Easy Salt Dough Recipe

One of my all-time favorite craft medium would have to be the humble salt-dough. Its one of those easy to make mediums where you almost always have the ingredients at home and the kids can not have enough fun with the endless possibilities. Ofcourse there are several variations to this recipe on the internet but I stick to my tried and tested recipe which has worked for me for over a decade. Here it is.

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Ingredients : Salt  : 1 cup Flour (all purpose) : 4 cups Water :  1 1/2 to 2 cups

In a large bowl, blend the salt with flour and gradually keep adding the water until a thick palable ball of dough is formed. Knead the dough firmly for a couple of minutes until it can stand on its own and no salt is left in the container.Wrap the dough tIghtly in plastic or put it in a plastic bag secured with a twist tie. Let it sit for a few minutes.  

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You are now, ready to play with your dough. This is the best part of the entire process for little ones. You could let the little ones play freeform or hand them a bucket of cookie cutter and let them have a blast.

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After items are formed, set them on a baking sheet. Bake in 250 degree oven until items are completely hard. This can be from half an hour for small items to several hours for large ones.

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Ofcourse, there are variations again.

* You can add a bit of vanilla essense or cinnamon powder at this stage. It will leave a beautiful fragrance long after baking.

* You could also roll the dough in a cylinder shape and cut 2 inch batches and add a drop or two of cooking color. That way, you dont have to color them once you have decided to mould it into your desired shape.

Once out of the oven, let it rest for a while on the wire.

And then begins the second best part of this activity : Painting 🙂 The kids absolutely love painting their prized creations.

Spread some cling film or newspaper on the kitchen table or where you intend to conduct this activity ~ lots of paint brushes with pots of water , some acrylic paints and some poster paints. Voila ! BTW, dont be surprised if the kids nag you again next weekend for this activity 🙂

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Some tips :-

Keep all pieces of dough not-in-use wrapped tightly in plastic.

Store leftover dough in the refrigerator and use it within one week.

Bring the refrigerated dough to room temperature before working with it.

As much as you’d like to grab a bit into these “cookies” ~ DON’T ~ Not a good idea 🙂

                      Enjoy the salt dough and enjoy making memories.

Thank you for visiting me today. Have a beautiful and thankful day.

I would love if you could share your salt dough experience with me too !!

Statues are Gods ???

Saw this and couldn’t help but share. A religious mother took her child to a temple,

In the corridor,
Child: Mom look, a cow. Can we get milk from her?
Mom(smilingly): Its just a statue.
Child (scarily): Oh mom, there is a tiger. Can he attack us?
Mom(smilingly): Its just a statue.
Child (scarily): Oh mom, there is a Dragon. Can he make fire from his month?
Mom(smilingly): Its just a statue.


Inside temple,
Mom: That’s your god, bow your head. God will give you what you ask him.
Child(smilingly): Its just a statue.

Sometimes, one feels like why are they so numb headed. Do they throw their common sense and intelligence down a well before bowing down to idols ?? How can something that can be kicked, crushed and melted be a provider ~ a creator ?

The Quran says, “They are deaf, dumb and blind.” truly so.

If nothing else, how do they prepare for parenthood, while preaching something and practising something so totally illogical !! In return the child is also fed on tales for a religion to practise and he too is taught to dump his intelligence in the well and live by obedience rather than common sense.

Pity.

Humans and Frogs.

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Human Beings and frogs are the two creatures in nature who have tremendous power to adjust.
Put a frog in a vessel of water and start heating the water. As the …temperature of the water rises, the frog is able to adjust its body temperature accordingly. The frog keeps on adjusting with increase in temperature. Just when the water is about to reach boiling point, the frog is not able to adjust anymore. At that point the frog decides to jump out. The frog tries to jump but is unable to do so, because it lost all its strength in adjusting with the water temperature. Very soon the frog dies.
What killed the frog? Many of us would say the boiling water. But the truth is what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when it had to jump out.
We all need to adjust with people and situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust and when we need to face. There are times when we need to face the situation and take the appropriate action. If we allow people to exploit us physically, emotionally or financially, they will continue to do so. We have to decide when to jump. Let us jump while we still have the strength!

Paperworld Dubai

An excellent experince, where office stationery ~ scrapbooking goods – party wares – were all covered !! I actually felt like a child lost in the candy store !!! Lost yes ~ but very happily ofcourse !!
If you missed it, worry not, it will return next year again. Only a matter of a few ( 10) months

Hi Friends,

Paperworld Dubai 2013 was held between March 5 – 7. For someone who insanely loves paper and color, this visit was like diving into paradise.
From scrapbooking goodies to stationery to wood works to party accessories ~ this exhibition was stacked up with piles of eye candy.
Here are just a few pics of the stalls and their beautiful contents.

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Am I driving safely !!

I duly appreciate, that Dubai Police does implement several creative and innovative ways to tackle reckless driving. However, as much as I commend them, I fail to understand, why have companies started these strategic ways of evading penalties.

On one two many occasions, I have jotted down the number of the vehicle and called the company telephone number (which is displayed in the “am I driving safely, If not call so and so”) But of late, I have noticed that the telephone numbers are mobile numbers which are generally switched off !!! or in this particular case, an email address is displayed.

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The mind wonders, how does someone manoeuver a car, jot down the email address and then scan for the car plate ????

I mean, is this ridiculous or WHAT ???

Muslim pilgrimage ~ Umrah in Mecca.

salam Alaikum dear brothers and sisters in Deen and hello friends,

We returned from our lovely Umrah ( muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia) trip just a couple of days back and I’m almost just, rested enough, unpacked enough and awoken enough to pen about my fantastic trip to Mecca.

