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Before leaving for the airport this time I made ID tags for the boys, who are now very capable of running away in a crowded place. I wanted something that would be attached to their clothes instead of hanging off, which might fall off or choke them. So I cut a piece of fabric with pinking shears and used a permanent marker to write our names, phone numbers and e-mails on it. Then I sewed it on the back of their t-shirts. We can always take it off after we come back, and save it for the next trip.

The boys enjoy painting and coloring, and thankfully there are lots of recipes out there for kid-friendly (i.e. edible) paints. My favorite is yogurt and food coloring, which I add to a plastic egg case and let the boys go to town with their sponge brushes. One thing that parents of single kids probably don’t get, though, is how much more intense it is to supervise two kids who run wild while yielding paint brushes… The boys obviously have aspirations to become mural painters, as all our walls (in our rental apartment) have been decorated (by the way, baking soda and water paste helps with crayons, but not with markers…)

Here are some of their early drawings, and the “gallery” where we display them: just a string with clothes pins, for easy mounting and unmounting.

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Lately I also give them my own version of coloring pages, with shapes and drawings for them to paint over. My drawing skills are minimal, which works well for this kind of activity, but I seem to have overcome myself already. The other day I tried to draw a dog and ended up with something that resembled more a sheep instead. Nevermind, I wrote πρόβατο under it and problem solved!

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I also made playdough for them, using one of the numerous recipes out there, but I guess they were a little too young for it, and ended up throwing it around, stepping on it (it really does feel good oozing between your toes!) and then mixing all the colors together so now my 4 distinct basic colors became a big boogy-colored chunk.

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Occasionally we use bathroom crayons too, which are lots of fun for the whole family!

A few more past projects. My first attempt in making soft toys, from this great book: Sweet & Simple Handmade. Although it came out good, and pretty much just as it was meant to be, I am not sure I was very happy with it. I am saving it as a Christmas gift, though, so we ‘ll have to wait until the boys give their verdict.

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From their crawling times, the boys had managed to open holes on almost every pair of pants they had. I actually like patched clothes, so I used a couple of old t-shirts and added circles, triangles, and in this case a banana (there is a monkey at the butt). I am very pleased with this project, and the boys like to talk about the extra shapes on their knees.

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Probably the project I am least happy about, is this giant pumpkin. Instead of carving it (I am definitely not good with knives) I drew some doodles with a permanent marker on it. I am not very good with doodles either, so I kind of gave up before I was ready to consider it finished. Never mind, I ‘ll try again next year!

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I can’t believe it’s been so long since I was here. For a while, of course there was no point. No crafting was being made, and even the cooking was of the “what can I make in under 25 min. before we all starve to death?” kind. Come to think of it, that would have been very blog-worthy, had I had the time to write about that!

In any case, crafting has slowly resumed, and I can’t think of a better way to keep track of it for future reference than entering all here. So, let’s see, what have I done lately? In no particular order, and with minimal detail for now:

Fabric cubes

Fabric cubes, stuffed with polyfill. They were received with enthusiasm but soon ignored. It was fun to make, though, and a quick project for instant gratification.

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Recycled tin cans, painted with acrylic paint and later on decorated with more color (sorry, no photos of final product.) They are very useful for storing pens, markers, crayons etc. Also quick and easy, plus I feel better about reusing something that would otherwise end up in the recycling bin.

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See the two boxes next to the armchair? They are cardboard boxes covered with fabric, and they have been my biggest hit so far. The boys love to run around with them, and great for storing books and toys. For this size, all it takes is less than a fat quarter and a little glue. I am already planning making more for the crafts room and other areas in the house. And, of course, another great recycling project!

yogurtbreadsliced

Yesterday’s bread experiment was a great success! Yogurt bread, from The bread lover’s bread machine cookbook was dense, heavy, and had a nice, mature taste. The crust is very thin (which I like), but still nicely crunchy, and the bread tastes just as well toasted as not. And with just 4 ingredients, which I always have at hand, I would say we have a keeper!

For the 1.5 lb loaf, the recipe is as follows:

3/4 cup water

1 cup whole milk yogurt

3 1/2 cup bread flour

2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp yeast

Put all ingredients in bread maker bowl, keeping aside about 1/4 of the flour. This will be added, if necessary, while the dough is made, to accommodate for the different consistencies of yogurt. Bake on Basic setting in the electric bread maker, with Medium crust.

The only modification I made is that I didn’t have whole milk yogurt, so I took out 2 tbs of the water and replaced it with canola oil, to make sure there is enough fat in the bread.

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July 16, 2011

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