Salt Dough Gone Wild!

It was one of those long stretches of summer afternoon when it was too hot to go outside. The kids slid around the house, skulking, with nothing better to do than pick fights with each other and in general, drive me nuts.

Days like these scream for distraction and that day a movie wasn’t going to cut it.  I scanned through my “Gonna try this” folder on Pinterest and saw a post about salt dough. Perfect.  It’s creative, it’s quiet, it’s unplugged, and even better, I had all the ingredients.

My kids, like most kids, love play dough.  When they play it’s a whole body sensory experience.  The dough ends up ground into their clothes, hair, crumbled all over the floor, and mushed into the carpet.  If it were cleaner, I would do it more often.

So, we made salt dough and I set the kids to the task of making dough people.  Soon the house was filled with laughing once more as they posed and dressed their creations.  One of the perks of salt dough is that once it dries it can be painted. Usually this process takes several days of air drying, or several hours in a warm oven.

I’m not that patient.  Plus, I read that salt dough can be speed dried in the microwave. Dough boy got nuked and turned out great.  Once he had cooled off he was indeed dry and ready to paint.  Dough girl was a different story.  She was long and thin with narrow delicate limbs. Dough boy was stocky and thick.

It wasn’t until I smelled the panic inducing smell of smoke that I realized my mistake. Dough girl was on fire.  I grabbed the plate and ran her outside, hoping to minimize the amount of smoke that filled the house. But it was too late.  The whole house reeked of burnt flour, which is oddly similar to the smell of burnt popcorn.

Dough girl was toast.

I braced myself for the tantrum that was sure to follow. It didn’t come. Instead, I found my daughter doubled up in laughter.  She thought the whole incident was hilarious!

There was enough dough for her to make another, and this time I made sure not to light it on fire!


Friday Fiction: The Man in the Cupboard

Welcome back to Fiction Friday where every other week I experiment with different genres.  Today’s story might become a serial depending on how it’s received.  Enjoy!

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After the whirlwind of breakfast and getting the kids off to school, the kitchen was a disaster and thankfully quiet.  Kimberly had set about the task of shoving dirty dishes into the already full dishwasher when she heard a pinging sound coming from the pantry.  She ignored it at first, but when the sound didn’t just go away she felt she had to investigate.

As she came closer to the pantry door the sound became clearer, the same sound as when metal hits glass, a kind of metallic ping.  Ping, ping, ping.  What on earth could make that noise?  She opened the door a crack and the ping stopped.  She opened it wider.  There to her surprise was a tiny man standing next to her jar of peanuts wielding a cane. He stood no taller than her hand and wore a dingy yellow shirt and green vest over a pair of worn grey slacks.

“Fer heaven’s sake, why’d ya change your brand?” he asked and gave the lid on the bottle another whack with the cane. “This lid’s all but impossible to get off.”

Kimberly slammed the door shut with a shriek and reached for a knife from the block.  There was a tiny man in her pantry raiding her peanuts.  She racked her brain trying to remember if there was anything about strange occurrences reported by previous owners in the real estate paperwork.  There were disclosures about lead, asbestos, and rats; why not tiny men?

When she had worked up enough nerve to open the pantry again she found the little man leaning against the box of Cheerios sitting with his legs dangling off the shelf. He held one toasted O, which to him was the size of a donut.

“Oh, hi again. Sorry about before, didn’t mean to give you a fright. No one told me a ginger girl had moved in.”  He said with a smile, pointing at Kimberly’s red curls.

“Who are you, and why are you in my pantry?” Kimberly asked, fighting down the tremble that threatened to leak into her voice. She adjusted her grip on the knife, keeping it out of sight.

“Well, I would have been in the liquor cupboard, but it seems all the whiskey is gone.  You wouldn’t know anything about that would you?” He waved his cane at her as if accusing her for it’s absence. “Can’t have a shindig without a bit of whiskey now can we?”

“Whiskey? . . . Shindig?” Kimberly sputtered. ” I don’t know what you are talking about.  You didn’t answer my question.  Who are you, and why are you here?”

“My apologies Miss, where are my manners?” He stood, brushing the crumbs from his pants as he did and held out his tiny hand. “Mike Finnegan, at your service.”

Kimberly took his hand between two fingers and gave it a shake, unsure whether she was dreaming or had hit her head.

Mike cleared his throat. “And who might you be Miss?”

“Kimberly Pike,” she answered.  Dozens of questions filled her mind and she struggled to catch a hold of one that didn’t make her sound insane.  It was harder than she thought.

Using his cane, Mike lowered himself to the lower shelf and began inspecting the goods there. “Ye must have a speck of the old Irish in ye.  Old lady who lived here before couldn’t see me, one before that couldn’t neither. They both had the decency of always having a flask of whiskey on hand, so it worked out just fine.  You however are different.  Irish blood in ye, and nothing for a poor fella to drink.”

“If I get you your whiskey will you go away?”

“No, why would I? I live here, have a right nice home up in the attic.”

Kimberly shook her head and set the small knife down on the counter. “What about the others, can they see you?”

He climbed on top of a bag of rice and sat down again. “Doubt it, not a ginger in the lot.”

“Listen, Mike is it? This is all a little bit much for me right now.  Tell you what.  I’m going to close this door and leave for a while and when I come back all of this will be back to normal.  I think I’m just under a lot of stress right now.  I mean listen to me, I’m talking to a little man in my pantry.  Okay?”

He tipped his hat at her. “Whatever makes you happy Miss.”

Kimberly shut the door, got a soda from the fridge, and a candy bar from her secret stash.   She hoped a few hours running errands away from the house would be enough to calm her nerves, but as she pulled the car into the street she had the sinking feeling that this was far from over.


To read part 2, click here!

Meet the Cast: Bremin


For every hero there is the friend who makes it possible for him to succeed.  In the Stonebearer’s story one of the most important members of the supporting cast is Bremin.

Bremin is the clever, quick-witted, sharp-tongued friend to our hero, Jarand.  They’ve known each other for over three hundred years.  He has traveled the world many times over gathering knowledge to aid his fellow Stonebearers.  If there is a plot against them, he will uncover it.  In his travels he has also become very skilled in healing, picking locks, setting traps, and plenty of other skills, making him an extremely useful fellow to have around.

Bremin does have a weakness, he is very limited in what he can do with his power.  This fact has made him very humble, but also bitter.  He compensates for his weakness with his knowledge.

Out of all the characters in the book, Bremin was the easiest to find a face for.  Jeremy Irons is the perfect fit.  He comes across as someone who knows a lot but won’t offer his opinion until it is asked for.  He also projects a profound depth to his characters.  The fact that he also has played similar characters in several fantasy movies seals the deal.