We stayed a couple of Days in Mecca and then hired a taxi to drive us to Medina, where we stayed for a couple of days, again.

We have been performing an umrah, every year for the past 4-5 years and its always even more exceptional than the year before. The feeling that one experiences, just standing infront of the Haram (kaaba) is like nothing comparable. You dont SEE God but like someone once said,  “You are guests of Allah swt and you already feel it.” How beautifully said.

Preparations :- If any of you are interested in performing Umrah, I highly recommend reading this particular book “The Ultimate Guide to Umrah” by Abu Muneer Ismail Davids. An absolute must read for a layman or a seasoned traveller to Mecca. http://store.dar-us-salam.com/product/201.html

Airline :- We travelled by one of the local budget airlines, FlyDubai and it was indeed a good experience. Paying alittle extra for you baggage while booking is definetly a good idea.
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Jeddah Airport :- Although we had braced ourselves for the worst, going by all our previous experiences, at Jeddah airport ( in terms of time at the immigration, baggage etc ) ,we were pleasently surprised and relieved that the immigration done in a matter of 10-15 minutes.

Still, it is such a disappointment, straight after the baggage retrieval area, they tend to take the passports and hassel us, with waiting for the hotel representative or hotel taxi to give us the ok for leaving. It only adds to the confusion and inconvienence that one is already in Ahraam, travelling with a large family and would like to rush to the room of the hotel to rest himself and his baggage !!  The main reason they practise this is so that people dont go absconding once they enter the country. I understand that, however alittle bit of understanding/consideration for a “family” ~ would go a long way.

One of the best things I love about Dubai police and most Dubai government officials is how considerate and respectful they are. They are not arrogant and without bending the “RULES” they will oblige with sensibility if you are in a difficult situation.  Having visited various countries in the Gulf, I can easily say that Dubai police, surpasses all the others in efficiency and attitude.

Le Meridien Mecca :- Luckily for us, we were greeted by an english speaking receptionist, who could clearly see our annoyance at being hasseled with the taxi issue that we had just experienced. I am not even going to start with the taxi issue becoz it reaaaaaaaaally makes my blood boil. Lets just say, it was “THE” only nasty experience of this entire trip !!(thankfully at that )
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Saquib, the receptionist was kind enough to upgrade us to a suite which was nothing short of a delight ! We had two suites ofcourse. The rooms were clean, well equipped with all the necessary ammenities, fridge, kettle, hot water, good firm beds. And best of all, we were just two rooms away from the boys.

To Haram (Kaaba) :- The hotel is nearly at a 25 minutes walking distance  from Haram but the hotel provides a complimentary shuttle service to the Haram. Although we were told that there would be a service every 10 minutes, I dont ever recall having to wait for more than 2 minutes at either end for the bus. Thats how efficient they are. However, I would recommend that one opt for taxi’s after the Friday “juma salaat” ~ since every one wants to rush to the hotel around the same time on Friday afternoon after prayer, we had to let go of 3 shuttles before, we could find space in the 4th one.
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We spent most of the time running to and fro Haram, trying to join every salaat and ofcourse spending most of the time in the haram making tilawat.

We performed Umrah after Isha salaat. We were rested and fresh by then. Alot of people feel, just becoz they are wearing the Ahraam, they have to perform the Umrah as soon as they reach Mecca, which is not necessary. However, one has to be careful in what one says/behaves, not breaking/letting down of the hair (for ladies) etc, which can become a test at times hence people try to perform the umrah asap.

Haram (Kaaba) was absolutely packed with people. These pictures are that of after fajr salaat. Imagine how many thousands of people are there that early in the morning !!! Not only for the salaat but even in the Kaaba for tawaaf and tilawat. SubhanAllah.

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I dont even think, I can begin to write anything about the feeling one experiences being in the presence of the Kaaba. For any non-muslims, who might be reading this post, please know, that muslims DO NOT  “WORSHIP” the kaaba (black building in Mecca).  If you would like to know/learn more on this particular subject, please write to me and I will send you the best links to clarify your misconceptions.

I have always been blessed with tiny opportunities to help/ease others in small ways at Haram and I love that such situations present themselves to me. I feel so so blessed. I would always advise my brothers and sisters, who are/or want to visit Mecca, to embrace these opportunities which will just come as a surprise, without your expectations. But please remember, they are just “TESTS”.  I will be mentioning one such “TEST” in my future post.

Ofcourse there are several 5 star properties right infront of the Haram masjid gate where several food courts and shopping malls are also located.
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One restaurant that I really dig in Mecca is Taj restaurant. I love their bukhari rice (typically saudi pulao rice) with chicken tikka.  Their rates are reasonable and food tastes good and not too spicey or oily. You can also opt for a similar meal in the nearby mall food court at twice the price. (which is a case in any country).
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Most people often tend to see the glass as half empty, I on the other hand, have alot of gratitude for the Saudi Haram committee or Saudi Government. It is not a small task to keep such a huge place clean and tidy where people of all races and nationalities and habits visit. Some dont even have proper hygiene habits yet the army of workers in organe suits do an awesome job maintaining cleanliness in the haram, the masjid and even the toilet areas.

Providing Zam Zam water cooler machines in close proximity and also in thousands and thousands of mobile water coolers !!
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The escalator to and fro the basement ladies toilets is such a relief.

This year, we also experienced the water and air blower fans that provide much needed relief from the relentless sun.
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Also again, we noticed this year, they have provided these plastic roller stands for people to pull thru and keep thier shoes in. Lest they dont “loose” them and it can be carried in the masjid as well.
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Small things like these can mean alot in making a pilgrims trip stressfree.

I hope, you found this post informative.
My next post will be about our trip to Medina Munnawwara inshallah.