Homemade Gifts- Gingerbread Playdough

I have some pretty awesome kids in my life, for reals. There is of course all of the kids I get paid to see every day, and then there's a few that I keep around just because ;-)

Two of these little darlings are my very good friend's kids- I have known Michelle since we were in 6th grade and we became super close friends in high school when we were both on drill team. She now has one beautiful little girl who is six (sometimes my brain cannot wrap itself around the fact that my little chicken is six!) and she also has one handsome little man who will be one in March.

I also am lucky enough to have been the regular babysitter/nanny-type-person for one particular family from the daycare that I used to work at while I was in college. When I started with this family, Lily (monster) was 18mos old and I helped them through seems like everything from potty training to her "independence" stage. Then her sister came along and I spent a week with them getting Lily settled with the baby and helping everyone in general with the adjustment. Charlotte (monkey) will now be 3 in June- I have no idea where the time has gone!

Obviously I do something for these kids every year, but this year (like it is for many, I'm sure) things are tight. So when I found a recipe for homemade Gingerbread Playdough on another blog I knew that this would be perfect. Who doesn't like playdough!? (plus I had everything in my pantry already, how often does that happen?)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbs ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves- I actually omitted this
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 tsp orange extract- optional

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a medium saucepan and whisk together (this felt so wrong to me).
2. Mix in the water, oil and extract and stir until it's a thick batter.
3. Cook on medium/low heat, stirring occasionally until a thick dough forms.
4. Turn out onto parchment paper and knead until smooth- this feels good when you have cold hands!
5. Let cool before packing!
Makes about 2 cups of dough.

high five, job well done!