Play Dough Recipe

We were out of commercially made Play Dough so we made our own:

* 1 cup flour
* 1 cup boiling water
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 1 1/2 teaspoon oil
* 1/4 cup salt
* assorted food colors

In a stand mixer with a sturdy paddle attachment, mix together the dry ingredients. Then, add boiling water and oil. (You can add a few drops of essential oil at this step, if you wanted to make it smell nice. I added vanilla oil). Mix until until smooth.

If you want to make the dough all one color, add the food coloring.

If you want to create multiple colors, remove dough from mixing bowl. Roll into a log and divide the dough into lumps according to the number of colors you want to make. To avoid getting your hands stained, put each lump into the mixing bowl along with the food coloring. Mix till color is thoroughly worked through the lump of dough.

Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled. Will last for a long time.

If you need to mix colors to achieve new colors, here’s a color mixing wheel to help. My children enjoyed watching this step and it was a memorable, tactile lesson on colors.

Fellowship Without Forgiveness: Impossible

This is today’s Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotional. Wow. So simple, so profound. If you want to read it from it’s original source, click here.

Fellowship Without Forgiveness: Impossible
by Jon Walker

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

Fellowship without forgiveness is impossible.

As believers, we’re called “to settle our relationships with each other.” (2 Corinthians 5:18 MSG) We need to consistently forgive others and receive forgiveness from others, or we’ll “give up in despair.” (2 Corinthians 2:7 CEV)

Whenever we’re hurt by someone, we have a choice to make: Will we focus on retaliation or resolution?

The Bible speaks candidly about settling the score: “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV)

In God’s economy, it’s not enough to say we won’t seek revenge; we’re to press into the very heart of forgiveness, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave us. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

The Bible is very clear that forgiveness is not optional for the Christ-follower. God sets this high standard because he knows how much is at stake in your life: Bitterness and unforgiveness are a cancer that eventually will destroy you from the inside out. Forgiveness is the scalpel that removes the tumor.

This doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to immediately forgive and be done with it. As you become more and more Christ-like, that will become possible, but for now you may have to work at forgiving someone who has hurt you in a particularly painful way. In other words, you may forgive this person but soon begin to feel a root of unforgiveness growing in your heart.

When this occurs, you can go to King Jesus and ask him to help you with this cycle. He will help you release the offender, and the Holy Spirit will guide you in your effort.

A major point here is that forgiveness is a choice you can make. The power of God, working within you, means you no longer have to remain a slave to unforgiveness or bitterness.

In Colossians, the Apostle Paul provides the basis and motivation for forgiveness: “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13 NLT). When we remember the price Jesus paid to forgive us, how can we not forgive? (Romans 5:8)

What now?

  • When you forgive, you’re not pretending it didn’t hurt – Forgiveness means you no longer hold the offense against the offender. It means you’ve pardoned the debt, and you’ve intentionally chosen to release the one who hurt you. We’re to love deeply, because “love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)
  • Stop right now and talk to God – Have an honest conversation with God about someone you need to forgive. Our heavenly Father knows that it’s not easy to let go of our hurts, but he will give you the grace to forgive.
  • Be honest with God – Cry out to God; tell him exactly how you feel. He won’t be surprised or upset by your anger, hurt, insecurity, or bitterness.
  • If you feel like you are despairing, my parting thought is this: “Is there someone I need to seek forgiveness from or someone I need to forgive?” I love the part in the devotional that reminds us that God “won’t be surprised or upset by your anger, hurt, insecurity, or bitterness.”

    Many times we avoid pouring our heart out to God by praying little one-line prayers that redirect attention away from our own hearts or only scratch the surface. When we do this, we are only giving lip-service to God – we are not placing our full trust in Him. This is a symptom of pride in our hearts – thinking we can do a better job than God. It is only when we humbly place our trust in God’s power, acknowledging that we cannot forgive or seek forgiveness by our own strength, that we can unreservedly pour out our hearts (to God AND to those with whom we are in conflict!) and get to the root.

    We don’t have to be afraid to tell God what we have done or how hurt we are – He already knows. He LOVES us and will give us the strength to seek forgiveness and forgive others. We can boldly seek forgiveness from others because our eternal debt has been paid through Christ’s sacrifice in our place – this takes the impossible weight off of the restoration process. We must forgive others and be restored to them because we have been forgiven an eternal debt and restored to God the Father through Christ’s sacrifice.

    By the way, here’s a perspective-changing article on the difference between seeking mercy and seeking grace.

    And, for further information on how to be at peace with others, check out the resources at Peacemaker Ministries.

    Butternut Squash & Lentil Coconut Curry / Curried Tilapia with Mango Salsa

    Butternut Squash, a winter squash which is in abundance and often very inexpensive this time of year, is a staple for fall menus. It is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, vitamin A and potassium.

    The problem is that it’s often just served rather plainly as a pureed soup or mashed with pine nuts sprinkled over top. After awhile, one can only take so much of the same squashy flavor over and over again — which is why I set out to find something a little different!

