what we enjoy most is when it us just us three. My son will dance with me and occasionally belt out a standard.

  7. Faith

    Loved this post! It’s so true and we all need a reminder sometimes, so thank you!!

  8. Tina-

    You are one of Seed Winners on my blog. Stop by and contact me through my profile. I need your address to ship your package of heirloom garden seeds to you.
    Congratulations. ~Tina

  9. RobinfromCA

    This is a fabulous post! They grow up so fast, take my word for it. Then they’re gone and you wish for all the world they were young enough to make play dough with. You’re a good mom.

    You met Princess Diana? I’d love to hear about that some time! Now I’m going to go off and dream about having some summer rain to cool of this unbearable heat we whiny northern Californians are definitely not used to.


  10. Bonjour Madame

    These are fantastic and memorable times you’re creating for your kids. I remember all the silly things when I was a kid. Those are the most fun times.

  11. parisapartment

    I’m glad you said that. It’s amazing what kids remember. Even the smallest memory is something that I treasure. Mom’s should be having fun too, that’s what kids are for!

  12. Anonymous

    Truer words were never written! I love your advice. My daughter (10) would certainly agree! She was just invited to try out and made a gymnastics team. As parents we were all caught up in the excitement and praise of our daughter…well the practices for this team are 6-9 pm 3 nights per week!!!! We homeschool but most of the other girls don’t…can’t imagine sending kids off for 3 hours 3 nights per week when they have already been gone all day…most also have other activities.

    We were struggling with the decision…time…money…family life all important issues. After the try outs last week, we told Marielle we would think about things and we wanted her to also.

    My daughter is so full of wisdom I realized when she told me this over the weekend “Mom, I have decided not to join the team. I’ve been thinking really hard about it and I just think, if I have to think so hard about it that I don’t really want to do it. I don’t like to be such a busy person. I like to have time to do things and don’t like everything too planned out.”

    We had already decided the team was not for our family but she decided for herself! She likes to live life spontaneously. I hope she never loses that quality!

    Patti Hill
    Livonia, Michigan

  13. Anonymous

    Just one more thing. Here is a lovely quote I found.

    Each day of our lives, we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
    ~Charles Swindoll

    Take care and I really love your blog.

    Patti H.

  14. Anonymous

    Wow!–That really made me step back and slow down. Especially the part about being hurried with the shoes.–Thanks I needed that!
    I love the play-doh recipe.

  15. Joy

    I didn’t know about making your own playdoh!! I love it! I’m 55, but I’m going to make some for myself. I’m glad you are doing fun things with your kids–making memories. I remember doing some fun things with my mom and me and my kids would do fun things. So important.

  16. Joy

    Oh, and me and my kids drove around with Christmas music blasting and the car windows down and drove through all the neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights. And when I was a kid, my mom and I would make paper chains made with newspaper or construction paper and used flour and water for glue.

  17. Joy

    And your little one with the rolling pin–that is so incredibly cute–I LOL. Precious.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search Posts

Blog Categories

Archives by Date