Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sand Clay

    Gracie auditioned for a part in the Stirling Festival Theatre at the end of June.  It was an amazing opportunity for her, the little girl once could not make herself speak to anyone other than her immediate family.  You've come a long way baby!  Having said all of that, Stirling is a half hours drive from us.  Rehearsals for her play would be for the entire month of July and the first week of August, therefore monopolizing our summer.  I wished her good luck in her audition, but secretly hoped that she would choke... she did not.  Grace was offered a role, much to her delight, and my grudging pride.
    The play is an amazing opportunity for Grace, but kind of puts a kink into the rest of the family's summer.  We are getting up to an alarm, something that we DO NO DO in the summer.  I load the four kids into the van twice a day to drive and pick Grace up, that represents two hours in the car for three children who gain nothing from this amazing opportunity.  I promised the kids that I would make it up to them, that their sacrifice would not be in vain, we would fill our summer with fun still.  This was a promise made before the running lead me into an exhausted stupor.

    Today I made good on my promise of summer fun.  For some time now I have been mulling in my head an idea to make sandcastles that will last.  I considered mixing white glue with sand, but that seemed expensive and messy.  Then I stumbled across this picture on Pinterest of a sandcastle, so I stole it.  I had very few of the ingredients that the recipe called for, so I improvised.

    I began my sand clay with my basic play dough recipe. 
1 cup flour                                                      1 Tbsp oil
1 cup water                                                     2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup salt        

You combine all of the ingredients into a pot and mix them over medium heat.  Your arm will feel like it is going to fall off.  There will be times in the process of stirring that you will wish for death, or perhaps to stop stirring.  When the mixture starts to pull away from the sides, and looks much like mashed potatoes, take it off the heat.  Let it cool, trust me on this one, don't get ahead of yourself, because that dough is pretty hot.

I quadrupled the recipe, and added three cups of sand to it.  Surprisingly it turned out great!  

    The kids were really excited when I told them that we were going to make sandcastles that would last.  It kept them happy for an hour.  I gave them each a green paper plate to make their castle on.  I also found deep at the back of my cupboard, little Canadian flags, perfect for castles.  I found some shells that we had brought back from Florida.

    At one point Miss Smartie Pants Riley shouts out, "Hey Mom, I just made a fossil".  I wish that I'd thought of that!  It's too late now, but I should have lied and pretended that it was my idea, and you would say how clever I am.  It's clever all right, it's just not my clever idea.

    My plan is to let everything dry.  When it's dry I will mix glue and water to a half to half ratio and we  will paint it onto the castles and fossils.  I have to admit, the clay looks really attractive.  The kid's really had a fun afternoon, and it only represented perhaps 15 minutes of my time.

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