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Tis' the season to be jolly! And there is no better way to celebrate than to have a funky looking sweet treat! These Christmas tree meringues are a cinch to make & taste great too! They make the perfect snack for Christmas parties & store for up to 3 whole weeks (if they last that long!). The recipe below has been altered to suit the meringue trees, if you would like to make any other shape meringue, simply use the same method & ingredients minus the rainbow chips, sugar star & green dye. 


 
 
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In my experiences, there is nothing kidlets love more than getting colourfully grubby with finger paints. And most days they will of course stick 10 million tonnes of paint in the one spot until the paper is tearing & decomposing - but that's okay, they are still learning. My only problem with the over-use of paint by kidlets is the price you pay for store bought paint which is never as 'non-toxic' as they say and always comes with that funny smell and hard to get off stain it leaves on clothing & walls. So over the years I have resorted to making my own paints at home - from everyday things you will always find in your cupboard. Both edible and non-edible, tempera powder and food dye - I have tried almost every recipe imaginable, many fails & many successes (as expected!) so to help you avoid all the trials & errors I have compiled my 3 most favourite paint recipes below to share with you all!


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Homemade Bath Paint!

What you need:
muffin tin
shaving cream
food coloring
paint brush

What you do:
  1. Squirt the shaving cream into each muffin hole.
  2. Put a couple of drops of food coloring on to each mound of shaving cream. Stir well.
  3. Go to town painting the bathtub walls (and yourself)! 


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Homemade Poster Paint!

What You Need:
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Small jars or plastic containers
  • 3 tablespoons powdered tempera paint per container
  • 2 tablespoons water per container
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid starch or liquid detergent per container (optional)

What To Do:
  1. Measure flour into saucepan.
  2. Slowly add 1 cup water while stirring to make a smooth paste.
  3. Heat, stirring constantly, until paste begins to thicken.
  4. Cool.
  5. Measure 1/4 cup paste into each small container.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons powdered tempera paint and 2 tablespoons water to each container.
  7. For a matte finish, add liquid starch. For a glossy finish, add liquid detergent.
  8. Store covered.


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Homemade Finger Paint!
What You Need:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tb salt
2 cup cold water
3 1/2 cup hot water
food coloring

What To Do:
1. In saucepan, mix dry ingredients together.
2. Slowly add cold water to the dry ingredients, whisking as you add.
3. Bring to boil, over medium heat, as you add hot water, whisking continuously.
4. Boil mixture for about 1-2 minutes, whisking continuously, until thick and lumps are gone.
5. Allow to cool slightly in pan then transfer to separate bowls to add color.
6. Mix in a few drops of food coloring to achieve desired color.
7. Allow to cool completely before painting.


 
 
There are hundreds of ways to make scented playdough, but I would like to share some of my favourites with you all. Playdough is fun enough as it is but it's even better when you can make playdough cupcakes and playdough bikkies that actually smell like the real deal! Traditional playdough has a pretty funky smell that some people find hard to mask - well here is a list of other ways to make scrumptious smelling playdough that have all been tried and tested by yours truly! :)
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Fruity Scented Playdough (Non-Edible)

You will need:
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons oil
200ml water
50ml fruity fragrant shampoo
½ cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Food colouring to match your scent (green for apple, red for strawberry, orange/yellow for orange/mango)

How to make it?
  • Pour all dry ingredients, flour, salt and cream of tartar together in a saucepan.
  • Add oil, shampoo, colouring and water to dry ingredients.
  • I use a whisk before heating as I find this helps remove lumps and blends the ingredients well.
  • Cook over medium heat constantly stirring until it becomes a thick blob.
  • Then turn out onto a clean surface and knead into a smooth ball. Be careful the play dough will be very hot!
  • Store in a plastic zip lock bag or air tight container. 


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Peppermint Scented Playdough (Edible)

You will need:
1 cup all-purpose flour (sift if lumpy)
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 cup brewed peppermint tea
1 1/2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola)
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
Food coloring, as desired

How to make it?
  • In a sauce pan, whisk together the flour, salt and cream of tarter. Add the water and oil and whisk until smooth. 
  • Place pan over low heat and cook and stir until it thickens and forms a ball (about 5 minutes for a single recipe). When it's impossible to stir and looks like a big sticky lump, it's done! :)
  • Turn out onto the counter or a mat, scraping pan clean with a spatula. Knead the warm dough a couple times, and place in a loosely-covered container to cool. (Or, let the kids play with it right away!) Store in a sealed container or ziplock bag when not in use.

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Chocolate Scented Playdough (Edible)


You will need:
1 cup all-purpose flour (sift if lumpy)
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to make it?
  • In a sauce pan, whisk together the flour, salt and cream of tarter. Add the water and oil and whisk until smooth. 
  • Place pan over low heat and cook and stir until it thickens and forms a ball (about 5 minutes for a single recipe). When it's impossible to stir and looks like a big sticky lump, it's done! :)
  • Turn out onto the counter or a mat, scraping pan clean with a spatula. Knead the warm dough a couple times, and place in a loosely-covered container to cool. (Or, let the kids play with it right away!) Store in a sealed container or ziplock bag when not in use.


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Strawberry Scented Playdough (Edible)


You will need:
1 cup plain flour
1 Tablespoon oil
200ml Water
50ml Strawberry Essence
½ cup salt
¼ cup chocolate sprinkles
2 Teaspoons cream of tartar
1 Teaspoon of rose pink food colouring

How to make it?
  • Pour all dry ingredients, flour, salt and cream of tartar together in a saucepan. 
  • Add oil, food colouring, strawberry essence and water to dry ingredients.
  • I use a whisk before heating as I find this helps remove lumps and blends the ingredients.
  • Cook over medium heat constantly stirring until it becomes a thick blob. 
  • Then turn out onto a clean surface and knead into a smooth blob.
  • Allow the play dough to cool before kneading in the chocolate sprinkles.
  • Store in a plastic zip lock bag or air tight container.

Those are the basic ones to get you started, feel free to change it up and experiment - maybe add some glitter, or some pony beads, or even some hundreds and thousands! The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination allows. ;)