    These recipes went well together. They are adapted from ones found as I like the “ingredient search” for when I have random ingredients on hand and am curious what I can make from them.

    Lentils, an ingredient in the recipe below, have many health benefits, too. The squash and lentils lend a delicately sweet, earthy flavor to this recipe while the curry, cayenne pepper and exotic coconut undertones made for a complex mouthwatering dish.

    Butternut Squash & Lentil Coconut Curry

      1 tablespoon peanut oil
      1 small onion, chopped
      1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
      1 clove garlic, chopped
      1 cup dry lentils
      1 cup butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
      1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
      3 cups water
      1 can unsweetened coconut milk
      3 tablespoons tomato paste
      1 tablespoon curry powder
      1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      salt and pepper to taste
      6 cups Cooked Basmati rice


    1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook the onion, ginger, garlic,until onion is tender.
    2. Mix the lentils, squash into the pot. Stir in the water, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Season with curry powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until lentils and squash are tender. Stir in fresh cilantro just before serving. Serve over Basmati rice.

    The fish was good by itself, but was delicious served with this salsa. The cilantro perfectly balanced the sweetness of the mangoes, the spice of the cayenne, the pungency of the red onions and the bitterness of the lime:

    Curried Tilapia with Mango Salsa

      1 mango – peeled and diced
      1/4 cup chopped red onion
      1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
      4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 tablespoons for rub; 2 tablespoons for salsa)
      1/2 teaspoon salt

      2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
      1 tablespoon curry powder
      1 tablespoon garlic pepper seasoning
      4 fresh tilapia fillets


    1. For the mango salsa, combine the mango, red onion, cayenne pepper, cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice and salt in a glass bowl. Set aside.
    2. For the tilapia rub, mix together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, curry powder and garlic pepper in a small bowl. Rub this mixture onto both sides of the fish fillets.
    3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the fish for about 3 minutes on each side or until it flakes easily with a fork.
    4. Serve with the mango salsa.

    I served the dinner with plain yogurt (to mix in with the curry to lessen the spice for the children) pre-packaged Naan. For dessert, Rasgulla(also pre-made – I just had to add the sweetened milk) sprinkled with chopped pistachios. Dessert would have been even tastier with Chai Tea – maybe next time!

    A Gift For a Wiccan Friend

    This time of year, everyone is giving gifts. Someone posted this good question to the Moms of Grace list. My reply is below.

    I exchange Christmas gifts every year with an old friend who has recently become Wiccan. (Yes, she still celebrates Christmas.) So here’s my question: would you purchase something that includes her religion, or, as a Christian, would you avoid it? Specifically, I found a book about gardening online that I think she’d love– my objection to the book is that it talks about “connecting with the garden goddess”, and it is listed on Amazon as a Wiccan book. I’m having a hard time deciding… I don’t support her Wiccan beliefs, yet, I feel like this book is totally “her” and would be a great gift.

    What would you do?

    First, I’m really proud of you for continuing to have a friend even though she has become a Wiccan. So many Christians run away when people make sinful decisions – everything from having a baby out of wedlock, getting involved with an addiction, having an affair, etc. It is in these times that we need to reach out even more to our friends. The way of the sinner is hard, and guess who has the light?

    Second, I’m proud of you that you are not only still talking to her, but still loving her.. thinking of the things that she enjoys.

    That being said, I’d avoid encouraging her in her worship of a false gods. It doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to purchase a Christian book on gardening with Bible verses all over it, but I would not intentionally give her a book that send mixed messages. It’s very hard not to compromise, but I would consider verses like

    Revelations 3:15-16 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

    Matthew 5: 9-20 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

    We need to be careful not to send mixed signals. What does the fruit look like? Everything we do has “fruit” so to speak. What is the fruit of giving something that promotes Wicca? Be careful to only present her with Truth.

    1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

    Also, I think that the fact that you are questioning whether or not it would be right to give your friend this gift is proof that your conscience is telling you something. Even if no one here could think of a reason why you shouldn’t give her the gift, if your conscience is causing you to have doubts, listen to it! Don’t sin against it.

    Romans 14:13-14 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this–not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

    There have to be other great gifts out there for your friend! I’m a gardener and I can’t wait to do worm composting – in my basement! Here’s a book I’m looking forward to reading: Worms Eat My Garbage

    I think Christians have misperceptions of Wicca and Wiccans have misperceptions of Christians. It may be good to study what she believes – even asking her to loan you a book or two that has influenced her, so you at least know where she is coming from.

    Two common misperceptions I hear from Wiccans is that Christianity is degrading to women, and the second is that they do not care about the earth and the environment. It might be true that individual Christians error in these ways, but the Bible is very clear on these issues. Think of ways to talk with her instead of past her.

    As you look for ways to dialog with your friend, knowing that she has a heart for caring for the earth – a gardener- you might consider studying what the Bible says about the earth and how we are to be stewards of the earth.

    I will be praying for you as you reach out to your friend!

    Much love,
    Sarah Joy Albrecht